Sunday, March 27, 2011

Before and After

Or, what a difference a day makes.
Yesterday the sun was shining and everything was feeling like Spring.

The camellias are in full bloom

The daffodils and jonquils are smiling brightly

The cat will stay out for more than a five minute run

And then today Winter reared it's ugly head once more. All told we probably got a little over a solid inch which in my book is an inch too much!

I should be making jewelry to restock at the restaurant gift shop as i am down to just a meager 3 pairs of earrings and  1 necklace, I should be finishing up the last of the aprons in our round robin to ship off this week or even making the trades for Art and Soul. 
 But my muse seems to be in a domestic mood as of late. 
This past week my grandaughter spent some time with us and we made a batch of strawberry jam out of the strawberries I brought back with us from Florida. I wish i had a picture but since it was just her and i I didn't want to chance leaving her by the pot unattended so i could snap a picture. Ever had hot sugary jam pop and splatter and burn you? Not good.

So yesterday while I was feeling all domestic I decided to use the rest of the flat of strawberries and make more jam. I was able to make an additional 2 batches for a total of 23 jars.

Then I got an idea to make some fresh bread to go along with the fresh jam. I have always just made the dough in my kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook and then baked it in the oven with my baking stone. Last winter I even took an artisan bread making class at the local community college.
But recently i looked into and purchased a bread machine for when I didn't have time to babysit a loaf from start to finish. I had read that they use these in the test kitchens at King Arthur Flour so decided it was worth a try.

The first loaf  is just a loaf of white bread, the standard recipe that came with the machine and it was done in 2 hours and 20 minutes using the fast rise yeast. This was a medium crust.  Very convenient.

Made great toast for the jam. 

Then I decided to make a fresh pizza. I can't take credit for this crust, this was purchased at the bakery but there is a recipe for a pizza dough that came with the bread machine that i will give a try. We topped it with pizza sauce, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan cheeses, pepperoni, peppers and onions.

As we speak I have a pot of red beans soaking getting ready to be made into red beans and rice, a recipe from my dear friend Carol from Louisiana so i know it's going to be good! I hope i do her recipe justice!

 I say come Monday I'll need to find my way back to my diet! Or the next before and after pictures will be of me, before and after all this domestic bliss!

**Update- the red beans and rice are Deeelish! And... while they were cooking i finished the apron and got it ready to ship out tomorrow! Yippee!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On The Hunt

OK so I know most of you out there are just like me, hunters and gatherers from way back.
I remember going to the playground in elementary school and before long while everyone else would be swinging and climbing I would be digging in the dirt for elusive treasure. Stones, rocks,coins whatever.
Same with the beach, my Pop-Pop would take me even in the winter so I could find beach glass and beautiful shells.  I was always bringing something home no matter where we went as a family. My famous line was " but I could make something out of that!"
Then I grew up and discovered flea markets and estate auctions ( insert Tim the tool man Taylor's growl here)
Well, the mother of all flea markets is in Webster Florida.
My husband and I have been faithful monday morning followers ever since my parents took us for the first time years ago. We will plan our trips to Florida around how many monday's we'll have while there. Sick right?  No? Ok you're my kind of people!
I don't think either time that we have been, that we have actually seen it all in one day. We have our plan, usually to go all the way out back to the big field first to all the sellers who drive up and set out all their wares either on tables or blankets or just in the grass.
Then we work our way back towards the covered buildings, each one designated with colors or numbers or letters. When all else fails we use cell phones to find each other and meet back at the big tree ( pictured above in the mosaic)
I had planned on taking pictures this trip lugging my camera in my bag but got so caught up in the search that I never took one shot this time.  
Back in Jan we went but it was very cold and rainy that day and we didn't stay long. I took  a picture of the big tree and the Webster's sign before heading for cover.  I was there long enough to score this beautiful vintage Singer sewing machine. I have never seen one with 3 drawers on each side and the elaborate scrollwork on each end. It had all the components in the drop down top drawer and even had a spare treadle belt in the side drawer. The seller assured me it still worked, the treadle moved very freely.  I haven't tried it yet and have kept it in Florida.

