Thursday, March 31, 2011


We have had sunny and warmer weather all week long and I have been loving it. I can't believe the week is almost over. It was a busy one with a lot of errands and shopping and a doctor's appointment. Not only is The Husband still sick, both girls caught it and everyone is feeling terrible. I have a few symptoms, but nothing like my family. I checked in with my doctor to make sure I had all the necessary asthma medicines should I come down with this head and chest cold. I have also been cleaning like crazy, running around with a bottle of Lysol to keep everything as sterile as possible. And since it has been in the 40's, I have had the windows thrown open periodically to blow some of the germs out.
The cafe curtains from Country Curtains arrived Monday and Emily and I got them up pronto. I love the ticking stripe and I also love the privacy they give me. This is my favorite place to sit and blog and sometimes when I can't sleep I like to sit here and catch up and it could feel eerie with just a valance at the top.
I think this picture came out a bit lighter. Can you see how the light fixture I bought with my win at CSN goes with the wrought iron legs of my table. I'm really pleased that I was able to match that up. Our old coffee table, which is now up at the lakehouse, was also from Pottery Barn and had the same legs. It was just too big for my living room here...someday I will have to take more pictures of inside the lakehouse.
Today is slow and sunny and the perfect time to get some seeds planted for the herb garden. Most of my plants can't survive the frost so I have to start with new ones. I buy most of them but I thought I would start some indoors this year and perhaps have some windowsill herbs handy to cook with. I especially love rosemary as I can pop it in vases alone or with flowers and it looks and smells so pretty. I hear that in the warmer climates, it can grow as large as a shrub. I am hoping that I will be successful bringing the pot in over the winter without killing it. I'm pretty good at that with indoor plants..
I started with these little pots that will disenegrate once they are popped into the ground... don't even have to remove the plant.
I planted some sweet peas that don't climb, they just trail over a pot...very pretty and then I have chives, basil and the rosemary. I spray them with water a couple of times a day to keep the seeds moist and once they have roots, I can pour water right into this tray and the pots and soil will suck it right up. Years ago when I was a real gardening fanatic, I used to start a lot of my vegetables indoors and the table in front of my sunniest window was covered with miniature plastic greenhouses of sort. It was like planting twice, so now I just sow my seeds right into the ground when it's warm...usually mid~May.
So that is what I have been up to today, playing in a little dirt and getting my hands messy. I will keep you up to date as to how my little babies do. I hope you are all having a great week and that it's sunny in your neck of the woods. See you soon! :-)

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's a very cold and blustery Saturday here, temps in the high 20's {Why do I always give a weather report in my posts?}. Today has been busy, but I took some time to hunt for my box of spring things and although I didn't find it, I found a few spunky things to hang. The Husband came down with a bad chest cold so we canceled going to the lake again. Next weekend brings us into April already...Wow. And unless I come down with the cold, we are going. Too many things to accomplish there, painting, working on the loft and starting on the guest rooms. We are putting hardwood floors in them and giving them a new coat of paint. Then the fun will start when I can pick out new bedding and curtains and all the fun stuff. I will tell you all about it as we work on it. I am just mentally making lists.
I hope you don't mind a random post today. This is the first time I have really sat down today after cleaning the house and going grocery shopping. Of course I spent more than I should have. The Husband is conducting a little experiment with me to see if I can save more money by having cash as opposed to a credit card. It has been difficult for many reasons, mostly of course because I can't go shopping online, but in my heart I know I don't have room for another object in this house. It's also hard because every time I open my wallet, I see exactly what I have or don't have. I'm not liking this too much, but I can say I was pretty frugal at the store today. I almost wished I was a coupon person. No, I am that person that asks for $20.00 over so I can buy lotto tickets on the way out. Are you a cash or credit person? Do you have any tips for saving money on groceries?

To change the subject completely, you all know that I have been thinking about gardening nonstop. I suppose you guys have too, and many of you have posted gardens that are well on their way to looking spectacular. We have a bit more of the cold stuff here in the Midwest before we can dig in the dirt. But I am looking for a new rototiller, one of the smaller types, of course. I just found out that The Husband broke mine trying to use it on the beach. I don't know weather to laugh or cry. So if you have one you like, pass on the name as I have to start looking.

