Decorating is endless.
Cooking never ends.
Gardens are always changing.
And best of all shopping goes on and on!

Hence the name,
Open Ended!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Good Bye Summer!

I am gearing up for the last true summer weekend!
Labor Day weekend always marks the end of the summer for me.
Even though all my kiddies are grown
I still feel this pang of sadness!
As a stay at home mom I always felt 
this bitter sweetness as summer ended.
I was ready for a break from my kids and 
all their friends coming and going, 
the bickering, the wet swimsuits on their bedroom carpet, 
the empty soda cans and wrappers left all over!
And yet....
I liked the idea of no schedules, the smell of suntan lotion,
going to Great America, spending time with them.
And it's weird but even though they all have there own lives
and they are all finished with school I still feel emotional.
So I decided to have one last summer blow out!
 This weekend the whole "fam" is coming to swim ,
eat, play and sit around the bonfire and use our newly
remodeled fire-pit!
{Photo to follow next week!}
I'll be busy...busy....busy till then
so... I'll get back to all of you next week!
I am going to leave you all with a few photo's 
of my family and my best friend, Gina's family.
She talked us in to going on a canoe trip down the Fox River. 

We had a blast! 

Here's the whole gang!

Our daughter and her boyfriend, Kevin!

Son #2 and his wife, Kelly!
So serious!! LoL!

This is my guy, Mike.
I'm in front doing all the rowing!!! hehe!

Gina and I!
{Oh the things she talks me into!!}

The boys trying to decide whether to jump or not!!!

He finally did it!!

After several tries and a little help, 
my daughter finally made it up the rocks!

But...climbing the rocks was just half the battle!!
She still had to jump.
And...eventually she did.
Way to go MaryKate!

Have a safe and fun filled Labor Day Everyone!

Good Bye Summer....


Friday, August 27, 2010

A Flea Market Find!

On the Second Sunday of each month & the Saturday before,
you can find a very lovely Flea Market in Grayslake Illlinois.
And...... my daughter-in-law and I were
lucky enough to make it there this month!
What a fun time we had!
We came across quite a few interesting treasures.

 I found theses little numbers!

Now I am a lover of books!
I love to smell them, hold them, read them and
store them on a bookcase where I can
admire all the books I have read!

But I have never seen anything like this before!
Some might be offended that someone
would do this to a perfectly good book.
But that's the thing, these are books that were in bad shape.
 Many with missing covers and pages!

I think they would be great on your desk 
to stuff notes in or to display postcards.
I think vintage french postcards would make a wonderful display.
{I might need to go postcard shopping!}
  Or how about special cards that you have received.
Or even old family photos! 

So Cool!

I love these little book holders....I hope you do too!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another Project Down ~ A Million More to GO!

Before I show you what I am up to now!
I just want to ask you if you can smell it!

Not the apples so much but the smell of Fall!

This is my most favorite season of the year!
Our leaves are starting to fall and the nights are getting cooler.
Who doesn't love to put on a pair of sneakers and a hoodie!

Are you as excited as I am about this change of season?

here's what I am up to!

Remember waaaaay back when I showed you this 
awesome slate chalkboard from Viva Terra?  
For $175 big ones!

to see my old post!

Well.... I finally got around to making my own!

Here's how it went down!  
1. I bought a 4ft.x4ft. piece of board. 
It was smooth on one side and rough on the other.

2. Then my step-dad cut the board to match
the measurements of the model.
He was able to cut 4 regular size.
And he cut one a little bigger because 
he thought the model was to narrow.
It drove him nuts that they were so narrow.
But... that's the thing I liked about this chalkboard. 
Although.... I must admit  the larger one looks really cool too! 
Thanks John!

3. We decided that it needed a little stabilization.
So I cut smaller pieces to go across
the back at the top and bottom.
I then glued them to the back and 
used clamps to hold them in place.

4. My step-dad also cut two pieces of trim 
that I then glued together.
I off set them so that they would make a lip.
A lip so the chalk wouldn't roll off!
Then I stained them the color I liked!

 5. was time for the paint.
I used some chalk board paint and rolled on 3 coats of paint!

6. Time to attach the trim to the front.
I drilled a couple holes and 
attached the trim for the chalk.

7. Lastly I needed a way to hang them.
So I attached these circle type hangers to the back.
The wood we used to stabilize them with
came in handy to attach the hangers to!

So... for about $20 I have 5 wonderful chalk boards.
 They may not be slate, but they do the trick.

I know...I know...
you are wondering what does a girl do with 5 chalkboards?

I have the perfect spot for one of them. 
My daughter would love one for her future apartment.
And the rest will make a great gift for someone. 
Graduation, shower, birthday, housewarming......
and the list goes on!

It only took me 7 months to finish this project!!
So many ideas ~ So little time!

 Have a great middle of the week day!

Monday, August 23, 2010

One Lamp....One Very Naughty Dog!

Yep it's official, I need to go lamp shopping!


And this is the the one who knocked over the entire table where the lamp sat!

