Monday, November 29, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

During the holiday season , E and I like to surprise each other with little gifts or doing special things for each other even more often than the rest of the year. If I am out and find some flavored coffees in a store, I'll pick them up for us, (nothing like Figaro's in Olde Towne in St. Charles, Mo...but good none the less), if he sees a small candle I might like ...just little things like this that make the season a bit more special.

Sat. morning I got up to dozens of roses: beautiful deep red fragrant ones and sunny sweet yellow ones that will bloom for years. We planted them yesterday in the rose garden and they are so lovely.

Yesterday we also got our tree festooned with the sheer and velvet ribbons and the tree topper so the tree is complete. I love putting up the tree and remembering the occasion for buying each of the significant ornaments: the ones we got in New Orleans on our road trip with Steve, DeeDee, Jill, Kelly (can't wait to see you guys in Feb), Geri and Sam; the glass ornaments we got at the Flower Peddler (my favorite shop in St. Charles' Olde Towne), the lovely one we picked up on our first trip to Italy...the list goes on and on.

As joyous as this season is for us and doubly so this year because of our new grandsons, today is a bit bittersweet. We lost my mother 11 years ago today to that monster cancer. She fought a valiant battle. It is hard to believe she is gone at all, her presence remains strong even today in our lives, let alone 11 years. Love you, Mom and Best Friends!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday in a windy Paradise

The palm fronds are at half mast here right now and the temps are on the cool side. E is heating up the hot tub and we'll take our coffee there for a soak. Maybe we can steam some of the congestion out that both of us are experiencing.

We have busy days coming up. Tomorrow we are off to the kids to help them put up their tree and some of their holiday decorations. Monday, we'll go over and E will hand the lights up to Chris so they can get the out door decos up and then I'll watch Landon while Big Daddy and Colvin head to the dr. for a check up on his acid reflux.

Wed. I am cropping with Diane and Jackie at Posh Scraps and hopefully finishing up my Christmas shopping either Tues or Thurs. I keep finding more and more goodies for Pam, Janet, Clare and my Christmas on Captiva Island that we have scheduled for Jan. when Clare is here. But, I am having trouble with my family as they have all been so vague this year about what they want.

We've been enjoying our trees all lit and pretty. We each have our own (old German family custom) plus the big one in the living room.

We've been busy preparing for our Holiday Party too. 'Tis the season!

Hope yours is off to a great start!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to all SEVEN of us

E was king of the kitchen and had several willing assistance: Kristen made her apple tart, Chris and I tag teamed with the green bean casserole and the candied yams, Rob with the mashed potatoes and the King perfected the bird and dressing and we both served appetizers while everything was cooking. I even remembered, at the last moment, to heat the Hawaiian rolls, our family favorite!

and then there were the boys on their first Thanksgiving. I am not sure if was because the new meds for their respiratory infections is making them hyper or the bright lights of the tree, our decorations and the animated figures put them in to over stimulation but the result was the same...they DID NOT want to miss a moment of the day so we spend a lot of time taking walk's in Nana and Papa's garden and rocking in great great grandfather's chair. All in all, they spent more time laughing and playing than they did unhappy.

Our dear family friends, Janet and Bob Miller, gave the boys these darling Turkey bibs. the boys looked so cute in them...many thanks!

Even Uncle Rob did some baby patrol duty and he was such a help during clean up. He really likes his new job and will be moving this weekend as the lease was up on the place he and two others rented. It is he will be 39 in January.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one spent with family and friends and good hunting for Black Friday bargains. I'm going to POSH Scraps for their all day crop guessed it, scrap some of our holiday memories

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our poor little guys have a viral infection

Little Mama gave me a call this morning asking if I could help her get the boys to a dr. apt. at 9...and this Nana went into high gear and arrived well ahead of time. The boys are having trouble fighting the respiratory thing they caught from Big Daddy who is just now starting to feel human again himself.

but Nana got them to smile a little and cuddle.

