July 31, 2013

A Small Switch

Hello, everyone, I hope your week is going well. Thank goodness today our camera decided to cooperate so it was possible to take pictures to include in this post. 

After two months of seashells and beach vibes August and September are all about sunflowers at our house. Tomorrow I'll start replacing one with the other, but today  didn't seem too soon to take care of the doors. My patriotic display has been up less than a month in the front of the house, yet in those brief weeks the color completely faded from the new curling wire that was used, two different kinds, stars and liberty bells. The strands  were all red, white and blue but now are plain silver--not very attractive, and now headed straight  to the trash.

Without  further ado, here is the replacement for the front door:

In the back we have:

Both were bought very inexpensively from different thrift shops. 

Do you get tired of your decor and ornaments after a while and are glad for an excuse to change them for another theme? I seem to have A attention D deficit D decor. While I really like the blues, shells and everything beach related and summery, it won't pain me a bit to switch to  sunflowers. 

Have a wonderful evening!


July 30, 2013

A Nice Place to Visit

Hello, all,

How's your Tuesday so far? I've gotten a little done, not enough but better than nothing.

Today I thought I'd tell you about a wonderful writer. Many of you may be familiar with her and longtime fans, but she may be new to others. Her name was Gladys Taber. Here you can find some facts about her life:http://gladystaber.wikispaces.com/ here. However, the real way to learn about this remarkable woman is through her books.

These are a few of the titles in my library.

Harvest at Stillmeadow was published in 1940. Many of her books were set in the valley in Connecticut where her 17th century farmhouse, Stillmeadow,  is located.

Harvest of Yesterday relates some of the major events of her life prior to the move there.

She and her husband and another couple bought Stillmeadow in 1933. At first they just used the house during the summer, but in 1935 moved in full time.

Stillmeadow Sampler, like many of her other works, is a non-fiction series of essays about her family, friends, nature, animals and the seasons in the country.

This one is called Stillmeadow  Calendar.

This one is fun, because it is written in the form of letters between the two authors, Gladys Taber in Connecticut and Barbara Webster in Pennsylvania. Webster's husband, Edward Shenton, illustrated a number of the Stillmeadow books. 

These are gentle, peaceful reads, meditative thoughts on life, family and friends. They include a lot about animals, especially dogs. Gladys Taber was born in 1899 to a father who was a geologist  and mining engineer; there was a lot of moving throughout her childhood, which is probably one reason why she loved her place in the country so much, as a home to stay put in. She taught English at Columbia University and wrote fifty  books during her lifetime. Her non-fiction works are especially good if you're busy or stressed. There is no story to follow, you can dip into the middle of one as easily as dutifully beginning at page 1 and still enjoy the visit immensely. I've been picking up her books at thrift shops and sales for decades now, and her message never grows stale. 

Do you have favorite writers like this you go back to automatically in time of stress or conflict who never fail to soothe your spirit? I hope so!

Till next time,

July 29, 2013

Heat Related Injury

Hi, folks,

I'm blaming the weather on the fact that my brain quit working for a while; sorry about that.

Today my post relates to a couple from other bloggers; first of all, Manuela at http://acultivatednest.com/ wrote Saturday about how she made ribbon holders that are very pretty. I didn't  do that. At some point in years past I bought Mr. B a gadget that was supposed to help with the lack of space in the small closet he had then; for some reason it never caught  on and went unused to hang pants. It was still (literally) hanging around though, so I re-invented it as this:

It  holds quite a few spools that are easy to grab. Thanks for the inspiration, Manuela!

Then, last week I visited Dawn at http://www.wecallitjunkin.com/. The lead photo in her post on July 17 featured a gorgeous old metal bread box. I got up immediately and went in the kitchen to check and. . .yep! I have a sifter of the exact same pattern, although it's more worn.
It's got an old chopper with a red wooden handle sitting inside it. The whole thing goes on the shelf above a door in the kitchen that's holds red things.
It came from either Sand Dollar or Value  Village and didn't cost much. Now that the bread box has appeared, who knows what other pieces might be out there in this same cheerful pattern combining gingham checks and colorful flowers. I'm going to be on the look out and probably so is Dawn!

