Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Revolution and Life

Have you ever had so much on your to do list that you just want to sit down and give up?  That is how life has felt the last few weeks.  I think we all go through times like this and the good thing is that there's usually a light at the end of the tunnel and we just cross our fingers hoping it isn't a train.  It's not a train, right?

I've got lots of great recipes and food related posts waiting to be shared but so little time to get them up here.  I hope you will hang in there till I get myself better organized.  In the time that I haven't posted as often I have also been doing some soul searching.  What do I want out of this and my other blogs?  Who do I want to reach?  What do I hope to accomplish?  The answers to these questions are many but ultimately I want to bring some joy into people life and also inspire them.  Inspire people to think outside the box, to make changes that are good for them, their families, their communities and this earth.  On a food blog that's going to be about doing all those things in relation to - well, food.  Preaching to the choir isn't what it's all about.  It's great, it lovely, it's nice to have at least a few people that don't get all weirded out or defensive or think you're whacked because you care about what you put into your body and what others put into theirs.  But the real change happens when people see what you're doing and get excited about it and maybe try it little by little themselves.  That little by little can add up and the next thing you know big changes are happening around you, in your own life, in your families lives an in your community.

That's exactly the kind of thing that Jamie Oliver is after in Food Revolution and he's up against some pretty big barriers.  But he cares, he's got an audience and he's going to make a difference.  If you haven't seen the shows yet, please give yourself the time to sit down and watch them.  It's worth it.  Really it is.

And I'll be back soon, a little more organized and full of stuff to share.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A girl. A bike. A love.

Click on over to Gettin' Around to read my latest piece about me and bikes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baby it's Cold INSIDE

This is the first day since we turned off our furnace that the cloud cover has been thick enough to keep the sun from warming my upstairs studio to a more pleasant temperature.  The house is cold.  Usually it is several degrees warmer upstairs on the south side, but not today.  It's in the fifties even in here.  I have a thick sweater on, a blanket over my lap and a cat on my legs and I'm still cold.  My nose is cold.

Even with all that being true, I have no intension of turning the heat back on.  For the last couple weeks we've been living with the house ranging from 55 to 62 knowing we will see our reward when the next energy bill comes.  This house had proved very expensive to heat and the winter was tighter than was comfortable.  We didn't want our spring to be the same way.  So off went the heat.

There are other benefits too.  We're using less energy and so the weight of our footprint will lighten a bit more.  That's a good thing.  I want to enjoy the beauty of this earth for as long as I'm here and I want my nephews to have a beautiful place to live as well and their children after them.  I'm very willing to do my part.  The cats are willing to help too by being reliable lap warmers.

For two people that have been known to spend several days out on a mountain in the middle of winter for a snowshoe backpacking trip - living in a house without heat  really shouldn't be a big deal.  I think the mentality changes when we come indoors.  What is tolerable and even enjoyable outside feels uncomfortable inside.  This has got to be some sort of psychological thing.   I try to remember that when it's feeling particularly cold inside.  Maurie, I say to myself, Maurie you have chosen to go camping and hiking and even climbing in colder temperatures than this and you had fun doing it - stop your whining!

Or I'll pack up the computer and go to the library where our tax dollars are already paying for the heat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CSA Shares and Simple Navy Bean Soup

I just finished a wonderful lunch of left over navy bean soup that was whipped up yesterday and I'm still nibbling on the sweet and juicy pear from our last CSA box from Full Circle Farm.

And I'm mentally jumping for joy to hear that my sister in-law and brother in-law are signing up for a share from Full Circle Farm as well!

All this thinking about CSAs has me eagerly awaiting tomorrow's box.  I've been dreaming up what I will do with all that delicious produce since I finalized my selections this weekend.  I'm especially excited about getting a double order of eggplant this week - completely out of season, but something I've been craving for a few weeks now.  I want to make the simple oven roasted eggplant with anchovy that I found in my mother in-law's Silver Spoon cookbook and I want to try my hands at a recipe I came across online for eggplant "bacon" that gets marinated and then put on the dehydrator for a while.  It sounds very intriguing.  If I'm lucky enough to have any eggplant left (doubtful) I might make up a batch of Baba Ganoush to go with the Chipotle Garlic Hummus recipe I'm planning on making.  I found that recipe in the Tassajara Cookbook I've got checked out from the library (I really want a copy of this one for my collections!).  That would give us some good picnic foods for the weekend.  Something to take along for our outing to the Seattle Tilth Spring Plant Sale that we are going to with some friends.

