The Little Things

Lot’s of sunshine, seasonable temperatures, and the little things made today a perfect fall day in the Finger Lakes.  It was one of those days when I felt like a lot got done.   I baked homemade cinnamon pumpkin (yeast) bread, made an apple pie, AND whipped up a dish of coleslaw for dinner to boot.

Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like spending that much time in my kitchen!

Once I closed the kitchen down for the afternoon I headed out for some fresh air.  These little plants, or should I say weeds, were begging to have their pictures taken.  And so I obliged and I even gave them each a caption.

Sunny Fall Flowers
Sunny and Bright; Yellow and White
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More Pink Than Purple
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Pretty and Periwinkle

What kind of weekend did you have?  Busy, slow, productive, or not so much?

 

 

 

It’s 2017 and I’m Back!

This post is being updated from 2015 when it was initially written.  That was the day that I flipped the switch and started blogging on a self-hosted site with a paid domain.  And now for the good news…  I’m back!  Blogging back here at my old stamping grounds – yay!

Please continue to stay with me as I share my new recipes, DIY projects, photographs, and my simple country life back here where it all began.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

PicMonkey Makes Photo Editing Simple

 

Have you ever worked with photo editing programs?  And if so, are you intimidated by them?  A long time ago I  purchased a photo editing program that I found wasn’t very user friendly.  Since then I’ve played around with some of the programs on-line and I’ve found PicMonkey  to be my favorite.  I can easily enhance, add text, make a collage, or turn an ordinary photo into the unordinary.  

This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just me gabbing about a website that I’ve found quite useful in my blogging.   And because  I’m  somewhat  frugal, I work off of the basic (free) PicMonkey program.  But if you are willing to spend a few bucks then you can upgrade to their Royale package for $4.99 a month, or $33.00 annually, and the first month trial is free.

The photo above has been slightly enhanced through the photo gallery program on my computer.  Just a little tweaking was done to brighten the images and correct the color before I uploaded them to PicMonkey to make my collage. 

From this point forward I’m going to show you just how creative you can be using  PicMonkey.  In the pictures below  I used multiple design options.  My suggestion is to sit down and play with the program and get familiar with it.  I think you’ll see that there are plenty of features to keep you busy.  If you run your cursor over the image it will tell you what photo process I applied to each photo.

 

If you have a favorite image above please go ahead and share it on Pinterest – one of my most favorite places to hang out!

Brightening a Cloudy Day

Yesterday was a fairly dreary day here in the Finger Lakes. Clouds and rain filled the sky.  However, plans had been made.  My daughter and her husband were going apple picking (rain or shine) and they promised to bring us a taste of their harvest.  In return, I offered to make Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese for dinner.  A fair trade in both our opinions.  We always like to fill our family’s bellies when we have them for dinner, and considering that most of our family doesn’t like to cook, it’s a fairly easy task for us to accomplish. 

When my daughter walked in the door her hands were full with a bright and colorful bouquet of flowers.  Apples were not the only thing she had been picking.  What a perfect way to brighten an otherwise cloudy day. 

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these flowers to share here on my blog.  As for the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, the recipe will be forthcoming one of these days.  And the apples?  I’m going to make a batch of homemade applesauce.

Hope these help color your day bright!

Lot’s of Sunshine and Blue Skies; No White Sandy Beaches

Yesterday we decided to break free from the bout of cabin fever we’ve been having and go for a walk.  The day was slightly warmer than what we’ve been accustomed to this winter, and the sunshine and blues skies were welcoming.  The best part of the walk, other than the fresh air, sunshine, and blue skies, was the pretty little bluebird that welcomed us to it’s habitat.  I tried to get a picture but it was too camera shy.  

There is no question the land is barren and there is little to photograph, but here is what Mother Nature had to offer us.

Signed,

Impatiently waiting for spring…

Food and Tablescape Photographer Props at the Mercantile

Welcome back to the Mercantile!  Last month’s item (craft & sewing notions) was geared for the crafty folks out there.  I’m happy to report that the notion’s jar will soon have a new home – yea!  I suspect that this month’s items up for sale will most likely to capture the attention of both food and tablescape photographers.

This month’s lot includes four salad forks that are marked Oxford Silver Plate E.P.N.S.   If you aren’t sure what E.P.N.S. means let me give you a quick lesson.

