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Kathys Cottage





Updated: 2018-02-19T11:32:07.252-05:00

 



The Slipcover

2018-02-12T13:33:48.636-05:00

I am finally posting the love seat slip cover I finished last week.  This is the first time I have attempted a slip cover and although it isn't perfect, I am pretty happy with it.  I am especially happy that the project is over!I will say, getting it done entailed a great deal of pacing, stress eating, procrastination and anxiety.  Just because I attempt these big projects does not mean I am filled with confidence.   I have learned to do things scared.  But it isn't easy!  I took small bites, and it helped that the door behind the love seat holds my sewing / craft room so it was close to the machine.   The next thing I need to find is a more colorful oriental rug.  I bought this beige one after putting in the wood floors. I thought it would be a good neutral.  After this project I am at my neutral limit.  I also pretty much hate this rug now, so the search is on.I decided to go neutral with the furniture so I could change the accessories and pillow colors with the season. I am notoriously fickle when it comes to decorating. I like so many styles and colors. I need something I can change easily.  These green pillow covers are feeding my need for green right now, (we just got a foot of snow this past weekend!) but I plan to add some more bright colors for Spring. This is a corner of the other side of the room.  We found the library table at a yard sale and it was piled with old clothes.  Earl asked if it was for sale and they showed us the $90 price tag and then offered it to us for $75. I couldn't get it to the car fast enough.  It is in perfect condition, and came with a glass top. I have always loved these things and this one has some really pretty details.The sign was made by my youngest daughter for me for Christmas a few years ago, I love it! And the Boston fern came in from the porch when it got cold outside.  It is a very messy plant, but I am so glad I have this lush green fern inside for the winter!  This time of year I need real, live, green things.The fluffy furry pillow covers and pom pom throw were Christmas gifts from my girls this year and they are so soft and fun, but they are about to get packed away for some fresh Spring covers.  I'll look forward to getting them out again and enjoying the softness and texture they bring to the living room again next winter.The curtains are tablecloths I ordered online and used clips to hang them. They are actually the perfect length for curtains right out of the package and add a nice shot of intense color.  And since I didn't spend a fortune on them (about $12!) I won't feel bad if I change them out later for something  else.  I did tell you I am fickle when it comes to decorating right?I hope you are all having a great Valentines week.  Do you know this February marks my 11th year blogging?  I can't believe I have lasted that long!  A big thank you to all of you who have visited an commented, many of you have been friends for the entire 11 years and I treasure those friendships and the encouragement I have found here so much!  Thank you for hanging with me and giving me love, encouragement and support all these years. It means so much. 💖💖💖Happy Valentines Day to you all![...]



Procrastination, Projects and Recipes

2018-01-25T15:24:02.341-05:00

Warning! Granny update! My darling granddaughter just turned two months old this week and it called for photos, as you may imagine.  I am sure she is developing wrist rolls to go with her thigh rolls and I couldn't be more pleased. I found this adorable outfit at Target (maybe they should start sponsoring me?) and I had to have it,  Isn't dressing little girls fun? Shameless grandmother share complete. 💖This week I began the dreaded slipcover project that I have been planning for the last year.  When it comes to things I don't want to do I tend to procrastinate. As in, sit on the sofa binge watching Netflix, or doing ANYTHING except the thing I do not want to do, while I think about the intricacies of whatever project I am dreading. Sometimes there is coffee and chocolate, it helps me think.  At any rate, being the frugal person that I am, and having a perfectly comfortable but hideous piece of furniture that hurts my eyes every time I see it, I decided that I would slipcover it.  If Miss Mustard Seed can do it so can I right? I mean, LOTS of people slipcover their furniture and I can sew and I am sure I can do this. I don't want to, but I can.Attempts to camouflage the red plaid love seat were not successful.So armed with 12 yards of creamy denim, I began.  I am starting with the cushions because that seemed like the obvious place to begin. Results were not as planned.The cover is obviously too loose and I shudder at the thought of ripping it apart to redo it but that is what will happen, because I want to like this piece of furniture when I am done with this heinous task.  Updates as I slog my way through this.RecipesJust like many of you I have been trying to change to a more healthy way of eating.  It's back to (mostly) low carb. I say mostly because, darn it, I am so tired of giving up EVERYTHING, following stringent eating plans for a while and then falling off the wagon.  I just can't do that any more.  I have a problem with sugar. Once I start I can't stop, and I have found that eating low carb / high fat fixes that for me.  I am not as hungry, I slowly lose weight and I feel more satisfied.  So what I do is eat low carb high fat for breakfast and lunch and then I make a healthy meal for the hubs and I for dinner.  If we are going out, I'm not going to sweat it.  If this is something I am going to do long term it has to be something that is not so stringent that I can never have a food group again. That's just silly and it doesn't work for me. At any rate, Pinterest has been my friend and I have been making soups, and one pan meals that are delicious and good for me.  One of those is Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes  I will warn you, I have had chorizo before and it tastes fine, but I actually read the ingredients at the store when I went to get some this time and it's not pretty.  If you want to use chorizo, DO NOT READ THE INGREDIENTS. I just made it impossible not to look didn't I? I'll tell you, chorizo is made with pig snouts. 😝  I used regular old pork sausage in mine and it was still fabulous.  This makes a huge batch, but I happened to have a friend who had just gone through surgery so I split the recipe and gave her half. Perfect.  Add some steamed green beans and you will be in hog heaven.  This is super easy and delicious.  I am also loving Mediterranean Baked Chicken , and Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and Spinach.  The soup is so delicious it has become a staple at many of my friends homes too.This slipcovering project may actually get me blogging again. I suddenly felt the need to write a post rather than sew.  What makes you procrastinate?[...]



Well Hello There!

2018-01-15T11:54:20.611-05:00

Bad blogger.  That is all I can say. After almost 11 years of blogging I hit the wall, nothing there, no inspiration, no ambition, and apparently no posts.  Of course I had some extenuating circumstances too.So where did we leave off?  Oh yes, the trip to Petoskey. So much fun.  And then of course it was Autumn and we played in the garden a bit.And then it got cold and blustery and snow fell.And then it was Thanksgiving and we had most of the family at our house for dinner.  But first, Thanksgiving morning, this little peanut came into the world.Clara Grace, 7 lbs. 6 ounces of the sweetest baby girl in the world. Well at least to us.  You can see bliss all over my face as I cuddle that sleepy baby.  She is everything, and I just can't get enough.Well, you can see how I might have been distracted from blogging for a while right?  I mean, babies need to be cuddled, a lot, and preferably by grandparents as often as possible.Earl is head over heels in love too.And she has already grown so fast! Barely 6 weeks old and she went from this to.... this.And now she's cooing and smiling, oh she's the smilingest baby you ever did see! I have to hold her at least once a week or I go into withdrawal.  So that catches you up.  This is where I have been and where I will, no doubt, continue to be.  The future of the blog is in question because I don't want to completely overwhelm you with my grandchild photos, I know they don't hold the same magic for you that they do for me.  And also, because for some reason, blogger keeps locking me out and I keep having to change the password to get back in.  If I disappear completely it will be because blogger once and for all shut me out. I am going to try to get back in the groove, but things change you know? I've been a total lazy bum in getting caught up on my friends posts because...Clara. What can I say?Also, December was packed, I hosted a Women's Ministries dinner the first weekend of December, The second weekend was my brother's wedding, and then my darling daughter and her handsome hubby came and stayed with us for the week of Christmas.  They live in Pennsylvania and hadn't been home for Christmas in 5 years!  Needless to say, that was all I needed under the tree. :)My goal for this week is to overhaul the old blog, it's looking dated and sad,  get a new post out at least once a week, and to decorate cookies with Clara's mom Thursday, which I know will turn into play with Clara time and cookies may be eaten plain while we gaze into those bright blue eyes.One does what one must.  If you want to be updated more regularly, come on over and follow me on instagram.I sure hope your New Year is well on it's way to being as spectacular as mine seems to be :)  I'll see you all soon![...]



