Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Sneak Peek!

This time I'm sharing a peek of the "Very Vintage Easter Basket" package that I put together for Kat of Kat Collects. All of my recent swaps have been such fun to put together, but I especially enjoyed this one. Maybe it's Kat's bunnies or maybe it's that Kat and I have really gotten to know each other. Either way, I'm happy to count Kat among my friends.

Remember I said that I'd bought another Gerbera Daisy at the Farmer's Market this Saturday? I have a couple of these copper planters I thought looked nice on the front porch, but one plant just looked lost in it. Someone with a green thumb could help it grow into the pot and would enjoy it for months or maybe even years to come. I'll be happy if it looks lovely for a month - anything longer than that is certainly a bonus!

I'm really going to try again this year to help my plants live a long and healthy life!
If you clicked on the photos in my previous front porch post you probably noticed the hydrangea in this pail wasn't doing too well. I replaced it Saturday with fresh plants, all of them on sale for .99 cents! I'm going to repot the hydrangea and see if I can find a spot where it will be happy.

Kat, your swap goodies are on the way!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Birds of a Feather

Thursday afternoon the mailman brought me a package from Kim, my "For the Love of Birds" swap partner. Everything was wrapped in such pretty paper! I thought I'd show you how I displayed my new goodies in my house this time.
I recently went through all the books on this bookcase and took huge bags to the used bookstore, so I had plenty of room for all the pretty things Kim sent my way. I just love the nest above, I've not seen one like it before and am so pleased with it!
Now, not only did I see this little bitty nest, which is metal and holds a candle, I actually had it in my hand at Michael's and carried it around for a while before deciding I probably didn't need it. So thank you, Kim for knowing how much I loved that little nest! The sweet little bird next to it was also part of my package.
You can click on this picture to get a better look at the little bird in the frame - it's perfect right there, don't you think? Don't miss the blue beaded bracelet with the tiny silver bird charm - it's so lovely! I wore it this weekend.
This is an old ironing board Bryn and I bought years ago - I think he was in 3rd grade, maybe 4th, either way as he'll be 22 in May, we've had it a long time! The old birdhouse has sat there for a while now with no bird! This little one Kim sent is perfect. Click on the picture to get a better look!

Kim, thank you so much for a wonderful swap! Each piece goes so well tucked here and there around my house!

And yes we did go to the Farmer's Market Saturday! I don't know why I haven't taken pictures of the actual market. I'm going to try and remember to do that next Saturday. I bought another Daisy, too. I'll show you that tomorrow.
Remember that sneak peek I posted of Kim's swap? This is the photo I cropped to share with you. (Gracie sent Emma a little something.)
And inside the front cover. The book is an old ledger I bought in a lot of old ledgers on eBay. I don't know why (other than I'm an accountant maybe) but I like using ledger paper! I hope Kim will, too.And here's the rest of the package I sent to Kim.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Sping Sweetness Package

Have you ever been in a swap where the package you receive is so perfectly put together, and so well suited to you that you wish you'd done a better job with what you sent? It's pretty rare that I feel that way, as I do try to send a package my partner will enjoy. The package I received from Susie today is so perfectly sweet, well here, let me share some pictures with you.
Everything about this package is sweet, from the handmade notebook, the delicate cup and saucer, the beautifully detailed silver spoon - a sugar spoon maybe - and a vintage cookbook!
The detail on the cup and saucer shows up a little better here. I've always loved pink glass, but it's not so easy to find here.
Another one of the spoon - the lace bow is just too cute!
To go along with my lovely cup, saucer and spoon is a package of Chai Tea Mix - one of my favorites. For Easter, Susi made me Easter Eggs with vintage chenille - so cute!

Susie, I can't think you enough for this wonder packaged.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For the Love of Birds

I do love all things birds! When I saw the announcement for "The Love of Birds Swap", I signed right up! My partner is Kim and I've truly enjoyed getting to know her and her sweet puppy Emma. The only thing I love more than birds is a puppy! Kim's package goes out this morning, I've scheduled a pickup with my mailman. The photo above is just a little sneak peek of what's inside.
Yesterday Bryn had some time off, we chatted via AIM for a few hours. I sat on my front porch with my laptop, enjoying the weather and my new bench. We had planned on painting it black, but when I really looked I thought a rustic brown would better match the metal that's already there.
My bougainvillea survived the winter - over 19 freezes here in Florida and I can't remember how many hard freezes - lots of them! I kept it covered with an old quilt. It's blooming like crazy right now. The gargoyles are my husbands, he loves them and has a couple more here and there.
This is Bailey, who is very hard to photograph, because he doesn't hold still! He's rubbing up against you, wanting attention. Isn't he pretty!

