Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me..Happy Birthday to Me..Happy Birthday Dear Janet..Happy Birthday to Me!!!


Today I am proud to say I have finally realized my ultimate dream. I am now officially old enough (55) to get my free cup of coffee at McDonalds! I will now be entertaining those AARP solicitations I have previously thrown out with disdain. Let the senior fun begin!!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

And the Pile Grows Higher!

Hello friends! Just a quick post to share with you some photos of my recent fabric finds. Ok...I need more fabric like I need a third pinky finger. Hey....if I had a third pinky finger I could wear that other ring that is too small for my ring finger! Wow...I'm good, did you see how I rationalized and justified my new purchases??? It all makes perfect sense now.

While I was in California, I noticed quite a few animal prints. Handbags and luggage, it was very popular. I never really looked for animal prints when I shopped for fabric before now. For some reason I am very attracted to these patterns..especially the zebra. I really love the bold black and white and the cool jagged stripe. Very timeless. Oooooo..I feel a little tingle in my chest..could that be my fabric taste maturing??

When I returned from Ca. I stopped by my wonderful local quilt shop www.kellyannsquilting.com/ and intended only to say hello to Kelly Ann. Well if any of you know Kelly Ann, you are probably thinking what a naive fool I must be. Kelly Ann is the Optimus Prime of the fabric sales world. I never get out of her shop without making a purchase. I walk in to be socially correct and leave financially defeated. She gets me every time!!!! Just between you and me..I do think she is a pretty cool lady with a great shop. I never hold a grudge ;-) Aren't these wintry pink holiday fabrics beautiful?


While at Kelly Ann's I spotted this fabulous Halloween panel and matching fabric. I love Halloween, but very often all I find is patterns of black and orange ..which is great except I lean more towards more muted tones. I think that is why I was drawn to this fabric, I love the rust, beige and chocolate brown with the cool stenciled pumpkins. I think this would be perfect as the center piece in a holiday apron. Can you think of another use?

Finally, I neglected to include this photo in my California post last week. You know you are a fabric junkie when you are in California and shopping in places like Rodeo Drive, Huntington Beach and the Rose Bowl Fleamarket and all you bring home is 4 yards of fabric and a handsewn linen apron! My poor hubby just shakes his head in disbelief...it's a wonder his head hasn't just dropped off, it is in such a constant state of shaking. He is like one of those bobble dolls on your dashboard. God...I love that man!!!! That's it for now...until next post, be kind and stay creative.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Isn't Mother Nature Wonderful?

As many of you know, I have been a little busy lately. I just came back from California (see my Ca. post) and I have been consumed with getting 150 very large wedding cake cookies baked, iced and decorated and packaged for my nephew's Sep. 4th wedding. I have made so many batches of Royal Icing, my teeth hurt just thinking about it. I decided to take a break from all that. For the last couple of days I have gone outside with my trusty digital and tried to capture the beauty of Mother Nature. I am proud to present my version of 'Why Mother Nature Rocks"...Enjoy!

To start with, let me share my perky Cosmos. I love this flower for it's beautiful colors and for the fact that it starts to blooms toward the end of the summer when everything is starting to fade. Here in Virginia they are naturalized all along the road sides..so pretty, pinks, white, reds, yellow and orange. They are also virtually pest and maintenance free...love that!

Upon returning home from California, I found that our Pink Pineapple plant was blooming. This is such a wonderful and tropical looking plant. Although the pink flower is fabulous, it is not done yet...it will also sprout tiny purple flowers inside the big pink one. I wonder if the pink is really the flower at all, but just a continuation of the plant...I feel a Google fit coming on ;-) If you look close you can see the beginnings of the purple flowers. I like to refer to this as my PP plant...pretty and prickly...ouch!

Yesterday evening I spotted a hummingbird searching for his dinner. Do you see him? In the middle of the photo and above the petunias. I get quite a few hummers and if you have never seen hummers do battle in midair...you are in for a treat. Star Wars has nothing on these little guys!

While strolling with my camera I heard some frantic chirping going on. I knew I had a Robins nest in one of my Leland Cypress trees off the back deck. I have been watching mom making her many trips back and forth with a beak full of bugs and worms. This chirping was more frantic than usual and as I looked around the back yard...there it was...........

