Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sundress Must Have.

During the summer, I love to wear sundresses and shorter skirts. Not micro minis; just "shorter". But I hate wearing slips underneath said dresses and skirts. It's just so HOT! However; with the lighter fabrics of summer skirts and dresses, you're in danger of the see-through factor. Not to mention the breeze catching your skirt factor. Or any number of ways in which you could accidentally expose your nether regions to innocent, unsuspecting passers-by. Ahem.

I sometimes wear light shorts under my sundresses and skirts but often they feel bulky and annoying.

 I think I have found just the thing for this issue:



1950s era "undershorts".

 I bought these a few weeks ago for inventory in my Etsy shop and just got around to photographing and inspecting them today. I had assumed they would be too small for me, but popped them on anyway just to see, and they fit so I am keeping them and wearing them under all my sundresses from now on.

 On first glance, it looks like a half slip; but behind the front panel thingy there is a crotch built in. They're comfy and pretty and I am wearing them under a sundress as I type.

 Dress and skirt wearers, both vintage and modern, take note! Vintage "pantalettes" or "undershorts" or whatever you want to call them, are the way to go!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am SO DONE with chickens.

This began as a venting facebook status this morning and morphed into a tirade.....

 I think I am going to make this farm a fowl - free farm. And let me explain why.

 When I moved in here, I had visions of an adorable farmette, complete with a clothesline and chickens and veggie  and flower gardens. You know, like you see in all the magazines. Cute.
 So we made our "chicken park" out of a tiny log cabin builgins (built in the 20's and originally used to store canned goods, etc.) and tall steel dog kennel panels. And I had visions of going out in my sundress and vintage floral apron, and collecting large brown eggs from nest boxes where fat and fluffy hens had deposited their daily fruit; like all farmgirls do in the magazines and movies, and books  and such. Awwwww.


 So we got some eggs from a friend and I incubated them; they hatched, and I had about 20 chickens. They were all killed a few months later by foxes.

 Then our friend gave us over 20 game chickens, and plumed heirloom birds with fancy feathers and whatnot. They were so neat looking. In one night, all but two or three were killed by the foxes. Or skunks, or coons, or whatevers. But we're pretty sure it was foxes.

 Last year, I bought 25 more chicks from the feed store. When they were old enough,  I let them go free ranging all over the place, and one by one were picked off by foxes, skunks, or killed in the road ("why did the chickens cross the road?" was a very legitimate question asked in my house).

It was so quaint, I thought, to see my chickens puttering about the place; so "farm-y" and "cute". But it stopped being so "cute" and became downright annoying when they started scratching holes in all the mulch in the flower beds, and digging holes around all my plants, and worst of all, pecking holes in my tomatoes and other veggies in the garden.

 I didn't see "cute" feathered fowl when I looked at my chickens, I saw chicken and dumplings. And chicken salad. And chicken divan.

 There were eggs.... healthy, 100% organic free-range eggs from happy hens. When I could find them. "Free range" meant hunting for their nest day after day, until I finally found it; hidden away in some dark hole in a brush pile, or in the back of the barn where you have to climb over a mountain of junk to get to them; or under the barn where you have to find a hole in the floor and hope your arm is long enough to reach the egg pile in the corner, just barely out of range or your grasping fingers. Then, once you discover the nest, the spiteful, conniving hens move their laying spot to a new top secret locale, just to be mean.

 And, because of the fox killings that had gone on in their cute little log cabin hen house, they didn't like to go in of their own accord. They decided that the thing to do was roost on my front porch furniture. So every night I had chickens or varying numbers perched on my white wicker porch furniture. And my white wicker porch furniture was covered - and I mean covered - in chicken doo. And every night we had to pick them up and carry them to their coop, and secure the doors and windows. Every night.

 One night, during the nightly visits from the fox in which they managed to get one  bird per night for a whole week, I decided to let the chickens stay on the front porch and I was, by God, going to bait that fox and shoot him. We kept the front porch lights on and slept on the sofa in the front room and waited. Just as I thought, about 3:30 am, I heard the chickens make a commotion on the front porch. I jumped up ahead of Kevin, grabbing the shotgun we had sitting by the front door. I was going to put and end to the fox issue once and for all. I've never shot an animal before, but I was totally prepared to shoot this one. I was sick and tired of buying and feeding chickens just to feed fat foxes on a nightly basis! By the time I jerked the door open and brought the gun up to shoot, that evil fox had dragged a hen, screaming and squawking, across the road and into the tobacco field, where her squawking abruptly ended, and the fox disappeared with his dinner into the darkness; leaving me with nothing to shoot at. Plus, it's illegal to shoot across a highway. I bet that no good fox knew it, too. Stinker.

