Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marvelous Trees

There is a cemetery in the city that I drive by from time to time and had the urge to stop at to ogle at its old trees!

Feathered tree bark.
Twisted trees.
Whimsical hairy trees.
Strange pinecones (at least I find them odd).
The largest birch I have ever seen!
Of course there are breathtakingly tall trees too.
However creepy, I must share my favorite two sites too.
I find weathered stones to be really beautiful.
Ivy is a vine I have always adored.

I hope you enjoyed my stroll. I will definitely be back in the fall to the beautifully kept Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill, MA. 

Wishing you a great week ahead! ~Val

Saturday, May 21, 2016

An Upcycled Mirror

I was in need of an accessorizing mirror for the bedroom. This perfect size was found at Savers for $2.99. 

I had never been to a Savers before but there is 1 nearby conveniently on the way to Home Depot (a store we frequent these days). I was amazed by some of the fantastic second hand goodies and super low prices!
Since our bedroom is very white and beige I started by painting it white.
I still had no concept in mind but thought about using these materials.
These are grandma's old clip on earrings that I never got around to posting on eBay. This idea turned into a failure with the decorative metal pieces though since I think I was using the wrong adhesive!

Determined to not make a trip to the craft store to buy more stuff, I foraged around the house finding this natural rope used as a border.
Then I added the vintage earrings!

It is not perfect, but I love how it came out and that I was able to show off the old earrings rather than passing them on to a stranger. The bonus was it only cost me $2.99!

You can see our bedroom chandelier in the reflection which we will sadly be replacing with a ceiling fan light fixture soon. Unfortunately comfort is more important than beauty in my world!

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. ~Val

Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Eggplant Dish

We have never tried cooking eggplant this way before, simply cooking it in halves. It got gobbled up quickly! 
First the eggplants are halved and placed flesh side down on cooking sheets. Salt can be sprinkled on the flesh side to reduce the liquid formed although I used no salt since there is plenty in red sauce. Then the skin is brushed with oil which is why they glisten!
Then broil them on high for 20 minutes. They will come out soft and slightly browned.
Then turn the oven to 400F. Add marinara sauce, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Then drizzle with olive oil followed by feta cheese crumbles. 

No measurements needed. If you love cheese, put lots on! If you are watching your calories, use less and maybe add tomato slices. The beauty of parmesan and feta is that a little goes a long way in flavor. Same goes for the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 400F until breadcrumbs are toasted. The feta may melt a little.
Then enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by. Let me know if you try this! ~Val

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Springtime Downtown

Last Saturday I took a stroll downtown in Haverhill, MA on a peaceful sunny morning to check out its flowers.
Flower boxes have been filled!
So much prettier than winter.
Even a trash receptacle is decorated for Spring.
I haven't been in Sweet Affair yet. From peeking in, it appears to be a retro candy and ice cream shop. Sounds yummy! 

These trees with dangling pink flowers decorate the sidewalks.

A lonely flower I spotted behind a bench.
Here is one of our favorite lunch joints, The Tap. They make an amazing roasted cauliflower and hummus wrap. 

I love how a dandelion worked its way into the flower box.
It's wonderful to see outside seating again at eateries!
The trees were blooming.
A tree by a shoe bench along the boardwalk. The seated part of the under the sea themed shoe faces the river.
I hope you enjoyed my Spring in the city stroll as much as I did.

Have a fabulous week ahead! ~Val

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Necklace and A Hair Update!

A Fun Necklace for Myself
There are so many goodies in my stash that are not the easiest to work with! 
So I decided to make myself something with some of these odds and ends.
I do miss the days of doing jewelry parties since unique funky things sell well in person. Online, not so much which I completely understand. Most prefer to try on conversation pieces before buying.
Anyway I love of the lava stone with the huge crazy horse stone coins and Botswana agate chips!
How does it look on? Here it is:
It's neat how the beads twist and turn sitting however they would like. I need treat myself more often since it is fun to make a unique piece to wear.

