Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lionel Trains

My father passed away in 2007 and one of his favorite past times was his Lionel train collection.  This was no run of the mill collection, his love of trains occupied the entire attic of our big old house.  Warning, post contains a lot of pictures.  I hope you enjoy!

Aunts and Uncles told us that my dad had started collecting after his days in the Marine Corp.  At that time, he had his trains in the attic at his parents house in downtown Indianapolis.  Mom and Dad's first house was a tiny ranch, and with 3 young kids, there definitely was no room for them there.  When I was 6 years old, my parents purchased an older home about 4 miles east of downtown Indianapolis, just off of Washington Street.  Finally, my dad could have his trains in his own home.
My childhood home.  The attic is behind that small window at the top left.
In 1983, my mother decided to leave the marriage.  Dad had a bit of a hard time adjusting to single life and went through a period of depressions.  Even his beloved trains couldn't help.  Finally in 1985 he met a lady.  In 1986, he prepared to sell his house and packed up his trains.  I know this from the newspapers he gently wrapped his collection in.
Notice the date on the newspaper that he wrapped the trains in.

Just a few boxes that contain trains.
My stepmother relinquished dad's collection about 4 years ago.  To me.  When they first came, I went through the 11 totes and boxes.  There were empty boxes and I searched out the corresponding trains and put them back.  At the time, I was still a bit grief stricken, so back to the garage they went.  I didn't tell my brother and sister as I had intended to make it a surprise for them for Christmas.

Fast track to today.  I was cleaning out my garage last week and decided it's time to get them out of those totes and let someone enjoy them.  There are literally hundreds of trains.  Diesel and steam engines, box cars, coal hoppers, caboose. etc.  Buildings, some metal and some hand made by my dad.
This pile of track represents hundreds of feet of his display.

A couple of the many buildings that my dad made by hand.  I remember him spending hours at the dining room table constructing display items for his trains.
One of many steam engines.  My girls each took one like this to have for their trains for their Christmas tree.

Another one of my favorites, a pullman car.
The General.  I kept this one for myself.  It's a little fragile, so I will most likely use it for display only.

The transformer.  Dad spent hours with his hands on this, running his trains.
This hat was one of his favorites.  I snagged it up.

My mother's birthday was in August, so I knew my brother Bobby, would come for a visit.  Even more so if I told him I had Dad's trains.  We had a great day of cooking out and reminiscing about the trains.  Bobby knew way more than my sister and I did about the trains.  I took a few to have on display.  My sister set up a little display for herself.  I gave each of my girls enough to have a train under their Christmas tree.  The rest went to my brother who plans on setting up a train display in his attic.  So after a lifetime of collecting, my dad's trains are finally going to be enjoyed again.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Underground Railroad Sampler

Several years ago (I'm too embarrassed to even tell you how many) I attempted to do a block of the month follow along for this Underground Railroad Sampler quilt.  I think I only managed a few posts and I finally got mine finished.
I got my pattern from the Quilt In a Day book titled Underground Railroad Sampler.  The stories behind the blocks are amazing and I really enjoyed making this one.  I was able to complete this quilt using my scraps.  This really got me thinking about how they used to make their quilts out of necessity back in the day and not just for fun.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Crockin' Continental Chicken

In my attempt to plan menus better this year, I decided to reach into my recipe box and try some old favorites.  This slow cooker recipe for Continental Chicken is from my original crock pot book.  I won't say just how old that is, but I'm sure in some circles it's considered "vintage".

Continental Chicken

6-8 chicken breasts (I prefer to use chicken breast tenders)
6-8 slices of bacon
1 package of Buddig beef
1-10 ounce can cream soup
1/4 cup sour cream mixed with 1/4 cup flour
Arrange dried beef on the bottom of greased slow cooker.  Wrap chicken breast with bacon and lay on top of dried beef.  Mix soup and sour cream/flour mixture together and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high 3-4 hours.  I usually serve this over a bed of rice or noodles along with green beans or broccoli.

Friday, April 22, 2016


We have this huge blue pole barn along the side of our back yard.  Not my favorite thing to look at, that's for sure!  This spring I finally got a start on trying to make it less of an eye sore.

One thing we have around here that I do love are dragonflies.  Even though it's early in the season, they are already making their appearance.  In the summer I love watching them hover above the pond and flit around the yard.
I gathered up some "junque" to make my own version of the dragonfly.  Some fan blades, a spindle, white paint, screws and a few eye hooks.
I love how it turned out!  I wound up using some old insulators for the eyes instead of the glass globe in the previous picture.  Not quite sure if you can judge the size by the photo or not, but the wing span is almost 4 feet.
Stay tuned for more junque decor on the pole barn!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Page Stars

For a couple of years now, I have had this idea in my head to make these book page stars.  Even though Christmas is already past, I can be ahead of the game for next year!
Items needed for this project:  3-D paper mache stars in various sizes, old or new book pages, mod podge, scruffy brush, scissors, mica flakes, silver garland, german glitter and fingers.

