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May 2006

April 2006

Lady April

Lady April
Speeding west at sunset,
  A golden moonbeam found
little Lady April
   resting on the ground
Her Hair is tossed and wavy,
  Twined with violets, too;
Her lips just curved with laughter,
  Her eyes a misty blue !
The sunbeam paused and listened
  To the fairy tale she weaves;
'Twas the tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
  Of the raindrops on the leaves !
-From Kindergarten Magazine, A Turonto Kindergarten
 
Pansy

A Trio Of Cake Pedestals

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Hello, I wanted something pink and springy for my table. So I pulled out this and that and started playing. Playing, like with building blocks but instead with china. Much more fun!! I came up with these little cake pedestal. There is one size for Aubern'e, one size for Chloe and one size for the fairies.
  All I did was take a tea cup, wine glass, candle holder, saucer, small bottle, plate and salt plate. I glued it all with museum wax. If you have not seen museum wax, you need to. Everyone should have some museum wax in their tool box. It is a must have. It is this clear wax that you use to affix. Pinkpinkflowers_2But when you do not want something affixed anymore, with a little pressure you pull them apart.I take small ball (or several) of wax and set them around let say the bottom of the tea cup and then set the plate on top. It will hold them together. And when you are done, you pull themapart and scrap off the wax and save it for the next time you need it. Then just clean the smudge left with a little orange oil. I have been using this stuff for years. My little jar has lasted at least 5 years. I love to stack things, so this wax is my secrete and saving grace. 
I pulled out a lot of different pieces. I played with stacking them, turning them over. Big on top, small on top until I was satisfied. So I encourage you to get some wax and play with your "china blocks" and see what you can build!!
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My Laundry Room

Well I have shared before how I hate to clean. But I am trying to embrace cleaning and make it fun. My laundry room is in my large 1000 square foot basement. We use it mostly for storage. I have to tell you it hate to go down there and it had gotten so messy. Here is a before shot. It is actually an after shot. This is my husbands area and I do not touch his stuff. But the rest of the basement was even worst. At lest you can walk through this part.
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I spent weeks cleaning the basement. I started off just 15 minutes a day and worked my way up when I started to see progress. After numerous trips to the dump and good-will. I could finally see a floor. And start making my laundry area pretty and hopefully a place I would want to go to. And here is is all done.
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I was going with a vintage theme. Since I live in an old house and have that cool old cement zinc sink. I started by taking this table with all the glass carboys (for DH beer making) under it. I repainted the leg white. I covered the table in pretty fabric and then covered that in clear plastic. I just stapled gunned it to the underside of the table.
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Then I took my ironing board and covered it.
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I redid this yucky old rusted card table I used to hold my laundry soap. I repainted it white. I coved the top in white fabric and plastic. I made ruffled skirt. I glued velcro on the underside of the table top and now I can pull off the skirt if I want to. And I can store all the big ugly bottles there.
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I took a vintage rose postcard blew it up and make an iron on transfer. To add a little something-something to the top. And this is a close up of the fabric I chose.
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Here is my cabinet at the bottom of the stairs that holds all my Costco bulk stuff. And my huge freezer !!!
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I have to tell you this has made a huge difference. We all enjoy going downstairs now. Do laundry is soo much nicer and we do not break our neck trying to get to the washing machine. David added more lighting. We are hoping to paint at lest one wall white and I think I will paint the 3 small windows a raspberry red to match the fabric. The girls even painted my clothespins for me. They are getting into the spirit of the whole thing. I have dried lavender I keep in a jar for the dryer. I have tried to put what cleaning products I can in pretty containers. All this motivates me. And now I am not doing laundry only once a month like before.
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Earl Gray Cookies

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We love our tea time. We try to have tea most afternoons. My mother comes over once a week and we knit and read and have tea time. As of lately we have been reading George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster. I have to say I am not a big lover if history books but I am really enjoying this one. It is a lovely way to stop and refresh. We like to imagine we are having tea at the Perwinkle Cottage. And we are always looking for an excuse to to make something yummy.
 
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We have been loving these Earl Grey cookies. Here is a Martha's recipe
Mine is different from hers. I added some whole wheat pastry flour to make it healthier. Also icing to help add that Earl Gray taste and I left out the orange peel. I know it is used to help bring out the bergamot flavor in the Earl Grey but I think it competes with it. Just the Earl Grey is lovely. We keep them in a log in the freezer and slice them off and bake them when ever we want some. It only take a minute to make the icing. I just use the tea I am making at the moment. Easy, quick and yummy.
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Earl Gray Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbls. earl gray tea
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks of butter softened
1/2 cup confectioner sugar
Run tea leaves and sugar though processor to chop leaves a bit. Cream butter then add flour, sugar/tea leaves, salt and mix. Divide dough in half and roll into a log on parchment or wax paper. Freezer at lest one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.
Bake until edges turn golden, 8-10  minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
To make icing
Take 2 cups of confection sugar and slowly stir in tea till constantly you like. Start with 4 TBLS of tea.
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Small Medow Press

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I got yummy mail this weekend. Angie and I order from Small Meadow Presscame. I can not find words enough to express how much I love Small Meadow Press and Lesley. Who I really do not know but can just tell we are kindred spirits !!! If you have not looked at her site please do. Also she has added some wonderful new things. I got her "token of my esteem", as you can see in the picture and love them. I am looking forward to tucking in little "Esteem Tokens" in notes for those that I love !!!!!

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Lesley has wonderful  stationary, cards, garlands, notebooks, ect.
She also has a lovely newsletter called the Bower.
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A Bird Theme

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I like themes and since we seem to have a bird theme going on here. I thought I would share a wonderful coloring book, 50 Birds. It is a vintage coloring book. There is one page of the bird to color and one colored page. I actually printed off copies of the colored pages for my mother on her birthday. She framed them and has them in her library. Aren't they beautiful !!!

I am sorry for the crooked picture. I have just gotten my digital camera (Thank you Daddy). I love it but I never took pictures before this camera. So I am shaky and still figuring out what to do. So bear with me.
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Chloe is very intrigued by birds right now. But with the rain it is hard to go bird watching. So we sit at our large windows and look for birds and color pictures of them. Enjoy and color. Even if you do not have a young person to color with !!!

Wonderful Paper Idea

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I am always looking for ideas to freshen up my decorating with out spending much. I am sad to say I have champagne taste on a water budget !!
 
Ever since I was a little girl I always zoomed in on the one most expensive thing in the shop. Well I keep telling myself this is a good thing because it helps me to think out of the box. At Christmas time I started lining the back of my china cabinet with wrapping paper to help set the theme of the year (Yes I have a different theme every year. You would think I have too much spare time on my hands). So after one Christmas I started to think what could I line the cabinet with and came up with this brilliant idea. I took scrapbook paper and taped four sheets together. Then taped four rows across the back of the cabinet. I only taped them to the top because my shelves (which come out) hold down the paper. Then I can change out the paper with my whims. As you can see this month we have a bird theme. I am thinking of getting several different papers and doing a quilt look.
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Napkins and lavender water

 
Lavender drawer

Well I have a confession to make, although all who know me know this. I hate cleaning! Mostly because I feel like I work so hard and in only hours it looks like I did nothing. But I have discover that I like the results ;- ). So I am trying to embrace cleaning. I do love decorating, staging my home and have started view cleaning as part of staging. This has helped me greatly, as not viewing it as drudgery. Also I have decide to make cleaning fun and pretty. Because if it is not fun, then I will not do it! So you will see posts on little things I am doing to make cleaning enjoyable.
 
I decided to organize all my linen drawer. I have taken all my table clothes and hung them in my closet. Then I took all my antique napkins and ironed them with my lavender linen water.
 
Then I set tied them in bundles with pretty ribbon. My drawer looks so lovely and there is my lavender sachet. Thank you Miss. Joanne! But it is practical too. When I need to get out a napkin it is easy to grab the ribbon and it keeps all the napkins together. I also tied my napkins rings together to make them easy to find. This Easter it was so nice to not have to dig out little waded wrinkled napkins. Make some lavender water, put on Pride and Prejudice, make a cup of tea (or watermelon margarita !!) and iron away. 
Lavin ad

Lavender Linen Water
 
2 1/2 cups distilled water
1/2 cup ethyl alcohol (or isopropyl or vodka)
15-30 drops essential oil of lavender'
Mix in spry bottle.


Wildflowers and weeds

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I am very into children's books especially old ones. I find them much more enjoyable then most adult books. I have so many books. I set them aside and sooner or later we come across them. It is like shopping in my own home. I have a bedroom I have turned into an English library (I will post pictures one day). Well our latest find is "Travelers Joys by Beshlie"
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This lovely picture book is all about names of weeds by the wayside. Even though it was written in England we have a lot of these wildflowers and weeds here in Washington. Each page has a lovely drawing of a flower and then a little summary and antidote about the flower. Even the different country names. It is quite charming and engaging. Chloe is having so much fun hearing about the different names and now wants to rename all our plants. Our favorite out of the book is kitty-come-down-the-lane-jump-up-and-kiss-me.
 
We also love to color. There is a wonderful site that has wild flower coloring pages  . We are going to find the flowers in the book to color.

