Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pure & Simple White Dishes

Last time I showed you this pretty picture.....

{Photo source: Macy's}

....I was trying to decide what our everyday dishes pattern should be. You see, the pattern we now have is discontinuing (bummer, I know). It's called "Rutherford Circle- Yellow" by Kate Spade.

I really love the color makes me smile. :) We had hoped to finish our set after we got married (we received several sets as gifts, but not enough for our someday-family or even to have company over)....but it just HAD to be discontinued. I tried talking Kate out of it, but she wouldn't listen. Come on, Kate! Oh was all I could do to get down on my hands and knees. ;) I tried hunting on eBay and websites like, but the pieces were scarce and the prices.....hefty.

That's when I found the adorable dishes in the above picture. The pattern is called "Chirp" by Lenox. I went back and forth trying to decide if this pattern would go the distance or if I'm just in a bird phase.....and I decided, what I liked the most was the salad plates (the white ones with the birds) and after seeing the set in person (Matthew and I paid a visit to Macy's) I decided the blue on the dinner plates was probably a little dark for me.......and yeah, I'm probably in a bird phase. Right???

So I tossed....and I turned. realty I didn't lose a wink of sleep over it....but I did think about it a lot and I decided that what I am continually drawn to is pure and simple white. In fact, my sweet Grandma was the first to call my attention to this. After my last post about the birdie dishes she sent me an email suggesting I start collecting white and using the "Chirp" dishes....or any other accent dishes for that matter... as a way to dress them up. I immediately loved her idea (Thanks, Grandma!) and started having visions of white dancing in my head.

When I saw this post from Trina at "A Country Farmhouse"....

...I was in love! I like the open shelves displaying her beautiful clean, WHITE dishes. YUM.

Here are some other photos that inspired me....

{Photo source: here}

{Photo source: here}

{Photo source: here}

{Photo source: Martha Stewart}

And the best part about white dishes is that they literally go with ANYthing. You can dress them up with pretty linens or accent plates...or for a family they'll be just fine with paper napkins! Ha! I'm such a holiday person, too, and love the changing of the seasons... so this is perfect for me. And ewww...bonus....Matthew likes 'em too!

*Next time I'll post about the awesome deal I got on an entire set! (Pssst....I'm excited!)

Happy Weekend!



Friday, January 29, 2010

Best Blueberry Muffins EVER!

Last summer Matthew and I visited Dallas' Farmer's Market. It was a hot summer day and the pickin's were goood! Farmers from all around the area were there to sport their delicious goods...and every stand we came to offered scrumptious, mouth-watering samples of their offerings. Of course we didn't walk away empty handed!

We brought home an entire flat of strawberries.....which I made into jam. We brought home a box of peaches (my favorite!) which were undoubtedly devoured in a couple of days...and we brought home the most delicious plump, ripe blueberries. My plan all along was to freeze them to use for smoothies and muffins during the months they are not in last night when I had a hankerin' for some blueberry muffins, I knew my freezer would come through for me. And...(licking fingers here) ...YUM. It did.

{Photo courtesy: here}

In order to do the berries justice, I pulled out my favorite EVER recipe. I'm a muffin girl (you've heard of the muffin man, right? Yeah, there's a song about me should check it out *wink*). Okay, but seriously...I love love LOVE muffins. I could eat them all day long. But then I'd probably gain 10 lbs in a for me, they are a real treat.

This recipe comes from one of my favorite muffin cookbooks. It's called "Muffins" by Gemma Reece. (Click on the link to go to Amazon). Original title, I know. But hey, it gets to the point! I haven't ever tried a recipe in this book I'm not in love with, and what I love most about this recipe is that it's in the "Healthy Choices" section of the book. I usually skip past this section thinking they surely won't be as good as the other ones...but not this one. There is no holding back of flavor. It uses lowfat yogurt (I used vanilla) to add moistness... and just the right amount of allspice to give it that tangy, spicy yumminess. And truly, it works for any meal of the day. (Matthew and I had breakfast for dinner last night!) No regrets. ;)

