June 29, 2007

Inspiration Friday- 3 Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

I'm in such a festive & patriotic mood with the holiday just around the corner. I would love to tell you that my house was all decked out for the 4th but it's not. In a perfect world I would have the budget and the basics in place to transform my home for every holiday. For now I will just look at pictures like this and dream. I hope you enjoy your 4th of July as much as I plan to enjoy mine!







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I have a funny story to tell you about those rainboots I blogged on yesterday's wishlist. Yesterday after posting that, Emma and I were at Target in the deli section where I was quietly debating if I should get provolone or gouda cheese to use for dinner last night (gouda won) when I looked up and saw a woman at the meat counter with her daughter and she was wearing rainboots just like my coveted ones but in a polka dot pattern and with a denim skirt. She was rockin that outfit! I thought to myself, now that's my kinda girl. I wanna be friends with her. Instead of proclaiming this, I simply complimented her on her fashion choice and walked away because really, how do you meet someone at the Target deli counter and ask them to be your friend without sounding like a complete lunatic? It was so much easier to make friends in kindergarten.

June 28, 2007

Summer Wish List

This is just a small sampling of things I'm crushing on right now. I try not to get caught up in what I don't have and focus on what I do have, but a girl sure likes to dream! What's on your wish list?


From Ballard Designs: Perfect for a corner in my bedroom.


Le Creuset tea pot












From Target.com













From Typhoonus.com













astrantia 'Roma'













ranunculus











From P.O.S.H. Chicago













Glitter from the Martha Stewart line at Michael's:












From The Container Store:
















From the glorious Ms. Teresa McFayden herself:














From my Amazon Wish List:


June 27, 2007

Beetles

This is the beetle I want.


Sadly, this is the beetle I have. Japanese Beetles. Eww. For the love of Summer foliage, will someone please tell me how to eradicate them? I've tried Spectracide Bug Stop to no avail. My ornamentals are quickly becoming skeletons! What should I do? Have any of you used a beetle trap?

June 25, 2007

Just in the Door


Well, almost just in the door anyway. You may remember a few months ago I declared it time to simply my life and in that vein I have mostly stayed out of the stores. Yet, recently I found myself in need of a little retail pick me up. Some of these were purchased at friendly neighborhood Goodwill stores and the rest at local antique shops. These things are indicative of what I collect, items that are pretty and useful at the same time. I am, after all, a practical girl. I can never pass up glass jars, baskets, silver or great fabric knowing that I can always find a place or use for them eventually. Nothing here cost more than $4. I bought the unlined wicker trays to hang on the wall but find I'm having a hard time making myself do that as they are so handy. The red & white tablecloth will be transformed into aprons for my nieces for Christmas and the wicker vase is going to migrate to the top of my entertainment center. I'm crazy in love with the spouted pyrex milkglass bowl and use it every day. It feels like it's been a part of our family forever.

So for a grand total of about $25 I feel like I went on a huge spree and did some much needed treasure hunting. Sometimes you just have to splurge a tiny bit. It's just good for the soul.

June 21, 2007

Up to his Old Tricks

That Matthew Mead is at it again. With simple, fresh, budget friendly ideas and such appealing photography & styling, it is a true feast for the eyes.


His new ideas for summer are fantastic and his recipes sound de-lish!

His projects are lovely and easy to pull off. I always wonder why I didn't think of them first.

I find him so inspirational and I think you will too. If you haven't signed up for his newsletter you are missing out. Also, don't forget to check out the archives.

June 19, 2007

History

I've been very fortunate to be on the receiving end of many things from my Grandmother's home, her piano, countless silver and crystal pieces, old gloves, hats & pins. I even have her wedding dress, but the items that mean the most to me are from her kitchen. Items she used in her every day life like her pedestal cake plate, mixing bowls, one handled rolling pin and cast iron skillet, give me a connection with her as a woman. I use these pieces daily and smile as I do. I love the sense of history I feel whenever I am in the kitchen using these heirlooms. I'm sure to most these items, with their lack of monetary worth, would not be given a second thought, but to me they are priceless. I make pancakes most every Sunday morning using her bowls and yeast rolls most Sunday nights using her rolling pin. The older I get the more value I give to things that have a sense of history. I become more aware that there was an entire world that came before me and that these bygone times are worth celebrating and remembering. I do this most days in ways that are small but meaningful to me. I'm trying to make it a point to teach my girls an appreciation for those that came before us and what their lives were like, to teach them of their history so they can better understand who they are.

June 15, 2007

Inspiration Friday- White Done Right

The first thing I usually do upon moving into a home, is to rid the walls of any hint of white paint. In the past I felt like white was boring and sterile.

Lately I have been more and more drawn to white rooms and I recognize that doing white right is quite an accomplishment.

Have you ever shopped for white paint? It's amazing how many choices there are, how many different undertones. Choosing the right white is just as challenging as choosing any other paint color.
I believe in order for a white room to really work and not feel cold, you must use texture to your advantage.

