Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Changes in Dining Room

After seven years of my Cherry Cobbler dining room, we decided it was time for a change.  I am really liking the simple farmhouse look more and more.  I like white, but I would never go all white because I like color too much, so I opted for the board and batten with keeping the top third of the room in the red.  I am pleased with how it turned out, as it seems to tie in well with the white beadboard cabinets in the kitchen.

My husband and I are both perfectionists and detail people.  We work well together.  Believe it or not, we survived building a whole house this way.  I think a little of it has rubbed off on our children.  They tell us that they are probably the only people in their age group, that notice crown molding, baseboards, and caulking in every house they enter.  When we rent a vacation house, we sit around for hours and discuss how we would have designed it. We're sorry kids!

I brought the old mirror back out and placed it on the buffet.  I know my antique shopping girlfriend is reading this and screaming that is HER mirror, but you know it's mine!  I found this mirror in a little antique shop, hid in a back corner.  I wanted it but thought it was too much money.  I talked about going back for it for a year.  When I didn't go back, she began to say that she was going to go buy it for her house.  Well, we often played this game, I wouldn't commit to a purchase and then she would say she wanted it to make me make up my mind and I would want it more because I thought she wanted it and then I would buy it and be happy and she didn't have to hear me talk about it anymore.  I thought we were still playing the game, but after I bought it.........she seemed a little upset.  You know that I saw that mirror first, Angee.  You know it was really always mine.  (kinda).  As with most antiques in my house, there is a story of shopping with my sweet friend.

I made a garland out of old book pages.  This is extremely hard for me to do, because I love books.  I bought 4 books over time for this project before I could bring myself to actually tear out a page to use.  I come home, look at the books, think of where all it has been over time, decide it is a good read, good to decorate with and something I absolutely cannot tear pages out of.  I was determined to make this garland, so I tore out these beautiful cloth like pages to do it.  Somehow it seems sacrilegious.   But I do love how the garland turned out.  It is simply 2 pages folded into a fan, glued together, a button added,  and then glued onto lace.

Feeling the need to see some greenery, I added some to an ironstone pitcher.  I also (painfully) removed the covers from a few old books and recovered a few other old books with some music print scrapbook paper.

The old photograph is of my grandparents. 

You can see the old book I used for the garland on top of this china cabinet.  I love decorating with books.
How will I bear to tear out more pages now when that teapot needs it?

I had a small piece of lace left over and made these simple hearts.

Now here is the hardest project I ever did.  not.  The curtains are made from drop cloths from Lowes. 
Each measuring 6' x 9'.  They do have a funky smell when you buy them, so you have to wash them before hanging.  The hardest part was ironing them, but then all I did was hang them up!  I measured them off to meet the floor and then just folded over the top and hung.  Cost about $12 each.

You can see from this photo how they are doubled over at the top.  I did absolutely no sewing on them.  The edges are already hemmed, though you do have to trim it up a little.  I hung them with these cafe hooks to make them easier for opening.  After seven years of lace curtains and sheers, we also finally broke down and bought the plantation blinds for this room.  Now, I can't wait to do these curtains in another room.

You can see from this other cabinet that I live by the "leave no teapot, teacup or pretty plate behind" rule.  There is always room for one more.  (sigh).  I recently made myself leave a teapot behind at Goodwill.  I felt bad for weeks.  I promised myself I would not do it again.

Remember when we drug this old teacart home my mad at me for buying the mirror friend? 

I know about that link showing up.  The devil put it there to make me crazy today.

I added some greenery on the table also.  I couldn't find the size moss balls I wanted, so I bought moss by the roll and glued it to some decorator balls I had around the house.  Yeah, I probably should have used gloves for that project because when you use spray adhesive with green moss, you get mossy fingers for a while.  A little creepy.

I sprayed a few pinecones silver because have loved pinecones since I was a little girl and I never tire of seeing them.  I placed these among a few other small ironstone pieces.  I love adding a few natural elements in decorating.

I am pleased with the board and batten.  And Great Great Grandmother Viola, hanging over the buffet, seems to be pleased also.  Funny, how we just found our grandmother's picture in an antique store (smile).

Note my Paula Deen apron hanging in the hallway, y'all.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Just a Flower?

