Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Escape From The Heat

As much as I'd like to be sharing photos of my garden, it's not a pretty sight right now.  The heat and humidity are taking a toll on everything.  If you live in an area where the heatwave has settled in, then you know that it's getting to be a bit old.  So rather than prattle on about things we're powerless to change, let's stay in where it's cool and enjoy other people's gardens.

Let's go on a Garden Walk.
This one takes place in Salisbury, NC.
I actually attended it last month, but I'm happy to re-visit some of the highlights and hope that you too might enjoy it.
The photos above plus the next few are all from one man's garden.  He has over 600 roses.  I will keep my dialogue to a minimum so that you can stroll along and enjoy the beauty.

Aren't they beautiful?

One of the things I really enjoy about garden walks is the inspiration I receive.  The following pictures show some of the ideas that intrigued me:

I love, love, love this combination of plants.

A simple, but pretty combination of colors.

I love potting sheds and found this one to be charming.  Not only was it cute, but the landscaping around it was lovely and ....

check out the wreath. 
As long as we're on the subject of cute potting sheds ...

Look at what was tucked behind this house.

They say that "beauty is in the details" and I love the details on this doorknocker and doorknob.

It will come as no surprise that I like this bit of whimsy :-D

"If friends were flowers, I'd pick you"

I sure did enjoy reading your comments on my last post.
I smiled at the thought of us sitting together in my guest room munching on Mississippi Mud Cake, fresh fruit and endless glasses of iced tea.  Yummy!!  You could all bring your vintage books and we could share the precious artwork.  Aaah... sounds like a perfect day to me.

Keep cool and thanks for being you.

Love Ya.
~ Kim

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Vintage Retreat From The Heat

If you are a fan of all things vintage, I invite you to step out of the heat and into my guest room.

The room in my house where vintage pictures grace the walls and ...

mingle happily with vintage linens.

It's also the place where vintage books get along quite nicely with vintage bookends.  If you like vintage books I'll let you in on a secret feature in my guest room. 

Inside the closet there is a little door and behind that door is ...

my collection of vintage children's books.

These were the books responsible for starting my love of collecting vintage children's books.

When I used to read them to my boys many years ago, I instantly fell in love with the illustrations like this... so happy, so homey, so cozy.  Well, you get the idea, don't you?

The talents of the illustrator to capture the sweet innocent beauty of children captured my heart.  Are there many things cuter than a little girl's pigtails?

Ever since I discovered that the illustrator was Eloise Wilkin, I've been on the hunt for books containing her wonderful artwork.

Thanks to many years of thrift shopping, I've managed to find quite a few.

Along the way I've discovered a lot more children's books with wonderful illustrations and the collection has grown.

I've often thought of this collection as my little retreat from the real world.  The current heatwave has made me retreat inside a little more than I'd like, but it's also given me time to re-visit one of my favorite collections.

So, if you'd like a vintage retreat from the heat, pull up a chair and join me.  I'll provide the iced tea.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Proving That You Can't Judge a Book (or Pie) By It's Cover

" Eat dessert first, so you'll be sure to have room for it"
~ Mildred Rowe
While planning our recent getaway to Virginia, I noticed a restaurant that sounded familiar to me.  When I started to read about the down home cooking and home baked pies that were offered there, I remembered why it rang a bell.
Sure enough it was the same place I had read about in this cookbook recently purchased at the thrift shop.
As long as we were in the area, we made it a point to have lunch at Mrs. Rowe's Family Restaurant.  We also made it a point to save enough room for a piece of pie.  As my husband was eating his slice of lemon meringue he told me about how he used to help his great Aunt Mabel make them when he was a little boy.  His job was to whip the egg whites into that fluffy meringue.  After finishing the pie at Mrs. Rowe's, he said it was one of the best pieces he'd ever tasted.

Lemon meringue pie is something I'd never attempted before.  But when I saw that Mrs. Rowe's delicious recipe was included in the cookbook I thought it was time to give it a try. 
I followed the recipe closely and found an unexpected surprise near the end.

While the recipe said to bake for 30 minutes, it didn't say what temperature to bake it at.  I read and re-read and nope, that little piece of information was missing.  After consulting another recipe for lemon meringue pie, I settled on 325 degrees and cautiously watched it to make sure it wouldn't burn.

Fresh from the oven it was looking good.
I asked Brett to critique the meringue.
Because I chose the "weepless" recipe for meringue, I knew it wasn't going to be as fluffy as some meringues.  Knowing that humidity is the enemy of meringue and we have a preponderance of humidity at the moment, I though this was the best choice. 
The resident meringue critiquer pronounced the meringue looked as it should.  Nice and lightly browned.

The recipe said to allow it to cool and then serve at room temperature or chilled.
As we ate dinner, the pie was cooling.
When the time came to serve this long anticipated pie, we put our forks away and had to decide which of the following would work best:

It seems a better name for my pie might be "Lake Lemon Meringue Pie".  The meringue and crust were fine and the flavor of the lemon filling was excellent, but shall we say it was a bit ... runny. 

The guys in my family didn't seem to mind and practically inhaled their pieces. 

In the end, if life gives you lemons, I think I'd stick with the lemonade.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sisters, Sisters ... There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

While looking through my wedding pictures I came across this one and struggled to keep my emotions in check.

My sister and I.  We share a close relationship.  Through the years we could stay up until all hours of the night talking about anything and everything ... as sisters tend to do.  When I moved to North Carolina we had our conversations via the phone.  It wasn't unusual for our calls to last an hour or two.  She is my older sister and my only sister.  We have a lot in common, but at the same time we couldn't be more different from each other if we tried.

When she had her stroke 2 years ago she was left with her right side paralyzed and aphasia.  When she had her stroke I knew nothing about aphasia.  I assumed that with a lot of speech therapy she would be able to communicate once again.  I thought she might be left with slurred speech, but I had no idea she might not be able to talk or read again.  Sadly as of today that is the case.   When I call her she is able to say "yes" and "no".  She always tries to ask me questions, but there are no words that are decipherable.  I do send letters as I know she enjoys receiving mail, but for the most part someone else has to read them to her.
I don't fully understand aphasia, but I often wonder if it is an even worse fate than being paralyzed.  Since she woke up in a hospital room 2 years ago and was told she had suffered a massive stroke she hasn't been able to discuss her feelings, her fears or ask questions.  When our Mom passed away she wasn't able to put her grief into words or writing. 
I once heard a man on NPR telling about his experience with aphasia.  He was recovering his speech to some extent, but said it was a bit like being in prison.  He knew what he wanted to say, but no matter how hard he tried he couldn't form the words.  I can't even imagine how difficult and frustrating that must be.

I don't know exactly why I'm putting this into a post except that some of you have asked about my sister and I haven't done an update in a while and I guess to be honest I really, really miss the girl talk my sister and I had.  I think most of you understand girl talk whether it be with your own sister or your best friend.

Next month I am planning to go visit my sister.  It will be wonderful to see her.  Communication is a bit easier face to face, but still challenging.  For now I hope and pray that I can be of help to her.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Celebrating 30 Years

I've been away from the blog world for a bit to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

On June 27th, 1981 we said "I Do".
Yep, that's 30 years with the same man.
Thirty years and we're still "doing" and for that I am thankful.
We decided to get away for a few days and head to a couple of bed and breakfasts in Virginia.  It was a very laid back trip.  On the way we decided to stop in Mt. Airy, NC. 

Mt. Airy is where Andy Griffith was born and his childhood home remains there today.

It seems there is some debate as to whether Mt. Airy was the small town that inspired The Andy Griffith Show. 

Whether it was or it wasn't, it sure does have the feel of good ole' Mayberry.

After leaving Mayberry Mt. Airy we drove on many mountain roads with beautiful views as we wound our way into Virginia and the first bed and breakfast inn.  We enjoyed eating at great restaurants, stopping at antique shops, visiting Stonewall Jackson's house and even visiting a local winery.  You'll have to take my word on this as we didn't take any pictures.  I told you it was a laid back trip ; - ).

Our second destination had a lovely view from the balcony.  It overlooks the Pagan River in Smithfield, Virginia.

Smithfield is where the famous Smithfield hams are made.  It has a cute little downtown area and The Smithfield Inn (pictured above) is where Paula Deen has filmed some of the commercials for Smithfield hams. 

While I was checking out some of the shops, Brett had a chat with Ben.

The Christmas Store was having a Christmas in July sale. 
One of the windows was done up with a red, white and blue Christmas tree along with Uncle Sam.  Very cute.
Inside they even had Santa visiting.  He was dressed in his red pants and a patriotic shirt.

Now we are home once again and as I sit here typing away, the fireworks are going off all around me.  It's a week long event around these parts (much to the chagrin of Peanut who likes to hide in the closet and whimper). 
It was good to be away and now it's good to be home.
I'll be around to visit just as soon as I get the suitcases unpacked and the washing machine humming.
In the meantime, Happy, Happy 4th of July to all of my readers in America!!