Friday, August 12, 2011

Roller Coaster Realty

Roller Coaster - say what? (hat tip to Ohio Players - I'm a 70's kid, what can I say?)

They say you only get hurt on a roller coaster if you jump off. I'm just enjoying the ride since at least this adds some excitement to our empty nest lives. Smile. Here's the latest on the house. Last night after 2 days of - offer / counter offer / response to counter offer we accepted the buyers offer. We went to bed excited and nervous that we had just agreed to be out in 30 days. We have no place to go but planned to look at a place with tons of character at 10 a.m. this morning. Got to work early this morning and received an email from our realtor explaining that the buyers, who hammered us for a great deal, talked over night and got cold feet. They are canceling.

Hands up everyone? Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Make It Your Own

Sunday morning is for muffins, well at least today it is. Do you have a Trader Joe's store near you? I admit to loving TJ's. No, they don't have everything but the scale of the store and the products they carry make shopping decisions manageable. Okay - enough of a plug for TJ's - back to muffins, right?
This handy little mix Triple Berry Bran Muffin mix is a delight and I've found with this mix you have the opportunity to safely and successfully add some delicious ingredients. It already includes dried cranberries, raspberries and another berry that escapes me right now - 'doh! This week I had some organic Santa Rosa plum from a local farm. I took one plum and diced it and then folded it in just before filling the muffin tin. Talk about moist muffins - talk about delicious goodness - this is a great way to add even more good stuff into your diet. I did this a few weeks back with apricots when they were in abundance. Fabulous. Again, this couldn't be simpler and the effect is a muffin you can be proud to serve the family or bring to the office to share with your work peeps, too.
P.S. This is one of those rare mixes that actually makes a full 1 dozen muffins.
Be well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I really hesitate to call it downsizing because we really have yet to actually downsize our homes in terms of square footage. We did attempt a downsize when we moved here in November of 2009 but we got a really good deal and really just downsized our payment but not the home or lot size. That being said we are ready for our next move where we will go smaller on both the payment and the footprint this time (we'll try anyway - good deals are everywhere!).

Hubby and I have taken a long hard look at our financial situation and although it is not too bad, it could and should be better. We are not really prepared for a worst case scenario like a job loss. Are you? We have recently been introduced to the smart guidance of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and both hubby and I are in alignment on having an emergency fund and eliminating our debt. Now please know Dave does not start by telling people to sell their homes. Ha! In our case we just realized that we have more house than we need and if we did reduce that we would have a whole lot more money to apply to other debt and to save for retirement. We figure that with good health we have about 15 more years to work - that's it. Also, we want to start traveling more when we have vacation time and we are a little cash strapped for any major trips.

That brings me to this: Tada! Our house is on the market. Yes, it is all cleaned up and model-home pretty, right down to the glass bowl of fresh lemons on the kitchen table. :-) It seems we are living in some level of suspended animation so that we are ready, at the ring of the phone, to make a quick exit and allow home buyers (complete strangers) to come trudging through our home with their RE Agent. God, I hate this part!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blushing Blouse - Finis!

My dressed up and more romantic take on the same peasant blouse pattern I used for the vintage gingham - peasant top is finally finished. I blogged about this blouse back in May and never thought it would take me this long to complete. I live a full life - what can I say? Ha ha! I do love that one pattern produced two lovely tops with completely different looks. Now that's value! Adding to that value, the two fabrics I used were dirt cheap. The green and white jumbo gingham check was thrifted and the beautiful blush crepe was red-tagged at Joanne's - a steal. Will I be packing this little gem for my September Las Vegas trip - you betcha!

