Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mother's Day in the South

I am a spoiled lady. Truly.
My Hubby took me to South Carolina and Georgia for the week of Mother's Day. So, I guess you could say, I had a week long Mother's Day!
We flew into Charleston Airport, which I think is my favorite.....so relaxing! It's an airport you can actually relax in.....it was calm, clean, and there wasn't that genetic energy that airports have....
We stayed at a Courtyard the first night so that we could get the rental car the next day in daylight and drive to Hilton Head.
Any of you been there?? I loved it...except for the heat and humidity which had already started...
We had a lovely room and could sit out on the balcony and enjoy our breakfast there....simply marvelous! Pelicans flew overhead....no jets....
The beaches in the East are so different from the beaches here in California! The sand there is like powdered sugar and when the tide goes out you can ride a bike on it! That can't happen here.
The water of the Atlantic is significantly warmer...about 10 degrees warmer! So lovely...and you can walk for miles along the water's edge....and the waves are so much less you can swim without being tumbled...well, mostly...there was one day...the weather was wild...and the waves were a little crazy.


After Hilton Head, we headed to Savannah. Yup, we did. It is only about an hour's drive, give or take. We were using Google GPS and it wanted us to use a route that went through Bluffton....only problem was, Bluffton was closed for a festival...we finally had to pull over and Hubby actually went and asked directions! We used the highway and got there no problem at all....
Savannah was hot and humid! about 91 degrees and about 85% humidity....I have to say, y'all, I don't do well in heat anymore....I pretty much melt.....
We walked the whole town and rode around on the trolley to learn the city's history. Then Hubby had preplanned Mother's Day! First my girls had sent flowers to our hotel.....

Then, Hubby had preplanned to have dinner that night at Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant) because I used to watch her show all the time....and after....a private carriage ride around the town...and though we had already had a tour...it gave us a little different perspective from the carriage and the sweet "clop clop" of the horse was so enjoyable.....





Savannah is on a river and you can take a tour on this "riverboat" and watch the huge container ships as they come and go.... our room at the Marriott was facing the river and we watched as dolphins escorted ships out to the ocean....
Then, we left Savannah to go back to Charleston, where our niece and her husband and daughter live. We had dinner with them at their darling house and enjoyed a home cooked meal...by her Hubby! He is an excellent cook. The next day, we met our Niece at the  aquarium, where she is one of the directors. We got a behind the scenes personal tour! So fun.....
We explored much of Charleston...and then the next day...was the day we had to leave...problem...was, well it was a late plane...so, oh darn, we had to go do something...so our niece recommended that we take in the Magnolia Plantation....which we did. Amazing to see part of the country that was here before it was a country! Beautiful grounds and gardens....and though it was hot and humid we had a grand time!

There were peacocks everywhere....
The flowers were just finishing up...it's almost summer there y'all....
 The plantation has quite a history....and we had a tour...we were glad we paid to tour it....the history is amazing....
And of course, one can't go to the south without noticing the "moss"...which isn't a moss at all....
Oh I wanted to snag some and bring it home....but first we don't have the humidity they do...and second....bugs like to hang out in that moss...like chiggers....yeah...no thanks...pictures will do.
All in all, we had a lovely trip...full of adventures and views and such.
And then it's always great to return home. To your own bed and pillow, to where at this time of year we are actually cold! 
I hope you all had a lovely week....
Nancy

