Friday, July 30, 2010

Cowboy Songs For Little Buckaroos

I wonder how you all would feel if I started calling you "my little buckaroos"?

Remember the creepy crawly junk store basement where we found the Ranch Dressing squirrel mascot, Swiffer McCluster?

Hi Swiffer!

We also found a great album there called "Cowboy Songs for Little Buckaroos".

That's Champ Butler and I'm pretty sure that those other guys aren't the Range Riders. See how his boot seems to be propped on his own name? I love touches like that.

Is anyone as in love as I am with the aqua and orange number of the little cowpoke on the right?

The album is put out by Golden Tone Stereo and sadly, they thought so little of the album that they didn't even write anything on the back about the album itself - only ads for their other albums! Oh, Golden Tone... I had to do some research myself and learned that Champ Butler kind of danced on the edges of stardom in the 50's but never really hit it as big as some others did.

There IS a sweet little handwritten note in cursive at the bottom of the album from a young Danny Brock who lived in Richmond, Indiana. In my usual fashion of wanting to delve into history, I looked up the address to try and see if the family still lives there. I wanted to bug them and find out how Danny is doing these days and if he's still into buckaroo tunes ("Buckaroo tunes...why can't I quit you?!"). Apparently, the family has now moved away and the address is now home to a registered sex offender. Doh! So, I left it alone just like I think that cowboy troubadour, Champ Butler would want me to do.

Thanks, Champ!

So, my little buckaroos....that's how I'm going to leave you - with a sense of what Nancy Drew-ing can lead to AND a cowboy tune from Champ himself. Let me tell you - the ragtime really consumes Champ's entire being in this little ditty that I found on the web:

Until next time..
x's and o's (and clippity clops)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meanwhile Back At The Ranch - The "Keep on the Sunny Side" Post

As with any renovation project, it's easy to get bogged down in what is left to do. There are lots of things that are still hanging on around the ranch, waiting to be done...or waiting for the money to do. In these "bogged down" situations, I recommend walking around and taking a good, hard look at what you
have done. Sometimes, it's really easy to not even take a second to scream cheers out into the universe when we finish a project. Sometimes, we just move on to the next one.

I thought I'd post some snapshots of the Kitschderosa today so that you can see what kind of dressing my personal ranch gets. There are a lot of areas that are still in renovation mode and those will be coming up soon. For now, let's just pretend that they don't exist. :) (especially that smell in our pantry that we intend to find this weekend - please renovation gods, don't let it be between the walls!) I'm getting together some before and after pictures so you all can see how things started out. I'm also planning to show you the muckety-muck of current and upcoming projects. Thus, the "dressing" side of Ranch Dressing.

Doesn't everyone have a cat in the fireplace? Faux fire, thankfully. Those coffee carafes got parked there after I brought them home from junking in S.C. and they never left. The painting of Richard Nixon is by a killer artist named Mr. Hooper. The paint-by-number jungle scene was found at an insanely cheap estate sale. My late grandparents' amber vases are included. And glued down with museum wax because of wild eyed kittens.

Sun Porch - "You are My Sunshine" by Yee-Haw Industries out of Knoxville

A little mountain view in the pink bathroom - so that we can pretend like we're on vacation instead of looking at paint samples and sweeping up sheet rock dust.

The garage laundry room from Hell. It's currently 98 degrees in there! 98! I know that I said that I'm not going to show the bad spots but hey, I'm lucky enough to not be scrubbing laundry down by the river on a rock so...

I put the chick on the wall to try and cheer things up. Work your magic, chickie baby! And how about fluffing and folding if you get around to it?

View from the Dining Room - everything pink, all abloom - and my neighbor's laundry. I don't ever mind seeing clothes lines full. I love clothes lines. People hardly ever use them anymore....strange.

The Den/Studio - Amy Carter and some bunnies on the mantel - Mr. Kitsch's touch

Sun Porch - Vintage girl's dress in cherry lipstick red

Sun Porch - My Mom made these curtains for me out of a shower curtain from Target! Squirrels! Eee!

