Monday, September 11, 2017

New Vista Patio

It has been awhile since I have posted...we survived the BIG move to our new smaller space.  We are one month into our new home and the gorgeous September weather has made our new screened patio the perfect place for lunch and relaxing!  Having had a screen porch in our former homes we were very excited that our new apartment had a screen patio just a bit smaller than the porch we were used to having.  But, the color scheme was very different - we were used to tan, white, and the light blue of our patio furniture that we had used for over 20 years.  Our furniture is in fantastic shape because we always stored it in our basement over the winter.   

 I loved using different pillows and accessories to decorate the porch from Memorial Day to Halloween.  The color of the furniture was perfect for the old porch...but we were not sure how it was going to work on the new brown/tan/black color scheme of the new place. We also LOVED the feel of the furniture...very comfortable, when it rained it dried quickly, and we had all the pieces we needed.  Too many - and we were grateful that family members could use the items that would not make the move.  SO....what to do ?  First thought was to get new "slings" for the chairs.  The frames were in perfect condition so perhaps a tweedy beige/brown/black stripe ?   I checked with the manufacturer to find a local dealer and learned that the company did not replace the slings, but they dealt with several companies who made replacement slings - all you had to do was measure, and then install.  You could rent a special tool to replace, or have a handy man do it .   Yes, well...that was not going to happen.   I feared measuring incorrectly, the slings not fitting tight, etc.   So, then I found a company near Philadelphia that would come, pick up your furniture, and make new slings, install them, and return your set looking like new.   And that is when it hit me - the furniture still LOOKED NEW.  After 22 years of use and lots of good times it still looked great...so on to Plan B.   Find a way to make it blend into our new decor.  Off to the fabric store to find an outdoor fabric that would pull all the colors together.   

 Could not find an outdoor fabric but found this upholstery fabric that was perfect!  Using the old pillows to recover I measured and realized I forgot those dreaded words..." allow extra fabric to match plaids and patterns" !!!   Had to return to the store to buy another yard...but the fabric was on sale at 50% off, and I had an extra 15% off....so all in I spent about $50.00 on everything.

 Once I made the covers I decided to not make them removable since I don't think I will be changing them out for the seasons, just adding other touches. It was a quick and easy project.
After I made two throw pillows and one roll pillow for the chaise I realized I had some fabric leftover.   I smiled as I remembered my mom making new curtains for our kitchen and using up every last bit of the fabric..."use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without".  While this was not exactly the same frugal project that she would do, I could not let those scraps go to waste....so - place mats!
I measured with existing mats and just turned the edges under.  One place mat had to be patched, but I figured it would be covered by a plate and no one but me would ever know!
To make it even better on a trip to Lowe's to buy an electrical switch for the garbage disposal in the home we were selling I wandered over to the outdoor section and found the perfect outdoor rug to cover the cement floor of the patio!  On sale for $99.00 it would tie the entire patio together.   My dear husband is still pondering how we went to Lowe's for a 69 cent switch and came out spending a hundred dollars...


 So, here is the result - I also made sure to spray the pillows with waterproof spray to keep them dry if rain blows in - and I used black spray paint to paint the shade on the little bird lamp, the trim on the basket, and the saucers under the planter and candle in the middle of the table.



 I added some fall touched with pumpkins and a pillow - and a great throw that was a birthday/retirement gift from a dear friend.   See how the rug pulls it all together?  I am figuring we saved TONS of money by not replacing furniture that was in perfect shape. 
All set for a lunch on the patio !


Have just about everything where we want it in our new space...here is my sewing nook...
 With the pin cushion my mom made with the scraps from the last time she made kitchen curtains.  It was stuffed with old coffee grounds - that is supposed to sharpen the pins as you stick them in.
Hmmm....I still have a few scraps leftover.   Maybe my next project will be a cover for the pin cushion?!?!?
Thanks for visiting Our New Vista...leave a comment and let me know what you think.  
Linking up today with Between Naps on the Porch 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Strawberry Bread


This is a recipe I have been making for years - found it years ago ( late 1970's or early 1908's) in The Total Woman Cookbook.  Anybody out there remember "The Total Woman" ?  It was the title of a book by Marabel Morgan and was a much debated book about how to make your husband happy.  A few years later the cookbook was published and I am still using a few of those recipes to this day.  This one is a keeper - 

Strawberry Bread - Makes 2 (?) loaves.  Terrific with salad for lunch or as a dessert!

