Friday, August 29, 2008

STATE FAIR TIME!!

Every year for most of my life, I've gone to the Colorado State Fair. Bob and I exhibited there as kids, as did our kids. Now, we just go and walk around on Senior Citizen Day! Why not? Admission is free for us "old folks", and the crowds are slower (literally).


There is so much to see and do. Over the years, we have seen some great rock and roll and country artists in concert. You can see the demolition derby, tractor pulls, and mutton busting.


There's the rodeo, the monkey act, the sea lions, and the tiger act. But, best of all are the farm animals. I loved this mother pig - she must have had 12 piglets with her, and this little one wanted to eat again. Oh, was she thinking, "Leave me alone, mama is tired, just let me have a little nap."?




Lots of exhibits to see! There is fine art, handiwork, the kid's 4-H things, etc. plus all of the Colorado conservation exhibits. Then there are the commercial exhibits where they sell everything from pots and pans to massaging chairs.



And one exhibit not to be missed is the ongoing sand sculpture, and to think it is destroyed after the fair.



After all of that walking, it really comes down to the food. Look at this booth - you can get 'deep fried Coke' to go with your 'elephant ears'!




Or, how about Italian sausage sandwiches?


I'm going to have to choose something, so I can't get distracted by those century-old trees and the Colorado blue sky.





This is Bob's favorite. They cut right to the chase - call it what it is - FRIED DOUGH!






Decisions, decisions; and wouldn't you know, by the time I chose something, the camera battery went dead. So you will just have to imagine my huge, cinnamon roll with the works (frosting and pecans)! I ate the whole thing, the whole day's allotment of calories. Next year, maybe I'll try the 'deep fried Coke' and the 'elephant ears'!


Have an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.


Sally






Thursday, August 28, 2008

CHAIR FETISH -- PART SIX

This chair called my name, and I brought it home from an estate auction in 1971. I loved the shape and size, but the original white vinyl upholstery left something to be desired.


I intended to have it recovered right away. But, my daughter was a baby at the time; and let's just say, she had quite the unsettled stomach and never hit the burp cloth on our shoulder. So, we always sat in the white plastic chair when we fed her -- it was so easy to clean up.


It soon then became the sick chair -- if a kid wasn't feeling well; they could curl up in a blanket and lay there with their bucket. The chair survived those uncontrolled sick years of small children.


It finally was recovered two different times in blue fabrics and withstood the teenage years in the family room.


After those rowdy years, it was moved to our bedroom and recovered again -- this time in a beautiful floral tapestry. I slept in this chair all night, every night for six months before I finally had my hips replaced. It provided the only position that was pain-free.


Now the chair is semi-retired, recovered this time in a beautiful shade of red velvet, and sitting in all of its deserved glory in the living room.


I adore this chair!!



Thanks for stopping by,


Sally





Tuesday, August 26, 2008

AN AWARD

Sally at Smiling Sally has honored me with this award. I was so surprised as I am fairly new to the world of blogging!
I am pleased to pass this award onto the following:
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Her tablescapes are true works of art.
Cathy at Catnabarn. Her creative displays of what she calls junk are wonderful.
Mary at Little Red House. Her photography skills are to be envied; and her whole blog is just beautiful.
Manuela at The Pleasures of Homemaking. She is back blogging again, and I just know her posts will be full of interesting information.
Jean at Sweet Nothings. She is just the nicest person, and contributes so much to this community.
If you don't already, check out these great blogs.
The rules are:
1. Pick five blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and which also contribute to the blogging community.
2. Each award is to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog so that it can be visited.
3. Each award winner can show the award and put the name and link of the blog that presented the award.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the award should show the link arte y pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.



Monday, August 25, 2008

SHOPPING EXCURSION

When you live in a small town, shopping can be an adventure. Our basics are covered as we have a Wal-Mart, a couple of grocery stores, and a decent hardware store; but if you need clothing, furnishings, or fabric, it is an hour's drive to the nearest shopping mall. If I'm doing serious shopping for clothes or at Christmas, I like to go by myself. But if it is for things for the house, Bob and I usually take a day and go together.



When we go together, it usually means something better than fast-food for lunch! MiMi's Cafe is one of our favorites.





I've discovered over the years that if we have lunch FIRST then go to the fabric stores, Bob is willing to sit in the car and nap while I shop.




He had two naps this day - first at Hancock Fabrics, then at Jo-Ann's!


