Don't let this sunny shot fool you it is a chilly morning in east TX!
We're keeping the windows open as much as possible before the hot weather arrives and it appears that as long as the nights are cool, the house stays mighty pleasant during the day without air conditioning. I did a search at my other blog, for "air" & "central". And through the years I've written a lot about enjoying them both because there are 8 pages of *air* & 3 pages of "central". I really, really, liked my central air & heat. We'll see how we do this summer with two little window units in the main house.

Anyway - back to the kitchen!

This china hutch stands where the water heater used to be. . .and was visible from the front door of the house! While some might not like looking into an area of the kitchen from the front door- - - this is so much better than a water heater! And besides that, it does a great job of providing more kitchen storage.

Back story about the hutch. We first saw it when I was pregnant with our first son, and he turned 40 this year! We saw an ad in the paper for an antique store going out of business sale and even though we were skeptical, we went anyway. And we are so glad we did! There we found what we think is an Eastlake Victorian bedroom set: bed, dresser, & wash stand for $84. All three pieces for only $84!

We also fell in love with this old hall-tree, also $84.
I just ran over to an inflation calculator & if we were buying those same pieces in 2009, they would cost $486.05. I'm thinking in 2010, that $84 would be at least $500. And of course they're that much older & that would jack up the price even more. Even so. . . very good bargains, but a lot of money for a young married couple right out of high school!

We also fell in love with the china hutch but just couldn't afford it (also $84). We were telling hubby's mom our new *old* furniture & about the china hutch & she too fell in love with it & bought it, assuring us if she ever got rid of it she'd give it to us. And she did exactly that. When they moved from Houston to Alabama, hubby's dad wanted all new stuff & out went the china hutch - - - right to us, just as she promised!

All of these pieces have moved a bazillion times & we are blessed that the glass & mirror have stayed whole. And the plan is for them to never be moved again! They, like we, are
finally home.

As you can see, there's lots of storage going on in the china hutch. . .
once again using things we had on hand, things we love & those $5 canvas bins from Wal Mart.

From top: Coca Cola crate (from my folks) holds cookbooks & when having picnics here, will use to hold plastic-ware, napkins & condiments! Everything on that top shelf is either used or has special meaning to me.
Inside top: More cookbooks! :)
Next Shelf: Holds scales first used to weigh oldest son when he was a baby! Flour canister acquired decades ago was my grandmother's. The sugar canister is new.
Second from Bottom: Those wonderful, washable canvas bins they hold a multitude of kitchen *stuff*.
Bottom Shelf: A variety of bowls - some were given as a wedding gift way back when, one from hubby's aunt, one from my grandmother. The others collected along the way .
Which brings us to the Bottom Left - the turquoise cake carrier. I know where it came from - the thrift store & I fell in love with it & gladly gave 25 cents for it!
Anyway, I started to write just now that I really didn't know what was in it & how I was too lazy to get up & look. But curiosity got the best of me & I did go look & lo & behold! There were the 4 missing blue/white plates from my mom!
How serendipitous is that? I found 4 of my favorite plates & now I have more room for storage! That's just how it goes sometimes!
And that's how downsizing & decorating the kitchen has been for me: just doing it a little bit at a time. . . not rushing into anything. . . just waiting for the perfect items to show up. Tell me about your serendipitous decorating moment! I know you have at least one!


I'm so glad you stopped by today even though it's chilly & dreary. Would you care for a
Blueberry Danish?
This is a modification of Hungry Girl's Danish recipe.
Instead of cherries, I used blueberries.
Instead of Splenda I use stevia.
And instead of soy/skim milk, I use whatever I have on hand!

I have a chef friend who says if you make three changes to a recipe it becomes a completely different recipe, so you can just call this, Vera's Blueberry Danish! LOL I'll put on the tea pot & continue telling you about the area right above the stove.

This area hold more than mere kitchen *stuff* . . .
It also holds lots of memories!

