organizing the house - part 4 the bedroom

So the last part in this house organizing series is the bedroom.  Ours is small but super comfy.  I know it sounds cheesy but it really is my refuge.

We don't keep any electronics in our bedroom.  Many scientific studies say that even charging cell phones in the bedroom is a bad idea if you want a good nights sleep.  My sleep is so precious to me that I try my best to make our bedroom like a cocoon, so no tv, computers or cell phones in ours. I've read that people will actually check their emails during the sex if their cell phone is nearby. Really? Really? REALLY.

Not much to report here.  I'm obviously not much of a jewelry person. I like it in theory but wearing it drives me mad.  Nothing like posting real life evidence of just how dull you are.

I keep my woolens in one drawer with lavender drawer liners and lavender sachets.  While they smell good they apparently do nothing to detract moths.  I have a lot to learn about storing woolens safely.  Here is some of the skinny on that.  Thank you anon reader who supplied that link.

This is the only closet in the house and I'm sure that if we called in a closet organizing company, it would give us more storage but I'd rather have less than figure out ways to make room for more.

I'll shut up about this any day now but participating in Project 333 pretty much changed the way I looked at my wardrobe.  I was always stuck on the buy, donate, buy, donate road and the Project helped get me off that bus. Now being able to look in the closet and drawers and be able to see everything easily and know that I feel confident and comfortable in every single thing...well it's pretty good.  April 1st starts a new season with the Project so if you are interested, check it out.

These are the baskets inside my armoire.  They hold 5 pairs of jeans, 2 pair of yoga pants, 3 yoga tank tops, a hoody and 3 t shirts.  The seasonal basket is a place for me to stick scarves, hats, etc. depending on the weather.  The beauty basket holds my Clairsonic charger, my small blow dryer, hairbrushes, etc.  Larry uses the 2 super large drawers below these baskets and hangs a few things in the closet.  Compared to him I am a clotheshorse.

So that is that.  Next month I really want to address what appears to be my addiction to the internet. I've been reading articles on how to reduce your time online and guess what?  You have to reduce your time online.  This will be way way harder for me than giving up wine or chips.  It's going to be very interesting. x


groceries - march week 3

Hello there.  Before I get into the grocery shopping I'd like to say that this month has been a hectic one in that we have aging and ailing relatives 700 miles away and we've been back and forth so much...well everything is a little out of whack around here.

So the total is $31.29.  I was excited because the .99 store had wine stocked.  It was $2.99 a bottle and I've been wanting to try their wines.  I will wait til after Lent and let you know how it is.  If they continue to stock it I'll pick up more to try all in the name of research...for you.

Also, the lovely Jen from the blog, Dwell on these Things has tagged me in an 11 things about me thing. Remember when these types of posts went around and around on the internet?  I haven't seen one in years so I thought why not?  Hard to imagine there are 11 things you don't know about me but lets give it a swirl.

1.  This blog is just a small part of my life.  I think most blogs are that way.

2.  And yet knowing that, I still find myself jealous of other bloggers lives.

3.  My closet, drawers, kitchen and life get messy just like yours does.

4.  I skip exercise when I'm too tired or not in the mood and feel pretty guilty about it.

5.  I have a good marriage but we sometimes fight, shout and give ea other the silent treatment.

6.  I'm feeling a blogging break coming on.

7.  I hope to one day be and extra in a Wes Anderson movie.  I've always wanted to be a Tenenbaum.

8.  I try to put the best pictures I can up of my house and garden and then worry that you think I'm perfect.

9.  I fight being lazy every single day.

10. I think I'd make an excellent recluse.

11. I can't think of another one.  Whoops, just thought of one.  I'm quick to anger but working hard on that.

Thank you Jen!  And if you'd like to join in on the 11 thing thing...then do!

Hope to be back later with a post on organizing the bedroom/closet.

See you soonish.


organizing the house, part 3 - the laundry room

Oh hello.  Shall we move on to the laundry room?  Mine used to be in the garage so this is a step up for me. And even though this is the tiniest laundry room I've ever had it is my favorite.  It's got everything I need to satisfy my laundry addiction and room for all the other essentials that keep this place clean.  It is embarrassing to show all the nooks and crannies of this house and admit that I have a laundry addiction, but some of you are very interested in these things.  But I'm also fascinated by this kind of ordinary thing too. Fair warning, there are tons of links to products in this post but I know you like specifics so I was on it this time. And just for the record, no one is paying me to say these are the products I use and like.

Lets start with my favorite laundry products of the moment.  The Laundress Wash and Stain Bar.  If I were rich I'd buy every single product this company makes.  All I've tried so far is the stain bar and also their Wool and Cashmere Shampoo.  Both have convinced me that my life is better because I'm now using them.  I'm totally kidding but really they are good. The stain bar gets out pit stains like nobody's business and the wool shampoo makes my sweaters so soft and it is supposed to aid in the prevention of moths.  I purchased them before I got the bright idea to pay off our mortgage early but they should both last me about 4 years so I'm ok with it.  I use the Mrs. Myers Lavender Dryer Sheets to freshen drawers and musty old suitcases. I've never actually used them in the dryer but I bet they work well.  Mixing these rather high end products with my .99 store detergent seems to be doing the job.

The room is so small that I can't get far enough away from the wall I'm trying to photograph so you'll have to see this little wall in 3 parts.  This shelf area is what I use for all the linens and is also like a catch all closet.

When you lift the skirt you can see my iron.  I don't own an ironing board, I just use a towel and a counter top.  A basket of these type of cleaning cloths, there is a plastic tub that hold all the little tools you need inside like measuring tape, light bulbs, etc.  That old bread box holds gift wrap and ribbons, plain Epsom salts and a wire basket for dirty clothes. Pretty exciting, I know.

