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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Vintage Christmas Pink

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        According to a  wonderful book , Vintage Vavoom, recommended to me by my dear friend Aissa,  vintage “transcends trends and time”.

        I love that.

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        When I spotted this pink bottle brush tree at the flea market, about 15 years ago, I transcended time. I still do when I look at it.    It has a soft pink tulle skirt. 

        I call this room the study.  The couch in the background was referenced in my ‘God is in My Glitter’ post. It is a wonderful place to sit. The couch is so soft and worn.

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        This pink bird belonged to my mother.

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        This silver glitter ball belonged to my mother-in-law. 

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        These dark pink ornaments were a find at the flea market.  That always amazes me because clearly these ornaments had a previous home.

        I imagine they were piled into some truck, dropped off somewhere, and somehow made it in one piece to my local crazy flea market, and then to my house.

        Transcending time indeed.

Today I am linking to:

Joan’s Vintage Christmas Monday at Anything Goes Here

and Mosaic Monday at Little Red House, hosted by Mary and

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.

These are all beautiful blogs.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

God is in My Glitter

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        Three trees, one tree, half a tree, no tree- it matters not. This decorating for Christmas is so rewarding to me, I thought this morning that I would identify why.

*It is about who I am because of what I enjoy .

*It breaks the boundary of the world’s reason for the season.

*It reminds me- in my own quirky way- that if I were lucky enough to be in that manger- AT THAT MOMENT- I would , in my own way, to show love and gratitude and humility, say, “Let’s move this here. Wouldn’t this be more comfortable? Do you need anything? What can I do to help?”

*In that manger, I would be (I often am) a Martha in a Mary’s world-but it occurs to me that God knows that, and I believe He loves me anyway- even in all of my attempts to bedazzle things around me. He knows my poinsettias are red and gold and sometimes pink.

*I understand Martha’s need to fix and arrange and prepare and beautify. I think Martha needs a shout out-

“Hey Martha, I understand why you think you need to be in the kitchen- I get it. Here is what works for me though- when the party is over and your gift of hospitality has weakened your spirit, Jesus likes to sit on the couch with us and prop his feet up too. 

Those are the best conversations. He really does get what drives us. When you say to him, ‘I can’t believe she said that’, or ‘why didn’t she come?’, He rolls his eyes and says you are tired, let it go.And then we laugh.”

*I know the world thinks God is not in the glitter, but He is in mine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tablescape Thursday

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        First of all and most importantly Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am so thankful.

        I created this tablescape while baking these.

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Pecan Pies and Pioneer Woman’s Flat Apple Pie

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        I wanted to try something rustic with something more refined.  I enjoy contrast- highs and lows.

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           I intentionally left the center pedestal empty.      IMGP0328

         The brown napkins are from Ross.  The pewter napkin rings were a gift, and I have collected the Reed & Barton Francis 1st sterling over a 38 year period (slowly!).

IMGP0342                The crystal goblets were inexpensive and are from Tuesday Morning (about 8 years ago).  The silver goblets are from Salvation Army in Dallas.  They were $2.99 each.

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        The twig runner, nests, and pine cones are from LaurieAnna’s in Canton.  The feathered ornaments are from Casa Guero in Laredo.

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        I inserted the feathers to give things a little more softness. The table is set with Woodland Spode. It is all about the birds.

        My oldest daughter collects this, and I have unashamedly copied every set of china she has collected: Blue Italian, Blue Danube, and now this. (I hope it’s OK.)

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        Now… is this what I will use Thanksgiving Day?  Probably not.  My Franciscan Apple is ready and waiting, plus I can just hear my farmer/rancher father if he sat down and saw all of those feathers near his plate.

“Sister, what’s that for?”

In the meantime my husband just rolls his eyes.  When he walked through the dining room earlier ,while I was teetering on a step ladder with my trusty camera, he said,

“Now you know you don’t have a lot of luck doing things like that.”

