Thursday, June 30, 2011

Magnolia vs. Dogwood

soup bowl

It started with four dark green and rather ordinary looking napkin rings I bought yesterday at the Christmas Tree Shop, .25 cents each.  I figured they would be used more in late fall and for Christmas.  Earlier today, I happened to have an errand at the other end of the island, and decided to stop by my old hunting ground (shopping mall). 

I went into a store called Lot-Less Closeouts.  I had no specific agenda, just wandering around the aisles.  Of course, I had to check out the dishes.  These caught my eye, and a 3-piece place setting was only $1.99!! I thought it must be an error, but, after checking other boxes, all were marked $1.99.  So four sets went into the cart.  Followed by four mugs, .99 cents each.  The company is Savannah Grove and the pattern name is Grand Flora.  Duh, it is obvious it is some kind of 'flora', at first I was so excited thinking it was magnolias.  After looking at it and photographing it, I think it might actually be dogwood.  I happen to like both, but  can anyone verify this?  There is also a red berry in the mix.  Google searches just left me confused, but leaning toward dogwood.

dinner plate

I  found these fabric place mats, .99 cents each, and they are reversible.  Right into the cart. 

I see cloth napkins. Eight of them, 100 percent cotton, for $2.99. That is .37 cents a napkin, so what else could I do but plop them in my cart. 

So today, they are  are the post for Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove.  Tomorrow they will become the tablescape for Diann's 2nd Thrifty Tablescapes Party on Saturday, July 2nd! 

Trying to be as thrifty as possible, I had some faux magnolias that I wanted to use as a centerpiece.  But since I am not sure about the flora on the dishes...........I will have to  see what I can do. 

Today my little Pearlie bird is two years old, and as sweet as can be.  Happy Birthday Pearlie!  Still whistling Happy Birthday every day! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

102 Years Old and Looking Good

I have very little in the way of material things from my maternal grandmother. One of the items that is with me is a crocheted piece which I think was meant to be used as a bed spread.  It doesn't cover my queen sized bed, it might work on a full size, but I love it as a tablecloth.

It was hard to get a decent photo of the entire table.  Here is some of the detail.  I placed a red placemat for contrast.

My grandmother crocheted this circa 1910.  It was part of a trousseau she started to make for my mother's oldest sister, who was born in 1908.  This was a very common practice then.  Any items such as sheets, towels, pillowcases, napkins, etc. were made in  sets of twelve or more.  This piece was kept in a wooden trunk that my mother referred to as the 'cedar chest'.  My aunt lived with us and kept this in her bedroom.  When we were packing up my mother's house, years after my aunt went to be with Lord, I opened the trunk for the first time to see what was inside. 

I don't know if the cotton thread used was originally white or cream, but it has been this color  for as long as I can remember.  The method used is filet crochet, using very thin  cotton thread and a very fine hook.  My camera and skill made it difficult to get good photos.  The photos above were taken before I washed it in a product called Restoration.  I was introduced to it by Susan, of the lovely blog My Place to Yours.  You can get all the details there.

Here are photos after a nice, long (7 hours) soak in Restoration.  The biggest change I noticed, which you can't really see in the photos, is that the 'shine' is gone.  It is also lighter in color.  I was not happy with the shine.  It also has a fresh, not a perfume scent.

The chubby baby in the middle was my aunt.  My mother came along, as an unplanned surprise, fifteen years later.

Here is another "vintage thingie" - this decanter is 107 years old.   It was a wedding present my grandparents received in 1904.  

I tried to get a photo of some of the handpainted detail.  There are no markings.  I had an antiques dealer appraise it but he said it was inexpensive.

I feel a tablescaping adventure coming on.  I think I will wait and do something as a tribute to both my parents and grandparents when it is their wedding anniversary time in September. 

I will be joining the Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingies Thursday.  Thank you, Suzanne.  Please be sure to stop by.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls' Night In

Yvonne of Stone Gable is hosting a new weekly meme and I am happy to join in.  Thanks for hosting, Yvonne, and for sharing all those great mouthwatering recipes and helpful tips and tutorials.  Getting on your invite list is one of my personal goals.  :) 

I had three friends over for dinner and this is what we ate.  The ladies graciously provided dessert (I think they went a little crazy here).. 

Our  menu for our girls' night in was

Petite filet mignon
Grilled shrimp
Corn on the cob
Spring mix salad  with viniagrette dressing
Miniature pasties, cookies (store bought) and small fruit bowl (from the supermarket)

For the steak I use Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick and sprinkled it on both sides.  No need for anything else.

