Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I've Been Up To

Barrettes and Pins

Tomato Cage Earring Displays

My friend Christina's pillows displayed at the craft fair.

A little over a week ago I did my first craft fair along with my friend Christina whose table was next to mine.  It wasn't a very big craft fair and it wasn't in a well trafficked area.  Most of the attendees were senior citizens who watch their money closely, so needless to say, it wasn't a big money maker.  Luckily to rent the spot wasn't expensive at all, so we were able to make that money back and a little bit more.  But, I guess it was good for a first experience because it definitely was NOT overwhelming

Since the fair I have been busy with baking, something I always do at this time of the year.  I also finally started my Christmas shopping.  Normally, I am more than half finished with my shopping by now, but with the economy as it is, our spending money is sparse.  My Christmas shopping this year is going to have to be more bargain oriented, which takes a little more planning and time. I am becoming very good at finding nice things on the clearance sales racks.
I am also cooking and freezing meals for my hubby. You see, my youngest daughter will be moving back home for a while and we immediately planned a trip for her and I to go visit my other daughter and grandchildren, leaving poor hubby to fend for himself.  He would love to come too but can't miss work right now.  He is saving his vacation for Christmas time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's That Time of Year

It's that time of year when the weather gets slightly cooler (I am in Florida) and I start to miss the autumn leaves falling, and the aromas of fresh baked breads and cookies filling the house.  I can't do anything about the autumn leaves but I can fill the house with delicious scents. Last year I found a recipe for the best pumpkin bread I ever had on recipes.com.  Unfortunately, last year during the holiday season I baked so much that I put on some extra pounds that I never got rid of.  I have been trying to put off my itch to start baking in order to stay on my diet and lose a few pounds first. I had been successful until today.  After talking to my sister-in-law on the phone about diets and exercise, she asked me for my pumpkin bread recipe, which I promptly gave her.  But now I wanted to bake even more, so I decided that I would try to make the recipe a little more diet friendly.  I switched out 1/2 cup of butter for 1/2 cup of light butter with canola oil(land o lakes), and instead of 3 eggs I used 1 egg and the equivalent of 2 eggs in egg substitute.  The recipe called for 3 cups of sugar which I used 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and 1 and 1/2 cups of Splenda.  I don't know calorie wise how much I saved but I know that this bread is healthier for me than the original recipe because I have to watch my sugar, and cholesterol being a diabetic with a heart problem.  I was quite pleased with the results and I don't think anyone will notice the difference if I don't tell them.

Here is the revised recipe, if anyone is interested.

1 cup light butter(made with canola oil)
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 and 1/2 cups Splenda
1 egg
1/2 cup egg substitute
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1-16 oz. can pumpkin
Cream together butter and sugars, add eggs and mix well.  Combine dry ingredients and stir into creamed mixture.  Stir in pumpkin.  Pour into two greased 9x5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until test done.

Pretty simple and pretty delicious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

7 Things About Me and Passing on the Award

An Oklahoma Granny and my friend, Dolly, from Consider The Lillies passed this award onto me. I am supposed to post 7 things about myself that most do not know.  I will try, but honestly, I think I am a pretty boring person and what you have seen so far from me is what you get.  But I will try to search the crevices of my mind and see if I can come up with any interesting facts.  Okay, here goes....

1.  When I was about 11 years old I decided to run away from home because I had gotten punished for something.  I guess I really didn't have the concept down because I left my house and went straight to my grandmother's house (she immediately called my mother who didn't even know that I was missing yet). This  escapade added a few days to my punishment but I also got the silent treatment from my heartbroken mom which was worse than anything else.

2. I have never been on an airplane and I have no desire to ever go on one either.

3. I can't swim and I live in Florida with a pool in my yard.  My poor kids weren't allowed in the pool until their father came home from work or another adult was present who could swim.

4. I found that history definitely does repeat itself.  My husband and I got secretly married and remarried a year later publicly on our 1 year anniversary.  History repeated itself with our oldest daughter who did the same thing.

5.  I accepted the Lord when I was twenty after reading the book 'The Late Great Planet Earth' by Hal Lindsey. My husband (then boyfriend) spoke often of this book that I had to read it. Immediately after reading it I went out and bought my first Bible. Many years later someone asked us the question if there was a specific person in our life that we could pinpoint that helped lead us to our decision for Christ. Naturally I said my husband because of his conversations with me about this book. To my shock, my husband's answer was me. I never knew that he had not accepted the Lord until after I had read the book and we would read and study the Bible together.

