Sunday, October 26, 2014

Autumn Closet Sorting on a Relaxing Sunday

Today I'm flying to Vegas, but first I'll sort out my closet so it's nicely organized for when I get back from my trip. I'll be packing lightweight summery dresses (as it's in the 80s and high 70s in Vegas this week) and otherwise storing away all my summer clothes. Front and center in my closet needs to be sweaters, leggings, tunics and warm dresses.


Mrs. Meyers' "Baby Blossom" Detergent, on Amazon

  • Need to do any laundry? I generally wash my sheets and towels on Sundays, and a load of clothing for the workweek ahead if I can get to it.
  • How are your bathroom hand towels looking? How about the hand towels you use in your kitchen? Need to wash them and replace them with fresh ones in the meantime?
  • What does your house smell like today? (Mine smells like dogs). Do you need to open windows to air out the house, light candles, vacuum carpet with freshener, boil cinnamon in a pot of water on the stove? Or does your house smell nice and fresh as is?
  • How are your houseplants doing? Need to fertilize them, water them, or adjust them for more light?
  • Who else here besides me needs to declutter a mail table? I want to process and file the mail, not just move it around from place to place.
  • Are you remembering to take your vitamins? I notice my fingernails have grown longer and stronger since I've done a better job of taking my vitamins lately. Bonus!
  • Fridge and freezer maintenance: Clean one drawer, one shelf, or two door pockets in your fridge and freezer today. This way your fridge and freezer get cleaned out completely about once every month or six weeks!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Closet Sorting

The new Alfani sweater dress I treated myself to for autumn

Tonight I leave for a three day trip to Las Vegas. (Yay!) My cousin is coming to stay and dogsit for me, so I need to put my house back in order nicely for her. I just had carpet installed, so I have three bedrooms full of furniture to replace and dust, and my clothes need to be put back in the closet. (They're currently draped over a couple couches!) I'm a bit stressed out by this project, and wish I had an extra day or two between the carpet installation and my departure. Oh well! I'll put on some music and start trying on some clothes. I can pack my suitcase while I work to restore my closet. And as always, I'll try to weed out any clothes I'm not actually wearing, making a nice pile to drop off at Goodwill when I get back.

Here in Seattle, I'll be wearing lightweight sweaters (under a light jacket) for most of Fall, and then heavier sweaters under a heavier coat in winter. (Luckily we rarely get below 28 degrees here!) I stored my sweaters away in the summer, to make more room in the closet for sundresses. Now I'll be swapping them, hanging the sweaters up and folding the sundresses carefully away in my storage boxes.

I got rid of two limp, faded, pilling old black sweaters and replaced them with this new Calvin Klein black sweater which I expect to get a lot of use out of in the winter months.

As I get out my sweaters, I'll be inspecting them for wear, fading, missing buttons, dust and dirt, and scent. I put them away clean at the start of summer, but if they smell musty when I take them out of their storage box, I'll have to get them cleaned again. I'll hang the sweaters and my fall dresses up in the place my sundresses used to hang.

For now I am going to leave my shoes alone, I'll sort them when I get back from my trip. I wonder if I will do some shopping while I'm there and bring home more clothes and shoes? Hopefully I can control myself a little bit.

It's time to put away bathing suits (other than the two I'm taking to Vegas with me), skimpy tank tops, shorts, and sandals. It's still too early to get my holiday gowns out of storage in my guest bedroom closet, so I have a bit of extra room in my closet for now.

I also need to tidy my basket of bras, basket of underwear, and the folded piles of tshirts and nightdresses I sleep in. Next week when I am home for an evening, I will watch TV while sorting my sock drawer and basket full of nylons, Spanx and pantyhose.

I really like this scroll print dress, but can't stand the overly pushy salespeople at WHBM, so I'll have to do without.

I expect this project to take about four or five hours. I'll be carrying clothes up to the closet an armload at a time, stopping to lay them out on my bed, inspecting them, trying them on, putting things aside for the charity box, and hanging clothing back up. I confess I'm a bit stressed about trying to get this big of a project done before heading to the airport!

If you sort your closet tonight, be sure to lay out something special to wear tomorrow. How about something you haven't worn in a long while that looks pretty on you?

LOVELY BLOGS: Pretty Prudent

This blog is co-written by Jacinda, Jaime, Colleen, and Sonya. They focus their efforts on writing about travel, style, family, and crafts. And babies, of course. This is an absolutely gorgeous blog, with lots of lovely and useful tips as well. There are a lot of DIY projects here. Today it's Fabric Friday as well as Flower Friday. One of the authors is celebrating her DIY post about making cozy things for babies. I have a feeling many of my Lovely Living readers are really going to respond to and enjoy this beautiful and helpful blog!


