Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I am not a stamp collector but if I happen to be at a post office with the full selection of stamps currently available I like to buy fun ones and not just the generic flags or Liberty Bells.  A few weeks ago I was reading a decorating magazine and saw a little article about how Fiestaware was going to be featured on a stamp!  I was really excited, imagining all those bright colors on stamps.  It turns out that there is just one Fiesta stamp among a selection of other groundbreaking vintage designs by American designers. 

I love Fiestaware!  It is so bright and colorful.  It was on our wedding registry, so we have alot of the colors that are currently in production.  Also, I occasionally find pieces at rummage sales and thrift stores (always an exciting find!) so I have accumulated alot of the out of production colors as well.

There are my own disk pitchers!  Those mini ones are so cute and I wish I had every color.  They are probably the most impractical Fiestaware item ever to have been produced by the Homer Laughlin company. 

We have bowls of every size!  

I believe these are the oldest Fiestaware items I own.  I got the set at an antique store.  It is from the 30's and, according to Ebay and other websites, could be worth hundreds of dollars.  However, this set would not draw that much because the lid of the teapot is cracked and has been glued together.  I paid $15 for both pieces.  I don't care about that though...I like it the way it is!  That specific shade of green is hard to find because it is so old. 

I love this Christmas Fiestaware!  It shows up every year at Herbergers and the price is jacked up to almost double what the regular pieces without the Christmas themes.  I usually but whatever is left of it for 75% as soon as Christmas passes.  The colors of the lights and snowmen coordinate with the regular colors for a festive look!  There is also always a Christmas ornament with the year on it which is fun.

A few assorted pieces...these are the colors that we (by "we" I really mean "I") chose for our wedding registry.  Most of the heavily used plates adn bowls are in these colors with some navy and dark purple mixed in.  In the past few years a few new colors have been introduced and they are leaning toward a darker more fall-like pallete with brown, a dark yellow called Marigold, and a rusty red.  I have this fantasy that we will have a summer and winter set eventually...hmmmm I think I need more cupboard space!

 I did the spontaneous photo shoot with my dishes last fall for some reason.  I think I was trying to get the cupboards more organized and had everything out on the counters.  I can't remember.

Well, this has been one of the more boring posts I have ever done.   It was supposed to be about the stamp.  It might be my new favorite stamps ever except for the shelter animal stamps they had last summer that had puppies and kittens on them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"When We Were Kids on the Field of the First Day of School..."

That title is from the song "Here's Looking at you Kid" by The Gaslight Anthem.  It's pretty but a real weepy buzzkill.  I love it. 

I used that line as my title because it is back to school time in ND!  I don't know if I am the only one who can sense this, but, even though it is still summer and feels hot like summer, there is something that is different in the air this time of year.  It smells different (usually from that always nostalgia inducing smell of wheat harvest) and the light is different in the evening.

I do not really feel a yearning to be back in high school again but I admit that I miss the college years very much this time of year.  Some people spoke of returning to college after the summer with dread but I was delighted.  Who would choose to work 40 hours a week over the flexible schedule and freedom of college?  And also, my friends were there waiting and there was never a dull moment those first weeks back.  I have been seeing young college women shopping for housewares and clothes around town and I feel so jealous of them because I cannot believe it isn't me anymore and it never will be again...sigh...it can't last forever and I know I am too old for that.  It just went way too fast! 

Well, that's all I have for now...while those young students are just starting to get ready to go out I am going to watch Jersey Shore and then go to sleep!  At least next weekend college football and tailgating starts!   Can't wait! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Special Assessments

If you have looked at real estate before you know what "specials" are...they are taxes used to pay for the infrastructure around the property.  If you look for a house in a new development, get ready for outrageous specials to pay for everything.

Our neighborhood is old so we didn't have to worry about alot of specials.  However, our sidewalk had a big crack down the middle of it.

And the apron of the driveway was not too attractive either and it had those curb things that were pretty outdated and made the driveway feel more narrow.  I would have just accepted these things, but Justin took action and spoke to the city to get them redone! 

Ooooh very nice...that is the new driveway.  We can't drive on it yet.  The concrete is still setting although it is solid enough to walk on. 

There is the nice new sidewalk without the crack!  If you look closely at the picture you can kind of see the dirt line where the perpendicular sidewalk was that lead to the street.  We were the only house on the block that still had that pointless little sidewalk that lead right into oncoming traffic!  It was a remnant from a time when this street wasn't a high traffic route.  Now we will pay some extra specials during our time in the house and whoever comes next can take care of the rest! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Water Dogs

My nephew dog Jake loves water.  Since he is a "town dog" this love was just discovered this spring when he was at my parents' farm where a creek runs in front of the house.  Often, this creek is nothing but a little stream.  Some years (Oh, those lovely dry years!) it is completely dry and a mower can drive along the bed.  This year has been wet so the creek has been high, first with the water from melting snow, and then from the continuous rain that has fallen all summer.  If you throw a ball in that water he launches himself in like he is jumping off a diving board.  It is really funny!  I have some videos of this phenomenon but the giggling of me and my sister in the background is wayyyy to embarassing to share!  Haha!  I giggled all over again when I was watching them!  

There he is, cutting through the water like a champ swimmer while his equally water loving but less agressive buddy Wally wades around...As you can see in the photo the surroundings are not very green so that means it was early spring and that water was probably very cold but they don't care!

He doesn't stop chasing until the thrower stops throwing...

When I heard about a certain event at a local public pool I thought of Jake immediately...after the pool closes for the year they let people bring their dogs there to swim!  Check out this poster!  It is tomorrow!

Unfortunately, Jake's mom said he wasn't allowed to go!  Well...she is going to be out of town for work that night and I sure don't want to deal with him all by myself!  I've never even walked him on his leash!  Don't feel too bad...that dog gets plenty of attention and opportunities for fun!

This weekend we were at Upper Cormorant Lake and took a few leisurely boat rides around the perimeter of the lake where we saw a dog launch himself off a dock like a daredevil!  Animals are so funny!  It was a perfect weekend to be at a lake and it makes me sad to think that summer is coming to an end soon...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Update

Oh, look upon the bounty that Justin was able to seal with the Food Saver! 

Haha just kidding!  Those beans are from a garden.  Just not OUR garden.  Justin got them from  co-worker.  They are still delicious though.  And our garden is coming along.  There have been several cucumbers, one large zucchini, and plenty of peas.  The beans are flowering so that is good, even though they are a bit behind the beans in other gardens it seems! 

Right in the middle of this photo you can see a mini zucchini starting to grow...it is so cute!  It was hard not to pick it!  There should be more because there are alot of flowers. 

Also, two lily plants I planted last year are in full bloom, also quite a bit later than they should be.  I have no idea why this is...we had two new lily plants from the greenhouse this year and they bloomed weeks ago.  I love these flowers so maybe they knew I wanted to see them in their glory and waited until I would be around to see and smell them!  They smell so good...the whole front yard is fragrant!

Speaking of the front yard, our sidewalk and the end of our driveway are getting repoured this week.  They are starting tomorrow!  The sidewalk in front of the house is very cracked and the end of the driveway is narrow and has these weird ledge things along the sides so this will be nice.   

Now a few odd notes that don't really fit in anywhere else...

Two weekends ago a storm came through and we ended up losing electricity for three hours.  We heard the transformer pop as it happened.  It was really annoying because it was only our side of the street that was in the dark.  We could see the neigbors on the other side enjoying their lights and TVs.  We have one flashlight so I lit a candle.  Candles have been mostly off limits since Allan joined the house because he fixates on the flame and when he was little he singed his eyebrow whiskers off.  I had to moniter him so it didn't happen again!