First, as you can see there is no vent. If the kitchen gets smoky, we just open the kitchen windows & backdoor & let the fresh air clear the air!
Very Top: The clock is a long ago acquisition & I can't remember for certain where it came from, but I like it anyway.Top - from left: Slap Ya Mama Creole Seasoning. It's right out here in the open because I use is a lot & I love the colors! We first learned about it on our first cruise (definitely a great memory) from an Oklahoma couple who brought it along with them! Now we're hooked!The 3 red/white bowls ($7.99 for all 3) & black pitcher ($7.99) are from Marshall's HomeGoods store & Debby was with me when I bought them - definitely a good memory! The striped bowl holds colorful seasoning tins & the Old Bay reminds me of our dear friends, Mike & Linda. She always used it in her seafood dishes & now I do, too! The black pitcher has some long-handled utensils & I'm guessing it will collect more as we continue cooking & baking here.The two thrifted chickens remind me of my hubby's chicken days. He really loves raising chickens & as soon as we can put up a properly safeguarded coop, I'm sure he'll be back in the egg business. The one nesting on the red & white polka dotted bowl store tea bags.
The cookie tin is from long ago & is currently empty, but I'm sure will soon storage something! And the yellow cat is from a vacation trip to Baltimore when I was 13.
Hanging items: I don't remember where the silver pitcher came from - I'm guessing a thrift store and it almost didn't move to the cabin with us because I NEVER use silver. But then I had a thought: why should I continue using an old, cracked plastic pitcher to refill the dog's water bowl? So the plastic went out & the silver stayed! And I'm glad! BTW - the dog's water bowl is a 4 pound cut glass bowl that we never used at the table because it's too heavy before we even put food in it! Yeah - the dog has it good!
The white wall pocket was my grandmother's, but since she died when I was a toddler, I associate it with my grandpa. He had it hanging near the kitchen sink, probably leaving it where my grandma hung it. He had it empty, like this. I think it needs some flowers in it - don't you?
The teapot is merely a teapot that get's used many times a day. It is beginning to wear out & will need to be replaced soon. I'm hoping to find one the same size as I don't need nor want a big, ginormous one! I wouldn't be able to lift it when full & where would I hang it?
The mug hanging with it is from my dearest of friend, Debby.
And my pots: I cannot say enough nice things about my pots and pans which are 7 ply, 304 surgical grade stainless steel cookware. I love them. I will write some day about those pots. . . they were a long time coming!
I don't think I ever mentioned that when we painted the shelf, we also replaced the sturdy, but ugly cup hooks with new & attractive double hooks. Because these are double, there's more than a single layer of pots. Behind the Dutch Oven on the left is a stainless steel colander. And so on down the line, one pot hanging over another. It really works well & I'm so glad it all hangs on a sturdy, solid wood wall!

"Made In Occupied Japan" is what the cute little Scottie dogs say on the bottom. I came across them the other day & knew they had to perch right here. . . they too are from my childhood.

See? It says so right here

And I took my own advice & put some flowers in the wall pocket. The white azaleas are newly acquired & the pink roses more than survived the move from the old house. Thank you Kevin for moving them for me!!!

Life is Good Today

Surround yourself with beautiful, practical things you love. Do not rush out to the nearest Dollar Store to buy something you think you need. Just wait. You may discover you already have something that works wonderfully well and you already love it. Or the thing you want/need will just come to you. It will. I know.


Okey dokey - you've seen most of one end of the kitchen, today we're going to look at another area. And speaking of - did you read my comment to Marie? 54" of counter space. That's it, folks.

Here's the kitchen, as it appeared on

As you can see, it was a bit of a jumbled mess!

We hope someday to move the stove to another area & take down part of the wall behind it, opening it up into the center hall, making for a larger kitchen area. But not for now. For now we deal w/
54 linear inches of counter space; two upper cabinets, two drawers, & four lower cabinets.

First things first. We were very glad she took her little rolling carts with her. There were two. The one you see didn't allow for opening the bottom cabinet.
Too, too much stuff! I realize with a small kitchen you just have to make do, but this is way too much.

Anyway - we painted it a new color, added new hardware (still not too sure about it) & did the unthinkable & replaced that horrible florescent lighting! And we kept the pot rack....this was a major surprise to me! Oh how I hated that & in fact it stayed outside in the weather, waiting for hubby to decide if it was going in outdoor storage or the burn bin! I hoped to have a metal pot rack, but I don't the the ceiling is high enough. . .what to do?