Petoskey, Michigan Weekend

2017-10-04T15:30:45.432-05:00

A couple weeks ago Earl and I got away for the weekend to Petoskey Michigan.  In spite of being Michigan natives we weren't familiar with the area.  Most of the time we avoid tourist areas, and anyone who lives in Michigan knows "Up North" is THE place to go in the summer months. Sunday traffic going south on the highways is horrible so we usually avoid it.This time, we decided it was off season and we would give it a try, so off we headed to Petoskey.  We stayed at the Terrace Inn, a very old inn that is situated in an old United Methodist summer camp right on Lake Michigan.  It has character galore.  Good and bad things about it, as most old Inns have, but we really enjoyed our stay.  Warning! My posts are not usually this long but there were so many beautiful old houses in this area I took a lot of photos!The Inn's dining room is absolutely beautiful. Chandeliers, white cloths on the table and a real feeling of days gone by.  One of the things I wasn't crazy about was there was no central air in this building. Every room had it's own window air conditioner, and I am thankful for that because it was in the 80's and 90's while we were there. Definitely not typical for Northern Michigan in September!  Since there was no air in the dining room or foyer of this hotel, the dining room was not filled as you would expect. This is the foyer of the InnInstead, this is where we had breakfast and dinner, the back terrace with a view of Lake Michigan and the other glorious homes in this enclave.  It was still hot but there was a gentle breeze that made it bearable.  The first night we were there we decided to have dinner here and they had live acoustic guitar music. Very beautiful. After dinner we walked down through the surrounding Victorian houses to the beach of Lake Michigan just in time to see the sun setting over the water. I took pictures while my sweetheart skipped stones. Love that man :)   The next morning we walked through the old Methodist camp grounds.  When I say camp grounds I don't mean dingy tents and bunk houses.  These were summer mansions. That's my kind of camping! The camp ground is still in use to this day. It is called Bay View and they have summer programs for the residents. The old church. isn't it adorable? This was a porch on one of the homes. So many great details on these old places. They don't make them like this any more!It was a great getaway. We came back relaxed and feeling like we had been residents of that little camp ourselves.   Have you gone on any weekend escapes lately? What's your favorite?[...]



Back to Black

2017-09-07T11:04:39.787-05:00

Not much has happened around here in the past few weeks. Summer is winding down and I can feel myself winding down a bit with it.  As the days get shorter, and colder and darker I always find the changes a bit hard to take.  I'm a sunshine girl and getting less always drains me a bit.  So it was time for a little bit of a change around here.  I had been considering painting this teeny little wall in my kitchen for a few weeks. First, I had to think it to death.  Do you do that? Second guess, hmmm and haw, wonder if you'll like it?  I do that and then I always come to the conclusion that it's a small wall and I can always paint over it.  I would waste a lot less brain power if I could just jump straight to that conclusion and get to it.  I like it, a lot...for now.  For this season it just feels cozy. It makes that wall pop and doesn't really seem to darken the whole kitchen into a cave, which was another one of my fears.  In the Spring I may decide it's too dark. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. Within a few days I had decided to go full out Fall on this wall.  Something about the black, and then I got these brilliant sunflowers at the Farmers Market and found that old graphic I did several years ago in the basement, (must clean basement), and it all kind of came together.  One of the things I like is how the black wall ties in with the black on the stove, and see that sweet mosaic heart holding my aprons? It has a black and white checkerboard trim around the outside and that goes with the black too. That little peg is from my sweet friend Penny at Enjoying the Simple Things and I think of her each time I see it. It's something I will never tire of. :) I also refilled the front door basket with some Mackenzie Child inspired goodies.  It was fun going to the new Hobby Lobby in town with a friend and finding all the elements.  I think the basket may need painting though.....hmmmm.  The garden is winding down, much to my sorrow. I am babying it along but as the nights get cooler and the days get shorter I am afraid my dear garden's days are numbered.  I had a fabulous basil harvest so far and have frozen about 10 cups of pesto for those cold winter days when I need a shot of something that smells like summer.  Some will go to my daughter for her freezer. There is more than enough to share.The zinnias are spectacular this year too.  I purchased some called thumbelina that were supposed to get 6" tall, they are more like 18 inches, but I'm not complaining. I love zinnias so much, I don't even care that they crowded out the zucchini.Nights have been in the 40's and highs have been in the 60's here for the past week, Fall is definitely here!  Is it creeping where you are too?   Praying for those who are not enjoying the best of Autumn, Dallas, the fires out west and now hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida. So many friends and family in these areas.  My heart goes out to them and I will keep praying for safety and help. [...]



July in all it's Glory

2017-07-24T10:34:38.021-05:00

I know I am not alone in finding it hard to believe that July is more than half gone already.  I remember pining for warm weather and my garden so clearly and now they are here.  I wish I could slow the days down but we really can't can we?  If you find a way please let me know.The beginning of the month was busy, my darling daughter Lauren flew in from PA for a week for a visit. It was pure heaven. Beautiful weather, time with both my girls together as her sister spent as much time as possible with us for the holiday.  We laughed and just hung out and it was glorious! Lauren and I spent some time planning Victoria's baby shower. She is having a girl! My purse has felt lighter ever since I found out.  Have you seen the little girl things available lately?  Oh my goodness, I may go broke with the first baby!  Lauren and her dad picked cherries at a friends house. The friends didn't have time to pick them this year and they kindly offered them to us.  Aren't they beautiful!?  We made a little pie for them as a thank you. And a bigger pie for us as well as putting some in the freezer.  Earl has determined that we MUST have a cherry tree or two. I have to agree.The garden is going strong.  We have already picked the sugar peas and torn out the vines. We will plant a second crop soon for fall.  Thinning the beets got us this beautiful basket of little beets that are just right to roast for salads.  We planted, Chioggia, Golden and Detroit red.  I'm not a fan of beet greens but Victoria's sister in law loves them so they were sent home for her.The patio still needs a few details finished, but we got the lights hung and I love spending summer nights out there, even for just a few minutes.  As the days get shorter the lights will be even more welcome.  Fireflies have been prolific this year which adds  so much to the light show.  I love fireflies so much. I always look forward to their glow :)The flower beds need weeding, there are more yard projects in the works, and we have Victoria's first shower coming up in two weeks.  There is so much to look forward to and so much to do!  I hope you can find a way to slow down the summer, I'm not ready for fall yet! Are you?[...]



