Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Castle House

People around here call my home the castle house. 
I think it's funny, because it's only around 1800 square feet and hardly castle size, but I've been told that it's because of the turret.

Who am I to argue?

I get a lot of questions about my little cottage, from friends and strangers. I even catch people stopping to take pictures of it and sometimes, if I'm in the yard gardening, they'll stop and tell me how much they love it.

I always tell them I love it too, because I really do.

About four years ago, I was sitting in Ohio knowing that I was moving to Arizona and decided to look for an old house to love and not expecting much. 

There was nothing down in Phoenix and besides, it was too hot for me there, so I decided to look into the Northern part where they have actual seasons and plant life.

You know... flowers and trees, instead of cactuses and sand.

And then one day, I came across this picture:

(Sorry for the blurriness, but it's the original off the listing)

It was love at first sight.

Of course, you've seen what she looks like today:

It took a lot of work to get rid of all those weeds and to make it so the grass wasn't spotty. I planted in the flowers beds too, but it's winter, so you can't really tell. Spring will be here pretty soon though ;)

So, as soon as I got unpacked and settled, I started to look things up about the house.

All I had to go on was the original deed, but I managed to find out quite a lot with just that.

It turns out that around 1929, a single woman named Margaret, a lawyer here in town, decided to build a house when she was in her early 40s (the same age as me when I bought the house!).

She had gone to college originally in California, but when school was out she stayed with her sister and brother in-law here in this town.

I was able to find a picture of her online.

She looks determined, doesn't she?

Well, I guess she was, since she used to go downtown to where the bars are and drag men out by the ear to get them to go to court.

I wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that!

Anyway, she never married, but her sister's husband died and eventually her and her sister both lived in this house. At some point she decided to sell and move, but I can't seem to figure out why.

I know she loved the house, because I can still feel her here and I know it sounds odd, but I get the feeling she likes me living here and she feels protective over me. In fact, I don't know if any of you believe in this sort of thing, but one day when my honey was in the house alone, sitting in the breakfast nook, he felt someone tug hard on his ear and try to get him to leave. When I told him about the story of her dragging people out by the ear, it gave him the chills. I just told her to leave him be and she hasn't done it since.

Maybe it's our imagination and maybe it's not, but it makes me happy to believe she's my guardian :)

So, after that I started to try and find the original plans to the house and I couldn't find anything until about a year and a half ago. I was looking at Pinterest and saw this picture:

I couldn't believe my eyes! 

Well, that got me started on another search to find out the builder and eventually I found out that the Searle house was designed by Arthur J Matot  via Antique Home Style.

Now that I had that information, I began to search the internets to find his book of plans and six months later I found it on eBay. YAY!

I waited with baited breath for it to arrive and see if my house was in there and sure enough it was!

The only odd thing was that it was originally meant to be a duplex. 

I guess she liked the front of the house so much, that she wanted it for a single home and I don't blame her. To me, it was the most charming house in the book.

I know it was never a duplex, because of the difference in the house design.

Here's my very rough plan drawn out of this house, upstairs:

and downstairs:

The only plan I could find similar in the same book was this one:

She just added the room in front of the dining room, another bedroom between the kitchen and the bathroom and of course the downstairs.

I think she did a great job :)

So, that's the story of my house.

Maybe one day I'll find more about it, but right now, I'm just happy living in this beautiful home, knowing that it was built by such a great woman.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Panini week

While I was visiting my mom a couple of weeks ago, we were flapping our mouths about all sorts of things.... family gossip, tv shows, movies, etc., just like normal and eventually the talk turned to food. 
Also, just like normal. 

It turns out that she had just bought another Panini maker, because she thought the other one she had was too small. So, she offered me her old one and not being one to turn down free gifts from mom, I took it home.

She also gave me this book:

When I got home, I started looking through it, while I was watching some random movie and eventually I wasn't even paying attention to it. 

I started marking page after page after page, until the book looked like this:

After much drooling, I decided to have Panini week.

Yes, folks.... an entire week of Paninis.

And here's the list:

Well, except that last one.

I had way too many people over one night and there's no way I'm making 10 Paninis in a row. 
I don't care how much they beg.

Here's the Cuisinart Panini maker in all it's glory:

Just waiting for me to make all those lovely dinners.

The next day I rushed to the store and bought all the ingredients. 

Two-Cheese Tomato Panini was first on the list.

That night I went to work shredding cheese...

and getting all the rest of the ingredients together.

Bubba was enthralled.

Hi Bubba.

"Oh, hi mom."

And finally the first Panini was in and squished.

I made two and just stuck one in the oven at 200 while the other one was cooking.

Sadly, they were eaten before I remembered to take a picture of one. 

Yes, every night.

Trust me, you won't care about pictures either after you smell them cooking.

But now, to tell you the truth, even though every single one of them were great, I'm done with it for awhile. 

Yes, I had a Panini overdose.

