Monday, February 28, 2011

Strange Blogging Mystery!

Do you have Feedjit?  It's a 'widget' that you put on your blog to keep track of traffic, and where people are visiting from.  You can find mine way over in the far righthand column.  It amazes me!  To think that my little blogs have been visited by people from - literally - all over the world!  Thailand, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, India, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, and on and on!  It's so much fun to check in from time to time and see these faraway places on my Feedjit!

But, there is one oddity!  Every day, at least once but frequently multiple times, I have a visitor(s) from the same place, looking at the same post!  The visitor is from Toronto, Ontario, and they always come in on my post Fabulous Fay's Fabulous Cream Cheese Pound Cake!  In the last 40 hours, that same visitor has been here at least a dozen times, and this has been going on for at least a year!

Now, why is that?  Can anyone answer?  I have a theory, but will probably never know the truth!  My theory is that it's a 'bot', set out to leave spammy comments, but can't because I have word verification and comment modification.  (Sorry y'all, but I've tried one or the other, but it takes both of them to keep the crappy {sorry} comments off my blogs.)   That's got to be it, because no one in their right mind needs to look at one recipe multiple times per day!  Even an amateur baker should have the recipe memorized by now!

So, I have two requests:
  1. If you are that person, please let me know!  I'd love to ask you if you've made the cake, and if so, how you like it, or . . .
  2. Do any of you out there have any other ideas or theories that you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear your takes on this strange visitor!
Seriously, inquiring minds NEED to know!   Blessings friends, and Be Joyful Always!  Becky

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Wonderful Day!

Yes, I know!  Two posts in one 24 hour period . . . unheard of around here lately!  But I just had to share my day with you.  Joy abounding is such an amazing thing!

First, before I even got up, I peeked out the window, behind the curtain and saw that the sun was just reaching over the house.  Our bedroom is on the northwestern side of the house, so the sun doesn't reach this side of the house until way up in the afternoon.  But, I could see the sunshine, so I knew it was a pretty day.  I put the girls out, let them back in, fed them, then grabbed my wake-up glass of OJ and headed for my computer.  I had a post to do on my crafting blog for Unscripted Sketches, really needed to do a post on this blog (see below if you haven't read it yet, it's good!), and had a bunch of sweet comments and emails from folks, and ordered my birthday present to myself.  (Yeah!  I'm getting my Mary Janes Farmgirls Sisterhood necklace!)

Then I got a bath, got dressed, and hubby and I took the tandem bike (and my Trikke) over to a local school.  It had been a while, and we still aren't too confident on that thing, but we are determined to ride as much as possible before our trip to the beach in a couple of months.  After that we came home and I got in the kitchen.  I unloaded the diswasher, washed up a few dishes that needed it, emptied a couple of shelves that had extra glassware that we never use and put them in the dishwasher to wash - they were really dusty!  You know, just 'doing' stuff.  I also made a bottle of garlic-basil infused olive oil - can't wait to use some of that in some of my new dishes!

How do you make 'infused' oils?  Easy!  Find a container that seals tightly.  It can be a bottle, jar, or just a plastic bowl, it doesn't matter as long as it seals well.  For today's purpose we'll use an 8 ounce 'jelly' jar with a lid and ring.  Heat up about 3/4 cup of EVOO until it's just good warm.  While it's warming up, place a handful of peeled and crushed (whole, but broken to let the flavor out) garlic cloves (6 or so) and about 6 to 8 nice sized leaves of fresh basil.  If the leaves are small, add more.  Pour the warm oil in over the garlic and basil, cover tightly, and let come to room temp.  Then you can put it in the fridge and it will keep for 2-3 weeks at least.  After a few days you should probably remove the basil leaves, but the garlic should be okay. And that's it!  You could toss in some peppercorns if you like, or a few crushed red pepper flakes, or basically any seasonings  you like.  Easy Peasy!

