Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Time To Plant

Let me tell you 'bout the 
Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees

(Admit it. You've got that song stuck in your head now, don't you?)

It's time for the April tablescape challenge
at Cuisine Kathleen's

After several months sabbatical, my tablescape team and I are joining in. 

Since we didn't have any bird stuff, and the Duchess is allergic to bees, and the blossoms are pretty much gone from Georgia trees, we settled on flowers. 

We started with these flower rimmed dinner and salad plates. 

Then we added this dessert plate for a big pop of color. 
We've used these plates before. 
Back then, we called them sunflowers. 

But really...
Don't you think they look a lot more like
 gerbera daisies?
I think they look just like gerbera daisies...

... and it has nothing to do with the fact
 that I just happen to have a bunch of  gerbera daisies waiting to be planted.  

Nothing whatsoever.

So we dubbed them gerbera daisies 
and named this table 
A Time to Plant. 

Dinner plates and charger all belong to the Duchess.

Just about everything else belongs to the Farm Sister.
Her bright orange napkins  break up the field of green. .  

Her flatware
 Dover by Oneida. 

Her casual green stemware.

I added the nifty little stenciled coaster, though.  

I stenciled the little flower pots too.

Then, I filled them with zinnia. (Zinnias? Zinniai?)

Because if you're going to call that flower a gerbera daisy, 
you might as well call it a zinnia too.  

The view through the chairs
inspired by
 See Thru Sue@ My Place to Yours. 

And there you have it. 

A Time to Plant. 

                             Which, based on the condition of those droopy flowers, is now. 

One final shout out tonight to a very special couple that I know. You see, while the Farm Sister helped put together this table, she was actually not on hand to set it. She was too busy celebrating at her own table with the cowboy she married 31-derful years ago today.

Happy Anniversary to... 

... and the moon up above
and a thing called love. 

Also sharing at Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ka-Ching! This One's A Keeper

So I finally stopped griping about the cost of something and tried a homemade version of it for pennies on the dollar.

It's this.

I didn't make this up myself, and I have absolutely no clue who actually did. There are versions and variations all over the internet. I'll just say that whoever you are, Miss Makeup Wipe Person, you deserve two thumbs up.  You have just saved me a lot of money.

And this is all it takes.

(boiled or distilled) water - 2 cups
baby wash -2 squirts
coconut oil - 1 to 2 tablespoons

That was the first thing I liked about it: I didn't have to head to the  nonexistent health food store in town; it was all at Walmart.  Lucky me, I already had the coconut oil because of a recipe I saw on Pinterest. The fact that I never actually tried that recipe should in no way negate the thriftiness of this project....

The second thing I liked was that it was fast and easy.  That part was kind of important. Let's face it: Any woman who is too lazy to wash her makeup off at the bathroom sink isn't interested in a chemistry experiment. It took about ten minutes, max.

Just mix the coconut oil with the (warm) water until it dissolves.
 It will start out a soft solid,.

Squirt in the baby wash and stir.

Then place some paper towel in the water and let it absorb.
  I used Bounty select-a-size and folded each sheet in half to fit my container. 

You're supposed to let it absorb for at least five minutes
so that's exactly what I did.  

I waited exactly five minutes to try it out.

Now, here's the part where you get to benefit from my guinea pigheadedness.
  Don't do that.

My first swipes worked well but felt kind of cold creamy on the face. I squeezed out the excess liquid and stored them anyway.  When I tried it again at bedtime, they had a better consistency.

So, if you try this, wait a while.
Of course, you can also dink with your oil to get it the way you want.
 I used 1 1/2 level tablespoons in mine. 
I'm thinking you could even use less. 

The third thing I liked about it was that it actually worked. I don't mean worked like a cheap brand, either. I mean worked like the $7.00 brands.  ( I have no idea how they compare to something even more expensive because I've never tried anything more expensive.) There was no stinging, no drying, and no tugging. I checked the mirror this morning, and there was no football player looking back at me, either. My face feels soft  but not greasy.

Since I like math about as much as I like chemistry, I didn't whip out the calculator for a detailed price analysis, but I estimate the cost to be less than $0.50 for the whole thing. Considering the fact that you can't even get cheap baby wipes for that price, I give it the Ka-ching Award for money in the bank.

I'm putting the difference in my living room chair fund.

It's so cheap that I'm going to buy one more ingredient for my next batch.

Apparently, some folks have discovered mold growing on them if they last too long. Since I'm pretty sure I don't want to add moldy face  to the list of things that freak me out, I'm going to do as suggested and add a few drops of tea tree oil to the solution.  I just didn't want to buy it if the wipes weren't going to work anyway.  

