Capsule Wardrobe

I have recently become intrigued by the idea of the capsule wardrobe. The idea of a wardrobe built around some key pieces is attractive for many reasons;  I would presumably always have something to wear and I would spend less money and time shopping.  Sign me up!  It turns out I have unknowingly  started my capsule wardrobe.  Most of you probably have too.

But, it’s a little more complicated than building a wardrobe around 7 or 8 key pieces.  Each of us has different lifestyles, not to mention different seasons.  Where to start?

 Most experts agree that 30-40 wardrobe pieces are sufficient for each season.  For our climate, I can get by with 3 seasons : winter, summer, transition. Then,  for each season you will categorize your clothes depending on your lifestyle and your needs.  Categories may include, work, daily (at home, errand running), nice casual (going out) or even semi-formal (weddings, funerals, etc).

Now that you have your needs and categories established, go through your closet and categorize your clothes accordingly.  Do not include clothes that don’t fit or that you haven’t worn in the past 2 years.  Set those clothes aside.

Since it always helps me to see things organized on paper I have created a worksheet to help with the process.  You can print it here.

The worksheet has helped me see what I actually have and its purpose.  It also helped me figure out what I need to buy so that my wardrobe is complete and I don’t have “nothing to wear” issues.

As I was analyzing my clothing needs I knew that one  category I must have is semi-formal.  Our friends’ children are getting married, we go to a funeral more than we used to, other friends  are having those milestone anniversaries and it’s necessary  to have the appropriate clothes for these events.  Some events can be planned for but some are unexpected and you don’t want to be in the position of just buying whatever because you don’t have time.

It is definitely a process.  I put those ‘set aside’ clothes in a bag for donation.  But I love the idea of being intentional about the clothes that I absolutely need and those that are no longer useful.

What is your process for dealing with your wardrobe?  Do you have one?

Blueberry Cobbler

Those of you who have been following me know that I love to browse thrift stores.  It’s a relaxing hobby that gives me the opportunity to find treasures of all kinds and also, it helps me avoid doing the things I need to do, like cleaning.

Last week I brought home “Katie Brown’s Entertaining” .  I used to watch her show on TV whenever I happened upon it.  I found it entertaining, although I do not remember enacting any of her ideas.  But this book was $3 so I thought I’d give it a try.  The recipes look good, but her ideas for dressing a table are way over the top and nothing I would ever do.  One idea involved squares of sod on the table.

But I had to take a dessert as my contribution to a potluck dinner and Katie Brown’s blueberry cobbler caught my eye.  I love blueberry cobbler or any fruit cobbler really.  The picture in the book reminded me of a cobbler my grandparents used to make, although theirs  was blackberry, from blackberries picked on their property. My sister and I were so impatient waiting for that warm and delicious treat to be ready.

I should have studied this picture more closely.  No where in the recipe is the size of the pan indicated.  I have a deep pie plate that I just assumed would work.  My first indication that this was not so was when I assembled my cobbler.  All of the batter would not fit on the top.  Uh-oh.

Well, there’s no turning back now.

The crust that swallowed the pie plate.  Mr. DB: I bet it will still taste good.  And it does.  Plus, vanilla ice cream covers a multitude of sins.

My grandparents baked their cobbler in one of those large enamel tins, similar to the picture in the Katie Brown cookbook.  If I were to make this recipe again, I think I would use a 9×12 baking pan.  The dry ingredients have 6 teaspoons of baking powder, so that indicates the crust will expand.

I changed the recipe afterwards and have omitted the nutmeg and cinnamon that Katie Brown added to the blueberries.  The nutmeg in particular distracted from the blueberry taste.  The recipe is posted on my recipes page and here.

I really liked the addition of cornmeal to this crust.  The cornmeal gave it a cookie like taste and texture.  So good.


Guest Bedroom After Waterproofing

Our guest room has slowly been evolving over the past 7 years.  In its first life, our youngest son claimed it after this part of the house was added on.  It’s spacious and away from the rest of the house, located in the basement.   There was a real hodgepodge of furniture back then which didn’t bother him.  And, new furniture was a luxury item after the addition expenses.  Not to mention I really had no idea what I wanted to do in this room.

