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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Planning

My husband and I are hosting his family at our home this year.  I'm really excited but having begun the planning, I'm looking at a l-o-n-g list of things to do.  I love entertaining...the festive dishes, decorations, spending time with family and friends but my biggest concern (actually it's more of a freak-out moment) is cleaning my house.  I'm not a great housekeeper.  I love having a clean house.  I just don't know exactly how people get it all done and maintain it!  I'm domestically challenged in that area.  I mean how do you keep your silverware drawer clean and organized??  It's a mystery to me...honestly.  I cleaned mine the other day.  Took everything out, washed the silverware tray, put them all back in an organized manner and there, just a couple of days later...debris (for lack of a better word) in the silverware tray AGAIN!  That's just one small example of the many!  Spots on the faucets, dust on the baseboards, crumbs on the counters, fingerprints on windows, smudges on doors, oh! and dog hair (but that's my fault 'cause I love my dogs) and on and on and's mind-numbing to me. 

I'm a perfectionist that's a terrible housekeeper....the two DON'T mix : /   Can the two ever live at peace with each other?  How?  Do you have this trouble?  Is my house really not as bad as I see it?  How do you know when clean is clean enough for company?  I want to be able to enjoy my company and not feel the dust bunnies taunting me behind the backs of my family and friends. 

Well...I have chosen a safe but somewhat expensive fix to my disorder, problem, situation...hire someone! I like the sound of that.  How is it that I'm more confident in a strangers housecleaning skills than my own?  I don't know.  Refer back to the crossed-out words's a disorder. 

SO, back to the main reason of my post.  I'm going to be blogging about my plans, recipes, and decorations as we get closer to time.  I actually prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's employees every year.  I've done so for the past 6-7 years and I love it!  I prepare most dishes at home before (where I don't have to worry about my house being clean and I can enjoy the cooking process) then finish everything else at the office which has a full kitchen.  It's a little Sandra Lee, a little Paula Deen, and a whole lot of southern.  No holds barred on this calorie, cholesterol, fat gram, or sugar counting here!  Yep, it's all about eating until you're full, kicking back in your chair afterwards and loosening the button on the waistband.  Does a heart good to see people enjoying your food like that. 

Between the two meals, one for my husband's work (the Thursday before Thanksgiving) and my in-laws on Thanksgiving Day, I should be able to do alot of cooking at one time and freeze some dishes for the second meal.  I'll let you know how it's going.

Have you begun your holiday planning yet?  What's some of your favorite recipes?  Check back for one of mine....super easy, guaranteed crowd pleasing dish!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Takes a Village...

Okay, I'm not really going "there" with this post but it does involve a village!  I purchased these at the thrift store.
There are seven buildings in all.  They are made from plaster or chalkware??  I spent a grand total of $2.99 for the set!  I loved the details...hated the way they were painted.  It was super glossy spray paint, poorly done.  So...out comes the oyster white spray paint.  I tried to take them back to a blank canvas.  However, I can't decide how I want to paint them.  I started with antiquing the off white and got this:

Hmmm....not sure I like it.  So, on to the next attempt of painting all of the details as they would appear in real life (okay, really I copied a Dept. 56 village building) and got this:
I like this better but it was a-l-o-t of work getting all of the detail painted.  (Not a great pic as the top of the building seems washed out...sorry).  But, then I kept looking at the remaining five buildings sitting there in their creamy white beauty and sort of liked them too.  Just think of these charming cottages nestled among some ironstone dishes in a holiday vignette : )

So, fellow villagers...hehehe, I know there's only like 8 of you but that's okay : ) ....which do you like best??

Friday, September 17, 2010

In Honor of the Last Days of Summer...

I know I've already posted about my fall decorating that's going on in my home, but I've been seeing so many blogs posting some pictures of the final days of summer.  I wanted to share some I took.  While we visited the gulf coast this past June, I snapped these of the condo's lobby.  It's beautifully decorated in, of course, sea shells, painting of boats and piers, and serene shades of blue and coral. 

love the huge piece of coral

beautiful's actually blue but appears gray
love the shells, they are huge!
coral again!!

this picture doesn't do the lamp justice.  just couldn't capture it's beauty.

close up of the lamp base
and, the final goodbye to the beach for the season.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures.  The lobby was beautiful.  I could have taken the furnishing home with me...but I think they would notice me leaving the parking lot with everything strapped to my car.  And, it's stealing.  But, I could have : )

Talk to you again soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

50% Savings at CSN Lighting Store

I don't know if any of you are familiar with Eversave but it's a group you join, FOR FREE, and they send you daily deals for things in your area.  Today's deal is to purchase $30 worth of lighting at CSN for only $15!!!  What a deal!  Here's a link if you want to check it out:

Pay $15 for $30 worth of lighting products from
(This is a link that gives me credit for sharing the deal with you.  If you wish to go to Eversave directly for the deal, you can also check them out at their website  and sign up for the emails about daily deals.  Like I said, there is no charge to join and you are not obligated to ever purchase one of the deals.  It's similar to Groupon.)
So, if you haven't looked at the lighting from CSN, let's check some out:

And these are just of few of the hundres of light fixtures they have available.  Oh, did I mention that they have  FREE SHIPPING!   Love free shipping!! 

