Monday, September 28, 2015

Making it Monday...barely...

...barely Monday, that is.  It was 1:00 am when I took this out of the hoop.  All that's left is adding some pearls and framing, and we will have something new around the house for Winter decor.   The colors look a little off in the photo...I don't think the fabric is really that beige-y, and the tree color isn't really that dark brown.  Hmmm...I will have to look at it again in the light of day.  I found the pattern here.  

This week Kasey is travelling for work, so I will be running kids hither and yon, and spending nights at their house.  While they're in school, I'll be back home to cook and visit with our visitor.  If I don't get a chance to check in, I hope everybody has a great week.

I'm linking to Bits and Bobs where Cath hosts a Design Board Monday link party.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Counting stitches...

I started a Christmas project last night.  It should work up fairly quickly, but I'm not at all impressed with the linen that I purchased from Joann's for the project...very difficult to count threads...and, no, it is NOT my aging eyes!  :)  I have had to pull out quite a few sections, as well as letting some mistakes that aren't too noticeable stay put.  The linen feels rather thin, stiff, and low in quality.  Not very fun to work on.

Other than that I've been cooking and trying to behave.  The former is so much easier than the latter.  :)  

My m-i-l likes the guest room very much, and the visit is going as well as expected.  Though I've been trying to keep the door to my office/craft room closed, she did take a peek in yesterday, much to my chagrin.  Why, yes, there is a "lot of stuff" (code for 'dumping ground') in there...I have a lot of hobbies.  It actually had been looking a lot better in there, but in the last push to straighten up the house a lot got tossed in there for the duration.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Making it Monday, Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe...

Crispy and brown on top... and creamy inside.

I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen since our company has arrived.  It's kind of fun cooking for someone for whom the old favorites are all new and exciting.  :)

Today I put a ham in the slow cooker, and macaroni & cheese in the oven.  It's a recipe I've been making for...ever I guess.  I know I got the recipe from my mother originally, but I don't know where she got it.

I just make it by 'feel,' so when I wanted to post it I had to look for the actual recipe with measurements.  Wouldn't you know, I couldn't find it.  I had to ask a friend that I had shared it with if she could email it to me.  She said she didn't have it on her computer, but she could take a picture of the recipe and email it to me.  I had to laugh when the photo arrived.
If you look close you can see that she has held on to the original email since 2002!  And I love that she has handwritten in the measurements to double, triple, and even quadruple!  She has five sons who like mac & cheese.  :)

If you don't want to squint at the photo, I put the recipe up here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ready for company...

Well...almost...I still have to do the grocery shopping, but I just didn't have it in me today.  Carey is going to pick up his mother tomorrow, so I will grocery shop before they get back here tomorrow evening.

The guest room has been a long time being finished.  We started by painting it right before we began the kitchen remodel late last year.  Since it was empty, we ended up storing most of the kitchen things in it instead of finishing it.  Though the kitchen is long since complete, the guest room languished in its undressed state ever since.  Having Carey's mom coming to stay for three weeks was the perfect incentive to finish it up and make it comfortable.

I love this bed in here!  I bought it years ago at an antique auction, and we have been using the headboard (with some diy side extensions) in the master bedroom with our king size bed.  I love SO much more seeing it with its footboard attached.  The mattress is a new purchase, and I hope will make all future guests comfortable.  It is a Sleep Number that can be set to suit individual firmness preferences, and can also have the head and knees adjusted up or down as needed.

I have been looking madly for the framed samplers as I've been decluttering and organizing for the past month or so.  I looked everywhere I could think of with no luck.  We rent a storage unit* for some things that don't fit in the house, and today I asked Carey to go with me to see if maybe they were there.  I didn't really have any hope that I'd be able to find them even if they were there, but lo and behold there they were within easy reach!  These were all ones I made between the ages of maybe twelve and twenty-five.  Not something I've wanted to decorate with in the recent past, but they look lovely with the soft green walls and the vintage furnishings.

And I finally have the perfect place to use these old beauties (suitcases).  Boy was I excited the day I found them all at the same store for $8 each.  I've used some of them before in the living room, but like them much better here.