 The four chickens that survived the foxes last year lived through the winter and gained my good graces. This spring, I declared that they would not be free ranging anymore, because of the damage they did in the gardens last summer; so we kept them locked in their chicken "park", and my garden was safe and life was great.
I was overcome by the cuteness of the spring chicks at the feed store in the early spring; and I broke down and bought 20 chickens. Cute, fluffy little yellow balls of adorableness; populating my cute, adorable chicken accommodations. I already had folks asking to buy eggs when they started laying. More visions of quaint farm scenes formed in my mind - but I hastily pushed them aside. I started getting over the "cutesy farm" thing a while ago; along with the fantasy of farming in a floral apron and sundress - the first time I got on a tractor to bale hay, and ended up having to fix the flywheel on the baler all by myself with two wrenches and a bolt in the middle of the hayfield on the hottest day of the year and got home at 10:00 pm covered in hay, sweat, and axle grease. 
There is really not very much cutesyness in farming; no matter what you may see in magazines. Trust me.

Anyway, back to my chicken issues.

I raised 20 chicks this spring, and when they were feathered out, moved them into the chicken park. A few weeks went by. I started to think I had finally outsmarted the wicked fox and his kin. One morning, I discovered a small portion of the chinking between the logs in my log cabin hen house ripped out and one of the little birds missing. We fixed it. A few weeks later, we found half the young chickens missing and feathers and blood and a body or two - and the boards from the door pushed in. We fixed that. The next day he managed to get in again and kill more..... leaving me with six white leghorns, one red one, and my four grown birds from last year. It's been several more weeks and we've made some improvements to the chicken park; and thought we had this licked once and for all.

 No such luck. This morning Kevin found one of my lovely big red hens from last year - the most faithful of the egg layers - dead. The fox had somehow slipped in a crack around the door; ate his meal, and escaped; unable to drag the meal with him, since he slipped in such a small crack......

 One of the other hens escaped when Kevin went in, and ran up here to my garden, where she proceeded to eat holes in every single one of my almost ripe, big, juicy tomatoes that she cold get to.

 I have done everything short of electrifying my coop to keep varmints out; or making it from solid, reinforced steel and shatterproof glass like some sort of maximum security prison cell.

 At this point I am thinking it is easier for me to go to the farmers market in town and buy my eggs from now on. 

Anybody want my chickens?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bugs Explores The Garden

We've had our new little baby, Bugs, for about a month now. He has grown from being a tiny, traumatized, and timid blighter to being being a fun, playful, kitten! We absolutely adore him. (As we do all our cats.)

 We only recently started letting him outside the house for supervised play time out of doors. (He is still so little, I am afraid he'd get lost or wander into the street if left unattended outside.)







 I finded a toy under here!

I just can't reach it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Kinda Collect Vintage Handbags.

I started collecting vintage handbags when I was a teenager; that's how I got into collecting everything else along the way. I have gathered quite a stash.... and growing....





 I bought this one today; brown straw with a clear plastic handle. A little shabby, but still cute.


I bought this one from an Etsy seller recently; it's black satin with a petit point floral spray on the front. I love anything with embroidery on it.


 And just last week, I picked this up at one of my favorite thrifts; along with several other vintage bags (someone must have been dumping the contents of their closet!):


 Brought it home, researched the label, and found out it's real croc skin. 1950s. In nearly perfect condition. I won't say how much I paid for it; your heart might break.

 So....... I guess you can say I love handbags. Just a little bit. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime pie is my favorite pie, ever. I first remember my mom making it from a recipe in her "Indian River Cookbook" that was published in the 50s. The book's inside cover had an ad about the benefits of electricity in the home.....

You see, my Mom grew up in Florida and our family has quite a history there; and Florida is where Key Lime Pie - my favorite pie - is from .

 My mom went to  Cocoa High School. She played in the band, and surfed, and lived for a while at her Aunt and Uncle's citrus grove on the Indian River - which is still occupied by our family members today. Even though the pier is gone, and the sailboat sank in one of the last hurricanes, the grove is still there. My great Grandmother lived two blocks from the ocean in Cocoa Beach.
Later, when my parents got married, they lived in some other Florida cities like Miami and Gainesville; where the family finally settled for awhile,  until moving up to North Carolina, where I was born. We moved back to Florida for awhile, and lived out in the country until my sister was born. Then we moved back to NC after a couple of years. But, we went back to visit frequently.

