Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas...

From our little corner(s) of the world
 
 
 
 
 to yours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm Behind My Time...

I have never been so behind on holiday preparations... and for me, a lifelong procrastinator, that's saying something... I have a real live naked tree in my living room... unwrapped gifts stashed in the dining room... decorations still in boxes in the basement and dust bunnies meandering throughout the house... getting the picture?  I did decorate the porch!!  Hung the wreaths... stuffed evergreens, boxwood, eucalyptus and pine cones in vintage picnic baskets and tossed in an old wooden sled along with a pair of even older old ice skates.  If I drag my dining table out there I could be good to go! 
 
Anyway, onto the more interesting bit... Did you know that Home Depot offers free evergreen trimmings?  Me neither... at least until I visited my local store for some hardware and happened to wander out in the garden section for a sniff of Christmas... There they sat... a lovely huge pile of mixed evergreens...  Free.  The clerk at checkout told me they do this every year...  It's not a big thing... but as a customer, I thought it was a nice thing... 
 
 
oh, and they also have some rather sweet little hanging baskets for sale as well 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday...

meet shop 'til I drop Saturday...
 

I got an amazing amount of Christmas shopping accomplished and the stores were totally UNcrowded...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day to Celebrate...

Good food, dear friends and family...
Happy Thanksgiving and pass the gravy!
 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve...

I'm invited to my brother's house for Thanksgiving dinner...
so, I'll be roasting my own turkey on Friday...
 
 
which not only takes the pressure off getting the bird to the table by a certain time... but allows me to make gravy the way my Dad taught me.  According to him, once the turkey has finished roasting, the juices need to be poured off and take a turn in the fridge.  This lets the the fat to rise to the top and solidify slightly so that it can be easily skimmed off... then back to the stove for a bit of thickening with flour, salt and pepper.
 
The extra day delay also allows me the option of making some great stock with the turkey carcass.  Once done, it can be frozen in ice cube trays and then tossed into a freezer bag for individual future use.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

And Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding...

This week whooshed by... and while I did manage to get a goodly amount of art loaded into the new shop, my home-sweet-home is a disaster.  Seriously, when you have to move a tangle of brushes, paints, varnish and vintage smalls to open your microwave door... you know you're one step away from a Merry Maids intervention.  So, instead of tucking in to clean for those impending Holidays... here I sit... on my blog... rambling on about nothing useful, or even particularly interesting, while stalking the web for pictures.  But rather than yawning, you'll be wide awake and sitting up straight in a minute, because I found this...

Yum right?  Where's the coffee and pass me a fork... Carrot cake I thought at first... or maybe banana nut?  But no, oh no, it's a turkey cake... uh huh, right here at the longest recipe known to man   Finally, a purpose in life... I mean, who else would find these obscure internet gems if not for me and my amazing ability to avoid housework by any means necessary.  I AM so relevant!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Bat Here...A Bat There...

Is it really almost the end of October already?  Time flies... most particularly my favorite Autumn days.  Since I have outdone even myself in the procrastination department, I have only the sparsest of Halloween decorations set out this year.  And so, I shamelessly raided the archives of one of my favorite magazines, Country Living, for some mighty fine spooktakular inspiration...

 
 
 
  
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rolling Down the River...

Our little shop is moving from just across the river
to another artsy enclave located just a little scenic jaunt down river... 
November 1st puts us in our brand new (lovely old) historic building digs. 
It's even beautiful by the light of the silvery moon!
 

stop in and see us 24195 Front Street, Grand Rapids
...or visit us on Etsy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tomorrow...Tomorrow...

 

After a dinner last night consisting solely of taco-flavored Doritos, I made a solemn promise to myself to be more conscientious of what I fueled my body with in the future.  So this morning, after succumbing to a "truck stop breakfast" of eggs, sausage and fried potatoes, I mindfully munched on a Luna bar.  Girls gotta get her vitamins...

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Little Slice of Life...

