Friday, September 27, 2013


Whew! It has been an ordeal finishing up the sun room/office, but it is finally done.  (Can I claim that even though I still need to find the perfect rug for the sitting area and paint the side table by the rocker?). I'm only finished because it's fall and I didn't have to settle on an accent color for the room.  From now until November 30, the accent will be fall colors.  In December I'll be decorating for Christmas, so I won't have to address it then either (red and green all the way, baby!).  However, eventually January will arrive and it will be decision-making time.

Have I told you how thrilled I am with my new flooring in the sun room?  I love it so much that I have talked my hubby into continuing it into our master bedroom which is right off the sun room.  That project that will be addressed in October.  However, since I love the wall color in the bedroom and all the decor is already in place, it will be a much easier transition.

The sun room/office is a large room so I was able to create a sitting area at one end of the room
(a great place to relax and read or listen to music) and my office at the other end.  The office is far enough away to ignore when I'm not working.

I have cubbies for all my stuff on an inside wall.
My new motto is a "place for everything and every-thing in it's place!"  The cubbies work great for this, with the addition of photo boxes and fabric bins for storage (all carefully labeled, of course!). 

I'm very pleased with the way the faux Roman shades turned out.  They were an easy and affordable way to go.  Although mine are sewn, they could easily be made without a sewing machine, using fabric tape or a glue gun.  There are numerous tutorials on Pinterest showing how to make them.  I went online and found my decorator fabric for only $5.00 a yard.  You may have to spend some time searching for exactly what you want, but beautiful, affordable fabric is available.

A file cabinet, computer desk, chair and roll-top complete the office side of the room.

I'm especially happy with the empty frame collage I made above the piano.  That's a very high wall and needed something sizable to balance the room.  I was fortunate to be able to shop my storage area for all the frames you see.  Being able to do that meant this project was a "freebie".  I'm
considering going higher up the wall as I find additional, inexpensive, large frames at thrift stores.  What do you think?  Is less more?  Or should I go for it?

All the fall decorations in the room are things I already had on hand.  The pumpkin centerpiece is a foam pumpkin I sliced the top off of and added silk mums until it covered the opening I had cut.  Prior to adding the mums, I antiqued the pumpkin with a stain.  It's several years old now and still looks good.  There are a few nicks here and there, so before I put it away this year I may antique it again.  I actually think that the flaws add character and make the pumpkin look less fake and more realistic.

You may notice that I have added a monogram on the under $5.00 Goodwill lamp.  It's not perfect, but for my first attempt it's good enough!  Next time I'll actually measure instead of eye-balling the placement of the letters.  I selected the font on my computer, copied each letter individually, taped them inside the shade and used a black marker to copy the letters onto the outside of the shade.  It was really very easy to do and I know you will measure before doing yours, right?  Just sayin'.

I hope you have enjoyed our little visit.  Come back when you can stay longer and relax in my new sun room/office with a steaming cup!

Thanks for stopping by!

                                   ~Norma Jean~

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I'm so sorry to have been out of the loop for such a long while, but I have been busy redecorating and reorganizing my sun room/office.

My sun room/office has nine windows and french doors.  I love it by day because of all that light.  However, I have always felt a bit "on-stage" at night, with so little privacy.

My problem?  How could I keep the light and airy feeling, but still provide a bit of privacy?  The solution came to me one day when I was reading about using fabric as wallpaper in rental homes and apartments, where you are not allowed to apply anything permanently to the walls.  The article said that by using a "paste" of cornstarch and water you could temporarily "glue" fabric to walls without damaging the fabric or the walls.  When ready to move, you simply pull the fabric off the wall and  wipe with a damp cloth. 

Hmmm...would the same process work on glass, using lace?
Window Before Lace Treatment

Since I had several yards of lace fabric in my sewing room, I decided to try it out.  I measured my window and cut a piece of lace to fit the glass.  I mixed a cup of water with some cornstarch and applied the mixture to the window with a small paint brush.  I quickly dipped my fabric in the mixture and began smoothing it on the window.  To my amazement it stuck.  Once I had the lace properly positioned, I used the paint brush to apply more of the "paste" over the lace making sure that it would hold.  The thicker the paste, the less you can see through the window.  If you get it on too thick, you can spray it with clear water and blot the excess off.  It's a process of trial and error (and can get a little messy) finding the perfect "solution mix" to suit your needs.  However, clean up is easy.  Once the mixture is dry, it can be easily wiped off and/or vacuumed from any surfaces where it's not wanted.  I was quite pleased with the final result.  I can see outside, have plenty of light in the room, but I also have a degree of privacy.

