Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Reservations Cousins Night

Today was hugely busy. Lunch and shopping with a wonderful friend, home a bit to make a quick Pasta for my boys and then off to a wonderful Cousins' Night party. What is that? Glad you asked. My cousins (four of us girls and sometimes the wife of our one male cousin) get together once every few weeks for what we call Cousins' Night. We meet at a favorite restaurant usually (Chinese tonight) and have a bite of supper and a visit. Often someone in the group takes a little gift, but not always, so no stress. Tonight I took nothing, and received a lovely tussie mussie of home grown flowers (reminded us all of our grandmother's lovely flower garden) and a cute little tea light Halloween pumpkin to herald in the season long before it arrives. Very light and cute. Our movies have ranged from pure failures to wonderful events Tonight was very sweet, No Reservations. If you love cooking movies (and I so do), you will not be disappointed with all the little cooking scenes. Sweet story line and happy/sad movie. Catherine Zeta Jones is drop dead gorgeous, isn't she? Wow. And this is the guy, I think, from Erin Brockovich minus the long hair.. A cutie patootie! I was glad I had made something at home and not just left a cold pack of hot dogs after I watched the movie... All that cooking made me feel more like a chef myself. I rushed home and put my flowers in a little cut glass vase and hope for revival. Some of the previews looked horrid!! Evil and garish and stupid. Some looked mighty tempting. So it goes with the movie review. I haven't been used to being sociable all day. This was good practice for two weeks from now when school starts again. I'm excited. I'll know when I want to retire when I'm not excited and ready for school to start again... I hope it never happens until my finances can bear the shock!!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Patience. . . yes... Use the force, Luke.... AAAAGH!

Okay... So here I am exactly 24 hours after "it" happened. I was happily sending emails to some friends. I wrote one, and boom! Server error. That was last night at 11:19. Exactly 24 hours of frustration (and two and a half of sleep) ago. I did EVERYTHING, deleted programs, bought some kind of registry sweep by Paypal and regretted the moment I clicked "pay." It did nothing. Nothing did nothing, if an English teacher is allowed the superlative, double negative from time to time. I called the help desk along about 1:30 and at 4:15 the sweetheart on the other end gave me up. She told me to download every mail client available, so here went Gmail, Firefox's Thunderbird, the new version of Outlooks Express 6, Incredimail (which I have had for years and love)---- my poor computer has had so many new defaults it is probably stressed out! I talked to another techie at 8:30 when they called back and we deleted identities, created new ones and blah... Finally I spoke with both Microsoft and Compaq and discovered for them to tell me IF they could help or not it cost either 99 or 59 dollars respectively... And one man had me standing on my head looking underneath my processor tower (which is on the floor) for fifteen minutes... I was physically sick, but I have been accused of being like an old dog with a bone when something is wrong.. I searched all kinds of forums and finally just gave up. I went in the other room finally tonight for a few minutes and watched a little Giada de Laurentis, a little Paula Deen, a little Hannibal Rising (simply too evil for me actually).... I just came in here to check email, and voila! It's working. I suppose it was a jam of all the spam that's whisked away. That's one theory... Anyway, if anyone has problems, I recommend just relaxing a bit and watching the Food Channel... It is a miracle worker....
I will leave you with a little photo of the tea set my mother gave me for my birthday. It is sooo cute, made in Occupied Japan. She and her mother bought it in the city about 55 years ago when my mother was a teacher and went to a Teacher's Convention. They had it sent home because they were on the train and thought they would get it broken. Evidently the mailman just threw it on the ground and it arrived totally crushed, so my grandmother called Famous and Barr and they re-sent the package. That time our mail carrier brought it in and waited for it to be opened and had a cup of coffee... Long story short, it was never used by either my grandmother OR my mother. I called her up and said I had served tea in it to a friend, and Mom said, "Oh! That's the first time it's ever been used!!!" That is the story of my gramma's life, actually. She wore the oldest old ratty dresses, pins in her aprons instead of ties, old old dresses too worn for everyday she wore to bed... The oldest sweaters... holey old flannel shirts of my grandfather's. In her drawers after she went to heaven we found box after box of lacy nightgowns given by Mom and me, tons of new dresses, tags still on them, new sweaters I bought her at MY first teacher's meeting and a shawl she was saving TO BE BURIED IN.... ouch... You won't be finding that kind of stuff in my house.. I'm going to use it and enjoy!!! I have every intention of trying to take care of things, but hey... It's definitely time for me to take out some of the handmade quilts from Gramma and enjoy looking at them.. They are all in trunks, wrapped in tissue... What's the deal with me anyway? I'm on a toot due to no sleep and being ticked off/relieved about the computer thing... So enough for now. I'm going to watch Hell's Kitchen and go to bed. I need to hear him rip into somebody!!! Take care.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

We've been blogging!"

