Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The last days of summer...

Hi everyone! It looks like so many are gearing up for cooler weather, and although I LOVE Fall, I don't like not being able to use the outside space we have. This summer has been so hot we have not eaten outside as much...

...I love setting the table outside on the porch.

My grandparents ate meals outside pretty much all summer so it reminds me of them when we get to enjoy that simple pleasure. 

Since I haven't really set any "fancy" tables outside this summer, I thought I would share some of my favorites from the last few years. Links to all these and more are HERE, or you can click on the link before each post.

Aunt Jody's Hydrangeas

This table was a mix of vintage depression glass and new Mikasa "Brava Yellow."

I love this 1956 Brookpark "Pink Hyacinth" melmac.

The girls and I enjoyed tea at this table...

Then again with friends...

These lilac dishes came with flour sacks to my grandfather's store.

Franciscan "Ivy" always reminds me of Ricky and Lucy...

A mix of Mexican Talavera, World Market and Mikasa "Italian Countryside" plates made this a really festive table.

There are certainly a lot of different looks, but also a lot of common elements in all of them. 

Since I have not been setting tables outside, I have been busy inside making table runners, shopping totes, aprons, tea towels, etc., all inspired by my grandfather's country store here in Balsam, Knight's Store, which has been closed for years. I am so excited to be opening "Knight's Store" on etsy in a couple weeks with lots of beautiful vintage-inspired table linens, etc., so please stay tuned!

Thanks so much for stopping by!! I wish I had more time to visit and catch up on the many wonderful things you are all doing, but time seems to get away from me. Please stop by my Far Above Rubies facebook page if you have not been there, as I would love to hear from you:-)


I'll be joining:

Wow Us Wednesdays
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Saturday Night Special

Friday, August 24, 2012

Low-carb wrap

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share one of our favorite lunch choices around here. But first, some background. Luis and I have made low-carb eating a lifestyle. There is no comparison to how we both feel (and weigh) now to six months ago. I have been a Dr. Atkins fan for about 12 years, but I have not stuck with it consistently. The key to any eating plan is staying with it. No one can go on any "diet" then go off, back to the old habits and not expect to gain weight. All I have to do is compare our meal choices now (especially my husband's choices) to our meal choices before and they are so much healthier. I will never forget sitting at a meal in Germany with a couple who told me that they had to stop Atkins because their cholesterol went up. They were then eating Schnitzel (breaded and fried) and a huge portion of fries followed by some kind of sugary dessert. I looked at my plate of huge salad and a steak, and thought to myself, I wonder what your cholesterol is now? There are so many misconceptions about low-carb eating out there, but for me it comes down to this one basic thing -- your body burns what you put in. If you put in sugar, it has to burn that first. If you don't put sugar in, your body burns fat.  I just read that the one of the leading causes of heart disease is diabetes. One of the leading causes of diabetes is obesity. I want to do all I can to not be part of that domino effect. In any case, we eat a lot of fruits and veggies, lean meats, eggs, raw milk, cheeses, nuts, whole grains (oats), etc. Basically, we eat mostly whole foods -- outside aisle at the grocery store. I know I'm seriously digressing...now for the wrap...

Luis loves sandwiches so when I found these low-carb wraps, I knew he would be fine with the substitution. They have a whopping 13 grams of fiber compared to a slice of whole wheat bread which has 2 grams. 

On top of a wrap, I added a spread I made with cream cheese, grated cheddar cheese, chopped onion, and chili powder.

...different kinds of dark green lettuce from the garden.

Then I added smoked turkey, roasted peppers and banana peppers for Luis...

  Then to mine, I added a few more things! We LOVE Wickles sub relish. We get it at Mast General Store, and it is hot, spicy, and delicious! 

Then roll it all up...

We love these and try different things inside depending on what we have in the fridge and what is growing. I toast them and wrap up diced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta cheese and italian dressing for a yummy summer lunch. They are also great for breakfast burritos, etc. 

If I could encourage people to do anything, it would be to choose whole foods, fresh veggies/fruits, and eliminate "fake" foods. This is what works for us. I know everyone is different, and everyone has an opinion, but I'll take this lunch choice over a Big Mac, fries and coke any day:-) Although I do love a Big Mac...every now and then.

***Because several have asked what kinds of things we eat, I wanted to add to this post. These are just some of the daily things we eat...not all in the same meal but some options.


Fried Egg sometimes with bacon or sausage but usually just an egg as that fills me up. I do use a little  bacon grease in a non-stick pan because that is better than the chemicals in non-stick sprays.

