Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stockings Are Hung By the Chimney With Care...

On a recent stop at JoAnn's, I saw these striped Halloween knee socks. I brought them home not quite sure how I was going to use them...

But in some dark corner of my imagination, I must have been thinking of something like this.

And then I remembered that years ago I had bought a pair of these...vintage wire stocking stretchers. I had to use this photo from Etsy because, in a moment of decorating bliss, I forgot to take a before picture (don't you hate when that happens?).

The striped stockings looked so cute on the wire frames that, of course, I had to run back to JoAnn's for another pair. Knowing what I'm like when an idea is percolating, DH just rolled his eyes, went back to the Patriots game,  and pretended that he didn't know what I was up to.

And then...stuff, stuff, stuff...and in a slightly schizophrenic combination of holidays, up on the fireplace they went.

and I loved them!

Since I seemed to have something of  a "Wicked" theme going on, I continued it on the mantle...

Adding one of my favorite photos of my sister, Nancy...

Who loved the Wizard of Oz...

And was always happy to play the witch at my daughter's October birthday parties.

Now that I've got the Halloween stockings hung by the chimney with care...

I wonder what kinds of surprises I might find in them on Halloween morning...maybe spiders? Or eye of newt?  Decorating done, I guess all I have left to do now is wait and see what Santa the Great Pumpkin brings!

This bewitching post is linked to:
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Under 100. Linky Party at Beyond the Picket Fence
Transformation Thursdays at The Shabby Creek Cottage
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Vintage Thingy Thursday at The Coloradolady
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Wickedly Creative Halloween Party at Itsy Bitsy Paper
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Addicts (not so) Anonymous Link Party at Addicted 2 Decorating
Frog Blog Love Party at Kissed By A Frog
It's Fall Y'all Link Party at The Lettered Cottage

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blog Comments...How Important Are They To You?

Do you ever wonder why some blog posts get 40 or 50 comments and others get 4 or 5? Do you care? Or do you just blog for the sheer enjoyment of meeting new people and exploring your own creativity?

I've been inspired by the refreshing honesty of some of the recent  posts Brenda has been writing at one of my favorite blogs, Cozy Little House. Inspired enough to risk a bit of soul-baring myself. So, I'll admit it...

I feel terrible when I work hard on a post and look down a day later to see that dreaded phrase "0 Comments". Does that sound stupid to you? Or (keepin' it real now), do you do the same thing...sneak to the computer, scroll down, and wait with trepidation for the comments to come rolling straggling in?

I started my little blog as a way of remembering the fun I had with my sister, Nancy. When I blog I almost feel as if I am sharing my experiences with I used to do over her kitchen table most afternoons. I never gave much thought to my "audience" and told myself that it really didn't matter if anyone read my posts..."I'm doing this for me", I told myself.

But I realized this weekend, when no comments came in on my last post, that...hard as it is to does matter. I do care. I want to know that others are reading my blog. And when I do get lots of comments, I find myself going into my Sally Field-at-the-Oscars mode..."They like me, they really like me". Silly, huh?

I guess, as a teacher, I know intellectually that positive reinforcement works with's hard to admit that it works for me too. When a post gets lots of comments, my head fills with ideas and I can't wait to start working on the next one. When a post gets few comments (or none?), I'm like a little kid thinking, "Ouch...I never want to do that again".

So, what do you think? Do you care how many people comment on your blog? Do you find that some types of posts get more comments than others? Is it an art or a science, this blogging thing we do?

I haven't exactly been moping around while pondering these "heavy" questions about blogging. Over the weekend, I've been busy decorating for fall and preparing for a dinner party we are hosting next weekend.

I found these free printable fall place cards to download and thought I would share them with you. You can download and print them (I used heavy oak tag) from the HGTV site here.

Although they are tagged "Thanksgiving Place Cards", three of the four on each sheet are simple fall motifs. I used bent paperclips to stick them into little apple baskets that I found for $1.00 each...each place card will do double-duty as a favor for guests to take home.

I'd love to hear how you feel about your blog comments...
Meanwhile, I'm off to work on a menu to go with those place cards...see where my priorities lie?
Yup, craft now...cook later!

I'm linking this post up to:


The House in the Roses

Matamorphosis Monday
Between Naps On The Porch

Keeping It Simple

Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays

Tuesday's Treasures

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Got Apples?

We sure do! The days are warm, the nights are cool, and our trees are loaded with fat, happy red apples.

We've had such good times picking, eating, cooking and decorating with apples this week that I just had to share some of the fun. 

Every September, our apple trees bring friends and family to our yard to help us pick. Everyone likes to take a turn climbing the rickety apple ladder we inherited with our 1830 farm house.

And apple season gives me yet another excuse...

 to run around outside with my camera.

But the best part of the season is eating a fresh apple right off of the tree.

And bringing the rest inside, where apples, cinnamon and nutmeg fill the kitchen with the sweet scents of the season.

We tried a new apple recipe on Sunday that was easy and delicious. Since it was cooked in a crock-pot, it made the house smell wonderful all afternoon. I thought I'd share it with you...

8 slices raisin bread, cubed
3 (or more) apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups half & half
1/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 c. butter, melted

*Since we are on Weight Watchers, we substituted skim milk for the half & half and cut the amount of sugar in half...still delicious!

