Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Would You Do? - Dining Table & Hutch

Last week we found a new dining room table, two benches and hutch for a steal off Craigslist.  Both pieces together with the two benches were only $300. Pretty good for solid, sturdy pieces, huh? We were in need of more seating for family gatherings and the hutch happened to come with the table. Who can resist more space for storage and display in your kitchen?

I plan to re-design the display and storage in the hutch; what you see here was placed
temporarily for fun and to see what various colors look like with it. So many options to
choose from: whiteware,  vintage brown transferware, jadite, or a combination?

The dining table can easily seat eight, despite the photo giving the illusion of it being smaller.

I love the lines of each piece, but I am unsure if I want to keep the wood finish as it is or paint/stain/refinish. I think I like a more natural color for the dining table....maybe sanding down and refinishing this would be the way to go? Or stain it a dark walnut color? As for the hutch, I am toying with the idea of painting it a light and creamy color with some distressing, but I don't want to be disappointed with the results (it is a rather pretty piece as it is now). Perhaps I could just paint the the backs of the inside cubbies for some contrast?

What would you do? I need some help, please!

Linking to:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day Trip of the Month: Hillsborough, NC

This past weekend we took a little day trip to one of my most favorite places in all of North Carolina: the charming, historic town of Hillsborough (formerly spelled Hillsboro). If you are a history buff, enjoy North Carolina Colonial architecture, or love quaint beautiful southern towns, then you will adore  the town of Hillsborough. I must admit I am a little biased since I used to work in Hillsborough both for the Burwell School Historic Site and at the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough.....can you tell I miss this town and its people dearly?

Founded in 1754, Hillsborough was an early political and cultural center in the state of North Carolina. The town has served as home for several royal governors, an original signer of the Declaration of Independence, a former enslaved seamstress who became a successful businesswoman and the personal dressmaker and close confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, and countless elected officials and educational leaders. Key events of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War occurred in Hillsborough.  Named one of the "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2007, today Hillsborough is home to a number of artists, famous writers, and a variety of other townfolk who appreciate the charm of a small town with a vibrant and healthy downtown with lots to offer. For more on the town's history, click here.

On our walk through Hillsborough's historic district, we visited the Old Town Cemetery, containing the graves of some of the town's most noted individuals and families. The cemetery sits behind the Presbyterian Church, which is believed to be the oldest Presbyterian building in continuous use in the state of North Carolina. 
Old Town Cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church

Old Town Cemetery

First United Methodist Church of Hillsborough

Hillsborough contains fabulous Colonial and Antebellum architecture, which, is sometimes rare to find intact North Carolina, especially for a small town. Most of these early homes have been lovingly restored and cared for, many with early gardens and heirloom English boxwoods still flourishing.

"Twin Chimneys" (notice the lovely blue color of the porch ceiling)

The Colonial Inn (formerly a restaurant and inn, it is undergoing rehabilitation work)

The Masonic Lodge, a stunning example of Greek Revival architecture in Hillsborough

The Burwell School Historic Site, (c. 1821, 1846) home to Margaret Anna Burwell and Robert Burwell, their twelve children and the enslaved members of their household. They operated a school for girls at their home in the two-room brick building behind the main house. Elizabeth Hobbes Keckly lived as a young enslaved woman at the Burwell household who later went on to purchase her freedom and became a successful businesswoman, talented seamstress, and personal dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln. 

I encourage you to make the day trip to visit Hillsborough, NC. Visit here for more information and a calendar of events. If you don't live close enough to visit Hillsborough, then get out and discover a historic town near you!

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Years...

photography by Todd Nichols

photography by Todd Nichols

photography by Todd Nichols

photography by Todd Nichols

photography by Todd Nichols

Five years ago my husband and I were married. I can't believe it's been that long! He has been my supporter, my comforter, my caretaker, the one who keeps me level-headed, and my encourager. I am so thankful that the Lord blessed me with him. It has been a wonderful 5 years and I look forward to the many more to come!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Posting at The Vintique Object: "green" cleaning and pest control

Hello, friends!  Today I will be guest posting over at The Vintique Object on natural, non-toxic pest control as well as ways to "green" your home for the safety of pets and children.  I encourage you to come join me!

Have a wonderful day and try to stay cool in the July heat!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Drying Herbs

I decided to try drying some herbs from my pots outside. I LOVE fresh herbs....the smells are divine and I love cooking as much as I can with them. Growing, drying, and storing your own fresh herbs is a wonderful way to be more self-sufficient in your cooking and homesteading activities, but it's also a money-saver!

To start, I collected several healthy stems from my small herb "kitchen" garden. I then tied the stems in bunches with some twine and hung them from a wrought-iron metal gate we have in our foyer area. I thought this would be a good place since it stays dry and pretty cool.

dried herbs

Next I simply plucked the leaves of each herb from the primary stems and stored each in an air-tight container. It is best to use your dried herbs up within a year. It is also recommend not to chop or mince the leaves until you are ready to use them in order to preserve freshness. It couldn't be any easier!

plucking the rosemary from its stem

Store your dried herbs in air-tight containers. It is recommended that you not chop or crush the herbs until you
are ready to use them in cooking. They will retain more of their flavor this way. 

Harvesting frequently and drying in the summer allows you to enjoy fresh herbs throughout the colder months. I could not believe how simple a task it was. I am never buying store-bought herbs that I can grow in my backyard again!

Linking to:

Friday, July 8, 2011

First Summer Harvest

We've recently been enjoying the fruits of our labor with our first garden harvests of the summer!

The heirloom speckled bibb lettuce has been coming in strong for quite some time now. We have enjoyed many good summer salads. The beans and peas seem to be doing well (although the leaves from the ground up to 2 feet have suffered from the chicks snacking on them). I am very excited to see tiny tomatoes and peppers starting to come in as well!

Last night we enjoyed our first heirloom yellow crookneck squash of the season. I made a squash au gratin casserole dish with them and it was very yummy!

Squash Au Gratin

2 lbs. yellow squash
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 cup bread crumbs (or you can use crushed ritz crackers)
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
parmesan cheese

Cook squash and onions in olive oil until tender. Add salt, pepper, butter, bread crumbs, shredded cheese, milk and egg and stir well until blended. Pour into casserole dish and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.   Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 

I cannot wait for the rest of my vegetables to start producing! We plan re-seed the spinach that didn't take and plant fall pumpkins hopefully very soon. How does your garden grow?

Linking to:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebrating Independence Day

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Independence Day weekend!  As we celebrate with family and friends, let us not forget our brave ancestors who, in declaring our independence from England and bringing to a head the revolution that was ensuing, risked everything for our great Nation and its precious freedoms. The original signers were forced to flee, living in fear and putting their families at risk for torture and even death. We must preserve their legacy for future generations.

I am enjoying a quiet, relaxing 4th of July weekend for a change. Still, I couldn't resist putting together some yummy goodies and a festive display in honor of Independence Day.

vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce, blueberries, and fresh whipped cream 

I just tied a red gingham apron around a simple
wooden bar stool for some fun color

my patriotic tin box
(normally it sits on a stack of vintage suitcases in the living room)

these old blue medicine bottles were found along the
river bank where we used to live in Saxapahaw

even the chicks approved of the spread

May we always remember the early Colonial founders, Revolutionary War veterans and patriots of all classes both male and female who fought for our liberty in one way or another.

I am joining: