Family, home, decorating, travel, shopping, even a few recipes and crafts........all the things that make life interesting!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Be My Valentine

I got out my digital cutter today and attempted some valentines. This was my attempt at a 
Valentine Garland:

After cutting out several sizes, embellishments were added, cut up kids valentine necklace from Joann's, and plastic rhinestones in various sizes and shapes plus ribbon. (Colors are much more vibrant, however photos were taken in the evening, giving it this yellowish appearance) All strung together with red and white bakers twine.

I made a valentine Garland for a good friend of mine to use at her salon.
I think I will experiment some more with various papers folded in a fan and 
different kinds of glitter.

It's all strung together with red and white bakers twine. Smaller hearts are folded in half and 4 of the halfs all glued together to form a 3-D heart. Other hearts have just two heats glued together with twin in between.

 The popular customs associated with Saint Valentine's Day undoubtedly had their origin in a conventional belief generally received in England and France during the Middle Ages, that on 14 February, i.e. half way through the second month of the year, the birds began to pair. Thus in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules we read:

For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.

For this reason the day was looked upon as specially consecrated to lovers and as a proper occasion for writing loveletters and sending lovers' tokens. Both the French and English literatures of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries contain allusions to the practice. Perhaps the earliest to be found is in the 34th and 35th Ballades of the bilingual poet,John Gower, written in French; but Lydgate and Clauvowe supply other examples. Those who chose each other under these circumstances seem to have been called by each other their Valentines. In the Paston Letters, Dame ElizabethBrews writes thus about a match she hopes to make for her daughter (we modernize the spelling), addressing the favoured suitor:

And, cousin mine, upon Monday is Saint Valentine's Day and every bird chooses himself a mate, and if it like you to come on Thursday night, and make provision that you may abide till then, I trust to God that ye shall speak to my husband and I shall pray that we may bring the matter to a conclusion.

Shortly after the young lady herself wrote a letter to the same man addressing it "Unto my rightwell beloved Valentine,John Paston Esquire". The custom of choosing and sending valentines has of late years fallen into comparative desuetude.

(There were at least 3 Staint Valentines throughout history.)

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bucking the Custom

There is a small metal pannel on the side because your refrigerator after all is just a giant
message center that coincidentally also makes your goodies nice and cold, so my next
project is to make this look better, I am going to wallpaper it so that it actually
looks like a cute bulletin board.

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When we moved into this home it was new, it was already built and we had no choice on finishes and so have spent all out time changing out those finishes because they were the least expensive the builder could find. I couldn't stand the kitchen cabinets, they were oak...and as kryptonite is to Superman, as Golden Oak is to me. I painted them and took out the inside upper cabinet panels and replaced them with frosted glass panels. We had a new refrigerator from our previous home (pride of the Hubby) but it was black and the Hubby is Irish and not about to let go of that fridge to just buy another. Now there is nothing that makes me weak kneed faster than mis-matched appliances, the sheer thought keeps me up at night. So my solution was BEAD-BOARD!! I love this stuff, I would make everything out of bead-board if I could. They key is to get the cheapie thin stuff, and some trim, and a lot of glue and magnets. Measure each door, make sure that you stop short of any obstruction like handles or hinges, trim it out, glue on the magnets, and VIOLA!! you have a custom paneled refrigerator. Now to make this believable you must add bead-board to other things in the room, in my case the front of my island was what I chose to add more bead-board, to as well as a wall panel to hide the flatscreen wiring running down the wall and the front of the window seat (see below). Should you ever want to remove it, you can however if you know you will never go back, just glue it right onto the refrigerator.

Monday, January 16, 2012

After the decorations come down, it's reevaluation time....

When you have not seen your "regular" rooms for a month it's time to reevaluate your design. It's always such a shock after all the Christmas decorations are put away and you have not put your room back to the way it was pre-holiday. It looks so barren, cold and forlorn. You're getting a chance to see your room with a new eye, and at this point the problem areas, or areas that look tired or dated really stand out, also this is a time where you can address furniture placement that just isn't working for you. We plan on expanding our kitchen sometime this coming year when we can get the time to do so (I really dread demo-ing the tile counter tops). Anyway, the space between my kitchen island and my window seat is where the breakfast nook is suppose to be. I have not always used it as such because I use the family room which is in the same room with the kitchen as a dinning room because I use the livingroom and dinning room in the front part of the house as one big livingroom. It's just kind of become a musical chairs kind of situation, except for rooms, all because my children grew up and got their own homes, darn them :).  It just works better for us at this point to have large room instead of smaller ones repeating the same function. We get a lot of company, sometimes over the course of several days and this re-arrangement has been the best idea I've ever had (if I do say so myself). Ok, I digress....so the most annoying part of my house has been that unnecessary breakfast nook. So last week I got "THE VISION". I decided a big long table was just a bit awkward when just the Hubby and I were by ourselves, so I created a small eating area for just the two of us, great for candlelight dinners, and when company comes I can just add the chairs back into the dinning room table when our guests come back to stay with us.

The pillow below was something I found while visiting Yosemite this past summer. I had always coveted the fun look of the pillows of all the national parks that Horchows carried (http://www.horchow.com) though I do not think they do so any longer as I have not seen them. However when I was having lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel I went into the gift shop and saw the pillows, they were $150 which I find to be too much for pillows, I mean there are soooo very many pillows in the world and so little time to get them all, you must have some criteria to pair down the selection, price is a very good divider. I still loved the pillows and they were fabulous (however all hopes were dashed that I would own a full set of all the National Parks) when I happened to notice dish towels for a fraction of the price with the same basic design (minus the hand stitching) and promptly grabbed one. When I got home I stitched all sides together and stuffed it and viola...a pillow very close to the one I have coveted at Horchows.

check out http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com/ for other cost cutting projects!

and this is the $150 pillow (it's all hand stitched), I think mine will work out just fine. I am thinking any of the dishtowels sold at giftstores on our travels could be transformed into funky pillows!


Linked to http://modvintagelife.blogspot.com/ For Mod Mix Monday

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Eureka! the school lunch rolls we all loved, and lost

These rolls are JUST like the ones the cafeteria ladies make in the school lunch rooms! And the quantity will need to be reduced because this is enough to feed the whole lunchroom!
3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon white sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
3 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
10 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, melted
In a large bowl, mix together the warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let it stand for about 10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy.
Mix the milk, eggs and salt into the yeast. Measure the flour into a separate bowl, add 2/3 cup sugar, and crumble the shortening into it using your fingers until it is barely noticeable. Gradually stir the flour into the wet ingredients. Mix using a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball around the spoon. Cover with a hot wet towel that has been wrung out, and set in a warm place to rise until double in bulk. This should take about 45 minutes.
When the dough has risen, pour the melted butter over it, and knead for about 2 minutes. Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1 inch thick. Use a knife to cut into 2 inch squares. Roll squares into balls, and place into greased round pans, spacing about 1 inch apart. Let rise again until doubled in size. You could also refrigerate the dough, and let it rise overnight for baking the next day.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake the rolls for about 12 minutes, until golden brown.