One of the most popular areas of our store is the letter shelf in the General Store area:
We are constantly on the hunt for scrabble games and any other games that have letters to satisfy the hunger of our customers! Seems everyone wants to incorporate words into their lives. Sometimes it's a last name, sometimes it's a teacher's name, sometimes it's a child's name, other times it's an inspirational word, maybe a greeting. We have taken the time to paint some of our scrabble trays, which makes it even more fun to display that special word. Certain letters get picked over because each game only has 1 or 2 of them. Each weekend we hear someone hunting for the elusive "K", or a "J". We sell over 100 letters each occasional!
As I told you in January, my word for the year is "Pursue". I have placed the letters on a cute painted aqua tray to inspire me at my kitchen sink.
Maybe it's a temptation, or maybe we need to get the "Words with Friends" game on our phones, but every morning I come down to a different word! Someone grabbed an "IT"...guess "Pursue it" works...think the real reason is that more words can be created!
Here's a sampling:
Is anyone else experiencing this at their homes?? My mom said her word was being messed up so much, she decided to glue it on!
Maybe I can blame my lack of pursuing on the messed up words? Think I need a word that says..."Just Keep Up"! But there's a lot of good vowels and consonants in there...
The guys may look forward to Fishing Opener, but us girls love Garage Sale Opener. This year everyone is itching to get out and hunt for junk after our seemingly never ending winter. The snow storms just kept coming one after the other, it's become quite laughable.
Over my morning Mountain Dew(I'm not a coffee drinker, love the smell just not the taste), I quickly scanned our freebie paper for sale potentials. I skip the baby sale ads unless we are looking for baby toys for our dog, Scooter. Love them at 25 cents each and they last much longer than expensive dog toys.
Looks like tomorrow morning I hit the trail with my jean jacket, cap(because there is no time for hair when the first sale starts at 7:00 am) and my capable side kick, our daughter. No school, so I have a partner in crime. She's not a morning person, but for garage sales she jumps out of bed early. She also comes prepared, bringing bottles of water, Cheez-It crackers and wet wipes of course.
Our daughter drags my husband out of bed early on Saturday morning of Occasional Sale weekend when I'm at the store. She makes her list of sales the night before, packs her goodies and they hit the road when I leave for the store. She loves being "Head of Purchasing" since I'm not along. She knows her stuff, they always have a competition to see who can find the item that Mom will like the best. Nothing like bonding over Junk!
I'm excited for the Church Sales, mass gathering potential at one location. That's when it really helps to have a helper or two. I'll continue to check Craigslist and the Classifieds to see if any more sales pop up to add to my list.
Nooo, I'm not talking about the weather here in Minnesota! The White Witch from Narnia has us under her wintry spell, and we're all pretty depressed and crabby about it. Ever watched Groundhog Day? Yep, that's what the weather reports have been like...freezing rain, snow, sleet...the only upside I can see to this weather compared to our 80 degee March weather we had last year is...
Big, bulging, blue bags of sap! The sap is runnin! We've got plenty of beautiful, mature Maple trees in our yard and have enjoyed their fall colors and their leaves in big piles for many years, but 2 years ago Mr. Fix-it had a "live off the land" moment and decided he was going to tap the trees! He scoured the internet for information and picked up supplies. We had gotten a couple buckets full of taps and bag holders from someone moving that knew I was always open to more "junk"!
The trees got tapped, the blue bags appeared and the whole family got to taste the sweet contents of our beautiful Maple trees!
It's been an education for all of us. The kids have learned how to empty the bags into containers, and have realized how much patience it takes when there's a 40 gallon to 1 ratio...liquid gold!
Mr. Fix-it has manufactured his burning technique and still wants to make improvements...ever the engineer!
The air is filled with a sugary sweet smell, similar to how the cotton candy machine smelled like when I worked the school carnival. After tending the sap all day, it's taken inside for the final boil before it's syrup. With the vent hood running like crazy, it gets to the final boiling point and is then filtered through a fabric cone into pint size jars.
