Sunday, October 30, 2011

Prayer Ladies

Like many of you, I have many collections displayed throughout my home, but one of my favorites is my collection of Prayer Ladies. Also known as "Mother-in-the-Kitchen," they were made by Enesco and sold in department stores, dime stores and gift shops in the 1950s and 1960s. 

My first discovery was the salt and pepper shaker set. I was drawn to it because of the soft pink color, the way the ladies' hands were clasped in prayer and the fact that they were wearing aprons. I also loved the sayings on the aprons. They reached me on an emotional level because they reminded me of my youngest daughter, who often wore her brown hair up in a bun.

At that time, I didn't realize that there was a whole collection of these ladies, but it didn't take me long to find out. I've been able to find most pieces at a pretty reasonable price, and hope to add more. Some day, I'll pass them on to my daughter.

Below is the scouring pad or soap holder

This one helped mother save her pin money

The napkin holder is pretty common

My original purchase

The toothpick holder

And finally, the set I splurged on because I had never seen one--the sugar and creamer set. I found it over two years ago and paid around $30. I've never regretted it.

Yesterday I was on Ebay to see what Prayer Ladies are going for, and discovered a teapot that would go nicely with my sugar and creamer set. But alas, one with chips is priced at $95.00 and one in mint condition is going for $325.00! Out of my price range!

If pink isn't your color, these ladies were also made in blue and yellow, but I don't see them as often. I'm partial to pink, and although I don't use them as they were intended to be used, I do enjoy seeing their heads bowed in prayer in my kitchen cupboard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Library Love

I don't know about you, but to me there's nothing more relaxing than sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea. One of my favorite quotes is from C.S.Lewis: "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

I have a lot of books on my shelves at home, but there's nothing better than a trip to the library for new reading material. Free books--as many as you want. Bring them back and get some more! It doesn't get much better than that. I thought you might enjoy a picture from a recent trip to the library.

Yes, this was one trip! My daughter and I were loaded down. And if you're like me, you're probably scanning the titles--I love to look closely at pictures of people's bookshelves to see what they read.

I admit it, I'm a biblioholic. And there's no hope for recovery. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finding the Balance

One of my priorities in recent years has been to simplify my life, and it seems I've been successful in some areas, but not so much in others. There are so many good things to say yes to. Spending time with family and friends, church activities, keeping up my home and yard, creative projects, blogging--you get the picture. All worthwhile and important things, but once again I've taken on too much it seems, and I'm having a hard time keeping up with it all. I know I'm not alone in this. I'm sure you've experienced that overwhelmed feeling that comes when things are out of balance.

A good example of this is the fact that it's been over a week since my last blog post! I had good intentions, but not enough time or energy. I think I need to take some pressure off myself and be content to blog when I can. It's been great fun so far, and I don't want it to become just another pressure. I hope you won't give up on me!

I did make progress on a fun project that I want to share with you. I bought some cute Halloween fabric when I was in Rossville, and decided to make an apron out of it this weekend.

I made the pockets from some vintage-style fabric that I found at Joann's, and of course I couldn't resist adding ric-rac. 

You can't see it in these pictures, but on the waistband by the ties are buttons that say BOO. I thought they were a cute touch. This was a fun project that got me in the Halloween spirit. Maybe I'll put some candy in the pockets and answer the door wearing this!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five Dollar Friday

In an attempt to find a better balance between work and home, I recently cut back to 30 hours a week at work, and as a result have Fridays off now. I love having more time at home, and hope that in the near future I can be home even more. Little steps!

Of course, that means I'm also going to have to watch my spending more carefully. I love wandering through antique stores and flea markets looking for vintage treasures, and can't imagine giving that up. So my solution is $5 Fridays! My challenge will be to find something that catches my eye, inspires me, or would be just perfect in my home for $5 or less.

Today I visited an antique mall in our town. I had limited time, and it seemed like the best option. In the future, I'll visit garage sales, auctions, secondhand stores, flea markets--anyplace I think I can snag a $5 vintage deal. I think this will be a really fun challenge. 

So here's my first $5 Friday find (it was actually only $4!). I collect vintage children's books, and this is one I have never seen. It's called My Sunday Book and was published in 1956 by C.R. Gibson and Co. I was taken in by the lovely subtle colors and charming illustrations, along with the message of the book. 