How are you stretching your fashion budget during this recession/ near depression?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Windsong and White Shoulders

Today's momentary passion is a memory - a memory my nose remembers best. Windsong perfume, by Prince Matchebelli and White Shoulders, by Evyan of New York city, are two signature fragrances worn by my late mother, Caroline. When a girl of 19 loses her mother she has but her memories to carry her a lifetime. It's amazing how the mind, body and senses work together to ensure we do not forget those who go before us. I had not thought about these fragrances in a long time but something in this hot summer day clicked and there I was digging around the WWW doing a little research. When I happened upon an image of the very regal "crown" bottle of Windsong there was surprise and instant recall of this bottle on a dresser top from my childhood. It might even be my grandmother's dresser top. Of course most folks my age remember that ...Windsong stays on your mind. Commercial from the early 70's drilled that into us. :-)

The fact is although I have memories of both fragrances, White Shoulders is what I think of most when I think of mom in the summertime. Never overpowering, lightly floral with a fresh bathed crispness and a bit of sexy base notes. LOL! Readers should be warned I haven't a clue how to describe fragrances - it's hard enough to try to keep up with my wine snob friends and their descriptions. Others in bloggy-land are more experienced in the history of fragrances and I will hook you up here to a fabulous post by Amelia about this truly American perfume over at The Vintage Perfume Vault.

Created in 1940 this perfume is considered to be one of the most desired and successful of all American perfumes. It was war time and Americans wanted to spend their money on things made here at home. Hmmm - something sounds familiar.

I'm simply going to have to smell some White Shoulders fragrance today - somewhere. I will search out a Sephora if I have to; it's hard to explain, but I may even need to buy some White Shoulders today. If you think about how fashions come back in style it is not a stretch to imagine that the accompanying fragrances regain popularity as well especially when they remind of of better times.

P.S. The formatting of this post has been a battle today - for no apparent reason. Ug!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Evil Eye on the 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July to all my bloggy friends! This is a big day here in the U.S.A. and one we love to celebrate outdoors with family or friends. Soon we will head over to a nearby friends yard for some BBQ ribs . I can smell them from here! Actually the day has been very low key but it's hard to party hearty on a Monday - tomorrow work beckons. Plus - it's so hot outside this weekend. Whew!

Yesterday Hubby, Lo and I ventured to the Alameda Point Antique Faire where I made a fun necklace purchase. There were rows and rows of fabulous things at this once-a-month affair; but even there by the water, with a clear view of San Francisco, the heat got us and we didn't stay long.

Almost at once my attention was caught by a stall with a great gob of jewelry - stones of every color catching the morning sun - run by an old mother in a pink straw hat and her adult son. Nothing was tagged with a price and so each thing that interested you was put before the Mama and she inspected it and offered you her price. The second necklace I put forth for "pricing" was this cute $15 glass bead fish necklace that just screamed summer to me. I was a bit hesitant when she surprised me by sliding in her little, "It's a Turkish evil eye necklace", comment. I swallowed hard. I mean who needs to invite trouble, right? Thankfully she jumped right back with, "It wards off evil from the wearer - keeps it at bay". I said, "Oh, great - of course. I'll take it for $13"! Sold.

So don't mess with me - I have Mama's Evil Eye necklace on this Independence Day. Ha!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Everything Is Coming Up Roses

Here are some pictures of my roses as they emerged from slumber this Spring. I meant to post them sooner but life got in the way. :-)

I shot them in morning light with just my handy iPhone 4 camera but apparently their beauty won't be denied. These roses came with the house a couple of years back when we moved in so I don't know their exact names. I also have a yellow rose that is very fragrant but was not performing on this particular morning.

I L O V E roses!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mid-Century fashion love

I have been smitten by fashion since I can ever remember. My mother was a beautiful woman with fabulous taste in clothes. As a youngster there were always Glamour magazines around the house and when it came late summer my mother always bought Seventeen - the college issue as well as Glamour, Mademoiselle (is that even around any longer?) and of course the biggie - Vogue Fall issue. In fact checking I find Mademoiselle left us in 2001. Truth is all the women in my family knew how to put a terrific outfit together including my aunt and grandmother. They were not wealthy people but they had great taste and knew when to add the pearls, a rhinestone broach, a patent leather belt or a smart alligator bag. I have amazing memories of these days - particularly the 60's and early 70's.

