Monday, December 28, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- New Year's Edition

Welcome to the holiday edition of Foodie Friday and Everything Else.
A year ago, when I wrote a summary for 2014, I was in a different place, both geographically and spiritually. I dubbed that year the worst ever, and I had guarded hopes for 2015. All I can say about that year is, Goodbye. And don't let the door hit you on the way out. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- Christmas Edition 2015

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. It's always a treat to see you here. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and snug.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

I'm delighted to see you today at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Are you ready for the holidays?
We've been waylaid by repairs, so our decorating is minimal.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm so glad you're here.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Rattlebridge. I've used my old feathers and magnolias for years, along with other nature-inspired goodies. This year, we found the cutest woodland ornaments at K-Mart ($3.99 each). And I wish K-Mart was sponsoring this post, because I would have bought more hedgehogs!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to  Foodie Friday and Everything Else.
A wild and crazy day . . . . features will resume next week.
Without further ado, here is Foodie Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkey Pot Pie

The French know what to do with leftovers--add cream sauce and wrap in puff pastry.
That's what we plan to do this Thanksgiving. We're going to transform leftovers into a savory pie.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Social Media Stories: A Pinning Misadventure

A long time ago, a friend sent an invitation to join Pinterest. In those days, you had to be invited. I wasn't sure about Pinterest's function, and I didn't have time to learn because I was up to my neck in a work project. Years went by, and I forgot all about the site. Last November, I finally spent a little time on Pinterest and began to pin with gusto--I had the best time ever. I didn't realize that I was doing it all wrong, but that's typical Mlee behavior. I'm a slow learner.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

It's time for pre-Thanksgiving festivities at Foodie Friday and Everything Else, where you'll find the best recipes and creative ideas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mid-week Update: Ranch Renovation Diary

 Before we get into the latest adventures, I want to hug everyone who shared ideas and heartwarming stories about how to make a new house a home. You ladies rock! And you are so wise. I can't begin to explain how much you helped. This move is fraught with psychological undertones, and I was bowled over by how you saw straight to the heart of the matter. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your journeys and for talking me down from the ledge. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nest Building: Making a New House Feel Like Home

A warning label should accompany this post. Though it contains a few "before" photos, you won't see lovely "afters." This post isn't about decorating. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Window Shopping in Nashville

 On impulse, we drove to Nashville and enjoyed a little window shopping, something we haven't done in many years. It's true that I am very attached to certain objects (insert background music, Barbra Streisand singing "Memories"), and I resist buying new furniture. Nevertheless, I didn't hesitate to embark on this new design adventure.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I am in Nashville, finishing up a window shopping trip. I'll be back later, after the traffic thins a bit. I've been sharing a few photos on Instagram today. Lawzy, I need to get out more and see the world.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mid-Week Tinkering

First, I'd like to thank you all for the great comments on the man cave. I tend to get snowblind very easily, and you all set me on the right path. Thanks go out to Yolie Brown for helping me solve an issue with my narrow dining room. Rather than moving the round table in here, I'm going to leave it where it is for now and see how the long, mahogany table looks. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Baby Steps on a Foggy Night: A Few Steps Backward

 We crammed a chair and table into the Jeep and took off for the foggy mountain, hoping that more furniture would tame the cavernous man cave, but the opposite happened.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baby Steps in a Big Room

Well, I finally started tinkering with the gigantic man cave. I worked fast because we were on our way to see Spectre, the new James Bond movie. I just had time to shift the furniture and add a few pillows--and to try a striped Dhurrie rug.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else.
I want to thank everyone for your kind comments about my illness. I'm much better, but still homebound for now. Haven't made it over to the ranchburger, but my family took pictures of the big anniversary SURPRISE. I'm looking forward to getting well, so we can move!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

True Country

We are driving down a long dirt road, rocks pinging against the fender, dust rising from the tires. This road leads to slow-living and gentle ways, and each mile takes us back in time to a simpler era.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Date Night Style for Slobs

