Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On Thrifty Home Decorating

There is no reason to pay more for things unless you just want to spend money because you can.

If you have been following my blog you know I've been thrift store shopping, am a first year snow bird in Arizona, and have added many fun, and some very useful things to my little pull-along-camper-home.

There's more to my thrifty furnishing and decorating. I shop the discount stores and take advantage of sales whenever I can.

Yesterday I found a seasonal table cloth in a store marked down. It was the largest size made, but it was two dollars less than the smaller ones. It was cheaper because fewer people need the really large cloths. Perfect for me. I bought it and used it to make cloths for both my table inside the camper and the one on my patio. there was also enough cloth left to make a table runner, and two place mats.
All this took was measuring and cutting the cloth into the sizes needed and then only straight sewing to hem them. The cloth is a plaid. This made the cutting soooo easy, as I simply cut along the lines on the cloth. It was also easier because the design was woven and not painted, so it was straight and not printed crooked, which happens often with designs printed on.

A few weeks ago, after looking at the window treatments which came with the camper and getting very irritated with how none of them were at the same height, and all were slanted and not straighten-able, I talked my husband into ripping them down. We replaced all but one window with mini blinds. Additionally I made, and remodeled existing curtains.

Of course the curtains came from a discount store. The longer curtains were the same price as the shorter. Some of the windows are quite wide but all are necessarily short. Knowing I would have to hem every curtain, I decided to get the longer ones and use the cloth that had to be trimmed off to make other curtains or things I needed, such as a dust cover for my printer and to recover the head board on the bed so it will match the curtains!
The camper is used, and the previous owner had replace the kitchen sinks and faucet, and counter top, which was good and bad. There were a few things my husband had to fix better and tweak, but it's more homey looking than the standard camper kitchen.

And .... something used to be in one corner of the living area, but it wasn't there anymore. So we had to find something to put the TV, computer and printer on. The table I found was actually another thrift store buy, on half-price-day at Goodwill! That was a bit of good luck, but also a result of frequent shopping.

The piece of furniture fit the space well. The laptop fits nicely on the pull out shelf meant to hold a computer key board, and the cabinet on the side holds lots of things and hides them nicely. Under it where the chair would normally sit we've used for storing, and to hide a trash container.

To hold address and phone books, and some other necessary stuff, sewing and painting supplies, we found three, three shelf book shelves on sale at a discount store. They work great. One is inside and two are in our shed.

For my little crystal lamp I told about in my previous blog post on thrift store shopping, I bought a light bulb and a shade, at the discount store, of course. The lamp, light bulb and shade cost me $13.00 total. It's perfect. The shade matches in color with the decorations already in the camper, and it's much easier to see what I'm sewing.


Other items that are very useful and were not expensive are a little table for my sewing machine, which is actually meant to be a computer table for a laptop and a folding stool I use when sewing, or at my 'desk/entertainment center/storage cabinet'. Seasonal items, which work perfectly with the existing decor in the camper, include a quilt, and pillow cases in a co-ordinating color to dress the bed, dish towels which I cut in half and made into window valances for my kitchen area. Additionally I purchased an inexpensive but fun clock, rug and spoon rest to match. A three dollar clock for the living area, a small digital alarm clock for the bedroom and a comfy chair and afghan, and finally a foot stool, on sale, that also holds sewing supplies round out my decorating and furnishing.

The total expense for all my thrift store finds, decorations and furniture I'm estimating at around $500.00.

My point is this. Anyone who wants to decorate inexpensively can. It takes an investment of time, a little thought about what colors you like and that will work with things you can't easily change, some imagination and a good measure of enthusiasm. It's so much fun when it all comes together. Other RV park residents who have seen our little home have been very complimentary, calling it a little doll house! Cute.

Go out and shop the discount stores and thrift stores and have fun making your home pretty and functional!

God bless and care for you all.

Monday, November 8, 2010

'Thrifting' More and More!

Friends at the RV park invited me to go with them to the Goodwill Store on Saturday because it was half-price-on-everything Saturday! So got myself up and going early, even though it was so tempting to stay in my jammies for a while longer!

Turned out to be worth the effort.

My finds included a vintage crystal bowl, a pretty, and currently very useful crystal lamp, a larger-than-others-I-had skillet, and two old friends! Hadn't seen the friends for a long time, and it was nice to visit with them a little, and I my purchases cost me about $9.00 total! (In the photo below you can see the lamp from Goodwill and the basket from a church rummage sale. In another post I'll tell of other economic finds four of which are also pictured here!)