For tonight though I'm roasting up some parsnips and cabbage for a veggie St. Patrick's Day dinner.  Yum!

Here's the Simple Navy Bean Soup recipe:

In the morning:

2 cups dry small white navy beans
8 cups water
1 Bay or Myrtle Leaf

Put all of the above in a slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low setting.

When it's getting closer to dinner time:

2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1-2 tsp earth balance or butter or olive oil

Saute all of the above in a large stock pot till slightly softened.  Add the beans and their broth, discarding the bay leaf.  Add smoked sea salt to taste (that's my secret ingredient!).  Bring to a simmer to blend flavors.  Right before serving stir in a 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.

We served this with garlic bread  - the perfect thing to sop up the last of the bean broth in your bowl.  This soup tastes even better the next day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happiness is Spring

Happiness is Spring.  And getting my first blogger award.

Jeanne from Collage of Life, In One Place and Finding My Way stopped by to give me a Happiness Award.  How awesome is that?!

Here's how it works:

1. When you have received this award 
you must thank the person who 
gave it to you in a new post.

2.  Name 10 things that make you happy.

3.  Pass the award onto ten other bloggers
and inform the winners.

Naming ten things that make me happy is easy.  Deciding which ten of all the great bloggers I read to give the award to - not so  much.  No wonder Jeanne temporarily forgot how to count!

I'll start with the easy part. Ten things that make me happy.  These are all things I experienced yesterday.

1. Birds Singing.
2. Walks.
3. My Green and Yellow Tevas.

4. Exploring the Nooks and Crannies of My Extended Neighborhood.
5. Whimsical Garden Art.

6. Pondering the Lesson of Nature.
7. Narrow Tree Lined Lanes.

8. Flowering Magnolia Trees.

9. Daffodils.

10. Spring!

 Now for the hard part!

1. Ange @ Signed by Ange for her humorous and art-inspired blogging.
2. Kate @ The Holdfast Seeker  for being a kindred spirit and her wonderful writing.
3. Lili @ Fearless Nesting for all the lovely posts she writes and all the sweet comments she leaves.
4. Marie-Jolie @ Permission to Unwind for her philosophical "yarns".
5. Meli @ Bikes and the City for pictures of bikes with coffee - I get all giddy when she posts a new one!
6. Ecogrrl @ EcoGrrl Speaks for being a faithful commenter and a such an interestingly eclectic blogger.
7. Dawn @ Dawn's bloggy blog for all the birding trips I get to experience vicariously through her blog.
8. Tiff @ Carbzilla for being such a fun person and living in Seattle so I can enjoy her company in person.
9. Averie @ Loves Veggies and Yoga for her smiling face and words and so many yummy recipes!
10. Small Footprints @ Reduce Footprints for her artsy green-inspiring self!

Phew!  I made it!  Thank you to all of you who visit my blogs and help create the community that makes blogging all that much more rewarding.

Friday, March 12, 2010

How about a "Furry Friday" post?

My friend, Tiff, over at Carbzilla posted a bunch of pictures of her fur children today and it inspired me to do the same except I'm giving it a name - Furry Friday just has a ring to it don't you think?

We have four fur children - all cats.  They won't let us have a dog.  These monsters have been on our minds even more lately as we ran into some big issues with their food just recently.  The food that we were feeding them was recalled and the company decided to change the processing from pure raw to pressure-pasteurized.  If I wanted to feed my cats pasteurized food they would be fed out of chemical laden cans.  We chose Raw for a reason - many reasons, actually.  We also chose organic.  This goes along with our core values, not just on how we want to treat our animals but how the food they eat, being obligate carnivores, is treated as well.  This also keeps more chemicals out of the environment and doesn't promote factory farming.  These are all things that are very important to us, important enough to pay for it  - both figuratively and literally.  Literally because it costs more to feed our pets this way and figuratively because this means we have less "free" money to spend on social stuff and the like - which we can handle but not everyone else can understand.  These are the same decisions we've made when it comes to our own food.  Our money just gets prioritized differently.  However, with the change in the food we had been feeding them and with our inability to source reliable and safe organic chickens to make our own we've been left with only one option and that option costs twice as much.  Yikes!  We don't actually have that in our budget, something has to give and we're at a loss to what.  That is still left to be figured out, but we know these furry critters we share our home with really are worth it.  I mean just look at these adorable  faces:

Ginger the beautiful.

