The View From My Couch

I love this house. It’s small and cozy and ours. Living in a neighborhood with 1/10 acre lots doesn’t do anything for the view on its own, but it does mean you can build your own view. Here’s our backyard, as seen from the living room, and how it’s looking so far.

If spreading vistas don’t come with the house, it’s ok. The satisfaction comes in creating what you see everyday and letting the creative process as well as the result bring you pleasure.

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Candied Orange Upside Down Cake

I based this cake off a super healthy recipe. I mostly stuck with it—except for using oranges and candying them first. Because you use ground almonds instead of flour, it is very dense, nutty, and filling. Perfect for if you’re trying to be healthy, have excess almonds and no flour (like me) or just want to bake something different.

Announcing the opening of Unwhite Art on Etsy.com!

Today is a big day! After much planning, work, and crafting, I’m announcing the opening of my second Etsy shop, Unwhite Art. The shop focuses primarily on porcelain art and jewelry, but I usually add bookish sorts of things too . . . anything that catches my crafting fancy, really. The porcelain art will take center stage, though, as soon as I have more pieces painted.

Please visit my new shop at Unwhite Art and tell me what you think.

Baked Whole Pumpkin

A bit of a departure from the usual items showcased, but I think well worth it.

It’s been a few years since I’ve made this recipe. It really brings back memories of all the occasions I’ve made it for in the past. My sister Melody always really liked it, and I’ve been thinking about her constantly—she’s about to have a baby any second now. So, this is in honor of the cute lil’ pumpkin coming soon . . . .

Baked Whole Pumpkin

“This dish was a favorite of George Washington.  While it was called pie in the old days, it’s certainly not what we call a pie now.  Here the custard pie is found inside the pumpkin and the whole thing is to be served up with a bit of anticipation for a very different pumpkin dessert.”

1 pumpkin, 5-7 lb.
6 eggs
2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs.. molasses
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
2 Tbs.. butter

Cut the lid of the pumpkin as you would for a jack-o-lantern.  Remove seeds (save for toasting if you wish).
Mix the remaining ingredients together except for the butter.  Fill pumpkin with mixture and top with butter.  Cover with pumpkin lid and place in large baking pan.  Bake at 350˚ for 1-2 hrs. or until mixture has set like a custard.
Serve from the pumpkin at your table, scraping some of the meat from the pumpkin with each serving.  Serves 8.

[Note: I cut the recipe down to 1/3 for my 2 lb pumpkin. I scraped some of the meat from the inside before pouring in the custard, and it worked perfectly. I’ve found that it always takes longer to cook than the recipe says. My small pumpkin cooked for about an hour and 15 minutes at 350.]

Decor . . . or extra storage?

More and more people are turning to couponing to find a way to make vacations and Christmas gifts happen, but if you’re like me, you don’t have a giant custom-built pantry to hold all your bargain finds. What’s a stockpiler to do? Turn to the nooks and crannies that are going to waste otherwise.

Here’s a tour of my kitchen and laundry closet and a few secret hideaways where I store everyday supplies.

Here’s the kitchen. On top of my cabinets are containers that hold extra salad dressing, crackers, etc.

Like so.

They are tagged so hopefully I remember what’s in where! Dried beans, tea, and other pantry staple extra have a nice home up there until I run out in the pantry.

Here is the backspash area of the stove. This darling tin was a gift from my brother last year. I think I ate all the mints and poor husband never got any!

Now it holds all my spice packets for seasoning, leaving me more spare room in the cupboard.

A few vintage jars can bring style and function to a windowsill . . .

Or used tins! I love this one next to my stove.

On to the laundry room in my next post.

Thinking Outside the Box About Household Products

Here are somethings that started out as desperate substitutions, but which I now treat as standard uses.

Lubriderm. I use it as facial lotion. My dry, sensitive skin reacts to a lot of the lotions out there. Before buying a formula that hopefully would work with my skin, I tried Lubriderm because I had two giant bottles of it. And I’ve actually stuck with it, because it works! Never would have thought that a lotion would work that wasn’t labeled as a facial lotion.

