Salmon, The Caloosahatchee River, Cows, Ducks, and Sunflowers

Oh my, so much to share…I’m busy here in Florida and thought the easiest way to share the last 24 hours is just to give you a snap shot…check it out! 

Last night we had a great after dinner river cruise down the intercostal waterway...isn't it beautiful?

 

Lisa made a great dinner of Salmon, potatoes with onions and fennel and polenta. All organic of course!

 

We hopped on their boat for a quick cruise down the river at sunset...

 

The Spanish moss was gorgeous...

 

We saw lots of beautiful homes and even a few alligators...

 

We came home to an iced pitcher of Jasmine (Jasminum sambac) Water...mmmmm Some Jasmine is poisonous, so make sure if you try this, you use one that is edible 🙂

 

This morning the ducks had a ball in the new reflection pond...

 

Ming Ming was a shaking and a dipping...

 

Lisa had to go out to check on the bees...Yep, I stayed inside...no photo's of that!

 

We had to run out to get a super for the bee boxes...aka a box for them to make more honey. Sorry Gucci...you can't come with us!

 

We had to stop along the way and visit with some new friends...

 

Aren't her babies adorable?

 

I looooooveeee these sunflowers at a local Farmer's Market...

 

This is my favorite photo of the day...

 

Have a GREAT weekend…xoxox

Breakfast from the Backyard

Yep, life is rough this morning as we have to walk out the back door to this...

 

 Today and tomorrow, I have the pleasure of staying with fellow blogger and friend; Lisa of PickMeYard. Envision a deer in head-lights and that’s me. I live in the mid-west and back in the day I spent several years in the heart of NYC. Apparently I have a lot to learn about gardening. My kids grew up on macaroni and cheese from a box, happy meals and fruit roll ups. Lisa’s kids walk through her garden eating leaves and whatever else they feel like at the moment. I mean really…her three year old walked in from the garden this morning with a scallion (onion) in one hand and tomato in the other and promptly ATE THEM. Are you kidding me? I am soaking up info like a sponge… I’ve been slowly going organic, getting healthy, losing weight, blah, blah, blah…and I am enthralled.   

This morning I ate breakfast that seriously was straight from the backyard. …  Get this… their chickens laid the eggs we ate this morning and I am telling you they were delicious. Grayson, her gardening assistant and eight year old son went out to gather the eggs..        

Our friend Magnolia was kind enough to gift us with an egg along with her fellow friends Sweet Pea, Jasimine, Daisy, Snow White and more…
 
Awwww…thanks Magnolia!

 Lisa lightly sprayed a frying pan, filled it with water, brought it to just under a boil, cracked the eggs and cooked for about 10 minutes.      

The eggs cooked for about 10 minutes or so...mine were just slightly firm which is how I like them. Cook them a bit shorter if you like them runny.

 

 From her garden…meaning she walked out side, picked a few sprigs to top off our eggs…she added seasoning. Check it out…      

This is where we snipped some herbs this morning for our eggs

Three year old Loring headed straight for the scallion...

 

and made sure to sample them to ensure they were perfect...

 

of course they were delicious...she loves her scallions...

 

While she nibbled on the scallion, Lisa snipped some Thyme...

 

and a bit of Summer Savory....

 

Meanwhile, Grayson was busy harvesting some sunflower seeds for a blog Lisa is working on. Hmmm...I think those would grow in my yard 🙂

 

 Minutes later…     

Yummy…

I am telling you it was just delicious…She served them with chunky salsa and fresh tomatoes out of her yard. At my house, we are goetta and hashbrown eaters on Sunday’s at home, but this may be our new Sunday menu. It’s just as good and so much healthier!     

Oh, I have soooooo much to share with you this week and next…gotta run, I have my office set up here and have lots to do…just wanted to share my morning with you! We’re going on a ride down the river tonight…yay! xoxoxo     

       

Patience, Technology and Gardening

Flying into Tampa for a quick layover

 How Beautiful is that photo? It’s kind of crazy that I, not thirty minutes ago, took that shot flying over Tampa and now I’ve downloaded it onto my computer, resized it and am posting it here. I have so many things to blog about, not to mention a review of the two week purge of junk from my house and installation of new carpet, but I’m going to have to take a short break from that as I travel to Florida on for business and a bit of fun. Actually business is lots of  fun, so it should be a great time all around. How lucky am I?  

