Saturday, April 18, 2015

Canning Jars -New v Used

If you can't tell, I'm on a canning kick.  I came across cheap chicken and it snowballed.  Strawberries and rhubarb are in season here, but I haven't gotten to those yet.

I was probably down to about 3 dozen empty jars in my stash.  Over the last few years they've just been chipped, cracked or given away.  When I started looking into buying new ones, I remembered that they can be expensive.  
Last weekend, I hit a few yard sales and thrift stores looking but didn't have much luck.  I already have plenty of rings and flats aren't terribly expensive, usually $1.49 a dozen.  So, I thought I was doing okay to pay about .40-.50 cents each.  I think I picked up 7 quart jars in all.  However, after the cost of driving around and the new flats I realized that I didn't save any money 
buying them used this time.  

I tried craigslist and found one listing, but that's another story and doesn't need to be told.  Let's just say this  -People are crazy and I didn't get any jars on craigslist.  Buying used you have to be careful to check for cracks or nicks.  Also, you don't know how many times they've already 
been processed and they do have a lifespan.  

I can get Wal-Mart brand jars 12pints/$7 or 12quarts/$7.50.  Coming to about .63 each for quarts and .58 each for pints.  So, unless you're getting them for closer to .25 each used.  New could be better in the long run.

If you do get lucky and hit the motherload of jars, inspect them carefully and do the math.  Is anyone canning yet?? I'd love to hear what's cooking!  :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Was Born

I wanted to share a little bit about me beyond the basics you may already know. 
Most people know I was a nerd long before Sheldon Cooper made it cool.  But before Star Wars and Harry Potter I lived in another world that now seems so far, far away...
I should begin at the beginning.  I was born.  In rural Alabama, I have my first memories... I think we can skip a little here.  I will tell you though, up to the age of 10 I spent most of my time with
 my Great-Grandmothers and my Grandpa.  Being raised by a village that survived the Great Depression is inspirational.  I can say and understand this now, but when I was five it was just how I lived.  I wasn't nearly as enthralled by their stories of sparse "play pretties" and when there was "no such thing as Coca-Cola" as I would be now.  As an adult there are countless stories I'd love to hear regaled.  I'd want to understand and appreciate them in a way that my child self was incapable of.  I did bounce around a bit from each of these folks, but let me make it clear that I NEVER felt unwanted or unloved.  It was just my life.

Both may have been strong and southern, but that, friends and relations, is where the similarity ended.  Mama Ruby was a fiery redhead.  She chewed Redman and cussed like a sailor.  A master fisherman, she hit the topwater based on how the liquid in the mason jar read.  -Something I understand now as the changes in barometric pressure, she knew it as high fishin'.  Her red velvet cake was the best thing you'd ever put in your mouth and her catheads were equally lustful.  Together, we faced down tornadoes and stood in line at the national guard armory for block cheese and powdered milk.  With the exception of my one friend Walter,  I was the only child there.  She had so much more to teach me.  I was only 14 when she died.

Grandma Williams house was 20 miles away and a world apart.  She put me in dresses and took me to church.  We washed our hands and blessed our food.  A mother of seven, she taught me to quilt, cook, sew, crochet and reuse everything.  If something could be repaired, washed and reused -she did it; plastic baggies, paper towels, solo cups, ANYthing.  She had a MacGyver supply of rubberbands, scotch tape and paper clips.  She made playthings out of random items around the house that a million dollars in toys couldn't have compared to.  When I arrived on Friday afternoons, I never knew what the weekend would hold.  We might be drying 100 lbs of apples, canning soup, shelling peas or road tripping to visit her sister's house.  Best though, was when the cousins all converged on the tiny two bedroom house.  Together, we'd sit on our green vinyl cushions because we were too short to reach the table full of good fried eats, cornbread and meal gravy.  The house was busting at the seams, but it was never crowded.  It was what family should be.  

So, you see these women have one other thing in common.  Together, yet seperate, they made my life full.  I got the best of them both and so much more.  I doubt they ever knew how much they shaped who I am or how grateful I am for the lessons.  

There you have it... a little of the "why" a 30 something year old woman would want to do what I do and live how I live.  It's my choice.  I hope they'd be proud.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's time you knew, Unless you already do...

Hellllooooo friends and relations!  Been a while.  Sorry about that.  Things have been a little hectic.  Ok, most of you know I took a tumble and ended up having ACL replacement.  Unfortunately, I fell again after surgery.  And then again, and again, and again, you get the idea.  I went to a new doctor and discovered the source of my vertigo, nausea and general clumsiness.  That's all boring, so I'll just stop there.  I'm on medicine now and life goes on. :)  
This blog started because I wanted to finish decorating my home and get organized.  Well, I've done that.  So now what's new for this little blog 'o mine??  I still have my antique booth and it's doing amazing, but I just don't think I'm doing enough projects to keep you all interested.  I think it's time I opened up the blog to the rest of my life.  I probably should have started with a lifestyle blog anyway.  While I enjoy my creative and home projects, I do so much more that 
might be of interest. 
I garden, can, cater, bake and coupon.  I love to cook and even enjoy cleaning- sort of.  I love tiny houses, which we're hopefully moving toward.  I have a considerable passion for travel and culture.   




