Unique and creative ways to give money at Christmas

Every year we give money as gifts at Christmas. With some people being hard to buy for, it can get pretty frustratin , that’s why we just give money. I know, I know, lots of people think it’s an impersonal gift but it works for us.  I think teenagers appreciate getting dollars over something  they’ll have to return. I searched the web and found so many cute and creative ideas appropriate for Christmas gift giving. This post has been edited and photos from Pinterest have been removed.

Try your hand at Origami, the art the art of folding money into shapes. A shirt shape for a guy or a flower shape for a gal.


A mason jar with gum balls is a fun way to hide some bucks. It doesn’t have to be candy, it could be nuts, homemade granola or even pennies. Just use a toilet paper roll in the center to hold the money.  Would your grandkids like getting a jar full of pennies? Probably not, but open it up and voila……big bucks inside!

One year I gave my grandkids a one dollar bill in a card with an apology saying that I ran out of money and was so sorry. My granddaughter gave me a disappointed look that said are you crazy?! My grandson said, “oh, it’s ok.’” I let them think that was my only gift to them  Later I remembered another gift and gave them a new unused quart paint can and a paint can opener and said I had just one other thing for them and to open the can. Inside each can were 99 crumbled up $1 bills!  That was so much fun, They were fooled and very happy unfolding and counting the money.

That’s a great Christmas memory. Do you give money gifts at Christmas?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Christmas in the dining room

Christmas has arrived in the dining room at last. I used fresh greens with silver, gold and brown accents, a sort of woodsy sparkle theme. Here’s the sideboard with the horse art that came from Home Goods, a thrifted horse head figure and a Christmas ornament tree. This room was painted recently in Sherwin Williams Anew gray. It’s a taupey gray and I never thought I’d love a gray room but I do!   Christmas sideboard 1

I like using fresh greens to decorate at Christmas but the clean up is a mess! My husband loves that part…….if you knew him, you’d know what I mean. He has the shop vac sitting in the little bedroom all ready to go. christmas horse figurine

The chippy horses head is wearing a collar of gold stars. Christmas tree made from ornaments

Here’s my ornament tree made by threading ornaments on a knitting needle. I tucked in some white feather boa to hide the needle. It’s sitting on a silver platter with sparkly pinecones.

dining room

Snowflakes and silver on the painted bombe chest on the other side of the room with pinecones and tree bark under the cloche. dining room silver

I love the look of tarnished silver but one day I just might decide to polish it for a different look.

Christmas hutch at Bungalow

The hutch is full of white ironstone and more greens and pinecones.

Christmas greens in white tureen

Here’s the sweet little deer that I’ve had since childhood. I put it out every year.  Christmas dining room at Bungalow

The tablecloth is the only new thing in this room. I got it at Target. I used old wedding ring china and thrifted silver trees on the table. The napkins are folded into a Christmas tree shape.

Christmas dining room2 at Bungalow

Stars and icicles dangle from the chandelier.  tablescape Christmas

See the almonds on each end of the table? OH  MY they are delicious! Honey cinnamon almonds from Target.     napkin Christmas tree shape

These are vintage napkins that I’ve had for years. The snowflake tags will be used as place cards.

So that’s the dining room, next will be the kitchen and family room. I still didn’t do anything on the front porch because it been so cold, in the 20s this week. I better get out there when the sun shines today or it won’t get done.

There’s so much Christmas in blogland, too much maybe…. what will happen when it’s over? A collective sigh on relief I think.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Decorating for Christmas, the Christmas tree is up

The house is all dressed up for Christmas this year and I’m anxious to share our Christmas home. Let’s start with the tree and the living room. I recently painted this room a soft gray, Sherwin Williams Agreeable gray. It looks good with the teal and aqua accents in here.  Christmas living room1 , Bungalow blog

The rug is from RugsUSA, the ottoman and lamps are from Home Goods and the mirrors are from Lowe’s. You can see just a peek of the Christmas tree on the right.

Christmas living room2 , Bungalow blog

Here’s the tree decorated in blue, silver and gold and everything is so glittery and sparkly. The only new things are the ribbon and wrapping paper and poinsettias, I had everything else.