 

I dragged in the door tonight to find pizza and a movie waiting on the other side.  The pizza was good and the movie was too.  Darling Companion received, from what I've seen, mostly lukewarm reviews... and, actually, had I been reviewing a movie like this in my twenties... I may have categorized it a geriatric snoozefest too.  But I'm no longer in my twenties... and the absence of blood, gore, special effects and body parts doesn't spoil a movie for me a bit.  

It's just a simple movie... with good actors and real dialogue... I mean Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline... c'mon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Grease Up The Griddle...




It's that time of year again... my favorite!  Cool, crisp air... pumpkins... gorgeous colors... apples... comfort food!!  I know I'm rushing it a bit... but after this sweltering Summer, I'm happy to be back at the stove! Here's a standout recipe I came across in my recent culinary travels... thought I'd share...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zoom Around the Room...



If you have cats, consider getting goods from this catnip manufacturer… it’s VERY good…  I (try to) smuggle it in the house… still tightly enclosed in its original packaging… additionally swathed in a plastic bag and stash it in a drawer in the china cabinet… twenty minutes later, my cats are still sitting motionless in front of the china cabinet staring at THE drawer… I kid you not… THAT good.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meals on Wheels...

Since my little art and vintage shop space is just a short hop across the river from my downtown office, I’ve fallen into a habit of tending to it quite often on my lunch hour.  This has prompted a number of takeout lunches back at the desk.  Unfortunately, ever since I started reading the nutritional data on fast food websites (and that, in turn, sucked all the joy out of my beloved bean burritos) I’ve been hard-pressed to find a “healthier” on-the-go option.  Fortunately, an amazing Chinese restaurant opened right next door to the shop.  Yum!  I know... I know... before you start rolling your eyes over the fat and sodium… just wait… because my usual order is Moo Goo Gai Pan steamed, no sauce and no rice… with one ala cart spring roll (a girl’s gotta live a little!)  I top it with some hot pepper flakes and lightly sea-salted nuts from my desk drawer pantry and it’s actually very tasty.  Bottom line… never shy away from asking your favorite restaurant for some healthful tweaking… most chefs I’ve found are happy to accommodate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays...


I have a terrible time choosing paint colors… Right now I’m painting my house… well, not me personally… but my house is being painted. It’s making the transition from plain old boring white to November Rain… that’s the name of the color I eventually chose… sounds nice, yes?… and it is… or was, actually, in the store… where it looked more gray… unlike on my house… where it looks more purple… to me, anyway. Gray complements the brickwork… whereas purple… ah, not so much.  So far, I have solicited the opinions of my next door neighbor (who is a professional artist), an office mate who thought she was just joining me for lunch (until I took the long route… past my house… to the restaurant), the odd dog walker or two, a FedEx guy, the newspaper boy, the mailman and a rather reticent stray little cat. They all say gray… and they can’t all be lying to be nice… well, except maybe that cat.

…your turn…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia...

I was reading through some vintage recipes online when I came across... this.  And because it just happens to be Julia Child's 100th birthday, I thought I'd share this blast from the past culinary delight.  Who knows, it might even be one of her recipes... maybe... or not. 

Behold the Lemon Thing...


 bon app├ętit!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And Perhaps a Bit of Toast...

There are three sweet spots for me at estate sales... kitchens, attics and libraries.  Included among the many treasures I routinely look for are old cookbooks... I read them like novels... occasionally, I'll find a handwritten dedication and, quite often, the most interesting bookmarks (old letters, cards, photos, grocery lists) tucked inside... 

One of my latest estate sale finds happened to be a vintage book of recipes compiled from various castles and manor houses in Ireland... and while it didn't have any bookmarks of note... it did have a winkle...

I'd never heard of a winkle... and was prompted to do a little research... I thought I'd share... the research, the recipe and, of course, the winkle...


...believed to have been an important source of food since at least 7500 BC ...still collected and also consumed locally... usually picked off the rocks by hand or caught in a drag from a boat... mostly eaten in the coastal areas of Scotland and Ireland where they are commonly referred to as winkles... sold in paper bags near beaches in Ireland and Scotland, boiled in local salt water and with a pin attached to the bag to enable the extraction of the soft parts from the shell ~ Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roadside Wonders...


