Life is hard, you know? Every one of us is fighting some sort of battle. I get the fact that we all need to remember that, and cut each other a little slack.
Life is hard, you know? Every one of us is fighting some sort of battle. I get the fact that we all need to remember that, and cut each other a little slack.
I took a quick trip through my favorite shopping spot in all of the Pacific Northwest, Camas Antiques, during the day that we spent at the Camas Car Show, and I wanted to share a few bits of eye candy....
I ended my trip to the shop with a purchase of some pretty fabulous (to me at least) flatware. Two place settings of utensils, with handles that mimic vintage french dishcloth.
I can't wait to use them.
First of all, it looks like I chalked it on there, but it is really white paint. I used the same method I have been using for about twelve years now, which is detailed in a very old blogpost here.
And, more recently...here.
If you click on the links, you will find the "How-To's" for making your own sign. Today I wanted to share the fonts I used, which look great when wanting a "chalked" look paint job on a board, sign or framed art.
**EDITED TO ADD: These are PAINTING techniques, and not chalk techniques. You can do the chalk portion and then clean up the chalk dust shadowing and use it that way, but my sign on the easel was made to be permanent, so I used regular latex white paint. Any craft paint will do!
The fonts I used are:
There you have it.The fonts were all free, so go grab 'em....easy, peasy.
Do you have any other favorite "chalkboard" type fonts? Please share!
The weather here has been fabulous (now that we’ve cooled down from our record breaking heat.) and I have been tinkering a bit on my small patio area. Down the road I will have a deck or patio on the other side of my cottage, but for this summer, I am using the existing patio back behind the garage.
I bought the most fabulous old vintage bicycle at Farm Chicks, which will eventually have a home in my front yard landscape (after I have the house painted in September) but it occurred to me that I could enjoy it now on my patio.
Later this week I am going to hang some outdoor string lights for added ambiance and once I’ve done that, I am planning a girls night in with some gal-pals!
I went to the Feed Store Friday after work, and got two bales of straw. Then I grabbed a couple of my vintage quilts, my faux potted plants, my American flags, one of my big potted geraniums, and grabbed my chalkboard painted easel sign.
Ready to go.
Saturday arrived and my Rock n' Roll Buddy and I headed down to downtown Camas with our two vehicles; me with my pickup and Ralph with a 1947 Cadillac convertible he recently scored. We parked in the waiting lot until it was time to head down to 4th Avenue to park our rigs. Once we were allowed to go find parking spots, we secured our spots right in front of Camas Antiques, and the Liberty Theater.
(Of course! The perfect parking spots.)
I set bout staging my sweet truck and then settled in to enjoy the day.I was pretty happy with the way my vintage farm truck vignette came out.
Before too long, we spied a bride and groom coming up the street on foot, with their photographer. It turned out that they were going to be married in a couple hours and decided to take a walk, unaware that there was a classic car show happening.
The photographer asked if they might take a few photos with our vehicles, and we were delighted to oblige.
(And I took a few shots myself!)
(How sweet are they?!)
They really got into the photo shoot and everyone around was having a ball.
I’m giving you all a little break from my laundry room today, for one of my Traceyville versions of If you give a Moose a Muffin” stories….
I have been having wi-fi issues and had to have the cable guy out to do some repair work. In doing so, I had to empty the closet in my kitchen that has a trap door down to the basement.
When I emptied the closet, I had to pile all of my (very messy and unorganized) baking supplies on my dining room table.
(This was days ago. The cable guy has come and gone, and this morning I was foinally getting around to putting all of this stuff away.)
(I was preoccupied with my laundry room, as you know.)
Deciding to put away this mess got me a little...sidetracked, looking at all of those baking supplies. This caused me to begin poking through the miles of piles of plastic containers of cupcake papers, cake-top decor, straws, food colorings and frosting tips, trying to figure out when I amassed all of this stuff, and why it was in such disarray. (Well, okay. I am fully aware as to why it is in disarray. I am a creative type, and I was born messy.)
Poking through the piles inspired me to want to bake something, but I held off, as it was barely after 5:00 am this morning and I needed to get in the shower, plus I was determined to put another coat of paint on the laundry room door to the yard before I hit the shower.
Some bright colors caught my eye. It was a package of birthday candles.
(Even more than pictured here. This photo was taken mid-search.)
I realize now that I am covered in the birthday candle department for everyone in my family’s upcoming birthdays moving forward until...well, until I leave this earth to be with Jesus.
And that will (hopefully) not be for quite a little while yet, which is to say I’ve got a heck of a lot of birthday candles.
And I am now fully inspired to organize them, along with my paper and plastic straw collection, as well as my cupcake paper inventory.
I know I am messy at times, but I love it when I get things organized. (You can find things this way!) I will be hitting the Dollar Store today for more containers to get myself dialed in, and I am sure I will be sharing about it soon.
