Friday, December 28, 2012

One Little Word 2013

I did it! I signed up for Ali Edwards' wonderful year-long class - One Little Word 2013. 

So, what is YOUR word for 2013? What is your focus and what are your goals for yourself. It's time for a little bit of retrospection and maybe even, dare I use the word, resolution.

I've decided that my word will be LIGHT. I want to live in light, fighting through the darkness. I want to seek the Light. I want to spread light and be a source.

So, what's your word? Come and join in!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

What to do with my dining area sliding doors ??

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to window treatments, I am usually at a loss. I've replaced anything I've had in the past with bamboo shades, but the dining area sliders are always a problem. I will add to the shades sometime in the future - maybe some nice flowing panels in the bedrooms.

This is what I decided for the sliders. I found two packages (!!) of white shear panels at Marshall's. They are even made with the big grommets on top so they fit right onto the drapery bar I have. I was left with two toile panels that I had originally thought of hanging on the sides, but it just didn't work and they don't have grommets. It TOTALLY did NOT work!

I draped the panels for a holiday-look swag and added a red Christmas tree garland.

Riley wants to know -- what do you think?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Paper trees - Oh Tannenbaum! Easy tutorial

When the hurricane blew in to the New York area and we were without power (only for a very short time in our house - GRATEFUL!), I did this craft. I needed something `simple, but elegant' to insert in my card for an annual card swap I do with the lovely ladies at Primitive and Rustic Crafts and Decorating. I have been a part of this wonderful forum for 13 years, as of January. I would love for you to join us. We have some amazing and well-respected crafters there. Some have come and gone and we wish they would return. So come on over.

Simple, simple!

**All it took was two-sided scrapbook paper. That's it! The more beautiful and embellished the papers, the more beautiful your trees.

**Just cut a circle in half (I used a plate for a template) and fold. It's all up to you as to how wide you want to make it.

**The rest is up to you, too. I glued the folds down - you don't have to. I also added a star on top. I found a big package of stick-on glittery stars in Michaels. You can glitter your branches, you can add ornies. Make them your own. I added trunks made from some wood splits I had in my craft drawer (I have NO idea why I originally bought them!!). I also made a loop of raffia on top. You can do whatever YOU want. Use ribbon, use twine...GO FOR IT!

So, here are mine. Show me your creations! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cough remedy in your kitchen cabinets

I got up early this morning to make this terrific concoction. Hubby is coughing and doesn't sound good. I've recommended this to everyone I know as cold and flu season is upon us. It even worked for ME - and usually if I am coughing or sniffling, I know I'm in for it.

photo from Nancy Vienneau's blog
So, I attach the link and say "Thank you BIGTIME" to Maggie, wherever she may be. And to Nancy and Pinterest!!  Who knew?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My blue skyes have been dimmed - Why I've been away

I was working very hard at being a consistent blogger. And then the ceiling caved in. October ended and here on the East Coast we got whacked - Hurricane Sandy and all of her fury tore our neighborhoods up, lifted up houses and threw them down in pieces, flooded our basements and floated many dreams away. We personally had small damages - a fence section down, a branch fallen, lots of leaves and branches to rake, only a few hours of power outtages. Our neighbors and family members didn't fare as well as we.

And then the boot fell for me, personally. I came home to find my beloved 12-year-old Siberian Husky, Skye, dying. From the time I walked into the house and realized what was happening to the last few seconds I gazed into his eyes at the Animal Hospital - it all went so quickly, it was truly a whirlwind - our own personal Sandy.

I haven't been the same for several weeks. The sadness of the hurricane wore at me, but my own depression from the loss of my pet has hurt me and made me vulnerable and emotionally frail. I do not deal with loss very well. Not many of us do. I tend to hold on to the things that I love so tightly that letting go is adverse to my nature. There have been many kind words, surprising support from my friends, family, and coworkers.

Skye was a beautiful animal and many knew him because he was such a part of my life. Each day does get better. I cry less, but I still cry. The reality is, I can't bring him back, no matter how much I wish I had the magic spell I could cast. If you have never had a pet, this is all jibberish to you. But if you are owned by your own pet or pets, you will commiserate. I'm sure many of you have beautiful stories to tell.

For now, I'm trying to find something to fill in the giant hole in my heart. I have another dog who is feeling the loss. We cuddle and we cry together and I take him for walks where he searches in familiar places for his lost friend - which makes me cry all over again.

