Monday, August 31, 2009


We had the best time at the lake this weekend. I truly sat back and watched time pass without a care in the world. Abby left for college last week and I will post about that soon. Now I am in that strange but content state you might be in after a good cry. I have accepted that my nest is empty and I am okay with that. Luckily, it seems the summer work at the lake is over. Yes, now that fall is around the corner!! I forgot my little Mouse Power Sander, so I could not fiddle with any of the furniture I am painting (a headboard, two nightstands and an end table). I forgot to bring a book and I decided not to bring my bike or laptop. After visiting so many people in the Rooster Party Friday, I truly felt I was going blind. All those colors!! Did anyone have to pop some Tylenol??

I took some pictures of the outside of the Lakehouse for Fifi , who has finished the painting of the Summerhouse, the wee, blue building you can see on the left, and she is now going to paint the house. Not literally come out and paint the house, do a painting. How she is going to see through all those trees to do it, I don't know. But Fifi has quite an imagination. Maybe she can throw in a new roof. The weather was in the mid 60's after a week of rain. I thought for sure I would have ripe tomatoes by now, but I looked and they are still small and green. I can just imagine standing out there in October, popping them into freezer bags!
Remember these roosters from Barb's Rooster Party? The UGLY roosters? A lot of bloggers agreed with me that they were God awful, but many thought they were cute. And a lot of people tried to figure out what the heck the big black rooster was doing with his wings! Swatting flies? Dropping something on the wife's head? (I would too if she were that ugly! lol!!). Well this might answer the mystery questions.

Ugly Male Rooster is holding this little bowl that says, "Keep The Home Fires Burning".

And this is what it looks like with a tea light candle in it. Still, that woman looks crazed!! If I were him, I'd let her freeze her ugly claws off!! Soooooo...I am announcing a giveaway. You can win this piece of frightful art by leaving a comment on my posts up until Saturday. If you do not want this UGLY THING, just say so, and I won't include you (and I will admire your good taste forever). I just can't wait to be done with the thing. I'll throw in some tea lights too.

While standing in my kitchen, not cooking or cleaning on this relaxing weekend, I decided to take a few more pictures of the renovations. I know it seems that I am teasing all of you with bits and pieces of this job, but we have not seen Resident Carpenter since May. Maybe we never will. It's just so hard to get good work these days. Anyway, this is the new tin ceiling and these are the ceiling lights I chose. Aren't they cool? (There are two). The frosted glass lamp can be made to hang down a bit like this, or installed flush against the ceiling. I bought these at Home Depot and I am pretty sure they were under $50.00 each.

A closer view...

This is a close up of my counters. They are quartz and the pattern is Mont Blanc. Also from Home Depot.

The floor is porcelain, but I think it looks and feels like stone. I do love it. It is from a local floor shop.

On my relaxing Sunday, without books, laptop, sander and bike, I put a roast on the grill and sat on the dock to fish a bit. Along came these little cuties. Old enough to leave Mom and Pop, but still new at "testing the waters". The Husband bought me a new deluxeroo fishing pole (doesn't it seem like he has been buying me a lot of things lately? First the bike, then the fishing pole...I think he is trying to get me outdoors more!!). I did find it difficult and somewhat unsanitary to handle worms and then check the roast so I didn't test out the new pole and the lake was safe again.

Hi little guy! Soon we will know if you are a beautiful male or a plain female in need of mascara and botox...

Goofy Milo enjoyed lying in the cool grass...

rolling around a bit...

...and just not doing much of anything. Like me.
Don't forget the giveaway. Mention it in one of your posts with a link to me, and I will enter you twice. Have a wonderful and RELAXING week!! :-)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today I am going to a rooster party!! There are going to be over 150 ladies there with their roosters, and I have a few to show off myself. So here is a peek:
This is my very first rooster(s). I bought it at a Cracker Barrel while visiting my brother in southern Indiana. I had just remodeled my kitchen to a sort of French Country decor and thought this would be perfect on the counter.

