Thursday, December 11, 2014

Five On Friday

After a long stretch (months and months) of not posting on my blog I decided to start it again by joining a group of other bloggers to be a part of Five on Friday.  Set up by Amy at Love Made My Home, we will post five things on Friday we want to share.  I'm grouped with another set of bloggers who's links are at the bottom of my post.  I hope you will visit their blogs as well. 

I'm not a routine blogger as I'm sure you'll notice from the very large gaps in my posts.  I'd like to be a bit more regular but life gets in the way and before I know it weeks turn in to months and the year is gone.  So I am happy to be a part of the Five on Friday group.  It will give me a reason to become a more focused blogger.

My Five things don't really have any correlation or theme.  They are just five things that made me happy over the past couple of weeks. 

Number One - Dude the CAT

This one is a biggie so I'll start with it first.  Last week Thursday as I was walking out the door for work I noticed one of my cats was not around.  Sometimes he likes to sleep in our basement and doesn't always come upstairs in the morning to greet me but it's rare.  I asked Mr. Saylor if he'd seen him but he said he hadn't noticed.  Mr. Saylor was the last to pull in to the driveway the night before so when our daughter was getting ready to leave for the gym she was blocked in by his car which meant that early on Thursday morning they were running in and out of the house to move the cars.  Well, I think our little cat must have slipped out during the commotion.  It was either that or he had slipped out the night before when Mr. Saylor let the dog out.  Regardless of when the fact remained our little cat was nowhere to be found.  I panicked but reminded myself that he was a cat and would probably find his way home.  I posted a picture of him on the facebook page for lost cats in Illinois.  Mr. Saylor ran around and made a few flyers with his picture on it.  I left for work but came home at lunchtime to see if I could find him but still no luck.  I got home that evening from work about 6pm and when I got out of the car I started calling for him.  No luck but when I got in the house Mr. Saylor said the little guy had just shown up at the back door about five minutes before I got home!  I was so happy and relieved to have the little guy back.  I think he was pretty happy to be home too.  It's only about 20 degrees outside and if he was out all night he had to be pretty cold.  He smelled like he must have gotten locked in someone's garage, kind of oily and musty.  Our little cat snuggled with us all night.  I think he was very happy to be home and we were all very happy to have him home.

Here he is, the little bugger all snuggly and content after his adventure in the great outdoors of our back yard and beyond.  First he snuggled up with Mr. Saylor and then hopped over to my lap. 


Love my little guy.



Number Two - A gift to myself
I'm doing Weight Watchers with a group of women in my office.  Maybe it's the holidays but we're all getting a little less motivated in our weight loss goals.  I bought us all little boxes and we've written down a goal weight for our final weigh in before Christmas.  I'm calling it a gift to myself and we'll be opening them up at our next meeting.  I keep it on my desk to remind me of the gift of weight loss I'm giving to me!  This week's weigh in wasn't spectacular but I was down just a smidge.  Next week will have to be big in order to hit the goal inside my box.


Number Three - The tile wall

I was at the Home Depot last week and saw these glass tiles on sale for half price.  I picked up the last of the sheets they had in the store only to find out I needed three more sheets.  Luckily they called another store and they had about a box left.  We ran out as fast as we could and got them.  It's a small dividing wall between my kitchen and dining room.  I think it came out nicely.


Number Four - Goodbye Red Room

We moved into this house about ten years ago.  It was supposed to only be for a couple of years but when the housing market crashed I didn't want to sell and potentially lose money.  One of the first big projects we did was paint our dining room walls a faux finish in red glaze.  It was very dramatic and at first we didn't like it because it looked like blood clouds.  It grew on me and I've really liked it.  Recently I decided that I'd paint the dining room to correspond with the green toned kitchen.  It was a little sad because I remembered painting that room with my daughter.  She was so young but so helpful.  Repainting the wall was hard because that paint job was something we did together and it was almost like I was painting away the memories.  My daughter was fine with getting rid of the red.  With that encouragement I got down to business and now it's green! I like it but I also feel it's a little cold and a little boring.  I'm going to have to be creative with my décor in the room. 


Number Five - An Odd Place for a beer can collection. 

