Monday, August 31, 2015

Happier Pantry

The other day I was sorting through my magazines and came across this photo.  The entire pantry was decorated like this.  Mixing bowls held collections of cookie cutters, Mason jars held flour, cereal and grains.  Cookbooks were stacked and lined up on shelves.  I was struck by the overall cozy look.
I began to think of the old mixing bowls in my attic and a few rolling pins tucked in drawers.

When I see pantries like that I can't help but wonder where the canned goods are hiding.
Looking at my own pantry, I knew it wouldn't be practical to have all my shelves look that way.  On the other hand, I might be able to devote one tiny shelf for the cause.

 Now when I open the door this is the first thing I see...
or maybe this is the first thing I see:

I guess it doesn't really matter which one I see first.
I'm just happy to have that little burst of cozy pantry going on.
It kind of makes the time I stand in there wondering what to make for dinner a bit more pleasant. 

Speaking of that, what's for dinner at your house tonight?

I'm on my own tonight.
Sometimes that can be fun.  Like last night I had one hamburger bun and a dab of pesto left in the jar.  I sliced a chicken breast thinly, laid it on the bun and sprinkled some shredded mozzarella on top.  In the toaster oven it went until the cheese was melted and the bun was crisp.  At that point I spread the pesto on the bun and sliced a few heirloom tomatoes from the garden to put on top.
Tonight, however, is a different matter.  Here it is almost 6:00 and I have no clue what I'll eat.  Guess I'd better hop into the pantry for some inspiration.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Late Summer Yellows

Scrolling through my photos on this late August morning, a subtle theme became apparent.  Little bits of yellow popping up here and there.  Like, for instance, this volunteer sunflower.  It volunteered at the base of one of my camellia bushes and soon soared past it.  Since the camellia was only recently planted I didn't want the sunflower to take away the nutrients from the root ball so I let it bloom, took it's picture and then cut off the seed head to feed the birds.  Not a bad deal for a free flower.

 The butterflies have been keeping me company during my morning flower watering sessions.  I never ever tire of the beauty and movement they add to the garden.

 The container gardens are still hanging in there.
While they aren't quite as lush as they once were, the bees and butterflies don't seem to mind a bit. 
 The American Goldfinches are daily visitors to the feeder, coneflowers and Black-Eyed Susans.  
Like the butterflies they add movement and beauty to the garden.

Yellow spaghetti squash made a recent appearance in my kitchen.
In the past I've always roasted it in the oven.
Did you know you can poke some holes in them, plop them in the crock pot along with 1-1/2 cups of water, set the timer for 6 hours on low and have it ready when you return from a day on the lake (or wherever your day may take you)?  Well, you can and we did and it worked very well. 

 The tomatoes are ripening up fast in my little veggie garden.
We bought four different heirloom varieties this year.  The long skinny ones above look orange, but they are really yellow and quite tasty.

 Yours Truly floating around the lake with her yellow noodle.
While my brother and sister-in-law were here last week we spent a wonderful day together on the lake.  I'm always a bit hesitant to feature other people on my blog without their consent so you'll have to imagine them floating around with me.

Hard to believe school started here today and summer will soon give way to fall.  Personally I'm ready for the heat and humidity to hit the road.  Until then, I'm content to enjoy the many good things summer has to offer.  Birds, butterflies, flowers, garden produce and dips in the lake to name a few.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Finishing Touches

1.  That guest room will be filled with guests tomorrow so it was high time we got that sign hung up.  My brother & sister-in-law are traveling cross country to settle their youngest son into college here in NC.  It's been a few years since we've seen each other so I'm super excited for their arrival.  For old times sake I couldn't resist putting a photo of all of our children standing at the shore of Lake Huron many years ago.

2.  The guest bathroom has been cleaned.
Dixie cup dispenser filled.
Soap dispenser filled.

3.  I was pleased to discover that some of the hotel lotions I had stashed away fit in quite well with the decor.  There was a time when Brett traveled fairly often on business trips.  He had a habit of bringing home the little samples until I had to tell him to stop.  They were piling up faster than we could possibly use them.
Once in a while, however, the samples are from places like Bath & Body Works or Aveda... those I still allow in the door ;D.

4.  Tidying up the toilet paper.

5.  Brand new bar of soap.
Glad I remembered to clear out the half used bar along with various bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
I remember an Oprah episode centered around getting your home ready for guests.  Oprah made a point of recommending a fresh bar of soap.  I guess I hadn't thought much about it at the time, but once I did I had to agree that it would be a good idea.

6.  A candle for some evening ambiance and I think we are ready now.

  Except for one final touch.
Just in case a sweet treat is in order.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Pantry

 Picking and choosing from the drawers and baskets, I selected a collection of favorite vintage linens.  I was leaning towards a cheerful combination of colors to greet me each time I opened the pantry door.

