Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Big Brother

Willie & Loretta, taken at Idora Park


This is one of the very few pictures I have of my older brother, Willie & myself together.  I love his goofy grin!

It was taken in a photo booth, at Idora Park in Youngstown, OH.  I remember we got to go there once a year, when my Dad's job sponsored a free attendance day. There isn't any date on it but I'm guessing I was around 8 years old.

He used to tease my younger siblings & I, unmercifully.  I remember one time that he was left in charge to babysit us, while my parents were shopping...he made all of the younger kids sit on the sofa & he sat across from us with a cork pop-gun in his hand.  He would shoot us in the knee if we tried to get up & leave.  I laugh now at the memory but it wasn't funny at the time!  Sadly, he & I often fought in our teenage years...we didn't agree on much back then.




Willie bonks Dad with Kolachi, 1977


This photo of him was taken at my house, on Easter, around 1970.  He is playfully bonking my Dad on the head with a foil wrapped kielbasa, that I was sending home with him.  I never really liked him with that beard...he was so much nicer looking without it.

He was a very popular fellow with lots of friends.  It used to bug me when I was in high school & someone would say to me "Oh, you're Bill's sister!"  I'd answer back, "No, Bill is my brother!" They didn't get it.  Now I'm so proud to be known as his sister!

 He was a remarkable guy with a wide variety of interests.  He got to see the world while he was in the Air Force.  I still have the postcard he sent to me from Japan.
He wore real wooden clogs all the time.  I thought he was so cool.

He planted a huge garden every year.  He was into collecting beautiful knives at one time.  He was very handsome...tall, robust & healthy.
In high school, he was a football player...I remember when he chipped his front tooth, playing football.  My Mother was furious...she hadn't wanted him to play in the first place!  



 He joined the Air Force when the Vietnam War started & had been a member of the elite Air Force Pararescuemen group, also known as "PJ's" or Maroon Berets from 1967 through 1971. 




From Wikipedia: "Pararescuemen (also known as PJs) are United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) and Air Combat Command (ACC) operatives tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. These special operations units are also used to support NASA missions and have been used to recover astronauts after water landings. They are attached to other SOF teams from all branches to conduct other operations as appropriate. Of the 22 enlisted Air Force Cross recipients, 12 are Pararescuemen. They wear the maroon beret as a symbol of their elite status, and to symbolize the blood shed by past PJs, as well as the blood current PJs are willing to shed to save lives. Part of the little-known Air Force Special Operations community[2] and long an enlisted preserve, the Pararescue service began commissioning Combat Rescue Officers early in the 21st century. "

He & his fellow officers went into the jungles of Vietnam, via helicopter, to rescue the wounded.  He was also one of a team of divers who helped recover a manned lunar capsule from the ocean.   John Glenn or Armstrong perhaps?  I wish I could find that photo!  Maybe one of my siblings have it.

He died 21 years ago today, (on my birthday), when he was just 47 years old.  He had developed some sort of abdominal discomfort while out hunting in November of 1992.  He didn't want to interrupt the holidays for his family, so he waited until after Christmas & went into the hospital on Jan. 1, 1993 to have some tests done.

When it was discovered that he had cancer, he was given very aggressive chemotherapy, which, unfortunately shut down his kidneys.  He was in my former ICU unit, where I had worked full time, for over 10 years.  My friends & colleagues took as good of care of him as they could but he lost his battle against the disease & sadly, passed away eighteen days later.
  
He left behind a wife, (who was an RN, like me) and two handsome sons, neither of which had even finished high school at the time.  They went on to graduate from college & have since grown into wonderful young men that I know he would have been proud of.  They've both married & have 2 girls by the oldest son & 3 boy by the younger son.  It is sad that those 5 little tykes never got a chance to know their grandfather.  It makes me try especially hard to make good memories of the times my grandchildren & I are together.    



Part of the reason I blog, is to leave a record of events & recollections for my daughter & grandchildren.
I want them to know about the important things in my life, besides food & dishes! 

Thanks for visiting today...it is always kind of a melancholy day for me.  
Oh & if you have a minute,
pop over to Sarah's blog,
to wish HER a "Happy Birthday"...
we share the same day!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cherry Nut Pound Cake

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Every year, my husband's elderly Aunt Jane used to make him his favorite *Cherry Nut Pound Cake* & bring him a loaf (or sometimes TWO!) into his medical office when she came in for a blood pressure check-up around the holidays.

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It is a VERY rich sweet bread...it has a full pound of butter or margarine in it!

But it is SOOOO good & it is only a once-a-year treat.

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It has a full 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries (drained) in it along with chopped walnuts.

