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Friday, September 30, 2011

Displaying Vintage Aprons

I don't know why, but I am attached to vintage aprons. I love them and the work our mothers, Aunts and Grandmothers put into making them. I have posted about my vintage aprons before. Click here and have a look.

My aprons are ones that I have picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. I do not have any of my grandmother's aprons, I wish I did. In every memory I have of her she is wearing an apron.

Aprons were used to . . .

pick up hot dishes
dry the inside of a freshly washed mug
wipe up spills
wipe away tears
wipe dirt from your children's faces
dry your hands
carry in eggs from the hen house
carry in fruits or vegetables from outside
dust furniture
stand on the porch and wave it to let the men and children know supper was ready
and of course -
a place for shy children to hide behind.

I found this hiding behind my Hoosier cabinet. I never used it, so I guess I had taken it out and placed it behind the cabinet and forgot about it. When I found it, I thought it could be used to display some of my aprons.

I decided to get some of my clothespins and attach my aprons on the rungs. I wrapped a long torn piece of material around the hanger. Wrapping jute rope around it would also look good.

But my favorite way to display them is here on my back door. It is a metal door, so I attached strong magnets onto the clothespins and stuck them on the door.
I have more aprons, so I can occasionally switch them. I love the colors and all the detail they put into them.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Delivery Day

Yesterday was delivery day.
Two-Lane Livin' is the largest independent publication in West Virginia. There are 16,000 copies distributed in 20 counties each month.
I pick up and deliver 200 of those copies each month.

On the way home on Monday, we left some at the Ravenswood Library. I just love these huge rocks outside the library. I guess they are old grinding stones. I can't even imagine how much they weigh.

We also dropped off some at Your Family Restaurant in Kenna. It is a little country restaurant and so many people go there to eat. It is the only restaurant in the area. I see lots of people who say they pick up their copy from here.
Then off to McDonald's in Fairplain. It is right down the road from where we live and gets lots of business from local people and I-77.

In Ripley we left them at the Ripley Library. They also have a nice little seating area outside with another big stone.


We delivered copies to City National Bank and then we walked down this little alley. I love this little alley. I can just imagine the horse driven delivery trucks traveling through here in the old days. I'm looking at the court house here.

Doors and windows have been bricked up.
After traveling through the alley we delivered copies to Crabby Patti's.
I still have a few more to deliver. I always keep copies to give to my neighbors and the women at church. They look forward to receiving them. One of my friends at church likes to try out the recipes. I look forward to seeing the front cover each month. I keep saying I am going to submit a picture for consideration, but I haven't yet. Anyone can submit a picture for consideration and she has a reader's page called, From The Passenger Seat, where readers can submit stories, essays (no more than 650 words long) and poems (no more than 50 lines) for consideration.

I haven't got my children's manuscripts published - yet. I received another rejection this week. It was from Boyds Mills Press (my second one this year from them). I guess they don't like my work, but at least they have the courtesy to let you know. So until something is accepted, I will be satisfied that my writing is being seen and read by thousands of people in Two-Lane Livin'. 

Happy Writing!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Pair of Old Jeans = Three Aprons

I've been cleaning the house lately. I can now walk through my laundry room without tripping over something and actually use my sewing machine. I celebrated by making aprons out of an old pair of jeans.
Here you see the three pieces cut from the one pair of men jeans. Cut the back down a few inches into the top of the leg. Leave the waist band on all the way around. I cut it off right before the button and the zipper on the front of the waist.

Cut up the middle of back seam a few inches.

Fold it over and sew it down the seam and the little section below the seam until you get to the bottom of the apron front. You can see that I trimmed the length of it a little. I think it may have been around 16 inches from top to bottom. You can make yours any length you want.

Cut two pieces of material. I cut them 17 inches long (you could make them longer if you want) and 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide. Fold and iron the edges all the way around at least 1/4 inches wide. Fold the material length wise and sew together, except for one end of it. Take the unsewn end and push it over the end of the waist band at least 1/2 inch.

Attach it by sewing it across the end.

I hemmed it all around with wide double fold bias tape.

