Thursday, March 22, 2018


We are looking to find a new home for our beautiful antique upright piano. It is free to a good home but you would need to arrange moving it. After five wonderful years with it, we can no longer get it to stay in tune adequately for me to play on it. Plus it has one stuck key. Our piano tuner no longer feels it's prudent to tune it since it loses its tune so quickly. So be aware its value lies more in its beauty than functionality. The thought of letting it go truly saddens me and I've struggled with the decision to do so but I need a functional piano. The upright piano is featured in the photo below and was made around the turn of the 20th century and it is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. It has a decorative interior that you can't even see here. I got the piano from my sister when she moved from Minneapolis to the west coast. If you would be interest in giving it a good home, please contact me at I can also email you more detailed photos of it if you are interested. The piano stool is NOT included.

On another note, I wanted to mention that the garden bookazine I assisted with editing this past fall will soon be on newsstands! I enjoyed working on it and it really helped me survive this brutal winter by giving me plenty of inspiration for spring! Soon it will be time to till the soil for planting. Can't wait to get my zucchini and lettuce seeds in the ground.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I've been staying busy since my last post with my editing and writing work as well as preparing for a spring garage sale. The highlight of last month was getting to see the classic ballet, "Giselle", at Stephens Auditorium in Ames. The Russian dancers did an amazing job and I so loved seeing the ballerinas' beautiful costumes. I didn't expect to let so much time elapse between this and my last post but here it is February already! In my last post, I shared a photo of a vintage skunk pincushion I recently found and I promised to post about another recent vintage pincushion find. It's this sweet sofa pincushion. At only $8, I couldn't resist buying it!

This pincushion is quite large as it doubles as storage for sewing supplies. I'm not very good when it comes to dating fabric, so I can't be sure of when it was made. If any of you have a clue, please feel free to email me at Perhaps some of you have a similar pincushion passed down from a family member? I'd love to hear from you. The little sofa looks so cozy, it makes you wish it was large enough to snuggle up on and read a book!

Speaking of feeling cozy, I love drinking a warm cup of chai tea to chase away the winter blues. This is my favorite time to year to make my chai tea. I simmer it on the stovetop for two hours, then add cashew milk and a small amount of honey. This is the batch I made this morning.

As I drank my cup of chai, I was wishing I had more of the delicious scones that my husband and I enjoyed at a tea shop last week. This herbs de provence scone was among the best I've tasted.

We saved a matcha one to share when we got home and it was equally delicious. And what a treat that it was adorned with equally tasty icing.

This winter I've been reading a lot of books on the healing properties of herbs and I recently had an experience that enlightened me to their healing powers. I've always enjoyed using them in cooking but rarely used them for other purposes—except for drinking elderberry syrup from November to April to ward off the flu, which I haven't gotten for 12 years now. In January, we inherited a fairly new car with seat warmers. Well, to make a long story short, I suffered first-degree burns from my seat warmer. I sought help from the usual place you would go to for a skin issue, my dermatologist. The cream they prescribed did not work and they told me the burn would likely cause as scar. I didn't much like that so I decided to go to my herbalist/naturopath. When western medicine fails to solve a medical issue, I have no problem seeking alternative solutions and wow, did my herbalist come through for me. She made this healing herbal comfrey salve for me. In just under two weeks, the burns were completely healed—with no scars! This experience left me disappointed in my doctor. I don't know why she didn't recommend an herbal solution that could have solved my problem in little more than a week?! I am starting to see why more and more people are advocating an integrative approach to treating patients, using the best of what BOTH western and herbal medicine have to offer. Have any of you had similar experiences when a simple herb solved a problem that your doctor couldn't? 

And one last question—this one is for those of you who have made your own yogurt. Have you ever made it in an Instant Pot? I've been wanting to learn how to make my own yogurt since the kind I get is quite expensive. Since I'm lactose intolerant, I have to eat coconut milk yogurt instead of the traditional dairy kind. Well, the hubby surprised me with an Instant Pot for Valentine's Day and I hope to learn how to make yogurt in it so I don't have to keep buying it. For Valentine's dinner, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants, Django's. I wore my favorite pair of cat shoes on our outing. Just looking down at them makes me smile and I hope it leaves you with a smile, too, as I close this post. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


What better way to warm the soul on this cold winter day than with a cup of Korean walnut almond yam tea poured from the most adorable vintage owl teapot! I found him yesterday at a local antiques shop for only $5. He's only 5 inches tall so he makes the perfect teapot for one. I had to find a smaller cup to use with him. Luckily, I found one on my shelf of Yixing clay teapots.

Here are my other finds from the antiques shop. Yes, I have rather odd taste! That's a vintage skunk pincushion and a vintage patchwork quilt. I collect vintage pincushions and will share another one I recently found in a future post. I was drawn to the green color in the quilt, which was in very good condition.

My kitty companions, Figgy and Winnie, are keeping me in good company today. I had to get up early for an early-morning phone interview for a magazine article I'm writing, and these two guys got up right with me and watched over me from their perches in the parlor. 

Wishing you a warm Wednesday from all of us at Ashton House!