Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Holiday Week

My nephews (and my brother David) got a slot car race track for Christmas - my mom and I take a try at keeping the cars on the track.

My nephew, Chris, brought the game Catch Phrase - we literally played for hours and hours and hours. It made waiting for the turkey to finish cooking, our car trip to Disneyland and waiting in line at Disneyland more enjoyable.
That's my nephew, Nathan, obviously trying to make a point.
That's my sister-in-law, Nicki. We must have been laughing at something my mom said - she was the shocker of the evening.

As I was driving out of town last Tuesday I shipped off a huge box for the book I'm working on. The final box went out just yesterday. Now, to write instructions.
My bro, David, and his new dog, Jack.

David made a brine for the turkey, let it soak in overnight and bbq'd it on Christmas morning.
The celebration for our high school friend Betty. Some of these ladies I hadn't seen in years and years.

The yummy Pink Champagne Cake from Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. I'm going to stop by there on my way to the Pismo Dunes - I'm in charge of providing dessert for a bonfire on the beach tomorrow night to usher in the new year - I hope there are still some cakes left - I think I'll do a chocolate one this time. I already have my eye on a Toffee Cake there for my dad's birthday next month.
My family went down to Anaheim last Friday for a pre-wedding reception at the Disneyland Hotel. My cousin's are getting married in Hawaii and knew we all couldn't make it over there. We spent the morning at Disneyland having gotten there when the park opened (brrrrr...) and within 35 minutes we'd ridden the Matterhorn twice and Space Mountain. As we got off the Matterhorn the second time, we were greeted by Disney Cast Members saying we'd won Mickey Mouse ear hats - we all wore our hats proudly for the day. We spent a couple of hours at the reception and then back to Disneyland with a quick dinner and then back until about 11 p.m. Made for a long day, but it was tremendous fun. It was fun to see it through a child's eyes - mine.
Make it a great day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Countdown...

I woke up this morning wondering how I got to where I am at this moment - HUGE deadlines before I can head out to be with family and friends for the holidays. On the positive side, I have been waking up before dawn lately and the sunrises are magnificent!!! A time to pause and watch the beautiful pink sky unfold.

I wish I could share with you the many projects I'm working on at the moment - some will appear on the Duncan website - here it is Christmas week and I'm working on some Valentine's project instructions. The book I'm working on has taken over my itty bitty home and as much fun as I've had, I will be so thankful to ship it off tomorrow.

It's a cold, blustery day here - it was supposed to rain this weekend, so I'm a bit disappointed in that since I have to be indoors.

I'm finishing up favors and decorations for Betty's party on Tuesday night. She doesn't know so many are coming, she just thinks it's a couple of us. I'm trying to find a balance - press on hard to get a lot on work projects done and then treat myself every couple of hours to some fun time getting ready for the party and for the holidays.

I'm heading to the grocery store in a bit to pick up items to make chili for Christmas - we're having tri-tip, smoked turkey, beans, bread and salads. Yummy...many, many years ago my family got on a kick of making H. Allen Smith Chili - there's a story behind it, but I can't put my finger on the recipe at this very moment. My family hasn't had the chili and years and years, so it's my treat this Christmas.

Oh, and the treasure hunt for my nephews, Justin and Brandon. I think I'll just wait on that until I get to their house and come up with some fun places to work with - when you have a 40 acre farm there can be some interesting hiding places - we might not see them for days...

Have an awesome day - take time to smell the roses, have a cup of tea, watch the sunset - enjoy your precious day.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beth is wearing the 'bow' I made from pom poms and chenille stems.

Old Aleene's Friends Christmas Celebration

Tonight was a night for catching up with friends from the old Aleene's days!!! Lauren Johnston and I used to appear on the Creative Living television show, Beth was the Producer and Linda Lou was the set stylist. We go way, way back. Seems like we haven't changed, but kids and grandkids have gotten older.