My favorite room - The Kitschen

If you're in the middle of projects, I hope that they are going well. And if you are in the hoping and planning stages, know that those stages are important too. Sometimes, they are the very best parts. And for those of you who are actually out taking vacations and spending money on non-house stuff, do some whooping it up for the rest of us, would ya?

Until next time...(remember, measure twice and cut once!)
x's and o's,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Music for Bathroom Baritones and Bathing Beauties

I'm in love with vintage pink bathrooms so I couldn't help but snatch up this album recently. It was given out by the American Standard plumbing company and is chock full of sing-along tunes for your next bath.

Music for Bathroom Baritones and Bathing Beauties

I'm not sure how many people had or have record players in their bathroom but honestly, I think that it might be a good trend.

The description on the record jacket is a little bit wild and wordy saying things like:

"Now...perhaps bathing isn't the social event it used to be, and we aren't suggesting that you have to be slightly mad to appreciate a violin air, but we do believe that a good soak and a good song are still effective to relieve tensions."

Don't you miss the days when bathing was a social event? I know that I do!

Whoa Nellie! Okay..okay...I promise to never reference the 70's hot tub culture again. Not without warning you at least. Let's tighten the belts of our robes a little tighter, gather our wits about us and move on, shall we?

The text is actually referring to the first paragraph's preening about how the ancient Romans used to go to bath houses:

"Forgotten were the latest nuisance taxes levied by an autocratic caesar, the ominous rumblings of barbarians, massing on the eastern borders..."

Calgon! Take me away from the nuisance taxes and the ominous rumblings of barbarians!

Later on in the text:

"We have music to dine by, to wine by, to sleep by, to weep by, to fly by and to buy by - in short - we have music for any mood, any activity. Yet a few areas have remained untouched. That's why it's fitting that American Standard - the world's best maker of quality bathroom fixtures - and RCA Victor have united to fill in one gap by bringing you 'Music for Bathroom Baritones and Bathing Beauties'.."

God bless American Standard. I DO love their fixtures and you can't beat RCA Victor for a good, I'm in!

The album contains such classics as "The Whiffenpoof Song", "Flirtation Walk" and "Paddlin' Madeline Home".

I think that I kind of love the idea of someone singing lyrics such as these from "The Whiffenpoof Song" at the top of their lungs while in the tub:

"We're poor little lambs who have lost our way
Baa, baa, baa
We're little black sheep who have gone astray
Baa, baa, baa

Gentleman songsters off on a spree
Doomed from here to eternity
Lord have mercy on such as we
Baa, baa, baa"

Why, your upstairs neighbors will think that you've gone simply mad! Yes!

I'll leave you with these inspiring words for the next time that you rub-a-dub:

"After all, in the bathtub every man is a golden-toned Caruso..."

"...every woman a silver-voiced nightingale."

Until next time...(be sure and wash behind your ears now!)
x's and o's,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Patsy's Ranch Dressing

Since I'm coming to you from Nashville, Tennessee, I'd love to show you a number of the ranch homes of some of the entertainment greats who live and have lived here. There is so much history in this town and being able to see the homes of such great artists really thrills me. I'll never forget telling my late grandfather that yes, I did indeed drive past George Jones' house from time to time! That really tickled him.

First up, I'd like to show you the home of the late, great Patsy Cline.

I remember looking at her album covers when I was a young girl and thinking that she must have been one of the most beautiful women on Earth! I still believe that she was. Her talent was equally as splendid. In a time when women normally appeared as opening acts for their male counterparts, Patsy blazed a trail as a headlining act.

I'm sure that most of you are familiar with Patsy's music and her story. She found her fame first off in 1956 in her twenties and had enormous stardom. Sadly, her time with us was short-lived. On March 3, 1963, she was gone at the young age of 30. She passed away in the crash of a private plane that was flown by her manager Randy Hughes, along with fellow stars, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins after performing in a show in Kansas City. Her friend and fellow entertainer, Dottie West offered her a ride home in her car, but Patsy wanted to quickly return home to her children at her home in Nashville and decided to travel in the plane. The plane went down in a wooded area near Camden, Tennessee - a mere 90 miles from their destination.

