Sunday, September 30, 2012

Call The Midwife

Oh nooooooooo, no need for alarm. There is no baby news from the ranch!

Who's going to be checking out the new PBS show "Call the Midwife" tonight? I'm sure going to! It looks great and has received good reviews while on the BBC.  Here is a little preview:

There is an interesting article from The Telegraph with more details about the plot and characters here. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hidden Dangers for your Pets

I usually try to keep things pretty light over here but I wanted to post to get the word out about something. As you know, I love my pets like they're my kids and I know that so many of you do too. For some time now, I've been a member of a group that is fighting to get dangerous pet treats off of store shelves and when reflecting on  all of the sweet photos that so many of my friends post of your own pets on their blogs, I wanted to share some info with you.

Did you know that on the shelves of most retailers, you can find pet jerkies and treats that can not only make your pets horribly ill but can kill them? Sadly, it's true. Most vets and pet owners don't even know about this situation. Though word is leaking out, it's slowly leaking out - and that's just not good enough if you ask me.  Of the known cases, 360 dogs have died and 2200 others are currently very ill from eating pet treats made in or with ingredients outsourced from China. And those are just the cases that are known about. There are no doubt countless thousands of other cases were pets have become sick and in many cases died and the owners do not know why. I can not bear the thought of any of your pets becoming ill or dying.

Please take a moment to see what is the treats that your pets are eating. If they're from China, dump them. If they're made by Waggin' Train, Canyon Creek Ranch or Milo's Kitchen, then dump them. You may be saying, "They have to be safe! The government wouldn't let them be on shelves if they weren't." Unfortunately, that's not true. Most of you can probably remember news stories about people and pets dying from tainted foods that have come from China. There was a reason that this happened and it's because inspections and laws are not nearly strict enough. And in the case of these treats, the FDA does know about them but as they have not been able to specifically identify the ingredient or ingredients that is harming pets, they can not issue a recall. And quite honestly, they're not trying hard enough to. One manufacturing plant even refused to let them come in to inspect and still, their products are being shipped around the world for consumption by beloved pets.

Please take the time to watch this informative news story about why these treats are still on shelves:

And these news stories:

If you or someone that you know are feeding your pets treats, please google "dangerous pet treats" and view the news stories in both video and written format. The word has simply got to get out. Thousands of pet owners have lost their pets and have seen them suffering in horrible pain and will never realize that it was from the jerkies and treats that they were giving to them out of nothing more than love.

Besides the news links, you can learn a lot more on this Facebook page:

And if you are feeding your pets a treat or jerky and can not tell if it was made in China or if it includes ingredients from China, the resources there can be very helpful in discerning the truth. Just click on the tabs on that top of that page for resources. And if you're in doubt, just post and ask. People are always glad to help there. 

If you'd like to sign the petition to help get these treats and jerkies pulled, please click here

This is not a lie nor is it propaganda. It's a very sad truth. Please learn what is in your pet treats and pet foods. We're the first line of defense in keeping our pets with us for long, happy lives. The focus is in a large part on chicken treats , but experts are recommending that we do not feed our pets ANY food or treat products made in China - or with ingredients outsourced from China.

To date, there are also pet foods and treats that have caused adverse reactions and deaths that are not from China. Please check out the website Truth About Pet Food here. By using the tools on the left hand side, you can look up your pet's food and see if there have been any complaints on their site. You can also join their email list and they will send you notifications of any reports or recalls. 

Thanks y'all.

Until next time,
x's and o's, 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Love Walter

Estate sale spoils from the day.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Estate Sale - Inglewood Circle

Yaaaaaawn. I'm pooped. And totally off of my A-game today.

I met Rae at a neighborhood estate sale bright and early at 6:30 this morning. The ad for the sale promised lots and lots of vintage Halloween items (which are very hard to come by these days) and tons of old Christmas items too. I could hardly sleep last night for thinking of the spoils to be had. We figured by getting there an hour and a half early, we'd be sitting pretty on the front steps, first in line. Would you believe that when we got there, there were about twelve people in front of us?

