Friday, January 25, 2013

A Favorite Thing

I have made some new blogging friends recently.  One of them is Patrice at Everyday Ruralty.  Patrice shared this photo of the first lambs to be born on her family farm, which has been in her family since the 1680's.

I was just so taken that these white- as -snow lambs were born during the first snowfall.  I emailed Patrice to ask her permission to post the photo as this is just about my most favorite thing ever!

What can be more hopeful than new born lambs, and a sure sign that spring will be here before we know it (or wish it to be!).

Joining Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage for A Favorite Thing.


“Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.” 
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The January Blues

Ahhhh, nearly mid winter.  Although mid winter here is really more like late March, early April.  Notice that Shakespeare never did write a poem about it.  Doesn't really warm up until Memorial weekend.   I hate it.  I am most miserable this time of year.  I hate seeing my gas bill, I hate having to wear layers (my natural padding doesn't cut it), I despise boots, I could go on and on.  But I won't.

This week's challenge at Let's Dish, hosted by Kathleen of Cuisine Kathleen, was to create a winter wonderland tablescape.  

blue napkins and plates found in my summer bin?  Who knew?  Not me, I forgot!

I refuse to buy any more dishes until I have the funds (or hit a really great sale, you know, an offer I can't refuse!).  I decided to "shop" my house, and even resorted to going through my summer bin to find items.  

I also made some "snowballs".  I already had Mod Podge, a foam brush, and Epsom salts.  My only purchase was the Styrofoam balls.  They are a little expensive.  $4.99 for a package of six.  Just spread the M P on half, roll around in the salts placed in a plate or pie pan, do the other side and let dry.  

The snow balls were easy, but I hate the smell of M P.  I didn't make the full dozen.  The candle holders I've had for years and are usually on my bedroom dresser.  I flipped them over to hold several snow balls.

I layered a tapestry runner I've had for years over a snowy white tablecloth.  Here are some scenes.

I resorted to using serviette en papier  and assiette en papier.  (Everything sounds so much classier in French, oui?)

blue paper plate, no doilies to be found
The glass snowmen plates I have had for years, I think they came from  a kitchen store called Lechter's which was in the mall.  Bubble glasses from Pier I and flatware from Christmas Tree, place mats from the $ Tree a while back.  The square white plates, I had about 16 of them, sold a dozen when I moved, but kept four and just found them.  Probably a dollar store purchase.

My best discovery for the challenge??  I found a package of 12 votive flameless candles!  Michael's last year.

Nothing will melt on this table!

added blue stones

I'll be trying to stay warm while partying with Kathleen, as well as with Jann for Share Your CupSusan at Between Naps on The Porch, Jody for Sweet & Simple Fridays, Elaine for Sunny Simple SundaysThe Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays, and Yvonne for Tutorial, Tips and Tidbits.  AND Smiling Sally for Blue Monday!  

Please visit these ladies and enjoy their party guests' links.  


Joy is not in things; it is in us ~ Richard Wagner

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grow Your Blog Linky Party!

When I saw this party hosted by Vicki at "2 Bags Full", I just knew I wanted to participate.  I love to visit and comment, and love comments in return. followers!

To read more throughout the post, just click on the photos.  

I love my followers, I really do. I try to have a one-on-one relationship with almost all of them.  Some I can't track down, so I assume they don't blog.  Some post infrequently.  Some don't respond to me.  Several are my close friends in real life.  I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with blogging.  I know there are real people behind the blogs, and having met and communicated with them for nearly two years, I have to say I am grateful to have them in my life.

About Me

I live a simple, quiet life in a really big city:  New York!  

I live in one of NYC's 5 boroughs:  Staten Island

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY but living on Staten Island for the past 20 years, but my heart is part New Yorker, part Southern lady, part European, and part country girl.  I have two birds who are my feathered babies.  

Pearl Angel, 3 yr old one legged cockatiel


Kiwi, 17 yr old green cheek conure

I named my blog for them, and now they both give me a hard time when it comes to taking photos.  I want them to be more active on the blog, but without photos, it's hard.

I love to cook and bake, but living alone makes that hard.  I love to make food from my childhood, mostly Italian dishes from Naples and Sicily.

