Home Decor


Christmas porch

Well, I finally undressed my Christmas porch! I mean, it’s February and it’s 70˚ outside!!! Who wants to have winter!? Well, I do.

I actually took down the obviously Christmas decorations a couple of weeks ago. I thought I could make the rest work a little further into February. I mean, gosh, I still have a pumpkin on my porch! Why not keep the winter looking decor?!

ice skates

We have had several days when there were snowflakes in the forecast. We just can’t seem to get the cold and the moisture together! I’m sure we’ll get snow in March! Ugh!

flocked Christmas trees

The flocked trees just seemed like a wish that was left ungranted.

A store at the mall was tossing these trees after last Christmas. They had used them as store displays. Did I want free flocked trees? YES, please! You should have seen the mess it left in my car! I was not ready for that mess in my house, so I used them on the porch. They definitely looked wintery.

porch wreath

scrap wood Christmas tree

chalkboard Christmas ribbon

porch pillows

I left the red ribbon on the pillows. It can be for Valentine’s Day, right?

The ice skates, sled and snowflake pillows stayed out, too. I’m still hopeful we will see snow before Spring.

A tea infuser, sometimes called a tea ball, is what you put your dried tea leaves in in order to make the tea. It keeps your tea leaves from floating around in your teacup. Of course, tea bags do the same thing but aren’t nearly as cute.

Since my chorus has hosted a fundraiser Tea for the past six, going on seven, years, I became interested in tea infusers. They come in all shapes and sizes. I had one aluminum infuser that had been my grandmothers. 

One day, while browsing Pinterest, I came across this picture…

6bda719ebcc3f30470a0a8dd9120deca

Oh, my goodness! Tea balls as Christmas ornaments!! I loved the idea and started hunting yard sales and estate sales. One Sunday afternoon I ran into my friend, Donna, at an estate sale. I told her about my idea. She joined me in my hunt, so did my mother-in-law, Brenda. I’m not sure I actually found very many of the tea balls in my collection my self. Every time I saw Donna she was handing me another treasure. Brenda gave me a box full of tea infusers for Christmas one year! 

This Christmas I finally had enough “ornaments” to fill a tree!

tea ball tree

Ok, I think I need a better tree. This was actually a branch off of an old tree I pulled off the curb! 

I thought the tree needed a little color, so I added these fake poinsettias I’ve had for a while. 

tea ball ornaments

You can’t tell from the pictures, but I had the greenery stuffed into some styrofoam in a piece of crockery. It made me happy to see it on the counter. However, I will have to do something different next time. It took up too much valuable space for setting out nut clusters and rolling out cookie dough!

tea ball ornaments 2

I loved my little “tea tree”. It would be cute to add little teapot ornaments to it. Tea bags or other tea items would be fun, too, and add more color in the process. 

Thanks, Donna and Brenda, for my fun Tea Ball Tree!

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!

Welcome to our house!

christmas-wagon

Why do we all love decorating for Christmas?! I suppose nostalgia has something to do with it. There is also the fact that our homes get a face-lift for free, unless you buy new decorations each year.

I pulled this little wagon out of a dumpster this summer! It is perfect filled with fake presents and a cookie jar on our porch coffee table.

christmas-porch-pillows

I was thrilled to find this fun Christmas ribbon on sale at The Paul Michael Company while on vacation this summer.

sled-and-skates

My husband’s childhood sled came to live with us! Oh, if that sled could talk! I’m sure there would be stories it could tell!

north-pole

I made this North Pole as decoration for the seasonal membership recruitment for my chorus. The flower-pot base worked well with the empty wrapping paper tube I got from a gift shop. A little paint and ribbon and voila! I couldn’t stand to just throw it away, so it found a home on my porch.

kitchen-wreath

Look what I made to go in my fancy new kitchen!!! Well, actually, I made three!

wreaths-on-cabinets

If you look closely…

scrap-wreath

you might recognize the fabric from another project! I love “free” stuff!

vintage-bottles-with-berries

top-of-refrigerator

vintage-kitchen-vignette

christmas-shelf

I love my new kitchen!

I enjoy the old things we have, too!

plaid-china

…like plaid Christmas plates

vintage-christmas-decorations

and vintage decorations!

joy-lamp

joy

joy-with-light

I picked up these “JOY” ornaments at last year’s after-Christmas-sale. I wish they had had all the right letters in the plaid. Oh, well. I like the was the light shines behind them at night.

german-crate

This great German crate (a hand-me-down from my in-laws) got relocated this year. Skeeter seems to approve.

slipcovered-couch

The gray and red from the kitchen came into the den. I picked up the snowflake pillows on sale last year. I guess that is where I got to thinking about the gray for the kitchen. The sweater pillows came from Goodwill. I couldn’t commit to cutting the pillows just yet. So, these are held together with safety pins.

gray-sweater-pillow

black-red-and-gray-sweater-pillow

red-and-white-sweater-pillow

I truly hope you all can find TRUE JOY this season-which is only found in Christ the LORD!

nativity

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, that will be to all people.” Luke 2:10

There is a new piece of artwork in our kitchen that I didn’t show you in the “big reveal”.

When we were originally discussing paint colors, I told Chip I wanted to paint the cabinets gray. He kinda looked at me like it was not a good idea. I told him it would be a “French Country” look. That idea he liked. The idea of a French Country kitchen got him to thinking about using some photos from our trip to France last summer. We finally agreed on a photo to use! I thought I would first share other photos related to our new artwork. We may even get some more printed!

