Monday, April 28, 2008

Bits of Green, Saturday's Auction and Black Biscotti

We're still celebrating GREEN! For more info on this project, and to see the list of bloggers and their photography, click on Anna Carson's Photography.
I thought I'd combine the green project with some items from Saturday's auction. There were some wonderful old mini-pitchers that I couldn't pass up. The first two pictures are of some of my favorites. The box lot that I ended up with included them, along with souvenir pitchers from the Smokey Mountains, Stone Mountain, various places in Florida and Mexico. I love old textiles and ended up with a couple dozen vintage aprons (some are already in one of our shops but my favorite ones will stay with me as well as being shared with some friends). Then, of course, there is always beautiful glassware and I was fortunate enough to end up with this piece and a few others: . The furniture was auctioned for more money than I was willing to spend, but I still enjoyed watching the bidding and visiting with two ladies that sat on either side of me.
That was Saturday. Yesterday was spent with my hubby and today has been mostly rainy and chilly. And I've been craving chocolate biscotti. Being a woman of strong mind, I decided to treat myself to a moment of weakness and searched out a recipe on
First, let me ask: How many of you have made biscotti? Hold up your hands so I can see. Hmmm. Not that many of you. Well, let me tell you - the ingredients are simple but there are a few steps you have to take that don't accompany most cookie baking. For example, after you mix the dough, you cover it and let it chill for about ten minutes. Then, you spread it onto your cookie sheet, bake it, let it cool for a few minutes before removing it from the cookie sheet, cutting it into strips, and transferring it to a cooling rack for about an hour. Then you return the strips to a cookie sheet, bake on one side for about seven minutes, flip the strips over and bake for another few minutes before storing them in an airtight container.
Have I ever told you how badly I need a new stove and oven? Well, I do. My oven is unpredictable and anytime I use it I always use a timer that is set for several minutes before time to remove your goodies from the oven. Today the timer went off about the same time I started smelling something burning.
Well, long story short, here's my biscotti:
(Beneath the platter, by the way, is one of the aprons I kept)
I'm thinking that it will probably be a very long time before I decide to bake biscotti again. This is one of the few times that store bought will be not only easier, but tastier than home made. Rest assured, the winner of this month's giftaway will not be receiving home baked biscotti from me.
This batch was so much trouble, that I think I'll just break off the burnt edges and dunk what is left over into a very strong cup of tea. Strong enough to hopefully out-strong the burned biscotti.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What I did Today and IT'S STILL GREEN!

Okay, here it is: You're in Tennessee. You see cars and tractors pulling metal trailers parked alongside one another, on lawns, in meadows, partially on sidewalks and streets. You see an oversized tent erected for protection from the sun and/or rain. You know it has to be one of three things: A family reunion, a revival or an


You all (aka y'all) know that one of my most favorite things to do is frequent auctions and/or estate sales. So you know what I did today and what I'll be posting tomorrow!

The pictures may not be all that artful (or even interesting), but d'ya see all the GREEN? For more on Project Green, click HERE

Friday, April 25, 2008

The GOOD, the BAD, the UGLY...and Gertrude

When I took my "morning meandering" through my gardens this morning, I was struck with many of the same thoughts that strike me every morning (Where did all this trash come from? Look at all these weeds! That really needs to be painted! I'll straighten that birdhouse as soon as the babies fly off...). I have no idea how in the world Clint Eastwood entered into my head. But, from the thought of Clint Eastwood came another thought - "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". (And, as I'm typing this, I'm thinking that just a few years ago, the thought of Clint Eastwood would have certainly conjured up other thoughts that will go unmentioned. At least, in writing and on this blog. *Sigh*.) Before I digress too far, first let's see the Good: I love irises, the colors purple and yellow and pink - not necessarily together or in that order. We already had a couple hundred iris plants, but I ended up with many more when my MIL died. Happily, most of them are in my three favorite colors. Next, the BAD: I can't count how many times we've had this Huskee repaired. It's been everything from the seat falling apart to the transmission. And, today, one of the belts keep popping off. Very dangerous, if you live on a hill as we do, as you could suddenly either go rolling uncontrollably down the hill backward - or forward - depending on which direction you're mowing. I think that this year will be the year for a John Deere. Finally, the UGLY: This isn't poison ivy but it spreads faster than poison ivy and the roots are so thick that it's basically impossible to pull out. If anyone has an idea as to how to get rid of this stuff, PLEASE let me know! It's trying to choke out my hostas!!!! Some might look at this old scarecrow and think that it, too, is ugly. Okay, so I agree - somewhat. I had it for several years before finally mounting it on the door of our smokehouse-shed. It's grown on me. Plus, the birds like to pick things from it for nest lining materials. It will probably hang on that door for a couple more years. Last, but not least - remember Gertrude? I saw her this morning and Prince Charming was not on her back! With or without the Prince, it appears that her demeanor hasn't changed. See what I mean? Have a great weekend and don't forget to leave a comment to be eligible for this month's giftaway!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's still GREEN week!

