Thursday, March 28, 2013

lots of tweaking going on

 What a beautiful day we finally had here. The sun was shining brightly
and temps were in the high 40's. May not seem like a big deal to a lot of you,
but these were the warmest temperatures we've seen here in a long time.
The snow pile in my tiny front yard is finally diminishing.

 When I walked into the back yard and looked at my lilac bush, I was so
surprised - and excited - to see new buds forming already!

I had windows open to let in fresh air and started on my spring cleaning.
I also played with some new vignettes, including this little centerpiece 
on the kitchen table.

 My gallery wall is finally complete! 

I added these two trays to another wall in my kitchen, but I'm not digging it. You know
how you put something together - a wall hanging or vignette and you just know when
it's right? Well, if you have to stand there and stare at it and think, "Does this look
good?" And you keep going back to look at it because you're not sure,
then then the logical answer is that it's not working.

Yep, I think there's too much going on here.
Trays will be coming down tomorrow!

 I found this cute, spring-colored pillow at Target the other day.
I realized when I got home and put the pillow on my bed, that the colors were
almost the same as the quilt I had in the office. So I folded the quilt and
put it at the end of the bed. And I'm keeping it real here ~ you can see in
this picture that I need new blue pillowcases. Those faded marks are from
one night when I borrowed my son's prescription acne gel to put on a couple
of i'm-too-old-for-this-crap pimples that had sprung up. Little did I know that
this product would rub off my face onto the pillowcase and "bleach" it.

This shelf in its former life was cream-colored with a pink flower.
It got a new paint job today, though I think I may distress it a little with
sandpaper. I have this hanging on my bathroom wall.

I did some tweaking in the living room too, but I'll wait until next week
to show you that room, as I'm waiting until the new curtains that I got
at IKEA are back from the tailor. They're being hemmed and I can pick
them up on Saturday. I can't wait - I think they'll really add a lot of needed
softness and warmth to the living room.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

busy weekdays and quiet weekends

This week seemed to pass by in a blur. I was out and about just about every day.
One of those days was spent thrifting with Penny. We met at Goodwill and shopped
and chatted our whole way through the store. Penny spied a nice collection of rubber
stamps and scrapbook papers from Stampin' Up, so I bought some of those things.
I collect small white pitchers and only found one, but Penny found two more for
me. Thrifting is much more fun with a friend! 

I guess shopping with friends was really on my agenda this past week, because
 another day was spent at IKEA. I finally found curtains for my living room!
 I just have to have them hemmed. Can't do it myself - one domestic thing
 I don't do is sew. Confession: I can't even sew on a button!
And then another day was spent at an outlet mall with two of my sisters-in-law.
I don't have any desire to shop these places, but it was my sister-in-law's 
birthday and that's where she wanted to go. All I bought was some Goldfish
crackers for Tim at the Pepperidge Farm outlet and a hoodie for Brian at Old Navy.

I was more than happy to stay at home on Saturday and get caught up on
housework and do some comfort food cooking. I had a taste for split pea soup
and had it bubbling on the stove, when all of a sudden it hit me: I had used lentils,
not split peas! Brian and I always tease each other when we have a slip-up...
"That's it, I'm checking you into the Alzheimer's ward."

 To go with the soup, I made these wonderful corn muffins posted by Jane of
Blondie's Journal. They have a hint of rosemary in them and cheddar cheese
in the middle. They're so delicious, I was even eating them for breakfast.
You can find the recipe in Jane's post here: Cheese-Centered Corn Muffins

Today was another cold, blustery day with snow flurries. Seems like it will never end.
I was at church this morning and out in the parking lot while talking to a friend,
I saw two robins. My first sighting this spring! I was so excited that I interrupted
my friend and started squealing, "Robins, robins!" I apologized and told her that
I just get so excited when I see the first signs of spring, such as the lilies poking
their green stems out of the ground, and then spying the robins. It renews my
sense of hope and promise every year.

An afternoon nap was on the agenda today, as well as some reading (just started
Melanie Benjamin's new book, The Aviator's Wife), laundry, and enjoying a few
rounds of Rummikub with Brian this evening. Peaceful and lovely.

Linking up with Sunny Simple Sunday

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

i won!

A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway from A Farmgirl's Dabbles,
 sponsored by Land O' Lakes.  This awesome giveaway consisted of
 a Le Creuset pan, beautiful bowls and other kitchen goodies from
 Anthropologie (as well as free coupons for Land O'Lakes butter
and Saute Express).

When Brenda emailed me to tell me that I had won the giveaway, I nearly fell
off my chair! I have entered plenty of blogger giveaways, but this was the first
time I've won.

