Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Banner


October's changing magic upon my garden falls

With lacy, leafy patterns against the rough
stone walls.

I can smell the leaves in the hedgerow,

And chrysanthemums spice the air -

Fragrance of apple orchards and seed pods everywhere.

There's a lengthening of darkness

Like a blanket that covers all,

For October, fickle maiden, is ushering in the fall!

~Nellie Varnes Fultz

I made a fall banner for this fireplace mantel this week. Oddly I've never made a banner before! It was so much fun choosing the different papers and embellishments and it was a pretty quick project as projects go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Red & Blue Transferware

Hi everyone! I'm finished with my china cabinet! I did one shelf with red dishes and one with blue dishes. I had a few emails about the wooden plate display stands that I use. I got them years ago at Bed Bath & Beyond and at that time they came in two sizes.

This one with larger spaces in between the dividers and this one with smaller spaces. Basically you can just layer larger to smaller plates if you want to use it facing out or the same size plates if you're doing it side ways.

Here's the full shelf of red dishes with the flash on (which I really hate to use.)

This is the blue shelf. Some pictures are with the flash on because otherwise the blue looks like black transferware (I do have a few pieces of that too ~ smile).

I couldn't resist that turkey tureen - $4.99 at TJ Maxx. They have the cutest turkey and pumpkin soup tureens this year!

Here's the whole cabinet. It'll pretty much stay this way until summer except the bottom shelf which I'll remove the blue transferware and set up a shelf of Christmas decorations.

Well I think I've redone every cabinet and bookcase I have upstairs! I'm finally going to work on the mess downstairs which is our family room. That's going to be my Christmas present to my family! We have so much squeezed into that room that I don't know where to begin. I love my house but I really could use one more room! I'm trying to come up with some creative storage ideas for my craft area which is in between our exercise area and my husband's desk (just so you get an idea of all that goes on down there!) Plus it's where we watch TV! I'll show you the big mess next week!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Brown Transferware Shelf

Well I finally got around to working on my china cabinet this weekend. At least I did the first shelf!

Last year I made a cardboard template of the back of each shelf and covered the cardboard with some scrap toile that I have. For the summer I took the cardboard out and lined the back with some pretty green wall paper samples. All summer those cardboard backs were stored in my closet. It was so easy to just pop them back into the cabinet! Try that if you don't want to tape anything directly to your cabinet backs

That little wooden thing is a plate holder.

The turkey plate is Myott Thanksgiving and the little bowl Johnson Brother's Watermill.

The large and small plate are Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles.

Most of the other pieces are Johnson Brothers The Friendly Village. I didn't even put all of it out! I may mix some in with the red transferware which is next or I may just store it as I usually use my brown transferware for Thanksgiving Dinner. Yikes...when I'm re-arranging my dishes it always seems so excessive to have so many but I really do love each piece!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What 's For Dinner - Menu Planning


I decided to talk about menu planning this weekend because this is one area I need lots of help in! First of all, menu planning is simply planning out what you're going to eat for a given time period. Some people do one week, others 2 weeks, some a month and I'm sure there are some really organized people out there that do a 3 month plan! Sometimes I'm really good about it and plan out the week but lots of times (like the past few weeks) it's more like take something out of the freezer the night before or that morning for dinner.

Why is menu planning good? Why is it important to spend time doing this in the first place. Well it saves you money for one thing! If you know what you're going to eat the chances of you eating out or getting take-out are less and it allows you to use up what you have. It also saves you time in that you don't have to scramble to come up with something to cook. I know that it's a good thing and I still can't make myself do it consistently. This is one area I'm really not doing such a good job...

I think it's because I don't really like to cook. I love to bake! I could bake every day and I like to cook when I feel like. But to have to do it every night and on the weekends lunch too...UGH is all I can say! Sometimes I feel my life revolves around food. What to buy, how much to spend, what to cook, what not to eat because I'm trying to loose weight - sometimes I'd just like to have a break from thinking about food and that's when we eat out or my husband grills! But of course eating out is so expensive so that's a rare option!

There are a couple of ways you can approach menu planning. You can plan your meals either from your pantry or plan from weekly sales. Planning from sales means that you take your grocery stores' flyers, see what on sale and most people will plan around what protein is on sale. So if chicken breasts and pork chops are on sale then that's basically what you'll be having for dinner that week.

Planning from my pantry means I shop my pantry and decide what to make. Since I grocery shop mostly to replenish my pantry, almost everything I make is made with something that's already been bought on sale. You should also look at your family's schedule when planning. I have a general idea of at least the kind of cooking I will be doing during the week. For example, every Friday night is family movie night. It's the only time we eat dinner in front of the TV so I usually make finger foods like chicken fingers & fries, or hot dogs, something that's not messy to eat off a TV tray. Saturday's I know is our busiest day so I usually plan on a crock-pot meal or something that can be made quickly like stir-fry. Sundays is a more relaxed day and I usually make a more complicated meal or try something new since I know I have more time at home.

