Ten Gables Cottage

Ten Gables Cottage
Ten Gables Cottage

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decorating with Christmas Tree Toppers

Hi Everyone,
For the past couple of years, I have been buying Christmas tree toppers after Christmas on sale and at yard sales, antiques shops, etc. for pocket change! I think they are so cheap because people are afraid to use them, as most of them are very fragile glass. Some are plastic, though, but still a bit fragile. However, my creative spirit said to buy them anyway! As my grandson, Andrew, once said when he was about 3, "My Mommy says that if it is on sale, then buy it". I thought that was terribly wise for a three year old!
So I have gathered these toppers up and decided to wire dowel rods about 6 inches long at intervals on the tree and then place a topper on top of each dowel. The largest topper was placed as the tree finial , of course. The toppers are secure. I love the elegant look of them! I placed three of them in brass candleholders, too, and they make a very pretty grouping, as you can see in the photo. I usually load my trees down with decorations, but this year I thought the toppers would be prettier on a tree with just a few Christmas balls and white lights. I will use the handmade decorations on another tree which I will post later in the week. Happy Christmas decorating! It is one of my favorite creative things to do.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wall art at Ten Gables

Hi Friends,
I hope you are having a great day! I got up really early today to get a start on my long list of things to do. I'm decorating for Christmas, so the house is a mess! I thought I'd show you a photo of one of my guest rooms that has a big paladin window looking out on the tops of the two huge oak trees in the front yard (garden, in proper English). I painted a bird's nest with mockingbird eggs around it. You can see the wallpaper border and the bird cage is for decoration on top of a shelf. The window treatment is a swag with a pouf that goes through a wreath, mimicking the twigs of the bird's nest. Needless to say, my decorating theme is nature in a feminine sort of way. I usually put up a small tree in this room with tiny bird's nest, pinecones and little birds on it, as well as pale blue Christmas balls that resemble the eggs in the nest. Haven't gotten that far yet!
Back to work! Have a wonderful day, wherever you are! Egretta

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This is the way the garden grows.....

Hi everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
The broccoli has finally started to make nice florets and the tomatoes are growing, too. I will have broccoli by Christmas, but the tomatoes may not be ripe. We shall see!! I have had to be diligent about watering, as we are getting only a drop of rain about every 2 or 3 weeks, so every evening I am checking to see what is needed! The broccoli leaves wilt quite a bit during the day in the hot sun, but it doesn't seem to hurt them much. In the photo, you can see a yellow leaf on bottom...could do with more water I suppose, or that may be because I used our drinking water to water and it has some purifiers in it. Sorry to say that I don't have any rain water saved in a barrel...the heat would evaporate it in no time. But I do have an untreated well on the property, so that is the way to go.
I have started decorating Ten Gables for Christmas.....the Christmas tree went up yesterday, but still needs some finishing touches. I decided on a different theme this year, so will be putting up another one or more to use some of the treasured ornaments from around the world. I love decorating for Christmas! I will soon start showing you my creative endeavors! Have a great day!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Radishes and Peas

Hi everyone,
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We did and today I was really tired from all the cooking, cleaning up and then playing games with the two grandchildren. But it was a fun day and a day to count our blessings.
Today I got the Christmas tree up with the lights strung, but still have to pull out the ornaments. I have some amazing handcrafted ornaments made by a lady from Germany and I will share those with you later.
I wanted you to see the gorgeous radishes I bought at the market, which inspired me to grow some of my own and I have them planted, they are up and doing well. I will soon have radishes in the garden! I also planted peas and you can see they are doing well, too and I must make something for them to twine and grow on. I have never tried peas in Florida, although the natives here raise black eyed peas and call them just "peas". They don't shell them out, but cook them like you would green beans and they are delicious. But I have planted English peas and they are blooming now and I really need in the next day or two to drive down some stakes and string some twine so they will have some support. I love peas, so I hope to have a harvest!
My broccoli is finally forming florets and it looks great. I have had to water everything nightly as we have not had rain in at least 2 weeks.
Back to the radishes---notice how cute the little bouquet of radishes looks on the table---they were bound with a rubber band and formed a pretty bouquet.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Baking for Thanksgiving Day and a History lesson

Greetings from Ten Gables Cottage,
I have been baking desserts and making cornbread for my dressing for tomorrow--Thanksgiving Day. I thought I would rest a moment and show you my yummy looking desserts. I made a cherry cake with cherry icing and whipped cream and a peanut butter pie. We are also having pumpkin pie, which is very traditional for Thanksgiving. I will post these recipes later---I absolutely love the peanut butter pie. The cherry cake is also to help my son, Greg, celebrate his birthday coming up in a few days.
I was asked by one of my English friends to tell the history of America's Thanksgiving.
So, briefly, I will try to explain it. The Pilgrims, a group of people, came to America seeking civil and religious liberty. They arrived after a few months of sailing in late Nov. of 1620 in Massachusetts at Plymouth Rock and signed the first civil government document, called "the Mayflower Compact, for self government. The Pilgrims then had a prayer service and began to build shelters. It soon got very cold and many people died during the winter, but the survivors were helped by the native American Indians, who helped them in Spring to plant gardens. The first Harvest was plentiful and the Pilgrims and the Indians had a wonderful 3 day feast and celebration, giving thanks for their liberty, their harvest and the fowl and deer they added to their feast. This was America's first Thanksgiving feast, although settlers in Virginia had had a Thanksgiving earlier in 1607. After George Washington became America's first president, he proclaimed a day set aside in November to give thanks. Then later, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. Our country was founded on the concept of self government, self reliant communities and devout religious faith, so we still remember our founding fathers and give thanks to God on Thanksgiving Day.
well, I always get a little mushy when I think of pioneers and pilgrims and civil and religious freedom! Sometimes we tend to take our many blessings for granted!
We will be celebrating with this menu:
Roasted Turkey with cornbread dressing
Dumplings and giblet gravy
Mashed potatoes
Green beans
Fresh roasted asparagus
Fresh fruit salad
Yeast dinner rolls
AND THE DESSERTS! Tonight will be a Thanksgiving service at my church and tomorrow our meal and holiday with family. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Hi Everyone, Welcome to Ten Gables cottage blog,
I'm busy getting ready for company on Thanksgiving, cleaning and making a list for the grocery store. I got out my grandmother's carnival glass punch bowl and cups---the marigold color is so pretty this time of year, so I thought I would serve a cold cider punch from it as it is supposed to be in the low 80's here which is really too warm for Thanksgiving!
Carnival glass was first made in 1905 to 1920 and was mass produced; it was used as prizes at carnivals---hence the name. It has become very collectible. My grandmother only had two remaining cups with her bowl, but I was able to find quite a few to add to it.
The turkey is a stuffed bird, not edible of course! But he is quite pretty in a corner of my dining room. The grandchildren expect to see him every year. Funny how the simplest thing can make a memory.
Let us not forget to thank God for our many blessings this time of year!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to have flowers in the garden all year!

Hi from Ten Gables,
You can have flowers in the garden all winter, even in cold climates (unless covered with snow)! Just paint a few rocks and scatter about!
Years ago when I first moved to Florida from Kentucky, I went out in the yard looking for rocks to put in a terrarium, and of course found none! There are few rocks in Florida, and none on my land. So I have to buy rocks, which I do quite often. I really just can't be without rocks! I love rocks! I like them in baskets, in the garden, on the corners of a tablecloth to keep the wind from blowing it away. I love to look at them, to feel smooth rocks. So every now and again, just for fun, I paint some. Sometimes I do animals or birds on them, making the rock actually look like a sitting animal or bird. I painted these as gifts. They can be in the garden as accents or even used as a paperweight or a decorative accessory. So easy and quick. You can be creative and paint any kind of flower. Use acrylic paint and finish off with an acrylic spray finish to protect them. The paint will last for years.
Creativity is not just for artists, but for everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early Christmas Blooms