The Patio

2017-06-21T10:44:37.273-05:00

As one of my daughters pointed out it's been a month since my last post.  I can only plead busy as the last month has been a whirlwind of activity.  As I mentioned in my last post, so very long ago,  Earl and I decided we wanted a brick patio out by the garden and decided we could do it ourselves because how hard could that be?  Really, with him working 60 hours a week, planting the garden and all the rest of the upkeep on a home surely we could fit in building a brick patio right? Right.We did it. But clearly you can see why blogging has been on the back burner. The patio itself is finally finished, we still have a bit of work to do on the areas around the patio that were torn up in the process.  There is still lots to do and we are of course looking forward to changing some things out and adding things over the next few weeks.  We haven't hung the lights over the patio yet, (maybe this weekend?) and we need a few things here and there. Earl wants to build a couple long farm tables to replace the glass topped table we are using. That may take a while, but in the meantime, using the old stuff doesn't decrease our enjoyment out here in the evenings one iota. As you can see, this patio is pretty big.  I hauled 3 pallets of bricks to Earl, one wheelbarrow at a time as he laid them.  After that it was multiple wheelbarrows of dirt to fill in around the patio where the topsoil had been scraped away.  My advice if you want to do this yourself?  Make sure you are fit or hire a contractor. Can someone tell me why, when brown is my least favorite color, I bought brown cushions a couple years ago for the patio?  They must have been on sale, Lol.  Well at least they are fairly neutral and maybe I can dress them up with some pillows or something.  Eventually I'll replace them because, brown.  Purchasing something you don't like because it's a good price is obviously a false economy, when will I ever learn?The garden still has areas that need to be planted with later season veggies, at least I got my flowers in right away!  Flowers tend to be my priority ;) This project has taken so much time I feel like I am behind in just about every other area. Housework, weeding, and lawn.  One of those things you tend to forget when taking on a project of this size is that you have other things that will have to be set aside in order to get the project done.  I am so glad this is (almost) finished! I know we will use it for years to come, but it was a lot more work and time than anticipated.  I'm looking forward to a little more time to write and catch up on blogs, and also to the more fun aspects of this project, like decorating and parties!And how is your summer going?[...]



A Little bit of This, A Little bit of that...

2017-05-23T13:06:52.682-05:00

Now lets see... what fascinating events have happened since last we sat down together with a cup of coffee?  Well, the lily of the valley bloomed, and so did my beautiful snowball bush.  I know those may not seem like big events, and in the scheme of things they are not, but I pretty much live for the garden May through whenever old man winter comes to call.  Sunshine, birds singing, mowing the grass as the purple martins swoop around me to eat the bugs I kick up.  It's all so good, so yes, these flowers are a big deal to me. We have also begun putting in a brick patio out by the garden. We have been dreaming of this for years and being the insane DIY people we are, when I say "we " are bricking a large portion of yard, I mean "we".  It all seems like such a good idea until the guy with the backhoe comes and strips all that sod and you realize what a huge project you have taken on and that it means sweet and long suffering hubby coming home after 12 hour work days and grubbing around out there instead of relaxing.  Yes, you would think we would learn, but no we haven't. 37 years later we are still biting off more than we can chew and learning as we go.  Pray for us. I had to show you this amazing berry tart Earl made for our Mother's day lunch.  Graham cracker crust, a few cups of frozen triple berry blend from Costco, heated and thickened with cornstarch and then more fresh berries stirred in and dumped in the crust.  That is all the recipe I have for you, one of these days I will make him write down his concoctions to make it easier. I am sure he added a bit of sugar to taste but it wasn't super sweet, just a wonderful berry flavor. He is my hero in so many ways.Last Saturday was my birthday, and I spent it with these two loveys. Youngest daughter came for breakfast and the farmers market, where we loaded up on flowers, followed by some garage sales, (Oh how I wish eldest daughter could have made it too!)  After she headed home Earl took me out to dinner and a comedy show.  So much fun! We ended the evening with a ridiculously rich cake and ice cream combo at a favorite restaurant and then fell into bed exhausted.  Some days are just so darn good and perfect you can't believe it. This was one of them.And one more thing that's perfect. I'll give you a hint....I'm going to be a grandma!  Youngest daughter is expecting a little bundle in November and we are so happy!  No idea yet whether it's a boy or a girl, but we aren't too picky.  It's been a good month, and things are just going to get better.💜💜💜[...]



In the Garden

2017-05-11T09:36:14.510-05:00

I spent the afternoon in the garden yesterday with a little friend.  Earl built new raised beds for the strawberries last fall and they were absolutely filled with weeds.  Since the sun was shining and it was a perfect 70 degrees outside I decided it was finally time to clean them out so we could start planting the strawberries. I grabbed a couple hens and we set to work.  They nibbled on greens and ate bugs while I pulled the weeds. I enjoyed their company as I felt the warm sun, listened to baby birds chirping in the birdhouse nearby and enjoyed the scent of lilacs and mint. Such a perfect May day!Today is a bit less perfect, with temps in the 50's and cloudy. It rained last night so I have my usual "rain" sinus headache, but after this weekend we get a warm up into the 70's again. May is like the song in "Annie"...the sun will come out tomorrow....always something to look forward to as the weather gets better and better :)Speaking of the garden, we have some really big projects and plans for improving it this year.  We will be adding a brick patio and a graveled area for a firepit.  Work is slated to begin next week and I can't wait to show you the results as we get it done!Just a little heads up for my blog friends.  Due to some new policies I'll be closing my etsy shop as of May 17.  It's time to rethink where I am going with my design work anyway. It has been a hobby that turned into a little bit more and now it's time to rethink where I want to take it.  This may be a very good thing in the long run and I am choosing to look at it as the kick in the pants I need to either get serious or follow other creative outlets. We will see.  In the meantime, as long time friends, if you want anything from the shop I'm going to give you a coupon code for 30% off  your purchase.  Use code FRIENDS at check out for your discount. This is limited to stock on hand and I have been filling orders like crazy so if you want something now is the time!Lots of changes happening around here! What's happening in your neck of the woods?[...]



Blog. Post. Seriously mom.

2017-05-04T13:10:23.183-05:00

Blog. Post. Seriously mom.  That was the text I got from my youngest daughter this morning.  If for no other reason than my kids love to read it I must keep blogging.  Of course I enjoy it too, I just don't seem to give it the priority I used to and that's ok. I mean, I'm living my life and not just writing about it and that's the important thing.Let's see, what is new around here?  Well, it's a cold, (45 degrees), drizzly day out , but the flowers are blooming. (Happy belated May Day!)  In spite of the cold drizzle today, May is my favorite month. Mostly because it's pretty much all about me.  Mothers Day AND my birthday month.  Also eldest daughter's birthday is this month and some other fun stuff that I look forward to. (garage sales start up again!) But again, Mother's Day and Birthday month. Winning.I switched the curtains in the dining room back to the blue print from a plain neutral beige, because plain neutral beige? have you met me? Also, because I'm fickle.I have been starting basil, zinnias and tomatoes for the garden in a little knock down greenhouse I found at Big Lots last fall. It was marked down to $35 and is big enough to walk in and plant right on the shelves inside.  It has been so great for starting seeds we have decided that a real greenhouse should be in our near future.Trader Joe's iris and tulips. SO much joy for so little money.I'm enjoying watching Spring unfold. I think my favorite shade of green is that soft cloud of green the trees get just before the leaves are all the way out. It doesn't last long and you have to watch for it in order to enjoy every last eye full.For those of you wondering how I'm doing with a personal trainer, I'm doing ok.  Do I love it? No. But the older I get the more exercise resistant I get, which is why I need to pay someone to stand over me and make me do this stuff. I will say I am stronger than I thought. My muscles ache, but as I told Earl, "I would rather hurt because I'm getting better, than hurt because I'm getting more out of shape."My trainer confessed that he has a trainer too, or he wouldn't do his exercises.  Somewhere out there a personal trainer that is actually able to motivate himself  is at the top of the food chain I suppose.  Who knew? I thought those guys lived for the gym.So that's about it.  I know that was almost more excitement than you can handle in one day. Feel free to take a nap or something to calm yourself from that roller coaster ride of my fascinating life.  Hmmm, that doesn't sound too bad.  ;)  Catch you later with some REALLY exciting stuff![...]



