Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Hair Accessories added to my etsy shop

I just finished some new hair clips and headbands for one of my etsy shops and forced my daughter Jenny to model them! She has the perfect hair to showcase them if you ask me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

going to the Doctor stinks when you are fat!!

My family will yell at me for calling myself fat, but just one trip to the Doctors for an annual checkup confirms this description. About three years ago I discovered that my blood pressure was high when I went for a checkup for a sinus infection. The doctor's reaction to my readings brought a sense of alarm to me and he promptly gave me some sample pills to try for two weeks but they and every pill after that gave me a bad reaction; making me feel extremely fatigued making it hard for me to do anything but lay down. ( possibly too strong a dosage for me) This went on for almost two months when I decided to go to my daughter's doctor who was extremely nice and encouraging. When I went to him, I told him my experience and he gave me a prescription for a mild dosage of a pill saying that I just needed tweaking and that my readings weren't that bad. And, he was really nice and made me feel calmer about the whole thing ,adding that if I lost weight my numbers would go down. I didn't feel condemned or humiliated.
Well, shortly after that we moved to Alabama, and I didn't lose weight, I gained a little more. Let's face it, I love food, I love eating food, and I guess I had trouble keeping up with good habits in the new locale.
Well, every year I go to the doctor to renew my prescription and for a checkup, so I have had to find somewhere to go locally instead of my nice friendly doctor in Florida.
Not easy. A year and a half ago, I went and was handed a diet printout and informed that I should be doing something about my weight in a very matter of fact way and left feeling kinda embarrassed. Those scales are terrifying to me :(
Guess what? I didn't lose any weight when I returned the next year for my annual checkup and I was praying that I wouldn't get the same Dr. (there are 10 in this clinic) But guess who walks in? Dr Cheerful from last year. This time he walked in with his arms folded across his chest and leaned on the window sill and looked at me rather sternly saying: "How old are you? " I gave him the correct answer, I am pretty sure . "And how much do you weigh?" "too much?", I mumbled with my head down. "And how much do you think you should weigh?" "Umm, I guess at my age, I would say (blah, blah blah)". ( I am afraid to tell you my answer because I am sure that most of you would go on a diet if you weighed what my goal weight is!)
He asks me the usual questions about pain-no, shortness of breath-no, do you smoke or drink -no. Then he asks me if I am from California ( I have no idea why) and then tells me that California is legalizing medicinal marijuana and that it would be impossible to control it that way, to which I replied," Yeah..." Then he says, "I think they should just legalize it across the board." To which I just nervously giggled and said "Huh!' His next question was "You aren't pregnant are you?" I thought to myself, he is dissing my pot belly isn't he? But I just said, "no". Yikes, can this visit get any worse? I gotta get outta here!
So, he hands me another diet printout and mentions that one glass of wine a day has health benefits, but grape juice is just as good what with all the alcoholics out there. He said how it would not be good to start drinking it for health but end up as an alcoholic. (I wasn't sure if he thought that I was one, since I don't drink, but I never have and don't like the taste) All this without being friendly or personable, just ODD!
So...I have told you all this because I know that I have to lose a good amount of weight and I have been exercising more these past few months and recently have tried to give up eating sweets but no loss is happening. During summertime I am the least motivated for anything! I have SIX MONTHS before my next checkup and I will be trying another Doctor!
Knowing that I must get more fit and dreading the next Drs visit, stresses me out and is not a good motivator for me. I want to do better so I feel better and get healthier. Now that cooler temps are around the corner, I am looking forward to going for my outdoor walks again. Inside dvds and exercise bike riding has been boring for me, but I have tried to keep it up!
So... I would appreciate any prayers or words of encouragement, I really need to change!
Hope your day is a good one!
Darlene :)

Home made whole wheat pizza crust

Today I made home made whole wheat pizza dough from a great recipe from I have used this site countless times for years and I always find the best recipes. Each one is rated in a star system and I usually try the perfect scores to cook or bake.
The dough came out crispy but not hard so I enjoyed it very much. I followed the recipe exactly and the dough was very easy to roll out nice and thin. One of the things I like about making your own crust is that you can put it in any shape pan. Today I used two cookie sheets, one larger than the other and topped both pizzas with turkey pepperoni, onions, red and green peppers and mozzarella cheese. The bigger one was with traditional Ragu Pizza sauce and the other had ranch dressing instead of sauce since my daughter Jenny hates tomatoes. (A hate that I thought she would outgrow, but she is 28 now so I guess she won't)
Click on the link below to get the recipe, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Navy and Chartreuse ispired by HGTV Design Star Emily Henderson
(visit my daughter's blog by clicking above to read her post on this season's winner)

I loved the eclectic room that Emily designed a few weeks ago on HGTV's Next Design Star. When I saw the blue and white fabric on the walls with the chartreuse green couch in front of it, I fell in love with that combination. The icing on the cake was the vintage mirror and the mismatched end tables which is a look that I am very drawn to. I love thrift shopping and altering my finds with fabric or paint so this was right up my alley. My living room now, is decorated with red couches, and a burnt orange chair, yellow walls and coral accents, is not likely that I will redo everything in blue and green unless I magically come across some beautiful green vintage and in awesome shape couches and the perfect fabric for the wall ( or repaint the wall and stencil a damask pattern or something) But, for now I will just dream...
Hope you enjoy the green and blue etsy finds as much as I do!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

kitchen cabinets before and after!

