Friday, February 27, 2009


You have probably noticed that I haven't been around much since Tuesday. I have been commenting on every one's blogs because I just can't get enough of what you great ladies have been up to! But I have been having some problems with my back (from my infamous "over packing of the suitcases" during my trip at Christmas) and so I have...well, er...been hitting the pain pills a little. Not much, being groggy all the time is not fun but neither is having what feels like a great big, giant toothache throbbing in my lower back!! So I am going to take a little rest, catch up on some reading (and I mean reading some books, no more magazines!!) and hopefully soon I will be sitting at my kitchen table, drinking a lot of coffee and tea and catching up with everyone. I'll be checking in on what everyone does for Pink Saturday & Blue Monday because I love doing those myself. So you will see me around! :-)

Have a great weekend and I hope to be back at it again, long~winded as usual, by the end of next week! :-)



Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am really excited to be participating in Two or More Tuesday hosted by A Gypsy's Corner. I just recently started following Tam's blog and just love it. She is both interesting and sweet, the perfect combination to me. Pay her a visit and see all the participants in this event. It's a fun way to make new friends!! :-)
I received this beautiful teapot, cup and tea bag dish (is this the correct way to describe this??!) from my husband on Valentine's Day. It was such a sweet and memorable day. We got up early as usual to have our morning coffee and chat as we always do and then we exchanged gifts, almost like Christmas morning! I also had little bags decorated with hearts and flowers for the girls, and the most gorgeous three dimensional cards, all glittery and girly that I found at Target. They carry Papyrus cards at a great price. All you gals probably know this being the savvy shoppers that you are, but I didn't and thought I would pass it along. Anyway, they delighted in their little bags filled with inexpensive jewelry and chocolates. But I was truly surprised and touched at this beautiful gift The Husband gave me. He is always so generous in his gift giving because he truly tries to find the things that you will love but wouldn't buy for yourself, and I love that quality. He was so unsure if I would like this, but my gosh, who wouldn't?
This tea set is made by Lenox and is from the Butterfly Meadow collection. He thought it would be perfect for that second cup of tea, filling the cup and pot with water. The little tea bag holder is much more elegant than a paper napkin or plate as I usually use!

Here is a close~up of the butterfly on the lid. Isn't it precious? It truly makes me think of spring and oh my gosh, that is a heavenly thought living in Chicago!

Here I have the three pieces...

Finally you ask, what is with this dog in the post? Well this is Layla, Milo's little sister. Layla gets the bum rap a lot because pictures of Milo always seem to make it in my posts, probably because he is always doing foolish and crazy things when I am taking my pictures! But Layla is just such a sweet and gentle old soul, although not technically old. Her birthday is tomorrow and she is turning two!! She is a chihuahua/mix with a crooked tail and very haphazard markings. She is also bowlegged (we should have named her Lucky!!). So anyway, here is my little darling, sitting on the window ledge like a cat! Happy birthday Layla!
I hope you enjoyed the gift I received from my husband. He is just so thoughtful and kind sometimes, I am so blessed to be spending the rest of my life with him. I should have been named Lucky.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Today is the ever so wonderful Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally. This is a great way to start the week and to do so, please stop by Sally's to see a list of all the gals that are participating, then pay a visit, see some blue and rave a little! It's fun!

Today I am showing off a set of blue bowls I bought last year. Until I started to participate in Blue Monday, not only did I find that I had more blue things than I had thought, but I also have some collections of sort, or perhaps better called obsessions. I got on a bowl kick about two years ago. (Before that it was a platter kick). For some reason I couldn't pass a set of bowls without wanting them. The usual excuses: "I don't have any bowls in fuchsia", or "I want something for Groundhogs Day", that sort of thing. Anyway I have enough bowls to host a Pillsbury Bake~off. Some are serving bowls, some are mixing bowls and some are just pretty containers for potpourri or candy, popcorn or baubles. They are useful and fun. Have I justified my collection, er... obsession??