When the doors opened, I'd say that pretty much all of those people went running towards the teeny-tiny holiday room and before we could even get in there, it was mostly swept clean. There was such a huddle over the Halloween items that I never even saw a single one of them. And some lady just had to hit me in the face with a tabletop aluminum Christmas tree. And she didn't even apologize - not even after I said to her, "Thanks for hitting me with your Christmas tree!"  It was mayhem mixed with madness. No matter what's up for sale, I will never in a million years get used to the snatch and grab mentality that some people get all up into.

In the end, I got several items including this super duper triumphant looking snowman:

And this purse. 

I think that it's actually a knitting bag but with all of the Almond Joys, Sonic receipts and camera equipment that I lug around, it will be just the right size (and that hockey mask that I'm going to start wearing to the sales).

Some more birthday cake accoutrements for my collection.

I like the ones named "Little Miss Betsy Ross" and that little plastic cake that holds candles. 

I also bought some small appliances. 

I've wanted one of those wall-mount hand mixer systems for quite some time. There is a little door on the right that opens up to reveal the beaters and the cord. I was so excited to see it hanging there on the kitchen wall for sale! Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I got home that the mixer will not come out of it's housing for anything. I've followed the directions and it just won't budge. Sadness. Not even that toaster with it's "Toaster Pastries" setting could make me happy after the mixer fiasco. Earlier, I found myself standing in the kitchen, wrestling the mixer and moaning, "You're dead to me, mixer!" Like I said, I'm off of my A-game today. I should have used that seven bucks for anti-anxiety pills instead.

But what did make me a little happier was finding the Minnie Pearl Cooks cookbook for a buck. 

And it's signed! Whee doggies!

Here she is mugging it up for the camera.

Minnie in her hat reminds me of these note cards that I found at the epic sale last weekend:

I got to met Rae's good friends Crystal and Marc who were very cool (and I loved watching the older ladies behind us get all nervous when they started reading Tarot cards to see if Rae would get her Halloween items). By the way, the Tarot cards lied!  I also met one of my nice Ranch Dressing friends, Lauren for the first time while in line to pay and made a complete and utter fool of myself.  Lauren, I hope that you won't judge me solely on my getting-up-early-and-then-getting-smacked-in-the-face-with-a-Christmas-tree persona! 

I really need to pull myself together before rumors get started.

I think I'll tack the manic combination of Liberace and Minnie Pearl on at the end here.

Goodness me. I love them both but that was about the craziest something-or-the-other that I've ever seen!

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kitchen Confidential

Oh, we don't ever truly know how much stuff we have until we have to unpack a kitchen. Dishes and kitchen decor items are one of my favorite things to collect and let me tell you, I've collected.  I've been working on unpacking boxes the past few days and I'm in the "hot mess" stage right now - which means that I'm covered in newspaper ink, too tired to get up on that step-stool and honestly, confused as to why I own so many pots when I only have four stove eyes.

What you can't see is the room full of packed boxes behind you. 

I've been considerably taxed with it all but thankfully, before the renovation started, I predicted that I wouldn't have the energy to start from scratch with where things go - so I took photos of every single cabinet and shelf. In the end, this served a dual purpose because honestly, it all took so long to get done that I couldn't even remember where it all went anymore!

Here I am recreating the old shelf displays. Am I neurotic or what

On Sunday night, we planned to have our first full meal in the kitchen in two months. The lasagna was ready to go into the oven and the fresh garlic bread and salad were waiting in the wings. We were stoked! Mister Kitsch turned on the oven and all of a sudden, lights came on that shouldn't have come on. Then we smelled this really strong electrical fire smell coming from the control panel of the oven.

 I quickly ran to the fusebox and turned the power to the stove off. We still don't know where the smell was coming from but can't use the stove until we can get a repair person over on Friday to tell us if the dear old thing can be saved.  Oh let me tell you...we were sooooo sad. The Mister wandered off and had a salad and there was more delivery pizza in store for me. 

Sometimes, it feels like our kitchen has become possessed. Did I bring home a haunted Pyrex bowl at some point? Did the floor guy that we forced out of our home leave a voodoo curse in his wake? Will we ever have a functioning kitchen again? Who the heck knows... but I'm trying to keep my wits about me. Once again, the huge googly eyes that my friend Joan gave to me came in handy. I added a giant cardboard mouth and took my leave. 

Pip seems to want to help poor old Mr. Stove but just doesn't know how. 

Neither do I, Pipster.  Neither do I. 

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Catalog Mania

At the estate sale that I wrote about previously, I brought home very little stuff stuff but mostly magazines and catalogs. The catalogs make me the happiest.

That's nearly six thousand pages of eye candy right there. 

Can you see Pip, the ancient paper eater in the background? She's circling like a hungry shark. 

I can't say that I've ever seen a sale with old catalogs and I never see them in antique stores - so I was stoked out of my mind to see these in the basement. This is from two days of visiting the basement but I wish that I'd just sucked it up and hauled more out of there that first day because there were LOADS more of them. My back said "no" but my heart said "yes" and honestly, I'd worked up the kind of sweat that most people associate with a junkie trying to get a monkey off of their back. That's not the reputation that you want in the estate sale circuit. 

All of the catalogs are from Sears and most are from the 50's and 60's with one being from the 80's.  I've never known anyone to keep catalogs that far back. It kind of blew my mind. My grandmother told me that people never kept catalogs back in her day because they used them for toilet paper in the outhouses! Totally true but I guess that explains where most of the old, old ones went! Straight down the crapper. 

I've been fighting the urge to look through every single one of them and it's really hard. I wish that you all could be here with me to flip through the pages and crow over the contents. I thought I'd share some of the pages with you here. 

Those britches! 

And I can't resist including this one: 

And this little flashback to the 80's. 

Tube tops and sailor caps! 

These catalogs make me super happy to look through but oh my gosh, I have to admit that I mostly just want to find myself a time machine and zoom back to go shopping! Wouldn't it be wild if I filled out one of the order cards, sent it in and a few weeks later, the items actually arrived after being pulled from some kind of magical space-time continuum stockroom somewhere?  Sigh. A gal can dream. 

And these pages do nothing to squelch my constant rant about the lack of color and pattern in home decor these days. I know: Whine. Whine. Whine.

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

Sunday Morning Wigs and Rhinestones

Dolly and Porter had the best chemistry. And I can't deny the fascination that I have for this particular wig of Dolly's.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fantastic Florals

I'm just chomping at the bit to show you the beautiful floral patterns seen in an estate sale house this weekend. I try to pretend like I don't have a girly side but I go completely goony for old floral wallpaper. These photos were taken in an amazing ranch house that was full of pastel goodness. It was built in 1958 and is a one owner home. You know those are my favorite kind!

Enjoy a stroll through the flower garden with me, won't you?

Check out the beautiful drapes. All of the rooms had matching custom draperies.

And the matching pastel woodwork.

You can see the original pink grasscloth wallpaper in the hallway in the background. 

It's tough to choose, but I think that this one is my favorite.  Again, look at the matching trim.

The Living Room. Isn't that dental molding pretty? You can see the Dining Room in the back.

The Dining Room. I love that china cabinet. The first morning of the sale had some absolutely amazing furniture, lamps and decor items. I think? that this Dining Room set was still available. 

The Kitchen. Love!!

Here you can see the soft grey cabinets that match the moldings.  

Floral sofa in the basement. Check out the doll society and the original VCT tiles. 

Isn't it a lovely home? It's so easy to tell that it was designed with great attention to detail and to how colors play off of each other. I'd move there in a heartbeat. It was such a happy home. If you want to see more photos of the home and some of the items for sale there go here:   Jocelyn Hollow Sale. Keep an eye out for the beautiful soft pink and lavender grey bedroom suite. It's SO beautiful and in perfect shape and low, low priced today. If I had another bedroom, I'd be ALL over that. 

