Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Porch For All Seasons

It is my pleasure to be participating in Rhondi’s Porch Party.  Please go over to say hello to her at Rose Colored Glasses and then check out all the other bloggers who are welcoming you to their porches too.



Our porch is a  covered  8 ft. x 14 ft.  open space on the front of our little 1957 ranch-style home. 

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Many evenings after dinner, my husband and I, and  our two German Shepherds, Jasmin and Bo,  enjoy sitting  out here, watching  the world go by. 
Sometimes neighbors stop to sit and chat. 
Sometimes my husband and I discuss important family issues here. 
Sometimes little or no conversation takes place at all because we are simply enjoying the sights and sounds of nature in our urban environment. 

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Our “landscaping”… such as it is…has no colorful plants or flowers.  What tender, pretty blooms we or our hot Florida sun didn’t kill, our dogs would as they root around in the plants stalking the  little lizards that are common to our area.  To give the front entrance area of our home some color and curb appeal,  I change out the decor on the porch at least four times per year to reflect the season or holiday.
Come walk with me through some of the seasonal changes of my front porch.


*** SPRING ***

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 *** SUMMER ***

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*** FALL ***

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Thanks for stopping by!   I know you have lots of other porches to visit but I do hope ya’ll come back again when you can sit a spell.  ;)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Giveaway Winners!

It’s time to announce the winners of my very first giveaway which was part of the 3rd Annual Cottage Charm Giveaway, hosted by Kim at Twice Remembered.

Thank you so much Kim, for orchestrating this fun event.  With 68 blogs participating, I know it was a lot of work.

Sooooo….without further delay…(drum roll please)… 


The winner of the blue & white lamp is:

Rhondi @ Rose Colored Glasses



The winner of the Yankee Candle plate and candle jar topper is:

Nikki @ Blah Blah Blah Blog



The winner of the old fashioned telephone planter and Bavarian plate is:

Sonia @ Vintage Rose Designs


Congratulations ladies! 

I have contacted each of you via email to notify you that you are a winner and if you haven’t already, please send me your address ASAP  by emailing me at:



I want to extend a huge heart-felt thank you to each and every one of you who stopped by to enter my giveaway and welcome me to Blogland.  I had visits from some old friends.  In addition, I’ve met many, many new ones.  This giveaway was a great way for me to get introduced to  a lot of interesting blogs I would not have known about otherwise.

I had so much fun with this giveaway, I hope to have another one SOON!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Chandelier That Started It All

Edited on 9/18/09: Marie over at Emma Calls Me Mama is having an Heirloom Party and I have decided to revive this old post I did after I first started my blog so I could  join the party and share this crystal chandelier that I hope becomes a family heirloom some day.  If you are a regular visitor to my blog and have seen this post before, I apologize.   You can go here to see more photos and read a current post about my dining room transformation.


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Thinking back, I realize I have always been drawn to frilly and "cottagey" things... roses, lace, teacups, crystal, floral prints, pretty pinks and crisp, clean whites, bead board, sea shells...the list could go on and on. However, my home was always decorated in what I would call a "casual traditional" style.
Four years ago, my mom died after fighting lung cancer for almost a year. About 1 1/2 years later, my dad was no longer able to live alone due to many health issues so he had to be placed into an assisted living facility. It was then that my sister and I were faced with the daunting task of sorting through and cleaning out the home where our parents had lived for more than 40 years...the home my sister and I grew up in.
To say my mom had an extensive collection of crystal would be an understatement. Every year, as far back I can remember, she would receive at least one piece of crystal on her birthday, Christmas, or Mother’s Day.  Compotes, candy dishes, decanters, vases, candlesticks, stemware, lamps … she had it all.   But her pride and joy was a chandelier dripping in 48 heavy crystal "droplets" and multiple crystal swags.
Long story short...the crystal didn't fit my sister's decorating style so she wasn't interested in taking any of it. Since my home is so small, I knew I was going to be limited as to what I would have room for. As much as it pained me to do it, the large majority of Mom's crystal pieces were sold at the estate sale we held. Some of the pieces left over after the sale were donated to Goodwill.
I did bring home the stemware, a few miscellaneous decorative pieces, most of the candlesticks and Mom's beloved chandelier. I was able to find space for most of the decorative pieces in my living room curio cabinet and dining room china cabinet.

