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I won! I won! I really won!!

to 10px; WIDTH: 355px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 400px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SbxBPF37bgI/AAAAAAAACxU/b9SN9bXAK6I/s400/cat+on+gerbil.jpg” border=”0″ /> I won! I won! I really won!

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>The last time I won something I was in 3rd grade. At the end of the school year my teacher gave away the class gerbil. Weeks prior to the grand drawing, Mrs. Garretson sent home Parental Consent Forms for the parents to sign, giving their young ones permission to enter the competition. My mother neatly signed her name on my “chance to win” slip saying discretely to my father, “She’ll never win. What’s the harm in letting her enter the drawing?”

Mom ate those words on the last day of school before summer vacation when I carried my gerbil (complete with cage and running ball) out to greet her at the car. Sadly, however, a few days later my cat, Princess Elizabeth, ate the gerbil when a traveling evangelist visited our home. You might wonder about the correlation between a missionary and the cat eating the gerbil, but this is a key element in the story. The evangelist had brought with them not only a stack of Bibles but also their child (whom they couldn’t find a babysitter for). My mother later described “said child” as “The Holy Terror”.

“The Holy Terror” wrecked havoc in the living room while mom and the missionary were having an intense conversation about God. So my mom, my dear old mom, sent “The Holy Terror” to my bedroom to play. All was going fine until “The Holy Terror” decided that my newest pet needed to meet my cat. The rest is, as they say, history. Since the cat ate my gerbil I haven’t won another prize.

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Thus, imagine my surprise when Kristie, the blogger behind Girlville (aka, My Craft Closet), did a “Birds of Change Drawing” and I was the grand prize winner! She notified me just as I was about to move from Amsterdam to Berlin and the package, which arrived a week or two later, was the first package I received at my new home in Germany! Nothing makes me happier than a package in the mail! I’d like to give a special thank you to Kristie at Girlville!

to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SbxBbr-O3TI/AAAAAAAACxk/w88u3JScXzM/s320/DSC04441.JPG” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 258px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SbxBbmhVr_I/AAAAAAAACxs/YKEKTCkMn1Y/s320/DSC04442.JPG” border=”0″ />to 10px; WIDTH: 320px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 240px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/SbxBbdL2OuI/AAAAAAAACxc/OMVc7MQzinc/s320/DSC04384.JPG” border=”0″ />Diva Readers, I encourage you to check out the pondering of “an over 30-something with a husband, 4 cats and a tendency towards unfinished projects…” She loves reading, cooking, knitting, sewing, painting, needlepoint(ing), playing with her 4 kitties (one of whom needs liposuction), baking, watching TV, refinishing furniture and making lists of things that she’s started doing but not yet finished!

Now – I suspect you’re a little jealous that I’ve got a birdie and you don’t…. if I were “The Holy Terror” I might stick out my tongue and say “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo – I have a birdie and you don’t!” – however, I’m simply not that kind of girl. I’m a nice diva and I play well with others (although I do occasionally run with scissors) – thus I’m going to let you in on a little secret! You too can own a birdie!

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Kristie not only blogs and crafts and blogs about crafting, she also has a fabulous Etsy Store called Fait Pour Vous (Made For You) where she sells her hand-made creations. She does limited edition and custom orders. You can shop by theme (St Patrick’s Day or Wine & Things, etc), paintings or merely items on sale. When you stop by to visit her, do make sure you tell her “A Little Birdie Sent You!”

THANK YOU GIRLVILLE!!!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

(Photo at right taken by The Diva while her husband The Wine Guy drove from Amsterdam to Berlin for their most recent move. Catpuccino sat at attention on The Diva’s lap ready to take his turn at the wheel should WG need a break from driving!)

