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Friday, August 30, 2013

Thought for the Day....It's a New Year!

I'm beginning a new post series...Thought for the Day.
It comes from my study of the Bible and things I'd like to share.
I hope you will follow along each Friday.

I's not January...
but I was a teacher for a long time and as each August rolled around,
it always felt like a new year;
new students
 new routines
new schedules
new friends.

I was reading my devotion this week and the verse of the day was:

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

The message in the devotion was, "... that each day God gives us a new beginning. Because of Jesus'death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven and we have a shiny new day before us.  This day is special - it will never come again. This day gives us another chance to praise and glorify God in all we do and say."

And...if you don't feel like rejoicing today, talk to God about it and I'll bet He'll give you a reason 
He loves you.

Have a blessed weekend!

The above devotion is from "Living: The Gospel Life: daily devotions for Christians on a mission". You can learn more from: livingthe or 1-800-325-9414

My Bible is the Life Application Study Bible, New International Version (NIV) printed by Zonderan
Click here for more information.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


A few weeks ago, we took a couple days off and stayed at a friends cabin down by the water. 
It's a wonderful place...quiet and comfy with all the necessities of home.
I was planning on working on a few projects and didn't plan on much more,
until I took a second look at these dishes:

I've known about these dishes for a while, seen them around,
but truthfully, I just haven't given them much thought.
However, during the quiet, relaxing time by the water, I took a second look,
a good long look.
And I was smitten!
They have a good weight, classic simple lines,
and they're made in the USA!

Just look at these colors:

So, if one was to purchase a set of dishes, ahem, how in the world would one be able to choose?
Would one base their decision on these cute, cute pitchers?

Hm...I just don't know...that would still be a hard decision!
I'm kinda liking that yellow one, or the coral one, or the blue one.
Oh, good grief!

 Well, I did finally pick out my favorites,
want to know which ones?
I loved the soft yellow and the bright peacock blue,
well, and the coral ones too.
And the blue...
now that I'm thinking about it,
they would match perfectly with another set that I have.
Well, thankfully, I was able to use all of them, mix them or match them for a few days.
Adding colorful napkins and cute polka dot glasses we dined in style!
A HUGE thank you to our special friends for a restful and colorful few days down by the bay.
We love you guys!

I'm joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for her Tablescape Thursday
Kathleen over at Cuisine Kathleen for her Let's Dish.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Little Dresses

My husband and I raised two boys so everything in our home was boy, boy, boy.
Needless to say, when I saw these precious little dresses, I was hooked!

Isn't it the cutest?
If you have little girls in your world, 
you've probably seen these or even made them for your little ones.
But for me, they were something new.
Now for the neat part...
guess what they are made from?
Yes! Pillowcases.

These little dresses are easy to make, you only need a few materials:

seam binding
and of course:
sewing machine

The pattern and directions are from Nancy's Notions, you can find it here.
Her directions are very easy to follow...and the sewing is basic.

Once I made the first one...I wanted to make another. 
And after I got the hang of it, it only took me about 30 minutes per dress!

The possibilities are endless!
I think they are so sweet and perfect for warm summer days.
However, I'll bet a little blouse or t-shirt would be cute underneath on cooler days as well!

I'm joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for her Metamorphosis Monday.
Be sure to drop by for loads of inspiration!

Now, what am I going to do with the dresses I've made?
Glad you asked!
At the top of Nancy's Notions pattern (link above) it mentions an organization called:
Little Dresses for Africa founded by Rachel O'Neill.
It is a non-profit organization that sends these dresses to little girls in need. 
They mainly are sent to regions of Africa, 
however they are also sent to needy children here in the states.
For loads of information, see Rachel's site here.

And by the way, they also have Britches for Boys!
You can find that pattern here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Home Tour - Laundry Room

Hi is the final part of our tour.
It's also one of my favorite rooms because it's a cozy place to be when "working".
It's the Laundry Room.
I know, that sounds really weird.
But...the laundry room in my previous home was a matchbox. 
Walk to it and back out.
So when we were planning this space, I wanted to make sure it was a usable space.

This is probably my favorite shot.
I love all the storage...and unlike the kitchen, this storage is being used.

It's great for tall items like vacuums, mops, and brooms.
This shot is actually from the far wall...but I think it gives a good perspective.
To the left is the entrance to the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and kitchen.
To the right is the door to the exterior.

Having a sink has already proven to be invaluable. 
It's great when our puppy has muddy feet or when you just need to hand wash items.
The farm sink has a front apron which is also comfortable when working.
If I could change one thing, it would be to add a sprayer. 
It's amazing how much you miss it when you are used to having one.

The washer and dryer were brought from our previous home.  
They are fine for now, although they are probably not the most efficient machines.
The cabinets above make detergent and cleaning materials easy to access.

The opposite wall stores our freezer. 
This storage isn't completely filled, however it does a great job holding miscellaneous things
like trash bags, dog food, and my husbands "drop off" point.

One of my favorite parts about this room is its easy maintenance.
The flooring is actually "Old Chicago" brick...similar in color and texture to the rest of the brick in the home. However, the brick company recommended it over the exterior/wall brick due to it's durability. 
Apparently it's stronger and can take "walking on" better than the other.
Who knew?
Anyway, it's super easy to maintain...just wet mop or vacuum.

Thanks so much for following along on the "finished" product.
"Finished"...ha...we all know that isn't really true.
It will be fun to compare these pic to ones taken later to see things that have changed.

If you have any questions about anything mentioned in the tour or about our experience, just let me know in the comments or my email.
I'll be glad to share!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Summer time...

Our weather has cooled a bit and early in the morning, you can sometimes feel cool breezes mixed in with the warm breezes,
is fall on it way?
Not sure but I must admit, I'm a bit ready for cooler weather.
the calendar says that it's still summer, 
so I thought I'd put together one last table with a warm, summer theme.

It all started at Big Lots. My sister and I were shopping there and she found these plates.

She loves anything sea related, so these babies caught her eye.
The colors were so unusual,
so when she asked if I wanted them, I had to think twice.
But then,
the wheels started turning and before we knew it,
we had a table in mind.

We added a few things here and there, it was so much fun!

I hope you had a very happy summer!

In case you are interested:
Seahorse Dishes: Big Lots (they're plastic!)
Square Plates: Target
Napkins: World Market (neutral), vintage (coral)
Flatware: Tuesday Morning
Glassware: Mexico (via Goodwill)
    blue bottle - Pier 1
    basket - thriftd
    candlesticks - Gardenridge
    candles - made from beeswax - Oregon
    seashells - Sanibel
    ponytail plant
    red coral (plastic aquarium ornament - see post here)

I'm joining Kathleen over at Cuisine Kathleen for her Let's Dish 
Be sure to drop by for loads of inspiration!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Little Light of Mine

Welcome to another week of transformations!
I'm joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for her 
Drop by for loads of inspiration!

My husband and I rescued this light from the trash....
the trash.

Now, I've never rescued anything from the side of the road before, 
after finding this beauty, 
I'm keeping my eyes open for treasures being tossed!

This big guy was complete with wiring, glass panels, and even light bulbs...
yes...all in working order.

Just look at all that personality!

And I had the perfect spot, ready for a bit of illumination.
Although first it needed a good cleaning,
a couple coats of silver paint, 
and a really strong bracket to hold it in's really heavy.

So here it is in its new home,
my master bath.
It really casts a warm glow in the room.

And during the day, it's pretty to look at and
I think it adds so much to the general character of our home.
As an added plus, the painted finish matches really well with the other "purchased" fixtures.
It was a great find and even better for the budget!

Thanks for dropping by.
See you soon for a summer tablescape!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Home Tour - Kitchen

Welcome back to our home tour.
Today we're going to spend time in The Kitchen.

Truth be told, I had a lot of help with this space.
I gave a list of things to include to our architect and hand-drawn pictures to the carpenter.
For example:
I knew I wanted white Shaker style cabinetry with stubby feet
Black Bull Pin pulls and simple knobs
Storage with drawers and pull out shelves
Walk in pantry
A brick wall.

The basic plan was drawn out and then both the architect and carpenter did a bit of tweaking.
 For instance, as to the exact placement of drawers and cabinets,
that was my carpenter. The bank of counter-tops, that was my architect.
By this stage of the game, I was completely worn out.
Luckily, they were both visionaries, the carpenter, a true craftsman.
Thankfully as things have turned out, 
everything is very handy, easily accessible, and very user friendly.

I did do quite a bit of research on counter-tops.
Granite was the first choice because of budgetary reasons.
But I just couldn't find one that I liked and
couldn't force myself to pick one.
We really liked the look of white marble, but it was
obviously out (due to price and maintenance.)
So the search was on for a marble look alike...
it had to be easy care and budget friendly.

