Sunday, March 30, 2014

Free Printable Entertainment Planner

 Would you like to entertain more?  I know I would.  My problem is I never make or take the time.  I am more of a project/goal driven person than a people person.
After a sermon last weekend on generosity, I realized I am very stingy with my time.  I have all these pretty dishes and enjoy buying and playing with them, but rarely take the time to entertain with them.
About this same time I was reading a wonderful post about entertaining over at Joan's blog, for the love of a house, where she talked about a journal she has kept for 20 years listing all the times she has entertained.
These two situations started me thinking, "How could I entertain more"? 
 I decided rather than keep a journal, I made myself a sheet where I could keep all the information I need to record every time I entertain.  It would include not only the name of the person(s) coming for dinner, but the date, occasion, table setting, and menu. 
This is a great way to keep track of not only what you served but what table settings you used, so you can change it up next time you invite the same people for dinner.  It could also be put into a plastic sleeve protector in case you want to slip in any other additional information or photos.  The document measures 8 x 10" and will fit into a 3-ring binder so it can be filed any way I need or desire.  
I've attached a picture of what the document looks like so you can see it and underneath is a link where you can go to print your own copies.
Now I just need to make a list of all the friends I have neglected over the years by being too busy.  With this list, I am hoping to spend this year entertaining on a more regular basis and enjoy the many friends I have while making my own sweet memories.
Now for the fun ~ to invite a guest and start planning the meal and table setting. 
Happy Entertaining 
Linking with
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday
Stone Gable for The Scoop
A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finally Finished Floors

Well ~ I've finally finished refinishing my living room/dining room floors.  It was a long haul, mostly because I took a 3 month break right in the middle of the project.
It all started over Labor Day when I reached my limit with my dirty off-white carpet that I could no longer get clean.  It seemed like the spots would grow overnight and in a fit of frustration, I started ripping up the carpets.  I had been saving for replacement carpet for several years, even though I knew I had nice oak hardwood flooring underneath.  And I had every intention of putting new carpet down.  But ~ the floors had such potential if I would just make the effort to refinish them ~ and so I did.
Like I said, I started in September and would hand sand, stain, and polyurethane sections of five-board widths at a time.  The living room floor was easy to sand by hand because the finish was pretty much worn off and it kept the dust to a minimum.  After sanding, each section received two coats of stain and two coats of polyurethane, which I did each night before going to bed, so they could dry overnight and not be walked on.  If they were still a little tacky by morning, I could easily step over five-board widths, thus allowing me to go on with life while working on the floors.
I started behind the couch, moving furniture as needed, and got about half-way across the living room when fall leaf raking consumed my time, then Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas.  There they sat unfinished until after New Years when I started up again.  But ~ as often happens ~ one project leads to another. By the time I reached the hallway where there was still carpet, I knew it was time to not only do the floors, but also to replace the door and floor trim in that area, which led to Project 1.
And Project 1 led to Project 2, refinishing the stairs.
By this time I had worked my way over to the dining room, which was the most difficult part.  Previous owners had used a large professional sander to refinish the dining room and had left gouges in the floor.  Plus, their sanding had removed the darker stain that was used on the living room floor, making it extremely difficult to match the two sections.
I did the best I could, using two different stains trying to achieve the darker color of the living room, but the difference is still evident and the gouges are very noticeable.  The two rooms flow into each other, but because the living room had been carpeted, there was metal trim on the dividing line.  When I removed that, underneath it were nail holes and cut marks in the wood from the carpet layers.  Maybe others wouldn't have noticed, but it caught my eye every time I walked through the rooms, so I installed an oak strip room divider to cover the holes and cut marks.

Stained oak strips were also installed in each of the door openings to the bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, and closets.  They were the most expensive part of this project.
Well, while we're in the living room, I'll show you how I decorated for spring. 
Last year I made these pillow covers for spring.  My intention was to use them to brighten up the room and pull out the soft aqua color to use as an accent.  Not a color one would normally use to go with my burnt orange sofa, but it works because of the pillows.

Next to the sofa I used a vintage egg basket to hold bright and cheerful spring-colored eggs.

On the other end of the credenza is a white tulip arrangement in aqua Ball jars that I shared in more detail in a previous post.

On another wall, next to the TV armoir are more touches of soft aqua in the form of a sweetly nested bird and a solitary candle.

Then on the mantle to continue with a touch of spring, I changed out the framed print, added aqua candles, another Ball jar with tulips, and a small glass pedestal container of vintage aqua buttons.

