Amish Art

Posted August 31st, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Birds, Family, Garden, My collections, Travels

Bird House, Det.

Bird House, Gourd

This beautiful, hand-painted gourd birdhouse was a gift from my baby sister, Patty Cramer.  It was purchased in Pennsylvania Amish Country (in the oddly named Intercourse, Blue Ball and Climax area).  We think it’s perfect in our new kitchen.  Patty has excellent taste, and has sent us several bluebird themed items over the years.  Don’t you just love the pretty  gourd shape with it’s jaunty stem and perky handle?

Thank you, Patty!


Posted June 2nd, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Garden, My Photography

Amaryllis 6:14

Hardy Amaryllis – Click on image to view

One of my favorite yard flowers, the hardy amaryllis is just what its name implies.  It winters over beautifully.  I especially love the color and elegance of the plant.

Kitchen Renovation

Posted May 29th, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Family, Personal, Vintage

We’ve lived with a mostly 1926 kitchen for decades.  I suppose we could have continued that way (after all, it did have a lot of character) except for the grandchildren.  After all, what are another few years added to the 42 in which we’ve “made do.”  But we wanted the little ones to have a space that was new and sanitary.  So we took the plunge!

An amazing amount of work has been accomplished in just a day over two weeks.  Demo, new electrical, new plumbing, HVAC, floor removal down to the original oak hardwoods, and I-beam installation.  Insulation (there wasn’t even a dust bunny to keep out the cold) will probably happen tomorrow followed by drywall next week.  Things will move very quickly after that.

I’ll post before and after pictures once I’ve had a chance to breathe.  Here’s what the 18′ x 18′ space looked like this afternoon:

Kit 5:29Southwest corner of kitchen.  Breakfast room wall was removed – see floor.  A pantry was also eliminated.

Kit 5:29 2

 South wall.  Our sink will be placed  under the center window.

Watch this apace!


Back to the Basics

Posted April 29th, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Family, Personal, Recipes

Biscotti Done

For over 15 years, my husband has enjoyed cooking dinner……every dinner.  Breakfast and lunch (more often, blunch) are catch as catch can.  As a result, I’ve found I no longer know how to cook!  When I found myself having to check a cookbook for how long to boil potatoes, I decided to do something about that.  I’m in the process of once more teaching myself to cook.

My Mother was an excellent cook;  my aunts were too, my three sisters and I were all in 4-H, and my older sister is a home-economist.  All the ladies at the Grange excelled at baking and making Swedish coffee, in a big white porcelain coffee pot.  An egg is mixed in with the grounds, resulting in a coffee which is clear and delicious.  I was never successful at brewing it that way.  Back in the day, everything was made from scratch.  Our neighbor, Agnes Lindgren, at the next farm down the road, was from Denmark.  Her pastries were unbelievable.

It’s not as if I never learned to cook.  But it requires a certain familiarity with ingredients to turn out a good product.  The knack of knowing when a pie crust is just right, knowing from “how it feels” whether or not to add more flour to bread dough.  One has to stay in practice.  My goal is to build a library of “go-to” recipes. Real food, not just baking (which really is my specialty and love).  After all, we’re redoing our kitchen beginning May 12.  I need to be ready!

Parmesan Chicken was Sunday night dinner.  I’m a huge fan of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, and used her recipe.   It was divine!  I especially liked the lemon viniagrette dressed salad served atop the warm chicken.  DH preferred his on the side.  Last night’s dish was macaroni and cheese, made with noodles (we were out of macaroni).  I used a mixture of sharp cheddar and parmesan cheese.  To me,  a midwesterner, macaroni and cheese is an entree’.  To my southern husband, it is a “side.”

Next attempt?  The Peach Bellini   Will I need little paper umbrellas?

On the Street Where We Live

Posted April 25th, 2014 by Ellen and filed in Garden, My Photography

We are so fortunate to have the Kings Drive Farmers Market at the bottom of our street, just seven houses away.  An overcast morning today  provided perfect light.














Plants and cut flowers are just an addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, jams, jellies, several varieties of honey, free range chicken eggs, and tiny quail eggs, considered a delicacy by many.  Oh, the delights of having a farm stand in midtown Charlotte.  Note:  Photos are too large to be clickable.  I hope to remedy this soon.  My apologies.