Creative Homemaking


My goodness it has been a busy Spring!!!

I’m sad to say this seems to be our new pace of life.  The last time I posted on this blog was December! And here it is May! So, I am going to try to do a little catching up in the next few posts. With school coming to an end for the year, hopefully things will slow down a little. I would really like to get back to testing and blogging about new recipes and such. Fingers crossed!

To be honest, January and February are a bit of a blur. With a child in college and a child in high school they returned to school after Christmas break at different times. My timeline got a little skewed! I know we had ONE day of snow.

In March (Notice I skipped February! Who knows what happened then?!) we were honored to host a sweet missionary family and our pastor and his family for dinner. I didn’t get any pictures of the people that night-ugh. I am really out of practice doing this blog thing! Plus, we were just having too much fun! I did think to take a couple of shots of the pretty Spring Table decorations while I was in the midst of setting the table. I borrowed a few things from my Mom, and a few on-sale spring flowers finished off the look.

Unfortunately, one of the cats thought my little birdie was real! I used it anyway.

This bank was from forever ago! Not sure if it was mine or my sisters.

Here are a few decorations from around the dining room/den and the porch.

I jazzed up a wreath by using twine to tie on a few flower pots. More sale plants filled some pots, others stayed empty.

I have been waiting for just the right occasion to use this garden themed ribbon.

I made two crockpots full of Pork Chops with Field Peas! Using the crockpot is the way to go when company comes! This is a crowd pleasing recipe!

Individual Banana Pudding cups were also a hit at dessert time.

I hope you have been enjoying your Spring, too!

Well, I finally got around to putting out some fall decorations at our house. I use many of the same decorations year after year. See some from previous seasons here.

I guess I was suffering from too much Pinterest! Too many cute decorations out there that I had no money to buy! “But wait…,” I told myself, “I don’t need to buy ANYTHING! I have TONS of craft supplies to make my own cute things!” So, I dug around in my fabric stash–pulling out ALL of the fall-colored fabric. I didn’t have a pattern. I did see a picture of a cute little hoot owl wall hanging that served as my inspiration. Sorry about the picture quality.

Hootie wall hanging

I love the hooties! The homespun border is pretty great, too. I didn’t go crazy with my quilting. just some outlining. If the black stitching around the owls looks messy, it’s supposed to! I love how my little wall hanging looks hanging on the inside of our back door. I had fun working on it!

When I was ready to put my cute men’s shirts pillow cases on my porch pillows I couldn’t find them! We had drug all the fall decorations out of storage and the pillow cases were nowhere to be found, along with a few other things.

Well, I just happened to be at Goodwill Outlet store the other day. I ran across a great plaid shirt. I LOVE PLAID!!! (I may have mentioned that a time of two! Like here, here, here and I’m sure a few other places!) I thought I would grab it for crafting something. I also came across a ’90s fall sweater. Sorry, I forgot to take a “before” picture. I loved all those fancy sweaters back in the day! I was an elementary school teacher back then. I guess those sweaters just WENT with elementary teachers! Plus, I have always seen myself as having a bit of a Mrs. Frizzle personality!

mrs-frizzle

 

I knew immediately what to do with that sweater!

recycled fall pillow

The front of the sweater was perfect for a pillow case!

The back was cute with just a little pumpkin on it. However, I thought it was a little out of balance with the scarecrow pillow. I roughly stitched “Pumpkin Time” on the sweater. The back of the pillows is made from old blue jeans. I had to add the twine ties on one side of each pillow to make a pillow case and not a pillow.

I think they turned out cute. Don’t you like the new plaid shirt pillow case? Pillow cases are much easier to store than pillows!

By the way, I did find my other box of fall decor hidden under a table and behind a box of Christmas decorations.

One more crafty show and tell item…a sweater pumpkin!

sweater pumpkin

This orange sweater also came from the Goodwill Outlet. The leaves were from a moth-eaten jacket that was headed to the dump.

Here is another picture for you to see the size of the pumpkin.