I have to pause and give a great big shoutout to Southwest Airlines. They are officially my fav. Today I drove to an airport a couple of hours from my home so that I could fly to Florida on Southwest who had by far the best prices of anyone around. On the way, a semi overturned, caught on fire and consequently put an immediate stop to my car that was travelling quite quickly in order to get to the airport on time. To say I was in a panic for a minute or two or three is an understatement. I was going to be lucky to make it before the semi burst into flames, not it would be a small miracle to make the plane. This was not on my travel agenda.   

After about thirty minutes, I had moved less than a mile. It was one hour before my plane was scheduled to leave and I was at least 20 minutes from where I needed to be to park my car, take a shuttle, check in my luggage, go through security and board. And pee. I really had to pee… but I digress. Anyway, my plane is boarding early here in Tampa, so here is the quick story…  

After calming down, I called the 800 number for SW. She said don’t worry, there’s another plane leaving an hour later that’s not full and scheduled to arrive in FL around the same time. So I took a breath and quit worrying. Talk about the stress falling off of me. And guess what? By some miracle I made the plane and even got to pee before I boarded…how great is that? xoxoxo to Southwest!   

Gotta go, but getting picked up at the airport by Miss PickMeYard…so excited. Stay tuned! Amy xoxoxo Excuse the typo’s…I’m on the run!

Cleaning a One Piece Shower Insert and Glass Doors

Shower inserts with glass doors look beautiful, but cleaning them is often challenging

 

I have to tell you I have a love hate relationship with my one piece shower inserts. I love that there is no grout to clean… I hate that they are so hard to clean. Unless you are religious about cleaning them and I, for one am not, they can get a build up of soap scum and who-knows-what that is nearly impossible to clean.  

Years ago, I found a miracle-like solution for glass shower doors from a furniture craftsman. I hired him to refinish the CEO’s desk and happened to pop in when he was delivering the finished product. He did a quick once-over with lemon oil, which he said was the best oil to use on furniture. He also off-handedly noted it’s great for cleaning shower doors. Really? Shower doors? Yep, in fact it does an amazing job on shower doors. The new Mr. Clean sponges do a good job too, but lemon oil… well, it’s the bomb.  

This stuff is fabulous for furniture and makes cleaning soap scum off of shower doors a breeze!

 

 I actually spent an hour or more the other night researching reviews of products and googling “how to clean a shower insert” and found nothing that I hadn’t tried. For years I had a shelf full of useless products that once had sadly given me so much hope. I  tried everything and was about to try extreme measures of a heavy-duty scouring pad and really strong goo remover, but when walking down the aisle at Lowe’s on Sunday, for some reason, a slim sexy can of  Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer caught my eye. And in a totally irrational moment, I was willing to try it as a last-ditch effort to get my shower floors clean.  

I think I'm in love...

 

I did lightly use these scouring pads, but not too hard because I didn't want to cause any scratches.

 

This is how hard it was… and let me tell you… I have spent hours and much muscle power in the past, so I was expecting the worst…  

  • I walked into my bathroom.
  • I sprayed scrubbing bubbles on 1/2 of my shower floor and a portion of a wall.
  • I walked away for 2 minutes.
  • I bent down on my knees and lightly rubbed in a circular motion with my green Scotch Brite Scouring Pad.

And guess what… before my eyes and without breaking a sweat… those evil dirty soap scum stains were vanishing right before my eyes. The cloudy hard water marks on the shower sides? Gone! I think I am in love. Seriously in love.  

I did use my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on a few spots of mildew on the track of the glass doors… I love those too.  

These magical sponges are great for removing mildew, water spots and so much more. Quite clever, they are!

