Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I had planned to share my new front door decor, but alas, like many residents of the MS Gulf Coast, all  loose outside objects have been secured as we await the arrival of Hurricane Isaac. Instead, I thought I would share with you a set of my favorite dinnerware.  I began collecting Memory Lane ironstone many years ago, but my love of the pattern began when I was just a little girl.  My Grandma Mercer had one dinner plate.  I imagine that she picked it up either in a box of laundry soap or as a reward for shopping at the IGA of Chattahoochee, Florida.  I came to love her one plate.  My grandmother would make sure that my food was served on that plate no matter what other dinnerware pattern was set on her table!  When she passed away, I was blessed to receive her dining room set which included a lovely buffet with glass knobs along with the matching table and chairs.  I also received my Memory Lane plate.

During my search for more pattern pieces, I found out that Memory Lane is considered a transferware pattern and was made in the 1960's by the Royal Ironstone Company.  Transferware is highly collectable.  You may see patterns consisting of two-tone colors such as blue and white and red and white.  The Memory Lane pattern consists of a cream color background with a pink/red hue of acorn and leaves around the edging with different scenes in the middle reminiscent of Currier and Ives. It looks terrific paired with toile fabrics. 

My collection has grown from one dinner plate to...
13-  Dinner Plates
9-    Berry Bowls
3-    Soup Bowls
6-    Bread and Butter
3-    Salad Plates
13-  Cups and Saucers
1-    Sugar and Creamer Set
1-    Cake Plate
1-    Casserole Dish

It is fitting that the pattern is called Memory Lane as it evokes many memories of special times spent at my grandmother's table. I wonder what she would think of my treasure! What is your favorite dinnerware setting for your table? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tweaking a Fabulous Frame

Have you ever purchased something just because you liked it, but really didn't have a place for it?  Yep, me too!  I saw this frame awhile back and liked it for several reasons.  One... it was one sale and two... I had an additional 25% off coupon!  In the cart it went!  Of course, I could have placed a favorite family picture in it, but I was in the mood to do some tweaking.  I also had an art stand which I had purchased during one of my antique expeditions.  The stand usually holds a family portrait printed on canvas, but I am always moving things around, so the stand stood empty.  Art stand...frame....what could I do?

After a giving it a little thought, an idea emerged!  I cut a piece of painters cloth and got out my alphabet stencils, paint, and a stencil brush.  In literally no time, I had stenciled the words, "Faith, Family, Food!"  After allowing for drying time, I popped it into the frame and placed it in our dining room.  I can't wait to make a few additional sayings for the upcoming seasons.  How about "The Harvest Diner" with a happy pumpkin in the corner?  Or for Christmas, the "Candy Cane Cafe"!   You could also use burlap for a different look.  The options are endless!

Happy Crafting and Blessings from Still Woods!

Sharing with

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Positive Spin on the Terrible Twos and Empty Nesters

My husband and I will soon enter the category known as the "Empty Nesters".  However, I must tell you that I refuse to be labeled as an Empty Nester.  The same held true when our children were at that delightful age of two!  I refused to call that age the "Terrible Twos".  In my role as a counselor and working with many families, I would often hear parents refer to their two year old as a "Terrible Two".  I always encouraged my young families to rethink the label and use a more positive phrase.  This is an exciting time in a two year old's life and many milestones will be achieved during this year.  I encouraged parents to think of it as "Terriffic Two's".  Imagine this conversation.  "Hello Mrs. Smith, I would like to introduce you to my terrific two year old Sam".  Now, imagine Sam's delight at hearing his mother or father speak about him in such a warm and loving way.
(Our precious son when he was a Terrific Two!)

Let's fast forward to the time in many parents' lives when the last child will be leaving to go to college or will be leaving to go out into the world.  Many sweet, dear friends have reminded me that we are soon to be "Empty Nesters".  I recently told one friend that I am going to find a more positive phrase to use for this upcoming adventure of ours.  After much thought and review of every possible positive word that began with the letter "N", I decided to use the phrase, "Nurturing Nesters"!  Think of all the connotations in that simple phrase.

It has always been our goal as parents to have a nurturing, loving Christian home for our family.  That will never change and just because our boys are not here every day does not mean that this home will be empty.  It is filled with love, memories, and hope of things to come.  This home will always be their home.  We will continue to NURTURE our boys as they enter new and exciting phases in their lives.  We will NURTURE them as they experience challenges.  We will continue to be a source of encouragement for our boys.  We will NURTURE our relationship with our Lord.  We will NURTURE our relationship with each other as husband and wife. We will NURTURE our relationship with our parents and siblings.We will NURTURE the need to finish the decking outside... Just checking to see if you were paying attention!
(Our little Cub Scout who later became an Eagle Scout)
If you are the parents of young children and have used the "Terrible Twos" phrase, I encourage you to take the positive approach and begin today calling your little blessing from God, a "Terrific Two".  Share this post with your friends who have two year olds and encourage them to do the same.  You will empower your children with positive affirmations!

If you are parents facing your last child entering college or maybe the work force, I encourage you to join me and become a "Nurturing Nester."  Make a list of the "nurturing" you plan to do with the extra time you may have.  Remember to NURTURE yourself as well. 

I am so excited for my youngest son.  He has completed an associates degree by staying home (which I loved) and is now ready to continue his education at Mississippi State University...the alma mater of his mother and his brother!  Go Dawgs!!  I am ready to dig out my MSU apparel and head to a game!

