Heart Stone Feathers

Word Nerd – Feather Finder – Heart Stone Hunter – Synchronicity Searcher Winging It While Lovingly Writing Through Life

Category: Photo

Mudroom Update #2

Mermaids Song Paint

As I mentioned in the last update, Tim wanted something in the range of “sea glass blue” for the wall color in our updated mudroom. He ended up choosing Valspar’s, “Mermaid’s Song.” To me, it has a slight greenish-blue undertone (and it also reminds me of liquid Imodium, but I mean that in the kindest of ways – I think).

Wall Color It looked even brighter once we had two coats of it on the walls. It was such a change from the dark cabinetry that had been in there, the first morning I came out and turned on the light to let the dogs out the back door, we were nearly blinded! I couldn’t find the light switch fast enough to ease our pain. OK – so I’m exaggerating a wee bit, bit it IS bright. The fact that we had just installed a new LED light in there might have something to do with it too. We went from a single 60-watt incandescent bulb (which is equivalent to only 630 lumens) to 1,400 lumens of output.

The paint had three days to dry before our Flow Wall cabinets – all 674 pounds of them – arrived last Tuesday finally having made the journey all the way from California to New York. I confess that Tim and I were a little nervous opening the first box as we had basically bought them “sight unseen,” other than just online. I can’t recall another time we’ve ever done that, especially for such a large purchase.

We both were very impressed with how well everything was packaged. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture to document it. Suffice it to say that nothing arrived damaged (except one measly bent screw, but they had sent us many, MANY extras) and each component had the appropriate hardware and directions packed with them to streamline the assembly process. Perhaps the best part though was that there wasn’t a lot of extraneous packaging that I usually feel guilty throwing out. Most of it actually went in our recycling bins once we were done.

Before we started hanging the pieces of slat wall and putting the cabinets together, we once again watched the YouTube video that had first convinced us to make our purchase. It’s only nine minutes long, but it did a pretty good job explaining how to assemble and install everything. Unfortunately, one of the few pieces of the puzzle they DID leave out ended up being something that immediately threw us off track. I’ll explain that in more detail a little bit later. For now, just notice in the photo below that we hung the slat wall pieces all the way to the ceiling. We had decided to do it that way as the walls in that room are only seven feet tall and we wanted to have one foot of extra storage space underneath the cabinets.

Slat Wall

Perhaps the most time-consuming part of the process for us was in simply locating the damn wall studs! We think our mudroom was likely added on as an afterthought to attach the house directly to the garage, so it quickly became apparent that things had been piecemealed together during that construction process. That meant the studs weren’t where they were supposed to be. Some were the traditional 16″ apart while others were 14″ or 17″. Even having a stud-finder wasn’t very helpful as we were trying to locate them over layers of exterior siding (that were no longer “exterior” but were now buried in the wall) and interior paneling. We ended up drilling a lot of test holes (it looks like Swiss cheese under that piece of slat wall!), as well as doing a lot of swearing (but not at each other).

Once we conquered locating the studs, it took us approximately ten hours (spread out over several days) to get everything assembled and hung on the walls. We have one more large cabinet still in the box should we ever need it, but for now, having space for our barn gear and the dog’s stuff is more important. Here’s what the room currently looks like (please ignore the fact that we still need to install new flooring)…

Small Cabinets Stuff

Small cabinets & the plastic storage bins they came with (along with our usual boxes of tissues, hand wipes, & winter gear).

Large Cabinets

Large cabinets & hooks for our barn coats & dog gear, with space below for our smelly barn boots.

What problems did we encounter along the way that we might warn others who are interested in such cabinets? As I mentioned earlier, hanging the slat wall all the way to the top of the ceiling was ALMOST a major disaster. Nowhere in the literature, nor in any of the videos, did it warn us to leave at least an inch (or two) of “access” above the top of the slat wall. That seemingly small gap is CRITICAL to be able to lift the cabinet over the slat wall “suspension clips” in order to hang the unit. It’s hard for me to describe it in words, but maybe the photo below helps.

Cabinet Gap

Based on where the brackets have to be hung on the slat wall and where the bar is that the cabinet is suspended on, you have to have room to lift the cabinet (which is NOT light) “up and over.” In the photo – it might not be obvious – but there’s only a finger’s width gap at the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. To say that Tim and I grunted, groaned, twisted, tweaked, and cursed like sailors to get each cabinet over those damn clips would be a HUUUUUGE understatement. BUT…we did it without having to remove and lower the slat wall.

Having learned our lesson on that side of the room, we hung the slat wall for the small cabinets on the other side with what we thought was an appropriate amount of space…N.O.T. We had forgotten to take into account that the “piecemealing” work of prior people had created a “sloped” ceiling on that side of the room which once again led to not being able to lift the cabinets at a sufficient angle to clear the clips. More grunting and a LOT more swearing. That side of the room also seems to have less “smooth” walls underneath which means the cabinets don’t really “flow” along the track very easily. Luckily, we don’t plan on moving them often, if it all! In the end, everything survived, including the two of us (and the 25 years we’ve invested in our marriage).

It’s been less than a week, but what do we think about them so far? Tim admits they’re much nicer than he actually expected them to be. I think they’re well-built and super-sturdy (especially after how much man-handling they’ve already endured from us). For obvious reasons, we both think the ideal place to use them is in a well-built room with nice straight edges and smooth surfaces. Would we buy them again, though? Absolutely.

