Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

Good morning Folks,

Here we are at the end of one year and the start of another. First, I want to say thank you all for your blogs that you've created from your hearts and souls. Thanks for your visits and encouraging and inspiring comments to my blog. I look forward to a new year of visiting, inspiration, and learning with all of you.

I'm not one to make new year resolutions, because, as soon as you say you are going to do something, stuff happens to keep you from doing them. Yes, we can have goals, and we have desires, but to say we are going to do them or make them happen, often leads to disappointment. Other times, we are pleasantly surprised as to what has been accomplished throughout a year.

I hope to be more content with my life. Hope to enjoy the gift of each new day, living life fully in any given moment. I hope to age gracefully and go with the flow instead of worrying and fretting so much about this and that, which may or may not happen.

I also want to care less about what is 'hip or in'. I don't go along with trends anyway, but, you can't help but feel like you're not 'with it' if you don't have the latest this or that. It's not what we have, but who we are and how we live our lives that matters.

Getting back to Christmas for a moment. Someone posted a comment they read in a design magazine (I think that was the gist), that you should not use red or green in your decorating, but the colors that go with your home decor. For Pete's sake. There is always someone out there trying to tell us how we should live and spend our money. We should be living from our hearts, not a list of shoulds of shouldn'ts by whoever.

We do NOT have to follow trends of any kind to be content. Being a follower does not mean you are on the right path for your life. Living a life that makes you feel thankful, one where you can sleep peacefully at night is a life worth living. We do not have to get into debt, or have bigger and better. If we just get rid of some of what we have, things that no longer give us joy, or that we no longer use or wear, our homes and our lives will feel larger.

As this new year begins may you all feel peace, love and joy in your lives. May you see things that you might make changes in or not, things or ideas that will help you live a better life, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Each day is a gift and it is up to us to decide how we will accept and use it.

I look forward to ~ a year of puttering inside and outside of our little cottage. To a year of labor and sweat for the delights from our gardens. To a year of daily gifts, being content and thankful for our many blessings. To a year of loving and living with my DH.

May 2011 be a year of blessings for all of you.

Here are some rose blooms taken this morning I thought you'd enjoy.


And in the end,
it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

All the art of living
lies in a fine mingling
of letting go and holding on.
Havelock Ellis

God asks no man whether he will accept life.
That is not the choice.
You must take it.
The only question is how.
Henry Ward Beecher

Life can be found only in the present moment.
The past is gone,
the future is not yet here,
and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment,
we cannot be in touch with life.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Life is a succession of lessons,
which must be lived to be understood.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Happy New Year

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our Quiet Christmas

Dear Folks ~ I hope you all had a lovely Christmas day whatever you did, wherever you are. Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous so. FL winter day, temps in the mid 70's, sun shining, earlier this morning it was rainy, now it is really windy and chilly as yet another cold front moves down over us.

We really had a nice quiet Christmas day. We keep our gift giving small, as we've basically got what we need, as we buy things during the year, when we need or want them. We had a few unwrapped presents under the tree since we already knew what we were getting. Plus a huge box 27"x18"x6" weighing in at 15 lbs., came on Christmas eve and was under the tree too. (More about that in a minute.) For ourselves, we got a Dusbuster as our old one had 'bit the dust'. :-) DH got a wire brush for his grinder, and we got a bottle of delightful Raspberry di Amore liquour. (Which we had a little bit of Christmas Eve in celebration of the pkg. arriving earlier.)

Once January gets here, I'll be ordering, as part of my Christmas, two embroidery books from Amazon. We didn't want any credit hanging over into the new year, so I am looking forward to getting these in the next couple of weeks. They are: Diana Lampe's Embroidery from the Garden and Diana Lampe's Embroidery for All Seasons.

I also got two lovely Chinese bars of soap with essential oils and amber scent, they are wonderful.

DH told me also that he had a little something that was hidden. I had to ask him for hints as I wasn't finding it. It was under the tree skirt, sitting in the tree stand and I was tickled pink. It was my retro kitchen timer that had suddenly started doing a weird clank instead of it's nice 'ping' when it went off. He had taken it back to his workshop a few days before Christmas to see if he could get it working right again. I figured that was it, since he didn't come back with it, so was using this other timer which I don't like the sound of at all, but it works. Here is my sweet timer working just fine now. Hurray and thank you DH.