The above bowls are from Gooseberry Patch. You HAVE to visit them if you haven't already. They have really darling things if you are in the mood for whimsical and they have a lot of bowl sets. These blue and white bowls are very spring-like and look pretty just by themselves on the counter around springtime. If you are feeling creative, you can even put something in them. I guess I have awhile for the idea's to start germinating, ha ha...

Below are close ups of the cute details:

Can you see the cute little chippy table they are sitting on? I bought this for $10.00 at the little antique shop I mentioned last week that just opened a few blocks away. As I said then, I like to fool around with inexpensive pieces like this, painting, distressing or whatever strikes me. Since I love rustic, shabby chic sort of things, you can see there won't be much fooling around here... However if anyone has any fun ideas, let me know. It is very light weight but sturdy. I thought it might look cute on a patio or balcony with a few plants (or maybe in the garage to hold a few cans of motor oil). Should I leave it all chippy or should I paint it? Should it be fun and whimsical or simple and pretty?
Below is a view showing the legs. They sort of remind me of the Jenny Lind furniture from way back when, they made baby furniture that really wasn't the best quality but affordable. I had a diaper changing table (oh, those sweet memories!!!). Maybe I can put a plastic tub on it to bathe Milo & Layla.
If you are starting to think my Blue Mondays are looking quite alike, I probably should mention that I pretty much stage everything in front of my quilt rack in my bedroom. The true confession is that I have so little available wall space in my wee little old house and I have too much furniture for said wee old house. So this is my perfect backdrop. That or the stove. Besides, I want to show off that antique tablecloth I'm so dying to use in my as of yet to be Tablescape Thursday. Note: Tablecloth on quilt rack . Obviously no room for linen armoire in wee little old house either.

Below is a close up of the top.

When I was foraging through the cabinets for the blue bowls I happened to notice this little page I tore from a magazine and taped inside the door. I open these cabinets a few times a day but sometimes you just don't notice things you've had forever. I looked closer and I saw that it was from Country Living, 1996, the year we renovated the kitchen. I have to laugh thinking that at the time I thought it was so Martha Stewart of me to have a place setting guide in my plate cabinet. As if I would forget how to set a place! Ha Ha. Well er...yeah, I do sometimes. Minor things I will say, like if the knife is turned in or out and where you put the butter knife. And, I have a question. If you are serving berries, perhaps for a brunch, where would you put the berry bowls? I lose sleep over that one. This little portion of my post has no relevancy to Blue Monday but I'm throwing it in, along with that burning question about berry bowls.

Finally, a picture I came across during an organizing frenzy. It is a picture of me in front of a blue shingled store in Martha's Vineyard 7 years ago. The husband and I went there for one of his milestone birthdays. We had one of the best trips ever, so simple and laid back. I will be having the same milestone birthday next year and this is where I want to go. In fact, we probably would have returned by now but it was such a special time it's best to save it for milestones. Now, Paris is a place you would want to go to every couple of months just to get away, blend in with everyone, catch up on your reading...

Happy Blue Monday to all. If you haven't wasted the last few hours reading all this, try to visit Sally to see all of your fellow bloggers that are participating and share the blues!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today is Friday's Favorite Family Foto's hosted by Deborah at Pictures, Pots and Pens. This is my first time participating and I look forward to doing so again because if there is anything I love more, it is family! :-)

Last Friday was a very strange day at Blondie's house. For some reason we girls were all working away, humming away as it were, at the same time. Emily, love of my life and firstborn daughter, was hard at work on her design for a commercial office space for her interior design course. She is in her second of four years. This particular project is difficult, she is doing the layout of an office from the cubicles to the lighting and electrical wiring. Heavy stuff! I have contemplated getting her a drafting table but she really prefers to do her work in the kitchen surrounded by a lot of commotion for some strange reason. Our house is always full of that so I guess there is no escaping. Poor kid.

Abby was hard at work on her homework. I was surprised that she sat down to do it instead of taking her usual nap. Notice Layla curled up between her legs. Layla is Abby's nap buddy and isn't going to let a little homework get in the way! By the way, Abby did scamper away after this for a little snooze!

