Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Gone Again

I have not written in such a looong time. Life gets so busy and writing a blog post gets tucked lower and lower on the the to-do list and then over four months have gone by.

This Christmas we had a lovely time with my two adult children, mother, brother and his family, husband, and dogs getting together on Christmas Eve for a lasagne dinner. We started out with a spinach salad complete with bacon, egg, and homemade vinaigrette....I converted my brother to a spinach eater! We ended with lemon cake and eggnog ice cream. (The empty plate is where my 5-yr-old niece was sitting, and I was not going to pressure her into salad ..... yet.)

The day before I made Scotch eggs (for my English hubby) to take to work. I "spice" them up a little as the regular recipe is a little bland for me. I also make the sausage layer thinner than traditional Scotch eggs.

We have been busy at the farmhouse with home makeover projects as well. More to come on that later.

With the New Year soon to be here, I have made three resolutions. One is to eat healthier and try to slim down a bit. I don't do starvation diets, but I do like the idea of making better choices. The second one is to write more posts as it provides a way for me to chronicle our lives here at Amelie's, and I do not want to forget any of it. The third is to improve my Etsy shop and figure out how to take better pics of my vintage wares. Here's hoping I can keep at least one of them!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

What a great day we had today for this fine Fourth of July. My husband, being English, says the British call it Thanksgiving. I told him that he is not funny.

Anyway, we went to our neighbors' for a barbeque and other festivities. Our neighbor is over 1.5 miles away, but they are the next house on the right from us. Every year they invite friends and family for an antique tractor parade, games, and rides. Dinner this year was squeezed in at 1 pm. We didn't stay for the after dinner parade as we were having company ourselves and needed to get home. There were a little over 100 people there this year even though it was lightly raining (but the temps were in the high 60s/low 70s.....last year it was 96). Below are a few pics. Hope everyone had a great day!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

Last night was "pepper time" in my 1920s / 1960s / 2010s mishmash of a kitchen. In addition to the, chili, and jalapeno peppers, I also planted three each of sweet banana and salsa (hot!!) plants. They are doing unbelievably well this year. I put them right in the middle of all of the tomatoes in the "second" garden that has a very, very, small slope.

I have been able to pick a few bell peppers already this summer and have been watching the others grow like crazy. (I did put a little Miracle Gro-laced water on them when I planted them, but that is the only "chemical" help they have had). I decided yesterday that I better start picking before something else gets them.

Since I only have three tomatoes that are even close to be ripe, I can't make salsa or chili sauce. So I decided to chop and freeze the salsa peppers for a later use. (NOTE: WEAR GLOVES when you process hot peppers!)

I washed and removed the stems, seeds and white parts of the ribs and cut them into two inch pieces. I pulsed my little baby chopper until the pepper pieces were small enough to use in salsa or other recipes (a little goes a long way with these). I do not have a large food processor (although I would love one), so I chopped theses in three or four batches. Peppers do not need to be blanched before freezing. You can even freeze the little chili peppers whole if you like. I then spooned this into quart-size freezer bags, making sure to remove the air by rolling the bag before I sealed it. I like to flatten my bag out, evenly distributing the peppers. Some people like to freeze the chopped peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the freezer before bagging. I so not bother, because it is easy "break" off small chunks of the chopped goodness when needed.

Next were my sweet banana peppers. I washed, stemmed, and seeded these babies fairly quickly. (I didn't cough constantly like it did with the salsa peppers. No hot pepper spray in the air!) I then sliced them all into rings and set them aside. I gathered my canning supplies and put the canner full of water on to boil.

I tripled this recipe. It is my first time making these, but it has good reviews. It is simple enough, and I have high hopes for yummy pickled sweet peppers on my sandwiches this winter.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fried Zucchini

Many vegetable gardens in my part of Ohio was started a little later than usual due to the cold weather, at least later than last year when it was unseasonably warm. We have been eating spinach and lettuce for several weeks now and a few peppers, but nothing else.

Today, I was able to harvest three zucchinis and I decided to fry them up as a pre-dinner, hold-me-over snack. I know, I know. Why grow a garden for healthy eating if you just turn around and fry the veggies? Because fried zucchini is sooooo good! And it has to be better than anything you would get in a restaurant.

