Monday, February 28, 2011

Vanilla Sugar and Fresh Whipped Cream


Hello!  I'm finally back after an unexpected little break...I have been very sick.  I mentioned on one of my posts weeks ago that I had been sick with a terrible cough, well, I never did get better and it just kept dragging on and I finally realized that I needed to stop trying to keep up with everything and just focus on getting better.


The only good thing to come of all that lying around and being sick, was that I officially kicked my {almost} daily Starbuck's habit!  When you are as sick as I was, leaving the house to head to Starbuck's just wasn't realistic, so I devised a few ways at home to make my coffee extra special...


I have been making Vanilla Sugar for awhile now, but mostly as gifts...not any more...I realized it was a great way to add a little extra flavor to my regular cup of coffee.  It is super easy to make, all you need is sugar, a vanilla bean, and a jar with a tight fitting lid...

There are various ways to make Vanilla Sugar, but all I do is cut a vanilla bean in half and then cut that half into 4 or 5 smaller pieces...place them in a canning jar and fill with sugar and you're basically done!  Just shake it once a day for the next 2 weeks to keep the sugar from clumping and to distribute the vanilla flavor and you'll have perfectly flavored sugar!!



Then, to make a cup of coffee really taste like you are at a coffeehouse, try making some fresh whipped cream to top it off!  I use this recipe *HERE*

The whipped cream melts and leaves a delicious frothy layer to your coffee...




Now you know how I kept my sanity while I was sick :))  A good, homemade, cup of coffee mid-afternoon is still one of my favorite pick-me-ups, and now it doesn't cost me $5/cup!

I hope to try and get back into the swing of things and be back more regularly now and to finally get around and see what everyone has been up to lately, I miss everyone...


Happy start to your week!



Tracey

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Day of love


Any holiday that devotes a day all to love is all good in my book...and this year I wanted to do a little something extra special for my kids, so I set up a mini Valentine's party just for them!  Here are a few pictures from our little party...





I used a deck of "heart" cards that my daughter got from the dollar store last year to decorate the chalkboard...


And I tried to add loving touches to the table setting to show my little ones how very special I think they are...












I even brought out the family heirloom punch bowl.  And here's an easy tip, if you want to make regular punch extra pretty, try floating a few lavender sprigs in the punch bowl...fresh ones work great, but you can also use dried lavender sprigs from your garden {not the store as they may have been treated}, just cut the stems off first...







Have a wonderful week!


Tracey

Friday, February 11, 2011

love unexpected



Hello and Happy Friday!  I am linking up today with my friend Jeanne's ALL FOUR LOVE series that is going on in the month of February.  Today's theme is {love unexpected}.

For me, one of the most unexpected loves I have found over the last year and a half, has been photography.  In July of 2009, I bought my first digital camera and instantly fell in love with the art of photography.  And that is what it is to me, an art...and a new found passion...

I remember loving the photo below, one that I took very early on after I bought my camera...but I didn't know what I was doing back then or what any of the buttons on my camera were even for!! :)  I look back on this photo and still love the fact that it captures the tenderness of my husband and son together, but I cringe at the technical aspect of the actual picture...



While I'm still no expert at photography {a far cry from it}, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and practicing along the way...


I love photographing my children {when they choose to cooperate}...


And I love photographing the landscape beauty around me...


...whether it is the quiet beauty of the Midwest...


...or the awe inspiring beauty of far away places like Paris...


Another favorite of mine, is photographing flowers...


...as well as the simple beauty of what I collect and cherish...


But I have built this blog on my passion for decorating...and without my love for photography, I don't think I would have nearly as much fun with this blog as I do!



To play along, or see more {love unexpected} posts, visit Courtney's blog, *HERE*


Have a wonderful Valentine's weekend!!!



Tracey

p.s.  Most of the pictures in this post are not ones I have shown before...it is amazing how many photos one can accumulate when you have a love for photography :))



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cabinet love...


Hi!  Today I thought I would show you a little peek inside my favorite little glass cabinet.  This cabinet is a family piece from my husband's side of the family that I painted a creamy white on the inside a few years ago and just recently painted the outside of...I knew it would be perfect in our new family room.

Here's a quick look...

An old bucket full of hydrangeas and a few pops of color on top of the cabinet...



And some of my favorite things on the inside...





I often get asked questions about how to display items and what to choose to display...my answer for that is simple, decorate with what you love, not what's trendy...that way your home will be a reflection of you and your passions and will always seem warm and welcoming.  For me, vintage items are clearly a love, but the items I display will often have additional significance because of who may have given them to me or where I discovered them.

These 3 old laundry pins are something my father-in-law gave me a few years ago.  He always knew how much I liked "old things" and would run down to the basement when I was over and come back up with some vintage item he thought I might want.  These pins always make me smile and remember him, so I like to keep them where I can see them...









 

Have a wonderful week!!!



Tracey

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Family Room


Good morning!  I have lots and lots of pictures for you today!  Thank you to everyone for your well wishes on me and my girls being sick, as well as, your lovely comments on my sneak peek...they were truly, truly appreciated!!!

I guess I will jump right into it...

This wall has the vintage doors from the 1800's that I have had for awhile now with the intention of using in this room when I finally was able to redo everything.  I decided to put a table in here for the kids to eat their snacks on and color and craft on...even though the kitchen table is right next to this room, they ALWAYS want to eat and color in the actual family room, so this way I save having to wash the slipcovers constantly and they have a special spot for themselves {well, okay, it's kind of for me too :)}.


They each get their own stool...


I just like how this old paint brush adds a pop of color, so it sits on the arched window turned chalkboard {you know my obsession with chalkboards!}...




This vintage French deed box houses all of the kid's crayons, scissors, glue, etc.


...and this old candy bucket is perfect for storing all of their coloring books










I asked Anne Marie's talented husband, Jason {Klaske Construction}, to build a cabinet for us to house our tv in out of old barn wood {so that I can hide it away when I want to!}...he did a fabulous job and I am so happy with how it turned out!!!  I gave it a coat of white paint and topped it with some of the many blue mason jars I have from my husband's family...










An old caddy full of lavender pillows...




I will have to show you inside this cabinet in another post, as I am sure you've had enough pictures for now :)


My intention in this room was to create a space that was family friendly while still blending in the love I have for decorating.  I will continue to tweak things, but I am just about ready to say I'm done in here!! :))



We are supposed to be getting a blizzard here today...they are predicting 12 - 20 inches of snow!  I plan to sit down with a pot of coffee and a good book and wait it out, you won't catch me trying to leave the house!!  Stay warm my friends!



wall color:  Distant Star, part of Home Depot's zero VOC line, Freshaire
floor color:  New Concrete floor paint in satin by Valspar {Lowe's}



Tracey

p.s.  My friend Anne Marie is hosting a fabulous giveaway where you could win a signed copy of Fif's new book, Romantic Prairie Style!!!  Go *HERE* to enter!