 

I should tell you that  I am writing this of free will.  No one is paying me to promote their product. It’s just that when you find something that works, you want to share it with friends.. Let me know if it works for you or if you have any amazing cleaning solutions that you’d like to share! xoxox. Amy

Replacing Carpet and Dealing with Pet Urine on a Sub Floor

Duncan and Sami

 

 Several years back, I went to my first National Hardware show. I was gone not more than 4 or 5 days, but it was long enough for my youngest son Tyler to walk to the local Pet Smart, fall in love with a little black lab and talk his father into adopting him. Surprise! Of course we all promptly fell in love with Duncan.   

When Duncan came down with Lymphoma, we opted to keep him home with us and make him comfortable in his last days until he had a stroke and we knew it was time to put him to sleep – as hard as it was…it was the right thing to do.    

Sami went from the deck, to the garage, to the basement, to run of the house in less than 24 hours.

 

A few months before Duncan died, Sami showed up on our deck the night before a cold Halloween with a broken tail and homeless. Of course she promptly wormed her way into the house and our hearts. Apparently we are easy.   

The  reality of the situation, is when Duncan was dying he had frequent accidents in our study and hallway on the third floor. Although we worked to get the stains out, we never could completely get rid of the smell. Even worse, Sami decided it was an alternative location for her to go as well.   

This week we are replacing the carpet. Concerned that the urine had reached the sub-floor, I wanted to make sure that the smell didn’t come back. Our carpet installer recommended pulling up carpet in the stained areas a few days before they came and sealing them with Kilz. Apparently, one of their products seals in stains AND odors such as those from pets and fires; he recommended that we seal the floors 48 hours before they come to install the carpet, so we did.   

Make sure you get the one that says "Seals in Odors".

 

The guys pulled up the carpet this weekend and I went to Lowes. I have to tell you that I read the label of every single Kilz product because the one that seals ODORS is oil based. I HATE oil based paint. I hate it because it’s non-forgiving when it drips and if we are being honest here…I drip, and yes I dripped this time as well. I hate it because it ALWAYS gets on my clothes…and yes, it did this time too…and my shoes, slippers to be specific.  Thank goodness I took my crocs off. I just hate oil based paint. But, after spending a half an hour reading labels, I realized I was getting oil based Kilz for $19.99, and picked up some eco friendly mineral spirits to go with it.   

My other half, Mr. 1-800-junk from last week, thought we only needed a quart, but because 1) I thought we needed a gallon 2) I was doing the painting (and didn’t want to run to the store again), and 3)  I knew I was right…haha!, I bought a gallon. Turns out that was a good idea (cough,cough) because the sub floor absorbed the paint very quickly. Note to self: remind husband I was right 🙂   

Here’s the two areas I sealed…   

This is the Study...I painted it several years ago and stenciled my favorite quote. We have plans to relocate a ceiling fan to this room. I almost don't want to post this photo because of this light. Yuk. It was here when we moved in.

 

This hall is about 20 feet long and has doorways to the stairs going down, our master bedroom, a bath, and two bedrooms. Oh, also an elevator...how crazy is that? It's great for laundry and bags filled to go to Goodwill 🙂

 

Here's the study with the floor sealed. It wasn't rocket science. I just made sure to cover up the stains and did the areas around them for good measure!

 

It really was easy to do. The floor is now officially sealed, has 48 hours to dry completely and carpet is coming on Wednesday…yay!   

PS. House is a wreck, but in a good way…lots of areas are getting thinned out and cleaned up! I will have some before and after carpet photo’s to share later this week! I’m going to busy after work every night this week I think! xoxoxo Amy

Decorating And Design Questions Answered

Do you have a decorating question? I'd love to answer yours!

 

I love to answer Decorating and Design Questions…I don’t know why, I just do. There’s always a special twist or a question I haven’t had before and I enjoy finding a solution or offering advice. I have several Ask Amy questions to catch up on, but yesterday I tackled a handful!  

A few fun one’s lately included Teisha asking if I could come organize her house after I did mine, but I pretty much told her I may not be fully functional by the time I complete mine….haha! Calgon…come take me away 🙂  I also had a few things to say about men and pink to Aime over at mammaloves, hopefully I didn’t offend any of my male readers, but seriously, do you really think most men are even going to notice a touch of pink here and there? I don’t think my guys would! Now mess with the TV and THAT’s a different story!  

