Sunday, January 31, 2010


I am not in a fireplace/mantel party...I insist that I am not. And you may be really tired of seeing my fireplace, however I was just so excited to show you this that I joined Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for Metamorphosis Monday. This is my first time joining and I am so excited to see what everyone has to offer. And you can too, by clicking on the highlights.

My lovely daughter Emily went to Milwaukee on Saturday and happened to pop into antique/junk shop. She saw this fireplace screen and fell in love with it. She was sure I would love it too, even though we weren't exactly looking for anything new...
Isn't it beautiful. it is a medium brown, almost the shade of my print here. The scroll work is gorgeous and the fire looks so totally different and beautiful than it did behind the old screen.
This is the 'old screen'. I never had a problem with it before. I think the new one is so much more attractive. Emily paid a whopping $60.00 for this screen. I am in amazement. I could just imagine what Pottery Barn would want for this fireplace screen.
The Husband will be home from Florida tomorrow. It seems like the time has just flown by. It was nice to use my time to work on some crafts, read and do a little extra cleaning. Emily and Abigail have been here and have kept me company. We didn't do as much cooking meals as we had planned on doing, but we did rely on my favorite cookbook of all which you can see below. It is a little dog eared because it is such a favorite of mine! We've had everything from sushi to pizza, salads to tacos. Tomorrow I am avoiding the scale!
The Husband finished up his fundraiser and golfing today in Florida. The highlight it seemed, was running into a bobcat in a wildlife conservatory, which I posted about last Thursday. Well, today he claims he saw a monkey squirrel. I am shaking with laughter as I type this. Could it be true? I asked him if it was a monkey that looked like a squirrel or the other way around. He replied that this was a stupid question. As I said before, I never have adventures like this.

I hope you had a good time visiting and that you have a great start to a wonderful week.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I am joining Beth's Mantel Party again this week because I am having such a fun time. It is really forcing me not only to find my creative side, but to find little goodies that I have bought and put away (hid), only to forget I had them. So last week I took down the Silver, Glass & White decor I had for the last party and put back up my favorite giclee paintings. And then I found these cute little bottles I bought before Christmas and had stored (hid) away in a basket. So here we have the ever coveted crown and Fleur de lis. Magical.
On this side of the mantel I simply rearranged the mercury glass votives and tried to give you a better picture of one of my lamps. Everything else from last week stayed the same and so I won't bore you with pictures of the whole mantel. Oh, I am having a blast and feel like I am getting out of the rut of mindlessly decorating.
I have not been up to the Lakehouse because of various engagements, but Emily went last weekend and I asked her to get some shots of the fireplace. We have no mantel and I suppose one day I will want one, but by looking at the stones, it will have to be custom made and put up. For now I enjoy decorating the stone wall (which happens to be bare right might remember I took The Husbands spear gun down and hid, I do a lot of hiding things! Now it is my turn to put something up. I am thinking of a huge grapevine wreath. Very simple, no flowers or greenery because there are so many floral patterns going on in the room that you can't see.
I may be cheating but instead of the mantel I am showing the hearth. i don't have a lot on it because I have never made a big effort in decorating it. It's pretty rustic and I think it might be fun to 'feminize' it a bit... To the right is the big old wood burning stove that does a fantastic job of heating up the Great Room. It is by the stairwell so the heat also goes upstairs and keeps everything very snugly. When I go to the lake next time, I will work on this hearth and maybe visit my friend Jody at the floral shop in town to see about the grapevine wreath. You might remember that she helped me with my cloche last fall. She is SO creative.

Now for those of you that are here for the Mantel Party, you can stop reading here if you wish. I am going to ramble on a bit about things that have absolutely nothing to do with mantels. Just little bits and pieces about what is going on in Blondie's world.

The Husband left for his annual Fundraiser for the Make A Wish Foundation that is held in Naples, Florida every January. How coincidental that our son Kevin is working the golf season in Naples as well. The have had dinner together a few times and golfed yesterday. Now, Kevin is a professional golfer and gives lessons as well as runs the Pro Shop. How ironic it is that The Husband bought him his first set of clubs and taught him how to golf and today they are out on the course and Kevin is giving The Husband tips! Life is full of surprises. So The Husband is having a rollicking time; today he went to a wildlife conservation area and had a bobcat cross his path fifty feet away. Just moseying along, minding it's own business. He called me and went on and on for about a half hour about this darn bobcat until I finally said (shouted), "What did you expect in a wildlife conservation, a litter of kittens?" He has a bit of fear of these things ever since he was chased buy a wild horse in a field while we were honeymooning in Hawaii. These adventures never happen to me.
So when The Husband is away, what does any good blonde do? Shop, of course. Actually I took Abigail out and she reaped the rewards of my credit card and I came home with this book. I am a bit ashamed that I am still reading three other books simultaneously and had no business buying another, but it was either go in to Borders or follow Abby around Forever 21 looking at clothes that could have fit my Barbie doll. I flipped through the book and it looks incredibly funny. I watched most of the movie awhile ago but fell asleep before it was over...not because it was boring, it was late at night and it was our third movie. So I have to catch it again.

