Summer Tablescape Blog Challenge

When I decided to join Katherine’s, of Katherine’s Corner, Summer Tablescape Blog Challenge, I knew it would indeed be a challenge! I am not one to take the time for fancy table setup. In fact, I don’t even usually plan my meals in advance. When I get hungry, I go find something to cook.

Pretty dishes always catch my eye and I have been collecting fabric napkins and tablecloths when I find pretty ones at the thrift store, so I just hoped I might have enough to make a decent showing for Katherine. I didn’t want to let her down.

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

I already knew that I wanted to use my yellow dishes and the bouquet that I purchased at the Hueytown Harvest Farmer’s Market set the color scheme.

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Summer Bouquet

This summer tablescape was obviously going to be outdoors and I had not planned to use a tablecloth. We eat outside a lot and I really wanted to keep it casual. But when I started putting my place settings onto the mesh type open tabletop, I realized things were not going to show up in the pictures and it just wasn’t working as you can see below:

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

I was actually looking for something else at the time, when I came across this tablecloth and wa-lah! It was exactly what I needed. It had the yellow and the purple and it included blue which was the final touch I needed and everything clicked in my head. I knew what to do.

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

I am pleased with how my first tablescape turned out.

Tablescape, Outdoor dining, Home Decor

 

Now, I’ll just go get the pitcher of ice tea and we can sit down and take out.

 

Don’t forget to check out ALL the participants in the Summer Tablescapes Blog Challenge!

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Infatuated with Window Boxes

I am infatuated with window boxes.

INSPIRATION:

window boxes, container gardening

I like the way evergreens look in a window box, and I like a green and white color scheme.

window boxes, container gardening

A big burst of color also appeals to me.

 

FIRST ATTEMPT:

When I purchased my own house back in 2006, I loved it’s character. It was an adorable little cottage with a lot of curb appeal. You can read about it HERE.

Gardening, Window Boxes

Just about the first thing I did to update the backyard, was to add window boxes. I have always loved the charm of window boxes and I thought it was the perfect compliment to my cottage home.

Gardening, Window Boxes

These particular window boxes were on clearance at Target and I loved the X design. I had purchased a patio set and the chairs also had the X design on the backs so I figured it was meant to be!

Gardening, Window Boxes

I later added “window boxes” to the deck rails. It was always fun to plant them every spring. But by summer it was so hot that the plants couldn’t usually survive the heat.

Gardening, Window Boxes

There were some of these same type window boxes on the deck railing at our new house when we moved it. I had the same problem in the heat of the summer, so I don’t plant them any more.

CURRENT ATTEMPT:

But I have come up with a new idea…

I am wondering if I can add window boxes to these windows on the back of our new house. It would be beautiful… like the one below:

They are very high up and would have to be watered and even planted from the inside I think. I know I would love the look, but would I love the trouble they’d be?

Window Boxes, Container Gardening, Decks

I saw a photo in a magazine many years ago, that really captured my attention. It was a couple of apartment buildings with a courtyard in between. All the apartments had small balconies that faced the courtyard. Every single balcony had window boxes or pots of Silver Falls Dichondra hanging down towards the beautiful courtyard. It was stunning! It made me think of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

 

Do any of you have high window boxes on your 2nd story windows? Are they just TOO much of a pain to deal with?

 

 

 

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I Like Good Things!

I Like Good Things!

Do you  use Facebook?  I live 600+ miles away from my family and I use it to easily share with them what is happening in my life down here in Alabama. It’s practically real time sharing! Then when the political posts began to appear, it became too much ugly, too much meanness, too much hatred. I like good things. I made it my purpose to ONLY share good stories.

One day I found Sean.

The first time I read one of his short stories, I was hooked. I subscribed to his blog and began to read his stories for my daily uplift.

Sean of the South.

And if you ever hear that he is doing a book signing anywhere near you, GO!

I heard on Facebook that Sean was going to be in a nearby town doing a book signing, so my sister in law and I went to Columbiana to meet him and it was even better than I expected it to be.

Sean of the South, Feel Good Stories, Southern People

The next morning I described the event this way:

“I was thinking about this event that we attended last night, and here is how I would describe it: 
It was like sitting on the front porch on a summer evening. In rocking chairs. Chatting with friends about life. When someone pulls out their guitar and sings a few of your old favorites.”