Well, good day here. I invited my mom and dad up for dinner, and my son invited two of his friends, so we had a wonderful little table full for Sunday dinner. I fixed smothered steaks, Italian vegetable salad, melon salad, butterflake drop biscuits, corn on the cob, potatoes, onions and carrots and Chocolate Peanut Butter gooey cake. Well, my.... We are all pretty full, I think. Mom and Dad have gone home, and I'm going to watch Design Star tonight.

The coolest part of the day happened when I decided to bring my mom into my bedroom and hook her up with some of you bloggers! My mom is 83, on a walker, and quite opinionated, but kinda sweet (as a daughter might say). I had no idea what opinion she would have of all this... It crossed my mind she might think it was weird, out of sync with reality, dangerous, or some such nonsense. OH, no... If she could have done what she wanted, she would have been sitting here until midnight. She was soooo crazy about all the photos of your beautiful homes, the foods you fix, the tables you set, the cats you pet, the decor you have loved into existence. It was so much fun... "Click on that one," she'd say... And she wanted to go back and see Christmas at some of your houses... "Do you have any more?" She asked... Uh, well... You all know how many links we all have.... I showed her about ten, I think... and my own... She was all about taking more pictures to go on here! "Use your camera!" She shouts! She was having a blast. We stayed in here about three hours I think. My dad got the heebie jeebies and wanted to go home, so she finally did. My son asked her, "What have you been doing in there?" She just sashayed right by him and flipped out the casual, "Oh, we've been blogging." AS IF she had ever heard of the term before today. She loved it.... I was so pleased with myself and with all of you and with the day. Good time. I love you all and think the absolute best of each of you... Mom asked me how I manage to get anything done except sit here and look... "It's better than any magazine!" I agree. Have a good week, everyone.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday at the Movies - Anne Frank

Lovely video about my Anne. I just finished watching The Freedom Writers. OH, what a wonderful movie. When it came out to the theaters, a neighboring school took all their teachers to watch it. THAT would have been awesome. I had an awesome time myself. I got to watch it with my son, all alone, just the two of us with home baked lasagna, garlic bread, salad, and brownies. Rare treat to get to be together now... and I love his friends, but after all those days with our kids as little ones, isn't it fun to have a minute again? This video shows some beautiful and sad scenes from the Anne Frank movie I show after we read the play. I love Anne. My dear dear friend (the one with the baked Alaska?)told me I would adore Freedom Writers, and I did. I always gear back up for school with teacher movies: Dangerous Minds, The Principal, Stand and Deliver, and a few more... I'm so glad to have seen this one. Have a fun weekend...

Friday, July 27, 2007

One of my Auction Treasures

Well, I've finally been able to take a couple of shots of one of the "treasures" I purchased at the auction last weekend. I have a thing for china dishes. So did my gramma, and so does my mother. So, evidently it's just genetic. I mean, some people agonize over where to put a little vase or a little piece of pottery... and they decide they simply don't have room to "house" it. And I'm not criticizing them. I'm in awe. Honestly I am. I have a storage heaven in my home, but it is all pretty full.... I love to set my table with a different look for different moods, events, milestones. These dishes were sitting there calling to me at the sale, and I didn't dream I would be able to get them down the line for ten bucks for the whole box. Service for 8 (except cups.) I did get the saucers! Go figure. I think maybe my cups were in another box. I have two little cereal bowls and the meat platter, too... Johnson Brothers Holland. Mmm... I was searching my little heart out in town for a tablecloth. I checked Ebay a few times, even thought I'd make one. Finally I took a peek in my linen drawer and discovered my mother had given me this vintage yellow and blue one last year.! Yay!!! I'm having a little luncheon for family on Sunday, so my table is set. I just love the little ships sailing around on the plate. Now what will I fix to eat?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A little bird told me

I have a thing for birds. I love birds on nests, birds outdoors, birds in little cages, and I love crows. This beauty is a gift from my mom and dad for Christmas. He's surveying my kitchen daily to see what I'll be fixing. Today was kinda bleak... We attended opening night for a new restaurant in town. It was exciting for the owners, I think, as they were coming to each table to see the reaction.

