Saturday, May 31, 2008

Clogged Pipes and Hormones

Well, as usual, I'm confused on my dates. I was all set to pull a name for this month's Giftaway when I realized that this is May 31, not June 1. The name of the winner will be pulled in the morning!

Yesterday was one of those days. Can a woman who has had a total hysterectomy still get hormonal? If she can, then that's what I was. It started out well but as soon as I finished posting my blog it all went downhill. Maybe that's what was wrong - I should have sat here and written all day.

First, the bathroom sink and tub refused to drain. I plunged, waited and plunged some more. I looked for our plumbing snake (which I've never used before but was willing to try OJT (on-the-job-training), since I was here by myself. It didn't matter, anyway - I never found it, as I rarely am able to find something in my husband's shop. I did what I thought was probably the next best thing, which was to trek down to CVS for handy, dandy Drano.

The instructions were simple enough. If it's a tough clog, pour the entire bottle through the standing water, into the drain. I had plunged 'way past the point of perspiration and didn't get a millimeter of drainage. This was a tough clog, in goes the entire bottle. I knew it would take awhile and my plans to mop the floor would have to wait. It's totally useless to mop a floor when you have a clogged pipe. Somehow, the floor always ends up getting filthy.

Soo, I grabbed a little gown that I had been meaning to give to my 93 year old neighbor and decided to pay her a visit. What a sweetheart she is, but she is failing and ready to meet our Maker. When I left her, I was missing my own family - my kids, my grandkids, my brother - all who live so far from Tennessee. I returned to my stopped up drains, which had drained but were still backing up when I ran water. Hormones were hopping and I just became totally, well, hormonal.

Today is a new day. Hubby last night found the plumbing snake and got the pipes flowing. Me, I'm a lot less hormonal. But could still stand a hug. And a new stove.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Last Day to Enter Giftaway, Stove Searching and Shoppe Stuffe

Just a reminder that today is the final day to enter to win my May Giftaway package! Leave a comment to be eligible for the drawing!

Remember that, a few posts ago, I indicated that I need - make that really need - a new stove? I've been looking and searching for the best deal. The last two days, hubby and I physically checked out several locations having their Memorial Day/Week appliance specials. Would you believe that, each time I found what I wanted, that particular model was out of stock? It happened at least five different times. Yes, I could order and wait for one to come in but nobody could have one to me before the middle of June. I can't see waiting and paying delivery fees, not when we have a truck and can haul it ourselves.

I love cooking with gas but gas isn't available in this area so an electric stove is obviously the only option. Raise your hand if you hate cleaning drip pans! Uh-huh! Me, too, which is why I decided to go with one of those level ceramic top stoves.

The only drawback I can see with them is, they're not made to support the added weight or longer cooking time needed for canning. I'm thinking about moving my current stove into the basement and using it for canning. IF I ever find a suitable stove that's in stock, that is. If any of you have experiences with the ceramic tops stoves that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them. Good or bad, please let me know!

We yesterday were also able to finally get a couple of large antiques out of the house (out of my way!) and into the shop in Elizabethton. Here's what we added: This server is a good looking piece of yesterday. The top was badly stained, so hubby reworked the top (lots of elbow grease) and made it shine once again. We got it for a decent price so we are offering it at a decent price ($97). If you're in East Tennessee, be sure to stop in at the Corner Nest in Elizabethton. I love, love, love this old time dresser. Isn't it gorgeous? It was missing knobs and one of the drawers didn't fit properly. There is a "ding" in the top where a piece of the wood broke off. This one is only $115. Yes, we know we could ask more (and get it) but we really do try to do right by people and hope for the same in return.

I've posted new pics of the tea room here if you want to take a look and have also added pictures of the rest of the shop in another album. Just click on the one that says "Corner Nest, 5/2008".

The rest of this morning (or about an hour of it) is reserved for scrubbing my kitchen floor. Ugh. I'm off to get it over with! Have a great weekend, I'll see you tomorrow with the name of this month's Giftaway winner!