Size of sweater pumpkin

I simply cut a square form the sweater. I gathered the ends together at the top. Before closing the top with a rubber band, I stuffed the pumpkin. I wrapped a little twine around and around the pumpkin to give it the pumpkin sections. Then I tied the leaves on with the same twine. I thought about stitching some veins in my leaves. I still might do that one day. It was quick to make! The front of the sweater had a zipper. I’m not sure what I want to do with the rest of it yet.  For now, I’ll stuff it in one of my craft closets for another time when I need to have something new!

We had a wonderfully busy summer!

Here is a little run down of our summer. I’m sure you were all equally as busy!

*Family reunion

*Childhood church reunion

*Vacation Bible School

*Minor home repairs-required a little painting

*Teenager working

*Teenager volunteering

*Teenager getting braces

*Teenager taking and passing driver’s test

*Quick Vacation to New Orleans

*Theater camp + performances

*Birthday celebrations

*Regular church activities + a few extras while our pastor was on sabbatical  (mostly my husband’s duties)

*Regular chorus activities

*Back to school shopping in town and out of town

*Band camp

*Garage sale x 2

*A couple of fun activities thrown in there when possible-lunches, pool days, etc.

The biggest activity of our summer, however, was painting our kitchen-walls and cabinets! Since our summer was so crazy busy, we decided to tackle the painting in stages. We thought having several different small messes would be better than having one gigantic mess! I am so glad we did it this way! You will have to forgive me-I failed to take “before” pictures. I’m really kicking myself over it, too. I kinda thought…I take pictures all the time in the kitchen. Surely I can use some of those. Well, mostly I had pictures of food in the kitchen. These photos from Thanksgiving a couple of years ago were the best I could find. You can read about the Thanksgiving experience here. (Scroll to the bottom of that link for all the other links.)

Our kitchen was red with brown cabinets.

chef

We had a few red and green accents around the room.

sharpening the knife

Cream colored counter tops…

birdbath

trim…

tackling the bird

and floor

crumble the cornbread

all had to stay. There was just not the money to do a big overhaul.

iphone hazard

Several years ago there was a program on HGTV called Decorating Cents where they did room makeovers for $500. I loved that show! Anyway, our budget was not even $500! There was money for paint and that was about it!

I was so excited to get started, I only took one picture during the project.

kilz

At least there was one!

The red walls got a coat of Kilz. That stuff is messy and stinky!

After the primer dried we put the cream-colored paint on the walls. At first, I had my doubts. I thought maybe after a second coat I would love it. I wanted to cry after the second coat. It was supposed to match the trim but it didn’t. My sweet hubby, knowing I would not be happy the way it was, took me to get paint that matched. Then he helped me repaint the walls. (We also painted the back hallway.) We only had to give it one coat but barely had enough of the color-matched paint. Lesson learned! Get a sample!

The cabinets got sanded, painted with Kilz, then two coats of paint. After all the cabinets were painted, we drilled holes for new pulls and knobs. The pulls came black. The knobs were 87¢ wooden knobs I spray painted black. I also spray painted and reused the hinges.

Without further ado…our gray kitchen!

gray and red kitchen

I love it!

I think my fancy red gel pro mats I got for Mother’s Day look great with the gray cabinets!

When choosing the cabinet color, I thought about the cream on the cabinets for a while. With the cream floor and cream counters, that just didn’t seem like the way to go.

Since we were on a shoestring budget, and I had already taken a chunk out of it for the extra wall paint, I had to use what I had on hand for the “updates”.

Fortunately, I come from a long line of pack rats!

vintage kitchen canisters

These black cabinets were original to the house (1954). They were removed when the pipes froze and the kitchen flooded (1991). The cabinets were not ruined, so they were kept in the garage–for years! They were full of random stuff that had belonged to my grandparents. The stuff found new homes, and the cabinets got a facelift. They were just plain, old wood-no stain, no paint. I gave them a GOOD scrub and some black paint. These cabinets look so much better than the mismatched drawers and file cabinet that were stacked high with papers and random stuff.

coffee station

I love having my vintage picnic tins where I can see them more often.