A. That is what is going on in my life this week each night after work, and, B. I am completely enamored with the way it is coming out, and cannot seem to stop talking about it.)
So, yesterday before work I primed the metal cupboards above the washer and dryer, and then after work, I painted them with a coat of white satin enamel.
Then I took a break and went to the Taco Tuesday Pool Tournament with my Rock n' Roll Buddy. Our friends Helen and Jonathan were there of course. Ralph entered the tournament and he ended up playing Helen. So much fun.
(Ralph had some good shots, but in the end, Helen won.)
By the time we got back to my cottage the cupboards were dry and we put the pulls back on the cupboards. I stood back and marveled at my progress.
I love it, I love it, I love it.
I then painted my first coat of paint on the laundry room door to the front yard, while listening to the end of the Mariner game, and called it a night.
One of the items on my to-do list in the laundry room was to add a board and batten wall treatment to one of the walls. You see, sometime before I came to rescue this little cottage, a door knob hole was popped into the wall. Since it is an older home, the wall texture is nearly non-existent, and to try and repair the hole so you couldn't tell it had been damaged would be nearly impossible.
I figured with a board and batten treatment, one of the boards could be strategically placed going up and down right over the hole.
A great idea I thought. It requires a trip to Home Depot for the wood, and borrowing my daughter's chop saw and then painting the newly attached wood white.
Then, I spotted my small pile of three assorted old washboards.
And I realized I could do the board and batten look later on down the road. For now, I could hang my collection of washboards on that wall, and make sure one of them covered the door knob hole. My daughter had two more washboards she was going to sell in her yard sale this weekend, and that rounded my collection up to five.
That ended up working out just fine, for the tie being.
And, it was easy and quick to assemble.
(And, best of all, it was free.)
What do you think?
I haven't made a whole lot of progress on my new-to-me cottage because I seem to be easily sidetracked by life's little fun activities. (Little league, trips to vintage flea markets, motorcycle rides, and various sports seasons on television...)
This past Friday, my daughter came over to help me...ehem...get on track. Now, if you are a long, long, time reader, you might remember that this is the same daughter that got me on track to finally finish painting my kitchen cupboards back at my home in the biggest little city. She worked on the flooring in my laundry room while I worked on skirting my utility sink, and when we took a quick lunch break, we made an itemized to-do list with deadlines.
(I know. I shared that I had plans for projects, along with a semi-detailed to-do list for my home projects a while back, but as it turns out, I realize now that I am apparently motivated by deadlines, because once we made that list with calendar dates, and I finished the sink skirt, I was on fire to get the laundry room done.)
(It is either that, or the fact that my daughter is going to be checking in weekly on my progress has thrown me into creative over-drive.)
Regardless of the what (or who!) the motivating factor is, I am loving the progress so far in the laundry room, and you will be seeing much more as I complete the various projects!
My personal goal for this past weekend was to paint the walls. I had already attempted painting, but there were lots of bare spots and nail holes that needed filling in. Not only did I complete the wall painting, (Yay, me!) but I created (and hung) the utility sink skirt.
Making the skirt was a cinch. Two and a half yards of a lightweight black and white gingham fabric (Hello Walmart! I am embarrassed to say I bought this fabric more than three months ago...) with a casing made at the top using iron on fusible bonding (I am too impatient to actually sew.) and made to touch the floor, I ran elastic through the casing and then installed a cup hook on either side of the sink wall and then hung the skirt there by using a safety pin at each end.(I pulled the fabric back and took a picture so you could get a visual here...)
I added a bit of hot glue from my glue gun to keep the skirt held tightly in place under the lip of the sink.
(Please ignore the awful stained condition of the sink; I am on the search for a replacement, but I cannot seem to locate one without faucet holes. I have a wall mount faucet...which I am also looking to replace for a cuter one with a soap dish attached.)
Pretty cute though, no?
I am in utility sink love with it myself. (I keep going back to look in at it, in all of it's laundry room cuteness.)
Made from a fairly heavy, thick glass, this coupe style, as they are called, have a sweet detail on the stem, and I adore the shape of the glass. (I have always known them to be called "Boob" glasses, because history has it that they were originally fashioned after the shape of Marie Antoinette's breast...Have you heard this tale, or am I alone here?)
While living in the biggest little city, I amassed a rather large collection of these glasses, which we used at 41 Taylor,and I sold them at one point, so when I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I began to watch for them all over again at thrift shops.
The challenge has been that because they are so cheaply made, they seem to be at two varying heights and I would really prefer the ones I have to all match. This has made for a pretty interesting treasure hunt.
While on the great Spokane Farm Chicks trip of 2015, the Other Tracey and I managed to stop by the best priced Goodwill either of us have ever been in.
(Seriously, the prices were fair! How unheard of is that?!)
As we walked in the front door of the store, I reminded the Other Tracey that we needed to be on the lookout for my favorite champagne glasses, and we each grabbed a shopping cart and began cruising the aisles.