Hello from Ten Gables Cottage,
I posted the Christmas Cactus plant with a few buds on it a few days ago, and now there are several blooms, just gorgeous. The pink one isn't budding yet, but this one is early. Not even Thanksgiving and here it is blooming. It is on the north porch and gets a lot of light, but not much sun. The blooms lasted a long time last year, so I am hoping it will keep blooming and the blossoms on it will last until Christmas.
The poinsettia is in the garden next to the guest house, and is one I planted there from a potted plant several years ago. Last winter it was nipped a bit by the cold and I pruned it heavily, so it is looking nice now and the leaves around the flower are turning red. The red parts are really not the flower, but whatever, they make the best show. The poinsettia is a bit early as well.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finished quilt

Hi from Ten Gables Cottage,
After 8 monthe of working on this Dresden Plate quilt at night while I watched an hour or two of T.V, I finally finished it and it will be sold in the Peace Lutheran Church bazaar tomorrow! What a job it is to make a whole queen size quilt by hand! I have new respect for my grandmother and mother who made many, many quilts in their life times. This a a pattern they never made, however. I wonder why. It is a very popular pattern and an old one.

I just spread it out on the bed so you could see it---didn't tuck it under the pillows or anything. I turned back a corner so you could see the label I made for it. I have enough Dresden Plate blocks to made another one, and will do so for my family, but must wait a bit and get "over this" first!!
All you quilters, give me some feedback!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baking Sweets at Ten Gables

This morning I had to make some treats to sell at the Peace Lutheran Church Bazaar on Saturday. So I decided on Orange Butterscotch Bars and Chocolate Fudge. Both turned out well and are YUMMY! So below are the recipes to share with you. Both are quick and easy, my prerequisite for cooking! You won't believe it, but the fudge only has TWO ingredients!
Orange Butterscotch Bars
Cream together:
2 sticks butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. vanilla
Add 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 pkg. butterscotch morsels
Grease a 15 x10 jelly roll pan. Spread out dough (I oiled my hands to do this). Bake 18-22 minutes til light brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 24 large squares.
Two Ingredient Chocolate Fudge
1 tub (can) of prepared chocolate cake icing, any brand (I used Pillsbury chocolate fudge)
I package of chocolate chips
Melt in a pyrex 9 x9 inch dish in microwave. Start with 40 seconds on high. Stir and continue to microwave for 20 seconds and stir until chips are melted into the icing. Optional: Add nuts of your choice. Smooth out in dish and refrigerate. When nice and firm, cut in squares. Makes 36 pieces.
I put English Walnuts in mine. Black walnuts or pecans are equally delicious! Now, how easy is that! I made this batch while the cookies baked. Both were completed in 30 minutes!
Let me know if you try these recipes.
For the candy, you can use Cream cheese frosting with white chocolate chips and add candied cherries. Or what about using white frosting and adding peanut butter chips? I have tried a bunch of variations and all were great!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blue and Pink

Welcome to Ten Gables cottage,
We are getting into the beautiful flowers of Florida's winter! That is when the weather is so nice, not too hot, but just right for all the flowers to bloom! Here I am showing
Blue Plumbago or some say Blue Leadwort. It is a shrub that is so very easy to grow here and will really get big if not trimmed. The branches are delicate and have small oval green leaves with flowers growing in clusters, a pale azure blue. I am very partial to this color! The pink flowers are Camellias. The leaves on this shrub are thick and glossy and the flowers bloom all winter. Lovely!
Today is gorgeous---about 72 degrees F, with few clouds, not much hope of rain although we could use some rain.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back of Ten Gables Cottage

Hi everyone, Hope you are having a marvelous day! You can see in this photo how blue the sky is here today and how green the trees and grass are. This is the back of Ten Gables. At night, one can see the stars through that big window! That little tree in the garden up by the patio is some kind of scrub that appeared when a bird transported a seed there (my guess) and I have no idea what it is. I keep it trimmed small and sort of saucer shaped rather than cut it down. The birds love to nest in it and there is a wrought iron arch nearby where they love to perch and sing. I have a bird bath in the garden, as well. A Carolina Wren family was raised in a hanging basket on the porch. They had 4 little babies and I watched as one by one they left the nest. That was in the Spring, of course.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Navel Oranges at Ten Gables Cottage

