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Monday, June 30, 2008

Heirlooms and art swaps

For the past month, Miss Sandy of Quill Cottage has been hosting a blog~a~thon and a three part art swap entitled "I Remember Laura". The final installment requests that we share our cherished family heirlooms. In keeping with the theme I thought I would show a set of six silver teaspoons that were given to my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Ingalls and his bride, Emma on the day of their wedding from my great~great grandfather, Lansford James Ingalls and his wife Mary.

The spoons rest in their original presentation box. (Which is held open by a skeleton key.) They were purchased from Henry Buckstruck, jeweler, 11 East Seventh St. St. Paul, MN. There is an "I" engraved on the end of each spoon. A true treasure indeed.

Before I ship off the box of art swap treasures, I thought you might like to see what I made.

Miss Sandy provided the supplies to create three Laura Ingalls Wilder themed tags. I made one extra as a thank you for Miss Sandy.

Next up was a blank recipe card, and fun trinkets so that we could share a favorite food.
Here is the front.

Left interior.

Right interior.

The back of the small book has a quote referencing Laura's wedding cake from
"These Happy Golden Years".

Here is a second little book that I made. Miss Sandy gets to keep whichever one she likes the best.

Front cover.


The back has a quote from "Farmer Boy" regarding pies and cakes.
Lastly we had to altar a 9 patch quilt square and a photographic image. Given that LIW is such a wonderful author, I made my two into a book bag, with a small inner pouch for pens, etc.

I had a hard time stopping, so I also made up some goody bags for all the participants. Inside the bag is a vintage hanky, candy and the supplies to make a few tags.

Here's to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Miss Sandy. Thank you so much, it was fun!________________________________________________________________

Last week's quote:

"Music is the universal language of mankind."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I have been tagged ~ paper tagged that is

We had a birthday to attend last Monday and as we finished wrapping the gift I realized that I still had quite a few kiddie gift tags left but had nothing on hand for other occasions. To say I always like to be prepared is an understatement. It was a good thing that I had recently received a wonderful package.

It was an absolutely beautiful tag kit from the wonderful Wanda of The Rat's Pajama's. Yes, it was time to get creative. This is where I always pause because not only do I not have a craft room, I don't even have a craft corner. When I decide to craft I normally set up shop in the kitchen area. I am the type of crafter that must pull out everything because who knows what will inspire creativity. So, my kitchen counters end up looking like this:

My daughter, who was attempting to make breakfast burritos yesterday said, "Mom, when I go away to school next year, maybe you can turn my bedroom into a craft space, because it is not working trying to cook and craft in this kitchen." I replied, "I am already planning it on paper. " (Smile)
So here is what came from my crafty attempts:

I like to challenge myself by only using leftover scraps when creating a tag.

I quite like my floral fairy tags.

Shades of pink.

"Red", she said.

I am not sure if I will be able to part with these blue beauties.

I also finished all of my crafts for the "I Remember Laura" blog~a~thon and art swap that need to be mailed today. I'll save those pictures for Monday.

The good news is that I now have one empty bin that I can once again can begin filling up with scraps. Who says spring cleaning needs to be in the spring?

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

16 again and in love with George Michael

You could ring up any of my friends from high school and ask them what my favorite band was and I am sure that they would all provide the correct answer. So feverish was my adoration for Wham! that it could only be rivaled by the girls in the Ed Sullivan audience when the Beatles first performed. George Michael was my favorite of the dashing duo.

My allegiance continued even when George went on to a solo career.
George made some bad decisions that were well documented in the tabloids and consequently broke my heart. Eventually I grew up and got over it. A few months ago my daughter, well aware of my teenage crush, mentioned to me that George was coming to town. I immediately said that I wouldn't go. I would instead cling to my perfect memory of a concert that I had attended when I was 16. I happened to mention to my oldest and dearest friend T that he was coming. Before I knew it, I had 2 tickets in my hand and she had booked her flight from LA.

Above images

Last night when the lights dimmed and the first few bars of an all to familiar tune began I entered a time portal and became 16 again~ screaming ensued, as well as some jumping up and down. (This is all quite embarrassing to admit. :) Like the rest of us George has aged, but he still had the moves. More importantly, he still had the voice. For two solid hours the man sang and I was deliriously happy. He has resumed his postion of first love on the pedestal of my heart.

Of course this is a decorating blog, so I thought you might like to see his gorgeous home.

This 16th century masterpiece is located an hour outside of London on the river Thames.
George in his library that houses several antique books.
The kitchen features an Aga cooker, which is a staple in many British kitchens.

Above images
Sigh~ look at that garden. Isn't it lovely?
Thank you T for a great memory and yes Cyndi, he did sing "Careless Whisper".
Last week's quote:
"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. "
Laura Ingalls Wilder, author

Friday, June 20, 2008

Favorite Recipe's & Cookbooks

Miss Sandy from Quill Cottage is hosting an "I Remember Laura" blog~a~thon. This week she is asking for favorite recipe's.

Of course one of the most famous recipe's from LIW herself is a gingerbread recipe.

1 cup brown sugar blended with 1/2 cup lard or other shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this. 2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
Mix all well.
To 3 cups of flour add one teaspoon each of the following spices: ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves; and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.
Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.
The mixture should be quite thin.
Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

For modern day users I generally set my oven at 350 degrees. I also like to sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar across the top.

There are a few "Little House" cookbooks being sold today. This one is in my personal library.

It is by Barbara M. Walker. It features a collection of recipe's mentioned in the books and also recipe's that were popular during the time of Laura's childhood. Try the "Huckleberry Pie".
Another cookbook featuring a favorite literary heroine of mine is "The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook" by Kate Macdonald.

There is nothing finer than eating "Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches" while sipping "Diana Barry's Favourite Raspberry Cordial".
I just love the Mitford Series by Jan Karon and was thrilled when my friend Betty sent me the "Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader". I often make "Cynthia's Banana Bread" and "Puny's Cornbread". For my upcoming 40th birthday I think I may attempt "Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake".

I love to host theme gatherings. A perfect cookbook that provides entire menu's based around holidays and special occasions is "Celebrate!" by Sheila Lukins. I have tried the "St. Patrick's Day Feast" "Mother's day Luncheon" and "An Old Fashioned Halloween" with great success.

My favorite house guest in the world will soon be arriving. Tracy is my oldest and dearest friend. We have known one another since 3rd grade. Tracy and her daughter Kourtnee will fly in this afternoon. For this occasion I have been perusing "The Taste Memories of Childhood" in"Lost Recipes" by Marion Cunningham. Anyone for "Shoofly Pie"?

Now all of this cooking requires an apron.

Head over to where the Apron Queen is graciously giving away vintage aprons.

Let me close this post with a smile. Recently I made a meal my 6 year old found quite delicious. After eating and eating he sat back with a groan and said, "I wish I was fatter so that I could eat more."

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gilt, gold leaf and ormolu

My 50th post! I can hardly believe it. This occasion calls for gilt, gold leaf and ormolu.

This 18th century Louis XVI chair features carved giltwood and its original Aubusson tapestry upholstery. A perfect perch for springtime.

These 19th century French apothecary jars are made of porcelain and feature gilt on the finials and border.

This beautiful azure Louis XV desk with gilded molding makes my heart beat a little faster.

Gold leaf can also be used for gilding but must contain at least 92% real gold. It is often found on picture frames such as this 19th century painting featuring a tranquil scene of a shepherd with his flock.

Gold leafing can often appear on mirrors such as this Italian Rococo example. This French settee from the 1920's personifies casual elegance with its gold leaf frame and muslin upholstery.

The interiors of these 19th century apothecary jars feature hand appliqued gold leaf. Can you imagine the patience required to do this?

