"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I think I'm turning Japanese!

Well at the risk of very much dating myself, turn on your speakers and laugh with me at life. I remembered this song from my high school days and thought it needed to accompany this post. It has been a long time since I have mentioned my health but have had many emails inquiring so thought I would place an entry about how things are. I have been to the hospital three times this past week for various appointments. I had to see a neurologist as my endocrinologist wanted me to see him since she thought I have carpal tunnel in both hands. After an hour and half of examinations, he told me that it was not carpal tunnel. I had expected that as I have pain in both my hands and my feet. I also have major itching all over my body. I have generally not been feeling like I have control again which was how I felt back in April before my thyroid stopped working. He told me that I have a rare side effect from Hashimoto's disease. Pain is common but the itching is from the antibodies my body is producing attacking the small nerves around my entire body.

I then saw the endocrinologist again and she told me that I do have Hashimoto's disease but that my thyroid levels are rising once again. I need to increase my dosage of medicine again. That explains why I have felt like my body was out of control again and also becoming very cold. Poor Jos has had to put up with me turning the heat up. He keeps wrapping me up in blankets so he can turn it back down.

Good news for two things. My neck has reduced by one full centimeter since I had the radioactive therapy. Woohoo! I also have two asthma medications I take now as I have a chronic airways infection that are really working well. I can even take walks again without coughing and gasping for air.

On Monday, I have yet another visit to the hospital to go to the dental surgeon. We had this planned for last January but I had to put it off because of the breathing problems and coughing. It now can no longer be avoided. I am not looking forward to it. He has to remove a molar that a very bad dentist damaged. It has been infected for four years and I am scared as to what he will find when it gets it out. I am hoping the jaw bone is not affected.

Now on to something bright and cheerful and new in my living room. I found these pretty pillow covers in a discount store here in Holland. I love them! They are cream which works so well with my cocoa brown couches. They stand out nicely again my quilts also. Currently, I have a charm (postage stamp) quilt I just finished laying over the back of one of the couches. It is fun to come across something like this since I don't crochet myself.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend? It is a rainy autumn weekend here. We took a drive to look at the leaves today. It is so bright and colorful against the grey skies. Just breathtaking.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pink in autumn?

How do you bring an autumn atmosphere to a room that has colors like pink, sage green, cream, soft yellow and beige? Those are the colors in my patchwork quilt I made for my bedroom. I love bringing the different seasons to my home but this room looks and feels like spring and summer.

So this weekend, when I found these pretty planters on sale for 50% off, I knew they would go perfectly in that room. They remind me of a piece of pretty old chintz fabric. I found some candle wreaths in the Christmas items at the same garden center and they worked so nicely in them but did not fit. So I cut the ring and could wrap them small enough to fit just right. Topped with a pinecone gives me a feeling of autumn in pink.

Do you have any unusual ways to bring autumn to a room that does not exactly work with typical autumn colors? I would love to hear your ideas.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A toadstool...or perhaps not?

Every once in a while, you pass by a very special toadstool. One that you just have to stop and take a closer look. This weekend, I saw just that very one in Assen. It is the largest vliegenzwam or fly agaric I have ever seen. It was about 8 or 9 inches across.

So Jos turned the car around so I could jump out and take some photos. It was perfectly in tact still which is amazing as it was next to a bus stop.

There were two 'normal' sized ones on each side of it but this one was just so unbelievable and beautiful. Is it simply a toalstool or perhaps......

NDER a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.
Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

To the next shelter--maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two.
Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse--"Good gracious me!

"Where is my toadstool?" loud he lamented.
--And that's how umbrellas first were invented.

~ Oliver Herford (1893 - 1935)

Isn't that the sweetest poem? Humm...I am thinking perhaps this is not simply a poem but a true story about how the first umbrella was invented. What do you think? Of course, it does mean that you must believe in elves too. *grins*

Excuse my support glove on my hand as I took the photo and did not think to take it off first. I wanted to show you how large the toadstool is. I have long hands and I did not quite span the length of the surface.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plums tartlets in a brighter light

Blogging saves money and feeds the soul...

I was blog hopping and wondered on to a blog called Small Home In The Country. While looking through a couple of her entries, I found one about a lamp (forgot to take a before photo but you can see it on Kammy's blog). Not just any lamp though. I have the same lamp sitting in my storage closet. The only difference is mine has frosted glass and hers clear. Kammy spruced up this cheap looking brass making the lighting look really wonderful! All it took was a few minutes and some spray paint. We dug out our lamp which has a nice shape and gave ours this super makeover inspired by hers. We even had some woodstove spray paint already in the house. It is wonderfully matt in finish so worked perfectly for the job. I am thrilled to bits. I finally have a nice light on my newly remodeled kitchen ceiling without spending a penny for it. Don't you love using what you have? Thanks for the inspiration Kammy!