PS.  I pinched a bite of crust with caramelized gooey apple drippings off of the Flat Apple Pie.

Oh mercy, as my grandmother would say.

I am linking to Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan.

Special Gifts

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        While driving back from my nephew’s basketball game, I mentioned that I needed to shell the pecans from our yard and from my father’s pecan grove for our Thanksgiving pecan pies.

My Father: “Really, how many do you need?”

Me:  “Oh, about two cups.”

        Exactly two cups of shelled pecans appeared at my house yesterday.

        Since my mother always took care of the gift giving for them, after she died, I learned about his special gift giving.

To name a few:

* I came home from a trip to find a raised bed (with tomatoes planted in it) in my backyard.

*He replaced the roof on our little house with red tin.

*He dropped off an avocado tree and two fig trees.

*He built a fence across our backyard.

*He stops by occasionally to say, “You want to go to Luby’s?”

*He never interferes, except to say “You don’t have any business…( fill in the blank)”. And he is always right.

        Tomorrow on Thanksgiving, he will come early, but he never stays late.  In fact, shortly after lunch, he will probably say,

“Sure was good” and “I better go get my shot” (he is diabetic), and then he will leave (he lives down the street).

        I am so thankful for my father. I am proud to be his daughter, and I am happy to prepare:

Turkey

Cornbread Dressing (my mother’s recipe)

Giblet Gravy

Fruit Salad

Sparkle Salad

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Green Bean Bundles

Acorn Squash

Sister Schubert Rolls

Pecan Pie

Flat Apple Pie

Coconut Cream Pie (for my husband)

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I See Red

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        In this wonderful anticipation stage of the year, before Thanksgiving and Christmas, my eye sees red everywhere, especially in my home. 

        Regardless of style or trend, or even the beauty in whites (milk glass, white pumpkins, white foliage), my eye naturally goes to all things red.

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        It doesn’t have to make sense either.  Red eggs?  Of course-

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        Even my all-time favorite home fragrance travels through the air in red (Aromatique The Smell of Christmas).

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        Red toile + an ornament?=perfect.

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         Mercury glass in red? Of course.

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Visit Work of the Poet for other examples of wonderful red.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daybook November 23

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FOR TODAY
November 23, 2009...


Outside my window... my iceberg rose bush is blooming.


I am thinking... about the food preparation I need to complete ( I am already drying several slices of bread to add to my cornbread for the dressing.)


I am thankful for... so much : Daughter #3 is visiting , she is contacting SMU’s athletic office to find information on her grandfather- my husband’s father- who was a collegiate athlete there , and we are going to my nephew’s varsity basketball game this evening.


From the learning rooms...I have contacted my teacher interns to wish them a wonderful Thanksgiving week.


From the kitchen... I can smell my husband’s roasted chicken baking. We are having that with salad before the game (to avoid concession stand temptations).


I am wearing... my yard clothes- what else is new?


I am creating... a few simple vignettes for my nativity collection.  This year I am only setting out a few.


I am going... back to the grocery store for acorn squash.


I am reading...cookbooks and wishing Kaye Gibbons (author of Charms for the Easy Life; Ellen Foster) had a new book.


I am hoping... my precious grandsons and my oldest daughter and son-in-law have a wonderful Thanksgiving at his parents.  They are such fine people.


I am hearing... Daughter #3’s favorite soap opera in the background.


Around the house... the color red is smiling.


One of my favorite things...the color red.


A few plans for the rest of the week: cooking and planting tomato plants , if I can find some.

Visit the Simple Woman’s Daybook for more entries.
 http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com 

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

El Meson

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        The best, and I mean the very best, things in life are just as this photograph illustrates:  simple, humble, and wonderful.

IMGP0253       On a recent shopping trip to Laredo with two of my dear friends, Anna and Mary Jo, I had the chance to eat lunch once again at at El Meson de San Agustin.

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        We started our meal with this amazing salsa of roasted garlic, tomatillos, onion, jalapenos, and cilantro.

        I had a wonderful chicken breast topped with tomatillo salsa and white cheese, served with creamy pasta. Mary Jo had a stuffed chicken breast covered with a chipotle cream sauce, and Anna had a lightly breaded steak dish. (My photos did not do these dishes justice.)

         Then the hard choices really began.

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  Triple Chocolate DessertIMGP0261    Pineapple Mousse Pie

IMGP0264    Peanut Cluster Candy Dessert

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Cheesecake

        Oh my. 

        This experience was so much more than delicious food.  El Meson is owned by Jesus and Maria Bernal, whose daughters all work for them.

        There is a spirit in this restaurant that is difficult to convey.  At one sitting, it only holds 37 people, and even though the patrons were sitting elbow to elbow,  I felt like I was sitting in their home.  Their lovely daughters never stopped smiling .

        It holds an air of graciousness and hospitality. IMGP0266

        El Meson De San Agustin

    908 Grant Street

        Laredo, Texas  78040

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        We also never stopped smiling.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Franciscan Apple: My Work Horse

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         There is something so comforting, so perfectly weighty and substantial about Franciscan’s Apple , that it is the logical  shoulder for the wonderful mound of food I’ll serve to my family on Thanksgiving Day.

IMGP0713         It is not so precious- so fine that it can’t be scraped and stacked before washing, or even jostled in the kitchen sink.  Young and old can ‘fix their plate’ from the buffet I set up on our kitchen island, and I don’t have to hold my breath.

        The older dishes are so much more authentic- their colors deeper, the relief of the apple obvious to the touch.

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         I feel like every cabinet door in my house is open, as I bring my dishes out of their seasonal hibernation.  Mashed potatoes are going in the bowl above.  My husband has to have plenty of mashed potatoes.

        These dishes were ‘not my favorite’ as my oldest grandson says.  I didn’t collect these; my mother did.  These dishes were hers. I love them now. Funny how that happens.

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            Does a tablescape on my living room floor count- as I reach in cabinets, with my neck twisted, pulling out treasures?  If so, go see the wonderful Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for the real thing. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coffee, Tea, and Me

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       Although I have never been a fan of hot tea, I would like to be.  I envision those who do as having relaxed personalities before they drink it, thereby forgoing the need for more caffeine and additional revving. Tea drinkers seem perpetually serene and sophisticated.

       Having said that this beautiful teacup, the gift of two dear friends, encourages me to try it. Finding these little ‘extras’ sealed the deal.

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        It’s all about the accessories for me-  which leads me down one of the many side roads in my thinking these days.    

        I wonder if I could find a tea cup adorned with cabochon pieces of turquoise?  I could really be a tea drinker if I had one of those.

        When I found this tea infuser and a box of loose tea all on the same aisle, I couldn’t resist.  I really couldn’t resist when I saw that the infuser was topped with a bee.

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        The bee (and the low price on all of these items) sealed the deal. For me bees are ranked right up there with my current laser focus on birds and acorns (especially if the acorns are mercury glass).  It is all serendipitous, isn’t it? There is a bird on my tea cup.

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        What do I usually drink?  In the morning when I wake up, usually around 5:00 am these days, I head to my Bunn coffee pot and make a pot of coffee. 

        My favorite coffee?  Starbucks Breakfast Blend. It is an indulgence I can not justify. The interesting thing is I do not like coffee at Starbucks’ locations. I alternate Breakfast Blend with Dunkin Donuts Original Blend or Community Club from Louisiana.

        Within about thirty minutes of my first two cups, I am ready to plow a field, roof the house, or give my advice to anyone who will listen. 

        I have not tried the first two,  but I have tried giving revved up advice/opinions to my husband, and I have made early morning phone calls to my daughters. After those conversations , I need another cup of coffee. They do too.

        When I was teaching, I needed my icy cold Diet Coke of the day around 10:30 am.  It was the perfect accompaniment to saying,

“Take out paper and pen.”  Thinking back I imagine some of my students may have thought, “uh-oh, she has that look in her eye.” I need a Diet Coke has been part of my personal language for a long time.