I really like our little coffee station now. I especially like the coffee cup shelves my husband cut for me.

coffee cup storage

It’s not anything fancy. It’s just a 2×4 from the garage cut to fit. I used two pieces for the back row and one for the middle row. We no longer have to be careful opening the cabinet, hoping the cups don’t fall out on us!

vintage canisters

I picked up this canister set at a garage sale when we lived in Indiana.

vintage spice rack

Years later, I couldn’t resist the spice set when I saw it at a garage sale in Arkansas!

vintage folgers can

We continued to use some of the splashes of red and green we had used previously.

rolling pins

More red and green with the new gray!

vintage scale

A new little display with old items fills this corner of the counter now. I did purchase the tray. It was on the clearance aisle at Walmart. Everything else I already had.

black kitchen handles

I started to clear the papers and pictures off of the refrigerator. Then I figured I would try to “keep it real” here on my little corner of the world-wide web! (I did move the bright pink lunch box!)

vintage perrier bottles

I have used these little green bottles to decorate several times.

cookbooks

Another shoestring purchase was this lampshade. It was all of $5 at Walmart! The lamp has been with me since my sophomore year in college! It seemed a little low on the counter, so I pulled a couple of color coordinating cookbooks from my collection.

paper towel holder

This little shelf was necessary-I guess. I wanted some way to hang my ice-tong paper towel holder. I thought we could figure out a way to hang them from a little shelf. Well, as you see, they are just hanging from the wall. Oh, well! I like having the little decorative shelf anyway! (and my new $5 Walmart clock)

buffalo check plate

My friend, Danielle, gave me a mixed set of these adorable plates last year. I’m kinda in love with black and white check right now! The tiny little pail was Megan’s. When she was little, she would put three buttons in it and pretend she was Sal from Blueberries for Sal.

recycled apple can

I saved the Fried Apples can a long time ago because I liked the way it looked. I have probably had the artificial hydrangea for 20 years.

vintage baking pans

One thing that was exciting about the whole kitchen makeover was the cleaning! ALL of the cabinets got cleaned out! I even cleaned the top of the refrigerator!

cake plate

I got this great cake stand on our trip to New Orleans this summer. We drove through Lake Village, AR so we HAD to stop at the Paul Michael Company! They had a great sale going while we were there. I had to maintain my composure because there was only so much room in the car!

vintage tins

My grandmother’s old baking tins are now on display. I actually tried baking in them once. They did okay but needed lots of non-stick spray. It was kind of a pain to scrub all those little grooves.

utensil caddy

This utensil caddy was at one time a planter. It was given to us with a plant in it after my husband’s grandfather’s funeral. I had an artificial plant in it in another room. I like that there is more room for my utensils. They were cramped in their old container. I did have to put a little filler down in the bottom of the planter. It was just a little too deep for my spatulas and such.

extra storage

This skinny set of drawers had been in our garage. It was unpainted and filled with some of my grandmother’s piano music. Since we eliminated the mess that was in this corner, the drawers were perfect!

kitchen artwork

I love that I live with talented people! Katie made this portrait of me for Christmas last year. I just have not had anywhere to hang it until now. I asked Megan to paint the pictures of the poppies. She painted from a picture we took while in France last summer. I just LOVE my new pieces of artwork!

I made the cork board when I was waiting tables at the Olive Garden while in college. The bartenders saved the corks for me that summer. Once I had the board all finished I had them all sign the back for me. Fun times.

gray kitchen cabinets

Well, there you have it, our updated kitchen on a shoestring! I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Day 4 of BLOGtober Fest!

Today’s challenge was entitled “Fall Back”. Today is the day we are supposed to promote a post from the past.

Thinking about the topic, I first thought of my very first post called “Never Again Cookies”.  They were just so yummy but just so much trouble.

Then I thought of this post for Dr. Seuss snacks, because it seems to be well liked.

As I continued down memory lane looking at old blog posts, I realized that I never finished the Impressionist series. I had only one post left. That is so bad. It was over a year ago!

You can see the entire series over on the This and That page under The Impressionists Series.

So, here today, I finally will finish up the Impressionists! Hopefully this post will whet your appetite for the rest of the series.

