July 30, 2009

i'm having a little too much fun this summer with marine glue and cheap vintage dishes! wouldn't ya say?
i picked up several wooden garden hoes at a garage sale for $1. then had brad cut them in various lengths. i glued shabby chic odds and ends together in the form of a flower and attached them (glue again) to the garden pole. they're suppose to be china flowers. the originals that i saw... were attached to a metal concrete pole. which we have no access to...and i didn't want to spend $$. each china flower cost under a dollar to make.... i've picked up a nice bunch of dishes at garage sales this summer for .25 or less. smile, wink, nod.
p.s. it gives my garden a little spunk!

July 29, 2009


okay, this is my kind of preserving. yesterday i made vegetable broth. how easy is this? you just pick odds and ends of any vegetable imaginable... anything works. including celery tops and carrot tops, swiss chard and onion tops. wash them and put them in a soup pot. fill the pot with one-gallon of water... add any herbs and salts that you'd like... bring to boil. stir occasionally. reduce heat and simmer for an hour. let cool. strain out the vegetables and herbs and throw them to the pigs... or your compost bin... pack the broth into canning jars and freeze for up to 6 months. no need to peel, chop or dice. just throw everything in! can you even begin to realize how loaded these jars are with vitamins? this may be our answer to the common cold this winter!

now.... how about taking a look at our latest nature find! c'mon over to my twisted education blog and see this pre-historic looking creature! click HERE!

July 27, 2009

the simple woman's day book!
outside my window: dusk, overcast, herbs that need to be used.
i'm thinking: about making freezer vegetable broth, what sarah palin's next move will be?
from the learning room: piles of living books, co-op plans and lesson plans
i am thankful for: kroger's sales and computer coupons!
from the kitchen: garden vegetables blanched and ready to be put into glad freezer bags... labeled: mixed vegetables and soup vegetables.
i am wearing: olive green t-shirt, camo pants, ponytail, dangle black earrings and bare feet. red toe nail polish and faded make-up.
i am reading: still reading the other boylen girl... such a long book!
i am hoping: to get my creative juices flowing again and that tommie does well at his 4H competition.
i am creating: lesson plans and a shabby chic hooked rug using tee shirts, wool and ribbon.
i am praying: that my garden soon gets a growth spurt and provides us with a freezer full of vegetables for winter.
around the house: tommie slurping on a homemade lemonade slushy, brad watching some type of cowboy movie... yelling "quit slurping or go in the other room!", a stack of coupons that need cut and filed, a homemade dish of brownies.
one of my favorite things: hunting for rocks and sea glass on the shores of lake michigan
a few plans for the rest of the week: listing things on ebay, lesson plans, 4H meeting, barn-set up, grocery-getting.
here's a picture thought i'm sharing with you: i found this frog at boy scout camp last week. wonder what he's smiling about?

i posted two new freebie's over at my twisted education blog.... find the link on the right side of your screen.... on my sidebar. smile, wink, nod.

July 26, 2009

scouting with the boys!

i've just returned from a week long camping trip with tommie and his boy scout troop, in northern michigan. it was one of the best adventures we've ever experienced! the mix of 30 plus personalities, the non-stop pranks, the non-stop jokes, the non-stop horse play of boys ages 10 through 17...and even the adult leaders! the wonderful memories, forever imbedded in our minds... the food, new friends and bonding... just really nice... instead of telling you every single detail of our camping trip... i've decided to break it up into the "five senses"...
artillery from a nearby military camp
crackling fire
towels snapping ( a towel fight)
full cans of beans, unopened, tossed in the fire pit.. BOOM! AND BANGING!
spunky chipmunks
bellowing loons
an owl
one rule-following, neurotically anal camp dad (not even a leader), leading by intimidation and pissing everyone off
guitar playing and sing-alongs: like american pie and cat stevens, james taylor
swearing by teen-agers
wild pink roses
indian pipes (wildflower)
sleeping bear sand dunes
lake michigan
wild turkey's
turkey over the campfire
cobbler cook-off
typical camp food
smelly boys
wild pink roses
winter green
chocolate cake coming from a dutch oven
blazing fire
dodge ball tournament with a 100 plus boys
all the boys learning how to play texas hold em
biking everywhere
hiking everywhere
a gazillion opportunities to earn and complete merit badges
hiking up 450 foot sand dune
a merritime museum
putt-putt golf in traverse city
would i do this again? in a new york minute! would tommie do it again? yes, if he could patrol with the teenagers.

