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Showing posts from September, 2010

Wrensday: What's on my kitchen window sill

I love this little harvest basket.  My SIL gave it to me as a gift 2 years ago.  The top lifts off to hold my rings when I do dishes.  I love the detail.

Spicy Gift

I love gifts, especially spicy gifts! My friend, Robin, surprised me with a cute bottle of her custom blended herb mix. She picked the herbs from her garden, dried them, mixed them, and then packaged them in these adorable bottles.  She used rosemary, oregano, and basil.  I added 2 tsp. to my pot of corn chowder and it was divine.   I decided it was too cute to put in the spice cupboard.  I've added it to my trivet that holds EVOO, kosher salt (in the Italian butter dish), and S&P shakers.

Monday Motivation: It's time for a 10 minutes pick-up

Just a quick Monday Motivation this week.  Nothing too big as this is a very busy week for me.  In fact, I'm revisiting  a post from last year that is worth repeating. This post was originally published on September 14, 2009 This little motivation will make a big difference in how orderly your home looks. As a professional organizer, I'm often asked how to keep a home looking neat. The answer is the 10 minute pick-up. Here's how the 10 minute pick-up works: 1. Start at your front door. 2. Pick up anything that doesn't belong in that area. It helps if you use a small laundry basket to keep the items in. 3. Go to the next room (let's say the living room). Pick up anything that doesn't belong in that room. Put anything from the laundry basket away that belongs in the living room. 4. Continue through each main room of the house until everything is put away. Remember, you're not CLEANING the house, only picking up clutter. If you have little ones a

Making my autumn porch welcoming

Since we'll be welcoming a lot of visitors soon I needed to add some autumn charm to the front porch.  The green cushion is one of four I found at Target for 50% off.  I wasn't sure about the color, but after getting it home, I discovered I already had these pillows (thrift store find from Pier 1) and a lantern that would coordinate nicely.  I really like the punch of green in an otherwise neutral colored porch.  You can't tell from the photo, but the pillows have the same bright green in the appliqued leaves. In the corner of the porch I plopped some grasses and leaves into a spray painted bucket and added my "Come Sit On My Porch" sign.  The blue of the sign is a nice contrast with the orange of the arrangement. 

Making my home cozy with Autumn Decor

Out with summer - In with autumn I gathered all of my summer decor.  Seashells, aqua and white items, flowers, and plates.  I packed them in the "summer" bin and pulled out the "autumn" bin. Wheat and wrens on the front desk. Leaves and berries on the mantel with my favorite water color art. Pinecones, acorns, and pumpkins are ready for the harvest celebrations. Even wedding RSVPs take a part of the dining room sideboard decor. 

Wrensday: My potting bench

I've got a special spot in my yard that needed some cleaning up.  It functions well, but my potting bench wasn't looking "wedding ready".  Since my daughter's wedding is only 1 1/2 weeks away I thought the bench could use a new outfit - and a bath.  My Hubs built the potting bench from an old sink that we found (you guessed it) in someone's trash.  It's an old cast iron sink with built in drain boards.  Hubs used pressure treated wood and leftover Trex decking to make the base of it.  I cleaned up the area and made a skirt from a canvas drop cloth, stapling it around the top of the wood just under the sink lip. Scattered around our home are little folk art creatures, made by the previous owner.  At first I thought they were too weird to keep but, over time, I've come to like them.  Here's one little fella that I use to hold my old gardening trowel. Who wouldn't love a face like this? This little gal never has a bad hair day.  She d

What's for dinner? Deviled Egg & Spinach Salad

Deviled Egg & Spinach Salad 6 hard boiled eggs, diced 2 medium potatoes, cooked and diced 1/4 cup homemade mayo 2 Tbl. snipped chives 1/4 tsp. grated lemon peel 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice 1 Tbl. coarse-grain mustard salt & pepper to taste fresh picked baby spinach, washed and trimmed to bite size pieces cherry tomatoes, fresh from the garden, cut into halves homemade croutons (see recipe below) Combine mayo, chives, lemon juice, lemon peel, mustard, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl.  Add eggs and potatoes and toss to coat.  Arrange spinach leaves on plates and top with egg/pototo mixture.  Top with cherry tomato halves and homemade croutons. To make homemade croutons: Place 1 Tbl. butter and 1 Tbl. Olive oil into a saute pan.  Place on medium heat.  While the butter is melting, cut bread (use any leftover bread you have - even hotdog buns will do) into large cubes. I usually cut up about 1 or 1 1/2 cups of cubes.   Toss the bread cubes into the pan with the butter and EVOO,