As we turned on to the glassware aisle I reminded the Other Tracey of my champagne glass obsession. Suddenly, we both spotted, at the exact same moment, an entire shelf of my favorite stemware.
An entire shelf, people.
I grabbed a glass and flipped it over to see the price. (I have always had to pay two dollars per glass. I let out a squeal when I saw the price...just fifty cents a glass!
The immediate dilemma then was how many of these little beauties should I buy?
I ended up buying ten dolalrs worth of glasses (Twenty glasses!) and I am still pinching myself when I think f the sweet deal I got on them. I can hardly wait to throw a girls night in cocktail soiree to break them in.
(Oh! And they work great for ice cream bowls too, which I will be using them for soon, as well....)
Yes, the Spokane Goodwill will forever have a place in my heart.
That's how I feel when I get rolling on a creative project in my work room. (or when decorating around the house.)
Like I am making magic.
I'm on a little bit of a patriotic kick around here lately, with the 4th of July comin' up this week. I've done up my living and dining room up with flags a'plenty.
(More is more in this case, people.)
Oh! And speaking of patriotic decor, the Other Tracey sent me a text photo last night with her vintage flags she scored at Farm Chicks...how fantastically fabulous are these vintage American flags on her dining room table with her freshly painted navy blue walls?
(Be still my patriotic heart.)
(You cannot buy soft cotton flags any longer, you know...they are all polyester, and rather stiff.)
I have my printable Freedom Banner ready for instant download in my etsy shop to add to the Independence Day merriment. It's one of my all-time favorites because it's one simple word that says America to me...Freedom.
(You may purchase it here.)
Do you get inspired about decorating for holidays, and seasons? If so, do you decorate outside as well as inside? Do share, please!
We drove to Spokane yesterday just as planned, and the ride was a six hour series of laughter and chattering, with a few pit stops for gas, refreshments, and potty stops.
Too. Much. Fun.
Today we sprang out of our beds at the Hampton Inn (Tom Bodett may leave the lights on, but the Hampton Inn gives you a huge breakfast buffet for free each day.) and by 8:00 am, we were on the road to check out Chaps.
You may recall that Chaps was on the tippy-top of my list of places to visit while in Spokane. It did not disappoint.
The decor was incredible. Black walls. You might think that would be terribly dark, but, oh my! Stunning!
We had already had breakfast, so we had opted for a beverage, but the pastries were spectacular to look at, and I couldn't resist photographing them.
Chaps ranks in the top two or three restaurants I have ever been in on the atmosphere scale, for sure. If you're ever in Spokane, you need to make sure you stop in.
One of my girlfriends has a daughter that got engaged this past weekend. I created a card to share my best advice from my vast experience as a veteran Mother-in-Law with her to celebrate the exciting months that lie ahead, planning her only daughter's wedding!
I'm excited for them all, as they begin planning for the big day!
(Oh, by the way, this advice works perfectly for all of us Gramma's too.)
I was hanging out with some of my most favorite men last night, and I drove over in Old Blue specifically so we could take some fun pictures. It's been beautiful weather, and so it was no real surprise to me that all four of them were shirtless and barefoot when I arrived. (They are known for their naked dance parties, which now include the youngest little mister, who copies literally everything his big brothers do.)
First off, let me say that trying to photograph four little boys aged one through six by yourself is very much like herding kittens, and I was laughing the entire time I was trying to repeatedly corral and coax poses out of them, counting heads to be sure I hadn't lost anyone since the last shot.
In the end, I actually managed quite a few precious shots and I just knew you would want to see them.
(You saw this shameless Gramma Cupcake brag post coming at "naked dance parties", didn't you?)
Here is my favorite picture. Being the fourth of four boys, the baby has pretty much decided he needs to holler all of his words, and proudly yells out "Cheeeeeee!" every time he thinks you're taking his picture.
(I know, right? It melts my heart too!)
Oh yeah, I am seeing plenty more photo-ops happening with all of the grands and Old Blue this summer.
I thought I had shared my not-fully-decorated guestroom with you, and last night I checked my posts and realized that all I shared with you was the cutie-patootie robe and slipper socks hanging in the guestroom closet.
Sorry 'bout that.
It's a work in progress, as all are the other seven rooms (plus a hallway) in my cottage. The room, along with the rest of the cottage, is patiently waiting to be prettied up with a fresh coat of paint.
And a charming pillow for the chair.
And a fabulous-and-thrifty chandelier.
And the perfect "thing" to hang above the bed. (Do you struggle with this too? I think being born and raised in California causes me to really think long and hard as to what exactly will hang above any bed in my home. You do not ever want to wake up in the night to a heavy mirror-platter-you-fill-in-the-blank-here during an earthquake.)
And maybe a couple of these so-soft-on-the-feeties rugs from Ikea. (Gotta get a couple of them to stick out from under each side of the bed!)
