Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Coffee Stand Makeover

This little coffee stand came to me through my mom.  It has been a number of different colors over the years - always serving to hold coffee pots of microwaves and the little drawer full of little whats-its.  

Though much loved, by the time it came to the house (with a load of other goodies here - its top is sitting nearby) it no longer had its hardware, looked a little chewed around the legs, and was fairly bumpy from its many coats of paint.  An hour with the sander, repairing the piece of wood that controls the slide of the drawer, and some leftover paint from the dining room and its charm shines through.

While it is now pretty smooth, I wanted it to show its history a bit so I didn't sand it down as far as I could have.  I found these neat little drawer pulls for a couple dollars that mimic the bumpy character of the paint.  The porcelain top has a couple small rubbed spots in the corner but is in great shape and has grooves that allow it to sit firmly in the right spot.

It fits perfectly on this short wall next to the pantry.  The coffee stuff is conveniently in the pantry next to it, teas and other drink mixes fill the drawer and some tins on the shelf above it, and kitchen towels are stored in the bottom part.  

It adds a pop of color to break up the green of the cabinets on the opposite wall and with the dining room doorway just to the left of the pantry, and it brings in a bit of the blue from that room (Valspar Signature in Royal Gray).  

I most love the little porcelain top that makes it easy to wipe any spills without worrying about coffee and tea stains.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where Pretty Comes From

I saw this posted by my niece the other day 
and it made me want to have yet another talk with my daughter 
about all of the things that make her special.

Pretty is definitely there - but its not the only thing, 
the biggest thing, or the most important thing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snow Day Activities

All these snow days (even Mom and Dad have had them this winter!) have caused a severe case of the house-bound-crazies with all of us - but they have also provided some fun opportunities for experiments and projects and I thought I'd share some of them with you in case you need more things to keep the kids busy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Easy Ways to Warm Up at Home

Have I said how brutal the cold has been this winter?  Another big temperature drop has come our way here in Michigan and it has me thankful for the little things we have done around the house to make it a little more cozy.  Of course, there is the list of things you should do before winter to ensure your home is prepared - caulking and insulation and such.  But if you are having some drafty areas, noticing hot/cold spots or just want to reduce your heating costs in general, there are some things you can do quickly, easily and without a large expense.

Fleece Blanket Curtains
This was a thrilling find, I will admit.  We had bought the kids some little fleece lap blankets at Walmart for $2.88 each at Christmas and they had a large selection of patterns and solids.  After the ice storm and during the first big snow storm, I started looking at things I could do to contain heat and block out drafts as we learned more about this house.  My dining room windows face the west and while lovely to let a breeze in during the summer, they also let quite a breeze in when the winds were blowing hard too so I needed something more seasonally appropriate than the sheers I had been using.  I returned to Walmart thinking that even if I had to sew them together, those blankets were cheaper than most fleece I could buy by the yard and I had seen some colors I thought might work.  I found this adorable blues/greens/grays snowflake pattern and realized that their 50"x60" measurements meant I only needed two to form perfect curtains for my 84"x60" windows (that measurement included the frames and measuring from the curtain rod).  With their cute blanket-stitched edge, no sewing was necessary.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pallet Garden Placement

Good day to you, dear readers!  What a long and trying winter this has been, hasn't it?  While I normally don't mind the cold and snow much because of the fun it brings with it, this winter has certainly been a lot of work with not so much time left in the day to play.  In fact, it has been so busy that I have been neglectful of you all.  My mother prodded me by gently asking if I still had a blog, lol.  Time flies....

I'm guessing quite a few of you are like me and have started to daydream of green shoots, twittering birds, and any other sign of spring.  The seed catalogs have begun to arrive and the feed store racks are full of garden planning magazines.  I've noticed an increase in gardening posts (and generally anything with the sun in it!) on Pinterest so I thought perhaps this would be a good time to discuss a few of the things I've learned about pallet gardening through my own experimenting.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Brrrr!  Its cold and snowy and blustery in many of the states today and its only going to get colder over the next few days.  So what do you do to keep warm?  Well you can bet we'll have the fireplace going, some hearty soups and stews on the stove and some bread baking in the oven at our house.  Slippers and fleece will be abundant and so will books and movies for snuggling.  The heat lamp is on in the barn and everybody gets a extra load of hay and scoop of oats to keep them warm.  I'm also hoping to drag out some of my excess fabric and get back to working on window coverings because this weather sure reminds me what a difference they make.  I hope you are staying toasty and safe this weekend - here's a few recipes perfect for warming your belly!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Ice Storm