And here is Blondie hard at work. On what? Blogging of course! Don't mind the laundry pile by the top of the stairs. I'll get around to that sooner or later. First things first!!!

Finally, we have to get Milo in here. What would a post be without my boy getting in on the action! Notice my dogs have full reign of the furniture in the house. Yes, even the kitchen table!
I hope you visit Deborah and see what all the other gals have to offer today. Family photo's are the best. They make us proud. Today I'm hoping for tomorrows good grades!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


For Blue Monday I am offering more china that I have collected in blue and white. I hope this is not getting monotonous! I do think I am finished with this phase other than adding some missing pieces. All my blue and white dishes were found at antique shops here in Chicago and in Michigan, where we have the lake house. I am going to keep all of them there as soon as I have a "home" for them (I am looking for a pine table and hutch to match our harvest table in the Great Room.)
Above is a partial set I found at an antique store in Chicago just a few weeks ago. It just opened. It is very cool, has a lot of furniture that can be rehabbed, so I will probably visit often. I love to pick up old tables and chairs and play with them. The chair these pieces are sitting on is from this shop and it is already painted but I am going to varnish and distress it and maybe put it somewhere in my English Garden at the cottage. The dishes are Wedgwood. I have service for eight minus the salad plates. If I can't find them at I might just have to use glass or crystal.
This piece of china is from Johann Haviland, Bavaria, Germany. I found this in Elkhart, Indiana. I bought the whole set for $60.00 minus the bowls. The dealer said they were from the 1950's. Someone later told me that pieces were given away as a promotional deal at gas stations when you filled your tank up! Whoa, that took away a little of my enthusiasm. But when I looked them up on Replacements. com., the bowls were $26.00 per piece, so I think they might have a little value. About 2 years after I bought them my mother in laws daughter saw them and said her mother's wedding china was another pattern from Johann Haviland, so they now have such sentimental value. Papa still keeps them in their china cabinet and I wish had known this before she died, she would have liked that little tie we shared.

I mentioned before that I had ordered some pictures for my newly painted blue master bedroom at the lake. I am trying to give the room an open, airy, beachy feel. When I saw this set in (where I bought the bird pictures shown on Blue Monday two post ago), I just knew they were perfect. This blue picture is just so sweet. I am sorry about my flash. Promise I will read my camera instruction booklet!! :-)

This is a close up. The beach house makes me think of something in the Bahamas. I just get that feeling. The artist has another series of birds (and everybody should know by now that Blondie is infatuated with all things birdie!), so I may go back to have a look. When I go to I have learned to narrow down my subject and also narrow it down to framed art as it is so reasonable compared to matting & framing yourself. I had these framed in black because I want to have some black and white photos pictures in the room just to break up all the pastel.

This is the pair. The yellow beach house is just as whimsical, but since it is not Yellow Monday I didn't zoom in close!
I think you all would like the things at It is really worth a look. I am very fussy with the art work on my walls and would rather have nothing than put up something I didn't love. The Husband is very happy the walls are no longer bare!
Be sure to visit Smiling Sally for all imaginable things blue!!

Friday, February 13, 2009


I am all set up to bake. Everything organized and ready. I am making brownie's, fudge, sugar cookies and chocolate covered marshmallows (courtesy of a recipe from Ms. Tee at A Delightful Home. Now just before you start scratching your head and saying to yourself "Can Blondie bake??", I'll have you know I can do anything as long as it comes from a mix. Note the box behind the bowl... Can you believe Ghirardelli now makes mixes? I read it in a blog and then in another blog that saw the original blog and so before you can say Weight Watcher's, we are all going to be in the kitchen (at least us non-bakers!!

