Sunday, August 30, 2009


It is Blue Monday, so please go check out Sally's blog, Smiling Sally
for a list of the participants.

I really am BLUE as summer is over! School starts for our grandkids tomorrow - back to a regimented schedule, no more lazy days, or journeys with Bob and I to experience summer fun.

In an effort to broaden their horizons through another generation's eyes, we took several short road trips this summer with Caitlin and Wyatt. Nothing was more than a couple of hours in the car or nothing was too expensive with just picnic lunches or fast food. I didn't realize they had so many BLUE shirts until I checked out the pictures - perfect for BLUE Monday.

Bob took them fishing a couple of times - once on the river and once on a lake. One very hot day, we went to the go-cart track in The City; and WOW, did they have fun driving for the first time!

On another very hot day, we went to historical Bent's Fort on the Santa Fe trail and to the Koshare Indian Kiva Museum to experience life in the 1800s.

And, finally we experienced one man's dream at Bishop's Castle in the Rocky Mountains with the bonus of a whole week's exercise climbing turrets and towers.

We loved every minute of the time spent under the BLUE skies with these adorable, well-behaved kids . They are growing up way too fast.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Last week, I went to The City to get a haircut, my mammogram, and to shop; and when I left my foyer looked like this. The doorway straight away is to the dining room and kitchen and the door to the left is to the living room. On the right is the wall of our coat closet.

By the time I returned home, this was the wall to the coat closet down to the studs.

The next morning, I went to have coffee with some friends, and when I returned 3 hours later; this was the wall and door to the dining room and kitchen.

A man with a crow bar can make fast work of an old closet and wall! This is something I have wanted done for a long time to improve the flow of our entry way. I'm sure the next time you see this, things will have improved when the wall and floor are all healed up. Just look at that dirt and dust. But, already I'm loving the openness and feeling of space.

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Ellen at Nouveau Stitch recently had an apron giveaway, and I was the winner. If you haven't visited Ellen before, hop on over to her blog. She does amazing things with a sewing machine that you will enjoy. When I received the box, it was filled with goodies to use for every season.

Check this out! There were Fall candles; a Christmas towel that Ellen made on that amazing sewing machine of hers; four cute bunny napkin rings to use during Spring, and then four little Summer lawn chairs that my glass votive holders fit in perfectly. Then, there was the black and white apron! My 12-year old granddaughter latched onto the apron right away. She was needing a new apron to use at my house because she is getting so tall.

Thanks, Ellen, for a fun giveaway!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Susan at A Southern Day Dreamer
is hosting Outdoor Wednesday for us to show off our outdoor pictures. Check her blog for a list of the participants this week.

We're on the road again with the grandkids in an effort to have some new experiences this summer. We headed into the mountains to view Bishop's Castle. What is more exciting for a 7-year old boy then to see a real castle? Since Caitlin is just a month & a half away from being a teenager; she was a little less enthusiastic, but ended up having a great time, also.

The castle is the vision of Jim Bishop who acquired the land in 1959 at the age of 15. The structure started as a family cabin, but grew into the castle constructed by Mr. Bishop's own hands of stone and concrete with wrought-iron bridges and walkways that cling to the towers.

The jutting dragon is made of recycled hospital trays; and the fireplace vents through the dragon's nose expelling smoke.

We climbed and climbed up through narrow turrets and outdoor walkways to reach as high as the dragon. We didn't go up any further, as it was getting a little scary without as many guard rails. Plus, Grammy & Papa's legs aren't as young as they formerly were!!!!

The large ballroom is decorated with beautiful stained glass and skylights.

There were also rocks to climb.

What a fun day we had enjoying the castle and having a picnic lunch in Colorado's glorious mountains.

The castle is open to the public at your own risk for free. Donations are accepted for the on-going construction.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Susan at Between Naps on the Porch
very graciously hosts Metamorphosis Monday where everyone has a place to show off their before and after pictures. Be sure to check out her blog for a list of the participants this week.

Every summer we try to tackle a big project. This year it was time to build a mudroom using a small portion of our garage space. My husband, Bob, is always working in the garage (aka the workshop) creating dirt and sawdust. We were tired of the freezer, etc. covered with dust. In the large picture below, the freezer formerly set up on that platform just outside the kitchen door. He had started installing the studs for the new mudroom; then in the small picture, he had installed the new sub-floor.

