Friday, September 28, 2007

The thankfulness list:>)

Wow, what a busy week this has been! Just trying to get things organized for fall and the change of seasons. For some reason I think I feel more need for deep cleaning and organizing in the fall than in the springtime. I think it has to do with looking forward to all those months cooped up in the house for the winter! Do you like my morning glories? They are still hanging in there and giving me lots of blooms. It is so cool and nice here (71 at the moment) that even though it is 3:00 in the afternoon they haven't wilted! While blogging around this morning I came across Kim's blog, and thought she had such a lovely prompt to "add a list of thankful things to your blog". I thought that was a great way to start my weekend so here goes.
1. I am thankful for the unwavering, unconditional, unending and unbelievable love that I get from my sweet husband, Earl. He loves me like no one has ever loved me before, and he makes me happy every day:>)
2. My daughters and the sweetness they bring to my life.
3. The happiness of time spent with true "kindred spirit" friends.
4. Clean , line dried sheets. If I were rich I would have my "staff" wash and line dry my sheets every day!
5. Sunshine
6. flowers
7. The way I feel when I am surrounded by my extended family.
8. The way my cats seem to know when I am feeling bad and come cuddle on my lap, especially on a cold winter day.
9. Thunderstorms in spring.
10. beautiful old houses.
That is a start. I will have to think and add a bit more as I come up with things that make me happy. I am a generally happy person so I guess I am even thankful for that! :>)
I hope everyone has a beautiful autumn weekend, think about your blessings and not your woes if it's possible!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What I love about my Home

Karla's Cottage is having a "What I Love About my Home" show today. Right at the moment I am not crazy about anything inside my home. I am in the final stages of the living room paint job (YAY!) but everything is still torn apart until that is done, and if anyone has ever been involved in that type of project, and I know you have, you know it affects every aspect of your home. Something from one room needs to be stored in another room and so on and so on. It disrupts the entire house. So today I will show you what I love about my home outside. This pergola was built for me by my sweet husband for our 25th anniversary. I love how it adds a little interest to the back entry. What I really love is all the hanging plants I can adorn it with so that every time I step outside in the summer I am surrounded by garden. Sometimes I go outside on a summer morning with my coffee or ice tea and just sit and sip and watch the morning and the deer and rabbits running around the yard. It is lovely and it makes me smile every time I see it. Thanks honey, for such a lovely gift!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

These happy little vintage chefs were a flea market find. I think they are so sweet!

As are these eight dainty little bridesmaids! They are made of vintage crepe paper and flowers. How adorable! You can find them at my etsy shop, here! Hope everyone has a great weekend:>)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Do you think my flower bed needed weeding? Sheesh! We finally got some temperatures in the 70's last week and I decided it was time to get out there and take care of the flower beds in all their weedy glory. You can't tell from the picture, but this pile of weeds is about 5 feet long and 2 feet high. Oddly enough, it made me think of Brin of My Messy Thrilling Life and a post she did about not realizing your dreams. I know, I have the strangest thoughts, but since I can't sleep I thought I would get them down. Now I want to say up front that I think we all need dreams and aspirations! But, I also think that there is a lot of examination that needs to go on regarding our dreams. For instance, I love beautiful gardens and with 5 acres, I would love to make a great deal of the back yard into a lovely garden. The reality, unfortunately, is that with gardens comes weeds, and we can all see how diligent I am about those! My dream of beautiful gardens conveniently visualizes a garden without weeds. All dreams come with a price. I want to persue my art, what is the price? Choosing between time for that and time with my family, time to clean, time to do any number of things that I would also like to do. Being creative takes not only time but the ability to wear your heart on your sleeve and offer it up to strangers to buy. That part is hard for me, so is the time it takes away from my family. I have to constantly weigh what is important to me, and sometimes, in fact, often, my art loses. That's ok. I know my priorities. I know people who have focused on their dreams to the detriment of the joy they could have right now, today. The dream of what they want someday, overshadows the blessings they could be enjoying that are right under their noses. What a waste.
I want to enjoy the good things I have today. I am living the dream of countless people in other countries who's dreams are enough food for themselves and their children, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in instead of hard, cold dirt, and a life and opportunity that they can persue without fear that someone is going to come harm or kill them because their belief system is different! Dreams are good, and without dreamers we would not have the inventions and many of the beautiful artworks and inspirations we have, but sometimes we need to know when the dreams no longer fit us, when it is time to adjust and move on. I hope that I am making sense. Lack of sleep sometimes makes me a little less coherent than I should be! Thanks for letting me ramble on, as for the flower down four more to go. The compost pile is going to be 50 feet tall!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This is one of the original built in cupboard doors that were in the teeny kitchen of this house when we bought it. I have a pair of them that my husband has been trying to throw away for the past 20 years, LOL! He has actually taken them out to the curb a few times and I have sneaked out there and brought them back. He would see them in the basement and just shake his head and laugh. I always knew that someday I would paint on them, they have a really great alligatored old paint finish on them and I love the texture. Well I finally got one of them finished with a painting of zinnias. I really like the way it turned out and I have it hanging in the hallway outside our bathroom door. I still have one to paint, if I can get to it before he sneaks it out to the road again! He likes this painting too, so maybe he will give up and let me just paint the other one. I guess that means I even pick trash piles at my own house! I'm pretty hopeless, good thing he loves me anyways:>)

