Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Let's ignore the fact that it's been a month and a half since I last posted. Okay?


Life got busy. I got busy. Excuses, excuses. Let's jump in.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! The weekend before the big day, I got to host our family Christmas for the first time ever. It was wonderful to have my parents, brother, and sister in law in our home for some family time and a wonderful meal.

And we did a great job hosting if I do say so myself.

We served a traditional-ish meal of fried turkey, turnip greens, sweet potato casserole, English peas (a must passed down from my great grandmother for any holiday gathering), roasted potatoes and carrots, and cornbread (using Brett's great grandmother's pan and recipe). We also had Christmas candy and derby pie (regular and gluten free) to finish it off.

The house was decked out for a celebration!

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My favorite ornament acquired this year, the stegosaurus:

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We even got our sheepskin in on the action.

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(Stack of library book are not a Christmas decoration :) )

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But my favorite, favorite thing about having people over for a Christmas meal: I get to do a Christmas table!


I started with some black and white fabric I've been wanting to use forever, and some charcoal gray chargers I got on clearance for $1 each at Z Gallerie.

The original look was supposed to be black, white, and brass. With maybe some glittery thrown in. My original flower plan was white poinsettias. But then I realized I really wanted some red thrown in. So I did that with flowers, candles, and the napkins.

The brass was brought in using my vintage candlestick collection (never pay over 50 cents people) and a couple of containers for flowers bought at Goodwill (also 50 cents each). Then I added our china and an assortment of red and white tulips and daisies, along with some green mini hydrangea, and it was finished.

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The candles are all from Target. They offer these column candles in a few different colors every season, and I always grab a few. My gray ones (on the mantle in an above pic) are my favorite. They look so much nicer than tapers to me.

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The napkin fold came from Martha Stewart Weddings, and was super duper easy.

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I thought it all turned out beautiful, but still fun and not too stuffy? Maybe?

The only other project I've really been working on is this one.

I've still got to stain the bottom but the weather is not cooperating. We are having a freakishly cold winter! (cue tons of people laughing at my complaints) But I can't use water based stain if it's going to be under 35F within 24 hours, or if it's going to rain anytime soon. Plus it's, you know, kind of a busy time of year. I'll finish it sometime.

I'll do a post with nicer pictures soon, but here's a sneak peek of a couple of my Christmas presents. I took these with my phone in the dark.

Oh yes, oh yes that is a red, metal Ikea cabinet.

And that is a photograph from the one and only Sharon Montrose!!!!!!!!!! And those are picture hangers for three more photographs!!!!!!!

I'm way spoiled.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ready for Thanksgiving?

We are!

Thanksgiving means a lot of planning for me, and this year, I'm bound and determined to get some of my favorites. Combine my uncertainty with the fact that my husband won't get to come with me for Thanksgiving at all, and we were inspired to have a practice session on Sunday.

I made a little bit of baked ham with maple glaze for the hubs, but I wasn't interested. What I wanted was the casseroles. I'm a huge nut for my grandmother's potato casserole. I call it hers, because she's been making it since I was a little girl. But it's really just the recipe on the bag of Ore-Ids Hash Browns. She switches the green onions out for a little bit of finely diced white onion, and trust me, this stuff is delicious.

I also really want to be able to eat my mom's broccoli casserole, straight from the pages of every Southern girl's favorite cookbook, Bell's Best (recipe below). For both of these recipes, most of the ingredients are totally fine for me. Sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter, onions, broccoli, all gluten free of course. Two suspects, the Ore Ida hash browns and the Cheez Whiz, were also thankfully GF. Ore Ida actually has a list of all gluten free products on their website, here. Corn Flakes aren't gluten free, but I could just use some Glutino crackers as a topping instead.

