Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some Very Sad News...My Hero is Gone

On December 6th I closed on my lovely mountain house.  I went to call my Mom and Dad to share my joy and there was no answer.  I called my brother, knowing instantly something was wrong.  My brother was at the hospital with Mom and Dad.  It seems my father had fallen that morning.  He was in terrible pain so they got him to the hospital.  They were doing tests.  My sister had already scheduled a visit and was flying in that afternoon. It was time for me to clear up a few things and head East.

I arrived a few days later.  Daddy was diagnosed with Cancer. It was everywhere but the pain was coming from his spine. It was now time to keep him pain free and comfortable. At 91 this World War II fighter pilot, prisoner of war, lawyer, father, friend, singer, gardener, most wonderful husband, this man of God, was leaving us. The last week the world has stood still while we gathered to say our goodbyes and our thank you's to him.

Daddy died December 14th with his loving wife and children surrounding him.  We are now celebrating his life and all of the wonderful memories and gifts he has given us.  It has been a journey the past week or so. I do hope, dear friends, that you will keep my family in your thoughts. This is a new road for us to walk down. There is still much to do and much strength is needed. 

I wish you all the joy of the season, God has a new tenor in his choir. I wish you blessed moments with your loved ones. Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Freebies - Vintage Houses

This House reminds me of my Grandmother's house.

This house reminds me of my father's grandmother's house.

What a big bike! Love the pup!

This guy looks pretty proud of his home, family and horses.

This house looks like it was dropped in the middle of a cornfield. Love the small fence around the foundation.

This week I thought I would do some Vintage Houses for your freebies. I have house stuff on the brain. I spent most of last week signing and faxing documents to get ready for closing this week. I have been arranging moving dates, placing furniture in my mind, and getting all the utilies turned on. While trying to spend some quaility time with my Mother and Father, brother and nephews. Whew! I can not believe Christmas is three weeks away. I hope everyone enjoys these!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Already?

It is hard to believe it is December already. Another year almost gone. December seems to fly by with all the little things to do, people to see, and little parties to go to. Shopping to attend to, then presents to wrap, decorating the house, etc... Makes me tired just thinking about it. Then, when everything gets is time for a New Year.

This past week I have enjoyed being home with my parents. Spending time with them is the best present I know of.  My mother and I have watched movies and TV shows we enjoy together.  We have tried several new recipes, and spent alot of time talking and laughing in the kitchen. My poor Dad is feeling stuffed from all the food. It has been great. I hate leaving, but I must.

This weekend I leave for the mountains. I close on my new house next week. It seems a bit scary that I am going to have an actual place to call all mine after all this time. This is the first home I have bought thinking about just me - not because it is close to a job, or it has certain schools near by, or it is kid friendly.  It is just light and airy, with a place for friends and family. It makes me feel good when I drive up  and even better when I walk in.  The kitchen needs work, but it is large, lots and lots of storage, my own library for all those books. 

I look forward to living in the mountains. The mountains change everyday. Thought I would share this wonderful truck I pass when I am going up the mountain.  Someone has collected a lot of old cars, this truck and some antique farm equipment.  It is always a pleasure to pass by. Love that rust - the patina. There is a story somewhere in there.

Three Hour Stew

This is one of the recipes my mother and I tried this week. It was nice after all that turkey.I just want to say it is so easy and tastes fantastic.  My mother is pure southern so she loved it on rice.  I just loved it, on rice or with out.  Serve with some yeasty rolls [you need something to wipe the bowl clean with and still appear to be a lady]. 

3 Hour Stew

2 pounds of beef cubes
1 pound of carrots cut in wedges/hunks
2 to 3 large onions cut in wedges
2 to 3 Yukon Gold potatoes cut in pieces [optional]
1 can Tomato soup
1 can water
2 bay leaves
dash or two of worcestershire sauce

Place ingredients in a large casserole dish.
Place carrots, beef, potatoes, onions in that order.
Cover and bake in a 325 degree oven for 3 hours.

Serve over rice or just in a bowl. Enjoy!

Four Letter Words - Give

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All...

Happy Thanksgiving to All.  Here in the states we celebrate the fourth Thursday of Novemeber.  It is a day of taking a look at all of the wonderful things, people, events that have happened in your life and being grateful for them.
This year I have so much to be grateful for.  My beautiful children. A few nights ago one of my boys was in a car accident - a deer ran out in front of him, he hit the brakes, it was raining and slippery, he ended up wrapped around a tree, his car totalled, he had minor injuries [thank goodness for searbelts] . I am so thankful that he is going to be all right.
I am grateful for my family.  I know you can not always pick your family - this family I would pick.  I am so lucky to have both parents  to celebrate with. My father is 91 and for 91 he is doing quite well. I would tell you how old my mother is , but she would be horrified. Let's just say that she runs circles around me. I am thankful my brother and sister are well and my beautiful nephews are a treat to be around. I am so lucky to have them all in my life. They are my life cheerleaders.
My girlfriends that are always there for me. Who listen to my troubles, share their troubles, always have encouragement and support. Who have opened their homes and lives to me. Thank you I could have not made it this past year without you. Thank you for being you.
After being homeless for over a year I have finally found an area I love and a house that suits me to a T.  I have a contract and close in December. I have finally made a committment. Aghhhh. A little scary but very exciting. I am sure the next few months my blog will be full of pictures. I will have a studio and workshop!
As I think of all of the things I am thankful for I have to say how grateful I am to have all of my blog friends.  You have all snuck into my heart with your art and grace. Thank you for you support, your comments, and letting me be a small part of your day.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Freebies...

Thought I would share these old Thanksgiving postcards with you.  I like to print these out and make placecards at my table with them.  This year I will be sharing a feast with my parents, brother and his lovely family. I leave today for Virginia.  It is a really fun ride with lots of history around every corner. I will be checking in this week and have some things to share. Hope you all have a great week.

Brief Encounter in the Mountains...

I have been looking at houses in the mountains this week.  It is time for me to nest.. At one of the houses I looked at yesterday this flock of wild turkeys were in the woods in the backyard.  There were 8 or 9 of them. The hens are hard to see. The Tom's stand out with there dark coloring. They are beautiful bird's with their shimmerinig feathers. They are also very curious birds.  One came right up to me.  We came out from looking at the house and they were in the driveway.  Boy are they fast runner's. What a hoot. I had to share these pictures with you. Gobble gobble.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Some Mums for You...

Each season has it's own flowers.  In the fall I love the Mums. They remind me of cool, crisp days. They remind me planting bulbs in the fall. I would always throw in a few new mums to bloom for the next fall. I love the rusts and bright yellows matched with lavender. They remind me of days gone by.

Biggest, Creative Turkey...Ever

Driving through the mountains heading for Boone, North Carolina I spotted this large turkey at a garden center. I decided to stop and take a few pictures and pick up some apples. I was so impressed with the originality of using a large rolled hay bale to make this turkey. I often wonder what inspires someone to make the things they do. What do they see? Any way this delighted me in its simplicity and its size.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some Knitted Friends...

A sweet little lion with a monkey friend.

Bees and chicks, skunks and friends. Aren't they all sweet?

An Owl and rat.

At the beach I picked up a friend to ride with me.  I needed a pet. Something easy to take care of  So, Suzanne, who knitted all of these wonderful animals graciously gave me this owl.  I have a real thing for owls. I thought he could possibly give me some wise advice as I travel. Oliver now has a place of honor in the front seat.  Isn't he just the cutest? 
This all started with knitting dish towels at night. I have been trying to make a bunch for my new kitchen when I get a new kitchen. My friend Miranda said I should see all the friends Suzanne was knitting.  One a day. So, while at Miranda's Suzanne brought ove this large shopping bag of little animals. Now I want the book with the patterns so I can knit a few. I think they are all darling. Thank you Suzanne!

Rainy Days call for Cauliflower Soup...

I woke early this morning to the sound of rain.  Yesterday I had driven hours through the pouring rain and wind. Tornadoes and storms all over the South. Finally when night came threw in the towel and got a hotel room.  Hoping today would be full of sunshine.  Not to be.
When there are days like this I want to make a big pot of soup, some bread and cuddle up with a good book or hang out with my art supplies for a few hours.  During my stay in Alabama I found this delicious recipe for Cauliflower soup.  I wish I was making it today.

Cauliflower Soup

1 large cauliflower
1 onion - chopped
1 or 2 stalks of celery - chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup [60g/20z.] of butter
1/4 cup of flour
2 cups [500 ml/16 fl oz.] of chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated cheese - optional

Divide the cauliflower into florets.  Plunge the floret into boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain.
Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add onion and celery cook till soft. 
Stir in flour, cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the stock.
Bring to a boil, cover, simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain into another pan, add milk, cauliflower, salt and pepper, and nutmeg.
Simmer for about 10 minutes.
With a slotted sppon remove and reserve avout 1/3 of the cauliflower florets.
Pour the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Pour in cheese. Puree.
Return to pan. Add reserved cauliflower, reheat gently.
Add a little grated cheese on top of soup for garnish.
Serve warm with buttered bread. Yum! 

Digital Photograph...Restoring

I found this beautiful barn in Western North Carolina. The owners are in the process of restoring it.  The logs are ready to put the chinking in. This is a mixture of ash, lime, plaster and in some cases they use concrete. I have been looking for a formula for this. If you have one please share.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Freebies - Evelyn Nesbit

This week I thought I would share with you these fabulous photographs of Evelyn Nesbit.  She was a model, actress, and femme fatale.  A brief history... Evelyn was a beautiful child. At fourteen she found herself in New York City modeling for several painters and photographers, supporting her mother and brother. Several older men fell in love with her. It was quite a scandal when her husband killed one of her supporters and possible lover. Several books and plays have been written about the affair. She is thought to be the model for the Gibson Girl. Her hourglass figure, red hair, were quite the thing. I have found her life to be so tragic. So much beauty and so much darkness.

Digital Photograph - A Rainy Morning...

I am in the mountains after a lovely week at the beach.  It is warm and rainy this morning.  I woke before daylight and went out and took some pictures. I found this little barn sitting proud on a hillside over looking a creek.  Hoping you all have a great week.

Four Letter Words...Look

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Several people emailed me and asked me how they got cotton that was pink, green , or beige. Well they took cotton that they found that had those tinges to it and cross bred them and cross bred them till they came up with strain that grew pink or beige. Then they gave the seeds to farmers and have them grow the cotton for them. Then they are able to use the organic not dyed label on them.
It is the same if you want a deeper purple, or bluer iris. A day lily that is pink. You just keep cross breeding with the traits you want and sooner or later you get a blue iris, or pink cotton.

An Afternoon on the Tennessee River...

Last weekend I had a free day to do anything I wanted. My friend I am staying with had a visit from her husband who is working out of town.  I thought they might like some privacy so off I went to take pictures. The Tennessee River is the main water supply and recreational center for Northern Alabama. On a previous visit I had driven to several cities that rest along the river.  I decided to go back and do some exploring. This is the river with a large train trestle that spans the river. There are huge plants and factories that sit along the river. One after another for miles and miles.

Like most rivers they have a tide just like the ocean.  Everything drains and finds a way to the ocean. I happened to be there during low tide.  The shore was this thick brown mud. Thank goodness I keep an extra pair of crummy shoes in my car for such adventures.  Several times I thought I was going to walk out of my shoes.

This is what the shore looked like. I was amazed there were so many shells.  All of these are fresh water shells. Mussels etc.

This is an old guy I met. He is a mussel fisherman. He did not find a lot but they were much bigger than I thought.  He complained of new regulations on catching and selling mussels that Obama had passed.  He said most of the mussel fishermen in Alabama had been put out of buisness. He was catching his dinner. One of the things I have really enjoyed this past year is all the interesting people I have met.  Everyone has a story.

After my walk on the shore I had to find some water to wash off my shoes.  I headed to the local marina in search of a hose.  There I met this sweet woman and her dog. They live on this boat.  She divorced and sold everything and decided to hang out for awhile on the boat she got in the divorce.  She said it was alot of fun. The small space does not seem so small on the river she informed me and her dog was better company than her husband.  She had real spirit!

The bridge at sunset. Note the large plant to the left of the bridge. I was so amazed at how many of these there were.  It does make for a robust economy.  One thing about Alabama is they have pulled in all sorts of different type of buisnesses.  It was a lovely day on the river.  I will share more pictures of the wildlife areas at another time. Hope you enjoyed my mini tour.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Digital Photograph - Blue Door 127

It has been a while since I posted a door.  I have a great fondness for blue doors.   Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Daylight Savings...

There is something delightful about turning the clocks back an hour.  Knowing the next day you get that one hour of "extra time". I always think I am going to do something different with that hour.  Every year I tell myself "make it count". Savor it, read a book, watch a sunset, have a meaningful conversation. Enjoy the quiet. Then I turn around and the day is over and I wonder if I have used my time wisely. Telling myself next year I will do better.  So tonight remember to fall back and turn those clocks back one hour. I hope you have a great time with your extra hour!

Digital Photograph - Cotton A Closer Look

Thought you might like a closer look. The cotton looks like cotton balls you buy in the drugstore.  Actually, there are seeds in there that need to come out and a few more processes before it is ready for market. The cotton is seeded, cleaned, and woven into thread. Then we get those wonderful sheets and cotton clothes to wear. In some areas of the South they are growing organic cotton in colors - pink, green and brown.  I have not run across any of those fields yet.  If I do I will have my camera handy!

Digital Photograph - White Gold

A few days ago I was driving to my friends house when all of a sudden I came upon this field of cotton.  For miles this was all you could see. Big, fluffy, white, balls of cotton. It was beautiful. I pulled over and got out my camera. I felt like I had gone back in time when cotton was king here in the South. Then I was reminded of all of the lives cotton changed then and now.

Still Fall in Alabama...

First I would like to Thank everyone who has sent my friend prayers and goood thoughts. We both really appreciate it. Fall is in full force here in Northern Alabama.  The crisp cool air and the beautiful fall colors have helped quite a bit. Who can't feel good when all around them is such beauty? This is my last weekend here for awhile.  The sound of the ocean and smell of salt air are doing their siren call.  Time to buy a house.
Meanwhile I am caught up in the Louisana - Alabama rivalry.  The big game  - here on the radio and TV they call it the game of the century. Oh my! I hope they are not too disappointed. So, red flags are a waving here, and everyone is in red, the Crimson tide is everywhere. It is hard not to get caught up in the moment. I think it is a good weekend to be in Alabama. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I have missed all of you the past couple weeks. I have been traveling and visiting friends.  One of my dear friends here in Alabama was in a very bad car accident. She was thrown out of the car and the car rolled over on top of her.  Knocking her out for three days and fracturing multiple bones, etc. A quick helocopter ride to the hospital. "Lucky to be alive" is one quote she has heard over and over. Prayers needed please. She is recuperating. Scared us all. Just another reminder that life is fragile, spend your time wisely and with people who you cherish and that cherish you. Do not settle for less.