Okay, the weather, grocery shopping and rototillers. What else can I babble on about? Oh, we had the whole family here for dinner the other night. Eight of us. I actually set a really nice table combining my white everyday dishes with some floral springtime dishes and 2 separate sets of napkins. Because I was in the middle of cooking and making drinks, I never took pictures. That would have been interesting for this post. We had a good time though, I made breaded steaks with red sauce and Parmesan cheese, Alfredo noodles, mashed potatoes, corn, a salad and bread. And for dessert, a strawberry cheesecake. I really should have taken a picture of the buffet, it was spilling over with food.
Well, we are settling in for a cold night at home. I am going to make another fire and we will probably watch a movie. I am in between books right now. I will be honest and say I did not finish Pride And Prejudice. I read half of it and saw half of the movie. Somehow that seems to make it work. I should have watched the 2nd half of the movie. I do like the classics, but P&P was a lot like Jane Eyre, where you struggle through 4 pages of dialogue before a point is made. And the book of short stories I was reading...I would call it modern, and yet I found myself scratching my head at the end of each story trying to figure out what it was really about. I don't mind not finishing a book of short stories...just as long as it is not in the middle of a story. I have a shelf full of books to choose from tonight, so I think I am just going to stick with a little fluff. Are you reading anything good? Let me know.

I hope I haven't bored you out of your mind. Maybe it is a cold Saturday night or Sunday in your neck of the woods and you don't mind reading a little fluff! lol! We are in for a cold, cold week so hopefully I will find something to paint or decorate to post about. Oh, and a reminder, Mildred Pierce is on HBO tomorrow night. If you haven't seen the original {or if you have} tune in because I loved the first version and this should be good. Did you know I am an old movie type? Read: insomniac. But that's for another post! :-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I think if you were to skim through the pictures in my posts, you would think, "Where the heck is she going with this?" I don't blame you, but I do have a story {as always}. These flowers are just for your viewing pleasure. I thought this weedy little bundle almost looked like wildflowers, so I put them in a little pottery vase a friend made me and now you have something to smile about.
I have decided to go back to my low carb diet. I tried Weight Watchers for 8 weeks and it just wasn't working for me. I really followed all the guidelines and kept track of my food and measuring of it, but after 7 pounds, my weight didn't budge. So I am back on the old Dr. Adkins diet and I have had much success with it in the past. Last week I ordered a case of these babies from Amazon. I like to have one for lunch or a snack once in awhile.
And since my running shoes were 20 years old, Abby gave me these.
And I have been meeting up with Emily at this lovely little spot about 3 miles away in the burbs. I have always enjoyed walking in the country, at the lake for instance, over walking my city streets. Less to trip over, I guess. And the view. Look how beautiful this is.
This was Monday and it was a little gloomy and sweatshirt weather {actually flannel weather...I saved some of my father's shirts, his favorites were flannel and I just love layering them over T~shirts}. I don't want to put it in writing, but we are expecting snow. All the gals East of me are probably cringing right now...I get blamed for a lot of the snow they get.
We walk sometimes 3 miles. The fresh air just gives me energy. I have been a walker off and on for a long time. The last time I got in great shape was when I worked in downtown Chicago. Although I sat a great deal at my desk, I was up and down and covered a lot of city blocks in one day. So I know I have to really incorporate exercise into my lifestyle.
Wouldn't you love to live in one of these spectacular homes? I would, just for the beautiful views. But I do have the lakehouse, which is becoming a vague memory, and that's enough for me.

I'm linking up with Susan for Outdoor Wednesdays and Barbara for Watery Wednesdays. See you later in the week! :-)

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Happy Spring!! Whatever will I complain about now? These are some of my tulips from last April. Right now I only have small shoots that seemed to pop out of the ground this past week. Today is rain and thunderstorms, but that's okay, we had the most beautiful, warm, sunny week. It's hard to imagine that we might get another frost or snow, but anything is possible in the Midwest.

My house has had it's spring cleaning, well it's as good as it's going to get, and so I have been spending a little time in each room, looking for ways to change things up a bit. Sometimes we live with things for so long, we cease to see them. And this goes for the curtains in my dining area and kitchen.
Years ago when I was going through my 'lace' phase, I made this valance out of a vintage tablecloth I found at an antique store. This is a hard window to dress as it's a bay window, three separate windows.
I picked out this ticking stripe from Country Curtains. The stripes will be vertical...I don't know why I took the picture this way. It's a light brown on a natural linen.
I am going to do cafe curtains with a valance. It won't look too much like this because of the 3 windows, but I will show you when it's done. Plus, this is in green.
This is the scalloped valance I am using for the kitchen window that is over the sink. I really love the style. This will be in the brown stripe, too.
So it looks like I just did a whole post on 2 windows...I told you it is raining cats and dogs out. We had such beautiful weather all week, the temperatures reaching in the 60's. One day Emily, Abby and I went to a big park surrounded by wetlands, with hiking trails. We went for a LONG walk and it felt so good to get a mini workout. Now that the weather is warmer, I need to get out more and walk, lose some of this winter weight. What do you do to get in shape once winter is over? Do you take advantage of the weather?

