A new storage space









I love the challenge of living in a small house. Rather than wishing we had more closets and storage we get creative and work at finding ways to utilize our space making life feel a little more efficient incorporating both the practical and beautiful.

Our most recent light bulb moment was the top of our basement steps.

My Pop and Chris had installed bead board in this area when we first moved in but it never got painted and quite honestly was left forgotten as the basement door hid this neglected space.
A few years ago (when our girls were safe from tumbling down the stairs) we removed the door to open things up which actually made the kitchen feel a bit bigger.

The door was left off but the space remained unpainted and under-utilized until recently when I became frustrated with my ever growing cast iron pan collection. We have accumulated an array of second hand pans in all shapes and sizes. They are the workhorses of our kitchen and are used daily. I love the versatility of cast iron, able to go from stove-top to oven. Our favorite pan is the extra large one used for big batches of granola and roasted vegetables. Chris found that pan for only 25 cents at a yard sale! Wishing that I had a space to hang my pans rather than stack them I realized that I did have a place!

Yes, the top of our basement steps would make the perfect pantry for pans but how about a place for hanging tools such as dust pans, brushes and a brooms. And while we are at it, let’s hang a few hooks for extra coats when we host company since our house came without a coat closet. Killing two or even three birds with one stone is how I like to roll in our home.

Once we envisioned our new space we got to work and started with painting the bead board and walls a crisp white. Chris hand forged hooks (made with recycled iron from an old hay rake) that would be sturdy enough to hold the heavy pans.
He also made a light fixture from Kentucky Coffee Tree wood and a ball jar.

I hung a wooden accordion hook on one side for dust pans, brushes and brooms and installed a few hooks on the other side for aprons, coats, spare cutting boards, etc.

A while back my mom had gifted me an antique drawing of a woman selling at market. I could never find quite the right place for her until now.

I love this new space displaying our tools that are both practical and beautiful.

I find that domestic work becomes a bit more enjoyable when your tools are pretty enough to display.

Rather than let them sit until the end of the day, I now eagerly wash up our pans after each use to hang them back on their hand forged hooks in their very own pantry.

Pickled Beet Hard Boiled Eggs







I hope you all had a lovely weekend and for those who celebrate, a joyous Easter.
We certainly did and will share through photos tomorrow.
For now I will share with you a favorite springtime treat~pickled beet hard boiled eggs.
It really is the perfect combination don’t you think?

Now that spring is here, our hens are laying daily which means lots of hard boiled eggs to be pickled.
I used fresh horseradish from our garden-the first harvest of the season!
The beautiful crimson beet juice soaks right through the egg white and yolk making for a show stopper plate of deviled eggs.

Pickled Beet Hard Boiled Eggs

6 medium beets
1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. grated peeled fresh horseradish
3 tbsp. peeled sliced fresh ginger
3 cups cider vinegar
4 tbsp. sugar
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled

Trim stalks off the beets. Wash beets and put into a medium pot, cover with water, and boil until soft, 45–60 minutes. Drain, slip off skins, slice beets, and put into a large glass jar.
Add onions, peppercorns, cloves, ginger and horseradish.
Bring cider vinegar, 3 cups water, and sugar to a boil in a small pot, then pour into jar. Set aside to cool, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month. Add eggs to jar at least 4 hours and up to 5 days before serving.

Cyanotype eggs








I have been sharing my egg dying adventures on instagram and thought it might be fun to share my process of making cyanotype eggs. Don’t worry though these prints are made with only natural ingredients!

I used a purple cabbage dye bath which makes the most perfect blue and gives a sun print effect on the egg.
I clipped leaves and flowers from my backyard and houseplants such as snowdrops, juniper leaf, oxalis, fern, begonia and ranunculus leaf.

You can use hard boiled eggs or dye raw ones to be blown out after they have dried.
It really is a simple process with a gorgeous result.

Cyanotype Eggs

~White hard boiled or raw eggs
~Nude pantyhose cut into small pieces (I may have just pocketed a few of those throw away peds at the shoe store. Shhhh… but they do work perfectly!)
~Leaf and flower cuttings from your backyard or houseplants
~1 whole purple cabbage
~White vinegar
~Pint size ball jars

In a large pot, mix 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar. Add 1 head of chopped purple cabbage. Bring water to a boil and simmer for 1-2 hours.
Turn off heat and let cool. While cooling, position leaf/flower cutting on egg and hold in place by encasing the whole egg with pantyhose. Tie tightly in a knot or secure with a rubber band or twist tie.

Fill individual ball jars with dye bath and place each egg into it’s own cup. You could also submerge all of your eggs at once into the large pot of dye. Let sit overnight or for several hours to get a deep blue. The longer it sits the deeper the hue. Keep checking to get your desired shade.

Pull egg from dye bath and place on paper towel or rag to drain a bit. Allowing it to dry as long as possible makes for a crisper silhouette.
Remove pantyhose and allow it to dry some more.
Gently peel off leaf and voila!

Fish fry






It was our turn this week to host dinner with Izzy.
It’s always fun to share some of our favorite recipes with the ones we love, so we smoked up the house with a fish fry.

