September 28, 2012

How did it get to be Friday?

Hello, everyone. We're all fine here, with nothing exciting to report. The week has included a little thrifting and even a project, of the cleaning variety, that is. Let us draw a veil over the horror that is our utility room and where the cats have their food, water and litter boxes. Suffice to say it is not to be tackled by the faint hearted or anyone easily shocked. Keep moving, nothing to see there.

However, there is this modest haul to report:
a mug to resell, paper mache pumpkin, old bird print, Mardi Gras beads, paperback mystery, hydrangea wreath and little bench that seemed like it might want to hang out with my small chairs after it has a paint job. There are four different views in the box of note cards, all featuring butterflies, stamps and flowers so it seemed they might be  good to use for decoupage. 

Also  this week the coffee table is fixed for fall, although it's nothing all that great. For some reason, inspiration has been totally absent when it comes to this particular area and so far this is as good as it gets:
Flossie doesn't  seem impressed either. The tray, candlestick and pillar candle were all from thrift shops. The squirrel was from a neighborhood nursery after Christmas last year, and the Autumn leaf candle bought at Pier I several years ago. Oh, well, it's not completely bare, there's nothing for the cats to eat or drag away and it doesn't get in the way of Mr. B watching tv. Sometimes ho hum is all there is.

I hope everyone has a pleasant weekend ahead. Fall festivals and events start soon. Next week the neighborhood branch library has its annual sale, so that will be fun, with a couple more at the beginning of November, as well as the second sale of the year at Bering Methodist Church. Ah, the thrill of the hunt!

Take care,

September 26, 2012

More fall, Y'all

Hello, Friends, how are you this fine September day? We have lost our cool from last week, but it was enough of a boost to keep spirits up in hope of more. There are a few more small additions to our decor, like this:
It started out a while back, when I found the gourd first:
It was .50 cents at the rummage sale at Bering Methodist Church in the spring. Paired with these:
We now have  this:
In the living room, on the desk has been added a small pie pumpkin and a little raffia in an urn for more seasonal color:
It looks as if Inspector Flossie approves, always an essential step in the decorating process. Maybe I'm fickle or have ADD or something. I like the cool, aqua and white decor of summer with its beachy theme, but was more than ready to flip to the darker, richer shades of autumn by the middle of September. Or perhaps it's a sign of sloth. One thing that makes me very happy is using the well in our Chambers range as a slow cooker for easy and delicious meals, which I don't do much in the spring or summer months. Most of all, the onset of fall means we survived another Texas summer, always a good thing and sometimes a surprise. 2011 was brutal, but now we're coasting towards relief! Do I hear an Amen?

How is your life affected by the change of seasons? 



September 20, 2012

A Tiny Tweak

I couldn't leave well enough alone. Today, looking at the bookcase it seemed like there should be more that could be done, so I finally ended up doing this:
The main thing was incorporating a galvanized metal box on the third shelf and moving things so the bird stamps picture on the top one shows better. The box now contains my Bagthorpe books by Helen Cresswell. The Daher box to its left contains tape, which keeps it handy since we usually wrap packages on the dining room table nearby. 

The morning began ominously, very much in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion. I was carrying a large expanding pocket folder filled with papers and receipts that suddenly split along one side, spilling the contents. These knocked to the floor a gadget to recharge batteries which rolled in all directions. Three were easy to find, the fourth much sneakier. Looking under furniture for it dislocated more dust than you could imagine existed, and then--well, let's just draw a veil over everything else. No doubt six weeks in a quiet environment with a cold cloth on my forehead would fix me up just fine--oh, wait, that'll never happen. Mr. B and the cats will make sure that remains a dream. Flossie's way to help was by reaching out and bopping me with her paw as I stood up after crawling under something to look for the battery, or after bending to pick up the full dustpan. She's not one of those lethargic, somnolent kittens, no indeed. She's ever on the alert. Once she emerged after hunting a dust bunny and looked like she was wearing a Santa Claus beard. 

