Monday, April 26, 2010

Read Any Good Magazines Lately?

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Oh, lucky me! I won a fabulous magazine on a recent blog giveaway from Malisa at Moonlight Hollow. Her envelope was hilarious! First, it was bright pink (my favorite color) and matched the title of the magazine. Next, she wrote in big letters on the front “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!”. Those Texas gals… I just laughed when I saw this in the mail.

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And what magazine was it, you might ask? Well, it was Flea Market Style. I had so much fun devouring each page. Pick this one up if you can, it’s full of inspiration and fabulous decor.

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Speaking of magazines, my sister the magazine fiend discovered a new one recently. I loved this magazine! It’s called Reminisce (“The magazine that brings back the good times”) and it is loaded with photos and articles full of nostalgia.

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I enjoyed looking through this and just could not put it down. There was so much inside!

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The inside cover with this old image certainly reminded my of my childhood. Look at all the different departments are covered inside!

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How many of you had an old downtown when you were growing up? This certainly brought back memories. We used to walk or take the bus to our little downtown on Grand Avenue and visit the five and dime store. A must-see was always the pet store where I wanted to take each one home.

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Besides photos, there are all kinds of images that will bring back memories, as well as brands that no longer exist.

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Also in the magazine is a section with photos of antique postcards which happened to be of an Easter theme in this Spring issue. If you can find it, I highly recommend taking a look. Try Barnes and Noble bookstores or check it out online at www.reminisce.com.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Tussie Mussie Swap Lollapalooza

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This week, I received my tussie mussie from  my swap partner Lisa at Lisa’s Craft Boutique. When we traded information, I told her my favorite color was ta dum… pink! The tussie mussie she made was very sweet with pink trim, buttons, and a pink rose below the vintage-style photo.

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The goodies she included in the box included sweet cupcake themed note cards, a yummy cake magnet and note pad, pink embellishments and some lovely lace.

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The note cards are adorned with some sparkles and wrapped lovingly in pink ribbon.

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My favorite mints were contained in this decorated bottle.

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The back of the bottle has another vintage photo. When the mints are gone, I just might fill it back up with an assortment of buttons or beads.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

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This past Sunday, I visited my local Trader Joe’s to do a bit of grocery shopping. I arrived shortly after opening and the produce was piled high, undisturbed by the hundreds of shoppers that would squeeze and hold them.

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All the food looked so good, it made me feel like cooking up something from scratch. I finished my shopping there, and then went to Whole Foods Market to pick up a few more items.

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Isn’t this a beautiful shopping area where Whole Foods is located?

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So back to my story… maybe it’s because it’s Spring or just because all the food looked so wonderful and fresh early in the day, but it got me thinking about how much I used to love to cook.

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When I was a child, I was always cooking or baking something. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I joined the James Beard Cookbook of the Month club. I looked forward each month to the new catalogue of cookbooks from which I would make my selections and acquired quite a collection, anticipating the many new recipes waiting to be tried.

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I made a gingerbread house one year from scratch and still bear the scar from the drop of boiling sugar that I spilled on my hand. I made pies and cakes from scratch (as well as a mix), mixing pastry dough by crossing two knives back and forth through the pastry crumbs. I roasted Thanksgiving turkeys and created a Baked Alaska for dessert. I couldn’t wait to take Home Economics in junior high school and continued taking it in high school. One year, I started a massive cookie dough fight while our sweet, demure teacher never noticed a thing!

Now, I admit I had my share of Hamburger Helper days back then, as I was also in charge of making dinner each night from age 13 to 16. I couldn’t make a new creation from scratch while taking care of my sister and doing homework each day. I have to laugh at some of the funny foods we had back then. Does anyone remember Jell-O 1-2-3? It was a favorite of mine. The Jell-O settled into three yummy layers. And who knew that Tang was just orange sugar water?

In my adult years, I loved to try new pasta recipes as Italian food has always been a favorite. Hot or cold, I made many wonderful dishes. But then about 14 years ago, I developed an intolerance to wheat products and had to change my diet. It was then that my love for cooking changed. I had to cut out a lot of products – you would be amazed at how many foods contain wheat. There were not as many good options back then and it was actually quite stressful trying to figure out what I could eat. Luckily, we have so many more choices today. But, cooking was never quite the same after that since I couldn’t make the foods I loved. During that time, I also adopted a vegetarian diet for six years. I had the best of intentions for my health and that of the animals, but it did not work too well for me. Eventually I had to add some meat back into my diet after suffering severe anemia. Now, it’s much more a matter of finding the time to cook. You wouldn’t believe the number of recipes I tear out of magazines each month – my stack just gets bigger and bigger but I do dabble in trying them, looking for the “winners”.

Soon there will be wonderful fruits and vegetables coming forth that will inspire me to make some favorite foods. If you’ve never had roasted asparagus, you don’t know what you are missing! Simply roast it at 425 degrees after coating it in olive oil; add shaved parmesan cheese slices before serving. I’ll definitely be making fruit salads and desserts plus fresh vegetable dishes. Nothing taste better during the Spring and Summer. For now, I’m making lots of vegetable soups for those cooler and rainy Spring days, but I’m still perusing that recipe pile, always looking for something new.

Friday, April 16, 2010

May = Tussie Mussie Time

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Just in time for May Day, Linda at A Swap For All Seasons recently hosted a Tussie Mussie swap. What is a tussie mussie you ask? A tussie mussie originated as a bouquet and is a circular nosegay of flowers, often inside a cone. They go back many years ago to when they were popular during Elizabethan and Victorian times in England. They were often used to send messages through the flowers, as each flower held a different meaning.

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Today, they are wonderful decor that can be given filled with fresh or artificial flowers, or even filled with goodies of sorts. We made ours as artful decor to be displayed and admired.

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My swap partner, Lisa, loves the color light purple so I used that as my central color when making her cone. I adhered some vintage purple ribbon around the top and filled it with some little purple flowers.

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On the base of the cone, I wrapped two kinds of trim and attached a vintage brooch to the front of it.

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A little gold trim, some fluffy tulle, gathered crepe paper and ribbon were additional embellishments.

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So off I mailed this earlier in the week along with some fun goodies. Next week I expect to receive the tussie mussie that Lisa has made for me. What a fun project this was!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gracie Days

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Miss Gracie was the curious kitty last week. As I set my camera down on the ground, she walked right over to it. She probably wondered why on earth I was putting it on the floor and pressing the button.

Well, the answer is that I’m taking an online class called Picture Spring where we are given a different shooting assignment each day for the month of April in celebration of Spring. This day’s assignment was to shoot from the ground and see what surprises await. I loved this particular assignment.

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Empty shopping bags are cat magnets. I had a bag with a box in it and Miss Gracie was just dying to get into it. Once the box was removed, she promptly jumped right in.

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Every day, I get “the look” from Miss Gracie when I am about to leave the house. So here she was the other morning as I was ready to go to work. I am just amazed at how much this cat loves me. If I were to stay with her and never leave the house, she would be one very happy cat. Even now, she is sitting nearby just waiting for me to finish so that “we” can go to bed. Well, I’ve got to make my kitty happy…

Friday, April 9, 2010

Don’t You Just Love Receiving Surprise Gifts?

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During my busy week, I had forgotten that I was the March Giveaway winner from Tricia of Vintage Bliss. So what a wonderful surprise when I returned home from work a few days ago and found a package that contained this beautiful necklace. It was made by Rita Reade of Mammabellarte. I so enjoyed wearing this to work today!

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The first gift I received this week was from my former neighbor who moved to Taiwan a few years ago. She was here visiting for the week and brought me a bag of gifts. What is this, you may wonder? Well, these items are intended to keep your tea or coffee hot. They are pliable rubble and they actually form a bit of a seal from the steam. When she found these with the kitties on top, she knew she had to get them for me. Too cute!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fabulous Spring Days

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Today started off with a  holiday from work; how fortunate I was to have a three day weekend. Our weather has been a bit precarious lately; this past weekend we had grey days and rain on and off. Today, it was a beautiful Spring day that emerged after a few leftover morning showers. I had planned to do my taxes today but the sunshine led me outdoors albeit straight to the mall after lunching with a friend!

I went to the Apple store to take a look at the new Apple iPad. It was pretty cool although I felt it was just like a giant iPhone in many ways. The iBook feature was gorgeous. I have to say that I never thought I’d want to read books on a computer or electronic reader but after trying it out, I could see how people can get hooked on that. The pages were stunning and you could get a dictionary pop-up on any word to find its definition.

Tomorrow it’s back to work and hopefully I will get to the farmer’s market this weekend as it’s been a while. With this sunny Spring weather that’s now arrived for the week, there’s no better time. That is, unless your taxes are still due!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

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This cute chickie is my latest Whole Foods cupcake. Once again, they didn’t disappoint. Incredible decorating skills, but not very tasty! And that’s fine, because I really don’t want to be eating cupcakes, but oh, do I love to photograph them.

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Can you believe Miss Gracie did not even get a lick of this one? I snuck in the photos while she was upstairs sleeping.

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I’m having a lazy weekend – I did not go to my beloved monthly flea market today because I’m convincing myself I don’t need to spend more money (especially since I seem to be running out of space for new things). But that’s okay, sometimes you just need to have a day without plans.

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Wishing you a great weekend and happy holiday!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It’s Another Happy Kitty Birthday!

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Woo hoo! Nipper is turning five years old on April 1st. Happy birthday to you, sweet girl.

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Nippy now weighs 15 pounds so she’s a bit chubby. That probably has more to do with the 22 hours she spends sleeping each day!

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Even when she’s awake, she still prefers to be lying down.

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Doesn’t it feel great to kick your feet (or paws) up in the air sometimes?

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Sometimes you just want be part of the furniture.

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Or perhaps you just want to say “read my mind”!

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Nip will be getting lots of extra attention for her birthday including her favorite food. Yes, that means…

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Strawberries!

Nip will get a big, juicy and sweet strawberry for breakfast and maybe even for dessert in the evening. Happy fifth birthday, dear sweet kitty!