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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Hi everyone,

Again, I apologize for not posting regularly.  It's not that I don't have anything to write about but just pure laziness on my part.  I've got several projects in the works inside and out and time just seems to get away from me.

Because the weather has gotten so gorgeous here, (cooler temperatures and very little humidity) I've been spending time outside getting things ready for next spring before it really turns cold.  I've started a cutting garden and have planted tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth bulbs as well as preparing the soil to plant some iris bulbs.  We have (husband and I) have re-planted asparagus ferns so that they will create hedge of sorts along a fence line, sowed grass seed and still have more seed to sow before the next rain.  Around here, I have found that you have to use a good layer of top soil after turning over the sandy soil because nothing seems to grow in sand and while it is good to have a sandy soil for drainage, it isn't very good for planting grass seed or plants directly in it.  Live and learn.  HAH

I also have started a knitting project (a lap throw).  I was reading a blog post recently on how to knit a lap throw on 60" knitting needles with three skeins of yarn to create a really chunky throw.  Well, I decided to use two skeins instead of three and so far I like how it looks.  I won't lie, it is hard to knit on such HUGE needles and I have to take breaks because my thumbs get really sore (I think I may have a bit of arthritis in them) but I'm not in any hurry to finish it.

Look at the size of those needles!!!

Just think how it would look if I were using (3) skeins of yarn at one time!

This is also the time of year that pinecones are plentiful around here...they are everywhere.  In my Country Living magazine this month they told how to bleach pinecones to change the color of them by soaking them in one part water and two parts bleach for 24 hours.  You have to make sure to keep the cones submerged beneath the water.  I did mine in a bucket and used a plate to keep them submerged.  After 24 hours, I removed them rinsed them thoroughly (they will be closed up) you can either let them dry out on their own ( when they have re-opened fully from their closed position) which might take up to (2) weeks (depending on how cold the weather is where you are) or you can place them on a cookie sheet and into a 200 degree oven until they open back up.  They turn a really pretty bleached color.  I took 1 yard of 3/8" velvet ribbon per pinecone and cut it into a 3/4 yard piece and a 1/4 yard piece.  I adhered the longer ribbon to the pinecone base with hot glue and tied the shorter ribbon into a bow and adhered it to the base of the pinecone again with hot glue.  (I attached both pieces of the ribbon to base of the pinecones I was doing to create a loop instead of using just the one end because I wanted to slide the ribbon onto my rods and hang from my windows.)  You can also use them to hang on a chandelier, wreath, or from a door hanger on the inside of your front door.  Here is a photo of how they turned out.

These look darker then they really are because of the lighting.

These look more like the color of the pinecones than the first photo.  I like the bright colors against the bleached pinecones.

I also have  recipe that I would like to share with all of you.  Libby at An Eye for Detail, who's blog I follow, posted a recipe for Orange Lavender Polenta Cake which sounded delicious.  I mentioned in my comment to her that I had a recipe I picked up from a restaurant in Lexington, Kentucky for de Sha's  homemade Cornbread.  I told her that I would post the recipe as it is one I use quite often.  In this recipe, the cornbread tastes and looks more like cake than cornbread and is sweet and served with homemade honey butter.  I guarantee you that you won't find a better recipe if you like your cornbread sweet.

de Sha's Homemade Cornbread
(serves 12)

3 Cups of self-rising cornmeal

1/3 cup Sugar

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

3 cups of sour cream

2 2/3 cups of cream style corn

For cornbread:  Combine first 6 ingredients in order listed.  Mix well and pour into a greased 9" x 13" pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until center of cornbread springs back when touched.  Let cool and enjoy.

For the Honey Butter:

Mix 1 1/3 cups of butter softened

1/2 cup of Honey

Mix softened  butter and honey together  and serve with warm cornbread.

If you are looking for cornbread that isn't full of calories this recipe isn't for you.  LOL  It is wonderful though and taste great with homemade Italian soup made with Italian sausage, chickpeas, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and spices.

