~Change that Ugly Light Fixture~

Be gone ugly, shiny, builder’s cheapo light fixture. This little project had been on my to do list for years. I’m quite the procrastinator.

So much better. What a difference a small change can make. I found these fixtures on sale several months ago and finally tackled the job of installing them. Yes, I did it myself, you can do it too! It’s not so hard. I had to install three of these, one in the small hall off the garage and two in the hall by the bedrooms. Installing the third one was a bear! The screws wouldn’t turn easily, something wasn’t right with the threads on the screws and H couldn’t help because he can’t stand on a ladder. (knee Surgery) It took me a while but I got it.

There it is. I like it!
Now on to the DR chandelier. It’s too big and too brassy, so it’s next to go. I think I’m going to do an online search for the perfect chandelier, maybe you can vote and help me choose. That will be another post. Happy Decorating.

~Awards~


Two awards were passed to me by Kathleen at The Bliss Journey. She has a lovely decorating blog full of inspiring pictures and eye candy. She shares random thoughts and stunning tablescapes and her blog header is beautiful black and white. Be sure to stop by and say HI. You’ll enjoy your visit.

The Sisterhood Award, three awards in one!
Here are the rules for the recipients:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

The Proximidade Award, this award translated from Portuguese means, “This blog contributes to and supports or believes in close friendships.” “This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY – nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

I’d like to thank Kathleen for passing these awards to me! Thank YOU so much! Blogging has opened a whole new world to me where I’ve met many talented women. I honestly don’t know what I did as an outlet for stress when I didn’t blog. It’s become therapeutic to me to write about little snippets of my plain white bread life.
SO, I would like to share this award with Everybody that stops by to read my blog. That means if you are reading this, you’re awarded!
You’re awarded because I appreciate each & every one who stops by! If your a lurker, a blurker or just shy, I’m glad you dropped by! Don’t be afraid to comment!

~A Pie Story~

FRIDAY was National Pie Day.

I felt the tugging. A strong tugging and yanking that I couldn’t resist. Blame it on the snowy day. I stuck my head out the back door….ahhh, that lovely snow, white, fluffy and quiet. It was so quiet, it was so serene and it was yanking on my nesting instincts so strongly that I knew I couldn’t escape. I HAD TO MAKE A PIE, from scratch!
Make a pie? No, I’m definitely not a make from scratch kind of gal. I’m the kind of gal that buys the dough, brings it home and unrolls it onto the pie plate.
I followed the recipe and it was turning out ok. It wasn’t too crumbly or too sticky and after chilling, the dough rolled out nicely. I was surprised… eeerrrr…. elated!


But, see what happens, every time, every stinking time! Oh well, that’s easy enough to fix……next, bake the crust, let cool and add sliced bananas. I may have failed to mention that this was a banana cream pie.
Next, the most important part of the pie, the creamy filling. I added the ingredients and cooked it on the stove, constantly stirring as per the recipe. When it got to a boil that couldn’t be stirred down, you were supposed to remove it from the heat and it would thicken as it cooled.

That never happened! When it started to boil, it turned into something that resembled play doh or rubber! What have I done……..something wasn’t right…..what to do…….I tasted it and it was good, textured like rubber but tasted good. Maybe Bill wouldn’t notice that the cream pie was more like a rubber pie!

Here it is prettily disguised with whipped cream topping covering the rubber filling. At least the crust was nice and flaky. Did Bill notice my faux paux? No, he liked it and he ate it, rubber filling and all.

Later, he overheard when I confessed to a friend that I had used 3/4 c. corn starch instead of 1/4 c.
So, Bill’s moral of this story is, “wear your glasses, stop taking them off !”
Mine is, don’t tell such things when hubby might be listening!

I didn’t actually make this pie on national pie day but thought I’d post it in honor of national pie day! Some of us are blessed with the natural talent to create a beautiful delicious pie and some of us are not, like me. Have you mastered the art?

*EDITED to add the recipe. Pictures are clickable. Enjoy!

~Here and There~

Yesterday was a sunny day, YEAH, I was out & about trying to rejuvenate my weary self after all the dark cloudy days. After doing errands for Dad I went shopping, not really shopping , more like “just looking”. I ended up at one of my favorite places, Rhoads Pharmacy. I posted about Rhoads before but they always have fresh eye candy to enjoy, no matter what season. Pictures just don’t get it right….this aqua blue was gorgeous!

They said that they’re still seeing lots of limey greens for spring. The topiaries were a beautiful shade, not the ivy color you usually see. Bunnies & pears are still around too. sorry the pic is blurry

Lots of natural elements and animal prints and sisal rugs. I ooohed & ahhhhhed over this vignette. Just loved that chair!

These eggs were the prettiest marbled colors and so shiny, they really caught your eye! More bunnies! Spring is just around the corner.

That’s the little tour of the Gallery at Rhodes. If you are ever in PA, check it out in Hummelstown.
My next stop was the Christmas Tree shop, where I picked up a little gift for a friend’s birthday. I ended up at Target where I stumbled onto a great bargain, 3 double packs of Clorox toilet cleaner for 7$! That’s 6, 24oz bottles.
Get ginormous ziploc bags with a BOGO coupon. I got these too at Target.
Wooo hooo, getting those bargains made my day. I’m so easy to please.

