Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Craigslist Chuckle

I wasn't going to post today, but I just laughed out loud while reading Craigslist (yes, Craigslist). In the Rants and Raves section, some clever jokester posted this:

My wife left a note on the fridge...

"It's not working. I can't take it anymore. 
I've gone to stay at my Mom's!"

I opened the fridge, the light came on, 
and the beer was cold...

God only knows what she was talking about!

Even funnier? I read it to my own husband, whose response was:

"I don't get it..." 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sewing Room Sunday: Pearl Buttons!

I've been so anxious to play with the buttons from the jar I posted about a few days ago. As I mentioned, I collect mother-of-pearl buttons and was hoping there were lots of them in this jar! A quart of buttons- which I dumped out on the floor (with permission, of course) at the Williamsburg Antique Mall just to make sure that hadn't put a few nice pearl buttons around the outside and stuck a bunch of cheap, crappy old plastic or new buttons in the middle to trick me into parting with my money. It looked like there were lots of beautiful buttons in there: pearl, celluloid, bakelite, probably even some vegetable ivory, glass, horn and bone. 

So I dumped them all out (I had washed them with mild, soapy water last week, at which time a few disintegrated- obviously not pearls...):

Sorted into two piles, pearl on the left, everything else on the right:

Almost all were old, and almost half were pearl. Don't get me wrong. I don't discriminate. I love all kinds of old buttons. It's just that the pearls are so-o-o-o beautiful. And I love the way they feel. Sometimes when I'm really stressed and getting on my husband's nerves, he will suggest that I "go up to my cottage and run my fingers through my buttons". Works every time!

This button was the prize. Isn't it gorgeous? By the way, many of the buttons still had the aged thread and/or bits of material still attached. Sometimes I remove it, but with this button it just seemed right to leave it on. 

There turned out to be three of these vintage flower buttons. Although not pearl, they are adorable. And I love finding sets! The notched pearl button above actually matches a larger one I already had in my collection. How cool is that?

Someday, I'll show you my pearl button collection, which is now an entire quart Mason jar full, plus many sets still on the cards (complete with great graphics), a special container of sets I've found in different batches I've bought, and an extra special container with my carved and unique mother-of-pearl buttons. Here are two of my favorites:

Then the buttons that aren't pearl need love too, so there are miscellaneous containers for my Granny's colorful buttons, bakelite, bone, plastic, metal, and the ever-growing container of buttons that need identifying.  I don't spend much time on this because it's not really important to me. I just love the buttons!

Heres are links to a few good button articles:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ace of Hearts

A workplace I visited this week had a huge banner asking its employees:

"Did you bring your ACES to work today?"

A = Attitude
C = Commitment
E = Enthusiasm

At the risk of sounding too preachy (after my last post about Twisted Priorities)- shouldn't we also make sure to give our families aces, too? 

Let's call it the ACE of Hearts, shall we? 

If might be cute to pin an ace of hearts on your bulletin board or stick one on your fridge as a reminder. Maybe you'll be asked what it means and everyone will remember to give their best to those they care about most!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Twisted Priorities?

I said when I started this blog that it was important to me to keep everything on a positive note- no politics, no complaining, no criticism (unless constructive, of course-  which would give me room to criticize just a little...). I've done pretty well so far, but now something is really bothering me.

The Wall Street Journal and other papers have been recently reporting that more children have been left to die in hot cars this year than ever before. Sad? Yes. Devastating? Yes. But there's something even sadder, in my opinion, which may not result in the death of your child, but still has dire consequences. It's the tip one article suggested for making certain that this tragedy never happens to you- that you never get in your car after work to discover your baby has died from heat, that you never have to face your spouse with this news, that you never have to face life knowing that your precious baby is dead because of your negligence (yes, I had to use the word negligence).

Here's the tip: Place your purse, briefcase, laptop or other important item you'll need for the day in the backseat with your child so that you'll be certain to check there before you exit the car!

Please tell me there's not a parent out there who's more likely to forget their child than their laptop! 

Our children are our most valuable assets. Please protect and cherish them accordingly. Thanks for listening!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to School = Back to Normal!

welcome back to school chalkboard
Graphic from wpclipart.com

Mabz starts the eighth grade tomorrow! 

She loves her school and her friends, but is at the age to have mixed feelings about getting up at 6 am every morning, hanging up her shorts in exchange for her uniform, and trading summer activities for Algebra.

I, too, hate to see our summer fun come to an end. But I do have to admit that, in many ways, I will be glad to get back to "normal". At least on school days I know what time to go to bed, what time to get up, and have some idea of what the day has in store for me! I can plan meals without worrying about wasting food, keep up with the laundry and household chores, and easily decide what clothes to put on in the morning! 