So, this is why I haven't been blogging. Or exercising. Or watching my diet. But I will be back. I will be thankful on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, for the 12 years I got to love this magnificent creation. And then I will be back and I will be stronger. And I will love again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How my Christmas cactus bloomed for Halloween

My so-called Christmas cactus has baffled me over the years. When I first bought it, it was at holiday time and it was in full bloom. Then, for several years, nothing happened. It didn't die, but it didn't bloom. I continued to fertilize it and to move it around the house to find the right window and sunlight for it.

One year, it bloomed at Easter! Naturally, someone told me I must have an Easter cactus... One year, it bloomed around Thanksgiving and I assumed it was just an early bloomer getting a jump on Christmas. A co-worker told me her relative keeps hers by a cool window sill and it loves the cold... Mine does not like the cold window at all.

About two years ago, I decided that the house plants would go outside on the deck for the summer. Suddenly, my plant jumped into bloom mode. At the end of September, the beautiful little pink buds decided to show themselves. For me this is what works best -- a full summer of heat and sun with some fertilizing thrown in along the way.

Here is this year's beauty - just in time for Halloween. (I pulled the plants inside just before Hurricane Sandy hit town.) Maybe she's a little confused, as I am, but she's still downright amazing!

Blooms at the beginning of November -- Merry Halloween?

Gardeners -- what's your take on this? What experiences have you had with the mysterious 'Christmas' cactus and what would you recommend?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Halloween Party - 2012

BEFORE the hurricane arrived, we had a great party on Saturday night. Our theme was 'Favorite TV characters', but our food and drink choices were all Halloween! Take a look. I think everyone did such a great job. Maybe you'll see something you want to use for your own party. I have to say, Pinterest is such a wonderful source of ideas - all in one place!! What did we do before we pinned? :-) I found wonderful labels to print out.
I had nothing to do with the wonderfully creative food that was made. My contribution was just a pot of chili, but look at these great snacks! Ghost pizzas, deviled eye balls, and a fabulous spider web nacho dip.
And how about a nice cup of this punch??

All of the guests had a great time. We had some famous folks show up -- Lucy and Ethel, the Clintons, Abby from NCIS, the Addams kids, Catwoman, and even Ed Norton from the Honeymooners. Do you recognize any of your favorites ??


Monday, October 15, 2012

Reveling in the Fall weather

So glad I found this chippy chair for the garden.

rev·el  (rvl)
intr.v. rev·eled also rev·elledrev·el·ing also rev·el·lingrev·els also rev·els
1. To take great pleasure or delight: She reveled in her unaccustomed leisure.
2. To engage in uproarious festivities; make merry.
A boisterous festivity or celebration; merrymaking. Often used in the plural.

And so, I am! It's been beautiful when it isn't raining. Seems that it rains a LOT here in the northeast, maybe competing with our friends' weather on the opposite coast! In between the raindrops, we've been having some really bright, lovely days with the Fall sun. I thought I would just post some shots of my house. I really enjoy the colors so much. Autumn is so rich here on Long Island. The local farmers are having a banner year selling those pumpkins, which are nestled side-by-side with local produce and mums and sunflowers. It's a good time to be here and sometimes it takes reminding that we are in the suburbs of New York City. Long Island is much more of a New England climate than the other areas in the mid-Atlantic. We also have some gorgeous historic villages along our coasts.

Welcome to our house.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Taking the Pumpkin-flavored challenge

Every day I see blogs with pumpkins pumpkins pumpkins. Decor, recipes, colors. Fall has made its crisp presence known with temps today in the 40's (!!), leaves changing color and piling up for raking, and glorious sunny days tempered in between the gray, rainy and gloomy days.

Trying to stay away from sugar is a challenge when Starbucks offers that tempting Pumpkin latte, so I came up with my own concoction. Half-and-half, stevia, 1/3 can of canned pumpkin (nothing added, just pumpkin), and vanilla - into my caldron (Magic Bullet) for a swirl. Makes for a yummy creamer that lets me enjoy and not feel the aftereffects of a sugar overload.

Then came the pancake challenge. Tired of seeing those iHOP commercials, I decided to try my own version. Gluten-free (as much as possible), sugar-free, good fats, stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg - OH YEAH! I used a mixture of 1/3 cup oatmeal (have to get the gluten-free box next time!) along with 2/3 cup of almond flour. 2 eggs. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Throw in the spices, stevia, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda. And the rest of that can of pumpkin. Cook them on a not-so-hot surface as they are thick and need some time to let everything cook without burning. When the pancake comes free, it's time to flip it. VOILA!! (where is that accent when you need it?). They are DELISH (as my peer, Rachael, likes to say).

