Saturday, August 30, 2008

A New Do, More Pillows and More Babies!

As I sit here typing today's entry, I am much happier than my husband is. Why? One word - haircut. What is it about men, that they almost always prefer that their wives or girlfriends have long(ish) hair? Before I left yesterday for my appointment he insisted on taking a picture of me. It was like, "Let me have something to remember what you looked like before this terrible, irreversible atrocity is done..." LOL. Men! Anyway, here is his "before" picture and here is the after
It feels so much better to be able to lean forward and perform closeup tasks (like thread a sewing machine or paint tiny details on a piece) without my hair falling forward. But it feels great to not have to worry about a sweaty mass of it falling into my eyes while I'm outside in the garden or hand sanding delicate detail on an antique chair.

And still another new do: I've switched pictures around (again) on my banner. Yep, I'm still playing!

It's time for another reminder! Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day for entering this month's Giftaway. The name drawing is Monday! For any of you who may be new to this blog, all you have to do to qualify is leave a comment! I have a monthly Giftaway so make sure you return again with another comment!
When I gave the tip on stuffing pillow corners the other day, I failed to show you the reverse side of the pillow I was working on: This is just the cutest toile. Don't you just love these sketches of happy kids?
I finished this one, too - here's the front and back.
The vintage button in the middle is shaped like a little flower. I'm working on some door pillows now for the holidays. You know that at least one will end up in a Giftaway!
Finally, I had to share this picture that Hubby snapped this morning: (Snap on the photo and you can see the open mouthed baby!)
This birdhouse is above our smokehouse shed. We don't know how many babies are in the nest; it's too high to peer into. We do know that this particular duplex birdhouse is probably the busiest that we've had this year. Both upper and lower units have been occupied all year and we've watched at least five different families of babies learn to fly the short distance from each "doorway" to a nearby Maple tree.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Award! Stuffing Pillow Corners and This is Organized?

What's that saying about the plans of mice and men? It obviously applies to women, too.
My hairdresser called to postpone my appointment until tomorrow. She basically overcooked herself in a tanning bed last night and is in a lot of pain. She said she is red all over, from her top (literally) to her bottom (literally) and all she can do is lay on her bed with nothing touching her skin. Ouch! I hope she considers seeing a doctor.
But I have news and I have pictures! Thanks, Deb , for passing your "I (Heart) Your Blog" Award on to me! I love awards and am so honored whenever someone (electronically) hands one to my blog!
Here are the rules of this award.
1. The receiver can put the logo on their blog
2. Link the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other bloggers.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you mentioned.
The seven bloggers I nominate are:
Cynthia at Rust and Splinters, Tomboy at a Day in the Life of a Tomboy, Margo at Margo's Junkin' Journal, Karla at Karla's Cottage, Bebe at Bebe's Peaches and Dreams, Kim at Dear Daisy Cottage, and last but not least, Jenn, the Thrift Shop Romantic.
There are many other bloggers I visit daily, including the ones above. But I'm limited to seven and hope you (they) understand.
I told you previously that I've been making accent pillows. While I was working on one this afternoon, it dawned on me that I should share a pillow-making tip with those of you who are interested. It has to do with pillow corners. You know how hard it is to get the stuffing to stay in those corners? Here's a secret: Before you turn your pillow inside-out, stitch a bit of stuffing on to the outside margin of the corner. Then, turn it and stuff it as usual.
Finally, these last pictures are for Deb, who used to think she had the messiest craft room around. Then she saw mine and quickly let me know that I "won" that distinction. Okay, keep in mind that what you are about to see is still (a) a work in progress, (b) getting organized but not necessarily neater, (c) not the entire room because I'm barely halfway finished and (d) that it has taken me several weeks to get this far (which gives you an idea of how large an undertaking it is).
With this in mind and a deep breath, here goes:
This is above my main sewing area. The little storage compartment units aren't new - they're the same. But I have about a half zillion old bobbins and decided to put them to work. I wrapped my ribbons (by color) around them and they're now out in the open where I can see them.
Immediately adjacent to that is my television (I'm addicted to Bravo and True TV). It sits atop a shelf that sits atop my sewing table. It might be unconventional, but it provides more storage for me. And I DO need storage!
Right next to that is another work table with (of course) another shelf on it. Told you I need storage.
This is a temporary solution for the gobs of trim I have. I still have unused bobbins; maybe I'll do the ribbon thing with all this trim. (There's more behind what you can see in this pic)
Here is the closet under the stairs. I can see the floor! I have more fabric and some old frames stored in here.
This is the new old cabinet Hubby hung for me the other day. I can hide more stuff in here.
Yes, I have Hoarder Disorder but I'm trying to cure it by using everything I have before buying anything else. Kinda hard when you're an antiques dealer and constantly fixing, painting, recovering, etc. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
My BFF, Janet, has seen this in person when she visited a couple years ago from Kansas. So, Janet, do you see any improvement? LOL!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wait! Don't Go...