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This is not a cooking blog, really it isn't, it's just that with the cooler weather it suddenly feels so good to turn the oven on and bake something that makes the whole house smell cozy and warm. Besides, we had another church potluck this week! You can see why it is so hard to stay on a diet around here! Anyway, my sweetheart made another of his fabulous cheesecakes, this time a white chocolate rasperry cheesecake, and it is so pretty I just had to show it off. This one has beautiful swirls of ruby red raspberries in the white chocolate cheesecake. To die for! You can find the recipe here. It is very rich and delightfully creamy. Sigh...I love autumn!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hot soup on a cool day!

Mmmmm...home made minestrone soup! The weather here is 55 degrees and breezy so it is a perfect fall day for a big pot of soup. I got this recipe from a friend and it is one of my favorite comfort foods! It is fairly easy in spite of all the ingredients and you just can't beat the flavor. It tastes even better the second day and makes a big batch. Please know that this soup is just as good if you find you dont have one or two of the ingredients. For instance, I was out of potatoes and celery today but I dont even notice, I have made it with a veggie missing here or there, as long as you put a little extra of what you do have in it, it will be fine! Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove garlic minced

1 onion minced

1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tsp. thyme

1/4 cup water

1/8 cup tomato paste

2 zuchini diced

6 beef boullion cubes

6 cups water

1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes

3 celery stalks chopped

2 carrots (large) sliced

3 potatoes diced

1/4 of a small cabbage, shredded

1/3 cup uncooked rice

1 can (14-15 oz.) white beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook garlic , parsley, onion and thyme in oil until tender. Add tomato paste and 1/4 c. water, cook 3-4 minutes. Add all ingredients except rice and beans and cheese. Simmer about an hour. Bring to full boil, add rice and cook til soft - add beans and heat. Top with fresh parmesan or cheddar cheese at serving time.

I have been given the Blog BLiss Award by Kathryn Bechen Ink! Thank you Kathryn:>) Kathryn has a great blog that I enjoy often. She is a writer and her blog covers home decorating, great places to shop, blogs that she loves and so much more. Stop over, if you havent already, I think you will enjoy her great style!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thrift as an obsession

Wait! Don't go! I know you have seen this picture all week but I have something new to tell you. I have been struck by how many of us bloggers are big time thrifters too. Garage sale and Estate sale junkies who can't pass an orange sign and bunch of balloons, let alone a pile of junk by the side of the road without stopping. I was showing my blog to one of my co-workers the other day and as I showed her this picture and pointed out items that were found at above mentioned establishments I realized EVERYTHING IN THIS PICTURE IS THRIFTED! The only exception is the embroidered napkins (from a blog swap so they are FREE!) and the little bird in the nest (from same swap) Even the table was a $5 garage sale find. I think the tablecloth was $2, the teacups $2 each, the doily under the teapot $1, the teapot, $1, the golden glass dishes were in a set of 6 irridescent desert plates and a 12" matching cake plate for $2, the hobnail vase was 50 cents (!)
The curtains I made from 5 yards of toile fabric that I got for $5 at a garage sale, the black dining room chair $5, even the house was found at, you guessed it, a garage sale! My husbands Aunt came to the sale 26 years ago, the owners mentioned they wanted to sell the house and she thought it would be perfect for us newlyweds (and it has been). Clearly thrifting works. I see blog after blog posted with the latest awesome cheap finds that make a house not only a home, but a gorgeous, warm inviting home! Yes, I am addicted, I'm addicted to getting the best I can for the least I can, and I think a lot of you are too! So tell me what the greatest thing you ever got for cheap was and have a great weekend. Hope you find something cool!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Apples and Blessings