Monday, May 26, 2008

GIFTAWAY Package and (my) Casual Attire

First, let me apologize for the delay in posting the pix of this month's Giftaway. They were supposed to be posted yesterday. I didn't mean to lie; I just got sidetracked. I had noticed Saturday morning that several different cars were traveling up and down the hillside; we have only three sets of neighbors living up that way so it wasn't difficult to figure out that something had happened to one of them. One of the elderly ladies had passed away during the night. Her husband, who is in ill health himself, is totally devastated. They were very devoted to one another. Anyway, I whipped together a casserole and a sympathy card and sent it up the hill. (You'll see why I didn't deliver it myself, later.) The rest of the day was mostly spent pulling weeds (what else?). Without going into a lot of detail, my hubby counted over 11 wheelbarrows full. Not just eleven, over eleven. Chocked full of weeds. My weeds, pulled by myself. Oh. Almost forgot - there was a slight interruption when I helped a farmer round up four of his runaway cows. Actually, all I did was run them out off the neighbors' property and back down onto the road. Hubby and stepson took it from there. But, I digress. Back to the Giftaway. Here's what the winner will receive:
  • Piano-shaped music box - one of my faves, but I can't keep everything I love, so I'll share with you.
  • A small-ruffled, delicate-looking white vintage apron Mini-pitcher
  • Handmade soap, made by Susan in Indiana - Too bad you don't have a scratch 'n sniff monitor.
  • Beaded pink necklace
  • Vintage wooden spools, a couple with thread
  • Some of my handmade wax-scented tags ...and probably a surprise or two!
The little pitcher will have vintage buttons in it. Scroll back to earlier posts and you'll see a better picture of the sweet vintage apron. Speaking of vintage: How casual is my casual attire? When I worked outside the home, I very rarely wore pants to work. My office attire consisted of dresses and skirt-suits. My daughter referred to me as her "fancy" mom. My attire nowadays? Shorts, jeans or capris with a casual shirt or Tshirt. If I know I'll be working mostly outside, I'll wear something similar to this (Saturday's outfit): My very favorite Tshirt has no armpits under the short sleeves, a totally ripped up and almost off neckline and holes throughout. Did I tell you that, when we first moved here, one of my neighbors gave me an armload of Tshirts? True. She probably thought I didn't have anything decent to wear while doing yardwork. She isn't snobby or snooty, she's very sweet. I'm sure she thought she was helping me. The thing is, I prefer oversized T's, very lightweight. Hey, it gets hot on this hillside and I dress for comfort while I'm crawling around on my knees. :-) Thus is the reason I had someone else deliver the casserole to my neighbor. I just didn't think my weed-pulling attire was suitable for meeting my neighbor's family and church members. LEAVE A COMMENT to qualify for this month's Giftaway and have a glorious Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Minor Repair & Transformation - and those *&%# Weeds!

You all probably know me well enough by now to know that I have a tendency to forget taking "before" shots. This table is no exception. Just trust me that the top was falling off wobbly legs until I whipped out my trusty drill and a few 3" wood screws. Give me credit for remembering to snap this one before I got too carried away with painting! I told you about these wicked 3-leaf nonpoisonous pesky weeds a couple posts ago. I think I also mentioned that the only way to get rid of them is to completely dig up the area and remove every piece of root associated with the *&%# things. They have successfully wangled (is that a dictionary term?) themselves around the hostas and lillies of the valley in the areas beneath my dogwood tree and in front of the house. Separating them from hostas isn't that much of a chore; however, separating them from the LoV is another matter. Much of yesterday afternoon was spent working under the dogwood and feeling very sorry for myself. I had separated a good part of the area the other day. It soon became apparent that I hadn't gotten every piece of the wicked weed root when I noticed this (someone, please hum the "tum-tum-tum-tum" part of the theme to Jaws): Can you believe over 2 wheelbarrows of these stupid roots (I had already dumped one overflowing wheelbarrow before taking this pic). The area is looking better but I still have this much to do. Anyone want to dig in the dirt with me? I am taking volunteers! ;-> REMINDER: Leave a comment and become eligible for this month's Giftaway! I'll post an updated photo of the Giftaway package tomorrow. Keep grinnin'! Sher

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More Involuntary Wordless Moments

If you missed me and decided that computer problems were to blame for my absence, you were right! And if you're wondering why this post is underlined, it's because for some unknown reason it wants to be underlined. I can't get it to shut off!

My computer-genius-guru-repair guy (Jarad) was sent a faulty replacement part (or two); that's the bad news. Other bad news is centered around the fact that he has spent many long hours separating the possible causes for malfunctions, testing, re-testing, loading and re-loading information, etc. I'm fortunate that he has a strong work ethic and has been diligent the past few days. The good news is that he has provided a computer for me to use until mine is fixed. I've watched him work a good part of this time - other good news for me, as he is easy to look at (cute as a bug's ear, actually) and has just as easy a personality. Here's a couple pictures I snapped (yes, I warned him that I blog everything!). See what I mean? A real cutie. I can honestly say this is the first time I've ever felt like a dirty old woman. *Sigh.* You're all aware of my love of Nature and the country, so of course I've snapped some pictures of the route to his home for you to also enjoy. The first time I saw this field, there were a couple goats happily chowing down on this mustard-colored field. It was beautiful, very peaceful looking. I somehow managed to leave my camera at home that day. It's been with me every day since, but the goats haven't been present. This old barn sits next to the gravel drive leading to his home. It begged me to take its picture, as did this old fence post (also next to the gravel drive). Also begging for attention is a broken wooden table that lives under my dogwood tree. I finally dragged it over to our side patio this morning and repaired it's wobbly legs. Thank Goodness for power tools! Tomorrow it will be transformed from natural dark wood to white. Although I like its rustic look, it sits directly under a favorite roosting place of several birds. Yeah, it gets pretty disgusting looking. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em and nobody but the birds ever sits in that area, anyway. 'Bye for now; I'm missing CSI!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Wordless, Pictureless Week

Disaster struck our household last Saturday morning. My computer went belly-up!

