Monthly Archives: July 2011

Garage Sales on a Summer Day

I didn’t plan to go out searching for garage sales, but I saw a few signs as I went about my day. Well of course, if I see a sign, I have to turn! I visited maybe five or six sales and I bought only one thing. But it’s something I am very pleased with:
Six place settings (knife, fork, spoon) of this Wm. A. Rogers silverplate flatware. By pairing it with three other small sets already at home, I plan to get rid of my very old (but not old enough to be vintage or interesting in any way) set of stainless steel flatware.

My old stuff wasn’t high quality to begin with. It was some of that stuff used as a grocery store promotional many years ago. “Spend $20 in groceries, get the teaspoon for $2 each”. That sort of thing. Most of the pieces are turning blue because the outer layer has worn away. And I see many little rust speckles on most of the pieces. So out it goes!

Some months back I read on a blog (I’m guessing it was The Nester?) that she collects silverplate and uses it for every day. She even puts it in the dishwasher and it’s been perfectly fine for years. So I’ve had that thought in mind for some time now, especially since I discovered that the stainless flatware I like would run me $600 for 12 place settings plus serving pieces. Uh, no. Not going to happen.

Already at home were these three silverplate patterns, collected from various sources. Left to right, I have: 1) six place settings consisting of knife, fork, teaspoon and soup spoon inherited from The Professor’s uncle (we never figured out what “R” is for), 2) six teaspoons also inherited from the uncle, 3) six forks and 12 teaspoons purchased at an antique mall several years ago.

With my new purchase I have 12 full settings, six extra forks, and 18 extra teaspoons. That should be enough to get us through the day.



Filed under Thrifting

More Cucumbers

Our prolific cucumber plants keep cranking out the fruit and I keep picking: 10 fat cucumbers yesterday and 11 more today. That’s too many to eat fresh, so I made relish. Yesterday was dill relish, and today I decided on sweet pickle relish.

First, I cut the fruit into chunks and then cranked it through my grinder.

I picked up this “Universal” food mill at an antique mall some years ago and I have used it many times. Some people use a food processor because it’s quick, but I don’t like how a food processor mashes the food to pieces. I wanted tiny chunks.

After the cucumber, I ground up an onion and some bell peppers.

Into a bowl it all goes, along with salt. I covered it with water and left it to soak for two hours.

Rinse and drain several times, cook with sugar, spices and vinegar (sugar for sweet relish only), then ladle into clean, hot jars. I didn’t photograph this part because I had sudden company.

Process in a water bath for 15 minutes, lift out, and cool the jars. There you have it! Seven jars of relish for the year to come.

I find that the recipes and instructions in The Ball Blue Book are consistently good. Walmart carries the book in housewares with the canning supplies.

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Filed under Cooking, Gardening


For the third time this week the rabbits ate my daisies. So I cut them all off and I will enjoy them in the house. I added the vintage daisy tablecloth, embroidered by my great-grandmother, for fun

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Filed under Decorating, Gardening

Cucumbers to Pickles

Freshly-picked this afternoon, 14 cucumbers from our garden:
Lead to this tonight:6 pints home-canned bread and butter pickles. Yum!

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Filed under Cooking

Work on Kitchen Begins

Yesterday I stopped procrastinating and started sanding the kitchen ceiling.

It’s not a job I was looking forward to: 10 years ago when we scraped off the old popcorn texture from the kitchen, we had no idea what we were doing. We naively left some of the underlying bumpiness, not realizing that any ragged areas would show through the final paint. Since then, we have learned how to scrape correctly, and how to sand and patch to achieve that final smoothness we want.

So my procrastination. I dreaded having to go back and sand through the paint in some areas to get to the old bumpiness. Areas that need to be filled weren’t an issue since spackle is easy to apply and sand for a smooth finish. But I had no idea how easy or how difficult the rough places might be.

I used our new palm sander and discovered how easy the job becomes with it. But it took a lot of overhead work and lots of inspecting to get it all smooth. I still have a bit more to work on today. My arms and shoulders sure ache!

Last night we discovered another problem. The Professor took down the old light fixtures in this area: one is an old box fluorescent fixture and the other is just a ceiling fixture. Underneath the fluorescent fixture we discovered that the ceiling had three cracks. One is quite large (see photo). We’re not sure if this is a structural problem or simply cosmetic; we’ll have to have someone look at it.

So my progress has come to a halt once again.

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Filed under Decorating

Peter Rabbit Visits

One morning last week I walked into our backyard and saw this:It used to look more like this:Overnight, it was de-nuded except for little bits of green on some tips! (It has sent out new leaf shoots since). One quick look told me that the rabbit boom in our neighborhood was out of hand. Peter, his brothers and sisters, his parents and aunts and uncles, and his first, second, and eighth cousins must visit our yard every evening. They methodically nibbled away one plant per night, until I went to war with them. From Google I discovered a nasty recipe to spray on the plants; I call it “Bunny Burn”. Let’s see who wins.

My four forlorn Indian hawthorn plants hope to recover someday.


Filed under Gardening

Cucumbers Everywhere

We go out of town for four days and come back to an explosion of cucumbers. I picked 17 yesterday and 11 more today. What to do, what to do? I think I see a few batches of pickles coming on.

The cucumber plants don’t really belong to me. Our next door neighbor had leftover seeds from last year, and he poked three of them into the bare soil on the side of our garage. (Yes, his seeds but our yard; some neighbors are like that.) I think he waters them because I don’t. The plants are huge and happy and producing like crazy. I hope he picks his share too.

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Filed under Gardening