This beautiful rooster picture was a gift from my sister shortly after the first rooster was bought. I love it and it is in the same spot I have always had it, near my cookbooks.

This is a close up. Sorry about the terrible quality of the pic. It almost looks like a mysterious Monet that has just turned up in France!!

This is a plate I picked up years ago from a dollar store to use as a platter. I like the simplicity, the "French" look.

It looks like it took about 40 brushstrokes to paint.

This is a plate I picked up at the lake. I think it was a dollar store find too.

Again, it has that "strutting down the streets of Provence" look.

I bought this little guy for my white kitchen. Love the crackle effect. And he is so simple...

And this is the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life!! My word! Why would Blondie have this?? Well, I don't know about the rest of you girls, but once I heard Barb was having the Rooster Party, I went into a little panic over my "roosterlessness"! Admit it, Ladies. Some of you have to own up to buying a few more roosters for this party!!! ;-) I found this monstrosity at a markdown sort of store in South Haven, Michigan, when we were on vacation 2 weeks ago. It was only $3.00 and rightly so!! (Gawd, I hope no one collects these!!). I am thinking of using it in a giveaway. Just scare everybody away from my blog! lol!!

And I leave you with this cute little metal guy. My last rooster and my last rooster purchase. I will now confess, I do not like roosters. Or ducks. Or pineapples. Or Fleur de lis. Or crowns. I LOVE when others have collections of these. I guess I just haven't found anything I am passionate about. But I will. Until then, I'm just going to be a party crasher.
Visit our classic hostess, Barb at Bella Vista, by clicking on the rooster button on my sidebar. She has worked her little rooster tail off for this party and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. Now I'm off to visit as many participants as possible even though it may take days. it's worth it. It's a party!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I hope everyone is having a good week! It is so beautiful here today in Chicago! It's in the 70's and sunny. I went for an hour long bike ride today, just up and down all the streets, looking at all the pretty flowers and landscaping, getting idea's for next year. I was so inspired, I came home and planted two more pots of flowers!! No kidding! I had about eight more geraniums just sitting in the pots they came in, waiting for a cozy home in a big clay pot...gosh, that's so sad. I am a negligent gardener!! lol!! I also snuck in some more ivy which The Husband hates (he grew up in an ivy covered house and he says ivy attracts spiders...I am laughing so hard right now it is hard to type!!). Okay, I have pulled myself together, hee, hee... Today is Three Or More Tuesday brought to us by Tam at The Gypsy's Corner. After you have read my post, leave a comment and then visit Tam who has written a great post about something for her new kitchen, and then visit all the gals participating and give them a call!

I picked up some things at the Worlds Longest Yard Sale and one of the items is below. I just liked it for some reason, the color of the glaze, the good condition it's in, all the hours I can spend figuring out what it is...

So. Any idea's? My first thought was a dish for deviled eggs, but it has a well in the center so that wouldn't make sense. Besides, I already have a deviled egg dish I rarely use, so please don't suggest it is a deviled egg dish.

On Sunday, The Husband and I went out to a HomeGoods store in the suburbs (YES! Finally I have been to HomeGoods!! Oh, the fun I had. But that is another post!!). Afterwards, we ate at a restaurant called Pappadeaux and we ordered oysters for an appetizer. They came on a dish something like this. Again, no well in the center, but whose to say that you can't serve oysters or clams or mussels on this with a nice sauce in the middle to spoon over? I think that is what I will use it for. Please, no one come back and say it is a garden planter or that I have it upside down! It can be WHATEVER I want it to be. So there!! ;-)

Below are some really solid, heavy wall hooks made of cast iron. I knew I would come up with something for them, I mean we all need hooks, although I hate to say that I wouldn't want to bump my head in to one of these babies!! They are solid! So I started to think that maybe I would get a long 2 X 4, stain or paint it and drill these hooks into it and use it in a bathroom to hang towels or robes or something.

I took a couple of pictures because it is hard to tell what they are and I wanted to show the bits of rust coming through that gives it that "old" look. Why is it that I would want old hooks but not old towels? What is it about "old" anyway?? "No, can't put these hooks in my bathroom, they're not old enough.". My mother was always wanting new things and I am wanting old. Go figure.

I have 2 sizes of these old hooks.

My third item came from my friend Jody at Village Floral in my lake town. She is fast becoming a good friend because she has helped me out tremendously with something I can't say too much about, but it has to do with the upcoming Cloche Party hosted by Marty.

She had this plant in her shop that she was embarrassed to say that she had neglected. So that little part of me that has always taken in stray dogs and cats, and birds with broken wings, said, "I'll take it!". So now it is in a pretty new wicker pot on my counter at the lake. I trimmed some of the bottom off and have that in a jar of water to grow some roots and then I will poke them in to fill it out. Then I have to find a place for it. It can't stay on the kitchen counter forever. Well, enough about my Rescue Plant. Please note, the kitchen remodel is not finished, that is why the cabinets and walls don't have trim.

I had to sneak this picture in. This is the dog bed at the lake. I keep it here by the windows because they are floor to ceiling windows and Milo and Layla love to look out. They can't do that here. But I thought this was cute because for the first time Milo (the white one) got in the bed with Layla. After two years I think he is finally accepting her. Or he is just darn tired!!

Which leads me to the fourth and last thing I have today. I bought it for the dogs and it speaks for itself.

Enjoy the rest of your week and don't forget Barb's Rooster Party on Friday!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Today I am joining Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for Tablescape Thursday. After you have a peek at mine, visit Susan and see what she and all of our blogger friends have in store for us after playing with their dishes!

Today I am sharing a table setting I did in the Summerhouse up at the lake. I know there has been some confusion about the Lakehouse and the Summerhouse. The former is where we actually live and the latter is a sort of a guesthouse or a screened in building to run for when the mosquitoes invade! I have shown pictures of it before. It is very simple and I am slowly working on it bit by bit. Twin beds pull out of the wall hidden by double door closets. I have a couple of pieces of wicker furniture, a vintage cabinet and finally I have found a table and chairs. Goldilocks and the Three Bears can move right in! LOL!! Actually, it was The Husband that wanted the table and chairs; to have coffee and read the paper, do a crossword, play on the laptop... that last sentence was the magic one for me. I found my table at The Worlds Longest Yard Sale and I promised I would show you my big find soon and this is what it is. I do, however, have some work to do on it and the chairs, so I am only showing what you see in this tablescape (oh, the suspense!!).

I set my chippy (very chippy) little drop leaf table after dark one night last week. I used the place mats from Pier I, which I received from the kids on Mother's Day along with a set of dishes that are at this house. Oh, now you are confused. In our wee little house in Chicago where I now sit typing. 100 miles away from the picture you are looking at in the Summerhouse that sits a few feet away from the Lakehouse. Okay...

The white plates are my everyday dishes at the Lakehouse and are by Gibson, as is the soup bowl. The blue and yellow salad or dessert plate is from my grocery store. I had my eye on these plates for months. I patiently waited for them to go on sale and when they finally replaced them with something else and marked them down...I promptly fell in love with the new stuff. But I persevered and bought only the plates I originally wanted.

The napkins and wine glasses are from Marshall's and the water goblets are from The Dollar Tree. My flatware is from Target.

I found these tiny little bud vases at Target a few weeks a go. I believe they were only $3.99 for a set of 4. I love them. They are especially nice to have around if you have a bouquet of mixed flowers that is pretty much dead, but you don't want to throw it out because some flowers, usually the carnation's, are still full and plump and happy. Stick them in a bud vase. Or in this case, you have a perfectly new and healthy bouquet, but you want to spread the joy, so to speak...bud vases in every room!!

I have this little hurricane lamp from a thrift shop. It worked perfect in this tablescape.
So, this is my first tablescape at the lake. I hope you liked it. I want to touch up just a bit of the chippiness of the table, it actually looks battered! And I will show you what it looks like with the leaves, they have a really nice curve to them. And I think I will crawl under it and see if I can find the name of the manufacturer (that will be fun!!)
I leave you with a picture of the Great Room in the Lakehouse. You can see our harvest table (which I was in no mood to do a tablescape on) and the tall table by the window where I use my laptop. It is the only place in the house that gets a signal. But it is right by the windows where I can look out at the bay while I work. It doesn't get any better than that!!

Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This little feather has been blowing around my patio for the last couple of days. This morning I went outside with the dogs and it was still there, wedged in a corner. I picked it up and placed it on the table, hoping to get a picture of it, but it kept blowing away. I tried holding it, but couldn't get the right angle holding the camera with one hand. Finally I gave up and walked away. A bit later I came back and noticed the feather was still on the table. I held my breath, picked up my camera, and got this shot.

Lately I have been thinking increasingly more about time. The past, present and future. There are so many changes going on in my life, but so often I feel like I am stagnant. Immobile. All the while, time is blowing away much as this feather did. I have so many things I want to do, want to achieve, want to accomplish, but something inside of me has changed and I don't know how or why. Things I wanted before, I don't any longer. And things I never wished for in the past, I long for now. And as I struggle with these thoughts, time just passes by, and I know with all of my heart that time is precious.

I have lived a very wonderful life. I have been gifted with so much that I really have nothing to yearn for. I can look back at my younger years and then those years newly married, having children, making a home and though I have many regrets, they all came with huge lessons learned. And as glorious and perfect as one's life can appear on the outside, there are stories that can be told that are far from all appearances.

I have heard that the reason elderly people talk so much about the past is because that is where they want to be. Their glory days. The days of love and sun and sand. This is not to say that we can't grow old happily, we just tend to forget the bad and languish in the good. And lately I have been doing a lot of that because I just don't know what the next chapter of my life will be like. I am not afraid to turn that proverbial page, it just feels as if I have only so many more pages to fill in and I don't know what to write. I don't know where to start.

I have lived such a great life. I have had so many passions. For family and friends. For cooking and gardening and reading and writing. The love I have for my four children is almost too much to hold in my heart! I am filled with gratitude. Those years raising them and being a wife, yes, there are some pages I would definitely erase if I could. But mostly I think I did a pretty good job and jumped over many more cracks than the ones I could have fallen in to.

However something had changed inside of me and it has been gradual. It has just reached the point where I seem to be doing more self~examination than I do taking action. Of course, most of you know I am facing the empty nest as I droned on about in a post a few months ago. Bu this is bigger than that. And yes, it involves what I want to do with my life now, but foremost, what happened to the old me?

I came to the lake for these two weeks with a long mental list of all the things I wanted to do and take care of. I wanted to spend a lot of time outdoors, something I don't do much of at home. The Husband asks if I want to take a boat ride and I usually have an excuse like the weather is crappy or that I'd rather just chill on the patio. I have yet to go on the wave runners, just a little bit of intimidation by these huge powerful machines and the fact that The Husband rides pretty fast and I waver between keeping up with him or losing him. (Losing him where??). Cooking. I was going to try some great new recipes for healthy meals and salads and bake some not so healthy desserts. I have a new kitchen after all. And I was going to spend some time organizing this new kitchen. Do you remember moving in to a new house and being so excited to arrange and decorate a room just how you imagined or planned? And I was going to work in that big old English garden of mine, weeding, trimming and planting more perennials. Put trellis's up and start to train my wisteria to climb. And with paint and supplies already bought, start on several make~over projects. And I was going to READ! And I did not set my sights too high, I only brought along two books.
I have less than a week left of my vacation and I have not done one of these things.

A friend of mine that lives up the road, someone I have known for eighteen years, came by the other day. She said, "Blondie, what has happened to you?". She wasn't being rude, she is very straightforward and that is what I love about her. And I wanted to cry. She said, "Before, when I would come down here, I would find you working in your garden or painting the bathroom. Just look at you!" And I did. Same old T shirt and shorts, no make up and hair in a ponytail. The good old five minute get~up~and~go mode. And I had been sitting in a rocker near the window, just staring out, drinking coffee most of the morning. I confessed to her that I didn't know where the old Blondie had gone. It seems she has faded away. I make all my plans, but do I really care enough to complete them? Is it possible that all the things I used to love to do no longer matter to me anymore? Have I lost interest? If so, what will replace these passions? What will fill my days? What will fill my time now that I have less years ahead of me than behind?