Patsy was originally from Winchester, Virginia and moved to Nashville for the music scene. Patsy's dream home is located in a small community just outside of Nashville. The home sits on a mid-sized lot in a quiet subdivision neighborhood. Though it might seem modest by today's standards, at the time, it was Patsy's brand new dream ranch home:

This is what the home looks like today - still a sweet ranch house. I love the wrought iron details around the front porch. I have to admit that kind of like when I went to Graceland, I expected a huge, grand and outlandish mansion in line with today's wealth flaunting style. It makes me happy to see her home looking like a normal home of today.

According to Wikipedia:

Success enabled Cline to buy her dream home in Nashville's Goodlettsville community, personally decorated in her style featuring gold dust sprinkled in the bathroom tiles and a music room. Loretta Lynn stated in a 1986 documentary interview, "She called me into the front yard and said, 'Isn't this pretty? Now I'll never be happy until I have my Mama one just like it.'"

Gold dust sprinkled in the tile! How about that? Splendid!

Patsy called her home "The House That Vegas Built" since she was able to pay it off with the money she earned during her time there headlining her own show. That gold dust is a very Vegas (and Patsy) touch.

I'll leave you with Patsy singing one of her many great hits. She is greatly missed and still just as greatly admired.

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wieners Pitchin' Woo In The Park

I bring to you this week's selection for Shop-Rite Sunday

Hello, young frankfurters...wherever you are...

That's right. Just look at those two wieners turtle dovin' on that bench. Is he supposed to look like Rhett Butler? Why are they yellow? Is it wrong to covet a lady frankfurter's skirt? Will they get married and have cute little cocktail wieners?

I can't answer these questions for certain but let's give our thanks to Shop-Rite and their cookbook "Quick Dishes for the Woman in a Hurry" for showing us that love knows no boundaries.

And hey, you red hots! Get a room!

Have a great Sunday, everyone! If you're a Mad Men follower, tonight is the night!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Spoils

Well, today is my Mom's last day in Music City and the thrifting, scrounching and junk scoring is all done. We had fun today spreading out our loot and seeing what we ended up with. It was good to have a shopping buddy and along with Mister Kitsch, we even hit Kentucky for a day. She did indeed find some Pyrex pieces and since I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I just wracked up on my general doo-whacka-doo-um-wow-ness.

Here is the spread!

Christmas cuties:

Dolly! and Pyrex! and choir boys! oh my!

Plus a rather twisted cigarette dispenser and my favorite find - a $3.00 horse with horseshoe bracelet

Some old household products that were shoved in the back of a kitchen cabinet at an estate sale

Vegetable platter with chick and a massive Smoky Mountain post card

Yummy gingham and polka dots and plaids and smocking

Porter and the Kennedy family (and aqua dish drainer!)

And are you ready for the wild card of the bunch?

Put on your sunglasses, people!

Enormous Christmas Gilded Man!

(Um...Mister Kitsch hasn't seen THIS one yet!)

I could swear that I have seen him in a magazine or craft book but can't figure out where. If anyone knows, please let me know as I am wracking my brain. He glistens in the sun, you betcha.

Alrighty then, I'm off to make my Mom eat cake with me! I hope that your weekends are going great!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just A Squirrel Tryin' To Get A Nut

Hey y'all! Thank you so much for your great comments from my post about my Mom coming in to town. I love reading about your collections - and my Mom has too! We're still running from pillar to post and estate sale to thrift shop. We have been going like crazy and only stopping to eat and sleep. We've found tons of fun stuff and yes, my Mom did indeed find two Pyrex pieces. I knew it! She attracts that stuff like a magnet!

I can't wait to show you everything that we've found in our hunts. For now, I'm just going to show you a highly debatable item. We were in this rather dank, creepy basement of a Kentucky thrift store and let me tell you - each item was more horrible than the last. It was all lit by flickering florescent bulbs and there was this smell that I can only describe as "public restroom in the mouth of Hell" and even though we were told that everything was half off, we decided that nothing was truly worth considering.

