September 30, 2015

Nature. It isn't always natural or easy

Hello, friends,

How has your last day of September gone? Mine has been fairly productive with some chores done and errands run. When finished with some of the must dos, my thought turned to a little light decorating. After filling the bird feeder and bath yesterday I found a bunch of seed pods from the magnolia tree on the side of the house next to the street  and thought they would be a nice touch of nature inside. At first I tried them in a small footed glass dish:
along with some acorns. The cats wanted to investigate. Trixie, the Snoopervisor showed up first.
She left, under protest.
Even under the little greenhouse she and Flossie are fascinated.

Maybe the greenhouse idea needs to be scrapped, but they still can't be loose in a bowl. You know how long that would last. 
What about this cloche today, courtesy of Family Thrift for $1.91?
That makes the contents easier to see. Yep, this works for me. A touch of nature that won't go AWOL with sneaky cats.

Have a good one!


September 29, 2015

Tiny on Tuesday

Hello, all,

Sliding in at the last minute with a very small effort to report. Recently there were changes made in our kitchen because we bought a new, larger microwave. It wouldn't fit on the small shelf Mr. B hung (poorly!) over the  stove.

That's the before.
Here's the after. This photo doesn't show the large blank space that up to now was unseen because of the microwave. Meanwhile, for several years I've had:
this vintage casserole lid. It is thick and heavy with a blue line around the rim. Look at those sweet flowers! No, we don't have the dish it came from, but for .90 cents at Sand Dollar, could you pass it up? I didn't think so. It occurred to me, why not kill two birds with one stone? Put it out where it can be admired and at the same time, take the curse off that blank wall over the shelf? Thus, we now have:
A small but effective addition, don't you think? 

Gotta go, there's a meal to fix so Tim won't weep and miles of floors still left to sweep. 



September 28, 2015

The Kon Mari Method - Part II

Hello, everyone, and a happy Monday to all. It is cool and rainy here, such a treat.

After doing several drawers of clothing and dish towels and napkins using the method recommended in Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I am a true believer, so thought why not try it in the dining room buffet? Here are the results:
Here's one side. I tried to separate by themes, flowers, fruit, plaid, etc.
This main section doesn't have drawers or shelves, which makes it kind of tricky.
Meanwhile, when working in my closet this sorter was demoted. The buffet had some extra place mats in it. Rather than cram those on top of the tablecloths, they moved to this organizer in the hall closet.
The upper section has place mats and the lower one dresser scarves. I realize the buffet is far from perfect but the cloths are folded the same size and lined up, no longer stacked, it is possible to see them all at once and easily make a choice. That's what got done this weekend here. All the rest of the time from mid-day Friday till last night was spent having trouble with both our cars. We need for the Japanese queen of neat to branch out into vehicles! Her method works well. I'm thrilled to have learned it, even at my age. Watch this old dog  amaze with new tricks! See, it really is possible. 

Have a good one!

September 24, 2015

The Power of Color

Hello, everyone, how's life going so far today?

Today after Bible study I stopped at Value Village where I found:
This beat up old basket looked useful and the price of $2.92 was great, but the real reason to buy it was the color. After all the light, beachy months of cool summer shades my heart was more than ready to return to my first love, red.  So I put together a little vignette by the front door. 
A vintage thermos bottle to carry a drink, a throw to put on the ground to sit on and a camera to capture the beauties of nature--what else does an Autumn outing need?
See the old A & P wooden box marked Houston it's sitting on? I wonder what was originally shipped in that.
In this House of Doors it's necessary to shut the one on the left so the closet and bathroom don't feature prominently as background--NOT a good effect!
One last view. Red, we're so glad to welcome you back after the hiatus of the hot months!

Take it easy,

September 23, 2015

Summer Cushions - Summer Not

Hello, everyone, and a Happy Hump Day to everyone in the work force looking forward to the weekend. 

My attempts to make a gradual shift for the season continue in the living room. Here's what we had on Tuesday:
Bright flowered cushions, one from Manna and the other a yard sale.
Plus the striped spread as another burst of color. Meanwhile, in the wicker chair:
more light and bright. Those are retired for the season now, so there's:
Slightly darker shades, although the one at the back is a red pattern on cream background. 
Ditto at the opposite end, although the pattern is different on the rear pillow. 
More reds on the wicker seat, plus an addition to the chair with the quilt:
There's my Wednesday movement towards acknowledging Autumn. 

