Monday, May 30, 2011


My grandmother's garden had a large bed in the front of poppies.  When I visualize her garden the first thing I see in my mind is the bed of poppies.  I loved the beautiful red-orange color of the poppies.  Last summer I decided I wanted to plant some poppies to start a remembrance garden in memory of my grandmother who passed in 1986.  I bought 4 poppy plants and was disappointed that none of them seemed to grow and one outright died on me.  I was surprised this spring when they seemed to start growing where they stagnated last year.  This is another flower that said it was an annual on the tag when I bought it. 

We have watched as the poppies have grown and blooms have appeared.  We have waited all week to see when the blooms would open.  Matt was out mowing earlier this morning and the blooms were all still closed.  When he left to run to the grocery store an hour later he noticed these beautiful blooms and came back in to let me know they had finally opened  These appear to be giant poppies. I remember my grandmother's blooms being smaller in size and more orange then these are but these are still beautiful.   Hopefully I can get them to reproduce themselves so I can enlarge the remembrance garden.  To the side of the poppies I planted a couple salvias in three shades of purple (only one is visible in the above picture) and my thyme is definitely established well here.  I may relocate the thyme to the back gardens if we get another bed built this year to give the poppies more space to expand.  This remembrance garden is a work in progress. 
I'm still on the lookout for some type of ornament or ornaments to add to Grandmother's Remembrance Garden.  I want to find just the right items to add that bring back memories of my grandmother who was so special to me.  I am considering a firefly theme as another fond memory I have of spending time with my grandmother was catching fireflies around her house.  In addition to my grandmother's garden, I spent a lot of time sitting under a tree next to the garden with her stringing green beans and cleaning corn. 


Sorry for the delayed post but I've been down with bronchitis and just haven't had any energy to get these finished. 

Our thrifty finds for the weekend continued through Sunday.  My oldest son who is in the Army gave me his flat screen TV before he left for Afghanistan which won't fit into our entertainment center.  Matt wanted to watch the Red Wings Stanley Cup Playoffs on the larger screen and suggested we try looking at Pier 1 for a new TV stand Sunday afternoon.  I will mention here that we have looked at several Salvation Army stores and several other thrift stores along with Big Lots and Ikea without finding anything we liked or were comfortable paying.  My son gave us the TV back in March so it had been sitting around unused for a while and the box was becoming a cat perch and dust/cat hair magnet. 

So Sunday we went to Pier 1 and were checking out the furniture.  Ended up back in the clearance section (gee, surprise there).  I was looking at a TV unit that had a definite Chinese/Zen look when Matt noticed a price tag under it that was marked down from $599 to $149.  Intrigued at what could be marked down 70% and why it was marked down, we decided to investigate.  There were tables in front of it so we had to do some moving to get to the unit to see what it even was - I initially though it was a table that you would put behind a couch.  What we found was a TV unit that was nearly perfect for what we wanted and we both were agreeable to the price.  I would have preferred a dark brown but we both were tired of looking and this was as close as we'd gotten to something we liked without spending our retirement funds to pay for it.   Upon asking we found out that the unit was marked down because it had been a floor unit and there was a ding on the top about the size of a pencil eraser.

Other then a few small issues like my son forgetting to give us the remote and our having to run to Best Buy to get a universal, set up was pretty easy.  By the end of the night the old entertainment unit was in the garage waiting to be put up on Craigslist and the new unit was dusted and all the equipment was connected and working.  All the DVDs, CDs, and VCR tapes that had been in the bookcase are now housed in the new unit (well most of them at least) and the games and puzzles we'd stored in the old unit were now in the bookcase. I continued with my spring cleaning and washed down the wall behind the unit along with half of two other walls.  I was also able to sweep and mop where the larger unit had been.  We were able to watch the Red Wing game that night and several since Sunday on a nicer TV.  The new unit really opens up that wall and makes the room look larger, which I'm really liking.  Now if only the new couch would arrive!


I was planning on doing a thorough spring cleaning - really I was - just hadn't planned to start it for a couple more weeks.  I was also waiting for Matt to get the screens up so I could open the windows and air out the house while I was doing cleaning.  Well as they say "The best laid plans of mice and men..." 

Matt and I came home one Friday to find that my beloved dog, Tip, had gotten sick and to say he had explosive diarrhea is to put it mildly.  Good thing was it was out of his system by the time we got home but the mess was unbelievable when we got home.  Matt walked into the mess first and started doing spot cleanup on the floor.  I walked in behind and immediately started washing the bedding that definitely had to be washed before we went to bed that night.  Matt's description of the couch was that it looked like somebody took poop and used a spackling knife to spread it over a good portion of the couch.  It was on the throw rug in the living room, the bath mat in the bathroom, the walls in hall and bedroom, all of the dog beds throughout the house  ---- it was EVERYWHERE!!!  My son's room (door was closed) and the computer/library room were the only two rooms that were not hit. 

Poor Tip hadn't fared much better and I had to take him outside and hose him down to clean him up.  He was so upset with himself over the mess he'd made.  He obviously wasn't feeling great and just wanted to be held and comforted.  My poor boy.

After we did the spot cleaning and took inventory we decided that a new couch had moved up from a want to a immediate need and went couch hunting.  We were able to find one in the clearance center that wasn't in stock but was due in the beginning of May and for $100 less then the clearance room price.  Original price on the sticker was $1200 and was marked down to $499 and with the $100 discount it ended up $399 plus tax.  $399 for a leather couch was a great deal.  The salesman actually made a comment to the effect that he'd never seen a woman pick out a couch and buy it so fast in all the years he'd been a salesman.  I laughed and informed him that was one of my traits that Matt loved the most.

The following day started my spring cleaning project.  I started in the bedroom and worked my way out to the hallway.  I'd somehow pulled a muscle in my back earlier that week and by the time I was done with the cleaning that Saturday I was having massive spasming in my back, which ended up preventing me from continuing the cleaning the following day.  Two weeks later and I'm still having issues with spasming of my back but hopefully if I continue the cleaning in smaller doses I won't have as bad a flare up again. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011


In November my friend Steve invited us to a Teach A Friend To Brew Day at Cap N Cork.  He helped us make our first batch of mead (raspberry) at that event, which is still working.  This past Saturday was Cap N Cork's Learn to Brew Day.  Matt's sister met us for a late breakfast before we all headed over to sample and watch  beers, ales, stouts, etc. being brewed and of course to sample.  Some of the wives of the brewing club started their own niche group called Mead Mama's and I definitely want to become part of this group.  For those interested in brewing the brewing club meets monthly at different locations.  I don't like or drink beer but it is very interesting to watch how they are brewed.  My friend Steve showed up 15 minutes before we had to leave so we weren't able to help him mix up some new meads.  He had three 5 gallon carboys he was going to fill.

I picked up two packets of mead yeast so we could start some new batches of mead.  I purchased one sweet and one dry yeast to experiment and see which one we prefer.  I'm targeting one of the new meads for use as a Christmas present this year using the frozen peaches I put up in the fall and making a spiced peach mead.  Matt and I are going to need to add on to the house soon to attach a brewing room at this rate especially when we start adding the beer/ale brewing equipment to our stash.

A new product line Cap N Cork just started carrying are cheese making kits.  They had several varieties of kits.  We bought the Gouda, Parmesan & Feta kit this time around along with a book called Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll.  I'm looking forward to starting to make our own cheeses.  Our first one will be the gouda.  I think I might pick up the Goat Milk Cheese kit the next round.  Now to find a supplier to buy raw milk from to get started on this new project.  Stay tuned to how this project works out.


One thing I have learned to enjoy is going to yard sales and flea markets. We had a new flea market open up this past winter and although we've talked repeatedly about stopping in we hadn't gotten to it until yesterday. For those in my area that might be interested it's called TriCounty Flea Market and is located on the corner of Groesbeck and Frazho. It's not a huge flea market yet, but there were a lot of interesting shops in it. The shops are cash only, but there is an ATM in the back if you need one.

I absolutely fell in love this this tea set when I saw it. I've been wanting to start a teapot collections and this was the perfect start for the collection. The set included the Little Red Riding Hood teapot, 4 teacups, and a tray for $15. The details are just so adorable. The wolf's glasses are a real miniature pair of wire rimmed glasses, not just the wire frames. The wolf's tail is the teapot spout. I loved the picnic basket teacups too. Although, I'm not a grandmother yet (and hope not to be for quite a while) I could definitely see myself having a special afternoon tea with a granddaughter or two down the road with this set. Matt bought it for me for Mother's Day.

I also found two vintage wool coats. One had a fur collar and cuffs on it (I'm assuming faux). One was priced at $20 and the other $25. The fur trimmed coat was 3/4 length and the other one was a full length. The longer one was missing all but one button on it - although it wouldn't be difficult to locate vintage buttons or just replace them with new ones. I may end up going back and getting one or both of these coats. They were both black in color which is why I didn't pick them up yesterday. My wardrobe runs in more earthy tones and I'd really prefer a brown or dark green coat. Both coats were 80% wool and were quite heavy weight wise.

Another purchase we made were 2 celestial pictures for the bathroom and a celestial nightlight for a total of $7 for all three items.  Here's a picture of the nightlight ($3).

I also stopped at a thrift store after I dropped my son at work yesterday. It also opened over the winter and I hadn't had a chance to drop in yet. Signs that say 50% off are a definate draw for me. I was able to find a gauzey black broomstick skirt originally $3 for $1.50 and a book called Secondhand Chic originally $1 for 50c. Overall, I did pretty good on finds.