Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Perfect Scone and Utility Closet Makeover

I absolutely love scones, so when I saw a recipe for fruit filled scones on the blog OliveJuice, I had to give it a try. All I can say is **WOW**. They are the best I have had. You can make fresh blueberry, strawberry or blackberry scones from this recipe. I didn't have oranges for the zest, so I used orange extract and that worked too. Thank you OliveJuice!

A few days ago I saw a linen closet on the blog Notes from a Cottage Industry, and that gave me an idea. I have wanted shelves in my closets, but even the wire shelving from the hardware store is more than I want to spend on closets. I saw the tall dresser Tracey used in her linen closet and I ran down to the store to see what I could find. I picked up a used, warped, pressboard bookcase that fits perfectly in my closet. Here is a very scary "before" picture (yes, many closets in my house look like this).
I primed the entire bookcase with spray primer. Then I took off the back and covered it with toile wrapping paper I bought at the grocery store. I painted the rest with a very light blue paint I already had.

It's not bad for a closet. It also helped me de-clutter because anything that doesn't fit on my beautiful shelf is getting the boot (the pile in the garage is growing, and I'm still debating whether to have a garage sale).
The closet is very tall, so I also put hooks in the ceiling to store the chandelier and plate stand that were previous hanging from the wire shelf.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; My salvation comes from Him."
~Psalms 62:1

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Silver Commemorative Bowl

I recently saw a post about a silver commemorative bowl at Beachys Cape Cod Cupboard, and I remember seeing one at the store this week so I ran down and picked it up.

I polished it . . .

Filled it with packing peanuts . . .

And then I put moss over the top. I got the moss wet so it would take shape, and I gave it a little haircut. What do you think of the transformation?

I also saw this plant stand when I was there. I think I will buy an ivy to go in it. All my ivies died, though, because I have terrible problems with spider mites, and I can't get rid of them!

I have another cool transformation for you tomorrow. I tackled my utility closet and it is looking pretty fabulous. A beautiful space inspires me to keep things tidy.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sneaky Mom Recipe

When it comes to food, I can honestly claim that my kids are about as picky as they come. I even have one child who hates cakes, cookies, pudding, ice cream, and especially chocolate! My daughter cried the first time I fed her (you know, that rice flake cereal that has no taste). They shiver, throw up, cry . . . you name it. They even called me out when I switched catsup brands. We're working through it though. Sometimes I give in, sometimes I force them to eat their food, and sometimes I get down and dirty. I'm talking about tricking them. I have put green vegetable fruit juice (Green Machine from Costco) in sippy cups with lids so they couldn't see it, and I put pureed baby food carrots in their spaghetti sauce (it took years for me just to get them to eat spaghetti!!!!)

And then there is my favorite recipe of all time. Those who know me have heard about this legendary recipe for years (ad nauseam). It is the famous spinach brownies recipe. I made them for my kids and they couldn't sniff out the secret ingredient. Now, I can taste just a hint of spinach, but if you don't know what's in them, they're not bad. Give it a try and see if they pass the test. WORD OF CAUTION: 1) Don't **EVER** tell them there is spinach in the brownies or it will ruin it, even if they like them; and 2) Don't get greedy, mom . . . I put more spinach in one day and I got busted! My daughter knows the deal now and she won't eat them anymore (see #1 above). I am currently working on a new spinach brownie recipe to trick my daughter, and I will post it later this week. But I would advise that you try this one first. Here it is . . .

Spinach Brownies:

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 cup oil

1 egg

3 Tbs. water

1 box (12.9 oz) brownie mix

1 tub chocolate frosting

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom only of nonstick 9"x9" or 8"x8" pan.

2. In bowl of food processor with metal blade or a blender, puree spinach, oil, egg, and water. Process 1 minute, or until smooth, scraping down sides. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add brownie mix and stir until well blended. Spread batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes.