Try your own version. Play around with the ingredients to make it to your liking. And ENJOY the orangey goodness now, because in a month we will be getting out the red and the green and the silver and the gold and the glitter and ...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A very simple 'Welcome' to the season

I saw something like this in the shops and thought that I could easily make my own. I was right - and you can do it, too!!

Here are the materials - one bag of fake mini-gourds, a Sharpie, and a photocopy of the word 'welcome' in an easy to copy font.

I freehanded the lettering onto the gourds. Pick a font that's easy to copy. This one has varying thicknesses, so I could start writing the letter and then fill it in, thicken it, and embellish. The acrylic sealer is for use if you feel it will help preserve the lettering. (Ignore the bottle of craft glue!)

That's all there was to it. Welcome to Fall!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

More pumpkin madness and some thrift store finds

Welcome, October! I tried some decoupage and paper mache to add to my fall theme and to remove all signs of spring and summer in my home (until NEXT year!) These pumpkins are from Dollar Tree - a little too bright orange for me.

Good old Dollar Tree!

I photocopied some lovely handwriting pages, which are very easily found on Pinterest or over at Karen, the Graphics Fairy's, wonderful pages. Go find me there, too! Brag Monday

One of the pages ended up having an orangey color - GO FIGURE!! - so that worked out just perfectly for a pumpkin upgrade. Also, following the Pottery Barn inspiration, I used plain newsprint for the second pumpkin.

My final fall finds were from a church fair clearance table -- two candle holders - one for $1.00 the other for $1.50.

The results? Fall BINGO!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pumpkin Crazy

So, I kind of went over the top tonight crafting white pumpkins. I've been obsessed after seeing them on Pinterest.

I took my 25%-off-everything coupon and my 40%-off coupon and had a shopping party at Michaels. I bought bling (Recollections makes great swirls and has fall colors for the dots), I chose ribbon and a pick with glass beads and leaves,  and I had a blast.

The smaller ones are thank you gifts...

 BUT the big one with the crow is all mine.

I'm in love.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Remembering my Dad

September 24, 2012 -- Six years ago today, my Dad lost his fight with lung cancer. He was 85 years young and I have chosen to only remember his strong and vibrant days and not the few weeks when we noticed him starting to fail.

My Dad was a talented, self-taught craftsman. One day he got the idea to make some furniture and turned out this little hutch cabinet. (I can't remember exactly when this was, but I am suspecting the late 60's, early 70's, pine, varnished, etc.) Maybe that's where I get my spurts of inspiration - I tend to get an idea and have to act on it or it burns into my being until I do.

That said, I bought Real Milk Paint - Yellow Ochre over 4 years ago with the intent of transforming this hutch and some other pieces.  (Note irony, please!)In a burst of have-to-finally-do-it, I mixed up the paint last week. I'm don't think my Dad would appreciate my rustic styling. I did an undercoat of red and then covered it with the yellow/mustardy milk paint to try to make it look aged and as if it had been painted over several times over many years. I left the scratched, varnished wood top alone. He would have said, 'What the hell?' considering he probably worked hours getting that finished look on it!  You can find this color and their others here:

I hope you like it, Daddy. My sisters probably won't like it either, but this piece stays in my home forever, in honor of you. Your soul is in it and now, I hope, a little of mine, too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend junking finds

Quite by accident - and at the last minute!

Took a quick trip up to the harbor in Port Jefferson, NY. It was too nice of a Sunday afternoon NOT to take in the scenery. Seems a lot of people had the same idea. We were just doing some window-shopping and browsing, trying not to spend any money we don't have. I stepped into the Barkin’ Basement Thrift Shop, loocated at 116 East Main Street. All proceeds here benefit the Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue.

There they were! TWO - not one, but TWO - lovely old chairs just waiting for me to take home and fix up.

The one on the left is marked from 1950 - WOW. Something actually older than I am! It has a funky kind of seat cover, but I'm thinking it will do well with paint. Price $6.00

The one on the right has some delicious carvings on the back and sorely needs a new seat cover. Price $4.00

So 2 chairs for $10.00. Could I ask for better? I didn't try to haggle at all!

I think it's going to be a very busy, paint-covered winter!