First, it wouldn't stop running. The sound it was making reminded me of a car engine that was idling 'way too fast. It wouldn't reboot, then it wouldn't turn on at all. Belly-up. Lifeless. Dead.

I became transfixed on Monday morning. Forget appointments, weekend laundry, grocery shopping and housework. Nothing was more important than getting the computer well and running.

Luckily, the first call I made struck gold. I was able to find a wonderful genius computer doctor, one who understands and actually enjoys working on computer guts.

Computerless for a week, my life as I had come to know it was completely changed. No more email communication, blog surfing. But, to my own surprise, I came to realize how much I depend on this wonder of technology. For example, Jerod (the computer genius) gave me excellent directions to his location - a good thing, since I could not mapquest it. Information on gasoline prices, Obama vs Clinton, stock news would have to wait for the 6:00 News. Strawberries were on sale but I could not remember how "safe" they are for a diabetic's menu. (Where in the world did I put those charts? If I had my computer, I could look it up in a matter of seconds.) My son put in an offer on a possible investment property. Too bad I couldn't look it up on the net! This was the week for me to check on stove prices. What? Spend gas money and time to drive around to comparison shop? No way! And this is still Monday, not yet 2:00!

As it turned out, my processor was fried, which (after a conversation with my son who lives two states away) was expected. The motherboard was damaged; the power supply was doing its job but, for good measure, I had it replaced. By Saturday afternoon, a whole week later, my computer was once again home on my desk and running smoothly.

Here are some pictures I would have posted last week: Baby robins: My iris are all in glorious bloom: Too bad azalea blooms last for only a few days: I love the pink bush behind our home, but we also have yellow, orange, and red bushes as well. Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

An AWARD and info on this month's GIFTAWAY!

Arte y pico award!

Awarded to me by Margo, the infamous ROBOLADY ! The rules for this award are: You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.
  1. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
  2. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her/him the award itself.
  3. The award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico’ blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
There are so very many deserving blogs out there! I really appreciate being chosen by Margo!And now I'm faced with the same wonderful, though difficult task she had. In no particular order, here are the ones I've finally chosen:
  • Karen, the Graphics Fairy - She unselfishly searches for and finds wonderful vintage clipart for others to use in our scrapbooks, cards, mixed media and other arts.
  • Analise, Sugar, Sugar - For encouraging and inviting others to participate in various projects of sharing and imagination
  • Becky, Beyond the Picket Fence - A trash-to-treasure enthusiast, she openly shares her projects and continues to push herself to be more creative
  • Karla, Karla's Cottage - A lover of vintage items, her blog is chock full of interesting photographs; she has a wonderful way of grouping her finds and collections
  • Karin, Creative Chaos - Her blog is on the "favorites" list of many, and deservingly so. She has found a way to incorporate her humor, her creativity and love for her family into a very entertaining read

This month's giftaway has a little twist to it - in order to participate, you must either be a mom, have a mom, know a mom, or be related to a mom! Okay, so there's no twist to it at all, but I had to do something to acknowledge Moms everywhere! After all, I am a Mom, my daughter is a Mom, my daughter-in-law is a Mom, all my friends have Moms and this is the month for Mother's Day! So, included in this month's giftaway is: This sweet little vintage apron that looks like it could have been made from an old linen handkerchief! Whenever I see an apron, mental images of my great-grandma using her apron to wipe the faces of my brother, cousins and myself come to mind.

You'll also get this olde mini-pitcher that I recently picked up at an estate sale. My collection of vintage buttons has grown to gluttony - so, guess what it will have inside? Yep - the winner will get some cool olde buttons, along with some of my handmade tags and, of course, a surprise or two. Or three. And, to qualify, all you need to do is leave a comment!