Easter Grain Pie

I like to do tablescapes and join tablescaping parties.  (My linky parties are shown on my side bar).  I wish I had discovered blogging before I downsized, I had lots more stuff to work with.  I have learned so much since I started following very talented ladies.

Noritake 'Carmela', issued 1947
I love to take day trips.  I spend lots of time in New Jersey and visit Pennsylvania as often as I can.

Peddlers' Village, Lahaska, PA Christmas Festival 2012
I love tea.  I travel quite a distance to enjoy a formal tea

The Talking Teacup, Chalfont, PA

I love autumn.  I love living in a part of the country where we celebrate the four seasons, but my heart belongs to the fall.

Melick's farm, NJ

Because of blogging, I am slowly getting back to doing some (simple) crafts, and I am planning to paint my guest bedroom furniture with chalk paint, and I have picked up my crochet hook after 25 years.  Yes, blogging has had a positive influence.

March 11th will be my 2nd blogaversary. I can't believe it, time has flown by.  I will be having a giveaway to celebrate, and I hope you stop by again.  Giveaway will be announced after Valentine's Day.  I look forward to visiting all of you.

Many thanks to Vicki at "2 Bags Full" for organizing and coordinating all the participants.  


Joy springs from within; no one makes you joyous; you choose joyfulness.  
                                                                                                                                       ~ author unknown

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monthly Note Card Party at Vee's

I am calling this set of four photos "Tea for Me",   sharing some favorite tea time photos

Autumn Respite

I love a pastel tea party

Te-e-a-a.... a drink with jam and bread, that will bring us back to doe-oh-oh-oh 

Did you know?  Tea boosts the metabolism!

I would like these as recipe cards, or maybe an invite to a tea party.  Please stop by A Haven for Vee and enjoy many beautiful photos.   Thanks for hosting, Vee.  


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tweets can be sweet

I am seriously addicted to Twitter, more so than Facebook, or even Pinterest!  Social media really connects us in ways we would never think possible.

One of my "tweeps" is a chef/owner of a wonderful "old school" Italian restaurant called Marzullo's, in Montclair, New Jersey.  Raphael always posts photos of the wonderful dishes coming out of his kitchen.  I really wanted to go there.  I asked two friends to take a mini road trip with me yesterday, and we had the most wonderful lunch.   Raphael treated us like royalty!

We had a bowl of pasta fagioli soup (pasta fazool), eggplant rollatini (he asked what dish I was "craving"), my friends had delicious panini's and I had the very tender sliced steak (we took home lots of doggie bags).

We enjoyed complimentary sangria, espresso, biscotti and warm -from -the -oven pignoli cookies.

Best biscotti ever! some were filled and frosted

For those of you who live within driving distance, you should definitely make a plan to visit this restaurant.  

Stuffed artichokes

There is also a full deli and bakery on site.  


Opinions are my own.  No compensation received.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Favorite Thing

Last month, I shared one lone rose bud that appeared on my skinny little stalk of a rose bush.  The bush was here when I moved in nearly five years ago.  It is a real Charlie Brown kind of bush!

I've been keeping an eye on it, we have had some nights temperature down in the twenties, and a light coating of snow one time since the bud appeared.  This past Tuesday morning, grass and cars were frosted over.  

It is a rather tenacious little bud, and is trying its best to unfurl its petals.

I even had one little rose hips, not enough for a cuppa tea, though.

And a second struggling rose bud, this one hasn't fared as well

It was a joy to discover this in my yard, in winter, in the Northeast.  I just had to share it as my favorite thing this week.  Joining for the first time Claudia's party at Mockingbird Hill Cottage


Friday, January 4, 2013

Gifts of the Wise Men

This is a re post from one year ago today.  I wanted to share it again.

January 6th is known as the Epiphany or Feast of the Three Magi.  It is the 12th day of Christmas, beginning December 25th.  This holiday looks toward the Church's mission to the world to show Jesus as our Savior.

The Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

In Italy, The Epiphany is a national holiday and children wait for La Befana.  She is  an old woman who brings gifts to good children, and leaves coal to the bad ones.  The tale goes on to say that the Wise Men knocked on her door and asked her to accompany them on their journey, but she refused.  After seeing a huge powerful light in the sky, she set out with gifts to join them, but got lost.  She goes out bringing gifts each year in the hopes of finding Baby Jesus.

