May 31, 2012

home cooking - home fires burning week 3

We've moved into the kitchen portion of our housekeeping series.  The topic today is home cooking...This is where I should have some scrumptious meal photos to share with you but this is definitely an area I struggle in.  I really hope to step it up now that I have more time to devote to shopping and preparing for meals but so far, not much has changed.  Now baking is another story but as far as meal preparation and planning, I need all the help I can get.


Cheryl Mendelson makes a wonderful point in her Home Comforts book, "For your home to feel solid, meaningful, dignified, and warm, you must have the means and skills to produce good nutritious food, to  dream up pleasant menus and to set the table and serve the food in an attractive manner that is familiar and comfortable to guests."

I really believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home and the dinner table is it's lifeline.  I am always inspired by families that hold to the ritual of gathering for the evening meal.  For us, at least, this only holds true on Sundays and it is definitely something that I want to change.



I love growing fruits, vegetables and herbs and the act of chopping and dicing.  I really enjoy being in the kitchen but somehow have not managed to find a menu planning routine that works for me.  I know some of you are experts in this area and can attest to the value of gathering around the table to break bread as a family.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Are you weekly menu planners?  Is dinner served at the table a must in your home? 

Mendelson also says, "Cooking at home links your past and future and solidifies your sense of identity and place.  When a home gives up its hearth, which in the modern world is its kitchen, it gives up its focus." 


I know home cooking is a legacy to future generations and in today's hurried, fast food world it is one we are in danger of losing.  What a shame that would be.  I can't imagine my childhood without seeing my siblings and parents around the dinner table.  Even when times were lean and the food was not grand, the act of sitting down together provided a sense of security and a place of belonging.

I hate to think of my grandchildren growing up without that same feeling...

xo, Patty

May 30, 2012

perfectly imperfect

As I poured my second cup of coffee this morning I glanced around my kitchen and smiled at the remnants of this weekends activities.  While the food is cleared away and the dishes are done, there are still little plates and colorful napkins waiting to be put back into their proper place.


I decided to take my coffee and head outside to enjoy the backyard garden in the crisp morning air.   The controlled chaos of flowers just mirrors my world.


From my view on the patio, as I gazed out onto the quiet yard, I recalled my two precious grandchildren playing noisily just a couple of days ago.


I can hear my husband and my grandson enjoying some time around the model train in the garage.  I strain to hear the life lessons pop-pop has tucked into their everyday conversation.


I know he gets how short the time is that we have with them while they are still little and their minds are sponges to what we have to teach them.  Soon enough the ways and views of the world will be upon them but for now...they are all ours.


My life is far from perfect...


The twists and turns that have been thrown in have certainly made the road rocky at times but this morning I can see it clearly...this perfectly imperfect life that is mine was known by Him before time ever came into being. 


My faith just calls me to trust the ONE who gave me breath.  To remember He has equipped me and His goodness is here amongst and entwined in every aspect of my imperfect life and that is as close to perfection as I need.

xo, Patty

I am linking to Fishtail Cottage for her weekly garden party...

May 29, 2012

radio flyer wagon and the winners

I had such a nice weekend.  The weather in Southern California started out gray and drizzly so I was a little worried about the outdoor plans we had for Sunday and Monday but Mr. Sunshine did not let us down and it ended up being picture perfect.



So many of you commented on my radio flyer wagon all planted up that I thought I'd share a few more pictures of the sweet little corner of the garden that it's tucked into.

You can read the story of my $24.99 thrift store find of the wagon here.  I have to tell you, my husband was not too keen on me drilling holes in the bottom of it and plopping it into the backyard but I think even he is pleased with how it turned out.


This little area is now my favorite spot in the yard...


In fact, I took so many pictures that it will take me a couple of posts to share them all.  I hope you don't mind indulging me a bit.  I spent two days pulling weeds and spreading compost (not my favorite job but well worth the effort) and my sore muscles need some positive affirmation.  

I have been adding miniature roses, hardy geraniums, alstromeria, candytuft, columbine, foxglove, penstemun, dianthus and seasonal annuals to this bed for a couple of years now.  I love how lush it has become.  When it comes to a cottage garden, I definitely believe more is more.


Okay, now on to the winners...