To learn more or participate in Project Green (blogging), click over to Anna Carson.

Yesterday I posted my "green" pix on my other blog. Today, I decided to put them here and to include: A lady with at least one green eye, whose name shall be anonymous; two sweet figurines , one with touches of green, the other that is almost all green; and a rustic little light pretending to be part of a tropical Paradise.

I saw this little vintage handmade sewing travel case of sorts at Willow Creek Antiques (Bristol, Virginia) today. It is in a booth caddy-cornered to our space there and I'm seriously thinking about buying it for myself.

Picture doing something like this with an old overnight case or briefcase. My trash-to-treasure brain is pulsating overtime.

It's been awhile since I've posted photographs of some of the goodies at Willow Creek. If you want to see some eye candy in the form of antiques, I've added photos HERE.

I've been watching a pair of nesting bluebirds for the last couple weeks. Today, their five eggs hatched and I'm sooo excited!!! I posted photos on my other blog, Greener Pastures, if you want to journey over there and see them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Partial Peek at the Prize

It's not quite a tongue twister, is it? Last post I promised a partial peek at the prize. Okay, now say that one three times fast! First, we have this pretty little cone, handmade by Yours Truly. The tiny bouquets at the top are fastened with a pair of silver toned earrings. Sorry for the blurry picture; I tried to get a better one but obviously failed. The bottom has ribbon streamers and a child's cute little butterfly ring attached above the streamers. The cone is empty now but it won't be when it leaves here. What will it be filled with? I'm not telling. That's part of the surprise. You'll also get some of my handmade scented hangtags. And this cute little vintage ceramic box is part of the package! What's in it? (Mild snickering on this side of the computer) That's also a surprise. And that's all I'm showing of this month's giftaway. For now, anyway. ;-) What do you have to do to enter the drawing? Just leave a comment. Easy, huh?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Rainy Sunday, a Tip for Using Old Florals and (log) Cabin Fever

Yep, it's a rainy Sunday. It's one of those days that all you really want to do is light a fire in the fireplace, curl up on the couch with a good book and maybe take a long winter's nap. Problem is, we have no fireplace, hubby is sick with bronchitis (but he went to work today, anyway) and I have lots of pregnant projects (projects-in-waiting) to do. It's been a while since I've given any recycling or trash-to-treasure ideas, so here's my most recent and extremely easy projects. Take this old broken silk tree I bought the other day at a yard sale for $1: It may not look too bad from a distance, but trust me, it's ROUGH! It's broken in a couple of places and the flowers are faded, some with brown edges. That's okay, I can still use either parts of this piece together or dismantle the flowers and leaves and use them separately. I decided to do a little dismantling and use just a few of the flowers for one of my boxes. The nice thing about silk flowers is, you can easily dye or paint them. Either way, they accept color rather nicely. Load up a spray bottle with some water (I added a little starch to the water because the body of these old beauties, much like mine, had gotten pretty droopy) and give them a good misting. Put a little color on the tip of a paintbrush (as I said, you can use paint or dye) and just lightly touch the petals. It doesn't take a lot of color, as the petals quickly absorb the color. I purposely left some white areas on some of the petals for my projects This is a papier mache' box I've had for awhile. I color washed it yellow, decoupaged some torn tissue paper and old music paper onto it, added leftover bits of lace and a few faux pearls, distressed it a little using walnut stain and shoe polish, added my newly colored flowers, and... . I didn't even "perk up" the flowers with starch, as I wanted the box to have an old time, worn look to it. This little cabin is one of my most favorite things. I'm so proud of it and love it, love it: This is an exact replica of my husband's grandmother's old cabin, built in the 1800's when the Indians and the Whites were fighting over territories. His family built the original cabin (which still stands and is lived in by one of his cousins); my hubby built this one. Isn't it beautiful? He actually built it as a surprise for his mother, who grew up in the cabin. He got it back when she died a few years ago. The top lifts up for storage. I think it's beautiful and just had to brag on him! Don't forget to leave a comment to qualify for this month's giftaway! Next post: A partial peek at the prize! ;-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Things of Curiosity

One of my most favorite things to do after an estate auction is to come home and go through the boxes of items that I've purchased. While I generally bid on items that I believe can be cleaned and or repaired for a decent resale price, I have to admit that I get great pleasure sorting through the many treasures that get tossed into these boxes.