Last night we went out for dinner to a little British restaurant in the city.  The area is very old but trendy and it's always fun to take the trip now and again.  They serve Steak and Ale Royal Pies and Banngers and Mash and all kinds of hearty foods.  It's a very small place and is a BYOB place.  Right next door is a little trendy bar ( my daughter calls it a Hipster bar) named Maria's.  We stopped in there first and picked up some hearty beer then went next door and got our Royal Pies.  YUM.  Afterwards we went back to the little Hipster place and had a couple more beers.  In the bathroom they have a glass case on the wall filled with old beer cans.  I thought it odd that they'd put them in the bathrooms where no one can really see them and had to make it a part of my Five on Friday.


Beer Can collection on the bathroom wall.

Steak and Ale Royal Pie


And that's it!  My Five on Friday. 

I am joining in Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.  Please go and visit the other people who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.  Thank you again to Amy for arranging this fun blogging activity!



Amy from Love Made My Home
Helen from Woollybluebells
Gina from Fan My Flame
Joanne from A Whole Plot of Love 
Rosie from Corners Of My Mind







Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cute Painted Tables

Isn't it funny how a project that looked good at the time ends up not being so great?  I had this little table in the house that I painted with a chevron pattern last year.  Then I clear coated it.  I kept thinking I would bring it to a local consignment shop and see if I could sell it there.  Until recently when I pulled it out and looked at it.  Seems the clear coat had yellowed and changed the color of the table.  So, I decided to sand it all down and re-do the top. 

I like the new look!

 
I love the way this one folds down.

I
 
 


Then I found this adorable little table at my local GW for $3.99.  It was a dark brown stain and had water rings on it.  So, I decided to paint it up and ad some cute stencils.  Now I love it!  I hope the consignment shop is interested. 
 



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where have I been?

And what have I been doing!?! 

The Saylor Street Blog has been greatly neglected lately.   This is because I've been focused on losing weight.  I joined weight watchers about 9 weeks ago and that's pretty much all I'm thinking about these days.  I've lost 16 lbs so far and hope to take off a whole bunch more by this time next year!

My weight loss focus doesn't mean that I've stopped having fun with new projects.  I've been working in the yard, still hitting second hand stores, making cute banners and even made some wonderful deserts for my nieces communion.  So many projects but no time to blog!

I've been doing a lot of walking lately to help my weight loss.  It seems to be much harder now that I'm over 50 than when I was younger.  I've decided to take pictures as I walk to help make it a little more interesting.  I'm also looking for some new walking trails and new or interesting places.  I'm also taking pictures along the way to add some interest and not make walking so boring.  

Mr. Saylor found an old race car track turned walking trail in Algonquin, IL that is only about a 45 min. drive for us.  He also bought an old used Jeep that he loves like a Porsche!  It's a fun summer car.  We take off the windows and top and cruise to our walking destinations!  I think it's going to be an active summer!

Some pictures of the trails we've found:
 
Some trails near my home that are scenic and easy.  The sweet little baby bunny almost got scooped up and brought home by me! 
 
Looking forward to my next walking adventure. 



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fish & Chips

I've always been a sucker for a good fish and chip dinner.  Maybe it's a memory hidden deep within my psyche carried over from when I was a little girl growing up in Scotland.  I don't remember eating fish and chips that young, I was only 5 when we came to America.  My first real memory of fish and chips was when I went back to visit Scotland when I was 21.  I went with my Aunt and we stayed in her childhood flat that she had recently purchased.  The sweet story behind that flat was that it was the place she grew up in as a young girl.  When we got there she told me the story of the bomb blowing up in the street right outside the window and laughed as she told the story.  My Grandmother was bathing my father in a tub by the fire and when the bomb exploded they all got blown from the flat out into the street and she said they all laughed when they found my Grandmother and father covered in soot from the fire.  Luckily no one was hurt but I always found it amazing that the memory of that day turned out to be a funny memory for my Aunt and my elderly relatives.  What a beautiful place Edinburgh is and I can't even imagine bombs blowing up in the town. 