Window With Lace Treatment Added
Once all the windows were covered in lace it was time to start making the faux Roman shades.  My shades hang down approximately 18" and took two yards of fabric per window.  Since my windows are all 29" wide between the frames, I cut my fabric 30" wide to allow for a half inch seam on both sides.  Once cut, I folded the fabric in half, right sides together and stitched a seam across the bottom.  Placing the fabric on the ironing board I ironed a half inch seam all around both open edges.  I then turned the fabric right side out and stitched down each side (leaving about 1.5 " opening on the top of each panel to insert a rod).  At this point, I had a panel of fabric  36" long and 29" wide, with the pattern facing out on both sides.

I slipped a tension rod through the opening at the top and hung the fabric panel at the top of  my window.  I measured down 8" and installed a second tension rod in front of the fabric panel.  I then pulled some of the fabric up and over the rod.  I installed a third rod in front of the remaining panel about 6.5 inches down and pulled the remaining fabric up and over that rod, leaving about a 3 inch bottom edge.  I adjusted the fabric on each rod until it had the "look" of a Roman Shade.  It's a simple process and can be done relatively quickly (unless you have to make nine of them!). 

It was a fairly inexpensive "fix" as I already had the lace fabric and only paid $5.00 a yard for the decorator fabric for the faux Roman shades.  However, I did forget to factor in the cost of the three tension rods per window.  They added about $9.00 per window to my costs.  That wouldn't have been an issue if I had only had one or two windows, however nine of them took a significant bite out of my decorating budget.  In spite of that, I'm very happy with the way the windows turned out.

In my next post I will show you the completed room and talk more about the reorganization of the office part. 

I would love to have you comment on this post.

Thanks for stopping by!

                                   ~Norma Jean~

Sunday, August 18, 2013


This has been an exciting six weeks in the Lilacs and Lemonade household as we have been doing some redecorating on the interior of our home.  All the common areas have been repainted and I am now in the process of putting it all back together!

We had the interior painted a lovely gray color (Benjamin Moore's Stonington Gray) with ice white trim.  It's fresh and elegant looking.  Almost too elegant to put back all the knick knacks and "cute" stuff I have collected over the years.  Soooooo...this seems like the perfect time to do some major reorganizing and decluttering.

Part of the redecorating plan is to make new window coverings for all the rooms, starting with my office.  After much searching on the Internet, I was able to find material in the weight and color I was looking for, to make nine faux Roman shades.  The truly amazing thing is that I was able to find exactly what I wanted for only $5.00 a yard for 54" decorator fabric!  Is that a bargain or what?  The total cost for 9 windows, including taxes and shipping, was only $107.00.  Pretty impressive for 18 yards of decorator fabric, right?  Since I knew the color I wanted to use and the price I was willing to pay, I plugged both into the search window ( and they showed me all available fabrics within those parameters.  This is the one I chose.

At I found two cotton slipcovers for my wing chairs for under $100.00 for bothNot only were they on clearance, but SureFit was giving an extra 25% off on one item.  Woohoo!

My office is a large room with lots of light from  nine windows and a french door, so the black and white should not be overwhelming.  However, I do need a nice accent color.  Any suggestions?

I plan to start the window coverings as soon as the fabric arrives on Tuesday, so by next week I will hopefully, be able to show you a completed room!

Can't wait to hear your ideas on an accent color!

Thanks for stopping by!

                                         ~NORMA JEAN~

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I love holidays. . .Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving. . .all of them.  However, my most favorite is the Fourth of July!

It wasn't always my favorite.  In fact, until recently, I took "it" and all "it" stands for, for granted. 

I grew up never worrying about the freedoms guaranteed to me and every other citizen of this great land.  Freedoms carefully constructed by our forefathers so many years ago.

Lately, however, I have begun to see the foundations of those freedoms beginning to crumble.  I have begun to wonder just how long, we as a nation, will continue to be truly free? Free to worship as we choose; free to choose how and by whom we are governed; free to own firearms; free to speak out against wrong; free to pledge allegiance to our nation's flag; free to fly it over our homes and businesses; free to speak the truth from God's Holy Word.

Because I see the potential for losing these freedoms, they are becoming more precious to me, more worthy of celebration.

This Fourth of July, I will proudly fly "Old Glory".  I will decorate with red, white, and blue.  I will listen joyfully to patriotic music.  I will rejoice in my freedom and I will. . .remember. . .I will remember those who gave their lives to ensure it. . .and I will pray.   I will pray that our nation will turn from it's wickedness, so that God can continue to bless us as He has in the past.  I will pray that my grandchildren and their grandchildren will grow up in a nation where they are safe and secure, where they are free to worship as they please. . . where they can continue to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in it's entirety. . ."one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Thanks for stopping by.