We planted these dwarf apple trees about 25 years ago. They have never done much but have a very few stunted little apples on them, but this year they flowered and actually had a pretty good crop. There were even quite a few that escaped the notice of the bugs and came out very nice. The best thing about the apples this year though, is that the deer love them! I know deer do a lot of damage to gardens and shrubs but we havent really had a problem. At least twice a day two does and their fawns come out and fill up on apples. They have reached a level of comfort where they dont even run away if we are outside, they just kind of stand there and stare at us as they eat. I just love seeing them and I don't mind at all that they eat the apples, because we arent going to. I often wonder if we all understand how blessed we are to live in a country that has so much food and such prosperity that most of us have ornamental fruit trees that simply get eaten by animals or rot on the ground. I pass hundreds of trees like this every year in the fall and wonder what someone who was starving in a third world country would think if they were brought over and dropped in this green and lushly beautiful country. Places where there is nothing but dust on the ground, dirty water and no crops. I can't even imagine living in such a place. As we enter the harvest season, I will be thanking God for the bounty He blesses us with and I will be praying for and looking for ways to donate to charities for those less fortunate who can't imagine the bounty we have.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Autumn Tea Time

The kids are all headed off to school, I have an hour or two before I have to get to work and the morning is cool and cloudy. It is a perfect time for a hot cup of spicy chai, a muffin, some fruit and a moment with friends.

Hopefully you have a few moments to relax and spend with a cup of tea too. (I will go halvsies on the muffin with you!) I am finally catching up from the busy weekend. I somehow have gotten the idea that the weekend is for getting all the things done that I couldnt get to during the week and they seldom end up being a time to relax. I did get to a flea market this Sunday for a few minutes, a tiny one, but I found some fun things that I will share with you later in the week. Still working on the living room painting! It isn't a big room, but I havent had more than an hour here and there to devote to it. I want to finish it up by this weekend :>P and I think I can, then I wont have it hanging over my head! I can't wait to rearrange and freshen it up and show it to you. Time for me to get ready for work, I hope everyone has a beautiful day! Enjoy the other tea time blogger links at Make Mine Pink.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Catching up.....

Sorry I'm a little behind.... I meant to participate in the Make Mine Pink Tea today but my schedule was crazy the last two days. I will get to it, hopefully tomorrow. I do want to mention that Barbara, at Southern Lady's Vintage awarded me the "Blog with a Heart Award" last week and I am so honored!
Thank you so much Barbara! Iwould have a very hard time picking out just one or two of you to nominate in turn because you all have been so kind and friendly in your comments and visits. I really feel priveleged that I have met you. I visit so many of your pages every day,(although at the moment I am catching up from the weekend!) and you all delight me with your creativity and caring. SO to all you ladies whose blogs I visit, you are all nominated in my book for this award! Thanks for visiting and commenting and making yourselves known. See you tomorrow:>)

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Today we had an all church picnic after services. My darling husband made his specialty, cheesecake. This was a new recipe for chocolate cheesecake that we garnished with some golden raspberries from the farmers market. The plate came home clean (thank goodness!, we didnt need to be eating too much of this rich dessert by ourselves!) Below is the recipe:>) Enjoy!
For crust
1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For filling
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar1 tablespoon cornstarch1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
For glaze
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap outside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with double thickness of foil. Spray bottom of pan with vegetable oil spray. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add butter and process until blended. Press mixture onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
Make filling:
Combine cream and coffee powder in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until coffee powder dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cool 10 minutes.
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in cornstarch. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Whisk 1 cup cheese mixture into chocolate mixture. Return chocolate mixture to remaining cheese mixture; whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into crust. Place springform pan in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to baking pan to cone halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until softly set and slightly puffed around edges, about 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cake stand in oven 45 minutes. Transfer springform pan t rack and cool. Cover; chill cake overnight.
Make glaze:
Bring cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 4 ounces chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Pour glaze over top of cake. Using spatula, smooth glaze evenly over top. Refrigerate until glaze is set, at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Building a Cathedral...

