Living A Simplified Life!

Friday, December 31, 2010

This is posted for all my friends who have recently gotten SNOW!  It looks so peaceful, quiet and serene doesn't it?
I am glad to see the smoke coming out of the chimney though because it looks like it is mighty cold!

This is house plan 005H-0095 courtesy of the house plan shop. I love all of their house plans but of course I have a preference for anything cottage! This darling house is a little over 1200 square feet and has two good sized bedrooms split by a bath off the Master bedroom and the Hall Bath which is conveniently located to the center of the house and the second bedroom. The laundry room is located between the garage and the house, with easy access to counter space in the kitchen to drop your groceries.

The family room and kitchen with eating area is all one large space running the width of the house. The open floor plan and vaulted ceilings make the room feel even larger than it is. Situate your living room furniture around and close to the fireplace, perhaps use a long table behind the back of your couch in the center of the room, to visually divide the room into two areas.

This would be a great home for retirement or a young couple just starting their family. 

So as we close out this winter season, enjoy the comforts of your home, dream dreams of a new one or just enjoy the one you have!

Happy New Year Everyone!  May you be blessed with health , happiness and prosperity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Caught Without Mittens? Quick Ones to Make

Hey Baby it's cold outside!  Have you or your children ever been caught without mittens?  Here is a quick way to whip up some super fast.

Lay your hand on a piece of paper, letting your fingers spread out a little bit like they naturally do, in fact spread your thumb out a wee bit more than normal. The reason for this is you want a little extra room for your pattern. Draw around your hand and up your wrist about 21/2 to 3 inches. Next draw another line beyond this one by another inch.

 Now you have your basic pattern. I used some leftover fleece material to make mine and they are toasty warm!
You will cut a total of 4 of these for each set of mittens. Lay two together, matching up the thumbs and stitch around the mitten,with a 5/8ths inch seam allowance,  leaving the wrist part that will go over your hand open. At the wrist opening, finish off by making a small hem. Now turn your mitten right side out and they are ready to wear!  For little children, you might want to make a casing to run a piece of elastic through at the wrist instead of just a hem. This will help them keep them on their hands.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Country Farmhouse Charm

As I travel down the road to my daughter's place, there is a house that looks just like this one. I would love to go inside and browse around.  I can picture my daughter and her family living in this house.

This house plan, from the house plan shop, has 1250 sq ft with an additional 341 sq ft of bonus room. Downstairs there are two good-sized bedrooms, the master bedroom suite with its own bathroom and a hall bath to serve the other bedroom and guests. Upstairs a loft and a 3rd full bath can be finished out. Build this house on a basement, slab or crawl space; but with a basement underneath, developing this additional space later on would be easy.

As you approach this home, the first thing you will notice of course is the big wrap-around porch! What a great place to enjoy the morning solitude, watching the sun comes up, drinking a cup of coffee  or relaxing over an ice tea with a neighbor in the afternoon. The soaring cathedral ceiling and an upper level loft, makes this home feel very spacious and large. This is actually a one-story home, with the loft being available for another bedroom, office or game room. The open floor plan of the living room, dining area and kitchen creates a feeling of spaciousness while the fireplace in the living room gathers you in for a feeling of coziness and old farmhouse type gatherings. I can picture the mantle decorated for the holidays with Christmas stockings, fresh pine boughs and hurricane lanterns.  The Christmas tree in front of the living room windows, decorated with old country ornaments. Family and friends will gather around the handy kitchen island with breakfast bar, enjoying a meal or just good old conversation as you prepare a batch of cookies or make some homemade bread. There is easy kitchen access to and from the covered rear porch, which is great for entertaining during the summer months, or getting out the smoker to cook a turkey even in the winter!  A great feature about this house is the laundry closet, which is near the bedrooms saving you many steps on washday. A private bath and walk-in closet enhance the master bedroom while the second bedroom accesses a hall bath. I do not know about you, but I am getting the boxes packed because I am ready to move in!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments

Over on the Christmas Crafts page I just posted an article about how to make Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments.  These are always fun to make and fun to give! If you have children, this is a project that you can involve them in and they will be entertained for hours. If you don't have a set of Christmas cookie cutters, be sure to pick up a set or two, you will need them not only for your salt dough ornaments but for all those regular Christmas cookies you plan to bake this year!

Grandmas and Grandpas love getting homemade gifts, so be sure to put their name on the list for a few of these. Be sure to have the kids sign the backs with the year they made them, because these will become keepsake items for sure!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beeswax Candles

Beeswax candles are wonderful. A light, warm glow and a wonderful sweet scent make them truly delightful. Rolled beeswax candles are about the easiest candles to make. You do not need a melting pot or have to heat a stove to make them since you will not melt the wax. This is a great safe project for kids!

Here is what you will need:

Beeswax sheets (they usually come in about 8" x 16" sheets
Primed wicking material appropriate for a 1” candle. If making larger diameter candles, adjust the wicking accordingly.
A sharp knife, I use a small kitchen paring knife, or single-edged razor blade.
A suitable cutting surface such as an old cutting board is good.

Lay out your beeswax sheet and cut the wick to about 3/4ths of an inch longer than the wax. If using an 8-inch sheet, the wick is about 91/4 inches.

By leaving approximately, 3/4ths of an inch on each end of the sheet, if one end looks better than the other does you can make either end the top!

Lay the wick along the edge of the sheet and start rolling the candle by bending over about 1/8th inch of the wax. You can turn the wax over and bend the 1/8th inch channel along the corner of the counter or use a cutting board. This way you will have a neat, straight channel for the wick. With this small channel, you will enclose the wick. Working from one end to the other, press down firmly to make sure the wax is tight around the wick. This is the only time that you will press hard with the beeswax sheets!  From now on, you will be gentle with your beeswax because you do not want to compress or warp the honeycomb pattern.

Start rolling the wax slowly and straight, making sure that you are keeping the ends even and just keep rolling until you reach the end.

Tip: If you want larger in diameter candles, to add another sheet of wax, just butt a second sheet up to the edge of the first sheet, give the two sheets a few presses with your thumbnail to help join them together, and continue rolling.

