Sweet Silver Lining

just watching the clouds…

House Progress Update December 21, 2009

Jamie and I have moved a few furniture items and appliances into the new house. We spent a couple of hours Thursday evening removing wallpaper border. It was surprisingly easy. It just took us a while because there was so much of it. It was in nearly every room and all down the hallway.

In case you ever need to know how to do it, these are the steps:
1. Peel back a piece from top or bottom and yank it off the wall. This will only bring the top layer off (the part that has the design on it), which is what you want.
2. Once that’s gone, you take a water bottle and add about a teaspoonful of fabric softener and fill it up with water. Saturate what’s left on the wall and let it sit for a few minutes.
3. Using a plastic scraper, scrape up and the paper will just fall away.
4. When you are finished with an area, use a wet sponge to wipe away the excess water/fabric softener and the remaining small amount of glue that’s still on the wall.

Caveat: Don’t let the old saturated wallpaper sit on your floor and dry. It still has glue on it and will be a mess to clean up. It’s best to have a plastic bag or something with you and pick it up as it drops.

Today, I painted most of the dining room. This is the color (Autumn Surprise):

I know that it is whoa-dark, but it is beautiful on the wall. We loved Autumn Surprise so much, we’re painting the living room this color also. It makes the house look so warm and cozy. We have white tiled floors and a white hearth, and I’m leaving the doors white. Plus, our rugs will be a muted gold color, so there’ll be plenty of lighter colors in the living room and dining area. The only other dark colors are our couch and chairs, which are garnet with dark wood. The only problem with this color is that I had to put like 3 coats on, and I still need to touch up in a few spots. It took me 5 hours to do one and a half walls. It will be Christmas by the time I finish that living room, if I’m lucky! I’ll post some pics when I’m done.


New Music for December December 20, 2009

Filed under: entertainment,raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 2:10 am
Tags: , ,

Have you seen the Amazon.com Kindle commercial that features the cute little song “Fly Me Away” by Annie Little? I am loving this song. Amazon has it for free download right now, and it is really good. I swear she wrote the lyrics from my mind, because this song so reminds me of Jamie and me.

I also recently downloaded Sara Groves’ entire new album, “Fireflies and Songs.” I’d never even heard of her before I stumbled upon her while downloading music, but she has a really awesome and beautiful voice.

Know of any really awesome new tunes I should check out?


Graduation December 19, 2009

Filed under: raNdOMnesS — dragonfly180 @ 9:31 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I graduated from Mississippi State University last Friday night. Since I had received my Master’s degree in the mail in August, it was a little anticlimactic. In fact, I had spent all of Friday dreading the ceremony and complaining to my husband about not wanting to go. Had it not been for my parents, I probably wouldn’t have. I would have just called my friends and told them to meet me at the Mexican restaurant. :o)

But I did go. It was bitterly cold, just like my graduation in December 2003 when I got my Bachelor’s. It had been sleeting that day when the ceremony was over and we were trying to gather everyone up to go to a restaurant. Thankfully, it did not sleet this time. I wore some gorgeous heels that had to have been made by Satan himself. They killed my feet! Jamie was practically carrying me to the car after the ceremony was over.

Near the end of the ceremony, I realized something pretty cool. There had been this guy out in the breezeway as we were lining up that I was sure I recognized. I knew I had not taken any classes with him, but since I spend so much time in the gym, I figured he was one of the beef heads always over by the weights. I forgot about him until after I’d received my diploma (empty diploma carrier, actually) and was watching people go across stage. As this guy crossed the stage, I realized who he was when they announced his name. It was Howie from Big Brother Season6 and 7! I found out later from my friend who works in the Distance Learning office that he was a DL student in our Meteorology program. Pretty neat to have graduated with a reality t.v. personality.

After the ceremony, my hubby and I met up with my parents, aunt, and my two best friends at a great Mexican restaurant, La Terraza, to eat supper. I ordered a huge quesadilla and a jumbo margarita on the rocks. Laughing with my family and friends and eating good food was the best part of the night.


Booking a Great Ship Cabin December 8, 2009

Filed under: my travels — dragonfly180 @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Here are some tips that I found on various sites around the Internet for booking your room on a cruise . I thought I’d share my research for my friends who are going on the cruise with me next summer and for others who might find the info useful.

