Archive for the ‘Homemaking’ 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.

Autumn Sweets

October 29, 2009

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This time of year calls for baking, and all kinds of other sweets.  In a house where we have food allergies (dairy, corn–including and especially corn syrup), and where I’ve noticed that sugar makes us sick when consumed in quantity…Well, the sweets thing can be a challenge.  Because I LOVE me some dessert!

So…I’m planning to compromise a bit.  I’ll enjoy sweets during this season, just not too many.  When I have the urge to bake, I’ll make something over the weekend (the only days I really have time for extra cooking anyway) and share it with a Sunday school class on Sunday.  My kids are welcome to candy they’re given, but just a few of their favorites.  I guess I’m a bit of a mean mommy, but I confiscate it after that, and try to emphasize fun fall activities instead.  If it’s a choice between having strung out, sick children for several weeks or having healthy happy ones, there’s no question for me.

For my allergic child, I purchase some of the (very, very few) candies available without corn syrup or dairy ingredients, and make other special treats…peanut butter balls, old fashioned fudge with coconut oil and rice milk instead of butter and milk, homemade cookies made from simple, pure, safe ingredients.  To tell you the truth, it’s kind of a nice excuse to have to whip up something yummy in the kitchen.

This time of year I especially love spicy and apple desserts.  I’ve been craving a chocolate cake too.

What do you like to make and eat during autumn?  How do you handle the overabundance of unhealthy food?

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!)

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.

The Heart of the Home

August 24, 2009

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No time for a thoughtful post today; I’ll let someone else do the writing.  My younger sister, best friend, homemaker extraordinairre, and health food afficiando, Leah, has written a great post on ways to keep yourself inspired in the kitchen. It’s encouraged me…Hope it encourages you too!

Housecleaning Inspiration

July 21, 2009

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Company’s coming tonight.  The house is a wreck.  So I put on my new Soda Shop Classics CD (which has absolutely nothing to do with housework–but it’s fun and refreshing compared to my usual classical fare…).  I’m also heading to Little Jenny Wren’s “Ideal Houswife” series to remind myself how ideal I need to be to whip this place into shape and be relaxed and ready for our friends!

Nourishing Food

July 18, 2009

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My sister just started an awesome new blog that explores her forays into a traditional-foods lifestyle (think Nourishing Traditions).  Check it out!  She makes it so frugal and simple!

Putting Up Peaches

July 15, 2009

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We’re putting up peaches this afternoon (freezing, not canning…although canning is nice too).  I love this summer job!  There is nothing sweeter than the steamy smell of peaches on a hot summer afternoon.

If you’ve never done it before, here’s how in a few easy steps:

1. Carefully drop ripe peaches in boiling water for one minute.

2. Plunge them into ice water for one minute.

3. The skin slides right off!

4. Slice away from the seed.  (If they are freestone—yay!)

5. Place slices in the following solution: 2qt. water, 1 T vinegar, 1 T. salt.  This keeps them from turning brown while you peel the rest of the peaches.

6. Place in 1 quart freezer bags and freeze.

7.  Enjoy a freezer full of delicious peaches for cobblers and other delights all year long!

That’s it!