Sunday, January 30, 2011

The view from my front door...or...dissed by a cowboy?

This is what you see when you open my front door...a lot of color...yellow walls...coral and aqua accents...shelves with chatchkies...deer head plaques painted coral..Russian stacking dolls. Not exactly the preferred decor for a cowboy type. Like our neighbor "Chet" (I changed his name for this post but highly doubt he would ever stumble upon my blog)
One evening before Christmas, "Chet" knocked on our door, voicing some concern for one of our neighbors. As I went to the back room to get Ray to come and talk to him, he slipped in the front door to wait. He was only in the house for a matter of minutes and I didn't think anything of it. He told us that it sounded like a loud angry preacher was yelling at "Gloria" (yes, I changed her name too) and that her dogs were barking like crazy. He seemed to want Ray to go next door to see if she was ok, so he and Jenny knocked on her door and when "Gloria" came to the door, Ray told her that "Chet" heard yelling and wanted to make sure she was okay. She informed them that it was only Margaret (real name), a local lady who rides her bike around town and always sounds like she is yelling when she talks. "But I have called the cops, because someone was looking in at me on my side porch", she said, to which "Chet" replied, "That would be me, I just wanted to make sure you were ok, because I was hearing your dogs barking". "Gloria" did not seem to care that he was looking out for her, and said, "You can go on home now, and you can tell the cops to go home too!" (Gloria is a little eccentric)
When they walked away from her house, "Chet" said, "I guess I'll be going to jail tonight!" But we just laughed and as far as we know the cops never came.
Now the other day, "Chet " was getting in his car the same time I was and he came over to chat about a burglary in the neighborhood and how he was ready if someone tried that in his house (I guess you know what that means. kapowee!) He then remarked " if someone broke in to your house they would be STUNNED, like where am I ?, you know cause how you have it decorated and such!" I chuckled and he chuckled to end our conversation, but after getting in my car, I realized that I had been dissed by a man in a cowboy hat! Doesn't he know the "Cowboy Code"? I am sure there is a rule that says "be gentlemanly to womenfolk and don't insult their house decorating skills"
Don't get me wrong, I am sure that no self respecting Cowboy would want my stuff, but a true cowboy would not passive aggressively insult a girl. I guess wearing the hat and boots does not a cowboy make and neither does living in a town's downtown neighborhood. I watched two episodes of "The Last American Cowboy" last night, so I know some stuff! You need a ranch, ranchhands, horses, acreage and COWS, lots of COWS!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Funky Little Store and Me!

Get ready for a LOT of pictures today! I finally completed my hair accessories, labels and display so I could set up in That Funky Little Store Downtown. As I mentioned before, the owner Jennifer has the most amazing eclectic ways to showcase everything and is herself a very talented artist. It took me a while to come up with an idea since there is a lot of creativity in this place!
This is my setup, in a very cool wooden suitcase type thing near the back of the shop.
It isn't nearly as cool as the rest of the place, but I am a beginner at being set up in a store, so maybe future ideas will be a brewing in my head!
Like this old re-purposed metal crib displaying decorative bottles...
...and this painted old shopping cart...
...and tons of painted vintage end tables...
...old timey mannequins...
...old shutters... awesome old metal glider...
...vintage suitcases...
...tree branches...
...old cabinets...
...a barbie play house...
...end table and tree...
...suitcase lids above the door... old washing machine...
...vintage jewelry boxes to display soaps...
...a cement birdbath...

I know, incredible ideas right? The Partridge Family was playing on an old TV while I was in there and it just feels so right!
I am happy to have finally gotten something there and hope to add some afghan throws in the near future. If you are ever in Gadsden, check out That Funky Little Store Downtown!!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

can I get you a cuppa tea?

I have mentioned previously that winter weather makes me want to drink tea every night. It really does. I love coffee and have a cup every single morning and if I am near a Starbucks, I have to get something, since the closest one is an hour from here. When I visit my daughter in Florida, I visit Starbucks just about every day.
When winter rolls around, my favorite way to get the evening chill out of my bones is a nice hot cup of Twinings Decaf English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast tea, double brewed with two tea bags per cup! I have also used a tea pot lately when more than myself is wanting a warmer upper, which prompted me to crochet a tea cozy. It really worked at keeping the pot warmer longer.
I have noticed that in so many movies and tv shows, people who are stressed out are offered a cup by an encouraging friend or family member. When I think of people sitting by a fire to warm up they have a tea cup in their hands.
Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to meet some of you and have a cup of tea together! I guess when we read and comment on each others thoughts, many of us have a nice cup of something in our hands, so a virtual time of "tea" is taking place!
Hope you are all staying warm and cozy during this long, cold winter, don't fear, spring is on its way! In the meantime, pour yourself a cup, it can work wonders!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