Well, we finally made it to the Arts Center. Going to the exhibit was the whole reason we did the Impressionist study to begin with.

Mom and Dad went with us, so Dad took this great picture of me and the girls.

Megan even chose to wear that particular shirt because it looked like an Impressionistic painting.

There was no photography allowed at the exhibit.

The best I can do I show you the program guide.

We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. The artwork was quite impressive. It meant so much more to the girls, and to me, to have done our little study. I think it is something we will always remember.

We had lunch at Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock. I just love that place. Everything is so yummy! I like the fun urban atmosphere as well.

Even though it was warm and windy, we ate outside, just like the Impressionists would have. Turkey sandwiches on croissants!

Unfortunately, a man came and sat next to us and lit up a cigarette. Yuck! That made out outdoor experience not quite as nice but probably even more authentic!

After our lunch experience, we decided to head inside for dessert. Créme Bruleé!

You talk about yummy, now!

I think they liked the dessert time better than lunch time. Duh! It’s dessert! We were in the cool, non-breezy, non-smokey building!

Here is what the girls thought of the experience.

Megan:

I much preferred actually doing the art to going to the exhibit. I was very glad to have studied about the Impressionists, because it enabled me to appreciate the art more. Getting a taste of French food was like icing on the cake. It felt almost like being an Impressionist sitting in a café discussing art.

Of the ones we did, I most enjoyed the first one and the Degas. I liked the first because it was new and exciting. I liked the Degas because I had fun making it an all-day event and replicating glass. Of the ones that we saw, I like the “Blue Dancers” by Degas and “The Foggy Parliament” by Monet.

Katie:

The exhibit was very fun! There were two paintings that I can think of off of the top of my head. One was “Seascape–Isle of Shoals” by Chlide Hassam, and the other was “Paysage de mer (Seascape)” by Gustave Courbet. They were both extremely pretty, so real!

After the exhibit, we went to Community Bakery for lunch. We ate outside (like the French) and watched the traffic go by. We ate croissants with turkey inside, also chips and of course, drank water (like the French-kidding!) Then for dessert we had crème brulée, a famous French dish.

All in all, it was a great day!

P.S. I also got to paint and sketch, and watch a funny video about Monet.

I learned that when Monet got older, he got cataracts and saw a lot of yellow. A while later, he could see clearly again, thanks to some doctors.

My favorite part of the “learning” was the activities! My favorite painting was my fall leaf!

Sometimes it is the little things that mean the most.

About nine years ago, we were living in Indiana at the time, my hubby and I made plans to go out for Valentine’s Day. Well, on February 13th our sitter called to cancel. I had to punt. I went to the store and bought some steaks, baked potatoes, ingredients for a cheesecake, and salad fixin’s. I had these cute little springform pans I used to make the cheesecake. (I saw on the Wilton website that these are discontinued, sorry.)

I used the skins from the tomatoes to make fancy tomato roses.

When it was time for dinner, the family showed up in their jeans and sweats. I sent them all away. I told them they had to dress nice to come to Chéz Mommé! (Ok, any French-speaking people, please don’t criticize. I was shootin’ from the hip and wanted our Valentine dinner to sound all fancy. I don’t know ANY French, but Chef Mommy just didn’t cut it.)

We all quickly put on something fancy to come have dinner at the kitchen table. Fortunately, the girls’ Christmas dresses had been red with a little heart on the front.

As soon as we lit the candles and sat down to eat, the power went out! That was the year a huge blizzard hit the Indianapolis area. So, there we sat–in the candlelight–having our steak dinner. Memories!

Little did I know what an impact our “romantic” evening had on the kids.

The next year, as Valentine’s Day approached, they started asking about Chéz Mommé. We were back in the South by this time, so no fear of another blizzard anyway!

We put on our fancy duds and had Chéz Mommé once again. We had steak, potato, salad, and a different fancy dessert of some sort. I realize you can’t see the front of them, but I made place cards out of heart shaped doilies. Of course we had candles and tomato roses, too!

