Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer Berry Swap package arrived!!!

Missy was my Summer Berry Swap partner and her package arrived yesterday. This sight makes me smile each and every time. There's the excitement of what it contains, how did my partner view me, interpret my likes and dislikes, did I reveal enough about myself... Here's what my box contained: a layer of yummy raspberry pink shred with light pink and green tissue peeking out. That tissue cuddled these items. A jar of raspberries that will sit on my kitchen shelf, some jello for my favorite pineapple-cottage cheese-cool whip jello salad, an apron to wear while mixing that salad, some labels and stickers and itty bitty envelopes. Thank you, Missy. Hope you enjoyed your visit with your sister!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Flea Market happiness

Several times a year the fair grounds in Walworth County, Wisconsin turn into one of the best flea market in the area. Just about 75 miles north of Chicago. The people are friendly, the merchandise is great and you won't find any tube socks. I call it paradise.

It was very early Sunday morning when we started our drive up. First stop had to be for coffee. There is a fear that a late start imparts - a fear that the really good stuff will be gone. Fortunately, the temperature was a bit cooler there with a wonderful breeze.

I scored immediately with some vintage ornaments and these wonderful bits of ephemera. A tablet of old, hand written recipes and a legal document.

A few days earlier I saw something here and knew I had to have a similar piece. Found this for only $30.00! After that find I was ready to go home, but we continued... glad we did as this was the next find for a mere $10. It is a filing cabinet with 2 drawers. It will get a coat of paint and new drawer pulls and be filled in an orderly fashion with paper and prints and goodies and all the other treasures that are currently so very disorganized.

Friday, August 7, 2009

a beautiful presentation

A while back I happened upon this blog and love visiting it. What inspiration for a beautifully wrapped gift! Wrapping paper and ribbon has always been a passion of mine and Sande has the ability to combine the two like no one else. Just look at the lush bows and the fabulous papers!
If I never step foot into another Hallmark store, that will be fine with me. I have seen some of these papers at Paper Source and splurged a few times. Now I will feel lax if I settle for anything less.

At the end of June I posted a few pictures of my garden. At the time, I was happy with the size of my plants. 5 weeks later and look at it now! My pumpkin vine is producing 3 pumpkins and I will have tomatoes for the entire neighborhood. Problem with that is everyone's tomatoes will be ready at the same time - feast or famine. Nothing tastes like a fresh, homegrown tomato!

Sunday is the flea market in Walworth County and it is one of the best in this area. The weather is predicted to be hot, hot, hot, but dry. Can't think of anything more fun than a flea market with my girlfriends. We'll get a very early start and be home in time for dinner.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A surprise on my doorstep

Monday was a crazy, hectic day filled to the brim with errands, appointments, phone calls and all the things that I hate to do. I came home to find a mail box full of (more) bills, statements, postcards (not the good kind), and junk mail. Something was on the front step that caught my eye. I ripped open that baby faster than you could bat an eyelash! Inside was an envelope with this card inside. All of these items were so very carefully wrapped.

Cookie cutters, one in the shape of my daughter's greatest fear, a SHARK!!! Enough summer reading material to take me thru August, thank you very much! THE cutest notepad covered in a map with a matching pen, lots of darling tags, and (don"t let my family know) a box of Milk Duds. Yummy. Wait, there's more...
a little bottle holding a treasure map, shells, a bracelet , goldfish crackers. Everything make me yell "look at this!!!" Angie , you are the sweetest and I will be your partner anytime. And I do not say that to everyone. Thank you, thank you. I love you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog addiction

I have to admit - I am a blog addict. I can spend hours going from site to site, reading about people I don't know. A recent stop was at Pioneer Woman. She had a giveaway of a Kitchenaid stand mixer!!! Now that is one fabulous win!!! She also has a tutorial on blogging that gave some good advise. Check it out for a fun read. Lots of yummy recipes, too.

My latest swap, and I do love swaps, is the Desert Island Swap organized by Lori at Morning Glories and Moonflowers . Now that I am snap happy, I've included a picture of a portion of what is in the mail to my partner. The picture is before wrapping - I love to get wrapped goodies in my swap packages so try to do it with what I am sending.