~Chicken and vegetables with herbs, Crockpot recipe~

I found this recipe at the Better Homes and Gardens site. Chicken and vegetables with herbs. It’s really good and a crockpot recipe too. Don’t you just love crockpots? Throw it in there and forget about it. Here’s their version with chicken legs.

Ingredients
8 ounces mushrooms, halved
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry red wine I used extra broth instead of wine.
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed omitted rosemary, I just don’t care for the taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
4 small chicken legs (drumstick-thigh portion; skinned) (2 to 2-1/2 pounds total) I used skinless, boneless breasts
Chicken broth (optional)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Hot cooked mashed potatoes (optional)
Fresh parsley sprigs (optional)
Directions
1. In a 5-1/2- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine mushrooms and pearl onions. Stir in the 1/2 cup broth, the wine, tomato paste, garlic salt, rosemary, thyme, pepper, and bay leaf. Add chicken legs to cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving platter. Discard bay leaf. Cover chicken and vegetables and keep warm.
4. For sauce: Skim fat from cooking liquid. Measure 2 cups of the cooking liquid, adding additional chicken broth, if necessary, to equal 2 cups total liquid. Transfer liquid to a medium saucepan. In a small bowl, stir the 1/4 cup broth into the flour; stir into liquid in saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 1 minute more. Spoon some of the sauce over chicken. Pass remaining sauce. If desired, serve with mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Here’s my version made with chicken breasts. It’s very low fat this way and I will definitely be making it again. If you love mashed potatoes and gravy this is one to try.


BON APPETIT!

Hope you are keeping warm, it snowed all afternoon yesterday and a little this morning.

I’m dreaming of spring………

~A Smile for you~

My last post was such a downer I decided to share some pure delight. These are vidoes of my lil grandaughter. The picture quality is poor because they were taken with a cell phone, but just listen to the first one, at 8 mos. she talks!


This second one might be a little loud….just to warn you…….she’s about 6 mos here.

There’s sadness in life but so many blessing too! I hope these gave you a smile.

~More about MOM~

WE‘re slowly taking the next step on the journey deeper into Alzheimer’s. Mom can no longer walk, seems she just doesn’t know how anymore and it’s become dangerous and extremely difficult for her and her care givers to lift her. We’ve gotten her a new mattress to help eliminate pressure points that produce bed sores and a gel seat for the wheelchair.
Her assisted living facility has asked me to begin the process of moving her to skilled care. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. She’s completely dependent of others for her care.

She still has good days when she interacts and has short conversations, but she has bad days too where it’s so difficult to connect with her.

Hopefully she’ll be going to Cornwall Manor, where there’s a special unit for dementia patients. It is such a beautiful place and I hope she’ll be able to see that. I’ve begun the process of filling out the paperwork. A process that I’ve done before but still isn’t any easier.


Here’s Mom in happier times with my daughters and grandkids about 8 years ago. Dave is now 17, Tay is now 15 and I have 2 more grandkids now.
Love you Mom, wish I could make it all better.

~Surviving Winter~The Winter Blues~

Do you see a pattern here in my last posts, surviving winter?

We’re experiencing a blast of record cold arctic air and I don’t have a penguin’s genes so I’m content staying indoors and doing this once yearly dusting of the china cabinet. The china cabinet holds Fosteria glass pieces from my Aunt, crystal from friends, gifts from my daughter and depression glass. If you’re a reader of my blog you know I love yardsales and thrift shopping. So you won’t be surprised to hear that’s where most of this blue/white collection came from.

Blue has never been one of my favorite colors, I’m more of a green person, but I do love the look of all theses pieces grouped together.

Thrift stores items are grouped with real crystal goblets, I have no shame!

The Father plate belonged to my stepfather. I don’t know it’s history but it’s a nice memento of him.

The little piggy is actually a creamer and the glass beside it is a peanut butter glass. Are you old enough to remember them in grocery stores?

The pieces I collect aren’t fancy, valuable pieces…..at least I don’t think they are. I’ve been to auctions where pieces of Flow Blue sell for steep prices. My collection is a mish mash of whatever I come across….I’m not trying to build a valuable collection. I just collect for the thrill of finding a new piece.
In these examples of flow blue you can see how the pattern looks smudged.
Click here to read how flow blue was created in the early 1800s.

That’s my collection of blue/white. It’s not a priceless collection but that’s OK, it’s fun to collect. When I get bored with it I can always sell it at a yardsale and then start collecting something else! Finding pieces is fun and sometimes it really is all about the thrill of the hunt!
What do you collect? I’d love to see!

Hooked on Houses is having a party on what you’re hooked on, lots to see over there. Check it out!

~Surviving Winter, Nesting in the Family Room~

The weather outside is frightful…….I know that’s not much snow but it is so cold!