My dear friend Debby came the first week we were in the cabin, to help make some order out of all the chaos. We were walking in the yard when we both spied the ugly shelf & at almost the same moment we asked, "Why not just paint it black"? I realized it really was that horrible color that I hated so much & now I wonder what would we do without it?

As you can see, the main thing we did minimize some of the visual clutter - putting the smaller items in drawers or bins or canisters. Keeping less things on the counters, etc. Hanging a large print, instead of a clock, pot holders, etc.

I don't have a lot of time right now to write more about this mini transformation, but you can read about all the details of the "stuff" right here.

I hope to soon include some more photos of the kitchen. . . it has turned out to be very homey & very functional. And a bit pretty, too.

Have a good, good day - - - & go declutter some "stuff" from your kitchen! You know you want to. Really you do. I know it! And post a pix of when you do!


One of the most problematic areas of the cabin was the kitchen. As you can see, it had a washer & dryer in an already too small area! Add to that (photo to come @ another time) the refrigerator was in the middle of the room & the water heater was situated so that it was the focal point! Yeah - ain't that somethin'? Not a pretty sight, believe me!

When you're down-sizing, you
really have to make the best use of available space. Even in a large home, it's important, but you don't notice it as much in a larger home. Think of it this way: if there's a pot or two out on the counter of a large, spacious kitchen, you barely notice it because there are lots of other things to look at. But when those same two pots are out on the counter of a small kitchen - well, your eyes go straight them...especially when you only have two little counters! Oh yes I do!

Anyway - there were several things we wanted to do to the kitchen, but since we do not have unlimited funds, we made a list of the "have-tos". You know, the things we
have to have done before moving in.

This is where a good, honest contractor comes in real handy. Since my husband is in the building materials business, he knows several & is on real friendly terms with one. He also gets to buy materials at employee discount . . . another plus.

Jeff the Contractor is one of the nicest folks around and he is more than willing to do only what hubby
cannot do. He doesn't insist on doing the job from start to finish. This also helps save money. We're all about saving!

The washer and dryer were moved into an alcove in the guest room which is separated from the main house. We could call it the
guest house, but that would be a bit of an exaggeration! Fortunately the perfect little alcove is right behind the guest bathroom so there wasn't lots of complicated plumbing to do. In its place in the kitchen is a shelving unit we got for free years & years ago when a mens' clothing store went out of business. It was originally used for storage of mens dress shirts and now it has become part of our pantry. Did I mention the kitchen came with no pantry? I bet it was a man who designed the kitchen! A non-cooking man!

The refrigerator was moved partly behind a wall, out of the
middle of the kitchen And the water heater was moved back into a corner & you can't see it unless you're back there. There's a photo screen in front of it now, with some kinda' yucky fabric. I'll have to post a pic of that, too. Of course I'll replace the fabric with photos of friends, relatives, kids,& grandkids cooking/baking! I think it will be cute!

Okay - back to the photo. The makeshift pantry has canvas bins that hold cereal, can goods, teas, etc. They are blue stripe because they should more easily hide dirt and they are washable. Yep - $5 apiece at Wal-Mart & they are attached to the wire frame with Velcro. This is important - the ability to wash them.

There's additional storage in the canning pot: canning jars and tablecloths to be used on that little table, where hubby & I eat most of our meals. And at times the top of the shelving becomes a produce stand. And wine bar. LOL

The quilted wall-hanging comes with a story that I'll share with you another time. But it's here, in this little kitchen because it reminds me of other happy, country kitchens, my childhood, my friends, my aunts & my children. Wow...a lot of happy memories from one little wall-hanging!

So - what have I learned so far about down-sizing? Even with a strong desire to down-size, it isn't necessarily

While one must be practical,
do not forfeit surrounding yourself with things that make you smile. There is always room for things you love. You know I'm telling the truth - even if all you can do is paint the room with colors you love . . . do it! Your landlord won't let you paint? Make/buy curtains you adore. Tell me your dilemma & I bet one of my readers or I can help you.

Speaking of readers, please leave a comment if you're reading this. I don't have a counter to register how many times someone has looked at the blog, but I sure would like to hear from you!

Until next time, when I continue with the kitchen, do one thing today that you
love doing!


It's been asked why we call this a cabin instead of a cottage or farmhouse. At first we did refer to it as a cottage. . .it is very old, has a covered porch & a metal roof, why not a cottage? I have been all over the internet looking at cottages & cottage decor & the one thing I find most common is that a cottage look has a lot of stuff. There's lots of adorable details; ruffles, frilly, girlie, filled rooms with lots of pastels and/or white-on-white. It's lovely to look at & I appreciate the look. Most of the blogs I follow have this type of look & most of it makes me smile. But it's not me. It's not my husband.

The other end of the cottage spectrum seems to have lots and lots of color: bright, primary colors. Again - the look is charming & fun to look at. . .but it's just not

Don't get me wrong - I am not disrespecting this type of decorating. But you need to remember that we have recently moved into a much
smaller home. We don't have room for lots of details. It's not that we don't appreciate the look. . .it's just a matter of logistics. We don't have the room for a lot of these decidedly charming things.

I sure did use a lot of words to explain why we don't call it a cottage, didn't I? :)

The short answer as to why we don't call it a farmhouse is the simple fact that we do not currently have any farm animals. It may have at one time, been a farmhouse. . . but for now we don't have any bee hives, chickens, bunnies or cattle - all critters we raised at one time or the other at the old place. But for now we don't even have a chicken coop!

When we brought our kids out to look at the property our youngest grandson said that it looked "like a retreat". And indeed it
does remind us of a retreat center! Think back to your summer camp days. Yep - that's a little more what our home is like! Solid, wood walls, a metal roof, a wonderful design called a dogtrot with a lot of tall east TX pine trees & more than a few oak trees.

So this explains why we call it a cabin. It's small. It's cozy. It's our cozy little cabin! Thanks Brenda for the inspirational name!!!!

Now I have to admit my kitchen is a bit tchotchke, but the rest of the house is very much on the neutral side.

Here's a link to my flickr galleries to show the look we gravitate to. . . It really helps us down-size our interior decorating when we have a clear understanding of what we like! And yes - there's a little tchotchke there, too!
Note: If you are like me and have very eclectic tastes, I recommend you do the same. Do a search at flickr for "cottage", "interiors", "country decorating" & similar searches & make note of the ones that take your breath away. That way you know you are being true to yourself. If it takes your breath away - it's YOU!

Yeah - we really like the naturey stuff!
I hope you have a restful evening . . . & hopefully I'll see you again tomorrow.


PS - It really doesn't matter if it's called a cabin, cottage, or farmhouse. The very most important thing is that we call it


OK - Easter has come & gone & I'm sitting at the computer, early Monday morning. How did it go? How was our first holiday in the down-sized cozy little cabin?

The entry before this one tells of the very few ways we were decorating this year & I think you can tell from the photo montage above that there is no doubt Spring/Easter has arrived in east TX!

Do you notice there is not a lot of Easter "stuff" to put away? At most if would be the little bunny . . . but I like him a lot as he reminds me of my dearest childhood friend, Brenda, who collected bunnies & I'll leave him out all year. Wouldn't he look very patriotic with a little American flag to celebrate Independence Day?

The cross is really a bookend that stays out year round, as does the crystal candy dish, kerosene lamp, wire basket, Pyrex bowls, teapot & cheerful deviled egg tray. There is nothing to store for next year! Later today I'll mash the leftover colored eggs into egg salad sandwiches & deviled eggs.

See how easy this is? The real stars of the show were the people who honored us by spending their holiday with us. My soon-to-be 89 year old mom; my daughter & her hubby; & KI & Milan.

The 2nd photo on the 2nd row shows KI with his head thrown back in laughter. He is from Ghana, attending seminary in east TX. We were laughing about the fact that he & his wife, also from Ghana, were driven to the hospital by his Czech friend, to have their twin boys delivered by an Egyptian doctor. It's a small, small world!

By the way - even the menu was down-sized: ham & easy-to-make ham sauce; decadent mashed potatoes (made Saturday & reheated); Italian green beans; yeast rolls (Rhodes' frozen), Pineapple-Upside-Down cake (baked Saturday); teacake cookies (baked earlier in the week); dyed eggs (also earlier in the week); & iced tea (also made Saturday). Most of the really dirty prep dishes were done earlier in the week. Seeing as how we don't have a dishwasher, it's good to do a lot of the messier cooking earlier in the week. Still, I very much appreciate my hubby for washing all the dishes last night!

It's time to go & feed hubby breakfast....I bet it will include some hard-boiled eggs! :)


I haven't written about the fact that we have downsized; dramatically so! I suppose with the house and outbuildings we're now living in a home almost, but not quite, 1/2 the size of the former house. What do you think Amanda? Close to it?

I'll write later on about our desire to down-size, but for now let's talk about the realty of downsizing & decorating for special celebrations & holidays.

I need & want to downsize even more than what has already been done. I do not have the room nor the where-with-all to store & bring out a lot of "stuff" several times a year.

Here is my simplified plan, using Easter as the example. I put a few little Ajuga blooms into a very tiny little bunny vase. He will not take up a lot of storage room when not out on display. Use whatever flowers you happen to have on hand.

In our part of Texas there's lots of wild onions blooming now. The point is that it doesn't have to be elaborate. Bunny is in the bathroom because if you're not doing much decorating you must be sure to place what you do have in a prominent place...everyone visits the bathroom!

Go through your old photos and gather up favorite photos of Easters past - the ones of Easter baskets, egg hunts, portraits, etc. If you collect Easter cards, bring them out. Once you have your collection all together, pull out your favorites & put them on a memory board. Be sure to display them in a prominent area so all will see it!!!!!

If there's enough room, buy a flowering plant to put in one fabulously breathtakingly beautiful planter out on the porch near the door. At the end of the season, plant in the yard if it's still alive. If not - toss it. What did you lose? $10-$15?

I admit, I haven't made the memory board & I still haven't made it to the plant farm to buy a hydrangea. . . but I have dyed eggs, baked tea cakes & pulled out one vintage Easter postcard that I stuck in the side of an old mirror. If I can find where the metal cross is, I'll put it out too. (Remember, I'm still unpacking). The point is - make it as uncomplicated as
you need. Decorating our homes is not suppose to be a burden!

Do something similar for the other holidays your family celebrates.

Even without the memory board, I think the house will festive enough. Peeps & teacakes,eggs & vintage cards should be enough. . .What do you think? I've been giving this a lot of thought & it's very appealing to me. What do you think? Am I cracked? :)

PS: Wendy, of Wendy's Wonderings, shared about dyeing Easter eggs. Instead of the usual little dye tablets that come in kits, use Wilton's icing dyes! To 1 cup warm water, add 1 Tablespoon white vinegar & some of the gel dye. We used toothpicks for spoons & kept adding color until we got the intensity we desired.

Thanks Wendy, Wilton should pay you royalty for all the people you inspired to go out & buy their dye to make the best Easter eggs ever!


Normally I think God doesn't really care which house a person chooses to live in, as long as they can afford it & aren't caught up in "the pride of life". I heard a radio preacher put it like this: It's like baking oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, & snicker-doodle cookies & telling your child he can have one. We don't sit back & say, "He better pick the chocolate chip. If he chooses the snicker-doodle, I'm gonna' be so mad at him"! We don't have a preference . . . we just want to bless the kiddos with homemade cookies! He said it's the same about lots of our choices in life. As long as our choices don't contradict God's principles, it's okay with Him. In the case of buying a car, if it's affordable, safe & in good running condition, God maybe really doesn't care if we drive a Chevy or a Ford!

But in the case of the cozy little cabin, I think He
did have a preference! Everything about the white house with black shutters seemed to be God ordained from how we found it, to the next door neighbors, to the lot size, out buildings, fishing pond, etc.! Everything! And then the door slammed shut. The following Saturday I got up & found the little red cabin in the woods! And we are convinced, without a doubt, that this is the house God wants us in! This is His best for us...which what our oldest son & his family specifically prayed for!

Life is so exciting when you're looking for evidence of HIM being involved in it My prayer is that God will grace you with eyes to see Him & ears to hear Him. It's a wonderful way to live one's life!

There's more to the story, involving lots of loving people sharing their Christmas with us, etc. But you've got the meat of the story. . . God is good. All the time.

One more thing: While out shopping with my daughter, shortly after all these events, I found a vinyl wall quote that reads, “When You Can't See His Hand, Trust His Heart”. Yeah – I bought it! Happy Easter. . .