Anyway, back to today!  While I was working in the kitchen - oh, did I tell you I had my ipod in my pocket, headphones on, and the ZBB (Zac Brown Band)  cranked up pretty loud?  No, well, I did!  So I was singing and dancing and in general having a blast!  Bessie and Bailey freaked out!  I guess it's been a long time (honestly, a REAL long time) since I've felt that good and was acting like an idiot!   And the dogs didn't understand, and they were all over hubby, not wanting me to go near them.  I was okay with that, because I feed them and  food - to the girls at least - heals ALL wounds!  :o)   But I was having a great time.

Then we got ready for dinner, and drove the 45 minute drive to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  And it's really not that far, but there's tons of traffic in that area, so it takes that long to get there!  After dinner we ran into Office Max nearby, and then into Trader Joe's.  This was our second trip there - the first being exactly 53 weeks ago!  You can read about it HERE if you are interested.   So we went in and looked around.  I was really looking for fresh fruits and veggies, but to be honest, their selection was small, and the quality wasn't that impressive.  But, we did buy a few things.   Take a look . . .

Nice bag of goodies, huh?  Here's what we got:

A handfull of bananas and a nice big jar of honey.

A nice big chunk of parmesan cheese and a can of artichoke hearts (LOVE!).

Two BIG bottles of EVOO - I used the last of mine making the infused oil earlier, and theirs is really good.  Best part?  Only $5.99 (l) and $5.49 (r) per bottle.  They are both EVOO, but the one on the left is 'President's Reserve'.

A bottle of red wine vinegar for vinaigrettes.

Two pkgs of shallots - they were only 99 cents per pack - deal of the day!

And of course, I had to buy a bag, and I really like this one - it has a kind of old, aged leather look, and is a more 'horizontal' shape rather than the traditional vertical or taller bag.  It was $1.99, and I love the graphics on it!

This bag will be great for picnics!  Then after we left Trader Joe's, we headed home.  It was such a nice, relaxing drive in the sunset, and by the time we got home it was totally dark.  We got out of the car and I looked up, and the sky was just bright with stars!  It's been a while since I've seen that many stars, and it was amazing.  And yes, that was another little gift!

It was a wonderful day!  (And yes, I'm going to leave out the part where when we got home, I found Bessie had pulled their food bin out from it's hiding place and it was open and a good bit of food was gone out of it.  And I know it was Bessie, because it would never enter Bailey's head to do something like that - she's just not made that way!)  But it was a beautiful day!  It feels so good to have my heart be light again, to sing out loud and dance while I'm working around the house.  It's been a long, long time!

So that was my beautiful day!  Won't you leave me a comment and tell me about your beautiful day???  Blessings friends, and Be Joyful Always!  Becky

New Is . . . . . . . GOOD!

Once again, I can't believe it's been so long since I did a post!  But you have to understand, I've been having a really good time!  On Monday I went to my friend Sue's home and spent most of the day visiting with her and her husband, Tom.  We had a wonderful traipse through the woods below her house, some crafting time, a nice lunch, and more time walking around her home and looking at plants peeking their heads out of the ground and the dozens of birds she has visiting her feeders.  It was a wonderful day!

On Thursday I went shopping, and I mean 'big' shopping!  Each year this time, after we get our tax refund, I start stocking up on things we use a lot of throughtout the year.  because of our new 'healthier eating' efforts, I will not be stocking up on beef from our local butcher, however I will still go to the local chicken plant (Tyson) and buy boneless skinless breasts from their 'company store'.  This time I got 20 pounds for $30, and that is only $1.50 per pound!  For boneless skinless breasts!  Such a great price.  I also am stocking up on boneless pork loins at Kroger.  I have some cut into roasts and some cut into thin chops.  We had the chops for dinner last night in a dijon mustard, garlic, ginger marinade and then grilled, that was just delicious!