This is his brother, Ezra. He couldn't care less if you pet him or not, it's more about if he thinks you are worthy to pet him!

Bryn and I were talking about when these guys were kittens. We got them from the shelter and brought them home the weekend of Hurricane Floyd! Not the best time to bring home new kitties, especially when you have two dogs. The spent a lot of time in my bathroom that weekend! Hurricane Floyd came through in September of 1999, which means these guys are almost 10 years old.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vintage Spring Sweetness

Just a little sneak peek for you, Susie! Vintage trims are something Susie and I have in common. These are from my own collection. Hidden behind them (and underneath!) is the rest of the goodies I gathered for this swap.

I have two other swaps that will be going out this week. I've been a busy bee getting them together and will post sneak peeks as I take photos and get them ready for the post office.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Morning

Means a trip to the Farmer's Market!
It looks like we'll be having stuffed peppers soon! I've already sliced one of the limes to add to my diet coke - yummy!
Isn't this Gerbera Daisy pretty? One of the booths had dozens of them in every color imaginable! I had such a hard time picking just one. Murph, always the enabler, encouraged me to get a few, but I'm afraid I'll kill them - I don't have the greenest of thumbs. This bright pink looks so cheerful and springy - I hope it lives.
I have wanted a good study Bible for a while now. I have a small zippered white one I was given when I was baptised and a NIV daily devotional Bible, as well as my grandmother's Bible. Gram's Bible is so old, I don't use it for everyday, I just treasure it. Justin has the Nelson King James and I really like it, but it's not cheap.

I've been going through all my books this week. Murph took several large bags to the Bookmine, the local used bookstore for me. We went there yesterday to look for cookbooks by Alton Brown of Good Eats. While we were there I decided to see what they had in the way of study Bibles as they carry new books as well as old ones. Being so close to Easter, I thought they might have what I was looking for. The didn't have the exact one, but they did have The Life Application Study Bible, NIV. Since I was able to get it with my book credit, I did.

Later Murph and I decided to go to Books-A-Million to look at the cookbooks, since they didn't have them at the used bookstore. We walked in the front door and what was the first thing we saw? A display of Bibles on sale, including the Nelson King James Study Bible! It was less than half price, so I bought it! I'm so happy to have it.

(We still haven't bought the cookbooks!)
Gracie is feeling much better, though not quite her usual self. This is what she does when she sees anyone coming towards her! I scratched her belly - carefully, of course - and let her give me kisses and gave her a couple, too. And pretty soon she let me take this -

That's her serious look - with her ears pulled back! (Hey Lisa, do you recognize that collar? It's the one we bought for Stella! Hard to believe she was ever so small.)

I've been working on some upcoming swaps, which is always fun! I'll share those things with you later next week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Catching up

We went to the Farmer's Market this weekend and while it's still a little early, we managed to find a few goodies. Honestly, even if we hadn't bought anything we had a great time just wandering around. They had everything from fruits, vegetables, and plants to boiled peanuts and live chickens. (I'm not sure if the chickens were for laying or frying, but I'm going to go with eggs!)
This is one of the things we bought at the antique/junque shops on Friday. I've wanted a small bench for a while now to put on my small front porch, for sitting, yes, but also for setting packages while I unlock the front door. On the way home we stopped and bought a can of black spray paint as I'm not real fond of the green!

We also bought two chairs for the back deck. I don't have pictures of them as Murph took them straight to the garage and has already started working on them.
Kathy of Kat Collects is my partner in the Vintage Easter Basket swap. I've been spending a lot of time on her blog and have fallen in love with all of her bunnies. Not surprising that I had to have a few of my own!
I LOVE this little egg! It's so very sweet!
These little bunnies are salt and pepper shakers and just too cute!

I bought a couple of other things for swap packages and Easter baskets that I'll share later. I'll share the other chairs, too, as soon as they are finished.

Gracie is at the vet today, being spayed and microchipped. We took her bright and early this morning. She was not nervous at all, as a matter of fact she was so happy to see the other dogs and ready to play! The house is so quiet without her, I'll be glad when she is home. Brutus must agree with me as he's looked high and low for his buddy all day. Stella is just enjoying the quiet!

ETA: Gracie is home now - she was happy to see us, but happier to see the front door! She slept all the way home. I carried her in and put her in her kennel where she's been sleeping for the last hour and a half. Other than sleepy, she's fine. Brutus is happy to have her home, he can finally relax!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Winter Basics and Baubles

Yesterday the mailman brought my Winter Basics and Baubles swap from Peggy of Pegs Life In The Button Jar. She had it wrapped so nicely! I don't always think to wrap my swaps, but it's so nice to receive a wrapped package.
Here's what was inside: Two red dish towels, which I appreciate as they are so hard to find. A vintage crocheted doily, so pretty with it's red and pink trim. A handmade St. Patrick's Day tag - you know we love all things Irish! A set of red and white measuring cups - those always come in handy. Look at the vintage butterfly pin - you should see it sparkle - just lovely! Can't wait to wear it to church tomorrow. Two pretty candles and two red jar openers! Thank you for such a thoughtful package, Pegg!

