18 October 2012

A Spicey Story

One of the delectations in my life is designing cooking and cabinet spaces in a kitchen.  I could literally spend all day looking at kitchen plans.  I've been fortunate to have been able to design three kitchens for Lovey and myself.  This last one I worked on four to five years.

See this rectangular panel to the left of the drawers?  I've often seen these as fabulous pull-out cabinets holding herbs and spices.  I love the idea of utilizing every bit of space, but I didn't particularly want my spices so close to the heat the range-top was going to emit.  I decided to house my spices in a drawer that is in the island, directly behind me when I'm standing at the stove.  I can simply turn around, open the drawer and grab what I need.

When we moved in I dumped my existing spice containers in the drawer and it worked fine except it was always messy, the round containers took up lots of space and I never really knew what I had in the drawer. Now that herbs and spices are available in bulk at several markets I frequent I only need to buy small amounts each time.  I can keep my spices fresh by buying smaller quantities. 

I needed to start by finding containers that were consistent, small and space saving.  I selected these tins I found at Specialty Bottle.  They are 2.5" high and about 1.8" across.  Resolving to keep the tiniest amounts possible of each herb and spice, these small containers would be perfect.

I made my labels, transferred everything to their new little homes and officially declared this project done.

I am still toying around with what to do with these spaces on both sides of the range-top.  The empty space back in there is just waiting to be used for something specific  One day an idea will pop into my mind.  I'll grab my graph paper, draw it up and visit the same cabinet man who built all the cabinets in this kitchen.  We'll go through our song and dance of "that won't work", and "you can't do that", but he'll figure it out because he knows what he's doing, we've been through this before with my drawings for this kitchen, and because of that, he gets me.  But there's no rush.  The space isn't going anywhere.  Any ideas?

10 October 2012

One Year and Growing!!

This happy baby is my great nephew.  He's also known as my niece's baby and my brother's first grandchild.  He has his momma's blue eyes.
He just celebrated his first birthday .

 "Okay, it's sweet...oh yeah, sugar....Mmmmm".

The birthday outfit comes off for the smash cake.  Modern day mothers are so very practical.  Happy Birthday Luke!

05 October 2012

A Halloween Treat Bag

These witch's broom treat bags have been on my 'oh-how-cute-I-want-to-make-these' list ever since I saw them in the October 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living (page 76).  For those of you who do not keep every issue of MSL, you can find them on her web site

On Tuesday of this week I arrived at work and found this little bucket filled with candy on my chair.

It was accompanied by this note letting me know that I had been 'BOO-ed'.

Those of you who work in an office environment are probably very familiar with this little game.  It appears around Halloween or Christmas (when it might be called 'Secret Santa').  Someone in the holiday spirit starts it.

The way it works is that once someone has 'BOO-ed' you by leaving you a Halloween treat and a copy of the note, you do the same to 2 others on your floor, department, or whatever.  You do this secretly and within one day.  You also display the picture of the ghost somewhere in your cubicle or office to let others know you've already participated, or have been BOO-ed.

Required to leave treats for only two people was not a gigantic task.  This would be a good opportunity to try out the witch's brooms since I didn't have to make a large number of them.

Here's what you will need.....
scissors, small branches around 7" long (1 for each broom), black twine or ribbon, lunch-size paper bags (2 for each broom) and whatever candy / goodies you want to fill your bags with

You'll be using 2 lunch bags for each broom.  Unfold one bag and push out its base while folding in the left and right sides.  Using the scissors, cut the bag into thin strips, stopping just short of the base.

 Cut thin strips into the top inch of the second bag.

Lay out the first bag

Open up the second bag and set inside the shredded one; fill with candy and/or other treats.

Gather up the shredded bag around the inside bag and cinch the tops of both bags.  Insert a small branch and secure with the black twine or ribbon.