Previous thrifting trip:

On Friday another friend and I went to a rummage sale at a local church. That was really good value for the money. I think I spent $5.50. I walked away with a clock, two bags of small owl things for my daughter who collects owls, about four vintage glass dishes, a very nice basket for my sewing supplies, a pearl necklace and four other pieces of jewelry (all the jewelry together were $1.10), and a vintage canning jar and lid.

Several days this week:

I've made visits to the Assistance League Thrift Store. This is where I've found all the cute little elephants. The collection is being donated by the husband of the woman who loved them. There were approximately 1500 elephants.

Everyone gave her elephants as gifts, and apparently they all tried to outdo each other! I've collected about 30 of the smallest ones to display in our little camper-home. My collection is entirely from hers. In it I have two thimbles, a little planter, a tiny tea pot, a candle holder, a pitcher and a pendant besides severa; regular figurines. Two of the figurines are on rollers. One is an Indian God (Ganache? or something similar is the name). Others I've seen from her collection were coffee cups, vases, embroidered on clothing, and more.

One day when I was asking the clerks in the shop about this other elephant collector. Amazingly enough, a few minutes later about five of her friends came in. They had just come from planting a tree in her honor at the high school where they had all attended. They had also made a plaque to be displayed so people will know about her and that her friends loved her so much they planted the tree in her honor.

One of the ladies told me their friend's name was Nona. She and the other women had been friends since girlhood. They saw each other once a week for lunch, and called themselves 'the lunch bunch'.  She not only collected elephants for years, she was also a passionate gardener, which was the reason they planted a tree in her memory. She loved gardening and loved her roses best. When her arthritis became so bad she couldn't bend or kneel to tend to her plants her husband made her a stool with rollers to allow her to continue gardening.

The friends said she always gave gifts to everyone who came to visit and to each of them at their lunches. She was loving and well loved. She passed away at about seventy seven years of age.

I love being able to give a few of her elephants a new home! I think she'd be happy someone has them who loves them as much as she did.

Earlier thrifting:

And a couple of weeks ago another friend from the RV park and I visited the local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. At that store I found my tiny little table. In this small space there was only room for a tiny table! When I found it I knew it had been there just waiting on me. It was brown wood and had a tile on top and one on a small shelf near the bottom of it. I painted the brown in the accent color I've been using. Every other park resident who has seen it wants one like it for their little space!

Even other thrift store shopping treasures:

While writing this and looking around my little home thrift store finds are everywhere. An oval metal container with a pretty map on; it is my 'junk drawer' (I don't have enough real drawers), frames for my family photos (I brought the photos via the computer and printed out here) and a small vase from one of my first trips to the AL Thrift Store, and a TV which came complete with remote and booklet!

(OK yes I know you see them, our bingo daubers, in my junk drawer. Well, it's a retirement community! We went to bingo once so far, and as I always do when I'm new and apt to make others who go all the time and seldom win angry, I won one game. A whole $24.00. Guess where I spent most of it.)

(The image on the TV wasn't what I saw when I pushed the button on the camera. Weird.)

And so, that's my most recent thrifting adventures! No doubt there will be more, and more, and more! If you haven't tried thrift store shopping maybe you ought to start!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Snow Birding for the First Time, & Thrifting, Again!

I'm here, at the RV park for the winter. I'm officially a 'snow bird'! Never thought I'd be, but 'tis true. My husband is one of two maintenance men in the park. That meant we had to come early and we will need to stay late. So we will only be in our "home" for about three and a half months in the summer.

If you have never experienced this life first hand or known anyone who did, I have to tell you, this is a whole 'nother world. A few aspects of the life aren't but mostly, it's really fun.

So, because we are trying to make a travel trailer home for an extended period, we need to make it as comfortable as possible. In order to do that buying inexpensive items is a good idea. (That way we will have more money to visit the grand daughters who are just a few hours north of us and are the other reason to come this direction.)

Searching for useful items at a low price and because it's-just-plain-fun-to-look-at-stuff, are the whys for a friend, also living in the RV park, and I frequenting the local thrift stores, frequently!







The dispaly shelf for the elephants, although not a thrift store find, is thrifty. It's also nifty! It's from the kitchen gadget section of a discount store. It's a drawer divider. Two sawtooth hangers on either side of the back work just fine for hanging it on the wall.

In addition to the elephant collection my purchases have included a computer desk which is serving as the TV stand, a home for my lap top on the pull out tray intended for a keyboard of a PC, a place for my printer, and storage for computer related things such as paper and a card file of websites I visit.*

For my husband's 'coffee mess' I found a cart. It's solid wood and on rollers, has two shelves and works perfectly. It holds his espresso pot, cups, coffee and etc. He makes espresso for himself and some friends in the park about two or three mornings a week.

