Monthly Archives: March 2015

This Little Life of Mine

 

“This little life of mine

                              I’m gonna let it shine…”

 

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The lilacs have buds!   Gosh, I can’t even tell you what a joy it was to see them when I went out to the garden yesterday to putter around for a bit, so wonderful to see green life again.  After the long winter, the color green definitely shines.  In my eyes, anyway.   🙂

I found a few other green little ‘lifes’ shining out in the garden too.

In the flower bed, I found tulips coming up…

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Yes, I know… it looks like some major clean-up is in order, but the snow only melted just the other day. And besides, all those leaves and other debris are good for insulation – we could still get more snow before winter is completely through with us.

And my bee balm has new growth sprouting up too…

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So aromatic, even as tiny as they were.  I smelled of them when I went back indoors.  It was delicious!

And in my veggie garden, I found my chives springing back to life…

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It won’t be too much longer before I’ll be out there planting other things to eat, I can’t wait!

 

What a delight it is to find some of the green and growing things coming back to life outside here after the long winter.  It truly refreshes my soul.  Especially in the midst of some of the emotional turmoil I’ve been experiencing lately.  And it’s a good reminder for me to let this little life of mine shine as well, in spite of my circumstances.  Because just maybe, it too may somehow refresh a soul.

Hope you’re letting your life shine today too…

 

Raindrops

 

Heavy raindrops

fall upon my rooftop

playing a peaceful lullaby as I sleep

 

And when I awake

I find a relieving break

in the clouds of my restless mind.

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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~

It may be a bit dreary here this morning, but it was wonderful to awake to the sound of raindrops falling above my head during the night.  It lulled me right back to sleep, it was so peaceful.

  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a good rain here, even the birds are out there singing about it this morning – another wonderful sound.  Springtime is such a lovely time of renewal, isn’t it?  I’m feeling a bit renewed myself this morning, I’m thankfully in much better spirits than I was the other day.

Hope you find yourself in good spirits today too, wishing you a peaceful Sunday…

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Sometimes Shadows

 

Sometimes shadows

fall over my heart

and into my mind.

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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It’s one of those days…

 

The good news is – if there’s a shadow, then there is surely light too.

Wishing you light today, and…

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Misadventures in Caulking

If you read my last post, you know that we had a bit of snow this past weekend.  But what you might not know is, that in addition to my wonderful nature adventures outside, I also spent time inside having a few other misadventures.  In hearing that snow was expected in our forecast, I figured that would be a good time to buckle down and finally try finishing up some of the home improvement projects I have going on around here – one of which being to caulk around the tub/shower and the sink in the upstairs bathroom.  It was a tremendous amount of work for me, but was made much more bearable with the helpful assistance and comic relief of my sister.  And my Mom’s cat, Gus.

In case you or someone you know is considering doing a caulking project with a sister or a cat in the future, I’ve compiled an easy set of step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

But not really.  😉

 

Caulking with Cats: In Three Easy Steps

Step One:  Before beginning your project, be sure to leave the door open for proper ventilation so your cat can come in and inspect the area.

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Step Two:  Clean all surface areas cat thoroughly.

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It is a bathtub after all

Step Three:  Cover the tub drain to prevent any debris from going down the drain.  i.e. Let your cat cover it for you.

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Because it obviously amuses him immensely

Additional Tip:  Even though it’s very distracting and may cause long delays in the final completion of your project, it’s good to allow your cat as much time as he requires to frolic around in the bathtub, as this provides cheap entertainment for you, makes the job more enjoyable in the long run, and ensures a good, positive attitude should difficulties later arise during your project.

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 Which they most certainly will…

 

Because seriously, who knew caulking would be so difficult?  I sure didn’t.  I had never done it before, so I went and watched this YouTube video… “How to Caulk a Bathtub with Beautiful Results”  ‘Beautiful results’ my foot!  The lady on the video made it look oh so easy, but it definitely wasn’t.