Now on to something we both enjoy -- antiquing!! This antique mall is advertised as the largest in the state of Colorado. I'm not sure about that, but there is plenty to see.


I loved this bench; but at $600, it was a lot out of my budget.




This English table and six chairs were priced under $600. I'm not sure how comfortable those chairs would be after an hour at the table; plus a table that only seats six would never work for us. (I can always rationalize not buying something I don't need.) I sure loved the look, however!





A lot of people in Colorado collect cowboy stuff. This was an interesting booth, which reminded me of all the things we got rid of when I cleaned out my father's garage. I did keep quite a few things, however, like branding irons, spurs, crocks, and lanterns. (In the future, I will do a post on our back porch where our cowboy things reside!)



Shown below is my only bargain of the day. I found three yards of this old looking, but new fabric for $8.00. I don't have a project in mind yet, but the colors are wonderful for my house.




It was a great day to get out of town for a little shopping.




Thanks for stopping by,

Sally












Saturday, August 23, 2008

THE KITCHEN PROJECT IS DONE FOR NOW!!!



Every summer we usually have a big painting project. Last year, we painted the outside of the house; and this summer it was time for the kitchen cupboards. This was something we had talked about for several years knowing that a lot of people consider painting natural-finished wood a BIG no-no. After 22 years it was time to do something to those cupboards. They were quite weary looking, plus it has always been so dark in the kitchen. There is very little natural light as the only window opens out north onto our screen-in porch.







After all, it wasn't as though the cupboards were custom, hand-made cherry cabinets. They were 1980s builder-grade oak cabinets; so, the decision was made to paint. We did a trial run on the bathroom cupboards using a primer coat, two coats of satin paint, then two coats of polyurethane with lots of sanding in between. We liked the way they turned out, so we decided to forge ahead. It took us a month in a mess, but the painting part is now done; and we are very pleased.





The above picture is the way they looked before. We also took out the old, cheap fan over the stove and installed a new micro hood. In the future, I would like a chandelier over the meat block and a new rug.




Is a room ever done?




Thursday, August 21, 2008

CHAIR FETISH -- PART FIVE

This is our computer chair. It swivels, rolls, tilts -- an all around good chair that we use everyday; and it is at least 100 years old. In the 1890s, my step-great-grandfather who I never knew was a judge in Prowers County Colorado. His son married my maternal grandmother when my mother was a child.




Then in the 1950s - 1960s, my husband's uncle worked in maintenance in the Prowers County courthouse. During this time, Bob's uncle acquired several pieces of unused furniture, etc. from the courthouse.




In the 1970s Bob did some professional work for his uncle. Not wanting to take any money, Bob finally agreed to take this chair as payment for services. We had it re-caned, then we refinished it, and started using it.




In the 1980s after my grandmother died, I was going through some old pictures and discovered a picture of this long-ago judge from my side of the family sitting in the chair acquired from my husband's side of the family.






Isn't it interesting how circumstances sometimes play out?




Thanks for stopping by,


Sally














Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

d The title of my personal recipe book is "If It Isn't Easy, Sally Doesn't Cook It!" That pretty well sums it up. I was doing semi-homemade before Sandra Lee was born, but I wasn't smart or charming enough to capitalize on it. Here is one of those easy recipes from my files.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

1 small package regular chocolate pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 box chocolate dry cake mix
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cook pudding as directed on box in the microwave using the milk. Blend dry cake mix into hot pudding; mixture will be thick. Pour into 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed. Sprinkle with chips and nuts. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool before cutting into 2" squares.


It doesn't get any easier than that!!

Thanks for stopping by,
Sally




Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'VE BEEN TAGGED!!!

I've been tagged by Sally at Smilingsal to list six random things about myself. Check out her blog as it is always interesting covering a lot of different subjects. Here are my six random things:








1. I have had both hips and one joint in my wrist replaced. There is so much titanium in my body that I set off airport alarms like crazy. I've even had my passport confiscated while they figured out I wasn't dangerous. I'm just glad security is doing their job, but you just don't want to be behind me in line.






2. The outdoors and nature really don't like me. I'm very allergic to all kinds of bug bites, susceptible to heat stroke, and the sun loves to burn my fair skin.






3. I'm basically lazy and have no ambition. I learned early on that this was not acceptable, so I have trained myself to get up and do something. But, I really enjoy just sitting and doing nothing.






4. In my other life (before my husband retired), I was into quilt making big time. I traveled nationally to teach and attend conferences; wrote articles and made quilts that were published in magazines; and wrote two books on the subject.






5. I adore my grandchildren. I had no idea that being a grandmother would tug at my heart so strongly.






6. Cooking is a real chore for me. With 50 years of practice, I have become a decent cook; but I find no real joy in it. The best part for me is cleaning up, doing the dishes, and turning out the kitchen light!!!






Since I'm new to blogging, I don't know six people who haven't already participated in this tag. If you haven't and would like to join in, please do so.






Sally

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CHAIR FETISH - PART FOUR



I had a very interesting step-great-grandmother on my father's side. My biological great-grandmother died young; and after my great-grandfather raised his boys alone on the prairies of Colorado, he sent for a childhood friend from Maine to marry. She never really mothered anyone, so she was always called "Auntie Evelyn". She was an artist and according to my family that explained a lot of her eccentric behaviors. I remember visiting her once in California; and I was totally fascinated by her easel and all of her paints and potions. She also had this little desk with cubbyholes stuffed with clippings, paper supplies, seashells, etc. etc.


I have inherited several of Auntie Evelyn's belongings including several paintings, the little desk and this quirky chair. It is unusual in that it has a drawer in the seat used supposedly for sewing supplies. However, this chair is so uncomfortable, there is no way you can sit in it to sew. It currently resides in my guest room. Since you can't sit in it, it makes a decent luggage rack!


Auntie Evelyn ended her own life by hanging herself in the barn under very dramatic circumstances. Enough said! Since she wasn't a blood relative, I have always been secretly glad I didn't have to pass her gene pool onto my children. They can inherit the quirky little rocking chair instead!!


Thanks for stopping by,

Sally

THE DRUM CORPS EXPERIENCE

On my last post, I gave a little background on competitive drum and bugle corps. My family has a history with drum corps going back 19 years when our son marched as a junior in college with the Denver Blue Knights. Since high school, he had wanted to try out; but it was always a financial issue with us. Not only do the students pay tuition to march, they also miss out on a summer's work that helps to pay for their regular college expenses. We finally relented by agreeing that if he could find a way to make up for lost summer wages; I would go on tour for four weeks as a cook to help offset the tuition expenses to march.

What an experience, not only for him, but for me as well. Can you imagine basically camping out and cooking for 130 very hungry teenagers three meals plus snacks a day? I did a lifetime of peeling carrots to make sticks; we would make hundreds of burritos, sloppy joes, etc.; and buy thousands of boxes of cereal, etc. And all in a traveling makeshift kitchen, plus we slept on gym floors, and took cold, group showers. Not an ideal situation for a then 50-year old mom. But we have no regrets; it was a life-altering experience for Mike.

He toured the next summer as a paid instructor; and then he was able to focus on his future. Apparently, drum corps never leaves your blood, though. After he was finally educated and settled into a teaching career with summers off, he started touring again. This time it was with the Phantom Regiment on the support staff. Basically, he drives a truck pulling a trailer all those nights on the road. But he loves it and now he is part of an organization with a world championship.

Our six-year old grandson is more impressed that Uncle Mike drives a truck then he is that Uncle Mike has a doctorate in biochemistry. But it is all connected; I don't think Mike would have succeeded to that level until having the drum corps experience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WAY TO GO, PHANTOM!!


Are you familiar with the youth activity of competitive drum and bugle corps? These pictures are of the Phantom Regiment from Rockford, Illinois performing their 2008 show, "Spartacus".



Under the umbrella organization of Drum Corps International, there are 22 major world class corps comprising of up to 150 members each. Approximately 8000 students (primarily college-age with some high school) audition for the 3500 positions available each year. A very intense practice schedule in conjunction with a summer tour of 10,000 plus miles performing at competitive events follows. These young people are developing life skills including self-discipline, teamwork and leadership. It is a life-changing experience for them. The rigor of practice and travel is grueling, as sleep is either on the bus or in high school gymnasiums. They practice in all types of weather including rain, heat and humidity. I always think of it as a traveling boot camp for the gifted and talented.

The competitive season culminates with finals, this year held in Bloomington, Indiana last Saturday night. Competition is intense and emotional for these kids and staff. And, yes, congratulations are in order for the Phantom Regiment, as they won the world championships this year. If you have an opportunity next summer to see a competition, don't hesitate. You will be entertained, plus you will marvel at what these fine young people accomplish.

Check my next post to hear about my family's involvement in drum corps.

Monday, August 11, 2008

IS THIS A HIBISCUS?