Mary Kay Satin Hands Set. Although I never use it on my hands, this is about the sexiest leg treatment I’ve ever tried. Rub cleansing gel into legs and create a lather. Shave. Scrub legs with buffing scrub. Finish with light lotion. Awesome. I use the buffing cream for my face (mixing a little of the buffing scrub into my regular foam facial wash works great). The nighttime cream works great for my heels. I slather it on and then put on a pair of old socks. When I take them off, my feel feel sooo good! So ladies, dust off those kits and use them!

Free print offers. I love, love, love these. Snapfish, Shutterfly, Walgreens, CVS, and other print services offer these from time to time. But I don’t actually often print regular pictures. I often use the credits to print handouts, advertisements, and reminders for events at church; text like quotes to frame and display; or vintage prints to use in craft projects. Photo printing is not limited to pictures you take with your camera.

Men’s Razors. Ok, ladies, I’m letting out a little secret here. I use guys’ Gillette razors with guy names like “Fusion Gamer” and guy colors like black. But honestly that is where the “guy-ness” stops. These are super nice razors and do a great job. Why do I use them? Because they seem to go on sale and manufacturers hand out coupons for these a lot more often than they do ladies’ razors. I guess cause they know that we ladies will drop the bucks in a heartbeat to get a good shave. Or maybe because the “unshaven” look is in for guys and they aren’t shaving as much? Anyway, I figure why spend $10 on a Venus Embrace or Divine or whatever it’s called when I can get men’s razors that are just as nice for $1 or $2 with a coupon during a drugstore sale?

Purses and Bags: I use one for my coupon binder that I tote to the grocery store, I use one for my camera (and camera accessories). And I do use one for my wallet and keys as well. 🙂

Spaghetti-O’s: Served in large white teacups with mozzarella cheese on top, this was once a date dinner. Do not laugh—it’s true.

Cards, Advertisements, Calendar Pics, Book Pages: If you like it well enough to save it, why not frame it? Instant art that you already like.

Mugs: Pencil holders, toothbrush holders—anywhere where I can have them out and see them. I especially like my Life Is Good mugs.

Book pages. Ah, if you know me by now you know that I love a book page not just for what it says but for the shade of paper and the typography. From furniture refabbing to wreaths to coasters to framed art, the possibilities are absolutely endless.

What are some of your favorite “outside-the-box” substitutions?

Entry Way Makeover

My house has a small entryway hall that opens up in to the living room and kitchen. Blank walls greeted folks who walked in. I hung a generic picture arrangement there, but the space seemed to cry out for something more.

That’s when I flipped through a recent Pottery Barn catalog and fell in love with their  wall art organizer. Or at least, I fell in love with the idea of making my own version.

Here’s the result. At least, here’s version 1.0. That’s how it always is with me. 🙂

Materials used:

Foam board: free, found on the side of the road
Material: free, from a torn pillow
Prints (images and numbers): free, from Hotprints.com
Ribbon: $1, sale at A. C. Moore
Thumbtacks: $1
Fashion plates and letter from book pages: $2, library sale
Cloth tags: upcycled clothes tag from tulle4us.com
Basket (upcycled discarded purse): free, swap party giveaway
Cloth bag: $1, Hobby Lobby
Key: antique shop, Dade City (about $5)
Rubber stamps: Pottery Barn clearance, $15
Wooden dowel, free, upcycled flag post
Balsa wood, twine and grommets: upcycled and reused
Frame: gift
Matting: large sheet art paper, $4, Michaels
Greetings plate: upcycled greeting card, Christmas clearance, Target
Wire Chicken: $5, sidewalk sale, Cracker Barrel
Pencil Holder, souvenir from Argentina
Letter opener, gift, Anthropology
Book pages inside wire chicken: 50 cents, library sale
Pen: gift, Brighton

This was just put together with some hot glue and needle and thread. What will your next upcycling project be?