Christmas living room , Bungalow blog

A wooden tray on the ottoman holds greenery from the yard and an oversized Christmas ornament.

Christmas tree at Bungalow blog

The polka dot wrapping paper is from Target. I think it’s so cute and the colors coordinate well with the tree. Do you do that too? For a tree skirt I used a throw from the couch.

Christmas tree2 at Bungalow blog

Lots more sparkle and glitter on the top of the tree. There is glitter all over the house and I know I’ll be vacuuming it up for months!  Christmas tree3 at Bungalow blog

Here’s looking into the living room from the dining room. You can see a glimpse of the crèche on the table below the initials. It’s so easy to lose track of the real meaning of Christmas but we need to keep focused on the reason for the season.

Since my fabric order was delayed I didn’t have time to sew the curtain panels so they’re pinned on the rod! Ha ha, don’t tell! I’ll sew and line them after New Years.  Christmas desk at Bungalow

Merry Christmas!

We recently moved my husband’s mother to a nursing home and I wanted the house to be especially festive for her this year. I know she’ll enjoy the decorations. At age 97, she won’t be with us forever.

I’ll be sharing the dining room, kitchen and the mantel in the family room soon.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Creating a design on fabric with permanent marker

Using permanent fabric marker to create a design on fabric is such an easy project.  I made some cute towels to go with the re-purposed vintage kitchen cart to bar cart.

For this project I got a pack of 2 bar towels at Walmart. They’re 100 cotton, about 30’”x 30” and are fairly thin, which it great for this project. I washed, dried and ironed them and was surprised to see that they didn’t shrink. You can also find similar towels online.

Next, I printed out clipart from a program that’s on my computer, and now I was ready to trace the design with my permanent fabric marker.  tracing design on fabric with permanent marker
Before you start tracing, make sure the fabric is smooth and held tightly in place, I used large office clips and paper clips.  tracing design on fabric
There was just a little feathering from the ink but it didn’t bother me. After I was finished tracing, I ironed the design to help set it and then washed and dried it again.  permanent marker on fabric, holiday bar towel

And here is the finished towel. I was surprised that some of the feathering washed away but so happy that the design didn’t fade.  bar cart from vintage 3 tiered kitchen cart

It’s so ca-uute!  These towels are fairly large and if I make more I’ll cut them into smaller sizes before I trace on a design.   I‘ve seen designs made with sharpies on pillows, but for this project I was really concerned about the design washing away and it didn’t! Yeah!

permanent marker

The permanent marker I used has a fine tip on one end and a wider tip on the other.

What an easy project with so many possibilities! Think about tracing your child’s hands or their artwork on kitchen towels or making thanksgiving or Christmas napkins. Endless ideas for gifts too!

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

A retro inspired bar cart from a vintage kitchen cart

With the popularity of the series Mad Men, all things 60s are back in style. Bar carts are making a comeback. I had a vintage 3 tiered kitchen cart in my laundry room that I wasn’t using and decided to turn it into a bar cart. Not for us, but for my grandson who lives in Brooklyn. I know he likes to invite people to drop in on the holidays for a bit of cheer so I think he will like it.
retro inspired bar cart, the Bungalow blog
A few years ago I found the cart at a yard sales for only 2 bucks!
I don’t have a complete before picture but here’s what it looked like before I painted it, wood grain on metal. You can see it was in good shape.  wood grain on metal
After I took it apart and cleaned it well, I sprayed the shelves with Rustoleum’s metallic aluminum and the handles with Rustoleum’s metallic rich caramel.
bar cart from vintage 3 tiered kitchen cart
It’s so cute now! I love the way it turned out. I styled it with a vintage ice bucket and red napkins for a festive touch.
I’ll be posting how I made the cheers and martini bar towel next.
Growing up in the 60s, Mad Men’s mid century modern style furniture is not new to me. I remember my aunt Grace’s sprawling ranch home that was filled with brand new furniture. She had a long sofa with tall art behind it and kidney shaped tables that I thought were so cool back then. It was so different from today. No cell phones, internet or microwaves, imagine that!