I was just over at Jen's blog, the Cottage Nest, and saw her post on being a stay at home mom. I got something in my email the other day that I thought was so beautiful, and it applies so well to what Jen was saying that I wanted to share it. It is kind of long, but worth the read.

Perspective: The Invisible Woman

It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?""Nobody," he shrugged. Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like "Turn the TV down, please" - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing. Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking. I'm invisible. It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Somedays I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She'sgoing¸ she's going¸ she's gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered bythe roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness.It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table."That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."

Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I've been tagged!

Adrienne tagged me for the name game, the one where you tell something about yourself for each letter of your middle name, so here goes.
Gosh, this is hard! You are really pretty limited by the letter aren't you!? What if I dont have any character traits that begin with "g"? Do I make some up? Do I get to claim it if it fits the letter? Ok, then I guess the only thing I can come up with is gorgeous! Ha! Lucky me! Addendum, I thought of something more "real" in the shower (TMI?) Genuine, I would say I am a genuine person. I have very little guile and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I tend to be very open about my thoughts and feelings. I feel it is better to discuss than to stew.
Ridiculous, (obviously), or romantic, I am a hopeless romantic!
Artistic, I have always enjoyed making things, I could also use AADD (artistic attention deficit disorder) because I can't seem to choose just one thing to focus all that artistic genius on. My basement is full of "works in progress"
Cripes! I was stumped again, so I asked my eldest daughter and she said "Crazy Funny, Cool and Creative" I gave her a hug and slipped her some cash, she knows which side her bread is buttered on!
Elegant?, Elusive? Erudite? Erratic? Exhausted! Errorless in the eyes of Earl (awww, Lauren again, she says that because he always blames the kids for everything I do, sweet! I love that!)
Ok, now I tag one person for each letter of my name so I tag:
Jan at Daylily Lane
Heather at Mrs. Jones
Lisa at Enchanted Cove Productions (she has a give away right now!)
Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage
Polly at Counting Your Blessings

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

And the winner is....

Kattz*Cottage! Another Kathy wins the lace bag and some goodies that go inside:>) Thanks to everyone who left such nice comments and who have continued to stop by while I have been busy painting (still not done!) and working on other projects. I have a fun announcement to make too. I have decided to open an etsy shop and see if I can make a little money with some of my projects and finds. You can find it here. I hope you will stop by and check things out. This feels like a big step to me but I am stepping out in faith! Wish me luck! Now I have to go get ready for work, thanks again for all the blog love!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday:>) The weather has been beautiful here in Michigan, not too hot and sunny. This morning is overcast and cool but no rain forecast so I am sure it will clear up. We don't usually travel on holidays, we prefer to go places when they are less crowded, so we usually end up staying home and working on projects around the house. I have been painting the trim in the living room and will be working on it again today. I hope to be done with it before next weekend. It was paint over stained wood so it took a coat of Kilz primer and 2 coats of semi-gloss and there is so much trim! Ugh! But it looks so bright and fresh and nice I know I will love it when I am done. I did a little garage saleing but struck out for the most part. Nothing fantastic and we are close to the end of the season. I hope I can have a bit more luck before it all ends for the winter. I can feel autumn in the air and we have enjoyed some nice campfires the past few evenings. Well, I can't procrastinate much longer on the painting today so I may as well go do it, but I wanted to remind you that the drawing for my give-away will be tomorrow(oops! I mean Wednesday, the 5th!) and you still have two more days to comment and throw your name in the hat. I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things now that school is back :>(. I will see you all Wednesday with a winner! Have a great day!