Note: These are not my tips, as I have not been on a cruise before. I am preparing for my first. If any of this info is wrong, I blame the random people and sites I gathered my info from :o)

Location of Your Cabin:

Pick the best location for your tastes. Besides having different types, the rooms on a cruise ship come in a variety of locations. Individuals that get seasick easily should avoid cabins in the front or rear of the ship, because these receive the most motion. Even so, aim for the back if you want a larger balcony and a magnificent view of the sea. Higher deck cabins are closest to the pool and sun decks, so book one of these rooms if you plan on sunbathing and would rather not climb several flights of stairs every day to do so or ride elevators often. Adventurers will prefer a room in the bow (front) of the ship, since ocean spray, high motion and fierce gales rock these cabins at every turn.

Finally, note the location of all dining halls and dance floors. If you like quiet, never book a room directly beneath them. Take into account how far your room is from the ship’s activities and note how much traffic will be passing by your door or window. Avoid a room near the engines or else you’ll be listening to their roar for the duration of your cruise.

Sometimes cruise ships will offer passengers a “guarantee” cabin, which means you are paying for a category rather than a specific cabin. A guarantee cabin can be less expensive than choosing a specific cabin, but it might not give you the location you desire. You are taking a chance and leaving it up to the cruise line to assign you a cabin in a given category. Be sure to do your research before you book a “guarantee” cabin (or any cabin). You might be delighted in the value for get for your dollar, but you might also be disappointed if other cabins in the same category are in much better locations. When reviewing deck plans be sure to check out what is above, below, or next to your cabin. I know from personal experience how noisy a cabin can be that is located under a dance floor! Also, an ocean view cabin on a promenade deck will have lots of passersby.

Types of Rooms:

Lower Deck Cabins
The inside cabins on the lowest decks are usually the least expensive cruise ship cabins. Although the lower deck cabins will give you a smoother ride in rough seas, they are also the furthest from the common areas such as the pool and lounges. You will be hiking the stairs or riding the elevators more from a lower deck, but you can also work off some of those extra calories. Therefore, even though standard inside cabins might be all the same size and layout on a ship, you can save a few hundred dollars by choosing to be on a lower deck. The same applies for standard ocean view cabins, but you might want to inquire about the size of the window, since the lower deck ocean views might only have portholes or a smaller window. Two problems that you might experience with cabins on the lower decks are engine noise and anchor noise. If your cabin is near the front of the ship, it can sound like the ship has hit a coral reef when the anchor is dropped. The racket will wake anyone up, so the only good thing about the noise is it can serve as an alarm. Newer ships tend to have less engine noise and their stabilizers suppress the ship’s motion, but you will still get that anchor noise a couple of times a day!

Higher Deck Cabins
Cabins on the upper decks usually cost more than those on the lower decks. Since these cabins are nearer the pool and sun decks, they are more desirable for those on warm weather cruises who plan to use these amenities. However, you will get more rocking motion up high, so on smaller ships those who are seasick prone might want to avoid a higher deck cabin.

Midship Cabins
Sometimes midship standard cabins are a good choice due to their central location and less motion. They are excellent for those who have mobility problems or who are seasick prone. However, a midship cabin can have more traffic outside in the hallways since other passengers will often be passing by. Some cruise ships charge slightly more for midship cabins or even have them in a separate category. If you are thinking of a midship cabin, be sure to check out the location of the tenders or lifeboats. They can block your view and be noisy when raised or lowered. Most cruise lines will tell you if a cabin has a blocked or limited view, but it is wise to check for yourself.

Bow (Forward) Cabins
Cabins on the front of the ship get the most motion and appeal to those who feel they are “real” sailors. You will get more wind and spray on the front. In rough seas, a bow cabin can definitely be exciting! Note that the windows on cabins on the front are sometimes smaller and slanted or recessed, meaning you can’t see as much as you might on the side or rear of the ship. Cruise ships often put suites on the front of the ships to take advantage of the unusual shape and opportunity to provide the passengers with larger balconies.

