Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Thirty One:...And So It Ends

It's the last day of Blogtoberfest and I end it with mixed feelings!  Blogtoberfest, among other things, was a commitment to blog everyday during the month of October.  I thought I was crazy for signing up for such a task.  At the time, my blogging was sporadic at best, and for that very reason I signed up.  I wanted to become more disciplined and serious about this blog.

The pressure is off to write everyday and I'm thankful for that.  On the other hand, I honestly enjoyed finding things to write about.  Some days were harder than others.  I think I understand what writer's block means!  I really struggled with keeping this up while my mom and sister were visiting.  I didn't do any writing the last week they were here, but we went out of town for a few days, so I gave myself permission to to put blogging aside til they left!

All in all it has been a positive experience.  The dicipline was good for me and I plan to continue to blog everyday but I won't stress about it if I'm not able.  Thanks for hanging in there with me! 

Friday, October 30, 2009

Family and Friday's Fabulous Finds

My mama and my sister, Carolyn, came for a vistit and left yesterday.  They were here for nine days and believe it or not I wasn't ready for them to leave!  We had a really great time and laughed and giggled a lot!
We went to Amish country in Lancaster, Pa which was the highlight of their trip.  Carolyn had not been there before and seeing it for the first time through her eyes was a delight.  The beauty of fall was breathtaking, the food was absolutely delicious, and the shops didn't disappoint!  In fact, I'll be making another trip there to do some Christmas shopping!

Friday's Fabulous Finds is dedicated to all things Amish.  The items I chose today remind me of the day we spent in Amish country.

Amish Diamond by Cairn Studio

Amish Straw Hat Notecard by Winsome Works

Amish Doll by Hazelrah

Prosperity Handpainted Hex Sign by Hex Kitten Designs

Amish Horse and Buggy Shelf Art by Adirondack Metal

I hope you're having a fabulous Friday!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Twenty Three: Friday's Fabulous Finds

In honor of my mother and sister visiting this week from Arkansas, I found some fabulous finds from that great state.

State of Arkansas Earrings by FlutterByJewelryShop

Swinging Bridge at Beaver, Arkansas by kitkat92469

Arkansas Santa Ornament by designsbyangie

Stoneware Bowl by mountainhomepottery

Razorback Camo Crib, Toddler, Throw Quilt by AROE

Penetrated, Naturally Etched Arkansas Blue Phantoms by montgomerycrystalco2

I hope y'all have a fabulous Friday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Twenty Two: Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the last 30 years, I've been known everywhere I've lived for my chocolate chip cookies.  It started out with the original Toll House recipe and I've modified it through the years.  The secret is to use Crisco shortening instead of butter and DO NOT use a mixer!  Mix the dough with a heavy duty wooden  spoon!

Annette's Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Crisco shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbs. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 12oz. pkg chocolate chips
1 2/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl and set aside.  Cream together the shortening, both sugars and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs.  Add the flour and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips and pecans (dough will be very stiff). 
Drop by rounded tablespoon on ungreased baking sheet and bake 9 - 11 minutes or until light brown on top.  Cookie will look like it's not quite done.  Remove cookies to foil.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Twenty One: Wednesday's Words Of Wisdom

These words of wisdom are rather late this Wednesday night, but I have been enjoying the company of my mother and sister who flew in last night!

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
Leon J. Suenes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Nineteen: Touches of Fall

I finally pulled out my fall decorations.  The house feels warm and cozy and smells like pumpkin pie with the new candles.

Happy fall y'all!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Eighteen: A Lovely Blogger and Etsian

Today I recieved  "A Lovely Blog Award"!  Thank you so much, Julie!  I am so tickled and honored to receive this award and will pass it on to some of my favorite blogs!

Please check out Julies blog, Julie's Bits.  If you love vintage, Victorian or Shabby Chic, you'll love her blog.  It's full of fabulous pictures, articles and recipes.  Then you have to check out her two Etsy shops.  At Julieslittlebits you'll find some beautiful, colorful and unique beads,  vintage and new buttons and so much more.  At Juliesparklybits you'll find vintage jewelry, handcrafted brooches and porcelain rose jewelry.  Here are some of my favorites.

Vintage Buttons in Antique Bottle

Reading Julie's blog and going through her shops is such a treat.  Check them out and let us both know what you think!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Seventeen: Sewing Today

If you and I turned on our webcams, you would see me doing a happy dance right now!!  I'm finally going to do some sewing today!!  I've been working hard to get this house in shape for my mom and sister to see this coming Tuesday, and I decided to give my self permission to take a break and make the dining room curtains I've been putting off! 

Last Christmas, my daughter's gift to me was a dining room make-over.  It's all finished except for the curtains and new table and chairs.  I was busy sewing too many other things to get to the curtains.  There's nothing like company coming to motivate you to get things done!