An adorable little baby Robin must have fallen out of it's nest. It could not fly more than a foot or so. He kept hopping over towards the road and I had to keep shooing him back. Anyone watching me would have thought I was crazy. The look on his face was so funny...he kept looking over his wing to see if I was still following him. I later watched as mom found him and fed him while he sat in the grass. I worried about him all night, we have foxes here! To my delight, I found him sitting happily in the grass under his nesting tree, with mom nearby. Robins are such good parents.

The photo above shows my potted Geranium and to our surprise, we have grape tomatoes growing. We did not plant any grape tomatoes! Seems my hubby top dressed all my containers with our compost and now I have tomatoes, cantaloupes and watermelons growing in all my pots. So ironic...when you want these plants to grow, they don't. But when you give up..they sprout every where! I give up....after I enjoy the veggies that is ;-)

We had a storm blow through Saturday evening. I love how the whole sky got very dark and windy and in the midst of it all there was this one little pink cloud. Sometimes the simplest thing are the most beautiful. It is like God saying "be afraid, but don't be petrified" things are never as bad as you think.

This poor jet airliner looked like he was being diverted around our storm. What a fabulous view they must have had. I adore clouds.

I am also in awe of the design Mother Nature is capable of. If you think about it, this spiders web is an architectural wonder. To think he spun this in one night...amazing! Of course if the spider is a huge one...that baby is coming down!!!! Mother nature is cool, but I do have my limits.

And finally just when you think you have seen all Mother Nature has to offer...she throws a curve 'ball' at you(no pun intended..he, he). I found this tomato at my local Farmers Market here in Warrenton. Their was no way I was not bringing this specimen home with me. My hubby just shook his head and has refused to cut into it. I think he feels some kind of kinship with this guy. My little tomato sits on my kitchen counter and I smile every time I look at him. I will keep him around until the fruit flies tell me otherwise...just like my man ;-)
Now go be one with Mother Nature...be kind and stay creative.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Proud Students of Thrifting!

Just look at the wonderful smiles on their faces! My mom and my sister-in-law came to visit and as luck ( or destiny) would have it, they were here on a Wednesday. If you follow my blog, you know that Wednesdays are Salvation Army 25% off days. Do you think they planned it..kind of like planning your trip to Vermont to see the leaves change? I'll never know..but I have my suspicions. We all packed into my car and headed to Manassas...all the while giddy with excitement for my new little fledglings. I was about to cut their ties to Walmart and let them fly free in my Salvation Macy's. My sister-in -law has named it that...too cute. Once there I gave them some last minute pointers on where to find everything and how to spot the 'good' stuff. Then I nervously let their hands slip from mine and wished them God's speed.

Well I needn't have worried...they took to the thrill of thrifting like a spider monkey on a bologna sandwich...full attack mode! Two hours later we met at the register and proudly showed off our Booty...not that booty ;-)..our clothes silly! My mom, who is a young 82, found this wonderful 2 piece J Crew wool sweater set. It was in perfect condition and with the Wed discount came to $3.75. Isn't it adorable? She's kinda cute too.

I think she is getting into this modeling thing. Great buy mom!
Her other purchase is this beautiful creme cotton designer wrap top. The embroidery is just fabulous all around the blouse...so delicate and feminine. Again with 25% discount......$3.75. My sister-in-law, Melissa, found two wonderful skirts, a couple a great tops, two new leather belts, a fleece jacket for my brother Rick and a fleece top for her son, Jon. All that for about $45.00. I am proud to say I awarded each of them an Associates Degree in Thrifting for their hard work.
Salvation Macy's is definitely on their list of places to go next time they come to Virginia. I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of my family started making thrifting pilgrimages to the Salvation Macy's Shrine. Instead of no longer needed crutches and wheelchairs, people will be leaving their department store credit cards and Walmart sale ads. Maybe little alters where you can light a candle in prayer to help find a good bargain. Ok...maybe that is getting a little sacreligious...sorry. Can you tell I am passionate about this subject? Well until next time be kind and stay creative.

Monday, August 17, 2009

'My Cailfornia Adventure' or 'Why There's No Place Like Home'


Ok..I finally have found a few moments to tell all of you how my little vacation went. Let me first say to my lovely California hosts that I truly appreciated your hospitality and I am very grateful for all you did for me to ensure that I had a good time. Thank you all so much.

Tell a native Californian to meet you at 3rd and Fairfax and they know exactly the location you are referring to...The La Farmers Market. This is an archival photo of how it looked in 1934. It was started by E. B. Gilmore. As the photo shows, it was a very rustic set-up of vendors selling their wares under simple canvas tents. Customers parked on a dirt lot with chalk marked parking slots. It became popular very quickly.

My...how things have changed! I took this photo to show you how the Market has changed and boy...what a change it is! Chic world class designer boutiques and restaurants galore. They still have a tented area, however I found most of those shops were filled with a lot of 'made in China'
touristy stuff. It was fun to see and great for people watching..however not my idea of a true farmers market. The 1934 version looked like much more fun. Ah...progress!

My sister in law Wendy's former neighbor raises exotic birds and one day while visiting, a friend of his stopped by with three baby flamingos. How cool is that!!! We got to hold them and play with these beauties. They were pretty young and did not have their famous pink color yet. That comes from the algae and crustaceans they eat. They were very downy and they felt just like microfiber fleece. I wanted to smuggle one home to Virginia, however I am sure he would have put me over the allowed 50lb free baggage limit on Jet Blue.


These little guys were so very friendly and did not mind us molesting them at all...alright we did get a little smothering. But come on how often do you get to hold a flamingo!!!

One day we took a ride out to the Coachella Valley via I 10 freeway to view the incredible Palms Springs Windmill Farm. The view of over 4,000 working windmills in this high desert locale was like being on another planet. They looked like giant robots on the march. Transformers have nothing on these monsters of energy. The San Gorgonio Pass is one of two of the most consistently windy places on earth (South Africa having the other). The clean power these windmills produce is enough to power all of Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley...amazing!

The mother ship has landed!!! While at the Windmill Farm my sister in law spotted this fabulous Saguaro Cactus. We had to trespass to get this photo, but it was worth the possibility of Saguaro Cactus prison time..He.He. Did you know it can take up to 75 years to develop one 'arm'? Birds such as woodpeckers like to build their homesinside these cactus..notice the holes on the right lower side. These nests can eventually kill the cactus. They sport creamy white night blooming flowers and ruby colored fruit and are pollinated by bats. It is against the law to destroy these gentle giants. They are truly a thing of beauty and awe. Just don't trip and fall into one while trying to take a good photo....OUCH!!!!!

Since the home I stayed in was in the San Bernardino Mtns, I could not skip the chance to ride over to Lake Arrowhead. Again the road is very scary..no room for error. The views are spectacular..very other worldly and very brown. This little patch of green was very rare and you can still see remnants of their last forest fire in '08'. At this point I was about 6,000 ft up. Not a good time to discover you have a fear of heights ;-)...I don't, thank the lord.

Lake Arrowhead was serene and to my surprise, very uncrowded, . There was a small shopping area with some cute boutiques and apparently tourist love to buy anything with pinecones and bears as that was the theme everywhere. I did have some fabulous fish tacos (Californians eat a lot of tacos).

I have always wanted to drive on one of those desert roads with nothing ahead and nothing around you..like in the movie, 'Thelma and Louise'. Our drive to Las Vegas took me pretty close to that experience. The 15 takes you straight from San Bernardino to Las Vegas. Yes...I said THE 15...Californians put the word 'THE' before all of their freeways...The 10, THE 210, THE 330..and so on. If you want to be branded an outsider, just try telling someone you took I 210 to get to their home...a red flag that you do not belong! Ok....back to the Vegas drive. I took a photo of the inside auto thermometer as proof of the incredibly hot temp outside the car. For most of the trip to Vegas it read between 99-114 degrees.....Oh..but they are quick to tell you it is a DRY heat! Wet heat or dry heat...112 is freakin HOT!!!!!! It is very deceiving because you do not really sweat and you don't realize you are fried until you get in the shower at night. Even with sunscreen, I got way too much sun.


This was the scenery all the way to Vegas...like driving on the moon...a very hot moon!

Nothing but straight road for three and one half hours. I noticed no street lamps and decided this has to be one scary dark road to break down on at night. You really want to be sure you car is in good shape and you are gassed up. Ever see the movie ' The Hills Have Eyes' ? I will keep driving..thank you very much.

