Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If only there were a magic button

I need to update this blog. But I lack the motivation.

coming soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

That's what will be the final touch on my ultra-chic All Hallow's Eve wreath.

I haven't figured out placement yet, therefore, it's absent from the pictures below.

But the look so far? Love it. This was my second attempt.

My first one was felt-based and consisted of 50 or so hand-cut felt feathers. Are you picturing it yet? Yeah, it's hideous.

I broke down and purchased a feather boa from Hobby Lobby for $4 on sale from $8.

I found the squatty little bird from JoAnn's for 60% off, which made it just under $2 {if I'm remembering correctly}. Ribbons are both from JoAnn's as well. I used the widest black taffeta and the widest black satin they sold by the roll.

The nest is one I found when collecting hedge apples two weeks ago.

Pretty great for under $10, right?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Apple Core

Baltimore.

Who's your new best friend? ME!

Because you'll be happy to know my little trick: melon baller.

Fuzzy as this picture may be, it tells it all. I have one of those double enders. I think I picked it up at the dollar store last year. I use the big end to make sure I get everything.

It's the cutest little cavity. You could fill it with raisins and hand it off to your kiddos for a snack without any leftover core ending up on your couch or throw pillows.

You're welcome. Tell all your friends.

Cozy sort of, rainy sort of, fire sort of day

This morning started out gray and drizzly.

And much too early. I woke up extra early to babysit a cute little girl whose mama had an early morning shift.

But we survived, thrived even, and with the addition of the sweetest little boy I watch on Thursdays, the three of us had a non-stop morning.

This afternoon started out gray and drizzly.

After sending one babe home around 1, I was able to change out of my pajamas {Kudos to you moms with multiple kids - I don't know how you do it!} and get somewhat ready for the day. Because of the never-ending rain, I felt cooped up. I bundled up the little one to venture out. Don't get too excited. We stopped for a hot chocolate, and then a diet-dr. pepper-easy-ice from Sonic happy hour. Bliss.

By the time I pulled back into the driveway the little was asleep and so he has remained for the last hour and fifteen....and counting.

I have a feeling this evening is going to start out gray and drizzly....and I'm okay, no..happy, with that.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Door Jamb

I woke this morning with a full night's sleep under my belt, ready to start the day and tackle one of my projects.

As you might have guessed, it was the front door.

This is the before. Not terrible, but ready for a makeover.
This is the almost-after.
It needs another coat of paint and I'm probably going to lightly sand it before I slap on the final layer.

Unfortunately, it's still tacky and I can't really do much more tonight. I also did a little exra work and changed the doorknob and deadbolt. Previously we only had a deadbolt and a really ugly round ball knob. It seemed like it should be an inside doorknob, not an outer door one.
The mistake I made was only purchasing one set. I was made aware that we have a deadbolt for the kitchen/laundry room door{who knew!} and I didn't get a matching set. So tomorrow when I pull off the knobs to sand and paint, I might be returning these knobs to get a double set.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Found!

I mentioned here that I'd been unsuccessful in finding what my mind conjured up for the right side of the mantle. I sketched it out {like a toddler} here:

And my weekendtures {that's weekend adventures, for you squares} yielded the containers I couldn't find anywhere else!

A few coats of black spray paint for the bottoms {Ryan's starting to wonder if I have an addiction} and I set to work on making the tops.

The tops are constructed from a Dollar store cheap-looking topiary for the structure, Styrofoam bases to hold them in the black bottoms, and a bag of reindeer moss and floral pins from Hobby Lobby. That's it!

Lovely results, if I do say so myself.

Welcome

Remember how I wrote yesterday about knowing JUST the place to find a bucket for my mums? Well, if you don't, go back and read it and then catch up!

This place used to do business as University Floral. They closed their doors several months ago, sold their name and customer list to Owen's Floral {on 9th}, and have been slowly liquidating their inventory since.

Most of the items are discounted 60%, but a few--just a few--are discounted further to just 25% of their original cost. The owner assured me they'll be having a few more open days before it's gone for good on January 1.

The bucket o'mums found their way here. They never quite made it past the threshold. Can you imagine why? Isn't their lushness to die for?

And now you can see the rest of the entrance.

I think the entrance to your home is the most telling. It sets the tone for what your guests could imagine inside. Bleak and bare might suggest a minimalist approach to decorating or a love for clean lines and lightness. Running over with plants would denote the occupant has a penchant for botany and clean, oxygen-enriching life. But I strive to be in between. A little messy, willy-nilly, and mostly clean and put together. I like to mix antiquated and neoteric sensibly. Perfect, but not painstakingly so. Does this make sense?

It's a work in progress, as it typically is for any homemaker, but I am reveling in the process. Ryan...well, maybe not as much, but he appreciates the finished product and wants to be proud of his home. So, this would bring me to my welcome sign wreath holder. It hangs over the top of the door and reminds me of a collar. My new door collar.

