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Showing posts from August, 2010

Where do I blog?

I saw this fun party over at Kate's blog called Centsational Girl .  I just drool over her home office.  Let me tell you, this girl's got class.  Anyway, she's having a party where you can post pics of the places you blog.  I had never given it much thought, but I do tend to blog in several areas of my home.  They are my comfort spots and also where I can feel creative.  So, here's where I blog: My blogging location varies with the weather.  On nice afternoons/evenings you'll find me here on the front screened porch.  The chickens are usually running around just outside the porch area and they are quite the entertainment.  Babe, our youngest, insists on talking to me the whole time I'm out there.  I keep reminding her that she is a chicken - not a person!  Posted:  NO CHICKENS ON THE PORCH!  On beautiful mornings you'll find me here.  I like to do my devotions out here and follow up with a bit of blogging and facebooking.   When the weather's

Seasonal shopping and planning

                                                                                                          Source:  Country Living Where did the summer go?  Didn't it just seem like we were pulling out the summer decorations, bathing suits, and lawn chairs? If you've noticed, the stores are already full of Halloween, Harvest, and Christmas decorations.  But, hidden in dark corners, on the back sides of shelves, and counters by the restrooms are treasures to be found.  Start thinking of items you might need for next summer and look for those items on the drastically marked down clearance isles.  *Do you have a pool (or are planning on getting one?).  Look for items to replace or supplement what you already own. *Do you have patio furniture that needs replacing or needs new cushions.  Buying them now will save you at least half off what you'd pay in the spring for the same thing. *Do you have any summer birthdays you need to buy for?  Cute candles, place mats, l

Yes, even tissue boxes must be cute.

If you're expecting today's blog post to be inspiring, useful, or helpful - well, you'll be dispapointed.  Sorry. Today's post is trivial and bordering on weird but I'm just keeping it real here at The Wren. Today, I'm going to show you how I major on the minors, so to speak.  Here's what I do when my favorite box of facial tissue runs out. I love this box.  It matches my bathroom perfectly.  I was sad when I used up the last of the tissues. When I went to the store to buy more I was disappointed to find out they didn't have any of this same design. So, I bought whatever was cheapest and brought it home. I opened up both boxes on one end.  I slid the stack of tissue from the ugly box into the cute box. Then I used my handy double sided tape to tape up the end of the cute box. (don't worry, ugly box went into the recycling bin) If it doesn't stay "stuck" I'll have to pull out my trusty glue gun.  Ah, happiness in the

Upcycled camera strap

I've been wanting to make one of those cute camera straps for my camera that I've been seeing all around the blog world.  Lots of cute fabrics and ruffled patterns.  Problem is, my Hubs uses my camera sometimes and he's not too keen on cute and ruffly (except on me!). So, I looked around my upcycle fabric stash and found this suede skirt that I thought would be perfect. First step:  I cut off about 4 inches from the bottom of the skirt.  It was not hemmed, so I didn't have to take that into consideration.  I trimmed the strip down to 24 inches, folded the ends over and hemmed them on the machine.  Easy. Then I cut a piece of extra fabric from the skirt that measured 4 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches.  I folded over two of the ends and hemmed them.  Then I sewed one end to the strap, pleating as I went.  This will become a pocket for the lens cap.  (in the picture you can see that I had already sewn the cover part way and had to take out the stitches after discovering that I

Wrensday: Hibiscus beauty

When we moved to our property almost 5 years ago I was determined to bring some of the plants I had nurtured at our old home to our new home.  Our friends were gracious enough to "plant sit" for us for the 3 months we lived in an apartment, while looking for a home.  They had a "nursery" area in a shaded section of their property in which I stored pots and pots of plants I had dug from our old home.  One of my favorites that I had to keep was a perennial hibiscus.  I got the seeds from an old family friend who had been growing it for decades in his back yard.  It took 5 years from the time I planted it until it finally bloomed.  But, boy, were the blooms worth the wait. The flowers are the size of luncheon plates.  They tower over the other plants in the garden - even the tall grasses. I have since weeded this garden and it looks much better! Right now, since the day lillies are done, the hibiscus is the only color in this border.  It's been blooming fo

You've got to try: fresh nutmeg

Several years ago I received a gift from a friend who vacationed in St. Thomas.  She brought me back a jar of whole nutmeg.  It came with a tiny grater tied to it.  I tried out freshly grated nutmeg the very next time I made homemade applesauce .  The fresh nutmeg put the old powdered nutmeg I had been using to shame.  Since that time, I've never looked back. As I'm preparing to make the final batch of applebutter wedding favors , I decided to show off the whole nutmeg I'm using.  The glass jar (on the left) is the original jar my friend gave me years ago.  I just keep refilling it when I run out.  To the right is a jar I just bought at TJMaxx.  Who knew they had great spices? Also in the picture you'll see the grater I upgraded to.  This is not a true micro planer but just a cheap mini grater I picked up at who-knows-where-maybe-a-thriftstore.  I use it to grate Parmesan cheese, chocolate, and lemon/lime peels.  It works great and cleans up nicely. This shows

