Snowstorm, chill out, catch up!!

Yesterday, a snowstorm kept us in to read, play scrabble, watch movies and kick back. Today however was catch up day! Which meant take down Christmas decorations, do paperwork and work on a gateleg table I did not finish in the fall.

IMG_5591 The table was originally my husband’s grandmother’s. He thinks its over 100 years old. I forgot to take pictures while I was working on it. To give you an idea of the shape it was in I took a picture of the underneath. It had a dark stain, decades of wax buildup and was scratched up. Pretty much how this looks!

IMG_5561 (2) When I originally stripped and sanded the table I was surprised how light the wood was. I decided to leave the top and paint the legs thinking I would get back to it soon.

IMG_5568 (2) Eight months later here I am! Even though I did not mean to wait so long, I am glad I did! I really grew to love the light wood and decided to keep it.

I used Annie Sloan clear and dark wax. I have a clear wax finish on my dining room table. I wax it every four or five months and have absolutely no problems with it.

IMG_5576 I first applied clear wax. If you are going to use dark wax, applying clear wax first is a must. Without the clear wax base the dark wax will be absorbed into the wood and look blotchy. After working in two light coats of clear wax,  I wiped it off with a clean, lint free rag until it no longer felt tacky to the touch.

IMG_5577 See how the wood soaks up the wax.

IMG_5578 This is how it looked after the second coat.

IMG_5580 Next came the dark wax. I worked in sections taking a little bit on a clean rag then wiping in the direction of the grain. Again, wiping it until it does not feel tacky.

IMG_5581 This is the finished piece. The waxes gave it a rich finish while still keeping the wood light.

IMG_5595 See how the waxes picked up the variances in the wood.

IMG_5585 I am going to hang on to this table for awhile. I would really like to find a place for it in my home.

Well I am off to finish putting away Christmas decorations. I decided to leave my Christmas tree up until the end of the month. I enjoy looking at it at night so I am going to extend it for a couple more weeks! Why not….

Annual New Year Organization!!

What is it about the start of a new year that makes you want to organize! I was in the midst of cleaning my pantry and cupboards and realized I never shared how I updated them. We do not have a lot of storage space in our kitchen. There is a small pantry and a few cupboards to house all the dishes, pots, pans and sundries. One day a year or so ago I opened the pantry and something fell out at me! That was the catalyst that started my overhaul. My first step was to research pantry and cupboard organizing ideas. The overall theme was to use containers and additional shelves to make the most of the small space. My next stop was Home Goods for OXO containers. I am not going to lie, they are kind of pricey. I looked at it as an investment in my piece of mind. My family looked at it as a way to keep me from complaining about the messy pantry and why didn’t they put things back where it belongs…yada, yada, yada!! So, I went to work on my pantry and cupboards to make them more attractive and easier to access items.

IMG_5493 (2).JPG These containers are one of my favorite storage units. They are perfect for grouping small items together.

IMG_5499 (2).JPG It holds all my measuring cups and spoons. When I am baking I don’t have to search for everything they are all in one place.

IMG_5502 (2).JPG Plastic lids are anther item that is hard to find a place for. Using this container I am able to store them in order of size.

IMG_5504 (2).JPG It sits right next to the glass containers! You don’t have to search through them to find the right size. Its already done!

IMG_5505 (3).JPG This is my pantry. When I originally did this space I put contact paper on the back wall. It was the first and last time I will use contact paper!!

IMG_5506 (2).JPG Wire risers on the shelf lets you put items on top and underneath.

IMG_5518 (3).JPG Again I am able to use the same containers in the pantry. Two, hold all my baking needs and the other a variety of teas.

IMG_5518 (3) The OXO storage canisters can stack on top of each other to allow for optimal use of space.

IMG_5519.JPG On this shelf I put all cooking wines and vinegars in one unit. The Lazy Susan has oil, honey and syrup. I put the pasta in a tall container to use vertical space rather than horizontal.

img_5509-2.jpg The top shelf is used for cereal and snacks.

pantry The bottom is for backup items. We used to store these items in the basement, but we kept buying the same thing.

My pantry is small, but by organizing and using containers I was able to double the space. It can still get messy and yes I do complain a little, but finding what your looking for is so much easier!

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Happy New Year 2020!

