A wool blanket in August?

Hello and happy Monday! I know summer is still engulfing many of you; uncomfortably high temperatures, humidity, frayed nerves. But we can all tell by the angle of the sun and our fading landscape that fall is approaching. Labor Day week signals a transition, right? Day length shrinks and shadows lengthen. Suddenly summery decor seems out of place.

Last week I returned to Port Gamble, the little town I shared with you in my last post. If you missed it, you may want to follow the link and check it out. I have a friend who has recently moved to Anacortes from the Northeast, and it's fun to show her places she hasn't yet been. So we made a day of wandering; stopping wherever and whenever we saw something of interest.

Although I didn't buy anything in PG, she and I stopped at a few interesting stores on the way back, and I came home with a couple of treasures. I couldn't pass on this wool blanket ($4). The colors are perfect really, and despite its age, the blanket is in what I would call an ideal and gently seasoned condition; no rips or discernible holes. It has a simple classic charm.

This tray too was a must-have and tagged 50% off.

Sometimes I bring home thrifted treasures and am disappointed. I was really confident however that I could set an attractive and transitional table with the blanket and tray as the foundational elements. I washed and dried the blanket straight-away, gave the tray a thorough cleaning. I think the look I was hoping to achieve came together nicely. I hope you agree~

I think the blanket is perfect used as a table square. The blue window pane pattern against a beige ground suggest the beach in fall. The size is really rather picnic hamper appropriate and not quite large enough to wrap up in. That's why I was pretty sure it would work on our table.

My dishes are from a thrift store too. You've seen them many times in past tablescape posts. They are Spode stoneware, and I was fortunate to find 4 place settings still in the box.

I can't believe it has been two years since our trip to Ireland. I brought home these linen napkins and each time I get them out I am filled with a warming feeling of fondness for that wonderful country. 

I am so attracted to brown and white dishes, I think because of my redefined personal style, and I especially enjoy pairing blue and brown. Because Larry prefers wood furniture to painted pieces, he really likes the tray. Although I still retain full decor autonomy, I am the most happy when he feels at home in our home. 

OK, so I'm not ready for pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, and such. But with our cooler days and longer nights, I welcome a more muted color palette. 

The squirrels are busy burying nuts from our trees and the dried leaves are already dropping. We've had an inordinately hot, dry couple of months and will certainly welcome fall rain. The only thing I dread about autumn is raking oak leaves. I recently read that a mature tree drops 30,00 leaves each year. That's a lot of leaves! There is not a crack, crevice, nor clay pot that doesn't end up with oak leaves; not to mention the lawn and the decks. It honestly takes the entire fall and winter to collect them all because they don't drop all at once. Yes, the tree is lovely and provides dappled shade. But if I ever move again, which I probably won't, there is no way I'll even consider a property with an oak tree!

Have a blessed Labor Day weekend~



WISH YOU WERE HERE~ A Photologue Of Our Travels.

A Day Trip To Port Gamble, Washington

Last week I indulged in a day trip to this historic, tiny, picture-perfect town positioned on the eponymous Gamble Bay, which is part of the Hood Canal along the Kitsap Peninsula. Unless you are familiar with the irregular Washington Coast, and the Puget Sound, this will mean absolutely nothing, and I get that.  I have lived in Anacortes almost 15 years and I still need a good visual of the numerous islands, peninsulas, bridges, and ferry routes in the northwest corridor of our state in order to orient myself to the vast unfamiliar territory. To help you out, I have provided a link to a good map of the area here.

Port Gamble was founded in 1853 when a large sawmill opened at water's edge. The mill, which closed in 1995, was the longest continuously operating sawmill in the United States. Port Gamble was once home to 250 men, women and children who worked for Puget Mill Company. 

Here is an excerpt from Port Gamble's Website~

...Kitsap Peninsula situated on the shores of scenic Hood Canal. Explore the 120-acre National Historic Landmark complete with picturesque, turn-of-the-century buildings filled with shops, an historic church, breathtaking views, expansive grounds and New England style houses on maple and elm tree-lined streets.​

This is all very true. Port Gamble is one of the most lovely and enchanted small towns I have ever visited. I was very much caught off guard when I happened to drive through town en route to a doctor visit about a month ago. I was just following Siri's directions, and was certainly not expecting to simply happen upon such a charming and inviting burrow. Seriously speaking, this little patch of paradise was just suddenly there; like a rural town in Anywhere, USA. You blink and it's behind you.

Anyway, doctor days are best left unto themselves. So I made an appointment with myself to return to Port Gamble at a less-frenzied time.

The town is without flaw. I am guessing there are a set of ordinances covering a variety of can do and cannot do topics. The public areas are pristine and so are the private residences. The exterior home colors are subtle and tastefully compatible. There are only a limited number of retail businesses in a centralized tract, which is great. The town doesn't feel at all like a tourist trap. And there is white picket fencing around everything.

Allow me to share my photos~

This is what shopping looks like in Port Gamble.