I saw this frame at Marshall's the other day and just stared and stared at it with creative thoughts running fleetingly through my head. None of them turned into anything firm so I left without it. I continued to have those fleeting thoughts (actually, all my thoughts seem to be fleeting), and so I went back for it yesterday. I want to fill the four spaces with something vintagy and I think once I take a trip to Michael's, my ideas will come together. Don't you love the frame?

Emily, Abby and myself are having quite a wonderful girls week here. We are taking turns cooking every night and it's really quite interesting since neither of them can cook to save their lives. Last night Emily made Chicken Parmesan and she bought bread sticks and made a dipping sauce with a Parmesan garlic vinaigrette by Giada De Laurentiis. She has a line of products at Target and I can tell you that I was impressed with the vinaigrette. Tonight is Abby's night to cook, so I think I will fast all day and have no problem getting down whatever she makes...

So that is what is going on my life. As always, I say I am going to post more often so I am not so lengthy, but time gets in the way. I'll do my best. Thanks for coming by!

Friday, January 22, 2010


It's Friday and time for another mantel party hosted by Beth at The Stories Of A To Z. This is such a fun event and I have gotten so much inspiration from the participants in creating new and interesting mantelscapes. Visit Beth and see what everyone has to show off this week and see Beth's cute Valentine's Day vignette.

I drew inspiration from my vintage mirror for this weeks party and I want to thank everyone who complimented it last week. I really do love it and I think it will be a permanent fixture in all of my mantelscapes. I really love the look of the silver and glass, so I shopped my house for pieces to add. I also added touches of white for some balance.
The little candelabra is lit with tea lights and I propped a starfish against it for a pop of white to match the base. I probably have no business adding coastal items since I live in the frigid Midwest, but a girl can break the rules, can't she? I have also added a mercury glass candle holder.
On the opposite side I have another candelabra that I found at an antique shop where I also found the lamps. I felt so bad when they went out of business after 35 years, but we were able to bid on and win an entire 90 piece set of china for $40.00 on the last day of their auction. Whoo Hoo!! Balancing this side is a tall jar of sea shells and some white branches, keeping with that unlikely coastal look I have going on here. And another mercury glass candle holder. In the center I have added a vanity mirror rimmed in silver. I hope you have enjoyed my vignette!
I wanted to mention that my new darling friend, Federica from Bologna, Italy is having a giveaway. You can visit her here at Sweet As Candy. She has written 500 posts in her one year blogging! Awesome.
And I have received the Sunshine Award from Shellagh at Ticking And Toile. I am really honored to receive this award and rather than pass it on to select bloggers, I ask that you grab it yourself, especially if you need some sunshine today, which I think we all do. :-)

Thanks for visiting me today. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Lori from Family Trees May Contain Nuts is the hostess of a writer's challenge and our topic this time around is: A teacher who has made a difference in your life. In all my years of school, of every teacher I have ever had, there is one and only one and it didn't take but a minute to know who I would write about. The problem is of course, to pay proper tribute to her. But I am going to just cast my cares aside (as I frequently do) and just write from my heart.

She stood in front of my high school freshman class (first period, on top of it all) and announced, "My name is Mrs. Drown. As in 'can't swim"'. It grew quite a chuckle and eased the tension of our first class. I had the feeling she had this monologue down pat. She wasn't a comedian, she was actually rather quiet. Not shy, just not verbose. She'd meander about the art room and peer over our shoulders and mumble a bit. Give short bits and pieces of advice or critique. She was never one I had long, drawn out conversations with and I was too young to ever seek her out for more. But it might have been interesting. It would have.

Delores Drown was probably about thirty-five or forty years old (what does a fourteen year old know?) when I had her Freshman year. Tall and thin with wispy black hair and fair (read: pale) skin, I imagine she had a lot of Irish, English or Scottish blood. Again, never asked. It was later, much later, that I had the questions and I was too late to ask. I don't know what ever became of Mrs. Drown. I googled her to no end...

The smell of that art room. The mix of paint and turpentine and sawdust. The huge tables in the middle of the room piled high with all sort of objects for still life's; dolls, chairs, broken vases, cow skulls (of course), everything to entice your imagination in shape, size , form, texture. I grew to love that room, it became a sanctuary for me. Literally. I was a smart student, in more ways than one...