But getting back to my fish and chips story.  While in Scotland my Aunt Joyce sent me out to the fish and chips shop around the corner.  All the little shops are down the street or around the corner in Edinburgh and you can't really get lost but I went with my cousin because I can get lost quite easily.  We picked up a few orders of the freshly fried fish and chips and they wrapped them in newspaper and then in brown paper.  It was amazing.  The breading was light and salty and lightly greasy and the fish was tender and light.  The chips (French fries) were perfectly fried to crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside.  I sprinkled some malt vinegar and it gave it a salty tangy taste.  Unforgettable.  I fell in love with fish and chips that day. 
It's hard to find a good fish and chip dinner in our area.  We have a little Irish restaurant that we go to occasionally that serves a good one but it's only on a Friday and is usually very crowded. 
But the other day I found this! 
 
 
We picked up some fresh cod and I mixed this with some pale Belgian ale beer called Matilda to make the beer batter.  The fish came out wonderful and fluffy and perfect.  I also made some of my homemade "tattie" soup and it was a wonderful Sunday dinner.  Soup is so perfect right now to get us through these cold days. 
 
 
And then that wonderful pale ale which was a perfect accompaniment to the fish and chips. It's so special they even bottle it in a fancy bottle.  I drank it in a wine glass.    They describe the color on the website as Golden Sunset. 
 
This meal isn't the healthiest and by no means was low calorie but I held myself in check and ate a small portion.  The best part is I have leftover soup for a week of lunches. It earned me a few extra trips to the health club this week but it was worth it!
 
Until next time
Debbie
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Won't Ever.....no matter how many blogs and pins I see.....

Make a photo gallery wall.  They're so popular and look great in pictures, but I've seen them in person and in my opinion they look cluttered.  I just think it's over kill. 

Make ice cream from snow.  I know it's popular during winter and I see it all over Pinterest and Blogland but I own a dog and he has free reign in the yard, and because of acid rain, and because it's just not going to go over big in my house because nothing can replace good old fashioned ice cream.  Even when my children were small they never would have eaten ice cream made from snow.

Paint the fabric on furniture.  Another popular Pinterest and blogland creation.  This always stops me in my tracks.  Paint goes on walls and wood and steel so how can it honestly work on fabric? It's paint.  It dries stiff.  Especially paint mixed with Plaster of Paris.  I was recently in a little gallery that sells ASCP.  There was an antique couch in there that they painted and I'm sorry, it was just ugly. It looked like a couch meant to go in a garage for teens to hang out in.  I stopped, I touched and had no desire to sit on that couch.  I thought it was just my old fashioned out of date opinion but even my 22yo daughter turned her nose up at it.  I just don't understand the obsession with people who want to paint fabric furniture.  It's one of those crazy craft projects that look good and when friends come over they tell you how cool it is but when they leave they talk about how ugly it is and how crazy you are for painting furniture.  I won't ever try it.

Just my opinion on some of these trends.  Some people love it but I'll pass. 

But I will.....

Make these incredible peanut butter cookies that turned out fantastic and the recipe can be found here.



And I will make corned beef and cabbage at least once a week through the month of March.  Especially because it goes on sale!  I make my corned beef so many different ways, but for this one I coated the corned beef in brown sugar put in a roasting pan and poured a bottle and a half of Guinness beer over the roast, covered and cooked at 325 for about 3 hours or until fork tender.  I boiled some carrots, some cabbage and some potatoes and created a traditional St. Patty's day dinner.


And I will dress up my little kitty with a beaded candle wrap I found while cleaning my closest.  Doesn't he look happy?! 


And lastly, I will brace myself for the rainstorm heading it's way to Chicagoland.  We have mounds of snow everywhere, we're supposed to get temps close to 50 degrees and buckets of rain.  Combine the melting snow with the falling rain and I'll probably need a boat to get to work in the morning.

Where is all this snow going to go?


Until next time,
Debbie






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Zumba!!

In my quest to lose a decent amount of weight before summer I realize I have to get my butt in gear and start hitting the gym.  It's not an easy thing for me, I have never been very athletic, I find running incredibly boring and when I am running all I can think about is being finished.   I'd honestly rather be sitting home browsing the internet, reading blogs, making crafts and playing on Pinterest.  I sit all day at work in front of a computer so you would think that the last thing I'd want to do after work is look at a computer, but that's not the case.  It would be Utopia if I could find a job where my work on the computer was actually comprised of fun stuff like recipes and decorating but that's not the case.  So, once I'm home and dinner is finished I can spend an entire evening just sitting with my laptop.