You're in the right place! I just decided to (finally) change my banner and, thanks to the Cutest Blog on the Block I have a new layout. I like the layout but haven't quite decided about the banner. What's your opinion? Maybe I should actually pay someone to do a banner for me...
The layout itself is free! How cool is that? Plus, all you have to do is "cut and paste" to use the layout.
Well, this past weekend was Nascar time here in east Tennessee. I never go to the races (just like, when I lived in Indianapolis, never went hardly ever went to the Indianapolis 500. (I think I may have been to two actual "500" races, although I'll admit calling in sick to work on a few occasions to watch the qualifications. I always reported back to work with a tan...)
The one thing I do enjoy about the Bristol races is the flyover that the Air Force does before each major race. Three jets circle over the Speedway (and our house) several times and it is an awesome sight and sound.
The only thing I accomplished today was more peaches canning. Okay, I did get a few other things accomplished, but canning is the only thing that will get noticed. Regular housework is one of those things that nobody notices unless it's NOT done. I knew you'd know what I mean. It and laundry are completely thankless jobs.
I've had a few of you either email me or call me to make sure I'm okay. I think it's awesome that you care enough to check on me! But I've been fine, just knee-deep in canning. Here's a corner of my basement pantry:
And, would you believe, I'm not finished yet?! Next on the agenda: PEARS! Know any good recipes? I tried a recipe last night for peach upside down cake. It didn't have a bad taste but it tasted kinda doughy and reminded me of bread pudding my great-grandma used to make us when we were growing up.
A couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I were complaining to each other that the fruit on our apple trees were looking more like crab apples than Granny Smith. I'm now beginning to think this might be a blessing.
I know this is a short post (for me). Tomorrow morning's plans include a trip to the shop to rearrange, "fluff" and add to our inventory, then on to a hair appointment at 11:00. Tomorrow afternoon should be relatively "free" (we all know that, to a housewife, "free" simply means grocery shopping, cleaning and every day things that have to be done that never make it on a to do list because every day things look silly on a to do list). I'm hoping to squeeze in some blogging time in there.
'Till then,mysig

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bits and Pieces, This 'n That