I had one problem with both recipes. Cream soup. Check and can of Campbell's Cream soup and you'll find wheat flour listed as an ingredient, so I needed to find an alternative. I had looked for GF cream soups before, with no luck. But on my latest trip to Whole Foods, I did a happy dance, called my grandma excitedly, and told her we were in the clear. They had GF Cream of Mushroom Soup! I bought like 6 cans to take for our huge Thanksgiving. I thought we had found our solution.

Then Sunday, when I opened the first can for my potato casserole? Craaaaaaaaaaap. It wasn't condensed. It wasn't condensed! Which would make my casserole way too liquidy. Without thinking, I went ahead and dumped both cans in the bowl. Oops!

I had a soupy mess on my hands. Hmmmmmmmm. So I added a few tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken (which probably didn't really help, honestly). And I added tons of extra cheese to help bind it together. When it felt like almost the right texture, I dumped the whole thing in my largest casserole dish, topped it with crushed, buttered gluten free crackers, and popped it in the oven.


* 1 Bag Ore Ida Country Style Hash Browns
* 2 Can(s) Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom Soup (modified)
* 2 Cup(s) SOUR CREAM
* 1/2 Teaspoon(s) SALT
* 4 Cup(s) CHEDDAR CHEESE shredded (modified)
* 1/2 Cup(s) White ONIONS sliced (modified)
* 1/2 Teaspoon(s) BLACK PEPPER ground (modified)
* 1 box plain Glutino crackers, crushed (modified)
* 1/4 Cup(s) BUTTER melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 4 1/2 quart casserole dish with butter or spray (or don't, it's not super necessary. Side note: the original recipe calls for a 13x9. B.S. No way will it fit. You need a honking casserole for this sucker)

2. In a large bowl, whisk together soup, sour cream, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese, onion and Hash Browns until well mixed. Spoon evenly into baking dish.

3. In a large ziploc bowl, shake together crackers and butter. Sprinkle evenly on top of Hash Brown mixture.

4. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour (modified from original!), or until hot and bubbly. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Eat your heart out.

Next, I tackled the broccoli casserole. I was better prepared for the soup shocker, so I planned ahead a little. Instead of the two cans the recipe called for, I used only one. And instead of using the entire can, I spooned out the thicker globs and left the thin, watery stuff out.

Pre-cooking, the consistency of this casserole was much closer to how I thought it should be. But the lack of thickening agents from the soup just made it never come together. I cooked it. And cooked it. And cooked it. I kept the rest of our lunch warm while I baked it an extra 25 minutes. Then I let it bake while we ate our lunch. Then I let it bake a little longer. We finally took it out just shy of two hours, bubbly and brown on top but still jiggly as ever. It did set a little as it cooled, but it never got as thick as it needed to. It tasted just fine (not as good as my mom's of course, but nothing ever will), but it was more soupy than casserole-y.

But I've found a new solution for next Thursday, and I think it will work much better for casseroles! I'm going to use the condensed soup recipes from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom. I think this texture will turn out much better.

Here's the Broccoli Casserole Recipe, p. 338 in Bell's Best.

1 large onion
1 stalk celery
1/2 c. mushrooms
1 jar Cheez Whiz (the big jar)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I used 3/4 of a can of non-condensed, didn't turn out so hot though. I'll make two batches of the recipe linked above next time)
1 c. cooked rice (we used brown, but either white or brown is fine)
1 box chopped broccoli, cooked.

Saute onion, celery, mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter. (Honestly, I skipped this. I just melted a little butter and mixed the onion, celery and mushrooms in it in a bowl. I don't think I've ever seen my mom do this either) Add soup, Cheez Whiz, rice, and drained broccoli. Place in a casserole dish and cook at 350 for 10-15 minutes (lies! Even following this recipe to the exact letter, it has never taken less than 45 minutes to get done. Cook it at whatever temperature you have other things going, until the top is brown and delicious looking, and the middle is barely jiggly)

Honestly, these recipes may not look like much. Cheez whiz? Hash browns topped with crackers? But they're home to me. I'll also be helping to make the turkeys (smoke, fried, and baked, thank you), ham, and vegetables. Plus I'm preparing the sweet potato casserole, from scratch, with a too good for words pecan topping. I'll also be making a little pan of gluten free stuffing, some GF rolls, and a GF pecan pie. So I won't be going hungry. But the two recipes here are the two that mean Thanksgiving for me. They bring back years of holiday meals and family gatherings. And I'm so happy that I'll get to eat them this year.

