Thursday, February 09, 2012

Freshening Up Winter

A lovely, simple, $3.99 bouquet from Trader Joe's now adorns my upstairs living room

Today I'm doing a few small things around the house to freshen it up. Not quite ready for Spring or Spring Cleaning, I still want a sense of cleanliness, crispness and fresh air.

Chantal Yellow Teakettle, from Crate and Barrel

I might want to accomplish a couple "new beginning" type projects too - obtaining a set of new pillows for my bed, perhaps; finally replacing a broken teakettle with a new colorful one; and a bright, cheery colored throw pillow for the couch that sits in my kitchen.


Oahu Pineapple/Cilantro Scented Candle, from Crate and Barrel

  • Shake out throw rugs, doormats, and any other rugs you have at the entrances and exits to your home.

  • Light a nice fresh-smelling scented candle in your home tonight. Added "freshening" points if it's a cheerful color.

  • Do your kids have their classroom Valentines ready to go? Do you need to pick up supplies today so you can help them write or craft them over the weekend?

  • Are your pets eating and drinking out of clean bowls today?

  • Need to return any Netflix DVDs so you'll get more in the mail next week? Want to stop by a Redbox to pick up a movie for the weekend before everyone rents all the good stuff?

  • Need to catch up with a load of laundry so you don't go into the weekend with huge piles of laundry to wash?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Freshening The Home

Green Flowers Pillow, from Pier 1 Imports

Do some things today to make your home seem fresh, clean, new and refreshing to be in. Some suggestions:

  • Use your favorite room spray - but sparingly - in each room of your home.

  • Shake out doormats and entry rugs.

  • Use carpet freshener (if you don't mind using chemicals) on your living room carpet.

  • Turn down your heater and open windows for a few hours, if it's warm enough where you live. (Seattle had two days over 60 this week so I was delighted to have fresh air in the house).

  • If you use Febreze or other fabric refreshers, spray your curtains, throw rugs, throw pillows, and fabric couches as applicable.

  • Buy a bouquet or two of spring flowers - tulips, daffodils, etc. to display on your dining table and in your living room.

  • Make a pitcher of fresh iced tea. It's probably warm enough in your house to enjoy a glass without freezing yourself. It will make you think of spring and summer.

  • Cook something lighter tonight, or serve an ice cold salad.

  • Swap out your bedsheets for a clean, lighter, crisp set.

  • Add slices of lemon or cucumber to your family's water glasses at dinner tonight, if they enjoy such things.

  • Empty all the trash cans and recycling bins throughout your house.

  • Water and snip houseplants as needed. Pick up a cheerful, colorful flowering plant next time you see something you like at the grocery store, too.

  • Change out any dead light bulbs, dust off lamps and lampshades. Dust your dining room chandelier if needed.

  • Wipe any grimy windows - letting maximum light into your home is crucial this dark time of year.

  • Set your table with colorful or pastel spring placemats if you already own such.

  • Wear a light colored sweater today - I tend to pile on too many dark colors in my winter clothing this time of year.

LOVELY BATH & BODY: L'Occitane's New Cherry Princess Line

Yesterday I treated myself to this new Cherry Princess hand cream for my purse. I enjoy this fragrance so much more than their disappointingly weak Cherry Blossom line. I'm saving up to add the Cherry Princess shower gel and body lotion to my bathroom stocks, too.

Ceriser Princesse, from L'Occitane

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Raspberry Rose Hibiscus Tea

This is Republic of Tea's spring seasonal offering, with packaging clearly suggestive of Valentine's Day. This caffeine-free tea features raspberries and rose petals, as well as Nigerian hibiscus. If only the petals could stain the tea water pink!

Raspberry Rose Hibiscus Tea, from Republic of Tea


Amy's blog features so many interesting recipes that I'm eager to try. They look doable too, at least by me - some recipe blogs are so busy dazzling readers with their gorgeous photographs and gourmet foods, they aren't realistic for busy home cooks like myself to use for week night meals.

Some recent posts here include pizza-stuffed waffles, spicy chickpea burgers (I'm vegetarian, so looking forward to trying this one), banana muffins, and turkey Sloppy Joes.

LOVELY HOME: Spring Placemats

Rona Sage Placemat, at Crate and Barrel

Magenta Napkins, at Crate and Barrel

Yesterday I made an executive decision to replace my tired old Pier 1 spring placemats with a new fresh set. I don't feel like I "splurged" on these, as they'll get used often for years to come. Still, it wasn't cheap to buy six placemats and six napkins all at the same time. This is an investment in my spring breakfasts, brunches, springtime lunches and dinners for years to come.

Clutter prevention principles tell us to throw out (or give away) something for each new item we bring into our homes. So I obediently have given up on my tired old wrinkly, stained beloved Pier 1 spring placemats I've been using for an astonishing 11 years. They're in the trash where they belong (not donated, as they're in bad condition). I'm thankful for the many years use I got out of them, and looking forward to serving meals on my new cream, sage and purple berries placemats for years to come.


Carnival, Cajun Style (Epicurious)

Mardi Gras Recipes (Rachael Ray)

Mocha Scone Nibbles (Worth the Whisk)

9 Chocolate Beers to Drink for Valentine's Day (CHOW)

Valentine's Day Cupcake Recipes (Martha Stewart)

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