Saturday, August 31, 2013

found treasures

What's more fun than thrifting? Thrifting with friends! Last Tuesday, I was out with
a friend and we stopped at Savers. I found this cool, retro dish that matched my living
 room and thought would be perfect when switching out some of my white accessories
 for darker colors for the fall and (sob) winter.

 Then last Thursday, I met Penny from At Home in English Valley and my mom
at our favorite Goodwill store. My mom and Penny had never met before. The 
three of us had a wonderful time hunting for treasures. I knew Mom and Penny
 would instantly like each other - they're both such sweet ladies!

I found this owl to add to my collection. I can't wait to put up my owl collection
on my Billy bookcases when we finally get them.

 I love the uniqueness of this half blue, half green vase. It's a thick, heavy
glass, too. It has an artist's signature on the bottom but I can't make it out.

These darling nesting dolls had the original price tag of $20 on the bottom.
I liked them because of the cats!

Was excited to find four of these transferware plates which will be perfect for a
fall table. The pattern is Wellesley, made by Wood & Sons, England.

 My "best" find, I think was this basket-purse hand-signed by Caro-Nan. At first I thought
 it was a little picnic basket, but then I saw that the inside was lined. I absolutely love
 the hand-painted scene on the top. I realized something was missing from the top
part - a band of material or leather, as you can see the residual glue, but that didn't
bother me. I knew I could either get the glue off or glue on a new piece of material
 or leather. I found out when I got home and googled  Caro-Nan basket purses, 
that they were popular in the 60's and 70's. They now sell on eBay for $40 -
 $100, depending on the type and what condition they're in. 
I only paid $3.99 for mine. :-)

 Be sure and stop by Penny's blog to read about the treasures she found, too!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

bookcase decision

 Our basement - which serves as our family room flooded back in April and ruined
 all my bookcases. I had to load most of my books (hundreds!) in plastic storage
 bins and store them in the basement. Granted, I have a lot of other books upstairs
in every room but the bathroom...and you will notice books piled on just about
 every available surface in the following photos, but still. I miss my library!

The blank wall space to the left is where the new bookcases will go.
I've been wanting the Billy bookcases from IKEA. But even bookcases from
IKEA add up, money-wise. We just haven't been able to swing it. Until now.
We got a VISA gift card in the mail from AT&T. Long story, but it had to do with
cable issues. And since we were long-time customers with good credit, they
sent us a present - which is going to help buy my bookcases!

Now here's where I need your help. As you'll notice, the basement has white
wainscoting, an off-white couch, rug, and coffee table top, but all the accessories,
chairs, and tables are black. So what do you think would look best - black
bookcases or white? Brian thinks black - but I think with all the other black
furniture, that it might look Halloween-ish with the orange walls! On the other hand,
there's no white furniture down here. So would the white bookcases "go"?

 Black? Or white?

 (Source: Billy bookcases)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

HELP ~ no pictures!! **UPDATE**

Update on missing pictures:
Thanks to Brenda from Cozy Little House ~ I have my pictures back! Well, most of them.
Brenda was kind enough to take the time to research why this might be happening and
from the links she sent me, a lightbulb went off. Dummy me was fooling around with google+
last night and when I saw that my photos were public, I changed the settings to "me only",
not realizing that it would change all the photos on my blog, as well! I just put them all
back on public. There are still some that are missing for whatever reason, so now
I'm going through those posts and removing the blank boxes and re-uploading all
the pics. What a pain. But, lesson learned!


 Yes, I'm shouting that I need help. I'm in a panic. I can't see any of the photos on
my blog - just big, blank boxes. I thought maybe it was my browser (Firefox), so I had
my hubby look at my blog at work, as he uses IE there. No luck with that browser either.

Has anyone else ever had this happen to your blog? And, if so, what did you do?

Many, many thanks for any help out there!

