Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yard Work

 My sister helping Mom with yard work during her visit.  Not many will fly 2K miles to do a bit of yard work!



As for me....I'm taking a short break to play.  

 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to us....Zap! Sizzle!

For sixty two years Karan and I have shared a birthday week, but we haven't celebrated together more than once or twice in the last forty years.  Living a thousand miles apart and raising families kept us both busy and I believe it has been at least twenty since the last time.  But tonight we celebrated in a big way!

Mom, the guest of honor, and Bill and I arrived just in time.  We were persuaded to pose by the tourist trap and Bill took our picture to record the occasion.



 We hurried in though because there was a storm a brewin' 


Bill and Michael swapped sea stories as we dined in the open air deck off the marina
Real sea stories....Karan and Michael have just arrived home from a transatlantic cruise.


Overhead mermaids swam
adding to the watery atmosphere!  



Suddenly just as we finished our dinner the heavens just opened and it POURED rain!  
You couldn't see across the marina...it was like a white out! 

 We waited out the drenching rain by dodging stray drops that found their way through the palm thatch above.  We avoided the splash of the steady waterfall all along the overflowing gutter just to our right.   But Mom was prepared! 

Just as we were beginning to tire of all the rain....

CRACKLE, CRACKLE.....BOOM!  

We all screamed.  The room screamed!  


A huge bolt of lightening struck the water between the rail of the dining deck and the first boat docked at the marina!! 

I think it was the closest any of us had been to lightening!

I found a aerial photo online and drew a diagram.....

We were in the the area just underneath the top blue arrow and the lightening struck somewhere in the middle of the water between us and the boats.  Now that's close! 

Happy birthday to us!!  Zap!  Sizzle!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Vintage Scarves or No?

 I was out thrifting yesterday and I found a rack with lots of scarves but only a few that I thought were worthy.  As I pulled each one off the rack and placed them in the basket, they all seemed to go together.

When I run into this I can't help but feel that all the scarves I chose were from the same closet.  Someone who liked what I like now.  Someone whose group of scarves has not been picked over yet. Are they vintage and part of an estate?  Are they being weeded out to make room for the new?  Were they donated by accident?  Hmmm...I'll just put my BEST scarves in this box...oops...where did that box go?

                      I was inspired by JoKnows blog to do a post on my scarf finds this week.


 My favorite by far. 
 I love the water colored flowers, the slightly stiffer fabric with the ironed in wrinkles.  The muted colors.  

This was chosen because it will be just right with a sweater I love to wear.

The tweedy look.  The colors are great, but it's the tiny herringbone pattern that will let me pair this up very effectively with other patterns.  

The soft browns and apricot will be great next fall.  If I can wait that long.  It's actually striped but doesn't it look almost like plaid?  

Animal prints are fun and this zebra is great.  I am often in need of a long black and white scarf and I only had a small square one.  I danced the happy dance when I snatched this off the rack!


I hesitated here.  I put it in and put it back, picked it up again and put it back.  It came home with me because I loved the colors and the silky feel.  It's definitely a holiday scarf with all those magical blue and purple snowflakes on Christmas red background. 




I think they are just lovely together.  And I definitely think they all belonged to one person.  They do now anyway.  It was a good day at the Goodwill. 

You'll want to visit Rednesday where you will find other great red items!
And the party at Flea Market Finds

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beachy

Back in April, while my sister was visiting from California, we five took a day and all my sisters and I went to lunch with Mom and went thrifting.

We spotted a new thrift store really close to my house and stopped in.  We weren't expecting anything because it was in a very rural area and somewhat hard to find, but it did have a big sign out on the highway.

It turned out to be a great shop, packed to the rafters and beyond.  Patty bought a teapot, Mom found a book.  Karan found something I really coveted at the time, but now I've forgotten what it was!  Haha.  Janet found some things for her house.  But I didn't find a thing I absolutely had to have.

Then I spotted it.  

It was on the way out and this table was outside the building, with a very wobbly leg and looking pretty sad.  


But I liked the lines.  And it was only $8.00! 

I liked the shape of the leg

And the detail on all four sides was really nice.  Underneath I could see it was good solid wood.  Maybe maple? I was thinking of a coffee table makeover...picturing it painted aqua.  I decided I really wanted it. I offered $6.00 and it was mine!


Karan's trunk was full so we detoured home first and dropped it off, then went to lunch.


Lunch was essential to fortify ourselves for the next few shops.  We had a good time!


Soooooo....


So my table has been sitting there now for weeks accusing me.  Patty went home to the golden state, Karan has been on a month long cruise and back again and my cat has decided to make the table his perch out on the patio.  It's just high enough for him to stretch out on and gaze out into the yard.  If he isn't lying on it he is lying under it.  His cave.  It started to feel like it was his. 
 It was time to restore the table. 