And I still need to hang my roller shades in the charming corner windows.
So, I guess what I am saying, is that I have the furniture arranged in there, with the bed made, and the fuffy, billow-y curtains hung in there.
And I'm happy with the way it is slowly unfolding, along with the rest of the house.
My first guest ever to stay in this room will be here in just over a week! (Squeeeeeeal!) Yes, The Other Tracey will arrive a week from tomorrow and we will begin an adventure up (over? Up and over?) to Spokane for the Farm Chicks Show!
I can hardly wait, and we've been texting, and talking, and giggling over all of our plans. It's going to be a spectacular trip, I just know it.
Such was the case a month or so ago. You might remember this post, where I shared the awesome award I presented to a teammate at work for her efforts in raising the bar on remarkable.
Even prior to that award presentation, I had been looking online at novelty shops, and during my weekly pit stops at the thrift shops in town for a trophy that would be big enough, and grand enough, and cheap enough for us to use as an ongoing recognition trophy for all of us to continue recognizing those who go above and beyond at work. (Truth be told, I keep a mental list of all the off-the-wall stuff I would LOVE to find at yard sales and this topped the list.)
Two Saturdays ago (the Saturday before I scored the crazy-cool football snack server) I discovered the most off-the-wall-perfect-for-what-I-needed-it-for-sent-from-God-amighty-himself item ever.
Let me first say that scoring the loving cup a while back at GoodWill and using it at work was pretty fabulous, but that paled in comparison to what I found on a folding table in a cul-de-sac garage that eventful Saturday morning, and I can honestly say that I had never seen anything like it before. (I would bet my paycheck you haven't either.)
What I saw there on that folding table was a trophy with a small loving cup topped by a business lady up top there. (anyway that is how I would describe her. If you know differently, and it is something else, like a top-producer Encyclopedia Britannica saleswoman from the 60's, or the award for perfect attendance at an all-girl prep school, please do not share it with me, as I am blissfully happy thinking it's a businesswoman.)
Anyway, as I was saying, I spied with my little eyes this glorious meant-for-me trophy and squealed out loud when I spotted her. I pointed her out to my yard sale pal (yes, the Patriot's fan from the story with the football snack server...) but she didn't quite see the awesomeness of the trophy...just yet.
I asked the little middle-aged looking hispanic woman running the garage sale how much it was, and she replied in a thick accent that it was five dollars. (I was appalled, of course. While it was priceless to me, who in their right mind would drop a five dollar bill on this rather unusual trophy? Didn't she realize she was most likely going to still own this oddity at the end of her sale, and she should be thrilled anyone even inquired about it?!)
We got back in the car to leave and I felt compelled to discuss this with my friend before starting the car engine. She is quite wise in matters of bargaining, and incredibly level-headed.Once I explained my vision for the trophy to her, she was inspired as well. I asked her if I should get out and offer the woman two bucks, she said I should go for it.
I opened the car door, stuck my head out, and hollered my new price offer in a casual, nonchalant voice to the woman, and the smart little middle aged lady said sure.
Now, if you are a yard saler, you will understand this. If not, I can't explain what makes a girl go all tighter-than-Ebenezer-Scrooge when wheelin' and dealin' in someone's driveway, but I can tell you, it's the principle of the thing.
People need to understand that they are hosting a yard sale, pushing their unwanted and many times unsanitary items for resale, and not hosting Nordstrom's semi annual event. (in their garage no less...helloooo, what does that tell them?)
Am I right?!
Anyway, I nabbed this Little-Miss-Books-In-Hand for two dollars, and she could not be more perfect. Today we are awarding our second teammate with the "That's What I'm Talkin' About Award",(An award for raising the bar on remarkability) It will reside on his desk until the next person is awarded down the road. The plan is to continue to add names to the trophy, honoring random acts of remarkabilty.
Yes, the clear stickers did print up like I did it on scotch tape, (hey, you cna't win 'em all. I had nothing else to work with.) but the trashy-ness of the stickers seem to add even more of a funkified-charm look-no?
Oh yeah, we're livin' large at my office. Happy Friday-before-a-three-day-weekend, my friends!
Who would have known installing a simple door could take so many tries? Two weeks ago I shared that I was all hoopty-doo'd about getting a charming glass window paned door installed between my kitchen and laundry room, and it turned out that I had ordered the wrong measurements for the door jam.
I handled the nightmare experience of returning that door on a busy Saturday when no one actually knew anything about doors (Not to mention the restocking fees, and while the new size jam was more narrow, but higher priced, of course) and went home to wait for the call that my new door was in.
I was warned up front that it would be between one and eight or nine weeks. (Seriously? That's the smallest time frame they could guestimate for me?) In less than a week, my new door arrived. (Thank you, Jesus!) I called my craigslist guy to schedule a new install.
