Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Those Shelves Sure Filled Up Quickly! Vintage Giveaway!

     I told you that I would show you the shelves once they were loaded...it certainly didn't take long to fill them! I thought I had so much space...and then I didn't have enough. Isn't that how it always is? The sad thing is that my holiday dishes are stored in the cedar chest (you will see it later in the post) and my good china as well as my mother's china are also stored in a different room and all of my white dishes, everyday dishes and a few others are in the kitchen. At least I can see what I have now.

     This room is an interior "bedroom" in our basement. It has no window, so I wouldn't sleep in it. The prior owners used it as a home office. No one sees the room, so the furniture is just a mix of old pieces we had around the house that function to hold things. I didn't paint them because I knew they would just get scratched and battered. The bookcase holds ribbon and a few other crafty items. Old crocks work well for florals.

     The cedar chest is full of Christmas dishes. The old radio was my grandfather's, I just can't part with it. Napkin rings, paper napkins and other small tablescaping items are in the storage boxes. The shelf has Easter items.

     A few random Christmas items on the shelf and some trays, flatware and spring items sit on this old table that was my grandmother's. The large pine armoire holds more china and glassware, flatware and trays are in the drawers. The large cedar wardrobe is perfect for hanging tablecloths and runners.

     It is crowded, and not very pretty but it is organized. The extra table works well when I'm trying to pull things together for a tablescape. You can see a peek of my old rocking horse and my daughter's dollhouse that my dad built for her 9th birthday. You've seen this room before, but the new shelves really changed the function of the room.


     I know I just had a giveaway, but it was sponsored by someone else. While cleaning out my dish room, I pulled out a few of the items that I love to decorate with and I'm going to send a "goody package" to one of you.

     I'm sending you some very old magazines, sheet music, postcards and photographs. My house is somewhat traditional/contemporary and yet, a few pieces of vintage paper still looks great in a vignette. If you don't want to decorate with the items...it is still fun to look at them.

     All you have to do is be a follower and let me know you are interested in my vintage grab bag in a comment. U.S. and Canadian readers only, sorry. I will pick my winner on March 11th! Good luck!

I am joining Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for Table Top Tuesday
Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for WOW Us Wednesday

Monday, February 27, 2012

Clean Out the Refrigerator Soup

     We all have those days where we want something homemade and we don't want to have to go to the store or put much effort into the process. Well my suggestion, make soup! I did exactly that a few days ago. You can exchange any ingredient in this soup with something similar and it will work. The key is to allow it to simmer for a while so that all the flavors can really come together.

     I started by browning a pound of lean ground beef with some chopped celery. You could use ground chicken or turkey, leftover roast or simply go meatless if you want. Make sure to drain any grease off the meat before adding the remaining ingredients. I had a couple cans each of diced tomatoes and white beans (any beans will work just rinse the beans before adding to soup). My tomatoes had basil and garlic added. You can use any that you like, just add some Italian seasoning or a pinch garlic powder and some oregano if you use this plain tomatoes. Add the beans and tomatoes to the meat mixture. Add enough water to cover the meat/vegetable mix and simmer for as long as you have time for. I let mine simmer about two hours.

     About 15 minutes before serving, I added some fresh spinach (I used an entire bag) and about a cup of pasta. Any greens and any kind of pasta will work. If you don't have pasta, rice would be fine.  

     Season with salt and pepper to taste. I topped ours with a little parmesan cheese. It tasted a little like a cross between minestrone and vegetable soup. The bonus was the house smelled wonderful! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I've Found My "Crafty Calling"! Giveaway Reminder!

     I've found it! The perfect DIY project for me. It is inexpensive, it only takes a few minutes, I couldn't possibly mess it up and the recipient loves it! Who could ask for more?

     It starts with soft fleece. I bought small remnants on sale at Walmart. It looks best if you use 3 different colors. These would not be my colors of choice, but it is what they had. My recipient isn't as picky about color as I am.

     Cut the fleece into 4" wide strips the length of the material. This requires a ruler and scissors. It doesn't have to be exact (love that). 

     Stack the fleece strips on top of each other and secure the end with a rubber band about 4 inches from the end. I actually did the first one this way, the others I made I just tied a very tight knot and then I didn't have to worry about cutting out the rubber band. Holding the rubber band end between your knees (or the knot), tightly braid the three strips of fleece until you get the length you want. Cut the ends off with a 4" tail and either add another rubber band or tie another tight knot. If you use the rubber bands, tie the knot now and clip out the rubber band. Cut the ends into 3 sections for "fringe"!

Handmade dog chew rope! Very soft and stretchy.
It is washable and Zoe found my project to be a huge success.  

Finally something I can actually do!

Don't forget to sign up for my Giveaway!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Empty Shelf and a Giveaway!

Giveaway Has Ended.

     I mentioned last week that my husband was working on a shelving project in my "dish room" and he finally finished them yesterday. I thought I would post a picture of them empty, because by the time I get done with them...they won't look all that pretty! I actually wanted them for open storage and I'm not going to try to make them decorative. The room I use for a dish room is a basement bedroom and no one ever sees it. This room is better suited for an office, so we wanted the shelves to be able to function for books etc. when we decide to sell the house.

     The main goal was to make them very strong so that I could stack lots of china on them. The last thing I want to hear is a loud crash coming from the basement. You can see all of the support he put under each shelf. The inspiration came from the picture below that I found on Pinterest. You can see the blog where it was originally posted here. My husband made my upper shelves shorter because he already had the wood and we were trying to make this project as economical as possible. As you can see, the Pinterest photo has the beautiful whites and grays displayed perfectly. Mine won't look like that! I may let you see how mine do look after I get the rest of the room arranged. It will be such a disappointment after seeing the Pinterest photo!

Now for the Giveaway!

   A representative for Celtic Woman has given me the opportunity to review and giveaway the new Celtic Woman CD and DVD, Believe. If you aren't familiar with the Celtic Woman group, they are an all-female musical ensemble conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes, a former musical director of the Irish stage show Riverdance in 2004. Their music ranges from traditional Celtic tunes to modern songs. Celtic Woman has been described as being "Riverdance for the voice."

     I was familiar with Celtic Woman after seeing them on PBS. I also had a friend who saw them in concert and couldn't say enough about how talented they are. I can sum it up in just a few words. They sing like angels. Their voices are pure and clear, you simply feel better after listening to their music. It is also so relaxing that you just may want to close your eyes and nap while the CD is playing. The songs range from traditional to a bit of Broadway. I really loved their version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

     My husband and I watched the DVD Friday night and really enjoyed the performance. You can see a clip from the DVD here, or listen to a little bit of the CD here. They are both available for purchase on Amazon, the DVD is $13.99 and the CD is $11.88. However, a representative for Celtic Woman is going to send 1 of my readers the DVD and 1 of you the CD. They will be signed copies, how cool is that?

     All you have to do to enter is be a follower of I Need Mom! Just leave a comment telling me that you are. The Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only. The Giveaway ends on Sunday, Feb. 23rd at Midnight EST. Good Luck!

Celtic Woman are currently on tour. If you get a chance...go see them in person!

Tour Dates
Feb 22, 2012 Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena
Feb 24, 2012 North Charleston, SC North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Feb 25, 2012 Asheville , NC Asheville Civic Center
Feb 26, 2012 Columbia, SC Koger Center
Feb 28, 2012 Roanoke, VA Civic Center
Feb 29, 2012 Norfolk, VA Chrysler Hall
Mar 2, 2012 Raleigh, NC Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Mar 3, 2012 Fairfax, VA Patriot Center
Mar 4, 2012 Baltimore, MD Hippodrome Theatre
Mar 6, 2012 Hershey, PA Giant Center
Mar 8, 2012 Philadelphia, PA Liacouras Center
Mar 9, 2012 Boston, MA The Wang Theatre
Mar 10, 2012 Boston, MA The Wang Theatre
Mar 11, 2012 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
Mar 13, 2012 Syracuse, NY Landmark Theatre
Mar 14. 2012 Albany, NY Palace Theatre
Mar 16, 2012 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena
Mar 17, 2012 Wallingford, CT Oakdale Theatre
Mar 18, 2012 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Mar 20, 2012 Richmond, VA Landmark Theater
Mar 21, 2012 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center
Mar 23, 2012 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre
Mar 24, 2012 Cincinnati, OH Aronoff Center for the Arts
Mar 25, 2012 West Lafayette, IN Elliott Hall of Music
Mar 27, 2012 Akron, OH Civic Theatre
Mar 28, 2012 Columbus, OH Palace Theatre
Mar 30, 2012 Chicago, IL Rosemont Theatre
Mar 31, 2012 Chicago, IL Rosemont Theatre
Apr 1, 2012 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
Apr 3, 2012 Champaign, IL Assembly Hall Star Theatre
Apr 4, 2012 Kansas City, MO Music Hall
Apr 5, 2012 Little Rock, AR Robinson Center
Apr 6, 2012 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
Apr 7, 2012 Memphis, TN Orpheum Theatre
Apr 10, 2012 Louisville, KY The Palace Theater
Apr 11, 2012 St. Louis, MO Fox Theatre
Apr 12, 2012 Wichita, KS Century II Performing Arts Center
Apr 14, 2012 Dallas, TX Verizon Theatre
Apr 15, 2012 Baton Rouge, LA River Center Arena
Apr 16, 2012 Houston, TX Jones Hall
Apr 18, 2012 Denver, CO Wells Fargo Theater
Apr 19, 2012 Salt Lake City, UT Energy Solutions Arena
Apr 21, 2012 Portland, OR Keller Auditorium
Apr 22, 2012 Spokane, WA INB PAC
Apr 23, 2012 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
Apr 25, 2012 Sacramento, CA Memorial Auditorium
Apr 27, 2012 Phoenix, AZ Comerica Theatre
Apr 28, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
Apr 29, 2012 Las Vegas, NV The Smith Center for Performing Arts

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday.
Please stop to say hello to our hostess!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Linens and Lace-Dessert for Two

     I love mixing old and new. We had a very simple Valentine's Day dessert of Key Lime Pie and I think everything tastes better on a pretty plate. I set the coffee table with an embroidered short runner that I found in my mother-in-law's things and added 2 different lacy napkins from my mother's things. The cup and plate set is from Living Quarters, the funky flatware was a HomeGoods buy a couple of years ago.

I added blue stemware and a few mercury
glass votive candles to complete the look.

The beautiful tulips were part of my Valentine's Day
gift from my husband. Tulips are my favorite!

You can see the glow of the fireplace in the background.

The Key Lime pie was made from a Carnation brand kit.
It was surprisingly good!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
 for Tablescape Thursday.

Please visit our hostess!

     I am going to start blocking Anonymous comments from my blog. I seem to be getting them several times a day and they aren't real comments-they are advertisements. Is anyone else having this issue?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bits and Pieces

     This is one of those blog posts that says very little because life hasn't been very creative the last few days. It has really been more of a mess! My husband is working on a project for me, but he has spent the past 3 weekends on it and we still aren't done. He is putting up open shelves on one wall in my "dish room". I saw a picture on Pinterest and asked if he could duplicate it without spending any money. He did have the boards for the shelves, but we had to buy the wooden brackets to support the shelves and a few other smaller items. It isn't going to be as perfect as the picture because his boards were 2 different sizes, but I think it will be a vast improvement. I will actually be able to see more of my things and we will get rid of a few pieces of furniture in that room. As of now, everthing from the dish room is all over the basement. Pictures soon (I hope).

     I took Kim @ Savvy Southern Style's  brand advice and bought a steamer for our tile and wood floors this weekend. I used it yesterday and while I'm not sure the floors look any different, I certainly feel as if they had a deep cleaning. I found the Hahn machine on sale at Carson's. There was one slight problem. When I was getting ready to steam, I picked up the 2 sets of dog bowls and put them in the laundry room sink to wash them. I plugged the sink, turned on the hot water, shut the door and proceeded to steam the floor. You see where this is going?? About half way through the hardwood floor steaming I heard a water sound and remembered what I'd done. I flooded the laundry room, the basement below it and even the garage where it came through the wall somehow. My husband wasn't home, but luckily he was within reach. Duh. I haven't done anything that dumb in quite a while.

