Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If You Give a Cat Your iPad ...

Dorothy is a very visual cat, and she loves to play with my iPad.  She has two games on there, Cat Fishing 2 and Mouse for Cats,

and now she's learning to take selfies.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When I am Old I Shall Wear Purple ...

Do you know this poem?  It's one of my favorites, and I was thinking about it this morning.  Why, you ask?

Because I am wearing purple, that's why!  (Not that I consider myself to be OLD ... just turned 56, and I feel pretty spunky most of the time.)

A little over a month ago, I saw this hair dye on the shelf at Walmart ... as I was cutting across the hair color aisle on my way to the pharmacy.  Something about this color spoke to me,  It's fun, it's sassy, and I love it.

Some people cover and hide their grays ... for now, I am making mine into a fashion statement.  

by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Snapshot: How Good is the Camera in My New iPhone?

I retired my antique iPhone 4 two weeks ago, in favor of the features and the camera in the new iPhone 6s.  How good is that camera, you ask?  How's this for an example?

I am at the Antique Rose Emporium Fall Festival of Roses this weekend.  That first photo is a detail of an arrangement, designed with inspiration from Dutch Masters paintings, by one of the event's speakers, Jim Johnson.  As lovely as this photo is, the arrangement itself was truly breathtaking.  Judge for yourself ...

Both of these photos are completely unedited, uploaded here exactly as they were taken.  The room is relatively dark, and the flowers are on a table beside the window, with a rainy, cloudy sky outdoors.   Conditions were perfect to capture great images, and my new iPhone didn't let me down!

I think this new phone and I will develop a very loving relationship!

Happy Sunday, Everyone.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Essential Old-House Equipment

People who live in older homes immediately understand the significance of having these two items on hand when one is rearranging the furniture.

The floors in this old place of ours are anything but level.  In 160+ years since it was built, stuff has settled.  All it takes to deal with this is a quick check with the level, and a shim or two to set things to rights.

I mention this because I have been on a tear since late last week.  I am fed up with the clutter and crap that has accumulated in our living room, and I am determined to do something about it.  I have rearranged some furniture, sorted through piles and boxes, and have already made two trips to the charity store.  Lots more is still left to do, but I can see progress ... and progress fuels motivation.  We will see how long this spell lasts.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

What I Use To Deal With Pet Hair

Yesterday's post about our new sofa cover led to comments and an email discussion about cleaning up pet hair.  With three cats and two dogs in our house, pet hair on stuff is a fact of life.  (Two of our cats have long hair, and Ruby sheds like it's her full time job.)  Brushing and grooming help some, but there is still fur to be dealt with on rugs and furniture.  Years ago, a friend showed me what she used to clean up fur in her house ... and now I'm going to show it to you!

This simple rubber sponge takes pet hair off of surfaces better than anything else I have ever used.  

The instructions really ARE this easy ... but I will admit that I have never bothered to wash one.

The sponge is kinda big, about three inches by six inches, so I cut it in half using my bread knife.  Then I have two smaller, easier to handle sponges for the price of one big one!

The target of this demonstration is the little Oriental rug that I keep underneath the dog dishes in our dining room.  For a while, Maggie was using the corner of this rug as a napping spot ... and it only took a few naps to create a coating of white fur where she had been sleeping.

To clean this, all I do is rub the sponge over the fur-covered area of the rug with long strokes (like it says in the instructions), working WITH the nap of the rug or diagonally.  I usually go over the area a couple of times ... once to get the majority of the fur, and another time to get whatever little bit might be left.  When the fur balls up on the sponge, and I pick it off and set it aside to keep the sponge clean while I work.

Lickity split ... no more furry rug!

This sponge is great on upholstery and other fabrics, too, but don't expect it to get up every last hair.  For this reason, it's not the best choice to use on clothing ... unless, for example, you were to find a mat of fur on something that a cat has been sleeping on, like a cashmere sweater (true story).  In this case, I used the sponge then finished up with a lint roller.

These sponges last a long time ... I think I bought my last one two years ago, or so.  I get mine at Petco, for about $10, and I know that it's also available to order online.  It's definitely worth its weight in gold to help keep the fur in this house under control!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Snapshot: What's on Your Sofa?

Like many other pet owners whose dogs/cats are allowed on the furniture, I keep a washable cover on our family room sofa.  Yesterday, while on a quick trip to pick up a couple of things at Walmart, I stumbled across this new one as I was cutting through the bedding department.

A full/queen sized quilt, pattern called 'Aztec Stripes,' for only $20!

The colors of this new quilt are perfect for this room, and I think it's a good choice for some autumn/winter style ... and it still plays along with the Boho Traditional vibe that we have in here.  (As a reminder, our other sofa cover quilt looks like this:)

This red sofa is ancient.  The guts of it are still in good shape, but the fabric is beginning to go ... both from age and deterioration and from animal abuse, namely in the form of Maggie and her claws.  The cover camouflages the sitting area, and provides a washable solution to fur and whatever else gets onto the furniture.

Here's a question for you ... Do you, or have you, allowed your critters onto the furniture and, if so, do you have covers?

Sunday Snapshots are posts devoted to moments in time that represent glimpses into everyday life in Hartwood, or wherever else I happen to be at the time. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How I Hacked the K-cup Sensor on Our Keurig 2.0

We have been Keurig coffee drinkers for a couple of years now.  Our original machine, a first generation Keurig, failed within the warranty period (bad water pump, probably).  The manufacturer replaced it, quickly and without a hassle, with the newest model at the time ... the Keurig 2.0.  

When the new machine arrived, I opened the box, plugged it in, filled it with water, and tried to brew a cup of coffee ... got an error message instead.  Keurig 2.0 can only use 'genuine' Keurig coffee packs ... meaning the redesigned, proprietary cups, not the old Keurig ones that I already had in my pantry.  Grrrrr!!

I forgot about this, until yesterday.  In the back of the cupboard, I found a box of Sleepy Time tea in old-style K-cups.  This discovery prompted a bit of Internet reading ... and I figured out a simple way to defeat the Keurig's K-cup sensor so I can use my packs of tea.

I offer this VERY quick, easy tutorial, in case any of you find yourself in the same situation.

I read that the old-style cups don't work because there's an infrared sensor in the lid of the Keurig 2.0 which reads something on the label, so it only accepts the new K-cups.  What if I could fool the sensor?

Here's what I did:

I took my used K-cup from the morning's coffee, and I carefully cut it apart ... 

... leaving only the thin plastic edge that holds the label.

Insert old-style K-cup into the brewer ...

... and place your prepared new-style K-cup label on top of the old-style cup in the brewer. 

Close the brewer ... and the sensor reads the new-style label ... hack was successful!!

Tea time!!  (in the mug that I bought at St. Paul's Cathedral during my trip to England last year.)

I'm putting this out there to get my idea into cyberspace, to do what I can to help other frustrated Keurig users who may still have some old-style cups in the cupboard.  No need to throw them away, or give them to friends who still have functioning old-style brewers.  It really is THIS simple to fool the machine and enjoy a steaming cup of whatever you like.

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