Tuesday, May 26, 2020

out of the house, around the house

This past Saturday, Brian and I took a little road trip to our favorite vintage shop, Secret Treasures. They're currently open for online orders and then you pick up curb-side. It was so strange to see the empty streets and sidewalks that are usually bustling with traffic and people, especially on a weekend.

Brian had ordered a lamp for his desk and I had ordered a brass horse bookend. When we were standing on the sidewalk waiting for our purchases, I window shopped. I found a beautiful glass cake plate and dome, plus two pieces of vintage pottery that also came home with me.

 We ordered a sandwich online, picked it up curbside, and took it to our favorite park by the lake. Sat on a bench and shared a sammie, enjoying the beautiful day. There were lots of people out and about, walking dogs, playing Frisbee, having picnics on blankets with their family, but keeping their distance from others.

 One of my favorite Lake Michigan views.

A store we were able to check out in person (donning masks and keeping our distance from others) was Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. From their website: 

The Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse is a non-profit organization that promotes the reduction of waste in landfills through sustainable deconstruction and renovation building practices. Reclaimed building materials are sold at our warehouse at low cost to the community and the proceeds support our education, job-training and job-development programs which foster individual, community and economic growth in Evanston and beyond.

This place was much bigger than we expected with aisles overfilled with anything and everything you could think of for inside and outside a home. Love this bathroom sink made by Jacob Delafon, Paris. Too big for either of our small bathrooms though.

Isn't this old range amazing?

The back right burner was like a "well" and had a silver pot down inside.

 Does anyone know what this was used for?

If you have a huge kitchen, how about this amazing Miele ventilation hood? Great price. These go for over $2000 brand-new.

Lots of chandeliers...

All kinds of interior doors...

So, back at home, here are my two pieces of gorgeous vintage pottery from Secret Treasures. The green one is Shawnee and the blue one is McCoy.

I added the pottery to my collection on the shelves in the living room.

The lamp that Brian found is filled with old radio tubes. Brian is a big radio and electronic aficionado, so this lamp is perfect for his office. We're still looking for long, floating picture shelves to go on this wall above his desk ~ and that's where this propped up art on his desk will go.

 My brass horse bookend...it may not stay here; I just put it here for the time being.

 I don't collect horse figurines, but for some reason, this bookend spoke to me when I saw it online. I did have a horse when I was a teenager and living in Kentucky...a beautiful brown and white quarter horse named Judy. I still miss her, over 40 years later. And I've always thought that horses were one of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen...so maybe that's why I was drawn to this particular bookend.

 We're still experiencing an overabundance of rain. These past few days have been in the high 80's, too so with the heat index, it's in the low 90's. Too early to be this humid! On the plus side, everything is so lush and green now.

 The heat and thunderstorms weren't kind to my lilacs this year. They were here and gone in a little over a week. Barely got to enjoy them.

We're in the middle of contracting renovations in the front of our house. It started with our little Village redoing our front swales and an asphalt company digging out our old driveway. Today the concrete contractor is digging out our old sidewalk that leads up to the porch and digging trenches in our yard on either side of the driveway that lead down into the swales. They're installing pipes on the downspouts in front of our garage that will go down the trenches and into the swales. When this work is done, then the new asphalt driveway can be put in. 

Hopefully, before and after pictures to come in the near future!
Have a good week, my friends ~ and stay well and healthy.

Monday, May 18, 2020

mid-may home doings

We've been deluged with rain again here in the Chicago area. Just like last year, there's localized flooding. My back yard has standing water in several places, but thank goodness our basement is dry. I much prefer the few sunny days we had before all this rain. 

Clementine loves to be outside with me. I sometimes let her out on the front porch and I stand right there and watch her, but after a few minutes, she tries to run away. I found this pet tent on Amazon and ordered it for her. This way she can be safely outside with me. The tent is six feet long, so a nice size. Not sure what she thinks about it though.

I haven't done much in the way of flowers yet this year since we're just now warming up, but so far, it looks like yellow is the predominant color theme. There's still sooo much yard work to be done and more plants and flowers to be purchased.

I'm sprucing up my patio furniture this year with new cushions. I ordered these blue Sunbrella cushions from Target. Love the color!

