Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Long Does It Take? Giveaway

So this afternoon when I got home from work I decided to wash the bathroom rugs, especially since the three dogs had a beauty day in the main bathtub yesterday.  Now putting freshly washed rugs back in bathrooms that have dog hair around the edges of the walls - well I might as well not have washed them - know what I mean?  So into the bathroom I squeeze myself and my mighty Dyson turbo vacuum (it's a tiny little bathroom).  I'm just vacuuming away with the long extension hose - might as well get those cobwebs too - when all of a sudden I got too close to this

and it sucked the rest of the roll right up - about a third of a roll - as I stood there amazed and horrified while I watched and thought to myself, "TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF!  WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"  So...the question is - How long does it take for a Dyson turbo vacuum to suck up a third of a roll of toilet paper?  Whoever guesses the correct amount of seconds (or is nearest to the correct amount of seconds) in a comment will be in a drawing to win a handmade decorated wool toilet paper roll cover in the color of your choice!   Giveaway winner will be announced Saturday, July 31st at 6:00PM EST so be sure to get your guess in before then. 

And yes, the vacuum was fine but I did have to use some creative manipulation to empty the canister LOL - no sir that toilet paper wasn't just shaking out of the canister like the usual dirt and dog hair does LOL

YEAAAAAAAA!!!  We have a winner.  The answer was 3 seconds (which is longer than you might think - just try counting it out - one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand).  And the Random Generator chose Bea.  So Bea, I'll be emailing you to see what color wool toilet paper roll cover you'd like.  Congratulations!!!  Just what you've always wanted I'm sure!!!  LOL

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sleigh Bells Ring???

Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin’
In the lane, Jill is glistenin’
A frightening sight, I’m not happy tonight
Walking in a Summer Wonderland

Gone away are the tomato plants
In their place is a bunch of ants
They’re singing our song, as we go along
Walking in a Summer Wonderland

In the red clay we can build a mudpie
Then pretend that it is Parson Frye
He’ll say “Are you planting?”, We’ll say “No man,”
As he sees that we are just about to cry

Later on, we’ll perspire
As the air conditioner, we admire
To face unafraid, the plans that we made
Walking in a Summer Wonderland

In the red clay we can build a mudpie
And pretend that it’s a stalk of corn
We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Mudpie
Until the neighbors look on him with scorn

When it’s hot, ain’t it thrillin’
Though you know, we’re just chillin’
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way
Walking in a Summer Wonderland

PS A real Southern woman doesn’t sweat, nor does she perspire, instead she glistens!  And I'm glistening honey, I'm glistening!

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lemon Verbena Morning

Lemon Verbena was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 17th century from Argentina and Chile. There it was grown for its fabulous lemony oil that was used in perfume and beverages until cheaper Lemon Grass oil replaced it. Aloysia triphylla is named after Maria Louisa the princess of Parma and wife of King Carlos IV King of Spain and it has whorls of three (tri) leaves (phylla).

It is commonly used by Europeans to flavor fruit-based drinks, fruit salad dressings, fish soups, marinades, puddings, jams, and desserts. It does not tend to lose its flavor during cooking. It pairs well with fruits, vanilla, and seafood dishes. You can use lemon verbena in place of lemon zest in recipes. Virtually any fruit salad can be enhanced with its finely chopped leaves.

Lemon verbena makes one of the best beverage teas, especially when blended with mint. It can also be used to brighten the taste of fish, poultry, veggie marinades, stuffing, salad dressing, jellies, and vinegar. Finely crumbled dried leaves can be added to the batters of carrot, banana, or zucchini bread. Try adding some to cooked rice just before serving.

My lemon verbena is the one thing I can count on to grow wonderfully in my garden no matter what the Georgia weather is like during the summer. Last year I dried it and put it in small containers to give as Christmas gifts. This year I’m doing the same – I already have a gallon baggie full.

Not only that, but this morning I cracked open the bottle of vodka that Jack bought for me yesterday (NO, NOT FOR BREAKFAST) and started a wonderful lemon liquor. You take half a cup of leaves (about two large and maybe one small stem’s worth), chop them, and add four cups of vodka. I have two batches going now. They brew for 2 weeks (you shake them occasionally) and you then add 2 cups of sugar, shake and dissolve and let sit at least another two weeks. Then you strain and have a tasty (and quite potent) lemon liquor. I’m going to order some cute one-cup bottles and I’ll have eight Christmas gifts. Well make that seven – I have to keep one for us. And by the way, a 1.75L bottle (Smirnoff grab handle size) yields right at 8 cups of vodka.

And…you can bury six leaves in a cup of sugar and have a wonderful lemon sugar in a couple of weeks to put in your tea or use in baking – bet it would be great sprinkled on top of sugar cookies! I have a four-cup container going, and again – the lemon sugar put into small containers (like a salt shaker maybe?) would make great Christmas gifts. Can’t get much easier than that.

The biggest bonus is that when you’re chopping or using lemon verbena leaves, your whole kitchen smells really good! Oh and try a few branches in a flower arrangement on your dining table when you have company. Not only are they beautiful but also have a fresh lemon aroma.

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Darling Wife - A Letter from 1912

When you find these wonderful pieces of antiquity, don't you wish you had pictures and knew the whole story?   Reading a letter is like reading a snippet of a novel - just enough to get you interested with no way of knowing how the story turns out.  I found this letter in a box of ephemera at the flea market many years ago.  Here it is verbatim (commas and run on sentences galore).  Enjoy!

Feb'y 9, 1912

My darling wife:

Your dear letter received this morning at 7:30 a.m. & I was pleased to hear from you so soon.  As I am alone tonight will spend my time writing letters.  Barry has gone up on N. 14th St. to see some one - don't know who - but rather think it is a woman. 

Dear Lillian, Barry & I went to the new Multinomah hotel last night to see the place, & it is certainly a swell place.  Wish I could have paraded in with you on my arm - just as I see the swells do last night.  The women nearly all had real low necked dresses - showing their busts - while the men were all dressed in black dress suits, with white vests.  The dinner cost $2.50 per plate - so Barry & I did not stay for it.  There were flowers galore, & music in 2 or 3 different places in the lobby.  Tis the swellest hotel I was ever in - or ever saw in my life.  Honey, it made me feel blue to see other men there with their wives & sweet-hearts - when mine was so far away - so I & Barry left there at 7:30 P.M.

You sweet little woman.  I would give a month's salary now - if you were here, so I could hug & kiss you as of yore.  Hope sister will come out with you & then we will have a good time.  Bring the Graphaphone, etc. with you - I love to hear them play.

Well, darling, you remember about my scrap with Mrs. Brown - well Lou Smith gave her the bounce last night - he told me her work was something awful - so you see I am vindicated at last.  He realizes now that I was in the right.  I am getting along nicely with the boys & keep the work all cleaned up.  My little stenographer, Miss Leahy, has been sick for about a week - but she was at work again today, although she should have been at home.  She is the only one for me.  Mr. Lou Smith hired another dried up old maid - who has been with the Title & Trust people for about 20 years, & told me if I had any typewriting to do - to have her do it.  I hate the sight of the old b--- - so told him I had no work for her to do - then sat down at the machine & did it myself.  I won't work with her if I can get out of it.  She is a lemon & they will find it out.

I received a letter from Walter & folks today.  Walter will probably locate in Minnesota as one of the large Minneapolis jewelery houses has promised to set him up in a live town & furnish him with a complete stock - even though he now owes them a bill.  They seem to have great confidence in him.  I don't want to leave here as I have a position which will develop a much larger salary in the next year, & I like to be my own boss & I am practically that now.  Mother is failing fast so father writes, & could not write.  He is terribly discouraged - has been out of work over 6 weeks now & says they will be in debt by the time spring opens up.  I must try & pay them what I owe to them just as soon as possible - but cannot do so until I am through with my case & have sent money for your return.

Darling, may be you can get your father to give you a hand-out - if you tell him you want to go west where you will have a chance to do something for yourself, try it & see how he comes across.  I can then pay part of what I owe my folks, a little sooner & help them out that way.

My "Lilly" I bought another bottle of Palmer's Toilet water tonight - the chamber maid swiped what I had - but left the bottle.  Will take a fall out of her if I catch her in my room - gee won't she squeal.  Boy, darling, that picture which was in your letter is a good one, will keep it near my heart.  As for the card enclosed "Hustling for business" - will say that it truly represents one of the male genii in pursuit of something which every male loves.  I had some fun with that card - showing it to the boys at the Court house.  Lou Smith said he never once thought that I was inclined that way - so I told him to try me with some pretty, plump maiden, & see if she would not develop a watermelon.  Dear Sister thinks - no doubt - that I am a bad pill & that is the reason you are so thin - but you know best.  My Queen, 'twill be 4 weeks tomorrow night that you left me - when I kissed you last - when I stood at the depot smiling at you as you sat in the car, but with my heart drowned in tears.  I will never forget that night - & may we never be compelled to go through such a strain again.  Many sad, lonesome nights have I spent since the 13th of January & will have to spend quite a few more, dear heart, unless you can get your father to help you - as I can not send you enough to return until some time in March - at the earliest.  Oh, dear, why can't you fly?  Could have you with me then in a day or two.  Get those papers & then see if you can make a touch for $100 - or if he would only give you $50 - you could come at once.  I would be glad if he would even give you the $20 - he soaked my father for releasing my trunk.  Make the most of the case & if he seems to act right, you can tell him a story to suite yourself about our relations - but don't tell him where I am - lead him to believe I am in Minneapolis & have not been away from there since last year when I went up there - to the best of your knowledge.  Carrie will help you, I know, because she wants us to be together & be happy.  Dear sweetness, enclosed find a few Valentine postals which express my feelings very well.

I hope that you are all well & will try & be happy until we are together again - indulging in "bare hugs" & the like.  Sister had better take a few lessons in wrestling before she comes out here - so she can hold me (down?) up.   Yes, honey, I am sure able to walk straight - never felt better physically in all my life - so beware & prepare for the battle.  Will expect to see a rosy - plump - brown haired lassie step off the train some Sunday - because I want you to be sure & start from there so that you will arrive here about noon, and I can then meet you & take you to a hotel - or some rooms which I may have rented.  You can easily find out just when to start so you will arrive here on Sunday at about noon - I will be Johnny on the spot - dear Lillian.

Barry has come back & was in my room for 1 1/2 hours, & I will now finish my letter.  Will write you again Sunday, darling, & hope you will write every other day - it cheers me up wonderfully when I receive your loving letters.  Hope you will have lots of nice things for our home, dear heart - but don't work too hard - for if you do you won't get plump.  Give my love to Carrie & Boo.  Will write sister again when she writes me.

Will say "Good night" now darling Lillian, take good care of your dear self, and until we meet again, I am, with love & kisses,

Your own Hubby

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Queen Anne's Lace - Miles & Miles & Miles.....and Wool

This morning as I began to drive from Atlanta up to Murphy in North Carolina, I can’t say I was exactly looking forward to the nearly three-hour drive. Although it’s beautiful going up I575 and Hwy 5 through north Georgia into the mountains, it can also be mind-numbingly boring if you’re by yourself. Much to my surprise the roadsides and often the median from Atlanta all the way up to just past Blue Ridge where I turn off, were filled to the brim with one of my most favorite flowers – Queen Anne’s Lace. Imagine mile after mile of ethereal white flowers – sometimes looking like snow there were so many of them – sometimes with a wide patch of Black-Eyed Susans intermingled with them. It was simply breath taking!  And me without a pair of scissors!  Although it may be against the law to cut wildflowers in Georgia - I'll have to look that one up!

Although many refer to Queen Anne's Lace as a noxious weed, I absolutely prefer to call it a wildflower. It is indigenous to Europe but traveled to the United States in the colonial era and has taken a foothold in nearly all the states.
Botanical Name: Daucus carota.
Common Name: Wild carrot. Its subspecies sativa is the common edible carrot.
Physical Characteristics: Daucus carota is a biennial plant with small white flowers that form an umbrella-like head with a hairy stem and leaves that resemble ferns.
Plant Properties: Various parts are used as a diuretic and laxative and for menstrual problems, indigestion, gout, and edema.
Cultivation and Harvest: Daucus thrives in well-drained, alkaline soil in sun or slight shade. The entire plant is harvested in the summer. If using the roots for food, they should be picked when young in the spring. Seeds are gathered in the fall.

