Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Big Girl Legs

There is nothing "delicate" about my legs. It's a blessing and a curse. They're quite sturdy and they look it. Every time Fall comes around I'm on the hunt for a pair of knee length boots that will encompass my generous calves and ankles. I prefer knee length so I can wear them with skirts and dresses. I tried on some ankle boots but they're just not my style. They look incomplete.
Boots that zip up are out of the question so I must have a boot made from a material that pulls up and stretches. Last year's pair were made out of a stretchy material from the ankle up but they look quite shabby now and have to be replaced. I tried coloring in the scuff marks with a Sharpie, no good.
Just a few days ago Mom and I went into the new Shoe Station and found a beautiful pair! They're made of a flexible suede material with a pointed toe. They're very flattering and were on sale. In fact the price of $25 (with a 20% off total coupon) was so good I bought a black pair and a brown pair. I'm considering going back for the gray and red ones. They're called TEENA by Rampage if you'd like to try them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grand Garden Gnome Costume

This is the most adorable costume I've seen in quite a while. I found it on Martha Stewart's site. Yes, I've gone back to Martha but only for the next 3 months. No one else does Halloween or Christmas like her team. Anyway, a genius mom posted her little cutie onto the site.
I was really tempted to make this costume for Charlie but I think we'll save it for next year when he'll be walking. I'm going to make this year's costume, a mummy. I have some directions that I found online but really every time I've pulled out my sewing machine lately it's not worked out. I should plan a back up.
My master plan involved my daughter being a mummy as well but she could not be talked out of the peacock idea. A mummified peacock or cat was as close as she would go. I really regretted showing her that absurdly priced costume in a catalog. However, luck was with me at TJ Maxx where I found a beautiful peacock costume this week for $19.99. It needs some cute tights and maybe a mask for a finishing touch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Charming Accessory

I ran across a cute blog, Whimsy Love, and had to try one of her projects called the "Bug Catcher Necklace". Nikki has lots of ideas! Some are quirky like "Tiny Tushie Art" where you slather your baby's bottom instead of their hand in paint and make a print. I'm of two minds on that one. Her photos are quite beautiful as well.
Back to the necklace craft, her idea was to use the plastic bubble from vending machines and make a charming necklace that can hold small bugs or treasures. My daughter is quite fond of bugs and tiny treasures so it's a perfect craft for our house!

Katherine and her friend Eleanor spent 30 minutes threading beads and ending with a cool necklace. They wore them all day. A craft that cost me .50, thanks Nikki!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My What Sparkling Toilets You Have!

Why thank you Edward! I have been battling inherited hard water stains. Clearly the previous owners never found the answer or just gave up to this unsightly problem. I've read all kinds of hints and products about getting rid of the ring left by the water in the toilet.

Here's what I learned:
1. The best way to empty the bowl for cleaning is to pour a bucket of water into it. Somehow the toilet flushes itself and does not refill. It was quite magical! Beware of squatting in front of the toilet after you've cleaned and then flush. I was splashed several times when the water gurgled up. Sometimes I can be a slow learner.
2. My 1st try to get rid of the hard water stain was with a product called "The Works" which claims to get rid of lime, rust, and hard water stains, not so. The Works bottle is now in a bag destined to be returned to Target.
3. Second try was pouring a 2 liter of cola into the drained toilet bowl and waiting for a couple of hours then scrubbing. This did lighten the ring but it's still very much there. Lucky for me the 2 liter was a free Pepsi from Domino's Pizza. We're Coke fans around here.
4. Third try involved pouring Borax onto the ring and letting it sit for 30 minutes then scrubbing. Again the ring is getting slightly lighter in color but it's still there mocking my efforts.
5. Fourth try was spraying "Oven Off" on the ring and letting it sit for 30 minutes. I actually let it sit for 45 because I forgot about it. Nothing happened. Nothing.
6. Fifth try was using a product called "Bar Keeper's Friend" that is in a Comet like can. Again I drained the toilet but had to scrub right away as per the directions. It came off! I couldn't believe it. The thickest part of the ring took quite a bit of elbow grease but it did come off.