To see all my words of wisdom,  visit this link  Have a Decorating Question? Ask Away! to see most of the design questions I’ve answered over the last couple of years. I still have a few to  answer, but sit down when you have time and explore. Perhaps you’ll find the answer to a question you have. I’d love to hear if you agree or disagree with my thoughts – who knows, together we might find an even better solution!  Enjoy! xoxoxo Amy  

Dining Room Update…

The Dining Room Project included new paint, wall covering, draperies and re-upholstered chairs. Beanies checking it out!

I can’t believe I am STILL working on my Dining Room. Are you kidding me?  I just looked back at earlier posts and I started this project back in 2008 for my daughter’s graduation party. It is 90% done and I really need to take the time to find a chandelier…one that I both LOVE and Can afford. Somehow, I am always attracted to the expensive ones, haha! The perfect chandelier is the one that my friend Margie has, one I might add that is not in my budget, but it is my inspiration.  I am promising myself that once I complete this two-week purging of my house, I will focus on finishing this decorating project. 

I have added/changed a few quick things though in the past few months and thought I would share. The draperies are ready-made lined silk drapes from Z-Gallerie and I originally hung them by slipping the pocket sleeve over the rod. The Rod was hung at a height that was “a given: because of the crown moulding, but when the draperies were hung, they were driving me absolutely nuts. It my book, short draperies are like high water pants…they are that bad. See if you don’t agree… 

Here's a photo taken of the drapes right after they were hung. It's a bit hard to tell in this photo. Note that the chairs hadn't been re-upholstered yet

 

See in the background from this shot how short they are? Horrible.

 

I had a quick solution in mind though… 

I found these beautifully detailed clips at Bed, Bath and Beyond - on clearance! Gotta love that.

 

I attached slid the clips on the rod, attached the draperies and placed the rod back up - it took maybe 10 minutes in all and cost less than $15.00

 

Doesn't it look better? I love the puddled look and have carried it out into my living room as well. You'll see that in the next few days.

 

One other thing that I really needed to add was two more chairs. I had seating for when the extra leaf wasn’t in the table, but the reality is the leaf is always used. Consequently, I needed a couple of extra chairs. Our folding card table chairs definitely weren’t working for me. 

I was perusing Home Goods a few weeks ago and saw the perfect chair for my dining room. It was fully upholstered in a gold fabric that matched perfectly to my dining room colors. They had me at hello. I didn’t even need a paint chip to know they matched.  They were $199.00 each. Not a steal, but perfect. 

The new chair on the left is a perfect complement to the chairs I already had

 

The fabric was the perfect shade of gold and the details added a nice touch

 

TIP: I find that when adding chairs to an existing set, unless you find an exact match, rather than adding a “close” match, it’s better to add chairs that complement. For example, my grandmother’s chairs are delicate with a multi-toned patterned seat, an open back and cherry finish. The chairs I bought are not delicate –  but they are not heavy either. The finish blends well with cherry, the upholstered back is a nice contrast to the open back and the solid textured gold fabric is a great compliment to the chairs I re-upholstered. I bought two and placed one at the each end of the table. I know I owe you a full shot, but I just can’t do that until it’s all done. I will hurry 🙂 

It’s getting there, don’t you think? Give me a month or two and I should have it finished…we can only hope anyway! xoxox Amy

The One thing you Need to do Some Serious Organizing

  

All you need for a productive weekend around your house

 

As you know, I’ve been slowly organizing my house from top to bottom, but received a  “little” kick start to get more done with an unexpected guest arriving in two weeks. My original goal has been to clean out and organize my home one room at a time, but I have found that in order to do one room, I need to have a master plan. I need to know where things are ultimately going to be stored so that I am not creating more choas. It’s definitely a work in progress and the master plan adjusts weekly; but because I am tackling so many rooms at one time I decided to start over the weekend with a big purge and realized the only tool you need to do this is gargage bags. Lots and lots and LOTS of garbage bags. 