Our carefree summer sure has been a blast, but there is definitely something to be said for "routine". 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One Last Fling!

We just returned from Williamsburg! With the first day of school (Monday) looming alarmingly near, we decided on a whim to drive down on Saturday. Williamsburg is quite familiar to us, and is only four hours away. So it shouldn't require advance planning, right? Before this week, I would've argued that it still did (what if we can't find a place to stay? what if we forget something? who will feed the cat? how long are we staying?, etc.). Guess what? Everything went perfectly. It was so-o-o-o-o liberating!

To test the concept even further, once we were there, we didn't plan each day's activities until breakfast! There's plenty to do in Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding areas. No matter how many times you visit, there's something new to do. But the beauty of going someplace familiar is that you've seen most of it, and you can revisit your old favorites without feeling like you're missing anything. You can also spend time really relaxing by doing absolutely nothing, which is what a vacation is actually supposed to be be about! (Yes, it is...)

The result? I feel like I've had a vacation, instead of being exhausted from four days of staying up too late, getting up too early, rushing to get from place to place on a very strict schedule, eating strange food, sleeping in a strange bed, and having absolutely no time to myself! I think I can speak for all of us- we feel great!

I took the time to watch the bees and butterflies in one of the lovely colonial gardens:

We always visit the pond on the golf course at the Williamsburg Inn. For years, we have have been good friends with all the ducks, geese, catfish and large turtles that live there (everyone who feeds them is...), and have occasionally observed this blue heron (below). Well, there must be a pair of them, because this time we saw what appeared to be a baby blue heron (sorry,no picture- baby was shy). Then, at night, the frogs come out in force!

But in all my years of visiting and enjoying that fabulous pond, I had never appreciated it as a reflecting pool. Isn't this gorgeous? (And I shot these images with a Sony Cyber-Shot one-shot camera, so imagine the actual beauty which can't possibly be adequately conveyed here...)

All that and a jar of buttons, too!

We even had time to browse one of our favorite Antiques Malls, where I found this quart Ball jar full of all white, all old buttons! I can see without even dumping them out that there are lots of beautiful mother-of-pearl buttons in there, which I just happen to collect! I'm just bursting to get a chance to play with and sort all these beautiful old buttons, but it'll have to wait- hopefully not too long! (When I dump it, I'll post...)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Second Favorite Way to Eat Apples in Summer: Apple Salad

Our trip to the grocery store today turned up these 
gorgeous Gala apples (our favorite variety):

This shiny beauty weighs an incredible 13.5 ounces!

Obviously, the very best way to eat these crisp, crunchy apples (which are somehow sweet and tart at the same time) is thinly sliced with the peel still on!

Our second favorite way, and possibly our favorite summer recipe, is the apple salad I created for my husband, who can never get enough apples and eats them every day! Like a lot of my recipes, it's more abstract than specific. I'll leave you to your own proportions and ingredient choices. It's bound to turn out delicious no matter what- so here's the general idea-

Steve's Apple Salad

1. Cut 1 apple per person (depending on hunger level and size of apples) into bite-sized pieces (maybe 1/2" square).
2. Here's the secret ingredient: Toss the apples in a splash of flavored vinegar. This adds flavor to the salad, and keeps the cut apples from browning too quickly.
3. Add Miracle Whip Light until it's as mayonnaise-ey as you like it.
4. Mix in one, some or all of the following: raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, toasted sliced almonds, or anything else that sounds good to you.

It's so delicious, it could be dessert! 

A Word About Flavored Vinegars

I always keep a selection of flavored vinegars in my pantry for use in salads and marinades. My favorites for Steve's Apple Salad are shown here: Citrus Champagne Vinegar from Sur la Table and Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar from Oliveto in Roanoke. Only a light-colored vinegar should be chosen for this salad, as a darker dressing will interfere with the beautiful coloring of your fruit.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy Times Recipe Book

Here's a little something cute from one of my vintage recipe booklets- copyright 1934 by G.F. Corp (Calumet baking powder):

Front Cover
 In case you can't read it, it says: 
"Happy times are here again.
We'll never bake things queer again. 
Let's have cake, the men will cheer again.
Happy times are here again!"

Back Cover
"Times are more sunny
Ma has more money
Eggs still come from a hen
Calumet's itchin'
to get in your kitchen
Let's all eat high again!"

The recipes are also adorably illustrated with a musical theme:

I guess if you didn't live through the Great Depression, you could take a little thing like baking powder for granted!