Oral Communications. Not one of Blondie's best subjects. Stand in front of a class and make a speech. Noooo Waaaaay. So I hid in the art room, just up the hall. It was my Sophomore year. All Mrs. Drown ever said while I worked on my first hour project during an empty fourth hour class was, "Turn off the lights when you are done, Jane." She knew my classes and she knew where I should have been. Did she identify with my fears? Those are the things I think of now.

An adjoining office connected the art room with the pottery room. I thought I would love pottery but I could not control that wheel!! The pottery wheel! My pots went all over the place and I literally cried. So I'd wander over to the art class and although I was clearly in my pottery smock smeared with clay, Mrs. Drown politely looked the other way. Mr Larson (the pottery instructor) would come lumbering in looking for me and Mrs. Drown would quickly involve me in conversation and then send me back off the the pottery room. And then I'd wander back over like a good blonde.

Four years. Four quarters each year. 16 courses. I never had it so good. Sophomore year, over Christmas vacation, I was in a horrific car accident. Riding in a van with a group of school friends, we went over a snowy embankment and rolled several times. I was in the hospital until March. I remember the day that Mrs. Drown walked in to visit me for the first time at the hospital. She carried a large, rolled up sheaf of paper and on it was the linoleum print I had been working on before our break. To think that she has rolled out the print for had to be there. When I came back to school in the spring, healed but frail, art class is where I took refuge. I weighed 85 pounds and people stared. I was a phenomenon. I HAD to get away from it all. I always had to get away from it all and Mrs. Drown's class is where I went. She never looked twice at me.

My senior year I sat in the art class looking out the window at the apple blossom trees and the field beyond. I couldn't wait to leave high school behind and was just killing time in the art room as usual. My big drawer that has held my myriad of supplies of four years was cleaned out and my smock permanently retired. Mrs. Drown wasn't around for some reason. I had the room to myself. As I had so many times. I felt like I was leaving home. I felt like Mrs. Drown would never have another me. She wasn't there to say goodbye to. I was glad, I probably would have cried. Now I wish she had been.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I am joining Beth from The Stories Of A To Z for a mantel party she is hosting every Friday. I am really excited about this event because I love to get ideas for my mantel. Beth encourages that we 'shop the house' and that should be no problem...ask The Husband. I have been promising that once I stored away all of the holiday items, I would work on all of the clutter, and the clutter is for the most part, the results of my shopping sprees. So I hope to be inspired to make some pretty vignettes over the next few weeks, or longer, and put that clutter to good use.
The mirror above my mantel is old, I am not sure and neither was the antique store owner. In one of Rachel Ashwell's books, she advises that you will know an old 'looking glass' by the somewhat blurriness and waviness of the glass. The detail at the top pf my mirror is a good sign as well. Since my living room is small, a mirror is nice to give it an open feeling. The oil giclee paintings are from French Garden House. Stop by and see the wonderful items Lidy has for sale. I never leave empty handed. The candle holders are a recent find from a local gift shop and the birds are just part of my flock, turning up here and there...
I usually have more plants around the hearth, but they were getting extremely dried out from the fires everyday, so it looks sort of plain. And I promise to light a fire at the next party. I am not feeling so well, lately, a bit of a cold, some asthma problems, and let me run this one by all of you, who I consider the wisest of friends. I have been waking up with horrible cramps in my toes and feet and last night the cramp settled in my right calf. I can barely walk on the leg. I have heard that the cramping is very common in menopause and wonder if anyone else has this or has heard of it. Last night it was SO bad that I took a muscle relaxant that I have on hand for my back and it helped a lot...but that isn't the answer. So let me hear from you. My imagination is already working overtime. And of course I will talk to my doctor.

