"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Monday, May 30, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

The point of making do is not to spend money or very little. I felt I was in need of a make do makeover in my kitchen.

I love the stove top wooden covers you see online. Have you seen them? They do not sell them, that I know of, here in Europe. I had bought a wooden tray back in February (you can see it here) and found it was a good size to use on top of my own stove. We do not like this stove top but this disguises it a little. With just my teakettle and a teabag holder on the tray, it was looking very boring. I was thinking this weekend that I need to create a seasonal touch to the tray. It would be fun to change things on it regularly to give a nice touch to our little kitchen.

It is just about summer. What do I want to use to say almost summer? I went outside for one of my empty old terracotta pots. I got an artificial ivy plant, a porcelain chicken and some eggs...all of which I have already. I was thinking of the old Dutch saying 'In mei leggen alle vogels en ei...' which translates 'In May, all the birds lay eggs' although it rhymes in Dutch. *grins*

The ivy is in the terracotta pot with three eggs in the top and three on the trailing ivy. The chicken stands in front of my teakettle. I need to keep it on the tray since I want easy access to it for my daily cups of tea. It was not quite enough so I added a little tea mug with chickens on it from my collection of Brixton Pottery mugs. Cost of this makeover $0 but great value to the May touch to the kitchen.

Recently, I discovered Esther's blog when she became a follower of my own. I asked her if I could share a makeover she did on an old wicker sewing basket. It is so fabulous and you can see it here. This is what is wonderful about making do and mending...finding unique and inspiring ideas like this! Thanks for letting me share it Esther.

Is there something you can make over in your home with the things you already have? Try it as it makes it feel like things are new again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Have you noticed?

...that the publishers keep making the print in a book smaller and smaller??? I think it is a conspiracy! I first blamed Amazon and Jeff Bezos thinking they were in it to plague me with that tiny print but yesterday I went to visit my dear friend Carolien who surprised me with a book that I had been wanting to get for some time now. She bought me 'Major Pettigrew's Last Stand' at a local bookshop. Are they in on the conspiracy too??? Good thing I now have reading glasses everywhere you look in my house. *wink*

I am currently reading 'Beach Roses' by Jean Stone for my online book club's upcoming book discussion. Then I have my next read lined up to get started. So many books and never enough time for them all...

Carolien made a delicious lunch yesterday. Her youngest daughter arrived home from school in time to join us. Carolien copied some of the recipes for me as I loved both the soup (planning on making that in the coming week) and this toasted sandwich. I loved it and when I discovered I had all but the chives in the house (I substituted it with the green of a spring onion) so made it again for myself for lunch. I even had some brie which I had forgotten that I had. This is a great twist on the toasted cheese sandwich.....

Brie Toasted sandwich

2 slices of bread
1 slice of lunch ham
2 slices of brie
herb cream cheese
chives or green onion

Lightly butter the outsides of your two slices of bread. Spread a layer of cream cheese on the other side of each slice. Lay a slice of ham on the bread and then two slices of brie. Sprinkle chopped chives or green of spring onion on the brie and cover with second slice of bread. Place sandwich in a hot frying pan. No butter is needed as you have buttered the outside of the bread. Allow to fry until brown and cheese is melted, then enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

In the true spirit of Make do and Mend, I redid a room at Cranberry Cottage this past weekend without spending a single penny.

I was no longer using these frames which used to be in pride of place in our entrance hall at our previous home. They are really nice frames and I knew I would use them again. I also have all my Carl Larsson prints which I used to use throughout my home years ago. I was inspired to combine the two and take them up to the cottage instead and create a welcoming little extra bedroom.

I framed a few of the prints and gathered bits and pieces I have here at home to pack in the car...

This room is very tiny, only measuring 2 meters by 2,20 meters. We had purchased two pull out bed chairs when we bought the cottage but they turned out to be impractical in a number of ways. So the room became a catch all for junk instead. Jos likes selling our old stuff at a flea market and it houses the boxes for the market instead of being a bedroom.

After clearing everything out and cleaning the room, I pulled out one of the chairs into a bed. I dressed it with two quilts for warmth and a couple of pillows. I will make a new pillow for the bed instead of the cat pillow that matched the chairs when I get a chance as this dark blue really does not match.

We have one of the chairs at home now to sell and will do the same with the second once the first is gone. We need to get a real bed for this room or an extra mattress as this pull out bed is very low.

I borrowed a small table from my bathroom to use as a nightstand. A plant and candle also among things I already had to dress the table make the room a nicer place to stay.

To complete a room, I always hang a quilt on the wall. This quilt was inspired while I was sitting in a cloister garden in France.

I made do with things I had sitting around. We often have things in our home that we are tired of but could look really nice when you put them together in another way. This will lead to using some of my quilt fabrics now to create a pillow and better suited quilt for the bottom of the bed in the coming weeks.

Can you find ways to make do in your home? A few fellow bloggers are joining in the pursuit to make do and mend. Check out the links in my sidebar.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Life IS chocolate!

Well...perhaps some fresh strawberries too! *grins*

"If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you're eating it too slowly."

~Author Unknown

Monday, May 16, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

The past week has flown by and it is that time once again...