Other finds have been a couple of small vases which just match a wall paper trim in the camper, a glass serving bowl (now I can use it instead of the Christmas bowl which is the only other one I brought from home), a beautiful glass cake plate, some pretty little pressed glass bowls, and numerous other small items that help make the camper function better and feel more homey.

My friend who loves to thrift store shop as much as I do, has been finding many great items to resell in a shop she runs. She's also found several pieces of clothing for herself and her husband.

It feels good to buy at these places because not only are we being frugal, recycling and being green but the money generated is going to help others. Nothing but win, win to thrift store shopping. Ya gotta try it for yourself if you haven't already done so!

God bless America! now and forever. Help us to remember God, and the sacrifice of his son, the Christ. May the Holy Spirit comfort us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*A few years ago it seemed the number of websites that were of interest to me, and that I decided to 'sign up' for, began to grow rapidly.  After several times of not being able to log into one or the other because I couldn't remember the password or my user ID or something, it occurred to me, a card file with that information would be a good thing. And it was. The file works like a dream. If you haven't made yourself one you might want to. Just remember to keep it in a safe place.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thrift Store Shopping, Again!!

I love thrift store shopping, but if you have followed my blog you know that already.

Yesterday a friend and I went to a great thrift store, and it's basically just around the corner! We both had several items picked out in a matter of minutes. The thrift stores almost never take anything but cash, and being seasoned TS shoppers we actually knew that, but being over anxious to get into the shopping, we didn't think to take some.

We talked the clerks into making each of us a stash, promising we would be right back.  I believe it was our enthusiasm that convinced them.  We both had quite a pile for them to hold.

After a quick dash to the bank we were back.  I looked a few minutes more and found three more items, and paid for it so I could load it into my car.  When I came back in she was still busy in the half price clothes so I shopped a bit longer.  I bought several more items!
*******************************************************
Two of the items I found on my return
trip and couldn't pass up were these tiny
elephants.  I used to collect elephants, of all
sizes and shapes and made from lots of varied
materials, but, it seemed time to stop.  My husband
and I are getting ready to down size.  Time to let go
of some hobbies, however, these little bitty elephants
were too much fun. And then, it occurred to me I
could still collect if I kept them all this small. 

(That was a happy realization!)

This unique tiny elephant on a thimble is
really tiny!  The thimble is normal sized,
the elephant is about 1/2" long and 1/4 " high.


The little elephant on wheels is about 2"
long and 1 1/2" tall.  He is made of
metal, not sure, but he may be pewter,
but whatever he's made of he is adorable.
*******************************************************
We finally tore ourselves away from the thrift store.  My friend said, "Um, would you mind if we went to that antique store we saw behind the bank? I have a little time before I have to go to work."

It was music to my ears, so we headed on over.  The antique store was 'new' to that particular location.  The owner said she wasn't quite done unpacking.  After a few minutes of browsing we were wondering where she would put anything else and what she could have because it looked like she already had one of everything that had ever been!  It was a feast for the eyes.  So many beautiful old things to enjoy.  I found a couple of things for one of my children for Christmas and we each made ourselves a promise to return soon!

Wonder if God knew how much women would enjoy a bargain, and how pretty old nearly-worn-out-things would be to them?  I bet he didn't, not really, and the only thing he didn't know, just because he didn't think about it.  (Hum does God have a feminine side?)

(Of course you know I'm kidding; God knew, he made us the way we are to keep men paying attention.  And some men love bargains and old things too.) 

Prayers.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What a Day!

Today isn't my best day.  My tummy, my head, my ambition, all not normal.  Just an all around off day.  I managed to drive around the outside of town scouting out areas that might be good to take pictures, but today wasn't the day.  At least this morning wasn't very nice, dust in the air and light not quite right.

That means about all day since I came back from my drive, I've been 'surfing the net' and watching HGTV on television.  I finally got my fill of the decorator shows and went 'surfing the channels'.  That's when 'Misery' came on.  Now THAT oughta cheer me up! LOL

Yesterday I took some shots of a local restaurant that is unlike anywhere, any place! I'm posting them here later today.

The only pictures I took today were a few at a local farm store, and some of the most unusual, and very pretty, bougainvillea plant that is growing in front of the camper next to us here at the RV park.  I'll post them as well.

More pictures to come in the next few days.  I promise.

Jesus keep you in His care.

