Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This 'n That

Been pretty busy this past week

I've been working on some things for the Thanksgiving table using the items you see below.  
More on the finished product in a later post.

Also have been doing some Christmas decorating.

My house is suffering from a split personality disorder right about now.  The back of the house ~ family room and kitchen ~ is showing the signs of the harvest season, Thanksgiving.  While the front of the house ~ living room/dining room, foyer ~ is decked out for Christmas.

You see, I'm loosing a weekend in December to travel to North Carolina for Son No. 1's college graduation.  Which is certainly exciting, but not very time-convenient being the weekend before Christmas.  So I'm trying to get as much done as possible before Thanksgiving without totally transforming the house into Christmas mode. 

Speaking of Son No. 1, he flies home tonight for Turkey Day.  He'll be here only until Sunday, but then he'll be home for good in about three weeks.  I can't believe his college days are coming to an end.  Where on earth has the past four-plus years gone???

Oh, I got a new toy!!! :o)  

Well, it's not really all mine, although Hubby did set it up to read "Carla's Kindle" when it's powering up.  Frankly, I don't know how much I'll use it.  I simply don't sit around enough to play around on a tablet-thingy like this.  

I did purchase my first mag subscription, though.  At a $1.65 a month, it was a pretty good deal!   I'm not a very gadgety-type person, but I will admit this thing is pretty cool.

On Sunday I finally started painting the kitchen chairs.  I know, I know . . . I blogged weeks, months, ago about starting this project.  Needless to say I've been procrastinating.  That and the original spray gun we bought wasn't working properly.

the chair before
I've got two chairs primed and painted and one primed ready to be painted.  That leaves three more chairs and the table to do.  I'll most likely blog more about this project when it's nearly finished.  But let me tell you, using that spray gun attached to the air-compressor is the sweetest thing going for painting furniture.  The spray was perfectly fine and covered so nicely.  It was actually pretty fun to use!

Once painted, I really want to accent the chairs with glaze, but Hubby doesn't think so.  He thinks I should leave them as is.  The color is not quite white.  It's really a great color, actually, called Malted Milk.  Guess I'll wait about the whole glaze thing until I get them all done.

I may not (well, I know for pretty sure I will not!) get all the chairs and table painted by T'giving, but I don't think my family will mind sitting on a few white and a few stained chairs . . . as long as there's plenty of turkey and 'taters'! ;o)

The chairs you see above are a fairly new purchase.  I bought four of these chairs from Walmart's online store.  They're in the BH&G line (they come in black too).  Partial assembly was required, which was very easy, and  they're quite sturdy and well made.  And the best part was the price -  $38 each!  And if you have them shipped to the store for pick-up, there's no shipping cost.

I bought these chairs for a table I bought a few years back from a resale shop.  It's a double gate-leg table that is in need of refinishing.  Of course this projects been on the to-do list for a quite a while too.  My plans are to paint the legs and apron in my fave paint right now, Malted Milk, accented with glaze, and restain the top.  

It's a pretty sturdy table that can sit four comfortably, or six a little snugly.  It was a good price at $65.  Not sure if it's an "antique".  The workmanship seems good, and it doesn't really have that look of being mass produced.

I've also been playing nurse to Son No. 2 since Friday.  He had surgery to shorten a ligament on the side of his knee.  Apparently they go in and fold over the ligament to get it back to the proper length.  He has to keep that leg immobile wearing a long leg brace for three weeks, and it's been a pretty painful recovery so far.  

As for my back, it's getting better and better every week.  Perhaps my disc compression wasn't as severe as I suspected.  After eight weeks, I'm still getting twinges of pain and numbness down my leg, with occasional lower back pain on days when I'm on my feet a lot, but I'm slowly regaining strength and range of movement with each week.  Not quite back to 100% with my workouts, but I'm getting there.
Good thing!  
With the Holidays here and being extra busy, I don't know what I would have done if I was in the shape I was six weeks ago. 

