Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Got Some Wool....I THINK....!

First, I have been watching that Hurricane Sandy for three days.....YIKES!!  I couldn't believe that we were getting some clouds and pretty strong wind gusts while the other end of it was sweeping Canada!!  That's HUGE!  I saw a picture online today of the New York skyline last night completely dark....it was bizarre to see, like it was the Twilight Zone or something!  All my family in New England are fine and had a minimal impact.....but I'm worried about some people I know online now - I know there are some who live in that area!  I am praying that everything will be safe for them and back to normal soon!
As the sun was setting two nights ago, I took a picture of the trees in our front yard again, and they have already changed from the post last week.....

Can you recognize them?  The top one is where mini was sniffing the last time, and this bottom one is out the front door again, where I want the stone wall.....can you see the leaves and how they've changed even more?  And I wanted to point out the pinkish-hue as the sun set.....SO beautiful, isn't it!  This is the night before we got the first Hurricane effects, I wonder if that has anything to do with the brilliant, gorgeous color of the sky? 

So I've been petting my floor tiles -- I can't resist!!!  I fantasize about doing it all myself while Brian is at work! LOL  I did open one box and lay them next to eachother.....

How can I wait for this???  This picture is of the entry between the family room where I wallpapered and the kitchen....don't you love the duck tape we used to keep the "regular" flooring down, while we wait for the new flooring?  BLEGH!!! :-P  And the spots you see on this part of the floor are not dirt either, they are stains, they won't come out!  And here's a little fyi....see the masking tape across the floor in the first picture?  That is the line where the old wall and kitchen entry used to be, and the rug went over the white vinyl at that point, so it's sliced open right there and we have to keep taping it to keep it down.  It's been like this for several years, since we built the new wall that expanded the kitchen.  It will be so perfect to have it covered up and gone for good!! :-D  And then I'll have my family room wood flooring run right into it in this entry! *Sigh!!*
Here's a picture of one up close....
Sorry about the flash, but it was the only way I could show the true look of the tile -- see the brown blotches and the round divots?  I love them! :-DI can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait!!!

So, today was the thrift store sale, 50% off everything, so we went!  It was very crowded, and I got some stuff for the kids, like jeans and a couple of sweaters for my daughter.  I also got myself a skirt that I have to take IN (for a change, usually it's "UP"!), and I grabbed a few wool blazers.....
....at least, I think they are wool!  The black one feels almost felted already, and I made sure all the tags said 100% wool before I bought them, but they are pretty thin......I've never felted any wool fabric before, so I'm not sure if these pieces will thicken and soften after being washed and dried.  OH!  And I'm having a heck of a time trying to cut the seams and get my pieces separated!  This is taking longer than I thought - is this really worth it?  I don't know yet.  I mean, I suppose since I paid under $2 for all of these, it IS worth it, but I'm just not sure what is going to happen with them!  I'll be updating here once I get them washed and dried.....

Speaking of wool, I've finally decided on a penny rug design!  I kept wanting to start with a huge one, but that's crazy!  I've got to pick one smaller to start, or else it will remain unfinished, and around here, that can mean NEVER finished!!  Here is what I picked.....
I have all the colors except the brown....I spent yesterday cutting them, and I was thinking of using a rust wool that I have, but I didn't like it much.....

I definitely don't like the rust, I've got to use a brown wool.....all the other colors are a perfect match, though!  I plan on starting this this week!! :-D

Tomorrow the kids have dentist appointments again, so I won't have any time at home in the morning - just like today.  I'll probably still be working on separating the wool blazers!   It's also Halloween.....we will be eating candy and watching scary movies!!  My kids are too old to want to trick-or-treat anymore :-( , so we just buy the candy.....BORING!  And I used to be able to raid their candy stashes to pick out my favorites.....now they have them all counted and marked, practically!  I'll just have to buy my OWN!! ^-^

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oh, WHAT a Weekend!!! :-D

Well, first....anyone who reads my blog knows that I have a bad case of ADD -- I get excited about projects, crafts, ideas, colors ALL the time, I make big plans, and then I move to something else completely different!! :-D

Here's a small list of things I've wanted to work on in the past few weeks.....
antique-glazing my walls
painting a cabinet that's next to our couch
painting my kitchen island
making a penny rug
making a gingerbread garland
making twine candy canes
wallpaper boxes

And some other things I've thought of, but haven't mentioned here....
drying orange and lemon slices
making apple jam
painting plates to look like redware
making grungy candles
stenciling canvas to make a table runner
Oh, so many more!!