Monday Motivation: Gaze upon what is orderly

I came across a fun website that made me smile.  It's called Things Neatly Organized .  I've always liked places and things that are neatly organized.  Libraries, grocery stores, hardware stores, museums, magazines, encyclopedias.  If things were lined up, stacked up, color coordinated, or in alphabetical order then I was in my happy place. When I looked at Things Neatly Organized, I was reminded of all of the places in my home that bring me joy because they are orderly.  Not perfect, not immaculate - just orderly.  So today, don't look for something in your home that needs your attention to clean or organize.  Just note those orderly areas that bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.  Here are a few of mine: A set of Bible commentaries. Tomatoes ripening on the kitchen window sill. Knives in their holder. Freshly canned tomatoes. Stamps stored in a printer's case.  This hangs on a wall in my sewing room. Skirts, sheets, shirts, and fabric wai

Three things I know

I interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to inform you of three things I know.  Well, I know a lot of other things but these three things are super important for me right now.  But first, a little history: If you'll remember several months ago I let you know that I have an inherited kidney disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease.  It is causing my kidneys to decrease in function.  My last blood work said my kidney function was at 17% and my doctor told me that if August's blood work didn't show an improvement in function (to 20%) then I would be referred to the transplant team at the local hospital. For the past month I've been praying, my church has been praying, and many of you have been praying (thank you).  About 2 weeks ago, while doing my devotions, the Lord impressed on me the question, "Do you think Jesus is powerful enough to heal you?".  Well, being the good Christian girl that I am I answered, "Well, of course He can.  He is the c

New kind of wall art

Here's the latest in wall decor for your kitchen. What?  You don't have a jar lifter hanging from your kitchen cabinet knob? I've been hanging it there for convenience, while I can these: I've still got a few weeks more of canning to do so I think I'll just keep it up there until it's time to decorate for Autumn. 

Moon flowers show off

So many of the plants in my garden are colorful, hardworking plants. And then others, like the Moon flower, are just plain show offs. Each Moon flower bloom opens as the sun sets and stays in bloom until the sun climbs high the next day.  Show off! It reseeds itself and pops up anywhere it wants to grow in my garden.  It's flowers are huge and have a sweet scent.  Show off! Even the seed heads are larger than life.  Show off! **If any of you would like to have some Show off Moon flower seeds just let me know.  As soon as the seed heads dry I'll be happy to send you some.

Keeping track of bill paying

For those of you, like us, who are slow to get on the "paying bills online" bandwagon; here's a way to keep track of them so you won't miss a payment.  When the bill comes in open it immediately.  Take out any advertisements and fluff, check to make sure the bill is correct, place the bill inside the envelope, and label the date to be mailed on the envelope.  Simple. This little bill holder has a history that is only appreciated and loved by me.  My grandpa made this napkin holder in shop class in 1917.  Grandma and Grandpa married shortly after high school graduation and used it to hold their napkins.  Many years later, while visiting Grandma, we decorated it with crushed up Easter egg shells and covered it with a glue/water mixture to seal it.  Grandma never broke down to buy Modge Podge because she had been making her own version for years.  My kids think it's weird looking, but every time I look at it I remember happy times with Grandma.  She really tau

Monday Motivation: Clean your drains

“It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it” source unknown source Fun Stuff!  Cleaning Drains!  Whoo hoo! Are you psyched yet? Well, if you look carefully at your bath and kitchen drains or stick your nose down in your sink you might be so inclined to do a little drain cleaning.  If you think about it, a lot of yucky stuff goes down those drains.  Eventually, some of that yucky stuff starts to accumulate and may eventually block up the workings. To keep the drains flowing freely and smelling good I treat them monthly with a little concoction I call: Drain Metamucil Here's what you do: 1.  Pour 1 cup of salt into the drain (use the cheap stuff - not the kosher stuff you cook with) 2.  Pour 1 cup of baking soda into the drain (I buy it in a large bag at Sam's club) 3.  Pour 1 cup vinegar into the drain and let it fizz for 15 minutes (again, use the cheap vinegar that comes in a gallon jug) 4.  Lastly, pour a full kettle of boilin

What to do with all the tomatoes

Several months ago I was really worried.  I had tried starting heirloom tomatoes from seed and was underwhelmed by their progress.  Well, to tell the truth, I always have grander schemes in my mind that reality can never really live up to.  I'm weird like that.  Anywho. . . back to the tomatoes. . . they were puny. Well, not any more.  This is what I picked this morning. There's still a lot of not-quite-ripe ones waiting for another day or two until they join me in the kitchen. I've got Amish Paste and  Beefsteak that I planted and then Roma and Cherry tomatoes that reseeded themselves from last year.  With all of the Amish Paste and Beefsteak I made tomato sauce and canned it.  I didn't use any of the recipes I found because all of them included either onions, peppers, or garlic and spices.  I simply wanted pure tomato sauce so I diced the tomatoes and cooked them down for several hours, pureeing them several times with my immersion blender.  When the sauce was

Simple slipcovers from upcycled fabric

When we moved into our home 5 years ago we we bought red wool area rugs for our family room and sitting room areas.  Our first floor is open concept with a fireplace and wood stove in the middle of everything.  This sitting area is between our kitchen and dining area.  In the summer I put these chairs  in front of the fireplace to make more room for going in and out of the screened porch.  In the winter I replace them with larger upholstered chairs that we sit in to read in front of the fireplace on cold winter nights.  Problem is the dark red carpet seemed too hot for the summer months and also collected every. single. piece. of. grass. we seem to track in from the yard. My solution?  Well, I replaced the carpet for the summer with an indoor/outdoor carpet I found on sale for $20.00.  It vacuums nicely and, if needed, can be hosed off outside and dried in the sun.  It feels really nice on the feet and has a nice basket weave pattern.  I also made an ottoman cover and chair cushio