Grilled Shrimp

2 lbs. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
bamboo skewers (soak in water at least 30 minutes)


 1/2 cup olive oil
 zest of a lemon
 2-3 garlic cloves chopped 
salt and pepper to taste 
fresh herbs of your choice, finely minced (optional)

Thread shrimp on skewers and pour marinade over them in a glass dish.  Marinate 20 minutes.  Place on grill, basting occasionally and turning often.

Corn was fresh and sweet and no room on the grill so into the 'hot tub' it went!

Sherry Viniagrette

1 clove garlic
1 T. Dijon  mustard
1/3 c. sherry vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. salt

I use my mini processor and pulse all ingredients a few times.
This keeps well in the fridge about a week, in a covered jar.   

It was fun catching up and enjoying each other's company, as  we live considerable distance from each other.  We are all looking forward to the next time.

Please be sure to stop by Stone Gable and see what is on the menu at other blogspots. 


Friday, June 24, 2011

I was tagged!

My dear friend Orchid, of the wonderful blog Orchid's Daily Voice, has passed along the  "Sunshine Award" she received recently.    It has been rainy and dreary here the past few days, so maybe this award is a sign that the sun will be coming back.

The first time I met Orchid, she was so polite and asked if she could become a follower.  I nearly fell off my chair when I realized that a lovely Japanese lady had reached out to me, since it was only about a month after the tsunami and earthquake in Japan.  I didn't even know what to say, except, How are you?  Are you doing OK?  She was so sweet and we just hit it off right away.

Now, something about me.  Hmmm, I am pretty much what you see is what you get.  Good or bad. I am what I am.  I truly believe I am where I am supposed to be in God's plan.  I love being retired after working since 1972.  I love blogging, and I realize that I enjoy writing.  I had not written anything since I was in college, many moons ago, other than notes to friends.  I now have a new interest, photography.  I took my first class a couple of weeks ago, which I posted about here, and my second class is next month.  We will be learning basic Photoshop.

I notice that many of the blogs I follow have buttons which say they are award and tag-free, so I will not pass this along.  Feel free to take it if you wish.

I am doing a small  project today, which involves a 102 year old tablecloth.  I will share that in my next post. 

Thank you, Orchid.  My mother was a huge fan of the TV series "Murder She Wrote".  I had almost forgotten about it.  Thanks for the sweet memory. 

A reminder that I am having my first giveaway for my lovely followers on July 20th.  Click here to learn more about that. 


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Lord Loves a Cheerful Giver

This giveaway has ended.  Congratulations to La, of A Musing Potpourri.

I think it is time for my very first giveaway, originally planned for when I had 50 followers.  Somehow, when I wasn't looking, it grew to 60!  (not really I always look!).  I am really humbled by that fact.  When I started in March of this year, I had no idea it would become such an important part of my life.  I love visiting in Blogland and appreciate each and every one of the comments I have received.  I have met so many interesting and talented people, I must say, you have contributed greatly to my "sparkling" :)  dinner conversations.  I know an author or two, fabulous photographers, chefs, crafters, etc.  And the deep Faith and Spirituality of some of you whom I visit and follow, just knocks me off my feet.  I really believe I was brought here for that reason alone! 

My giveaway is for all my followers, you are automatically entered, and I will research how I can send it internationally.  I will update as soon as I know if it is possible.  If my international followers (wow, just saying that makes me smile) can email me their postal code, I will go to the P.O. here and find out what it entails.

If followers leave a comment on this post, that counts as two entries.  If you mention it in an upcoming post on your blog, that counts for another 2 entries, for a total of four.  I am not a fan of  Facebook nor Twitter, so it will never be necessary for a giveaway of mine.  The drawing will be held on July 20th, which is a special day here at Two Birdies and a B. -- it is Kiwi's Sweet 16! 

My giveaway is a necklace and earring set in the shape of a circle.  It represents to me the circle of life, and of friends.  We are all part of God's Master Plan here on earth, and we are all connected in some way. 

I just received it this morning.  It is called "Shimmer" and  it is designer-inspired, optical-cut with frosty facets.  The pendant is suspended from a delicate triple-strand necklace, silvertone (looks good on everyone!)  and the earrings are available in both clip and pierced style.  The sheen, the shine, the shimmer… it’s all here!

Chain is 16 in. w/a 3 in. extension
These photos don't really do it justice, it is much prettier in person.  The diameter of both the pendant and earrings is 1 in.  It will not tarnish nor turn color.  I am a representative for Jewels by Park Lane, and can vouch for the merchandise.  I did order the pierced earrings; however, if the winner requires clip, I will return them in exchange for those. 