Monday Motivation: Clean out your purse

What are the three words guaranteed to humiliate men everywhere? 'Hold my purse.'   My purse is a mess.  I really feel out of control when my purse is disorganized.  (source) This really isn't my purse.  My purse isn't this bad but it's bad enough to cause me stressed out. If your purse is stressing you out, here are the steps to clean it up. 1.  Take everything out of your purse.  Check all pockets and zippered areas. 2.  Have a trash can nearby.  3.  Sort items by type (receipts together, makeup in a pile, scraps of paper with info scribbled on them collected, pens/pencils together etc.) 4.  Go through your wallet and other accessories and clean them out using step 3.  Make a copy of your credit cards and keep it in a file in case your purse is lost or stolen.  5.  Turn the purse upside down and shake all residue out.  Wipe out the inside of the purse with a damp cloth and allow to dry. 6.  Now is a great time to change out your purse for a new one. 

More healthy eating

*(deviled egg and spinach salad with homemade croutons) Several weeks ago I told you some of the things I'm doing to be a healthier eater .  Well, I've continued to improve my diet and I want to share more changes I've made to help me on this journey. 1.  I've replaced precut and trimmed chicken parts with whole chickens, organically raised.  I usually roast two chickens at a time and that gives us chicken for several meals. 2.  I've discovered grass fed, organic bacon that is not processed with chemicals.  You won't believe what "real" bacon tastes like.   3.  After struggling with changing my recipes from white flour to whole wheat flour, I've discovered that whole wheat pastry flour works much better. 4.  I'm learning to make pie crusts, gravy, biscuits, mayo, and pasta from scratch instead of buying foods ready made. 5.  I've stopped taking regular vitamins because I realized they contained a lot of chemicals.  I'm look

What's in the Fall Garden?

My job this weekend was to plant our Fall garden.  The first step was to rip out the old, tired garden.  Then I added compost. Finally, I planted some plant starts and seeds. This bed holds peas (not yet sprouted) that will grow up the trellis, surrounded by red cabbage.  In the middle is green ice lettuce (just starting to sprout).  I covered them with recycled cell pack trays to keep the chickens from eating the seed.  This is just an experiment but I hope it works.  This next spot holds my favorite Swiss Chard.  Yummy! This garden holds a green cabbage called 45 day cabbage.  It matures in 45 days and has a smaller head.  This is a new variety to me but I thought I'd give it a try.  I've nicknamed it "short cabbage". This garden has peas growing up the trellis, surrounded by more "short cabbage".   I planted Corn Salad seeds under the trays.  Corn Salad is also called Mache or Lamb's lettuce.  The sweet potatoes I planted in early Summer ar

Wrensday: Surprises at The Wren

Well, our fears are relieved.  Reba is a Reba and not a Rambo as we feared.  See those tail feathers?  Well, an observant reader wrote to say that what we thought was a she might be a he , so to keep an eye on her/him.  So we waited. . . And then one day we found this. . . Then we did the happy dance.  Thankfully, she now lays her beautiful eggs in the nesting box in the chicken coop.  Yay!! We're also finding lots of beautiful things in the back woods.  Look at this fungus. And this moss. And isn't this color beautiful? What surprises have you been finding around your home? I'm linking to:

More kitchen ideas

Yesterday's post stirred up a lot of questions from many readers.  I guess this is the first time I've shown my whole kitchen at the same time.  The backsplash tiles came with the house.  They are white with the occasional farm animal tile done in red on white.  The problem is, they animals are scary.  Really, I mean it.  Scary, scary, scary.  I had to cover them up.  For the first few years I used square tile stickers (from Dollar Tree) to cover them.  They were floral stickers but if you looked closely, you could still see the scary, scary farm animals staring back at you.  NOT GOOD!  So, in despiration, I grabbed my dark blue acrylic craft paint and painted over each scary tile.  I painted 3 coats on each tile and then went over the paint with a satin poly coat.  I've been cleaning the tiles with my Sparkle Cleaner and the paint still looks good.  And the best part?  No scary farm animals in sight! Next, we bought the island right after we moved in 5 years ago at Lo

