Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sickness at our House

Hi Y'all , this is Paula~

Hope you are all doing well.  We are passing around a virus at our house.  Yuck!  We seem to be taking turns and I'm ready for my turn to be over. 

Cartoon of a Sick Little Girl with a Thermometer in Her Mouth clipart

Veggies are growing so fast. We've had rain and that has helped. Today we had sunshine and I can see the green beans peeking over the top of the blue buckets from the patio door.  Go beans!

Hope that all of you have had a good week. Let us know what you've been up to.

What projects have your worked on?  Our to-do list is so long!  Hoping to feel better so that we can get back to work and make some space in the garage. 

Today is our 38th anniversary.  Rick sent me a gorgeous flower arrangement and he and Jennifer prepared the best steak dinner.  It was yummy!  Never too sick to eat!  =)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Growing Garden - The Veggies

Hi Y'all - Paula's back...=)

Our veggies are growing fast!  We are having storms and rain today, so the veggies will probably shoot up overnight.  Rain water is so great.  Jennifer and I are considering getting a rain barrel.  Do any of y'all have one?  And if so, do you like it?  Is it easy to use?  Is it worth the effort and money?

Container gardening for veggies is something that I have tried before.  One year my squash  bloomed, but never produced any squash.  Last year we had 3 tomato plants in Topsy-Turvys and we only had one tomato.  The Topsy Turvy itself whitered in the heat and began to disintigrate.  Not worth the effort. 

Why do I keep trying?  I'm not sure.  We just want to eat healthy home grown veggies, even if it's just one "mess" of veggies!  This year I'm hoping will be different.  Don't know why - just hoping.  Corn in a container?!?  Well, we'll see how that goes!  If it doesn't work, I'll replant that container with something else and only the cost of the seed packet will be lost.  Noble is calling it popcorn!  Makes me laugh.  Maybe we'll entice the proper bugs in our yard to aid in pollination of blooms and such.   

Here are photos. Some plants will need to be thinned out and moved as they come up and begin growing. 

This basil actually came up from being planted last Summer. 
Cannot believe that it survived our cold, snowy Winter in a container!
Planted with the basil is cilantro.  It has not come up yet.  Still waiting.

Scallions.  I've never grown these before! 
Hoping they appear before long or I may not grow them now!

Little tiny spinach is peeking through the soil.

Sweet Peppers!  These will be chopped and frozen if not used fresh.

Squash - yellow & zucchini.  I'm guessing that some of these plants won't survive. 
If they all make it, a larger container will be needed!

We love green beans!  Hoping we get lots!  

The okra is for Jennier.  If okra likes hot temps, this should be the place for it!

Radishes - we really do know how to spell it!  =)
Looks like some thinning will be required. 
The seeds weren't all dumperd in one spot, but it looks that way! 
The other half of this container has carrots.

Tomato plants. 
One plant already had three little tomatoes on it when it was planted. 
I am a smart girl!
Do y'all pinch off the lower leaves of your tomato plants?
A photo of the platform that I built and the blue containers from Dollar General!
You can get a sense of the size of our yard, although the pool area looks a little skewed.
To the right of the pool is a small patio area and that't it!
The containers have tomatoes, radishes, carrots, green beans and sweet corn.

We'll see how everything grows.  Containers on concrete are difficult because they must be watered every day.  I'm trying to think of an inexpensive way to have some kind of irrigation system that could get water to each pot.  Any ideas?  Would love to hear them!

Had planned to paint furniture today, but we are having storms.  Need to sand and I hate to do that in a closed garage.  Such a mess!  Maybe later on this afternoon or tomorrow.  Won't complain about the rain.  Our areas needs it. 

Do you plant veggies?  What is your best growing one?  What's your favorite?  Do any of you container garden?  Do you have any tips or suggestions? 

Hope all of you are having a good day!  Let us know what you are doing!

Mary Mary, Quite Contrary...

Hi Y'all - It's Paula!

How does our garden grow?  So far, so good!

Almost everything is planted, some from seeds and some from plants.

My habit is to gather seeds from flowers as they begin to fade during the summer, so I have about three bags of Zinnia seeds and one bag of sunflower seeds that need containers or an empty inch or two in a flower bed.

Since yard space is hard to come by, every kind of container that I could lay my hands on was used this summer for planting, and I do mean every kind!  Even those big buckets that cat litter comes in were scrubbed, drainage holes were drilled, dirt was added, and seeds were planted!  Porcelain dish pans, a huge galvanized tub and two galvanized buckets were put to work.  These items were taken with us to Round Top, didn't sell and they were just sitting in the garage, begging to be used.  So used they were!

These are our patio flowers.  Some people plant flowers in one color to unify their beds and pots.  Me?  I plant what I love, no matter what color! 

What do you do?

Vintage Iron Hanger filled with Moss Rose & Begonias. 
Moss Rose is sometimes a Perennial for me.
Begonias are Annuals.

Carnations.  These smell heavenly! 
Considered by some to be a humble, lowly flower, but
when growing they contribute the most wonderful aroma to the garden. 

Cosmos.  New to me this year.  Do you grow these flowers?
 Gerbera Daisy - this one is hot pink. 
Some call these Gerber Daisies, but they are Gerberas to me!
One of our absolute favorites!
Perennial for me.

 Zinnias. Mixed colors.
Love Zinnias for cutting.
Perennials for me.

Flower new to me.  Can't remember the name.  It's raining.  Will look tomorrow.  Sorry!  =)  

Purple Petunias.  Usually have no luck with Petunias but I can't quit trying!
These need to be pruned, but it hurts my heart to do it, even though I
know the plant will benefit and be more beautiful in the end.  =) 
Do you think God ever feels that way when He is pruning us?  Can't help but wonder. 

White Petunias.
Petunias are annuals for me. 
Would love to have some heirlooms that come up year after year.
My parents have some and they are gorgeous! 
Not sure how to harvest Petunia seeds.  Anyone know?

Mixed five varieties of seeds in one container. 
We'll see what happens!
Annuals for me.

The Pool Bed - that's what we call this one.
The big vine is Jasmine and it smells wonderful in early Spring.  It just doesn't last very long.
Day Lillies.  Perennials.
The big bush plant that's hanging over the wall bed is a wonderful Hibiscus. 
The blooms on this plant are about 10 inches across and they are dark pink. 
It will bloom all summer.  It is cut back in the Fall and out it pops in the Spring. 
It's wonderful.  Wish it was fragrant!

Noble is sick.  Just woke up and wants me to hold him.  That request is never turned down!  His fever is up, bless his little heart.  If there are typos or errors, forgive me.  YaYa is on snuggle duty!

Will post veggie photos Monday.

Hope all of you had a great weekend and had the opportunity to do something you love!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Low Calorie "Crepe" Recipe

Hi Y'all!  It's Paula~

We've never shared a recipe before, but I just have to share this one with you since it's berry season. 

Several years ago I participated in Oprah's Boot Camp and a fellow camper in the Boot Camp chat room shared this recipe.  It's so good and easy and perfect with summer berries of any kind.  Hope that you try and enjoy it!

Ricotta Cheese
Cooking spray
Low-fat, sugar free canned Whipped Cream

To make crepes:
1 egg or egg white mixed well with a fork (sometimes I use 2 eggs if they are small)
1 or 2 T. of Ricotta cheese, whipped with fork into egg mixture until smooth
1/2 t. cinnamon.  Season to your taste.  You may prefer less cinnamon- or maybe more.
1 t. vanilla
Sugar or sugar substitute to taste.  Truvia is our sugar substitute and it doesn't take much.
Stir with fork until all ingredients are well mixed

Plus -

Berries or fruit of your choosing. My favorite are strawberries and blueberries. I put sugar substitute on them, so that they are juicy. MMMMM.


Heat non-stick skillet on medium heat.
Spray with cooking spray (we use the butter flavor) when skillet is hot. 
Pour half of the egg mixture into hot skillet.
When top begins to bubble, flip the crepe to cook on the other side.
Cook until golden.

Plate first crepe. 

Cook second crepe.
While 2nd crepe cooks, put berries on the 1st crepe.
(I don't bother to roll these, I just treat them like pancakes - but you could roll them if you wanted.)
When cooked, plate second crepe.  Add more fruit and a squirt or two of whipped cream on top.

These are so good.  I've had them for breakfast, lunch and supper! 

Hope you you like them too!


This crepe didn't come out of the skillet in one piece, but that doesn't bother us! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Before, After & After - Redo of Music Dresser

Hi Y'All - It's me again! 

Our next project was a redo of the dresser that Jennifer and I decoupaged with sheet music to enter in the Miss Mustard Seed's Copy Me Challenge.  To read about our MMS Copy Me Challenge, Click Here

Unfortunately, no one wanted to buy her all gussied up in her music outfit, so a change was on our to-do list.

Poor little thing was stripped of her music - every last note was removed.  Let me just say for the record, that stripping Modge Podge is almost like stripping the marshmallow creme mixture used to make Rick Krispie treats. What a mess - sticky, gooey and yucky!  The process didn't really take long though.  And I think it will be worth it in the end.

This dresser was purchased on Craig's List and she came to us like this.

 Here is how she looked for the Copy Me Challenge.  We did place in the top 5 and that was exciting!

1st After
Here she is all stripped and ready for her new colors and finishes.  For some strange reason, the top looks white.  However, it is wood, just like the drawers.  Must be the sunshine pouring in the garage.  These mid 70 temperatures are wonderful!  The top and drawers were sanded, but only because the wood had been subjected to chemicals and I wanted to make certain that the surfaces were smooth and ready for the paint. 

This little dresser is pretty straightforward.  Not a lot of curves - just those great ones on the top.  I want to run my hand along the edge every time I pass by.

The top was stained with MinWax Dark Walnut Wood Finish.  Two coats were applied to make the wood rich and dark.  The stain was left on for a bit, but wiped off before it became tacky.  After the top cured, it was waxed with Annie's dark wax and buffed to a soft shine.
MinWax Dark Walnut
The body of the dresser was painted with Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint in Old White.

It's here, I promise!  Old White - Annie Sloan

 The dresser drawers were painted with Louis Blue. 

Annie's Louis Blue
The last step was to apply Annie's clear wax to the remaining parts of the dresser - the drawers and the body and then polish them for as long as my arms last.

Here's the final shot!  We think she's ready for her close up and we hope that someone wants to take her home.

Oopsie - I haven't added the final shot yet!  Sorry!  Cindy, you were too quick for me!  I'll take it and post it in a bit.  I'd forgotten that I set this post to appear automatically.  I just love that feature - but I really should get my ducks in a row, eh?  =)


Here are the after after photos!

This photo taken with flash, but color is most true.
Dragged dresser into room with light.  But color looks much darker.  Strange!

Had trouble with sticking drawers and asked Miss Mustard Seed for advice. 
She said that she only paints the drawer fronts!  Works for me!

 What kind of knobs would you choose?
The before dresser had wooden ones.  Too boring, I think.
The music dresser had glass knobs.  Too predictable, I think.

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Before & After #2 - French Desk painted with Chalk Paint

Hi Y'All!  This is Paula again.

Before & After photos of French Desk. This desk was a Craig's List purchase.

French Desk Before - has "leather" looking top.  Sorry about the glare.
The first coat applied was Louis Blue.  No sanding and no primer, just a good wipe down to make certain the desk was clean and dust free.  Gotta love that part!

Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint - Louis Blue
The next coat was a color wash with Aubusson Blue & water (mostly water) applied with a brush and wiped off, giving the paint enough time to settle in cracks and crevices but not to completely dry.  

Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint - Aubusson Blue
Desk after application of both colors.  
 The wash with Aubusson was applied before the Louis Blue had a chance to cure overnight.  By applying the paint this way, the Louis Blue just rubs off in places with enough pressure so that sanding isn't necessary.  I love saving steps!

Tools of the trade:  Paint Can Opener; Water Bottle Lid; Snapper to Keep Bag of Snacks Fresh; Flathead Screwdriver and the drawer pulls!  Isn't this what you use as well when working?  =)

Desk Top Before.  Most of the marks came off, but not all.  Had hoped to be able to stain the top, but the stain did not stick.  Tried a light sanding but that did not help.
Desk top after. 

Big difference achieved with Annie's Dark Furniture Wax.  And believe me when I say that a little goes a long way.  The arms wear out quickly when buffing wax  The wax did sort of revive the top though.  I really like the way that the wax made the "leather" look old and worn and comfortable. 

Final after photos.

These last photos all have different colors, don't they?  Still getting the hang of the camera. 
This last color is the truest match to the dresser up close and personal.
This desk was such fun to do!  The drawer pulls were sprayed with Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze and reattached.  I think she looks spectacular and hope that someone on CL falls in love with her too!

 Next project?  A redo of our music dresser.  I just love to strip furniture!