Tuesday, October 30, 2012

tweaking my living room bookcase

I added a few new things to the ladder bookcase in my living room.

After visiting my cousin's house a couple of weeks ago and seeing how he
had a pair of decorative salt and pepper shakers in a family room vignette,
I decided to try something similar with my own salt and pepper shakers.
I've had these vintage gold leaf shakers for years.
Instead of using them on the kitchen table, I took the tops off and am using them
as decor items in the bookshelf.  I stuck a faux leaf in one of the shakers,
 so that it looks like a little vase.

Mr. Owl is new - from Kirklands.

I also stuck a vintage suitcase underneath the bookcase since
that space looked rather empty.

I'm linking up with Tweak it Tuesday on Cozy Little House!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

kitchen wall design choices

I have this huge, looming, bare wall in my kitchen.
It's intimidating!
How to decorate? There's so many choices. 

At first, I was thinking I'd want to do a plate collage, such as this...


And then I saw this beautiful plate and mirror arrangement
by Michael on Inspired by Charm and was instantly smitten...

inspired by charm

 I also love this empty frame arrangement from Penny's Vintage Home...

 Penny's Vintage Home: English Rose Cornucopia

And this!
wallpaper gallery bhg

 Then, there's this lovely empty frame, plate, and mirror arrangement
from Country Living...

DIY Artwork

 What to do, what to do.
So, I've been playing with different arrangements on my basement floor
before I permanently hang stuff on the kitchen wall.
Because sometimes I get too excited and randomly start hanging things,
 then decide it doesn't look "just right". And I start moving things around,
leaving excess nail holes ~ which drives my husband (understandably) crazy!

Here's what I came up with today. Mind you, all the frames would be
painted white.
Not too sure about that round mirror on the bottom right.

Here's what the arrangement would look like if I hung it on the wall.
I realized after taking this photo and seeing it on my computer,
that the two large plates on top aren't going to work if I want to put
tchotchkes on the top shelf.

That's enough "playing" for now. Time to go pop some popcorn
and watch a movie with the hubby.
Hope you all are having a relaxing Sunday!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

my life in {feline} ruins

 Nothing like hearing a *crash* from another room.
I ran into the living room to find this:

 Hmm...empty plant pot.

Aha! There's the culprit (Monkey), along with the main evidence.

 After cleaning up all the dirt and replanting the poor plant,
I moved the plant and stool into my office for the time being.
Thought the plant would be safe. Silly me.


 And how has YOUR Saturday morning been?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

a before and not-so-happily after

This wooden table had been sitting in my garage for several years ~
simply serving as another place to stack all that extra stuff that somehow accumulates
in garages (and basements).
I put it out by the curb in the hopes that someone would take it,
but no such luck.

All of a sudden, a lightbulb went off in my head.
Why not paint it and use it in my kitchen?
I ran back out to the curb and hauled it back into the garage before 
someone changed their mind and snatched it up.

I sanded and painted and this is how it turned out.
Nothing too exciting ~ I simply used spray paint.
I am not one of those talented people who stains or gets fancy with chalk paint.
Looks OK and holds a lot of stuff, right?

Problem is ~ this is the only place in the kitchen where this table could fit.
It is simply too big and overwhelming for this space, I think.
I also don't like the black color of the table next to the oak cabinet.
So, I will be going back to square one...
Finding a new place for the table and putting the white stool
back in its place.

Wonder if the table will end up back in the garage? ;-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

breakfast is served

One thing I've been doing more of since I've been home full-time,
is baking and cooking. I've always loved to bake and cook, but sometimes didn't have
the time - or "gumption". (Love that word.)
I made these muffins yesterday morning and they were so delicious
with a cuppa coffee. Perfect for fall weather!

1 c. oats (quick-cooking or regular rolled)
1/2 c. milk (I used skim)
1 c. flour (I used King Arthur white whole-wheat)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. each salt & cinnamon
3/4 c. pure maple syrup
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 c. chopped pecans

Grease a 12- cup muffin cup. In a medium-sized bowl, combine oats & milk; let stand 5 min. In a large bowl, combine flour - cinnamon. Make a well in center of mixture & set aside. Stir syrup, butter & eggs into oat mixture. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold half of pecans into the batter. Spoon batter into muffin cups 2/3 full. (I found that the batter only filled 11 of the muffin cups.) Sprinkle tops with remaining pecans. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15 min.

My friend, Heidi ~ from Holland ~ shared this recipe on her blog for Crustless Zucchini Pie:

I made this recipe this morning for breakfast and it was delicious!
It'd also make a great light lunch or dinner.
The changes I made to Heidi's recipe though were to use Swiss cheese instead of Gouda
(because I had Swiss on-hand), and I used only 1/2 onion, as the onion could get
too overpowering in this small pie.