Here are the three men in my life working on the drywall and insulation.
Here is the completed mudroom after seven weeks. Bob did all of the work himself except for the electrical and a weekend's help from Mike and Wyatt.

In the upper left corner picture below is the door to the garage with the freezer on the left and a cupboard for storage on the right. In the bottom left picture you can see the door to the new closet on the right of the picture. The big picture on the right shows the open doors to the closet and to the kitchen.

In the new closet on the left of the picture below are double hanging rods for our coats. Behind the coats, there is storage for seven huge tubs of Christmas decorations. In the upper right picture below there are shelves with tubs to hold stuff like light bulbs, sweeper attachments, etc. and storage below for the two sweepers.
The bottom right picture again shows the freezer and the door to the garage. We still have room above the freezer for a cupboard if we decide we need it.

The area is not huge, but we are already enjoying it immensely.

This is just Phase I of the summer/fall project. Now that we have the new closet, we are going to demolish the old coat closet, knock down a wall to enlarge and improve the flow of our front entry. Stay tuned to view more dust, dirt, and mess at our house.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When my husband, Bob, was growing up; he began working in his family's grocery store at age 6 sorting potatoes and candling eggs. He has fond memories of stocking shelves, cutting meat, checking and carrying out groceries at the store when he was not in school or doing sports. He worked there until the week before we got married. We did a lot of courting over a bag of groceries being carried out to the car. My mother never had to beg me to run to the grocery store to pick up something!
We have several items that came out of the store, but a favorite is this old gum-ball machine with a patent date of 1923.

I'm sure that all of those growing-up years in the grocery store helped develop Bob's strong work ethic. To this day, in retirement, he still works everyday around the house, in the yard, and substitute teaching during the school year. Who says there is anything wrong with a little child labor?
Thanks to Suzanne at Colorado Lady for hosting Vintage Thingies Thursday and a chance to show off our old gum-ball machine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I become dissatisfied with the interior design of my home. I want something different. To cure this feeling, I often just walk around the house and look at the details.
I think about what I like, what pleases my eye and my personal aesthetic.

Today, I took my camera as I walked around.

I like a variety of textures and patina. Rough versus smooth! Delicate versus chunky!

Fine versus primitive plus I need my favorite colors!

Shiny versus dull!

Light versus dark!

The feeling of discontent has passed. I love my home just the way it is.

Thanks to Mary of Little Red House
for hosting Mosaic Monday. Please check out her beautiful blog for more mosaics.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I have set up my gate-leg table in the living room for coffee for two. Included is a vintage electric coffee percolator in china with matching creamer and sugar. My parents received it as a wedding present in 1937. It is complete with its coffee basket and stem inside plus the 1930's electric cord. As far as I know, it still perks; but I'm afraid to try it with its old electrical works. It is insulated, so it still makes a great server for coffee with its cute little spigot. It is marked "Royal Rochester Hand Decorated Royalite Electric Chinaware".

For a treat with our coffee today, we are having Madeleines, a French cookie.
The white plates, cups, and saucers are part of my great-grandmother's good dishes from Austria. The same great-grandmother embroidered the tea cloth and napkins.

Please check out the wonderful blog of Susan at Between Naps on the Porch
as she is hosting Tablescape Thursday today.

And, Suzanne at Colorado Lady
is hosting Vintage Thingies Thursday. Please check her blog out for a list of other vintage treasures.

Thanks for stopping by for coffee today.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Since my post on our trip to the Antiques Roadshow, I have had some requests for more information about our Indian baskets. The basket on the left is Jicarilla Apache and dates from c. 1920 and the basket on the right is Western Apache and is from c. 1910.

The Western Apache basket is 13 1/2" tall and from my mother's side of the family. It is jar-shaped (olla) and probably made of sumac or willow. My grandmother with her parents made a road trip from Colorado to southern California when she was a young girl. A road trip in the early 1900s was quite an excursion, and my grandmother had a strong recollection of the trip. Her parents got this basket on the trip, and my grandmother's keepsake was a beautiful, large shell from the beach.

