I tend to take most of the photos inside my home during the day soaking in the sun light that filters in but last night I looked up to see Hannah drawing lamp-side and had to grab my camera.
After I took the photo I walked around the house to click a few more photos, appreciating the soft light of each room.
Lighting is so very important to me. It sets the mood and tone of a room. I admit that from time to time in the evening I like to cross the street and look into my cozy glowing home.
There are only a few rooms in my house that have overhead lighting, the kitchen, the bathroom and the dining room and all of which are set with dimmers. These rooms also have lamps for the many times I do not want the overhead lights on.
Dimmers are my best friend. Whether I am taking a bath or cooking dinner I can decide how bright or how dim I want the mood to be. There are some in this household who like things a bit brighter than I do which results in the battle of the dimmer. I chuckle sometimes thinking at what the person walking by at night may think as they see the light show inside.
I have quite a collection of lamps in all shapes and sizes, mostly thrifted, some new and even hand made. Chris (the one who prefers bright overhead lighting) sometimes curses me each night as he turns off each lamp before retiring for the evening.
I think I may do a post soon dedicated to all of the lamps in my home. They each have their own story and perform individual roles in my home.
Would you like to see this sort of post?
Because I strive to live by the questions “Do I truly love this? Will it bring me joy?” when out shopping I tend to not buy a whole lot of stuff.
As of late there hasn’t been much that has caught my eye and I have walked out of several thrift stores in the last couple months empty handed, that is, until yesterday.
As far as I’m concerned I hit the jack pot because what I brought home, I absolutely love. Did I need any of it? No. Where any of these things on my “List”? No. But I do adore my new treasures and I did stick a few things in my Goodwill bag to cancel out what I brought in.
There is no guilt in my book if something I bring into my home brings me joy.
:: I actually squealed a little when I spotted a set of those vintage antler candle stick holders. We have quite a collection of antlers in all shapes and sizes around our house all of which were found in the woods by Chris and the girls. These will happily be added to the collection. I just may gift one to my sister for Christmas this year. Shhhhhh!
:: I fell in love with that green glass carafe with the brown leather strapping and stopper. It will look great on the bar with my beginning collection of antique wine bottle coasters.
:: That sweet little studio pottery vase spoke to me. It said “bring me home!” I love it’s shape, pattern and blue hues. It’s new home for now is the mantle.
:: About a year ago I found a shorter version of that same set of hooks where it hangs in the baking area of my kitchen. I love the rustic look of the wood and metal hardware and the hooks swing! This longer one now lives in my bathroom above the tub, perfect for washcloths.
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.
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
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.
Yesterday was a relaxing one with time in between for hanging laundry on the line, making a big batch of granola for the week and arranging little bouquets from the garden to scatter about the house.
We hosted a little birthday celebration for my mom yesterday.
As we were driving back from the beach in the morning my mind began to wander as to what needed to be done once I got home to prepare for the party. Bake a strawberry rhubarb cobbler, clean the bathroom, marinate the chicken and asparagus for the grill, make a few flower arrangements…..
I wanted to be able to entertain mostly outdoors since it was going to be a warm evening but I began to get into a funk as I thought about our back porch which is looking a bit run down (plans to rebuild it next month!) and the fact that we needed new outdoor furniture and that I wished there was some money in the budget for some new plants and …… you get the point.
I stopped myself and said “Amy you can do this. You can get creative and make a beautiful outdoor experience with what you have. I know you can!”
After the car was unpacked and a visit to the market I got to work.
I swept the patio and porch clean (what a difference a clean swept space makes!) and unearthed the patio umbrella from the garage. I brought out a woven rug and laid it out on the porch. To serve hors d’oeuvres, I set up my antique ironing board with a pretty cloth napkin and glass jars filled with stems of Solomons Seal and Honeysuckle. I placed a piece of large flagstone on top of a clay crock and one on top of the stand that holds our fire pit to make little tables to set food and drinks on. I used a basket tray to place on top of one the tables for a homey feel and set out a bouquet of flowers and a votive. Instead of buying flowers, I made arrangements from my own garden of Lambs Ear, Catmint, Hosta leaves, Enonymous and Comfrey. I got out the birthday flags and stuck them in arrangements and planters and set out a chalkboard wishing my mom a Happy Birthday when she arrived.
When I was finished I stepped back and fell in love with the cozy outdoor party space made entirely with things found around my home and garden. Later that night as I was blowing out candles and cleaning glasses off of my makeshift tables I realized I hadn’t noticed all night how run down the porch was. I sort of like it now.