Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter welcome

Detail of one of my paintings

The early spring days are dear to me. Not only comes Easter, the lovely feast, but I enjoy every small sign of the season. The still chilly nights, but the first afternoons on the deck among the sprouting greens, tweeting birds and light turquoise, cloud filled sky. And today our 16 year old daughter returned from a first visit alone to her older brothers in Berlin, filled with adventures, stories, as many as one could possibly cram into one week. And I had double reason to prepare for the coming days. 

We cleaned the windows. After a winter of candle lights and crackling fires, the soot had certainly left more then its fair share behind on the small window panes. The sun was shining and I was for the first time sweating out there, polishing my bay windows. 

The feeling of satisfaction has not left me yet... I am always surprised by the glowing transformation.

Some Easter decorations made it out of the boxes, fresh cut Forsythia was put in a vase to force some blossoms by Sunday and fresh tulips found their place on the window ledge.

There are Ranunculus and Easter Lilies, Hyacinths and fist Narcissus...I love the early flowers.

Easter time always has a wonderful sense of awakening about it and although I am not religious, I feel a spiritual sense of wonder.

Happy Easter!

All images by V.Zlotkowski

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where have I been?

It's been a long, long time, I think one of the longest blogging breaks I have been taken, partly involuntary, partly deliberately. Projects around the house, work with clients, other work and visiting family have been distracting me to the point where I felt I could not take another moment writing about it all.
Life has changed here, living without our dog still impacts us and the decision not to have another pet has also kind of made an impact...

Where did I leave off? Our outdoor house project, which had been originally initiated by storm Sandy and started in mid December, has finally been completed. 


The old front design did not do much in bad weather or a hot summer day.

And now:

Now in rain, snow or sunshine, there is protection from the elements.

A new roof and a newly designed (by yours truly) portico give the house new balance and added protection from the environment. It is a huge success and seems to attract all kind of attention in the neighborhood. Which makes me smile every time! It took us a long time to arrive at this point.

On a recent winter evening
After this we have moved inside and, although there is more work to be done, a few important things have changed here too. For starters we cleaned out and insulated our attic. 

Together with the new roof this has impacted our heating bill, which went down a good 20% since January. And it has been cold. The kids have complained about to warm of  rooms over night, something we've never heard before.
We feel the house is warmer altogether and that is a big difference. We also exchanged the attic vents, so they close in the winter. All things you might think we've had done years ago, but no....

I painted our hallway August 2009
Next week we also going to have two rooms painted professionally. YEAH! The family room, below, which had been effected by Sandy and needed a window replaced and our hallway, which had been done a few years back by me and needs a makeover badly. It will not make that space larger, but we always feel refreshed, when we change colors....we picked coral...

Major spring cleaning mess...

But in the meantime I also had energy for a good spring cleaning, which for the first time in many years was done, to my utmost surprise, with a swift hand and lots of parting from things, I thought I will never let go off. The result is an enormous feeling of relief.
And a clean living space.

The old trunk was a lucky curb find! A second, smaller one was snatched by my daughter for all her gadgets.

Another find: The Lamp base. One man's trash is another one's treasure. Indeed! I just fixed a tiny broken leg, here still missing.

The Ficus tree lives outdoors from spring until autumn.

We just love it!
The book shelf extends through the entire length of the room, which is most
helpful with a tiny kitchen. I keep china and glasses there as well.

(The color we've chosen is only a few shades darker then this one, no major change.)

Many books, old magazines, junk and leftovers from odd projects went away and it makes me happy to see suddenly more space where I thought I had none. I only hold on to things I need desperately to remember: Moments back in my life. Which still seems more then enough!
But I am so inspired, next I'll move to our bedrooms to take the closets apart.....

Morning smoothie, bananas, berries, coconut water and more....

The change of lifestyle, which I had begun exactly one year ago has also impacted our family, my husband has joined me now in a quest for healthier eating/living. We are now 70% raw, largely wheat free and mostly vegetarian and we have never felt better. Weight loss has only played partly a role in it, but the changes in our health have been lasting and amazing. My husband's heart pain has been gone since last year and has not returned, my joint pain, back pain and mood swings are all things of the past as well. Especially as a woman approaching menopause, there are countless benefits! I have so much more energy and this has made perhaps the biggest impact in our family life. And we have tackled issues, we never thought we would. It has been a great journey so far and we will stick to it! The great thing is, it never feels like a sacrifice or limitation. We do splurge on occasions and love coffee and chocolate (70% and up, lol) and the occasional glass of wine, as much as anybody else. We've realized over the last year that many shops and restaurants have jumped on the bandwagon of this healthier lifestyle and to ask for certain foods has never been easier. We find juices, smoothies and raw foods and is is rather amusing how I started this a year ago with not many knowing much about it and now almost no weekend passes, where I cannot read something or other raw food related in the WSJ, NY Times or different lifestyle magazines! OK, it must have hit main stream...which is actually really good! Give it a try! There is also a large online community, ready to help and connect with!

With my soul mate, together for more then 20 years! I am a lucky woman!

I have a feeling all these changes in my life are wonderfully connected and to be able to leave things behind is also the result of my new lifestyle. I feel empowered and ready to go another 50 years.....And I am grateful that I met this challenge and succeeded.

Things are good around here and this is thankfully not impacted by setbacks, like the lost project, which I had been working on for the last few weeks and the clients pulled out because they felt it is too big an undertaking to get their minds around. I can relate....
But when one door closes another will open and something will come my way.
You will be the first to know....

I apologize for this enormous long post, which surely will test you patience. But it only shows how much I missed talking to you all! I will come back to write and read all your posts, my (blog) friends. I've missed you.


All images via Art House Design by V.Zlotkowski
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