Headed to Posh to pick up my great niece's Christmas gifts and then to the baby resale store. Found a real bargain...a 'walker' that folds up for easy storage for 23$. Little Mama says the boys love the one she has but right now they are only going backwards...hee like their Nana.

I want to take this opportunity to wish a very blessed Thanksgiving to all of you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks

E and I were talking the other day about counting our blessings. We started a list and here are the first 25


1. our beautiful twin grandsons

2. our kids who live so close: Rob, Kristen, Chris

3. that our kids actually enjoy our company and vice versa

4. that we are married to our best friends, each other.

5. that E's melanoma was excised completely and has shown no signs of returning

6. our journey to healthier living, while a day to day struggle, is successful

7. our friends are supportive and loving our friends are comforting, caring and fun

8. our extended family is not too far away.

9. we live where we do where everything we could want is close at hand

10. the river that runs close by and makes for wonderful vistas on our bike rides and walks

11. that Rob was able to find a good job

12. that Chris is doing so well at school while still working full time

13. that Chris and Kristen are such loving parents to the boys

14. that we have good medical insurance and health care professionals

15. that we have friends both near and far who stay in touch and miss us
(and, of course, we miss them).

16. Weight Watchers that has helped me take off and keep off 30lbs so far and improved my quality of life and helped E to cook more healthy for us.

17. Book Club, Dinner Club and the Wed. crop gals(love you Jackie, Di, and Jean), the Lake Pan gals, and Hilltop women (insert E's pals too ) because they give E and I time apart and time to appreciate each other...besides it gives us new things to talk about.

18. three very special women in my life (my life line to sanity often), the msn coffee group: Clare, Janet and Pam. E and I love all 3 of you

19. that once a month, our many years of teaching in the state of Mo. pays off in the form of a pension check that allows us to live the life we do.

20. no hurricanes this year

21. fresh fruits and veggies so readily available

22. the comfort our old cats bring to us

23. a lovely glass of wine and a good cup of coffee'

24. our spirit of adventure

25. we don't feel as old as we are'

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome to the Weekend here in Paradise

With a few exceptions, we start our weekends here in Paradise by watching the twins on Fridays. Poor little guys have had colds along with Big Daddy. After a rough Thursday night, Little Mama called in sick, went up to school to make sure everything would go smoothly for a sub and, with us watching the boys, was able to get in a few hours of muchly needed sleep.

I remembered when I was young and had a cold, my mother would rub Vicks Vapo on my chest and back and put some in the room in a pan of hot water. The kids have a vaporizer but the new and improved rub doesn't work that way...but it DOES work and I need to buy stock in the company. Baby Rub combines rosemary, eucalyptus and lavender and the boys were breathing much easier when we left and were happier as you can see. We had them out on the kids' lanai in bouncy chairs.

I wish I could have found a bronze frame shadow box for the 3d layout I did of the babies first picture for Kristen's birthday but all the store had was black. I can always use alcohol inks to change the color later if K would like me to. I think it framed up nicely.

Not entirely sure what we are doing the rest of the weekend. We need to get the palm trees wrapped in the red and white lights and I want to get Lucille, my retro tree up here in the work room. We want to heat up the hot tub either this morning after our bike ride or early evening. We've also talked about biking to Miss Vickie's on the river later this afternoon or tomorrow for drinks and music. We are pretty open and time will only tell!

Hope your weekend is a good one!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sale in Paradise

I have been debating on opening an Etsy shop or not. At the crop at Posh the other day, one of the gals asked why I didn't sell my little tote bags and my banners and that got me thinking.

Before I set up the Etsy shop and pay pal account, I am going to do a trial run here on my blog.

The two banners are one of a kinds as are the tote bags. These are all hand dyed trimmed with laces, some vintage, some with French silk ribbons and some with tulle which I dyed along with the tags sets that accompany each of the totes. The totes are 6x6 excluding the handles.

If you are interested in prices, which I am keeping reasonable, please email me at for details or further information. More detailed pictures are available upon request, Thanks for looking.

Monday, November 15, 2010

ACOT reveal for NOV.