My last post was perhaps a bit more fortuitous than I had intended.  The letting things go and getting down on the floor to play with the children and focus on our blessings became something a large part of state was nudged to do as a large ice storm hit Michigan on the Saturday night before Christmas.  It began as icy rain and turned more frozen as the night progressed.  I'll admit that I did not take it as seriously as I should have and there were a few things I would have done to prepare for an outage had I paid more attention to the weather reports.  But my mind was on the things to finish before Christmas and enjoying the fact that I had some much needed time off work.  So I went to bed in a blissful state of unawareness while my husband worried a bit about the sounds of the ice beginning to form on the tree branches.  

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Holiday Spirit

Well best laid plans have been foiled once again by busy schedules, the never-ending list of things to complete for the holidays and the parade of invitations to do fun stuff! I have so many posts in my head to share with you (and I even got some pictures taken!) but just have not had the time to get them written.  So anticipating that time will be even shorter over the next week, I will wish you a very Merry Christmas right now and leave you with this.

I hope that you will embrace every moment and opportunity to celebrate life and fun with your loved ones and friends this holiday season.  Its not about the perfect gift so perfectly wrapped or the masses of rich foods - it is about the moments we share and the memories we gather during these special times.  

Do not lose yourself to your desire to make everything perfectly perfect - its a losing battle.  Instead, turn up the music, get a little messy, laugh off the clutter and piles of ripped wrapping paper.  Get down on the floor and play Star Wars Legos and race Hot Wheels with your small son who will not ask you to join in such play for too many more years.  Snuggle up with your daughter (even if she is getting as big as you and has a hard time sharing what is on her mind - particularly with mom and dad) and discuss what are her favorite parts of the holidays so that you can remember next year which traditions are the most meaningful to your children and help them carry on to your grandchildren.  Jump on the ice and take a spin around the rink with them.  Do not be afraid to show them that you fall down - be sure that you show them you can do it with laughter and keep trying even if it is in front of their whole team and all the hockey moms, dads and coaches are watching.  Those are the stories your children will tell in the coming years and they will remember the spirit, rather than the particular toys, or that the house was totally dust free (for about 30 seconds), or that every ornament was hung perfectly spaced on the tree.  Show them the spirit in you.

Many blessings are wished upon you and yours!  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Spiced Candied Nuts

This is a re-post of a little snack recipe that is perfect this time of year.  
A tasty treat with a mug of coffee 
(or a beer like my hubby had with them last night!).
It also works well as a small gift for teachers, neighbors, or co-workers.
You can do a big batch of these in about 10 minutes 
(plus they make your house smell great!).
I packaged them into jelly jars after they cooled and tied with a pretty ribbon.
You can vary the type of nuts quite a bit if you like different kinds.

Monday, December 9, 2013

25 Easy Secret Santa Gifts

It's time for Secret Santa exchanges and maybe, like me, you tend to forget to plan ahead for those with everything else going on.  Here are 25 simple ideas that can be found in gas stations, checkout lanes, dollar stores and local businesses for $1-$5 and will only take you a few minutes.  If you need more ideas for simple gifts, check out my post 25 Small Gifts for Kids, Co-Workers or Friends.  Happy gifting! 

1.  Scratch-off lotto ticket
2.  Snack size bag of chips or snacks
3.  Hair accessories
4.  Mini LED keychain flashlight
5.  $5 coffee shop gift card
6.  Special teas or cocoa mixes
7.  Funky pens
8.  Candles/votive holders
9.  Car fresheners
10.  Pre-paid car wash
11.  Tin/dish full of candies
12.  Bath items (sponge, scrubber, body wash, bath salts)
13.  Scented hand lotion
14.  Nail polish
15.  Car buffing glove
16.  Decorative sticky notes
17.  Decorated wine glass/beer mug
18.  Fresh flowers
19.  Small plants (mini ferns, spider plants, and other small houseplants are easy to care for)
20.  Decorative garden items (LED lights, statues, etc.)
21.  Old-fashioned soda in glass bottles
22.  Specialty popcorn
23.  Small puzzles
24.  Specialty pastry from a local bakery
25.  Book by a favorite author