31 July 2015

Feline Friday

My apologies for the lack of posts recently! We've had a lot on our minds around here. All good stuff, but still...a lot on our minds! 

The main bit of news is that our daughter just accepted a job as an assistant band director...in EAST TEXAS! That is a LONG WAY from home, ya'll, but we are super excited for her! More on all of this later!

The reason I'm sharing this on Feline Friday is that we've been waiting all summer to find out where she'd be moving, and we had determined that if it were "close enough", then Lily would be moving, too. She was looking in a few different states, so we've been on pins and needles waiting to see where she would land!

As you can see, this has been weighing on Lily's mind! She has been so worried that she could barely sleep her full 22 hours per day!

Lily has even been practicing her "horseback riding" pose so she'd be ready to move to Texas!

After a lot of thought, Daughter determined that Texas is just too far (over 12 hours) to transport her. Either Lily -- or SPOUSE! -- would have to be sedated! Plus, now that she's been there for a couple of weeks, Daughter reports that Texas is way too hot for Lily. I'm very happy that she'll be adopting an East Texas kitty who needs a home!

So...I'm pretty sure that Lily will not be moving to Texas, much to Tinsel's disappointment!

24 July 2015

Feline Friday: Feed Me!

I've been working on the newsletter for Memory Bound this week. Let me tell you, Tinsel has not made it easy!

First she stood on my hard copy.

   Then she planted herself in front of my screen!

Finally, she made herself comfortable as if to say, 
"Do I haz your attenshun NOW?"

 Can you tell it was lunchtime? 
There is NO ignoring a hungry kitty! :)

17 July 2015

Feline Friday

We have big news, but we cannot share it just yet! 
It may or may not involve Lily! We are excited, nervous, weepy, and happy...all at the same time! :)

This, on the other hand, did NOT make me happy! 
 Tinsel has been making more messes than usual this week. Look at the position of the pot: UPSIDE DOWN, off of its saucer! She must have jumped from a chair and caught the edge of the pot, flipping it upside down. My poor succulents just can't catch a break!

16 July 2015

So This Happened...

I walked into our bedroom last night to find THIS:
 My mom's hobnail dish had been knocked off the dresser, the lid shattered. 

I was heartsick. My mom kept this box on her dresser, filled with trinkets and jewelry. I loved the box as a child and especially treasured it now. I had only recently moved it out of the basement to our bedroom. It had only been on our dresser for a few days when disaster struck. 

Disaster of the four-legged kind. I know that it was Tinsel who jumped on the dresser and knocked it off. Lily is not a jumper and certainly could not have scaled that height. 

Luckily, she wasn't hurt. But I was. :( Spouse helped vacuum up the millions of tiny slivers of glass.

A quick check on eBay made me feel a tiny bit better as I found a few for sale, which will allow me to replace the lid. I know it's a little thing and I probably shouldn't worry about it, but the box is important to me and I want to restore it. I'll just have to find a safer place to keep it!

12 July 2015

Organization: Family Recipes

Two years ago, I set up a binder system to organize my recipe mess. After living with this system for awhile, I can say unequivocally that I absolutely love it. The binders make it easy to find the recipes I use most often and organize new ones that I print or tear out of magazines. As you probably know from reading my blog, I'm not a great cook, but I do want my recipes to be organized and accessible!

If you're interested in more information, check out this post for a look at where I started with my recipe organization two years ago. This post shows how the project progressed. And here's a post about how I set up the binders with sheet protectors and recipe card sleeves.

So back to today's subject! Over the weekend, I finally tackled the humongous pile of recipes from my two grandmas which I've found in sorting through the boxes in our basement. (I forgot to take a "before" picture of the stacks of recipes, but trust me: There were TONS!)  Both of my grandmas were good cooks, each one with her own specialties. I treasure their recipes!

As I was working on this project, I really put my recipe system to the test. Happily, I was able to incorporate most of their handwritten recipes into my binders. Each of my grandmas kept spiral notebooks, too, which I left intact and just placed on the shelf.
As I worked on this project, I decided to expand the space I have devoted to recipes, which allows more room for the extra books I brought home from my parents' house. I took the opportunity to donate a few recipe books that I no longer need and set aside several that belong to our daughter, whenever she is ready for them.

As a side note, I noticed that I have an incredible number of recipes for cookies, cakes, and desserts. This is rather ironic, because I almost never make cookies, cakes, or desserts! But if I ever decide to do so, I'm very well-equipped! :)

In addition to the binders, I still have a lot of recipe books which I use from time to time. Many have special significance to me so I plan to keep them for the time being!