I felt like I was home again.

When I was a kid we had a friend who would come over frequently for supper and always bring his guitar. Sitting there listening to Sean, I was reminded of such good times from my childhood.

I took these videos with an ancient phone and they are not not good quality. I apologize to Sean for that.

Sean read a few stories from one of his books. He answered questions. He told us about himself. And I felt like I had a new family member. No. I felt like he was a good ole family member. It was such a comfortable evening.

I purchased two books that night, one for me and one for my mama. We each read them immediately and then swapped.

Sean of the South, Feel Good Stories, Feel Good Stories

This is NOT an affiliate link, but I highly recommend Sean’s work, which you can purchase HERE from Amazon.

 

I like surrounding myself with good people, good times, good stories.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. ~Proverbs 13:20

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” ~1 Corinthians 15:33

 

 

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One thing leads to another…

One thing leads to another…

When Mr. Menace bought the antique warehouse scales, I had to locate the best place in our house to showcase them. They are so special that I wanted them where they would be seen every single day, so the obvious choice was the living room. And one thing leads to another…

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

The pale yellow wall allows the scale itself to be the focal point. I do plan to paint the a/c vent to match the wall, so that it isn’t distracting, and also get the electrical cords corralled. That should give it a more clean and completed look.

This, however, is the finished look! In order to move in a new piece, something had to go and that created a whole chain reaction of events.

Mr. Menace had moved in this butcher block nearly a year ago and it was placed in the living room temporarily.  So before we could install the new warehouse scale, the butcher block table had to be moved out.

butcher block tables, warehouse scales, home decor

This squarish block table needed to sit in the kitchen under the window. Now, you realize this means, that the table that was already sitting there had to be moved.

Kitchen furniture, butcher block tables, drink station

This long rectangle butcher block table needed to be moved to the study to sit underneath the wall of wood boxes. But of course, before THAT could happen, the loveseat that was sitting under the wooden box display had to be moved.

Western theme decor, country decor, study decor

This loveseat was rarely used. The only time anyone sat on it was if we had company, so I decided it wasn’t worth keeping something we didn’t need for just a couple of days use a year.

I must take just a moment to thank Kate at House of Hollingsworth Blog for featuring my scales, and butcher blocks, and all the changes that led to my Coffee Bar and several other Coffee Bars. You should take a look. Thank you Kate!

I was Featured!

 

STEP 1:

I listed the loveseat for sale on some local yard sale sites. It took about 2 weeks, but it was pretty easy to sell it, since it was basically brand new. Now that the space was vacant, it was time to move the long rectangular butcher block table to this spot.

 

STEP 2:

The difficult part about moving this table was actually the meat scale that sat on top. This scale takes two people to move it. One person could do it, but really shouldn’t. So we moved it off the table and then we were able to just slide the table from it’s current position to its new position.

Butcher block table, Kitchen decor, kitchen furniture

STEP 3:

So now that the spot under the kitchen window is available, it was time to move the squarish butcher block table here. This was going to be the challenge.

Mr. Menace built a cart that could hold the weight and used a jack to maneuver it onto the cart. He is a master at moving heavy objects by himself.

Butcher block table, kitchen furniture, kitchen decor

Once I saw the table in its new home, I KNEW what I wanted to do. I have been seeing coffee bars all over Pinterest and blogs and I WANTED  one. This was going to work perfectly!kitchen furniture, butcher block table, hot chocolate bar

I moved my blue shelf to sit beside the table to hold the cups and mugs, the coffee, hot chocolate, and tea bags, and the sugar, sweetener, and the honey from our very own ANGRY BEE APIARY!kitchen furniture, butcher block table, coffee stationKitchen furniture, coffee station, butcher block table

I liked it best before we put the meat scale back on the butcher block, but that’s where it has to sit, so I can live with it.
kitchen furniture, butcher block tables, meat scales, hot chocolate station

I am loving the coffee/hot chocolate/tea station!

 

 

 

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Stayin’ Alive

Stayin’ Alive

In the summer heat of Alabama, it takes a lot of water for my summer flowers to be able to sing that song…. (everybody loves the Bee Gees right? sing along now…. ah ah ah ah Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive….)