Pictures of the Day
Bougainvillea with Yellow & Green Foliage,
White & Pink Blooms - Yuma, Arizona

September Storm in Tucson, Arizona

A Series of Pictures of Inside Lutes Casino
in Historic Downtown Yuma, Arizona




Outside the Peanut Patch
A Farm Store - Yuma, Arizona

Years ago I perfected this loga for the owner of the farm and store.
I don't think the farm is still functioning, I'll find out in a few days
when I visit the store during it's regular hours.  Today I was out too
early.  The farm was purchased & begun in 1947.  I've forgotten the
man's name!  I'll find that out too on my visit in the not too distant
future. I was paid something like $40.00 and that was in the 70s. 
The loga is still being used on the packages of peanuts,
other products, & advertising!
*********
I never could make my art pay enough.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Writing Requires Confidence or One Might Call It A Big Ego

As I have mentioned on my blog a few times, I am taking a writing course.  It was fun and more fun at the beginning.  And then suddenly it's turned into a chore I dread!  The course is geared toward getting published which may be the biggest problem.  Truthfully I am too much the beginner, and am not ready for such responsibility.

Some of you will remember I posted a story on my blog some months ago.  A person I thought was my friend, and one I asked to review my story, did so.  She tore into it like a puppy into a roll of toilet paper.  She began her review by calling me Janice, and no, that's not my name.  I'm Janet and to me there is a big difference.  Then she went thru the story very thoroughly. 

By the time I finished reading her critique I was so discouraged I wanted to discontinue the class and hide.  And the slightly funny thing about my feelings are, I'm not so sure she was right about more than a couple of things.  But, one thing was sure, the effect I wanted the story to have, it does not have.  Reluctantly I sent the story to my teacher and he didn't understand the story as I'd wanted either.  So....what a terrible feeling of utter defeat and disappointment.

That feeling is wearing off but it's taking its time!  Now the class is half over and I would love to quit, but I paid good money out and so I won't let it go until I have finished.  No matter how embarrassing and unfulfilling it may be!

Today I have started a story and am getting the proposal for it, along with a sample from it ready to send in as the next assignment as requested.  It's taking all I can muster to write here on my computer with no one else able to see it.  I'm not sure how I'll be able to send it in to the teacher!  Generally I don't pray for such things, because they feel selfish, but my self needs some TLC and who better to give it than Jesus!

May you all have a very blessed day!

**************
If you read yesterday's post you will see I thought I'd have some pictures to share.  I forgot to take my camera out with me.  It is next on my list today: take camera and go take some pictures.  I'm planning to use the activity to de-stress from the morning of trying to write!  Currently I am waiting on a meat loaf to come out of the oven.  The wonderful aroma in here has begun to help me feel better.  It's smelling yummy!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another Day in the Desert

It is about eight AM.

It's a new day in the desert.

The sun is shinning, of course! 

The air conditioner is humming,
naturally (?). 

The TV is on and I'm listening to the morning news. 

My husband is out and about; doing his maintenance job here at the RV Park.

I'm almost ready for my first 'thirst buster' of the day (they are only 79 cents for any size up to 44 ounces! at the Circle K right next door to the park). 

And, I am showered and fresh for the day, Really! (When I'm on my mountain, I stay in my PJs most of the morning.)

The Internet connection was improved yesterday for the park.  A couple at the park used to own a computer store, so, they have a thing called a 'Long-Range USB Adapter' to sell. We are testing it out.  It's great.  I hope they don't want an arm and a leg, because if so, my poor hubby might be crippled soon, as I want this thing!

This morning there is another artists' club coffee at a bakery but I'm not going this time.  Called one friend who asked me to ride out with her.  I think she wanted to visit, but this morning she's not up to it.  Her air conditioner didn't work thru the night and so she's not rested.  Good excuse to skip the calorie laden pastry I know I would have scarfed down.

The temperature will be about 106 today and it's also humid.  Yucky.  However, soon it's supposed to finally begin to cool down.  That will be wonderful.  The weather has been staying hot much longer than usual.

This morning I am planning to take my camera with me.  Hope to post pictures tomorrow of the desert southwest. 

Everyone, have a great day where ever you are. 

God Bless Us All.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Renewing Old Friendships

This day has been full of old friends and conversation.  It was so much fun. 

An artists' group met at a local restaurant this morning.  I used to be a member of the group years ago.  Time and moves away caused me to loose touch with all save one.  She invited me to their breakfast today. 

Rejoining them it was as if I'd just seen them the day before, and as if the time and physical distances had never been.  We visited about whatever came to our minds as we sipped our coffee and ate our breakfasts.

After breakfast we all 'ajourned' to the art gallery.  They have a new one in the old town section of the city.  There we sat and visited a couple more hours until someone suggested we go just across the road from the gallery to a favorite restaurant for lunch! So we walked on over there.  It was silly, but so much fun. 

I hated to leave them, and just as I was about to say 'See you next week." they invited me to breakfast tomorrow with the other artists' group in town!  I will be there.  Oh, life is so busy for grandmas!  Of course, if it gets much busier I might need larger clothes!
 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Waking up Old

Time does indeed fly by, as we all say. In fact, we say this so much we don't understand how very true it actually happens to be! And how sad it is.