The part I struggled with the most was that damn caulking gun –  for the life of me, I couldn’t squeeze the trigger hard enough with my weak girlie hands to get the caulk to come out.  My sister even had trouble doing it, and she’s one tough broad.  After quite a bit of effort on her part, she was able to get it to come out, however, she couldn’t aim it properly and the caulk was kinda going all over the place, so I had to get into the tub with her to help steer the tip along the edge of where I wanted it to go.  It was extremely awkward with the two of us trying to maneuver in the tub with a messy caulking gun, it sorta felt like we were playing a game of Twister, and neither of us is as flexible as we used to be.  It was funny though and we laughed a lot in the process.  My sister always makes things more fun, and I’m so grateful for her help.  ❤

Another problem I had was trying to remove the old caulk, it was easy enough taking off the most recent layer which had greatly deteriorated, but since the layer previous to that hadn’t been removed, it was hardened like cement…

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In the video, the lady used a dremel, and that worked pretty slick, but I didn’t have one of those and didn’t want the added expense of buying one, so I used this totally worthless tool instead…

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I didn’t know it was going to be worthless, it came in a caulking kit I had bought previously, that also included edging tools for sealing the caulk without leaving seams – those were equally as worthless.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  I ended up using the tip of a tiny screwdriver and was able to remove most of it with that, but it was beastly work.

The one tip I was most grateful for from watching the video was that she taped it all off.  I’ve always loved painting a room and enjoy going around and taping over everything beforehand, but I hadn’t thought of taping for caulking.  It really helped with the mess from the excess caulk as I was going over it with the edging tool.  My sister snapped this slightly awkward angled photo with her phone while I was in the tub doing some of the taping.

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We ran out of caulk partway through and had to take a drive to The Home Depot to get more.  I decided I was done working with that damned caulking gun – it was much too difficult to use and I didn’t even want to imagine the messy job we would do with it in trying to complete the finer detailed work I needed to do around the sink area, so I bought small hand-squeeze type of bottles of caulk instead.  They were much easier to work with, but way over priced compared to the tubes that are used with the guns.  That pissed me off a little because it felt like I was being penalized for having weak hands.  Plus, they contained much less of the product, and if there’s less product, it should cost less, not more.

Anyway, I guess it was worth it to me though because everything went real smoothly after that.  Literally.  See the nice, smooth finished line I made with it…

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Unfortunately, I have a lot of other areas that aren’t as smooth, and I’ll need to go back over them and try to fix/touch them up because it got really sloppy in some spots, especially in the corners.  I’m embarrassed even showing the crappy job I did here…

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Smudged up that corner for sure.  Oops!

But in the end, I’m pretty dang proud of myself for tackling this project. And I did a fairly decent job for someone who had no clue wtf they were doing.

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Of course it helped a great deal to have my big sister and my mom’s cat lending me a hand paw.  😉

 

The next thing I want to do in the bathroom is re-grout all the tile, but we may need to hire a professional for that because I’m not sure I could do a good enough job, and I have serious doubts that watching a YouTube video on how to do it would be a true representation of how beautiful the results would really be.  Plus, nearly the entire bathroom is tile and ‘thatsa lotsa mozzarella,’ not only for my weak girlie hands, but also for my knees.

I’ve been working on this bathroom off and on for a of couple years now.  That’s a ridiculous amount of time for such a small room, I know, but I do have other things going on in my world as well.  Also, we needed to hire some painters to fix the drywall underneath the wallpaper I had removed (See: Misadventure and Mixed Pleasures in Wallpaper Removal), and they had to come back several times over the course of several months because they screwed up on some things and needed to fix them, and they kept blowing us off.  That was a nightmare all in its own which I won’t go into, but suffice to say, it’s not just my slow pace that has made this such a long process.

Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to read about my latest misadventures in home improvement, I really appreciate it, I know it’s different from the things I usually post.  If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been doing in the bathroom (I mean aside from the ‘usual things’ people do in bathrooms), you can click the post I linked above or see Remodeling and Redecorating: The Story Continues.

