Monday, May 27, 2013

My Ga's Vanity

One of the things I most looked forward to growing up was to visit my Ga's house.

Ga was my paternal grandmother. She got the name from when my older sister was a toddler and couldn't say the full word "Grandma". It stuck and we called her that until she died when I was 12. She was a classy lady.

In my young eyes, her house was magical. I can still tell you the layout and the decorations. The most enchanting thing was to go through the glass French doors that led to the staircase that led to the upstairs. I still dream about the upstairs of her house. The bathroom was all white with a black and white checked floor, porcelain fixtures and antique items. Her bedroom was lacy and feminine with a four poster bed and a vanity table that I was allowed to sit at with her by my side.

It was at that vanity that she showed me a ring that I was to have someday and she told me that I was her favorite. I am the middle child, as she was, and so she understood the dynamics of that position in a family.

My grandmother collected antiques, but not just any antiques. She traveled to Europe and places like Mexico to find hers and bought only the best. A few years after her death my grandfather laid out a lot of her things on a table and the three of us granddaughters were told to choose the things we wanted. I wanted everything!

Some of my treasured things are from that vanity, which I proudly display on my dresser.

There is a silk lined porcelain box painted with daisies (my favorite flower), a vanity mirror with a ring box from Paris, a Madonna and child figurine, an open porcelain gold gilt painted box that I use for my watches and a money box with foreign money inside.


The mirror, brush and comb vanity set is very heavy silver and another of my favorite treasures.

There is also a collection of trinket boxes, so intricately carved that the dust is impossible to get out. I am afraid to use cleaner on them! I don't know their origin but I can guess they were from some exotic country!

I was fortunate to grab all of her perfume bottle collection too! These bottles are old and they are exquisite. One still has perfume in it. They are proudly displayed in my favorite vignette in my bedroom.



Although I never had the pleasure of going antiquing or thrifting with Ga, I believe I inherited my love for all things old from her. I can still recall the feeling I got from being around her things, and so, in my 20's I started to collect antiques and vintage things, to surround myself with that same feeling.

Thirty years later I have quite a collection. So much so that I felt I should start to part with some of it. That is how NaNa's Things, my Etsy shop, was born. I thought it would be no problem selling off some things but I was wrong!

Lately I have become quite nostalgic about Ga's things and my things, NaNa's (my granddaughters' name for me) things and my daughter Jena is constantly asking, "You're selling that?!". It is always a treasure that she grew up with, having seen it everyday in our 1900's farmhouse and that has now become part of the memories of her childhood. There is no fair price to put on an item like that. And, if I sell those things, what will my granddaughters Cassidy and Chloe build their memories on?

So, I have pulled some of those items from my shop. I am quite happy to keep thrifting and buying vintage items to sell. What started out as a way to clean out some of my accumulation has turned into adding another 300+ items to our basement!

I am blessed with a husband who says if I am having fun with it and I love it, I should just keep thrifting! Besides, he likes to go with me sometimes for the thrill of the hunt too!

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with all the "stuff" I have and other times I am blessed by all the "stuff" and the memories they hold. It is always a good thing to surround yourself with things that spark a special memory of a cherished person or event. That's why we call where we live everyday "home", and we each have one that is uniquely ours.

I hope to pass down some of the passion and love for the past and vintage items that Ga instilled in me, to my granddaughters, and that they will want to surround themselves with it.

Someday they will get to choose a treasure from NaNa's things to cherish.

AnnMarie :)

I found a new fabulous party to link to this week!
Wow Us Wednesdays from Savvy Southern Style

Linking up with these fabulous blog parties (that are keeping me sane while I recover from hip surgery!!)

Marvelous Mondays
Tuesday Trivia
The Scoop
You're Gonna Love It
Adorned From Above
Fluster's Creative Muster Party
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Be Inspired
Home Sweet Home
Weekend Wonders
Freedom Fridays
Bloglovin' Blog Hop
What's It Wednesday Blog Linky Party
Let Me Pintroduce You
Favorite Posts Showoff Weekend Blog Hop
Aloha Friday Blog Hop
Share It One More Time
A Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Let's Get Social Sunday
Amaze Me Monday

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Low Country Seafood Boil, Strawberries and Rhubarb!

I promised in my last post to give the recipes for my Mother's Day dinner so here they are.....

Seafood or Low Country Boils are famous in the low country of Georgia and South Carolina. They are typically done in a large outdoor cooker making it an easy all-in-one-pot-all-you-can-eat dinner.

This is a large boiler/fryer that has been a great investment for us not only for seafood boils but also for deep fried turkey!

The ingredients for a boil are variable according to taste but a basic boil includes small red or new potatoes, sausage or kielbasa, fresh corn on the cob, and any combination of crab, shrimp, scallops and clams. We used clams, shrimp, corn, small white potatoes and a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage. I happen to have a huge platter to serve it on but the authentic way to serve a seafood boil is to spread out some newspapers on the picnic table and throw all the ingredients on top. That way everyone can dig in from all sides of the table without passing the dish. We fed 5 adults and there was still some left over!