My kitchen and my cooktop get a work out, but oh, what a final result!
The first batch was light gold, the second batch almost reddish in tone. Mr. Fix-it sent a bunch of sap home with a co-worker that likes to boil, but doesn't have trees. The bags are still filling, because the weather isn't changing...and the trees have two years worth of sap in them because last year it got nice too fast! Guess this stinkin' weather is good for something!
After a breakfast of pancakes and syrup, we'll be out emptying more bags and boiling down more sap (and hopefully getting some PG projects done while checking the thermometer)! I just love that I'm living a Laura Ingall's Wilder kind of life!
Hang in there Minnesotans...spring has to come...doesn't it?
I know there's a lot of naysayers out there when it comes to wallpaper. Seems like everyone remembers having to peel off a non-sized wallpaper job, and never wants to experience it again, but painting over a dark-colored wall can be a pain, also! Decorating is like fashion, and changes every couple of years. Martha made plain colored, painted walls and trim fashionable, but I think wallpaper is ready to come back in a strong way! Everything in moderation is my advice. Faux textures, wallpaper borders, and paneling get a little much when you do them in every room! Variety is the spice of life, enjoy the house you live in!
I like wallpaper! I don't like to hang many things on my walls, because I may find something I like better, or want to change it when the season changes. Wallpaper gives me beauty without clutter! I gravitate to non-trendy, classic, more vintage-y patterns, that hopefully won't look out of style in a couple of years. I do think the idea of doing just one feature wall is kind of fun, but for our bedroom, I wanted to be surrounded by the beauty!
Here's our wallpapering weekend! I did check out some tutorials on line to refresh my memory, and had a few fliers I had picked up years ago to reference. Mr. Fix-it was excited this was pre-pasted wallpaper...and that we weren't doing the ceiling ;)
Our pattern had a pretty big repeat, so I let Mr. Fix-it handle the measuring and the matching. We set up two vintage fold-up metal tables as work surfaces, which worked great.
When cutting your strips, leave an inch or two at the top and bottom of the wall. Before wetting the wallpaper, loosely roll it, pattern side in. We used a bathtub of lukewarm water to wet the paper for 30 seconds, but you can buy special trays, also. Once the adhesive has gotten wet, the wallpaper needs booking. Bring both ends of the strip to the middle, adhesive side in. Don't crease the folds! After 10 minutes, the strip was ready to hang.
Wallpapering together is a true test of marriage! I was matching up the seams, but every once in awhile we would need to completely peel it back and start over. A little caffeine is necessary, but not too much! A geometric pattern is probably tougher. Our branchy, lots of open space pattern seemed pretty easy. As you can see in the last photo, I don't unfold the bottom half of the paper (that was previously booked) until the top half is good to go.
To attach the wallpaper to the wall and smooth it out so there are no bubbles, use a brush like the one above. We got ours in a wallpapering kit at the homestore. Your brushstrokes should go down, to the left, and to the right. You can also go up, and then to the right and left. When everything looks perfect, you can cut off your extra inches with a straightedge and a very sharp razorblade/utility knife.
Sponge off the whole strip with clean, lukewarm water to eliminate any wallpaper paste. A seam roller can also be used on the seams 10 minutes after. Sponge again, in case there's any paste near the seam. Change the water often.
I was amazed at how the wallpaper kind of sucked to the wall as it dried. It was very forgiving. We had used a thicker nap roller for the primer and sizing, and as the wallpaper dried, it almost looked textured, kind of vintage...and you know I like that!
The strip on the left is dry, the one on the right is still pretty wet. Can you see the difference?
We had started to the right of the door, so as to get a straight, level line to begin with. Once we got the first wall done...whoo, hoo! I just felt sooo happy!
The lighting's not too great in this pic., but I'm not showing you any more photos till the carpet's installed...next week! I can't wait to get the bed set up again, and get everything into it's place once and for all!