Are you bored? This is a great time of year to travel the back roads and see what there is out there to see... or smell... or eat!! Roadside stands are open and those little lakeside Mom and Pop diners have the coffee on.  It's almost time for my annual peach pilgrimage... driving up to the lake to stock up on the Red Havens I grew up on... and (fingers crossed) with a bit more rain, some corn and an heirloom tomato or two as well...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wilted Lettuce...


I'm not going to ramble whine on and on about the heat and humidity (much)... This time of year it's all about getting in and out of the kitchen as fast as possible... I come home from the market... process my fruits and veggies... freeze a few handfuls of grapes and make a salad... and since my favorite salads have very little to do with lettuce, I usually stick to chopped and scoopable varieties... My current craving is a riff on the iconic Caprese...

You'll need:  3 English cucumbers, 2 pints of grape tomatoes, 12 pieces of string cheese, 2 teaspoons dried basil and a few grinds of black pepper.

Peel and dice cucumbers, slice tomatoes, slice cheese.  Toss the cucumbers with basil, add in tomatoes and cheese.  Toss gently and top with a generous grind of black pepper.  May be served plain or with a spritz of balsamic vinegar.  (It stores well and is a perfect portable for picnics, potlucks or brown bag lunches.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

They Love Me... They Love Me Not...


I just wanted to share a peek at my garden (if only...sigh)... In actuality, I've managed so far to kill a flat and a half of marigolds...singlehandedly.  I thought they were supposed to be hardy?  Those that survived are slowly withering in their respective pots, despite the fact that I have tenderly potted them in specially enriched soil... water them without fail... and even talk to them sweetly... (I can only imagine what my neighbors think as I stand outside alone diligently cooing at the ground.) 

Friday, June 22, 2012

One Lump... Or Two?

I take my coffee black... and I take the taste of my coffee seriously... so switching to decaf recently was a MAJOR eye opener...  it's a caffeine world baby... and decaf options are few and far between when compared with her big, bold caffeinated sister... even in this era of healthy... lowfat... organic... sugarfree... smoke-free... it's hard to be taken seriously in any self-respecting coffee house when you saunter up to the bar and ask the barista for a decaf... anything...

If you are, however, contemplating making the switch... here's a few tidbits I've picked up along the way... If you're not willing to brew your decaf on a per cup basis... invest in a carafe and pour it from the pot immediately after brewing... because for some unexplained reason decaf turns bitter oh... say... 3 minutes after the brew cycle ceases (and that may be padding the timeline)... Make the effort to hunt down some plain old good tasting brew for everyday... just cuz we're decaffers now doesn't mean we're reduced to drinking swill... Seattle's Best makes a decent tasting decaf... and for those special moments... the moments that commericals are made of... find some special decaf brews... I've stumbled across a few gems in this uncaffeinated world... my current favorite...


all in all, I'm pretty content with my decaffeinated decision at home... though finding the decaf love in the outside world is still a work in progress...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Blue and Gold...

I am planting a plethora of marigolds this year... primarily because our Winter was so mild that they're predicting oodles of bugs this Summer... And according to the  gardening  gods... marigolds make fabulous insect repellents... (and are much more my preference over the citronella candle and backwoods sprays).  I've decided to accent with blues... even though I run the risk of becoming an outcast amongst my rabid Ohio State fans family... Somehow scarlet and gray just doesn't seem as appealing in a flowerpot as it is on the field...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Junking for Old Masters....

You hear stories about Picasso turning up at yard sales... well, I happened to be poking around in a little secondhand shop yesterday and guess what? 


Okay... obviously we're not talking Rembrandt... but, I finally found something that cost three dollars... made me smile... and wasn't destined to turn my hips to cellulite later.  That's definitely a win...win... and win in my book.  And admit it... you're grinning too (or at least shaking your head).

Friday, May 18, 2012

When It REALLY Purrs Like a Kitten...