I also tried a recipe that Heidi put on her blog Heart And Home. It is for......

Italian Plum Tartlets
Kuchen Pie Shell:
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter or reg. margarine, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
dash salt

Sift flour and baking powder into medium bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it resembles large crumbs. In medium bowl, beat egg until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar and salt, beating until thick and lemon-colored. Add to flour mixture, mixing until smooth with a wooden spoon. Press dough evenly over bottom and sides of tartlet pans (or use one 9" tart pan). Refrigerate until ready to fill.

I just love baking with my colored mixing bowls. I found them at a discount store for only a few euros. There are 5 in the set. I had to have them as they reminded me of my mother's beautiful old set. I grew up watching her mix all kinds of goodies for us in those bowls. I also picked out quite a few fingers full of raw chocolate chip cookie dough with my baby brother. *grins* She received her bowls as a wedding gift from my aunt when she got married way back in 1957 and they are still in great shape today. Sorry I got off track while I reminisced so now back to the recipe...

This dough smells so delicious while it is baking!

1 1/2 lbs Italian plums
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash plums and remove pit, cut into quarters for large tart pan, sixths for small tartlet pans. Arrange plums on unbaked kuchen shell, sprinkle with granulated sugar and orange peel. (I must admit that I did not measure this but added sugar and orange peel to taste.)

Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees F, reduce oven temp. to 350 degrees F, bake 30 minutes longer.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Just the dough alone makes this worth baking! You could try this dough with other fruits too I think. I might make it trying blueberries soon. Enjoy it if you decide to bake them for a weekend treat!

Have a great weekend out there in blogland!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

By the fireside.....

After a busy weekend, I can finally show you the end results of our work in the living room. Some work was done over Jos' vacation and was redoing the damaged walls from our leak. We did, however, have another wall redone. It has become a souvenir of our few days away in Limburg.

While we were there, we bought some handmade bricks. They are burnt in what is called a ring oven which is coal fired. It results in each brick being different. This gives an old worn effect.

For Jos and I, the woodstove is an important part of our living room. We love to sit by its warmth on a cold day. This Norwegian woodstove has moved with us from our previous house to here. For years, we have had this wall painted in ox blood red which I always loved. But I really liked the idea of having a real fireplace built around the woodstove. Jos however did not want a fireplace so this was a way to compromise. The color of the wall had to be changed to compliment and bring out the bricks. We are really happy with the results. It has given our living room a much more cozy farmhouse look. And yes, I dream of a farmhouse...

We took our picture rail and sawed it into 4 pieces. It has now created pictures ledges which gives me the chance to keep changing my samplers on the wall. It will be wonderful come Christmas when I bring out all my framed Santa postcards.

"Don't you stay home of evenings? Don't you love a cushioned in a corner, by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?"

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

My Turks turban squash come out beautifully against the brick. If you enlarge this photo, you can get a better idea of how the brick looks. Please excuse the dusty woodstove. I had not realized until I used the photo that I had forgotten to clean it. It's clean now! *grins*

So I sit here in my cozy living room on a Tuesday morning, stitching in hand, longing for next week when we can once again build a fire. The grout will have to have a week to harden. But for now I am enjoying seeing the work done. Bring on the cold winter days.....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome October!

Ah...October! What a pretty month it is. It is time for the earth to give us a parade of colors. Mother Nature's last show before she sets the earth to sleep only to awaken in spring and start its rich blooming once again. I go out each day to see what progress the trees in the area have made. It is joy to watch the reds develop on the road leading up to our house. A little farther is a row of trees turning brightly to orange.

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn."

~ Elizabeth Lawrence

My wreath is hung awaiting your knock on my door during this favorite season. I will welcome you in with a cup of hot apple cider and we can enjoy all the things that make this a special time of year.

"October's the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down -
October is red
And golden and brown."

~ Can Teach Songs

Can you take some time out to join me? I would love to hear what your favorite things about October are?

Words of writer's and poets long gone never grow old when it comes to singing autumn's praises and some of the greatest words ever written are those of a favorite author of mine...

"The gilding of the Indian summer mellowed the pastures far and wide.
The russet woods stood ripe to be stripped, but were yet full of leaf.
The purple of heath-bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the hills...
Fieldhead gardens bore the seal of gentle decay; ... its time of
flowers and even of fruit was over."

~ Charlotte Brontë