Have a good one!


September 22, 2015

Tuesday Transfer

Hello, all, I hope your weeks are going well. We are back to hot and dry. Summer in Texas does not go quietly. 

Heading for the living room it occurred to me that much as the basket cover has been a fun pop of color on the wall of the hall, it was probably time to retire it till next year. So, we'll say bye to it:
and welcome an easel holding a seasonal tray:
It has a harvest feel, don't you think? One more view:
The combination of wood and tin textures work well together for the space to me.

That's all from me today, currently with type of the labor intensive variety. All of a sudden the key between h and j doesn't want to work. With it a real frequent flyer of a vowel, my hands get fed up with the extra effort fast. 

Have a great rest of the day!


September 21, 2015

The Kon Mari Method

Hello, everyone,

Sometimes it's fun to do a book review. After four months on a wait list, this book was available at the library:
It is a quick read and much of her philosophy seems reasonable and a good idea. Other bits are a little odd. For example, she empties the contents of her purse every day when she comes home, then puts everything back the next day before leaving the house which is confusing to me. Other aspects seem quite sound. She recommends you clean/declutter by category, rather than room. Do all your clothes at once, books, papers, sentimental things, etc. Her instructions call for touching each item and only keeping those that "spark joy". 

Kondo prefers to fold, but not stack many items and has her own style, called the Kon Mari Method. My main dresser drawer was a mess. It seemed like an excellent test of the validity of the concept, so I dove in. What amazed me was how speedy the whole process was. Before, the space was crammed with tee shirts and shorts. Once those were redone per her directions, there was plenty of room with sufficient left over for sleepwear!  Color me stunned.
She recommends filing everything with the lightest color in front, gradually going towards darker shades at the end of a row. The way this better utilized the space was such a revelation there was no question about continuing.
Next stop, underwear. 
Room for everything, all easy to see in a glance. If undies were a snap, what about socks?
Socks and tights, done!

Today after waking ridiculously early, while the coffee pot was brewing seemed like a great time to tackle dishtowels. 
No more towel trauma drama at our house. Moving to the dining room, napkins, look out!

While I haven't put into practice all her principles, just this one major shift has had a positive effect on everyday life and routines. If you've somehow missed reading the book, you may want to check it out for some really excellent ways to up your quality of life. 

Now, off to work at Manna. Have a wonderful day.


September 18, 2015

It's been a long day.

Hello, all,

I hope your week is winding down in a satisfactory fashion. This days seems to have lasted about 72 hours already for some reason. That's not a complaint, just an observation because it's odd. 

Mostly today I concentrated on cleaning in the library, dusting and vacuuming and all the necessary effort in the War on Grime. While in there, it occurred to me to try and switch the two lamps. Therefore, instead of this:
It has moved across the room and had its legs shortened, thus:
 and the shade switched as well. Meanwhile, over on the desk, we now see:
This was largely due to ongoing issues with bulbs. They are too bright or too dim, glare out in the wrong space or fail to illuminate where the light is needed. A House that Jack Built process began when  an LED one gave a sinister, morgue effect in the former lamp by the arm chair. It was demoted to the little lamp inside the closet where looks don't matter, but then getting one that worked and wasn't  worse than before proved a challenge. This is how it ultimately worked out. By now I'm no judge at all of how it works, but am too tired to fool with it anymore. This is going to have to do, for now at least.

Have a wonderful weekend!


September 17, 2015

Entry In Between

Hello, friends,

Today I fiddled with the wall by the front door. The goal was to say bye to summer but not yet hello to fall. Here is what eventually evolved:
No more summer bag, sunglasses and straw hat. Now there is a dark scarf, cat leash, umbrella and tiny wreath of glittered bittersweet. A framed picture of a pear, string of ball fringe and old sewing bag add to the display.
There's the left side.
And the other. Doing the transition between seasons without fully jumping into Autumn is tricky and proving harder than you might expect. Still, it's worth the effort to celebrate having survived another Texas summer. Yes, there will still be hot weather, but it doesn't stretch out to infinity anymore. Do I hear a hallelujah?

Have a wonderful rest of your day!


September 16, 2015

This time in 2014. . .

