Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm such a slacker!

Common wisdom tells us that blogs with pictures get more hits and have more loyal followers. Why? Well, people like to look at pictures, me included. It gives us a small window into someone else's life, and inspires our creativity.

Although I love reading blogs with lots of well-shot photos, I hardly ever post any of my own. I'm hoping to remedy that this weekend. For now, you'll just have to contend with a fuzzy BlackBerry photo of our new puppy, Izzy (Huntfield's Isabelle Bracken, to be exact).

She decided to join me in the bed after I had a long day at the dentist. I was tired and my whole face hurt, so I retreated to the bedroom with a pain killer and my laptop. Contrary to appearance, I did not give the dog one of my pain pills.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookie Fest 2010 - Part I

Every year I make dozens of cookies to give to my family and friends, and this year will be no different. Cookie Fest 2010 will begin next week! I have a couple of days off to prepare and will probably bake the day before Christmas Eve. I've already stocked up on basic ingredients, so I'm good to go there. I need to get nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, jam, chips and baking squares and I should be finished.

I also buy Christmas themed tins in the weeks following Christmas. They are usually marked down anywhere from $.50-.75 so I stock up for the following year. Cupcake liners or parchment paper keep them from getting broken or sticking together.

Here is the preliminary list:
  • Chocolate chip
  • Mixed nut with white chocolate chip
  • Trail mix
  • Black Forest crinkle (these are my little brother's favorites!)
  • Chocolate with peanut butter chips
  • Spritz cookies with colored sugar
  • Turtle brownies
  • Linzer star tarts
  • Cinnamon roll coins
In looking at this list, I believe I will need more butter! I probably won't make all of these, but I like to be a slightly ambitious with my list so I don't forget anyone.

What are your favorite cookies for holiday baking?

This is my go-to cookie recipe book.

The Ultimate Cookie Book (Better Homes & Gardens Cooking)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Small space decorating


I live in a fairly small house. It's just under 1400 sq ft and the living areas are all open. There isn't much wall space for decorating in the living room, dining room or kitchen even though the ceiling is vaulted. My biggest pain is the dining room. It's actually a dining area since it's open to the rest of the house. The light fixture is badly positioned and I like the table to be centered under the light. Doing so makes it feel cramped, and I need a solution. I also don't have room for the large china cabinet I have, so I'm looking for a smaller curio type cabinet.

I've thought about raising the light fixture a bit so I can move the table without the danger of us banging our heads on the globes every time we stand up. There is also a chest high bar between the kitchen and dining area as well as a large bank of cabinets on the other side of the table. I love the extra storage space and the counter top makes a nice buffet. It just doesn't leave many options for decorating or rearranging the furniture.

I've searched for small dining room decorating ideas, and the spaces some decoraters consider small is laughable. Most of the "small" spaces showcased are the size of my bedroom with lots of open wall space. I also cannot remodel every two years. Not helpful.

I don't live in a "rambling 19th century farmhouse with an unused room just off the kitchen that I can turn into a butler's pantry/breakfast nook." Really? Decorating magazines are so out of touch with real life! I want to live a life where unused rooms are available in bulk.

Thoughts?

(I really want to provide you guys with pictures of my dining room, but I'm working on a quilt right now and the table is covered in fabric and sewing paraphernalia...)


Like what you see? Support this site!

New Cottage Style : Decorating Ideas for Casual, Comfortable Living (Better Homes and Gardens)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dishes, dishes, dishes


While I've yet to finish the China Cabinet Metamorphosis, the cabinet has become a nice spot to display photos and part of the S&P collection my aunt gave me. It will probably stay that way until I get some other things wrapped up, but the extra storage space I cleaned out is nice.

Even though I don't entertain much, I like to collect dishes. I don't collect expensive or rare dishes, just things that catch my eye and match what I already have. My main dish sets include two patterns from Pfaltzgraff. French Quarter and the yellow Circle of Kindness dinner plates. I also have some salad plates from the Villa della Luna collection, bread and butter plates from a pattern called Sheffield Elegance and a platter from the Pfaltzgraff Napoli colletion. What they have in common is that they all have similar colors. I've determined that green and yellow are neutral colors that match just about everything and can transition any season or holiday.

What I like about the French Quarter pattern is that it has shades of green, terra cotta and yellow, and with the right plates and accessories can look appropriately festive for the holidays. Being on a budget, it helps that my dishes can transition well.

