Sunday, January 31, 2010

Australian Kookaburras in our backyard


Australian Rosellas on our back deck

Rosellas on our deck


How many of you love to sit and watch the birds like I do? Right outside my den window I have several birdfeeders and houses; and on snowy cold days I really enjoy sitting and watching all the activity...yesterday I snapped a few (grainy for sure) pictures to share and in a short time we were able to spot cardinals, finches, doves, bluejays and a few unidentified species as well...the bluejays are the "bullies" of the crowd and my favorite is the brilliant male cardinal you will spot in a picture below.

I thought this pic was interesting with the screens so detailed..almost looked like a cross stiched piece to me

Friday, January 29, 2010

Jelly Rolls aren't just for snacking..........

A couple of years ago I took up quilting, though, on a very small scale. I would NEVER venture to make a quilt large enough for an adult to sleep under. I resign my sizes to baby quilts, wall hangings or the table topper as you see here. My aunt presented me with a beautiful Jelly Roll from Moda Fabrics over two years ago and this week, I decided it was time to get something created. I love the Chinese coin quilt pattern, so I started searching the Internet for ideas and decided it would be easier to just find a photo and do it on my own. The collection consists of citrus colors with all designs, so this made part of the project easy. I decided to do a different border and used some solid strips in the collection as they reminded me of limeade, orangeade and lemonade. Hey it's February and when I was getting my table items set to take a photo - I decided that I would have hot tea - rather than iced. In 51 days, we will meet up with SPRING. I will be happy to sit at this cute table scape and have Gayle (perhaps Keely can join us with Easton) over for iced tea. Victoria: hope you like the table topper - I enjoyed our chats about it.

While I appreciate the things I have accomplished, we all tend to strive to excel a little more. I never embraced the "country" look, but when you have to work with what you have - that's what you do. My kitchen is large, but there was never sufficient space so over the years, I've upgraded to allow for more storage for the huge collection of dishes and serving pieces we all collect. A floor redo was implemented a couple of years ago and my son Al did the tile work which I designed to resemble a rug on the floor. He did an excellent job and I probably will never change this.
This past summer we installed some new cabinets purchased at Lowes - they make the kitchen feel more organized since everything is stored and out of sight. Carl has never done carpentry work like this, but I think he did a great job. Now - all I need to do is put some paint on the back wall to make the cabinets POP - perhaps a good red color. Any suggestions - are welcomed. Come by for tea - we can sit here!

Refreshing Before & Afters - Kitchen Project

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What a Difference...

A few feet of Crown Molding can make! Our main floor bath is tiny (circa 1954) and I'm always looking for ways to make it seem more like the luxury baths that are so popular these days. Last year we had replacement windows put in and we removed the old window with panes and replaced with the glass block window (love it!)...we have plaster walls and the previous owner had wallpapered without a backer and when I went to remove the paper the plaster walls were coming with it! I found the paper with a linen texture and we put that up a few months back but i wanted crown molding to really finish it off...we bought the molding several weeks back but jim was putting it off and then today i came home to find he had started's a before without and one section with it! Amazing what a difference it makes to add the crown molding doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Deal of the Year!

Do any of you shop at CVS pharmacy? I have for years and love getting the Bonus Bucks...Recently I was picking up a prescription for my husband and thought I would use my Bonus Bucks while in the store. I use a lot of stickers with clients and am always on the lookout for good deals...I had about $7 worth of Bonus Bucks and picked out a selection of things. When I got to the register the guy checking me out said I needed to buy at least $4 more in order to use up all the "Bucks"...I was a bit surprised but then he explained that some packages of stickers I had picked out marked $1 were coming up .09!!!! I went back and scooped up a bunch more and guess what my total out of pocket was? .01!! can you imagine? I got all of this stuff for one red cent! Deal of the year for sure.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New and different snack treat

Saw this great sounding recipe before the previous holidays for a Ginger Crunch and tried it recently. I did think ahead and prior to diving into it for tasting, took a photo. Recipe was on an Australian site so I had to convert from metric, but the results were very tasty (as Gayle often refers to a dish). Try it - you'll like it too.
For the crunch part: 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 Tablespoon ground ginger and a pinch of salt. Mix all together and press into an 8 x 12 pan, greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 355 degrees for 20 minutes OR until golden brown.
While the crunch part is baking, mix up the icing portion. 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 stick butter, 1/4 cup golden syrup, 2 tsp. ginger and 1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook, stirring all the time for about three minutes. Time the completed baking of crust so you can pour the heated icing mixture onto crust as soon as you remove it from oven. Cool for a few minutes and when cooled enough - cut into squares.

Keely's new gorgeous boy got me thinking...........

Remember when your firstborn arrived????

And you bought him/her home?
Or some of you might have bought MORE than one home........I bow down to you!!!!

I remember the first six weeks as a blur.
A complete blur.
Full of happiness.
And exhaustion.
And love.
And confusion.

But mostly love.

Amazing times.
I think!!!!

Not alot of sleep.

But feeling so happy.

And CLEVER!!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Got this link today in my email and just had to share with you all...this is a really cool website where you plug in items you have in your pantry and then a variety of recipes will come up using what you have on cool is that for those times you don't want to make another grocery store run or are trying to use up what you have on hand but have gotten tired of the same old recipes...check it out right here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I always said I would never be one of those gushing grandparents that bored people to tears with tales of their grandchildren and shoving volumes of photo albums in guests' faces...well I lied! Yesterday our daughter  Keely gave birth to our first grandchild, a son...Easton Archer Jones arrived yesterday at 3:55 EST weighing a hefty 9 lbs 11 oz and 23 1/2 inches long. Keely lives in Michigan near the Canadian border and Jim and I were not able to be there for the birth BUT we will be traveling up Feb 5th to meet Easton and bring the family back South...Yippee! they are moving to NC next month so that is why we delayed our visit by a few weeks...hard to not be there but looking forward to special times ahead with them closer in NC.

It wouldn't be fair to not show my other grand-furbabies so here they are's Bo and Marley; English bulldog and kitty that belongs to our son Jacob and his wife Ashley.

Other members of the household include Ava and Luca...

A face only a grandmother could love

Everytime I look at this photo the song, "Somewhere out there...someone waits for me"...runs though my mind for some reason...LOL

Isn't Luca a handsome devil?

Marley and christmas tree

Last but not least is Esco, the sweetest doggie you'll ever meet owned by our son Bryce...I have a ton of great pics of Esco but they are on my desktop which needs to go in the this photo snapped this past christmas will have to suffice for now...I think Esco was a bit tired from his run with Santa and helping the reindeer out a bit (notice the antlers)...

Monday, January 18, 2010


In a little over two weeks, we will be in Hawaii.

Gosh, don't I have a hard life!!!!!

Seems foolish really..... leaving sunshine and summer to go to Paradise.

My biggest problem is packing.
I have learnt, over the years, to pack light.
Light to ME is definitely different to what my husband regards as light.
He thinks a small back pack should suffice.
Foolish man!!!
But I do need to consider room for SHOPPING.

Any of you been to Australia?????

Things are DEFINITELY cheaper in the good 'ol US of A.
I HAVE to make room for those goodies!!! (only if they are bargains though :) )

So, since I am laid up at home with my poor sore foot I thought I would 'pre pack'.

What should go with me??
One swimsuit?? Or two???
How many coverups???
How many pairs of shoes???
Will we hike??
Do I NEED joggers??
Gym clothes??? YUK
Nice clothes for dinners?? We WILL be there for Valentines Day.

Decisions Decisions

And, since my 'kids' aren't coming with us, I must leave a TEENY TINY bit of space for pressies for them, I suppose.

Another day!

Feeling sorry for myself here!

I fell over at work last week and badly sprained my ankle.
And, because I am favouring it, I now have aches and pains up my leg.
Life is tough!!

And my poor baby boy (all 6 foot of him) has some awful virus.

Don't you hate it when they are worse off than you?
All I wanted was a little sympathy.
But, no.
He is lying there looking pathetic.

So, I hobble around and bring him flat lemonade.
And little plates of goodies in case it might tempt him to eat.

He sure looks cute.
Just like he was when he was 2.
Oh, those were the days

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Speaking of Toile...

Isn't this pillow gorgeous that Bettie made for me to give my Daughter-in-Law Ashley for her birthday? Ashley has four furbabies and I knew Ashley would love something depicting her "babies"...Bettie made a similiar, cute pillow for our cousin Patty (are you reading this Patty?) and then she made one for my Mom...and Ashley raved about them during this pillow was a joint effort with Bettie doing the main sewing and I helped her print out the photos on fabric...I think the combination of the toille and black/white prints is stunning! don't you agree?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dressing for spring presentation . . . . . .

Needed to come up with new cushions for my settee on screened porch, off the kitchen and decided to use one single twin flat sheet I had purchased a while back. The flowers and bright red says "Welcome" and the covers were made to fit some extra bed pillows - if you sew - this would be an easy way to make new covers and change the theme often without the expense of purchasing new cushions. The main thing to do is measure your piece of furniture and USING the wide hemmed edge of the sheet - allow for a seam and cut sheet and hem. If you left the opening at the edge of settee, you can slip pillows in and your bottom section is completed. Cover two more pillows for the top portion and you will be finished. I use the pillow opening technique to allow for covers to be washed when needed or changed to another theme. Perhaps I should do a tutorial - my sister Gayle will have to assist on multiple photos. If you need assistance, post and we will come up with a tutorial. Happy sewing!

Better Late than Never, Right?

