Saturday, July 19, 2014

Help! Carpeting Decisions

Hi everyone!

I have been wanting new carpeting for our stairs and second floor hallway for some time now and I have narrowed it down to six contenders.

If you remember, we took out a closet in our second floor last winter and made it into a cute little sitting nook. (You can see the details here)  The carpeting is original to the house and is just a basic beige-y oatmeal color - you can see a glimpse of it here. It runs the entire hallway, plus the stairs. It is still in fairly good condition, but I have had my heart set on a colorful, patterned carpet for several years now.  I've squirreled away some $ and I am ready to pull the trigger on this purchase.


So, here's where you come in:  I sure would love your input on which one of these you like the most.  Obviously, if you are not a color or pattern person, you will be asking what the x$yz I am thinking! Buuuutttttt......I am a color lover, a color craver, and away we go!!!

Anyway, with that being said, I would love your input.  When you come through the front door, the stairs are the first thing you see, making the carpet an important decorating element.







I really like them all, so it is a tough decision. I am leaning towards one - I will share that with you in another post.

What do you think friends?

Thanks for stopping by,
Jane

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hey Grandpa, What's For Supper?


Hi Everyone!

Some of you may remember the old TV show, "Hee Haw" from 60's & 70's.  One of the running gags on the show was with Grandpa Jones, and he would be asked, "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?" One of his responses was, "Some large mouth bass as long as your arm, an' roasting ears and 'maters brought fresh from the farm. Fried apple pies, good and brown, and plenty of iced tea to go around." And the  audience with howl with laughter! 

Ah........it was a simpler time!  Mr. Bluebird still uses that line with me occasionally - and well, truthfully, it still makes me laugh.



It has been crazy busy around the Bluebird household lately, so it sometimes is a chore to get a meal on the table that doesn't come frozen on a cardboard circle (Tombstone pizza)!  Now, we do love an occasional Tombstone around here, but most days, something home-cooked is what we go for.  The family is still asking, "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?!" So during the busiest times or when the thermometer outside is sweltering, I turn to the slow cooker.  It is so nice to just throw some ingredients in, let it "percolate" all day, and then voila! "Grandpa says" come n' get it!

                        

One of our family faves is super easy, and never disappoints!  Most of the ingredients I usually  have on hand.  The first thing I do is pour in a bag of frozen, chopped celery/onion/carrots and a large can of sliced mushrooms into the slow cooker.  Next, I melt a quarter cup of butter and pour it over the veggies.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  It adds tremendous flavor to the veggies.  



Next, I place a turkey tenderloin (it also works with pork tenderloin) into the cooker, atop the veggies.  Lastly, I use 1/2 cup of beef broth mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour and pour over all.  I also will give a shake or two of salt and pepper over the turkey for a little extra flavor.  Put the top on the cooker, set it on low and let 'er go for the next 6 - 8 hours.



Oooh......you had me at celery, onion & carrots! Yum!


30 minutes or so before serving, I add 1 cup of uncooked Minute Rice, stirring it into the liquid and veggies.


We added a little mixed veggie on the side, but a green salad is wonderful as is a loaf of crusty bread.

So there you have it, a quick, easy, and delicious meal with plenty of leftovers for the next day.  Tell me, do you have easy meal ideas for the busy and hot days of summer?

Thanks for stopping by,
Jane

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Simple Summer Pleasure

Hi Everyone!

Don't you just love crawling into bed after you have put on fresh, clean linens? It is something soothing to the soul as far as I'm concerned!  I love the old fashioned notion of it, too.  I have happy memories of helping my mom put up and take down many a load of wash from our clothesline as a kid. (Although I am pretty sure I complained about it back in the day - "why can't we just put the clothes in the dryer, mom?!")



We have been in our current home for thirteen years and have never had a clothesline.  We had a fabulous one at our old house, but nothing here.  Occasionally I would  MaGyver something together with lawn furniture and tables, etc. to dry a blanket, quilt, or comforter, but it was not the same as an honest to goodness clothesline. I have been secretly lusting after one for years.  Now, I am not talking about giving up my dryer - not happening! - just a little line to hang linens, quilts, towels, and such.

One magical day in June (out of the blue), Mr. Bluebird decided we needed a clothesline and he hooked me up with one between a tree and our pavilion.  Today was it's maiden voyage and our sheets are a-blowin' in the summer breeze! I added a healthy scoop of fragrance crystals (right now I have Gain Fireworks, but there are other brands - this was just what I picked up on sale) to my wash water for some extra "oomph!"  Have you tried scent crystals?  I am a scent-a-holic and when these came out I was all in!  They really make your clothes and linens smell awesome-sauce - they really do!  Have you tried them?

So today I share with you my little scrapbook of laundry line love - truly a simple summer pleasure!






Do you have any simple summer pleasures to share?

Thanks for stopping by,

Jane

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!





Hi everyone,

Just popping to wish you all a safe, fun, and festive fourth of July.  God bless America!

Jane








Thursday, July 3, 2014

TBT: Living Room Summer 2012

Hi everyone,

I decided to do a little Turn Back Thursday and take a look at our living room a few years back.  Interestingly, many things have stayed the same.


I still have most of the accessories, although they have been moved here, there, and everywhere many times over.  I still have the curtains panels - still love them every single day!


The sofa and settee have stayed the same - they were brand spankin' new in these pictures.  I still love them every day also!  I was pretty scared about going from a neutral, solid color sofa and loveseat to a very colorful and multi patterned grouping.  But I don't for one minute regret it - it makes me happy every time I walk into the room!


The seagrass baskets have moved off into storage land, along with the chair.  We also replaced the berber carpet with gorgeous laminate (yes, laminate can be gorgeous!) shortly after this picture was taken.  Another change that has occurred, our sweet, little Barker - shown lounging above - passed in April of this year.  We miss him terribly, but are grateful for his years of faithful friendship!

Anyway, in a house where things seem to change a lot, I am actually shocked at how much has stayed the same in this room. Of course, the pillows and accessories revolve and evolve constantly, but I am so happy that the key pieces -the pieces that can't easily be changed - are still making my heart go pitty pat.  For many years prior to this, I was not decorating true to my taste - I had a purple phase, a sage phase, a turquoise flirtation - trying to convince my self that this was more "in," more the latest and the greatest.  But those looks weren't me. Not. At. All.  In fact, for awhile I was in a decorating drought.  A slump.  Decorating my home, being in my home was no longer fun.  That's when I had an epiphany and told myself to be honest in my decorating and in my style. I chose the colors and things that I was attracted to. For me and for my family.  Not someone else.  And suddenly, it was fun to decorate again! My house was energized and had personality again.  The creativity was kick started  and the thing I loved to do - decorating my home - had fallen back into my lap.

So lesson learned: be true to your style, your color palette, etc.  Be open to new additions, but only if YOU like them - not because it is what every one else is doing or what is being shown in the magazines.  If you stay true to what you love, you will have no problem infusing a vitality and current sensibility to your style.
Trust me!!!

Thanks for stopping by,
Jane

Monday, June 30, 2014

Slow Start (But Here I Go!)


Hi everyone,

Hope your week is off to a good start!  I am hoping to tackle a little project that I have had in the works since January....yep, January!  I need to make some changes to our master bedroom and I have put off doing so because I would like to paint the walls.  However, it's been a weird and crazy year, and for many reasons, I simply am unable to get that piece of the project done.  Boo!

But.....................I surveyed the situation the other day, and the supplies that I have gathered to transform my room actually look ok with the current wall color.  So, instead of feeling annoyed with our bedroom and it's current state, I am going to move forward and do a little re-do sans paint!

Our master currently looks dark, drab, and just not the cozy space I was hoping for.  You can see for yourself here.  The bedding is very pretty, but it is just soooo heavy and overpowering.  Especially for the summer months.  At Christmas time, I picked up a white matelasse coverlet and also some pretty Chalet linens from Pottery Barn on clearance.  I shared that with you here. I also have a Pottery Barn Martine toile coverlet and shams that I am going to work into the mix.


So finally, after much procrastination, I am starting tomorrow to stitch up (well, fusible web!) some drapery panels and taking those first steps towards changing our room to a new vibe. Hope to share those with you in a day or two.  Fingers crossed!

Many projects, so little time! What are you working on these days?

Thanks for stopping by,
Jane



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Early Summer Blooms

Summer has been slow to come to Wisconsin this year, but I think the weather has been turning around the past few days!  I still haven't "summerized" the yard completely, but there are a few blooms and pretty things happening at the Bluebird household.  

Love this little baker's rack, near our front sitting area.  I haven't used red in recent summers in front, but I really like it this year! It just is so cheery.


Our club chair sitting area at the front of the house.  I have several sets of cushions for these chairs, but have opted to keep things simple for awhile.  I am planning on putting my red paisley cushions out this week for the fourth though......(simplicity is coming to an end)!


A little snippet of our backyard as you come through the arbor.  Three of our hostas are being a little poky this year, but look at the beauty to the left - gorgeous.


Our firepit is just beyond the arbor and is so relaxing both night and day.  It really takes in the vista of our backyard.  The Pottery Barn bolsters are new this summer, and I am kind of liking the fact that they are a bit oversized.


This maple tree was grown from a "helicopter" that seeded itself in my daughter's sandbox at our old house.
We scooped it up into a coffee can, added some dirt, and nurtured it for a year before we could plant it at this house.  Thirteen years later, it is a glorious tree - and a special reminder of her childhood.  Below it, I have two "little girl" garden statues - another reminder of our once little girl!


A cozy lounger near our patio door.  The zinnias behind it are starting to take off and should fill in to a pretty little hedge in a month or so.  Love zinnias!  The two blue mercury glass gazing balls are part of a three piece set and light up at night.  Their shimmer is so relaxing to watch after a long day.


My Pier One Casbah chairs from last summer.  They stayed out all winter and still look like brand new! I absolutely adore them - and with their cushions, they are incredibly comfy!


This year's window box arrangement for our garden shed.  I love my little ceramic kitty peeking out the window.  I have had him for over thirty years and he is one of my prized possessions.


I found an absolutely fabulous garden center this year for my hanging baskets.  The man who owns the shop grows everything from seed and/or cuttings from the prior year's plants.  I had driven past this nursery for years, just assuming I could not afford his prices - that's how beautiful his hanging baskets are.  But, this year has been a tough year for annual plants in my neck of the woods and so many places had absolutely horrible looking baskets.  So on a whim, I stopped in and was amazed at his terrific prices.  Huge, lush baskets for 1/3 of the price I would pay anywhere else.  So happy I stopped in, and I have sent many friends his way also.


I also found this sweetie pie resting on a fence post yesterday and just had to take his pic.  Lots of robins in our part of the state.


I plan on having more yard & garden shots once everything is in place and things have fluffed out a bit more.
Mr. Bluebird thought I should show a picture of his new tv he bought for our pavilion today, because, well, he thinks it's incredible!  But, the blog isn't called "Mr. Bluebird 1959" and we aren't going to be passing off a tv as something pretty! Just sayin..................(but, I am happy for him and his new tv)!

Thanks for stopping by,
Jane

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