A Little of this and that.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you have a wonderful special day with family and loved ones.  I know how it's so easy to get lost in the stuff of the day- cooking all of the special dishes and family favorites, making sure the house is cleaned and spotless and that everything is just right for our family gatherings.  We women are just like that!  I guess that's why they call it "nesting" when we are ready to deliver our babies. We just want everything to be ready on time and just perfect. I know I'm not the only one out there and I'm sure there are plenty more just like me!

Thanksgiving is finally here and that means that Christmas is just around the corner.  It's time for us to gather around the table with those we love and give thanks for all the blessings we have in our lives.
We have our family....our treasured friends....a home to keep us warm....our health.  I have a supportive husband who loves me dearly, two wonderful children and their great spouses and now two beautiful grandsons that I love to the moon and back.  I have been truly blessed!

Dear Lord I want to take the time to thank you for all you have give us this year and every year.  We need to remind ourselves how truly blessed we are and keep this thankful spirit each and every day of the year!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I know that there have been many posts recently showing how to make your own laundry washing soap for your clothes.  Well a few weeks ago I decided that I would try my hand at making laundry soap of all things!  My 3 sisters responses were almost the same.  They all said " Why?" 

Well I thought it might be fun to try it.  I have also been very sensitive to chemicals for most of my life and it seems that lately it is getting to be a little more of a problem. I had also heard it is much less expensive and better for your plumbing to use more "filler free" products  My daughter is always telling me to think about the planet and try to be greener so that is one of the reasons I thought I would try it too.

It was really easy and simple to make.  It also only took 3 simple ingredients to make!  It was pretty cheap too!  All you need is Washing Soda, Borax and Fels Naptha or Ivory soap.  I quadrupled the following recipe and it turned out great.  The only thing I would change is that I would switch to Zote soap next time just because I would like to make pretty pink soap instead of the yellow soap.  I know!  What is with me and pink?  You can also add in some pure lavender oil or any other pure essential oil that you like to make it smell even better.  I was also told that to make it even stronger you could add in some Oxy Clean.  But here is the simple basic recipe that I used:

1/2 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
1cup Fels Naptha or Ivory soap (grated finely)
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax 

The most tedious part is grating the Fels Naptha soap.  I used an old metal grater and had no problem at all.  It was a little larger pieces then I wanted so I then put it in a small old food processor that I wasn't using anymore.  That worked out great!  Mix all the ingredients and stir well.  Put your new laundry soap in a pretty container with a lid.  For lightly soiled loads I use 1 TBS and for heavily soiled loads I use 2 TBS.

Of course I needed an antique silver scoop to put in my container with my laundry soap.  I found this beautiful one on E-Bay.  I know I don't need that big of a scoop since you only use 1 to 2 TBS. but I just thought this would look cute in the container.

Monday, August 8, 2011

HOTH - Roosters and Chickens Party

I decided to join Sheila over at Note Songs for her Heart of the Home Roosters and Chickens Party. She asked everyone to post pictures sharing our favorite roosters and or chickens. My kitchen has quite a few roosters in it. I think I've always loved roosters and chickens so it was a no brainer for me to have them on display.

These are a few of the pictures that I have hanging on my kitchen wall above my buffet server. They are an off -white colored tin picture frames. My husband and I found the prints and then sized them to fit the frames. I have a off-white tin type ceiling and these picture frames match it quite well.

I found this hand made rooster at a local Craft Fair a few years ago. I just love his long legs! My little grandson sometimes likes to walk by him and make his legs swing back and forth. He hangs on the side of my built in refrigerator and he welcomes everyone into my kitchen.

This is the shelf that is hanging above my buffet server in the kitchen. I had my husband custom make the shelf for me. He made it out of oak and about had a heart attack when I told him I wanted to paint it! Had he known that he probably could have made it quite a bit cheaper. I have several different roosters and chickens up on that shelf in addition to a few off-white pitchers and canisters. I put the leaf and fruit strand up there last fall and liked it so much I decided to keep it year round.

These two little roosters flank my metal basket that I use as a hold all for mail and stuff that needs to be put away. It's almost full so I guess I better clean it out. The poor rooster on the right has been knocked off the counter a few times and his head was cracked. I couldn't stand to throw him out so I glued him back together and he keeps his cousin company!

This large rooster sits in the center of my buffet server. He has been moved all over my kitchen at one time or another. I just love this big one! I picked him up at an antique store up in the mountains when we were up there for our anniversary a few years ago. I love him because his feathers have a dark antique stain over it that makes him look aged and worn. This rooster is very heavy and makes a nice statement I think.

