Monday, February 27, 2017

Welcome to my world...

wonderful window view
welcoming window

Why is it that *certain things* attract us?  Like open windows, shady paths, cozy fireplaces, etc.?  They draw us in... and welcome us. I see a picture (many of which are posted on "A Brit in Tennessee" blog) and something inside says, "... aww, I like that".  I know it can't be true for all, but apparently it's true for a good bit (or in this case, a good Brit!).

Lately I've been looking around on Pinterest and have found so many really cute idea pictures... the kind that make you want to create that, or go there, or just plain fantasize. 

And there's this place in Mousehole, West Cornwall, England that is shown on a blog called "A Joyful Cottage".... it's called the Oyster Catcher's Cottage and it's such a perfect spot to spend a holiday. Check it out and see what you think. 

Kitchen in Oyster Catcher's Cottage (see the white aga on the left)
Bedroom in Oyster Catcher's Cottage (see the view of the water  from the window)

And then there's also another cottage shown on The Joyful Cottage that's called, "The Stack"... that is so-oo interesting. However, you must be able to climb stairs as each room is on a different floor.

kitchen in the Stack - isn't it adorable?

It's also in Cornwall... (guess I have a hankering for Cornwall?).

Outside view of The Stack

Then... while surfing through Pinterest the other night, I came across some humorous posters. One had me laughing so hard, I cried. Wish I could find it again... as I haven't had a good laugh like that in ages.

Well, that's the dreaming part of my post finished. Going to relate a little story next that has taken up a good part of our week. First, DH and I set out to order some room darkening shades for our front room.  Plain ol' shades... nothing fancy, right? Well, of course none of the ready made ones came in the sizes we needed, and the ones they can cut to order didn't come in the color we wanted. 

So-oo we tried 3 different places to custom order. First place had an associate there, but she didn't know anything about ordering shades. Second place, there were simply no sales associates in the area, and even though we went up front and were told one was coming, 20 mins later no one had shown up, so we left. 

Last place was very accommodating, and had a lovely salesperson who really knew her stuff (so rare these days). We took home the book with the various swatches, then went back and ordered the next day. Unbeknownst to us, the sale was off the next day, but our sales lady called a Supervisor explaining that we basically made the order the day before, but had to take samples home to be sure of the color before continuing. She gave us the sale price. 

It just astounds us that so many stores don't have enough help... or don't educate the ones they have.  Maybe it's our age, but it seems that work ethics and management systems have suffered over the years.

Sorry this post is a bit rambling... but it seems to be the way my mind works lately. Closing this with a picture I came across of a black cat that I think is just beautiful... (very possibly photo-shopped, but still). How can people not like black cats?)


Of course our Ghost is beautiful too... in her own way

Her response: "Give it a rest..."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

a curious dilemma...

A definition of Ethics: moral principles that govern a person's behavior.

Something happened at Central Market last week that made me wonder... I'll have to tell a short story first so you will know where this is coming from.

DH and I were just finishing up grocery shopping and were heading to our car. I happened to look at the receipt in my hand and thought the amount didn't look right. We normally spend about $50 - $60 at Central Market, but this time we had bought a $15 roast as well as some salmon... so it should have been more.

Well, apparently the checker (as well as DH and I) had missed the roast on the bottom of the cart. Realizing this, I went back into the store with the roast, explained, and paid the checker. Her comment was, "Well, aren't you sweet?"

OK, that's the story. Here 's the question.
Ethically (?) speaking, not paying for a $15 roast was not an option. But... if it had been a $1 or $2 item, the truth is that I probably wouldn't have gone back.

This is my dilemma:  I don't think it should make any difference (?) if it's a $2 or $50 mistake... but it does. Why?

Friday, February 17, 2017

a mishmash...

According to one definition... a mishmash is a confused mixture of things. Hmm, I used to call this my *monkey mind* jumping all over the place. Well, this post is definitely going to be a mishmash.

Not even sure where to start. How about my recent cooking experience... making home-made pasta (I wish I had taken some pictures, but we were so engrossed in what we were doing, that it didn't occur to me). My friend has done this before. She makes it by hand with a manual that I think belonged to her grandmother, but actually owns a Kitchenaid pasta maker that attaches to the Kitchenaid mixer. This is what she brought over so we could experiment with it.

I have a Kitchenaid mixer (that I love), but don't own the pasta maker (or any attachments that go with it). Anyway, it was fun... terribly messy (we both had flour all over us and the floor), but productive. I really don't have enough counter space as we had fettuccine lying all over the kitchen on kitchen towels. Apparently they do make "hangers" for it... they look like clothes racks or jewelry hangers, but neither of us had one of those. 

DH was skeptical and kept wondering through the kitchen laughing at us. He didn't see why we would want to do this when you can buy dried fettuccine for a few dollars at the store. (Men just don't understand, do they?) But as it turned out, we made enough for several meals... and enjoyed it for supper last night. However, it may be something you don't want to do too often...