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Using Craigslist

As many of you know, I have had things recently posted on Craigslist.
I sold a dresser that I picked up for free and painted...
I also sold a large mulberry that had rooted into the ground...
And....I before all that sold a chair I had redone...
to which the very enthusiastic buyer that bought the chair actually sent me a picture of it in her house!!
I also sold a bay tree, still in its pot and rooted to the ground ...
That was all in a period of a week and a half.
Now, you're asking how did I sell the plants.... Well, the mulberry is a fairly expensive tree in the stores and mine was espaliered (by me) and was 8 years old. Those would go for so much! But because I knew it was rooted and it would be hard to get out (it took him an hour to dig and chop), I priced it fairly low....
You see, I think people forget the premise. It isn't about "making money" to sell on Craigslist..
it's about getting something OUT....
When you and I are cleaning out, that means...OUT
So, price it fairly at garage sale price...not what you paid but at the "used" price.
The chair was sold too low I know now...but she gave it an incredible home!
The Mulberry was less than I paid but he had to dig it out and quite possibly might not make it(though he seemed fairly certain he could keep it alive) and paid me full asking.
The dresser cost me paint and some shelf paper...so it wasn't entirely free....but it too made the new owner so incredibly happy that she almost cried.
The same was true of the bay tree...the new owner was so happy with it...
There are some not nice people in the world...but the last week and half I have met a wide variety of people that were all  kind and even sweet.
Craigslist is all about getting rid of what you no longer want...for whatever reason...that may still useable by someone else....
It isn't about making money...though extra jingle in your pocket is nice...
You can't say well I bought it for $$$ so that's what it worth....
No, actually, it isn't. It is a used item. Therefore it is no longer worth as much.
Study your "market" by comparing others and prices in new....then set your price. If it doesn't sell within a few days...reduce and keep reducing.

If you listed...you have a plan to move on to something else....so do it...move on and realize that your old treasure will be someone else's new treasure!

In the meantime...have fun...and remember what it's like to be the customer!

Oh, and if someone wants to only pay with a cashiers check...its a scam....
If they give you the run around etc...don't go for it.
The rules are simple....they come to you and pay cash only and take it home. Simple. No exceptions.

Hope that helps....
Nancy

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Dresser

Yesterday, my pup, Molly and I went for our morning walk. We turned down a street we haven't walked down in a long while and suddenly, I noticed a cute little dresser. Well, I had to look as it was out on the curb.
There was no sign on it, but my it was cute!
A little, no a lot rough around the edges.
But, if you know me, I immediately saw it painted.
About that time, as I was pulling out and looking at drawers, the owner backed out of his driveway.
I asked him if it needed a good home. (Well, if you know me, furniture on the curb might as well be puppies!)
He said, yes.
Then, holding the leash of my dog...I asked him if he could drop it by my house as I was still out walking the dog. Now, I have to say...there are benefits to having grey (all grey) hair. I look old....and I am I guess....but I asked anyway.
He said sure....
I think I thanked him....and walked on.
I called Hubby (I carry a phone on walks)...and warned him so he'd know....
Well, after a bit I got home and there it was.
It sure looked rougher than it did a few minutes before....



But, it was free.
So, I got to work.
First thing I did was wash it down....
Then, I went to the hardware store and bought some Amy Howard paint (because I couldn't find the Annie Sloan white)...
I pulled out the drawers and moved the dresser inside.
Then....I painted.
Now, here's the thing. I going to be honest here.
I don't like Amy Howard "one step" paint. It is supposed to be a type of "chalk" paint...like Annie Sloan's. It isn't. The little tub I bought was almost gone before I was even done. It smells more. And I am sure that it is just latex paint with lime in it. There I said it.
I am not paid either way....I am just telling you. The two aren't alike at all.
But, it gave me a "base coat".
While it was drying I went looking where I could use the little dresser. Yikes. I can't !
It fits absolutely no where!
I texted my daughter with the children...she said no. She was thinking one of them would use the drawers to climb up like a ladder.....(she's probably right).
The other daughter doesn't have room.
So, it will go on Craigslist....at least it will be painted....
So, here it is mostly painted....

It has this darling little designs on it that are simply charming...
 See?? Those things are so cute.
Here I took a couple of inserts from the box below to put the screws of the handles through so I could paint them....that helped immensely. As these handles never had paint, they will need a few coats.

