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Paperwhite Wishes

December 31, 2011
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“I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” ~ Unknown

paperwhite

Do you know that the embryo flower of these paperwhite bulbs has been already formed and all we do is coax it out with sunlight and water?

paperwhites on table

paperwhite pots

Do you know you were created with a purpose?

paperwhites in ironstone

All you need is to keep yourself in the light and nourish your body, mind, and spirit and you too will bloom.

paperwhite on table

My wish for you this year. . .

calendar

Live on purpose.

silver bird

Live with purpose.

paperwhite bloom

And bloom.

Ring of Blooms

October 20, 2011
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“My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.” ~ William Allen White

The last of the dahlias have bloomed.

Dahlias

I wanted to create something special. Something that would not involve a thirty minute ride to the closest store for supplies.

basket

Sitting in the sunshine amidst autumn splendor, I wove the dahlia stems into a grapevine base I created.

grapevine wreath

grapevine wreath

dahlia wreath

dahlia wreath

dahlia wreath

dahlia wreath

dahlia wreath

It can be used as a wreath.

finished wreath

finished wreath

Or it can be used as a centerpiece.

dahlia centerpiece

To water the flowers, just soak the wreath in a sink.

No, it won’t last forever but at no cost it adds priceless beauty to my home.

wreath on fence

———-

Linking to:

Women Living Well

My Romantic Home

Laurie Anna’s Vintage Home

The Charm of Home

At the Picket Fence

Decor to Adore

The Shabby Nest

Addicted 2 Decorating

Between Naps On the Porch

DIY Showoff

Home Stories of A 2 Z

The Project Queen

Straighten Up

October 18, 2011
by

“Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.” ~ Ben Franklin

Charon

Just look at them smirking--they know you've been using a disposable five blade.

Men, it’s clear the country is going to hell in a hand basket. I admit I don’t really know what that is, but you have to agree it sounds like an undignified way to arrive.  All the other damned souls are going to laugh at us.  We all know the reason, but no one until now has had the guts to just say it. We’re weak, we’re undisciplined, we’re afraid of doing the hard things that must be done. You know what I’m talking about. America just hasn’t been the same since the demise of the straight razor.

What do we have instead? Namby pamby prissy little five bladed safety slivers with plastic (plastic! I kid you not) handles. I mean, what kind of material is plastic. No one is going to take you seriously with a plastic handled safety sliver. Sharp metal implements meant for a man’s hand should have manly handles, like STEEL or BONE or WOOD. If the material can’t double as a great nickname, I want nothing to do with it. Who wouldn’t want to be known as “Steel” or “Bone”, to say nothing of “Wood” (especially if you’re a bit past middle age. You know what I’m saying).  And what on earth is it with the five blades–what is your beard made of, carbon fiber? It’s just another case of life imitating the Onion.

Now, I won’t say it’s a conspiracy to keep us shelling out mega bucks for blades that last about 10 strokes on the average beard, it’s just damned suspicious, that’s all. The replacement blades in my neighborhood store are kept locked in a glass case and I think we’ve established that it’s not because they’re afraid someone’s going to steal them to go on a slasher-type killing spree. No, it’s just because they cost $24 for a 10 pack. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire a slinky young thing to snip each hair individually? Well OK, no, actually it wouldn’t and Deborah already said she won’t do it; but I digress.

It’s worth pointing out that nothing with the word “safety” in the name can possibly be any good. It’s like those products that say “natural” on the label–a synonym for “doesn’t work”.  For example, what kind of car would your rather drive–one known for it’s tremendous safety reputation or something named after a wild beast like a Cobra, Mustang or Viper? This is not a hard decision; if you think otherwise you may as well stop reading right now.

Razor Hone

True, a good straight razor costs a few bucks, but  not much more than a couple packs of safety blades and it will last your lifetime. With a little luck and care, you may have something worthwhile to hand down to your heir, instead of the indignity of a lawyer somewhere saying  “Percy, he wanted you to have his Gillettes.”

It’s also a sure bet your blushing bride will never swipe it to shave her legs; if she does, she’s the type of lady I wouldn’t want to try to stop.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Straight razor (with manly handle)

Badger bristle brush–just the name makes your testosterone level surge; hair from a dead badger–count me in.

Cake of shaving soap (about a dollar)

Razor strop. At this point you no doubt feel so manly that you’ve sworn off vegetables and taken a vow to eat only beef . . . that you killed yourself . . . with your bare hands

Styptic pencil  in case of minor “incidents”

Manly after shave like Bay Rum

There are any number of guides on using and maintaining a straight razor, like the one linked here, so I won’t bother going over the whole ritual. Nevertheless, remember you’re scraping, not slicing, skill comes with practice (just ask your sweetheart), and use cold water to rinse; it tightens up the skin.  Don’t forget the bay rum. Who cares how it smells, it sounds like something Ernest Hemingway would use and that’s good enough.

Remember all those shaving ads where the sexy lady is standing around watching a man shave? She’s just hanging out until the guy with the straight razor gets there. Do it for her. By God, do it for America.