In my research, I stumbled upon the blog, 7th House on the Left.
Greg and Ashley are the cutest couple. You have to go over and visit,
you'll be hooked, I promise.
I wanted to sing their praises because it was this post that sealed the deal for me.
Cambria Torquay
It's quartz. 
I knew right when I saw it,
it was love at first sight.

I contacted my counter-top guy and when he brought over a sample, I was sold.
I truly haven't looked back since.
I love it and would highly recommend it.

Now this shot is about the faucet.
I do not like it, I would not recommend it.
(I do not like green eggs and ham!)
...Sorry the elementary teacher in me just popped out!...
The sprayer is great, heavy duty, pretty and does a great job.
the faucet handles need constant attention.
Sometimes they fall apart or actually fall off.
there are always water spots on the base 
(unless I constantly clean it with Bartenders Friend - which isn't realistic.)
So, my best advice is to go ahead and spend the money for a quality fixture that is considered "spotless." 
I had one in my former kitchen, purchased it at Home Depot and it was perfect.
Pretty, sturdy, spotless.

Now let's talk about the brick.
I knew I wanted an interior brick wall in the house somewhere. 
(We put in three.)
These were placed to give the impression that the house was an old home...with rooms added.
That was exactly what I was looking for, I just didn't know how to verbalize it until my architect suggested various placements.
As it turned out, we're really enjoying them. 
They are one of the things people comment on the most,
they make things feel warm, comfy, and welcoming.
That's what this house is all about, we want people to feel welcome, to feel at home.

This brick is the same as the exterior brick with 
 white mortar and wide seams.
We wanted the look of "Old Chicago" brick without the price.
This did it. 
It's new brick, but tumbled, it's called "Lafayette Blend" by Texas Brick. 
The masons smeared mortar to give it a messy, old look,
just what I envisioned.

My husband is really the chef of the house.
He wanted an industrial gas stove with bells and whistles.
Well, after checking around and doing a ton of research, 
this one beat all the "fancy" brands in price and performance.
I've never cooked with gas before, but I like it better than cooking with electric.

Back to cabinetry,
I wanted to give you a few shots of the drawers.

I would highly recommend pull out drawers, 
it sure beats the heck out of fumbling around inside dark cabinets.
Everything is easily accessible.

Now, don't let all those cabinets fool you. 
They are all not filled.
Here's an example.

Each upper cabinet has three shelves but only two are filled.
Really...all the way around.
And those top upper cabinets? Yep...
all empty.
The carpenter felt that aesthetically the top upper cabinets needed to be there because of two reasons:
1 - if the doors were extended all the way to the ceiling, they would be way too tall and awkward
2 - having blank space above the upper cabinets would just accumulate dust and basically be wasted space.
I was sold, sounded good to me.
Plus, I like knowing that I have the extra space if I should ever need it.
Who knows?

We put in one open cabinet with a dish rack.
I've always loved dish racks, even though I know they can be dust traps.
I kept telling my mother that my house would not have any dust. 
So far, it's not so bad...and having some of my favorite dishes displayed for easily access is worth the price of a little extra vacuuming.

(You can tell we really use this rack...several dishes were used last night for dinner!)

And the open space...
I think it will be fun decorating each season.

The pantry is a walk-in and multifunctional.
On the far back wall are the food items.
Things are in basic categories...
it's not super organized like I've seen around, but for now, it's working.
On either side is a place to display items for tablescapes.
My sister says that if you can't see it, you won't use it.
Those words were the motivation for this space.
So far, so good.

That's all the main features of our space but there is one last thing: lighting.
There are spots, island lighting, and under-cabinet lighting. 
In this shot the under-cabinet lights are not on.
There is a lot of light but not for actual task lighting.

The shot below is basically the same as the very first, however in this pic, 
the under-cabinet lighting is turned on.
In my last house, I didn't have much lighting...I was constantly working in the dark.
However, in this kitchen, the work-space is very well lit.
It's a great working space.

Just a few things:
That banner is for my son who just returned from a summer internship abroad.
We were so happy to have him back home safe and sound.

Secondly, if you've been following the ongoing saga of camera experimentation, this entire post was shot with the camera on "auto".
I don't like these pictures as well as when it's on "manual."
"Manual" means I have to do all the thinking...
And finally,
this shot below was taken the night before I took the main post pics.
It's overexposed but I really like way the architectural details pop.

Thanks so much for dropping by and following our tour.
Up next:  The Laundry Room.


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