My grandmother made a lot of square dance dresses - mostly before I was born - but they were still in use and filled the extra closet when I was little. I loved the colors and texture of the petticoats and the braids and rickrack trimming. I took sewing as part of Home Ec. in Junior High School and also took it as a summer class. Back in April I blogged about being inspired to sew again and I've been taking an informal class on Tuesday nights which I love.

Well I just discovered Recollection, by Irish designer Sandra Murphy through a fabulous interview on Collete Patterns written by Kirsten. Recollection is described in one phrase as: New Clothes With Old Soul. I love that! Sandra even creates all of her own prints so you won't see them elsewhere and she is making all of these garments in the U.S. which I do love. She is also feeds that trend committed to fewer, quality garments, over a closet full of masses of "cheap disposable clothes". I wish her great success. Take a moment to check out her web site where she is featuring her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. You can click on Looks to see individual shots but don't miss the video showing of the same line - really creative. I think you will agree that these are lovely designs and quite wearable. It makes me want a job in the big city (San Francisco) again as I had in my late 20's and early 30's. Of course I'd like to be in my late 20's and early 30's again, too! I might look a little more like the stunning model Valareia Eva. I have to tell you - her hair is the greatest isn't it...I can do that. Ha ha!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life happens!

Happy Monday,

I will return to create future posts, but for a short while life has been very busy. Please stay tuned - old friends visited from Oklahoma, my youngest graduated from college (handsome guy at left) and there was a big party to plan and execute in celebration of this. Of course there was a couple weeks of household and yard projects to prepare for the grand event. Whew!

Also - I am pleased to report that summer weather is finally here in Northern California - so there is that! Peace.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A good night's sleep

It's been told to me that you spend a third of your life in bed. Maybe I heard that on a mattress commercial rather than from some scientific study but it's right there in the front of my head - a third of your life in bed. Well if I do - its wasted time because I don't have a great track record for sleeping. Sincerely some of our greatest family stories have an element of - remember when Mom hadn't slept in days...? Anyway, our 12 year old Simmons Beautyrest pillow-top mattress had pooped out. Hubby and I agreed it was time to stop sleeping in two valleys separated by a rise that divided us in our old California King bed.
But mattress shopping is the worst thing. It's an impossible decision and an expensive purchase. We've had good success with some major purchases through QVC especially because they have that 30 day unconditional money-back satisfaction guarantee. This gave us the confidence to order the Sleep Number bed when it came on as a special value of the day. Boom! We ordered the Cal King. How easy was that? We quickly ran to the mall to try them out in the store but they never have the exact model you purchased since they make exclusive versions for different deals. No apples to apples for us - nice. Well in the 10 mins. we spent in the store it seemed like they were comfortable, customizable and that we got the best price from QVC. We waited.

The day our new Sleep Number system arrived hubby put our mattress and box springs on Craigslist for free, with photos showing - no stains. To know hubby is to know he's a bit against the prospect of anything else landing in his garage for storage - space being at a premium and all. If we don't need it - get rid of it! As soon as he hit enter the phone started ringing. We had to remove the add within 20 mins. The family drove about 80 miles to get the set and was very happy - as were we. Now to assemble this "sleep system". I can't say it was easy - kind of a pain really. There were a few hair raising moments when a hammer had to be employed (not recommended by the instruction guide btw). Hubby likes the hammer. :-) We started sleeping on the new bed that night and for 3 weeks we tried to find our personal sleep numbers. Hubby did better than I did. The two sides operate independently and if you like a soft bed the appearance of the bed when you are not in it is sloppy and low profile. It just kept feeling like a bad hotel bed to me. It had to go back - but what next?

