Category Archives: Home

New Blog on the Block

My Heart's Song

Geneva and her husband (Buzz) are some of the finest folks we know. They love Jesus, are kind, thoughtful and very, very talented.

We first met over 25 years ago when they were partners in a country/antique/vintage enterprise in Keller. Their next enterprise was a shop featuring Victorian style gifts, jewelry and custom framing.

Buzz excels at woodworking, furniture making and garden decor.

Geneva is hands down the best decorator I’ve ever known. Their homes have rivaled anything in Country Living and bested most of it.

Now retired, they sold their brick home and bought a mobile home out in the country. Here’s the story of how it came about. Since then, they’ve been using their God-given talents on it. The photos I’ve seen have been impressive. I hope she posts all of them.

Well, anyway,she’s begun a blog and I encourage you to visit her at My Heart’s Song.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Home

Energy and Determination

Tisn’t spring anymore; I don’t care what the calendar says.

It’s June in Texas and it’s hot.

So – it’s summer.

Since I missed spring cleaning, I’m doing it now. However, the deep cleaning will have to wait because currently I’m working on clutter.

Every so often it hits me how negligent I’ve been in keeping an even-handed approach to bringing stuff in vs. hauling stuff out. The recycling gets taken care of often (because it will run you out of the house if you don’t), but the other things (clothes, shoes, magazines, books, etc.) tend to mushroom because I simply don’t deal with them on a regular basis.

My sister and I were talking about this yesterday, and I commented that for the first many years of our married life, I was better at sorting through stuff and dispensing with it. Every so often I’d clean out a closet or a drawer and send anything salable to Goodwill or Salvation Army, and throw away junk and generally clean. Sadly enough, I’ve grown lax.

I could probably look around for excuses such illness or busyness, but that’s all they’d be: excuses. Because I know that, except for the worst days (like recovering from surgery), something can be done. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

My genetics didn’t bestow upon me the whirl of energy that my brother got, or the drive that my sister has, but I have enough of those traits to get by.

Our dad was a real go-getter. All his life, he worked manual labor jobs. Even during the last few years when he owned his own businesses, he left the office/bookwork duties to my mother.

His first job was hauling drinking water to the oil field hands in Oklahoma when he was 6 years old. He left school at a very young age to help care for his mother who was dying of tuberculosis. He rodeoed, worked in a Nabisco cracker factory, assembled Fords on the line in Detroit, learned welding and worked at Douglas Aircraft in the foundry, built houses, and a whole lot more. In his 50s, he roofed houses then he and my brother started their own business building service station canopies from Louisiana to west Texas, and north to Indiana.

At the age of 61, they bought a small local grocery/gas station/car repair business. Daddy was there at 6:00 every morning to open up, and washed down the concrete pad. Closing was at 8:00 p.m., after the shelves had been stocked and the floor mopped. He worked like that until the store was sold when he was 65. My brother has that kind of energy.

My mother was a hard worker, too, but mostly she was just determined. She graduated from high school at the age of 21 because it took that long to convince her dad that she really wanted a diploma; the nearest high school to their rural Kentucky home was far enough away that she had to go live with an uncle.

For her graduation, she wanted to look nice, so she earned money by picking strawberries to pay for her first permanent wave. It would’ve been the kind that had the curlers hooked by wires to a machine. ( And she looked lovely with that new perm.)

Daddy and Mama married when she was 28 and he was 34. I was born 11 years later. When she was 43, Mama developed a heart problem that required a lot of rest. But even so, she cooked breakfast and supper every day, sewed most of our clothes, hung the laundry out to dry and ironed it.

She did what she could as she could.

That’s the way both my parents were. They put one foot in front of the other when something had to be done. Neither one went out in search of extra work but they always did what had to/needed to be done and they didn’t complain about it. I have the idea that many, many people of my generation can say the same about their parents.

For instance, our yard was not landscaped – but it was mown every week.

Meals weren’t innovative and gourmet – but they were prepared every night.

My mother used to tell the story about learning to knit. My sister, Fran, had enrolled the two of them in a knitting class at the old Sears store at 21st and Yale. Although she’d been crocheting since she was a little girl, knitting was totally foreign to her.

She’d say that she knew she’d been the dumbest one in the class and she forced herself to concentrate on the stitches until her eyes watered and a tear dropped from her eye. The determination to not stop until she had mastered that stitch kept her from even wiping the tear away, but she learned it. It gave her such a feeling of accomplishment when teacher asked her to help one of the other students later on.