"This giveaway is now closed.
Congrats to Melanie Riley, the winner of this prize.
Thank you to everyone who entered!"

I have the butter dish displayed on a shelf in my kitchen.

The shelf is part of the gallery wall that I've been working on forever.
I'm still looking for that "just right" piece for the center of the large frame
on the top right. Then I'm done. I think.

As for the measuring spoons, heck, I think they're too pretty to use!
So I hung them from the bird cage in front of the kitchen window.

Using the large bowl to hold potatoes...

 Have you ever won a blogging giveaway?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

midwest bloggers meet-up

 About twenty-five of us Midwest (and a couple from KY, too!) bloggers met
 up yesterday at Room 363 in Naperville, IL.

The lovely and sweet Jen Rizzo (standing) organized the meet-up. We went
 around the room introducing ourselves, then milled around the store for a couple of
hours ~ shopping, talking, and enjoying a continental breakfast.

I have no problem introducing myself to others. But if it requires any more than 
that, especially in front of a group, I almost freeze with fear. I don't know what
to say and gibberish seems to tumble from my mouth. We were supposed to
tell a fun fact about ourselves; something that would be a surprise. I couldn't
think of a darn thing off the top of my head! Everyone else had such great and
interesting things: Teresa used to be a clown; Barb has a glamper; Peggy is a 
military wife and has lived all over the place, including Alaska. KariAnne even
chased a robber out of K-Mart! I think what came out of my mouth was something
ridiculous like, "I can't think of a surprising fact about myself. I'm pretty much 'what 
you see is what you get.' " Oy. On the way home and even while lying in bed last night,
I kept trying to think of something that I could've told them. Isn't that terrible? So
here's what I came up with:
  • I've been writing poetry since I was 12 years old.
  • I used to have rats as pets.
  • I like to play tricks on telemarketers when they call (disguising my voice as a foreigner; trying to order a pizza; playing music for them).
  • I wish I lived on lots of land so I could have a horse, a donkey, a couple of sheep and goats, and chickens.
  • And KariAnne has nothing on me....I once chased a drunk guy down the street in Mexico because he stole my 7-year old son's Happy Meal toy out of his hand!

Anyway, the store we met in - Room 363 - was filled with gorgeous displays.
A delight for the senses anywhere you turned.

This cabinet would be perfect in my bedroom. I didn't dare look at the price!

The one thing I did treat myself to from Room 363 was this Tru Blooms perfume.
I'm very picky about perfume, especially since I have allergies. It can't
be too heavy or overly sweet. This one is perfect for me - light notes of rose,
 lavender, white oriental lily, and violet.

There are some really talented and generous bloggers out there.
Jen passed out tote bags full of little gifts from each other...there was
nail polish, home baked treats, a painted Easter canvas, this gorgeous necklace...

a handmade shamrock...

and even the cutest little pot with wheat grass seed that we can plant!

After we got "kicked out" of Room 363 (Mark, the owner was gracious enough
to let all us women descend upon his store for a few hours), we all went
our separate ways for lunch and shopping. I went out to lunch with none other
than Penny from At Home in English Valley (it was SO wonderful to finally
meet Penny in person ~ if you remember, we were supposed to meet for
thrifting last week and I had to cancel because of my sister-in-law's passing),

 On the way home, I just had to quickly stop at Savers. I found this
great mama hen and chick butter dish (Otagiri, Japan). Think she's
happy up on the fridge with a couple of roosters?!

Friday, March 15, 2013

new pretties, silly cats, silly me & big day

 I didn't find anything at TJ Maxx the other day when I went hunting for
an entrance rug, a pillow for the little black chair, and some possible art
work for the bathrooms. So I tried Target and there I found the
perfect size and color pillow. It's harder than you think to find tiny
 pillows. And it was on sale, too. Hooray!
Still no rug and art work for the bathrooms, but that's OK.
I'm hoping to hit IKEA soon, so maybe I'll have luck there.

I also had to run into Michaels for some craft items and I found these pretty 
little vases on sale for only $1 each. Not sure exactly where I'm going to put
them yet, but I'm thinking they'll look pretty on the floating shelves in the main
bathroom, each with a flower in them.

And then in the $1.50 bin at Michaels, I found these bright blue decorative
balls. They had ribbon attached to them so that you could use them as some
sort of ornament, but I just cut the ribbon off. I thought they added a nice pop
of color to all the beige going on in this vase.

Also, in the $1.50 bin ~ brightly-colored mini picture frames. I just need
to put pictures in them! 