For the aprons made out of the legs, I hemmed one long side of the leg. The other long side of the leg has the double seam and doesn't need hemming. The top of the apron is the bottom hem of the leg, so it does not need hemming. I sewed wide double fold bias tape on the bottom (which is actually the top of the leg) for the hem. You can use a real jean pocket for the pocket on the apron, but I hate sewing over the thick seams, so I made a pocket from a piece of material and sewed it onto the front of the apron. I sewed grosgrain ribbon onto the sides for the ties and on the neck. Here is a picture of the apron made out of one of the legs.

Here is the apron made from the seat of the jeans.

Here is the apron I made out of the other leg. This one ties at the waist. I cut the leg seam off the one side of the apron and hemmed both sides. I made the bottom ruffle with a piece of material 6 inches by 36 inches. I hemmed around the bottom and sides and basted the top. I then pulled the basting thread and made the ruffles. I pinned it on the bottom and sewed it on. For the waistband I cut off the jean hem and cut a piece of material 5 inches by 36 inches. I folded it long ways and sewed it together and turned it. I ironed it and sewed it to the top of the apron. I cut two 36 inch pieces of grosgrain pink ribbon and inserted them into the ends of the waistband and sewed them on. This makes the waistband very long and you can bring it around and tie it in the front if you like. I haven't put on a pocket yet, but probably will later. I cut the blue jean leg piece to a length of 20 inches before sewing on the ruffle. You could make these any size, depending on how tall you are.

Not bad, considering these were made from a pair of jeans that were unwearable.
Of course, different size jeans would make different size aprons. These were size 34/34 jeans.
I have made them out of women's jeans before, too. You could also make small aprons from a child's pair of jeans.
Which one is your favorite?
There are so many items you can make out of old blue jeans!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Floating Body Parts

Let’s have some fun today.

Have you ever read a story where body parts take on a life of their own?
Worse, have you ever written a story where body parts take on a life of their own?
I hate to admit it, but I have done it a few times.

A Floating Body Part is where the action is given to the body part rather than the person, in a way that disembodies the body part. 

So, watch out for flying feet and fingers, searching  and dropping eyes and continue reading with caution.

Her eyes followed him as he walked down the road.  Can’t you just see those eyes walking down the road?

Her eyes searched his face, looking for something that wasn’t there. I chuckle as I imagine eyes walking all over this man’s face searching for something.

My eyes dropped before the stare of Lewis, for fear my cheeks would turn red. He he, I hope I can find them later.

Her feet flew off the porch and ran down the road. She was so happy to see Lewis again. Wow, look at those feet go, I hope she can catch up with them!

His muddy feet plodded through the wet, foggy marsh.  That sounds a little scary! Maybe it’s a horror story.

Her fingers flew across the keyboard. I guess her fingers had wings.

Be aware you will find flying body parts in the books you read. Some people don't mind reading them. They know her fingers are attached to her body and aren't actually flying across the keyboard. Famous writers can get by with them. But if you are just getting started, and no one’s heard of you except your neighbors and your family, then I might not take the chance. I've heard editors don't care too much for them.

How about you?
If you want, give us a grin and give us some floating body parts in your comment and we promise to duck!

Happy Writing!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Refinishing Vintage Kitchen Scales

I brought these old kitchen scales to my house from Daddy's trailer. I remember them being in the family for years and years. They were in really bad shape. It looks bad in this picture, but it was in worse shape than the picture shows. The bottom was completely covered with rust, and you couldn't see any of the paint. I think anyone else would have just thrown them away.

I talked my son into taking it apart and refinishing it.

Underneath the face of the scales, a secret was revealed. It was made in 1949. My parents were married in 1947.

Andrew put on a mask and sanded it down to bare metal. He is a perfectionist, I would have just got out some sand paper and sanded it a little and painted over it. Believe me, It wouldn't have looked very good.
We couldn't do anything to the face of it. So it will remain as is to let everyone know what a hard life if has lived.

It took a few days to let the primer and paint dry. It was hard to put back together. Pieces just didn't want to go where they were supposed to go. But our project is now finished. 

I just love it. The red really makes it pop! And, it works perfect.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing Wednesday

I am a little late posting today. I usually write my Wednesday post on Tuesday night, but I got side tracked last night. I was up a little late voting for Landau on America's Got Talent. If you click on his name, it will take you to the YouTube video where he auditioned for the show in NYC. It's a great clip!

Okay, now that I have bragged a little about a fellow West Virginian, back to writing.