I had to find something that was going to make me want to get out and exercise and have some fun. I belong to two gyms so I have no real excuse.  I found Zumba!   It's been around for quite a while now and I kind of compare it to Jazzercise but with a Latin beat.  I love it.  I've been going off and on for a couple of years now, more off than on, but each time I go I have a great time.  Tonight I went to a class that lasted an hour and afterwards did Zumba Toning for another 25 minutes.  I had a smile on my face almost the entire time.  The music is fun, the moves are easy and I worked up a sweat.  It's like an hour of dancing without going to a club.

I highly recommend Zumba to anyone who wants to exercise and have fun at the same time.  They have DVD's available but I'd much rather go to the live classes.  Everyone has fun, the instructors mix it up all the time and it's rarely the same routine.  The classes are always a mixture of ages, fitness levels and shapes and sizes. 

Here is a link to the Zumba website.  I can't wait until Friday at lunch time....another Zumba class.





Monday, February 17, 2014

Another 6-8 Inches!

It's not unusual to get a big snow storm in February and it always seems to happen right around Valentines day.  Well, today was our day for another 6-8 inches of snowfall in the Chicagoland area and neighboring states.  So, I decided to make the best of it and take some pictures.  I want to pull these pictures out when the weather is swelteringly hot and I start to complain. 

 
Along with todays storm we had thunder and lightning.  I love thunder snow storms because it seems like it really should be thunder storming but it's just too darn cold and the rain turns to snowflakes.  As I was taking these pictures I thought it was funny that the ducks were just swimming along in the freezing cold water enjoying the snow.  All this snow creates a sound barrier around it and even though I took these pictures right around rush hour and near a major roadway the only sound I could hear was the quacking of these little ducks. 
 
We are supposed to start a little warm up over the next couple of days, a heatwave of sorts with tems climbing to the 30's and 40's.  Which makes me a little nervous about all this stuff melting too quickly and the water will have nowhere to go except our basements.  Keeping my fingers crossed on that one. 
 
I'm happy to report that despite all the snow on the roads I did not let that stop me from going to the YMCA tonight and getting in a much needed workout.  Afterwards I came home and enjoyed a daily serving of fruit.  OK, it was smashed grapes and can be poured into a wine glass, but it is a fruit, right?
 
Until tomorrow,
Debbie
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine crafts recap and a heart healthy smoothie.

I'm trying to focus more closely on losing weight so I've been starting my mornings out with a refreshing smoothie with very little calories.  It's a nice pick me up before I leave for the office.

It's a simple recipe:
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup or 3-4 frozen strawberries
1 handful spinach
1/2 banana
1/2 cup fat free milk
Blend until smooth.  The frozen fruit gives it the frostiness that ice would normally do but doesn't water it down. 
 
Just before Valentines day I picked up some fresh flowers to replace the ones eaten and left ragged by our little furry whiskered monster. The pinks and reds together seemed to be more in line with Valentine's day than the pink tulips did.
 
 
I had one that was broken in the bunch so I added it to a little silver vase.
 
 
I'm very happy with my new pom pom maker that I picked up at Hobby Lobby!  I made a valentine heart garland and strung it across the window in the living room. 
 
The snowy scene outside drains the color out of everything.  But the sun has begun to shine and soon all of that white stuff will be gone and hopefully not puddles of water in our basements.
 
I baked some sugar cookies for the family and for our Valentine celebration at the office.  I decided to use a sour cream sugar cookie recipe.  I thought I would have a hard time finding a recipe but the internet is loaded with them.  I decided on the recipe I found here and it was fantastic.  I used royal icing and sprinkles to decorate.  I also had to try this Cherry Bark posted on Shugary Sweets blog here.  It was incredibly simple and tasted wonderful.
 
Of course Valentines Day is not complete without conversation hearts.  So I put a few in some little vases, used some leftover flowers in another with some colored water and created a cute vignette. The red from the rooster blended well too. 
 
And today all of the pink and red for Valentine day décor has been taken down and soon will be replaced with the greens of St. Patrick's day.
 
