New Winter Blog Header - Housecleaning on the Blog

If you've arrived here on the blog, you'll (maybe) note that I've swapped out the header image at the top of the page to better reflect the season we're in:  Winter.  The image at the top of this post shows the header image that I had up until I made the swap.  I had this from Fall of 2018 until now.

And here's a look at what it looks like now:

Cold.  Barren.  Yeah...that's what the world looks like through my eyes right now.

The new image shows off our fly-through bird feeder, part of the fence on our southern property line and our little Weeping Cedar tree on the middle/right on the image. 

I've done this before.  Here's the 'Summer/Spring' cleaning post when I swapped out the header image in June.

Christmas Haul 2018: Twin Draft Guard for the Home Office

As I do every January (at least lately), I've been documenting the good/bad/cool/useful things that were gifted me via a series of "Christmas Haul" posts.  These are in the spirit of "Haul Videos" that are still all the rage on YouTube.  Unfortunately, I'm neither a YouTube Star nor do I get paid to promote things.  So, these are genuinely all things that people gave me.

But, this one, technically, isn't. one gave me this. Rather, it came as part of a family grab-bag thing.  You know the type of grab-bag.  You all put in wrapped gifts.  Pick numbers.  Go around and 'steal' things you like.  There's a certain number of 'steals' that any one item can receive before it is out of play.  We do this a few different times and it is both fun and a cost-effective way to gift a large family.

So...this is part of my 'haul' but it was something that was pulled from the pile in a grab bag.  A draft guard that you can slide …

Working Hands - Hand Cream FTW (Still)

Three years ago, I bragged on this very blog about how O'Keeffe's Working Hands Hand Cream had changed my life and cured my dry, cracked hands and kept them from bleeding each Winter season.  Ever since, I've been using the jar version (or 'pucks' as I call them) of this hand cream almost every day from Labor Day until about my birthday.  I keep a puck at the office on my desk and a puck on my desk at home.

If I stay on top of things, my hands don't get too terribly chapped and they've mostly stopped from cracking at the tips.

This year, my Mother-in-Law gifted me some O'Keeffe's Working Hands, but this time it wasn't in the puck or jar.

It was in this tube that you see above.  And despite the ingredients being slightly different between the two (it appears that the tube version has one or two more ingredients??), it is working just as well.

Consider this the next post in my Christmas Haul that continues here on the blog.  Christmas Haul post o…

Our Elf Goldie Visited Again This Year

It was a nice little set of visits from Golide, our Elf on the Shelf, this Christmas season.  I think this was his final morning with us on Christmas Eve before he flew away for another 11 months.  Thank goodness that he didn't have any sort of cookie/dog treat mishap like he did a few years back

There's pages all over the web spilled on both sides of the Elf on the Shelf debate.  There are plenty of folks who are posting tips/ideas for what the Elf can do in your house.  Then there are the other folks who shun the Elf.  Then...frankly there are the third set of folks - the militantly opposed to the Elf people. 

I'm not ashamed to say that we're firmly in the pro-Elf on the Shelf category.  Have to embrace these years while we can, amirite?!?!

Basement Storage Rack Custom Design System

I mentioned back in September that I had come across a product that could make it easy to create storage racks that I wanted to build in custom sizes for our firewood storage.  I then posted a WiP photo of one of the racks with the black brackets and cedar supports.  One of the projects that I'm trying to tackle this Winter is to figure out our basement storage setup.

We currently have a series of different sized/shaped racks holding a wide variety of storage tubs, containers and boxes.  I'm talking about our holiday/seasonal decorations, the Mantleburg Line Christmas Train, tons and tons of kids clothes (that we're holding on to for SOME reason???), our personal effects from childhood (mostly mine) that is totally random and completely un-optimized space-wise.

I mean...the racks we have are set to standard heights.  Meaning they have a vertical set of stands and then come with a certain number of shelves.  So, if our tubs are say 15" tall and the space for each shel…

2018 Anchor Steam Christmas Ale

Over the years, I've posted photos of the bottles of Anchor Brewing's Annual Christmas Ale here on the blog.  Nat's brothers are beer people and they've been seeking this stuff out every Christmas season for as long as I've been a part of it in Naperville.  So, when we arrive for Christmas Day there's always a few six packs of the annual Christmas beer in the basement fridge and every once in a while, there's even a magnum of the stuff. 

This year's bottle struck me as different:  much more red in the label.  You can scroll through all the labels here on their site and see if you agree with me on the red.  1982 gives this year a run for its money in terms of the outer red band, but in terms of recent runs, this one clearly has the most red on it. 

The tree on this year's label is a Korean Pine Tree.  From the Anchor Brewing site:
For the 2018 release, Stitt created a brimming Korean Pine Tree for the label. Native to both North and South Korea, the …

Jacques Wirtz Hedges As Inspiration For Our Backyard?

Yesterday, I posted about the idea of gabion walls in our backyard and today I'm noodling hedges.  Yeah..hedges.   I came across this photo of Bunny Williams' garden/yard on Instagram a few months back and have it filed away as something interesting to consider for the backyard.  Take a peek:

View this post on Instagram
In memory of Jacques Wirtz. Eight years ago a Giulian into dear fiends took a tour to see the gardens of Mr Wirtz in Belgium we were lucky to have met him And see his garden and I came home with so many ideas especially his hedges. I was inspired to create this curved hedge which as taken almost all this time to really come into its own and every time I look at it I think of him. What a gift he gave to all who love gardens A post shared by Bunny Williams (@bunnys_eye) on Aug 4, 2018 at 12:16pm PDT

Those curves are something, right?  She mentions that the inspiration for her was Jacques Wirtz.  Who is he?  Well...I had no idea until she posted this.  Then I was l…