Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This may not be our normal blog post but it is free so I figure one can't get more "shoestring" than that!  This is the reading of our Alzheimer's/dementia book Remember "I Can't Remember".

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_e8bxRwN6pg&feature=youtu.be

If this link doesn't work please type Eric Andersen Remember I can't remember you tube and it should come up.

Here is a synopsis .....

The seemingly simple task of remembering they can’t remember will cause a paradigm shift.  Do not read anything into it.  They really just can’t remember.  Take the time to consider what that means.  It means they cannot follow your lengthy explanation of what short-term memory loss is.  It means they have lost their ability to manipulate you.  They cannot be trained or taught to take their medicine or drink their water.  They cannot remember what you just said no matter how loudly or slowly you said it.  Their forgetting does not diminish the previous value of any person, relationship, experience, or thing.  We do not want to believe that we are so easily forgotten.  We may get resentful and angry.  We have an intense need to be acknowledged and remembered.  Usually we view it as their anger lashing out with a combative spirit, when, at least in part, it may be ours.  They simply can’t remember.  How much of the Alzheimer’s/dementia struggle is about us?  How much of their struggle comes from our anxiety?   We need to be willing to move toward the unknown.
Accepting this is accepting their loss and our loss.  It represents a shift in the relationship that we may not be ready for.  That acceptance may be heartbreaking, but it is the starting point for care.
Phrases in our book are meant to be helpful immediately in a practical way, but also turns your attention to the spiritual current that runs beneath all that we do.
The book is available on Amazon and through your local book sellers.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015






Such an important documentary!   A great reminder of conscious living....the power we all hold both individually and as a group in creating a beautiful life and future.


Ethos: A Time for Change 

Ethos: A Time for Change Video

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spring and Summer Abundance!

As we've said before ...We are minimalists...we just like a LOT of it!  Our house and garden are forever in flux.  Moving things around, trading things out or just cramming more stuff together. Whatever the case .....we recently were featured in our local West Sound Home and Garden Magazine http://wshg.net/ so I decided to add a few updated photos to the mix. Thank you again to Peg Tillery and Dee Cappola for all that you do!  You are both a joy!




                                                                 North side of the house



The steel and concrete wisteria arbor is part of our "build it once" design....lots of rebar, cinder blocks, salvaged steel beams, pipe and trusses.  It definitely is a match for the strength of the wisteria.


Our late dear friend made us these leaded glass windows as a crazy generous house warming gift.    A beautiful reminder of him each time we look out. 


The bench and chairs we had made by a local welder twenty plus years ago for our coffee shop in Poulsbo.   The table was found at the metal scrap yard.  We just added the paint! 

                                                             
                                                                        The Garden Gate


The back entrance


The steel mid-century furniture was found at St. Vincent de Paul thrift store....cushions came later,


                                                            Lower entry garden


   My Gunnera pot!  It never did well for us until we put it in a pot and shaded the roots with              ground-cover.  Not sure why.... but now it's doing great!

These steel urns were found at Children's Orthopedic Thrift store.  They are finally looking full!  




View from the front yard

90% of our garden furniture was found at St. Vinnie's.  Other than a couple wooden Adirondack chairs everything else is steel and will last forever. 
Love all the textures in shade gardening



Front yard
Just finished adding a new path in the front yard.  Our  Shih Tzu "Guard Dog" 



Our house is stucco so we planted Boston Ivy on it years ago.  Last year we were planning to take it off so we could repaint.  Late in the Summer we came out the front door and the entire house was vibrating with thousands of honey bees.  With the shortage of honeybees in the world we decided we'd better leave it for now.  Apparently the nectar from the ivy is high in sugar and keeps them through the winter.


Eric made these huge concrete balls years ago and covered them in glass.  They make for some cool garden art but not so easy to move.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Hope springs eternal!  Thank God!  I suppose we do okay in the rain and the grey, but we really LOVE the sun.  Everything seems possible on a sunny day, and to feel the warmth come from outside our wool or down layers is an annual call for celebration.  In the winter months we hibernate and withdraw into the innermost parts of our home.  Spring allows for an unfolding and a stretching of our limbs and a dramatic increase in our living spaces.



With warmth and hope comes inspiration and from there creation.  Someone said gardening represents a belief in the future.   I believe that.  


When we built this we had great optimism and I had a better back.  As I look back on this picture, I realize we didn't see what the picture shows. We saw this...