Brown Butter Walnut Pie with Sour Whipped Cream (Saveur)

Browned Butter Pear and Walnut Tarts (Yummy Workshop)

Fall Soups & Stews (Saveur)

A Festive Diwali Dish: Indian Butter Chicken (Srumpdillyicious)

Fried Maple Leaves are Now on the Menu in Toronto (Whitecourt Press)

Kabocha Squash Toasts with Miso Jam (Amour Foud)

Leek Soup with Shoestring Potatoes and Fried Herbs (This is Glamorous)

Maple Glazed Oatmeal Doughnuts (Oh Bite It)

Pecan Brownie Buns with Espresso Glaze (The Sugar Hit)

Pumpkin and Asparagus Quiche (Orgasmic Chef)

Pumpkin Spice Custard with Maple Brown Sugar Mousse (Hint of Vanilla)

Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin in Every Meal (Sweet Potato Chronicles)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Time for Us Week - Let's Pretend

Peacock Fairy Wings, from Elven Creations on Etsy

This weekend it's still "Time for Us" week. We will not be engaging in any sorting, decluttering, cleaning or house projects. We'll just perform the minimal amount of work necessary to keep our kids clean, rested and fed; our pets happy; and our houses from falling apart until Monday when we start our hard work up again.

This is a good time to be firm and stern with your partner, spouse, or children's other parent if applicable. You work really hard to maintain a home and take care of children (especially if you work full time too!) and you need this weekend break to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the upcoming crazy busy holiday season.

Today I'd like to invite you to join a game of "Let's Pretend" with me. See the "Today's Project" section for details.


Brite Swing Lid Cans, at The Container Store

  • Get your home ready for the weekend's fun activities. Empty trash cans, empty or fill dishwasher, sweep or vacuum front hallway; sweep front porch.
  • Need to drop off or return any library books, pick up or drop off dry cleaning, or stop by the store for fresh fruit and bread on the way home?
  • Whisk away soiled hand or bath towels in your bathrooms, swapping them out for clean. A quick swipe to the mirror and counters, replenishing toilet paper and trading out bath mats for clean ones will refresh your bathrooms for the weekend.
  • Need to fill up with gas or stop by an ATM for cash for your weekend splurges?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Let's Pretend

Prismacolor Artists Pencils, on Etsy

I think it's perfectly ok, for one day, to pretend we live a different life than we really do. That doesn't mean we're dissatisfied with the lives we've chosen to build for ourselves. It's just fun to try on a different lifestyle for a moment. Something playful, nothing harmful (don't suddenly become a drinker or smoker if you're not!) Immerse yourself fully in your Lets Pretend chosen project, as much as you can given children, household and family constraints. Try not to rush out and buy too much of anything (if you are spending the day as a Chocolatier, you could run up quite a bill on supplies, for example)

Here's some suggestions on fun ways you might spend your day tomorrow:

A Chocolatier: Spend the day working with your existing chocolate molds and candy molds. Package them up and bring to neighbors and friends.

A Baker: Putter around in your kitchen creating fabulous pastries, cakes, cupcakes, pies, or other goodies. Spend tomorrow dropping them off, nicely boxed, at friends' houses.

An Artist: Put on a smock or old T-shirt and use up some of your existing canvases, pens, papers, watercolors, acrylics, paints and other art supplies. Create something fabulous and display it proudly in your home. Or if things don't go well, it's ok to chuck it in the trash and have a chuckle at yourself.

A writer: Turn off your phones and TV, put on music if it helps you, and glue your behind to a chair. Spend the day writing, whether you are finishing up that short story you started 3 years ago, beginning a new story or novel, sketching out your project for your upcoming NaNoWriMo attempt; jotting down a poem; journaling; blogging; or writing letters.

A Scrapbooker: Finish your scrapbooking projects from past months. If you've started pages on last Christmas, Fourth of July or this summer's vacation, finish them. Sort and organize your scrapbookin supplies (that's always fun) but do try to actually complete something. This may mean taking a break from the phone and Internet today.

A photographer or model: Set up a home studio and take family or friends' portraits, put on fanciful makeup and do self-portraits, or go exploring outside taking autumn photos of things you find beautiful. Experiment with food photography for your blog, if that sounds fun.

A musician: Bring out your guitar, sit at your piano, or haul out an old synthesizer. (Does anyone here still have a piano in their home?) Enjoy playing your music. Maybe you'll feel like writing a new song? Or if your talents run to singing, spend the day singing songs you enjoy, practicing as though you have a concert hall full of adoring fans to perform for tomorrow.

A seamstress: Get out your old sewing machine, scraps of fabric and trimmings, and create something fun. Even if it's just a dress for your daughter's doll, let your creativity out. If you don't like what you make, you can throw it away and just consider the time well spent in enjoyment and practice.

