Thursday, August 18, 2016

Using Vintage Treasures as Storage Solutions

Hi everyone!  It's so blazing hot here in our part of "The South" that I've been run inside to the air conditioning...I never did finish the landscaping projects outside.  I will pick that back up when it cools a bit.  I figure none of it's worth a heat stroke...

So, I'm inside working.  I was cleaning my pantry and decided that you might like to see how I use vintage and unusual containers to store everyday items.

First, I should tell you that my house is very unconventional.  We designed it ourselves, and did so for the way we live.  I did not want traditional cabinetry in my kitchen, but we would need some place to store dishes, containers, food, and everything else necessary for a kitchen to function, so I decided to add a walk-in pantry to the floor plan.  In the kitchen itself, I do have a custom built island with some cabinetry on the kitchen side of it. It was also built with storage in mind.  I'm going to focus on the pantry today and we'll come to the kitchen another day.

Looking into the pantry

Most houses would probably have some type of door going into the pantry.  I chose to use a netted curtain that I found at Ikea.  I like the sense of mystery that it brings to the decor...everyone always wonders what's inside there. 

The first major storage piece that you see straight through the door is the old black cabinet that once served as my parent's china cabinet.  I have their entire dining room set, which is now all painted black, and scattered around different places in the house serving different purposes.  I removed the glass doors from the cabinet so that I could have easy access to the items inside it in the pantry.  I absolutely LOVE the look of this piece mixed with the very contemporary metro shelving units that are also used in the pantry.  You could get the same look by mixing old and new furniture pieces in unexpected places.

On the top shelf of the black cabinet is a picture of my mom.  I lost her almost five years ago, and I like to see this whenever I'm working in the kitchen.

These jars make great storage solutions for dry baking goods.  See the large jar? That one came from my mom.  It was given to her by her sister many years ago. My uncle had a gas station when I was a little girl, and in these jars he had snacks for sale.  I remember going by there with my parents and he would always let us pick something good to eat from the jars. You can buy reproductions at Wal-mart today.  I purchased the two smaller ones there to match the vintage one.   

From this shot you can see a basket hanging from the ceiling.  I keep empty baskets handy to grab in a hurry if I need a pretty container for fresh fruits, vegetables, or to take something somewhere to a dinner, etc.  That white basket is a vintage one that actually held flowers at the funeral of a relative.  It's special to me, and I think of that person every time I use it.

Here, I'm showing you how I've used an old wire plant stand.  It's a tall one.  I put a wood salad bowl into the top and it now serves as a handy spot to store chips and snacks.  If I decided to use it for salad, I could bring it out table side, still in the plant stand, and toss a salad right there as part of a fun dinner experience!

If you've ever worked in retail, you are probably familiar with slat wall.  I love the versatility of this material, so I wanted at least one wall in the pantry to have it.  You can purchase the wall board and all sorts of gadgets to hold shelves of different sizes, hooks, etc. at retail supply warehouses.  As you can see, I have put a top shelf of glass (that I picked up from an estate sale) and I have hooks under the shelf.  On the shelf, I used a hat box (not old...from Hobby Lobby) to hold little cocktail napkins.  I'm addicted to pretty little napkins, so I have lots of them...I also keep vases and home decor items up there that I need infrequently.  I do keep a step stool in the pantry for when I need something from up there.

The paper towel roll is simply stuck onto one of the long hooks in the slat wall...This hook is what would have garments on hangers hanging on it in a retail space.    It's so easy to just reach inside the door, grab a paper towel and go.    It's also easy to change out rolls when it's empty.  As you can see, I keep disposable cups there in a handy spot just inside the door too.  It's hard to see in this pic, but there's also a bottle opener on that cabinet.  When hubby grabs a beer from the fridge, that opener is about two steps away. 

In the pic above, there's an old wooden bowl that was painted by an artist friend many years ago.  I use it as wall decor, and to hold many different things-fruits, vegetables, pine cones, magazines, etc.

Here, I've taken another old outdoor plant stand, added a basket, and use it as a potato and onion basket.  I lined the bottom with parchment paper to catch any dirt, onion peels or whatever could fall through the cracks in the basket.  When it gets dirty, I just throw it away and put in a clean piece.

The utility room is right next to the pantry.  I have had this old board/hook for years and years.  In my house in Virginia, it was actually on the kitchen wall and I hung aprons on the hooks.  Here, I've used it to store things that I use outside when I'm gardening.  The little basket holds scissors and twine, and you can see my floppy hat hanging on another hook.

This idea, I shared this morning on Instagram.  This vintage wire basket has been used in many different ways.  Today, I was trying to figure out a way to store plastic bags from the grocery store.  I previously had them just crammed into another bag, and it wasn't very pretty.  I came up with this simple idea, and it's so much better!  I simply pulled them into a long skinny shape, then bent it around and arranged the bags so that the bent loop can easily be pulled through the wires in the basket.  It shouldn't pull anything but thte one bag, but I'll see how it works...

About those plastic bags.  I really would rather not use them at all, because they're not very earth friendly, but we figure if we at least recycle them, it's not quite as bad.  We have cats, and when it's time to clean out the litter box, we need something that's going to hold the trash. These plastic bags are perfect for that.  I do take unused bags back to the recycle bin at the store.

I hope you've enjoyed the tour of my pantry and maybe picked up an idea or two. Let me know if you see an idea you can use and I would LOVE to see pics of what you've done.

Thanks for hanging out with me a bit today, and I'll see you again soon.  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lighting the Way

Last week, I took a little break from the yard work.  I had several meetings that I needed to attend on several different days, so I knew I wouldn't get much done out in the flower beds during the week...but I did decide to go out and look around and see what I could do one evening.  A snake slithered right through the corner of the bed a couple of feet away. Seeing a snake usually puts an end to my yard work for the season, but this year, I have to keep going.  I can't let Down in the Delta's market happen until the yard is all finished.  Anyway, maybe I'll get back to the yard work this week and I'll have something to share with you on the next post.

Today, hubby and I were going to get the mowing all finished, but it was raining when we got out of bed, and by the time we figured it was dry enough to mow, it started raining again!! Oh what could we do?

We decided to take care of some of the small jobs that had been hanging out waiting to be done, one being the new porch light.  It's been sitting in the floor in the box for a couple of months now.  So that's what we did.  It seems so much brighter than the old one, or that could be just because the front porch has been completely dark for a couple of months...Anyway, it's really pretty and I'm so happy something happens when I flip that switch now!

We are deep into the plans for the new gate and fence for the property.  I can't wait to share that with you, but the sharing is probably still a month or so away.  That project is about to get rolling. It takes four different contractors-and that's after we get the power out to the gate.  First, the concrete people come in and pour the footers for the columns that will be on the sides of the gate, then they do the concrete columns.  The stone mason will then show up and cover the concrete columns with some pretty rocks.  (The columns will have lights that match the one we just hung today on the porch- pic below.) Third contractor will be the gate man who will come in and put that in place, and finally, the fence will be put up.  It's a long process, and silly me...I thought we could get one person to do it all.  I'm really excited about the gate, because it will have my Down in the Delta logo trees and duck on it!!   

Here's a picture that I created to give the gate contractor an idea of what I wanted. I found a random gate picture online that looked like I could make it work with my logo.  I then put the logo on front of the gate.  So, if you jumped down there and looked at the picture before reading this paragraph, you're thinking right about now that I have a dog...just a picture.

Now I have these lights sitting around in boxes waiting to be installed...after the columns, and gate, and fence...

Hope you all have a terrific week and I'll see you again when I have something to show you.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Garden Shed Gets a Makeover Complete with Snake Barrier

Hi everyone!  Happy Monday.  Another week.  I hope you have a great week, and I hope I get lots done this week...

When I last visited with you here on the blog, I had worked my way around to the back of the house and was going to turn the corner to work on the flower bed on that next side of the house...well, as it happens sometimes (frequently), I got sidetracked.  I looked back and saw the pitiful looking little garden shed that has been neglected for as long as it's existed. It was calling out to me, so I diverted my attention to that little shed.

We had gotten the painters to paint it to match the house, and I had painted the old white door a new bright turquoise, to match the front door of the house.  Nothing had been done beyond that.  Now, it's a cute addition to the back yard.

I wanted to make a little porch/patio thing to sort of act as an entrance, because, we know that every proper garden shed needs an entrance, right?  I had flagstone leftover from the back patio project, so I decided to use that, and edge it with brick. That job took about a week and lots of energy.  When I finished it, I decided it needed a brick wall to fill in the gap between the bottom of the building and the ground.  I guess I should tell you why....

When I was a young child, I was standing on the doorsteps of my aunt's house, which was a wood frame structure set on piers, so it was up off the ground.  As I was leaving, I stopped there to say something to her (she was inside) and when I turned around to step down, a really big rattlesnake had crawled out from under the house and was right beside me!  That did permanent damage to my psyche. To this day, decades later, I still have a fear of snakes crawling out from underneath buildings that are up off the ground.  So, now you know why I felt the need to put the faux wall made from real brick under my garden shed. Now, when I'm about to step down out of the shed, I don't worry as much, because I know there's a barrier between my feet and the space underneath the shed.  

