Thursday, August 30, 2012

Layered Table Runners

I created this tablescape in an attempt to bring some additional color to my blue and white d├ęcor scheme on the screened porch.
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The floral runner was a scrap of fabric leftover from a sewing project so I just hemmed the edges. Then  I decided it would look nice with a pink border but I didn’t want a permanent pink border so I stitched up another runner in pink that was slightly larger than the floral runner. My thought was if I could layer dishes, I could also layer runners.
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Next I added pink napkins.
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There is enough blue in the floral print runner to coordinate with the blue and white chair cushions.
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I am not a big butter eater, but I love the individual covered butter servers. I envision these filled with pickles, salsa, or sauce to accompany the meal.
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Pink spray roses were picked up at the grocery store. I added a little sprig of asparagus fern for greenery.
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The big lantern stays on the table all of the time and I brought the mercury glass votives from the inside table.
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Now we’re ready for food and friends!
I’ll be linking to Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Removing Rust Stains from a Concrete Walkway

These annoying rust stains on the entry sidewalk at our summer cottage having been on my to-do list for a while.

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The stains were caused by a steel sleeve that is embedded in the concrete beneath the iron posts. Because the cap on the bottom of the post is not completely flat due to the slope, rain water runs underneath and the steel sleeve rusts. That problem has been solved by running a bead of clear caulk around the bottom of the cap. Now to clean the rust stain. I had read a post on another blog about how the rust removal product CLR did not work. I decided that I needed to give it a try any way.

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A close up shot shows how dark the stains were.

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I purchased my bottle of CLR and poured a little on each stain and allowed it to work. Some how, it goes straight to the stain and starts to sizzle on the rust. After it stopped sizzling, I rinsed it with the hose then reapplied until the stains were gone.

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Since I am impatient, after a few minutes, I did gently scrub just a little with a wire brush. When I did that, I could see the rust coming off. The whole project took less than 30 minutes. I should have done it a long time ago!

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I was very pleased with the results.

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Now I can check that off my list!

I’ll be linking to Tips, Tidbits and Tutorials at Stone Gable.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Travel Tips

Having just returned from an extended trip to China, I made a few notes to myself for future reference.
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1. Check your departure gate until you have boarded the plane. We arrived at the Atlanta airport from our local airport with 4 hours to spare. As soon as we landed, my husband and I both received text messages to our phones from our airline giving us the departure gate and time for the next flight. After having a meal, we made our way to the gate.  Knowing that it would be 3 weeks before I had American food again, I decided to get a personal pizza to take with me on the plane. When I came back to the gate 30 minutes before our departure, another flight was boarding at our gate. Still not realizing that an error had been made, my husband decided to go to the restroom before boarding. As he passed one of the departure boards, he glanced up to see if our flight had been delayed. Much to our surprise, the flight was on time, but was departing from another gate on another concourse!!! We quickly grabbed our belongings and ran to the train then ran to the gate to get to the proper place. Never did we receive another text with the correct departure gate. Our plane was boarding and we were able to avoid a major disruption in our travel. Lesson learned: never trust the text message from your airline without double checking.
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2. Always keep a change of clothing in your carry on bag. Our flight was broken into 3 segments, the third being the longest at 12 hours. Shortly after takeoff, the attendants came through the cabin with a beverage service. As the flight attendant was stopped at my seat, she was pouring a cup of red wine for another passenger. I noticed as she was pouring that she was completely missing the cup. It never occurred to me to check to see where the wine was going. After a slight delay and a comment or two from her about her clumsiness, we both looked down at the same time to discover that she had just poured red wine all over my lap!!!She immediately apologized and said that she could get it out. I told her that I had a shirt on under my sweater and could take it off. Then I got a pair of yoga pants from my carry on bag and went to the restroom to change my pants. She took my clothes and washed them in hot water until everything was clean. Luckily, I had the extra clothes because the stains would probably have been set by the time we reached our destination 12 hours later. She also gave me a bonus of 2500 frequent flyer miles for my inconvenience. Lesson learned: keep a change of clothing accessible at all times.
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3. Put your sleeping clothes and toothbrush in last so that you don’t have to search for them after a long journey with a late arrival. I put mine in the outside pocket of my suitcase so that I could get to them very quickly when we finally got to a hotel. I knew that I would be ready to crash upon arrival so I am thankful that I had the foresight to keep those items in a handy spot.
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4. When packing multiple bags, keep a list of what is packed in each bag. Because this was a teaching trip, we had a lot of stuff. The three members of my family had 7 pieces of checked luggage, 3 pieces of carry on luggage, and 3 personal items. My original plan for packing was to pack teaching materials for each class is its own bag, family items in another, etc. However, due to weight limits on luggage, I ended up having to mix things up a bit. Carnival prizes had to go in with a bag of notebooks. Sports equipment had to go in a bag with snacks. Since our living quarters at the school were somewhat cramped, I had to leave things in the bags until I was ready to take them to class. So, I ended up having to open every bag and make a list of what was in each one so that I didn’t have to go through all the bags every day. Lesson learned: keep a list (this also helps if the luggage becomes lost somewhere in transit!).
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5. Whenever you are flying and you are offered a bottle of water, take it. Take the water whether you are thirsty or not. If you need to take a quick medication you don’t want to wait for another beverage service and heaven forbid you press that call button for a flight attendant! Enough said.
We had a wonderful trip that got off to a bumpy start. However, our airline made up for it on the way back with a complimentary upgrade to business class with seats that fully recline! All of our complaints were instantly resolved and we could not have asked for better service on the flight home. Go Delta!
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I’ll be linking to Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits at Stone Gable.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Olympic Duet