Now, onto the pkg that was delivered Christmas Eve. I had been contacted by a blogging friend awhile back telling me she had some embroidery threads and some beads she'd like to send me, she had to dig them out of storage. You can read her blog here Denimflyz Homestead. She is an inspiration to me with the things that she does, for herself and others.

Thank you Denimflyz and Mom.

Anyway, the other day, I got an email saying the pkg was on the way, and should be here on the 23rd. She hoped I would have it in time for Christmas. The 23rd came and went, but we kind of figured UPS would be back logged, the pkg had made it to the warehouse at least. The next day I was sitting here in my little space, when I heard what I thought was the UPS truck pull up out front, only, he did not honk his horn as they always do. I raced outside, and he took off before I got out there. I walked barefoot to the next street but didn't see him, and came back and told DH. He decided to see if he could track him down to see what the story was, and took off in the car. He finally caught up with him and the guy told him he was taking someone else's route, and the pkg was on the list, but the pkg was not in the truck. Well, what a bummer. I was a bit upset, but conditioned myself to getting it on Monday. About an hour and a half later we hear another truck and a horn honk, and it was another UPS truck and I was handed this huge box. I thanked them and wished them Merry Christmas and happily put the box under the tree.

The next few pictures show what was inside. I was flabbergasted to say the least, and my fingers are itching to be doing something. :-)

Here are the goodies after I separated them into categories.

Here are the metallic threads after taking them out of the pkging.

Here are the Perle size 5 embroidery threads separated and bagged according to colors.

Here are the beads and a pkg of different sequins.

After all the sorting, I did some rearranging in my little craft space storage drawers to work this all in and did it and am very pleased with the results in this small space. All of the beads went into the third drawer of the white storage unit, and the threads went into the top 4 drawers of the little unit.

She also sent me a beautiful 120 year old goldwork embroidered panel that was in the act of being restored by an elderly nun when it was purchased years ago. My friend thought I would like it, and I would like to tackle finishing the restoration of this piece, once I get a little more comfortable in learning how this is done. She and her Mom will help me along the way, and I am grateful for the gift of this piece and the beads and threads, and for their help. Click on pictures for larger views.

While I was working inside, DH did some puttering outside. He's in the process of consolidating iron collected over the years into one area, and we are calling it the 'junkyard'. (We have privacy fencing around the back and sides of our property.) It is in the back northwest corner of our property, more or less between two buildings. He called me out to look at a piece he had put up over the new entryway he's making into this area. We bought this 4 years ago in GA when we were passing through to NC. We've been calling him 'Shovel Bird', now he's our "Junk Yard Bird'. He cracks me up. We have had huge buzzards in our property a couple of times, I wonder if one will land on this guys perch. :-)


I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have visited my blog and left your comments this past year. I have enjoyed visiting your blogs as well and look forward to the new year of continued and new friendships, and more inspiration for living life, cooking, crafting and gardening.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and a wonderful 2011.

For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
John 1:1&14

Celtic Woman-Silent Night

Celtic Woman / Chloe Agnew - ''O Holy Night''

Celtic Woman-O' Come All Ye Faithful

The First Noël - Celtic Woman

Christmas is not just a day,

an event to be observed and speedily forgotten.

It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.

William Parks


This is Christmas:

not the tinsel,

not the giving and receiving,

not even the carols,

but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift,

the Christ.

Frank McKibben


Love came down at Christmas;

love all lovely,

love divine;

love was born at Christmas,

stars and angels gave the sign.

Christina G. Rossetti


The Christmas spirit

~ love ~

changes hearts and lives.

Pat Boone

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DH's birthday dinner, Blubster, Lunar Eclipse

Good morning Folks ~ I hope some of you were able to enjoy the lunar eclipse last night. DH and I did, sitting in our cushioned lawn chairs covered in blankets. A great ending to DH's birthday celebration. It was wonderful to sit out there in the cold enjoying God's beautiful creation and a rare event. We are thankful for the opportunity and clear skies to enjoy this.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was working on an embroidered piece for DH's bday, which was yesterday. Now I know, some of you are going to say 'what? An embroidered piece for your husband?' Yes, and it even has a bit of lace and 4 heart beads. I started on this the 8th of this month, after looking through stacks of old pictures. I was about to give up when I found just what I wanted, a picture that showed the sweetness of our late old Blue Tick hound dog named Blubster, who we called Blub for short. We got him from a local animal shelter when he was just about 9 months old. He was a real laid back dog who wanted to be friends with everyone.

