Sunday, June 24, 2018

A SUNDAY THOUGHT

I'm a worrier.

Not because I've had a life of sadness and despair--my life has been anything but. I've been lucky to have the best parents who are still very much a part of my life and wonderful in-laws. I have a loving husband and happy, healthy kids who are turning into to well-adjusted, successful adults.

Don't get me wrong--I've known sorrow and I've known pain, and one day "when I can find the time to write my mind like I want it to read", I'll tell you about it. But in general, I've had an ordinary, normal life.

So why do I worry so much about the "what ifs?"

As I've gotten older, I find myself worried about all the things that might go wrong with my health; I think every pain is related to some undetected cancer. Every time my heart races, I expect to wind up in an ambulance having a heart attack. And what if something happens to my husband? Who will help me with my technology questions or see movies with me or help me find my keys when my memory starts to slip?

We worry ourselves sick about our kids from the minute they take their first breath. I used to think once they were grown, all the worrying would just come to a halt. Hate to tell you, faithful blog reader, the worries just change. You have an entire new set of worries when they are older.

What if they flunk out of college? What if they don't get jobs? What if they marry the wrong person? What if they make bad financial decisions? The list goes on and on.

All that makes me wonder what's wrong with me. I know who holds the future.

But, alas, I'm human.

That's all it can be. I don't think it means my faith is weak, as some would probably say. It just means this world is a crazy place and sometimes it can shake our faith. Because let's face it--we want to control it all, and we just can't. And what we can't control, stresses us out!

I'd never really stopped to consider the cause of all that worrying, why it came to be in the first place, but then this book, Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado, kept showing up in my Instagram feed as part of an advertisement.

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I decided there might be a reason the ad wouldn't leave me alone, so I bought it. I'm about half way through it, and it's been enlightening. Lots to think about and really good reminders that we are not in this chaos alone. 

If you worry like me, you might find this book helpful as well. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, 
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

I hope today is a good day!

Kathryn


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

RECOVERING A CUSHIONED STOOL

I finally had time to finish up the accent stool I bought a couple of months ago for $15 at an antique store. If you missed that post, you can catch up by clicking here. I originally planned to use the stool in my closet, but it turned out so cute, there is no way I can let it hide in there.

This is the fabric I ended up using. If you want to see the others I was considering, go here. I bought a yard of it months ago when I came across it at the fabric store. I had no idea what I would use it for; I just thought it was pretty.


Here's a quick reminder of what the stool looked like before. It was outdated, and I'd love to know what was once used to cover the staples. Just a reminder, I sanded off the flowers and painted the base a couple of months ago.


Here's how I gave it new life.


I draped the fabric over the stool and positioned it so that the best part of the pattern was showing.


I then cut the fabric, making sure to leave plenty to work with on each side--or so I thought. I confess: I had to cut it twice. (I cut it too small the first time.)



Once I was sure the size was correct, I used a small staple gun to secure the fabric. I started on the back side of the stool, pulling and tugging the fabric to make sure it was taut, stapling as I went. At the corners, I just folded the fabric over. In case you're wondering how I lined up the staples so well, there is a bit of a ridge where the cushion rests against the wood. I made sure to press the head of the staple gun to the lip of the ridge with each pull of the trigger.




Once I was confident I hadn't missed any spots and everything looked secure, I cut off the excess fabric. I used the space again between the cushion and the wood as my guide.



I had originally thought I wanted to use silver nail heads to cover the staples. So, I headed to Lowe's and bought several boxes. They were $1.34 a box.

That was a NO go! I couldn't even hammer them in.

On to PLAN B.

I went to the fabric store and picked out a trim that I could glue on. (Glue and trim = $11.41)



It's been years since I've worked with fabric glue. I'd forgotten how easy it is to use. Unlike super glue or hot glue, it doesn't dry immediately, and you can adjust your fabric as you need to for a few minutes.

I started applying the trim on the back and worked my way around.


It took more glue than I expected; I used all of one bottle and about half of another. Even if I happened to put too much glue on the trim, it was easy to spread or even wipe off, and it dried clear.


All done...




I'll let you know where it ends up. Rest assured though, it will not be in a closet!

Kathryn

Friday, June 15, 2018

FRIDAY'S FIVE

Happy Friday to you!

1. I love a skirted table. They look great in any room! Lots of ideas and inspiration in this article I found on Pinterest.

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2. A gorgeous home renovation in New Orleans. (My husband and I took the train down for a long weekend this month. I'm going to tell you about it soon.)