American Original

October 11, 2011
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Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~ Steve Jobs

Pray

Wired magazine, June 1997

The creative genius that saved Apple Computer has passed away. Steve Jobs is dead at the age of 56. By all accounts an intensely driven perfectionist and clearly a creative genius, I can say that I owe much of any professional success I have enjoyed to Steve Jobs. Whenever I was backed up to an impossible deadline or banging my head on the desk over an insoluble problem, I usually can reach into a bag of assorted Apple software and hardware tricks and pull out the proverbial rabbit. The real magic was Steve and  his relentless insistence on not merely good, but insanely great products that disappeared into the background and functioned as extensions of the user’s own mind.

That one man could make things so much better for so many people is a bit of a miracle. He drove the creation of new wealth through the force of creative will. We are all richer by his efforts. When politicians start talking about how CEOs are overpaid while preparing for another round of taxing and spending other people’s money, I hope someone mentions His Steveness. Whatever his paycheck, I think we still owe him.

New Wheels

October 8, 2011
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“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

I wanted to make something extra special for the Princesses in my life—Amanda, Emily, Arianna and Alexandra.

pumpkin_supplies

I had: 1 pumpkin

4 white guards aka mini-pumpkins

2 dowel rods, cut to the diameter of the pumpkin

Heavy gauge florist wire

3 ornate scrap book frames

1 ornate charm

Drill fitted with 1/4 inch bit

4 ornate buttons

Carving knife

Glue ( I have Elmer’s pictured here, but after many frustrating attempts, I resorted to using a glue gun & glue sticks)

Pumpkin Windows

First, I arranged the frames on the pumpkin, creating a door with a window on each side. I traced and cut inside each, creating openings and glued the frames around them. I cut the stem, making it flush to the pumpkin flesh and glued the charm in place.

Key

Gourd Wheels

Next, I drilled a hole through the center of each gourd and created an axle by inserting a dowel rod into the holes of two gourds. Secure them with glue and repeat to create another set. Glue an ornate button on the outside center hole of each gourd. These are the hubcaps! Now line up the two sets of wheels side by side, the same width as the pumpkin. Connect them by wrapping wire from one dowel rod to the other, securing the axles together and creating a hammock to rest the pumpkin on.

Hub

Lastly, I held my breath and said a prayer that it wouldn’t collapse as I gently placed the pumpkin upon the wire.

Pumpkin Carriage

Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

Put ’em together and what have you got

bippity-boppity-boo

Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

It’ll do magic believe it or not

bippity-boppity-boo

Mouse and Carriage

Mouse and Carriage

Mouse and Carriage Closeup

Mouse and Princess Carriage

Mouse and Princess Carriage

Original concept: Hallmark Magazine, October, 2008

———-

Linking to:

Women Living Well

My Romantic Home

Laurie Anna’s Vintage Home

The Charm of Home

At the Picket Fence

Decor to Adore

Thrifty Decor Chick

The Shabby Nest

Addicted 2 Decorating

Between Naps On the Porch

DIY Showoff

Home Stories of A 2 Z

The Project Queen

Autumn at the Door

October 2, 2011
by

“A September to remember. An October full of splendor. A November to treasure.” ~ La Prevenchere

We haven’t finished decorating our front porch for fall yet but I wanted to share the door leading to the summer kitchen which is in a separate building from the rest of the house and connected by a breezeway. I think it’s a warm autumn welcome.

door_wreath

wreath

basket

———-
Linking to:

Southern Hospitality’s It’s Fall Y’all Door Decor Party

LaurieAnna’s
Vintage Home

Noted in Sorrow

September 29, 2011
by

“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” ~ Henry Ford

hole

"Shot through the heart and you're to blame, you give cars a bad name."

A 1997 Toyota Camry died suddenly on Wednesday morning, September 28th during a commute to work. She was 14 and had traveled over 135,000 miles  (112 in car years).  A gallant attempt to transport her to the Intensive Care Unit of a local mechanic by AAA Roadside Assistance was carried out, but sadly she was pronounced dead at the scene due to a blown engine which tore a large hole in her heart, scattering body parts across the rural landscape. The beloved vehicle, known to friends and family as Catherine’s Chariot had lived a full life, affording her original pilot (my mother) trips all over the country, including vacations and drives to visit relatives. In later years, she was mostly spotted on treasure hunts, trips to the senior center, movie theater, or Dutch Neck Village. She will be missed. A closed hood viewing is being held at the Fairfield House. In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted for a replacement vehicle (preferably a late model Ford Thunderbird convertible; after all, the Camry would want me to carry on driving).

In an entirely unrelated development, a variety of gently used Camry parts have suddenly become available on Craig’s list of Southern New Jersey. Used car parts experts are baffled by the remarkable coincidence. According to Deborah of Fairfield House Auto Emporium, purveyor of fine pre-owned Camry accessories, the sudden surge reflects the keen interest of automotive enthusiasts in just this year and make of automobile. Deborah of Fairfield House Home Decor (no relation) also noted a recent rush of interest in stylish interior design involving vintage Japanese car parts, primarily Toyota branded. “These parts will undoubtedly go fast and are a bargain at any price,” she remarked.

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