Tuesday, June 14, 2011


For all you fellow Etsy addicts out there, here's a site worth checking out. Heartsy.me is a deal site similar to Groupon where you can buy store credits for a reduced rate. All of the merchants are Etsy sellers. Most of the deals I've seen are better than 50% savings (like $13 for a $30 credit). The deals change every day and they offer a daily newsletter to keep you informed of current and upcoming deals. I believe you get a $5 credit just for signing up and it's totally free to join. Although I haven't purchased any vouchers just yet, I've seen a lot of interesting new sellers. If you are an Etsy fan like me, it's definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Garden

This is quite a bit later than last year's garden post but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss documenting this year's garden.

Again, we've moved stuff around still trying to find the optimal layout.

The tomatoes are now mostly located in the smaller side bed. We started with 4 Early Girl and 4 Roma but lost a few to the rabbits. I purchased some new plants and think we've got a yellow grape tomato in there now too.

In the larger long bed we've got garlic (planted last fall and absolutely thriving), onions, cucumbers, radishes (which are refusing to form bulbs and just bolting instead), a variety of bell peppers and eggplant. I did end up fencing in the eggplant since the rabbits seemed to think they are the gourmet treat of the season and kept eating them down to the ground.

The big bed has a few rows of okra. Only about half sprouted though. The last few years dad and I have both had a dickens of a time getting okra to grow. Next year I must remember to over plant and thin down rather than sowing just what we need.

We've also got a number of tomato plants in this bed. A few yellow tomatoes, a beefsteak and a Better Boy (I think, forgot to write all the names down). We didn't intend to have so many tomatoes, but the plants mostly come 4 to a pack and I hate to throw them away even if we only need one or two. Need to pick up a few more cages before these guys get too much bigger.

More pepper plants along the wall, I think these are all the yellow peppers. A row of kohlrabi. 2 zucchini plants and a number of corn plants. The corn is a funny story. We put corn out for the rabbits and squirrels in the winter (yes I know that's probably why the little buggers are visiting my garden since we encourage them to look here for food, but they are so cute to watch). Anyway, the squirrel seems to have buried a good bit of that corn all over our yard. A few weeks ago C and I were trying to figure out what these tall plants were growing up so much faster than the grass. Figuring out it was corn, we dug a few of them up and replanted them in the garden. I was sure they wouldn't survive transplanting, but it was worth a try. Well, sure enough they have survived and seem to be doing quite well. We had never really considered planting corn since we follow South Beach and corn is not a regular part of the diet. The thought of field corn had never crossed our minds. It will be fun to see what we get since we had ornamental corn as well as yellow field corn out during the winter. If this works, we'll definitely make ornamental corn part of our garden plans in the future.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Guide

As I've talked about here, the last few years I have eschewed mainstream perfumes in favor of indie made perfume oils. It's been fun and interesting and I've tried a lot of good scents. But lately the girly-girl in me has been crying out for something more grown up. Something beautiful and classic. 

I have never been much of a perfume aficionado sticking to drugstore brands and Avon scents. Some of these are terrific. But again, I wanted to branch out into "the good stuff". Where to start? 

I found some fabulous sites on the internet with extensive perfume descriptions and user reviews. Some of my favorites are:

However, my absolute favorite resource I've found so far is Perfume: The Guide. This 600+ page book includes over 1,200 perfume reviews. Most are by Luca Turin although his partner Tania Sanchez gives her point of view on many perfumes as well. This is not a book of unbiased reviews, these 2 have very definite opinions about what they like and what they don't and aren't afraid to say it. They routinely bash fragrances they hate with terms like dismal, dreck, and dreadful. However, there are tons of positive reviews and some so eloquently written it leaves you tempted to drop the book, grab the car keys and head to the mall to search out a bottle. Every perfume has a two word description such as oriental floral, fruity patchouli, woody citrus that gives you an idea of the character of the scent. The reviews themselves often mention the notes, but not always. They offer a one to 5 star rating for each perfume which I find mostly unuseful. They also provide a one to 4 $ symbol to give you a general idea of how costly a perfume is. I don't always agree with their opinions on scents. They rate Bond's Chinatown 5 stars but I've smelled it and hate it. They hate the Burberry scents which I love. However, taking it all with a grain of salt, I don't think there's a better guide to today's perfumes out there. If you're at all interested in perfume, be sure to check this book out.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another vintage Singer