Monday, August 26, 2013

what i'm into {august edition}

 I first read of this idea, "What I'm Into" for a blog post from Deanna's blog,  
Tea With Dee - and loved it! I believe the originator behind this idea is Leigh 
from Hopeful Leigh. What a great way to learn more about the person behind the blog,
 plus catch up a bit on what's been going on in their life for the month.

So even though it's not really the end of August, I figured the 26th was close enough.

Celebrations ~ We had two celebrations this month, but combined them into one party - Tim's going away to university and my birthday. You can read about the party here.

Around My Home ~ Always working on a project or two (or more)...I'm painting a nightstand; weeding through a ton of cut-out recipes and putting lots of them in the recyling bin; gathering household items and seldom-worn summer clothes to donate; last week made extra food and baked goodies to bring to Tim's new house yesterday (it was so good to see my "baby"!); masking off Tim's room so we can start priming the walls; working on a mini scrapbook for a friend's birthday; and maintaining all my outdoor plants and flowers, especially now that the heat and humidity have hit us hard.

Reading (Books, Magazines, Blogs) ~ Just finishing up the short novel, So Long, See You Tomorrow. You can follow me on Goodreads! I also have a stack of magazines I've been going through. I was almost to the end of the stack and picked up 5 more magazines at Savers today. I got all 5 of them for under $1. 

When I was in Barnes and Noble last week and was looking through magazines, I was drawn to these photos:

I love gallery walls, and this one is no exception...

 Always looking for ideas to decorate the inside of my fireplace in the warmer months...

I've always loved cottage decorating, but recently I'm finding myself drawn to 
mid-century modern. Love this collection of glassware...

If you're not familiar with the blog, Down to Earth - you should be. Rhonda is from Australia, lives "simple" and has a ton of great ideas and thoughts. She's even written and published a book! You can join in on the forums on her blog:

"You'll meet people from all over the world who are living simply, or trying to. There are discussions about baking bread, making soap, vegetable gardening, cooking, chickens, housework, home maintenance, crafts, paying off debt, budgeting and life in general. We're a supportive and helpful bunch and we'd like to meet you."

Watching (Movies, TV) ~ I have never been much of a movie or TV watcher, so nothing to report there. But after hearing about two new series on Netflix - House of Cards and Orange is the New Black - I decided to check them out. I couldn't get into House of Cards, but OITNB? Wow. The premise is a women's federal prison and the main character is sentenced to 15 months for carrying a suitcase full of drug money. The acting is fantastic and the characters amazing, terrifying, funny, and real. A heads-up: This is definitely an adults-only series. There's nudity, sex, and some foul language. Check out more details on this series from Wikipedia.

Food (Recipes, Groceries, Restaurants) ~ I made healthy, light dinners every night last week and now I'm kind of burnt out - of gumption AND ideas. Not to mention this entire week will be in the 90's, so I'm not turning on the oven nor do I want to be standing over the stove-top for too long. And when the weather is hot, I just don't feel like eating hot, heavy food, such as from a slow cooker. I'm fine with salads and things like an assortment of raw veggies, hummus, grapes and maybe some healthy-type crackers, but I feel like the husband needs a little more. So I'm still wracking my brains on this one for the week. Maybe we'll have BLT's one night and a breakfast dinner (scrambled eggs, toast, fruit) another night. There we go - two ideas down! When we were visiting Tim at his new place yesterday, we all went out to dinner at a pub-type restaurant. I had a chicken club wrap and only ate half, so the other half went with Brian today to work for his lunch.

Out & About ~ I seem to have a lot of that and usually write about it on my blog as it happens. One of my favorite days this month was thrifting with my mom and aunt. Another weekend day was spent moving Tim into his new place - and the next day, enjoying a hike in the State Park with Brian. On the 31st, me, my mom, and aunt are hoping to take a train ride into downtown Chicago to visit Millenium Park and go window shopping on The Magnificent Mile . Today, a friend took me to Savers with her.