He wanted to come on Mother's Day afternoon, which I said would be fine, since my girls and my Mom and I would be there. Mother's day afternoon arrived and he then texted to say he ended up bailing on me, saying he would be there Monday at 5:30. This was also time with me.
Monday at 6:30 I texted him and he informed me that he was busy and would not be coming. after all. (The downside of Craigslist is the flake factor.) I called Home Depot to get a referral. They sent me a list of three installers to call.
I then arranged for an install date with one of them. This past Monday was that day. Not only did the installer show up, he was early. (I was so excited that I couldn't stop myself from peeking around the corner of the doorway to see glimpses of his progress...)
The door went in without a hitch, and an hour and a half after he arrived, I had a beautiful new door in my kitchen.
Even in it's unpainted, primer-paint state, without the trim on the itches side, and without a sheer curtain, it created such instant gratification, that I cannot help but continue to stare at it. The sun streaming through, changing the feel of both the kitchen and the laundry room.
It's a thing of beauty, and another step towards making this little old house my perfect-for-me home, sweet, home.
Last Saturday, I was out and about, yard saling with one of my favorite thrifting friends, and one of those serendipitous moments occurred, right there in a driveway in sweet little Camas. (we may have edged over to Vancouver, but I am pretty sure it was Camas.)
I think we spotted it at the exact same moment, and, at first glance, neither of us were overly impressed. It was some sort of football figurine...or maybe a novelty telephone I thought. Wait, it had a sticker on it explaining itself. It was a "snack server" according to the tag. There was a small black button on it.
I pushed the button and it loudly played a bit of the NFL theme Song as the top third of the football swung open and there was a cavity to store treats.
They wanted five dollars for this little gem, which in yard sale dollars seemed ca-razy high to both of us, and I was having an unusually cheap frugal moment, so I thought I would take a pass (heheh, did you catch my little football pun?) on it, and so did my Patriots loving friend. After checking out the rest of the driveway, we meandered our way back to the car, and got in. At that moment I came to my senses, and decided I should maybe offer the kid in the driveway three bucks for it. My partner-in-crime agreed, saying she too was having second thoughts over the musical mechanical football themed treat server.
She waited in the car and watched me as I went back up the driveway to negotiate. The kid said he'd have to ask his Mom, who was in the house. He came back out and said she would take four dollars. Should I do it? I motioned to my thrifting adviser. She nodded her approval, and I said "deal".
Come to Mama.
This little ode-to-Sunday-football was mine.
I scampered back to the car, my treasure in hand. Once inside the car, we opened and closed it a few times to listen to one of the sweetest tune any football fan could hear, and marveled at the quality of the piece.
I knew exactly what i was going to do with this little guy. I stopped for groceries later on my way home, and picked up a few packs of Hot Tamales candy.
Once home, I wrapped them up in a couple of book pages and made the perfect tag to coordinate. (You know those homemade tags are my thing.) and set it on the coffee table for my Rock n' Roll Buddy, who was coming by later. (Oh! The presentation was perfect!)
The magic of this gift was not lost on him, as he listened to the music. Of course we filled the cavity with the hot tamales and enjoyed pushing the button.
This little candy dish will be pulled out each Sunday during football season as part of his weekly ritual, I have no doubt. Cheesey? Maybe to some, but part of what makes a thing a perfect gift is simply knowing your audience, and I can tell you, this little surprise was spot on.
I have the grandest of plans down the road for my outdoor living and entertaining space that is overflowing with charm, and style, and creativity. So fabulous are these plans that I struggled with exactly how to set up and be able to enjoy the small patio behind my cottage garage until my budget permits the actual project to get underway.
In my mind (in Traceyville) I see sweet French doors in the living room (where there are currently windows) leading guests out to the huge side yard of my property. (I am on a corner.) I see a perfect cottage style deck, with a stone pathway leading to the grass. It's spacious, and yet quaint and cozy, with room for the large outdoor dining table I envision, as well as a seating area for conversation. There are oodles and toodles of blooming flowers in pots, and a creamy canvas umbrella for shade, and...well, you get the picture.
(To join me in this Traceyville peek into my outdoor space of the future, feel free to picture me looking about 42, comfortably wearing a size six sundress, setting up a s'mores buffet for dessert, while sipping a mojito, and enjoying some Ed Sheeran on my outdoor speakers...)
(In Traceyville, anything is possible.)
As I said, I have grand plans. In the meantime, I realized that if I want to entertain outdoors this year (and maybe next year too...)I would have to use the narrower-than-I-would-have-liked covered patio located behind my garage. The route to get to this patio is through the kitchen, then the laundry room, and finally, out the back door of the garage.
Once on the patio, my existing outdoor furniture sat, corralled at one end of the patio seemed giant and over-bearing, and there was seemingly nothing charming about any of this.
(Do I sound like I am whining?)
(Shame on me.)
