Friday, June 28, 2013

Stars and Stripes Forever Mantel

 

 

Summer and the month of July, call for a little red, white and blue to give a patriotic and seasonal feel to my mantel. I like to keep things clean and simple in the summer, since I go all out for fall, but I think just a few touches of 4th of July colors are fun and mix well with the red items already on my mantel.

This red, tin star is perfect for this theme and I also use it in my Christmas decorating.

This Stars and Stripes Forever printable can be found here and I added the sparkly red, white and blue stars to the 8x10 frame for some added fun and interest. I love the subtle gray background on this print.

 

The candles and the red geraniums, with a bit of burlap for texture, were all part of my regular, summer mantel and work well with the other red tones in the room. If you missed the post on how to make the red, white and blue banner, look here for the easy directions.

My July mantel is fun, without being over the top. We will enjoy these simple, patriotic touches over the 4th of July holiday and beyond.

Have a wonderful weekend - I will, because it's my birthday weekend :-)

 

Linking with Thrifty Decor Chick

and

{Linking with these friends}

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Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...blogging, reality tv, etc.

 

 

  • I am enjoying the fact that I can go in my back yard and put together a pretty vase of flowers every few days. I like using a simple mason jar, a bit of burlap and a few sweet flowers. My trick is to cut some pretty leaves from the smaller trees and bushes at the edge of the woods and use them as filler. The greenery gives the bouquet height and depth and lasts for a long time.
  • This book, The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew, is one I stumbled across on Amazon and I honestly couldn't put it down when I started reading it. There is a bit of foreshadowing in the first sentence that piques your interest and the point of view of the main character is so touching. Set at the very beginning of the civil rights movement, it tells the story of a girl coming of age in that tumultuous era and the love she had for the family's black housekeeper. If you liked The Help, you will love this book. This could be a selection I pick for my book club to read.

~

  • There still seems to be a lot of confusion about the end of Google Reader on July 1st. As of now, Google has not made any announcement that Google Friend Connect will be going away - only Google Reader. Until they make that announcement, I expect to still see the blogs I follow via GFC, on my dashboard, after July 1st. Bloglovin is wonderful, but I still like using the blogger dashboard as another reading alternative.

~

  • All this rain and humidity we are having has brought the mosquitos out in full force. I guess it is time to break out the bug spray whenever I am going to be outside. Bug spray just seems like it is full of chemicals and I always feel the need to shower after using it. But, I am not going to let the mosquitos chase me out of my garden :-)

~

  • I enjoyed the 100th episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County. It was fun to look back at how the show has changed and see and hear from the housewives that have left. The 1st season was definitely more about their real lives and less about manufactured drama and made up story lines. They were neighbors, who were friends in real life. It reminded me of why I started watching the housewife shows and why I am losing interest in some of them now.

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Thursday Thoughts

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Red White and Blue Banner

 

 

With July approaching, I planned to do a little patriotic decorating on my mantel and the first element I wanted to add was a red, white and blue banner. Instead of using fabric, like the other banners I have made, I decided to use some fun scrapbook paper in some unexpected patterns - stripes and polka dots, instead of stars.

First, I used a paper cutter to make six 12 X 3 inch strips from the sheets of paper. After folding each strip in half lengthwise, I cut a notch from the open end and then used some craft glue to glue the sides together, leaving space to insert the twine near the fold.

Next, I strung the finished pennants on red and white butcher's twine, spacing them evenly and leaving enough twine on the ends to easily hang the banner.

This sweet, paper banner now hangs from my fireplace mantel - ready for the month of July and our patriotic celebration. Later this week, I will show my finished July mantel and one other cute project, just in time for the 4th of July.

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

A Stroll Thru Life

House of Rose

Southern Lovely

Diana Rambles

Your Home Based Mom

Tutus and Tea Parties

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baked Blueberry Pancakes

 

 

Another rainy summer morning.

As I go around the house turning on lights to dispel the gloom, it seems the perfect morning for pancakes. But, I am alone and the thought of getting out the griddle just for me, seems silly. As I drink my first cup of tea, I quickly do a google search for something quicker and easier and found a recipe for Baked Blueberry Pancakes - sure sounds yummy to me :-)

They were very easy to put together, I had fresh blueberries in the fridge and the baking time was only 12 minutes. They were done and ready to eat before I had cleaned up and made a second cup of tea. Perfect for those mornings you want pancakes, without standing at the griddle. And, they tasted just like the griddle version - a little crispy on the outside, but light and fluffy in the middle.

