25 September 2016


2nd Mum is indoors for safe-keeping till cooler weather!
Can we talk?   I guess since Joan Rivers has unfortunately died, it is OK to say that now.

It is Fall by the calendar, but somebody forgot to tell the Big Guy Upstairs who controls the weather.  It was 106 a couple of days ago according to my car, and it was in the high nineties today when we went to Costco (Friday).  I have looked at only one of the Fall home tours online, and I noticed that many of these bloggers are finally starting to pay attention now to what I have fussed about for over eight years of blogging:  when the temps outside are still like the middle of July, pumpkins and scarecrows and hay bales look rather stupid.   Most of them are keeping it more reasonable now, at least on this one tour I looked at.

Your mums will die in the heat, pumpkins will rot, and even though the leaves are dropping from the trees, the grass keeps growing and the summer flowers keep blooming.  Last Winter was weird, and you may recall we ate our Christmas dinner on the back porch wearing shorts and flip flops.  I just hope it will eventually cool off enough for that first pot of chili.  Maybe at least down to 80 or so?

I have been on a silver-polishing binge all week since I finally located the polish I like.
This photo reminds me that I need to get with it on that slipcover!

I have made a few small stabs and pokes at swapping Summer decor for Fall-ish, but it is totally negligible at this point.  I did put away the seashell decor in the LR and DR, and we put the new mum we got at Costco on the dining table for now.  The first one that Sweet Husband put out on the porch looked pretty sad after only a week.  He has already added it to the "mum patch" we have in one of our backyard areas which is not paved or graveled.  Most of them do re-bloom from year to year.  We have been enjoying morning coffee and reading time on the back porch for a week or so -- with the aid of two fans directed at us.  


My two highly anticipated decorating books arrived about mid-week, and I have been very engrossed in both of them.  I can say that I definitely would recommend both of these if you are looking to splurge on a new design book or two.  I absolutely adore WANDERLUST, which showcases Michelle Nussbaumer's upscale Bohemian global style.  Equally impressive is BEAUTIFUL which Mark D. Sikes' classic style really and truly is.  You may recall he did the beautiful creamy living room in the Southern Living Idea House which is still open here in Birmingham till December.  


I have made zero progress toward setting up that Etsy shop this week, but don't give up.  Very soon!  I have looked through a gazillion photos, because a lot of the items I want to sell are stored, and I would like to leave them there till they sell instead of dragging them all out and having to take new photos, then putting them back.  I hope to spend some time on the project this week, and we'll see how far we get.  In the beginning, anything large like furniture will have to be picked up locally, but I am looking into how I can ship these items.  


Beef Hot Pot

We have found a great little Chinese restaurant called China Bistro in a shopping area called Patton Creek here in Birmingham.  It is near Costco in the Galleria complex, in case you are interested.  I have not yet been to China, so I can't say for sure, but it seems pretty authentic to me.  On our second visit, I ordered Beef Hot Pot today, and it was quite delicious.  It doesn't look quite the same as what my son calls Hot Pot, in that it is not cooked at the table.  It is a Chinese family-owned and operated restaurant, and they go out of their way to please.  

We tried Chinese beer with our food, which Brendan has told me is what the beverage of choice with food seems to be in Beijing, kind of like the way we drink sweet tea here in the South.   The ones we had were very light and cold (they carry two kinds), and they were a nice compliment to the hot spicy dishes.  My Hot Pot came in a small chafing dish, for lack of a better term, with a flame under it.  I got a little freaked when it flared up a couple of times, shooting flames directly at me, so I turned the handle on the control and snuffed it out.  It was blazing hot anyway, and I didn't want to immolate myself.

If you are in Birmingham for a day of shopping or whatever, you should definitely give China Bistro a try.  The food is very fresh and tasty, the atmosphere family-friendly, and the food is very reasonably priced.
Sweet Husband had already made a sizable dent in his Sweet & Sour Shrimp when I snapped this.
It was battered tempura style and served with the Sweet & Sour Sauce on the side.


