Tiny House Part 18: My Window

I have one window in my apartment, which isn’t all that surprising given its size. It lets a good bit of natural light into my kitchen area, and is truly a blessing. Due to the construction of the building, the sill is quite deep. That makes it even better!

Obviously, the window is home to my little air conditioner, which though small proved quite sufficient this past summer. The way they built up around the unit not only sealed it in well but provides me so much privacy that I have no need at all for curtains or shades. (I’m pretty high up off the ground at this point.) 

That privacy meant I could do whatever I wanted with the window, so I pulled out a stained glass piece that had been in storage. Yes, the colors are more muted than most of the apartment, but not only is it a salute to my love of reading, it is also a gift from two very special people, one of whom has gone on home to Heaven. One thing I learned a long time ago is that surrounding yourself with things that have meaning can trump other rules.

Another thing that has meaning is the hummingbird that hangs to the right of the stained glass. This is my salute to both my mother and grandmother, who shared a love for the little flyers. The crystal that hangs to the left in the window was purchased to balance the bird. It’s very pretty and I’m glad I chose the right thing. It’s the 120mm Crystal Prism Suncatcher and it sells for $10; I paid more for the hummingbird at a craft show years ago!

My decorator friend installed the wooden shelf for me specifically for these two pots of hens and chicks, which originated with my grandmother. If you read Sometimes You Just Need a Do Over you have seen the long planter. These little guys aren’t flourishing greatly, like I wish they were, but they are still alive and I’m taking that as a win. 

Both of these planters came from Amazon. The long one is the Kipokalor 11.1×2.36×1.77inch Long Rectangular Modern Minimalist White Ceramic Succulent Planter Pot with Saucer. It’s minimalist, high quality, and exactly what I was looking for.

The small planter is actually from a set I bought in February to give as gifts.

These are a set of 12 Pcs White Bible Verse Succulent Pots with Drainage 3.15 Inch Mini Ceramic Flower Planter Pot with Bamboo Tray. I planted succulents in them and gave them to my ministry team as Valentine’s gifts. They were a huge hit!

The bottom shelf was decorated by my talented friend, who also made the little potted cactus for me. Everything else already belonged to me; she just knew how to put them all together. the stack of books includes some antiques from what was once an impressive collection. The glass paperweight was my mother’s and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. What I really wish you could see better is the peacock stone that sits between the books and plant. It’s bornite and it’s beautiful. Here’s an example I found online.

And that’s the window. We’re almost finished with the Kitchen tour. Thanks for coming along!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 13: The Kitchen

Yes, I once more fell behind on posting about my tiny house. Frankly, I knew what was coming and that it would take a lot of time to prep these next few posts. Ashamed of my procrastination? Undeniably. So, are you ready to head to the kitchen?

This part of the series will definitely be multiple posts, because there are tons of details in this kitchen.

The photo you see above is a close-up from a picture I posted earlier. I can’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I had to convince them that I really did want white walls. This picture shows why. I knew I would be bringing in a lot of color in my art, storage, and accessories! Much of it, especially the art, came with me in the move and I can’t tell you much about it, but many items were bought specifically for this apartment, and I will happily share those details.

Another thing that took a little convincing, though not too much, was the open shelving. I specifically wanted everything visible, looked forward to using my necessities to decorate and not be looking at cabinet doors all the time. Playing off the teak countertop, which I’ll share in a better picture later, they brought in an assortment of woods for me and sealed them for kitchen use. I love it!

One comment I’ve received from readers and visitors is that I have very little counter space. At first glance, this is true, but it’s actually not. My washer and dryer more than make up for the shortage of official counter space. I obviously don’t put anything super heavy on them, but I really don’t deal with super heavy anyway. I have never felt confined in my tiny kitchen.

The rectangular frames you see to the right of the mirror? Yes, this is an old photo, but yes, they are still empty, waiting on me. I have everything I need to teach myself watercolor, but I’ve not done it. It seems like every time I even think about pulling the supplies out I find something else to do instead. Still, learning watercolor is one of my goals for 2024 and those frames are going to hang there, staring at me, until I follow through.

One thing I’ll mention while I’m here, since this is the only photo it appears in, is the towel that’s hanging from the top drawer. It was the result of a lot of searching! Things were different when I had a dishwasher; I could grit my teeth and put up with my kitchen towels that weren’t absorbent and didn’t dry anything. I mean, seriously. Why have a kitchen towel that won’t dry dishes enough that you can put them away?!