Special Moments ~ Off the top of my head (I don't track these; maybe I should do so)...evening walks with Brian after dinner; catching up with a neighbor we haven't talked to in awhile; admiring another neighbor's beautiful front yard gardens; visiting Tim at his new place yesterday and seeing how well he was doing.

What have you been into this month...projects, outings, readings, blessings,
special moments, anything new you've discovered? I'd love to hear about it!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

working on the master bathroom

We had our master bath updated last December, and in true Melanie fashion,
I'm still not done getting it to look exactly the way I envisioned. It's a small bathroom
 with a small shower - no tub. We had the walls painted a light beigey-yellow, and had
 a new toilet, sink, vanity, light fixture, door and porcelain tile put in. Do you know how
 hard it is to find a shower curtain that's not the standard shower-tub size? I do! Had to
special-order this one on the Bed, Bath, and Beyond web site. They don't even
carry it in the store.

I found these two flower prints at Goodwill, but not sure if they're 
going to stay. The bright blue is a little "off" compared to the blue
in the shower curtain and rugs. Though they match my spray-painted
bright blue shelf!

The sink area - with another picture found at Goodwill. This one's
staying. I like it.

One thing this bathroom sorely lacks is storage. Like a typical woman,
I have an assortment of beauty products. I have extras of shampoo,
conditioner, body wash, toilet paper, razors, mousse, hairspray, etc. 
underneath the sink, but then there's no room for my everyday stuff ~
or even pretty accessories such as a candle, knick-knacks, or a bottle of
perfume. So, my temporary solution was to buy an over-the-door shoe rack
 and use it for hold items I use frequently. Not pretty - but practical. 

I do like that there's a window in this bathroom but now I need some kind of
 window treatment besides wooden blinds. I don't want curtains; I think a 
valance would be more appropriate in this room. But are valances still "in"?

Here's what I'm thinking as far as storage and display. There's some
 decent,  unused space between the vanity and toilet. We've been looking in
 stores and every place we can think of online - even doing a google search -
 to  find a three-tiered corner shelf that would fit in the little corner niche by
the vanity. I have found a few decent ones online, but they all have that metal open
 shelving instead of having solid shelving - or else they're too  expensive. I found
 one  with glass shelves but the frame was a very modern-looking steel. Too harsh. 
Not my style. I found a site that had a bamboo shelving unit - but it was discontinued! 
Aargh, how can something so simple be so complicated?!

 Thanks for visiting and happy weekend!

Monday, August 19, 2013

empty nester

 It's official. I'm an empty nester. Tim was packed up and ready to go last Friday.
This is the only house he's lived in his whole life. This was his bedroom for over 22 years.

I didn't particularly like seeing this truck in front of our house.

 The poor cats were so confused as to why Tim's room was empty. Sorry for the
poor lighting quality. As you can see, this room is rather dark. And still has the
original carpeting! I have big transformation plans for this room. :-)

 At one point on Friday morning, I walked into the back yard and saw this beautiful
swallowtail on the butterfly bush. I took it as a sign that all will be well.

After a couple of hours of last-minute packing, getting everything into the truck, 
then driving 1-1/2 hours, we reached Tim's new house. The mom and perfectionist
in me immediately wanted to start pulling all those gigantic weeds in front, trimming
the bushes, and putting a big pot of bright flowers on the porch! Tim said, "Mom, this
isn't a parent's house." He's right - you can definitely tell young people live there!

We got all Tim's furniture and boxes moved into his new room and Tim immediately
started on reassembling his desk.

MoJo, one of Tim's roommate's dog, had to check out what was going on.
He kept sniffing us and all the boxes. I'm glad there's a sweet dog in the house
because Tim's going to miss our kitties. At least he'll kind of have a pet.

