Thursday, July 31, 2008

1/2 Off Sale Day at the Thrift Shop

On my way home from work there is a thrift shop that I pass. It seems my car points itself into the parking lot of that place at least once a week - sometimes twice.
Well, once again, yesterday the car took control & before I knew it I was in that parking lot yet again. I'm not sure why my car thinks I need to go there so often, but I don't fight with my car. He's bigger than me & I rely on him a lot.
So, there I am wandering around yesterday when one of the hard working ladies who work there asked me if I knew that everything in the store was 1/2 off today? Well, actually, No. . . I didn't. (Thank you car - I will never question you again).

I started to look at things in a new light.
In a matter of minutes I was swooping things up & then decided I needed a cart ( or as they call it here in the south - a buggy). Now mind you I like to thrift shop, but it is rare that I find enough to require a "buggy". Amazing how a 1/2 off sale can change your outlook on things.

Allow me to share some of my "treasures" with you. . .

Obviously these 2 plates were a perfect match for my kitchen. Not to mention that they were brand new and still had the stickers on the back. Original price $9.99 each. My price - 40 cents a piece. Into the buggy with those babies.

Two of these plates hopped into the buggy. Walmart sold sets of these dishes a few years ago. I loved them at the time, but didn't need any dishes. So, I bought one mug and have enjoyed my coffee out of it ever since. Now if I can assemble a set at these prices, I may have to rethink whether I really need another set of dishes.I couldn't resist this little fella in his blue checked apron. He has been very busy baking. He is actually a salt shaker. There he sat all alone on that shelf. I don't even want to contemplate the fate of his mate. No, I can't let him be lonely in his elder years. Jump in the buggy buddy.

I will make you a very happy man.
You can live right by Grandma's little stove.
You can make me happy too.
Some freshly baked croissants next to my coffee tomorrow morning and you have earned your keep ;-)

This one got my heart racing & my palms sweating. Well, maybe that was from the 95 degree heat. But, whatever . . . big time excitement here. This one couldn't get in that buggy fast enough and now my hand doesn't leave the buggy and one eye is glued to it. If any of the other millions of 1/2 off shoppers tried to snitch it from the buggy when I wasn't looking - things could have gotten very ugly.

Fortunately things did not get ugly ~ peace reigned ~ and these sweet faced children made it home safe & sound. This is actually a lamp. The kids are praying in front of an open book that says "Now I lay me down to sleep". Precious!!

Recently I have been reading about the cool Gurley candles that Barbara has been finding. A few days ago she was posting the Halloween and Thanksgiving candles she just found. I was thinking about how much I like those candles, but never see them at thrift shops. I have a few from my Mom and Mother-in-Law and some I bought at antique shops. Well, lo & behold, the famous 1/2 off sale thrift shop has goodie bags. These are bags they fill full of small stuff and throw a price on it. Sometimes I find great treasures in these bags and the remainder of the bag is junk that ends up in my trash can. Anyhow, yesterday there was a goodie bag with some exciting stuff inside. Like the 2 Gurley candles pictured above.
To this find I say Goody, Goody, Goody!!

Okay now, don't laugh, these were in there too. They are a little worse for the wear and the heat has gotten to one of the candles, but I think that will only add to their spooktacular charm when Halloween decorating time is upon us.

I'm getting a jump on next years holiday decorating here.
These are the kinds of things my Mom used to put out at Easter time when I was a kid. I'm sure that's why they bring about such good feelings for me. See how the bunny has taken a couple of bites from the carrot. So cute.
All in all, I would say it was a good day at the thrift store. I also bought 4 music CDs and 3 votive candle holders. All of this for under $10 and I can also have a clear conscience knowing that I am doing my part to keep things out of the landfills.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Love Impatiens

I love the bright colors of impatiens
the way they keep those beautiful colors going all summer with very little care. I just make sure they have adequate water and they keep on bloomin' all the way til frost time.
Every spring I plant them in pots going up my front steps.

The biggest question each year is what colors to plant. I want them to look showy, but not compete with the brick color.

This spring I stood at the garden center and took a look at all of the different choices. I saw some flats filled with a variety of colors and thought - what the heck - I'll try those this year. I think it worked out just fine.

Every summer, without fail, some new plants sprout up from the cracks between the steps. It is moist there as you can also see the moss. I always leave them to grow right where they are. I kind of follow that motto "Bloom where you are planted".

I'm always amazed at how quickly the pots fill in after planting them. When I first plant them they look kind of pitiful, but in a matter of weeks they are overflowing the pots. You might recognize the one above as it is the one I planted on my June 21st post. ( I would do a link to that post, but I don't know how to. Hey, if anyone wants to leave me a comment on how to do that I would be so grateful).

