March 24, 2012

On The Run

Yesterday was one of those days when you go out, come home, go out, come home, go out. Then you come home at 10:30 at night and you can't believe the whole day is gone. I started Friday by going to a nearby estate sale with my sweet friend Nicole.

I got about 51 yards of lace and that big spool of twill tape for $10.

And I also got a vintage glass dome for $5. I was so excited, I have been wanting one of these. I think I'm going to have my dad show me how to make a nice base for this. I asked him if he could start teaching me how to make things. I doubt if I'll ever be able to make furniture like he does, but I could try to make some small things.

After the estate sale, Ron and I fixed our neighbor's fence. It divides our two yards and keeps our dogs apart. Well, he doesn't seem to be around enough to try and get out there and fix it so we had to. I'm tired of cleaning up after his dog in my yard.

Once we were done with that, we decided to take a ride to Delaware Park. I had been wanting to go there and get some photos.

Delaware Park is part of the "Olmsted Parks Conservancy". They are a group here that keeps the parks created by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. going. Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. created Central Park in NYC along with Calvert Vaux.

The park has two parts, divided by an expressway. The other side we didn't go to has a golf course and the Buffalo Zoo is on the outskirts of it.

This side has Hoyt Lake and a building called the Marcy Casino.

You can rent it for parties and weddings.

The lake has a walking/jogging path all the way around it.

There is a beautiful foot bridge in a more wooded area of the park. I've been asked to do a portrait for a family I know so I was scouting a place. This might be a really good spot. Once the leaves come out, the light will be more dappled.

Across the street is the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

When Ron was about 4 years old, he was the ring bearer for his uncle's wedding. They took the photos on the steps of the gallery.

It is quite a building.

I don't know anything about the history of it, but the details are beautiful.

Buffalo has a very deep architectural history. We have had some amazing men design buildings here. One of these is the Darwin Martin House .

This Prairie style home was designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. This is one side...

...this is the rest.

This is actually called the "Martin House Complex".  The story about this property is quite extensive. Darwin D. Martin was a successful Buffalo businessman who had commissioned Wright to design a building for his boss, John D. Larkin, owner of the Larkin Soap Company. Martin also commissioned Wright to build him a house.

Martin lost all his money in the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. Over the years, this property fell into great disrepair and parts were even torn down. It has been painstakingly rebuilt and restored, right down to making the bricks the same way they were made in 1903. We were just in the neighborhood here, and I had never seen it before so we stopped to grab a few photos. I want to take a tour of it soon, so if I can take interior photos, I will post them. Until then, you may want to click on the name of the house above. There are a few photos on there.

Unfortunately, the Larkin Building was torn down to build a tuck stop, back before the historic preservation groups were as strong as they are now. For some reason, people did not care as much then for historic places as we do now. The year was 1950. It even sounds like a year that no one cared. Lol. For all the architecture buffs around the area here, it's a black eye on the city that a Frank Lloyd Wright building was demolished. 

At least we still have this home, and the summer estate he built for the same family on Lake Erie. It is called Graycliffe. I hope to visit there one day too.

Here are some of Wright's signature Tree of Life windows.

Anyhoo, after we left here, I went to Joann's to get the blade for my rotary cutter. I also bought fabric for the back of my quilt.

We ate a sandwich fast, then Ron took the girls to the movies to see The Hunger Games and I went to help with the theme tray raffle at school. After that we went for a drink and a bite to eat with Bob and Nicole. Came home. Went to bed. Holy Crap! It was one of those days when you lay down at the end of it and let out a big sigh. Or a groan. Lol!!  
I am going to go and start cutting quilt pieces now. I'll take some photos tomorrow and put them up for you to see. I'm so excited to finally start. I hope it turns out nice.

Have a good night!

March 21, 2012

Spring Feeever

I have been trying to get a few things done lately, mostly things that need to be done in the house.

But, we have had the most amazing and unexpected weather here, that I now have heavy spring fever.
We have had 5 days with record high temperatures, and, we are supposed to have one more tomorrow. Normally in Buffalo in March, the high temp is around 47 degrees. Yesterday was 81 degrees, today was 82. It was the highest temperature ever on record in March in Buffalo. We are so unused to this! I even slept with my windows open last night. I can't believe it. March 21st and I'm sleeping with my windows open!

Things are starting to come up in the garden.
Here are my tulips.

Here are my neighbor's tulips. She is on the sunny side of the street and, she is really good to her soil. I should buy some of her compost. Lol.

Normally, the tulips are the last to open, around the end of April. All around her tulips are peonies.

Mine are barely poking through the ground. They will not be this tall until May.

Of course we can't forget the hyacinths and daffodils.