So this weekend started normally -- we went to the thrift store and I got some pretty cool treasures.....
This small basket is so wonderful!!  I am going to paint it, maybe a bittersweet color! :-D

Here are two larger heavy plates I grabbed, so I can paint them to look like redware, like Christine at Preferably Prim did!!  I LOVE it, Christine! ;-)  Check out what she did..... http://preferablyprim.blogspot.com/2012/09/redware-tutorial.html .....I think it's AMAZING, and I can't wait to try it!
We also got a few stuffies for our furry babies (so little Minnie will stop trying to tear up my socks and pillows and cloths and....).....
Actually, Puppy is the one who really likes to tear things apart, Minnie likes to carry things around in her mouth! LOL  It looks so cute to see her walking around with things in her mouth, like she has a binky!!
I also grabbed two heavy pots, one small and one bigger, for melting wax -- they were $1 and $2.

AND, I found out that on Tuesday (coming up), the thrift store is have an "Everything 50% Off" sale!!  My plan is to go there and buy a bunch of wool jackets and take them apart and felt the wool!  Isn't that a great idea? :-D  We'll see.....it might be VERY crowded and not worth being there, but I should be able to at least get a few things....I'm really looking forward to it!

Anyway, I was contemplating which projects I could work on, what was exciting to me, and a golden opportunity presented itself to us......we had an the ability (with help from a coupon and a some luck)
to get the main supplies for our KITCHEN FLOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Can you believe that....?  We got the tile and backing board.........
THERE IT IS!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!!!  It's IN my house right there, that means we have it, it's all mine, and no one can make me bring it back! LOL  We won't be able to put it down until Brian's vacation at Christmas, but it will get done then.....I can't even believe it, it's so exciting!! :-D  There won't be any more "hideous white floor" pictures!  OH!  And....that means that the kitchen can finally, finally get finished -- the doors can be trimmed out and the baseboard trim can be put on!  That is almost more exciting than the actual floor, since I've been waiting so long with it all unfinished!! :-D
Here is a close-up of the tiles (well, one of them!).....
If you remember my post from LOOOOONG ago, I took a picture of this tile at Home Depot -- we got the 16x16 inch tiles, and they don't look as red as they do in this picture.  There's brown and cream in them, too!  It took me two years to finally decide on a tile (there were SO many to choose from, that I loved!), and I'm very happy with this one!  And tomorrow, I'm going to open one of the boxes and lay all the tiles out over a spot on the floor so I can get a preview....oh that will be SO FUN!!!! :-D

So naturally, I haven't really been able to concentrate on anything else since we got the tile on Saturday! LOL  Every time I start thinking about working on something, my mind wanders to my tiles and I have to go look at them again.....then I make plans on the best way to start the floor, and what else we need, etc -- I already have TWO lists started about it! Hahaha!!
This should help you understand why I'm so thrilled.....

And let me tell you, there is a little dirt on this floor here (mostly little bits of grass that Minnie brings in), but most of the spots you see and discolorations are stains on the vinyl - they never come out! :-P  WHO puts a white plastic floor down in a house???  Just wait until you see what a huge difference that floor will make....I am SO excited....it's finally going to be DONE, just like I've dreamed!
(I'm trying not to feel embarrassed and exposed about showing the unattractive, unfinished parts of my kitchen....)

You can see how excited Minnie is about the whole thing, too.....
She's so cute!!  She carried a monkey stuffy that is one of her favorite "binky" toys!  You see she's claimed this spot on the couch whenever she wants to lay down -- she loves this blanket!!

Tomorrow I will post a picture of the tiles laid all out - what fun, what fun!! - and anything else that I forgot about doing in all this excitement!  I think I'm supposed to cook something or paint something....hmmm, I'll have to try and remember.....! LOL ^-^

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Here I Am!!! :-D

Well, I'm finally back to my regular self over here!  Actually, I started feeling better yesterday, but I fell asleep on the couch earlier than usual, by accident, so I didn't get a chance to post anything last night!! LOL  Oh well - I must have needed the sleep!