I love being amazed at the little things in life.  I love looking around at the things that could go unnoticed and applying them to a deeper meaning.  Recently, when we returned from vacation, I walked in the house and was so excited to see that my Gerbera Daisy had bloomed while we had been gone.  You would have had to seen it before we left to fully appreciate it.  It was dried up and struggling for life when I took pity on it with the winter coming, brought it inside, and gave it a little water.

The whole time we were unpacking the car, I just kept coming back to look at it and wondering how in the world it had gone from being a sick looking plant to one full of blooms.  A little miracle right here in my house.

I watched it for days as it opened up and stood so tall and looked so healthy.  It made me smile every time I passed by it, perfect petals open and singing toward their maker.

I wondered if it was the Miracle Grow potting soil I had planted it in?  Did it receive the perfect amount of water before I left?  Was the temperature perfect for it to bloom?

"Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."       ~Colossians 2:6-7

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Growing-Spiritually#sthash.EDQoGq0Z.dpuf
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Growing-Spiritually#sthash.EDQoGq0Z.dpuf
Little things that could have gone unnoticed but there it was right in my kitchen, happening right in front of me, just to remind me of so many spiritual applications.  Am I grounded in Christ and are the roots strong enough for good growth when watered by the Spirit of God?

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. - See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Growing-Spiritually#sthash.EDQoGq0Z.dpuf
"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God."
                                                                                                             ~ Ephesians 3:17-19

As it grew taller and taller and seemed to "outgrow its senses," as my mama would say, I noticed that each bloom was growing in the direction of the window, inching toward the sunlight.   A flower wanting to grow toward the light so it can receive energy from the light for the process of photosynthesis.

It has been weeks and still the stem is strong and arched toward the sunlight.
I  pass by it each day and think;  I want to grow in the light!
I want to walk in the light of Christ and receive all the spiritual food I need for spiritual growth.
Good soil, miracle grow
Rooted in Christ
Shown love and compassion
Watered by the Spirit
Growing, growing, growing, a little more each day, stronger, toward my maker
Stretching, reaching, outgrowing my earthy sense
Singing His praise
Taking note of all the unnoticed miracles all around me
Lord, help me to see you everyday in everything that surrounds me
Overflowing with gratitude.

"Jesus spake unto them saying, I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  ~John 8:12

Blessed by little stuff,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yummy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Sometimes I change it up so much, I have to blog it to have a record of it.

3-4 Chicken breasts.  (I just throw frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot in the morning and cook about 4 hours)  ~just shred with 2 forks and add it to your soup pot along with:
32 oz. Chicken broth
2 cups water
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 - 19 oz. can enchilada sauce (red)
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
2 - 12 oz. bags of frozen whole kernel corn
1 - 4 oz. can chopped green chilies 
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried cilantro leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
6-8 (6in) corn tortillas
shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole for serving

It's an easy throw it all in the pot recipe.  Combine everything in one pot except for the tortillas and toppings.
Cook on medium heat just to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes.

Use a pizza cutter to cut each tortilla into thin strips.  Add to pot and cook about 10 minutes more.
Serve with toppings.

I think it would work great in the crock pot also.  I just wouldn't add the tortillas until 10 minutes or so before serving.

How many times can you say pot in one recipe?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Of Letting Go & Holding On

In every town, I'm always fascinated with the old church buildings.  I perceive them as a place that holds so many memories;

worship, families, funerals, weddings, dinners, shared celebrations and heartaches.

My favorite quote from Downton Abbey this week:
"The business of life is the acquisition of memories, in the end that's all there is."
                                                            ~Mr. Carson

I wonder about the people in days gone by, with simpler lives, no modern conveniences,
and yet the same struggles and needs that we have today.

We are no different.

They found peace the same way we do.

Life is full of things we wish we could change, things we cannot change, and things we must continually
let go of.

Letting go is never easy.  It requires me saying, "Here it is."
"I cannot do anything with it."
"It is in your hands."

I am thankful that I never have to let go of the promises of God.
I will continue to hold tightly to them.

"O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?"
                                                                               ~Psalms 89:8

I photographed these churches in nearby St. Marys, Georgia, this weekend.
They each date back to the 1800's.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Small Town America - High Springs, Florida

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends of winter months, 
is to visit nearby small towns.

