Tablescapes, Home Decor, Thrifting, Cooking

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Family Room in Progress


It’s fun to finally have something to share again with Susan’s ever popular makeover.  I’m joining her today at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.


For those who are new to my blog, my house is still somewhat new and we are ever so slowly doing window treatments and finishing up the rooms in the way I would really like.  Does a room ever totally get finalized?  For me, I think not.  There are still things I want to do in here but at least I’m off to a good start.


Here’s the family room in our lower level walkout basement before:


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Here’s the fabric I decided to go with:


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The window treatments are up and I’m excited with the new look!  On the shelves you can see some of my recent thrifting/garage sale finds such as the fox hunt tray and the little dog.  I’m still working on these shelves trying to achieve the right look.



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The entertainment center is on another wall.  I recently found these pictures to hang next to it.  They have sort of a Ralph Lauren feel, don’t you think?





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Here’s a closeup of some items on a shelf.  I found the old pipe holder, featuring a hunting dog at an antique store.  The tiny little hunt plate was at another antique store and the marbles belonged to my husband when he was a child.


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More fox hunt pictures…………

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I see now that I have these pictures in place I could have taken more to show the full room.  Will I ever get faster at this?

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I’ll save more pictures for a different day.


In the meantime, let’s go over and get inspired at Susan’s with all the other room makeovers!!


Thanks so much for stopping by to see me on 47th Street today! I love meeting new friends and reading your comments!




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Friday, June 26, 2009

Do you eat Rhubarb?






For years when my dear mother in law would bring in rhubarb from her garden, I would secretly make a face.  That is until I tasted her cobblers and pies mixed with strawberries and all the other yummy things she came up with for this very tart fruit.  Anything is good if you add enough sugar to it..   ;) ;)


My mother gave me a good sized bundle of rhubarb recently and while she was with me we decided to turn it into jam.  After scouring many cookbooks we came up with a rhubarb/strawberry recipe.  We actually reduced the sugar and it worked, I think because there was strawberry jello in the recipe.  Using pectin, you normally have to be very careful about altering the sugar amounts.


My daughter was home for a visit shortly thereafter and she was very much interested in using the remaining rhubarb to learn how to make jam.  There was another recipe that struck my fancy and it was blueberry/rhubarb jam!  Uummmmm


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We loved the flavor of this.  I could eat my weight in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made with this jam!





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Here we are carefully filling the hot jars.



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Very good breakfast…

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Blue-Barb Jam

5 c. rhubarb, diced

1 c. water

5 c. sugar

1 can blueberry pie filling

2 (3oz.) pkgs raspberry jello

Cook rhubarb in water until tender.  Add sugar and cook a few minutes longer, stirring constantly.  Add pie filling and cook 8 more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in jello.  Stir until dissolved.  Pour into jars.  Store in refrigerator or freezer OR seal.  Variations:  can use apricot pie filling or strawberry or raspberry.  Just wonderful!

*My note*  I reduced sugar to 4 c.  This did not set up real firm, but is also not runny, just nicely spreadable.  Great flavor!


I know I am late posting today, but I still wanted to add my recipe with all the great cooks at Designs by Gollum .  This is such a wonderful Friday feature that I really look forward to.  Have you had time to search all the Foodie Friday posts today? 

Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Finds for Cheap!



Good Monday Morning!  Today I’m participating with Rhoda from Southern Hospitality by showing my recent thrift finds.  Rhoda is amazing with what she has searched out for and then used so well in her home. I think she is the Thrift/Garage Sale Queen! :)


I have been trying Window’s Live Writer and my pictures always get cut off if I try the medium setting.  The small setting seems ity bitty unless you click on them.  Does anyone know what I’m doing wrong?  :(


I wanted to show you the results of some diligent thrifting with my friends while in the Geneva, Illinois area just outside of Chicago last week.


We went to Church resale shops, antique stores and every other little shop that was opened during a two day time frame.  What excited us the very most was when we happened upon a neighborhood antique/garage/estate sale.  One lady was so low on prices we had to pinch ourselves to see if what she was pricing things at was for real!


The decanters were $5.00, I believe.  The old brass charger was $1.  It will go well in my fox hunt room.  I loved the little distressed silver candle holder (or small vase) pictured in front for $1. 


We were literally on our way out of town and decided to stop one more time to see if this lady had put anything else out.  She had told us she had more to sort through and to come back the next day.  Well, the next day was pouring rain and we didn’t see her garage door open.  So on our final day (Sunday) we just decided to see if she anything out.  I walked up and immediately spotted this fox hunt tray for $3!  You just don’t know how thrilled I was!  Can you see the decanter stopper?  $1!