I hate when I get this way, all ungrateful acting. Clearly, I needed an attitude adjustment, and the weather provided it. A week ago we had a little stretch of fantastically warm, sunny days, and I beat a path to the garden section of Home Depot and, for less than twenty bucks, purchased myself some instant inspiration. Then I whipped over to Ikea and scored myself four perfect-for-me outdoor folding bistro chairs.
I hosed off my cozy-sized patio, potted my flowers, and tried about 16 different furniture arrangements before settling on my favorite one. (Quite litterally, I was out there on the patio at midnight, in my robe, rearanging like a crazy woman.) I brought out one of my charming cottage style table cloths and a quilty-throw. I organized my newly potted flowers, hung my sign, and looked at my handiwork.
I didn't like it.
I loved it.
I could (and will!) entertain out here just fine, thankyouverymuch.
Is it perfect? No, but that is part of the charm. It reminds me of all the things I have been reading about in this book. I shared Hw much I am enjoying Love the Home You Have a while back, and I have to say, it has caused me to remember what I love about a project house. Every room, every corner....is an opportunity for inspiration. A spot to be creative, and think outside the box.
This newest entertaining area of my cottage makes me smile, as I feel it says welcome to everyone who comes out to sit a spell.
I was in there a week or so ago, and I spotted the new summer outdoor (to me anyway) entertaining items.
So sunny, and fun, and cheery, and happy!
I love the pretty orange cotton plaid, and the hot pink and orange flower hand-towels (dishtowels? Whatever...) They make fabulous over-sized napkins for messy BBQ meals, and they liven up a table.
But wait! There's more! An entire cheery lime green colorway, and blue as well...
A girl could go crazy with all of the mix-and-match options.Plastic ware, paper goods, and everything from coordinating cupcake liners to straws for your party's signature drink, this place has it.
And all for a buck each.
Oh. My. Ga.
I have to forcibly stop myself from buying them all to share with my friends and family.
No, really, I do.
(I get easily carried away like that.)
When it comes to shower gifts, or prizes for games at a shower, or for entertaining, the Dollar Store is my very first stop. It has never failed me.
People like to say less is more, but I don't think that applies when talking about the Dollar Store.
( What hasn't happened yet is my new, charming fifteen window door that I was going to share with all of you, as it was scheduled to be installed in my kitchen early Sunday morning.)
You see, there is a door between my kitchen and my laundry room, similarly to the layout of my old kitchen in the biggest little city, (Remember, it here and here?) and I want to do the same thing I did there, which is to replace the old, flat boring door, with a pretty windowed door. This lets in much more light (The laundry room has a window, and a window on the door going outside) and will give my kitchen a warm, inviting look as you look in from the dining and living room area.
I ordered my door, and it has been standing in the garage, patiently waiting for me to get time to install it. I was just sure, after learning to frame windows, that my daughter and I could do this ourselves, but after watching a Youtube on the subject, my daughter-turned-handyman...er...woman, vetoed it entirely last Friday.
On to Plan B, where we find a door installer guy on Craigslist. We found one,and he was available on Sunday. Oh! How exciting! My door was going to be a reality, and once that was installed, we would finish the flooring going into the laundry room. Cuteness in my kitchen was only a day away.
Sunday arrived, and so did the door dude. He was friendly, and was chattering on as he came through my front door about how charming everything looked. I thanked him and showed him the door area to be replaced. Out to the garage we strolled, and he removed the cardboard cover off of my new door.
He then informed me that I had ordered the wrong depth door jam.
(I think this is known as Murphy's law.)
Apparently when measuring the door jam, you do not include the outside molding...or trim..or whatever you like to call that.
Shut the door.
(Well, in this case, that won't be happening just yet.)
Back to Home Depot in my little blue truck to return the door with the deep door frame, and begin again. The new door will be here somewhere between one and eight weeks, give or take, (insert Murphy's law in here once again, most likely.) and my door guy will come back out to take a second crack at changing my world with a charming new door with fifteen sweet little windows, and we will take another stab at completing this project.
In the meantime, I will decide on exactly which color I am painting the kitchen walls, and get that fun little project started.
The wind beneath any company's wings.
It's Administrative Professionals Day. (formerly known as Secretaries Day, if you were born before they had color TV.)
Whether or not you see this as a holiday created by Hallmark, the admin team are the unsung heroes of the office world. They get-er-done fifty two weeks a year, usually without the pomp and circumstance and high fives that coworkers higher on the food chain typically get, and for that reason alone, I think it's important to take one day and let them know how much we value them.
(I started out in the working world as a receptionist.)
I made some spice cupcakes with maple buttercream frosting for the four admin in our company, and together with my team, we all chipped in to get them each a gift card.
If you work in an office, or know someone who is an admin, take five minutes today to make sure you let them know how truly appreciated they are.
And that made me think of toasters.
Because I do not currently own one.