Long ago, the Girl planned an old fashioned date night. She imagined stopping by a restaurant and consuming vast quantities of spaghetti and garlic bread, then she imagined walking to the local cinema to see The Martian. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Make a Comfortscape

It's the end of October, one of those damp, chilly days in the mountains. I'm ready for flannel, fuzzy slippers, hot tea, and comfort food. As autumn deepens, a comfort-scape is always welcome.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

An Ideabook for the Man Cave

I'm a little under the weather today, so I'm diverting my attention from an icky clear liquid diet and focusing on the man cave's blue sofa and chairs. The easiest way to unite the cream walls, beige draperies, and the blue upholstered pieces is to add pillows and a throw.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Design Misadventures

It began with my husband's request for bar stools in the man cave. I found a similar style online, but I was reluctant to match a virtual fabric swatch to the draperies. No, I needed to see these elements together--and in the man cave. The room promised to be difficult, especially since it was shaped like a bowling alley, and natural light was varied in each space--dark in the TV area and bright by the bar.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

The Foodie Friday and Everything Else Party
Thanks for stopping by today--and a special thanks to all of the talented bloggers who participated in last week's party. The highlights include:

A Fall Mantel Display by Dancing Dog Cabin.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Afternoon Tea at the Farm

Five years ago, I fell in love with four old green cups. They didn't have saucers, but that didn't stop me. I turned over a cup--the bottom was smooth and unmarked. If you are a dish addict, and I am, matched sets are for sissies, and these cups were lovely, like something Martha Stewart had displayed in her renovating book New Old House. Without hesitation, I cradled the cups in my arms and scurried to the check-out counter.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Creating Comfort and Joy

Once upon a time, home decor had a long shelf life. Trends came and went, same as always, but you had time to catch your breath and enjoy them. In those days, when I needed inspiration, I looked at my favorite shelter magazines--not to replicate a room but to learn. I studied details and asked myself what I liked (and didn't like) about a space.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ranch Renovation Or Design Revelations, Gossip, Fears, and Confessions

 Welcome to my foyer. I have lots and lots to tell you. When I was planning this renovation, I knew that my style had changed drastically--but I also knew that I had to work with existing furnishings. The white walls were my attempt to add visual continuity to a smaller house, along with providing a backdrop to art and toning down my fussy elements, which you'll see in a moment.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to the October 16th Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm delighted to share a sampling of last week's festive, fabulous ideas:
You'll want to grab a fork when you see this magical GIF of Chocolate Protein Pancakes by Jennifer Meyering.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ranch Renovation Update -- Mid October

 I haven't given you an update in a while, mainly because of the flooring problem.. Not much to see, really, since the house was filled with plastic sheets and humidifiers. But the floors were repaired last week, and now we're waiting for the plumber and electricians.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How to Make Herbed Vinegar

Kendall Lane Designs traditional landscape
traditional landscape design courtesy of Houzz

Imagine a warm, breezy October morning. You open the gate and step into the herb garden.  The air is crisp and cool, but your herbs are flourishing. Delicious smells waft around you. A lazy bee circles the lavender. Tarragon grows in a patch of sun, giving off the poignant scent of anise. Rosemary (for remembrance) grows in spiky heaps.  The basil has grown knee-high. You brush your hands over the mint and imagine making sweet tea and jelly. You hunker down and pinch a sprig of oregano--it will be perfect for flatbread pizza tonight. Don't forget a handful of dill for the warm potato salad, along with sage for your cornbread (add chopped, fried bacon bits and a handful of chopped chives).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sage: The Alpha Dog (Herb Series)

The smell of fresh sage pulls me far away from the here and now, to a pub in foggy Dartmoor. Inside, flames crackle in a fireplace. The air is dense and smoky, redolent of ale and fried chips. Mr. Sage sits at the bar, an elegant, yet rugged chap, all decked out in his Sunday best--suspenders, corduroy suit, tweed hat, a gold pocket watch ticking ominously in his pocket. His grim, poker face softens after he tosses back a shot of whisky. He reaches for another. As he leans closer to the bar, he gives off the faint smell of camphor. Maybe he has rubbed medicinal ointment on his chest --or is he trying to repel the other patrons? Indeed, he keeps to himself. But after a few more shots, he blossoms into a loud, mesmerizing storyteller. Yes, he has seen it all--sirens and mermaids and even Kate Middleton's underpants. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- October 9th

