One of my favorite things to pull out every year is this lovely painted ceramic tree that my mother-in-law Edna sent to us years ago. I beleive she painted it in the 70’s but not really sure. I love how pearly white it is, somehow kitcshy and elegant at the same time. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Obviously you can buy these ready made and just plug it in, but if you want to get your hands on an original vintage tree, you’ll need to search eBay and thrift stores. Better yet, ask your aunts and grandmothers if they may have one tucked away.
This is how our neighbor Julia began her sentences when she was making a point. She was usually pointing a finger at me too.
When we first bought our home we had a lot of work to do, we installed central air, pulled up carpeting, refinished the hardwoods and seemed to have a paintrush in my hand Friday-Sunday. We stayed in our rental in Austin for a month, and drove out here every night after work and on the weekends to work. I would leave work, go by and grab Roscoe and head out to the “new house”in Elgin. Our meals were mostly of the drive-thru variety.
One Sunday morning during that month Julia invited us to come by for lunch at noon. We cleaned ourselves up and head on over at noon. She had been cooking all morning for us. She’d made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, green beans, rolls, and chocolate pie. We were blown away at such hospitality and knew we’d made the right move to this small town. We love telling that story to people who wonder why the hell we moved from Austin to a small town who’s claim to fame is sausage and bricks.
While we were getting excited for our first Christmas in our new home, I’d noticed she had all the candied fruits and nuts to make fruit cake, but she’d recently taken a fall and said she wasn’t up to the task that year. I’d never made one so volunteered to help her. Once the fruit cake was baked, she covered it with cheesecloth and pulled a plastic wrapped bottle of Mogen David from her deep freeze, unscrewed the cap and drizzled it over the top. Julia was a good Baptist woman so I assume this bottle had been in her home since I graduated high school in 1983.
The next morning, I walked next door to give her the molasses I’d picked up for her at HEB, so she can make her rolls. Mind you she was moving in a week and was hell bent on baking rolls for her family’s holiday meals. She’d tried to substitute with the sorghum she had, but she said they tasted nasty. She told me that she started baking her rolls every October, and just put them up in the freezer until they came by to fetch her to spend the holidays with them. She was really sad that she wouldn’t be able to do this anymore.
Julia gave us the buffet that is now the work table in my print studio. She gave me her yarn tote too, though it fell apart years ago. She crocheted, she said it was her constant companion and reached for it beside her chair every night when she was watching TV, much the way I do with my knitting.
In September of 2007 Julia was beginning to pack up her to move into assisted living close to her son and his family. She was a few months shy of her 90th birthday and had been living alone since her husband Roscoe died in 1993. She was a pistol, and lived in that house since before ours was moved from San Marcos and plunked down next hers in 1950.
As we were getting closer to actually inhabiting each room of our home, and hanging artwork and family photos, Julia was next door taking hers down.
We miss her being next door, but luckily the new owners are great neighbors and renovating the old house to reveal its original beauty, they love it as much as Julia did.
I only wish I’d remembered to ask her for the recipe for those rolls…
Last year I finally got around to filling up this galvanized stock tank pool, and it may have been one of the best things I did all summer.
The water is always cool and the tank is deep enough for the water to reach our shoulders and long enough that we can both sit in it, or I can just float if I want to. I always want to. I love nothing better than jumping in after yard work and then drying off in the warm hammock. We originally set it in the sun and the tank itslelf was too hot to touch after a day in the sun and the water felt like bath water. Not the refreshing dip I’d envisioned. We moved it to the courtyard and found the perfect palce between the pines against our neighbor’s garage.
We decided to keep it simple and not add a pump or chlorine, but we hooked up a hose to the spout to drain the water for the Oak Leaf Hydrangea and trees in our courtyard.
Read this article for tips on setting up a hillbilly soaking tub of your own.
Would you sacrifice your summer squash to allow heirloom tomatoes to live long and ripen? I encountered this ‘Sophie’s Choice’ dilemma this weekend. Tomatoes won. For obvious reasons.
It’s simply much easier to find a nice zucchini or yellow squash than an heirloom tomato at the HEB.
I am leaving this post here mostly as a note to myself for next year when I want to plant squash. While I love butternut, spaghetti, and acorn, I feel kinda ‘meh’ about summer squash. I mean I like it, just not as much as it thinks I like it.
I know these are fighting words in the Lone Star state, but I don’t love this song, but can get behind it’s ode to one of life’s simple plaeasures.
In the legendary words of Guy Clark;
“Wha’d life be without homegrown tomatoes Only two things money can’t buy That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes”
One glance at my Instagram feed (and our home) and it’s pretty obvious that I don’t fall in the minimalist camp. Clean white backgrounds, rose gold and millennial pink seem to be the norm. I just I feel happiest surrounded by a lot of color, a room full of books, and small collections of things I love, like snow globes and vintage ephemera. Here is a small sample of my collection of vintage recipe booklets. I wonder if the booklets I received with my Vitamix and Instant Pot will appeal to someone’s sense of nostalgia decades from now. Doubtful, but perhaps these once seemed like everyday design to the consumer.
Slowly but surely the living room studio is taking shape. I need to think a little on how to best sort and store the million little bits that I use, but I have already been able to jump in and get to work without having to haul everything out of a closet or make room for dinner prep. I love it. I highly recommend carving out your own space to make things if you can. Also, it still is cozy, if not cozier. It is now my favorite room to read, drink coffee, and write my blog posts in the morning before I scoot off to work.
The natural light in this room is perfect all day, bright and golden in the morning and softer as the day rolls on. It’s the perfect place for Olive and I to watch the parade of dogs on walks, neighbors driving their riding mowers to the gas station, and the man on the yellow bike who argues with himself all the time.
I was gifted these great, wide, wooly scarves a few years ago. While each of these scarves are truly wonderful on their own, I decided they would be more wonderful and get more use if I stitched them together.
I picked a grey wool yarn to just whipstitch them. I like the contrast, and the visible stitches. Three unworn scarves are now one chunky, graphic, textural throw to hunker down for a rainy weekend of British TV and cooking shows. It remind me of a Swiss army watch for some reason.
I am hell bunt on draping bunting, garland, or pennants from every shelf and window frame I can get my grubby hands on. Wow, I am inspired by these lovely collage pennants. The wheels are spinning. Steve will be thrilled! He already complains there are tote bags hanging from every door knob. Let’s call them door bunting… but functional.
Look how cool this photo garland is.
Are bunting, and garland the same thing?
a coarse, open fabric of worsted or cotton for flags, signals, etc.
patriotic and festive decorations made from such cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.
flags, especially a vessel’s flags, collectively.
a wreath or festoon of flowers, leaves, or other material, worn for ornament or as an honor or hungon something as a decoration:A garland of laurel was placed on the winner’s head.
a representation of such a wreath or festoon.
a collection of short literary pieces, as poems and ballads; literary miscellany.
Nautical . a band, collar, or grommet, as of rope.