for the love of...cardigans

Have I ever mentioned how much I love cardigans? Nice longish ones, some lightweight, some more cozy chunky like? Especially in winter since I moved out of Florida? Well, I do! I have always loved the layered look, ever since I was in high school in New York during the 70s. It is the best way to add that extra cozy warmth or finishing look to an otherwise drab outfit. I have several of them now, but wish I had more. I can never find the colors I would prefer to have, like rust or mustard yellowy gold. In fact most of mine come from Old Navy or Target and it seems that those stores go through color themes each season which are rarely the colors I am liking at the moment. Do any of you have old sweaters that you can't bear to get rid of even when they have "problems" like little itty bitty holes or let's say the dreaded "pills"? I have actually "shaved" old sweaters so I could still wear them!
Last winter, here in Alabama, was considered the coldest in a long time, and people were saying that it would be a milder one this year, but they were wrong. Don't misunderstand, I LOVE winter since my hot flashes have kicked in, but even I have been a little too chilly on days with highs in the 30s! I do not miss the tropical weather however, I simply layer up while at home or under my winter coat. A cardigan can work wonders.
(all the pictures are from Forever 21 with the exception of the pinkish fuchsia one, and I would LOVE to own every single one of them!))

Saturday, January 22, 2011

gotta get it in gear

the courtyard at the Cultural Arts building taken during a walk this past week

a display I am working on

I have really got to kick it up a notch when it comes to crochet projects for my etsy shop and for a display in a shop downtown. Ever since I did the craft bazaar in early December, I have been kinda discombobulated. (surprisingly I actually spelled that previous word correctly the first time around!)
Like last year, I sold most of my inventory at the craft fair, while my etsy sales were minimal. Of course winter is usually my busy time, especially right before Christmas, but my focus has been more on making things for the bazaar, so less items, less frequently were added to my etsy shop which results in less sales. I prefer the bazaar sales since a bigger amount of money can be made over one weekend and shipping is not an issue. Now that this winter seems to be especially cold and snowy around the U.S., I need to be adding warm accessories to my etsy shop, but instead I have been racking my brain trying to think of ways to display some hair accessories at "The Funky Little Store" downtown. I think I have come up with a compact display and realize that I need to make more crocheted hair clips for it. The display is burlap stapled to a canvas with ribbons running vertically for the clips to attach to.
I also want to work on a few afghans or throw pillows to display in the shop as well. So, I should be crocheting my little heart out on scarves, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, hair accessories, afghans and pillows. Yet I get so easily distracted. Like working on a pillow cover for my living room. Or,spending too much time at the computer. The weather is perfect for crocheting. Cold weather always inspires me, especially at night with a nice hot cup of tea by my side.
So my goal for this weekend and next week is to work on these projects one at a time, first hair clips, then scarves, then afghans and pillows. Wish me luck!
BTW I have yet to buy a full week of groceries from my e-meals shopping list. I am giving myself one more week to get that in to gear, or I am canceling it. At least I have tried a few good recipes from it. I am too picky to follow a menu in its entirety for a whole week. Unfortunately I am a "wing it" kind of girl with a lot of things :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random This and That