After I had painted a full coat of the Amy Howard paint....I went to a cupboard to find something...and guess what I found?? The Annie Sloan paint! WhaaaHooo!
So, the dresser got a second coat of paint....yes! I love this chalk paint! Very nice to work with.
Anyway...today I will finish it and put it on Craigslist....
Know anyone who wants a dresser?? I will not ship...you have to be local.....
Anyway....I've got a busy day....
Nancy

Friday, April 20, 2018

Canning and Picking

I become a little obsessed with canning starting at this time of year. It's a good thing...taking advantage of our harvest and preserving it for later or often for gifts.
Gifts you say?? Yes, at Christmas I give away many of the jars of jam I make and pickles and such. What I don't sell....gets given away.
Yesterday, I harvested the first batch of peaches from my little peach tree. It is indeed little. It lives in a pot and and is only a little under 4'. And yes they are full size peaches. I call it Sonshine...because only God would have a tree that blooms in December and produces such beautiful peaches while its still chilly. By May this tree is done, just when others are starting to produce.
The peaches, being so early, have no worms, or blemishes....again this is God's tree. We are just the caretakers...so yes, these jars I give away....
There are still young peaches on the tree...and I probably will get two more batches out of it....before it is done. Yes, we eat a peach here and there....and honestly, you won't find another peach like it at the market.....
So, yesterday I did canning....and harvested some Fava beans....
This is another early crop we have...these are planted in late September or early October...and are ready now! So, they go all winter...even through the frost! These are so yummy.
Last night I made a salad with them....honestly super.
Never done favas? Well, they are a two step process....probably why most people don't raise them. A dear friend who is Italian taught me about them. This salad is so easy....once the favas are ready.
Take the favas and throw into a bowl. Add blue cheese and little vinaigrette and a touch of pickled onion. No pickled onions?? ok, throw in so thinly sliced sweet onion. (though the pickled onions are amazing!) and toss and eat. Simple and throughly tasty!
We served it with a venison meatloaf ( but any meatloaf will do).
No, I didn't get a picture....camera was charging! Silly, I know....but that's the way it goes.
If you see favas at the market...give them a try.
You boil them just a minute or so and then toss into cold water. Then you peel off the outside covering to reveal the beautiful green interior.
Hope you have a great day!
Nancy

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Painting at My Daughter's House

My daughter and her husband moved into their house a little over three years ago. At the time the kitchen was "ok" and needed nothing....and there were no babies then....
But over time those old Ikea cabinets got older and faded. They became more an orange stain in places and in others bleached....
I don't have before pictures...I thought I had...but suffice it to say they needed paint.
She decided to go with basic bright white. And then she decided to use new hardware that is black....
It is going to be a slow process though with a toddler and an infant and she works!

Needless to say....she is learning to be patient.

 See the new hardware?? Simple and basic. She bought a couple of sets from Amazon...for a very good price compared to the "big box" store...
 That chair you see is one of several that is listed on Craigslist...not her style at all....

Now, don't you go judging the mess....afterall, when one paints everything gets moved out of the way..
It will all come together ...in time....
She has these dark granite counter tops and the white is simply lovely next to them...and with the new hardware....she is getting so excited to see it finished.....
Again...did I mention she is learning patience??
The toddler is being excellent...amazing 3 year old and the infant is a fairly easy going little dude....
So, painting happens when there are naps and when the 3 year old is at preschool....
I go when I can to help....
She is beginning to plan an update of the half bath not far from the kitchen too....a new theme of black and white is beginning to emerge....
I agreed with her...it's classic and goes with any style..
She has an old table and chairs on Craigslist, those are going too....they definitely are not her style, which is more modern...not French country like mine....
She loves grey, but the rest of the kitchen sitting room is done in a beige and she didn't want to have to paint everything...so white cabinets...simple and timeless.
It's not easy to paint over old cabinets...it takes many coats, even with primer....
What color is your kitchen??
Mine is white also....classic white...never out of style and withstands the fads that come and go....
Nancy



Sunday, April 15, 2018

And the Canning Begins....