Gently press the final edge down onto the side of the candle. It should form a smooth edge. You can use your thumbnail to press down, every inch or so, if you feel this is necessary. Pick which end is the best "top", cut the wick off the bottom and trim the top wick to about ½ inch.

Beeswax sheets are easy to cut with scissors. If sheets are brittle, hold them over steaming pan of water or use a hairdryer to soften the wax. You can save a little of the wax to "prime the wick", which is dipping the end of the wick into the melted wax. This will help your candle light easily when you are ready to use it. Beeswax candles burn without the toxic fumes like those produced with paraffin candles.

If you want short chunky candles, you can cut the wax sheets in half, or play with making them different heights.  Group them together in a centerpiece arrangement, or on a fireplace mantle with boughs of greenery, Christmas tree balls and garlands of beads. They are also striking placed in the middle of a table on top of a mirror circle, or tucked inside glass chimneys.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Log Cabin

Can you picture this darling log cabin on your property?

This darling log cabin conjures up visions of times gone by, when our forefathers first settled this land. It would be right at home in any state in the Union! You could put this home of a few acres out in the woods, the mountains or the flat-lands and it would feel right at home in any setting you choose. It would also be possible to take this home completely “off grid” by adding solar or windmills and a well for your own water supply.

At just under 1100 square feet, this house with it’s open floor plan, feels much larger. The design of the home makes it very livable for a young couple just starting out because it is designed where adding on later is possible or an older couple who is content with a smaller sized home and want everything on one floor with no stairs to climb.

The porch across the entire front of the house begs for some old time rocking chairs and the family to come outside and enjoy the beauty of nature that surrounds their home.   The open floor plan allows for easily adding a fireplace to the exterior wall or an old fashioned pot-bellied Ben Franklin stove as an alternate heat source for cold winter evenings. The grilling porch, located off the back door of the kitchen will allow for great outdoor cooking even when it rains!  It would be easy to add on additional bedrooms as a family expands. Because of the roof line, and the design, knock out the walkin closet at the end of the hallway between the two bedrooms, extend the hall and add on additional bedrooms and a bathroom there at the side. This could easily be expanded into a four bedroom home.

I particularly like the way the washer and dryer are situated in the middle of the home, near the bedrooms so that transporting dirty laundry is quick and easy to do. The plans call for this home to be built with a crawl space underneath, but it would be simple to add a storm shelter underneath or a full basement if desired. It would be easy to add this feature I think with access by way of the grilling porch.  If you wanted a full basement, I think that could also be done with access through the closet there at the front door entryway, but check with the people at to be sure on this.

This is a darling cabin and my imagination is running wild with ways on how to decorate it in old rustic type, primitive Americana furnishings!

First of all, all the floors in the cabin would be made out of reclaimed old wood, sanded and stained to a lustrous warm glow. I am picturing a dining room table made out of salvaged barn wood and made into a farmhouse table and mismatched chairs like in the olden days.  In the kitchen, I would use milk paint on all the cabinets, allowing the wood grain to show through. There would be an old fashioned pot rack hung like they did in the olden days. In the bathroom, instead of a modern vanity cabinet, I can see using an old dresser as the base, with an old china washbasin as the sink. Rather than have a tub, I would install a walk-in shower, for when I get old and can’t get over a tub edge any more!  In the bedrooms, high off the floor old fashioned beds, covered with homemade comforters and quilts. There would be lamps on dressers rather than overhead light fixtures.

In the living room there would be a large overstuffed couch and chairs, that beg you to come set a spell; the kind you sink into and never want to get out of! End tables and table lamps would be mismatched, to add character, the feeling of acquiring them as I could afford them at different times in my life. I would find an old area rug, perhaps a braided one, a bear rug or even a Navajo Indian rug to put down in the living room in front of the couch. And yes, I would be the one that adds the pot-bellied Ben Franklin stove there on the outside wall, between the living room and dining area!

Now that I have bought and decorated this little log cabin in my dreams, where do I want to locate it at?  I would definitely want some land and wide open spaces, maybe 10-15 acres, a place where I can have a vegetable garden, a chicken coop, a small barn with a couple of animals to raise for milk and food.  Anyone have some suggestions?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Milk Carton Candle Instructions

You are going to need the following supplies:
Newspaper to cover your work area
Cardboard milk cartons - quart, pint or half pint sizes
Paraffin wax - you can buy large blocks at the craft store or smaller amounts at the grocery store (the kind you use for canning)
Wooden or metal skewers or old pencils to tie your wicks to
Candle wick material, and metal tabs (can purchase separately or already cut and together)
Coloring (old crayons work great, or small blocks of color from craft store)
Scenting oil ( purchase at craft store or health food store)

You Are Ready To Start

Prepare the work area by covering it with newspaper to catch all the drips.
Cut the milk carton to the size candle you want to make. Cut off the top flaps of the carton, and then cut it to at least 1/2 inch above the height you want the candle to be.

Cut a piece of wick that is 2 inches higher than the top of the milk carton. It’s better to buy wicks that have the little metal tab already attached to the base, and that are already coated with wax (so they stand on their own). If they are uncoated, you will need to dip them in melted wax and lay them flat on wax paper until the wax has cooled and hardened.

Wrap the free end of the wick around the middle of a wooden skewer ( I use old pencils), and then lay the skewer across the top of the milk carton. The skewer helps keep the wick in place and upright.

Melt the wax for your candle. I always make a double boiler, using a sauce pan for my water and then an old clean coffee can, which I have bent the top of to make a funnel shape. You are going to use the wax in several steps, so keep it melted.

Add fragrance. Choose a pure essential oil fragrance you like-available at health food stores and online. Depending on the size of your candle, add between 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to the molten wax, and gently blend it in using a wooden skewer or an old wooden spoon before you pour it into the milk carton.

When the wax has melted, scoop up a small amount of wax. Pour the wax into the carton so that it covers the metal tab. You may need to hold the skewer in place as you pour the wax so the wick does not shift. Hold it in place until the wax hardens.

