Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Blog Anniversary To Me!

July 15 came and went, and I didn't realize until yesterday that I've been blogging for a year. So, happy anniversary to me! I saw on The Cutest Blog on the Block that you can make your blog into a book. I think I'll do that for this last year of blog entries. It'll be a very cool journal of our family life for my posterity. It doesn't cost much either.

Click on the words in the upper left hand corner on my main page, The Cutest Blog, and check it out if you're interested. You can also jazz up your own blog using their backgrounds, templates, etc. It's free too.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Morning Walk

Here are more treasures I found on my morning walk today; all kinds and colors of old glass and even a square headed nail. It's hard looking up at the sky and trees when there's so much to find underfoot!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Today I worked from 9-6 trying on EVERYTHING in my closet. I got rid of 35 things! They're piled up on the window seat. I'm thinking about taking them to a consignment shop instead of Goodwill. Here are two 'after' photos of my closets. There are three separate doors side by side, but the inside is one long closet. Husband has one, and I have two. I have a shoe rack on the back of one door and a purse rack on the other. The shelf above the clothes pole is the place where I keep gifts on hand. I like not having to go to the store every time someone has a birthday. I buy things all year that I know friends and family will like.

I was hoping to get rid of the hanging garment bag, but it's the only place to keep our formal wear. I'm saving all of Laurel's prom dresses for Darcie. My wedding outfits are in there waiting (hopefully) to be worn again. Of course I'll have to lose a few pounds to wear the clothes I wore to Laurel's wedding!

While I had the camera in my bedroom, I took a few photos around the room. And yes, that's a gun barrel sticking up next to the nightstand! One must be prepared!

And that's my wedding dress in the box. I took it out of the back of my closet, because I needed that space for a box filled with gift bags and tissue paper.

I think it looks kinda creepy; almost like it's in a coffin. I'll put it under a bed somewhere. We're pretty limited on closet space in this house. Old houses are like that!

Anyway, back to my purging...Laurel likes the idea of having a uniform to wear every day. I want a bit more variety, so I kept six outfits for church and six more casual ones for night church and town.

The rest are my everyday clothes; four pairs of shorts, four pairs of pants, and several shirts/tees to go with them.

I still have more than I want or need. I'd love to have about half that much... or less. But I guess it'll have to be done in stages. I AM making a vow to myself not to buy anything new unless it's absolutely necessary. I'm also not going to look at catalogs any more. As soon as they come in the mail, they're going into the recycling bucket without being opened.

I just keep thinking about how much money I've wasted by buying too many clothes. Even worse is the time I had to take to get rid of them! Never again!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Homemade Granola

I tried a granola recipe I found on I tweaked it in a few places. You've got to be careful not to overcook granola; makes it taste bitter for some reason.

Here's the recipe including my changes:

8 cups rolled oats
2 cups any kind of nuts on hand-I used almonds, pecans, and walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup honey
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups raisins, currants, and dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325. Line two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil.

Combine the oats and nuts in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread evenly over baking sheets.

Bake until crispy and toasted, about 20 minutes. Don't let it get too dark. Stir once halfway through. Store in airtight containers.

Our whole family LOVES this!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This summer I've really been focusing on deep cleaning my house and decluttering. I still have a little cleaning to do but will be through (Lord willing) before school starts in September. Flylady is the ticket!

One day last week I had finished straightening up the house in the morning. I walked from room to room and realized that I didn't have anything to do!
Oh, there's always painting projects and other bigger things to do. I mean there wasn't anything left to clean. Amazing! But as I walked around I began feeling a little bereft. It's been so long since I had a big chunk of time to call my own that I didn't know what to do with one when I had it!

I may have blogged about this before. I don't remember, and I'm not going to go through all the posts trying to find it. So just bear with me if this sounds familiar.

I used to get so frustrated when I had four small children around 24/7, because I could never get deeply into a project without being interrupted. You moms with young ones know what I'm talking about! A good friend with seven children gave me this one piece of invaluable advice that changed my life. She said, "You have to learn to work in small increments."

Sewing, at that time, was my major creative outlet. I made all my own and the children's clothing. Most were smocked and french handsewn, so they were labor intensive. Her advice meant that I would break down my project into very small pieces.

First I would gather up all the supplies needed for that particular project. If time/children allowed, I would thread the needle on the sewing machine. If time/children allowed, I would read step l on the pattern guide. Keep in mind that I may have had ten interruptions between step 1 and 2.

I trained myself to work this way almost thirty years ago and have gotten many, many things done. But this isn't my stage of life any longer. I only have two children at home now. I've learned how to efficiently clean my house and can get it into shape with about thirty minutes of cleaning a day.

You may ask, "So what's the problem?" The problem is that my level of concentration is on a par with a three-year-old! I can't settle to anything for longer than five minutes. I never anticipated this problem when contemplating my "golden years"!