My husband and I are both over 60. It doesn't sound so old to us, but I know it does to our children. And our grand children, I'm sure, think we are older than dirt .

Recently I wanted to relate a story about some of my husband's family and myself when I was a young woman and my first daughter was on the way. Actually I did tell the story. It was funny to me and I could see those special people live again as I relived that time while I wrote.

It fell on deaf ears, and failed to attract even a tiny bit of interest. That was sad to me. I wanted so to make relatives who have gone on come to life for the new generation. I failed and not only that; I realized just how old and maybe even senile I seemed to the young people.

It's as if we wake up one day and find ourselves OLD! That old woman in the mirror is making a mess of my looks. Where did she come from. But when I look in her eyes I see it - that spark, that bit of humor, fun and the mischievous person still in there. She's youthful and interested in life, and each day is new and filled with wonder. Even if sometimes aches and pains push her down, she jumps back at the very next opportunity. She isn't finished. She's ready for the next adventure!

It's too bad the young often don't see the old the way they really are, just personalities trapped in old skins! You and I both have been guilty of not seeing when we were young and now, for some of us, it's already our turn to be unseen.

Well, I think I'll just have to work on this and make myself known, old or fat or ugly or beautiful, I am just a person in this skin here. This skin is not me! You are not your age or looks, nor am I. We are each individual personalities, souls, with endless possibilites! Wake up alive, and forget if your skin is old!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Bakin' Gonin' On Here

Jam Cake

If you are from the south, especially Kentucky or Tennessee you just have to remember Jam Cake! My mother used to make it, of course, we were in Indiana, but she grew up in Kentucky, near Somerset, something like fourth miles west of London. And although I didn't realize how close the two places were until recently, my father's mother was from Kentucky also, about 40 miles east of London.

Back to the cake.  My sister-in-law, who now lives near us in Tennessee, brought a jam cake to the family Christmas dinner last year. It was very good. After thinking about that cake for a good long while I asked for her recipe. All she'd tell me (I have to insert here she WAS quite busy, with a hubby who had just had surgery!) it called for a box spice cake.

I waited a few days for her to call before I decided to do another search online. And, I found it! Just reading thru the recipe made my mouth water! This past week end I made the cake. We had a fellowship meal at our church so I took that cake. Oh my, it was a hit! The platter was picked clean! My poor husband was very disappointed! He'd eaten some of several other deserts because he was sure he'd get some of mine later at home! Well, "that'll learn 'em, dern 'em!"

Here is the great recipe, from 'the recipe link' (http://www.recipelink.com/).

Jam Cake
with Caramel Icing
Church social tested!

1 spice cake mix - 2 layer
1 cup chopped pecans (didn't have enough pecans, finished cup with chopped walnuts)
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup flour
1 cup blackberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease & flour three round pans (makes a 3 layer cake with fruit, nuts & jam)
Mix cake according to the box directions.
Roll pecans & raisins in the 1/4 cup flour.
Add them to the cake batter.
Fold in the cup of blackberry jam.
Pour into greased and floured pans.
Bake until done. (Test with tooth pick in middle; done when tooth pick comes out clean.)
(I set my timer using box recommendations & my best guess; cakes were ready my first check.)

Because of the time I had to devote to this I used a 'store bought' Caramel Icing, and it was wonderful!
If you have time to try the home made icing I've included three recipes also from 'the recipe link'. I didn't test any of them.

Caramel Icing 1

1 cup brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Heat sugars, butter & mile until dissolved. Bring to rolling boil.
Cook 1 minute.
Take off heat and
add vanilla
Beat to right consistency to spread
If too thick add a little milk at a time.


Caramel Icing 2

1 one pound box light brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup cream (half & half)

Put all ingredients into a medium sized pan, stir until the mixture begins to boil.
After it's boiling don't stir.
Cook to soft ball stage.
Beat until thickens.
Frost your cooled cake.
It the mixture is too hard add hot water a little at a time until consistency seems right to you.


Caramel Icing 3

6 Tablespoons butter
 3/4 cup brown sugar
6 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter.
Add brown sugar & stir.
Add milk & bring to a boil.
Boil hard for 1 minute.
Remove it from the heat.
Add powdered sugar gradually.
Beat constantly until mixture looses its gloss.

Praise God! & Happy eating!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cooking!

Our neighbors have been so generous with the bounty from their garden.