Desert Island Swap

Monday was hectic and tiring. After running errands all day, I came home and checked the mail box.. A pile of bills, statements and junk mail. But something on the porch caught my eye. This:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summertime pleasures

A previous post showed a view of my yard and fountain taken from inside. Today I am posting a photo of the same area in all its summertime splendor. The weather here is perfect, low humidity, sunny, warm. My windows are open and a pleasant breeze is blowing.My vegetable garden is exploding after a very cold June. I was afraid I wouldn't get any tomatoes this summer! The hydrangas are in bloom and the daisies are beautiful. I love to walk around the yard to see what has happened overnight.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The cutest swap package

My package from the Crisp and Clean, White and Green swap arrived and I can not tell you how pleased I am with my gifts. Each and every item was selected with ME in mind. Look at those darling blocks that spell out CAKE GIRL, the great fabric pin in green and white stripes, the little white bird, and the fabulous B. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Many thanks to Lori for being so very thoughtful. She has restored my faith in swaps.

Yesterday was sunny and warm until about 5pm. That gave me enough time to get out in the garden for some clean up. Everything is green and starting to flower. Here in the midwest we have to be careful not to plant too early. Days like yesterday give the false impression that it is safe to put annuals in the ground. Not so - today it is in the low 40's. The heat is back on and I am still wearing gloves for my morning walk.
And to confuse one even more, it is predicted to be in the 80s on Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My apron arrived today

My apron from the Vintage Linen Remix Apron Swap arrived to day and I would like to show it to you. Also in the package were 4 little napkins, 2 in a pea fabric and 2 in a carrot fabric and a recipe for snowy mashed potatoes ( mashed with cream cheese and sour cream). Many thanks to my craft partner, Caroline. Don't you love the name Caroline?!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two issues

Recently I won this darling apron and matching gloves from Carolyn's Kitchen. Isn't it the cutest?!!! Receiving notification that you are a winner is as much fun as receiving the package.

My second issue is prom dresses. My daughter is looking for a long prom dress and what is on the racks is shocking. I do not consider myself prudish at all, but the backless, low-cut, plunging neckline, slinky dresses that are being offered are not at all appropriate for teenage girls. We are constantly being told that our daughters are given unrealistic images of size and shape and that sex is everywhere they look. We went to the BCBG store and the largest size they had was a 6!!! I don't care what size you are or how thin you are, it is not appropriate for a teenage girl to wear what is being offered by many manufacturers. We found a great dress by Jessica McClintock that is beautiful, flattering and modest while still being very stylish. I'm glad that's taken care of...until the next dance.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Easter Basket

Today I received my second swap basket. This one came from Andrea at Vintage Bella Studio. Lots and lots of craft supplies along with bubble gum! The cute little egg shaped pieces in miniature egg crates. Yum, yum. I took a few pictures in hopes of showing everything.

Signs of Spring are finally surfacing in the Midwest. We had a long, cold winter and everyone is anxious for some warmth and sun. This morning I saw buds on the trees and bushes, some bulbs in bloom and SUN!!! Everyday you can heard the landscapers doing the spring cleanup. My chives and lovage are up in the garden. It will be another 6 weeks before I can put any annuals in the ground.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MyVery Vintage Easter Basket Swap

My Easter Basket arrived from Alissa and here is a picture of what I received.
Candles, a bunny, candy, pencils, fabric, magnets, a hook, oh my! Such a thoughtful collection of items. Thank you so much, Alissa.
Now that I have a camera and can read the manual, I hope to be more diligent about posting pictures. I love looking at pics on other blogs and hope it makes my blog more interesting. And I will work on improving my photography skills.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Easter swaps

Much has been written about swap flakers and swap etiquette, but what about a hostess that disappears?!!! What can you do other than move on another project. Does her name get posted so that others can avoid her swaps? Things come up that prevent you from following through with your plans, but courtesy requires contacting those in your swap. No lengthy explanation, no details necessary, just a simple email or notice on your blog.

Heidi of Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly has paired up her participants for another wonderful "vintage" swap. This is the Very Vintage Easter Basket themed swap. My partner is Alissa and she sounds like a great match. I love looking at blogs to see what others send and receive. That should, and does, make me feel very guilty for not posting pictures. I just don't know how to do it.

We have a local television program called "Check, Please" that has ordinary people review their favorite restaurant. Last night I went to one that was reviewed by Illinois' favorite son, Barack Obama, prior to his election. It was Dixie Kitchen and the food was excellent. The waiters wore teeshirts that had a Barack quote about the restaurant. Very fun. It is Southern cooking and the portions are gigantic. So big that I had to pass on dessert. Today I am craving a piece of pecan pie. Next visit I will know enough to eat only half of what is on my plate.

Monday, March 2, 2009

birthday decorations

Next Sunday my youngest turns 18. Anyone reading this who has older children will agree when I ask, where did the time go? There is a book, "Five Minutes Peace", about a mother elephant trying to get just 5 minutes alone to relax. Of course, she is unsuccessful. I vividly remember those days. We have a boy and a girl and I tell each of them something special about how they transformed my life. I tell Claire that she made my life complete, the ideal family, a boy and a girl. Truth be told, if I was guaranteed another girl, I would have had a third child. I wish Claire had a sister. I just remembered, today is my sister's birthday.