Not that I've ever contemplated them much. I JUST WANT TO LEARN HOW TO FOCUS AGAIN!

I was able to do it the week I was at the folk school, but I was out of the house then. All we were doing was painting, so it was easy.

I guess I'll have to pick a project to work on and make myself focus until it's finished. I've tried doing that and it's really hard now. Very strange. Any helpful suggestions?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Twenty years ago today we moved into our little blue cottage. It was, and still is, my dream house. There's very little I would change if given the chance.

When we first moved to Georgia thirty years ago, we found a typically southern two-story with white columns out front and two wings on either side. It really wasn't ME, but I wasn't sure at the time what ME was. The colors inside were all wrong. The woman who built the house was a redhead, so she chose earth tones in brown, orange, and gold. I changed the wallpaper in a few rooms but didn't want to rip out the tile floor in the kitchen and dining room. Too expensive.

So I lived with it and started looking for an old house with some acreage. I was homeschooling four children at the time. Actually three; Dylan was two but definitely a force to be reckoned with. He's the reason I gave up homeschooling for a time, but that's another story for another day!

So after we finished schooling, I would pile all my little children into my Ford F-150 pickup and drive through the country looking for abandoned houses. We were able to go into quite a few where I would take pictures of ceilings, mouldings, staircases, etc. I was collecting ideas.

There were plenty of old, abandoned houses around. Some were for sale, but they didn't come with any land. Most would have to be moved. My husband wasn't on board with that. We didn't have any land to put one on anyway.

In fact, my husband didn't want to live in an old house. He had grown up in one and knew the kind of upkeep required and didn't want to fool with it. Sigh...

I eventually found a piece of land that had a mature pecan grove on it, some woods, and an open field. Only thing lacking was a pond. I figured three out of four wasn't bad. Husband was brought out to look at it and actually liked it! We bought the forty acres, but it didn't come with a mule. It did come with an outhouse, pig sty, and barn. Unfortunately we had to tear down all three due to termite damage. I really wanted to keep that outhouse!

I started looking at house plans. Since I couldn't have a REAL old house, I wanted my new house to look old. I also started collecting antique bathroom and light fixtures. A man who tore down old houses gave me some beadboard for the walls. I paid $200 for the upstairs flooring being torn out of an old house in the middle of town. It was heart pine and enough to do most of the upstairs.

There are dozens of stories that could be told, but you'll have to wait for the book. This is getting too long, but a few more things need to be told.

I couldn't find exactly the house plan I wanted and was getting frantic when the strangest thing happened. I had been to Tennessee to visit my parents and had stopped in Macon to see a friend. We had a good visit and before leaving I made a trip to the powder room. There in a basket on the floor was a Country Living magazine with the perfect house on the front. I yelled, "That's it!" It was their House of the Year for 198? I can't remember the exact year. I asked if I could have the magazine, she said yes, and as soon as I got home I ordered the house plans.

I spent many nights sitting up into the wee hours of the morning drawing out the rooms on graph paper and changing the plans until they were perfect for our family. We started building in January of 1990 and moved in on July 9.

Happy 20th anniverary little blue cottage! I love you!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I've been harvesting and drying leaves for various purposes.

The raspberry leaves in the blue bowl will be dried and used in tea for PMS symptoms. A good friend of mine gets them to use for her teenage daughter. They are also used to treat diarrhea.

The leaves on the red-checked towel are basil and will be used in spaghetti and lasagna. Basil kills intestinal parasites and stimulates the immune system.

I've also been drying oregano to use in my Italian dishes. I also dry rosemary and sweet bay leaves. In fact, I've got a ton of those two. Anyone who wants some, please come and get it!

Good Stuff!

I made this bruschetta today using basil leaves and Roma tomatoes I grew. Laurel taught me how to make this tasty treat. It's good with a meal or as a snack.

You slice French or Italian bread about half an inch thick. On top you put a basil leaf, a tomato slice, mozzarella, and then drizzle it with olive oil. Stick in the oven under the broiler until the top begins to brown. Enjoy!

Friday, July 3, 2009

To Paint or Not to Paint?

This black and white checkerboard floor is in my laundry room/sewing room. I painted it twenty years ago this month, so it took that long to wear down this much.

The raspberries and leaves were picked one morning. I'll post later about what I do with the leaves.

I'm thinking about painting my kitchen floor to match. The two floors run together. You can barely see the kitchen floor in the top picture. It's pine boards. I LOVE black and white checkerboard kitchen floors. Or I could paint a floor cloth to go under the table instead.

So I'm taking a poll. Come on all you friends of mine that I know read my blog but never comment. What should I do? Paint both floors b/w checkerboard or just do a floor cloth for the kitchen? I think I'll repaint the laundry room floor regardless of what I do in the kitchen. I hate to cover over the patina, but it's pretty worn.
What would YOU do?