Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three On Saturday

Here's three things I'm thinking about tonight...

I baked those Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from the Williams-Sonoma blog. They turned out pretty darn good and were so easy to make. I may have gotten a little carried away taking pictures of them:

They were crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, perfect if you ask me. I'm going to give you the only secret I have about baking cookies: After you bake cookies and they cool just a little, put them on a cutting board (preferably a wooden one) to finish cooling. The cutting board will make them crisp on the outside.
I put the cookies on a tray in the kitchen to stage them for my pictures. The tarnished, silver 'footed' tray in the photo is one I bought for $30 at an antiques mall the other day. Here is a close-up of the tarnished tray before I cleaned it with baking soda.
And here's some pictures after the tray got a quick scrub with a kitchen sponge and a few shakes of baking soda. So easy...

I just love seeing how quickly the tarnish comes off the silver pieces using only baking soda and water. As they say, simple things occupy simple minds!
Did you notice that red floral Christmas pot holder from my last post hanging next to the silver tray? Yeah, still having a love affair with it!
While in the kitchen, I took a picture of an adorable salt and pepper dish made by the Mud Pie brand, which I bought last month. The two separate dishes stack together under the lid, and the little drawer-pull knob on top makes it so sweet. 

I had forgotten about the salt and pepper dish until B.J. over at Sweet Nothings posted about some Mud Pie pieces she bought recently to give as gifts. You can see her post, Slinging Mud, here.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Favorites From Williams-Sonoma

I've always loved kitchen stuff, especially at Williams-Sonoma. Maybe it's because I grew up in Sonoma California, where the chain store first started as a little bitty housewares store in 1956. 

Here's my latest kitchen purchase, two Christmas potholders, from Williams-Sonoma.
I totally love the floral one. I'm having a hard time putting it away. Lord knows I would never use that potholder to take a messy pan out of the oven! Honestly, truth be told, I wouldn't use the striped one either. Too pretty...

If you stop by in July, you will probably find the Christmas potholder still hanging on the pot rack with the red striped one. It's a few days til February and I've just started taking down a few decorations. Twelve days of Christmas really doesn't cut it with me.
I'm obsessed with kitchens on Pinterest...but, that's not to say I'm a good cook. Far from it! Probably one out of five meals I cook are total fails. We eat out a lot, especially breakfast. 
I do have a recipe for perfect chocolate chip cookies. It's from the Williams-Sonoma blog, which is what started me thinking about my Christmas potholders and the original little store. You can have the recipe, and picture too, by just clicking on the blog link below.

I plan to try to make their cookie recipe tonight. I like to bake when it's dark and cold outside. Don't worry, those pretty red potholders aren't in jeporady! I have some old black potholders in the drawer I can use to take the pan out of the oven. They have a little burn mark on them from heaven knows where.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Happiness Of Letting Go

Since reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, I've donated a lot of things I no longer wanted. I wrote about Ms Kondo's book here and I can't recommend it enough without driving you crazy.

Although I was able to donate things I no longer wanted, I started hitting a wall when it came to things I really loved. I tended to want to store them away for that "someday" we're always thinking will come. 

That's what I started to do with two teacups. I started to pack them away in a closet for "someday".
I had a dainty pink floral teacup with a saucer that was a pretty good match. Then my mother-in-law moved to a smaller apartment in her retirement community and  -- in one of the "no room for these" boxes -- was a pretty green floral teacup and saucer. I loved them, but I was downsizing possessions, remember?
Luckily, I remembered that Henny Penny Lane mentioned she was looking to collect teacups, but hadn't found any yet. Perfect!

It brought me and my mother-in-law joy to send the two teacups to Miss Henny Penny. You can read Miss Henny Penny's post here about receiving them. I have to confess, with her permission I borrowed the pictures from her blog as I hadn't taken any pictures before I sent them.
Now Henny Penny has the start of a collection she really wanted to start. It brings her joy. And the gift of letting go brought me joy, just as Marie Kondo said it would.
I would love to read your experience of letting go. If you've posted about it, please share it by leaving a link to your post in the comment section below.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Glad To Be Home

Hi Everyone! The plane didn't crash on the way to California or on the way back as you can see. Here's a shaky picture of the Golden Gate Bridge out the window of the airporter as we crossed the bridge.
On my flight out, the plane backed away from the terminal then stopped and back to the terminal we went. The pilot said "mechanical trouble" was the cause. 

