Monday, December 29, 2008

e-i-e-i-o !

We are back from our trip to the frozen tundra, I mean Iowa. It was 13 below on the day we arrived. I stepped out of the car, my eyes started watering and I swear the tear turn to ice on my cheek. Talk about a shock to the system! Despite the cold and the two day drive there and another two back, we had a wonderful time with our family. I didn't get to go sledding or snowmobiling, as it was just too cold. Drinking wine by the fireplace seemed to make more sense. I did get to take some photos of the farm animals. All of them cooperated except the sheep, they wouldn't stand still. Here are my favorites:

I was surprised to see the Llama, but they are great at herding the sheep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Definitely a white Christmas

Greetings from the snowy Midwest! As I sit here, on a farm in central Iowa, there is the white stuff as far as the eye can see. We are visiting family, and it is the first time I will have seen a white Christmas in over 20 years. I like's the cold that goes with it that I hate. Having lived in the desert for so long, you totally forget what winter is like in other parts of the country. Ruby and Scarlett are not sure what to think. They do not like getting their feet cold and absolutely would not even think of going to the bathroom in the snow. We had to take them to a barn every time they needed on the first day here. We are making progress though. They've figured out if they go really fast, they can get back inside that much faster. I can honestly say that I never expected to blog about the dog's bathroom breaks, but oh well.
Today might be a first for me. I heard talk about everyone going snowmobiling. That ought to be fun until I get stuck in a snow bank.
Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

London Revisited

I have the hardest time coming up with things to blog about lately. Everything that I've made has needed to be kept secret. I'm fairly sure that a certain someone will guess that this gift is for her, but she should have it by now anyway. That is, if UPS came through. I saw the idea for these bulb forcers in Country Living magazine. They are made out of 1 liter bottles. The top is cut off and then inverted into the base. You fill it with water and then the bulb, in this case daffodils, roots and eventually sprouts a flower. I thought it was really clever and inexpensive.
I used some scrapbook paper with a map of London, one of my very favorite places, and then added a few embellishments. When we were were in the UK, we couldn't believe all the daffodils everywhere. I hope this gift evokes memories of a special time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Live Love Photography

Since I still can't post pictures of anything that I've created recently, due to the fact that they are Christmas gifts, I'm going to brag, I mean blog, about my beautiful and very talented daughter-in-law instead. Her name is Tina, and she has recently turned her passion into a new business. Live Love Photography is now up and running. There are many of us who take photos in our family, but we started to notice that Tina's were getting better and better. Before we knew it, she started creating these wonderful videos of family get togethers and holidays. There is no better way to capture and remember a special event. Please check out her new website, and enjoy her galleries of photos.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Celtic Thunder

Last night was special, I went to the Celtic Thunder concert in Phoenix, with my sis, brother, and sister-in -law. I saw the "easy on the eyes" guys perform on PBS last summer. I really love Celtic music so when the tour dates were announced last summer, we bought our tickets. The show was fantastic. There's nothing better than a man in a kilt!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A thank you for my guests

As a thank you for sharing Thanksgiving Day with us, our guests will receive one of these soup mixes in a jar. It's called Gobble-Gobble soup, and it's the perfect way to use leftover turkey. I saw the idea in a Gooseberry cookbook. It's as simple as adding several spices and noodles to a jar that I decorated. All that's left to be added is some water, turkey, and veggies such as celery, carrots, and onion. They were fun to make, and I hope everyone likes them.

As you gather tomorrow with family and friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday this and that

While this one, Scarlett, is being her usual busy body self,

tormenting the geckos and chasing off the birds,

this one, Ruby, is doing what she does best. Napping! This is her new favorite spot to snooze in the afternoon. There's no doubt she thinks that the new patio was built just for her.

I've been such a lousy blogger lately. I'd be surprised if I even have any readers left out there. I have been somewhat creative, but I can't post anything because everything I've made is a Christmas gift. Too many of the recipients read my blog and there goes the element of surprise. Last night my husband announced that I was too hard to shop for and he had no idea what to get me for Christmas. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Me? Hard to buy for? Why that's impossible, I like everything! So, my question is what do you want for Christmas? I'd love to hear all about it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's a beautiful day

here in the desert, and I'm planning to spend the day in the craft room while my creative muse is calling. I couldn't resist shooting these shots of what's in bloom. To those of you who live where it's cold at this time, I'm so sorry. Remember how we suffered through those 100+ days not so long ago? This is what we call Chamber of Commerce weather, low 80's and sunshine in the beautiful blue sky.
The roses are in bloom.

The rhubarb is still hanging in there.

I can finally grow Coleus. Too hot in the summer.

We can't have enough geraniums.

Miss Scarlett soaking up some sun.

Nothing special about this, I just like the shot.

The bees are a buzz in the rosemary.

Have a great day wherever you are!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election hangover

This is how I feel this morning. The choice has been made... one I strongly disagree with. "Change" is coming alright and unfortunately we're all going to have to live with it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The sisters

I thought I'd better get on the stick if I was going to create anything for Halloween since it's now only two days away. I knew the minute I saw this old photo in an antiques shop in Illinois that I wanted to use it for something like this. There's something about their eyes, kind of vague and unfeeling looking. In truth, they were probably sweet little girls. I wonder what she has planned for those sissors though. Whoever they were, they were sure dressed cute.
You should be able to click to enlarge the photo.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sampler box

My show and tell for today is a box that I painted. I've worked on it for a week or so. I haven't painted in awhile and my poor hand is really cramped up now. Maybe I need to loosen my grip on the brush a bit, but I've always used teeny tiny brushes with just the sparsest amount of hairs so I can get better detail. I plan to use it as storage for whatever my current stitching project might be. I like having everything gathered together and handy. I can keep my threads, scissors, etc., in there and just put a lid on it when I'm done. I always have work in progress and it's usually on the sofa or on my chair. I think I can have it sitting on the coffee table, and it won't look too out of place. Since I mostly stitch samplers, that was my inspiration for the design. These are a few of my favorite motifs. Some of you may or not know that my other blog is where you'll find my stitching.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here's the reason

that I've been such a bad blogger of late. We have been busy re-doing our patio. I have waited a long time for the expanded cover. The little dinky one that it replaced was big enough to keep one person out of the sun, okay, maybe I exaggerate...two people at most then. So when I wasn't helping my DH with the manual labor, I was busy sipping a glass of wine and supervising the progress. We are still far from done. Plans include a brick wall around the entire patio with seating around the fireplace, a new finish for the cement, (I like the look of stained concrete), and eventually the Arcadia door will be replaced with french doors. Finding the black wicker furniture was my project. I had the rocker and I wanted the new stuff to match. Lots of Internet searching proved successful. It came all the way from Pennsylvania and it was worth the wait. I made the floral pillows and quilt throw out of some fabric that I've had stashed forever. And yes, those screens sure need a good cleaning.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Going home...

Who says you can never go home again? Maybe not to live there, but you can drive by anyway. This is the house I grew up in in Illinois. Much has changed since I lived there over thirty four years ago. The trees are bigger for one thing. I was sad to see that the willow and cherry trees had been cut down in the backyard. I can remember picking cherries for a pie and eating most of them before I even got inside. There is now a deck and pool where that tree once stood. Our house was a similar shade of blue, but the window box (I can't think of what they're called) is new. We also had a gas light in the front. I spent millions of hours doing gymnastics in that front yard.

Above is the street where my friend, Missi lived. It was two blocks over from my house. Everyone hung out here. We rode our Schwinn sting-ray bikes up and down and played "ding dong ditch" on that street. I love how the trees have grown so they form a canopy. Below is Missi's house. Nothing has changed at all. I slept over at least a couple of nights a week, so it was practically my second home. We spent hours sitting on the shag carpet of her bedroom making "Fun Flowers". There was this liquid goop that you poured into molds. You then heated it up in an oven of sorts. It was made by Mattel, and there was also a "Creepy Crawler" version. It's amazing that we didn't burn the house down.

Now here is a place that I will never forget, Katy's Market. It was at the end of Missi's street. It was owned by an elderly German couple. The store was cluttered and crowded and reeked of sauerkraut and homemade sausage. It was actually kind of scary. The owners didn't like kids much. I think we were all afraid we would end up in one of those meat grinders that they used for their sausages. We went in after school anyway, because they had the best assortment of candy. You just chose fast and got the heck out of there.

Thanks for coming along on my trip down memory lane.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


As promised, here are my three favorite finds from the trip last weekend to Illinois. I found the box of much used stamps and the old charm bracelet in the same antique shop. I was so happy to find both and was even the subject of a little teasing. It seems that I expressed my happiness with the expression "OMG" excessively. What else can one say when finding such treasures? I really don't need any more stamps, but I liked the case, and the fact that they are all grungy with ink.

I have loved charm bracelets ever since I was a young girl. I like to find souvenir charms of places that I've travelled to. I have one completely full and another one started. The bracelet I found is significant to me for many reasons. It is filled with mostly charms of Illinois and that is where Iwas born and raised. There's one of Abe Lincoln, Chicago Water Tower, Picasso sculpture, and Gov. Otto Kerner's Inauguration Day, Jan. 11, 1965. My favorite is the "Fighting Illini", mascot of the University of IL. Some of the others that I like are: St. Louis Arch ( I've been up in that scary thing, and I lost the charm that I bought there years ago), a bulldog (enough said), a camper (my husband and I plan to drive off into the sunset in one someday), an Amish buggy, a St. Christopher medallion, a bear from Yellowstone ( I love national parks), an Iowa one that moves and has an ear of corn attached ( my husband is from IA). There are even three charms from Arizona. The charms appear to have been collected in the mid 1960's.

Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness is a wonderful piece painted by artist, Barbara Jeffords. She was at the Country Folk Art Show we attended. I love meeting the artists and talking to them about their work. She was very nice and humble about her talent. I could have brought several of her pieces home, but this one especially caught my eye.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A little too big for my suitcase

I am back from my trip to the St. Charles/Geneva IL. area. It was a whirlwind weekend of shopping and visiting with relatives. The weather was perfect with the trees just starting to turn colors. On Friday, we literally shopped till we dropped, non-stop for seven straight hours. I think I'm now a little shorter, having worn my legs down. The fellow above was from Belgium. I fell in love with him, but not with his price, a mere $2,225.00. He would have looked awesome in my backyard, sigh.....

Here is how the trunk looked after the first day.

You'll have to wait to see what I did bring home with me....

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We're off...

to do some serious retail therapy. My sis, my friend, and myself are heading to St. Charles, IL. There we'll meet up with my niece from Minneapolis for a couple of days of power shopping. For years, I've wanted to go to the Country Folk Art Festival that is held there. That will be one of the stops. There is also an "over nighter" flea market which is held at the Kane County fairgrounds. It's from 4:00 pm till 2:00 am. It's supposed to have tons and tons of dealers. I can't wait...there's nothing I like better than flea markets. So off we go. I hope to blog soon about my fabulous finds.

Photo courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Monday, September 22, 2008

A healing collage

I'd like to share with you a gift that I received the other day. It was made for me by my niece, who is actually more like a little sister. She used my dog art and a picture of my friend, Cindy, who passed away last month. It has a a lovely message and wonderful little elements about it. She used some vintage sheet music and was able to find appropriate lyrics, like the one that says "For she loved him so" above Otis. Yes, I cried when I saw that one. I know my sweet friend is definitely wearing her wings. The frame is really awesome as well. I would never have thought to do all of the different things to it like she did. It's perfect for it. Thank you, Kelly. I am incredibly touched.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My thoughts journal

Lately I've enjoyed making these journals out of inexpensive books. (double click to see details) I don't keep a journal, mind you, they're just fun to make. I have made feeble attempts periodically to write my thoughts down for later reflection, but I never stick with it. I have gone back to old posts to see what I was up to or thinking about at different times, so blogging is my journalistic choice.
As you can see, this book has a bit of a British theme. I am a total Anglophile. I can't explain it. Don't know why, I just am. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with England and all she represents. I was one of those nuts who got up in the middle of the night to watch Charles and Diana wed. I don't play or follow tennis, but I'm determined to see a match at Wimbledon one day. My very favorite music is, you guessed it, the British invasion and the later stuff from the 80's. I drink tea by the buckets, English breakfast, of course, and I can make a mean scone.
I used to love the mod fashions from the 60's. Does anyone remember the Yardley slickers lipstick? My friend, Joy is the only person I know besides myself who had them. I was way too young to even wear the pure white frost lipstick when they were popular. I had the key chain versions, pink & orange and purple & aqua stripes. I wore it dangling from my belt loops. How cool was that for a small town girl from the Midwest? Recently, Joy came across some of the original lipstick on EBay and it was going for way over a hundred dollars. Of course, I didn't bid on it, but it was sure fun to see and reminisce.
Okay, I got a little off track with the Yardley thing. Back to my fondness of all things British. I was able to fulfill a life long dream and visit the UK four years go. It was everything I thought it would be, and I'll never forget the trip. I hope to go back again one day, and I'll try to remember to "look right" and not get run over. In the mean time, if there's anyone out there from across the pond that would like to correspond with an Arizonan, leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today's accomplishment

I've had a bit of a creative block lately. I found myself hoping that some new ideas would fall from the sky and hit me over the head. Considering the circumstances of the past month, I shouldn't be surprised that I've been less than inspired and totally abandoned by motivation. Today was different though. I woke up wanting to get right to work. Today I felt like making something. This unfinished tray was taking up space on a shelf. I had no ideas specifically when I began, but I knew I wanted to use birds in some way. I plan to top it off with a piece of glass and use it on my patio as a serving tray. It will be the perfect place to set a cup of tea or coffee while I'm sitting outside.

We will never forget..

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It's in our blood

Here is a photo (I apologize for the quality) of me in the green t-shirt taken more than twenty five years ago. I was in full stride, trying to score a goal. We were just a group of moms who got together initially for some exercise while our kids were having soccer practice. Soon we were hooked on the sport and our team joined a local women's league. I continued to play for more than nine years.

Here is oldest son Chris in his soccer debut. He loved playing from the very beginning. He would go on and play well into high school. Like many sports, it consumed our lives for many years. Homework and dinners were planned around practices and games. How I loved those days and being a soccer mom.

For a very long time, I have looked forward to this day. Here is granddaughter Olivia in her soccer uniform. She is the third generation in our family to play. Today was her first game. It was hotter than blazes outside, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. All the three and four year olds looked so darn cute in their big, baggy Umbro shorts. There was a lot of clinging to the parents and tears shed over missed shots. I'm fairly certain the parents and grandparents enjoyed it more than the little ones. If she takes after her Daddy and her Grammie, it won't be long before it's in her blood as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Space

It's hard for me to believe that one year ago, this room was seldom used for guests. After a trip to my niece's house, I was inspired and a little (okay, very!) obsessed with having my own place to retreat to. It took some time to get everything into place, but I'm happy to say that it is just what I had envisioned. The room is defined by three areas. I have a big table where I can work on paper crafts. It faces a large window where I can watch the birds outside. My stitching chair sits in front of the floor to ceiling bookcase. I always wanted a room to use as a library. This is as close as I'll ever get. The dogs have beds to curl up in here, but just as often sprawl on the floor under my feet. The last addition has been the desk area. It used to be the closet. My wonderfully talented husband worked his magic, and it now holds the computer, scanner, printer and sewing machine. I no longer have to sew at the dining room table. It's nice being able to leave projects unfinished. Once in awhile, my other half will venture in for a chat. He sits in my chair, looks around at all my stuff, picks up this or that, shakes his head and then returns to his space a.k.a. the garage. I'm sure he feels totally out of his element in here, kind of how I feel at Home Depot.