I woke up yesterday morning with thoughts in my mind. Have you ever did that? They just wouldn't go away and although I wanted to go back to sleep, I sat up and got my little notebook from the end table and began to put my thoughts on paper.

I knew if I went back to sleep, I wouldn't remember the words. I have did that before and was sorry, because the words escaped me no matter how hard I tried to remember them.

It was what will be the forward to my family history book that I am working on. I don't know what made my mind go to that yesterday morning. Maybe my brain was telling me to get back to work on it. That particular WIP has been put on the side burner for too long.

I also came to a decision yesterday. I am going to try to find an agent. I spend too much of my time worrying about who to send my manuscripts to. If I can find an agent, he or she can open doors for me that I can not. I am always finding publishing companies that I think would be a great match for one of my manuscripts only to find out that they don't accept material from a writer without an agent. That is so frustrating!

Wish me luck. 

The Family Secret is a 17,000 word story that takes place during a hot stormy summer in 1960s southern West Virginia.  Two adventurous girls, Jan McMillion and her cousin Sarah, have an adventure they will never forget.

Do any of you writer's out there know of any agents looking for a manuscript involving hidden caves, old coins, bats, snakes, blind spiders, friendly spirits and an amazing family tale? It is for middle readers and is based upon a family story which has been passed down through the years since before the Civil War. The girls set out to prove whether or not the legend of the family treasure is true or not. The hot and musty attic provides them with the first clue to the mystery.

The legend is passed down to family members when they reach 13 years of age. After the girls stumble upon a Civil War letter in the attic, Jan’s mother tells the soon to be 13-year-old girls the story of the hidden family chest.

The curious girls search for more clues and discover a note in a secret compartment of Jan’s dresser left there many years ago by Dudley, their 13-year-old Civil War ancestor. It tells specifically where he hid the chest.  They do not tell anyone about the note they found and against orders from Jan’s parents, the cousins secretly take off by themselves to find the hidden treasure.

They find the hiding place, but are trapped by a ferocious storm and must spend the night in the cave.  Sarah, Jan’s ‘scaredy cat’ cousin from the city, turns out to be the brave one and saves Jan’s life.

The frantic parents go on a search to find the girls, but they are also trapped by the storm and have to wait it out, huddled in their pick up truck, until the waters recede.

The parents are reunited with the girls the morning after the storm. After a happy reunion, they retrieve the chest and return home to discover its contents.  After many delays, they discover the treasures inside the chest.

All during the story Dudley’s spirit helps guide the girls.  They form a bond with their ancestor and in the final scene, at the newly discovered family cemetery, they realize that Dudley’s spirit is now content.

The story is quickly carried along by torrential weather, frantic searches, exciting discoveries and a persistent spirit from long ago. It takes readers on a page turning adventure.   

Well, now I have managed to plug Landau and my manuscript. 

But, who knows, maybe an agent will read my blog. Stranger things have happened.

Happy Writing!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Canning Pears & a little about me

Charley and I canned today.

I pealed, cut and chopped the pears. I mixed the light syrup.
I did the jars and lids and I stuffed the pears into the jars.

Charley manned the canner!
Together we did 14 quarts.

Glynis tagged me to tell 10 Random facts about myself.
I don't really have anything interesting to say,  but here goes. . .

1. When I was a baby, there was something wrong with me, they took me to the doctor and he couldn't cure me, so Mom took me down to Grandma's house and they put me through a horse's collar. It cured me!

2. When I was young, I wanted to be an archeologist or a teacher. I ended up working as a secretary before I married and then became a full time homemaker and mother.

3. I don't sew very much now, but I used to sew a lot. I sewed my own wedding gown, Halloween costumes, leisure jackets (remember those?) for Charley when I was dating him, my swim suits, Nehru jackets and bell bottom pants and lots of other things. I am really dating myself here.

4. I love genealogy. We are not descended from royalty, but our ancestors have fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil  War, WWI and WWII. Our family members were teachers,  farmers, boatmen, Cherokees, RR workers, carpenters and coal miners. We are  proud to be who we are - which is a little bit of all these people.

5. I love vacationing in West Virginia. My favorite place is Pipestem State Park. We went there on our honeymoon and have visited every year since then.