Fill the milk carton with wax up to 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top of the carton. Let the wax cool until it is hard. You should expect the wax to shrink somewhat, so plan to top off your candle to make it level. Let the wax cool completely again. If needed, repeat the topping up step. After set and cool,
trim the wick to 1/4 inch above the top of the candle.

Insert a butter knife carefully between the edge of the candle and the carton, and gently lift it around the edges to loosen it. Then snip a cut on one side of the carton, and carefully peel it off until the candle is free.


If you like, for added visual drama, add some ice cubes to the milk carton, allowing them to stack randomly on top of each other, but not too many, or the candle will have too many holes.  You can also use a plain taper candle in the center of this type of candle, eliminating the need for the setting of your own wicks.

You can also add decorations to the outside of your plain candles, using several different mediums. You can use paper cutouts from scrap booking supplies, attach them using melted wax. Once adhered, cover over the top, using melted wax on a small paintbrush to make an even coating. You may want to do this several times.

You can also etch a monogrammed initial into the side of the candle using a sharp knife. Using colored melted wax, carefully fill in the indented monogram. If you drizzle over the edge, carefully scrape it off while still warm and slightly hardened.

Let your imagination run wild, you can do lots of different creative things!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Start Getting Supplies Together For Christmas Gifts

If you haven't started gathering supplies together yet to make Christmas Gifts, now is the time to do it. Start saving the following items because I am going to give you instructions on how to make most of your gifts this year and save a bundle of money.

Homemade candles- save quart size cardboard carton milk cartons, pint sized half and half or whipping cream containers, small Mason canning jars, small glass jars, and large sea shells,

Mixes in a jar- various sizes of glass jars with covers or Mason Jars

Fabric yardage at least a yard for most projects. If you have less, save it and we'll make some patchwork items.

Sturdy sheets of cardboard, from cardboard boxes is fine. We are going to use these as a base for handmade photograph frames.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ziplock Omelets

With holidays just around the corner, many of you will be having out-of-town guests and you don't want to spend all of your time in the kitchen. Here is a really neat breakfast idea that a friend sent to me today by e-mail and I just had to share it with you.

Ziplock Omelets

Have your guests write their name on a Quart sized zip lock freezer bag with a permanent marker.

Crack 2 eggs (large or extra large into the bag (no more than 2) shake to combine them.

Put out a variety of ingredients: cheese, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc

Have each guest add prepared ingredients of their choice to their bag and shake. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.

Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for no less that 13 minutes and no more than 15 minutes.

You can cook 6-8 bags in a large pot at one time.

Open the bags (cut off the tops) and the omelet will roll out all folded nicely. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed!  

These can actually be prepared the night before, stuck into the refrigerator and then pulled out to cook in the morning.

Serve with fresh fruit or coffee cake, or my choice of homemade baking powder biscuits!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stocking Your Pantry

I do not know about you, but I am one of these people who have a terrible time trying to get my stock-up pantry really stocked up! I know that some of us have difficulty because of limited finances and others just do not take the time to replenish their stock as they use it. I read all these articles about how to stock up your pantry and most of them say to buy large quantities of one item at a time. Personally, I think purchasing items that “go together” to make a meal or part of a meal makes more sense. Having 10 lbs of spaghetti or macaroni noodles in your pantry without the other ingredients to make a meal does not seem very practical at all. Therefore, I will grab some noodles and then cans of soups, vegetables, tomato sauce and prepared spaghetti sauce in order to make a complete dish.

Most of us are paid either once or twice a month, so shopping every week is out of the question Most of us have very little money left over from payday to payday to use for extra groceries. Two things might work for you. Either add an extra $20 to your grocery list every two weeks that you will use strictly for purchasing items for your stock-up pantry, or else set aside that amount and once a month, you will have $40 to use all at one time for those supplies. Those of you with larger families, you may want to increase this amount. If you do this faithfully every month, at the end of the year, you will have spent $480 on extra supplies to stock your pantry.

I know that most of us utilize our grocery store flyers, concentrating on sale items to plan our meals and shopping. If there are items on sale, grab some extra cans of vegetables, fruits, coffee etc. Perhaps there is an extra good buy on meats, so go ahead and get an extra roast or a chicken to put into the freezer to use later.

As you put together your supplies, do not think of your pantry just as being there for “disaster supplies” think of all the items that you use on a regular basis that you would like to have “backups.” In my pantry, that will include all the fixings to make homemade breads and biscuits, soups, vegetables, a variety of dried beans, canned fruits, both cider and white vinegar, sugar and spices. I will also stock up on food for my animals, toilet paper, dish detergent, laundry detergent and bleach.

The decision on what to stock up on is determined by where you live, your family and your lifestyle. Living in Montana or South Dakota where winters are long and brutally cold, your decisions will be different from those living in sunny California or Arizona. If you are concerned about power outages, slick roads from ice and snow or being snowbound, you may want to store mostly canned goods rather than putting a lot of food into a freezer!

Living in Oklahoma, we never know from one year to the next what our winters are going to be like. Some aren’t bad at all, with just a dusting of snow that might last a day or two and then you have other winters where you have iced over streets, power lines down for weeks at a time and no way to get to the store or a way to prepare your meals. I will also be sure to pick up bottled water, and paper plates & plastic utensils, incase pipes burst or freeze and there is no water to drink or wash dishes.

That leads to the next problem you might have and that is have you stocked up on foods that do not need to be heated or cooked. If you do not have a fireplace, do you have any alternative source prepared to cook food or keep your home warm? If I hear that we are anticipating bad weather, I will start making up some dishes ahead of time that I can put into the freezer, but not get too carried away just incase we lose power, I don’t want to have them go bad.

Since I do not have a fireplace, a bar-b-q grill (that I could use outside), or a wood burning stove in my home, if I lose power, I am up a creek without a paddle! I have decided to go to the local party store, where they sell the little wire stands with aluminum pans that sit in them and have the little cans of “sterno” that you put underneath to keep your food warm. A friend used them at Thanksgiving last year and they worked wonderful!

One of the main things to remember is every time you use products out of your stock-up pantry replace the item, in fact buy an extra at the same time. When you buy new products, always put them at the back of the row rather than in the front. This way you will always be rotating your stock and nothing will get outdated.