Easter

2017-04-17T16:47:38.297-05:00

Just a quick hello. It's been a busy week, as all holiday weeks tend to be.  I was putting the dishes away from our Easter dinner and did a quick table setting to show you how it looked.  I loved the table this year!  I made the napkin rings by grabbing a multi stem daisy floral from the craft store, snipping them apart and leaving enough wire stem to bend into a circle. I wrapped floral tape around the stem to hold it in place.  I was able to use a lot of our jadeite and white ceramic serving pieces and it all came together.  No fancy multi plate stacks here, just a simple plate  that was covered in good food. 
 The menu was ham, mashed potatoes, home made rolls, green beans and broccoli salad with triple lemon blueberry cake for dessert. Yum!  I'm so ashamed... kind of.  Not really.  Anyway, we had a wonderful warm sunshiny day, church followed by dinner with youngest daughter and hubby, and a sister and mom.  We missed the family that couldn't attend but hope they can make the next big dinner.  Eldest daughter and her husband are coming for an extended visit in a couple months so yay! I have that to look forward to!
I had to show you the eggs. We have 11 hens and they have been doing a bang up job of supplying us with beautiful, multicolor eggs.  Prettier than dyed I have to say, and the daffodils are from the garden.  Things are starting to bloom left and right and I couldn't be happier. 

Did you have a happy Easter weekend?  I'm trying to catch up on blogs.  We were without internet for an entire week and didn't get it back until last Wednesday.  I'm so far behind I don't know when I'll get caught up!

Tell me about your plans for Spring! Anything new on the horizon?



On Getting in Shape and Lots of Green

2017-04-05T12:13:37.422-05:00

 It's April!  We are almost 4 months into the year and a little over a week away from Easter, which I just realized last night. This is important because Easter is at our house so time to get planning!In other news, I joined a gym.  Can I just say up front, I hate gyms? I do. They are money pits and you all KNOW how frugal I am.  I hate gyms, but I hate feeling weak and out of shape just the tiniest bit more so I signed up.  I had an "evaluation" today so they could sell me on a personal trainer. *sigh* seriously, it was a battle with the frugal me who was screaming in outrage at the cost.  Fat, out of shape me wrestled frugal me to the ground and paid up.  Later, frugal me retaliated by eating a peanut butter cup thereby making my 1/2 hour on the treadmill null and void.Frugal me is a little vindictive."Are you excited?" the gym owner said, as he took possession of my credit card. "Sure", I replied halfheartedly, because really? No. I was not excited.  If he was handing me as much money as I was handing him at that moment I am sure I could have whipped up more excitement. There will be no before and after pictures because....before pictures. But I will attempt to keep you updated on whether 1. I can stop eating peanut butter cups. 2. The personal trainer can whip me into shape.  I can be a challenge.But in more fascinating news, I am so excited for Spring to be here.  It's my happy time, my favorite time of year.  When the flowers start coming into the stores? Heaven!  Let the flower buying begin!I am also on a green kick.  I can't get enough. Green bottles, green plants, green everything.  It's Spring and Spring means green!And that means I painted the dining room buffet a light, Springy, green.  I'm loving the change it brings to the room.  For a while I painted everything shades of white.  I needed to calm the house down a bit with all the color I had brought in.  Now it's time to add a bit of color here and there because all white ain't my "thang."I had to open the front door for this photo because we have been having such dark, grey rainy days for the past few days.  We have a few more coming up but then the forecast gets warm and sunny :) I can't wait! How is your Spring going? Are you ready for Easter?[...]



Progress

2017-03-20T14:04:02.275-05:00

Happy first day of SPRING!  This is my happiest day of the year, no lie.  The thought of flowers and grass and gardens and warmth just fills me with delight.  Be gone dreadful winter!  Aren't you loving it too?So here's an update on all those things I have been working on.  I finally finished the wallpaper. There are a few more details that we are working on so I'll just give you a teaser photo.  I wish you could see the beautiful celadon green, (I think it was called livable green from Sherwin Williams) that I painted the wallpaper with.  I absolutely love it. The color changes with the light. I tried taking photos in bright sunshine and on a cloudy day but to no avail. I just can't get a true color in the photo.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a good photo for the reveal of this tiny space.  It truly is the smallest entry ever. Just room enough to swing the door open and then either turn right and up a few steps to the kitchen or straight into the basement, but it was a bear to wallpaper! Dangling over the steps on that ladder made me feel like a real daredevil.   Secondly, the quilt I have been making for my sweet son in law came back from the quilter and I was able to bind it and it will soon be on it's way for his birthday :)  My quilter is Kathy at Stitch by Stitch and I always love her work. She makes my amateur quilts look like a million bucks!  At least to me ;)  It's big enough for him to wrap up in, (queen size for my 6' 3" ish SIL!) and is extra snuggly with a blue checked flannel backing.  I can't wait for him to open it! The antique mahogany server is installed under the new tv.  See my amazingly artful attempt at hiding cords?  Ah well, it's a plaster wall and the husband doesn't want to drill into it.  I'm ok with that.  Getting rid of the giant bookshelves and entertainment cabinet really opened this room up!  It looks so much bigger and brighter now.  I'm loving it all.  It's good to have those all finished, now I have another list to work on, but not today.  Today I take it easy and wimp out because I have a bad cold.  I always feel guilty if I'm not working on something, so illness gives me an excuse to veg and be a baby about things.  I was able to whip up a batch of brownies to nosh on, because medicinal chocolate don't you know,  and now I'm headed for a Netflix binge and lots of fluids.   Hope you are enjoying your first day of Spring wherever you are![...]