6.  I flipped my car and landed in a ditch on the side of the Long Island Expressway when I was a teenager.  I wasn't speeding but it was raining and it was kind of a freak accident.  The car was totaled, the roof smashed down and all, but the three of us that were in the car walked away without a scratch.
7. I miss my grandchildren and I can't wait to move to be near them.....okay, so anyone who has read my blog already knows this but I couldn't think of anything else.  Sorry!
The seven I pass this award onto are:
1.  Rachel from Breathing vs. Living
2.  Andrea from Under Grace and Over Coffee
3.  Rhoda from Southern Hospitality
4.  Michele from The Homesteading Apartment
5.  Katy from The Country Blossom
6.  Nen from Living The Small Town Life
7.  Penny from The Comforts of Home

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My First Local Craft Fair

Christina came over today and told me that she signed up for her first local craft fair and suggested that I sign up also.  I thought about it for about 5 minutes and decided to do it.  About 16 years ago, a friend and I had a craft booth in a flea market but that was an every weekend thing, not a craft fair so this is going to be my first.  I have been making jewelry for a few years now, so I have an abundance of stock and Etsy has been a little slow for me and Artfire even slower, so I am ready to make a few sales at a fair.  Why not try, right?! I got 3 weeks to get organized and figure out a display.  Aside from the jewelry I have a number of cowl neck scarves that I crocheted that I will also try to sell, though that might be a hard sell for Florida weather.  A gift for family up north maybe.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sophia's 4th Birthday

Returned home last night from a weekend trip to Alabama.  We went there for my granddaughter's 4th birthday. My granddaughter, Sophia, and my friend, Dolly, share the same birthday and Dolly lives in Alabama too so I got to see her for her birthday also, though the weekend went entirely too fast.
Mommy and Daddy got her a new bike for her birthday.
Sophia's party was held at a place that had all those blow-up, bouncy things inside and out.  Sophia chose the outside waterslide section and the weather was perfect for it. Very HOT!!  All the kids (big and small) enjoyed themselves slipping and sliding down the waterslide. And the grandparents (both sets) enjoyed the show.

Sophia in mid air bouncing down the waterslide.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No More Freezing

No, I am not talking about the weather.  It is nothing but HOT and MUGGY here in Florida.  I am talking about my laptop.  I have an older Gateway laptop that has been dropped. 

old laptop
I had a friend who knows a lot about computers check it out and fix some of the problems(like taking an hour to turn on and load, now it only takes about 2 minutes), but he couldn't fix the intermittent freezing.  When it froze, that was it, it didn't come back, you had to turn it off and then back on.  Well, lately the freezing was happening much more often.  Like every half hour, and sometimes within 3 minutes of turning the computer on.  It was very frustrating!! Well, thanks to Best Buys sale this weekend and my wonderful husband, I am now the proud owner of a new Dell laptop. 

new laptop

I found it so exciting to be able to play a game of GemSwapII and not have it freeze up on me, or actually read some of your blog posts. Hooray!  I am back. Now all I have to do is get used to Windows 7.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Computer Problems

Been having computer issues.  I was working on my computer until 4 in the morning.  I think I finally have it fixed.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To Crafting....Just A Little

A few weeks ago while in Joann Fabrics, looking for fabric to make new curtains for my kitchen, I came across this book. Most of the 'retro' crafts shown in this book were pretty cheesy looking even for a kid to produce but there were a few that caught my eye. Because this was the only copy of the book and it was damaged (notice the face with the cut marks) I got it for half price. But why would I want to buy it if I thought the crafts were so cheesy?
Because of these!!

When I was a kid, my grandmother would have a village display of these houses under her tree each year. I was totally entralled by them and would sit and stare for hours and imagine about the little people that might live in them. She would make rolling hills and ice skating ponds and a whole little winter wonderland under her tree. It was because of my childhood memories of her tree that I started collecting ceramic lighted village houses when I got married. The only difference was I couldn't stage my village under the tree because my houses were a tad too big. Oh, I have enough houses to make several villages in different rooms of my house complete with the 'Mr. Christmas' skating rink, but it just doesn't have the same feel as when I was small and gazing under my grandma's tree. Well, this book had the instructions on how to make these little houses.
The books suggests using wrapping paper to dress up the outside of the houses. Personally, I don't care for the ones in the picture above, they aren't reminisent of my grandma's. The first picture is more along the lines of the ones she had.