Right now the valance is the only thing I've cut out and can start on.  If that's all I can get done by Tuesday, I'll be happy.  Something on that window is better than nothing!  The floral fabric is the front and the check fabric is the lining that will peek out from the folds.  I really hope it turns out!

What are your plans today?  Will you be doing something that makes you happy?  I hope so!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Sixteen: Friday's Fabulous Finds

Last Friday, I showed you my fabulous finds for the bathroom from Etsy.  I had so much fun shopping for them that I thought I would make my fabulous finds a regular feature.  There are thousands of Etsy shops and sellers, and so many cool and interesting items that it's almost impossible to see them all.  Through this Friday feature, my hope is that you will see something that you just have to have or find that perfect gift you've been looking for.  At the very least, I hope you will browse through the wonderful and extraordinary shops and think handmade for yourself and for gifts.

I recently read that jewelry is the number one seller on Etsy.  Believe me when I say there is jewelry for everyone's taste and budget!  I love filigree, so I did a search for filigree jewelry and here are just a few of the pieces I love.

Tickle My Fancy earrings by GRACEnDIGNITYColl

Filigree Watch by JewelsByNature

English Roses Collection - Tea Stained Rose and Glass Pearl Bracelet ON SALE

Butterfly Brooch by BongeraFiligrana

Round Stained Glass and Celtic Filigree Pendant

SWEET ESCAPE Solid Aged Brass Filigree and Swallow Ring

Please check out these wonderful shops and all the other beautiful items in them!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Fifteen: Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head

Was it BJ Thomas who sang that song?  It's such a cold rainy, dark and gloomy day today.  I have to go out and take care of some things today, but this is not the kind of weather to be out in.  I was thinking of everything I could do if I stayed home, because it's just the kind of day to

            Wrap up in a blanket, curl up on the couch and read a good book or watch a movie

              Bake cookies, or pumpkin bread or an apple pie

Sew (or fill in what you do) ALL day long

                     Make a big pot of soup, chili or stew

                         Work on a jigsaw puzzle
                                                                   Take a long nap

                  Drink a mug of hot chocolate with Lots of marshmallows

What would YOU do on a cold rainy, dark and gloomy day?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Fourteen: Wednesday's Words Of Wisdom

Make a list of things to do today.  At the top of the list put  "eat chocolate".  Now you will get at least one thing done today!   ~ Gina Hayes

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day 13: Dreaming of Sewing

It's been 10 days since I've done any sewing.  It seems so much longer than that.  Between spending time with the family and getting the house ready for guests, there's just been no time.  I miss it and I have a feeling it's going to be at least  a couple of weeks before I can sew again. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Twelve: Baskets Galore

Three years ago, we bought the house we live in now.  It is considerably larger than the house we moved from, but it has considerably less storage.  Go figure.  So every room has stacks of stuff and clutter that I don't want to get rid of but doesn't have a place to hide away. 

My mother and sister are coming next week for a visit and this will be the first time they've been to this house.  I'm going crazy trying to find a place to put everything.  I used to sell Longaberger baskets, so I have a lot of them!  In the old house they easily fit on a shelf in the closet.  In this house, they were scattered throughout.  Today I found them a home...on top of a cabinet in the kitchen.  I had to take down the collection of pitchers and find a new home for them, but I'm so happy to have all the baskets together. 

Believe it or not, this isn't all of them.  There are several more that I actually use and there is another stack in my sewing room that I can't get to right now!  Yes, I know I should get rid of some, and I actually have through the years.  But for now, I'm happy to have them in one place!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Eleven: Banana Nut Bread

So I missed day ten for Blogtoberfest.  We met the kids at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and spent the day there celebrating Sean's birthday.  After shopping, dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and opening presents at Sean's apartment we made it home just before midnight.  We live 2 hours from Baltimore so it was a long day but well worth it.

Today was spent cleaning and baking.  I came across this recipe for banana nut bread in a magazine a while back and thought it sounded good.  Boy, was I right!  You'll have to try it and taste for yourself.

Southern Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup pecan pieces
        In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  Blend in bananas and vanilla.  Add flour alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.  Fold in pecans.
        Pour into two greased 8in x 4in loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack:  cool completely.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Nine: Bathroom By Etsy

In yesterday's post I told you about shopping for new bathroom stuff. I bought a lot of nice things but didn't get everything I needed, so thought I would see what I could find on Etsy. These are some of my finds.

Soap Dish in olive wood  by  Alentejoazul

Nightlight by MorningDove

Rosemary and lavender soap by SweetSallysSoaps

Monogramed towel set by TheSouthernPineapple

Check out these shops and think handmade the next time you want to spruce up the bathroom!