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Before she passed away, Aunt Jane wrote down the recipe for me, per request of my husband.

For awhile, I thought I had lost the recipe.  You can see the sorry state of my recipe box above.
It is so full, it won't snap closed anymore.
I really need to get those typed up & into digital format for future generations before I die!

 Every year, since she passed away, we start off our Christmas morning with a cup of hot coffee or, in my case, tea & a nice big slice of this yummy treat.

Here is a photo Aunt Jane Cwiklinski's hand-written recipe for Cherry Nut Pound Cake, below:

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Almost 29 years ago, I laughed out loud when I first read her little written comment "Good Luck" on it & it still has made me smile every year since.  

I have made a printable link to the recipe here:  Cherry Nut Pound Cake 

**You might note that, in the digital version, I have changed the number of pans or loaves this will make.  I measured all my bread pans & NONE of them were the 8 1/2" x 4 1/4" measurement  that dear Aunt Jane used.

I can only get 2 large loaves (filled to about 3/4th level) plus I usually have a wee bit leftover to make a *mini* loaf to share with the neighbors.

In a discussion with a gal on Facebook, I learned that "Cherry Bread" has been a popular local custom in Newfoundland, Canada for eons.  In the recipe she & I discussed, it was noted to "toss the cherries in some flour to prevent sinking in the batter".  
I never thought to do that & will from now on.  You can see in my photo, that most of the cherries are at the bottom of the slice.   
Next time, I'm also going to add TWO jars of maraschino cherries...one just doesn't seem to be enough.

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.  I hope you try this recipe yourself.  It would be lovely for Valentine's Day, which is also our wedding anniversary!!!



I'll be linking up with Michael Lee West at Rattlebridge Farm 
for
Thanks for hosting each week, ML!





Sunday, January 11, 2015

Fun with Food on a Snowy Day


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We've had horribly bitter cold along with several inches of snow the past few days.

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It is rare to see it pile up near the big arched window...the wind must have really been whipping it around.

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You can see we have several inches with more predicted to arrive tomorrow.  
I'm tired of it already!

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 It is the dark, dreary days that get to me the most. 
 No sun to be able to take decent photos either!


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However, there IS one ray of sunshine that continues to brighten our days.....

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 my granddaughter, Sweet Caroline!
She is so much fun & so full of laughter & energy...
never stops dancing, tumbling, flipping or talking!


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She always requests the same thing for breakfast, whenever she sleeps overnight...pancakes & bacon.

We've made bunnies....


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we've made teddy bears...or Mickey Mouse, whichever that was supposed to be!

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We've decorated waffles in Keyon colors (her brother's college)

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 We even made Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I think Rudolf has a cold!!   LOL

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This Sunday, while she visited us, we made a double layer chocolate cake together, for her to take home to her Dad (an OSU grad) for dessert when Ohio State University wins the National Championship on Monday night!  

That chocolate candy heart with the peanut butter & green buckeye tree leaves, is supposed to represent a "buckeye"...popular candy confection here in Ohio 





which mimics the nuts from our state tree & also OSU's mascot, Brutus Buckeye, too.



Click the hotlink for a printable RECIPE on how to make the candy. 

GO BUCKS!!

I will be joining Michael Lee West, at Rattlebridge Farm for her Foodie Friday party this week.  Thanks for hosting, ML & thank YOU for dropping by The Gazebo House today.

(I hope you're not dizzy or seasick from seeing all the different photo frames...I was playing with PicMonkey editing)

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Tea & Cookies on a Snowy Day

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I'm stuck inside, on a bitterly cold & snow filled day, so my favorite thing to do (next to sewing) is BAKE!   
It warms up the house & I can continue to practice my icing skills, too.

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A hot cup of tea in a beautiful teacup (thanks baby sis, Ruth E.!) beside the fireplace.
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I have several teacups to choose from but the one with the gold trim seems to always be the favorite.
I know my granddaughter always picks this one!

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 How appropriate is my "Tea Shop" teapot with SNOW on the roof???

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 I was able to consolidate the remaining fresh flowers from my Christmas tables into one snow white bouquet.
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 ♥♥♥ LOVE ♥♥♥ those little lime green pops of color!  (What ARE those flowers called, anyway?)


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 I thought *SNOWFLAKE* cookies would be the perfect shape for the day, along with teapots & teacups.

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My grandkidlets don't have school today, due to the -1º temperatures & the -17º wind chill, so I hope they will stop over to help me eat these goodies.  Brrrrrr....it's cold!

You are welcome to stop by The Gazebo House, too.  The kettle is always on & we've always got some sort of treat to share.  


