Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flower Girl

I have really been wanting to have more flowers around the house lately but I don't grow any of my own (you saw how that worked out) and they are expensive to buy. Last night I was driving home from town during magic hour (that last hour of sunlight) and was enjoying the beauty of the farmland surrounding our town, when I noticed the Queen Anne's lace growing all long the road in the ditches.

It occurred to me that, likely, no one would mind if I picked some flowers out of their ditch, so I pulled over to harvest some posies.

I never used to have an appreciation for Queen Ann's lace, I saw it as a weed, really, but more recently I love the simply beauty of the white flower, and it grows so abundantly it's easy to make use of it in your home for free.

I am no floral artist, but I took the lace home, along with a few wild daisies I found in the ditch, and made the best arrangement I could. At first I thought of the milk glass vases I bought recently at the thrift store, which would have been cute, but then my heart went pitter patter as I considered a mason jar vase, and how cute and country that would look. Voila:

I'm not a huge doily fan but this seemed to fit nicely. I also added some simply off-white yarn as a bow around the top of the mason jar:

A little inspiration over the generations from my farmgirl ancestors. What do you think? I love it so much I'm going to "harvest" some more this afternoon and make some more free bouquets for arround the house. the only downside is that for whatever reason the plant chemicals released while cuttng the flowrs made me feel a little nauseated after it wall done, but that passed soon enough and I was loving my flowers.

I thank God for the simple pleasures, and that he gave me the guts to pull over and pick flowers from a ditch (I admit I felt a bit silly at first). He really is so good to answer our prayers, ladies. I have been praying to be a better home maker, and on a budget, and He was precious to provide this inspiration of a way to make my home more warm and invitng. He is good!!

Have a great day, ladies! I will be back soon with a post about my new home making goals the Lord is setting on my heart. I hope you'll join in the conversation.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Armchair Confessional VIII

Wow, it's been faaar to long since I posted a confessional! The last one was in January! Now you know this Armchair Housewife has had plenty I could have confessed between then and now, but let's just catch up with the following two items.

My Black Thumb- I decided to get some pretty potted flowers for my front porch in May, something to spruce up the front of the house a bit. They were lovely, but with all the travelling we did in May, June, and July of this year, they didn't stand a chance at living. Behold:

They were a pretty bright red flowers. Let's all have a moment of silence for these poor neglected plants. :(

Yikes. I threw them out today. I'll try again next year.

My Black Shower- This is more a confession of my lack of gratitude than it is a lack of effort around the house. I am very thankful for the home the Lord has blessed us with, but I must confess I do not like my shower one little bit. It's an older house that's been converted into multiple apartments and at some time in the last few decades they took the existing shower and put in a drop ceiling (with a cardboard lining, no less) and one of those bad, cheap plastic linings for the shower walls. The tubs is old and filthy and stained. See for yourself:

You can see what I mean in this wide shot of the bad plastic lining for the shower wall. I despise this cheap solution to shower fixing, because it looks bad to begin with and only gets worse as it gets stained.

Yuck! I have scrubbed and scrubbed this corner until I am blue in the face (and red raw in the hands) and nothing. I have tried various abbrasive cleaners,bleach, this stuff that's suppose to bleach grout and tile, etc, and nothing will remove the gross old rust stains and mildew stains on the porcelain and the cracks between the tub and the cheap plastic lining. If ANY of you have any other suggestions, please let me know. I took this photo after washing the tube today, so it was clean, but you can see it still looks filthy.

Of course the porcelain by the drain is stained as well, and also worn away. Again, I've soaked,srubbed, bleached. Nothing will fix it.

And the piece de resistance: The Drop Ceiling. Ugh.. .i get creeped out just looking at this. Some bright soul decided to put a drop ceiling in over the shower and the lining is this horrible, cheap cardboard-like material. And of course it is terribly mildew stained. Again, I've tried bleaching, scrubbing, and that's not easy to do with a ceiling, and nothing seems to help. It's like stained paper, you can't do anything about it. I am thinking about looking into some sort of water-resistant paint that I might be able to use. Again, any tips, ladies, i'd love them.

