}“ }

August 31, 2012

a whole new season - faith walk friday

I saw my first changing leaves this morning as I walked through the neighborhood.  What a sweet assurance that fall is indeed on it's way.  Isn't it funny, when you are in the midst of oppression, whether it be the heat or personal struggles, you can forget what you know to be true.  Autumn will come...

Seasons come and seasons go. 

I have been talking about making changes in my life since the springtime.  I can sense God wanting to do a new thing in me and through me as I enter this new season of my life, the transition from working girl to full time at home.  I have been searching out my gifts and what I have to offer.  Your sweet comments have been so encouraging (I am not writing this for me of them) but now it is time to put my faith into action.  How do I serve Him?

"He said to m "You are my servant Israel, and you will bring me glory," I replied, "But my work seems so useless!  I have spent my strength for nothing and for no purpose.  Yet I will leave it in the Lord's hands; I will trust God for my reward."  Isaiah 49:3-4

How do I bring God glory?  My life is nothing special.  My talents are ordinary.  My fruit seems minimal and my work can seem so useless. 

God's word says that if I do even the ordinary things in my life as a service to Him, I bring Him glory.  I need to trust Him to use them in ways I may never see.  I need to live my life to please an audience of One.  I will count on Him for my reward.

Does your life seem ordinary?  I will bet most do.  I am finding the difference between an ordinary life and extraordinary one is in the attitude.  Am I doing what I do for the praise of man or am I living my life in the service of One? 

I have signed up to serve in the Women's Ministry at my church again this year.  I prayed about serving elsewhere because I had grown complacent and stale with my ordinary service but God reminded me that it is not where I serve but who I serve that makes all the difference.  I have so many ideas floating in my head for little changes in how I can help to make a difference in women's lives.  I have been blessed with a whole new season.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo, Patty

Just a note...This adorable dessert is a cake baked right in a mason jar (in a water bath).  Our Women's Ministry Director found the idea online and I just love it.  Wouldn't it be cute for a birthday party or shower?

August 30, 2012

in the works

I finally got started on my dining room yesterday.  I don't know why my get up and go has got up and gone.  I think this never ending heatwave has just zapped my mojo.

I am longing to feel a cool breeze in the air.  I miss my walks in the crispness of the morning.  Every time I feel a change in the weather coming that darn low pressure returns to the west coast and we swelter a little longer.

Okay, I am done complaining...

Back to my dining room in the works.  I managed to recover four of our six dining room chairs and I love the bold graphic fabric in there.  After a nice breakfast with a couple of friends this morning, I will be back at it so hopefully, I'll have some pictures to share with you soon.

Has it cooled down were you are?

xo, Patty

August 29, 2012

words that touch

Every once in a while I have the privilege of touching someone, by the grace of God, just when they needed it with a photo or a string of words and it is such a sweet blessing for doing something I love to do...blog.

Monday I received a comment from a beautiful woman named Becky that tugged at my heart because I know first hand what it is to worry about loved ones who are ill.

Becky if you are reading this, I have tried to find a way to respond to your comment without success.  Please know that I am praying for you and your family. 

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.  The Lord be with you all."  2Thessolonians 3:16

May you feel God's peace and healing in the days to come.

xo, Patty

August 27, 2012

searching for beautiful

Yes, it's Monday. Again. Already.  You might as well embrace the new day and get a move on...Friday is right around the corner, I promise.

I ventured out into the garden before my first cup of coffee on purpose this morning.  I wanted to take a look at it with half closed eyes and see if there was one single living thing pretty enough to photograph.

I am not exaggerating when I say it was tough find.

Just when I was about to give up I took notice of my red radio flyer wagon and found a few zinnias valiantly trying to be beautiful, just for me.

That's life...sometimes you have to squint real hard, close one eye and pray a little and lo and behold something beautiful shows up, just for you.

xo, Patty

August 25, 2012

the last weekend in August

Happy Saturday morning!  Can you believe this is the last weekend in August?  I can feel a busy week ahead trying to complete a couple more projects on my August to do list.

I'm hoping to finish up my dining room spruce up and now that the weather has cooled a bit, the garden definitely needs my attention.  I think the weeds actually out number the flowers at this point.

All that can wait until Monday though.  This weekend is all about enjoying the last weekend of Summer...throwing something on the barbecue or a quick trip to the beach sounds just about perfect.  And of course opening a nice bottle of wine to finish off the day will definitely be in order.

