Change Everything

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Thoughts on a Seemingly Random Topic

No I'm not turning into an alarmist or 'doomsday prepper', I just happened on the videos I mention below and found the topic quite interesting. 

We're hearing a lot about minimalism these days especially from the millennial crowd. TV shows like Tiny House and all over YouTube with wardrobe reductions like Project 333 (33 items of clothing for 3 months) and other 'capsule' wardrobe guidelines.  Just like with so many other 'trends' this isn't really new. Firstly, there have been many minimalist movements over the years and secondly, in many countries it's the status quo.

What many are forgetting are the times in history when 'minimalist' was forced; the Great Depression or WWII for example. You may have heard of  'Depression Era mentality' there are the people who tend to save everything because they grew up during the Depression (these folks may or may not be hoarders).

During WWII there was rationing but in the US and in the UK. I recently found some great videos that are reenactments of what life was like during WWII in the England. Rationing wasn't just food, it also included fuel, clothing, shoes, pretty much everything was rationed. Talk about minimalism.

I really enjoyed this series of videos, made several years ago, quite a bit. These are just a couple of people who lived through WWII and the rationing. They talk about how things were in England during the 6 long years of the war and how they managed. I really wish I could find this on DVD (even video tape) since I can't seem to find the entire series in an easily watchable format on YouTube. There are several that show up in a weird faux move theater format that isn't very easy to watch. 

The Wartime Kitchen

Related image

This series (link below) is a more recent documentary with the historian and archaeologists recreating, in detail, specifics from the six years of World War II.

Wartime Farm

Where Wartime Kitchen focuses on the experiences of the two main cast members, Wartime Farm goes into more depth and shows a broader variety of what was happening in the country during the war. I've really enjoyed them both but there's something about the Wartime Kitchen and Garden that I am drawn to, maybe because the people featured in those videos actually lived through the those very austere times. 

I happened on this cookbook Grandma's Wartime Kitchen it contains recipes from the US's rationing efforts. After learning about the amazingly strict rationing in the UK, it's interesting to read about how things were somewhat the same and somewhat different in the US.

We're very fortunate that we haven't had to deal with shortages (other than a few things during the 1970's but only for a short time) in a very, very long time. Someone once said, "those who don't learn history are destined to repeat it" so it may be wise to learn a few things about making do from those who actually lived through those difficult years. 

Image result for wwii rationing images

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Little Tea for Two

Happy almost August! 

Around here that means county fair time and fair competitions. For reasons I still can't quite figure out our county fair is not allowing adults to enter the culinary or textile competitions, with some minor exceptions. I was and still am disappointed that I'm not able to entering any yummy baked goods.

However, I was still able to enter the tablescape event.

Each year there are two themes to choose from. This year the two themes were "Peace in the Garden" and "Tea for Two", guess which one I chose. **wink**

I had decided what I was going to do at least a month ago but for some unknown reason I didn't do anything about it until a couple of days before I was supposed to drop it off at the fairgrounds. 

I was really fortunate to have found this tiny tea set at Goodwill last weekend. Many thanks to my friend who went shopping with me, she was excellent moral support when I was looking (frantically searching) for a child's tea set.

I was reminded to always read the description very carefully when buying anything online. I was thrilled when I found a 'Mother Goose Tea Set' on Etsy so I ordered it. The next day I went back and looked at the description only to realize it was dollhouse size, not child size. Since I spent the money I had to use them, that's why they're sitting in the 'birdcage'.

This sweet little tea pot, found at GW, was the inspiration for the whole tablescape. Isn't she sweet? 

I was afraid these might look a little too bridal shower'y but they worked well with the larger green 'birdcage'. I got one of those handy dollar store candle holders to raise it up a bit. 

One of the requirements for the competition is that we have to include a menu, upper left of the picture. 
The menu includes:
Chilled strawberry-rhubarb soup
Cream cheese and jam tea sandwiches on raisin bread
Gingerbread scones
Fruit kabobs
S'mores bars
Chamomile and pink rose petal tea

A word about the 'table cloth' I used. I just bought the fabric because I loved it and was looking at other fabric for this tablescape. When I was rushing (because somehow I lost a week) around pulling it all together I grabbed it along with a couple of other pieces I had, just to see if I could skip another shopping trip and spending more money on this one time only event. I thought the tea cup design would be too busy but I when I put it all together I was thrilled with the way it looked!

(The fabric's next incarnation will be as a new tea cozy for me!)

I was prepared to share pictures of the competition but I neglected to change the settings on the camera so most of each of the photos are blurry. Oh well, I guess that it's for the best. 

Such a pretty little pattern on this adorable tiny tea set. I was so fortunate to find all these matching pieces at GW. 

I'll be joining the link-up parties with these amazing bloggers! Share your Cup Thursday over at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson and Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch and Dishing It & Digging It at Rustic & Refined.

P.S. First place, a Blue ribbon!!! Yay!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Happy (belated) Independence Day!