3. Guess who has another book coming out? House Beautiful shares some sneak peaks here.



4. This might just be the perfect white t-shirt for summer from Old Navy. I've been wearing mine with jeans and turquoise colored earrings every time I leave the house. I'm digging all the ruffles this season.

 


5. My newest gadget making my chores easier. Have y'all ever used these? I should have bought them years ago!

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Have a great weekend!

Kathryn


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

LEMON CHICKEN PICCATA

I've never made Chicken Piccata before. It sounded too complicated. But when I came across this recipe on Cassie Sugarplum's blog, I knew I could do it. There weren't a ton of ingredients, and it sounded pretty easy to put together.

It turned out great! I'm definitely a fan. The best part--it didn't take forever to make. Now I have a new, quick and delicious recipe for weeknights during the school year.

It's way too good to keep to myself...


Ingredients:

1 lb cooked pasta (I used linguine) 
4 - 6 chicken breast cutlets
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of chicken stock or broth (I used broth)
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup of capers
chopped parsley for garnish


Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  • Salt and pepper the chicken to taste and flour both sides of the breasts or cutlets. 
  • Saute chicken on both sides until thoroughly cooked. 
  • Remove from skillet and set aside.


  • Leave the chicken juices in the skillet and add the broth, heavy cream, lemon juice, and capers. 
  • Bring to a boil. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer until sauce starts to thicken. This took longer than I thought it would. I probably let it simmer around 15 minutes (maybe longer), stirring occasionally.

  • When the sauce begins to thicken, put the chicken back in and simmer a few more minutes. 
  • Spoon the sauce over the cutlets.


  • Serve over the pasta and get ready for lots of compliments!



If you aren't serving a crowd, you probably won't need the full pound of pasta. We had plenty left over.

Enjoy!!

Kathryn

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

10 STYLING IDEAS FOR BOOKSHELVES

Welcome to the first official post of summer! 

Here in the South, the days are now wonderfully long, it's much too hot for coffee, and the humidity gives everyone's hair a life of its own. I love every single minute of it!

My bookshelves have been the same for a good while, except for a tweak here and there, and I'm thinking of making some changes. Before I do, I thought I'd show you how they are currently styled and share some of my favorite styling tips and ideas. 




We have dark built-ins on both sides of our fire place in our living room. That makes decorating the shelves a challenge; not everything shows up well against the finish. The wall color in the room is Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore. It's a light khaki, kind of a creamy tan color and perfect if you're looking for a good neutral. It's a favorite of mine, and I've suggested it to lots of friends and family.  



The main accent color in the room is blue, thanks to a sofa we bought without even sitting on it (story for another post). 


So, it made perfect sense to display some of my collected blue and white with the books on the bookshelves.


All that led to this arrangement, and this is how they've looked for a while.  





1. Books - They are shelves for books, after all. Before starting, take inventory of your books, and decide how much space you want to devote to them. I love shelves full of nothing but books, but really I prefer a mix of items. Thrift stores are great places to find colorful, often inexpensive books to get your shelves going. We've actually read some of these, and some I've picked up thrifting for as little as ten cents. 

2. Add art - Art helps give the shelves a layered look and doesn't have to be hung. Just lean it on the back of the shelves. I've included four pieces in my arrangements. The old man with children fishing at the sea (bottom left) was $2 from an antique mall. The framed poppies (top left) was the first piece of art purchased when we moved in some 14 years ago this summer. The unframed canvas (top right) might be my favorite; it was painted by a student. The red bird I picked up because he was pretty. 

3. Use items from a collection - If you've been around Woodbank Lane for any amount of time, you know milkglass and blue and white ceramics are the two things I like to collect. I mixed in a little of both in different shapes and sizes.

4. Add (faux) flowers - I'm not offended at all by faux flowers and loved the look of the white ones I'm using on both sides of the cases. 

5. Add interest - For added interest, I leaned an empty picture frame behind the red bird. I also used two small busts and a gray distressed peacock (I think it's a peacock) I found at a thrift store about a year ago. 

6. Use something green - If your shelves are in a well-lit room, using real plants is a beautiful idea. I don't have that luxury, so I used faux again: a moss ball and box wood balls in a blue and white bowl (right picture, middle shelf).

7. Display sentimental objects - I'm not currently displaying anything sentimental on my shelves, but I think it's a great idea. 

8. Add something that says something - I found my white apple at TJ Maxx. Do you know a teacher without one? :-)

9. Be symmetrical - Not everyone likes symmetry, but I believe symmetry is your friend. It's appealing to the eye and looks so neat. I tried to arrange the objects about the same on both sides so they would be almost mirror images.  