As part of celebrating on January 6th, some people make a King's Cake or a bread filled with all sorts of goodies to represent the gifts brought by the Wise Men.  

You can find a tasty recipe here.

Dear Jesus, as You led the Three Kings to You by the light of a star, 
Please draw us ever closer to You by the light of Faith. 
Help us to desire You as ardently as they did. 
Give us the grace to overcome all the obstacles that keep us far from You. 
May we, like them, have something to give You when we appear before You. 
Mary, Our Mother, help us to know Your Son. Amen.       

                     -  from Catholic Cuisine

Joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays and Elaine for Sunny Simple Sundays.  


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 review, hindsight, and my word(s) for 2013

Here we are, the second day of the brand new year.  We cooked our beans and greens, ham, or whatever our traditions dictated.  Wanting to get off on the right foot!  Filled with hope and anticipation.

2012 was supposed to be the year of the "shed" for me.  Not much happened.  I am giving myself smaller, more attainable goals.  I will focus on "clean" eating, and eating more vegan like as many days as I can.   

I had successful eye surgery, but as I was warned, I cannot read or see things close up without glasses.  Small price to pay.  

I had my first colonoscopy, in which a rather large, thankfully benign, polyp was removed.  I recommend for the 50 + crowd if you have not had one yet, please arrange for it.  It is so doable.  Nothing like I imagined.  March 21st will be one year, and I plan on doing a prep that day, just because I loved how I felt afterward, sooo light.  

I am still dealing with back spasms from a pinched nerve and fatigue, doctor appointments this week and next and recent blood work should have answers and hopefully, relief.  I do need to cut back on computer time, I can spend hours (and in fact, do) on here.  Not just blogging, I am addicted to Pinterest and Twitter, and after resisting Facebook for years, here I am on that, too.  

I did come out of my comfort zone, and in October I attended a bloggers' conference in North Carolina.  I wanted to face my 'fear of flying' and the TSA.  I wanted to see if I can still do things like I used to.  It was a wonderful weekend.

Also in October, I reconnected with cousins I had not seen or heard from in years.  The sudden death of one cousin brought them on a search to find me, and today it is very easy (too easy and quite scary when you think about it) to find an address or telephone number.  I am happy to have them back in my life.  And I made closure with others.

I did not start a big project I thought I would, painting my guest bedroom furniture.  I am going to bite the bullet and get that going in early spring.  I went through craft supplies and have projects lined up.  I did make a couple of Christmas crafts.  I also started crocheting again.  

I spent the summer hunkered down, trying not to spend unnecessary money, clearing out closets, files, I had two huge bags of shredded paper.  I missed seeing my friends, but it made up for it once I saw I had made big progress.  I had some minor home repairs done.  I also had nice photos of this that I wanted to post, but they are forever lost when my computer crashed and died on my birthday in August.  

I yearned for autumn, and it arrived on time, bringing the colors and scents and holidays, and a huge superstorm named Sandy that destroyed portions of my little island.  It was hard to learn that people I know personally had lost their homes, or had extensive damage.  I do not live near the water and did fine, except for a few nights of power outages and a few days of no telephone service.  

Now the holidays are behind us, and I am happy to return to normal everyday business.  

How do you like the new blog look?  I wanted lightness, and I find a soft lavender calming.  I love when I feel calm.  I think better, and then make better decisions than when I am fretting.  I want to thank Linda Primmer for her special talent in blog design.

I was sure my word for 2013 was going to be "joy".  I want to experience more "joy".  I think "peace" goes together with "joy".  I already downsized, but I still need to "simplify".   I need to remember all that I have been given, especially my dear sweet friends, and I need to be more grateful.  

Simplify + finding peace + by being grateful = JOY

A very good equation for a successful year ahead!

Thanks for listening!!!

And because I love my Sunday linkys, I will be joining 

and the very first Gratitude Party at A La Carte


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

Wishing everyone a happy New Year,  filled with good health, peace, joy, love, and prosperity!  May all your dreams come true in 2013!!  


I am happy to have had a good 2012.  I was eagerly looking forward to it, and it did have its lows as well as its highs, for me.  Now I am thinking about my year in review post, my word for the year, and perhaps a color or theme.  Ever hopeful that this will be the year I can say, "boy it WAS my year!"

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