There was breaded fish made with coarse cornmeal served with garlicky roasted potatoes and sauteed swiss chard and kale. In the middle of the table there were dishes of tartar and cocktail sauce and slices of lemon.

No one seemed to mind the smoky fog as we delighted in the fact that we are now eating dinner without having to turn on a single light!

Chris’s Fish Fry

4 fillets of atalantic cod, talapia or sea bass
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal
Olive oil or coconut oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse fillets.
In a large cast iron pan heat 1/2 inch of olive or coconut oil at medium to high heat.
Coat fillet in flour on both sides.
Dip floured fillet in egg wash, coat entirely.
Coat fillet heavily in cornmeal.

Fry in oil on both sides until cornmeal turns golden brown. About 3 minutes on each side.
Drain on a paper towel.

Spring vignettes














With spring just around the corner I have begun to tuck little reminders of what’s to come into the vignettes around my home. Nests, blown out dyed eggs, glass rabbits from my childhood and tiny birds have all come out from hiding.

As each new season approaches I pull out the many cards that I have saved throughout the years that correlate. I have quite a collection for each season and holiday and like to scatter them about on my wire card wreath, tucked into mirrors and showcased on the wooden card stands made by Chris.

Branches found on walks and clipped from my yard have been submerged into vases of water and are just beginning to bud out. (Read more about how to here).

It is still a bit chilly here but the light is changing and I have found several things peeking up in my garden.

I may still be wearing my wool coat every day but these little vignettes inside my home encourage me that soon it will be Spring!

Local friends, I will be teaching my Creating Space for Beauty and Simplicity Series at Harvey Oak Mercantile this year. This month I focus on the home and creating vignettes and incorporating the seasons into your decor.

A few new inventions




Chris and I make a good team. He likes practical and I like beautiful. Lucky for me everything he makes is beautiful!
I enjoy my home when it is neat and orderly which means I like things put away (or hidden away according to Chris).
I am always switching things up around the house which means where things live sometimes changes.
He is always asking me “So where did you hide it now?” about many of his belongings.

His slippers are one of those things. I may put them in his closet, or by his bedside. Sometimes they make their way by the back door on the shoe rack. Or placed in a basket with all of the other slippers.
I knew he was trying to make a point when he came home last week with his newest invention- Slipper Hooks.
As much as I like things put away out of sight, I had to admit I loved his idea.
He came home the next day with a hook to hang above for his pajamas. And there you have it a new “practical” place for his things with no excuse for me to hide them away.

And while we are on the subject of inventions, check out our affordable version of a new recliner for Chris. To back up a bit, we had been searching for a leather recliner similar to this one for a while. Since they were hard to come by in our price range we settled for an Ikea POANG chair. It was the right size and is actually pretty comfortable. Since the matching ottoman was too bulky for the space Chris decided to make a custom one that slants down at just the right angle that he prefers. Not only is the whole combination beautiful but it is surprisingly ergonomic!

Wednesday night dinner






The girls have each taken on a night to make dinner. Hannah cooks on Wednesdays and Norah on Thursdays.
This week Hannah made chicken, veggie stir fry.
As she chopped and prepared, I made ginger snaps for Craft Circle that evening.
I love working together with my family in the kitchen, especially when the back door can be wide open.
Hello Spring!













Last weekend it was Chris’s turn to be celebrated so we hosted our favorite friends for desserts and drinks.

I made this chocolate almond torte that I now make for almost every party. People of all ages love it. I asked Chris to cut out a design from card stock for the top of the cake. I said maybe a “C” for Chris? But he had other plans in mind.

I also served my mom’s baked brie recipe which I had forgotten all about. It was a huge hit. I plan on making it more often.

While all of the kids were upstairs watching a movie our friends had us participate in a mad lib they created all about Chris. It was a hoot!

Mimi’s Baked Brie

1 large brie wheel
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup of pecan pieces

Melt butter. Turn off heat and mix in brown sugar and pecan halves.
Pour over brie and refrigerate.
Close to serving time bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Let set for 15 minutes before serving.

You can half or quarter this recipe for a smaller wheel or slice of brie.


















Well I officially am the mama of a teenager. How can that be? Time really has flown by but I can honestly say I have cherished every moment. It is a complete honor and joy to be Hannah’s mama. She is such a sweet soul who embodies a great sense of self and style, a gentle leader who stays true to who she is.

She got to celebrate the beginning of teen-hood with her favorite friends last Friday night. She wanted to include art making (collages, self portraits and silhouettes), dancing, a photo booth and movie.

Her best friend slept over the night before and they spent the day of the party decorating with handmade tissue pom poms and a paper banner. They set up the photo booth and even made goodie bags labeled with each person’s name cut out from magazines. The bags were filled with fun art supplies and chocolates.

The girls did what most pre-teen and teens do- hang out, giggle, sing, dance, squeal and chatter.
Hannah ran the show and there wasn’t much needed from me other than to snap a few photos.

As much as I love entertaining and putting on a party, it was fun this year sitting back and watching Hannah create her own party.