New percolator and warning about vintage appliances

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I was raving a few weeks ago about a couple vintage appliances I had gotten at our local antique store (here). A very shiny, new-looking vintage toaster and percolator, probably both from the 50s.

Pleased as punch I was. Reusing, recycling, etc. Not buying cheap stuff made in China that would break in a couple years. So cute-looking, too. And working very well.

Then I read a post in Stephanie's blog about a mesothelioma survivor and her story. Mesothelioma is a usually fatal disease brought on by exposure to asbestos.

And in the article was a mention of sources of asbestos. What do you think they used as insulation in old appliances?


Right away, I started doing some internet research. And while I couldn't definitively tell whether the models I had contained asbestos or not, the probability seemed very high.

So I wrapped them up well and out they went. Don't need that, for sure.

I felt I had a responsibility to share this since I had posted about these retro appliances, and had given them such a glowing recommendation. Warning -- not everything about the good old days was good.

So . . . on to the happy part of the post.

We do have a Keurig, but as you know if you have one, they are expensive to use. I was appalled when I figured out how much we were spending on those coffee pods each month. And the waste. Millions and millions of those pods floating around now.

I know you can get those refillable pods, but we never bothered. Might as well just make a pot of coffee.

Anyway, I loved my vintage percolator so much (for the three weeks I used it), and I love my stovetop percolator (too small for daily use with the big coffee drinkers around here, though), so I was very pleased to get this new (yes, made in China) percolator at Bed Bath and Beyond.

See this mug? My daughter brought it home for me from summer camp when she was 8. Pretty special.

It's nicely made, from stainless steel. Not as heavy a stainless steel as the vintage one, and it definitely doesn't have the same beautiful, curved spout that the old one had. But, I was happy to see they still make some with glass tops (not plastic). There's also a way to lock the lid on, so that you don't have to worry about the lid falling off while pouring.

I think a percolator is nicer looking on the counter than other types of coffee makers. I also think the coffee tastes better than drip.

What do you think? Do you use a Keurig? A drip coffee maker? Percolator? French press?

Whatever you use, beware of old appliances!

This old Toastmaster toaster (circa 1950s) most likely contains asbestos. I think it is much more of a hazard than the percolator because the asbestos is exposed (right behind the heating elements in the slots). Usually asbestos is not a problem if it is encapsulated and not disturbed. But both appliances have been bagged and trashed. The potential exposure risk is just too high.  I now have a new toaster.

Linking with Sandi's tea party.

Treasures from my blogging friends

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One of the most unexpected benefits of blogging has been the friendships I've made here. When I began blogging, I assumed I'd be sitting here by myself writing to  . . . I don't know, some unknown audience who would remain anonymous. If anybody would even be reading.

Now, a little less than two years later, I reflect on all the wonderful, interesting, kind, and encouraging women I've met here. And, as I look about my house, I see tangible reminders of many of them.

Whether I received a gift or a giveaway win, or whether I've bought something from a blogger's etsy store or participated in a teacup or magazine exchange, I've collected some wonderful mementos from my far-flung friends.

Just as I treasure my grandmother's handmade items, family heirlooms, and gifts from friends throughout my house, so I treasure the lovely things I have that remind me of my internet friends, very real to me even though I've only met two in real life (so far).

Here are just a few . . . 

The beautiful Limoges teacup in the foreground came from a Martha's Favorites giveaway. In the back row, center bottom, is a teacup from a teacup exchange from Kitty's Kozy Kitchen. I still can't believe these were just given to me, just because . . . 

Also from Kitty, hand-crocheted. Love this.

And here's another pumpkin; I have three of these beauties from Celestina's (Southern Day Dreams) etsy shop. She has beautiful items in her shop, and is so talented.

These adorable sheep were made by Kathy (Spot on Cedar Pond); I got them from her etsy shop. I love that the wool comes from her own sheep. The bookmark was made by Marcia Pilar; I received several beautiful ones from her as a blog giveaway gift.

Someday I'm going to try this -- lovely ribbon embroidery by Rainey at Flower Lady's Musings etsy shop.

A trip to Colorado Springs to Bernideen's now-closed shop yielded this beautiful pillow and several other delights, including a teacup slipped into my package by Bernideen, unbeknownst to me.

From Stephanie's (The Enchanting Rose) etsy shop, Rose Petal Blessings. It's sitting atop my grandfather's caned (by him) rocker, and makes me smile whenever I see it.

A delightful find from Michele's eBay store (Finch Rest Emporium). She slipped in the little doily just because. Bloggers are so generous like that! In with my baubles are three bracelets won in a giveaway hosted by glamorous Tamera at Tamera Beardsley.

Wonderful handmade bee balm made by M.K. at Red Robin Farm. I also have a wind chime from her, made with shells collected from the North Carolina shore.