I was able to get most of my clutter put away yesterday - PHEW!! - and I worked on my wooden box again....
I'm still not sure about this arrangement, either....I think I need to get some candles to mix in there!
Remember this mess??.....
I got all those papers put away!  Now I just need to dust and maybe move my jars around - I LOVE my jars!!! :-D
I set this up on my side table.....
.....but I don't think I like it....the toaster is hideous (why aren't I hiding it somehow?), and it just doesn't seem to look right....hmmm!  This space definitely needs that dry sink that I posted about a little while ago....hee hee hee!!
OH!!!  I forgot to show you something that we did last weekend!  It's no big deal, but I was pretty excited about it! (it doesn't take much)  Remember my laundry room pictures awhile back, and I think I mentioned that I wanted to get these special hooks that I loved to copy that magazine that my design was based on, well.....I got the hooks!  I found the exact ones I wanted on etsy (of all places) after searching online for a few years!  The originals I had I bought at a Country Store in Massachusetts, and I was getting ready to call them, but the same guy is on etsy, and he made a special order for me, and they got here last Saturday.....
YAY!!!  So Brian put them right up for me.....
Aren't they GREAT!?!! :-D  (Pay no attention to the attempted aging on the light switch - it was my first attempt a few years ago....not good!)  Now I just need to repaint the beadboard (it's way to white, I think), and get a hanging cupboard for in here!  Fun fun fun!!

I know I said I was going to share a bunch of recipes I already made, but I don't have time tonight to show them all, but I WILL show the Spiced Caramel Pear Jam I made last Sunday (just as I was starting to feel bad).....it came out perfectly! :-D
I started with my chopped pears, I left the skins on them because they are so thin it doesn't really matter, and I added the sugar and molasses.....
I stirred that around and around and then let it cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melted and the pears started releasing their juices -- WATCH.....

That took about an hour!  I turned the heat down after it started simmering, to medium-low.  Then after it got to this point, I mashed the pear chunks with a masher and let them simmer for another hour or a little less....I'd stir it occasionally and watch how it was thickening up - that was what I used to tell how long to cook it more than the clock.
Once it was thick enough, I added my spices.....
That's actually a tiny glass bowl!  It's cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, and I stirred them into the simmering pears and cooked them a bit longer, maybe 10 minutes, then I ladled them into my canning jars and boiled them up to seal them!!
I have more foods to share in the next post, but I'm not sure if I'll get to it because guess what day it is???  It's Thursday night!!  That means Brian is home tomorrow, and we might be running some fun errands that I'll want to share instead of recipes....we'll see! :-D
I want to check out candles at the dollar store, and stop at the thrift store, and maybe get a piece of plywood for my wood floor.....wouldn't that be fun??!  Stay tuned!!! ^-^

Monday, October 22, 2012


Ugh!  I feel like C-R-A-P!!! :-P 
NOW, I'm coughing, not a productive, clean-out cough -- a dry, ripping, painful cough....eek, I hate it! :-P

It's frustrating because I'm not used to feeling like I don't want to get up....my mind has lots of things I want to do, but I can't seem to find the energy to DO them.  Like I said, UGH!!!
Shouldn't this island be painted by now???  I can't even get the stuff off of it!! :-P  Note the cough syrup and Advil bottle front and center.....it needs to be right where I can get to it quick!  UGH!!
So this is where my wonderful, special wood box is residing -- pushed aside next to piles of more stuff that I should have put away.....how can I when I barely want to lift my arms???  This is definitely where I wanted this box to end up - NOT! :-P  UGH!!
Wasn't I supposed to have picked out the penny rug colors that I wanted to use by now, so I could put this big pile of wool back?!?  *Sigh!*  Remember when this room was so pretty just before my sister's visit, no stuff in sight?  UGH!!
WHY does there always seem to be laundry to do, even though I do it every-other-day?  These piles have been here since Saturday....blah blah blah!!! :-P  UGH!!

Remember my last post about inspiration?  Well, for me CLUTTER is the wet-blanket on the fire of my inspiration -- and it's all around me now! :-P  I guess it's going to have to stay there for another day or two, because I'm still just sitting here.....

There are SOME good things about my view from the couch today -- look at what a difference a few days makes.....

See how quickly the colors have changed!?  They look so much prettier in real life!  These are all from my front door (the last one is zoomed in!)....the top picture is directly in front when you open the door, and it's where I want to put a stone wall across!  That's the one thing I really miss from New England, the stone walls everywhere....I MUST have one!! :-D  I'm really going to try to buy stone when we get our tax return money this spring -- I should be able to get two big piles of fieldstone for around $400....that's pretty good, less than a computer!! :-D  Hey, I don't want i-pads or i-phones or touch screen phone things or those internet book things.....so I can spend that kind of money on stones, right?!! LOL

Do you see little Minnie in the middle picture?  That's the woods to the left as I stand on the front step!  It's so cute how she had to run over to where I was pointing the camera -- it's like she's trying to smell what's so special over there!! :-D

My camera couldn't capture how wonderful the golds/oranges are and how bright the reds are....and I love how it looks when there are leaves on the ground, like they are around Minnie in the middle picture -- SO pretty!!

I did make some things this weekend that I wanted to share, but my head hurts too much right now to keep posting....I'll have to do a special post tomorrow just with the recipes!! :-D
Let me give you a preview.....I made Banana bread with a streusel topping, Spiced Caramel Pear Jam, and a dinner called Meatball Sub Casserole that MY KIDS told me I needed to put on the blog because it was so delicious! LOL  And if I can rouse myself a bit more tomorrow, I want to make something appley....maybe Apple Pie in a Jar (that's the real name of it!), or apple danish (ooohhh, right?!), my favorite is Swedish Apple Pie - yum yum yum!!!

So hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow!  I really can't spend one more day doing NO fun things....! ^-^

Friday, October 19, 2012


I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days....I actually have an annoying cold! :-P  The nice thing about living in the south after spending most of my life up north is that I rarely get sick anymore.  Every fall thru spring up in New England, I (and my kids!) would get sick 2-4 times, mostly with a typical cold - you know, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, coughing - and it would last from 7-10 days....BLAH!!  But since moving down here, we sometimes don't get any colds all year!  As a matter of fact, I think this is my first cold in two years!!  It's great.....except now I've had a sore throat and headache for the past three nights (and days), and....I hate it!!!  I guess I've become a ginormous baby, because I feel miserable! :-P
So I have a post started, but I just couldn't continue it because the post screen is so white it's hurting my eyes....it's been sitting in here half-done for two nights!  Well, I'm determined to finish it tonight!!

I've been thinking about Inspiration....it's the source of my creativity! :-D  I can be going along, not interested in a particular thing, like crocheting, and then I'll see a picture of something, or a skein of yarn, or one of my WIPs (Works In Progress) and then WHAM!! -- I've simply GOT to crochet it!  Or especially with the house -- I can have a space that I have no idea what I want there, and I can go along not thinking about it, not caring about it, even working on something else....then I'll find a picture in a magazine (or lately on Pinterest), and then I have to stop EVERYTHING and turn all my energy on that!! LOL

Lots of different things can inspire me, too!  It can be a color, it can be an old antique piece of furniture, it can be a whole room!  We've all seen the posts I've written about my paint samples! LOL  And sometimes finding a piece of wood in a woodpile can do it, and then a fever takes over and I simply have to make something with that wood!  I'm sure that happens to most people, only not everyone is inspired by the same things.  See, there is an artist inside each of us!! :-D

I want to share some of the pictures I've saved (online and in my magazines) that have really inspired me lately!
This room has really affected me....I saw it about two weeks ago on pinterest, and I haven't been able to close the tab! LOL  The first thing I love is the color of the room -- is it a pumpkin?  A dark tan?  A brown sugar?  After seeing this room, I've been consumed with a desire to repaint my library room....it's been a green that I got from the Seraph, but it almost doesn't seem right in there, and after seeing this color, I can't stop thinking about repainting in there!  But I also LOVE the chest and the dark cabinet hanging above it!!  And look at the floor cloth, or is it a painted floor?  I LOVE those stencils on it, whatever it is!!!  *Sigh!*

Look at this gorgeous cabinet!  I LOVE the bowls, one on each shelf, and the garlands on top, and the lantern....where can I get a lantern like that???  Oh, and the wood bucket and so-old mortar and pestles on top - I LOVE those!!!

This room makes me want to almost cry when I look at it, it's so heart-stopping to me! (crazy, right?! LOL)  But look at it....the trim color is perfect, and all the old pantry boxes, buckets and barrels, and that old wooden churn!  Oh and that candle holder in the top-left of the picture.....look at THAT.....*SIGH!!*  I have to have that!  Maybe I could make one....?  Of course, where would I put it?  I don't have a gorgeous corner like this anywhere!  Oh So Gorgeous!!!!

Now here is something I can have! :-D  I LOVE what this person put inside these glass jars!  First, note to self: make dried clove oranges!  Second, I would never think of putting metal cookie cutters in a jar to display - brilliant idea, it looks great!!

I know that I just built an "old farm box" for my table, and a cabinet, but I simply must have this apple box!!!  I love the hinge top!  and the curved sides!  And the open bottom-closed top!!  I've already drawn up the plans to make it, now I just have to put a spell on Brian so that he will buy the wood and not realize it!  WHERE is that spell book.....? (hee hee hee!)

I just LOVE love love these candlesticks!  I was thinking of trying to carve them out of wood, but what about sculpy???  Isn't that a great idea?  Any clay/dough recipe would probably work, I could try to make these with a salt dough recipe I just found online!!  How great are they, right?!!  I love how primitive they are -- perfect!!!

These last two things are so easy and lovely!  All the first one needs is twine and candy canes, and a glue gun - I can't wait to try it!  Candy canes are on my grocery list for the week!! :-D  And this little mitten - I have mustard wool felt, and little rusty bells....I could do this this week!  Ooooh, I just might!! :-D

So these are some of the things that have inspired me the past two weeks or so!  If I get anything I want to make finished, you can bet I'll post pictures....although I do have ADD tendencies, so I might post something completely different!! LOL  And actually, I really need to get some vacuuming and laundry done this week....BLAH!! :-P  That's not inspiring ONE BIT! ^-^

Monday, October 15, 2012


Oh YUM!!! :-D
Well, I made a small dent in the Asian pears that I had left from the Apple Festival last month....can you believe how long they've lasted?  I lost a few, or a few halves of them, but that's it!  I spent the other day chopping up the rest of what was left.....
What did I say I had....12 cups of chopped pears?!  That's a LOT of pear stuff to make! :-D
Everyone has been clamoring for the pear bread since we got the pears, so that's what I started with.....
This recipe comes from the Hometown Cooking in New England book I posted about a few posts ago....can you read the recipe?  It makes one loaf, so I doubled it -- I always freeze one loaf to take out when the first one is gone....it goes quick!! :-D

I creamed the butter and sugar together, and added the eggs and vanilla (I always add it to my wet ingredients in the beginning of my recipes, even when it calls for it at the end - does it really matter??)....
Then I mixed together the dry ingredients.....
That's the nutmeg, it's the only spice added, and it gives the bread such a delicate flavor with the pears!
Then, I add half the flour mix to the creamed butter mix, blend, and add the buttermilk or yogurt (I used yogurt this time)......
....blend it in, and then add the rest of the flour mix.
After that's blended, stir in the chopped pears.....
Even the batter is delicious! (I licked one of the beaters!! haha!)
Pour the batter into a greased/sprayed loaf pan.....
Remember, I doubled the recipe, so I have two loaves.
They bake for an hour at 350, although mine come out the best at 55 minutes....
If only you could smell them.....! :-D  (SORRY!!  I couldn't resist!)
After cooling in the pan for 15 minutes, turn them out onto the cooling rack to completely cool.....OR....cut them up and eat them right away.....
We put butter on it, and it is YUMMY!  This will be gone tomorrow!! :-D
Now I just have to make the Caramel Pear Preserves with the rest of the chopped pears.....!

I also played around with my new "old" box today -- this is my worst part!  I'm just no good at it! :-P
Here are two things I came up with so far.....
....hmmm....I have that berry garland from a few years ago - I haven't used it in a while because it got dusty and I can't for the life of me figure out how to dust it!  Whatever I do, it hardly gets any dust off, but the "berries" drop off like crazy -- I think I lost a handful today just trying to softly brush it with the wooly duster on the table! :-P  And I love the candle in there, but I wish there was a way to hide the cord.....
I know what AMY thinks I'm going to put in there.....are you thinking of my gingerbread ornaments I just made???? LOL  You are absolutely right, but I think it's a little too early to have them out....I'd rather wait until it's closer to Thanksgiving.  I'm thinking they would look great around Christmas in there with some pine tree (or cedar!) branches!!
Here was another arrangement.....
That's a little better, but NOT great.  *Sigh!*  I'm soooo bad at this! :-P  The yellow flowers are mum branches that broke off some plants at Walmart two weeks ago when I was there.  They were just laying on the ground to die, so I grabbed them and hung them up to dry - I really like them in there, too!  Hey, maybe a great little freebie!! LOL  This is how I have left it for now....maybe I'll come up with something different tomorrow....hmmm....!  I need something under it too, so I'll find that tomorrow too!

I'll have some more cooking to share tomorrow, although I wonder if I should be posting every day.....wouldn't that be annoying for anyone reading my blog once a week or less??  Who wants to catch up on 6+ posts all the time?  I guess if something is TOO exciting, I'll just have to post it, readers beware! LOL ^-^