My mom warned me, but did I listen?


So, my lovely machine will go into the pantry until sometime around Spring.

It was a lovely week, but right now I'm fantasizing about normal dinners. 
You know, that aren't sandwiched between bread ;)


Please join me over at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Guests and Fish

When I posted my kitchen, I promised I would share the guest room/den, but someone was actually staying over at my house at the time, so I couldn't. 

In fact, the last two weekends I've had guests here, and I've been busy catching up on chores since then, so it wasn't until today that I could finally take pictures for you.

Even though it's really tiny, it's nice to have a room that guests can sleep in while they're here or relax in while I'm cooking.

Well kind of. 

In reality, 
everyone just stands around in the kitchen, until I sort of (not really) politely say, "OUT!"

It's also a nice place for us to watch television.

It was just a second bedroom originally, but I don't like having a TV in my living room, so it pulls double duty.

Besides, I think it's cozy and on the plus side, I didn't really have to do anything to it. 

The couch is actually a daybed from Ikea. I'm pretty sure it's the only thing in my house from that company and although it's not the best constructed item in the world, I couldn't find anything else that wasn't too expensive or didn't look too daybeddy (yes, I know it's not a word, but it is now). I also needed something that would fit in the room, because I couldn't fit a couch bed in there. It would hit the wall and there wouldn't be room for anything else.

My mom bought me this pillow for Christmas from Uncommon Goods.

I love that it looks like Bubba :)

Here's the other side:

My mom also needlepointed this pillow for me years ago:

And because, I'm funny (yes I am!) I bought this pillow:


Well it's true.

You know it is.

Well anyway, it inspired the title to this post ;)

Moving on.....

I also stuck this little antique child's chair in there, just in case we have some little visitors, which we do occasionally.

An old antique trunk serves as a coffee table.

There's a Tic Tac Toe board for fun and people of all ages love to play with it, amazingly enough.

If they actually put down their phones.


And also some decorating books to browse through.

The view from the window is amazing, just like every room in the house.
The original owner did a beautiful job of making sure of that.
I'll tell her story soon :)

Eventually, I'll be getting a different TV for in this room and giving this one to my daughter when she moves out. I'd love a vintage one that has either been redone for cable or a new one that looks vintage. We'll see, but for now this works.

This is an antique washstand, that I use as a bar when I have parties.

You just lift up the top and wallah! 

Another gift from mom....

I love my old big band records, but I also needed something to play my CDs and this works perfectly. I think she got it on QVC.

Across the room is the old closet.

But since no one actually lives in here, I turned it into a pantry and somewhere to hide the ugly microwave that I don't want, but my daughter insists upon. 

I've tried to explain to her that things taste better when you warm them up in the oven, but well...


So there it is and there it will stay until she moves out with it.

I have another pantry downstairs that's much bigger, but I don't want to have to walk down there every time I need a bowl, so I use it for extra food and other items I don't use everyday.

Oh and paint.
And tools.
And Candles.

I'll show it to you sometime, but today isn't the day.

This is the room when the door to the kitchen is closed:

And that's pretty much it.

Probably not what you'd expect after seeing how colorful my kitchen was, but I love how calm and soothing it is in there.

I hope you enjoyed the tiny tour.

Until next time,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Recipe for Friendship

Years ago, my dear friend, Kim gave me this little tiny cup and saucer. 

I've treasured it always and every time I look at it, I think of her.

On the saucer is the recipe...

Exactly as it's written, for those that can't see what it says:

Recipe for Friendship
"Take two heaping cups of patience
One heartful of love
Two handsful of generosity 
A dash of laughter
One headful of understanding
Sprinkle generously with kindness
Add plenty of faith and mix well.
Spread over a period of a lifetime
And serve everybody you meet."

I take those words to heart. 

So, there it sits on a shelf, next to other precious things that I love.....

in a cupboard in my dining room.

When I walked past it again today, not only did I think of her, but all of you as well.

Old friends and new,

Thank you so much for welcoming me back.
 From Kim not only being my first commenter and then adding a blogroll and including me in it, to Genevieve writing about me, to Brenda who also wrote about me and my blog, and then to all of you that found me again or found me for the first time... 
Thank you! 

I'm overwhelmed with the kindness that you've shown me.
When I started this again, I had no idea what to expect and had no idea if I was even going to stick around and if I was, whether or not I'd just be talking to myself.

I guess the answers are, yes I will stick around and thank goodness I'm not just talking to myself.
Although, I tend to do that anyway ;)

I promise I'll visit all of you as soon as I possibly can. 
It may take awhile, but I'll get there eventually.
You can count on it.



I'm working on what is quite possibly the smallest mudroom ever.

Before pictures:

It might take awhile, because it's a heavy traffic area and there's rain on the horizon for the next few days, but as soon as I'm finished, I'll share the after. 

There will be a few posts before that happens though, so don't hold your breath.