For 50 weeks of the year, I hardly notice this bush along side of the road as I drive to town. Then the first week of August it bursts into bloom, and I'm always surprised. I don't know why for years it has always caught me unaware, but I always feel so joyous when I see it

.

The blooms are huge at about 10" in diameter, the size of a dinner plate. They look so tropical; and in our semi-arid climate, almost look out of place. I've never seen another bush like it in our area.





I hope you have found some unexpected joy today!!!

Thanks for stopping by,
Sally


A disclaimer: Only one grandchild was totally embarrassed when I quickly pulled over in traffic to take these pictures. Being eleven, she will recover as soon as she gets accustomed to her grandmother having a blog.




















Saturday, August 9, 2008

CHAIR FETISH -- PART THREE









There is nothing more endearing than a child's chair. This is the story of the one that resides in my living room. It was a gift from Santa Claus to my maternal grandmother for her second Christmas in 1901. When I was a little girl, it first resided at my great grandmother's house, and then was moved to my grandmother's house in Kansas. My grandmother was very attached to and possessive of her little rocking chair. She would never let me sit in it. I didn't understand because she was always so generous and loving otherwise. But there was always an excuse--- "you're too little", "you're too big", "the buckles on your shoes may scratch it", etc., etc. As an adult, I never was able to find out what her fixation was about her little chair. To this day, I don't know the story. When my youngest child was a baby, I jokingly said to my grandmother, "You know Jenni may be your last great-grandchild. Don't you think you should give me the chair?" To my surprise, when we were ready to leave Kansas to return to Colorado, she said, "Take the chair!" I had it in my car so fast.




Once it came to my house, it was always used by my children. And since I have had grandchildren, they use it to read in, watch TV in; it even serves as a corner post for blanket tents. And you know, it is still in near original condition with hardly a scratch on it. I cherish this chair, even though I have never sat in it.




Thanks for stopping by,


Sally

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A SHORT WALK IN THE FRONT YARD





















I'm not the gardener in the family. As a matter of fact, I'm not the outdoorsy type at all; but I sure enjoy my husband's efforts in the yard. Hope you are enjoying your day in your special place!!







Sally

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CHAIR FETISH -- PART TWO






These are my dining room chairs. They were purchased new by my paternal grandparents when they married in 1904. They were used around the table for all of their daily meals, while they raised three, good-sized boys. One of my uncles gave them to us in 1973, when we were moving into a new house; because he knew I always liked anything old with family history. They have been at our daily table ever since. That's 104 years of rough use, and they are still so sturdy never requiring any maintenance.


My favorite story about these chairs is one from my childhood that is still so clear in my mind as though it was just yesterday. My two cousins and I were playing one day at Grandma's. We were playing "bank". David and I were about six and Johnny was four years old. Back in those days banks all had teller's cages with iron bars between the customer and the teller to stop a robbery, I guess. These chairs with their vertical slat and side pieces reminded us of the bank. Johnny must have thought he could rob the bank, and got his head stuck between the side and the slat. Grandma tried and tried to get his head out, but to no avail. So she sent me out to the north 40 to get my Dad who was on the tractor. My Dad was not happy to get called in from his work to free a 4-year old lodged in a chair. As David and I stood scared to death, my Dad whipped out his pocket knife while Grandma held Johnny's head. We just knew that he was going to cut off his head, or at the very least, his ear. Well, my Dad just whittled away at the slat of the chair, until Johnny was free at last!



Now I have five chairs (no one knows what happened to chair #6), with one of the chairs having been whittled on. I certainly learned that day never to rob a bank! I often think I should replace those chairs with something more stylish, but they have served my family well. I'm now too loyal to replace them.



Thanks for stopping by,


Sally


Monday, August 4, 2008

A MEME FROM BJ

BJ at Sweet Nothings has invited anyone to play along on this meme which you can only have one answer. Sounds like fun, so here goes:


"MY FAVORITE --------"


SPORT: Pro basketball

COLOR: Red

MOVIE: "The Queen"

BROADWAY PLAY I'VE SEEN: None

SONG: "To God be the Glory"

FAVORITE CITY VISITED: Chicago

FAVORITE FOREIGN CITY VISITED: Paris

BOOK: "Dancing with Kings"

CHILDREN'S BOOK: "Sally Goes Shopping Alone"

CLASSIC TV SHOW: "Happy Days"

RECENT TV SHOW: "Design Star"

