Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A "New" desk and Canning Soup

Our son found these darling little desk at an estate sale for the amazing price of nothing. Evidently, they just wanted to get rid of it but their loss is our gain. It does need a little work to repair some damage. We plan on giving it some new stain to cover up some light scratching and a few other minor repairs, I think its going to be useful for coming in the front door. The bottom cabinet has 3 shelves inside, a good place for paperbacks!

The tomatoes this year have been doing gang busters. I already canned 5 quarts of tomato soup for the fall and next will be canned tomatoes. Here is the recipe for the tomato soup. Its really delicious and so nice for a fall day.


14 quarts ripe tomatoes (Comes to about 3 lbs of tomatoes per qt)
7 medium-sized onions
1 stalk celery
14 sprigs parsley
3 bay leaves
14 tablespoons butter
14 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons salt
8 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pepper


Wash; cut up tomatoes (no need to peel them). Chop onions, celery. parsley & bay leaves. Add to tomatoes; cook until celery is tender. Put through a sieve. Put mixture back into pot. Rub flour & butter into smooth paste thinned with tomato juice. Add to BOILING soup; stir to prevent burning. Add salt, sugar and pepper. For a smoother consistency put through sieve again ( I never do this) Fill clean  jars to within one (1) inch of top of jar. Wipe of the rims, put on caps, screwing the band tight. Process in hot water bath 30 minutes. Start timing when it is at a rolling boil...

A bit of work but well worth it as once you taste this, canned soup is just not the same!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Monday

I just finished another of the Shih Tzu cards. This pattern is one of my best sellers. I finally was able to get a photo that shows the dimension of the stitching. He was really fun to stitch and ready for a new home. You'll find him in my Etsy shop.

I'm working now on this candle mat. This one  pictured was made for a giveaway so I'll be making another one of my shop. Its called In My Garden and is from Primitive Stitches. A little primitive but nice for a garden table.

As you may know, right behind our garden and yard is a busy street. The street was only a two lane road when we moved in some 10 years ago but its been widened and now is quite busy. As our property is lower than the street, people could look over the wall into our back yard which was not a little annoying at times.
 To make a long story short, a tall wall is now being built, some 12 ft. which is blocking much of the noise. Its taken some time, at first, they said 2 weeks but its been over a month. Its done now and we're waiting for them to remove the chain link fence that was put up to give us some security until it was finished.The contractors were very nice and are even replacing some of the plants that died, put in a complete drip irrigation system and also just because, they're going to clean our patio area of all the dust from the construction, plus plant two Valencia orange trees as a thank you gift. We were assured that these type of oranges would grow here and I hope they're right.

There's the chain link and the wall..the chain link is over 6ft. so you can see how tall the wall is. Everything is very dry here because of the drought.
I'm tired of all the dust and dirt that this has caused. Even our solar panels are effected. But we're both  happy with the fact that the noise level has been reduced and we have a sense of privacy. Its really an answer to prayer as a few years ago when they widened the road, the entire neighborhood put a petition in to the city for a higher wall which was denied. God does answer prayer!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day

My brother posted this photo of our dad, Robert Elliot Philley. He was in the Marine Corp for 34 years and served his country with pride. The gentlest of men and a wonderful father. He passed away in 1977 too soon, and I dearly miss him every day.

I've posted before about all the letters my grandmother sent me that Dad had written during and after WWII. He was part of the greatest generation that is now sadly passing away. If your dad or uncle or brother was part of that generation, let them know how much you appreciate them. I wish I could let my dad know and have faith that one day we will meet again in a far better world. Semper Fi

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I won a Giveaway!

I entered this giveaway  on Facebook and got a message yesterday from Johanna Parker that I had won this wonderful candle giveaway! Isn't it great for Halloween? If you aren't familiar with her work, she designs  Halloween items for the home based on vintage designs.

Here is her website link, if you'd like to see more...Johanna Parker Design.......

Saturday, June 13, 2015

New Dog Rescue and Lexi

We got a call to do a lock repair job yesterday in Nuevo, a rural area north of us. Unknown to us, it turned out to be a very fun and interesting job.
As we worked,  we realized,it was a dog rescue, Miracle Animal Rescue Center! Susanne and her partner Pat run the operation. They are very nice people who love animals.  Please click on the link to see their new website. As they're just in the early stages of the rescue, they need our help and I hope to promote them at least once a week or so. I'll be sharing a dog of the week as I did before the the Sun City Rescue.

As we worked, this large gentle German Shepherd mix sat patiently outside with a huge ball in her mouth wanting to play. She's a gentle giant and I tired out long before she did throwing the ball!

Talking with Susanne, Lexi does better in a one dog household and would be perfect with older children. She loves loves her ball and to play.

          If you go to the website, she even has her own video of her playing with her horse toy. Just click on the adoptable dog link there.

They need much in the way of supplies and help. Susanne told me they need volunteers to just play with the dogs to help socialize them. If you live in the area, and would like to volunteer your time. Please go the website and contact either Susanne or Pat for more information.
They also need funds for food, vet bills and shelter costs so if you'd like to donate to this worthwhile rescue you can do that also.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sunflower Mat

I've also listed some of my stitched items. This candle mat is some of my best work and I almost didn't want to part with it. Its a  primitive summer sunflower pattern from Primitive Stitches and perfect for a summer table.