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Note to reader: To the best of my knowledge, no gerbils were harmed in the taking of the top “intro” picture. The tos/31847658@N00/1414078784/” target=”_blank”>photo of the cat watching the gerbil is merely a stunt double found in a Google search and “borrowed” from Flicker. If you’d like to hear more tragic details of my childhood… my brother’s dog later ate Princess Elizabeth, then my parent’s house blew away in a tornado (along with my mom) and all our family photos were lost (my mom was found). Thus no photo of Princess Elizabeth, my gerbil or my childhood remains. But for photos of a stranger’s cat, tos/31847658@N00/sets/72157603920996756/” target=”_blank”>visit Rigsby’s flicker site.

Guest Blog: The Contessa’s Bibles

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>Everyone has at least one bible. It doesn’t matter if you
are Jewish, Christian, Hindu or even atheist – everyone has at
least one bible.

Me? I have at least 5. Let me explain. A bible
can be any book that you cannot live without, that you depend
on for a lot of information and without it would be totally lost.

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words and actions of my Lord and God are the most important thing in my life and I could not live without.

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But the 2nd bible on my list – and my first secular bible – is my address book. It’s not just for names and addresses but also for phone numbers at home and work, e-mail addresses, fax numbers and cell phone numbers. Mine also includes birthdays, anniversaries, names of children and school name (if they are away at school) and any food allergies. This comes in very handy when having someone over for dinner to make sure they can eat your sumptuous meal.

The Contessa’s definition of a Bible “Any-thing you can’t live without!”

I have a friend who takes it up a notch further and has her address book on index cards. She even lists what she served the last time these people were over and what she was wearing to make sure, heaven forbid, she doesn’t duplicate menu or couture.

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My third bible is”The Illustrated Dictionary of Antiques and Collectibles” by Judith Miller. Miller is one of the world’s foremost experts on antiques and she covers them from A to Z. The book contains over 3.000 entries, listed alphabetically. You can find everything from Aaron’s rod to Zurich pottery and porcelain. There is also a list of dealers and auction houses around the world and Miller also adds informative profiles of key craftsmen and manufacturers. The book is beautifully illustrated with over 1,500 full color photos. If you’re into antiques, this book belongs with you.

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My fourth bible is also antiques and collectible oriented. It’s updated yearly and is “Kovels Antiques and Collectible Price Guide” by Ralph and Terry Kovel. Sadly, Ralph passed away this past year but I’m pretty sure his wife Terry will continue the tradition. This is a very comprehensive price guide of over 43,000 items and current prices. It also has 2,500 color photos in over 650 categories and shows you 500 tell tale marks and logos. There are even a few stories of record prices at auction for particular items. If you are in the business, this book is a great help. It’s how I found out that an old Coca Cola tray that was laying around my aunt’s house forever was worth over $700. It’s also the price guide I use when pricing antiques that I sell and it’s also a great tool if you want to insure your items but aren’t sure how much they are really worth.

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Last but not least is a book that I use for entertaining all the time. It’s “Martha Stewarts Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook“. This is not your average cookbook. It is the most comprehensive hors d’oeuvres collection I have ever seen. The book contains 300 recipes, all photographed in beautiful color . I consider this book to be the most instructive, inspirational and indispensible guide for entertaining. This is not your chip and dip or pepperoni and cheese book. Some of my favorites include lobster and mushroom quesadilla, welsh rarebit in toasted breadboxes, grilled shitake mushrooms on rosemary skewers and fontina fondue with black truffles.

Now, if this hasn’t sent you packing for food, I don’t know what would. Throughout the book, Martha gives you tips on how to make everything look as wonderful as it tastes. I love the tip on how to make tiny cocktail bread with cutouts.

So these 5 books comprise The Contessa’s 5 bibles – for today anyway – the list is always subject to change or growth.

Now you tell me, how many bibles do you have and what are they?

Until Next Time… Ciao Bella!

The Contessa

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Note To Reader:
Do you like the home-made scrapbook style address book show above right? If so, you too can make your own!! Find directions for this project and others like it at Fresh & Fun!

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