Here you can see where the tile once was , where it met the ceiling, and where the dreaded plastic lining starts. They didn't even put the plastic lining flush up to the ceiling. It's pretty bad.
I must say that this is the biggest, nicest apartment we've lived in since we've been married, with the one glaring exception of this horrid shower. To be honest I am glad we haven't had many people stay with us since moving in here, because I'd be a bit embarassed for them to use the shower. I know it's clean, so I don't mind using it, but I'd hate for someone to step in there and think it was just dirty. As a renter there's not much I can but cosmetic fixes.
So, again this is more of a confession of the heart; some days I just can't stand the shower and wish we had something different. If any of you ladies have any suggestions on how I could improve the way it looks, I'd love to hear them.
Thanks for stopping by for another installment of the Confessionals. Now it's your turn, ladies.. any housework or home making confessions you'd like to share?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blast from the Past: Milk Bottles

Hello Ladies! I just finished baking some chocolate chip peanut butter brownies for our monthly prayer and praise service at the church tonight, and am about to snuggle in with my bible and Kobe, the cute Bichon Frise that we are puppy sitting today (Stuart, our faithful Maltese, is being a snob and napping with Caleb in the bedroom) for some quiet time on the couch.
I had prepared and posted an entire entry about organic food prices, but I decided to take it down as I wasn't sure it was anything my readers were interested in. If any of you aer interested in what organic choices we make, and why, and what it costs us, let me know and I'll repost. For now, though, I just wanted to share these cute little blasts from the past with you: Milk Bottles.

This is one of the perks of buying organic, you can buy your milk in bottles! Aren't they cute? :)

Hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Recent Second Hand Finds

Do yourself a favor and press play on the Oldies Radio to the left before you start reading!

Hello ladies!! I want to say a big THANK YOU for all the well-wishes on my return to blogland and all the lovely remarks on my last two posts. SO good to be back!

I am kicking back, watching an episode of Father Knows Best (I've rewatched these DVDs about 100 times, I love the show) and decided to post on some recent second hand finds. Y'all know me and my second hand shopping! Below are some treasures I found mostly at the local Value Village, with a few items from a Sunday trip to the antique store:

I was particularly excited about these milk glass vases that I got for a dollar each and the little milkclass candy dish (is that what those are? I'm not 100% sure) also for a dollar. The candy dish went on my shelf from the previous post and I haven't decided yet on a home for the vases.

I was also excited to see these pretty little creamers, each about a dollar each as well, which also found their home on my redone shelf in the kitchen. Cute!

This one is sort of hard to see, but it's a cast iron 'basket' built for two bottles of wine,with a cute little rooster on the front. I think I paid 3 dollars for it.

These aren't very glamorous, but they are just what I needed: two little bags of assorted plate stands. I have some plates and also some books that I'd like to use as decorations around the house but haven't had any plate stands to use to prop them up. Now i've got about ten, for 2 dollars.

Unfortunately this picture is blury, but hopefully you can see that I got three old LP records with really cute retro covers. I am going to use them when I update my mantle soon. Isn't this college songs one from the 50s super cute? One dollar!

Yesterday I popped into the MCC Thrift store in town and found these little treasures:

I got a few mason jars to make more of those coffee bean candle holders from the last post, for a quarter each, a pretty hurricane glass that I'll use with a nice candle, and a bright red dish I have stored with my Christmas dishes and will fit in beautifully on my holiday table this year. I also got this lovely white cookie jar, which is something I really needed:

Isn't it cute? I paid 3 dollars for it, which is sort of high for my uber-cheap self at a thrift store, but it's a nice size, good condition, nice and sturdy, and it's milky white and fits my kitchen decor well. And last but not leaast, I found this fantastic treasure:

It's a book called Happiness for Husbands and Wives, and was written by a Christian doctor in 1950. Look at the adorable cover pages:

What a sweet little family, dad coming home from a long day at work, little girls happy to greet him, and our sister in an apron, the loving housewife at the door to say 'Welcome Home'. So sweet!