Some people will need to plan 3 meals a day and some will only need to do their most important meal, be it dinner or lunch. Some people like to have a specific menu for each day and I've tried that. The only problem I've found is that it's not very flexible should something crop up or maybe I just don't feel like spaghetti that day but that's what I have scheduled to cook.

Some use a more flexible schedule where you have a list of meals for say two weeks but they're not assigned to a specific day. You cross off that meal from your list when you make it. As with most things, you have to find a system that works for you!

I found this site that looks like it would be very helpful. She has Menu Plan Mondays and it looks like hundreds of people participate! She also lists her recipes for the week so it's a great place to get some fresh ideas and see other's menus for the week.

I'm sitting down tomorrow and making a menu plan for the week. Do you plan out your meals for the week?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Show & Tell Friday! - Fall Mantel

Show and Tell

For other Show and Tell Friday posts please visit Kelli at There's No Place Like Home

Last year Target had some fall planters that had twigs and things in them and I really wanted two for my mantel. But you know they were a crazy price (I find all their wreaths and faux arrangements extremely overpriced)! So I waited for them to be on clearance. Well the first markdown was hardly anything. So I decided to wait some more. Apparently other people are happy getting 15% off because they were gone the next time I went! Fast forward to this year, they have them again. But I decided to make my own. I was just going to use twigs from my river birch but I happened to be in Michael's and they had their fall dried bouquets marked down by 60% to $3.99. I bought two bouquets, trimmed some thin branches off my river birch and reused the planters I already had.

Eight dollars beats the ridiculous price they were going for at Target and the Target ones were in terra cotta pots.

I bought my plaques last year at the end of season and you want to know what. They have the same things this year!

I also made those planters this spring. I saw a picture in some magazine where they had these beautiful huge harlequin planters on a mantel and I loved the look. I had similar style planters only mine were much smaller in size and a bit rusty!

I sanded off the rust and sprayed them grey. Then I took some harlequin scrapbook paper and used the planter to trace the shape. Glued on the paper and went over the top with some modge podge.

They've held up really well and everyone always comments on them and can't believe that's paper! You could do this with some checkered contact paper or if you're good at painting just paint on the checks.

I didn't do a thing with my china cabinet yet! It got really cold and I got distracted with finally putting up some decorations outside since it's finally feeling like fall around here and then I wanted to do my mantel. Hopefully, I'll have time to work on it this weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Few Quick Projects & This N That

It's only Wednesday and I already feel like saying "What a week!". I'm in the doldrums, in a funk, in other words I've got the blues. Between fighting with my daughters physics teacher about her teaching methods (I've been fighting with the public school system since she went back to school in 7th grade), wondering where we're going to come up with an extra $200 a month for a physics tutor, having to threaten one of our neighbors with calling the City Marshall about one of their dogs who is a major nuisance, I just haven't felt very cheery! That's just waaay too much drama for me! In an effort to get my mind off these things I decided to do a couple of quick projects from two books that I have, plus I stopped at the thrift store.

I found this for $1.21 and thought it would look pretty in my screened porch next spring.

Found these candlesticks for$1.91 and spray painted them black.

Everything looks better in black!

I remade a tassel I made last year from the book "Embellish Your Home" by Dena Fishbein. It's her Salt and Pepper Shaker Tassels project. She uses very cool vintage S&P shakers. I used the Salt shaker from a set I got at Target last year. It's a very easy project to do. The only thing I want to point out is that you are limited by the hole in the bottom of your shaker. So unless you have a shaker with a nice wide hole, you're not going to get a really full tassel.

1.You take a piece of wire and thread one end through one of the holes on the top of the shaker and then you add beads until you have enough to make a loop. Then you take that end through the other hole until it comes out the bottom and you twist the two wire ends together. You can adhere the wire to the inside with a drop of hot glue or just push up into the shaker. 2. You then take some bullion fringe, put a line of fabric glue on the top and roll it up until it looks like a tassel. You're limited by the hole of your shaker since you have to stick the tassel into the hole (secure with hot glue). 3. Wrap some trim around the top of the tassel where it meets the shaker and your good to go. You can hang from the beaded loop or add a small piece of ribbon to it and hang from the ribbon.

It came out pretty good - the ribbon around the bottom is a bit off. I have the other shaker so I'm going to make another one. So if you find any cute shakers - give this a try!

Then I did a little project from the "New Nesters" book I reviewed a few weeks ago. I did her monogram napkins. She uses white letters on white napkins which looks very elegant. I already had these apple green ones leftover from another project so I used them. I found 3 packages of big white napkins on clearance for literally pennies at Target a few weeks ago! Which is so great because we're cutting down on our paper products.

These are just iron on applique letters. I'll let you know how they launder. If they hold up to machine washing I think they would be really cute to add to a gift basket. You could do the initial of the recipients last name.

Let me know if you make the tassel, I'd love to see it. I'll be back Friday with Show & Tell and hopefully I'll have finished up that china cabinet!