This is my Christmas card to you

Yes, it has been over 4 months since my last post.  And this will probably be one of the last posts for this blog.  In retrospect, my Dad was the impetus for its creation, & so much of the content was about him. Now that he is gone, I can’t find a reason to continue writing it.  Perhaps a new one will replace it…to be decided.

This post is about Christmas, first & foremost. Here are some pics of this year’s decor:





It is also about tying up loose ends. Since Dad’s passing, we have been under construction, trying to finish the house as we have always envisioned it.  Some of the changes were a necessity. Top of the fix list was the “pier” that led to the front door.  It was rotting out, much to my delight. I mean, why have a pier without a beach?  Tony (our ace construction guru) finished the stairs & the Tennessee fieldstone walkway, but it was too wet and cold to paint the wood to match the existing trim before Christmas.


The other major project is a complete remodel of the master suite, which Dad occupied.  We decided to move upstairs, because it is so much easier for me to live on the main floor.  But the bathroom is not working for us at all.  The  vanity is so short that at 5’4″, I feel like a giant spitting toothpaste into a thimble!  The shower is very tiny, & the big feature (i.e., space hog) is a spa bathtub that I physically couldn’t get in & out of, and wouldn’t use anyway, if you put a gun to my head! Additionally, the plan contains a separate water closet! 😃

The new space will contain a large doorless shower with a built-in seat. There will also be a small laundry room that will house a combo washer-dryer unit. (This appliance washes & dries clothes, which is great. I can remember to wash a load, but drying the wet stuff is often not on my radar! Greg will be so happy not to have to be the laundry rescuer.)  All of the tile will be replaced (thank goodness), & new lighting will make a huge difference to the room’s ambience.

In the bedroom, there will be cosmetic changes. We will shiplap the wall behind the bed, as well as the opposite wall that contains a bureau, with a tv hanging above it.  The stonework will be removed, and the columns will be boxed in. There will be a wonderful orb chandelier installed in the sitting area. Tony is scheduled to start work on the master suite on a January 2nd.

The other completed project that sent me over then moon was the reconfiguration of the interior stairs.  Let me be honest…I have detested the stairs since I first laid eyes on them.  They were not built to code (i.e., the distance between treads was random, and the stairs had no backing. In other words, you could see underneath the steps.) Our grandsons were afraid of them, not to mention the fact that the rough wood on back of the stair treads attracted “dust stalagtites” that were impossible to reach/remove.

The other unsavory feature of the stairway was the balusters and handrail. The balusters were wood sticks, many of which were warped!  The effect was dizzying and distracting. Additionally, the handrail was not built to code; it was too thick to grab, and therefore useless (as well as ugly!)  I knew I wanted something clean-looking, & a bit industrial.  Originally we thought about using wire cables, strung horizontally, for the balusters. However, my fear was that there would be too much “give” in the cables for the kids to feel safe. Also, cables are high maintenance. They need to be constantly tightened to make sure they are safe.

I happened upon a picture of stairs that utilized steel pipe instead of cables. Ultimately, that was what we went with: 1″ diameter pipe spray painted an aged bronze color. The posts, which now sport traditional finials, and handrails  are now constructed with white pine 4x4s.  I initially considered staining them to match the remaining stair parts, but decided the contrast was lovely. They will receive a couple of coats of poly when I get a “round tuit”.  (If there isn’t one in my Christmas stocking, we may live with raw wood!)



Tony closed in the open treads, and installed tongue-in-groove boards behind the treads. The piece de resistance is the construction of a bookcase that replaces the bannister above the stairs that lead to the basement. It’s the perfect place to hide the kids’ favorite toys in baskets, as well as showcasing favorite dustables & books. For Christmas, it’s the perfect spot for a candlelit village.


This morning, I woke up early to decorate reindeer cupcakes for the grandsons, & for a friend’s little boys.  There was a time that I would have taken infinite care in the construction of the critters. However, my hands do not perform very well lately, so the results are quite comical.  The guy pictured on the left, who I christened “Burt the runny-nosed reindeer”, looks like he is suffering from an awful cold. Poor deer!  🤓


Speaking of kids, here are the annual Christmas pics of Jen’s family.




The boys received an early gift of a yellow lab puppy named Shelby. Apparently, she is growing like a weed, right along with the boys! Unfortunately, her favorite snacks consist of Christmas tree skirts & wrapped gifts.  Jennifer is not too fond of her…😩

Tomorrow we will be with Riley & Reese to see them open gifts. Unfortunately, their big gift from us is a Lego table, complete with storage bins. I say unfortunately, because the construction elf (their Pop) is still feverishly working to complete it. Maybe not Pop’s favorite project ever, but I know Riley will be over the moon when he sees it!

WordPress is not cooperating very well today. Too much spiked eggnog? So I will close by saying that it will be another 3 months before I wrap up this blog, at which time we will do a complete before and after tour of the completed house.

As an aside, in 2 weeks I will be leaving for a 3-month stint at a Lyme clinic located in Massachusetts. Fingers crossed that they can help me get up and walking without using a mobility scooter or a wheelchair!  I had this thought today: we have lived in Ellijay for 5-1/2 years.  I wonder if anyone would recognize me without my wheelchair?I asked Santa for a chance to find out!

Truly, I wish you all the merriest of Christmases, & the happiest, healthiest, and most prosperous of New Years.




About vkroo

I am passionate about writing, as well as design/DIY/decorating. I decided to combine these skills in a blog, that describes the joys and challenges of transforming a shaggy, baggy elephant of a mountian house into a stunning home.
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