Around the House

Easing Into Fall

Here we are in September. Hard to believe that school is back in session, temperatures are threatening to cool off. Some of us have had rain. There have been some, um, interesting predictions for Winter weather.

Around here we are easing into Fall. I’ve been contemplating raisin bread. Homemade, that is. I’ve never made that version before. It could prove to be quite interesting. I do keep threatening to expand my bread baking. 😀

Miss Bella has found a New Spot for her nap. Naps? One of these days she will rediscover her cozy heat reflective kitty pad and curl up on it to keep toasty warm, but not today. Today she curls up in the middle of the floor with plenty of room to stretch out, curl toes, yawn, and snooze.

Are you easing into Fall, too?

Around the House · Musings

Getting Back to Normal?

The kids are heading back to school soon. The weather is starting to head toward what the end of Summer usually looks like. In places. 🙂 Folks are starting to think about a change of pace that could either be a slow down or a speed up depending upon the kids in the household.

I don’t know about you but I’m ready to stop thinking about Summer Meals and start diving into some hearty recipes that are not only satisfying but tasty, too.

Granted the move toward Fall will take a while – my local weatherman is predicting 90+ degree temps in the coming days – but in the meantime it is a good idea to start checking the markets to see what is on offer, what fits into the budget, and what changes we might make.

The Holidays are also on the way and that will mean some extra budget planning, not to mention time planning, for those who are looking at gift giving.

Yep, we are heading back to Normal.


Around the House · Cooking · Dining · Food

A Bread Board That Works!

If you are like me, you love homemade or artisan types of bread. If you are also like me, cutting these loaves can be a trial.

In my case, I have a wonderful, sharp knife, but the effort to slice the loaf without crushing it, or getting a slice that is a bit, um, mis-shaped, is a trial.

For several years I looked to find a solution to this problem, thinking that I might purchase an electric knife to solve the issue. I admit, I did not know about the bread slicing guide until I happened to trip over a reference in one of my searches.

I needed something that would make the slicing easier, provide a variety of slice sizes, and would be easy to store away. What I found astonished me.

Behold, the Natural Bamboo Foldable Bread Slicer! Click on the link for more information.

Pay attention to the information guide and note that while this is an easy to use product, there can be a bit of a learning curve. Like many first time users, I set mine up backwards – with the platform that the bread sits on lower than the knife guide. When I turned it over (right side up), it worked great!

It is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store. At first I was concerned that the bamboo would be damaged by cutting, but that hasn’t happened yet. I do have issues using the knife, but I expect that to work itself out over time.

Oh, and I have not purchased an electric knife. 🙂

I purchased mine through Amazon, but as you can see on the link above, you can purchase directly from the manufacturer – and check out all the other products they have available!

Around the House

Chain Reaction

How Making One Change Can Bring On More Changes

It never fails. You look around your home and find clutter in places you never really paid any attention to. That clutter can be exhausting, too. The magic happens when that clutter disappears. Or, realistically, when you take a few minutes to remove it.

I recently decided to upgrade a piece of equipment in my office. The electrical plug is tucked away behind a file cabinet that is itself tucked behind a worktable.

When the new equipment arrived, I knew I had a job on my hands because I had to clear out the corner to remove the old equipment and install the new one.


On top of the requirement to move some furniture about, there was the issue of the piles of Things I Need To Do Something With.

I tend to keep a reasonably tidy workspace, but I do have a habit of piles. The problem of piles is that they can become clutter. Visual clutter. And the problem with visual clutter is that it takes up space in the room – and I don’t mean just the spots on the counters, etc. but in the room itself.

To be honest, the full job took less than 30 minutes – and that included moving things around, replacing the old with the new, and putting things back where they belonged. I also gathered the piles together, discarded what could be discarded and realized that what was left was a very small collection of things that won’t take long to deal with.

The magic happened when I looked into the corner and found room. Space. Area.

I found myself feeling a bit creative again. I found that there was room to be creative again.


If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in your home, I suggest you pick a corner, a small corner or spot or whatever, a tackle that. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish in that time. Once the timer has gone off, stop, if you like, and do something else. Or, if you are inclined, set the timer for another 15 minutes and see what you can accomplish in that time.

Let the magic happen!

If this has been helpful, or interesting, please let me know by clicking the Like button below. Thanks!

Around the House · YouTube

I Love This Project!

