Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn Blessings

Photo credit: heartwarmingvintage.blogspot.com/
The Fall of 2012 has brought so many blessings to our family that my heart swells. Weddings, engagements, new babies on the way, new homes, first steps, diplomas, Grand kids starting school, new jobs, new friends. So much to be thankful for. The fact that I was able to retire from my job last year and can now thoroughly enjoy these wonderful occasions makes them all the more special. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure that I'm not caught up in a daydream. The joy of not having to set an alarm clock and fight my way through the morning rush makes that first cup of coffee in the morning taste like liquid gold. And what better to go with my favorite java? Some old-fashioned baked goodness. My daughter and I made these yummy pumpkin cookies over the weekend, and I wanted to share the recipe with you. I would like to give credit to the original recipe creator, but someone shared it with a co-worker that shared it with my daughter, that shared it with me. Whomever you are recipe creator-we thank you!

Pumpkin Cookies
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

4 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Drop by rounded teaspoon on to a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Frost while still warm.

Brown Butter Frosting

10 t butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
Boil 3 minutes. Cool.
Add powdered sugar til spreadable
Tip: If you keep it warmer & thinner you can actually dip the cookies to frost. This frosting recipe makes enough to frost a small boat. I cut it in half and found that it was plenty. It's very rich.


Wishing the blessings of fall to one and all,


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Setting The Stage

Setting up shop a.k.a. "Staging"

My larger booth for Auntie Sisters at State Street Market Shops was a labor of love, put together by myself, my step mom, my husband, my daughters, sisters, friends and mother. It kind of goes along with the name, doesn't it? As any shop owner will tell you, you can't turn away extra muscle or creative input when you are starting with a blank slate. Here are some photos of my empty space circa 2010:

Auntie Sisters empty stage
Every wall a blank canvas
 It only took two days to move everything in, arrange and check pricing. My oldest daughter is a magician at pulling together small vignettes and her final touches were just what the space needed. Since most of my wares are primitives and farmhouse chic, they blended right in with the electrical box that has to be accessible, and very little decorating or painting was needed. We built a short wall with vintage wooden crates and an old kitchen cupboard.

Customer ready!
Love that McCoy pottery!
There have been some minor changes over the past few years to accomodate new items. But most importantly, I feel comfortable showcasing my wares and I feel like my booth invites inquisitive shoppers to step inside.
Ever changing booth 2012
I am revving up all of my creative ideas for the upcoming holiday season and looking foorward to sharing the next "stage" with you all!

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooky Creations For Halloween

My last post left you with a sneak peek at one of the altered bottles I created for Halloween. Creepy, huh?
Gargoyle altered bottle

I wanted to offer unique, one of a kind spookiness for sale in my Auntie Sisters shop, utilizing the supplies I had on hand and a low budget. Altered bottles, books and charms to scare any decent vampire made the cut. I chose several different types of labels and dimensionals, keeping my theme as sinister as possible without being too gruesome.
Mr. Bones Candle on my desktop
Bewitching Book Of Spells
Winged Charm
I got a lot of satisfaction creating these designs from scratch and love how they set the mood for Halloween.

Whoooo doesn't like a little spookiness???

"Owl" being crafting 'til next time,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Setting Up Shop

I've had my antiques and collectibles booth (aptly named Auntie Sisters) at the State Street Market Shops for a couple of years now and was looking for a way to rearrange and add a fresh look without having to completely re-stage my inventory. My theory was that if certain items are presented in a new light that they might catch the eye of a shopper who had originally passed them by with no interest. My space is only 9'x11' and you have to leave plenty of room for the shoppers to feel comfortable perusing your goods. I have a real eclectic mix of primitives, pottery, and vintage kitchen, paper ephemera and vintage textiles. Here's a little glimpse of "Auntie Sisters".

If you look closely you might even spy Elvis!

When a small 2.5'x10' space became available kiddie corner from me, I decided that this could be a solution  for change without a lot of fuss. Other than the fact that the previous dweller had painted the wall hot pink, it just needed a little freshening up. Next step: engage helpful husband and co-workers.
New space after covering the hot pink wall and before decorating
My industrious friend Catie and her husband were building a pergola in her booth space and somehow she had some extra energy and ambition and not only painted for me, but sewed a lovely curtain as well! I love her like crazy. Until I could gather all of my crazy ideas for the best use of my space, I chose to give it the look of an old laundry room.

Quick set-up and easy way to display vintage aprons and textiles.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Flavor of Fall for your Senses

Autumn is one of the most spectacular seasons here in the Midwest, and this year is no exception. What is it about the leaves falling that makes you want to start making yummy recipes and collecting acorns? I picked the last of my herbs this week and I thought I would share with you my recipe for simmering potpourri. This is a great way to use those odd pieces of fruit that have been neglected and sitting on your counter too long.

Savory Citrus Potpourri


Fresh Rosemary
Your choice of sliced lemons, limes, apples, grapefruit or oranges
2-3 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 quart of water

Bring to a boil on your stove top and set to simmer. Voila!

Variations: Use a crockpot or candle warmer to heat and release the amazing aroma. You can substitute fresh Basil, Sage, Cloves or Mint for a more savory scent. Experimenting is half the fun. It's quite normal for the appearance of the liquid to get a little cloudy or wonky looking after heating. I add a few sprigs or peels every couple of days to refresh the scent.

Happy Fall Y'all!!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"There is no try. Only do." - Master Yoda

I've had it in my mind to jump into the blogging world for several months now and finally took my own advice. Just do it! I hope that my postings are able to bring you some new ideas, maybe a recipe or two, and a few chuckles.
First, I would like to introduce you to my mascot: "Durty Nellie." (aka bad puppy, or kadiddlehopper) Her antics will surely be making a regular appearance here!

Auntie Sisters is the endearment used for my late great aunt, Sister Mary Francis Rita, B.V.M. and is also   the name for my retail booths located inside State Street Market Shops In Elgin, Illinois. In the next few weeks, I'll be introducing the major players that support my hobbies, the fun stuff I do that drains my wallet, and the joys that fill my heart. I think I'm going to like this...