In closing, can I just add one more thing?

Just in case the green police show up at the blog door and attempt a citation.  No... I do not feel guilty for using one, lousy, piece of select-a-size paper towel to wipe off my makeup. I say this because on every source I clicked, there seemed to be some banter between the crunchy hipsters about the waste of paper for this project. Apparently, the hip thing to do is make what they called reusable makeup remover wipes out of  cotton.

Now folks, please do feel free to do so, but I kinda think the idea begs a question:
 Isn't a reusable makeup remover wipe what we old timers call 
a wash cloth?  

Yeah, I think so too.   

Really, I do suggest you try these if you haven't already.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Farmhouse-ish Kitchen Table

Yes, I realize this is a random time to be posting.  I don't normally post on Friday afternoons, but since I actually finished a project and have a few minutes to spare before the man of the house brings his traveling pants home, I decided to go ahead and share it. 

It's the kitchen table. 

In case you forgot, 
here's what it looked like before. 

I have never been fond of that table. 

We bought it from a friend when we moved here and discovered that the space wasn't suited for our round one.  It was supposed to be temporary... 17 years ago. 

I have always wanted a farmhouse table with big, old, beautiful legs. The husband, on the other hand, actually likes this one, mainly because of the butcher block top. Since he rarely if ever has an opinion about stuff like that  (and since I haven't found a replacement anyway), I decided to make this one work in the new kitchen.  

I sanded the top, first with  coarse (80 grit) sandpaper,
then with medium (150), and then with fine (220).

Then a coat of  prestain conditioner
 and a painted trestle. 

Starting to look a little more farm house-y, don't you think?

I had it in my head  to stain the butcher block dark like all the hip, young, bloggers are doing, but apparently, I'm not young and hip.  I tried five different stains on the flipside of the table and never did feel the love.  


I ended up staining it the same maple that it was to begin with.  

Only darker and richer in color. 

It took two good coats of stain 
(Colonial Maple, Minwax)
and three good coats of tung oil to get the color I wanted.

Maybe not young and hip but very, very, much Debbie.

That's OK with me. 

I checked in the mirror, and a young, hip blogger doesn't live here.
Debbie does.

(You can tell because the table is perpetually set...)

After all these years, I can finally say that I like this table.

In fact,  at the moment, I kinda love it just a little.
I don't even miss the farmhouse legs... 
all that much.

And there you have it:
My make- it -work farmhouse table.

Next up: The bare naked wall behind it.
Yeah, I know.
More decisions. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Decisions, Decisions


Yet again, I've missed a week in Blogville.  This time, I'm trying to blame it on that big decision that I yakked about in the previous post. You may not realize this, but it is very difficult to balance a lap top whilst straddling a fence.  I know because I've been trying to do it for months now.

The good news is that I am no longer straddling that fence. I'm happy to report that my legs are pointed in one direction, ready to leap off. 

The bad news is that I have a developed a crease in the buttocks for fear of leaping.

No. I do not intend to post a picture of that. 

For those who wondered aloud if I was talking about a blog fence, I wasn't.  The fence du jour is the women's Bible study class that I have taught for over a decade.  I can see why you would think it was the blog, though, since the blog muse seems to have left the building.

Since I'm not sure what is to blame for that, I'm blaming the fence. 

In truth? It's really just a symptom of a general malaise around here.  The 4,728 unfinished blog posts in the bull pen are the least of my problems. I can't seem to make a decision about anything these days.

I created this big old mess on the underbelly of my kitchen table while trying to choose a stain for the top.

Can you see the five different stains on there?
Yeah, well neither could the husband.
 He was no help at all. 

In fact,  instead of being a help, he has recently suggested that I get help...

As in, "Get some help, Deb-or-ah."

It had something to do with the five text messages that I sent
 from the paper plate aisle at Target the other day.

When you start using the double exclamation points in reference to paper plates,
 it is indeed time to get some help... 


I would get that help if I could decide exactly where to go about getting it. Is this a psychological problem, or is it just another blossom on the hormone tree? Should I be terrified of dementia or worried about a brain tumor?

Decisions, Decisions.

In the spirit of procrastination, I skipped town last week to tag along with the traveling man. Our final destination was Parents Weekend with Miss Whimsy,  but I joined him a few days early in hopes of clearing my head and finding some blogspiration.

I found it.

