Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Tablescape Thursday

November 12, 2009

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Well, I wasn’t going to post any more tonight, but I realized I had just uploaded some pictures that would be great for Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.

I made this very simple centerpiece from things I had in the house.  Jar candle from the dollar store.  An old silver plate I got…somewhere…linen napkins a neighbor passed on…place mat I bought cheap for a lady’s lunch years ago.  I just tied a fabric scrap and a ribbon around the candle.

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I used my wedding china (which I have foolishly kept put away, in case it got broken…silly!), linen napkins I bought at a craft fair, and a clear goblet.

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The kids got to use their Beatrix Potter mugs.

Sorry for the very dark pictures!  Better ones next time, I hope!

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Here’s one last shot of another little tablescape.  It’s my entry table (actually a treadle sewing machine cabinet).  Regular readers will recognize this from my previous post. 🙂

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Autumn Decorating

November 12, 2009

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Yes, I realize winter and Christmas are only weeks away.  I’m late to the autumn decorating party.

For that matter, I’m late to the decorating party, period.  I’ve been married almost 10 years and as I wrote before, I’ve never really decorated.  Not that I haven’t wanted to.  It just seemed…overwhelming.  Scary.  And more important things (such as giving birth to several children in rapid succession) kept getting in the way.

I had a bit of unexpected time to myself, so I figured I’d bite the bullet and use that time to foray into decorating.  After spending a lot of time poking around, looking for inspiration, I cobbled together a combination  of original art, new, and vintage items.  Here’s just a bit of it.

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My rule for phase 1 was that I had to only use things in my house.  No buying anything new yet.  The pumpkins are from the dollar store, a couple dollars each.  The cross was a gift.  The box came from Christmas clearance at Hobby Lobby last year for about 30 cents.  The books are a couple from my old-book collection.  The ribbon and place mat were tucked away in drawers.  I made this little display on top of the treadle sewing machine cabinet, which I use as a table in my entry.

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Candle on a saucer from my wedding china.  I’m so glad I chose simple cream.  It’s timeless and goes with everything.  A bouquet of old silver spoons in footed milk glass that my mother-in-law gave me.  The little urn was too deep for the spoons, so I stuffed the bottom with paper towels.  No one’s the wiser.

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Jar candle from the dollar store.  An old silver plate I got…somewhere…linen napkins a neighbor passed on…place mat matches the one in the pumpkin arrangement.  I bought them cheap for a lady’s lunch years ago.  I just tied a fabric scrap and a ribbon around the candle.

Sorry for all the dark pics.  Without fail, every time I decide to take blog pictures it turns out to be a cloudy day.

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This is just a gratuitous china cabinet shot.  I really love my china cabinet which we got cheap from friends in the furniture business.  (Yes, that is a Christmas tree you see in the background.  Billy and the kids voted me down and decided it was time to put it up.  Billy promises that since we put it up early we can take it down in January this year.  That tells you how long he likes to keep it up. 🙂 )

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More than that, I love what is in my china cabinet.  My 5 place settings of wedding china (sadly, discontinued)…Tea pots and cups…cream soup tureen…cake plates…this and that…all pretty.  I’ve thought about changing the look by hanging something against the back mirrors, something that could easily be removed.  I don’t know though.  The mirrors do reflect a lot of light and I love me some light!  What do you think?

Feeling Inspired

November 9, 2009

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I love homemaking, but decorating has always frustrated me.  My mom always decorated all the bedrooms when I was at home (including mine), so I never had decorating experience during that time.  When Billy and I got married, I learned that we had dramatically different styles.  He’s Southern Living; I’m shabby vintage cottage.  Some women feel that home decor is strictly their business and some men don’t care what their wives do with the house.  As far as I am concerned, my husband lives here too and I want our home to be something he enjoys, especially because he does have specific preferences.  However, I’ve never been able to figure out how to combine both our tastes to come up with something we are both comfortable with.  To be honest, I have really felt at a loss as to how to decorate even close to “his way” because it feels so foreign.  Result: for 10 years I really have not decorated much at all.

This weekend we went to the mall (once in a blue moon thing for us) and visited a couple of home goods stores that specialize in more ornate styles (ornate being a relative term–remember, I grew up on rustic country).  I also took some time to peruse some beautiful home blogs that have an elegant feel.  I finally decided that I’m just going to take the plunge and start decorating, even though I know it will be hit and miss until I figure it out.   My goal is something like Southern Living traditional with a cottage twist.

For the next few days I’ve challenged myself to begin.  The rules for this stage are simply that I have to use things I already own.  I’m also beginning with a fairly neutral palette of taupes, creams, blacks, and whites with the goal of adding accents of color once I get the basics established.  So far I’m cautiously having fun.  I hope to post a few pictures soon and get input from some of you on whether I’m hitting the mark or not.

Grateful

October 26, 2009

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I’m joining Multitude Mondays, a “gratitude community” at Holy Experience.  The long and short of it: to journal what we’re grateful for.  I can personally attest to the power of thankfulness.  During one of the darkest times in my life, I kept a small notebook by my bed and forced myself to write 5 things I was thankful for at the end of each day.  It kept me focused on God’s goodness at a point when it would have been very easy to see only the pain.

It’s a sunshiney season of life, but even so, I’m beginning that habit again.

1. Crisp autumn weather.  In a climate that’s warm 9 months out of the year, I treasure every cool day that comes.

2. Vintage illustrations.  As anyone who reads here knows, I have a thing for illustrations from the 1920’s through the 1950’s.  Those images bring me so much joy!