So, I headed to Amazon and began my search. My requirements were pretty detailed. First, I wanted a solid color, preferably orange. That ruled out a lot; no surprise there. This towel comes in 26 colors, one of which was exactly what I wanted. I knew I wanted cotton. Also, the reviews had to agree that the thing really would dry well. If a towel wasn’t consistently praised for this one characteristic, I kept scrolling. Too, I wanted something small enough to be practical (this one is 12×12) and was really hoping for a loop I could use to hang it. I didn’t want to have to install a towel bar, but I wanted a towel to always be at hand.

So here you have the Homaxy 100% Cotton Waffle Weave Kitchen Dish Cloths, Ultra Soft Absorbent Quick Drying Dish Towels, 12×12 Inches, 6-Pack, Orange. (Don’t you love the highly detailed descriptions on Amazon? LOL!) The 6-pack sells for around $15. You can also get 4, 8, and 12-packs.

See you next time!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 11: The Bathroom Tour Continues

So last week I talked about the pictures over the toilet. The frames are cheap things I picked up and spray painted. The mats are from the craft store. And, believe it or not, the photos were printed on a copier because budget was a huge issue back when I first needed them to decorate my work office years ago.

You’ll see that they built in shelves for me on the adjoining wall. The teal things on the top shelf are toilet paper rolls wrapped in tissue paper. My decorator friend recommended it as an attractive way to store extra rolls, and I adapted her plan readily because the tissue paper also protects the paper from absorbing the yuk that’s thrown into the air when you flush the toilet. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google “toilet aerosol’ and prepare to cringe.) I also put the lid down on the toilet before flushing to minimize the impact. Studies show that the spray is twelve times worse with the lid up.

Knowing this has a lot to do with many of the details of this small room. Since taking this picture, I’ve pulled half of my towels. I only need a couple readily available, and that gave me an extra shelf for toilet paper storage.

This photo shows all of the built ins, and you can see I use baskets that hold and mostly protect a lot as well. The one on top contains my makeup and all that goes with it. The bottom one contains toilet paper in thoi photo, but when I moved those rolls to the other shelf I ended up using it for a variety of necessities that I wanted to keep handy. Because these things are stored in the bathroom, I need to remember to be extra scrupulous about things like cleaning my makeup brushes.

Random note: I took these pictures without thinking professionally. So yeah, the deodorant you see by the towels is Native and the little spray thing on the next shelf up is Poo-Pourri that a friend gave me. I never think to use it. I mean, you have to sort of plan ahead, you know? Still, if you do use it the stuff works great!

My friend made this peg rack to hang above the built ins. It was one of the many little things she did, or instructed me to do, to provide more storage and ready access to the things I need. Long pegs hold my towel, and the cotton T I use for my hair hangs fine on the decorative knobs she selected just for me. The two hats don’t get worn often, but store better here than anywhere else, and the jewelry you see is pretty much all I own after some serious jewelry downsizing. At one point, I had massive amounts of jewelry of all types, but now I mostly wear a sterling silver cross I was given a few years ago and just take down one of these pieces when an outfit demands it.

This medicine shelf is one of those ideas I would never have come up with on my own. I’d kept these things in a totally unattractive tote that literally fit nowhere. The day she showed up with this shelf the tote was sitting on top of my fridge, which greatly offended her artistic sensibilities. (I say that very tongue-in-cheek.) I would never have considered open shelving for these items even though I intentionally requested open shelving for the rest of the apartment. This thing is perfect. Once a week, I pull down my regular supplements and pills and go to my desk where I refill my weekly pills containers I told you about previously. If I need something, anything, I can get my hands on it easily, which was great when I cut myself a couple of weeks ago and needed a bandage.

One of the reasons this shelf works so well is the height at which she mounted it. Because it’s mostly above eye level, in this small room you tend not to notice it. Then she mounted my peacock picture beneath it, which also helps draw the eye away from the bottles and boxes.

I’ve had a thing for peacocks for years, but after seeing those peacocks during that cruise I’ve loved them even more, so this piece quickly found its home right here. It fits the theme, fits the wall size, and as a bonus it gives you something other than a white wall to look at while you’re seated. I laughed when she pointed out that detail, but quickly realized just what she was saying. It is an essential part of the decor.

We’ve made our way three quarters around the room. Next week we’ll finish off with the shower. Oh, how I love my shower!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 8: The Library +

The “+” comes before the library.
It seemed to be a good time to give an
overall look at the main room, so here goes.

