Coffee Chat: And It Isn't Even Spring...

Hello there!  Come on in. There's candy hidden in the Saltines can...An older mama's hiding habits die hard, lol.  I paid a whole $.50 a bag for that candy.  Love chocolate that is low priced, especially these days when the cost of chocolate will make you feel you really ought to give it up.

Perhaps it's all thinking of Valentine's day with chocolate...I broke down last week and bought flowers: roses and a mixed bunch of astromeria, chrysanthemums and Stargazer lily, all in soft pink and white and green.  It seemed to be an appropriate bunch of flowers for winter to me.  Sounds like an early Valentine's day doesn't it?   When I came home I found two daffodil had bloomed in the bed around the Ginkgo tree, shyly hanging their blossoms close to their stems.  It's a little early, really, for daffodil but they get more sun there than the rest of the bulbs get.  There are fat bulbs in a few other spots that I look forward to seeing bloom.  I'm so happy I made myself get out and plant those this past fall!  Gracious I really need to remember it's little enough labor for a whole lot of happy when I see daffodils bloom (or pansies or roses or morning glory, sigh).

I heard the first peepers last Thursday morning when I was seeing John off to work.  They are not yet many and loud as they will be later in the month, but they are starting to sing.  I noted as we went to Kingsland this week that they are nearer the last days of winter than we are.  Granny always called all the blooming trees in the swamp Maples.   I don't know that they are Maple or all Maple but there are several that bloom a lovely deep red wine color (Merlot, ha!, just like the color of the year), and lighter rusty reds and such.  The peepers there were loud and lusty in their night time calls and the trees were fully in first bloom (they have two bloom stages) and some had progressed to second stage.  Here the trees in the swamps are just beginning to show first blooms, but it's a seasonal sign.  And in a sheltered side yard the other day I saw Quince blooming.  I must try to purchase Quince.  I love it as much as I love other spring blooming flowers.   This is winter here, not spring though I keep calling them spring flowers.

I had the most frustrating sort of week two weeks back.  Nothing awful happened and nothing dramatic, either.  Every single thing I went to do turned to tedious slow tasks, and even my cooking was off.  In fact,  my menu for that week turned into an entirely different critter because things wouldn't thaw or couldn't be found until after the meal was started.  If a job was meant to be quick and easy it took forever and ever, with spills, drops, messes and such.  I would spend all morning doing things that normally would take minutes.  Just not a week for moving fast I guess and so I finally just gave in to it and stopped planning to do ten times as much and settled for doing what I might.  It seemed the best way to proceed because I was banging my head against walls.

There is a gallery area above my stove hood.  It was made for no purpose other than to be there.  I've tried for years now to decorate the space in some way.  The space is so short in height between galley rail and top of the shelf that nothing but a saucer fits in behind the railing but once it is in, you can see about 1 1/2 inches of it.  I found a lovely plate the other day that I wanted to put in the space.  It is a departure from what I have used in the past color wise and style wise but I just knew it was the perfect thing...Only it was a bread and butter sized plate and it wouldn't go into that space any way I tried.  I told John I caught myself thinking if I could just bend the top of that plate just a bit...Seriously! I really thought that about a china plate.   That was when he was back home again and I told him I wanted to remove it because it was so useless to me as it was.  If the whole section were out I could perhaps hang the Tole trays there or one of the lovely vintage advertisements I have for gelatin desserts from the late 1920's that I would frame.  If just the galley rails were gone and a little lip left to keep plates from sliding out I might do more with it too.

I'd already tugged and pulled and pushed on those gallery rails and knocked hard at the shelf in between the two trying to work it loose.  John did the same and that man is strong.  He promised he will look at it and see how to remove it soon.  We both laughed saying to each other, 'That is without a doubt the best built part of the whole house!', because it didn't budge even a tiny bit despite our determined abuses the other day but we've done far more gentle things to the house and had awful results.

I am still reading the two books I listed last coffee chat, Stillmeadow Seasons and Main Street. Confession time...I remember now why I so loved Main Street.  It makes me think just as Elizabeth Goudge and Jan Karon do.   I'll take it up and read for 15 minutes or get a chapter in at just about any point in the day and then I think it over as I work.  I think about the morals of it and the politics of it and the dreams of it and the practical sides of it.

That morning as I sat on the porch I heard a bird singing, one foreign to me and I could feel the words patterning themselves in my mind, forming a poem...I so miss that sort of creative process and I think I run and try to grasp it almost as much as I do those uplifting spirit moments when I understand a passage and recognize it's value in my life.  I hurried indoors and wrote the poem out, then sat down to write to my granddaughter and share it with her.  I truly think had I not been reading it might have been a slower process or only expressed as a longing inside, but having left the moment via the book, I was able to draw some of that other world sort of mind back to the present.

Creativity is a wonderful thing.  I've had many and many a woman say to me that they are not creative and yet, I will argue, they are the most creative people I know.  They juggle money and schedules to create a home and a life that is pleasing to them.  When you live on a budget you are constantly called upon to be creative!

