Friday, June 28, 2013

creating a plate wall in the living room

 Oh, how I love plate walls! I've admired so many in blogland and on Pinterest
over the past year. Back in May, I hung these two plates next to the mirror in
the entryway. An improvement, but not quite finished.

 Today I hung two more plates to the mix.

 The top plate and bottom plate were thrifted, the R plate is from Hobby
Lobby, and the blue plate from HomeGoods. Now I need to paint the base
of that boring lamp. ;-)

 What do you think of this arrangement, much better?

 Thank you so much for stopping by and paying me a visit.
 I'd really appreciate it if you left me a comment so I know you were here!

Joining the Friday fun at From the Farm Blog Hop.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

organizing the kitchen pantry

 Are you lucky enough to have a pantry in your kitchen? My kitchen doesn't
have a pantry, so I keep most of my dry goods in one main kitchen cabinet.
This is where I keep all my grains, pastas, spices, and some other
items such as peanut butter, honey, raw almonds (we eat some every day; 
other nuts are kept in the freezer), and dried fruit.

This is the cabinet before. Not too bad, but a little sloppy.

I started by clearing everything out of the cabinet and wiping down the shelves.
Then I threw away anything that was expired.

I like to keep grains and pastas in glass jars ~ it keeps the items fresher when
you can put the lid back on a jar instead of trying to close a box or bag. Ever
try to close a box of pasta when you didn't use the whole thing? I can't tell
you how many times I actually used tape to keep a box closed.
 I also like how you can easily see what you need when items are in glass 
containers. I cut the  cooking instruction label off the original bag and put it in
 the container with the grain or pasta.

Honey, maple syrup, and molasses are obviously sticky, so I use plastic
lids underneath these types of jarred items to catch the drips and prevent
the sticky stuff from getting onto the shelving.

I ran out of glass jars for some of the goods, but I'm always on the
lookout at thrift shops. I also reuse salsa jars or any other food that comes
in jar that is big enough to re-use for dried goods. I then group things together ~
grains, pastas, dried fruit, dried beans, and spices.

I think I have every spice known to man. I don't want to be wasting time 
searching for a particular spice when I'm cooking, so I organized these in
baskets according to how they're used. For example, one basket holds Italian
spices - oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, onion salt, garlic powder (though I mainly
use fresh garlic), and parsley. Another basket holds baking spices - cinnamon,
ginger, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves. How about a basket for salts and
peppers? I have a pepper grinder for coarser pepper and then a bottle of "regular",
fine-ground pepper. I have a little bottle of kosher salt, but I sometimes use Trader Joes
21 Seasoning Salute in my cooking, since it's a salt-free blend.

It's so easy to just pull a basket off the shelf and have all the spices you need
at your fingertips. Now I need to find my label maker and label these baskets!

And here's the after - much neater and more organized.

 Joining Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday
Come on over and see what all these talented ladies have been up to!


Monday, June 24, 2013

weekend treasures

 Good morning, friends! I hope you all had a good weekend. It's been hot
and humid here in northern Illinois, with lots of rain and thunderstorms. 

I was on the hunt at both Goodwill and Savers this weekend, though this
milk glass pieces is from the antique shop in Evanston where I got the
 butler's table back on the 14th. I have a small collection of milk glass and
couldn't resist this piece for a few dollars.

This coffee/teapot is one of my favorite finds from this weekend.
It's made by Taylor, Smith, Taylor and is the daylily pattern. I don't have any
 green in my kitchen and I don't have a separate dining room, so this beauty
 is going to my mom. It will go perfectly in her dining room.

 I like the versatility of this lace could go on a kitchen table, buffet,
dresser, or side table.

These beautiful red vases are from Crate and Barrel, made in Poland.
They're quite thick - as you can see from the rim - and heavy.

I have one of these French-style soldered ornaments (made by the English
artist, Sarah Lugg) hanging from my china cabinet.

I'm normally not into figurines OR angels, but there was something about this
little Lefton figurine that I thought was really precious.

I put it on Phil's memory shelf ~ which I'm going to clean up and rearrange this week.

More music to put on my computer and iPod...

A wooden sign for the laundry area. Now if I could only find one that said,
"Don't forget the clothes in the dryer."

Some women are into shoes; I'm more into purses. But I never pay full-price.
This one's a Franco Sarto.

 I also went to a library book sale this weekend and got seven novels,
a non-fiction book, and a cookbook. Hope your weekend was filled
with treasures of one kind or another, too!

Friday, June 21, 2013

first day of summer and it's all relative

 Happy first day of summer - my favorite season!
Just too bad the heat and mugginess brought thunderstorms today.
And that my neighbor's mulberry tree that we loathe is dropping tons of
mushy mulberries all over the side of our house, including the patio. And
the roof and gutters of the house. Unfortunately, this tree is monstrously
tall, so we can't reach the high branches to trim them back to the neighbor's
property line. I don't think we're going to have much of a choice but to
hire someone to come and trim this tree. This is the same neighbor that had
the rotting fence.

On to more positive things...yesterday, me and my mom took a long
drive out to the south side of Chicago to visit with some relatives that
we don't get to see too often. My mom's aunt - my great-aunt Sylvia - is
92 years old and now has severe dementia. I don't think she really knows
who I am, and she seems to sometimes recognize my mom. But what was
so heartwarming to see was how she truly knows and loves her younger
brother, my great-uncle Willie. Willie, his wife, and two daughters drove up
from the central part of Illinois to visit with Sylvia, as Sylvia was actually
asking for them recently.

Sylvia's son, my second cousin Greg, is one of the adored persons
in my life. We became very close when I was a teenager and lived
in Kentucky. Greg was going to university there, and he'd come and stay at
our house on the weekends. I didn't have my driver's license yet and since we
were pretty much stuck in no-man's land, weekends were pretty boring. Greg
would come to our house on Friday night, bearing his fantastic collection of
disco albums and a big bag of Doritoes - a junk treat that my mother rarely let us
 have. Greg would take me dancing to the disco in the closest decent-sized town,
 which was a 30-mile drive. We had the best heart-to-heart talks on these drives.
He was just so cool.

 Greg has the best design style. He really should be an interior designer; he's
that good. He has not only helped me with some of my color and decorating
choices, but now he's helping my mom re-do certain rooms in her house as well.
Greg lives with his mom (he's her caretaker) in a brick bungalow and had the
basement remodeled into a small apartment-like space for himself.  I love
his bedroom - it's masculine and neat and Greg really knows how to incorporate
modern with antiques. He has great taste in art, too.

Some more art pieces on his living room wall. I would've taken more pictures
of the living space, but Greg's basement recently had a flood (that must be hereditary,
too!) and so he hasn't completely put his living room back together yet.

It's hard to get good photos of anyone's bathroom space unless their bathroom
is ginormous, but you can see how Greg even incorporates prints
in his bathroom. I also love the bright blue walls with the black and white tile.

I would like to think that perhaps I got a little bit of my love for interior
design and the "talent" for it from my beloved cousin. 
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

penny for your thoughts

 I had a lovely visit with my blogger, friend Penny this afternoon.
She graciously invited me to her house for lunch, chat, and crafting ~
all on the beautiful back deck of her home. Penny has such a talent for
creating the most beautiful pots of flowers. I loved this fairy garden with the
creeping thyme.

These roses are stunning...

Look at this beautiful, creative display. Plants in a tote? Love it!

There's beauty all around her yard...

 We had a nice, light, healthy lunch of Boursin cheese and crackers,
fresh fruits and veggies, and Greek yogurt. All the food was arranged
just so on pretty platters ~ including these yummy desserts!

Penny is very crafty ~ and I'm not. She said we were going to do a
"little craft". I was hoping "little" was the key word there. She said we
were going to make lavender sachets. She had everything set out and all
I had to do was cut out the material and stuff it with polyester fiber and 
lavender buds. So far, so good. Until I got to the part where I had to do
a little sewing. Let's put it this attempts were pathetic and
Penny had to take over! And, she actually did so without laughing.

Here's the final product. Isn't it pretty? It smells so good, too.

If you're not familiar with Penny's blog - At Home in English Valley, go
pay this sweet, talented woman a visit!

Monday, June 17, 2013

weekend fulfillment

 Yesterday was about celebrating Dad.
My own father has been gone 14-1/2 years. He passed away at age 63 from
heart disease - artherosclerosis, to be exact. This picture of me and
my dad was taken around 1965. I showed the picture to Tim. He stared at it
for a minute and then said, "Dang, that's old!"

I wanted to celebrate my husband yesterday as a father. A lot of you know that
we have two boys - Phil and Tim. And that Phil passed away in Sept. 2009 at
the age of 21. Every day is hard, but I knew Father's Day would be especially
hard for Brian. It sounds cliche to say that he's "the most wonderful" husband
and father, but it's true. He is so devoted to his family and works incredibly hard
for us. He truly puts all our needs first and himself last.

 Since Brian had to work all day and we're not all into presents for Father's Day,
I thought I'd whip up a little feast. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, right?
Even Tim got a kick out of me posting the menu on the fridge. He said, "You're so cute,
mama." I set the table with a pretty tablecloth and a vase of peonies and daisies.
Sorry, forgot to take pictures of the table and food last night. 

 After filling our bellies, we relaxed on the patio with our reading material.
Brian said he had a really good day ~ and that's exactly what I wanted for him.

And that dang thrifting bug bit me again this weekend. Peskier than a mosquito, but
much more inviting. My usual Goodwill haunt had some good stuff ~ like these
Enzo Angiolini shoes. I only buy used shoes if they look like they're almost-new.

There must be something in my family, my mom, and my aunt all have
a plate addiction. I saw these gorgeous plates made by I. Godinger & Co.  
and had to snag a  couple of them. Where in the world I'm going to put them
 or how I'm going to use them, I don't know yet. The colors don't match my kitchen.

Now this sweet little blue and white pitcher goes perfectly in my kitchen. 
It's just a cheap one - made in Japan - but for 99 cents and matching my
 decor, I'm in!

Ooh...retro Mikasa Pastelle sugar and creamer! Love these.

Little vintage pressed flowers pictures that will be perfect in the fall...

 I love my coffee and have a few coffee pictures around my kitchen. Haven't decided
exactly where in the kitchen these will go yet, but I "play" with decor all the time, so
it will eventually be figured out.

I was thrilled to find this kitty doorstop! Our bedroom door hinges were squeaky so Brian
oiled them, but now the door closes on its own. I was grabbing a milk glass bowl that
holds some of my bracelets to hold the door open, but that didn't exactly look nice. 
The cat is purrfect. And, I can always use more terra cotta planters in my gardens.
Again, at 99 cents each, can't be beat.

 Hope your weekend was lovely and fulfilling.