Monday Motivation: Taking care of your range hood

Our range hoods get a lot of grease and dirt sucked up into them.  As gross as that looks, if not cleaned regularly, it will start to smell gross too.  If cleaned on a regular basis, the hood is easier to clean and works more efficiently.  To clean the outside of the hood, use dish washing detergent in warm water to cut the grease.  I generally just wipe mine down when washing dishes after dinner.  To clean the filters, follow the manufacturer's directions for your particular model.  Some filters can be washed in the dishwasher.  Older models can be soaked in dishwater to soak off grease.  Rinse well and dry completely before reinstalling.  These should be cleaned at least once a month.  (our kitchen on the day we moved in) When we purchased our home 5 years ago, we became the proud owners of all mismatched appliances.  The stove was black and white, the dishwasher was black, the fridge was white, and the range hood was almond.  Since a remodel was not in the budget any tim

Tips for thrifting

I get a lot of compliments on the outfits I wear.  Frequently, people ask me where I shop.  I hesitate to tell them because I'm not sure how they'll react.  Will they be impressed or repulsed that I mostly shop for my clothes in thrift stores? When I was a young bride, the best gift anyone gave me was a crash course in how to shop in a thrift store.  The mother of one of my friends took me shopping and gave me a lot of tips on what to look for and watch out for with second hand items. I have several friends who are struggling with money right now due to job layoffs and the rising prices at the stores.  I've been able to share what I've learned with them and I thought I would share these tips with you too.  Tips for shopping in a thrift store: 1.  Find out what the store policies are.  Generally there is no haggling, no returns, and no warranty.  Buyer beware. 2.  Find out when the store's discount days occur.  In our area, one day a week is always military

Winner of the Baby Button Nest Give Away

Thanks to all of you who entered to win the Baby Button Nests for my give away.  We had 11 individuals enter, some with one entry and some with 3 entries, depending on how you entered.  I tossed all of the names into Nana's dough bowl. And the winner is. . . Well, Sheri O., I'll get your Baby Button Nests to you this week.  Congratulations!! I've been busy making more nests and I'll have them for sale in my Etsy shop this week.  Thanks again for all who entered the contest.  I'll do another give away before Christmas.

Monday Motivation: 10 things to get rid of now (the crafter's addition)

I believe it might be time for another "10 things to get rid of now" post.  I've written a few other posts about this before here , here , here , and then here , but autumn makes me want to nest.  Those of us who craft tend to collect things that could one day be turned into a treasure.  Well, before the holiday season gets underway, let's get rid of the stuff we don't use and make more room for what we do use.  Grab a box for donations and a dark trash bag for garbage.  Ready?  I must warn you. . . I'm going to be ruthless.  Are you sure you're ready?  Here we go: 1.  Fabric:  Go through your fabric stash.  Are you saving scraps that are really too small to do anything with?  Trash.  Do you have fabric you bought on a whim and you've never used?  Donate.  Do you have fabric for small children and your kids are 15 and 19?  Donate.  Don't save it for your grandchildren - you'll have fun shopping for new stuff when they come along.  Choose

We're in the home stretch

If you've been reading this blog for a few months you'll remember that we're preparing for our daughter's wedding in early October in our backyard.  Needless to say, with only one month left until the big day, we're busy with "making pretty" and "doing the details". So far, I've recovered a bunch of cushions for the deck and seating areas. . . Hubs, wonderful man that he is, made a backdrop for the ceremony.  It's not completely finished, but it's going to be amazing.  The "greenhouse garden" is growing like crazy and I'm just trying to keep everything weeded, fertilized, and dead-headed.  We'll add potted chrysanthemums in a few weeks to perk up the color.  (don't see a greenhouse?  Well, it's in the planning stages.  I figure that if I call it the "greenhouse garden" then it will motivate Hubs to build one sooner) The vegetable garden is winding down and I'm about ready to put in the f