Ginger - Conqueror of Papa

Ginger - Protector of sick Papa

Ginger - Protector of sick Mama

Ginger - Cuddler Extrordinaire!

Jazz - Queen of Window Ledges.

Jazz and her disappearing act.

Jazz - the basket case.

Jazz the belly rub temptress.

Jazz the silly.

Tigger thinking about what he has to say...

and then he says it loud and clear!

Tigger the cross-eyed goof

Tipsy the counter-holder-downer

Tipsy the blanket hog!

Tigger and Tipsy - Bro and Sis

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Covetous Coconut Creations

Pirates made from coconuts - so funny!  I could be a coconut pirate, but for now I'll just share some other coconut creations to covet.

I opened the fridge yesterday to grab a scone when I noticed a leftover container with something in white in it.  Not recalling what it could be I cautiously opened the lid and peeked inside.  It looked like whipped cream.  Had Mark been holding out on me?  When did we get and whip up any whipped cream?  Then I sniffed.  The whipped cream smelled like coconut.  Next I stuck my finger into it (it felt like whipped cream) and tasted it and...


Then I remembered.  Mark had told me he couldn't get the coconut milk to blend so he had stuck it in the blender for a few seconds.  What he didn't know was that when he stuck the blended coconut milk into the fridge it set.  It set into a frothy whipped yummy goodness and became whipped coconut milk - any day rival to the real deal.  It was like whipped cream and creme frache all mixed up in one but with the light taste of, well, coconut.  

You know what I did, right?  I mean I WAS grabbing a scone from the fridge, and what goes with scones like nothing else?  Creme Frache, of course.  And I had this perfect creme frache look-a-like right there in front of me, complete with finger marks.  I couldn't resist.  I plopped a heaping dollop on both sides of the scone got the coffee that my cat, Jazz, made me make (really - she was running between the coffee maker and the fridge and looking at me intently - she knew it was "time for a little something" and she wanted to make sure I made coffee and not some fruit smoothy thing, 'cus those fruit smoothy things do not contain milk - her favorite thing on earth!) Anyway, I grabbed the now glorified scone and that milky coffee and headed back to my studio to relish in this new found accidental creation all the while thinking, "My husband is a genius!"  I was so engrossed I forgot to take a picture.

Later that night, however, I introduced my husband to his geniusness by taking a slice of his carrot cake and putting a big heap of whipped coconut goodness onto it.  He agrees, he's a genius.  This time I got a picture.

But wait there's more!  Not only did we have this homemade coconut adventure we've also been continuing to test out more products from Luna and Larry's Organic Coconut Bliss.  Remember I blogged about their Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars?  Well we couldn't help but try one of their ice-cream creations as well.  Still non-dairy, still organic, still fair trade, still magnificent!  The flavor we picked up was the Cappuccino - we love our coffee flavored frozen desserts - so it had to be the first one for us to try.  You know what we discovered?  Coffee and coconut, together, rock!  Wow, this was delicious.  I highly recommend it - but beware, it is rather addictive and disappears far to quickly.  They need to work on that - maybe the miraculously refilling coconut ice cream container could be their next endeavor.  Or maybe my genius of a husband will figure it out - I can dream can't I?

The Blog Disease

There are currently 615 articles and blog posts in my Google Reader.  By the time I am done writing this post that number will have increased.  And I will want to read all of them.  Each and every one of them.  I respect the time that it takes to get a post up on a blog or an article written and published.  I know because I write blog posts and articles too.  I wish I got more of them written, in fact.  And there is the problem.  It takes time to read all those articles and posts.  It takes time to write my own articles and posts.  I have so many articles rambling around in my head waiting for me to take the time to get them down on paper or typed up on my computer.  If I go and read the 615 and climbing (I just looked - it's 616 now) articles waiting for me in my Google Reader more ideas will be sparked and I will have even more writing to do.  It's a vicious yet glorious cycle.

