Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkins - Part II

First off:  Happy Blog Day to me.  A year ago I sat down with my new laptop and wondered - how hard can writing a blog be?  Of course it was more than six months before my next post.  Like anything new, you have to make room for it in your life - I gave up bit of TV, life is better, blogs seem more real than TV.  There has to be some kind of payoff and for me - it's you.  Also, it keeps my children happy that I'm sharing my thoughts with someone besides them.

I'm celebrating this occasion with (what else?) cookies.

Do you like pumpkin bread?  Here's the recipe of one of my favorite autumn cookies. They have the taste and texture of pumpkin bread. 

Pumpkin Bread Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 F.

2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
-------------------------------------------Sift and set aside.
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
-------------------------------------------Beat until creamy. Add
1  15 oz. can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
-----------------------------Mix well.
-----------------------------Gradually beat in flour mixture.

It's more like cake batter than cookie dough.

-----------------------------Stir in
2 cups semi-sweet "mini" chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecan)

I stir in the chocolate chips and nuts by hand - no mixer - just gently fold them in.

Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the dough (I use my 1 inch ice cream scoop makes the dough nice and round) and drop onto greased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper to line my cookie sheets - easy clean up and no sticking).

This scoop makes my cookie making so easy - helps to keep all my cookies the same size.  Usually cookies sink down and get flat but this cookie bakes in the shape that you put it on the cookie sheet.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375. Cool on wire rack.

Top (left) going in the oven.  Bottom (right) just came out.

They taste best after 12 hours of cooling. But they are pretty good warm.  

I'm trying to show you the texture of the cookies.  They are like little pumpkin breads.

I'm off to learn new things, meet new people, save the planet, you know, the usual stuff - I'll tell you all about it in another post.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkins - Part I

I have been away visiting my mom the last couple of weeks. It was great. I experienced the miracle of flight - and landing. I got to visit with most of my Georgia family, got together for lunch with some of mom's friends, relaxed in the country without a computer, looked for but didn't find house numbers, enjoyed wonderful food, played lots of card games, just lived.

One Friday, Mom and I found ourselves in Calhoun, Georgia. Sweet little town, leaves just starting to turn.  Walking down Wall Street, across from the Courthouse we passed a ballet studio.  The front windows were decorated with pink netting and pink pumpkins - lots of pink pumpkins.  The biggest one looked like this...

I was reminded of the blogs I follow that love pink. 

It was there, in the mist of all my good times and happy moments, I realized I may be hooked on blogging.  I missed you all.  Could it be that in the year 2011 there's more than one way to be a friend? 

I'm now playing catch-up with my home, garden, and life.  But in the mist of wedding plans and weeding and dusting the guest room I am taking a few minutes very now and then to play catch-up with my favorite blogs.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sherry or Port

We are the proud owners of this little beauty.  A hand painted wine decanter set complete with little glasses that were also hand painted. 

As the weather starts to cool down, I like to put sherry in the decanter.  And at Christmas I like to have port in the house.  Using these glasses is a great way to have just a bit of alcohol.

We keep it on the same stand that it was kept on in my in-laws house, and they kept it on the same stand that it was on in the house my mother-in-law grew up in.  Wish I knew more about it.  When did her family use it?  What did they drink?  My husband tells me it was kept in the dining room.  Period.  No fun family stories.

In the years to come, my children will have stories to tell their children and (I hope) some of the stories will be about what we were doing when we were using "Grandma Joy's" wine decanter set.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Out and About in Fort Worth

Have you ever been to The Old Home Supply House?  It is just south of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, and it's an interesting place to spend some time.  Trust me, they have all kinds of treasures.  This is where I began my house numbers search...

Old Home Supply and then some, this is a fun visit.

Just when you think you've pegged them "old industrial stuff"

Lots of industrial stuff....

Just take a few minutes to look around the place,

really look,

and at some point

you will see the light.

If you look up you'll see lots of lights...

There's all kinds of stuff here - I like the hand painted sinks.
Check out the pink toilet, and there's a teal one -
bet you don't see those every day.

It's the old stuff that I enjoy looking at and some of it follows me home.

Too bad I'm not looking for a sink today, I like this one...

The fun part is, once you get through this building,
you've got two others to go through that are so different from this one.
Also, visit them when it's not raining - they have a garden collection...

There's lots more to see but I must stop here.

Turns out they did not have any old tile house numbers
so I leave this amazing place to go search somewhere else.

If you get a chance to visit
let me know what you think,
and if you have already discovered this unique place,
tell me,
what came home with you?

They are online:

I'm not really good with online, I like to feel the merchandise.

