Wednesday, January 30, 2013

library nook

 Last month, I showed you the library area in my basement.
It merely consisted of overflowing bookcases and a rug.
I mentioned that I needed a small table and a couple of chairs in that rug space.

 No money spent - I went shopping in my own house! I remembered we had our "old"
 kitchen table and chairs stored away in the unfinished part of the basement,
 so I had Brian dig them out. 
I dusted them off - and voila! I think this looks much better.
I also added a lamp on top of one of the bookcases to cozy the space up and provide
more lighting if we want to play games down here or look at books.
The chairs still need cushions though; will look around for those.

See the white wainscoting on the left where there's a space blocked by a drawing?
That space is actually a built-in fish tank. When we moved into this house 22 years ago,
the previous owner had saltwater fish in the tank. We had no idea how to take care of them
and he left no instructions, so the fish died. We've never used the tank for anything since then!
I suppose I should put on my creative thinking cap and maybe come up with something
like an artificial terrarium or something. 
Any ideas?

Monday, January 28, 2013

love is all you need

I've always liked Valentine's Day.

Probably because it's a fun holiday with no expectations.
And the main decorating colors - red and pink - are bright and cheery.
And who doesn't love hearts?

The only room I add a touch of Valentine's Day decor to is my kitchen.
I dressed up the china cabinet glass with some vintage cards
and used red and white decor inside.

 The decorative bird cage hanging in the kitchen window is the perfect
place to hang ornaments - for any season or holiday.
And this is really weird... I just now noticed from this photo that the bird cage itself
 has heart shapes - one at the top and three in a row at the bottom.
And the leaves on the plant are heart-shaped, too.
Enter Twilight Zone music...

Love begins at home and it is not how much we do...but how much love we put into that action.
(Mother Teresa)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

a little getaway ~ and a new piece of furniture

 Just got home last night from an overnight getaway a couple of hours north 
in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We stayed at The Washington House Inn ~ a lovely, historic
building that is now a B&B.

We got up there late Thursday afternoon and basically hibernated in our
room until the next morning. The weather is really cruddy (read: cold, gray, snowy)
and just the thought of having to dress up a bit, then bundle up just to go out 
somewhere for dinner, didn't appeal to us. So we brought our own snacks with us
and had a simple dinner in our pajamas! We brought chicken salad, pub cheese, crackers,
cut-up veggies, nuts...and little bottles of wine!

Truth be told, I got a little bored. I can only take so much lounging in bed, watching TV,
reading, web surfing, and snacking ~ before I start getting restless. I told Brian that I felt I should be getting up and doing something...getting the laundry out of the dryer or unloading the dishwasher!
I even missed my kitties. I'm such a homebody.

Yesterday morning, I did enjoy a nice whirlpool bath and the breakfast the inn
provided was delicious...fresh fruit, homemade muffins and pumpkin bread,
yogurt, cereal, granola, bagels, and a cheese and sausage strata.
Cedarburg has wonderful little stores, coffee shops, and a winery but again,
the weather was so cruddy that we didn't feel like walking everywhere. We went to
a few shops and stopped for coffee (a hot mocha with Irish cream for me!) and tea (for Brian),
but that was it. We were too full from breakfast to go out to lunch.
I just had to take a picture of this hysterical sign at one of the shops!

 One of the shops we went into was a furniture consignment shop. Brian was actually
the one who spied this beauty right away and said, "This would be perfect for the end of
our hallway!" I agreed, but the price was a little high. The store clerk saw us looking at this
piece of furniture and told us he could bring the price down since it had been sitting there almost
two months. We asked how much and we were pleased with the final price, and it actually
fit into the back seat of our little Corolla.

Brian was right - the table fit perfectly at the end of the hallway and I love
the character in this piece. I've been looking for a gold sunburst mirror
to put on the red wall for awhile, but they're either too big or too expensive.
I've had my eye on one from Pier 1 Imports but it's been out of stock since
before Christmas. I went online today and supposedly the store by me has it back
in stock. I'm going to run up there either later today or tomorrow to see if that's true! 
(Crossing my fingers.)