When DIY Danie on YouTube announced her plans to update her back garden, I was stoked. She put together some amazing projects which included updating her gate and fence, clearing space for a garden shed and work on entertainment areas.

If you have not been keeping up, episode 1 of the creation of the garden shed aired last Saturday and episode 2 is due to release this coming Saturday.

You don’t want to miss this!

If you are contemplating some DIY projects for your own backyard, this is a great collection of ideas and a guide to how Danie plans out the projects and the budget.

If you are an armchair cheering squad, like me, this is a great opportunity to see some imaginative creativity along with some occasionally silly humor and a great dog.

Not sure how to find her? Go to YouTube, type ‘DIY Danie” in the search box. When you click on her channel, don’t forget to check out her website for her other media options and, if you like what you see, click the subscribe button.

Why check her channel out? There are lots and lots of great projects that cover a wide variety of ideas. If you are a beginner or experienced DIYer, Danie has you covered.


The starting point for the project.
Around the House

A Little Reset

It has been a while, and things have gotten a bit busy around the house, but it is time to do a little reset.

You know, review all the media subscriptions and get rid of those you haven’t looked at in a while. In my case, I canceled a couple of streamers that I just wasn’t watching once I’d finished the series I signed up for. When the new series is available, I can choose to sign up again or not…

Speaking of streamers, I looked at those free channels I’ve subscribed to on my Roku box and removed those I haven’t watched in a while. I also took a good look at what I was watching – is there a better source? I recently posted about a free platform that has collected a wide variety of sources for stations I would love to watch but weather and distance make over-the-air viewing an issue. Turns out I’m watching it a lot and enjoying the convenience.

I’ve taken a look at my To Be Read Book Pile (which in my case is predominately audiobooks) and my media calendar to see when the next book by a favorite author is due.

Media calendar? Yes, I keep a calendar just for media – it contains reminders of books that will be published, series updates, and notifications of movies that I want to see. I find it an easy way to keep up with the various authors, shows, etc. without cluttering up my regular daily calendar.

Don’t forget to reset your modem! You might be amazed at the improvement in your signal. 🙂

Reset doesn’t just apply to media. Have you got a list of articles, websites, magazines, etc. that is stuck in a ‘Later’ pile? Now is a great time to go through that collection and remove the ones you know you are no longer interested in.

If you have an RSS feed collector and mark articles for ‘Later’, don’t forget to check out that list. If your reader seems to be a bit slow, chances are that the collection in the ‘Later’ list is slowing it down a bit.

And as odd as it might seem, have you taken a few minutes to sit down and consider what you want to do for the upcoming Winter Holidays? If you have craft projects you want to do now might be a good time to do some planning. Christmas and Holiday fabrics and papers are now available. Just saying… 🙂

Around the House · Media · YouTube

A Visit To Family Affair

I remember watching ‘Family Affair’ when I was a kid – not much older/younger than the kids in the show. Uncle Bill’s New York apartment was the epitome of 1960’s sleek lines, warm colors, and luxury.

For those who love mid-60s modern, this is one of those fantasy homes that can inspire.

Marina Coates has quite a few video tours of TV and movie homes that are worth watching not just for the nostalgia but to learn a few tricks of the decorating and design trade.

She even has a few videos detailing the specifics of how some of those iconic homes became so iconic.

Check out her channel and let me know what you think.

Around the House

Ready For A Refresh?

It’s that time again! If you are in between deep cleans, the refresh is a great way to restart your week. Month. Whatever. LOL!

What is a refresh?

Refresh refers to a bit of a tidy up or clean out. Nothing major, just a time when you put things where they belong, clean a bit, and make your space look a bit less lived in and more liveable.

It can be choosing a specific location (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom) that might need a bit of a small clear out or reorganization.

You could choose to spend some time going through your wardrobe and putting away seasonal clothes you won’t need for a while, setting aside clothes you can take to the charity shops, and making sure there are no items that need repairs.

Have you gone through all the various products you use in your bathroom lately? Are there bottles, etc., that probably could be disposed of? Are there items you have never used?

Refresh doesn’t mean moving furniture about or taking down the drapes for laundering. It can simply be making sure all the bits and pieces are where they belong – or find them a space where they belong and get them situated. That being said, changing cushion covers or floor rugs can make a huge impact on a space you see every day.

One of the side benefits of a refresh is the way it energizes your space and you, too. It is almost like stepping into a new home, or like going on a short vacation.