  My Mom and my Grandmother both, took us to all the cool places: The Devil's Millhopper (a sinkhole), Payne's Prairie (where we walked the trails and saw gators in the wild - close enough to touch) Lake Alice (where we saw one gator fight another one once). We also went to the Kennedy Space Center all the time -  the rocket graveyard was the coolest. We've been to St. Augustine over and over - for kids, there is nothing cooler than exploring the Costillo de San Marcos, and all the buildings in the living history village;  taking the ferry boat to Fort Matanzas; or climbing the 200 some steps of the lighthouse - where my Aunt worked as a guide for a while. The Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings House and Farm Yard was pretty neat, too. And probably the best of all, tubing at Ichetucknee Springs. 

 Florida is like a second home to me.... and writing this now, I want to go back for a visit. *sniff*

 But, back to the pie......

"Key" limes come from the Florida Keys. ("Key" limes are grown in other parts of the world as well.) A Key lime is much smaller than a regular Persian lime. And I think their flavor is more "limey", and fruity. They're best when yellow. You should be able to find Key limes at a larger grocery store; you may also be able to find bottled Key lime juice.


Key lime pie is made from condensed milk originally; and still is. You can make it with water and cornstarch like the Lemon Meringue pie from a few posts  back; but I choose to make it with condensed milk, like the original.


In the early, less populated days of Florida's history, refrigeration was scarce in the Keys - because electricity was scarce in the Keys. So the milk the residents had was condensed, canned, and boated in. And so, Key Lime pie was born. 


Key Lime Pie

3 egg yolks
1can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key Lime Juice
1tsp. finely graded rind of the limes (just the green part)
1 graham cracker crust, baked
1 cup whipping cream
2-3 Tbsp. sugar

Fold the condensed milk, lime juice, rind, and egg yolk together  until blended. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and cool
Whip the cream with the sugar (more to taste) until stiff peaks form; spread over cooled pie. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. (You can use regular lime juice if you want.)

( Most recipes include meringue topping; but I prefer whipped cream; lightly sweetened.)


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sour Cream Coconut Cake


I got this recipe from a stash my husband has. Yep, my hubby likes to cook - not so much bake, but cook, yes. I guess he just collected recipes that he thought looked yummy. I have no idea where he got it from. I have no idea how old it is.

I was fascinated by this particular recipe, because it has an unusual twist; and you know me: anything strange and unusual, I am all for!

 The recipe is printed on a  a faded newspaper clipping; about 2 inches square. I had to tape it onto a index card to keep from loosing it. The first part reads:

 "A friend in a local shoe store asked for the recipe of the Refrigerator Sour Cream Cake. She likes it because it (here's the kicker) keeps for weeks. The flavor improves with age."
 I don't know about the "keeps for weeks" part; I'm not going to go there. I did make the cake, and if you like coconut, this cake is just the thing for you. I am not crazy about heavy coconut desserts - unless they have lemon curd involved somewhere; but in my opinion, this is a halfway decent coconut cake.

First of all, make sure you have space in your fridge for this cake to reside for at least four days.

Second, make sure your fridge is clean and no onions or garlic or other pungent items are in there, uncovered. The cake will take on the flavor in your fridge. (And no, I don't know this from personal experience; I just know that my Mom always told me this, and if a cake is going to live in your fridge for several days, this would happen.)

 Step one: Make the filling.

 16 oz. sour cream
2 cups sugar (or a little less. it was really sweet.)
24 oz. shredded coconut

Mix together in a bowl, cover, and keep in the fridge for one day; stirring occasionally.

 Step two: Make the cake.

 Not hard. I used a yellow cake mix, and did 2 round layers. Or, you can do this in a 9x13 pan.

After the cake is cool, spread the filling between the layers, and on top; but not on the sides. The filling is going to be a good inch thick or more. Glop it on.

 Cover (I used a huge mixing bowl and a glass cake plate) and refrigerate for 4 fays before cutting.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Old Things I Still Use: Vintage Juicers

I love to collect vintage kitchen gadgets; and I like to use them - if they're still useable, and if I can do so without damaging them.

One of the gadgets I love to use are old juicers. I have several in my kitchen; and I use a couple of them all the time.







 There are all kinds of other styles of vintage juicers.