I'm linking up with Susan's Between Naps on the Porch for  Tablescape Thursday as well as Michael Lee West's Foodie Friday & Everything Else.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Sugar Cookies & Cherry Cheesecake Bites

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When my sweet granddaughter called to tell me (in a sad little voice) that all of their Christmas cookies were gone, I immediately got busy & made some more for her!

I've been wanting to practice some "flooding" techniques for decorating sugar cookies anyway. 

The recipe I now use for sugar cookies comes from Sweetopia.
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I can remember my mother, as she was baking, reminiscing about how she could remember the sound of HER mother’s wedding ring, tapping against the side of the old sifter, as she combined the flour, salt & baking powders.
I can STILL HEAR the same sound of my mother’s gold band, doing the exact same thing as she made sugar cookies for my brothers & sisters at Christmas time!  Homemade sugar cookies are, by far, my most favorite cookie in the whole wide world...even more than Girl Scout Thin Mints!!!  (which Ms. C. will be selling very soon...just sayin')
I hope Caroline has the same fond memories of baking in the kitchen with her *Nana Rett*.
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I did this batch in Delta Zeta colors of PINK & GREEN...love that combination.  My hands aren't very steady & I need to work on getting the consistency of the icing correct, but they sure taste good, if I do say so myself.  
Over the holiday, I took a plate of my mini cherry cheesecake tarts to a New Year's Day party.  They looked so pretty on the red & white plate, that I just had to share a photo.
The recipe for them can be found HERE.

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I'm glad you stopped by The Gazebo House today!
Take a cookie with you...I still have plenty left & I'm happy to make more.


Saturday, January 03, 2015

Nicole’s Christmas Tree Quilt for her Mom

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As promised, here are a few photos of the darling whimsical *Christmas Tree* quilt that I quilted on my Innova longarm machine for my friend, Nicole.  Without much sunlight here in Ohio, it is difficult to see any of the quilting in this photo.  Thank goodness I took some pictures while it was still on the frame, under my super-D-duper lights! 

 It is photographed here without the striped binding that Nicole was to sew on before Dec. 25th.  The quilt is a Christmas gift for her Mother.  I wish I could have seen her face when she opened such a wonderfully thoughtful gift!

Nicole is my mentor...we met on a sewing forum & soon realized we lived in the same area.  She taught me how to pleat fabric for smocking & how to construct beautiful dresses for my granddaughter.  We used to gather at her lovely home once a week for *Smock & Talk*.




Her husband is a cardiologist & has been on call BOTH times that I've had to take my husband into the ER (chest pain & a heart attack the first time & shortness of breath, the second). I truly feel that he, literally, saved his life, TWICE! 

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 The free pattern for this DARLING appliqued Christmas Tree quilt can be found on the All People Quilt website, HERE.

Check out that cute "elf" backing fabric she found...A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!!!
My free motion quilting designs around the tree were to mimic winter winds blowing & swirling snow curls.  

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 Similar to this photo from muddy creek's blog:



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The red outer border has my current favorite design, Feathers & Pearls.  My Innova's Auto Pilot came pre-loaded with over 500 quilting designs, but when I saw this one, I just had to go buy it.  I'll edit this post when I remember the source!  Duh?  Blonde moment!

That was the only computerized design I used...the rest was all hand-guided, free motion.  I'm gettin' better!

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I first outlined every tree & the exterior lines of her embellishments.  This way, the outlines of the trees made a cute pattern on the back, which I failed to take a picture of.  Another blonde moment!

I did not quilt across the appliques, as they were fused on & I didn't want to gum up my needle.  Nicole was going to do some top stitching across the trees with her domestic machine, to anchor them down a bit more after I sent it home with her.

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My wonderful new neighbor, Marilyn (a very accomplished longarm quilter!) taught me how to do holly leaves in the polka-dot sashings.  Look closely...can you see them?  You can just barely make them out.

Done as one single line of stitching from beginning to end! 
Very fast & very easy.  Thanks Marilyn!
They are subtle but fit in nicely with the theme of the entire quilt.


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 Here is another view, above, of the "Feathers & Pearls" pantograph, going down the side borders this time.  The quilt was actually taken off the frame & turned sideways to do the side borders.  I just happened to turn my camera vertically for this shot.
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This was a fun quilt to work on.  I had no issues whatsoever ....no thread breaks, no tension problems.  I switched thread colors at least 3 times & my Innova handled each one beautifully.  
I ♥♥♥ my machine!

Do you think it looks like a windy, snowy day around the trees???  

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.  I truly appreciate you taking the time to come see what I've been doing.  I'll return your visits this week, I promise.