Rainy mornings and pancakes - the perfect combination. Happy Tuesday!

 

Recipe for Baked Blueberry Pancakes

2 cups pancake mix

1 1/2 cups lowfat milk

1 egg

1 T oil

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup fresh blueberries

In a medium bowl, mix together pancake mix, egg, milk, oil and cinnamon. Mix until just blended (batter will be lumpy), then gently fold in blueberries.

Pour in buttered 9 X 13 pan and bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. Cut in squares to serve with butter and syrup.

Adapted from Taste of Home

 

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Gooseberry Patch

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Monday, June 24, 2013

First Weekend of Summer

 

 

Summer weekends are about spending time outside, near a pool, just enjoying the beautiful weather and surroundings.

Friday started with a glass of wine, from the Sauvignon Blanc we purchased at a wine tasting. The perfect summertime wine - crisp, light and fruity. We enjoyed the evening at our friend's backyard pool, with good conversation that lasted into the candlelit night.

Saturday evening we attended two outdoor parties. First, a graduation open house in my neighborhood. We walked down the street to a lovely party under a tent, catching up with neighbors and were delighted to hear the news of a recent engagement.

Later, we took a quick car ride to my sister's mexican fiesta themed party at her lovely, picket fence, enclosed pool. We ate delicious fajitas and I enjoyed a refreshing cocktail that fit the party theme - a grapefruit, tangerine margarita. Very fun and different.

Our first weekend of summer was the perfect beginning to many opportunities to sit outside, relax and enjoy the beautiful weather with both friends and family. We will take advantage of every nice evening and every chance to enjoy outdoor entertaining.

Happy Monday!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Favorite Thing

Friday, June 21, 2013

Repurpose a Glass Birdbath

 

 

This glass birdbath was pretty, but not really practical. The glass dish balanced on a iron pedestal and was somewhat top heavy and not really sturdy. Every time those pesky squirrels decided to jump on it for a drink, the force of their jump would make it wobble like crazy and threaten to tip over.

So, this pretty piece of glass, was repurposed as garden art in my perennial garden. It makes a lovely statement, standing on the back edge and gives definition to the garden's border. I wedged the bottom into the dirt and it seems to be very sturdy in its new home. For even more interest, I planted a few colorful zinnias in front of the piece.

Another repurposed glass piece, that was designed as a flower on a post, but kept falling apart, now rests in front of a flower pot. It hides the plain pot and is an unexpected bit of sparkle in the sunshine.

Finding new uses in the garden for unexpected items is a fun way to recycle and repurpose found treasures. They add interest and whimsey, when mixed in amongst the flowers. I like a little whimsey in my garden :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

Savvy Southern Style

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Between Naps on the Porch

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...fireworks, gardening, etc.

 

 

  • Pretty pink flowers - dianthus {starburst} - are new to my garden. Perfect for a sunny spot in the front of my perennials. This is the best time of the gardening season. Everything is ready to bloom and each day there is a new surprise to discover. I am gathering flower bouquets, every few days. They are mostly pretty leaves, flowering branches and wildflowers at this point, but in a week or so, my favorite daisies will be in bloom.
  • I just finished reading the blue cotton gown - a midwife's memoir by Patricia Harman and it was a really interesting read. Patsy Harman is a nurse practitioner - midwife in rural West Virginia. She recounts her stories of treating patients at the women's health practice she and her OB-GYN husband started together. They are former hippies who lived on various communes in the 60's and 70's and then went on to attend medical/nursing school. The state of our medical system is discussed, but in a practical, non-preachy way.
  • I am watching the new season of The Bachelorette, but finding it a little boring. I'm not sure that Desiree was a good choice to carry the show. She seems nervous, reserved and a little scripted. I don't see her picking any of the guys, but the spoilers say she will. Still, I do enjoy reading the recaps the next morning, especially the ones with a healthy dose of humor and snark. This is one of my favorites.

~

  • We have plans to see some 4th of July fireworks and I am so excited. We will be going to Greenfield Village, a historical setting in Dearborn, Michigan that features a pre- fireworks concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. We have attended this event for several years now and it is a lovely place to spend an evening with friends. We have survived a couple years of wicked storms, but hope for good weather this year.