Imagine having to call in late to work because you have...kittens in your engine?  Me neither...until this morning.  We've had a number of kittens recently courtesy of the strays that call our little neighborhood home.  This morning I inadvertently startled three little ones lumbering along the driveway into running under my car for cover... After a bit of brainstorming, I got in and blared the horn... hoping... I guess... they would be startled enough to scatter out from under the car... and they were... startled, that is... startled enough, actually, to crawl up into my engine...
  
I finally waited them out and was able to make my way to the office without incident... although that first turn of the ignition was a real leap of faith... 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Something Old...Something New...

My boss just got back from his granddaughters' christening this weekend.  Little lovely twin bundles of joy... dressed in beautiful christening gowns fashioned from fabric from their Mother's wedding gown.  I thought that was so clever... the woman who designed her gown had leftover fabric.  Then my mind wandered (not unusual) to those of us without access to a seamstress hoarding silk... Perhaps new christening gowns could still transform into modern heirlooms with a bit of lace from Grandmother's gown... a button from Mother's... the mind boggles... and yet... and yet...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Don't Blink...

This winter left me looking washed out and dull... a recent visit to the opthamologist put me in the market for new glasses... and so... this past week I searched for the perfect pair of frames... along with the perfect complexion. 

I'm off to a promising start on the complexion... Facial scrubs... (read reviews online... you may find recommendations for an array of surprisingly cheap, yet very effective, products to choose from... I did.)  Facial masks... (opt for clay and try to stay as natural as possible.)  Cosmetics... (a very personal choice... mine happened to be a lovely new powdery foundation from Lancome -- which included a VERY generous gift with purchase!)   

The glasses... well, they're still a work in progress.  Because after slapping on nearly a hundred frames, the one that looks the best (by far!) on my Charlie Brown head... happens to be a yummy Prada confection... and a very pricey Prada pair at that.  So the search continues... because if my past history with expensive purchases is any indication, I am destined to sit on... step on... drive over... crush... smash... or otherwise just generally destroy, or absentmindedly lose, them within the very first month of ownership.   

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Been There... Done That....

Beautiful sunny, blue skies day... yay, no mascara... just slap on the shades and away we go... right to my favorite little neighborhood market... love the ambient lighting in that place... no obnoxious overhead fluorescence to be found... absolute design genius... pad around in my comfy (yet stylish!) flip flops and swishy skirt while sipping their piping hot butterscotch spring blend java... oh yes, with a side of sigh.... life is good.

fluff...
color...
market...
check... check... check.

Friday, April 6, 2012

And That's the Short List...

I need to dust and fluff... color eggs... make baskets... a centerpiece... take a trip to the market... create a feast... and I plan to start right after this chapter...



Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm Older and I Have More Insurance...

Maybe they should consider raising the driving age...  oh, I know drivers of all ages have momentary lapses...  only usually they have the decency to look chagrined.  But damn... yesterday, I had to employ techniques worthy of a seasoned stunt driver to avoid being hit.  The car to my left apparently wanted in my lane... so she flipped her blinker on and immediately tried to merge into the side of my car...  A few brake squeals, horn honks and heart palpatations later... she sped up, cut the car in front of me off instead and jumped onto a curved freeway on ramp.  Both she and her companion were bouncing in their seats, necks craned in my direction, laughing and waving... I'm assuming their car was making that hairpin entrance on auto pilot.  It was then I decided I needed a REAL car... you know, when cars were heavy metal and tank-like and not just glorified Tupperware on wheels...

or Kathy Bates riding shotgun...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Bunny to Love...

When I unearthed this plate at an estate sale yesterday...
I seriously considered giving it to Mom
she (selectively) collects rabbits...


But decided it was just a tad too quirky to reside with her...
and needed to live here with me instead 


I am a thoughtful daughter...

Friday, March 23, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes...

We went from this...
(a view from a window at work)
to this...
(a view or two from my neighbor's yard)
in just a few weeks.


I did consider taking photos from my own yard... but the only thing blooming here presently is a mighty impressive crop of dandelion greens.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green...

 Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I used this as the flimsiest of excuses
to feed my Etsy addiction...
and borrowed the following images while there...
where shopping really runs the gamut.