Welcome to my blog....

here I will be musing about my passions in life which include all things vintage, baking, decorating, gardening, my family, faith........

oh, and promoting my shop on Etsy.....

NaNa's Things a collection of vintage items I have treasured for over 30 years and also wonderful new old finds from local thrift and estate sales.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

One for You and One for Me

I have been thrifting and picking for a LONG time. At first it was to decorate a 100 year old farmhouse and I filled it with primitives and charming country items.

Now I thrift mainly for items to sell in my Etsy shop.

I realized after accumulating some really fabulous pieces to sell, that I had lost that zeal for decorating my own home with newly picked  items because my focus was all on my shop. I live in an 1870's Victorian now and it is a mix of primitive, country, Victorian and shabby chic!

I had been reading lots of decorating blogs and was so drawn to the ones showcasing all white rooms and chippy painted items. I looked at my home with new eyes (us pickers have eagle eyes!), and as my decorating taste changed, so did the items I began offering in my shop.

I have evolved from loving the primitive and country reproduction kind of look to not being able to get enough of the rusty, shabby, chippy painted look that comes naturally with age.

This stool and planter is a keeper!

So, this post is about the great vintage finds I am keeping for myself (sorry!), some I WANT to keep but have no room to put, AND about the duplicate items I found so that there is one for you and one for me.

I cannot resist most things red, so when I saw the larger red metal 1960's lawn chair I couldn't resist. The $8 price helped too! I thought about selling it but when I put it in my garden behind the Hostas', well, there it stayed. It was too big to ship anyways!

So, don't I find a child's size metal chair very similar....in red! I paid the same price but I totally intended to sell this one. Not too big to ship, desirable, great condition. Until I put it in the garden next to the Mama chair. Yeah, these fall under the "keeping" category!

I used to cross stitch samplers so I know the work involved in one this size, 11 x 14. This one is gorgeous! It would go so perfect in my cobalt blue and white kitchen. I found a chippy wood frame in turquoise that just frames the other colors perfectly. How cute is the saying? I have to part with it though, so for a closer look, it is available here.

If you're a thrifter, maybe you can relate to this. You know how when you walk up to a yard sale and the owners are elderly? You figure they don't know much of the value of their old things these days. Well, I got this particular spunky little lady wrong! I tried talking her down for this fabulous white and cobalt blue colander. She knew her stuff and wouldn't budge. She told me that it is pretty rare to find that color combination in a colander, and she's right! I paid her price and knew I was keeping it. Did I tell you my kitchen is cobalt blue and white?!

When I saw this tulip light in a thrift store I immediately thought "yuck, gaudy" and passed by. On my second trip around the store (I always take a second look while picking) I looked at it with renewed interest and saw how unique and really fabulous it is. It is in great condition and although it would go great in my cranberry and pink parlor, I have to part with it. For that retro, 70's look, it can be all yours here!

Before my head was totally wrapped around my Etsy shop and buying goodies for it, I found this fabulous hand painted Ransburg cookie jar at a barn sale. I grabbed it not knowing, or caring, where I would use it in my house. I used it for awhile on the front porch for a plant but then, because of it's Fall color palette, decided to make it a permanent part of my dining room, which is decorated in Fall colors. I thought about selling it but, NAH!

Then, at another barn sale I found another cookie jar almost identical. Same maker, age and pretty hand painted look.The colors are a little different. Since I am trying not to be a hoarder, I knew I had to sell it. Find this beauty here.

I never intended to keep this cute, 1950's rooster metal tray. Until I set it up on the top of my cupboard while looking for a box to ship it in (it's 19" in diameter!).  I loved it there and there it stayed. I really like how the gold trim and accents go with my cupboard and how the red just makes it pop off the wall.

I kinda stopped looking for a large enough box for it until I found another tray exactly like it recently. I grabbed it for my shop and now there is one for you and one for me! As of this posting I have not found a box so it is not listed YET, but it will be there for you soon I hope!

This final item is a keeper for me although I really did intend to sell it when I found it. It is already hung in my kitchen!