And after all that effort, my very sweet son pointed out that I had left a small hole in my wall, and that a snake would probably still come through there.  There was a water pipe interfering with my brick wall, so I had to leave the hole-my brick-laying skills don't yet include cutting brick, so I had to do the best I could with what I had...maybe I should stick a rock in the crack.... I still feel better when I step down, knowing that if a snake is going to come out under my feet, it will have to come through the little hole.

And I will say that the brick wall was a pain to build!  I had to dig out from under the shed with a tiny shovel and not much room to work, all the while watching for snakes that I was sure were lurking under there.  Then, I had a tiny level to put on top of each brick to make sure that they were level.  That last row was tight, trying to push them in under the building with no room to spare.  It did take me most of a day, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. Not only does it put a layer of protection between me and the snakes, but it's pretty, too! How about that?

I wanted to use something unusual to hold the garden hose...we had removed the plastic, not so pretty one, when the building was painted.  I decided on this piece of rusty fence that I had leftover from another project a few years ago.  It's fine for now, just propped up, but hubby is going to attach it to the wall with a bracket that holds it off the wall about four inches.  That should give plenty of room for the hose to wrap around easily.

For years, we had just "put" things beside the shed that didn't fit inside.  It had turned into a big pile of stuff that was buried in leaves.  When I started digging in to clean it up, I just kept finding more and more clay pots.  Lawd have mercy...why did I buy so many pots?  Now, I'll clean them and store them inside the shed, or maybe I should just get rid of them.  I'll never have that many living plants at one time.  I'm sort of known for my brown thumb...

I still plan to add another piece of rusty fence on hinges to the open part on the left side. Those side board things are used on the truck when we go to pick up large loads of mulch or compost, and they really need to be hidden, just not pretty...

I hung some of my galvanized tubs and pans onto the walls because they needed a storage place, and because I thought they were pretty there.  It just screams "Garden Shed" now, don't you think?  Oh, and every garden shed needs something green, so I planted that pretty tropical looking plant (heliconia) beside the door.  

Now, I need to head back over to where I left off by the house...Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Flowers, Flowers and More Flowers

Picking up where I left off yesterday, I'm working my way around the house with sort of a virtual tour in still shots.  If you missed the post yesterday, click here.

Do you see the car in the carport?  It's in the center part of the house.  We are going to walk through there and will focus on the right side where the circle driveway goes through, and then we will take a path to the back patio.  

There is a long narrow bed of flowers beside the screened in back porch...It gets full sun almost all day long, so I planted sun-loving plants along this wall.  That white "border" is actually not permanent...see next paragraph.

Do you see the garden hose that I put on the ground to show where the borders will be?  I plan to fill it in with more flowers, all the way out to the edge, and the garden hose just helps me to visualize it.  I thought if I took a pic with it there, it would help you to see where the edge will be too.

I took these pics a couple of days ago.  Yesterday and today, I added more plants! I can't wait for it to be full and lush. It'll be fun to see how it looks in a month.  I'll have to post again for comparison.

I've planted mostly perennial flowers in this bed.  I did include a couple of annuals, just because I couldn't resist!  Some of the flowers planted:  dianthus, gaura, verbena, ruellia (Mexican petunia), tibochina enana (dwarf princess flower), rosemary, spirea, sweet potato vine, and canna lilies in a variety of colors.

From the driveway, a flagstone and brick path leads to the back patio. Once on the path, the fountain is to the left, on the other side of the boxwood hedge.  Around the fountain, I have bridal wreath spirea.

This next shot is from the other side of the fountain, looking back up toward the porch.

Here are a couple of good fountain pics from my old blog.  The only difference is that there are weeds around it now that need to be pulled!

The patio is raised.  I built it by using antique brick as the border/wall, then filled it in with sand which was topped with flagstone.  It created a level, terraced patio that you step onto when coming out from the porch through the screen door.  There is a step down when going to the fountain, as well.

Once you step up onto the patio, you are in another garden area.  This one is shaded. There are boxwoods on each side of the screen door.  They have been there four or five years, and I try to keep them trimmed to remain compact and round.

Shade loving or tolerating plants are hanging out in the back patio garden...ferns, azaleas, name a few. 

I have lots of little plants growing in the cracks of the flagstones.

So now we are in the back yard.  Another flower bed wraps around the corner of the house to the left from this view, and I'm working on that one now.  Stay tuned for developments there.

I try to post daily on Instagram, so if you follow me there, some of this probably seems like old news to you.  If you would like to get those first looks, jump on over and follow me at

Now, I need to go out and work some more....hope you all have a great day!  I'll be back with another post in a few days.