Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Pictures (Sort of)

Pictures of my Thanksgiving feast did not go as planned. I was too busy cooking and enjoying time with family to worry about getting the picture of the pretty bird. In all I'm very prod of my first "on my own" Thanksgivng. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and such.

I do have napkin rings to show off:

(although I only finished 3 of the 6 so they were not used)

and my Christmas tree:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving Approaches

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In my family the day is full of activity. When I was a child I woke early to "help" my parents start the feast, I watched the parade at 9, and went back to "helping" with the meal as my brothers watched football. We usually ate around 3 o'clock. Afterwards - we put away all of the leftovers and cleaned the kitchen and then we set up the Christmas tree. By the time the tree was decorated it was dark outside and we could enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while we watched the tree lights flicker in the darkness. The day has always been full - and I love that.

This will be my first year "hosting" Thanksgiving. I've cooked the meal for a few years now - but this is the first time I've had a place to invite everyone. I've been planning the menu for a month. My goal is to keep some of the traditional food - and then add my own twist. The menu plan at the moment is:

Turkey and stuffing. My family LOVES stuffing - so I'm going to attempt to make a side of "dressing" and baste it with the turkey juices - - maybe it'll turn out ok. We'll see. I still need to be a roasting pan - I have not yet settled on what type I want. I think I'll just buy the same kind my mom used. It's cheap and it always gave us good turkeys!

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Cranberry-Walnut Salad

Pumpkin Pie

Crescent Rolls

I'd like another vegetable - just haven't figured out what yet. My sister-in-law will probably make Green Bean Casserole and a dessert. I'm going to bake some spiced pecans to have as a munchy.

I'm also excited about literally playing "hostess" - my brother and sister-in-law will be staying with me for the long weekend. I'm having fun planning on what I need to do to make their stay comfortable. This is the time of the year where I love my job (teacher) - as I get the entire week off and I get to pretend like I really am a home-maker that week as I have fun cleaning the house and shopping and baking and looking forward to the family time.

I'll try to take some pictures and post later about how my first Thanksgiving went. :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Creating a Frame Collage

I have finished my dining room décor – well, for the moment anyway, I’m sure I’ll tweak it over the next couple of days.

My inspiration was, again, the cover of the Sept/Oct Blueprint Magazine (see previous entry)

I pulled my colors from a picture I currently had in my dining room.
The cost breaks down something like this:

Frames and Glasses: less than $12. (I have leftover frames)
Wall Ledges: $4Candles: $7
Paint: - I have almost a full can of each color left over (I bought a quart of three colors) – so we’ll say I used about a dollars worth of paint. If I were to do it again I would try and get those “sample” jars you can buy at some paint stores now – because I spent $30 on paint. I foresee more brown and green projects in my future!

Total for supplies actually used: less than $30

1. Figure out how the frames should be arranged. I knew nailing a million holes into my wall was not the best way of doing that – so I laid them out and Wilbur helped me choose:

2. Trace the “layout” onto wrapping paper. This way I could remember what went where. This also insured that my frames were covering basically the same surface areas so that the groupings “matched”.

3. Hang paper on the wall - and make sure that each grouping is hopefully evenly spaced between the corners and the center picture.

4. Paint the frames! I needed to do two coats – though after one coat they would’ve fit nicely into a “country” “antique” décor style. Also – be sure to pull out those staples that are often in the backs of frames. And, you need to pain the insides of the frames – where the boards typically are because depending on that angle you’re looking at the collage you’ll see exposed wood if it is not painted.

5. Use your tracings as a guide and hammer the nails through the wallpaper and hang the frames over the paper. Unless you were very meticulous about both tracing your frames level and hanging the wrapping paper level – I strongly recommend the use of a level for this part. My right side wrapping-paper was extremely off and if I had followed it everything would be going downhill.

6. Now that all your nails and frames are in place – it’s time to take down the paper! I started at the top and just worked my way down a couple of frames at a time.

7. Complete the same for the other side – and then you have your final masterpiece! I'm still not completely happy with the right side - but I'll tweak it - I'm happy for now!

I added wall ledges below my collage – and put inverted wine glasses on the ledges. There are candles on top and flowers under the glasses. One of those things will probably go – not sure which. I’m not sure I like the brown color of the candles – I was trying to tie in my brown dishes/table runner – we’ll see if it grows on me. I will also probably never light a candle that close to the wall – so we’ll see.

Here is a close-up of the ledges:

Without candles:

With candles:

Monday, October 8, 2007

Dining Room Decorating

I have the entire week off work. With all the many work conditions teachers complain about- the frequent and long breaks are not one of them!

One of the things I plan on doing this week is adding a bit to my dining room decoration.

Here is the current:

Inspiration for a new look:

I love this magazine! You can see the Blueprint Blog using the link to the right :)

Current supplies:

I still need to find some frames. There are some in a storage room at my parents' house - it's just a matter of digging for them. I'm also going to hit a couple of thrift stores this week. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the wall ledges or not. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's always my turn to do the dishes

So I have decided that while I like my blog title "The Single Domestic" - that I am going to stop trying to make everything fit into the "single" part - - and I will simply write about the much-loved domestic side of my life (which may or may not be different from my co-habitating counterparts)

With that said - I really hate sometimes that's there is no one else for me to say to: "It's your turn to do the dishes/laundry/scoop the cat litter!"