We still had much of the day ahead of us and were wondering what to do,
when Brian suggested we stop at the Public Market in Milwaukee on the way home.
It's a really cool place with a lot of food vendors, a fresh seafood market, and a wine bar.
We picked up a couple of fresh, organic sandwiches at Green Market and sat in the wine
bar. I tried a glass of Grenache (Spain) wine, which I'd never had before. Delicious!
I wanted a bottle of it to bring home. Good thing it was only $10. Not bad for a good bottle of wine.

 Even though it's good to get away once in awhile, there's really
no place like home, is there? Any other homebodies out there?

Linking up to Mockingbird Hill Cottage - A Favorite Thing and
Sunny Simple Sunday Linky Party 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

convenient and simple

 This is such a simple tip, I wonder why I didn't think of it earlier?

I was using the inside of a couple of the kitchen cabinet doors to post cooking tips
and a short list of important (police non-emergency, doctors) phone numbers.
  Handy, but a little messy.

While browsing at Hobby Lobby yesterday, I found a large piece of cork board.
It came with adhesive squares and was only $4.99 - and I had a 40% off coupon -
so it was only $2.99!

I put the adhesive squares on the back of the cork board and hung it on
the inside of the cabinet. Then I tacked some of my papers on the cork board.
Looks so much neater than taping random papers to the inside of the door.

 Thanks for visiting ~ and happy organizing!

Monday, January 21, 2013

when it's too cold to go out

 When it's 5 degrees F. and the wind chill is below zero,
I stay indoors.
I really needed to make a dreaded Wal-Mart run, but I'm putting that off.

So, I started a project today. Organizing my huge pile of cut-out recipes.
I cleared the kitchen table to use as my work space.
I took manila envelopes and wrote a category on each one...appetizers,
brownies, cookies, muffins, cakes, breads, chicken, pork, beef, vegetarian, rice,
potatoes, salads, fish, veggies.

 And I went through each and every recipe and got them into the appropriate piles,
and then stuffed the envelopes.
I threw out a lot of recipes, too. And I still have too many.

Are you working on any projects around the house?
This is just one of several for me. But it's a dent. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

the four of us


This family photo collage has hung in our hallway for years.

It's extra special to me now because our family will never be the same.
It's only three of us now, instead of four.

God blessed me and Brian with two sons - Philip in 1988 and Timothy in 1990.
This photo was taken in April 1993 when we were vacationing in Cancun.
It was our first "real" family vacation. My mom had a condo there, so we were
able to have free accommodations.

And this photo was taken on Thanksgiving of 2007. Or 2008. I can't remember the exact date.
 I love seeing how both the boys went through their long hair phase. 
That's Phil beside me in the black t-shirt and Tim in the striped shirt.

 This last picture was taken a long time ago - around 1998. Phil would've been 10 and Tim, 7-1/2.
We were at our friend's annual Fall Day party. Wow, was my hair thick and curly!
The four of us were wearing matching sweatshirts from Brian's work. Sorry I had to put
stars over the logos. I just don't think it's a good idea to put too much private info out
there on the internet.

Those family times when the four of us were together were happier times.
But the memories and photos are all we have left, as Phil's life ended in September of 2009.

I'm not sure how to end this post. I could say something that everyone already knows...
"Tell your family and friends that you love them". "Life is too short". "Count your blessings".
Yes, yes, and yes.
But, it doesn't sound good enough. So, I'll do what I sometimes do when my own words
fail me. I'll use someone else's words:

When You Love a Child - Reba McEntire
And year after year
Pictures fill page after page
They never really grow up
Still your baby at any age
And the first time you hold 'em
It's like you feel God's smile
What a smile
When you have a child

You pray that phone call never comes
And if God forbid
How would you live
How could you go on
And on and on and on

And year after year
Close the chapter and turn the page
Blue ribbons and losing seasons
Flipping tassles on the stage
Oh but you don't need a photograph
You've got at least a million
Pictures of that smile
When you close your eyes
When you love a child
Ohh when you love a child

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

thrifting treasures ~ part two

This is a picture-heavy post ~ you've been forewarned!
I've really been on a thrifting roll lately.
And I like to sometimes show not only what I found, but where I'm using those finds, too.
So settle in with your feet up and your beverage of choice - I'm drinking Yogi Green Tea Kambucha - my new favorite.