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Roasting a blue pumpkin, they’re not just for decorating.

Blue pumpkins are so popular these days but have you ever wondered what they look like inside or if you could eat them? The answers are about to be revealed! You can indeed eat them and they are as bright orange as any orange pumpkin I’ve seen.

I think these bluish pumpkins I bought are called Jarrahdale pumpkins. I’m not positive though. Anyway, there’s a predicted shortage of canned pumpkin this year and I noticed that a can costs $1.65 at the local grocery store. That was a regular sized can, about 2 cups. If you like to bake pumpkin recipes, that can add up.
Since I bought 5 of these pretty blue pumpkins for fall decorating,  I decided to use them for baking.
roasting a blue pumpkin
They’re bright orange!  inside of blue pumpkin

Be extra careful when cutting them apart because they are hard to get through! I mean these babies are tough. After cutting my pumpkin into quarters, I scooped out the seeds and placed the quarters on a baking sheet shin side up. I didn’t use any salt or oil.

pumpkin after roasting

They roasted at 350 until they were soft and then after they cooled, I pulled off the skin.  mashed pumpkin
I got a good 4 cups from a pumpkin that weighed about 5 pounds. I used 2 cups for a recipe and froze the rest for later and I still have 4 more blue pumpkins to use up! I never tried cooking with a white pumpkin or a Cinderellla pumpkin, have you?

Let the baking holiday begin!

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

A visit to the town of Rogersville TN

Recently I traveled the long road down route 81 to my daughter’s house in the little, historic town of Rogersville TN. It’s really a nice place to live with a homey feel. There are shops, restaurants and historic places downtown. It’s a great place to visit. Here’s a little of what makes Rogersville historic:

On each corner of the town square in the center od Rogersville is a historic site. The Hawkins County Courthouse, built in 1836, is the oldest original courthouse still in use in the state.

Just across Main Street is the Masonic Temple, site of the oldest continually operating lodge in Tennessee.  The building was built in 1839 as the first branch of the Bank of the State of Tennessee, failing just after the Civil War because all its assets were in Confederate bonds and money.

The Hale Springs Inn and Kyle House are on the other corners of the square. The Kyle House was built in 1837 as a twenty-two room mansion for William Simpson. During the Civil War, Confederate officers and soldiers were housed there. Just across Main Street, Union officers and soldiers were housed in the Hale Springs Inn.

The first Tennessee newspaper, the Knoxville Gazette, was printed in Rogersville on November 5, 1791

It was along a major stagecoach route leading to Kentucky and the Cumberland settlements which allowed Rogersville to prosper.

Davy Crockett’s grandparents had a cabin alongside Crockett Creek running through the town. They were massacred by Indians in 1777 and buried in what is now the Rogers Cemetery in Crockett Springs Park, along with Joseph Rogers, the founder of Rogersville. source      bless your heart
They say things like y’all and I’m fixin to, eat cornbread and biscuits and gravy. I have nothing against those foods or sweet tea it’s just that I eat too much of those foods when I’m there! And the sweet tea is SWEET! Pal’s has the best tea. There are no Pal’s up here so it’s always a special treat.  kenzie the dog
This is my granddog Kenzie, She’s the most nervous dog I ever met but she sure is cute with her ears going in the same direction. All she wants to do is curl up on your lap and sleep
cowboy Jake
My grandson Jake, wearing just one spur, is reluctantly allowing me to take his picture.
My granddaughter Tay is a beauty! She has a cosmetology license and did my hair. I got a color and trim and she did a great job.  pumpkins
We did a little pumpkin carving. I didn’t remember how much work it takes to carve a pumpkin. Mine was the owl.
Lamp post
Visiting Rogersville in the fall is always fun because of the fall festival and the beauty of the colorful leaves.
In this picture you can get a glimpse of the leaves just starting to turn a pretty golden color and some of the food available at the festival.  scarecrows in town
The town square is dressed out with some creative scarecrows.
Dancin Deb
You’ll find food and more food,
banana pudding
foods of all kinds!
And even a chili cook off. Do you put corn in your chili?  blacksmith
The amazing work of this blacksmith caught my eye.  art contest
We found out that Jake won 2nd place in the trash art contest. The art work was on display at the festival.  Jakes art 2nd place
It’s supposed to be an overview of the town with McDonalds at one end and the football field at the other. The rest of it…I’m not sure, but he got second place! Woohoo!  tara n me 2013
Later that day, my daughter and I doing a selfie at Amis mill restaurant.  Amis Mill
Built in an old mill, this place was so pretty. It rained on us while we were there and they were out of fried green tomatoes but it was still a nice experience. I tried fried okra instead and it was good! The place was packed because of the Heritage festival.
Amis Mill. waterfall JPG
Across from the restaurant is this pretty waterfall. It’s such a beautiful setting.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