A friend told me about a place in Berkeley, CA called European Sleep Works. I'm thinking - that can't be cheap! I called QVC to ensure I was within the 30 days to return our bed and apologized repeatedly to the customer service agent saying, "We really wanted this to work...never thought we'd have to return it..." I will tell you they are really terrific. don't hesitate to buy something from QVC - they stand behind their guarantee. Love those guys! Hubby and I spent about 90 mins at European Sleep Works last Saturday and knew immediately that this was where we'd find our bed. First of all if you know me at all you know I was already freaked out about a new bed because of the chemicals & gasses a new bed emits - all that fire retardant crap. People do get sick when they get new carpet or new mattresses. Not sure how the government is helping us there?? The mattresses at this place were made in Southern CA using parts imported from Europe. They get around the fire retardant regulation by using wool - a natural fire retardant and a very cooling material in the top layer. So we're talking coils designed and manufactured in Germany, organic wool, organic cotton, natural foam rubber, wood - no evil components made in a laboratory. Yes! If interested I've linked to their site - it would take too long to cover it all here. We were sold. Boom! That was easy.
Do you wonder what we are presently sleeping on? The UPS guy picked up the 5 boxes containing the Sleep Number system yesterday and the European Sleep Works bed is scheduled to arrive on June 7. Yeah, that was a bummer, but hey, they are making our order - kind of like In-n Out Burger. Good things are worth the wait. :-)

See photo for our temporary bedding - Queen size Aerobed carefully placed on the horizontal bed frame slats inside our Cal. King 4 poster frame. Hubby and I get in together - no false move, I'm telling you, or you could get bounced right out. Ha!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blushing Blouse

I decided to do a dressier and more romantic take on the peasant blouse pattern I used for the vintage gingham - peasant top which I blogged about earlier.
This of course being my entree back into the world of garment sewing. I know, I know, I told you the next challenge was going to be that adorable button-down shirtwaist dress but - what can I say? I'm chicken! :-) I also wanted to learn to work with something other than flat cotton and so in this case I have a blush colored (all the rage, right?) georgette fabric and I'm placing vertical lace on the front. I learned to change the needle on my machine since the delicate fabric warrants that. Easy peasy! This is progress. I like the idea of getting two completely different looks from the same pattern. One will be a fun Saturday afternoon at the wine festival top and the other a beautifully shear, drapey and sexy blouse to wear over a camisole with a straight skirt and some great pumps. It could also peak through a sharp business suit giving it the feminine touch it needs.
Okay, it's in- progress as you can see by the photo. You know, I can't say enough about the sewing class / club I'm participating in. If you are new to sewing you must hook up with some other ladies - preferably one should be very experienced and available to pop around to assist where needed. The plan is to complete this next week. Cheers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I haven't posted in a few weeks and so much has happened in the world since then. The evil, dreaded, hated, Most- Wanted, Osama (now apparently Usama) bin Laden is dead. Ding, dong! Now before you move away from this page, I promise this is not another political blog-spot. I actually don't think the killing of the most wanted man in the world is a political event at all and I'm thrilled it's something our country can come together on - perhaps begin to heal. I know - probably - wishful thinking. A girl can dream, right?

Anyway, today's post is really about the day - Mother's Day. Specifically it's a little homage to my Mom who passed away in 1981 - so long ago. My mother was a natural beauty. She was also a real lady and I'm forever grateful for the grace and poise that she modeled for me. This woman, my mom, could put an outfit together such that every head turned when she entered a party, arrived at church or even showed up at work. I'm not talking about crazy kooky outfits, I'm talking about classic elegance - like Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn. Keep in mind the bias of the writer here! Of course there were the years when, for some unknown reason, woman's wigs were popular. LOL - when I look back at some of our family photo's (1 in this post) and see her and her sister (Aunt Mary Ann) in those wigs, I just have to smile. Again, they were very in at the time. You could not get me to squeeze my head into one of those today - times change.