Forty minutes later the mechanics left and we were on our way again...Do you think I ever relaxed the whole way from Dallas to San Francisco after that? ...NO WAY!!!

Without internet for the last 2 weeks, I've missed being able to visit all your blogs. I was visiting my 86-year-old mother to help her get around town and give her moral support while the only relative who lives close by her was in the hospital with a serious condition. We took some time daily to clean out closets and cupboards and to donate lots of stuff. 
Mary's Pizza Shack
Most days, we ate our favorite soup-and-salad combo at Mary's Pizza Shack (our favorite late-lunch eating place) and enjoyed being a couple of Golden Girls together for 10 days. 
Mary's Pizza Shack is a small California chain now, but we remember many nights at the original little "shack" Mary started right in our little town back in 1959. The original little shack is gone now, this location took its place in the late 70's. 

You can see the very old tree the patio was built around in the photo below. It is a spectacular tree and every kid in our small town has probably climbed on it at one time or another. There's a sign now asking that no one climb on it due to its age.
In case you're wondering, my two sisters and I have all asked mom, over and over, to come live with one of us or to at least let us move her to one of our towns so one of us would be close by. So far, no dice, but we're hoping she'll change her mind soon.

Hope all of you in the path of the snowstorm in the East/Southeast are ready to batten down the hatches and let it pass by. We're all praying it passes quickly and leaves you with only a beautiful snowfall to admire. I can tell you California got plenty of rain recently, it rained every single day I was there.

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Leaving On A Jet Plane...

I hate to fly and love to drive. I need to go out to California to the wine country for a family crisis. I put off going for a week, trying to convince myself I could drive it again, but tomorrow I'll be Westward Ho at an early hour. On a dreaded airplane.

It's just in the last 10 years that I quit flying. Before that, as a training program manager, I would fly for business reasons about once or twice a month. And when I was young and in the Air Force, I would ride on any aircraft I could wangle my way on. 
One time in the Philippines, I caught a local flight, between military bases, on a helicopter from a nearby U.S. Navy base and made the mistake of asking what a belt-type-rope-thing was...and in 15 minutes I was hanging upside down out the helicopter side door, about 500 feet up over a field, pretending to check for shrapnel damage on the underside of the dang helicopter. Never ask a young Navy helicopter pilot what the belt thingy is...a lesson I learned the hard way!

If I never post again, you'll know my plane didn't make it...the good news is if my plane makes it...

I'll be in wine country and after a couple bottles of wine to celebrate I'll take some good pictures to share with you. 

I always forget how pretty the wine country is 'til I go home. OK, sing it with me: 

...Well I'm leavin' on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again...

Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Pins And Needles

Someone was on Pinterest a few weeks ago trying to pin some great looking kitchen pins to her own 'kitchen' board and wondering out loud why she already had every gosh-dang pin on that fabulous kitchen board, only to have her daughter point out to her that the someone was actually on her own kitchen board trying to pin her own kitchen board pins to her own kitchen board again.

I hate when that happens!
(yes, more than once)

If the above paragraph makes no sense to you, then you are blessed!

It means you probably have never wasted your day stuck in the Pinterest hell of boards and pins and Ryan Goshling "Hey Girl"  images...

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Movie Quick List

So many movies right now! We saw more than a few of them recently and most were pretty good. Here's our list:

The Heart of The Sea. Wild Bill wanted to see this one, me not so much. Men go out on a boat in the late 1800's to chase whales...where's the story there? But I ended up loving it so much that I saw it twice in one week and would go see it again! 

Star Wars - The Force Awakens. Loved it. Don't listen to the critics and don't let anyone tell you about it before you see it. If you love the original, you will probably love this one too.

Sisters. Two 39-and-holding sisters go home to clean out their old bedroom when their parents decide to sell the house they grew up in. We haven't laughed so hard in a movie in a long time. Even youngest daughter, who hates to go to the movie, said she laughed 'til the tears ran down her cheeks. Some foul language, be forewarned.