I’m content to stay inside and nest and work on some knitting and crocheting. This knitting basket was my Mom’s. At one time she was always crocheting, but now I have her basket and am putting it to good use. I think she’d like that.
Knitting socks is my current project. I’ve never worked with 3 needles before and it took about 8 times to get it going. Can you say confused! A great knitter I am not.

Ah well, this pitiful sock has twisted stitches and dropped stitches that I tried to fix, but I’m keeping at it. Maybe the other sock will be better. If it’s not I’ll wear them anyway. The cream colored yarn is a crocheted afghan I’m slowly working on. For me crochet is easier, you can put it down for a whole year and easily start off where you left off.

Here’s where I sit in the evenings in the family room with the tv on. Sometimes it feels like evening starts at 3pm. This winter seems extra dark and cloudy, dreary, cold, depressing ….you get the picture.

When I’ve had enough knitting I can always take a snooze here in my nest, on the most comfortable couch ever.

The colors are washed out in this pic but this room was painted with LA gold 2 and 3 with the magic rollers, remember them? Because the colors are so close the effect is very subtle. Rug was a bargain from Tues. morning, the wall letters are from Ballards.

Inside it’s so delightful, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow……

~Surviving winter, Houseplants~

Every time I walk past my house plants I hear them yelling for HELP! My reputation with indoor plants isn’t so good. You read it here, I have a bad rep….with houseplants. They’re brats, that’s what they are, a bunch of misbehaving brats. Yellowing and drooping, dropping leaves for me to clean up. I know they just want to be outside in the warm sunshine & so do I. But there’s not much warm sun at this time of year, so get over it!

Yesterday in our local paper there was an article on indoor plants. My greatly condensed version is this;

  • Most houseplants prefer to be moderately pot bound.
  • Plant food is not medicine. Plants won’t take in more nutrients than they need.
  • Not all indoor plants need lots of sun.
  • Yellow leaves and brown tips aren’t just caused by over watering. Some causes could be, fluoride in the water, not enough light, excess fertilizer.
  • Misting has little benefit when it come to a plant’s humidity needs.

I was ready to repot and give them a little drink of miracle grow & still might even after reading the article. But look at what I received today, a pretty African violet bloom. My first ever! At least someone is happy!

Two more shy little lovlies awaiting their turn. They’re a nice creamy white tinged with pink. Now whenever I walk past them I smile, “Thank you little violet.”

Remember back in olden days, the 70’s, when having tons of houseplants was all the rage? I sure do! If these plants make it past February I’ll be surprised. Usually I get sick of them and toss them in the trash. Do you have luck with houseplants?

A snow storm is predicted for the weekend and the temps are frigid. Hope you are enjoying, surviving winter !

~Favorite Projects 2008~

Southern Hospitality is hosting a before & after project review 2008. We all get so much inspiration from other talented bloggers, whether it be finding your trash to treasure eye or using scrap booking paper on shelf backs. Lets make 2009 another great year of inspiring projects.

This is the yardsale shelf I finally got hung and painted in our main bath. See the bath redo here.
My favorite project of the year was the guest room make over. I just love how it turned out. The yardsale desk below was given a new life with some sassy paint!

And to think I only paid 5 bucks for this desk , a dresser, mirror and chair.!

Some smaller projects were this mosaic table. Not bad for a beginner, I think. It looks so much better in person. At Christmas I sold a mosaic tray to a neighbor for her SIL who had been admiring it.

And this easy project, the wire cloche.


So there it is, my little project review. I’ll be getting around to lots of your project reviews today for getting even more inspiration for the new year.

~Organizing~

2009 is here! Best wishes to you in the New Year!

What do we do with all the time we have indoors in the midst of winter’s short days! Why organize of course! yeah right It seems every magazine you pick up has tips on organizing this time of year.

My H, Bill, has the worst habit of dropping his keys, phone & whatever else he is carrying on the kitchen island as soon as he comes in the door. Ggrrrrr, where does he come up with all this junk? I’d have everything all cleaned up & looking nice and then there it is! In an effort to hide his keys or phone he will try to tuck them into what’s on the island, a bowl of fruit or a seasonal display. I’m not kidding, the man actually does this!

So, I came up with this on the inside of the closet door. It’s just a shoe holder but boy can you fill it up with junk! And it’s clear so you can see what it holds! Glass cases, dental floss, elastic knee braces, tape, ear plugs, anything.

There are hooks for hats and keys & umbrellas.


For hanging keys, we used an old wooden plaque, added hooks and then attached it to the wall inside the closet.
This has worked out pretty good for us but occasionally he still tries to hide stuff on the island. I’ll never be able to change that! The closet is just inside the back door from the garage where he always enters the house. How handy is that?! not handy enough I guess

If you have those wire shelves in your house, shower curtain hooks are great to hang things. I use them in the garage to hang plastic bags to be recycled and in the shed for hand tools.

If there’s a place for everything and everything is in it’s place you can always find what you’re looking for, that is, if you put it back after you use it. I try…..I really do …
Some time this year I hope to organize and clean out my closet. That will be a dreaded chore!
Are you organized? Care to share some of your best tips?