A Fall lunch on the patio

Our patio gets lots of use in the warm summer, but after that we don’t use it much. We don’t have a fireplace or heat source out there and are content just to use it in warm weather. Well, the weather has been gorgeous, except for a few rainy days and we were still eating outside until this week. With the sun shining and a little chill in the air, it was relaxing and fun to eat al fresco at home.

Fall centerpiece

Most of our patio furniture is put away for winter but we left our table and chair set out to get a couple more uses out of it. I added a simple centerpiece of pinecones, pumpkins and a branch from a pretty maple tree.

grilled cheese apple sandwich 2
The menu was grilled cheese with apple on whole grain sourdough bread and home made tomato soup. I used a mandolin to slice the apples thinly. It was only a short time ago that I was introduced to cheddar cheese and apples. The combo is scrumptious. Warm apple pie with cheddar melting on top is yummo! If you’ve never tried it you should.

Fall lunch
My cream of tomato soup didn’t turn out so great but it was ok for dipping my sandwich. Next time I’ll find a different recipe.

grilled cheese apple sandwich

Doesn’t that melting cheese look good? It was! grilled cheese apple sandwich tomato soup 2

So that was our yummy lunch on the patio. This week the weather is much cooler and tomorrow the temps are expected to be around 50 degrees! Winter is coming!

Winter is coming and that means Christmas. You know that bloggers are already working on Christmas projects. I’m thinking about Thanksgiving first, but I will admit to thinking about decorating the mantel for Christmas!  How about you?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Decorating the porch for Fall

This year the front porch is decorated with a mum, pumpkins and the wreath I made last year. I added some corn shocks that look kind of skimpy so I may add more stalks. I put mums in the plastic caldron that I usually use to hold Halloween candy and one pumpkin sits in an urn. I don’t decorate too much for Halloween, just fall, as a sort of celebration for the season because I love everything about fall; the colors of leaves, pumpkins and gourds, the smell of wood fires, apples and a chill in the air, it’s a beautiful season!
fall front porch
I have one fern on the porch and think it will be okay until frost hits. Several ferns are still on the patio. I can’t keep ferns alive inside all winter. I tried in the past but they always lose leaves and get too messy, so I give up. But I’ll probably bring them in again this year.
fall wreath front porch
We added a storm door on the front porch that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love opening the door and letting more light in but hate the way it looks from the outside. Here’s the post with the stenciled pumpkin wreath tutorial.
Since the weather has been so pretty I decided to add some Fall decorations to the patio. bakers rack, fall decorating
I added fall accents from my stash to the baker’s rack beside the back door.  falll decorating
I pulled up a hot pepper plant and used it on the top shelf along with a sunflower seed pod.
porch, fall decorating
I brought all the ferns up close to the back door to keep them from getting hit with frost. So far they’re doing fine.  porch,fall decorating
It would be wonderful if the beautiful weather would last all year. Imagine perfect temperatures, not too hot or cold all year round.  Love that!
More fall decorating HERE.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Crockpot applesauce and apple butter

The pretty apples I saw at the orchard inspired me to try making crockpot applesauce. It was my first time making it in the crockpot. I looked online for recipes and hints and saw that some people don’t peel the apples, so that was what I tried. I washed, and cored the apples, added lots of cinnamon and cooked them in the crockpot until they were the consistency I liked, not too smooth, I like chunky applesauce. If you want to add sugar, go ahead and add that now too. I used honey, just a little. One of the perks of making your own is that you can add as much sweetener as you like.     crockpot apples 2