What about you?  Any plans for the weekend?

xo, Patty

By the way, I broke down and bought a box of vanilla pudding and made a banana cream pie.  We indulged after dinner last night and boy, was it delicious!

August 24, 2012

are you a fan of banana pudding?

I love banana pudding.  It's funny I'm not particularly found of bananas but I do love banana pudding and banana cream pie.  (You don't suppose it has anything to do with the sugar added, do you?)  Normally I'm a box pudding kinda girl but I found a recipe in a book that didn't seem too intimidating.  The directions were straight forward, I had most of the ingredients on hand and even though it involved a double boiler, I was ready to give it a try. 

I ran to the store for vanilla wafers (the only thing not in my cupboard) and picked up a bouquet of fresh flowers for the table.

You'll notice I'm posting pictures of the flowers and not the banana pudding...

After a marathon of continual stirring, separating four eggs, chopping up six bananas and whipping up a quick meringue, it flopped...big time.   For some reason the pudding went from thick to runny.  It was fine when I poured it over the wafer and banana concoction but when I went to sample it, it was runny.  Any idea what I did wrong? 

I can't tell you how disappointed my taste buds were.  All that work and no reward.  Don't you hate when that happens?  It's like when you have a craving for ice cream and open the fridge and somebody ate the last bowl or the last piece of pie.

Before I go back to the box,  I'd love to give it another try.  Does anyone have a fool proof recipe they are willing to share?  I have to run to the market today and I can pick up more bananas...

xo, Patty

btw...it seems there are a few of us waiting for suggestions on where to shop for clothes.  It's not to late to leave a comment on this post and I will share the top places next week.  Thanks for your input.

August 22, 2012

Is it a woman thing?

Is it a woman thing...this feeling of inadequacy?  This need to produce and always measure up?  And is it self imposed or does society place it on us?  Is there a certain age where we discover us and embrace that, or is it a life long pursuit?
Just a few random thoughts running through my mind this morning...

I love blogging.  The whole process feeds my creative soul but I have to admit that sometimes I stare at the blank screen and wonder what I have to share that could possibly be of interest to anyone out there.  There are so many wonderful blogs with such worthy content. 

Then I remember, I am me, not her or her or her.  God has blessed me with my own set of gifts to use to encourage and inspire...not everyone will get it everyday but I may touch one person and that one person will walk away with a thought or a smile and I will have done my part.

I try to start my day over at Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.  She always has a nugget for me to chew on and today's was this.

 "When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness."

A weighty thought to apply to this simple blog I know, but it is so true.  If I remain true to who I am in Christ, then He will cover the cracks.  That should be my auto pilot answer to any feelings of inadequacy that creep into my thought process every time.

xo, Patty

August 21, 2012

junk gypsies

My sister in law got me hooked on the Junk Gypsies.  Have you seen it on HGTV?  Two sisters in pursuit of flea market finds waiting to be repurposed into the coolest treasures you can imagine.

I think one of the most inspiring things about the show is that these two women follow their heart and are true to their own personal style.  I admire that...

I not only love the way they use thrifted flea market finds to layer when they decorate but I adore how they layer what they wear.  The chunky silver jewelry and layered, ruffled clothing are the perfect blend of retro cool and feminine chic. 

I am the furthest thing from a fashion diva but lately I have been on a quest to add more style to my boring, ho-hum wardrobe. 

While I've had some luck finding accessories rather inexpensively, finding clothes has proven to be a bit more of a challenge.  That's where you come in.  I am looking for suggestions on where to find clothes with that same flea market feel. 

This is where I should mention that the Junk Gypsies are young and thin and adorable.  Sadly, I am not...

I am all ears.  Where are your favorite places to shop for clothes that hopefully won't break the bank?

xo, Patty

August 20, 2012

duck, duck, goose




Aren't these the most adorable bottles?  They came filled with raspberry lemonade that really made my mouth pucker!  Never mind what they cost me a piece, I just couldn't resist their total cuteness.

And speaking of cuteness...I loved reading all your childhood memories.  They stirred up even more of mine.  How fun it would be to go back for a day or two.  Don't you think?  If only just to hug a few people I didn't hug often enough...

Can you believe it's the start of another week and August is almost over?  Happy mouth puckering, lemonade loving, sweet Monday to you!

xo, Patty

August 17, 2012

friday morning light

It has been a bit of an emotional week as I've watched my mom move the last of her things out of the home she shared with my dad before he passed away and turn over the keys to the new owner.  So I thought I was in need of a Friday morning light post.