My One Weakness

2017-03-01T15:09:23.926-05:00

Disclaimer, This post title is inaccurate. Obviously my first and foremost weakness is my sweet husband.  Love that guy to the moon and back. Ditto my girls.  No, what I am talking about is a material weakness.  If you know me at all, you know I'm frugal to a fault. My usual attitude when I am shopping is that I don't need to actually own something to enjoy it.  I like to look. I like to enjoy the item and go home without a thought to where I will need to make room to store it. I am actually in the process of a MAJOR decluttering which includes biting the bullet and getting rid of some things I really have enjoyed over the years but that need to move on.  I'm not a shoe fiend, I can pass on lots of decorative frippery, but my weakness, my Achilles heel if you will, is dishes. Crockery. Plates and mugs first and foremost but I like alllll the crockery.Now in keeping with my incredibly frugal nature, I have built my collection at yard sales, and thrift shops for the most part. My daughter, Victoria gave me a set of beautiful Johnson Brothers blue and white transfer ware for Christmas that I am now using for my every day dishes as a change from the plain white I have been using for several years. She knows me so well :)  Today I was in Homegoods, (and I know you know where this is going), and I spotted these...And immediately I'm all.They're called Devon Cottage from Johnson Brothers, one of my favorite makers.So I texted Victoria and asked, didn't she thing these would go great with the plates she got me for Christmas?  She agreed they would and she liked them so much she wanted some too.  Well.  CLEARLY I was supposed to buy these plates so I could hand them down some day right?  I had 6 in the cart, she asked how many they had and I said 8 ,(I was wrong they only had 7), and she pointed out that I would regret leaving those plates behind.  I knew she was right, so I got the last plate and told her if she found one at the store near her she could get it for me for mother's day.  Oh my dear little enabler.So now it only remains that I have to explain to Earl that I bought more dishes. Good thing I'm HIS only weakness :)  Besides, I can always show him this photo.  I saw this grill in Homegoods,My first thought was, good heavens, who would buy that? But the yellow tag hanging from it's ear actually say SOLD.   It wasn't me. I was just buying these dishes. You're welcome honey!Happy March!  Spring is only 19 days away :)[...]



Fascinating Facts about my Day

2017-02-20T17:21:13.114-05:00

I have been informed by my daughters that it has been over a month since my last post. Yes, yes it has.  January / February are so uninspiring that I usually end up sitting on the sofa binge watching whatever I can stomach and trying not to look out the window.  It's Michigan, and Michigan winters will do that to you.  This month marks 10 years of nonsensical ramblings on this blog and I sometimes think I have hit the wall.  In honor of that 10 year anniversary, I will dig down deep, even though it is still February, (the sun is shining and it's a balmy 40 degrees out so that helps!), and find some fascinating news for you and for my kids. You're welcome.First of all, I have gotten exactly two pieces of wallpaper up in the back entry.  I will pause to allow you to stop laughing.  Earl and I finally started the wallpapering Saturday.  He put up the first piece, intending to do it all, because he is just that kind of husband.  He thought I wouldn't want to get on the ladder and he was trying to be gallant. He IS gallant, all the time, but he hates / detests/ loathes/ and despises wallpapering. That became evident IMMEDIATELY.  After the first piece I gently talked him down off the ladder and proceeded with the second piece.  Both pieces had bubbles I could not get to lay down, so I decided the best thing to do was to retreat and see what happened when they dried.  Here is a sneak peek at the paper so far.Fortunately, when the paper dried the bubbles disappeared!  I love the paper and now I can finish it, hopefully this week. I will be painting it once it's all up. I think I know what color I want to go with but since I am fickle and prone to last minute changes it could go any number of ways.No photos of the new t.v. area.  When we got rid of the bookshelves and entertainment center we noticed the drywall tape was bubbled so it is in the process of being fixed.  I'm almost finished and hoping we can get that project knocked out of the way this week too.  In other news, I stopped at Kroger today and picked up these discounted hydrangeas for a whopping $3.50 because discount flowers are my spirit animal.  I go to a ladies bible study on Monday mornings. It's a Beth Moore Study called Breaking Free and I'm really enjoying it.  Today I decided to stop at Tim Hortons and pick up the big pack of donut holes to share. Now, I almost never eat donuts, but I just had a craving today and thought I would share.  There are about 22 of us who attend.  Do you know about 18 of those ladies have more willpower than I do?  I saw one skinny girl eat one (bless her heart!) and most of those silly things were still in the box when we finished for the day. I left them for our Pastor...after I ate about 3 more.Right now I'm kind of wishing I brought them home, but glad I didn't or the self loathing would be intense.There is this photo of my feet that I put on Instagram, because everyone wants to see my feet right?  It was in celebration of the temps hitting 57 that day. Flip flop weather in Michigan.You're welcome.Oooh! I did get some happy mail!  I got the most fabulous box of hand made chocolates from La Chatelaine Chocolat Company, Best chocolate I have EVER tasted.  Earl and I had so much fun trying all their amazing flavors.  I highly recommend these for a special gift or to treat yourself. No, they did not sponsor this post or pay me. Just my recommendation.Also, I should have blogged about this earlier, but BJ at Sweet Nothings had a giveaway a few months ago and I won! I won this gorgeous house number from Ramsign and I can'[...]



Cupcakes, Projects and Fun Finds

2017-01-18T16:43:52.834-05:00

Is it still January? Hmmm, well here are a few things I accomplished so far in this warm/cold/wet/icy month.  The weather has been all over the place so far with ice storms and a flooded yard.  I am praying that the basement doesn't flood from the downpours we have been having.  When the ground is frozen like this there is nowhere for the water to go. So far so good.When it's cold outside I want to bake.  Chocolate cupcakes with rich chocolate frosting and a sprinkling of stars brighten things up nicely.  Who else thinks winter was made for baking? Earl knows that these grey cloudy skies and the barren landscape can only mean one thing, cheer Kathy up with flowers.  He found these beauties at the grocery store.  Cream roses with the barest peachy pink blush in the center of the petals, mixed with white lilies.  This is just one of the reasons I will keep him forever, believe me, there are a million more :) To counterbalance the cupcakes and other winter baking, I am looking for new soup recipes.  I found this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup on The Café Sucre Farine and it is a keeper!  I have already made it twice. My suggestion? Double the lemon ;)  This is a soup you can make in the crock pot, but I had some frozen cooked chicken and home made broth so I made it stove top lickety split.  It has a bit of Turmeric in it which is supposed to be a great anti inflammatory.  From the same website I also made the Beef Bourguignon Soup recipe and it was amazing.  Check out her website, so far everything I have made from her recipes is a keeper. And lastly, I think I mentioned we are in the process of buying a newfangled flat screen tv.  Everything around here is a process,  but first I had to move a large book shelf, which meant I had to find a new home for an extra dresser AND the old entertainment center that holds the old tv.  Now you know why everything takes so long, all that shuffling.  At any rate, the things that need to go have been spoken for and will be picked up soon, and when that happens I wanted something to go under the new tv.  I actually stepped into a furniture store and then stepped right back out.  A very poorly constructed console or server for under the tv would have been $1200.  If I had loved it I could have paid it, but after years of buying well made cast offs for a pittance I couldn't see shelling out that kind of cabbage for something that I thought was basically a piece of junk.  So off to the local antique emporium I went, and found the perfect solid mahogany sideboard for a small percentage of the junky new piece.  This server cost $250.  It's solid, I like the lines, the swoopy drawer design, the cabinet doors that came with a skeleton key (love!) and the price.  It is cooling its heels in the dining room until the other items go to their new home. I told Earl that I reserve the right to paint it, because...sourcesourceI do love painted furniture and I might be leaning toward a pretty green.  Making my mind up is the hard part.  We are also still working on the back entry refresh.  My darling husband insisted on doing some of the more heinous scraping and wallpaper removal.  I had peeled off the top layer of the old paper and the paper backing was left. The backing was tight and smooth and my first thought was to paper right over it, because #lazy.  It might have worked but we decided to do it the right way, (sigh).  SO Earl spent a recent Saturday on the ladder scraping.  My knight in shining armor.&nb[...]