I'm hoping to work on some more trinket and treasure candlesticks soon and do a post if they're a success, also hope to think of what to do with an old drawer picked up from a trash pile last year. Oh, for a garage to store things in!

Have a good evening,



September 19, 2012

Project of the Week

Hello, everyone. Don't get excited about that title. It just refers to a  long overdue effort to clean up two large bookcases in our dining room. These are inexpensive ones from Ikea, not fine craftsmanship by any definition. You will need to use your imagination because there are no before photos. Look at the shelves and mentally add a bunch more books and random assorted junk, stuck in every which way. On Monday I tackled the one on the left side. Removed everything, dusted then put selected books and items back for this result:

Tuesday its right hand companion had a turn:

Here's a picture of both:

Here are the lower shelves. Flossie had been checking them out, but was leaving as the picture was taken.

The tops are useful display space. Mostly it's brightly colored tins, some of which are on top of another of my child-sized chairs.

Another of the same area:

Some other things I've accumulated are here, too, several nesting dolls, a little deer from a bag of assorted things I bought just to get Bambi, a beautiful red glass candle holder from middle daughter Mary, up there to be safe from cats and an old wooden cigar box filled with loose family photos. 

You're probably wondering how this can be called a project. Take it from me, after the heat this summer, to do anything as involved as removing everything, cleaning the surfaces and figuring out how to put it back neatly feels like a big effort, only possible now because there is finally some relief at last. Next comes spray painting, abandoned while the temperatures nudged triple digits since we don't have a basement or garage to use.

Is there a part of your house that's been ignored through the spring and summer that's crying out for attention now that autumn is almost here? What wants to go on your to do list asap?

Now it's time to put my feet up with a book. Enjoy your evening.


September 15, 2012

Moving On

Here we are in the middle of September, which means we're only a week from the official start of a new season. Hardly anyone in hot, humid Houston is sorry to say goodbye to summer and I'm no exception. Sure, the heat will hang around longer than anyone wants, but there will be hints and peeps of some relief once in a while, thank goodness! Some years fall decor has been set out September 1, but this year I managed to wait till today. Here are a few pictures of autumn at our house:


This is my desk in the living room. Seasonal additions include the sphere of seed pods in the middle. It is sitting on a section of candlestick in a bowl of moss. The seed ball came from Goodwill on a senior discount Monday. The pumpkin colored candles in front are in a cute metal holder. It was on deep discount at one of the local thrifts; it might have been a sale where all holiday decor was .25 cents after Christmas one year, although it's not particularly Christmas-y. There are leaves and acorns on it and the acorns jingle.

Here is a corner of the bookcase on one side of the  room. The postcard didn't photograph well, but it's a Molly Brett scene of woodland animals, sent to me some time ago by my oldest daughter. The square glass vase holds a bunch of burr oak acorns from a visit to a plant nursery last year to buy bulbs. Some customer had brought them a huge carton full of these nubby, primitive looking seeds and there was a free help yourself sign on it. 
On the wall next to that bookcase I hung this little picture. It is actually a beautiful fall greeting card from several years ago, sent by my dear friend Betty, who lives in Austin. I liked it so much it finally got a frame so it can join us again every year.

This is the end table at the left of the sofa, facing it. It has a little dish with mini decor like pumpkins and gourds in it. The miniature chair has a large acorn with its cap made up of real acorn tops.

The table on the opposite  end has a square thing on top of it I can't identify. It has two little pieces of wood on the back side, so probably was originally part of something else. It was cheap in a thrift shop and the rich colors seemed appropriate for this time of year. On it is that chicken wire basket from a yard sale last spring. It holds a thrifted dish in the shape of a leaf with a paper mache pumpkin in it and a big wooden acorn. 
n the dining room the buffet holds the two dark mustard colored matching pedestals found on two subsequent trips to different thrift shops, each with a little berry topiary on top.


On the small chest in the  dining room is an old tin picnic basket. It has a cloth covered box on top with a fall fabric on it, a squirrel candle holder, a tiny tin container with more of the mini gourds and a glass jar of potpourri.


The birdcage on the dining room table has been raised by putting it on a footed cake plate. It now contains a selection of feathers. acorns and other nuts, one on the little chair found at Goodwill last week. 

So far nothing tried has looked good in the twig bowl bought not long ago, nor has inspiration struck for what to put on the coffee table. There are wreaths on the front and  back doors and a metal pocket thing in the front, but it needs to be moved, lower or higher or something. Mr. B may be pressed into service this weekend to put up a nail or hook where it will look better. 

This is my favorite time of the year, when it starts to feel as if yes, we have managed to survive another Texas summer. 2012 is a huge relief over last year with its intense heat and unprecedented drought that it is a constant reminder to be thankful there was no repeat of 2011. What is your favorite season? Do you like it because of weather, holidays, or for some other reasons? I'm going to link this to Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch  Moving On

Have a  great weekend!

September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wows

Thrifting has been on the skimpy side lately, but I continue to make the rounds in our immediate neighborhood. There will be little going farther afield until the weather cools off and a car without ac isn't such a misery. Meanwhile, close to home I've found this:

There is another cross for my wall and a pretty tin, which should make a nice container for a gift. You can't see it too well, but under the pink mug is a white pyrex refrigerator dish with a blue design on the side and clear lid. In front of it is a small travel clock in a leather case. Behind it is a new miniature ring toss game in a wooden box. I want to say the bunny character on the mug is named Miffy; does anyone know if this is correct and if not, who is that bunny? Flossie gave it a look from her napping spot.

Another recent find which will be ideal for spring and Easter decorating is this:

It's a bird feather and egg small square glass dish with script writing in the background in French. It's in perfect condition and was under $2.00.

Today I found two things in the green tags that were 30% off at GW. The first is this:
large, divided wicker tray. It is already in use on the antique washstand in the dining room, holding mail, pens, scissors and other useful items. The second is for my little chair collection:
It's got a painted, folk-art finish which even extends to its wicker seat. Both things together cost $3 and change.The chair had a broken stretcher, but some super glue and a piece of elastic wrapped round it as a clamp fixed that right up.

Here is the tray in use:
The washstand was my mother's. Practically everything else on it except mail was found in a thrift shop at some point. Oh, and besides mail, a small jar of sand from Dollar Tree and the concrete squirrel. He was on deep discount at a local nursery after Christmas. The lamp, shade, other containers, pairs of pinking sheers, pitchers and picture frames have all been picked up browsing for bargains. The corks are courtesy of Mr. B, who drinks most of the wine around here.

I'm thinking about putting a different finish on the urn Squirrel Nutkin is sitting in. What do you think would look good? Black, ORB or white? Or a textured or beaten metal effect, maybe? Your ideas are  eagerly requested.

We may get rain today, so I'll close now in order to cross my fingers for that to occur!


September 9, 2012

Then and Now

With the benefit of slightly cooler weather here, what could be more appealing than working on a mini makeover project? Before we moved here, this house was having some work done on it. Part of that involved replacing the exterior light fixtures. Mr. B thought one should be saved, so we did. Time passed and the wonderful world of blogs appeared in my vision, filling my life with inspiration. Thus, I began with this:

and its lid:

My helper, Flossie, checked it out:

This piece also seemed like a possibility:

I busted out the trusty spray paint, first planning to use a gloss black, but switching to Plan B Oil-Rubbed Bronze when black was nowhere to be found. Once it was painted and dried, the rest was easy:

Turn the lantern lid upside down on top of the former brass stand, and voila!

An elegant (okay, that's a stretch), make that a nice footed container, ready to fill with a candle, leaves or whatever else is available. Stay tuned to see what happens to the main part of the light fixture at a later date. I want to list this with Susan's Met Monday party at Between Naps on the Porch Met Monday. This  cost $0.00 because all of the parts, including paint, were already here.  How long has it been since you looked at things you already have in a new way for a different use?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


September 6, 2012

Tips and Quips

Hello, friends, and how are you this fine Thursday afternoon? Today I thought I'd share a few tips and hints. Let's start with this one:

Do you have a baby or small children? Then investing in a few red washcloths is a good idea. If your toddler falls learning to walk to the detriment of his or her lip, if your preschooler topples off the climbing equipment or has a big wheel accident or any other spill that ends up with a scrape or a bitten tongue, they're not going to be happy, and who can blame them? However, if you use red washcloths and the blood isn't immediately and startlingly apparent, that will help cut back on at least some of the tears. 

Are you pinching pennies and want to make every dollar count? Then you probably aren't happy if things you've paid for are damaged and unusable. Wearing an apron is a good protector for clothing, but sometimes mystery spots appear, on clothing, floors, furniture, you name it. In that case, these can be a real lifesaver:

Old English Scratch Cover polish and a variety of wood colored pens will hide almost anything on furniture, picture frames or the like. A black permanent marker or sharpie will do the same for inexplicable white spots on black clothing or tights, allowing you to extend the use of an item that is otherwise perfectly fine.

This is one of those just in case bits of advice, but it can't hurt:

A safety pin or two on your key ring might prove very helpful someday, if there is a button loss or elastic failure while you're away from the house.

Organizers always say put like things together, so here is an example:

We call this our Let There Be Light drawer in the buffet. It has bulbs, candles, matches and batteries in it, so there is never any hesitation when any of those are needed. We both know that's where to look. 

We live in a rented house with limited storage space. Without these organizational aids, we'd really be in bad shape:

We have over-the-door hooks in several places and they are a real way to corral things without damaging property we don't own. The under shelf baskets come in multiple sizes and double up space. There are two more in the kitchen and one in the linen closet for washcloths. 

No picture for this one, but if a product doesn't work right, taste good or stay fresh, look for a 1-800 number to call. Every time I've had a problem and done this the company or manufacturer has been happy to send a refund, or coupons for a free replacement. If you don't get your money's worth from a purchase, spend a little time to be reimbursed. 

As for the quips, my mother used to say "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride" as well as "If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there'd be no work for the tinker's hands." "It'll never show on a galloping horse" was common too. The first two refer to the futility of wishing for riches. Her grandparents were from Ireland, so perhaps these are common expressions there. As for the galloping horse, don't worry about minor flaws or imperfections, excellent advice for those of us who shop at thrift stores and yard sales!

Stay cool!


September 4, 2012

Easy or Lazy?

Happy September, everyone. How can we have reached the milestone of Labor Day already? It seems impossible. 

Today I thought I'd share a dead easy project first done before this blog existed. It was fun to do, and simple in the extreme. I like to have something on the front door all the time. For some seasons and holidays the choices are obvious but there are a few less easy to categorize. During March, a wild and windy month, after beginning with this:

a plain grapevine wreath, then added elements from the Dollar Tree to make this:

Not the greatest picture, but it's covered with little pinwheels of all different colors. In the  spring breezes, they twirled madly, adding a little touch of whimsey to the front area.The pinwheels are six to a card, so the total cost was under $5.00. Another wreath used in the past was the same idea, but with little paper drink parasols covering it. Not any crazier than using flip flops, right? What's your verdict, then,  fun and easy or dumb and lazy? I'm going to try to link this to Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm.

I am trying to force myself to wait till September 15 before putting out any fall decor; since our heat index all week is supposed to reach 105 degrees, doing it now feels just plain wrong. Everyone getting the benefit of lower temperatures, please take time to be grateful for that relief and enjoy it. If you want to send a little to Texas, that would be just fine, too!

Take care,