What We’re Into: Spring 2014 Edition

24 03 2014

Charleston honey

Local Honey

I’ve learned my lesson. When the Farmer’s Market closes down for the winter next year, I’ll buy twice as much honey as I think I need. I’m rationing out the last of my remaining nectar, and counting the days until the Farmer’s Market returns. With the pollen starting to coat my windows, cars, and patio furniture, I’m gonna need the rumored health benefits of some delicious local honey in battling spring allergies. Stock up! After all, it never goes bad.

bee glasses

Ballard’s Bee Drinking Glasses

Speaking of honey bees, why not sip your sweet tea from gorgeous glasses featuring a subtle French bee? Did y’all know that Ballard Designs is headquartered in Atlanta?

hydrangeas

Hydrangeas

Is there anything more beautiful or more Southern than a big batch of hydrangea flowers gracing your home? Decorate with this delicate bloom while you can, and then when the heat of summer gets to your bushes, you can enjoy them all year around with this Diane James silk bouquet.

 

What are y’all into this spring?

 





Barton Springs

27 07 2010

It is summer, so I understand the concept of it being a bit warmer than the rest of the year, but is it just me or is it really, really hot this summer?  I am thinking it is warmer than usual.  This past weekend was hot, humid, and brought us no rain.  Pretty much, you have to stay in the shade, or in the AC, fill up on plenty of fluids and if possible, be close to a body of water. 

Luckily, I am close to the ocean, but this weekend I was dreaming of my recent trip to Barton Springs in Austin, Texas.  The springs are located in the city (no two hour haul required), and operated by the city.  For a three dollar fee you can enjoy naturally cold water, and sit in the shade on a grassy hill between your dips.  Lifeguards watch over you and the children to ensure your safety and there are even showers, and changing rooms available. 

I have visited many a mountain stream, rolling river, creeks, waterfalls, etc…in the south and this is topping the charts as one of my favorites.  There is nothing better than swimming in cold, cold water on a hot, hot day. 

Where are your favorite watering holes in the south?





It’s Spring Cleaning Time: Part 2

12 05 2010

Everyone ready to get started? I promise, this will be so different from how you’ve ever cleaned, you’ll be amazed once you get the hang of it, you might find yourself doing summer cleaning, fall cleaning, winter cleaning…

If you’re like me, you’ve always cleaned your home one room at a time.

It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough to hire a professional for one particularly busy season of life where work, company, the holidays all coincided, and they told me how it was really done: one full task at a time.

Momma always taught me that you start at the top, and work your way down, so that’s what we’ll do, but we’ll do the same task in every room before moving on to the next. Now why didn’t I ever think of that?

Warning to the folks like me: Do NOT get caught up organizing your cookbooks, getting fresh file folders for your tax documents, shopping online… Keep moving!

  1. Begin in the bathroom. This is where most of us keep our supplies anyway, right?
  2. Dust EVERYTHING. This includes high shelves, mirrors, handrails, tvs, pictures, all your knickknacks. Remember, all you really need is a dry cloth or rag. Those fancy wet wipes are great, but unnecessary. If you feel you need to, should you have long haired pets or family members, run a vacuum extension over your furniture and curtains.
  3. Beds – strip those sheets and put on some fresh ones. Yes, all throughout the house. Now don’t you feel better already? (Something about beds made always makes me feel good.)
  4. Wipe down all surfaces with your Surface Cleaner. Just a quick wipe to disinfect and cleanse really does the job. (Think doors, light switches, remotes, phones.)
  5. More than halfway there! Now spray down sinks, tubs, toilets. This includes the kitchen and the bathrooms. This isn’t the fun part, but look at all you’ve already done! Leave the spray to work, then start back with the first one you sprayed and clean it first, working your way back to the last. Don’t forget your appliances – microwave, doors, and cabinets!
  6. Depending on what sort of floors you have, we’re already down to the bottom of the rooms. Sweep or mop the bathroom and kitchen and any other hard surface floors that need it.
  7. Vacuum any rugs or carpets. Start at the top, and work your way down. Keep moving! Almost done!

Now you’re done! Sit back, relax with that glass of tea. You’ve earned it. Don’t even think about going to the gym today. I’m giving you permission to skip it. You’ve had a great workout and you deserve to sit and enjoy your nice clean house. At least until the husband and kids get home, right?





It’s Spring Cleaning Time: Part I

11 05 2010

“Peter,” she said, faltering, “are you expecting me to fly away with you?”

“Of course; that is why I have come.” He added a little sternly, “Have you forgotten that this is spring cleaning time?”


There is one pleasant part about that dreaded, old-fashioned term – spring cleaning.

That part is the feeling you have when it’s over and done with, with the windows flung open, curtains flapping slightly in that warm breeze, and the thought for just a moment, your entire home is as fresh as can be. Ah… just drink in the sunshine, with perhaps a well-deserved glass of sweet iced tea and a bouquet of fresh flowers as your reward, and breathe easier knowing that your home is a sanctuary of order and polished surfaces that would make your mother proud.

Ok, I give you all that image to keep in mind as we get down to it. We all know it’s necessary, but it’s not the most fun task of the year. But after a long, dimly-lit winter, you’ll want your home to be spic and span for a spring-full of fun, without any dusty baseboard corners hanging over your head.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of it.

Now, I’m probably the least “green” person you’ll ever meet. BUT there is one area where I’m totally green, I use homemade cleaning products. They are super easy to make, smell much fresher, and you can feel good knowing you’re not setting your food/little ones/own skin on harsh chemical products.

So today is going to be all about some easy cleaning products you can whip up yourself. You don’t need much, and a lot of this you might already have.

[Don’t mix products you’re unfamiliar with with extra ingredients, or with quantities not listed, as so many chemicals are perfectly safe in small doses, but might cause bad reactions if mixed together. Don’t even use an old, empty cleaning spray bottle. You’ll need fresh ones as even small traces can cause bad effects when it comes to those pre-made cleaners. See, more good news is once you’ve banished all these harsh chemicals from your life, you’ll never have to worry about such reactions again!]

Go to the store and buy yourself these simple, inexpensive products, perhaps a pump bottle or two to mix with, and make sure to pick up a Sharpie for labeling. Don’t want to spray your precious garden with what you thought was pure water!

Then tomorrow, we’ll get into the hows of cleaning with these products so you might want to block out your morning or afternoon (no more than about 4 hours, I promise), but your only homework for today is to get ready.

You’ll need:

A LOT of distilled white vinegar (Trust me, get the big jar… you will love this stuff. If you’re worried that your home will smell of fish and chips with all the vinegar spread about, don’t worry. It won’t. The telltale vinegar smell is quite strong at first, but it dissipates quite quickly so by the time you’re done, no one will be able to walk in and tell, at least with their nose, that you’ve cleaned today.)

Apple cider vinegar (This will change your life in your bathroom, I promise… no more of that “disinfectant” that smells like a hospital. All our little bodies need is a little sanitation, not to go antibacterial crazy and ruin our immune system.)

HOT water (you’ve probably already got this at your house, no?)

Lemons (And lots of them! How much more natural, and wonderful smelling can you get?)

A few tiny bottles of your favorite smell of essential oils (This will be the most costly part, but just a couple of drops goes a long, long way. I prefer Tea Tree oil, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lavender, but whatever you wish will be fine)

Baking soda

Borax (This can be a mild skin-irritant, but is much more natural than chlorine bleach. I don’t personally use bleach, but if must, seek out a hydrogen-peroxide based bleach instead.)

An old toothbrush or two (for those little corners)

Mineral oil or Linseed oil

Real soap flakes (you can even use 1/2 cup these instead of laundry detergent)  or mild dishwashing soap

Salt (Great abrasive, as well as toothpaste sometimes for those hard to clean countertop stains. Cornstarch also often works well to absorb oils.)

Cedar chips or herbs for those musty drawers

Rags (If you must, those microfiber clothes, but husband’s old tees will do just fine… and while you’re at it, dash through his closet for an old button down shirt “he’s” been meaning to get rid of… throw it on over your clothes, and there you have a smock so as not to ruin your pretty little dress… you are wearing a dress, and heels, and pearls, aren’t you? Good. So am I.)

Steel wool

Broom and dustpan

Elbow grease (Sorry girls, this is the least fun ingredient, but remember our window/sweet tea/envious-friends image and it will get you through it. Of course, the obvious alternative is an extra $300-400 dollars to call a cleaning service, but then you don’t get the satisfaction of personally doing it yourself. But, um, if anyone has an extra $$$, we won’t blame you.)

Yes, these few things will do your entire home. Trust me, the harmony of fragrance (or lack thereof) will alone, make you a very happy girl.

Now, for the “recipes.”

Surface Cleaner

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

3 drops of Tea tree essence

1 drop of Eucalyptus essence

1 tiny squeeze of Lemon

Glass Cleaner

1/2 teaspoon soap

3 tablespoons vinegar

2 cups water

Tile Cleaner

Baking soda. Yup, that’s it. (You can add a little water or lemon juice if you like.)

Furniture Polish

Wipe in a circular motion with your rag, rinsing off with plenty of hot water. Dry.

4 ounces Linseed oil

5 drops Lavender essence

5 drops Rosemary essence

Carpet Cleaner

Mix white vinegar and baking soda to paste consistency. Work the paste in with an old, clean toothbrush. Allow to dry, then just vacuum up. If it’s a tough stain, you might have to do this more than once to get it to lighten and lift. (Test this on a tiny corner, especially if you have colored carpet, just to make sure your carpet is color-safe.)

Oven Cleaner

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 gallon hot water

Wear your gloves, girlies! Scrub with very fine steel wool. Rinse well.

Now that you have all this arranged neatly in a basket, and have a nice, new space in your cleaning pantry for all your goods, relax for today. We’ll see you tomorrow!





Atlanta in Bloom

23 04 2010

Last weekend boyfriend and I travelled to Atlanta.  We had the best time visiting with boyfriend’s brother and girlfriend. The weather was spectacular, and despite the pollen, I just could not stay away from all of the blooms around the city.  It is fun to see a city come alive in the spring. 

Happy Weekend!





Snippets of Spring

8 03 2010

If life barely exists around you and the world appears to be ending as you know it, don’t give up. Spring is nearing.  Let me share these snippets of spring with you as the greenery and flowers return to find us with open arms. 

There is much to be said about new beginnings, new life, and a renewed sense of purpose, but sometimes a change of attitude is all that is required to start afresh.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Spring is nearing and you can do all things. 





To Live and Love Spring

2 04 2009

Flowers and plants in their natural state can be some of the most peaceful things to admire.  Buds, and blooms always bring to mind thoughts of spring and new beginnings.  Fresh cut flowers light up any room and usually do not require much fuss.  When it comes to flowers, I am of the opinion that less is more.

While the world is at the cusp of spring, we are experiencing a bounty of all things beautiful and new.  As the bees buzz, and the butterflies soar, whites, pinks, and purples abound.  It is a sight to behold.  The trees rejoice to find themselves once again clothed in robes of green, and they clap their hands as the wind says a gentle hello and whispers, spring is here. 

Spring could be my favorite season. However, I usually find myself in love with the dawn of each season.  It is all silliness really, but to experience the seasons with a heightened sense of appreciation, your life with never be the same. 

Here is a bit of the bounty this year. 

Camellias in Bowl

Camellias in Bowl

 

Cut Spirea by Window

Cut Spirea by Window