Monday, December 6, 2010

a new job and such...

This has been a totally crazy time!
So much has been going on in such a short period of time, and yet again, I slack off on trying to blog about things so I don't lose track and yet I lose track getting to the blogging!

I find I am totally scattered about a great many things and am trying to get way more organized.
It is a slow process, but I am trying.  I try to make notes, or to do lists about the simplest of things and it really really helps!
Sadly, I tend to space the note writing part!  I find myself saying, I knew I forgot to do something, now I forgot everything because I never wrote that list and the day is gone!

OK, so I began this blog over a week ago!

Now I am going to post it so I can get it out of here and move on to other things to discuss, like maybe blogging this evening!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

lost weekend and such...

I recently made a new friend...he is from the greater Atlanta, GA area and we are very much alike.  This was perfect because he wanted to explore NWNJ and I love to show people the lovely area of NWNJ!

His camera is way better than mine, so I was totally envious, and I did not shoot everywhere we went as I literally live a few miles from some of them and see them almost daily.

Our Saturday adventure had to begin late as Juju had a soccer game that was moved to 1:30pm, so we did not begin until 3:30pm. Oh, her team is STILL undefeated, thank you very much! 5-0!!!!

Our adventure began with us stopping off at the Mt. Villa Elementary school in Allamuchy.Why was this place so special, well aside from it being a lovely old mansion, it was also the residence of one of FDR's mistresses!
It has some lovely architectural features and a stunning view of the lake behind it.

From there we went to an abandoned farm complete with a 15 foot iron gate with a tree growing into the front of it.
Sadly, the gate was hit with graffiti since I stopped there a few weeks ago.  Also, we hiked it up the road from the gate and found 4-5 buildings of the farm.  All of them were covered in graffiti.  I mean covered!
Whoever did it, spent days, if not weeks, writing on every part of these buildings.

Yuck Fu...even the trash was graffiti laden.

I like the part on the wall where it says, "More
obscenities upstairs" 

That red paint was not there a few weeks ago!
We then drove through the Delaware Water Gap, went up and through Stroudsburg, PA and then back through the Gap at that lovely time of early evening, when the sun is golden and hits the Gap just right.

We took a long ride to Exit 12 off 80E and took 519 North through Newton and the pretty country up there before returning to Hackettstown too meet up with his roommate for dinner.

Sunday 10-10-10 was a whole day of exploring!
We met up around 10:30am and proceeded to the Allamuchy General Store for breakfast/Brunch.  Their coffee was so good, and one of the few times I have had coffee at all in the past month or two.
I had the two scrambled eggs with taylor ham and seeing anyone try taylor ham for the first time is always nice! Though he tried to say it tasted like spam (pshaw....)...

After food we started out.

First we went to drove up to an ostrich farm not far from here, just to see what a few hundred ostrich look like in NJ!

After that we headed to the Newton area again, passing two red tail hawks flying together.  I love me some birds of prey!

We arrived at St. Paul's Abbey, which is lovely in its early state of abandonment.  It is not trashed yet and still looks great from the outside...good enough to be murdered in!

It had a very creepy feeling form the outside and upon seeing a broken window, I opened it to get a shot of the hallway (which reminded me of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or The Shining) and the thought, maybe I need to go in.

At one point, I was on the second floor and thought, "What if there is a person or an animal in here and I scare it?!" No joke, just then I pass by a door that says "Showers" and it is closed, the wood under my foot made a sound and the shower door creaked open a few inches....I FREAKED OUT!!
Thankfully as I made it to the other end of the hall, R had come up the other stairs and we met up...needless to say, after that, I was not far from him the rest of our exploration!
Which is good since at one point we came across a creepy dead bird on a desk in a dark room and the bird was illuminated by the sun coming in through the window above it.

Then we were in a totally blacked out attic and phone flashlights were only enough to kind of light our way.  At one point I found a picture on the floor and blindly snapped it with the flash on just to see what it looked like.

There was a beautiful fountain that appears to show a martyr scene (but I thought no one knew how St. Paul died) and the barn behind the empty abbey was nice for some shots as well.

By the time we returned to the car, I was covered in burrs.
We hit the road and sung down into Byram to see a historic plaque that I had passed a few times and never got to read.  All I know was it said something about kidnapping and murder.  Well of course we had to stop there! Turns out to not be as interesting as the title made it out to be.

We then went a bit further south into Waterloo Village.  It is a historic Village on the Morris Canal that used to be the place of all kids in N NJ to go on field trips, until someone embezzled a bunch of money from it and it has been shut down.

Not a cloud in the bright beautiful, blue sky!

I laid down on the ground and put the camera less than
one inch above the water...I LOVE how this turned out!

I rang this bell, it is loud and works!
Just loved the detail on the railing.

Weather vain on the Blacksmith shop.

Church still used inside Waterloo Village.
Detail on church shutter.