Since I am in a nostalgic mood anyway...

I thought we could share our favorite childhood summertime memory.  I think mine would be the days we spent swimming either in the public plunge or in my Aunt Betty's pool.   We would throw coins in the water and see who could dive to the bottom and gather the most, we played Marco Polo, had underwater breath holding contests and races across the pool.   I used to love looking down and seeing my hands all wrinkled like prunes (funny, I don't love it so much now that it doesn't take hours in the water to get the same affect).

Now it's your turn.  What's your favorite summertime childhood memory?

xo, Patty

August 16, 2012

kitchen love

Wow!  I am blown away by your sweet comments on my farmhouse kitchen post.  I read each and every comment and want to thank you for "getting" what I was trying to convey.  It is the best reflection of my style so far.

Just to answer a few questions...

The barn red cabinets were here when we moved in.  (I am working on getting a paint formula for you.)  It was one of the things that sold me on the house.  It's funny, you either love them or hate them.  Fortunately for me, I love them.  I don't think I would have had the courage to paint them that color on my own.  When we first moved in a well meaning neighbor offered to paint those "awful cabinets" for me.  That just goes to show how personal decorating tastes are.  If I had succumbed to the opinions of others I would have painted over the most commented part of the kitchen.

The open shelves were made from stock lumber and brackets from one the the big box building stores. (I can't remember which one.)  I toyed with the idea of removing a few doors from the existing cabinets but my hubby discouraged (nixed) the idea so the open shelving gave me the look I was after.   It was a good compromise that turned into one of my favorite spots in the kitchen.

Red and yellow is my favorite happy color combination.  Throw in a black checked curtain and I am in farmhouse heaven.

And finally, Cupcake wine is one of my current favorites, especially Red Velvet.  I would love for you to pull up a chair and share a glass or two with me or I could brew up a fresh pot of coffee or tea and pour you a cup.  I'm sure we could talk for hours.

Thank you again for the kitchen love...now it's on to the dining room.

Happy day before Friday!

xo, Patty

August 14, 2012

cottage farmhouse kitchen

I am excited to finally share my cottage farmhouse kitchen with you today.

I don't know if that is actually a decorating style or just a mixture of different styles that I love.  Isn't it nice that we don't have to pigeonhole ourselves into one style label or another anymore?

 It's okay to be a mish mash of what makes us happy and express our own unique style.

If I want to mix an antique floral tray with my daughters googly eye potholders from the 1990's...I can. 

If I want to pair my barn red cabinets with modern quartz counter tops and mismatched butcher block islands...that's perfectly fine.

I have a list of things I would like to change when they break down and it is no longer smart to fix them, but for now my white 1990's stove is just fine next to my new stainless steel looking refrigerator. 

My counter top white microwave works fine next to my black toaster oven and inexpensive Mr. Coffee.  As long as my growing collection of aprons has a place to hang, I have beauty enough in that corner of the kitchen.

As I look around I see a collection of pretty containers given to me by sweet friends and the thought of replacing them with matching baskets is just not in my plans.  It makes me smile when I see pretty note cards tucked into this fresh lemon box that was a gift from a new blogging friend.

Matching my fresh flowers to this pretty yellow buffalo check makes my heart sing and helps to make the kitchen one of my favorite rooms in our little cottage.

I know it's not much by todays kitchen standards but for my little family it's warm, laid back, come and sit a spell attitude is perfect. 

Thanks for stopping by to take a peek at my farmhouse style cottage kitchen redo.  I hope you feel inspired to let go of any decorating rules you are forcing yourself to live by and that you use and display only what makes you smile.

xo, Patty

I am joining Brenda at A Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday and Kim at Savy Southern Style for Wow us Wednesdays.

August 13, 2012

an unexpected perk

Being better organized definitely has it's perks.  When I saw a recipe for banana bread muffins on Homemaking Merry Hearts blog I knew immediately that I had all the ingredients on hand to make them.

Even though the heat has been relentless, I couldn't resist waking up a little early yesterday morning and whipping up a batch.  I was hoping by the time dear hubby noticed I turned the oven on he would smell the delicious aroma and not fuss about the extra heat I was causing. 

Mission accomplished...

Another perk are the extra compliments from him.  As much as I think he doesn't notice the changes I'm making, it turns out he actually does.  He has made several comments about how neat and organized the kitchen and laundry room are and how much he appreciates it.  He even noticed the fresh sunflowers and thinks we should always have fresh flowers in the house. 