Back to the non-sunny side of the street, I already have leaves opening on my hydrangea.

The great weather is fantastic, but it's only March and we usually have snow here into April. It's not unusual to have snow on Easter. I just hope everything doesn't freeze and die off. The local apple growers are nervous because their buds are starting to open and a freeze will mean curtains to this year's crop. But right now, I'm being thankful for a month or two of extra time to get the yard, patio and screen porch ready for summer. My wheels are turning!

So, even though I need to finish raking the yard while it's warm, I'm working on some things inside. We have our theme basket raffle at the elementary school this Friday and I made a few things to put in a First Communion basket. Here is one of a pair of bobby pins I made for it.

I also made a pair with a beaded flower with a pearl on it and a bracelet with vintage crystals from a necklace and pale blue Chinese crystals but I forgot to take pictures of them before I took them in to school. Duh!

Here is a bobby I made to put away for next Christmas.

My sister and I are trying to do a few things each month throughout the year to make sure we don't have so much to do all at one time. I always end up feeling like I should have a little something for nieces or nephew's girlfriends. So I'm starting early on getting some of these done.

Baby Quilt Update:
I pre-shrunk the fabrics for my baby quilt, but my rotary cutter blade couldn't cut butter so I have to get a new one this weekend.

Oh, one more thing, I went to a local quilt shop today and bought another fabric for the quilt.

Isn't it so cute? I love it. I needed one with some birds on it and the colors are great.

Hope you are having some great weather where you are!

March 16, 2012

And Speaking Of Quilts...

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I am going to make a baby quilt for my husband's niece as a gift for her baby shower this summer.

Well, my sister-in-law Donna called me the next day and asked me if I was interested in having my great-aunt's quilt handed sideways (not down) to me from my brother, Thomas.

Well I said YES!

Most of it is in pretty good shape.

But there is some damage along two of the edges.

My sister-in-law thinks maybe it was a full size quilt used on a twin bed and it got stepped on a lot. I think that's a pretty good deduction. She's smart, that Donna.

Anyhoots, I would like to wash it, but I don't know how, especially without ruining it. Does anyone know a good way to do this? I suppose I will have to do it by hand, and in the bathtub because its too large to put in a wash basin. I don't know what kind of soap to use either. Or should I just leave it alone? It is really yellowed on the back, which is white. And maybe I should wait until my clothesline is back up so I can hang it out in the sun to dry. If anyone has a suggestion, I am all ears.

Well, we are off to watch some of our old Irish dancing friends do a show at one of our favorite restaurants. Have a great evening!!

March 15, 2012

Annoying Chair Refinishing Part Two

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was working on refinishing my two bent wood chairs at my dad's house. You can see that here.
I also mentioned that I put a coat of furniture stripper on them and it didn't do much.

Well, my dad got me a different brand of stripper but it was caustic so I had to wait until we had a warmish day so I could use it out in his garage. So, I went back to his house to try again.
(We did have a conversation about all the caustic things he used in the basement workshop over the years and how he was never concerned. I had to interject how all of us kids and my mom had to breathe that stuff in. We came to the conclusion that now we know what is wrong with all of his kids.)

Anyhoo, this is the best it came out.

This little spot of bare wood.

The rest is still the same, but I believe the varnish is starting to break up.

Not very good. And, annoying because I will probably have to cover it again. Or let it all dry and sand them. Yuck. There is nothing I hate more than sanding. So my dad got out the phone book and called a few numbers of people listed as furniture strippers. The cheapest price we got was $35 each, hand stripped. I suppose that's a good price when you think about how long it will take to sand them.

I know what my mother-in-law is thinking while she's reading this, "You shoulda took them out in the yard and spray painted them like Jenny." Well, I'm not Jenny, Ma, and I know, OK?! I even have the paint. I just thought they were nice and old and would look good with that old stained look.

So should I spring for the $70 to get them stripped, put another coat of stripper on them,  sand them, or paint the doggone things like Jenny would? Oh, and by the way, I need them for Easter dinner. :)

March 14, 2012

Damp Spring Morning

This morning was very damp, you could feel it in the air.

You could see it too. This is the park across the street from my house. There was a very pretty mist hanging over it today.

The dew was dripping from some of the trees.

It was kind of dreamy looking and the birds were all singing. Finally, it looks like spring is here. I know we will still have some snow, the chances of it are always there. But for the most part, it's spring!!

Hope you are having weather that makes you happy where you are. :)

March 12, 2012

Project For A New Baby

Two weeks ago I went to a baby shower for Ron's cousin. Her friend made her the most beautiful quilt/blanket with wonderful patterned fabrics. The wheels started turning in my head.