Spring is that magical time when we see past what is to what will be.
Projects that may seem daunting any other time of year, become perfectly reasonable in the springtime.    It is when I feel most hopeful and the most engaged or intertwined with the natural order of things.  All we have to do is plant the seed.  In the summer we have to do some watering, but in the spring that is it-

                                    Just plant the seed or the plant and let nature do the work.

It really is magic.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why The Goodwiil?

The beauty of the Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul is that it presents you with a fantastic method of giving and making a difference.  You can shop till it hurts and in doing that you send a beautifully enriching ripple effect across your community. When giving till it hurts, many of us have a fairly low pain threshold.  Seasonally, we can raise our arm from our pocket, just enough to reach the Salvation Army bucket, but beyond that, the wincing starts pretty quickly.  Which, can lead to incredulous looks of, "Really, that hurts already?!" But when shopping till it hurts, our stamina and resistance to pain is remarkable.  In fact many gain strength from this endeavor. The guy who seemed to be in chronic pain at the giving tree is now sprinting from rack to rack shouting, "What is the color?!"  When giving until it hurts, you are the first to feel the pain and possibly start to whimper and cry out, but when shopping until it hurts, your spouse will usually feel the pain first and will check on you with concern asking, "Are you starting to feel that yet?"  At this point, most spouses will say, "I agree, you had better stop, but I think I am going to keep on going for awhile.  I am doing a lot of good here."

At the Goodwill and St. Vinnie's, you can shop for a heck of a long time, before you feel the pain and do a lot of good in the process.

Another thing you can afford to do is lose some weight!  I don't actually mean that like, "Wow!  He/she can afford to lose some weight."  I mean that if one shops at the Goodwill and happens to be planning on losing weight they can afford to have clothes that fit from start to finish, instead of swimming in them until they decide they are done.  I, actually, went to a retail store and bought an expensive pair of size 36 pants, (I was in Vegas.  People do stupid things inVegas.) knowing that I was at my ideal weight.  Well, Heather, quickly brought it to my attention that we might not share the same "ideal."  That was 4 inches ago.  I did have the thought, "I should lose some weight, but I invested in these pants, so maybe I should maintain where I am until they wear out."

When is Acne a good thing?  When it is a brand of clothing.  The Goodwill is awesome, because I am always coming across great brands that I have never heard of.  Acne, Eton, H.S. Trask, Theory, all clothes that jump out because they are of great design and great fabric.

Recently, I lost my job, Waaaa Waaaa Waaaa!  That is usually a very dangerous mindset to shop with.   I am no longer earning money, I should probably not be shopping, but I want to perk myself up, so, suddenly, shopping makes sense.  One dangerous day, I entered The Goodwill with that mindset.  I told myself, I could do $50.00 worth of good.  (Above is what I found.  All items were brand new.)  The striped shirt is an Eton ($298.00), the black button up undershirt is Theory ($145.00), the jeans are Diesel ($225.00) and the shoes are H. S. Trask ($175.00) and made of bison.  The shiny ones are Cole Haan from a previous trip. I don't know if the bison part matters to you, but they are pretty proud of it.  In the 70's, I remember going to Nordstrom and my brother got a pair of whale hide shoes with big rubber soles.  I was impressed....not so much now.  Anyway, that is an $843.00 outfit for $50.00.  A knock around outfit that I like, it's very comfortable, but I would never pay full price for it....or half price....or quarter price.  Why the Goodwill for me?  Because it allows me to break the cycle of buy and regret.  I can pay cash and return home with greater value than I left with.  To me it is an exercise in manifesting.  What outcome can be created or experienced that does not adhere to our standard expectations?  And I feel, that is the excitement of life, in what areas can we exceed the expected outcome and if we can achieve it shopping, and get used to it, then eventually it spills into other areas of our lives and, I believe, that is what it's all about.

Also, if you shop at The Goodwill, you can afford to have a "thing", like that guy is really into shiny black shoes and cashmere scarves. (Someday, the world may run out of cashmere.)

And lastly, you can lose your clothes and not feel too bad about it.  Not my pants or shirt, but occasionally I do lose a scarf.  When this happens, Heather gives me some grief, but she never says, "Do you know how much that cost?"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

                                                            A Valentine....