Before dinner I went shopping for Betty's party - it was great fun to put a girlie party together complete with boas, tulle, glittery netting, flowers and mirrored balls (we went to school in the 70's so when I saw 5" mirrored / disco balls on sale for 1/2 price, I just had to pick up several for the tables). I also had a duh moment - remember me talking about making cupcakes ? I was at the stoplight near The Madonna Inn heading somewhere completely not there when it hit me - order a Pink Champagne cake for Betty's party - it totally went with the pink girlie theme I was thinking of. Perfect!!! I need to take a few minutes tomorrow and make sure everything is covered - it all came together while I was in Michaels tonight.

Squiggly Bow, Laughing Buddha, Gingerbread Card
What a delightful day - It's only 2 o'clock and I've been to a meeting to get the heads-up on the newsletter I'll be taking over at the first of the month for my newcomers club, emailed with my sister who's visiting Virginia, dropped in to see a former co-worker / friend who works for the local police department (I hadn't seen her in two years), shopped for my gift exchange present for tonight and did lots of work!!!
I wrapped my gift for tonight and realized I didn't have a bow (probably SOMEWHERE out in my storage building there's one, but what's a crafter to do in a pinch???) I had some chenille stems and some pom poms and here's what I came up with. I wrapped the chenille stems around a pencil and taped a few in a circle on the gift and glued some pom poms in the center - I used stick glue so it's ready to dash out the door.
When I was looking for the gift for tonight, I saw a bunch of those Life in Miniature kits and one jumped right into my basket - it was the laughing Buddha - the box says the Laughing Buddha is the embodiment of happiness, laughter, prosperity and the wisdom of contentment. Have you ever had a vision in your mind right down to the very tiny details? This is where the Laughing Buddha comes in - I have a vision of my office (certainly not the one I'm in at the moment) but in the corner of the office is a huge Laughing Buddha!!!
I received the gingerbread card in the mail today - how adorable - are you thinking what I'm thinking??? A little felt, some ribbon...

White House Christmas

I just got an email from my sister saying she was on her way to tour the White House in all the holiday glory. How exciting!!!! Can't wait for her pictures.


Burden or Joy...

I laid in bed this morning under four blankets (brrr...it's cold!) and everything I need to do for the next week started buzzing around in my head...just today is a meeting with the old newsletter person showing me and my assistant what we need to do, dinner an hour away with my old Aleene's friends, I need to buy a gift for the exchange tonight (I thought way ahead a couple of weeks ago and bought a lovely candleholder and candle - it got dropped a couple of days ago and broke into a million pieces), I told the book editor I'm working with that I'd have some of the projects mailed, I have a ton of instruction writing to do, plan and get decorations for the Celebration of Life party for my high school classmate, Betty, not to mention all the holiday stuff and just plain ol' life stuff that needs to get done - BRAKES ON!!!

I was reminded by something a friend told me a couple of times last week, that we have a choice in EVERYTHING that we do - to make it a burden or a joy. So, no the decorations for the party won't get taken care of today like I'd planned and no I won't make and decorate darling cupcakes for the party, I hear there's a charming bakery in town and no, all the instructions won't get written today, but I choose to get the things done today that are absolutely necessary, to have fun, relax with my friends, relax about my expectations and celebrate this moment of my life as a true joy!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America

Today my sister and her daughter-in-law volunteered at Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America (http://www.wreathsacrossamerica.com/.) Every year, Worchester Wreath Company donates thousands of wreaths so that they can be placed on the graves of fallen men and women from our armed services.

Check out the hummingbird...

My week...a spur of the moment trip up the coast, White Christmas, crafting, delightful food, delightful friends... This was a very interesting week, one with MANY twists and turns, all thoroughly enjoyable.