Also yesterday was an armed robbery in our tiny, tiny town. Pretty scary, but nobody was hurt! and I think the robbers were successful and may have gotten away. Then about fifteen miles from here where I taught last year, a man was stabbed, had to be life flighted... All this comes on wings of town tales... The network of information in a small town is amazing... sometimes accurate, as in "We got this straight from the scanner!" sometimes a little messed up, as in, "I think the robber rode a four wheeler." Well, don't know for sure, but it sure did a number on my attempt to NOT monitor the news so very closely. I had taken a little break from news during the summer. I still followed the major things, but just wanted to detox a bit. I truly believe all the blogging I've been reading has helped me see the beginning of the scope of truly good people. You know? You always believe there is good, want to believe so much as Anne Frank did, "In spite of everything, I really believe people are really good at heart." Browsing along through the web and realizing with every click, "wow... another super family, wonderful person... It adds documentation and substance to that affirmation of goodness in the world... Things like what happened in our town, they do happen.... but so, also.... a silver crown giveaway, a lovely scrapbook guild, a cupcake baker extraordinaire, someone who makes roses to rival Henry Fields.... out of coffee filters.... It's a beautiful world at its core.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wow.... Isn't this cute?

A sweetie of mine lives in a suburb of Philadelphia, and he took a little roadtrip today to this factory called Byers Choice in Chalfort, PA. It is full of little people called kindles and a miniature city from Dickens era. There is a little fee to go through the museum, and then also observation decks to watch the people as they hand fashion these little kindles. I think they are adorable. He said the little nutcrackers in this photo below are about fingernail size.
I'm not one to get in the Christmas mood in July, but this is certainly a motivation. A few years back I had a brief affair with HSN. (It was a torrid affair, with complete infatuation with Suzanne Sommers, Colleen Lopez, gemstones, Storybook knits, and you name it. It ended badly. I have custody of the stuff. They had custody of the MONEY!!!) Anyway, the brilliant minds of HSN have an annual Christmas in July. I ordered a pre-lit huge, lovely tree.... thought better of it, cancelled it... but three days later the UPS man proudly dragged it to my door. I decided it was better to keep it than try to pay postage or argue. I love that tree. Pre-lit! I know that's old hat now, but then it was fairly a new concept, and I was in heaven. It has lasted four years of non-stop light. But next year I noticed I'll have to add a little bit of extra lights around the edges.

This last shot shows the scope of the place, rooms beyond the rooms full of scenes and carolers. My mother would LOVE this place. I will have to take pictures of her miniatures and her doll house. Just thought I'd share HIS road trip. Me? Today was a quiet, good day. My son's sweetie bought and cooked a wonderful pork roast with carrots and potatoes for a treat for me! It was delicious! I told him I thought pretty girls like that weren't supposed to be such good cooks... It really isn't fair, you know! haha.. Have a nice Christmas---- uh, week...

Whisky or Totebag?.... She hides her head in shame!

For me, it's totes and purses..... I fear! And I'm better than I used to be. I know everyone has an obsession when it comes to fashion. I've seen lovely closets with pair after pair of shoes, but I don't have that. I've seen linen closets with stacks of perfectly to die for sheets and pillow cases, but I usually just wash mine and put it back on the bed that same day. I know one friend who has about 70 shades of nail polish... I just have the two.... opal pale and mauvey tan... So drab! But I do have a secret, guilty pleasure. I love handbags, totes, and purses. When I was younger, I had more than forty. Once on a stupid whim, I took them all to the good will giveaway closet, so I don't have that many now. But I even have one suitcase full of guess what? Yep. Totes. One might think I'm a big traveler. Nope. Haven't been on a vacation in more than ten years.
I couldn't say that I'm actually much of a shopper any more, at least not out in public. I do most of my holiday and gift shopping right here in my nightie in my own bedroom on the computer. I do drag books back and forth to school (in style I might add.) I love the reaction when I take in Suzanne Somers huge huge huge fur tote.. My trappin' boys get all excited because they think I've brought in my latest "kill." That is, until they see the purple lining.... It's to die for!! (and such a bargain! Not.)
All these beauties are for sale on Ebay by one of my favorite sellers. She has an Ebay store called KiwiandEmory, and I have coveted her bags for about three years. I haven't bought one yet.... I just watch them sell and think, "I am going to get one of those this.... you fill in the blank with the next holiday...." But then I don't. Her work is so professional. I guess I dream I maybe will be able to make something like that some day. Doubtful. Anyway, I thought I'd show you how cute!
This one is currently going for about 45 dollars. Evidently someone else is in love with this vintage Halloween fabric as much as I am. Isn't it dear?
P.S. This fabric is by Alexander Henry, and some of it is available on Ebay or online. It's pricey. Sometimes it's called Vintage, and other times it's called Trick or Treat. It comes white, teal, and black background. I bought a little of the white.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Favorite Poem Project Website