Here is a map to show you where the Alsace region of France is located. As you can imagine, France and Germany argued and fought for many years to see who got to keep the area. So, while Alsace is in France, there are lots of German influences.

alsace-mape

We drove in to Alsace from Wittenberg, Germany. Wittenberg is about halfway between Leipzig and Berlin. Our car time was about 7 hours.  The scenery was breath-taking! Gorgeous vineyards and quaint little villages were everywhere.

french-countryside

french-vineyards

hillside-vineyards

Vineyards were not the only crops we saw. We came across a lovely cherry orchard. Alsace is crazy about cherries!
cherry-tree

 

I loved the flower boxes everywhere.

street-view

red-flowers

These trees looked like they were straight from a fairytale!

storybook-trees

Finally, we arrived at our bed and breakfast. Part of the home was built in the 1700s!!!!

bed-and-breakfast-alsace

bed-and-breakfast-alsace-full

window-with-flowers

The weather was lovely! Our hosts welcomed us with coffee and delicious coffee cake.

bed-and-breakfast

coffee-on-the-patio

coffee-cake

Here are a few pictures of the inside.

lace-curtains

view-from-loft

This is the view from our room.

view-from-bb

bed

dressing-area

shower

The girls stayed in the loft attached to our room.

stairs-to-loft

loft-bed

After a little time of resting and getting acclimated to our new digs, we headed out to find some dinner.

The first place we stopped was a little out of our price range. We had already taken this cute picture to remember where we had eaten! Then we didn’t eat there.

french-restaurant

We did not get the group shot at our actual restaurant. To tell you the truth, we looked pretty tired in most of the pictures.

We were actually lucky to get to eat. The folks at this restaurant only spoke French. Fortunately, Megan had worked with a French language app before our trip. She was able to order dinner for all of us. We were all very grateful and she felt pretty proud of herself.

glasses

We did learn to order water without “gas”. Carbonated water is apparently a big deal in Germany and France.

steak-dinner

pizza

chicken-and-gravy

pizza-with-egg

The food was very good. The fried egg on the pizza was a little weird. I ordered that for the local experience. I do not plan to repeat that experience any time soon, however.

We had our dinner outside. Right next to our table was a lovely patch of lavender. We noticed something buzzing around in the flowers. Katie is a bit scared of bees, so I went to check it out for her. It looked like a tiny hummingbird! I tried and tried to get a good  picture. Look closely at the picture below, just left of center.

hummingbird-moth-in-lavender

I did a little research on what I thought was a tiny hummingbird. It turns out that what I saw was a hummingbird moth! Here is some good old Wikipedia info for you. I thought it was cool and had fun trying to capture it in a picture.

When we got back to the B & B we decided to stroll around the little village a bit.

sutters-and-flower-boxes

village

french-barn

currants

The currants were beautiful!

We stayed in Alsace a little while and took day trips to the town of Riquewihr and the Haut Koenigsesbourg Castle. Hopefully, I will get around to sharing those pictures one day, too!

As we left our quaint little B & B to head to Paris, we stopped to snap a few more vineyard photos.

vineyard-sign

young-grapes

The grapes were far from ripe. I’d love to go back during harvest time.

vineyards-in-alsace

Oh, I almost forgot to share the artwork we had printed for the kitchen!

windowbox-art

custom-art

The canvas is actually a little larger than the actual window was! You can see the original photo above with the other photos of the bed and breakfast.

I liked this photo because it reminded me of all the window boxes we saw while in Europe! I loved them! This picture kinda felt like it was part of our kitchen. The wall in the photo kinda matches our cabinets. We ordered the print from a place called canvasdiscount.com. When we ordered it we had the option of ordering a hanging kit. We had not planned to order it originally. However, it was only a few bucks, and by ordering it, we were bumped into the category of getting free shipping. Ordering more saved us money!

Well, that is all for now. I’m ready to go back to Alsace!!

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!

When I was a kid, I would spend HOURS outside–riding my bike, building a clubhouse, just wandering around the yard. I still enjoy my outdoor wanderings. It gives me a minute or two to “unplug” from the world. I guess that is why I enjoy setting Christmas decorations out our porch so much.

Of course I made my favorite Christmas Wreaths again this year. They are a little different each year! The porch is just a little different each year, too. See last year’s here.

Christmas Berries

Christmas Wreath

One new thing I used this year was absolutely free!

When we got our tree and free greenery this year, I noticed several slices of tree around the greenery bin. You know, they always make a fresh cut for you when you get your tree? Those kind of slices. So, I grabbed them and shoved them in one of my greenery bags.

Christmas peace and hope

I simply wrote on the slices with a Sharpie! Of course you can get all fancy and use a wood-burning tool if you like. (Warning: I did wear gloves to keep the sap from getting all over my hands.) I was happy with them the easy way.

Christmas Peace and Pinecones

Christmas Love

Christmas Meaning

Luke 2

Christmas Joy 2

Christmas Joy

Another easy project was these pillows.

Christmas Pillows 2

I just used my regular porch pillows and wrapped Christmas fabric around them. I was not ready to commit to actually cutting my precious Christmas fabric! The pillow in the middle is a sweater from Goodwill that I sewed up rather quickly. I didn’t even close the bottom-shhh. The red ties are rescued from some old kitchen chair cushions. Save! Save!

Christmas Pillows

A few vintage items and things were starting to look pretty good!

Christmas Vintage 2

Christmas vintage

A little more…then use the broom and all done!

Christmas Pinecones

Christmas Window

Christmas Ice Skates

All ready for the coffee drinkers.

Christmas Coffee Table

Christmas Coffee

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