 Here is one I'd love to have; a pink depression glass repro; available here. It is in two parts with the juicer sitting on a handled measuring type cup.


Things were really made to last, back in "the day".  With all the citrus to be enjoyed in the summer months, I use my juicers frequently.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads" - It Worked For Me.

Yesterday I mentioned that I was on a nutritional plan for tiredness and fatigue, and that I had lost some weight on the plan as well. Catherine asked me about it, so to answer Catherine's question:

A few months ago, I complained to my mom that I was feeling tired and run down all the time. I felt like an "old woman", I told her. I was tired by 2 PM, and ready to go to bed at 5 PM. Once, I pulled into the driveway at my barn to ride horses, at about 5 PM,  and never made it out of my truck. I fell asleep right then and there, and slept until my sister got there a little while later and woke me up. I was also getting headaches all the time.

I was dragging around every evening, until I would  finally fall asleep on the couch, or head to bed before 9 PM.
I was sleeping well all night, so that wasn't the issue.
 I wasn't doing an excess of hard physical labor.
I had no idea what was up, but I didn't like it. I need a lot of energy to keep up with my busy life.

 Right about that time I got a book from my sister in law, Katie. I found it in her Suburban one day when I was babysitting my niece and nephew. I stole it, and began reading it.

 It changed the way I think about food, and eat food, forever.

 The book is "Skinny Chicks Don't eat Salads" by Christine Avanti, CN.


 I highly recommend the book.

 Here is what I learned about myself and my eating habits:

 As the weather started warming up, I did my usual "Get rid of winter flab" thing: I started eating less and less.

 I ate something like this: Granola and low fat yogurt at 7:00 am. Leftovers from dinner, or a sandwich, or a wrap, at 12:00 noon. Dinner was usually some kind of lean chicken/fish/beef and veggies, or some stir fry, or casserole, etc. at 7:00 or 8:00 PM - or later, depending on when I got done riding horses and working in the yard/gardens.

 So of course I was feeling tired by 2 pm! I was going from 12:00 noon to 8:00 or 9:00 pm without eating anything, and drinking water and sweet tea. I was eating the right foods; I was just not eating them often enough, in the correct proportions.

 I was also not eating many carbs. I don't eat much bread, so the only carbs I was eating were occasional flour tortillas, or the morning granola, or maybe some rice  - usually brown. And of course, whatever carbs are in different fruits and veggies and the like.

 So here is what I learned, in a nutshell:
 You need to feed your body every 4 hours. After 4 hours without anything, your metabolism starts to slow down because your body thinks it's "starving". And, your brain needs glucose to function.
That doesn't mean eat like a piglet every 4 hours. It means eat something smart and healthy every 4 hours. And, well-balanced: a protein, a carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. Very little refined sugar; if any. Sugar makes me so tired!

 So this is how I changed my routine:

 I try to eat within 1/2 hour after waking up. I am NOT a breakfast person, so this was a challenge. Then I eat a small lunch at 11 am.  And I eat a second small "lunch" at 4 PM, even if it's just a low fat cheese stick and some sliced turkey. I eat again at 8 pm (after horses and swimming and gardening), and if I am not in bed yet, I will eat a bowl of pop corn or something again at 11:30 - 12 PM - although, I don't usually stay up that late.

 You can't eat processed foods or tons of sugar, or sodas or any of those things; this only works with whole and healthy foods; but you eat more often. Also, she goes into how bad "carb-free" eating is for you. Your body and brain need the glucose from carbs - healthy carbs. Not white bread carbs. Not eating carbs will make you tired and cranky; and sluggish. (And, despite the title, you can still have a salad. It's just a cute title, poking a little jab at people who only eat salads and practically starve themselves into the size they think they need to be. I, myself, love taco salads, with black beans and home made salsa.... mmmm)

 Anyways, I did it for a week and I felt better each day! My energy came back, I was like a tornado getting things done in the house, I felt sharper and less sleepy. And, even though I wasn't really on the plan to loose weight, I noticed, and my husband noticed, after a week on the plan, that I had lost some weight;  mainly noticeable in my mid section. I didn't even try. I wasn't wanting to loose a bunch of weight; I like the way I look, and don't obsess about being a particular size, or number on the scale. I had gained 10 lbs. after getting married three years ago and just never shook it. I just learned to accept it.  It was the lack of energy I was disturbed about.

 If you're having such issues, I suggest reading the book; and see if the plan works for you. Especially read the first half of the book. Most of the rest of the book is about meal plans and exercise.