We have had a quiet weekend. The Husband and I went out to dinner in a little Italian neighborhood and it was very nice. Very cute restaurant. We didn't go to the lake yesterday as The Husband brought home paperwork yet again. Next week for sure. Shelia from Notesongs is having a Show Us Your Cabinet party and I need to take pictures of my non~cabinets at the lake...I have open shelving. Can I cheat, Shelia?

I hope all of you are having a fun weekend and that you are missing this rain. Did you get outside for a little fun? I will be back later in the week...maybe with those new curtains! :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The weather is getting warmer and soon we will be spending weekends at the lake. This is the time of year that we decide on what sort of projects we want to get done so that when summer is in full swing, we can just sit back and relax. Fixing up the loft is one of our projects.

Once you come up the stairs to the 2nd floor of our house, you are in the loft. The master bedroom, a bathroom and the 2 guest rooms open up off of the loft. The main thing we want to do is paint and reupholster the sofa. I already know that I am going to paint the space in a shade of cream. The only natural light comes from the bedrooms, so I need something that will open everything up. Plus, I love a neutral background. I am sharing with you some of the fabric samples I received from the company that makes the sofa, This End Up.
If you are familiar with This End Up, you know their furniture is very casual and lasts a long time. The cushions on the sofas and chairs are all zip on slipcovers. Very simple an easy. We are ordering new cushions as well, as this couch is 20 years old.

Above are some samples that I thought had a bit of a beachy look. I thought that would be kind of fun. The loft is basically used to watch TV and just chill after a day of being on the water and in the sun. This fabric is durable and looks like it could stand up to a wet bathing suit. I am sort of leaning toward the large stripe.
These are more neutral colors. A little more simple. I like the yellow and white swatch, which is called Vanilla Cord. It has a formal look to it and can be jazzed up with some pale blue accessories. This would make the space pretty as opposed to fun.

Oh...decisions. I love both looks and I just can't decide which way to go. You can look into our master bedroom from the loft. It is done in blue and white with a pretty, coastal feel to it. So, what do you think? Which swatch do you like and if it were your loft, what sort of look would you want?
The weather here has taken a change for the it is supposed to get up to 60 degrees. Definitely a day for a walk. Or a trip to the park on bikes.

I have started some serious planning for my garden and I get my seeds and plants from a variety of places. These seeds just came and they make me feel like spring is just around the corner.
And finally, I thought I should do my little bit about the greening of the Chicago River which takes place every St. Patrick's Day. I am joining Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen for the Third Annual St. Patrick's Day Blog Crawl.
Every year, 40 pounds of green vegetable dye are dumped into the Chicago River. It's quite a spectacle. See the people lined up on the bridge? And of course there is the big parade. I love living here! Pop over to Kathleen's to see everyone joining in. She has written another one of her fun poems! :-)

Friday, March 11, 2011


For anyone that doubts I will learn how to fly fish on my spring vacation {The Husband being the biggest doubter}, I was able to dig up this photo of me and my guy from up in Big Green Lake, Wisconsin many years ago. Apparently, one of us just caught the big one or I am just really digging him that day.
I thought the sun would never come out again since I last posted. I had my fill of all of the above, and then some, and was too depressed to even get on the treadmill to undo some of the damage. I admit I have an addiction to French vanilla cream in my coffee and tea, and that along with the Girl Scout cookies that arrived, well I need a Weight Watchers intervention.
So today I woke up and looked out my bedroom window and saw this. I had forgotten what sunshine looked like. It didn't take me long to get ready and get out. Before I went for my medicinal tanning session, I took the dogs out into the yard for a brief inspection, camera in hand.
I apparently left some things out over the winter, but that just adds to the rustic look I so admire these days. It's awesome to think that in 2 1/2 months we will be putting the lawn and patio furniture out and firing up that grill.
All of the snow has melted and the rain has dried up. Time to fill this bird bath up because I think spring is around the corner...hopefully.
My little girl statue is still holding some morning glory vines. I didn't do a very good clean up last fall. This is by the way, my backdoor herb garden. Soon I hope to see some of the herbs that come back every year. And I get so excited at thinking of planting more.
Milo is doing just what I felt like doing. We're just under 50 degrees. A little cold for me to actually roll around on the ground...I'll wait for it to warm up a bit more. It really was sweatshirt weather though. In the background you can see the area where sit around the fire pit. We will have shredded bark delivered soon to fill in the ground. It looks much prettier than this.
It's been a busy day and I am free as a bird this weekend. Maybe I can get The Husband to take me out to dinner. I have been a good girl cooking every night this week. I never realized how much we order out {and the excuses I can come up with for not cooking}. I came up with a few new recipes to stamp my name on and maybe I will do a post about them when I remember to take pictures. One of them is Mexican Meatballs that I concocted with ground turkey and chorizo sausage, crushed tortilla chips and an egg. A few spicy spices and a hot tomato sauce and voila...we all had heartburn.
Tonight I am just going to relax, make some fish for dinner and then start reading this magazine that I have been looking all over for. Where on earth do I finally find it? Walgreens. Of all places. I was ready to hit some of the big book sellers in Chicago. I can see why so many want looks like a lot of great articles and it is put together well. Too bad it only comes out twice a year.