It's been a few days since I've posted so I thought I'd share with you what I've been doing. Remember our peach-laden peach tree? If not, here's a reminder pic:
We have a similar tree toward the back of our property and it, too, had to have its limbs propped up to prevent the branches from breaking. Well, the peaches have been falling off the tree faster than we can pick them. Our next door neighbor told us her freezer can't handle anymore; we gave them at least four bushels. We gave several bags to neighbors behind us, neighbors across the street and even to a couple people who stopped by asking if we would sell any. We ended up giving them about a bushel and a half and they left overjoyed. I'm out of room in my freezer so I've resorted to canning the rest.
This isn't all of them - there are still several on the tree and they are awaiting their turn in my canner.
Then, one evening I decided to embroider the words "Nice Counts" for another pillow. I love tone-on-tones and decided to use some of my pink fabric stash, then decided it needed some "bling" around the edges. I like the way it looks but boy, was it tedious to handstitch this little rope of beads "in the ditch" (meaning it was stitched along the seams).
I found an old octagonal box (oops, I spaced the before picture!) at a yard sale for a dollar. I don't know why in the world I was attracted to it, it was filthy and needed repair. I cleaned it up, discovered the repair job was an easy one, then it told me that it really wanted to be made pretty. It already had the little white ceramic knob with it, so out comes the pink spray paint, a cute little doily to serve as a resting spot for the knob and voila! I love it! It's now sitting on my dresser, being cuddled by this old faceless doll. Oh, almost forgot - maybe soon I'll have some updated shots of my sewing/craft studio. My hubby hung a "new" vintage cabinet for me today, giving me more storage. I'm really trying to get it organized in there. But look what he did last night while I was trying to move things around to make room for the cabinet: No, Silly, I'm not married to this bird. The bird is Bailey, our cockatoo - you've seen him before! Get a load of what he's doing. Hubby gave him a whole slice of pizza! He thought it would make a cute picture. Of course, Bailey loved it and ate quite a bit of it.
Speaking of birds (and also neighbors), the lady next door knows I love birds and antiques. She saw this at a yard sale and said she had to get it for me. Isn't that sweet of her? It's sitting on a shelf above my computer. I have at least another day of canning peaches, then I'll be on to some new projects.
What have you been up to lately? (Remember, leaving a comment will get you entered in this month's Giftaway!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

More on this Month's Giftaway and a Candle-lier Redo

Not too far from here is a little old farmhouse that has been abandoned for several years. The exterior shows obvious signs of neglect. The wood planks that make up the front porch have curled up in areas like a perm gone bad; much of the paint has been beaten off by the weather and the roof - well, the roof looks like you would expect the tin roof of an old abandoned place to look.
Still, the house holds some form of mystery for me. It's in an area of town where one would not expect an empty house to sit for years on end. The lawn stays mowed, yet the house remains unoccupied.
Now, imagine me driving my van past the house today, past a small sign in the yard that reads, "Yard Sale". Yard sale??? Now, imagine how quickly I found a place in the road wide enough to negotiate a U-turn.
I was greeted by a sweet elderly couple who was obviously happy to share a story, their story - anybody's story, actually - to anyone willing to listen. They had just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last week. She was 77 years old; he was 84. The best anniversary gift, she told me, was the one the doctor gave them yesterday when he told her husband he would no longer need cancer treatments. He was cancer free. She clasped her tiny hands as she gave praises to God. Her excitement was contagious and I had to hug this sweet stranger.
They told me that they had purchased this house four years ago. He was much more spry then than he is now, her husband told me. The repairs would probably take him awhile to do. The people who used to live there were "really old" when they died, she explained. I had to wonder how old "really old" was to this 77 year old youngster. She told me matter-of-factly the house had been in that family for years, until everyone got old and died. All except for the son, who had promised them that, if he ever wanted to sell the place, he would give them first dibbs. The house came with all that was in it. Although I didn't see a lot of furniture, there were piles of books, window coverings, Christmas ornaments and items that had been handmade by the unnamed lady of the house. She had obviously been skilled in crochet, knitting and sewing. Piles of handwoven place mats, old but never used, were spread across a dining room table. It was in the midst of these place mats that I found these aprons.
Well, to make a long story not quite so long, the aprons made it home with me. And why am I telling you this story? Because it affects YOU, if you choose to get in on this month's Giftaway. In addition to the items I've already told you will be included, the winner will get to choose one of these sweet vintage aprons (I'm guessing they were made in the 40's or early 50's) as part of their prize. Apron Selection - August Giftaway
And all you have to do to be eligible is comment!
I've had this black iron hanging candle rack drifting around in the shops for almost two years. I finally decided it needed a facelift, a whole new look. So, I brought it home, hung it in the tree and thanks to magic fairy dust in the form of white spray paint, Phase One was about to begin. (Okay, call it Phase Two if you want to count Phase One as covering up the copper flame protectors.) The final stage was to sew sleeves to cover the chains, slip them into place and add candles. Oh, and to add a strand of little bubble-bauble things...
It's probably hard for you to get the full idea of this little changeover, as I took the picture this morning after hanging it in the shop.
What do you think? Tell me the truth, I can take it. Actually, I probably couldn't take it if the truth is that it looked better before. But then, it did hang in the shop for almost two years... Okay, tell me the truth. Really.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