 Through the years I have collected vintage aprons and potholders, although they are rarely used for their intended purposes.
Once in a while I will don an apron, but for the most part they have been behind closed doors.  From time to time I bring them out to appreciate their simple beauty.  
It was high time to bring some of them out of hiding.
At one time somebody spent a lot of time stitching them together.

 This one is child-size.
I could just imagine a little girl wearing this one in my blue and yellow kitchen :).  Maybe someday there will be a granddaughter.
Although, the apron does feature a Dutch boy and girl.  Wonder if Jaxson's parents would allow him to help me bake?... nah, probably not.

 Oh well, at any rate I'm happy to have a new home for a few of these treasures.  
 The rolling pin seemed like an appropriate hanger for a collection of kitchen linens.  A blue and yellow rolling pin seemed destined for my blue and yellow kitchen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Harmonious Harvest

 Sometimes the morning's garden harvest seems to mingle together in delightful harmony.

Those are the mornings that are best suited for a little photo shoot.

 Before half of the harvest disappears.
Looks like it will be salad for lunch today.

Are you harvesting anything good from your garden this week?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Be My Guest

The plan:

Convert youngest son's former bedroom to a guest room.
When the thought was in it's infancy I envisioned a room void of clutter with a fresh coat of paint.  
With my son's remaining belongings boxed up and stored in the attic, I went to work clearing cobwebs and giving the vacuum cleaner a good work out.  

Next up it was time to choose a paint color.
These walls were currently sporting the builder's paint job from 16 years ago.  Definitely past time for a fresh coat of paint.
I never thought I would be one for paint colors in the beige tones, but after painting our office last year a light(ish) beige, I find they are growing on me.  This time I really surprised myself by also choosing a deeper shade than I normally do.

My thought was that the deeper color would accentuate the white trim in the room.

Beyond the paint color I wasn't quite sure where I was headed with this project.
One day, while looking at bedding on the internet, I stumbled across this.  Thinking the beige just might work with the paint choice and the blue might tie in with the rest of the house, I placed an order thinking if it didn't work out I would just return it.  Shipping was free and it could be returned to the local store.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the saying goes.

Upon arrival, it was quickly decided that the bedding was going to work out just fine.
Once the room was painted, the furniture polished and the carpet scrubbed, it was time to hunt down a few accessories. 
Armed with one of the pillow shams, I headed for the local HomeGoods shop to see what I could find.  A lamp seemed like a good idea to add a bit of ambiance to the room.  The blue glass in this one is so pretty and it looked like it might be a match so in the cart it went.

After a few accessory hunting trips I learned that this shade of blue isn't the easiest to match.  When I saw this metal piece at HomeGoods I thought it might be the answer for hanging over the bed.  I like how it picks up the color and pattern in the bedding while adding a bit of textural interest. 
I wasn't having much luck finding pictures for the walls.
If the blue was a match, the picture usually had a beachy theme.  I have nothing against beachy themes except that wasn't what I was going after.
I brought the bird canvas home from PierOne and was pleasantly surprised with how well it worked.
A few more things found at Tuesday Morning.  You never know what you might find there, but the prices are very reasonable.  The blue vase is shaped like a pomegranate and was on the clearance table.
The rattan tray has a dual purpose.  Although the finish on the dresser top looks pretty good in the photo, it's a whole different story in real life.  Nothing, short of a refinishing job, could help it.  So, I did the next best thing... a bit of camouflaging with those accessories.  Ha!  When the guests arrive I plan to set out a dish of candy there.

 I once heard that every room should have a surprise element or bit of whimsy.  With that in mind I couldn't resist placing this sign across from the bed.  At first glance it probably seems a bit rude.
However, since the lake is right across the street, it's really just an invitation to relax and enjoy the lake.  Which is something I hope to do plenty of when our first guests arrive in a few short weeks.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sweet Summertime Moments

Since it had been a year since Jaxson's last visit to the lake we weren't sure how receptive he would be to the idea.
Things started off on the right foot when he willingly donned his beach ensemble and happily trotted down to the lake with us.

 Safe in mommy's arms he enjoyed a little swim off the end of the dock.
So far, so good.

 Once in the boat he instantly decided he'd like to be the driver.
Grandpa tooted the horn once and that was all it took for him to find the pleasure in tooting it over and over all by himself.

 Thinking we'd better get moving before the neighbors started filing noise complaints, he agreed to be grandpa's assistant at the wheel.

All in all things went very well.
We cruised.  We anchored.  We swam and we even drove across the lake to eat dinner at a lakeside restaurant.
Making our way back home the sun was quickly setting. 

 As we made our away across the lake it got darker and darker.
Glad I wasn't at the wheel or we'd still be trying to find our way back as it all looks the same out there to me at night.
I did find comfort in the crescent moon and the little star that guided our way.

Having no idea if he was still awake, I took a flash photo and discovered that although his eyelids were getting heavy, he was still a happy camper.
Once home he was sound asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
Hopefully dreaming sweet dreams of his big day on the lake.