I hope all of you had a wonderful day and that it felt like spring in your neighborhood. It was definitely my sort of day so I am linking up with Laurie of Bargain Hunting and Chatting With Laurie for Favorite Things Saturday. Please join me visiting the other gals participating. And have a great weekend! :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The other evening when we were relaxing around the fire, I took a picture of Milo with my phone. I rarely use my phone for pictures since I have a small simple camera that fits in my purse. I have never really wanted to upgrade to a bigger and more complex camera as I have so little patience for technical things. I don't even use Photoshop, although I enjoy seeing what people come up with. The pictures in this post were taken using an application on my android called Retro Camera. I think they are awesome.
The weather here seems to be warming up. It is 42 degrees as I write this and the sun is trying very hard to come out. I don't know what I would do outdoors besides take a walk as the ground is still frozen and we can expect more frosts and snow in the next few weeks. No sign of any of my bulbs coming up yet. I did sit down and order some vegetable and flower seeds from Renee's Garden. If you haven't been to this website, have a look. She has beautiful heirloom seeds and now has 2 cookbooks all about cooking with ingredients from your garden.
You would think that being in the city I would have to buy my vegetables at the grocery store {and I do, we have a marvelous selection year round}, but we also have some great farm stands. When I used to work in downtown Chicago, across the street was The Daley Plaza, named after our mayor. Fun events were always happening there and I walked through it everyday several times going to court. One of the things I loved best was the Wednesday Farmer's Market. Vendors came from all over, including Michigan and Indiana and sold fresh vegetables, flowers, jams and baked goods. Sly as I am, I found that if I was hanging around at closing time, I could usually score some free flowers.
While the weather still makes it too cold to do much other than sulk, I have a few projects going on in the house {other than the Laundry Project, a never ending endeavor}. I brought home a few frames from my Dad's house and I am in the process of painting them and then I am going to do some different things with them. I have seen so many great picture frame projects and I really want to start working on wall art for the family room. Remember that project? It is still waiting to be done as son Jeff is still at home while he house hunts. I'm not able to order furniture until he takes the furniture that is in there. After seeing the slip covered couch at IKEA, I have had that on my mind so I did a little research online and sound that JC Penney's has a beautiful white slip covered couch that I am really impressed with. But for now it is just a far off plan, depending on when my son moves...and I'd rather have him here.
Plans are being finalized on out trip to Asheville. I feel like the only person in the world who has never been to the Biltmore. Today I read a little more information on it and I can't believe all there is to do there, besides tour the mansion and gardens. There are many different types of restaurants and shops. I am wondering if I should bring an empty suitcase with me to bring my goodies home in. And The Husband has not stopped looking for things to occupy his time with, although I am really lucky that he likes to shop, maybe more than me if that's possible. He wants to take fly fishing lessons. I am still mulling that over. Believe it or not, I'm pretty good at fishing, being near all these lakes here in the Midwest. I mentioned the gourmet kitchen we have in our suite...maybe we will have a fish fry. I am also really excited that I will be meeting and having lunch with Penny from The Comforts Of Home. That is really going to be fun.