E.P.N.S. means that the flatware is “Electro Plated Nickel Silver”. Nickel Silver is the base metal onto which silver is plated. Nickel silver does not contain silver, rather It is an alloy of nickel, zinc & copper. A layer of pure silver is electro plated over the base metal to give it a silver finish.  E.P.N.S. can be re-plated when it loses it’s silver colored finish.  These forks look worn and tarnished where the silver finish is missing which gives them a neat rustic look.

I have to admit that I had a hard time deciding if I should part with these pretty little forks because I love their simple, but elegant design. 

Along with the four salad forks, I’m also including what I believe to be three master butter knives.  If I’m correct (and please correct me if I’m wrong) these knives were used exclusively to cut butter, not to spread it – that’s because they have a sharper point.  Two of the three knives tips appear to have been bent slightly at some point in their long history.  Please note that I could not find any markings on these knives but I believe they are also silver plated because they have the tarnish spots too.  I cleaned both the forks and knives with a silver cleaner and  the pictures depict what the items look like after cleaning them.

knives 004

This sale is being conducted as a silent auction. If you are interested in bidding on this item simply follow the link at the bottom of the page which will take you to my contact form. On that form, please include the words FOOD AND TABLESCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER PROPS in the comment box, along with the highest price in US Dollars that you are willing to pay for the item up for auction. Please note that there is a minimum bid price of $2.99.

Once the sale has concluded, the item will go to the highest bidder, and I will contact (them) to make arrangements for payment and shipping. All shipping costs will be the buyers responsibility.

If you have any questions about this sale please contact me prior to making your bid and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Once bids are made they are final.

Here is the contact form if you would like to place a bid. This sale will officially end at 11PM Eastern Standard Time on Thursday, October 31, 2013.  Again, upon completion of the sale I will contact the highest bidder.

Other sale terms.

* In the event that there is a tie in the bidding of this item, (example, two people place the same highest bid) the first highest bidder will win the sale. Lucky number one!

* Seller has the right to cancel this sale at any time without prior notice – but will probably never have to do that because civilized people come to my blog Smile

* All items sold as is. Nothing in this world is perfect – is it?

* All sales final. Goodbye and farewell items. You’re out of my attic!

* Spam messages will be discarded – as usual.

Thanks for stopping by the Mercantile, and good luck and happy bidding!

Farm Country Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

I was just thinking about food staging and the pictures I take for my blog.  And as much as I’d like to spend hours staging my food with cute little props and scads of backgrounds I seldom do.   Heck, some days I’m lucky if I remember to place a fork next to the food I make if one is required – like this cake for example.  I really hope this doesn’t deter my readers from drooling over the things that I make from time to time, but truthfully, not being able to spend hours perfecting my photo’s with the perfect backgrounds makes me feel slightly inadequate as a blogger.  Maybe it’s because blogging can be (regardless of what other bloggers will admit) somewhat competitive.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that everyone wants their blog to be liked.  Right?

Have you ever made a cake that is so moist that you can actually hear it when you are cutting it?  Well, this is happens to be one of those cakes.  I found this recipe digging through my mom’s recipe box.  I’m not sure that I ever remember her making this cake, and there was no mention on the recipe card of where it originated from, but this much I can tell you – it’s moist and delicious. One thing that I found odd about this recipe is that it didn’t suggest what kind of frosting the cake should be topped off with.   I opted to keep it simple and made a confectionary sugar glazed icing that I drizzled on top, but I’m also thinking a nut or coconut frosting, or even just a dollop of fresh whipped cream would be a tasty on this too.

Farm Country Oatmeal Cinnamon Cake

1 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1 1/2 c. boiling water

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. margarine or butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. raisins (optional)

1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Generously grease 10”x14” cake pan.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place oats in a separate bowl and pour boiling water over top.  Let set 20 minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl, cream together sugar, margarine, and eggs.  Add salt, baking soda, cinnamon and flour; mix thoroughly.  Add in prepared oatmeal and vanilla’; beat until all ingredients are combined.  Fold in raisins and/or nuts.  Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Cool and top with your favorite icing.

I shared this cake with friends and family and their feedback has been great.  A definite must make again!

All you food bloggers out there, how much time do you spend working on food staging for your photographs?

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