I have often said to John that I'd love to have enough money that I could just go out and shop for fun...And I mean it....but I don't.  I enjoy creating my home from the odds and ends and this and that I find in thrift stores and junk shops and dusty piles.  I enjoy putting together an odd assortment of things and watching them come together into something that is unique and lovely.  I like the whole process of slowly, oh so slowly, bringing together a room.  I walked about my home the other day and admired the guest/craft room and the bath and the master bedroom and the little new to me vignettes in the back entry and the kitchen and I smiled and smiled.  It makes me happy to know those areas came together on a small budget and were all done in the past 12 months.

And Lori too took great pride in walking me about her house to see the changes and improvements and frugal fixes.   That vanity I gave her has turned into one gorgeous piece of furniture with the work she and Jd did on it.  I'm so glad that she claimed it for Hailey!  Now if I could just find another one for my own room.

Any woman who can put together an outfit is creative.  And if she's dressing her family as well (my girls had opinions of their own from about age 2 about what they'd wear), then she's truly spinning her creative wheels.

Writing, painting, crafting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, songwriting, gardening, flower arranging...Oh there are so many ways we can create and we all long to do something creative. Organizing is nothing more than a creative way of arranging things!  The list just goes on and on.

I say this quite sincerely I've known only one woman who admitted she had no creative side and I looked hard and in vain for it to prove her wrong.  She was a lovely woman, physically pretty and dainty, but she made no display of personal style at all.  She had good plainclothes and shoes and purses.  Nothing that was distinguishable of a young pretty woman.  Her home was barren  of personality.  She had good plain furniture and good plain color on the walls.  She had good plain morals and preferred her food be good plain food, as well.  I've never met anyone like her and I'll confess to you I've seldom seen anyone with eyes as tortured as hers.  She had the look of a long abandoned house... I learned, over time, some of her personal history and she had good reason to look as she did, though her lot in life had changed dramatically for the better.  She was a very intelligent person and highly valued by others, but she held herself so tightly in rein that any self expression at all was absent.

I thought of her now and then over the years.   I ran into her two years ago and I tell you sincerely, her eyes were still shuttered windows.  She'd held her looks well and she spoke of a life less stressful than her corporate days,  but I don't think she'd changed a great deal if her clothing was any sort of statement.

We had an absolutely lovely time with our family the last Shabat in January.  It turned into a bigger day than originally was planned but the house accommodated everyone and there was enough food to feed them all.  It was a lovely afternoon.  I never once thought to pick up my camera and take pictures but Sam took two or three of the little cousins together.  

We spent some time with the grands in Kingsland this week.  It was a nice visit centered around the children and their playing.
The twins were very interested in the many pictures and videos their Grandpa have taken of them over the past three years, plus the pictures of their cousins.  At John's request I'm going to be working on some little photo albums of all the children and giving one to each grandchild.  Since our family is hither and yon, he thought it would be a great way to keep them aware of one another and give them some familiarity with their family ties.  I think it's a great idea and will be working on that project here very shortly.

I can't forget the brother of these two:
He is a

So it was a lovely week in a lot of ways and productive.  I have nearly finished the deep cleaning of the living room which surprises me.  It helps a great deal that I did a dramatic decluttering January of 2014.  I even culled a few books from the two shelves I've worked on.  It wasn't nearly as heart wrenching as in times past.  I have two more shelves to dust and arrange.  I am trying to put all authors or subject matters together in one spot which helps me to find what I want to read when I'm looking for a specific subject/book.  I have culled more than I've added to the shelves this past year but I'm by no means experiencing roomy shelves...there are just fewer stacked atop one another or in front of a line of books.  I suspect my system of storage and organization is a good deal like my check register, enough to give a professional nightmares but it pretty much works for me if I stay at t organizing part of it.

I had such a long and lovely post written earlier...Then the internet went down for unknown reasons and I lost all but one sentence of it.  Oh I was so upset!    While I waited for service to return, I went to the old computer to download the last of my pictures to flash drive so I could load them onto this computer.  I LOVE my new computer but felt sort of naked without any of my vintage items scanned from magazines to add to new posts and seasonal photos to make the blog pretty.   It should have been an easy enough process but the old computer immediately locked down and wouldn't budge.  Phooey!  I decided there were other things I might do so I measured the rugs I want to replace in the kitchen and kitchen sitting area.

Of course, by that point the internet was backed up so I settled with the new computer to look at Target's current sales on rugs.  Katie has complained that the website has been really stubborn of late.  It refuses to acknowledge she has a baby registry there so she set one up on Amazon instead.  I have to say something is definitely off on that site.  Sometimes item descriptions would load but mostly the pages sat there and looked at me without even considering following the command to allow me to view or to change to another item, sigh.