Well, this is just a random post as usual, I hope I didn't bore you. I am off to get some laundry done, even though the cleaning ladies do all the sheets and towels, somehow I feel the need to let them know I do something around here! lol! Have a great week! :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011


It's been a very quiet Saturday. I blogged and cleaned and blogged a bit more, cleaned a bit more...blah, blah, blah. You know, The Husband said that he and his staff has been complaining at the office about having cabin fever. It's hard for me to imagine people working in a high rise building in a major bustling city having cabin fever {office fever}, but I guess it happens to the best of us.
We didn't go to the lake as The Husband had a lot of paperwork to work on in our home office. It was just as well since it has been raining and snowing all day long. Although we had projects planned at the lakehouse, the weather makes it more depressing there since we are so used to enjoying outdoor time there. I keep thinking about all the work I have to do on my English flower garden and it makes me get a little catch in my throat. I'm anxious to get started.
We are having a quiet evening. A fire has been burning since this afternoon. I made bacon wrapped fillets for dinner with boiled potatoes, green beans and garlic bread. Now we are just enjoying the fire and sipping a glass of wine.

I have been playing with vignettes on my kitchen window sill. I spend SO much time in my kitchen and most of the time with my hands in hot soapy water. Say hello to Blondie in the window. :-)
Tomorrow I hope to get out for a little while, even if it is to wander around CVS looking at makeup, stocking up on clearance items, smelling candles and buying a few St. Paddy's Day decorations. I go into a trance sometimes looking at all the enticing things to buy in each aisle; scented body lotions promising miracles, paperback books that you can read in a weekend and cute greeting cards that make you laugh out loud. Do you ever get caught up in that? Maybe it's just me. Small things amuse me.
And lastly, our plans for Asheville are finalized. We are going for a week in mid May. A WHOLE week. Yay! I heard such nice things about the Biltmore and so did The Husband as he perused the Internet, so we are staying at the Residences At Biltmore which is adjacent to the estate. It is described as an "All suite hotel nestled on top of a hill outside the gates of the Biltmore Estate." We have a living room, bedroom and kitchen, which is outfitted with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. It sounds nicer than my own kitchen. I don't however, plan to spend much time in it. All in all, I am pretty excited.

So that has been a short synopsis of my day. I hope yours was good, too. See you next week! :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I'm sunburned. I have that rosy glow. No, I haven't taken off to the tropics, although I wish I had. I had Sun Therapy, my doctor's recommendation for a chronic rash I have. Off to the tanning salon for 8 minutes of sunlight and I came out looking positively peachy. Since I haven't seen the hot sun in months, the first time is always a little brutal. I sort of like looking like I just came back from the Bahamas. It lifts my spirits and makes me forget it is 28 degrees outside.
A little retail therapy helps, too. I had so many things come by way of UPS this week that the boxes piled up at the curb make it look like we just moved in. I found some great things for the backyard and garden, here and at the lake, I'll have to save those things to show you. I found some new websites and Etsy shops thanks to some fellow blogger/shoppers and I have been having a ball.
And I have had my first few experiences bidding on ebay, which is a thrill of it's own. My biggest acquisition was a Kate Spade purse at $50.00 off the original price. I LOVE Kate Spade. Her name could be on a shoe horn and I would buy it. My signature wedding gift is always a Kate Spade vase. I also won some silver candlesticks and a candle lantern. Fun, fun, fun.
It was time to redecorate the mantel, put a little spring into it. A sweet blogger mentioned that I should add a little greenery, so that I did. Emily did most of the work here, my only words were, "Layer and elevate". She did a great job, as always.
This is a table runner with script that I found on a shopping website. I love it on my old cabinet.

Last night I was perusing the new Wisteria catalog and I noticed something that shocked me. I make a habit of ordering from their clearance section online and I noticed that some of the vignettes included items I had bought there. They weren't being offered for sale, just added to the pictures. Now that's recycling in the retail world. By the way, last time I was there they were having an 80% off clearance sale. Ooh la la.
Now, moving on past all my shopping excitement as of late, The Husband and I have been pushing ideas around for a short trip. With son Kevin's wedding just 5 months away, it doesn't look like a prime time to head off to England or Bora Bora. I suggested we go back to Martha's Vineyard as we loved it so much when we went a few years back. But he wants to go some place new so we have agreed on Asheville, N.C. in May. I don't know much about Asheville; The Husband keeps calling it the Paris of the South. Does anyone have any experience there? We will more than likely stay at a B&B, check out the sights, do a few tours {they have vineyard tours with wine tasting, who would have thought in North Carolina?}. And of course there is always the shopping. So let me have your input if you sounds like a sure thing.
Off we go to the lake again this weekend, only this time we are going to work on projects to keep us busy. The Husband is going to spend time on the kitchen to get that completed and I am going to paint some furniture. Thankfully, the garage is heated. Hopefully we will have more to keep us busy while we await the warmer weather. What do you have planned for the weekend? I hope the sun stays out. Have a great one! :-)