Sunday, June 26, 2011

Organize the Chaos

We all need functional pieces to control the clutter that inevitably accumulates at home. And when you find something that’s functional as well as pleasing to the eye, that’s a bonus.  These are some very unique storage options that would serve the purpose and still look great in any room.

This wall organizer from Pottery Barn with 25 individual cubbies could be used to store or display useful or decorative items.  Each of the 5” square cubbies is numbered, a great detail.  

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The distressed finish makes this new piece look like it has a lot of history.  You could change the look of this cubby in a hundred different ways.

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Here’s a simple option for some wall organization that won’t take up much space. This wire mesh wall-mount rack is large enough for magazines, but I could see this in a kitchen holding some of your favorite cookbooks, or hung above a kitchen desk to catch the mail and all those papers that come home from school.

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If you’ve visited me before, you know I appreciate all kinds of galvanized containers. This galvanized wall mount trough with a wire back attached, could be used in a kitchen, office, laundry room or garage. I could see several small pots of herbs in the kitchen, or jars of nails, screws, nuts and bolts, etc., in the garage. Or how about as a unique holder for rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom?

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These wire baskets remind me of the old locker room baskets we used to use after gym class iin high school. I wish now I had a couple of those. These from PB are deep enough, but not too high. You could store table linens, napkins and silverware in these for easy table-setting. Rubber feet keep the basket stable and keeps it from scratching a table or buffet top. Labels tucked into the label holders on the front and back would help to stay organized.

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Here’s a nifty solution for a coffee station right in your kitchen. Open stainless steel shelves for storing cups and dishes hang above a basket with a lid for keeping your favorite coffees, teas and sweeteners handy.

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Don’t these storage solutions make you just want to dig in and start organizing in your home?  The options for unique and stylish storage are endless.  I know I need to dig into a few drawers and closets around here. It’s never fun to do, but always such a good feeling when you finish. Maybe the next rainy day . . . 

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Linking to:

Amaze Me Monday at Dittle Dattle

Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Mod Mix Monday at Mod Vintage Life

SNS at Funky Junk Interiors

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Little Summer Cottage . . . Sort of

Summer around here means that our backyard has come into full bloom and everything’s growing like crazy. And on a beautiful evening like this, the potting shed my husband built by himself from scratch, almost looks like a little “cottage in the glen” doesn’t it?  Come to think of it, it is large enough for a couple sleeping bags and if it weren’t for the possibility of spending the night with some curious, crawling, unwelcome visitors, I just might be tempted to camp out here for a night one time. It’s wonderfully quiet back here.

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We’ve got several sunny faces in our landscape. This guy is my favorite.

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This one hangs from the overhang of the shed and when the breezes blow, the bells make such a gentle sound.

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He built this landing off the South side of the potting shed. From here, you can see down into the woods below . . .

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. . . and here’s what you see up above. 

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These stairs lead down to the wooded area, where we see everything from birds, deer, squirrels, raccoons, pheasant, wild turkeys and more, depending on the season.  This colorful pot of marigolds brightens up the top step.

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I wish it always looked like it does now, but that's not possible where we live.  Every year in the Spring, when we look out and see nothing but bare branches, brown grass and no flowers, it's hard to believe that it will be green and beautiful again.

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But miraculously, it all comes back, and we enjoy it so much. Remarkable, isn’t it?  A little time spent back here is certainly good for the soul.  In my opinion, Summer is far too short.

Maybe we’ll have to think of a name for our little potting shed / backyard cottage.  Any suggestions?  :)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wall Art that Won’t Break the Budget

I recently wanted to replace some of the wall art in one of our guest bedrooms. Since I’m trying to keep clutter to a minimum these days, but didn’t want plain, bare walls greeting our guests, I took everything down to start from scratch, and this is what I eventually came up with.

First, these lamps on the headboard became my inspiration. I had found these shades in the CLEARANCE bin at my local Lowe’s home store.  I’m a sucker for a beautiful lamp or unique shade and lighting is so important in any space.  I immediately loved the colors in them and you can’t really go wrong with a stripe, ever. So they came home with me that day even though I had absolutely no idea where I would use them, and eventually found their way into the guest room.

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I had the brushed nickel lamp bases already and the scale was perfect for these shades.  I hung this simple travel print of the Eiffel Tower in a white matted frame over the bed.

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Since I wasn’t looking for expensive art for this room, I made a trip to Target but was disappointed to not find any framed prints or art that I liked or that incorporated the colors in the shades. I picked up two 11” x 20” white frames with mats anyway.

My next stop was Hobby Lobby, where I eventually found myself in the scrapbooking aisle looking at stacks and stacks of scrapbook papers, beautiful solid colors, all with coordinating prints, patterns and stripes. I found these two coordinating papers in exactly the same sea foam green color as in the lampshades and thought maybe I could do something with these. Once home, I cut the papers to size to fit inside the mats, then, for some interest, I did the opposite in each frame, placing one print on the top and one print on the bottom and vice versa.

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I love the verses about FAMILY printed on this paper.  Maybe not such a bad thing to wake up to. 

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This project ended up being very simple and relatively inexpensive. No bare wall and these two prints hanging side by side next to the bed is all it needed.

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If you sometimes have trouble finding ready-to-hang artwork that doesn’t cost a fortune, try using scrapbook papers like I did here, or some beautiful, quality wrapping paper or even wallpaper to create your own art. The fronts of greeting cards that fit in a frame or mat work great too. You can frame almost anything and you end up getting just the look you’re going for. This project was too easy….even for me.

Have you created something unique to fill a frame in your home?  Leave a comment and do tell.  :)

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Linking to:

Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage

Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z

Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence

Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Everything's Coming up But Roses

It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday here today.  Following a couple days of plenty of rain, everything is finally coming into bloom around our home. We usually have daylilies well before June 1st, but the first buds are just beginning to open up.  I’ve shared some of our gardens in the backyard, here’s what’s blooming up front.

These yellow daylilies looked like this yesterday . . .

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. . . and this morning, here’s our first full bloom.  We have yellow, orange and burgundy daylilies in our gardens and landscape. The yellow are usually the first ones to start blooming.

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These daylilies are covered in buds that have yet to bloom into a beautiful burgundy flower. This little turtle keeps watch resting on this rock at the base of our flowering pear tree.  We’ve also planted some catmint, which bears tiny purple flowers and is very fragrant. If you touch it and have cats in your family, they’ll go crazy for it.  Better wear gloves when around this one. :)

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These unique blooms are on a bush we’ve planted in the front of the house.  I’ll have to check my plant encyclopedia to see if I can find it’s name. I love the contrast of the pink with the bright green leaves. Those are tiny white spikes coming out of every little flower. So delicate, and such a detailed bloom.

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This is part of our front entrance.  It’s so relaxing sitting out here on cool, quiet evenings.  We’re fortunate to live on a cul-de-sac, so traffic and noise aren’t usually a problem. I love that about our location.

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I paired these two plants for out front for the contrasting colors, but the dark purple also looks great with the brick and the color of our steel front door.  This plant is unique in that it’s petals literally close up at the end of the day, like tiny umbrellas. Tiny white flowers peek through the petals.

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That’s some of what we have growing “out front”. Beautiful colors and different textures make it interesting.  I’ll share more when everything is coming up roses, I mean, daylilies, salvia, Russian sage. . .

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P.S.  I told you it was a beautiful day today. This is in our backyard late this afternoon, facing our neighbors to the South. Bee-u-tiful.  Do you notice my “quiet bench” in the right hand side of this photo near my favorite big tree? It’s a wonderful spot to sit and enjoy a day like today.  I hope it’s this beautiful where you are.

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Linking to:

Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

Amaze Me Monday at Dittle Dattle

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shells, Sand & Sea

Summer is the perfect time to bring the beach home. There are so many beautiful elements we can easily find in Nature to bring a fun, casual feel to our homes and endless ways to display everything that reminds us of being near the water. Here are a few wonderful examples. 