My sister gave me these two little roosters last year for my birthday. I have them on each side of a moss covered basket that is full of wooden eggs. The eggs are both white and brown. My sister picked these up for me when we were at a tea house in Colfax. They had lots of roosters and chickens and I wish I had gone back there and gotten a few more roosters before the tea house went out of business. They were very reasonably priced also.

This rooster is a tea light holder also. Another one of my sisters bought this for me for my birthday a few years ago. I believe it is a Party Light product. When the tea light candle is lit the rooster is really lovely. There are numerous cut outs in the rooster to let the light shine through.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out a few of the roosters I have in my kitchen. I have several more that I did not showcase. Please head over to Note Songs and check out the rooster party!

Thrifting Fun!

Awhile back I was in Las Vegas for a few days visiting family for a funeral. We had a little extra time on our hands so I went antiquing and thrift store shopping. Teapots, scales and rolling pins are some of the cool things I came home with.

I have always loved tea cups and teapots and have quite a collection already. When I spot a pretty one my heart starts to beat a little faster. I especially like it when I get them for practically a steal! This one was missing a lid but it will make a wonderful planter or perhaps it will hold some kitchen tools.

Another thing I love is old wooden rolling pins. I look at them and imagine about the ladies who owned them and what they possibly were thinking when they were rolling out their pie crusts. Were they baking a pie for their own family or perhaps it was for a sick neighbor. Maybe they were taking it to church for a potluck supper.

I was lucky enough to get several extra rolling pins for free on this trip! I mentioned to my husband's aunt that I loved old rolling pins and was collecting them. She said she had several that belonged to other family members including my husbands great aunt and his grandmother. I jumped at the chance to bring them home and add them to my collection.

She asked me what other things I was looking for and then began to shop around her house. She kept on puling things out and asking me if I would like them! I was so excited but also kept feeling like I was taking her stuff. She assured me they were things that she didn't want and if I really liked the stuff she would rather they go home with me then just sit around and gather dust.

This beautiful old scale came home with me from her house. I have always wanted one for my kitchen and now I have one.
I just love how the front of the face looks. It is going to be a welcome addition to my kitchen! I can see using it for holiday displays or perhaps it will hold some fresh fruit up on top in it's basket.

So I ended up with quite a few good deals from the thrift store and quite a few more for free from my aunt in law!

Linking up to Southern Hospitality, Debbie Does, Between Naps on the Porch and Charm Bracelet Diva

My apron is on it's way!

My apron is on it's way to my swap partner! I hope she likes the apron that I made for her and all the goodies I sent also. My swap partner doesn't drink alcohol so I was thinking more of a refreshing cool fruity drink when I picked out my fabric for the apron. I really had a hard time finding any fabric in my area that really spoke to me when I was thinking cocktails. As soon as I started thinking about other cool drinks I saw lots of fabrics that would work.

I made it a flirty and kinda sexy apron though! I of course had to add a little lace ruffle also as I love ruffles and lace! Pink and orange make a nice color combination. There are two pockets on the front also. I also cut the bottom of the skirt into a couple of curves- kind of ruffly on it's own.

I made some cloth coasters out of some fabric I brought back from my last trip to Hawaii when I was there visiting my daughter. Of course I had to include some colorful umbrella picks that she can either use in her fruit drinks or she can use them as picks to decorate her food. I also sent her two palm tree dish towels that I found at a local store. I liked them so much that I also bought some to include in my Aloha Flirty Apron Swap package and a few for myself!

In keeping with the pinks I also sent her some cloth placemats and coordinating cloth napkins. She could use those anytime to cheer up her table.

I'm linking up to Treasure Hunt Thursday @ From My Front Porch To Yours

Cool Drinks for Hot Mamas Apron Swap

My swap package was delivered yesterday. I was on my way out for the evening and when I went outside it was sitting on my doorstop. So I took it in the car with me cause I really wanted to open it immediately! My partner Madelyn was so clever as she made my apron reversible. On one side it was a cute cocktail themed apron. There is even a little bit of glitter on some of the cocktail glasses on the fabric. There is two nice pockets trimmed in large pink rick rac.

On the reverse side was cute little cupcakes! The cupcake fabric looked so cute! There was also pockets and they were trimmed in a cute pink and green braided type trim.

My swap partner made me matching potholders and matching coasters in each of the fabrics! So that means there is 2 potholders and 8 coasters. She also include a neat cupcake recipe book that has 500 recipes for some delicious and beautiful looking cupcakes. She also sent me a silicone spatula and a set of matching cupcake liners and cupcake toppers.