I allow my imagination to wander and wonder as I divide them into assorted piles of well, stuff. My general piles end up loosely as sheer trash, things to donate, things to sell at yet another auction, items to be cleaned, repaired and sold, items that I like and want to keep and enjoy for an undetermined amount of time. Certain other items catch my attention and capture the imagination that has consumed part of my right brain since childhood.

I have to wonder why someone would carefully preserve and tuck away items that obviously had meaning to them. Taking my curiosity a step further, I wonder how such an item, precious to someone, ended up tossed into the bottom of an auction box for someone, completely detached from the family and those memories, to end up with it. 100_3406

Such is the case of this old watch. It is obviously very old and was worn for ages by an individual who appreciated it. 100_3408 The leather watchband is split at both ends, the watch crystal cracked across the face. Someone had written this bit of history on a little plastic box and kept it inside. 100_3407

I wonder how long it has been in this box? Who was Paul? I can only imagine that someone in the family who was detached from Paul but not from the person who put it in this box could not allow him or herself to throw it away but didn't know what to do with it. So, it got tossed in an auction box. My box.

And this tiny identification bracelet. I don't know when hospitals stopped putting these on the arms of newborn babies. I know that when my own babies were born in 1971 and 1978, I wanted to always preserve these sweet bracelets. Once home, I carefully removed the bracelets from their precious wrists and fastened them in baby books. 100_3405

This is obviously an item that brings back a torrential pouring of wonderful memories for me. So, who is this baby? Has the baby's mother been looking for this item? How sad she must be to know she lost it! Or, had the mother died in childbirth? How old is this bracelet? It was made with string and beads; the ones made for my children had a stretchy cord, so I'm guessing this baby was born before mine.

100_3409 100_3412

Finally, look at this little handmade potpourri bag. Someone carefully beaded the design of a butterfly on one side. The stitches are secure and straight. The details even include the tip of the butterfly antennae. The stitches that close the bag reveal a different story. 100_3411

The spacing is farther apart and much looser than in the rest of the item. Maybe a child stuffed the pocket and stitched it closed after Mom or Grandma did "her" part of it. Was it put together as a rainy day activity? Perhaps Grandma wanted to teach her grandchild some simple stitching techniques.

Oops, I've let the time get away from me. I need to start dinner! Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to leave a comment to get entered for this month's giftaway! I'll show you a "teaser pic" in a couple of days!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

House Looking

We like to keep an eye open for not only deals in estate sales, yard sales, etc., but real estate as well. One topic that comes up often in our conversations is the fact that we'd love to have a house with larger rooms, lots of storage and flatter property. It's not unusual for me to spend a couple hours a week researching real estate trends in our area (keep in mind that I was in the mortgage business for over 20 years) as well as investigate foreclosures.

One foreclosure came to my attention yesterday. It sounded like something that might interest us on approximately 3 1/2 acres of property. It was a nice home but it just wasn't us. I didn't get a picture showing the entire house but I did snap this one. 100_3396

That weeping cherry tree beckoned me to stand under it to get this shot: 100_3395 I just had to share it with you. I felt like I had little tufts of pink clouds all around me. Earlier I had stopped at a yard sale where I picked up this handmade handkerchief shelf. 100_3393 It was in good condition and I generally don't paint furniture that is in good condition; however, this begged to be made more feminine. I had to succumb to its request. 100_3399 It does stand straight, by the way, but I took this picture while still down in the shop room and I had papers under it while painting it. This isn't the way I'll display it, either. I just didn't feel like taking a picture of it being naked.This praying little girl is a broken angel statue that I dug out of an old estate box. She doesn't have her wings but I still think she's sweet. 100_3402 She's a constant reminder that, although something is broken it can still be useful and beautiful.