A few days ago my m-i-l emailed me saying that her antique picture of her beloved grandmother (circa 1891) needed a new home.  She was wondering if we might want it, and if so she would bring it when she comes.  I super promptly emailed back an emphatic, 'YES!'  I told her we have the perfect spot for it.  She doesn't know yet that said spot is in the room in which she will be staying.

I've been contemplating making the fourth blank wall of the room a gallery wall of antique photos I have inherited, and I am beyond thrilled that we will now have one from Carey's side of the family to include.  Here are two of the ones that will also go on the wall.  The baby in the rear picture is my grandfather (circa 1895) and the toddler on the left of the front photo is my mother (circa 1918).  I'm really excited to put the wall together, but I'm not going to start on it right away.  I will be sure to share later, though.

For now these are housed in a bookcase along with vintage books.  I am going to add some folded quilts to the bottom two shelves tomorrow.

Man it feels nice to have another home project finished!
*My goal is to empty the storage unit by late Spring.  It's a job that definitely has to be done during the cooler months.  It is so crazy to pay to keep stuff you don't have room for.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Mantel decoration...

Still cleaning, and one thing just leads to another and another and another.  

Today it was time to dust the mantel.  I hadn't changed the decorations on it in a long time, so thought I'd change that up too.  

I was wanting to use the mirror that has been sitting on my bedroom floor forever.  I thought a random collection of silver containers might make an interesting arrangement with it.  Of course that meant I had to polish silver.  Since the mirror has a sort of patina finish though, I left some of the tarnish on the silver know...artistically.  ;)

I wanted something vaguely end of summer, but not too Fall-ish, as we don't have Fall weather yet.  When I was at Michael's yesterday looking through their on-sale floral stems, I saw stems of cotton bolls.  The end of summer is cotton-harvest time where I grew up, so I picked up a couple of stems to add to an arrangement.  

I may play with it a bit more.  I know it looks asymmetrical, but since the television is on the wall just to the left, I don't like the left side to look too heavy or closed off.

Tomorrow I am having someone come to do some of the heavier chores.  And she starts early, so I'd better not stay up too late.  I will continue to declutter and organize while she is working.

I'm tired of moppin' this damn moose!  :)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The stars have aligned...

Or maybe there is a perfect storm, since at the moment it looks like a tornado has come through much of the house.  

I'm much more apt to go at a round of Fall cleaning than I am Spring cleaning.  Add to that I have recently finished and enjoyed the Marie Kondo book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and my m-i-l is arriving next week.  Right now I am suffering some doubt that things will be presentable by then.  Only time will tell.

 Since I have an angel of cleaning scheduled on Tuesday, I am leaving the regular cleaning (vacuuming and dusting, etc) for her visit, and I'm only working at decluttering and organizing.  Well, except for getting crazy with the pumice stone the other night.  

Today I came across some time capsules packing boxes, that have apparently been in storage since two or three moves ago.  I took photos, because these are ones my husband packed...and labeled.  He is a pretty good packer...after all this time and all the moves I didn't find anything broken...but he is an atrocious labeler.  For pretty much our entire marriage I have teased him, because he is apt to label almost everything 'Glass Dishes,' and it could mean anything from actual dinnerware to clay flower pots (complete with dirt).

These two boxes were actually pretty accurately covered by their 'glass dishes' label.  There were quite a few pitchers, a gravy boat, a canister set, and casserole dishes.

But wait.  There's more!

I thought for sure I had gotten rid of this Corningware coffee pot years ago.  It was a wedding gift, and I don't think it has ever been used for coffee.  Now I recall that Carey would never let me donate or otherwise dispose of it, because he loved to use it filled with water and boiling on the stove with steam coming out of the spout to set creases into his cowboy hats.  Ummm...I haven't seen him wear a cowboy hat in about a decade and a half.  Maybe because his steamer was packed away!  LOL  

Interesting little pottery whiskey jug.  I bought it at an antique store, because I liked the design.  When I unpacked it today I noticed that it is from Nelson County, Kentucky; a place I had never heard of back when this was packed away, but  since then I have spent months at a time there on more than one occasion.  

And last but not least, this hardly belonged in a box of 'glass dishes.'  Kenny!  Long time no see, buddy.  :)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up says to expect a proper clean out to take about six months.  That rings so much truer to me than the organization programs on television where everything is perfectly organized within the hour program.  