So... all that said, my original thought for this post was the birthday banner I made.
I am pleased with the results and had a very fun time making it. As soon as I finish I will hang it to enjoy all week and take a picture to post. Finished!!! I took a full shot and a close up to highlight some of the details.

The past week was full of projects. I started the vintage apron and found all sorts of vintage linens that I forgot I had. Realizing that I did not know I had them made it even more fun to put them to good use. Apron is very cute. Also started on my Easter baskets for the 2 swaps, having a lot of fun finding things to fill them. Continuing to make felted wool mittens. Our recent snowfall and below freezing temperatures make mittens a must. And cute ones are more fun.

Friday, February 27, 2009

One fun Friday

Today was a very successful day of rummaging through stacks of books, shelf upon shelf of glassware and multiple racks of sweaters in search of the perfect item for any one of my many projects. One of the most interesting being a box of latin flash cards from 1961. They are yellowed, but very clean. Perfect for altered cards and collages. Maybe to share in a swap. A very old juice glass painted with a bunch of blue grapes and green leaves, a small etched vase,
and an argyle sweater that I have already felted and will make into mittens. The felting process is so easy and the immediate results thrill me. And wool mittens sound very cozy with the dropping temperatures that arrived today. The wind is bone chilling.

Swaps are on my mind. I have signed up for 3 - am I crazy?!!! Two are Easter basket swaps, one with Foxgloves, Fabric and Folly and the other with Petticoat Junction. The third is an
apron swap. Lots of fun collecting items that I think are desirable basket fillers and pretty little gifts for my partners.

As a result of all the fun I had today, there is laundry yet to be folded and more to be washed
before I go up to bed. Sounds like I will need a cup of coffee to help me get everything done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Old friends

I am fortunate to be able to say I have 2 very good friends from high school that I still see. That means we have known each other for over 40 years. Thru proms and college and weddings and kids and so on and so on. You know, good times and bad. We know we others inner secrets and keep them as secrets. We attended a very small, all girls Catholic high school. Eileen Fisher was a year ahead of us! Today two of us are getting together for lunch. With all that is going on in our lives, we do not get to see each other very often. It will be a lot of laughing, talking about what the kids are up to and sharing good food. Both of us have a sweet tooth and love to indulge. It is the kind of afternoon that makes me very thankful for these 2 friends.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

blogging block

Do you ever feel like you have nothing worthwhile to write? After reading other interesting - no, fascinating - blogs I get bloggers block. My projects are not original, I haven't gone on any exotic vacations, no tutorials to share, no swaps to organize. Just an ordinary life that doesn't provide for a good story line. I have always wanted to be published in Newsweek on the "My Turn" page. Just could not come up with a topic that inspired me to write my opinion and share it with the world. I'm right back in that position. Perhaps admitting this is a break thru...
I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Yummy cookies

While looking for an Easter Swap I came upon a recipe that sounds oh so yummy. Being the sweet freak that I am, I immediately mixed up a batch and they were soooooo good!!!

Spritz Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teasp salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 sticks butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 teasp almond extract
1 teasp vanilla extract

Sift flour and salt. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings. Mix in flour until well blended and dough sticks together. Roll 1/4" thick and cut into desired shapes or use cookie press. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes.

Received a package from my partner in the Mini Valentine Swap. Jennifer made the cutest box with a vintage valentine on the top. Just love it. Included a heart wreath very similar to the wreath I sent to my partner in Heidi's Very Vintage Valentine Swap so you know I love it.
Then I received a package from Lorraine, my partner from the Prim and Whimsy swap. Lorraine makes the most fantastic painted dolls and decorations. I feel special being the proud owner of one of her pieces of art. Her website is Pieface Primitives. Visit for a fun tour of her amazing work.

Anyone know of a great sounding Easter Swap that is still open?

Monday, February 2, 2009

I need help...

This blogging fascination is interfering with my life. Between reading all the interesting blogs available, trying the projects found online and joining irresistible swaps, the rest of my life is suffering. My house is a total dust bunny, the laundry is piled high. Some of it is washed and folded, not put away. Some is dirty and some is in a clean,wrinkled pile. How do you get everything accomplished and still find time to write weekly? Daily entries are beyond my capacity right now.

My new schedule is to devote the morning to housework. At noon I will move on to a different project be it shopping (I enjoy grocery shopping), a craft project or blogging.
Today is the first day of this schedule...let's see if I can make it work.

Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I had a knot in my stomache last week

I work in a very high end retail store and absolutely love what I do. I have been there 7 years and some of my co-workers have become part of my extended family. It is part time which is perfect, the benefits are great, it's close to home, and my 17 year old loves the discount. I was feeling very upbeat after the fabulous inauguration festivities and the support the country showed our new president and his family. That feeling was short lived. Last Thursday and Friday they had to terminate some employees. Thankfully, I am safe - for now. Unfortunately, retail is loaded with young people working to support themselves, get insurance, pay rent and food bills, etc. I do not know how they will find another job in the current retail environment. My entire department was spared. Saturday the store manager announced that the cuts were over.

Before the drama at work, I spent the day with a very good friend who supports herself (and many, many years ago her husband while he was in med school) with her crafts. She is a genius with glitter and a glue gun. And her home is a complete reflection of her artistic bend. It was soooo much fun brainstorming and sharing ideas in a bubble of eye candy. Her home has been photographed and published for a few magazines. Everywhere you look she has a great picture or fabric or plate or something. Like everyone, she is constantly investigating venues to showcase and sell her creations. She is unfamiliar with swaps so I gave her a tutorial. With all the flakers and lack of thank yous, she is not interested.

Once again the weather is bitter cold with sub zero wind chill. It is sunny so I am enjoying sitting at the computer which is positioned in front of a window. In a bit my daughter and I are going to see Marley and Me. I've been told to take tissue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A new week

I am completely alone enjoying the quiet. We had a major snow storm beginning early, early Saturday morning and continuing all day. Another was expected Monday, but it missed us. The temperatures have dropped and the windchill is below zero. For all of you Californians I am posting a few pictures. The landscape is truly beautiful with a fresh coat of snow, but the roads are a nightmare! I took these from inside the house where it is cozy and warm. You can see the snow that has filled the birdbath. Pretty to look at, miserable to deal with.

I finished another Valentine swap package. This one was from Prim and Whimsy and had a unique twist. Whatever you made had to have a heart theme and fit in a 5" box! I was very pleased with the outcome of my heart - perhaps I should photograph it resting on a mound of fresh snow! Now it is on to the mini swap. Not necessarily small items, just 3 items. Easy enough. How did I get involved in 3 Valentine swaps?!!!

I mixed the dough for Maida Heatter's Chocolate Shortbread Cookies. One of my very favorite cookies and so very easy to adapt to each holiday with an appropriate cookie cutter. Must get them ready for baking before it is time to prepare dinner. Bye for today.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I have my swap partner

Yesterday I finished the package for my Very Vintage Valentine Swap partner, Carolyn. Sometimes you just know you'll click with that person and the excitement builds. That is how I feel about Carolyn. We have emailed back and forth a few times and she could not be nicer. Thank you,Heidi, for this match.

Saturday my oldest goes back to school and I will not see him for a few months. Glad he is happy at school, but I do miss him when he is away. When my children were babies I thought life could not get any better. Wrong - being able to share thoughts and jokes and have intelligent discussions with your kids is so enjoyable.

We had more snow last night and this morning. Another snowfall is expected this weekend with dropping temperatures. Driving is so difficult and the street plowing leaves a lot to be desired. A great weekend for hot coco, hot soup and a few good movies. Earlier this week I made a divine chicken pot pie. I got the recipe from my good friend, Marty Stewart. Here it is:

2 lbs chicken breasts, boned and skinned
Cook in broth until just done. Cool and cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.
In a sauce pan mix 1/2 cup flour with 4 Tablesp butter and brown.
Add 2 cups chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups milk stirring until thickened.
Season with salt, pepper, 1 teasp thyme and a pinch of nutmeg.
1 medium onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped medium size
3 carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
Saute in butter until barely tender
MIX veggies, chicken, 1 package frozen peas and 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley with cream sauce.
Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan and cover with a pastry crust. (for ease, I use the Pillsbury rolled crust)
Bake in preheated oven 400 degrees until crust is browned. DELICIOUS

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to Normal

Monday and things are finally back to normal. I have put away the last of the Christmas decorations and now it is on to cleaning and decluttering the house from top to bottom.

I have checked my email a dozen times today hoping to find my swap partner for Heidi's "Very Vintage Valentine Swap". I participated in her Christmas swap and met the nicest person
. My fingers are crossed that it happens again.

My youngest begins the ACT review course this week and then it is on to college visits. She is looking at one that is a 7 hour drive - ugh! That little petunia will be missed... She is my true soul mate. Who will tell me that my jeans are too short or my hair is bad? Who else even notices?

Almost all the snow is gone. With as much snow as the Midwest received, a white Christmas is way overrated
. Today is sunny and cold - a very nice winter day.