Day 1 - party dress - Joy at Small Town Joy

Day 2 - pillow love - Missy Max at This N That

Day 3 - memories - Gilly at gilly makes

Day 4 - apron - Denise at Nittin Fool

Day 5 - gift certificate - Betty at Southern Grace

Congratulations!  Thank you all again for sharing and for the encouraging words.  I will be contacting the winners via email today. 

Happy Tuesday...only four more days to the weekend!

xo, Patty

May 28, 2012

celebrate...

Happy Memorial Day!


No matter how you celebrate today, I hope the skies are clear and the company is delightful.

xo, Patty

May 25, 2012

viewer's choice - give away day 5

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks give away questions as much as I have.  Your comments brought so many wonderful memories back to mind.  I wonder sometimes if kids still enjoy the simple games of youth that we did.  My grandson lives with us so he is heavily influenced by my husband and his childhood memories.  His favorite past times are trains and cowboys.  To see this 21st century little four year old play Marshall Dillon truly warms my heart.  It amazes me how many little boys don't know how to play cowboys any more...


I guess I'm sounding kind of old.  Before you know it I will be recanting stories of how "when I was a child we had to walk two miles through the snow just to get to school".  I'm not quite that bad but I do remember life without cable and having only one television set and that belonged to my dad when he was home.  The only remote control he had was the five children he fathered.  If we didn't like what was on then we better figure out how to entertain ourselves.



I suppose every generation will have their good old days, including this current one.  Time marches on, there aint' no stopping it...Really, that isn't such a bad thing. 


I can't imagine living without the modern cleaning appliances I have in my home...I love my new state of the art sewing machine and the extra television I have in my craft room.  Do you remember when making a long distance phone call was billed by the minute?  And where would I be without the Internet and my connection to all of you.


Thank you all for your wonderfully kind comments on the merchandise I shared with you this week. I thought I would end the give aways with a $25.00 credit to my Etsy shop and let you choose the item of your choice.  Remember it won't open until June 1st. 

If you haven't left a comment on each day you would like a chance to win on, then go ahead and do so.  I will leave the comments open until midnight PST Sunday, May 27, 2012.  Monday morning I will draw the five winners and post them on Tuesday.


If you aren't already following me and you like what you read here, would you mind following?  It let's me (and any other blogger) know that what I share resonates with you and brings you encouragement, inspiration or joy...hopefully all three.  If you just joined me recently...welcome.

I have some garage sales to hit on Saturday and a couple of BBQ's this Memorial Day weekend.   I hope you have something fun planned, too.

Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you all on Tuesday.

xo, Patty


***contest closed

May 24, 2012

keeping the home fires burning-week two

Happy Thursday everyone.  Not only is it week two of our Home Comforts Series but it's also day four in my anniversary give away week.  There is lots to talk about so let's get started.



Today's subject is routines....daily, weekly and seasonally scheduled cleaning tasks, to be specific.

"Living in your home constantly uses up your good things-food, clean clothes, linens, shiny floor.  Housekeeping routines provide for their continual renewal. The best way to begin keeping house is by setting up your routines and schedules...With systematic housekeeping, most of the time you live comfortably; supplies are not exhausted; dirt and laundry do not over accumulate; plans and resources for at home occupations and entertainments are in place.  In nonsystematic housekeeping, chores are tended to only when the resources of one the household's systems are exhausted; when there are no clean clothes or linens and there is school in the morning and stale beds tonight; when it is the dinner hour and the cabinet is bare; when dirt and disorder are beyond tolerating."  C. Mendelson, Home Comforts



I decided when I started this series that I would be candid with you...no sugar coating or spinning of what my house hold is really like.  I am embarrassed to admit that most of my married life has been lived like the latter nonsystematic house.  I always thought that if I didn't have to work outside the home I would be more orgainized.  Now that I am retired, things have not changed much. In fact, my lack of a schedule in our home is the number one source of grief and arguing between hubby and me.



That makes me think that it might not just be a time issue but a learned behavior issue as well.  I really do want to have a home run on a schedule, (not with military precision) one that is prepared for my family and company at any time.  I am not talking about a having a house that does not feel lived in with toys or books in use but a house without dust bunnies, cobwebs and grease and grime on the kitchen blinds (just keeping it real).