Now all I need are cushions for the backs of the seats. I picked out two sets of these colorful paisley cushions from Overstock. They have all the summer colors I love and will go perfectly with the blue Target cushions, the red wicker stand on the patio, the red vintage bench that sits nearby, and all the yellow flowers. (I also noticed how dingy this wicker settee is. Power washing is yet another thing on our outdoor to-do list.)

This past Saturday when it was warm and sunny, wet got a nice start on the yard work. We planted the coleus plants in-between all the hostas and ferns in this shady area on the north side of the house. The coleus is tiny right now, but I know from past experience that they fill out beautifully. I might buy a shepherd's hook with a hanging plant on it for this area for some height interest.

Hubby got the tomato plants planted in pots. He mixes potting soil with our own compost. I believe three of the plants are cherry and pear tomatoes (one or two yellow) and one is San Marzanos. We've never planted that kind of tomato before, so I'm excited to see if they grow well. If you are a cook, you probably know that San Marzanos are the best tomatoes.

More spring beauty from a walk around our neighborhood:

I believe both of these are crabapple trees...

An empty lot on the next block filled with blowy dandelions...when I was a kid, I loved to pick these, blow on the fluffy, white seeds and make a wish.

I haven't been doing a lot of baking because I would fill up on sugary goodies, and we all know that's not good for us. But my rhubarb was prolific, so I wanted to put it to good use. And nothing goes better with rhubarb than strawberries. I made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp last week and delivered some to a friend so that we wouldn't eat the whole thing. đŸ˜‰ This past weekend, I made yummy strawberry rhubarb muffins. This recipe calls for vegetable oil, which I never use, as it's a toxic oil. Please substitute a good baking oil, such as avocado or coconut. If you'd like a streusel topping (and who wouldn't), I used the one found in this recipe. I noticed she has other strawberry rhubarb recipes on her site, too but I haven't tried any of them. 

I just looked at our 10-day weather forecast online and it looks like this Tuesday - Thursday will be the only days without rain or thunderstorms. Ugh! Looks like I won't get all my planting done until June.

Hope you all are keeping well and sane(ish).


Thursday, May 7, 2020

the start of may

The month of May is when spring really jumps into action here in Illinois. Inspired by my friend, Kari at A Gracefull Life who has been sharing beautiful photos of her walks on Instagram, I purposely noticed the beauty that surrounds me on my neighborhood walk today. I normally do pay attention to that stuff anyway; I'm always pulling out my phone to take pictures when I walk, but sometimes my same ol' neighborhood walk gets a little boring. Not today!

 Around my own yard, a few perennials that say SPRING to me are bleeding heart...


and bishop's cap. All three have that delicate, romantic look about them.

This past weekend, the weather was sunny and warm, so I spent a lot of time on Sunday getting herbs and herb seeds planted in pots...

and more herbs such as basil, two varieties of thyme, and rosemary planted in the backyard herb garden. 

 I planted two pots of dahlias and sweet potato vines, too. I still have coleus and tomatoes to plant, but those are going to have to wait until it's warmer. We're in for another cold snap this weekend. Can you believe it's going down to 28 degrees Friday night? I've been bringing in my pots of flowers into the garage and covering my herbs with a sheet at night.

I had a helper while planting, too. Clementine loves to be outside, but I don't let her roam freely. She only gets to go on the front porch with me. If she starts to step off the porch, I bring her back into the house.  I ordered her a mesh cat tent on Amazon, but I haven't put it together yet. I'm hoping she likes it. She can stay safely in her tent on the porch when I'm outside, without me constantly having to guard her every move.

Speaking of cats, I ordered this art print online from Bed, Bath & Beyond and then got the frame on Amazon. Isn't it cute? Sorry the photo didn't turn out well; I kept getting glare from the plexiglass in the frame.

Here's what my big kitchen wall looks like now with the new print ~ and oh yes, two more plates around the gather here sign.

Here's an older photo I found when I only had two plates around the gather here sign. That sign seems rather sad nowadays though. No gathering around our table lately, except for Brian and I. 

Have a good weekend ~ stay safe and well!