This month at A Cherry on Top, I used the Lilac House line of papers and embellishments by Fancy Pants for my reveal. This line offers such a wide range of colors from melon to these soft blue/greens. These are the layouts I did with the blue/greens and I love them. The other two that use more of the soft melons and olive colors are in my reveal at ACOT.

I did this first 3D project for my daughter's birthday. It will go into a 12x12 shadow box for her (thanks to Anna Griffins accordion pleating technique I learned from her at a demo at my first CKU eons ago)

The stickers and chipboard shapes that come with the paper line make layering so easy.

And I could not resist doing a layout for the twins' album with these too. Who said boys layouts can't be soft and pretty?

I'll post some of my other layouts from the crop and from the Posh holiday event tomorrow. I am also going to be putting up some of my gift bags and canvas banners for sale on this blog or my altered art one so stay tuned! and thanks.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What a Weekend!

Our weekend got off to a good start with our day with the boys...there is nothing like two smiling little faces looking up at you with big blue eyes to a)melt your heart b)light up your soul. We headed home to start of Kristen's 35th. Birthday meal which went through several revisions since she can not have any soy in her diet until Colvin out grows his acid reflux problem. Steak, baked potatoes and mixed veggies seemed to set well and the boys were on their best behavior for their mama.

Sat morning was a whirl of packing for my gal pal, Ginni's Lake Pan crop. I had my coffee with Janet and Pam via msn and missed my dear Clare. Then, directions clutched in hand I headed about an hour fifteen north to Ginni's slice of Paradise.

Ginni and her daughter, Christina, put on one heck of a crop. Linda, from Hilltop Memories was the store in residence and the dear Kathy L was there too...along with two ladies I had never met but sure heard all about...Anne and Sharon from Pensacola! What a delight to finally meet Anne who is as funny and warm and friendly as everyone had told me she was and to meet her multi-talented dearest friend, Sharon. Hope this is just the first time you all make it a bit south to crop. Such a pleasure to meet you both.

Linda and Ginni had stayed up til the wee hours the night before chatting and we did an instant replay the night I was there. And the hot topic...babies! Too funny...who ever thought I'd be like this? lol

I got up about 7 this morning, chatted with Pam and Janet briefly and headed home. I got a bit turned around finding the high way south but a nice gentleman dressed in chamo helped me and called me ma'am! It was a beautiful ride home...dissipating fog, blue skies, slight breeze and the majestic oaks and pines that line the high way.

My sweetie was waiting and we chatted a bit before I showered, dressed and headed up to the second day of the Posh Scraps' Holiday Workshop. I helped out where I could, got to visit with my friends, Jean and Jackie and firmed up our plans for Black Friday...Michele, the cute and talented owner of POSH is having a Black Friday crop and I'd so much rather hang out and scrap with my girlfriends than sit in a parking lot of some super store at 3 am waiting to maybe get a deal. I did this (and with great joy) with the kids when they would come down to visit us when we lived in Ft. Myers...I'm ready for something else now.

The grand total of layouts this weekend: 5 complete, 2 needing titles, journaling.
Projects, 4 complete...3 dyed and embellished canvas gift bags and one stamped and embroidered Christmas Santa on canvas.

E and I hit the hot tub with a lovely glass of merlot and soaked away our cares. He got down most of our extensive Christmas decor while I was gone and caught us up on laundry...KEEPER for sure.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Delicious Dozen

It was a full house last night for Book Club, and it was such fun to see some of our "winter" members back. The wine tasting was a delight as each shared either a memory or info about the winery or the type of wine with us. And thanks to Nancy who so generously shared her wine from Missouri that Sandy brought back from her travels this summer, I got to 'return home' for a bit. The evening was warm enough that we had the appetizers, the tastings and the book discussion on the lanai under the crescent moon and the stars. And Emily's dessert wine with our dessert (E's famous apricot glazed toasted walnut brownies was the perfect ending to our meeting. Thanks to all of you.