Lowfat Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12

Vegetable oil cooking spray, for oiling (if using)

Scant 1 5/8 cups all-purpose flour (you can use WW flour to make them even more healthy)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. allspice

Generous 1/2 cup superfine sugar

3 large egg whites

3 Tbsp. lowfat margarine ( I use butter because I don't like the unnatural stuff in M.)

2/3 cup thick, lowfat, plain or blueberry flavored yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup fresh blueberries (or take the ones out of the freezer and rinse with water)

*Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray, or line it with 12 muffin paper liners. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and half of the allspice into a large mixing bowl. Add 6 Tbsp. of the superfine sugar and mix together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites together. Add the margarine, yogurt, and vanilla extract and mix together well, then stir in the fresh blueberries until thoroughly mixed. Add the fruit mixture to the flour mixture and then gently stir together until just combined. Do not overstir batter---it is fine for it to be a little lumpy.

Divide the muffin batter evenly between the 12 cups in the muffin pan or the paper liners (they should be about 2/3 full). Mix the remaining sugar with the remaining allspice, then sprinkle the mixture over the muffins. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until risen and golden. Remove the muffins from the oven and serve warm, or place them on a cooking rack and let cool. Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Romance Your Wardrobe

Because February is the month of Love...

Why not get a head start with your wardrobe and romance it up a bit!

I know what you're all thinking....

...sorry....not so. :-)

But seriously...I don't know about you...but lately I've been feeling like I'm in a wardrobe rut....

....solid colored sweaters....plain shirt with plain cardigan....Tshirt and old jeans...blah blah blah. And don't even start me on my hair. Ah! My "look" has been a bit sloppy...and I don't like it! So whether or not these ideas inspire you to Romance Your Wardrobe up a bit....a goal I am setting for myself over the next month is to add more touches of femininity....sophistication.....and dare I say... pink? I'm not much of a pink this should be fun. :-) We all have that side of us that wants to feel pretty and girly (and for some of us, it's hidden down DEEP)...but if you're raring for a change...then this is for you.

So how do you add touches of romance to your look? Here's a couple of ideas I came up with...

Nothing says romantic like a ruffly top.....

{Photo courtesy: here}

...Or a touch of embroidered lace.

{Photo courtesy: here}

A pair of strappy heels....

...a hint of baby doll color....

{Photo courtesy: here}

....the "untamed" look of flowing tresses....

{Photo courtesy: here}

...and don't forget the frosting on the cake! (aka jewelry). :)

{Photo courtesy: Anthropologie}

Okay, that's it for now! Now have at it!...Oh, and's not about overloading your look with romance...but adding subtle touches here and there. It's about having fun with it. Make it your own...but don't be afraid to change it up a bit. Excuse me while I head off to my closet... ;)



Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Well, Matthew & I have finally moved into our new the real fun begins!


And more unpacking & organizing! Any ideas on where to begin? :)



P.S. More Valentine's Day ideas to come soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Heavy, very FULL Heart

Today I remembered why people use the phrase "heavy heart".

When you love someone so much that you would do anything for them....your heart literally feels like a million pounds....and if you were to cough at that moment, it could quite possibly burst out of your chest. It's that heaviness of heart that reminds me why life is so sweet and fragile...and what's really important.

It's also very scary. I've always known I'm a deeply emotional person. The love that I feel for those who are important to me is intense... and although I don't always know how to express it in the best way....I know that if I ever were to lose them, I'd lose a little part of me, too.

Over the next month I promised to do a mini-series on love....and it just wouldn't be right if I didn't first speak of the man that has truly won my heart over.

My husband, Matthew, isn't just someone I share the bills & my bed with....he's my absolute best friend. He's someone I trust 100 % and has my best interests at heart. He works incredibly hard to provide for us, makes me laugh like you wouldn't believe.....we're talking giggly little girl laugh.....and I know I in turn can totally be who I am with him and he'll accept me no matter what. He knows what cheers me up... Just today he brought me home some beautiful red tulips because he knew I had a hard day....and he knows when to sit still and just listen to me. I am who I am with him...and he knows me deeply. I love that.