When he first told me he wanted $75. for it I walked away. I wasn't in the market for a treadle sewing machine but it haunted me and I thought, "this is crazy, go back for it" and believe it or not, he came DOWN from that price. I bought it and stood guard while my husband ( shaking his head all the way) went with my Dad to get the van and load it up. While I stood there I had a number of people ogle it and tell me what a beautiful piece it was and how great I did.

This was THE find this trip, for me anyway. Antique brass and iron backplates and drawer pulls.  Isn't the detail amazing? So much design work, you gotta love old vintage pieces for that alone. The seller had trays and trays of old pieces of hardware that I had the most fun scrounging through. A hunter gatherer's jackpot.  I was a happy girl  when I left her booth. My family had long since left me to my treasure hunting and we met up for some lunch and a few last minute purchases including a big ole bag of kettle corn before heading home.
Some of the other scores of the day are pictured above in the mosaic-
a high domed crystal butter dish
 a few old labels to frame up for the restaurant
old purple glass bottles, 2 of which have an irridescent coating on them from age
old ball jars including the one from Canada with the crown and marked 1950 in the bottom, I know nothing about it but thought the crown was too cool to pass up, besides I'm a glass addict remember?

And marbles, the woman selling the marbles must have thought I was a collector because as I picked through her stash she took a bag out of each pocket to share with me, one bag the marbles were $50. a piece and the other bag they were $100. a piece.  Uh, no thanks, these 50 cent ones are just fine for what I want them for but thanks for sharing! Geez! Really???? $ 100. for a MARBLE???   Somewhere there is a very happy person probably blogging about the find of a century, the elusive $100. marble they have been searching for. I guess it's what makes the world go 'round. I am happy with the jadite ones, they were $4. a piece and the vaseline one which was a whopping $1.
I also found a gorgeous lead crystal footed, covered candy dish with birds engraved in the sides and lid, a cranberry glass vase and a ruby glass covered stick butter dish all of which I left in Florida and have no pictures of yet. 
My husband found decoys again and a few of his favorite collectibles so a good time was had by all.
If you're ever in the area , don't miss the opportunity to go.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oh Man !

I have always been somewhat of a skygazer, love to look at the sky and stars, I've been known to go out in all weather at all times for the meteor showers, dragging my kids with me when they were younger to see everything. But, I.Am.In.Love.With.The.Moon.!
I'm sure it all started as a child when my Great grandmother used to sing the song " My Sweetheart's The Man in the Moon" to me as I have now done with my children and grandchildren.  They also used to have me watch the moon out of the car window anytime we were travelling at night telling me he was watching over us the whole way home. It always amazed me as a child to see that he would follow us everywhere we went.
Last night's supermoon was perfect, although the expression on his face looks somewhat sad to me. Perhaps it's everything he is watching happen down here on Earth these days. What do you think?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Secrets Revealed

The past month has been one of many surprises.
First , as promised, here are the pictures of the fatbook pages for this years' Art and Soul in Hampton. The theme as I mentioned is "In the Garden".  My first thought was Adam and Eve but then quickly turned to a saying I have on a flower box that says "Leave room in your garden for fairies to dance" that I thought most appropriate.
I bought a few new tools to accomplish my needs, a Sizzix which i used to cut the papers for the seed packets and the flower petals. What a fun toy that is! I know, i'm late to the party, scrapbookers and paper people everywhere have been doing this for years right?
Next I bought about 60 packets of seeds to divide amongst tiny jewelry ziploc baggies to fill said seed packets. Forget-me-nots, four-o'clocks, baby's breath, oriental poppies, larkspur, foxgloves and canterbury bells, all things for a proper fairy garden don't you think? Then I sealed the envelopes with glittery purple sealing wax and a fairy seal.  I just love sealing wax.  I decided afterwards that it was probably silly to invest in the seeds as they probably won't ever get opened and planted!
I printed and cut out vintage fairy images and used glue buttons to give them a raised effect on the page and added butterflies and the sayings to complete the front. The rule is, the fatter the pages the better.

