"Creativity can neither be taught nor mass-produced."
I love to write and create. I also want to share my interest in photography, gardening, family, art, decorating, Christian faith and my enjoyment and gratitude to God for creating me and allowing me to thrive in my home setting. I love making my house a home. I am determined to 'bloom where I am transplanted'.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Making the Most of Good Weather

Hop on the bike.

'Betty' the bike. A Mother's Day gift from my children over 25 years ago!

Never mind that I had bushels of nice days this summer to ride my bike... oh, no. I had to wait until the threat of winter got me back on Betty the Bike. It would have been smarter for me to have built up stamina so I could breeze through this trip like lightening. But that's not the way I roll.

Procrastination is the name of the game.
Off I went, headed to the park trails, as I wanted to try a new stretch recently paved. It looked simple enough to me, and it was--just a short distance and then I turned around and headed back. 

Short stretch


On over to the park.  This was going to be my exercise for the day. Out of about a 3 mile round trip, I stopped 3 times to rest, once cutting over a grassy hill which only tired me out more. Even on flat land, the north wind was so strong I got off the bike and walked.  Finally reaching home, I realized, I didn't go for a bike ride, I took my bike for a walk!

So today I decided to go for just a plain old simple walk--just me and my two feet.
(And my purse carrying keys, phone, and pepper spray.) First stop, drop off a magazine at the library. I continued down the street, stopping in at a floral shop to see their Christmas display and then on down to the bank. Small towns have their perks: The library is one block away, and the bank and bakery are about 6 blocks away. I can walk the 6 blocks to my work just under 10 minutes, and a nice park with outdoor summer concerts is two blocks away. Once when we were pricing car insurance and the salesman asked how many miles we lived from our places of employment, my husband said he was "threatening to bike to work" (8 blocks away, downhill) and I was "threatening to walk".  


On the return trip I had to cut through an alley, you know... that's where all the interesting things are.
I found this old garage. It's sort of amusing, a sort of time capsule. There is a narrow drive way leading to these garage doors, and an opening just large enough for a Model T to fit in. That's the vintage of this garage. That's long gone dead in dog years!


Back home, and my big toe is hurting and the right side of my back. I guess I'd be long gone dead in dog years too!

Won't last long

Our firewood stash just outside the back door. Depending on the temps, this could last a week or two. If you long for a wood stove, here's a heads-up as to the realities. Locate firewood, cut and haul home. Stack at home, carry into house during all times of day or weather. Clean ashes out of wood stove, clean up mess that trails from back porch to wood stove. BE CAREFUL OF FIRE! Yes, we can roast marshmallows, yes it warms up homes and bones like no body's business, but it's a lot of work. I don't think it's going to be for us old folks too many more years!




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy Thursday... Almost Friday

Hello Everyone, and Happy Thursday.  
Are you one of the people that breathe a sigh of relief at 'TGIF'?  You know, 'Thank Got It's Friday'?  
What is it about Friday that makes you glad it's the end of the week? 

We have had very cold temperatures here this week, and on Monday, as the cold wind from the north whipped around me, I grabbed my scissors and cut a few remaining flowers from my yard. My most favorite rose is the yellow one... I bought it about 5 years ago from Walmart and I do not know it's name, but it has been my best performing rose ever... even better than my Week's Roses that I paid a good $25 per plant for. This yellow rose has such a wonderful, strong, rose scent, that I have been a good distance from it, and I can smell it's fragrance on a warm summer breeze.

(Taken with my phone camera-- I edited it and gave it a different look)

When we moved to our current house, I brought the yellow rose bush with me. The poor thing really suffered through our 110 degree summer, I thought it was not going to live. But this past summer we got a reprieve from the heat and drought, and my yellow rose blossomed! Well, here I am talking about roses, and we are currently not in rose weather!  

Today I have been inspired by a new-to-me website:  www.papayaliving.com.  It got me in a Bohemian mood and I have been cleaning and looking through my scrapping materials for inspiration. I came upon an envelope labeled, 'cancelled stamps and small things'.  I WILL make something with these some day, they're like little snippets of art.

(also 'edited' with the camera phone)
Here's another 'someday':  I'll switch over from my old Kodak Easy Share camera (4.0 mega pixels!) to my newer, Olympus 14 MP camera that I bought years ago but hardly used because I found the software difficult to use.  Are any of you weary of learning the ever-changing new technology? 

And lastly, I had to include a photo of the little dog that lives next door to me... 'Penny'. She's such a sweetheart. She looks sad and mournful here, but this is the look she always gives me. When I call her over to the fence, she comes running, her little ears out out and flying... I talk to her and tell her what a good girl she is and she softly whines and gives me this half-closed eye look as if she never gets any attention! The opposite is true!

Penny Jo (she even has a middle name!)

Stay warm (or cool depending on where you live) and let me know what projects you are working on.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Happy Monday

Hello everyone, and Happy Monday to you all. We've had a beautiful fall with lots of sunshine and temps so mild, my summer flowers still have not froze. That's all going to change though, as the temperatures will be dropping Monday night and then cold weather will be ushered in!  This is a shot of my back patio, where we spend most of our outdoor time, that is, unless we are working in the yard or on the house. 


We're quite pleased with ourselves, as this summer, we got our house painted! You know how it is with a huge project... keep putting it off and putting it off. Then, we sort of got a kick in the seat of the pants and we HAD to get the house done! It took us 8+ weeks of scraping, priming, and then painting the house. Handyman also caulked open cracks, and even built some architectural features that had been missing; after all this house was built in 1923!  Basically, this is how it all came down: I worked as high up as I could reach, and he did the rest.  Most times, I had to force myself to get the work done, but oh, it was so worth it, as the house began to take shape and look brand new!


We are (former) perfectionists (as age is making us care less!), so we paid attention to detail. Yes, when Handyman was not looking I had my artist's brush out to get into those tight corners and make sure one color didn't get on the other! We'd had some hail damage earlier, so we even got new gutters and downspouts! Finally, insurance paid off!


But it is finished!  And now we sit and stare at it and congratulate and pat ourselves on the back. Handyman also installed 2 new windows and we sit and admire them too. We're pretty easy to entertain around here. We do have a few details to take care of yet, but they will have to wait until next spring. We are realizing that our bodies are not getting any younger and we need to get these huge projects finished before the knees and back give out.



Now I'm working on a less physically-taxing project: a quilt for my grand daughter for Christmas. I found that I had some pretty prints in my stash, so no need to go out and purchase anything new.



It's going to be a simple quilt, but I've told myself for the next time around, I really need to challenge myself with something that takes some thought, you know, like a real pattern.


Oh! That reminds me!  I've come across a really nice quilt shop that's just 30 minutes from my house and it's just the cutest little place. It's in a small house, and there is a great selection, the place is organized and neat, and the owners, an older couple (older than me!) are just the bee's knees.  Best of all, the lady said she would help me figure out some quilt patterns. This looks like my new go-to place from now on. 
Here's looking to quilting weather-- quiet times inside, with the wood stove going and plenty of coffee and goodies for me to enjoy.
I hope you've all had a good weekend. Starting any projects that you want to share about? 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Junktoberfest


'Junktoberfest' here in my town!  It was awesome, fun, inspiring!
So... where's the photos, you ask.  This is it. I swore I would buy nothing, along with not taking any photos.
Folks who create probably don't really want you to snag photos of their creations and ideas, so I had to take mental photos, that's why you can't see 'em.  

But I can show what I did buy... oops, yes, I broke my promise, but I was a good girl! I didn't spend much.
This wood box caught my eye as I am originally from St.Louis, so of course, I had to take a chance on it. It was marked $15, I nicely asked if the price was firm... no, so I offered $10, and they accepted. I think that's a pretty good price, it's very sturdy--and dusty!


So what will I do with it? At this point, I'm thinking it will go on my sewing table or below it, or on top of a book case and I'll store my fabric in it. Or arrange a table scape in it. Plenty of uses for a treasure such as this! And inside, a darling little pillow... 


I was super excited about this--only $4!. I can make more of these with what I have on hand in my stash! As it is, I used one of my rubber stamps and stamped the bird on the little round attachment. 


I have all sorts of fabric, lace trim, ribbon for ties, items to attach, and I can make these larger if I want, but I think small is better, but we'll see. Can also do patchwork, the possibilities are endless!

Also at the show, so many things I admired: old telephone pole insulators attached to old boards to use as garment  hangers, old 1 X 6" boards about 5' long that were attached to each other and painted with numbers to look like giant rulers, old rusted bed springs, letters and numbers cut out of old, rusted corrugated tin (pricey!), rustic wreaths made out of dried grasses, distressed furniture, lamp bases painted in whatever color, .  Rust, wire, and old wood, is definitely the name of the game at the moment. One booth had picture frames made out of old wood, all widths, colors, and degrees of distress framing old pieces of tin. Just a super good show, in it's second year, and I am sure, it will be bigger and better next year. 'The' Sue Whitney was a special guest, but I didn't see hide nor hair of her... there were so many people there.
Oh, it's tomorrow too, I imagine there will be bargains, but I really don't need anything... you know how that goes!






Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Look What the Cat Dragged In

As I was driving up our alley today, look what I spied (a headboard).  Didn't think much about it, but just now walked back to the dumpster this was next to, whipped out my stethoscope and did an examination.