Shane from Roses, Lace, and Brocante sent me magazines from New Zealand as part of a magazine swap Lorrie hosted. She tucked in a lovely lace doily which is displayed on my night stand.

A beautiful pedestal dish, also from Michele's shop, filled with bookmarks from Celestina, Marcia, and Stephanie.

Wonderful soap from Cranberry Morning's etsy shop, Homemade Soap N Such. This is my last bar; have to order more.

And while these aren't displayed anywhere (eaten up long ago), this picture reminds me of Mariette's Back to Basics delicious cookies she brought for me when I met her and her husband in June. Also reminds me -- I need to get me some of that pretty ribbon with The Beautiful Matters on it. In pink? 

In addition to all these goodies, just a couple days ago, I received a delightful package as part of Stephanie's teacup exchange; but that will have to wait until the official "reveal" she's scheduled for October.

Aren't bloggers the most talented and generous people?

(My apologies if I've missed anybody . . . I'm sure I'll remember something else in the middle of the night.)

September tea

Monday, September 21, 2015

Royal Albert's September teacup, "Michaelmas Daisy," part of the Flower of the Month series. I've collected six of them so far.
I love to read stories set in England, and over the years have enjoyed the cozy stories of James Herriot, Miss Read, Elizabeth Goudge, and so many more.

I've run across mentions of Michaelmas Day and Michaelmas daisies in my reading, but never really bothered to look up any information about them.

First thing I learned a few years ago is that "Michaelmas" is not pronounced "Michael" (like the name). It is pronounced "Mickle" (rhymes with "pickle").  So, it's "Mickle-muss." Hmmm . . . kind of fun to say.

And I discovered that Michaelmas daisies aren't some strange, unknown flower, native only to the British Isles -- they're asters, very common to see here in the fall. Didn't know that either.

Michaelmas daisies, commonly known here as asters, on sale outside Kroger's. In the past several years, there's been a big push to buy local, which is why you see the little state signs in the plants, letting people know they've been grown here in Michigan.

And who was St. Michael? Some obscure medieval saint? No, I found out. He's the Archangel Michael. Oh, that Michael. We Protestants aren't really up on our saints, I guess.

Michaelmas is celebrated September 29, and honors not just the Archangel Michael, but other angels, such as Gabriel and Raphael, as well. Michael is considered one of the principal angelic warriors, as it was he who fought against Satan and his army of rebellious angels, banishing them from heaven.

Michaelmas is considered the end of the harvest season, and a goose is traditionally served; a "stubble" goose, meaning that the goose has fed on the stubble in the fields after harvest. 

Two of my favorite magazines to peruse (that is Southern Lady underneath).

My husband recently started up his Wall Street Journal subscription again. I love to do their Friday crossword puzzles, although it usually takes me several days to finish one.

Paragon "Tree of Kashmir" design

Kitty, of Kitty's Kozy Kitchen, made this for me last year, as part of a teacup exchange. Isn't it adorable?
Hope you're enjoying this wonderful time of year. In Michigan, it's the best weather ever. Love, love, love September and October. We have so little really great weather here that I'm soaking this up.

Linking with Sandi's tea party.

Try to Remember

Friday, September 18, 2015

A friend brought over these gorgeous hydrangeas the other night. They're huge! And yes, I'm doing some paper crafts -- we haven't been able to eat at the kitchen table for three days! Will show you soon.

Anyone remember this old song?

Try to remember the kind of September
When life was slow and oh so mellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When grass was green and grain was yellow.
Try to remember the kind of September
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember and if you remember, 
then follow, follow.

And it goes on, but I have to turn it off . . .

I don't know, friends. It's kind of a sappy song, but it gets me every time. I can't listen to it without weeping. Not a few tears, but full-blown, head down on the table weeping.

Is there a song that has that effect on you?

Another hair update

Sunday, September 13, 2015

So, if you are tired of hair updates, you can click away now.

Getting rid of the dye seems to be taking forever, so I've cut my hair again, even shorter. I've also had the darker hair dye removed and the ends lightened so that the gray/silver blends in a little better.

The bottom half of the back of my head is now all natural. Yikes, that's short!

And, here are the roots . . . 

It does seem forever, but it's only been three and a half months. I can tell now more what my hair is going to look like. Not as white as I thought. It looks salt and pepper here, but IRL it really is a nice soft gray. I can't wait to wear it with my favorite colors -- periwinkle, pink, and lavender.

A few of you have told me you were going to watch my progress and maybe do this, too.
Don't wait. Go for it, I say.  Don't let the naysayers dissuade you, or the dearth of gray-haired women in magazines or on TV intimidate you.  Let's be brave, and show the world how beautiful gray can be! After all, the Lord Himself calls it a "crown of splendor."

A taste of the South

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We just got back from six days in North Carolina, visiting our two sons and daughter-in-law.

They live about four hours apart, and because of work schedules we saw each of them separately. One lives right near the ocean, and I spent a couple lovely days walking the beach, stuffing my pockets with shells.

The water was wonderful. As much as I love our Great Lakes here in Michigan, I've never been able to swim in them. They're so cold. I could get used to the ocean. Oh. Except for those sharks.

A fisherman I was talking to said he was fighting with a shark over the fish. What?! Why is everybody in the water swimming then? I asked. He just shrugged his shoulders. I hope he was joking. But after that, I stayed away from anyone with bait!

Pimento-cheese sandwich -- we don't see this up north. It was delicious.
And, of course, sweet tea seemed obligatory.
In central North Carolina, we saw these crape myrtle blooming everywhere -- just beautiful!

Now I need to get back in my routine -- get some shopping and laundry done, catch up on phone messages and the like. It's already a short day as I've slept in after a 14-hour drive yesterday.

A little sad today. It does seem like I've left two large pieces of my heart back there in North Carolina.  

I'll be around to visit soon; I've missed you, dear friends.

September memories

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My favorite month of all.

September is Michigan's most beautiful month. Clear blue skies, low humidity, with temps in the low 70s during the day and high 50s at night. No AC needed, or heat just yet; the windows are flung open, and the fresh air welcomed.

(Note: okay, today it's 90 and the AC is on; I'm speaking generally here.)

September is also back to school month. I always want to buy a nice clean composition book and sharpen some No. 2 pencils and write Something Important. It's a month of new beginnings, even more so for me than January. In January, I usually just want to cozy up to the fire with a hot drink and a good book. But September is invigorating, especially after the energy-sapping humidity of August.

It's a month that calls for making plans, cleaning the house, baking, starting some creative projects, setting goals . . . 

Most of all, though, September is a nostalgic month for me. For some reason, this is the month I most remember and think about my maternal grandmother. She and my grandfather lived in New England, and, growing up, I only saw them for a few days each year during the summer. As a young adult, I visited them several times during the autumn, and enjoyed some lovely Indian summer weather with them.

Maybe that's why I feel especially nostalgic for her at this time of year.

But why does she loom so large in my memory when I really spent relatively little time with her?

Sometimes I think I loved my grandmother's house as much as I loved her. As children, my brother and sister and I barely said hello when we arrived on our annual visit before we raced upstairs to explore the attic in their turn-of-the-century farmhouse. I still remember sitting on the wooden floor beneath a slanted ceiling, dust motes drifting in the warm, still air as I eagerly looked through boxes and tins crammed with books and dolls, dishes and fabric.

That attic seemed magical. As we clambered up the narrow stairs, it was as though we were going through our own wardrobe, into a land where time stood still, where the very air was thick with long-forgotten memories. There was comfort and belonging there, too, as well as downstairs, where extended family gathered, and good food was heaped on plates passed around the long table.

The house was filled with the work of my grandparents' hands -- braided rugs, needlepointed pillows, quilted bedspreads, caned chairs -- and lots of dishes and antiques. I'm sure my love of these things came directly from them. A trip through the antique store now is almost like visiting them again.

Sometimes, when I can't sleep at night, maybe especially at this time of year, I walk through their home in my memory, starting at the back door, and coming into the laundry room where I remember arranging nasturtiums at the sink, into the kitchen where hung plates representing all 50 states, into the little pantry that smelled of cloves and cinnamon, and held tins of candy that my grandparents loved, into the workroom with my grandfather's massive roll-top desk and my grandmother's work table and boxes of ribbons and buttons and yarn. I linger, looking at everything. Then I'm on through the rest of the house, up the stairs to the claw-footed bathtub and stacks of line-dried, sweet-smelling towels and the hatpin holder filled with bejeweled pins sitting on an embroidered dresser cloth next to the twin beds with cathedral window quilts on them.

I inherited many of the things they made -- a nursing rocker, caned by my grandfather, where I rocked and nursed my own babies, an embroidered alphabet sampler, a dollhouse they made filled with handmade items, even including a tiny spider plant made of paper and hanging in a macramed holder. Handmade Christmas ornaments, potholders, quilted placemats, oil paintings, a set of red transferware dishes . . . in every room there is some mark of their creativity and industry and love of beauty.

Maybe I think of them especially now because I seem to cook more this time of year. I still use many of their recipes, including one for Joe Froggers, which are giant molasses cookies, and ones for homemade mac and cheese, zucchini pickles, bran muffins, apricot chicken, and Anadama bread, a hearty yeast bread made with corn meal.

September -- redolent with memories, new beginnings, gorgeous weather . . . apple crisps and pumpkin spice doughnuts. New clothes, bright chrysanthemums, gorgeous maple trees aflame with color, hot cider, cricket songs in the cool evenings . . .

And even more good stuff to look forward to. October's a close second.
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