If you want a chance to win several fabulous prizes, including a new kitchen-aid mixer, you can make a gluten free dish and blog about it, and post a link on this post at Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. It's way easier than you think, I promise!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hi there

I have a bunch of random things kicking around to post, so here's a mish mash of things.

First, the fall cure update. When I started, I loved the concept of this year's cure. At 20 minutes a day, it's perfect for us working stiffs, right?

I didn't think about the fact that I wasn't going to be home over a quarter of the days of the cure! When I'm in a hotel Monday through Wednesday, cleaning, buying flowers, and other 20 minute tasks aren't happening. So they've been pushed and I'm behind.

But I'm doing pretty well considering. I'm only a couple of days behind. I still need to clean a room this week, clean out my medicine cabinet, and hang a piece of artwork. I stopped on the way home from work today (my first day in my own city this week!) and got some flowers.

I decided to go with another bunch of football mums. The first ones I got, three weeks ago, lasted until today. They were still okay, and probably would have lasted another week if I had been home to change the water earlier this week. At $4.99 from Whole Foods, they're a great deal.

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And dude, I'm sure you're tired of it, but hellooooooooo black fireplace. I love it so, so much. Best, decision ever.

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I love this color. It totally matches the sweater I wore today, actually!

I used the greenery from last week's flowers-white hydrangeas. They were gorgeous, but not super cheap. And they started wilting almost instantly. These would be great for an event, like a dinner party. But not to enjoy for a week. Excuse the iphone pic, please.


The greenery was still in pretty good shape. I even had enough left over to brighten up my fruit bowl area.

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One of my favorite days so far was one of the ones I dreaded most-the media fast. I spent an entire evening with no tv, no computer, no books, no radio. And I did it on a night when Brett was working, so I spent it completely alone. To keep it real, I was assisted by a traffic jam caused by an overturned 18 wheeler. So I got some extended radio time. I also stopped at the fabric store on the way home. But I got into the spirit of things starting at the fabric store. I left my iPhone in my purse, and made conversation with my fellow shoppers instead. It was a nice change of pace.

When I got home, I had dinner (at the table!) and just kind of stared around my living and dining room and thought about what I wanted to do. Some things will never happen (wood floors, ha!). Some things will happen really soon (curtains). And some things just hit me all of a sudden. It was really, really refreshing.

After dinner, I decided to hang a mirror that I've been meaning to hang since I painted the dining room. Like three months ago.

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I almost definitely should have waited until Brett was home to help, but I did it without breaking the mirror! And it's level! Then I took a long bath with a yummy smelling candle and went to bed on time for once. I felt great the next day, and I had a new list of things to tackle.

So what is it that just hit me in the face, and so suddenly became clear?

This thing.

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I hate it.

Like HATE it.

I kept quiet about it, because I thought Brett really wouldn't be happy with me saying I wanted to refinish it AGAIN. But I really, really hate it. So I secretly wished I could paint it again and started thinking about what I should back it with.

Then a few days later, a miracle happened! I was sweeping the dining room and Brett was wiping off the table, and he said, "I hate that china cabinet." I think he was so confused when I started grinning. He doesn't hate the cookie monster color with my passion, but he also doesn't like it. What he hates is the flowery paper backing. And I honestly can't blame him. It's just way, way, way too much. Way too much.

So we have to decide what color we want to paint it. We're considering mixing the half quart of blue that we have left with some black and making something closer to the blue-black we wanted in the first place. But I'm also considering just plain black, or, of course, gray. Charcoal this time? We're really not into white, but suggestions are welcome.

For the backing, I'm loving this from Paper Source.