4. Frost brownies, cut and serve.

Tip: If you ever have trouble cutting brownies (you know how it sticks to the knife), use a plastic knife to cut them. It really works!

Monday, March 26, 2007

New Designer on the Block

I walked out the front door yesterday, and this is what I saw. I love it! My youngest son had put a bird's nest and Mater on my rocking chair before he ran off to play. Looks like they belong there. It think he's got some decorating talent! (I love Mater too!)

And this next one is for Martha at Elizabeth Hill Cottage. She challenged me to post 80s big-hair pictures, and as painful as it is for me to share these pictures with you, I can never turn down a challenge. I dug through my scrapbook room, and found these 2. I had picked a more flattering picture, but I'm really going for big hair and shoulder pads (sorry Martha, couldn't find any with Mullets). I know I have some better pictures of me with my high school friends, but my scrapbook room is a very scary place (piles and boxes and pictures) and this was all I could find.

I also have a very special recipe for you today, but that will have to be later. I am supposed to be cleaning my house right now but I got sucked into blogland again. My house is a disaster, and Kidlet#3 has a playdate in a couple hours. So more on the recipe in a few hours.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What Makes a House a Home

What makes a house a home . . . it's all in the details.

Dig through your kitchen and find something pretty.

Put a pitcher of ice water, tea or lemonade on the table.

Greet everyone who walks through the door like you haven't seen them in 2 months.

"My home is not a place, it is people. "
1991US science fiction author

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Finding The Perfect Gift

I was just reading Martha's blog at Elizabeth Hill Cottage, and she was talking about how fun it is to give someone a really special gift. I can't say I'm great at picking out the perfect gift, but I have kept a list of neat things I have found because I enjoy gift giving (I'm terrible at actually remembering birthdays though, so I need to work that out).

In December, I found a link to on Inspire Co's blog, and I found this cute little 3 cup vintage espresso maker. Isn't it adorable! You can get different sizes and they come in 3 colors. I bought one for one of my friends for Christmas, and I know I'll be purchasing another one in the future because it is so adorable. I think I need to buy one for me too!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge

Ok, I got a lot of work done yesterday, but I did goof around with the camera a little bit too. It took me about 65 shots to get my self-portrait because I am not a talented photographer. The one I chose was like the next-to-last pic too. It is funny how it looks like I am smelling the flowers, because in reality I wasn't as close to them as I look and I was moving my head around while the camera shot so I would look blurry while the flowers were the focused subject. Only took about 15 minutes too. Sooooo, I'm not sure if anyone actually reads this blog (except loyal reader Martha), but I will challenge you to take a creative self-portrait of yourself. Even if you aren't a blogger, it would make a great photo for a journal or scrapbook about yourself. Give it a try. Post a link to your blog so we can see.

As for me, today I am painting the dining room and the desk. Yesterday I taped off all the molding and baseboards in the living room. My honey is going to paint the woodwork today. The transformation is almost complete, but I don't want to show you until it is done.

I'm a little overwhelmed about paint colors for the desk. I am not good at picking out colors AT ALL. I went in to the store today to get a green and cream to paint the little desk, and there were so many choices that I couldn't pick anything. Does anyone have an regular paint they use for this? I need a little help. Thanks!

Hasta luego!

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Little Desk

I finished sanding and priming my little desk this weekend. I'm waiting to pick out the colors I am going to paint it until I pick my area rug for my living room. I'm thinking of just a basic green base, cream over that and some aging glaze. I have little crystal knobs for the drawer, and I am going to paint my initials like a monogram on the middle of the drawer. I had before pictures of the day I brought the desk home, but I lost them in the bad hard drive incident (grrrrr). Here are some other "before" pictures.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. . .
- Lamentations 3:22-23

