November 30, 2009

the simple woman's daybook!

the simple woman's day book for november 30th
outside my window: it's dark and i see flickers of christmas lights bouncing off our windows!
i am thinking: how king henry the first died in the 12th century of eating too many lamprey's.
i am thankful for: a full pantry and full freezer of really good food. and i'm thankful for my furnace. i'm thankful my husband likes it's toasty warm and cozy.
i am wearing: jeans, red sparkle tee shirt and black rhinestone zipper sweatshirt.
i am remembering: how much my dad loved christmas time and all the fun we had working together during the holidays.
i am going: to lansing this weekend and to a christmas tea tomorrow night!
i am currently reading: (still) plain language
i am hoping: to get a burst of wild energy very soon. can you say pms meets menopause?
on my mind: tons of things swirling around... politics, christmas recipes, crafts, tiger woods, christmas shopping!
from the learning room: light homeschooling today after 4 days off of non-stop fun. today, one of the things we did; watched a 30 minute movie about the great fires of yellowstone national park.
noticing that: that my roots need done desperately!
pondering these words: as told from our pastor to the congregation right after paul simon's "you and me in paradise," song was played ..."to be the sparkle in someone's eye."
from the kitchen: a new big bag of honey roasted almonds! two bags of fresh apples and a free box of duncan hines brownie mix!
around the house: christmas movie playing on abc family t.v. station, christmas lights everywhere, christmas decoration clutter, dog whining to go out for the fourth time tonight, table loaded full of homeschool books, and general clutter.
one of my favorite things: maple candy from the bulk food section at the grocery store!



i made a couple of baby bibs to resell at my cousin's craft show. they're made from a recyled skirt and a chenille bedspread!

below: a new pampered chef pink knife i picked up for .19 cents at goodwill.




November 29, 2009

a whole lota fun!

"a scavenger hunt in an automobile"


here's something i planned for thanksgiving night with the in-law immediate family....
i typed up about 20 facts based on christmas trivia, from a paperback i found at goodwill... then i underlined a key word for each fact. next, the family was split into 3 groups and took their digitals or i-phones with them... and had 90 minutes to drive around and snap pictures of the key word. i instructed them to be as creative as they could. and creative, this bunch was!


one of the snaps tommie's group took, was of a local catholic chruch... the clue was; what christian faith believes jesus was born at the strike of midnight? according to the answer in my book it is the catholic church... so, the group brought back this picture! another bonus? we did this at night and all enjoyed seeing the christmas lights and decorations lit up all over town!

another task was... snap a picture of an ingredient not found in eggnog.... another was, an ox tongue used to be used in mincemeat pie... take a snap of a cow's tongue... all three groups waltzed into different grocery stores and held up cow tongues! my favorite was, what are the 9 ladies doing in the 12 days of christmas song? answer: dancing... one group went to walmart and asked a couple to dance for them... and the couple obliged and were excellent sports!



afterwards, we all went back to my in-laws and enjoyed pies and sharing each other's experience and pictures! it was beyond thrilling for me to see the family bonding and creating such good family memories... it was a beautiful start to my christmas season, that's for sure. nobody really expected a winner or prizes, but i did hand out candy bars to everyone! the family sincerely appreciated my efforts and clapped and hooted and hollered in appreciation afterwards. i am so lucky to have such good family on both sides. smile, wink, nod!


November 28, 2009

i just heard about this website: vintage recipes! i haven't explored too much of it... but it sure does look interesting! i'll be back soon with lots of weekend news!

November 26, 2009

thanksgiving check list!

*3 pies made: peach, apple and mixed berry; i used a vintage oil pastry recipe and it's so easy and very little mess!

*favorite sister-in-law and her family are safely here from chicago

*weather decent

*family games and puzzles packed for 3 days of family fun

*fleece fabric ready to make no-sew pillows (we always make some sort of family crafts when we're together)

*outfits ready for big family picture around the ford tractor

*outdoor gear packed for outdoor exploring...tommie and i plan to hike the woods and railroad tracks in search of nature treasures

*wishing you a happy thanksgiving!

November 25, 2009

driving home recently, from an estate sale... i was smiling and had that giddy feeling running through my veins. i had... in my back seat... an old vintage clipboard and marcia brady type gift wrap, which i had purchased for .20 cents. the best part, i had a plan in mind. a mod podge project!



sorry for the blurry snap... my camera battery needs charged... but you can get the gist of it, right? i just smothered the board with mod podge and applied the paper. it is very sweet in real life... and you know how much i love quick, cheap, useful, fun projects.

i just finished listening to sarah ferguson's "my story" audio. i loved her rich vocabulary and her warm british accent, but "her" story was soooo depressing. on a more uplifting note, i picked up this little book at goodwill, "healing foods from the bible." it's a very quick read, yet has excellent references to foods used in the bible... which we use today. i plan to switch from whole wheat to barley flour. in case you wondered... smile, wink, nod.



