Has it been three years already since I first began chatting with you??
I’ve built up this blog from near-nothing to a dozen-plus helpful pages; hundreds of posts and hints; scores of websites on our blogroll; and a handful of original photos of our lovely shades in your beautiful homes. Keep those comments and photos coming!
We’ve added stories and new media like PINTEREST. I’m always grateful when people stop by, or leave a crumb (ie, comment or “like”).
Perusing DECOR8 today, one among our blogroll, I found a new and useful website from down under: The Design Files. As a dedicated travel addict, I know there’s a BIG world out there beyond Vermont – and sites like these introduce us all to different places, new people, and bold design ideas.
The latest at The Design Files is a feature on Aussie Artist Carmel Seymour. Carmel now resides in Reykjavik! Talk about a change of scene. Carmel discusses her love of pattern and texture. Two “terms” of interest to all interested in home decor. She loves botanical illustrations, and her color palette certainly is rich in earth and sky tones. Gotta love someone who’s passion (besides painting, of course) is treasure-hunting at USED BOOKSTORES!
You can read the entire interview, and see samples of Carmel’s work by clicking above.
Great New “How To” Video
added to our CellularWindowShade’s YouTube channel
(remember to subscribe!)
This video augments our written instructions, mailed with every “Valet Kit” (2 cords per kit) order; it does not replace it. So now two great sources for Do-It-Yourselfers.
The instructions are specific to the Symphony Shade brand of window blinds, though you should be able to extrapolate the general concept, if you have some other type of cord loop shade. Give the video a look! It’s an easy in-home fix to a broken window shade.
Artist-inspired RAIN BARRELS are coming to downtown Burlington, Vermont in an effort to raise awareness about Stormwater and run-off. Why is stormwater a problem for the Champlain Valley and other watersheds? Read the information for yourself. You could even WIN a rain barrel for your very own!
If you’re located in the Winooski Conservation District this particular Let It Rain Program can even help with funding (though funds are limited; so hurry!)
Stormwater “best management practices” include (but aren’t limited to) downspout disconnection, rain barrels, rain gardens, cisterns, and permeable pavers.
Burlington promises demonstrations and Wednesday concerts, so check back at their website for up-to-date information — or just to see what your favorite local artist might be up to.
Spring is a time to move house as well as clean house. News broadcasts LOVE to publicize the latest home starts or housing sales. So the houzz article on APARTMENT HUNTING FOR RENTERS seemed quite timely. The “customer comments,” however, resonated with me as never before — and I’ve been in my home for more than fifteen years!
The houzz article is firmly aimed at big city apartment hunters, but the comments hone in on the worldwide dilemma of finding somewhere to live — and loving where you land. Some of houzz’s tips include
- Focus on a FAVORITE neighborhood or two, if possible (might depend on the size of the municipality).
- Beside budgetary concerns, what two other priorities must your new home have?
- Open House overkill? Keep a checklist (of likes and dislikes) or snap a photo or two. (One commenter suggested that snapping a photo of each front door helped immensely.)
- Be prepared! in some markets, housing will go fast. Be ready with pertinent information to convince the seller or landlord you’re the person for their property (references; credit history information; mortgage pre-approval; etc).
- Hidden costs? Are those window treatments included? how much are utilities? is parking available, or cable / internet hook-ups?
- Odd smells? Noises? lack of natural light? add those to your list so you’ll remember your reactions later.
- Be nosy! You might be living here soon: peek into closets, run the water, flush the toilet.
- Search online, newspapers, dedicated publications — but don’t forget word of mouth.
- Negotiate price. It’s worth a try.
- Will Grandma’s armoire fit? Bring a tape measure.
- Did the seller / landlord makes promises: Get it in writing. Don’t rely on memory…
My take-away from some of Comments:
- When talking ‘utilities’, don’t be afraid to ask how a bill is assessed; beware hidden ‘fees’ charged to tenants.
- Likewise, be leery of ‘application fees’ or leave-taking ‘cleaning’ fees.
- Check out the yard (if applicable), especially if the prior owner / tenant had pets. (think: clean-up…)
- Think twice about the flat near the elevator or garbage chute. Do bedroom(s) overlook an alley where the trash is kept? a busy street?
- Be on the look-out for signs (for rent / for sale); tell co-workers about your hunt for a home. The more, the merrier.