Sunday, March 18, 2007

To Garage Sale or Not To Garage Sale

My house imploded this weekend (it all started when I was sick for an entire week). I spent the whole day putting stuff away and decluttering. I paid the kids $5 per box of junk they want to get rid of and they went to town (worth *every* penny). But now I have a bunch of stuff, and a dilemma. Every time I have a garage sale, I vow to never have one again. But I have good stuff to sell this time. Aaaaanndd I am totally inspired by these ADORABLE garage sale signs by Sassy Signs (check em out). If I saw one of those signs on the road, I would make a b-line to that garage sale. So what do you think? Am I TOTALLY insane?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Painting Day

Hi all. My honey took a surprise day off today to help me paint 2 rooms. He is such a sweetie! Have a great day.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Train to Corgiville

All Aboard . . . yesterday Kidlet #3 arranged the deck furniture to make a train. There is even a little plastic bench at the end for the caboose. We loaded up the Corgis and took a trip around the U.S.
Our beautiful weather is gone, though. Within a few hours today, the temps dropped about 20 degrees. Spring is such a tease!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Special Little Book

I would love to share with you one of my favorite little books. It is Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day by Susan Newman. It is a collection of little things you can do to make your kids feel special and loved. And if you take off the paper cover, a pretty robin's egg blue cover is revealed that looks great on a bookshelf or table.

As of the writing of this post, there is a free copy available on PaperBackSwap. If you haven't heard of PBSwap, it is a website where you trade books with other members. You pay postage (about $1.50) when someone orders books from you, and when you order books it is completely free! My kids love it because they can post their books and order books without my help (or credit card). They run to the mailbox every day to see if they have any new books. Just click on the link at the top of my blog if you want to sign up (If you click on my button, I get referral credit which I greatly appreciate). I believe you get some bonus credits just for signing up.

"Memory is more indelible than ink."
~Anita Loos

"People need joy quite as much as clothing. Some of them need it far more."
~Margaret Collier Graham

"It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones."
~Jean Webster

You probably know now that I am a quote girl. Love them. I got these courtesy of the book The Family Manager by Kathy Peel. As of the writing of this post, there is also a free copy of this book available at PaperBackSwap.

Aaaaaahhhhhh, Spring Has Arrived

Growing up in California, I never quite had an appreciation for spring. Now that I live in Virginia, I have learned what a wonderful thing it is. We have had a couple of days of warm weather this week. Got to wear shorts. Put on the flip-flops. Opened the windows. Turned off the heater. It's the best feeling in the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Picking Paint Colors and Decorating on a Budget

I'm picking paint colors this week to repaint my living room. I really love the red walls, but it makes the room look too dark and small. And I really *don't* like the taupe below it. I am pretty clueless about paint colors, so I have been fussing over it for weeks. I think I will paint the room a light mossy green, and the ceiling a light tan. Please tell me what you think.

I want to share with you some bits and pieces I picked up from WalMart over the past month. Not bad, eh?

The damask note cards were about 2 or 3 dollars, and I even love the envelopes!

I am going to use the tiny buckles with ribbon to wrap gifts. There are also some smoky colored "crystals" (plastic) that I bought, but I'm not sure exactly what I will do with them yet. The big pearl brooch is actually a buckle. I tied it into ties of my black chair slipcover I have in my craft room. I have included a picture of the back side of it below. Oh, and I almost forgot, the toile fabric is also courtesy of WalMart. It was so cheap, I bought what was left of the bolt. It will make all sorts of neat things.

Here is my harlequin trash can . . .

And here is the back side of the brooch.

I would love to play all day, but unfortunately I have some serious housecleaning to do.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Deal of the Week

I found this old wicker loveseat for $7.00 yesterday. I've primed it, and it is ready for a layer of cream paint to make it brand new again. The frame above it could use a dry brushing of cream paint too (too much gold!). A nice cushion with a pretty brocade fabric will be perfect. My poor husband just shakes his head every time I bring home a new piece of furniture that is a "diamond in the rough." But I just can't help it ! My entry today will be quick, because once the kids get home, I lose the computer. I think we need a network! Have a nice weekend!
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