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   Just a few pieces of Mom’s crystal

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But for many months, the chandelier remained boxed up and sitting on a shelf in my garage. At the time, it seemed so grand and ostentatious that I didn't know how to make it work in my small, casual home.  Finally, thanks to all of you blogging ladies with lovely cottage style homes, it occurred to me that my home was the perfect candidate for a cottage style makeover and then this crystal chandelier that my mother so dearly loved would fit right in.
So began the process of changing from "casual traditional" to cottage style decor. Now, after being married for more than 36 years, I think I have finally found a decorating style that fits me, our budget, and our home. And I love having my mom's crystal chandelier hanging over my dining room table as a constant reminder of her.
I think she would love it too.

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The Nester is having a  Lampapalooza event.  If you love lamps and lighting fixtures of all shapes and sizes, click on the button below to see all the other participants in this event.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

Before you wish me a happy birthday, I should probably tell you my birthday isn’t until August. 

Huh?  Yes, I’m sure you are confused.

I bought myself an early birthday present and I can’t wait until August to show you.  It is just too darn gorgeous not to share it with all of you now!  I know you are going to love it.

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Uh huh!  See…I told you it was gorgeous!

I really hope these photos enlarge when you click on them so you can see the beautiful details of this pillow, but in case they don’t, it says, “A Gardenia For Your Birthday”.  I love gardenias probably almost as much as I love roses.

As I have blog-hopped around, visiting all the new (to me)  blogs I have come across since becoming a blogger a few weeks ago, somehow I landed on a great blog called All In My Cottage.  I quickly realized Debbi is a VERY talented designer and seamstress who  makes cottage style items like pillows, totes,  and guest towels using vintage fabrics, old lace, buttons and crochet pieces . 

Managing one blog is giving me a run for my money so I am convinced Debbi must never sleep.  She has a beautiful website called Marionberry Cottage, where she sells her handmade items, as well as other cottage items like vintage china.   Marionberry Cottage is  where I purchased the pillow.

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In addition to the Marionberry Cottage site, Debbi  has an Etsy store  stocked with more handmade items for sale.  She has a blog called   Etsy Cottage Style and yet another  blog called Sweet Pea Garden where she holds a “Friday Flea Market.”

Also, be sure and take notice of the sweet backgrounds and graphic arts on all of her sites.  They are truly a feast for the eyes!  If you would like your blog or Etsy shop to look that pretty, you are in luck!  Debbi designs vintage cottage style graphic art for blogs and Etsy shops at CGT Designs….and  she sells cottage style Etsy shop banners here.  

Good grief, it wears me out just thinking about it all!  I don’t think I missed any of her creative endeavors but you might want to check the sidebar on her blog to make sure.

If you love beautiful fabrics, old lace, buttons, crochet, and all things cottagey, I urge you to go take a peek at the wonderful array of items Debbi has for sale. 

I dare you not to find yourself an “early birthday present.”

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

From Sad to Sensational: The Story of a Little Buffet Table

When I was in the throes of redecorating my home in the cottage style, I was obsessed with perusing the furniture section of my local Craigslist.
Obsessed, I tell ya! (Have I mentioned I can be a bit obsessive/compulsive?)
At least several times a day, I would scan the ads for pieces of out-dated and unloved furniture that were begging for a cottage makeover with white paint.
One Sunday morning I saw an ad for this drop-leaf buffet table on wheels. A heavy piece of glass, custom cut to fit the top center section, was even included.
These are the actual photos the owner posted in the ad.



