Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Sprucing Up The Pantry

If this were a true before & after post there would be a before picture.
Since this is more of a still rising out of the slump post, we begin with the second step in the process.
It all began over a year ago before moving into the house.
We hired a closet design company to remove the standard wire shelving in the pantry and replace it with sturdier wooden (particle board?) shelves.  The only problem was after taking care of that we were left with white spots of spackle everywhere the wire shelving used to be.
It became one of those jobs that we would get to someday.  Not a high priority as it was just the pantry with a door that closed to hide the flaws.

This past weekend we decided to tackle the project.
Of course that meant emptying the contents onto the kitchen counters.  That was a good time to take inventory of things that needed to be used up.

While Brett was busy pushing the paintbrush I decided to use up some of the canned pumpkin.  I keep reading about the many health benefits pumpkin has to offer and figured it would be better in our bodies than languishing on the pantry shelves.

Once the painting was complete I decided it was a good time to give the floor a good wash.  I also spent a little time on Pinterest checking to see if there was a better way to organize it.
Egad!  There were lots of magazine worthy pantries, but really...
is it necessary to go out and purchase a bunch of matching bins and baskets and create cute little labels?  For me, personally, the answer is NO.  Honestly I do enjoy looking at what people pin and share on IG and YouTube too.  There is a lot if inspiration to be found, but at the same time it often reminds me of one big popularity contest.  Anyhoo… I'll step off of my soapbox to say that after that search I was convinced the way I had it previously was working just fine.

It works for us and that's what really matters, after all.

Monday, February 17, 2020

All It Took Was a Sunny Day

When it comes to blogging, I've been in a major slump.
I'm blaming it on a winter filled with an abundance of rainy, gloomy days.  That's a sorry excuse, but the best one I've got.    Today, however, the sun is shining and I'm rising out of the slump to wave hello to anyone who might still be bothering to stop by.

After Christmas I was at a loss as to how to decorate my large island.  I found a couple of these glass vases at GW.  Came home and temporarily set them on the island while I hung up my coat and put away my purse.  When I walked back into the room I rather liked the colors on the white countertop so I pulled a few things from other rooms and assembled a grouping down the center of the island.  Most of these vases are made from recycled glass.  Together I think they make a nice, colorful statement.
An added bonus is the pretty shadows that are created when the sun shines through them.  Kind of reminds me of sea glass.  If I lived near the sea I would most likely have an extensive collection of it.  I think it is so pretty and so fun to walk along the beach looking for it.  Kind of reminds me of a treasure hunt.
Since I don't live near the sea I'll just use my imagination to picture sea glass right here on my own personal island.  

Thursday, January 16, 2020

These January Days

 It's been a slow week around here.
A string of dark, rainy days had me yearning for the gardening season.
My temporary fix was a trip to the garden center for a few new houseplants.  They helped to fill in some of the bare spots after the Christmas décor was put away and give me something to nurture until I can be outside again playing amongst the flowers.
When we moved I vowed to have only a few houseplants and only ones that weren't too fussy.  While watering this morning I counted 10 plus one rather sad looking orchid. (hmmm... how did that happen). I'm experimenting with the orchid to see if I can get it to re-bloom.  I understand that can take awhile.  Speaking of houseplants, have you noticed how they are currently all the rage? A visit to YouTube for orchid growing tips led me into the rabbit hole of channels devoted to everything you could ever want to know about houseplants.

 In other exciting news I made a homemade cleaner before Christmas.  A walk through the woods for pine and cedar mixed with a few orange peels and vinegar.  It's been tucked away in the pantry waiting to be put into service during the post holiday clean up.  I think this weekend I'll put it to the test on the bathroom floors.  Oh boy, sounds like something to look forward to :).
I do, however, like the idea of moving away from so many chemicals in the house.  Do any of you use the more natural, homemade products for cleaning?  If so, have you found any that you really like?

The holidays left us with far too many sweets lurking about.
This isn't a good thing for somebody who dislikes wasting food.
A cookie here and a candy there have left Brett and I both disgusted with what the scale is telling us.  Since the holidays also left us with a surplus of butternut squash and granny smith apples, I had a chopping session followed by a roasting session and then a food processing session to prepare a soup that Brett declared the best soup I've ever made.  Wow, I'll take that compliment.  But, to be honest, it is a delicious and nutritious soup which is something we need to balance out those sweets ;).  I've been making it for years and even did a blog about it way back here.  
With a little luck all of that chopping counts toward calorie burning.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Moseying Into The New Year

** Happy New Year **

Raise your hand if your Christmas tree and decor are all put away.
I'm imagining a lot of hands going up.
Here, however, the tree is still up along with all of the decor.
This morning brought rain and gloom.  I plugged the tree in and continue to enjoy the cozy light it gives the room.  This weekend will be when everything is returned to "normal" around here and that is okay with me.  Some years I would be feeling very behind to have Christmas still lingering.  This year an opportunity to hop on a plane to go share New Year's Eve with the one and only grandson arose.  Hard to pass up an offer like that.  So, we left the house as is and took off for a week.  This was his first time staying up until midnight to wear a silly hat and glasses and blow a horn to usher in the new year.  At first he looked as though he thought we'd all gone a bit mad :).  I'm thinking that now that he knows what it's all about he'll be looking forward to this opportunity to stay up past his bedtime and make all the noise he wants without being reprimanded.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Just Like That

Weren't we all just bustling about getting ready for the big day?
Now it's over for another year.
 Ah, well I suppose it's like that most years.  Hopefully all the preparation work sets the stage for a memorable celebration.
Around here we were happy to have the family together on Christmas day.

Some years are better than others at remembering to take photos.
This year we did pretty good at getting shots of everybody.
As much as I like this one...  that cord needs to go :D.

I like the way different family members bring different elements to the celebration.  I wonder if you can guess which of my family members makes sure there is a sweater for everyone.  Quite a colorful bunch we were.

Somebody enjoyed decorating sugar cookies.  It became even more fun when he taught his uncle how it was done.

I do hope that your holidays were happy and memorable too.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

December 21st ~ Warm Memories

When we moved there was one piece of furniture that didn't quite flow with the open floor plan.  Hello flowery sofa :)
It seems that floral furniture is a thing of the past.  Neutral sofas are what I see everywhere I look and I can see how versatile they can be for changing up the color scheme.  However, despite what the furniture fashion police have to say about it, I still like my little flowery sofa.  
In trying to have her not stick out like a sore thumb fit in with her surroundings, I am aiming to create a bit of a garden room feel in this new living room.  A place to prop up your feet and read, sit and enjoy conversation with no televisions to distract and (for me) a place to make plans and dream up ideas for the outdoor garden.
With that in mind I needed something on the wall above.  I didn't want a painting or anything that would add to the busyness so, I opted for a garden gate with a simple fern wreath on it.

Across from the sofa is a window which looks out on a small courtyard.  On either side of the window there are armchairs.  This spot needed some sort of table that offered a place to set a glass or tea cup for each of the chairs.  It took a while to find something to fit the bill.  One day I was in a local antique mall/craft mall type of place and spotted this.  An old table that had been chalk painted and distressed to give it an updated look.  It fit the space perfectly and gave each chair it's own little landing spot.  Over the spring and summer I also used it as a place for garden books and décor.  It turned out to be a good place for plants to grow in the terrarium.

Have a seat and I'll bring you a beverage so that you can try it out ;D.

 When it came time to decorate for Christmas it seemed like a bit of change was in order.  I decided that instead of trying to hide that colorful couch, I'd play up the colors a bit more.  So, I hauled out the 2 bins of my parent's old Christmas ornaments that I have been holding onto for at least 30 years now and looked through them to see what I could find.  It seems like the old Shiny Brite ornaments featured a lot of pastel colors with plenty of pink.  I pulled out my favorites and hung them on a little tabletop tree.

Next to the tree went two photos of my Mom & Dad in their younger days.  I think they were just dating or newly married in the large photo.  I never saw that one until they were both gone so I don't know the details, however the way they are gazing at each other in front of that huge Christmas tree makes me smile and also wonder if any of these ornaments were on that tree.
My little living room may not be in keeping with the latest trends, but I'm finding it a comfortable spot to retreat to during these busy days leading up to Christmas.  A place to remember all of the people and past Christmas celebrations that have blended together to bring me to where I am now.  I picture Mom in her small kitchen surrounded by Christmas cookies that she loved to bake and share with the neighbors while Dad added another log or two to the fire. 
I can almost smell those cookies baking and hear the fire crackling.
Soon I will take Mom's old cookbook from the shelf and begin my own cookie baking session.  
I suppose these thoughts and memories could take place anywhere, yet a room containing cherished photos, a family ornament collection and familiar furniture make for a more meaningful experience.  As time goes by and change is inevitable it is nice to pause and remember.

"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December"
J.M. Barrie

Here's to roses in December and more light daily.
A Happy Winter Solstice Day to you!


Friday, December 20, 2019

December 20th ~ The Guest Room is Ready

My ho hum guest room received a holiday spruce up just in time for our overnight guests.
It all began with the snowflake pillows.
Recently while strolling through the thrift shop, two of them caught my eye.  Pillows can be iffy to buy secondhand.  So I checked them over for stains or flaws and gave them the sniff test.  They passed those tests with flying colors.  When I saw they were originally from Pier 1, the $1.49 price seemed even more enticing as I know how pricey throw pillows can be from there.

Another trip to the thrift yielded the plush throw at the end of the bed.  It originally came from Nieman Marcus.  A store I've never even set foot in.  It is incredibly soft and the color was spot on.
Not long after that I was in a different thrift shop and spotted a rack of window coverings that had been donated by L*we's.  I didn't even realize I was in the market for window coverings until I saw these.  The colors were perfect for this room
All in all, the room came together nicely without breaking the budget.  Win Win!!