So, pull out your calendar and schedule a few hours to tackle the spaces in your home. This may sound daunting, but if you alot, say 30 minutes for each space – or all spaces – you might be surprised at how much you can get done. Set your timer and dive in!

Don’t forget to take the time to enjoy the refreshed spaces. Settle in with a cup of tea, put your feet up, put some great music on, and sit back to relax and enjoy your efforts.

Around the House

Rethinking Clearing Out The Stash

It seems to be ‘the thing’ to do these days; clear out all, if not most, of the things you own to simplify your living space.

As one who has a history of having loads of things collected over time and then having to do something with them, I get it. But I came across an article a while back that made me stop and rethink the clear out ideology a bit.

I’m an avid reader, music, and movie fan. As a result, over the years I’ve had loads (tons?) of material that fit into those particular categories. Truly. When I moved into my home after being a long term renter, I not only had to find a way to get my stash from one state to another, but from storage to the house. And my house is not huge.

At the time my video library was pretty decent, my music library reasonably sized and my book collection was, well, substantial.

I ended up giving away loads of books. My video library has always been conditional; i.e.; I bought only those things I knew I wanted to watch multiple times. There have been a few acquisitions that didn’t meet that criteria, but, thankfully, not many. My music library is still pretty <gulp> substantial, but overall manageable.

What I learned after moving and reassessing my stash was that most of what I had, or kept were things that I was particularly attached to. If I rashly got rid of all the stuff just to meet someone else’s idea of whatever, I’d be pretty upset and a bit broke – these items were not cheap and they aren’t all easy to find, either.

As I perused that article I mentioned, I got to thinking about having to restock a household. I know of a couple of people who have had to do this due to either a home burning down or natural disaster. We often encounter these disasters thinking about the family photos and such, what we often forget is the regular things we need to exist in our homes.

Things like, dishes, pots and pans, bedding, towels, clothes, not to mention pet items like beds, litter boxes and toys.

Notice I never mentioned electronics, video libraries, and such.

The things we have in our homes reflect ourselves. Even if we don’t always understand that. Some collect items for the sake of accumulation. Shopaholics, if you will. Even those items purchased not necessarily because of ‘need’ but more ‘want’ are a reflection of the purchaser.

While I don’t think living in homes that are so crowded that we don’t actually have use of the space (been there) is necessarily a good thing, I do think that it is worth taking the time to clear out things that are no longer needed or wanted rather than just pick it all up and send it away.

In other words, you can go a bit too far following the latest trendy craze and doing a massive clear out.

First, give yourself permission to do the task.

Second, make a list of ground rules. What to keep, what to sell, what to give away.

Third, stick to the rules.

Fourth, allow yourself a bit of time to process the clear out. It can/will be a bit emotional. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Move forward.

Fifth, enjoy the end result.

What you will discover is that most of what you have removed from your home are items you never really had much attachment to, or use for, and don’t miss. That will be a bit surprising.

The odd thing about a clear out, no matter if it is physical or emotional, is that by removing things that no longer serve you, you make room for things that will. You will no longer be overwhelmed by the clutter of stuff and have the room and time to embark on new experiences.

And, you will hang on to those things that give you joy, make you smile, work for you and fit in your home.

Win/Win, right?

Around the House · YouTube

Comfortable Living Spaces

I love homes that actually invite you to live in them rather than feeling like either a museum or a hotel room. And, to be honest, I’ve been in a few that felt like cheap motel rooms. 😉

The idea that change or clutter is a problem is a curiosity to me. When you live in a space you have clutter, you have change. It is as normal and everyday as pretty much anything you can imagine.

While I don’t live in a spotless home with absolutely no clutter would be a lie. I don’t live in a home that is totally clutter, either.

Mr. Carrington recently showed us the latest iteration of his loft space and it is lovely! As one commenter mentioned, who would have thought that the old, dark space could be transformed into a light, airy, roomy space? Check it out:

I love this room!

Mr. C’s love of finding inexpensive items and doing DIYs or refits works so well here. You never know what you can find at a car boot sale, or a second hand shop. With a little ingenuity, not to mention a touch of courage, you can create rooms with just as much interest, too.

The trick, if there is one, is to allow yourself to play. Nothing has to be permanent, so if you don’t like it, change it.

Want to really up the options? Why not get together with friends and share your unwanted items? One person’s trash is another person’s treasure – and, with a lick of paint, a spot of glue, a touch of glitter, you can turn that <ahem> trash into some spectacular treasure.

Let the party begin!