Joy. Single mom has a gift for designing products and collecting crazies. We both wanted to see this one and had high expectations. Afterwards we were on the fence. Good in some parts, slow in other parts.

The Big Short. Again, I went because Wild Bill chose it, but ended up loving it myself. Great explanations of what happened to all the money in the housing crash and too-big-to-fail situation.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Long Way Home, Via Nell Hill's

Lots of flooding going on in Missouri, which is how we normally go home to Texas from Illinois. 
 To avoid the flooding, we decided to take the long way home. West to Iowa, Southwest to Kansas, and then down through Tulsa to Texas we drove. Luckily the route was close to Atchison Kansas, so we took a little detour there.
One of Nell Hill's stores is located in Atchinson. We were there waiting for the store to open at 10 on Saturday morning. As luck would have it, the store was having a 50% off Christmas decor sale.
The reindeer cloche and stand was less than $10. The metal holiday ornament signs were less than $3 each. 
 I bought two of the metal ornament signs--not to decorate with-- but to use as inspiration to make a wooden sign for the kitchen wall next year.
After I got them home and saw how cute they looked, I regretted not buying more to decorate a tree with.

Ribbon was 50 % off and I couldn't pass up this plaid, with wire sides, for just $8 for the whole roll. The reverse side of the ribbon has a chalkboard look saying 'BELIEVE'. At Nell Hill's, they had a Christmas tree with this ribbon wrapped 'round and 'round in a spiral.
The horse head hooks were not on sale, but I couldn't pass them up. I have been on a quest to find something similar for our bathroom hand towels to hang on and look forward to finally hanging them up.
 I fell hard for this rejoice sign, which was considered Christmas decor and 50% off. I'm going to hang it up for a short while, even though Christmas has passed. The metal angel goes out to the front and the signage part has brackets to the right of the words, which is where it will attach to the wall. The colors are perfect for me, though I may paint the angel a different color so she will show up better.
The rooms at Nell Hill's store are set up with furniture in various room settings. In one area, there's a kitchen setting with a large chippy farm table that has a large old ladder hanging over it, taking the place of a chandelier. Three barn-type lights hanging from the ladder provide light over the table. I was smitten!

I think that will be my "word" for the year. I've downsized clutter, spent 6 months going to the gym almost daily, lost some weight by eliminating "white foods" from my diet...surely it's time for a little rejoicing this year!

As we pulled away from Nell Hill's in Atchison last Saturday, I was a little sad. I knew I would not be back to that out-of-the-way area ever again...but, then I remembered there are more Nell Hill stores over in Kansas City, and you just never know where we'll end up on one of our future road trips.

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Friday, January 1, 2016

It's A Wrap...Jaysa's Chandelier

A while back, Middle Daughter's chandelier started getting an overhaul. Jaysa wanted a Pottery Barn chandelier, and I told her she just needed to paint her's...sounds so easy, right? 

Well it was. Easy on me anyway...she did most of the work!
In early Fall, I started it for her. Did all the easy parts. Then I went home the next day and she had to climb way up and paint the chain and the cap at the ceiling. 
 She said the worst was getting a brush into the area where the spokes of the chandelier meet at the top of the light, just before the chain. 
She had wanted to take it down and spray paint it, but her not-so-brilliant mother said:
 "Why not just paint it in place with chalk paint?"
I often make an easy project into a very complicated one - It's my gift! You can read how it started last September here. This is the original Pottery Barn light that started it all.
And this is what her chandelier looked like before it got its makeover. She had taken off one ugly globe and tried an Edison light in one socket on the left there, you know...just to see.
The only thing left is to paint all the white sockets that hold the Edison bulbs. 
But since we are visiting her again right now, she and I are debating whether she could make a cover for each socket out of the center of toilet paper rolls and just paint them black and slip them on. Like I said before, it gets very complicated in my world!

The room is a work-in-progress right now, and it's hard to get a good picture with the way the light from the window works. 

When the room is done, I'll post it. Meanwhile, Middle Daughter is painting her woodwork white (see top orange wood trim), working on a chalkboard she made but had a 'fail' on the stained wood frame of it (see above picture) and adding more trim to the baseboards, etc. 

Thanks for dropping by and...