Even though I am entering this new phase of my life with a positive attitude, I know that I will miss my youngest terribly.  I humbly ask that you pray for my family as well as other families about to enter the Nurturing Nesting time of life.

Treasure each and every moment you have with your children.  It is amazing how fast time flies when you are so in love with your precious gift from God.......
(Our preemie finally getting to come home...what an exciting day!)
(At our recent Bulldog Bash Family Party for our college boy!)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Decorating with Vintage Magazine Ads

Recently my guys talked me into converting a guest bedroom into a media room.  Not so sure if that was a great idea, but it's a done deal at this point!

There were a few positives!  We ordered comfy, reclining chairs for movie watching.  I headed straight to my favorite store and picked up a few terrific, relaxing chairs. Perfect for movie watching!  Next came the wall art.  The guest bedroom wall decor just didn't fit, so I began hunting for something different to go on the walls.   Hmmm, what would work?  How about vintage movie ads?  A fabulous, inexpensive way to decorate!

You may remember from my laundry room post that I used them to decorate the laundry room. I enjoy digging through vintage ads at antique stores.  I have also ordered a few from Ebay.  I am still on the hunt for an ad from my all time favorite John Wayne movie, "The Quiet Man".  So far, none of the ads have cost more than $8.00.  Gotta love that!

Here are a few I am about to frame.  Who doesn't love Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman?

Or what about this classic?

I also love to look at the opposite side of the ad.  You never know what you will find.  This is a vintage World War II ad for Hinds hand cream..."Smooth, white, romantic hands...what man can resist their silken touch?" The picture shows a US soldier coming home to his wife who has velvety, soft hands.  Gee, how romantic, but let's get back to the project.

Add a simple frame from your favorite craft store and instant wall art!  My stairs make a great picture prop!

Why don't you give vintage ad decorating a try?  It is a great way to add a touch of nostalgia to any space. I have found some terrific ads for all rooms...a baby nursery, the kitchen, a playroom, a game room, the ideas are endless.

Now to find that elusive "The Quiet Man" ad or my other quest, the original "Miracle on 34th Street" ad!  The joy is in the hunting!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Day for Anniversaries!

Today my husband and I have been married for 29 years!  For those of you who know us, yes...someone did have a mustache and it wasn't me!
It is also my niece and her husband's 1st anniversary.  I love sharing this special day with them.  A year ago today, I was busy making last minute touches on her bridal brunch, which was hosted in our home.  My niece's husband  is an Aerospace Engineer serving in the United States Air Force and she is a fashion designer.  They are currently stationed in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.  What a great place to be especially with the Olympics being hosted in London.  I love this sweet picture of them taken a few Easters ago.
And here they are at their wedding!  It was a beautiful wedding with lots of family and friends present to enjoy in their happiness. They make a beautiful couple.
It was also a great occasion to get a picture with my guys.  My husband and I don't look a day older than our wedding day, do we?  Now, remember that your mother always told you to be polite! 
There is a quote from a movie that says, "When you realize that you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible".  My niece and I are both blessed to be spending the rest of our lives married to such wonderful men.  May we both have many more years together! Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Homemade Ice Cream...Goodness in a Cup or Cone

Who doesn't like homemade ice cream?  Today I thought I would share with you my dad's yummy recipe.  This is a traditional cooked custard recipe.  It makes the most creamy, deliciousness that you will ever put in your mouth.

The Starting Line-Up...
Dad's Creamy Ice Cream
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon regular table salt
5 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla

Combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.  Gradually temper eggs by adding the hot milk mixture by small amount to the eggs, beating as you temper.  Once tempered, add egg mixture into the milk mixture and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and refrigerate for 2 hours. Combine whipping cream and vanilla to the mixture and freeze in an ice cream freezer.  (Please note that the ice cream salt in the picture is only for my ice cream freezer and not for the recipe.)

Now to create your masterpiece!  Combine the sugar, flour, and table salt.  Gradually whisk in the whole milk.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

While this is cooking, beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl and temper the eggs by gradually whisking in the heated milk mixture to the eggs.  If you just plop the eggs into the milk mixture without tempering, you will end up with scrambled eggs in the mixture!  After tempering, add the eggs slowly to the pot and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.  This takes about a minute or two.  When the custard coats a spoon, you are done and will have a pot full of delicious custard. 

My dad always strains the custard to make sure that it is free of any flour lumps, eggs particles, foreign objects, I don't know!!  He just does it, so I do it as well! You can skip this part if you want.  Dad would tell you to do it, though. 

At this point, you are ready to cover the custard and refrigerate it for 2 hours or over night.  

Now comes the fun part!  After the custard has been refrigerated, add 4 cups of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of vanilla to the custard.  Mix well with a spoon.  You will probably want to get a clean spoon, dip in, and taste what you are about to put in your ice cream freezer!  If you find you have to taste it again (and you will), just get another clean spoon!  No re-dipping!  Please tear yourself away from the bowl and get out your ice cream freezer.  Follow your ice cream freezer instructions.  This recipe will yield 4 quarts of happiness!  

If you don't eat it all in one sitting, just freeze it.  This ice cream freezes very well without ever getting icy.  We ate the last of ours over a hot fudge cobbler.  YUM!

Make some ice cream today!  And remember, life is short, eat dessert first! Blessing from Still Woods.