Monday, April 29, 2013

Getting Ready For The Big Day........

I wish I could say that my big day is a wedding, or the arrival of a new baby, or the opening of a new Etsy shop.

But I can't. It's just not as fun as that!

It is a Big Day though because it has been anticipated, postponed and anticipated again for over 4 months. And oh, the  pain and suffering in the meantime! : -)

On May 1st I am going to have my second total hip replacement surgery.  My first was February of 2011. And because of that I know what I am in for. In some ways that is good, in others, not so much.

On the good side, I know the tools I need to get through and I am ready.......

That's my "surgery" chair, from my husbands bachelor days, and my son-in-law is waiting anxiously for me to be done with it so he can have it! I need the walker and cane to get around, I need my Slanket and remote while I "rest" all day in front of  the TV, and I need the crackers to snack on because healing is hungry work. Last, but definitely not least, I need the bible for strength and encouragement!
Oh yeah, and I need this....UGH!!!! Unfortunately our bathroom is too small for a fit over kinda potty seat...UGH again!
On the not so good side, (meaning the fact that I know this) I know the tools the doctors are going to use to get their job done.....

Yes, this is a little bit of an exaggeration of what the doctors will actually use, but in my mind, that is exactly how they look! I know that the surgeon uses a scalpel (represented by the huge, blue Tomodachi knife), a saw (theirs is probably a little more petite than this), a hammer (probably looks just like this), some screws (they definitely look just like this...I saw them in the x-ray of my first hip surgery) and of course a clamp (I just keep hearing "clamp please"). I threw the ruler in because last time the surgeon said he noticed I was a little uneven in length and so he fixed it for me. Something about how far they bang the metal rod down into my leg with a chisel and mallet. Sorry, I didn't have either one of those to add to the picture!

So I won't be writing blog posts for a little bit. I will miss linking up with all the blog hop parties I have recently been joining in on, and I will miss all the comments and email replies.

My Etsy shop will be "on vacation" until I can get up and around and fill orders again.

I will definitely miss the garage sales and thrift shops and barn sales that are just now starting in my area. I try not to think about all the treasures I CAN'T grab!

So, I decided to spoil myself with a few small gifts for having to go through the surgery and the year after that it takes for a full recovery. I will be lounging in this brand new chair all Spring and Summer.....

while admiring how the sunshine makes my new ring sparkle on my hand.....
Till I blog again.....
AnnMarie :)


Monday, April 22, 2013

A Mother's Day For My Daughters....

When your daughters are all grown up and are mothers themselves, it is hard to claim one of the biggest holidays of the year just for yourself.

How do you make it special for each of you?

By spending some time together that day. And maybe making them a special gift.

This year I saw something that I really wanted for myself but then got the idea to make one for each of my daughters, Candice and Jena.

They are both mothers with one daughter each. And they are good mothers. And I get to be NaNa to my precious granddaughters Cassidy and Chloe....

So I decided instead of making myself one of these, I would make one for each of them.

I apologize that this is not a tutorial per se, because I didn't think of that till they were almost done (I will try and explain what I did to give you an idea of how to make one). And while I was handsewing them, I was thinking about what on earth I was going to blog about today and AHA! That was MY aha moment!
I got the idea from Judy Clark's Etsy shop 20 North Ora, which is the address of her childhood home. She says that is where her Mom taught her to do all kinds of needlework. Her shop is full of lovely sewn items. She calls them Beautiful Memories pillows. The front is a pocket to hold keepsakes and pictures of your children. Judy says " I just started making the pillows because I had so many vintage photos that I wanted to do something with and made the first one for my Mother. I collect vintage lace and linens and wanted to do something creative with them so they could be out instead of in a box".

A great idea for Spring and Summer brides.......Judy has made as many as 200 of them for a wedding reception. The bride put a wedding portrait and thank you note in each pocket and put them on the seats at the reception.

She has also made them using pieces from old wedding dresses.

I started mine by cutting 8 1/2 x 11 pieces out of the quilted mattress pad that both girls used in their crib as babies. Yeah, I keep things....for this reason. It is a bit of nostalgia that is now put to great use!

I found two different doilies from my stash of vintage doilies and started playing with the layout on each one. I made sure to pin and sew the embellishments on before sewing the edges together to form the pillow, which makes it alot easier!