After mashing the apples with a potato masher I had to pick out the skins. The bits with skins still clinging to them I pressed  through a sieve to finish the process.  I decided to try making more applesauce with cored and peeled apples.  So much easier, at least I thought so. It takes more time to peel the apples but it’s worth it, I know that’s not what everyone thinks but it’s what works for me.   applesauce for freezer

I ended up with some beautiful, chunky applesauce. The cinnamon tasted so yummy. I like lots of cinnamon!  applesauce

You can add cloves, allspice or nutmeg or whatever you like to make your applesauce extra good.  needed for crockpot applesauce

I used the potato masher to smash the apples and  pressed them through a sieve to get out the last bit of skin. Next I made apple butter and used my new toy, a hand held blender.

apple butter in crockpot
I made apple butter the same way, loaded the crockpot with peeled and cored apples, lots of cinnamon and a little brown sugar. I left it cook on high for about 6 hours, then mashed the apples and turned it on low overnight. It depends on your crockpot, if you want to cook them overnight, you don’t want to burn your apples. In the morning this is what was left. A beautiful caramel colored apple butter.   apple butter jars

But, this is what I got, 3 measly jars from a crockpot filled to the brim with apples. It is so good though! Maybe the best I’ve ever had, but wow…. only three jars! I’m treating it like gold and have it stashed away in our safe. The combination is top secret! I’m not sharing!

I love apple butter on toast or bagels. It’s great with cottage cheese too. Do you have any hints to share on making crockpot apple butter or sauce?


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Fall decorating, the kitchen baker’s rack

The baker’s rack in the kitchen is something I enjoy decorating for the seasons. I love the cozy, homey feeling of seasonal decorating, it’s something I look forward to. This year the baker’s rack is decorated with my favorite blue pumpkins and old crocks and vintage bakeware. I added some old cookbooks and blue jars for more seasonal color and concentrated on pulling out colors from the oil painting, which is a yardsale find. Gotta love that!

Since our kitchen is small I like to keep most of the surfaces clear for food prep, so it’s fun to have this piece to decorate. autumn, bakers rack, blue pumpkin

The colors of the old bowls and crocks are perfect for fall decorating.

autumn, bakers rack, blue pumpkin3
The baker’s rack was originally dark wood. You can se the  previous looks herefall decor, crock
The handled crock was given to me by a friend for helping her move. The blue pumpkins are Jarrahdale, pumpkins (I think), and this is the first year I tried them. I like the color for decorating but don’t know how they taste yet. When I’m done with fall décor I’ll try them and see what they taste like in a pie.

blue pimpkin, antique pottery
I nestled a pumpkin in this piece of bakeware that I found in my Mom’s things and I love it! It even has a lid.  squash in vintage bowl

We grew the butternut squash and the vine practically overtook the tomatoes in the garden. I thought I was buying a zucchini plant but surprise, it was a squash! Someone must have been playing with the tags in the garden center where we bought the plants. The squash are in another old bowl.  tomatoes
Fall gives us so many beautiful things. We haven’t had a frost yet so we are still harvesting vegetables from our garden.  chalkboard wall
Here’s a peek at the hallway off our kitchen that leads to the garage. It’s got 3 doors, powder room, closet and basement door and I never knew what to do with it so I decided to paint it with chalkboard paint. Now we have a place to write lists and notes or decorate for the seasons. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before! It’s an ideal spot for a chalkboard. Now, if only I could do some fancy hand lettering it would be beautiful too.

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Whole wheat apple bread

This year the fall season has been so beautiful. The weather has been sunny most days with the feel of fall in the air. On one of those lovely days we made a trip to a local orchard to get some apples and other fall produce and came home with a whole lot of apples! As long as I can remember apples were one of my favorite fruits. So you know what I’ve been doing, baking of course! That means apple bread, dumplings, pie, well just about anything with apples and cinnamon. I even made applesauce and apple butter. The combination of apples and cinnamon is just about my favorite food and I love how it makes the house smell.

