A monthly list of good things to see, do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Well, hello February!
How did January treat you? I've read a lot of memes about the month seeming longer than any other, but to me it seemed about the same.
To be honest, February is usually harder for me - there's not the new year to distract you or the rush still from the fun year end holidays.
There's just a lot of cold, wintery days ahead and it still seems a long way to spring (for us in the northern hemisphere, of course). Thankfully, it's short, right?
I do look forward to getting the first seeds started, that's always a fun thing, though I have to finalize where I'm going to be starting seeds this first winter in the farmhouse.
Okay, enough about this month, let's check out the good things from last month!
Farmhouse Renovation Series Started
Have you been able to read or watch the two rooms we've shared so far in the farmhouse's mostly DIY renovation series?
You'll see before and afters photos, as well as some 'during' shots (and some are pretty scary looking, ha!) and the video we shot for each going into more details.
Honestly, it's been four years this month since we purchased the property and only 10 months of living in the farmhouse, so we both kind of forgot how far the house has come.
Going back through original photos and some of the hard work in between has been so affirming to us. We sometimes lost sight of that in the slog of the middle.
It was totally worth it, and it's good not to forget that.
I highly recommend keeping a scrapbook or something so you can look through and see how far you've come with DIY projects, both inside and out!
My Office/Guest Room Makeover Started
I didn't have a vision for the upstairs room that will be my office/craft room and guest room for the longest time.
How to fit everything and not have it be a jumbled mess?
Then in one of last year's Better Homes and Gardens magazines I saw the above closet makeover and a lightbulb went off!
The closet could become an office "hub" using the same idea of bookshelves and lower shelf/dresser with my desk in front of it, capturing the great view.
The rest of the room would be divided into zones for a guest area, sewing area, and reading area. Thankfully, it's a good sized room that can fit all this.
Here's where we're starting - and this is after clearing out a lot of boxes and unused things!
My closet is bigger, so I'll use 2 tall shelves with a lower shelf in between. Then on the wall I can keep my planning calendar.
I've ordered a new pop-up trundle bed that can be used as a king size bed for the right side of the room in the photo above.
The craft-sewing area will face the desk and office area.
I still need to find a rug and the baskets for the new office closet, but I'm excited to have a vision and see the potential this room has now.
(P.S. I've started an office redo highlight for my stories on Instagram to take you along on this makeover - including pulling off the wallboard on one wall to see if we'd have usable shiplap like Brian's office had!)
Cafe Press Incredible Customer Service
I totally forgot to tell you guys about this fun story in the last Good Things List!
First a little background: our family has matching mugs with each of our initials on them. We use them throughout the year, but our Christmas morning tradition is to use them for peppermint mochas while opening our stocking gifts.
I have wanted for a couple years to get a mug for our son's partner and finally remembered this year to order one in November.
The only place I could find a similar mug (ours our discontinued Anthropologie mugs) was through Cafe Press.
It took two and a half weeks to arrive (about a week and a half from Christmas) and when I tried to open the difficult styrofoam container, the mug popped out and broke on our quartz countertop.
I was so sad. But I also knew it was totally my fault - I struggled with the container and if it had been over one of our wood counters, maybe it wouldn't have broken.
But Brian encouraged me to write to Cafe Press, acknowledging that it was my fault but that maybe they could rethink their packaging to not be so hard to open.
That's what I did - and sent them the photo above letting them know it had been going to be a part of our Christmas morning.
You're not going to believe this:
Within three hours I got an email saying they were sorry and they were sending a new mug right away to get to our house before Christmas!! (And it did!)
I NEVER in a million years expected that, since they had done their job and gotten it to my house unbroken.
And now I want to order everything from them, lol.
There is still good in the world, friends, and we need to make sure to tell each other about it when we see it!
Easiest Way to Journal
After trying a few other journalling methods and notebooks, I finally bought the one line journal above to start 2022 (it will last for 5 years).
It's probably the easiest thing ever. It's more like a paragraph a day, though you can write less and not use all the lines if you want.
But there's plenty of room to list highlights, mention things I'm grateful for, or something I think it would be fun to look back on in coming years. I keep it on my bedside table and write before going to bed.
Here's where I think this will shine over the next years: you can look back and see what you were doing that same day each year.
I don't think I realized that when I heard people talk about it. Basically every page in the book is one day - say February 1. On that day are 5 separate areas with a space to write the year and then your remembrances.
So you can turn to one day and see what was happening and what changes occurred over the course of 5 years when you're done with the journal.
It's made me excited to not only be consistent, but look forward to what it will be like to turn to those pages in the future. Built-in motivation to continue right there!
2022 Seed Order
I'm pretty excited to have my seeds organized and new ones purchased for the season!
This year I reigned myself in and ordered just from my two standby companies, Pinetree and Territorial.