Well, that about does it for me.  I hope I  haven't bored you with the length of this post but I wanted to post all of it before I forgot it.  LOL  My memory isn't what it used to be.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Touring Through Blogland

Victoria from the blog Slightly Shabby has invited me to participate in Touring Through Blogland.  It's been a while since I've done this,  so please bear with me and I hope you won't judge me too harshly for how this post turns out.  LOL

First off, I'll show a photo I took recently to give everyone something to look at and break the ice.  Everyone loves pictures and it will lighten up my answers to the questions posed.

View from Pier Park, Panama City Florida

1.) What am I working on now?

     I just recently took a hanging driftwood mobile that I had ordered that had been damaged in the
     shipment to me apart and re-purposed it by re-stringing it into one long row instead of a mobile.
     Because it was damaged, the company I purchased it from told me to keep it.
     I couldn't bear the thought of tossing it so I decided I would hang it on a hanger until I could figure
     out what to do with it.  Well, I was visiting a blog one day a couple weeks later and I saw where
     someone had taken predrilled driftwood pieces, painted them, and strung them in a long row.  (I
     wish I could remember the name of the blog to give proper credit, but the name escapes me right
     now).  I painted each piece and wiped off the excess to give it a whitewash look and strung it
     on a long piece of hemp twine, re-used the ring it was hanging on and added a pre-drilled
     starfish to the end of it.  Voila!  Here is how it turned out:

Please excuse the lighting, the room this is hanging in doesn't get any sunlight.

Here is a close-up of the beginning of it:

Much better view.
It was any easy re-purpose and I love how it turned out.  I will be making another one for a friend of mine.  Living in Florida, this piece of artwork fits in nicely with my beach themed home.

2.)  How Does your work differ from others in this genre?

     Well, I'm not sure how to answer that question???  I often try to do new projects on a smaller scale
     than others in the DYI or craft field.  I'm no expert but love a challenge and if I can use something 
     I already have to make it all the better.  It's amazing and inspiring what a bit of paint and ideas 
     you find through blogging can lead you to.  I also love taking photos and trying my hand at 
     drawing although, I'm not very good at it, I've learned not to be so critical of what I try my hand

Here is a photo of two drawing I recently did...not perfect by any means but it looks as good as some
of the prints I see available for sale on other websites.  Again, not perfect but my take and vision of
the objects I draw.

Am I a self-proclaimed artist?  Not on your life but still it was worth the effort, at least to me.

3.)  Why do you write/create what you do?

     I started out blogging, gosh, 7 or 8 years ago.  When I first started blogging I thought it would be
     fun to write and share different aspects of my life, a diary of sorts.  I didn't have a "genre" per say,  
     but would write stories about my childhood and favorite interests. As I became a bit more sure of 
     myself, (YAY, finally) I started having posts that included homes and rooms that I found inspiring.
     Adding to that, items that I was making and selling in my Etsy Shop. (which I've since closed)
     I found after a while, I started to become "burned out" i.e. trying to visit and comment on 
     everybody's posts ('cause everybody loves comments just as much as I liked receiving them)
     along with trying to keep up with my shop and trying to write interesting and informative
     posts was too much and the enjoyment of having a blog soon became work instead of the FUN
     I started out with.  So, I backed away from it and now only post when I want to or have
     something to add of value.  I still visit and comment, but just not as much as before and only
     with others who I've built up a friendship with.  Whenever something becomes WORK instead of
     fun and you begin to "go through the motions" without enjoying what you are doing, it's
     time to stop, take a deep breathe and ask yourself is this what I really wanted out of this?

4.)  How does your writing/creating process work?

     I generally have a "light bulb" ( or as others might say "I fly by the seat of my pants") moment that 
     leads me to write or try something new.  I used to think that I "couldn't do something" but then I
     thought if all the world felt that way, nothing would be created or written.  Sometimes,
     you just have to put yourself out there and give it a whirl anyway, you'll never know what you can
     achieve until you do.  I find much of my inspiration these days comes from nature.  I've been
     taking photos of the beach and printing them to sell in a craft show that a friend of mine has 
     paid to have a space in.  By far though, my biggest pleasure is watching the birds
     eat from the feeder.  If you have ever watched birds feed, they have a pecking order of sorts. The
     larger birds i.e. blue jays, woodpecker, and doves tend to dominate the feeder and bully the 
     smaller birds until they are finished.  Just watching them is inspiring to me.  I can view them from
     outside the window where my computer is so there is always a new bird that pays the feeder a

I would like to thank Victoria for the invitation to write for Touring Through Blogland and all of you who stop by for the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and ideas for being creative.  Here are some shots I recently took that will be shown at the craft fair.  I would have never guessed that I would love photograpy as much as I do and all it took was taking that first couple of shots and liking
how they turned out.  Which goes to show you only have to give it a "shot".  You never know what might come out of it!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Simple Cooking Techniques

A photo I took painted in Waterlogue


I hope everyone is well and enjoying the last of the summer months before fall sets in.  I have to say that I am looking forward to cooler weather having had enough h~o~t and humid temperatures.  It also brings a desire to cook and bake recipes inside instead of on the barbecue (although, I love grilled foods and can usually grill all year round here in Florida).  But still, there is something comforting about trying out new or old tried and true recipes when the weather starts to chill and the fall season sets in.

Summers are reminiscence of back yard barbecues, cool drinks (with or without alcohol) sitting on your patio or deck and enjoying your gardens.  For me, fall and winter months are about experimenting with new recipes that can warm the house and add aromas of the foods you are preparing.

I love cooking and found the best recipes and advice come from a website called Food 52.  I subscribe to their e-mails which brings me recipes and new items that are listed in their website shop. Today's e-mail brought me simple techniques on how to be a better cook by listing tips that I had forgotten about and in some cases didn't even know about from cooking rice, steaks and pasta to brewing cold coffee.  Things that want to make you go humm, I didn't know that!

Enjoy the tips and remember, " to learn something new everyday".  Link to article here: Food 52.

My Photo

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hanging Driftwood

Hi everyone,

Several weeks ago, I purchased a hanging driftwood mobile made from predrilled pieces of driftwood that was hanging on two pieces of cross shaped wood .  When I received it in the mail it was broken :-(.  So, I contacted the shop I purchased it from and they gave me a credit and told me I didn't have to ship it back, just to keep it.  When I first pulled it out of the box, it was A LOT larger than I thought it would be but in the spirit of not wasting it, I decided to "repair" it.  Because it was soooo large, I decided to restring it and make it smaller so it wouldn't be so heavy.  It turned out fairly good but it was still extremely heavy.  After hanging it in the closet on a hanger until I could think my way around what else I could do with it, I had visited a blog where I saw driftwood pieces whitewashed and hung in a straight line instead of on a mobile. (I wish I could remember the name of that blog to give credit but it escapes my mind)  So, with that in mind, I decided to "repurpose it" AGAIN.  (I hate throwing things away and after all someone did take lot of pains and product to make the original mobile).

So, I unstrung it and took the driftwood pieces that were already predrilled and purchased some paint from Sherwin Williams called Eider White, diluted it 4 ounces of paint to 6 tablespoons of water and with a stiff brush painted each piece of driftwood with the paint and then immediately wiped it off with a lint free cotton cloth.  And while it took 2 and 1/2  hours to do this, it was well worth it.  I reused the ring that held it and left the string that had attached the two pieces of wood that was crossway and held the pieces of driftwood.  I added a starfish that was attached to the original mobile to the one I made and PRESTO, VOILA, a hanging strip of whitewashed driftwood pieces.  I love the way it turned out and I am so glad I didn't toss it.  Please excuse the photos as the room that I have this hanging in is quite dark and after taking photos with the light on, I didn't like the yellow cast it placed upon the driftwood.