Cookie Ouija board tutorial | The Simple, Sweet Life
You'll find something wonderfully delicious and not-so-wicked at this week's Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Last week, we were wowed by Ouija Board cookies by The Simple Sweet Life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This Side of Heaven

The changing sky is the first true sign of a Tennessee autumn. The air is musical and iridescent, moving like a strummed banjo.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Blessing of Good Health

"A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Are you enjoying the splendid autumn weather?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rising to the Occasion

This is a story about a girl who just wanted to move to her new-old house, but she couldn't because her floors weren't ready. Thanks to high humidity, the wood wouldn't "cure," or somesuch, and the floors had to be completely refinished--but not until the humidity reached a certain level inside the house. The girl waited and waited. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hooty House: A Haunted Tour

Hooty House sits at the top of a haunted lane. It's a place of cobwebs, crooked shutters, caved-in ceilings, and nesting owls. Dead leaves blow across the weedy yard, and deader things crouch in the darkness.
Enter if you dare. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

 So happy to see you today at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I hope you are enjoying the magical days of autumn. Here in the foothills of the Highland Rim, the days are sunny, tinged with golden light, and the evenings are chilly. (Photo: Tyler West)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Autumn in the Country

 When autumn comes to to the farm, it's impossible to stay indoors--and the first official day of fall is arriving Wednesday. This is my favorite time of year: warm afternoons, dancing sunshine, a crisp, blue sky, and chilly nights. It's a time of contrasts. Soon, we'll face the bleak, monotonous winter, but now, we can take off our shoes and go barefoot.

Monday, September 21, 2015

In Praise of Autumn Weeds

Back in the summer of 2014, I had a dreamy garden. Bandwidth and I hacked through the Tennessee clay, planted hundreds of flowers, and hauled tons of mulch. We weeded every morning and watered at dusk. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ranch Renovation Diary: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 As with most home remodeling projects, one must face the good, the bad, and the ugly--also the unexpected. I spent most of the summer doing armchair renovating: my general contractor or his assistant sent photos and email updates, and I either approved or "tweaked" from afar. Sometimes it's difficult to know if a photo tells the real story, so I put a mental check-mark beside a few pictures and pushed them from my thoughts. If anything in this world can wait, it's interior design.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Oregano: The Unsung Herb

 Oregano is dainty, easy-going, and joyful. Even so, behind her back, people whisper. 
"Poor thing," they say. "She just can't get ahead." 
A few folks think she's stuck up, the kind of herb that forms cliques: "She only invites tomatoes to her parties," says cilantro. "Really, she ought to marry a tomato," says sage.
This unkind gossip took hold for a strange (but ironic) reason. She is known as the "Italian Herb," mainly because she brings out the best in tomato-based recipes (and she gets punished for this skill). Not that she'd ever think of it as punishment. No, oregano loves pizza, spaghetti, anything with pasta--but she also loves Greek cuisine. Heck, she loves everything and everyone. She is a good ole gal, happy to be here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- September 18th

After weeks of sipping soup and ginger ale, my appetite returned. However, my cooking skills are still lagging behind. I made a tomato pancetta tart, and when I transferred it to a platter, the crust caved in. I managed to patch it together, hiding the broken places with basil and sage--luckily, I had plenty of camouflage, thanks to recent work on the herb series. Despite the fractures, the tart was delicious, one of those wonderfully edible missteps, a metaphor for life itself.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

 Welcome to the September 11th Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Are you enjoying the early days of autumn? Are you excited about cozy, seasonal recipes? Then you've come to the right place: Foodie Friday will tempt your taste buds.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- September 4

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Before we put on our party shoes, I wanted to thank the kind souls who emailed and left comments about the loss of our sweet Zap. Your consoling words mean the world to Bandy and me. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015