Next I'll mention our wonderful trip on Wednesday to Carlo's Bake Shop. This is the Bake Shop that I believe started in New York and was on TV under the name, "Cake Boss". Anyway, they opened one here in Dallas last year and they make the most wonderful cannoli (and yes, this is the pleural, I looked it up). DH and I love them and decided that all we wanted for Valentine this year was to pick up a few cannoli. But we didn't dare go on Tuesday (Valentine's day). We waited until Wednesday and picked these up.... no lines!

So-oo good!

And last I will leave you with a picture of a new little critter I just sculpted in clay... a froggie!

and a few *rollers* that can be used for decorating mugs, etc. 

Guess that's enough mishmash for today. There is more on my mind, but I'd better keep it for another post. I'll give you a hint about what its about... ethics or moral principals regarding certain actions (yes, too deep for today's post... but there's a story that goes with it). 

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

catching up with the week...

Julie caught batting her toys around...

Julie likes to twist around on the counter batting toys all over the kitchen. She was in the mist of this when I took her picture...
She also wants all her toys up on her pad at night before she goes to bed (but we find them dispersed all over the kitchen by morning).

And I'm back into the pottery scene... at the studio I'm working on throwing on the wheel more consistently. Decided to do lots of large mugs and handles... a few bowls, and trays, etc. At home I'm back to my little chickens... and I'd love to do a big rooster for my table, so I'm working on a small one to see how it's done. It isn't great, but it gives me an idea. And this morning I came up with a new design to try for my chickens... a little more rounded and stream-lined.

These are just more paper clay chickens with one coat of red under-glaze. They still need 2 more coats of under-glaze and firing, then I'll use a black-bird stain to make them look more antique.

Here is my first attempt at hand-building a rooster. He really challenged me as his clay legs can't hold up the heavy body... so you have to create a stand for him (with legs) and then attach the 2 parts so that it goes together fairly well. and there are so many ways to do the tail and feathering. I'm not overly happy with this tail, but it will work for a first try. And once he's under-glazed with all the rooster coloring, I think he'll look OK.

And this is my little fat rounded chicken with a heart on his front.
He'll look better once he gets his spots and coloring. But I think he's kind of cute.

OK, that's about the news around here. I did make a batch of home-made granola this morning. Hadn't made any in a while, so DH is happy.

Oh, one of the things on my wish list... (a list of things we need or want to do sometime in the future) is to extend our front porch and add shutters to our front windows. Right now the front porch is just a small step up. 

You can't tell much from this, but it's the only pic I could find that shows part of the porch as it is now. This next pic is one of a house I like that its "similar" to ours, but much bigger. However, it has the porch and window shutters that I want to add to ours.

I'd like to be able to sit out front in the evening... (when the weather is good).

Have a wonderful week! And for those interested, Tux is still doing fine... despite his recent prognosis. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

February begins...

Pretty long haired Feral

I haven't had a lot to blog about lately, but I thought I'd start with a little better picture of one of our feral cats. You can't tell too much here, but she has long sleek black hair and is really very pretty. I wish someone would give her a home, but although she will allow DH to pet her, won't let me or anyone else get too near. Sometimes she's gone for a few days and I think, oh good, someone has taken her in... but alas, she always returns eventually.

Next is a healthy snack I had discovered a while back and am enjoying again. It's dried Okra and we find it at Central Market. Probably doesn't sound like a great snack to some, but I really like okra and only cook it when I'm making gumbo... so to use it as a snack (like nuts) or just add it to our dinner as such has been a great new discovery for us.

Dried Okra

Dried Carrots (good also, but Okra better)

And since I'm talking about health, I will also mention that I am trying a no-dairy diet. This is my second week. It's not been too bad. I do love whole milk, cheese, unsalted butter, and cream (evaporated milk in my tea)... and do miss it... but I'll survive. We bought Silk vanilla almond milk, almond coconut milk, and a coconut cream. All are OK... not the same, but OK. Hot chocolate made with coconut milk is actually pretty good. I'll go back to dairy next week and see if I notice any real difference. Someone told me that if you have any gastric problems, the first thing they tell you is to give up dairy. Since I do... on occasion... I thought I'd give it a try.

orchids... I think

And these flowers are all over the mall where DH and I walk each week. They've finally taken down all the Christmas decor and brought in all kinds of spring flowers. These particular ones we thought were really beautiful.

Started writing this a few days ago, but never got around to posting it. Since I'm back on the pottery wheel, I thought I'd post a few pics of new clay pieces... but forgot to take pics at the studio. Haven't done anything on the wheel since last Spring, so I'm trying to get my muscle memory back. Doing OK, but not great. Have decided to work mainly on the wheel and not do any hand-building this semester (although I may do a little animal sculpting). 

Oh, and I heard that the groundhog did see his shadow... so we will probably be getting 6 more weeks of winter. Well, we really can't complain around here as the winter has not been too bad... so far. 

Hope you have a great weekend! Time to take my tea and book and settle in...