I actually took all the photos for the listing and set up the page to fill in the description. I went into the kitchen for something, looked at the glass curio cabinet hanging between the two doors and that is when my mind started to work. "Hmmm, I wonder how that fabulous, old kitchen cupboard drawer would look hung on my wall filled with the same things that are in my cabinet?" I thought. I shared my thoughts with my husband and asked if he would help me find out. Within a few minutes, it was hanging and I love it!! It is helping to create the look of that all white, vintage clean look for my kitchen. Well, cobalt blue and white since I won't be changing the tiles anytime soon!

It is getting harder and harder to resist keeping things that I find but space and common sense helps with that! I have over 430 items in my shop and the space to keep them alone is running short! I can't help it though, I've got the bug and I can't stop myself from hunting for that next perfect vintage item.

Will I keep it or sell it? Or will I find two so that I can share....one for you and one for me!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up to these great blog parties:

Adorned from Above
Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party
Vintage Inspiration Party
Anything Blue Friday
Freedom Fridays with all my Bloggy Friends
Pink Saturday
Vintage Inspiration Party
Make It Pretty Monday
Treasure Box Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August is....

In the Finger Lakes area of Upstate New York, as I am sure is true in your part of the world, there are telltale signs that a season has arrived or is winding down.

The beginning of August is the best part of summer here. The local vegetables are ready, the garden is in full bloom and the warm, sunny days are more abundant.

Here is a pictorial view of August in my part of the world.

This is the "new" view of my garden from the side porch. I will always remember that it was this August when we got our new Victorian style screen door. It is a slammer. You know, no catch or turning knob, just push it open and let it slam shut. Brings back memories of the cottage I visited summers growing up.

Sunflowers are abundant and in bloom. These are the pollen-free variety from a local farmer at the public market. So happy my daughter Jena found these for me....usually I can't have them in my house because of the pollen.

Fresh picked tomatoes from the garden sitting on the window sill to finish ripening.

Local gardens, like my daughter Candice's are overflowing with zucchini, cucumbers green peppers and jalapeno peppers. The zucchini in this picture are considered small and the cucumbers are extra large!

Fading flowers (day lilies and bee balm) and newly bloomed flowers. August is the time for black-eyed Susans.

Fresh local raspberries to pick. Another round of picking happens in late August, early September.

A second blooming of my Marguerite daisies. If I am diligent and get out there to deadhead this patch, I am blessed with another pretty show.

This August has been very rainy and chilly at night. I actually saw a tree where the top leaves have already turned orange from the cold. My poor hens and chickens are living in mud. The lawn is doing great though, almost needing to be mowed twice a week!

August is also the time for camp. This will be my son's 7th year at Camp Onseyawa. In a few more years he can go back as a counselor. The camp is sponsored by a local Rotary Club that uses a campground on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes. 

It's going to be a cold one this year sleeping in these!

It just wouldn't be August without fresh corn. There are cornfields everywhere but not many roadside stands in my town. This one is in an odd place.....a future construction site, just all by itself, no cornfields in sight! It has the best sweet corn, large tomatoes and other local veggies. Best part is that it is about 2 minutes from my house!

I haven't been in a few years to pick blueberries but it is addicting! It is peak season here right now. My son and I went to get a few pints one day and found rows of blueberry bushes with an abundance of large berries on them. We couldn't stop picking (or eating them while we were picking!) and went home with enough to eat in a bowl with honey for breakfast and make blueberry pie. 

And, one of my most favorite signs of August is the blooming of the Hosta. I just love Hosta and have several varieties around my garden and house. These are my favorite for the trumpet style white flowers that bloom. They are very fragrant too. They run along the front porch by the driveway.  I will have to move those someday closer to where we can smell them more!

Summer is winding down and then I will start thinking of all my favorites of Fall. There is not a blog page big enough to list them all!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up with these great blog parties:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Italian Zucchini Saute

Every season I have my favorite foods to make and look forward to when the ingredients are in season. So I was thinking.....the foods that are my signature, every season favorites, may be totally new and exciting to you.

The zucchini's will be ready to be picked around my area soon and so the race to find different recipes to use them up begins.

There is one recipe that is a standard in my house for zucchini and it may be new to you! It really has no name! I first tasted it at an Italian restaurant I used to work at. They still serve a small plate of it before every meal with the Italian bread.

I will call it Italian Zucchini Saute because that is basically what you do. Saute it. Simple, quick and versatile. Oh, and it tastes really, really good.

Some Italian recipes just don't have any measurements to go with it. Italians just cook that way. You can make as much or as little of it as you like according to the amount of zucchini you have.

Be creative, be brave and just throw the seasonings in with a little Italian flair! 

Olive oil
A good sized zucchini, with skin on, cut into slices or chunks
1 large vidalia onion, sliced
minced garlic
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
fresh basil
Italian seasonings
Romano or Parmesan grated cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add zucchini, onion and garlic. Saute till soft and lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, seasonings and cheese. Simmer for about an hour to marry all the flavors. Sometimes I leave it on the stove on very low for a couple hours. Serve it hot or cold.

It is great sprinkled with grated cheese served over pasta, on it's own as a side dish, or serve it over rice. It is great leftover the next day and it is very good eaten cold out of the fridge.

And don't forget to add a finishing touch!

Monday, July 21, 2014


Growing up the middle child in a family with four kids is kind of rough. You find yourself being teased more, being left out of things and just generally left behind. The oldest usually pairs up with the youngest. They have it made. The oldest is well, the oldest. More privileges. I wouldn't want that position. The youngest is well, the youngest. More privileges (which translates into getting away with more). I wouldn't want that position either.

I actually have come to like the position I was given because it has separated me, set me apart, to be who I am today. Who I was meant to be all along.

All that teasing and left out stuff followed me through adulthood and has somewhat defined who I think I am and how I see things. I usually don't believe anyone wants to be around me unless I work pretty hard to show them I am fun/ok/worth it. I find it hard to extend myself to others for fear that I am not somebody that they'd want to have be the one calling, or visiting.

I recently went to a Beth Moore ladies' bible study at my church called Breaking Free. It is an excellent study through scripture that shows how to rebuild the ruins of your past through breaking free of strongholds that were set up throughout your life, as opposed to replaying them over and over in your head and trying to fix them on your own. It was a great study. We actually have done this study at church years earlier. This revised edition got the message home for me this time.

After it was over I wanted more of it so I decided to re-read the whole book to keep the concepts and words of encouragement close. Beth Moore is a powerful writer and speaker and does both from experience. I also wanted some praise music to listen to in my truck knowing it would add to the encouragement I needed. I am not a radio person. I don't like the bantering of the hosts back and forth or all the commercials. I finally have a vehicle with a CD player in it so I ordered Mercy Me's newest CD. It's called Welcome to the New.

Remember them? They had the phenomenal song "I Can Only Imagine" a few years back. That's the only basis I had to choose them out of the millions of Christian CD's out there. This CD was just what I was looking for. It is filled with songs that encourage who you are in Christ despite who you think you are or who you were made to feel you are. It was handpicked and recorded just for me. I am so encouraged by so many of the songs but one in particular.

I tried to download the video of the actual song but with no success. So I want to write for you the lyrics and italicize the parts that speak so loudly to me.

It is called Flawless.

"There's got to be more / Than going back and forth / From doing right to doing wrong / 'Cause we were taught that's who we are / Come on get in line right behind me / You along with everybody /Thinking there's worth in what you do / Then like a hero who takes the stage when / We're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late / Well let me introduce you to amazing grace /

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is 
No matter the pain
Still the truth is 
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be / That we simply can't believe / That this unconditional / Kind of love would be enough / To take a filthy wretch like this / And wrap him up in righteousness / But that's exactly  what He did

Take a breath, smile and say
Right here right now I'm okay because
The cross was enough

Then like a hero who takes the stage when / We're on the edge of our seats saying it's too late / Well let me introduce you to grace grace / God's grace

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless"

Not in the kingdom of God, I'm not. I am flawless because of who God is, not because of who I am.

I hope you check this CD out and are encouraged by it as much as I am.

AnnMarie xoxo

I am sharing with these great blog parties:

Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party
A Little R & R Wednesday Linky Party
Freedom Fridays with all my Bloggy Friends

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hospital Etiquette

Is there such a thing?

When you find out someone close to you (other than a family member) is in the hospital in an emergency situation, what do you do?

Do you run to your computer and post it on all social media for anyone and everyone to know?

If it is yourself or a loved one in the hospital do you want to be left alone or do you want calls and visitors?

Do you call or text them and say how sorry you are to hear that and then say “let me know if you need anything”?

These are the questions I wonder how others feel about because I have my own thoughts on them, which you may or may not agree with. And I am guilty of not doing some of the things I will mention!

 So this past weekend we found ourselves at Strong Hospital in Rochester, NY with our son, again. He was born a preemie there almost 16 years ago and spent the first 3 months of his life in the NICU.

Eight years after that he ended up there again with a rare staph condition that kept him there almost a week.

This time we were there for a collapsed lung. The explanation for that is that he is tall and skinny!

This is the best hospital in the city and very familiar to us. As I was driving there one morning I was reflecting on things over the past few days that we’d been there and specifically on the reaction and response of our friends.

My daughters were the only family members that I had the time or wits about me to inform about this trip to the hospital and I called them from the ambulance on the way.

There were others we wanted to let know, knowing they would pray and that they would be concerned. Others found out because of plans and events that had to be cancelled. We were adamant about this kind of news NOT being posted on Facebook. Why? Because we would eventually get to the task of informing those we knew would want to know…..those who are in our lives and we know care about us.....and not have them find out on Facebook. 

 So our first night, actually while still in the ER, a close friend came to sit with us. It was a blessing to have someone to fill in the conversation while waiting for all the medical stuff to happen. Since neither my husband or I wanted to leave our son at that point, it was great to have him go to the cafeteria to get some dinner for us and to sit and wait with us while they were doing a procedure on our son.

The next day my son’s youth pastor called to see if he could visit, but by the time he got there Michael had just fallen asleep. It gave us an opportunity to chat with and get to know the Pastor better and for him to know about Michael more. That was great.

A couple friend of ours called and asked if they could visit. They asked if they could bring anything for us and then came with balloons and gifts for Michael. While they were there they offered to stay with Michael so that my husband and I could go down to the cafeteria for some dinner. You see it was our 18th wedding anniversary and that was our only option to “celebrate”! They got some time with Michael, we had an “anniversary” dinner and it helped pass the endless hours of sitting in a hospital room.

A childhood friend of Michael's called to see how he was and just wanted to know if he was going to be okay.

Others have consistently texted or called for updates.

I have given you these examples because I think those are great ways to follow through on the “let me know if you need anything” phrase we find ourselves saying but have no idea what that might be. The best part is that we didn’t ask any of those people to do what they did.

The Lord has a lot to say about doing for others in the bible. In James 2:15 it says “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” 

 He’s already commanded it…. now go and just DO IT. 

When I am the one in the hospital I just like to know that people close to me and that I care about are concerned and that they called. I also like to know that they checked up on me. Yes, I am guilty of not doing this! I may not want visitors while I am in the hospital because of how I feel or how I look, but just knowing that someone expressed their concern lifts the spirits. My least favorite phrase is "I was giving you time". Now is the time, when I feel terrible, to let me know that you care!!

Instead of focusing on the people that did reach out, sometimes I focus on the ones who didn’t, that I think should have. I find that most respond to the initial news, say “let me know if you need anything” and then you never hear from them again. When they are people I consider close or part of my life, it is upsetting. But I do realize that not everyone acts or responds to the same situation the same way. Or the way I think they should.

And I am guilty of not doing the very things that upset me.

Why? I think there is that fear of bugging people while they are sick, or not knowing what to say, or that maybe I am not someone they even want to hear from! I am afraid I will call at the wrong time or say the wrong thing. 

If you are someone that truly wants to reach out and do something but don’t know what to do, you may find yourself just doing nothing.

Here’s a few suggestions that I personally would want from people and that I would feel comfortable doing myself.

