Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yellow Daisies and Flea Market Finds

I love daisies.  They are such a very comfortable flower.  They can be stuffed in a broken crock or Mason jar and look quite at home.  They demand neither a fancy home nor artful arranging.

(vintage iron garden art from Shinola)

They look cheerful and accepting, never snooty or bored.

And when other more sophisticated flowers have begun to shed their regal beauty, the commonplace daisy is still smugly fresh and youthful.

Those same adjectives can be applied to flea market finds . . . comfortable, cheerful accepting, fresh.

(small silver pitcher from Pickens Flea Market)

When a little silver pitcher is already colored with the patina of irreversible tarnish or a milk crate is rough, worn  and its handle split, it lets me know I don't have to sit taller or keep my legs crossed at the ankles when it comes in to my home.

(vintage milk crate with original pint milk bottles from Barnyard Flea Market)

So, what better than to combine a big bunch of laid back daisies with several new comfortable flea market finds?

Ah, dreamy!

(passed down from My Mom)

And I think these little chippy, place-card-holding children from Germany, grasping their own imperfect but cheerful and unassuming flowers would agree.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Reason to Love the Internet

A sweet friend was having her 70th birthday.  And what, oh what, does one get a 70 year-old for their birthday?  This is the stage of life where people are unloading their "stuff," not seeking more.  This is the stage of life where a person is long past thinking some "thing" they can acquire will make them happy.  The present had to have significance.

Gift-giving is just not my thing.    Things just do not come to mind.  Right about this time, however, she acquired an old book from a friend's library.  A book called God's Candlelights by Mable Shaw . . . long out of print but a delightful telling of her time teaching in Africa.  My friend was inspired and enchanted.

Which set me to thinking . . . could it be Mabel Shaw had written other books that could delight my friend?  Enter the internet.  In a flash I had found that Mabel Shaw had, indeed, written at least 3 other books, all out of print.  Next step, searching rare book sites.  One was found here in America, two were found in England, Mabel Shaw's home country.  In several weeks, all 3 books were on my dining room table, wrapped in string and ready to celebrate with my friend on her 70th.

Dawn in Africa was only to be found in one location, a dusty little shop in a small village in England.  It came smelling like a dusty little shop in a small village in England.

Thirty years ago, I could not have brought a smile to a friend's face with rare books garnered from places far away.  Today, because of the internet, I could bring them home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finish Line

The scrumptious Prairie Fire Throw is done.  It was done just in time for the weather to turn a sweating 85 degrees.  Who wants to cuddle up in wool yumminess in that?  Maybe one of the kids will cuddle with it to protect themselves from the blast of the air conditioner!!

The throw turned out to be around 42" x 53".  Can someone please tell me how you can knit your head off and still not come up with a large and generous throw?

It's a little skimpy in my mind, but I knit up all the beautiful wool that I had bought and then that was it.  Done.

It sits, looking all cuddly and full of texture and softness on the couch in My Husband's office.  This is probably the only time you will see it folded.  The rest of the time it will be scrunched up on the couch or in a heap on the floor or stuffed into the corner of the recliner.  This will, undoubtedly, drive My Husband crazy!!

We like to do that around here!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Ever since Youngest Son and I declared ourselves to be "pickers" (of sorts), we have begun to find little "holes-in-the-wall," pockets of picking goodness that we never before knew existed.

Such a place is Shinola.

Shinola?  What a unique name.  I asked the dapper owner where "Shinola" came from.  He glanced nervously at the 8 year-old and 12 year-old standing by my side and muttered a jumble of words that included things like "shoe shine," "the war" and "sticky brown."  From his discomfort, I could see that this conversation might be heading in a direction I didn't want to go, so I quickly laughed and acted like I knew just what he meant and we moved on.

Feel free to google "What is Shinola" if you must know the origin of this quirky store's quirky name.

And quirky it is, beginning with the front windows which have been turned into small chicken/bird coops.

The place is mounded, stacked and piled with stuff, stuff and more stuff.  Overwhelming at first to go through all the rooms, the piles, the layers.

Each room leads to another; each doorway to another, until finally you've arrived at the outside courtyard, where things are left out in the elements to continue working on their rusty "patina."