My Thoughts
These are really big and they hold a lot of candy.  Each one of these held a whole bag of candy corn!  You can let your imagination run wild and put other fun, non-edible goodies in them too.
You can also use the smaller, miniature brown paper bags to make these if you prefer a smaller version (which I think is what I would do).

02 September 2012

A Walk Around Campus

I spent a weekend this summer on the campus of my Alma Mater. I got up early on that Saturday morning and took a long walk while it was still cool and quiet.

The Oklahoma State campus is such a beautiful one.  It's large yet has a sense of community.  Let me take you on a little tour from my walk.

The Edmon Low Library

As on most University campuses, the Library is a predominant piece of architecture.   With its beautiful Georgian architecture the library is just that at OSU.  When I was at OSU in the 70's, the large fountain out front would become the object of some student's prank.  Several times a year the fountain would be overflowing with bubbles after the prankster added laundry detergent.
Whitehurst Hall
Seems like this was a dormitory when I was here in the 70’s but I may be wrong about that.  It’s now the President’s office and Administration Building

College of Human Environmental Sciences

(formerly known as The College of Home Economics) – Here is where my sister and I spent most of our time.  She majoring in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising (now called Design, Housing & Merchandising) and I majoring in Family Relations and Child Development (now called Human Development & Family Science).  You can see they are completely re-doing the street in front of the building.

I learned there is now an official Oklahoma State Tartan Plaid that is registered with the Scottish Tartans World Register.  Last year, students who completed a textiles class were eligible for the competition to design an original plaid.  Student Stephanie Michalko won the competition.  I’ll be buying myself a Pendleton stadium blanket and scarf as soon as they are available!

Life Sciences West

I dissected my first fetal pig in this building.  It was difficult to get a photo of this building because they had it so fenced off.  They are doing some sort of tree preservation work.  This tree looked very old.  It would be interesting to find out just what the story is here; what sort of preservation they are doing.  Oh look, this sign has a number to call with any questions.  I tried it.  Just a person in a department that had no idea what I was talking about.  "You want information about what???"

Engineering South Building
I wasn’t smart enough to have any classes in this building. I've always liked the derrick on the roof.

Noble Research Center
This is all new since I was here.  Think Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  Geo scientists, Botanists and the like emerge from here.  This facility is H-U-G-E.  This is the front of the building.

This is the back.

Cordell Hall
Used to be a dormitory (“Give ’em Hell Cordell!").  It is now a multi-purpose hall with offices, classrooms and labs.   I like the architecture of Cordell Hall and Bennett Hall (that is still a dormatory today).  The wings are like the wings on the Massachusetts Hall at Harvard.

 Eskimo Joe's
Awww...Here's Stillwater's jumpin' little juke joint.

It opened up in this tiny two story stone building when I was a Sophomore .  Downstairs were tables with bowls of nuts on them, the bar and I'm sure darts.  Upstairs offered pool and Foosball.  That's what we played all night long.  My sorority sister and roommate Jamie (yes, we were two Jamie's) was a killer Foosball player.  Whenever we played in a competition, she is the reason we advanced.  And we got to do it to a rockin' stereo system.

Over a decade later I was driving out to my in-law's ranch listening to an NPR story about the country's fastest growning mail order business.  They were talking about a little business in Stillwater, OK called "Eskimo Joe's".  I'm sure if I had any sort of liquid in my mouth at the time it was spewed all over the wind shield and dashboard.

Now look at them.  They are big time and there's a whole building that's attached to the right; full of merchandise that portrays Eskimo Joe and Buffy on everything.

OK, let's get back to the academic and cultural portion of our tour.

Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts
Art history, painting, drawing, jewelry/metals, all of the visual arts majors live here.  I had an unpleasant drawing class in this building.  It was my one and only class I took at night.  And unfortunately, it was on the night of the week that the girls generally went to happy hour.  Oh, wait a minute, that was every night. 
The teacher was a real prat; always cutting down everyone’s work; hey, we were taking beginning drawing what did he expect?  He was so unpleasant that I'd show up on the designated nights we were given an assignment and then I’d ditch out at break.
I would join my pals here, across the street.  I'm sure you're thinking I must be a true scholar to leave an art class and hang out at a book store.  That wasn't quite the case.  You see, this photo is of the present day building.  It used to be......
The Grey Fox, which was a hang out when we weren't around the corner at Eskimo Joe's.  Now mind you, I wasn't a complete washout on my art class.  I would return to class on the night the assignment was due, turn it in and receive the next assignment.  I simply couldn’t bear to work on my project in class and be constantly criticized in such a mean way.  Anyway, I got B’s and C’s on my work but he flunked me because I was never in class.  I had to take it over.  I requested a different teacher and a day time class to alleviate the temptations to slip off to the Grey Fox.

 Morril Hall
English Department – My Freshman English professor was a strange one.  He was a good professor despite that he came to class loaded every day.  Several times during the semester he would walk into the classroom, write on the blackboard “there will be no class today” and then walk out.  We thought it was great.

Seretean Center
Center for Performing Arts.   Lots of really great performances here.

 Stillwater Fire Station #2
In my elementary school years when I visited my grandma, who lived in Stillwater, I was always treated to a trip to this Fire Station to see the firetruck and the Dalmatian that lived here.

Old Central
This is the first permanent building on campus, built in 1894 when the school was Oklahoma A&M.  It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since the early 70’s.  Fully renovated, it is now the home of the OSU Honors College (which I was never invited to join, but my niece was!).  The old bell clapper used to serve as a traveling trophy for the Bedlam football series between OSU and OU.

A pretty clock

ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center

This is such a wonderful facility.  This photo of the back of the building doesn’t do it justice.  One of the banquets for my sorority reunion was held here.

I just want to add here that when I was doing my spell-check for this post, "ConocoPhillps" came up as "giggaflops".  Now, what kind of word is that???????

The Atherton Hotel

A very nice hotel located in the south end of the Student Union.  This is where I was staying.  The hotel is the training ground for students majoring in Hotel and Restaurant Administration; similar to how we in Family Relations and Child Development would do our student teaching in public schools.

The corner of University and Washington; north end of the Strip.

Theta Pond
Beautiful scenic landmark on campus.  Originally dug as a water source back in 1895.  After the school built a power plant and no longer needed it as a water source it was developed into the lovely area it now is.  It’s was named after the Kappa Alpha Theta house that, at one time, sat across the street.  When I was a freshman the upper classmen loved to tell us that Theta pond was “rubber” lined.  What a sense of humor those oldsters had.  I didn’t get it for a long time.

Old gnarly knees of the Bald Cypress Tress that surround the pond.

And my walk takes me back to the Student Union.  This is the other building on campus that holds as much stature as the Library. OSU's Student Union is the largest Student Union in the world.

I always like to include a garden in my walk.  This is the Centennial Garden in front of the Student Union.  As I stand here, the Student Union in behind me and the Library is to my right.

Thanks for walking with me.

School has now begun and just like that another college football season is upon us.


27 August 2012

Talk About Going Postal

Nearly home on Friday evening after a long week of work I pondered how I was going to begin my weekend.  It would probably start like most by kicking my shoes off, replacing the work clothes with an over sized T-shirt, relax a bit with a cocktail and getting dinner started.

This is what I saw when I pulled up to the driveway.

Oh, this is just lovely.  Look, even the dog across the street is thinking, "holy crap!". 

I jumped out of the car and started to look around, resisting the urge to scream "Did anyone see who did this?!?!?!?!?".


Our neighbor across the street walked over to Lovey and myself and handed us a business card for the Window/Glass company whose truck had run into the mailbox.  I felt much better knowing that whoever did this was being accountable.

It would be interesting to see what the vehicle that plowed into it looks like.  The pvc pipe was part of the flagpole holder that was built into the side of the mail box.

Isn't this interesting "filler" that the original stone mason used when the mailbox was first built?

Lovey found chicken bones too.