 I kept my mom's old recipe "file" intact, just the way she used it. Although she was a very good cook, Mom was notoriously awful at organizing her recipes. This was a running joke at our house. When I was growing up, I made several attempts to organize her recipes, which you can see when you dig through her recipe tin. But nothing ever stuck! Eventually she wrote her favorites in a spiral notebook. But there are some wonderful recipes in this tin, if you're willing to hunt for them!
 I'm happy I finally took the time to get my recipes (except for my mom's, of course!) under control. It's a good feeling to know that all of my recipes are in one place, organized and ready when I need them. Now maybe I'll be able to channel some culinary skill from my two grandmas! :)

Succulents: The Carnage Continues

 Well, it's time for my regular succulent "check-in" post. I've now decided that in fact you CAN kill succulents without even knowing how you did it.

In my last post, I had planted two new succulents to replace those that died after I accidentally baked them in the sun -- the large one at left and the taller spiky one in the middle. From the moment I planted them, it didn't look good. The large one lost several leaves (I swear, they just fell off!) and the spiky one barely had any roots. Still, ever the optimist when it comes to gardening, I clung to hope.

Here's how the dish looks today, folks. 

Can you feel my frustration? This time, it only took a few days for the new succulents to die. Still, it was a pitiful, sad sight.

Interestingly, the succulents I purchased at Earl May a few months ago are still living, but two of the three from Home Depot have died. So in order to optimize my chances, I think I'll replace those two dead ones at Earl May. 

To illustrate my point, the jade plant and this other little guy are still doing great.

Look at this goofy guy! I wish he looked less like a giraffe, but at least he is still alive! This plant has grown a good three inches since I purchased it. I've read that you can actually cut off leggy succulents and propagate new plants from the leaves, but that seems like an ambitious undertaking for someone like me. I don't want to kill a plant that is actually thriving, and I'm pretty sure that is entirely possible.

These two furry plants are also doing well.

The aloe plant is the only Home Depot succulent which is thriving under my watchful eye. It even has new growth!

So my succulent experience so far has been a mixed bag. You grow some, you kill some. But I love the neat and tidy look of succulents and I'm not giving up yet!

10 July 2015

Feline Friday: Walking with Tinsel

 Both of our kitties love to go outside on the leash! As soon as the weather warms up in the spring, Tinsel waits at the door, meowing for a trip to the yard.

As soon as I pick up the leash, Tinsel came running! She is always anxious to go outside.

 She makes a beeline for her favorite grasses. I let her nibble a little bit but not too much!

She is on the go, hitting all of her favorite spots!

Tinsel the Adventurer!

Tinsel has a look of alarm on her face 90% of the time, inside or out. :) 

In front of the house, she stopped to smell the bushes. I'll bet she detected deer.

Look! Tinsel is shrinking like Alice in Wonderland! :) Those oak leaf hydrangea leaves are as big as she is!

Back to the business at hand!

06 July 2015

Selling (Some Weird) Stuff

 I wish there were more hours in the day. I wish I weren't such a sappy, sentimental basket case. If those two things were true, I would much more successful clearing out the boxes of stuff around here. Instead, I continue to plod along at a snail's pace, selling a few small items here and there on eBay and at the antique mall.

It's strange what actually sells. Would you believe old perm rods? Before I tossed them, I decided to check on eBay and learned that old salon/hair care items are quite popular right now. I also sold some of my barettes from the 1970's -- since my daughter forbids me to wear them. :)

I also sold a couple of sets of brand new Valentines from the early 1970's. They were so darn cute that I kept one set for myself.

Speaking of Valentines, as I've been sorting through boxes, I've been finding numerous Valentines from the 1920's-1950's. It seems that my mom and my grandma kept almost all the Valentines they received. I thought long and hard about it, then saved my favorites and sold the rest. There are over 140 used Valentines in this pile alone! I hope this does not cause my crafty friends to hyperventilate. Trust me -- I kept plenty. :)

 My mom loved the Lone Ranger as a child and had saved several western jewelry pieces. I thought about keeping them but in the end, these items do not make me think of my mom, since she owned them as a child. I wanted to find a good home for them where they would be appreciated.

This is a tie slide.

This is a ring with a tiny gun on top.

 This is a Lone Ranger bullet with a tiny compass inside. It's pretty cute, and I almost kept it. Still, I have no regrets about this stuff. I want to keep the things that I associate with my mom.

I found some movie star newspaper clippings and photos from the 1930's. Obviously my mom had ordered the photos by mail. Because western items seem to be collectible right now, I put them out on eBay and sure enough, they sold. Glad they're going to a new home.

I have a box of jewelry from my mom's childhood. I went through it with her sister to understand the significance of each piece so I could decide which ones to keep. I've now sold several pins and bracelets on eBay. I'm not making much money on any of this, mind you! I'm just trying to find good homes for things that were important to my mom or me.

 My mom saved lots of my baby clothes and several pairs of my shoes. Good grief. I do not need my baby shoes, although I may keep a pair or two. These recently sold on eBay.

My mom had a couple of "Woodettes" sets in the 1940's. These wooden figurines were designed to be assembled and painted by a child. I am very happy to have shipped this set off to a new owner just today!

 Not everything has been easy to sell. I've let go of several of my childhood dolls so far (the ones that didn't have as much emotional pull) and now I'm getting into the dolls that were more important to me. Last week, these two Storykins dolls (Goldilocks and Cinderella) went to a new home. Oh, how I used to love that pumpkin coach! To help me feel better about this, I decided to keep pictures of all of my childhood toys to put in a scrapbook one day. 

  I've sold my Dawn Doll car, bedroom set, and now this telephone stand/chaise lounge. I'm working my way up to the Dawn Dolls themselves, which will be very hard for me to sell. I loved them and, as hard as it will be for me, I must find a good new home for them. So I need to take a deep breath and do it while there is a strong market for them.

Yep, I'll do that. Soon...very soon! :(

04 July 2015

Organization: Heirloom Quilts

Warning: LOTS of photos in this post! :)

Awhile back I posted that this summer I've been focusing on the enormous amount of stuff in my basement. I have been storing almost three full tubs of heirloom quilts down there, knowing that it was not the best place for them. Many were also encased in plastic zipper bags which don't allow the quilts to get adequate air circulation. So I'm happy to have moved them up and out of the basement and into my grandma's cedar chest! I know there are better ways to store quilts but this is definitely an improvement and the best place I have for them right now.

My goals for this project were simple:
Sort the quilts that I brought home from my parents' house
Combine them with the quilts I already had 
Verify that I still want to keep them all
Re-fold each quilt
Write and attach information tags

First, I cleared all the stuff out of the cedar chest and found new places to store it all. That's been the nature of this big project: It's always a domino effect when I try to fit all this stuff into more permanent storage!

I feel very fortunate to have my maternal grandma's cedar chest. Spouse refinished it several years ago. It really is a beautiful piece.

But quite frankly, I wasn't sure it was big enough to hold all of these quilts! I started by taking them all out of the plastic bags and going through them one by one.

Tinsel was my helper for the afternoon, and even she was alarmed! 

Believe it or not, I sold almost this many quilts at my parents' auction. My mom had a full closet of quilts -- more than I could ever keep. Before the sale, I went through all of the quilts with my aunt and my grandma, identifying as many as possible. As we did this, I wrote down everything they could remember about each quilt. 

Later in the summer I had a quilt expert come to the house and date the quilts so I could be sure of the age and identify any of particular value or significance. With that information in hand, I decided which quilts to keep and which to sell. Obviously, I kept the ones that I know for sure were made by family members plus a few others that I really liked.

 Some of the quilts have embroidered or cross-stitched tops. This one was made by my paternal grandma. My mom really liked it and hoped to use it one day.

This is a quilt I've had for a very, very long time. The fabric is extremely heavy. 

This is a really pretty quilt with an applique flower/butterfly motif. My maternal grandma often created her own quilt designs like this one.

  This quilt was made in the 1930's by my mom's grandma, who she lived with as a child. The quilt expert pointed out a couple of unusual things about it, including the spider-web quilting pattern.

When I was a little girl, my mom suffered from migraine-like headaches which would take take her down for several days at a time. On those days, she wrapped herself in this quilt which I'm sure was comforting to her, so I've always called it the "Headache Quilt".

 In addition to many full-sized quilts, I also have several smaller quilts or quilt-like pieces. This one is square and could be used as a table covering. It contains many blocks made from upholstery fabric, which tells me that my grandma made it using fabric scraps from the factory where she worked.

 I also have several baby quilts, some which were made for me and others which were made for my mom. I kept my favorites.

 I actually remember using this one as a child. Of course, it has a kitten motif!

I also have a few baby quilts with embroidery. This one has a Three Little Kittens design.

This one depicts the "Early to Bed" poem that many of us know. 

 In addition to finished quilts, I also have a few that are unfinished. My aunt took a couple of them home to complete. This particular top is not finished, so it's not ready for quilting yet. It's a bi-centennial quilt with a beautiful design.

I have two or three quilt tops that are ready for quilting, so I will take them to the quilt shop and see about getting that done. I actually remember some of the fabric from Grandma's dresses or aprons.

These quilt tops are very special to me, and I'm anxious to get them quilted so I can use them.

 Remarkably, all the full-size quilts and unfinished quilts fit nicely in the cedar chest! I put the baby quilts in a dresser drawer. Most of the quilts are now labeled so I won't forget the details!

 We are getting ready to re-do our master bedroom and I hope to figure out a way to incorporate some of these quilts. I definitely don't want to keep them shut in the cedar chest. They're meant to be used and appreciated!

It was a great feeling to finish this project and free up a little more space in the basement. Onward!