I am not going to's not my favorite lamp and I do love to shop 
Lulu didn't get in as much trouble as you might think by the look on her face!
So a shopping I shall go!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

$18 Bucks!

I just had to show you the great deal I got!

I went back to this store last week 
to pick up a pair of shutters that I had my eye on.
But to my dismay they had a sold sign on them! :-(

Then as I was paying for a few other little goodies 
I spied these behind the counter.

  {And yes my workshop floor is really bright blue tile!}

I asked if they were for sale.
And as luck would have it the women said,
sure....hows $18 bucks sound? 

I am thinking $18 each. 
Then the women says....for both!


Now some would think, 
what the heck do you do with two old shutters
(I think they are really louvered closet doors.)
that aren't even painted very nicely!

But I knew right where I wanted them to go!

So home they came with me.
They were just a little too tall for my space.


 I cut them down.

 Used a little of this on the spots that had 
fresh bare wood showing through.
(This darkens the bare wood and makes it look old.)

Then I walked them upstairs
and put them in the spot I had picked out.

They may not be for everyone 
but.....I LOVE THEM!

Gotta love a good deal!

I have a few other project that I plan to share with you
in the coming weeks
so stay tuned!

Happy Shopping,

Monday, August 16, 2010


i am embarrassed to say that until last month
i had not ever had a macaroon
not coconut, not french, not any of any kind
and i am a lover of sweets! sweets of all kinds!
{i thought I was not a lover of coconut but...
it turns out i'm loving it now}
my biggest weakness is the cookie!
i absolutely love cookies!

then....last month as i had mentioned before, 
i went for lunch at a fellow blogger's home
and joy @ savvy city farmer had coconut macaroons 
for dessert....yum!
{thank you joy for turning me on to
the wonderful world of macaroons!}
she was kind enough to send me her recipe
and that's when the 4 weeks of coconut macaroons began
i stocked up on all the ingredients
and i started making them....and making them....and making them!
mine did not taste as good as joy's did :-(
i tried several different variations
and because i can't give out a recipe that is not mine to give
i found another for all of you
it is so yummy you will need to make it right away

Coconut Macaroons

{actual photo of my macaroons}

14 ounces shredded coconut (sweetened)
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)(or sweetened cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped cashews{i chop them in my little chopper thingy}
8 ounces semi-sweet or milk chocolate (optional)
{always add chocolate when ever you can!}

 Combine all the ingredients except the condensed milk and mix to combine. Add the
condensed milk and mix until all the coconut is coated and sticking together.
{i usually get 3 cookie sheets of 12 for a total of 36 macaroons. 
so make them a little bigger than a tablespoon.
(Add a layer of parchment paper so they won't stick. i love parchment paper!!}
Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes, until the coconut is crispy brown on the edges. Remove from
the baking sheet immediately to prevent sticking.
{i pull the parchment paper over on to a cooling rack & cool}
Optionally melt the chocolate and drizzle it over{i drizzle}, or dip the macaroons in it.
*{i melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave and then add a some vegetable oil~ enough so that the
  chocolate looks glossy. this make the choc. look glossy and not dried out looking}

my daughter, the health nut has now begged me 
to stop with the macaroons
she is now addicted and thinks she has gained 5lbs.........not!

but sometimes i get on something and i can't stop till i perfect it
those of you who know me well 
are now chucking at that last statement....
but because of my crazy perfectionist personality
you now get a wonderful recipe......yay!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just a Peek!

Hello everyone, I've missed you!
But... have been busy enjoying my break!!

Thought I'd give you a peek of one of the little projects I've been working on!

If you have even been to my house you have probably noticed this in my kitchen.

I have had this little Longaberger recipe basket for forever.
 And it's bursting at the seams.

So I bought this:

And some refill protectors.
And got to work....

I ran out of space and had to buy a 2nd one.
 Then more protectors...

And yesterday.....
I had to buy a 3rd book and even more protectors!
Who knew I had so many recipes!

I also have tons of recipe books, that I would like to 
copy my favorite recipes and put into my new recipe binders!

(These are just a few of my favs!)

I like this new recipe binder for several reasons.
It has wonderful big 5x7 cards.
And protectors for 5x7's.

Which... I took my old recipes and just inserted them.

Someday I plan to re-write them on the new cards.
(That will be  a great winter project!)

I can also put all my full page recipes in a full page protector.

I love to look up new recipes online.
The best part of online recipes is that other people have already tried them out.
And many write reviews so I don't waste my time on a not-so-good recipe!
I have tons of good one!!

And how about the inside covers!

Measurements, Terms & Techniques
and even Substitutions!

 How helpful is this!

The only thing that I wasn't crazy about was the dividers! 
The categories didn't match up with my old recipe box.
And...they where really hard for these "old" eyes to see.

So I grab my trusty label maker and made new easier to read labels!

as with most of my projects it seemed to 
grow into more than I expected.

But I love my new organized recipe binders!

They grew in to a series ~ I now have
Vol. I ~ Vol. II and Vol. III
Crazy Huh?

Well I best get going...
My guy is taking vacation this week so we are off and running!