Ormolu (or gilt bronze) is created by applying finely ground high karat gold to an object of bronze. True ormolu is no longer created due to the mercury fumes that are released when the metal is heated. Most guilders died before the age of 40 due to the exposure. Ormolu was often used in the decorative mountings on objects such as this 18th century kingwood desk.

This Louis XVI marble mantle clock features bronze and ormolu.
Reproduction pieces such as this Louis XV styled commode can often be found at estate sales and flea markets for an affordable price.

All images from 1st Dibs

I am also celebrating my very first award! It is the Arte Y Pico award.

This award was presented to me by the delightful Carol at Charli and Me . Carol's blog features the funniest cartoons, beautiful pictures, fantastic memories, and intriguing, thought provoking posts.

The award states that it is "dedicated to many who nourish and enrich the spirit and creativity. They see dedication, creativity, camaraderie, joy, and above all ART, much art. I wish that this prize is entertaining to all those bloggers and to bloggers who day by day share this space and enrich it a little more each day."

I shall now have to think about who I would like to bestow this award on. There are so many wonderfully talented bloggers that inspire me.

Thank you Carol for this wonderful honor. It encourages me to keep on writing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Over the river and through the woods

Yes indeed I traveled over many rivers and through the woods to arrive at my Grandmother's home. She is near Grand Rapids. Judy Garland fans know that this is the birthplace of the beloved "Dorothy". It is a lovely spot in America if you ever get the chance to visit.

Here is my lovely grandmother and I. She has the sweetest twinkling blue eyes.

This picture is one of my favorites. It hangs over my grandmother's sofa. She aquired this picture when she was a very small child. Her family went to an estate sale and she was given a whole fifty cents. This is what she purchased. Can you imagine a small girl selecting this above all other treasures?

More favorites. These pictures were a gift to my grandmother on her 16th birthday.
She is now 84.

Many of you know that I collect antique and vintage dolls. This photo shows the guilty party who is responsible for that. (Smile) My grandmother ran a doll hospital for many, many years. She still does some special work. Here are two lovely dolls that she plans to finish.

I brought about ten years of projects home with me. First is an entire shoe box full of "yo~yo's" that will make a lovely bed covering.

Next are pieces for a fan quilt. I asked her how she came to have these. She said that she loved going to estate sales and was always so sad to find unfinished needlework, knowing the amount of time someone had invested. She always had plans to finish the quilts, but unfortunately now has terribly painful arthritis. I smiled and told her that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. When I go to an estate sale I too always end up bringing home some doily or hanky that some woman had lovingly created.

Isn't this a beauty? Every piece is hand stitched. I just love the colors and patterns of the old cloth.

Here are more examples of needlework that she has collected over the years. In the coming weeks I will select examples of crochet, drawn work and others that I will write about at length. It will be so fun.

Given that she restores dolls, my grandmother has boxes upon boxes of old lace and trims to embellish dresses, bonnets and such. I must share a laugh. One evening while I was there, we went out to dinner and we both spotted on the diner's community bulletin board a flyer that said "Estate sale". Here I am a thousand miles from home wondering how on earth I am going to close my already stuffed to the gils suitcase and my grandmother already owning boxes of things and I was walking over to investigate with her calling after in an excited voice "See when it is and write down the address!" How sad we were when we realized that the anticipated event had already passed. Then I said, "Like you or I really need anymore stuff!" We both started laughing. Yes, we are trash to treasure seekers to the bone.

This is better than a pirates chest. Click on the picture to enlarge it. Delicious!

I brought home two plates that belonged to my great grandmother Emma. My grandmother said that her Ma (who was of German decent) would only keep a piece of china if it had a German label. Both of theses pieces passed muster. I am so glad.

Last week's quote:

"If we expect to enjoy our life, we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not just at stated intervals when we can get time or when we have nothing else to do. "

Laura Ingalls Wilder, author