Yesterday, my awesome husband painted my red kitchen cabinets white and put new hardware on them in order to make one of my dreams come true!
I love him and I love them (the cabinets!)
When we bought this house three years ago, it was a cosmetic fix-er upper. The living room walls were covered in dark burgundy wallpaper, the kitchen was a nightmare of clashing colors (bright blue bead board, fluorescent yellow walls and red cabinets)
We removed disgusting wall to wall carpet from all the bedrooms and bathrooms (gross) and back room and put new flooring in the bathrooms, our bedroom and kitchen. After painting the kitchen wall and bead board we left the cabinets red since I was inspired by a vintage tablecloth from the forties with turquoise and red flowers. And I really like it, but it just got old. It made me feel like I was limited in my color choices for things since red and turquoise are so specific.
Until yesterday that is, when the vibrant red was covered in pure glistening ultra bright white. Ah...vintage glass knobs were attached giving it a cottage feel with only three glass pulls needing to be bought for the drawers. Several years ago we had ordered glass knobs from e-bay which had the best prices and selection for our kitchen cabinets in Florida. Rachel had ordered some also and used then for a dresser in her room and Jenny had used one for a dresser in her room and I had 7 knobs left over. I needed 10 all together and between my 7, Rachel's 2 and one from Jenny , there was enough to do all the cabinets, needing only to buy 3 drawer pulls from Hobby Lobby. I still have many red accents in the kitchen which does compliment the turquoise walls which I still absolutely love. Thanks honey, for making my wildest dreams come true!!
sorry for the poor quality pictures! I couldn't add pictures to my post on my husband's laptop so I saved them on picasaweb and somehow they got small and blurry :(

Thursday, August 19, 2010

preparing for Fall and Winter ( I know it sounds ludicris when it is over 90 degrees)

Today, I saw this post from LION BRAND notebook about extra large stitches in knits and crocheted items and I shall have to incorporate this idea in my fall accessories for my etsy shop! Last year I found my extra extra large knitting needles and made several scarves with chunky yarns, but this article suggested using multiple yarns together even when they are already chunky sized! Sounds like fun to me and the look is very graphic and not your everyday scarf. (of course, some of them are too massive for my liking, but toned down will be great!)
It has been challenging for me to be motivated to knit or crochet this summer since as many of you have also experienced, it has been near or at 100 degrees for over a month. This is the time I should be working on my inventory since I want to be ready for Fall and Christmas sales, AND I have signed up for the Botteltree Craft Bazaar at the beginning of December. Last year, most of my sales were at this venue and I nearly sold out of everything.
The last few days, it has only been in the low to mid 90s and I swear , it feels like a cold spell, so I got out some knitting needles and started weaving!
Click HERE to go to the LION BRAND site with patterns for the scarves in the pictures

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Escarole and Navy Bean Soup

Tonight I tried a recipe from for Escarole and Navy Bean Soup, since I had just picked up a nice bag of escarole from Whole Foods the other day. I basically used this recipe as a guideline, adding two cartons of broth instead of one and adding two broken up links of sweet Italian sausage to the onions and garlic at the beginning and about 1/2 of cup of Ditalini (tiny pasta tubes)after it was boiling nicely, to make it more substantial since I was using it as a main dish. Even though I doubled the broth, the 1 teaspoon of ADOBO made it way too salty. The first ingredient in ADOBO is salt, so mixing it with the broth made it too strong of a taste. I simply diluted the soup with water and fixed it. You could make your own ADOBO seasoning by mixing garlic powder, pepper, and oregano with the amount of salt you are accustomed to. I added grated parmesan cheese, and a slice of crusty french baguette with the final touch of drizzling a little olive oil on top and it was very tasty and my husband loved it!
(you can tweak it any way you like of course,like adding more fresh garlic or onion, you can basically make it your own)

6 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
2 15 oz cans of navy beans
1 carton of chicken broth (I used 2)
4 cups of escarole torn into pieces
2 links of sweet Italian Sausage broken up out of casing (optional, it's what I did)
ADOBO seasoning TO TASTE
1/2 cup of ditalini (optional)

chop the garlic and onion in olive oil, I usde a dutch oven, then add the crumbled sausage and saute until sausage is browned

add the two drained cans of navy beans, the chicken broth and ADOBO if you are using it, then add the escarole

bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, then add the ditalini and boil for 10 minutes more

serve in bowls with crusty bread and parmesan cheese, drizzling a little olive oil over the top

hope you try it and like it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Just call me Mugsy..."

dainty tea cups with bluebirds also found on clearance at Anthropologie

my Gilmore Girls inspired mug, I have three others in green, red, and blue! big and chunky!

my favorite Christmas mug, I love the cheery stripes inside!