When there are weeks like this week it would be nice to be able to tell someone else, "I really need your help." As it is though - I just make the easily-visible things presentable and apologize to my guests for any errors. I have a group at my apartment every Monday night. The first week everything was freshly fluffed and cleaned and there was a variety of appetizers arranged in an aesthetic spread on the table. The coffee was brewing, coasters were neatly positioned near all the seating areas, the candles had lightly scented the room, the room was bathed in sunlight from the open windows, and any room was up for showing on a quick tour. Last Monday - I got back from work 30 minutes before the guests arrived. The windows were open. There was one appetizer on the table. I shut my bedroom door. The coasters were still stacked in one area and a couple of dishes still sat dirty in the sink.

It's not like anyone cared - - but it was not up to my standards.

So - I think it's time for me to set myself up a schedule of sorts. You know - "Monday: Vacuum; Tuesday: mop; Wednesday: bathrooms." That sort of thing - perhaps then I'll actually accomplish things during the 4 waking hours I spend at home each day.

This is not a very entertaining post - but I wanted to post something. I have plans to work on my dining room decor in a couple of weeks and am hoping to do a step-by-step picture documentation for those of you also interested in the decor side of domesticity (my obsession!) - so hopefully that post will be more fun.

My brother dd not approve of my questions in my last post - - so I am going to keep the teacher side of me in check and not ask you questions about your reading.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Singleness, Selfishness, and Solitude

I truly do love playing “hostess” and having too many people in my home, however I am also very comfortable being by myself and am perfectly ok going for a couple of days without actually seeing another human being.

When we live by ourselves it’s quite easy to get into the trap of becoming selfish with our money and time. After all, the only person we have to take care of is ourselves. It makes sense to buy the large screen TV, the ridiculously expensive lamp, or the custom art for the hallway if we can afford it because we have no children to feed. If we want to spend all day doing whatever we want to do – there is no one else to voice complaint.

I get into the trap of thinking that my singleness is meant to benefit me alone. As a teacher my work-year thoughts tend to be along the lines of “I am so busy, I don’t have time to do anything other than come home and veg.” During the summer I switch to “I work like crazy all year; I’m taking some time for a break!”

If I sat down and thought about it I’d realize that the people who work and come home to kids or the people who take care of a house and kids are much busier than I am - - but that’s why the word “selfishness” is included in the title of this post.

I’m working on ways on making sure I don’t lock myself away behind my pretty curtains and simply enjoy my single life in solitude. I am seeking ways to invest my money in worthy causes rather than spend it on nice things just because I have the “extra” money. I had a rather involved argument with myself the other day on the benefits of an upgraded Netflix membership but eventually decided to stick with what I have. The few extra dollars a month there wouldn’t hurt me – but I have to ask myself who it could help as well. The other day a neighbor boy came to my door to show off his puppy – I talked to him a bit but I was a bit annoyed at being bothered when all I wanted to do was enjoy some alone time. I know that I missed an opportunity to make friends with a family and to show a child love - even if he wasn’t my child. I’ve been watching for him so I could ask about his puppy and maybe reclaim that opportunity. In a few weeks I’ll have a group of ladies meeting at my house once a week. These are some of the reasons I like the idea of living in a community rather than an isolated house – it forces me to look at the people literally feet from my front door. I’m much too comfortable with alone-ness to seek out my neighbors in a secluded area. I’ll have to come back and update once I’ve forced myself to not let my singleness run my life – but instead be a blessing in the freedom it gives me.

With plans now for guests every week I’m going to have to work on being a bit more vigilant in my housework. My home is clean and neat – but it is not up to “guest standards” and sometimes the dishes sit for a couple of days. When I lived with roommates or family I could go on “dish strike” and someone else would eventually do them – but here it is always my turn for the dishes. That’s a subject for another post though.

What about you? Do you see yourself falling into selfish or solitude tendencies as a single person? How do you make sure that you’re still an active part of the world around you and that you are using your singleness for the good of your community and not just for selfish reasons?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Single Domestic - Purpose and Goals

I have kept online journals, or blogs, since I was in high school. They have been filled with pointless rants, descriptions of my days, musings on life's ponderings and a good dose of internet personality quizzes. I've been thinking lately that I want a blog with more of a focus and purpose - and that brings us to this blog.

The Single Domestic

Like many young girls I grew up playing house and dreaming of weddings and motherhood. My dream was go get married soon after high school and spend the rest of my day being the happy hosewife and mother. However, I find myself 24 with a college degree, a career, no children, an apartment, and all of the bills in my name and my name alone. I do not wish for that childhood and youthful dream, I am happy where I am - but one thing has not changed: my desire to be domestic.

While I was preparing for my first real post-college home I often heard, "Why don't you wait until you're married to get the nice furniture?" "Do you really need a service for 12?" or "A queen bed is really unnecessary for you." As if my singleness made me ok with living in a mismatched run-down environment and I'd be doomed to eat my meals from TV trays and paper plates.

So, the intended purpose of this blog is to document my journey to be both single and domestic. I want a home where I can always have guests - - meaning that just because I'm the only one living here it does't mean that I don't need to make it comfortable, inviting, and clean. I plan on sharing recpies I've tried that are both for the "dinner for one" and the "dinner party for 12." Thoughts on how to avoid becoming a recluse and clinging to "my" space may pop up. My favorite domestic activity is decorating - so expect posts on that with advice on how to hang a picture straight without someone's eyes on the other side of the room. There are many cultural things that seem hard to do without a family, even inside of your home -I hope to post some ideas on how to find the balance there. In an effort to not let this become a rambling blog - I will probably not update often at the beginning - I need to feel out my purpose and voice here first.

So, welcome - I will work on sprucing up this online home of mine. For now though, this single career woman is going to enjoy her queen sized bed.