Here is a lovely pic of the room’s transition to official guest room after our son got his own place.

The quilt on the bed was a find at Homegoods and my inspiration for the colors in the room.  Over time, a year or so, it morphed slowly into this.

I found the headboard on the curb and recovered it.  There were a few other adjustments here and there.  Then last year I spent a few nights down here while the master bathroom was being renovated.  You can read about my experience here.   Spending a week here forced me to face the fact that we had water seeping into this room that no dehumidifier was going to get rid of.  Sigh.

Well, fast forward six months and  the water issues are resolved at a cost of about $5000 for waterproofing  and then replacing drywall and painting.  An expense like that sure cuts into your decorating budget.  It reminds me of Property Brothers.  There is always a structural problem that has to take priority over the decorative, fun details.  Of course, on TV all issues are miraculously resolved with no visible sacrifice.

Post-waterproofing, below.  After my bad luck with the water issues I had some good luck come my way.

My sweet friend happened to be moving during this time and gave me this lovely hand painted dressing table.

The little chest of drawers matches the dressing table.  It is also hand painted.  I am using the curtains from my office because I am changing things in there.   What serendipity!

Also, I had found that secretary at a local “barn sale” before I knew I was going to have the water expenses.   It adds just the right decorative element and gives me space to display things.  I am still working on this side of the room.  It looks a little bare I think.

I am still playing with these shelves.

The area opposite the bed needs some work.

There is a really old tattered chair under that quilt that I have to make a decision about.

  I have houseguests coming next month so that is my deadline.

Even though I bemoan the expense of waterproofing, it’s a relief to have the issue resolved and to know that my guests will be breathing clean air!

Have you had water issues in your home?  They abound in our hilly area.

‘Hope your weekend is warm and dry,

Boho Guest Bedroom Final Reveal

We are done (for now anyway) in sprucing up my daughter’s guest bedroom on a $500 budget.  This post is a little late because we ordered a rug which didn’t arrive until the end of the week.

We are so happy with all the new personality in this room!

Continue reading “Boho Guest Bedroom Final Reveal”

Make an Indoor Garden Tote for houseplant and flower care

Have you ever seen some of those stately homes that have a room for flower arranging?  The potting room, as it’s called, has shelves for all of your vases, a big counter, even a sink?  And of course that’s where you would keep your flower shears and frogs and the necessary tools for arranging beautiful bouquets.

Well, I can only dream of such a room.  But I do have a place for my tools for flower arranging and for grooming my houseplants. Some years ago my sister gave me this little garden tote.


Continue reading “Make an Indoor Garden Tote for houseplant and flower care”

5 Tips for Renting A Vacation House

Every year (almost) we rent a house at the beach for a week of vacation time with our family.  Now that our three children are grown, and two are married, it can be difficult to coordinate our schedules so that we can all be together for an extended time.  All of us try to make it a priority to set aside a few days to come together.  And it’s vacation, so it’s not hard.

4 houses, better (1 of 1)

Of course, as your family grows and people mature, you look for different things in a house.  This year we will have two granddaughters with us.  Yay!  In years past we wanted a ping pong table.  Now we need some quiet areas.   It’s a good idea to jot down some must-haves for your house, along with budget and the dates that are good for everyone.

Continue reading “5 Tips for Renting A Vacation House”

Neglect and Dirt I noticed while Prepping for Guests

We belong to a group that takes turns hosting a dinner party every month.  Our turn hosting is this Saturday so I have been trying to do a little prep every day to get ready.

As I prepare to have friends over,  I start seeing my rooms as my guests see them and then  all the little imperfections come to light.   But if I don’t get this vision until the day of the party, as sometimes happens, then I feel overwhelmed with little cleaning or decorating details that are tangential to the party.

Continue reading “Neglect and Dirt I noticed while Prepping for Guests”