The first one I made was with a doily that is stained all over and looks really old and shabby chic. When I pinned it on and folded over the top for the pocket....oh, my looked like an owl. My older daughter Candice just happens to be really into owls right now. I sewed a few stitches down the middle to create a beak and the doily did the rest! I handsewed the doily onto the top piece of the pillow all around the edges. I took a scrap of wide lace, tucked it together, added some trim and a vintage button and put it on the right corner. On the left corner the feathers are glued on and the vintage mother of pearl button is sewn in place. Kinda makes the owl look like he has ears but really the corner embellishments add decoration for when the keepsakes are in the pocket.

The doily is wrapped around the underside and stitched in place.

Add your treasured keepsakes to the pocket and you have a Memories Pillow. I used a picture of my Son and things he drew for this picture.
For the second pillow I used an oblong doily that has a dark stain in the middle. It was perfect for the shape of the pillow. It is handsewn onto the pillow fabric along the sides and bottom. The back of this pillow is plain.
I had to be creative to try and cover that stain. I took a scrap of wide lace, fanned it out and sewed it onto the doily being careful not to catch the pillow fabric since it has to be an open pocket. I added a piece of sheer ribbon and a vintage button to cover up my stitches and the stain is gone! A thin piece of vintage lace trim placed diagonal on one corner and seashells glued on the other finishes this pillow. Both pillows are stuffed with fiberfill and the top is handsewn with a blindstitch. All the materials I used for both pillows are scraps and things I had around the house.

Placed with other pillows on your window seat, a chair, or a shelf, these pillows are decorative as well as useful to hold your most precious memories.

How do you celebrate Mother's Day?
AnnMarie : )

Sharing this post on this wonderful blog party and others on my sidebar.....

Nifty Thrift Tuesday


Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

I am SO excited!

I just hit 300 sales today in my Etsy shop, NaNa's Things!

I have been opened a little over a year and a half and had no expectations or goals for sales in mind when I first opened, so I think that is pretty good!

A wise administrator at Etsy said something I will never forget. She said not to worry about how many sales you have on the little ticker on the sidebar of your front page......... it matters what your profit margin is. Who knew what that meant, but I am slowly understanding this small business thing and I think I get it now (I watch Shark Tank, ya know).

Actually I have learned a lot in the time I have had my shop on Etsy. I figured out a lot of the steps of getting started on my own and signing up for all of Etsy's newsletters and blog and helpful emails has really added to my understanding of running a small business.

The support of the multitude of other sellers is wonderful too. I am part of 10 teams on Etsy ( I just can't resist joining when it sounds like it is so me!) and there is a lot of feedback and help and favoriting, and hearting and Treasuring each others items. That may sound foreign to you if you are not a part of the community of Etsy, but it is all part of the networking and fun of it.

Did I say fun? Yes! I am having a blast buying and re-selling vintage items. It is a passion I have had since I went antiquing and thrifting for that perfect find for my own house over 20 years ago, and have renewed my passion by hunting for and buying vintage things for YOUR house!

There is the thrill of finding that unexpected item you didn't know you had to have, while you were looking for something these botanical prints I found today while looking for a frame for a wedding gift.....

They are beautiful French botanical prints framed in gold gilt frames. I will be listing those in my shop soon.
I have many items like these in my shop but my taste in vintage is endless....I love it all! I recently picked up this vintage garden trowel and vintage red handled hand rake to be used as intended or as decoration in a garden potting table/flower pot/spring time vignette....whatever the imagination allows!

I do have a passion for vintage buttons and doilies and although I don't craft or sew as much as I used to I do have a few items in my shop that I have handmade or handsewn.
There are a few  different styles and sizes of the vintage doily table runners that I hand sew together, and this one is my favorite....
There are vintage button garlands, buttons on purses and buttons on bracelets that I have made....

 I would love for you to visit my shop. It is quite eclectic and I am listing new items almost daily.
Who knows, you might find that ballerina troll with the purple hair you've been missing since the 80's!!
AnnMarie :)
Linking up with these great parties!
Bloglovin' Blog Hop

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fire up the Grill...the Garbage Can Chicken is Marinating!

