Tuesday, September 27, 2011

two years ~ and more autumn decorating

Some of you know that my oldest son, Philip passed away unexpectedly on September 25, 2009
at the way-too young age of 21.
This past Sunday was the two-year mark. Was it any easier than the one-year mark?
I can't even answer that question - at least not in a direct way. There's the famous saying,
"Time heals all wounds" but I can't say that's true. I don't think a parent is ever healed
over the death of a child.
I stayed home all day and puttered, while being a little mopey.
I also decided to make a dinner that Phil would've loved - he especially appreciated comfort food.
I found a new recipe for beef short ribs made pot-roast style.
They simmered on the stove for 6 hours. I also made cheesy, mashed red skin potatoes.
It was delicious. Phil would've loved it.

So, with puttering in the house, I changed things around with my decor again.
And I'm still not completely satisfied, lol.
I think there's too much going on in the middle of this arrangement.

I don't have a mantle over the fireplace. Instead, there's three floating shelves. 
I try to keep the shelves more simplistic.
This lowest shelf on the fireplace wall has a mirror, mini pumpkin, and a bird figurine on top of a couple of small books.
The mama and baby bird figurine are made by Goebel (Germany). Found them in a resale shop.

The wicker basket and dotted glass vase used to be on the console table in the first picture. I think they look better over here on the buffet.

This three-tiered table and secretary desk are behind the sofa, which is on an angle in my living room.
  I really, really want to paint this table, but can't decide on the color.
My living room is done in moss green, beige, crimson, (as in the lamp shade you see), and a teeny bit of orange.

Do you remember this little stool from my June 10th post? It had a red velvet (i.e., ugly) cushion. I finally found some pretty material that matched my living room and recovered it.

This stool sits at the end of the hallway. 
The vintage suitcase was found at the same antique mall as the little stool, above.

An arrangement of pine cones, chinese lanterns, and a couple of Indian corns in a vintage green bowl.
I LOVE this bowl...the unique color and sculpted, pointed edges, plus the fact that it
belonged to my grandma.

Happy autumn...and happy puttering!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

anniversary weekend

September 15th was our 27th wedding anniversary! (Yep, I got married when I was 14, ha ha.)
We decided to spend the weekend in lovely Galena, IL - a historic town on the Illinois/Iowa border, filled with B&Bs, quaint shops, and great restaurants.

Monkey did  not want us to leave! He kept hiding under our suitcase.

We stayed at the Greenbriar Inn. Lovely place, isn't it?

The one problem was, there was a Glade plug-in air freshener in our room, which was very strong. I am highly sensitive to scents, especially when they're artificial. I moved the air freshener out into the hallway and opened our window, but it didn't help much. I was congested the entire time.

Oh well...the next day, Saturday was sunny with a cool breeze, so it was a perfect day to spend walking up and down Main Street, going into a lot of the shops, stopping for a bite to eat, doing the wine tasting at the Galena Winery, and ending the day in the local coffee shop with some iced green tea.

Here's a sampling from some of the shops...

Check out this gorgeous sofa at http://www.vignettesgalena.com/index.php. I have no idea how much it cost, but I was swooning over the color, the curved back, and the brass studs around the bottom. And did I mention comfy? Me and the hubby did not want to get up once we sat down. I believe the cushions were down-filled.

I also spied with my little eyes, these lovely suede ottomans. They'd be perfect for my living room. But not at $238 each. I've been looking online for something similar, but no luck thus far.

There's a reason the store is called "Vignettes". Check out their pretty fall display...

This purple vignette certainly was unique...

As we were strolling down Main Street checking out the shops, this sidewalk display caught my eye. Definitely appeals to my inner hippie.

On the total opposite end of the spectrum, there's http://www.peace-of-the-past.com/; an antique shop and vintage book store. Have a peek...

Hubby got comfy with an old book...

And then there was the food. WOW. Look at this salad I had for lunch at http://www.oneelevenmain.com/
Beautiful AND delicious.

This shop - http://www.letustemptyouwithchocolat.com/ - is a must-stop. They have the best chocolates I have ever tasted. They're expensive - an average of $3 each - but worth every penny.

The Spicy Aztec chocolate is my fave...it's a dark chocolate Belgian truffle with a hint of heat.
 Put it this way - a few years ago when I first tried this chocolate, I was moaning just like Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" when they were in the diner. I'm sure you remember that scene!

Man, my eyes are puffy in this picture. Terrible allergies this time of year. Or maybe it was that stupid air freshener. :-o

Buh-bye Galena...until next time!