I am one lucky girl! I had my holiday tablescape all set in my head. I would use my white dishes, greenery, ornaments and candles. Those plans went right out the window when my mother-in-law asked if I would like her china set. She is in the midst of downsizing and has not used the set in years. When I saw the dishes I immediately fell in love with them! My answer was YES, YES, YES! I obviously wanted to use them this holiday, so I switched gears and started to look for items to work with the dishes.

china 4 The pattern is so simple and elegant. The rim has a platinum edge. I decided to go with a wintery theme to play off this.

IMG_5428 (3).JPG The first thing I found was this garland! It had white and silver sparkles throughout and complimented the dishes perfectly. I also found four ornaments at Michael’s. They were hidden under greenery waiting for me to find them!

IMG_5430 (2).JPG These candlesticks were a wedding gift. When I pulled them out I thought they almost looked like icicles. Again sticking with the wintery theme.

IMG_5420.JPG I had everything I needed for the table center so I turned my attention to napkin rings. I looked all over for inexpensive ones, but could not find any I liked. I saw this garland at Michael’s. The attached ornaments looked like mercury glass. I decided to purchase it for $8 and make my own napkin rings.

IMG_5425 (2) I cut the ornaments off and put them on a white ribbon. Because they were so fragile I collected the napkin rings when everyone sat down. I probably will not use them in that way again, but they were perfect for this year!

IMG_5424 (3) This is the finished table! I could not be happier with the results! The best thing was my mother-in-laws reaction seeing her dishes used again!

When you write a Blog, you hope that people like what you do and are inspired! One of my readers shared with me that my post had done just that! She had been looking for something special to do on Christmas Eve. Her mother had passed away in March and she wanted to honor her in some way. When she saw my Blog post, she knew what she wanted to do. She set a beautiful table to not only celebrate the season but to celebrate her mother as well!

bianca tablescape (3).jpg The colors are so rich, the gold accents throughout the room tie in beautifully with the tablescape. I love all the candles. It makes the room glow!

bianca tablescape 2 (2).jpg The layering starting with the placemat all the way up to the napkin ring makes your eye travel, appreciating the detail as you go along!

bianca tablescape 3 (2).jpg  She did a beautiful job! What a special way to honor someone!

 

I know in my last post I promised a master bedroom update. Unfortunately, I have been flip flopping over the faux window idea. To balance out the wall with only one window I was going to use shutters to create an illusion of two windows. By doing this I could center the bed on that wall. But trying to find used shutters for both the real and faux window was impossible. I then decided to go with a wall of drapery to camouflage only having one window. I ordered fabric and when it got here I felt it would be too overpowering to have all that fabric on one wall. Luckily, I am able to return the fabric. So, I am back to my original idea to use shutters. I researched and found a company that makes shutter kits. You measure the window and they send a kit for you to assemble and install. The next step is to measure everything and get an idea of price (I am hoping it will be less since you have to assemble and install). At this moment, I am at a standstill. If I can not do the window, I will have to rethink the room set up. In the meantime, I am sure I will find another project to tackle!

More Rochester, N.Y Holiday Delights!

Rochester N.Y is filled with wonderful things to do during the holiday season! They offer a multitude of activities for all celebrations, Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa. See some great things here! The activities are for all age groups, very kid friendly and a lot of them are free! I was able to go to Eastman House last week to see the Gingerbread House exhibit and attend “Holiday At The Public Market”, a tradition that has been happening for 25 years! Holiday fun at the Rochester Public Market.

IMG_5406 (2)IMG_5392 (2)

IMG_5402 (2) The first thing I saw, were the boughs and the amazing prices! I will definitely be back next year to get greens for my holiday flower boxes!

IMG_5403 (3) Boxwood Wreaths!!! The prices were out of this world inexpensive!!! Boxwoods are my favorite wreaths. They are so vibrant and beautiful. You can hang them with just a ribbon and they look great! I am making my next year list. Boughs, boxwoods…..

IMG_5393 (2) After the greens you enter the outdoor vendor area. Yes, that is snow, also it was windy and very cold! But that does not keep Rochesterian’s away!

IMG_5354 (2).JPG So many talented artisans! What a clever way to use and old carriage!

IMG_5347 (2) This ornament was made from a gourd, look at the detail!

IMG_5345 (2) The giraffe was also from the same booth. They were all made by artisans who are a part of “One World Projects”. “One World Projects” strives to reduce poverty, restore balance in nature, and promote peace by giving artisans around the world a chance to earn fair wages and improve their lives and communities. For more about “One World Projects” go here.

IMG_5404 (3) Signs….

IMG_5357 (2) more signs….

IMG_5358 and even more beautiful signs of all shapes and sizes!

IMG_5360 (2) Inspiration for next year! I will be on the lookout for an old sled!

IMG_5366 (3) Here’s a Santa…

IMG_5365 (2) There’s a Santa…

IMG_5362 Everywhere a Santa!

IMG_5375 (2) Will the real Santa please stand up! (Ho, Ho, Ho)

IMG_5387 (2) They also had carriage rides!

IMG_5389 (2) Even with the snow and cold the kids and adults really enjoyed the carriage ride!

The ride brings you to the indoor pavilion where the food is!

There is something for everyone! The aroma as I entered the pavilion made my mouth water!IMG_5399 (2) “Cosimano e Ferrari” Olive oil company offered free Olive Oil tastings. Delicious!

IMG_5394 (2) They also sell lotions and soap. Cosimano & Ferrari website.

IMG_5381 (2) “Taste of Supreme” offers 100% gluten free baked goods. I would serve these to everyone, not just my gluten free friends. Taste of Supreme website

IMG_5338 (2) I purchased this pot pie for my son at “Newbury Park Pastries”. It did not stand a chance! Newbury Park Pastries website

IMG_5407 (2) I had lunch at Hettie’s Delites Café! The food was delicious and the portions very generous!

IMG_5376 (2) It is fitting to leave you with this piece of artwork that represents the many offerings of “The Rochester Public Market” and the coming together of its diverse culture! I was told it took three years to finish and by the intricate work and detailing, I believe it!

After experiencing “Holidays At the Public Market” it is now going to be an annual tradition for me!

Happy Holidays to all! May your New Year bring peace and joy!

My next post will be in “2020”! Master bedroom progress!

Holiday Fun In Rochester, N.Y!

Often times when you live in an area you do not take advantage of the wonderful things available. You take it for granted that you will eventually do them, but you never make time for it. A perfect example was when I started dating my husband. He was originally from Brooklyn N.Y so I assumed he had seen the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island etc. Not only had he not visited any of the sites neither had his family. On our next trip to Brooklyn I initiated a tour of all the sites and we had a blast! Unfortunately for me I have become one of those people. Rochester has a plethora of activities and I have decided to take part in a few this holiday season. My first adventure was to the George Eastman House Museum for there annual Gingerbread house display. This is the historic mansion of the late George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, and one of the greatest philanthropists the world has ever known. The Rochester community has benefitted so much from his generosity. The University of Rochester wouldn’t be a top 30 research university in the country and MIT would have gone out of business if it weren’t for George Eastman’s legacy. You can learn more about him and the holiday ginger bread house display they have every year at https://www.eastman.org/sweet-creations-gingerbread-display.

IMG_5316 (2).JPG                                       The Eastman House looks so pretty at night!

The entrance fee was $15, which covered all exhibits in the museum.IMG_5050 (2).JPG This is the first Gingerbread Creation on display as you enter. This sets the tone that they will not all be houses.

IMG_5051 (2).JPG                                                                The detail is amazing!

IMG_5054 (2).JPG                               Look at the water feature in this creation. It is so cool!

IMG_5068 (2).JPG                                            Try and guess what children’s book this is?

IMG_5069 (2).JPG                                               Here come Mama, Papa and Baby bear!

IMG_5083 (2)  My favorite! I think the shutters and door are made with sticks of gum who would have   thought!

IMG_5090 (2).JPG                             I wonder how many hours were put into these designs?

IMG_5081 (2).JPG                                           Looks like a Currier and Ives Christmas Card.

IMG_5099 (2).JPG                                       We all know who that is! There’s no place like home!

IMG_5106 (2).JPG                                   I love how these two Curler’s look like they are in action!

IMG_5284 (2).JPG                              The Purple Painted Lady is in the show! Does she ever sleep?