As I mentioned in my last post, July just up and disappeared on me! And even though it is now August, I wanted to share with you my July flowers.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

This yellow rose is so sweetly scented.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

I just purchased this lantana. It’s pink and yellow color combo is one of my favorites.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

When I saw this speedwell at the store it was covered in bees, so I had to add it to my Ginger Rock Garden!

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

It’s not a flower, but this purple oxalis that I dug up from my mama’s yard, is just so pretty.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

I love the deep colored foliage on this crepe myrtle. They are pretty young and are just starting to bloom. I can’t wait to see them in a couple of years.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

Butterfly plant, always gorgeous.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

My hydrangeas have black spot which I am trying to get under control. But still, the bloom is beautiful.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

The honeysuckle is still blooming in this heat.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

Pink Echinacea is still going strong.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

This basil is stunning with its light green foliage and its deep purple blooms.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

The hummingbirds are enjoying my rosemary.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

I have a few pots that have made it through the first month of summer. This one is diamond frost.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

Orange (or maybe its Coral) canna lilies with creeping jenny trailing out of the pots is a favorite plant combination of mine.

Summer Flowers, Heat loving flowers, Alabama flowers

And this fantastic concrete pot was on the street corner of downtown Wedowee, Alabama. I have been working there for the past week and I just love the lion feet, the huge pot and the planting combination.

Are your plants surviving the summer heat?

 

 

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July 31? How did that Happen?

July 31 already? How did that happen?? It’s been a busy world for me and Mr. Menace so I guess that’s how August managed to slip right up on me.

Here are a few things that have transpired in July:

A NEW GRANDDAUGHTER ARRIVED:

grandbabies, bottling honey, family visits, summer flowers, sightseeing Alabama

Grandchild #8

grandbabies, bottling honey, family visits, summer flowers, sightseeing Alabama

Her name is Dorothy Ruth.

grandbabies, bottling honey, family visits, summer flowers, sightseeing Alabama

She will be called Dottie.

 

BOTTLING HONEY:

bottling honey, pure raw honey, Angry Bee Apiary

We harvested just under 5 gallons.


bottling honey, pure raw honey, Angry Bee Apiary

This filled 55 one pound bottles.

bottling honey, pure raw honey, Angry Bee Apiary

Read all about the ANGRY BEE APIARY’s first Honey Harvest HERE.

 

FAMILY VISIT:

Hot Tub swimming

My brother and his family came for a short visit.

Travel Alabama, Lock 17, Burchfield Park

It was fun to have boys around the house!

Bubble Fun!

Learning to drive a zero turn mower.

 

 

Sightseeing Alabama:

Lock and Dam, Warrior River, Burchfield Park

We took our visitors down to Lock 17.

Lock and Dam, Warrior River, Burchfield Park

With all the rain, there was quite a bit of water coming over the dam.

Lock and Dam, Warrior River, Burchfield Park

We hoped to see a barge come through the lock, but were not so lucky.

Lock 17, Warrior River, Lock and Dam

 

 

Rendering Beeswax:

Rendering beeswax, honey harvest, robbing bees

While my sister-in-law was here, we decided to try our hand at rendering the beeswax that was taken out of the hives when we made our first honey harvest.

Rendering Beeswax, Honey Harvest, robbing honey bees

After slowly heating the wax in water until it melts, it was strained and poured into this pan to cool.


Rendering Beeswax, Honey Harvest, Robbing honey bees

It was fascinating to watch as it hardened into a clean beautiful chunk of beeswax.

 

Rendering Beeswax, Honey Harvest, robbing honey bees

This picture is borrowed from my sister in law, Lisa. I knew she would put this to good use, so our first batch of beeswax went home with her.

 

And so, here I find myself at the end of July and starting August. I love summer. Do you?

 

 

 

 

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Honey Harvest

Honey Harvest

Preparation for our first honey harvest was done the weekend before. Mr. Menace had hoped to be able to complete the prep work AND do the harvesting on the same day, but we are old and tire quickly it was just too much, so we put off the harvesting until the next weekend.

PREPARATION:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

All the equipment had been in storage for years, so it all had to be washed.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

July in Alabama is quite hot and humid, so Mr. Menace doesn’t do anything without a fan nearby. The ladder works great as a table to hold the boxes as they are removed from the hives. And the leaf blower is a great tool for getting the bees off the forms so we can steal their honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

That next Saturday dawned cloudy with a forecast of rain, but the sun came out around 9 and we jumped in. It was our first ever harvesting from our own hives. Mr. Menace has participated in a couple of different harvests with other beekeepers in the past year though, so he had some basic knowledge.

REMOVAL FROM THE HIVES:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

I took a few pictures before I got entirely suited up because I knew I wouldn’t be able to once I got my gloves on. You can see Mr. Menace preparing for harvesting in the above pictures. He is getting his smoker ready and has removed the top box.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

This first box that he removed is a one he had added recently, so there is no honey in it yet and you see very few bees. He just sat it here to get it out of the way so he could get to the next box which was FULL of honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

SEPARATION OF HONEY FROM THE COMB:

Here Mr. Menace is removing the frames from this box so that we can get to the honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Here is one of the frames. Inside the frame are the honeycomb cells which are full of honey. Each cell has a wax cap on it.  Across the bottom, on the outside of the frame is some new honeycomb that is also full of honey, but has not been capped yet.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The wax caps have to be removed to release the honey. We used a wire scraper.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Next, the frames were placed into an Extractor which spins the honey out of the cells.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

We harvested approximately 5 gallons.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The specks you see are honeycomb particles.

STRAINING THE HONEY:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

After straining.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Pure Gold!

COMPLETION:

The next step will be bottling the honey and labeling it for sale. I have created our labels and ordered them. They should be arriving soon. I can’t wait to show them to you and get your opinion.

Oh, and one important factor! We managed to do this whole harvest without getting stung! However, when we took a break to cool off, we removed our protective gear. I decided I would return a call from my daughter and granddaughters, but I had left my phone out by the hives. I walked out there to get it and one little bee got in my hair which I had pulled up in a clip. He got stuck and couldn’t get out and wiggled his way all the way down to my scalp and in his frustration, stung my head! That thing hurt ALL NIGHT LONG!

Did you see our new apiary?

 

 

 

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An Anniversary Staycation Part 2

I love our home and our backyard, so when we decided to spend our anniversary at home this year, I was excited to plan our anniversary staycation. This is Part 2 of our staycation. Read Part 1 HERE which is all about FRIDAY.

SATURDAY

I had found a Groupon for a creek floating adventure, so Saturday morning we got up and headed out towards Oxford, AL , for some Floating Fun. Looking at their website, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but for the price, I highly recommend it!

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

The first thing you see upon arrival, is the registration office. It’s a rinky dink  no frills kind of place, but you can’t beat the tranquility and beauty we saw on our two hour float down the Choccolocco Creek.

* These photos came from Floating Fun’s Facebook page. We had just bought new phones and I refused to take them with us, so I didn’t get any pictures of my own.*

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

It was so peaceful and quiet, it seemed that we may be the only two occupants on the river that day. But that wasn’t the case, because we saw turtles, mallards, blue heron, and thankfully, no snakes!

Creek floating, inner tube floating, floating Alabama

We enjoyed ourselves so much, we seriously considered doing it again during the weekend. But our weekend turned out to be over much quicker than expected, as all vacations do.

SUNDAY

Sunday was a day of rest. I promised Mr. Menace that I would not schedule something to do every day, because he likes to sleep late  we both had some things that we wanted to do at home. I did a lot of reading, sun worshiping and dipping in the hot tub.

MONDAY

Mr. Menace decided to take me to my favorite plant nursery! Now, THIS was a treat! I usually go by myself, so to have him tag along was indeed special.

We first stopped for brunch at First Watch. It’s clearly a yuppy place: we were the only old folks there, AND the only ones with coffee and a diet “soda” on the table. Everyone else was young and was drinking water.

Then we were off to Myers Plants and Pottery. Even when I am not in the market for any new plants, I can just walk around this nursery for hours. I love everything about it. Much of my garden art came from this nursery;

bottle trees,

Garden Art, Bottle Trees, Completing the Garden beyond plants

purple pots,

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, pretty pots for plants

large green pot,

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, pretty pots for plants

Mexican pottery Frog and many of my plants also.