Bill fixed the leg in about two minutes.  Next, I found an off white "oops" paint at Home Depot that the clerk graciously offered to color for me.  $17.00 marked down to $5.99.  He couldn't promise an exact match since we weren't starting with white.  I agreed to buy it no matter what color came out.  I was on pins and needles hoping that it wouldn't be gray.  It wasn't.  

So I sanded all last week a bit at a time and painted today, the coffee table makeover was almost complete.  

Ta Da! 





I found this old Pottery Barn rug rolled up in the back of  my closet.  I used it in the bedroom in my other house but I'm using a different one now.   I had forgotten I brought it.  It had just enough aqua in it to pull the room all together.  That was a bonus!  



I have to wait a bit to distress it if I'm going to. I would want to give the paint time to really set.  But,  I'm not sure I want to.  I kind of prefer the natural distressing that happens over time.  I think people tend to over distress furniture and it has that "newly distressed" look rather than old.  I like things to look old.   I have time anyway to think about it. 

Right now I'm just perfectly happy with the coffee table makeover, especially the color!  

I linked up to these parties: 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes One Just Happens Upon Things

It was after 8:00 PM and I was expecting it to be dark outside. We were walking out of the church and I was marveling at a brilliant sunset when I noticed someone looking up the other direction.  I turned and stunned to see a beautiful rainbow over the church.  It was a double rainbow.  My phone camera didn't pick up the second arc very well but when enlarged you can see it..  


I stepped back and tried to capture the full arc. 

This was looking east and it appears like it's broad daylight.  Again, the strange thing is I was expecting it to be dark when we left.  It was a shock to come out of the building facing west to be almost blinded by a brilliant orange sky full of clouds.  The sun had just gone below the line of clouds and illuminated them.  The whole sky was orange gold. Then to turn and find this huge rainbow in a blue sky.

It only lasted for a moment.  We walked to our vehicle and as we were driving away, the sun had already dropped below the horizon and the clouds and sky became very dark and the rainbow had disappeared.

  It was such an extraordinary  gift. 

I'm so pleased I was able to get a picture to remember.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pucker Up Orange Zesty Cookies

 I'm sending in cookies to a friend who has been laid up for a few weeks so was busy all afternoon baking these:


Pucker Up Orange Zesty Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2- 3 fresh oranges to make 2 1/2  tablespoons orange zest and 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

After all cookies the cookies were baked I made the glaze.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and orange zest with your fingers until the sugar is saturated with the zest. (so yummy!) Cream the butter and orange zested sugar together then add egg and orange juice. Blend completely.  Slowly add the dry ingredients until mixed. 

Roll dough into smooth round balls. Bake at 350 degrees for about 11-13 minutes or until very lightly golden on the bottoms. Don’t over bake!  You don't want to dry them out.  

After the cookies are all baked it's time to make the zest
                                                 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
                                                 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
                                                 Drizzle in fresh orange juice as needed.

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, orange zest and enough orange juice to get a thin frosting consistency.  Frost the tops of the cookies and let set.  The frosting will harden slightly so you can stack them. 


They look pretty enough for a tea party!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Joy of Lumpia

I have always loved egg rolls and spring rolls and never looked into how to make them.  I loved the crisp outside with it's deep fried goodness and decadence.  Then Ruby joined the family and became famous for her Lumpia.  I love meat filling even more than veggies so Lumpia became an instant hit with me.

Ruby would fix it for the family when we all got together and would make a huge platter full. I always wanted more!  It's a process that can get very old when you are the cook if you make too many or make it too often.  It's also a little pricy when you add in the dipping sauce.

I'm not good at deep frying and it's not good for us.  With all the left over oil after frying only one dish, it  seemed such a waste if you have to throw it out.  I found a way around that.  First, I used olive oil. This is much, much better for you than other oils.  Secondly, I could save and reuse the oil making popcorn.  A healthier dessert/evening snack for us. 

So I bit the bullet and bought all the ingredients:

Sweet dipping sauce
Small wraps
Ground beef (very lean)
Carrots
Soy Sauce (you can use low sodium)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I had on hand,
garlic
salt and pepper
onion

I mixed the ground beef with chopped onion, grated carrot, garlic, S&P, and soy sauce.  I didn't measure, I just guessed.  I would say about 2T soy sauce, 1t garlic, a large carrot, 1 lb ground beef and you can make adjustments from there.


Assemble your dish of water, wrapper and meat mixture. 

You squeeze a bit of this mixture into a log shape and place it in the middle of a wrapper.  Make sure it is no thicker than your thumb.  This way the ground beef will cook completely before the wrapper gets too brown.

Fold the wrapper and wet the end with water to make a seal.

I like them to be full, so after making  them I tamp a bit of extra mixture into both ends.


Make them all up before you begin to fry.  They should look like this:



Deep fry until one side is nice and brown, turn it over and cook the other side.  You much watch them very carefully.



Drain them very well.