And then I saw him. Amongst the shelves of knick-knack horrors, I saw this little squirrel with his big green eyes, pleading paws and a tail that had been broken off and glued back on crooked and devoid of care with thick yellow glue. I held him briefly and then put him back on the shelf. I walked away and felt a gnawing in my gut. Then I walked back to him again after convincing myself that he didn't deserve to stay in such a place.

I clutched him in my palm and showed him to Mister Kitsch and my Mom and they both pretty much thought that I'd lost my mind. I told my Mom that he couldn't be more than a quarter and that I had to "rescue him". My Mom says, "She ought to GIVE him to you." When I went upstairs and to the counter, I held the little guy out to the shop owner and chirped, "how much for this little squirrel?" and she shuddered (visibly shuddered!) and croaked out, "Uhhh..take him."

So, in the end, nobody loves him but me. I asked my Mom to name him and half-joking about having to think up a name for a little guy that she clearly wasn't crazy about, she said, "he ought to be called 'dust collector'. I replied, "Then his name will be Swiffer!" Mister Kitsch thought up "McCluster" and so now, I bring to you the newly rescued addition to the ranch - Swiffer McCluster!

I think that he looks pleased. Don't you?

I hope that you all are having a great start to the weekend! Talk to you soon...

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And What Goes Great With Ranch Dressing?

That's right!


For your Sunday, I bring you Miss Lapin, the glamorous lettuce fan dancer!

She's from the recipe book entitled "Quick Dishes for the Woman In A Hurry" which was put out by Shop-Rite Super Markets and is dated 1954.

There are quite a few great illustrations in this cookbook and I think that I'll reserve them for Sunday posts. So stay tuned for "Shop-Rite Sundays". Next time, I will show you two saucy frankfurters pitching woo in the park!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Roundup at the EK Corral

Hey, you! How has your weekend been? Great, I hope! I'd like to thank everyone so much for your encouraging words on the contest that I'm in - to all of you who have pledged to vote for me... or spread the word... or posted things about the contest for people to see. I am eternally grateful and hope that I can return the favor someday. I can't wait to sit down with the final piece of my birthday cake tomorrow, read the latest comments and respond.

We've had a good weekend so far on the ranch. We hit up some estate sales and came away with several things, including two items that we've been looking for.

First, a nice pole lamp for the living room.

These style lamps have been consistently out of our price range every time that we see them but today, we paid a visit to a very not-so-good estate sale where right as we were about to give up with a "sigh" and a "yuck", I heard Mister come up and whisper in my ear just like we were secret agent spies, "There is a pole lamp". I turned the corner to find that the lamp was propped up in the corner with a huge sign on it saying that nobody had dare plug it in because we were all going to die. Well, the sign wasn't THAT explicit but the huge font and dangers of electrical fire punctuated with exclamation marks were enough. Mister Kitsch made a deal and got it for four dollars and brought it home and rewired it. For ten bucks total, we now have a lamp!

And I got those two throw pillows for the couch at the thrift for cheap. Yay!

And next up...concrete lawn deer!

I already had my fashion plate deer, Marlene Deertrich and I love her madly but I have always wanted a male deer to go next to her. When I found out that an estate sale was going to have concrete lawn deer, we drug out of bed painfully early and waited in front of the house. Poor Mister Kitsch. He's more of a "let's leisurely stop by that sale when we're ready" and I'm one of those people who can't stand the thought of it. I was nipping at his poor heels to get there when it started. When the sale opened, we stepped into that back yard and I caught a glimpse of this enormous buck and his female companion. Well, hello destiny! I gasped to Mister, "Go inside. Tell them yes! Tell them yes! We want the deer!" and then, "Okay! Wait! Find out how much they are and THEN tell them yes!" When he came back out with a price, I was a happy girl.

Then I leaned on the male deer and noticed that he didn't budge. Then I pushed on him and he didn't move. Then Mister tried to pick up one end and it looked like the deer was literally glued to the ground. I thought, "Oh great! I wait my entire life for this deer and I can't get him home..."

