Monday, November 30, 2015

Turning Lemons (or a Cat Door) into Lemonade!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving week, from the Sunday before until the Saturday after, with our oldest son, his sweet wife Regina, and their four darling little girls. (Here at the blog, I call them Bonny Babe, Cutie Pie, Little Gal, and City Girl.  And I know a lot of people wish bloggers would go ahead and use everyone's real names already...but I'm trying to give my family a modicum of privacy, if possible.)  We spent the holiday here at Oyster Haven, our soon-to-be VRBO rental house on Lake Champlain.  It was good to give the place a second "test run."   (The first was with our baby back in late October, before he headed off to a three-year stint in Germany.)

I've been feeling a bit empty since the gang left.  There's still so much to do here at the house to get it ready for rentals, so I should be too busy to feel blue; but I miss all the noise and activity that you have with little ones underfoot.  My husband had to fly out to the West Coast last yesterday, so that just made me feel more lonely.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, though, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, if you will.

One of the kinks we discovered while our boy and his family were here last week was that a little shelf I'd hung on the wall was an accident waiting to happen and should be taken down before we have any paying customers.  This sweet antique beauty was left by the previous owners, and from the looks of it, might even be original to this circa 1830's farmhouse.  I thought it looked lovely hanging on a wall in the dining room.
We now have a claw-foot oval oak table (an antique reproduction that I plan to eventually transform with a shabby-chic paint finish), handed down to us by my husband's sister (at my favorite price: free!), and also some borrowed chairs that we used for our Thanksgiving feast.  So the room was a little more crowded, and as our son was walking past the shelf he bumped into it with his shoulder.  It wasn't even a hard bump, and yet the fragile thing broke into pieces.  So--the shelf is gone, and I've moved the silver wreath over to the spot where it used to hang. ( And now I'm working on a project involving that old window...but more about that later.)
Okay, so another thing about this house is that it used to have several cats living in it.  Although we had them as pets when I was growing up, I am not a fan of felines.  At all.  And neither is my husband.  (I've written about this aversion to cats in the past, if you want to read this very old post, or maybe this one.)

Just around the corner from the dining room, in a little hallway on the right, there is a door that goes down to the basement.  Like all the doors in this house, it's a sturdy old solid wood door--but look what those cat-loving owners did to it!
Aaarrrggghhh!!!  Why would anyone ruin a perfectly good door like that?  Oh, I guess so that they wouldn't have to have the kitty litter box upstairs on the main floor.  But still.  Lemons, that's all I saw whenever I looked at that cat door down there.

So I decided to make lemonade.

Back in NH, I have a scroll saw that made it possible for me to sketch the outline of a cat onto a piece of thin plywood and then cut it out along the pencil lines.  On a recent trip home, I did just that, and then painted my homemade cat silhouette black.  When we arrived here for Thanksgiving week, I attached it to the door, right near the cut-out area.
I liked the fake cat (emphasis on fake), but this tableau was still missing something.  A cover for that cat door, for one thing.  Since buying this place, we've already caught four mice who were living down in the basement--and we didn't want their buddies to start using that nifty little entrance to migrate upstairs.  So I covered the hole from behind, using a scrap of faux wainscoting that we had in our NH basement.
And as you can see, I also added a mouse.  I just couldn't help myself; I always like to add a touch of whimsy to our home[s].

It's a little silly, maybe.  But I hope not tacky.  What do you think?  Will our VRBO guests think it's fun...or will they think I'm crazier than a crazy cat lady?

I realize some of you who are reading this might be cat people, and therefore you think that cats are so wonderful that they're already lemonade.  If so, I'm sorry if this post offended you in any way.  But I can't emphasize enough that the only good cat--in this woman's humble opinion, anyway--is a wooden one.

Have a great week!


  1. I think it's very cute, Laura, and a good way to keep the mice from sneaking upstairs.
    Of course, a nice kitty or two would also be happy to take care of those little rodents for you!

    1. I'm sure your cats (Pat and Mike?) are more lovable than your average cats. :)

    2. My boys always go by their full names: Patrick and Michael ;)
      And while I think they are quite lovable, I certainly understand that everyone has their own opinions about pets.
      Since you don't have a real kitty, maybe you should make another sentry cat on the basement side of that door to scare the mice away!

    3. Ha ha! A scarecrow cat! I just might have to do that.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for your input about adding the mouse!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary. (Nothing like being two months late with a thank you!)

  4. I actually like the new layout of the walls better anyhow.
    The cat and mouse is rather whimsical, I like it

    1. I'm glad you like the cat, Erin!

      The layout has changed a bit since this post. I think it looks even better now. And we're painting that table black--I love it!

      It's evolving!

  5. Laura;
    Not being much for cats ourselves, we think that's the best kind of cat you could have! It looks great!

    1. I'm sorry I didn't reply to this! So good to "see" you here, Ned and Lou Ann.

      Yes, this is my favorite kind of cat, too. ;)