Saturday, July 30, 2011

comings and goings...mostly goings

The month of JULY has been really busy with family get-togethers and weekend jaunts. It's just one of the many things I love about summer ~ the freedom and spontaneity of being out and about.

My Aunt Bunny (no, that's not her real name...her real name is Yvonne. She's had the nickname of Bunny since she was a little girl) and her husband, Uncle Roland had a family BBQ at the beginning of the month. Here's part of our crazy clan. Others were out of town.

Left, back: Bunny (looking wiped out ~ she has CFS and I think throwing a family party was too much); cousin Dale (Bunny's son) holding son, Harlan; Beth (Dale's wife) holding son, Archer; me (pink flowered shirt) with hubby, Brian behind me...Right, front: Uncle Roland (falling asleep?!) holding grandson, Matthew; Benjy (Roland's son) and his wife, Kathy.

One VERY pleasurable part of this family get-together was getting to hold - for hours! - my new baby cousin, Harlan. My hubby said I am glowing in this picture. Can you tell I love babies?!

In mid-July, Brian and I got together with my mom (orange shirt), Aunt Suzie (white shirt), and Uncle Jim (Suzie's husband). We went out to the boondocks where there's three little antique stores in a row. Just look at all those treasures to dig through! I ended up buying two tiny, red, leather-bound antique books, a 1970's rooster wall hanging, and a vintage yellow tray.

The Midwest is so beautiful in the summer. Just look at that view of the cornfields behind the antique stores.

 Brian's birthday was last Monday and we both had the day off work, so we spent it the day in one of our favorite getaway spots: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

The handsome Birthday Boy.

The sun was bright, the skies blue, the air not so humid...what a perfect day to sit on the patio of a restaurant right near the lake and enjoy a fresh, beautiful salad. This one with salmon was Brian's. Mine had grilled chicken and fresh berries on it, but I mixed it all up with the greens before I took the picture, so it wasn't really "pretty enough" to photograph. :-)

When we got home that evening, I gave Brian his birthday cake - a homemade zucchini-apple-walnut cake with cream cheese frosting. OK, so the frosting isn't "perfect" on the cake...but it sure tasted good!

Hope you all have been enjoying your summer as much as I have!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

organizing makes the world go round

Well, not really...

But it DOES make you feel better.

It was Martha Stewart who said, "Life is too complicated not to be orderly."  So, I heeded Martha's advice and tackled a few problem areas in my kitchen.

Take my kitchen junk drawer, for instance. OK, I know you've seen worse, but it could use some cleaning out.

Ahh, much better.

My cluttered food and spice pantry. 



(I'm starting to collect glass jars from spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. and use for storage containers.)

Embarrassed to show you my freezer, but here it is in all its glory...

Who even knew I had ice cream hidden in there?!

Martha would be proud.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

a visit to my gardens

Welcome to the gardens of Comfy House!

Where even chipmunks are on hand to greet you.

This area in front of our house is actually a drainage ditch. We filled it with lilies and some other flowers to make it pretty. I love when these bright orange lilies bloom in mid- summer. Wish they'd stay that way for the entire season.

The little front porch of Comfy House...

A neighbor gave me this wrought-iron table years ago. She was going to throw it away simply because it was bright blue and she didn't like it. All it needed was a makeover with spray paint. The wire rooster plant holder was found in a thrift shop and was an ugly gold. Paint to the rescue for the rooster, too!

Wooden crate full of potted begonias on the front step...(you can see it to the right in the full porch picture above).

Hydrangeas (and some potted petunias) line the front walkway. The iron pieces leaning against the side of the house were part of a trellis we once had that finally broke. I was hoping to eventually plant some kind of climbing vine that would climb up these pieces, but never found the right plants. Last week, I found little white lights at Target, and hubby wound them around the iron piece on the right. I need to buy another box of these lights so we can wind them around the other iron piece. It looks really pretty lit up at night.

Here's the walkway on the south side of the house that leads to the patio. The old, ugly privacy fence is not ours - it belongs to our neighbor. It is falling over and rotting and she refuses to replace it. Also, you might be able to see how stained our patio is. That's from thousands of mulberries dropping from her tree and rotting all over our patio and walkway. It's incredibly aggravating (I sweep up tons of rotting mulberries every day) and she won't trim the tree. We hired someone to trim it (it's a gigantic tree) back to her property line about five years ago. We'll have it done again next year. 

You also might be able to tell that the outdoor rug is torn up in the back. My son was mowing the yard the other day and because he "wasn't thinking", he left the lawn mower running while he crossed from the back yard into the front yard. Yes, he "mowed" the rug. 


The old window was salvaged from a home remodel in my neighborhood...

Come on into the back yard. Here's the butterfly garden, though the butterfly bushes, Purple Coneflower, and Black-Eyed Susans haven't bloomed yet.

If you'd like to cook with some fresh herbs, I have lavender, oregano, basil, cilantro, chocolate mint, rosemary, and lemon balm in my herb garden.

This is just a circular area in the back yard that hubby dug out last year. The piece in the middle is actually a huge candle stick, but I'm using it as a base for a bird bath. I've been looking for a large, shallow plant saucer to use as the top of the bird bath - either plastic or terra cotta - and would you believe I can't find one? I've been to Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend - thanks for visiting and  stay cool! 

PS - I wasn't one of the lucky winners in the Vintage Pearl giveaway. :-(

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the vintage pearl giveaway!

The Vintage Pearl is one of my favorite places to order hand-stamped, sterling silver jewelry. And through TOMORROW ONLY - they're having a giveaway! Three lucky winners will each receive a $75 gift certificate.

If I were one of the winners (fingers crossed), I would choose this beautiful bracelet:

I already have one of their necklaces and a pearl ring - and I love both items. over to The Vintage Pearl and enter the giveaway! Who knows, maybe you or I will be one of the lucky winners!

Monday, July 4, 2011

thrifting weekend with my mom

Last weekend, me and my lovely mom went antiquing and thrifting out in her neck of the woods. Take a look at this lovely shop we found...

Vintage watering cans and pails...

I loved this patio set, but it was a little pricey. And I didn't like the material used in the upholstery. I have no problem changing out seat cushions, but the material was also used in the back rest.

We loved this adorable hanging chicken basket, but it was too big for Mom's kitchen.

So much stuff to explore!

Well, we didn't find anything in that antique mall, so of course I had to hit Goodwill on the way home! I'm drawn to small pieces of art, especially if they're old...

I'm now using this unique basket in my bathroom to hold cotton balls and some lotions...

I don't normally collect teacups and saucers, but this one was SO beautiful. It's hand-painted, Mikado, Japan. I'm using it on my bedroom nightstand to hold some bracelets.

Love blue and white dishes and kitchen pieces. This beautiful pitcher is from Portugal and is hand-painted and numbered.

I know this little shelf isn't exactly pretty the way it is, but I'm going to paint it (probably green) and use it in the guest room (in progress).

This vase is much prettier in person. It's very thick and heavy. I'm going to use it outside on the patio table to display bunches of summer flowers.

Bonus! It was brand-new and retailed for $10. Score for 99 cents!

Cute little tin basket which is now hanging outside in a display on the wooden privacy fence.

Love the way the pink flowers "stand out" on this votive candle holder...

How do you like this sweater? What a great find - it's made by Ava - which retails for an average of $150! My price? 

Books, books, and more books...what I need like a hole in the head.

Blessings, Melanie