At the moment, the back of my car is full of boxes and bags to drop off at Goodwill.  I plan to continue with the decluttering, so I'm sure you will be hearing more about it and what interesting things I unearth.  :)

Thursday, September 10, 2015 action...

This is the kind of fun stuff I have been up to since I've been away from blogging the past week.  Have I finished my to-do list?  Not yet, but I'm getting there.  The office/craft room is much better.

Tonight I worked in the guest bathroom.  Actually I forgot to take a 'before' photo, so I Photoshopped it (LOL), but it is as accurate as I could make it.  Blech!  It's looked like this since we moved in, but I couldn't bring myself to tackle it till now.  

When we moved in, every toilet in the house was different (one of the reasons I hold the firm belief that our house was built from contractor's odds and ends), and they were all SO difficult to clean...impossible to maneuver a brush into the deep recesses.  We have since replaced one of them, and I suggested to hubby that we should replace this one before his mother's visit, but he nixed that idea.

We have a water well, and the water is very high in mineral content.  We have a water softener, but still have some issues with the minerals.  This toilet is the worst in the house, because it's the one that gets used the least, so the water sits and builds up deposits of sedimentary rock.

The blue in the photo above depicts not cleaning liquid, but copper deposits on the bowl where the water sits.  Tonight, after thoroughly cleaning the toilet bowl...twice...and reducing the water level as much as possible, I attacked the blue buildup and the more calcified deposits in the drain hole with a pumice stone.

After an hour or so of scrubbing, it is much improved, and my fingerprints no longer have ridges of whorls and loops.  :)  I started out wearing gloves, but the pumice stone ate through them pretty quickly.  

There are still a small amount of nasty brown calcification buildup in the drain, and the blue is now a less noticeable light gray, but now I won't be mortified thinking about my mother-in-law looking at it daily for her three-week visit.  Before she gets here and after she leaves, I have to develop a habit of using it at least once a day so that it gets flushed and brushed regularly.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Too busy to read Wednesday...

web image

  6:30 up to take out trash before the truck comes by.

  9:30 text from friend, "Call me when you get up."

  9:31 "I'm up."

10:00 shower

10:30 fill car with gasoline, drive to city

11:30 lunch with friend

  1:00 home again, trash still sitting out front, truck still not here

  1:10 dark laundry in to wash

  2:10  laundry shuffle, lights in to wash

  3:10  laundry shuffle, hang up darks, sheets in to wash

  4:10  laundry shuffle, hang up lights, fold rest, empty dishwasher

  4:15 trash pick up, finally, why did I get up so early?  
because if I didn't they would have come at 7:00am

  4:30  find UPS package

  5:00  remaining figs in to cook

  5:05 stir figs, unload clean dishes from dishwasher

  5:10 stir figs

  5:15 stir figs...repeat...repeat...repeat

  5:40  add sugar...stir...stir...repeat...repeat

  6:00  remove sterilized jars from boiling water, pour boiling water over thumb

  6:01 run thumb under cold water

  6:05  fill jars with hot preserves, cap jars, water bath

  6:15 remove jars from water bath

  6:30  hand wash pots, load dishwasher

  7:00 clean sheets back on bed

  7:30 start breakfast for dinner prep

  9:00 Carey arrives home, eggs in pan, hot biscuits out of oven

  9:30  Phone call from daughter re: school and activity schedules for kids while she's on upcoming business trip

10:00  Listen to work news from hubby

11:00  Check email, read blogs, prepare blog post

12:00  check Missouri Star deal of day

12:10  lights out

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Night owl's lament...

As is my usual, last night somewhat after 10:00 post meridiem I got a spurt of energy to do a few little chores before turning in for the night.

Since I had put two chickens in the slow cooker earlier in the day (so that it could be cooking while I was out running errands) it finished quite late and had to be left to cool enough to bone.  And though I don't like multitasking, I decided I'd better also use those figs I got a few days ago.

So I put on figs to cook, boned two chickens, packaged the chicken into freezer bags for future casseroles, salads, and soups, strained and jarred two quarts of chicken stock, added sugar to the figs and finished cooking, sterilized jars and lids, put the preserves in the jars, finished up by giving the sealed jars a water bath, hand washed some of the dishes, and started the dishwasher so I would awake to a mostly clean kitchen.

That was a lot of work for three jars of preserves and some frozen chicken!

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