Blogtoberfest Day Eight: Shopping With Erin And Shylee

I spent a wonderful day with Erin and Shylee.  We live two and a half hours from each other, so getting together for mother/daughter time doesn't happen nearly often enough.  I did the driving today and made the trip up to her.  It was a beautiful drive.  The sky was blue and the trees have started turning.  Traffic was light.  Perfect driving conditions actually!

We spent the day shopping.  Our bathroom redo is almost finished and it was time to buy the fun stuff.  You know, the shower curtain, towels, accessories.  Shopping can be so frustrating where I live.  It's a rural area  surrounded by rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.  It's really quite beautiful here but is lacking in the retail department!  More advanced civilization is an hour away.  But it is always more fun to drive a while longer to shop with Erin/

After shopping, my son Sean and son-in-law Dan, joined us for dinner.  Too soon it was time to say good-bye and head home.  It makes for a long day, but is so worth it!  I love spending time with my kids.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Seven: Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

I'm starting a new weekly feature today, Wednesday's Words of Wisdom.  I'll be posting a quote each Wednesday that will be serious or thought provoking, inspirational or motivating, humorous or silly, or spiritual or encouraging.  Today's quote:

Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm   ....Winston Churchill

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Six: Mice

I don't like mice.  I'm scared of mice.  I know they're scared of me too and that they won't hurt me.  When I see one, I don't want my feet touching the floor.  I do a little dance on my tip toes singing oh, oh, oh, oh!  I don't even like pictures of one so there won't be one with this post today!

I was laying in bed this morning when I heard the strangest noise.  It was like a crinkly sound a plastic bag makes when you ball it up.  The sound was coming from the wall behind the bed.  The noise lasted a couple of seconds before it stopped.  I automatically think mouse when I hear particular kinds of noises.  It comes from years of dealing with them in every house we lived in.  A few minutes passed and I heard it again only this time it sounded like it was at the other end of the wall.  Annie heard it too.  She was laying in the hallway and got up and came in the bedroom fully alert and looking towards the sound.  Annie usually sleeps under the bed.  Why wasn't she there now?  It stopped and there was silence again.  Surely Annie will investigate.  No, she jumped in bed with me!

Yesterday, when I got out of bed, I spotted a jewelry box on the floor.  You know, the kind that a ring comes in with a hinged lid.  The white covering was all chewed up.  I picked it up and thought Annie must have found it under the bed and chewed on it.  Well, this morning I was thinking that Annie didn't have anything to do with that had to be a mouse!

After hearing the noise twice more, I called Michael at work.  He has tons of experience dealing with me and mice!!  He came home (luckily, he works only 5 minutes away and he's a good husband) and put out two traps under our night stands.  He also said there was a paper bag on the floor against the wall that he couldn't reach.  Probably causing the the noise as a mouse ran back and forth across it!

So here I sit, in the kitchen, afraid to go upstairs (no sewing today since the sewing room is next to the bedroom) and thinking of all the mouse incidents I've encountered over the years.  I have a headache now!!

Are you afraid of mice?  Do you have any mouse stories?  I'd like to here them.  I need to know that I'm not alone in this!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Five: Blogging For Bliss

If you blog and could use tips and advice on everything from choosing a name to good blog manners, then this book is for you.  Blogging For Bliss by Tara Frey is loaded with information on every aspect of blogging.  Whether you are a beginner blogger or have been blogging for years, you will find this book most helpful and very enjoyable.

Here are just a few things you can learn from Tara:  why a name is important, where to go for help, how to set up, how to make a banner, how to use your blog for business,  how to make it beautiful,  and sources for great visuals.  I loved that it was easy to read and even the technical stuff didn't seem technical.  It was very easy to understand even for me and I'm very not techno savvy! 

Tara uses many examples from real blogs including her own.  At the end of each chapter you will meet  bloggers who share  their experiences with blogging.  This was very inspiring.  You'll want to visit each one and include some on your own blog roll!

Treat yourself to this inspiring deserve it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Four: It's A Magnet

Remember this cute guy from the bib that didn't turn out?  Well, now he's a magnet!  I used the bib fabric around him to make the sachets and my daughter suggested using the embroidery to make a magnet.  I never would have thought of that!  She's quite clever and creative, that girl.

Erin did the intricate cutting, being careful not to cut through the edge embroidery.  I then traced around the cut out piece on cardstock, cut it out and then glued it to the back of the piece.  I dug through my bin of supplies and found a roll of stick on magnets, cut the size I wanted and stuck it on.  I think he's just adorable.   Who wouldn't want him hanging out on their fridge?!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blogtoberfest Day Three: Lavender Sachets

I feel so much better since I finally made something that turned out!  Using vintage hankies and the fabric from the bib that didn't turn out, I created these lavender sachets.  I even had time to take them to the shop where I have a booth!