Saturday, July 30, 2011


I love to eat raw tomatoes.  As a child, growing up in Ohio, summer meant long, hot days playing with my friends under the big green trees out back, running through the grass with dirty, bare feet, then coming in to dinner to ice cold milk, and, if I was lucky, fresh picked tomatoes and hot corn on the cob.  Sometimes, that was all we had, and it was plenty, because a hungry child could eat all she wanted.  No one needed anything else to distract from the incredible taste of butter dripping down the chin, the sweet, crisp taste of the corn, and then, as a lovely counterpoint, the icy, salty, tangy tomatoes.

Unfortunately, though we go to the midwest every year, Beloved Spouse's current school calendar insists on us being home by the end of July so he can go back the first week in August.  Those of you from the midwest know that the good, local corn and tomatoes don't show up until (at the earliest) the first week in August.   That leaves us, every year, coming home too early for corn and tommy-toes feasts (as my dad would say!)

Fortunately, this year a farm near Petoskey came to the rescue with locally grown hothouse tomatoes.  They were AMBROSIA.  I am not exaggerating.  I couldn't wait to get back to the cottage and slice one up.  Plus, they looked so pretty in the old pottery bowls in the cottage!  See for yourself:

Doesn't that make your mouth water?  It sure does MINE, though I'm also starving, waiting for Elder Progeny to make homemade spanish rice and pollo asado, from scratch.  She is COOKING this summer.  All the time.  I have the hips and butt to prove it.

I've heard that some of the organic farms around here are now doing heirloom hothouse and garden tomatoes.  I'll keep you posted, though somehow the idea of eating them in February or March isn't quite the same.

Friday, July 29, 2011


One of the things I love about life is how little delights pop up when you least expect them.  Case in point - we emptied the van the first night we were home and I immediately started unwrapping bundles and rediscovering all the neat things I found this summer in Michigan and Indiana.  I really found a LOT this year, so once it was all out of the paper and wrap I separated it into "sell" and "keep" and began the process of cleaning, weighing, photographing, and listing the items on eBay. 

The next day we went to the grocery to stock up and when we were unloading back at home, I looked across the expanse of the cargo area and noticed some bags slightly under Elder Progeny's seat.  Thinking they were trash left over from the trip, I grabbed them up to pitch them...and nearly dumped a solid, tissue wrapped object onto the garage floor!  Upon investigation, the bags turned out to contain a lovely vintage figurine I had purchased at a new thrift in downtown Richmond, Indiana, and a delicate, gold painted, porcelain tray with daisies which I found at a Goodwill...somewhere!  Perhaps in Bloomington, Indiana....

Anyway, I thanked the good Lord that either hadn't ended up smashed on the concrete, and took them inside to clean them up and decide what I was going to do with them.  I have a cheerful, blue and yellow daisy-spangled tablecloth - mint! - I got on eBay last spring on the kitchen table right now.  It represents summertime to me - makes me think of Black Eyed Susans and the wonderfully fragrant stretches of verge alongside the woods and fields at home...don't get me started, or I'll be crying over my keyboard and messing up my laptop....

I don't have a matching napkin holder for this cloth, nor a set of salt and pepper shakers, so on a whim I grabbed up the tray, plopped the figurine and our plain old shakers, and set the whole shebang in the middle of the table...and stood there, happily surprised by how great it looked together!

Serendipity: (noun)  luck, or good fortune, in finding something good accidentally 

Yep, that sums it up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Home Again

We're home from our annual five week trek back to the Midwest to see family and friends, and boy, do we have a LOT of junk to deal with!  One of the highlights of the trip for me is all the wonderful garage sales and thrift stores in Indiana and Michigan.  You can still get amazing vintage collectibles for a quarter back there!  I came home with a pile of stuff to try and sell on eBay.  So, am I taking pictures and putting things up?  NO!  I'm writing to you!  But it's been a long time and I hate letting so much time go by.  We don't have internet for most of the trip (something I'm determined to rectify next year). 

I found an adorable 17" hard side suitcase, probably 50's or 60's, at a garage sale and it reminded me of this tabletop tableau I set up last spring.  I have a LOT of vintage travel stuff - I'm trying to get a plate for every state, for instance, and I was running out of room for some of the extras.  I had a table free in the living room, so, as part of my quest to leave no surface uncovered (ha!) I set this up.  I think it's pretty cute, myself.
I found everything here at garage sales or Goodwill except the photo albums.  My mother-in-law called those "Kodak books" and she had them for each child, chronicling their growing up years.  These are the traditional black paper, b & w photos, and pen-inscribed captions.  Last year Beloved Spouse went through and re-stuck-down all the pictures (using up at least four of my tape runners...grrr....) and now we can look at them without pictures falling out left and right.

You can't really see the London tray - here's another picture:
I believe this may be pre-WWII, or maybe just after.  On the back there's a sticker which states that  " is better not to put hot vessels such as aluminium teapots directly on to the tray."  Such a HOOT - I love it - alu-MINIUM.  So British!  Plus the irony is that someone quite brainless or forgetful, like me, obviously did exactly that, as you can see by the perfectly round heat stain in the center of the tray....  That's one of the things I just love about vintage stuff - it has history
Okay, enough dinking to get some things up on eBay.  If you're interested, my "name" is niftiefifties.  Don't laugh.