LOTS of new Photos and a Teaser Look at this Month's Giftaway

Hi, everyone! I just got back from taking a load of "smalls" (dishes, knick-knacks, etc.) to the Shop (aka the Corner Nest in Elizabethton). It's been several weeks since I've taken pictures of the various booths and thought you might want to grab a cuppa, sit back and enjoy a tour. If you see something you think you might be interested in, email me with the photo number and description of the item. I'll check to see whether it's still available and will let you know the price, etc. Remember, not all these items are mine! I've yet to tag the pictures but if you're anything like me, you're happy checking out the goodies and usually ignore most of the written information, anyway. August 2008 - Corner Nest
It's also been awhile since I've posted any furniture re-do pix. What do you think of this beauty?
Pretty ugly, huh? I bought the top and the bottom separately and can't remember which one I purchased first. I do remember my husband telling me, as he looked over each piece, that I had crawled completely out of my mind. (Oops, I can't find a "before" pic of the bottom...) Anyway, fast forward several months to last week when I asked him to pull certain items out from our storage barn. After vacuuming out dead bugs, dirt and spider webs (I know, eewww!), I gave both pieces a good cleaning, painted them and "married" them together into a poor man's Hoosier cabinet. Here is the result(s) as it now sits in our shop:
Speaking of "marrying" - you've seen part of my ridiculous stash of fabric. While I was in a productive mood, I pulled out a couple of pinkish-reddish pieces and decided they'd make a really sweet throw pillow. A vintage doily serves as a great pocket to store a remote control, love note or flower sprig in. I like my pillows to look pretty on both sides, so the opposite side has a vintage pink button in the middle as an accent. Yep, it's one of the smalls I took to the shop today. To be perfectly honest, handmade pillows don't sell real well unless it's for a certain holiday, like Christmas. People seem to eat up the snowman pillows. I just like to make them. This little lamp is one of my trash to treasure remakes, of sorts. I love Beatrice Potter and the little Peter Rabbit theme on the base. The shade, however, was a little dingy and very plain-looking. It cleaned up really well, though, and I added a strip of green ribbon to the top and the bottom. It still didn't look right. Finally, I turned to my over-abundance of silk flowers and found a couple stems of these cute little blue daisies. I think it would make a really cute little accent light for a baby's room. Okay, finally here's some teaser photos of this month's Giftaway. I know I said I'd reveal the entire package soon. And I will - soon. But for now, here's a partial look: A cute little gold-leafed vintage bowl, just the right size for little trinkets, some candy or just for display. The winner will also get this pair of votive holders: They don't look like they match the bowl, do they? Well, okay, they don't. But trust me, they really go together well. And they could be yours if you leave a comment and your name is pulled at the end of the month. Remember, this is only a part of the Giveaway. What else will the winner get? (Excuse me while I lower my head in shame...) I don't know yet. I still haven't put it all together. But it will be a nice package. 'Till next time!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cooking with Fresh Veggies and a Recipe from Rachael!