They do host events there from time to time, and there is a chuch on site that remains active on Sunday's, but other than that, you are free to walk the grounds and explore!

After that, we drove down Rte. 46 West to see the Dinosaur Rock, then stopped off at an old Church in Vienna/Independence.
I was almost out of battery at that point, so I did not take any pics, but there were some older gravestones (mid 1800's) and some trees that had grown over the iron fence which was pretty neat to see.

It was fun, scary, exciting and glad to have someone to do it with me! Hopefully we can have a few more adventures before he heads back south.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

baking, apple picking, more baking and such

We had a lovely weekend apple picking!
The family-Noni, Juju and Bamfa
 picking those apples
We have many many many pounds of gala apples and have been making apple sauce and freezing it and today I finally got around to baking an apple bread.  The recipe I have is one I got from the farm where we picked the apples and WOW!!! It is so good.  Juju has a bake sale at her school this weekend and I know what I am making them.
Usually I make them an all organic banana bread, and I have heard that it is sold before the bake sale begins every year (it makes me blush frankly).
I wonder what they will think of this not being organic (the apples are not) and me bringing a new bread into the mix, then again they have a few a year, so I can make other things at the next ones.

we had 3 full bags!!
Apple sauce...we currently have 2 quarts and
8 or more pints and still have 1 full bag left

Apple Bread with
cinnamon sugar top
Flowers sold at the apple farm

Banana Bread at 10:20pm
Banana bread by 3pm
the next day!!

Last night I had to make a banana bread as I have about 5 super ripe bananas and I can not let them go to waste!

This afternoon I also got back in baking mode easily with a super quick and easy and yummy organic terriaki organic tofu bites.  I had a bit for lunch and some chestnuts (my new addiction is bags of precooked chestnuts, ones bag is 193 calories and I will eat a whole one easily!)

I am starting the Sookie Stackhouse books soon and I am getting excited. I truly enjoy True Blood, but once I heard that the books go into things more and plus a reason to relive the first three seasons, come on, total no brainer.

I have also begun my working with embroidering on leather experiment. I am making a sample piece for someone I know who makes knives.  I noticed he always displays his finished work on pieces of leather, but I noticed a few look like leather jackets, so I figured why not make his logo on leather.  It is not a hard one, lots of straight lines on the font and some curved lines. dipping back into my old Girl Scout camp counselor, I remembered, no dummy, you don't go right into the leather with the needle like fabric, but you punch holes using a pattern or design, THEN embroider!

Tonight at some point I begin the hole punching and removing the first letter of stitching.
So glad I chose to practice on something first before going to town on the leather I have been getting ready for the pirate map piece.

Well I am off...I have a phone meeting with the nutritionist I did my sugar detox with a year or so ago and I loved it and lately I have been cutting out all the bad stuff again...slowly, but dairy is pretty much gone again, coffee is gone, meat cut way down...I am back on track again and losing weight and getting healthy means everything to me right knee is awful and I want to be back in great shape so I can heal my knee and my soul. I feel great when I can run and I want that back and running has helped me lose weight so easily.  I miss running and the other night made the mistake of pushing it and walk/ran 1.5 miles and stepped funny on it and the pain was back like I just hurt it back in August.
Good thing I see an Ortho tomorrow FINALLY!! I don't think I will have ever been so happy to see a doctor ever!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

winner winner chicken dinner and such...

Well I got a nice surprise in the mail this morning! A lovely pair of size 9.5 mens Simple Gumshoes!
I won the's Gumshoe Giveaway!! They are made of Organic Cotton and Hemp with a 40% recycled tire and 60% natural rubber sole!  A sole with soul!!

Read Simple Shoe's description about how LITTLE glue/adhesive they use!


  • Men's GUMshoe – Hemp & Organic Cotton Blend casual shoe with hemp and certified organic cotton blend uppers
  • Vegan shoe! No animal products or even animal byproducts
  • Midsoles and arch cookie made of carpet padding for at-home comfort at all times
  • No glue was used in the assembly of this shoe! Thanks to a lot of stitching, it's made with less than a thimble full of water-based adhesives – most shoes use 2 shot glasses worth of glue
  • The small amount of glue that we do use is water based, not petroleum based. Just another way to reduce our dependence on petroleum, and it also means no nasty smelling glue for the people who put your shoes together
  • Partially recycled shoe – the bottom of this shoe is made from a recycled car tire blended with natural rubber
  • The foot form inserts are made of post consumer recycled paper
  • Shoebox made of post-consumer recycled paper, soy based printing ink, natural latex and starch based glue
  • Comes with a biodegradable hanger sent me a lovely pair of shoes in the color Bison which is a nice rich brown....I have to say, I put them on immediately and am in love!
They are super-super comfy and have a lovely arch support.

I can wear them with or without socks and being "cursed" with a womans size 11 foot, I tend to wear men's shoes and these are not super wide, but also not super tight as many slip ons tend to be, making me NOT enjoy them or even consider buying them.

