Old Sweetwater

Old Sweetwater

Sunday, January 31, 2010

BEE Veewwy Careful

We took a BEE KEEPING class about  a week ago.  We had a Master Bee Keeper (certified extensive education in apiculture); our instructor bee keeper of 18 years and his apprentice.
My honey (who'll be referred to as my husband, to reduce confusion in this post), has been yappin' about beehives for YEARS, but he walked out of class saying, "Don't think so."   I, on the other hand,  after tasting the instructor's light golden honey, leaned toward it.   This is shocking because I don't like any critter that can inflict pain...and I NEVER REALLY LIKED HONEY all that much. However, the bee keeper's raw honey was so mild and crazy good! 
The biggest problem: The bee keepers said, "You're GOING to get stung."  My motto: Sting me once; shame on the bees. Sting me twice....no more bees!  Don't mind telling ya'll I said right out loud, "Ahm skert" (interpretation: "I'm scared," for all non-rednecks and non-hillbillies).
Anyway, we'll see.  It costs around $800 to get started, so it's not a light decision. A queen bee (who lives 2 years) cost $20 and comes in the cutest cage. Seriously.  Are YOU a "queen bee" or "worker bee?"  uh, hem...workers are also female.  
Photos: honey; hive grip and bee smoker from class; honey pot; bee necklace; closeup of silver bee hive on necklace.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

All Abuzz!


My honey and I took a Bee Keeping class. I'll talk more about it tomorrow.  His take: bees = yummy honey and help our fruit trees which have NOT produced a single fruit.  *sigh*  My take: Bees = beautiful decor when tastefully done.  It's a Venus/Mars thing I guess, but it balances and completes the admiration of God's gift: the honey bee.

Here are 3 interesting facts: In the course of her lifetime, a worker bee will produce 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. To make one pound of honey, workers in a hive fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers. The honeybee is not born knowing how to make honey; the younger bees are taught by the more experienced ones.

Does anyone have bees?  Anyone have tips for our pitiful pear, peach and apple trees? Is having Black Walnut Trees nearby the problem?  Do you have any bees in your decor? Am I asking too many questions? *wink*  Top photo is Napoleon Bee flatware; soap plate and honey organic soap (click on photo to link)!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Chocolate - Thick and with Chili Pepper

Chocolate with red Chili Peppers! A couple of days ago I posted about decorating with the color of chocolates.  Chocolate and red is a classic for decor, but today I'm going to just talk chocolate (as in the eating and drinking kind).
One of my favorite things is dark chocolate with red chili peppers incorporated in.  The Mayans and the Aztecs mixed their hot chocolate with chilies.  I first discovered the dark chocolate bars with chilis at an import store years ago. Now you can buy something similar (Lindt chocolate bars) at Walgreen's!
After seeing the movie "Chocolat" on TV I wanted to drink rich, pudding-thick hot chocolate from a bowl too.  Anyone ever do that?  What other flavors do you like?   Valor brand has chocolate bars with pear, orange, toffee and banana!  They even have wonderful sugar free products and hot, thick chocolate mixes! If you prefer to make your own, here's a simple recipe.

4 ounces **Scharffen Berger 99% Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups Half n Half (can substitute milk)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar (or to taste) **use semi-sweet chocolate and less sugar if you prefer.
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground chili pepper

1. Warm milk in a heavy saucepan until it is hot to the touch.
2. Add chopped chocolate and sugar, whisking until well blended.
3. Add chili powder, whisking thoroughly.
4. Heat thoroughly over low-medium heat without bringing to a boil and serve.
5. Can top with real whipping cream (but why?)

Makes about 5 servings. I believe you could substitute the chili pepper with candied lemon peel. Some of you gourmet cooks help me out!  **Scharffen is American owned company. :)  The bottom photo is lemon curd with strawberries and chocolate. Click on the photo to the link, Chocolate Fool!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Horses and Decor

Horses are beautiful, so it stands to reason they make good subjects for home decor accessories. Horse paintings have lined the walls of castles and log cabins alike.  I wonder how many millions of doors have a horseshoe above it? I found this horse print that's 34 X 46 inches and has old, wavy glass.  The frame had a little damage, but I bought it anyway!  At Old Sweetwater our neighbors have horses so we have "live" horse art as well!  Do you have any equine decor? The room divider is available at Amazon.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chocolate and Decor

I really, really enjoy dark chocolate. Don't offer milk or white chocolate to me because I don't want to seem ungrateful or snobby, but I plain don't like it.   Just a few years ago people HATED brown in decor, then smart marketing experts started calling brown, Chocolate Mousse, Mocha Cocoa and Swiss Chocolate.  Problem solved.  Chocolate goes with cool or warm-toned colors.   Do you have any chocolate in your decor?  The teapot is a great example of chocolate brown with blue.  The bedding below could have been inspired by this dessert in caramel, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate!    Now if you'll excuse me while I have an ooey-gooey dark chocolate "fit!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cats and Decor

Since Egypt, cats have been a part of decor. Statues gave way to paintings and the rest is history, so to speak.  Yesterday we talked about dogs in decor, so now let's look at a few feline examples, which can include "the big cats."  We plan to scale down when designing our retirement home, but I'm making sure I have a place for about five paintings. One is of horses and the other is a large painting of two lions in muted colors that I treasure.  Here are a couple of cat decor items.  So are there any feline decor items in your home? If so, what are they? 