I picked it up for a fraction of its marked cost and the more I look at it, the more I realize it was worth every penny. The wreath is just a place marker for the time being.

This week I have a few improvements planned for the entrance: new porch light {purchased for $10 at a yard sale--score!}, new door color {black}, and possibly a new doormat. And the tippy top of the swirly-spiraly evergreen will, sadly, be chopped. I lost the fight against the mites in saving it or killing them. Actually, lose-lose {losing the top for me, lost life for them}.

Coming soon: I made a few stops yesterday to pick up supplies so I could start on a number of seasonal wreaths.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mum's the Word

We're so blessed with a beautiful Fall season here in eastern Kansas. The leaves are changing from greens and yellows to brilliant shades of red, fiery orange, and smokey browns. A few of them are already littering our lawn and dotting the sidewalk, only to flutter away with the next gust of wind {which we have PLENTY of} and settle in the gutter or against the side of this house or that.

I'm noticing the tomatoes on my vine have slowed their once-feverish Summer pace to more of a crawl, grasping onto the last bits of sunshine the daylight delivers before the sun retires in the early evening. Mostly greens now, I'm watching daily for the sign of a rosy red skin. I don't want to miss it and risk my window of plucking before the hungry caterpillars and grasshoppers sink their greedy little chompers in.

The evenings are quickly turning from cool to cold. The setting of the sun transitions from a warm, glistening glow to a sweater-worthy sliver of light and then just as quickly to night. I'm readying the fireplace hearth to embody the warmth of Summer and provide that coziness I constantly crave all winter; you know the one - a book, hot chocolate, pajama pants, blanket, and you, nestled away on an especially comfortable chair, able to look out the window and watch the comings and goings in the neighborhood. Am I the only one that correlates this with Fall and Winter?

The other night I found myself so juxtaposed with the coveted seat on the couch and a new treasure box full of once-loved goods from that morning's estate sale.

In it I found this book. It's a familiar title to every good household cook.


But in it I found fascinating tips and household tricks that I don't recall finding in my new version {as they all claim to be}. Instead, in its pages I found the way to remove lipstick from clothing, the best way to store your family's meat supply for the week, and how to prepare a dish just as worthy of the Queen of England as for your dining room table. I find it sad the remedies and recipes of days gone by didn't carry over into the Age of Technology.


This reminds me of a discussion Ryan and I debated while driving home last night: Social Etiquette. Once-planned parties weren't a casual event, passively invited guests didn't neglect the simple request along the bottom of an invitation {R├ępondez S'il Vous Pla├«t}, and society was more prone to gather for an evening and mingle. Instead, we feel encumbered with committing to one party, possibly position ourselves to not being reachable at any given second, or, heaven-forbid, we are inconvenienced by having to make a phone call and allow the party-planner to make proper preparations for their event. Why is this? Why do we hand out an invitation and expect anyone to call us {or even simpler in this Age of Technology, email us} and let them know they'll be attending, when recent history dictates otherwise? Ryan, being the brilliant budding Psychologist, brought up the point that as a society we have become afraid of rejection. We don't want to think of the idea that someone might not want to attend my party, and the invitee doesn't want to offend the host/hostess by directly telling them so. The result? No communication between the two and one or both thinking this is acceptable.

We came to the conclusion that it's a lost cause unless one party conditions the other and both do their part. No more passivity, I say. No more "regrets only" on my invitations. If you're invited to a party I'm hosting and I haven't heard back from you, I'll be giving you a call to see if you'll be in attendance. Why? Because I need to have a chair and meal for you if you attend. And if you have another commitment that evening, I don't want to have cupcakes for days that I, in my zeal for entertaining, thought would be 'just enough.'

See what happens when I crack open a cookbook from 1953? Where's my soapbox.
On a happier note:

This morning I woke up later than usual for my weekly traipse around town to this sale or that, but the extra 30 minutes of sleep was bliss for my weary and allergy-fighting body. The evening before I mapped out my plan of attack, as one should always do when needing to attack a town, and printed out my route. My route typically includes a stop at a gas station for a hefty sip of diet dr. pepper, but this morning's frostiness warranted a hot chocolate {tell me there is nothing better than gas station hot chocolate} and on I went. An unplanned stop at the farmer's market had me debating freshly-cut dahlia's at $3 a stem or a bushel of rusty red mums for $9. You would think this was a no brainer. I mean, a plant I could enjoy for months {next year} or a trio of dahlias that would last a week. But I will admit I debated for a few minutes.

After I paid my $9 I proudly carried my mums to my car and knew JUST the place to find a galvanized bucket to display my rusty reds in.

And they were a perfect fit and perfectly fit to usher in the season.

Now the question is, do I put them on my kitchen table for a gorgeous centerpiece, or by my front door for an opulent welcome? It might warrant a second jaunt to the farmer's market.

I hope this week continues to transition to Fall without causing the temperature to drop too much further. How's the season in your neck of the woods?