3.  Baking.  It’s that time of year!

4.  Cleaning day.  I look forward to an orderly home by the time my sweet husband finishes his work.

5.  Children who love each other.  Sure, they fight sometimes.  But I can hear the voices of my older ones playing together right now, and this morning my heart overflowed when I saw my youngest run to give the oldest a good-morning hug.

Lovely Fall

October 20, 2009

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Fall comes late here, but we’ve finally had a nice cool snap that tells us the season really will change, eventually.  We’ve spent most of our spare minutes outside, working in the yard, cleaning out neglected garden beds, nature journaling.  Oh, and playing fall soccer.

It’s also baking weather.  I can hardly keep myself out of the kitchen.  Too bad we don’t eat many sweets because that’s what I’ve been wanting to make.  I guess I will have to channel my impulse in a more healthful direction.

Mmmmm…this is my favorite season.  What are you all doing for fall?

(WHOOPS!  No weekend and no Monday post!  I should really quit making promises that I apparently can’t deliver.)

Cozying the Camp

October 14, 2009

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Whenever we go to our camp, I try to do one or two things to make it more orderly, clean, organized, or pretty.  The funny thing is that I usually forget what I’ve done between visits, so I’m pleasantly surprised when I arrive.  Strange, I know.

On this past trip, I  hung pictures and a couple of wall quilts my mom made me years ago.  They fit well with the cozy country cabin motif.  (Picture is  crooked–sorry!)

Vacation at the Lake

September 21, 2009

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We recently spent a few days at our camp.  When I was a new mom and we first bought the camp I was tired all the time and I thought I shouldn’t have to do anything while on vacation.  Somehow it didn’t compute that the family still needed care while we were away.  Once I accepted that, it made our vacations a lot more fun!  At the camp there is still laundry, cooking (a little bit), dishes, and tidying to do, but it’s a lot less than I normally have to do at home.   I manage to sneak in lots of walks with the kids, board games, read-alouds, and a little crafting and magazine perusing.

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I love the trees.  I love the quiet.

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I love that my kids have unhurried time with nature, just to relax, observe, and be.

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I love our leisurely walks to the lake.  I don’ t think this ladies’ room near the launch has been used in a very long time.  It sure is cute for being such an…er…utilitarian structure.

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I’ve never been brave enough to check it out.

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It still has ruffled curtains at the windows.

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My children agree with Ratty from The Wind in the Willows:  

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Back With Some Randomness…

September 18, 2009

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Check out this delicious blog…Charm City Daily.  Ami is the author of this article on modern retro housewives which made the rounds in blog land some time back.  I love what she calls herself…a retrophile.  I don’t wear heels and a starched apron on a daily basis, but I do dress for the day and try to look cute even when I’m home.  I’m an *improving* homemaker.  I want to demonstrate that my career has value!

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If you’re concerned about swine flu, you might find this post helpful.

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I have one particular child whose love language is gifts.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but she loves to give gifts and it makes her feel treasured when others give her little things.  So recently I took a decorative box I got on clearance for pennies and turned it into our “sparrow post,” like Tasha Tudor’s family mailbox.  Today I sent the kids tiny invitations to an autumn tea with mom.  I had googled “mini envelope template” and made SIMPLE little cards out of scrapbook paper.  It only took a few minutes.  They may bring a doll or teddy bear (or in the case of my son, probably GI Joe).  Silas is looking forward to the snacks, but my little girls are so excited and they are picking out dresses to wear hours in advance.  It’s sweet how something so simple can bring so much joy!

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Autumn is my favorite, favorite time of year.  Here in the subtropics, the summers are scorching, but it’s beginning to cool off a little.  The promise of nice weather has inspired me to start working to make the yard usable.  We’ve had a lot of projects going (including filling in a damaged pool), but I’m looking forward to having a place we can enjoy outside.  This morning the breeze was cool and the sun was just right.

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My timer has gone off, so break is over and it’s back to cleaning house! Happy Friday!

The Old House

September 4, 2009

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When we first moved here, we had to find a house to rent–quickly.  We spent a fruitless couple of days looking and swung by one last one on the way out of town.  People told us we wouldn’t want to live in that area, but we decided to check, just in case.  I walked in and said, “This is it.”

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It was an almost-perfect 100 year old house.  We only lived there for 8 months, but those were happy days!  I loved loved loved that old house for as long as I got to use it.  French doors in the living room were just one of my favorite features.

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And glass doorknobs.  *Swoon*

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It had many rooms.  The breakfast nook became my cozy craft corner.

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The random back room tacked onto the back of the house was our school room.

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The kitchen had high, high old cabinets.

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It was SO easy to decorate.  I felt so at home there.  That house was “me”.

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The back yard had the most fruitfully amazing fig tree I have ever even imagined.  We feasted all summer on its bounty.  Sadly, it was cut down while we lived there.  But not till after fig season.

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The yard also had banana trees.  Fascinating!

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I thought I had pictures of the front of the house, but I can’t find them.  We lived next door to this dilapidated beauty, though.  It was torn down while we lived there.   *sigh*

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful for the house we live in now, especially for the spacious yard and laundry room (both lacking in the old house).  But our lovely rental was what dreams are made of.

Pretty Fence

August 17, 2009

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We took the kids fishing Saturday.  As it turned out, the available spot to fish was on a very narrow bank right by the road.  The older kids were fine in their lawn chairs, but little Grace kept pitching herself forward toward the water.  I knew it was just a matter of time before she and her stroller fell right in…So she and I spent most of the trip across the street in a cemetery parking lot.

From there we could see this cute little place.  The house was as cute as the yard, although I’m always hesitant to photograph other peoples’ houses.  I took pictures, strolled the baby, and drew a little in my nature journal.  It was hot…very hot…but it turned out to be a pretty good trip after all.