I remember this basket at my great-grandparent's house sitting by the back door next to a chair. My great-grandfather kept his clean, rolled up socks in it. He would sit in the chair each morning to put on his shoes and socks before going outside to farm. When the basket came to live at my grandmother's house, she kept it in the kitchen, also, and stored her clean little plastic margarine tubs in it for future use.

One time I was visiting my grandmother in Kansas and we were sitting there eating breakfast. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Jokingly, I told her, "The basket!" When we got ready to return to Colorado, she came out to the car with the basket, "Take it now, so I won't have to mail it." I was thrilled beyond belief!! At a later time, she also gave me her precious shell.

The large basket with the lid is 17" tall and came to me through my dad's side of the family. It is Jicarilla Apache from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and dates from the 1920s. It was probably made specifically for trade to the whites for use as a clothes hamper, which is what my family used it for.

During the 1920s, my grandfather was in partnership with Edward Sargent of Chama, New Mexico in the sheep and cattle ranching business. At one time, they ran sheep and cattle on 15,000 acres of ranch land in southern Colorado. Mr. Sargent was also associated with the Chaco Canyon Trading Post, where this basket came from. In my paternal grandparent's home, I remember there were several Indian blankets and rugs with this basket. After my grandparents were gone, this basket was in my bachelor uncle's home. I simply told him one day that after he was through with the basket, I would love to have it. He gave it to me on the spot.

The colors of the interior of the basket are still very strong, but on the outside the dyes have faded.

Some day, I hope my children will also treasure these two baskets.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Michael at Designs by Gollum
is hosting Foodie Friday once again. Please check out her wonderful blog for a list of the participants in all of their yumminess!

Madeleines are a small French cake/cookie dating back to Louis XV's time. They are sponge-like and usually flavored with lemon baked in a speciality pan. I bought my pans about 35 years ago when my sister-in-law gave me the basic lemon recipe. Since then, I have adapted the recipe for different flavors. It can be a fancy cookie served at parties, etc. I've made dozens and dozens for family and friend's weddings over the years. But it is a simple cookie, too - the grandkids like to make them and will eat one right after the other if not supervised!!

The recipe:

Add 4 unbeaten egg whites one at a time to 2/3 cup sugar, beating well after each. Repeat with 4 egg yolks. Fold in 1 1/3 cup flour with mixer on low, followed by 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch of salt.

Lemon: Add 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Walnut: Add 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract and 1/4 cup chopped nuts
Chocolate Chip: Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup chopped chocolate chips
Chocolate: Increase sugar to 3/4 cup and add melted 3 oz. chocolate

Spray 24 madeleine shells with Pam and fill 1/2 full. Bake 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Glaze: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar thinned with water
Lemon glaze: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar thinned with lemon juice

Dip madeleines in glaze of choice and place on wire rack to dry.

Here are what my madeleine pans look like. They are available at most kitchen supply stores.

This recipe is a good approximation of those found in Paris. Now, if I could only master Laduree's macaroons. Does anyone have a recipe for those?

POSTSCRIPT: My blog has gone through a minor transformation, as I switched over to accommodate bigger pictures. This 70-year old, non computer-literate brain was challenged, so I'm still working out the glitches and deciding which pictures are best enlarged. I'm also working on some mosaics. Thanks to all of you who have posted tutorials and given suggestions. I'm open to any further ideas; and as always, appreciate your comments.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Metamorphosis Monday is once again hosted by Susan of Between Naps On The Porch.
Please check out her charming blog for all of the participants today.

To me, this is an unbelievable metamorphosis. Forty-seven years ago, we bought our first house - this cute, little 1940's house on a half-acre lot in Denver.

We sold it a couple of years later to return to graduate school, but it always had a place in our hearts as Our First Place! We knew that in the 1970s someone had added a simple second story to the house.

Well, a week ago, we were in the neighborhood and decided to drive by our old house; and this is what we found! The house had been added on to the side and the back even more; then refaced with rock and stucco. Not too much was recognizable - just the front living room window and a jut-out of the front bedroom with it's little side window.

There was one thing we recognized, however. The picture below was taken in 1963. My Dad had filled this barrel with concrete and added the post for our mailbox. It weighed a ton!

Here is the picture of the mailbox we took this past weekend. Evidently, no one can destroy that barrel of concrete.

Time marches on!!