I love to cook. I am a cook. Period. I can use a food processor with my eyes closed, make Salmon Scallops with Sorrel Sauce for 12 or whip up poached pears in Cabernet Sauvignon for a romantic little dessert. But hand me a a set of measuring spoons and I am running for the hills faster than you can say Betty Crocker! And I really do think it is all about the measuring. I am one of the most patient people you will ever meet, so I can certainly labor over a delectable confection and wait for it to bake or chill or what have you, I think it's more that I am the rebellious type and refuse to measure anything. To me, that is the joy of cooking (as Julia Child coined). Just throw a little of this in and a little of that, a science experiment if you will. One of my favorite things to make are soups and stews. I can make 1000 different ones just playing with ingredients. I suppose I look like a witch over her cauldron, stirring away as it bubbles over, a toad jumping out every now and then! :-)

So I am baking these goodies and I am making little packages for the girls in which I am also including various other little chocolates (store bought of course, I tried to make truffles once and I will leave the aftermath of that project to your imagination~not pretty), manicure thingies, lip glosses, earrings and some pretty undies (hey, I do the laundry around here...I know when things need to be replaced!). I am also making goody bags for their boyfriend's parents as well as for their actual boyfriends because they would have waited until the 11th hour. And I have a few things for The Husband, well it's no big secret. I bought him pajama bottoms that he like to lounge around in with a sweatshirt at night. He appreciates little things like that and as I said, I do the laundry around here so I know what he needs! ;-)

So while I was slaving away at the stove I snapped a few pictures in my kitchen. Below is my spice rack. Our kitchen was renovated about 5 years after we moved in and I told the carpenter exactly what I need and voila... I can, cook like a queen. No, it is not alphabetized but I do check freshness dates a lot. In the summer I can tack up stuff from my herb garden to dry from the shelves, it's pretty & fragrant.

These are my cookbooks. Every basic thing I learned about cooking originated from a cookbook. Before Google, I always turned to books for reference. When someone asks me how I learned to cook, I say "If you can read, you can cook". There are exceptions to that of course; experience and repetition follow that. And if you have fun doing it, you will do it well. I actually thinned these books out, you can see the shelves have started to sag! I brought some to the cottage and gave some away. Only after I started blogging did I learn that so many others enjoy 'reading' cookbooks. I think it it is inspiring to see the author's personality come out in their books and I love illustrations. I have my favorites, but I won't bore you. Let's move on, shall we?

Below is a sign I am sure all of you recognize. This is where I bought all my goodies for my baking marathon (grrrr...). Someone from the suburbs once said,"Your Target is weird!" and I thought, wow, maybe it is. So I am asking you. As you know, parking space in the city is at a premium, so when our Target was built a few years ago, an underground parking of sorts was made. It's actually at street level under the store and then you take an escalator up. do you get down the escalator when you have a cart full of goodies?

As you might be able to see, the customers are coming down on the left. "Where could their carts be?" you ask. Well...

Isn't this just the cat's meow!! Maybe it's weird, maybe not. But I hope you all know what an idiot I felt like standing here taking these pictures!! At times like this I hope people think I'm just a tourist from Romania or something, "...and this is the weird Target store in Chicago, Nadia"!!!
Tomorrow we are off to the cottage to bring supplies to Resident Carpenter. After meeting with him we are going to spend the night in South Bend, Indiana. Does that sound familiar? Home to the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish!! Our cottage sits on the Indiana/Michigan border. We are called Michiana. And we are 20 minutes from Notre Dame. South Bend is a nice sized city and so we will shop, have dinner and stay somewhere. I will try to take some cool pictures! Or maybe have The Husband do it!!! ;-)
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Oh look at this cutie! Just sitting there staring at me through the fence. About three feet away. The fence in my side yard. Just sitting there looking cute. Here. In the city.
We finally have some warm, spring like weather and I go to let Milo & Layla outside and here is this thing! The dogs instinctively smelled it before they saw it and before you could say "Annie, get your gun!" I was running inside for my camera!
I'm guessing you know that this is an opossum. And this guy is pretty much a baby (adults can be as large as a 30 lb. dog). And they have been making their cozy little homes under my shed and various other places in the neighborhood. Sadly, they have been moving further east toward the city as the western suburbs take over all the natural habitats for wild animals such as these. However...I have two small dogs and I can't bear the thought of one of them coming face to face with an opossum and I am at a loss.
Last year an animal control person came and set up a humane type of trap outside the shed where all the little critters were burrowed in for the winter. Well the trap worked marvelously; we caught several bunnies, a baby raccoon, a cat, and finally an opossum. One. So much for that marvel of a trap. I stopped cutting out coupons for cat food (the bait) and had Mr. Animal Control Person take the trap away.
We have been pretty lucky since they are nocturnal but I have no clue why this guy was out at 4:00 in the afternoon. So now I join the dogs out in the yard for a quick pee & poop (them, not me) and then we wrap it up and go back inside without so much as a game of fetch.