Asking price: $50.00!
Believe me, I couldn’t call the phone number listed in the ad fast enough!
Once I saw it in person, I could tell years of obvious neglect had left this once pretty little buffet table in very sad condition. It had more than it's share of normal bumps and bruises. The finish on the top was all bubbly like orange peel and would require extensive sanding before it could be painted. One of the wheels wouldn't stay on because the leg was split. The hinges underneath the drop-leaf side extensions were so rusted, they would barely move.
Even with all of it's "flaws," I was willing to pay the $50 because I could see the potential in this little gem.  However,  just for the heck of it I wanted to see if the owner was negotiable on the price...ya know, because it was in such rough shape.  I asked her if she would be willing to take $35.  I fully expected her to be firm on her price of $50 but I thought if I was really lucky, she might counter offer with $40 or $45.  Much to my surprise and delight, she agreed to $35!
The trash-to-treasure transformation required extensive major surgery to repair the broken leg so it would hold the wheel. My husband carefully drilled out the center of the split leg, inserted a wooden dowel for support and then rebuilt the leg a little bit at a time by adding thin layers of wood putty around the wood dowel. (This was before I blogged so unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of the repair process.)
When the leg repair was complete, I soon discovered sanding was not going to be enough to remove the bubbly finish. I had to strip it down to the bare wood. Many times during this labor intensive process of prepping the buffet for painting, I asked myself if the $35.00 I paid was perhaps even too much.
In the end, I think this little buffet table turned out so cute.

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Of all the pieces of furniture I have painted, I do believe this is my favorite piece. And certainly well worth $35.00 now.  Don’t you agree?


Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch is our hostess for  Metamorphosis Monday    Be sure to visit her blog if you want to see more inspirational transformations.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Operation Aborted


Just a note to let you all know Internet Explorer is giving me absolute  FITS when I try to visit some of your blogs.  I keep getting the above  error message so I have not been able to  read your posts  or leave comments.   Grrrrrrr!
Apparently though, I am not the only one this is happening to because one blog I was able to read had a post about the same problem.
I have sent my “computer guy” an email asking for direction on how to correct this very frustrating problem but, in the meantime,  if any of you know how to fix this…and can simplify it down to a level this computer illiterate woman can understand…I would appreciate your assistance.

Broccoli Salad (Sweet Tomatoes Style)

It’s “Foodie Friday” time again!  Gollum @ Designs By Gollum is our hostess for this fun event.


I have a delicious recipe to share with you this week.  If you are going to, or hosting,  a Memorial Day get-together this weekend, it would make a wonderful side dish to add to the menu!
First, a little history about this recipe …
Here in Florida, we have a restaurant chain called Sweet Tomatoes.  These restaurants  are also in approximately 14 other states so some of you may have eaten at one.  (You can go  here and type in your zip code to see if there is one close to you. )
For those of you who have never been to a  Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, it is an all-you-can-eat salad buffet featuring fresh vegetables, salads, made-from-scratch soups, muffins and breads, and hot pastas.
One of my favorite salads is their broccoli salad, which I am told is called “Joan’s Broccoli Madness,” so recently  I went searching the web for a copycat recipe.
The list of ingredients is fairly simple:  fresh uncooked  broccoli, red onion, bacon, cashews, raisins, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and sugar.
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Because it was more economical than buying a box of raisins and a can of cashews, I elected to use a pre-mixed Trail Mix instead.  It contained the cashews and raisins  the recipe called for but there was also a variety other nuts and seeds in it, which I liked.  When I make this salad in the future, I will definitely use the Trail Mix again but I also want to add some golden raisins. 
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Mix in the dressing, chill and enjoy. 
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At first, I thought this recipe might be rather labor intensive with all the chopping.  However,  I had everything all chopped up in minutes…even before my bacon was done cooking in the microwave.   It truly took minimal effort to make this broccoli salad and it was just as yummy as what Sweet Tomatoes serves.  It has definitely earned a spot in my file of favorite recipes!
I’ll be making it this weekend.    Be sure to let me know if you try it!

Serves 6 to 8
1 bunch fresh, raw broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup (4 to 5 strips) cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup dry roasted cashews **
1/3 cup raisins **
1/4 cup fresh red onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Place the salad ingredients into a large bowl and gently toss till mixed.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth. 
Add dressing to salad, mix well, and chill. 
**Note:  in place of  cashews and raisins, I substituted  about 1/2 package of “Nuts, Seeds & Raisins”  Trail Mix by Planters.