I have a soft spot for old wooden ladders and Americana, so this immediately caught my eye.

I like old and rusty wheelbarrows, but I'm not really attracted to this pink one.

I really like these motel chairs however. 

There weren't a ton of shops, but rather a sprinkling. And each shop is housed within an historic residence, barn or other original structure. For instance, the original post office was the visitors' center. And an old barn is the quilt shop. There was a conspicuous absence of new construction, which is one of the many reasons Port Gamble is so fantastic!

Here is a sampling of residential life~

Wow, I could move in!

There are gardens and flowers everywhere~

And did I mention picket fences?

I had lunch in an old filling station, now home to Butcher and Baker.

Out of this world food, coffee and baked goods.

And I spent a little bit of money at Quilted Strait~

I don't quilt but I do sew other things. This is a very cool shop.

Are you are feeling the love? I am determined to go back with Larry in tow. I think he would enjoy spending a few hours there with me. Though he doesn't really like shopping, there are so many large, old trees in Port Gamble. Larry would be content to sit in the shade and read a magazine or browse the internet while I browse the boutiques. Whether you are traveling this way, or you live in the Pacific Northwest, make Port Gamble a destination. I mean really make a point of seeing it. You won't be disappointed. An authentic step back in time is never a letdown.  

Thank you for your readership. I am so, so busy holding down the fort while Larry is away, I haven't had time to share my recent projects. But I have some fun stuff in the works. Please visit again soon!




A Favorite Vignette~

If you follow my Facebook page you've probably seen this picture before. Larry and I worked side by side making what you see; the frame, the box the table.

The frame is huge~ the outside dimension measures 27x36. I work all the time at improving my photo skills and I knew that I wanted to use one of my own pictures in the frame. But it took me some time to decide on what I really wanted in this spot.

I like this little slice of our home for a variety of reasons, but mostly because each piece has special meaning. I knew the photo needed to be special too.

This is the photo I chose~ taken in Newberg, Oregon on one of our motorhome trips. I know my photography is highly stylized. I take random pictures of things that catch my eye, and these pictures definitely look the best enlarged; and I mean very greatly enlarged. The pub sign is a good example. I can't imagine it making much of an impact in let's say, an 8x10. But as a 20x30 it really commands attention. So whether you like the picture or not, at this large size the photograph is an attention grabber. And that's my goal. You might now better understand my tag line, "Art In The Ordinary". I love to transform ordinary things into artful focal points.

I also think my work looks best in simple up cycled-wood frames. The photo's finish is very matte and that eliminates the need for glass. An ultra-matte finish costs a bit more, but it is indeed worth the extra investment.

I change my accessories around to keep our decor fresh. Things tend to rotate throughout the house.

Notice the hydrangeas which early in the summer were a lovely purple are now blooming a beautiful green.  The hydrangeas and the bookends are highly compatible!

As you've probably figured out, my decor philosophy has become, less is more.

Today I brought these 1950s green onyx bookends from our study. I value these as much as I value anything in our material world. These bookends belonged to my dad. Dad was an avid reader with an interesting assortment of books. When we moved my mom last year, I relocated ten boxes of books from Dad's library! These bookends have been in every house my parents ever had, and they really represent my dad to me. So whereas I didn't save all of the books, I carefully carried the bookends home from Arizona. Honestly I think they're really cool, and I am so happy to have them. I will cherish them always, and someday, I'm sure our son will love having them as much as I do.

I've had a very busy Monday. I pickled and canned our homegrown green beans, a job which consumed most of the morning. Then I turned my attention to outside work because Larry is off on another boating adventure with favorite clients. A woman's work is never done, right?

Before I say goodbye, I want to thank Cindy at Dwellings- The Heart Of Your Home, for featuring my wood slat charger post at Amaze Me Monday. Thank you Cindy! I'm very honored. Please take a moment to visit Cindy's lovely blog.

Wishing you all a lovely week!


Please visit these other fine blogs for lifestyle inspiration:



Trash Talking.

Larry and I just finished making a very respectable compost bin. I say respectable because all of our past efforts have been rather crude and lacking refinement. We've tried just mounding yard waste, we've tried leaning pallets up against each other, but we've never taken the time to make something with a bit of class. It's just waste, I get that. But my feeling is that every structure that goes into the yard needs to be in good taste.

The genesis of this project is kind of interesting. I was cleaning out my desk and files a few weeks ago and I came across a very old folder of information on of all things, septic systems. Our county has really cracked down on semi-country folk who don't have access to the public sewer. Anyway, this folder was given to us at a mandatory meeting we attended years ago and it contained all kinds of interesting info such as the merits of one-ply bath tissue. And also tucked inside were the plans for this compost bin.

I'm not going to bore you with a step by step kind of thing. But I am providing a series of photos as a kind of pictorial of the process. So at the end of my post I am including a link to the plan PDFs in the unlikely event you would like a set of instructions.

Hardware cloth! You know I love it. Larry made frames out of treated lumber we already had on hand. Then together we cut the hardware cloth and I nailed it onto the frames with giant staples.