- GREAT idea: Check the neighborhood during commute times on a weekday. Cruise the neighborhood between 10pm and 3am [I personally would extend this to the likes of 7am] “to see who and what is out at night”.
- Pertinent to renters: is there a waiting list for a building you want to live in? Get on it!
- Really concerned about safety: contact the local police department and ask about the area.
- Moving in or doing a walk-through before closing? Take pictures and document.
- “Don’t be shy about asking a friend or relative to accompany you” – a second set of eyes can often help.
- Do baking cookies hide an odor? Does music mask street noise? Visit more than once to be sure.
- Looking near a school – but don’t have children? Be aware of increases in (road and foot) traffic; additional noise; parking or trespassing problems.
Now to add a few thoughts of my own. I live in what could be termed a “small city”, certainly an urban area. The housing is predominantly single-family homes, a few condo units, only downtown has some “lower” high-rises. Downtown has exceptionally few amenities, so I can start my list with
- Is your area walkable? How’s the public transportation? Do you need a vehicle no matter what? Depending on your lifestyle, you may want to think twice about where to locate.
- If you like nature, are there public parks, scenic areas easily in reach?
- Would you prefer an area where everyone has children, or are professionals, or all retirees?
- Consider that the No. 1 business of businesses is to grow: that college up the hill will not be content with a student body of 2000 students in ten-years’ time; that airport will add run-ways and parking garages – or change flight patterns to entice larger jets; that highway may be two lanes now, but what if it became wider or faster?
- How close are your closest neighbors? Be aware of basketball hoops, barking dogs, loud cars or loud music. All have the potential to impact your enjoyment of your own home.
I’ve personally have lived through loud neighbors, barking dogs, early morning airplanes, a backyard daycare. I remember reading once about a woman whose neighbor was a chatterbox; ultimately, the writer resorted to diving into her car in the garage, just to avoid the neighbor. The spring after I purchased my home, the state ‘upgraded’ highway bridges – and now you hear traffic thumping over expansion joints; sometimes you feel them too, especially once the potholes begin to crop up again. In the end, you may have little control over what happens over time.
My city used to be tree-lined, but decades ago it lost that attribute to a two-lane / four-lane road through the center. Places change over time. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge when it’s time to cut your ties and move on.
* * *
Whether you’re new to your home, looking for updated decor ideas,
or setting up some “must haves” for a dream home,
Here at CellularWindowShades.com some dedicated readers of “Vermont’s Independent Voice” SEVEN DAYS grab at the paper every Wednesday (publication day). This week, we were rewarded with a beautiful write-up concerning Montpelier’s Lost Nation Theater production of RANSOM (by Dian Parker).
Ransom: A Musical Play of Vermont’s History in the Civil War ”is a drama inspired by actual letters written on the battlefield by a Vermont soldier, Lt. Ransom W. Towle.”
I’ll leave Seven Days to enlighten readers of The Inside Scoop on the fascinating story behind the location of the letters, and how such articles became a musical play. I want to talk about the young man behind the name.
Towle’s military career can be gleaned through the article or by a visit to The University of Vermont’s Center for Digital Initiatives, which features a section on the Ransom W. Towle Correspondence.
Here you can see the letters, as well as read transcripts.
Ransom W. Towle’s Blogspot (very brief)
From the Herald of Randolph, we learn the back story: ”A 25-year-old medical student, farmer, devoted son and brother, Towle became a Civil War hero. He was born in 1838 to Rufus and Sebra Towle in that part of the town of Goshen that would later become the West Hill and Bingo areas of Rochester. He enlisted in the Union army, was wounded at Savage’s Station, captured at Weldon’s Railroad, and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, Va.”
More on the stage play can be found at VermontToday.com – GALA opening happens tonight, Friday 26 April 2013, at Lost Nation Theater, but the play is in performance (Thursdays and Sundays) through May 12th.
Join CellularWindowShades in supporting the Arts, locally; and if your “local” happens to be near Vermont, maybe I’ll see you in Montpelier.
Join your ‘Sunday Cuppa’ with an after-lunch cupcake.
Full Recipe at SugarCrafter: Baking and Canning from Scratch
For the marshmallow fondant:
- 16 ounces white mini marshmallows
- 3 Tbsp water
- 2 lbs powdered sugar
- Shortening, for work surface
For the yellow cupcakes:
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk
For the chocolate ganache “tea:”
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp agave syrup (for the shine)
- 5 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
- 1 tsp vanilla extract