Stretching Chickens and Raising Kids…

A slightly quirky blog post title, I know. I’m not quite sure if I’ve had too much coffee this morning… or too little. But there you have it. The things in my head at 8:00 a.m. And Hubby escaped into the world of hammers and nails before I started exponderating. Lucky readers.

:-D

Along the thought line of making do in the kitchen, have you ever heard of “Rubber Chicken” recipes? Go ahead… google “rubber chicken recipes” and you’ll find LOTS. I can’t quite remember where I first learned the term, but the idea has been passed down for generations by frugal homemakers. How to make a single chicken last and last and last. It’s quite a fun game. One night last week, Hubby and I were pondering dinner way past the time dinner should have been, and we decided to just run to the store for a couple of TV dinners. We walked past the rotisserie chickens and changed our plans. Out we walked with a skinny little $6 chicken and a package of microwave garlic mashed potatoes. I had applesauce at home to round it out. Fast food dinner for two for under $10. At least I knew I could pull another dinner out of the remains of the chicken the next night.

Since it was so late, we really didn’t eat much of the chicken. So, the next night, I pulled it out of the fridge, warmed up the rest of the white meat, and served it with broccoli and a package of brown rice pilaf  which I had purchased in bulk a few weeks ago when they were on sale for $1 a bag. (They make a great side dish for those just-the-two-of-us dinners!) So, a second dinner for about $3, counting up the broccoli, rice, and leftover applesauce.

Two nights later, the thought of dinner came up again, and I knew that bird was still hanging out in the fridge. As I was picking all the meat off the carcass, the kids called and said they were on the way over. Chicken soup was offered if they hadn’t eaten yet, and they hadn’t. The bones and skin went into a pot to boil, and I scrounged the kitchen for soup-makings. Several carrots, some celery, an onion, a potato, brown rice, and some spices were thrown with the leftover chicken once the broth was strained. Added in some homemade bread and opened another jar of applesauce, and we all had warm and full tummies.

And then last night, instead of heating the leftover soup, we opted for rolling out a pie crust and turning the soup and the leftover broccoli (from Dinner #2) into a chicken pot pie. Sides were corn and leftover applesauce. (We both really like applesauce, by the way.) We only ate half the pie, so dinner tonight is leftovers again. I stopped trying to figure out what the dinners cost after the first two nights, since all they “cost” was a bit of elbow grease and stuff that was already in my fridge threatening to mold if we ordered out. I do know that skinny little chicken ended up being a part of five dinners…one with company. Chicken stretching… favorite sport of frugal homemakers.

Pie

And in the area of raising kids… Mom and I have been taking my youngest daughter, Kate, who is great with child, on looong walks in hopes that the grand baby will be born soon. Last week we went to an antique shop that takes several hours to peruse, and I was very well-behaved, coming out with only a $3 book that looked interesting. And it has been. Absolutely, utterly refreshing, and rather funny… which couldn’t be helped considering who the author is. Common-sensical wisdom on child raising combined with humor and whit, written over 50 years ago. I’ve read a lot of books on parenting, but I’ve never laughed quite so much or agreed any more than I have while reading this one…

Kids

I have to put the disclaimer that I don’t agree with everything Mr. Linkletter writes, but Oh. My. Stars. he sure hits the nail on the head in so many areas. It’s like having a great conversation with your grandfather about how to raise happy, healthy kids. I may be sharing some of it with you in the next few posts.

Have a great Tuesday!

A Mood Board, of sorts…

One of my girls enlightened me on “Mood Boards” this past year.

I think I sort of knew about them, but for some reason never saw the importance of creating a mood board when coming up with a new design, a fresh brand, or a  snappy decorating scheme. Jo uses them with her graphic design clients to get a feel for who they are and what they are looking for in a logo or blog header. And today, while shuffling stuff around (Expert Stuff Shuffler here.) I gathered a few things that I LOVE and that have been an inspiration for Something-In-The-Works.

I’ve had this wonderful calligraphy mat for a while…

mat

…And lots of Verbage/Words/Signage…

etc

…And am slowly adding to a collection…

cups

…And a historic print that I have LOVED since childhood
has been developed into textiles…

inspiration

… which jumpstarted the Something-In-The-Works!