What did YOU find this week?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Brimfield finds - and then some

Great Fall-like weekend here in the Northeast. Saturday's trip to Brimfield, MA was only marred by the rainy weather. It started out as a decent day, but towards noon, the skies darkened and there were rumors of tornado warnings as we watched one of the snack shop owners grab up his tables and chairs! But just like the postal service, we marched on, looking for our treasures. I ended up with some rusty skeleton keys, a ceramic jug, a big rusted tin "L" to add to my studio walls, and some mugs and a pitcher from one of the Fiesta dealers.

My letter 'L' - It's big, it's rusty, and it seems these are all the rage.

It's not unique, but I like these jugs.
Just love Fiesta - adding to the collection.

The Fiestaware is NOT used, or primitive, or old, or recycled. Brimfield is a good place to find it, though. I have cups and saucers and ONE mug already, so I thought I'd add some t the collection. The pitcher is classic Fiesta, so I just had to have it.

Today I took some of the skeleton keys and glued them into this little wooden box I had been saving. It used to hold a bunch of metal Christmas tags and I knew it would make an interesting frame for some king of collection. Last week I painted it with yellow milk paint. I think it's really simple, but fun art for the wall. What do you think?

Most of the chairs which I found were way out of my price limits and the few I saw that weren't were in such ill repair that I had to pass them by. One of the dealers told me that they had to charge higher prices because they paid so much to be at the show. I understand that and I also understand the effort and time that goes into restoration. But, I wasn't looking for a finely painted chair. I was looking for something that needed some fixin' up and decorating.

Today, along with attending a local arts festival and finding some lovely holiday gifts (don't tell!!), I found this little charmer at a yard sale. The seller told me she purchased it in West Virginia. It's in perfect condition and is handmade, but I can't wait to paint her and give her new life. I already know what I'm going to do with it, but I have to get down to business!!

Oh, forgot to mention, it's a mini rocking chair. The woman used it to display some stuffed animals and dolls. I have other plans!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Brimfield, here we come! Flea market tales

Just a few more days and I'll be jumping on the Bridgeport/Port Jefferson ferry and a tour bus to get to Brimfield, MA for the last antique and collectables show of the season. If you've never been, try to schedule a trip for next year. So many wonderful treats all packed into one area. I could spend days and a fortune if I was let loose!

Each time I do one of these large flea market type trips, I am a little wiser. Ive learned:

* Bring along a hat and sunglasses no matter what the weather - just in case you need that extra protection in addition to a good sunblock.

*Pack a lunch and snacks. The prices at some of these venues are startling, the choices are limited to hot dogs, burgers, bagels, and fried items that don't fit into my diet, and I'd rather spend money on objects than food. There are usually picnic areas where you can eat your own food.

*Also, a few bottles of frozen water will stay cold all day long and, again, save you money. 

*I saw what the other shoppers were doing, so I had added one of these little wheely carts to my repertoire.

A very necessary accessory. Folds up when not in use

Now, while this is a very helpful and useful accessory, I find that those tiny wheels and those thin stands make it a little difficult to haul my finds.

*The bigger the wheel, the better the tow. Right after my last trip, I made a decision to search craigslist and the local Freecyle for THIS:

Step-2 Tag Along Wagon and Trailer

Good old craigslist!! It was $20.00 - no debate from me.  One man's trash is this woman's treasure! I've already packed it full and rolled it across the sand at the beach with excellent results.  So, I'll be trying to get this onto the bus next weekend. (No more dragging chairs around on my arm all day long...)

Just as a warmup, I looked around this Labor Day weekend at the local garage sales. Quite surprisingly, I didn't find anything of interest to me, BUT when I popped in to the local thrift store, I learned that Saturday is 50%-off-all-furniture-day. Here are my new additions to the chair pile.

Believe it or not, the chair with the great legs - such nice turnings and carvings - was cheaper. Marked at $8.99. The smaller pine chair with the woven seat (in perfect condition!) was marked at $16.99. My final price: $13.01. I was giddy!!

Now to get painting. I have quite the growing collection in my garage and need to start decorating them. I've got loads of plans in my head and have informed my husband that he will be doing a lot of painting in the future. Need to take some creative action!

But first, BRIMFIELD!

SO -- What did YOU find this weekend?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

If it's WEDNESDAY - here's what I wore

I've been meaning to try this for months and months. I'm a newbie. This is my first stab - be kind!