As I was gathering veggies from my garden last night, it dawned on me that perhaps more people would grow their own herbs and vegetables if they knew what to do with them after they are "picked" and ready to take into the kitchen.
It's second nature to those of us who have either canned or opted to freeze garden goodies for years; however, I get a lot of comments from others who seem amazed at such "feats". You can grow herbs in a pot in your kitchen window; tomatoes, peppers and even beans can be grown in a window box outside your apartment door. Or, if you don't want to try your hand at gardening, you can always visit your local farmers market and buy fresh produce. You can buy enough for one meal, one recipe or enough to can. If you're new to canning, you'll probably discover that you don't save a lot of money the first year because you'll have to purchase jars and a canner. (Of course, there's always the option to freeze fresh veggies but you'll need room in your freezer.)
Before drying herbs, gather a small bunch and fasten together using a rubber band. That's a tip - the rubber band will tighten as the herbs dry, keeping your bundle together. A string or wire will not adjust to the drying, shrinking items and you'll end up trying to tighten the binding every day and bruising the herbs.
But back to cooking the veggies: Last night's dinner was a meal adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe. Click the link for the recipe, which is delicious!! Instead of using canned fire roasted tomatoes, I used tomatoes and banana peppers from our garden. The onion was also fresh from our garden (you didn't expect freshly pulled onions to be pretty, did you? LOL!) Oh, and I added some basil leaves. When you're cooking with herbs, be sure to add the herbs last so they won't look all black and yucky in the pot. Cutting onions and peppers are pretty much a no-brainer (just wash them really well, remove the pepper seeds and chop the onion and peppers up before you add them to the bacon. It's okay if you miss a few seeds, by the way.)
If you're adding fresh tomatoes to a recipe (other than a salad), you'll want to first remove the skin. Heat a pot of water to boiling and lower the tomatoes the pot. Use kitchen tongs to remove them after only about a minute. This will loosen the skin and will make peeling the tomatoes soo much easier! Be sure to cut out the stem and any "bad" (brown or bruised) areas. Cut the tomatoes (I like to dice mine) before adding them to the bacon and onion mixture. Sprinkle them with a little salt; the salt will make the tomatoes "sweat", therefore providing juice for the sauce.
Whether you try this particular recipe or another, I do hope you experiment with fresh fruits and vegetables in lieu of those canned by a manufacturer. The taste is more vibrant and fresh is healthier. Let me know how you do!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Do ya think this will work????

I KNOW this one won't!
I spotted both these remote controllers at no place other than Books-a-Million! For purposes of quality control, I was tempted to point the first one at the male cashier but fought the urge. Note the middle button for the man control specifies "Proposal" while the one for the woman has a "Remove Clothing" command. Very sexist! I must admit that, if I was single, I would have wanted to use the "Remove Clothing" command waaaay before even being tempted to click the one for "Proposal". Let's be honest: How do we know we'll need the Christmas gift before we rip off the wrapping?
While I was there, I spotted the newest edition of Somerset Home and was pleased to be introduced to blogging authors whose blogs I had previously missed. I'll be happily surfing those blogs later this afternoon.
Did you notice that I didn't post last week? There's a reason for that, one that I wasn't going to mention. But at this very moment, for some unknown reason, I am driven to a confession. I was recovering from a concussion and a few other bodily injuries, including a badly bruised hip (the bruise covered over ten square inches). No, it wasn't from an auto accident. I'd love to say that I was in a yachting accident because that sounds so much more glamorous than the truth. Okay, the simple truth: I fell out of bed.
Now, before you laugh too heartily (go ahead, take a few moments...), let me explain that our bed is elevated on tall risers so it is a long distance from the top of the mattress to the floor. My doctor pointed out that I am not that big (unfortunately, meaning tall, not petite) to begin with. Anyway, I smacked my head on my dresser, hit my shoulder on something and my side and right hip got to know the edge of my treadmill rather intimately. (Yes, I know - I watch the decorating shows and understand that it is not fashionable to have your treadmill in your bedroom.)
Anyway, I am mostly recovered now and will soon be posting photos of the items that will be included in the August Giftaway.
By the way, I was told during my examination that "you would be surprised how many people are injured falling out of bed..."!