I also stock up on paper and plastic products, staples like rice that I keep in the freezer, and detergents and cleaners.  Oh, and I bought 9 big cans of coffee, and no, we don't drink a ton of coffee!  I drink a cup or two a week, and hubby drinks a cup or two each day.  But coffee, in metal cans that are sealed will keep for ages, and Kroger had their brand on sale for $5.99 per can.  That's worth stocking up, don't  you think!  Besides, I store the cans on shelves in our garage, and they stay pretty cool most of the year, so that helps, too.

Buying things like that really helps because it keeps our food and household expenses down throughout the year, and if I run out of coffee (or rice or paper towels) all I have to do is go visit my little market in the garage!

But that's not really new!  Here are a few things that ARE new . . .

Cooking and eating better - I am thoroughly enjoying this new focus in our lives!  I love to cook, but I had gotten bored with doing the same old things all the time!  Now I am looking for new, healthier recipes, and finding some really good ones!  Last night I had grilled pork loin chops (very lean!) and sauteed veggies (asparagus, carrots and onion) with chopped jalapena peppers that I roasted and chopped, fresh garlic and ginger, Meyer lemon juice, etc.  It was a delicious meal, and we thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors in the food!  And as an example of how well things are going, my hubby went to the Dr. on Friday to have blood drawn, and his BP has lowered some, but he has lost about 12 pounds!!!  How is it fair that men lose weight so much easier than women do???  But I have to say how very, VERY proud I am of my sweet hubby; he really is trying to do better, and it's showing!

Buying more veggies and herbs - part of my new cooking style is adding lots of flavor, and when at my local Kroger the other day I bought a package of live, hydroponically grown basil!  It came from this company which is in my own 'home town' - or the town I grew up in, and where most of my family still lives.

I bought a 'pouch' of live, growing basil, and it is so beautiful and smells SO good, that you won't believe it!  I look forward to trying it in many recipes in the future!

I placed the 'plant' into a small glass pitcher that has a narrow enough neck to support the stems, but allows for plenty of water for the roots.  Right now it is sitting on my kitchen table where it can get sun from the windows.

Isn't that just amazing???  Here is a picture of the puch it came in.  I just love that I can (hopefully) keep this alive and well in my kitchen, then when the ground is warm enough, plant it outside!

So, that is definitely something new!!!

Recycling - Recently someone took our large, wheeled garbage can (provided by the sanitation company) from in front of our house.  I mean, SERIOUSLY!  Who would do something like that?  Especially in the middle of a subdivision!  Anyway, I called our sanitation company and they said "no problem" and brought us a new one.  And when I was talking to them I asked about their recycling program.  Hubby and I have talked about starting recycling, but just hadn't done anything about it, so this was a great chance to start!  It costs $1 more per month, and they brought us a large wheeled cart - just like the other one, but with a pink top - just for our recycled items.  And the great part?  We don't have to sort it!  They accept over 40 different types of recyclable items, and we just put it all into the large bin and they sort it after picking it up.  They pick up recycling every other week, which saves on gas and traffic in our neighborhood.  And they support Breast Cancer Research, which is even better!

So, anyway, we are now recycling.  I bought this trash can . . .

 . . . just for our recycling and have taped a list of the recyclable items on top, so it's easy to know what goes in there.  And it's amazing how much is going into that bin!  In just a few days I've over-filled it once, filled it again, and now it's already over 1/2 full!  This is definately new, and a 'good thing'.

Gardenia - Last fall my Mama gave me a couple of blooms from her gardenia, and told me to keep them in fresh water and they would root.  And one did!  It had such huge roots on it and I knew it needed to be potted, so I finally got it into a pot.  As soon as it's big enough I will plant it outside in my yard.  For now, whenever there is a sunny day, I put it out on the deck so it can get sunshine.  I can't wait to have my own gardenia blooms!

Joy - Yes, I said JOY!!!  I am feeling so much better, and once again finding joy in doing things around my home!  Yesterday (Friday) after having shopped all day onThursday, I had TONS of things to put away.  And the top shelf in my pantry was WAY overdue an organizing!  So I straightened the pantry, put (almost) everything away, put a fresh tablecloth on my kitchen table, washed a pretty bowl I've had for YEARS but never use.  I filled it with grapefruit (our new favorite dessert after dinner), pears and Meyer lemons.  I think it's beautiful as a centerpiece!