It was hard to photograph this glass bird - he looks more like a penguin
in the photo! He's much more handsome in person.

 He now nests happily on a shelf in my office, along with that pretty 
little floral oil painting I found the other day ~ which was featured here: 

Thought this was a cute now holds an assortment of teas on the kitchen counter.

 Even the side of the box is cute...

Another pretty little painting...

 which I used in grouping on the kitchen wall. And instead of putting more nail holes in the
wall, I used those trusty 3M Command strips.

When I stand back and look at the wall, it seems to me that it now needs some kind of
horizontal something-or-other to top off the grouping. Maybe a white ornamental piece?

I was thrilled when I found these sterling silver candlesticks!
Only $4.99 each. They'll be so pretty and shiny when I remove the tarnish.

 Here's the original price!

 I bought a set of six of these gorgeous Lefton dishes.
They're for my mom. Not sure whether she's going to keep them or try to sell them on eBay.
If I had a dining room (I only have an eat-in kitchen), I'd be keeping these lovelies.

The sterling silver coyote earrings are for a friend of mine, as she loves
jewelry like this. The funky pin is not for me to wear, but I could picture her on
a bulletin/inspiration board or pinned somewhere fun...

like on this vintage fan.

When I came home with this big basket and set it on the kitchen counter,
Monkey immediately jumped into it and had to investigate!
When I was carrying this basket out from Goodwill to my car, two women
in the parking lot commented on it. "Ooh, I want that basket!" And, "Someone found a great basket!" 

Household stuff...a two-slice toaster (which will make my son happy - we only had a four-slice
toaster which was too big to keep on the counter, so every time he wanted toast or waffles, he'd
have to drag the toaster out from storage, which wasn't exactly convenient); a Chef'n salad Emulstir (I make our own salad dressing and just kept it in a jar, but we'd have to shake the jar or mix
the dressing with a spoon every time we'd use it, which got messy); an onion chopper (was so happy
to find this, as my mini food processor broke a little while ago); and kind of out of place here...a lime green vase to go in my living room.

So here's the lime green vase - on the hanging window ledge display. I like how it picks
up the green in the picture above it.

Aren't these Swedish candlesticks beautiful? Found them for 99 cents each and the
candles for 49 cents. 

 Tchotchkes...loving the vintage bud vase (guessing that's what it is; I was drawn to the hand);
a little trinket box with lid; and the cutest little dish with a cat on it. I know I've seen this dish
online before and I'm thinking it was from Anthropologie, but I can't find it online now.
Anyone recognize it?

 Speaking of that little trinket box with lid, I am hoping someone can help me with this.
What exactly IS this thing? It has a slot in the side. I'm wondering why.

The bottom is marked Stowell.

Woo-hoo, another stack of books!

Oops, more books! Yarn Harlot is for my same friend that is getting the 
coyote earrings, as she's a knitter - and a reader.

Cute 99 cent bracelets for a friend's little girl, and a couple of $1.99 necklaces.
Not too sure about the beaded one on the right - it's not like anything I normally wear.
I'll try it when I'm wearing a plain black or blue shirt and if I don't like it, one of
my aunts who likes bold jewelry will be getting a little prezzie.

Pretty pink and silver bracelet. Just needs a little cleaning.

14k gold hummingbird earrings for a friend who adores hummingbirds and delicate earrings...

 Whew, that does it for now! I also found a few shirts for myself and a red Tommy Hilfiger sweater for my husband, but I didn't take pictures of those things.

 I would tell you that I'm going to stay away from
thrift stores for awhile, but a friend of mine asked me to go to Goodwill and
Savers with her next Monday. Do you think I said no? ;-)