Have a lovely day…

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Winter’s Last Hurrah

I awoke to a world of snow yesterday morning, and even for as much as I am longing for spring, I couldn’t help but find the fresh snow incredibly beautiful.  So much so that I spent a good portion of the day outside enjoying it.  I had a lovely time, and I didn’t even get cold.  But I did stop at my favorite coffee house along the way to pick up a wonderfully warming chai tea latte, and that really hit the spot.

I know that everyone is filled with spring fever, myself included – gosh, I’m so excited at the thought of getting back out in my garden, and being amongst the green and growing things, I can hardly wait.  But as I am always aiming for being content, I also do what I can to try to live in and enjoy the present moment, no matter the circumstance.

Besides… we can’t control the weather, especially here in Minnesota, so it’s best to accept whatever we’re given and embrace the beauty.  And the beauty of the fresh, white snow beats the drab, dreary brown any day.  Plus, the moisture will help bring back the green and growing things.

I had my camera along with me while I was out there enjoying the beauty, so I took a few photos that I’d like to share.  Feel free to look away if you’re sick of winter and not in the mood, they’re not any big deal anyway, just some things I came upon that I thought were pretty.  I went to a few of my favorite spots, so if you’ve been here with me for a while, you may recognize some of them.

Spring, summer, fall or winter, nature is so beautiful to me, and being out in it feeds my soul…

 

Even in the dim lighting of this photo, how pretty is the contrast of these little red fruits against the white snow?  I had a bright red cardinal land on a branch on the tree outside my bedroom window yesterday morning and the contrasting color of him against the snow was a delight to my eyes.

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The white snow also makes the green of the pine needles look fresher

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It was definitely a very gray day out there, but I thought it was well suited with the white snow.

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And two of my favorite trees looked lovely dressed in white…

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These two bridges looked pretty too…

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And these geese didn’t seem to mind the snow…

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Although, they did mind me, and walked off quite hurriedly, honking at me, as I was trying to get closer to take their picture…

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I tried to tell them “I’m not gonna hurt you, I just want to take your picture, you silly gooses,” but they didn’t listen.

Even though I didn’t come across any people, you can see by all the footprints on this path, that many others besides myself had been out there walking around in the snow…

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I was happy to see that a little snow wasn’t stopping other people from getting outside and enjoying nature.  Those are my kind of people.  😉

And the snow isn’t stopping these cute, fuzzy little buds from emerging…

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See… spring is coming, this is just winter’s last hurrah.

Thanks so much for joining me, and I hope you find beauty wherever you are today…

~

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

 

With today being the first day of Spring, how appropriate it is that this week’s photo challenge is Fresh.  And what could be a more lovely example of fresh than fresh flowers or be the perfect depiction of Springtime than daffodils?  Well… tulips maybe, but they didn’t have any of those at the market when I was there the other day.  😉

I still would have bought the daffodils though, because they’re so bright and cheerful – they warm my heart like a sweet little kiss of golden sunshine…

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Happy Spring!

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Faded Beauty

 

Far beyond her prime, no longer fresh and alive with the new green of springtime 

Gone are the days where she danced, dressed in vibrant colors under a hot summer sun

and the rich hues she once wore in celebration of autumn’s splendor have now paled

But even in the winter of her life, as she lingers in the dim lighting of dappled shadows, she is still lovely

And on the gentle breeze she serenades us with quiet whispers

of her faded beauty.

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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~

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Wordless Wednesday

 

“Hush, little Baby, don’t say a word…”

 

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This is even more clever because her name is Baby.

Oops… so much for this post being wordless…  😉

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

If I Had a Hammer

 This past weekend, a good of mine invited me to go with her to William O’Brien State Park to attend one of the park’s naturalist programs about bluebirds, which included staying afterwards to build a bluebird house.  For a small fee, they provided all of the materials and instructions, and all we needed to do was bring our own hammer.