And speaking of grapefruit, hubby's doctor told him he should try to eat two a day, so we are now on our second 18 pound bag of Texas red grapefruit in three weeks.  At night I peel and section them (aka supreming) and put them in a bowl, and that is our 'dessert'.  Can I just say how wonderful they are???  They are full of fiber and vitamins, AND are very filling.  Not to mention the fact they are a great palate cleanser and don't leave you wanting something sweet after a savory meal.  We are both really loving this new addition to our evening!

Little Gifts Campaign Update - Have you noticed over in the sidebar that there are now FOUR people who have joined my Little Gifts campaign???  One earlier this week, and one just this morning!  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me!  I'd love it if you would visit their blogs!  And please join us on this journey to spread smiles to others, all the while being more grateful for the little gifts we receive!  A few little gifts I've received lately are . . .
  • a visit with my friend, Sue
  • lots of birds visiting my feeders
  • the joy of doing little things around the house
  • my hubby once again cracking little jokes and acting like he's going to be okay
  • finding a little pitcher I thought I'd 'lost'
and many more!  Won't you try to start putting more emphasis on finding and spreading joy?  I think you will find it is so very rewarding, and will change your outlook on life in general!!!

So, new is definitely good!  And things are really looking up around here.  And I am so incredibly grateful!!!  Will you please leave a comment and tell me what's 'new' with you???  Blessings friends, and . . .

Be Joyful Always!  Becky

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Better . . . Ramblings . . .

In north Georgia today, the sun is shining, the skies are blue with puffy white skiffs of clouds, and temps are nearing the 70 degree mark.  And it's so beautiful!  As soon as I finish this post I'm going to fix me a plate of homemade southern style potato salad with fresh sliced cantaloupe and red grapes, grab my latest embroidery project, and go sit on the deck in the sunsine.  Doesn't that sound summery???

I think I just have summer in my soul these days, and I am so overwhelmed at the feeling!  After more than 3 years of depression, sadness and almost non-stop worries, my heart is so light I feel as if I could just jump up and fly into the sky like a hot air balloon being carried on the breeze.  I had almost forgotten what that felt like!  Honestly, it's been so long!

An example of this lightness:  Day before yesterday I drove the 25 miles or so to get my mother and bring her here for a couple of days.  I didn't immediately turn the radio on in the car to drown out my thoughts, and before I'd been five miles I was finding a rhythm in my head and before long I was singing out loud.  Do you have any idea how long it's been since I sang out loud out of pure joy?  Me either - it's been that long!  And that lightness has just lingered, it's amazing.  And I am so grateful, seriously, honestly, sincerely filled with a joyful gratitude!

A few weeks ago, hubby told me that he had been having anxiety/panic attacks again.  He used to have them when we were first married, but had not had any in years, or so I thought.  But in recent months he had been having them again, and he got scared.  For a long time now I've been begging him to go have a good check-up, but he doesn't like going to a doctor.  When he had that last big panic attack, it scared him, so he went to a doctor and was put on a mild blood pressure medicine, plus one for his anxiety.  Within days I could tell a difference, and now after a couple of weeks, it seems the 'real' hubby is coming back.  I was so deep in my own darkness that I really hadn't paid attention to HIS darkness.  That makes me really sad, because normally I would have noticed it.

His doctor told him that he HAD to lose weight - no choice if he wanted to live, because it was that serious!  He was borderline diabetic, high cholesterol, high BP, and most of it would take care of itself if he would just lose a nice chunk of weight.  So I've been trying to cook healthier and we've been eating a lot of salads and fruit.  He's already lost a bit I can tell, because last night when he got home from work and I gave him a hug, I could touch my fingers together.  We are trying to drink more water, less sodas, and walk more now that the days are getting a bit longer.