The ones in this picture aren't so bad. I could see using wrapping paper like this, though after my first attempt (which is below), I think I am going to try and stick to solid colors for the houses and keep more to the original design.

I didn't use wrapping paper on this house, I actually used a piece of felt and some trim. I added a little snow on the roof and a green door. Cute, but still not good enough....not like my grandma's. I am determined to make a village of these little houses to put under my tree this year so my grandchildren can sit and stare for hours and imagine their own little scenarios.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rainbow Cookies

An Oklahoma Granny asked if I would share the recipe for these delicious Rainbow Cookies, so here it is:

1-8 oz. can of almond paste

3 sticks of butter, softened (1 and 1/2 cups)

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of flour

1 tsp. almond extract

1/4 tsp. salt

4 eggs

1 jar of seedless raspberry

12 oz chocolate chips

red and green food coloring

Oven temp: 350 degrees

Bake time: 12-15 minutes

Break up almond paste in a large bowl and beat in butter, sugar, eggs, and almond extract until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and salt. Split batter into 3 equal portions. Mix one portion with green food coloring and one with red food coloring, leaving the last portion as is. Spread each portion out to 1/4" thickness into the bottom of an ungreased baking pan. Bake until lightly browned. Allow to cool. Place one layer on a cookie sheet and spread seedless raspberry jam on top, place uncolored layer on top and spread with raspberry again. Place remaining layer on top and melt chocolate chips and spread over top and sides. Chill for at least 1 hour or until firm. Slice into small rectangles.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I sure miss....

My friend Darlene recently posted about a jewish deli in Birmingham, Alabama that she tried and loved. When she talked about the different food that she and her family ordered, it made me start to think about all my favorite foods that I no longer get to enjoy because they just can not be found where I now live. I am a much more picky eater than she is, I don't like as varied a food choice as she does but I sure do miss some simple food pleasures. Things like a loaf of Italian bread. Oh, sure they sell Italian bread (or what they label as Italian bread) in the supermarkets, but it is not the same bread that I ate when I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. The kind of bread that you buy in an Italian bakery, the kind with a hard thick crust. And speaking of Italian bakeries....cannoli's, black and white cookies, and my favorite...rainbow cookies, oh how I miss them all. There is an italian bakery in town and their stuff is good, but not really close enough to what I remember, something is missing. I have tried my hand at making these delicacies and found that my black and white cookies came out better than the local italian bakery, and my rainbow cookies aren't too bad either....but the bread just cannot be duplicated.

My rainbow cookies before I cut them.

And another thing that I miss is Spumoni. Real spumoni the kind that you get at Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn. We used to go there often when I was a kid. They served pizza and heros and italian food but on a hot summer night, nothing was better than spumoni from Spumoni Gardens.

Oh the memories!! Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

I only dream about these delicious treats while living in Florida

but I guess it is just as well

'cause I would never lose weight if

I still lived in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Revamping the Dining Set

I have been inspired by several of the blogs that I've read. So many of you are constantly changing things up in your homes. I used to change the wall colors, rearrange furniture, change curtains and wall hangings a lot but lately I have gotten a bit lazy in that department. Actually, it has been quite a few years since I made any real changes, but the more I read, the more the bug is hitting me to change things up. My dining room set is approximately 19 years old, but because it is rarely used(only on the holidays when we have a lot of company), it is still in pretty good condition. My husband and I decided that when we finally make the move to our little house in Alabama, one of the things we are taking with us is the dining room set because it is larger than the one we have in Alabama now. So I decided to spruce it up a bit. I have decided to paint the chairs black. Partially because I needed a change and partially because the dining room in Alabama has a black theme already going (which I love). Because it has been years since I decided to paint any furniture, I forgot how time consuming it really is. Plus, the older you get, the slower you move. I have finally completed three chairs. Three more to go. I may start chair number 4 today or I may wait until the weekend when my husband will be home to help(though he hates painting). I am really happy with how the chairs are turning out.

I have a question though. I am not sure if I should also paint the table or just leave it, I keep flip flopping back on forth on that one. On one hand, I really don't want to have too much black, but on the other hand I am thinking the chairs looks so nice, maybe the table will look better painted too. Any opinions????