                                  ~Norma Jean~


Thursday, June 27, 2013


Recently I had the privilege of visiting a charming little village in Kentucky called Grand Rivers.  It's right in the middle of a water-recreational-playground called Land Between the Lakes.  In the center of the village is a wonderful and well-known restaurant called Patti's 1800's Settlement.  Patti's is famous for their delicious 2" thick pork chop (and I can personally attest to the fact that it is mouth-watering G-O-O-D)!

However, pork chops are not all Patti's is famous for.  Their desserts are incredible!  They have graciously published one of their recipes, an old southern favorite called "Sawdust Pie", in their brochure.

This recipe, featuring ingredients like pecans, toasted coconut, and graham cracker crumbs;  served warm with sliced bananas and whipped cream, is a treat for your taste buds!  And did I mention how easy it is to make?  You simply mix all the ingredients together, pour into a pie crust and bake.  I usually bake mine during dinner, so that by the time we are ready for dessert, it's still warm and ready to enjoy!

Below is the recipe as printed in Patti's brochure:

7 egg whites, unbeaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups coconut
Mix all ingredients together and stir by hand.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Bake in preheated 325 degree oven until glossy and set (about 25-30 minutes).
DO NOT OVER BAKE!  Serve warm with sliced bananas and whipped cream.  Serves 8

Although I was born in the south and now live in the south. . .I was raised in Southern California, so many of the recipes that have been around this area for generations, are brand new to me.  My southern friends often roll their eyes as I extol the virtues of my "new" culinary discoveries (as if to say, "Here she goes again!")

I hope you will try making Patti's Sawdust Pie.  You too, will be singing it's praises!  Better yet, if you're in the area, make a point of planning a visit to Patti's 1800's Settlement to enjoy a slice there.  Just tell them ~Norma Jean~ sent you!

Thanks for stopping by!                              

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



People often wonder where creative people get  their ideas.  Some of them come from stealing seeing something someone else has done, but creative inspiration can come from anything, even pancakes! 

A few weeks ago, we were enjoying breakfast at a local restaurant with our seven-year-old granddaughter.  She ordered her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon.  When the pancakes were served, the waitress placed three miniature syrup bottles beside her plate. 

After she emptied the first one, I noticed that the bottle had a pretty pattern pressed into the glass.  Immediately, an idea began to form. . .with the caps and labels removed, wouldn't those little bottles make cute miniature vases? Wait!  Not just vases. . .but. . .vases secured to a wreath. .  . holding small single stems of flowers!

Thus, a creative idea was born.  The idea called for a few more visits to the restaurant and several more orders of pancakes, in order to acquire the number of bottles needed to complete the project!  

With the exception of a grapevine wreath, all the remaining supplies required, were in my well-stocked craft cabinets!

To make a wreath YOU will need:
           1.  7-10 small bottles
           2.  A grapevine wreath 
           3.  Wire
           4.  Wire cutters
           5.  Artificial greenery (2 or more varieties) 
           6.  Ribbon or other decorative items 
           7.  Fresh flowers
           8.  A glue gun (optional, but helpful) 

Step 1: Position greenery around the wreath, leaving some areas of the wreath exposed.  Once you are pleased with the results, secure the greenery with wire or hot glue.  (Note: using more than one variety of greenery gives a more interesting appearance).  

Step 2:   Hot glue each bottle to the wreath in an upright position (so that it will hold water). This is where a glue gun may be helpful to insure that the bottle remains in an upright position.

Space bottles evenly around the wreath. The number you use will depend on how large your wreath is and how close together you want your bottles. I like working with odd numbers, 3, 5, 7 etc.

Step 3.  At this point you may want to add a bow or other decorative items to the wreath.  If you hide a sticky-backed circle of Velcro in the greenery, you will be able to change the ribbon for different holidays, by  attaching an opposing circle of Velcro onto different bows. . .just a thought!

Step 4:  Hang the wreath where it will be displayed.

Step 5:  Using a small funnel, fill each bottle with water.  Since the bottles are small, you may have to add more water to them on a daily basis.

Step 6: You are now ready to add fresh flowers to your creation!

Wouldn't a fresh flower wreath make a cute and welcoming baby or wedding shower decoration?   Or Valentine's with a few heart pics here and there. . .or. . .Christmas. . .or. . . Birthday. . .you get the idea.  The ribbon is easily replaced because of the Velcro attachments, and the decorations on the bottles remove easily because they are hot-glued onto glass.  I filled my bottles with white petunias from my garden because they were handy, but any single bloom would look beautiful.