Dannon makes a yogurt called "Light and Fit" for diabetics with only 3 grams of carbs that I love.

I also love Atkins breakfast bars. The blueberry square is my fav.


Low-carb wrap 
We usually use the ones above in the wheat version.
I recently discovered a Flax/Oat/Whole Wheat pita bread by Joseph's Bakery that we love and are great filled with anything you would put in a sandwich.
Julians Bakery offers all natural no-carb breads that I have not tried yet but hear they are great.

I grow my greens in the summer and love dark ones. I add whatever I have on hand: cucumbers, tomato, onion, grated cheddar cheese, bacon, banana peppers, boiled eggs, etc.
I make Italian dressing with Olive Oil and Vinegar, but I also like Kraft Ranch.


Baked fish or chicken/salad/green veggie
I always have frozen Cod, Catfish or Tilapia on hand thanks to my mom. I drizzle olive oil, smooth a little butter on top, and whatever spices I want (garlic, cajun seasoning, etc.) then bake it frozen in a 400 oven for 25 minutes.

Green beans
Fried Cabbage
Asparagus, etc.

Stir Fry frozen veggies with chicken and a little soy sauce

Hamburger steak seasoned with steak seasoning/worchestershire/A-1

veggies dipped in Ranch:-)
Whole fruits (strawberries, clementines, grapes, grapefruit, etc. )

Basically, whole foods are what we strive for at this point and no low-fat versions since they are full of added unnatural ingredients.

This is basically what we don't eat:
bread (We get whole grains from whole oatmeal which I also add to meatloaf, etc. )
white potatoes
sweets (cakes/cookies, etc.)
Sugary drinks

It is really hard to put into one post what low-carb eating is especially as there are different phases where more carbs are allowed, but we are at the point where we really just try to stick to whole foods. I do have a lot of other recipes I will be adding to the recipe section here.

We feel so much better when we eat this way. Luis dropped 60 pounds and I dropped 30. Both of us had excellent numbers as far as good and bad cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure, etc., at our checkups this fall.

For more accurate info, though, I suggest visiting the Atkins website  HERE.  Also, Gail at Faithfulness Farm has tons of yummy recipes and tips on her site, so give her a visit.

We are true believers in this style of eating and approach it with common sense and health in mind. Everyone has to find what works for their body. Everything doesn't work for everyone for sure, but this is our tried and true method.

Thanks for stopping by!! 


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On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable

Monday, August 20, 2012

Isabelle's Blue

Hi everyone! Thank you all so very much for the sweet comments about my blue kitchen HERE!! I am really enjoying the "feel" of it so much. Of course, having family things around me makes it so much more special and unique to me. 

Today  I wanted to share some vintage inspiration in the living area, which also includes more blue. 

This statue was given to my grandmother in its previous state of solid white, which I cannot imagine. She painted it these beautiful mid-century colors. I love the blue and the coral-pink color. It is supposed to be a lamp as there is a hole in her head for a lightbulb. 

You can just see the bottom of it on her piano where it sat most of her life. That is me in the pretty blue dress. Now you have to see from this photo why I'm bringing back Isabelle's pink and blue. Love the blue carpet she brought back from one of her houses in Florida. 

The statue is happy sitting on my piano now.

I also added some "paint by number" ballerinas that Isabelle painted over a window from the old house, to which I added some old sheet music. It is hanging over the piano after all.  

If you have been here before, you will notice a few other changes I made for summer. I rolled up the red Persian rug because I wanted something lighter. I showed you the pillows I made a couple weeks ago, then I added a few more. 

We were at Kmart getting volleyball kneepads, and noticed these outdoor pillows were marked down from $9.99 to $1.75! I knew I could at least use them as inserts, but I liked the print so much I added them in here. 

I think they really help tie in the blue paint on the other side of the room. 

I am not really sure what I'm going to do in here for fall. I'm enjoying the pink and raspberry colors as accents, so maybe white and gold for fall? I am, however, super excited about Christmas as I plan to use all the older Shiny Brite ornaments I have in those pretty pastels. I'll also be adding icicles, tinsel and lots of silver for a cool mid-century look. But for now... it's still summer here:-)

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you have not joined my Far Above Rubies facebook page, please come by there as it's so easy to chat, etc. A link is on the sidebar


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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Front Porch Ideas new Fall eBook...

Dave and Mary from Front Porch Ideas and More have just published their first eBook with lots of wonderful Fall decorating ideas from bloggers we all know!! My Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe is included and it really is delicious if I do say so myself.