After what seemed like forever, we finally pulled in to Las Vegas, Nevada. A little oasis in the middle of the desert. We stayed at the beautiful Bellagio Hotel and Casino right on the strip. It was gorgeous and one of the main attractions in Vegas happens right in front of this fabulous hotel. The world famous Bellagio Dancing Waters is a stunning thing of beauty. Remember the final scene in Ocean's Eleven? I could have spent the whole time just watching this spectacle over and over, without ever tiring of it's show . Check out this YouTube video to see the waters dance to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli...wonderful! ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP0K6H2QK7A ) The view from my room was pretty great..I gave up trying to count how many pools, public and private, they had. In addition to the ones you can see, they have many private pools with adjoining suites. As soon as I win the Lottery, that's were I'm going...private pool!

This blog is not big enough to include all you can see or do in Las Vegas. One of the not to be missed things to do in Vegas is to see one of the many Cirque de Soleil performances. I had tickets for 'KA' at the Mirage Hotel. The show was out of this world fabulous!!! It was well worth the $70.00 ticket price and our seats were really great. Of course I could not leave Vegas without seeing the famous 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign. My pretty niece Katelyn, on the left, posed with her friend Michelle under this historic landmark. After three days we were back in the car and headed out through the Mojave desert again, where I saw a real mirage (not the hotel kind) of a body of water...too cool!

Something else I had on my list of 'things-to-do' in California, was a day at the beach. My sister-in-law took me to Huntington Beach. The day was picture perfect and the beach was fairly crowded. I am not really an all day at the beach kind of gal..so my stay there was a little too long for my liking. Even with sunscreen, I got too much sun and ended up with a burn. I am happy to say that although I got pretty red, it turned straight to a tan...no peeling! Hooray...I am attending a wedding in a few days and was afraid my dress would be accessorized with peeling dry skin..gross.
My final few days went by in a whirlwind..lots of driving and lots of taco eating (did I say they eat a lot of tacos?). I did have one final adventure in California. My flight was departing at 10:25 am so we left the mountain in plenty of time for an on time check-in at the Long Beach airport. While doing about 70 mi. per hour in the middle lane of I10 (yeah..I know, I am not from Ca.) we had a blowout of the rear left tire! YIKES...talk about scary..tractor trailors on both sides zooming past us. Thanks to the calm and clear thinking of my sister-in-law, Wendy, we made it safely to the very small right shoulder. Luckily Wendy has AAA and a towing service was with us in about 25 minutes. How that man changed our tire on the traffic side of the car is a mystery to me. He had about 5 inches between himself and the whizzing tractor trailers...talk about nerves of steel. After thanking him profusely, we made it to the airport with 3 minutes to spare! Hooray for small old fashioned airports!
Well friends, here I am back home now and going from the brown of Los Angeles to the green of Virginia was like Dorothy opening the door to Lollypop Land and seeing everything in color again. There truly is no place like home! Until next time, be kind and stay creative .





Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm Home!!


Good morning bloggers..I just got back from my California vacation and have not even unpacked yet. I have so much to share with all of you. Photos and stories will be posted very soon. I must first catch up with my Etsy shop orders. It seems the minute I left town people decided to shop. I'm not complaining ...very happy for the business. As soon as I unpack, do laundry, clean house(hubby was alone for 12 days!), ship orders out and go through mail (seems hubby didn't look at mail for 12 days.....) I will be rejoining the blogging world. Until then..be kind and stay creative.

P.S....the photo is a view from Highway 330 as you come off the San Bernardino Mountain Range outside Los Angeles. Like looking at the surface of another planet...very cool. I made this 45 min. drive everyday to and from the home I was staying at. Really treacherous road..no room for error.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

California Dreamin

Hello to all my blogging friends..I really miss reading all your blogs this week. The computer I have access to here is very slow and to read all your post would take weeks. I have a feeling I will be spending many hours in front of my computer when I get home. I am hoping that after 12 days in LA, I will have a lot to blog about. Please don't desert me...come back later to see how my trip went. Hope you are all well and being kind and creative ;-)
P.S.....My trip got off to a good start when the middle aged man next to me at the baggage carousel had a tee shirt on that said " My mom said I could be anything when I grew up..so I decided to become an A--hole" Oh yeah...that's just what you want to see on day 1 of your vacation!!