Aft (Rear) Cabins
If you want a large balcony with your cabin, look to the rear of the ship. These cabins also provide a panoramic view of where you have sailed. Cabins in the aft of the ship have more motion than centrally located cabins, but less than those forward. One disadvantage–depending on the shape of the ship, sometimes passengers in the lounges or restaurants can look down on the balconies of the aft cabins. Not much privacy! We had a wonderful aft balcony cabin once directly below the buffet restaurant. Each day we found all sorts of surprises–lettuce, napkins, etc. that had blown off the deck above. The balcony was quite large however, with plenty of room for two lounge chairs.

Room Categories:

If/when you go to a cruise line web site you will see the various cabins listed by type, i.e., SUITE, VERANDA/BALCONY, OUTSIDE, and INSIDE. the category, and generally the square footage of each cabin type. The category will generally be listed next to the cabin type. The most expensive cabins (generally “Cat A and B”) are the penthouses and owners’ suites, which are like apartments and what you saw on the old TV program “The Love Boat”. Next are the jr and full suites (maybe “Cat C”). The next are the VERANDA or BALCONY cabins (you have your own private patio). The next lowest priced are OUTSIDE cabins (they have either a window or porthole). The cheapest cabins offered are always the inside cabins; those without a window or porthole. The inside, outside and balcony cabins are generally the same size on each ship, but may vary by ship and cruise line.

First of all the terms “cabin” and “stateroom” mean the same thing; the cruise industry prefers stateroom. The standard cabin that most people get (inside/outside/balcony) are generally between 175 and 200 Square feet, about the size of a 9 by 12 ft home bedroom (balconies are about 45 to 55 sq ft). Suites and penthouses can be between 350 and 1300 square feet. Each cabin has a two beds which can be made into a queen, a bathroom with a shower stall, a closet and some drawer space, a TV and telephone, a safe for valuables, and a life jacket for each passenger. Some cabins that are built to accommodate 3 or 4 people will have a pull down bed and/or a sofa bed. Its been my experience that Princess and Royal Caribbean have the best ship and cabin decor (also some of the best food.)

A balcony (veranda) cabin will cost you from 25 percent more to almost double the price of an inside cabin. Some cruisers would prefer to go twice as often and stay in an inside cabin. Others with more limited time might prefer to splurge on a balcony. Although I love a balcony cabin, these cabins are sometimes smaller than those with just a window since the balcony is replacing the inside space. Be sure to check when booking your cruise if size is more important to you than a balcony. This is a decision each person has to make on their own.


Changing Architecture December 6, 2009

Filed under: decorating — dragonfly180 @ 6:59 pm

Ranch-style houses that have a flat front are very boring to me. When Jamie and I began looking for a new house, that was the type of house I knew I didn’t want. It’s what we have now, after all. The strange thing about Mississippi is that these plain ranch-style houses are EVERYWHERE! I guess because they are so cheap to build. And what did we find and decide to buy? A flat front Ranch-style house.

I like the Bungalow/Craftsman style most in American home architecture, although my tastes are pretty diverse. Most importantly, I like an interesting front and entrance. I don’t like hidden entranceways, boring entranceways, entranceways overwhelmed by big, ugly garages, etc.

This is a picture of the house we bought that we haven’t moved into yet. It’s a little dark, but you can see that it has a pretty plain front.

We plan on adding more prominent columns, possibly some shutters, and painting the trim. We have even toyed with the idea of enclosing the carport and making an extra bedroom. I had suggested that if we enclosed the carport, we could add a bay window to give the flat front a little visual interest.

Today, I had a crazy idea that Jamie actually liked and agreed with. We are thinking of adding a pergola at the front door to enhance the entranceway. This could add visual interest to the front of the house without having to change the roof and do major remodeling. It would run about 10 feet across the front of the house (from about the column from the left of the door to about midways of the double window on the right side of the front door) and be set into a concrete slab of the same length. I could grow jasmine up the columns, since they are evergreens and will stay pretty all year long.

Have we lost our minds? What do you think about adding a pergola to the front of the house? We looked around on the internet today to try to find a picture of something like that. The only thing I could find is where people add them to the back of the house, like this:

I did find one instance of where someone used a pergola as a front entrance, but this obviously looks nothing like our house. :o) And the pic was taken at a weird angle, so you can’t get it’s full effect, but you get the idea, though.