It wasn't easy but I managed to pull together a 4th table on Tuesday morning.

It was a quiet yet busy day off for me. I took some extra time off from work to get caught up on chores around the house. Hug curtain rods, did some sewing, emptied another box and did some baking. 

Yummmm, it's berry season!

I added a few new things to the Americana table this year. 

The star trays have been sitting around waiting to be made into a three tiered tray and they will eventually get there. For now, I think they look great just stacked on the table. 

The standard plate stack photos...

The only challenge with fireworks on July 4th is that it doesn't get dark until nearly 10:00 pm, and at that point I'm be way too tired to be dealing with traffic and crowded parking lots. 

I'm a big fan of Christmas in July (okay, I understand that the though of Christmas in the middle of summer upsets some people but during the hottest part of the summer I enjoy the 'mental' cooling affect and all those great Hallmark Movies!) so how about we have Independence Day fireworks on December 4th? Huh? What do you think? Brilliant idea, right? 

I found these napkins at a craft bazaar last year. They were tucked away with the rest of the napkins until Tuesday morning and I'm really happy with the way they look on the table. The colors pop a lot more than I expected. 

Ariel view from our sky-cam (or maybe just me with my arms stretched up in the air)

Random close-ups...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you had a great '4th' and hopefully a little extra time off. 

I'm joining the party over at Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House and Share Your Cup at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer Color

Summer finally arrived here in the Northwest after a pretty cold start to June. I had washed and stored all my sweaters and ended up having to pull one of them out of the cedar chest. 
We went from unseasonably cold to some of the hottest weather on record in a matter of what seemed like a week. 

The weather has settled down and we've had some really beautifully day. To celebrate I created a brightly colored table...

I found the fabric for the 'tablecloth' on the clearance rack at JoAnns. I love it and wish it hadn't been the end of the bolt since I could have used a couple more yards. It's going to take some creative sewing for it to fit my table correctly. 

Yep, that's a lot of pink in one picture! The top plate is Lilly Pulitzer, the next plate (flamingos) is Cynthia Rowley, the flower charger is from Hobby Lobby.

Here are some additional views...

Every time I look at this table it makes me smile. 

It's not just one thing, it's all the pieces together and also that's it's an expression of my creativity. Yes, I did this. I pulled all these pieces together and created this table setting. As a bonus, when I couldn't find the paper lantern I had planned to use for the centerpiece and I improvised. Is it the greatest silk flower arrangement ever? Nope, not even close but it looks pretty good. 

This is Shirley, she's always the life of the party!

There's a story to these glasses that I will share with you once I get to the happy ending. I saw them and knew I had to have them, so I bought two right away and ordered four more. Still waiting on the final four. 

The final shot

I'd like to say that every time I take a overview shot, it turns out perfectly the first time. I'd like to say that but it's not true. I usually have to take at least three, maybe five shots and then edit them. It's all good. 

Now that these photos are posted I'll have to jump into my July 4th table first thing tomorrow! YIKES

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. 

I'll be join up the link up over at Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House and Dishing It and Digging It at Rustic & Refined and Between Naps on the Porch and Share Your Cup on Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

New Year, New Digs, Re-Newed Ideas!

Hi All,
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a bright, shiny Happy New Year. 

I moved the week of Thanksgiving and haven't had time (or the inclination) to set a single table. At this point I'm still waiting for a friend to reassemble the china cabinet so I can finish unpacking the dishes and crystal. 

The new place is larger but I'm still struggling with getting everything put away and organized. I thought I had downsized quite a bit after the last move but apparently in addition to accumulating dishes it appears I haven't been trying hard to enough to continue to declutter and simplify. 

I've read that moving can be one of the most stressful things one can do. I didn't give it much thought until I found myself sitting very still on the couch unable to do much of anything and surrounded by moving boxes. Moving stress coupled with the shorter winter days and some especially cold weather has delayed the settling-in process by several weeks. 

I'm not here to talk about my lack of ambition and wallow in self-pity I'm here to talk about a couple of new blogs that inspired me to try to make my house a warm, inviting & organized home. 

The first piece of inspiration is this bit of advice is from The Vocational Homemaker, "choose one task that you will commit to doing to your best and highest ability every single time you do it. EVERY SINGLE TIME. By 'best ability', I mean do it so well that it looks like a professional did it."

I chose to make my bed with this approach (this means completely making the bed over not just straightening the blankets and putting the decorative pillows in place). I watched some videos to look for ways to improve on my bed making technique. While it's not quite as good as 'clean sheet night' it's pretty close. Once this becomes more of a habit, I'll add something else to my daily chores that I can do to the very best of my ability. 

The second great idea I found was this approach to menu planning from the Plain and Not So Plain blog. She plans a monthly dinner menu, not so unusual, but she also includes ideas for quick meals if something happens to derail her dinner plans. I'm going to give this idea a try along with a list like this Dinner Ideas to come up with some menus that I can put into rotation. 