On Tuesday, I found out a big deadline I was working on got extended a few days, so with that freedom (plus I was super stressed out and knew I needed to chill), I jumped in my car and went north on Highway 1 along the coast. My plan was to head up the coast for about an hour to Ragged Point and have lunch - but something made me whiz on by there and with the many twist and turns of Highway 1 I found myself at my favorite restaurant in Big Sur. Lunch was fantastic, overlooking the Big Sur coastline. The weather was fabulous and the drive up and back was great - hardly any traffic which let me pull into turnout after turnout to observe the mighty ocean below. I turned up the tunes real loud (thanks Miss Frances for Beyonce!!!) and found myself pulling into places I'd been before like Ventana Inn - they now have nice wood chaise lounges overlooking the ocean and I found myself basking in the warm sun not wanting to leave.
Wednesday was the newcomer's luncheon at a country club about 1/2 an hour away - it was absolutely spectacular - the view out the huge windows was of the surrounding hills with beautiful vineyards. We were all chattering about wearing our holiday finest - sweaters, jackets, etc. and it being 72 degrees outside - ahhh, the life of living at the coast (I had been emailing with friends back in Fresno and they were socked in with fog and freezing). I got introduced as being on the new board - some people were amazed that I was a new member (4 months) and already volunteering for a position - it's who I am, I wouldn't have it any other way. The food was wonderful and we had a presentation by a local high school choir of holiday songs.
Wednesday night and Thursday morning were spent doing freelance work. I literally had pieces and parts of projects everywhere in my tiny place. I got a phone call from a high school classmate saying he'd be in town in ten minutes and inviting me to dinner. I did the 8 minute scurry clean-up. Thing is, I have been to his house for meetings and he is one meticulous person, but, oh well. As we walked out of the restaurant, the sun was absolutely gorgeous right in front of us setting over the ocean!!! We stood there watching the sunset and I couldn't help but say outloud - "This is MY life."
Friday night was so delightful - Cheryl Ball, her sister Krissy and I got dressed up in our holiday attire, went to a steakhouse for dinner - I don't have steak that often, so it was a wonderful treat (was yummy for breakfast this morning too!) and then we were off to watch a production of White Christmas - it was absolutely amazing!!! We even got snowed on in the audience.
I woke up to rain this morning but as the morning progresses, the sun is shining and the ocean is beautiful. I need to play catch-up today after all my fun actives this week, so it's a working weekend for me. I'm not boo-hooing, cuz I had a delightful week.
Take care,

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wire Art for Plants

Add some art to that plant you're giving as a gift or spruce up your own walls!

What You'll Need
10 gauge wire or metal coat hanger
Round items to make curves in wire
Straight nose pliers
Wire cutters
Paper cone

How to Make It
1. For coils, grasp one end of wire with straight nose pliers, making a small loop. Move pliers down wire as you twist wire to desired size of loops.
2. Form curves below coils by wrapping wire around round items of desired sizes.
3. For plant stake, leave 8" straight at end of wire.
4. For wall hanger, lay wire shape on work surface after curves are formed. Bend wire up at a 45 degree angle 2" below last curve. Shape three more coils in wire to hold cone.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Big Purple Guy, Elfin Forest, Visitors, Job's Daughters, Work...

My friend and former cubicle mate sent me this picture of herself with the 5 foot tall stuffed animal she and her husband, Bruce, are giving to Toys for Tots. Too cute, Lucy!!! Miss you big time!

Last night in Cambria was very nice. We were running out of time before sunset, so we took a quick walk that turned out to be quite a workout coming back up a hill. Dinner was delightful - clam chowder in a bread bowl and shrimp salad at a beach side restaurant. There's a delightful new candy store in town and they had 11 different flavors of malted milk balls. One of the workers was kind enough to get us just a couple of each flavor.

I received an email from a high school classmate of mine yesterday asking for some help. Lisa and I had been Senior Class Officers together and we were also in Job's Daughters for many years together. Lisa emailed me in a panic because one of her former students (she's a teacher) asked her to do a 15 minute speech for her installation on Sunday. I told Lisa I'd brainstorm with my sister and see what we could come up with. The things we came up with are certainly not things she'd want to tell at an installation celebration. My sister and I remembered some initiation 'ceremonies' - everything from blindfolding a person and having them point out different areas of a cow and the last one you ask them to point at is the tail where someone dutifully puts a jar of Dippity Do so that their finger goes right in it. FYI - Dippity Do is an old version of hair gel. We talked about a song we sang when someone was caught with their elbows on the table at social functions. The song went - get your elbows off the table (insert name), get your elbows off the table, we have seen you do it twice and it isn't very nice, get your elbows off the table (insert name). There was a second verse - believe me - you only put your elbows on the table once in this crowd because the poor person had to run around the tables while we sang the song. Then there was the story about going on a snipe hunt - the initiation was in town where there was a curfew. Well, I and a few other girls saw a police car coming down the street, so we dove into the bushes. Yup, they found us, put the car lights on us and told us to go home. Strangely, the initiation was taking place at the high school principal's home...ahhh, to be young and innocent...being older and doing fun things is pretty darn good too.

The Elfin Forest - I joined the walking group in the newcomer's group and we walked at the Elfin Forest today - I will have to google that and see where the name came from because I didn't see any elves or any forest. It was a delightful walk with fresh air and good conversations.

My freelance work is in high gear - I'm creating twelve projects for a book and doing some instruction editing.

The holiday festivities are shaping up to be a fun time - next week is my newcomer's luncheon at a local country club (it's a chance to play dress-up), Cheryl Ball, her sister and I are going to see the play White Christmas along with a nice dinner out, there's a lighted boat parade, my old Aleene's friends are getting together, a friend told me this week she's getting married on New Year's just after midnight (I have my fingers crossed it's not foggy so I can be there!!!), our We Love You Betty party for my friend whose boyfriend passed away, I'm going to a wedding reception at the Disneyland Hotel with a day at Disneyland and next week a friend will be in town so I'm gussying up the house for that - I was all gung ho to decorate the outside of my house, but with all the work I have going on, I think I'll concentrate on the inside and be happy with that. My next door neighbor has enough lights up for the entire neighborhood. Life is good!!!

Have a fabulous weekend,

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I just gave myself a timeout...

and I wasn't even bad, just stressed for the first time since I moved here - four months, already!!! It was wonderful to sit out at my bistro set, look out at the ocean and have the sun on my face. I decided I could never get a chaise lounge because I'd never get any work done.

A high school classmate of mine has come up with a wonderful idea. Our friend, Betty, whose boyfriend (also a classmate of ours) passed away after a very brief bout with cancer last week has had many trials in her life, breast cancer herself and her husband passed away many years ago leaving her with young children to raise. I have talked with her a couple of times this week and she is an incredibly strong person. My friend, Diane, came up with a great idea - we're going to have a We Love You Betty party just before Christmas. We're going to get a bunch of us from high school and just have fun - I've suggested pink boas, pink cupcakes, pink champagne...we're still out on what we're doing. I also suggested a carriage ride in a nearby town - we did that for my mom a few years ago for Mother's Day and we all loved it. Diane is to contact Betty to let her know what's happening and my email to Diane was to not let her turn us down - it's a celebration of life not only for Betty but for all of us.

I am headed to Cambria, a lovely town about 1/2 hour away. The first Thursday of December they have what used to be called Hospitality Night - all the stores stay open, the streets are decorated, there are carolers and the shops give out goodies. We're heading up early for a hike, to dinner at an ocean side restaurant and then in to town for the festivities.

Celebrate life today because we don't know if we'll have a tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Weekend and Lots of Reflection

I had a most delightful weekend. I had dinner with Cheryl Ball and her sister and then we came back to my place to chat. They had been here right after I moved in, so they were able to see all my hard work. The next day was supposed to be a 'do whatever day' and I was heading down that way when my sister called asking if I had lunch plans - one of my nephews was in the area and he hadn't been to my new place. We went to the same restaurant Cheryl, Krissy and I went to - yummy fish tacos!!!

Last night was weird - I checked my email about 11:30 as I was heading to bed. I had an email from my friend in London, so I emailed her back. The phone rang - who could it be at 11:30? My friend from London, of course. We chatted almost an hour. Made for a groggy me this morning! They will be leaving London in the next year and a half, so looks like I'll be going to London next year. They live across from Buckingham Palace...free room and board. Now, to find a cheap airfare.

Tonight was my first Chick Flick get together with my newcomer's group. We did a movie and then dinner. But, I had a surprise - we parked near the restaurant and walked through Beverly's and there was Heidi Borchers. Since I was with a group, I hugged her and said I'd give her a call. That's on my to do list for tomorrow.

As I walked in the door tonight my phone was ringing. It was a high school friend of mine telling me of the passing of her boyfriend, also a classmate. So sad. My friend has had so many trials in her life and now this. My heart goes out to her, her family and our friend's family. I had seen Terry in September and he was fine and shortly after that he started acting 'odd' and seven weeks later he is gone from our lives.

Hug your kids, your spouse, your parents, friends, anyone and everyone that you hold dear in your heart.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving on the Farm - The Barn, Family, Ribs, Tractors, Cranberry Sauce...
The cooks!!!

You can move a farm girl to the ocean, but you can't take the farm out of the girl...Thanksgiving was delightful! My mom got into the whole Barn Thanksgiving and brought out Thanksgiving related quilts, candles and milo from our fields to decorate. My bro, David, was a wonderful help bringing it all together. He got out the generator, so we would have music, moved the tractor out of the barn, put up tables and chairs, etc., etc. He was a great help and he wasn't even there for the festivities - he and has family went to his mother-in-laws for the day.
The ribs were seared for 1/2 hour at 500 degrees and then slowly cooked and basted in bbq sauce for 2-1/2 hours - yummy!!!

My nephew, Chris, loves Cranberry sauce - he makes sure everyone has their fill and then he takes the rest and smears it on rolls - quite a few rolls, I might add.

Toward evening, we went back out to the barn to put everything away and since David was still gone, that meant we had to wrangle all the heavy stuff and take care of them. Having spent many hours on the tractor as a kid disking the fields (don't even get my dad started on the summer I used a Honda 50 motorcycle to check the water in the fields every 1/2 hour), I got on the tractor and even though I hadn't driven it in years, I was able to get it started and take loads to a storage building. Fun, fun, fun!!!

We all went our separate ways on Friday - me to visit a friend in Fresno and my family to shop and go to our favorite / mandatory hangout - Superior Dairy - with to die-for ice creams treats.

Friday evening I headed back to my home, unloaded my car and vegged the rest of the evening.

Cheryl Ball and I are doing dinner tonight and I want to go to my storage place and dust off my Christmas decorations that have been in storage for 3+ years and decorate for the season. I came home last night to a blaze of lights from my next door neighbor's house - I knew I'd come home to something, but didn't expect so many lights. Something tells me he isn't done, yet.

I just got off the phone with my best friend from high school. We chatted for over an hour about life (she's going to be a grandma for the third time!!!), about our classmates - she still lives in our home town, so she was bringing me up-to-speed on the happenings or lack there of.
Seems like I haven't gotten my engines going today and it's already 1:00 p.m. with lots to do today.
Tomorrow is a do whatever day - wrapping presents, maybe getting a live Christmas tree, straightening up...whatever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wild Winds = Wonderful Waves

The winds have been very powerful lately, but with them comes a spectacular show at the beach.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Be Forewarned!!!!
This week, I visited Lompoc where I lived for about twenty years. See the pine tree about center in the picture? It was a 3 foot tall Christmas tree a few years ago, so when you're out shopping for your live tree that you plan to plant in your yard, remember they do get BIG!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rustic Fall Weather

Add this simple rustic touch to your fall decorating!

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint - Chocolate
Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Sand, small amount
Leaves, silk - enough to go around hoop
Paintbrush, foam
Embroidery hoop, wood

How To Make It
1. Pour a large puddle of paint on foil. Mix a small amount of sand in paint, adding more until a 'rust' look is achieved.
2. Dip brush in paint mixture and dab on silk leaves to cover. Let dry.
3. Glue leaves on hoop, slightly overlapping as need to fit. Let dry.
4. Tie ribbon bow. Glue bow at center top of wreath. Let dry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soup Tureen

Want a special gift to take to your hostess this Thanksgiving? Paint an easy soup tureen and glue on a few fall embellishments for a terrific way to say thank you. Mix the dry ingredients in the tureen - all your hostess has to do is add water, some leftover turkey and cook for a few minutes for a yummy "day after Thanksgiving" soup.

Soup Tureen

Here's What You'll Need
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
Pebeo Porcelaine Paint: Scarlet, Yellow, Bronze
Tureen, ceramic
Soft cloth
Foil for palette
Plastic wrap
Silk leaves (fall colors)

How to Create It
1. Clean outside of tureen with alcohol, using soft cloth.
2. Place a small amount of yellow paint on foil. Add a dab of scarlet and bronze paint. Mix with toothpick.
3. Tear a 12" piece of plastic wrap from roll. Scrunch. Dip plastic wrap in paint. Dab off excess on foil. Dab paint on tureen until desired look is achieved. Let dry 24 hours.
4. Place tureen in cold oven. Set temperature to 300 degrees. When oven temperature stabilizes, bake for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and allow tureen to cool down gradually in oven. Once tureen has been 'baked' it is dishwasher and microwave safe.
5. Tie raffia around tureen. Glue leaves on raffia streamers.

Leftover Turkey Soup Mix

Place all dry ingredients and an unpeeled carrot in soup tureen for a nice hostess gift.

1 cup uncooked fine egg noodles
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
2-1/2 tablespoons chicken flavored bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
4 quart cooking pot
8 cups water
1 diced carrot
3 cups diced turkey
Pen or computer
Recipe card

Write or print off recipe on recipe card for hostess.

How to Make It
1. Place all dry ingredients in cooking pot. Add 8 cups of water and carrot. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
2. Stir in turkey. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Make 2 quarts. Serve this scrumptious turkey soup in your beautiful tureen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness, Revisited

I ordered some Christmas gifts online and I received some conflicting information in an email, so I called the company and after a couple of minutes of saying 'yes' and 'no' to an automated system, I was connected with a real live customer service person. First, he was shocked when I asked how he was. He said it was very refreshing. Then, when he came to the conclusion that I was given misinformation and the items couldn't be shipped until February, he suggested I print off a picture of the item and make a little Coming Soon card and include the picture. Christmas will come again for my recipients in February.

My neighbor knew I'd been sick for a while and one day he commented about my cough that was hanging on. I had a knock on my door a little while later and he'd bought me some cough medicine.

As I told the customer service rep on the phone 'we're all in this together...'

Make it a great week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I ran across this ad and had to share - It's for The Midlife Crisis Winery and their motto is "If you don't chase your dreams, why live?" WOW!
California Fires

So much has changed since I last posted. As the fires rage throughout California, I received this email yesterday from a person who lives in Southern California. It spoke to me, so I am including her insight:

"I've mentioned it in my blog but in case you missed it, my family lives in Southern California, Orange County to be exact. If you turn on the TV or radio right now, you will see wall-to-wall coverage of the fires raging out of control from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles to Orange and Riverside Counties. I've lived here the majority of my life and I don't remember ever experiencing a day quite like this. Last night my husband and I were sitting outside. We just looked at each other and we knew. There was something about the heat, the way the trees were blowing, just a feeling we had that something was going to happen. This is fire season and when you live here long enough, you just know when conditions are ripe for trouble. Fortunately we don't live in the hills or in an imminent fire danger area. But we can certainly see the smoke and brown sky. It's a searing 98 degrees with 5% humidity. In some areas there have been hurricane-force winds. So far hundreds of homes have been lost. It happens every year here. It's one of the hazards of living in certain sections of So Cal. It certainly doesn't feel like Thanksgiving or the Holidays are just around the corner. It's hot, uncomfortable, scary and eerie. One minute you're tempted to pack a couple of things and just get far away from all the craziness. Yet at the same time you're glad to be safe in your own home. So why share these thoughts? A couple of reasons. To those who live overseas or on the other side of the country, it may seem like all of Southern California is ablaze. It's not. There are plenty of areas untouched by the orange glow. But we all feel the pain of those who are losing their possessions, their pets, their property. It's a eerie unity that brings us together and gets us to think about how lucky we are...most of the time. I suppose this is a reminder to be thankful for what we have, to hug our loved ones a little tighter, to know when the time is right we'll all sneak away for a well deserved break. For now, keep the firefighters as well as those touched by these life-changing fires in your thoughts and prayers. Wish for cooler temperatures here in the southland and perhaps some rain. And hopefully soon we'll be back to regular TV and radio programs...a sign the worst will be over."

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is a week to not only thank our armed forces for their sacrifices, but with the devastating fires in Montecito and now in San Luis Obispo, I want to thank the firefighters for their dedication and sacrifices.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harvest Boxes

A unique way to store odds and ends, these boxes will bring a touch of Fall into your home or fill with special gifts for your Thanksgiving hostess.

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint: colors to coordinate with ribbon, I used Linen, Berry Red, Golden Tan, Gold
Aleene's Glue Sticks
Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue
3 paper mache stacking boxes
Paintbrush, foam
Sea sponge
4 metal leaves that have weathered look
Grapevine, small diameter
Toothbrush, old
Garden shears
Ribbons: 1" wide plaid (to coordinate with paint colors), 1" wide solid (to coordinate with plaid), 2" wide with motif (to coordinate with plaid)
Tape measure

How to Make It

1. Paint all box lids and small box bottom Linen, using foam brush. Let dry.

2. Place small puddles of Golden Tan and Berry Red on foil. Wet sea sponge. Wring dry. Dab sea sponge in both colors of paint. Dab off excess on foil. Dab colors on lids. Let dry.

3. Apply accents across raised areas of leaves, using finger dipped in Gold. Let dry. Glue leaves on top of small box. Glue grapevine pieces at center of box. Glue moss to cover ends. Glue pinecone at center.

4. For small box bottom, mix a wash of Berry Red and water. Dip toothbrush bristles in wash. Apply speckles of wash on box, pulling back bristles, using your finger. Let dry.

5. Cut several small pieces from grapevine, using garden shears. Gather pieces together in a small bundle. Tie at center, using plaid ribbon. Make four bunches. Glue bundles on sides of small box, spacing evenly around. Let dry.

6. For medium box bottom, glue 2" wide ribbon around sides. Glue grapevine pieces to cover long edges of ribbon along center of box. Refer to photo.

7. For woven ribbon on large box bottom, measure height and circumference of box. Cut ribbon slightly longer than measurements. NOTE: Number of ribbon pieces will be determined by size of box.

8. Glue one end of each long length on box. Glue lengths from edge to edge of box. Weave short lengths over long lengths. Occasionally, tack in place, using glue. Overlap ends and glue on box.

9. Glue a random pattern of small grapevine pieces into woven ribbon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It seems that November is birthday month and today is a very special day for my family. My brother, David, (my rock) turns 40 - he doesn't like it very much when I tell him I used to change his diaper! I hear Nicki is making him a cake (his request) and they'll spend a quiet evening after a long day at work - we celebrated his birthday in style last Friday night with a not-so-surprise party.

My elementary school bus driver, Mr. Cotta, turned 90 last week!!! I went to visit him in September and all these years later he looks the same! I was at my local Rite-Aid looking for a card for him and to my surprise they had 90th birthday cards and the even shocker was that they had a ton of 100th birthday cards!!!!

Happy Birthday to Carolyn in Texas later this month!

I love living at the coast - it's supposed to be 80 degrees here this weekend and I'm finally getting together with my Walking Buddy, Kathi from Lompoc - I haven't seen her in four years - we used to spend every Monday, Wednesday and Friday walking and sharing our lives, then I moved 3 hours away and our schedules just never linked up to get together. She now lives about an hour away, so we're getting together over the weekend to walk on the beach. And, I had a phone call from a dear friend today and she's coming to play/research one day next week. That means girl time, lunch at our favorite restaurant, catching up and goofing off!!! I can't wait!

I'm helping a friend get her books out to publishers - it's fun doing the research to find just the right places to send them to. Keep your fingers crossed!!! She's a very talented lady and I would absolutely LOVE to see her books in print.

Time for a quick dinner because I'm calling a friend tonight and catching up - we have lots to talk about - it seems to be the right time to reconnect with friends and it makes me thank my lucky stars for my very supportive friends and for my family.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Harvest Table Runner

This touch of Autumn is easy to achieve and will look great on your table!

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint: Chocolate, Golden Tan, Olive, Sunshine Yellow
Stamp, oak leaf
Garbage bag
Table runner, 100% cotton
Sea sponge
Paintbrush, foam

How to Make It
1. Prewash table runner to remove sizing. Do not dry, leave damp. Cover work surface with garbage bag. Lay damp table runner on garbage bag.
2. Place a puddle of each color of paint on foil. Dab damp sponge in one color. Dab a random pattern on table runner. Rinse sponge. Repeat for each color of paint. Add more water and paint until desired watercolor look is achieved. Let dry.
3. Brush Chocolate on stamp, using foam paintbrush. Stamp four leaves in center of table runner, re-applying paint after each stamp. Stamp leaves in corners. Let dry.

That's all there is to it!

Thank you for your sacrifices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Nina

The ship was so very small for a crew of 27!!!

We went to one of my favorite stores in town after we checked out the Nina - it's a garden shop - the fountain was amazing (and amazingly priced at $800!!! ouch!!) It was created from squares of travertine. The pots were made with stones all around it. Not flat, but on their sides.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Nina...
Here's what I'm doing tomorrow - visiting the Nina!!!

Why visit the Niña?
To see a near perfect example of a type of sailing ship — the caravel — of such clean, sculptured, honest design that it was produced for upwards of 125 years. With its Scandinavian style bow and midsection and its combination square and lateen rigging it was probably the best open water sailing vessel of its time — that pivotal time referred to as the Great Age of Discovery.

To stand on the sloping deck of the Niña, as true a replica as will probably ever be built. It was Columbus' favorite ship, the one he very nearly died on in 1493, upon which he ultimately logged more than 25,000 miles.

Today, Sunday - It was a strange day today - I woke up at 6 a.m. and immediately got down to work - it wasn't until about 9 that I realized it was Sunday - I thought it was Monday - I couldn't figure out why no one was returning my emails. And, silly me, hadn't changed my clocks from last weekend, so I was really fouled up! OK, I'm up to speed now - it's Sunday and I know what time it REALLY is!

The reason I was fouled up today was that Friday night was my brother's surprise birthday party and then I came home Saturday afternoon.

A ton of family and friends showed up for David's birthday party held at the local bowling alley. He is a very giving person, always doing for others, so it was so nice to see so many people show up and show him that they appreciate all he does. I made dozens of airplanes made from gum and candy - they were cute favors - they look complicated, but they aren't. I personalized them by printing off a sentiment and gluing it to the wings. I didn't get any photos of them, but you can just type in candy airplanes on the internet and the directions will come up. David wasn't surprised which was a bummer. The whole plan was to tell him that the kids wanted to go bowling and that he and his friends would go to dinner then meet the wives and kids at the bowling alley. My story for being there was that I was going to a planning meeting for my high school reunion cruise. Well, David and his buddies got to the restaurant and David saw the guy that we usually go to his house for the class meetings, so that clenched it for him. It was fun anyway!

I went to Wal-Mart last week to get David's present and found some beautiful curtains and a window scarf - I hadn't been to Wal-Mart in ages, so I was very surprised to find some amazing items to finish up my home.

I made myself a cup of tea one day last week, sat down at the computer and ordered Christmas presents on-line - it's so much easier on the feet and with places like Amazon.com having free shipping - why not?

Today was a nice day to get some things done - I started a 'Things That Bug Me' list - it's those things that never seem to get done - they might take 3 minutes, but...I did a few of them today and it felt good. I also went through my notebook that I started last January - it's where I keep all my financial info, goals and stuff like that. I wasn't as religious as I'd hoped this year in keeping it up, but I did get it out every couple of months and see where I was. Unfortunately, most of the goals I'd set for this year will be the same for 2009 - I have made lots of headway on them, but none are completely done. I feel that as long as I'm doing something to get them accomplished - it's a good thing!

Make this week a fantastic one!