This is the first diet and exercise book I have taken seriously; because it worked - for me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Lucky Find - And An Awesome Gift

Looky what I found at  "Sallies" yesterday.


I went over the dress racks and debated about a bunch of different dresses that just weren't the "vibe" of my shop; nor things I would wear myself. I moved on to other parts of the store to browse and ponder, then returned to the dress racks once more before leaving, to affirm my decisions not to buy what I had been looking at; when I spotted this. I don't know if I passed over it before, or if someone put it on the rack after I walked away, but as soon as I saw that print and the cuffed 3/4 sleeve I yanked it off the rack in a flash!


At first I was expecting to use it as inventory for the shop; because I never find things from the late 40s, postwar early 50s era that fit me - the waists are always so tiny. But then I got home, and decided to give it a try; and what do you know - it fits  me like it was made for me! (This is partly due to the fact that I have been following a nutritional plan I read about in a book; for tiredness and fatigue. The plan worked for my tiredness and fatigue, and I lost weight - mostly in my middle - to boot! That's a post for another day, however.)





It's a Pat Perkins label. In 100% cotton.

 My sister gave me the umbrella; that she picked up at an antique shop in Staunton, VA. She said I had to go to the shop.... and mentioned something about the entire second floor being full of "racks and racks" of vintage clothing.

Anyhow... I estimate the umbrella/parasol to be pre 1950s - maybe even pre war? I think it's from the 1930s at least. The handle is metal and (what I believe to be) lucite. The end knob is engraved in a lovely monogram. I love it.



Oh and the shoes in the photos? I found those at the same store, at the same time as the dress. By Blowfish. They were a perfect match; it was like it was meant to be.

 I love it when that happens!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie Rocks My Socks

I love love lovelovelove citrus desserts. Even more than chocolate desserts, since I found out chocolate gives me headaches.


One of my favorites is classic lemon meringue pie. I began trying my hand at making lemon meringue pie in my middle/late teens the "easy" way; with sweetened condensed milk. I also had a heck of a time getting meringue right.
Eventually I decided to search out a "no-sweetened condensed milk" recipe; the way the pie would have been made in the good ol' days - because I love that kind of recipe. The originals. The oldies, but goodies. The ones that take a little longer; the ones that aren't "fast" or "easy"; the ones with "Grandma's" somewhere in the title.

So I fooled around with some recipes using plain milk. (Not condensed.) They tasted good; but the pies fell apart when sliced and served. I don't know about anyone else, but I like for a slice of pie to remain in an upright posture when presented on a plate; not succumb to gravity and spread out into a pile of sugary blob. And that's what the milk recipes did; they turned into a pile of yellow glop as soon as the pie was sliced.

 So I did some more reading and looking at recipes; and I noted that the really old ones used water; not milk. So I altered my recipe; using two lemons instead of one; omitting the standard 2 cups of milk, and instead used 1 1/2 cups of water. I also cooked it till it was truly thick, and not just "thickened".

 And as for the meringue: It has taken me many repeated and failed attempts over the years to get meringue right. I figured it out, finally. Room temperature egg whites, and working fast with the egg whites. Perfect every time now.

I use beans to weigh my crusts for pre-baking. I guess I ought to get some pie weights. But this old fashioned method has served me well for years......

 Just so you know, I did not personally eat all my recent experiments; I brought it over to my parent's for my dad to do away with. Hehehe

 Old Fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie (No Milk)

 1 cup sugar
 1 Tbsp. flour
 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 1/2 cup water
 2 lemons, juiced and zested
 2 Tbsp. butter
 4 egg yolks, beaten
1 pastry pie shell, baked
 4 egg whites
 6 Tbsp. sugar

 In a med. heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, flour, and salt. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and have ready.
 Cook the lemon mixture over med. high heat until boiling. (Will be thick.) Stir in the butter. Gradually mix in 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the egg yolks.Whisk back into the saucepan. Cook at a gentle boil, stirring constantly, until thick; one or two minutes.  remove from heat and pour into the prepared pie shell.

 Beat room temperature egg yolks with an electric mixer until foamy; begin adding 1 Tbsp. sugar at a time and continue beating until high peaks form. Spread on top of the lemon filling while it is still warm and seal to the edges of the crust. Bake in a slow oven (300 - 275) until meringue is lightly browned. Cool, an serve.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Farm Kids and Hummers

Emilie and Ethan.