Right now I'm looking at solid dishes for Christmas that will coordinate with the French Quarter pattern. I'm probably going with a lighter shade of red that will blend with the terra cotta nicely. I have some items on eBay that I'm watching, so I'll keep you posted!


Pfaltzgraff French Quarter Dinner Plate
Pfaltzgraff French Quarter
 
Pfaltzgraff Circle of Kindness


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Facebook account has been disabled

Apparently, using my legal first and last names isn't good enough for Facebook. I tried to log in this morning and got an error message that I'd been disabled. The link in the error message took me to a page that claims I had a "fake profile" whatever the hell that means.

I've spent money on Facebook, with my PayPal account, so verifying that I am who I say I am should be easy right? Not only that, my phone number and address are listed on my business profile, which is also no longer in existence apparently.

I'm more than a little pissed, and I hope Facebook's customer "service" department can resolve this quickly. I would like an explanation of how they came to the conclusion that my name was fake, especially since I had relationship links to all my siblings and parents and have used the same name for the last two years. I was also tagged in other people's photos and had close to 600 friends.

I have contacts on Facebook that I have no other way of keeping in touch with. Namely people who are in the military and might be deployed, or people who don't live here any more.

To say the least, I'm perplexed and I'm also incredibly pissed off. If they treat people like this who advertise on the site and spend a little money on the games every now and then, I can't imagine how they treat people who use the site for spam and porn and stalking their ex-significant others. Or people who really do have fake names that are obviously fake. Oh, wait. They don't do anything to them because most of them were still on there the last time I checked.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Fling

Every year about this time I start cleaning out my flower beds. I take down all the spent annuals, dig up the weeds I allowed to run amok all summer and start putting out perennials for early bloom. Every year I cuss myself because it got too hot to stay on top of the crabgrass and Bermuda grass that invaded the beds and vow to do better next year. This year was no different.

I've decided to grow more year-round interest plants. I'm not big on shrubs, but I'm going to do some research and find some evergreens that don't get ridiculously huge and will blend well with perennials and roses. Ornamental grasses are another option that I'm planting between some of the perennials for late summer, fall and winter interest. I have also found a good variety of perennials that will bloom in the fall or that will bloom all summer until first frost.  Once many of the summer bloomers are done, I'm left with dead stalks and bare ground.  Winter can be very bleak here without something nice to look at, especially since it doesn't snow much.

I have an entire bed of roses to relocate. Several of the roses I planted didn't make it simply because they are too far from the house to water and I forget about them. It's my fault, but they are being interspersed with the perennials so they can be tended a little better. Their current home will host spring bulbs like daffodils, muscari and snowdrops and be planted with low-mow and low water varieties of native grasses like buffalograss and sheep fescue.  I'm sick of tending crabgrass and Bermuda grass. They are weeds as far as I'm concerned, and I don't want them any more.

I promise to get back with pictures as soon as I find my memory card and charge the batteries in the camera. For now, here's one of my front flower bed.

Echinacea and liatris

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New favorite lipstick!

I just started as an Avon Independent Rep about two months ago and I've been sampling all the products. I've found a new favorite lipstick as of yesterday.

The Smooth Minerals in Rumberry is going to be my daily lipstick. It's just a shade or two darker than my natural lip color, which I like. I have to wear lipstick that has a purple tinge to it or it looks ORANGERED!!

I also started using the Smooth Minerals powder and Healthy Makeup foundation, and I really like both.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cut Flower Pictures

Since I try to keep my business site strictly business, I thought I'd post some pictures of my gardens and cut flowers I've grown this year.

Cut Flowers

A Year in the Backyard - This one is terribly misleading. I've not posted as many pictures as I should have, but there are a fair number there.

For the record, my flower beds look like shit right now. I don't weed or transplant or plant when it's 110 degrees and humid outside. We were also under drought like conditions for most of the summer, so transplanting anything would have been disastrous. I did end up losing some plants, so I have to start over in some sections of my yard.

My other half has been doing quite a bit of work on the "unfencing project" which includes removing a fenceline (done), rehabbing the pond (partially done), planting native trees and shrubs (on the list) and planting a meadow (on the list). He's been on the tractor behind the house with a box blade. It looks so much better than it did even a few months ago.

IF I can remember to take some photos this weekend, I'll post them. Hope you enjoy these pictures!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What to Wear to Work

Like most of the rest of the universe, today is casual Friday at the office. I have on my jeans, a corduroy jacket, my new boots, and a ruffle sleeve tee. Even though you can't see the tee under my jacket, it's 90 degrees today so the jacket came off.



I'm only wearing mascara and lip gloss because I was running late, and my hair is in a ponytail. You're also only getting the bird's eye view of my outfit because I had to take this with my cell phone. No photographer or tripod here at work.

Jacket - J. Crew, thrifted
Shirt - Old Navy
Jeans - Levi's, Walmart
Boots - Steve Madden, 6pm.com (50% off regular price, score!)
Earrings - Gift from Mom several years ago as part of a set. They are costume and will have to be replaced soon because the finish is wearing off, but I wear them all the time.

Hoping for better pictures as time passes and I can plan a little better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's me again

I just wanted to step in and say hi, and let you know that I haven't abandoned this blog. Life, and other projects, have forced me to put this and some of my other hobbies on hold.

I'm slowly rearranging things so that I have myself on a schedule. I'm not the most rigid person in the world and have trouble adhering to a schedule and maintaining routines, but I'm working on it.

Over the past few months I have become an Avon Representative, booked a wedding for next year (I grow flowers), and have gotten a steady beau. Needless to say, I've been busy.

Because I sell makeup, and love clothes I hope to start posting reviews and maybe pictures of me IN some of my clothes. I might be asking for advice or showing off something I've bought. We'll see how it goes.

Bye for now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lunch

This is what my lunch break looked like today:

  • Transfer clothes to dryer, start another load
  • Spill dried beans all over kitchen
  • Sweep up dried beans, toss the ones that hit the floor
  • Search for crockpot, find crockpot
  • Search for crockpot lid
  • Search for flashlight
  • Say "FUCK!" about 5 times
  • Search for batteries for flashlight
  • Find missed bean on the floor with kneecap
  • Say "MOTHERFUCKER!" really loud and scare cat
  • Find lid to crockpot
  • Start beans in crockpot
  • Eat two tuna sandwiches
I have horrible lighting in my kitchen, and my cabinets on the bottom are really deep and horribly organized, thus the flashlight. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why? And a little more about this blog

Why would someone write a blog about nothing? Well, everyone else does, so why not me? If I had nothing to write about I wouldn't have started a blog to begin with. Sometimes I just feel the need to get the shit that is swimming around in my head down in some written form so I can go back later and say "What a dumbass! What was I thinking?" It's probably nothing because do other people really want to read about the mundane details of someone else's life? Apparently, or Blogger wouldn't exist at all.

I don't draw funny cartoons, I'm not particulary hip, edgy, cool or hard core about anything. I like to think in my head that I have this level of cool that allows me to tip my head up slightly at other people and casually say "'Sup?" but in reality that doesn't happen.

About this blog:

This blog will not be safe for work (NSFW) or children, most likely. I use profanity with some regularity. There won't be any porn, but there might be some talk about sex and possibly links to stuff about sex. Again, no porn.

The main categories I'll be posting under are:
  • Things I Obsess About
  • Things I Hate
  • Things I Need to Work On
  • Important Things
  • Unimporant Things
  • Funny Word Verifications
  • Word of The Day
  • Stuff About Me
  • Stuff About This Blog
  • Stuff From Around the Internet
  • Sexy Stuff
So mostly things and stuff. If Things and Stuff bore you, probably best to move on now before you become too invested in this relationship and wind up bitter and disappointed. Otherwise, hang out, subscribe to my feed and leave a comment!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

First Project: Turn the Built-in Into a China Cabinet, Phase 1

I've already started one of the projects on my Hit List, which is converting one of the built-in cabinet/shelving units into a functional china cabinet. Since my entire living and dining room area is open I don't have much wall space and my nice antique china cabinet is languishing in my bedroom as a bookshelf. Don't get me wrong, it's doing a great job!

Here's a picture of the before:




It's stuffed full of books and crap that I don't need or use. I cleaned it out, wiped all the dust off and transferred the books to another built-in on the other side of the room that's not quite as visible from the main living areas of the house.

It also housed bags of cat food, dog food and cat litter in the bottom which have all been transferred to buckets in the laundry room. Maybe now the cats will stop trying to get in the cabinet in the middle of the night.








Here's a shot of the cabinet all cleaned and dusted with the three Easter sentinels standing guard. I love these guys! The pig, rabbit and cow all have knitted sweaters on. (I have a rooster too, but I can't seem to find him.) They were given as a gift to my daughter when she was 2, so I have no idea where they came from.