And...you might be surprised to know that coconut isn't the only thing I have trouble oven-toasting. I also struggle with toasting toast in the oven.
(Let us pause for a moment to remember yesterday's post and the incinerated shredded coconut.)
Why do I not own a toaster, you ask? Well, I used to, way back in the day, but I haven't had one since...well, since before I became suddenly single. After that, I figured there was no real need for a toaster, because I like toast too much.
It's the old "If you give a Moose a Muffin" theory again.(This theory applies to so many areas of my life. Are you following me here?)
If I had a toaster, I would want to make some toast. (I like toast.) If I made toast, I would want jam to put on it. If I had jam, I'd eat the entire loaf of bread...er...toast. And then I'd outgrow the few clothes that do still fit my chubby bum, and if...well, hopefully you get it.
Mmmm, I do love me some toast.
Oh, where was I? oh yes, toasters, or my lack of a toaster in this case.
I would like to have a toaster because I like to make toast for my guests. Mr Rock and Roll Buddy's favorite dinner is breakfast, and that has to include toast.
But....have you looked at toasters lately in the stores? Ca-razy insane expensive if you want a cute one. (and I refuse to buy one that is not cute, because I am all about the charm-factor.) I found one a few weeks ago at William Sonoma that has a feature that actually reads. "A bit more".
Imagine that! A friendly toaster. I thought that was adorable. I knew it was a match made in heaven, until I looked more closely and discovered the downside of this cute toaster is that it cost (on sale, no less...) $129 American dollars.
It's a toaster, people. It simply toasts certain things. Flat things like bread and bagels. (And not coconut.)
I will continue my search for the cutest toaster ever made at a realistic price at yard sales and thrift shops (It has got to be chrome colored, and not all plastic, and well...if it had a button that read "A bit more" that wouldn't hurt either.)
In the meantime, I will continue to work with what I've got, which is Miss Daisy, my harvest-gold-works-like-a-charm retro range that came with my cottage, and maybe I'll master toast-making before the batteries in my smoke alarms die.
I had the privilege of baking my daughter's birthday cake this past weekend, and we decided on coconut cream.(I had a craving and she indulged me.)
It was pretty close to perfect, if I do say so myself.
A light and fluffy, yet moist, white cake, with coconut cream filling done the easy way, with a simple package of coconut cream pudding, coconut buttercream frosting covered lightly with shredded coconut, and three variegated sizes of little pearly candy sprinkles for added shimmer.
I had actually planned on doing toasted coconut for the frosting, but I simply cannot seam to master the toasting part to save my life, no matter how many times I try. I always manage to turn away from the oven at just the exact wrong moment. This time, I had a complete brain lapse and put the oven on broil, instead of bake.
(How did I manage to do that?)
(As I said, it was a complete brain lapse....)
I slid the cookie sheet filled with a layer of fluffy white coconut into the oven on the top rack, and waited about thirty seconds. I peeked in...nothing happening yet that I could see...looked again fifteen seconds later (give or take one minute...) and discovered huge flames disco-dancing all over the cookie sheet of blackened-and-charred coconut remains. The flames were literally more than a foot high as I pulled the sheet from the oven, and doused it with water in the kitchen sink. The smoke alarm went off (of course) and it is out for debate as to whether or not my cookie sheet can be salvaged for further baking use.
I then changed my plan to un-toasted coconut out of the package for the frosting, and lit some vanilla candles in hopes of covering the smell of incinerated coconut.
Oh well. you can't be the best at everything.
Onward and upward, I opted for sheet music punched hearts for the cake-top decor, rather than the expected birthday candles. (once you pass a certain age, you are not always as thrilled with seeing that many candles ablaze at one time on top of your dessert, and I for one, had seen quite enough flames for the day, thankyouverymuch.)
I was happy with the finished product, and I think the birthday girl liked it too.
Wow, I sound like a crazy woman.
(But, do you feel it too?)
It looks like something out of Country Living or Romantic Homes magazine, you know? In actuality, it is simply one of the Other Tracey's newly installed kitchen drawers...
filled with her magnificent array of containers, full of flatware, and...well, what appears to be a whole lot of spreaders.
She was formerly a caterer, you know.
A spectacular one at that.
And, I imagine that's where all of the eighty nine hundred thousand spreaders came from.
Little things like this cause me to swoon, admiring the vintage patinas, and the organization as well. It makes me want to revamp my own kitchen drawers so I can open them repeatedly, just to gaze at the simple beauty of it all.
(I think I already said that I sound like a crazy woman.)
Yeah, I just might do that.
(Seriously, have you been to Walmart lately?)
Now, they've stepped it up for summertime entertaining, and I am on totally board. I was cruising through yesterday when I saw these fantastic galvanized and enamel beverage servers Red and turquoise, just like my new bike!) and stands (ta da!) to set them on. Coordinating round and rectangular trays, as well as giant apothecary style glass beverage servers round out the line.