Having a pantry filled with food just makes good common sense. We never know in this economy when prices will go sky-high making items we are used to buying unaffordable. There is also the chance that you could become unable to work due to sickness or injury; or possibly be laid off from your job, or natural disasters. You need to be as prepared as you can for all possibilities. Even if you cannot afford to spend an extra $40 a month, do what you can, even if it is only $10 a month.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christmas Gifts for College Students

Gifts for College Students

Christmas will soon be here and finding something different and unusual to give to a new freshman going off to college can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when you aren’t around them all the time and know their likes and dislikes. Do not be tempted to stick a twenty-dollar bill in a card and call it good, but do you really think that is something that will be remembered once that money is spent? Here are some ideas that might make a longer lasting impression.

For the girls

A wicker basket filled with a pretty towel set, some fragrant scented soaps, a pair of slippers and a bathrobe

Potpourri, scented electric candles (many colleges will not let them use regular candles) and sachets for their dresser drawers and closets

Herbal teas, flavored coffees and creamers, cookies, biscotti and chocolate bars

A bulletin board decorated in their favorite colors or their school colors

A throw pillow for their bed with a large monogram initial embroidered on it

One of those new picture frames that does the automatic slide shows, filled with family and friends pictures

For the boys

A wastepaper basket filled with snack food items, like pretzels, popcorn, and beef jerky, different types of candy and energy bars

Gift certificates to the local pizza place

Oversized bath towels and washcloths make great gifts. Guys would much rather use an oversized towel wrapped around their waist than to wear a robe after their shower

Bulletin board in their school colors

A blanket with the school’s mascot or logo on it

Portable CD player with earphones and a carrying case for their music

Pay for a couple of tickets to their school’s football or basketball games

If your student is allowed to have a hot plate in their rooms, take a laundry basket, put in all types of canned goods that they can heat up quickly to make a meal out of, add a small saucepan, a large spoon and a can opener. Throw in various types of crackers, peanut butter, the squirt cheese in a can, Spaghetti O’s, corn-beef hash, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, and a variety of soups.

With college kids anything food they love whether it is sweet, salty or sour. Your gift does not have to be expensive; just make it unique, something that comes from the heart. You will be surprised how years from now, they will remember it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kay's Country Cottage Store

With the holiday season fast approaching and Christmas to be here soon, I have added a store for your shopping convenience. If you are like me, you hate the hustle and bustle of crowds and would much rather shop from the convenience of an easy chair where you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa and relax as you shop.

Right now the store is under construction and I hope to have it up and running for your buying pleasure in the new few days.

I hope you enjoy this new addition to the website.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Passion for White Towels

What it is about fluffy, large white towels, especially when they are still warm from coming out of the dryer? I love them! Particularly the over-sized towels; the ones you can wrap up in after a good hot shower or a languid soothing soak in the tub. Maybe it is all those “chick-flick” movies where you see luxurious bathrooms in a hotel or penthouse, with spa type tubs and gold handles, filled to the brim with multitudes of bubbles and the floor strewn with rose petals and candles everywhere, all lit, casting a soft glow around the room.

One of the reasons that I like white towels is when it comes time to redecorate the bathroom. White towels, hand towels and wash cloths go with everything. There is something very refreshing about seeing sparkly clean white towels hanging in a bathroom. They are also very easy to keep clean and don’t look faded like colored towels. After just so many washings you feel like you need to send colored ones to the rag bin! White ones can be bleached or hung outside on a clothesline to be brightened by natural sunlight.

I prefer towels with just plain hems at the bottom. So many towels will have that small section about three inches up from the bottom that has a woven section and they always seem to pucker up. Here is this beautiful big towel now scrunched up to about half its width at the ends because of this crazy woven strip! At first I thought it had to do with inexpensive towels so I decided to purchase more expensive ones. That didn’t help either, they still puckered! So now when buying replacements, I look for ones that just have a hem and no fancy stitching.

Do you think that plain white towels are just too blah for your tastes? There is something special about having monogrammed towels, especially the ones with the large monogram on one end; it makes your towels very personalized and elegant.

Now please excuse me, there is a bathtub calling my name. It is surrounded by lit candles, a CD is playing some soft relaxing music and a big white fluffy towel is waiting. Oops, I forgot to get the rose petals!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day In History That Should Not Have Been

Nine years ago today, 4 planes destroyed many lives in our country, by attacking the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon and Flight 93, hijacked and headed towards Washington D.C., which ended up crashing in a field in Western Pennsylvania near the city of Shanksville.

I think every person in America who was old enough to have recollections, remembers this horrible day and the days and months that followed. Live images streamed across the television, of people fleeing collapsing buildings, their faces reflecting the fear and horror of what they saw and what they were experiencing. Dazed and rushing down streets covered with ash, which was pulverized building facades and glass, shreds of paper from someone’s desk fluttering in the air. Brave firefighters rushing towards the remains of the buildings, past those who were running away from there as fast as they could. Images of tired rescue workers, overjoyed and renewed with vigor when they were able to pull someone out of the ruble alive and the sorrow and despair when they didn’t. They to lost many of their own, as buildings swayed and crashed to the ground, firefighters who had rushed in before the total collapse of stairwells in an attempt to get people out safely.

As days turned into weeks and then into months, work continued, loved ones began making makeshift memorials on the streets of New York. Windows of storefronts became billboards of pictures, plastered with taped on photographs of missing people, with messages of please call me and a number scribbled along the bottom, by friends and relatives trying to locate them.

Over at the Pentagon, a plane dives into the building, killing and trapping many and others attempting to rescue fellow servicemen and determine the damage. The scene there doesn’t appear to be as chaotic, but of course the plane is almost totally engulfed by the building so little can really be seen.It is days after, as the gaping hole in the building is seen are we aware of the damage that was truly done.

Shortly thereafter the heroics of the passengers on Flight 93 begin to filter across the newscast airways. How they somehow managed to get cell phone messages to and from loved ones. They learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They in turn letting their loved ones know that their plane had also been hijacked and their own fate was precariously hanging in the balance. As the plane changed course heading towards Washington DC, now a group of passengers planned to “do something” to overpower the hijackers and take control back of the plane. As we all know, part of their plan worked, they were able to stop the aircraft from making it to the intended target, most likely our nation’s capitol, but the plane went down with 33 passengers, 7 crew members and 4 hijackers aboard. The nose of the plane burrowing deep into the ground.