Even though we had the lumber, our shopping list included hinges, latches, staples, and the wide hardware cloth. As with most projects, writing a list and shopping for everything at once really helps the project run smoothly.

Each set of two panels is hinged and then the two sets are attached to each other with these screen door style latches. The reason for this design is so that opening the bin to access or stir the compost, will be easy and convenient. Another plus is that the bin is easy to move by simply unlatching.

Larry has been busy with his yachting business so we had a few starts and stops. But once we had an afternoon to devote to it, we finished it in rather short order; except for my hand lettered sign. The sign took a fair amount of time and concentration, but I really think it's a fun embellishment for an otherwise lowly wire bin.

I have layered materials inside the bin. I started with hay that we happened to have, although I first drove over it with our riding mower to break it up. The next layer is really great decomposed waste that a nearby town gives away to anyone in need. I have brought home 6 or more buckets full for my mix. Finally I put freshly mown grass and then started the layering again. I have also begun saving all the green waste from meal preparation and tossing that in too. Now I am awaiting the worms I was promised by a friend. I wonder if they come gift wrapped?

In about two months I should begin to see some serious decomposition. Successful gardening begins with proper soil amendment and I admit, I'm feeling really good about this composting thing.

OK, let's move on to something with a higher aesthetic! Just look at the plums that are ripe on our trees~

We've had such a Mediterranean summer, weather wise, and the trees make me long for the coast of Greece.

Just look at the unharvested artichokes are announcing the end of summer. The purple is stunning.

The sweet little asters are blooming uncustomarily early. How is it that we're having autumn in August? Are there any signs of fall in your part of the world?

If you're interested in compost bin plans, click here for Page 1, and here for Page 2.

OK, on to prettier projects. Thank you for letting me dish the dirt~



From The Project File~ Rustic Meets Refined

Let's talk seriously about placemats vs. chargers. I don't know about you, but I always use one or the other on our dining table; even if I've laid a table cloth. Despite best intentions, eating is not a perfect art; that is to say, stains happen.

I only like the kind of placemat that can be damp-wiped clean, but I do not care for the shiny, plastic or somewhat spongy vinyl type. I prefer natural styles such as woven grasses. I have never, ever had success with placemats that need to be laundered. Even with the gentlest of care, fabric placemats (cotton, blends, whatever) seem to shrink or become misshapen even when allowed to air dry. 

There's nothing more frustrating than a set of placemats of disparate sizes. Bad surprise.

All of this just to say that I prefer chargers. Generally they are a low stress option, storage issues notwithstanding, and they simply work better with our style.

Recently I shared a design idea for new chargers with Larry. Although table top decor problems are generally not something he concerns himself with, he very kindly brought my idea to life.  

Wood slats. Love Them.

Here is our first set of four. You might be asking, are these chargers or are they mini-pallets? To which I answer, yes

Actually, my chargers and our pallets might be cousins many times removed. They do share a certain family resemblance. 

We only do things one way at Remnant, and that's the right way. Larry won't settle for shortcuts. So the chargers are both glued and nailed with tiny pins. I purposely chose slats with old and rusted nail holes because they lend character and speak to the wood's vintage. And I like the fact that the plates set up above the table top a bit. It's a bit like using little trays as placemats.

I have never figured out the difference between dressy-casual and casual-dressy. I'm sure my tablescape is one or the other, and true to my eclectic leanings, I meshed a variety of styles and textures. I think the new chargers are great and anchor the tablescape perfectly. One thing is certain, they fit well in a seaside setting.

The chargers are also a great compliment to this arts and crafts themed china, and I'd like to digress for a moment and tell you about it.

I found 6 place settings of this great Noritake dinnerware a few years back at a little shop in a tiny town about 20 miles away. The store is named The Lucky Dumpster, and aptly so. I really walked away with a bargain, having paid only $35 for the entire set. On the underneath side of the dinner plates, below the Noritake stamp, it reads, Made in Occupied Japan. Therefore it is easy to date the dishes as just-post World War II.  There are a few pieces that are either older or newer, because they simply say Japan. Regardless of age, I think the set is amazing.

I will say that Larry truly loves these dishes. There is something about them that reminds us both of a Frank Lloyd Wright dining room. And they look at home in the rustic minimalist decor direction we seem to be traveling.

For a touch of elegance, I paired the chargers with my folk's sterling silver candlesticks; one of the cherished family heirlooms. And I filled my antique crockery pitcher with late-season hydrangeas. The sage green fade of summer is incredible.

One last note. The simple white cotton napkins shown above are from the shop, Boat House, that I mentioned in a recent post. Boat House is the great home interiors boutique in Ganges, British Columbia. For a few pictures, venture back here, and scroll to the end of the post.

What do you think of our latest project? What do you prefer to use on your table~ placemats, chargers, cloth, or nothing at all? Comments encouraged (and highly valued).

With fondness~


Please visit these other fine blogs for lifestyle inspiration: