Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Recent Finds

I have accidentally started a small collection of "we missed you in church" cards. I found these at one of the thrifts still in the package. And found these pins in the same store.

And then on my way out, I found these bracelets and had to get back in line.

This top is actually from Old Navy. I saw it on Scathingly Brilliant and fell in love with it's classic old lady styling. And it's a silky polyester that feels just like you stole it from Granny's closet. They also have a cherry red version with dogs on it! Check them out here. The bow goes in the back but I wear mine in the front because I love vintage secretarial style. And Kriss Kross.

They also had a different style that had beautiful birds on them. Oh, and if you want any of these, they're cheaper in the stores than online. Just a tip. Right now, they have a few great things that will easily incorporate into a vintage leaning wardrobe.

I have a weakness for metal boxes with designs on them

(and then I store things in them and can't find them because I'm an old lady)

And speaking of old ladies:

Pregnant Granny

"You and your once more for old times sake!"

She's actually part of a salt and pepper shaker set. I've seen her geriatric baby daddy before but so far just have Granny.

Another big weakness: vintage cleaning products

Yep, I'm the annoying lady at the estate sales who is digging under the sinks!

And speaking of estate sales, these two purses came from a recent local sale. That straw one is huge and will even hold my camera.

The Mister is my secret weapon. When there are estate sales that I can't go to, I look at the sale pictures online and tell him what I'd love to have and off he goes. He's an early bird of a man and has long arms for reaching over other customers. Sometimes, I'll just tell him "Oh, you know what I like. Surprise me!" and it's fun to see what he comes home with. Recently, these were my surprise. He's a great shopper. And I think that he likes to go shop for me so that I don't go with him and spend two hours just admiring a house or spending thirty minutes sorting through used washcloths while his life slowly ticks away.

Last weekend we had twenty minutes to kill so of course, I suggested a thrift store! When we walked in, we saw this chest of drawers that happened to match our bedroom dresser. Score! The weird thing was that while we were looking at it, a store employee came up and started moving it to another place in the furniture department. So, we had to follow him while he was rolling the chest around the room just to get it. And he refused to acknowledge that we were talking to him about how we were buying it. He just looked right through us as we talked to him, parked the chest of drawers and then turned and walked away.

For a minute I wondered if we had passed away and were invisible to mortals and just didn't realize it yet. Maybe we'd gotten run over in the parking lot and our spirits were still determined to shop. Sometimes, thrift stores are great and weird. The chase got our adrenaline up and we bought it in a rush and then stopped to wonder if it would fit in my small car - which was already full of old little kid school chairs that we'd found at a dumpster behind an elementary school. I'd show them here but they're in the garage where I cram impulse buys and am afraid to go. And no, we don't have kids. But if we do, we've got the chairs. Anyway, it did fit in the car.

Note: Do you ever find things that won't fit into your car and it just kills you? Recently, we were with an installation artist who had this giant ..I'm talking giant school eraser that he was giving away. But it was the size of a couch and made out of wood. A giant fake pink school eraser as big as a couch! I don't know what I would have done with it but that's the kind of thing that it's hard to pass up. Oh, and it had hinges and opened up. I could have just been buried in it. Buried in a fake school eraser! Dang...that would have been sweet. Not having a truck keeps me from getting whimsical coffins and giant lawn dinosaurs.

Meet Peter Peppers!

He's a huge chalkware dog that I found in one of the worst antique stores in town. He was down in the floor behind a bunch of really bad junk. This place is so packed that you feel like you're going to break half the shop just by turning around. But alas, I got Peter Peppers out of there safely!

I love to picture some tourist bringing him all the way home from Mexico. He's in our foyer, greeting guests as they come in.

What about you? Found anything squeal-worthy lately? Do tell!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let's Keep It Movin'...Movin'

Since there was such a positive response (ha!) to my post the other day about Gloria, the giant beanbag lady, I thought that I would bring you some more fantastic craft ideas from the same book, The Family Creative Workshop: Volume 14 so that I can put it back on the shelf for good bury it in the ground.

And before you start to whimper and whine, let me tell you that the subtext to that book title is "Quilling to Rope Knotting" so hey, consider yourself lucky that I chose neither. Instead..

Choo! Choo!

A Little Locomotion seems to be in order for this unusual couple.

And man alive, if those two don't put the "loco" in locomotion, I don't know what does! And yes, they are indeed pantyhose craft. Which you may know gives me the ugly shivers.

How about some close-ups?

Ohmyheck, that face!

And how creepy is pantyhose cleavage, huh?

Four things come to mind when I look at her:

1. That song with the lyrics, "Ruby...don't take your love to town".
2. That other song about the girl named "Fancy" who turned prostitute to save her family.
3. Belle Watling as done by a man with five o'clock shadow.
4. I should start using anti-aging cream.

And what about the conductor of this little crazy train?

Like a worm shoved in a sock.

I know what you're thinking: "It's a shame that we can't see him better."

Kiss me, slobber lips! I'm thirsty!

Your mind is going crazy, right? You don't know what's true anymore?

Maybe the text from this chapter of the book can assist:

"Such sculpted heads can be stitched onto realistic bodies, like that on the lady on the locomotive, or on bodies that are merely suggested, like that of the engineer....Or if you prefer, you can make the head pillow-size and leave it at that."

Can you just imagine?

Don't worry. Even in this imaginary scenario, Pip is coming to destroy them.

That's some nasty..nasty business, isn't it? Pantyhose crafting, people. I know that my name is Eartha Kitsch but I can't condone it. I mock it to make sense of it. That's my only explanation.

Okay, now one more for you from the same book:

Not that I don't love you but you're on your own with this one.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Seek and Ye Shall Find

I'm sure that most of you who have websites are like me and love looking at your statistics. I always especially enjoy seeing the search terms that people use to find Ranch Dressing. Of course, like I've said before, I get a LOT of people who are just looking for a recipe for ranch dressing and again, I apologize. The most recent non-salad related ones that made me giggle are:

Cat hustle
- Ooh! Cute! I'd like to see that too! Tiny little leisure suits and paws pointed towards the sky.

Dressing like a buckaroo
- Cool. All about it. Send me snapshots.

I want to own him, help
- Whoa. I can only hope that this was some kind of knick-knack lust emergency as in, "Oh my god...this ceramic duck is wearing cowboy boots! But I can't afford him! I'll bet that Eartha can help!"

And then I kid you not, this one popped up:

I own him.

Huh! And here are some more terms that brought folks to the ranch:

Cat in a fireplace
- SEVEN people searched for this one. Which is good because I do have a photo of a cat in a fireplace. She shoots! she scores!

Creepy Fruit
- Yep. Endorsed by Eartha.

Macaroni with Tone Fish - This one is puzzling but the fact that not one but THREE people found me with the search term? Even more so.

And in the same vein:

Macaroni Vent Covers
- Ha! What do y'all take me for?? Whatever it is, I like it!

And then there was:

Squirrels dressed up Roman
- Once again - love to see it.

70's Hot Tub - Yep, I just keep on getting hits this way. For those of you who are used to my hot tub fascination, you'll probably shield your eyes now. Those who don't...





Ha! Oh my god, that one never gets old to me.

Next up:

Big Beautiful Woman Dominatrix - I know of a lot of vintage loving gals who get this one. Sadly, I'm a big, beautiful kitten without a whip. Can I interest you in a photo of a cat in a fireplace instead?

Ooh! Now that's what I'm talking about! Hawt!

Well, whatever brings you here, I hope that you keep coming back. And I promise you that one of these days, I'm going to post a ranch dressing recipe to make this whole thing legit.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Truth About Gloria aka "The Saddest Seat on Earth"

I've been wanting to bring more crafting to Ranch Dressing so I thought that this might be a good (okay, questionable) place to start. Today's offering is from the book The Family Creative Workshop, Volume 14.

I know what you're thinking: "This has GOT to be a fetish thing!"

Nope, it's just a 1970's thing. It's okay. A lot of people get the two confused.

Here's what the book says about the above:

It is la dolce vita with this well-upholstered chair-person around to comfort and to cushion one after a hard day at the office.

Okay so...la dolce vita - Either the writer is saying that having this doll to come home to is like living "the good life" or he's comparing it to a Fellini film. If you've ever seen a Fellini film, you might agree with me that this would fit right in. I'm gonna choose the latter.

Back to it:

If you take a rag doll to a larger-than-life extreme, you may have an enormous chair-person like exotic Gloria, above, to share your living room.