Kiss the cook and do the dishes! 

Fresh flowers in the house all the the time...definitely an unexpected perk!

Happy Monday everyone.

xo, Patty

August 10, 2012

are you ready for the weekend?

It's Friday...can I get a woot, woot?  After my busy week of pushing furniture, emptying drawers, wiping down, wondering how those crumbs got in there and putting it all back in place, I am definitely ready for the weekend.

If the comments are any indication, one thing is clear, you all love kitchens just as much as I do.  That old cliche that they are the heart of the home is certainly true.  Even though we spend more and more time obsessed with the latest technology, our kitchens (maybe more than ever) are the one place we come together face to face, whether it's for a sit down meal or a quick snack.

I am hoping to spend some time this weekend responding to your sweet comments and answering any direct questions you may have posed.  If you don't get a response from me, check to make sure you are not set to "no reply blogger".  I know I was for a while and didn't even know it.  Several bloggers have done tutorials on how to check if you are and how to change it.  I have linked to sweet Claudia's at Mockingbird Hill Cottage for your reference.

Thank you again for the praise.  I think it must be a woman thing because my family gave me a quick, "Yeah, that looks fine." and moved on to "What's for dinner?"  Oh well, I'm pleased as punch and that's all that matter, right?  Can't wait to show it all to you next week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo, Patty

August 9, 2012

Keeping a Home - An organized kitchen

Warning... this is a long one, folks!

It's done!  My kitchen re-organization and farmhouse update is done. I am not going to lie, it was a lot of work but I am thrilled with how it turned out. 

Before I show you the details of the farmhouse part of it, I want to share the re-organization with you.

Our home was built in 1954.  It is two story, less than 1500 square feet with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a long narrow living room, a nice size dining room and a 12 x 12 square kitchen.

If you have watched as much HGTV as I have then you know about the all important kitchen triangle.  Well, in 1954 there was no such notion.  You got a stove, a sink and a place for a refrigerator...period.  Where ever they fit, they fit.

With my kitchen being square, everything is pushed against the walls.  The stove is right next to the refrigerator with no counter prep area and the sink is four feet away from the dishwasher because in 1954 the wife was the dishwasher (still is come to think of it, but now she uses a machine to dry the dishes).

When we purchased this house the previous owner was using the empty space in the center of the kitchen as an eat in with a small square table pushed under the window.  I opted for a small island in the middle of kitchen so that I would have some prep area.  This worked okay but I really needed more workspace than the little island provided.

Enter mom...When my mom moved into her smaller home she re-gifted me with a pine island that I had given her many years ago.  After much pushing and pulling I was able to bump both the islands together and create one large preparation/baking area.  (Lest you think the islands were a perfect match in height, they were not.  I was able to add enough fillers to the bottom of one of the islands to match the height pretty closely.)

Now I have plenty of room to keep my butcher block cutting board, Kitchen Aid mixer, mini food processor, assorted spices and my cooking utensils out and still have plenty of open work space.  I moved my dried beans and pasta out of the pantry and into these plastic jars.  They fit perfectly on the shelves of one of the islands.

I tucked a basket for shoes, which seem to always end up in the kitchen, behind the island along with a small step stool.  I also added a small basket to collect sunglasses and badges and clutter that ends up on the kitchen counter.

I purchased the baskets to gather the spices in at Joann's, the spice bottles at IKEA (I wrote the name of the spice with a sharpie) and the oil decanter and adorable pepper mill faucet at Target.

I had already re-organized my pantry areas and have been fairly successful in keeping them up.

The coffee station pretty much stayed the same with the addition of this cute plaque.

I do dishes by hand every day so it makes sense to just leave out my drying rack.  I purchased a black drying pad for underneath just to clean up the look.

I bought an assortment of little plastic bins for the drawers.  Most were very inexpensive but a few, like the ones holding my cooking knives, were a bit pricier because I wanted the safety of the rubber grip on the bottom.

Well, there you have it.  I really thought things through when I put everything back together.  I wanted the kitchen to function well over the long haul.  I figure if the storage makes sense then it should be easy (easier) to keep it organized.  Hopefully, my family will get used to it and stop complaining that they can't find what they are looking for.

There is one drawer that I didn't touch...the junk drawer.  I had to leave in a little touch of reality, right?

Next week you get to see the pretties.  I promise.

xo, Patty