What's your favorite 'Old House' place to shop?



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Marking My Territory

When we bought our house it had a little sign above the door with the house number on it.  It looked a bit like an afterthought.  Last spring, before we got the house painted, I took the sign down and cleaned up the area so that there would be no trace of it. 

Before I threw out the old sign I took the numbers off, painted them "Hammered Brass" (this made the numbers match the hardware on the door) and glued them on our red mailbox, next to the red front door. You couldn't read the numbers unless you were at the front door. 

A few months after the house was painted my doorbell rang and a man in a uniform - a "So & So" Pest Extermination Service uniform - stood there smiling.  He told he was done and he would see me next month.  I was surprised.  Asked him what he had 'done' and sort of panicked when he told me he had 'serviced' my house. I'm not sure what the expression on my face was but he must have gotten a little scared because he said, as he looked at my red mailbox with the brass colored numbers, "This is 4916, right?" Wrong. That house is next door. Then he waved a quick goodbye to me and told me to enjoy my free service. Ugh...

I don't want to kill all the bugs at my house. There is at least one gecko in the bathroom and butterflies everywhere outside, I like most 'wildlife.'

Before you tell me I should sue, face it, I brought this on myself by not having my house clearly marked.

And then there was this year with it's early arriving hot, hot weather and drought. Once it got hot the numbers just started to fall off.  In a matter of days, my poorly marked house became an unmarked house.

I slipped into a holding pattern and didn't do anything this summer. Here it is autumn and I want to finish this job.  I need to put the house numbers back on the house - somewhere. There's probably a city ordinance that says "Thou Shalt..."

I was looking at older homes in the city and noticed some of them have their house numbers made out of tile in the steps up to the house.

We've got one step, I think I could make this work.... maybe it's time to go shopping.

(Like I need a reason.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I love this time of year. 
Shorter days, longer nights.
Cooler winds, falling leaves. 
We have been blessed with rain and  
the earth smells wonderful. 

 The plants seem to be playing catch up,
knocking themselves out to bloom. 
My garden has a mid-May look to it. 
Daylilies and roses, blooming for all they are worth. 

They are not as tall as normal and some of the roses
don't have the usual number of petals,

but still they are doing
what they were put on this earth to do.

That's a great lesson for all of us. 

Just live.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Just a Little Scary

I'm not big into scary.  I think we are here to love each other, not be afraid of life and the dark and the family pet.  Even Halloween I try to make 'sweet' not scary.  I put up a few decorations and give candy to the Trick or Treaters, but I'm not much of a Halloween celebrator. 
Well, I do have a favorite cookie I make just for Halloween.
  (Try to act surprised.)
I take my Christmas Ginger Bread Cookie Recipe and do one thing different.

I add those little hard pieces of the brown sugar - I collect them in a ziplock baggie for a few months and them dump them in when I'm mixing up the cookies. Just a tablespoon or two, it doesn't change the flavor of the cookie. Then my cookies bake and I get these scary little Halloween Cookies.

I'm trying to make my own 'hard bits' this year.  I've put some dark brown sugar in a plastic bag.  I sealed it and left it to get hard.  Then I broke it up into little pieces.  The best are like the ones in the light brown sugar that have formed naturally.  They are like little pieces of amber and they melt when you cook them. 

Dough rolled out, see the brown spots?

The tray on top is ready to go in the oven, the one on bottom just came out.

Ready for their close up.

That's right.  I got it off of Food Network and have loved it for years.  I don't ice my cookies and they taste wonderful.  I make them early in the month and try to keep some on hand for a silly treat.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


One of my collections is iron trivets.  Don't know why they appeal to me, maybe it's just another example of functional art that I've carried to an extreme.

Trivets on white wall.

I was thinking my white walls were perfect for displaying the black trivets.  Then I saw this picture and decided my walls needed a little color.  After a few weeks of searching for the perfect color, I finally settled on a Home Depot paint called "Dapper Tan" and spent a couple of days painting the back hallway. I watched the walls get darker as I painted, but when I took a picture of my painting project and looked at it ...

Trivets on beige/tan wall.

... and looked, and looked...  I couldn't see much difference.  I started to wonder what all the fuss was about. 

Trivets on tan/beige wall.

I took another picture.   It still looks almost the same as it did before the paint.   I guess I should stop taking pictures and get on with life.

For years I wanted my house to be perfect - just like a page from a magazine.   Somewhere along the way I discovered 'perfect' changes every month, and takes up way to much of my time.  I think now I'm just wanting comfortable, cute and quirky.  Pleasant.

Do you ever find yourself working for perfect when what you really want is pleasant?