6. When I was a young, my favorite singers were Herman's Hermits, Three Dog Night, Bread, Chicago and Elvis.

7. I love to cook, but hate to clean up the mess I make.

8. I dislike housework, especially dusting. Please don't wear white gloves when you visit me.

9. I love chocolate! Some of my favorite forms of it are Hershey's kisses, M & Ms and no bake cookies.

10. I am afraid to fly in an airplane, but would love to ride in a helicopter.

Now you know a little bit more about this country girl.

I am not tagging 5 other people like I am supposed to do, but if you want to tell us just 1 thing about you in your comment, we would love to learn a little about you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mom's 'Bread Pudding'


I saw this leftover bread on the table today and decided to make bread pudding the way my mom used to make it.

It is easy. No baking required.

But, do not get distracted when making this pudding. Do not try to do 6 things at once, like I do, or your mixture can stick or burn.


3/4 cup sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
2 cups milk
2 slightly beaten egg yolks
2 T. butter or margarine
1 t. vanilla

In a saucepan, blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt; add milk. Cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. (stir constantly and do not leave unattended). Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Stir small amount of hot mixture into yolks; return to hot mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat; blend in butter and vanilla. Pour into bowl.

Tear bread into pieces and put in pudding; stir together.

It is so good. My youngest son loves it.

Of course, I was trying to clean off the table and get food ready for supper when I was making this and it did stick a little on me. I seem to always have a time when I make it.

Charley said, "I don't remember my grandma having a hard time making this pudding and she cooked on a wood burning cook stove."
I said, "Well, I'm not your grandma."

But all the trouble is worth it when he takes a bite and says, "Mmm, I'm in love."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Neat Bookcase

Since I have cleaned up my writing area, I have - sent in a PB submission!

I have been trying to submit every month of this year, I was doing just that until last month. I never submitted anything in August.  But, I got to work and looked in my handy dandy Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market and found a publisher to send in one of my picture books. No good news to report from all my submissions yet, except for my poems, so I will keep trying.

On the last page of Southern Living magazine, they always have a story. I have a story I would like to submit to Southern Living, but I don't know how to go about it. Does anyone know the guidelines and address to send in your story?

My article in Two-Lane Livin' this month is titled, A is for Apple. You can go here and read it. If you have the time, look around at the other articles, too. It is a very good regional magazine and I am happy to be a columnist for Two-Lane Livin'. My friend, Susanna Holstein, also wrote about apples this month. It is kind of neat that we were both on the same wave length. Her article was geared toward adults and mine toward children.

I distribute copies of Two-Lane Livin' in Jackson County. It is uplifting when I meet people and they tell me how much they love the magazine. I now have a 'Buy Now' button on my side bar where you can click and order downloads of it for $2. The download contains lots more than what is on their website.

Everyone knows I love collecting old stuff. I will end my post with a picture of my book case filled with my collection of Little Golden Books. If you look close, you will also see an old Monopoly game, a Snoopy bank and lots of other old children's books.

Guess what the book case is made from -----an old floor model radio. I fell in love with it when I saw it at a yard sale. I think I only paid around $3 for it.

 Happy Writing!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wind and Rain

We received wind and rain from the south yesterday.
It came upon our front porch (which is a rarity) whipping ferociously.
My husband was there and received a soaking before he was able to jump inside.

Our wind handed us a few surprises:

A beautifully crafted bird nest beneath our maple tree

Stray limbs beneath our sycamore tree

Broken pepper plants

and a bounty of pears on the ground beneath our pear tree

Now let's see - what could I do with these pears?

Pies, breads, pear butter or pear preserves - maybe.

Any ideas?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

We Have a Winner

It has been a week since I announced my give a way.

My Memories Suite Software is a great program and I am glad to announce that the winner is
Wanda Stricklin Robertson. Congratulations, Wanda! Have fun creating!

Wanda, I will send you the FREE Code via email, so you can go over and claim your prize.

If you didn't win and would like to purchase the software, go to their site and put in this code STMMMS23290 at the checkout and receive a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 cpn for the store - $20 value. Anyone can use this code, just copy and past. There is no time limit to use the code.

Thanks everyone for entering my contest.

By the way, the September issue of Two-Lane Livin' is online now, go over and read my article titled, A is for Apples! There are 3 easy and kid friendly apple recipes in my article.