I'm sure my mother was very worried about my tomboyish childhood ways. I was not exactly known as graceful. In fact I had a friend whose mother nicknamed me, Grace, because of how often I seemed to trip over my own two feet. Nice lady, right? I was larger than other girls my age. I'm grateful for all the times Mom tapped me in a public place and whispered, "put your legs together". Remember in the 60's little girls wore dresses on a regular basis. Seriously, when I moved schools from one town to the next in about 1969 I saw some girls wearing pants at school for the first time. It was not even allowed at the public school I attended for 1 - 3rd grade. Of course knowing me and knowing I would head right to the monkey bars at recess my mother always ensured I wore shorts under my dresses. :-)

Cancer took my mother and robbed her of her best years. I have an older brother and a younger sister and I know how lucky and incredibly grateful I am that she was around long enough to show me how to be a mother. We won't go into dates and ages but suffice to say I was a young mother myself and my Mom was invaluable to me in initially supporting me and welcoming this family addition. She got to be a Grandma (called Nannie - grandma sounded too old!) and that meant so much to her. She threw me the best baby shower I've ever attended - to this day. It was one helluva party! There must have been 30 women there and we even had lemon custard ice cream rosettes. She helped me with absolutely everything those first couple of years.

I never really liked this holiday since my Mom passed away but over the years I began to think of this day as a day to pull out an old photo - dust off some precious memories - and never forget where I come from. And on occasion, when I arrive at an event and heads turn, I think of her and all she taught me about putting a tasteful and fashionable outfit together.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Karen's favorites

There are three things I can't start my day without. Two of them are from Arbonne and if you aren't familiar you're really missing out. Arbonne is not new but in my area it's fairly new to me. Their products are phenomenally made and who doesn't love their tag line - pure, safe, beneficial. That's says it all for me. I used to just pick-up my cosmetics and personal products at the big-box store but after studying nutrition I understand what you put on your skin really does enter your system. So that is my plug and if you are more curious you can contact Lauren who is a very helpful Arbonne rep at and visit the main site -

1) Awaken body lotion - put this on right after you towel dry out of the shower. It disappears quickly into your skin and leaves you moistened and soft all day long without any greasy feeling. It's great for guys, too as the scent is very lightly citrus / earthy. Hubby loves it!

2) The Arbonne eye shadow formula is the best I've ever tried. I can't live without the color Sand - a great neutral - never creases or falls into wrinkles like some shadows can do.

3) fresh Sugar Lemon Eau de Parfum spray is the BEST! fresh is the brand and their tag line is Feel Good Beauty. I do feel good when wearing it. :) This company introduced using sugar as an essential ingredient in their skin and body calories. Ha! You can find their products at Sephora stores. Stop in to smell something delicious soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Gingham - peasant top

Ta-da! This is the big reveal. I am feeling really excited about this little addition to my summer wardrobe.

If you remember back to my earlier post on March 28. Mena over at Sew Weekly inspired me to do something with my stash. My stash included a pattern of some cute peasant style tops I've had in the closet for years. Then on a fun thrifting jaunt with my daughter I snatched up some green - big bold vintage green gingham checks that is.
To be honest I plucked two cute fabrics that day totaling 5+ yards at total price of just over $2.50. I intended to make a cute dress with the solid green linen-like cotton but the darn buttonholes kicked my butt. I even had hubby in the dining room helping me sort through all my "extra" parts that came with my sewing machine (a long time ago) that I never ventured to experiment with - namely those required for buttonholes and zippers. We had the parts and the instructional guide open, reading, reading... Yes - I was the poster child of the straight-stitch, but hey, over the years I made a lot of darling curtains, tablecloths, quilt tops, baby blankets and pullover Halloween costumes without ever needing these attachments.

But now - at nearly 50 years of age - I wanted more. I wanted to stop avoiding the patterns that really appealed to me, and yet here I was stuck, frustrated and feeling low. Now I had blogged about that dress with buttons down the front so I had to meet the challenge. I decided to take a little break and use the gingham to meet the stash challenge and make a peasant top for summer. This would boost my sense of accomplishment, right?
Imagine my surprise when after cutting out the pattern I read the step-by-step instructions and did a double-take when I saw ...mark the buttonholes! What? Buttonholes? Where, oh where, could a pullover peasant blouse with drawstring neckline require buttonholes? It turns out the two openings that you feed the draw string through are actually buttonholes. Time to meet the challenge head on.
After asking a few friends - quilters - no help. I found a Sewing Center in a neighboring town where I took my machine in to complain it would not make buttonholes. It must need repairs or adjustments I told the woman at the register. Immediately she identified that I did not have my bobbin installed correctly - I was red faced with embarrassment but she was so kind. She talked about a "get to know your machine" class coming up in May. May? I told her I know my machine very well, just not the buttonhole attachments. LOL. Long story short she invited me that very night to an ongoing open workshop style class where people work on their own projects every Monday night, and she is there and available to call on for help. She felt very confident she could help me learn to make a buttonhole with my own machine.
Well friends, the rest is history as you can see by the pictures. I made two small and perfect buttonholes - easy peasy! Thank you Nancy! I even had the correct foot all along but just couldn't identify it from the instruction photo's. I plan to continue with the Monday night workshops - it reminds me of the sewing part of high school Home-Ec which is a fond memory for me. Some of the other ladies have been coming for 8+ years! I'm really pleased with how the little top came out and I really love the cotton crocheted lace trim.
Next project - the button down shirt waist dress.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

41 Years Ago Today

Today I was struck by the fact that in 1970 the movie Midnight Cowboy starring John Voight and Dustin Hoffman was awarded 3 Academy Awards - Best Picture - Best Director - Best Screenplay. It remains the only X Rated film to receive an Oscar. That just jumps out at you - X rated film. I am fairly certain that the ratings have softened and that this movie would no longer carry the same rating. Have you seen it? It really is a touching tale of the unlikely friendship of two down and out souls, Joe Buck from Texas and Rico Rizzo from the Bronx. It's one of those movies that sticks with you. The music is also phenomenal with the great John Barry composing the theme.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beekman Love

I got my order in! I can't wait to receive the jars of Cajeta from Beekman 1802. Honestly, I had never even heard the term Cajeta until this week. It's a thick goats milk caramel sauce. The Beekman Boys have their own goats at the farm. I'll confess here to my fondness for the Fabulous Beekman Boys show. I get to live out one of my alternative dreams (you may have seen my older post ...Somewhere in Texas there is a Blueberry Farm With My Name on It) through them - actually it looks pretty rough, so better "the boys" than me. Grin. The show is sweet and it's a recently discovered guilty pleasure of mine thanks to on-demand from Comcast and a few days spent resting my back. I also have a small personal connection in that hubby and I took our family to Sharon Springs, NY to stay at a B & B there while we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in the mid 90's. It's such a beautiful area of NY and we had a view of the Hudson Valley from our balcony - stunning.
Back to the Cajeta - I'm particularly excited about the Hot Habanero variety - ordered 2 of those. I'll bring it to a Friday night gathering with friends. One of our friends has a habit of making delicious ice cream from scratch and this will be a perfect topping to try with friends.

If you have on-demand I encourage you to reach out and perhaps try something that isn't on at a time you normally watch TV, something that might not be something you would typically watch. There is always Billy The Exterminator for more mindless entertainment - come on - Billy rocks, you know it. Ha ha!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pattern Selected

This is just a quick update to mention that I found a pattern to use with that solid green fabric you saw in my Thrifty Discovery post. I love this pattern and it should be a challenge for me as well. It's been more than a decade since I attempted buttonholes and those feature prominently in this adorable dress. So here you have it - drum roll...........Butterick B5600! Wish me luck!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Bold Vintage Checks