November 24, 2009

are you a black friday shopper?
if you are, then check out this link: black friday deals! i understand you can sign up for emails on forthcoming sales. i confess.... i am not a black friday or saturday shopper. not that there's anything wrong with it..... it's just me personally.... i break out in hives (true, on my neck) and feel much like the girl in the snap above. or like one of the chickens! i'll be back later with a decopage project that i "did myself... and boy, am i proud!" smile, wink, nod.

November 22, 2009

yesterday, i was invited to work for my cousin robin. she sells amazingly serious bling jewelry and accessories! her company is called, cowgirlz closet... which will be launching it's website in early 2010. watch here for details....




yesterday, was her christmas open house. above: these are just a couple of tables of her inventory....she has tons of it!


in december, we'll be packing up and hitting the road in lansing for a couple of cowboy christmas weekend shows...



she graciously let me set my own shabby chic table up... so i could flip a few retro housewifey type items... how nice is that?


above and below: she makes a lot of her own cowgirl jewelry... exclusively chick-a-dee lee brand.



we had a super day together... and i look forward to pulling on my cowboy boots and turquoise and doing it all over again, in a few weeks! smile, wink, nod.







November 21, 2009

gifts in a jar!

i'm excited to dive in and start creating christmas gifts! i love the idea of homemade, recycled, and thrift store gifts! this year, i think i'll be making a variety of "gifts in a jar!" i know these have been around forrrrrr-evvvvvvver, but they really are so useful and handy for the busy ladies on my list! and, i know-- long about february, i'd enjoy having some pre-measured ingredients on my pantry shelf!
now, if you're into this too, you've just gotta check out this site: make your own mixes!

November 20, 2009

3 for me!






3 for me! yesterday, i picked up these hippy-styled tee's for me! found: right at the local goodwill store for $3.29 each. bonus: new without tags. i can't remember the last time i actually bought something "fun" for just me? smile, wink, nod.
now.... which one do i wear first?

November 19, 2009


thursday again? then it must be time for thursday 13! here are 13 things that i've done today or plan to do be for i slither under my soft blankets and slip into the land of nod:
1. homeschooled my babe. or should i say tutored? did you know the mayflower ship landed in cape cod on this very day in 1620? it did. and not only that, but... it was a wine ship. also, today... we learned abraham lincoln's gettysburg address was given in the gettysburg cemetery.... it was only 2 minutes long.
2. visited with my cousin robin. and organized some things to take to her show. also, discussed future shows and projects.
3. made white chicken chili in the crockpot... last night i made homemade pizza... the menu's switched.
4. watching my ebay auctions come to a close...
5. walked through goodwill and found three adorable shirts for me and one skirt. in fact, i should take a snap and show you. also found a vintage salt shaker for cheap!
6. oh my gosh, i found the sweetest blog! it's mitzi's collectibles and if you scroll down she has some pretty amazing crafts!! click HERE!
7. i had to dash down to the dollar tree and pick up a few supplies for the homeschool co-op class i'm teaching. while i was there, i found double sided scotch tape! now, that's exciting.
8. went to office depot to make copies for tomorrow... why do i have such a hard time running a copy machine? i feel like such an idiot. this blond brain is intimidated by all the buttons and humming.
9. i plan to decoupage a clipboard tonight. and a vintage zippered dryer case... remember when hair dryers used to come in cases? i found one at a garage sale for pennies... and thought i get creative with it.
10. i'm loving the western historical novel, "plain language" and look forward so much, to the end of the day when i can escape to the 1930's.
11. i need to organize some supplies for the textured art/rag hooking class i'm taking tomorrow afternoon. my mom is teaching it and it should be fun.
12. have you seen this site? recipegirl.com? oh my gosh! you've just gotta head over there... and i just gotta add her to my sidebar. click here!!
13. now, with my teeny-tiny home smelling like cumin, garlic and onions... i need to go and throw a quick beer bread in the oven... so my boys and i can eat.

November 18, 2009

getting down and dirty!

getting down and dirty in this nice november weather in michigan! here's a snap of yours truly planting handfuls of antique pink hollyhock seeds. i planted them in a big old row along our barn. i've always loved the look of hollyhocks standing in a parade of bloom along old barns! now, i hope to have my own display!





i also got the knees of my blue jeans dirty, while planting garlic and egyptian onion seeds. i popped the seeds and cloves in each slot of this recycled horse window (above). i am hoping, in the spring, when they begin to show growth, i can just slip this screen off and i'll have "martha stewart perfect" rows!


i also re-did our little bird and squirrel feeding habitat. freshened it up with dried sunflower heads, fresh-dead branches (oxy-moron) and dead asparagus sprigs, which provide a soft and light protection. well, i think it does, anyway.
today calls for rain. i'm planning on making chicken tortellini soup in the crock pot and homemade bread.
*****************
penny and robin... thanks so much for the blog award! i appreciate it and i enjoy your blogs as well. you can find robin's blog, pardon my dust and penny's diosa domestica on my sidebar!