Brian had to go back home early so he could return the rental truck, and I stayed
behind and took Tim grocery shopping. Got him set up with the basics - now he's
on his own! We also went to a nearby bank so he could open an account. We
then went out to dinner at a casual, little mexican place that we found, I dropped
him back at his new house, then said my goodbyes. I didn't even cry. I've had
some anxious moments since then, but I'll be OK. I was just texting with Tim and
he sounds happy. That's what we want for our kids, right?

On Saturday, Brian and I took advantage of the beautiful day stretched out before
us and took a walk in the State Park. One good thing about living in the Midwest in
the summer ~ the landscape is so lush and beautiful.

I have no idea what these purple flowers were, but I love how we suddenly came
upon a field full of them.

I couldn't believe the tons of lily pads in the lake - you could barely see the water!

And even though I'm familiar with the site of lily pads, I had never seen a water lily
until now. They're so beautiful, they barely look real.

After our walk, we had a light picnic lunch ~ veggies and hummus, cheese and
crackers, grapes and an apple. It's weird to think it's just the two of us again after
25 years of children being in our house,'s to a new chapter in our lives!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

goodwill finds and a new chandelier

 I've calmed down since my last post. I'm not freaking out or tweaking about
Tim getting things done anymore. I decided to let it go...whatever will be, will be
and all that jazz. I can only control so much, right? Lovely Balisha from the blog,
 Never Enough Time had left a comment that "kids always seem to put off things until 
the very end...I know mine always did. They do seem to come through with flying
 colors. I read somewhere just this week... that if we worry too much about how our
 kids handle shows that we don't have confidence in their ablility to work
 things out on their own." Such wise words! So I guess you won't be surprised to hear 
that Tim's done a lot of packing. And picked up his drum set today. Still working on
his car though. Let it go...

When I was at Goodwill the other day, I found two great black tops for fall, a pair
of dark-washed Levis that  fit me perfectly (which is pretty darn amazing -  I have a
 very hard time find jeans that fit me well), and some pretties for my home.
Love these green and blue glass candlesticks - the colors are perfect for the
living room - but I'm not going to keep them on this window ledge. I've been playing
around with placement and new vignettes.

I have a fondness for pretty teapots even though I'm more of a coffee drinker.
This one's a Marjolein Bastin teapot. I believe they used to sell these at Hallmark.
Now you can find them on eBay and etsy. I only paid $3 for mine though. And that
first Sarah Jio book you see - Morning Glory - that's the author's newest book that
isn't going to be out until November 26th. This is an Advanced Reader's Copy, but
that doesn't matter to me, especially for 89 cents!

I love white dishes, especially white plates. And I won't eat off any dishes made
in China, so I was thrilled to find these Johnson Brothers (England) ironstone plates. 
They were marked at $1.99 each, but when I got up to the cash register, the employee
noticed that one of the stickers on the plates was green. And it happened to be "50% off
green sticker day". She said that she'd then ring all the plates up at 50% off. Woo-hoo!
It gets even better...I also had a 25% off coupon for my birthday. So I got the plates
for 75 cents each! Such a deal, I'm telling you.

I don't collect pigs or creamers, but this vintage creamer was so cute, I just 
couldn't pass it up.

 I know this isn't exactly a chandelier in the crystals-hanging-from-it type, so what
would you call it? Whatever it is, I like it. My mom bought it years ago from a little
shop on one of our outings, but eventually got tired of it and gave it to me. It's
been sitting in my basement for a few years and I finally got Brian to hang it in
my office/Phil's old room. 

This room has been - and still is - a work in progress. I know I need art
work for the walls. Heck, I don't even know if I'll keep this furniture arranged
as it is now. But, at least I got the chandelier hung! Do you think it needs to
be a little bit lower?

Speaking of (slow) progress on this room, we finally got blinds for the windows.
Next up: curtains. We take baby steps.

Tim and his friend are out in the garage, working on the car. I can't tell you how
many hundreds of times they've been in and out of the house today; the door
constantly slamming. Do you think I'll miss that?

Monday, August 12, 2013

this post needs some wine!