          When the teachers went out to lunch , I ordered regular iced tea with a lot of ice. 

        I do not care for flavored iced tea. For me it is a contradiction in terms that often tastes like cough medicine. Having said that, Celestial Blends has several cold brew teas that I have bought and enjoyed.

        In the late afternoon and evenings, I now have Lipton’s Cold Brew iced tea (decaffeinated) until bedtime.

        What do you like?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daybook November 15th

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                       My Father’s Tangerine Tree

FOR TODAY 
November 15, 2009 
Outside my window... I can see the little house.  Someday soon, I need to do a post about the little house- or ‘my house’ as my oldest grandson says.


I am thinking... about the amazing bounty on my father’s tangerine tree.


I am thankful for... my brother.  He is a wonderful friend to me and a wonderful father to his son.  He has a great sense of humor which is a necessary trait in our family.


From the learning rooms...I am sharing some ideas for studying the novel with one of my interns- who teaches high school English. Most of these ideas came from Daughter #3 who is also a high school English teacher.


From the kitchen... I unloaded Round II of my Thanksgiving groceries including: a spiral sliced ham, cranberry sauce, mandarin oranges, corn bread mix and Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (that I mix together for cornbread dressing), chicken broth, Sister Schubert yeast rolls, Cool Whip, cherry pie filling for Daughter #3’s  Sparkle Salad (my friend Mary Jo’s recipe), and crushed pineapple.  I still need pie ingredients, butter, sweetened condensed milk, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, celery, and plastic containers for leftovers for my father and my brother. Round I included the turkey and pumpkin.


I am wearing... my yard clothes.


I am creating... a holiday spirit in my home .


I am going... to watch Baylor play Tennessee this afternoon in Women’s College Basketball.  Woo hoo! The season is starting.


I am reading... cookbooks.


I am hoping...for continued willingness.


I am hearing... NFL football in the background.


Around the house... I have boxes and crates of holiday decorations piled high.


One of my favorite things... is my banana smoothie: 8 ounces low-fat milk, 1 small banana, ice, and Splenda.  Blend and enjoy.


A few plans for the rest of the week: Box up my Franciscan Madeira pottery- all 5 million pieces of it- so I can use the space; write Thanksgiving letters to my Aunts Mary and Jody in Arizona; work on household paperwork.


For other weekly daybook entries, visit http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Blogging Camera

IMGP0669      One of the added blessings of blogging is my ability to ‘SEE’ my own life, my yard, my home, and the lives of those around me. 

      Having a picture in one’s mind about the day to day is not always the same as actually looking at it.  Especially when those mind pictures are filtered by the hodge-podge of mental gymnastics and the I wishes I sometimes go to.

      Blogging photography gives me the real picture, the authentic picture.

Examples:

My ‘I Wishing’:  Woe is me, I wish I had a pretty yard.

Looking at a Blogging Photo:  Wow, my yard really looks OK. In fact it looks better than I thought.

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     Then there comes the need to take those pictures better, to capture whatever I am photographing in a way that will surely make it all better. 

      That leads to the thought that a new camera will do just the trick.

       I had my finger on the purchase button this morning for just such a magical camera.

      That is not the answer.  Learning and enjoying what my current camera will do is the answer.    IMGP0493

What I have learned:

*Never use a flash.  I was at first shocked by this idea , but it makes a huge difference.

*Natural light is the best light. There really is a window of opportunity when that light is best. At my home and in my yard it is during mid-morning hours.

*A macro setting on a point and shoot camera, which is what I have, also makes a huge difference.

My cameras? I have two- purchased inexpensively (in terms of normal camera prices) on Overstock and Ebay.

Pentax Optio T 20

Pentax Optio M30

Why Pentax?  Because I asked a blogger, whose photos were beautiful to my eye, what she used.

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