November 16, 2009

Caught the Christmas Spirit Early!

okay... i don't think i've ever been in the christmas spirit this early. but, late yesterday... our quirky-church had a "samaritan shoe box wrapping party"... and i volunteered to help! there were several tables set up with cars, dolls, stuffed animals, new clothes, personal hygiene and candy... we stuffed (really stuffed nice and full!) boxes then wrapped and tagged them! very fun and heartwarming. plus, it was nice to meet new people!



we had unbelievable worship music and singing going on...singing praise music while gift wrapping in a group setting, is quite surreal! the three musicians above, are multi-talented and can really belt it out! there was also the "typical" table of finger foods! the volunteers and our pastors, prayed over the boxes, which was heartwarming, too. as i understand it... they're being shipped to south korea and ecuador. i'd sure like to see all the children's faces when they open up their special packages! beautiful day. smile, wink, nod.


November 14, 2009

just a dime, a new book and a close call!

today, i found this collection of really vintage, shabby chic, banged up pot holders at an estate sale. they were a dime each. oh, how i love them. i wish they could talk to me and give me some good old fashioned recipes!

i felt quite like magpie ethel today.. you can find her fantastic blog on my sidebar. she is wild about estate sales and finds some really unique things.


last night, i started an awesome new historical fiction! it's called, plain language. it's about the dirty 30's and the depression. i know so very little about the dust bowl and that historical era. it is just a feel good book!

prayers work. my mom is traveling home from vermont today. she went with friends on a bus trip to a primitive rug hooking school. late this afternoon, i had this strange feeling that i should say a quick prayer for her safe travel home. just had this feeling. an hour later she called and said the bus they were traveling in blew out a front tire... when that happens, the driver looses control, which happened. a pick up was nearby and "almost" got it. all are fine... the bus stopped at a local tim hortons and they're waiting for the tire to be fixed. exhale.


have a happy saturday night, and i'll see you tomorrow. smile, wink, nod.

p.s. family movie tonight: the wizard of oz.








November 13, 2009

feeling mellow-yellow!
here's a snap of a few yellow goodies i've received this week!
either free or just about. from left to right:
vintage orange juice pitcher from goodwill: .99 cents
yellow vintage car plant holder from goodwill 1/2 price: .20 cents
old & luscious yellow planter with age cracks, it's pentagon shaped: free from my brother-in-law! love it.
free yellow linen napkin from my brother-in-law!
free huggie's diaper for my friend brandi's new daughter
free six-pack (or is it five) of nescafe coffee sampler
free nice size box of honey nut cheerios
******************
now, time to play friday fill-in:
(my answers are in organish)
plans and schedules are a difficult thing for me. it limits my creative freedom. i detest limits.
i am happy when i'm with my immediate family, reading a really good book, and when i'm thrift store shopping!
the last thing i drank was ice water with our leftover dinner.
one of the most valuable things in my life is my health.
i like everything on my pizza!
dear november, you're sure moving along quickly!
and as for the weekend, tonight my plans include; fiber art/rug hooking on my chair cushion, watching the family movie, napoleon, and a good restful night!
tomorrow my plans are, making up some homemade hand's on homeschool games and scrapbooking and sunday i plan to go to my quirky church (did i tell you the band played rod stewart and paul simon?), come home and who knows?, then go back to church and help organize and christmas wrap the samartian purses/shoe boxes for children in third world countries and stay for worship service.
have a happy friday night and i'll see you tomorrow!
smile, wink, nod.

November 10, 2009

them bones!

what's this?


we've been soaking up the good weather here in michigan. a very late indian summer. on sunday, my boy and i went hiking along my in-laws railroad tracks... well, they're not actually "their" railroad tracks... but, you know what i mean. i expected to find nature things... so i packed a couple of plastic bags and my pink digital camera.




imagine my excitement, when i spotted these bones! the very top picture is a skull. obviously these are the jaws and teeth of probably a fawn... according my husband.


the bones were plentiful. and were so weathered, they were like petrified wood. i was ecstatic! and so very happy to take them back home and add to our nature collection. i'll display them in a large glass jar.

my babe was more more ecstatic with the brake pads and spikes and rusty old parts that were laying everywhere. and yes, we were very careful about oncoming trains like this one. we dashed into the bushes and brush until in smoked by. smile, wink, nod.

November 09, 2009

osage oranges!