After that, the entire day (I kid you not..the entire day) was spent wrangling and trying to find someone to help us get the deer home...a mere five blocks away, but when you are dealing with a deer that weighs four or five hundred pounds, it doesn't come easy. In the end, we found a complete stranger on Craigslist to come with his trailer and help us move the deer for twenty bucks.

So, I spent this afternoon holding a deer wash which was highly successful.

And no, I didn't spend time lounging on the beach. That's my natural leg color...can you believe it?

We're going to repair Mr. Deer's tail and give them both a fresh paint job. Well, someday. We'll put it on "the list".

Before I left the sale, I asked the family if I could have the first name of their parents who'd left the estate. I was told that they were Dale and Garnet. Isn't Garnet a pretty name? Coincidentally, Garnet is the name of the husband in the husband and wife duo who built the fabulous roadside attraction spectacle called Rock City where the Mister and I got married! So, I've named them Dale and Garnet. I like to think that their original owners' memories will be carried on in this little corner of our yard. I'm planning to make a nice flower bed around them with some bright flowers and edging.

I also got this painting:

I collect anonymous portraits and this one is so beautiful to me. The girls pictured are two of the four girls who lived in the fantastic old home where I got it. I'm going to do another post on this house and the other houses that I visited this weekend. Oh, and if you live in Nashville and want to hit a great sale on Sunday, e-mail me and I'll tell you where to find this one house...wowee.

I don't know if any of you feel like this, but I told the Mister that when I hit a good estate sale where I can stay for a long time, poring over the collections and memory laden rooms, I feel like I've been on vacation. Maybe a mind vacation? For a while, I can completely immerse myself into the world of these complete strangers and not think of anything else. I can smile at what made them smile and drink in their touches of home decor. Sometimes, homes seem to radiate happiness and you can feel what it must have been like to live in them. Other times, it's easy to immediately get a sense of those who may have lived out their final years in sadness and worry.

Does anyone else do this or am I just some kind of estate sale empath? I'd love to know how all of you feel about estate sales. Do they make you sad? Uncomfortable? Gleeful? I know several people who get depressed at estate sales and even more people who get euphoric. What are your thoughts? Oh, and are you a sappy romantic who wants to find out who lived there and what happened to them (like me) or are you one of the people who grab and snatch and bump into people like me who are in the way, staring with misty eyes at some old greasy refrigerator muttering, "It's harvest god, it's harvest gold.."?

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Party Penguins

A few folks asked me for a tutorial on how to make the cream cheese penguins. Here goes!

Here's what you'll need:

Jumbo black olives (for bodies) - blot them dry
Small black olives (for heads) - blot them dry
Soft cream cheese
Carrots (You should only need a few for an average batch)
Toothpicks (The long, thick ones so that they won't fall apart)

Peel your carrots.

Slice rounds to the desired thickness and size for feet. Try to get them really level
because these are what will make your penguins stand on your platter. If they're crooked,
you'll have drunk penguins.

Cut out wedges from the carrot rounds. These will make your penguin beaks so do a little
test for sizing before you do all of them. You'll want the wedges to be large enough so that
they'll stand out nicely from the face and not fall back inside of the heads.

Insert the carrot beaks into the small olives.

Insert the toothpicks all the way into these same olives. Put them aside.

Now, taking the jumbo olives, take a knife and carve out the belly area. Make a "V" or "U" shape
starting at the end of the olive with the large hole. Make sure not to go all the way up to the
other end of the olive or your penguins won't be sturdy. You don't want to completely open up
the olive but only to open up a section for cream cheese to go inside of.

Now it's time to put the cream cheese in to the jumbo olives. I found some cream cheese in a
little tub that is cheap and also already softened. If you can't find this, just let your cream cheese
sit out for a bit to soften. You can either put it into the penguin's body with a small knife or with
a bag. It would be great if you already have a small icing bag but I found that a small hole cut
into a sandwich bag worked great.