Here’s my recipe for whole wheat apple bread.

[gmc_recipe 2886]


apple bread

If you don’t like whole wheat flour you can use regular flour instead. I like the taste of whole wheat flour and use it in many recipes, just use half whole wheat flour and half regular flour.

apple bread 2

I have a few more apple recipes to share and will post them soon. How are you using apples? Got any favorite apple recipes to share? There are lots of recipes on my Pinterest board, A is for Apples.

Get out there and enjoy the season, winter will be here before you know it!


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))



Make a Burlap cone to hold a floral Arrangement, Easy Craft

This is a quick and easy way to make a cone from a cereal box. I know, so simple it’s practically a no brainer but I always try to use things I have before I buy something new. I needed something to hold the feathers and stems on my fall mantel and used this cone as part of the focal point of the mantel.  Wrapping it in burlap I had in my stash added a different texture to the mantel but you could use any fabric.   2013_09_19_7968
Use a cereal box to create the cone shape and tape it together. Then roll the burlap around the cone. You might need to tape the burlap to the cone to keep it from slipping.2013_09_19_7966
I stapled around the open edge to really secure it. Next I folded over the pointed edge and wrapped it with twine. Wrapping it with twine made glue unnecessary.
Here’s the finished project. This little cone craft could be used as a teepee, cornucopia, Christmas tree, even a witches hat. It’s amazing what you can come up with from such a simple project! I have a feeling I’ll be making more cone crafts.  burlap cone 3
Here’s a closer look. I really like it!   burlap cone, mantle, mantel


Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

Our fall mantel 2013

Decorating a mantel can be fun but sometimes frustrating too. Trying to come up with a new look every season isn’t always easy and I find myself racking my brain to get a fresh idea for a different look. I shopped the house and the basement  where I keep my hoard stash of things I just might need some day! Along with pheasant feathers, some faux autumn stems in tans and browns, I found a cute little owl that belonged to my Mom. Blue pumpkins were in the plan because they’re such a pretty color and I knew they would look great in our family room. A plan for decorating the fall mantel was created. These colors may not be the classic shades of gold, orange and vibrant reds but they are giving me a fresh fall look.
fall mantel
The centerpiece is and old window that was in the laundry room. I created a burlap cone to hold the faux stems and feathers.
Along with the stems and feathers I tucked in berries and moss. I like the look of moss spilling over the edges.  burlap cone, mantle, mantel
The faux foliage adds just a touch of gold and I love using antlers in autumn decorating.
autumn fireplace mantle, mantel
I brought in a fern from the patio but I know it won’t last the winter. blue pumpkin
The blue pumpkins are Jarrahdale and are good for eating too. Have you tried them?   owl, mantel, mantle, autumn
Here’s the cute little owl that belonged to my Mom. The candlesticks were hers too. I sure do miss her!
blue pumpkin 2 JPG
I found a pair of these finial at a yardsale several years ago. That’s why I love yardsales, you can find good stuff cheap.     fall mantel 2013
So there it is, the fall mantel 2013.

Blogland is in full swing with fall decorating posts to get you in the mood. If you need inspiration you will be sure to find it. Are you finished with your fall decorating?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Roasted red beets

Roasting is my new favorite way to cook vegetables.  Fall is the perfect season to give roasted beets a try. After roasting, I take off the skins and store them in the refrigerator. They’re great for tossing in salads, pickling or just sprinkling with salt and enjoying.

Red beets have always been one of my favorite vegetables. I tried growing them in our garden before and never had any luck but this year I harvested my first crop of beets. It wasn’t a bumper crop but I did get a couple dozen.  raw red beets

They aren’t the prettiest vegetable but I was pleased with my first crop.