I had about half a dozen nice zucchini in the crisper drawer of the frig. I thought for sure I wasn't going to get to them before they rotted, but...my refrigerator is very good! they were still good a couple days ago when I finally checked them. So I got them ready for making them into bread, found this great recipe online, and bought the walnuts, raisins and more eggs and began to bake! I had enough zucchini for six nice loaves of bread! Yummy!

Here is the recipe and the information about where I found it.

'findmyrecipes.com' Zucchini Bread 
from Cooking Light submitted by
Lorraine Warren July, 2005

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Prepare 2 - 8x4 loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
Spoon in 3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Combine and stir until well mixed, in a larger bowl
(you will be adding dry to wet):
1/2 cup egg substitute (=2 eggs)
1/3 cup canola or corn oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon rind-grated (I omitted this)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg beaten
Add: 3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces)
Stir all until well combined.

Add dry mixture, stir just until combined,
stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts, and I added 1 cup raisins.

I used a large soup ladle and dipped equal amounts of
'dough' into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake one hour, test with tooth pick inserted in the center
of the loaf. If the pick comes out clean the bread is done!

Set on wire rack. Run spatula or knife around edge to loosen
bread from the pan. After about five minutes of cooling turn
loaf out onto a plate or onto foil if you plan to freeze or store
the bread for later. Allow the bread to cool before wrapping
it up or cutting it to eat!

Minus the raisins, the bread is said to be 150 calories a slice.
This is a delicious recipe! Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Organizing Things

Maintaining order in my home goes a long way to reduce my stress.  It's somehow therapeutic and gives me a feeling of control, which I like. 


Another advantage is in time saved.  Household chores go more quickly, because I put things back after I use them and I clean up after myself.  Time isn't wasted looking for things when I need them, because I know exactly where they are stored.  I enjoy the free time this allows me.

Being organized, to me, is well worth the effort.


If you'd like to become more organized first and perhaps most important, is the wisdom in an anonymous quote, 'The way to eat an elephant is, one bite at a time.'


In other words, if it's your goal to organize your entire home, or life, you certainly cannot expect to do it all at once. 


1. Begin small.  Sort one cabinet, or closet, or drawer at a time. 


2. Where to begin is only important to you.  Maybe you have a space that's particularly irritating or that's causing you trouble of some kind.  If so begin with that space or better yet, begin with a part of it.    


3. Allow a reasonable amount of time for each organizational job.  


4. Make a list of all the areas you want to organize. 


5. Mark off each task as it's finished.  This will give you visual confirmation of your good work and you will undoubtedly experience a satisfying sense of accomplishment.


6. Keep your marked off lists to remind you of the progress made.


Following these steps will help you develop the habit of being organized.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A New Day

A new day from the Lord. The earth is spinning as she should. We are alive and doing OK. It's got to be a great day!

My chores are mostly all finished. I've checked my emails and answered them. I've looked at my Facebook page and learned what everyone else is doing. Time to get moving.

Today we want to go visiting. A beautiful friend here, and who goes to church with us, was gracious enough to show friends we had visiting from NM, all of her beautiful creations. This sweet lady is very, very talented. She's got rooms full of dolls, with sweet painted porcelin faces, and wonderful period clothing. She made them! And that's not all, she also has dishes she's painted, and makes whole sets - special orders, for weddings. And, in the past couple of years she's begun making the most beautiful jewelry! She also paints on canvas. She is a multi-talented person. And in summer she puts up the bounty of her amazing home garden! So...today we are going to see her to see if she's feeling OK, she has many health problems, and we want to give her a couple of hugs in thanks for her sharing, caring and sweet heart.

Next we want to visit someone from church who has been ill. He is older and sickness is always serious in older people. We want to be sure his wife has all she needs, and to see if we can do anything for them. When my husband was in the hospital for nine days because he fell and broke seven ribs and his shoulder bone, the woman called us every day and after we brought him home she called about every other day! My husband has had the pleasure of helping them with some home maintence since then and they are a pure delight! Both were still working! She one day a week at the local newspaper, sorting coupons, and he four or five evenings a week cleaning doctor's offices! They are both 85 years of age!

What will the day bring in addition to our visiting? Some good time for him and I together I think!

Hope you all have a great day as well. God is generous and usually gives us more time than we know what to do with, even if we sometimes think life is too short! If we really think about how we live each day, we can see, we have plenty of time, if we use it well!

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

the Hiker

Wednesday morning my husband, myself and our friends, who were visiting from out west, were getting ready for a day of shopping and looking around Asheville, NC. There was a knock at the door. It was a woman, a very slight woman, in a t-shirt, shorts, and hiking boots, carrying ski poles, and a little back pack. The woman asked my husband and I for water.