July 25, 2009

pretty tricky!

by the time you read this i'll be wrapping up my week long tent-camping trip in northern michigan, with a group of men and carloads of smelly boy scouts! thanks to modern technology, i've been able to blog all week... i used the scheduled time option! pretty clever, ugh? i'll be back soon with pictures and stories of my adventures....
smile, wink, nod!
p.s. this isn't my dog in the picture... it's henry... a friends dog.

July 24, 2009

friday fun!

friday fill-in's
1. if i could be a fly on the wall i'd love to have lived in tasha tudor's home!
2. jealousy is a poor use of time, immobilizing and zaps your own creative energy.
3. when i see a shooting star, my wish would be that i could see my dad again!
4. i'd rather be me than anyone else anyday!
5. sometimes its best to smile, wink and nod. ignore. hedge your bets and just walk away.
6. our grand old left-winged media, snakes, migraines, and smoking is something i intensely dislike.
7. Kid Rock's, All Summer Long (in Northern Michigan) makes me want to get up and dance!
Happy Friday!

July 23, 2009

my cousin's garden!

i wanted to share a few pictures of my cousin's vegetable garden. she lives in a detroit suburb. a really nice detroit suburb! her small city lot, the pressure of delivering babies and performing hysterectomies hasn't stopped her from maintaining a well-organized and functional garden! in fact, i'm sure it brings her much joy after a stressful day!

this is the quaint little arbor that welcomes you into her garden! and below, was a playhouse my dad built her... the kids are grown and it's now a garden shed.

"leave room in your garden for the angels to dance!"
smile, wink, nod!

July 22, 2009

all around the mulberry tree...

my in-laws recently discovered a couple of huge mulberry trees in their woods... and told us to help ourselves! so we did. twice. we hauled and climbed up three ladders. and came home with 7 cups total. i froze most of them...but was excited to make this "mulberry cobbler, baked in a jar." it made my small, little kitchen smell cozy. after baking, i topped them with foil and a red ribbon...and gave them to friends and family, who had stopped by that afternoon. the smallest jars worked perfectly for single friends and dieters. must serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream! smile, wink, nod!

July 20, 2009



How about sharing some of your favorites in my comment box? Only takes a quick minute and it's a fun way to get new ideas! Ready, set, go!


Here are my answers: garden fresh salads with everything on them, the other boleyn girl, mandarin orange-mango lotion, Kid Rock's All Summer Long, fire engine red.


July 19, 2009

three feel good blogs!

i've just discovered three feel-good blogs!


by the way... what's with the knee-hi's and shoes this vintage babe has on? opinions welcome...leave a comment!

July 18, 2009


i've enjoyed making and giving away these bath sachets! they're really a no-brainer. and, fast and easy to make! pinking shears, linen cut up into squares, orange embroidery floss and orange buttons. quick little in and out stitches...and viola'... there you have it. i filled the crude little bags with mango-orange scented bath salts. stop by... i have one waiting for you! smile, wink, nod!

July 17, 2009

friday fun!

friday fill-in's
(my answers are in turquoise!)
1. my blueprint for success includes: investing in a goat farm. not that i have any immediate plans... but, if one would want to have financial freedom during this recession... then i recommend a goat farm. a suburb nearby, has the largest middle eastern population outside of the middle east itself. and, our local stockyard is selling tons of goats for meat. cha-ching!
2. a couple of tootsie rolls from my father-in-law was the last candy i ate!
3. the best facial moisturizer i've used is: advanced night repair and fruition both by estee' lauder. which by the way, i used to sell. and, i did make-overs and facials. my parents owned the only lauder counter in our county, for several years.
4. reading any book by dr. wayne dyer can be good therapy.
5. i'd like to tell you about my upcoming plans... but, i can't just yet. stay tuned.
6. being dependable and humor are my strongest characteristics.
7. and as for the weekend, tonight i'm looking forward to a hot shower and reading and tomorrow i'm not telling you just yet... you'll find out in due time and sunday i'm still not gonna tell you.. just be patient, you'll find out on the 27th.
(i snapped the picture above at my cousin's house!)