You can click on the link below to buy it for $6.97. Dave are Mary are the sweetest people, so take a look and get to know them:-)

To BUY it  Click Here!

Here is a little preview from their page...

Dozens of Fresh Ideas for Your
Autumn Porch Decorating

More Ideas Than You Will Know What To Do With...

Autumn eBook coverWant a bunch of delightful autumn decorating ideas from 40 creative and generous bloggers? 

Dave and I pulled together their fun and zanyautumn porch decorating ideas into onenifty little eBook, Autumn on the Porch. It's actually 251 quick-read pages. 

You will find their inspiration and tried-and-true tips under one handy cover. 

Won't you buy now?
Just $6.97

After all, who doesn't want a pretty autumn porch? Just imagine how uber-cool and festive your porch could look this autumn with a few fresh decorating ideas. 

Want Your Porch To Be the Pride Of Your Neighborhood?

You porch will be admired if it's decorated in autumn's glorious colors. And then - watch heads turn when neighbors walk by your home. When you create that cozy welcoming look, you will warm the hearts of your family and neighbors. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The blue kitchen

Really -- you're not at the wrong blog! I'm sure I'm not the only one who never imagined I would have a blue kitchen. 

But first...a little background info so you know how I got here. 

Remember this?? I loved it, I just wanted to try something different. 

So I did. 

You might be asking why at this point. I really wanted to add the family things I find around here to my kitchen and give it a more truly vintage feel. If you remember, my great grandfather bought this house in Balsam for his summer property. My dad grew up here, and since my grandfather saved everything from the house when it was torn down, we have slowly been adding trim, doors, windows, etc., to our house on the same property. Oh how I LOVE this house and wish it had been preserved. 

Here is my grandfather in the old kitchen before the house was torn down. I love my grandmother's cafe curtains, and you will see the scale on top of the cabinet later. That countertop is still here in the little guest house. No, I didn't use that:-) I would love to have marble countertops but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen in this lifetime. I'm thankful for what I have. 

Back in May I painted the red walls blue. That was a big step for me because I really liked the red. I was really surprised when I found the same color paint was on the backs of the old trim. I knew I was on the right track. 

After painting the walls, I didn't like the natural wood tone of the cabinets so I decided, after MUCH thought, to paint most of the cabinets the distressed grey color from the old house, while others got a stained walnut treatment to match the old trim, and a couple were painted black. Here you can see the old trim next to the cabinet I stained. I'm happy with the match! 

 It has taken me all summer to do this little project.

I'll just stop talking now and let you take a look. It is definitely different from most of the kitchens out there. 

Wood trim from the old house gives this sink somewhat of a farm sink feel, although my grandmother certainly didn't have a farm sink, so I'm staying true to the original kitchen.

Cafe curtains made from my grandfather's feed sacks, and an old Southern Railroad lantern in the window. My grandmother's cows are very happy in the window next to her blue Mason jar. 

A little dish that came with flour sacks to grandfather's store holds locally made soap...

The 1912 scale is the one in the photo of my grandfather above. My mother let me "borrow" it. I fell in love with these Lincoln Beautyware brushed steel canisters from the 1950s and thought they would add a little sparkle. They are usually chrome, so I was lucky to find them in this finish. 

I made the window shade with drop cloth fabric and denim ticking. The hand-hooked wool rug belonged to my grandmother. 

I changed all the drawer pulls to cup pulls. The cabinets were sanded, painted with Colorplace "Grand Smoky Mountain" then sanded and rubbed with Minwax walnut water-based gel stain. 

My kids love this rotary phone even more than they love the old typewriter! They fight to answer it, and they always use it to call. 

I love having the children's artwork on the refrigerator. I change it out as they bring more home from school. 

LOVE my 1950s square chrome cake carrier:-) My mom gave me the canning basket, and the 12-bottle Coca Cola carrier was hanging in the garage. 

I've made several feed sack towels to use around the kitchen, and this print with the four leaf clover, is one of my favorite. 

The screen door is another piece that came from the old house.

Well, this is my new, blue, vintage kitchen. It was quite a departure for me, but I'm so happy to have used so many colors and accessories from the house my dad grew up in. My grandmother, who we always called by her first name, Isabelle, would probably be asking me why I want all this old stuff. I only wish I could tell her that it reminds me of her and granddaddy. 

I miss them so much, but it makes me feel close to them to be here raising my three children where they raised their three.  


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Before and After