Friday, October 30, 2015

Don't have a date for Halloween yet?

Left it to the last minute?

Never fear, Matchmaker Dewena is here!

Choose one of these handsome young men
and I'll set up a date for you!

And maybe you should drive.

His driver's license may have expired.

Just drop him off at home after your date.

The nearest graveyard will do.

Have a good time and

Happy Halloween!

Want to see the rest of the neighborhood?

Just click HERE to meet their friends and relatives back at my old blog!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Autumn Berries

R.H. predicts a severe winter here in Tennessee.


Because our shrubs and vines are loaded down with berries.

Maybe he's right.

All I know is that I love clipping them for the house.

Even a tiny bouquet goes where I stack dishes to dry.

I mix them in with flowers from the grocery store too.

I break up a big bunch of grocery store flowers to use all around the house.

These Gourmet Cookbooks, Vol. I & II,
were a gift from my firstborn.

One was FREE, and he bought the other online.

Do any of you have McCay's Bookstores in your area?
Our son always finds me the best books out front in the FREE bins!

But this Gourmet Cookbook was his best find yet.

Here's a 1932 children's storybook he found too.

One stalk of orange lilies ended up on my bed table to add a touch of October orange.

The lovely month of October is almost over.

We'll soon be turning October's calendar page.

Isn't this a cute October house?

My daughter gives me these calendar refills every Christmas
to put on a little easel. 

Before we can take a breath, January will be here.
Will it be a severe winter, do you think?

How are the berries on your shrubs and vines?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Little Kitchen Change

For the past few years I've wanted to repaint all the yellow walls we've had since we added on our new kitchen in 2004. 

Maybe because I've seen so many pretty white kitchens on blogs? Sometimes seeing a different kitchen decor means wanting it, whether or not we need it.

And the bright colors I chose for our rooms in 2004 seemed....out, passe, not in style.

Especially the yellow walls, the bright yellow rain slicker walls I chose for the kitchen areas back in 2004, when this yellow was in House Beautiful.

  And let's don't even talk about the black granite counter tops we had installed in 2004, which almost instantly became an anathema to designers. And ours weren't even honed.

Honed?  Nobody told me about honed.

So there I've been, with yellow walls I wished were white. Lots of yellow walls--kitchen, family room and dining area, pantry area, and in the old kitchen ell, everywhere we had installed the black and white checkerboard floor that I had wanted for decades ever since I saw Dee Hardie's kitchen on the cover of House Beautiful. 

And speaking of the black and white checkerboard floors, guess who it was that insisted we use white grout, not black? That would be me. And guess what color white grout turns to with years of use by pets, muddy boots, and sloppy cooks? 

Back to the yellow walls being painted white. It just was not going to happen. My men would rather work outside in 100 degree temperature than paint lots of yellow walls white.

So I studied on it for ages, looking through Pinterest for hours....

because I decided I needed to embrace my yellow walls.

And I found one magical picture, and no, I'm not going to show it to you because my kitchen would look like Cinderella before the glass slipper next to it.

But it gave me the idea of painting only the lower cabinets of our kitchen, not the walls, not the upper cabinets, surely no more than two days work. My men agreed to that.

Here's the kitchen a year ago with the yellow walls, black granite, and stark white cabinets:

The problem of that, in my eyes, is that the kitchen is open to the family room, and the family room is anything but stark white, as you can see. 

So R.H. and two of our sons painted the lower kitchen cabinets, making me one happy lady.

The color I chose was a grayish green, Benjamin Moore Oilcloth.

No, that's not a true picture of it, this is more like it:

Actually, it depends on the light, day, night, sun, cloudy. It changes.

It does make the biggest difference to me, more like the lower cabinets are a piece of furniture, not white kitchen cabinets sitting right beside a colorful family room.

I think my decor philosophy from now on is going to be this, from designer Tom Scheerer:

"Don't make too much trouble for yourself.
Work with what you have and get on with it.
Live life now,
rather than after a torturous renovation."
Tom Scheerer

Now I have another problem. I can't get PicMonkey to work, even after following their instructions to update flash player. So what will it look like if I load remaining pictures without editing them? These would have been in collages so you wouldn't have to scroll through so many pictures. And there's no editing on the rest of these or some of the above ones. 

But I went to so much trouble to do this post that I'm including them for those of you who have told me you want to see more of our kitchen, even though this is a long post and I'm been trying to make my posts much shorter lately.

You can't really see the beautiful granite lazy susan that our daughter gave us, but this is where I keep all my vinegars, olive oils, and some seasonings, right by the stove.

Once upon a time I had a regular size refrigerator that sat in its own little nook, where the china cabinet now sits. When we replaced it, I wanted a big one, easy to reach into without becoming a human pretzel, and sacrificed form for function. I'm willing for it to stick out.

Behind these doors is the pantry.
(And that area, my friends, is where my sink, fridge, and oven sat for 14 years
before we added on the new kitchen.)