I also received the two dish towels that were machine embroidered with the cutest cocktails! I had previously commented on them when Madelyn first posted about them. I just recently got an embroidery machine and don't really know how to use it and that is why I thought they were so clever and cute!

I absolutely love everything that I received in my swap package and am now the owner of another cute reversible apron! I just love these swaps!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Aloha Flirty Apron Swap

I just recently participated in another Flirty Apron Swap. This time round the theme was to be an Aloha Flirty Apron that you sew especially for your secret swap partner. You are also suppose to include a few tuck in items as gifts for your swap partner that go along with the theme. You can make any style apron you like but the swap coordinator does supply us with information about our partner with their likes and dislikes, style they prefer and favorite colors, etc. Usually you can go and look at your secret swap partner's blog and kind of get a feel of what you think your partner would like also.

So this time I was to make an apron for Grace in Washington. This is the apron I made for her. She seemed to be a outgoing fun lady and I wanted to make her an upbeat and happy apron with bright colors. I knew she also liked pink so I went with this pink and green floral fabric.
In addition to sewing the apron for her I also made her a set of 4 fabric criss cross coasters out of fabric I got when I was in Hawaii on my last trip. I included 2 dish towels with palm trees on them, another set of coasters, an aloha themed note pad and 2 small scented candles.

I wrapped everything individually and then threw in some metallic Hibiscus flowers to help decorate the box. I wrote her a little note letting her know that I enjoyed making this package especially for her and I hope she enjoys all the Aloha spirit I was sending her!

These apron swaps are so fun! I of course have so much fun receiving a special apron made just for me and all the fun little goodies that go into it but I really have just as much fun creating a special apron for someone I don't know. I like to try and think of clever little tuck in gifts to go with it. Goodness knows I really don't need another apron but I've already signed up for another apron swap in the near future!

I hope Grace doesn't mind but I'm posting the pictures that she took and put on her blog as I'm having camera issues at the moment.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Memaw's Little Boys

This past weekend we had the pleasure of having our daughter, son in law and baby grandson visit us from Hawaii. I sure enjoyed having both of my little boys to love on!

We had a family BBQ to let everyone meet little Harper. Connor sure enjoys talking and playing with his little cousin Harper and every chance he got he got close to him. I know he loves his little cousin but I also think he might not have wanted his Memaw holding someone else. That's okay cause I have enough room on my lap for both of them and definitely enough love to share with both. Harper is 6 months old already and Connor hadn't seen him in person since he was only 2 weeks old. I sure wish they lived close and could grow up playing together like my kids did with their cousins.

We also enjoyed spending some snuggle time reading several books. I love to read and when my children were little I read to them on a daily basis. I think that is one of the reason that both of them love to read so much also. I hope my grandchildren learn to love books also but I'm sure they will since they get read to on a regular basis by their parents and by me.

G-Pa also loved having the opportunity to have both of his grandson's with us at the same time. He thinks the world of both of our little boys and I think he just glows when he's holding them both. He loves spending time with them and I'm sure when they are a little bigger he will enjoy spending more time with them teaching them lots of cool stuff. Connor already follows him around when he's in the backyard cleaning the pool or working on something. He follows G-Pa around with his little plastic lawnmower when G-Pa is mowing the grass.

We hope to be able to see baby Harper again next month for another very short visit when they are in California for a friend's wedding. Until then I'll just have to remember his sweet baby smell, the way he coos and laughs and look at the pictures and remember how adorable he is!

He is such a sweet little baby!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hubby, Chewbacca and I

I thought I would post a recent picture of my husband (David), my doggie (Chewbacca) and myself. My son David has a great new camera and he was kind enough to come over to our house and take the picture for us. My daughter Heather had asked for an updated picture of the two of us so that is the reason I asked him to do it. We posed sitting in the grass in our backyard with the pool in the far background.

Heather, Ryan and baby Harper will be coming to visit us next week from Hawaii and I plan on getting David, Brenda and Connor over at the same time so we can get a family photo of everyone. The last time we did a family photo little baby Harper wasn't born yet. As a matter of fact at the time we took our photos Heather was barely 6 weeks pregnant.

Maybe this time next year we will need another updated family photo if our family continues to grow. Wouldn't that be great!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Fun Apron Swaps

I know I said I wasn't going to do it but I did! I just couldn't help myself! My name is Donna and I'm addicted to aprons! I've participated in Val's apron swaps before and they have always been so much fun. I love creating an apron for someone else and thinking of clever tuckins to go along with the theme. I of course love receiving my package too but I kinda think I like making up my package just as much. I always try to find out about the person that I'm secretly making an apron for. So I can see what type of things she likes and dislikes. I will then read her blog if possible and try to get a sense of who she is and what she likes.