Does this weekly schedule sound familiar to any of you? 

Monday - Washing
Tuesday - Ironing
Wednesday - Sewing
Thursday - Marketing
Friday - Cleaning
Saturday - Baking
Sunday - Rest

Most of us recognize these tasks as part of a cute vintage set of dishtowels but at one time this was how a household was run.  Obviously, some of these jobs are no longer necessary but the need for systematic cleaning is still very relevant.  C. Mendelson has tweeked this schedule for a more modern household to look like this.

Monday- Washing and ironing (if any)
Tuesday - Marketing
Wednesday - Mini cleaning
Thursday - Odd jobs
Friday - open
Saturday morning - housecleaning

This schedule seems completely doable to me.  I can see where combining this with daily strategic "neatening" (making beds, doing dishes, picking up clothes and putting away clutter) would make for less chaos and provide a more enjoyable home.  The author provides a great list for seasonal cleaning, too.  Those jobs that need to be done monthly, twice a year or annually.



If you are still with me, here are today's questions.  Do you have a systematic cleaing schedule in place or do you just wing it (like me) and do what needs to be done as things run out?  What has worked best for you?  Who was your biggest cleaning influence?

Remember to leave a comment if you would like to win this pretty retro inspired apron and dish towel.

xo, Patty


***contest closed

May 23, 2012

memories - give away day 3

When I first thought about opening an Etsy shop I read what ever I could find written by seasoned, successful Etsy owners.  One of the things I read repeatedly was to find your niche and stick to it.  Don't mix crafts or merchandise.


The problem with that is that I love to do so many things.  My day four give away is all about memories. 


I have been making these special memory journals for my family for quite some time and I really wanted to share them with you.



There are spaces to add photos and write memories on each page.



I think they would make a nice wedding, birthday or shower gift for someone special. 


And speaking of gifts, I made up some pretty, embellished gift tags and a little pouch to store them in.


 Let me know...should I include them in the shop?


Since today is all about memories and writing, I thought it would be fun to find out who remembers having a pen pal?  For you youngsters, before email and facebook there was something called a pen pal.  I had several during my tween years.  I can't remember what magazine they were listed in but there were pages of names and addresses that you would pick from and write a letter and send a school picture to. 



Today's question...Did you have a pen pal? 

Just leave a comment on today's post for a chance to win this pretty memory journal and set of gift tags.

I am looking forward to hearing your memories.

xo, Patty


***contest closed

May 22, 2012

pillow love -give away day 2

One of my favorite ways to change out a room is simply to update my throw pillows and I know I am not alone.


My day two give away has me offering this pretty blue ruffled pillow.  It is professionally finished and has a zipper closure which makes cleaning it a breeze...simply toss the cover into the washer and dryer, give it a quick ironing and it is good as new.


I think it looks pretty out on the front porch rocker just inviting you sit down and relax a while.




I could spend hours out here just listening to the birds and watching the neighborhood kids play.  As the days start to get longer I am reminded of the countless hours I spent outside as a kid on the street in front of my childhood home playing tag and hide and seek or if we could find a pool, I was always up for a little Marco Polo.  Of course, we had to be in when the street lights came on.

Okay, here's your question...What was your favorite childhood game to play outside in the summer?

I can't wait to hear.

xo, Patty


***contest closed

May 21, 2012

the party dress...let the party begin

Happy Monday everyone.  Welcome to my Anniversary week celebration.  I can't believe I've been posting here at Lemon Lane Cottage for a year now.  Where did the time go?  As a thank you for following my random thoughts and photos over the last year I thought it would be fun to do a whole week of give aways.   


Instead of one big give away, I thought I'd pick one winner from each days comments and the gift would be whatever I am posting about that day.  Does that make sense?  I won't pick the winners until next week so that gives you the whole week to leave a comment on one or all of this weeks posts.  Clear as mud?


With my Etsy shop opening on June 1st, I thought I 'd start the week out with this adorable Spring dress that will be going into my shop.  All of my dresses are made from quality quilters fabric and embellished with removable details like this yo-yo pin.  All seams have been professionally finished.  This one is a toddler's size 3-4 but I can make one up for the winner in any size from 12 months to little girl's size six.