Bird embroidery

I have had several ladies ask me about the birds I have embroidered on the dishtowels I have given Chloe for Easter. I used a free Martha birdembroidery pattern. It is state birds. I have made several. And have used them as a guides for my birds. At first I did my birds true to life. But I was inspired by Turkey Feathers and am now playing with the colors. I have to say one "gadget" that has so helped me in my embroidery is washable wonder marker. It is amazing. You write on your fabric and then you add a little water and it disappears. I love it because if I have half embroidered a design and I want to change it, I just wet it and start all over again. It is not very expensive. I highly recommend one. Also Aubern'e has a light box I use to trace my designs. But Angie (thank you Angie) taught me a trick. You can tape your design on a window and put your fabric over that and use the window as a "light box". Let me know if you do any of the birds and how they turned out !!
 
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latest food obsession

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Hello I just wanted to share that I will not be posting every day. I do not want to get lost in blog land and forget my dear daughters whom I am homeschooling !!! Plus I want time to play too. But I will try to make my posts good.
 
I wanted to share my 2 latest food obsessions with anyone who is lucky to live near a Trader Joes. I LOVE Trader Joes. I have to drive an hour to get to mine. I go about every month or so. But it is so worth it. My first obsession is Papadums Indian style snack "Tandoori Masala". It is like an Indian barbecue chip. A little spicy, not greasy like a potato chip can be, very addictive. They also have a dill/yogurt one. But I have not tried it.
 
My second addiction is dark chocolate pistachio cover toffee. Oh they are divine. I only like dark chocolate, the darker the better. But with the pistachio, mmmmmmm. If you do not have a Trader Joes near you do not fear. Melt some good chocolate, pour it over some pistachio nut (you can even sprinkle some toffee pieces). Let is harden and you have instant candy. As Martha would say "It is a good thing".

Birds Nest

With all the little birds coming to my feeder I thought I might be nice to share the twig birds nests we made. Chloe is in a little play group and they made these. A good friend of mine Angie (you will hear her mentioned a lot on this blog) learned how to make these lovely twig nests. They were so easy to make.
 
First mix a bottle of tacky glue with some water to make it soupy.  Then add paper pulp. You want more glue/water then pulp. You want this really liquidly. Let it sit over night to it is adsorbed. Then mix in broken twigs, some straw sweepings (you can get free sweepings at stores were they sell straw. It is the stuff left on the ground), moss, ect. You want to keep your pieces about 2 inches long. Till you have a big soupy wet twiggy mess. Then take little paper bowls and coat the inside with Vaseline. Have also some wool, feathers and pussy willows in small pieces. Take your coated bowl and lay an little wool around the bowl, then take a big handful of gluey twigs and set in bowl. Press twigs down hard in bowl and make a nest shape. Take a paper towel and sop up extra glue. Then you lay in some more wool and stick in pussy willow pieces and feathers around the top and inside of nest. Then set your nest in your oven on the lowest setting and leave there till dried. My dried in about 19 hours. If most of it is dry you can peel off bowl and finish drying. You will have to tear away the bowl in pieces. And you have a realistic looking nest. Thank you for the great idea. Angie !!
 
By the way this is a picture's of Chloe and Aubern'e on with their nests on Easter morning. Aren’t they the sweetest !!!
 
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Happy Easter !!!!

Easter 2006 
 
Well friends I am sitting here with a pinched nerve in my back on Easter. I can only sit for short amounts of times, so my family is off to church without me. I thought I would take this rare time alone and post. So far we are having a lovely Easter. I embroidered tea towels for each of the girls for their Easter basket. We are having ham with and orange marmalade glaze. My mother is making salad with strawberries, toasted almonds and goats cheese. the girls made stuffed eggs and and Aubrene` was kind enough to make this simple 60 second chocolate mouse.
 

60 Second Lemon White Chocolate Mousse 

1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
 

1 pinch of salt

1 grated lemon peel from a large lemon

juice from 1/2 a large lemon

whipped cream

Place chocolate; egg, lemon peel and juice in blender. Heat cream until small bubbles appear at edge. Do not boil. Quickly pour in hot cream and blend until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into dessert dishes and cover with plastic and chill. Serve with whipped cream dollops.

 

I pray this is a blessed day of each of you as we celebrate the sacrifice Christ made of each us. Rejoice!!

Easter 2 2006 copy 


Welcome to my home

 

Blossom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello friends, welcome,

I am very excited about my new little home. I am hoping to share lots of exciting ideas that I make and find. I truly hope you will find Storybook Woods a place of inspiration. A place to help you play. So get  a cup of tea and something to eat and enjoy Clarice

 

"What we play is life." Louis Armstrong