A Christmas Find

Christmas find
Cover Art by D.T. Workman
Christmas find
The Nativity by Regina Swedenborg

One of my hobbies is perusing antique stores and flea markets.  Last month while visiting one of my favorites, I came across this beautiful linen and paperback book from 1950,, a great Christmas find.

The title is Christmas: An American Annual of Christmas Literature and Art, Volume Twenty.  I loved it and bought it for $5.  I thought I would share a couple of the beautiful illustrations with you this lovely Christmas morning.

Enjoy this special time of year.  Call your family members or friends who live alone.  Have a very Merry Christmas!

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Decluttering pantry – the spice of life

decluttering pantry
Pantry, Photo by slc

This weekend I went to my pantry to fetch cooking spray.  I was baking scones.  For some reason this time when I opened the pantry door, I picked up the Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin and it had sat neatly on the pantry shelf for over 25 years!

decluttering pantry
Expired Fruit Pectin and Gelatin, Photo by slc

I never considered my pantry and other cupboards needed decluttering until that day and time.  I have not made jelly or jam for many years but I the fruit pectin expiration dates were May 8, 1993 and March 5, 1994!

According to some people on the internet, the pectin may actually still work if I ever make jam again, but what about spices?  Some of the spices I have in the spice draw I acquired in the 80’s judging from their prices.  How long do they last?  According to Home Storage Solutions 101:

“Typically, with some exceptions (such as mold or mildew on items, or something similar), spices don’t go bad. However, they do lose their strength and flavor with time.

decluttering pantry
65 Cent Mustard Seed, Photo by slc

That’s why many (but not all) spice bottles have expiration dates, or ‘best by’ dates on them, so you can know whether the spice you want to add to your food will actually taste good, or not.”

They also suggested, “Take a small pinch of the spice and crush it between your fingers and smell it. If it has no scent, or only a very faint scent, it needs to be tossed. It will not have much taste, so it is pretty worthless at this point.”

So, if you are baking this holiday season, check out your pantry.  How old are the expiration dates on the items in your cupboard?  Can you beat 1993 fruit pectin or 65 cent mustard seed?  If so, I’d love to hear your decluttering pantry story and whether you are throwing anything out?

Downsizing – Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

This summer my daughter and her husband were clearing out their basement and having a gigantic garage sale. I went over to help.

During the sale an older gentleman approached us and asked if we had any silver pieces or coins to sell. We told him no but then I remembered my daughter had inherited two or three sets of silver flatware that she did not have out at the sale. She said I could retrieve them from the basement for his examination.

He looked at each set with a jeweler’s magnifier you hold up to your eye. He said only one of the sets was silver. The other two were silver plated and not as old as the other. The oldest one had belonged to my daughter’s great-grandmother. He was not interested in purchasing them and my daughter wasn’t sure she wanted to part with them just yet either.

Later, during a break in the action, we got to talking about old record albums. I was telling them I had gone through my old record collection and tried selling some of them on Craigslist with no luck. That’s when my son-in-law went in the house and then came back with a huge box of record albums.

70-Year-Old Vinyl Albums, Photo by slc

Years ago, my daughter and her husband were present when her dad’s mom was downsizing before going into assisted living. They returned home with many treasures but they weren’t sure what to do with over 100 record albums. We started to go through them there in the garage. It was fun as we found albums from artists like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Billy Vaughn, the Statler Brothers, Herb Albert, Hank Williams, and Lawrence Welk. While selecting albums one by one from the box I came across a couple of albums that didn’t have the customary cardboard-like jacket. In fact, they didn’t have a jacket at all. There was handwriting on them. We wondered what could be recorded on them.

Since I have a record player at my home, my son-in-law piled the box of albums into the trunk of my car for me to take home and listen to. I did just that.

Read moreDownsizing – Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

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