Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Creating Workspace In Your Home - 13 Inspiring Ideas

Where we work in the confines of our home varies based on who we are, the type of work we do, and the available space in our house.  Let's take a look at 13 rooms for ideas on how to get the space we need.
This is an arrangement that could work as well in a corner of a living or family room as it does in a room of its own.  The desk and chairs could do double duty as intimate dining.  Notice the storage surrounding the window seat.  Free standing furniture could accomplish this look.  Imagine two matching armoires on either side of a window with a storage bench underneath. 

Most of us dream of a craft room like this one, but even if that's not possible we can glean organizing ideas from the photo.  This room is packed with inspiration. 

Have some attic space available?  This craft room under the eaves boasts built-in storage, skylights and a clean up sink.  Maybe you can't go that far with your attic, but this may encourage you to turn that attic storeroom into a much needed work area.
This home office is small on space, but large on charm.  The good-looking work table placed at an angle lifts it out of the realm of ordinary.  If you have a home office that needs freshening, consider a new placement for your desk or work table.

This room is a  home office, but imagine if it were a  living room.  A pretty desk and shelf unit could provide minimal yet very useable workspace.

Here's another home office that could just as easily be a living or family room.  A beautiful desk like this really makes a statement and acts as a divider to separate the functions of the room.

Installing a glass wall in the corner of a large room creates a home office with privacy.
If it seems there's no space in an existing room for a work area, think vertically.  A secretary might just do the job.

Another vertical solution.  Although this room is designated as a home office, the desk and hutch could easily be part of any other room.
This small room barely resembles a home office.  The small chest paired with large floor baskets provide stylish storage. Placing a mirror against the wall gives the illusion of depth.

What to do if there's no available space for an office anywhere in your home?  Consider converting a closet.  This workspace can be hidden when not in use simply by closing the doors.

This built-in office was created by bumping out the wall into a garage. 
Dead space under a stairwell can become a home office, too.

Have you solved your own work space problem? 

Consider sharing any home workspace post at Every Room In The House between now and the end of the month.

I'm sharing at these lovely parties:
Every Room In The House at A Joyful Cottage
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Tweak it Tuesday at Cozy Little House
You're Gonna Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Easy, Fast Lemon Garlic Pork Tenderloin and Scalloped Potatoes

I learned to cook at my mother's knee.  A farm wife who cooked a big noon meal for the field hands Monday through Saturday during the growing season, she enlisted me to help her at an early age.  By the time I was ten years old I was able to make a farm breakfast on my own. 

Over the years the amount of cooking I have done has ebbed and flowed.  My late husband became a gourmet cook later in life and took over most of the meal preparation in our home. We entertained a fair amount; I helped with appetizers, salads, side dishes and occasional desserts, and he prepared the entrees.  As a widow and empty nester, I relied on fresh salads, veggies and lots of chicken breasts.  I enjoyed eating out with friends, too.

These days I cook simple meals that I can whip up quickly, using fresh, wholesome ingredients.  Dennis and I try to eat as healthy as possible, and we like to have dinner early; usually around 5:00 PM.  Since I normally start thinking about what to make for dinner around 3:30 or 4:00, complicated cooking is out of the question.  The dinner I made Monday night is a perfect example of a delicious meal I can prepare and have on the table in 1 - 1 1/2 hours, start to finish.

Lemon Garlic Pork Tenderloin, Scalloped Potatoes,
Cucumber Salad and Grape Tomatoes

Looks good, doesn't it?  This is a meal that could take hours to prepare without the shortcuts I take.  I'm going to show you how I do it.

I start with a Hormel Pork Center Cut Loin Filet.  This one is already marinated in lemon and garlic, so it's seasoned and ready to cook.  I buy these on sale at Safeway, and let me tell you they are wonderful.  Take the loin out of the package, put it in a pan and roast per directions until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.  Anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes.  My oven cooks it perfectly in 1 hour.

The Scalloped Potatoes take more time to prepare, but not a lot of time.  Maybe 15 or 20 minutes tops.  Here's my simple recipe, the way mom made them. 

(Adjust the amount of potatoes and other ingredients according to how many servings you want.)

Slice peeled potatoes thin, about 1/8". 
Chop desired amount of sweet onion.
Place a layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of a casserole and top with chopped onions.
Salt and pepper.
Sprinkle lightly with flour.
Repeat layers to the top of the casserole dish.
Pour milk over the potatoes to about 2/3 up the dish.  I use 2% milk to cut down on fat.
Put a few pats of butter on top, or Smart Balance if you like.