Fill the body as full as you can while still making the appearance of a penguin's white chest.
If any comes out, just take a paper towel and clean it up a bit.

Next up, put the penguin's head on to the part of his body that doesn't have the large hole on top.

Then attach the carrot feet to the part of the toothpick that is coming through the bottom of the
olive, making sure not to go all the way through.

Voila! Penguin!

Some things that I learned in my two times making these guys:

1. If you don't end up getting your carrot feet completely level, you can use a little cream cheese
to stick them on to your platter. It's better if they can stand alone but you can use this as a backup
plan! Backup plans rock, no?

2. I found that it was best to do a trial run all the way through with one penguin to start just to get
the feel how things would work. That way you can readjust sizes, etc. without having to redo a lot.
After the first one or two, you'll have it down.

3. Those portions that you cut out of the penguin's bodies? Great on salads!

4. I wouldn't recommend making these right before your guests are to arrive. They take a steady hand
and no pressure on you. I made mine a few hours before the party and put them in the fridge.

5. I haven't tried it yet but I bet that these would be good with flavored cream cheeses as well.

6. You don't need fancy toothpicks but you WILL need the kind that are long and thick like are used
on finger foods.

So, as you just a few easy steps, you have a cute party dish that looks a lot more complicated
than it is! They're actually pretty tasty too!

And speaking of tasty, my first potato salad turned out great. I ended up sort of merging the two
recipes that I showed on yesterday's post. Thanks for your tips and suggestions! I wish that you all
were here to help us eat it. I swear, I have enough for any family reunion, church meeting or barn raising!

Until next time,
x's and o's,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Solid Potato Salad!

I can never think of Summer without thinking of potato salad. I realized this morning that I have never made potato salad! I feel like an imposter and can just imagine my relatives looking at me with shocked faces and wondering how I ever managed to get a husband. So, I am off to the market for the ingredients. That means that today, I will be shuffling around the kitchen in my Grandma's house shoes with the radio on. I love those days. I can't lie. My Dad and I have this theory that sometimes, that same Grandma comes through in spirit and helps our recipes turn out old-school perfect. I hope that it's true.

She was an amazing cook. Here she is serving up a pie in her ranch house kitchen.

Just look at my Aunt Etrulia's hair on the left there! Lofty and brilliant! That's her husband, Lindsey. The entire time that they were married, he called her "baby" in, "Baby, do you want some pie?" and "Baby wasn't able to come with me today." We all kind of giggled at him but in retrospect, isn't it sweet? She must have made a mean potato salad!

You just KNOW that there is some potato salad on the menu here too! (Will you look at those drapes and those cabinets? Fabulous!) That's my lovely Mom there in white. Looks like she didn't even have room to put her plate on the table. She's eating in mid-air because of that enormous ham platter! Ahh...the South.

Oh great. Now, I just want to go back in time and have my family cook for me!

Back to the task at hand! While at the market, I'm also going to get the makings to do a tutorial for y'all on those cute little cream cheese penguins that I showed a couple of days ago. I'm sure that the Mister will be shocked to find more penguins when he comes home today. I should really lay it on thick by meeting him at the door with a platter of penguins, his pipe and a pair of slippers. The poor boy would think that I'd finally gone over the edge!

If all goes well and I don't get committed, I should have the penguin tutorial up tomorrow.

Okay! Back to the topic of potato salad, I've found so many recipes online - some with mustard...some with mayo....some with pickles or eggs. To add celery or not to add celery? There seems to be quite a heated argument in some circles about what potato salad should entail! I decided to drown out the noise and take my quest to the stack of cookbooks in my own kitchen. I found these two recipes from the Better Homes and Gardens Salad book from 1958:

I think that I am going to make this one. The "Perfect Potato Salad".

If you have any good potato salad tips, be sure and let me know!

If all of this potato salad talk doesn't get you in the mood , then I bet this great video will! If you've never seen this performance by the Ross Sisters, stick with it. It gets really good, really fast! (and ignore this weird screen's completely wholesome, I swear)

Until next time,
x's and o's,