After any renovation there is always so much to do and that is especially true of a kitchen renovation.  Everything has to go back into the cabinets, hopefully in an organized way.  There is some restocking of pantry and refrigerator. I was excited to get in here and start cooking.
But the window seemed bare so I made something quickly, thinking I would soon know what I wanted and get something better.
That was 5 years ago.

A couple of weeks ago I finally said I have to do better on that window.  If I had a picture I would show you what it looked like.  It was a kind of pleated valance thing.  Really I should have been embarrassed in front of company.

It didn’t take me long to find fabric on the online site that I use (Fabric Guru).  Once the fabric arrived the sewing only took a couple of hours.  I’m happy with my new look.
 The new curtain inspired me to de-clutter my counters a bit.
And I made a blueberry pie!
 It is so nice when there isn’t a bunch of “stuff” on the kitchen counters.  There are only two of us living here now, so I should be able to keep it like this.

One more look at my new curtains. . .

Have a great week!

Alfresco Dining/Cocktails

We are coming off of 3 weeks of almost solid rain here in the DC area. The rain just sapped all motivation to buy flowers or even plan an evening outdoors.
Here it is, almost Memorial Day and I am just getting around to sprucing up our outdoor dining area.
But yesterday and today we had temps in the 80s and I couldn’t wait to get outside.

Everything was pretty coated with dirt after all of the rain.  I had to scrub (used the grill brush!) and rinse and work pretty hard to get the coating of dirt off everything.
As you can see I had my reward when all of that work was done.  It was so nice to sit out here and enjoy the warmth, the sunshine, and the sound of birds.
Ahh, summer, don’t go by too fast.

Tom and I resolved to sit out here at least once a week.  We will see if it happens – mosquitos usually drive him indoors.
Happy Memorial Day friends!

Tortellini Salad for Memorial Day Picnic

Everyday it seems that I find more and more convenience products that make life easier.  One of my latest finds is the Dellalo muffaletta spread from their Bruschetta collection.

I went to college in Louisiana and as we all know you cannot beat the food in that region. I fell in love with muffalettas, a sandwich full of salami and ham, cheese, and olive salad (and probably many other ingredients).  They are so full of flavor, largely due to the olive salad which is a key ingredient. 

It’s hard to find a decent muffaletta outside of southern Louisiana.  I’ve even tried making them.  But making the olive salad is labor intensive so I was so happy to find this in the refrigerated aisle.  I no longer eat like I did in college #the good ol’ days, but I do still love food with lots of flavor.

The olive salad is a great addition to tortellinis.  I buy the Buitoni chicken and prosciutto tortellini, but the cheese ones are a good vegetarian alternative.  After cooking the tortellini and draining it, add the mufffaletta spread.  I add additional garlic, about 2 cloves, and some salt and pepper.
If I really want to go all out,  add some diced green pepper, sliced mushrooms, diced celery, halved cherry tomatoes.  It’s one of those dishes where you add the ingredients that you like.
To finish dress with a little olive oil and vinegar dressing, a half cup of olive oil to a fourth cup of vinegar.  You can add a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning if you like.
Most of these ingredients I have on hand so all I have to do is get a couple of packages of tortellinis and a couple of containers of the muffaletta spread and I can make a quick salad to take to

 my Memorial Day picnic.

Do you have some go-to recipes for picnics and other summer potlucks?

This is not a sponsored post.  I like to share products I find worthy.

Five Stylish Choices That Are Not Functional (Enough)

Do you ever come across stylish rooms that look great, but you wonder if they are really functional?  Because function is important, right?  We want our homes to look beautiful but they have to work.  I put together a list of items that, while stylish, just don’t work for me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Isn’t this beautiful?  Does any work get done here?  And, where does she keep her stamps?  While I truly love the look of acrylic desks, any desk without drawers is just not functional to me.

These kitchens are lovely without question.  But I could not manage without my upper cabinets.  Plus I would have to go buy all matching glasses so they would look good on open shelving.  Just not practical.

Here’s another one: bar carts.  Don’t get me wrong, they look great all styled up and give a room a nice modern vibe.  But, they are kind of small if you are having more than 4 people in for drinks.  And they are usually somewhat low causing you to stoop.

This bar cart is offered by Frontgate for over $2000.  It measures approximately 3 feet high.  For a lot less money you could get a very nice credenza or buffet with much more space for storage and display.

I understand the reason for a pedestal sink in small bathrooms.  But, you can almost always get a small vanity into these places.  You are going to need the storage for toilet paper, extra soap, cleaning supplies.  The bathroom below isn’t even small, but the owners opted for a pedestal sink.

Poufs add an element of whimsy and charm to a room, it’s true.  But they also add clutter, and, does anyone ever sit on them?  They look uncomfortable and as if they would collapse if anyone over 8 sat on them.

So, thoughts?  Do you have some design elements that frustrate your desire for functionality in a room?  I’d love to hear about them.


My Favorites from the One Room Challenge

The spring edition of the One Room Challenge finished up this week and, as always, there was plenty of eye candy and inspiration. The One Room Challenge is a blog event where designers, professional and amateur, re-do a room in six weeks, updating us weekly.
Below are some of my favorites from this spring’s challenge.

Everything in this kitchen is the perfect choice, but those bar stools! They add the glamour, the perfect touch.  See the entire transformation here.

Like the kitchen above, this bedroom features planking.  I thought I was getting tired of this endless planking of walls, but I have to admit it adds warmth.  I would love to stay in this guest room.  It’s cozy but simple, modern and rustic.
Read all about it here.

You have to check out the before of this powder room!  It was an eighties style dark cave.  See how she accomplished this amazing transformation here.  Just so you know, all of that molding was not there before.

Below, one designer did two rooms that are connected.  I really love her unique flair.  So fun and unexpected.

I love the colors in this family room, soft but not boring at all.  It’s a very comfortable and cozy space.  You can read about it here.

I always enjoy this biannual event.  See all of the inspiring transformations at Calling It Home.