September 16, 2019

The Best of Friends



With the leaf in our table for the first time since we moved, we enjoyed a delightful dinner with our visitors yesterday. I made a casserole earlier in the week from a make-one-for-now-freeze-one-for-later cookbook that we love. The Key Lime pie was good too, and we all ate and drank our fill. Right before sunset we went for a quick ride around the lakes and returned as darkness descended for a bit of catching up and storytelling. It's a wonderful feeling to have a couple of best friends around the table on a late summer night. I hope they visit again soon!

Our guests came with a thoughtful gift for our new home and I could not be more thrilled. They brought a beautiful tablecloth, that now becomes part of the story of our lives and I could not wait to see it on the table this morning. I tossed it in the wash as soon as I saw that it was 80% cotton as I knew it would only get softer. I took the leaf out of the table, pressed out the cloth and felt my heart swell. I love it! Folded in half it fits the table perfectly and is long enough to cover the table as well when we insert the big leaf for guests. I will treasure it not only for its beauty but for the fond memories it holds. I'm touched by all of our friends and new neighbors and the love they have brought into our new home.


 The tablecloth has an interesting design of hearts and roses and soothing neutral colors.


It looks great with my normal table setting.


It's lovely to enjoy the view from the living room as well!


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September 15, 2019

A Cloudy Saturday


The porch got a good sweep this morning in anticipation of a visit from good friends passing through tomorrow. I was concerned when we moved that we would lose touch with some folks, but instead, we are enjoying as much company as ever! It's dreary today but promises to be better tomorrow. I don't mind the gray skies. This area is beautiful even in the pouring rain and the geese are flying over often now.

I will be baking another pie in the morning, a sweet lime, this time to accompany the Mexican casserole I have put together for supper. While waiting for a load of wash to finish I am working on my little Weave-it Loom I have held onto for years. It was given to me in 1971 and I have dutifully dragged it all over the country in hopes that one day I would create amazing little squares. I pulled it out now and again for a little weaving here and there. When I purchased my big loom I never touched the little one. The larger loom has gone to a new home as part of downsizing and i am trying a little piece on the Weave-it. It's supposed to be relaxing, but I am finding it rather frustrating. It could be the stiff jute I am using. I told myself to give it a good try and make a decision to keep it or sell it. Right now I'm leaning toward an eBay posting. We will see.





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September 14, 2019

Finished Doily


 The doily is finished and I am really pleased! I've had trouble finding the right natural colored cotton so I will definitely be using more of the Curio for other projects. The walls in our new home are an antique white and many of my older pieces look very yellow here. The wooden coaster on the table is a cut-out from the Martin Guitar Company. They give them out as part of their tours. I attached a chunky, ruffled doily underneath because the wood was not absorbant for dripping glasses on hot humid days. It works really well. 


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September 12, 2019

Crochet


Today is a market day but before we head out I'm taking some time to put the last row on a large doily I started earlier in the week. The edging is a bit fussy and I wanted to tackle it at the table where I could focus, instead of in front of the television where I had worked on the body of the piece. I'm using a new cotton thread from KnitPicks called Curio and it's becoming a favorite of mine. 


 I will post the finished project once it's blocked and I find a location I like, I have a few in mind.

Yesterday we had some work done on our smoke detectors. While the electrician climbed the ladder in the living room, I caught Secret sneaking out into the hall to supervise from a distance. 


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September 10, 2019

Command Center Completion


The last item for my command center arrived yesterday and the project is done! UPS gave the calendar a bit of a vacation sending it to locations all over the country before finally delivering it to my doorstep. Since it doesn't start until January 2020 I wasn't too concerned that it was late. 


I've added a few final touches such as chalk, an eraser in one of the cups and some folders in the rack.


We have been using the method for the last few days and it works great for both of us and looks lovely in my hall. Now off to do a bit of work in the yard!

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September 9, 2019

Fresh Pear Crumble Pie


Hello and welcome! Last week's Chocolate Chiffon pie was very tasty! It sliced beautifully and resembled a homemade chocolate pudding. I'm enjoying making a different pie every week, but I still think the Lemon Meringue was the best. I'm quite partial to anything lemon.


This week's pie is a Fresh Pear Crumble Pie, also from the old Betty Crocker cookbook. Neither Pat nor I have ever had a pear pie and decided it might be fun. 


 It looks tasty and not so different from an apple pie. The pears were a bit firm for biting into, but I think they'll be great for baking.


Topped with crumb mixture and ready for baking.


Fresh from the oven. This pie smells wonderful!


 What a delightful and delicious surprise! We are not huge pear fans and we thought this pie might be a bit of a disappointment. We were VERY wrong. This has to be one of the best pies I have ever eaten. Pat even said he liked it better than an apple pie. I will definitely be baking this one again!


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September 7, 2019

What's Today?



Good morning! Since retiring to the Upper Perkiomen Valley we are discovering that there are indeed many "perks" to living here and retiring as well. One challenge is running the household with my husband, Pat, at home every day. In our younger years, while he worked feverishly in IT, his job was never just a 9 to 5 endeavor. There were many days where the old beeper went off, always while Christmas shopping, or nights where the end of the day came and went and he was still at the office poring over code trying to resolve some programming puzzle. In later years he took other jobs and, although they were more settled, the hours were still not conventional. While he worked to support a home and family I mainly ran a small business and managed the household. I love being at home and found that wasn't always a predictable job either, but we make a good team.

