1. Brenda, I love how you've decorated your kitchen cabinets! Are those real spoons and utensils on the cabinet doors, or are they paper cut-outs? So cute against the background and borders. Those look like straw placemats you have them mounted on. It is a very cute look!! Love to know how you did all that.
    I used to live in an OLD apartment years ago. I loved that place. Being old gave it so much character too. I painted the walls, even made a little flower bed outside. In fact, every time I drive by, I still see one of the plants still there. The flower bed is gone, but one of the plants is hardy and blooms every year, which is probably why they didn't mow it down.

  2. Brenda, I have been reading your blog for several years now. It is the only blog I read everyday. I love the way you put things together and make things look so pretty. I have thought so many times about what said about "blooming where you're planted". That is really good advice and something I have been trying to do.Great advice!!

  3. There you go again….giving encouragement. We need to look for the best in any situation.
    I had to laugh about the soup, as I am not able to do spicy foods either. I leave that for the the Cajun people I love so dearly.

  4. Owning a home is a real pleasure…….and a big burden. Maintenance is always an issue, but my hubby is a real handyman and retired contractor so that's good. Renting is a real option as long as the maintenance is "maintained". I rented for many years, but was pretty fortunate. It didn't hurt that I was friends with the maintenance staff and didn't treat them like servants which was what I saw too many times.

    1. I've never been married to a handyman. And I'm sure not one. I try to keep it friendly with the staff by being very nice and giving them things when I'm purging.

  5. As you know, we're home owners and of course, even though we're happy with that choice, without a doubt homes are a money pit! There is always something big that needs fixing or replacing. I have a couple of friends that rent and unfortunately, they are not allowed to do anything in their rental units like you are able to do. They are not allowed to paint walls, for one. My one friend can't even hang things on the wall (unless a small picture)! If she wants to do so, she has to call management and they will come and approve it and then hang it for her. She honestly doesn't mind though, because she's not a decorator like we are. She's a FT career woman and then on weekends, she's at her long-term BF's house. So, she's never even home. You are very lucky that you found a place with a landlord that will let you re-do things.

  6. I love the way you make a place yours. It's nice to be comfortable where you live and have it feel like home. The bean soup sounds good, but like you, I am not too crazy about too spicy.

    1. I'm not going to be one of those people who say "someday when I get a better place I'll do this and that." This is a good enough place and I'm doing it!

  7. Mmmm bean soup. We made lentil soup this past week. Because my husband needs to cut back on salt, we don't use the flavor packets that come with anything, because they do contain a lot of salt. We use Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe's 21 Gun Salute for seasoning. Yes, live and learn when it comes to spices! We don't want it too spicy either.

    We are having cold rains and fog here in central Kentucky. I was just startled by the sight of a cardinal's red shape on a black branch in the gray mist. So there is a little beauty in this dreary weather.

    1. It is cold and dreary here today. The sun was out briefly. I haven't been able to get a photo of a cardinal in some time. Every time I deign to open the patio door with a camera around my neck, Abi sets up a barking fit and scares them off!

  8. I have never seen a rental unit that had such a large allotted and private outdoor space! I think it is defiantly worth putting a bit of extra $$ into the interior to make it feel more comfortable. Could you just imagine trying to garden on the usual tiny apartment patio. Or having the usual shared common space with all the noise and teens running around at all hours. ( Could Israel help with the new vanity?)

    1. Israel is still out of the country apparently. I've never seen an apartment with such a big patio space either. And believe me I looked!

  9. Sometimes I miss the days of rental versus ownership. It certainly is nice to pick up the phone when maintenance is required and know that you aren't paying for it.

    Have a beautiful Sunday

    1. I would not be a happy camper if I couldn't fix things up the way I want, to some degree anyway.

  10. Hi Brenda, I'm been following your blog almost since the very beginning and I admire you so much. I seem to remember that back in the early days you offered tips for how to start a blog. I'm 68, divorced and work at a church part-time but it's just not enough to cover everything. Would you be willing to share your ideas again? I would really appreciate it.

    1. If you'll privately email me, I can try to help you. However, if you go to my Pinterest board, I have a Blogging Tips board and there will be all kinds of tutorials on it.

  11. I am really glad that you can go ahead and fix your place up bit by bit and get it the way you want it. It's a shame when the landlord won't let a person do anything-even paint–but many of them have very strict rules about what you can and can't do. At least you are in a place where there are long term renters and they take care of their places.
    Hope you get your heat problem fixed and I hope you get your bathroom painted before the install begins. xo Diana

    1. I got one coat of paint up yesterday. But the white shade is far too bright. Think I'll have to go a little darker.

  12. I hope your canopy survives the ice storm, Brenda! At least you have an alternative heat source until your thermostat issue is resolved. When we moved into our house, we turned on the heat and the same thing happened to us. It was around 90 because the steam valve needed to be replaced. A $500 plumbing bill that the former owners snuck by us. Stinkers!