There are several legends associated with it. One is that Queen Anne of England pricked her finger while making lace and stained it with blood. This refers to the slight reddish purple hue in the middle of each small floret contained within the flower head. The flower tops retain their lacy appearance when pressed and can be used on greeting cards, scrapbooking and other paper crafts. They make a beautiful addition to a wildflower wedding bouquet but look just as lovely by themselves in a vase. Queen Anne's Lace has many edible parts. The flower tops can be added to salads, made into a jelly or dipped in batter and fried as fritters. The root and seeds can be dried and used as a tea. The roots have a carrot taste and can be used in salads or cooked like a green or vegetable.

Extreme care must be taken in identification, as the plant leaves resemble hemlock. Pregnant women should not eat the roots or seeds of Daucus carota as they can cause uterine contractions. The leaves may also cause skin irritation.

Now, on to the wool. Queen Anne’s Lace may be used to dye wool and gives a beautiful soft yellow/green color to natural wool that has been mordanted. A mordant is a substance used in natural dyeing to fix the coloring matter. For acid dyeing, white vinegar is used to fix the color. In natural dyeing it isn’t necessary as you mordant the wool first.

Aluminum – or alum (potassium aluminum sulfate) is a white powder that is used in deodorants and foot powders and as a soil acidifier for hydrangeas and broad-leaved evergreens. You may order this from a number of places or buy it at your local nursery. The form of alum found in the grocery store and commonly used for pickling is not as strong and although you may use it, it won’t produce the same brightness of color. Alum is used in combination with cream of tartar (potassium acid tartrate). Using too much alum on wool will leave it feeling sticky permanently – so you must only use as much as is indicated by your weight of fiber.  For one pound of wool use 4 tablespoons alum plus 4 teaspoons cream of tartar.  For four ounces of wool use 1 tablespoon alum plus 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Fill a pot with at least 4 gallons of water per pound of wool. Soak the wool first as you would for acid dyeing. Dissolve the mordant in a jar of hot water, stirring until all the crystals disappear, then add it to the big pot of water and stir some more. Add the wet wool and slowly heat the water to a simmer. Simmer for one hour. Let the wool cool to at least lukewarm. Remove the wool, wash and rinse it well. You may dye immediately or dry to dye at a future date. You may pour cooled solutions of aluminum around hollies, mountain laurels, hydrangeas, blueberries, and other plants that prefer acid soil.

You’ll need about half a grocery paper bag full of Queen Anne’s Lace flower heads per half pound of wool. Process them in a food processor or chop finely by hand (remember they are edible and non-toxic so for this part you may use your kitchen utensils). Immerse them in enough water to cover completely and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer (do not boil) for 30-60 minutes. Let cool and then strain through a cotton or linen cloth. This extract may be made 2-3 days in advance.

Now fill an enameled or stainless steel pot with enough water so it will cover your wool generously and pour the Queen Anne’s Lace dye liquor into it. Stir and bring to a simmer. Then add your wool and simmer for 60 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the dye pot and contents to cool overnight. Yes, I know it’s very tempting (and I’ve done it more than once) to pull that wool out and dry it immediately so you can see the beautiful results. However, if you leave it overnight, this gives any pigment that is still floating in the dye bath one last chance to attach to the wool. It is perfectly OK to pour the dye bath remains down your sink – again this particular plant is non-toxic.

Once you’ve removed your wool from the pot you must gently wash it with a mild soap, rinse it, dry it and you should have a beautiful piece of wool!

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

And We Have A Winner!

I used the Random Generator this evening to pick a winner for my giveaway during the studio tour and it was lucky number 21!
True Random Number Generator Min: 1  Max: 33  Result: 21
Carol at The Polka Dot Closet posted the 21st comment on June 21st - there are no coincidences right?  Wow!
Carol, I've emailed you from your website so send me your snail mail addy and I'll get it right in the mail to you.

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!