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away?  The Holidays are fast approaching, and I'm trying my best to get ready.

We've been hosting Turkey Day Dinner for several years now.  A small gathering.  Hubby and me, our three boys, my parents and an uncle.  Then, later in the evening, my brothers join us with their families for dessert.  

I like to set as festive a table as possible.  I would just love to have beautiful, seasonally-inspired dinnerware, but I can't seem to justify spending the money on plates that I'd most likely use for only one meal.  I have Christmas dinnerware, but throughout the month of December, I try to use those dishes for as many meals as possible.  

My goal for the Thanksgiving table has always been to use what I have with some simple, natural details to reflect the harvest-feel of the season.

As with so many others in blogland, I've been perusing the net looking for simple, natural, easy ideas for our Thanksgiving table.  I thought I'd share a few that I've found and will borrow ideas from for my own table.  

Unknown Source
The table above is nice.  
Neutral candles and natural elements create an easy centerpiece. 

Confessions of a Plate Addict
Another easy tablesetting with a simple, natural centerpiece atop a burlap tablerunner.

Coco and Kelley
Feathers in autumnal shades as a centerpiece.  

Country Living

Domestic Adventure
Very simple, but naturally elegant.  
I like this one a lot. 

Good Housekeeping

Unknown Source
 Love this idea!  Simple.  
Acorns hot-glued to grosgrain ribbon and tied around flatware.

Kitchen Daily 
Can't get much simpler than this.  
Not sure if those leaves are cut from paper or fabric.

Life is a Party
 That tablerunner is burlap that's used to wrap around small shrubs and plants for winter protection.  
So smart!  
Danyelle wanted a looser-weave burlap than is purchased off the bolt, 
and she said it was way cheaper.  May have to check out Lowe's next time I'm there for this.

Martha Stewart
 Of course, great table inspiration can always be found at Martha's site.

Pinterest - Unsure of Source

The 36th Avnue
This table setting is super-cool.  Take note of the "placemats". They're book pages trimmed out with a decorative edge punch.  The flatware is wrapped in simple, inexpensive paper doilies.  The place cards were created by printing out the individual's name onto book pages and trimmed to fit inside another paper doily.  
Very creative.

Young House Love
Very clean. Very simple.  
And everyone has wine bottle corks, right?

If any of you have come across other natural, easy, "use-what-you-have" type tablescape ideas for Thanksgiving, please share.  I'm still gathering ideas.

Also, if you know the sources for the few photos that were unknown, please let me know.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

Honoring our family's Veteran, my Dad.  He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

I just love this photo.  

Old, vintage photographs are great, and seeing this photo of my Dad so young and so handsome . . . 
I'm glad I stole acquired this photo from my parents a few year's ago ;o)

I'm not exactly sure of the details, but I believe his job was to intercept morse code transmissions from the Germans while he was stationed in Germany.  

Over the years we've chatted about his time in the service.  He didn't see any combat, thank goodness.  I'll have to initiate another conversation again soon, maybe taking some notes.  

Take a minute today to thank a Vet, or someone currently serving.  

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lil Punkin Found a Home

I found a pretty good home for my new little pumpkin I showed you all yesterday.

It's part of a little fall vignette on the "dead zone" on the kitchen counter.  This little area gets changed up a lot throughout the year.

Lil punkin is sharing a spot on a wooden fall tray with a few other goodies.  
Cute gobbler candle holder.

Showed you that framed phrase a while ago.  Still enjoying it. 

The one thing I especially want to share with you is the book you see there.  The book's author is quilt designer Lynette Jensen.  I was first introduced to Lynette Jensen and her design line known as Thimbleberries, over a dozen years when I was a more avid quilter and worked at a quilt shop.  She's a designer of quilt patterns and fabrics, and has authored many quilting books as well as the little gem above.

As you can see from the book's table of contents above, you're guided through the fall months at her home where she shares her autumnal decorating style using her fabulous quilts, vintage pieces and natural elements from her gardens.

