Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soups On !

Today I woke up to a soft drizzle and it has kept up most of the afternoon. On rainy fall days I always get inspired to put on a big pot of homemade soup. Since we just had roast chicken this weekend and I have never in my life thrown away a poultry carcass...I made chicken soup. My favorite part of soup making is chopping up all the vegetables. I received a food processor as a gift one year and used it to cut up my veggies a few times. I quickly went back to my good old Santoku knife. I like to be in control and you don't get that with a processor. Plus they are horrible to have to clean...too much trouble. So after much carcass simmering, meat off the bone picking and veggie chopping..and some more simmering, I am rewarded with this............

A hot and delicious (if I do say so myself) big pot of chicken soup. I'll be popping some flakey homemade biscuits in the oven just before my man arrives and I will be in heaven. Not sure which I get more excited about...my man or the soup and biscuits ;-)

While waiting for my soup to cook, I put the finishing touches on my latest scarf. I will be posting it in my Etsy shop this afternoon. I am thinking of naming it the 'Etsy' scarf in reference to the many different artists with a presence on Etsy. Although unique in background and beliefs, when brought together they become a beautiful riot of diversity. I'm really loving this scarf..may have to keep it for myself.
Until next time...be kind and stay creative.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Showcase of Elegant Virginia Homes....Maybe

Saturday was a warm, blustery and very rainy day here in Northern Virginia. It was the kind of day for napping in your favorite chair. Today however, was a gloriously sunny fall day, perfect for an outing. I have a friend from my high school days that I have just rediscovered thanks to Facebook. Turns out she lives only 60 minutes from me. Small world isn't it? Well we have been trying to get together for a while now and we finally did it Sunday. I met her in the lovely old historic town of Leesburg. We had a long very chatty lunch and then wandered through an antique shop. On the way back I stopped to take some photos to capture the beauty of some of the great Civil War era homes in my town. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

This is a lovely red brick home with a fabulous wraparound porch and great manicured yard. I love the stonewall and the black wrought iron gate. I can almost picture Judy Garland sitting in one of the porch rocking chairs, singing 'In the Good Old Summertime' all decked out in her period clothing. This home was white when I first moved here...so happy they restored it to it's prior brick splendor.

Another beautiful home on the same street is a lovely pale yellow. The owners did a wonderful job restoring this house. You can't see it, but behind the tree on the right is a cool terraced patio with pretty white trim. I love imagining all the great family parties that have been held in these homes over the last 100 years or so.

This is my personal favorite..I can almost picture the proud Civil War era family all posed on the wide front steps waiting for the photographer to capture their image forever. The stone work on the house is incredible  and in pristine condition. I would love to get inside! Maybe someday I will knock on their door and profess my undying passion for their home and they will take pity on me and let me in.... Or call the police to have me escorted off the property.
And now for the final home I would like to showcase I give you...the grand estate of Blowup Land !


I have to give you some close-ups!

Oh...Yeah!!!!! When my boys were little they would have LOVED this house. Me...not so much. But hey, you have to give these people credit...they have guts. I pulled into their neighbors drive way to get my shot. The homeowner neighbor saw me and I yelled to him that I was trying to get a good shot. He shook his head and said "no problem...we are used to it".  The neighbors must be very understanding because this display is lit up (big time) at night AND they have spooky Halloween music piped to the outside. If he was my neighbor I would seriously think about an after dark wire snipping excursion. Gee BOB, I have no idea why your blowups won't inflate ;-) did you pay your electric bill?
They have a large side yard that is also filled with blow-ups...I decided to spare you guys and did not photograph them...you can thank me in your comments.

Oh, and did I mention....they decorate for Christmas too! That will be a whole other blog post.
I do have one final home to showcase....................

MINE!!!!  Yes I know, I could use some decorating lessons from our blow up house. I'm sure they would snivel with laughter at my pitiful little pumpkins. Lucky for me they don't know where I live.
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Loving My Chunky Addiction

I am so in love with my chunky wool blend yarn and fat chunky hooks and needles.  For you knitters and crocheters, if you have never worked with this type of yarn, you must try it. I made the pretty flower brooch so you could remove it and wear it on another garment. I must make one of these neck warmers for myself. Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

First Things First!