The other saying that I have loved for about 20 years is "Bloom where you are planted" but I added a twist to decorate the back of the page. I applied the saying to flowerpots that I hand cut, attached the sizzix cut out flower petals and added a face to the centers of each flower with a clear cabochon. This is the page where you list your contact information.
 Then for a dangle ( all fatbook pages need danglies) I attached a pewter fairy charm with stretch cord through a rivet, so she can dance of course! The side of the pages need to stay blank to allow for the coil binding to be inserted. We had to make 40 pages total. I will be sure to post pictures of the completed fatbooks that we will receive after I return from A&S in May.

Then the next surprise I couldn't mention was we returned to Florida on March 5th to be there for my Mom's shoulder surgery on Mon. March 7th.
I should have taken a picture of her face when she answered the door but the story goes like this.... We had planned the trip for a month, gathered as much as we could fit in the Prius such as dishes, pots pans, small appliances ,towels and linens , Gotta love those space bags, they really work! We laid the plans for where we would be that day in case she called us on cell phones, which she did, then left at 4:30 in the morning to drive straight through.  Just before hitting the Georgia/ Florida border, the phone rang,
 Mom "where did I catch you?"
Me stumbling " Oh I'm shopping in Salisbury, just going between Kohls and Michaels, what's up?"
 Mom " I just sent you some pictures in an email, take a look when you get home and let me know what you think"
Me" Ok, what are they of?"
Mom " It's a surprise, you'll see"
Well, what she sent me pictures of was the front of our house in Florida where my Dad bought some garden bedding plants, petunias, daisies and begonias and planted them, fertilized and mulched it for us.  Love and surprises abound!
About 3 1/2 hours later, we rang her doorbell and when she opened the door I said " Do you mind if i look at those pictures on your computer? I'm kinda far away from mine right now"
Surprise!!!   Speechless surprise, then tears.
The surgery was a mixed bag, they were unable to fix the rotator cuff, the surgeon called it irrepairable, torn on both sides, but he was able to clean out bone spurs, damaged cartilage and scar tissue in the hopes of alleviating the pain and allowing for better range of motion. She has already started back on physical therapy 3x week. So the recovery wasn't anywhere near as bad as it would have been had they been able to repair it but hopefully I was a help the first week. 

It was wonderful being down in March, I had never been in that month and the oranges had been harvested leaving the trees full of orange blossoms starting anew! What fragrance!!! This is a shot over the fence behind our house, these little perfumed powerhouses filled the air for blocks! I wish I could have bottled it and brought some home with me!
The sun was warm and strong, the temps upper 70's to mid 80's, pool water 84*. Perfect.

I had arranged ahead of time to have the laminate floors installed while we were down, figuring I would be with my Mom during the day and my husband could be at the house with the installers. They completed it in one day. We had the hall, dining room, kitchen and living room done.

Since Mom was doing so well we had extra time we didn't plan on and we were able to get a lot done while there. My husband and Dad power washed the entire front porch and carport side of the house, we planted several other plants such as delphiniums, peruvian lillies, snapdragons, million bells, red sister dracaena and a bouganvillia. Replaced the shower rods and curtains, removed the shower doors in the master, hung all new vertical blinds throughout and a chandelier in the dining room and ordered some living room furniture, being delivered today, and got all the dishes and kitchenware washed and put away into cabinets along with the linens.

The living room furniture is all pulled out awaiting removal. next up will be a new dining room set. I am going shabby chic romantic, all neutrals as a decor. Isn't that a pretty sunset in the windows?

Hanging these crystals would have been good therapy for Mom had she been further along! the design of the new verticals is called "white vines"

It's hard to see here but it's the only shot I have of it, there is a white corner cabinet in the living room which had been a vintage built in that mom and dad found for us at an antique shop called Second Hand Rose. We wanted it for our dining room but it was a little too large for the corner we had in mind. Ray installed the new kitchen faucet along with a new one in the guest bath.
We still have a lot we want  to accomplish but we got a lot more done than we thought possible this trip.  We even got a trip to Webster in but i'll leave all that for another post.
Thanks for visiting!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Welcome Sight

I heard something the other day that I had never really paid any attention to before, March 1st marks the beginning of meteorological spring.  I always know spring to be just around the corner when these little reticulata iris bloom in my garden. A happy sight indeed!
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