Here's some of what I purchased this year (I didn't need as much since I had a lot left from last year):
- Floating row cover (you can order by the yard - such a good deal).
- Seeds for pickling cucumbers, tomatillos, hot peppers, calendula 'bronzed beauty,' parsnips, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and a new-to-me yellow pole bean.
From Territorial Seeds:
- Apricotta cosmos seeds (looks like such a pretty color).
- Seeds for Oregon star paste and chocolate sprinkles tomatoes, merida and purplesnax carrots.
I'll be purchasing seed potatoes and onion sets from a local store soon to plant the beginning of March, probably.
Have you ordered your seeds and/or supplies yet?
The Beautiful Mystery, Louise Penny. Well. This was my least favorite of the series so far - it was all in monastery with sort of boring mystery, and dark ending for the characters. And this coming off of Bury Your Dead that made my best books of the year list! What a letdown.
Like I mentioned, this book was set totally in a monastery. We never made contact with the characters in Three Pines we've come to care about. Gamache's second in command, Jean-Guy, after seeming to overcome his devils in the previous book succumbed again and we see him become addicted and paranoid. It's hard to imagine that someone as powerful and influential as we're led to believe Gamache is can be brought so low so fast.
Jesus, The Greatest Life of All, Charles R. Swindoll. After watching The Chosen, I decided to read more about the life of Jesus. In this book Swindoll shares not only the life that Jesus lived, but some very good insights into what that means for us. One of the illustrations that stood out to me was the men traveling the road to Emmaus who didn't recognize that Jesus was with them because something catastrophic had happened - how many times has this happened to me?
Practically, we can 1) Choose to view life from God's eyes (read the Bible), 2) Surrender our expectations (stop trying to change things and let the grief process help us adjust to a new situation), and 3) Stake my future on the resurrection of Jesus.
Mr. Gardiner and The Governess, Sally Britton. Billed as a "gentle romance" (the first time I've heard that term used), this is a sweet little story about an orphaned woman who then moved from relative to relative until finally being asked to take a governess position. She meets an entomologist on the grounds of the house she's working at and they find they have a lot in common. I think the setting was nicely described and the issues they faced were realistic for the time - it was a quick, fun read.
How the Light Gets In, Louise Penny. Since I didn't care for the previous book, I had hopes this one would be better. Sadly, I couldn't wait for this to end - Jean-Guy is wasted on drugs most of the time and thinking cruel thoughts. It's hard to picture and goes on for so.very.long.
There's also the long, convoluted (and unbelievable?) story line of a years-long conspiracy to blow up bridges in Montreal and undermine the infrastructure, killing innocent people for political gain. Oh, and a mystery of the death of a famous quintuplet that just sort of peters out in the end.
I'm going to take a break from these books, I think. I'm not sure I need to read any more of them.
The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman. My mom gave me this book and she really enjoyed it. It started out like it would be a fun, interesting read - a small group of people in a retirement home in England get together each week to try and solve cold cases.
By the end, though, there was too much death for my tastes. I guess this is dark humor? I read that Stephen Spielberg is making a movie from it, so this is obviously just me who found this to be a bit off-putting.
My Lady Jane, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. If you'd like a smile-inducing read (especially on audio - the narration is fantastic), pick up this really fun YA novel that reimagines the story of Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days in 1553), adding in some not-so-historical parts. Like some people can change into animals. And they are persecuted for it.
It's like a mash-up of historical fiction, fantasy, romance, and action-adventure. With narration asides to the audience so we all know we're just in it for the laughs. Really cute and appropriate for preteens and up (thankfully).
All Creatures Great & Small season 2, PBS. I loved the first season and this is looking to be more of the same we know and love. Perfect anecdote to all the crappy stuff out there in TV land, lol.
Lost in Space Season 3, Netflix. This is the final season and I think they did a nice job of tying everything up and making it believable (well, for sci-fi that is). I really enjoyed the family aspect of this through all the seasons - it's so nice to see a family that isn't dysfunctional, but when they have issues are able to address them and keep together.
For All Mankind, Apple+. After seeing the second season of this show make it to many best of 2021 lists, we gave it a try. It's an alternate history of the space program based on one change: what if the Russians made it to the moon first? This seemingly small difference sets off a chain that results in a robust space program that goes for years making big strides to try and compete with the Russians. We're into the second season right now and it's getting a bit soap-opera-y but we've really enjoyed it so far.
Being The Ricardos, Amazon. This behind-the-scenes look at a week around filming 'I Love Lucy' was interesting on that level. They condensed things that happened over the course of weeks (and years) all into one week for the drama, but I think the tensions and back-stage happenings are probably similar to real life. Seeing Lucy think through scenes was great - but knowing she wasn't the most fun to work around maybe not.
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List!
If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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