How is this for a cool fashion accessory? I was sporting this baby for a day or two when a mysterious pain made itself at home in my wrist. Gotta say, this lovely wristband and a lot of ice made a real difference! Basic black goes with everything. And how about that logo to hit you right between the eyes?

Seriously...these are two of my finds that I rocked this week. Look at these shoes! I couldn't resist. Not only was the price right -- $8.00 at MARSHALLS -- they fit without any pain and hide my nasty bunions. Love, love, love!

And then, there is this little tidbit. I managed to get my 'boyfriend' to splurge for this bracelet. It's the end of the summer, it was a beach flea market, and it's got all the stuff I love from the shore:

Sweet? I think so. Not bad for $10, right?

Oops! Almost forgot! Here's the link where this post is going - What I Wore Wednesday @pleatedpoppy

This was fun. Maybe next week I can actually have photos of my clothing! :-) See ya!

Jane Coslick amazes me every time

She's my muse (not that she knows me...) My total inspiration. I admire her creativity and her vision. Jane Coslick, who singlehandedly brought Tybee Island into my life over 12 years ago. (Well, Jane and HGTV, that is!!)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's what's for breakfast -- Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Cookies

I've tried to eliminate wheat from my diet, with good results. Gone is the bloating and gas (yes, I said it!) that usually followed from a meal which included bread. (Suggested reading: Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis). Also, my carb cravings have been greatly reduced, as I found that bread, crackers, and cereal made me want more, more, more. For sweetness, I use Truvia, which is stevia, instead of sugar.

I was alarmed to learn this formula…

  NET CARBS (total carbs), divided by 4 = teaspoons of sugar your body metabolizes.

Try it - it's frightening. That bowl of cereal, sliced banana, and milk -- calculate the amount of sugar you're taking in to start off your day. Eeek!

BUT there is hope!! Here is my latest experiment. My goal is to make healthy eating as enjoyable as possible, so I don't feel deprived. I love cookies.

Here's my recipe for Cranberry Apple Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies:

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

handful of unsweetened cranberries, chopped or sliced

1 tsp Truvia, plus some for sprinkling

1 scoop vanilla whey protein

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp coconut oil

  * combine the oatmeal, salt, Truvia, and protein powder.

  *add the applesauce and coconut oil.

  *drop onto a greased/nonstick baking pan, making 4 cookies.

  *randomly add cranberries to cookie dough.

  *sprinkle with a small amount of Truvia (to offset the tart cranberries).

  *bake for 10 minutes at 375 (watch oven for overbrowning!)

Voila! - 2 cookies for breakfast - 2 for the freezer.

Carb, fat, protein. Love.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Elephant's Trunk Flea Market Treasures!

Yesterday was spent in New Milford, CT, at Elephant's Trunk Country Flea Market.

What a great day of finds. I had something specifically in mind for my search, but the first thing I saw was an Indian print dress that I just had to have. Add to that some jewelry. The rest of my money was saved for antiques and treasures!

Basket for my front door - $1.00

Bought this clock for my husband. He loves it. The face is very pretty. Priced at $3, mine for $2.

Had to add this bright green mini vase to my collection. Cost $2.00

This wooden box was painted green and was used as a planter, but as a holder for wine glasses (on my buffet), it suits me fine. Priced at $15, I got it for $10.
And then ... my find of the day. The thing that made me the happiest and got loads of compliments from everyone, as I dragged it with me all morning:

TA DA!!! I'm in love. Isn't it gorgeous?

The chair was my goal for the day. I leaped at the price tag - $10 - and then got the seller to give it to me - I mean GIVE it to me - for $8.00. I'm still giddy!

Next stop - BRIMFIELD !! I found a Little Tykes wagon on Craigslist today for $20. Perfect for toting around my finds next month!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A new alternative to artificial sweeteners?

This is exciting news. Thank you to Rhoda at for the information. I'm repeating her news here because this deeply effects me -- I've been on the hunt for healthy, natural foods in my diet. After over five years of telling myself that artificial sweeteners are better for me than sugar, I learned of the damage I was doing to my overall health, let alone my intestinal tract and my metabolism.

I've been using stevia as an alternative sweetener and have been quite happy. Seems that the people at Splenda have `received the memo'. This is their new product - Nectresse - made from monk fruit (yes, I know...I haven't heard of it until now, either!) At any rate, I've sent for my free sample.

I hope this is one of many improvements to our everyday diet, as I strive to eliminate processed and chemically laden foods. Take a look - order your free sample - and let's get to eating right.