Monday, August 30, 2010

My Studio WIP

I moved my studio/office to the east side of my home, the room where my son lived until recently. I've been blue since he left, and needed a project to lift my spirits. One morning my dear husband brought a folding table up from the basement and placed it in the room. With this gentle nudge, I started to set up my new space. Using only things I already had, inspired by Jayme, I went to work. It's still a work in progress, though I've been sewing a little. I couldn't wait. The space is working great for me. The room is much larger and filled with light. The first photo is of my old office. With an Amish inspired quilt I made and a favorite photo my dear son took as a starting point, here's how it went.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Historic Methodist Camp Ground

After finding 3 rummage sales in DesPlaines, (A few towns over from mine) my honey filled the Tom Tom and off we went. What we found was the Historic Methodist Camp Ground. I've lived in the Chicago area for my whole life and had never heard of it. It was purchased in 1865. Before there were established congregations and churches to house them, circuit preachers roamed the countryside carrying the message. The circuit riders traveled from small settlement to settlement and hatched the idea of bringing larger numbers together in one location for extended services. Thus the summer camp was born. I found all this info on the Historic Methodist Camp Ground website. If you're local, and have never seen this camp, you have to visit. It was a trip back in time. The grounds are lovely, the cabins, though many in disrepair charming. Everyone we met was friendly and proud to talk about the long history of this amazing place. With the jets of O'Hare overhead the only reminder that we were in present day DesPlaines, we wandered the grounds and imagined what it was like 150 years ago. The songs of Oh Brother Where Art Thou were humming through my head. I found it all magical, as did my husband.
The rummage sale was in the Dining Hall. I read that they rent out this space. It would be amazing for a wedding. So ROMANTIC.
This building is called the Waldorf Tabernacle.
I was charmed by these shutters, and the whole camp. Talk about stumbling upon a treasure. In case you're wondering, I purchased a tray. A Currier and Ives tray. Remember a few weeks back I found Spring and Autumn? Well, I found Winter. I also found another dishpan, at the same wonderful price as the other,$1! I hope you stumble upon something wonderful today.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Hostas are Blooming!

When friends and family visit, they never mention the hostas, until this time of the year. They always say, when did you plant these flowers? To me they signal the end of summer. What signals the end of summer to you? Do you go kicking and screaming into Autumn, or welcome it?
I've made some changes around here that I'll share with you next week. Until then my friends, enjoy this beautiful weekend.

P.S. Happy Happy Birthday dear Carmella!
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Nicest Things Happen When You Blog

A package arrived with a gift from Wanda and Sara of The Perfect Pear, In Crystal Lake, Illinois. I wrote about their beautiful little shop I visited on our staycation. They thanked me with a package filled with goodies! I had admired so many things in their shop on my visit, but especially their vintage looking tissue paper. I spent hours trying to make white tissue look just like theirs. Wanda remembered, and sent a generous package, ready for me to craft with. And as if that wasn't enough, they sent along a beautiful wire photo frame and some vintage cards. I told you in my post about my visit, how much I appreciated my welcome at The Perfect Pear. Thanks so much to Sara and Wanda, I was so happily surprised by your generosity. If you're in the area, visit
The Perfect Pear, 87 Grant Street,
Downtown Crystal Lake, IL 60014,
Open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Vintage colored tissue...
Vintage inspired French Envelopes...
And a wire frame, so cool... My honey's baby photo is going in this one!

Also, I recently posted about The Bridges of Madison County, and I received a kind comment from Sharon Lovejoy! She is an Author, Illustrator and Lecturer. I remembered reading her columns in Country Living Gardener. She is an award winning author, and kind enough to encourage this old woman but young blogger. Check out her blog, Sharon Lovejoy writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island.

Thanks to all of you who comment and encourage. Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Crafting with Emma

Emma starts school today, the forth grade. She spent her last day of vacation with me and we crafted. She has the crafting and creative gene that runs through our family. I have to mention that hair! It is almost white from the sun, just beautiful.
We worked with an oldie but goodie, shrinky dink plastic. You color with pencils, and then shrink the plastic with a heat gun. Em loves to color and draw.
It was so sweet to spend the day with her, and hear all about her summer and her hopes and fears about the new school year. I know she'll do great.
Here is a little something I just finished. I found 3 skeins of yarn called sayelle at a rummage sale for .25 cents each. This is a yarn my Mom loved to use, and I wanted to make something for my home with it. This is the pillow I came up with. This basket weave pattern is so easy, and will look great on the sofa this autumn. We have some lovely weather for a change. Enjoy this beautiful day.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Zucchini Bread

The harvest of zucchini starts my fall baking. Even though it's been so hot, I still crank up the oven when I am gifted with the abundance of my sister-in-law's garden. I start by peeling and seeding. Some of my baking friends use the whole zucchini, skin, seeds and all. I use my food processor to grate the zucchini and store it in zip lock bags in 2 cup packages. Just enough for 2 large loaves. I keep it in the fridge for up to a week. I didn't like the results from freezing, so I use it and freeze the loaves. That works really well. This recipe is available online, though I have added a couple of my own suggestions to it. I always add orange zest to my zucchini bread. My micro plane gets a workout, but the addition of this simple ingredient makes this bread aromatic and delicious. I also add a little nutmeg, a little goes a long way so just a half teaspoon is plenty. I use a crumble topping, made with one half stick of butter, half cup of brown sugar, half cup of flour and half cup of chopped nuts. I use pecans. This topping is mixed and crumbled on top of the bread before it goes into the oven.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
zest of two oranges

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and zest until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans, add crumble topping.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

I've also baked this recipe in small aluminum pans. I made 8 loaves from this recipe and baked them for about 40 minutes.
This may not have been the prettiest loaf, but it sure was delicious. Everyone, from the pickiest eater, (ME!) loves this bread. Makes the house smell so good too. Enjoy this beautiful day.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Bridges of Madison County

Sometimes, on an August night, my mind wanders... Everyone knows the story... A photographer from National Geographic Magazine goes to a small town in Iowa to photograph the famous covered bridges... I liked the book, but I loved the movie. (Even though I thought it was miscast, Isabella Rosalini and Sam Elliott would have been my perfect Francesca and Robert.) I have several books about the movie, one has photographs that Clint Eastwood took while making the film. I've watched the film so many times, I even have the soundtrack.

On the way home from a trip to Colorado years ago, we took a small detour and drove the back roads of Iowa. We kicked up the road dust just like in the movie, and found Roseman Bridge. IT WAS SO DARN ROMANTIC! (Even with our three kids along.) Just something about August, reminds me of Iowa... to ancient evenings and distant music...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rummage Sale Finds, My 100th Post!

It's makes me happy to find a treasure, and I found some great things lately. First is my handled dishpan. It was filled with small tools and junk, but I only wanted the pan. The 3 gentlemen manning the table, made me a deal I couldn't refuse... Take all the junk and you can have the pan for $1! I tried to stage a pretty vignette, but the mosquitoes had other ideas. I ran inside before I got bitten.
The platter was such a lovely robin's egg blue, and the price was right. I use so many serving pieces for the holidays, I can always use another pretty piece. The broom is child sized. I happen to know a small child who loves to help.
Since I'm in my blue period, I had to show you the canning rack I got to display my blue canning jars. The vintage tablecloth, though damaged, will make some patriotic pillows for next years 4th of July decorating.
This needlepoint pillow washed up beautifully, and is a perfect addition to my growing pillow collection.

I want to thank everyone who has been so kind and supportive to me as I reach my 100th blog post. I was a lurker when I met some wonderful women at a blogging event in February. They helped give me the confidence to write that first post, and hit PUBLISH. If I was a better blogger I'd have links to all their beautiful blogs, but mentioning their names and blogs will have to do. Jennifer Rizzo from Sanctuary Art, Amy from The Maisy Report, Joan at Anything Goes Here, Suzanne from At Home with the Farmer's Wife, Heidi, who started it all, from Dreams Intertwined, Rebecca from Vintage Living, Joy from Savvy City Farmer, Tracy from French Larkspur, Cindy from Cottage Instincts, Jayme from Tales from the Coop Keeper, Anne Marie from Na Da Farm Life and Annie from Drawing a Blank, who spoke from the heart, and inspires me still. I may have missed a few names from that day, but I'll never forget the inspiration I took away from our time together. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Material Girl

Material Girl is the name of a fabric store in Crystal Lake, Illinois. I had been there once before, last year when I was looking for some fabric to finish a quilt for my daughter. The store has a new owner who has transformed the place. A pretty chandelier hangs over the vintage glass counter. The walls are covered in white bead board, and the fabric, WOW. They have everything, including a wall of vintage buttons and trims. Crystal Lake is worth a visit, so many pretty shops, and the drive up Route 14 is scenic. Material Girl is at 21 N. Williams Street. I am happy to have a fabric shop that isn't a chain relatively close by. I bought a lovely Autumn panel, that you would never find at a large chain store. As soon as the weather cools a little, I'll be back at my sewing machine.
We visited our good friend Lake Michigan, to end our week of local fun. For me a visit to the Lake is like taking a little vacation. We walk the beach, avoiding the holes dug by every child there, it seems. Our kids did it too, the minute we hit the beach they started to dig. The sunset was the perfect way to end our staycation. I have some rummage sale and estate sale finds to share in my next post, my 100th post!

Thanks for coming along, and enjoy this BEAUTIFUL day.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Part 1, Our Staycation

We are enjoying our vacation time staying at home and enjoying day trips around the area. As I visit other blogs, I jot down the names of places I'd like to visit. My Honey at the wheel and the GPS take me to where ever I want to go. (Lucky me!) This visit brought us to Crystal Lake, Illinois. Lara at Air Kiss mentioned a Mother and Daughter she met at the Kane County Flea Market, and that they had a shop called "The Perfect Pear" in Crystal Lake. So, off we went. I had the best time. The shop is small, but filled with beautiful things, beautifully displayed. The most important thing was a smiling, helpful owner...Wanda. Don't you love when you visit a shop and you are treated like company? Wanda is lovely and gracious. We talked blogs as I asked permission to take a couple of photos. It is a little gem of a shop, one of those places where you'll love everything. It's located at 87 Grant Street, in downtown Crystal Lake, IL, and open on Friday and Saturday only. The downtown area of Crystal Lake is filled with cool shops and restaurants. I also visited a great fabric shop, but that's another post... Enjoy this beautiful day.

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