Garden Art, Dressing up the garden, talavera frog

And now, they have extended their antiques section and guess who found themselves something to purchase?

antiques, warehouse scale, plants and pottery

Mr. Menace had a great time in their newly expanded antiques department. And he fell in love with this warehouse scale. He decided he couldn’t live without it.

But of course it wouldn’t fit in the car.

TUESDAY

Tuesday was pickup day for the new antique scales.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

It is extremely heavy.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Those columns are iron.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Mr. Menace estimates them to be around 400-600 lbs.

I sure did wish those guys could bring their tow motor along to our house and help get it inside!

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

I should have known that Mr. Menace had a plan though. He took it all apart and moved it inside piece by piece.

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

Nothing like a good puzzle!

Antique Warehouse Scales, Staycation, Plants & Pottery

And so ends our staycation. We had a great time.

Have you ever done the staycation thing?

 

 

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An Anniversary Staycation

I love our home and our backyard, so when we decided to spend our anniversary at home this year, I was excited to plan our anniversary staycation.

2018  will be our 10th wedding anniversary and we are planning a big trip to celebrate, so to save money this year we decided to stay home and enjoy some cool things Alabama has to offer and do some things we have been wanting to do in our own area.

Our anniversary is May 30, and usually coincides with Memorial Day weekend. We took off work Friday, Monday was a holiday, and we took off work Tuesday.

FRIDAY

The first thing that I wanted to do was to visit a new restaurant in Birmingham called ALABAMA BISCUIT COMPANY.  Mr. Menace is a biscuit connoisseur and I had high hopes for this place!

breakfast, biscuit, pizitz

It is located in Pizitz Food Hall, along with several other new restaurants. I tried the Ham & Cheese biscuit and Mr. Menace tried the Pecan Butter & Honey biscuit. While they were good, I was a tiny bit disappointed that the biscuits weren’t warm. I do want to give it another try on another day. The CROQUE MADAME (Smoked Ham, Pastured Egg, Grassfed Cheddar, Lemon Herbed Aioli, Fines Herbes) has caught my eye!

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

After breakfast, we drove to the small town of Elkmont, AL, to tour Belle Chevre goat cheese creamery. It is located in a beautifully renovated cotton warehouse downtown.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

We got to meet, pet, and feed their 3 goats,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

watched a short film about the founder,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

learned about their tiny, but hugely successful goat cheese making operation,

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

and finished up with a taste test.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Our tour guide and host for the day was Dennis (another one! Alabama is FULL of Dennises) and he is perfect for his job. He has a great personality and is very knowledgeable and friendly.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

You know how much I love gardens and they had the cutest little one outside the factory, and also an adorable chicken coop.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

After the tour was over, we ate lunch at their Cheese Shop/Tasting Room (cafe). Both of our sandwiches were excellent! Mr. Menace had the Grilled Ham  and I had the 5 Cheese Grilled Cheese.

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

And I fell in LOVE with the window boxes outside of that little cafe!

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

Conveniently, there was also an antiques store next door to occupy another hour of our time.  🙂

Travel Alabama, Ellkmont, Goat Cheese Creamery

SATURDAY

to be continued…

 

 

 

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If the Shoe Don’t Fit

We have all heard what we should do “if the shoe fits”, but what if the shoe DON’T fit?

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

I bought this “green roof” birdhouse a few years ago on our anniversary trip to Mentone. I love picking out a plant to put on the roof every spring.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

This spring when I walked out to survey my birdhouse and check to see if it needed new potting soil, I noticed a hole in the side wall of the birdhouse.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

At first I thought maybe there had been a knot in the wood there and it had fallen out. Upon closer inspection, I realized that something, some animal, had made this new hole.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

As spring came, and birds began to nest, I began to see a bird coming and going out of the side hole of my birdhouse. I decided not to plant anything on top, so that water would not harm any potential babies that might be inside.

Gardening, Birdhouses, Backyard Birding

I knew when I bought it, that the original hole was too small for most birds, but I didn’t realize that they would make their own entrance hole! It took me a long while to actually figure out that it is a mocking bird nesting here. They will sit on those trellises before they enter the birdhouse.

Maybe one day I’ll catch them in a photo.

 

 

 

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