Any guesses?

:-)

A Love/Hate Relationship…

Contact Paper.

Need I say more?

Nothing freshens up old cupboards like brand new Contact Paper.
One of my girls bought me several rolls of this happy
vintage green Magic Cover Contact Paper at the
Dollar Store because it looked like me…

Contact2

I saved it for a while because it had to go in just the right spot.

And I had to be in just the right mood.

Because there are a several important
steps to applying Contact Paper properly.

Step #1. Measure Carefully, taking note of
indentations in the structure of the cupboard floor.

Step #2. Cut out the first piece of Contact Paper
completely backward just for practice.
(This piece can be used later for a smaller area.)

Step #3. Cut out a new piece of Contact Paper
with the proper dimensions, right side up.

Step #4. Peel off the backing carefully and prepare
to apply the contact paper to the bottom of cupboard.

Step #5. Stick Contact Paper to your head, arms,
and any other available extremity, as well as to itself
before applying to the surface you had planned on covering.

Contactpaper

After the battle is over application is complete
you will love the results! Fresh cupboards!

I Always Wanted to Remodel an Old Farmhouse…

… But I was thrilled when we were able to build our new home…

…Nearly twenty-three years ago!

And the last couple of years, as we’ve been making
a few changes here and there, guess what?

I get to remodel an “old” farmhouse!

:-)

We’re trying our best to employ our “Thistle Dew” motto as we switch things around. Minimal cost… Maximum use. No wasted space. Use what we have to the best advantage. Over the years, we’ve swapped bedrooms few times. The attached garage became an art room. The original art room (the Work Room, as it has been called over the years) became a sewing room, and then a catch-all room. The Grand Plan now is to create a master bedroom downstairs, with as little new footprint as possible, but also without deconstructing the entire house at once. Why? Because us empty nesters need two empty bedrooms upstairs. Really. We do. There’s a Reason. And for now it’s a one-step-at-a-time process.

Before we took off for California earlier this month to see our Grandboys, Hubby and I tackled the upstairs “work room,” that crazy, pretty, big room that has been a little bit of everything to our family. We crafted up there, homeschooled up there, sewed up there… it was even a makeshift bedroom when a daughter decided she needed her own space. It was time to get that room under control!

Room2We gave it a fresh coat of paint and put in a window…
…Which Hubby accidentally ordered by mistake for a
construction job he was doing a while back.

When we returned from our trip, we tackled the floor…

FloorBeforeThe floor held evidence of craft projects from the past.
Tiny graffiti artists had left their marks as well.
However, the tongue and groove floor is also the ceiling in the art room below,
so I was reluctant to brush liquid stain on it in fear of it dripping through.

PaintI opted for using black semi-gloss paint, applied sparingly with a brush.

Floorafter

It actually turned out better than I expected,
and took less than half a quart of paint!

Floor MidwayThis is what the surface looked like… Almost finished!

deskareaAnd now the fun of putting everything back
together and organizing my art stuff!
Yep… The studio is moving back to the work room!

A “Slow Down” sort of Day…

Sometimes you just need one.

A “Slow Down” sort of day.

A day to just do the next thing without
rushing or running or going or fretting.

The past few weeks, I’ve been working on
a new series of prints about “Slowing Down”…

…About enjoying the simplest things in life instead of
dashing through them or rushing past them…

Slowing down long enough to Pick Some Flowers.

SlowDownPickFlowersOlive

Slowing down long enough to Listen to the Birds.

SlowDownListentotheBirdsAqua

Slow down long enough to Hand out the Wash.

SlowDownHangWashRed

What sort of things do YOU want to slow down and enjoy?

(They might just become a print!)

Photo by our daughter, Kate, of Corner Chair!

Photo by our daughter, Kate, of Corner Chair!

Makeover…

Okay.

So, the May issue of Country Living Magazine was my favorite issue EVER.

I’m not kidding.

