A sunny Sunday afternoon...

Autumn porch
Autumn decorating is in full force around the neighborhood.  Many go for the cob webby spooky look, but I admire the pumpkin-filled urns on this porch.  It's a perfect day for wandering around and admiring the scenery.



I can't believe how fast September flew by.  This entire year has just flown...sometimes the individual days seemed excruciatingly long, but as a whole...wow!

I volunteered to help at the Art, Wine & Jazz Fest this year.  It's my "new" thing...volunteer to help at functions I want to attend--thus, saving admission money.  It's a great opportunity to meet new people and it has worked into my monthly challenge to myself--to do something outside of my comfort zone.  One of the art booths at the festival really fascinated me...check her website here.  Beautiful jewelry, handbags, and totes.

 For the past several months it's been hot (beyond "hot") in the Evansville area.  Seventy days above 90 degrees...plus the humidity.  We finally got a taste of autumn early this past week...last night was downright cold---now begins the countdown to when I'll break down and turn on the furnace.  I believe it was December 7th last year...I'm hoping to hold out longer in 2010.

Slow down, October...you're one of my favorite months!


Stalking Dillard's...

Image courtesy of Country Living

Last month while browsing through the September issue of Country Living, I came across this purse in their editorial pages.  The "where to buy" listed Dillard's as the location to purchase the purse (actually, it's a tote bag).  I immediately wanted it.  It's "the" purse I've been looking for.  The price tag was a bit steep for my budget, but I rationalized that if I made and sold enough earrings and necklaces, I would put that money toward the purchase....good thinking, right?  Downright practical.

Off I went to Dillard's to see the purse up close and personal...and couldn't find it or any other purse of that brand.  Online....they had it only in black.  I wanted 'tobacco'.  A week or so later, I was browsing the Dillard's website and IT WAS THERE!  More importantly, the price was reduced!  $158.00 marked down to $110.00.  In the time that it took me to answer a phone call and go get my debit card the item became unavailable once again.  Another week passes....one of those sleepless nights and I find myself on the Dillard's site again.  The item is in stock and unbelievable as it seems, they've marked it down again...to $66.36.  I put it in their "shopping cart",  signed up for their shopping service, and placed the order.  Three days later, the purse of my dreams is mine and I love it!  What I like more is the bargain---not so much the thrill of the chase.

I know it's a long, convoluted story and it's not really indicative of how I usually operate, but I can't explain how happy I feel when I pick up this bag and take off to work!


An unexpected Friday treat...

Today started out to be an almost typical Friday...up early, walk to the Farmer's Market down the street, and then the usual fritter-a-Friday-away type day---reading, watching TV or a DVD, a little laundry---then I got a call from my friend Michelle.  She dropped off two huge white mums on my front porch this morning on her way to work.

I bought four small bronze mums a few weeks ago and still hadn't planted them outside.  I took them out of the window box in my front window, pulled out a few annuals I had growing in a huge planter at the base of my steps, and then proceeded to pot the big mums.  Lots of potting soil later (I have huge 40 qt. bags of the stuff under my back porch), and voila!  My front entryway is finished!

Thank you Michelle!  Truly, it made my day.



Back to work...and I've got to say, I really do function better with structure in my life.  The big news at work is that the parking lot is finally open.  It's been closed off for repairs for the past YEAR.  For the last several months, staff has had to park of premises, either on the street or in the big parking lot behind the local government center.  We've saved the underground parking for patrons.  It's been a gigantic hassle, and with most of the downtown area torn up in some aspect or other (we're building a stadium just down the street from the library) the entire area has been a construction zone.  The lot is open now, and also, after many months our library cafe is opening today...and the menu looks pretty tasty.  They brought a coffee cart through our work area yesterday afternoon with samples, and the coffee was delicious!


Labor Day 2010

Vacation week is officially over at 8 AM tomorrow morning, but it sure feels like it's over now.  Of course, it really doesn't feel like Monday evening...it feels like Sunday evening.  Sunday night "blues" on Monday.

I accomplished a few things this past week, but I always seem to create more of a mess trying to clean, rearrange, whatever...than I had when I started out.  I talked myself out of doing a few things, knowing that the uproar just wouldn't be worth it right now. 

The herbs are still alive in the kitchen window...that's an accomplishment...and I harvested quite a few "sausage" tomatoes.  I've had lots of green tomatoes all summer long...they just wouldn't ripen until this week.  I didn't get my lettuces planted and that's something I really need to do, especially since it's now getting cooler at night.  My only "cool weather" crop.


A not so TGIF...

While generally I love Fridays, a Friday that falls at the end of a vacation week is rather bitter sweet.  Of course, I still have a few days off remaining...I don't head back to work until Tuesday.  This morning's big adventure included a walk to the Farmer's Market.  There were fewer booths this week, but I was still able to purchase what I needed...zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and my treat of the week--a carrot cake cupcake!

I carried my camera with me on the few block's trek to the market, but really didn't find anything too photo-worthy other than the Main Street Arch.  Maybe this afternoon I'll wander around the neighborhood and take a few photos.


Autumn, where are you?

September...one of my very most favorite months.  My start of the new year...as opposed to January.  New school supplies, new schedules, new everything.  No new school supplies for me this year, but September always feels so "new"...a breath of fresh, crisp air after a stagnant summer.

I'm ready to at least redecorate the mantel in an autumn theme...and I really need to get the mums in pots outside.  Couldn't resist putting them in the tool tote I got earlier this summer at the in-the-middle-of-nowhere Cinnamon Creek Cabin open house.  Love that place!  The temperatures are supposed to go down at the end of the week---maybe they'll get planted then.

As much as I've enjoyed cool, fresh from the garden meals this summer, I look forward to soups and crock pot meals scenting the air.


Objects of desire...

Still pluggin' along...

The highlight of my day yesterday, other than moving stuff around in my kitchen, was my Weight Watchers meeting.  3.8 pounds down from last week.  Simple pleasures.  Another highlight...a bag of tomatoes and peppers from my friend and her husband.  Almost every Monday night I get a bag of tomatoes from them, and they are delicious!

Going to get the puttering in early today...I have a novel tempting me, and I don't know how long I can just let it sit on the coffee table!


A new day...

Almost every day this month, I've thought about a blog post..but there seems to be nothing much going on in my life to write about.  Sad but true.  I've decided that all of that is going to change, beginning right now!  I'm not saying that I'm bored OR boring (jeez, I hope not, anyway!!), but it seems to take so very little to make me happy.  I'm usually quite content to be at home, either puttering about, or doing absolutely nothing.  All summer long--heck, it's been way longer than that--I've mentally wanted to clean and organize the house.  During other stay-at-home vacations I've had long "to do" lists made...from organizing closets to scrubbing floors and walls...and none of it gets done.  What I'm best at, it seems, is thinking about doing things and compiling lists.  What I'm not so good at is the follow through.  This.must.change...NOW!  Recent spurts of activity...like the beginning of the month cabinet redo...were accomplished by just getting out of my chair and doing something.  Well...I'm on vacation this week and have NO list.  So far, all I've done is transplant  Greek oregano and a rosemary plant into the clearance planters I picked up at Lowe's after work yesterday.  That and try to artfully arrange the kitchen window overlooking the back enclosed porch.  Clutter, clutter everywhere, but by gosh, that window sill is finished!


How I spent my Sunday...

Here's what's for dinner...Moussaka, Weight Watchers style.  The main ingredients are still there, and it's quite flavorful...very low fat, very delicious.

I've been up to my usual things...sitting around doing nothing, mostly--then I get hit with a burst of inspiration and can't stop creating (a mess usually).  Today's spark came from a bit of a cleaning rampage yesterday.  I have a pine jelly cupboard wedged into a tiny corner of my bathroom.  It's stained dark and is kind of primitive.  I had to pull it out of the corner to mop and wax the floor, so I decided it was time to update it.  I pulled pages out of an old foreign language dictionary and ran them through some liquid starch.  They now cover the back and shelves of the cupboard.  The outside of the cupboard has been painted white.  After the paint dries, I'm going to put a bit of antiquing wax on it.  It's amazing what all I pulled out of that cabinet...old makeup and creams, hair things, lots of Megan's old stuff.  It's good to do something like this the day before garbage day!


Page liners...still drying

After...the paint is still drying, but it's finished (except for the antiquing wax).  I put a piece of lace inside the wire opening in front...can't wait to move it back into the bathroom and load it up!


Summer Reading

It has been so nice to read for pleasure...no deadlines (other than library due dates!), no hurries, no worries.  I'm almost finished with the new Susan Isaacs book...As Husbands Go.  I love her books...one of my favorites from long ago is Compromising Positions...loved the movie by the same name with Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia, too.
The House at Royal Oak, by Carol Eron Rizzoli  is the true story of a couple who find a wonderful farm house and leave their careers to open a Bed & Breakfast.  It is a well-told tale and should be a must read for any of us who have ever dreamed of opening our own B&B.
Young Romantics by Daisy Hay, subtitled The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation, is an engrossing tale of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and friendship. 
I've just started Anna Quindlen's latest novel Every Last One.  Her books are always thought provoking and hard to put down once begun. 

I've always kept a journal of books I've read, and lately I've tried to use Goodreads.com...I'm not very good at entering books on a timely basis though. 


I hate it when I covet things...

If you've been a reader for a while (and have hung out through my dry spells of blogging), you will know that I love sheds and little garden houses.  Never mind that I don't have a back yard large enough to accommodate even the smallest shed (an outhouse, maybe).  I've been distracted by the article in The New York Times featuring the most enchanting little building I've ever seen.  If you
haven't already, you MUST visit this blog...My Shabby Streamside Studio.
This little building has been featured on many blogs...but I can't get enough of it.  I want one!  The next best thing though, is for one of my friends to have a similar one.  Michelle (Mad Red Hare) has a shed with a loft (sleeping loft), and has been asking her husband to move it closer to their log cabin home, and close to the outdoor pond.  You know how it is with husbands...you ask and ask, and soon nag and nag...and it goes undone...either because they didn't think of it or they just consider it to be too much trouble.  Michelle and I talked about it yesterday...and I'm in...I'll help her move the shed.  I'm sure we can gather together a few strong guys and get it done.  I can't wait to help!
I think it would be great fun to paint and decorate a shed/garden house...lots of gauzy whites and lace...way too frilly for me 95% of the time, but it would be a great escape.

We all deserve a little place to escape, don't we?
Photo credits:
(1) My Shabby Streamside Studio via The New York Times
(2) Country Living Magazine
(3) Shed Chic


Happy Father's Day, Dad...

Here's another piece from my $5.00 rummage sale collection...I forgot to take a picture of it Friday.  When I first spotted it, I didn't realize it was an aftershave bottle...I just really like the hand form.  My first thought was to fill it with buttons, but the opening is a little hole in the glass top...not plastic like most things are today.  As with the Fenton Milk Glass Lavabo (thank you so much for identifying it, Bernie*), I'll have to rethink its purpose.

Father's Day has dawned hot and humid (again)...I've already spoken to my dad (and mom!) in Ohio, and it's super hot there too.  With the first day of summer arriving tomorrow morning, here's hoping for lower humidty and comfortable temperatures!


What $5.00 will buy...

The church around the corner started their annual rummage sale this morning at 7AM.  My friend Michelle and I were there shortly after.  So many treasures!  We pulled my cart along with us, usually a sure sign of not finding anything worth buying.  Wrong...

The fun thing about this sale is that nothing is priced.  You take your purchases to a the cashier's table and the ladies look things over and quote you a price, usually sounding like they would quibble if that's what you want to do.  I pulled my items out of the cart and the lady asked if $5.00 was okay for the lot.  Heck, yes!

The brass candleabra (soon to be painted), a nice picnic basket (for Farmer's Market use),

the tiny copper oil lamp --with an extra hurricane

A silver ????, and a "milk glass" I don't know what to call it...

and a new to me mailbox...larger than the one by the front door and so much nicer looking.  All for $5.00.  Love it! 

After the rummage sale, we pulled the cart on to the Farmer's Market a few blocks further.  Fresh green beans, blackberries, zucchini...yum!


A day for me...{mental health day??}

Yesterday afternoon I requested a day off...I wanted/needed a day to just putter around, and so far, that's what I've been doing.  A little coffee drinking, a lot of Crystal Lite drinking (cherry pomegranate--the best!!), some blog reading, and as far as puttering goes--some soap making.  I just Googled "pantry cakes" and I've found a recipe I want to try...my friend Michelle bought one this weekend, and I decided to make my own to either display on a cake plate or to put into an old wooden bowl.  Either way, they will smell cinnamony delicious (and no calories or "points" since they're inedible!!).

Once again, it's a hot and humid day.  I have a little yard work to do, but it's going to have to wait until early evening.


A Farmer's Market Bouquet

Hot and humid...the mantra for the past several days and for the next several. 

Seems like it rains all around us, but not here.  Watering the plants is the only outdoor priority for me.  Other than that, I've been spending my time reading and relaxing.  Love it!


American Summer at Cinnamon Creek Cabin

Saturday morning...a perfect day for a little day trip across the river into Kentucky.  My friend Michelle and I explored Cinnamon Creek Cabin, a little cabin/gift emporium on the far outskirts of Owensboro.  Today was their American Summer Open House, and lots of handmade goodies were everywhere...soaps, candles, stitched items, minnow bucket and funnel lanterns...oh my.
Old rocking chairs with grainsack pillows...a tree in the center of the cabin...a refreshing "finger bowl" of lemon and mint...

Jewelry, lots and lots of burlap items and mason jar filled goodies.  Doesn't the bedroom look like a MaryJane's farm bedroom?  Farm/cabin glamour at its finest!

Our trip also included stops at a few antique malls...we had a great time!


Happy Mother's Day...and Happy Birthday Megan!

Happy Mother's Day to all...and happy birthday to my daughter Megan--vacationing in Mexico this week!

Image:  Mary Cassatt~Young Mother Sewing


Strolling along the river...

This evening after work, I drove to Newburgh to walk with my friend Patty.  Newburgh has a new walking/biking trail that is right along the Ohio River.  We walked by where I used to live...at the corner of Plum & Water.  The only thing of mine that remains there is the Plum tree and some spring bulbs.  So sad that the house is gone--torn down to make room for new construction.  The view of the river was (and still is) breathtaking.
This little gypsy wagon sits in the side yard across the street from my dearly departed little cottage.  So cute!  Notice the barge on the river behind the wagon...


TGIM--Thank Goodness it's May!

Happy May! I've finally made it through the toughest ten weeks of school...weeks filled with hours of reading, research and writing...lots of writing and collaboration with schoolmates on projects and final assignments.  The final project was writing a grant--my partner and I wrote a grant that we actually will submit--most others wrote a "fantasy grant" to fulfull the requirements of the course.  Graduation is next weekend, but classes are over.  Now what will I do with a Master of Science, Public Service Administration?  Any ideas are welcome...
The house and garden have been neglected, so I hope to take those extra hours I have while not working to remedy that situation.  I purchased a few plants yesterday to join my seedlings outside. 

Time to get back to normal, whatever that is...

Happy Birthday Randy and Patty!


Still thinking Spring...

This is what I've been reading...a beautiful book featuring simply gorgeous flowers and bouquets.  It's definitely the book to dream and plan with.


Cottage Flowers for the garden...

It's such a shame when you get Spring Fever at the beginning of February.  It makes the shortest month just drag on and on.  It's all about container gardening here...I'm now in search of a galvanized water trough for big time planting.  Easy to weed, no bending over, and closer to the sun...important when your "garden" is downtown with lots of tall houses surrounding it.  At least it's almost time to plant the sweet peas!

After ordering vegetables Sunday, I decided to visit another of my favorite seed websites and purchase flower seeds.  My mailbox should be full by the end of the week.


Garden Planning

Uh-oh...it's an ADD day.  I really didn't see this coming on, but right after my Heart post, I received an email from Cook's Garden...on to their website...and I ordered seeds for my little garden.  Here's what will be growing at PlumWater Cottage:
Carmelita Tomatoes
India Paint Eggplant
Boston Marrow Squash
San Marzano Tomatoes
Pistou Basil
Summer Squash Mix
Summerlong Basil
I guess I should dig out the peat pots and seed-starting supplies before the next snow!

Get inspired...visit Cook's Catalog!