IMG_5309 (2).JPG                                      This makes me want coffee or ice cream so bad…

IMG_5312 (2)                                                                           So creative!

IMG_5223 (2).JPG                                                                   The Peanuts Gang!

IMG_5231.JPG                                               I will leave you with Santa in the Hot Tub!

There are too many designs to show you all of them. But I hope I gave you an idea of the variety of pieces and the amount of time and effort that went into each!

Next week The Rochester Public Market!

IMG_5406 (2).JPG

Finishing Touches!

With my annual holiday party coming up, I took Friday off from work and set myself up to clean. I put the music on so I could dance and sing myself through the drudgery. But as it happens, I got side tracked. Sometimes this happens to me (a lot really). It started by tweaking one holiday decoration, then another and another, and another until a few hours had gone by and no cleaning in sight. It looked great though and I checked that off my to do list! I will not be giving you any cleaning tips (Ha Ha), but I will share what I did!

adj lantern 4 love I had already finished this, but wanted to start from the outside in. This was the easiest Christmas flowerbox I have ever done! I bought greens from Wegmans, laid them in the bottom, placed the lantern in the middle, added three holiday stems from Michael’s on either side of lantern and ended with ribbon. Voila!

adj outside 2                                                       The snow looks great with the greenery!

IMG_4796                                                        Time to go inside, its cold out here!

adj banister 2 I started with the Newel Post. It is the first thing you see as you walk in the house. So welcoming!

adj mantle sun.jpg             Remember the vases I worked on? Here they are with the finished mantle!

adj-man-6-2.jpg                                           I am really pleased with the way they came out!

adj mantle 9.jpg                              All the stockings are hung by the faux chimney with care!

adj mantle 7.jpg These were such a find! I got them at the after Christmas sale at Target. They are the perfect color and style for my living room.

adj lantern.jpg               I love my old chippy lanterns! Simple design, just tie a bow and add candle.

adj chandelier These trimmings were purchased at Target from the dollar bin area. I wait every year for those items. Such cute Christmas décor, good quality and great prices! Don’t tell anyone else!

adj hat.jpg                                           This hat reminds me of Frosty the Snowman!

adj santa.jpg This guy has been with us forever! I used to have him outside sitting on a sled every year. You can tell his gloves used to be a brighter green. He’s earned his stripes and now has a permanent spot in the house every Christmas!

adj sign                                            I am going to leave you with this sign. It says it all!

 

I best get back to cleaning!!

Setting the table!

For as long as I can remember, setting the table has been one of my favorite things to do! It started when I was young. I was at my Aunt Bev’s house and was asked to help set the table. She had beautiful china, crystal and cloth napkins the likes of which I had never seen. I carefully carried every single crystal goblet and china plate with both hands placing them ever so gently on the table. Then I laid a napkin next to each place. The result was so beautiful it changed my perception of mealtime forever! I became determined to do the same with our family table even though we only had Corelle Dinnerware and paper napkins. It didn’t matter! I started by folding the paper napkins and putting the silverware in its proper place and then added candles (I was big on candles). The candles however, were not a big hit with my father and brothers who would complain they were not able to see their food! Luckily for me, my mom was there to shush the Naysayers and encourage my efforts! I have since upped my game from folded paper napkins and candles, to crystal, china and cloth napkins. I still love candles, but also experiment with different place settings, flower arrangements and unique items to incorporate into my design. I will be hosting Christmas Eve dinner this year so I have been looking online for inspiration. I pulled some of my favorites to share with you.

miss mustard seed table
https://missmustardseed.com/

This table setting by  “Miss Mustard Seed” is the perfect example of using colors other than red and green to dress a holiday table!

sara richardson
http://www.sarahrichardsondesign.com/

This is a simple but elegant table setting by one of my favorite designers, Sarah Richardson. She used items you can find in nature as her center piece, kraft paper for name tags and mason jars as candle holders. It just shows you that setting a pretty table can be low key and still knock your socks off!!

sara richardson 2                                          Here, Sarah Richardson adds a colorful plate to create a holiday mood!

holiday_table_ideas_thanksgiving_bookazine_1
https://blog.onekingslane.com/live-love-home/

You know I love candles! With greenery and flowers this table is spectacular!

So many great ideas! I can not wait to create my Christmas Eve table and share it with you!