Thus ends the tour of my living room and my longest drawn out project.  I miss the warmth of the carpet, especially since it was such a cold winter, but I love how they look and the richness of the wood.  I have a few rag rugs around the room, but haven't decided yet if I will purchase an area rug for the center of the room.  For summer, I think it'll stay as is and revisit the rug decision when winter rolls around again.
Thanks so kindly for coming by to visit.
Linking with
French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Common Ground for Be Inspired
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Mondays
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Friday, March 21, 2014

Project 3 ~ Prepping Raised Beds for Spring Planting

Today was perfect for working in the garden, so I 
decided to finish up Project 3.
Last week I added hoops to the raised beds so I can apply plastic or netting.  The hoops are 8-foot lengths of half-inch PVC pipe.  I drove a 1-foot piece of rebar on each side of the beds two feet apart.  Then you slip the ends of the pipe over the rebar and you have an instant hoop.  Covering them with plastic allows me to get a head start on the garden.  Applying it early will help warm the soil and by next week, I can start planting seeds of cold weather plants such as kale.  Once it is warm enough on a consistent basis to remove the plastic, I will replace it with bird netting to keep out the chickens and any other wild critters  that may roam into the yard and decide to feast on my vegetables.
Today I picked up 10 bags of mixed compost and cow manure at Lowe's and used two of them for each bed to improve the soil.  The hardest part of this project was carrying the 40-pound bags of manure from the car to the garden, so I did it first to get it over with.
I worked the manure along with worm castings into the soil.  I probably should have done it before adding the hoops, but the ground was still to frozen last week for mixing, and it wasn't difficult to work between the hoops.
Newly prepared soil always makes me happy, especially after such a cold, brutal winter.

Lastly I spread the plastic over the hoops and held it down on the ends with old pieces of cut wood and bricks.
I covered all but one bed.  This one will be used for tomatoes and I won't be planting them until May, so I will probably go directly to netting on this bed.
The three-tiered planter in the center is planted with strawberries, but I'm not sure they survived the winter.  Time will tell.
This project came in a little over $100 even though some of my materials were leftover from last summer.  This is what I spent this year:
PVC pipes ~ $22.37
Rebar ~ $29.98
Clear 4mil plastic sheeting ~ $12.24
2 nets (I already had 2 from last year) ~ $12.24
10 bags of compost/cow manure ~ $42.27
Total ~ $119.63
Next week it's going to turn cold again, so I'll let the soil settle for a week before I start planting seeds.
And then the fun begins. 
Linking with
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bad Hair Day

Have you ever had a bad hair day?  Especially when it's raining.
I bet not like this . . .
This is Sally.  I accidentally left their run door open today and when I came home from work, this is what I found.  Sally was none too happy with me being out in the rain all day.  But then, my Polish girls aren't smart enough to come in out of the rain.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy Faces

I love pansies.  
Every spring their sweet happy faces captivate me.
If I could, I would plant them everywhere.  But try as I may, they never grow well for me.  Year after year I have tried, but they just don't like either my ground or our extreme Ohio springs.
So, this year, I think I'll save my money and just look at them in the garden centers and in pictures. 
I have this picture on my computer at work and multiple times every day it brings a smile to my face and makes me happy.  What more could anyone ask for?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project 2 ~ Refinishing the Stairs

Well Project 2 is finally finished.  This one was more difficult and took 
longer than I had anticipated.
The stairway is between two walls and is somewhat dark except when the early morning light comes in the window at the top of the stairs.  The stairs have been carpeted for the 25 years I've lived here.  This is how they looked when I started.
Here is a closeup of what I found after removing the carpet.
I used a heat gun to strip the layers of paint off of the side wood and the kick boards.  Then I patched all the staple holes with wall spackle.
  Next I sanded down the stair treads, stained, and finished them with two coats of polyurethane. I also removed the hand rail, sanded and repainted it.
Finally after painting and caulking, this is how they turned out.
What a vast difference and worth all the work.  I can say that now that they are finished.  During the process, I wasn't so sure of that.
View from the top of the stairs looking into the newly refinished hallway/cul de sac.
Here is a "Before and After" photo to show the difference.
The costs on this project came in way under $100 mostly because I already had the stain and poly from refinishing my hardwood floors.  But here is what I did spend:
White trim paint ~ $23.44
Sand paper ~ $8.54
Replace missing wood trim ~ $6.75
Frogtape ~ $10.55
Total ~ $49.28
I think I'll take a break before taking on Project 3, because this one combined with the time change, really wore me out.
Linking with
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday
Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday
Stone Gable for The Scoop

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring is in the Air

Spring is in the air ~ well, not today ~ but yesterday it was.
Yesterday was near 70 degrees and today its blowing fluffy white stuff around and getting down to single digits again.
So to celebrate spring "nearly here" I broke out a few spring decorations in the living room.
 I've had this picket carrier for several years now and have never used it.  I've thought about selling it, but always envisioned it with aqua Ball jars and flowers.  Finally ~ with white tulips I think it is the perfect combination.
Love the chippy paint giving it such delightful character.
I borrowed the little blue birds from my daughter's room, but she isn't here right now, so she won't mind.
The white rusty finial I found at a barn sale and it gives the arrangement some height, while the egg watercolor fills in the background.
The watercolor egg print I bought at a yard sale last summer for $.50 and framed it with a clearance frame and double mat from Michael's ~ all for under $15.  An inexpensive way to bring a touch of spring to the room.

Spring should be back in a few days, but until then, I'll just enjoy the happiness that white tulips in aqua Ball jars brings.

Linking with
The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays
Mod Vintage Life for Mod Mix Monday 
A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday

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