Friday, August 31, 2012


Just a quick note about the jelly I made last weekend....yum! I made four pints of apple and four half-pints of jalapeno pepper jelly (first time I had even tasted pepper jelly and I love it). I cannot wait to try the pepper jelly over some cream cheese with crackers this fall and winter......I am going to try and make more this week as I have a "boatload" still on the plants.

Green jalapeno pepper, red jalapeno pepper, and apple.....all made without food coloring. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hot Red Jalapeno Pepper Sauce

Yesterday, the auction was a bust so I left and went to a nearby outlet mall. I bought some of my favorite Estee Lauder perfume and some of hubs' favorite Starbuck's K-cups. Then I went home and started on canning some red jalapeno hot sauce. We had a bumper crop of peppers this year from all of the varieties of peppers that were planted, and I'm trying new ways to preserve them. (Later this week I'll post how I made the Christmas pepper jelly.)

The original recipe was for "red hot sauce" and it came from a Ball Canning book. I double it and made sauce a little runnier.....the recipe says to cook it to the consistency of ketchup, which didn't sound appealing too me.

Washing the pepper mix from the garden. I removed all of the red jalapenos for this recipe.
I cut off the stem end, split lengthwise, and scrape out seeds/membrane. I then chopped them up in my new Ninja mini chopper
Finished product! It is probably twice as much as I need but, I will have to find more ways to use it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back to Work

Summer is over for me....I headed back to work this week and will now start longing for my next long break. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my job but I love being home to "work" on my projects.......someday :) I plan on going to an auction tomorrow morning in the next town (well, it's really a village) over to the NE. When I get home, I plan on making some hot sauce and red pepper jelly with all of my now-red jalapeno peppers. I think I have enough tomatoes to make up some soup as well. Hubs has promised to get up on the ladder and pick some of the "good" apples that weren't discovered by any insects or other creatures. I would love to try and make some jelly and/or applesauce on Sunday.  Until then ......

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Auction Goodies

The library is done except still waiting on the electric sconces.....should be here any day now. Hopefully, they'll be here by Saturday, so I can install them. While I am waiting, I am slowly trying to "find" things to put in the room that I already have. The following are a few auctions goodie's I got in the past month (except for the McGuffey spelling bookr, I got that last summer).
antique cherry drop leaf table

Pewter candle holder and McGuffey spelling book

Antique (minus the pulls) walnut chest of drawers, lamp, & more pewter

Pewter vase/candle holder

Old books, ironstone platter, and more pewter

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Barn Quilts

A long-time friend of mine, Jerrie, from my home town is a very gifted "barn quilter." Today, I'd like to show you some of her designs. She sent me a little history behind these quilts below.She lives in southern Ohio, so if you really like them and need more info you can email me at Enjoy!

Barn Quilts - The story.
The history of the American Barn Quilt can be traced back almost 300 years to the arrival of immigrants from the central regions of Europe; Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. It is widely believed that barn painting/quilting originated in Pennsylvania with these immigrants and then spread too much of the New England and Midwestern states. Paint was very expensive in those days and painting a decorative and distinctive quilt pattern on their barns was a wonderful way of allowing for decoration. It also became an excellent way for travelers to find particular families or cross roads as towns people would just tell them which pattern to look for. Paint became less costly around the 1830 to 1840’s and at this point barn painting/decorating became an actual trade with specialized artisans. These artists combined many folk designs as well as specific geometric patterns from quilt squares: Snail trail, Bear claw, Mariners compass and Drunkards path.Decorating barns with colorful designs and quilt squares peaked by the beginning of the 20th century and slowly gave way to a more pragmatic form of barn painting; advertisement. Gone were the colorful quilts and in their place came the paid ads for Red Man Chewing Tobacco, Ceresota Flour, and Mail Pouch: A nostalgic part of the history of American barns in their own right. Today barn quilts have become popular again with more and more becoming visible. Quilt trails have been developed in many states. After a number of barn quilts have been displayed in an area, a map is developed that guides the viewers to the location. The map will have an address, maybe a picture of the square and a name or explanation of its meaning. A few of the states that have developed quilt trails include, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa and of course, Michigan.The quilts can be put on any type of building, from houses, garages, sheds or just mounted on two posts and displayed in the yard or a park.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shutter Shutdown

Well, poop! I cannot use the shutters on my library windows because I need about three more inches of wall between the left window and the outside door. I'll have to save them for the man cave makeover, I guess. Anyway, here is a pic of them after I cleaned them up a bit.