I kept them hot in the oven while frying



Serve with dipping sauce.  A dozen makes a meal!  Yum!



They were EASY PEASY to make, even though it was time consuming.  I really don't know why I waited a over a decade to try to do them!!  I was so successful I am going to ask Ruby how to make some of her other Filipino dishes.


Party at Tell it to Me Tuesday
Hey What's for Dinner Mom

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

I've been a mom and celebrated now for over forty years on this special day of days.  Even after my daughters had children, it was still the grandchildren's privilege to provide the special day for their moms.  I always felt very celebrated along with them.  


Our Family   July 4, 2010
Kyle's birthday! 
 My kids have always given me a wonderful day, and this year as well!  They thoughtfully sent me tickets to our local dinner theater!  This is one of my favorite things to do and I'm so excited!  I had a phone call from each one of the four and spent time with them that way, individually this year.  I feel very, very blessed.

But this year after a crazy year of changes, I am now my mothers neighbor, friend, daughter all rolled into one! I wanted to make the day very special for her.  She has always been into celebrating in a big way every occasion!  I've been the lucky recipient of her fun spirit over my childhood years.  After marriage, my husband and I lived far away for many years and Mother's Day was a card and a gift sent ahead of time, or often...late!  

So this time I was in charge of the celebration!   Karan was away on a cruise this year, Janet was home sick with a horrible flu bug and Patty was at home in California. Their cards,gifts and calls came earlier. 

 Our card was a water color of her gift...

....a rose tree for her porch!

A cake for after dinner...

which was celebrated at Longhorns with wine and an extra large steak!  

During dinner I remembered suddenly I had forgotten all about the gifts my sisters and I went together and made for her!!  Boy would I have been in duck soup!

After we got home, I quickly went in wrapped them and brought them out to a very surprised Mom.  

First the picture of the four of us.  We had all been together last month and my brother in law took the photos.  Karan and I contributed the frames and Patty had them printed.  Janet, Patty and I chose the photos for enlargement.

Then she opened the one of all of us together....with Mom!! 

Her expression says it all!  Love this one!


And the fun package, a purse size photo album with one of every "good" shots of the session!  Since each of us liked different photos of ourselves, we chose our favorite and enlarged just our own face and so she has four individuals as well.

After the gifts we finished the celebration by cutting the chocolate layer cake for dessert!  

It was the perfect ending to a very nice afternoon!  I felt very lucky to have had Mother's Day with my mom after all these years!





 I decided to feature Mom and her red roses at Rednesday

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Even More Colorful Houses

These houses were in the same neighborhood in New Port Richy, FL as my previous post colorful houses.  They are a totally different style, but even more extreme.   

Someday I will learn to hold the camera straight, but in the meantime, I'm taking photos from a car window as Bill drives by at his pace...with me saying...stop!  Slow down!  Back up!  These crooked pictures will have to do until the day I go alone and PARK the car and brazenly stand in front of the house and snap really good photos.  I think I can make a clean getaway before the police show up if I limit my photos to three sides and stay off the lawn.


The first house below boasts a pink flamingo mailbox, a bright yellow candlestick lamp and a brightly painted front pathway. In addition,  if the multi-color painted house wasn't enough to attract attention, the pleathora of whirlygigs were going around like mad actually made the house even more visible. 



 I especially loved the Cheshire Cat on the left side of the house!



 Dr. Seuss and other cartoon characters were featured on the right side. 
To ensure a really good look, clicking on the photos will enlarge them so you can see detail.


As we were driving we went around the block to get another look we discovered this treasure:

The dishes reminded me of "Pretty Shells all in a Row" and I think I may have to copy this. Bill says no, but we'll see...

 Isn't this the cutest idea ever?



An entry way arbor!
This cute mail box belongs in my mailbox article as a favorite Florida mailbox! 



Turning the corner you can see the white pebbled "easy maintenance" front yard
 All the better to feature other interesting art... 

No one I know likes to throw out blue bottles
Now we know why we are saving them!  I wonder how long before the next round of bottles covers the swimming pool this circle garden is planted in?  



The right side of the house was visible because this sits on a corner and by merely turning right we get a visual feast that extends down the side to the side entrance....

 The checkerboard walkway is repeated in the tops of the pots lining the garden. 


and the color extends even to a luscious garage further down.
The baubles on the top match those found on the front of the peaked house in the first photo.  But it was the oars that really caught my imagination.  The attention to detail is fabulous.  The garage has very little pink, just letting the floral detail on the fence shine.  Putting colorful post of palms out and placing a starfish over the doors is very Florida! 
 

Further down.... past the garage we discovered...
... even the potting area has it's charm! 


This next house....well
I believe they have been inspired and are just getting started! 
Living in this neighborhood, how can you not be?  Oh, and did you notice?  What do you see painted in the sun?


My purple cow would be right at home!


Sharing with