And if you're in the Nashville area, it's open today until 3:00 and there is also another sale by the same company one street over. I'd highly recommend taking a look. There are lots of fun items left (all at half price today) and the house itself is worth the trip! I took the Mister there today and we got this chartreuse recliner chair at the half off price of $27.00.  Sweet! (Shout out to Lisa's Dad for helping us get it down those steep steps! It was perfect timing with them coming in the front door - and he guaranteed that there would be no broken bones for me this weekend. Woohoo! ) 

I'll be back tomorrow with photos of what I got at the sales this weekend. And no, I haven't started unpacking the kitchen yet. Just knowing that I have a kitchen is enough for me right now. It's too Fall-ish and beautiful out and there is too much fun to be had for now. I hope that y'all are having a great weekend!

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

In the Kitchen With Eartha

They did it! Those guys that I wouldn't trust to tie my shoes actually got the appliances into our house and nothing was destroyed. Three cheers!

We now have a kitchen. Three hundred cheers! Here are some photos of how it looks now.

We went with a basket weave pattern that I saw in an old illustration somewhere. It's sort of Christmas-y but I love green and red with wood. The shoe molding looks strange in this photo but I swear that the whole kitchen has it.

The floor is super shiny right now and I'll be glad when the finish goes down some and it looks more aged. Which should take about a week with four cats. It was so funny because when we let the kitties back into the kitchen for the first time, Mishka wouldn't walk on the beige squares. It seemed like she thought she was going to fall into oblivion or something!  

Here is a tray that I found at an estate sale this morning. I think that it will look great hung above the stove to help bring the red in more. 

Since the job took so long, Mr. Kitten Pants grew from a kitten into well, Mr. Cat Pants. I am now having to teach him not to climb on the counters (uggh) OR do this new trick:

These are the lighted niches that are waaaay up next to the ceiling. He gets up there and screams for help. It's kind of hilarious but at the same time, I draw the line at having cats climbing all over my kitchen like mountain goats. I do need a little cat free zone from time to time.

Was the job perfect? Not so much. Are there things about what they did that we'd change? Definitely. In the end, we decided that we live in a fifty six year old house and well, things are going to be jacked up sometimes. Even new things. But we're satisfied with it for the most part and decided that as long as it was near perfect, we were going to put a lid on it.

For those of you who have been following the progress (and lack thereof) of the kitchen, do know that the Mister and I have big plans to raise a ruckus to everyone that we can think of about how we were treated by the construction company and their subcontractors. We've taken detailed notes and photos throughout this whole process and we're not going to let it slide. We hope that by doing so, maybe we will save other families from having to live through what we lived through. Did I tell y'all that I thought that I was having a heart attack the other night? It was totally, totally, TOTALLY stress but for a few fleeting moments I thought, "This kitchen is going to kill me. I'm going to die because of a KITCHEN!". Well after thinking that I wasn't wearing a bra and that I didn't want to be hauled away to the slab that way. 

I'm too exhausted to start unpacking boxes but I'm sure it will happen this weekend. Tonight, I'm going to make my first meal in the new kitchen. It's only going to be taco soup - which means I will dump a bunch of cans into a pot - but since a pot is about the only thing that I can find right now, I think it will be perfect!

I hope that you all have fun weekend plans. Here in Tennessee, we're getting brief glimpses of the upcoming Fall weather and it's almost blanket temperature at night. Good, good times.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Almost Home!

I hate to jinx things but it *looks* like after our appliances are put back tonight, our kitchen will be done!  As it's been about five weeks over what they gave us as an estimate, you can understand that we're all a little skeptical.

..says Little Mister Kitten Pants who will soon have his beloved sun porch back and will no longer have to hang out in this bastardized clubhouse

...says Pip who always is a bit of a sassy skirts

We're all having a hard time believing that we will soon be able to do things like use a stove and walk through doors to other rooms. No longer will we have to stare into the deep abyss that used to be our plumbing.