    I love bean soups, but beans don't agree with me, so I have to do without. At least your neighbors will enjoy the leftovers.

    1. Those didn't agree with me either! My canopy survived the ice storm. Now if we can just get through till spring.

  13. I hope your heater gets fixed. I too have taken to making my rental more a home then just a temporary place to live. I've been here 3 years and I think I'll need to paint in the near future. I admire how you are making changes to your 'home'!!

  14. I was wondering if you had the ice storm. My son is in St. Louis and was working from home yesterday anticipating it. I hope that you don't lose any power or anything.
    Brenda I don't use any spices in my ham and bean…try this next time 🙂 Just get a ham shank and boil it in your pot or cook slowly in your crockpot. Take it out to cool for later, to cut the good ham off and disregard the fat. Put this broth into the fridge and skim off the fat the next day. Then just add celery, some sweet onion, lots of carrots for sweetness, maybe some potato, about a half can of crushed tomatoes, and any further vegetables that you like. I drain a jar of Northern beans to add at the end…the last time I made this I added zucchini too. No spices at all / the vegetables add all the flavor 🙂 I usually add a little cooked macaroni at the end…the soup wants a hearty pasta versus a noodle.

  15. Wise words about not living in a place we hate. I don't hate where I live at all, but I'm getting unhappy about living around so much stuff that I've accumulated. It's time to stop procrastinating and doing something about it. I'll feel much better. Kudos to you for making your place into a home you love!

    We haven't gotten any ice accumulation yet here, but it's supposed to start up again around 6 until noon tomorrow. Hope your ice doesn't cause too many problems and hope you get that thermostat fixed soon!

  16. The property management in this apartment complex won't even let us change a light bulb on our own. We must call for maintenance to come and do it. I don't, of course. They made us take all our AC units out after the summer weather and said next year we aren't allowed to install them again ourselves. We have to pay maintenance to come and do it. I would like to paint my front door a bright color. I would be glad to paint it black again when I move out, but nope. They are moving people out of here quickly. They want to make a few improvements and rent to units for way more money. I guess I'm fortunate to have a place at all. I hope I am just here temporarily, but with the rising cost of renting I might be tenting soon. Sandra

  17. I think you are smart to make your apartment feel like home to you. Like you said you are going to live there for a long time so it might as well be how you want it. The soup sounds so great I would leave out the spices too. Love a good bean and ham soup. I have been using my crockpot a lot with these cold days. Have a safe weekend. Hope they get someone over soon to help with your furnace issue.

  18. Good to hear your comments for the soup. Almost bought the same kind last week of thought it might be too spicy for my DH and me since our stomachs are more sensitive too. LOL

  19. Hi Brenda! I'm sure your landlords are proud to have you as a tenant as you have improved your apartment so much. Sorry about your heat and pray it doesn't get any colder till it get fixed. The little fuzzy faces are so cute. You haven't said anything else in a while about that man neighbor who complained about you and made you feel uneasy. Just wondering.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  20. I had the same problem in my apartment when I lived in Salem Oregon. I came home one day and the temperature was way up in the 90"s. Now I love heat and I am usually the one who is just getting warm while others are suffocating, but this was even too much for me. maintenance came and I ended up using space heaters for several days while they ordered a new furnace and replaced it. Hopefully you will fare better and they will be able to fix it today.

    1. I just called the office here, and the answering service never gave them the message that I need someone out here. Glad I called before everyone left for the weekend.

  21. a lot of renters never seem to want to put their stamp on their unit. Don't know why. My daughters apartment one time years ago really needed to be freshen up with a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling – asked her about it and she said they wouldn't do it – I said do it yourself and just paint over it before you move – she said she wasn't going to pay for it – it wasn't hers. I thought that was too bad to have that attitude – it is yours (kind of) while you are paying for it. I would paint and repaint – but then I tend to stick in one place and my house is paid for now so most likely would stay here as long as I could. Love how you are constantly changing your place to suit you.

    1. Most people who "buy" homes move within a few years. Can't recall what the data on that is. I know my daughter seems to move every 3 years for one reason or another and have to keep "buying" homes. So until it's paid for, they might as well be renting. Because you don't "own" it until you get the deed to it! Ridiculous to be too cheap to buy a can of paint, is how I feel.

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