~

  • Today seems like it will be a perfect pool day, for pretty much the first time this summer. I think I will pack up my beach bag with some good magazines and head there soon. An afternoon spent on a lounge chair, in the sun, sounds pretty wonderful.

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Thursday Thoughts

 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Favorite Mysteries

 

 

Many of my favorite mystery authors have new books coming out in the next few months. There is something special about a good mystery series, where I know the characters well. The authors of these books give us smart and resourceful investigators who always find a way to solve the murder or crime. Most of my favorite characters are strong women.

At the same time, we get a glimpse of their day to day lives and their interactions with other interesting characters who we get to know well over the course of the series. All these characters are like old friends, that may be gone for a while, but always come back when the next book is published.

Coming 9/10 is the next installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. This alphabet letter series started with A is for Alibi, published in 1982. Kinsey is a smart, independent private investigator who solves financial mysteries with a California flair.

Coming 8/27 is the next Goldy Schulz mystery. These are fun murder mysteries and since Goldy is a caterer, who just happens to get involved in crime solving, the author includes her recipes at the end of each book.

The next Temperance Brennan book will also be published 8/27. She is a forensic anthropologist and solves old or unusual murders by examining the bones of the dead. The television show Bones is based on these books.

Cornwell's character, Kay Scarpetta, is a Chief Medical Examiner based in Massachusetts, with ties to the U.S. Military and the FBI. These books are psychological thrillers with complex plots and characters. This new book in the series comes out 11/12.

The latest installment in the English crime series with Inspector Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers will be published on 10/15. Both of these Scotland Yard detectives are flawed, yet extremely complex and interesting characters.

Are these mystery series your favorites too? If so, there is a lot of reading to look forward to in the next few months :-)

Happy Wednesday!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Favorite Thing

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Painting a Wrought Iron Patio Table and Chairs

 

 

There were finally a couple sunny days in a row and my number one priority was getting my wrought iron patio table and chairs painted. I wanted to update the color from its 1990's shade of green to a metallic shade that would match the other outdoor furniture we have. This Rust-oleum metallic spay paint and primer was perfect for the look I wanted. The coverage was great and the whole project - four chairs, plus the table, took about two hours. And since it was a sunny, low humidity day, it dried in no time and I was able to put it back in place and enjoy the results.

I am very happy with how it turned out and feel since it was a good quality patio set, it was worth taking the time to freshen up and update. The color is just what I wanted and it even has a little bit of metallic sparkle when in the sunshine. We will be able to enjoy many outdoor meals here in the years to come.

All from a few cans of spray paint and a couple of hours work.

Happy Tuesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

A Stroll Thru Life

House of Rose

Southern Lovely

Diana Rambles

Your Home Based Mom

Tutus and Tea Parties

Savvy Southern Style

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Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

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Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable


 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two Father's Day Cookouts and Two Salads

 

 

We had two different cookouts for Father's Day - one at my parent's house on Saturday and one at home on Sunday. At the cookout at my parent's, all the dads took a picture together to commemorate the occasion. We always have a great time when we get together, and more importantly, my Dad enjoys himself when he is surrounded by family.

For Saturday's cookout, we prepared dinner by group effort to take the work off my Mother's shoulders. We grilled cheeseburgers and brats and I made a yummy Tex Mex Frito Salad that I had pinned here. It was full of fresh goodness and I lightened it up by using low fat cheese and no fat dressing. I would make this again, but serve the fritos on the side to sprinkle on top of each serving, so they stay crunchy.

At home on Sunday, we had a quiet family day while watching the U.S. Open golf tournament. My husband took a break from watching the tournament to barbecue some delicious chicken on his brand new grill - his Father's Day present, along with Tiger's tickets for the family.

I prepared one of our favorite salads with strawberries, mandarin oranges and chinese noodles - the perfect summer salad to serve with chicken.

Summer Salad with Strawberries and Oranges

1 bag mixed lettuce

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 can mandarin orange slices, drained

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 can Chinese noodles

Poppyseed Dressing ( I used fat free)

Toss lettuce, strawberries, oranges and green onions in large salad bowl. Right before serving toss in cheese and 1/2 of noodles. Add dressing to taste. Sprinkle remaining noodles on top.

I hope my husband, my father and my father-in-law in Florida all had a wonderful Father's Day and feel appreciated for the great fathers they all are.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Keep Calm and Carry On and Beautiful Mess

Lil Luna

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Make Ahead Meals

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Semi Homemade Mom

Barns and Noodles



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