In this photo you can clearly see the stained concrete I like so much. To me, it looks like well-worn leather. It’s a breeze to keep clean, which is especially good since I have access to a pool; coming in wet is not a problem. Another thing this photo reveals is the curtains I’m using instead of doors on both the closet and bath. The closet curtains don’t reach all the way to the floor since I ordered them long before I knew what my actual measurements would be. Eventually I’ll order a longer set or add something at the bottom, but for now they’re fine. The bathroom curtain is also short, but that was intentional as I wanted to leave a large space at the top of the doorway for airflow on those rare occasions when I have the curtains closed.

One last bit of randomness about the “kitchen.” Those white boxes you see beside the mirror are the same box frames I use elsewhere. The friend who spent several hours not only redecorating my tiny home but also making things (like the lamp and book easel on my desk) to use as accents in it, hung those there and gave me orders to fill them with art I liked. They mark a goal. My primary care recently told me, “It’s time to do something just for Tammy.” I took his advice to heart and, since I’ve been wanting to learn watercolor, I ordered some supplies. I am determined to not only learn, but to create pieces I feel comfortable putting in those frames.

Now the Library and, yes, I use the word loosely. You get two photos because I thought it would give a better idea of how everything fits together. Bonus peek at the bath included free of charge.

The first thing you likely noticed about my library is the small number of books. I wasn’t kidding when I said I did a hardcore purge in all areas. These physical books that remain are my essentials. The bulk of them being Bibles should not surprise anyone given my book Experiencing the Bible (shameless plug). The others I refuse to get rid of for one reason and another.

I shared previously that I’m an aphant (one who has aphantasia); people as high on the scale as I am can remember what people and places look like to a certain extent, but that knowledge is conceptual, not visual. Consequently, I need photos and that’s why pictures of my kids and grandkids take the primary position in these shelves. Even the parrots on the wall were photographed by my sister on my surprise cruise getaway. (No kidding. She literally scheduled with my boss and booked a cruise for my birthday. She’s the best!) They serve both as art and vacation reminder.

The blue basket on top is convenient for extra storage; right this minute it just holds my lighters and matches; it’s nice knowing I have storage waiting for me to use it! The flowers and the gold-painted dictionary were gifts from my decorator friend. She knows my love of words, so the dictionary is not just an accent piece but a nod to my passion.

If you’re wondering about the framed quote on the top shelf, it’s from Mark Twain. It says, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

Now, the reason I’m able to have so few physical books…

Bonus: You now know about one of my favorite authors.

I’ve lost pretty much everything twice in my life. The first time taught me a hard lesson and led to my getting my very first kindle as a gift from a friend who had upgraded. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about reading ebooks in the beginning, but learned quickly that I liked it. By the time that Kindle had died, I was carrying an iphone and started using the Kindle app. That was hard on my eyes, though, creating strain I didn’t need. (I tended to read for literal hours at a time. I still can.) So, after much research, I bought a Kindle Paperwhite that, a couple of years ago, I replaced with this Kindle Oasis.

I love this thing! You can tell by the wear on the cover that I use it a lot. As they say, it’s not the age; it’s the mileage. The Kindle Paperwhite (and Paperwhite Oasis) uses an e-ink that is very easy on the eyes. This Oasis also has adjustable lighting as well as the up/down buttons you see on the side. The regular Kindle Paperwhite did not have these buttons, and I would probably not want to go back to doing without them. And this e-reader is waterproof! So yes, reading in the tub is just fine.

So, to get back to my original point. I pretty much stick to paper books for non-fiction, which is what you mostly see on my shelves, because I mark those books up. I want to be able to come back and find things of note and relocate where I’ve recorded my thoughts on a topic. On the other hand, except for a few random non-fiction books, my Kindle is filled with fiction across a variety of genres. I don’t even know how many books I have on this thing and it’s nowhere near full. My TBR (To Be Read) list is massive, which would not be possible if I were limited to what I could fit in this room.

Since I’m on the topic of ebooks, here are some hints for those concerned about ebook prices. First, subscribe to BookBub. You’ll get alerts every day of books in your preferred genres that are on sale or free. A large number of my ebooks were picked up this way. Another thing I do is keep an ebook wishlist on Amazon. I update it any time I find a book I want to buy eventually, and every couple of days I’ll log onto Amazon and check out that list. If any have gone free or been marked down dramatically, I’ll hit the Buy Now button. So loading your kindle doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You only need to pay full price when you want to read it today.