Right. If Gloria is exotic then I'm Chita Rivera!

She is as comfy to snuggle up with as she looks, since her torso is made from two ready-made pillows sewn together...

I'm sorry. Let's stop again. I've got to get this out in the open - is anyone thinking this besides me?

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies??

Can you see it? Can you see it??

Alright, back at it:

Antique boots from a thrift shop were stitched to her feet, and I sewed junk jewelry rings on her fingers. A black silk scarf stitched around her face and stuffed makes a very stylish pageboy bob.


Her cigarette, by the way, is detachable, in case the hostess does not allow smoking.

1. Wait - the hostess? Are they suggesting that one take that...that...Gloria to dinner parties as their guest? "Aww gee, hon. Do we have to invite Carl? He always brings that demented beanbag, Gloria!"

2. As if anyone could enjoy snuggling this doll if they hadn't been smoking something!

You know, the seventies were truly some whackadoodle days. I grew up during that era and even though I love a lot about that time, sometimes, even I am shocked at some of the stuff that came out of those years. But rest assured, sometimes we learn our lessons about things and won't repeat them. For instance, today's version of the pillow lady above:


You see? No head this time around! There..isn't that better?

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Oh, and p.s. : Man Marries His Body Pillow

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just To Show You That I DO Exercise SOME Self Restraint

There have been some pretty interesting free items in our local Craigslist lately. None quite as thrilling as the giant dinosaur that got away but, still pretty interesting.

First up:

At first, you're led to believe that this is just your average, everyday free walrus head:

This walrus head has been in my family for years. I have never liked it. It was given to me by my Father in his will.

Yes...yes...I mean, who hasn't lost track by now of how many walrus heads we've been bequeathed? Then the ad gets more interesting:

I'm sure it's his idea of a way to get back at me for my alternative lifestyle that he never approved of.

I'm not sure how the two go together but I'm sure that this guy knew his Dad better than I did so we'll trust his judgment on family matters. He goes on to say:

I'm going to throw this in the dumpster by the end of the week. I can't even sleep with this thing in the house.

Now call me sadistic but I love picturing this guy tossing and turning, staring at the walrus head and then defiantly hitting the dumpster in his pajamas to toss that baby in. Even though I was thoroughly curious and sorely tempted to go to this guy's house and find out what his "alternative lifestyle" is and take that walrus head off of his hands, it just smacked of bad juju to me so I let someone else have that adventure.

Next up, vagueness:

This ad read:

Free Beautiful Thing - I have a very beautiful thing that has been in my family for a very long time. It's quite ornate and in very good condition so I hate to throw it out. Is there anyone who wants this?

Now, you call tell that I must have had a busy week not to have called this person - because this one just reeks of intrigue to me. Why wouldn't they name what this "very beautiful thing" was? Sadly, we'll never know because I lamed out. It was probably gilded and Rococo and had sassy velvet tassels and it's plush velvet was stuffed with old hundred dollar bills but noooooo...

Up next, I bring to you"free ugly chair":

The text:

FREE UGLY CHAIR - Hey there! I have a really big, very urlg chair for free! It's really nice to sit in, would look GREAT with a cover, but has damage from my dogs, and it's just...old. If you'd like to take it home, please email me! It's a light tan/white cloth with light blue and dark blue random pattern...

What's that? Want to see a photo of the chair?

The owner of the chair goes on to say:

That's my chair in the picture with the dogs sleeping on it..

Well, you don't say! And then the best line ever:

Kind of reminds me of the beach. Not sure why!

The beach! Ha! Something tells me that this person has not been to the beach in a really, really long time. That same something also tells me that they might have done better to use the approach of the previous ad and just put "Free Beachy Thing".

And if that chair was a day at the beach, then this couch has to be a luxurious Mediterranean cruise:

Ah...those glorious words that copywriters have only dreamed of coming up with down through the ages:

It wants to be under your ass all day.

Truth in advertising is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, January 20, 2012

What Do You Celebrate?

Today I decided to be a more celebratory person. No, I'm not going to drink champagne all day or be that lady who yells "Whoooo!!" in public. Here's what I mean - I've noticed that our lives are usually so hectic here at the ranch that sometimes, the only time that I slow down enough to notice things are when things go wrong. I've decided to turn that muckey muck around. I'm going to start noticing when things go right.

This week for instance - We saw the five month anniversary of Skippy Lou going missing. The search goes on. It's so easy to get caught up in the sad parts and wonder why we haven't found her and if she's okay. But often, I get so caught up in that avenue of thinking that I forget about all of the lost and abused animals that we've been able to save - more than I can even count now.

Just this week, I reunited a lost husky with his daddy as well as a lost wedding ring with it's owner. I was also able to help get a sweet, scared little Papillon sprung from the shelter and on his way to a new, happy home. All because I was looking for Skippy Lou.

Also, a volunteer called me to give me an update on a dog that was found a month ago by a lady who thought that she'd found Skippy Lou. This sweet old lab was found wandering with her paws completely raw. She could barely walk a step further. She was taken to a no-kill shelter and treated for what turned out to be a horrible skin infection in her paws. The volunteer called to tell me that she was about to go home to a new family who would love her for the rest of her days.

And today I realized that I barely took half a breath to celebrate before moving on to more work and worry. That's three lives saved and a sentimental item back where it belongs and I'm all, "Damn...SO much to do! Why can't I get a break?" Something is sooo wrong about that, no?

This brings me to our kitty Mishka:

I love my Mishka. She is my number one snuggle buddy. And lately, she's had some major health scares. Just last month, she went under the knife and the vet feared that he'd find cancer. The Mister and I were scared to death and walked around in a stupor for days, talking about the horrible things that might be about to happen. Luckily, she was cancer free. I remember us feeling very relieved but I don't remember us taking even a smidgen of the time to celebrate that we did to worry. Can you relate at all?

Today, we were back there again. I took Mishka to the vet this morning for another surgery and due to some more health issues, the vet suspected that she might have FIV or Feline Leukemia. We'd had her tested when we rescued her from outside but sometimes, you can get false negatives on the tests. The tone of the vet's voice had me in a daze by the time that I left, passing an owner receiving the body of a euthanized pet as I left the building to await her test results.

I called the Mister and off we went again on the tangent of worry and sadness and fear. We started talking over all of the possible bad endings, both of our voices quivering on the phone. All morning, we walked around thinking and predicting the worse. Then I got the call - Mishka doesn't have either FIV or Feline Leukemia. All of her test results came back fine! Whew! <---let me tell ya. I called the Mister with the good news and then sat only for a couple of minutes before getting up to worry about something else.

And then thankfully, I caught myself. Something said "Celebrate This" and I stopped to realize that so much of our lives are spent worrying and dreading and looking back on sad events. And it's very seldom that we devote as much time to the happy things. Sure, we celebrate the big ones - weddings and birthdays and new babies. But do we stop to celebrate the everyday happy spots? And I started decorating. Because I wasn't sure how to adequately celebrate a disease free Mishka.

Hell to the yeah...paper chains

I know what you're thinking - Cat's can't read signs. Nor will she understand paper chains. Or the pizza party that the Mister and I will have. They're just gestures of thankfulness and joy. Mindfulness. I think of the sad face of the man who I passed this morning, watching as the vet softly placed his deceased dog in the back of his car and I know that chances are, he wishes that he could go back in time before whatever took his dog happened and just watch his pup run, and his eyes dance when he called his name or scratched behind his ear. To have the time to be mindful and to live in that moment and let his heart be glad.

I can easily look back on loved ones who were once with me but are now gone. Or times when my health was better. Or that snippet of childhood before I learned about grief. If I'd known then to appreciate every second of those times, it would be a wonderful thing. But I can't go back and change that. None of us can. But I can hold myself up to do better now that I realize.

What do you celebrate?

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Girl Named Peanut and Rivers of Roaches

From a 1971 edition of Woman's Day magazine, I bring to you the story of Peanut, her marriage of convenience and the cheap rocking chair that drove her to weight loss stardom - and some strange business with her Daddy and brother that I still can't make out. (Ad text below photo)

Down in Clayhatchee, Alabama, my daddy is a peanut farmer. A good one, too. He raised six children from the pickings on those vines, even if we did eat up a lot of his profits. One bonus Daddy always had though, was me. 197 well-fed pounds of meat with very little shell.

(Okay, that end part kind of makes me feel funny inside but let's carry on, shall we?)

I used to get my feelings hurt all the time being plump. But Mama's hot biscuits and homemade peanut butter cake tasted so good, I'd just eat away the unkind comments. Needless to say, I had very few dates. Nobody seemed interested in a fat girl. Guess that it was a lucky thing for me that I went to my Uncle's wedding. I was only nine years old, but I met my future husband, Steve, there. He was the bride's brother, so we saw a lot of each other as the years went by.

Being close that way, Steve just got used to me being chubby. At least he never mentioned my weight. But it kept bothering me. I kept promising myself that I was going to reduce, but I didn't. Instead, I married Steve and watched the piles keep piling on. It was not, however, until one of Steve's nephews made the remark that I really got the message. He said: "Aunt Glenda, are you going to have a baby?" I wasn't. That's when I started crash dieting. I took diet pills and lost 23 pounds. When I stopped, I gained back 46. And so it went. Then one day, I sat down in my platform rocker and it cracked right in half.....

(I'll spare you the middle part about the diet plan..and go straight to the end...)

Of course, I've received all kinds of compliments since reducing...But the nicest came from my 16 year old brother. He said to my husband, " I'd marry a fat girl anytime if she'd turn out like Glenda!"

Um, yikes on all levels. YIKES.

And finally, a very fine ad featuring Mr. and Mrs. Harry Fleming from Kansas City, Kansas:

We all just want to be famous for something.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gradual Giving

If you're like me, there are certain charitable causes that you care about and you'd like to help support. If you're also like me, you're on a fixed budget and sometimes you feel like, "I'm not wealthy...what can I do?" A lot of the time, charities need your time more than anything so if you have some to spare, give that a try. E-mail them or call and say, "What can I do to help?" There's very little chance that they'll turn you down and you'll be surprised at the nice people you'll meet and how good giving of yourself makes you feel. It's a tried and true mood lifter.

This donation time can even take place in your own neighborhood. Do you have an elderly neighbor who might need help in the yard...or walking their pet? Or just might enjoy having someone to talk to? Or a single parent who seems obviously overwhelmed? Now, sometimes it's hard to figure out how to start that ball rolling. Here's the easiest way - you see them out in the yard and you just go over to say hello. Talk about something that is going on in the neighborhood or the weather or how pretty their flowers look. Before you know it, you'll be on friendly terms with them. Every day, all around us there are people who could just use a helping hand or sometimes, just a simple smile to keep them going.

One of the things that I care about more than anything is animal welfare. In our town, our shelter has a food pantry where financially struggling pet owners can come and get food and supplies for their pets. It's such a great thing because with the economy being what it is, so many people have to give up their pets because they can't afford the food and supplies for them. Every day, I see ads from people giving up pets because they can't afford them. Can you imagine how heartbreaking that would be? So, at Christmas this year, when my family asked me what I wanted, I handed over the wish list from the pet pantry. And look how they came through!

Now, this is something that I never could have afforded on my own. But with everyone pitching in, I can now donate lots of great stuff to the pet pantry. I'm so excited to deliver it and to think about the pets and owners that these items will help.

We've decided that we'll do it again this Christmas too. I'm super stoked to see what we can gather up.

This brings me to an idea that I had called "Gradual Giving". I know that the Mister and I will still be on a tight budget this year but I want to be able to add to the donation to the pantry next time. Here's how we're going to do it - each week when we go to the grocery store, we'll pick up one can of cat food and one can of dog food to add to our donation box. Nothing fancy - just the cheapest that we can find which is usually about eighty cents for both cans. I'm also going to work coupon magic and when there are nicer things that I can get for cheap, I'll get those too - but never over a dollar per week. Then we'll come home, drop them in the donation box and forget about them. And week by week, though our grocery bill won't suffer, we'll have a nice full box to donate at the end of the year. Exciting!

This can be done with any cause that you'd like to support. You can start a box for your local food bank. Or personal hygiene supplies to donate to your local homeless or battered women shelter. Or school supplies for an organization that helps families afford to send their kids to school. Little gifts for nursing home residents.

The possibilities are endless and this plan can be suited to any charity that you'd like to support. Just look them up online or call them and find out what items they usually need most of all and go from there. You could even do this with a certain person or family in mind. Do you know someone in your neighborhood (or another)that has a hard time making ends meet? Pick up little items as you can and start a nice basket of things for them. Sometimes, pride keeps us from accepting donations from people but under the guise of holiday giving, most people will smile and never think anything of it.