I put the tenderloin and the potatoes in the oven to bake at the same time.  Like I said, 1 hour seems to work fine for the pork.  The potatoes cook in about the same time.

While the pork and potatoes are cooking I make the cucumber salad. 

I don't know any families with a European heritage that don't like cucumber salad.  We always had lots of it at our German/Belgian house.  But making it was a laborious process.   I used to slice the cukes, salt them, let them weep, make a vinegar and sugar marinade, combine everything.  So time consuming.  No more, though.  Now I make this salad with three simple ingredients: Peeled and sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced sweet onions, and seasoned rice vinegar.  That's it.  Using this rice vinegar has changed my cucumber-loving life. 

And there you have it.  An easy to prepare dinner; healthy and yummy.  A meal I'd happily serve guests.

I received no compensation from Hormel to feature the pork tenderloin.  I just happen to really like this product and wanted to share my joyful experience in preparing this meal.

What shortcuts have you developed to make cooking easier and less time consuming?

I'm sharing at these lovely parties:
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Tweak it Tuesday at Cozy Little House
You're Gonna Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Look at My Home Office/Craft Room

One of the benefits of moving to this apartment last year is that for the first time in four years I have my own space.  A room to myself where I can write, quilt, sew and do crafts.  Where I can catch up on blogging and listen to the music of my choice, or have complete silence if I choose. 

My Room Now

In our last home -- a 640 SF mountain cabbage (my husband called it a cabin, I called it a cottage, so I dubbed it "cabbage") -- I worked at a makeshift desk in the living room. I didn't do crafts or sew because there just wasn't an appropriate place to do so, in such a small space, without putting everything away at the end of the day.  That's too much interaction with creative materials for my taste; I like to leave my project out until I'm ready to resume work on it.

My Room In Our Last Home

The new home we're now planning will include a studio for my artist husband, and an office/craft room for me. We moved here sans furniture, knowing that we'd make purchases for our new home, so anything I've bought for our apartment has had to be basic furnishings that can be reused in our next home, or things I could dispose of without feeling guilty over the cost.  Translation:  I bought a lot of thrift store, yard sale, second hand stuff that wasn't too large.

The table I now use for sewing and crafts began life as my desk.  I blogged about it in Vintage Table Makeover.

A vintage drop leaf table serves as my desk.  I only need to raise the front leaf to accommodate my computer and other essentials.

A photo I took of my husband walking an Oregon beach, my reading glasses, and a praying angel (a gift from a friend) are all "essentials".

My daily journal is essential, too.

On the wall to the right of my desk hangs a perpetual calendar that I fell in love with on a weekend getaway to Hood River, Oregon.  I had to buy it; especially since it was 1/2 off.  Next to it is something I printed off and taped to the wall: 

Mistakes are proof that you are Trying

Just a little reminder that's it's okay to fail.  As a closet perfectionist, I need that encouragement.

Moving a little further to the right we find this funky piece of furniture.  Dennis picked it up for $20 at Rehab.  It appears to be handmade and was probably used as a hutch. For me it acts as a little cupboard to store fabric and such.  (And I see the contents could use a bit of straightening.)   I didn't bother to paint the cupboard, but will do so when I move it to my new space and decide how to use it there.  The vintage suitcase tucked under the cupboard is a $10 garage sale find, and holds extra office supplies.  The cottage garden oil painting on the wall was painted by Dennis.  Of course, it's a favorite of mine.

I love anything with roses.  The little plate and Homer Laughlin sugar bowl are thrift store finds.  The mini gold heart frame was a gift.  Photos in the frames from left to right: My mother (long deceased) as a young bridesmaid in her sister's wedding.  She's standing next to the groom.  I'm very fond of this photo because my mother looks so stylish and vivacious; Me  My brother found this very worn photo in my dad's wallet, after he died.  It was the only photo he carried of me, and I thought it was so sweet that he had it all that time; My father as a very young man with a dapper cap.

The pair of blue and white porcelain "cuckoo clocks" belonged to my grandfather, who came to America from Belgium as a young man.  They are petite vases that are meant to be hung.  In Grandpa's little cottage they hung on either side of the kitchen door.  I treasure them.