Once I found the picture I could hardly wait to get started on it. I took a picture of the photo, enlarged it in my computer, cropped it, etc. then traced the drawing onto the fabric. Now what? Artist's know how hard it can be to put that first bit of color to the background. I was freaked, because I wanted this to come out nice. I outlined Blub, then thought I'll start with his eyes because eyes are hard, and if I can get them done, the piece will come to life and that's exactly what happened. I was thrilled to say the least.

It is another miniature.

Click on pictures for a closer view.

I was going to keep track of time spent, as I do when I work on pieces, but this one slipped away from me and I didn't. I did work on it in probably 4-5 sittings, this past Sunday morning being the longest and most stressful, as I had to get this done, since the next day was DH's bday.

This was a real joy to do because Blub meant so much to us, but most especially to DH. I could hardly wait to give it to him, and did so after we had had some pre-dinner snacks with a glass or two of white wine. The snacks were multi-grain crackers spread with cream cheese and topped with anchovie strips and capers. I had made up a page of birthday wishes from bloggers and printed it out and he read them first before he opened his gift. He said 'Thank you Ladies'.

As he was unwrapping, he said he had an idea of what he was getting, not because he had seen me working on it or anything, but because he knew it was a needlework, and figured it had to be a pet, but which one, and thought it had to be Blub. (I'd already done a watercolor of our little Pup, many years ago.) I smiled at him and he proceeded to unwrap. He absolutely loved it. It is so Blub. He would sit like this with his head resting on the top of this rocking footstool that DH used and we happened to get a picture one time.

For birthday dinner, I fixed

Ported Mushroom Beef.

1 lb. beef top round steak
2 tbs. butter
1 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (or one small can of sliced mushrooms)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp. crushed marjoram leaves
3/4 c. Port
1/4 c. water
2 tsps. cornstarch

Cut beef into 1" cubes. Saute lightly in butter until browned. Push to one side of pan/ add mushrooms and brown lightly. Add all remaining ingredients except cornstarch. Stir to blend. Cover and simmer over low heat until beef is tender, about 1-2 hours. Remove cover, blend in cornstarch mixed with an additional tbs. of Port. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Serves 4.

Recipe taken from the book: Wine and Wine Cooking by Anne M. Logan

DH loved this and thanked me more than once as we enjoyed the meal. It is delicious and we have left overs too. :-) I served it over mashed potatoes with buttered green peas.

For dessert, I fixed

Butterscotch Fantastic.

1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 (8-oz.) ctn. frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
2 pkgs. (3 3/4 oz.) butterscotch instant pudding mix
3 c. milk

Combine first 3 ingredients, mixing well. Press flour mixture into a 13"x9"x2" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; let cool completely. Combine cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy; fold in 2 c. whipped topping. Spread over crust. Combine pudding mix and milk; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Spread over cream cheese layer. Spread remaining whipped topping over pudding layer. Chill thoroughly. Yield: 15 servings.

Note: This is definitely fantastic. It is from the cookbook Southern Living 1983 Annual Recipes. I have over 300 cookbooks and enjoy trying new recipes.

So, there was our birthday celebration and a happy one it was.

Our lives are made up of many moments, and what we do with them is up to us. May we all live in each moment as fully and thankful as we possibly can, good or bad. There are lessons to be learned and joys that make our hearts soar.


I don't want to get to the end of my life

and find that I lived just the length of it.

I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From 28 to 77 within a week

What a week this has been, freezing cold at the beginning and nice and comfortable at the end. The weather we are having right now is the weather we look forward to all miserable summer. We are having a few drizzles and supposedly will get some much needed rain. We shall have to wait and see about that. The predictions don't always come true.

I may not be around much the next few days. Monday is DH's birthday so I'll be working on his bday dinner and I am finishing up his present. Then I may do some Christmas baking after all. Not sure about that though.

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and a great Christmas week.

Thank you all once again for stopping by to read my posts and leave your comments. I really appreciate it.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Electric Rose Bush

Good evening Folks ~ I hope you all are enjoying this holiday season. It warmed up a tad today, and it's supposed to get warmer over the next few days so that by Saturday our high should be around 80. From one extreme to another for the month.

This piece below caught my eye for a picture or two tonight, so I thought I'd share it with you. It is on a tiny bit of hall way, in between the living room and our bedroom. The entry into bedroom is still a work in progress, as is the rest of our bedroom actually. That's the raw wood archway to the right in pictures. I am standing in the bathroom doorway. You can look through the living room on the left and see my little creative space beyond.