 I love that my nieces and nephews work on the farm with the adults. This weekend we did a lot of our hay and the kids were right these alongside of us. They can't do much work, yet, but they're learning by observing.
 My 11 year old niece Abi did begin learning to drive the hay trailers through the fields; and picked up some bales.

The humming birds are back! I made some feeble attempts to get some pictures of them. I stuck my hummingbird feeders in the midst of a bed of lilies and they  love it.



I have discovered a downside to extensive gardens.

 The time it takes to keep them up.

 I feel like I spend every waking moment in the garden/yard.

And I am getting ready to embark on my biggest project yet - a massive bulb garden in the front yard, with iris, glads, tulips; and whatever else comes my way - complete with a antique hay rake for climbing roses to ramble over. (This entails more moving of rocks - ugh)

 But I just can't stop. I  am attached to this idea of sprawling, cottage style gardens surrounding the house. Gardens growing willy-nilly and spontaneously all around me.

 Every day, just about, I find myself on line somewhere, reading about gardening - because I am not a natural born gardener.

 I go to Lowe's, or Home Depot, or Wally World and look around, pick up a pot of something and think to myself "this is pretty". Buy it; take it home, and stick it in the first available patch of empty dirt I spot. That's how I am "designing" my cottage gardens. Also, people give me cuttings of this or tthat, or give me cast off bulbs, slips, etc. from thinnings and I just stick them anywhere that seems good.

 I only hope that, one day (in the not too distant future) it will begin to make sense and look like the dream in my head.

 And, my hope is to not have to plant everything every year; but to have returning plants.

 We'll see it my mad gardener method produces the desired - and expected - result. Then I can sit on my patio and enjoy my flowers, hummingbirds, and cats while drinking sweet tea and reading a magazine.

 That's the plan. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Office Before and After Pics; Part 2

Sorry for the cruddy, dark photos. I took them at a time of day when there is very little natural light in the front rooms of my house, and my camera doesn't take good indoor photos without natural light.

 Okay, let's venture into some of the rest of my studio/office/den room.

 Keep in mind: This room will eventually have to be gutted when we re-wire the house. There has been some water damage to two of the walls, and the bead board has buckled.

 Also, the fireplace, which is a working one, has to be re-made into a heat resistant hearth and wall, for our very hot, cozy wood stove.

 What I did in the room is basically a temporary fix.



 The original mantle pieces in the house were, at some point, replaced with more ornate ones. Years ago, when the house was vacated after the resident passed away, the mantles, many of the antique light fixtures, rugs, furniture, etc. were stolen - or otherwise removed - from the house. When we moved in, there was no mantlepiece here; just a hole in the wall.

 However.  Upon exploring in the barns, I found the missing original mantle piece belonging in this room! Now all the original  plain mantle pieces are in place.

After the painting was done, but before I arranged it all


I got rid of the tall, boring, white Wally World book case and brought in a wrought iron, shorter shelf. I have my embroidery and vintage sewing books here, along with some vintage sewing baskets. I also stashed my home made dress form in the corner; wearing a white maid's style apron.

My new slip cover from Sure Fit; it's the "Lexington" one that also comes in pink/red. I pinned it up on the bottom, though.

 This is a fashion plate from a vintage 1927 magazine. I love it. The distressed turquoise colored frame I picked up at a yard sale.

 This is a throw pillow I made by drawing the "B" monogram on an old stained table linen, embroidering it, and then sewing it into a pillow.

 The fire place. I wish the wood stove wasn't in the way but there is no possible way I was budging that monster out of the shot. To cover up the fire place holes in the summer, I came up with this cool idea: a shower curtain rod and a length of fabric. Done.

 I hung a big print of some roses above the fire place; but what I really have in mind here is a large, antique, distressed mirror and frame. I am on the lookout.


 In the reflection in the glass of the print, you can kind of see the vintage light fixture. It's frosted blue glass. Hence, my use of blue in this room. The large white milk glass vase was something I found lying at the dumpster and rescued. (Yes, I rescue things from the dumpster.)


 The corner cross ways from the chair corner;  now complete. The dresser was a vintage Goodwill find, already painted green. Here, I used some pink; which I may get rid of.

 The corner I am not showing is the sofa corner because it is just a blank wall and a comforter tossed over a sofa. Bleh. I need to buy a new sofa and decorate the wall with................... something. Working on that. I also need a room sized natural colored rug.

 So for a temporary fix, I don't think it's too bad. It's tolerable; at least I can work in the room and feel inspired instead of feeling like I was working in a store room; or a dungeon.