These are all good, positive changes - for both of us!  And it feels so very, VERY, good!  Our lives haven't changed; the money problems are still there, although we are taking steps to work that out, and the world around us is in turmoil.  People are hurting and being hurt.  But right now, right here in our little yellow cottage, life is feeling pretty good right now.  Blessings, folks; and Be Joyful Always!  Becky

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I've Been Up To . . .

Wow!  I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted!  I guess it's true that time flies when you are having fun!  Well, at least part of the last week has been fun!  Most of last week I spent doing a long over due house cleaning!  I mean, from the carpet up to the vaulted ceilings and back down again!  The reason for the mad dash to clean up the house???  This . . .

Do you know how hard it is to get a decent picture when there are three women, all laughing, talking and cutting up involved?  Pretty difficult!  These are my sweet friends Sue (l) and Phyllis (r), and they came over to my house for a little gathering on Saturday.  The purpose for the gathering?  To form a new chapter of the Mary Janes Farmgirls organization.

If you were reading this blog back last spring and summer, you'll remember that I joined a local chapter, and immediately jumped in with both feet, volunteering to create and maintain our blog, and about anything else that needed doing.  I became what I thought was close friends with the chapter leader, and spent several months riding the roads in our area, talking up our chapter, and having loads and loads of fun!  As soon as school was out, Phyllis (above) joined us in our fun, and we all became quite close, but in August the chapter leader decided she didn't want me around any more, and pushed me out of the chapter.  But she wouldn't tell me what happened, if I had said or done something to offend her, and all I got was her last email that said "I don't know what you think happened, but it's all in your imagination"!  Now, I know I did not imagine her bringing me all my personal items from the henhouse, nor her asking me for my key to the henhouse!  So I still don't know why she pushed me out.  I have some theories, but they are only theories, so I'll stop with that.  Anyway . . .

Since I left the other chapter, I have stayed in contact with several of the members, including Sue and Phyllis, and over the last few months we've been discussing starting a new chapter and making it live up to the principles laid down by founder Mary Jane Butters: 

"A farmgirl believes in the strong arms of friendship, community and the just plain fun of being together. A farmgirl takes joy in the quiet satisfaction of making things with her own hands. She exudes kindness, grace, humility, gentleness, patience and generosity, and loves the simple pleasures in life. A farmgirl is loyal and caring, especially when it comes to her family, friends and community. She gives generously of her time and talents. Farmgirls love to get together to share their ideas. She can be with or without fields and stock. Farmgirl is a condition of the heart."


So we decided to wait until the holidays were over, and the first date we could all get togeter was last Saturday.  We had a great time!  I had spent a good bit of time with Phyllis, and some time with Sue, but neither of them had spent much time together, so I didn't know how things would go, but they were great together, and we did a whole lot of laughing and talking and laughing some more!

We had a brief 'discussion' of starting the chapter, and I got online and set up our new chapter on Mary Janes Farm website.  We are officially now the . . .

Sunshine Sisters!
A chapter of the Mary Janes Farmgirls Organization!

We talked about what we wanted our chapter to 'look' like, and we all agreed that we aren't interested in being the biggest and best chapter, nor being in competition with any other chapters, but we want our chapter to be the most close-knit, caring and sharing chapter!  We also call our meetings 'gatherings', because we don't want them to get into a rut of being too 'official', but rather more laid back.  And we are in agreement that there is no one 'leader'.  I am the official contact person, but we will decide TOGETHER how our chapter is to go and flow! 

After our brief discussion, we moved to the dining room table where we took a regular composition notebook and decorated it to be our official 'journal'.  And we agreed the label 'Beautiful Journey' fit very well, because we know this is going to be a really special journey.  For the time being our gatherings will be on Saturdays, but starting in June they will probably be on weekdays, which holds many different opportunities!

Sue, Becky, Phyllis
(It's so hard to set a timer on a camera and then run, sit and compose yourself before it clicks!)

You can find more info about our chapter on OUR BLOG.  If you live in northern Georgia and are interested, we'd love to have you join us for our next gathering on March 5th!  You can email us at sunshinesistersfarmgirls(at)yahoo(dot)com for more info as well!  I am very excited about this new journey, and I will share tidbits with you from time to time. 

Thanks for visiting today!  Next post will be to share a very special gift from a very special new friend ~ Genie ~ who was my partner in A Swap For All Seasons fabric collage swap.  See you soon, and remember to . . .

Be Joyful Always,  Becky

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Treasures on Tuesday

On Tuesday of last week, I shared some 'timely tips' with you, but this week I wanted to show you some of my treasures and a bit of our home.  Today we are visiting the breakfast room, which is one one of my very favorite rooms in the house!  I love this little nook because of all the treasures I have in such a small space, and because of the large double window that looks out onto our back deck and the yard and woods beyond.

Let me first begin by saying . . . we are not 'fancy' people. We LIVE in this house, and it is NOT a museum or a showroom for how things should be done. This is our HOME, and we love it! When we moved here a bit over 7 years ago, my fondest dream was to make our home a place where family and friends were able to feel welcomed and comfortable. And I don't believe that a place where everything is pristine and showroom ready - for me - is that place!

Syracuse China - Old Ivory 'Lady Louise'

The last four pieces of my grandmother's china.  I have always loved this pattern - it is simple and yet 'fancy' all at the same time.  Best I can find out through my research is that it was made some time in the mid to late 1930's and was discontinued in 1949.

When we first moved here, the breakfast room was going to be my office. I put a couple of tables there, my computer, and some of my craft things. Before long I moved all of that into the third bedroom which is now 'my' studio and office. At that time my vision for the breakfast room was a 'tea room'. I found and bought a second hand round white table and 4 chairs, and from the moment I brought it into the house, I hated it! The table was too big, round didn't work in the space, and it was just awful, but I was stuck with it - for a while.

A few of my aprons.  I usually only have one per hook, but I'm having a get together at my house this weekend, and I thought we might want to wear an apron, so I've added more so there will be more choices.

A few years later, after much obsessing over what 'style' I wanted for the space, it hit me! I wanted a farmhouse kitchen. That was where my heart was (and still is!) but my pocketbook dictated for the present at least, the awful white table remained. Then, in late March about 4 years ago, my aunt and I were at the monthly antique market in our town, and I saw this table and chairs, and just KNEW that this was the one for me!!!

Looking into our breakfast room from the kitchen.
 It was an old dining set - table with an extra leaf, and 4 chairs with pressed wood backs. I'm thinking it was probably from the 1930's to 50's, but am not sure. The thing that stood out about this set - it was antiqued in bright red! I loved it! So I called my hubby, asked him if I could buy it for my birthday and he said yes. Oh, and the price? Only $125 for the set. I gave the man a deposit, told him we would come and pick it up later that afternoon, and went merrily on my way, looking for inexpensive accessories for my new farmhouse kitchen. (Note: After we got the furniture home and in place, I took pictures and printed them, and the next day I took them to the vendor who sold me the furniture. He was so excited to see where they had gone, and asked if he could keep the pictures. I told him they were for him, and he thanked me several times over.)

The 'tab top' toppers are from J. C. Penney and by Waverley.  I added the vintage ric-rack and the red buttons to each tab.  They've been in here for several years, and I still love them!
 Anyway, the new red table and chairs went great with the mustard cabinet that had belonged to my paternal grandparents. Eventually I found an old blue bench that fit right in, and now, several years later, this is still one of my favorite rooms in the house.

For as long as I can remember, this was antiqued avocado green.  When I brought it home (our previous house) I had yellow, blue and white, so I made a poor attempt at re-antiquing it to this yellow. 

During the refinishing process, I found these three patches.  They are simply very old duct tape that had been painted over.  When I opened the door and looked at the back side I found what looked very much like . . .

bullet holes!  Of course by the time I acquired the cabinet it was too late to ask my grandmother about them, and my dad and his sisters didn't know why they were there.  So I just decided to honor the cabinet's history and leave them as they were!  I will say this cabinet is VERY old, and obviously hand made.  I believe the upper shelves also had doors at one time.  It fits perfectly into my little nook, and holds my most used cookbooks. 

I purchased this little plant stand at an estate sale last year (2010) and had planned on selling it, but it fits here so perfectly, I think it will stay for the time being.  The hen on nest was a gift from my cousin, I made the doll years ago from a fabric panel.  The bee hive pitcher was purchased at an old, now defunct antique market, I bought the fiestaware cobalt pitcher at a yard sale for $1, and can't remember exactly where I got the house teapot, but I think it was on the same trip north when I bought the little birdhouse.

The sign on top says "Beware, dog can't contol it's licker!"  I bought this at a shop near Cleveland, GA called Bessie Maes, because 1)I loved it, 2) it so perfectly describes our Doxie girl, Bessie Mae, and 3)seriously, it's from a shop called Bessie Mae's and perfectly describes our dog named Bessie Mae?  Had to have it!

Pictures I took on a trip to Wisconsin and Michigan in 2002.  Can you tell I am addicted to barns!

A close up of the 'dinette'.  I will put the tablecloth on the table on Saturday morning for our gathering.  If I put it on there now, it will be FILTHY before Saturday.  Is your husband/significant other a messy eater like mine?

Our every day dishes.  I purchased them as a gift to myself when I had surgery in 2003.  I still love them, and think they fit in my farmhouse kitchen beautifully!  I purchased them from QVC, and I believe they still carry them, but the pieces in the set have been changed.

I purchased this old bench at Lakewood Antiques Market in Atlanta.  It was originally from an old textile mill in NC, and is painted in a bright blue enamel paint.  I love it, and would never change the color!  And yes, it's messy under there, but we have a small home, and this is a perfect place to store drinks and dog food.  The papers at the far end are kept handy so if I have to leave the house for a long while, I can leave some down for the girls in case they need to, well, you know!
I have the bench covered with a folded quilt.  I purchased the quilt at an estate auction several years ago, and love it there!  Two things:  1)see that Romantic Country Homes magazine?  My sweet friend, Tara (Blondie'n'SC) was featured in that edition!  and 2)see the long apron on the right?  It is vintage, probably 1930's or so, hand embroidered, and I love how it is made!  When you put it on and tie it, it has a very fitted yoke, but wide, kind of flowing skirt.

My most used cookbooks, plus some local Georgia cookbooks.  The old ragged out orange one (2nd from right) is the very first cookbook I ever purchased, a Betty Crocker one from the early 70's.  The rosebud teacup was the 'vessel' for a bouquet of pink sweetheart roses that hubby sent me for our 6 months of dating anniversary.  Those were the very last flowers he ever sent me!  He'll buy me all the plants or seeds I want, but cut flowers only die - or at least that's his story!

More cookbooks!
The old iron stove has a funny story behind it. Hubby and I were at an auction one night, and I liked it, but said I would only pay up to $15 for it. But, I got into a bidding war over it because hubby got in on the act with the auctioneer and kept telling me to bid. I really didn't want it THAT bad, but I thought hubby DID, so I kept bidding (only at his insistance). I ended up winning with a bid of $35~! I would never have paid that much for it on my own! I'm not sure if it's a toy, or a salesman's sample, and would love to know! If you have any ideas, please let me know. Also, I would love for it to find a new home, and will take $60 for it including free shipping!

Is it a toy, or a salesman's sample?  Can YOU tell me???

It has a tea kettle, pot, skillet, spatula, cover for the stovepipe, 'lifter' that you use to lift the hot burners, and a muffin tin.

Muffin Tin in the oven.

Thank you so very much for taking this tour with me!  I hope you have enjoyed visiting, and look forward to seeing you back again soon.

Be joyful always!  Becky