Monday, March 30, 2009

Staging Your House On Pennies!

De-clutter! Remove all clutter—family photos, bric-a-brac, whatnots, you name it—box it up! Remove all unsightly items! Myself, I sent a few unsightly things to my mother-in-law’s basement, such as a French chair that I bought five years ago and have yet to have it reupholstered. Now after five years, and lugging it around, I’m thinking that I’m going to use as a bartering chip with my buddy Cruella. She wants it! Next, remove all personal collections! Case in point, my mother-in-law had to remove a huge antique doll that had been passed down to her from her own mother. Hence, she feels the need to display the doll in one of her guest rooms. Problem is, the doll is so creepy looking that my father-in-law, brother-in-law, and hubby all call it Chucky. You don’t want to frighten potential buyers away! Remove pizza coupons, postcards, birthday cards, kid’s drawings, calendars, dental appointment reminders, and the like from the fridge!

Clean, clean, clean! Trust me, I know this is not easy, especially if you have dogs, children and a husband. Having two dogs and a husband—I know all-too-well! Luckily, at our house in Nashville, we had wood floors and just a few rugs and doormats. My basset hound, Rolle, decided to claim one of the doormats for his afternoon naps. What I found that worked, and was not expensive, was plain old baking soda. And another cleaning product that I used was Meyer’s Verbena—a nice lemon scent—can’t go wrong! P.S. don’t forget to clean the inside of the fridge – people look!

Organize! If your closets are overflowing just like the one I saw this past Sunday (Hubby and I are house shopping), try removing all unwanted items and maybe even a few wanted items. Also, I’ve found it will save you time later when you do have to pack. After all, why carry around unwanted items! I color-coordinated my sweaters, blouses etc and used all matching hangers. You may want to recycle the hangers you get from the dry cleaners! For the hubby’s hangers, I bought Ikea's, and for my closet, I used cedar hanger from The Container Store. Let’s face it; men don’t care as much! Highlight Your Assets! We had a 1930’s cottage and in order to highlight some of the architure I removed a few curtain panels to show off the old pane windows.

Outside, remove all dead plants, weeds, children’s toys, dog toys etc. Blow away the fall leaves and lay some fresh pine straw. The fresh pine straw will add a lot!

Image from Real Simple

Once the Hubby and I decided that we were going to put our house on the market, we still had a few unfinished major projects that had to be done. My challenge was to figure out how to finish the projects with out having to spend a lot of cash to do it! Later!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Organizing

I’m so happy to have the Container Store back in my life! I’m on my way there now in the pouring down rain to pick up a few things to get my life organized. One thing on my list is their clear shoeboxes. Although, one of my old co-worker’s (Faye from Nashville) never liked them. She thought they took up too much room. Last year, she and I thoroughly discussed this when I was trying to do something with my tiny 1930’s closet and didn’t have the funds for a full, knock-out-the -walls redo. I never actually saw Faye’s closet but I had vision of it being very custom!

Hence, the shoeboxes work for me because I can stack according to summer flats, summer heels, evening summer heels, winter flats, winter heels, evening gown heels, etc… Most importantly, I think it keeps the dust off your shoes. Plus, I can see them - well sort of! Now my very lucky mother in-law, on the other hand, keeps all her original shoeboxes and assigned my father in-law the task of taking pictures of all her shoes, which I would think would have been no easy task for him; at the very least time consuming! Her shoes spill all the way out of her master closet into my hubby’s old bedroom closet and she is now approaching hubby’s little brother’s closet. The nice thing now though, is when she comes home with a few new pairs of shoes it won’t take my father in-law nearly as long since he has already done the legwork.

How do you like your shoes?

Both Images from Real Simple

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Easter Entertaining!

Easter is fast approaching. Just the other day, I finally started thinking on what the hubby and I should do this year. Brunch out at one our favorite restaurants (Horseradish Grill or Canoe) or an early dinner at home. My Hubby always likes the brunch idea...he seems to think that it is more cost effective! I guess, you may say, I have a small tendency to go overboard when entertaining at home! For the Easter holiday, I can really go both ways--a nice pleasant brunch out while admiring everyone’s new Easter outfits, or staying home and trying new egg and asparagus recipes. So here it is!!!!!!