♫   If I had a hammer…  ♫ 

I have a hammer!  I even brought two hammers, in fact, because my friend couldn’t find hers.  They were the little weak girlie type of hammers, due to my weak girlie hands.  (Some of you may recall me mentioning my weak girlie hands before in a few of my home improvement posts.)  One of the instructors even made fun of commented on how small my hammer was when he came over to assist me during one part of the process.  But I was like “Hey, I’m a girl, I have girlie hands, I’d never be able to wield a regular manly type of hammer, so don’t knock it, this works for me.”  He seemed surprised when he saw how well I worked with my tiny hammer saying something like “Yeah, you’re actually  doing really well with that little hammer of yours.”

And my birdhouse turned out quite impressive looking, if I do say so myself.  My friend snapped this picture of me with it once it was finished…

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It looks pretty darn good doesn’t it?  Real professional-like.  So what if all the wood pieces were already pre-cut, and all I had to do was assemble it and nail it together with my tiny hammer.  😉

 Surprisingly, it was still a bit of a challenge to assemble, and I’m very good at puzzles.  I had to pound back out a few of my nails when I realized I’d put one of the pieces on backwards, oops!  And my friend had a few issues putting hers together as well, not leaving a big enough gap at the top of the door for ventilation.  She got a bit pissed off at one of the instructors because he’s the one who steered her wrong in attaching her door.  She’s afraid now that her baby bluebirds will suffocate, but I think they’ll be just fine, and her birdhouse looks great.

It was a fun experience building a bluebird house, now I just need to stain or paint it, and put it up somewhere.  I’m not so sure about putting it up in my yard here in the inner city though, because there’s not many wide open spaces around here.  I might give it to my sister to put up out on her property, but I’m so proud of the dang thing and would so love to have bluebirds nesting, I don’t know if I can part with it.  I’ll have to wait and see.

It was a lovely day of weather, so after we finished with our birdhouses we went and explored a little bit around the park.  William O’Brien State Park is a great place to visit, I posted about it once before in “Weekend Wanderings” when my sister and I went and explored there on a whim last autumn.   It’s situated along the banks of the St. Croix River.  And you can see here, there’s still ice on that river, but it’s definitely thawing…

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 I really enjoyed spending time along the river, listening to the sound of the ice crackling, it was so peaceful.  Well, it was peaceful until I noticed the billions of horrifying black spiders scurrying around under my feet.  I’m absolutely terrified of spiders, so that really gave me the creeps, and I got the hell out of there real quick after that.  My friend was laughing at me because I’m such a contradiction – I love the outdoors so much, nature truly feeds my soul, but I’m also seriously afraid of bugs, especially spiders.  I know, I know… spiders are very beneficial to the environment blah, blah, blah, but if I had a hammer… I’d hammer out all the spiders.

But I wouldn’t really do that.

My hammer is way too small.  😉

 

My friend and I both enjoy photography, and had our cameras along.  While I was focusing on plant life…

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She was focusing on birds.  I believe she was pursuing a red bellied woodpecker somewhere off in the trees with her lens, but was unable to get a decent shot.  However, seeing as this post is about having a hammer bluebirds, take a look at this beautiful capture she snapped of a bluebird last summer…

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She really has a knack for photographing birds.  If you click on the picture above, it will bring you to her lovely photostream on Flickr where she shares some of her beautiful nature photos.  🙂

 

I’m so glad my friend invited me to go and do this, it was fun, and we had a very nice time together.  This state park offers many various naturalist programs and since it’s so near by, I plan to attend more of them in the future.  One in particular that caught my eye is their Perseid Meteor Shower Party in August.  I love me some shooting stars!  Star gazing… sigh…  ❤

And did you know there is a hammer constellation in the stars?  In Germanic Astronomy it’s Mjollnir – Thor’s short-handled hammer.  Guess he used a smaller hammer as well.  😉

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

If Only I Had Wings

 

If only I had wings

 

I would fly

be by your side

 

Be in your space

kiss your face

 

We’d never part

I’d heal your heart

 

If only I had wings

 

© Julie Rehnelt 2015

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~

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

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