July 16, 2009

daily blessing ... day 5!

daily blessing
day 5
(blessing's i've received from family and friends last week!)

last week, i enjoyed using a gift certificate for a swedish massage... at a day spa! it was a very generous treat from my mom!

this is the historic victorian spa, which treats their clients like queens!

just one of the many rooms, like this above.. is where you sit and fill out health forms, while listening to beautiful victorian music. the smell of lavender fills the air. trays of bakery cookies and tea await you on an antique table. they looked so good, i wanted to take a handful home with me!

this is the massage table i used. i can't even begin to tell you how splendid it felt. being massaged from forehead to fingertip to toes, for one solid hour...with apricot-almond oil, left me feeling disillusioned. out of touch with reality.
afterwards, i stopped at a nearby salvation army and wandered around in a fog. which is how i drove home. in a fog and feeling completely relaxed. i yawned the rest of the day! thanks mom! i loved my afternoon at the spa!
(sallie, i'm so happy you've reconnected with me and my blog! miss you and mollie. and greatful for your comments! thank you!)

July 15, 2009

Daily Blessing...day 4!

"daily blessing day 4"
(things my family and friends blessed me with last week)

since creating my china plate border around the herb bed (see my side bar), i've decided to slowly replace the flowerd plates and replace them with tourist plates...the kind the 1950's vacationers used to collect and be thrilled with. I have several already tucked in my garden.. and, last week i was so surprised when my sister-in-law gave me this...the plate is from pennsylvania.

also during last week, rhonda blessed me with egyptian onion seeds! i had no idea egyptian seeds existed. which reminds me, i have to do a little background check on their history.

the mail lady blessed us with our free can of glidden paint. we received iris-purple. i was impressed with the fast delivery and packaging. i have really no idea what i am going to paint...but it was free. and free is good.

on tap for today:

i made a peach cobbler
tommie has two friends over
i hear hide and seek
and gun noises
3 boys eating ice cream
drumsticks and talking
brad's fertilizing our garden
dentist visits
health department for
my t.b. test results

and who knows what else?

July 14, 2009

daily blessing ...day 3

(sharing the blessings i've received from friends and family last week!)

my doorbell rang unexpectedly last week... i opened it to find my friend robyn, standing there holding a huge bouquet of lavender! in the past, we've talked about different lavender crafts... i am so very happy she remembered and blessed me with this gift! i decided to make lavender soap balls... (the recipe is at the bottom of this post!)

i put a few springs in empty glass juice jars and put them up on our backporch window sills! it's very simple ... and very sweet. thanks robyn...for making my family and i smile!

Lavender Soap Ball Recipe:

2 bars mild, unscented castile or vegetable-based soap (or the equivalent in odds-and-ends)
1/2 cup dried lavender blossoms (available online from many herb companies)
5 drops essential oil of lavender
1/4 cup warm water

1. Using a cheese grater, grate the soap into a large bowl.
2. Add the lavender blossoms to the grated soap.
3. Add the essential oil to the soap mixture, combining thoroughly.
4. Add the warm water and stir.
5. Roll heaping tablespoons of the mix into balls.
6. Place on a cookie sheet and allow to air-dry completely, which will take approximately 2 days.

July 13, 2009

Holly Hocks, Holly Rocks and herbs!