Any blogger who takes pictures of her kitchen to post when her Swifter broke down
when she planned on taking pictures of her kitchen floors
might as well go ahead and show a picture of her far from styled pantry.


 So that's it, our kitchen.
You saw the kitchen ell in my recent post on pomanders,
where a wall of old cupboards sit that hold dishes,
so that's about it, dear friends.

We have a strange kitchen.
It wanders around.
It takes 18 steps from our sink to a trashcan.
Refrigerators stick out,
the sectional sofa that holds our large family is almost a part of the kitchen,
the grout is dingy, 
the microwave, food processor and toaster are banished to the laundry room,
but I feel like I'm in love with my kitchen of many colors once more.

Even if Benjamin Moore did just announce that their color of the year for 2017
is going to be something or other white.

I'm happy but I can't promise that I won't fall in love 
with the next pretty kitchen in Blog Heaven.

Of course, none of you ever do you?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Happy Woman In Festival Dress

"October is the year at rich maturity,
a happy woman arrayed in festival dress
and ready for a dance with a giant come down from the hills
attired in a red, red shirt,
buckskin pants and moccasins beaded with frost."

Hal Borland in Sundial of the Seasons

These pictures of our granddaughters with our son and daughter-in-law at the pumpkin patch
make me so happy! Aren't Nora and CC getting to be such big girls? And doesn't Wallace look fabulous in her festival dress and her new hairstyle after donating 9 inches of her beautiful hair?

Defee just returned from filming the next episode of Farmhouse Life for HGTV. I'll let you know when the new season airs. He sure loves his job, almost as much as he loves his three girls!

 I hope your October is a beautiful one!

"October is a brisk wind in the treetops,
a whisper among crisp leaves,
a breath of apple cider,
a gleam from a jack-o'-lantern,
and the echo of laughter under a full moon."
 Hal Borland

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How To Make Pomanders That Last

Do your pomanders last over 20 years or turn squishy before Christmas is over?

These of mine are 23 years old!

 Want to know the secret?

Step into my kitchen ell and I'll share the secret to pomanders that last.

My kitchen ell used to be the back porch of this farmhouse,
and it was the second location of four this house has known.

In 1920 when the house was built, the kitchen was in what is now a bedroom.
Then the porch was enclosed and where you can see the old wood icebox
was where the stove once stood.

 My secret for pomanders that last is from this old December 1949 issue of
Woman's Day from an article titled "Minerva and the Pomanders"
by Marguerite Ferguson.
The cover is a scene in Waterford, Vermont.

I have too much arthritis in my hands now to do this fiddly work anymore
but would love to see this craft passed down to others.

The first secret is that each fruit you use for your pomander
requires a special companion spice.

The largest fruit here is a quince and its companion spice is Allspice.

 This is an orange and its companion spice is Orrisroot.

For an apple the companion spice is Cinnamon.

I didn't use a lemon but its companion spice is Powdered Clove.

A lime calls for grated Nutmeg.

I did make a kumquat, this tiny pomander.
Use Orrisroot for kumquats.

Here are the instructions:

1) With a darning needle [I used an ice pick], puncture the fruit and fill the hole with
              a clove, leaving its head above the surface.
     Clove heads must just touch. Do not put in straight lines or the fruit will split.

2) Sift the companion spice over the fruit.

3) Cut cheesecloth into large squares, lay fruit in center, and pull corners together;
              tie with white twine and hang from cup hooks out of sunlight.

4) Let hang 6 weeks to season well. Two will do but the real secret to their longevity
             is letting them hang for 6 weeks with good air circulation.

 Please don't store your pomanders away after Christmas. 

Put them in a pretty bowl with good air circulation and your pomanders will last...forever?

Now you know the secret!

Pomander comes from the French pomme d'ambre.

 Ambre=ambergis (the fragrant, waxy substance from the sperm whale).

The author of the article said to hang a pomander from a bedpost.

"Pomanders induce restful, healing sleep."  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hello Again!

Nine days without the internet?

It can be done!

Life seemed slower and that was kind of nice.

R.H. and I went to the Farmer's Market to choose our pumpkins.

That's the entrance above, with the Tennessee Capitol Building 
on a hill above it.

 I was in the mood for mostly orange this year,
and in the mood to keep it simple.
I didn't even unpack any Autumn decor.

 Two little cream colored pumpkins came home with me--
they loved each other so much they decided not to split!

It was nine days spent enjoying small, simple things.

Like Snail Mail.

There was a sweet note from Benita of Chasing Quaintness
with a scrumptious Autumn spice sachet, so fragrant!

And pretty notes from my granddaughters
with a wonderful gift called Breathe Again.

Their mommy knew I have sinus trouble trying to sleep at night,
and she thought this might help--
and does it ever! 

And of course, R.H. and I did celebrate our 54th anniversary,
while waiting for the cable guy.
Thank you all so much for your greetings and wishes.

And now I'm off to find out what all of you have been up to!