     I wanted to mention that I'm still using the Mindful Mineral products that I wrote about here and I still think they are the best products that I've ever used. I've even had friends comment on my skin recently. I swear I'm not on the payroll, I just love sharing something with you when I really believe in it.

     I spent much of the weekend watching the coverage of Whitney Houston's death. We lose famous people all the time and I always feel badly for the family, but rarely does the passing of someone famous stop me in my tracks. This one did. I have Whitney's first album, her last and many in-between. In my opinion, she had the best female voice of my generation and while her last album doesn't compare to her earlier ones, I was still hopeful for her. In her prime no one was better or more beautiful. I hope that is her legacy and not the troubles of her last years. I heard Robin Roberts on GMA say that "a daughter lost a mother and a mother lost a daughter". I hope the media remembers that in the following days.

    We are supposed to have our first real snow storm of the season later today. The flurries have just started and after a few inches they are mentioning ice. Hopefully, they are wrong. So, how was you weekend?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Rest of the Story and a Zoe Update

     I had several comments about the menu that was on my tablescape last week. I found it in with a box of vintage postcards. I decided to see if I could find out a little bit more about the ship. I was very excited to be able to find an actual picture of it.

     The R.M.S. Caronia was a British ocean liner, launched on July 13th, 1904. She was built for Cunard by John Brown & Co. of Glasgow. She left Liverpool on her maiden voyage to New York on February 25th, 1905. After a successful 1906 cruise from New York to the Mediterranean, the Caronia was used often in the following years. 

     The Caronia was briefly placed on Cunard's Boston service in 1914, but the start of World War I caused her to be requisitioned as an armed merchant cruiser. In 1916, she became a troopship and served in that role for the duration of the war, returning to the Liverpool-New York run after the war was over. In 1920, the Caronia was converted to burn oil instead of coal. She sailed on a number of different routes, including: New York/Boston from Liverpool; New York from London; New York from Hamburg; Quebec from Liverpool; and New York from Havana. 

     Her last voyage, from London to New York was on September 12th, 1932, after which she was sold to be disassembled. Initially sold to Hughes Bolckow for demolition at Blyth, she was resold, renamed Taiseiyo Maru and sailed to Osaka, where she was scrapped in 1933.

     I would love to know who owned the menu that I now have...but that may just remain a mystery.

     Some of you have asked about Zoe. She will be 5 months old in a few days. She is slightly taller than our old beagle. Her body type is entirely different than our past 2 beagles. She has long legs and a very lean body. This means that she can reach things off the coffee table, jump on all the furniture and jump high enough (think trampoline) to pull the throws off the back of the couch! She just lost her first baby tooth. We still have trouble when they are both loose at the same time. The older dog really instigates the problem but Zoe thinks she wants to play. She isn't completely housebroken yet, but she is making good progress and is certainly where we would expect her to be at this age.

     Having two dogs that don't get along has proven to be much more difficult that we anticipated, but we don't for one minute regret adding Zoe to our family. We just won't have 2 at the same time again. Our older beagle continues to hang in there as she nears 16. Her back legs seem to fail her at times for a few minutes, but she gets back up and keeps on going. Her goal in life right now is to get to every dog biscuit of Zoe's before Zoe can eat it!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for
Tablescape Thursday since this post concerns last week's tablescape.

Please visit our hostess!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Computers...A Love/Hate Relationship

Yesterday wasn't a good day. For a week or two, I have been having some problems with Internet Explorer shutting down frequently and then restarting. Over the past few days I have done all the "normal" things I do when I have a computer issue. I ran my virus scan, checked for malware, upgraded from IE 8 to 9 and back to 8 again, checked the disk, defragmented the hard drive, tried several restore points and so on. You get the picture. I googled repeatedly looking for answers and as it was getting worse, I attempted a recovery suggested by someone I googled. Big mistake. Whatever I did...made things worse.

After my "repair" I started getting messages. The first sign of a real problem came when my computer didn't recognize my iPhone and I couldn't fix that. Shortly after that a message popped up that my virus protection was turned off, but I couldn't turn it back on. When I tried to Google to see what might be going wrong...I discovered that IE would no longer open. It was broken/fried/gone. My computer showed that it was still there, it even showed it was running-but it wouldn't open. Long story short, I started this process at about 10:00 a.m. yesterday and I finally went to bed at 2:00 a.m. this morning. I did learn a few things during the process that I thought I would share with you.

1. It was very obvious that my issue was with Internet Explorer, not the computer. I was extremely lucky that I had a secondary browser on my computer so that I could still research things to try. I happened to have Google Chrome and it was still working.

2. I was also lucky that I had a couple of USB Flash Drives at home and I was able to remove all my pictures and my taxes etc. from the computer before I took the last drastic step.

3. It was a serious mistake to make a repair without writing down what I'd done. The suggested repair had me looking up a file, clicking a couple of places and shutting a few things off. I think that I created more of a problem than I had originally and the steps were too complicated for me to remember how to reverse them. I should have taken notes as I did it-lesson learned.

4. I ended up taking my computer back to factory settings. In other words, it is the same as when it came out of the box. I have a Satellite L675 laptop and I really didn't want to have to replace it. Factory setting is a very drastic step, but it also cleans up all the junk we accumulate on the computer. It took a long time and several steps. I had to go online to find out how to do it as they no longer send a recover disk with a computer. It wasn't difficult, just time consuming.

5. So far, I have only found that my daughter's tax information didn't save to the flash drive  for some reason. I lost all of my favorites and the items in my favorites bar as well as the Swagbucks Toolbar. I also lost all of my songs on iTunes (I know-I should have been saving to The Cloud). That isn't a big deal as the songs are still on my phone. As of yet I haven't found a way to move them from the phone back to the computer and that isn't the end of the world.

So-my reminder today to each of you is to:

1) Backup your files and photos to a flash drive (don't just plan on it like I did).

2. Add a second browser, even if you don't use it.

3. If you make changes to your computer-write them down so you can reverse them later.

4. If you have iTunes/iPhone/iPod-use The Cloud if you are going to be upset losing your music.  

I am still a bit stressed, exhausted and very hopeful that I won't still have issues.
My tablescape for this week, isn't happening.
I also don't have to find a way to work a new computer into the budget!
I call that success!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mr. Food Helps With My Super Bowl Snacks!

     I'm sure many of you did exactly what I did yesterday...I ate too much! We went to a lovely Super Bowl party, where everyone brought something yummy to eat! Every day on our local noon news, Mr. Food has a recipe at the end of the show. Sometimes they look good, sometimes not so much. I never try the recipes. I decided for the party to finally give two of them a try. The first was a bar cookie-Lime Margarita Bars (click here for recipe).

     They were very easy to make and I really liked the combination of the salty pretzel crust and the almost cheesecake type filling. Mr. Food showed them with a little whipped cream on top, but I didn't think that would hold up during the party. I dusted them with powdered sugar and sprinkled a few of the remaining crumbs from the pan on top of the bars.

     The second recipe I tried was an appetizer-Border Biscuit Bake (click here for the recipe). This was also very simple to make. Refrigerator biscuits are cut into pieces, tossed with a jar of salsa and covered with cheese, peppers and olives. After baking you end up with a pull apart "bread" with a Mexican flavor. I used 4 cups of cheese rather than the 3 cups in the recipe. I found this to be very good, but just a little dry for my taste. I baked mine 40 minutes and I would reduce that by a few minutes when I do it again. I also would probably serve sour cream and/or guacamole on the side to garnish it with. The flavor was very good and hot from the oven it was gooey and delicious, it needed a bit of sauce or something after it cooled. I did read in the Mr. Food comments that some people added cooked meat before baking which would certainly be delicious. So-did you eat too much? I'm back to eating a bit healthier today!