I bought this painted iron light many, many years ago when we were going to the local flea market to set up and also to buy. I saw this in someones' spot and couldn't believe it. I asked them how much and they said $12. I had $10 and asked them if they would take that and they did. I love it.

The old watercolor above it was also bought at the flea market, if I'm not mistaken, also many, many years ago. It was painted in 1893.

Click on pictures for a larger view.

Below I used the flash.


In the right light,

at the right time,

everything is extraordinary.

Aaron Rose


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Avocado Bread

My boss gave me several avocados and I found a great sounding bread recipe to use up some of them. The recipe makes up two loaves, we are eating one and the other is in the freezer. This is sort of like zucchini bread and is delicious! I used raisins and craisins.

The recipe is from

Avocado Quick Bread

Original Recipe Yield 2 - 9x5 inch loaves


2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 7/8 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe avocado
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon grated orange zest


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the mashed avocado. Stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk until just mixed. Fold in the chopped pecans, raisins and orange zest. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow loaves to cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before removing.


Vegetables are a must on a diet.

I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

Jim Davis

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Cold, cold, cold

It didn't get as cold as predicted, but it was 35 when we got up and with the windchill factor felt like it was 23. Folks, for us that is really cold. I went out to take a couple of pictures since DH said the bird bath had frozen over. It did this last year too. DH is working outside on a project, better him than me. Taking the pictures was enough for me. My fingers were numb, nose and cheeks cold. I even took pictures of myself all bundled up, and that isn't easy. :-)

Here is looking out the scullery window this morning.

The frozen birdbath.

Pink Pet is still blooming like crazy.

Here are some colorful berries on a shrub I think is a Schefflera.

Here I am on this cold winter morning in s.e. FL.

Not exactly smiling am I.


Winter is on my head,

but eternal spring is in my heart.

Victor Hugo


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brrr !!!

Here we are cozily in our little cottage awaiting another cold front, and this one is colder than the last one we had. Right now at 7:15 p.m. it is 49 and feels like it is 37, because of the wind that we are experiencing. It has been horribly windy all day long. We are not used to this kind of weather. :-) It used to be cold like this when we were kids, but through the years it got warmer. Last year was our first really cold winter in a long time. Here we are having colder temps even earlier this year than last. Tonight the expected low is 28 and with the wind, will feel like it is 14. I did not cover any plants, I did bring some plants inside, but that's it. We are more or less protected by privacy fencing and hedging. ~ We just went outside to move my potted bay tree to a more protected area.

I want to thank all of you who left comments about our Christmas tree and decorations. The only ornament that I made in the pictures on the tree was the red crocheted piece with flowers. The other hand made ornaments were from others. The little ballerina my late MIL made in a porcelain class that she took. This is one of my favorite ornaments. She also made the lace angel hanging over the arch that leads to the Nativity and Heavenly Host area. Twelve of the ornaments along the ceiling are DH's from when he was living at home. Mr. and Mrs. Lion were the last two ornaments given to us by DH's mom before she passed away. DH made the creche. Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the three wisemen and the donkey and cow, are little mud figures made in Spain, that we bought when we lived there in the early70's. I always go out and pick rosemary to put in the creche, as rosemary is for remembrance. In the silver s & p shakers at the front of the creche we have frankincense in one and myrrh in the other. The foil star in the shelf of angels was made by us as newlyweds in Spain. I got the idea to hang ornaments along the ceiling many, many years ago. I went around the ceiling with little brads and hammer in hand, placing the nails about 4" apart. I use Christmas tree hooks to hang them.

Today we did errands and one of our stops was Home Depot. We stopped at their Christmas tree display to see if they had any trimmings. DH had seen some the other day. I asked the salesperson there if they were free and he said yes, so I took a couple of nice smelly branches, thanked him and wished him a merry Christmas and we continued on our way. They do smell nice.

I made two loaves of Avocado Bread today, like zuchinni bread, only made with mashed avocados. I'll let you know how they taste. They smelled yummy while baking. Tomorrow I want to make banana bread, using up three ripe bananas.

Ok, before I fall asleep here at the keyboard, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

The first three are Dainty Bess.

These next two are La Marne.

Confederate rose is next.

Here we have St. Vincent's Lilac.

And last but not least, tiny orchids, which are now indoors until the cold weather is past.


If we had no winter,

the spring would not be so pleasant:

if we did not sometimes taste of adversity,

prosperity would not be so welcome.

Anne Bradstreet


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL