a good harvest
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« June 2012 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics
Education and Values
Entertaining/Party  «
Harvest Hills Farm activity
Home Environment
Nutrition and food safety
Saturday, 23 June 2012
Topic: Entertaining/Party

The morning was so beautiful when I woke up, I decided it's the PERFECT day for doing a quick little project I've had in mind...


I'm a big believer in the mood effects of color and, one thing's for certain--what is greeting you immediately as you approach your house is a door. Now, everyone knows this about the FRONT door, And all of you reading this certainly have a happy, welcoming front entry door.


But, that's for guests, right? You usually come in through a garage or  back door. But, it's still YOUR welcoming to your home. So, match your color to enhance your mood.


My project today was to paint the entry from the outside into our "mud room" where I find myself going in and out several times a day. I also just placed a little bistro table and chairs outside that entry door so an accent door will actually ground my personal wine bar and enhance that mood, too.


So, here goes, I continued with the same accent color as interior doors in the mudroom and the same accent color as my front door. And I am using a high gloss because it's super durable and easy to wash. Another plus is--while I have the paint out, I can inspect my other doors and touch up nicks and scratches of wear (and dogs.)



It's SUCH a happy difference from boring white, isn't it? Now, get out and spend literally under an hour of your physical time for a happy ending...or should I say a "Happy entry every time"?




Posted by Karen at 09:24 CDT
Share This Post Share This Post
Friday, 23 March 2012
Those little Italian Lights
Topic: Entertaining/Party

I sure hope you didn't pack away those little Italian lights we all use for Christmas holiday decorating. I love to use the white lights mixed with floral or vine garland around fireplaces during the "off season"--they make great mood lights and night lights and they are especially easy when you have them pre-set on a timer.

Outdoors, the Italian lights can be strung in ornamental trees--if you look around, you can find the lights with variable twinklers that "flicker".

Another idea is to string them around or in the base of a larger planter. Again, it's best to put them on a timer--maybe one or two sites on a dusk-to-dawn timer so when you look out onto your garden from inside the house at any point during the night, you are drawn to the drama.


Posted by Karen at 08:20 CDT
Updated: Friday, 23 March 2012 08:20 CDT
Share This Post Share This Post
Friday, 13 January 2012
When it's cold outside, create indoor warmth
Topic: Entertaining/Party

I can't believe that just two days ago I was outside in a T-shirt and jeans,  pruning grapevines.


Yesterday and today, a T-shirt and jeans were the first layer, covered with a hooded sweatshirt (hood up!), jacket (hood up!), snowpants, hiking boots and ski mittens. And the activity? Snow clearing with the snowthrower--feeding animals, snowshoveling... 


So it's now kind of settled down into mere frigid weather.

Time to create a cozy indoors...



 As you can see, I haven't cleared off the table with Christmas cards, so light the candle for a little warmth...






Did you notice all the snow on the porch beyond? 


Get the fireplace going. Really get a roaring fire to counteract that wind chill of ...minus 9!




 Did you get something like this for Christmas? These are called "Bath Bombs" and they similar to huge, fragranced "Fizzies" for the bath. 



Seriously, they are huge, aren't they? Each has it's own fragrance combo and  great mineral salts for your skin.


But, before you soak those aching muscles in your "Bath Bomb" bath--make a quick Quiche Lorraine (recipe is archived under "recipes"). Here's mine right out of the oven--since I am indulging I did NOT skimp on the anchovies. 



Now get into some cozy, comfortable, loungy clothes, and enjoy that quiche in front of your roaring fire...










Posted by Karen at 12:47 CST
Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2012 09:07 CST
Share This Post Share This Post
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Stage yourself "a Merry Little Christmas"
Topic: Entertaining/Party

Stage yourself a Merry Little Christmas corner

It’s a suggestion, not a demand…so don’t over-react by getting stressed-out. (You know who I'm talking to)

I have heard a lot of people saying “I’m not putting up the Christmas tree this year”, “I just don’t want all that work”, “I’m not in the mood”, “Too much else to do.”

I know, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the Christmas holidays. But I think there’s a compromise possible. And, in under an hour, you can stage yourself a little Christmas niche that will perk up your mood yet still keep clean up to a minimum.




First, decide what community part of the house you spend most of your time. Then find a “staging area” where you can put a small tree, and a comfy chair in which you can sit and have a cup of Christmas cocoa or a glass of wine while opening up your cards (or checking your e-cards on your wireless device!).

The area is defined as a “stage” by outlining the space with some Christmas garland…easier to do if you’ve chosen a spot by a window. And windows also let you count your tree as “outdoor” decoration if you can see it outside!

Props Needed:

A real or artificial tree

Lights (not needed if you picked up a pre-lit tree!)



A “tree-topper”—(extra credit if the ornaments and topper reflect something about you!)