Looks to be about the size for a double bed, all wood, just a smidge of repair needed on one foot. Paint needs to be stripped of course, but other than the minor repair ("Oh Handyman... Handyman!"), and of course some stripping of paint and what will take the most time--deciding how to finish it-- this girl is good to go.


It's all wood, looks to be from the 1940's.  And remember kids, 'FREE' is the operative word here! Always has been, always will!
Looks like I have (another) winter project on my creative hands!

Measures: 54" wide X 49 1/2" high, from top to ground.

Summer: Re-cap.



A short jaunt out in the country for a demonstration of old-time farm equipment. The person who owns this land and equipment, is also slowly restoring several historic outbuildings, one being a one room school house.


My husband and I attended this demonstration a couple of years ago:




... but what I really wanted to see was the quilt display.  Fantastic work, puts my measly efforts to shame.


Lots of pattern, creativity, color and inspiration (for my next year's county fair entry!). 
I loved all of them. 


Apologies for the not-so-sharp photos as it's easy to use a camera phone, but alas, not the best shots. 


In addition to the quilt displays, a local woman sold her home made jams and jellies--hard to choose which flavors, but I finally settled on Choke Cherry, Wild Plum, Strawberry Mango and Peach. Yummo!! Even purchased extras for gifts! 

A fun and interesting event, a good way to spend a few hours in the country. So many times we are so busy with our every day duties and obligations that we don't feel as if we should take time to 'smell the roses' and do a little something just for ourselves, a little respite in life. Do try this season to set your to-do list aside and take a break. It will refresh your mind and soul.  As I heard a person say, "We need to leave some work for the next generation to do!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles

Handyman's Dill
(He is so proud of it)


I'm not the most proficient canner and freezer when it comes to summer time garden produce, but I was quite proud of myself for whipping up this little delight. Yes, pickles can be a delight. So many cucumbers, so little time, right? I found a recipe on Facebook for these easy pickles... and I'm into easy when it comes to food preparation. I'll take you through this one step at a time. 

I'd say start with at least 8 cucumbers, depending on size. I don't use those huge ones that have the large seeds, I used some medium sized cucumbers. Wash and gently scrape off those little stickers and dirt. I took a potato peeler and peeled about 4-6 strips length-wise on each cucumber. I wanted it to look kinda fancy, you know, like it looked like I knew what I was doin'. Also, cut off the narrow ends.


Throw 'em in a bowl with onions--the recipe called for 3 onions, but I'm not a huge onion fan, so I used not even 1 full onion. (Handyman has since advised me to add more onions).


Next, mix up your brew: 
1 Cup of water
1 Cup of white apple cider vinegar
1 Cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 teaspoons of celery seed (I think 1 is plenty)

BTW, I love this green spoon. I can't remember the brand, but it came from the store where I work and it is so easy to work with. A really nice sturdy and thick handle which comes in handy when I am mixing stiff cookie dough. The thicker handle is a godsend for my thumbs which have a touch of that old malady, 'Arthur Itis'...  I know many of you are familiar with him. Of course, water, vinegar and sugar are not thick, but that proves my point of why I love this spoon so much... it is my go-to spoon for nearly everything. Also, check out that awesome color. 


Okay, back to business here, I do tend to get off-track cause I like to write. Here is where my creativity entered the picture (literally!) You know about Dill don't you? Dill is great for pickles amongst many other food stuffs. The light bulb went off and I remembered that we had a heapin' helpin' of Dill in our garden out back. Grab some Dill, Joy, add it to the pickles...

Isn't this just lovely?

Here's the result: 
Place the sliced pickles and onions in the bowl of liquid and add a modest amount of dill--not too much-- just enough to make it look pretty.  See? It does look like I know what I'm doing, and you will look like you know what you are doing too because this is the easiest recipe ever this side of the Mississippi. Or Missouri. Or Platte River, or whatever. It's just plain easy.


Now cover and place the bowl of pickles in the fridge for a day. I stirred a couple of times, and then the second day, I ladled it into individual plastic freezer containers--but you can't freeze these, I just did this to make it more convenient for grabbing and noshing. The recipe says the pickles will be ready to munch on by the second day--if you can wait that long. It also claims that these will be fresh for 1-2 months, but that won't be an issue around here because these taste so good you won't be able to stay out of them. I stood at the kitchen counter and ate nearly the entire container in one fell swoop. The flavor is like 'Bread & Butter' pickles... a little sweet, a little sour, and a whole lotta goodness. 


See, it's that easy! Okay, once again we'll go over the recipe ingredients:

1 Cup of water
1 Cup of white vinegar
1 Cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 teaspoons of celery seed
And...
Don't forget the dill.