Milo is not taking it well. He positions himself as best he can by any window...

...and watches and waits for any sort of activity he can bark & wag at and...

...finally accepts his fate. Housebound until Blondie comes up with a way to deal with these varmints. In our yard. In the city.
Be sure to visit Susan at A Southern Daydreamer to see many more participants in Outdoor Wednesday. Thank you Susan for being such a sweetheart in putting this day together for all of us nature lovers! ;-)

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Hi everybody! Today is Blue Monday hosted by Sally at Smiling Sally. Please visit her blog to see the names of all that are participating in Blue Monday and then pay them a visit to see a vast array of all things blue!
We made a quick trip to the lake this weekend to deliver some things to Resident Carpenter (good news: renovations may be completed by March 1st as planned) :-)) While there I took some pictures of the bits and pieces of blue & white china I have been picking up at antique stores in and around Michigan and Indiana. Since my china here at home is a pattern with lots of pink, I wanted to try some blue at the cottage. So far I haven't decided whether to add anything more to these pieces as I'm not sure yet if I'd like a whole set. I still haven't checked out prices or anything, but in the spirit of Blue Monday, here are a few I snapped.
Above is a piece from the Spode Blue Room Collection called Botanical. I think it is the prettiest of the group because it is a lighter shade of blue and I love florals. I also love the scalloped edge.

Here is the back of the next piece of china (I mistakenly loaded these pictures reversed :-( oh well, you'll get it I'm sure). I have a lot from this set, 12 dinner and salad plates and 6 or seven soup bowls.

This is the front of the china. I seem to see this particular pattern everywhere and some are simply stamped Japan on the back. If anyone has any information on this pattern, please let me know before I add to it. I am happy to find from visiting Tablescape Tuesday that it is perfectly acceptable to mix blue and white but I'm not sure if I really like the pattern. Not wishing to offend anyone who does, it's just my personal feeling; from a distance the birds remind me of flying pelicans which always freak me out (think flying dinosaurs)!

Lastly I have Mr. Turkey and I really do love this piece and bought it just to use as a serving plate on Thanksgiving. This is from the Festival collection by Spode. Once again I like the lighter shade of blue, the flowers and the floral baskets. I didn't get the rim in the picture very well but it is quite detailed and the edge is scalloped.
So here we have it for Blue Monday. I have another partial set of blue and white which is really pretty and I have looked on to add and haven't yet for lack of a china cabinet or hutch (someday?). And I have another partial collection of Blue Willow at the lake that I will save for another date. Surprisingly, we almost always use paper plates there!
Happy Blue Monday! :-)

Friday, February 6, 2009


I have signed on to another Pink Saturday hosted by Beverly at How Sweet The Sound. Please be sure to visit her and see all the participants that just love Pink. Then visit them and get to know a great bunch of gals and maybe a few new blogger friends.
If you know me at all, I am not doing very well with this Pink Saturday thing. Don't get me wrong, I love pink, I love looking at every ones Pink and I think Beverly does a great job hosting this special day. I am not however, very good at finding Pink to share and it amazes me because I have always considered myself a girly girl (maybe I should post pics of all my make-up and perfume and clothes)!! I think we all evolve in our decorating tastes. I know I personally started with country (a lot of blue and white, gingham and ducks and later evolved to Victorian style; darker floral wallpaper, frosted glass wall sconces and lots of lace. Then it was Shabby Chic which turned into French Country and now I'm leaning toward Farmhouse Rustico (a name I saw on a shop in Naples) that sort of represents a more simple and pared down style to me.
Without further ado, I will move on to some pink I have in my home, some things I love and will probably never part with. Above is a pink glass vase. I love the heart shape, very romantic and feminine, I use this vase particularly in my bedroom, as shown in the garden window, or in a bathroom (odd places for flowers but very pretty). The glass has a raised flower pattern on it that is not showing up well in the photo. I love carnations, they last sooo long! :-)