I switched around a couple little items for last month's winner, Hammertime. She's a busy mom of four with daughters in pageants. She isn't really into collecting or handmades so I substituted a couple of things I thought would be more for her liking. She should have received her package yesterday, so here's what she received:

A little ceramic box with a black faux pearl necklace and bracelet, a handmade necklace (not made by me) and some delicious handmade soaps that I get from Susan . I have her soaps in my shops and they are wonderful ! I thought a busy mom would need pampering and I sent her these two soaps, plus this one for the kids: What self-respecting child would not want to bathe him/herself in monkey farts? LOL! It actually smells fruity, like something a monkey would eat. My thinking was that, if she had less arguing about bath time for the kids, she would have more time for herself.

Remember, just leave a comment to qualify for this month's giftaway!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Playing with (Free!) Photo Programs

I've had a few emails from people wanting to know what kind of camera I have, editing programs, etc. First, I want to THANK each of you who have taken the time to leave comments or to write me about anything. It's a real compliment each time I hear from one of you. Okay, about the camera - it's just a simple little Kodak EasyShare CX7430. I've had it for (?) three years - I think. Maybe longer. It's a 4.0 mega pixels camera that I'd love to replace with a newer one for no better reason than the fact I'd just like a newer one. Kodak provides a great editing program and all you have to do to download your pictures from the camera to the computer is basically plug a little cord from the computer into the camera. I like - no, make that LOVE - simple things that I don't have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out! Now, as far as a good freebie program, check into . I'm loving all the effects you can get from it! As far as the pictures that I post of my gardens, I really don't use special effects other than cropping. But if you want really good pictures from your digi, my best advice would be to use the highest setting on your camera. It may mean more wear on your batteries, but I always use rechargeable ones and recommend that anyone taking a lot of pictures do the same. I always have a set in my camera and another set on charge. A couple of you asked for my best quick tips when taking flower pics. This isn't my tip, per se, as I picked it up somewhere on the net. But it's easy! If you're trying to get good detail, try holding a sheet of colored paper behind the flower. For example, this white iris is growing against my white house. Trying to get a good photo of it against the house would be pretty impossible or at least in my case, improbable. So, I grabbed a folder that holds scrapbook paper and here's what I got: First, I tried pink: Then, I wondered what a darker contrasting background would look like, so I held the folder in back of it: Keep in mind that these were taken outside this morning, around 10:00 or so. No artificial light was used - just the paper background and my camera and the iris is still in tact and growing against the house. Easy, huh? ;-) Then I decided I wanted a closeup of just the bloom. If you look in the upper lefthand corner, you'll see where I didn't have the folder positioned well enough to hide the house in the background. Okay, now here's the same photo using special effects from Picasa: This last picture is another version of the one at the first of this post. All I did was add the softening effect. I hope this helps those of you who asked and some of you who didn't! Right now, I need to work on putting a giftaway package together for this month! All you need to do to qualify is leave a comment - you'll see the contents of Hammertime's package in a couple of days (as soon as I know she's received it!). Oh - and let me know how you like Picasa!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Just a few pics...

My RA (rheumatoid arthritis) has been bothering me today. Since my hands are giving me problems, I'll just post some pictures. I'm sure things will improve tomorrow. I think I'll call this shot "Before the Reveal" . In just a couple of days, it will unwrap itself as a beautiful purple bearded iris. Gertrude is still hanging out in her favorite spot in a small part of my largest flower garden. Look how happy she is to see me! ;-> And finally, I have to admit being really proud of the way this shot came out. This lilac bush was a bare root mail order plant that was supposed to be a yellow lilac. It's obviously not yellow, but I love the white trim on the flowers. Remember, I have a monthly giftaway on this blog and all you have to do to qualify is leave a comment!

Friday, May 2, 2008

We have a WINNER for April!

*Drum roll, please*....our winner for the April Giftaway is: HAMMERTIME NEWS! Congratulations! Please contact me at with your mailing info!
She visited this blog through our associations with WORDLESS WEDNESDAY (which now gives an option of going Wordless all week long, but being the gabby person I am, have chosen to be wordless on Wednesdays only) and will receive the giftaway package shown here, along with many surprises!
Another Biscotti Story...
Okay, I'm not a woman to easily give up. I had to once again try my hand at biscotti, using the stove I currently have! I cut the oven temperature down by 25 degrees AND the baking time down by an extra five minutes and still came up with blackened biscotti: This time, it was burned mostly on the left side.

At least this batch was edible. And, yesterday, among several other things I did was check out new ovens!

And now, eye candy for lovers of antiques, gorgeous glass, etc....

Is THIS an absolutely gorgeous tray, or what? It's one of the items that will be sold tomorrow night along with these items and these and lots of other goodies that won't fit on my blog, but I did manage to take a lot of pix if you want to see them. If you want to take a peek, just click HERE. Unfortunately, I can't make this one. (sigh...)

It's going to be a wonderful weather weekend! See you in the garden!