So back to the old computer which was unlocked by this time and I downloaded files to the flash drive.  I thought it would be super easy to download from flash to computer but that took some finagling and then it turned out to be as simple as copy/paste which was the last thing I tried to do.

For those of you who might wonder what computer I bought, I have an Asus with a dual core processor, Intel and energy star rating.  It compared side by side to a Dell (I love Dell computers, hate Dell customer service) computer which we were seriously considering with the Asus having every single feature and coming in at a lesser cost.  I told John as far as I could see I was getting the same computer as the Dell and saving money and that suited me!   It's been easy to use Windows 8 as it's not that far off the Vista OS I had on the old computer.  I moved the old computer to the kitchen desk.  I told John I'd thought I'd keep it there to access online recipes and play music while I'm working in that area.

I have made small plans for the week ahead.  Small only because I tend to try to do too much at one time and often underestimate the time I'll spend involved in a project.  John works two days in the week ahead.  One of those will be Mama's day so I've only one day this week to devote to home and thrift.

I mentioned here a few weeks ago that Laine will be blogging sometime this spring.   It was mentioned on Annabelle's lovely blog here .  This week brought more good news, Mia at Aspiring Homemaker will be blogging again this spring. She made the announcement this past weekend.  I've been thinking I'd like to print her posts off for my granddaughter to read.

Now, I am sorry it ended being a shorter chat than planned but I must consider my hungry husband.
and get his sandwiches made for tomorrow's work day, so you'll have to excuse me.  I promise to start up another coffee chat very soon, maybe even right away!  But first I must bake...


Rhonda IfYouDoStuffStuffGetsDone said...

I know Laine and Annabel but I am not familiar with Mia/Aspiring homemaker. I will be looking into her.
I so enjoyed the family photos. Your ideas to make photo albums is a winner. My grands love to look at photos of themselves and their cousins and other family members too.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more .... I like making my home cozy by using my ideas turned into reality with our efforts. I was just chatting with my hubs while he ate supper about how this home he bought for me 36 years ago was not only a gift from him but also a gift from God. It has lots of windows with lots of natural light and is kind of an open floor plan. We've put a lot of work into it over the years, and it is just about perfect as far as I'm concerned. Pam

Anonymous said...

We have lots of birds year round here and they are hungry year long! :) Lately though we have been visited by some new ones. I hear their calls but cannot locate them. They may be only here on their way to some where else. I did hear an unusual sound two days ago. A gaggle of geese flying over head. Oh the beautiful honks!! I was thrilled to see them !!
We all have our own way of organizing from the check books to drawers. What works for us is the best way to do it I think. As long as one other person can decipher it if we are out of commission and it is something important for them too.
Thank you for the information on Mia and the others. We all roam the internet different places and run across different things. There is so much out there and only so much time to look! :)
We used to keep some goodies hidden in another room. Now that our kids are grown they know of it. They have shown the almost grown grandchildren where it is!! :-) We were given so much candy for Christmas we are glad to not have it in site or it would have been all gone by now!!
There has been no large chunks of time for big projects but working 15 minutes or so at a time projects have been getting done. It may take a week or even more but the happy feeling of a job done is still there!! No one else may notice the changes our I know and it is so heart warming!
I hope you find a way to redo that area above your stove hood. The kitchen will look different/new when you do!! Funny how just bringing in one new to us treasure into a room changes everything. Just one change brightens it up for us.
thanks for the chat . I best get on with trimming my bushes. Sarah

Janell in Georgia said...

I want a saltine can. My mom has one and so does one of my SILs. I keep hoping I will run across one that doesn't cost a fortune or isn't rusted. Maybe Peaches to Beaches.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to correspond with your granddaughter by "snail mail". I would love to go to my mailbox and receive a letter from a relative and from grandma will be especially nice. I have started a journal for my granddaughter when she is about 16 with what I call life wisdom. It has Bible verses, sayings, etc. a lot of which I find on pinterest. (Good old pinterest!) Hopefully it will have some sentimental value to her. She is now 4 so I have some time left to collect special sayings for her. Gramma D.
Gramma D.

Anonymous said...

Terri I am sorry but I have forgotten the name of the cookbook you love and use so much. I thought it had American or Institute or encyclopedia in the title! Help! I ran across a large amount of older cookbooks and wondered if this one might be among them and hoped to find the title. I went back and back through your posts till my eyes crossed! :-) I never did find the cookbook name. I know you have mentioned it many times. Actually I started a notebook of just hints,, recipes and thoughts gleamed from your blog and will include the cookbook title for reference!! Overtime you have mentioned it I forget to save it OR write it on a bit of paper then..where is that paper!! :-))) I never thought I would perhaps run into a copy of your cookbook but maybe it is among this group at a store I go to? It is my fault I did not write it down a long time ago! Sarah

Spicy Apple Cake - I FOUND IT!

While sorting though Mama's cookbooks the other day I came across a Family Circle magazine cookbook that looked familiar.  I brought...