I know I've shared before that my mom made all of my dresses as a little girl and I always wished for store bought clothes.  Do you remember the old Sears catalog?  I would spend hours looking through the dresses, choosing my favorites and dog earring the pages.  Did you do that, too?


Where was your favorite store to shop (or dream) for little girls clothes, either for yourself or for your daughters?  Was it Sears, JCPenneys, Mervyns or some where else?

Remember, leave me a comment on today's post to be entered to win a little girl's dress from my shop. 

This should be fun... 

xo, Patty

***contest closed

May 20, 2012

a fresh new week

It is a fresh new week and I have so much to share that I needed to start on Sunday instead of Monday.


First off, this will be a give away week...Since I totally missed my one year blogging anniversary at the end of last month, I thought I would make up for it with a week long anniversary party.


Secondly, my Etsy shop opens on June 1st...woot, woot!  I will be sharing photos of what I will be selling and throw a couple of things from the shop into the give away pot.


And thirdly, my sister in law and I just signed a lease on a booth in a local antique shop.  I know crazy, huh?  It is something we have talked about for years but just never had the time to do properly.  Since I'm retired, we thought why not now?  So we put ourselves on the waiting list and just like that...our wait is over.  We will take over the booth on July 1st.  So for the next six weeks we will be busy getting our things ready.

I told you it was a big week.  Definitely a week of fresh beginnings and definitely a week worthy of a giveaway or two.

Come back tomorrow for more details...

Happy Sunday.

xo, Patty

May 18, 2012

hello friday

Isn't it amazing how wonderful that sounds?  How it rolls right off the tongue?


Hello Friday.


The weekend is in sight and so are all the possibilities.


I am planning on spending some time potting up some flowers and spreading mulch.  My husband has promised me a steak dinner after a quick trip to our local nursery.  Sounds just about perfect to me.

How about you?  What are your plans?

xo, Patty

May 17, 2012

keeping the home fires burning - week one

From the time I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be a wife and a mother...in fact, I wanted to be the wife of a dairy farmer and have lots of children.  As life has a way of doing, none of that happened as I envisioned.  I married at twenty-two, took a full time job at twenty three and after seven years of infertility, adopted two sisters at the age of twenty nine.


My dreams of being a stay at home wife and mother were replaced with eight hour work days, putting a quick meal on the table, homework, bath time, putting in a load of laundry (that I hopefully remember to throw in the dryer) before turning in at night, five nights a week.  That was of course if there was no soccer practice, girl scouts, choir, band practice, performance or game.



Weekends consisted of a few hours of house cleaning (funny, I could get the house cleaned a lot quicker when I was younger), grocery shopping, activities with the kids, a little gardening and church on Sunday. 



Lest you think I am complaining, I am not.  I loved my life, my kids and my husband.  We were extremely blessed...just very busy!



During those years I bought countless magazines and books that promised to organize my life and house so that I wouldn't always feel rushed and frazzled.  While putting systems in place helped, they didn't change the fact that there are only twenty four hours in a day and only one of me.

I have the utmost respect for those of you who are in the midst of this life right now.  For me, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan without breaking a sweat was much less attainable than the commercial promised.



I think that's why I am so fascinated with the philosophy of keeping a home, of making a haven for myself and my family. 

As Cheryl Mendelson says in Home Comforts"This sense of being at home is important to everyone's well-being.  If you do not get enough of it, your happiness, resilience, energy, humor and courage will decrease...Coming home is your major restorative in life.

These are formidable good things, which you cannot get merely by finding true love or getting married or having children or landing the best job in the world-or even by moving into the house of your dreams...And going for nostalgic pastimes-canning, potting, sewing, making Christmas wreaths, painting china, decorating cookies-will not work either...Ironically, people are led into the error of playing house instead of keeping house...".


I know this is a hot topic.  Please note that I am not talking about stay at home moms versus working moms.  Home keeping has nothing to do with whether you bring home a paycheck or not.  It is about the running of a household, about knowing how to take care of our homes and everything in them.  I am merely sharing where I am coming from because it is the life I know.

What are your thoughts?  Are we merely playing house?  Or are we keeping house?  What's the difference?  That's what we'll be looking into in the weeks to come.  Hope you'll join me again next Thursday as we begin to break down the nuts and bolts of keeping the home fires burning.

xo, Patty