You and I know that it's not always possible to be happy all the day, every day. But trying to see the good in things, and having a positive attitude is worth striving for. And for me, singing and praying lift my spirits every time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Time For Tea

Teatime is an important part of my day. In the morning before work, it's a quick mug of Earl Grey to get me started, and a teabag will do the trick. In the evening, I take a little more time, and often use my Harney and Sons loose leaf tea. On weekends, I often treat myself to loose leaf Earl Grey with lavender brewed in one of my many teapots. Years ago, I enjoyed my tea this way every day. It was a quiet moment in my day, usually while my children were napping, or at school. I would choose a teapot and a teacup from my collection and a book to enjoy with my tea. I miss those moments and wish I had more time to slow down and enjoy the ritual of teatime.

I'm sharing a picture of two of my favorite teapots below. I especially like the verse on the small one. It reads You will fill me with joy in Your presence. Psalm 16:11 NIV.

I'm linking this post to Dotty Hop Day at Cutie Pie Cottage and Rednesday at It's a Very Cherry World.

What special moments in your busy day bring you peace?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Laundry Day

Today was laundry day at my house. I really enjoy doing laundry, which may seem strange, but I love the smell of fresh, clean clothes folded in the basket.

I collect aprons, so it seemed natural to me to use my laundry room as a place to display some of my favorites, along with other vintage items that fit the theme. You know that I love bright colors, and this room is a testament to that.

Of course what you see isn't the true picture! The ironing board is usually piled high with clean clothes that need to be folded, and the dirty clothes are out of sight on the floor.

If you're like me and enjoy doing laundry, you might also enjoy reading Irene Rawlings and Andrea Vansteenhouse's book The Clothesline. It's full of cute pictures, vintage items, laundry room ideas and the history of laundry. I took this book out of the library so many times, and finally found a copy at a half-price bookstore. Now I can look at it any time I want.

To me laundry isn't a chore, but a satisfying ritual that brings a sense of calm to my day. And though I do laundry on Saturday, instead of Monday, like our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did, our routines are much the same. My washer is much easier to use, and I'm glad for that, but I'm ready to go back to the clothesline. No bottle of fabric softener can recreate the sweet smell of fresh air and sunshine.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Comfort Me With Apples

One of our favorite fall traditions is to make a trip to an apple orchard that's about an hour from our home. Sunday afternoon was sunny and beautiful, so off we went. It was a little late in the season, and the pickings were a little slim, but we came home with a full bag. We have plenty of juicy, crispy apples to eat, and enough for a pie or two. Of course we took the camera with us!  My daughter captured our day with these photographs:

At our house, when we have apples fresh off the tree, we like to cut them into slices and dip them in caramel dip. This recipe is so much fresher than the dips you can buy at the store and it's so easy to make. The hardest part is unwrapping the caramels!

Caramel Dip
1 bag Kraft caramels
1 stick butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Microwave caramels and butter until melted.
 Stir, then add condensed milk and stir again
until mixed together and smooth.

Enjoy! Apples and caramel dip - the ultimate comfort food on a chilly October evening.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Welcome to Rossville

The beautiful fall weather made me want to fly the coop again this weekend, so my daughter and I headed for our favorite small town destination--Rossville, Indiana. It's just a 20 minute drive through open fields, rolling hills and lots of farms. For some reason, I experience a true peace in my soul in this town, and hope that someday I might be able to live in this area.

For a small town, this one has everything I need! To start we headed for the Flour Mill Bakery. It's off the main road, but worth the side trip.

By the time we got there in the early afternoon, they were low on the good stuff--donuts, cookies, pies--but we did bring home some bread and pumpkin butter! 

Our next stop is always the farm market.


On to Rossville Quilts, which inspires my creativity.

And of course, no quaint small town would be complete without antique shops, and this one has two! They both have ever-changing, creative displays and the prices can't be beat. First is Back Through Time Antique Mall. 

We couldn't take pictures inside, but this gives you an idea of what's inside. You can see the old buildings reflected in the window!

Across the street and just a little ways down is The Peacock Perch. 

I loved the fall display that was in their front window.

Rossville is my idea of a perfect place. No crowds, no traffic, just friendly people everywhere we go. This little red hen feels right at home.