Monday, January 25, 2010

How About A Cookie?

This is Cookie. She's an English Springer Spaniel and the latest member of our son's household, and I hear she's a "sweetie." Is that why they named her Cookie? Anyway, I have always wanted a quality oil painting of a dog like Cookie or any spaniel. Great Gatsby's Antiques in Atlanta had some beautiful oil paintings of dogs ages ago, but even at a bargain price of $900.00 I couldn't afford one (most paintings now are $15,000 and up).  Maybe I'll find a small oil one day?  Do any of you incorporate animals in your decor? How?  This is an antique oil painting and a Spode plate.  Of course I'll give equal time to cats....and maybe birds and horses too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Sunday So Refocus

Before the day is done take time to refocus. All this past week everyone and everything has been competing for your thoughts, your attention and your energy, right?  Take a few moments to breathe deeply; maybe soak in the tub. Drink a cup of the best green tea (shown below) you can afford and refocus on your goals. Sunday is a day for resting and worship but you cannot do either very well in chaos.  Is your life kind of "crazy" right now?  Is it difficult for you to allow yourself REST and refocus time?  


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weathervanes Tell Us More Than Wind Direction

Weathervanes also tell us a little about the people who bought them. Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with their beauty and how they work. I still get all excited when I see one perched on top of a barn, garage, home or shed. We've been looking around a bit for a weathervane to either put on our little workshop - when we finish it -  or (Please, God let it happen) our future Old Sweetwater Retirement home.  We want a weathervane that tells a little something about us.  Here are a few I thought you'd enjoy.   Anyone have a weathervane?   If you were to buy one, what would it be?    Okay, a "shout-out" to Olivia who put my Button on her sidebar! Thank you, Olivia!       Top photo is an antique classic Rooster weathervane. Photos 2-9  Cats; Feather; Watering can; Icthus; Moon and Star, Horse, Dog .   I'm off to a BEE KEEPER class!  :)


Friday, January 22, 2010

Barn House Sad News

I'm bummed out! Recently we discovered the awful, discouraging, aggravating, truth about a nagging suspicion we had: The Old Sweetwater Barn has a foundation, but no footers. Zero. None. Zip.  Short of having a pro jack the entire estimated 100 year old barn carcass up off its 6" thick gravel-concrete foundation and pour footers and then form and pour new foundation, we cannot build onto the old barn as planned.  *sigh*  For a couple of days we moped.  Then I was inspired by a blog where a family built a starter home for nearly nothing.  It got me thinking of new ideas.  I swear I could hear Desi Arnaz saying to me in his cute Cuban accent, "Lucy.....what are you thinkin'?"  Desi, you'll just have to wait and see.  What do you do when a dream has been dashed?   In the meantime, I'm going to type all my ideas on my "snazzy" typewriter.  Just wait until Desi...er....my honey reads it!    Photo 1 is a davenport sofa from Heywood and Wakefield Furniture which would have been at home with Lucy and Desi!   Oh yeah, I got an award recently from...I can't remember....I'm such a noodle-head sometimes.  In fact, a couple of other dear sweeties sent me awards and I forgot those too.  I'm not ungrateful, just NOODLE-headed and BUMMED!  *wink*  Someone help me! Show me how to make a separate page for awards after I mention them in a post, k?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chimney Pots - FAB

Never heard of them so I never gave them a second thought until my brother built his home. It's a beautiful English manor complete with climbing ivy; so he had English chimney pots put in the double chimney stack. Here are a few to look at and admire. The beauty is in the details! Anyone have a chimney pot?  I like the variety in design.  Photos: West Meon Pottery in the U.K. made all of these gorgeous chimney pots except the copper in photo 3. The last photo is of chimney pots made for one of the oldest cottage in West Sussex!




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poodles - Retro and Cupcakes


Poodles are inspirational. When I was a little girl my dad was allergic to pets so the closest things we got to a dog were crocheted poodles my mom made They doubled as bathroom tissue holders (so classy, I know - rolling my eyes).  Oh, we had an orchid one, pink one, a white one identical to the first photo.
Then when I was teen, we discovered poodles have HAIR not FUR so we got a real medium-sized poodle!  He was so smart and beautiful. He was gray, not pink like the second photo, even though it was quite chic to dye your poodle pink or blue back then!  Poodles are still a favorite. The pink poodle cupcake cake is too cute! Anyone have a crocheted poodle now or in their past? Anyone have a real poodle?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Auction and Fleur De Lis

I walked into a "back woods" flea market and bought this beautiful iron Fleur-de-lis a few years ago for a fantastic price...$3.00! It reminds me of the time my friend sold a statue at a well-attended auction.  Though not a bust, the artist did not sculpt the lower half of the arms to focus on the face and shoulders.  Well, the poor auctioneer said, "Folks, this here stach-ewe is in good shape exceptin' for the arms done been broke off. Whattya gimme fer it?"  No kidding!  Are you surprised to find out it didn't bring anything? Enjoy the classic-inspired and modern takes on one of the ancient symbols of France.  Any auction "bargains" you want to brag about?   Photos 2-6 : Double Old Fashion glasses, metal trivot, serving tray, small cannisters, bath soap!