A celebrity: Dress up in something fashionable but not too fancy. (Real celebrities don't walk around the mall wearing ball gowns). Throw on a hat and pair of dark sunglasses, do your nails, then take yourself out to coffee, a cocktail, shopping, or other things you enjoy. Don't try to fool people or impersonate any existing celebrities, just quietly enjoy your day and see if you catch any stares or people pondering who you are.

A kid: Play with your kids' dolls, train set, Legos, or anything else fun that reminds you of your childhood. Don't worry about what your family might think if they catch you! Instead, invite them to join in. I personally love playing with my vintage paper dolls.

A Tarot reader: Dress up in a sparkly gypsy type costume or outfit, just with things you have around the house. Make a big pot of tea and invite friends over to share readings.

A travel agent: Spend the day creating fanciful travel vacations for yourself or pretend clients. Figure out where your client would go, what fabulous hotel they'd stay in, what restaurants they might eat in. Dream, but don't be dissatisfied with any inability to pay for or go on fancy vacations. Not everybody can do that (I sure as heck haven't made it back to London in 20 years!) and it's ok to dream.

What other fun ideas do you have for spending a day pretending?

I realize that my fun "Let's Pretend" day is much easier for me to do than for those of you readers who still have young children at home or husbands/boyfriends who might want some attention this weekend! With my foster kids moved out, I have the luxury of time and privacy to do silly things, like setting up a photo studio in the guest room, doing my makeup and hair crazily, and having a friend come over to share wine and take (clothed, by the way!) pictures of ourselves just for fun. I can make a big mess in the kitchen and nobody will complain.

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Glazed Apple

I'm excited about The Body Shop's new line of bath & body products for fall. There's a body butter, a shower gel, home fragrance oil, hand cream, soap, a lip balm, bath jelly, home fragrance spray, and body polish. How delightful! This will help tide me over until it's Christmastime when I start wearing and using their Cranberry products.

Glazed Apple, at The Body Shop

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Jasmine Pearl Teas

Here's my current favorite brand of loose teas. They come packaged in little paper "tins." I love the flavors, and the sheer variety of teas offered. They have some intriguing things here - Red hot hibiscus, Ruby nectar, Licorice Mint, Dark Forest blend, etc. It's a bit pricy, so I use each infuser twice. (I never mind watered down tea on the second cup!) I'm currently stocking their Puehr, Jasmine Pearls, and English Breakfast. I think I will pick up one tin of their Cranberry Sencha and one of Amaretto Spice to serve for the holidays. I'm eager to try their Blackberry Fig right now too. Oh thank you universe, they take Paypal!

LOVELY BLOGS: Goodie Godmother

Mary blogs about her love of cooking, crafting, and traveling. Her blog is divided into sections for Appetizers & Snacks, Beverages, Salads, Soups & Stews, Breads, Main Dishes, Desserts, and a section on business tips she learned from her time running Goodie Godmother Bakery. She's currently sharing recipes for crockpot apple sauce, Cilantro Lime Aioli, and Rosemary Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes. Yum!

LOVELY BOOKS: Classic Household Hints

I've been enjoying Susan Waggoner's vintage Christmas how-to books lately. Now I want to check out her household hints book. The household hints (cleaning, organizing, food thrift) are accompanied by charming vintage illustrations from the 1920s through the 1960s. I like to read books like this not only for the information they offer, but I get inspired to clean and organize after reading them. (Or after a "Hoarders" marathon!)

Classic Household Hints, on Amazon

LOVELY HOME: Autumn Harvest Products for Kitchen and Bath

Michel Design Works has a new line of products for autumn: Potholders, oven mitts, bath soap, lotion, kitchen sink soap, wooden trays, cachepots and planters, room spray, placemats and napkins. If you decorated with all these products, it would be a bit much. The pattern is busy, and it could get overwhelming. But having a few of these pretty things in your kitchen or guest bathroom could be quite lovely this fall or Thanksgiving.

Autumn Harvest, at Michel Design Works

Michel Design Works Autumn Harvest on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Tea Collection

I am so enamored with this children's clothing shop right now! They describe it as "globally inspired." It reminds me of a muted down Oilily or a more chic Hanna Andersson - in a good way! My favorite collection here right now is the Alpine Adventure set. Everything is so cute. I can't wait to pick up a couple pieces for two babies I know that will be born after January!


The Best Sour Cream Banana Bread (Neighbor Food Blog)

A Brief History of the Straw (Bon Appetit)

Buckeye Fudge (Damn Delicious)

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake (Damn Delicious)

Healthy Fall Desserts (Better Homes & Gardens)

Moroccan Spiced Lettuce Wraps (Simply Scratch)

October Cookbook of the Month: The Book of Jewish Food (CHOW)

Serving Bite Sized Garlic Bread Will Change the Way You Think About Garlic Bread (Epicurious)

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Stew (Kitchen Living with Coryanne)

21 Creative Ways to Cook with Root Vegetables (Bon Appetit)