For those of us who love the Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware look but are attempting to live charmed lives on shoestring budgets, these sweet accessories are nothing short of being heaven sent.
I stood, debating over which one I would use most, arguing with myself as to whether or not I could actually justify getting all three. (Did I tell you they were less than %15 for the server, and less than $8 for the stand, making the set less than $23 before taxes.)
Or two or three of one colorway, to use for multiple beverages.
(I couldn't. I am a girl on a budget, in a teensy cottage with nor extra storage space.)
In the end, I chose the galvanized one. (Did I pick the right one for me? I dunno yet, but since I already have a glass beverage server, it seemed to make the most sense, from a versatility point of view, to me anyway.)
What are you waiting for? Get yourself to Walmart before they're all gone!
I scored a new-ish dressform at the Goodwill a few months back, and am finally tackling the project of reinventing her to be a fabulous part of my bedroom to hold necklaces, and add a little vintage feel. I began by giving her a couple of coats of paint over her fabric cover. I painted her a soft dove grey, and now just need to antique her with a warm brown glaze. Her bottom edge is kind of wonky, so I will most likely add some vintage trim, or a tulle skirt or something like that.....
This one came missing her cap for the neck hole, and I have been looking fr just the right vintage item to turn into her finishing touch. This is harder than you might think, because the neck hole is a bit larger than most jar lids and random toppers. As it turned out, I found the most perfect topper for her by using an inverted mini- angle food cake pan. (I am unsure if I will antique it as well, or leave it be.)
)What do you think? Is that topper working? Tell me your honest opinion.)
I am planning on painting her base a weathered white very soon, but for now I could not resist putting some of my jewelry around her sweet neck.
Just think, all this wonderful-ness for less than twelve dollars. I know, I'm a lucky girl.
Lucky for me, baked potato chowder is ready in a New York minute from the deli counter, and the sourdough bread bowls are fresh at the bakery counter.
I added a bit of fresh cooked bacon, some scallions, and build a fire in the fireplace.
Oh yes-indeedy, we've got comfort food, for sure.
Several readers have asked me how I go about creating my inviting bed-scapes, and since I had stripped my bed and did laundry today, I thought it might be the perfect time to snap some step-by-step pictures and walk you through my easy little process.
I am all about adding charm to the everyday (and night) moments in life, and that includes making my home a haven. I'd have to say that the top two things I do for myself would be having a luxurious bath in the evening, complete with candlelight and lots of bubbles, and making my bed as cozy as a cloud.
I'm a nut for freshly washed sheets; flannel in the cooler months, and crisp cotton (with a ruffled edge, like these) in warmer weather months. I wash my sheets at least once a week, (usually about every four days...) and I love to use linen spray each day as I make the bed, to keep that fresh feeling.
(Coming out of my bath and sliding into the fresh covers with oodles and toddles of fluffy pillows surely has to be what heaven feels like, don't you think?)
So, here is my step by step system, which takes me less than two minutes each morning. (I promise.) I love seeing the bed made when I come home from work. Likewise, an unmade, messy bed just isn't inviting to me at bedtime.
I put the bottom and then top sheet on the mattress...
.....followed by a coordinating quilt. (Right now I am enjoying my white on white on white look for my own room) I like to fold the quilt down about a foot...
....followed by the top sheet being folded over it...
I then place the bed pillows that I actually use to sleep with on the bed....
...and then place my two euro shams upright on top of them...
...I then place one set of shams in front of the euros (still on top of the bed pillows)...
...and then a second set of standard sized shams in front of the other pillows....
....then I like to add a toss pillow or two...
Now, for the duvet. (I don't wash my duvet every week.) To make the bed, I simply place the duvet at the foot of the bed, with the end that buttons or zips, or ties at the very foot of the bed, not hanging down at all, but just to the end.
I then fold the duvet in thirds, so it basically forms a "Z"...does that make sense?
I like this multi-layered look of the different weights and textures, and then at night, I pull it up for that fluffy warm cloud feeling, as I sink into my fluffy pillows and soft sheets.
Now, a couple of great tips for making your duvet look aaah-mazing, and easy-as-pie to put your comforter in on laundry day, or when you're changing covers....first, for putting your comforter into the duvet without breaking a sweat, I use the Burrito Method.
Have you heard about it?!
This used to be such a daunting task, but, once I heard about the burrito method, it became a breeze! The only thing I do differently than the Youtube video in my hot link, is that I use not one feather comforter inside my duvet, but two of them.
Yes, you read that right, I said two.
(I heard somewhere that this is how places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware make their bed displays look so incredibly inviting!)
(...and, I can tell you that it certainly does.)
Also, I can tell you that it feels even better than it looks.
It's truly like what I imagine sleeping in a cloud must feel like.
Well, there you have it. My version of bed making 101. Do you have any tricks for making your bed? Do share!