Awww...look...that is back in December of 2009 when he was still a baby...I love to burn pine tree scented candles around Christmas time.  Allan liked them a but TOO much!

Finally, my cousins just returned from visiting their parents in Illinois.  My aunt has been excited to give me my birthday present since my birthday in April but they often fly when they come to visit so she hasn't been able to give it to me until now.  I had no idea what it could be!  It was this wacky plate with a three dimensional burger on it!  Hahaha very nice!  It is categorized as an appetizer plate, and the box shows the hole in the burger being used to hold toothpicks.  Maybe I will fill it with ranch dressing!  Wait...that would never be enough ranch for me!  I think I need to learn to make sliders!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Allan's 2 Year Portrait

No...I don't have professional photographers take pictures of my cat or of any other pet for that matter.  If it weren't for a forced law school graduation headshot and my wedding I wouldn't have any professionally done photographs of myself! 

Last summer I captured this dignified photo of Allan with my phone...I thought it was so cute!  Haha big surprise!  Although, his eyes do look kind of wacky...

I didn't intend to try to recreate the picture one year later but it kind of happened randomly when i found him sleeping on the dresser in our bedroom  one day.


Awww there is a good shot!  What a cute kitten!

Monday, August 8, 2011

TV Stand Turmoil

When we moved into the house and bought a new flat screen TV to replace the 300 pound behemouth that we had before we didn't have a TV stand.  What we did have was an antique chest of drawers that we had at my house when I was growing up.  I don't even know where it came from.  It is a strange piece of furniture that is a bit taller than a coffee table but much shorter than a dresser that you would use for clothing.  This odd height makes it the perfect height for a TV!  The wood has a bleached look to it and it has a funky, rustic look to it which I like to pair with the more modern furnishings in the house.  I like a mixture of furniture and decor...pre-matched things seem too easy! 

It was meant to be a temporary solution until we found something we liked more.  Then, Justin was going to move it to his rustic, outdoors themed basement living room, where it would also fit right in. 

This weekend we went to some local furniture stores to look for a replacement, and it was frustrating to me.  Everything seemed generic and not my style at all.  My style has been influenced by years of wistfully paging through Pottery Barn catalogues and design magazines, which don't feature anything that you could buy at Slumberland.  Eeeh, why am I drawn to expensive things?  It doesn't even have to be expensive...I just would like things that don't look like the same thing everyone else has from Target or Conlins...so I guess I will keep looking and the TV will just stay where it is!  I don't really want to deal with the piles of crap in the drawers anyway! So take that Slumberland!

Here are some examples of what I might like...the first four are from Pottery Barn.  I am so devoted to Pottery Barn, although I believe that real high end designers might think of it with distain the way I think of other furniture stores...but for regular people I can't imagine who wouldn't like it!

Cheswick Media Stand, Mahogany stain

Winslow Long Media Stand

Ok, so this is way too long for our living room but LOOK at it!  Look at all the room for books!

Rhys TV Stand, Large, Espresso stain

Once again, this whole set is way too big but that middle piece would work...I love the file cabinet details on those middle drawers. 

Barrett Media Stand, French White

This is just cute...

These next two are from Restoration Hardware and would cost around $2,000 with tax and shipping....sigh...

Shutter Low Cabinet

It looks like shutters!

I love this thing...it is a "Printmaker's cabinet", which is a fixture in old architecture offices and artists studios...lovely.  I will keep dreaming on!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pickles (I am Salivating)

I think I have loved pickles from the first moment I tried them, and I have no idea when that was.  It was before my memories existed, for sure, so I have probably liked them since I started eating solid foods.  When we moved to the farm in the early 90's, we planted all the necessities for making our own pickles in our hot mess of a garden and it was productive, giving us lots of cucumbers which my mom had us pick when they were still small enough to pack into jars.  We also planted the dill.  I can't remember if we planted the garlic or onions since my dad would prefer to avoid visible onions in any food he eats!

I will never forget the smell of the kitchen during the canning process.  It is a good but also bad smell.  I liked it but maybe not everyone would...kind of like how some poeple say they like the smell of gasoline at the gas station (yucky!).  My mom prepared the jars with the dill and other flavor necessities and my sister and I stuffed the pickles in until they were very tight and then the vineagar was added last.  I think my grandma must have been there as well.  Since it was my first time being around canning, I didn't know until that day that you wouldn't get to eat pickles right away...you had to wait at least two months!  Ugh!  That was dissapointing!

Last year Justin's mom made a big batch of a delicious pickle alternative...refidgerator pickles!  They don't require the sterilization, boiling, sealing, and waiting that regular canning involves.  Two weeks ago, my brother-in-law came home from work with bags full of garden fresh cucumbers which he and my sister don't like to eat!  I like eating cucumbers plain so I sliced a few up but soon was yearing for more delicous cucumber dishes.  I made a cucumber salad to share for the weekend and then I tried something new...I made my own batch of refridgerator pickles because I know I love them and my sister does too! 

Here they are, ready for the vineager!  My food photography always looks bad...I think there is some sort of trick to it.  Well, I know that food in magazines is often coated with shellac or is even completely fake so I guess I don't feel so bad. 

They were easy to make and taste delicious.  I was not too impressed with my slicing abilities.  The ones Mary made were sliced very thin and the onions were so thin they were almost translucent.  I think I need a special tool to do that (and I think I have one in the drawer of kitchen gadgets back at home)!   Chopping onions is very traumatic for me.  My eyes cannot handle it and tears pour out of my eyes the whole time until I can barely see and just start hacking at them to get the job done so I can wash my hands and wipe my eyes.  If they are on hand I sometimes put on my swimming goggles but even they don't completely block the fumes.  I have read that putting the onion in the freezer for a few minutes can stop the fumes but it hasn't worked for me yet! 

My first pickles turned out fine, even though they were only refridgerator pickles...with huge chunks of onions in them...Oh well, those are easy to pick out!  Haha!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Adventures

There is a much neglected room in our house...the office.  The office is located in the smallest of the four bedrooms.  It is a basement room and it was the only room in our house that had the universally despised fake wood panelling that is an indication of an old and outdated house.  Notice that I use the past tense when I describe what we had...

 Justin decided to paint and redecorate the room.  It was his office for the most part, with his decor hanging on the walls and his paperwork in the file cabinet.  After finishing school I felt like I was done with having an office for awhile!  I spent too many hourse sitting at that desk studying!  My file cabinet is in the other basement bedroom with my sewing supplies and books.

 Oooh that room looks like a claustrophobic little hovel!

Check it out!  That is the same room!  I haven't seen it in person yet but it looks like he filled in the grooves in the panelling, added new trim around the base, and did some ceiling improvements!  The panelling is still there under the paint.  This is a cell phone picture so I will add some more pictures when I see it in person.  This is some very impressive work.  Pardon the clutter in the picture...the room is still a work in progress. 

While Justin was working on that project, I spent Saturday and Sunday visiting my aunt and uncle and cousins at their lake home on Pelican Lake.  I woke to thunder storms on Saturday morning which was very dissapointing but I was patient and they dissipated my noon and I headed to the lakes!  After the storm moved out the weather was perfect. 

My timing was also perfect because right after I got there my uncle went to pick up a new pontoon that had a feature that I was unfamiliar with before...Sea Legs.  These are hydraulic lifts that can lift the pontoon out of the water and eliminate the need for a cumbersome boat lift or an anchor if you are stopped in shallow water such as on a sand bar.  It was like a robot boat!

This is not their boat...it is one that I found a picture of on Google images.  Pretty fancy legs, huh?  I almost expect it to start walking!

I wish it wasn't already August.  Summer is way too short!  There are not enough weekends to spend in a swimming suit drinking slushy drinks in a year!  Mmmmm slushy drinks...