Hi everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
The navel oranges are wonderful this year, so sweet and juicy! I love to go out in the field and pick one and just eat it right there with juice running down my elbows. They are so much sweeter and the flavor is so good right off the tree. I finally figured out why that is so. When you pick them or buy them, into the refrigerator they go. Well, that diminishes the flavor and the sweetness and they are much better at room temperature. So now, I pick just what is needed and leave them on the counter in a basket, then pick more when those are gone. If I have too many and have to refrigerate some, then I sit them out to go to room temp. to improve the taste. It makes all the difference! Even fresh orange juice is best at room temperature.
You can see some Spanish moss in the orange tree. I try to pull it out, as it can stifle the tree. It doesn't seem to bother the Live Oak trees in the front yard (Garden as my English friends say), and above is a photo to show you how loaded the two big trees are with Spanish Moss. Here is a bit of trivia: Did you know that Spanish Moss was once used in the upholstery of automobiles?

Between those 2 trees is my little Fall scarecrow display. After Thanksgiving it will be taken down and something put up for Christmas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Florida Pummelo Grapefruit

Wow! This grapefruit weighed in at a whopping 4 lbs.! I got it at the fruit/veg market---wish I had grown it, but no. That is a regular sized apple sitting by it and when I cut the grapefruit, I placed the apple in the center, so you could see how truly big it is! It is juicy and deliciious and I plan to use it in an avocado/grapefruit salad. Pummelo grapefruits are grown all over Florida, as far as I know. This one came from Haines City, Florida. Citrus is in right now. My oranges are getting bright orange and have sweetened up with the cooler weather we are having.
Hope you have a great day today. Egretta

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas Cactus

Hi everyone,
Last year's Christmas Cactus is already budding! I have two from last year, a white one which is shown here, and one that blooms pink. The white one is already getting buds, so I wonder if it will be a Thanksgiving Cactus? Look closely and you can see the buds. I bascially ignore these during the summer, watering just every once in awhile, but lately have really started watering them. They really don't require much care. Last winter it had 5 or 6 "leaves" ( what are they called?) so it has grown quite a bit.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Old Keys"

Hi everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
A few years back, my uncle brought me an old cigar box full of old keys he had saved through the years. He would just throw them into the box, never doing a thing with them, but he thought I might have an idea how to display them. So I had two display boxes made and covered the background in a neutral beige cloth and Velcroed the keys in rows to the cloth. I started with the largest working to the smallest. Aren't they interesting? They are all different in design and size, and the two boxes hang on each side of French doors. Next to the shadow box hangs two keyhole covers. I love the design of old things---always well crafted and interesting.
Do something creative daily---it enhances your life!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shuck or Shuckey Beans

Here is a photo of my dried Shuck beans.
For all you who aren't Southerners or never been to Kentucky, you probably have not heard of Shuck beans. Or as my folks called them, "Shuckey Beans".
People in Kentucky and Tennessee (probably other states, too) who had gardens, canned most of their harvest, but they also dried a good bit,too. They didn't have freezers back when my grandmother and grandfather were gardening. So they would string beans up by taking a needle with a large eye, threading it with heavy string or thread and string green beans on the long strings. Then they would hang them out during the day to dry, usually on the clothes line, taking them in at night so the dew would not wet them. After they were completely dry, I remember my mother quickly dousing them in boiling water, in case any insects were present. Then they were put into a clean "feed" sack. This is a sack that chicken feed came in usually. They were stored in the pantry until such time as they were needed to eat. Usually about Thanksgiving, out they came and were cooked with water and "fat back" or salt Pork until reconstituted and tender. Yum and Double Yum! They are totally delicious. After cooked, they are a rich deep greenish color, almost brown.

Shuck beans probably got their name from the fact that when they are in the sack and dried, they make a dried sound when you shake them, sort of like dried corn shucks would sound. That is my guess only---I have no idea why they are called that. All I know is, the taste of them is great---quite different from fresh green beans---maybe more intense. You know how drying a fruit or vegetable enhances the flavor. Maybe one has to acquire a taste for them. I don't know because I can't remember life without "Shuckey Beans".
My dried batch was dried in the dehydrator and you can bet on Thanksgiving I will be enjoying them!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Funky Tote Bag

Hi from Ten Gables Cottage,
Today my quilting group met and I made this crazy ruffled tote bag! One of the ladies had the pattern and you know that I have to deviate from the norm, so I selected this mod fabric instead of the little plain stuff the pattern used and I also, changed the design a little and added the big black button closure and redesigned the straps! This is for the bazaar at Peace Lutheran Church in Okeechobee, Florida Nov. 20.
Is it too wild to sell? I'll just have to wait and see!
Your comments are appreciated.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Margaret's Caladium

Hi Everyone,
Hope your day is going perfectly! It is beautiful here today, sunny but not too hot. I was just walking around the 5 and 1/2 acres here and spotted this beautiful caladium in a pot sitting in back of the rental duplex. Margaret, who lives there, has some beautiful plants in pots, including this one. She is a floral designer and has quite a green thumb, as well! She and her hubby, John, are always decorating their cute apartment and adding something to their garden in front of the apartment as well as in back. She has a red leafed caladium, as well, on the other side of the back door.
This plant is a native of South America but there is a town near here that has field after field of Caladium. They even have a Caladium Festival in August. I think I enjoy Margaret's pots of Caladium more than she does, because they are in back of her apartment, easy for me to see. The green and white ones are my favorites.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Compact Collection

Hello from Ten Gables Cottage,
I am inside today with a nice flannel shirt on to keep warm! Can you believe in South Florida one needs a flannel shirt? Today it is cloudy and in the 50s. It has been down to 45 at night.
Here is a photo of my compact collection. Actually when my daughter was a teen, I started the collection for her. Later, when I said that she might like to take them to her house, she said that I enjoy them so much, maybe I should just keep them awhile! They are displayed in a glass topped table, along with the vintage camera. You can click on the photo to see them more clearly. My very favorite is a tiny army hat that opens and has a mirror and powder in it. It was sent to a lady by her son during World War II. There is one from the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship. You can see a beautiful big one in the back row made of the first plastics invented. Ladies would carry these beautiful compacts in their purses to check their make up occassionally. Now days, women never carry compacts. Sort of like hankies, they have no use anymore. Too bad. I think the older days were more genteel and ladies were truly ladies in those days.
Compacts have increased in value since I began collecting. I used to buy them for a few dollars each back in the 80's but now they are usually from $25.00 to $100. or more! Collecting is fun and I still think there are bargains to be had in old things. For instance, vintage hankies are only from $1 to $5 in most antique stores and they are fun to collect. For men, folding wooden measuring sticks are still reasonable, as well as old razors.
Having sold my partnership in an antique store, I recently opened a booth in an antique mall. Once hooked on antiques, one just seems to have to have a hand in buying and selling them!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Red Hibiscus

Hi from Ten Gables Cottage,
What a simply glorious day it has been here with cool weather, clear, and sunny. I wanted you to see the color of this Hibiscus, which is almost a deep coral color. I have a row of Hibiscus that I have allowed to grow very tall and have then trimmed enough to get them to hedge and they are blooming beautifully now. This one has great color. I also have yellow and pale orange and a deeper red in the row. It is a very cheerful group of plants and provides a screen in back of the rental duplex unit.
Thanks for looking at my blog and hope you enjoy your weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mexican Petunia

Hi everybody,
It is a glorious day in South Florida. It is about 70 degrees but tonight will get into the 40s. I think all my plants may enjoy a little repast from the heat! Maybe not this Mexican Petunia which enjoys hot weather and blooms every day! The flowers only last a day, but not to worry; there are buds ready for the next day! These plants grow under any condition and spread. You can stick a cutting in the ground and it will grow. You can trim all you want and they still bloom. They thrive no matter what!
I really love the color. Shades of purple are my very favorite colors!
I hope you are having a great day wherever you are!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Baby Quilt for the Church Bazaar

Welcome to Ten Gables Cottage,
Have I been busy lately!There are never enough hours in a day! My Tuesday quilting group at Peace Lutheran Church is getting ready for the annual bazaar Nov. 20. I have just finished this baby quilt, for a baby girl no doubt. It has appliqued butterflies on each corner and is soft and fluffy. It was fun working on it and I am still quilting by hand the big quilt I posted earlier. It is called Dresden Plate and all made by hand. So every moment of my day is filled with one creative endeavor or another! I will also have my own table there at the bazaar with paintings, so I have been doing some small paintings on little easels that I think people will like. You can see them on http://egrettawells.blogspot.com/ .
Finally, we have gotten rain and all my flowers and vegetables are saying "thank you" and it is so amazing how weeds just pop up overnight! Hope you are having a great day. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tortilla Pizza

My favorite way to use the fresh basil growing in my garden is in this little Tortilla Pizza. I created this recipe and it is a favorite of all who have tasted it! Perfect for lunch or in slices as an appetizer, it is quick and tasty and has only a few ingredients!
You can use any kind of tortilla you want. Sometimes I use whole wheat or spinach and sometimes plain. Put the tortilla on a baking sheet and spread a tiny bit of olive oil on it, particularly along the edges, so they will get crisp.
Slice a tomato in very thin slices all over the tortilla, add fresh basil leaves on top here and there, cover with Mexican cheese or mozzarella cheese.
Sometimes I add turkey pepperoni. Pop in a preheated oven at 375 for just 5 to 8 minutes until cheese is bubbly and edges crisp. That is it! The fresh basil is what makes it taste so amazing.
Each tortilla makes 4 slices, so I make one little pizza for each person.
Hope you are having a great day. It looks like rain here (finally) and I am in my studio ready to paint the rest of the afternoow away! Egretta

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

" Beautiful Roses"

Hello everyone from Ten Gables Cottage,
There are a couple of rose gardens at Ten Gables and this one is the newest, so the plants are doing better than the older ones. I'm not sure of the name of this rose, but it is really pretty and is blooming profusely. Roses are really not that hard to grow in Florida, even though I hear people say all the time that they can't grow roses! They do require water if it is really dry and I fertilize them with Miracle Grow for Roses. I also sprinkle Epsom Salts around them and water it in. Black spot is a problem but you can buy spray for that and occasionally I use it. I try to pick off any yellow leaves and destroy so it doesn't spread. In Florida, you don't have to prune them back deeply, as they will bloom all year . I keep any dead stems cut off and dead-head as needed. So, right now all colors are in bloom and they really look pretty.
Rose bushes
last about 5 years, then they just need to be replaced here. The foliage is alot more sparse than you see in colder climates, but the blooms are just as pretty.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Octoberfest Meal

Hi everyone from Ten Gables cottage,
This is the meal that was served yesterday at the Octoberfest. It consisted of German Bratwurst with sour Kraut and mustard on a bun, German hot potato salad, and baked beans with bacon. I am not a big fan of Bratwurst, but it was really tasty and the hot potato salad was different, to say the least. I think it had a little too much vinegar in it, but I think it might be something I would have to acquire a taste for. The beans were very good, just like we serve at an American bar-b-que! A glass of cold beer might have gone good with it, but we had lemonade or coffee. Cakes were served for dessert and they were really very good. I had one with a chocolate and a white layer with frosting---Yum!
Well, October is gone, today is the first of November and we have a whole new month ahead of us. It is cooling down a little more in Florida, but still hot and sunny during the day. I just noticed that my poor broccoli plants look very wilted because of the heat. I am considering getting some screen and making a sort of lean-to thing that I can use to help shield them from the hot mid-day sun. Maybe just watering them deeper at night will help. It looks like we aren't going to get rain any time soon.
Have a great day, Egretta