Wallpaper...it's beautiful, stressful, an adventure...try it sometime!
Last night we had the pleasure of seeing the Brandisa Concert at our Church. Brandon Heath and Mandisa. What a day! It was a family affair, the moment church ended the guys were unloading the equipment and starting stage set up and us girls were helping with the merchandise tables.
Once the parking and greeting were done, the concert was in full swing. I was so excited to hear her in person as we play many of her songs at the store. We love the energy that she brings to the atmosphere of the store. She is even more energetic in person and puts on a fabulous concert. The music and lights are wonderful, but her message is even greater. She has a heart over flowing to share God's word with others and does it warmly and truely from her own heart.
Mandisa sang that same song on Good Morning America last year just before Robin Roberts left for her cancer treatments. Upon Robin's return to the show, she invited Mandisa back to sing her song "Stronger" because it was such a moving song for her during her own recovery.
I bet you're thinkin...wonder what ever happened with her bedroom remodel project? Well, we're still living in it, and it's so close I can hardly stand it! If we just had a day at home...together... when we could put the time in...but life with 3 kids & a store to run...
So let me show you how it's looking these days. I have to say, after reviewing my other bedroom remodel posts here, and here, and here...it's much nicer than it has ever been, but I can't wait to see it with clothes on!
Yes, we did make the splurge and swap out the old crank outs to new, beautiful Marvin Windows! I absolutely love them! They make the whole front of our house actually look nice ( I've always thought it was ugly, because the windows were wrong-sized), and the morning sunshine that comes in...swoon! We dropped them 16", which coincidentally were exactly where the originals were!
Thankfully, Mr. Fix-it had help from Big Boy and a family friend...2nd floor window replacement is not a one person job!
So, these winter months have been filled with trimming out the windows, sheetrocking, taping, and sanding...and painting! Lots of shuffling stuff around, stacks of underbed storage, a tablesaw and a shopvac in the room. But, it's looking pretty nice now...
No more glittery popcorn on the ceiling, and wonderful, very bright, well-placed recessed lights!
Beautiful new, old-house style trim with gleaming Benjamin Moore, oil-based trim in Atrium white. The walls have been primed and prepped with sizing, and all else is waiting for that free day...
Curtain rods waiting.
I've been picking up carpet samples too.
Waiting, but thankful for all the progress that's been made!
Hope to show you the room clothed, soon!
Winter is getting looong! I'm sick of snow, sick of my winter wardrobe, and sick of winter food! I need some spring, and I'm unfortunately not heading to a warmer climate for a vacation, like some of you are! O.K...maybe this year I'm feeling a little jealous! I actually like being at home when everyone else in town is gone, and the weather is melting and the birds are singing...but this year that may not be so. As a result of my not wanting to make another pot of winter soup, I decided to make my family one of our favorites! I usually make this recipe for Happy Girl's birthday in February...when we need some summer hopefullness!
This recipe came out of the Free Church cookbook. It's been around for years & probably has many variations. You can tell by my dog-eared, splattered cookbook, that I've made it a lot! I love making either Raisen Bran muffins or Blueberry muffins to go with it. The pickier eaters can have all their items separate. I like it all...and my mound usually gets bigger than I can eat! Buffet meals like this recipe are my favorite for parties!
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
2 10 oz. cans cream of chicken soup (if you want to be healthier, use the healthy request)
1 cup chicken broth
Chow Mein noodles
Chopped green onion
Chopped green pepper and/or red & yellow peppers
Bite size pineapple chunks- fresh or canned tidbits
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Your favorite cooked rice
Combine soup, broth and cooked chicken in a stockpot on medium heat until warm. To serve, we usually have rice first, then gravy, then cheese and the rest of the toppings. I usually make a double recipe for a big family party, or to have leftovers. I love serving all the toppings in my vintage refrigerator dishes, because I can simply put their lids on and pop in the frig for leftover night!
Don't you love seeing all that color? Hope this spring-y recipe helps you get though this long winter!