Not feeling very motivated today.....back to work every day starting Monday :(

I did start working on the shutters to hang on the inside of the library windows. Before I started, I was surfing a little and came across a cool site for repurposing shutters.

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Antique Books

This  morning I made a trip to my favorite hairdresser for a color and cut.....thank you Jamie :) And when I got back home I did one last touch-up on the library floor (hopefully the last) and got back into my antique books.

Celebrated Generals was published somewhere between 1880 and 1896, the exact date of which I do not know as the book is undated.

The next book is General History and was written by a professor at my alma mater the University of Cincinnati. It was written in 1897 and includes a lot of little crib notes on small pieces of paper.

The last book, The Quest of John Chapman, was published in 1904 and is about Johnny Appleseed.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Antique French Lesson Book

After I posted about my book, it was time to go to the first staff meeting of the year at school....the real work starts Monday. On the way home, I stopped to get a second gallon of floor paint to do a third light coat and touch up the edges. I can't wait to put some of my auction furniture in there.

I grabbed another book to be shelved in the library, and it was a first year French lesson book (2nd edition) from 1927. It was meant to be used in a total French immersion atmosphere....I can't imagine doing that in a public school today. Anyway, the cover is not too exciting, but there is a lot of graffiti inside. Seems Miss Sarah Rose didn't bring enough notebook paper to class.

The Young Ranchers

Last summer I purchased quite a few antique books from an auction that was basically liquidating a very small town historical society. I plan on putting them into the finished library and picked this one up last night. It is called The Young Ranchers (or Fighting the Sioux). It is a first edition of an 1895 young teen boy book, No. 8 in the "Forest and Prairie" series. The author, Edward S. Ellis is from Geneva, Ohio.
Front cover

Inside front cover reads "PRIVATE LIBRARY OF G.F. Gallaher  No. 22"
Inscription reads, "To Fred Gallaher from Momma, Dec. 25th 1899"

"Heap Big Injun" drawing found between pages 106 and 107

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Loudon Florals Prints

This is the second post of the day and it's not even 3:00 pm yet! I have been quite motivated today.

After I loaded up the dehydrator, I went out to the barn to fetch my four (very) old shutters with countless coats of paint. (black, dark green, and light green/white were visible). I hosed them all off to end up with a slightly distressed look but I still need to take a brush and soapy water to them.....might put them in the library flanking the two windows.

Then I repaired the eyes/wire on one of the three Jan Korthals London prints I acquired at this past weekend's auction on the cheap. I just need to have the glass in one of them replaced and they are ready to hang.

The other box of prints I purchased contained two pairs of botanical prints. My least favorite pair were hung today in the kitchen (below) and the other more "antiquey" pair will go in the library. (I may have to move the kitchen prints closer together, we'll see.)

Drying Herbs

Yesterday I primed the floor and this morning I put the first coat of paint on! Now, I have all day to do other things like dry some of my herbs for future use. There are many ways to dry herbs and I am far from an expert on them. However, I did have great success last year using a dehydrator. Today, I am drying two types of basil and some sage.

Cinnamon Basil
The bottom layer is cinnamon basil...smells so good.

Lemon-Lime Basil

The next two layers consists of lemon-lime basil...very citrus-smelling and crispy fresh.

The top layer is sage, since it will probably dry fastest and need to be removed before the basil. Sage has a lower moisture content and can be air-dried (but I do not want to deal with this). You can also leave the sage leaves on the stems and put into the dehydrator. I chose to gently pick each leaf off.
This is the dryer portion of the dehydrator that sets on top of the stack of trays. You can add more trays, but this is all I wanted to do today.

I put the temperature between the 95 and 125 degree F mark. When it is done, I will store in small airtight, glass jars that I saved from store-bought spices and pimentos.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wall Sconces & Candeliers

Amish candeliers in library (no candes yet)

Amish wall sconces (need shorter candles or LEDs)
The above pictures are of the work I did today. Even though the room will not be done for a few more days, I wanted to post a few pics of the progress. I didn't post a pic of the floor prepped for painting because, well, it's not very interesting at all. The paint looks like it is a different color on each wall because of the natural light. The windows face west and the doorway above faces another room.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Library "Before"

I have not been working too much on the library/back parlor/guest room?  since Thursday. My DD moved Friday, I auctioned all day Saturday, and I tried to catch up on cooking, cleaning, laundry yesterday (although the cleaning didn't get caught up). I do plan on having it done except for decorating by the end of the week.

Here are the "before" pictures.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Auction Outing

Yesterday, I took a break from the "library" and garden stuff and went to an auction for six hours. Boy, oh boy, was a good one. There were so many cool authentic primitive antiques there (but very pricey). I didn't get any of those, but I did get quite a few goodies.

I bought a cherry drop-leaf table, a walnut chest of drawers, some china, ironstone, and pewter, a shelf, and some great prints/lithographs (a few of them ended up being valuable compare to the $3 I paid for all of them). I will be taking some pics tonight or in the morning and posting tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paint Color?

Today, I finished up the library wall and trim painting (mostly), and now I need to decide what color to paint the floor. I thought it was going to be gray, but hubs got me thinking about a shade of red we saw in a primitive goods shop last weekend. I am calling my farmer friend who lives in an old farmhouse herself and see if she can stop by and give me her opinion. I will be out of the house for most of the day tomorrow, so I can think about colors one more day. Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Painting the Walls

I am in the middle of painting the "library" walls right now. I've already done most of trim....just need to take the door off to paint properly. We decided on a spicy mustard, since is going to be a sort of "prim" room with white trim (all the trim in the house is white or on it's way to being white). AND.......

We have decided to paint the floors due to the different ages of the woods and poor repair job done in the 1960s. I thought I was going to do the same gray as the back hall, but hubs and a friend suggest "prim" red. Now I am just confused....I don't know what I want.

I've also received some more Amish goodies, two candle wall scones to go with the two candelabras. I bought the hooks for them today and am reminded that I have another job to do. I still need some black taper candles. Hopefully, I'll have a picture or two of the work in progress on Monday :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Library Progress

Today, I am cleaning out the dirt from between the floor boards in the soon-to-be made over "library." It took over 20 hours to remove the old Masonite and nails, but well worth it. I'm taking  my first break right now :)

Up until now, this large room has been home to many boxes of books and office supplies and hubs' model trains/cars. It was also my spray paint room and playground for an occasional mouse (finally figured out where they were getting in last week).

I hope to have stained and sealed by the weekend so I can paint over the weekend. I like to paint after I do the floors, because sanding the floor (regardless of how "light" you do it) throws too much wood dust on the walls. And, I am neat about it.

I've decided to go a little primitive with this room so ordered some Amish-made wrought iron lighting. There is not overhead wiring, so I've opted for two 4-candle candelabras. In addition, I am using two wall-mounted iron sconces for candles and two electric iron wall sconces. These last two lights will flank what was once the fireplace that is now covered with walnut paneling saved from the pre-1849 corn crib. Some day I want to have a table and benches  made from the wood and expose the fireplace/convert it to gas. But that is a few years down the road....I just want to make it useable. I also want to use two sets of original shutters in the room (found in the barn)...maybe mounted so they can be closed. If that's not possible, maybe mount them to the wall flanking the two windows.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tomato-Basil Soup for the Freezer

This is my recipe that I use to make "Tomato-Basil Soup." I used a copycat recipe for Applebee's soup as a starting point, but of course I had to tweak it to my specs :) I doubled the recipe to make four meals....I used quart-size freezer bags to store it in.

Amelie's Tomato-Basil Soup

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil                         ½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup minced white onion                                2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic                                   ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
8 cups fresh tomatoes, prepared*                      ¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth                                         ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup minced fresh basil                                   2 chicken bouillon cubes (optional)

* To prepare tomatoes, boil for 45 - 60 seconds, use slotted spoon to transfer to ice water bath, slide skins off, and cut out top of core and any bad spots. I find that Roma tomatoes need the full 60 seconds to ensure the skins come off easily.
1.     Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and then add onion and garlic. Saute for about one minute.
2.     Add prepared tomatoes and chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let mixture cool, uncovered for 30 minutes or so. You can let it sit for as long as an hour if you like.
3.     Pour about half of the mixture into a blender. Put the lid on and hold it down with a dish towel. Blend on high speed for about one minute. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
4.     Repeat Step 3 for the rest of the unblended mixture. (I usually do not do this step, because I like my soup a little chunkier.)
5.     Pour the puree back into the saucepan, and then add the remaining ingredients. Bring the soup back up to a bubble, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 
7.  Let cool to warm before attempting to ladle into freezer bags. I stand my bags up in a high-sided bowl for ladling. Make sure you have a good seal; lay flat on plate over sink to make sure.  I then transfer them (2 bags for single recipe, 4 bags if you doubled it) to the freezer. Each bag would serve four for lunch, two for dinner, or in our case two for lunch.

    When I reheat a package, I run under hot water to loosen and then "dump" the soup into a pan for reheating. I add a little bit of heavy cream or half-and-half, also. Serve with croutons and a little Parmesan shredded on top. We often have a grilled cheese sandwich or toasted ham-and-cheese sandwich with it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Peach Jam

Today, I made peach jam for the first time. This past winter I made orange-lemon marmalade for my hubs (those English love their marmalade) when the local grocery had a special on oranges. He really liked it, so I decided to use some of the peaches from one of our fruit trees for jam. It is really easy :)

I followed the recipe at my favorite food preserving site here "How to Make Peach/Nectarine Jam" As always, her recipe was foolproof. You need peaches, sugar, bottled lemon juice, fruit pectin (from your local grocery store or Wally World) and pint or half-pint canning jars with lids and rings (also at your local grocery or Wally World). I do not even bother with the half-pint jars myself....not worth the extra $$ for the amount of product you can put in one, and it usually doesn't take us too long to empty a pint of yummy. (She also has a recipe that uses Stevia/sugar instead of all sugar.)

I plan on making more, as I want to give a few jars away. Also, I plan on using it to make shortbread cookies and some type of dessert roll this fall and winter.

I also made tomato-basil soup for the freezer today. I'll post the directions for that in the next few is sooooo good on a cold Saturday for lunch.

 Earlier this week I shucked, cut, and prepared sweet corn to freeze from our good friends' farm. I'll post their recipe and directions for how they (and now me) like to preserve it so it tastes great when you use it later in the year. I did 22 dozen last year, and it was delicious. This year I am doing less than half of that as I planted a lot more veggies this year than I did last.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Squash Bugs

I found a nice gardening blog while perusing Pinterest this morning. She uses duct tape to get rid of squash bugs in all of their life cycles.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I finally finished (mostly) the back hall. I still need to put some trim on the metal track for two closets with sliding doors and make (hopefully) a large picture hanger out of an old pallet in the barn. I would also like to get some rugs. After removing nasty, stained carpet and Masonite, then having to repair the previous repairs, I think it turned out pretty decent. I am just glad it is done. My next project is the library a.k.a. back parlor. I have until August 20 (when school starts) to get the bulk of the work done. Stay tuned......

There are so many pics, because the hall is a "U" shape and is in three parts.