The small town of High Springs, Florida is only about an hour and a half from home
and did not disappoint a few weekends ago in experiencing small town America.

The old train depot sits on the edge of town.

It is a quaint little town with much to offer and Portland is only 2,955 miles away.

A small town of only 2 square blocks, making you feel like you have stepped back in time.

There are several nice antique shops in town.

Don't you just love the smell of an antique shop?

I thought this one was just picture perfect.

Across the street, this little outpost had lots of cool things,
and the lady there was so helpful in guiding us about coming back for a kayaking adventure in the spring.

I'm still sorry I didn't buy this jacket.
It spoke to my inner hippie.

Back across the street is a "sweet"  little bakery.

I enjoyed talking to the owner, Wendy Newman.
She was the real Talented Cookie.
She recently opened this bakery after successfully selling cookies by mail order from her home.
I always admire an entrepreneur.

There was a heavenly scent in this little bakery.
If I lived in this town, I know where I'd be stopping in every day.

You can find her on line at  The Talented Cookie  and on  facebook.

Another place you do not want to miss in this little town is The Great Outdoors Restaurant.
It is an old Opera House that was built in 1895.

It has beautiful stained glass and tin ceilings.
The wood canoe hanging from the ceiling is a thing of beauty

and the wood kayak is a sure conversation piece.
It is all surrounded by colorful art work of the nearby springs.

Here's what we had from the lunch menu:

Chicken Waldorf Salad Croissant - Fresh roasted chicken, glazed walnuts, sweet apple, and celery on a warm croissant 9.99
 Fish Reuben - Fresh Atlantic white fish deep fried, American Cheese, tangy coleslaw,
and caper tartar sauce on griddled sourdough bread 9.99
The Ultimate BLT - "Fried Green Tomatoes," Applewood bacon, crisp Romaine and American cheese on griddled Texas toast with Cajun aioli 9.99
 each served with homemade chips and a pickle. 


The New York Cheesecake did not disappoint either.

They also have patio dining and live music in the evenings.
This restaurant was well worth the drive.

What's a small town without a barber shop?
Am I the only one who loves to see an old barber's pole?
Somewhere inside, I picture Floyd talking slow and passing the time.

What's not to love about an old Hardware Store with a little yard sale out front?

Add a pretty church at the edge of town, and you'll be wondering if you really are in Mayberry.

There are many springs in the area, but with the days being so short now, we only
made it to two of them.

Poe Springs had a large picnic area and a nice boardwalk out to the springs.

The cypress knots were strangely fascinating.

I can't wait to come back to do some kayaking in these springs.

We also made a quick run through O'Leno State Park.

Another peaceful place I would like to come back to spend more time in the kayak.

We even saw a few friends on the entrance road.

And then I saw it......................
As we were heading home, right there, tucked next to I 75, ......
 The biggest hootin' nanny antique mall my eyes did ever behold.
She seemed to stretch for a country mile.  I couldn't even fit it all in the photo!

I have never seen anything like it!

Instead of just booths, everything was grouped together.
It was like....like,.... an ANTIQUE HEAVEN!!
rolling pins, scales,

bottles, planters, each color glassware all grouped together.

walls of Flo Blue china...

a whole section of reproductions...

row after row of stained glass...

and in the midst of it all, there was this;
my first canister set from Sears Roebuck & Co., 1978, Merry Mushrooms.
I had every piece of this gorgeous set.  I don't know why, but I sure thought it was pretty then. 

Half way through the second lap of this mall, my husband got the, How much longer can she
look at this stuff? look, and I knew it was time to go home.

I know you're wondering what I bought.  I really was a good girl and didn't buy much at all.

It was a "social shopping trip."  Antique shopping is like that, you look for treasures but most of all, you
just like being surrounded by antiques.

From the antique mall, I only bought 3 red wood handle utensils to add to my collection.
There was a whole wall full of these, 1.95 - 3.95 each.
From an antique shop back in High Springs I bought the oil lamp to add to my collection 6.00.
The aluminum salt and pepper shakers were found at a Thrift Store in High Springs 3.00.
It was a fun day.  
Quality time.  Quality shopping.
Small town America.
I miss Mayberry.
Don't you?