 I almost didn't write this post today. In fact, here it is 11:00 p.m. and since I usually 
post on Mondays, I'm quite late. My emotions are quite flighty right now, knowing Tim
is moving out on Friday. Not only that, but I'm a little panicky about him getting
 everything done. He hasn't even started packing; he has to pick up his drum set
 (lots of pieces!) from his friend's house and he doesn't have a truck, so it means lots
 of trips with a car...and speaking of cars, his old Honda is in pieces all over our garage.
 He has taken on the task of doing all his own repairs lately, which is great. I commend
 him for that. He teaches himself by watching youtube videos. Well, his latest project
 has been to replace the heater core, timing belt, and head gasket. It's been nothing
 but one problem after another. He's had friends helping him and Brian even had a 
mechanic friend come over the other night and help Tim out a little bit. 

Insert cute picture to break up the monotony...

 This morning I went through my usual routine and did a little housework, but I was
restless and tweaking and knew getting out of the house would do me some good.
I should've just went for a walk in the State Park, but I needed a few groceries so I
headed up to Trader Joes. I had emailed Brian at work beforehand and asked what
he needed. It was just a few produce items. I only needed a few items myself. Oh, ho
ho, I kill myself. Who buys just a few items at Trader Joes?! I don't think I've ever
gotten out of there without spending about $100. The really bad part about this? I 
hadn't seen Brian's line in the email that said the balance in our checking account was
only $78. AND, to make matters worse, I also went to Goodwill and bought a few
things. Talk about GUILT! I felt like such a dolt. We have a little bit of money in savings
that we can roll over to cover my "mishap", but that savings is supposed to be for
Tim's schooling. Double stab in the heart. Guess this is what I get...I got caught in
an unexpected torrential downpour when leaving Trader Joes with a cart full of 
groceries. The drowned rat look is not attractive. My pissed off look says it all.

Enough of that - on to better stuff. The party for Tim on Saturday went pretty well.
I was disappointed that an aunt and uncle had other plans so couldn't come; and
another aunt and uncle were sick, so backed out at the last minute. And please don't
tell me I'm not the only one who obsesses over the house being perfectly clean and
presentable before having company, but then realizes how silly that is when your
house is pretty much in shambles within an hour? Since we had so much food, Tim
called some of his friends to come over. There went the leftovers!

I had mentioned in my last post that Saturday was also my birthday. I got
cards from family and friends, and cash from Brian and my mom since I'm saving for
a camera lens (Tim gave me his first DSLR since he has a nicer camera now), but
that's about where the excitement ended. No going out for dinner or anything because
 of the party, and no one ever bakes me a cake. (OMG, I just realized this post sounds
incredibly whiny!) I'm just trying to explain how my birthday usually isn't a big deal...
last year was because I turned the big five-oh.


Brian and I were taking a break from party prep on Saturday. We were sitting at the
kitchen table playing a few games of Backgammon. We heard the cats making
some noise in the living room, so we went to investigate. I heard a voice at the
door saying, "Hi Brian, it's Melanie's friend, Penny!" I couldn't believe was none
other than Penny from At Home in English Valley! She decided to pay me a surprise
visit for my birthday and came bearing a gift...

I had admired this vintage parsley keeper jar that I saw on Penny's blog and had
made a comment that, "If I were with you, I would've fought you for this!" I am 
actually tearing up just writing about loving of a gift is this when you admire
something that someone else has, so they give it to you? And tucked in the jar was
a gorgeous blue and white Laura Ashley tablecloth that I had also admired on her blog.

 I'm using the jar on my countertop to hold onions and garlic - love it!

And if you will please excuse my lousy, temporary centerpiece ~ 
the tablecloth is just beautiful in my kitchen. Thank you, again Penny -
you are such a blessing in my life!

Oops, can't forget that Tim and his friend gave me bottles of wine for my 
birthday. Wine is always good. Goes well with my whine. Thanks for reading
and indulging me if you got this far.