Here we have a mostly empty cabinet with a few knick-knacks for decoration until the transformation is complete. The plan is to put bead board on the back wall of the cabinet and paint it white. I also have to make a plate lip or rail of some sort or use plate stands. I think I'll probably end up with plate stands.

The "decorative" glass may also be coming out of the doors and be replaced with clear glass. It appears to be held in with nothing more than hot glue, so I'm going to take a door off and put the hair dryer to it to see what happens. I think the cabinet handles on the bottom may stay.

Lucky for me the bottom cabinet is just deep enough for wine bottles. Guess what's going in the bottom cabinet? Maybe the cats won't stay out after all.                                                                                                 


Odds and ends, pictures and stuff I've collected over the years. The baby pictures at right are of my eleven year old daughter.  The jars of glass were pieces she and a friend found in a creek during a recent trip to Lebanon, OH to visit. You wouldn't believe the stuff they found!












Beautiful jars of broken glass. This is just a small portion of what they found. The canning jar was a gift from the friend we visited in Ohio, and the apothecary jar was a 50 cent thrift store find.




Some of the salt and pepper collection that I was recently bequeathed.  I also got a custom made shelf that they were all displayed on. It's massive and I'm not sure my walls can hold it. 





That's it for Phase 1. As soon as I get my hands on some bead board I'll be getting to work on the final step. I think it will be a fantastic transformation!

Linked over at Between Naps on the Porch for Metatmorphosis Monday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hit List

Re-decorating a home is a daunting task, especially when done alone and with a small budget. I am a list person by nature, so having a list of things to do keeps me focused.

Here is the "Hit List" for my house:
  • Convert the built-in cabinet in the dining room into a china cabinet. This is first on my list because it's going to be a cheap and easy project. A little bead board, finishing nails and paint will do the trick.
  • Clean and organize the spare room so it can be used as a guest room when needed. There is already a bed (storage surface apparently) in there, but I'll be damned if anyone can sleep on it.
  • Paint the porch and shutters. The door has been painted already, so it's time to tackle the porch and shutters. I am thinking of paying my little brother to do this project.
  • Paint my bathroom and my daughter's bathroom.
  • Move the chandelier over a couple of feet in the dining room. Also a little brother project. It's situated oddly. By placing the table in the most logical position, the light fixture is not centered above the table so someone is going to hit their noggin.
  • Acquire two arm chairs and a small table to create a conversation area in the living room. In the process, get rid of the chaise lounge.
  • Find some narrow shelving units/curios to flank the couch.
  • Replace the hideous track light in the kitchen with a much more stylish track light to match my decor, like this one
  • Install under-cabinet lighting so I can see what I'm cooking.
  • Install tile in master bathroom, guest bath, kitchen and laundry area.
  • Install hardwood or laminate in the living room, dining room and master bedroom.
This is a constantly evovling list, so check back soon!

Welcome!

Welcome to The Double-wide Cottage! I have slowly been transforming my manufactured home into a cottage, complete with a messy cottage garden, since I moved in a little over three years ago.  I acquired my home when the previous owners (extended family) let the home go into foreclosure. It also happened to be on 8 acres of land that I inherited when my grandfather passed.  My then-husband and I stepped into a very inexpensive mortgage and a home that needed a lot of work.  We shampooed the carpet, painted the walls and moved in.

Fast-forward to 3.5 years later. I am now single with a house that is financed solely in my name. During the refinance I was able to do some improvements to the outside of the house that made a huge difference in the appearance. I have taken the naked yard from a sea of grass and weeds to the beginning of a beautiful cottage garden retreat, had a brick foundation installed and replaced the rotting boards of the front porch. I still have a lot of work to do, but I have also made a great deal of progress.

The inside has been relatively plan and uninspiring up to this point. I have decided to change that and make my little house a home that suits my casual style with a little vintage and thrift-store thrown in.  I have somewhat modern sensibilities in that I don't like frilly, frou-frou or overly done interiors. I enjoy simple lines, bright colors and clean neutrals. Modern and contemporary interiors usually look cold and plain to me, but I do appreciate the clean lines and open space. It may seem like my personal style is completely contradictary with cottage style, but I also enjoy quirky vintage pieces, quilts and mix-match dishes.  

Join me and follow the journey from double-wide to country cottage!
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