And let me tell you, if you save up your coupons, you can get these donation items really cheap! It can be a pretty fun game to see what you can afford if you try.
If you don't want to collect items, you can always just have a jar that you put your change in. By the end of the year, apply it to whatever charity strikes your fancy. For instance, when I see the "Angel Tree" that our local Salvation Army puts up every year, I always want to take a child's name from it and buy a toy or new clothes for them but usually, we're in holiday budget lock-down mode and I can't. This would be a good way to manage that too.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not preachy preachy and saying that you have to. Not by any means. This is just an idea for those of us who want to and sometimes feel overwhelmed and like we won't be able to afford to. The charity that usually gets the most attention is the kind where a bigwig donates a giant cardboard check to an organization for a flashy photo-op. But for the most part, the majority of charity happens under the radar every day. Hold the door open for someone you don't know. Stop your car and help a wandering, lost pet. Take the time to listen when a coworker seems like they're having a hard time. Clip a small bouquet from your garden for a neighbor or nursing home. Keep your eye on the neighborhood kids walking to and from school to keep them safe. No matter how small it seems, it's a big deal.

My friend, Gia gave me a postcard that says, "Remember that everyone you meet loves something, has lost something, and is afraid of something." Most of us just want to feel like we matter and that we're noticed in this world. I think that we can do that for each other if nothing else.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sharing is Fun!

For a while now, I've been following Say It Ain't So, an awesome blog written by another local Nashville gal, Rae who is super cool. Recently, I was in the pay by the pound Goodwill parking lot and remembering that she posts sometimes about she and her hubs going there, thought to myself, "I wonder if I will see Rae and Travis!" and I swear to you, not even five seconds later, I looked to my right and getting out of the car right beside me were...Rae and Travis. Visualize to Realize, people!

Now, my unearthly shyness took over for a second and I thought about I don't know, diving under the car. But then I realized that they're cool kids and I may never get to meet them. So I said hey. And I think I scared Rae out of her wits because I pretty much shrieked at her and popped out like some deranged Jack-in-the-Box. It was then that I remembered that I'd just been climbing over cow skeletons in a field and my boots were covered in cow dung (long story. another time.) and I looked like a crazy woman. But so it goes...glamorous alter-ego blown.

As we talked about the adventurous world that is the Goodwill, they reminded me of their amazing Hank Williams bust that they scored there once. Like I could forget - it's one of the stories that keeps me going there even though I think that I'm going to get my eye put out by someone throwing a lawn chair or a set of steak knives or a small child. That place is crazy wild, yo.

Anyway, recently Rae was invited to share the story of Hank as her favorite find ever over at Owl Really which is written by Jamie. And I followed her over and "met" Jamie who also lives in Nashville and who before long, invited me to share one of my favorite finds too. And of course, I picked the Pam films. So I'd love to have you come on over and read the interview and meet the also super cool Jamie if you haven't already. Click here to go see:

I think it's a great idea that Jamie has come up with for a series. It's kind of like show-and-tell!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anne's Things

I went to an estate sale back in the Summer at a charming little house full of quirky crafts and cookbooks and lovely vintage things. Strangely enough, I got there a couple of hours after it opened yet there were few customers there. Throughout the next couple of days, the Mister and I went there three times to look over the house and the items. Before it was done, I felt like I knew the people who had lived there. Most of all, Anne.

There were touches of Anne all over the house - from her clothes in the closet to her well-worn serving pieces in the kitchen. I was immediately drawn to her cookbook shelf and down on the very bottom amongst store-bought books, I found her handmade cookbooks. And then her recipe cards that another shopper had cast off to buy her recipe box, bound tightly with old rubber bands. And now, I keep them in my studio in their very own box.

They are incredibly fascinating to me. I love seeing Anne's delicate, perfect handwriting and the photos of dishes that she cut out of magazines and carefully pasted into notebooks. And the pages accidentally splattered with ingredients. And sometimes, she'd write little notes next to the recipes after she made them to rate them. It's funny but when I see "very good" written in her pert little script, I have no doubt that she was right. The collection starts in the early 50's when she most likely set up housekeeping and goes into the late 1980's.

