Variety Pack Day.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

close up of print and wall paint
Firstly, apologies for being, well, gone, for so long.  It's been rough losing Finn.  He was my shadow, my ever-so-faithful, velcro Trusty Furry Assistant.  I don't have words presently.  I can' heart and soul are shattered.  So today it's a Variety Pack Day to catch up a bit on a handful of things I've distracted myself with around the house.


Thank you for your kind comments and messages.  Thank you.

As when Hailey died, which will be ten years ago this coming July, a hard anniversary to mark, we jumped ship.  This time we yanked together a trip to Scotland, Dublin, and London in two days, floundering through a grim week at home first before jetting out.  Frankly, I've blacked out that week from my memory.

We were overseas for two weeks and it was a tremendous trip, one I'm sure I'll share at future points along with a travels-related project I created when we returned.

But.  Now is that time where everything sucks, everything is uncomfortable.  Despite oodles of grand plans, projects everywhere yearning for me, my motivation and attention span are in the tank so I hope you'll extend patience as I try to get myself back into all things house, sharing on schedule, etc. etc.

All I'm really wanting is chocolate milk, cans of Coke, tissues, a blanket, and hot chocolate though.

The go-to battle cry, if you will, when one is mourning is to keep busy, to keep yourself distracted.  

I appreciate where that comes from, why it can and maybe does work but I can't say it consistently holds true for me.  Even normally being a perma-busy person, always with project at hand.  Sometimes you just can't.  And that's ok.  Which I forget.

This Variety Pack Day probably won't be much about process but more about, as I said, catching up on tidbits I've endeavored to fill my time with.

To be additionally honest, things are challenging as one way or another, they tie back to Finn as he was comprehensively ingrained in our lives.  As he deserved.  I miss him so much.


Now trying to remember some of what I've done....

Fyi, I about near broke my computer earlier this week so I lost before photos, apologies.

Now I know, I already replaced it.  But.  Showers in the UK are so nice, their strong water pressure.  Ours barely spits at us.  

Poking around, I discovered ours dribbles out 1.8 gallons per minute which is eco-friendly.  I got one on eBay* that shoots out 2.5,* the max allowed.

Look, yeah, no, totally not environmentally-friendly, going in the wrong direction here.  I do feel bad.  I recently read (not this but similar) about how everyone should take four minute showers.  Wait, what?  Who can do that?!

new shower head
Regardless, yes, bad, too much water but a nice hot, more-water-pressure-than-before shower is soothing.  Sorry.  (Not really.)  (Sorta sorry.)

Hey, I am absolutely conserving resources wherever I can with programmable smart plugs,* got that smart ecobee3* spiffy thermostat that rocks, a Feit smart bulb,* and surely more.  I'm a stickler.  Typically.

But.  So.  Showering is nicer and comforting.

C'mon, let's go outside for more Variety Pack Day.

Together Mike and I cleaned up the backyard a bit the day after we got back, rearranged the deck which brought tears as we pared down the couch* Mike bought for Finn, redid some edging.

new firewood edging
Yes, firewood we had on hand.  Free is good.  Look at that lilac bloom, holy heck.
I then devised a road trip, hoping it'd be fun and good for me as it involved outdoor plants, mostly annuals, and drove down to Woldhuis Farms Sunrise Greenhouse for the first time.  It', just wow, unbelievable.  Spent too much but their plants were irresistible and so healthy.  

A plant slideshow forthwith........
Now to keep them alive through the hot summer.

Speaking of, I did nestle a solar automatic drip irrigation* thing into the fence picket planter.  Definitely not user-friendly to set up but it is working!

solar automatic irrigation drip system in planter
Got snap peas, sugar peas, cucumbers, romaine, and some green onions going so far.
Ok, let's go back inside for yet more Variety Pack Day.

As we were having guests for the first time in ten years, my brother- and sister-in-law, I thought to spruce up our couch pillows.  

My mistake was going to Joann Fabrics.  Holy hell, no wonder they declared bankruptcy.  Who can afford their fabric?!  Fifty four dollars per yard for faux fur?!

Anywhoo, I had incomprehensible brain crash math issues at the cutting table, had to embarassedly walk away for a few minutes.  Friends, have patience and kindness for others; you don't know what path they're walking.

patchwork denim pillow cover
We are definitely enjoying the couch though the bright white down feathers keep poking up which makes for a striking contrast with the deep blue.
Right, so, spent way more than intended, clearly a theme here, on a patchy patchwork denim fabric,* came home, stitched the pillow covers up, and preserved Finn fur inside as he insisted on, loved to snuggle these pillows all day long.  Sigh.....

Back on eBay for our master bedroom:  curtains.  Ikea no longer makes a specific 118" Lenda curtain set* that I had replaced the giant curtains with.  While I loved the ones I made, the off-white-ish color was focus-pulling, not right for this wall.

new third Ikea Lenda curtain in middle
Yes, it's the white painted trim that's the issue but I kinda really don't want to paint all the trim in here to match the walls.  Still loving the Cool as Trim.
Merely slipped a third Lenda curtain into the center which has improved things a bit for me.  Still some proportional/visual/eye-pulling dilemmas going on here but not as bad.  Good for now.

Speaking of Ikea, I did field-trip it out there too and collected a bunch of frames for six prints we picked up on our recent travels.  Mike and I decided to turn the ecobee wall into an in-progress, Our Travels:  Artwork wall.  

Once everything went up, we both stepped back, knew something was off, and I later realized it was the wall paint color.  After scouring, I found the paint swatch I made from the free-to-me kitchen wall custom color I mixed, had a quart matched and shaken up at Menards.

newly painted wall with travel prints
The only non-travel print is the top middle.  Clearly we have more traveling to do.
Painted the wall and hung the prints back up, then Mike came home from work, looked directly at the wall but didn't see the new paint.  Even remotely.  For hours.  Until I pointed it out.  We're both not operating at 100%.

Anyway.  That's some of what I've been up to here.  Hope you have been terrific and all is good.

Haven't been baking much either but there are some newer recipes over on The Bake Dept if you haven't been by in a bit.  Zero interest in cooking which is no surprise as it's already a least favorite task to begin with, heh, but here's a tasty Variety Pack Day recipe for you:  Easy Creamy Pepper Pasta Sauce.

Holy cats and dogs, it's so good.  Yes, use all that pepper.  Follow Emily on Instagram.  Wear a bib, you'll be drooling incessantly.

*The eBay,  eBay shower heads, and Ikea Lenda curtains are eBay affiliate links.  The smart plugs, ecobee thermostats, Feit smart bulbs, outdoor sectionals, and solar automatic irrigation systems are Amazon affiliate links.  The Joann Fabrics denim link is a Joann affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. So sorry about Finn, we too just lost one of our babies, Banjo, who was a Black Lab. 😭 The only saving grace for us, we also have 2-Malti-poos. So, we still get snuggles, just not slobbery ones. 😥

    1. Oh Tina, I am so so so very sorry for your loss of Banjo. My heart breaks for you. I'm glad you've got Malti-poo snuggles to comfort you in this tough time. Thank you.


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