Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mid-Week in Springtime

My dogs, bored of winter, are delighted to spend time enjoying their bones in our grassy, sunny back yard today

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Just a few days left in the month. Do you have any upcoming birthdays to send gifts or cards for? Parties to attend? Bills to pay ahead of time?
  • Have any mid-week laundry to do so you are caught up before the weekend? I'm doing a load of dark clothes, and a pair of dusty curtains.
  • I'm unloading my dishwasher so it's ready to receive dirty dishes after tomorrow morning's breakfast and teatime.
  • My friends are currently readying their kids' summer camp applications - do you have your kids' summertime plans handled?
  • Have you made your socialization plans for this weekend yet? Invited friends out or over, or accepted invitations from others? RSVPed in a timely manner?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Airing and Freshening My Home

Caldrea Sea Salt Neroli Linen and Room Spray, on Amazon

Today we have unseasonably warm (59 degrees) and sunny weather here in my suburb of Seattle. I'm jumping on the opportunity to make my home smell fresher and cleaner. (I have two pretty smelly retriever dogs, after all!)

I've turned off the heater, opened all the doors and windows I can safely open without the dogs escaping, and I'm working to refresh the house. That means vacuuming my carpets, spritzing curtains and couches with linen spray or Febreze, getting rid of any dead vases of flowers or deceased houseplants, emptying trash cans, and washing any smelly pet beds and throw rugs. I don't expect this project to take more than an hour this afternoon! Loving the slight breeze that's coming through my windows.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Bittermilk Cocktail Mixers

Here's the trendy cocktail mixers I've been stocking in my bar lately. They must be quite delicious as I've had to restock them more than twice since New Year's Eve! My favorite is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned mix, and my least favorite is the Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour cocktail mix. (I just don't like smoky tastes!) So far the company has come out with seven mixers. (I'll save the Gingerbread one for next Christmas).

Bittermilk official page

Bittermilk, on Amazon

LOVELY BLOGS: Peonies and Orange Blossoms

This delightful blog is created by Angelina, who writes about antiques, decorating, travel, food, fashion, and whatever else catches her fancy.

Besides a section for recipes, she features What to Wear posts on how to pack for travel to various destinations.

Recent posts I've enjoyed include her recipe for Parisienne gnocchi; a look at the gorgeous kitchen from the film "The Intern,"; and her post on pink inspiration for Valentine's Day.

http://peoniesandorangeblossoms.blogspot.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining

Today's "charming old book you can read for free" is "Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining," from 1918. There aren't any illustrations, but I love this kind of seasonal tip-of-the-day type book. Each month has its own chapter of celebrations, parties and amusements you could throw.

Looking ahead at March, for example, "Dame Curtsey" suggests a March First party; introduces us to the idea of a March Hare party; proposes a Violet party for one's grandmother; gives tips for a Lenten party; how to celebrate Mothering Sunday; and tips for throwing a St. Patrick's Day luncheon. Each party is short and easy to read, simple to execute and still seem applicable to modern days. Enjoy your reading!

Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY BOOKS: Little House Living

I'm not much of a DIY type person - I bake and cook, and do a little gardening, but don't make anything by hand. Still, I'm a huge lifetime fan of the Little House books. So the day "Little House Living" came out, I ran to the new Amazon Books store near me and bought a copy.

Merissa Alink is the author of the Little House Living blog, and this is, of course, her book. It's "The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple and Self-Sufficient Life." (Uh oh, I don't like being frugal!)

There are chapters on Body and Beauty; Household; Children and Pets; Make Ahead Mixes (this is the chapter I'm looking forward to the most!); and Meal Planning. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from this book!

Little House Living, on Amazon.com

Little House Living at Barnes and Noble

LOVELY CRAFTS: Janome Portable Sewing Machine

I'm fairly good at hand sewing, but bad with sewing machines. Still, I'm pretty tempted by this portable sewing machine (so long as I am able to find positive reviews of it). I don't mind if it's sort of aimed at children and beginners!

I have a few doll dress and dollhouse furniture sewing projects I'd like to try doing by machine instead of by hand. I have to wonder though if I will actually use this sewing machine or if it would sit in a corner in a pile of fabrics I couldn't resist buying! Anyway, I thought I'd show you a pic of what I'm most tempted by at this particular moment.

Janome Portable Sewing Machine, on Amazon

Pink Janome Compact Sewing Machine, at Target

LOVELY FASHION: Spring Corset

I doubt anybody here, including me, can afford a $1400 corset. But I was just so enthralled with this spring corset - such a welcome departure from all the black-and-red burlesque type corsets I see out there - I wanted to show you. We can all drool together. I'm not even a corset wearer, but this is so gorgeous I got excited! The corset, blouse, and bloomers set is by Julina Corsets in Russia. Take a peek!

Spring Corset, from Julina Corsets on Etsy

LOVELY HOME: Topiaries

Lately I'm fascinated (and perhaps a bit obsessed) with topiaries. (The live kind, not faux plants). I can't seem to find any good ones in the nurseries around my home, so I'm checking them out at the Terrain shop. I'm doing so well keeping my dwarf citrus alive, I might trust myself with one topiary splurge. I love the way these look! See what you think.

Topiaries, at Terrain Shop

LOVELY SHOPS: Studio Gentuso

If you've read Lovely Living for any length of time, you might have discovered that I have a very weak spot for house-shaped home decor pieces. So exploring this Nashville-based store is difficult for me - so many temptations! Check out her gingerbread house and the adorably whimsical twisted ceramic houses this artist makes. There are also a few Noah's Ark critter figurines.

My favorite piece here is this darling ceramic little French tea house.

Studio Gentuso, on Etsy

LOVELY TV: Cooked, on Netflix

Tonight I've set aside some time to watch acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan's new four-part miniseries. He'll explore "how cooking transforms food and shapes our world." I'm looking forward to it! Sounds fascinating. I'm tired of competitive backstabbing cooking reality shows, so this will be a nice treat. Here's the trailer in case you want to check it out:

Cooked, on Netflix

Four part Miniseries Cooked Aims to Reclaim Lost Cooking Traditions (The National)

Netflix and Grill: Michael Pollan Takes His Food Evangelism to the Small Screen (Mother Jones)

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Almond Butter No-Bake Cookies (Minimalist Baker)

Almond Couscous with Pomegranate (Kevin is Cooking)

How to Make Overnight Oats (Fitfluential)

Los Angeles: City of Breakfast (NY Times)

Moroccan Quinoa with Blood Oranges, Olives, Almonds and Mint (Feasting at Home)

Orange Cranberry Almond Bread (Baking Bites)


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