As for what we still have left to do in renovating the room, there’s the floor replacement that I keep mentioning and we need to paint the two doors, as well as paint and rehang the coat rack that used to be by the garage door which will now only be used for our “good” coats (no longer intermingling them with our stinky barn ones as we so grossly used to do). Tim also keeps talking about doing some trim work along the ceiling, but there’s not much space (or need) for it (or so I keep debating). Time will soon tell who wins that debate. I’ll keep you posted…

Still Missing the Old Girl

Babe 2011

Yesterday would have been Babe’s 31st birthday. She only missed it by 146 days. I still tell Tim that I’m headed out to the barn to feed the “horses” and yet now there’s only Punch. His 34th birthday is in exactly 100 days. He seems healthy, but so did she (she was 26-years-old when the photo above was taken in 2011). I guess only the Universe knows what will happen between now and then, so we’ll just keep enjoying our time together, one blessed day at a time.

There is always a way…

Wings Climb

(Winged-climber created by Antoine Josse, a French Surrealist painter and sculptor whose favorite material to work with is plaster.)

Simply Wonderful Friends

FB Robin Post

It’s so nice to be missed, but it’s even nicer to still have these wonderful people in my life. And for those of you who might be wondering, my “SV pals” are the amazing souls that worked 24/7/I-lost-count-of-how-many-days to help reunite people with their pets that were lost during Hurricane Katrina. And yes – that hurricane happened more than ten years ago and we’re still in touch with one another. The work we did was perhaps the most grueling and gut-wrenching I’ve ever been involved with, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat, as long as they were right there in the trenches with me. I simply can’t imagine my life without my fellow SV’ers.

(PS – “SV” stood for Stealth Volunteers – we didn’t get much publicity, nor were we seeking it, but our name did occasionally come up.)



Simple Directions

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Two Simple Versions

This was my version of simple living this past weekend (Maple Iced Oatmeal Cookies that I made with Brookestone Maple Syrup, THE BEST syrup on the planet!)…

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…and this was Tim’s version (organizing his stamp collection; he’s collected them since he was a wee one and he probably has at least 100,000 of them, if not more)…

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The “Flash Cards” Project


Flash Card for the word “apian”

One of the many inspiring things that happened while I was at Design Your Life Camp, was being introduced to the world of “Tandem Poetry” created by Maya Stein and Amy Tingle Williamson. All you had to do was give these two amazing poets one word of your own choosing and – in less than five minutes – they each created a poem for you on their manual typewriters and 3″ x 5″ index cards. It was both magical and mesmerizing to watch them in action; it was silent, other than the tap-tap-tapping as they wove their words.

Tandem Poetry Polaroid

Maya Stein (l) and Amy Tingle Williamson (r)

I’ve been home from camp for three weeks and I’m just now beginning to feel that I’ve rejoined the real world. There’s been so much good stuff to process that I’ve often felt overwhelmed. Joyously so.

Moved by Maya’s and Amy’s approach to creating great work with minimal time and small spaces, I’ve begun what I’ve dubbed the “Flash Cards” project. It’s a totally selfish project devised to prompt me to write at least SOMETHING every day. All I do is use a random word generator (I began with the letter “a”) to provide me with my word for the day; a word that I then try to tell a “flash fiction” story within a sentence or two. I jot down what I come up with onto the template of a library card that I scanned into my computer. (And for those who are curious…that’s NOT my handwriting. I use Picmonkey and the La Belle Aurore font.)

I’m only three days into this project, but I have to confess that I’m really enjoying it. I don’t pretend to have any grand illusions that it will lead me to some great new place in my life, but I’m open to following whatever path it does take me on.

Sometimes writing is just about writing. Having fun with the process, creating a practice you love, and starting all over again the next day. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. All I know is that it will involve at least one word that begins with the letter “d.”


Flash Card for the word “bliss”


Flash Card for the word “choreography”

If you’re interested in following this project, I’ll be posting my creations on my  Flash Cards Project Pinterest board.

A Flight Feather of a Different Kind

Falcon Feather Left On The Moon

It’s really not a very good photo, but seeing it certainly has made my life a little lighter. What is it, you wonder? It’s a Peregrine Falcon feather that was dropped onto the surface of the moon by the astronauts of Apollo 15 back on August 3, 1971.

I was a few weeks shy of my fifth birthday when this feather – unbeknownst to me – became part on a famous experiment that demonstrated how falling objects (in this case – a feather and a hammer) accelerate at the same rate, regardless of their mass. In the forty-one-and-a-half years that have passed since then, I never heard about this well-traveled feather until yesterday when a copy of “Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle” (one of two books I mentioned in last Wednesday’s blog post) arrived on my doorstep.

The second the mailman rang the doorbell to let me know the Amazon box was sitting on my porch, I turned into the proverbial kid in a candy store. I dove into the middle of the book, planning on taking a quick peek at the wonders that I just knew had to be woven between the covers.

I never made it past the first page I opened to…..page 133. The one featuring this lunar lying feather.

Supposedly, the experiment was conducted under such a time crunch, that the astronauts didn’t even have a chance to retrieve the feather before they lifted off in – what else – “Falcon,” the flight module that had brought them safely to the moon’s surface. Just knowing that this feather is (hopefully) still gracing the moon with its presence, captivates me.

Why, you wonder? I’m not certain I can adequately explain it. I think it simply has to do with the fact that I believe every world – whether it’s deemed a planet, a moon, a sun, a star – is better with feathers in it. Even if it’s just one.

To me, feathers are such a strong symbol of living lightly – in our own skin, with others, in unison with whatever astronomical object we’re blessed to carry out our lives on – that I feel more hopeful knowing they’re potentially floating around out in space. That or simply lining other lunar surfaces.

Wite-Out Words of Wisdom
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