Happy cooking ~ and eating! What's been cooking in your home?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

one of my favorite things

I'm linking up with  Claudia from Mockingbird Hill Cottage 
as she asked us on Saturday to share one of our favorite things.

One of my favorite things are books.
I'm obviously an avid reader and from the pictures you'll see below,
a book collector.

These are my main (overflowing) bookshelves in the basement family room.

Little side note - my son, Tim painted the sneaker picture
below when he was in high school.

The console table behind the family room sofa holds more books,
as well as the basket until the table. 
(Wooden sculpture on top of the table and green pottery jar underneath the
table made by Tim.)

I use books in my decor and stack them wherever I have some space!
These books are in my bedroom bookcase headboard.

In my personal space/spare bedroom, books take up part of the TV stand...

and are stacked on the lower part of plant stands and tables.

I have one bookcase in the spare bedroom and it's filled with pretties 
and books.

More books in the living room...

I love using books as pedestals in vignettes.
(I didn't realize that the bookshelf full of cookbooks was
 in this picture when I was taking the photo - more books, but of a different sort!)

Vintage books and poetry books line the console table in the living room.

I rarely pay full-price for my books. 
Most of them come from library book sales, Goodwill,
paperbackswap.com, or purchased on half.com.

And I don't have a desire for an e-reader. I simply can't 
cozy up with an electronic device. To curl up on my overstuffed
red chair in the spare bedroom, holding one of my beloved books
in my hands, turning the pages and smelling the ink and paper,
letting the words float over me and carry me into a different place for awhile...
well, there's nothing like it in the world.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

tweaking my personal space

We have a spare bedroom that I have claimed as my personal space.
The circumstances why this is a spare bedroom aren't pretty.
It was my oldest son, Phil's bedroom. He passed away three years ago.
We cleaned out his room soon after he passed ~ and I can now say that I'm glad we did.
I think if we had left his room the way it was, it would've been harder as time went on.
For us, it was best that we did it while we were still numb.
Anyway, Phil's room (and that's what we still call it) was supposed to be
turned into a guest room, but we never did get a bed in this room.
Though I still plan to "some day". There isn't any hurry.
For now, it's a cozy space with a desk (I write and scrapbook there); bookcase
filled with books and pretties; a TV and a comfy red chair; and lots of plants.

I've only hung a few things on the walls, because I like to take my time
and wait until inspiration strikes me, or I find just the "right" thing.
So here's what the space looked like the other day.

And, here's what it looks like today.
I found the wire and bird hanger at Target.
The pictures hanging on the wire (from L to R) are me, when I was 8 years old
and a flower girl at my aunt's wedding; my youngest son with my mom's dog; 
my mom with my two sons just two months before Phil passed away; and
Phil at his high school graduation party.
The shadowbox was a wooden box that I got at Goodwill and spray-painted black.
I filled it with rubber stamps, miniature animals, seashells, and a couple of small photos.

This room is filled with sunlight, and I love spending time in here.
It still needs blinds and curtains, as well as a round rug for the wood floor.
 Oh ~ and that cute desk chair? A thrift shop find several years ago.
It was gold with ugly upholstery. I simply spray-painted it and recovered the seat.

Do you have your own personal space in which to dream and create?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

morning walk and news

I am so grateful that I now have the time for morning walks.
That I live in an area where there's still some open land.

This is conservation area just a stone's throw from my house ~
right off a road that gets a decent flow of traffic.

Walking gives you time to appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us ~
and clears your mind.
You see ~ almost two weeks ago, I finally left my job.
Yes, voluntarily. In today's scarce job market.
Some of you know that I worked three days/week in a government office.
I had been there for 6-1/2 years.

However, the stress of this job was making me sick ~
physically and mentally.
I had chronic migraines, IBS, and quite often was irritable,
exhausted, anxious, and lashed out at loved ones.
I had been talking about leaving this job for at least two years!
But it finally got to the point where I had to do something,
or I was going to break. The husband and I had a serious talk
about finances and decided that we'd probably be OK.
After all, we live pretty frugally.  There are some expenses
we've cut, and I'll talk about those at another time, in a new post.

 It is amazing how much better I feel already. I've only had one headache
since I've left my job (and that was from eating too much chocolate!)
and the IBS symptoms from stress and anxiety have nearly cleared.
I feel rested, at peace, have time to visit friends and family that I 
didn't get to see often, and time to work on projects around the house.

Oh ~
 and another good thing about living where there are still farmer's fields?
Free cornstalks and cat tails!
Good thing I didn't get shot by Farmer McGregor. ;-)