Today, the memorial at the Pentagon is completed and the memorial at Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers once stood is well under way. But what about the memorial in Shanksville? According to CBS channel 3 in PA, this memorial is far from finished. In fact it is still at phase one! To read the entire article, click here.

The National Park Foundation states that they need an additional $18 million to complete the project. Why is it that this memorial isn’t receiving the funding and recognition of that fateful day the way that the Pentagon and Twin Towers are remembered? Is it because there were only 44 people killed in that incident versus the thousands in New York and the high profile of the Pentagon attack, where 58 passengers and 128 military staff lost their lives?

There are several websites that can be visited at the bottom of the CBS Channel 3 article, where money can be donated to the Flight 93 memorial fund.

There is site of a jeweler who is creating commemorative lapel pins and they only cost $10 and every cent goes to the memorial fund.

There is a link to the LeRoy J. Homer organization. He was the plane’s co-pilot and this organization was set up by his wife Melodie .This foundation assists students with scholarships who want to attend pilot’s school.

You can also donate directly to the Flight 93 Memorial fund by going to their website.
As we remember and reflect on this sad day in our history, lets also remember how we joined together in unity as a nation, to help heal the wounds and honor those perished in this tragedy. Let us remember each and every life that was lost that day. Please help with the necessary funds to complete the Memorial for Flight 93. Don’t let these brave souls be the forgotten heroes of 9/11.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Do It Yourself Diva

I have always been one to attempt to do just about anything when it comes to home decorating or home repairs. In most cases, my projects come out fantastic, well okay, I’ll admit to an occasional disaster now and again.

Recently I’ve had a plumbing problem. I’ve unclogged a toilet before, nothing to it, or so I thought. Now I know from past episodes, that you first use Dawn dish detergent, (handy hint from the Wiley sister’s book) that will usually get rid of the clog in your toilet.  Pour it in, let it sit for about an hour then flush and away goes trouble down the drain. If that doesn’t work, resort to your “plumber’s helper” commonly known as a plunger. You want one that looks like a bell rather than those old flat looking ones. Don’t you love my technical terminology? Those flat ones don’t work worth a hoot in a toilet. You are supposed to give it a few good plunges up and down and it is supposed to flush everything down. Still plugged up! Then go to the toilet snake and surely that will solve your problem. NOT!

Now you are in for some seriously drastic measures. It is time to pull out the long “snake” and open up the main cleanout drain and run that baby down as far as it will go both towards the house outlet and then out the other way where your pipe connects to the main sewer line. Be sure to wear gloves of some sort because this is going to be a messy job! Somewhere along the line, it will stop and hit a solid object, or at least semi- solid objects, then you need to twist and turn the snake breaking through the plugged area. Sometimes when you pull the snake out, you will find tree roots wound around the end of it. This time there were no tree roots.  This should solve the problem. Go back inside and flush the toilet; hopefully watching the water going down the drain. As I watch the water rising in the bowl, I am standing ready to turn off the water input valve in case it decides it wants to go over the top. The water stops rising just before it gets to the ridge. At least by this time, with all the flushing and the siphon action of the water going down in the bowl, it is at least clean now.

Back to the office and using the Internet, I can hit a couple of my favorite search engines and some of my bookmarked “How To” websites for some other ideas. I spot one that I haven’t tried yet. The advice was to heat up a big pan of water, just below boiling stage and then take it, holding it up high above the toilet, pour it in.  So I put a pan of water on to boil and continue looking for any other suggestions I might find. Then I remember the water, oh dear, go grab it quick and pour it in the toilet. As I am standing there pouring, all of a sudden I feel very warm water on my feet. Up to this point there had been no water on the floor. I look down and now water is oozing out from the base of the toilet. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! You guessed it, the water had gone to a rolling boil and in my haste, and I didn’t let it cool down to below boiling. Conclusion is now that I have melted the wax ring. Conclusion is substantiated when I lean on the toilet and it is now rocking like a row boat in a rough sea.

I have watched how a toilet is disconnected from the water supply, the bowl drained and the toilet lifted off to replace a wax ring. Part of that I could do myself, but there is no way that I could lift it alone. The last time this had to be done, I tried to just move the toilet across the bathroom floor a little bit to give the plumber more room to work and it was heavy. He told me a toilet weighs approximately 70 pounds. In order to get a good seal on a new wax ring, you have to lift the toilet up and position it just right before sitting it down on the opening. I have to admit that I truly did try everything I could to fix it myself and I failed in my do-it-yourself attempt.  I think I should have had a copy of this book before reference

Now it is time to call the plumber!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Christmas Crafts

Christmas Ornaments

I like to give a special Christmas ornament to each of my grand children every year. This is a great tradition to start with your children or grandchildren. That way, when they get grown up and leave home, you can pack up their personal ornaments and they can have them and all the memories that are attached to them to put on their very own first Christmas tree.

One of my favorite places to visit for ideas is Better Homes and Gardens website. Not only do they have wonderful color photographs of what your finished product will look like but step by step instructions on how to make the project.
As for where to grab supplies for your projects, look around the house first, you most likely will find objects that you can recycle to make many of the items.  If you don't, you can find what you are looking for at Hobby Lobby or Michaels as well as your favorite fabric stores, like JoAnn's and Hancock Fabrics.

Clear Ball Ornaments
Take clear ball ornaments, and fill them with metallic shred and then write the child's name and perhaps the year on the outside with acrylic puff paint or use Elmer's glue to write their name and sprinkle over the top with colored glitter. Tie a ribbon bow at the top of ball.

You can also take off the cap, pour inside your favorite color of acrylic paint or poster paint. Swirl it around and dump out what doesn't stick. Let it dry thoroughly. Write  a name on the ornaments as in above instructions.

Etching cream is also fun to use. Use a template and tape it to the outside of the ornament. Apply the etching cream according to instructions.