I have so many interests that I can't limit myself to just one kind of blog or website to follow - like food blogs or birding blogs or green living blog - I have to follow them all, and more.  Likewise I can't just have one blog.  No, I have three blogs that are currently active, several that are closed at the moment and one that I co-author with my husband.  I think this certifies me as an insane bloggomaniac, don't you?  It's a disease of sorts, really, and it's contagious. Because one of the common side effects of bloggomaniacism is blog-pushing.  That's where the sufferer shares their suffering by pointing out to others all the amazing blogs that feed their habit.  Sometimes they do it all at once.  At other times they're more sneaky and they only give you a handful to check out at any given time. It doesn't seem overwhelming so you fall right into the trap.  You really have to watch out for those sort of bloggomaniacs - their dangerous.  They'll even write a whole blog post about it and you'll never know what's coming till it's too late.

A Handful (or two) of Blogs I Read (and you should too)

Collage of Life

Permission to Unwind

Signed by Ange


Bikes and the City

Change Your Life. Ride a Bike!

Love Veggies and Yoga

Oven Aversion


EcoGrll Speaks

Peachy Green

Reduce Footprints

The Holdfast Seeker

Dawns bloggy blog

The Tangled Nest

And don't forget to visit the other blogs where I write, too!

The Tern's Song

Rutabagas and Other Adventures

Gettin' Around

I hope this post finds you all happy and enjoying life (and addicted to blogs).

Current number of articles in my Google Reader: 618

Lessons from the Birds

Sometimes I have to remember that my observations of the natural world need not go beyond my own yard.  Like the pair of crows that I've been getting to know since moving in last fall.  Though there are plenty of other crows around, this pair seems to have claimed the area closest to my home, one was even peaking in a window yesterday.  Would it seem odd that I can recognize this individual pair - I mean crows all look the same, don't they?  Well, at a casual glance, perhaps, but upon closer examination they do have individual characteristics.  But it's not the physical aspects that make this pair easy to identify for me.  It's their distinctive personalities.  Yes, crows have individual personalities.  Honest.  The way this pair interact with me has made them stick out of the crowd.  That coupled with the fact that we're neighbors, so to speak, and over time we are just getting to know each other much like human neighbors who don't speak the same language might get to know each other.  I've even started to wonder if this fine feathered couple will be nesting nearby and if I'll get a chance to meet their offspring later this summer.

I had this happen several years back at another house in another city and with another species.  This time it was a pair of chickadees among all the other chickadees that visited the feeder in my yard and this time I had more  help with identifying the individuals.  One of the pair was partially leucistic, off white where most chickadees would be black to dark grey.  It stood out from the beginning and I got to know its feeding habits, the way it interacted with other chickadees and its overall personality.  When it showed up one day and started showing off to the chickadee that had showed up with it, I caught on that this leucistic bird was a male and he was showing off his miraculous food supply.  She must have been impressed because they both became more scarce, the male's visits to my yard were focused and quick, go straight to the feeder, grab some seeds and fly off, repeat.  Until one day they showed up looking a bit worn around the edges and with a full brood of fluffy chickadee chicks just fledged from the nest.  This time the male patiently, well sort of patiently, tried to show the chicks how to feed at the feeder on their own between giving in to their incessant chatter and wing flapping.  The female flew from the feeder to one gaping mouth to the feeder and back to another gaping mouth.

I watched the chicks grow up, lose their fluffiness and blend into the crowd of chickadees that frequented my feeder.  All except for one.  One of those chicks had managed to fly into the back door one day and I had spent quite a while holding it in my palm keeping watch over it while it waited for the world to stop spinning and the ability to see straight to come back.  Have you ever seen a chickadee with crossed eyes?  I have.  Eventually it shook itself out, tested its wings and flew up to a nearby branch that hung close to the back porch.  From there it looked around at the world and back at me briefly before setting off for a longer flight.  I often wondered if this chickadee was the same one who so bravely flew in to eat seed from my palm without a bit of hesitancy not long after that.  One bird would fly right in, light gently on my hand, grab a seed, take the time to get it just right in its beak and then fly a short distance to a branch to work the heart out of the shell.  Other chickadees saw this and did their best to be brave, but they were always more hesitant and far quicker to grab the seed and run.