Hello, all,

This post is a resumption of the greatest hits of 2014 by month. I skipped the last two because we were too busy moving to shop in July and August, 2014. However, it was obvious my mojo was back when Sand Dollar produced this beauty:

An ancient folding screen that is just the thing to conceal wires stretching from one wall where the socket is across the corner to the other side where the tv is actually located. It has served that purpose very well indeed, and is also amenable to decoration, like this:
or this:
This was by far my favorite find in September last year. How about you? Are you convinced that eventually the things you most want or need will turn up in a thrift store eventually, if you're patient enough to keep looking? 

Have a good rest of the day.


September 15, 2015

Upping the ante

Hello, friends,

How did it get to be the middle of September already? We are zooming towards the holidays like a bullet train. This is often a busy time of year, when summer is over and fall commitments begin again. Children have teams and band and scouts and more going on. Parents are coaching and driving and attending PTO events. It can get hectic and housework get lost in the shuffle. Unless you are a total free spirit and/or extremely wealthy, a lot of times the house can seem to get away from you entirely. Some advice to keep it from imploding completely is:

1. Make a schedule. Maybe you do a load of laundry every day or save it all for Saturday, but figure out some way to provide clean clothes, food and get all the members of your household where they need to be.  If things aren't working well, brainstorm and work out better methods for all concerned.

2. Calendar apps that sync cell phones can be an awesome tool for scheduling.

3. Cook ahead or at least make a simple plan for the coming week by Sunday. It doesn't have to be fancy, as long as it's what your family likes and you have the ingredients on hand. Don't forget the popularity of breakfast for dinner in cases where there is car trouble or some other glitch in your expected evening.

4. If you have small children, put a basket of supplies to deal with head colds or stomach viruses in your pantry so you don't have to run out for fever reducer, noodle soup or Pedialyte when illness strikes suddenly.

5. Doing one extra small task per day piles up big dividends. Use moments waiting for the water to boil or dishwasher to finish and get a little bit more accomplished, like:

6.  Throw all your potholders into the washer with towels and bath mats.

7. Run the burner plates on the stove through the dishwasher.

8. Quickly swipe out the microwave before spatters have time to harden

9. Wipe off your mailbox. Those get caked with dust amazingly fast.

10. Sweep your entry, shake out or wash the mat and knock down cobwebs so visitors to your house have a fresher welcome. 

Many of these type of tasks take less than five minutes to do, but like pennies saved, add up to make your home look nicer in general, which has a cumulative effect. If it looks good, you'll be more motivated to keep it looking good and maybe there will be fewer occasions of panic when company is expected or it's your turn to host a family or work event. 

No pictures or accomplishments today, but check back tomorrow. 

Have a good one!


September 11, 2015

Rainy Day Decor

Hello, everyone,

It started raining in the night and continued most of the day, so I stayed put. While indoors there was a little baking done for Mr. B, laundry and other chores, plus a little  decorating. What I'm going for now is a kind of transition spiff up as a preamble to fall. Here's the tiny bit done on Friday:

Instead of this, we now have:
I like the contrast between the iron chair and silver sugar bowl, plus it's always a good time for red!
Feathers, fern and basketry add a variety of textures in the dining room.
Here is my latest find on top of a bookshelf in the library. It was one of several scores from Value Village last Saturday on the way home from visiting Mr. B's dad. It isn't anything rare or expensive, but I love the leafy tree topped with a heart behind the sweet traditional house. 

And that's it for me this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!


September 10, 2015

The thin end of the wedge.

Hello, all, my day has been busy, as most Thursdays are now that grocery shopping is tacked on after Bible study is over. Luckily there was time to take pictures yesterday for this post. My apologies for the lighting. It's been very overcast and raining for several days in a row.

In 2014 I resolved to not put out fall decorating early, after getting extremely tired of it by the time December arrived and it could be switched to holiday glitter and glitz. This was the plan until there was unplanned detourafter the tray experience earlier in the week, while working in the living room closet. It dawned on me that the dining room table looked dull in the extreme. I like to replicate shapes, therefore the round large glass cloche wasn't working for me. At the same time the long rectangular basket had been emptied and was available, so . .  maybe just a little fall stuff would be okay?
A plain white runner and some of my seed pod balls, real and artificial acorns, a pumpkin and the star of it all, the rustic wire squirrel. He looks as if he can't believe his luck with the giant acorn, doesn't he?

I like the long, narrow basket's contrast with the long white runner. 
Have you started fall decorating yet, or is that still a little in the future at your house?

And that's my effort towards charm for Thursday. 

Take it easy!