One thing I have done till I figure out what to do about a bookcase or something with the capability for book storage is this:  I turned my coffee table into a book table!  These on top are the ones I am not finished with or haven't read yet, and those underneath are the ones I have read recently.  I have many bookcases upstairs (nine I think!), but I really do need one in the LR.  I had already been stacking the newer decorating books on the console table in front of the fireplace.   This may look a little weird, but remember the old axiom "form follows function."  Rather than have my coffee table dolled up all pretty and stylish and looking all designer-y, it is right now functioning the way I need for it to.  

Do you use your living room?  (I am directing this question to those who do have a "formal" living room as well as a den or family room.)   I use mine all the time, and there is no TV in there.  I despise when I go to visit someone, and they don't turn off the TV!  When people come to visit me, they get to talk to me, have something to eat and/or drink, and VISIT.  I also use my living room daily as a place to read when no one else is here.  I am not a big believer in having rooms in your house roped off like they are spaces in museums. 

It is true that my dining room has not gotten a lot of use lately, but sometimes I actually go the DR table to draft my blog or work on something else on my laptop, simply because I enjoy the room.  It gets the morning sun, and it is a pleasant place to collect my thoughts when I write.  

I think one of my resolutions for the coming year is to start having people over more often.  It has gotten so easy just to meet in a restaurant, but you know what?  My friend Diane (of Diane's Creative Table) puts it best where she says on her blog's mission statement (I am paraphrasing here) that cooking and serving and sharing great food that you cooked with family and friends is an act of love.  By the way, if you are not following her fabulous kitchen renovation, you should be!

Still no Fall on the mantel, but the copper tray is out on the table.
See, I have made progress!
(It is sort of buried under the books...)


I made this caftan earlier this summer from some fabric I found at Hancock many years ago.
It is "air-conditioned" in that it has lacy insets all over the thin patchwork fabric.
I like to put this on when I have been out in the heat and can hardly stand clothes at all for the first hour or two.

What in the world do you wear when the temps are boiling and sweater weather is nowhere in sight even though the calendar says late September?  I remember a few years ago LeslieAnne Tarabella said that down in Fairhope where it stays warm most of the year they still wear the shorts and t-shirts, they just wear them in darker colors.  This makes sense, and really, it kind of harkens back to my school days when we wore "dark cottons" in the early Fall.  They were the clothes my mother made for me for the beginning of school each year.  When the weather got a little cooler, we just put on a light cardigan sweater over the little dark cotton dress till it got cold enough for the coats and big sweaters, the corduroys and the woolies.   Actually, I have still been wearing my summer clothes, just not the white or pastel sandals.  Metallics and deeper colors, and of course the black ones, are what I am wearing now.  I need to get some lightweight clothes in darker colors together, I suppose.  Truly, most of the places I go, it doesn't really matter anyway.  Black is usually my go-to, since it is hard to go wrong with that, and it transcends seasons.  
This Jenner chick needs to close her top!
I somehow got a free subscription to Vogue which I have not taken for many years.  I actually think it was a free perk for something else I bought somewhere, somehow -- and I do look through it each month since it shows up anyway.  Pretty funny, some of the things that you see in there.   There is usually a good article or two, but some of the photos are absolutely hilarious.  Many of the models look like they could use a good hot substantial meal, or like maybe they have been put out on the street by their annoyed parents without food or shampoo.  I can't be the only one who wonders why a lot of the clothes in fashion mags look so weird, and the hair and makeup is a freak show in many of the shots.  


Remember that cool old wooden ice cream maker bucket my Cousin Tunie gave me?  It housed an asparagus fern all summer.   Sweet Husband and I agreed that the fern would get to die a natural death if the weather ever turns chilly because it sheds and makes a mess.  It was starting to get brown around the edges so one morning we put it out under the pergola to live out its last days of Summer.  Later that morning, I walked out onto the back porch just in time to see him bashing the bucket against the trunk of the sweet gum tree, trying to dislodge the plant debris which has stuck inside the bottom.

The squawk caught in my throat:  "What the hell are you doing?"  just as the bucket fell into a jillion pieces!!!  

A few days passed.  I might have brought it up more than once while I pouted.  Then one noonday, I wondered where he was after we both got home from our respective workouts.  I looked out into the garage, and lo and behold, he had the Liquid Nails and the Duct Tape in hand, and he was out there gluing the bucket back together.  Back in the kitchen later, I told him, "That's the sweetest thing I ever saw!  You were gluing that old green bucket back together!"  All together now:  "Awwww!"