a tea pot cozy I just crocheted

long leg warmers I made on special order for a crafty friend who takes ballet

Hawaiian Chicken and Rice
Well guys, almost all traces of last weeks snow have disappeared and it took almost a week for that to happen. I was so euphoric when it all happened and loved taking those walks in the snow...but...with no snow plows, or salt equipment, this town pretty much shut down. School was out all week and even though I don't have kids in school, parents I know were pulling their hair out by Friday, and yesterday, schools were also off for Martin Luther King day! I did have a good share of cabin fever knowing that roads were icy still last week making them dangerous to travel on. Instantly made me crave going to the big city an hour away.
I have kept busy though with random projects like the extra long leg warmers for a friend we met at last year's craft bazaar. We are trading the legwarmers for one of her tee shirt scarves which is a great way to do business if you ask me!
I also, just completed a tea pot cozy which I had at one time thought was a useless item, but not any more! This winter has been a cold one so far and hot tea is an evening staple for me. I have made a pot full of tea only to have it be cool by the time I pour my second cup. Hmmm, maybe the cozy idea is worth a go. So I looked at a few patterns for cozies and then improvised my own which worked up pretty quickly. Tonight is its maiden voyage, lets hope it really works to keep things toasty!
Last week I signed up for a weekly menu, shopping list plan for Walmart and have so far had two recipes from it. Both were really good. One being a Middle Eastern Dinner with ground turkey, craisins, curry, onion, garlic, rice, almonds and I forget what else and that was really tasty with a little tweaking. (I signed up for vegetarian so I could have healthier ideas and just swap out real meat for the fake stuff) Yesterday, Rachel made the Hawaiin Chicken and Rice which was also really good too. I would never have thought of these combination of ingredients, but I really liked it. I tried to do the whole shopping list today at Walmart but both bridges to that part of town were impassable because of maintenance and an accident so I ended up at Winn Dixie. I will let you know how the first week on that plan is after I finally attempt an entire week. I am not really good at following things exactly, but I guess a little extra this or that can't hurt!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!

e-meals link
So a friend whose blog I follow recently wrote about signing up for E-meals for 5 dollars a month. After checking it out I decided to sign up as well. As she did, I also, chose "vegetarian Walmart' for my category since I can use real meat for some of the recipes, since a more healthful selection of grains and veggies was in that category.
When you join, you get a weeks menu, easy recipes and grocery shopping list with prices and brands that are sold at Walmart. I always have the "I don't know what to cook for dinner tonight" blues, so I am hoping this will help. You can choose from several categories and stores or have a "no store" choice so you can get what you need anywhere.
I am trying one of the recipes tonight for Middle Eastern dinner with garlic, onion, curry powder, cinnamon, chickpeas, broccoli, craisins (instead of raisins), rice, almonds, parsley, and ground turkey instead of the fake stuff. I plan on experimenting with next weeks menu starting Monday by printing out the entire shopping list and trying to follow the menu.
I will let you guys know how it goes!
You can cancel anytime before your next three months fee is due (must pay 15.00 up front for your first three months) and you can change your store or meal category at any time.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plaid Birthday Dress

Plaid Birthday Dress, originally uploaded by strawberrykoi.

Some vintage fashion to brighten our winter days! One day I am going to get a cute vintage dress, I really am!!

My 40's DO

40's Curls and Hat

40's Plaid Dress

At the Train Tracks

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

day 3 of snowmageddon

scenes from today's walk
Day three of the snow storm resulted in one very stir crazy husband who still couldn't work, a drive to Walmart over scary icy bridges, a walk to our downtown to go to the bank and local grocery store on the way back. I talked Ray in to joining us this time since some new waterproof boots were purchased this morning and all four of us were now equipped with proper footage for a slushy walk.
Almost everything was closed down in the downtown with the exception of our bank and an eatery. Usually a bustling street, no action today, although city crews were clearing the front of the courthouse so it could reopen tomorrow. Schools will still be closed tomorrow because colder temperatures are expected tomorrow causing ice problems.
After stopping at the Giant Johnson's grocery store we took the scenic route home taking pictures of the roads, my boot, and neighborhood snow folks. I loved this kind of day because it is so rare, but also wish that our region was more equipped for snow with plows and salt trucks so we could move about easier.
BTW my boots have been a godsend, making all of my walks dry with no slippin. The best 19 bucks I ever spent!

Monday, January 10, 2011

day 2 of "snowmageddon"

Rachel is a ninja snow warrior

Today, Rachel, Jenny and I went for a wonderful late morning snow stroll with some friends in our neighborhood. My $19 dollar rubber boots ended up being great for sloshing around in crunchy snow,slush and ice. All that was needed was a long pair of socks and a short pair over them to keep toesies warm.
We ended up with more than 6 inches and everything came to a standstill. Even Walmart closed its doors for most of the day today and our local grocery never opened. It made me crave salad and vegetables which were not available in our house since I focused on bread and milk and toilet paper for preparation for the snow.
The neighborhood was glowing with sparkly snow and every crunchy step brought me back to my childhood when I lived in the northeast.
After the walk, we built a Russian Matryoshka doll snow woman we named Natasha! I hadn't made a snow person since I was a kid, and it was fun and very cold work but we loved the results. I eerily think Natasha resembles me in more ways than one :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

what I got so far...

We waited all day for the snow to fall and even had a "waitin for snow party" on our front porch with our fire pit going, hot dogs, marshmallows, hot cocoa, popcorn. We had almost given up when around 7:30PM it actually started to precipitate. At first just a little "wintry mix", then turning in to real live snow that accumulated rather quickly. (Angela, I hope you eventually got snow too, cause I know how excited you were!)
Me and Jenny and Rachel are especially giddy about it, they girls staying on the front porch for hours, huddling around the fire, venturing out every once in a while to frolic in the snow, then huddling around the fire to warm up, etc.
Our friend and neighbor Andy had this great lantern for a photo prop, so don't worry we weren't lost in the snow, just goofing around!
Hopefully we will have more fun pics to share tomorrow!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Boot Scootin Boogie

I bet that many of you reading this post are expecting or have just experienced some snowage! Well. I am ready for snow and ice with my trusty $19.00 rubber boots from Walmart!
The 5 o'clock News last night was dominated by the weather reports of snow a comin our way in the South, resulting in a bread buying frenzy at the stores. Walmart's bread aisle was empty except for some stray whole wheat loaves.
When I lived in Florida, we would have several almost hurricanes come through our area and I never quite felt ready for a disaster. Everyone would rush to the stores buying bottled water, toilet paper, bread, milk and all the canned foods you usually couldn't stand. I would buy some peanut butter as my valiant effort at staying alive without power or running water. Luckily we were never hit that hard, but one year when we lost power, my son in law cooked the most delicious Indian food out on our grill. Needless to say, we had it pretty good! Last night I did buy some frozen foods and peppermint hot cocoa and milk of course and bread, but I just can't see the whole town falling apart from a little snow. I hope I am right about that!
Last night the predictions were for 5-8 inches accumulation starting Sunday night. Not exactly a blizzard folks. Now this morning the reports are for 1-4 inches. We better get something, because I was in Florida when Gadsden had it's first White Christmas in recorded history, and I bought those cool rubber boots last night so I could frolic in the stuff!
Hope your weekend is cozy and warm! Stay safe!

Friday, January 7, 2011

yesterday in my kitchen...

that is NOT zucchini!

peanut butter oatmeal cookies!

Yesterday I went to Walmart to buy the ingredients for my dear friend Mary's Lentil Stew. Mary was an excellent cook besides being a wonderful , kind, loving and loyal person. Last year, Mary passed away after a long battle with cancer, but all that she was, lives on in her family and friends. Mary's recipe calls for lentils, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar and beef broth, which I sometimes swap out for vegetable broth. I decided to buy all organic veggies to start my year off right and after putting them all in the food processor, I put them in the pot with EVOO sizzling. I didn't pay too much attention to the ingredients in the pot until I had added the lentils and the broth. As I stirred, I couldn't help but notice that the potatoes looked more like zucchini, with a dark green edge and green innards! That's weird, but maybe it is some new kind of organic potato that is extra healthy or something. I googled "green potatoes" and was met with warnings that it was NOT safe to eat and after calling the company that farmed the potatoes, it was confirmed that they were not safe to eat! Blehh!!! I had to throw away a whole pot of delicious smelling stew in case the poisons had spread. My husband didn't mind because Thursday nights there are all you can eat ribs at the Rib House near our home!
"Green in potatoes indicates the presence of a rather harmful toxin. When you see patches of green in your potatoes as you peel them, cut out the green parts entirely and discard them. What is the green? Actually it's chlorophyll. Not bad for you at all. But the chlorophyll indicates that the potato has been exposed to sunlight. And where the potato has been exposed to light is where a natural toxin in the potato (solanine) becomes concentrated at harmful levels. So, never store your potatoes on the counter. Always keep them in a cool, completely dark place."
Medline Plus, of the National Institute of Health
Just thought it was good info to pass along!
On a brighter note, the easy cookies I made last night came out delicious with very few ingredients!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

yarn bombing!

a gas station and pumps covered in yarn!

a tree with baubles!

nice little cap for a bus stop!

didn't know that phone booths even existed any more!

Wikipedia describes yarn bombing as "a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk." Talk about finishing a project! I can't imagine the commitment it takes to cover an entire gas station, phone booth or tree with yarn! It takes a lot out of me to just make an afghan, since I prefer quick results for my effort!
If you are like me, you are thinking, "Is that really good for a tree?" or, "It must be kinda gross when it rains", don't worry your little head any more! They are not meant for the long run, but just for a temporary brightening up. After all, just a few snips of the scissors and all is removed, but for a little while, the most ordinary and dull things are livened up with color and texture. I would love to come across such a whimsical display, but lack the patience to create one myself!