Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

 Thank you all for your encouragement from my post yesterday. We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

To my American friends, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much to be Thankful For

There is so much that I would like to say during this Thanksgiving season, but finding words to express it is quite difficult. I know I will fall far short of expressing what I am feeling. Sadly, I've never been much of a writer, but even less so now. It is a tremendous effort to focus and organize my thoughts these days.Thinking of what to say, how to say it and how to word it in a grammatically correct way becomes a contemptuous chore. Which has been part of the reason for my infrequent posts; it has been easiest to say nothing at all.

For the last eight months my husband has been unemployed. The first time he was laid off, (after fifteen years with a wonderful company and a job he loved), was devastating, but to face the trauma of multiple company layoffs over the last six years has been a nightmare that is incomprehensible to us. After this latest layoff we feared that the career he had worked so hard to establish was completely ruined because his work history looked so unstable. Most companies, if they are even hiring, would just pitch a resume like that.While it took eight very long months and many resumes sent, a new job was started on Monday last week. For this new opportunity we are so very thankful.

Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving for God's provision for us during this time of extended unemployment. Our two adult children, who both still live at home, have full-time jobs and graciously contributed. Our nineteen year old son delayed college and donated practically his entire paycheck, with no complaints. With their help, my odd jobs and unemployment benefits we have been able to stay caught up on our bills. There was no money for extras and there have been many struggles along the way, but, by God's grace, we have survived the storm...again.Were it not for our precious children things would be very different for us right now. We are very blessed.

It is also with heartfelt gratitude that I thank each of you for your patience with me during this time of sporadic blogging. Losing my mom, dealing with multiple job loss and all the emotions and struggles that encompasses, and my mother-in-law's end stage Alzheimer's...well sometimes just coping with life is all you can manage.

I hope things will settle down now and this extended season of trials will end for our family and hopefully after a time of stability and emotional healing my mental fog will lift and my creativity will flourish.

Speaking of creativity, during the past few months, I have given much thought to this blog and the direction I want to take it. After all that I have been through, with the multiple job loss and this extended season of difficult trials,  I sometimes think about posting on topics regarding that, but my blog has been mostly nature and gardening related and it felt weird to do so. There are more home projects that I have done that I would like to share, but again, I feel funny posting them here.

After one such post, someone suggested to me that I might want to start another blog for things not related to my normal topics so that my readers wouldn't be surprised to see something out of character for Robin's Nesting Place. That was a great idea and I attempted to start another blog but I can barely manage one much less two or three.

I think I've come to the conclusion, that for right now, during this season of my life, I will just post whatever it is that I want to blog about, right here, at Robin's Nesting Place. My desire is to keep the blog as a hobby blog but that definitely encompasses many topics, including photography; crafts; home projects; gardening; cooking: bird watching; thrifting and things related to living on a tight budget and anything else related to home and garden. It really isn't that much different from what I've been doing, just more broad which should lead to more frequent posts that will hopefully still appeal to my readers and maybe even grow my blog a bit more. Guilt/pressure/stress free blogging is all I can creatively manage right now.

I hope that is okay and those of you who have become my blogging friends these last four years will continue to read and follow. I appreciate you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Delicious and Festive White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

1 cup butter, softened                                 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar                         1 rounded teaspoon baking soda
½ cup white sugar                                      1 ½-2  cups white chocolate chips
2 eggs                                                        1 ½ cup dried cranberries
2 teaspoons vanilla flavoring                       1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Combine the flour and baking soda, stir to incorporate baking soda into flour. Spoon small amounts at a time into butter and sugar mixture while mixing. Add white chocolate and cranberries to mixture.

Spoon out dough and roll about a golf ball or walnut sized amount, depending on the size cookie  you want,  (dough is easy to handle and not sticky). You can spoon the dough right onto the cookie sheet, but shaping it into a ball makes a very pretty, evenly shaped cookie.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven. For best results, take them out when they are browning but still slightly doughy. Allow cookies to cool for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pantry Recessed Shelving

I frequently scour the free Craigslist adds just to see what kinds of things people are getting rid of. In the past I've been blessed to find a few things that were local and actually in great condition. A few weeks ago I saw an add from a local business that was downsizing their space and they wanted to give away wood that was in their warehouse. It had been used to make displays and show props. My husband and I went just to see what they had left. I had wanted a few pieces of wood to make some photography backdrops and I thought I might be able to get it there. It was a huge warehouse and we filled our van full of wood and beadboard scraps. Some of the beadbord was in long thin strips that I thought would be useless to me, but they really wanted to get rid of it all and kept pulling out small scrap pieces. I was so grateful for the good pieces that I took it all just to help them, thinking that and I would just throw it away.

As I was organizing the wood in the garage I tried to figure out a way to use some of the long strips of beadboard. I have always wanted to try my hand at making recessed shelves and I had a perfect space in my pantry behind the door to do it.

Here is how I made the recessed shelves:

I took the stud finder and marked my studs. Then I made a hole in the drywall just to make sure there were no wires in the way, ( I didn't think there would be since no outlet is on either wall). I removed the pantry door. Cutting drywall can be incredibly messy so I hung a plastic drop cloth from ceiling to floor to keep the dust off the food in the pantry. Using the hole as my starting point, I cut the drywall with a jigsaw. I left about two-three inches of drywall at the ceiling and floor. I cut the long strips of beadborad to fit in the space and attached them with Liquid Nails and small nails, (being careful not to go through the drywall on the other side).

This is not the ideal way to make recessed shelves, but since finances are tight, I was determined to make this a use what I have project.

I had a broken shutter and I cut the outer pieces into four inch strips. Not wanting to measure any more than I absolutely had too, I placed the cans and cartons in the position I wanted them, I placed the wood strip on the container, marked it and nailed it in place. I placed the shelf on them and used the level to make sure they weren't crooked and it worked like a charm! No measuring!

I then filled all of the many gaps with caulking. Once the caulking was dry I painted it with Sherwin Williams paint that I had picked up free at our local recycling center. I trimmed it out with more beadboard strips and the corner squares that I've had for several years that I had picked up somewhere on clearance. Once painted and caulked, the mismatched beadboard and wood doesn't really matter at all. Besides, once the door is back up it will be totally hidden from view.

This gives me so much more space in my pantry and I had great satisfaction and fun doing it with what I had on hand.

I'm linking up with:

Furniture Feature Fridays