It does not feel or look much like Spring. The sun is out, but there’s still snow and ice on the ground. It’s this time of year that I just need to get going with Spring Cleaning. Our house is old, really old and that makes for a house that needs a good spring cleaning. I start by making or adding to my master list so that I cover every inch and so that I can cross things off. (yeah, I like that part the best). For years I bought new products that claimed to be the best out there to clean everything inside and out. For the last few years this is what I use. The original Dawn Dish Soap, Heinz white vinegar and hot water. I’m not going to show you before and afters….I’m trying to keep it LOVELY around here, but if you have not tried this, I highly recommend it. Sometimes I boil the water and add the Dawn and vinegar. If you are putting it in a spray bottle, it’s best just to use hot tap water.
My friend Elizabeth told me about Lemi Shine. I’m not sure how I managed without it! If you live in an area where hard water is a problem, this will take care of it in one dishwasher load. Even the inside of the dishwasher will look like new. When we still lived in California I was telling my friend that every dish and glass had a horrible white/gray film. We don’t seem to have the same problem in Connecticut, but even here, I will load my dishwasher with glassware and it will come out sparkly every time. It’s great for things you find at flea markets or thrift stores or for Spring Cleaning! I just started my dishwasher full of glassware and am off to pick up some spring plants (for the house, way too cold to be thinking of outdoor planting yet), a couple of house plants and maybe some branches for my clean house!
I love to send mail, probably because I know how happy it makes me when I open my mailbox and there’s something with familiar handwriting from a friend. So this year I worked with tinyprints and used their gift tag stickers and return address labels to make them really special. Tinyprints has so many great designs, but the simplicity of these are exactly right for this project. I used a combination of Love stamps, an idea I got from Karen at Home Sweet Hollywood.
I filled each kraft mailing tube with a cellophane bag of Mike & Ikes and hot hearts, then put a small package of shortbread cookies that I made using the Ina Garten recipe, but then made them slice and bake instead of rolling the dough and using cookie cutters. So much easier and less time and mess! I wrote about that here. Then I added a few dark chocolate hearts and squares from Lake Champlain Chocolate I found at Whole Foods Market.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
With temperatures struggling to stay above zero (minus the windchill factor) today seemed as good as any to show a photo of my entryway. Well sort of…the side that shows my mini painting aptly titled “Winter Coats” by Lisa Golightly, Kiki and Polly. As soon as I saw this little painting I knew I had to buy it. It seems most of the art in our home was somehow acquired by my husband through interesting experiences of his job. I’m not generally impulsive about purchases that will go on our walls, but this little painting just seemed perfect. And at the time I didn’t even know where I was going to hang it. Then when it arrived already framed it turned out that the perfect spot was in my entryway. To the left of this photo (not shown).…our winter coats piled on hooks…of course. A print of this little painting is available in her etsy shop here.
Baker’s One Bowl Brownies are the simplest thing to make and although they are delicious with a chocolate ganache, I could not resist using these letters to decorate.
The chipboard letters we found in the dollar section at Target turned out to be the perfect size to spell out Merry Xmas! Now all we have to do is add a scoop of Old World Eggnog Talenti Gelato to each slice. Yum!
This is one of those projects you can do in a matter of minutes and then after the holidays all you have to do is add a message with chalk and write your thank you note. Using leftover chalkboard paint, lightweight tag board and mismatched envelopes, I cut note cards to fit each envelope. Lay out your cards and using a flat 1″ brush, just paint a swoosh along the top. Each will be a little different and that’s part of the charm. You can also add a small brush stroke on the back of the envelope for the return address.
Write your thank you message using chalk like we did here or a use white paint pen or silver sharpie.