Hair Update
I had my second short cut since rebelling against hair coloring.
This cut is shorter on top so I an wear it down or I can go wild with it! Next week I should be able to have even more fun with it since it was cut a little short initially so I wouldn't feel the need to get a hair cut again in 3 weeks.
It is getting lighter with less processed hair left! The hair is blending in well. I was worried about walking around 2 toned but it does not feel that way.

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Home Ornament

There are some random hooks around our house. Instead of removing them, I'm going to work with them. 

One of these hooks is in our stairwell that wraps around so there is a landing and window in the middle of it.
So I sat down at my work table with no plan but knowing I wanted to make something with color for the otherwise drab area. 
At first I thought I would be doing something with gemstones but I changed my mind when I came across these shells in my stash.
The concept slowly came together using the fun patterned copper and brass wires I carry in my findings shops!
With some coils, I was done! 

Here is the view walking up the stairs.
Here is the view walking down the stairs. I had to use my flash for this one with the window light!
It may have a wind chime effect in the summer when we open this window. We will see! I feel like the space needs something more substantial but I will give this a little time to decide.

I painted our front porch black! It was light gray but the black works better.
The black and white combo is quite tricky since any little spot you accidentally get on the opposite color shows up like crazy. So I know why it was not painted black before!  Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Fire of 1882

As a follow up to last week's post of the gorgeous old buildings downtown, many read 1882 on them. A fire devasted the main street along the river here in February 1882. 

2,000 people lost their jobs. Here were factories for shoes, leather goods, woolens and hats. In total 10 acres were destroyed and 300 businesses affected.  Luckily no one was killed since it was overnight and the area managed to rebuild very quickly

An old photo after the devastation.
 Here is the rebuilt fire station.
What does it look like now? It is a beauty!
Like so many other buildings, it has gorgeous details.
It now houses businesses.

When reading up on this event I was touched by a poem by Haverhill poet William T. Dwyer written in 1885 summing up the dreadful occurance. 

Washington street was bound in flames of fire that o'er it rolled. It was a cold and windy night, and the hour of twelve was near, When the shrill sound of the fire alarm, our citizens did hear. Though some lay quiet in slumber, they soon arose and found, That the business portion of the town, was burning to the ground. The firemen soon rushed to the spot and struggled hard to save Our city from destruction, and the grasp of Satan’s wave.  But the fire fiend then was raging, and its course they could not stay, Till neath its hand, fine structures in a heap of ruins lay.  It really meant destruction, as it leaped up to the sky, And those buildings fell beneath it, like the grass before the scythe. It was a sad and thrilling scene to witness, I am sure,  And it sent a feeling to the hearts of both the rich and poor. For the poor man from employment, was thrown upon the world, And the rich man with his thousands, into poverty it hurled. But still there's men undaunted, who will build again with speed,  While charity lends a helping hand to those who are in need. And the day is not far distant when, our city you will see,  A thriving business center, as once it used to be. And now to end my ditty, kind friends to you I say, Bear this blow with a smile of hope, for soon it will decay. And prosperity again will shine, on that you may rely; Here is to old Haverhill, may its name never die.  

Thank you for stopping by! Have a fabulous day! ~Val

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Downtown Haverhill

While taking a stroll in downtown Haverhill, MA it is a treat to look up at the beautiful buildings.
Potter Block

Whittier Building

Whittier Building
The brick work is wonderful!
Webster Building
Prescott Building
I love seeing old business names still showing on buildings.
As well as building names etched into the facade.
Some have windows boarded up at the top but I have confidence they will all be back to their prior glory someday.
Most of these buildings now house restaurants, pubs and shops.
The old First National Bank above is now an ale house with amazing food and ales! We have only been once but will definitely go back.

I never thought I would be so into this downtown. We were simply looking for a great family home that would be easy to resell if and when the time comes. Two things are for sure, we made the right choice in location and house!

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a fabulous week ahead. ~Val