This is probably the shortest post I have ever done! But I need a hot bath and then I think I am going to spend the evening in bed with some books and the dogs and some comfort food. Hopefully I will be asleep with a smile on my face when those cramps come. :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I have blogger's block. If you haven't noticed, it has been over a week since I have posted. It makes me worry about my creative side, if I have one. There has been absolutely nothing interesting going on in my life. Is it because it is January? Is anyone else feeling like life is a bit mundane lately? I took all of the Christmas decorations down yesterday (actually Emily did and I helped a little. She likes to earn money) and although I like the clean look and open space, I miss those darn lights! I loved to sit in front of the fire with the pretty ornaments reflecting the lights on the tree. But alas, Fir Elton John had seen better days and he is now at the curb waiting to go into the old chipper. But I have to admit, packing everything up seemed daunting and loomed over me every day as I put it off to the next. Now I have to find something else to worry and brood about.
So what have I been doing since my last post when I was snowed in at the Lakehouse? Well, Abby is home from school so I have had her and Emily in my hair and I have been forced to cook in the evening because suddenly they do not like or find take out food to be healthy. So now my Julia Child/Paula Deen method of cooking with tons of butter and wine is being deemed 'healthy'. To be honest, I don't want to lose my love of cooking. Come 4:00, I'd be out in the kitchen banging pots and pans and throwing ingredients together like a mad woman. It seems as we get older, our fervent love for some things turns into simple, once in awhile pleasures. I don't want that to happen with my cooking, or any of my domestic skills for that matter. I am an 'at home working girl' and proud of it.
Reading. I have turned into my favorite lady friend at Aunt Amelia's Attic and am reading 3 books at once; Shelter Me, Emily's Ghost and Chin up, Honey. The last book is written by a wonderful author who has a blog that I frequent, Curtiss Ann Matlock. She has written some great novels and they can be found on Amazon. I am enjoying every one of the books I am reading and sit for awhile every evening with one or the other.

Creatively, I am planning to start working on a floral arrangement under a cloche for The Husband's conference room at his office. I have been putting this off because of the holidays, but in actuality, it won't take that long. Maybe I am a little apprehensive. I get that way when I feel there might be some element of failure on my part. I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to projects...It has to be fear of failure. I have to get over it. The same goes with learning how to sew on that new machine of mine...I WILL learn to thread it! And I am going to start sewing! And I am going to use those 1000 yards of drop cloth that I have.

So that is pretty much all that is going on in Blondie's world. Outside my window is about 6 inches of frozen, dirty snow. Layla got stuck in it the other morning and I panicked. Out I ran in my pajamas and bare feet to save her. After I came in with what I was sure was frostbite of my feet, she ran off happily to play with Milo. So...I really haven't been going out much but I have been checking out all of the white sales online. I love the large selection you can get by going to Macy's or Kohl's or Target's websites and I have been getting some great deals. I have also been going to Pottery Barn's clearance section every couple of days (they sell out quick) and they have incredible deals. I just ordered some outdoor pillows, for $4.99 each. It doesn't get any better than that.

Finally, I want to tell you about my friend Beth from The Stories of A To Z. She is having a mantel party every Friday. It sounds like so much fun and I am hoping to glean some ideas because I really have a creative block when it comes to decorating my mantel. And I think it will be fun to change it around every week for the party. Beth has a great blog, visit her.

I hope you enjoyed the random pictures I took for lack of anything better to post and that everyone is having a good week. Are you cooking? Reading? Starting or working on any projects?? I hope so. Let's get through January!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Oh, the weather outside is frightful... Not too original. But the amount of snow we have gotten up here at the lake is pretty uncommon, that combined with some treacherous roads and freezing temps, let's just say that I have been snowbound for the past four days. When we got here on Thursday, it was a nice little sight, seeing the kids ice skating and playing hockey on our little bay. But it's even too cold for the little pip squeaks today. So, I ventured out once to buy ingredients for some crock pot meals and then yesterday came close to begging The Husband to get me out of the house (he forbade me from driving on the icy lake roads). Off we went to the local tavern for a burger and a beer and I was as content as a cat licking her whiskers. Came home and took a warm bath and slept like a baby. Today I froze my ears trying to get pictures for my post!
These look lethal, don't they? Right over the entry to the patio. This is a real sign of the warmer temperatures dropping...
And then there is the beauty of the snow on the trees in the woods. Yesterday we saw four deer in the field just beyond here.
And here is The Husbands arbor with the hibernating clematis, and the dock beyond. You can see where the wind blew the snow clinging to the posts, Stubborn stuff, that is.
And my swing looks like a slice of watermelon. The boxwood is almost buried.
I hadn't realized that it was November since I was last here and I still had a lot of fall things out. So I packed it all away and set the table in the sort of stark, wintry feeling I have. I am using some pretty glass plates over my everyday. A very simple look. The candle is carved from real birch.
The silver plated flatware is an estate sale find and has a monogram on it that we cannot decipher. I think it is a 'B' for... I wasn't planning to do a tablescape so I didn't set out water goblets or wine glasses.
The hemstitch place mats are from Pier I and the napkins are Simply Shabby Chic from Target. I just adore Rachel.

I recently found these dining chair slip covers from Macy's and just love them. I think they are adding to the beachy feel of the lakehouse. And I am looking forward to 'beachy weather', but I will bide my time. My New Years resolution? Live in the moment.

I am joining Susan for Outdoor Wednesday and Susan for Tablescape Thursday. I forgot to download the buttons but you can click on their names or the buttons on my sidebar to visit these ladies and all of the gals joining in. Stay warm!!