And I love the font on the title page- so 1950. I've been reading it some already and find it to be a beautiful little book. Times have really changed since 1950, but the challenges and joys of marriage, and the truth of God's word concerning love and life remain the same. And I paid a wopping 1.50 for this vintage find.
Well, that just about does it for the evening. Time to turn off Father Knows Best and spend some time with my heavenly Father. I'm reading the minor prophets right now, and they are amazing, regularly overlooked gems.
See you soon, ladies! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shelf Redux

My mother is a very generous woman. I'm trying to learn not to comment on anything in her home when I'm there because if I compliment anything she is likely to give it to me. I'll insist I wasn't complimenting it so she'd give it to me, but then she insists, and I end up taking home treasures. You have seen some already on this blog and you will see more in the future for sure.

One recent treasure was this old shelf that she wasn't using, it was in her basement, and I asked if I could have it and transform it for my kitchen. She kindly said yes. Behold the shelf:

You can see it was pretty beat up, both dirty from being down in mom's basement and the paint job was looking pretty worn. Also, the appliques mom had added, that at one time looked cute, now looked faded and chipped.

I am no kind of crafting artist by any stretch, but I figured if I could just scrape off the old appliques, put on a decent coat of paint, I could have myself a pretty cute shelf for my kitchen on a wall that was totally void of decoration.

I got some basic white and dark red acrylic paint, and gave the entire shelf a couple of coats.

The shelf fit very nicely on my kitchen wall, and I added a few treasures, and voila:

I am pretty pleased with it. Notice I also hung some of the treasures I bought back in the winter on the wall next to the shelf. I think it looks pretty cute.

Two of my favorie treasures on this shelf include this adorable little 1950s transistor radio that my mother insisted (and when I say insisted I mean she literally followed me otu to the car as I was pulling away from her house and chased the car, laughing and tapping on the window until I agreed to take it, God love her) I take after I complimented it.

The others are these adorable, beautiful kissing angels that my grandmother gave me recently. She used to work in ceramics when I was a little girl and these were some beauties she made in 1984. They are marked with her name and the year on the base, and I will treausure them forever.

Another shelf that got "redone" was my poor, ghastly kitchen cupboard. I have managed to keep the inside of the cupboard relatively organized, but the top shelves (and the ones that people see, for goodness sakes) have been strugglin' for some time. See for yourself:

See, I told you. So, today I was determined to clean them up, and after a while I came up with this:

I think we can all agree it's better. I love love love that enamel kettle; I bought at the antique store today for only 7 dollars (usually you can't look at an enamel kettle for under 20).

I totally ripped off Aunt Ruthie over at Sugar Pie Farmhouse and made these cute little candle holders from mason jars, coffee beans, and some red ribbon. And I love it even more because I used two store-bought spaghetti sauce jars out of the recylcing bin and coffee beans I had in the freezer for far too long because I found I didn't like the flavor of the brand.. Extra points for recycling!

Well, I'd say that's plenty of fun for one evening. I'm going to put my feet up and relax while reading my bible and drinking a cup of tea.
God Bless, ladies, and see you again soon!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Let's try this again...

Hello my friends in blogland. I so appreciate your various notes over the past few months, stopping by to say hi, letting me know you are thinking about and praying for me, and wishing me well. I got all the messages, as I receive notifications in my inbox when someone leaves a comment. I haven't been in blogland much, though, but this is going to be an earnest attempt at a return.

In truth I believe my loss in the spring hit me harder than I first realized, not in that I was dispairing, but my desire for homemaking was nearly extinguished for a couple of months. Not only was I not interested in projects or beautifying my home, but truth be told I wasn't even doing a great job at the basics. Remember how I said I had come to a point where I would never go to bed with a dirty dish in the sink? Well, it happened far too many times in the past few months. I'm not saying things got totally out of control, but meal planning, organizing, and really making my house a home has really been a struggle for me since Spring.

But, by God's grace, my desire to be the homemaker I know the Lord would have me be, has been slowly returning, and the engines have really been at full throttle the past couple of weeks. As such, I actually have something to blog about again! And I have lots of ideas and plans to get back into the swing of things and to continue on my adventure to make my house a home and get up out of the armchair. And I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you gals, too, and seeing what you've been up to and how God is working in your lives as women, wives, mothers, and homemakers.

I'm following this re-entry post immediately with a new post about some updates I've done to my kitchen, and I have a few more planned as soon as I can get the pictures downloaded and edited, etc. Look to see more from me very soon.

Excited to be back in blogland,

Armchair Housewife