Well, we're getting near the end of July and summer will soon give way to back to school time. Are you finding time to enjoy your flowers and all of the other good things that summer has to offer?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Healthy Blueberries

~ Blueberries ~

No doubt you have heard about the many health benefits of eating blueberries. Those tiny little berries are packed full of antioxidants that are thought to be helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis, some cancers, memory loss, heart disease and vision problems. In other words, eat your blueberries ~ they're good for you.

So, I'm taking my own advice today and baking up some yummy blueberry muffins.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

6 Tablespoons softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries


Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream together the butter & sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Add the vanilla extract, baking powder & salt. Mix in half of the flour & the milk alternately, mixing gently by hand. Then add the remaining flour & milk. Stir in the blueberries. Fill greased muffin tins or lined baking cups.

To make streusel topping, cut 2 Tablespoons butter into small pieces and mix it with 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon & 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Sprinkle the topping over batter. Bake 25-30 minutes until muffins are lightly browned.

Makes one dozen muffins.

I don't know if all of those health claims are true or not, but I sure don't mind trying to stay healthy by eating some of these.

Now the questions is ~ coffee or tea?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Different Kind of Gardening

~ Gardening & Books ~
2 of my favorite things.

Old, vintage books like this one call my name when I see them.
Look at the darling faces on these children and how about the clothes they are wearing to garden in.

This is how the book in the previous picture ends.
Each page you flip up shows a different flower the kids plant and by the end they have a beautiful flower garden. Then if you want to play around a little bit, you can add a bench, some pots, a watering can & garden tools. My sister-in-law gave this to me last year for my birthday and I was one happy gal. Playtime!!

I'm sure I had this same haircut in second grade.

Such sweetness ~ such innocence.

I don't know what it is about the artwork in children's books from the 40s, 50s and even 60s that I love so much. Probably brings back happy childhood memories. Whatever it is, I can't resist them. They are one of my favorite things to find when I'm out thrifting. There is one artist from that era that I especially love. Maybe one day I will do a post about her artwork.


I hope all of you wonderful ladies in blogland are doing well today and enjoying your summer days. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your kind comments. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit. The door is always open.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Kind of Math Problem and An Award

One pretty saucer + one small vase + one hydrangea blossom
= one quick flower arrangement

Perfect posy for the potty :-)


Now, onto award time!!

I have just received this award from Donna at Donna's Art.

I visit Donna's blog regularly and love what I find when I get there. She is a talented artist with a lovely home & gardens, not to mention two adorable doggies.

The rules are with this award, that as soon as you receive it, you in turn give it to 7 other deserving blogs. The "BWA" is given for "brilliant photos & text"!

Oh boy, I hate to do this, but I'm going to have to break the rules here. I haven't been able to come up with 7 people who don't already have this award. However, I feel all of the blogs I enjoy reading regularly qualify for this award. So, if any of you haven't already received it and would like to participate please consider this your nomination.

Here are the Rules:
~Put the logo on your blog
~Add a link to the person who awarded you
~Nominate at least 7 other blogs
~Add links to those blogs on yours
~Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
Enjoy your award!

Thank you, Donna.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shhh . . . don't tell Peanut

We've just returned from a quick trip.

The worst part of going away is having to leave someone behind.

Peanut starts getting anxious as soon as she sees the suitcases.

She will often head for the closet at this point & hide behind my husband's shirts.

Then, in the car on the way to the kennel, she starts panting & whimpering and shedding like crazy.

Oh, the guilt I feel is almost enough to keep me home.
So, to try & make her (or maybe me) feel better I explain to her how she wouldn't have any fun where we are going and she would be stuck in a hotel room all day.


Now, the questions is . . . .

How do I explain this to her???

While she is stuck in the kennel, other chihuahuas are doing this.

~Click to enlarge ~

Isn't this too funny? Yesterday on our way home I looked out the window at some passing motorcyclists & this is what I saw. My boys & I started cracking up & told my husband he had to slow down so we could take a picture. When we got next to them again, the driver very kindly paced herself so that we could take some pictures.

This little dog was sitting there in his little Harley Davidson vest, hat & shades enjoying the ride.
It's a good thing Peanut can't read my blog.
What she doesn't know won't hurt her.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Got Zucchini?? - - - Make Soup.

Are you growing zucchini in your garden?

Or perhaps you have a friend, neighbor or relative that shares their crop with you.

I have never grown it, but from what I hear if you do grow it, good luck getting rid of it at summer's end. All of those friends and neighbors no longer open their doors when they see you coming with an armful of zucchini :-)

Well, I'm here to help.

I think we all have several zucchini bread recipes ~ how about something a little different.

Presenting . . .

Zucchini Soup

1-1/2 cups sliced onions

1/2 stick margarine

8 cups sliced zucchini

4 cups chicken broth

2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar

3/4 Tablespoon dill

2 boiled potatoes

Saute onions until margarine melts. Add everything but the potatoes.

Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer for 25 minutes.