I love to listen to poems read or recited by those who love them. One Christmas when I was a little girl, my parents gave me a reel to reel tape recorder. I was a nuisance with it, I'm sure... slipping in and taping conversations that shouldn't be recorded between my parents, eavesdropping and playing some kind of spy thing... High tech spying for a child of the sixties, I guess. Finally, I had my grandmother read a poem.... she read about a little snowman melting and nothing left after he came in to warm but a "puddle on the floor." And she read, of course, my favorite poem from her: The Owl and the Pussycat.... went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat. They took some honey and plenty of money wrapped up in a five pound note." I don't remember the rest, but I'm sure it's all there in my memories. She had the whole thing memorized and almost always recited it to me as I drifted off to sea of dreams in a beautiful pea green boat myself.
When I stumbed across this web site called Favorite Poem Project, I was mesmerized. There are videos from people across the world, telling about their favorite poems, reading the poem, and just sharing a bit of why the poem is special. I love looking at those. Some are cute, some are sad. Some are haunting. It's a nice little ten minute or less snippet of time to fill a moment in our already packed day... But, I grabbed a cup of pecan torte coffee and listened to President Clinton read his poem, and to a Jamaican born baker read about the Banana Man this morning... I think my favorite is, so far.. "From the Holy Longing." It is quite sad, but so reminiscent of one of my dearest friends who lost a daughter in an automobile accident more than ten years ago. This little woman from England truly takes to heart what my friend has lived, as well... It is kind of sad, but really truly sweet... The little boy with a baseball bat is cute, too... and fun.... Take a look when you have time... And what's your favorite poem if you were asked to contribute?????

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What stuff brought

Okay, so I did really well, had an absolute blast, and didn't spend a lot of cash. I have to spiff up some of my things, give it a little bath, and then I'll take a pic for the blog tomorrow! Too tired tonight for ANY of it. Just a teensy update on some of the items.

The cheese cover was a steal at $125... I'm wondering if it was maybe new?
The clock brought $60, but the man was NEVER stopping. I bid against him on several things, and he had more money than I did, for sure!!! The canisters were in two sets and only brought about 135 each set, but they had cracks, crazing, and chips.. Still lookers, though
Oh, yeah... $950 smackeroos.... It brought applause!

And this pristeen, I mean amazing!!! Dye cabinet went for the astonishing price of $4,500.00. After the man bought it, he went home. His cute little wife was camped out in front of us reading Harry Potter all morning. Her hubby was soooo nervous, bought a 600 dollar spool cabinet, coats and clark, and about six maple sugar buckets for about 200 apiece... After he bought this, everybody was clapping and hollering, and he came up, collected his stuff, and they went home. I told him once that the coffee in his thermos, which he kept pouring about an inch into his cup---- every time he bought something... was like heavenly potpourri... He just smiled and said he needed it this morning.... and paced in the back of the room while he bought beautiful stuff...
I spent a little over a hundred dollars and then sold a chest of drawers for twice what I paid for it before I left. I wasn't too sure it would fit where I wanted it, so... this was best. And the hot dogs were deee-lish... but kinda pricey.... $2.75!!!! That's almost ball park price, huh?

Saturday at the Movies - Safe Hands

Glad this didn't happen to me today at the estate auction. I feel sorry for this guy! Had a great day today. I'll show you all my goodies as soon as I get a minute to "play" with them.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'll be here!!!!

Tomorrow and Saturday! One huge auction...
I probably will just be a "looker" and not a "buyer." But auctions are sooo much fun.... (At least I'll get a hot dog!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Profound Poet

Love after Love
Okay. So, there is a poem out there SOMEWHERE in the world that will or has spoken to YOU. I have always been fond of poetry, always fancied myself a bit of a Bob Frost or Sonnety Will or some such nonsense. I have written a good deal of personal, private poetry, taught poetry writing and appreciation, and generally felt quite literate. That is, until I met THE poem that spoke straight into my heart. This poem, "Love after Love," was nestled in a World Literature book about two and a half years ago. I happened upon it on a Valentine's Day morning in the middle of a class with about fifteen students staring wildly at my elation, my personal hallelujah..... as I read it to them cold. I like to do that with new anthology books sometimes. Some days I plan a lesson around a story I have read and thought about. (That's a good idea since I AM the teacher, huh?) but..... Sometimes when the class is great like this one, I love to be one of them and hear stuff for the first time---- at the same time. Oh.... I looked into their teenager eyes, and I knew this poem wasn't for them ... yet. I had to re-read it out loud... I had to have a "moment" and then I just tried to explain to them what this said to me. Later I shared it on a couple of blogs and on Alison's Brocante Forum. I MUCH later discovered it had been there in Simple Abundance, one of my favorite books of all times, years and years. I had read it before, but it wasn't "time." On that particular day, with that February cold, in the midst of all that kind of rueful Romance.... (Valentine's Day is forever bittersweet, isn't it? No matter what?)... it spoke to me. My heart was ripe for just this "word" from our sponsors.... Derek Walcott isn't someone I knew of then, but I do now. As I share the poem, I've tucked in little photos. These images are of my life, my home, and my Mom's home: Myself about ten years ago when it felt like I WAS myself.... At the end, my beautiful family as we are right now taken at my dad's 83rd birthday party. It is time for me to do as the poem says.... all the way through... to reclaim the inner person. Have a nice day and enjoy life.. Feast on it, actually. I recommend summer tomatoes and a chaser of chocolate! Hugs!
Love After Love

The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self.Give wine. Give bread.

Give back your heart to itself,

to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror.


Feast on your life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recipes from Favorite Places

Hey, today was a busy one. My friend and I had to do the yearly Mam thing, and of course, that can't be accomplished without a trip to a restaurant to "celebrate" another year together. We usually talk all the way from the restaurant about trying a different restaurant. There are so many in this town which is 50 miles from home. But I always kinda lag back toward my personal favorite restaurant, Applebee's. It's not like I don't love different things, but I don't go to this town very often, and I don't get to go to Applebee's very often at all. So I ALWAYS get the same thing. I will get a menu and pretend to myself I'm going to try something else. This time so many of Tyler Florence's new dishes looked amazing. A grilled BLT and French Onion soup was screaming my name. But in the end, my personal all time favorite called the best. It never disappoints. As Paula Deen says, "I could just drink that dressing!" There is a web site that offers secret recipes. It looks like we can't copy them on ANYTHING, so I won't, but it said it could be linked, so here it is: Topsecretrecipes.com is the name. I have made its version of the salad, and while amazing... not exactly the same.

But I will also direct you all to my favorite recipe site on the web. It is called Traveler's Cookbook and you can browse through it and see all kinds of recipes from bed and breakfasts all over the place. Not only can you find a recipe, you can find the story behind it and see photos of a room to rent there, prices, the whole deal. I have made so many of these for carry-in dinners and for refreshments in my shop. It is so fun to say, "These are pumpkin bars from Maine, or a Scotch Cake from Washington State. I love to just look at the rooms and think about the fun of traveling and eating in that place at any given time of the year. Here is the link to that wonderful website. Travelers Cookbook.

So, enjoy. I'm tired tonight and think I'll watch some telly. Did you all see Food Network Star? What a shocker! And Hell's Kitchen? Yay for that little short order cook. They are coming to a close, and I get sooo excited. I'll miss them when they are over. Take care.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gettin' My Vibes Going. . .

Things that get my vibes going: Consider yourself tagged if you’d like to play. Cindy at My Romantic Home invited anyone who wished to share vibes to do so, and I enjoyed the idea, toyed with it for a while, and decided to join in.

1. After the _________ . You fill in the blank. I think my favorite time of ANY event is after it’s over. Being with family after a reunion or after a wedding. Sitting with a group of friends at our annual Homecoming on little bleachers about two feet from the ground, lights low, a little country music piped in around the edges, a couple of Homecoming hamburgers piping hot with a special flavor unduplicated on the face of the earth, maybe somebody with a funnel cake to share… We get to chatting about past homecomings, the year my son (now nearly 26, then 3) sang “Born in the USA” on the mikes after the show. (He doesn’t even come to Homecoming mostly because he hears that story a gazillion times a night! Haha). I love sitting after a wedding reception and re-creating the big moments, sitting in the gym after a game or a dance with a group of teachers…. At a family function sitting around after the big push to clear the table and put away the dishes…. After the fact. It’s my favorite time.