I also want to take this opportunity to let folks know about other really great giveaways that are happening.

Pat, of the fabulous blog "Mille Fiori Favoriti", has a chance for a lucky winner to receive a $100 gift card from HomeGoods.  Pat has teamed up with both HomeGoods and BlogHer for this contest, and there will also be 10 additional winners of $25 gift cards.  Click the highlighted name above to find out more and to enter.

La, of  another fabulous blog "A Musing Potpourri", is having a giveaway on June 28th for her One Year Blogiversary.  It is a gift basket chock full of goodies, with something for everybody. 

Lisa of  yet another fabulous blog, the Enchanted Oven has joined forces with Mindie of Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo for a delicious giveaway - one dozen of Lisa's home baked beautifully decorated cookies, and you get to choose the shape or design!  I already put my dibs in for, what else, bird cookies!

Phew, I am knocked out with all the linking.  I am seriously linky-challenged at times.  Please visit these blogs and enter to win their giveaways.  Don't forget mine!  :) 


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Girl wasn't just about the cookies

"Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.”
- Gloria Naylor

When I was a Girl Scout at the ripe old age of 10, my Dad was 45 years old, and had lots of gray in his hair.  I guess his job as a New York City fireman helped contribute to that situation.  He was at least 10 years older than the fathers of my schoolmates and the kids I played with around the neighborhood.

Found my old GS sash looking for something else!
One warm afternoon in early June, our Troop Leader announced at our weekly meeting that our troop would be having a "Father-Daughter Bowling Tournament",  to be held the Saturday before Father's Day.  I looked at my two best friends at the time, V. and P., and said, "Oh, forget that.  My dad's too old to go bowling."  They both looked at me sympathetically and nodded their heads in agreement.  I crumbled up the letter that I was supposed to take home for my parents to sign, and stuffed it in my book bag. 

My Dad, age 27, Upstate New York
I pretty much forgot all about it, until one morning, as I was munching on my Captain Crunch cereal and reading my latest Highlights magazine before leaving for school, my mom turned from the sink and said, "Guess what?  Daddy got the day off."  I looked up and asked, "For what?"  Ah, the innocence of youth.  "For the Father-Daughter bowling tournament!"  Yikes, I thought.  Then she wanted to know why I hadn't shown her the letter.  And proceeds to inform me that my dear Troop Leader called to ask why we were not participating.  If a work conflict was an issue, of course, I could team up with her daughter and husband.  Well, once my father knew about this, he switched with one of his 'brothers' on the job and was free to go bowling.

Yours Truly, 8 months, with my dad
The morning of the tournament, I was dragging my feet around the house.  Had a bunch of butterflies dancing in my stomach.  We were told to wear slacks or "pedal pushers" (the equivalent of Capri's or crop pants today) but we had to wear our beret and sash.  I got into the car and sat with my legs sticking straight out in front of me.  My father, on the other hand, was as chipper as I've ever seen him.  He had on one of his shirts with the little alligator and smelled of Old Spice aftershave.  He chatted while driving to the bowling alley while I was silent and stared straight ahead. 

After a round of introductions, we were put in teams of 2 Girl Scouts/2 Fathers.  I was with V. and her dad.  I looked at V. and with a big sigh, said, "I'll keep score."  V.'s father went first.  Then V., then my Dad.  And my Dad gets the first strike........and another strike....... strike after strike...............other fathers were coming over to shake his hand and pat him on the back.  V.'s father was hootin' and hollerin'.  V. was looking at me with her mouth open but no words came out.  

He proceeded to  kick butt that day in that bowling alley.  And then it happened.  What would be my finest father/daughter moment.  It sealed for me what I had somehow known all along, but was still too young to express, that yeah, people take note, that's MY Dad. 

The drive home was a lot different.  For one, I didn't shut up.  Two, I was holding a trophy.  Three, I had a heart filled with memories that would last me a lifetime.   My father set the standard very high for me where men are concerned.  They don't make them like that anymore.  To this day the song "Daddy's Little Girl" still makes me  cry.........  and I somehow lost track of that darn trophy. 

Here's to all dads on Father's Day, wherever they may be.  For those Dads alive and well, when the Mrs. (or daughter or gdau) is pestering you to have your various checkups, GO.  Your family needs you, perhaps more than you know.

I will be joining Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The "First Lady" of Photography

One of the things I love best about visiting Blogland are all the beautiful photos.  I am amazed at the talent that is out there.  I took my first photography class last Saturday, at the Alice Austen House, a museum on Staten Island, New York. 

Alice Austen was a photographer who documented life in New York City, photographed the immigrants as they arrived from different parts of the world, and took photos while the immigrants were in the quarantine station.  She did this at great personal risk to herself, as she was subject to diseases like tuberculosis.  Alice was never recognized as a fine art photographer until the last ten years.  Nor was she paid.  She took over 8,000 images, which seems like a small amount when you think that dedicated amateur photographers, and certainly professional ones, can take 1000 photos at one shoot!  But negatives back in those early days were 8 inches by 10 inches, and she carried around 50 pounds of equipment.  Her Uncle Oswald, a sea captain, brought back her first camera when she was 11 years old in 1877.

Alice Austen, age 3
Here are some of the photos of house.  It was built in 1690 as a one-room farm house.  Renovations took place throughout the 1700's.  It was purchased by Alice's grandfather  in 1844.  It was was called "Clear Comfort" by the family.

The front porch
Staircase to 2nd floor at rear of house
The interior is exactly the way it was when Alice and her family lived here.  In 1929, as a result of the stock market crash, Alice lost the property and was forced to live in a poorhouse.  When her photos were discovered, and their value realized, she was able to live in a decent retirement home.  She died at age 86.  She was the first woman on Staten Island to own a car.

Alice as a young adult

Photos in the entry hall
Piano in the parlor

Alice's camera in the parlor
the dining room

The rug in the dining room is over 100 years old, and the room is closed to the public.  I peeked in through the doorway.

I had to snap this door, look how low the door knob is!  Folks were much teenier then.

Here are some shots around the property. 

It was a hazy, actually quite foggy day.  That is the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Brooklyn end of the span.

Believe it or not, off across the bay, is the island of Manhattan, barely visible through the thick fog.

These roses smelled incredible.  In 1975, the City of New York purchased the home  and restored it to its 19th century appearance.  The NYC Parks Dept. maintains the ground, as well as volunteers. 

If you would like to learn more, or take a virtual tour of the Alice Austen House, click here.  In 1973,  it was declared a National Historic Landmark.  In 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation inducted the Austen House into the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios.  Other members include Georgia O'Keeffe and Jackson Pollock.

This is probably one of the longest posts I have done so far.   I did enjoy walking around and snapping away.  And I wanted to share it with you, some of the finest photographers I know! 

I will be joining Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Pillsbury Dough Boy Celebrity Cook Along

Dough Boy and I go wa-a-y back, in fact, I knew him when he was just a toddler.  And a little reluctant to share his chocolate chip cookies.

So when Lynn, at Happier Than A Pig In Mud, announced that our celebrity chef for the June 15th Cook Along was Dough Boy,  I was delighted!

This recipe is from the Pampered Chef, back in the early 1990's, when "DB's"  mom was a representative for that company.  It uses two cans of crescent rolls and a delicious filling of ham, Swiss cheese and broccoli.  I have made this for more lunches and take-alongs than I can remember.

The filling consists of 4 oz. ham, 4 oz. fresh broccoli,  1/4 cup onion,  1/2 cup parsley, all chopped; 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese, 2 T. Dijon-style mustard, 1 tsp. lemon juice.  You need two packages of crescent rolls.  I would use regular or reduced fat.  I tried the new "bigger, more buttery" style, and it took a bit longer long to bake.   Too much overlapping as well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a 13-inch round baking stone, arrange crescent triangles with widest part toward the center, leaving a 5-inch circle and points at outer edge.  Definitely arrange this on the stone or baking sheet as it is not easy to lift from one surface to another. 

After coarsely chopping the ham, broccoli, and onion, add parsley, cheese, mustard and lemon juice to ham mixture.  Mix well.  Unroll the crescent dough, separating into triangles, place in a circle on the stone or baking sheet. 

Scoop ham mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle.

Bring outside points up over filling and tuck under wide end of dough at center. 

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy!  In addition to joining the Cook Along at Happier Than A Pig In Mud, I will be joining Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Trisha at Sweetology 101 for Tea Time Tuesday. 

I have edited this post to share some Give Away News!!  Jo at LazyonLoblolly teamed up with Lynn for a fun give away -- visit Jo for a chance to win a great Pillsbury cookbook and your very own Dough Boy.
I would be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to my buddies Kathleen J., for searching her family photo archives for the photo of her youngest son, Brett, age 3, now age 20, and, a graduate of a culinary school and working as a line chef!  Another shout-out to my friend ToniAnn, who is my technical, as well as moral, support, who helped get the scanned photo into the right format and for being a truly kind and helpful, as well as knowledgeable, friend.  oxoxoxoxoxoxox
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