In fact, I found so much blog fodder that I have spent the past two and a half days trying to decide what to yak about first.  Should it be the cherry blossoms or the blue hour?  My trip to the antique mall or the thirty mile drive for the dogwood show that turned out to be a dog show?

Decisions, decisions.

I finally decided to suck it up and use the most scientific decision making tool I know.

Eenie Meenie Miney Moe... 

The Mercer Bell Tower in the blue hour.  

And just for good measure, the clock tower too. 

I may not be able to decide anything else, but one thing I know: 
The blue hour is definitely my favorite time of the day.

So I decided to share it with you. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Talk Back Tuesday: Sitting on the Fence

Have I mentioned my deep, abiding love for fences?

If I haven't, that's pretty surprising. Fences and gates live near the top of my list of  favorite things.   Sitting at the top of my list of favorite fences is this one. 

OK, technically, its more of a wall. 

It's the stone wall that surrounds the home of a friend of mine.  

Gorgeous, huh?

It starts at her home and spans clear to the other side 
of the house where her in-laws lived. 

These are  multi-generational stones.
They've been around a long, long time. 

That's one of the reasons that stone fences are actually my favorite fences.  
They have an enduring quality.

On top of that, they are the only fences that seem to be divinely designed. 

I mean, really...just look at them. 
Isn't that the perfect picture of a natural fit? 

Yeah, I think so too.

There's a reason for my ramble today, and it isn't just to share pictures of my favorite stone fence. The whole post was actually inspired by one single stone that had the nerve to jump off of it.


Little rebel...

As I was snapping those pictures, I started wondering about that breakaway stone.  I wondered how long it took for it to decide to step away. You don't have to be a stone mason to figure out there was a mortar problem, but how long did it take?  I mean, did it keep on clinging through storm after storm after storm until it finally fell away, or was it one good storm at just the right moment?  Did it sort of inch its way off the wall, or did it grow old and tired and just plop down instead?

That's just the way I think...

If I were the kind of gal who looks for a sign in nature... and I'm not... that breakaway stone would have been a sign to me this week. You see, I'm dealing with one of those stone wall decisions.  You know the kind, the kind where you have to decide whether to fix the mortar in a figurative fence or step away from it. Fight or flight.

No, it's not a marriage thing... 

It is something that I love, though. It's an extracurricular activity  that is among my very favorite things to do.  You might even call it my passion. Like a stone wall,  it's also my natural fit. (Did I mention that I love it, too? Just checking...)

But lately...

Lately, I've been wrangling with loose mortar and constant storms. Lately,  I have wondered whether it is time to put down the trowel and exercise the flight option.

Can anyone relate?

I wish the whole flight thing came easily to me, but it doesn't.  Once again, I lack the courage.  You may not realize this, but to a certified, licensed  'fraidy cat, it can take just as much courage to step away as it does to step up.

So what does a 'fraidy cat do? Why, she sits on the fence of course.
And that's exactly where I am.

What about you?

Does stepping away from things come easily for you,
or are you a fence sitter too?

How do you determine that it's time to step away? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It's A Chick Thing

By the looks of things in Blogville,
most of you had a blessed and busy Easter weekend. 

Ours was quieter than usual.

For a variety of reasons which will remain unyakked, our nests weren't completely full.
 In fact, between the Farm Sister and I, we ended up
   two chicks short of a brood this year.

That could have put a damper on the weekend, but we didn't let it. 
No way...
 We not only had Easter to celebrate,
but a birthday as well.  

Miss Whimsy turned 21 years old.
I know.
I'm as shocked as you are... 

So Saturday, we celebrated with a little chick party in her honor. 

The benefits of being born during Peep Season...

It was supposed to be a ladies lunch, but we had a change of plans. In the end, we ate at twilight and allowed the Man of the Place to join us, provided he left that bottle of snickering testosterone on the shelf.

He complied.

Linens came from TJMaxx a few years ago.
 The tablecloth belongs to me, and the napkins to the Farm Sister.
 I think this is the first time they have ever been used together. 

Chargers were painted white Fusion and then again with Valspar's Tropical Foliage. I can't tell you how much I use them during the year.  

Old faithful Italian Countryside...

Older and even more faithful Act I  flatware.

Heavy-duty cut glass stemware. I really love that stuff. 

A bowl full of pink and white azaleas from the yard. 

And that's about it. 

 I actually had a recipe to share with this post, 
but we ate all the pictorial evidence.


Maybe next time. 

 Until then, I hope you all have a great day and are enjoying a little
 long awaited springtime.

I'll be sharing at Let's Dish! at Cuisine Kathleen


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