Later I looked at it after he took off the many layers of Duct Tape he used to hold it together as he glued it.  I asked, "Where are those metal straps which originally held this thing together?"  He said, "Oh, I just threw those out."  

"Whaaaaat???!!  That was what was originally holding the thing together!  That was what gave it character!!!"  

He said, "Keep your shirt on, they are still in the trash can in the garage!"

He fished them out,  all in broken rusty pieces.  I am still trying to figure out how they fit and if he even found them all.   At least the bucket is back together, and I guess a purist would say that he might have ruined the ambience of the piece by putting the handle back on with shiny nuts and bolts.  At least it is not in pieces any more.

Harpy me, I must have screeched at least fifty times, "What kind of bonehead bangs a hundred year old bucket against a tree trunk???"  Oh well.  I guess I am over it now.  He obviously felt bad enough about it to spend an hour or so in that hot garage glueing it back together.  I guess I will keep him.  


Update on the green nesting tables:  I have done a little more painting on them, as well as sanded and sealed the top insets.  We ordered something really cool for the tops -- wait till you see!  Maybe it will have arrived by next week when we talk, and I can show you then.  Hint:  it sparkles and catches the light!

This week's big headlines:  

"Brangelina is no more!"  Five days does seem unduly hasty, you know, especially if you have been married a long time, then you know that is only the blink of an eye in the overall scheme of things.  They supposedly split five days before she filed for D-I-V-O-R-C-E.  (Where is Tammy Wynette when you need her?)   Did Angie just get seriously pissed off at something he did and run out and call the lawyers thinking 'I'll show him'?  Some sources say yes, that's exactly what happened.  

Have you ever seen all those beautiful places they called home?  I am particularly distressed that their Miraval RosĂ© seems to have gone away -- at least I can't find it anymore.  Named for their palace, now for sale for $50 Million in the South of France, it supposedly was wildly successful.  It was very good.  Let's don't forget the plane they incessantly seemed to live on with their "snap-on" brood.  (I didn't make up that term; I have heard it for years.)  At any rate, as usual, I am sad for the children, all six of them.  

Oh well.  We have the debates to look forward to beginning Monday night.  That should be quite a show.  Are you even voting this year?

Please let me know in the comments what you think about this newsletter format once a week.  Are my posts too long and disjointed?  Would you rather I just went away altogether?  I am finding that I do not have the time to post more frequently, so I keep a running list of talking points till I make the time to get it done so I can publish it on Sunday.  Everything that happens during the week doesn't make the cut, obviously, but what you get is a little slice of domestic life (and opinions) at Chez Scribbler.

The front hall looking toward the front door.
Channeling Louise Nevelson, sort of.
(That would be a seemingly disjointed large collage which is called art...)
Actually, this is stuff I want to see but have nowhere else to put.

The same hall looking toward the LR.
I guess the color on that little antique chair is my contribution to Fall so far.


18 September 2016


Example of comfy floral wing chair with a slipcover
This week as I was perusing the gazillions of blog posts that land in my email box every day, I was zipping through one which bears an LA designer's name that I usually enjoy although our tastes are quite different and she could be my daughter if not granddaughter.  I like to think that reading the blogs of these young LA and NY designer chicks keeps me on my toes, but that's probably another story for another day.  At any rate, one of her guest-contributors referred to a wing chair as "granny."  Then a couple of paragraphs down she called something else "granny" -- fabric, I think it was.   At this point, I had had enough, and I was thinking to myself that her little place was pretty tacky, anyway.  I thought back to my first apartment in New Orleans.  Actually it was my second.  

The first one was a serious one-room dump on the third floor in the 30-something block of St. Charles and came "furnished," if you could call it that.  It's contents should have been relegated to the city dump years before.  Six months later, I rented a new (old) apartment, and I went out and bought a few new crucial pieces of furniture before I went home to Alabama and retrieved the other things I had:  a tester bed, a nightstand, and some boxes of kitchen things.  I put together a very elegant looking little place with quite a lot of NOLA style, if I do say so myself.  Unfortunately no photos of that little one-bedroom flat in one of the twin Art Deco buildings up on Prytannia Avenue exist as far as I know, but I do distinctly remember this:  it looked a hell of a lot snazzier than what that guest-poster on the afore-mentioned  design blog was calling her "great style."

