Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Decor and a Bit of Home Cooking

Last night we had a delicious dinner that was incredibly simple, but satisfying.
 
Dried pintos cooked in the crock, homemade cornbread and sautĂ©ed cabbage with garlic. This meal is in the monthly rotation at our house not only because it's cheap, but it's nutritious and tastes like home. I know it's usually simple food, but I love continuing my heritage through cooking. When my husband, kids and I sit around the table that I ate on as a child, I think of the many hands that made this same meal throughout the lines of my ancestry. How many of my great-great grandmothers concocted these same dishes to fill the tummies of their babies? My maternal grandmother is from Mississippi and her family has resided there for a number of generations. Cabbage, beans and cornbread have been staples in the South for centuries. It's funny, though, because authentic Italian-American style spaghetti and salad create the same feelings of nostalgia for me--my paternal grandmother was an expert at "making gravy" as she put it. These smells have the power to hurtle me back years into my childhood--and give me a sense of comfort and connection with all of the strong women of my family lineage. It's part of my identity....it's so important for we humans to have a sense of belonging, isn't it?


 
I've also been reading this great book by noted vegetarian cookbook author Nava Atlas. I'm a fool for historically tinged recipes. I love reading all the little snippets from aged archives that go along with each entry. Another incredible book in this vein is 1000 Years Over a Hot Stove by Laura Schenone. Really fantastic reading.... 


 
We've also decorated our front porch for Halloween! The kids love doing this every year and I have to admit, I do, too. I have fond memories of constructing scarecrows out of my Dad's overalls and flannels.....so that's what we did.

Our friendly little ghost is just some scrap white fabric dotted with a black Sharpie and thrown over a store-bought scarecrow gal we already had.
 
I think I spent a total of $5 on the whole she-bang.

My littlest two and I collected large, dead branches from our back woods to grace either side of the door. We made hanging bats out of black Duck Tape.

Plastic spiders and webs from the Dollar General down the road (it's the only store within 3 miles of our home).

Dollar tree ravens from last year's Halloween.


Not to disappoint, we stuffed some of Daddy's pants and flannel shirt with some old, plastic trash bags (yes, I'm one of those weird people who stockpiles tons of those grocery bags).  His pumpkin head was bought 6 years ago--ha!)


The kids wanted to show off their fruits of their egg collecting for the day. Lydie's not so sure about our new friend yet.

 
Our oldest little guy also ran a two mile race to benefit his school. He did a fantastic job and we were SO proud!
 
 
Till next time.....
 
Peace be with you...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Development in the Office

My office is coming along, slowly but surely! I finally concocted a kind of desk that more closely fulfills my needs.
Excuse the elderly black lab in the picture. She's old and just gets to lay wherever/whenever she wants!
 
After ruminating for a while, I knew what I wanted was a long, sturdy surface and lots of storage. What I came up with was a full size door atop two, inexpensive bookcases!

 
I hit up my local Habitat for Humanity Restore and purchased a super cheap, $5 hollow core pine interior door. I didn't mind the inferior construction because I wanted it to be somewhat easy to transport.

I then bought two, $18 laminate bookcases from Walmart (ok, I'm not trying to win any beauty awards here with this make shift desk). I dropped by the Dollar Tree for a few, $1 bins and voilĂ ! I've got all the storage I need and a nice, roomy work area for larger paintings. I simply secured the door to the bookcases with hot glue. (I want to be able to easily break down this set up if needed).

 
I cannot tell how wonderful it's been to have plenty of space to spread out my canvases and paints! I don't think anyone's been so excited about an old, thrown out door and two cheap-o bookcases.
 
If you've been hankering for a new craft/art area, but can't afford Pottery Barn's $1199 version:
Bedford Project Table, includes two 3 x 3 Bookcases & one Tabletop, Antique White
 
this may be a quick, frugal and viable option for you.
 
Peace be with you....