I hope your last days of July are going well. We had welcome rain both days on the weekend, which is always good news.

Stay cool!


July 17, 2013

July Junk

Hi, Friends,

I hope you're having a good day. Mine has been mostly quiet, which is great--the better to hear the rain, whoo hoo!

I haven't been thrifting much lately, but have picked up a few odds and ends. One Saturday Mr. B and I ventured over to Fulton Thrift. It has been seldom visited by me in the past couple of years because they've been digging up the streets to put in a light rail train. No one seems to know where it will or or who it will serve, but oh, well.

This isn't a great picture, but it is a pair of old, hand-made decoupaged book ends featuring a puppy and kitten, each wearing a hat. Very cute for $1.41.

On the same trip I picked up this 3D shadowbox by Marjolein Bastin featuring eggs and a nest:

Some of the above are Mr. B's finds.The wooden paint box with a road runner on it, the copper candle holder and the new puzzle with a picture of buttons he got at a yard sale last week.  I found a box of new, giant Christmas crrackers, another Homer Laughlin sugar bowl, an embroidered gingham apron and three new sets of Mary Engelbreit  coasters in a bag together, again for $1.41. The crackers were bought because the box they were in was the exact size needed to ship a large binder, but seem to have been a good brand from the UK for $3.99.

How have your finds been lately? Anything wonderful or mostly mediocre?

Stay cool!

July 16, 2013

Super Summer Book

Hi, friends, I hope your Tuesday has been terrific so far.

Today I wanted to tell you about a book with great interest to bloggers. It's called Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews.

It's the story of a blogger named Grace Stanton who loses her blog, her livelihood and her home thanks to a cheating, unscrupulous husband and her former assistant who is just as bad. Set in Florida, this tale of treachery, friendship and re-invention is a winner, destined to especially captivate anyone who writes or reads blogs.


July 15, 2013

Another Theme Gift

Hi, friends,

I hope you had a good weekend. We are still hoping for rain, but so far there is none to report.

As mentioned earlier, I think it's fun to do theme gifts. Last month in Friday Finale this item showed up:
specifically, the large wooden ampersand next to the picture book. A few weeks later another item turned up at Goodwill, and with the help of some spray paint, I now have:
a red ampersand with a coordinating mug. These will be a joke gift for my oldest daughter, with the tag signed by our cat named Bitty. After hurricane Ike my oldest and middle daughter fostered some of our furry companions while we were homeless for several weeks, staying with friends. Hilary noted then that Bitty's meow pretty much always sounds as if she's saying "Aaaand", usually in a rather disgruntled tone. Bitty has given her hostess a couple of these symbols in the past couple of years, so with this addition she may have a formal collection, come December. Like me, this daughter also loves all things red, so the mug dictated the redo of the symbol. 

Do you like to do all your shopping at the last minute, or collect things throughout the year? You can probably guess which type buyer I am!

Take it easy!


July 12, 2013

More old textbooks

Hey, folks, are you having a fine Friday in July, looking forward to a break after the work week? We may see my father-in-law. He was gone for a couple of months and back here again.

Otherwise, besides routine chores I have been trying to sort out some books to donate to the neighborhood branch library sale held in the fall. Some that won't be going are a few more old school books located during the culling process.

Its first copyright date is 1942. The illustrations inside are precious.

Look at those neatly dressed children setting out their picnic! If you don't think times have changed or that older days were always better, consider:

the days when illness could be deadly and warranted a visiting nurse to put a quarantine sign on the house in hopes of preventing its spread.

Science was studied thoroughly, too, like in this volume called Nature's Wonderland:

It has beautifully decorated end papers:

although I'm not quite sure how the panel truck, hammer, and electric bulb are considered nature.

Rainbow in the Sky is an animal-centered reader that focuses on the adventures of a little donkey named Pokey.

It is from 1957 and has lovely pictures, too:

They did a fair amount of singing in school at one time, too. This book is from 1946:

A few years later, Singing in Harmony came out:

It is quite  comprehensive and again, beautifully illustrated:

I hope you enjoyed this brief jaunt into the world of education 50+ years ago.  I wonder if any of the children who used these books, or others like them, ever imagined a world like the one of 2013?