But I am kind of in love with the whimsical idea of this utensil print.

And then there's the Marimekko Frekvennssi Wallpaper, and of course, my dream, Schumacher's Birds and Butterflies Wallcovering, but it's way too pricey for this project.

I'm really obsessing over the dining room lately. I think we've picked out a table, pending seeing the color in person to see if I think it will clash with our floors or not.

Sure, it's basic, nothing fancy. But the clean lines, the solid wood, and the natural finish has me thinking this could be our table four years to come.

But I am set on dining chairs. I've decided. I haven't let my husband in on this decision, but it's okay because I'm the decider, like George W. Bush. I'm wearing the Decision Pants right now.

Our eventual dining chairs are going to be Wishbone Chairs. And even if I'll feel bad, and wish I could find vintage ones, they're going to be knockoffs. The one pictured above is $960. For a single chair. Or $5800 for six. Okay? I can't afford it. InMod sells a knockoff for just $269. The top rail isn't one piece of bentwood. And you know what? That's not worth 700 bucks to me. Urban Home used to sell a version for just $79. SEVENTY NINE DOLLARS! But it seems it's no longer available. My plan is to buy one chair at a time until I have the number I need (8?). I know this is a pretty stupid plan. I know.

Now, I'll wrap things up and go to bed. I'm happy to be home and taking advantage of my own bed and my wonderful sheets (Target Home Organic Cotton. Get some). Hope everyone is having as wonderful a time as I am tonight!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Additions

We have a couple of little additions that are brightening up our place lately.

Fall has arrived here in Baton Rouge, and we actually turned our heat on yesterday! We turned it back off after a couple of hours, but still! I wanted to leave it off until December, but Brett was a wuss. It was 60 degrees in the house, so I can't blame him.

Still, it has me in a blanket kind of mood! I was stuck in traffic the other night after a huge wreck on the interstate, and I stopped at the fabric store to pass some time. When I saw that wool was on super sale, I decided I needed a little plaid wool blanket. I picked out a gray wool (of course), with a little brown/black plaid. And I got some red trim to edge it. This was a real bitch to work with, I'll be honest. The trim was really hard to keep in place at first, but I got the hang of it as I went along.

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I love the way it turned out! It's a great size and very warm, and makes me feel all New England-y or something. I've never been to New England though, unless NYC counts, so take that with a grain of salt.

We also have a new addition to the guest room. Last Saturday, I noticed an estate sale on my way out of the neighborhood, and I had a few minutes so I stopped in. There wasn't much that interested me, but I saw a little wooden side chair with a ripped upholstered seat, and wondered if I could get a deal. I got them down to $5, and ran down the street to get cash. I ended up paying in change, because we didn't have any small bills!

It had ugly black fake leather on the seat, with a few big rips in it. They included more of the same fabric with it, but I wasn't interested. I wanted the chair to look bright and cheery in our guest room.

Here it is, peeking our from behind the bed.

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I used leftover curtain fabric to give it a sweet makeover.

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I'm really doing my damnedest to convince Brett that we can let this chair function as an end table. A wall lamp and a vintage clock, and we'd be in business, right?

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Not bad for $5.

Friday, October 29, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Days 9 and 10

Yesterday was Day 9, and the task was to find a recipe and make it. I skipped out on doing it last night for a couple of reasons. First, because I didn't feel like cooking a special meal just for myself after the indulgent meals I ate on my business trip earlier in the week (Brett was working). And second, I got home after my dinner time thanks to election volunteering. So I figured moving it to brunch today when we could both enjoy it would be a better move.

This was a task I really think I needed. Since Brett and I work opposite schedules, I rarely cook except on the weekends. And I have had a really bad attitude about food lately.

I have been focusing on what I can't eat, rather than what I can. I think eating vegetarian for a few months was actually pretty bad for me, because when I had to eat veg and gluten free, my diet was so insanely restrictive that I just didn't enjoy anything. I've started eating fish again, which has helped, but I still just focus on the fact that everyone at my table is enjoying chocolate cake, while I can't order dessert. Or when an office professional I don't really know orders lunch and I'm stuck eating nothing but a bag of chips for the entire day.

So I wanted to use today's task to make a lunch we could really enjoy, that was simple, and mostly from scratch. I didn't wand to depend on the pre-made GF pizza crusts or bread products that I usually use. It's nice to give my kitchen a work out.

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This is when I started getting excited. I love red leaf lettuce and tomatoes.

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The pancakes were extremely simple to put together, with just a few ingredients. Hello lovely!

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I also made my first attempt at poaching an egg. I did not succeed.

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We ended up with sunny side up and over easy eggs, which were just fine!

I have no pictures of the meal put together, because we gobbled the pancakes up as soon as they came out of the oven. But we ate at the table with candles and cloth napkins, and good conversation. And no television. We usually eat breakfast together on Fridays and Saturdays in bed while watching our DVRed tv shows, so not having the distraction was a nice change.

The food was delicious. The pancakes were crispy and chewy. I had smoked salmon and Brett had sour cream. The green salad was great, and I made a white balsamic vinaigrette.

I think I'll make a nice meal tomorrow too. :)

For today's task, I need to come up with a list of my home's top 6 needs. Unfortunately, these are some pretty big needs, so none of these can be tackled today or this weekend. I think that's to be expected, since we've been in our house a relatively short time and it needed SO much work when we moved in.

1. Repair damaged wood around carport and windows (hopefully this spring)

2. Replace kitchen/laundry/powder room tile

3. Rent scaffold/ladder leveler to finish stairwell painting

4. Replace living room media storage (I am thinking this will happen at Christmas, fingers crossed!)

5. Get new dining furniture

6. EITHER: Replace carpet or renovate powder room. Both are in pretty crappy, but usable, shape, so it's a toss up.

Based on the expense involved in 1 (we're hiring someone, obv.), the work involved in 2 and both for 6 with either option, the others are likely to happen sooner. But we know that the wood, the tile, the carpet, the powder room and the painting all have to happen at some point. It's just a matter of when.

I am excited to have a bit of a rest this weekend, and a bit more election work. I hope everybody has a great Halloween. Our house was attacked by a swarm of spiders last night so we're really in the Halloween mood!

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Happy Halloween!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Day 8

Today is Day 8 of the AT Fall Cure. Day 6 and 7 were repeats of last week. I was out of town on a quick business trip Monday night, so I couldn't exactly clean a room in my hotel!

So last night, pretty much as soon as I walked in after unpacking, I set to cleaning the kitchen. I cleaned the countertops, the stove top, wiped down the cabinets and cabinets, dusted the shelving unit and spice rack, and swept. I had picked up a bunch of light purple daisies at Target on the way home, so I added a few to my football mums and then made another small arrangement for the console.

Tonight's task is to establish a landing strip. According to the video, I need a place for my keys, a place to hang a coat, and a place to sort mail. We come in from the carport through our screened porch to the laundry room. We already have two hooks on the wall in the laundry room, where I keep my keys, my apron, and my reusable grocery bags. And we have a little expandable folder just past the laundry room, next to the microwave. This is where we sort the mail. Junk goes in the recycling bin, magazines and catalogs we want to read go in the powder room, and anything we need to keep goes in the file folder. Different categories (bills, receipts, financial docs, recipes, etc.) each have their own section. My purse stays on my arm until I get to the living room, where I unload my computer and put my laptop cover and bag on the console table.

So we've got those two covered. And as for the third? Well, here it is the last week of October, and our heat index today was 95 degrees. There's a reason houses are built without coat closets here. We don't wear coats! Most chilly days I wear a light sweater, which goes into the dirty clothes when I change into my lounge clothes after work. For the two weeks a year that we actually break out the wool jackets, there's really no justification for coat storage.