At our core, we are hunters and gatherers.  It is in our DNA.  Combine that with a dash of belief, "He who seeks finds,"and a little bit of time on our hands and you have the recipe for constant change.  In marriage I am an eternally grateful monogamist.  I am perfectly happy to be at the midpoint of forever,
as far back as I can see and as far ahead as I can see we are together, but with furniture......for lack of a better term....I am a slut.  I love new to me, I love the mystery of their past, I love to rescue, I love their beauty and when I take them home they will be mine always. And I have a real thing for the Europeans. I am a bit of a leg man and for the most part, the Europeans have the best legs.
The French have a flirty seductiveness that always piques my interest, the Danes have great form; they are sturdy, but so graceful they make your heart ache.  The Italians are sexy, sleek and demand to be touched.  Which is not to say, I don't love our home grown product.  Americans, at their best, combine originality with purpose.  With all of these I have sworn my love equally.

But change is constant and even though we love them all, and like all fickle lovers I call my mother and tell her, "Now I have found the one!" there is no safety.  We hunt for and gather furniture and art constantly.  We love the hunt and we love to be in love.  We look for strong individual pieces; pieces that can stand on their own with beautiful lines, warm woods and enticing fabrics.  We search for a chair with a strong solitary presence that is beautiful alone, without producing a hint of loneliness, in an empty room.  A piece of art that can own a whole wall, a table that is elegant and pure against the starkness of an expanse.  And then we cram them all together.  We love the principles of minimalism, monogamy and zen we just can't live by them.


In my/our defense, I must say, we don't love and leave.  Almost, as much fun as finding our true love is the joy of finding love for another.  We are tireless matchmakers.  If a prize is not right for us, undoubtedly, we know someone for whom it is perfect.   The phone call goes something like this, "I have the perfect...." or "You will love..."

Being romantics by nature, we believe in love at first sight.  That moment when you first see someone and everything else becomes background.....and then the rest is easy.



As with love though, there are no set rules or methods for finding what you seek.  The only advice that I would give would be to travel with an open heart and open eyes (maybe an old station wagon) and remember, there is always room for more.
                                                                              

                                                                                  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lila, the mother of Shoestring Abundance, well, half of it, is a thrift shopper from way back and a master of getting a dime out of a nickel.  She has also been a lover of mid-century modern design all the way back to when it was just modern and within that vein she has a particular fondness for the Scandinavian influence; being first generation American with a Norwegian father that may just be genetics.  Whatever the case she has cultivated a style that is distinctly her own.  In 2000 Lila and Gary bought a great little house on high bank waterfront in Hansville, besides being a great place for the whole family to gather it has been a perfect palette for shoestring design.  A trademark of her style is splashes of bright color set against a stark background or the play of black against white.  Like modernism, Lila has loved chartreuse since it went around the first time.


Her collection of vases and Bauer bowls, all thrift shop finds, are the perfect accent to her black and white palette.  Complimenting Lila's love of color is a strong presence of natural wood.  The beauty of the wood is usually achieved by, Heather's father, Gary's painstaking attention to detail in the refinishing of her vintage finds. Clearly visible in the very vintage Heywood Wakefield dining chairs above and the dresser below.  I will rub some teak oil on a new find and call it good, Gary, sands and oils and sands and oils............long after I've lost interest.  This picture succinctly sums up Lila and Gary's style and our shoestring connection.  The dresser below is one of my all time favorites. We found it at St. Vinnies for $24.50.  It is made out of oak plank with dovetailed drawers and no nails.  We thought it was beautiful as we found it, but Gary worked it into a piece of art.  The Painting is a Goodwill find that expresses Lila's palette beautifully and her forever favorite flower chartreuse zinnias.  One of those great pieces of art we have found with no signature.

 A great friend of our's and a highly skilled one (same person) built this fantastic bookshelf that contributes so much to the space.  Also helps to have an artist in the family.

                                                                              
All of the furnishings here are thrift store finds or as is the case with the cream chair and a matching couch, Little Nickel.  Heather revealed her love of furniture early by buying this pair before finishing high school.  Shockingly, the matching loveseat came with this house 27 years later.  The black recliner is a Milo Baughman design for Thayer Coggin (mid 50's) found at St. Vinnies.




                                              


At 17 and 15 how did Heather and I know that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together?  Star alignment? Shared passions? Compatibility?  No.  Both of our mother's had a very large Lee Reynolds prominently featured in our homes.  Mine was bought at a Grantree for $100.00.  We rolled all the windows down in the Dodge Dart and slipped it in over our heads.  Lila's was bought at Arnold's Furniture in Bremerton 1968 also for $100.00.  She eventually ended up with both paintings.





We all seem to have a thing for chairs; here Lila takes their decorative aspect to another level.  Now is not the season, but we will revisit this wonderful home in the spring because no visit is complete without a tour of their beautiful garden.