The seasonings are very important and also are as variable as your taste. We have found that the more is better so that all the pieces are drenched with it.....otherwise everything comes out sort of bland from just basically being boiled.  My husband put so many seasonings in this one that the water was brown.....I was a little skeptical, but each piece was tasty, especially the potatoes, which really soaked it all up. He made it a little on the hot/spicy side.
I have a recipe to follow but we usually wing it and do our own thing for the seasonings, which are different every time we make it. Seasonings include Old Bay Seafood Boil seasonings, beer, lemons, garlic cloves, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning and onions.
So here is the recipe that we used recently....
5 quarts of water
1 bag Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon, cut in half
5 cloves garlic, whole
1 pinch Adobo, a Spanish seasoning
 1/4 cup kosher salt
pinch of crushed red pepper
pinch of Cajun seasoning
a handful of fresh oregano leaves from our garden
To the 5 quarts of water add all of the seasonings and set to boil.
Main Ingredients:
2 pounds of small potatoes, whole
1 pound sweet Italian sausage cut in 2" pieces
1 pound hot Italian sausage cut in 2" pieces
6 ears of fresh corn, cut in half or thirds depending on the size of the cob
2 pounds large, raw shrimp
4 dozen little neck or mahogany clams, scrubbed clean
melted butter
cocktail sauce
Once the water comes to a boil add the potatoes and sausage and cook for 10 minutes or until tender and done. Add the corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
Take the potatoes, sausage and corn out and keep covered and warm on a plate.
Add the clams to the water next and once they start to open add the shrimp and cook till pink.
You can add the potatoes, sausage and corn back in the water for a minute to reheat and then drain everything and serve on a platter or newspaper. Serve with lots of melted butter and cocktail sauce.
If you have room for dessert.......

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
My daughter found this online from Taste of Home. Click on the link for the full recipe.

I also make a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp which is a little different in that the topping is made from flour, sugar and butter and bakes into a crisp, crunchy topping. Both are equally fabulous and the strawberries and rhubarb are in season right now in Upstate New York.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into small pieces
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter

Heat oven to 350. Place rhubarb in ungreased 8" square pan. Sprinkle with salt.
Measure sugar, flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add butter and mix with a fork thoroughly until it is crumbly.
Sprinkle evenly over strawberries and rhubarb.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.

Are you full yet?!

That should keep you busy for awhile! Enjoy!

AnnMarie :)

Linking up with these great blog hop parties!

The Scoop
The Marketplace
Tuesday Trivia
Tasty Tuesdays
You're Gonna Love It
The Gathering Spot
Adorned from Above
Dandelion Wishes Wednesday
Fluster Buster
Meet & Greet Blog Hop
Freedom Friday''s
Bloglovin' Blog Hop
Weekend Wonders
The Pin Junkie Friday Link Party
Be Inspired
Aloha Friday Blog Hop
My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog Party
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Sweet and Savoury Sundays
A Bouquet of Talent
Let's Get Social Sunday

This post was FEATURED here!
Tuesday Trivia/Memories by the Mile

Friday, May 17, 2013

Munching My Way Through Recovery

It has been 17 days of recovery from my hip surgery and I am doing okay. I don't like being out of the loop of blogging and my blog parties so I am posting a little update on what is going on around here. It has been mostly low key and boring with a little excitement built in.

Mostly I sit in my surgery chair all day, in between visits to the bathroom and the kitchen for something to eat. I have visitors in and out all week, ie. the Physical Therapist, the nurse and the crazy lady that runs in, takes my blood and runs out all in about 15 seconds...really! She told me she does about 30 patients a day. She may stay a little longer to chat if it is about QVC or fashion!

I have had dear friends visit also, bringing me wonderful dinners and to chat for a little bit. It is so funny how people think you are so fragile while recovering. I have to convince them that they can hug me and that I can talk for more than a few minutes!

My mantle looks like this these days......quite different than the bunnys on parade I had as decor in March for Easter and Spring. There is a combination of Get Well and Mother's Day cards and one of many bouquets of flowers I have received.

Speaking of Mother's daughter and family, along with my husband and son cooked a Seafood Boil for dinner with Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble for dessert! Yum! I will post the recipes later in another post. My daughter had gone to the Public Market (downtown Rochester, New York) Saturday morning and got most of the ingredients for this delicious dinner. I was sitting in my chair the whole time they were cooking waiting to hear the words, "dinner's ready!"

So now that the weather is getting a little nicer here I am feeling a little cooped up inside. I went to the side porch, hobbling with my walker, to have a peak outside to my side yard. There I saw that everything is growing abundantly and in need of a bit of weeding. Oops! forgot....I can't garden for a year, according to the surgeon. Just try and keep me away! Anyways, I got to see my fading grape hyacinths and my red tulips blooming.

And then I spotted them! Two lone purple lilacs on my lilac tree! That tree is only about 4 years old and only has bloomed once! I was so excited to see them there finally, but it was a little bittersweet having to view them from a distance! They bloomed just in time for Rochester's famous Lilac Festival.

As soon as I am able, these Impatiens will be potted into various containers to be put around my garden. They were a gift from my son for Mother's Day.

So I mentioned at the beginning that there was a little excitement during this two weeks of recovery. This past Monday night my husband asked my dear friend Bonnie to come over and stay with me so that he could go to his softball game. He missed the first one of the season because of my surgery and he is the coach and the pitcher of our church softball team. 
Part way into the game I got the dreaded call. He had been hit by a line drive ball off the bat right in the forehead and was down for the count. It was just one blessing after another from there on. Two of his teammates are EMT's so they immediately attended to him. They also went to the hospital and stayed with him the whole time he was there (till midnight) and called me with updates. One other guy on his team drove his car home from the field to our house, which is about 40 minutes away. My friend Bonnie's presence was so calming that I actually did not panic and we prayed and chatted in between updates. She also stayed way longer than planned, just not to leave me. I felt helpless but the Lord blessed me and my husband so much during the whole incident.
Yes, I have been very blessed through this whole surgery and recovery, having my daughters and husband take care of me, friends visiting with food and lots of well wishes through cards and email.
Today I got a really nice surprise from my sweet friends Lisa and Ron......a special delivery from QVC of Germack Gourmet Medley......

Something new to do while I sit in my recovery chair......crunch and munch my way through 3 jars of this delicious mix!
Till I blog again.....
AnnMarie :)