I'm so glad you're my Valentine, Matthew.......and my heart is very FULL & heavy with love for you.

P.S. What person(s) in your life makes your heart especially puff & swell up with love?



Friday, January 15, 2010

Hearts on the Mind

"But now faith, hope, love, abide these three;
but the greatest of these is love."- 1 Corinthians 13:13

{Photo courtesy: here}

eeing how St. Valentine's Day is only a short month away...I thought it would be fun to do a little mini-series. We're talkin' LOVE, sweet & delectable Valentine treats, give-you-the-warm-fuzzies heart-shaped crafts, and anything else that tickles my inner pink & red.

Today's focus: unique ways to show love through flowers. And being the flower-loving girl that I am, these photos totally make my insides blush. ;)

Give your Sweet some sweets by placing a handful of fresh
tulips in a small vase within a larger glass vase, then pour
in red-hots and BAM...candy & flowers all in one!

{Photo courtesy: Martha Stewart}

I made this toss bouquet a few years back for a Bride...
but who says you can't give hand-tied bouquets to your
Valentine (or to yourself? *wink*) ? The "Black Magic" roses give
off the allure of luxurious velvet & romance. Yum!

And similar to the red-hots, this little sweetie
would be perfect for a teacher, child, or of course...
your Valentine. You could even make miniature ones
in glass votives & use as place cards!

{Photo courtesy: Martha Stewart}

I saw this in Living years ago & I've always wanted
to try it out & haven't. Maybe this year? Just a couple bunches
of inexpensive carnations, 2 quilting hoops in varying sizes, some
ribbon & string and you're set! (or rather your table is!)

{Photo courtesy: Martha Stewart}

Well that's it for now! What, if any, flower combinations make your heart melt? (I might put in a good word for you) ;).



Thursday, January 14, 2010


This afternoon I got the keys to our new house.

I wasn't too excited....I'm still feeling down about the whole idea of having to move at all.

Until I walked through the door.

Our new landlord showed me around (again) & I was excited to see that everything was soooo clean! Our first show & tell was when the previous tenants still lived there.....3, 20-something guys, that is. Needless to say it wasn't in the cleanest shape, and although I liked the place...I was thinking my work was cut out for me come move-in time. That is what happened when we moved into our current location...the landlord did NOT clean before we moved in... and it took me weeks to get it in decent shape. Well NO sirree! They had the place in immaculate condition. You have no idea how happy that made me!

And although I'm still not "raring to go" on this whole moving thing....I do feel a bit better and I can definitely see how that this new place will have lots of potential for me to decorate & make it feel like a home, really.......(deep sigh).....I guess I'll be okay.

Here's a sneak peak:

Front of house

Guest Bath

Dining Room

Master Bath

Master Bedroom

Living Room 2



Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Itch for a Niche

Hear the jeopardy music? Yeah, I'm hearing it too. So... for the past few weeks I have been without a job (after the sweet, old lady I was a care-giver for passed away) and I've had a lot of time on my hands to reprioritize, and to pray & ask God what HE might be leading me to do from this time forward...

I'm trying to rediscover my passions in life.... find my place in the world. My niche. My loves...

..and to put it lightly....

I haven't had the easiest time. {narrowing it down, that is!}

You see, my problem has always been that there's way too much I enjoy doing....I have too many interests!

I love floral design... this beautiful bouquet made of green cymbidium orchids & creamy roses I fashioned for a bride last year....I just love the way this wedding turned out. :) So fun!

....but I also love decorating & creating.... when I made this wreath using pages from a Dollar Tree book that I "antiqued" to make it look old.

Oh, and did I mention I like antiques? Not only do I love them in our home....but I've always thought it would be fun to be one of those people that runs estate sales....telling stories about old pieces and making people happy as they leave with a treasured item :)....

{Photo courtesy: here}

{Photo courtesy: here}

Okay, so maybe not the last photo exactly....but seriously.....I love old stuff! I have my Mom to thank for that! (Wait, that sounded funny)...what I'm trying to say is....oh never mind. You know what I mean!