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I almost walked away from these dishes, knowing I was going to have to pack everything up in a suitcase to take them back home.  On our final walkthrough, they literally just pulled me over to them and I was handing the lady her $10.  Eight Royal Stafford salad plates made in England for $10!  pinch me……


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Here are more finds from the trip.  Many of these were from a church resale shop.  There were two levels of F*U*N!  The little planters will be used and filled with silks for my business.  I love using these old vases and pots in a new way.

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Click to enlarge








Isn’t the little lovebird vase adorable?  The red cardinal plate looks old to me too and was made in England.  The dog will be used on a shelf in my fox hunt room.  Linen napkins $1 a piece.


See the fabric peeking out underneath everything?  That was a vintage designer fabric that I plan to make into either a window treatment or perhaps a table cloth.  There were 4 1/2 yds. for $17.  A little bit more than I’d like to pay, but it was in an antique store, so the prices were more.  I loved it enough to get it.


I am addicted to thrifting ~~ I’ll admit it!


Go with me now back to Rhoda’s to see what others have found this week.  Isn’t this fun??

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Mini Summer Vacation



Would you believe out of all my 50 some years, I just stayed in my first Bed and Breakfast?  I recently returned from a trip to Chicago and a quaint little suburb named Geneva.  Several friends who I met online a few years back plus a couple of family members met up to enjoy some real life time together.  There are not enough words to say just how*much*fun we had together! :) :) :) :)  Nice, nice people.  Oh my!


We stayed at a B&B called Oscar Swan Country Inn, a little less than an hour west of Chicago.  It was love at first sight.


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This “little” family home was built in around 1830 and has seven good sized bedrooms.  My first experience with a B&B was a good one, to say the least. It was perfect for a group of friends to gather in one of the large bedrooms at night before retiring.  We enjoyed a bit of wine and fruit, hummus, and other munchies. 


  There was such a feeling of elegance but comfort at the same time at Oscar Swan’s. 


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There was much silver used along with beautiful, yummy dishes.  And thrown in with the formality were bird houses and pottery.


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This solarium was where breakfast was served each morning.  It was presented with such beauty.  The dishes, the colors in the fruit, along with the silver and warm, satisfying eggs, bacon, muffins, sausage, quiches…..on and on….






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This is my daughter Emily and my sister in law Deb standing with me in front of the mailbox.

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The grounds were quite a site.  We walked around and just took it all in for quite some time.

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Donna and Lorrie

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Here we are in a charming room they set up just for us one June 2009 Geneva 051morning.  It was our last morning and we lingered for the longest time, not wanting the time to end.  All of it was just lovely.







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This lady in blue is Paula from Sweet Pea.  She has a delightful blog you should visit.  It is always a treat to spend time with her.  The other lady is Lorrie.  Love ‘em both!

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Some of you may remember my header last winter with a bicycle decorated for the holidays.  Here we are again with the summer look….fresh hydrangeas in the bike’s basket.

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We are all gathered here in front of an ice cream shop.  On this particular night, ice cream was our supper!

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Along with eating and chatting constantly we did a huge amount of shopping!  I do believe we hit every thrift store, antique store, garage sale and estate sale in Geneva and St. Charles.


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We had one rainy day, but you better believe it didn’t stop us from finding good deals!!

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I will save more of my antique finds for another day.  I do hope you enjoyed some pictures of my fun getaway!


Friends + Family

What could be better?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

“Everything’s Great when you’re DOWNTOWN”

My friend Susan the decorator and her assistant Mary recently won the bid to decorate  two models for a high rise condo going up in our nearby town.  This was a great job for them and luckily they asked me to join in and help out with my trees and some other silks.  I recently went to the models with them for a day of trial and error on placing accessories.  The rules are very strict with construction so without further ado, let me show you a most flattering picture of such a stunning trio! :)

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I am on the left, Susan in the middle and Mary on the right

No doubt they would try to physically harm me if they knew I was placing this picture on my blog.  Shhhhh!


A workman had to escort us with whatever we were carrying up in a makeshift elevator.  Notice Susan’s TJ Maxx bag.  She wears it proudly. 

Susan and Mary each had their own condo to decorate.  Susan’s was more traditional to transitional.  Here is the entry hall.

I really thought these mirrors were a cleaver way to take up wall space in a long hallway.  She wanted even more but the money was too tight.  It definitely brightened the area.