To get them ready for roasting, I cleaned them and cut off the leafy greens. Some of the greens I tossed in a salad. Leave some stem attached to help hold the beet while taking off the skin.  roasting red beets

Roast them in the oven at 375 to 425 until they are easily pierced. You can drizzle olive oil over them if you like. To contain any juices, wrap the beets in foil. Wrapping in foil kelps to keep them from drying out too. I didn’t do that and it wasn’t too messy. Nothing like red beet juice all over. I ruined my kitchen curtains a long time ago with red beet stains!

roasted red beets
You will get pink fingers though. After roasting and cooling the skins come off easily. They will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.  red beets in salad

Beets are slightly sweeter after roasting and make a tasty combo with a mild goat cheese or feta, a little salt and balsamic vinegar.

red beets

Lots of people say they don’t like beets but I bet they’ve never tried roasted beets with coarse salt, feta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Now that’s good eating!

Most recipes for roasting beets recommend wrapping them in foil but I didn’t and they turned out fine. I’ll try that next time, It probably would cut down on oven time.

What’s your favorite way to eat beets? Please don’t say you don’t like them!   They are full of good for you fiber, vitamins and minerals! I love beets!

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))


Updating a mirror backed hutch with foam board and stencils

Our dining room hutch had a mirrored back and I was itching to give it a new look. Its look changed dramatically with just foam board and a stencil. I cut the foam board to fit over the mirrors and stenciled it with the Casablanca stencil from Cutting Edge stencils. Adding a stenciled back and removing the doors was an inexpensive way to get a whole new look. Updating the mirrored backed hutch with a new stenciled back changed the feel of the dining room from formal to more casual.
In the years 16 years we’ve lived in this house the dining room has undergone several changes. The builder’s white became a most horrible yellow in the early days here. I struggled over picking a color and ended up picking a bad one. Next it was a dark red which was a big trend in dining rooms in the 90s.
hutch with blue and white transferware dishes
This dining room suit was a cheap buy when we needed furniture for the room because we moved our old dining room furniture to the basement. It’s definitely not something I’d pick today.
hutch in believable buff dining room
When I wanted to lighten up the red walls, I painted it Believable Buff by Sherwin Williams. It was a good neutral and I didn’t tire of it so quickly.     hutch with stenciled back
Now, jumping on the gray bandwagon, the walls are Agreeable Gray, a taupey gray, by Sherwin Williams. Here’s how the hutch looks today with the doors removed and the stenciled back. Are you embracing all the pretty gray shades?   hutch
It was too busy looking with the fretwork on the doors and the the stenciled back. There was too much going on so I removed the doors. I never really liked them anyhow! Be gone doors!
mirrored back hutch, stenciled back, white ironstone 2
The dining room is slowly getting a new look. It’s a work in progress right now. I’m working on painting the hall and living room before I can call it done.   mirrored back hutch, stenciled back, white ironstone
My white ironstone collection looks pretty good with the hutch’s new look.     stencil on foam board
Working with foam board is not my favorite thing, it was difficult to cut and I would suggest practicing first if you want to cut it. I did get better as I went along. You’ll need a sharp exacto knife and a straight edge.   foam board stencil


After it was cut I stenciled it. I taped it back together to make it easier to stencil. Can you see how it curled after it dried? To try to remedy that I turned it over and piled some weight on the ends. It worked in a kinda/sorta way. Super strength double faced tape works well to hold it in place in the hutch but I need to add a few more pieces in spots that don’t stick well.
hutch door hinges
I had to stain the areas where the door hinges were. I left them like that and didn’t try to hide the fact that there were doors on this piece. So with just a few more pieces of double faced tape this little project will be finished and I’m calling it imperfectly fine.

When the painting is finished I’ll be pulling out some autumn decorations. We’ve had a few cool nights and it feels like autumn is in the air. What have you been up to, decorating for fall?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