I think I have already blogged more than once about ageism and feeling totally invisible sometimes, all apparently because I have let my hair go grey/silver.  (I never experienced this when it was "enhanced" with color or bleach.)  I am quite confident in that I like the way it looks, and I do get many compliments on it.   BTW, young black women often call me "sassy" which I love!  I also love the ease of managing my silvery grey locks without constantly worrying if my roots are showing!  I am the age I am, but I am not effing invisible, thank you very much.  (BTW, I also hate being called "Dear" by young store cashiers or the clerical worker or nurse in the doctor's office, or the cute young thing behind the cosmetics counter.  I find it patronizing.  They should get a clue.)  I really was offended that my perfectly respectable wing chairs were being called "granny" and a pretty floral design or a chintz fabric was also being referred to as "granny."  Bring it on, girlie!  I am unsubscribing to that blog, too.

Example of comfy wing chair in background!

Wing chairs are classic, and anyway, some of us wear our grey hair very well as we lounge comfortably reading blogs on our floral wing chairs.   That guest-poster probably doesn't even know who Charlotte Moss or Mario Buatta or Bunny Williams -----  oh well, she has a lot to learn.  I was not nearly as interesting when I was 20-something years old as I am now (although I, too, probably thought I knew everything), and she can only hope to get half as complex and fascinating as I am if she is lucky enough to live so long.   I have several good wing chairs in my possession, one set of them sporting floral slips, and this little chickadee doesn't know what she is missing, vis-a-vis comfort.  So there.  Rant over.


Moving on.  

I am trying to set up an Etsy shop.  I have too much stuff, and it is time to make room for more stuff share the wealth.  I learned a valuable lesson last year when I participated in that area-wide flea market.  It was a waste of time, as you might remember, and I wound up donating most of my stuff anyway.  I thought I would try this avenue, being rather skittish about Craigslist, and if any of you readers have any experience with this form of selling, I am all ears. Please share your experiences with me.  I will let you know when I have it open so you can shop, I hope by the end of this week.  I am starting with that little yellow wicker desk and chair I acquired when we were planning for that beach house which never came to fruition.

There is one area with a break in the lower back of the chair.
This is easily camouflaged with a pillow!

It is still too hot to do much of anything in the garage studio.  I have one nesting table ready to show, although it is not finished -- here it is.  
This is the smallest of the three.  It is ready for a glaze or wax
or whatever I am inspired do when I get that far.
The top has been scraped, sanded and gessoed.
The tops are not in good shape at all.
The peeling paint was covering another issue --
the thin wood inset area is splitting a little.
Hoping the gesso seals it.

Waiting to be finished.

I have several ideas for the tops, but one idea I am leaning toward is having mirror cut for those insets.  What do you think?

Two more to go.  

Shifting gears...
The Bertazzoni all-gas 36" 6-burner

We went out on Wednesday and did some information gathering.  I want to make a couple of changes in my kitchen sometime in the coming year without tearing up the whole thing or spending a mint on the bones of the kitchen.  What I really need and want is a new gas stove, preferably a Wolf, although that might not work out.  The present double oven stack (electric) needs to be removed as does its housing cabinet in its entirety.  The gas cooktop will go as well because I won't need that anymore, although there is really nothing wrong with it except that it is not level.  That is the space where a 36" gas range will fit and where the gas line already is in place.  
Wolf 36"

What has to happen is this:  the granite will need to be recut when the cooktop is removed, along with the cabinet underneath so the stove can sit there.  I want that behemoth fridge we got last winter moved to where the oven stack is, and that will necessitate running a water line to it under the house.  This sounds pretty simple, right?  At least that is what I keep telling Sweet Husband.  He has his doubts.  The improvement will also entail removing the microwave over the cooktop and the section of cabinet it is attached to, then installing a powerful hood, preferably something decorative that doesn't dominate the entire room.  I am planting the seeds and repeating and reinforcing.  Hey -- this technique works for a certain hair-challenged politician, why not for me?

the Smeg-- one of the models

We went to a fancy kitchen showroom, and I discovered that the buzz-word du jour is "pro-style" range.  Who knew?  Reeling from all the stove choices (not to mention the sticker shock!), I stumbled onto one of those cute little red SMEG fridges, the kind you see in European lofts.  Interesting discoveries:  Did you know (a) they are Italian made (not Swedish as I had thought)?  (b) they have to be defrosted, unlike an American fridge?  (c) that shiny shell is plastic?  But I digress.  

Right next to it was a gas stove too cute for words!  It was also considerably less money than the first batch I looked at.  The only reservation I have about this one might be parts and service.  Otherwise, it was just the ticket.  Do you know anyone with a SMEG gas range?  I would like to pick their brains.  The line of ranges called Bertazzoni, also often seen in magazines in fancy colors, are part of the same company -- who knew?  This showroom no longer carries them but will still order.  

The Blue Star
This one has restaurant style open burners.

Something else I found out:  if you order a COLOR like RED it adds exponentially to the cost, as in DOUBLE!.  I really want a red stove, but at double the cost of stainless, it probably is not in the cards.  I wanted a red fridge, too, but I should have realized when I was looking at all those last winter that it was the color that ran the price up.  


From there, we moved onto Penzy's, a spice store which used to be in our area but moved to Homewood.  In my organizational frenzy of the herbs and spices last week, I threw out a bunch that were really old, like maybe 20 years!  I had made a list of what I threw out, and we replenished them on this excursion.  That store smells so good!  It is like Candy Land for a cook.  Speaking of organized, I finally located my labels where I had hidden them from myself, and I put a sticker beside each shelf indicating the category that goes there, so I hope things will stay in order now.  


This week, I read THE WIDOW by Fiona Barton. It was a great read, keeping the reader on pins and needles till the very end.  Sad ending, though.   I can't wait for two new decorating books to arrive.  Those blooming things are getting so expensive!  I chose two out of the mind-boggling number of offerings, and I sincerely hope I won't be disappointed because sometimes they don't live up to the hype.  More on this when they show up.  

Remember those cocktail recipe books I found at estate sales a couple of weeks ago?  I was turning through one of them and happened upon the recipe for Old-Fashioned cocktail, so Don Draper-ish, I know.  I checked our bar inventory, and I did have everything, so I made us one.  Delicious!  

1 shot bourbon or rye whiskey
1 sugar cube or 1 tsp sugar
3 shakes of aromatic bitters
1 thick orange slice
lots of ice
maraschino cherry

Put the sugar in the bottom of a rocks glass, and shake on the bitters.  Add the orange slice, and "muddle" which means to smash the hell out of it with a spoon.  Add the whiskey, keep smashing, then fill the glass with ice and stir furiously.  Add some more ice if you want because a lot of the ice melts quickly with all the stirring.  When the glass is nice and frosty, plop a cherry on top, and sip and savor.   (That afore-mentioned LA chickie probably would think this drink is "granny" too.  Her loss!)

Speaking of cocktails, I tried Watermelon Margaritas this weekend with the Mexican-ish food for Sweet Husband's football Saturday.  This one was very easy, but you will need a blender.  Mine doesn't do frozen frappĂ©-type drinks, so I pulsed till the ice was in the crushed mode.

1 cup of watermelon balls (scooped out with a melon-baller) , 
2/3 cup of silver tequila, 
about 1/2 cup of Triple Sec and 
a cup of ice cubes,
all popped into the blender.  
This made about four drinks.  

table scape from an ancient blog post

When I was looking for photos for possible Etsy items, I discovered that I can still open my old website on iWeb on my computer.  Unfortunately you can't see it anymore, but I starting saving some of the old posts and photos which were lost when my old computer crashed, then gave up for now because it was just too laborious.  I might repost a couple now and then, though.  I did notice that my mouth was a whole lot sassier back then.  I guess I must be getting more careful about what I say.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?


One bit of great news:  my son Brendan has moved out of his sublet which he was sharing with a chef who cooks for a Scandinavian Embassy and into his own cool studio apartment in Beijing!  (No, that chef didn't feed him -- he said the guy never cooked anything!)  He has agreed to write us another guest post pretty soon about his new life there, and also ask your decorating advice.  The apartment came with very basic IKEA type furniture, but it desperately needs personality and charm! You will find the kitchen very interesting, I think.  The fridge is between the countertop and the doorway on the right.  The cooktop is made for woks, and there is no oven!  No dishwasher!  We Americans are really spoilt.


Remember the little $3 Foo dog from a couple of weeks ago?  It is now gessoed and sprayed gold.  It is waiting for a coat of antiquing glaze or wax.  


I painted my nails purple this week, speaking of sassy.  Who you callin' Granny now?

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11 September 2016


This week's haul at the estate sale!

This week's estate sale was the very best kind:  an historic old house, a lifetime of collected furnishings and objects, proof of a life well lived.  Possessions from all over the world with a heavy emphasis on Asia filled the old house with that particular musty smell that old houses often have, especially when they have been closed up for a while.  

Pierced silver-plate metal jar/urn from India - $20
Sweet Husband zeroed in on this elephant bracket
Sticker on the back

The estate agent told me that the old gentleman who owns it had recently moved to a retirement home because he could not manage the steps any more.  Understandable.  Located in the Forest Park area of Birmingham, many of the houses all around bore historical plaques.  Nestled into the side of Birmingham's famous Red Mountain (named for the iron ore it contains with Vulcan towering over the city) this tight steep street was a refuge at least 30 degrees or more cooler than our own neighborhood on this sweltering day.  (Don't talk to me about Fall -- REALLY -- don't!)  

Bamboo tray from the Philippines
The backyard was like a graduated rain forest paradise, thickly planted with everything I have ever seen or thought of, and it even had mature bamboo trees growing as a screen on a couple of sides of the steeply terraced landscape.  Southside as it is called here is a densely populated area, with many older apartment building sandwiched in between the still older homes on the hillside in this part of it.  Something I have noticed about some of these old houses is the way the (redone a few decades ago by it's looks) kitchens have a wall of windows over the sink or stove looking out to the incredibly lush back yards.  Nowadays, I think one would need a trust fund or a very good salary to maintain this house or one like it.  Very solid in its original construction, it was indeed in need of some serious maintenance, but it was so so so charming, cracked plaster notwithstanding.  
Here it is in place--
in Sweet Husband's bathroom

I had already found the elephant in HG moons ago

I remarked to my husband as we drove away with out little treasures, "You know the only thing which struck me as a little odd about this place and what was missing?" He said "What?"  "Books!"  For someone who obviously had such urbane tastes, he was bound to have read books.  Granted, there were several locked interior doors with strict instructions not to open or enter.  
Tortoise votive was a lagniappe -
hidden inside the jar!

While his belongings mostly favored the Far East, there was definitely a love affair with France, too, obvious in some of the furniture and accessories.  Upstairs along opposite the gallery rail, were a series of posters from art shows in French museums.  Much original art covered the walls all over the house.  There was this Chinese wedding bed,


this Malachite china,

two beautiful heavily carved Chinese chairs,

the house, (I love it)

vintage French fire screen.
The art through the house appealed to me greatly.

There was conflicting information on estatesales.net and the estate agent's website:  apparently today (Saturday) was the only day of the sale, although the first site indicated that it would also go tomorrow.  I am so glad I checked because I had seriously thought about going back.   The photos were already down!   I am glad I saved a few of these from the agent's site of what had caught my eye before they disappeared.   I was thinking about trying to score some of the art work at half, but I guess I missed the boat on that one.   I will probably go to my grave sorry that I didn't put a bid on that mirrored door French armoire.  You know I am so woefully sort of closet space, and this could have been just the ticket.  Of course, I might have to knock out the back wall of the bedroom to accommodate it, but that's a minor detail.  (It WAS massive!)  The old fellow had evidently modified the inside as a holder for his electronics -- a travesty -- but the clothes rods were still in it.

Triple French armoire
I really love this!
Lucky is the person who got it.

The Wallpaper:

Sorry about the glare but I don't want to remove the original plastic till I have decided what to do with these rolls.

I plan to work on this tray with a little walnut stain to knock back the orange tone.

BTW -- Sweet Husband has scrubbed those nesting tables with TSP for Paint Prep.  It is just too hot to paint!

I did not see this paper in any of the rooms, so I don't know if he had bought it in England intending to use it in a bath but never did.  Of course, the baths were locked off, so it could have been in there, I suppose.  It is not available any more on Cole & Son's website, but if you don't know, this is a high end purveyor of wallpaper based in London.  They sell to the trade only in the USA, but I am not sure if that restriction applies in the UK --it may be available from shops over there.  I emailed them with an inquiry about the paper, and I will let you know if they answer.  

