Thursday, January 31, 2013

Giveaway Reminder!

Just a reminder,
today is the last day
to make yourself eligible for
tomorrow's giveaway.
I'll be giving away one of my
"Tag Along" Bags
 like or similar
to the one pictured above.
I have several fabric choices
from which the winner will
select her bag.

This giveaway is being held in conjunction with
hosted by Vickie at "Two Bags Full".
Many of the participants of Vickie's party
are hosting giveaways on February 1.
The only thing you need to do
is visit and leave
a comment at this post.

One other reminder,
the "After Christmas Sale"
at my Etsy Shop
ends tomorrow too.
I still have great items left,
(like the knitted tote pictured above).
So don't miss out!

Keep me in your thoughts today.
I'm having cataract surgery on one eye
this morning.
The other eye was done about
a year and a half ago,
so I totally know what to expect...
good vision!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Housekeeping 101

I crave order in my house.
I am not  extreme about it though.
My goal is to keep my house in
good enough order that
if someone drops by unexpectedly,
I'm not in a panic about how 
the house looks.

Housework is always there
and you never get done with it.
There are endless duties.
Finding a way to manage these duties
without becoming overwhelmed by them
is the secret.
For me, the trick is to divide and conquer.
That means dividing these duties
into small daily tasks.
I refuse to spend more that an hour a 
day with housekeeping.
I have neither the interest,
the energy nor the inclination 
to spend a whole day cleaning

First, there are those daily chores.
Making the bed is one of the things
that always gets done at my house.
Walking into a room with an unmade bed
is unsettling to me.
Loading/unloading the dishwasher,
is another daily job.
I cannot abide a sink full of dirty dishes.
Keeping clutter controlled on a daily 
basis is helpful too.
Living alone helps since
I'm the only one responsible if there is clutter.

Then there are the weekly chores.
Laundry, vacuuming and dusting
are all jobs that need to be done 
every week.
Happily, my house is small enough that
if I only do a room or two per day,
the whole house gets a "going over"
each week with minimal time spent
each day.

Finally, there are those jobs 
that need to be done seasonally.
These are the jobs to "work" into
your daily routine as time allows.
I find if I don't pressure myself to
get the whole job done at once,
it goes much easier.
For example washing a couple
of windows a day,
rather than taking the whole day
to do them all,
seems to work for me.
I know, I'm probably just playing
mind games with myself.
But, whatever gets the job done, right?

What are some of the routines 
that work for you?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My All Time Favorite -- Stage Play

 The first time I saw LES MISERABLES on stage was in 
San Francisco, perhaps 25 years ago.
I was there on vacation and just happened upon
the theater where it was being performed.
A spur of the moment decision resulted in
excellent seats for that day's matinee.
Chatting with a stranger sitting beside me,
I learned he had seen the show many times 
and he assured me, it would be "life changing."
He was right.
I have seen lots and lots of stage shows.
They are a passion of mine.
But, I have never been touched by a show
in the same way I have been by LES MISERABLES.
I've had the pleasure of seeing it performed
three times over the years.
So, you can imagine my excitement about
this holiday season's  movie.

The movie did not disappoint.
(I have seen it twice, 
so you know I'm serious about Les Mis.)

I love the music and lyrics of this show.
It's my favorite thing about the show.
One difference between seeing the stage show
and the movie is that  
the lyrics are much more easily 
understood in the movie.
The songs performed in the movie do not have
the refinement you hear from the stage.
But it's much more intimate.
You are right there with the characters.
Songs in the movie were performed 
while filmed, rather than dubbed in later.
This made them much more emotional for me.
There are lines in this show  
that truly touch my soul.
"...days of endless wonder..."
"I know a place where no one's lost..."
"I was borned to be with you..."
"...there's a grief that can't be spoken,
there's a pain that goes on and on..."
" love another person,
is to see the face of God..."

LES MIS is several stories.
First is the  story of redemption.

It is a touching love story.

It is the story of a student rebellion.
Seeing the student's barricade
 on stage that first time,
with the smoke, the lighting and that red flag waving,
I realized what the "magic" of theater is.

There's also plenty of comic relief in 
Monsieur and Madam Thenardier.
I have never been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen,
but he is perfect here.

So, I won't say this is my all time favorite movie,
although I liked it a lot.
But, it surely is a wonderful production of 
my all time favorite stage show.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Time for a Reintroduction?

It has been three years since I started this blog.
My opening post was a bit about myself.
When I learned about my friend Vicki's
I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
It seemed like a naturally good time for 
some reintroductions.
Besides which, I wonder how many people
who read my blog today,
read it at the beginning?

Eight years ago, as my 30 year marriage
came to an end,
and my daughter Kate
would soon be going away to college,
my sister Nancy and I decided to
pool our resources and buy a house together.
I was ready for a change and needed to downsize.
We found our "Buttermilk Cottage"
in a nearly 100 year old bungalow.
It was "almost" perfect.
There was plenty of space upstairs
for Nancy to have an apartment
and I only needed to add a
bathroom and office/sewing room
to the downstairs for me.

Our first order of business was getting
Nancy's space ready for her.
I was committed to staying put for a while
while Kate completed her final
year of high school.
Besides some cosmetic changes,
we only needed to add a small
efficiency kitchen upstairs.
Nancy is not a cook,
but we both saw the merit 
in having both the upstairs and downstairs
as self contained units.
She moved in within a few months
of our purchasing the house.

I spent the next year making the 
necessary downstairs additions,
remodeling the kitchen,
stripping wallpaper, painting,
sewing window treatments
and generally throwing myself into
what was for me,
a huge project.
It was the most empowering 
time of my life.
Who knew I could buy a house,
plan and then manage
a successful renovation???

The house was all ready for me to move into
when we returned from Kate's
graduation cruise/celebration. 
Since then, the time seems to have flown away.
Kate has graduated college,
moved to New York City
where she still lives and works as
an editorial assistant.

Nancy and I still share and love the house.
We DO tell people what has made
it work so successfully for us is that
she has her space and I have mine.
One of her big passions is gardening,
which I must admit is not my forte.
She has developed the garden here into
such a showplace that we have been
included in the last three
neighborhood garden tours.
You can read about the garden
at her blog.

I spend my time with my two big passions,
yarn(knitting) and fabric(sewing).
I also spend my time 
cooking, reading, decorating,
managing the dogs, Daisy and Chaos,
 and blogging.
These are some of the things 
you'll read about when 
you visit Buttermilk Cottage.
Which I hope you'll do often.

In the spirit of celebrating Vicki's blog party,
along with many of the other participants,
I'm going to have a give-away on February 1.
All you need do is leave me a message
that you visited this post,
making sure I have a link back to you
so I can let you know if you win!
The winner will receive one of my handy little
"Tag Along" Bags,
similar to the one pictured.
I have several different fabric choices
and you'll select the one you want.
So leave a comment 
and then go party with
some more of Vicki's guests.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Ten Cooking Truisms

I'm a firm believer that the kitchen is the heart of the home.
I also believe that if your kitchen 
works well for you, 
you're that much ahead of the game.

Buttermilk Cottage is almost 100 years old.
So, my kitchen here is a little quirky.
(Yes, I've gone "European" and have the
washer and dryer in my kitchen.
I plan to be here for a while
and the thought of dragging laundry
up and down the basement stairs
had no appeal when I "did" the kitchen.)
But, I'm getting off my subject.
In spite of it's quirks, my kitchen works 
for me because of ten personal "cooking rules"
to which I adhere.
(No particular order of importance...
They're ALL important.)

1.  You can do a LOT with a cake mix.
I always have a chocolate, white, yellow and spice mix
in my pantry.
THE CAKE DOCTOR is a wonderful inspiration.
She'll tell you how to make cakes, cookies,  fruit pizza,
and lots more.
(Note to my brother Rick,
she EVEN has a recipe for
"Easy Tiramisu" )

 2.  ALWAYS  have pesto in your refrigerator or better yet,
in your freezer .
(Here's my recipe.)
If I could have only one seasoning in my kitchen,
this is the one I'd choose.
You can flavor main dishes, pasta, soups or 
use it as a base for a dipping oil for bread.

3.  There must ALWAYS be ice cream in the freezer.
No more needs to be said here.

4. Sharp knives are essential.
Once you've used sharp knives 
in your kitchen, you cannot
tolerate dull ones.

5.  You could make a different chicken dish
every day of the year,
and still not run out of new recipes.

6.  If you have eggs in your refrigerator,
you have breakfast (scrambled),
lunch (egg salad sandwich) and 
dinner (an omelet).
Not to mention dessert (a custard).

7.  Keep a GOOD vanilla on your shelf.
DO NOT bother with those "imitation" things.
They're ...well...imitations.
If you can get your hands on vanilla from Mexico,
do it., and call me....please.  
It's like no other.
I've just used the last of what I had
during the holidays
and need to start seriously looking for more.

8.  Homemade bread is the staff of life.
I have a wonderfully easy recipe
that makes four loaves at a time.
When baked, I slice and freeze them
and then always have "just baked" bread available.

9.  Use REAL butter.
If I had to eat margarine,
I would go without.
It also makes the world of difference in cooking.

10.  Several different types of dried pasta in the pantry
will always be your best friend when you don't know
what else to cook for dinner.
Remember the #2 Pesto rule?
You can cook some pasta and add one or
two cubes of frozen pesto
and you'll think you're in a gourmet restaurant.

So, there you have it...
my ten cooking tenets that keep
my kitchen operating smoothly.
Here a bonus one:

White dishes are the best.
You can change your linens whenever the mood strikes you,
and white dishes will always work.
Plus, food just seems to look
better plated on white.

In thinking about these ten things 
it's only made me realize, 
there are really lots, and lots more 
that could be added.
I'll bet you have a few of your own.
I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January Sale!

After a very hectic holiday season in 
I've been busy doing a little "housekeeping" there.
Because I gave up the wholesale side of my
business this year to concentrate entirely
on the shop,
 I decided it was time to change  it's look 
FiFi Flowers designed the above artwork
for me sometime back and I'm excited to finally 
use it as my shop logo.

I've also gone through all my inventory and
marked down several things.
There are a variety of things to tempt you
ranging from some home decor items to
boutique bags and some knit wear.
So, if you haven't been to the shop,
ButtermilkCottage (SALE!) lately,
now is a particularly good time to visit! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yearning to Eat Heathy?

Is "Christmas" all put away at your house?
At this time of year, after all the holiday indulging
I yearn for healthy meals.
Here's a great salad.

Apple Spinach Salad

This salad serves 6 and works great as a meal on it's own.

Whisk together:
1/4 c. honey
3 T. vegetable oil
2 T. cider vinegar
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/8 t. salt

Add 1 (9-oz.) pkg fresh spinach, torn.

And 2 large Gala apples, thinly sliced.

Also add:
4 oz. extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shaved
1 c. thinly sliced celery
1 c. honey-roasted cashews
1/2 c. golden raisins.
Toss gently to coat.
Serve immediately.

This has become a favorite salad at
Buttermilk Cottage.
If you try it, you'll understand why!
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