2. Staying home several days in a row. I love everyone a lot. I really, really do. But I adore to stay home day after day after day. I almost never do it. A couple of years ago I had dry sockets after wisdom teeth extraction. Yep. I loved those two weeks because I didn’t really go anywhere. Pain, yeah… but kind of worth it. This year we had an ice storm. I hit my door at noon on Friday and left my cocoon of a home on Monday ten day later. A record, I think. No cabin fever. Really loved it.
and thus, Seasons and Weather. Love it. Love snow, love gray days, love rain, love storms if nobody gets hurt or loses houses. I groove on snowy, blustery weather… (from the inside looking out.) So, apologies to farmers and everyone who has to work out in it. Also seasonal stuff. I have boxes of decorations for nearly every holiday known to man. I would love to have an entertainment center or Emporium based on holidays. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? A Christmas room… then my beloved Halloween! An Easter tearoom… ah… a little glen full of wee leprechauns. I love Autumn and Halloween, the full moon (as I may have mentioned). Seasonal foods and d├ęcor and clothing are simply inspiring to me. Storing the overflow the other 11 months is not.
3. Books. The evil that is Amazon.com and other similar avenues of seduction. When I discovered one could slip out of bed at night, click a few buttons, look through myriads of titles, recommendations, covers, reviews…. And click a couple more buttons and expect that book in two days. Oh….. Hallelujah angels began to sing and bank balances began to wane. I can’t remember the last time I had less than six or seven books started. I also adore Bookcloseouts.com It’s fabulous to try books you’ve never heard of… Yum!
4. Kitty cats. Photos of cats, the real deals. I love kittens and cats so much. I love dogs, too. Cats just seem easier to love and require nothing less than adoration. They remind me of the Rose in The Little Prince. That book is also worthy of a spot on here. Amazing philosophical treasure. It touches the soul.
And 5. Beauty. I love beautiful people and beautiful things: clothes, paper ephemera, lovely rooms, pretty handwork, tiffany lamps aglow in the dawn light, little floral fantasies… the legacies of my grandmothers in china, lace, and strength. Beauty is eternal. It is always found in the hearts of our children and loved ones. It is often found in the tiniest of keepsakes. It may glitter, or it may glow, but it always gives us light in our hearts.

Saturday at the Movies: Phillies help with the tarp

Kind of an interesting moment in sports that I never considered. Hope you are all having a good weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Guilty Pleasures... confession time

I have yet another confession to make. I love, love, love to use these cool products in my kitchen and around the house. My mother thinks I'm crazy. I love to give them as gifts, and I would love to sell even more than I stock in my shop. They actually sell well... We deserve something yummy since we're always doing dishes, washing clothes, and things like that. Cucina is a lovely brand. I have sold dishwashing liquid in this brand. My friends with Italian heritage adore having it on display at their sinks. Shop for cucina here.
It's hard to pick favorites, but this line is exquisite. I haven't ever found a fragrance I didn't love! I could just eat it all up..... Shop for Caldrea stuff here. I fell for this line at a lovely Tea Room in a nearby town called Simple Pleasures.

My personal favorite ONLY because of the packaging. What a world! I love these French ladies working away on the labels. I bought myself the sampler package a couple Christmases ago. I promised myself I'd send little samples to all my friends, and I wrapped them up..... and I, uh... well, those of you who are friends, did you get any samples? Nope. I used 'em all myself.... what a little piggie. It's my idea of a comfort drawer for cleaning! That requires comfort. Shop for these here. I love the blue bottles.
And where it all began. Their geranium cleaner and dish soap arrived in a lovely Amazon package as a gift from Alison at BrocanteHome. Oh.... smitten by the queen bee of domesticity herself. Thus, alas! I will, yes I WILL pay extra for this kind of domestic indulgences.... and my mother clutches her bottle of Dawn tightly and proclaims her virtue... I know... But these are too "scrumptious."

Dad's Cake

Made a Bundt Chocolate/German Chocolate cake and put
a ganache "twig" around the top and stuck in artificial petals from my geranium centerpiece I'd washed and dried. Then when I got it over to their house, no candles! I forgot candles, so we just stuck in a vanilla icing candle. He wished and blew! It was fun. Nice evening. Amazon overnighted a book I ordered him about telephone insulators (he's a collector). Living in the middle of the sticks, I'm always just amazed and impressed when I can overnight anything. I usually have to wait longer than that to find something in my own closet! Night!