CSN Stores offer more than just lighting as well.  You can go to their website at  Even if you don't purchase anything, it's a great place to get ideas!!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Cabin Adventure

Hi all!  Well, we're back from our cabin camping adventure.  It was great fun as always.  We spent Friday to Sunday with my siblings and their families and friends.  There were about 25 of us in all.  This was our 5th year spending the 2nd weekend of September at the same campground on the river in the quaint little are of Townsend, Tennessee.  The weather this year was not as nice as it has been in years past...thanks to the remains of Tropical Storm Hermine.  So, what do you do when it's raining and you're in a cute, little town??  Go to the antique stores, of course!  That's exactly what we (the girls) did Saturday morning during the rain.  The men stayed at the campground pavilion and "manned" the smoker with the barbecue on it...oh, and watched football on a big screen...yep, they brought one with them, lol!  My daughter coined a new (at least to us) term..."glamping" that's glamour camping.  I won't lie...when the Volunteers began playing that evening, I was right there! 

Anyway, with the not-so-pleasant weather, I didn't decorate like I wanted.  So, instead of showing you our cabin, I've found a few cabins of others that are decorated very nicely.  Ya know, the new thing is to ditch the McMansions and live in the smallest amount of home that you possibly can.  It's funny how things cycle through life, isn't it?  So, here's some of the awesome, tiny homes that I found.
from Tiny House Blog...LOVE the garden!
from REDFIN Seattle Sweet Digs

from The Alternative Consumer

And the last favorite and I know you'll love it too.  Be sure to check out her blog here
from Tiny Shabby Cottage at Shabby Chic Home blog
beautiful living room
salvaged window as is most of the construction
And, the beautiful sleeping loft!
Well, I hope you enjoyed these tiny homes.  I think I could live in one.  Our life would definitely have to change but we once lived in a tiny rental home between selling and purchasing a new house.  It was one of the best times in our family's life.  You really pare down to those things that are truly necessary that's for sure!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cabin Fever

No, I haven't been cooped up in the house and developed cabin fever. 

We're going camping.  cabin-ing.  cabin camping. 

We're going to the mountains and staying in a cabin! 

Actually, it's a storage building really. 

They've just added a small (read "tiny") bathroom, a few appliances, and a futon.  It could really be cute and if could get my hands on would be, lol! 

There will be 7 of us in there...5 humans and 2 canines (I hope my dogs don't read this...they don't know they're canines!) 

I've been packing all week and had to really fight the temptation to bring along some decorations.  Look at the front porch!  It has rockers's begging me to bring some decorations!  Okay, maybe I DID bring just a few but they are functional decorations.  You know, candles and some baskets for storing stuff.  I think that's perfectly acceptable.  This is supposed to be a vacation after all.  Decorating is a part of me though.  I can't leave that at home.  That would be like trying to leave my arm at home...just can't do it.  So, we're heading out in a little bit.  I'll be sure to take some pics of my decorati...uh, I mean, my necessary items once we're settled in.  We're meeting my whole family up there for the weekend.  We've done this for the past 5 years and I know we'll have a great time. 

See you when we return!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall is in the air...and in my home!