And that’s it for this week. Like last week, I’ve chosen to put all of the product links here, at the end of the post.

SMILE Weaver Peacock Blue Curtains (closet)

Deconovo Turquoise Curtains (bath)

Experiencing the Bible

Kindle Oasis

Huasiru Case for Kindle Oasis

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Aphantasia Revelations

If you’ve not already read it, you may want to pop over to I Can’t Imagine, which is the post I made the day I discovered that I have aphantasia. Finally understanding why I didn’t recognize my own grandchild as a baby was… wow.

The past few days have been filled with revelations!

For those who don’t know, people with aphantasia have little to no ability to visualize. You know how, when you’re told to close your eyes and imagine you’re at the beach, you can see it and describe it? Yeah, I can’t. I got nothin’. I’ve always thought the “close your eyes and imagine” thing was figurative; learning that it’s literally possible for most of the world was a serious shock.

Mind you, I’m not upset that I’m mentally blind. I mean, I’ve never known life any other way. I’ve actually been having some of the most fascinating conversations in recent days, both with those who learned from my experience that they have it too, and with others who had no idea that “we” existed! Those of you who see a movie when you read a book? Mind blowing! And I’ve had more than one of “you” ask how I can possibly enjoy reading when I can’t see a movie of what I read. Believe me, I love to read!

The biggest thing is realizing that I’m not unobservant or, depending on context, downright stupid. Ask me to describe a person I was just talking to and, unless I’ve taken out my mental notebook and recorded details, I’ll not be likely to tell you much more than whether they’re male or female, adult or child…and maybe height based on how I tilted my head to look at them. Yes, I can literally turn away and lose them, mentally speaking. Friends who get haircuts or color your hair? I’m sorry if I offend you by not noticing, but the odds are really good that I’ll not even know you’ve done it, because although I know you when I see you I can’t remember the details of what you look like when you’re not there.

And I mean that literally. I tried to describe my husband earlier today. I didn’t get very far.

It’s just that visual thing! I can’t remember how many times I’ve had someone get disgusted when they would tell me to look for a certain person’s car. Nope. If I knew the make, model, and color that might help me…maybe, but I couldn’t even find my own sister’s car in a crowded parking lot if I didn’t have certain cues keyed into my memory. I learned long ago that when I get a new car I have to put on a bumper sticker and hang something from the rearview mirror before I ever venture into a parking lot. No. Not kidding.

This morning, I shared my discoveries with two of my co-workers. Later on in our conversation, once we’d changed topics, I almost busted out laughing. I was about to say, “I can’t imagine…” and abruptly realized that I literally can’t imagine what I was going to refer to. I’m still getting used to the idea that those words aren’t just a figure of speech for most people.

Learning that I’m not stupid has been such a blessing! Today was a red letter day where this is concerned. Graphic design, anything beyond extremely basic stuff, has always been out of my reach. I cannot express how frustrated I and people I’ve answered to have been with my inability to grasp and implement design concepts. Today it dawned on me; it’s because I literally can’t see it!

If you give me a picture and ask me to copy it, I can probably do so as long as the techniques required are things I’ve mastered. This is why I was able to do photorealistic pencil portraits back when that was my thing. I could sit there and look back and forth between the original and my drawing and do ok. What I could not do, at all, was create something from memory or imagination. You have to have visual memory and imagination to do that.

So where graphic design is concerned, I have no memory. I can “study” examples, but I can’t hold them in my head. Again, I have to have something in front of me and, going back and forth, I will possibly be able to recreate it in a graphics program. Take that example away and I’m done.

Frustrating? Absolutely, but at least now I understand! I. Am. Not. Stupid.

I’m almost in tears thinking about all the times I was driven to tears while trying to create graphics. Knowing the truth is so freeing!

So, if you have suddenly realized you have aphantasia on whatever level (There’s a scale, with some people having more mental vision than I do.), consider the blessings that come from knowing. Think about things that have made you feel “less than,” and give yourself permission to sigh in relief. You are not an idiot. You are not flawed. No one can blame a blind person for being blind.

And if you’re dealing with someone who is clearly intelligent, but has issues that are related to visual things, maybe you should ask some questions. Because, let me tell you, until a few days ago I literally had no idea – zero – that normal people see anything other than black when they close their eyes.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

For more information on this fascinating condition, you may want to check out aphantasia.com. You can even become a member for $7 a month or $70 a year and network with others who deal with this interesting issue.