Sunday, July 31, 2011

Safekeeping for Silver

I have recently acquired two sets of silver plate flatware from Goodwill. Although the flatware isn't sterling silver, it tarnishes easily, and I was looking for a way to keep it clean, shiny, and relatively tarnish-free.

Of course, Martha came to my rescue with a great idea of how to store my "new" silver plate flatware.

In Martha's tutorial, she creates a pouch for each place setting. For me, since I have two sets of flatware, each with service for 6, I decided it would be more practical to store the same pieces in each pouch; one for teaspoons, one for forks, etc. I purchased 1 1/2 yards of Silvertex fabric and some pale blue ribbon from Joann.

The fabric is specially treated to help prevent silver from tarnishing. Each pouch was relatively simple to put together. I don't have exact measurements, because I pretty much eyeballed the size by laying the flatware on the fabric and cutting around it - very scientific!

After sewing each pouch, I introduced each silver piece to its new home, rolled them and tied them up so they wouldn't come undone.

The pouches are easy to store in a drawer until needed and will hopefully eliminate the need for polish.

Right now I think they look pretty in my tarnished silver bowl.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Window Box Herb Garden

Summer cooking begs for fresh herbs.  Unfortunately, they are very expensive to buy in the grocery store and don't last very long.  I don't consider myself to have a green thumb by any stretch of the imagination.  However, a watering schedule on my fridge for my hydrangeas has proved to be a great tool for me, and I decided that I would try my hand at cultivating some herbs.
Instead of a bunch of pots cluttering up my patio, I chose to use window boxes.

I purchased some simple black, plastic window boxes from Lowes, along with some blue spray paint for plastic.  After drilling some holes in the bottom for drainage, I painted the window boxes a lovely navy blue to coordinate with the planter on my porch.

I used bookshelf brackets to attach the window boxes to the side of my porch railing.  They are wedged in nicely between the top of the porch rail and the bracket.  I used nuts and screws to attach the boxes to the brackets for added security.


Woohoo, now comes the fun part:  time to plant the herbs!  I decided to go with basil, rosemary, thyme and Italian parsley.  They are so fragrant; just from holding them in the box, my hands smelled like lovely summer herbs.

After filling each planter with a good amount of potting soil, I placed the herb pots where I wanted to plant them, to make sure I liked their placement.

                                            Italian parsley            Rosemary                                     Basil              Thyme

I then planted each herb and added some extra soil to make sure they were in nice and snug.  And voila...I now have an herb garden!

I am going to take some time to nurture my herb plants so they can grow for awhile before I start using them for cooking.  Of course, I already have recipes in mind!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Skirting the Issue

I have a small, free-standing island in my kitchen.  It's a handy place to store bulkier items.  After awhile, it also became a collection site for items on their way to the recycling bin in the garage.  I got really tired of both making endless trips to the garage for a few items here and there, and for seeing the top of the island cluttered with empty milk cartons and unwanted junk mail.  So I decided that my island needed to be dressed up a bit and made a skirt.

I made the skirt out of burlap.  I hemmed one edge and gathered the top.  Then I stitched on black grosgrain ribbon to hide the gathers.

I left an opening on one side.  This is the best part:  I have a recycling bin hidden underneath, and can easily access it through here!

I now only have to take the recycling out once or twice a week, and I don't have to look at it!  I can also continue to store bulky items on the other side, leaving the top clutter-free.

To attach the skirt, I sewed velcro on at evenly spaced intervals, and stuck corresponding pieces on the island, just under the top.  If I ever want to remove the skirt, the velcro can be removed and the island will be free of any offending nail or staple holes.

Here are pictures of the unadorned island after I first moved into my house.

And the fabulous after picture!

I've had the skirt on the island for over a year, and it's made a world of difference.  Now maybe I'll get around to acting on thoughts of painting my kitchen cabinets white!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Robyn Story Designs Giveaway

Check out this awesome MOUNTAIN of GIVE-AWAY of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at Robyn Story Designs!  She has some beautiful shots of her vacation in Colorado, too.

I would love to win and try out the famous Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

I've done a little work in my yard this weekend.  At long last, I have planted some hydrangeas.

The one on the left is Incrediball Hydrangea and on the right is Endless Summer.  These are on the north side of my house, so they receive morning sun and shade for most of the day.  According to my nursery, this is exactly what hydrangeas like.  So I'm hoping they will bloom and flourish in their new home.

I also did a little work on the planter on my porch.  This picture is from last summer.

It's okay, but I decided that a little more color would make a nice, welcoming statement.  So a can of spray paint later, and...

I am loving my "new" planter!

Wishing you a safe and Happy Independence Day!