I'm also in another apron swap right now that is called The Summer Fun Aloha Swap over at the Flirty Apron Swap website. I should be getting my information in the next day or so as to who I am to make an apron for. I've been thinking about the fabric selection and what kind of apron I would like to make. I have to wait to see the information about what my swap partner likes first to see if it would be something she would like. I've already been looking around getting ideas as to what I want to put in as my little tuck in gifts. Since we have a theme we kind of know at least what types of things to look at.

So in the near future I will be the proud owner of not one but two new aprons made especially for me! Yeah!! I need a bigger closet to store all the aprons I've received from the apron swaps I've already participated in.

I can't wear cute shoes but I definitely can wear cute aprons- and I do!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Fun Day by the Bay

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to spend a little one on one time with each other this past Father's Day weekend before the other Father's Day Festivities began. We decided to take a quick little 30 minute drive to Benicia which is a quaint little historic town on our side of the San Francisco Bay along the north bank of the Carquinez Straits. In 1853-1854 Benicia was the state capital for California. The City of Benicia is a picturesque waterfront community with small town charm located in Solano County with Martinez on one side and Vallejo on the other.

In recent years Benicia has had a little town makeover to appeal to more people. There are now many antique shops, restaurants with outdoor seating, the marina and yacht club, parks, a tea house and many old Victorian style homes in addition to it's beaches.

Benicia is such a nice little town to go visit for the day and I love going there whenever I have the chance. Benicia is known for attracting quite a few out-of-town antique and boutique shoppers and those seeking small-town, historic charm. They have wonderful street fairs, farmers' markets, parades and art festivals scheduled through out the year.

The City, rich in tradition, is home to more than forty historic sites. Benicia has an old Aresenal building which was a former United States Army armory. It is now used for a variety of purposes, most notably as live-work spaces for artists. The Arsenal is home to several historic landmark buildings such as The Clock Tower, the Camel Barn, Fire museums, and the Jefferson Street Mansion. Benicia’s history is alive in the buildings, and in the people who inhabit them.

On a clear day you can see across the bay and see either the Carquinez bridge or the Benicia- Martinez bridge.

I love it's old time charm and in particular am quite fond of the little church they have on First Street.

Whether it's an all day trip or just a short visit I love to go to Benicia and plan many more trips there in the future. I love to just stop by for no certain reason and walk around and look at all of the interesting shops or even stop for just a pot of tea and a scone. I know for sure I'll be back in August for their Peddler's Fair and again in September for their Craft Fair.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Barns and Homes of North Carolina

I recently had the opportunity to go to North Carolina on a short vacation with my family. We are looking to hopefully relocate there in the near future. These are just a few of the old farm houses and barns that I saw while I was back there on my trip.

I really think that these barns are beautiful each in their own way! I love the patina of the wood and all the different shades and colors that the wood turns to.

I have no idea how old any of these buildings were as I just randomly pulled over and took a few pictures out of my rental car window. Most of these were in the Cary, Selma, Smithfield area which is south of Raleigh.

I love the natural white wash of the old weathered boards. I think that they are so pretty! I love to think about what type of people lived there and made this their home. Was it a large family with plenty of children to help work the land? I like to ponder about what went on in these relics from the past.

I can just imagine when this barn was built. Did they have a barn raising party and invite all the neighbors over to help put the barn up? Maybe afterwards they had a big potluck on the grounds with all the workers and the neighbors coming over to help.

This house even had a boat that came with it. Maybe it could be my vacation home!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beautiful Old Fashioned Flowers

I am so in love with these peonies. I don't know if I can grow them where I live or not, but I really want to try and grow some of these in my garden. I think they look so lovely and they look so romantic. I think I would prefer these even over roses!

I saw these when I was on vacation in North Carolina and I absolutely loved them. I think I have always been fond of peonies but there was something about seeing those lovely pink blooms that spoke to my heart. I know they are an old fashioned flower but I think they are exquisite still!

I also love these Hollyhocks. These were growing in a yard of an old farmhouse not to far from my house. I was out driving with my mother and saw these and had to turn the car around so I could snap a picture. I wanted to make sure I could remember what they were so I could have hubby look for some for me the next time he was at the hardware store.

He was able to find them in seed form but not as an actual plant. I'll have to try my hand at growing them from seeds. It says they take 4 months to bloom. He bought me two different varieties. One is called the Summer Carnival Mix Hollhock and the other is they Country Romance Mix Hollyhock. The summer Carnival Mix ones kind of look like a bunch of ranolculus on a stem.