Morning bloggers...before we all go our separate ways, I would like us all to stop and take a moment to be inspired by the simple and at no cost to you, beautiful things in this life. You are formally invited to share my spectacular sunrise this morning in lovely Warrenton, Virginia. Don't the most amazing things in life just happen on their own? I'm inspired and fortified.....off to the studio! Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Almost forgot to share with you what I did last night when a case of insomnia hit me at 1:45 am. I can always turn to my yarn ;-)

P.S. Kristal at rikrak has started another fabulous Giveaway...stop by and take a chance to win a
wonderful gift.

Last minute update...Just listed these today and they were already picked for the People Style Watch Etsy Gift Guide...Hooray for me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grand Opening...The Holiday Nest Boutique


It's me again..I know I'm posting quite a bit lately. I wanted to introduce all of you to my soon to be stocked Etsy holiday boutique. I have named it The Holiday Nest..a little play on my Etsy shop name. I decided to set aside one of my sections for everything Christmas, holiday and festive alike. I am hoping it will make finding my holiday items a little easier and keep them from getting lost in the crowd. We'll see how it works out. I will adding handpainted ornaments, more aprons, sweaters, gloves and many more goodies very soon (hey..I'm working as fast as I can!). Please remember to check in once in a while, I would love a visit ;-)   Until next time...be kind and stay creative.

Mocha Latte Anyone?

Just finished and listed this lovely scarf. Isn't it pretty? I love the little taffeta bits in the designer accent yarn.
 Also wanted to give you all a heads up on a great giveaway from the rikrak studio. I am one of her sponcers  and Kristal is giving the lucky giveaway winner a $25.00 gift certificate to use in any of her sponsors stores..Including The Empty Nest! How cool is that? It will start soon so keep checking her website for more details and good luck ;-) The last Giveaway she had, the winner chose The Empty Nest and left my shop with a lovely tote bag. So come play along..details will be posted soon.
Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I No Longer Discriminate !



Ok.. I have had some manly men e-mail me and ask if I would ever consider creating scarves and fingerless gloves for them. You speak..I listen (don't tell my husband I said that) here is the first of soon to be many winter creations for men. I love the warm tweedy brown yarn...so classic. This Unisex scarf is now in my Etsy shop. Ok, that's all I wanted to tell you. You can go back to what you were doing ;-)
Until next time...be kind and stay creative.

P.S.....that's my handsome son ..thanks Sean ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Needles and Hooks are Working Feverishly!

Hello Blogger friends. The weather here Virginia is changing quickly and this week the temperature has been dropping and we are getting rain. Add those two together and you have the perfect conditions for knitting and crocheting up a storm! My needles have been clacking away and I have added a few new scarves to my Etsy shop. I have become addicted to thick, chunky, and bulky yarn lately. I absolutely love the way it feels in my hand and when you use those oversized hooks and needles you get the most delightfully textured lovelies. They are airy and thick all at the same time....like being wrapped in Love ;-)
Come take a peek.................

This Plum beauty is my newest 

Green and Blue are one of my favorite color combinations

Sold this one to a lovely lady in Canada...lucky girl
Sold this to a very thoughtful Martian ...you know who you are...
Knitted this with denim on my mind..this would be great with jeans and boots this winter
Super soft mix of Lemon yellow and jewel tones of blue, eggplant, gold and brown..added a little scalloped edge.
I decided not to leave the guys out of the fashion loop. I will be knitting up some great scarves for you men also. Well until next time...be kind and stay creative ( and warm ) !

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

With a Wave of Your Hand

Hello friends, I hope you are all well and busy being creative. I thought I would take a moment to show you what I have been up to in my studio. I have been very busy felting and cutting up fabulous wool and cashmere sweaters to make my wonderfully warm fingerless gloves. Some are embellished with needlefelting, some with my fabric Yo-Yo's and some with cashmere flowers and embroidery. I hope you like them as I have many, many more in the works. They will all end up in my Etsy shop soon, so please go take a peek there to see lots more photos. I should have them listed in about a week...I need to find a good hand model ;-)......Kelly, are your ears burning????

Well, that's just a little taste of what I have been busy with. Lot's of little handsewing detail work with these lovelies. I am adding decorative stitches on the cuffs and blanket stitching all thumb openings...very time consuming, but fun. So far my favorites are the cashmere gloves. Like wearing a cloud on your arm...delicious. I also love the way the Merino wool sweaters turn out, very fine feel to them, not bulky at all. As soon as I can I will show you the rest...I have dozens in all colors and textures!
Such a practical way to make a cool(or should I say warm) fashion statement.
Until next time , be kind, stay creative and keep those fun comments coming.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do You Know the History of the Jack-O-Lantern?

Pumpkin carving is a popular part of modern America's Halloween celebration. Come October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. Despite the widespread carving that goes on in this country every autumn, few Americans really know why or when the jack o'lantern tradition began. Or, for that matter, whether the pumpkin is a fruit or a vegetable. Read on to find out!
People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Stingy Jack
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.
So there you have it...the history behind the Jack-O-Lantern. God bless the History Channel! Until next time..be kind and stay creative.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Sky Is On Fire

Good morning friends...this is what I awoke to this morning. My eastern horizon was ablaze in yellow, reds and oranges...so in tune with the season. I ran downstairs (carefull not to fall..again) grabbed my digital and snapped away. The sad thing about it was that I was all alone and had no one to share it with. I hate when that happens. Then I thought .......hey, Janet you dunce, you have the whole world at your fingertips! I jumped onto my computer, downloaded my photos and send them all over the world via Twitter..Facebook and here with all of you. Isn't the internet great? I don't feel so all alone anymore and as Martha Stewart would say "that's a good thing" ! Until next time be kind and stay creative.

PS...I am going to do another giveaway..I would like ideas on what the prize should be. Please browse my Etsy shop and let me know what would be a good treasure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back Home...Did You Miss Me??

Hello friends..before I say any more, I would like to welcome all my new blogger friends..I appreciate you all. Well, I am home from my trip to California. I know...I just went to California a few weeks ago. My hubby and I were invited to attend the wedding of a good friend in Carlsbad, so off we go again. I just got home a couple of hours ago and can barely keep my eyes open to type this.  Without going into too much detail, I flew a redeye flight from Long Beach, got to the airport WAY too early, flight was delayed one hour, froze my patoodie off the whole five hours on the plane, took the shuttle to airport parking and could not remember where I parked, had to wake up hubby (who is still in California) to find out what lot I was in, found my car, drove to parking toll booth where Credit Card machine ate my card, supervisor had to be called to retrieve said card, finally got home only to hear a message on my phone saying I had an early morning dentist appt for today, drove straight to the dentist, fell asleep while they were drilling (did I say I was tired??) and I am now home and plan to sleep for the rest of the day. I would love to get a hold of the idiot who made that dentist appt for 3 hours after flying cross country......Oh..that's right, it was me.

Until I get some sleep I want to throw a challenge out to all of you. The two photos above are of something that was presented at the wedding I attended in Carlsbad. Let's have a guessing game to see who can tell me what it is and what you do with it. The bottom pic is of the inside looking down. It was flown all the way from Boston  to Carlsbad just for this occasion. Ok bloggers...get those Google fingers ready....set.....go!  I am thinking their should be a prize for the winner maybe..what do you think?
That's enough from me...I am going to sleep now...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...almost forgot..be kind and stay creative!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy October

Happy October everyone ! I do believe October is one, if not my favorite month of the year. I am so ready for the cooler temps that are beginning to greet me each morning. My coffee just seems to taste better when it is crisp outside. Is it in my head...maybe, but isn't that that beautiful thing about our brain and our senses. Smells, tastes and even weather temperatures can stir up so many great memories for us.
I spotted this wonderful painted pumpkin in a shop window the other day. It inspired me. I have some lovely dried gourds and one in particular is shaped just like a pumpkin. I think I will paint it like this cute guy. Until next time, be kind and stay creative.

P.S....I will be away from my computer for a few days and I wanted to remind everyone about the Harvest Moon on Oct 4. Be sure to go outside that night and look up to the heavens..it should be spectacular!