I padded it with warm and natural batting so it will protect your table. These mats are also good to put under hot serving plates.  China Lake Auctions     

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Venting and Ebay

 Our locksmith business has been dying a slow death so I'm trying to help out a little if possible.
As most of my readers know, we are on Social Security and try to supplement to be able to pay our bills and do have the bad habit of eating.  In fact, we applied for food stamps and we  were just sent a card and I felt relieved. However, the next day, we got a letter saying the total amount the state would pay us for food was a whopping $15.00 a month.   I called the worker but she was unhelpful.
So don't believe the media when they say that food stamps are easy to get! Life is very tough for seniors.
Anyway, enough of venting. God is in control and I know He will open a new door for us!
We're both now Ebay sellers and I hope you will stop by our auctions and see what we come up with.

Alan sells stamps and collectable items. His name on Ebay is proe_designer .right now he has some nice souvenir sheets if you like stamps or know someone who does. He has 100% positive feedback.

My auctions are under China Lake Auctions. I also have 100% positive feedback and have sold on Ebay since 1999. I just have a few things for now listed including some of my red work towels, and these nice vintage duck table set with a matching candle plate....I bought them on ebay some time ago and now they need a new home. They were made back in the 50s but look like new so pretty and glossy.

                                                  Very nice for a summer tablescape!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dad's Letter

My dad served in WWII and afterwards was stationed in Tsingtao, China. It was called Operation Beleaguer. It mainly was for the  repatriation of Japanese and Koreans who remained after WWII. Dad wrote alot about the life there.Things he saw and experienced. Very interesting reading.

I knew he spoke Mandarin Chinese but never knew how he gained  the knowledge. Turns out he learned Chinese while stationed in Tsingtao. This knowledge helped him greatly when he served later in Vietnam. He told us that speaking Mandarin raised the respect he had with the Chinese businessmen he dealt with at that time. He was in charge of supply. Most of them spoke Cantonese and to speak Mandarin was considered a great honor.

Something I noticed was that the idea of appeasement was already showing  in 1947.
here is just a short paragraph of what he experienced..

"While on liberty downtown here last week, I was unfortunately caught in a light riot involving Rickshaw coolies and service men. In the mixup one of them relived me of my Parker fountain pen!
So I borrowed a pen to write this letter. The Rickshaw coolies are becoming very bold and are robbing and beating men quite often. The policy enforced by our forces of taking most every insult without retaliating, in order to win friendship. The policy has only succeeded in making America lose face. They now believe we are actually afraid of them. I think they need to get forceful with them.
Until recently it was almost unheard of for a coolie to strike a service man. Now we have to go out in pairs for safety. The United States has certainly lost prestige."
Tsingtao, China
June 4, 1947

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Sorry again that I've not been posting much. We're watching our grandson who is almost 4 (in August) and its difficult to get much done.

We had a nice Memorial Day but did spend part of it in the ER. Alan was putting up our flag on the garage and the ladder collapsed. He hit his head rather hard on the concrete driveway so again, I drove him the the ER. Four hours later, we went home with a bruised and scaped head but no major injuries.  He's very big boned like his grandfather was. His neck and shoulders are tender but he's healing fine and I think, this time he realizes he's not 30 anymore.  His guardian angel was watching over him as it could have been much worse.
When we got home from the hospital, this is what greeted us...

              Our oldest son hung up the flag which was a blessing.

 I hope everyone had a meaningful and restful holiday. As I read my dad's letters, I can't help realizing how amazing that generation was and am thankful for the sacrifices they made for freedom.

 Our garden is in full swing and soon we'll have tomatoes to can. I am so looking forward to some fresh garden tomatoes. I also plan on making tomato soup to can. Last year our tomato crop was terrible and I only was able to can a few pints of sauce which we used up quickly this last winter.
This year so far looks alot better with many green tomatoes on the plants.The corn is really high  and is tasseling.

Alan always tries to grow corn, and we usually get a few small ears which are delicious but not like he could grow in Iowa.

I've been selling a few things on Ebay and made two sales. I have some thimbles and also some towels for sale that I embroidered. 

                        Redwork flour sack towels.
                                  China Lake Auctions

                              That's about all for now.!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Letter Shoe Box

We've been going through our cedar chests (we have 3 of them that Alan built when we were first married) and I ran across this shoe box that my paternal grandmother had sent me years and years ago. It contains letters that my dad wrote to her during and after WWII. I've been reading a few every evening and put them in chronological order by the post mark dates. They run from 1941 to 1949.

Knowing my dad so well, his words just brought me closer to him. In the war years, he couldn't say where he was stationed and every letter from that period had a passed censor stamp on it. Later he was stationed at Tsingtao, China. He does speak alot about the Chinese people, their culture and what he experienced after the war. He became very fluent in Chinese also. I haven't finished reading all the letters but they're fascinating.  I also inherited a large photo album and hope to coordinate the photos to the letters if I am able to. In some of the letters, he asks for a camera and he evidently got one as there are a ton of war time photos. 

With Memorial day coming up, we will be flying our flag in memory of all those that endured much and serviced with honor.
So thankful to my grandmother for saving these precious bits of history.!