  • 2 (10 ounce) packages of frozen strawberries, thawed.  ( I can never find 10 ounce any more...I use      what I can find, sometimes mixing in fresh strawberries if I have them to make up the 20 ounces.)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup oil 
  • 3 cups flour ( I use white, sometimes whole wheat, or add some oat bran)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts ( usually walnuts, but you can use others...)
Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Grease and flour ( or use baking spray) two 9x5 loaf pans.  In a separate bowl combine strawberries, eggs, and oil.
In a separate bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nuts.  
Add the dry ingredients to the strawberry mixture and mix until blended. Pour batter into loaf pans and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Before popping in the oven I usually sprinkle some "raw" sugar on top...I don't know the official name of this sugar as you can see I made my own recycled container for it...but you could use regular sugar.  This gives the top of the loaves a nice touch.  Also...see the two little pans ?  Sometimes this recipe makes two big loaves...sometimes, depending on the strawberries and how much liquid they are in it seems to make more batter.  I usually just make two little loaves that are perfect for "tea for two time!"
Let the loaves cool on a rack....
And when cool you can wrap in foil ( NOT plastic wrap...and if you read The Total Woman you know what I mean...) and the loaves can be popped in the freezer until you need them.  Since I was taking a loaf as a gift to a luncheon I wrapped mine - 
I like to buy colorful dishtowels to have on hand for giving loaves as gifts.  Just place the loaf on the towel kind of diagonally...
wrap over two sides, then tie the remaining ends in a knot !  Looks great !
Here is my lovely friend with the bread all sliced up and ready to go on her fabulous lunch buffet!
What a great afternoon with librarian friends enjoying delicious food and catching up with each other's lives! Wonderful to chat with retired friends and those enjoying summer before the start of another school year.  Librarians ROCK !

Sunday, July 9, 2017

One BIG Date



Yesterday was a special day...lucky to say it was one of many in our lives.   We have always said that our life together is like "one big date"...we did not plan it this way.  Planned to have a family but it was not in the cards to be blessed with children.  We are very blessed to have each other.  I knew right from the start that my wonderful husband was a romantic - from our first date to see Gone With The Wind, to our perfect engagement, and romantic honeymoon in New York City - and so many other moments over the years.   As we celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary on January 8th, he came up with the wonderful idea that we should celebrate the 8th of every month.  "For this 40th year ?" I asked.  "From here on out...as many 8th's as we get" was his reply.   So, we have been celebrating on the 8th of each month.  Sometimes it is lunch and movie, sometimes breakfast out, or a special dinner at home.  Yesterday was 40 years and 6 months...so it called for something special.  
We left home and went to 5:00 PM Mass at St. James in Lancaster.  They have wonderful "jazz Masses" on Saturday night and we love to attend.  Yesterday it was a James Taylor theme...and the songs chosen went so well with the scriptures - and with John's idea of celebrating each month..."Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel..."  After Mass we walked through a sun shower to The Pressroom, because where else in Lancaster should have dinner if you were going to The Fulton to see Newsies ?
Lobster Fuselli with chorzio, onions, and peas.
Shared a dessert called "Lime in the Coconut" - how could we not?  
Coconut cake with lime curd and tropical fruit.

While dining we struck up a conversation with the family next to us...they asked us what we were celebrating and we explained out "anniversary every month" idea.  They loved it, and said they were going to start doing that, too!

A short walk to the show...
Great photo booth 
and the perfect format for the show!

The show was AMAZING!  The Fulton always does a fantastic job and this show was no exception.  The dancing was so acrobatic, the voices were clear and wonderful, and the whole show was a delight. We met some wonderful young people who were sitting behind us - they had just graduated from Grove City College and were either starting careers or graduate school.  So friendly and polite - a delight!
Walking back to our car the Thunder Moon was amazing, downtown Lancaster was buzzing with activity, and we passed this marker.   We had just watched the movie Gettysburg and remembered the sad scene where John Reynolds is shot.

Perfect evening...wonderful life!  This morning we went for a long walk to Stoudtbridge Village and found these charming scenes...
And this - looks like a new shop about to open.  Someone must like Sweeney Todd - 
Wishing everyone a wonderful week.   We will back to packing and getting ready for our big move.  Thanks for reading...I know this is a very basic blog - hope to make it look a bit better after our move.  Until then, celebrate EVERYTHING!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meant to be...