The seashells and coral sculpture add the perfect Summer touch to these bookshelves.

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A simple display of shells in a pretty bowl enhance this entry table.  Isn’t that mirror stunning and the dresser, so unique.

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And here, definitely works of art. A mirror with a shell frame and a dainty table covered with shells.  Very unique.

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Shells and starfish in the bath. How simple.

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This nautical-inspired corner looks so cozy. All the elements relate to each other and the ambiance is exactly as intended.

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This bright kitchen looks right out of Cape Cod. The main attraction of the large sailboat sets the tone and jars of sand and seashells complete the theme. How welcoming is this?

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This boat won’t float, but it’s a perfect way to display sand and sea-inspired decor. Lanterns are a great accent for Summer. Use with a simple candle for a soft glow, or fill them with shells, stones, starfish, sand dollars...anything beach-y. Lanterns are EVERYWHERE in decorating, indoors and out.

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These distressed buoys in bold colors would be perfect for the patio or deck.

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A couple of seabirds have landed. Hey, where’s the fish? They said there'd be fish.

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Do you use a beach theme in your Summer decorating?  Please share, won’t you?  :)

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Linking to:

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Good Life Wednesday at A Beach Cottage

Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence

Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

SNS at Funky Junk Interiors

A Song as Art and a Message

Every once in a while, something comes along that really resonates. Sometimes it’s an inspiring blog post I read, a movie that makes me cry or a song that touches my heart. Art, as Emily at Chatting at the Sky so eloquently calls it. Art that we write about, something we create, by our words, our voice or with our hands. Emily writes wonderful, inspiring words that can lift you up, bring you comfort, make you think. Her blog is a joy to visit.

Music is art. And while I might be one of the last ones around to have heard this song, the words and the melody captured my attention and have stayed with me ever since I first played it. The message is one of hope and promise when we’re struggling or wondering why we have to go through trials and tribulations in our lives, why we sometimes face difficult times, when our faith falters or we become confused. But it also gives hope that our prayers will be answered as long as we believe.

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Follow this this link to visit Laura’s website for this song and more of her inspirational music and here to hear the song and watch the complete video on You Tube.

Maybe this song will resonate with you as well.  It’s called “Blessings”.  Please leave a comment if you’ve heard it and tell us how it maybe touched you. :)

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Angel Lush Cake – Easy Peasy

We had a family birthday party this last weekend and my sister made this easy, scrumptious, refreshing dessert for us all to enjoy.  It is so simple to make if you have the ingredients on hand, even easier if you use an already baked, store-bought angel food cake.  It’s yummy!

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What You Need

  • 1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple in Juice, undrained
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
  • 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  • 1 pkg. (10 oz.) round angel food cake, cut into 3 layers
  • 10 small fresh strawberries, sliced

 

To make it

MIX pineapple and dry pudding mix. Gently stir in COOL WHIP.

STACK cake layers on plate, spreading pudding mixture between layers and on top of cake.

REFRIGERATE 1 hour. Top with sliced strawberries before serving. (160 calories per serving).

My sis Jen added some fresh raspberries and blueberries to our plates as well when she served.  It was so delicious.  A perfect Summer dessert.

I’ve seen this same recipe made into cupcakes, where you use an angel food cake mix and pour the batter into individual cupcake tins, bake, then top with the pineapple, Cool Whip – pudding mixture and fruit. This recipe would also make some delish parfaits. Cut the angel food cake into small cubes and layer the ingredients in some pretty parfait glasses for a quick dessert.

Here’s a tip: 

For a lower calorie version, prepare using 1 pkg. (1 oz.) JELL-o Vanilla Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant Pudding and COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping.

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To watch a video on how to make and assemble this cake, go here to Kraft.com.  It’s kind of a no-brainer, but this one’s a hit every time.  Feel free to leave me a comment if you’ve made this before, or in another variation.  Didn’t everyone just love it?  :)

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