Using the paint brush, I put the mod podge on in sections and  then used my fingers to smooth down the pages and get the placement I wanted.

Using a thin brush, place mod podge along the edges and raised portion of the star, then sprinkle with german glitter.  Make sure and put something under the surface where you are glittering to catch the excess.
It was hard to get pictures of the stars due to the camera flash.  
This group of stars has the glitter garland around the edges.  I glued the garland in place with a hot glue gun, gluing in short sections.  Warning:  glue gun is HOT!

This group may be my favorite.  Loving the vintage look, coloring of the pages and the garland.

This reproduction box of Christmas snow is used in my Santa display.  Inside is a zipper bag of mica flakes which I used on the next set of stars.

These flakes are light and fly away easily.  I used a deep glass bowl to sprinkle them over the stars.   Again brushing with mod podge and using my fingers to sprinkle the mica.
These were actually finished first.  I put them on the tree for a picture before I put it away.

In total, I made thirteen stars.  They say odd numbers are best.  My plan is to use these to decorate a garland above my kitchen window.  I can't wait to see how it looks!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Supper on a Bread Slice

One of my goals for this year was to be better about planning menus.  This includes trying new recipes.  I dug deep into my recipe box for this one my mom used to make, Supper on a Bread Slice.

Growing up, my mother was a stay at home mom.  My dad didn't make much money, he was a clerk for a medical supply company.  Mom had a very strict grocery budget.  Until I got married, I never realized what a great job she did feeding our family of five on that budget.

Dinner time at our house was at 5:15 every night.  No excuses.  We couldn't have friends hanging out waiting for us, they had to go home.  We also sat at the dinner table, said grace and there was no television or radio allowed to be on in the house.  Some folks would say it sounds kind of strict.  But really those were the good old days with family.
Mom's handwritten recipe.

Supper on a Bread Slice

2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 tablespoon mustard
2 cups grated cheese
one loaf french bread
slice cheese for top garnish

Combine ingredients.  Cut one loaf of french bread in half lengthwise.  Spread meat mixture evenly over top surface of bread.  Then wrap in foild around crust side of each half leaving tops uncovered.  Place on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Garnish with strips of cheese and bake 5 minutes longer.  

This is one half of the loaf.

My portion to begin with.  It is so filling that I only ate the left piece.

I forgot how much this made!  Since it's just my husband and I now, we have been eating on this for several meals.  I just put the last couple of pieces in the freezer for a later day.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


My grandson Geoffrey.  It's hard to believe he is 4 years old already.  I dropped his pre-kindergarten papers off this week and the time is flying by.
I remember someone telling me just wait till you have grandkids, it's the greatest.  Well, it sure is!  This little boy is full of life and love.  He always says "I love you" and gives you kisses.  I hope he still does that when he's 24!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016

Happy New Year!  I can't believe another year is gone already.  I must be getting old because time is flying by.

Resolutions.  I have never been much about making them, but I am thinking it might be time.  Maybe putting it out there will help me be more accountable.  So here it goes!

1.  GET ORGANIZED:  I want to work hard to get my life and home organized.
2.  DE-CLUTTER:  As I am getting older I have thought a lot about the "things" that I have.  What will happen to them when I'm gone?  My kids will probably have a huge garage sale.  So I'm going to work on donating and pitching things.  
3.  SHED SOME POUNDS:  After losing the 70 pounds a couple of years ago, I have gained about 30 back.  I lost about 20 last year, but gained that back again.  I need to stop this yoyo business and get healthy.  After having gall bladder surgery this summer, it's time to get back into the swing of things.
4.  EXERCISE:  I really need to get on the exercise band wagon.  My knees, hip and back are killing me.  I've been going to the chiropractor and haven't had the results I have in the past.  I'm thinking I need to get stronger.
5.  RECYCLE:  There's a new trash service which gives us a huge recycle container, so I'm going to try to be more environmentally friendly.  I've been a sporadic recycler in the past, but this will make it easy for me.  No sorting needed, just toss it in the can.
6.  DON'T WASTE ANY FOOD:  I absolutely hate wasting food.  Nothing pains me more than throwing away spoiled food.  So I'm on a mission to be better about that.
7.  PLAN MENUS:  Now that the nest is empty, I really need to get better about planning menus.  This includes using my crock pot as much as possible.
8.  BLOG MORE:  I have really fallen off on my blogging, posting as well as reading my favorite blogs.  I don't want to set myself up for failure, so my goal is to at least post something once a month.  I can surely do that, right?