Brett actually has his own little landing strip on the dresser in our bedroom. It's a pretty wooden tray that's just the perfect size to hold his wallet, phone, keys, change, and whatever else he might have in his pockets.

So this task just required a little thinking about how we already do things, and no actual work. I would like to move my shopping bags unto my trunk full time (I'm just too lazy to take them back out after I unload groceries) to declutter that hook, and get some sort of wall mounted storage for that area.

I really want this Kikkerland First Aid Storage Box, which would be the perfect size for that spot. It's too adorable, and we could use it for storage of anything, not just first aid supplies, right?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Um, finally

I think I first said I was going to make these in like August. I know I got the fabric in July. Here it is almost Halloween, and we finally have curtains in our guestroom!

It's my first big dose of chevron, and my next in a series of seemingly never ending shots of yellow. We're slowly returning to the embrace of whimsy and bright color, and we are loving it.

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Hello, gorgeous.

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Seriously. Look at that light. Both bedrooms upstairs get great light, and these filter it wonderfully.

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Hi hems. You're kind of perfect, aren't you?

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The black rod, which was like my 97th choice, worked out wonderfully. So glad I didn't go with white.

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I'm in love with the mix of modern pattern and color with classic furnishings in this room. This room is where we've hit the mark closest in our house, in my opinion. This, and the kitchen.

I'm kind of crazily in love with these curtains. I may have wrapped myself in them and done a Stevie Nicks-esque dance earlier. BUT THAT'S OKAY!!!!! Because our love, coupled with the ease of their construction, is giving me motivation to make curtains for the living and dining room NOW NOW NOW! Even though those won't be as easy. No, they won't. Because one of them is a Roman shade.

And since I never posted about the AT Cure, Day 5, a quick update. The challenge was to switch to a green cleaner or replenish one you use. I kind of did both. I picked up some Seventh Generation dishwashing detergent and mixed up a fresh batch of all purpose vinegar cleaner. The dishwashing detergent didn't leave our glasses spot free like Cascade, but we're okay with that if it means we're not drinking P&G's proprietary ingredients.

I'll have to skip tomorrow's task because I'm leaving in the morning to go out of town. I may clean the kitchen in the morning if I have time, but that's the only room I can clean without waking up the hubs. We'll see! Otherwise, I'll just tackle two tasks on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Day 4

Today's task is one that I was simultaneously excited about and dreading. Today we had to get rid of one item in our home and establish an outbox.

I thought about this on and off today, but I never decided exactly what I'd get rid of. Still, I thought it would be easy. When I got home and watched the video, I knew I couldn't live up to Maxwell's giving up an old iPod, but I was going to do my best.

I started with my outbox.

I wanted to put it someplace where it was out of sight most of the day, but where we would still be faced with it every day. I decided the powder room would be the perfect spot. I chose an old wastebasket that held ll of our paint swatches and some tile samples that we ordered for the fireplace and backsplash long before we actually got to the project. Actually looking through them was kind of great, because it reminded me how far we've come. They were tiny, bright colored tiles, and so different from what we ended up with! I hesitated to get rid of them, but what was I going to do with a few square inches of tile? Nothing. And we've already chosen every paint color for the house. So into the trash they went!

And I set the wastebasket up on the powder room shelves so we'll be sure to see it every day.

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This won't be permanent, because those shelves won't be there once we redo the powder room. Then we'll think of something else.

I started out the removal with a stack of old magazines and catalogs. I'm not sure why we've been keeping them honestly. It's just a habit.

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But into the recycling they go!

But that wasn't enough. I started in on the pantry next. First I got rid of a box we've been keeping just in case we wanted to return the light that came in it. But I kept going with couple of wedding gifts that we haven't touched. Since we've been married two and a half years, I think it's safe to donate them now.

Why did we keep these? The wheat pitcher was not our style, and has never been our style. And the novelty filled cake pan? I'm kind of a classic baker, myself. I'd rather have a nice round cake. For some reason, it's just been hard to give up wedding gifts. But just because we appreciate the sentiment and the thought doesn't mean we have to keep the gift itself.