These are a few of the vintage books I own.  The bookends depict the South Tower in San Francisco, and came from a local second hand shop.  Very inexpensive.  Most people would probably pass them by, but I like their chippy look. 

One of them has an inscription on the back.  I think they may have been souvenirs.

I'm crazy about cobalt blue glass!

I found this chippy harp mirror frame in an antique store in Colorado.  I couldn't resist it.  Except for cleaning it up just a bit, I haven't changed it.  It's just this wonderful, naturally aged, crackled, chippy piece.   Here it rests upside down on the ledge, and holds photos of my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

My grandchildren are 12 (almost 13) and 10 now, but I still enjoy their baby photos.

Under the shabby chic harp mirror frame are photos of Dennis and myself.  We married four years ago (I was a widow at the time).  These photos were taken a few months before we married.

My church friends gave us this photo with farewell notes written all around it. 
They presented it to us our last Sunday there, before moving to Colorado.

Our wedding invitation

Here's one of my very favorite photos of my grandchildren, taken shortly after my late husband's (their Papa Jim's) passing.  I worked in a downtown high rise at the time and they came to visit me.  My daughter-in-law took the photo, which sits near my desk.

I enjoy listening to music while I work.  Another one of Dennis' cottage garden paintings hangs on the wall.

I like to use baskets found at thrift stores and yard sales for organization.  We found the wire cube shelves at a garage sale.  I think we bought 20 for $5.  Ridiculously cheap and very easy to move and set up.

Vintage tins, a yellow hobnail vase, and a wicker organizer hold sewing notions and tools.  In the background on the right you'll see my over-the-door ironing board.  Very handy.

I just recently started collecting vintage wooden rulers.  These three in the vase were 10 cents each at Rehab.  Priced right for collecting, wouldn't you say?

Thanks for taking the tour of my home office/craft room, and allowing me to share a little of my personal life with you.  Do you have a room of your own?

Whether you have a home office or craft room, or a space carved out of your kitchen or some other room, please share it with us at Every Room In the House.  We're partying in the Home Office/Studio/Craft Room/Study/Den through the month of May, so come and join in the fun.  You may show us your studio, study or den, too, if you like.  Inspire us, or show us your design dilemma.  (Do any of us really have any of those?  Am I kidding?)

I'm sharing at these lovely parties:
Every Room In The House at A Joyful Cottage
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
Tweak it Tuesday at Cozy Little House
You're Gonna Love it Tuesday at Kathe with an E
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Share Your Cup Thursday at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Shabbilicious Friday at Shabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls - What If She Were My Granddaughter?

NIAMEY, NIGER - DECEMBER 09: Student writing in her exercise book at a Nigerian school on December 09, 2013, in Niamey, Niger. Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)***Local Caption*** via Adotei Akwei of Amnesty International Nigeria: Bring Back Our Girls! 

On April 14 more than 230 Nigerian girls were abducted from their Chibok boarding school by the Islamist armed group Boko Haram.  A man claiming to be Abubaker Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, said in a video that the schoolgirls were "slaves" whom he planned to sell in the market.  "I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine," he said at another point in the video.

Chilling, isn't it? 

I've spent most of today reading up on the horror of what happened.  I won't repeat the details here.  If you're interested in learning more,  Adotei Akwei of Amnesty International has blogged Nigeria: Bring Back Our Girls!  You can find out more there.  Or do a search on Google and check the news services for reports of the abduction.

The above photo of a girl bent over her school work is on Akwei's post.  She appears to be my granddaughter's age.  That could be my Emma -- young, bright, focused.  Dedicated to her schoolwork and hopeful of her future.  There were 200+ girls like Emma ripped from their beds and thrown into vehicles the night of April 14.  They vanished into the forest with their abductors and haven't been seen since.  Their families are sick with worry and overwhelmed with fear. 

Too many days it's easy for me to detach myself from the reality of evil like this.  To say "It's terrible, but there's nothing I can do."  Today is different.  I can't go and rescue those Nigerian girls, but I can pray and ask God to do so.  I'm a woman of faith.  I believe in the power of prayer. 

Today I think:
What if one of those girls were my Emma?  What if she were my granddaughter?  Wouldn't I want someone to care?  Even if it was someone on the other side of the world, wouldn't I want that person -- that grandmother -- to pray for my girl? 