My husband went to get her some bottled water to take with her and I got her a glass of ice water. I sat down to talk to her and she told me she had been hiking, by herself, when her water filtering device had gotten clogged with some very muddy water and she had been unable to get it cleaned out and functioning properly. She hadn't had any water since the evening before. It was about 10 AM and was already 85 degrees and very, very humid. 

We visited a while. She shared with me that if she finished this section, she would have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail** - 2,174 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. She said she was a teacher from Virginia and this was her eighth summer to hike the Appalachian Trail.

After several minutes she made an admission. That morning she had seen a sign for my neighbors' store, which caters to hikers, and decided to try to find it so she could buy water. Not long after leaving the Trail to find the store, she realized, "I just want to go home!"

When we learned she wanted to get off the trail and go home, we decided to give her a ride to her car.*  She objected saying she would pay for a ride at our neighbors' store, she saw an add saying they offered shuttle service. And besides, she said, "I've on the trail for five days, and haven't stopped for a proper shower." Well of course we said take one here. Her eyes lit up, her mouth dropped open, and she nodded.

She said she had to go back down the road to get her pack. It had seemed so heavy she couldn't stand to carry it. She'd dropped it, kicked it into the grass and weeds where no one could see it and walked on. She said she stopped at our house because she felt she had already gone the 3/4 mile as per the sign for the store, and so she was afraid she'd missed it somehow. I thought, a 'meant to be' event. Life is full of them.

My husband gave her a ride to get the pack. She took her shower and when she emerged from the bathroom, she had the biggest smile I've ever seen on a woman. She said, "That was the best shower of my life!"

We understood she needed to go to Asheville, and since that was our chosen destination for the day we volunteered to take her there. But, we wanted to treat our friends to (another) local restaurant featuring 'down home' cooking, so we told our hiker we'd be making a side trip, to Hot Springs, NC for lunch at a diner. She said great, if she could buy our lunch. Agreed!

As we talked to her more it turned out her car wasn't in Asheville, but in the small town of Waynesville, NC. By this time we'd all decided she was our project for the day. We took her all the way to her car. It poured down rain about three times, we made a detour in a small town and got lost, but found our way back and delivered her to her car. We made sure the car started; then it was hugs bye and well wishing.

This left us quite a bit less time for antique shopping but none of us really cared. It felt good to help someone else. She was amazed by the kindness of strangers, and we were surprised at ourselves! It was a chance to live our Christianity, as my husband and I and our friends are all Christians.

While we were driving she told us her sister had dropped her off, and cried as she left. I had the feeling through the entire ordeal that she was meant to get off that trail when she did. And apparently we were meant to help her.

We haven't heard from her, although she has our email address, so I'm truly hoping she found all well at home. I'm pretty sure her family was happy she was home. I wonder if she will ever finish her hike, and I pray she doesn't ever try it alone again!
*****************
* Our hiker explained to us she was a section hiker. A section hiker will usually park the car near the beginning, or end of the chosen section. After finishing the section, or to get to the start of a section, there are places, like our neighbor, who provide rides for a price. There are publications with this information.

** http://www.appalachiantrail.com/

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Texture and Paint

The first step to work on your wall is to get everything in the room away from the walls.  You need space to walk around and also enough space to set up your ladder and a small stool or table of some kind. 

     












I simply placed all the furniture in the middle of the room and piled the smaller items from the room on top of the furniture.  You may need to take things out of the room if there isn't sufficient space for your ladder and small table. 

You'll want to keep mud and paint off your furniture and other items.  I used some cloths I keep for this kind of thing, to cover everything.  You might use drop cloths or old table cloths etc. 

Before you begin you must tape off your wood work, around the windows and doors, maybe the ceiling from the wall and unless you take all the switch plates and vent covers off you will need to tape over their edges.  This blue tape is recommended.


You will leave the tape in place until you have finished the texture and painting.

Next you will set up your ladder, and find something to put your pan of mud onto so you can reach it when you're up on the ladder.  I used a tall kitchen stool, one that it would not hurt to get paint or mud onto.

Mud pan, and two mud knives.
    




















Mud.

Fill the mud pan full of mud, pick up a glob of mud on your triangle shaped mud knife and spread the mud in small swatches across the wall in a random pattern. I turned the knife one way and then another across a section and I left some smooth flat wall between each swatch.  You will want to be sure to get some near the ceiling here and there and some next to the wood work or corner or what ever 'edge' there is so that you don't end up with rows of flat wall around the edges of your wall.

