Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Mid-January Hodgepodge

Lancaster, New Hampshire, January 1948
 I'm thankful to Joyce for finding time, in spite of all her travel this month,  to ask the questions at From This Side of the Pond.  Love the Hodgepodge ... it's a great way to come up with a blog post when one's own ideas are a bit sparse. Here goes:

1. ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now? 
"As simple as possible".  That would be my meals right now.   "As seldom as possible."  That would be my leaving the house and driving anywhere right now.  It could also apply to vacuuming.

Or how about this?  "A squirrel around poaching."  For years, we never saw a gray squirrel here on our property, though there are plenty in town.  Last year a huge gray squirrel (about the size of an average cat) appeared.  Now there are at least four.  We keep the sunflower seeds for the birds in one of those large, sturdy containers meant for dog food (I think it's called a vittles vault).  The squirrels have been finding their way onto the porch and, if it is possible to chew the edges of the lid enough to get it off, they will do it.  I finally put a large, heavy wooden object atop the container and that has stopped them for now, but they are well on their way to success.

Where is Skippy the Ninja squirrel when one needs him?  Obviously a fair-weather friend.

2. Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea?

Sometimes I think I'm the first one to have an idea, but I try not to be the first to speak up.  Not the last, either, though. I might be the second or third person to speak up.  Sometimes, however, I will speak up first (especially if I suspect that no one else will have any ideas).  Now that I think about it, it depends a lot upon the group and the purpose of the discussion.

Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

Not sure.  I suppose it's somewhere in the middle.  I tend not to speak up right away in order to be deferential and give other people a chance.  It's not that I'm afraid they'll think my idea is stupid.

I also have in the back of my mind this verse from Proverbs: "A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in until afterwards." (Proverbs 29:11) and this verse, from James: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath"  (James 1:19).

3. What do you remember best about being 12?  

Being thin!  Or maybe my bright blue bicycle, which I think I acquired that year.

4. January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why? If you're stumped go here for inspiration.

Probably Eeyore.  "If you ask me, and nobody has ..." .  But I'm not quite as pessimistic as Eeyore.  I think I have some of Rabbit's fussy characteristics as well.  (I did take the quiz Joyce linked to and according to that one, I'm Christopher Robin!)
5. What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way? 

Trying to think if I use any apps.  I don't have a phone, so nothing there.  The apps on my tablet are just fun things like jigsaw puzzles.  Oh, I forgot Pinterest.  That does make my life easier by helping me have a place to stash interesting ideas so I'll be sure to find them when I need them.

6. San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR) San Antonio (TX) Sanibel (FL) have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

I've always wanted to visit Sanibel Island.   But honestly, expenses paid or not, I wouldn't choose to take any long trips just for a long weekend.  Too much work.  A local jaunt, sure, but nowhere that I would have to fly to.  If we're flying, we like to spend a couple of weeks at our destination or its vicinity.

7. Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what? 

"Silver Bells" always reminds me of my childhood Christmases in the 1950s.
Vintage card from my collection
I have a cross-stitched "Silver Bells" ornament but can't find it.  This will have to do!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We had several inches of snow overnight and it's still flurrying lightly.   I'm happy I don't have to drive in it unless I choose to, which I don't!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A berry sweet gift

Our kitchen has strawberry-themed wallpaper, and I have somewhat of a collection of strawberry items.  I've always liked them, and once people realize you collect something, they tend to find things for your collection.  You can see some of my strawberry items here: Vintage Strawberries, or just click on "strawberries" in the label cloud to the right to see even more.

Interestingly, I have no duplicate strawberry items in my collection.  One would think it would become harder to find unique things after awhile, but that hasn't been the case.  Recently, my mother-in-law gifted me with the little set pictured above.  She was so worried that I probably had one just like it already.  But no, I don't.  This is a very pretty mug, and the set also includes a little tray, which is a nice idea for enjoying a mug of tea with a few cookies or a muffin.
The set also included a coaster, seen under the mug in the photo above.  A berry sweet gift that I am enjoying so much!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Photo from Faithfully Gluten Free
Lately I just haven't seemed to have a lot of interest in baking.  Maybe it has to do with all of the baking I did over the Christmas season!  But on Thursday I noticed a couple of overripe bananas on the counter and decided to find something simple to do with them.

I checked my folder of gluten-free recipes and, lo and behold, there was one for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  I'd made these before and knew they were good.  I had a friend coming by for tea on Friday morning, plus I knew my hubby would enjoy these as well.

Although I don't have celiac disease, I do seem to be somewhat sensitive to gluten.  I went gluten free for several years and all of my joint pain disappeared, so I don't think it's just a coincidence.  I've found over the last couple of years that I can eat small amounts of wheat without a problem, but over Christmas I ate much more wheat than I should have.  I just didn't feel right.  So with the new year, I am trying to be much more careful.  These muffins are gluten-free and are delicious.

One of the flours called for in this muffin is oat flour.  I like oat flour but was all out.  So I substituted millet flour.  It worked admirably.  I also used dark chocolate chips in these muffins.  Mm-mmm!

In fact, anything you find at Faithfully Gluten Free will be delicious.  Jeanine absolutely has the knack of developing gluten-free recipes that taste wonderful. If you know anyone who is gluten sensitive or does have celiac disease, be sure and share this site with them.  It's a lifesaver!

Sharing these muffins, which are perfect with a cup of tea, with Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Sources for my vintage projects in the last post

Several people have asked about these patterns, so I am going to quickly share the sources for the skate ornament and the crocheted snowflake hot mat.  Both came from vintage magazines in my stash.  There are other interesting projects in both magazines, especially the McCall's issue.

The felt skate (shown above) is a pattern called Silver Skate Boot, from McCall's Christmas Make-It Ideas, Volume X1.  I believe this magazine is from 1968; that's what my great-aunt had written on the front.  I actually found this magazine on Amazon, I think for $4.99, but you could probably find it on either Etsy or eBay as well.  Here's the Amazon link: McCall’s Christmas Make-It Ideas Volume X1.

And the crocheted snowflake hot mat came from Annie's Pattern Club Newsletter, Volume 1, No. 6 (December 1980).  I found several sources for that on Etsy, so you could do a search there, or try one of these sources: Snowflake Hot Pad pattern on eBay (I think it was around $12-$14 here) or Treasured Heirlooms Crochet which has it for $6.99. 

Have fun with these vintage patterns if you try them!  I'm also sharing this information today at Vintage Charm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A few of my favorite winter things

It's a busy day and I'd really like to get some photos or scans of a few things to share today.  However, other matters must come ahead of blogging, so I will settle for a few winter items I already have photos of.  The frost patterns above are a winter favorite; however, now that we have more energy-efficient windows, they may be a thing of the past.  I will miss their wintry beauty, but not the extreme cold (and drafty rooms) that they represent!

So here goes with a very random assortment of winter favorites ...
This was my winter ribbon board one year.  It looks a little different every time.
As you can see!
A skate ornament I made from a pattern in a vintage magazine
Tea is always a good thing in winter...
Glittery house and tree from Gooseberry Patch, card by my friend J. and a vintage plastic reindeer
This adorable house was made by my friend Les.  Notice the little snowman and the glittery tree
A favorite pattern for a snowflake hot mat (made this one for my daughter Carrie)
Hey, I need to find that pattern and make more of these.  Red and white would be pretty, too.

Snowball lamp, snowmen baskets, a tag made by me
Some snowmen mug rugs made for a friend
Back side of the mug rugs -- I'm getting inspired now!
A winter stitchery
This embroidery (above)was someone else's UFO that I completed.  Now I need to finish it off.  Maybe a pillow?
A winter flag I made for my grandkids' fort
Glitter house under glass -- love it!
After Christmas buy at Marshalls one year.  It's fiber-optic!
a favorite shelf on the hutch one year
Card made by my friend J. (who also made the garland below!)
A favorite sign and a "January" garland at the back door.
My winter hutch in 2009
Hope you've enjoyed this look at some of my winter favorites.  I'm sharing these today at Vintage Charm.