Now we're working to share the responsibilities differently and one of them is finances. He is definitely a much better financial planner than me. Numbers tend to scramble my brain and I surely do love online shopping. I did manage to stay out of jail and didn't write any bad checks, but cash never lingered in my wallet for very long. Once we had unpacked the boxes in our new place he took over managing the money. I am on board with that! Now he can enjoy himself designing the perfect budget for our bills and taxes and savings and fun things like that. I was ready to turn it all over. This posed some problems, however. I had my own methods of accounting. They were more gut-based than anything with ledger columns. I knew that if it got close to the 20th of the month I better be looking at the credit card payment. There are also those auto pay bills that need tracking as well. Financial information is tracked online anymore and I held access to it all. We decided that it would be my job to give a daily accounting of where our money dwelled and what expenditures left what account. That's easy, but we had to learn just how to exchange that information. After there were taxes on an online purchase I hadn't included and swapping out the price of two similar items I ordered, both my fault, we agreed we had to have a better system. We both have separate offices and we needed a central location to gather the information. I began to design a "Command Center" for that purpose. As we came up with a plan other possibilities for our system emerged. We have appointments at new offices and new phone numbers for local places like pharmacies and our community office. We decided to include these items in our center as well. And since we are retired it might help to know that it isn't always Sunday.

Of course, if we were going to look at all of this stuff hanging on the wall it has to be attractive in my beautiful new home! It needed a title and some fun embellishments and this is the journey and final result. The system is working really well so far. I'm sure it will need a bit of tweaking over time and that's fine. I see it as I come out of the master suite every morning and the title makes me smile as I begin each new day. Maybe you'll find it inspiring as well!



First I made a list of everything I wanted to include in the command center. I wanted a calendar, not just for this month, but one where I could look back or ahead. Then it needed a holding area for items that are pending and needing to be addressed. And it should include a section for those items that are completed and needed shredding or filing. It had to have notepaper and pens and pencils, my daily to-do lists and a place for temporary notes like a chalkboard. I brought up my art program and either gathered pictures of what I wanted or drew them myself. I also measured the space and tried to come up with a design that would fit.


Next, I cut out templates from wrapping paper and assembled them on the wall for a general layout. I love wall displays and I have learned over the years that wrapping paper is indispensable for walls and for figuring out furniture placements as well.



I changed my mind about the placement of the message and went larger and above all of the components. I typed it up and enlarged it in my art program and then printed it out to scale. Rubbing a soft pencil over the lines on the back of the paper makes a great carbon and I taped the paper to the wall and drew over the lines with a dry ink pen.


Here's what it looked like after outlining onto the wall. A tube of black acrylic paint filled it in beautifully.


Painted with the wreath in place.



I had ordered the parts that I didn't already own after formulating my plan and they began to arrive. I already had the cat.



Now it was time to begin the assembly. The wreath was hung to find the center I wanted, a few inches more to the left than the original plan. I also found the pencil/pen cups needed a different placement.


The clothespins work great for clipping smaller items like receipts to the file holder. Each one has a magnet glued to the back and they are attached to a cardboard square with a magnetic strip under fabric.




This is the view from the master suite. I am currently using a little giveaway calendar from our old neighborhood. I left space to fit in a full-sized calendar for 2020 in the near future.





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September 3, 2019

Chocolate Chiffon



Today is Labor Day and I held off baking a pie yesterday. We planned to visit the local flea market and then to bake when we returned. After rising early to get out before the heat of the day, as we finished our morning coffee the sky turned quite foreboding and thunder rumbled to the west across the lake. We checked the weather and decided to wait a bit and see where Mother Nature took the day. After a brief, soaking rain the skies began to clear a bit and we ventured out to see if any of the vendors had held out through the weather. It was the first time we had visited this local market and it was clear that most had packed up their wares and called it a day. We returned home for a quiet holiday and I started a Chocolate Chiffon pie.


My pies have all been from the big checkered Betty Crocker Cook Book and mine is surely a sorry sight. I can't remember how or where I acquired the big, binder of a book, but even after far too many years to count, it still holds some of my favorite recipes. Since I had it out on my counter so often, at one point, I decided to replace it with a newer and much less tattered copy. Making one of my favorites from the new version it was clear right away something was wrong. Every Thanksgiving for years I have made the ambrosia salad in the old book. The newer version had a recipe for the same salad, but it lacked a couple of the ingredients. I made the new version and was very disappointed. I gave away the updated book and went back to the old stand-by and still use it to this day. I'm not sure why they revised the old versions. I suspect that attitudes concerning calorie counts, health ideals and opinions about food safety have adapted over the years. Like history books, cookbooks change with the times. Perhaps this is how one turns "old-fashioned". However it works, I'll stick with my grizzled old version.


Chocolate Chiffon pie is a first for me. It looks delicious!

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