In the meantime I'm thinking of ways to "spring" up the Saylor Street Cottage. 
 
Until next time,
Debbie
 
 
 
 
 
 



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Superbowl Sunday

Mr. Saylor got suckered persuaded to host the guys poker game/Superbowl weekend this year.  Yes, the Super Bowl lasted an entire weekend at our house this year.  The guys had some fun but the Super Bowl game was Super Boring!  I was hoping the Broncos would win but in the end it didn't matter.  It's just another football game unless it is DA BEARS.

We had some fun goodies to eat: jalapeno poppers, deviled eggs, beef sandwiches and chili.  My son went hunting and brought home some goose breasts so I put a couple in the crock pot and made Mike Ditka pot roast nachos!  It came out fantastic.  I had never heard of pot roast nachos until someone mentioned that Mike Ditka has a restaurant where they serve them.  I tried them out and they are delicious.  Since Wild Goose tastes almost identical to beef, a very tough meat since they don't have any fat on them, hrowing it in a crock pot or a stew pot is probably the best thing I can do. They were perfect substituted in for the beef in the recipe. 

Here is my son with his catch of the day. 
 
His girlfriend made some awesome cupcakes.  It's funny because she had no idea what the numbers or lines meant.  She saw the design on Pinterest and decided to make them but I had to tell her that the lines and number meant yards on the field.  She picked up some chocolate covered almonds and decorated them like footballs.  My brother thought for sure they were store bought.  So that became the joke in our house.  He kept telling her he was going to stop at the store and pick some up.
 
 
We had a little Super Bowl celebration at the office and someone made home made tortilla chips.  I decided to try it myself.  It is incredibly easy and there are a bunch of Youtube videos to choose from which are all basically the same.  Hot oil and tortillas cut into triangles.  They tasted just like the ones in the Mexican restaurants.  I never would have guessed how easy they are to make!
 

 
I found these cute little bowls at Aldi.  I picked up three sets because for Christmas I think I'll make a salsa gift basket for a couple of people on my Christmas list.  I think they would look really cute in a basket with some different flavored Salsas and flavored chips, a Margarita mix and tequila, and a cute tray or whatever I find (on sale) between now and Christmas time. 
 
So January is finished and we still have six more weeks of winter.  Old Phil saw his shadow, but I think one way or the other we'd still have six weeks.  Our area is getting hit almost every other day with snow and the non-snow days are below zero temps.  It's crazy weather and I just can't wait to feel a little warm sunshine!  My daughter took a little selfie and sent it to me on her way to school.  She didn't expect it to be so cold.  I just love this picture, she crocheted the burgundy scarf and I think it's came out great.  She's getting quite good at crocheting and has made some awesome scarves and even some gloves.  I wish I looked this good in the freezing cold! 
 
Until next time,
Debbie
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine Crafts and a naughty cat!

 


 I finally finished my Valentines Day vignette with some of the crafts I started.  Since I don't have a mantle this shelf will serve the purpose.  I put together the heart garland with fabric and fabric glue, no sew crafts are some of my favorites. 



I found an old tarnished tea pot that looks pretty with the pink roses I had in another room.  I can't seem to get this old teapot back to a shine but it does look nice with the roses. 


 
 
I also picked up some pink and white tulips to bring a little Spring into our world.  With the weather as it has been it almost feels like it will never warm up. I have a little collection of cherubs.  I don't know when I started collecting them. I just seem to pick up little cherub things here and there.  I think they are perfect for Valentines day.  This is another area that serves as a faux mantle.
 
 
I was looking at my little pot of tulips this morning and noticed something peculiar.  They seemed a little ragged.  So I moved in closer.  Yep, something looked fishy here.  It looked as if something chewed them.  Did these things have bugs? 
 These leaves look a little torn up. 
 
THE CULPRIT
 
But I just couldn't stay mad at this little face.
 
 
The weather has been terrible just about everywhere these days.  This is the part of winter I start to loathe.  The snow is piled high and we have more on the way.  It starts to get grey and dirty along the roadside.  We're living in a black and white world.  The sun shines but it's a dull cold shine like it's reflecting through a pane of glass.  I am longing for the first signs of spring, some crocus popping through the snow, the sun shining a little earlier in the morning, the hyacinths and daffodils.  I know we will see it soon but for now we will just have to live with it.  Even the dog doesn't want to spend too much time outside.
 