Wood tones, wicker, iron, distressed materials and different shades of white work well to give a white room warmth.

There is nothing quite like white to give you a sense of calm, to turn an ordinary room into a sanctuary.

Wood paneling, beadboard and trim are all fine for grand estates and other peoples houses but for my money, nothing says cottage quite like freshly painted white woodwork.

June 14, 2007

On the Fence

It's Thursday already? How did that happen? I think I have spent this first week of summer getting used to our new routine. Or lack of routine. There has been little time for the computer but I have had a great week with the girls. I thought I'd make up for the lack of blogging by finally showing you the finished fence.

We clearly have a lot of work left to do and the fence will look much better as the boxwood and climbing roses mature. I'm also in the process of planning out the rest of my plantings. Deciding what to plant can be as difficult for me as choosing a paint color. I find it so hard to be patient with gardening. I want everything to be full grown right now! We also are in desperate need of a mulching but with this brutal heat that is already upon us we many just skip it til next spring.

June 11, 2007

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Today is the offical start to our summer vacation and for the first time since I was a child I have decided to take the summer off. I've not worked outside the home for the past 6 summers, but I've never taken the summer off. There will be no project list for me. The only thing on my to do list is to enjoy every moment of this summer with my girls. Instead of chores there will be trips to the pool, movies, libary, park, ice cream parlor and storytime. Instead of guilt there will be bike rides, snow cones, spoon races, reading, snuggling, badmitton, board games, walks, sparklers, catching fire flies and family time.

I am making a choice to enjoy every moment and to fill this summer with memories for all of us. Next fall will bring many changes to our family. Maddie will begin High School and Emma will start 1st grade and will be in school for a full day for the first time. There will be plenty of hours to fill then with all of the projects that I have swirling in my head. Plenty of time for deep cleaning the house and getting things organized. For now I am going to stick to the basics with maybe the occasional spur of the moment project thrown in. I am giving myself permission to just live in the moment. Without guilt.

June 07, 2007

Inspiration Friday- Curb Appeal

Curb appeal has been on my mind a lot lately. We are working hard to give our house more of it, to make our home stand out in a sea of cookie cutter houses. I love my house but it would not have been my first choice to live in a neighborhood full of homes that all look the same. I would much rather live in a charming house in an historic district, or an old farmhouse on a nice spread of land, or a cottage with lots of character surrounded by other houses with lots of character in a Neo-traditional neighborhood. For now I will make do by improving what we have and making it completely ours. Take that Home Owners Association.


















June 06, 2007

Silver Bella Wannabe

I'm pouting. I really want to go to Silver Bella but it's just not in my financial future this year. It would be impossible for me to justify it when we are working so hard to get our finances in order. Of course that doesn't stop me from going to the website every day just to see if there are still openings. And it doesn't stop me from looking at the schedule. And it doesn't stop me from picking the classes I would take if I could go. I wonder if there are any scholarships available. Ms. McFayden, are you listening? So anywho, I thought I'd throw a pity party for all of us who wish we could go, but can't. Wanna come?

In the meantime, since I can't go get creative with those lovely and talented gals I think I will just push myself to be creative at home. Where it's free. This shopping bag is my latest creation, made from directions in Romantic Home Sewing by Christina Strutt. It was fantastically easy to make. As you can see in the picture, Emma even made her own miniature version. Completely hand-stitched by her. Now, I know you are all just itching to know where you can get one for yourselves but I have to tell you that, at least for now, she is not selling them. I'm sorry. I'll see if I can change her mind. I can't wait to try another project from this book. The fabric I used is actually a Shabby Chic window panel that I got on clearance at Target awhile back. I have plenty more fabric left from it and will probably use it next to make an apron.

June 05, 2007

Let Them Eat Pie

This weekend Sweet Hubby and I went to see the movie Waitress. If you haven't seen it, you really should. It is the best movie I have seen in ages. It was playing at our local Art Cinema which was enough to convince Sweet Hubby that he did not want to see it. That makes the fact that he laughed his backside off, that much sweeter. I loved it so much that I would go see it again. Well, if I didn't have to sell a pint of blood just to buy a movie ticket, that is. One bit of bad news, this movie should come with a warning that you will leave the theatre starving. You will be absolutely compelled to go home and make a pie. Here's mine.

Peach Pie with Crumb Topping
5 cups peaches
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 crumb topping
1 pie crust (storebought or homemade, I like Martha's Perfect Piecrust)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 5 cups blueberries or other fruit with 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle with 1/2 recipe Crumb Topping.
Place on foil-lined baking sheet in lower third of oven; reduce heat to 350 degrees;. Bake until fruit bubbles and crust browns, 1 1/2 hours. If topping begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil. Let cool 6 hours.
Crumb Topping:
Makes 2 cups
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and cinnamon.
Cut 1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted butter into pieces. With your hands, work in butter pieces, until large clumps form. Divide mixture in half; freeze in plastic storage bags.