Today I'm praying as if all those missing girls are my granddaughters.  I'm praying that God will crash the gates of Hell and save those precious girls.  That He'll bring them back home to safety and the freedom to see their dreams come true. 

And this will be my daily prayer until my granddaughters are free.

I'm sharing this with
Friendship Friday

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Every Room In The House Party - #5

Hello my wonderful Cottage Friends and happy May Day!

I hope this photo of roses makes you smile.  I snapped this last year on our trip across Oregon. 
The entire month of May we'll be partying in the Home Office/Studio/Craft Room/Study/Den 

Thanks to everyone who linked up at April's Every Room In The House party.  Let's take a look at the bathroom posts you shared last month. 

Here are the top three most viewed posts:

Creating a Pretty Cottage Bathroom - DIY Renovation  by Anne of Design Dreams by Anne.  If I was to give an award for The Most Amazing DIY Accomplishment by a Blogger, this would be it.  You just have to see Anne's fabulous work, which included taking the walls all the way down to the studs and rebuilding them herself.  Huh?  Yeah, you read that right.  She taught herself how to use power tools and do the remodel herself.


My Master Bathroom Update! by Terry of Forever Decorating.  This bathroom is so romantic,  so very stunning, that it's no wonder Terry uses an exclamation point in the title.  I'm doing cartwheels, and it's not even my bathroom.

Perfume Bar by Penny at Penny's Vintage Home.  Penny just keeps coming up with great ideas.  Honestly, how much fun would it be to be a guest in Penny's home where you can "try on" perfume in her guest bath?  Would you ever want to leave?  I know I wouldn't.

Are you starting to feel inspired?  Me too, but let's see what else was shared last month.

JoAnne of A Pocketful of Blue showed off her kid's bathroom in New Bathroom With All the Fun Stuff.  The bathroom was enlarged and decorated age appropriately.  I love what JoAnne did with color, some industrial touches, and fun wall décor. 

Along with being a savvy decorator and crafty crafter, my friend Kim at Exquisitely Unremarkable is a remarkable writer.  She's a little Martha Stewart and a whole lot Erma Bombeck.  Her post Irreconcilable Differences about "proper colored tissue boxes" in the bathroom had me in stitches.  Seriously, Kim keeps me from looking at life (and decorating) too seriously. 

Terry at Forever Decorating gave us a look at her Updated Guest Bath Reveal.  Terry's eye for design really shows in the details of this bathroom.  I know you'll love it.

If you're a fan of farmhouse style, then you won't want to miss Jann's Basement Bath Reveal at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson.  In typical Mrs. Olson fashion, Jann does a smashing job of using an old dresser for the charming vanity, and fills the bath with one-of-a-kind accessories.

Jann gives us another glimpse of her extraordinary decorating skills in her Birdie Bath.  I love her granddaughter's comment "Grandma, if you have a theme you go all out."  Yup, that says it all. :)

Diana at Adirondack Girl @ Heart joined the party with her master bathroom reveal in Master Bath Tour with a Focus on Vintage.  From the gorgeous archway over the tub to the delightful print on the wall, this bathroom is classy; like an expensive spa.

Diana gives us a closer look at that pretty bathroom stool in Giving New Life to an Old (Vintage) StoolThis is a very nice makeover.

Debbie at Lakehouse provides a look at her very pretty upstairs' bath in Bathroom Redo. . .Done.  Love her shabby chic bath curtain and vintage hamper.

I shared the bathroom cabinet my husband created in DIY - Bathroom Cabinet.

And we toured ten charming Welsh cottage bathrooms in my post 10 Real Cottage Bathrooms.

Please, only pin the features from their original site and not from here. 

Thanks to each and every one of you who partied with me in April.  You are all the best!

If you were featured this month, please grab this button.

A Joyful Cottage

Every Room In The House is a monthly link-up party that has a theme room for each month.  This month we're partying in the Home Office/Studio/Craft Room/Study/Den.
Right now there's no limit to the number of posts you may link up, and they don't have to be recent posts. But they do have to be about your home office or studio or craft room or study or den.  Hey, maybe your work space is in the garage or basement, or a separate building.  That's okay.  Share it!

Room reveals, decorating, DIY, remodels, furniture redos, thrift finds, organization  --  whatever relates to this month's theme room, we want to see it.

The party will be open all month.  Bring a friend!
Please remember to put a link in your post back to A Joyful Cottage.  That's necessary to be featured.

So. . .let's party!