I meant to share this photo with you guys during the holidays but obviously didn't  but......I must have the tiniest main floor bathroom on the planet (circa 1954) so it's always a challenge to decorate for the seasons since I have NO room for accessories except the back of the commode or the walls...I had purchased this snowman several years back at Marshalls and recently put the toile shower curtain in the tiny bath...and then I had the vinyl words that I decided to put on the mirror in the can see the edges of a red glass candle holder (near the snowman's scarf) and that was my decor...looked kinda striking with the candle lit at night though...and I had a red rug as well. so if anyone else is struggling with a tiny bathroom, don't dismiss the idea of decorating your tiny space...just think a bit outside the box as they say; and you'll be amazed at what you might come up with in those spaces.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It sure is hot here, 'down under'!!!

We are in the middle of summer here in Australia.
And it is hot.
And humid.
Thank heavens for air conditioning.
And salads.
Because cooking is the LAST thing I want to do at the end of a muggy day.

I made a DELICIOUS prawn dish the other night.
I will call it........

Coconut prawn salad.

Use whatever salad greens you like and lay them on a serving dish.
I used a mixture of rocket, spinach and mixed salad leaves.
Layer freshly steamed (but cold) asparagus over this.
You can also add spanish onions, finely chopped.
And baby tomatoes
And lebanese cucumbers.
And corriander!!!
LOVE corriander
Then, layer over your prawns....shelled, of course :)

Then, in a small saucepan, pour in I cup of coconut milk.
Get one tablespoon of rice flour and mix with a little of the milk.
Add this to the saucepan.
Heat gently until thickened, slightly. Like thickened cream
Add a tablespoon of fish sauce
A tablespoon of lime juice (or lemon juice)
A teaspoon of sugar.
And one or two finely chopped chillis.

I then pour this sauce into a plastic bottle with a nozzle.
Like a tomato sauce bottle.

When this sauce is cool, and just before serving, drizzle this sauce over your prawn salad.

This is also perfect with cooked chicken!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Curbside Find...Transformation

Do you ever see trash  items curbside that people have abandoned and it makes your heart jump with anticipation knowing you could bring it back to life and keep it from the landfill with a little elbow grease and creativity? Well I gotta admit when my husband dragged this back to our house I was thinking how ugly this piece of furniture was but could see potential among all the ugliness. I needed something to house some of my candles and linens for the guest room and I thought the piece had good lines and lots of storage potential with those drawers...instead of keeping the closet part for hanging clothing I got Jim to remove the bar and install sturdy shelving instead...a few coats of primer and white paint and I was ready to embellish the piece a bit with some decorative painting. I use this piece in my guest room and it's perfect to hold linens, candles and even fluffy white towels for my guests...costs for the transformation was approximately $50 and that includes paint and lumber for shelving!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


LOVE all the gorgeous winter photos.....

but one of us here is sweltering in the most horrid, muggy summer EVER!!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

When painting is NOT an option .............

New approach for 2010. Do you have a table - one that you truly love, but the stain on it is not exactly one that will gain an award from HGTV, BUT, you do like the legs on it and you need the piece where its being used. Try sewing a fitted piece of garment - sort of like a slip cover, but much easier. This particular piece had  nice splayed legs, but I never liked the strange shape of the skirt on the table, so yesterday while temperatures were way too...........low to get out of the house, I began a search for a piece of fabric in my stash, of course. I found a couple of slip covers for a sofa I used almost twenty years ago and when they were washed for the first time, they SHRUNK about 30 percent and could not be used again, so a new sofa was purchased, I kept the covers since the fabric was great for pillows and trim and making covered cords, etc. - The cover has a tailored look and I did a lot of top stitching which makes them extra strong. Carl keeps this little table near his recliner and eats most of his meals on it, while viewing old westerns - I do have to reward him once in a while for assisting in so.......many of my projects. The thing I love, love, love about this is I recycled the piece and no money spent. How divine is that? Happy Sewing in 2010.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Losing my Head....

Do any of you collect spreaders? I simply adore spreaders and have a variety of them. One thing I do each season is to place a seasonal mug on my island and fill with spreaders...makes it easy to butter a hot steaming roll or make a quick sandwich without scrambling through the drawers to find an appropriate gadget to use. Several years ago I ran across this spreader set and this trio never fail to gain some comments at a table setting when they lose their heads!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year. New beginning. Same old, same old :)

Isn't it funny what 'tickles your funny bone'???

Three of my kids (Erin, Patrick and Andrew) went to a mutual friend's home for New Years Eve.
This friend has an AMAZING home.
Well, the grandparents do.
But he has his own cottage on their property.
As I said, amazing!!!

Anyway, back to my story.

New Year's Eve started for them at around 4pm
And finished, for the boys, on January 2 at around 11am.
Gosh, those boys have a good life!

But, back to what made me smile......
Got a message from their friend on Facebook telling me how great Andrew (my youngest) was at cleaning up!!!!
My son!!!!
My baby!!!!!
Cleaning up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a proud moment.

See, the glass CAN be half full.

Obviously, during those almost 48 hours of partying, some glasses were quite empty/full.
And then empty/full again.
Hence, that is why my son needed to mop/scrub/declutter.

But he did it!!

Does that mean he will do that HERE?????
I can only dream.