And now you know. . .how a simple pancake breakfast became the inspiration for a decorative door wreath!  If you decide to make one, let me know how it turned out, okay?

Thanks for stopping by!

                                    ~Norma Jean~

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


It's that time of year again. . .you know. . .when weeds threaten to overtake the world.

We have a large courtyard covered in stone.  Unfortunately, the stones were laid without mortar or cement.  I was hoping that over time, moss would grow between them, giving the stones an "old world, been there forever" appearance.  However, the only thing I have been able to grow (and grow in abundance!) is more weeds!  BIG weeds, little weeds, pretty weeds, ugly weeds. . . so many weeds. 

Initially, I would pull the weeds from between each and
every stone.  It involved several days of back-breaking work, aching muscles and cramped fingers.  Sadly, before I could claim victory, I would discover that the menacing little devils were growing back!

Then one day, I discovered Pinterest!  Pinterest has hundreds of ways to rid your yard of weeds.  I tried a few, but they didn't work very well.  Until. . .I discovered the answer to all my weed woes.  It was a simple formula that could be made in the average kitchen, by anyone. . .and the most amazing thing. . .it actually worked.  It killed those little weeds dead!

In the photos you see half of the courtyard a week after it had been sprayed with the magic formula, and the other half of the courtyard in it's natural un-sprayed state!

This magical Pinterest formula won't harm you. . .or your children
 . . .or your pets. . .but. . .the death bell will toll for all those nasty little weeds.

You will need:  1 gallon of cider vinegar
                            1/2 cup of table salt
                            1 T. of Dawn dish washing detergent

Mix well, pour into a spray bottle and SPRAY, SPRAY, SPRAY!  If you choose a warm, sunny day to try this, you will see the weeds withering and dying within a couple of hours.  I would avoid watering the area for a day or two so that none of the magic potion washes away.  I would also use caution around plants that you don't want to wither and die!

"L.B.P." (Life Before Pinterest) was so-o-o-o-o hard, wasn't it?

Thanks for stopping by!

                                                        ~Norma Jean~

Monday, June 3, 2013


For the next ten days I will be entertaining house guests.  Since I  want to spend as much time with them as possible, but also squeeze in a visit or two with you, I decided to keep this post short and sweet.

Last week I purchased a couple of wooden Birdcage cutouts from Michael's craft store ($3.99 each) and had my 7 year old granddaughter paint them for me. 

We used black chalkboard paint because it was handy, and because as silhouettes, we thought they would add a touch of whimsy to our front porch. 
Didn't she do a great job and don't they look sweet?      Thank you, Katie!

I've had this antique, child's ice cream set for years.  Last year I used it in the garden "as is."   However, this year I decided to give it a little pizazz and protect it from the elements, by painting it.  I used a couple of cans of Krylon spray paint.  It only took a few minutes to sand and paint and about an hour to dry!  I love the color, but now I have to search out the perfect spot for it in the garden.

Thanks for stopping by!

                                      ~Norma Jean~


Friday, May 31, 2013


Do you ever wish you could just wiggle your nose like Samantha did in the old TV show Bewitched , and whatever you wanted would happen instantly?  I have found myself wishing that a lot this week.  Especially, as I have attempted to finish all my garden projects, in preparation for enjoying the outdoors this summer.

Unfortunately,  I was not born with a nose-twitching gene.  I have to do everything the old-fashioned way, one project at a time and sadly,
on occasion. . .one failure at a time.


Recently, I purchased an old shutter and a set of bi-fold doors from a thrift shop.  I had planned to fasten them together into a privacy screen for the end of the patio.  Great idea, right?  Wrong!  I soon realized that the bi-fold doors were too tall to fit the space where I wanted to use them, and that since we get gusty winds with every summer storm that passes our way, they would never stay upright.  Instead, I decided to install a pair of 4x4 posts in the ground (at the edge of the patio) and screw only the just-right-size shutters onto them, making the shutters impervious to the whims of the wind.  That took care of the privacy issue.

But. . .what was I to do with the too tall bi-fold doors?  After surveying the patio, I had a light-bulb moment!

 I would stand them up against the brick wall of the garage as a focal point.  With the addition of my herb-garden urn, some unused picture frames and a couple of chairs, they would create a cozy and unexpected vignette on what had been a plain, and rather dull brick wall!

Don't you just love it when a failed
idea. . . 

turns into something even better than you imagined?  

Who needs a nose-twitching gene anyway?

Thanks for stopping by!

                                   ~Norma Jean~