Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Cleaning Our Dining Rooms and or Breakfast Nooks

The Lush Decor curtains I'm tempted to get for my dining room windows

Last night I skipped Spring Cleaning and went to Family Night Dinner at our local Olive Garden instead. I was initially annoyed at myself that I didn't tackle a Spring Cleaning project when I got home, but decided after a long Monday workday I was entitled to put my feet up and watch an hour of TV before collapsing in bed. Now I'm glad I gave myself permission to take a project-free night. I've got more energy for the project I'm tackling today!


  • If you're a coffee drinker, is it time to clean out your espresso or coffee machine? Run a cycle of hot water and vinegar through the machine?
  • Take inventory of your coffee filters - need to add them to your shopping list? I don't drink coffee but need to check my supplies for guests.
  • Made plans for your kids for Spring Break? I'm currently booking our family Spring Break trip to see some sunshine!
  • Need to water any houseplants, or rotate them into the sun? Need to give up on any dying or ones? (I do!)
  • I forgot to take my Vitamin D this week. Here's our weekly vitamin taking reminder!


I don't have room in my tiny dining room for a buffet, but if I did, I'd be sorely tempted by this Palais 4 door buffet!

Tonight I'm Spring Cleaning my small, narrow dining room. This would be a fairly easy weeknight evening task (since I keep this room so clean on a regular basis) except for my giant curio cabinet that's overfilled with goblets, vases, tea cups and tea pots. I don't want to just dust the outside of it and call it good - I should remove everything, wash the dishes (they get dusty, even in a closed cabinet), dust the shelves, try to think about donating or selling dishes I dont use frequently, dry the shelves and put things back nicely.

*NOTE:* Remember that during Spring Cleaning, we're not just cleaning. We're sorting, repairing, maintaining, and improving. Even if we can't afford to improve things right now, we can make a budget and a prioritized checklist, and refer back to it often in the next year. Therefore, if you're taking down your curtains and notice they're frayed, it's probably time to take a look at your budget and see where you can make wiggle room to buy new curtains. As you're dusting your baseboards, notice if any are chipped, scratched or stained and need to be replaced. While you are wiping down walls, look at how your paint job is holding up - is it time to repaint your dining room? Do all your dining chairs have their foot pads so they don't scratch your floor, or do you need to replace some? Is it time to reupholster your dining chairs? (It is for me.. that will be an upcomin weekend project soon!) Is your heater vent attractive, or is it time to think about replacing it? Mine is tarnished but probably salvageable.

The Mission-style Tiffany pendant chandelier I'm considering buying for my dining room.

Following is my list of things to do to spruce up my dining room before bedtime.

  • 6 Dining Chairs - Sponge off seats, let dry, plus dust chair backs and wood slats thoroughly
  • Artwork - Dust frame and glass.
  • Dining Table - Move to mop underneath; dust thoroughly.
  • Floor - Mop wood, take out rug and beat dust out of it outdoors
  • Curio Cabinet - Remove all the items, wash any dirty glasses or teacups (probably that means most of them), dust cabinet, replace items, try to de-clutter.
  • Chandelier - Dust hideous 1980s gold and glass light fixture, and replace any burned out light bulbs. Look over budget and shop for a lovely new fixture.
  • 2 Side tables - Dust; swap out candle holder for one from storage that looks better for Spring.
  • Heater vents and baseboards - Dust and clean.
  • 2 windows - Wash windows, and use crevice tool to clean inside of window sill (dead flies!)
  • Curtains - Take down and launder tonight, rehanging right before bed hopefully.

I expect this project to take around two hours because of the many items in my curio cabinet. I'm a bit discouraged, but really, mopping the floor only takes eight or ten minutes, dusting the side tables and windowsill only a few seconds, washing the windows that I've washed within the last 2 weeks should take but a few moments, and wiping the baseboards is only about a minute.

After I finish fighting with the chandelier and putting everything back in the curio cabinet, I can look forward to my evening television show followed by book reading! And my dining room will be beautiful, clean and ready for the baby shower being hosted at my house this weekend.

How long do you think it would take you to Spring Clean your breakfast nook or dining room tonight?

LOVELY BABY: Milkbarn Organic Baby Clothes

I've had a couple friends and family members give birth recently and I'm thinking of including a Milkbarn outfit or two in my gift bags for them. It's nice that these are made from soft organic cotton, but what I'm really excited about is the unusual designs. I love the fox print (but probably wouldn't gift it until autumn) and when's the last time you saw a darling hummingbird on a baby's outfit? Some of the other baby outfits feature hedgehogs and geese. I'm not impressed by the whale print - tons of baby companies put whales on their clothing. The outfits include rompers, sleepers, and onesies.

Milkbarn on Amazon

LOVELY BLOGS: The Wright Table

Elizabeth lives in Belize. She's sharing her efforts to adapt her recipes into something that will work with her local produce and ingredients options. Lately she's been blogging about pork adobo, chicken bacon pasta, slow cooked curried chickpeas (I want to try this one!), and buttermilk banana bread.

You can visit her family's blog on their relocation experiences at, too.

LOVELY BOOKS: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars

This book is by the author of the Simple Bites blog ("Whole food for the family table.") The author and her family are urban homesteaders. I love that the book is organized into seasons, featuring "Sugaring Off," Brown Eggs, and Picnics for Spring; backyard grilling, day trips, and a harvest dinner for summer; jam jars, orchard outings and comfort foods for autumn; and holiday gatherings, Sunday dinners, batch cooking and pantry staples for Winter. It was Aimee's lovely introduction that really sold me on this book. See if you can read through it on the Amazon preview.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, on Amazon

LOVELY HOME: Conservatory Roombox

Swoon. I almost teared up when I saw this lovely roombox. I could never afford it, but I so understand why it's so expensive. The hundreds of hours it must have taken; the painstaking attention to detail. This would be an incredible dining room tablescape or coffee table conversation starter. Kept under glass or Lucite, of course, to prevent naughty children from spoiling it. (I sound like the cranky old lady I could become if I don't watch out, don't I?)

Conservatory Roombox, on Etsy


This crafter from Ukraine makes the most adorable needle felted creatures and flowers to be worn as brooches. There are fruit-themed, bird-themed, and mouse brooches.

I rather wish this needle felted blue poppy was a hair accessory instead of a brooch!

TaniaFelt on Etsy


Avocado and Blush Orange Salad with Yogurt Miso Dressing (Rachel Phipps)

Carrot Cake Bars (The Taylor House)

Five Spring Cleaning Tips (The Two Seasons)

Lemon Meringue Bars (Pretty Plain Janes)

Our 10 Best Tofu Recipes (The Guardian)

Red Beet Eggs (Crafty Cooking Mama)

Skinny Sugar Snap Pea Soup with Miso (Pickled Plum)

Twice Baked Cheese and Bacon Mashed Potato Casserole Recipe (Roxana's Home Baking)

Zucchini Crusted Pizza (Apron and Sneakers)

--Copyright 2015 Lovely Living

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