 *  Instead of saying “let me know if there’s anything I can do”,offer to go to their house and water their plants or feed their cat. Offer to bring their books from home to them. Bring lunch or some cookies to the family members sitting at the hospital all day. Hey, go and mow their lawn! 
·     *  Actually avoid the phrase “let me know if there is anything I can do” altogether! Not very many in the thick of the situation will call you for something.
·     *  Offer to relieve the family members to go eat or to go out to get some fresh air. Call first to be sure it is okay to drop in at the hospital.
·     *  Check up and then follow up. After the initial news while they are in the hospital and when they get home give a call to a family member or to them depending on their condition, to see how they are doing and then check back every so often. I just joined the world of texting and I find it a great way to send a quick note that the recipient can respond to at their leisure, or not at all. The key here is that you are calling them for an update, not asking for them to give you one.  There is much to do sometimes for someone sitting with the sick person that making a call to everyone that asks for an update is just not possible. If you call them they can pick up if they are free or call you back if they aren’t.
·      * Consider the time of day. Early morning or late evening is probably not the best time to call for an update.
  * Our lives are all busier than they ever have been and most of our communication is through social media. In this case I think a personal, private message on Facebook or texting is perfectly fine to express your concern if you just can’t make a trip to the hospital or to their home. I think that if you have their cell phone number in your phone, you are close enough to text them for updates!

   These are just my personal observations, perceptions and feelings on the subject of hospital etiquette.

   How do you feel about it? 

    Are you a sayer or a doer?

    AnnMarie xoxo

P.S. My son is home now and doing fine. He just can't play basketball for a few weeks!

I am sharing with these great blog parties:

Freedom Fridays with all My Bloggy Friends
Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Avocado Salad

The perfect summer salad.

I shared this salad a couple years ago but had to post it again after having it for dinner tonight.

It is SO good!

It is perfect for summer because two parts of it are grilled....the corn and the chicken. Local corn on the cob will be ready soon here in Northeast US. What they have in the grocery store right now is pretty good too! The avocado with the shredded parmesan cheese and the homemade dressing add just enough zing to make it a really satisfying main dish. You won't feel cheated by having a salad for dinner. Just ask my meat and potato loving husband and son!

It is simply called Grilled Chicken, Corn and Avocado Salad.

Serves 4 (not really!!)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (I use 1 tblsp. dry)
4 cloves garlic minced (about 1 heaping Tablespoon)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
12 oz chicken tenders
3 ears corn, shucked
baby spinach
romaine lettuce, chopped
1 avocado, diced  *see tip*
shredded parmesan cheese

In a small bowl whisk lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, 3 Tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a little pepper.
Pour half of the dressing into a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken, seal and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Set aside the remaining dressing.
Fire up the grill to medium. Rub the corn with the remaining tablespoon of oil and grill till golden on all sides. Allow to cool and cut kernels off the cob.
Grill the chicken next till just cooked through but still juicy. Chop coarsely.
Get your largest bowl out ( I use my Italian pasta bowl) and fill it up with a mix of spinach and romaine, or any other of your favorite greens. Add the chicken, corn, avocado and remaining dressing. Top with shredded parmesan. Toss it all together and serve.

* my daughter showed me an easy way to dice the avocado, as I was always struggling to peel it first! With skin on, pierce it vertically all the way around and pop it open with the knife. Leave the avocado in it's shell. Take the seed out. Use the tip of your knife to make vertical then horizontal cuts in it then scoop the pieces out with a spoon.

I am always tempted to eat the corn right off the grill but I wait because it tastes great in the salad!
You can see all the individual ingredients here.....yum!

Actually I take a larger portion than this and then have seconds!

And it's gone!!

Seriously, three of us ate the whole bowl. Did I mention that it is SO good? And that two of the three usually want a hearty meat and greasy side dish meal every night?

Happy grilling!

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these great blog parties!

Inspiration Monday
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Share Your Cup Thursday
Showcase Your Talent Thursday
Feathered Nest Friday
Tasty Tuesday
What's It Wednesday