This is approximately 5 ft. long and the perfect  length for the wall.
A close-up of the top of the hanging driftwood.

The middle section.
The end.

Full length.
So, I guess persistence does pay off cause I really like my new wall art!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Etsy Love

I am a huge fan of Etsy and whenever possible I make purchases from there.  There is always such a nice variety of shops to browse through and I am always amazed at the talent out there.  I've been reading in various magazines and on blogs about some really cool shops that I will be showing you today.

The first one is called Eye Poetry and as of late I've been looking at prints to hang on a long chain with clips in my office.  I usually like the 5 x 7 size and have found some gorgeous photos in this shop.  Here is the link to the shop:  Eye Poetry Photography.  Here is a sample of some of my favorites:

This one is on my list of favorites

I loved this one so much I purchased it.

I've never been a fan of horse pictures but I love this one!
Hmmm, I'm thinking of getting this one!

This is such a serene photo, ethereal.  It  has a heavenly look to it.

This is another one that I purchased...I have to stay away from this shop!  LOL

I hope that you will stop by and check out her prints.

Here is another shop, a ceramic shop that has the most charming and colorful pieces. A lovely lidded jar, bowls, and vases all so bright and cheery.  You can find it here: Owl Creek Ceramics.

Love these!
One of my favorites!

For all of you who knit or crochet, I think this is pretty nifty!

Rim Pasta Bowl ~ Blue and White Handpainted

When I am looking for crafting/paper supplies and other cool items this shop is one of my favorites:  I love the twine's in linen and in the raw for wrapping gifts.  She also has tags and an assortment of painted clothespins for hanging prints etc.
Olive Manna

Belgium Linen

Raw Twine

Textile Bobbins

Wooden Buttons

More Linen Thread
She has all sorts of bits and bobbins and a designated Website which you can also visit here Shop Olive Manna that carries vintage, handmade and sundries.  I've made several purchases from her and have always been very pleased with what I've ordered.

I'm sure most of you are well familiar with Etsy and I hope you have enjoyed viewing the items from these wonderful and talented people.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Almond Cake

Hello Everyone,

So sorry for not has been awhile.  I've been enjoying the summer here even though it has been extremely hot and humid with very little rain.  Needless to say watering the plants has been an all consuming task, among other things.

I have been doing some baking lately.  Last week I made a homemade peach cobbler which was delicious even if I do say so myself and today I decided to make an Almond Cake.  While this recipe is time consuming, it is well worth the time spent making it.  Here are a few photos of how it turned out:

I added the slivered almonds in the center of the cake to satisfy husbands desire for "nuts"  Hah

Here is a copy of the recipe from Provision 52, a website I wrote about here: Provision 52 along with another great recipe I found from their website.

I hope all of you who try this will like it, I sure did.  With summer slowly coming to an end, I am awaiting much cooler temperatures and less tourists (I haven't been to the beach or Pier since July)so that I can stroll down the Pier and window shop once again without a rush of people and long lines.

I will be writing about several new Etsy shops I have scouted out this week, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A New Website to Check-out

Hi everyone,

I have found a great website with some very cool items called Cachette, it is a French website that does ship internationally very reasonably.  You can view it here:  Cachette.  Here are a few things I think are pretty neat.

Basket with small handles

Handmade Stoneware Jug
Handmade in Provence, South of France by a Manufacturer who has been firing clay into objects since 1857.  It is a contrast between a chalky white and a glossy texture.  Because I collect creamers and jugs, this one fit in nicely with my collection so I purchased it.
Large galvanized S hooks
100% Linen Pillowcases that can be purchased in 18 different colors.
Oyster Baskets
Storage Bags in Painted Linen with three colors to choose from.
Wire Word of your Choice.
I'm thinking of getting this with letters that spell out OUI

I think this is a fun website with lots of interesting and different items to look at.