I marvel at the hundreds and hundreds of handwritten recipe cards.

And the little bonuses that are tucked here and there:

Especially this car payment receipt from 1950:

And on the back of it:

Who among us couldn't use a stiff drink after making the car payment?

There is also a whole binder full of clippings from a regular newspaper column about local Nashville women and how they cooked and entertained. I LOVE these to pieces:

This clipping tells of how ladies from the neighborhood have this lady cook meals for them and then pretend that they made them with their own two hands. No wonder she looks so tired! (I'm still trying to come to terms with the Early American gas can on the table..)

I learned that this lady loves hat making and won a ribbon at the Tennessee State Fair for the sport coat that she made for her husband. On her table is Southern Fried Rabbit, Spanish Corn and Congealed Strawberry Salad (that Anne marked as "very good")

From her clipping, I learned that she has a small dining room and was once in a sorority. And that she never sees her husband because he works a lot. She is serving Open Faced Tomato Finger Sandwiches and Bing Cherry Congealed Salad.

Sometimes, I'll just take the box down and look through these things and think about how Anne took the time to plan out how she would feed her family and entertain. How she probably had "everyday dishes" and then "the good dishes" and nicely pressed linens at the ready. And she probably knew her way around a good hostess gift too.

And I think about how she'd probably laugh at how I make the same three easy recipes over and over and then kindly encourage me to try something more exciting like "Red Curry Delight" or the "Harvey Wallbanger Cake".

I think it's interesting how some people look at this stuff as "junk" - like 90% of the people at that estate sale - but how people like me (and maybe you) latch onto it and want to buy it and preserve it. In fact, I've thought up a little project surrounding Anne's collection and if things go well, it'll be on tap for this year.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Visualize to Realize

For a long time now, I've been wanting a crafting table for my office. I knew just what size I wanted and what I wanted it to look like. I could just picture it in my head. It would be white laminate and retro and round with nice sturdy metal legs. I searched the classifieds and thrift stores and couldn't find it. I kept thinking of taking other tables in just to settle and let the search end. But I made a promise to myself recently that I wouldn't bring anything into my house that I don't absolutely love. No more stand-in pieces or "surely I'll find a place for this once I get it home" pieces.

Then last weekend, after failed searches at a few more stores, the Mister and I were driving past the Habitat for Humanity store and I begged, "Let's just stop! They might have the table!" I'm sure he was thinking, "Fat chance, sister.." but we stopped.

And we walked in the front door. And there it was. The table that I'd pictured in my mind. To the letter. THE table. Mere feet across from me.

Which might not seem like such a big deal. But when you're on a tiny budget, these things seem like miracles. Will a shop have it? And if they do, will you be able to afford it? And wait...will it fit in the car? And they did. And I could. And it did. But just barely.

So now it sits in my office just waiting on some crafting to start. I'm presently too swamped for fun time but I can't wait. There used to be a single chair there in it's place where the Mister would come in and sit and talk to me while I worked. Now he sits at the table and calls it "the interview table". For a while, I had a solitary box of Kleenex there and I'd always tell him that he didn't get the job.

What about you? Have you visualized something lately and then had it realized? Do tell! Are you currently trying to find something and won't give up the search? Tell that too!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Take it from Mr. T

The blogs are all a-twitter with new year's resolutions today and I love reading what everyone else resolves to do (and not do) in the new year. However, I decided many years ago to never voice any resolutions in public. It just makes things easier when one of my local readers sees me scarfing down doughnuts in my car mid-January in the Krispy Kreme parking lot.

If I resolve to do anything, it will be to admit that I am a flawed person. I procrastinate and screw up and this time next year, I'll have fouled up lots of things and missed opportunities. But what I will have not done is beat myself up over them. Believe me, I have. But not lately. Sometimes, I think it's enough just to know that we are doing the best that we can.

This isn't the easiest world to survive in. And as long as we're not hurting anyone and are trying as much as we can to make the world a better place for others - even if just in little ways, then we've done well. Sure, we'll screw up sometimes but everyone screws up sometimes. In the same way that we don't fault others for doing so, we can't fault ourselves.

Resolutions are cool and all but I'd rather go by Mr. T's mantra:

Happy New Year, buckaroos!

Until next time (I pity da fool!)
x's and o's,