Saturday, September 28, 2013

new pillow and blankie ~ and an exciting day tomorrow

 I'm at a standstill with the bookcases in the basement. I was right there. Down to my
last couple of shelves. And we discovered that with the last shelf, the plastic had been
torn open on the edge and the shelf hooks taken out. People can be so rude! Of course,
Brian didn't notice when he was at IKEA and taking the shelves down to purchase them.
So now we have to go back (and it's a 45 minute drive) and exchange one stinkin' shelf.
But it's looking good down there in the family room! More photos of that area later
in the week. In the meantime...

My living room sofa needed some pizazz. There was just way too much beige and
brown going on. I love and need color. So I made a trip to HomeGoods yesterday
and found this great mustard color pillow (with an owl - bonus!). This isn't normally
a color I gravitate towards, but I like a little bit of it for fall.

 This mustard color happens to coordinate perfectly with bright blue - my main
accent color in the living room. How pretty is this throw? I think it adds just the
right punch of color to all this "blah" going on. All I had on the couch before
was an old off-white, holey fleece blanket that the cats slept on. It had definitely
 seen better days. I kept it for the cats though. They need their blankies, too!

 I must now go iron some dress pants for tomorrow ~ we're auditioning for the
Family Feud! We have to get up bright and early (OK, dark and early) to drive
into downtown Chicago. The team will be me, Brian, my sister, brother-in-law,
and my BIL's cousin. Wish us luck! They're looking for fun, upbeat people and
my husband and sister tend to be more serious and low-key, but my sister said
she's great at pretending. ;-) Brian and I have been watching the Family Feud
on the game show network to see how the people act, and I've been coaching
Brian how to act enthusiastic and excited over word suggestions and correct 
answers. Let the high-fiving, hugging, and jumping up and down begin!

Goodnight. Sweet dreams. 
(Photo taken last night on our evening walk at the lake near our house.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

four years missing my son ~ whooo do you love

 Lots of activity around here lately...visiting Tim at his new place, a visit from and
thrifting with my first best friend (we've known each other since we were three!),
fall yard work, still working on putting books in the new bookcases, fall baking, trying
 to finish up painting the nightstand for our bedroom (I'm taking a blog break while
 the paint dries), and then yesterday...Brian and I meeting up with Tim at the cemetery
 to remember and honor Phil. I can't believe it's been four years since the day he 
passed away. What else can I write that hasn't already been written ~ about how our
 lives  will never be the same and how much we miss him? I'll tell you this though: my 
heart hurts more for Tim than it does for myself or Brian. Tim still understandably has
 a hard time dealing with his brother's death, to the point where he didn't go to one 
of his classes yesterday because he didn't want to interact with anyone.
 Breaks my heart.

(Phil and Tim - Easter 2008)

On to other things around Comfy House ~ 


My mom gave me this adorable owl planter. Well, I call it a planter and made
it into one. I don't know what it originally was. The date on the bottom says 1975,
and looks like it might've had some kind of lid.

 Zippo is showing us that he's much cuter than any ol' owl.

 The owl love continues onto the ladder bookcase...

 The two small owls on the top shelf are Goebel. 
Snagged them on eBay a few years ago.

This little guy was found while thrifting for 49 cents...

 And this painted pretty was another thrifted find from a few years ago.
I bought the yellow candle holder a few days ago at TJ Maxx from the 
clearance rack.

I've noticed the trend towards gold in decorating this season, but since I have a silver
lamp on the table next to the couch, this silver owl goes with the flow.

 Be thankful for those whooo you love ~ tell them every chance you get how
much you love them and how your life is richer from their presence.

Monday, September 23, 2013

books to the ceiling

 The Billy bookcases were delivered last Thursday and Brian finished putting
them together last night. He then dragged out the 10 or so tote containers
full of books from the unfinished part of the basement. I worked for several
hours last night unpacking the books, semi-organizing them, and starting
to put them in one of the cases.

I'm really glad that I chose the white ones, now that I see them down here
in the family room. Thanks again to all who offered their opinion!

 Now here's my dilemma.
I am freaking out a little that I won't have enough room for all
my books! I took three of the shelves from the bookcase on the right
and put them in the bookcase on the left to make more room. You can
buy extra shelves from IKEA, so that's no problem. However, I have a 
ton of books. There are books piled everywhere!

We did also buy a smaller bookcase for this wall.

 But, there's still more books piled on the bottom of this end table...

And in this basket...

 I have at least 100 more books upstairs, but those are happily
organized in the living room and my office.

Maybe I need a bigger house. Or more bookcases.
Or...less books. Ha! Not an option for this book lover.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

autumn in the garden and kitchen

 Perhaps the title of this post should've been wacky weather. It's supposed to get
up to 85 degrees today and boy, is it humid! I have mostly hardwood floors throughout
the house and my bare feet were sticking to the floors and I just felt "icky". So the
A/C just went back on for today. We still need to make a trip up to the garden shop
to get some grasses and hopefully bee balm to plant before the weather gets
colder. We also need to move the Russian Sage plant, and do some other outside
stuff such as caulking and some trim touch-up.