Well, garbage bags and the will to separate with lots and lots of crap. As far as the garbage bags go, I was in luck. I had just bought a 70 count box of Glad Bags at Sam’s Club for $12.98. 

TIP ONE: Do NOT get cheap bags. A cheap bag will tear at the seams, hold half the items and basically cause you more aggravation. These were perfect.  

It's worth spending a few pennies more for a bag that won't tear. At less than 19 cents a bag, it's totally worth it.

 

 

 I have to tell you…at this point in the game, having the will to get rid of things was not a problem. Doesn’t fit me? Gone. Haven’t used in two years? Gone. Out-of-date and husband hasn’t worn in 10 years….Goooooooooooooonnn????? Okay, well it wasn’t a problem for ME. Others…well this brings me to… 

TIP TWO: It seriously helps to have all other people who live in your home GONE for the day to be productive. Fortunately my pack-rat of a man was the designated 1-800 junk guy, so I could sneak a few things into a few several black bags while he was making a trip to Goodwill. Seriously…if he hasn’t missed it in ten years, he’s not going to miss it now – right? We can only hope! 

After two days of tackling the garage, the lower level, a store-room, three bedrooms and a walk-in closet, we he made 8 trips to Goodwill with a full pick-up load of black bags and misc. stuff each time. Additionally, we filled up 5 xl garbage cans to put out for the garbage this week. Are each of the rooms done? Nope, but they are much less cluttered, have space for items to store there in the future according to my Master Plan and are sooo much closer to being in organized bliss. I have to tell you, it was better than a double hot fudge sundae with whipped creme and a cherry on top…it felt that good.  Stay tuned…there’s lots more to come in the next 10 days! Amy xoxox

The Two Week Re-Do

What do you think I can get done around my house in two weeks, working only nights and weekends? I only have 3 weekend days and 9 week nights as I am going to Columbus next Saturday for a meeting/fish fry and will be driving to Columbus to up a house guest at the airport on the 24th. Yikes!

As you may know, I have declared that I will have my house organized top to bottom by the end of the year. I also have some serious decorating to do along the way as I have put my house on hold for way to long to start a business.  As I set these goals in January, I thought I had a year to get a lot of this done, but a very good friend of mine who I went to Butterfly World with a month or so ago, has decided to meet me in Columbus for the Spring game on the 24th and come visit that night.  To say I am in panic mode is an understatement, although I have to say I am very excited about her visit! It’s not that she won’t love me if it’s not done, it’s just that she’s never been to my house and I want it at least semi-done. This is going to make me get some serious stuff done or at the very least started. I figured I would just go ahead and share it with you along the way…the good, the bad and the ugly.

Some things need to get done so that I have room for other things, so if they seem like silly things, there is a reason behind it. Here’s some of my to do list:

  • Find a place to store my daughters stuff. She moved back in for a bit and has lot to put away. I need to find a place for it.
  • Work a bit on the garage and pantry so I have room for things above.
  • Figure out a color scheme and inspiration for the two bedrooms. Will not have time to paint, but need to have a plan. 
  • Select carpet for two bedrooms, stairs, a hallway and study and schedule a measure.
  • Tear up the old and seal the plywood floor. A beloved dog of ours died and had a bit of a potty problem in his last days. Quite sad and very yucky.
  • Get the carpet installed by the 22nd.
  • Schedule a painter for April – need to get carpet laid first. More on that later.
  • Clean out the two bedrooms and study.
  • Make sure the Bathroom is ready for a guest.
  • Clean…that will happen along the way.
  • Find a table to go with my new chairs for my new cocktail area.

I can tell you that without the paint, it won’t be finished in two weeks, but the new carpet will make a huge difference. Stay tuned, I’ll be posting updates, photo’s and thoughts for the next two weeks. It’s getting a little crazy around here, haha! xoxox Amy

Stop! Don’t put it away…Display It!

This fur is far too pretty to tuck away till next time...doesn't it add to the beauty of the room?

 

Come on… admit it, like me you probably have a beautiful mink or fox coat tucked away somewhere from Aunt Jinny or Grandma Edith and chances are, you probably won’t wear it because either it’s just not “you” or you’re saving it for the special occasion that comes every couple of years.  Either way, it has a story, is beautiful and deserves to be displayed like the one from the home of Jennifer Lopez.      

Rather than tuck a beautiful or memorable item away on a shelf  into nowhere land where, most likely, it will be forever forgottenwhy not put in on  display? Beautiful things make us happy and much like a treasured collection, personal belongings we loved enough to collect or receive should be displayed . Often the display doubles as a convenient way to keep something at your fingertips. Here’s a few ways to show off items that you love to see…      

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Turn a vase or paper towel holder into a display for your favorite hat!

 

Not only is this hat fun to display, but it makes for great conversation with guests - it's from Charlie Daniels!

 

Display a favorite book on a chaise or pouf

 

By the way, isn't this round pouf amazing?

 

Display a beloved set of baby booties and a favorite outfit. It's perfect as a conversation piece and warm reminder of loved ones! Better yet, add a photo of the baby in the outfit displayed!

 

I have fallen in love with old aprons, although I'm a bit dismayed by their very small waists... isn't this a great way to display them? How fun!

 

 So before you put that something special away… consider the possibility of a way to visibly store it… as my friend Margie says, she can hear it saying: “hey, hey …you…look at me…you don’t seem to want me anymore…look at me when I talk to you…one time, long ago… you loved me… no , no don’t go away… nooooo, it’s daaaark in here…”  xoxoxo Amy      

 

Quote of the Week: It’s all about the Details

You may love this Living Room (courtesy of BHG), but do you know why? Take a better look. Is it the trim on the sheers, the oversized matting in the artwork or maybe the crown molding painted the color of the walls?

 

    

Expand your vision. Often we have blinders on. We’re concerned with just getting uptown or downtown. If I expand my vision by even 10 degrees, I notice new details, new color harmonies.  ~ Cindy Coleman, Interior Design    

Any designer will tell you it’s all about the details. Yes, a good foundation is important, but it’s the details that makes a good design memorable. The problem is that in our busy world… most people don’t take the time to enjoy the details.    

I have to admit that until I took an aesthetics class at FIT as part of the Interior Design program, I really didn’t see the details either. Trained to look at everything  around us, we discussed why we liked or disliked something. Was it out of proportion? Did the colors not work well together? Was it in perfect balance with the room? This class opened up a whole new world for me. It’s about seeing beyond your normal line of vision and truly seeing the details surrounding you.   

Today, I look at everything. When in a space I love I look around to discover why…is it the painted ceilings? The color scheme? The art? By examining my surroundings, I not only learn about things that work well together, but I see inspiration for future projects.   

Likewise, when in a space I don’t like, I search for details that make me uncomfortable… is the scale of the furniture inappropriate for the room? Do the colors leave me cold? Is there too much “stuff”  in the space? This helps me identify things to avoid in future projects.    

Not only is this fun, but I love that I am seeing so much more of my surroundings. Try it. Look around you… have you really looked at the baseboard, the ceiling, the window treatments (or lack of!), the flow of the room, etc… You might just be amazed to see what you are missing!   

The thing to remember is there really is not a right or wrong… as you can see when visiting  Joy and Janet over at Moggit (love those gals!)… there are always lots of varying opinions about whether something is beautiful or useful! It’s truly is about taking the time to really “see”.  Amy xoxoxo

Stop and Smell the…Daffodils

I hope wherever you are today, it’s as glorious as it is here in the Midwest! We are hitting 84 degrees and it is gorgeous! I looked out the window at home this morning and realized there were little green buds on the trees and yellow daffodil’s in full bloom. Have you taken a moment to look at your surroundings? This is my 2nd favorite time of year. Fall and football season of course rank first, but this time of year is a very close 2nd.

Sometimes we get so busy, we miss out on the little things that really make us happy. The Daffodils on my desk today make me smile. What’s making you smile today? xoxoxo Amy