BUT I love writing, too. I'm no pro...but I've always wanted to write children's books...but figured that would come later when I have my own kids as inspiration. I've started a couple...just haven't finished them...

...I'd put an excerpt in here....but then you might steal it, and then where would we be? ;)

I also love health & nutrition. I think if I ever went back to school, I'd definitely go for's so interesting! I love learning about what God has made for us here on earth to help restore & heal our bodies naturally...and most importantly...preventitive health so we don't have to get sick! That's the real kicker....

{Photo courtesy: here}

...but then what if I want to throw the occasional cheeseburger in there? (That's my Dad's word for anything that tastes really good...but isn't that good for you). I may not feel like I could if I had an "official" title or never mind. Better keep that a hobby. :)

Then there's cooking...caring for people...interior etc. They aren't very cohesive are they?

So...the question still remains- what am I suppose to do?




Tuesday, January 5, 2010

{Home is Where There's LOVE}

A year goes by fast. So fast.

Seems like just yesterday we were packing up our little apartment to move to our first rental house.....

now we'll be packing up move...


You learn something new every place you live.....

Some things good.....some things hard.

In the apartment I learned simple {though hard at the time} things like how to cook dinner... to make a budget...

...and how to be a wife.

And this year?

...I learned how to paint a room all by myself... to be a better wife and a better cook....

...and how to let go of someone I loved.

But the thing I've learned the most of all.... that it doesn't matter so much where you live....what sofa you have to sit on..whether or not dinner tastes like it came from a gourmet kitchen...or what color your dining room is....

Because in the end....really.....

Home is where there's love.

And I'll carry that lesson with me...wherever we live.



"I can't recall everything in my life, but I remember I was loved." -Anonymous

Friday, January 1, 2010

Christmas Snapshots

Matthew & I have been battling the flu & a bad cold for the past week....the price you pay for being close to your sweet family for an entire weekend over Christmas ;) ....but I didn't want to fully step into the New Year without first paying tribute to our Christmas in 2009...

So here's a farewell to Christmas 2009....

~Our cozy Christmas home~

I made these "NOEL" letters for our very first Christmas
together being married. I think they're keepers. :)

A bag of fake snow from Walmart goes a looong way!

I grouped cinnamon sticks (from the 99C store), candy canes,
& mini marshmallows with chocolates on top in apothecary
jars to create a festive mantle display

The Christmas stocking I lovingly made for
Matthew our first Christmas together

The body of the sock was made from a pair of retired
ladies satin I put them to good use &
attached a "secret pocket" in the back for
small treats. :) (Matthew likes this feature best)

The living room at a glance

Our dining room table bedecked for the holidays.
The little tree was made out of silver pipe cleaners a couple of years
ago...and the holly leaves...from our bushes out front!

Our "chandy" strung with glittering
beads & glittered snowflakes

~The Gifts~

I tried to be creative this year and use what I already
had on gifts this year were wrapped with left-over
paper, ribbon, & hand-cut snowflakes for gift tags made
from old sheet music

This gift to "Grant" had a handmade pom-pom
ball made from yarn mimicking a winter hat, & a tree
gift tag made from a brown shopping bag

I also used 99C store cinnamon sticks nestled inside of
ribbons & tree sketches cut out of an old botanical book (that I only
use for crafts) to use as gift tags

~Christmas Eve~

It started to snow!!!

All dressed up for Grandma Cole's
legendary Christmas Eve party :-)

Gloria Colleen (sister) & her namesake, Colleen (Aunt)

The fam, chillin'

Gwen (sister) with my sweet nephew Levi...who loooves
to play with his toes! ;)

Mom, Karen (Second cousin) & Pepaw Cole

The best part of the candles & singing
carols it.

~Christmas Day~

Beautiful snowy morning

Our Christmas wreath on the front porch
I made from left-over Christmas tree branches

The icy was slippery out there...

The Gaffins over for Christmas brunch :-)
(Joy, Ruthanne & Steve)

Peace & Love Santa