1. Place bread cubes, apples, and pecans in greased slow cooker and mix together gently.
2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour over bread mixture.
3. Cover. Cook on low 3-4 hours or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 6-8 servings.

And if your guests are still hungry?

Why not invite them to make caramel apples?
At this time of year, it's all good!

I'm linking up this post to:
Open House Party at No Minimalist Here
Rednesday at It's A Very Cherry World
Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors

Monday, September 19, 2011

Berry Box Re-do

I stole bought this berry box for $15.00 in April at the Renninger's Flea Market in Adamstown, Pennsylvania. I wrote a post at that time about filling it with herbs to use on my screened porch for the summer. 

When we cleared off the porch in preparation for Hurricane Irene's visit, I emptied the berry box and stored it in the garage thinking I wouldn't display it again next spring.

Then, on Saturday, I paid a visit to one of my favorite bogs, Mamie Jane's, and saw her post, Soda Crate Display.  If you've ever been to Jane's blog, you already know that she is "wicked creative" (as we say here in Maine). For her latest amazing transformation, she started with this crate that, viewed from the top, is very similar to my berry box ...
and transformed it into a Halloween masterpiece. I won't show you her finished piece here because you really owe it to yourself to visit her blog and see for yourself what magic she creates with vintage household objects. But Jane did inspire me to take my berry box back down from the shelf in the garage and look at it in a whole new way...a fall kind of way.

And here's what I came up with...

Instead of summer berries and herbs, my crate now sits on a table in the dining room...

filled with apples, squash, gourds, pomegranates...

and a few other fall goodies I had packed away for autumn decorating.

Jane encouraged me to think outside the box (literally) and see my crate in a whole new way...for a new season.

Now that I'm on a roll, who knows?  Maybe for October I'll change it out again.  Do you think I could find a way to fit black cats and pumpkins into this thing?

This post is happily linked to:
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On the Porch
Show Off Your Cottage Monday at The House In the Roses
Table Top Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life
Tutorials & Tips Tuesday at Home Stories A2Z
Tuesday's Treasures at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Friday, September 16, 2011

Talkin' Teal

I'm seeing a lot more teal in magazines, antique shops, and on home decor blogs these days. It's also listed on many of my painting sites as one of the "hot" paint colors for 2011.

Photo from Etsy

But teal is also the color for ovarian cancer awareness, as pink is for breast cancer.
Since September is Ovarian Cancer Month, I'm talkin' teal today.

from Martha Stewart Living, October 2008

I lost my funny, fabulous, teal-toed sister, Nancy, to ovarian cancer in November. I know she'd want you to know the signs of this dreadful disease so that you can protect yourselves, and your daughters...or sisters.

Nancy had had a bloated tummy, irregular periods, indigestion, lethargy, and on and off pelvic pain for about two years before she was diagnosed. She assumed it was the beginning of menopause, maybe combined with the everyday stress of her busy life as a teacher. Even her doctors missed the signs. 

She finally opted for en elective hysterectomy, and when they opened her up, there it was...ovarian cancer, Stage 3C. You can read Nancy's story, in her own words, here.

Ovarian cancer is called "the silent killer" because, like Nancy (and her three sisters...all college educated and pretty aware, we thought), so many women and their doctors, do not think to look for it as the cause of such vague symptoms...until it is too late.

So I hope you'll take a moment while you're blogging today to Google "ovarian cancer symptoms" and learn what to look really could save your life.

Last night I went to my first organizational meeting for this year's American Cancer Society "Relay for Life".  Nancy served on the committee every year since she was diagnosed.  I'll never be able to take her place but, last night, as much as I didn't want to, I sat in her chair.

Nancy would want you to know that ovarian cancer can be related to breast cancer, which we hear much more about. Our mother has breast cancer and, when Nancy developed ovarian cancer, we were all tested for the BRCA genetic defect that can cause both types of cancer. We were shocked to learn that our family was positive for BRCA 2.

Quilt I hand-stitched for Nancy for Christmas

Because of what we learned, we have been able to be proactive. Nancy and our sister, Andi, tested positive...the gene is positive in 50% of women from in a BRCA positive family. Andi had to have an oophorectomy (ovaries removed) and a mastectomy in order to avoid almost certain cancer later in life. Now our aunt, my mother's sister,  has also developed ovarian cancer, which thankfully was caught early, and a number of neices and cousins on my mother's side have tested positive. At least we know now.

If you have two or more close relatives with breast or ovarian cancer, please consider getting genetic testing. It is a simple blood test and is covered under most insurance plans. You can get more information about it here. Had we known that we carried the  BRCA gene sooner, Nancy might still be with us today.

So, love yourself, and love your sisters, enough to learn the signs and speak up. Together we can break the silence about ovarian cancer.

Nancy would like that.

I'm linking this post up to:
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home Friday at The Charm of Home
Under $100. Linky Party at Beyond the Picket Fence
Time Travel Thursday at The Brambleberry Cottage
Feature Yourself Friday at Fingerprints On the Frige
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots & Jello
Sister Sunday Link Party at Sisters of the Wild West