10. Pick a shape for the shelves - My shelves are decorated in the shape of a diamond, meaning simply that I've used fewer things on the top and bottom shelves and filled more of the middle shelves. A triangular arrangement would also work, for example. 



No telling what they will look like next month! 

Enjoy your summer day...

Kathryn

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

WHAT I'VE PAINTED LATELY

The spring is always incredibly busy for me at work. Closing out the school year is no joke! That makes it hard to dive into any major projects, but I'm never too busy for a can of spray paint. :-)


A few weeks ago I decided to clean out in the attic before the Alabama heat sets in, and I brought down this small mouth vase. I've had it for so long, I can't remember where it came from. If I had to guess, though, I'd say T J Maxx.


Most of my vases and jars have larger openings and require a good many more stems or flowers to make them look full.


But this one is easier to fill because of the small opening.


I decided I wanted a true white for the color, and this is what I ended up using. I picked mine up at Home Depot. Of course you can always get it from Amazon, too.


Before I started painting, I wiped down the vase really well with a damp paper towel. I then dried it off and started the transformation.


The paint went on great, and I didn't have any issues (other than the bugs that always show up when I'm trying to paint!).


I'm happy to report that I like it all over again. It feels brand new. The only problem I've had is that I like it in every room. :-) In the two pictures above, the vase is in a vignette in the living room atop a round skirted table. I rarely show this room. The lighting in there is not the best.

The picture below is the dining room.


Needless to say, it's no longer in the garage sale pile from the attic. A little spray paint goes a long way.

Here are a few of my other spray paint projects:







Two more days until summer... Are you as ready for it as I am??

Kathryn

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

EASY CHESS SQUARES

Chess squares are one of my very favorite desserts. But would you believe this is my first time to make them? 

I was walking by the break room in our office at school a couple of weeks ago, and from the corner of my eye, I thought I caught a glimpse of this favorite dessert of mine. And, because I have no shame when it comes to sweets, I casually mentioned to our registrar Mrs. Frith that I spied something delicious looking in the lounge. Without hesitation she offered me one. She brought them for the office staff, and after just one bite, I immediately wanted the recipe to share with you. 


Ingredients: 

Layer One

1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding in the mix)
1 stick of melted butter
1 egg, beaten

Layer Two:

1 - 8 oz bar of softened cream cheese
3 eggs
1 box of confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix the layer one ingredients and spread/press in a 13 x 9 baking dish. 

Mix the layer two ingredients well and pour over layer one. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, turn down the oven to 325 degrees and bake an additional 30 - 35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting--although this will be extremely difficult. :-)



They took no time to make and were sooo easy. I hope you like them!

Kathryn

Friday, April 20, 2018

A CUTE STOOL PROJECT

A few months ago I did a major overhaul in my closet. It was refreshing and freeing. I was able to donate a good many things and just rid myself of lots of unused "stuff" of all kinds. I did some organizing and rearranging in the process also, and I was left with space I didn't realize I had. 

One thing I'd been wanting to add to the closet for some time was a spot for sitting. Of course, I don't mean for reading a book and sipping coffee; just a spot for putting on shoes, thinking about what to wear to work, or maybe just breathing for a minute and thinking a deep thought. 

A chair, a bench--I wasn't really sure. When I came across this small stool thrifting with my mom one Saturday, I decided it was perfect. It's just what I had in mind. The closet is not huge; it is a walk-in, but anything larger than this wouldn't work. 


It's in good condition and sturdy.




This flower print is on all four sides.



You can tell in this picture there must have been some type of trim with a circular form to it, or maybe there was a nail head finish. But I don't see any holes for nails.


I sanded off the flowers and the legs of the stool, and painted it last weekend. Now I'm trying to decide if I like any of the fabric scraps I have around the house, or if I want to look a little more.

This first piece is left over from a table skirt, but I think it's too creamy. That makes me sad, because this one is probably my favorite.


This one is the best match in color, but this navy print... It's just weird to me.


This is probably my next favorite. The back ground is more cream than white, but not as creamy as the one above.


I also ordered a sample of this cute fabric from Fabric.com.



This geometric fabric is fun and the whites match great. The green is even brighter in person.


And now, as you can probably guess, I have too many choices! Decisions, decisions...

I bought these at Lowe's thinking I would use nail head accents. I've never worked with them on a project, so that may or may not happen.


Okay. That's where I am in the process. I'll let you know how it turns out. :-) April and May are such busy months in high school who knows when I'll be done.

Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments. Do you like one better than the others? Have a great weekend!