Monday, January 09, 2017

A simple New Year gift

I wrote about this idea (not original with me) last year, but wanted to share the pictures of the ones I've just finished.

Every year for the last few, Ashley at Under the Sycamore has offered a free download of these  "Best of My Days" cards. Briefly, they are pages for each month with a line for each day. They serve as mini-journals for each month.  Ashley's thought is at the end of each day, one thinks through the day and notes down the best thing that happened.  For the past couple of years I've given away a few sets of these as gifts to other women, as well as to teenage and college-age girls, and the recipients seemed to really like them.   Even busy young moms who could never find time to journal can often find a moment to jot down a phrase or sentence.

As you will see when you go to Ashley's blog, the fun of gifting these is in the decorating and embellishing of wrapping them up.

I tend to take the easy way and use gift wrap or other paper items (one of the scenes above is from the front of a church bulletin).  Fabric, calendar pages, pages from magazines or catalogs, are other ideas -- and if you have something like a vintage magazine or other paper treasure that you don't want to cut up, simply scan the item.  Ashley gets really, really creative with her wrappings, so you will want to check out her ideas for inspiration.  

In my opinion, it's not too late to give these to your friends.  I just gave some away over the weekend.  It's definitely not too late to make a set for yourself.  If anyone is still interested, the link is here: Best of My Days 2017.  Have fun!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

A New Year's Hodgepodge

 I am really liking this hodgepodging.  It's really nice, once a week or so, to have someone (in this case,  Joyce) asking questions that get me thinking.  Wouldn't you like to join in?  If so, or just to catch up with what others have shared, head on over to From This Side of the Pond and check it out. In case you are thinking of putting it off until next week, there will be no Hodgepodge next Wednesday.  So here we go with the questions and answers:

1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday. 

That is really a tough call.  One of my favorites was two days before Christmas when our tree was up, but not the lighted village we usually put under it.  The buildings were stacked in boxes in the living room.  I asked my grandsons (8 and 12) who were spending a few hours at my house if they thought they could set it up.  My hubby has a complicated system whereby he joins some of the cords together and uses a power strip so the village can be turned on and off with the flip of a switch.  Of course you just know the boys figured it out, even though they had never seen it done.   And of course you probably also know that I didn't get a picture of the process or the result.  The pics below are older.
The village in a long-ago Christmas
Some of the houses as they will appear after the tree comes down
2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays?

You know, that is a really good question.  It may have been a Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookie 

Was it homemade or store bought? Homemade.  If it was homemade did you make it?  Yes.

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays? 

I saw many pretty sights, but I would say one of the most beautiful was in photos my daughter sent me of her 10-year-old helping her 2-year-old (just up from a nap) to decorate Christmas cookies.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

It means a chance to start every day anew by God's grace and with His help.  As Anne of Green Gables once said (or something like it), "tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet."  I'll make some -- I nearly always do -- but I can have a fresh start with a new day if I choose.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.  

Hmmm.  I'm not sure about the personal achievement part, so I'll go with well-being.  For the first 2/3 of the year I felt good and stayed with a program that kept me feeling more energetic.   Say, a 6.  The last third of the year, maybe a 3 or 4.

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you're like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it's used. There were quite a few on this year's list I'd never heard before.

Here's the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? 

 I guess I would say "selfie drone" because I would like to see "selfie" banished from the lexicon due to overuse. 

I would hate to see "you, sir" go because of one of my favorite lines from the Disney read-along book my kids used to have, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.  When Pooh visits Rabbit, eats too much, and gets stuck in Rabbit's front door.  Owl, in an effort to cheer Pooh up, says, "You, sir, are stuck.  A wedged bear in a great tightness.  In a word, irremovable, ha, ha, ha!"

What word or phrase would you add to the list?

"Crack" or "cracked out" as a description for some supposedly addictive recipe.  Drug addiction is no joke.

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year. 

Do something creative every day.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'll be glad when the Christmas cookies are gone.  I haven't had one since Sunday, but Mr. T is doing his part and then some.  Says he can hear them calling his name out of the freezer.
Happy Hodgepodge Day, everyone!