Before I start with my project, I want to thank you for the response to my Monday posts. I started this as a challenge to myself but a number of people are responding that they want to join in. I am thrilled and know we can inspire each other to appreciate and use what we have in our homes. If you would like to join the Make do and Mend Mondays team, leave a comment on this post or email me. I am setting up a Make do group on my sidebar and would love to have you join us for a weekly party. Just post each Monday and be sure I have your link. It can be something you are currently doing but perhaps you have a past item you made do with that you want to share. I am excited to read about more projects and starting being inspired to more wonderful ways to create a beautiful home without breaking the bank.

We have a shelving unit in our garage with all my silk flowers and plants. I use mostly silk as severe allergies has prevented us from having many sorts of real flowers in our home. Good quality silk flowers are not cheap but do last a long time. That makes their initial cost worth it in the end. But sometimes, I pull out something that just seems a little tired after years of use. On top of that, I was in the mood for something new to use for a spring decoration.

I took a bouquet of ranunculus and clipped the blooms off individually. I then clipped the leaf steams off to use as filler.

I took a wooden trough that I have and started placing the flowers in bending the stems to the shape of the bowl. Once the flowers are arranged, start filling in with the leaves.

It looked nice at this point but I felt it needed that extra touch. I tried weaving in a string of pearls but it did not show up enough so I remember a black bead garland I have and tried it instead.

Perfect! They showed up and yet gave it a dainty touch. I love pink and black together.

Adding a doll quilt I made with pink fabrics, a stitched Welcome greeting in a stand and a pretty pink candle completes the vignette. As you walk into my living room, this is your greeting. As the stitching says 'Welcome Friends and Neighbors'.

Just looking around my home and using my imagination has given me a new spring table.

May I send you a challenge? Go through you own home and look for things you have that you can use in a new way to create a decoration that says spring. Don't forget to contact me to link to you the Make do and Mend Mondays party.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

Mondays are becoming exciting me to as I challenge myself this year to "make do and mend". This is not about spending money. It is about using what is in my home and perhaps rethinking its purpose to turn it back into a loved and well used item. It will often be about objects in the home but sometimes also about cooking.

This week I decided to remove a tapestry tablerunner from the items I was selling online and do something to repurpose it. I had bought these marked down very well at a shop in Bruges, Belgium. I loved them but never ended up using them. I even had to dig out the lighter one out of a gifts chest as I thought I would use it as a present for someone some time since I never even took it out of its bag. They were going to be used on my sideboard but I use it as a desk where I am sitting now with my laptop chatting with you.

I ripped out the few stitches used to create the point and also carefully picked out the stitches holding the tassels. These might show up in a later "make do and mend" project. I ironed the tabelrunners and.....

...cut them into four equal rectangles. Placing right sides together, I sew around the edges. Trimmed the corners, turned right side out and sewed the opening shut. I edge stitched them about 1/4 inch from the edges using brown thread on top and blue thread on the bottom.

The results are two sets of placemats in one! The one side is for use in autumn and winter.....

...while the second side is perfect for spring and summer. Now placemats are something I will use! What about you? Have you got something in your home that you can repurpose so you can join me and "Make do and Mend"?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tiptoe through the tulips.....

During our drive to Cranberry Cottage, we pass a couple of tulips fields. What a sight to be driving along seeing green everywhere dotted with the yellow of dandelions or white of Queen Anne's lace and then this.....

The red tulips standing out against the landscape and farm to scream out to you to look at their beauty!

Even in my little wooded garden at the cottage there is an explosion of color where I planted up some leftover bulbs from the year before. I plant up large containers with daffodils and tulips each year to place by our front door. They are then moved into the garden to be left to their own defenses for the following spring. Somehow I got them mixed with the single pink tulip between the bold and brassy red and yellow tinged ones.

"The tulip and the butterfly
Appear in gayer coats than I:
Let me be dressed fine as I will,
Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still."

~ Isaac Watts

Monday, May 2, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

Thank you all for your encouraging words about my last post and Jos' lay off. I had already been thinking lately about how much I, like most of us, have things in our home that we never use. I have been attempting to sort through things rooting out what I can try and sell. I think it is time to pass things on to another if I am not going to use them but hopefully make a little money back in the meantime. All this happened before we found out about Jos going to be laid off. So far, they have him still working but he is also very busy looking for a new position.

I love to re-purpose items. It is fun to see more in something than at first glance. But I also find it sad if I have family items that are tucked away in a drawer. When I saw this on a blog, I was inspired to start going that extra step to re-purpose. I want to use these items once again.

I also have discovered a show on Channel 4 called Make Do and Mend. I have only seen it twice now but it is wonderful. So I am going to have Make Do and Mend Mondays. Challenging myself to do just that. Maybe you will also be inspired. There are so many wonderful ideas out there is blogland. This print from Clare Owen (above) seems just the right way to start this new yet old tradition...

I took a dresser scarf which my mother stitched and ironed it...

Then pinned the end up in place and sewed three seams to create the two pockets...

Tucked in the end between my mattress and box spring (forgive the ugly blue of the box spring) and place my book in the large pocket and radio remote in the smaller pocket. I now can enjoy my mother's stitching every day...

Until next Monday, look around your home to make do and mend.