Yesterday I spent the day with hubby's family for the public auction of his grandfather's estate. The 2 hour drive was lovely once we got past Harrisburg. None of us are city drivers so the heavy traffic and numerous lane merges were a bit nerve-racking. But once we got out of the city, the minor highway was smooth and uncongested and the scenery was stunning. The day was absolutely fabulous, mid 70's and sunny with a gentle breeze. We did get a downpour that lasted an hour or so right at the end of the sale, but by then there wasn't much left so it wasn't too much of an issue.

The sale was just outside of Belleville, a largely Amish community nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. The home was his grandparents "getaway" place for years then after Blanche passed away, Buck made it his permanent home. The sale had a fair attendance, maybe 70 or so at it's height. Better than half were local Amish folk who seemed to be there more for entertainment than to buy. C was mostly interested in visiting with his family but I was paid attention to the sale in the hopes of taking home a few family keepsakes.

I picked up a large lot of Blanche's doilies and table runners. There are a lot of beautiful pieces in the lot and I'm hoping they clean up well since many are musty and stained from years of use then storage. I also got a box of her hand cut quilting templates and quilt patterns which I haven't had a chance to go through yet. Blanche loved to sew and the few times I got to spend time chatting with her we loved to talk about sewing.

C got some of Buck's old radios which he was thrilled to discover all work and have great sound. We will enjoy using one of the portables to listen to the baseball games this summer out on the deck.

But the absolute topper to the day was getting one of Blanche's old Singer sewing machines. It is my understanding she had a lot of sewing machines. There were 5 at yesterday's sale alone. The 3 electric portable machines actually went unsold (I won't get on my soapbox about how poorly the auctioneers handled the sale, but there was no reason that should have happened.) Unfortuneately, we were in my mother-in-law's vehicle and did not have room to transport them or I would certainly have taken them as well. There was another vintage Singer in cabinet that sold as part of the furniture auction, but again, it would not fit in the vehicle so I had no option but to let it go.

The machine I got was sitting off to the side of the auctioneers stand when we arrived, among the pile of unsold items actually. The minute I saw it and pointed it out to C he insisted I had to get it. I was thrilled when I asked one of the staff if it has been sold, since we arrived about an hour in to the sale. She said no she thought it would be part of the furniture sale. Turns out, they did not sell it as part of the furniture. In fact, while the furniture in the home was being sold by the auctioneer, his wife continued the household goods sale outside. As luck would have it, she put the machine up during this time I and got it for the starting bid of $5. Insanity. I thought for sure one of the Mennonite would have tried for it, or even the Amish since this machine is convertible (can be used as a treadle machine or electric). C's family all agreed Blanche would be thrilled I got it and I agree.

So here she is, my "new" Singer 99
She cleaned up fabulously. The cabinet is worn and the varnish is crackled under the surface, but not peeling. The support arm is present and there is a hidden drawer where we found a box containing all the attachments and a ton of old cardboard bobbins.

 The machine runs very well. The drive belt is worn, dried out and cracked with age. But it works. The light is even working.

There is an issue with the bobbin though. When the bobbin cover is on, the bobbin won't turn. Looking at the underside of the cover it appears the case is not properly adjusted and is rubbing the cover. Fortunately we have a gentleman here in town who works on old sewing machines. I'm hoping he can replace the worn belt and figure out what's going on with the bobbin.
All in all, I am thrilled. I love old Singers to begin with. Having one with family history is priceless.

A few facts I've found about the Singer 99...
My model was manufactured 1956 at the Elizabethport factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
There were 25,000 made
The 99 is a 3/4 head size machine
It is NOT a Featherweight
It is a convertible machine, can be used as a treadle machine or electric.