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thrift Finds

I am always reading about the great finds that my friends and fellow bloggers score when searching the thrift stores. I started to wonder what was wrong with me because I have been looking for quite some time now and I always seem to come home with zilch. Oh, I get a little something here and a little something there, but nothing great....nothing to write home about(as the expression goes). I started to wonder if it was the area that I live in, but you would think that Florida would be a cornucopia of stuff with all the older retired folks that live here. Well, my persistence has finally paid off. I have been looking for a cabinet or old dresser that I could revive for my bathroom, something that would be deep enough to house a sink and wide enough to fit comfortably in my little bathroom and still have some counter space. When I saw this cabinet, I fell in love instantly.

Unfortunately, it is too narrow for a sink, but not to worry because I will find some other use for it. I just had to have it, especially when I found out they were only asking $30.00 for it.

And wonder upon wonders, the same day I also found this chair and this endtable. I will recover the seat and paint the chair and probably paint the endtable also. The chair was $15.00 and the table only $8.00.

I will continue my search for the bathroom cabinet, but with a lighter heart because I finally believe that there is hope for me yet.

Friday, July 30, 2010

St. James General Store

St. James General Store is a historic landmark in Suffolk County, New York. But to my husband and I, it was the place to go to buy the best 'molasses paddles' around. We would drive the fifteen minutes often to buy a bag full of them hoping they would last more than a few days, though they rarely did. That was many years ago, and I haven't been back to the store since moving to Florida twenty-five years ago, but I still remember the many trips to the quaint little store that was filled with so much history. This store is the oldest store in the United States that has been operating since it opened in 1857. The store ledger show that many famous people visited back in the day, such as Lionel Barrymore, Ethel and John Barrymore, Lillian Russel, and Irving Berlin to name a few. The above picture is my husband way back in 1976 outside of the general store. The picture below is a shot of the inside back in 1976.

We would often go to the store and just hang out on the front porch and take pictures. In the picture below is my sister (standing) and my two sister-in-laws (sitting). My sister was still in her hippie faze.

I don't know why this picture posted so tiny, but this is my daughter and her cousin outside of the general store back around 1981.
If you want to know more about the store and its history click on the title of this blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grandkids: They Grow So Quickly

This is Jesse at two years old, already a computer wiz. Notice the headphones, he loved his music. This is when this sweet little boy and my daughter still lived with us. I babysat him everyday while his mommy worked.
This picture is shortly after they moved to Alabama, just before he turned three. This was our first visit (only 3 weeks after they moved) and he stayed overnight in the hotel with us. After having them living with us since he was born, it was very hard to let him go so far from us. Our hearts were broken over my daughter and Jesse moving nine hours away.
Skip ahead two years, and this is Jesse in a karate outfit I had bought him for his 5th birthday. His birthday is 6 days before Christmas. Every year my daughter and her husband would come for the Christmas holidays and we would have Jesse to spoil again.

Skip ahead two years again, and now Sophia is added to the mix and almost a year old. This picture was taken in our Florida living room when they visited in August. In the picture is Jesse, age 7, my husband Chriss, and little Sophia. Three days after Sophia was born we bought a small house in Alabama that we have been hoping to move into permanently. Anyone want to buy a house in Florida???
Jesse and Sophia in the living room of our house in Alabama. Sophia is about a year and a half and Jesse is eight.

My daughter and one of her friends started a photography business in town and this is one of the pictures from a photo shoot of the kids. It is one of my favorites.

Sophia is almost four years old already and Jesse is almost eleven. Time sure flies, they are growing so fast. Even though my husband and I go to Alabama as often as we could, we still feel like we are missing so much of them growing up. I am so grateful for computers and video chats and cell phones with picture messaging. I miss these kids so much when I am in Florida. The next two pictures are from my last visit there. The first picture is the two of them on my laptop(Jesse is still a computer wiz) while I was folding laundry. The second picture is my two angels asleep on the blow-up mattress that they always sleep on when we are in Alabama. My daughter and son-in-law only get to visit their children when we are there, because the kids stay with us (though I am sure they enjoy their alone time).

I can't wait to sell my house in Florida and move there for good.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Finds

Some thrift store finds while I was visiting Alabama this past weekend. There is a cute little thrift store in Gadsden called "Let There Be Light" that I picked up the old fashioned hand ice crusher. The other items were purchased at several other thrift stores around town.

This little yellow table and chairs is just the perfect size for my granddaughter, Sophia, to play at. I picked it up from a yard sale in Gadsden. The little flower pot and the marker container are glued to the table so they cannot be lost. When we sit on the porch she has her own little spot now.