And the box is currently going to some good use as well since Dora has promptly decided to recycle it into her new nap space

So thank you very much to the great folks at for having this great giveaway and my comment number being picked!
Goes to show, sometimes those giveaways with all those ways to enter sure can pay off!!

Not only did I get a free pair of shoes, but they are from a company whose products I love and a product I have considered purchasing, but always put off for fear I wouldn't like it once I got it home...Was I wrong!
I love these!

If you would like to pick up your own pair of Simple Men's Gumshoe Organic cotton and hemp blend slip on shoes (I love them and I am a woman, so whatever to that!) just click the link and order away!

As I have said, I love simple and have owned a few pairs of their shoes over the years and I love them...they hold up to wear and tear and they truly take our planet into consideration with everything they do.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

leather distressing and such

I selected a piece of leather to work with, for sample really.  It is about 14 inches by 12 and I was hoping to distress it by using it as a coaster at the Bar.  Well leave it to that night for the bartenders to be so neat and not spill a drop!

Thanks George and Jackie!

I planned on trying out whiskey and beer spills and rings from pints and so on...nothing

We tried to burn a piece of it, but we only had matches, so that did not go very far!

My project will go on, seeking inspiration from old pirate maps in books and so on, but the distressing the leather is going to take longer...I must make the leather look right first, but in the way that is natural to how it would have been distressed, then apply the threads because if i try it other way around it would destroy the threads

Over the weekend we had things to celebrate and things to remember...

Sept 12th was my parents 53rd wedding was also my friend George's 36th birthday.  For his birthday I baked a Bourbon Banana Bread and Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies...I was inspired by his serving bacon whiskey shots

Tomorrow I have to make a poppyseed chicken salad for mom's bridge girls.  Mom's been loving my cooking lately and I love that she is willing to clean if I cook.  This has given me many more chances to begin perfecting recipes I love and also try new ones, as they will eat just about anything

I enjoy cooking, but doing the dishes after using a ton of pots and pans, plus all the dishes for serving and eat, well, it is a pain.  I try to clean as I cook, but there are many that do not get done before dinner hits the table, so at least I get through those.

Tomorrow I get to start on the massive winter corn put up.  I am going to buy about 24 ears of corn and blanch then shack them.  I will also look to bag them 3 or 4 at a time, so we will be eating to most wonderful and delicious corn at the sweetest of the season in the middle of winter!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

just realized something and such...

I was just looking at someones art/embroidery piece and loved the look of reminded me of one of those old maps from a pirate movie, weathered and floppy and tanned and browns, stained and salt crusted...their piece was not a map, nor anything close to it, just fabric that appeared to be tea dyed with some lovely embroidery on it

anyway, I have had some pieces of suede and soft leather laying about since I ditched my husband about 4-5 years ago...he had started to work in the medium and had left some pieces in my storage drawers (pretty much the only thing I have left from that marriage I give a crap about really, my crafting materials! haha!!)

I want to make some maps....I am not sure what they will be maps of just yet, but as a child we had a few very very old maps hanging on the wall of my father's study/den and they were real and really old....they had uncharted territories marked with beasts and creatures and woods...I used to imagine an explorer used it to find treasures, or pirates to hide their booty!

At the same time, my parents loved National Geographic, something they passed along to me and I still love are a huge part of my movie watching, esp if it is on Nat Geo, Smithsonian, or History Channels!

It is the first time in a while I have felt so inspired...lately I feel as though I have been stagnant...I have had all these great things happening to influence me, but yet.....nothing, just nothing....

no amount of music or lack of, reading or not, friends or bitter loneliness.....just blank, nothingness

sometimes it makes me sad to not feel inspired, and of course I do not try and force it, I mean nothing is worse than seeing forced can be rather painful to see, even if it is the most lovely happy painting in the world, it feels wrong

Anyway, back to the task at hand...inspiration, move me brightly...

So I have pulled out some pieces of leather and suede and plan on trimming up a piece to practice on.  I will trim the edges to be age appropriate and then plan on carrying it around in a pocket and fold and unfold it for a while....then maybe try scuffing it up a bit in some dirt and beer and whiskey....then see how it looks...
at that point I plan on attempting to embroider the "map" as it were...

Who knows where it may lead...buried treasure, hidden ships, mermaids???

labor day and such

labor day was nice and, dad, juju and I went mini golfing!
we kept score, but we all won, so who cares!
we took the packard for a spin to minigolf to give the ole gal a ride in the sunshine

we played at Farmview Golf Center which has a lovely mini golf course and juju and I even went back for a second round for half price

we all headed over to White Castle for some sliders and freezees.  mom has recently become rather addicted to the pepsi slushie or whatever it is there, so we hit the drive through in the packard!

it was a lovely day and one of those that makes me smile thinking back on it