 And a few of my latest thrifting treasures ~ an enamel pot, sweet
little bucket, and...

a vintage kitty.

Speaking of kitties, Zippo was zonked out on the blanket on the couch the other 
night. Monkey wanted to lie on the blanket too, so he smooshed his body
against Zippo's. I guess Zippo got tired of being smooshed and simply 
put his legs up on Monkey's back. I don't know what Monkey thought about
that, but Zippo certainly looks comfortable!

I know those of you in the warmer states (and countries) have trees and
 flowers in bloom already, but here in northern Illinois, the weather is still
 pretty nasty. The temps are in the 30's with lots of rain and some snow
 flurries. So I was quite excited when I went out to the mailbox yesterday
 and saw green shoots (tiger lilies) poking out of the dead leaf and 
rock-filled ditch in front of our house.  If my neighbors saw and heard
 me, they probably thought I was crazy. I grabbed my cell phone and called
 my husband and animatedly told him the news. Then I ran into the house
 to get my camera and took pictures of the ditch. :-)

Well, tomorrow's the big day. The Midwest Bloggers Meet-Up.
I'm excited, but a little nervous, too. And I have to get up at 6:00 a.m.
because I have a long drive. That's a super early hour for me, as I'm
a night owl. I'm rarely in bed before midnight. I've been baking cookies
all day for the swag bags. Now I have to go package them up. I'll
be sure to take lots of pictures tomorrow. See you on Sunday!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

plan b ~ life

 Life doesn't always go as planned.

When the phone rang at almost midnight on Monday, I knew it was bad news.
No one calls that late unless something is wrong.
In this case, it was the news that one of my sisters-in-law had passed away.
Granted, she had been very ill the past few years with complications from diabetes.
But still.

 My sister-in-law was a very private person and didn't want a wake or any kind of
memorial service, so of course, we are respecting her wishes.

So, I had to cancel my plans with meeting Jane from Blondie's Journal and 
Penny from At Home in English Valley this week. Of course, they were very
understanding. We will meet another time.

It's been quiet here, just puttering around the house, running a few needed errands,
and dealing with the stress of making plans for cremation with Brian's family.

Keeping busy ~ even just puttering, rearranging, and creating ~ is good for the
soul. I took some pretty dishes and glued them to simple candlesticks. You could
use these in so many ways: in the bathroom to hold soap or cotton balls; by the
kitchen sink to hold a sponge; in a display on the kitchen table to hold candles;
or, in this case, on a dresser top to hold jewelry.

A simple rearranging ~ took the crocheted aqua garland (bought from
 Claudia of Mockingbird Hill Cottage's etsy shop) that I had hanging
across the ladder bookcase in the living room, and moved it to the dresser
in my office. Love it here!

I need to get out of the house now and get some fresh air and sunshine ~
yay for sunshine! After a few cloudy days and sad news, it's good to see the sun.
I'm heading up to TJ Maxx to see if I can find a rug for the front entrance,
a small blue pillow for a chair, and possibly some art work for both the bathrooms.

Linking the plated jewelry holders over at Cozy Little House.

Monday, March 11, 2013

dreary monday ~ but what i have to look forward to

 This is the view outside my living room window right now.

Nevermind my neighbor's dilapidated, eyesore-of-a-garage. 
I'm talking the gray skies and endless rain. Seems like we're either getting
socked by snow or rain. Can't seem to catch a (sunny) break.

I have zilch motivation to get anything done in this kind of weather.
I did manage to read a few magazines in my huge pile. Yeah, I kinda
have a magazine and book addiction. What can I say ~ I love to read! 

 Had to pick up some cheery yellow flowers when I was at Trader Joes the other day.
Still amazes me that you can get a huge bunch for only $3.99. There was enough
to put in three spots in my house. One small bunch in the kitchen...

a centerpiece for the kitchen table...

and another bunch for the side table in the living room.

Despite the gloomy weather, I have a huge dose of cheer coming my way.
 Tomorrow, I'm meeting Jane from Blondie's Journal for lunch. Think we'll stop talking
long enough to actually eat our food? I'm sure the time will fly by.
Thursday, I'm meeting Penny from At Home in English Valley for a mutual
 favorite activity ~ thrifting!
And then on Saturday, I'm meeting 24 other bloggers at The 4th Annual
Midwest Meet-up. Not only will locals from the Chicago suburbs be coming,
 but bloggers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan, too.
 And  Karianne from Thistlewood Farms and Heather from At the Picket Fence
   are coming all the way from Kentucky! gone with you, gray skies and rain. I'm kicking your dreary butt with 
a sunshiny dose of friendship.