Or the rubble that used to be our floor: 

Or walk the trail of tears that led to our back door:

We'll finally get to see what's behind this:

And see if we chose the right colors:

Of course I know from experience with those construction company jokers that anything could go wrong with the appliance move tonight - why, their truck could come crashing through the side of our house!  - so I'm probably getting ahead of myself here but we are SUPER excited.  A lot of cleaning and box unloading will be in order. And actually, workers from that horrible company are supposed to do those things but I don't trust them not to completely ruin our way-too-prolonged happy ending so we'll be doing it ourselves! 

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with some "After" photos!

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

It's like this... and like this... and like that

Hey buckaroos! How the heck have you been? I hope that things have been great there on the other side of the screen.

We're still in a swirling twister of chaos here at the ranch. Still no kitchen. We came *this* close though! Oh, those were the days. The VCT tiles were ripped up and started over by a guy who actually knew what he was doing. I fought the urge to kidnap him and keep him in a cage in my garage. It's funny how the mind goes crazy when you're so used to having horrible workers in your house. After so long with those who wouldn't know their arses from an axe handle, you get one good one and you find your mind twisting and suddenly, you're someone that you don't recognize... someone who could easily be true crime novel fodder!  I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I could torture the bad ones, capture the good ones and well, what foods I could stress eat next.

On a related note, I know that several of you have mentioned that we should contact Mike Holmes from the HGTV show "Holmes on Homes". The other day while waiting for seven hours for our floor finishers to come back (ha! ha! HA!!) , I watched a marathon of episodes from the show. I found myself actually cheering out loud with every horrible mess removed and at the verge of tears with every repair made. It seemed like a beautiful fantasy world. Speaking of fantasies, I have one where there is a corresponding show where Mike gets to meet the people who did the original bungled construction and repairs and erroneous inspections on those poor houses. And he gets to rub their faces in the black mold and busted sewage pipes until they cry like little bitty babies.

Look at him. He's like a modern woman's Gary Cooper. 
I could watch him storm through houses and rip out drywall for hours!
Hercules! Hercules! 

So, where were we? Anywaaaaay, the guy did a great VCT job. Three cheers! Then these other guys came out to put the coating on the floor. When they were done, we weren't able to walk on it for 24 hours - but when we did, we saw what a mess they'd made. There were areas with no coating at all. Not a lick. And the total clincher - they had somehow managed to encase hair in the layers of wax! Okay, so random hair freaks me out. I don't like to see hair that isn't firmly in scalps. Especially hair that I don't know who it belongs to. It's just a thing. I don't like random rogue hairs. And now they're encased in my floor like nerve-frazzling fossils! I'll spare you the details but do know that I finally got to tell my jerk sexist Contractor what I've been thinking about him all of these weeks and it was great! The first of next week, the floor is going to be stripped and hopefully, done right this time. I know you're on the edge of your seats! (or at least ready for me to stop talking about it)

Okay, so while this floor thing has been going on, I've been collecting bits and pieces of things that I wanted to talk to you about: 

 This Sconce: 

Doesn't it look like some poor lizard met an awful, awful fate? 
Got his head stuck in a Dixie cup and never saw his Mama again. 

   This Snuggie: 

Baaah! I don't know what makes me laugh more: That it's called the "Cupcake Booty Buddy" or that it costs eighty nine bucks - and since there are so many people who believe that everything that Urban Outfitters churns out is true genius, there are probably people cuddled up in Cupcake Booty Buddies right this very moment! According to the text, it can also double as a poncho. For those days when you want to walk the streets or go to a sporting event looking like a cupcake.

 This Commercial:  I couldn't help but think of this after that last one.

 Facebook Profile Photos: I've been collecting these for a while and since Facebook made that change where you see the photos of everyone who has commented in a group, I've been able to get some real doozies. These are my favorites because of the way that Facebook randomly groups them. Keep in mind that the photos that are put side by side are usually of people who don't even know each other. It's like a slot machine of unlimited giggles for me. 

Sometimes they're just hilariously absurd.

Sometimes accidentally tragic. 

And well..hmm. 

The best part about that last one is that the lady on the left had that photo as her profile shot while she was asking if anyone knew of any good teaching jobs!

Okay, I've rambled on enough but I feel so much lighter getting the above out of my "Share With The Buckaroos" folder! 

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