I have been attempting to finish off some layouts that I have in my "incomplete" bin and put the finishing touches on both of these last Wed. at POSH. The first is Calvin and the second one is of Landon.

We held a contest up at POSH to help me title this one of Landon and the winner got a ten dollar gift certificate to the store. Great title, huh?

and last but by no means least, my baby, Kristen, aka Little Mama was born 35 years ago today...sure doesn't seem that long ago. We have Nana and Papa day today and when Chris gets home from work, Kristen , Chris and the twins will be coming over for supper...happy birthday dear daughter. I love you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The week is racing by...

Chris came over Tues and helped E put up the holiday lights. All went well even though E did get up on the ladder. What is it about men and ladders? We watched the boys while Chris went to a study group for a big test that was scheduled in one of his classes and we had such fun with the boys.

There is nothing sweeter than sleeping babies.

When Kristen came by after she got off work to pick up the boys, we surprised her with new outfits we got them at a sale we attended on Monday. We had her stay for supper and it was good to visit!

Yesterday, I met Di, Jackie (home and relaxed from her wonderful cruise with her hubby), Katherine and her friend, Dianne for scrap time at Posh Scraps and then out to lunch at Jack Willie's Tiki Bar and Restaurant in Oldsmar. The tide was just coming in so we watched a huge school of catfish in the canal in a feeding frenzie
of tiny bait fish. And a large bird developed a huge crush on Jackie and kept siding closer and closer to her. We all had our favorites, beer battered shrimp and grouper and shared an order of the seasoned crispy fries that we adore. Beautiful weather and good times with fun ladies.

We had company drop by for cocktails. It was such a lovely evening, we entertained by the pool.

Hope you are having a great week!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Love where I live

Yesterday morning, we biked early. It was cool and crisp and felt like autumn especially since someone along the Trail had a fire going in either their fireplace or in an outdoor fire pit. Our bike ride generally takes us through the Anclote River preserve, over the Anclote River, into town and back...a round trip of about 5 miles. When we hit the bridge that spans the river, the tide was out further than I had ever seen it before and a bevy of birds were holding some kind of breakfast meeting. There were woodstorks, ibis, and my favorite, rosette spoon bills...I love their pink plumage. Now I ask this the place to live or what?

I get extra Nana smooch time this week with the twins. Their daddy is bringing them over tomorrow and will help E put up the holiday lights on the high eaves of the house. Having fallen off more than a ladder or two, E has been banned from them and the roof. This is the only time Chris has to help us so we're taking advantage of it. Then Chris will head off to study for a big test and we'll keep the boys until Little Mama picks them up after her school gets out.

Wed. is crop day with my pals at POSH...and I just finished up one of the last of my projects for the store's Christmas Extravaganza which will be held this coming Sat and again on Sunday. Wed., I'll be working on my last layout for ACOT reveal which is the 15th. And I need to put the finishing touches on my tutorial for Gingersnaps Creations which goes live on the blog on the 22nd.

Thursday is Book club here at my house and, in keeping with the book we read for this month, The Mondavi Family, we are having a mini wine tasting. Friday is my daughter's 35th. birthday (hey, aren't I only 45?), Sat. I am off to Ginni's crop and Sunday doing a stint at Posh!.

Never a dull moment! Hope your week is a good one

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Lovely Sat

The very talented Laura Fiore and I worked the 9-11 am shift together at ACOT yesterday. She took charge of the fast scrap (a challenge that must be completed at the end of that hour) and I posted our challenge which has until Tuesday as a deadline. Our challenge was to scrap one's "secret passion" for a Book of Me album.

I have come by my love of hats, the bigger and more elaborate the better, through my grandmother who worked in a hat factory before she and my grandfather married She loved hats and it was rare she left the house without one. One of favorite photos I have of her is when she was a young girl of sixteen or seventeen wearing a huge hat with a feather plume placed at a jaunty angle. Simply lovely.

While I only own a couple of beach hats myself, I never turn down a chance to try on a hat. I just wish I looked as good in them as my grandmother did.

After my shift yesterday at the cyber crop, E and I hit the hot tub. It was too windy for fire in the fire pit so after lunch, he cranked up the heat and we shared a glass of wine in the late afternoon under cloudless blue skies. Just as we were ready to get out, two beautiful eagles soared right over the cage of our lania...what a sight!

Today I am teaching a class at the cyber crop from ten am to eleven. We will be making a vintage NOEL banner using the Maya Road canvas pieces, ribbons, lace, flowers and any other foo foos the gals select for their banners. Come on by.

E and I have plans to bike to the Farmer's Market here in town after my class is over. The Market has just reopened and we are hoping the bakery guy and the seafood man are both back from last year...they are simply the best.

Hope your weekend has been a good one!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Cropping at A Cherry on Top

Yesterday, the November crop at ACOT got off to a great start with Pam, the DT Coordinator, posting the first challenge to the board. Scrap with Sassafrass Lass papers for a big prize. Sass Lass sent all of us on the Dt generous packages with which to scrap and here is my layout.

This is my son-in-law, Chris, and his first pineapple that he grew from scratch. It was a little one but Chris was so proud!

Janet M and I had the four to six pm shift and hope all the members had as much fun as we did. Our challenge (#2 for the crop) was based on an ad we found in a Southern Living magazine. It incorporated lots of "white space" and I generally shy away from that for some reason. It was a good challenge for me as well.

And here is my layout for the challenge. I am sure Janet will have hers up on her blog, "Never knowing where I am" and you can access that through my blog list to the right.

Today, the amazing Ms Laura F and I have the nine to eleven shift and have we got some fun things planned. I am teaching a vintage NOEL banner class at ten on Sunday. It is not to late to come on over to ACOT and participate. There are great prizes and wonderful fellowship! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The first song that plays

on my blog is one of my favorites from eons ago. Long long ago when my first husband and I were still together we ( I )planned a trip out west for us and the kids. We had bought an over the cab camper for our pick up and headed WEST as soon as school was out for the kids and me. Kristen had to be about 4 and Rob, may be going on 8. We left St.Louis and headed west. The further into the mountains of the Rockies we got, the more I felt like I had come 'home'. We camped beside swift running cold streams, taught the kids how to pan for gold and built campfires in parks. This song but by Gordon Lightfoot, was one I played over and over when it was my turn to drive.

One night outside of some mountain ski resort in Colorado, we went to a small restaurant in town. The town lights glowed softly and even in June there was a dusting of snow glistening on the stream that ran through the town.

Late that night, as I tucked the kids in and climbed up into the over the cab bed, this song embedded itself in my soul.

Funny how songs trigger memories for us isn't it?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Another lovely day at POSH SCRAPS

Our pal, Jackie is braving the storm in the Caribbean, so it was just Di, Katherine and me today at Posh. I gave Michele the things I created with her amazing Christmas Event box (still more to come) and was glad she liked them.

Di is working on a wedding album for her sister, Katherine was working on recipe cards and I was working on my reveal for ACOT. I am already for the upcoming crop this weekend (be there or be square...lots of prizes, fun and inspiration.

We have cooler weather in our forecast and I say bring it on...I've been so wanting to put a fire in the fire pit, grab a nice glass of pinot and watch the evening come upon us. Now if the rain will just hold off, we may add in the hot tub. We did in the pool a couple of days ago and all I can say is Thank Heavens for solar panels! lol.

Hope you are having a great Wed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Two very very cute Trick or Treaters came to our house yesterday and we had the best time with them. Of course, they can't have the candy but their tricks were lots of fun.

Little Mama and Big Daddy brought over an uncarved pumpkin and we opened it up for the boys to smell and touch. It was pretty hard to say if they liked it or not but both seemed interested to the extent they plunged their little hands into the goo and seemed to want to eat the

We changed them out of their costumes on the bed where I took the first shot of them and I think we have two budding little naturalists on our hands. They seem to like being sans clothes the best.

Hope your Halloween was a good one!