The leucistic male continued to show up and even brought another brood to the feeder the next year.  Eventually he didn't show up and it was obvious he was missing.  His bright feathers among his darker fellows, the way he would dance around on the branches seeming to show off to his mate and young - his presence was missed and I still remember him and his offspring with fondness.

These little relationships we form if even for a short time with these wild creatures around us can leave our hearts touched.  It can help us to realize that these birds are intelligent individuals with distinct personalities that stand out if only you take the time to notice, to get to know them.  It can help us to see how important they are to the world around us and that can help inspire us to live in a manner that gives back to the earth just as much or more than we take.  That is a lesson I willingly learn from my feathered friends for as long as they will grace me with their presence.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Carrot and Parsnip Bisque and Vegetarian Dishes in the Slow Cooker

Aw, the slow cooker, that ingenious invention that lets you cook dinner all day while you get everything else done.  I was l aways taught never to leave the oven on while you are away from the house, I think most of us were. In comes the slow cooker to the rescue, an appliance that can safely be plugged in while we're away or otherwise preoccupied.

Thing is, most people consider the slow cooker as a way to cook chucks of meat in various sauces, it is not commonly connected to vegetarian cooking.  That becomes even more obvious when you glance through most any of the slow cooker cookbooks at a bookstore.  They are meat centric to the core, you'll be lucky if you find maybe one or two vegetarian main dishes.  Those are usually lentil soups or some other bean dish.

Then I discovered Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  Since then I've adapted any number of the recipes in this cookbook.  I've made stocks, and soups and the list goes on.  I still have several recipes to try and several that spark my imagination for winging it.  If you like the convenience of a slow cooker but are vegetarian or would like to weave a few more vegetarian dishes into your meal plans I highly recommend picking this cookbook up.  My copy belongs to the library and keeps getting checked out over and over again - eventually I hope to find a used copy to keep.

The following recipe was adapted from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.
It was really delicious.  This was also the first time I had ever made a carrot based bisque before - and I was really impressed.  I think I'll be trying a lot of variations on that theme in the future.

Carrot and Parsnip Bisque

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion
4-5 cups sliced carrots
3-4 cups peeled and sliced parsnips
2 small to medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
5 cups water or light vegetable stock (I used water and it was very full flavored)
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon dried dill or 2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill and more for garnish

Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, parsnips, potato, and garlic.  Cover the pan and cook until the vegetables have slightly softened, about 10 minutes.  When softened transfer them to the slow cooker (4-6 quart), add the water or broth and a little salt, cover and cook on low for about 7 to 7 1/2 hours.

After the 7 to 7 1/2 hours stir in the dill.  Then puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor  until completely smooth.  Pour it all back into the slow cooker to keep it more before serving.

Serve with a little more dill sprinkled on top.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Bottom of the Box

Tuesday night found me pulling out the final few items of last weeks CSA, the bottom of the box so to speak. I was down to spinach, sweet potatoes and an onion.  I added to this some garlic and a package of whole grain tempeh that I had in the freezer.  These would need to become dinner.

I knew the flavors were right.  I love both tempeh and sweet potato sandwiches with greens.  Why not all together, minus the sandwich part?  So I peeled and diced the sweet potatoes, diced and cried over the red onion, thawed the tempeh in hot water in the sink and rinsed the spinach a thousand times (well, it felt like it!). I trimmed the stem ends off the spinach and spun them in the salad spinner to get some of the water off, diced up the thawed tempeh, peeled the garlic, pulled out the garlic press and grabbed the olive oil.

First a good coating of olive oil went into the pan.  I heated that over medium heat and added the sweet potato.  I covered it and let it saute-steam, occasionally stirring.  Then the onion went in and was cooked till it was translucent.  I added the garlic, stirred it around a couple times and threw the spinach in, once again covering it to help it start to wilt.  I stirred it around and pulled it off the heat before the spinach was over-cooked, wilted but still solid.  I added about a tablespoon of soy sauce, stirred the whole mess to blend and called it done.

We served it up into our bowls and chowed down.  It was absolutely delicious!  I am certain that I will have to make sweet potato, tempeh and spinach sandwich now - this combination of ingredients is too good to ignore!  I also have a feeling some variation of this will be made fairly often in this house from now on.  I love it when great recipes are discovered this way, when you're to the dredges of the fridge and pantry and it's as if the ingredients have just been waiting to meet - like it was meant to be.

Wishing for Inspired Moments

I wish for moments outside and in my heart that inspire me to write about the the thing I love writing about most, but so often gets put aside for other projects - Nature.  I wish that those moments would transform themselves into the words and pictures that I have long dreamed to fill this particular blog with.

This post was inspired by Wishcasting Wednesday after seeing a post by Ange.  May both those women's wishes come true, this I wish for them too! 

Antiques, Buying Used and Change the World Wednesday Challenge

This week Reduce Footprints has put out a challenge that I fully embrace.  Here's what she wrote"

"This week consider antique stores for household purchases. If you've never been in an antique store, visit one to see what items they offer. If you need a couch, table, tools, dishes, etc., check out an antique store before buying new."

This is something I love to do.  I love the challenge, the browsing and the hunt.  This sort of thing fits well with my eclectic taste as well.  My mom was also great at this and many of the items I have today she either found for me or I inherited from her.  Some came from my grandma and my Aunt, while others were special things I found on my own or with my husband.  One year we even did all our Christmas presents from antique or second hand stores.  One little item for each person wrapped in a scarf I had knit for them as well.  There was a broach for the MiL, cookie cutters for the SiL and so on, a hobby horse for a nephew.  It was so much fun, trying to find something that spoke of each person we were shopping for.  If I could I would do stuff like this far more often.  I thought that for this challenge I would share pictures of some of my treasures.  I hope you enjoy them and are inspired to find some of your own.

I'll start with my most prized antique, an Art Deco Secretary that my husband gave me for a wedding anniversary.

It has become my special place for displaying favorite things and where I love to store all my favorite stationary.  

Often there will be other second hand treasures sitting on top of it.  Like the blue pottery piece holding some Farmers Market flowers in the picture above.  And the cut glass bowl filled with shells and a tea light below.  The shells are mostly ones I collected from a beach shortly after my mom passed away and the bowl was one she gave me. 

My mom gave many beautiful antique dishes and my grandma gave me a few as well.  My absolute favorite is in the fridge right now holding something so there won't be a picture this time, but it's a yellow Fiesta-ware like bowl that gets used all the time.  Here are a few of my other favorites, but definitely not all of them! 

As a tea drinker and the daughter of a woman who loved teapots I have quite a collection.  Here are my two favorites. 

One winter when we were living in Olympia Washington there was a power outage that motivated me to buy this hand coffee grinder for my husband, that way he wouldn't have to look forlornly at the whole coffee beans in the cannister, ever again.  He took this to work where he made grinding his coffee by hand part of his French Press coffee break ritual.  Now it's at home with us since he no longer has his own office.  I think he hopes it will be joined by a French Press for at home - preferably one from a second hand store or a locally owned business.

Antiques and second hand finds are used in the everyday life of our home.  I'm not one for just having them sit around collecting dust.  Here are a few examples of where second hand finds have become essential to our homes organization, especially in the kitchen.

Two crocks sit next to our stove holding various cooking utensils including an antique bright yellow butter melter and plenty of my favorite kitchen utensil - wooden spoons!  The pink glass dish holds fair trade organic sugar while the orange glass holds a collection of chopsticks.  Both glass pieces came from my grandmother.  The crocks were finds by my mother and me and are one of the things I always want to buy more of when I'm in an antique store.  Below you can see that the table these all sit on is serving as extra counter space next to the stove and is an antique itself.  

Another antique find from Olympia was the spice rack below along with several of the spice jars  It was originally brown.  I sanded it and painted it the pale yellow it is today.  I also sanded a break in one of the drawer fronts to give it a curve instead of leaving it looking ragged.

One of my all time favorite things to look through at Antique store are the linens.  I'm constantly dreaming up ideas for vintage fabrics, from using them for what they were intended to letting my creativity loose and letting them become something new.  Here are just a few things in my collection.

I hope all this will inspire you to find the potential for antique and second hand stores in your life.  I haven't mentioned half the things that are second hand and antique in my life, but I was writing a blog post not a novel!   I'll leave you now with a picture of my favorite candle holder, a metal filigree thing that always has a beeswax candle in it waiting to provide a nice candle light ambiance.  

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