Sunday, December 28, 2014

Red & Gold Christmas Table, 2014

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Please come into the dining room, where the table has been set for Christmas!

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Instead of my usual cream Lenox *Winterberry* china, this year, I went with Mikasa's Rouge
A dear blogging friend, Mary McC. blessed me with four place settings of this gorgeous china.
Thank you SO much, Mary!  I immediately ordered four more so that I would have service for eight.

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I love the rich red color & the deep coppery gold scrolls are right up my alley.
I like LOTS of bling!

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This table has many treasured gifts on it this year.
The Lenox gingerbread man ornament was a gift
from Kathleen M., last year.  
I hung him in a spot, front & center.
Thank you, Kathleen!
I shall say a prayer for you every time I hang him on my little dining room tree.

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I have two of the plates set on a gold double-tiered serving tray, positioned on the buffet sideboard.
It is flanked by two beautiful angels with feathered wings.

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Atop the salad plates, are my Arte Vetro stemmed compotes, made in Italy by the Vitri company.
The intricate lace rims are hand painted in 18 karat gold & are hand wash only & only by ME.  That way, if I break one, I have only myself to blame.

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Waterford crystal & Oneida Americana flatware complete the place setting,
along with white, hemstiched napkins with glittery gold napkin rings.
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This HUGE Red poinsettia, with gold glittered brackets, was a Thanksgiving hostess gift from my beautiful daughter.
Thank you, Valerie!  It will be placed on the sideboard once we sit down to eat, and the compote-matching Arte Vetro vase will take its place, center stage, between two Ralph Lauren crystal candlesticks with gold candles.  


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I even bought the butter dish that matches the china.
There are many more pieces to the set.
My birthday is coming up next month...I may have to go shopping! *wink*


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Another very thoughtful gift on the table is this Portmeirion pair of salad servers from my "Lace Camp" sewing friend & mentor, Jerry R.  
Thank you so very much for your thoughtful & beautiful gift, Jerry!  You, too, will be remembered in prayer with every salad I serve with them.

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They are resting in my Waterford salad bowl, that I hand carried onto the plane when we returned from Ireland, years ago.  I make a special point to tell my granddaughter about the  birthplace of her maternal great, great, great, great grandmother!  I also want her to know the history of the pieces she will inherit someday.

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This round, crystal butter dish, which is currently holding ribbon candy, is also Waterford that I purchased on that same trip.

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While out shopping a few months ago, with my quilting friend, Robin, I came upon this BEAUTIFUL vintage sugar skuttle!

I usually fill it with cashews but left it empty so you could see how the interior absolutely glows.  The intricately carved exterior resembles some of my other pieces, like the wine caddy below.

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The pretty *crinkle glass* Christmas bulb wine stopper was a gift, from Cathy M. a sewing friend from my days of living in Venice, FL.  Thank you, Cathy!  Even though we have lost touch, I think of you every time I put it out.
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This sleek crystal water pitcher was a gift from my step-son & his wife, (who live in Chicago) on a visit here to see his Dad.
What a thoughtful hostess gift...thanks Tom & Deb!

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A second Waterford dish holds more ribbon candy on the other side of the centerpiece.  I have a real *thing* about balancing both ends of the table.  It also makes it easier for people to help themselves to a sweet treat to go along with their coffee & cookies at the end of the meal.


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A pretty cut glass bread tray will hold some homemade rolls, using my father's family recipe.  His grandfather & my father's Uncle Scott, owned a bakery in 1916.  I have a token coin for a 5¢ loaf of bread from their bakery (with the family name) framed so that you can see both sides of it, along with a handwritten note from his cousin & a photograph of the two men standing in front of the bakery.  You can see it in this blog post.
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As usual, I've used my sofa table, placed along the wall, as a sidebar, to set up coffee/tea cups.

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My pretty poinsettia teapot matches the cups perfectly...another gift...from my sisters this time!
 
Thanks Weezie & Fritzie!!  I do ♥♥♥ my tea!
Christmas cookies for dessert are located on a round table, off to the side.
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As I'm sitting here, typing this post, I glanced over to one of my two extra dining room chairs that we keep in the den.
I was amazed to see that the scroll design on the pillow is almost a perfect match to the scrolls on my new Mikasa china!!

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Serendipity for sure!
I will be posting this table with


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I hope the warm glow of the Christmas holiday continues to light up your homes throughout the New Year.

Thanks for stopping by The Gazebo House today.

I'll have Nicole's Mom's Christmas Tree quilt all ready to show off next time you visit.  I did the quilting with my Innova long arm quilting machine.  It came out SEW cute!!!