There was a back section to the courtyard, which housed bed frames and other miscellaneous junk.

However, it was guarded by a watch-goose, and I wasn't willing to get my legs pecked to risk exploring.

I took home some rusty iron goodness that I will show you shortly.

I wanted this desk.  Really, really wanted this desk, but it said $250 on it, and I didn't think the nice owner would come down to $20.

It was overwhelming, frustrating, and intriguing.  I find myself being drawn back for another peek at what might be there "this time."

Thursday, March 8, 2012


It was 50 years ago that my parents married, which, of course means there MUST be celebration!!

My brother and friends and I worked together, and an evening of celebration was had.

Here are some thoughts on the evening:

Best Friend Contribution (tied for 1st! Place)

I walked in the house, plopped 2 dozen golden and brilliantly sunset-colored roses on the counter, along with framed pictures, and Debbie made magic.  

Love how she nestled the roses in my grandmother's Limoges teacups with the wide gold bands.  Love how she stacked up vintage books in the beautiful color of the sunset roses and grouped the pics on top of the books.

The colors of the roses were stunning.

Best Friend Contribution (tied for 1st place!)

This is Barb's dreamy cake . . . delicate and iridescent on the outside / rich carrot cake on the inside.

Love the little, elegant swoop of the golden balls, drifting out from the flowers.  Divine!

The Menu
* * * 
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Hot Crab Dip with Toast Points
Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers
Fresh Vegetables with Homemade Ranch and Hummus
Smoked Salmon Spread with Assorted Crackers
Homemade Guacamole and Tortilla Chips
Tropical Fruit Skewers
Strawberries dipped in Ganache
Carrot Cake

Fruited Water
French Vanilla Coffee

Best Food Prep

Definitely goes to my brother, proprietor of West First Wood-Fired Pizza, who came through big time with 2/3 of the food.  Yes, it and he rushed in the door at the last minute.  Yes, much of it was still in bags and had to be assembled.  But he brought his right-hand girl and totally delivered!!  Yummmmmmmm!

Most-Enjoyed Hors d'Oeuvres

I'm the one voting here, so I'm voting for the fab sweet and sour meatballs that came out of the America's Test Kitchen's "Best Of" for 2011.  They were one of the things I made, and all 120+ of them were gone!  A meatball was a hit with this crowd that grew up in the '40s and '50s!!

Most Confusing Menu Item

Okay . . . my very hip and trendy friends (smile) told me, "Don't serve punch!!  Too passe'.  The in thing is fruited water."  Great!  Sounded easy . . . sounded cheap . . . sounded cool.  What's not to like?   3 gallons of chilled water, with a delicious layer of quartered strawberries, sliced apples, sliced oranges and sliced lemons, floating on the water, giving a hint of fruity-ness and a slight sweetness of sugar added to the water.

I think the guests were confused.  Fruit in water??  These guests grew up in the '40s and '50s.  They served fruit punch in the '60s, sherbet punch in the '70s, and white grape juice/ginger ale in the '80s.  What was with this fruited water?

My kids said that in the greenish beverage jar it looked like pond water.

If I could have found a box of lime sherbet, a can of pineapple juice, and a 2 liter of ginger ale somewhere, I would have grabbed it in a heartbeat!

Best Musical Moment of the Evening

Four guys around the piano, singing "Let me Call You Sweetheart."

Best Reason to Have a 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating with friends that have known and loved you forever!

Happy Anniverary, Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Any time I fall off the map, drop in a hole, disappear from life, you can be sure one thing has happened:  sports have taken over my life!!

Currently . . .

#1 - Volleyball spring training has begun, along with fall game scheduling:

#2 - Football spring training and flag teams have begun:

#3 - Soccer has had tryouts and the spring season is underway:

#4 - Basketball just wrapped up state and national tournaments:

Okay . . . so none of our players were invited to the McDonald's All-American, but it's a fun thought!

I am slowly emerging from stacks of registration forms, background checks, receipts, and pre-season apparel orders.

For those who wonder . . . yes, the children have been taught, meals have been served, clothes have been washed.  The state of my kitchen, rec room, and bathrooms are another matter entirely.