Once you've used all the mud on the knife, switch to the trowel, lay it over the mud, press it against the mud and wall, and twist, pull down and/or across the wall. Next you will pull the trowel off the wall.  This will take some effort.  You will notice this action will make little projections of mud stick out from the wall. Decide if you like these.  If you do, continue to first spread the mud in this section and then begin to push the trowel in and pull it out in a random way across the section of wall.  You will be pounding the wall with the trowel.  Every place the trowel is pulled away, if there's enough mud, you'll have the raised projections.  For added texture use the side of the trowel and hit the wall in one direction and then another, a right angle then a left angle, over the section of wet mud.

Your design for the texture is only limited by the properties of the mud and tools and your use of them.  There are no hard and fast rules other than a pattern once established will look nicer if it is repeated throughtout the entire wall and/or room.

Painting over the pulled up spikes isn't easy, so you may want to try to make them less pronounced or skip them all together.  Pulling, twisting and turning the trowel will make very interesting designs in the mud. 




















Your wall should look something like this one.

You will continue the above described process until all the walls are covered.  Try to use the same system throughout, so the walls while having a random pattern, the pattern will also be the same over all.

Now you get to rest for at least a day before you begin painting.

Especially if you have made the pulled up texture on your walls, you will need to either use a large or rollers for ceilings or stucco.




















I used a brush.  You don't always need to use the most expensive brushes.  I used the less expensive ones and they held up for both bedrooms.  Since they weren't expensive I didn't feel guilty throwing them away when my rooms were finished.  It saved a lot of messy clean up.  A smaller trim brush is very helpful for near the ceilings, wood word and switches. 

You will either need to cover all the walls with a primer and then paint them or use a paint with a primer in it. 




















This is the paint I used.  It's new at the store where I bought it, and I was a little worried about how well it would cover.  It worked just fine.  The areas of mud are a little bit duller looking but since I wanted a varied look, this is a good thing.  I'm also happy with the semi-gloss because it can now be washed off easily.  The walls shouldn't need repainting for several years.

When you have finished painting give the walls a couple of hours of drying time and then remove the tape, and reassemble your room.

Texturing gives an interesting look to your walls, and it will hide small dings.  And, you won't have to worry about filled nail holes showing when you decide to move your artwork or pictures from place to place.  Remember to have some extra paint in a sealed container, such as a jar with a tight lid, so you can paint over the repaired nail holes.

The process is not difficult to master.  It is a bit time consuming and it takes some physical effort but most anyone who really wants to texture her walls, can.

You can see my earlier post for pictures of my rooms after they were textured and painted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bedrooms Redos Finished

     The last two weeks I battled my arthritis, my laziness, and in a way my husband, and I redecorated the two guest bedrooms! Am I bragging, yep I sure am. I am proud of myself and probably more than that, I'm really glad it's all done!!!

     What I did I have already written about in the previous two posts. This post is to show the pictures of my two rooms all done. Are they perfect, no, but they are nice, clean and fresh and I like them. My color scheme is predominately silver and gold, with gray and black

This is the back bedroom. The painting of Christ is by Frank Agresti,
who was my art teacher at the University of Laverne, Naples satellite.
The lamp is old and I love it. The white flowers on the back wall
is a photograph, with a large black mat on which I've painted the
same type flowers. The paint on the wall here and in both rooms
is a pretty silvery blue/green, called 'silverberry'.


The back bedroom, my iris paintings,
and a curtain to divide the room from my sewing 'closet'.


Back bedroom with the new bedspread and black chair.


The sewing 'closet', a small space that will still work just fine.
I like it!
My purses, which I was making to sell, and sold some,
are hung on the wall to the left.
All my sewing supplies have places to be,
and since taking these pictures
I've put away more cloth and arranged
things so it all fits wonderfully!
I'm very excited about this little space.
It's efficient and hidden away from view.


Front bedroom with a twin and a full sized bed.
My third large iris painting is on the wall.


Front bedroom looking at the twin bed.
Paintings - first one friend's daughter looking
 at a giant sunflower my friend grew,
middle is a painting my youngest daughter made
 in schoolwhen she was about 8!
and the black and white
 is by a Canadian artist who left this
 in my art gallery in Arizona
(I owned and art gallery for just
over three years, once upon a time).


The front bedroom looking toward the full sized bed.
The paintings - on the far wall is a print from
and Arizona pencil artist Glen Powell,
there is a framed card sent to us in Italy by same friends
(who are the parents of the girl looking at the sunflower)
with picture of two elephants, from behind,
an elephant painted on a piano key done by
an artist and friend, Patti Barak,
and the little bitty one of my watercolors,
it's of a button, clown doll.



     That's the end. The rooms are completed and ready for the next company.  The next company are due on Monday and they are those parents of that little girl looking at the sunflower! They are coming from a long way away and this their first time to our home in about 15 years! We are excited!

     Old Arth'r did not stop me, and I don't intend to let him do, ever.