a restored one room schoolhouse, reminiscing with my mother-in-law

My mother-in-law is now 97 years young. Her years have allowed her to experience so many things that we can only imagine, like her years at a one room school house. The school is now open on weekends for the public to visit. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon we took her for a visit. She pointed out where her old desk was and immediately started to reminisce.
She attended the Lindley Murray School. Built in 1850, it was named after a famous grammarian who was born in 1745 in a home near his father’s mill just north of Harper’s Tavern in Lebanon County, PA.  After the Revolutionary War, he left the United State and settled in England, where he wrote textbooks.
In 1944 the school was closed and the government bought it as part of Indiantown Gap Military Reservation. The building was used as a paint shop for the military.
In 1970 a group of high school students restored the school as a project for the country’s bicentennial, based on the memories of a student who attended the school in 1890.
restoration project
The high school students kept a log of the whole process which took 2 years.
I was amazed at how good the property looked.
murray school
Compare this tiny school with the jumbo sized schools of today!
catherine and bill2
Except for hip and back problems she’s in excellent health. She gets her hair done every week and still paints her nails, always wears stylish clothes and jewelry and never goes without wearing earrings and a watch. Until last year she colored her hair but now she wears it her natural color, a silver gray. I love the color!
Here she’s trying to find herself and her sisters in old photos.
class pictures
I think she really enjoyed looking back and being in her old school.
photo 2
She found 2 of her sisters but never found herself in any of the pictures because they didn’t have a photo of every year..
school room lindley murray 2
The desks on the right side of the room were much smaller than those on the left.
lindley murray school
It was pretty amazing to see an old school like this completely restored. Those high school students did a great job.

Can you imagine what it must have been like to attend a one room school?

school room lindley murray
The old coal stove in the corner had several uses; it was used for heat, to warm lunches and dry mittens.
An old school bell was handy for the teacher. I’d love to have that old map!
gas light
I think the light fixture was for candles or maybe a gas light or lantern.
antique organ
There was even the restored organ in the corner.teachers report book
The old books were fun to look at.
I found this one interesting, Hygiene, Alcohol and Narcotics. I guess substance abuse is nothing new.
In 1928 when she attended the school they used outhouses.
Here is Catherine with her 80 year old cousin. They both look great.
She is so lucky to be healthy at her age but sometimes it’s hard for her because she can’t do all the things she wants to do and used to do. With the passing of both my parents in the last few years I try to prepare my husband for the day when she is no longer with us.
Appreciate your elderly parents, they can still teach you a lot!
Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))

hanging plates on walls Frugally

Thrift store plates can be inexpensive art for your walls. We’ve been seeing them in decor for several years now.
hanging plates 2
You probably use those wire plate hangers that can be found at craft and home improvement stores to hang plates. They work just fine and I have a pile of all sizes from tiny to extra large. I even linked 2 springs together with wire to make them work when I didn’t have the right size.
Then I discovered Disc hangers! If you’ve never tried them, they’re great.
disc hangers
I don’t like seeing the wire hanger, so the Disc hangers were the solution to that problem but I think they can be a little pricey. Just a little…….when you have lots of plates to hang.
hanging plates on wall 3Somewhere on line I stumbled across this neat trick. Use what you have to make your own faux disc hangers. I’m talking about soda can tops, or beer can, and super glue. I used a generic brand of glue and it works good, maybe even a little too good. Don’t let the glue run off the plate and onto paper or cardboard under the plate…..just saying, you might not be able to get it off without a lot of elbow grease and choice words!
hanging plates on wall
Finding the perfect pattern for hanging a collage of plates has never been easy for me. I tried the “lay out the pattern on the floor” method and couldn’t seem to get it right. The old,”hang paper templates on the wall” method seemed to work better. I was able to visualize how the pattern would look.
paper templates
The newspaper templates were easy to reposition. I had an old tureen lid and some unusually shaped plates so this is what I came up with.
hanging plates on wall 2
When I was at the shore I found some little square plates and wanted to add them to the arrangement.
hanging plates
Ignore the mess, I’m in the process of painting the living room and stuff gets moved out of the way. The paint color on this wall is Anew Gray by Sherwin Williams. The living room is being painted in Agreeable gray.
plate collage

Here’s the finished arrangement.

If I were hanging old heirloom plates I don’t think I’d use pop tops and super glue but they have not fallen yet. I don’t think they will. When hanging plates you can choose a symmetrical pattern or free form, the trick is finding something that looks good to you. And that isn’t always easy! Are you using plates to decorate your walls?

Fall is in the air, are you ready to let go of summer?

Thanks for visiting! Debra (((xx)))