That happened when she was 50 years old. I would never call my mother an old dog – but she definitely learned new tricks!

Fran has that determination with getting things done. She used to work at one of the big petroleum companies in Tulsa typing in information for oil leases. Whole pages of nothing but numbers. Yikes! I’m doing good to handle phone numbers (and usually without area codes). Can you imagine sitting all day doing that?!

So, I’m not a dusk ’til dawn worker like my dad, and determination and I have more work to do on our relationship

but

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

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Filed under 1960's, Faith, Family, Housekeeping, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Scripture, Summer, Texas

Contentment at Home

Natasha Burns has a lovely post about her home and her attitude about it. It’s called “loving what I have rather than wishing it was more.”

And over at Domestic Felicity, Anna has written a thoughtful post titled “No Cost Home Improvement.”

They both reminded me of a story by Amy Dacyczyn in one of her Tightwad Gazette books. I’ve looked through them and can’t find it, so I’ll have to keep looking, then post it. She told about going to the home of an older person – their furnishings weren’t expensive or even nice, but the home was spotlessly clean and welcoming.

Just what I needed to hear.

As I about to go to sleep a few nights ago, I sensed the Lord nudging me about the stashes of clutter everywhere. It’s a lifelong problem that I have to deal with and I simply hadn’t been dealing with it for awhile.

So yesterday, I tackled 3 problem areas and cleaned them up. The difference was amazing and so fulfilling. On days that I’m home, I hope to clean out at least one more area per day. On bad fibromyalgia days, I might be able to do only one, but one is progress and it’s one more step toward a clean house and organization.

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Filed under Cozy, Home, Internet links, Making Do

Country White Bread


This is the easiest and most dependable yeast bread I’ve ever made. The recipe came from a Country Living magazine almost 25 years ago. Lately I’ve baked some every few days.

COUNTRY WHITE BREAD

1 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 T. sugar

Dissolve yeast in sugar and water to prove.

Add:
1/1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
5 1/2 c. flour
1 c. water
3 T. oil

Mix together and knead for about 8 minutes.

Oil large mixing bowl, place dough in bowl and turn once.
Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Place risen dough on floured board, punch down, work out the air pockets.
Shape into loaves, and place into greased pans.
Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 until done; depending on your oven this could be from 35 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
*When I want a wheat loaf, I dissolve the tailings from a bag of Raisin Bran cereal in a little warm water or milk, then add it to the mixture. Years ago, I bought regular bran and wheat germ, but when I added them to the recipe my husband said it gave it an unpleasant texture. For some reason, the fine stuff at the bottom of the cereal bag works well, which is especially nice because I don’t want it floating in my cereal bowl and it seems like a waste to just compost it.

*Contrary to what I used to think, it is possible to over-oil the bowl.

*For taller loaves, I use two different sizes of pans – one large and one medium. When I use both large pans, the loaves are smaller.

*For a nicer crust, I butter the top about midway through the baking.

*I have discovered the Best Place for the dough to rise. Well, at least in the winter. Under our Vermont Castings wood stove. I couldn’t believe it. It rose twice as fast but wasn’t too hot. Perfect.

*Sometimes I just don’t get a good rising. Maybe it’s a humid day. I don’t know. But when that happens, it can be used for croûtons. This was my husbands idea and it was a really good one. The big puffy loaves don’t make nice croûtons but a dense loaf is just right.

*My hands just aren’t what they used to be and I can’t knead the dough, so I use my heavy duty mixer. It’s a Kenwood (an English product), not a Kitchen Aid, but it works every bit as good and cost a fraction. I bought it about 1994 and didn’t want a Whirlpool product, because at that time they were contributing to Planned Parenthood (but not anymore, as I understand it). Here‘s a more current list.

This post is linked to:
Food on Fridays @ Ann Kroeker.
Frugal Fridays@Life as Mom

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Filed under Baking, Food, Hints, Home, Recipes, Thrift, Thrift

New Curtains

This morning I’ve renewed my efforts to do something different for our kitchen windows. For several years the kitchen theme has been a red/white/green cheerful, kind of a 40’s look. Red rick-rack and all that.

But then, as women do, I started thinking about something different. Although not something so different that would require wall painting, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – the kitchen could certainly do with a new coat of paint, but I just can’t face packing up everything and all the rest of it that goes with a painting project.