It's the same with the last item I got rid of, the double blender set. It was a gift from my parents when I moved out into my first apartment alone. And I loved that apartment. Most of the things I had in that apartment are gone now (our guest bed and the TV in our bedroom were the only items I can think of. WAIT! our microwave was also in that apartment.). But it was a really wonderful place and time, and I've hesitated to get rid of them.

But the reality is the blenders are big, bulky, and a hassle to clean. And I have a stick blender that I'd much rather use if I want to make a smoothie or a small batch of soup, and a food processor for bigger jobs. And there's no reason to be sentimental over a blender.

So I loaded up my trunk and I'll stop by Goodwill on my way home tomorrow.

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Giving things up may not come easily to me, but it's worth it. It's a nice reminder that I should only have things I LOVE. I got another reminder today as I put out my new little dish that I bought last weekend at an antique store. At $7, it was probably one of my more expensive plates as far as surface area, but it's by far my favorite. It's a Japanese piece, based on a silky chicken, and it's the perfect size to hold my jewelry while I do the dishes or work in the yard.

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I hope that someday all of the things in my home will make me smile like this little chicken. There are quite a few items that I love like this. My little owl on the mantel, our shadowbox with an imprint of Weenie's paw print, the letterpress prints in our guest bath, my vintage brass candlesticks, and our owl sugar bowl.

It's good practice to remember that letting go of things you don't use, need, or truly love makes room for new things to come into your house. Things that are useful, things that are beautiful, things that make you smile every time you look at them.

That's what we're striving for, and I think today's 20 minutes got us a little bit closer.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

AT Fall Cure: Days 1-3

So as I mentioned this morning, I just now caught up on the Apartment Therapy Fall Cure, so I needed to do three tasks in one day.

Luckily each task only required 20 minutes of effort!

First was to clean a room. Not a deep clean, but a good surface clean. I chose our bedroom, admittedly partially because it's a quick one to clean. I dusted and wiped down the furniture, rearranged our nightstands since we switched sides recently, cleared some clutter, and vacuumed the carpet. I even vacuumed the living room rug an a bit of the tile while I had the vacuum downstairs.

AND! I made the bed! It was a little weird since I was going to crawl back into it in two hours, but I bet it will feel great when I get in. We're weekly bed makers, so it was also an eye-opener for me. Brett hasn't been lying the past four years when he complains about me stealing the covers.

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Dude, this carpet smells really clean! (I know these pictures are AWFUL. Forgive me, please)

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Look at all those pillows! And I even put my Apartment Therapy book out on my nightstand as inspiration.

With that task complete, I moved on to Day Two, Buy Fresh flowers. I went with something that made me think of Fall and got a bunch of football mums in a golden yellow. I split the bunch in two between the living room and the kitchen.

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Then it was time for Day Three, finding inspiration pictures. I went to my favorite sources: Design Sponge, Canadian House and Home, Rate My Space, AT, and Domino. Here's what I came up with.

The home of Gemma Ahern via Design Sponge Online

Trish Grantham's bird themed gallery wall, also via Design Sponge Online

A black office with wood touches from Lauren Bradshaw, via Design Sponge Online. Her entire house is drop dead gorgeous. I would KILL to have her style.

How fun is this scene from Amie Corley's home? It would make the perfect landing strip (and yes, I'm aware it's gray, muted color, gray, black, white, TEAL AND YELLOW!!!!!). Also via Design Sponge Online.

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I love this kitchen from Domino: the Book of Decorating. I'm semi-obsessed with bentwood chairs, and I love subway tile and open kitchen shelving.

Anna of Door Sixteen's living and dining room, via Apartment Therapy.

Even though we're nowhere near here yet, these pictures do give me hope. Because we're a hell of a lot closer than we were a year and a half ago!

Tomorrow: remove 1 item from my home and setup my outbox!