It's a gorgeous book, offering tons of eye-candy for fall inspiration.

I wish I could share every page of this book with you now, but you really should see it person.  Amazon has the book for $10.99 through independent sellers.  It would make a fantastic gift for the person who loves to decorate for fall.

While I was at Amazon researching the availability of Autumn Accents, I saw Lynette's book, Finishing Touches for Christmas is still available.  I think I may have to purchase that one.  
Frankly, I'm shocked I don't already own it!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

A Little Pumpkin Facelift

Picked up this cute wood-look resin pumpkin at Walgreens the other day.

Nice as is, but it was a little chipped here and there.

Instead of touching up the chips, I decided to give a little facelift by changing it's color altogether.

I really like it.  
A new coat of paint topped with a coat of glaze gives it a nice, new look.  
I used a thin brown Sharpie to get into the letters to make the words stand out more.  

Think it might need a little raffia tie around the stem.

Today I'm going start unearthing some Christmas stored down in the basement.  
That's going to be a job!

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Early Bloomer

In the usual tradition of sharing Christmas Cactus, my plants were given to me by my Mother from a huge plant she's had forever.  She took some divisions from that plant and potted up a couple for me.

Last year, the first year I had them, they bloomed early as well.  They were in full bloom at Thanksgiving.  That wasn't so bad.

This year, as you can see, they're full of buds and they're going to be popping with blooms before Thanksgiving I'm sure.  In the summer months, I keep them outside on the deck where they get about 5 to 6 hours of light every day.  Once the temps start to drop, I move them into my garden window in the kitchen where they receive about 3 or 4 hours of morning light.

After a little a research, it would seem all sorts of variables must be in play to get them to bloom at Christmas.  Much like the poinsettia, water, light, humidity, all in the right amounts are needed at certain times of the year to ensure blooms at Christmas.  

Perhaps when they're done blooming this year, I'll take the necessary steps to ensure they bloom for the time of year intended ~ Christmas.  But for now, I'm going to enjoy the gorgeous blooms this plant provides.

If you'd like to learn more about Christmas Cactus, I found a website devoted to this plant. 

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Tasty Afternoon Treat

A seasonal favorite.
Fresh apple cider (of course the cider I shared yesterday) and spiced wafters.
Icey cold milk would be wonderful too.

Sweetzels Spiced Wafers to be exact.  
And they're only available from August through November.

You see, there is some controversy in these parts on which company produces the best spiced wafer.  Some swear by Sweetzels, self-proclaimed as Philly's original ginger snap since 1910, and is manufactured in a suburb of Philly.

While others owe allegiance to Ivins.  
According to this bloggerwho actually conducted his own side-by-side taste test, Ivins is produced in Minnesota, but uses Philadelphia molasses.

I've had both, and I do prefer Sweetzels.  And they're quite affordable at $1.99 a box.  

The only thing that could make this snack a little over the top would be a yummy, sweet, creamy pumpkin dip to dunk these cookies into.  But that wouldn't be a good idea for me.  Gotta watch that kind of stuff these days since having to cut back my workouts due to this blasted back injury.  

I should mention I did not eat that entire plate of cookies, nor drink that tall glass of cider.  I had one cookie and poured all but a gulp of the cider back into the container ;o)

In addition to dipping ginger snaps into pumpkin dip, there's a few other yumalicious things you can do to jazz them up.  Like, making ice cream sandwiches with them or topping them with
melted white chocolate.  
mmmmmmm . . . . 

Photo from "Let the Feasty Begin"
Photo from "Let the Feasy Begin"
 That's what Debra from Let The Feasty Begin did.

And this blogger also created some ice cream ginger snap cookies, below, and included his positive review of Sweetzels brand.

Photo from "Endless Summer"
Sweetzels might not be available where you live, but if you'd like to try them, you can order them online from the Pennsylvania General Store.  But ya better hurry!  They won't be around much longer.

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