Table with holiday greens (artificial OK)

Comfy chair

Holiday Garland

Recorded/uploaded Holiday music

Pets (optional)

Now, outline your stage, put your tree up on one side, the comfy chair in the other, a little table with Christmas greenery. Add a scented candle. Light the candle. Add a dog or cat (that's Max, one of our shepherds in the picture). Put the music on. Make the cocoa or pour the wine.






Remember to set the timer to come on just before you come home from work and to go off automatically when you retire for the night.

Even if you don’t put up anything else (and you COULD you know, put up a door wreath and that lighted Christmas village scene and nativity you have packed away without  breaking a sweat)—but even if you do nothing else…at least they’ll be a little Christmas cheer to greet you  throughout the next month.

Under an hour…promise.





Posted by Karen at 11:34 CST
Share This Post Share This Post
Saturday, 12 February 2011
"Little Lights" bring warmth
Topic: Entertaining/Party




There's something about January and February and March that seem to make them go on forever--besides the weather, that is. I think it's because it is one of the longest periods in the year where you are homebound and you have little to celebrate. 

Valentine's Day is an exception, but it's limited to the lovers, not really a "family" or "singles" celebration time and it's just one day without a lot of anticipatory excitement. 

You might be lucky if someone's birthday falls during those months, but again, it's just one day out of three-plus months of darkness and gloom.

So, I am suggesting that you perk up your mantles or shelves and mirrors with some random "little lights." Set on a timer, you may never have to enter a gloomy living room or kitchen again.

I have little lights in "seasonal" garland on my library fireplace mantle, little lights on my living room fireplace mantle (pictured above) nestled with some feather-y chickens and a vase--and in my kitchen on a "created" window sill.

My faux window sill is a shelf set underneath a curved mirror, to mimic the window it is placed opposite (see above picture). The mirror is hung above an old dressor I've appropriated as storage for large pans and serving ware. A piece of glass on top allows the surface to be used as a beverage service area.  

So for under $10, it's possible to bring a little holiday mood into a couple of rooms of your home to make the winter pass a bit more cheerfully. 

Posted by Karen at 16:19 CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 March 2011 08:59 CST
Share This Post Share This Post
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
More mood swings
Topic: Entertaining/Party

Working on the indoor Christmas de-construction today, I realize why people get depressed in the long cold Winter--it's not just the shortened days and rotten weather--it's because they are such a contrast to the holidays. Sparkles, glitter, and twinkling lights give way to stark, bleak, and dark nights.

My solution--to continue my brother's advice about the outdoors in yesterday's entry--now applying that advice indoors.

The Christmas tree in the library was set on a dusk-to-dawn timer arranged next to a window that overlooks the courtyard. I decided that white lights nestled in faux greenery and set on top of the fireplace mantle might produce a similar magical effect. I concealed the cord behind books, but used the same window as the trigger for the dusk-to-dawn timer. It works, the library "winter night light" invites you in. 

Although I hate the Winter Holiday concept when it is forced on us as a politically correct Christmas substitution--it CAN be an inspiration for January and February. There's no reason I can't keep the little white lights around the mirror in my kitchen, simply swapping out the Santas and ornaments on the shelf for some antique china pieces. Set the timer right, I may never have to walk into a dark room this winter.

And, of course, it's a great time to force some paperwhite bulbs to root and blossom. I started mine yesterday. The Norfolk pine minus the ornaments still makes a great houseplant, the African violets are front-and-center in the master bathroom window, the indoor bay tree can be re-potted...

If it's all about setting the mood--I know which way I want mine to swing the next 80 or 90 days, whether in the city or the country. I may even be able to trick myself into thinking it's fun to stay indoors. 

Posted by Karen at 15:43 CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:17 CST
Share This Post Share This Post
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Lights down, lights up
Topic: Entertaining/Party

After work yesterday and today, I braved the frigid cold and took down Christmas decorations in the front of my city house--specifically, the ribbon and bows off the wrought iron fence, the multiple globes and twinkling white lights and ornaments from my little deciduous tree (the frozen crimson berries were attached and stayed put), the multi-colored lights encircling the red twig dogwoods. ..and then I promptly moved to the back yard where I hung the white lights again to make a path of luminescence from my garage to my back door. I even put a cluster of multi-colored lights into a large pot with "ever-blooming" poinsiettas.

"Why"-- you might ask?

Ah-h-h, it's the wisdom of my brother who designs pools and outdoor environments in Florida. It is his firm belief that people will spend a fortune on their yards and then miss one simple opportunity for improvement...lighting.  Lighting creates mood and allows you to use your outdoors way beyond the short sunlight of the winter days (too short whether you're in Florida or Illinois).

So, it may be post Christmas, but I think I can change my frigid Winter backyard into a warmly welcoming home with some seasonal twinkling lights. Through the yard is how I enter my house most of the time, from garage to the back door. And now, it reminds me of the lovely Winter wonderland of ice and lights  in the park at the base of the Eiffel tower. I can dream my way through winter chill.

Posted by Karen at 17:53 CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 March 2011 09:17 CST
Share This Post Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older