Ron's niece is having a baby in August.

Maybe if I start now, I will get it done in time for her shower.

Here are the fabrics I bought to make it.

His niece and her husband do not know if they are having a boy or a girl so I'm trying to keep it neutral. You know, a little of each. I hope they like it.

I have never made a quilt before, but my sister Margaret said she would help me with it. She said I need to make my pattern pieces out of plastic so when I cut the fabric with my rotary cutter, I won't shave a bit off of the pattern with each pass. Margaret has a roll of such plastic and she said I could use it. I have to get it from her so I can start.
 I'm really excited about this project. I will keep you updated as I go along.
(Now don't all of you take bets on whether or not I'll finish it)

Thanks for stopping by!

March 11, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

So chicken gets eaten a lot around here. It seems as though I have a thousand recipes for it. While I'm doing my menu planning, I try to only make it once a week, or on Monday and Thursday/Friday so there are a few days in between.

This week I made Chicken with Honey and 4-Spice Seasoning.

It's delicious. Make sure you cook enough chicken pieces because it will be gone. Fast.

First of all, I made my own 4-spice seasoning. It calls for:
2 tablespoons ground white pepper
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cloves

Here is the recipe for the chicken.
1 chicken cut into pieces or selected pieces of chicken.
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons honey
5oz soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon 4-spice seasoning
pepper, salt, olive oil

In a cooking pot on a medium heat, brown the pieces of chicken on each side in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic crushed in a garlic press, then the honey.

Leave to cook for a minute, then turn the pieces over so that they are well coated. Add the soy sauce, the 4-spice seasoning and the pepper. Leave to cook slowly over a medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Check the seasoning, and remembering that the soy sauce is already salted, add salt to your taste.

I served this with rice and green beans. It was delicious, and like I said before, there was not enough chicken. Next time I may buy more chicken pieces and brown them in stages. I have a large pot and there still was not enough room to comfortably brown all I had. Then I might reserve some of the sauce out of the pot so I can pour it over the top of the chicken to make sure it all gets coated.

I hope you get the chance to enjoy this, it's delicious!

March 9, 2012

Window Dressing

We had a 65 degree day on Wednesday. I also saw 3 robins on my walk with Rory.
I now have spring fever.
So I have started my spring cleaning.
I started in the dining room, it's the easiest. ;)

I am always trying to come up with a new way to cover my windows in this room.

These lace curtains are so 1994, when I put them up. Also, when I wash them, they shrink, even if I don't put them in the dryer.

Does anyone have any ideas about what I can do here?

My windows are quite large, so I need to have something over them for privacy. So many catalogs and magazines show bare windows. At the same time, I hate to block out the light. This window faces the north, so the sun never comes in here. The other window faces my neighbor's house, but the sun comes in late in the day so I don't want to completely block this one either. Any suggestions? I would love to hear from you!

March 5, 2012

Time Marches...


I know I have been away for quite a while. I have unfortunately been sunk in my usual winter doldrums. I hate them, but I cannot avoid them for some reason. I don't want to complain about the winter since it has been very mild here, but it seems like we still haven't had much sunshine. That is the part that gets me.

Anyhow, time keeps moving, and even though I haven't felt like doing much, we still had a lot going on here.

For any of you who were following me this time last year, you know the very difficult time my daughter was having in a large public school after spending her life in a small Catholic elementary school. Well, we pulled her out and sent her to the local Catholic high school and the change has been astounding.

She just finished basketball season, she couldn't even touch the team last year. (I know this is blurry, but I thought it was such a cool action shot).

She was inducted into the National Honor Society (in a candlelight, hard-to-photograph ceremony).

She signed her name in the official book.

We are so proud of her and it will only continue. I'm not one to brag about my kids, but she was so downtrodden last year, I want to shout her new accomplishments from the rooftops.
Softball tryouts started today, so hopefully the blessings will continue.

Winter doldrums or no, we went to the hockey game. lol. Gotta do something fun, right?

We had Valentines, then my birthday, then Big V's birthday.

It was her 16th.
So... we drive.

She has been doing very well. Of course, since her dad is a policeman, she has been driving in the park after school for the last year, but there isn't much traffic there. Or curbs.

Today I am thankful for the sun shining, finally.
We are supposed to have some warmer, nice weather for the next two days. I'm excited to have a breath of spring. It makes me start to think about my garden and projects I want to do out back. I just know I will be late starting the projects and next thing it will be 80 degrees and too hot to do anything but lay by the pool. I'm looking forward to getting some motivation to get things done. Spring cleaning always helps me feel better, maybe I'll start that tomorrow. :)

Hope you have a great night, and thank you for checking back in on me, even though I was M.I.A.