Chéz Mommé has become an annual tradition. We don’t always have it on February 14th now that schedules are what they are.

Some years, the kids have come to the table just out of the shower with wet hair, wet hair and a fancy dress.

We try to make it a little different each year. However, with the exception of dessert, the menu stays pretty much the same.

One year we had dancing. One year we had fancy music coming from a DirecTV channel. One year we had floating candles.

I try not to go overboard on the spending. I often will pick up clearance items when I find them. Once, I made heart confetti out of construction paper using a paper punch. We often use the same table cloth or placemats.

I think it was two years ago that we had chocolate fondue for our dessert. That required a plastic table cloth, for obvious reasons.

Last year I made meringue cups and filled them with raspberry sorbet and homemade hot fudge!

One day there when the kids are grown and gone, I’ll have plenty of Valentine dates, I’m sure.

As you can see by the photos, that day is coming sooner than I’d like!

I’ve already bought my steaks for Chéz Mommé this year, in the mark-down bin! I still have to figure out what we will have for dessert. One thing I do know, our dinner plate will have a tomato rose on it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How to make a tomato rose:

Or, if you are a more visual person, here is a link, only she makes hers with paper, not tomatoes.

Well, I’ve done it. I let my friend, who will remain nameless, you know who you are, convince me to join Pinterest. (Clicking this link will take you directly to my page.)

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest, according to their website…

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is virtual crack!

Here is what my page looks like.

I’m just getting started. I’ve really tried to show some restraint, unlike SOME people I know-ahem.

There are just so many great ideas out there. I see some things and think-hey, I did that 15 years ago.

Then I see something else and think-hey, I tore that out of a magazine 15 years ago.

Mostly I think-Wow! there are a lot of really cool ideas floatin’ around out there. When will I have time to do them all?

Anyway, it is great fun!

It is like all those little things I rip out of magazines because I love them. The only difference is I can find them here!

I am a bit concerned that I will do the same thing with my pinned items that I have done for years with my magazine scraps. Admire them from time to time, think about how cool it would be to do the projects, then never do it.

Ugh! Thus the blog.

I’m working on getting a “pin it” button for Pork Chop Tuesday, in case you are interested. If you have a Pinterest page, you already know how to pin things. If you would like to join Pinterest, let me know. I’ll send you an invitation. However, consider yourself warned! It is addictive!

Are you a Pinterest addict? Leave me a comment, we’ll form a support group!

Well, it has been a little while since my last post. Sorry, I’ll try to do better. I’m also sorry to say, we have finished our Impressionists study. Well, we actually finished about a month ago. I’m just slow getting everything posted.

Let that serve as a warning. There may be several “Impressionists” post in a row in the near, or not so near, future. I’ve got some other good stuff lined up as well. I know you are tingling with anticipation now!

This post is actually rather short anyway. That being said…enjoy.

Our next lesson was not really a lesson. It was more of a break reinforcement of some the things we had already learned.

I found this Monet video at the library.

I didn’t really know what to expect. It was actually pretty good, as far as animated educational videos go.

It hit a lot of the high points that we had already covered.

I think the girls thought it was a little silly, but oh well.

In the video they mentioned that Monet painted caricatures of people while sitting at Paris cafes, for money of course.

car·i·ca·ture

[kar-i-kuh-cher, -choor]  noun, verb, -tured, -tur·ing.

1. a picture, description, etc., ludicrously exaggerating the peculiarities or defects of persons or things: His caricature of the mayor in this morning’s paper is the best he’s ever drawn.
2. the art or process of producing such pictures, descriptions, etc.
3. any imitation or copy so distorted or inferior as to be ludicrous.

I thought it would be fun for them to draw caricatures of each other.
Oh, it was fun alright! They laughed and giggled ’til they cried. And the pictures, well, I don’t know that they were caricatures as much as just a goofy picture of a sister, by a sister.

Katie thought her picture of Megan was hilarious.

Megan got a pretty good kick out of it, too.

See what I mean-goofy picture!

Katie was equally tickled to see the picture Megan drew of her!

Another crazy caricature.

Fun was had!

Next Page »