Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm Late for the Ball!

I almost missed this wonderful day and Elizabeth's Bloglandia Ball!
A subtle entry is called for, to minimize my obvious tardiness.
And so I will move to a quiet corner and observe all of the beauty that surrounds me.

Do you think they will notice that I have just floated in?

The sparkly bits may give me away!

Please make sure to visit the other participants at:

Ball guests have my permission to copy/save photos.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How About Some Butterscotch Pie?

Being that it is the time of year when thoughts travel to changing leaves, cozy sweaters and comfort food, I thought I would share a recipe with you.
Tina, from The Garden Goose, sent me a packet of recipes that she had found in an old, falling-apart recipe box a few months ago. I had read her blog and discovered that she was sharing some of the gems that she had kept with her readers.
Not wanting to keep these sweet, old recipes to myself, I will share some of them here from time to time.
First up? Butterscotch Pie. Does that not just say "Autumn" to you? Silky butterscotch nestled in a crumbly crust, and topped with whipped cream. (The recipe calls for meringue. But I am not a fan, so I have changed it to whipped cream. Goodness, if you are going to make your own butterscotch, you may as well guild that lily for all it's worth!)

Today was not a baking day here at my house. No, it was laundry day, mopping the floor day and vacuum the dog hair off the furniture day. Therefore, no pie to show you.
But, I have scanned the meticulously typed original recipe.
Quaintly vague, it assumes that the reader knows what she is doing. I am sure that the mom who made this for her family was familiar enough with the recipe to winnow it down to shortcuts.
But, you are all smart women who know their way around the kitchen. If you give this recipe a try, please let me know how it turned out. I will be making mine on Wednesday, baking day.

Butterscotch Pie

3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups milk
6 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
3 egg yolks
3/8 tsp. salt

Melt butter. Add sugar and allow to brown. Add the water gradually. Beat egg yolks. Add small amount of the milk and the flour. Stir until smooth. Add the remainder of the milk and salt. Pour into sugar mixture and cook until thick, stirring constantly.
Cool and pour into baked pie shell. Cover with meringue. Brown lightly.
(Or make up a batch of slightly sweet whipped cream and top the pie. Yum. :)

Happy Baking!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Vintage Baby

I went to an estate sale today. It turned out to be at the home of a friend's mother who had passed away last year.
It felt a bit uncomfortable looking at things knowing that my friend and her brothers wore the baby clothes, played with the toys, ate from the dishes, read the books and hugged the mom who wore the aprons.
There is always a touch of sadness when you look at the objects that are being let go. How hard must it have been for those children to pick and choose the things that would be kept, brought to their own homes to help keep memories, and leave behind others that would now exist in the homes of strangers.
Does it ease the pain knowing that these things, their things, will now be cared for and used by another? I don't think I know the answer to that question.
Upstairs, hanging in the closet of a small, white bedroom was a row of vintage baby clothes. Well-worn and stained, they were the first things that this woman, soon to be a new mom, had purchased for her baby.
How many times did her hands smooth the tiny clothes, pressing soft folds in the fabric, tucking them into drawers scented with baby powder?
How many hours were spent trying to dress a writhing infant in these layette gowns, undershirts, overalls and dresses?
Tucked in between two little outfits was something that looked like a small overshirt. Taking it out, I saw that it was a tiny capelet. I don't know what else you would call it, but it was adorable.
Even though it was a bit threadbare and wore the color of age, it was just too darling to leave behind. And for a dollar, I could not.
It came home with all of the other things I bought. And I could not wait to begin on the project I had in store for this small treasure.
Laying it out on freezer paper, I traced the capelet and made a pattern. Then I put it into oxygen cleaner to see if it can be rescued. It will be tomorrow before I will be able to tell.
But if not, it will live on in a new capelet. One made for a sweet baby girl due to arrive on this earth in November.
Here it is:

Is this not the cutest thing ever? Here it is folded out:

Surprise! No sleeves to cause frustration when dressing the little one. How clever! It must have been a woman who designed this little article. Even though it is made from a vintage pattern, it looks fresh and new in style and very practical. I do hope that the mom-to-be and her new baby like it.
I would like to think that somewhere someone will be smiling as that small part of her past is carried into the future.

Thank you, friend, for allowing me to be responsible for this tender memory of yours. I will tend to it with love.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You Have to See These!!

I don't know if you are like me, but I love a nicely tailored, classically feminine dress. And this site has them!
Designed by an English gal named Malphi, the dresses will soon be available as kits. Yes, kits! With everything you need to create one of her beautiful frocks. Oh, joy! Oh, bliss!
So go. Take a peek. You'll be glad you did. I was. :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tagged Once Again.

Kyra, my swap partner in the Sweet & Sinister swap has tagged me to reveal the answers to the following questions. Her answers were very thoughtful. I hope I don't disappoint with mine. :)

Okay, here goes:

1. Who is your man? Well, that would be Jim.

2. How long have you been together? More than half of my lifetime.

3. How long did you date? Before or after we were married? If before, a little over a year. If after, well we still "date!"