Having returned from a three week teaching trip to China last week, I spent the week recovering from jet lag and watching the Olympics, non-stop. I never cease to be amazed at the athletes, their abilities, their dedication, their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of their family members. My only irritation has been when American athletes stand in their medal ceremonies looking as if they have never heard the national anthem. I know that many are overcome with emotion but they could at least move their lips. Call me sappy, but I can hardly watch a medal ceremony without tearing up. I often think, these kids have no idea how blessed they are to live in the land of the free! They have no idea how many men and women have given their lives so that we all can enjoy the freedoms that we do. My husband and daughter and I attended the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. We only had tickets to the Bird’s Nest Stadium for one night. It happened to be a night when three American athletes were receiving all three medals for a single track and field event. It was a great time to be there. My husband had gone to get water for us because it was blazing hot so he was not in his seat next to us but had to watch the ceremony from elsewhere. I had already instructed my daughter that we would be singing the national anthem! And sing we did!
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We were surrounded by Asians and we sang as best as we could as we were filled with pride and thankfulness for our country! A Chinese lady behind us insisted on taking the photo. One thing the Chinese people do get is patriotism. They put us to shame in that area. Many businesses, including restaurants, have the employees march out to the flag pole to raise the flag before opening every day! While that may be overkill, perhaps we could learn something from them. One thing that my children have learned from international travel is that they are blessed to live in the land of the free and the brave and that it came at a great price.
Go USA!!!
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Street Market in China

I just returned from a 3 week trip to China where I taught English to Chinese students at a summer English camp. I have been to China several times before but this trip was unlike the others. Usually we stay in luxury hotels which are VERY affordable there. This time we stayed in a dormitory for international students at the school which was located in a very typical Chinese neighborhood in Beijing. I was delighted to find a street market outside our window every morning at 6 AM. I am NOT a morning person but I awoke at 4 every morning which was OK because it is daylight there by 4 and by 6 the market was humming. I have seen these types of markets before while riding by in a taxi and I have always wanted the opportunity to stop. I had my chance on this trip. I so enjoyed observing the culture from a different perspective this time.
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The market had more food than any thing but there was also furniture, clothing, shoes, and household items. I thought that the furniture pictured above was very interesting and wondered the price but didn’t dare to ask since there was no way it would fit into my suitcase.
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I absolutely loved this lady’s shopping cart which I believe is a vintage baby stroller! If I could have gotten it in my bag I would have tried to buy it from her. I appreciate unique items with a history and I’m sure this has one!
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This lady was selling a little bit of everything somewhat like a yard sale.
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There was more fresh produce. If you look carefully you can see the American, aka yours truly, standing in the street taking it all in.
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All of our meals were eaten in the school cafeteria and we enjoyed fresh watermelon every day.
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There was also a tailor with a treadle sewing machine……
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You could even get a haircut
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men and women……..
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One of the American college students in our group got a haircut here. He said it was very professional and very reasonably priced at 2RMB which is about 35 cents US! Quite the bargain! I most enjoyed watching the children at play while their parents worked. These boys loved getting the picture taken.
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While I didn’t find a treasure to buy, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!
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I’ll be linking to Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality.