Monday, March 20, 2017

Progress

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!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

My One Weakness

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 :)









Monday, February 20, 2017

Fascinating Facts about my Day

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't wait for Spring so I can put it on the house.  I have been wanting one of these for ages!
While I am on the subject of BJ, Some of you probably have already heard that dear Mr. Sweet is going through some health problems that may be very serious.  Please say a prayer for him and BJ.  They have been together a long time and have the most wonderful family.  BJ and I have been blog friends for pretty close to the whole 10 years I have been blogging, and although we have never met I love her dearly.  Funny how that can happen isn't it? We share so much of our daily lives I sometimes think we know our blog friends better than we know some of our friends that are right here with us. I keep Mr. Sweet and the family in my prayers each day and I hope you will too. 

And there you have it, all the news and up to date.  Hopefully I can get my blogging mojo back and be a little more regular with my posting.  Hope this finds you all well, I do visit but it has been a bit more sporadic lately.  Just a few more weeks until Spring. I can't wait!






Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cupcakes, Projects and Fun Finds

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...
source

source
I 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.  I am working on getting the old green trim painted sparkling white and my wallpaper came this week, (yay!!!!) so I am hoping it will be finished in a couple more weekends.

That's my January so far.  Lest you think I am some kind of white tornado around here, I spend a good portion of my days sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee trying to work up enough energy to get anything done.  Are you working on indoor projects too?


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!

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 back entryway! The new wallpaper is on it's way and with a little paint and elbow grease I will have a sparkling bright entry in a week or so.

I hope your New Year is going smoothly, and happily.  Ease up on yourself and enjoy a few weeks of possibilities and low pressure! And thank you to all who have been stopping by for so many years.  It makes me smile to read each comment!