Have a wonderful weekend!

July 11, 2013

Gift Preview

Hello, everyone,

It is hot and humid in Houston. After writing this the plan is to beat a retreat to  our bedroom and take advantage of air conditioning and a fan. It's that kind of day, when thinking about winter has great appeal.

One of my friends has a birthday in December. I think it's fun to give theme presents, so this is what I've come up with for her:

A new linen tea towel featuring the Beefeater Guards;

a mug from Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee, along with a book,

and came up with this. The book is "England for All Seasons" by Susan Allen Toth. I especially like the tin it will go into, a jolly red bus full of riders.

Since 2013 is when J took her first visit to the UK, picking up a few reminders of her trip sounded like a fine idea. I hope she enjoys using these items and the memories they bring as much as I did putting it all together.

Do you keep your eyes alert for ideas all through the year, or keep a stash of goodies picked up along the way?

Have a good one,

July 10, 2013

Small switch

Hi, folks,

Our internet wouldn't  cooperate yesterday when this post was planned for. I made a small change in our bedroom. On Mr. B's side of the bed in the narrow space available he had been using a bookcase for a nightstand. It was really too tall, though. As an alternative, I switched it with the nesting tables he found at a yard sale recently:

Here they are in place:
I don't know. It still looks extremely out of balance with the table on my side. Maybe the answer is to BOLO for something matching that works with the scale of the space and  will hold all our junk.

Do you have to keep fiddling with rooms and some spaces for a long time before getting it right? I sure do. The thing that cracks me up every time I read it is the direction from design experts "Don't  put your furniture along the walls. Floating it will make the room seem bigger." Right. Clearly, none of these people have ever lived in old houses with quirky traffic patterns, oddly placed doors and windows or other issues to work around. If our furniture wasn't against the walls, except for the coffee table, it wouldn't be possible to get in or out of the living room! Do you have problems with received wisdom from professionals sometimes? Me too!

Have a good one!


July 8, 2013

An easy recipe

Hello, friends,

I hope the return to reality after the long weekend wasn't too much of a blow, as seems to be the case for Mr. B. As a consolation prize, since he also has to teach a class tonight, it seemed like making dessert would be a small distraction at least.

This is a simple version of tiramisu, based upon the recipe in a package of lady fingers.

The lady fingers were laid in a dish in a single layer.

They were then soaked in leftover coffee with a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua in it.

Next, I got out a package of cream cheese:
at which point the process breaks down. You will have to imagine me making French vanilla pudding and adding the cream cheese to it, because that picture didn't turn out.
Sorry. I made the filling, then layered it on the soaked lady fingers, put down a second layer of lady fingers and repeated everything. The last step was siftng this:

on top. And here is the result. There are a lot of different versions of this recipe, and many of those call for mascarpone cheese. I've made it a variety of ways, and really, it always tastes good, whether it's authentic or this more simple version.

Let's hope it cheers up Mr. B about the return of the work week! 

Till next time,

July 5, 2013

Too Sweet to Pitch

Hello, Peeps,

I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. Ours was pretty quiet, but we were delighted to get rain shortly after it got dark.

When shopping for books to put on eBay it's very hard for me to resist many of the very old readers and other schoolbooks that turn up. They don't really sell all that well, which is a shame, because they're so cute. Like this one, Through the Day, from 1947:

Aren't the illustrations too cute for words?

Another really nice series was the Alice and Jerry books.

These are from The New Five-and-a-Half Club published in 1941. Again, there are illustrations throughout the text that are beautifully done and engaging to the reader.

Another Alice and Jerry is this, The New Round About:

Making Storybook Friends is from the mid-1950s:

The vehicles, people neatly dressed in ties and hats and examples of unsupervised outdoor play certainly catch the attention of a reader in 2013! Still, the beautiful illustrations and sweet stories make them well worthy of preservation.

Do you enjoy nostalgic trips down memory lane with old books? 

Till next time,