(things i was blessed with recently, from friends and family!)

i'm loving my hollyhocks.. this is the first time ever, that i've been able to grow them. i could have a field full and never grow tired of looking at them!

i'm finding it hard to believe. i'm not sure why blessings have poured in for me this past week... but each and every day (up until yesterday), i've received very surprising, wonderful, useful and extremely thoughtful gifts...from family and friends! even my friend lisa, who i seldom see, has a prize waiting for me. a big fat thank-you, to ALL of you! you know, i love you all!

my friend holly took a chance and stopped by one evening last week, with this 2 cup pyrex measuring cup in hand. i know, i know... blogging about a simple, basic measuring cup...is sort of dull.. but ummm, if you only knew how much i needed one for soooo long...you'd understand. i put out the word last spring that i was in dire need for one.... i've been using an old tin measuring cup. she actually pulled it off her kitchen shelf and gave me hers! how nice is that? thanks, holl!

after an amazing church service, which is doing a series on dissecting the Lord's Prayer and what each line means... you know...instead of just saying the prayer as fast as you can, i came home and picked a couple fist fulls of mixed herbs. i washed them, patted them dry and stuffed 4 bags full for the freezer. they'll be so welcome in the late fall and winter... i'll use them for seasoning croutons, breads, soups or casseroles.

i was thinking... if you don't have a big variety of herbs yourself...maybe you could have a herb swap. call up a friend or two, have them clip a couple ziplock bag fulls of their herbs... swap and mix them together and freeze! long about january in michigan, fresh herbs are a luxury and very pricey!

July 11, 2009

Blessings, day one!

"day one"
(what my friends and mom have blessed me with this week!)

looking over my shoulder at the goodness in the world... i've had several days in a row of unexpected blessings! i thought it would be fun to share the nice things in my world and the wonderful people in my little circle!

on tuesday, i was invited to pick currants at my friend rhonda's home. she is the next martha stewart, i swear! and yes, i do swear irl. our visit was too short...but fun and effective and a wonderful summer memory for me! i've never picked currants before.

last winter, she had given me a jar of currant jelly. which brad and i loved. tommie's not a jam or jelly eater. looking at my container full of currants... i knew i'd make a few batches, too. so i did. this has got to be the easiest jelly you could ever make! my sure-gel box didn't have a currant jelly recipe, so i googled. i'll share what i found:

boil the berries until all liquid is out of the skins, strain through a cheese cloth, return 4 cups of juice to pot and add 3 cups of sugar. no need for pectin. the berries have enough natural pectin in them! bring to boil, pour into sterilized jars, skim off foam and seal.

more nice blessings coming in the next few days! how about you, what nice, unexpected thing happened to you this past week?

July 10, 2009

shabby chic rug hooking!

Look what I've learned how to do! My mom taught me how to rug hook...the new england primitive style! She's been hooking 9 years and travels around to different rug hooking classes and schools. And, her work is really the best of the best... and I'm not just saying that because she's "mom!" her rugs are much richer in color... to go with her decor. but, my house is a little more shabby. hence, the whimsical colors.

over the fourth of july, she taught me how to draw patterns...the pattern i did is just a free hand doodle i did. she also shared her wool (below) with me. and taught me how to hook away! originally, i was going to make a pillow... but instead, i'm going to use this as a chair pad!

different textures really, really appealed to me... budget friendly! above: i used an old green tee shirt i had, the peach is a gingham cotton dress i bought and never wore and the yellow is raffia. thanks mom! i'm loving my new craft!

July 08, 2009

UNDER $7.00

garage sale finds:
table and chairs $5.
ikea silver bowl .50 cents
leather shoes .25 cents
the tabletop is cement and needs new mosaic tiles or broken dishes stuck in it. this will be a welcome winter project for me. although...it's totally trashy and sweet just the way it is.
on top of the table: i bought a candleholder and vintage plate. total cost: .75 cents. i glued the plate on top of the candleholder and came up with a very inexpensive bird feeder. ..i think it would make an awesome cake plate, too.
also on top of the table: a milk glass vase. .25 cents. my mom used to collect this glass when i was a kid.
ikea bowl: i've never been to ikea. i'd like too...but the closest store is a good hour away. plus, i rarely shop retail. imagine my heart rate when i found this! thump, thump, thump! need i tell you... it's my new favorite bowl!
leather shoes: i found them at a church yard sale. they are backless. and, seriously the best, very best shoes i've ever owned. except for the dock-siders i wore in high school. am i dating myself here?
time to shut the lid on this laptop, make a second cup of instant microwaved coffee and start the day!