Sunday, November 23, 2014


Do you have routines? I confess I do, and Tuesday's my thrifting day. Why Tuesday? Well, like the calf path that went askew, I had a good reason once. Now it just feels right. Besides, one of my fave stores is half-price on Tuesdays. Nuff said.

Last week, I was in the midst of a 24 hour stomach virus on Tuesday. Coulda waited a week except I had a coupon from Goodwill that was about to expire. All things considered, best choice scenario, I made Friday my Tuesday.

I found this brass gondola dish at our local Goodwill--also the ornaments I used to stage it.

Made in Mexico, it's really quite fabulous!

These poinsettia candleholders came from the same place.

Pretty cool, aren't they?

This brass pear dish also was a Goodwill find.

As was this AnnaLee Mrs. Santa doll. Her, I'll be keeping.

At the Library Thrift, I found these wreath trivets. This is the smaller of the two, made of brass and marked Rubel '81.

The larger, silver-plate and marked Italy.

For me, I found a gorgeous handbag--M Z Wallace--in like-new condition. I saw a similar one online at $375. I couldn't pass it by. Besides, it's perfect for Christmas.

Lastly, these Christmas stamps.

They've obviously been used but the rubber stamp part is clean and if you were to buy them off the internet right now, they'd come to around $70.

All in all, it was a lucrative day.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Easy Peasy Nut Roll

I spent my 20s in Pittsburgh Pa and look back on those days with sweet nostalgia. I especially loved the abundance of bakeries. I think it's different now, but back then it seemed you hardly had to go a block without finding one.

My favorite memory of those bakeries was the nut roll. Growing up in Texas, I'd never seen them before, and they hit all the bases for me: nutty and sweet. So when I found a nut roll recipe in one of the local papers, I squirreled it away. I had no need of it when I could buy one so easily but once I came home the recipe was golden. Over the years, it became a Christmas staple.

Then I stopped making them at all. I'd think about it before the Christmas season started but somehow time would get away from me.

Last year, I tried something new: an easy way to make a nut roll. Now, don't go comparing it with the Pittsburgh bakery-made product, ya hear? It would fail by comparison, but it satisfies me, and more importantly, it satisfies the hub, Pittsburgh born and bred.

The recipe actually calls for ground walnuts. I simply chop them.

First melt 3 T. of butter with 2 T. of milk. (I use almond milk because that's what I drink, though I keep whole milk in the house--for my cat, doncha know. I imagine the almond milk contributes to the nutty flavor.)

Combine the 1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts with 3/4 c. sugar. (These pictures are horrible. I don't get the morning light in my kitchen.)

Add the butter/milk mixture and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Mix well.

Lay the crescent rolls onto parchment paper and pinch into a rectangle. I'm using a small tin because that's all I had when the hub asked for them. And yes, that's the shadow of my fingers as I photograph. Very graceful looking, innit. Not.

Spread the nut mixture over the dough leaving the edges free.

Roll it up.

Pinch the ends together and transfer, parchment paper and all, onto a baking sheet. Trim the paper to fit the sheet and bake in preheated 375° oven for 15 minutes or until brown. (I use the small oven in my double oven range, which takes longer to cook, so 14 minutes might work for your oven.)

Allow to cool.

Slice and enjoy! (These pieces hadn't fully cooled; it holds together much better if you wait a while.) 

Package the remainder of the filling and freeze for the next time. Or add a frozen hunk of them along with a chopped apple next time you make oatmeal.  Yummers!

Easy Nut Roll

For filling:

1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. sugar
3 T. butter
2 T. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Heat butter and milk in saucepan until melted. Combine nuts and sugar in medium bowl. Add melted butter mixture and vanilla. Mix well.

For roll:

Pinch 1 tin of crescent rolls into a rectangle on parchment paper. Spread filling over rectangle, leaving edges bare. Roll up. Transfer, paper and all, to baking sheet, trimming edges of paper to fit.

Bake in preheated 375° oven for 15 minutes or until brown.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Getting Older and Changing my Focus

I'm finding that there are things I used to be able to do with ease that elude me anymore. And no, I'm not talking physical things, though of course it's a given that they too will become more difficult as I age. I'm just not there yet. But simple little crafty things, like putting in a zipper, or hand stitching evenly, or even making pretty embroidery stitches--somehow they've become more difficult than when I was younger.

I've always felt I could do anything I put my mind to, and generally I did. I haven't totally lost that feeling but more and more I'm disappointing myself. 

One thing, at least, I can still do: sew on buttons. Here are a few cards I made a while back using buttons as decoration. I'm seriously thinking of making more of the same to satisfy my creativity without mucking things up.

Since I've never been a collector of stamps and rarely have ones for whatever design I come up with, I find graphics on the 'net to use instead. With this one, I printed the words and the balloon graphic. Maybe next time I'll upload the graphic to Pixlr and blank out the balloons, leaving only the baskets.

This one took advantage of the banner fad a while back. Has that passed? It looked good on a card. I did use a stamp for the words.

For this one, I use a stamp, masking off the flowers that were a part of it. I think the buttons look better than stamped flowers.

Mother Teresa's words. Not much one could do to mess up a card with that on it. But I'm thinking next time I'll do more paper layers beneath the saying.

Love the button bicycle wheels. Again the bicycle--and the words--were printed off the 'net. 

So this is where I think I'll be going in the days to come--once I finish the pillows I'm fighting to get zippers into and the footstool that needs painted and recovered. Maybe this winter I'll focus on working with paper. We'll see.

Ta, y'all.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Unearthed Treasures

I'm cleaning out my office closet. The plan is to relocate storage of Etsy listed items from my studio to the office closet, clearing up the studio for what it was designed: a space to create. I have, of course, three piles: keep, toss, and give away. Right now, my give away box is the fullest, mostly because the other two aren't really piles: whatever I keep gets stored right away and whatever I toss gets tossed the same.

But I'm turning up some good things I'd pretty well forgotten about

I bought this lamp base about 15 years ago when I was in a lamp-making mode. There was a cool antique store in Dallas--it may still be there--that had a warehouse of antique stuff behind the store, one floor being entirely lamp parts and such. Loved that store! But only two finished lamps ever came out of my lamp-making days. This base, and the lamp part below, I never got around to using. They've been stored ever since.

I bought this at the same time. They're not matching pieces but they don't look bad together.

This pic of the two of them together shows why I never made a lamp from them. Another piece is needed to bridge the two and since I no longer have access to that cool store in Dallas I've stopped looking for something to fit.

This too was tucked away in the office closet. I have another  somewhere; I think it's in a bureau drawer in the guest room but I wouldn't swear to it. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm not sure what it was used for. I started with three but have since given one away. I picked them up at an antique store sidewalk sale in Plano ages ago.

Ditto on this one as to where I got it, but there's only one of it. In one of my old houses, I had it hanging above a picture. I twisted some wire around that center section to make it hangable.

This last piece came from a thrift store in Ft. Worth. I know it's a little odd to have something like this, even more odd to treasure it, but I do. I have no idea if it was on a crypt or what. It's certainly worn.

I'll most likely be cleaning this closet all weekend. Who knows what goodies I'll find? The first two on today's list I've currently listed in my Old Stuff shop. The rest I'll be keeping for myself, just because I really like them and they're not big enough to take up significant space.

Ta, y'all. Hope you have a good weekend.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Gift with Purchase

Does it make a difference?

Some time ago, I saw a discussion in the Etsy forums about sellers including gifts in their packaging. I was surprised to find that there were both sellers and buyers opposed to it.

In most cases, I include a gift of some sort. Not food, but something small and inexpensive. Linens, I wrap in acid-free tissue and tuck in a small lavender sachet. It doesn't cost much: the bags come from Dollar Tree and I grow the lavender. And who doesn't like scented linens?

Gifts with other items vary.

Sometimes it's a bookmark. 

They're easily made and can be marked with a shop name.  It's more useful, in my opinion, than a business card.

Sometimes I include note cards. This one I picked up in a pack of 8 from Dollar Tree.

With a little embellishment, it becomes a pretty cool card!

It too can be marked with a shop name.

I'd be interested in hearing what others think both about receiving a gift with purchase and about the ones I've shown. Are they a waste of the small amount of time and money I invest or would you appreciate them?

Thanks for your input. 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

More Linens

I know I've mentioned that I live in a county with a large elderly population, but it's worth mentioning again. It's because of that, I think, that treasure hunting locally can be so fun. I really have to curb my impulses when thrifting.

Linens, though, I rarely walk away from.

This piece is exceptional. The stitches are so regular, the button-hole embroidery so close that it looks like machine-embroidery. It's not. It's all hand-done. The large yellow leaves, edged in blue button-hole stitching, are appliquéd. The two smaller yellow leaves, one bottom left, the other higher on the vine, and the leaf outlined in green all are shadow-stitched. The scalloped border? Hand-done button-hole stitching.

The sides are hand-stitched as well. This piece has  heirloom quality stitching and someone gave to the thrift store. What are people thinking? And why am I questioning it? Their loss, my gain.

This bridge cloth has eight matching cocktail napkins. The embroidery is spectacular, the flowers all french knots. Exquisite!

I remember my mother-in-law having the ladies over for cards, back when I first married. (She played canasta.) Me, the closest I ever came to "having the ladies over" was when I was writing and had a bi-weekly writers group. We didn't do bridge cloths or cocktail napkins. We did sitting at the bare kitchen table with a drink and a snack while we read each others' manuscripts. That doesn't mean t can't still imagine the elegance of a time gone by when ladies did do otherwise.  Hey, I may not be a writer anymore, but I can still exercise the imagination muscle. ;^)

These are similar to the first towel, but different.

The embroidery and appliqués are beautifully done but the side hems and satin-stitched edgings are machine-stitched.  It's almost as if these and the first were done by the same woman but these later in her life when she could afford a sewing machine and was too tired to do everything by hand.

Well, that's a little look at some of my recent finds. There's more; feel free to check out my shop for the others. 

It's been fun sharing with you. Ta, y'all.