It is something to do with the weather....something about a canning book I found while thrifting...but it actually starts every year at this time of year....
I found two recipes I have been wanting to try...one is pickled onions...a type of relish or condiment made with red onions thinly sliced....
The other is Strawberry/Marmalade.
Before I did those, I found a recipe for pickled asparagus. And I found one for pickled garlic.
So, the day before yesterday I did those....
The main thing is taking advantage of what is in season. Asparagus is definitely in season and at Costco one can get a large bag of it....and because it can spoil quickly, we some fresh and I pickled the rest.....
And, then when you do that...it starts the "cascade" of canning....
My head swirls with dreams of shelves of canned goods like a true farmer or such. In truth, I am a small batch canner....I use the Ball hybrid canner that holds at most 6 half pints or 4 pints or 3 quarts. But, there is such a satisfaction in putting up food and having unique epicurean delights.
We got up and went to the Farmer's Market yesterday, so I could find strawberries, oranges (I used Cara Cara), and red onions (recipes swear that those are the best for pickling)....


A year or so ago, we ate at one of those super gourmet hamburger places and the burger had this pickled onion condiment on it and it was outstanding. I swore I'd find the recipe. Well, I believe this one is quite similar...and so easy!
I didn't can these...they are for the refrigerator as one goes to each child and one for us. I believe they will be used up in no time.....
 This recipe can be found online as I did...its a keeper....
 Here is the jam bubbling along...it takes about 40-45 mins to stir and stir and stir some more...in this picture, it still has a good 20 mins or so to go....

This recipe took the most time...marmalades do. However, they are so delicious! This recipe takes the best of strawberry jam and the marmalade and brings them together in a delightful mix of a little sweet and a little sour.  We had it on our toast this morning and I have to tell you, it is amazing! In fact, I could see  using other fruit....but so far this is it....the epitome of morning breakfast. Of course, it would make an awesome PB&J too.....
And no, you don't have to like marmalade....this would get you to like it actually....because of the strawberry! Now, if you aren't of fan of strawberry jam... I'd still have you try it.....
Well, no canning today...we're babysitting for a while today.....and I will be taking that daughter her share of the yummies....(I am known for spoiling them)....
Have a great day!!
Nancy

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Popovers

I came across these pictures today....and after a conversation about them came up...I decided I would do a post on popovers.
Popovers somehow became a tradition in our family, and my daughter's boyfriend loves them....even if they go flat or overcooked or what have you.

Popovers are touchy but when they work perfectly they are a delightful light addition to a meal such as turkey or roast beef....
Technically, the difference between popovers and Yorkshire pudding is ...popovers are done separately in a popover pan with butter....and Yorkshire pudding is done in the pan the roast or the turkey have just "vacated".....using the juices instead of butter....
Personally, I haven't done the Yorkshire pudding...just popovers....my family claims that there is more fat than the butter recipe....but that recipe is a classic and the rules are the same for both.
I am not going to give the recipe today...I am giving the basic rules!
#1 Its quite simple.....every ingredient needs to be at room temperature before trying to make them.
That means, milk, eggs, flour....yes, room temp which may take a while so plan that too.
#2 The other major rule.....heat the popover pan and melt some butter in that pan before you put the batter in. I find the batter does well to sit while I heat the pan....it gives the batter a chance to "grow".
#3 When filling the popover pan...don't overfill ...only about halfway or so...
(It's helpful to use a pouring measuring cup)
#4 is the hardest of all...which is why I am glad I have a glass window in my oven.....do not open the oven! At least not until they are done or they deflate!
#5 Even if they don't turn out perfectly...which half the time mine do not, eat and enjoy them anyway...they taste more like biscuits if they don't turn out right....but are still yummy....
In fact, mine have been burned, dry, flat, and even at times perfect...they still disappear.
Don't despair...enjoy!
Have a great day!
Nancy