I’ve always admired Williams Sonoma’s Blue Willow collection. I love these plates--maybe Easter breakfast or perhaps Mother’s day now that’s an idea!

While browsing Williams Sonoma’s website I came across these beautiful Jacquard woven napkins. I usually do white hotel napkins, but I love the yellow--plus they're on sale!

One thing about being back in Atlanta, is that I’m glad to have Crate & Barrel around the corner again. I know most would say family and friends, really me too, but I did miss my Crate & Barrel! While living in Nashville, I always meant to write a letter to the Nashville city council letting them know that Crate & Barrel would be good for the city, and while they were at it, how about the Container Store. It’s a very ugly, rainy afternoon here in Atlanta–I’m saying goodbye to all my fellow coffee drinkers, packing up my computer, and heading over to Crate & Barrel and who knows! And whatever we decide to do this year for Easter (brunch or home) I do know one thing that I’ll be doing and that’s putting together Easter baskets--hubby, dogs, in-laws etc...

Your preference--brunching out or entertaining at home?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few Tidbits On Mulberry Ware!

I started collecting Mulberry Ware back in 2002, when Cruella and I took our first trip to Brimfield, Massachusetts. Mulberry Ware was produced in Staffordshire, a district in England. It was produced for a very short period of time in the mid 1800’s. I love it because of the heaviness of the ironstone and its rich, deep color!

Recently, while out antiquing with Cruella, she spotted this Mulberry Ware pitcher for only forty-five dollars. Cruella, who knows how much I love Mulberry Ware, and who knows that it is worth much more then forty-five dollars, gave it up! Thanks Cruella! Can’t wait to try it with peonies, hydrangeas, tulips, etc…

Happy Spring!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Showcase Home Tour

One thing that I have managed to do upon moving back to the Atlanta area (other then hanging out at my new-found favorite bohemian coffee shop and listening to Bob Marley while surfing Careerbuilder) is a little volunteer work. One organization that I've been doing a little work for is the Roswell Woman's Club, and if you happen to be in the Roswell area please check out their 13th annual showcase home tour. Click above for all the detail. On a side note, I personally loved the house and the kitchen--reminded me of one of our all-time favorite kitchens!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recession Proof Cheese Straws!

If you’re like me, you have noticed just how incredibly expensive cheese straws are! I know some come packaged in pretty little tins, which I know only adds to the cost. However, if you’re hosting a wine and cheese party or a small luncheon, why pay for a pretty tin, which will probably end up in your summer yard sale or the trash. This of course brings me to today’s post—cheese straws.

Another reason why I have been thinking about cheese straws here lately is because, several weeks ago, Cruella and I were out antiquing at Historic Roswell Antique Mall and bumped into Daryl (sales associate) who was whipping up a batch. After complementing Daryl on how great his cheese straws smelled, he of course offered us a few. I asked Daryl for his secret recipe and he pointed me to several Junior League cookbooks and said good luck! I could clearly see Daryl was not going to part with his recipe, and I didn’t really have that much time on my hands to go through every Junior League cookbook looking for every cheese straw recipe that had been printed since the 50’s.

However, recently while reading through Julia Reed’s Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gown, and Other Southern Specialties, I stumbled upon her recipe for cheese straws and Daryl had better watch out! And after all, a little flour, a little butter, a little cheese is not too terribly expensive, and you can freeze the rest for your next soirĂ©e. Although, Daryl did reveal that a cookie press does the trick, but then again, so did Julia!

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
6 ounces extra-sharp, grated cheddar cheese
2 ounces Parmesan, freshly grated
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the butter with the cheese and the seasonings in a large bowl. Add the flour and knead into smooth dough. Pack the dough in batches into a cookie press and press through the flat, ridged-line opening onto an ungreased cookie sheet to form “straws” 21/2 to 3 inches in length. Bake the straws until golden (do not let them brown) and crisp, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan with a metal spatula and let cool. Serve or store in an airtight container. Enjoy!