The purging and packing continues as we get closer to moving day.  Today, while cleaning out the bookshelves, we found these tickets from The Rolling Stones concert we attended in 2013.  All of a sudden, John noticed the section we were seated...205.   Our new apartment home number is 205!   Talk about meant to be!  We can't wait to settle into our new home - Willow Valley Communities.  You can read about the wonderful new place we will be living here - Willow Valley Communities  We will be residing in  Providence Park, in the just completed The Vistas !  One more step on this exciting lifetime journey - together!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

SCONES

Made one last batch of scones in this kitchen this morning.   Every time I make them everyone asks for the recipe - so I thought I would take my first shot at sharing a recipe on this new blog.   First - this is not my original recipe.  I found it several years ago on one of the blogs I really enjoyed called GG Notes on the Journey, then the name changed to Fondly, Glenda.   But, both those blogs have seemed to vanished from the internet - and I hope that the author is well and just got too busy to blog.  So, here is the recipe for super easy and delicious scones...
The recipe calls for apricots and white chocolate - but I have made them with cranberries and walnuts, dried cranberries and pistachios, and hope to try them with chopped apples and walnuts in the Fall !

Chop the apricots into small pieces.  Combine the dry ingredients and then with a fork mix in the heavy whipping cream.   NO butter in these...none of that mixing in until it reaches a pea like consistency.  Just mix in the cream and gather the dough - it will be all in pieces - onto a floured board or silicone mat ( this one is fantastic!) and knead several times.
Divide the dough in half and with your hands flatten and shape into a disc shape.  I use a crinkle cut tool like my mom used to use for her lattice pie crusts.  It makes the scones look a little fancy, but you can use a knife.  I also divide each disc into 8 scones...not 6 as the recipe states.  I like them a little smaller.  You can also just roll the dough into a long roll and slice into rounds  - the the triangle shape is traditional for scones.
Place the scones on a baking sheet on parchment paper.   I have been using parchment paper for the last 10 years...always though it was not necessary, but oh - it is wonderful for scones, cookies, and other baking needs.
Bake scones at 425 degrees for 11 - 12 minutes.  
While scones are baking mix butter and sugar in a small saucepan and heat on low until melted.  I sometimes use a little more butter  - especially if I will have only 1 Tablespoon left over.  Today I used half a stick of butter...or 4 Tablespoons.
Mix with a pastry brush....
and brush onto the warm scones as soon as you take them out of the oven.
Optional directions....serve on a pretty napkin with some English Breakfast Tea in Paris mugs...ENJOY!

 These scones freeze beautifully in a plastic freezer container layered with wax paper.  Easy to pull out and defrost when guests pop in.    
Baking is over...time to get back to packing ! 6 weeks from today we will be waking up in our new home...maybe enjoying a scone on our new patio...if they last that long!


Sharing this idea with others on http://www.astrollthrulife.net/

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Another busy day on the road to our next chapter...
First thing in the morning the delivery of our new La Z Boy chairs.  So happy to get them before the move since our old ones are gone and we need comfortable seating.   First one was delivered and set up - perfect!  Then the delivery man comes in and says the wrong chair is the other box.   He suggested we refuse delivery and they will re-order.  UGH!  But, in the light of all the sorrow in the world today this is NOTHING.  Hoping the new replacement chair arrives soon...
Next stop...search for a chandelier for our dining area.  We both loved this one...modern and different.  Got it on sale and used an extra 10% coupon which makes it even more attractive.


Then a stop at our new address....and much progress has been made.  The building will be turned over to the community on July 1...so there is a lot of work and landscaping going on.   That is our window and porch...and we met some new neighbors who snapped this shot of us in front of the unit below us.   It is so exciting to see where we will be 6 weeks from TODAY!
Can't see it too well in this photo, but the pergola on the roof deck now has canvas on it to block the sun, as well as clear railing so we can enjoy the view.


Before heading home we stopped at the clubhouse for some delicious ice cream and enjoyed it while sitting by the pool.  Wish I had my suit as it was so inviting!  And...on the way out...John just had to try the vintage pinball machines in the game room.   Have not heard that pinball sound in years...think he will be enjoying these machines in the coming months! 

New Vista Patio It has been awhile since I have posted...we survived the BIG move to our new smaller space.  We are one month into our n...