Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hard work, tired muscles

Part of living in a house that reminds me of history, is that I often think about how our grandparents and great grands might have lived. Neighbors shared plants with each other, grew cutting gardens for flowers to bring inside or share with their neighbors, and grew many of their own vegetables.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Keeping wood away from an outdoor kitchen

While planning our home we visited local Home & Garden Shows, sitting in on a few instructional classes and talking to a few dozen experts in their field. It was at one of these shows that we met the gentleman who installed our hardwood flooring. 

One of the classes that interested us was about outdoor kitchens, taught by the owner of a company where we had purchased gas grills for our previous two homes. But those were both portable grills and this home needed a built in grill. 

We intentionally had limited space, which only needed a grill and outdoor sink. One of the starred items in my class notes was not to use wood products in the construction of the cabinet where the grill was to be installed. We have noticed multiple houses with outdoor kitchens constructed on a wood frame. A few homes even used wood in the entire construction. 
RCS grill

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dining chairs with a history

If you have read much of this blog, you probably realize I love historic Charleston, SC homes. The annual Festival of Homes and Gardens started March 16, causing me to wish I lived closer to Charleston than I do.

While looking at the website, I discovered the following picture.

Charleston Festival of Houses and Gardens
Antique Show 2017

Shopping tips

I will readily admit that I have bought things I should not have purchased, simply because marketing got to me.  Maybe it was at Marshall's in a shelf near the line to pay. Maybe it was precious, pink Easter bunnies on an appliqued set of napkins. Or my purchase might have been a result of sentimentality. It could have been a classic styled milk jug that reminded me of a jug my mom or grandmother owned.

Whatever the reason, I would come home with my purchase and then search for a location for it. Would it look better in the living room bookcase, or on a bedroom nightstand? I might move it around the house a bit, then sometimes relegate it to a closet in case I could ever use it.

Then we moved! And all of those "treasures" had to be packed, sold or donated. Friends wanted some of them while other things were sold. I still have a few piles in the garage that need to be donated.

What caused this access? Instead of worrying about that; I prefer to consider how it can be avoided?

I am now committed to working to make sure home accessory purchases fit these criteria:

  • Make sure I love the item, and am not just falling pry to marketing
  • Is it a style that fits into my decor?  I can love a purple, Easter table runner, but it will not "work" in my dining room with blue walls and a dark red Oriental rug.

    Many of us have seen houses that contain a random collection of items. If the homeowner is pleased, there is nothing wrong with that home decor.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Unique table runners

Why is it that I look through racks of table runners in stores, yet rarely seem to find one I want to use? It may be partially due to a decorating class I took where Lauren explained we should not make purchases unless the item is absolutely essential, or if we actually love it and it fits perfectly into our home.

Lauren's lesson took a while to grab hold of, but it finally helped me stop making impulsive purchases. I now stop to evaluate items before going to the checkout. Last week I had seven items in my shopping cart. Before I got to the checkout, all seven had been returned to their original shelves. None of them were needed/perfect/or loved!

Or maybe it is because I recently moved and had to clean out items that I did not want to bring with me. Since moving into our new home, I have tossed out other items as well. I simply do not want extra baggage to carry with me if and when we move again.

As one of my neighbors shared, "The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Subway tile

In the early planning stages of our home, I entertained the idea of using subway tile, but was not sure how or where to use it. As I scanned magazines and looked through photos on, I noticed builders/designers incorporating a great deal of these tiles in showers and bathrooms. While I like the look, it was never a "must-have" item.

"It will probably not come as much of a shock that subway tile was originally designed to be placed in subways. Designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge created the distinctive 3" x 6" rectangles for the very first station of New York's then brand-new subway in 1904." -

I found myself making multiple trips to the design showroom with my long list of items to find, one of which was for a kitchen back-splash and  coordinating tiles to use behind my free-standing range. I knew both of these choices needed to work together.

I briefly entertained the idea of a mosaic since they are so popular in this area. If you have read much of this blog, you might realize that we were not trying to reproduce the same style home that is prevalent nearby, but working on a completely unique style instead. The mosaics I have seen are stunning. However, I realized they were all in homes that had a Tuscan theme.

Additionally, we had an unspoken goal to create a beautiful backdrop of calmness so the people and the furnishings could be the focus of the home. In order to accomplish that, we needed design elements that did not take center stage, but blended into the space with grace and elegance. That pretty much ruled out mosaics since they demand attention.

Cold morning treat!

Once upon a time (or at least that is the way my elementary-school-self once believed every story was supposed to begin)....................

........I was an avid tea lover! Hot tea or iced tea? I loved both. In fact I loved tea so much I seldom, if ever, drank water.

It was a habit that needed to be broken, and it was. My main beverage is now H2O.

When I first stopped using tea as my primary beverage, I still loved the taste of a glass or cup of tea. I would allow myself to drink tea only when traveling away from home. The last few years I rarely even think about tea.

On cold mornings when I want a warm drink, I sometimes indulge in a mug of  hot chocolate.

The over-sized Bell jar started out full of my favorite cocoa mix last fall. My sweet daughter-in-law also shared a jar of cocoa with me.Winter in south Texas has given way to warmer, sunshiny days and the cocoa mix is almost gone.

This is an easy Christmas gift for friends who like chocolate.

Collecting containers throughout the year, mixing a batch in a large bowl, and you have homemade gifts to share.

There are tons of recipes online so you can find your personal favorite. My favorite (below) was shared with me by my daughter-in-law.