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April is supposed to be the first full month of spring and while the calendar confirms this, sadly our weather does not. We have had literal snow falling almost every day so far - and this in "mild" western Oregon!
The temperatures have been in the 30s and 40s, so not freezing, but I've still been bundled up in my wool shirts, socks and blankets while all the store advertising is showing sleeveless spring dresses and shorts, lol.
The weather app is tempting us with a possible 70 degrees this weekend - in between rain, of course - so I'm hopeful the weather of spring will follow the calendar soon.
Especially because I have plants that are waiting to be planted - bare root shrubs, a couple of black currants, and pots of evergreens for the road hedgerow I'm working away on.
SO looking forward to planting in some spring sunshine - aren't you?
Spice Cupboard Before and After
When we moved into the farmhouse (2 years ago this month!) I just threw things into the vintage arched cupboard I was using as the spice cabinet. I had baking things on the second shelf, but that was about the extent of my organization.
Of course I had a plan - one I had for years, actually - that revolved around a box of vintage half-pint mason jars with zinc lids that one of Brian's aunt's had give us.
When it was raining (and snowing...sigh) on a Saturday, I finally had enough of this cabinet.
I gathered the jars, a label maker and some 2x4 scraps Brian cut for me to raise the back rows to help it look and function better:
Now it's organized like this:
- Top shelf: mixed spices and seasonings.
- Middle shelf: baking supplies including salts (note- the Worcestershire sauce is supposed to be on the bottom shelf and the vanilla here, but this new bottle is just a tad too tall, so they are switched until I use it - or decant it because it takes years to use up Worcestershire, ha!).
- Bottom shelf: individual spices and herbs.
I buy most spices and herbs in bulk, so I'm always pouring them into smaller containers. I like that the vintage mason jars are bigger than standard spice jars - I put the things I use most in them, keeping the smaller jars for lesser used spices.
I've ordered a set of reproduction zinc lids to replace the white ones you see and I made labels with a basic, hand-held Dymo label maker I've had for years using clear plastic labels with black printing.
And while the jars I used are vintage, I found a couple options for cute vintage-looking half-pint jars if you're interested in moving your spices to much more usable containers:
I LOVE both how it looks and how easier it is to see and find things!
I will say that I know why I put it off, though - it did take about 3 hours to gather and wash the jars, go through all the seasonings (and get rid of some), organize and label everything.
Worth it, though!
Note: You may remember that this is an old arched cabinet my brother rescued and then we put together with a new, matching bottom cabinet to look like an original built-in for our old farmhouse! More details are in the Farmhouse Renovation- Kitchen Before and After.
Large Inexpensive Urns
I was shocked at the size of these planters when they were delivered (after seeing them on another blog and ordering online) - they are amazing for the price!
They are fairly heavy-duty and have a somewhat realistic cement look with a classic shape that I think goes with both modern and traditional homes.
I've easily seen pots like these for $40-50 or more. Can you guess the price?
I bought two for our front door to hold the (faux) evergreens that had been getting knocked over by the wind all the time.
We filled the urns with gravel and since they have a much sturdier base than my last urns, they have withstood the winds - yay.
Best $38 I've spent in a long time - I couldn't help but share them with you!
->Go here to see the Better Homes & Gardens Ember Gray Resin Planter (18" tall x 16" wide).
It was a mixed bag reading month for me - some I loved, others I liked and one really didn't sit well with me at all.
The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs 15), Jacqueline Winspear. I had high hopes from the title that Maisie might find romance again and I was right. This had that fun angle as well as the mystery she is solving, a child that comes into her life and the London blitz by the Germans in WWII. This book brought home to me more than others of what it must've been like for London to be waiting for German bombs and then for the bombing to happen every night. In the morning, you were then expected to go about your day with a "stiff upper lip." Amazing to think about.
Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid. I've enjoyed the other books I've read by this author, especially Daisy Jones and The Six (I haven't watched the Amazon show yet, though), so I waited for about 4 months for this from the library. We first met tennis star Carrie Soto in Malibu Rising which was set in the 1980s and this is the story of her comeback to tennis after retiring, set mainly in the 1990s. It was okay, though it's probably my least favorite of the books I've read of Reid's. Carrie is just not that nice, is a loner and takes forever to trust people. I couldn't really relate to someone who's whole life is literally one thing - tennis. Like her entire life.
Anything is Possible, Elizabeth Strout. So, this is the book that kind of left me with an "icky" feeling. I know people love this author - and I enjoyed her Olive Kitteridge books (even though some of those stories gave me pause, too) because of what it told about aging and how our society deals (or doesn't) with it. This is book two of the Lucy Barton series, though like her other books, it's a series of stories of people who may or may not know each other, but all live in the hometown where Lucy Barton grew up poor and on the outside. There were just a number of weird stories that I wished I didn't have a word picture for and I never did see the theme here. What is the point? Not for me - I'm not going to finish the series.
Live Wire, Kelly Ripa. I used to watch Live and remember when Kelly Ripa joined Regis Philbin, so I enjoyed hearing some of her stories of that time as well as growing up, her soap days and her 20+ years on Live with different co-hosts. This book is just a series of stories that vary between funny, sad, and life lessons. It is encouraging to hear about a long-married couple in entertainment and a bit how their family works.
The Time Saving Mom, Crystal Paine. I've followed Crystal many years and appreciate her honesty and how she inspires others in living a life well lived with God as her focus. Over those years she's mentioned her schedule and how it's changed and this book is the culmination of those years - what she's learned, what works for her to get things done, and choosing to prioritize what is most important. There are doable nuggets in here of strategies to use to use your time well, which I appreciated. But overall, I just really loved the tone of this book - she gives a lot of grace to herself and to the reader.
All My Knotted Up Life, Beth Moore. While I've heard of Beth Moore and done a couple of her studies (and read her one and only fiction book, which was pretty good), I didn't really know much about her or her ministry. Of course her leaving the Southern Baptist Church a year or so ago made all the news headlines, but that's about the extent of my knowledge. This memoir fills in all the details and gives so much background to many of her women studies (for instance why she wrote Breaking Free, maybe one of her most popular studies) as well as her life. Hearing how she was treated after publicizing her honest response to then presidential hopeful Trump's remarks on women (honestly what we were all saying...) was shocking. She has hard things she shares for the first time, being vulnerable and truthful while staying true to herself (she skates around many things she did or that impacted her life that you just figure out as she goes along). Between the hard things, the funny things, and the lovely things, this was a book I enjoyed very much and it was impactful to see how God has carried her through everything.
Jesus Revolution (theaters). Oh, Brian and I enjoyed this movie so much! We were afraid it might be hokey like some Christian productions can be, but it was really well done, told a wonderful true story and was inspiring. Do see it if you can!
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List!
If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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