Another great suggestion she had was to save your shopping lists for a couple of months and then use them to create a master shopping list. I've seen pre-printed 'master' shopping lists but they've never worked for me, not sure why it never dawned on me to make my own. I think I'll also start saving receipts, I tend to buy more than what's on the list all too frequently.

Much like china and table settings, I can talk about home-keeping all day. If I were only as ambitious around the house as I am in my head. Spring will get here eventually and I usually get a bit more spring in my step with the arrival of longer days and warmer temperatures. 

A belated Happy New Year!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

These Things Are Great!!

Have you ever bought a product so great, you just want to tell everyone how happy you are with it? Well, that's exactly what's happening here today.

I got these Capstone Puck Lights at Costco last week

snip from Costco mailer

I thought they'd be useful as under-cabinet/task lights for the kitchen.  

But when I opened the carton and read the instructions and saw the remote....!!! Oh my what a great find!

Yes, they come with a remote. The remote not only turns them off & on, it also adjusts the brightness and has various timer settings. 

snip from Amazon

They also included all the batteries for all 6 lights - I can't remember last time I bought some where the batteries were already included? (Other than my toothbrush) I plan to switch over to rechargeable batteries once the originals are done. 

Though I bought them for task lighting I realized that I could use them in the pantry since it doesn't have a light. I can either use the remote or just reach in and push the light on. I'm thinking of other places where I can use them around the house; closets, that really deep kitchen cupboard or strategically placed to serve as emergency lights in case of power outages. The remote makes them super convenient when they're in hard to reach places. 

They come with adhesive discs and the instructions state that the adhesive is permanent and may damage surfaces. I'll be using Command strips instead to insure I don't take ruin any finishes or damage the wall. 

I wish I'd taken some pictures before I pulled everything apart and threw away the packaging, unfortunately we'll just have to make do with snips from the web. 

I'm not being compensated for this post, I just wanted to share what I think is a great product. 

Happy Discoveries!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hot August Days!!

Happy August Everyone!

I hope this post finds you happy and healthy, and just about ready to rest up from the summer busyness... before all the action starts for autumn. 

Between getting ready for the county fair and catching up on some mending & sewing projects, the dining room table has been otherwise occupied. 

About a week ago, I finally got around to putting a table together...

These mugs & plates are on the short list to find a new home, especially the mugs. I found the exact pattern on eBay & Replacements but not this shape.  The plates were a Big Lots find a few years ago so the chances of finding more of them is pretty much nil. 

You'll forgive me for not noticing that the top plate was a little off center while I was taking these photos. Bamboo might not be the right theme but the color worked well.

The lovely (and easy) centerpiece for the sunflower table. 

More shots of the centerpiece

I like that they put this little bit of a flower inside the rim of the mugs.

The glasses were a lucky find at Dollar Tree, a couple of days ago. I was so pleased that they matched perfectly. Even though I'm planning to find a new home for most of this setting, I figured it was worth it to 'splurge' on some matching glasses to complete the table. 

The 30,000 foot shot (okay maybe just about 7') I must have had the flash on for this one which accounts for the difference in color of the setting at the bottom of the photo. 

This is an example of too much flash, makes it seem like the entire rest of the scene is really dark.  I use the 'fill flash' setting (below) occasionally in my photos but found that a normal flash setting is all wrong.

this was taken with the fill flash setting

I decided to show this same photo taken with various settings on my camera (the green post-it pad just marked that these were test shots):

The 'Live' setting

'Auto' setting

The 'Portrait' setting in  Scene mode

I think this is the Fisheye effect in the Effects mode

The toy camera setting (dark outline) not really one of my favorites but I'd like to test it on some black & white photos. 

One of the black & white settings

the 'vivid' effect - it's okay occasionally but not for every photo

this is the poster effect, it's interesting how it deepened the colors. I don't have my owners manual handy but I'm guessing this adds pixels so that any enlargements are very crisp

finally the miniature effect, this blurs the top & bottom of the photo so that what's in the center is brought forward

That ends the overview of camera settings. 

I recently discovered a new blog Dianne's Creative Table and she's inspired me to add some height to my tablescapes. I did some shopping this weekend and found some great stuff on clearance!

The back row is all from Home Goods clearance racks (except the candle). The one with the silver top & bottom is from Marshall's. 

This tortise 'set' is from Pier 1 clearance. I'm hoping to find another candle stick at a different store but if I don't I found other pieces so that I can improvise. 

These pretty red glasses were also on clearance at Pier 1, I love the etched pattern and the gorgeous color. I think they'll be wonderful with my tartan plates. 

Thanks for stopping by to see the latest tablescape.  I'll be joining Make it Pretty Monday over at The Dedicated House, Share your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson and Dishing it & Digging it at Rustic & Refined.

P.S. I've decided to reduce my collection of dishes and so any pattern I know I can't get more of, like these sunflower plates and mugs, needs to go. The sunflower plates, yellow plates, sunflower mugs and striped glassware is all for sale.