Friday, July 29, 2011

Window Treat-meant for me

One of the happiest moments for me is when I feel like I’ve just opened the 1958 Sears catalog and ordered the perfect set of drapes for my studio. Well, unfortunately I can only wish for the time machine to be able to go back and order those drapes. My time machine is a group of amazing thrift shops I have here in Kansas City. These are junk stores really with a stash of treasures right out of the 1958 Sears catalog, and beyond. Now, don’t misunderstand my ease at finding these wonderful relics. There is an extensive search and rescue program involved here. Most of the time the perfect “have to have” vintage treasure isn’t waiting at the shop door with my name on it, but once in a while I think it is. This time it was.

This time the rescue was for the perfect set of pink, french-pleated drapes with a touch of lavender and sketched icons in charcoal gray with gold accents. It is as though they really did arrive in the mail from Sears just for me. Oh, but even better, I was able to find them years later and I know they have a wonderful story to tell. Now they will share the next chapter in their story as they cheerfully greet me each morning in the studio when I begin my workday.

There is another thing that makes this story even more delightful for me. I not only love the treasure hunt for vintage finds, but the amazing deals that come with thrifting. Most of the time the treasures are pennies on the dollar, even better deals than the original Sears catalog prices. This time, once again the price is right! This set of drapes were all of $7.00 for the set. I was able to cut and sew them into two sets of window treatments, making each piece of the four drapes a mere $1.75.

Well, my time machine back to 1958 would not have been as good as this. I guess I should just be happy when I step back into the past as I walk through the doors of my current day thrift stores and find the window treatments that were meant for me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tail of Two Countries

I am happy to finally be able to share the Woodland Tails baby products with you. They are happily residing in two different hemispheres. One is here in the US and the other is down under in Australia and New Zealand. The baby products are different for each so you have the opportunity to find baby sleepers and burp cloths in one area and stuffed animals, blankets and melamine in the other.

In the US the baby products are distributed by Maison Chic for babies. The baby items are shown above and the link to Maison Chic is here, however you may want to search online or at your favorite baby shops to find the darling sleepers, pajamas and bib and burp cloth sets.

For those of you in Australia and New Zealand you will find additional Woodland Tails products through the distributor Lily & George. The baby items carried by Lily & George are shown above and the link is here, however you may also want to search online or at your favorite baby shops to find these sweet onesies, stuffed animals, rattles, bibs, blankets and melamine.

You can also search online for any Woodland Tails products and by using additional search words of the animal names you will find many locations for these baby products. Below you will find the names and traits of each animal to help you search for their hidden location deep in the woods, north and south of the equator.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don’t turn up your nose until you try it!

Who likes turnips? I’m thinking not so many of us. Let’s face it, they get a pretty bad rap. In fact the only way I remember ever eating turnips as a kid was when they were raw, peeled and cut into pieces, you know, like a carrot (but not!). I have also heard of mashed turnips, you know, like buttery mashed potatoes (but not!). And then there are turnip greens, which makes me think of a fresh, green lettuce salad. Nope, not like that either. We’re talking cooked, like spinach, and don’t even get me started on the bad rap spinach gets.

There is one way I not only like turnips, but think they are pretty tasty, and bonus, nice to look at as well. They are pickled turnips, you know, like dill pickles (but not!). They are much easier to make than pickles and are great during the summer months to enjoy as a snack or with salads or sandwiches, accompanied by pickled cucumbers and peppers.

The recipes for these summertime snacks couldn’t be easier, or believe me, I wouldn’t make them. They are quick to make, but need the added ingredient of patience to give the veggies enough time to pickle. Maybe turnips are the virtuous veggie or something. Anyway, the taste improves as they age. Try them for yourself; here are the recipes below.

Pickled Turnip Recipe

3 turnips (peeled and diced into medium pieces)
1 small beet (peeled and sliced)
4 garlic cloves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water (or equal parts with vinegar)
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste, but should be quite salty)

Place all ingredients in a quart jar, stir to mix and leave out for two or three days (or refrigerate if you like). The turnips will take on the magenta color from the beet within hours, but the pickled flavor will be best after a few days. Once the jar has been opened, I advise refrigerating. The turnips will stay crisp and fresh for up to a month or more in the refrigerator.

Pickled Cucumber and Pepper Recipe

2-3 cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
1 red or yellow pepper (cut into half-rings)
1 small Walla Walla Sweet onion, sliced (I omit the onion, but my mom swears by it:)
fresh basil leaves
a few sprinkles of dill
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water (or equal parts with vinegar)
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste, but should be quite salty)

Place all ingredients in a quart jar (larger if needed), stir to mix and refrigerate. The vegetables will take on the pickled flavor after a few hours and can be kept for up to a week or more in the refrigerator but will not keep their crispness. Don’t worry, you will eat them up within a day or two anyway. :)

So, don’t turnip up your nose on these pickled treats until you give them a try. Think of them like every other pickled veggie you’ve ever eaten~but not!