Chalkboards and maps and globes and typewriters and
filing cabinets and drawers with labels and birdhouses
and paperclips and postcards and suitcases and desks…

…all the weird things I pick up in antique shops
and how to put them together in a room!

I had barely put that issue down when my Mom called and said
Lavender and Lace,
the antique shop just down the road from us,
had something that I seriously needed to see.

So I went, I saw, and I bought it.

FileCabinet

A mid-century, well-worn, awesomely aqua filing cabinet…
…very much like the one on the cover of the May issue of CL mag!

I’m guessing it was from a small museum in West Virginia…

Stems

It had been used for storing nature objects and fossils…

Fossils

… but now needed a bit of TLC.

CloseUp

So, Hubby made some new drawer bottoms…

Drawers

… And I removed the hardware…
…Very Carefully… it was old, fragile plastic.

Hardware

I managed to pry off the hard rubber logo from the top… also very fragile!

Brand

We had a little black spray paint left from a previous project…

Paint

… and it took a little thoughtin’ to figure out how to paint the brass nails…

Nails

… and it worked perfectly!

PaintNails

I gave the drawer fronts a few coats of fresh aqua paint…
…left over from the upstairs bedroom remodels!

UpClose

And now it’s ready to fill with all sorts of Art Room Stuff!

Finished

Nothing like a little inspiration and some leftover paint!

MagazineCover

Blossom…

This past Sunday, Hubby’s Mom and Dad had a little garden party…

…In fact, the garden WAS the party!

Azaleas

I mean, look at all that COLOR!

Winter Berry

The sky was a little gray that afternoon,
but that seemed to make the colors even more vibrant!

Lambs Ear

Mom and Dad have a knack for creating color contrasts in the garden!

Lilac

Everything was in bloom, and very fragrant!

White Flowers

Even the tiniest of blossoms…

Bleeding Heart

… seem to tug at your heartstrings.

Outside In

So I went home, and brought some Outside In.

Go not abroad for happiness,
for see,
it is a flower blooming at thy door.
~Minot Savage~

Branching Out…

In the midst of a long-distance Mother-Daughter phone conversation, somewhere mingled with Design Ideas, Mommy Advice, Airplane Tickets, Business Brainstorming, Children’s Drawings, and Plans-for-When-We-Next-Get-Together, my oldest daughter Jordan and I came up with a Brilliant Plan. While we were talking about the possibilities for developing a single design, the idea of a Grand Collaboration popped into both our heads at just about the same instance! And so did a quote that we both liked…

Home is Where You Are

It’s been nearly four years since Jo’s family has been back on the East Coast, and a good part of our conversation was about  Jo, her Hubby Luke, and her boys Jack and Derik traveling back home to Delaware for a couple of weeks in the late Spring. We’d both been searching online for airline tickets, and let me tell you, the price of airline tickets for four people to go across the country is nothing to sneeze at… As a matter of fact, it could make one swoon and fall over in shock.  But, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

We gals had an Idea…
…Take that single quote about “Home,”
create some Art around it,
and get those designs on the website, post haste!

Home is Where You Are

Jordan was feeling rather artsy that day, and jumped in feet first,
and got the ball rolling by coming up with
a beautiful sketch in her loose, happy style...

HomeIsWhereYouAre

Her Mama, on the other hand, was a tad bit slower, and took a couple days
to produce a matching papercutting in her somewhat-tight, in-the-box style…

WherYouAreCut

And then we set to work to produce a sweet line of prints and cuts that we’ll be
selling on our Etsy shops and websites to help play for those tickets!

WhereYouAreLine

Click Here to Purchase on our Website!

Or Click Here to Purchase on Etsy!

And don’t forget to stop by THIS POST and leave a comment to enter my current Giveaway!

How do I love thee?

Are you getting geared up for Valentine’s Day?

Forever

I didn’t realize it, but over the past year I’ve been decorating our new
hand-me-down bedroom with some really sweet memories!

Tasha

I didn’t want to “over do” the decorating,
or just quickly fill the room with a lot of “things,”
but as special little treasures caught my heart
I tucked them in our room, sort of here and there…

Bear

Some have a REALLY special place in my heart,
like this tiny little painted rock…

Rock

…which I got for my 12th birthday…

…from Guess Who?