4. How old is your man? 51

5. Who eats more? That would be him.

6. Who said "I love you" first? Hmmm. I don't remember.

7. Who is taller? He is. But if he loses any more hair on top, it will be a toss-up. ;)

8. Who sings better? He does. As far as I am concerned, I believe my tune fell out of the bucket.

9. Who is smarter? He is. But I'm craftier.

10. Whose temper is worse? That would be me. :(

11. Who does the laundry? It depends on who gets to the pile first. We pretty much share that duty.

12. Who takes out the garbage? He does.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Which side is the wrong side?

14. Who pays the bills? I leave that honor to him.

15. Who is better on the computer? I am. It's like watching a snail go uphill when he gets on.

16. Who mows the lawn? He does. "Women don't mow the lawn. Period. " I rather like that point of view.

17. Who cooks dinner? We share the joy in the kitchen.

18. Who drives when you are together? He does. How else am I going to see the yard sale signs?

19. Who pays when you go out? He does. I consider it a fringe benefit.

20. Who is most stubborn? The man is a Taurus. I don't need to say anything else.

21. Who is the first to admit they are wrong? That would be me. Because I am usually the one that is.

22. Who kissed who first? I'd say it was a tie.

23. Who asked who out? He asked me. I think.

24. Who proposed? I would say he did. In a roundabout way.

25. Who is more sensitive? That would be me.

26. Who has more friends? I do. I think it's the nature of women to bond and gather together often. Men just don't do that very well. Unless there's some sort of "ball" involved.

27. Who has more siblings? We are tied at 2 brothers and 2 sisters apiece.

28. Who wears the pants in the family? I do, but I keep trying to give them back!

Well, there you go. Riveting, isn't it?
So now, I need to tag three unwitting victims. Hmmm, who shall it be?

Alrighty, girls:

1. Beth at Gathering Dust
2. Jenny at Aunt Jenny's World
3. Dawn at ~The Feathered Nest~

Oh, you lucky gals!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Sunday Afternoon.

We had a visitor in our ward today. We often have visitors come to church. It's one of the nice things about Sundays- you get to meet new people.
This young man, with his hair twisted into small braid-like spikes all over his head, a smart blue shirt and an air of confidence began walking up to the members, and in a crisp English accent asked, "What is your name?"
Waiting for a name to be given him, he repeated that name and added, "Happy Sunday afternoon."
His name was Ricardo. I liked him instantly. He is here visiting from Liverpool, England and will be here until the end of October.
I watched him as he walked among us, strangers to him all, and made himself at home. When he left later in the afternoon, there were no strangers in his new circle of friends.
I wish I were more like Ricardo, with a sure sense of himself and the ability to make you feel instantly at ease.
It takes me a while to work up the courage to approach someone and to extend myself in that way. I don't know why, really.
Maybe it comed from being a painfully shy little girl who hid behind her mother when people approached.
Maybe it comes from being led into friendships as a child, only to be betrayed by those that called themselves my friends. Who knows?
But it is something I have struggled with all of my adult life, and wish I could overcome.
So, let this be yet another attempt at shaking off that outer shell of myself and presenting to you a hand of friendship.
"Hello, Everyone. Happy Sunday afternoon."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Small Tidbit of Advice

I learned something this morning that I thought I would pass along to you. It is very important and can save you from unnecessary pain and embarrassment. This is it:
Never use hair conditioner to shave your legs.
Having used up the last sliver of soap, and having zero ounces of shaving foam left in the can, I went for the next logical thing, hair conditioner. That was my first mistake.
My second mistake was thinking that I am as old as I feel and not as old as I am, and slinging my right leg up on the back wall of the shower.
The result of this action caused my left leg to slide behind me, thereby propelling my right leg in a rapid downward slide.
With razor still hand, I reached back to right myself, slipped and caused said razor to slice across the grain of the back of my upper left thigh. Don't ask how I did this. I just did. Okay?
Getting out of the shower, I towel off and realize that there are copious amounts of blood coming from the cut I have inflicted upon myself. I need a band-aid. And fast.
(Remember, the cut is on the back of my thigh. A place that I only see when I try on a bathing suit and look at the rear view. For protection of the innocent.)
Sticking a piece of toilet paper on the cut and slipping into my cheery, cherry-covered robe, I run for the kitchen and grab the box of band-aids and to my craft room to get a small mirror that I had put there just the other day.
Hmmmm- Now, where exactly did I put that thing?
Finding it under the chair, again- don't ask, I run back to the bathroom, as I am now getting the feeling that something is streaming down the back of my leg. Oh, gosh.
After sticking three bandages to my leg and cleaning up any reminder of the carnage that took place in my bathroom, I thought that this is exactly what I needed to share for my fiftieth post.
A bit of sage advice and a good laugh. With people that I don't know.
It's amazing that I have found 50 things to talk about with you. After all, I can sit in the car with my husband, a man I have known for 27 years, for hours on end without saying a single word.
And yet with you I become Chatty Kathy. Funny, isn't it?
So, thank you, for popping in and reading the things I write and leaving comments that brighten my day. You will never know what you mean to me. Really.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Juices Are Flowing...