So, I’m going to be contented (for now) with new curtains, potholders, and a few other things.

Our dining table was the one that my parents bought in 1965 from a discount furniture place in Tulsa. Can you imagine yourself 46 years from now still using a table from a discount place?

I guess they don’t even make discount furniture like they used to.

Anyway, the table (which you may have seen in some of my photos under some of my projects) has a brown, woodgrain formica top with a house and trees painted in 2 opposite corners. The accent paint color is kind of an aqua.

Then our son’s girlfriend gave me a cat and fish wind chime for Christmas, which is Very nice and she really shouldn’t have spent that much money. But it is nice and I really like it. The colors are the same as in the table. So the blue/green/aqua colors of the mid-60s are what I’m going with for the new look.

To fit in with my “Using What You Have” thoughts for this year, the curtain fabric is some that my sister gave me.

Now, Don’t have a cow: it’s fleece.

I know, I know. Fleece just isn’t curtain fabric. But it is in my house.

Our kitchen windows are on the south with no shade, which is nice in January, but not in Texas in August. And the window shades just weren’t very effective, besides which, they’re shot.

My sister pointed out that fleece is too bulky to make the rod pocket, and I don’t want to do tabs, because that would let light in around the tops and I’d have to buy new curtain rods (or come up with something else), so….

I’m hand printing/stenciling cats and coffee cups in green and turquoise on a piece of old sheeting to add to the tops for rod pockets. One thing I’ve learned with using acrylic paint for fabric painting: it helps to thin it a little bit with water, but not too much. I had too much water in the mix and then had to add more paint. But with it thinned a little it helps it to look more like fabric dye than gloppy paint. I tend to buy only basic colors, so I had green, but not the turquoise. For it, I mixed the green with some dark blue, then a little white to lighten it. Amazingly enough (thank you, Lord!), it is exactly the color of the fleece.

Yesterday I tried sewing a patchwork top on, but it just didn’t look right.

We’ll see how the hand printed fabric turns out.

So far, so good.

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Filed under Crafts - Cheap, Free, Home, Kitchens, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

Household Greenery, Using What You Have

For years I’ve seen the hint in magazines and books about growing herbs and things on the kitchen windowsill, but they usually instruct one to purchase all kinds of things, like an already growing plant (have you seen the price of the potted herbs at the grocery store?). And all the special starting pots and fertilizer, etc. Not my way of doing things, so for years I didn’t even try it.

Houseplants don’t fare well in my care, so I quit buying them years ago. However, I still like them and decided to try and see what I could do with … well, with nothing fancy.

So I got to thinking about what I could do with what I already had; for instance that sack of old seed packets in the closet. (Even when I buy good quality seeds, my good intentions don’t always get me very far – like into the garden plot. But I’m too cheap to throw them away, because one never knows. Maybe they’ll grow even if they’re old. Well, they did!)

Obviously nothing was purchased for this little experiment. An empty tuna can, green beans can, a few old book pages, and some white glue. And thankfully, some leftover, good quality potting soil. Oh, yes, and lettuce seeds that were at least 5 years old.

While I honestly don’t recommend searching for outdated seeds, why not use them if they’re just sitting around?

Very pleased I was with the results!

Except that the can with the plant in it looked a little naked so I covered it with book page paper also.

Be sure to hammer a few nail holes into the taller can so it can drain.

What I learned from this step was to not cover the whole can down to the bottom with the paper. This puts it into the water line and it wicks up and stains the paper.

Voila! Edible houseplants! For free!

Update: For outdoor ideas of a similar nature, go to this post on Make Mine Beautiful. Polly is a professional and shares tons of ideas.

This post is linked to:

Food on Fridays @ annkroeker

Frugal Friday@ Life as Mom

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Filed under Book Page Projects, Free, Gardening, Home, Making Do, Thrift, Thrift, Using What You Have

The Duggars (in honor of Labor Day, because who has been in labor more than Mrs. Duggar?)

Psalms 127:4-5
“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”


Click here for an excellent article on the Duggar family – their program on TLC is 19 and Counting.

The family’s official webpage is here.

Here is an article on Big Journalism about how vicious and rabid the criticism of them gets. This article is not hateful – but it quotes from the haters, and it gets ugly.

Hmm, thought there was a law about hate speech. Must not apply to hatred of Christians.

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Filed under Arkansas, Children, Current Events, Home, Internet links, Thrift