:-)

KimChrisKiss

Sometimes a little trinket like my rock will be
tucked away in a box or drawer for many years.

Or maybe a special card will be saved…

LoveCloseUp

We just added a few new designs to our shop…

BeMinePackage

…Just in case you haven’t found the perfect card yet for your Valentine!

Count

January Journaling…

Hello Folks! I just realized that we’ve come to the end of January! Boy, did this month really fly! Even though this has been a busy month, the new year has actually gotten off to a good start, and I feel like I might be catching up on some things around here. The Christmas decorations are all packed away in new matching clear plastic bins (Hooray for the new Dollar General just down the road from us!), ten year’s worth of reenacting clothing from various centuries has been washed, ironed, and folded, and the utility closet has been thoroughly cleaned. I’ve even had a chance to work some more on this year’s art journal. Here’s a peek into the “January” pages…

JanuaryJournal

I used one of the Bare Books for this year’s journal, divvied up the pages to about 4 per month, and added some tabs so I could easily find my place throughout the year. I’m not sure how the tabs will hold up over an entire year, but they are a fun addition! (Thanks, Martha!)

The tree sketch was a simple line drawing exercise… The crabapple is my favorite tree in our yard, and I think it’s been here since our first year in our home. I wanted to capture the movement of the twisty, tangly trunk in simple lines for this first sketch, instead of being super detailed about it. These pages  also include a quote, and a poem, and a prosy little bit about the snow we’ve had this month. For more January journaling ideas, follow this link… Or for February, head here instead! Or, for all the art journaling posts, scroll down and click on the “Art Journaling” category in the sidebar!

Something I noticed from my original January Journaling page… the Doodle of the Month for January  was “Snowflakes.” And I doodled snowflakes all over that page. But all those snowflakes had a major flaw. Silly me… Snowflakes have 6 sides, not 8! They really should look more like this…

JanuaryJournal - Version 2

I drew the mittens from “out of my head.” Don’t you just love mittens strung together? I was *ahem* 20 years old before I knew WHY mittens came on strings. Here in Delaware, where snow is not usually a huge part of our winter, we snipped those strings as soon as a new pair of mittens came home from the store. I honestly thought it was part of how they were packaged. Then I got married, moved to upstate New York with my new Hubby, and got a job working at a nursery school. And guess what? There’s a reason for those strings, and I think preschool teachers in snowy regions must be the most appreciative people in the world FOR those mitten strings! All the little children in that school kept their mittens strung through the two arms of their coats, so when they put on their coat the mittens were dangling from the sleeves, just waiting for their little hands! No missing mittens! No wondering whose mittens were whose! Amazing!

I tried to get a little bit of shading and texture on the mittens…
…maybe you can see it if I crop the photo…

JanuaryJournal - Version 3

I tried to think of the mitten as a “round-ish” object, and darkened the color around the edges to give it a bit of depth. And then took a good look at a knitted sweater to see what the texture looked like… Knitting sort of looks like little “V’s,” so I used a darker blue colored pencil and made a bunch of rows of V’s, sort of following the contour of the mitten. It took less time than I thought it would to add that little bit of texture. And I think it made the mittens look just a little  bit warmer.

:-)

Something else I’m doing with my art journal this year is adding in little thoughts about habits I’d like to establish or goals I’d like to accomplish. I do have a “written” journal where all that daily stuff gets recorded, but sometimes things get lost in there amongst all the wordage, so tucking goals in my art journal makes them stand out a little more. The little boxes with “#2″ and “#3″ written in them are actually mini summaries of a really great blog series I recently discovered… Click on the picture below to visit Daniele’s 52 Ways for More Serenity in Life and HomeShe’s adding a new tip each Monday, and they’ve been a great encouragement to me so far this year! Go visit if you get a chance! (Daniele writes much more graciously to her readers than I do to myself… I need some “tough love!”) :-D

JanuaryJournal - Version 5

How about you? Anybody doing some Art Journaling?

We’d LOVE to see it!