When my girls were little we lived in a old farmhouse on Lake Road in Williamson, New York, surrounded by apple orchards. Lake Ontario was right across the street along with Orbaker's Fruit Farm. Their orchards not only surrounded us but went all the way up to the lake.

It was in those apple orchards that I found the best chicken I had ever eaten. We were invited to a clambake in the open fields of the orchard every Fall. On the menu were, of course, steamed clams, creamed corn casserole, bring a dish to pass casseroles and Garbage Can Chicken.

Yup, to feed the crowd that showed up, they actually marinated the chicken in garbage cans and then grilled it on open barbeque pits.

It is supposed to be gorgeous in the 60's here in Upstate New York on Sunday which will officially get me fired up to start grilling!

If you're getting in the mood to start grilling too, this recipe is a must try! But please do not be afraid of the amount of salt in it......I usually do not salt my food or like anything with a lot of salt, but in this case, it makes the chicken!

Garbage Can Chicken
This recipe is for about 12 pieces of chicken. I use drumsticks and thighs. Bone-in breasts are usually so big that they do not cook through in the time the other pieces do, but the marinade is really good on them too! I par-boil my chicken before marinating.

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white vinegar
4 Tablespoons salt
3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix all together with a whisk. Put into a deep bowl or pan with the chicken and marinate up to 18 hours, turning the chicken every so often. The longer you marinate, the tastier it will be.

Grill till chicken is crispy on the outside and cooked all the way through to the bone.

Any summer side dish will go great with this chicken but for the ultimate in great picnic food, try these homemade baked beans. They are so easy. I got the recipe from a friend who got it from a friend, who got it...I don't know....maybe from a friend?! I am always grateful to be passed a recipe that has been treasured over the years.

Baked Beans
Preheat the oven to 350

1/2 pound turkey bacon (this is what gives these beans a really unique taste)
1/2 pound hamburg
1 pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
28 oz.can baked beans
15.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup catsup
salt and pepper to taste
Saute bacon, hamburg, pepper and onion till meat is brown and veggies are soft.
Add beans, sugar, vinegar, catsup and salt and pepper. Mix all together.
Cover and bake in a casserole at 350 for one hour. Remove cover after the first 30 minutes.


Happy Spring! Happy grilling! Happy eating!

AnnMarie :)

Linking up with these great blog parties!

Adorned from Above Blog Party

 Bloglovin' Blog Hop

Freedom Fridays

The Pin Junkie Link Party

Weekend Wonders

Meet & Greet Blog Hop

My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog

Sweet and Savoury Sunday

Marvelous Mondays

Saturday Dishes

Friday, April 5, 2013

Pork and Beans Chili and Honey Hush Corn Bread

Like most families, we have our favorite meals that I cook and repeat, cook and repeat each month. My husband and son know though, that I am always up to trying a new recipe, even when it is something that we already have a favorite recipe for.

Like chili. Don't ever mess with the recipe for chili from the 1960's Betty Crocker's Cookbook. It really IS the best I have ever had.

But tonight I went off in a different direction and tried Pork and Bean Chili. I usually can judge how good a recipe might be by it's ingredients and this one sounded good....nothing too funky in it not to try it.

I never warn my family that I am trying something new or where the recipe is from. If it turns out bad, I will confess everything.

Pork and Bean Chili
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
 and cut into 1" pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, ,minced
1 (14 3/4 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (15 1/2 oz.) can pinto beans,
rinsed and drained
1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce, optional *
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the same saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beans; reduce the heat and simmer, covered until mixture thickens. Add the pork and cook until the pork is cooked through. * At this point I felt the chili was too thick without much juice so I added the 8 oz. can of tomato sauce and it was perfect.
I always serve chili with a side of rice to put on the bottom of the bowl, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese for on top. On the side....some Honey Hush Corn Bread from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
If you don't live in the Northeast USA you may not have heard of the The Dinosaur Barb-B-Que Restaurant. It originated in Syracuse, NY and has restaurants in Rochester, NY, Harlem in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut. It is a honky tonk rib joint with the best barbeque ribs and all that goes with them. And their bottled sauces are available to buy at our local Wegmans grocery store.
Their cornbread is the best I have ever had. I just happen to have a copy of their cookbook,  full of all the restaurant's fare.
You cannot eat another bowl of any kind of chili without this corn bread.....
Honey Hush Corn Bread
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter 2 tablespoons honey
Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8" x 8" pan with shortening and put it in the hot oven to heat while you are mixing the corn bread.
Mix the cornmeal, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk togethetr the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter in another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just till everything is moistened.
Pull the hot, greased pan from the oven and pour the batter in. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean. Brush the top with the honey as soon as the cornbread comes out of the oven.
So the Pork and Bean Chili was approved by my husband and son. It had a lot of flavor and little bit of bite to it with the combination of spices used.
What I didn't tell them is that it is a Weight Watchers recipe!  Shhhhh.......! The chili was good enough that I did not have to confess this.
And the leftover corn bread? Really good toasted in the morning with butter.
Are you an adventurous cook or do you stick to the usual every night?
AnnMarie :)
I've linked this post up with these great blog parties!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend Musings........

I was supposed to have hip replacement surgery last Wednesday and so I thought I'd be laid up for the Easter weekend, and many weeks after! When it was postponed for other complications, I was left with one of those "now what do I do with myself?" moments.

I scrambled to get last minute Easter basket items for my granddaughters, husband and son. It is a childhood tradition that I indulge in every year now for others.

My husband and son both had Good Friday off so we decided to go out for breakfast to The Frog Pond on Park Ave in the city of Rochester. My husband is from New York City and says the Park Ave/East Ave./Monroe Ave. section of the city is the closest he will get to home.

There is a fabulous homemade chocolate store, Stever's, right across the street. Getting some Easter chocolates afterwards was definitely in the plan.

I was so happy when we pulled up and got a parking spot right in front of the restaurant (which is usually impossible) and then we got the window booth seats that face out on the Avenue as our table! The Frog Pond is a bistro/diner with the best selection of omelets, benedicts and other breakfast fare. They are known for their 1/2 pound burgers too.

I had one of their many chalkboard Specials, Crabcake Eggs Benedict........mmm

After all three of us ate every last bite of our breakfast we walked across the street to Stever's anticipating the strong, luscious smell of chocolate when we went in. Didn't happen. The line was out the door to the street and the wait inside to get around the store, pay and get out, was 45 minutes. That's what we get for going to the BEST candy store in the city two days before Easter!

Next stop was Archimage on Monroe Avenue, another funky, trendy area of the city. The store is a boutique full of  out of the ordinary gifts, jewelry, and fair trade items. I went in looking for a new Spring crossbody hobo bag and came out with a denim washed tiered skirt!

I had to see my granddaughters to give them their baskets so I had them come over on Saturday for a little while. It is becoming a tradition for my 7 year old granddaughter Cassidy to decorate cutout cookies each holiday at my house so she came early to do that. Chloe will be able to join us in a few years!

Chloe arrived in her Easter outfit looking so Springy! She had no idea what was to come but I had hidden their baskets so the two cousins could have a mini hunt together. The baskets in the pictures are the Easter baskets my daughters had when they were my granddaughters' age.
Hmmm, let me see what Cassidy got in HER basket......
I couldn't resist getting Cassidy those wax lips from MY childhood!

Sunday morning we attended an uplifting Easter service at our home church where we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior every Sunday. 
So since there was no Easter dinner planned and my girls already had their plans, the three of us decided to go out of the ordinary again and go to a small gourmet restaurant in the Finger Lakes, near Naples.

It was a long drive and the dreary weather made the scenery not as pretty along Canandaigua Lake as usual. The restaurant is located in a small, quaint house. My husband noticed the occupancy sign on the wall said 12!

The food was pretty good but pricey, the waitress called us "guys" so many times we lost track, and it just didn't "feel" clean in there. The best part for me was I got to wear my new skirt!

It's okay though. I had a pretty full weekend and I got to see both granddaughters again today. It was priceless to watch a 7 year old and a 19 month old play Fruit Ninja on Xbox with my 14 year old son.

Everyone loves sitting in my "surgery" chair!
The day was topped off with a scrumptious, easy dinner. Pasta Fagioli (which is a Weight Watcher recipe) and Irish Soda Bread. Not your typical pairing but I was craving both.

It was my first attempt at making the bread and the three of us ate three-quarters of it in one sitting!

Have you made anything that you've been craving lately?

AnnMarie :)