Happy New Year!

2017-01-04T14:14:11.792-05:00

A few days late to be sure, but why not wish happiness on more than day one?  I am seeing so many who have chosen a word or resolution, I must be a slacker extraordinaire, because I tend to think a New Year should be a blank slate. A time to let the pressures of last year fall away leaving the white nothingness of a clean sheet of paper to write my life on. Oh I do wax poetic.  Truth is I know I am not one for feeling pressured to chose a word or affirmative life action, so I tend to sit back and give myself the first few weeks off.  No pressure or expectations. It's actually a great way to start the year :)Just to catch up on what has been happening, which is precious little to tell the truth, we spent New Years Eve with friends and actually left by around 10pm.  Both exhausted for some reason and just not up to hanging on until Midnight. We were well asleep by the time the New Year crept in, but were awakened by the mortars going off next door. No rest for the weary apparently, but I just realized I even freed myself of the expectation of staying awake until New Year.  I rock lowered expectations.The next day was the big extended family Christmas party and Earl made his yearly Bushe de Noel, this time in the form of a birch log.  The outer "bark" is white chocolate with dark chocolate knots and details. The top is meringue piped in circles, baked and laid on top of the cake to simulate  the inside of the log, and the cute mushrooms are meringue too.  The cake itself is yellow cake layers with chocolate ganache filling. It was as tasty as it is pretty.  I always love seeing what he will come up with :)You may remember my not so subtle hints for a certain traveler to think of Christmas while they were in England this autumn and pick up an Emma Bridgewater something for their mama.Well the ever so gentle, almost subliminal suggestion worked beautifully and this little gem was waiting for me under the tree.The other side of the mug says, "Mum is the best" and the inside rim says, "Mum is kind and strong"It came with a darling Emma Bridgewater towel too, but the message on the mug just touches this mother's heart :)I spent yesterday taking down the Christmas decorations. As much as I love the lights and fun of the Christmas décor, something about January calls for calm and quiet. It may be the only time of year that I actually wish I had an all white house.  At the moment it almost feels too blank and empty after the tree and lights have been removed. I have a very hard time with "winter décor" because I hate winter. I am over it completely by January 2.  Anything winter themed is not appealing at the moment. I am working on keeping some of the mercury glass and white decorations out in an attempt to spice things up. So far I have one corner of the living room redecorated.Yes, I know the cords show, part of my easy going January attitude ;)  This is our library table, because this family librarys a lot.  Books tended to be strewn over every flat surface of the living room until we found this gorgeous table for a steal at a garage sale.  Now the books go here.Family photos, a few silvery accents and some battery operated candles that are on a timer so I don't even have to light them.  Some of these items will eventually be moved as there are a few large items of furniture that I will be taking out of this room in preparation for a new flat screen tv that is coming soon.  2017 will see some improvements in the house, as most years have.Now I am off to strip the old wallpaper off the walls in the b[...]



Christmas Tour

2016-12-21T20:04:19.973-05:00

I wouldn't blame you if you were tired of seeing Christmas splashed all over blogs. We've been enjoying the decorations for weeks now.  I have to say though, this isn't your normal tour. I'm not a decorating blog, I don't claim any amazing design skills or fancy pants ideas to make you run right out and copy, not that there is time for that now.  Most of you have been visiting for years. We are old friends. Do you know I've been writing this blog coming up on 10 years?Yes, I think you know what to expect by now. This is just real life.  Well, cleaned up real life with all the junk stashed in the room you won't see, just like it would be if you came for coffee. ;)So grab a cup and take the tour. we'll visit like the old friends we are. And if we are new friends, welcome!  I don't put on any airs, grab a mug and lets take a look at Christmas here in the cottage. We can start in the kitchen. I made some gingerbread boys this afternoon. I wish you could smell the gingerbread baking. truth be told, I baked them for the smell as much as the taste. It smells like Christmas :) I found the cutest little cheap tree at Walmart this year. $18 and it fits in the corner of the kitchen just perfectly.  I also found the most awesome rice lights to go on it. There is no plug over there so I needed some battery operated lights. I found these on amazon and they come with a remote so I don't have to fiddle around digging for the on and off switch.  I used them on the birch star Earl made me last year too. I love that thing.  You'll see a lot of stars in the house as we go through. See the cookies cooling on the stove? Over by the fridge I just added some bright red accents to the shelves full of Jadeite.  I lit the shelves with some more rice lights to brighten the dark corner and add a little sparkle. If you turn around and look from the kitchen you'll see the dining room.  I love my flocked tree in the corner. Earl has it covered in the bird ornaments he has collected for years.  Since we spend so much time in the kitchen and dining room I like to have a tree out here where we can see it. My eldest daughter gave me the table runner as an early Christmas gift. I had these lighted galvanized stars from last year and thought they would look cute woven into the greenery.  The living room is next. I had a stash of plaid flannel so I whipped up some pillow covers for winter. They are so soft and bright and cozy. Across the room is the table top tree we cut last Saturday.  We had the best time! It was a crisp winter morning but not so cold that we were uncomfortable. We rode the wagon into the field and found our tree.  Then we stopped at a beautiful inn built in 1850 for lunch.  It was a perfect day, and we decided it would be our new Christmas tradition.  That large bookshelf on the left will be leaving soon. We are joining the 21st century and replacing our old tv with a flat screen.  We are going to need that wall! Come into the bedroom.  I dug an old quilt, that my great grandmother made, out of storage and used it on the bed.  It's pretty fragile, some might consider it a cutter, but I plan to mend it where I can and use it gently.  The tartan pillow came from a craft store, but my favorite part of the Christmas décor in here are these...I hung these paper stars over the bed, illuminated with 3 watt nightlight bulbs they glow so beautifully at night!Ahhhh, I will be leaving these up for a couple months just because I love the light. And tha[...]



The Tree

2016-12-07T15:59:21.233-05:00

Well not THE tree, The live tree is still loitering on the back porch waiting to be trimmed and popped in a stand.  I like to have a tree in the dining room though and I needed a new one.  The last tree I used in here was a curbside rescue about 20 years ago and finally discarded last year.  It was no prize when I snagged it but you know with lights and ornaments it's harder to see the imperfections.
Enter this 6 foot flocked tree. $30 from Walmart, I think I got the last one in the store.  It looks pretty darn good for a $30 fake, certainly better than the dusty, crusty I discarded last year.  I raced home and couldn't wait to put it up. I'm in full on decorating mode now. I can't be stopped. So I pulled it out and started fluffing and forgot I was wearing a black sweater.  I looked down and I was flocked.  The tree and I? We match.  I expected a little shedding when I set it up, aside from the pile I'm wearing and the pile on the floor, the tree still has plenty so I'm happy. I got the lights on and now I'm forcing myself to change my sweater and get busy on dinner before I do any more.   I'm also loving my table runner and that silver mercury glass lighted tree. I got the last one of those too, at Homegoods. If you live in my neck of the woods you're out of luck. Sorry. Both were purchased with a gift card from my eldest daughter. She knows what mama likes :)  I'm off to get dinner started, then more decorating!  And I know, two posts within two days? Whaaaaat?  I'm on a roll.