When I was in high school I got the nickname "Mugsy", from the old comedy "The Bowery Boys", based on one of the characters, Mugsy McGinnis. (short and from New York made the connection). I had no idea that the name would have such significance based on my love for actual mugs for tea or coffee!
My husband thinks it is weird to have such a fondness for cups, but it is shared by my daughters and several friends!
For example, the girls and I were discussing how the right mug can make drinking coffee or tea more fun. No, really, it can! Rachel stated that it was like clothing for your coffee,so indeed was very important! He posted about it on facebook and got a lot of responces from women that agreed with our "muggy" philosophy.
In the mornings, I look for certain size and shape cups that are nice and big and takes some effort to hold. In fact, it is the most important mug of the day. I may have gotten this morning mug obsession from watching "Gilmore Girls", where Luke's Diner sports nice substantial full sized mugs.
In the Fall and Winter,I still love my morning coffee but I also like tea from over sized tea cups or a tea pot full of hot tea and regular dainty sized cups. When a chill is in the air, nothing quite hits the spot like tea!
One holiday time several years ago, me and my daughter Christina were on line at a Starbucks and we were noticing how many of their coffee mugs were on sale, and I remarked as to how happy I was when I sipped my coffee from one of my previously purchased Christmas mugs and saw the cheerful stripes inside. Well, a MAN behind me let out an audible sigh of disgust when I said that to which I replied, "I am sorry, but is is a girl thing!" I was too filled with joyful anticipatioon of my Pumpkin Spice Latte to be offended, but really how rude! Let me have my good clean coffee mug fun will ya?
I think it all started from childhood and reading Peter Rabbit, where the characters in the books were always having tea from lovely cups and eating the most colorful cakes and berries and cream!
To quote from a brilliant scholar C.S. Lewis...
"You can't get a cup of tea BIG enough or a book long enough to suit me..."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

i love a bargain!!

pennant pillow for 9.99

3.00 mug

2.90 iron on book

pennant for 2.90

useless book for 2.90

The other day , after going to the really awesome Jewish Delicatessen, we swung by Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters to have a browse. I was secretly hoping that there woulld be a nice mug in the clearance section of Anthropologie, because all of my favorite tea and coffee vessels have come from there. And I love clearance in those stores because I am way too cheap to pay full price at them.
Anthropologie was a success in the mug category because I found these for only 3.00 each that are like oversized and chunky tea cups.
When we moved along to Urban Outfitters, I really scored in the clearance section with a throw pillow for only 9.99, three packs of plastic pennants that are 120 feet long (each) for only 2.90 each that I can use in my backyard, two books by SUKIE a UK artist, of iron on decals that I can put on my leftover tote bags from last years block print phase, also, only 2.90 each, and a book of "Useless Information" for only 2.90, for Ray who is the King of Trivia!

Friday, August 13, 2010

make a dress for 6 dollars!

Talk2TheTrees has this great tutorial on making a high waisted dress with a tank top from Walmart and three yards of dollar per yard fabric. I am sure that this would look great on many different shapes and sizes, just maybe a little more fabric. If you have a sewing machine and some basic skills, I bet you could whip up one of these babies!
click on any photo to go to the tutorial for this dress!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jewish Delicatessen Heaven

I know. I have a lot of posts having to do with food. I know. I wish I could be one of those people who thinks that eating is SUCH a chore (no, I don't really). Unfortunately, I love food, all kinds of food, Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian, good Chinese, Middle Eastern, and even....yes....healthy foods like veggie things and tofu things! I like just about everything, but living in the South for the past 27 years has made certain things a little harder to find. While in Florida for 25 of those years, after relocating from New York City, we managed to find some decent Pizza, Chinese, and Greek food. But here in Gadsden we have to travel an hour away to Birmingham for some good eats with ethnic flair.
Well, yesterday, Ray and me and the girls went to Max's Delicatessen, after I saw a commercial on TV and then a very tempting website, and we were not disappointed!! A Jewish Deli in NYC had ginormous sandwiches, the best pickles, knishes, chopped chicken liver, egg creams and on and on. On the way down to B-ham, I was telling Rachel that the texture of cheese blinztes in NYC were more like a thin pasta consistency filled with sweetened cheese as compared to a pancake or crepe like shell. (she was going to order them at Max's because she loves them!)
I was telling Jenny that the rye bread in NYC delis had a chewy crust, not a mushy soft crust like most rye breads in the stores.
And also, how all the diners had matzoh ball soup on their menu and sometimes it was bland in a clear broth, but in the Jewish Delis it was much more flavorful and home made tasting.
Well....ding ding ding!!!! Max's won on all accounts! Rachel's soup came out looking homemade and tasted delicious. Jenny bit in to her corned beef sandwich on rye and informed me that the crust was chewy not mushy, and Rachel's blintzes had the more pasta like shell!
Of course, I got Lox on a bagel which was great and we ordered chocolate egg creams for dessert!
We all left soooo happy and we especially liked our friendly waitress and the deli owner was also so nice and appreciated that we traveled an hour to get there!
Needless to say we will be returning on Sunday with Ray's Mom (Nana) so she too can experience the taste bud fun that we had!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Cake and a Mousse

