Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Earring Organization

Love being organized and finding whatever I am looking for quickly.   This was a problem in my jewelry box....especially with earrings!
The lovely oak jewelry case was a gift from my dear husband many years ago...and I love it, and there was the perfect place for it in our new closet - but as I added more costume jewelry I ran out of space for necklaces.  I added the Command hooks you see above to hang and see all my things - one too many trips to Charming Charlie!   The sides of the case open to hold delicate chains and necklaces, but would not accommodate those chunky necklaces.  So, the Command hooks - there are three of them lined up in a row - did the trick.  Now I can see what I have when I am getting dressed and use the items more often.  The lid of the chest opens up and has a small area on one side for any kind of jewelry and a large portion with ring storage.   Ring storage in any kind of jewelry organize always made no sense to me - I don't have that many rings and don't intend to have many.  I wear my engagement and anniversary band every day...have one other ring that I wear on occasion and that is it.  SO...I always had all of my earring ( fine jewelry and costume) tucked in those ring holders.   It did not work....everything was always jumbled - and I should have take a before picture of this, but did not...was too excited to get the whole mess organized.  The ring holders were especially awful for the dangle earrings.   Just could not stay organized.  I checked out many stores to find an organized system, looked on Pinterest, and finally found a few ideas.   Luckily, I had just what I needed in my stash of ribbons and hooks.

I found this roll ribbon in my stash that was enough of an open weave to hold the wires of the earrings.   I found a clear Command hook...and 
folded over the top of a length of the ribbon - then attached the hook to the wall.  Since it is clear it almost disappeared and I hooked the ribbon onto it.

You can't see it here, but I cut the end of the ribbon into a decorative edge...and left it long enough to add more earrings as time goes on.
Then I just took all the dangling earrings and hooked them through the weave of the ribbon. I have been using this for about a week and the earrings are very easy to remove and then return to the ribbon holder.
I took all the little rubber or gold backings and put them in a little box.   
And...here is the finished product!  Now the only earrings resting in the former ring holder are studs or hoops.  The little brown box is where I keep the backs.  That brown box is from Barcelona, Spain...visited there in High School on a Spanish Trip in 1972 and bought Majorca pearl earrings.   Held onto the box all these years and how it is the perfect holder for the backs.   On the other side I keep my Pandora bracelet bangle that I wear almost daily, as well as a gold chain bracelet I wear a lot.   In the Pandora bag I keep my other Pandora items and this bag really keeps away the tarnish so the bracelets always look great.
 The drawers in the rest of the chest hold bracelets, pins, and my watches.  
That's it.... I love the way it looks and the way it works.  The whole process took less than 5 minutes and in the past few days I find myself wearing earrings I forgot I owned.
How do you organize your jewelry - fine and costume?   Do you have a special way to store and display your collection ?  I would love to hear about it - Please leave a comment below...and THANK YOU for visiting today at Our New Vista!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Cozy Wintertime !

Once the holidays are over I really enjoy the relaxing, cozy month of January.  The house always looks so clean and uncluttered once all the holiday decorations are packed away for another year.  I know I will be happy to see them all again in December, but for now...I love the winter theme.

This year I added a bit more to my winter decor...a dear friend gifted me the green house container with a candle arranged with holly and ivy.   I switched it out to blue/white/silver balls and snowflakes.   The white and blue picks are new this year...could not resist a sale at the Hobby Lobby in the week after Christmas.
Since I snapped these photos our beloved EAGLES are no longer in the playoffs...so all the football decor is back in storage.  But...wait till next year !
I love the clean look of this display for winter.  The silver bird reminds me of the many birds that flit past our windows as they flock to the neighbor's feeder the floor below us.
New pillow found in the after Christmas sales....at 80 percent off I could not resist.
Always love a little display in the kitchen...
A snowman to keep Alexa company...
and some more blue and white on the mantel.
With the Christmas dishes packed away I added more blue to the china closet...
Little snowflake dessert plates were also part of my after Christmas day sale trip...
and the dining room table looks crisp and clean.
Before some of our snowbird friends left for warmer climates we invited them for a soup supper - and the weather cooperated by being cold and windy.
I made potato soup...and forgot to take photos of the entire process, but here is the recipe - 

Crock Pot Potato Soup
6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion choppped
1 carrot, sliced
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon of dried parsley
4 to 5 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon of salt
Pepper to taste
1/3 cup butter
1 can ( 13 oz ) evaporated milk

Toppings - bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream

Combine all ingredients except milk and toppings in crock pot.  Cook on low for 10 - 12 hours or High for 3 - 4 hours.   Stir in can of milk for the last hour.  If desired, mash potatoes before serving. Top as desired.

***   My version - I don't peel the potatoes, then it tastes a bit more like a baked potato soup.   I use veggie broth and fat free milk... often use a potato or two more if I have them, then add a little more broth.   I mash the potatoes a bit and then use a hand held blender to make it smooth.  Leftovers freeze well and reheat in the microwave.

I wish I had taken a photo of the finished soup in a soup dish.  I serve the soup, then put all the toppings in little serving dishes on the table and people can use what they like.   This soup is always a big hit with guests.  Add salad and some crusty bread...and it is a great winter meal.
Here is my winter table...blue chargers bought years ago at Ross, white soup plates, clear salad plates, snowflake place mats and napkins ties with blue sparkle ribbon.   Everyday silverware, water glasses from Dollar Tree on sparkly coasters...also from Dollar Tree.

Dessert was a little piece ( we are all still recovering from holiday binges on cookies!) of coconut cake on warmed lemon curd withe whipped cream and strawberries.
As the sun set over Our New Vista we enjoyed this beautiful view...soon snow came and more is on the way.   Intending to make the most out of this wonderful, cozy January.  
Do you decorate for winter ?  Any special recipes you like to use during the winter months?  Please leave a message - and thank you for stopping by Our New Vista!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas !

Wow - hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away ! I thought that once I retired all the holiday preparations would be SO easy because I would have SO much more free time - HAH!   Now I wonder how I ever got anything accomplished when I was working.  Each year there are new things I want to try or events I want to host - and before I know it the time gets away from me.  But some things are constant...cookies, decorating, entertaining family and friends, and quiet times enjoying the lights on the tree.   Here are some things I have enjoyed this Christmas season...
Our tree...we put our tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.   It is a slim line artificial tree and we love the way it looks in our new place.   Seems to have been made for that corner.  This year we added the red ribbon as garland and I think it really makes the tree pop!   Under the tree is my dear Aunt Mamie's "Queen Louise" doll that she received from Santa in 1906 or so.   We had her refurbished and decorate her so she can enjoy sitting under the tree.
Before we downsized and moved to an apartment home we had several wreaths for various doors.  All but this one were donated to charities...this is our favorite.  Dear friends gifted us the Cat's Meow "It's A Wonderful Life" houses several years ago as it is my dear husband's favorite movie.   He worked in banking and always fancied himself to be George Bailey!   Once we had no windowsill that was perfect for the houses I wired them to a wreath, added a bell (for Clarence) and put a rose and some of Zuzu's petals on there, too.   Everyone comments on this wreath - and I love that it is not exposed to the weather so it should last for years.
St. Nicholas watches for visitors in our hall...
The foyer welcomes guests with our photos with Santa from when we were very young...as well as John's certificate that the bells of Bedford Falls rang for him on his 60th birthday.
I gave up on a live poinsettia years ago...this silk one has held up...and I am loving my Mary Poppin's umbrella as we get ready for the new movie!
The powder room door greets visitors...
and our angel keeps watch as well.
I switch out my wine bottle lamp to a holiday version and add some little touches in the kitchen...

And the champagne is ready to pop for guests!

An elf guards the stocking of the mouse in the grandfather clock...
And the Eagles snowmen are asking Santa for another Super Bowl win!
A simple coffee table wreath adds a candle glow...
And my Uncle Joe's cane adds a touch of "Miracle on 34th Street" to our home.
The reason for the season....John's mother's beautiful Nativity set is on display, but the Baby Jesus does not come out until Christmas Eve.
Table is set for a family brunch with cousins...
with a little ornament favor for everyone to take home.
In previous years I would remove everything from the china closet and fill it with Christmas dishes...now I just add a few pieces to make it special!
No "elf on the shelf" in our home...but there are elves watching out all over the place!
Our decorations will stay out until New Years...then we take them down the day after and get ready for a cozy January.
When do you decorate your home ?  How long do you leave the decorations out ?   Whatever your traditions - wishing you a wonderful Merry Christmas !
Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista...please leave a message and God bless !

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Banana Cake

 Banana Cake

Love getting together with friends and at our last occasion I brought the dessert. I had not made a banana cake in a long time...and I had some over ripe bananas!

I made the recipe I have been making for years from this cookbook.   My mother bought this for me when soon after I married and I love reading the recipes and trying old traditional dishes (halushky, kolacky, pirohy, etc.)  - and the wonderful cakes.

2 cups cake flour                                2 eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder                1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda                      1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt                                 3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup margarine                              1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar                                         
                                                       Mrs. Tony Brenkus, 
                                                       Whiting, Indiana
OK...I just love that each recipe has the name of the person who submitted it to the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association.  The first cookbook was published in 1952...I received my copy in 1977 and I don't believe it was updated much from the original.
I just love that the book is "Dedicated to our mothers and grandmothers in grateful remembrance"!   

That dedication always brings a tear to my eye as I remember the wonderful dishes my mother made in our kitchen.  And, the sifter pictured here belonged to my fraternal grandmother.  I never met her...she died before my parents even met.   But my mother moved into the family home and this sifter was there...my mother used it for years and I am lucky enough to have it today.  Each time I use it I think of them and how their story goes on....and say a prayer for them both!

Sift the dry ingredients, cream the margarine, add sugar, beat until light and fluffy. 
 Add eggs and vanilla, beat again  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, blend, and add bananas.
The recipe calls to add the walnuts at this time...but I save them for the top of the cake.
Pour into two 8 or 9 inch pans ( note, these are my NEW cake pans!   I had my other pans for years - they were showing wear and cakes were sticking, so I treated myself to new ones!) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

And they worked great !  The recipe calls to frost the cake with regular white frosting...I decided to make a cream cheese frosting - 
Since I was going to only use one layer today I used a half stick of butter and half of a package of cream cheese.  
Beat well, then add enough powdered sugar to make frosting...add a little vanilla, too.

Then, before I frost the cake, I put strips of waxed paper under the edges to I don't mess up the plate it sits on...
One it is frosted I top the cake with walnuts and dried banana chips.  Then pull out the wax paper and...
There you have it !   I picked up this holiday plate in one of my shopping trips and then used it as my gift to our hostess.   The cake was great...it is a rich, dense cake ( that is why I only use one layer at a time - last time I made it I made it a layer cake with two layers and it was almost too rich to enjoy) and the perfect way to use up those bananas that are over-ripe! I put the other layer in the freezer...well wrapped in plastic and foil - and it is all set for another occasion - just needs frosting !

Do you have a favorite cookbook ?  Or a favorite cake you like to make ?  Please leave a comment below - and thank you for stopping by Our New Vista!

Earring Organization

Love being organized and finding whatever I am looking for quickly.   This was a problem in my jewelry box....especially with ...