This is a jar that I bought the same day as the vase at a small gift shop here in Chicago. This is in the first bath. It's actually quite larger than it appears in this photo, the opening about 5 inches in diameter. I keep cotton balls in it now but there are a multitude of uses for it.

This is a closer view of the lid. It has raised flowers as does the vase but the two pieces are actually different shades of pink.

This is a little toiletry basket I keep in the same bath. I have all sorts of lotions and body butters (yum) and pretty soaps. Very feminine which is fine since the females in the house outnumber the male(s). ;-) A quick funny story: When we were going on a vacation once, Abigail was about nine years old and I was dictating a list of small things we needed to pack; toothbrushes, combs, etc. She was writing out the list. Later I looked it over and saw "toilet trees" and scratched my head. Then "ohhhh, ahhhh, ha ha ha" :-))

And here is my little bad speller, all grown up but still loving her after school naps on my bed with Layla. I don't know who enjoys the naps most!! She is sleeping with her favorite pink blanket that would probably fall apart if I washed it, which... I am not allowed to do.
Happy Pink Saturday to all of you!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Hi everyone! Today is Blue Monday hosted by the sweet Smiling Sally. You can go to her blog and see a list of all the participants in this fun day!
The other day I mentioned that I went antiquing and hinted that I had a few things for Blue Monday. However, I am not prepared to show these little treasures as of yet because I have to do a little research on them first. Sooo, I am going to do a post on a set of pictures that I ordered from a website that is just out of sight (an expression my mother-in-law always used and I just love it!). The website is All Maybe some of you have been there but for a long time I tossed out my catalogs because I thought it was just posters! But no, upon further scrutiny I stumbled across a grouping of pictures that I thought would be perfect for my new blue master bedroom up at the cottage. Well, when they arrived I was so satisfied, overjoyed, ecstatic!!! They were so cute, framed in distressed wood with glass and just the neatest artwork. The artist by the way is Swan Patel and I am going to do a little "search" on him at the website when I have time. So without further ado: Above is the bluebird. I am in love with birds and I just love how this painting was rendered. Isn't he cute (I always have a sixth sense on the gender of my birds).
This is the coordinating picture in blue, pineapples and flowers. Sorry about the quality of the photo, I promise to read my camera instruction book!

This is a closed up of the distressed white washed frame. I love it! :-) It is a really good quality frame with all kinds of markings and nail holes, as if it were used once for some other purpose. Way cool!!

And of course I have to show you the other two pictures that go with the set. Obviously they are red so excuse me for showing them on Blue Monday!

And here is the bluebirds friend in red. This is definitely a she, can't you just tell? What she is, I have no clue. We'll just call her a redbird.

And last but not least we have the whole set. Horrible photography. It looks like I took it when I was staggering drunk! I promise you I am only drinking herbal tea and once again, I promise to read the book. I was also trying to balance myself by standing on a little stool, no small feat for this clumsy blonde!
I ended up putting these up in my living room here because they went so well with my furniture and decor. So, last week I went back to the website and looked up beachy sort of pictures for the cottage and found some darling framed prints of old beach houses painted in pastels. Can't wait for that prized parcel to arrive!!
I urge you to go to this website. There are a gazillion choices and I suggest you click on the framed prints, otherwise you will have to do the matting and framing etc...and that can be costly. These four pictures were $69.00 a piece which I thought was very reasonable. On the beach house pictures there was a 20% off deal going on.
Thank you for visiting me on Blue Monday and be sure to go to Smiling Sallys blog to connect with all the other bloggers and their Blue Monday treasures!!