This is as far as I've gotten on fall decorating for my front porch - a little pot
of mums. I'm heading up to the grocery store this afternoon and hoping to
get a couple of fresh pumpkins for the porch.

Funny how some summer plants are still in full bloom, such as the geraniums.
I have a couple of small pots of red geraniums and they're still blooming, too.

This pot on my patio had daisies and sweet potato vines. The daisies have stopped
blooming, but there's some kind of weird vine taking over the patio! It's not the sweet
potato vine, so I'm wondering what it is. It looks like it's coming from the daisies.

The Coneflower and Black-eyed Susan are sadly drying up for the season...

The cooler weather (except for today) calls for some hearty comfort food,
don't you agree? Last night I made beans and cornbread. The beans were
dry Great Northern beans that I soaked overnight and put in the Crockpot the
next morning with chopped onion, uncured organic ham, pepper, parsley,
and a bay leaf. I then covered it with veggie broth and slow-cooked for 8 hours.

Gotta have a pan of cornbread to soak up all that delicious bean broth!

This is one of my go-to recipes for cornbread though I only use 1/8 cup of sugar
instead of the 1/4 cup that the recipe calls for. I always cut down on white sugar
in recipes and have never noticed a difference in taste. We don't need all that sugar!

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Monday, September 16, 2013

anniversary weekend & meeting up with a high school friend

We must've been babies when we got married because we just celebrated
our 29th wedding anniversary! Our weekend celebration took us to southwest
Michigan; just a 2-1/2 hour drive away. We had to go through downtown Chicago
to get to Michigan. Even though I'm not much of a city person, I have to say
that every time we pass through or go into Chicago, I am amazed by the stunning
architecture, especially the Sears Tower. Yes, I know it's now called the Willis
Tower, but living in the Chicago area most of my life, I just can't bring myself
to call it anything but the Sears Tower.

We didn't have time to do much on Friday evening. We walked around to some
shops in St. Joseph, then walked down to the beach. How beautiful is this fountain
 with Lake Michigan in the background? We then went out to dinner at this little pizza 
place that was still mobbed even when we were leaving at 9 p.m. I didn't think one 
would find such great pizza outside of Chicago, but we did! We had a spinach, garlic,
 and sun-dried tomato pizza which was on super thin, crispy crust and just enough
 cheese to make it oozy and perfect. I have to remember to write a Yelp review.

Saturday morning, we drove out to Tiscornia Park to walk on the beach and
see the lighthouse. The sand dunes are gorgeous, but we didn't walk or
climb them. I can tell you from past experience that you have to be pretty darn
fit to climb these sand hills! Some of them are huge; this is just part of a small one.

It was a picture perfect day to walk on the beach and then down the pier to the
lighthouses. The only other people there were a couple of photographers and 

 We also hit a farmer's market in St. Joseph and came home with a bunch of
goodies...apples, green beans, fingerling potatoes, a loaf of bread, a garlic
pizza crust, and a big hunk of organic, farm-raised, no-nitrate ham.

Oh, yes...and a basket of these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, too. How I wish
we had access to all this farm-fresh, organic produce year-round!

On our way home, we stopped at The Round Barn Winery in Baroda, MI
to do some wine tasting.

The inside of the barn roof was stunning...

We've done wine tastings in several places, including Napa Valley.
We were very pleased with the deliciousness of the Michigan wine.
We brought home a bottle of their Weekend Red.

 The winery was having a British car invasion event, so we had a good time
walking around and admiring all the cool, vintage cars.

 All too soon we had to head home, though truthfully, we were ready. Both of us
like to get out and do things but there truly is no place like home. This was the
sky as we were close to our house.

The fun and excitement of the weekend didn't end yesterday. This afternoon,
I was blessed to be able to meet up with a friend from high school (in KY) that
I haven't seen in 35 years! I swear, Beverly looks exactly like she did in high school.
And so did her husband whom I also knew from high school. It's funny how we
still see each other with young eyes. We didn't have enough time to really talk;
just a little over an hour. But I'm still riding on a delightful "high" from even that
little bit of time with my Bee. When me and my family moved from KY back to IL
and I had to leave my friends, Beverly wrote me the most beautiful going-away
poem. I think I still have it in one of my scrapbooks somewhere.

 And now it's back to reality...housework, laundry, unpacking fall decorations
and fall clothing, bringing in the houseplants that have been outside all
summer, and starting on some fall porch decorating.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

a lovely gift ~ and proof of my non-crafting ways

One thing that really makes my day is receiving a gift in the mail.
Carol from Art and Sand sent me these gorgeous hand-crocheted
cotton napkins. She even wrapped them with a cool tag.