I hope everyone is staying cool in this hot humid weather.  Just walking around outside this time of year in Florida will make you sweat!  LOL

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lazy June Days

Hi Everyone,

It's sure been H~O~T here.  For the past couple mornings, around 6:00 a.m. we awake to a 2-3 minute downpour and then sunshine and H~E~A~T the rest of the day.  Not enough water to give the plants a good drink. So, we water, and water, and water.  Already my plants could use a good pruning and some have already had that done. They are almost top heavy!!  But I take pride in the colors of the garden that is in the front of the house and also pride in the garden in the back which receives morning sun and shade the rest of the day.  I've taken a few photos of the back garden that has my ferns, gardenias, and hydrangeas.  I've added a few annuals to give the garden some pops of color.

Hydrangeas, and my Jasmine that I just transplanted and tied to the white trellis

My Asparagus and Boston Ferns

Another shot from the opposite end of the garden

I am truly amazed that the ferns even grew back because of the two freezes we had this winter but they surprised me with their hardiness.  Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me!

I did manage to make a batch of dark chocolate Brownies for Husband today to celebrate Fathers Day.  I hope all the dads out there were remembered and had a special day with their children!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer has arrived!

Happy Memorial Day and a big thank you to all of our veterans who have served our country throughout the years.  As we enjoy this three day weekend, we should pause to remember their sacrifices which has ensured our freedom.

I don't know about you, but it has been really H~O~T here!  It has already been in the low 90's and the humidity is at 100%.  It makes for a most uncomfortable morning and evening walk!

I've been working in my garden doing the usual weeding and cutting back some of my plants that have grown so large they are taking over the garden.  I spent the better part of yesterday washing the front porch down while husband edged around our flower garden (we like a natural edge and that means that at least once a month we have to show the weeds who's boss LOL).  While husband was edging,  I took a tumble off the ladder and ended up in my flower garden.  Thankfully, I was  lucky and escaped with only a few minor scratches and bruises on my arm.  The fact that I didn't break any bones is amazing to me!  LOL  I did have to remove some damaged stalks from my flowers though which made me extremely unhappy!  :-(.

I do have an exciting new website to share with all of you.  For all of you who love to cook and are interested in new and different recipes as well as in quirky and helpful kitchen tools Provisions 52 is wonderful!  This link is specifically for their shop   Food 52  and this one  Food 52 Recipes  for recipes.  You can send in your recipes to share and they have contests for the best recipes.  I recently tried one of their recipes for Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread by Vera Obias and it was wonderful.  You can find the recipe here:  Vera Obias' Cheddar and Black Pepper Cornbread.  It has a sweet and yet salty taste which complements the cornbread.  Sugar is added to the batter and sea salt and pepper sprinkled on top of the batter which has been brushed with heavy cream.  This is not a lo-cal recipe  LOL!

You can find the recipe here'
Vera Obis' Cheddar & Black Pepper Cornbread
I also found many great kitchen items in their shop and hope you enjoy the peek I offer through these images.

A wooden biscuit cutter that comes in different sizes

Beautiful Stoneware vases

Who doesn't love white linen napkins?

Great for adding your own hand soap and to give your kitchen a vintage look.

Salt and Pepper cellars ( I love the anchors inside)

Cake toppings for holidays

I purchased this print taken from a image that is over 100 years old.  It is dated 1890 and is attributed to the Cafe' Anglais in Versailles, France.  Among  the dishes offered on the menu, is Poulet Marengo, a chicken dish created in 1880 for Napoleon when he defeated the Austrians on the battle field at Marengo in Italy.   The Emperor of France then considered it his "lucky dish". 
Here it is framed and hanging in my kitchen.
If you have a chance, do check out this website, I found the recipe website full of interesting and different recipes, something a bit different than the usual fare.  
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Panama City, Florida