Today, Ray and I went with Christina, Suj and Kavi, and Jenny and Rachel to Tarpon Springs, about an hours drive south of Christina's house, to eat at one of our all time favorite restaurants, "Mr. Souvlaki". When we lived in Florida, we would go there to order "Greek Chow Mein", which is greek seasoned pork with onions, peppers and feta cheese, over rice pilaf. It was quite yummy and it was nice to visit this place after not being there for several years. We then went to walk around the sponge docks which is a tourist area with more restaurants, souvenir shops and bakeries. I felt like I was going to melt after about 5 minutes, even though when we left Alabama it was several days in a row of 100 degree weather, I have never adjusted to summer swelter!
I was however temporarily revived when we went inside "Hellas" bakery where there are dozens of very attractive pastry choices and icy cold water.
A few years back my daughters and a bunch of their friends went to this bakery and when they asked the lady behind the counter to describe several of the offerings, she gave the same description for all of them. "It's like a ...cake and a mousse" (said in a Greek accent with cake and a mousse sounding like one word said really fast). What about this one, they would ask and she would reply," It's like a cake and a mousse" And how about this? "A cake and a mousse"
I asked my husband to pick me out something chocolatey while I fanned myself and drank cold water, and he brought me back the most delicious "cake and a mousse" ! Chocolate cake on the bottom drenced in Rum, then chocolate mousse, then more cake, them more mousse, then chocolate frosting with shaved chocolate on top!! The best cakeandamousse I ever had!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pride and Prejudice fans will love this!

All of these lovely items are from Brookish, an etsy shop dedicated to Jane Austen Quotes! Click on any of the images to be transported back in time (and to the shop!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

World's Longest Yard Sale starts Thursday!

click here for the link to the YARD SALE!

I have gone to this sale for the past three years, but this time I will be visiting my family in Florida! As much as I love a good 675 mile yard sale, I enjoy my family a million times more :)
If you have never gone before and live near highway 127 between Gadsden, Alabama and Hudson, Michigan them you should check it out!
Many of the furnishings in my house came from these past three yard sales, and there are many bargains to be found.
Have Fun and DON'T MELT!!!!

august calendar!

download this free august calendar page! click below!

august calendar!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another Brunch and Deer Day

Sardis Library with front porch and rockers!
Sardis Library
a regal buck at the deer farm

eating crackers at the state park
the view from the Lodge

Ray and Nana
I know you are probably sick of hearing about our deer sightings by now, but I just can't help myself, I love them sooo!
We took my mother in law to Lake Guntersville State Parks Brunch today, because we knew she would love the prime rib and the gorgeous view from the balcony. And Nana has always said how much she loved nature, so we were hoping that the deer would make their appearance to make the day complete, and....they did not disappoint us! At the exact same spot we spotted a few, then a few more and they started to walk out of the woods towards us! We quickly drove down the road to the camp store, but they were out of bread, so Ray asked the Park Rangers who were also the store clerks (with uniforms, badges and guns!) what else the deer liked to eat, and they said,
" well according to the law you aren't supposed to feed them..." to which Ray replied, well, what do you think I would like to eat?" to which they answered knowingly, "just about anything" What fun to have the "establishment" tell us tree hugging, deer loving "hippies" that, wink, wink,it was just fine to go ahead and feed the deer the crackers that we bought them. And the deer just loved our meager offerings!
On the drive home, Ray showed us a deer farm that a friend had told him about, and it was right in the middle of an affluent neighborhood in Sardis, not too far from where we live. The deer were just gorgeous, bucks, doe, and fawn all happily grazing, pooping and peeing! Those deer must be very regular, if you know what I mean!
We passed the Sardis Library on the way, and it was the cutest building with a front porch and side porch with rockers and it made me instantly want t o read a book!
Well, thanks for humoring me, I will try not to bore you with my deer obsession! (I said TRY!)