Sunday, June 28, 2015

There's A Plant Growing Out of The Baby's Head

Hi everyone!

I promise there is a good reason for my post title, but bear with me while I talk about a few other things first.  Patience, my friends, patience.

I've been a bit neglectful of my blog lately, but I confess things have been pretty busy around here and time has gotten away from me.  Besides a number of weddings, graduation parties and gatherings, I have been knee deep in cleaning and clearing out in prep for a rummage sale later this month.  I am really biting the bullet and downsizing in a big, big way!  Once the "junk" becomes some one else's treasure, I will be ready to get to all of the interior painting I've got planned for this summer!

In the meantime, I have some pretty pics from our great outdoors.  We have had plenty of rain so far this summer, which means every thing is currently lush and beautiful!  Usually around the 4th of July, Mother Nature turns off the water supply and things get a little brown - but I am staying positive and enjoying the beauty while it lasts.

My million bells hanging basket is one happy plant these days. I've got an all red one that is not nearly as jolly, but let's just admire the one that is happy.

I put a sun impatien in one of the old potato baskets I bought at the flea market last month. I love this vignette on the serving bar by our grill.

Although an early bug infestation made the leaves a bit lacy, our wonder roses are beautiful this year.

Mr. Bluebird decided we needed to expand the ring around our Cleveland Pear tree today, so we went from this......

To this!  I am excited to see the lantana fill in.

Before the little landscape project, we headed out to the once monthly flea market in Elkhorn and came across this gem......

Oh my goodness!  This particular booth had oodles of old dolls whose heads were cut open and now were sprouting plants and flowers. Some of  the dolls were missing their bodies and just their heads were made into garden stakes.  I've never seen anything quite like it, lol.  Annnndddd.....people were buying these things!  Just goes to show there is truth to the old saying, "One man's trash, is another man's treasure." Maybe I am not seeing the beauty, and I definitely don't want to offend any one who thinks it's cute.  Obviously, people were buying them so there is a market.

I will leave you with one more picture that my friend sent me from the same sale.  Somehow I missed this beauty.

What say you.....would you buy a doll with a plant growing out of their head?  Just curious.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Special Party for Sweet Daughter

Hi Everyone!

Now that summer is in full swing, I am gearing up for some fun outdoor parties at our house.  Whether it's a small party for four, a spur of the moment drinks on the patio event or a full blown mega get together, there are a few tricks I use to make these events a success. 

One of the things I have learned about summer entertaining is to keep things simple.  Simple doesn't necessarily mean serving in tupperware or red solo cups.  Simple, for me, translates into planning ahead, making ahead and limiting the menu.  I admit I don't always follow my advice - but when I do my parties are more fun for all, including this hostess!

The Bluebird household has an extra special summer event coming up at our house and I am sharing some of my party planning tips with you today.  Our Sweet Daughter will be attending graduate school at Virginia Tech for the next two years and will be moving there at the end of July.  We are throwing her a going away party.

The fine folks over at Paperless Post offer a huge variety of cards, both online and paper.  I am a paper invite kind of girl, but I know Sweet Daughter is more of an online fan.  I thought these Kate Spade invites were so fun.  These are available as an ecard only, but at $6.00 for ten - and no postage - I think I am converting to online invites!  

Paperless Post is a new to me site that I have discovered to be an awesome and affordable source for invitations and cards.  They have a huge variety of online/paper cards, stationery, invites - all are customizable, which means no more hand writing out a gazillion cards/invites!  They also offer many free products that you can use if you are on a budget.  I think you should check them out!  ( Note: Paperless Post contacted me to do this post, but I was not compensated in any way and the opinions are my own.)

For the party, we chose an All Things Wisconsin  theme. I think it is always important to establish a theme for an event - it makes it so much easier to have a framework to plan your party around.  We are keeping decor simple, but I know I will be incorporating little flags of our favorite Wisconsin sports teams and also will include a Virginia Tech garden flag.  I am going to string them together banner style and hang them on our patio pavilion.

 No party is complete without a great menu.  We are cooking up some of our favorite Wisconsin bites, including:

We will be grilling them up ahead of time, serving them with buns, sauerkraut, onions, ketchup and mustard - this scream Wisconsin summer! Of course, no sausage entree would be complete without a Milwaukee Midget Dill Pickle...

What would  a Wisconsin event would be without cheese?  Mr. Bluebird will be deep frying up more than one batch of this decadent treat. Although it is not something that can be prepared in advance, we do set up the deep fryer outside - keeping the kitchen clean, cool and allows guest participation and conversation.

One of our favorite family activities each summer is attending the Wisconsin State Fair.  And, the one thing none of us can resist is the famous and delicious Wisconsin State Fair cream puffs.  They are like no other and and are sooooo good!  The puff part of the cream puff is very easy to make and can be frozen (a huge time saver), so Sweet Daughter requested cream puffs for dessert.  I will fill them with delicious fresh whipped cream - the Fair puffs have a secret to their cream recipe, but I have come close to replicating over the years. Yum yum yum (may have to make a "test" batch ahead of time, lol)!

As a nod to Virginia, I have ordered several bags of their famous Route 11 chips - they will be a fun, tasty and simple side to our bratwurst.

I am also going to whip up some Virginia fried fruit hand pies.  I found an easy, make ahead recipe from the always amazing Pioneer Woman.

Besides cheese, no Wisconsin party would be without beer and one of our family favorites is Spotted Cow.  There will plenty to go around, along with lemonade, sodas and water, of course.

I will fill in with a few other sides and snacks - potato salad, Italian pasta salad, taco dip and fresh fruit and veggies. To simplify things, I will use disposable paper plates, cups, napkins and flatware. I am also planning to order out the fruit and veggie trays. I like to use stoneware bowls I have put in the freezer over night to serve my cold helps keeps them nice & cool. Another trick I like to use to keep cold food cold, is to use smaller serving bowls and trays that can be replenished as needed.  It assures food is kept at a safe temperature and prevents waste.

We are looking forward to sharing our special Wisconsin send off for our daughter with our friends and family later this summer.  I will be sharing pics with you - so stay tuned, and pray for good weather!

Any summer parties in your plans this year?  I'd love to hear your ideas to make entertaining fun and easy!

Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes You Just Gotta Fake It

Hi Everyone!

Now that summer is finally here, I have just finished up my flower planting and purchasing for the season.  I will probably add a few potted plants here and there as the summer goes on, but basically, I am done.

I love all my beautiful hanging baskets, my impatiens and zinnia beds and all of the other summery flowers I have in my backyard.  They make me happy!  But here's the deal, the front of our house faces south and we get absolutely pounded by the sun every year.

In fact, we have to replace our doorbell every year or two because the sun deteriorates it and then, it stops working.  We have tried cheap, average and pricy versions, but they are no match for the sun.  The sun's rays also wreak havoc on our shutters and they are desperately in need of a paint job.  (That, however, will have to wait until next year - in the meantime, I try to close one eye whenever I am in the front of the house, lol!)

  For twelve summers I have tried to keep flowers alive in my front planters and for twelve summers, said flowers have burned up by August or sooner. Always so disappointing. And costly. And a waste of time. And not pretty.

 So, now that you know my sunshine troubles, I need to let you in on little secret I have decided to keep (but tell all of you)!  This year I have decided to fake it. Yep, fake it right in my own front yard!

I purchased faux flowers from JoAnn's for 70% off and filled up my porch pots.  Obviously, if you examine closely, they aren't real - but for the most part, I am very happy with how they look. No, not for the most part - I am THRILLED with how they look.  Most importantly, they aren't dead or crispy or shriveled.

Aren't these crazy roosters fun? Picked them up in April at Hobby Lobby. They look so cute with my faux blooms.

 This picture shows one of two other large planters that flank our garage door. I'm going to put wood chips around the flowers to make things a bit more realistic.

I know there are a lot of faux haters out there, but I say faking it is way better than shriveled up flowers or none at all!  

And as Taylor Swift says, "And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off."

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vintage Wisconsin Advertising Decor

Hi Everyone!

Today I have a fun post for you, showcasing some of the vintage collectibles I have from the state I was born, raised and have always lived (!) - Wisconsin.  Some I have picked up along the way, others were gifts or family pieces.

First up, three Watt Apple yelloware pieces - I've had these for over thirty years and picked them up at what was the cutest little antique shop, called the Apple Basket.  (Still mourn the closing of that shop, and it's been thirty years, lol!)

My antiques loving parents gave this to me one year for Christmas.

I just love these old bottles - especially the two turquoise ones!  They were a gift from one of my husband's employees, many years ago.  His wife's family owned an auction house and he snapped these up for me as a surprise.  ("Give that guy a raise," I think is what I said!)

Another great gift from my parents, ages ago.

Fun find at an antique mall.

Another antique mall find.

I think this little spongeware pitcher is so cute.

This treasure also came from my folks.  It was from an old grocery store near my hometown. The building became many things over the years, including an auto body shop.  However, for the past thirty years it has been a cute little bank - lovingly renovated to look like an old time bank, complete with teller cages, wooden floors, etc.  Love this piece - and I've had it forever!

Not the best picture, but nonetheless, this is probably my most favorite of all my Wisconsin things.  It is the top of an old cranberry barrel.  I picked it up in the mid 80's from a shop in Eagle River, WI called Arvilla's Antiques (don't try to find it, sadly, it is long gone!).  Her shop and these barrel tops were featured in an issue of Country Living magazine.  Happily, we had already planned a weekend retreat to Eagle River and I was lucky enough to buy the last barrel top she had left!  I paid $75.00 - which was a boat load of money for me to spend on a small home decor item back in the day.  But, it has remained a constant in our home and I can't ever imagine parting with it.  Right now, it is living in our lower level family room/bar.

These few photos are from that same room.  This wooden sign used to hang in front of the family resort my husband's family vacationed at in the 60's and early 70's - another one of my favorite treasures.  Below the sign is our fun collection of foam sports fingers.

As you may know, Wisconsin is a big beer brewing state and beer collectibles are a hot commodity in these here parts. This Pabst beer clock also came from my husband's family.  They received it from a friend who owned a bar just down from their house.

This gem was a gift from my parents and I love him.  I wish I had more of these advertising figures, but they are pricy.

Mr. Bluebird loves his Hamm's Beer Bar calendar - also a gift from my parents.  Honorable mention goes to our Blatz Beer bottle opener, Rhineland Shorty Beer bottle and our stuffed Bernie Brewer, lol!

My cousin's son and his wife are huge collectors of Milwaukee, WI memoriblia - especially old beer collectibles - and their basement, decorated with an amazing array of items, was featured on HGTV's Bang for Your Buck show several years ago.  You can view that episode here.  It is gorgeous!

There you have it - just a few of the vintage Wisconsin items I could find around our house.  I am sure there are others, but I showed you most of my favorites.

How about you - do you collect anything from your home state? I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with these fun parties:

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Farewell Dear Friend

Hi Everyone,

Just popping in with a quick post about some sadness in the Bluebird household that happened a few weeks ago.  After a short battle with liver cancer, our sweet, ten year old border collie passed away.  It is hard to believe that our vibrant, energetic pup is no longer with us.

He loved his hula hoop and was a master at throwing it up in the air by himself and jumping through it.

He also enjoyed playing and burying himself in snow during our Wisconsin winters (and sometimes spring and fall, lol).

He also enjoyed wearing Christmas sweaters and Santa suits.

Being a border collie, he could run and jump like nobody's business and enjoyed leaping over the seat wall of our patio.

He had a terrible thunderstorm phobia and could sense bad weather from at least fifty miles away. He could bark non stop for hours during a storm and no amount of medication, thunderstorm "gizmos" or other trickery helped him.  Thunderstorm season was not a good time around here - for any of us!

He was also not one for pictures - he absolutely hated the sound of any camera, which means we have very few pictures of him.  But no matter - our memories are in our hearts.

It's very quiet in our house these days.  We keep expecting to find a wagging tail waiting for us when we come home, or for him to come running as soon as he hears the back door opening.For the first time in 33 years, we are currently without a family pet.  We lost one of our cats in April 2014 and another in December 2014. And now, of course, our dog. It has been a rough time in the pet department here at the Bluebird house.

Although we are very sad, we are grateful to have loved and been loved by our dog for the ten years we had him.  He was a tough, naughty puppy and it took a while for our family to warm up to him.  But he eventually won our hearts in a big way and became an amazing dog.


Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It's All About The (Unused Fountain) Base...

Hi everyone!

I had an old iron solar fountain base taking up space in my garage for the past several years.  The ceramic fountain itself has been long gone, yet for some reason I held on to the the iron frame.  I think you all know how that goes. (Wink, wink, nod, nod!)

I, along with Mr. Bluebird, had gotten tired of kicking the old thing around waiting to do something with it "someday."  Happily, "someday" arrived this afternoon when I made a quick stop in my local WalMart to grab a few things and came out with some inspiration.

Cheap - but it ain't free - inspiration. A beachy turquoise beverage dispenser for $14.00 and a $3.00 geranium from the garden center. Now for the tricky part - brace yourselves, the instructions could get long....I took the fountain base, put the beverage dispenser in the base and then placed the geranium in the beverage dispenser.  Tiring, I know!

 I do plan on either camouflaging the pot or putting the plant in a container that fits the dispenser a bit better.Years ago, I worked for a florist, so I know covering "the mechanics" is an important detail.  In the meantime, I think it's pretty cute and works with the bright colors I've decided to go with for our backyard this year.

Some other backyard prettiness...

Still lots to do before I show you the entire back patio.  In fact, I was working on planting my zinnia patch today....

Hopefully I will have some photos for you early next week.

A special thanks to one of the sweetest bloggers I know, Kathryn over at the Dedicated House. She's featuring one of my recent blog posts on her Make it Pretty Monday link party this week.  Stop on over and check out the  inspiration from loads of bloggers.  Always enjoying partying with Kathryn.

Thanks for stopping by,

Linking with:Wow us Wednesday
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