Thanks also to Heidi for hosting another wonderfully fun swap!

Speaking of swaps - yesterday Murph and I went to my favorite antique/junque shop. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but wait until I show you what we found!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Strawberry Bread

Yesterday I finally got around to making strawberry bread - even if you don't like strawberries, doesn't it look yummy?
It's an easy recipe to make with basic ingredients. The only thing I added was a simple glaze.
(This picture is really so you can see my bunny!)

Strawberries and Cream Bread
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (use if you want sweeter bread)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups strawberries, fresh and coarsley chopped (do NOT use frozen) or fresh blueberries
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
In another bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beat 1 minute or until light and airy. Add brown sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients, stirring only until they are moistened.
Fold in strawberries and nuts.
Pour int a greased 8x4 loaf pan. (You can make muffins, too. Just adjust your baking time.)
Bake at 350 for 60 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let stand 20 minutes in pan, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring China

I don't know much about this China pattern other than I love how delicate it is. Look at the shape of the sugar bowl and cream pitcher - aren't they lovely?
There is a service for four (luncheon plate, dessert plate, bread plate, salad bowl, berry bowl, cup and saucer) with two platters (on the left) and two serving bowls. You can click on the pictures to get a closer look. My china cabinet is filled to the brim already, so I've no idea where to keep this pretty set of dishes, but I'll figure something out!

I'll leave you with a Gracie fix! She cannot understand why she's in her bed and not my lap - check out those eyes!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Strawberry Jam

Today I made strawberry jam! It's been a few years since I'd done this and I forgot how much sugar a batch of jam takes. Since I had so many strawberries I made a double batch - 10 cups of crushed strawberries and 14, yes 14, cups of sugar! And the stirring! Oh, the stirring! But it smells so good you don't really mind.
My favorite part of making jam is hearing the jars ping when they seal!
Not to mention how pretty all those jars of jam look lined up on the counter. For me making strawberry jam is a true labor of love, because I don't like strawberries! (Hard to believe there is someone who doesn't like strawberries, I know, but it's true. I try one every year just to make sure - so far I still don't like them. Maybe next year.)

I have some strawberries left over and a recipe for Strawberries & Cream Bread - I think I'll make it tomorrow morning - stop by for a slice!

Monday, March 9, 2009

St. Augustine

Yesterday after church, Justin, my oldest son and Ashleigh, his fiancée (or is it fiancé) invited us to visit St. Augustine with them. It was a perfect day for walking around the old town and we had a wonderful time taking tourist-type pictures!

We went to a lovely restaurant for lunch - the food was very good - just small portions, at least for Murph and Justin!

My neighbor brought over a huge flat of strawberries this weekend, so I'm making strawberry jam today! Murph is golfing for the first time since his knee surgery, he's been looking forward to this since before his surgeries!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dusting the cobwebs from my blog

How did it get to be March so quickly? And how is that I haven't blogged in more than 2 weeks? I'll tell you - my husband is still home after his knee replacements and I can't seem to find a routine where I get everything done!

He's doing fine, actually he's MUCH better than before he had the surgery. He is cleared to go back to work on April 1st. (If that turns out to be some kind of April Fools joke, I won't think it's funny!) In the meantime I have company all day long!
I recently joined a "Kitchen Basics & Baubles" swap - it's on the sidebar. This made me really look at kitchen towels and I didn't find a lot that I really liked. That is until I found these over at Sew, Mama, Sew.
Here's one hanging on the kitchen island. Towel ring courtesy of Lisa.
I found these wonderful waffle weave towels at Marshall's - a package of 10 for $7.00, I added a border of red and white fabrics - really easy. Once I got the hang of it, I could finish a towel in about 20 minutes.
I don't know why I buy more yarn! It seems I cannot help myself. I'm still working on the green shawl I started more than a year ago! (It's twice that length now, but not finished.) Anyway, I've always wanted to knit a Clapotis. (I'd also like to learn how to pronounce it.) I think the Clapotis, knit in a light silky yarn would be perfect in the summer months to take with you to all those places that are over air conditioned. I saw this yarn, a Malabrigo in Raspberry, 51% silk and 49% Merino and knew it was what I wanted. When I'll actually get it made up is another story ~ but just having it and knowing it's waiting makes me happy.
I'll leave you with a puppy picture! I love the look on Brutus's face! Can that Gracie stretch out or what!

Thanks for checking back!