Closer to Home

…and what’s been going on here at this old house. I’ll start with the latest and work back.

We switched out our old fireplace insert for a new one with no brass and a larger window, quieter fan and more efficiency. We are happy with our choice. While the installers were at my house on Wednesday I scrubbed down all my kitchen cabinets and scrubbed my hardwood floors.

No I don’t have my Christmas Tree yet, but can you believe all the Christmas merchandise in the stores already? I digress…

I posted this photo to show you the 3 bookshelves full of books that on Thursday while I waited for the Inspector to sign off on the fireplace insert I dusted. Yep, each and every book and all the shelves. My wrists and arms and knees are calling for a couple days off now! And speaking of Christmas our mystery tree this year is going in a new spot and I’ll show you that in December!

I received a package from bj (Sweet Nothings) in Texas because my name was drawn on her giveaway. She has such a good sense of humor and I enjoy visiting her blog.

A few Saturdays ago Katie and I met some friends at the Seattle Center for the Northwest Tea Festival. We enjoyed sipping tea samples and then we all went out for lunch at a Thai Restaurant close to the center.

These girls have been friends since elementary school.

My new getting out and exercising plan is continuing nicely. Some views from my walking trail…

On a overcast morning I thought this boat and it’s reflection was very cool and look at these great looking mushrooms!

The following week these same mushrooms had spread out to a huge flat top and I didn’t have my camera with me. Epic fail…

After exercise class this morning Katie and I are headed to University Village for W Day in honor of the University of Washington homecoming. We’ll be wearing some vintage sweatshirts from when Dear was in Pharmacy School at the University of Washington. There are special offers and discounts available from merchants if you are wearing purple or UW-licensed apparel.

img108Katie and I look a little different now but we’ll both be wearing a sweatshirt like the one I’m wearing here at Disneyland back when the University of Washington went to the Rose Bowl and played Michigan on January 1, 1992. Dear was able to get tickets for the Rose Bowl game and we decided to take a family trip to California and enjoy a day at Disneyland with the kids and time with family for Christmas. Fun memories…

Hope you all have a good weekend!

Fresh News

Do you need a fresh new sandwich idea? Click over to the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog for this sandwich combination.

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P1050567I still can’t show you our finished bathroom…because it’s not finished. OYE! In fact after they wrap up today and clean everything up they will still need to come back in a couple weeks to finish up because of some boo boos. Part of the flooring needs to be redone and of course it’s on back-order and 2 cabinet fronts need to be replaced. We have come to the conclusion that we are not good candidates for hiring out work. In the meantime, I have found some nice accessories to go in the updated bathroom like that brushed nickel soap dispenser above.

P1050573Other news from this old house…apples are falling off the tree.

AugustAnd these beauties are brightening up the yard and deck.

What’s new at your place?

The Three Birds Pub…

…or Public House. All secrets will be revealed and all projects will finally be shared from the mysterious sewing and planning for this evening of “Celebrating” good friends and good food.

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We had a wonderful time at a “Thank You” celebration at this old house Pub on Sunday November 10th. We wanted our friend from England (who now lives in Washington) to know how much we appreciated his offering of his parent’s home in Porthtowan to us this past September. He not only offered their home but also gave us some great recommendations for things to do while we were there.  Our guests were very surprised when they arrived to our house Pub on Sunday!

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We decided to name our pub “The Three Birds” because of the 3 birds on our stained glass window.

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The reader board is from a business our son Josh had when he was in high school. Dear spray painted one side of it with chalk board paint that you can buy at craft stores. We used Union Jack duct tape to frame the chalkboard and frame some other signs that we made for the evening. Our daughter in law, Laura, did all the printing on the chalk boards. The printing on the signs were my effort…oye.

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In England a lot of Pubs have Beef and Yorkshire pudding as specials on Sundays so we decided to do the same since our meal was on a Sunday, too.

As you stepped into ye olde pub you were greeted with various scarves from English premier league futbol (soccer) teams.

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We had lots of fun with our signage…

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We carried the bird theme wherever we could. These sweet birds were in a flower basket that Josh and Laura gave me for Mother’s Day symbolizing my 3 little birds that are all grown up now.

2013-11-10 Pub Night2Laura printed the names on the place cards, too. See the bird place card holders?

Pub Night 045This was another Chalk Paint project that Dear painted for me. I bought the white photo frame from Michael’s on clearance for $11.88. I liked the shape of the wood frame. Dear took the glass out of the frame and spray painted it with the Chalk paint. We let it dry and waited a few days before we treated the chalk paint as directed by rubbing chalk all over it and then wiping it off. Now it was ready to go. I stuck on the stickers and Laura printed out the menu.

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These banners were some of my sewing experiments. The front banner is just a short twine tied between our island pen lights with 3 of the 12 napkins I made for the table. There were only 9 of us at the table so I used these 3 to fill in the air space in our kitchen/eating area trying to cozy things up to look more like a pub. I’ll be brave and show more close up detail on my sewing efforts at the end of the post.

Pub Night 025Each place setting had a poppy broach that I made by cutting off individual poppies from a bouquet stem of poppies that we bought at Hobby Lobby. I used wire cutters to do that and then attached stick on pin fasteners on the backs so they could be pinned on easily, or not so easily as it turned out. The reason we decided on the Poppy broaches was to commemorate Remembrance Day/Veteran’s Day since our time together was on Veteran’s Day Weekend and Poppies are worn extensively in England during this time.

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The centerpiece was filled with some items that we would see on pub tables when we were in England and some things I added. I wanted to use as much pewter as I could.

Pub Night 011I used pewter mugs that Dear and I bought in England in the early seventies for our flower arrangements.

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The napkin rings were silver tea pots. All the plates were made in England. I used a combination of three different blue and white transferware.

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These are the rough cut napkins that I made from a yard and a half of British themed fabric. I was able to get 12 napkins from the yardage I bought. I trimmed the runner with some bias tape I found in my MIL’s old sewing box. I also used bias tape for the little triangle cut outs that were left over from my original Pub banner.

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Now to the most important reason for our evening…our guests!

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The lovely ladies with their poppies on. Left to right, Katie, Laura, Gwen, Terri, and Sophie. Terri and Gwen are sister in laws. Terri is married to Gwen’s brother Luke. Luke was too sick to be able to join us. Sophie is one of Terri and Luke’s daughters.

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Our guest of honor Gabriel with his wife Gwen and Josh and Laura. It was fun to share our England experiences with our friends and to thank Gabriel in person for his generosity to us and his great suggestions on what to see and eat in Cornwall.

Last but not least was our dessert.

Sticky Toffee 017Sticky Toffee Pudding. I will be posting the recipe at Mennonite Girls Can Cook on Wednesday, November 13th.

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We said farewell to our guests with our stomachs full and our hearts full. A most wonderful evening. Our kids helped us clean up and we went to sleep content with visions of Prime Rib and Yorkshire pudding dancing in our heads. If you want a tried and true recipe for Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding for your Christmas Holidays this year make sure you order one of our Celebrations Cookbooks. If you gift someone with this book you are also gifting children in Kenya who need clean water to live well. All of our author royalties go to this cause.

Sticky Toffee 013For the next couple days I think I’ll sit with my feet up and enjoy this book that I first heard about on Vee’s Blog, A Haven for Vee.  It finally arrived last Saturday. We ordered it before we traveled to England! What is on your schedule this week?

I’m linking up to Cuisine Kathleen’s Let’s Dish. As soon as her direct link is up for this week I’ll add it to my post. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to link up. Looking forward to seeing what’s going on in Dish world!!

Do You Measure Up?