Take some wire and lace it through the top of a pinecone to make a hanger. Use Elmer's glue on the tips of the pinecone an then dip in glitter or artificial snow. Tie a colored velvet or grograin ribbon at the top.

Salt Dough Ornaments
These are fun to make but have a tendency to disintigrate over time, even when coated with a protective finish. If you want something that is quick, fun and inexpensive to make but not worried about having it last for years and years, give these a try.

Decopage Ornaments
White styrafoam ornaments, medium to large sized work best
Lots of Elmers glue
Any type of lightweight paper that you can rip into medium sized pieces.Old vintage type papers or floral work great.
Start by applying glue to a section of the ornament. Apply the pieces of the ripped paper to it, smoothing it as you go. Continue until the entire ornament is covered with paper. Let dry thoroughly.
When dry, use a small foam paint brush to apply several coats of Elmer's glue on top of the paper, letting it dry between coats.

Small embroidery hoops
You can actually get two ornaments out of this one, using each hoop separately
Using a hot glue gun or Elmer's glue, apply pretty ribbon, covering the wooden hoop outer edge
Using jewelry craft beads or crystals, make a string of them to hang down in the center of the hoop, using filament wire, such as for jewelry making or fishing line.You may wish to put a heavier bead at the bottom so that it will hang straight.
Make a loop out of the same filament wire at the top of your hoop to use to attach to the tree. Make a large bow for the top of the hoop and attach it.

Preparing For Another Cold Winter

You've probably heard the term "colder than molasses in January" if you live in the Midwestern states or Eastern states of this country. Last winter, it seems that we had an unusually cold winter with lots of wind and blowing snow and ice. This wasn't really typical weather for the middle of Oklahoma for sure. In years past we seemed to get snow that might stay on the ground for a couple of days, the sun would come out, things would warm up and it would be gone. Not this past couple of winters.

Not only did the ice and snow stick around, but there were many areas of the state who were without power for many days because of downed power lines. I had friends up in Tulsa who were without power for 11 days. Luckily they had a fireplace where they could improvise cooking and for some heat.  They were eventually able to borrow a generator but others were not so lucky.

I was one of the fortunate ones, never lost power, but did feel trapped inside my home and felt like I couldn't get the house warm enough as the winds blew and the snow continued to fall. I have vowed that I am going to be better prepared this year.

I will be stocking up my pantry with canned goods and sterno heat that I can use to heat things up with if I lose power. I don't have a fireplace so having a way to heat food will be necessary if I lose power. If you don't already have a fully stocked pantry, now would be a good time to start buying some extra items each month, along with some bottled water, so that you at least have a month or two worth of goods on hand just in case you are housebound that long.

While you are at it, grab some batteries for flashlights, extra candles and oil for some oil wick lamps to provide lighting. If push comes to shove, you could always use your solar powered yard lights by bringing them inside at night to light your house.

I also plan to have de-icer on hand as well as plenty of extra cat litter to sprinkle on the sidewalk and driveway. Trying to shovel wet heavy snow and break through solid sheets of ice is not easy when you get up in age.

Before the cold weather arrives, take time to check your doors and windows and make sure that the weather stripping is good as well as check to see if they might need to be recalked.

Have your furnace inspected to make sure it is in proper working order. Grab enough filters to last you several months because you will want to change them out at least once a month during the cold winter months. With you house closed up, you are going to find that dust and dirt will accumulate on them much faster than they did during the summer.

The other thing I plan to do is make some extra heavy curtains for my windows. Back in the olden days, Grandma used to take a bed quilt and drape it up over the curtain rod as an added layer to keep the cold out and the heat in. I am going to basically use this idea but modify it.  I am going to either make my own quilted material to use or see if I can find some second hand quilts at one of the thrift stores. I am going to cut them to the size of my window opening, make a placket at the top and bottom to run pressure rods through. Then I will put them up so that they fit snuggly inside the window frame opening, and they will have the rods at the top and bottom of the window frame. With the extra quilt batting between the material, this should help with insulating for warmth.

Once again this year, I will close off rooms that I don't use, either by closing doors or using drapes. If there is space under the bottom of the door which will allow drafts, I am going to make "draft dodgers" this year. Using a piece of material, the length of the door about 10-12 inches wide, sew it into a cylinder and close off one end.  Take rice and put it inside a plastic bag and work it down into the cylinder. Sew the other end of the cylinder up. You could also make these for window sills if you didn't get new weatherstripping installed.

Chances are we are all going to be looking for ways to keep our utility bills down this winter as the cost of heating is expected to be on the rise. You can dress in layers, open up the curtains during the day to let the sunlight in to warm the house and close them as the sun goes down.

By preparing now you can avoid having to run around gathering things together when the first weather reports come out that a storm is on the way. It never fails, the weatherman can be predicting that snow or ice storms are headed our way but everyone seems to wait till the day before or even up to just a few hours before it is expected to arrive to go get their supplies in. Nothing is more frustrating that to go to a store and find out there is nothing on the shelves that you need. So plan ahead this year especially because it is my guess that stores won't be as well stocked as they have been in the past.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas

I know, here it is 105 degrees out there and I am thinking sleigh bells and snow along with Christmas gifts.
But as you know, many of us with the best of intentions of making homemade gifts don't always start our lists or our creations as early as we should in order to have them all done, wrapped and ready to go under the Christmas tree.

Some of us are lucky enough to know how to crochet beautiful items and then there are those who are like me, can only make granny squares for afghans.  A friend of mine forwarded this website to me and I just had to share it with you, especially if you have little girls or granddaughters who would appreciate some darling handmade crocheted clothes for their dolls.

The website is called and is owned by Deanne Eckert. She has some darling items to offer and for those of you who are talented enough, you can also get a free pattern by logging into her website,

I fell in love with the little girls in her logo and the darling outfits they are wearing.  She has given me permission to share them with you.  You can actually click on the logo and it will take you to her website.  If you decide to go, be sure to come back here often for more gift ideas because I am going to start putting some up between now and Christmas so you can be ready.

In the meantime, try to stay cool in our blazing summer heat..... think about jingle bells and snow flakes.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Elaborate weddings are they worth it?