Look at the detailed work on these edges...I'm in such awe.
Thank you, Carol. You are generous and wonderful.

Now for a good laugh. This is why some people shouldn't be allowed
near paint and Mod Podge. Those said people should stick with vignettes,
thrifting, and cooking. My intention was to spray-paint a stenciled design onto
 a plain, white lampshade. Easy enough, right? 

First mistake was using spray stencil adhesive to stick the stencil onto the
 lampshade. It made a gluey mess. And because I'm also impatient and don't
 take the necessary precautions before starting a project, I didn't protect the area
 around the stencil from the spray paint. So I ended up witha sticky, partly 
spray-painted lampshade. Not to let that deter me, I thought, "Fine! I'll just
spray paint the entire lampshade then!" Umm, no.

Last ditch effort: bring out the Mod Podge and go to town. I got three sections
done and gave up. I had more Mod Podge on my hands than on the lamp.
I actually don't think this would look too bad if I could finish it somehow.
What would I do with all those raised seams going down the length of the 
shade? And the top and bottom trim? Use a glue gun to glue on some ribbon?
A friend of mine stopped by last night and she said perhaps use some of those
large "jewels" to go down the seams...and then use ribbon on the top and
bottom? Another laughable thing about this project...I put the lamp shade
back on the lamp last night and turned it on. With the dark papers covering
the shade, it barely casts any light!

But the most laughable part about all of this? This lamp is on Brian's side
of the bed. He turns on the lamp every night while reading in bed. And
he hasn't even noticed that anything is different - he hasn't said a word to me!
Perhaps if I put it on my head and danced on a table?

Monday, September 9, 2013

miscellaneous monday ~ let's chat

 Good afternoon from steamy Illinois! It's in the 90's today and will be more of
the same tomorrow. Temps will be falling by this weekend into the 60's and 70's.
I love summer, but I'm pretty tired of the extreme heat and am looking forward
to cooler weather. Most of my outdoor plants are still hanging in there with
all this warmth and sun ~ and the herb garden is bursting! I cut down all my
basil the other day and made a big batch of pesto.

Tiger lilies, which are so prolific in early summer, are now scraggly and wasting
away. My bike looks pretty silly amongst the dead lilies now. Brian will need
to hang it back up in the garage.

 Brian and I usually take a mile walk around the neighborhood after dinner.
I've always loved this neighbor's front yard gardens. I go much more for for
 the cottage look than the perfectly structured, orderly look. The woman who 
lives here is an artist - can you tell?

We walked past another neighbor's house that re-did their front porch.
I not only love the railings, but I'm really impressed with how they incorporated
a couple of planter boxes along the side of the porch. The owner of this house
did all this work himself. Wonder if he's for hire?

Sometimes a girl just needs a little pick-me-up. Something pretty that doesn't
cost much. JC Penney had sent me a $10 coupon for my birthday, so I picked
out this bracelet that was on clearance, plus a pair of earrings (not pictured).
Even better when things are free!

I love to paint my toenails in vivid colors during the sandal wearing months...
this bright green color in a mini bottle made me smile. Cover Girl has a bunch
of new, pretty colors for only $2.99.

I saw a knitted mug cozy on etsy and really wanted one - but I don't knit!
So I posted the etsy picture on my Facebook page and asked who would
like to knit me one - and an acquaintance of mine said she would. 
Isn't it pretty? It keeps your coffee or tea warm longer, too. And feels so
good in your hands.

 Tim's old Honda bit the dust last month. He put so much time and money
into this car, trying to fix everything himself - but in the end, it wasn't enough.
We had no choice but to sell it for parts only. One of Brian's coworkers
bought the car today and came and towed it away. Buh-bye little Honda.
Tim is still carless, so it's a good thing he lives close to school and work.
He walks to both - and he lives in an area where there's a bus system -
so that's always an option.

 Tomorrow is the day we're going to IKEA to get the bookcases for the 
downstairs family room. We decided on.....the WHITE! Thanks for all
who commented on my post about whether to get the white or black 
bookcases. I think the black would be overwhelming and too dark in the
basement, especially with a lot of other black furniture. Someone also 
mentioned seeing a lot of dust on black furniture, and she is right. I'm
constantly having to take a microfiber cloth to the black ladder bookcase
in my living room - it shows so much dust and cat hair.

Here's the bookcase system we've decided on...

 Doubt if this will even hold all my books, though we're also going
to get a shorter piece to go along a smaller wall. And we don't have
a truck, so we'll have to have all this delivered. Hope it doesn't take
long! I'm excited to get my books out of storage and all set up again.

 What's going on in your corner of the world? How's the weather
where you live? Are you done gardening for the season? Have you
bought anything just for yourself lately? Let's chat!