I use small zucchinis that have not started to develop their seeds yet. I slice them about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick (you choose however you prefer them). I dip them in a beaten egg and plunge them into a flour mixture. My mixture is a little different every time I make them. Tonight it was flour, Cajun seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and lemon pepper seasoning. I like mine a little spicy so I put more Cajun seasoning than anything else. I then pan-fried them on the stove making sure not to crowd them in the pan. I used tongs to turn them when the first side was golden brown and put them on a paper towel-lined plate. I had some buttermilk ranch dressing in the fridge and used that as a dip; hubs opted for ketchup.

Sometimes I double dip my slices using milk and bread crumbs for the final coating. There is no right or wrong way to do this. I usually dip them once, so you can still taste the zucchini.

I have summer yellow squash that looks like it might be ready tomorrow night and a few bell peppers to make my almost famous "Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta."

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Auctions and a New Sofa

What a week! I went to two auctions, hubs and I had a grill-out with a friend at our place, we had a mid-week dinner out, I had an all-day family visit, and I am slowly (but surely) scraping glue off wood floors in the "den."

The last month or so has been the greatest for me and the auction scene. I don't know what it was.....I was just not in the "mood" or there were just bad "pickings" all around the area. But that changed this week.

Although the mid-week auction only produced two groupings of china, one was superior being a set of six fish plates and matching platter from Bavaria.

Yesterday's auction yielded a high-quality sofa from Smith Brothers of Berne, Indiana that is in excellent condition looking extremely close to new. And is it HEAVY! thankfully, a nice young man helped me get it into the truck I had parked at the loading dock area. I also scooped up a makeup table to "French up" for my daughter and several partial sets of china.

Below are a few pics of the sofa. Although not exactly what I would pick out for the den, I couldn't pass up the deal.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Strawberry Sherbet and Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Last year I planted 50 (yes, 50) "hardy" northern European strawberry plants. Well, they weren't that hardy, because about twenty of them died over the winter, even with being "strawed." And the ones that did survive, did not produce that many strawberries. If I'm lucky and beat the critters to the ripe ones, I may get three a day.

But have no fear, my farmer friend is here. I have had three large batches of strawberries from her place. The first batch became my snack for a couple of days. The second batch became strawberry buttermilk sherbet, and the third batch became strawberry yogurt cake.

I used a modified recipe last year for berry sherbet, but I could not remember how I made it. I know I wrote it down, but I don't know where I put it. I did a quick search and found this which tastes just like it. I changed out the half-and-half with heavy cream, because that is what I had in the fridge. It is quite refreshing, and the buttermilk adds a little tang to it. I use my electric Cuisinart ice cream maker, but a friend of mine uses lidded containers in the freezer. She stirs it every 15-20 minutes until firmly frozen.

My favorite recipe is the strawberry yogurt cake that my friend Sandy had pinned on her Pinterest page. I made it last year and loved it. I made it again this year and changed one thing. Since the Greek yogurt I could find at my country market came in 6 oz. containers (I needed 8 oz.), I added 1/4 cup of heavy cream and used just one of these 6-oz. containers of Greek yogurt. The recipe is It is delicious!

Sorry for the lack of pics, but by the time I realized I should take them we had already made the dishes  unpretty.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

1940s China Cabinet Makeover

Today I completed the china cabinet project I started this past Tuesday. I already have two 1940s cabinets in the dining room but could not pass this one up for the price. It was nicked up on the bottom edges and had a few scratches but had lovely wavy glass in the top and was quite sturdy. I bought it with plans of painting it and putting it in the front entryway.

I have recently been reading about chalk paint and how expensive it is (and not available just anywhere). It is available in an antiques town about 20 minutes away from me, but I am pretty tight when it comes to that. Instead, I decided to make my own using one of the many recipes I found on others' blogs. The recipe I ended up using was: 5 tablespoons plaster of Paris + 5 tablespoons water.....mix well. Then add about two cups of satin latex paint (without primer). I used the $24.99 Olympic. Mix slow but thoroughly.

Before I made anything up and started painting, I used painters' tape to tape off the glass and the areas I did not want to paint. I then lightly sanded with a fine-grit sponge sander (I had one already from sanding patches on walls). The finish was so "slick" on this piece, I wanted to make sure the paint had something to bite. Normally, you do not need to do this when using chalk paint.

I used a small cabinet roller for the large portions of the cabinet and a small, average quality paint brush for the tight spaces. I used a free makeup brush for the very smallest areas. ( I always to this even when painting a room....they work great for tight spaces and nooks and crannies.)

I gave it a second coat the next day.

On the third day (today), I distressed lightly with sandpaper and then used Johnson paste wax to cover the entire piece. Forty minutes later I buffed it out.

Now, I need to find a dresser for my daughter's new place.

Above are the "before" and "after" pics. I painted it right there in the entry way after putting newspapers under it and putting an old sheet down for a drop cloth.

I left the inside back stained, because I plan on putting antique English ironstone finds in there. I have also ordered a "puck" light for the inside top.

I have a set of wooden candlesticks that I want to paint and distress as well, just not white. So, I'll have to stop at Lowe's tomorrow and see if they haven't any "oops" paint. If not, I'll buy a sample jar.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Feta & Spinach Stuffed Chicken

I'm back. Today is the first Monday of my summer holiday and I am loving it. I have no place I must be, no time constraints of when I make it down town to the post and grocery, no makeup, no straightening my get the picture. However, the dogs think that since I am home all day they can be taken out for walks once an hour.

Anyway, I have vowed to make some new dishes this summer and last night was the first. First a little story about why I picked it. Last summer, my garden spinach did fantastic and we were having spinach salad almost nightly in addition to the little bit I put in the freezer. This year, it is doing just as well and I decided not to always use it in salad (plus, I have several varieties of lettuce that are doing quite well for that).

The original recipe came from here, but I changed it up a bit.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 - 1 lb fresh baby spinach
8 oz. block of light feta, crumbled (I love Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (I always have store-bought in a jar in my fridge)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used two "giant" breasts cut in half)
4 slices of prosciutto

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Chop or tear spinach into small pieces and saute in a very small amount of oil over medium for a few minutes (or steam). Blot any excess moisture before adding to mix in step 3.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix mayonnaise, spinach, feta cheese, and garlic until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Carefully butterfly chicken breasts, making sure not to cut all the way through. Spoon spinach mixture into chicken breasts. Wrap each with a piece of prosciutto, and secure with a toothpick. (I didn't use toothpicks and they stayed together.)Place in shallow baking dish. Cover.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Next time I make this I may leave out the mayo and/or add some bread crumbs to the mixtures. I've also thought about flattening the breasts first to thin them a little to reduce the cooking time.

I took a few pics, but we started eating before I got the final photo!

Monday, April 15, 2013

No School

This year has not been a very good year for me in terms of little ailments popping up.....nothing serious but they are always just bad enough to  make me miss a day of school. Today, it's an allergy related (I think) problem per usual. If it's not vertigo or a sinus headache, it's swollen eyes. Today, it is swollen eyes and a headache, nothing more but I was not going in looking like I do. I had a terrible night's sleep as well and was a zombie when I got up and started moving about at 5:15 am. Thank you Spring :)

I spent a large part of yesterday outdoors in addition to cleaning out Amelie's storeroom in the house. I helped the farm hand trim trees, I then sprayed the fruit trees, we fixed the riding mower (farm hand did the mowing), and then tried to fix the gas grill (it needs replaced). In all fairness the grill will still work, but the tank was faulty (back to Lowe's it goes this week for an exchange). But we still need a new has made it through six years (all year) of cooking many, many meals.

The good news is that our farmer friend tilled my gardens last weekend and it's about ready for me to do one more till-under before I start planting....onions and spinach first.  We extended the back garden to the left in the pic. There was an awkward strip of grass between the garden and what used to be a gigantic brush/wood pile (now gone) that was difficult to mow without blowing grass into the garden so we tilled it up. I also have sourced some beef (1/4 of one) locally. Seems that my friend's farm raises a small amount of beef in addition to growing grain....yeah! Now I need to buy a small freezer as well as a new grill....before June. I will research today while my eyes recover.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Well, tomorrow never came with more Civil War bible pics and info. Life has been busy around here with school obligations and being gone for spring break. I will revisit it this summer. It now has a nice spot on top of an old slant top desk/secretary in the dining room. After my big clean and spruce up, I will post some more pics of it.

I have just completed my online college course to complete the necessary "hours" I need to renew my teaching license here in Ohio. This is something that most of us have to do every five years along with another FBI check and fingerprinting. Everything is done and now I am just waiting for my official transcripts to be sent.

I have been busy as ever with my Etsy shop and the local auction scene, as well. My goods have started to take over the family room in addition to the dedicated "Amelie" room I have. They were beginning to creep into the dining room, too! I've cleaned up the dining room and have four boxes to sort in the family room and then I will be back down to one room (in the house......I have things in the barn already!)

I have started counting the days before the end of school (yes, teachers do it as much as the kids), and there are 34 days with students left (excluding weekends and Memorial Day)!!! I have one more day of work after that and "hello, summer!"

See ya later :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Auction Bible

This past Saturday, as usual, I attended a local estate auction. I am just now going through some of the items and though I would list an old Bible I found in one of the boxes I purchased. Upon inspecting it I learned that it was purchased in 1896 by the widow of a Civil War veteran. After finding his obituary (he died over 20 years after his injury), I learned that the war did not kill him but an infliction he acquired after being severely injured in the second battle of Bull Run. I've decided I am definitely not selling this piece of history. It will remain in my pre-Civil War home on display. More to come tomorrow.....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Strawberry Fields Forever

Last year I planted 50 north European strawberry plants. Supposedly they are "sturdier" specimens, and I am hopeful of a bountiful harvest. I just need my friend, J, to till my gardens in order to get me motivated. Then I will get out there and neaten up the patch as well as plant my spinach, hopefully by the end of the month. I also need to spray the fruit trees next weekend (temps in the low 50s!) and decide what seeds I am going to have to order (what I cannot get locally).

The first recipe I want to try is this strawberry yummy I saw on the same French blog, "My French Country Home.

Click to find a fantastic pic of this scrumptious-looking dessert. I will post pics of all of my creations (if they turn out) when the time comes.

Lemon Tart

I cannot seem to get myself away from French blogs today. Susan from "My French Country Home" has yet another seemingly simple recipe that I would like to make. It is a for a lemon tart and how I do love lemony desserts! Check it out

This pic is from her blog.
I have attended another auction this weekend as well. I am in process of soaking all the to come.

Friday, March 1, 2013

French Tarragon Chicken

And here is yet another yummy recipe from Susan to try with fresh tarragon.....

Yummy French Snacks

I have found another fantastic French blog - an English lady living in France with her French husband and children. This is another recipe (the almond cakes) that I want to try.

Rubber Stamps Galore

Last Saturday, I went to an estate auction in the government seat of a rural county. It was great :) I only wished I could have been in two places at once as they were selling furniture at the same time as "box lots." As there was nothing in the furniture area I just had to have, I followed the box lot auctioneer. This was after I had purchased mostly Austrian, German, American (Pope Gosser and Homer Laughlin) and a few pieces of 1940s Japanese.

Amongst those boxes of "junk" was a sweet container filled with looked over (by me and just about everyone else) rubber stamps, embossing powder, ink pads, card get the picture. Although I've never been a big fan of scrapbooking, I do like to use the stamps for gift tags. I only had one medium-sized stamp before the auction, because they were always too expensive for this bargain hunter. But not this day....

Now, I just have to read up on how to emboss and use some of my goodies.

Tomorrow, I am attending another estate auction and hopefully I will be able to have a marathon photo shoot / listing session for Etsy on Sunday. (I've only managed to put about a fourth of last weekend's booty on.)

Part of my problem is that I have discovered several French blogs written by English and American folks living in rural France. I can't peel myself away from them once I get started. But I am even more inspired for the master bath makeover this guessed it French / American farmhouse decor (whatever that means). Well, time to order pizza for Amelie's #1 associate and employee of the month.....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Basque Farmhouse in France

I have discovered an inspiring blog called Basque Farmhouse in France this weekend. As I was telling hubs about it, of course he knew exactly where it was and all about it (Basque, that is). He pulled up a map of France and showed me its location and to the spots he had been "whilst" camping with his boys. I have decided that is the spot in France I am visiting when we get ourselves over the pond summer, 2014.

Here is a lovely recipe for French onion soup posted on the blog. I haven't tried it yet, but I plan on it this week.
And, I went to a country auction yesterday and bought some Pope Gosser china, Homer Laughlin serving bowls, along with lots of other china and goodies. The buy of the day was not china, though. It was a box of 20+ rubber stamps, inks, cleaner, and a little bit of card stock!! I am not into scrapbooking, but I love using the stamps for gift tags, cards, and anything else that has paper on it. Pics coming soon......

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Etsy 100th Sale!

Amelie's Farmhouse made its 100th sale on Etsy today! What started out as an idea my daughter planted in my brain became a reality 10/12/12. I absolutely love auctioning and sharing my goodies on Etsy. I plan on expanding into soapmaking this spring along with the other hundreds of soapmakers out there. I want to sell locally as well as pair up my soap with vintage dishes and glassware that can be repurposed as soap dishes. No pics today, but I have a little story. Today, I went to an auction about 20 miles from here. Now normally I find a few good things from this auctioneer's sales, but today I tore up my bidder's number and walked out. One of the "employees" that holds up merchandise while the auctioneer calls continues to bid against the audience buyers. This is the fourth sale that it has upset me little and not because he outbids me......I would have no problem with an actual customer/buyer outbidding me because that's the whole idea behind an auction. But I really have a problem with the employees being buyers while they are holding up the merchandise. There, I've vented, but I will not return to this company's sales unless they are through the week in the summer. I believe this "gentleman" has a real job through the week.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Raymond Loewy Industrial Design

Auctions season is upon us! During the winter holidays, there usually is not too much going on in the way of estate sales. There are some and there are other types of auctions, but they usually do not have too much "Amelie" types of goodies. Well, yesterday I went to a local sale and picked up a few items including some newer (late 20th century) Johnson Brothers ironstone dinnerware and something that Amelie normally would not like.....mid-century industrial designed dinnerware. I had the opportunity to purchase 53 pieces of never-used, Raymond Loewy designed, 1950s dinnerware! It is classic rhythm shaped with untouched platinum banding....I think it is beautiful. It would go well in today's dining room as well as a minimalist's. I love it and thought about keeping it for myself......but as a friend of mine always says, "You can't keep it all!" Sneak peak photos.....

Saturday, February 2, 2013

More Snow and Cold

What a crazy week of weather we've had here in Ohio. On Tuesday and Wednesday it was in the 60s, on Thursday the temperature began to drop drastically, by Friday morning we had a two-hour snow/cold delay at school because it was 5 degrees with a wind chill of -11! Overnight, the snow began again and continues as I type.....up to 4" some say. It is supposed to snow again tomorrow and Monday. BUT, it is Ohio, and that may change even before I am finished with this post. Below is a pic of Farmhand Bob as he wheels more wood up to the house for the dining room fire. This is our second winter with the magnificent Vermont Castings insert in well spent. We have several fireplaces in the house, gas and decorative (for now anyway), but nothing beats the warmth (heats half the house)or ambiance of wood. We had to put the insert in the dining room fireplace as it had the largest opening to accommodate a large insert. It is also one of the two chimneys that had been outfitted with a new stainless steel liner by the previous owner. If you are a clean freak, wood is not for you....some ash tends to escape when you open the doors to add more wood. I stopped trying to "dust" every night and just give the room a good clean every weekend.
Below is a pic of me over Christmas break during a "big chill" with all my gear in the dining room Estying on the dining room table with dogs in tow in front of the fire.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter Blues Begin

The holidays are over and it is time to put all the decorations away and get ready for the winter blues :( I do not like the long period between now and spring break. This year I have my Etsy shop and more vintage/antique hunting to keep my spirits up, though.

Speaking of Etsy, I am looking forward to listing a load of springtime goodies including yellow depression glass (cups, saucers, plates), embroidered floral napkins and tablecloths/scarves/runners, vintage children's and adults sewing patterns, and of course more china. I hope to be able to restock my cache of the popular 1940s tablecloths in the upcoming weeks, as well. I am also always on the lookout for unique vintage items on my adventures down country roads and in county auction houses.

In the spring, I have high hopes of turning our master bathroom into a French-meets-American farmhouse abode. I am on my way with the pre-existing pale pink basin inset in an antique dresser and matching pale pink toilet and shower stall. You know what they say, "When life gives you lemons......" The floor is a medium to light color wood (put in the 1920s I think) when the room was added to serve as a bedroom. There is wood trim, crown molding, and bead board that was installed in the early 1990s when the small bedroom was tranformed into a 3/4 bathroom. I am hoping this is going to be an "easy" makeover. We'll see.

I've added some photos from the Christmas holidays below. I didn't take any of the inside for some reason but hubs took plenty of the outside after our first big snow. Thanks for reading and remember to visit my Etsy shop at for gifts for yourself or someone else. If you do not see something you are looking for, ask because I just may have it.

Picture taken before the candles were put in the windows!

Denver enjoying his fireside spot in the family room.