(karin and friends... you asked about the homemade theodore roosevelt game... i put snaps up on my twisted education blog and explained how i did it... click here: teddy roosevelt game!)


osage oranges. driving home from our homeschool co-op on friday, my big blue's spotted several osage orange trees. they're pretty rare around this part of michigan. oh! but i love them. i love the fragrant orange smell of these fruits! eating them is not recommended. don't even try it. i put the trailblazer in reverse and backed up (country road) no traffic. then, i trudged down into a ditch and picked several of these up! knowing, they'd make a great november centerpiece.



ironic. the trees were in the same city as where my mom and aunts grew up. right across from the very school (which is now my church) that my mom and aunts attended. the very block in which my cousins and i used to play. so, today.... i surprised my very cool cousin cathy and packaged up a couple of osage oranges, with a note telling her where they came from. she is a hard working ob/gyn and believe me... these will make her day! they will mean more to her then anything.
if you're interested in learning more about the osage orange trees click here. there's some pretty interesting info.

November 08, 2009

have you started your christmas shopping yet? i've only picked up a few little items, so far.


friday, i had to make a quick trip into wally-world (wal-mart), and couldn't resist walking through the "made in china christmas aisle!" my big blue's spotted these cute little soaps... about the size of your hand. they were a dollar each. i purchased three. but there were plenty more designs for every personality.

doesn't the plastic packaging make them look cheap? i thought so, too. so, my plan is trash the plastic then wrap them in a pretty ivory netting and tie with a nice matching ribbon.


i know this will bring a smile to anyone on our list that we need a little gift for: librarian, my homeschool co-op assistants, a little hostess gift, or someone who totally is not expecting a "just-a-thought" gift this season!


a commercial gift with a homemade touch. smile, wink, nod.

November 07, 2009

here's to using free and natural things, to entertain yourself and the family! or you could call it, "primitive scrabble."
i gathered a bucket of septic field stone, wrote letters on each and added lots of extra vowels!
the rocks are stored in a basket, in the living room...easily accessible when the scrabble mood hits!
there are no points in this game... it's just all for fun.



after errands this morning... i have to clean my bedroom closet. it's a large walk-in and you can no longer walk-in! if i don't surface within 24 hours.. please call 911. smile, wink, nod.

November 05, 2009

bedsprings and teddy roosevelt


ta-da!
i made a candle holder out of my neighbor's bed springs! well, only one candle holder so far... but i have many more to do! in fact, a 5-gallon bucketful of these babies! i'll either be selling them at upcoming boutique shows or giving them as gifts. i used an apple for a stabilizer, since i didn't have a candle exactly the right size! i tried a tapered candle... but it was too bouncy and i didn't trust it.
another plan? this spring, when our orioles come back and IF i don't sell them all... i will be sitting these all over the patio with orange slices on them. or hanging them from our trees... filled with a jelly jar full of grape jelly!
p.s. i just used a light weight wire and strung some junk beads i had in my craft box.
now, it's off to tie up a few loose ends for a homeschool class i'm teaching in the morning. we're making teddy roosevelt board games and i have to cut up game cards. lots and lots of them...did you know he was the first president to ride in a submarine? now you do. smile, wink, nod.
old bed springs:


our family is on wonderful terms with our next door neighbor. who, happened to have a big junk pile he was planning on burning this fall. things from long, long ago. things stored in his barns for like 40 years. so, i said... "ya mind if my boy and i come over before you burn the junk and scrounge through it?" of course, he didn't care... and got a kick out of "why we wanted to rummage through it?" he doesn't have a clue of my frugal, shabby chic personality, now does he?


so i said to my boy... "boy, fire up your lawnmower...we're gonna sift through some junk!"... boy jumped on his lawnmower (he drives it everywhere... he pretends it's a semi... but he doesn't know, i know that he imagines it's something bigger then what it really is.) and we meandered over to the junk pile in the big field.


so, imagine how giddy i was when i spotted this old, rusted out bedspring... i have been wanting something like this since spring. "get a rope and let's drag her home!" i said to the boy. he did. i don't remember walking home... i think i walked on air... yes, that's how happy i was! the boy and i took wire cutters and starting cutting up the rusty springs. yes, i was cut several times... and still haven't got lock-jaw. now... i bet you're just-a-wondering what old smile, wink, nod is going to do with this treasure? i will reveal it to the smile, wink, nod world... tonight! so check back here! it is so utterly awesome, that i have a strong inclination.... you'll be rapping on your neighbors door asking for old, rusted bed springs. betcha will.

the dog went with us to the junk pile, too. she turns 15 years old at the end of this month. my sweet lucy.



* teresa in texas: thank you so much for the wine recipes. i will for sure be making them and blogging about them!

*becky... yes, i have seen the garden wine bottle trees. in fact, i saw them in an upscale-downtown city... birmingham, michigan. but, thanks for reminding me. i'm going to google how to make them... and plan to make one for spring!