That sounds a bit creepy, doesn't it? But there is no other way to put it. Really.
Well, maybe "The Drought Is Over." There. That's better.

I have been experiencing an incredibly stilted creative thought process.
For a very long time now, in fact.
But suddenly this week, while putting together items for the Sweet & Sinister swap, something has unlocked in my brain and I am actually able to see things again. Ideas are flowing forth at a rapid pace and I can barely keep up. It is incredibly freeing and is making me deliriously happy.
At last, I can look at a blank page and visualize what it is that needs to be there. I can close my eyes and picture something from start to completion.
How is it that I forgot the key to creativity?
Why did I place it in a spot that I could not find?
Why did it take so long to remember that in order to be creative, you just have to create.
Throw caution to the wind, and begin.
The only problem now is finding the time to do all of these wonderful things.
I don't think there is a way to unlock the clock yet.
Here are a few more sneak peeks for Kyra:

I do love a bit of subterfuge.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sweet and Sinister Sneak Peek

Awwww. Don't you just love that little face? And those fangs?

Gee, Baby, what big teeth you have!!!
Watch out, Kyra!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Farewell Summer

The waning days of Summer struggle now, no longer able to deny
that the clear, crisp days of Autumn are soon to arrive.
It does not mean that things stop.

Quite the contrary.

The process just changes.

You may have to look more closely to see them. That's all.

There are words in a song that articulate this very well;
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Goodbye, Summer.
Welcome, Autumn.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Window Dressing

After returning home from seeing Becoming Jane with a friend, I closed myself up in the craft room and made a new valance for my kitchen window.
For some reason, the gingham looks pink here. It isn't. It is red. Very red.
I attached a vintage tea towel (split in half and sewn together side-to-side) to the top center and I think it looks like an apron.

Ah, I love my window now.
(If for some reason you happen to spy the spider up near my clock, it is a Halloween decoration. Yeah, that's it. A Halloween decoration.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beauty Secrets

What is the one thing that you do just for you? Either at the beginning or the end of the day (or both) that makes you feel refreshed and renewed? The thing that causes you to look at yourself and say "Yes. I am beautiful."
It does not have to be a cosmetic. It could be a sweet-smelling soap or wearing a festive hat, a silky scarf, a nice pair of shoes, a manicure and pink nail polish or how you feel after a good run. You get the picture. It is the thing that makes you feel good about yourself.
For me, it's a freshly-scrubbed face. I don't know why, so please don't ask. I just love that feeling of clean skin, still slightly damp, that gives a rosy glow to the cheeks.
It makes me think of young heroines in the novels of my youth. Sweet and innocent, unencumbered by the weight of adulthood and all of the responsibilities it brings.
Maybe that is why I like that feeling so much. I am transported to a different time. As though all of my worries have been scrubbed away and I can start things anew.
Because of this, I have made it my personal quest to try every single product under the sun designed to clean and beautify, allowing me to put my best face forward.
Soaps, creams, scrubs, cloths; they have all been tried and forgotten, one after the other, as new and more enticing products have come along. I am the ultimate consumer. Well, was.
I don't really care about wrinkle removal, pore reduction or the elimination of redness and puffiness. I just like the feel of clean skin. Period.
Earlier this year, Tasha, over at MaryJane's Farmgirl Connection posted about using baking soda for shampoo. (I so wish I knew how to add a link so you can just press here and you would be instantly transported. I need to work on that.)
I loved it! Soft, silky clean hair is the result and best of all, it's good for you and inexpensive. A quick rinse with apple cider vinegar or honey and warm water and you are ready to go.
Thinking about the properties of baking soda, I realized that it could be used as a face scrub as well. So, for the past six months, this is all I have used to wash my face:

A paste of baking soda and honey, followed by a spritz (I love that word!) of Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel. I do not use the honeycomb. That is for the picture only. :)
The result is a clean, dewy, fresh feeling. At night, and in winter, I add a few drops of olive oil to the mix as an extra moisturizer.
And to answer your question, no, I have never been swarmed by bees, gnats, mosquitoes or any other sweet-loving insect. Thank goodness!!
I do look in the mirror and see a different me. I wish I could look like that all of the time.
I wish people could see me in that light. Unburdened, carefree, renewed and enlivened. It is fleeting and temporary as the weight of my day begins to take its toll.
But, for a few brief minutes, morning and night, the real me comes out.
The beautiful me.
What's your beauty secret?