August 31, 2019

A Little Wash

Good day! I hope your Labor Day weekend is off to a great start! Today I'm sharing some pictures of my little laundry space in my new home. For years all of my houses had the washer and dryer in the basement. I can understand the thinking that it was the safest place for leaks and splashing water, but today's machines have come a long way from the old contraptions and wringers that were originally in those older homes. In my new place, it was important to me that the washer and dryer were much more convenient. I am over years of hauling dirty or even clean clothes up and down two flights of stairs. Doing the wash is not a chore I loathe especially, but all of the stair climbing was certainly getting old and so am I!

This washing space may not be very big but it is perfect to get the job done right in the heart of the home. I did have to plan somewhat differently than in my huge basements where I could have all of the tools I wanted and as many as I pleased. This space also has to house many of my other household supplies such as my cleaning caddy and rag collection. It took a bit of imagination but I have it all in there and it works very well!

Originally the area was equipped with bi-fold doors. The idea of closing off the space seemed fine but in actual practice didn't work well at all. We purchased a new set of machines to fit the space, and since they were a perfect size there was no wiggle room to get them in past the doors. The bi-folds had to be removed, the machine installed and then the doors rehung. After about an hour of my husband and I trying to get the things back in and all conversation reduced to a series of growls and grunts, we finally could open and close the doors easily. We were both pouring sweat and refraining from sounding too aggravated with one another. After all, we were in this plan together. I wiped down the machines and began to sort wash. We had waited several weeks for delivery and I had plenty of laundry to feed into the new machines.

There was one problem. The dryer door could not be opened. Since the dryer has nice wide portal there was no way for the bi-fold doors to be open and the dryer door as well. Off came the bi-folds! My husband kept apologizing that the doors didn't work after so much effort, but at that point, I was ready to pitch them out into the yard anyway. We took them off and out they went! I got right into getting the wash done and formulated a new plan.

Instead of doors, I installed a heavy, pipe-style drapery rod that is designed to be hung from the wall or the ceiling. Mostly I was after a nice industrial/farmhouse look but this style also was lucky because the pole serves well as a hanger rod. I hung cotton curtains with rings that open and close easily, great when your arms are full of laundry. In my little laundry space, I keep all of my soaps, hangers, clothespins, baskets, and crates full of paper supplies, light bulbs. I even have plenty of room for some lovely old decorations. The space looks nice enough to keep the curtains open if I choose which always makes any space much more enjoyable to keep clean.

I hope you like my little space and find a bit of laundry inspiration!

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August 25, 2019

Sunday Morning

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in the Upper Perkiomen Valley of Pennsylvania. The weather has changed for the better and its clear that Autumn is drawing near. The geese have been busy the last few days gathering and calling to one another to get moving. They cross the sky above, nearly brushing the treetops, close enough that you can feel the vibration of their calls and imagine touching the downy feathers of their bellies. 

It's a lovely, sunny 63 degrees and the morning is just begging for me to do some baking! Last Sunday I put together a scrumptious and rather filling, banana cream pie. It was such a wonderful joy to bake in my delightful new kitchen and so today I have decided to go with an enticing peach pie. The peaches have been in season here and I've been eyeing them everywhere. Just knowing I'll be gobbling up some soon in a pie is very appetizing!

Last week's pie

The meringue was the perfect sweet touch with the rich banana filling.

Today's peach pie ready for a lattice top.

All baked and looking delicious!

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August 22, 2019

The Spice Cart

Good day! I've been asked to post a few details about my spice rack cart so here's a little history and info. In my previous home, I struggled for years trying to figure out the best way to store my sizable spice collection. I kept them in their original containers and tried tiered shelves, pull-out bins from the dollar store and a stacked lazy Susan. I wasn't happy with any of those. The jars and tins were always in a jumble and it was aggravating to have to go digging for a spice while cooking when sometimes all I needed was just a pinch for the right flavoring. Even worse was if the recipe called for a collection of flavorings since I had to dig through all of them. The kitchen was really small as well, so the cabinet space that the spices consumed was also an issue.

After some head-scratching, I ended up putting in a thin shelf that ran up underneath my kitchen cabinets. I invested in small jars from The Container Store and a labeling kit. It worked out really well! Not only were all of my spices within easy reach they became a lovely collection of jeweled colors I hadn't anticipated. Isn't it great when you have a vision for a project and it turns out even better than you imagined?

Look for them in the pictures here: Spice Jars

In my new home, the kitchen is gorgeous and has tons of cabinet space. But even so, I didn't like the idea of how much space all of the spices would take up and once again having to invest in racks and shelves in order to arrange my collection. As a result, they ended up being one of the last items to be unpacked when setting up the kitchen. At the same time, I had two nice rolling carts that I kept shuffling around. They were handy while moving into our new place, loaded with tools for hanging pictures etc. and cleaning supplies. Once we were beginning to get settled, the carts were in the way and the spices were still in boxes. That's when I put my spice jars into one of the carts as a temporary resolution. This accidentally ended up being genius! I like accidents like this as well! 

  My new kitchen.

These little carts have gained lots of popularity over the years. IKEA makes one called the Raskog that even has its own Facebook page for its fans. There are tons of knock-offs. Mine came from Michael's craft shop. I have seen them used as nightstands, work tables and crafting carts. They're so sturdy I've seen one with a heavy old sewing machine on the top rack. Most of them have a screen in the bottom of the shelves so they stay clean and dry. 

As an accidental spice rack, this is perfect. It rolls easily around the kitchen so it's right there if I need any spice. In the top I keep salt and pepper and an olive oil dispenser, in a pretty clay tray, that I might have otherwise kept on the stove. In the cart, the spices don't get heated being near to the stove. When I'm not using it I scoot it out of the way. Because it's good and strong I even use it for temporary storage. I have a cast iron wok that weighs a ton. It's huge and I don't like to have to lift it in and out of the cabinet so it lives in the oven when not in use. When I am using the oven I park it on the cart.

This little bit of decorating luck has worked out really well for me. I have no plans to move the spices from the cart ever!

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August 20, 2019

From Tub to Cupboard

I've been re-purposing some things I brought with me to my new home. One of them is an old galvanized tub I've had for years. It started out as an ice bucket for kegs of beer and then I kept it as simply a sturdy washtub. It hung on the fence most of the time and one summer it was occupied by a lively wren and his family. 

Now it is a shelf in my new master suite.

I marked it carefully to make sure the shelves were level with the handles on the sides and poked holes for screws with an awl. Three screws run into the edges of the wood shelving on each side.  It was easy. A bit of lace and a glue gun made a nice finishing touch for the edges of the shelves. Now it houses my everyday makeup and a bit of jewelry. I love it!

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Location, Location, Location

Life assigns and then leaves you places. Your parents make their choices where they live and so you get your "home town". You move out, go to college, get married, have a family and now you live there. There, where you can earn a living, be close to good schools, be near family. Last year my husband and I broke that cycle and moved into the beautiful Upper Perkiomen Valley of rural Pennsylvania. It is a lovely and simple life. Please join me on my journey to my new home and a new world of loving and learning, creating and growing.

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