At the same sale I found this cute little cabinet that fit perfectly in my tiny bathroom. It is great for holding extra roles of toilet paper and other small items.

I found a beautiful antique dresser that would have been perfect for my bathroom as a sink cabinet at the Salvation Army but when I measured it, it was a inch to wide. I wanted to cry because it was exactly what I wanted and it was only $89.00. I will have to keep looking.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Special Birthday Gift for Hubby.

I never know what to get my husband for his birthday. Whenever I ask him if there is anything special that he wants he always says no. On a rare occassion, he might suggest a pair of drumsticks, drumheads, or a cymbal(you may have guessed that he is a drummer). With his birthday in August, I started about a month ago trying to come up with something special to get him. As I was surfing the internet for ideas I saw it. The perfect gift for my husband...tickets to see Ringo and his Allstar Band. Growing up in the 60's, The Beatles were his favorite band(and mine also), and being a drummer, Ringo was his favorite Beatle. Neither of us had ever had the pleasure of attending a concert that included any of the Beatles over the years, so this was a big thrill for us. I had wanted to keep it a secret and surprise him, but I was so excited after I bought the tickets I could only keep my mouth shut for about a week. Though my husband's birthday is still a month away, Ringo was playing our area tonight so hubby got his birthday present early and he loved every minute of it.

Members of the Allstar Band were Rick Derringer(the McCoys-'Hang On Sloopy'), Richard Page(Mr. Mister-'Broken Wings'), Wally Palmar(the Romantics-'What I Like About You'), Edgar Winter('Frankenstein' and 'Free Ride'), Gary Wright('Dreamweaver') and Gregg Bissonette(drummer).

Can you believe Ringo just turned 70 years old? He celebrated his birthday July 7 and was playing a show at Radio City Music Hall in New York and a special guest joined the show that night to wish him a Happy Birthday...Paul McCartney. Oh, the lucky fans that night, two Beatles instead of one. Too bad we couldn't have been at that show.

Sorry the pictures aren't too clear but we weren't sitting very close. I do love the zoom lens though.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Henry Ford's Winter Home

After viewing Thomas Edison's home and guest home(see yesterday's post) we were guided through a small garage that housed two old fords, a Model T and a Model A Ford. Right next to the garage was Henry Ford's winter home named 'The Mangoes'.
This Craftsman Bungalow is 3000 sq. ft. and Henry Ford purchased it in 1916 for $20,000. The furniture is not the original furniture, which was sold in the 1940's at an auction. In 1945 the house was sold to the Biggar Family for $20,000(the same price that Henry paid for it in 1916). The city of Fort Myers did not acquire the property until 1988. The Biggar family sold it to the city of Fort Myers for $1.2 million. The furniture has been staged from pictures and are period antiques and collectibles representative of the original furniture which was purchased in 1990 by the Foundation. The only original piece that belonged to the Ford family is the Grandmother Clock in the living room which was given back to the home in 1990. Below is the guest room and the bathroom on the main level.

The Wedgewood china on the dining room table is a set of Clara Ford's favorite pattern named Columbia. The Wedgewood Company made this set in 1990 especially for 'The Mangoes'.

Notice the window benches flanking the living room fireplace. They provided a place to sit when all the other furniture was removed from the room to open a space for square-dancing.

The picture below is the guest bedroom on the main floor south wing, with a private bath. Upstairs were two more bedrooms, a bathroom, a dressing room, office, and a sleeping porch. The north wing has 2 servants rooms and 1 bath. The main floor center housed the living room, dining room, butler's pantry, kitchen and pantry.

The only original piece of furniture that is in Ford's house is the 'grandmother' clock. The grandmother clock is said to be called that instead of the grandfather clock because it is shorter, thinner and never wrong, a joke the tour guide told. The clock is set to the time that Henry Ford died, which was a tradition for many Irish families back then.

The Model T and the Model A Fords

My grandson enjoyed checking out the old cars and hearing the stories that the guide was telling. One of the funny stories that the tour guide told was that one day Henry and Thomas were out and came upon a man on the side of the road whose car had broken down. Henry, who was an accomplished mechanic and still loved to tinker on cars stopped and offered his assistance to the man. He worked on the car until it was repaired. The man was very grateful for the help but did not know who had just repaired his car and offered to pay him for his troubles. Henry refused the man's money, stating he was rich and didnot need the money the man was insisting he take. Still trying to pay Henry for his help, the man remarked, 'if you are so rich, then why are you driving a Ford?" Talk about an embarassing moment.

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