Friday, September 16, 2011

mish mash of stuff

 Hope you all don't mind if this post is on a few different subjects. Sometimes, I'll have a couple of pictures that aren't worthy of their own post; other times there are days I feel I just don't know what to say; and then there are times where there there just isn't enough time to create a blog post!

 Labor Day was spent at my mom's house with extended family. We had a delicious array of fresh salads...

And my mom made her famous southern fried chicken. Most of my family is quite health conscious, and I can only speak for myself, but I haven't had fried chicken in many years.
And it will be many years before I have it again.
Once in a blue moon doesn't hurt, right?

Even the family dogs had a get-together. From left to right is my Aunt Suzie holding her Pug, Penny; then there's my niece, Hannah holding my mom's Pomeranian, LuLu; and my sister, Laura is holding her Pug, Phoebe.
Phoebe and Penny are sisters from the same litter.

After dinner, we all played Apples to Apples....

Had to show you all a picture of my mom's hutch that she uses for dry food storage.
Isn't this a pretty way to store beans, rice, flour, and other dried goods?
The hutch is in a little room that you walk into from the garage.

Then, last weekend, hubby and I took a day trip to the town of St. Charles (IL). I love the homes in this town...so stately and classy.
I love the porch on this house. I could sit out there and rock the day away.

This house would make a great B&B.

Does anyone know what this plant is? It was part of a huge outdoor container. Is it some kind of wild grass? Whatever it is, I love it.

A close-up of the same plant...

In-between work days and weekend outings, I'm digging out fall clothes and decorations. The closets in our house are small, so we have to store out-of-season clothing in storage totes in the basement. I have a ton of laundry to do now. I'm trying to have the positive attitude that instead of all this laundry being a burden, that it's a blessing that we have so many clothes to wear.

I love summer - it's my favorite season - so I'm s-l-o-w-l-y putting touches
of fall into my home decor.

I love the owl pottery piece on the bottom shelf. Found it at Goodwill. :-)

Changing up the pillows on the couch is easy to do.
And guess where 4 out of the 5 pillows are from? ;-)
Zippo doesn't care - as long as I leave a spot for him to snooze on.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

happy 1st birthday to monkey!

 Today is Monkey's FIRST birthday!

 He's still quite the naughty adventurous kitty...

THIS is what he's spying on from the top of the fridge ~
Freddy, the African dwarf frog.

We have to keep Freddy's bowl on top of the china cabinet
so that bad pussycats don't get him.

 And then there's Monkey's mama, Clementine.
Here she is, looking so proper and demure.
Though she fits right in with the decor, don't you think?

Monday, September 5, 2011

nom nom ~ and some new kitchy stuff

Let's talk FOOD for a moment.

How about plain low-fat Greek yogurt mixed with ground flax seed and a little natural sweetener (Truvia) over a bowl of strawberries and blueberries, and topped with Kashi Go-Lean Crunch...
A yummy, nutritious breakfast or lunch!

Yesterday, I baked a loaf of zucchini-walnut bread. This recipe is healthier than the usual zucchini bread recipes out there that have a ton of sugar and fat. This recipe uses low-fat Greek yogurt, canola oil, and minimal sugar. Makes a good late morning or early afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea.

(Recipe adapted from Food & Wine)
1 cup (4 oz.) walnut halves
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. EACH baking powder, baking soda, & salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. low-fat plain Greek yogurt (you can also sub low-fat sour cream)
1 c. coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 med. zucchini)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x4-1/2" metal loaf pan. Spread the walnut halves in a pie plate and toast them for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant. Transfer the toasted walnuts to a cutting board and coarsely chop them, then freeze for 5 min. to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs, canola oil, and yogurt (or sour cream). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the grated zucchini and toasted walnuts and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 1 hour and 10 min., until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 min. before unmolding and serving.

Found these gorgeous blue Bell jars at Goodwill for $1.99 each.
The color reminds me of the Caribbean. :-)
I'm currently using them to store tea bags and Truvia packets.

See the vintage yellow tray on the wall? I recently bought a couple of these ~ I have a red one, too ~ and was wondering how to display them, when I saw this great idea of hanging them on the wall and using them as a bulletin board of sorts on a Pinterest board.
I hung the trays using 3M velcro strips. They supposedly don't damage the walls when you take the stuff down.

I hung the red tray on the side of a cabinet by my kitchen window.
The wind chime is made from vintage silverware; found it at a craft show.

Now for a dose of reality. This is what my kitchen looked like earlier this morning when I was making a vegetable bean salad to bring to my mom's later, and also baking cookies for my son.
I'm delaying the dreaded clean-up!

Hope you all have a delightful and blessed Labor Day...
What are your plans for the day?