We thought we had measured the inside of our closet well before I headed to Ikea to buy some new storage pieces for our T.V. and a 2nd closet in the guest room.

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The T.V. stand is working perfectly and just how we planned. The storage units for the closet were another matter. I picked up this large square piece and another section that was narrower and taller to put on one end.

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Seems our measurements were 3/4 of an inch off. I knew my handy dandy Dear would figure something out or we’d just stick the tall unit in the basement. The figuring someway to squeeze it in was the more favorable option because I wanted to maximize the storage in this closet. The solution was to take the support for the upper shelf completely out. See that white upper board at the end of the closet with the hole in it that was a hanger bar?  Of course that also meant we had to take the entire upper shelf out during the process, too. We still had to partially disassemble the tall unit to get it in and then to lift the unit while it was in it’s place to tighten the screws. Are you confused yet? Too bad I didn’t YouTube the process.

Ikea storage 002It’s quite the feeling of accomplishment when you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and know you conquered assemble yourself furniture! That is one snug fit let me tell you. Oh my aching back…

I’m also quite pleased that I have some empty cubbies to add things to in the future. Have you had fun projects go south on you?

My mom and pop are doing well being left alone at night. My mom has had some tough days with her heart feeling very heavy. When I talked to my pop this past week one day he told me my brother had made homilets for them for breakfast. On Tuesday he said my sister Kathy had made something Mexican for them with beans… saucekitos or something. My family loves to document what we call “Moisiisms”.

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My mother and father have never had lobster, scallops or shrimp so my brother Steve made lobster and scallops for them last week and my sister Lana made a shrimp dish for them to try on another evening. My mother really enjoyed the lobster and left the scallops for my brother to enjoy.  I forgot to ask how she liked the shrimp. I really can’t remember having much fish growing up. Maybe once when my pop went deep sea fishing and caught Yellowtail. I do remember camping at San Clemente Beach in California when the Grunion were running and catching some and running up to the campsite to cook them fresh. The Grunion running experience was a great one for me. “The grunion are running, the grunion are running, was chanted down the beach after waiting in the dark for them to appear. You could see little silvery fish emerge from the waves onto the beach and they would start digging into the sand to lay eggs. Wow this post has really gotten away from me.

Here’s a short explanation from Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, “Spend a night sitting on Southern California’s sandy shore waiting for the “grunion run.” Grunion are small sardine-size fish of the silversides family, which are among the few species of fish that actually come ashore to lay their eggs on sandy beaches. They are found from Southern California south to Baja California and arrive at night after the high tide around the new moon and full moon. Cabrillo Beach is one of the better places to observe the fish.”

So you see if you don’t measure properly you will find your mind being random and scattered and full of fond memories of carefree days…

Here’s that Yellowtail I mentioned earlier. This was taken in our backyard in Montebello Gardens (Pico Rivera). That’s me and my brother Tim watching my pop clean the fish.

028_28-001Hope you have a perfectly random day!

Happy Workers…

I love workers that smile and we had 4 of them at our house yesterday.

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When the workers arrived the head honcho asked me to come out to the truck and make sure the carpeting was what I ordered. I knew it would be a fun time after he tried to trick me and showed me someone else’s carpeting first. Funny guy!

carpet 009They put a big tarp down on our front lawn for their cutting center. Good thing the sun was shining all day long and things are very dry around here. Mr. Shadow was smiling, too, at the crazy lady with the camera that kept snapping away.

carpet 010I didn’t realize we picked carpeting that all the vacuum strokes will show up on. Oh well, at least you’ll know we vacuumed just before you arrived at our door. We also picked darker carpet than we had before with a deeper tone to it for a little contrast to the new wood floors. Or maybe we wanted the color of dirt so you wouldn’t know just how dirty the carpets are after a few years?