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Here is the living room done in robin’s egg blue and light brown.  Do take note of the tree coming from behind the sofa!  Isn’t the bust of the little girl precious?condo 003


This was one of my very favorite parts of the decorating.  Susan found some old sheet music at an antique store.  Notice the perfect coloring for the decor. 

condo 002 The music was actually falling apart.  She like the words so she cut part of it and included it on the bottom part of the frame.  This was done by herself (not custom) with a frame she found at Hobby Lobby. It was an open frame that she bought glass for.  Click on the picture to read the words.  I LOVED THIS!

She also went to an estate auction and bid on these retro dishes.  Again, the perfect color and feel for what she wanted.  The table was very small and round, so I could only do a vase with some stems coming up the middle.  The day I was there, a lot of work still had to be done so I didn’t get a lot of the finished pictures.

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Don’t you love this boat picture placed above the toilet in this masculine bathroom?  Notice the book on top of the stool.condo 007

condo 006This was the bedroom off the masculine bath.  The headboard was covered in the tweed fabric.

condo 009 condo 010This was the bath off the master bedroom…   And here is part of the master bedroom.  I am so sad the lighting didn’t allow me to get a good picture.  This chair had the cutest little leopard print you ever did see.condo 011


This is the living room in Mary’s more contemporary condo done in eggplant.




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This winds up my tour for today.  I wished I could have been there on the final day to get better pics, but I think you get the idea.


Thanks for stopping by for a visit today.  I love having you to share projects going on in my life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cleaning your Silks

For some time now, Gloria at Happy To Be has been asking me to do a post about Cleaning silks 002cleaning our faux flowers/greens.  Honestly, I have been waiting for the weather to warm up because there are a couple of ways you can do this task.


I didn’t want to drag it outside but if you have a tall ficus or other sort of faux tree that is causing your nose to run from all the dust (!) the easiest way to clean this is to take it out to the yard.  You can fill a bucket with soapy water to start off with.  Any sort of mild soap will do.  Do not go crazy with the soap, just a squirt.  Oh, and do not squirt the cat or she will no longer be your best friend!    :-) 


Another way to clean the really tall trees (I carry them up to 9’ tall) or the smaller one like I have pictured is to take a spray bottle and fill it with soapy water.  You will spray sections at a time of the soapy mixture or just take your prepared bucket and with a sponge wipe off the leaves.  The sponge method works better on a smaller plant such as the one I have pictured.  After you have wet it down with the soapy mixture, take your garden hose and gently rinse off all the leaves of soap.  Use your thumb to defuse the water pressure. You might want to put a nozzle on to control the pressure.  We are gently cleaning here, not using car wash pressure, ok?

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If you have loose greenery up above your kitchen cabinets or even those stuck in baskets or containers, the easiest way to clean these is to run a few inches of water in your bathtub.  Add just a bit of whatever bubble bath happens to be sitting there.  Please do not use bath oil for obvious reasons!!  Oil and dirt do yucky things together!  Now after you have swished them around just a bit in the water, run your bath faucet and rinse them off.  You will want to dry them quickly so they don’t water spot.

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  You may use your hair dryer OR you might want to take them outside in the sun to dry.  The way our winds blow around here, the greens will be dry in seconds.  Watch so they don’t end up in the neighbor’s yard!

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There is a product I sell called Silk ‘n Splendor that is excellent for cleaning your fauxs.  You just spray it on and the dirt literally drips off. You don’t even have to rinse.  If you are doing this inside with a large tree, it is best to have a drop cloth beneath or place the tree in your bathtub because this method can get messy but works beautifully.  It is so easy and they will look new again.



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You may be very surprised ~ but I doubt it~ today’s silks are really not silk but actually a blend of poly/cotton.  You may also use the above cleaning techniques for your faux flowers as well.  A little disclaimer here ~~ not everything you own or those you may have had from two decades ago will clean up with 100% success.  I sell the quality stuff and I know my cleaning methods work on those.  Cheaper fauxs from the dime store may “bleed”.  You may want to do a little area at a time to make sure they don’t turn a really pale green! 


I hope this post has helped.  Please feel free to ask if you have any other questions I didn’t go over.  Oh!  If you have a dusty dried arrangement, I suggest pitching it in the trash.  They are not attractive filled with dust and I have found no way to clean them.


Let me just say Thank You so much for your very nice comments from Monday’s post.  I really wasn’t fishing for compliments!  I just know that I sometimes don’t post as often as I would like, so at times I just feel you give up on me keeping up with my blog.  Occasionally I thinking of pulling the whole thing down, but I just enjoy it too much.


Now for a picture of yesterday’s project:Cleaning silks 009

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Until next time  ~~~~~~~