 
Stay warm my friends, stay warm!
 
Debbie
 
 
 
 














Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2014 Un-Word


DUMPY
 
I'm linking up with The Nester for the 2014 Un-Word.  The challenge is to pick a word to describe what you would like to un-do in 2014. 
 
 
 
My 2014 un-word is Dumpy.  I want to become un-dumpy.  I've gained a lot of weight over the last few years and I have noticed that with each pound I've gained I've become less and less concerned with the way I dress.  I'm wearing the same old tired clothes because I just don't want to go through the stress of trying on new clothes and hating the way I look in them.  I keep saying I will wait until I lose a few pounds but honestly I will need to lose a LOT of pounds before I feel satisfied with the way I look.
So, for 2014 I have decided that no matter what weight I am I will start to work on:
 
Losing weight and toning up.
 
Purchasing some new clothes that will make me look more pulled together and less dumpy.
 
Get a new hair style.
 
Spend more time on making myself look and feel more attractive.
 
 
 
Here is a picture of me at Easter 2013.  I haven't changed much since then, I'm still wearing the same clothes including that dumpy looking jacket!  I can't believe how dumpy I look! What a mess my hair was and still looks today.  I'm not hating on myself but I definitely need to start doing some un-dumpifying. 
 
 
 
This challenge couldn't have come at a better time.  I'm really looking forward to my journey in 2014 to become Un-Dumpy!
 
 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Valentine Crafts to get me back on the blogging track!

I did so many projects for Christmas and never took pictures of any of them.  I had to do a quick decorating in my basement/family room as I decided to host Christmas for the family.  We ran out to Home Depot and bought a cute $17 tree that looked great in the corner of the room, decorated it with some dollar store reindeer, some rusty colored stars and bells and some 70% off glass balls from Micheal's!  It paid off to wait until a week before Christmas to do a little decorating.  Right after the holidays we took out the tree because I did not want to worry about the needles all over the basement and the stairs. 

So Christmas has come and gone and I took the opportunity to do some painting after the holiday decorations came down.  I suppose the upside to having a tiny kitchen is that it only took my daughter and I a day and a half to primer and paint including the ceiling.  I also painted the living room which wasn't as easy because there really was no where to move the furniture so we just covered it up and painted.  I wanted a cream color so I picked out a color called Tudor Cream.  It is a little more peachy than I expected but it seems to work well with my furniture.  I don't love it but I can like it enough until the next paint change.

I usually don't decorate for Valentines Day but I decided to use some leftover wood blocks my husband cut for me from some scrap wood at Halloween to make a VD project.  I can't wait to build a little vignette with them. 

 
I found this frame at the Goodwill and picked up the rose paper and painted the letters silver.  The velvet bow was leftover from a Christmas gift.  I modge podged the little round vase last year and made these little clay hearts for Christmas gifts too.  I had a few leftover and this one looks great tied around the little vase turned candle holder which may go back to a vase with some red roses.
 
 
Lastly, I always love seeing the wild sunflowers that grow along the highway.  I so want to grow them in my own garden because they seem to be pretty hardy.  I was online today ordering some seeds for the garden looking for wild sunflower seeds.  I picked up some more Cosmos and a couple of other varieties.  Last year I grew the most amazing Cosmos in the garden.  The stalks had to be almost 5 feet high.  So I ordered a few more.  I realized though that I had already bought some seeds so when I got home I dug them out of a drawer.  I didn't remember what I had purchased and what do you know?  Sunflowers! 
 
While my blogging seems to be at a minimum things continue to keep moving here at Saylor Street.  I can't wait to turn my valentines day projects into little vignettes.  I also have to get a menu together for our Superbowl Party that I didn't know we were hosting until recently. 
 
In the meantime I feel the need to buy some pink tulips and put them in a pretty white vase.  The temps continue to drop outside and we have another 2-3 inches of snow on the ground so between my seeds and a bouquet of tulips I think I'll be able to get through it and continue to "think spring"!
 
Until next time,
Debbie