Next shelf up...toilet paper, bath and hand towels and 2 boxes.  One box contains medicine like aspirin and band aids and the other one holds thank you cards and greeting cards.

Then the very top shelf hold all the vases that will be getting filled with roses soon, very soon.  OMG, the rose garden is full of hundreds of buds ready to explode. (!)

Squeezed in between the shelves and washer/dryer is where I keep my broom and this Quickie floor duster.  I've had it for 6 years and it still works great.  After I sweep then I just mist the duster with water and go over the hardwood floors.  It catches all the dust and then I just toss it into the laundry.  We clean the tile floors on our hands and knees with those bar mop towels and plain hot water. I say we, because Larry isn't afraid of household chores and has always, always pitched in.

If you turn around this is the other side of the room.  That cabinet holds Larry's grooming accoutrement's.

I'm so so glad we were able to create a second bathroom for this house.  One bathroom, two people, no bueno.

Not bad considering this is what the room looked like when we started...

This photo is taken the day we took ownership while standing in the office facing what is the laundry room/bathroom.  It was originally a closet on the left and a teeny tiny room that held only a toilet.  You could barely close the door when you sat down, that's how small it was.  You can count 4 doors in this tiny space before we took down the wall separating them and created this room.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the washer and dryer are made by Frigidaire.  They are part of their gallery series.  The set is 6 years old now but are like brand new still.  I rarely use the dryer, preferring to line dry everything but when I do I'm always amazed that everything dries so fast.  It's all very energy efficient and I highly recommend them.  Plus they fit well in a really small space if that is an issue for you.

Okay, so what am I missing that I should be using?  Do you have any favorites?  Someone left a comment on the white slipcover post about a product called White Brite that I'm dying to try. Have you tried it? Lemme know.


gardener's pie

In honor of St. Patrick's day I made a vegan version of a Sheppard's pie. I had leftovers in the refrigerator that needed to be used and this was the perfect recipe to use them in.  I sauteed my veggies in vegetable broth (otherwise I'd have used white wine) I really don't drink that much but I'm giving up the sauce for Lent, which is proving harder than I thought it'd be.  I slipped over this last weekend but I'm determinedly back on the wagon, or is it off the wagon? Anyway...

Gardener's Pie

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 celery rib chopped
1 or 2 carrots sliced
3 cups mixed vegetables
1/2 cup cooked lentils (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable broth or white wine
1 cup white sauce
2 cups mashed potatoes

Saute the onion, celery and carrots until soft but still with some bite in them
Add the 3 cups mixed veggies - I used mushrooms and peas and I also added the lentils
Cook until all the veggies are heated through
Add the vegetable broth.
Simmer until all the broth has been absorbed by the veggies
Stir in basic white sauce
Put in 9" pie pan
Cover with 2 cups mashed potatoes

White Sauce

2 T Earth Balance
2 T flour
1 cup soy milk

Melt margarine and then whisk in flour until thoroughly mixed
Pour in soy milk and bring to boil
As soon as sauce is thickened remove from heat
Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 t pepper

Bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 hour

Really this recipe sounds harder than it is.  It is so forgiving.  You can use any veggie combo that you like. You can skip the white sauce.  You could do a pastry top or a puff pastry top. You really can't go wrong.
The point is to use what you have and what's easy.

As you can see my grocery total is only $17 for the first week of March.  We were in Utah for a few days so that's why it is so low.  I'm still amazed at how this grocery thing is keeping me on track spending-wise.  We are only 2 weeks away from the start of the second quarter of the year.  Our goal is to pay off the house in 5 years or 60 months.  So only 56 more months to go.  :)


a downton abbey tea party

Yesterday I was invited to a Downton Abbey tea party at my friend M's house.
I knew it was gonna be good because well you know, the woman can entertain.
I hope you enjoy the many photos (so hard to edit down to just these) and get a feel for just how pretty the day was.

Pretty people, every morsel of food was delicious and homemade, even those gorgeous pastry boxes, painstakingly made by M's niece Cheryl.  You can see more of her work at her FB page, The Sugared Apron..  The whole afternoon was fun and pure charm.



a case for the white slipcovered sofa

I get a lot of emails and questions here on the blog as to how I keep this sofa clean and also comments saying that they would love to have a white sofa but because of kids and pets it is out of the question.  I'd like to make a case for the white sofa...even if you have pets and kids.

We've had  white slipcovered furniture for many many years.  My boys grew up with them.  We always had their friends at our house too. So it wasn't uncommon to have 3 to 6 boys laying all over the furniture at any given time. Plus we always had dogs and cats.

I've always preferred seeing the dirt and being able to wash it myself than to having a fabric that hid it and then having to pay to have it professionally cleaned.  It is more work but I suppose it's because my boys were walking dirtbags that I just felt the need to keep our seating clean.  I wasn't paranoid about them using the furniture either.  The two chairs up above have the original slipcovers still on them and they are over 20 years old.

Our dogs really were not allowed on the furniture either.  I know this is not popular today but they always had their own dog beds to sleep in.  And meals were eaten at the table.  Popcorn was fine to watch tv with but really since I was the chief cook and bottle washer...I got to make the rules and basically the rule was you ate in the kitchen.  I don't think this is a popular idea any longer either.

The last argument I'll make is that I've always had a lot of fun changing the pillows out.  I love just swapping out the pillow covers and getting a new look.  Other than the pillows and a few accessories the room is the same.  I thank the white sofa for that.

I store the pillow covers in this vintage suitcase so they are easy to get to.

So that's my defense of white slipcovers.  It's probably a good thing I never went into law.  But if you'd like to see how I wash my slipcover the link is right here.

Have a decent one my friends.
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