There's just so much I think I could share more of and don't.  From here on I want to share all of those things too.  Of course there will still be home posts, but I'm really leaning toward variety.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TV's Are Ugly

Well, that about sums up this post.
I started this post the day before my gravity check adventure so I thought it was about time
 I finished it.

I've never been a fan of TV's beyond their entertainment value.  I'm sure there are people who have the ability to incorporate them flawlessly into their design and never miss a beat.  I'd have more luck turning a hippopotamus into a side table than I would making a TV stylish.  So, I hide them.  And yes, I hold similar prejudice to stereos, surround sound, modems and routers.

This cabinet was originally my parents and was born knotty pine.  It held the TV in the living room.

Until the TV grew up...
So, our TV has now outgrown it's cabinet and needed a new home.

I swapped the dining room buffet and cabinet.
It feels a little heavy for the dining room since there's already 2 cabinets in there, but it's the only option for the moment.

I've been staring at the blank space above the TV now for 2 months and I can't decide what if anything should go there.  With so much else going on in the room, I'll likely leave it as is.

Either way I love my Mama Louise's buffet in the living room.  If you don't remember, it's painted in MMSMP French Enamel and is the first piece I ever did in Milk Paint.


Am I alone in this or does anyone else have TV trauma?
Id love to know!

Thanks for reading, sweet friends and relations.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Rag Garland

Don't get me wrong, I love having a little extra time to spend with the Doctor, but frankly I'm dreaming about weeping angels, so enough is enough.  I'm not freely mobile, so I needed something easy that could be done while I sit.  I also wanted something I could easily put down and pick back up when I was ready.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Renting v. Buying... for us

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but we don't own our farmhouse.  It is a rental.  I know a lot of people feel this is just a waste of money, however there are valid reasons for choosing this option. 

Let me say first off, that we are fortunate to rent from reliable and considerate folks.  I've  personally never had some of the horrible experiences that I've heard from others.
We will eventually buy a home.  We absolutely have nothing against home buying it's just not for us at the moment.
Let me give you a little background.  We got a late start.  My husband and I met when we were 32.  We both had been married before and had children.  I had a 10 and 12 year old, he had a 12, 4 and 2 year old.  Yep, 5 kiddos if you kept up with that.  We didn't get married for another 4 years.   We weren't working on the same kind of 25-30 year time line that we would have if we had started the process before children.  The boys were then 16 and girls were 14, 8 and 6.  Three of the kiddos may only be around on the weekend, but their stuff is PERMENANT and we were busting at the seams.  We started looking for a house and were approved for a small amount.  We had to search foreclosures and short sales to find enough house to accommodate all of us.  We also had to stay in our school district, limiting us further.   If you've ever dealt with FHA or HUD home loans, you'll understand the frustration.  My student loans were a constant issue during the process as well.  We had 3 different houses under contract and each fell through for different reasons.  It was extremely emotional and trying.  Each time I was sure this would be the one.  After failing an inspection or the seller not meeting certain standards, we were back to square one.  Again, living out of half packed boxes and spending hours online and peaking in windows.  Exhausting.
We finally decided that our nerves couldn't take anymore.  When I say "we" I mean my nerves couldn't take it and my husband couldn't bare my disappointment. 
We would wait until we could afford a "normal" mortgage.

We live in a home that suits our needs.  It's large, updated, has lots of character and is full of love.

At this point, the boys are both in college and Emily is now a senior in High School.  We no longer have to consider school districts in our home decision and though we still need a good bit of room, in a couple years we won't.  So you see, very soon our needs will change again.   Additionally, our current home has required about $4000 of repair and maintenance in the last 3 years.  The latest plumbing and sewer issues were just last week.  These kind of repairs would have put us in a hole bigger than the one in the yard.

Through these decisions, we've always managed to find money to invest in our children.  The time we've spent together through endless practices, recitals, concerts, games, trips, pageants (and FEES) has given our children a quality of character that's of far greater value than whether we owned the walls that surrounded them.




Renting isn't the answer for everyone.  Buying isn't the answer for everyone.  Doing what's right for your family without regret will always be the right decision.

Thanks for reading, friends and relations.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Catching Up

I had such great ideas for my anniversary post and Christmas posts and all the great things doing at the shop...  So, I blinked and it was January.  Thanksgiving weekend I jumped off a short wall to do a courtesy gravity check.  I bruised the bones and tore the ACL, MCL and cartilage.  Needless to say, I couldn't keep up after that.  I had to wait for the bones to heal before repair surgery could be done and in the midst of it all, I lost my sweet Papaw. 
 We celebrated his 83rd birthday that morning and he looked amazing.  So many people turned out for his celebration.  That evening the phone call came. 
The phone call always seemed so far away.

     For someone who offers up words to express life and living everyday, I'm now at a loss.  There simply are no words that honor everything he gave me in life and the legacy he leaves in death.

So, here I am now. I closed the doors of the shop last week.  I had reconstruction surgery on Monday and I'm feeling as well as could be expected.  I've a couple months of physical therapy ahead for the walking and a lifetime of effort to fill the shoes.

I'll follow up soon.  I have much to share even if it's a little late in coming.
Thanks for reading, sweet friends and relations.