After reading the article in my mail about one of the stories they are doing tonight on ABC News Nightline about people spending so much money on weddings, I thought I would do a short article here about my thoughts on the matter.

Do people think that if you spend a fortune on a wedding that it will insure that their marriage is going to last? After seeing the multitude of lavish weddings all they way from royalty in foreign countries to super stars in Hollywood who spend a fortune I would have to say my answer to that is no.

I wonder how many people years later, whether they stay together or divorce lament over the fact that they wasted all that money on a lavish wedding. That money could have been put to a much better use on something that would have lasted over the years. Spending money on a fancy wedding all you have are the memories and the wedding album filled with pictures of that fairytale day.

It is possible to spend under $5,000 even spend under $3,000 for a very nice wedding that will be filled with wonderful memories and not have regrets about wishing you hadn’t spent money so foolishly by spending more money.

Both of my daughters had beautiful weddings, each of them costing under $3,000 and I can tell you this, both of them have been married now for a long time and neither of them wishes that they had spent any more than they did.  As the mother of the brides and being a single parent, I appreciated their conservativeness. Granted they also helped financially with their own wedding, which is another thing common today, the bride and groom helping to pick up the cost themselves. Back in “the old days” it was the responsibility of the bride’s parents to foot the bill for the wedding and the groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner.

One way a bride can save money is to look for a used wedding dress in a thrift store where she is able to actually try it on and see the condition of the garment, or she can make a purchase off the Internet from many bridal websites, e-bay or Craig’s list. Often you can find what you want and if you so desire, can actually do some alterations to make it custom-made just for you.

One way many brides are reducing the cost of their weddings is by going to a more casual style of wedding. Instead of bridesmaids all wearing identical dresses, they now are going to ones that are more individualized but similar in style and within the same color palette but not necessarily all the exact same hue. The girls are purchasing them off the rack at a department store, rather than at a bridal salon or having them custom made. The men are choosing to wear suits of the same color and forgoing the formal tuxedos.

Instead of formal bouquets, brides and her bridesmaids are opting for just a gathering of flowers tied with a pretty satin bow, or the stems totally wrapped with satin ribbon and no bow.

Wedding cakes are extremely high priced nowadays but with some ingenuity you can actually make your own tiered cake. If you are uncomfortable doing that, use tiered glass plates and fill it to the brim with cupcakes decorated with lush creamy frosting, like butter cream , whipped cream, or smooth fondant. Another alternative is to have a small wedding cake and then use sheet cakes for serving to your guests. Many weddings still include a groom’s cake and it is usually a sheet cake which will also help determine the size wedding cake that you need.

When it comes to the reception, depending on where you have it, perhaps some of your family can help by supplying different types of finger foods for the buffet table. If you have it catered, a large portion of your wedding budget can be spent on food alone. Setting up a buffet table will be less expensive than a sit down dinner reception where you must also pay for serving staff.

When it comes to a honeymoon, many couples will now just take a weekend to get away after their wedding since both parties usually work.  If they were lucky, they might have been able to plan ahead and get vacation time from their employers and take a week long honeymoon. There are numerous places right here in the United States where you can go and have a wonderful time without spending a fortune.

Your guests will have a wonderful time at your wedding and have no idea how much you actually spent on it. They came to share this exciting moment in your life, not sitting there with a calculator trying to figure out how much it cost you. You will have a beautiful wedding, reception and honeymoon with money leftover in the bank for which you will be very thankful to have for future purchases like a home of your own, a car or to splurge on that new addition to your family.

Just so you know, the picture above is of  my daughter and that wedding did cost us under $3000!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My Next Garden Winter Crops

As I've sat here and watched the efforts of this year's garden withering away in our triple digit heat, I've been depressed over my first attempts at gardening. I've made it a point to go out and water everything after 7pm at night in the hopes of pulling everything through. After the tomato plants get a drink of water, they usually will stand up, sometimes not straight and tall but at least they try. Many of their leaves are now turning brown and wilting from the sun. So far, there have been three ripe Roma tomatoes, and something has managed to put holes in every one of them. There are still two green ones on the vines and I am watching them closely.

The cucumber plants had little blossoms on them but so far I'm not seeing any development of cucumbers yet. I would have thought there would be some by now. I'm afraid the jalapeno peppers are toast!  there is but one plant that may make it, but the others appear to be either dead or dying.

It looks like only one of my pumpkin vines has survived as well and that is the one I planted in a pot! The ones out in the ground have either just shriveled up and died or something decided they were good to eat. As for my herbs, well, no cilantro, Basel, or mint for me! They are all gone too!

I guess I'm not alone, I've been hearing complaints from many of those with lots more experience than me saying they are having the same problems.  I guess we will all be looking at planting some things here shortly for winter crops in hopes that we can end up with some produce for all our efforts.

I do know one thing, I am going to order an AeroGarden or one something like it, that I can use to grow salad fixings at least in the house this winter. has some fantastic prices on them!

The picture of this garden is for the Gourmet Herb seed kit, but you can grow tomatoes, lettuce, even flowers in your AeroGarden. They offer a variety of types of seed kits that you can order for all kinds of things! 

I am doing an experiment which will be interesting to see if it works or not. I read where someone grew potatoes in a pillowcase, so I figured I have nothing to lose at this point, might as well give it a try.  I've also heard of using old car tires and plastic trash cans, but there there was some discussion on one of my yahoo groups about how that might not be such a good idea because of toxins possibly leaking from either the rubber or the plastic and contaminating your potatoes. So far I am getting sprouts shooting up!  Of course every time they break the surface you are to cover them up with more dirt, compost and natural mulch. I may actually end up getting some potatoes out of my efforts anyway!

I think next year, I will attempt to do some hanging tomato plants on the edge of the patio where they will get less direct sunlight. Either that or I am going to have to devise some methods of putting up a tent structure with garden netting over the tops of my beds so that if we have as hot a summer next year as we've had this year, I am able to provide some shade for them.

So now I am looking to see what fall crops I can grow in zone 6 & 7 for Oklahoma that I like and will actually eat. I guess I'll try putting out some Cilantro again (that burned up also along with my basil) and more cucumbers for sure along with some more tomatoes, summer and winter squash, more bell peppers and jalapenos and try for a few more pumpkins!  I see where they say you can grow several types of beans, as well as sweet corn and egg plant, but I think I'll pass on those.

Beets. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Irish potatoes, lettuce, onions, garlic, and spinach are all considered semi-hardy for another crop. It looks like the onions and garlic wouldn't be ready to harvest until next spring and June so we'll see about doing those.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

1895 8th Grade Final Exam

I had a friend send this to me the other day by email and I wanted to share it with you.
It made me realize that we often are critical of our ancestors because they had "just an 8th grade education." 
I challenge you to go ahead and try and answer these questions.  Don't cheat by googling the answers either. It will really make you appreciate their 8th grade education a whole lot more!

We need to remember that back then, many of our ancestors lived on farms and there were times of the year when crops needed to be planted or harvested, there were chores to be done and animals to be tended to. So early in the morning, the children would get up and tend to chores before heading off to school. Then when they got home after school, there were the evening chores to be done. Often school studies were done by lantern light or candle light. 

We are so fortunate in today's world.

1895 8th Grade Final Exam
Take this test and pass it on to your more literate friends..

What it took to get an 8th grade education in 1895...
Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA .. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina , KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of 'lie,''play,' and 'run'
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6 What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time,1 hour 15 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. Deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. Wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3,942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1,050 lbs. For tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6,720 lbs. Coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft.. Long at $20 per metre?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1 Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton , Bell , Lincoln , Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.
Orthography (Time, one hour)
[Do we even know what this is??]
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication
2.. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis-mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane , vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks
And by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.
Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete.
Gives the saying 'he only had an 8th grade education' a whole new meaning, doesn't it?!
Also shows you how poor our education system has become and,  NO, I don't have the answers-Google them:-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Take Your Shoes Off Lucy!

Can't remember how many times I heard that phrase growing up!  Funny the things you remember about your mother after she is gone.  What is even funnier is the fact that my name isn't even Lucy and she used to say it to my brothers as well.

This weekend, after attempting to mow some very wet grass and tracking it into the house, this phrase immediately came to mind and I had to smile.  It also got me to thinking about exactly where the custom of removing one's shoes came from.  I had always heard that it started in the orient, in Japan, mainly because their homes had mats on the floors which were used to sit on and sleep on rather than having beds, couches and chairs. They have low dining platforms for dining off of, sitting on the floor on mats and often with thin pillows on top of the mats.

But actually the practice is found throughout Asia and is also common in Scandinavian countries and in Hawaii and Alaska.There are practical applications for leaving ones shoes outside, if you are farmers you don't want to track in the mud and debris from the barnyard into your home!  Or if you live in Alaska, you don't want to track snow into your home. Keeping the contaminants out of your home also saves wear and tear on your carpet and your hardwood floors.

In many of the foreign countries, places where you are expected to remove your shoes, will have foyers where you can hang your coats and remove your shoes. There often are benches available to sit on while you do this. Your host will most likely also supply slippers for you to put on while you are in their homes while others, will just expect you to wear just your own socks.

Besides removing your shoes for cleanliness sake, I personally feel that it also has a spiritual meaning for me, it is like shedding the worries of the outside work world and releasing all that hustle and bustle of the day to sit down and relax with family and friends. Some people get this same "shedding of the outside work world" feeling when they get home and remove their work clothes and slip into something comfortable to  lounge around the house in. I find it interesting how many American households are actually doing this now, especially with their children, even if the adults in the family don't do the same thing.

If you haven't gotten in the habit of taking your shoes off at the door, give it a try. You might be surprised at not only how it helps keep your home cleaner and more germ free, but also the way that it helps you emotionally to just let go of the days worries and leave your troubles at the door.

I found these slippers and thought to myself how comfy these would be to slip into.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Log Cabin Design

I went to visit the houseplans shop website tonite because I wanted to highlight a vacation house/cabin for all of you to enjoy.

I came across this one and it reminded me so much of a cabin that I stayed in in Tennessee that I just had to feature it.

The cabin I stayed in was at the top of one of their mountains, just down the road apiece from the Dolly Parsons "Dollywood", in Pigeon Forge.

This is Vacation House plan # 010H-0006 with 1333 sq ft of living space and even though it is 2 bedrooms and 2 baths there is a lot of room that can be utilized efficiently for more house guests if you desire.

High up in the mountain, the back porch with the hot tub and all kinds of old fashioned rocking chairs out there to look out over the tree tops and valleys below. I would take my cup of coffee out there in the early hours of the morning, as the sun was just beginning to come up. I would sit and watch the sun's rays peeking through the mist as it lifted off the valley below us.

The cabin we were in, had 2 full sleeper sofas so we were able to sleep 8 people very comfortably. In this plan, you could actually use the upstairs studio for addional sleeping accomodations by putting in a sleeper sofa or even several single chairs that convert to sleeping units.

Since this is a vacation home, either located in the mountains or by the sea shore, keep your furnishings simple and easy to care for. Slipcover your sofas or upolster them in denim, duck, or sailcloth so that people will feel comfortable curling up with barefeet on the furniture!  Also slipcovers can be removed quickly and easily and thrown into the washer! Choose a basic color for your slipcovers, maybe light denim blue, white or beige. Use the other colors from your palette choice for throw pillows, afghan throws and comfy velour blankets to cuddle up in on cool nights, and other accessories.

If this is to be a waterfront home, you might want to consider using the colors of the sand, sky and sunsets to decorate with. Go with off white or wheat/creams along with several shade of blue, the azure and pinks of sunsets.Keep your window coverings simple or as non existant as possible. Consider bamboo roll up shades for privacy areas and soft opaqe panels to soften if you wish a more suble effect. On the great room, perhaps you might not want any window coverings at all if the area behind you is secluded, otherwise go with just the bamboo shades or wood slated vertical binds.

If you are up in the mountains, maybe you would want to go with bolder colors, deeper shades of blues or greens, or even work in some vibrant rose or reds shades.