What's up with the pictures you ask? I thought it in good taste not to share photos of my ring around the collar toilets or now sparkling toilets. And can you believe your eyes? Yes, this is Bella not looking whiny or bored.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Granite Debacle Continues.......

In an earlier post I shared our misfortune about a miscalculated piece of granite counter top. At that time we were waiting on the company to find another slab to match the other side of the kitchen. When it was delivered it was a completely different color. I was told that the piece was just really wet and would dry lighter. "You lie!" I wish I could shout like some people. We are now on our 3rd piece.
The third piece we received matched close enough but has now developed a greenish stain in two different areas that the installer has "never seen before". He tried using a blow torch to get rid of it but to no avail. They think the piece is full of copper that has oxidized.
It has been 3 months now and we're still waiting for this project to be finished. Sadness.
Above are my new salt and pepper pots that I leave on the counter to cook with. I was always fetching the salt and pepper shakers to and from the table and the stove but now I feel so Food Network Star with these new pots. They came from Wal-mart for about $3 each.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Doughnuts!

My mom recently made delicious homemade doughnuts. She pulled out an awesome Nesco fryer from her kitchen cabinets that we couldn't remember seeing before. I'm not an owner of a lot of appliances because I hate trying to store them in cabinets or worse, on top of the counters. But this fryer was pretty cool.

Here's the dough that she cut with her nifty vintage doughnut cutter. We found this for a couple of bucks at an antiques mall. The donuts had a nice cake texture with a bit of Fall spice. We tried using powdered sugar as a topping but it just wasn't as good as the icing recipe.
They were a big hit with everyone! In fact I was so busy eating them that I forgot to take a photo of the end product.

Doughnut recipe:
4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup buttermilk

Mix all ingredients together then refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll out dough and cut. Drop into hot oil and turn over. Cook until both sides are brown then drain on paper towels. Top with confectioners sugar or icing.

Icing recipe:
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp. milk

Whip all ingredients together and dip the doughnut.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caramel Apple Mess

I've been cooking recipes out of my new Gooseberry Patch cookbook with a lot of success. I was feeling confident with my skills and tried the caramel apple recipe. (These two beautiful photos are not my end product but from the experts at Southern Living and Country Living magazines.)
It was tiresome opening 100 packages of small caramel candies and my bag of apples looked pretty battered. I should have picked out the apples individually. But I was not daunted yet. The candy melting went well and I was careful not to get burned however, trying to get the apple covered took me a few tries. What worked best was tilting the pot on it's side letting the caramel pool then swirling the apple into it. You must pop any bubbles that form on the apple right away or you will end up with a seriously afflicted looking ball that no one will eat.

The problems began when I tried removing the apples from the buttered wax paper after they had cooled in the fridge. The paper would not come off! I eventually used kitchen shears to cut the apples away. I sent 4 wax paper bottomed apples to my neighbors, I did include a warning.
The clean up was the worst part. Getting the caramel to come off my plastic spoon, ladle, pot, and cake stand took A LOT of hot water and scraping. Caramel apples will not be one of my family's traditions.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mail on a Rainy Day

Our Friday morning was a bit dreary and rainy and our little Charlie is sick with allergies and teething. But my day turned sunny when some packages came in the mail. My first package was a vintage book from my childhood, "Puppies Are Like That". I bought this from Amazon for about $6.00. It's a story of what trouble puppies get into. The illustrations are of different breeds of puppies, so cute!

My second package was from Magpie Ethel (one of my favorite blogs)! She bought a bag of vintage fake flowers at an estate sale and discovered two sprigs of fake peanuts in the bunch as well. What do you do with fake peanuts?! I commented on her blog that they could be make into a corsage or hair piece for a peanut festival. Since we have one here in Alabama she sent them to me with the challenge of crafting them into something cute. Dothan's Peanut Festival is at the end of October so we shall see what I can come up with! We've never been to this festival but it sounds like fun. Have any of you been?