ACTOR: Richard Gere

ACTRESS: Helen Mirren

PERFUME: none - I'm allergic

FOOD: Anything Mexican

DESSERT: Tapioca Pudding

CHAIN RESTAURANT: MiMis

LOCAL RESTAURANT: El Caporal

CAR: Honda Odyssey

CONDIMENT: Salsa

KITCHEN APPLIANCE: Dishwasher

HOME APPLIANCE: Sewing machine

BEAUTY PRODUCT: Soap

FAVORITE CLOTHING: My jean jacket

HGTV SHOW: "Designed to Sell"

FOOD NETWORK SHOW: Rachael Ray

AUTHOR: Mary Carol Garrity (I'm into decorating books)

MALE SONGWRITER: Bach

FEMALE SONGWRITER: Mary Chapin Carpenter

HOLIDAY: Christmas

BALLET: Anything by a 6 year old in a tutu

DISNEY CHARACTER: Remy the rat

ALCOHOLIC DRINK: Don't drink

NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK: Diet Coke from Sonic Drive-in

MAGAZINE: Mary Englebreit's "Home Companion"

ANTIMATED MOVIE: "Ratatouille"

MINI-SERIES: "The Thornbirds"

MALE VOCALIST: Vince Gill

FEMALE VOCALIST: Natalie Maines

DAY OF THE WEEK: Monday

HOUSEHOLD CHORE: Laundry

ICE CREAM: Any thing with nuts

CANDY: Snickers


Anyone that wants to play, please join in!


Thanks for stopping by,

Sally







Saturday, August 2, 2008

COLORADO DAY!!





August 1st was Colorado Day, the anniversary of our state's birth in 1876. It's called the Centennial State because it was admitted to the Union during the 100th year of our nation's founding. There are 54 mountains with peaks that are more than 14,000 feet high in our beautiful state. Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write "America the Beautiful" after seeing the view from Pike's Peak. There are now over 4 million residents who enjoy the outdoor life, the beauty, and the friendliness of the state.


During the summer, those of us who live in the foothills and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains experience hot and very dry conditions. After all, it is part of the great American desert. We get very little rain, so most of our water is from the high country's spring runoff. In the mountains, of course, they have tons of snow (think skiing) that stays on the ground all winter long. But, here on the eastern slope we have the most glorious winter. We have snow often, but it usually occurs in the mornings; by noon the sun is out; and by 3:00 pm the snow is melted and the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue. It is said that we have 360 days a year of sunshine!!



The first of my ancestors (a great-great uncle) came to Colorado in 1876, the year of statehood. The family was involved in the logging industry in Maine, and this great-great uncle lost a leg in an accident. He was told that the logging industry was no place for a one-legged man, and that he better go west where he could ride a horse. So, the local Masonic Lodge gave him $100 and he came as far as he could on the train. Then, he walked on his wooden peg leg carrying a few belongings to southeastern Colorado where he homesteaded. His two brothers soon followed lured by the idea of free land. In true pioneer spirit, they made a life from cattle and sheep ranching and farming.



I have lived all of my life in Colorado except for five years in Montana, and I hope to never have to live anywhere else. I'm a proud native Coloradan!!!



Thanks for stopping by,


Sally




Friday, August 1, 2008

CHAIR FETISH - PART ONE




I admit to having a bit of a chair fetish. I find them fascinating in all of their various forms. They seem to call to me as I browse in antique stores, and I have to really resist the urge to take them home with me. Today, I'm going to start a little series about the stories of some of the chairs that have found their way to our house.


This is my newest (old) chair. I had my eye on it for a year at a local antiques mall, but always thought it was too expensive as it would need to be reupholstered. The mall finally went out of business reducing the price of the chair. It had such a nice channel back and was such a usable size even though it was an ugly green vinyl. It had to come home with me finally. Until I could figure out what to have it recovered in, I set it in the computer room under the stained glass windows. It didn't look half bad, plus I discovered by opening the windows the sun shone in so nicely on the chair. Now, I hate to admit this, but I'm at an age that I am always cold. The sun warms up this chair like the vinyl seats of a 1955 Chevy convertible that has been left in the sun with the top down. Now that's HOT, and it feels so good on these old bones and joints on a cold day. So now, I'm in a quandary -- do I get my full-sized heating pad recovered in something beautiful and lose the warmth? I just don't know, but sometimes function triumphs over form. For now, anyway!!


Stayed tuned to meet more of my favorite chairs on future posts.


Thanks for stopping by!


Sally