A little Christmas Decorating

2016-12-06T13:06:53.478-05:00

Finally, a moment to visit! I have been crazy busy, (emphasis on crazy) since mid-November.  We spent most of the week of Thanksgiving with our kids in Pennsylvania. What a wonderful time having all of us together for the holiday!  That doesn't happen much any more so I treasure it when it does.The following week our youngest daughter came home on Saturday for a daddy & daughter baking day. I love that they share those special times with their father. I get to hang out and chat and then we get to sample the results! What could be better?  On this day they tried a recipe from a new magazine.  It's a vegan chocolate tart with salted oat crust.  Rich, decadent and so yummy!  We aren't vegan, but we don't turn up our nose at recipes like that! I would make it again, but tiny pieces are all it takes to satisfy any one's sweet tooth. You can find the recipe here. As soon as we came home from Thanksgiving I hit the ground running for our church's annual women's ministries Christmas dinner.  Over 100 ladies attended and I cooked the main course because, A. I am cheap and I KNEW I could make it for less than catering prices, and B. That little voice that is supposed to be inside your head asking, "do you think that is really a good idea?" was napping.  It all came out fine but it seriously took up my whole week and when all was said and done the house looked like it had been hit by a tornado.  All that to say, I am just now getting things in order, catching up on the mountain of laundry and starting to decorate for Christmas.  Yesterday I saw on someones blog that there are two more Monday's before Christmas and I almost fainted.  Why does this season go so lightning fast?!   So I started bringing up decorations one armload at a time from the basement. I'm not bringing everything up at once, the mess overwhelms me.  I would rather make numerous trips for some reason than look at it all at once.  I have tucked a few Christmas touches in among the Jadeite on the kitchen shelves.  I also discovered rice lights this year and I can't get enough.  Battery operated, I even found some that are remote controlled so I don't have to fumble for the little control boxes tucked out of sight. LOVE!  They add a little sparkle to so many places, and no cords to deal with. Winning! I also hung some big lighted stars in the bedroom, they are lit by very low watt night light bulbs so they just have a soft, romantic glow.  They look so pretty even on an overcast day. Excuse the bad photo, it was taken with my phone, which does not have the best camera. To the left of the bed is a floor to ceiling shelf. At one time I had all my sewing fabrics and accoutrements in these shelves. Since the girls got married and moved out, and I have a craft room, I finally got the sewing stuff out of here and it is just our bedroom. Yay!  I still needed to store some trims and various things, and I solved that problem with covered baskets in various shapes and sizes from Salvation Army.  I love the look, and everything is contained. I tucked a few little domed Christmas houses on the shelves along with some flocked branches. I love how they look with the texture of the baskets.This cute little dome came from Home Goods, and I couldn't resist it because of the oval shape and rustic wood base.   I'll be sharing more  about these shelves soon. Have you finished your decorating or are you just getting started?  R[...]



Homekeeping 101 - The Pantry

2016-11-03T13:08:11.047-05:00

I'm going to start this post with some lovely photos of Autumnal beauty. The golden maple outside our front porch as I mowed the lawn for the last time this year on a sunny 73 degree day... These darling sunflowers my sweetheart had waiting for me after a weekend trip away to visit my precious daughter, Lauren, in Pennsylvania...Love!  Ok, now for the not beautiful part.  You may have noticed the name of this post. Homekeeping 101 - The Pantry.  It turns out that my daughter has some friends who would like me to do some posts on some of the things I have learned over the years on that subject.  I'm sure we can all look back and come to the conclusion that we have learned a LOT since those first few years of marriage and learning to manage our own homes! So, I promised to do a series on some of those things. Meal planning, keeping a pantry, easy meals with basic ingredients.  The next photo is not so pinterest worthy as the first two, unless it's as an example of a "before" remodeling project. I can't believe I'm putting it up here but for all it's ugliness, it is one of the hardest working areas in our home and you've been my friends a loooong time:) I present to you the dungeon,, er, basement pantry.  Yeah, it's in an unfinished basement circa 1945.  In the 35 years we have lived here it has had a few minor water issues so it is just not feasible to finish it.  Earl built these shelves years and years ago and as much as I hate how they look, I love how they work!Excuse the board leaning against the wall in this photo. It was left there by the chief woodworker and head of building projects in this house. Aka, Earl. This pantry saves us loads of money in so many ways.First, when we see an item that we use regularly on a deep discount we can stock up.  We do rotate and put newer items to the back to keep things fresh. Let me tell you, this is like having a mini grocery store in our basement.  Secondly, when I'm in the middle of baking and run out of flour, sugar, commonly used spices or extracts, I don't have to go to the store, I go to the basement.  This is especially nice in the winter.  It not only saves gas, but it keeps you from going into a store and picking up all those things that catch your eye that weren't really on your list. Third, when everyone else is standing in line buying emergency supplies for that big Michigan winter storm, I'm snug on the sofa with a hot cuppa, reading a book.  I know I'm stocked with essentials.I think the best things to stock in your pantry are  the basics of every day cooking. I know I've seen lists in magazines that made me scratch my head in wonder for all the strange oils, condiments and ingredients that I have never in my life used. Start with what you use most!  Canned broths, tomato products, (crushed, sauce, paste), pasta sauce and pasta, beans, and home canned fruits, vegetables and jams, basic oils like sunflower and vegetable oil, ketchup, mustard and mayo, baking essentials like flour, sugar (white and brown) salt, soda, baking powder, cocoa , and your most used spices. Don't forget vanilla, wines and liqueurs for flavoring your cooking. We don't drink, but we cook with wine, and the liqueurs are often used in holiday baking as a flavoring.We have a shelf for paper plates, cups and plastic utensils, a shelf for foil, saran wrap and sandwich and freezer bags.  If you are just starting a pantry don't expect to fill it all at once.  Pick up a fe[...]