Another friend of mine stopped by last night and we talked for quite awhile. I asked her if this might be a phase. She said, "Blondie, this is are being still. You want to be still. Accept it and move on when you are ready."
I think that was good advice. It doesn't completely ease my mind or answer the relentless questions. But the fact that I am asking the questions is putting it out there. I do have pages and pages more to write. But right now, maybe I am like that beautiful swan feather, just blowing gently in the wind. Waiting for a safe place to land.
I took all of these pictures of our beautiful swans and their babies this morning near my beach. They bless us every summer with their wonderful presence.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Last Monday we left on out little vacation from our vacation, a 3 day trip north to Ludington, Michigan, home to...well, er...just a getaway along Lake Michigan. Actually the town is known for having the only transportation from Michigan to Wisconsin across Lake Michigan. I didn't get a picture but it is a huge old ship that even carries cars and it takes 4 hours to make the trip. Sorry, no pictures, we were late for dinner and the ship looked very foreboding to me. Very huge and Titanic looking. Sorry that I am not giving you all of the historical facts here but I am deathly afraid of anything bigger than a small boat (like ours) on a small body of water (like ours). Above is a picture of the house across the street from our B&B. I thought it was just lovely. And there were so many other beautiful homes in the area that I didn't have time to photograph. It was a gorgeous area, just blocks from Lake Michigan (and the Titanic), and the shopping.

This is where we stayed, The Candlelight Inn. The owners, Tony & Melanie were just the sweetest people. They made us feel comfortable in every room of the house and our own room, of course, not that big, was still so comfortable, I had a really good night's sleep, even though that is rough, even at home.

The home had several cozy little spots outdoors to hang out at in the day or evening. We discovered this one the first night after having dinner out. We didn't start the barbecue pit, but there were a few torch lamps that we lit and it set this little area all aglow. Isn't it pretty? Rocking chairs outside!! The Husband said, "I saw a few bottles of wine in the kitchen and they said, help yourselves!" So I said, "Go for it!". We shared a bottle of wine under the stars...

IIt was cool that night but the day was humid, thus, Blondie's hair expanded threefold. But I was a happy camper (rocker).

The Husband always loves to show off a new Tommy Bahama shirt!!!! Isn't he handsome??

This is the breakfast buffet on the front porch. I was given a recipe for their coffee cake which is like none you have ever had before. I will post it later.

Whooooo, Wilbur!!! We're not in Kansas anymore!! Our first stop on the World's Longest Yardsale, spanning 654 miles from West Unity, Ohio to Gadsen, Alabama. Some bloggers have already posted about the fun they had. This here wasn't so much a yardsale as it was a barn sale and of course Blondie was more interested in checking out the animals (not to buy of course.) Isn't he CUTE?????

And that is little Pony Boy next to Wilbur. Of course I thought it was a baby horse, farm girl that I am. They were both so friendly!

And then little Billy came ambling up, wanting some attention too. What a threesome!! I could have hung out here all day!

Just to show you how friendly Wilber was and how big, I am giving him a little pet on the snout! Very cautiously!! LOL!!

Onward!! This was our last stop after about 4 hours in the rain and then the humid heat. It is the place I mentioned recently that we stopped at in White Pigeon. Well...I don't blame you forgetting, but they had something there I wanted with a passion and YES!!!! It was still there. We brought home something I really wanted for the Summerhouse and because this post has dragged on long enough, barnyard animals and all, you will have to wait until my next post to see what I bought.

Until then, I leave you these beautiful flowers that I cannot identify and I hope to be back soon. I am still enjoying my vacation at the lake and I hope to have a little more time to just lie in the shade and read or snooze. I hope you all are staying cool and that you are having some rain down there in the South. I think of all of you and always wish you the best.