I have tried various little craft-cocktails this summer, and that has been fun.  In a previous life I was a bartender for a short time in the late 70s, (single mothers blessed with deadbeat dads do what they have to do for a paycheck), and to me it was much like creative cooking:  follow a recipe and then tweak it to make it your own.  This one was easy to do.  

1 shot of vodka in a tall skinny glass
fill glass with ice
1 shot Mango Nectar or juice
fill glass with ginger ale
good squeeze of lemon
vigorously stir
garnish with lemon if you like

This evening I plan to have a go with Watermelon Margaritas -- I let you know if they are good.


I invested $50 into this fantastic little machine for storing and freezing all that produce from the Farmer's Market!

A photo or five of the pantry under the stairs in progress.  I am probably done for a while, although I am sure it will get fine-tuned as I go along.  Either that or junked-up again.  

I eliminated the little three-drawer wicker cabinet from the kitchen area (which I plan to repurpose)
that I have used for several years for herbs and spices.
These door shelves had become junk catch-alls,
but I now have all these little bottles organized by category.
Aren't you proud of me?
I threw out some that were at least 20 years old!

The napkin bins are now finally all in the pantry where I can find what I want quickly.

I first saw this little green shelf cart at HG about a year and a half ago.
I didn't buy it, kicked myself for a year.  Time passed.
Then they had some more, in various colors, but I liked the green.
It is a great place to keep frequently accessed items.

These wire Elfa baskets used to be in a cart frame.
That fell apart long ago, but I love the wire baskets.
I put felt pads under them on the corners (the kind you use for furniture legs)
which help them slide easily.
You might notice I save Bonne Maman jam jars.
They are great for small leftovers, etc.
I try to avoid plastic for storing food.

That bamboo mat used to be inside the front door.
It was getting past it's prime so I had rolled it up and stored it.
A going over with the Swiffer Wet Jet cleaned it up,
and it works great in here.
I use that old wine bottle for cooking oil, and here it is waiting for a refill.

I don't really have anything terribly exciting to blog about most weeks, so I just come here for a visit with you and rattle and ramble on about estate sales and the Farmer's Market or human interest stories if something strikes me.  Summertime is for lazy-time and a bit of indulgence, not strict discipline in my book, although I have started exercising at the Y again.  I do cardio two days a week, using an elliptical trainer and a recumbent bike for a total of about 50 minutes each visit.   I do like free weights, and I need to get going with that again.  It is very important to take care of our bodies especially as we age, and since I am not an athletic person, I have to do what works for me and my arthritis situation.  I found out something recently which I wanted to pass along to you.  

The Silver Sneakers program is an exercise initiative nation-wide is for people over 50 or 55 if I am not mistaken.  (You never know, I might be -- it wouldn't be the first time.)  Last year I went to Silver Sneakers classes for a while at the Y in our neighborhood, but they are held in other facilities, too, not just the Y.  Some insurance covers them, so they are free if you have that insurance.  Mine does not, however, so I was paying $65 per month for a Y membership for myself and Sweet Husband.  My friend Darlene who I met at these classes, told me that it is not necessary to pay for a Y membership if you are over 55.  What I had to do was go to the Senior Center in our area, and I think most areas have one, and register.  They gave me a "Y Pass" which I took to the one I use anyway which reissued me a new bar-coded card which is scanned the same as before each time you enter the facility.  The only restriction is the time of day when you use it, that being 11 a.m. till 2 p.m.  That's the best time to go anyway because there are no kids, except a few very little ones in the day-care room whose mommies are exercising.   This time of day is also not intimidating because the place is not swamped with all the gym-rats with perfect bodies showing off for each other.  Gyms I have belonged to in the past in various cities can be a meat-market for some and very off-putting for people past 25 who are just there to get fit.

You are not limited to just the classes, but you can use all of the facility including the pool, the various classes, the weight room, the gym, the spin cycles or in my case, the cardio room.  If you want to improve your fitness and save yourself that membership fee (which you can spend at estate sales or whatever), why not look into it?  Your body will thank you.

I sincerely appreciate your reading my random scribblings here each week, and I especially enjoy your comments.

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