This and That

2016-10-26T10:24:05.272-05:00

October is drawing to a close. The trees are finally reaching their peak color around here and it is so beautiful.  I wish the lovely days of  Autumn lasted longer because it was 34 degrees when I woke up this morning and the high is only supposed to reach into the low 40's. It's been blustery and grey for days and I have to say, in spite of the mums and trees and pumpkin fun, I have to admit fall is not my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I love aspects of it all to pieces, but I need sunshine, a growing garden and the promise of fireflies and crickets. Mostly I need sunshine and the shorter days do not thrill me.  Winter in Michigan can be brutal. Time to hunker down and count the days until the winter solstice when the days get longer. In the meantime, I will be busying myself with baking, and decorating.  I plan to have a pie baking party sometime in November to show some friends the finer points of pie crust.  It isn't hard once you understand the process. My mother hated to cook and bake, so she always asked me to do pie crusts. I watched my little grandmother on the farm as she baked pies and everything else.  That dear woman still ranks as one of the best cooks and bakers I ever met. At 7 years old I became the maker of crusts. I was too young to know it was supposed to be difficult so I wasn't intimidated.  Teach your kids to cook and bake early so they have the confidence of youth!  I used leaf shaped cookie cutters that I got on clearance from William Sonoma a few years ago to make the top crusts on these fresh peach pies, but I just saw a similar set at Michaels for a good price.  If you use a coupon it would be a great price! My main decorating project will be this, the back entryway.  It is tiny. Super tiny even.  Really just enough room for the door to swing open but it is right off the kitchen and it's the door we use most often.  I looked back at old posts and this photo is from 2007, (my first year of blogging!) and I said the wallpaper was put up a couple years before that.  So 2005? Ready for a change? Yes!  The green trim will be painted a bright white and the wallpaper will be replaced with....This. An anaglypta, or raised design that can be painted. It will give some texture and pretty pattern to the entry but I will be able to update the color easily without stripping the paper, as an added bonus it is fairly inexpensive.  I haven't decided whether to keep the blackboard paint or beadboard over it or maybe just use the wallpaper there too. I know I have seen lots of opinions that blackboard paint is still going strong, I think I might just be ready for a change.  What do you think?  Is blackboard a trend that has seen better days?So here is my next question, when do you switch out the fall decorating for Christmas?  November 1 or after Thanksgiving? I already feel the siren call of Christmas. Maybe just a little here and there in November?[...]



October

2016-10-11T09:33:29.014-05:00

The year is flying past! I don't do as much seasonal decorating as I used to, but I like to decorate the front porch and a few areas inside.  I wanted to keep the beautiful red geranium and bacopa baskets my daughter, Victoria, made for me for Mother's day. They have weathered this hot dry summer so beautifully!   Adding some orange accents did the trick. True to form I have a hard time passing up the seasonal flowers at the farmer's market, so the orange mums came home to join everything else on the porch. The pumpkin came from Kroger and I added a pumpkin accent pillow to the front porch chair.  The birch branches were cut and brought home by Earl last year after he visited the family cabin up north for the annual family hunting party.  The branches stay tucked into an old copper pot season to season and I decorate around them. The basket on my front door gets a few fresh seasonal flowers, leaves and a little pumpkin pick.  It is so easy to change out and I always love the new look.Inside, I gathered the pumpkins that grow year to year on our compost heap and piled them into a dough bowl that my sweetheart carved.  That man is so talented! I tucked in some sweet autumn clematis, lemon verbena and rosemary from the herb garden along with some teeny battery operated fairy lights on copper wire.  The greens were tucked into some floral water tubes. You know those little green tubes the florist uses to keep flowers fresh until you can get them into water? I had a small collection and they really helped keep the herbs fresh longer. The pumpkins and greens helped hide them.And that is about the extent of the decorating around here.  I'm mostly drinking coffee, working on etsy orders and working up the gumption to strip wallpaper off the tiny back entry so I can redecorate. I also want to cover the old living room love seat, make new throw pillows, finish the quilt I'm working on for my son in law, finish the quilt I started for a sweet little great niece, finish planning the annual women's ministry Christmas dinner for our church,,, hmmm, I think I see why I'm not getting everything done.But it all will, so time to put down the coffee, er maybe I'll take it with me, and get crackin'.Wish me luck and lots of energy! ;)[...]



Autumn in England

2016-09-14T08:51:51.845-05:00

It's no secret, visiting England and the British Isles has always been a dream of mine.  I'm not going, but I know someone who is.  I am torn between being incredibly happy for her and wanting to pout in a corner because I'm not going.  Happiness will win out... eventually.In the mean time, I thought it would be fun to make a list of things that I just adore that might make fabulous souvenirs. You know, Christmas is right around the corner, (and that is the last time I'll be mentioning THAT for a few months!) and vacationing in the land of my dreams makes a great opportunity to get those things that are a little harder to come by on this side of the pond.There are several European designers that I have always admired.  I came upon some of Emma Bridgewater's beautiful ceramics years and years ago. I love them to pieces. Granted you can get a few pieces on Amazon, but the selection is very limited.  If you have been reading this blog for very long, you also know I have a dish addiction.  There are so many beautiful patterns and designs available, my only problem is storage, but I have a basement with shelves and I am not afraid to fill it. Give me all the crockery please!This is one of her oldest lines and I loved it the moment I saw it so many years ago. The blue and white is gorgeous, and that Daddy mug, so sweet! Earl and I seriously love watching the birds at our feeder. We have one that hangs outside our living room window and the sound of their songs and chirps as they eat is so sweet and relaxing.  So it's no surprise that I love these bird mugs. But then again, I love my chickens too. Morning coffee in these? Yes! Would this fit in a carry on? *sigh*I know some of these are no doubt discontinued, but I KNOW this traveler knows what I love :)What is your dream destination? Have you been there?[...]



Summers End

2016-08-31T09:07:26.566-05:00

Well as much as I want to hang on to summer just a little longer I see the end clearly. The sunshine is a little more golden, the days a little shorter and I've seen my first wash of red in the trees.  I think I'm ready to give in to the changes I see around me. It's not that I don't love Autumn, I just don't love what comes after Autumn, but if you've been around for any amount of time you know that about me.I'm deep in the work of summers end. I have a table full of ripe peaches that will be frozen and made into jam and I see a few pies in my very near future.I have already made a batch of peach jam and it is good! Nothing can beat the fruit from the orchard, it ripens properly instead of going from hard to mush like the grocery store varieties.  With the golden light of early Autumn spilling in my kitchen windows it's no work at all to turn ripe fruit into something amazing.  I always say, if you don't like cooking and baking you aren't making the right recipes!Using leaf cookie cutters for the top crust is even easier than lattice and it just feels like fallEarl and I grabbed a quick weekend away the weekend before last. We found a b&b right on the Au Sable River. It turned out the forecast wasn't conducive to canoeing so we headed to Traverse City to look around.  We hid out in antique stores while it rained and looked around at a huge old asylum that has been turned into retail stores and condos. Such a great use for amazing Victorian architecture.  We found some cozy, fun little places for lunch and dinner and then headed back to the b&b to enjoy some coffee on the big porch while we watched the rain.And then we got up early the next morning and spent more time on the porch. Feet up, hot coffee chasing the chill, and watched the rain come down and the river flow by.  So amazingly relaxing! I now need a very large porch added to our house. Some day....The garden is mostly ready to pick.  The first tomato was eaten the day it was ripe by some garden bandit with 4 legs, but we have high hopes of getting the next one, We have harvested the onions, and most of the green beans, (we didn't plant enough!), and are working our way through the beets. I like to roast them in the oven, peel them and make fresh Greek salads for dinner.  Thank goodness most of the flowers are hanging on as we slowly harvest everything else.  It's too late to plant anything else and empty spots in the raised beds would be so sad. This is our first year growing brussels sprouts and I just can't wait to see how they turn out. I can see the little buds forming but they don't seem nearly big enough for this far along in the season. Fingers crossed that they amount to anything!That's about the extent of the excitement around here. It must be nearly fall because I feel my focus shifting from the garden to the house.  I'm looking around and planning some freshening up in the kitchen, back entry and master bedroom. Now all I need is the gumption to get going :)  How about you, any big fall decorating / nesting plans?[...]