Ladle into blender filling blender until about half full. Blend until smooth.

Serve hot. Add a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.


That's all there is to it.

Just to show you how quick and easy it is, let me take you through it.

First thing I do is scrub 2 potatoes & put them in some water and bring it to a boil.

Meanwhile, on the next burner over I toss the margarine and onions in a dutch oven and cook them until the margarine melts.

The rest of the ingredients wait patiently for their turn to jump into the pot.

They're in!!

Also in there are the 2 potatoes. I just quarter them and throw 'em in. It doesn't matter if they weren't cooked thru ~ they will finish cooking as they all simmer together happily for the next 25 minutes.

One note here: I put my potatoes in skin and all because I like that added fiber and since everything gets blended at the end you would never even know they were in there. However, if you don't want the skin, peel it off.

After the soup has simmered, ladle it into the blender in batches. I fill it about half full and blend until smooth. I did it in 3 batches.

There you have it.

Dinner is served.


My mom gave this recipe to me several years ago. When she first told me she had a really good recipe for zucchini soup I thought it sounded kind of strange. I was picturing hunks of zucchini floating around in a tasteless broth. Boy, was I wrong. The dill and tarragon vinegar really give it a delicious flavor and the potatoes make it creamy.

This has become one of my most often requested recipes by my family.

I encourage you to try it. It makes a nice light dinner or would also be great for lunch.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Beauty of Butterflies

Right outside my kitchen window a beautiful butterfly bush grows.

Every year I debate whether I should dig it up as it really is too tall to be in front of a window.

We cut it back all the way to the ground in the late winter and by mid summer it is almost covering the window unless we constantly give it a clip and a snip.

When I can have a close-up view of this while I sip my morning coffee . . .

And this as I eat my lunch . . .

Any thoughts of digging it up go by the wayside.

If not for my close-up view I never would have noticed this butterfly is missing part of her wing - poor thing :(

In fact, this morning I was watching the butterflies flutter and trying to think of my next blog post. Not much was striking me. Oh boy, I only started blogging last month & already the well is dry. Not good.

Hmmm . . . sip of coffee, glance out the window. Hell-O!! Wake up & smell the coffee or should I say grab your camera & get snapping. There is beauty all around us just waiting to be noticed.

When you really take the time to notice, butterflies are one of God's beautiful creatures. They look as though they have been very carefully painted. Watching them flutter through the flowerbed is so soothing.

Earlier this spring I changed things around in my china cabinet.

This is my wedding china. It is called Something Blue and made by Mikasa.

What can I say . . . I have always loved flowers and anything to do with the garden.

He looks ready for a garden party.

If they had a contest for best garden hat, he would win, hands down.

A few

butterflies to soften

the top.

Last week I did a little thrifting.

One of my favorite things to find while thrifting are some of the figurines made in the 50s & 60s. They are made in Japan and have the sweetest faces. Most of my collection are angels, but I do have some other ones too.

I felt I scored big when I found these 2 cuties:

You may be wondering what they have to do with my butterfly post.

Angels ~ with butterfly wings.

Naturally, they had to become part of the china cabinet display.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I've Been Awarded!!

I have just received my first award from the lovely CeeKay at Thinkin of Home. If you have never visited her blog, please do so at once. She has a beautiful home in Arizona and posts on a variety of interesting topics. I always enjoy visiting her blog and seeing what she is up to.

This is the Arte Y Pico Award:

How does this award work?

1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name of and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.

4. The award winner and one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

So I pass this award on to :

HappyOne at Captain's Log. I've been reading her blog for awhile and just now realized I'm not sure I know her by any other name than Happy One. Visit her happy blog and you will see that is a very appropriate name for her. She is so pleasant and brings happiness to many people in her life. Also she is a very disciplined daily walker so when I need a little nudge in the exercise department I receive it after reading about her daily walks.

Barbara at Oodles and Oodles. She finds the best things at yard sales, garage sales and thrift shops and she tells the most delightful stories about her treasure hunting experiences. If you love vintage treasures, this is the place for you.

Twyla and Lindsey at Two Crazy Crafters. I think it is so neat that a sweet mother and daughter do this blog together. They have delightful posts on so many crafty and vintagey topics.

Sharon at Rose of Sharon. She is an energetic mom to 4 boys and she still manages to post every day. I enjoy reading about the fun things they do as a family and seeing the clever ways she decorates her home with lots of fun vintage collections.

Judy at My Front Porch. She lives on a dairy farm in British Columbia. The views from her front porch are breathtaking. She just made fresh raspberry & strawberry pies that I guarantee you are worth a visit to her blog.

If you haven't visited these gals before, I encourage you to pay them a visit. You will be glad you did.

We are finally getting some much needed rain here. In fact almost every afternoon since the 4th of July we have had a thunderstorm. My flowers, shrubs and lawn are doing a happy dance.