Do you vacuum before company arrives or after they leave? Maybe you are really organized and have a special day each week when you vacuum? Or are you like a client of mine that I had in the past that vacuumed everyday because she liked having vacuum lines on her carpet? Do tell…

So yesterday was another day that Dear and I plopped down exhausted at the end of the day with no energy left to burn. After the carpeting install, Dear and I worked very hard to get the two guest rooms set up so we could get the mattress sets out of our kitchen area and we got the master bedroom semi organized.

We also had added emotional strain with news during the day that my mom had 3 near death episodes yesterday. It was a rough day for 3 of my sisters and my pop who were at her bedside for these episodes but this is the progression that is expected. These “episodes” are expected but very hard to experience.  Just wanted to give you all an update on my mom and to thank you again and again for thinking and praying for her and my pop and all of us as we wait on God’s timing for her homecoming. I love my bloggy friends!

What’s New…

…in my zoo!

Speaking of new…Happy Rosh Hashana to all our Jewish friends. The Jewish New Year begins this evening and ends September 18th. L ‘Shana Tova!

I finally put away my red, white and blue. My fall bins are ready to come down from the attic. I was at Target and saw these fall tin wall pieces and they were priced right for me…

I subbed out my plates for the tin pumpkins and pear for the Fall season. That might just be a tall skinny pumpkin but we’re calling it a pear after our pear bounty here.  At Christmas time I’ll add something new again.

Here’s a closer view of the pumpkin. These pieces were $2.50 each.

On Saturday Dear and I went to Cabela’s in Tulalip and while he was spending his gift card from the kids I found this table top tripod for myself. I’ll be using it for my food photos.

I bought this crown shelf piece to incorporate with my Christmas and Easter decor celebrating Christ as my King.

My hydrangeas are fading but still beautiful to my eye.

The maple leaves are falling and before we know it the lawn will be totally covered! Look at all that clover in my grass…

Later on Saturday the work continued on the siding with Josh helping again. I made a big pot of chili for the workers to enjoy when they were done.

Progress is good to watch…

We are still promised many dry days and Dear is encouraged with the extra time to finish the siding before the rains come!

When our Saturday was almost done we got one of those dreaded calls that my dad had to call 911 because my mom was very disoriented and didn’t know what end was up. Family met my dad and mom at the hospital and the doctors think she had a TIA event. They kept her overnight and are doing more tests today. I’m happy to be flying down to Southern California next Saturday so I can visit with my mom and dad in person.

So…what’s new in your zoo!?

Wildflowers in Winter ~ Week 5

Week 5 – February 13 – 19. Stitching up wildflowers – creations made with textiles (fabric, yarn, thread etc.) and featuring wildflowers in some form, made by you or someone else.

I didn’t realize how many embroidered or stitched items I had to share in this category! After ironing and taking photos and making collages, I’m finally ready with my post for this week.

The first collages I’m going to share are very special to me because they are of 2 Tablecloths and a set of napkins that my dear little Babushka Vera embroidered for me. My little grandma (we called her little because she was only about 4’11” tall) embroidered this first one as a wedding gift for us.

 

I went shopping with her and picked out the size of tablecloth and the napkins. Then we chose the embroidery threads together, too. Sweet memories. Did I mention that my Babushka only had one hand. One of her arms was amputated from the elbow down when she was a young girl. That never slowed her down. The flowers on this cloth look similar to this Aster.

 

This cloth that my Babushka also embroidered was given to me probably when I graduated from High school. These two Tablecloths are my favorite of all my stitched items because of the love and time it took for my dear Babushka to make them for me.

This photograph of our Babushka was taken in 1969 at my sister Vera’s wedding. Isn’t she the cutest little thing?! She’s looking up at my sister Vera here. She went home to be with her Lord in March of 1980.

To see more stitched Wildflower goodies click on over to Elizabeth Joy’s at Wilflower Morning.

Photobucket is holding all my photos I stored with them from 2007-2015 hostage. They have blacked out all those photos on my blog posts. OH BOTHER! I’m slowly cleaning up my posts.