It's fall!!  Well, will be official on September 22 but who cares!  I love, love, love fall.  It's my absolute favorite time of the year.  And, I am bringing out the fall decorations.  I store all of my seasonal decorations in totes so they sort of rotate.  If fall is brought out, the summer decorations go in that tote.  Anyhoo, you're not here to read about my totes.  I want to share some of the fall decor I've been adding to my home this week.  I'm not finished.  Who could ever be finished decorating, right?  But, I've got a few teasers to share until I go all out and purchase my mums and pumpkins and hay bale and cornstalks...oh goodness, I've got to stop.  I'm starting to have a craving for hot apple cider and it's just a little too hot outside for that yet.  So, here we go.  I hope you enjoy and find some new ideas.
Living room fireplace...not woodburning, sadly, but at least I can have a fire when I want one.  I love having fires during the cold months.  Our old house had a woodburning fireplace.  I think I had a fire every day.  We homeschool so we are at home every day.  There's just something about the feel, sound, and smell of a woodburning fire that says home.  Fires go so well with curling up and reading a good book or having a cup of hot tea and flipping through magazines or, since it is fall and that means football season, fires go great with a good football game on the tv, chili, and family.  We live in Tennessee so I have to say "Go Vols!" and a big "Go Titans!"  Okay, back to the fall decor....sorry.  The three candlesticks to the right were purchased separately at thrift stores and sprayed with Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) to tie them all together.  The pumpkin was originally a traditional orange color.  I spray painted it ivory.  I'm really loving the white pumpkins this year.  To the left of the fireplace, the red box is something I've had for several years.  I purchased it at an antique store.  It was originally a film box and had a couple reels of Kodak film still in it.  No, nothing good on them, you know, like Ansel Adams original pics worth a couple of mil.  The inside has dividers and makes the perfect storage box for dvds.  On top of the box is a tiered rattan stand.  The bottom tier has a tarnished silver bowl filled with fall potpourri and the top has a red berry wreath with an old book and another smaller white pumpkin.  I didn't intend for this to go in the living room but I placed it there and thought it sort of worked.  I'm not sure if it'll stay.  I think the height is wrong for this area. 

Okay, I'm only sharing this photo if you promise to not look at the paper shades that are hanging in the windows.  I purchased those 5 years ago as a temporary solution to the morning sun beaming into our kitchen during the hot summer months.  So, yes, 5 years later, they are still there.  So, don't look at them, okay?  Instead, turn your attention to the chandelier.  Our home was fairly new when we moved in and it had several contractor grade fixtures.  The kitchen light being one of them.  I found this one on craigslist earlier this year for $40 and had hubby change it out.  I've been so pleased with it.  I had off white shades on it until this week.  I found these black ones at the thrift store for 49 cents each!  L-o-v-e thrift stores! I think I'm addicted to them, if that's possible.  So, having swapped out the shades, I wrapped this berry garland through the bottom.  I really like the look of it. 
I think this is my favorite vignette so far.  The tray has been a decorating staple for several years now.  I found it at Old Time Pottery (love that store too...another possible addiction).  That carried these wrought iron trays back when Southern Living at Home first came out with theirs.  OTP's price...about $ getting the same look for so much less.  Anyway, it has been in constant use in my kitchen decor since I bought it.  On the tray, the black stands (painted in ORB) all came from the thrift store then painted to match.  Actually, see the one with the single white pumpkin?  It was just a wooden candlestick with a CD glued to the top and then painted.  I liked the look of the candlestick but needed a wider top to display on it.  The CD was the perfect size and was strong enough to not bend under weight.  The cloches are all vases or candle holders turned upside down.  I described them more here.  I purchased the tiny peanut shaped gourds at a farmer's market last year.  With time, they just get better.  And, finally, just because it contrasts so well with the black, I have an ironstone platter as a background to the vignette.  This sits on my kitchen island.  As you can see, I'm not one of the lucky women with day!  But for now, this neutral speckled laminate works well.  

And, finally, for now anyway, the front porch.  I'm sorry for the poor picture.  It was at dusk and the flash just wasn't enough to properly light the whole porch.  I hope you can see the decorations.  First, I have to share my auction purchase from a few weeks ago...the rocker.  It was originally unfinished wood.  I painted it white to match my other white rocker on the front porch.  It wasn't super cheap.  I got it for $30 and it's very sturdy so I was happy with my purchase.  Behind the rocker are my harvest basket and a scarecrow standing under the "F" flag.  I received the harvest basket from my mother-in-law (world's best, might I add) this past Christmas.  It's perfect for decorating.  Last year during the holidays, it held lots of beautifully wrapped gifts sitting beside the fireplace inside the house.  Last month, it held lots of brightly colored gift bags with oodles of pretty tissue paper and several happy paper lanterns.  It was welcoming guests to our youngest's daughter's birthday party.  Now, it's adorned with a pumpkin garland.  Once I go "all in" with the fall decorating, I'll probably add a delicious pile of pumpkins and a couple of mums.

Well, that's it for the first round of fall decorating at the Forte house.  I purchased a couple of brass lanterns at the thrift store yesterday.  Hubby gutted them for me as they were originally exterior lights.  I've got them ready with ORB and will be posting about them and other goodies soon.

Thanks for hanging around till the end.  I know this is a long post.  I appreciate your stopping by!
I'm linking to:  The Inspired Room Fall Nesting
                                                                         This Blessed Nest Fall Festival