Boy, the sun is out and my creative juices are flowing. I'm currently passionate about the sewing scene. I'm talking about - pulling from your stash or finding the fabric at thrift shops or rummage sales and the same for the patterns. I've been bitten for a while, ever since I discovered the amazing Mena over at Sew Weekly . She really sets the bar high but I've also seen through her weekly challenges that there are a lot of other gals out there in the Sew Weekly Community that are so into this. The UK ladies and their Charity Shop finds really knock me out! I've been afraid to get started but just this past weekend I found an unbeatable deal on this green gingham check. I know - I noticed how large that check is as well, but I'm not deterred. I also found 3 yds. of some solid green cotton/linen fabric. It is more substantial and weighty than the check. What to make - what to make? Now if I'm honest I'd admit that I already have a stash of patterns and fabric in my craft closet. OK - I do - you caught me. Ha! These patterns range from pillows and bedspreads to 80's jumpers and pajama pants. I'm on the lookout for a pattern of a Spring/Summer sundress or top. I have two possible pattern choices from my own stash and I think they have possibilities if I add trim or perhaps some handmade flowers. I may do a little more rummaging around before deciding. I'm looking to Anthropologie for inspiration because basically they use a lot of simple patterns for blouses and dresses and it's more about the fabrications they use, the color combinations and the details in stitching that make these items so current. After all, I've invested $3.50 in fabric and expectations are high! I'd love to hear from you in comments if you have any ideas for me. Keep in mind - I'll be 50 soon so I do need a certain level of classic in my wardrobe though I have a young spirit. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thrifty Discovery

You have to be in the mood to go thrifting but I must say I'm in the mood more often than not. My main problem is time; I work Mon. - Fri. and a lot of the quirky / bargain-filled thrift shops aren't open evenings. Not every trip's a success and I can sometimes spend an hour or more in one shop, struggling to make a decision and leaving empty handed. Thankfully I do enjoy the hunt. Yesterday, as luck would have it, I left work a bit early to make a doctor visit and traffic was in my favor. I ended up having 30 mins. to spare within 3 city blocks of a thrift shop. After the long day of sitting and the commute back to my town I justified the stop as a way to stretch my legs and troubled back before more sitting at the Dr. I was convinced. Ha! With the pressures of the clock and the poor track record of this particular shop - I had my doubts but - Ta Dah! - lookie what I found.
I'm pretty excited about this look for Spring. My 26 year old daughter is bananas over a little cardigan she just got in this exact mustard yellow - won't she be impressed. I can't believe the cute necklace I found at the register to compliment this top. I can do a lot of things with this wardrobe addition. Total cost for both - $5.00! Have you had similar success? Please share in the comments.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Exciting Crochet

Recently I have fallen in love with some fabulous blogs that feature delicious crochet projects. The world of blogging has exposed the talents of so many fabulous people around the globe. I mean, in days gone by I would discover new techniques, styles and colors by taking an occasional trip to the city library and hanging out around Call # 764.43x. The thing is - a lot of the books contained the traditional patterns for everything - rectangle. I have now made at least 127 rectangle projects - big and small. Ha! I would often be jealous of the projects that appeared in the knitting books vs. those for crochet. If you are looking for something thick and boxy - try crochet. If you want something light and lacy, suitable for wearing - you better knit.

Well cancel that thought - the sky seems to be the limit when you look at some of my favorite bloggers. I am so inspired by their limitless imagination and their fabulous ability to pick exciting color schemes for their projects. I will highlight one of my imaginative favorites here -
Attic 24. Lucy describes herself as a happily married stay at home Mum - beautiful, right? That's a picture of her amazing sweet granny blanket posted here. It is reminiscent of my first granny blanket, which I made as a young teenager, but I never imagined such bright and fun colors when I selected my pastel pink, yellow and white creation. Maybe those yarns weren't even available at the time. :-) Though her blog's entire focus is not crochet (life has so much to offer, right?) she has made so many "happy" projects and I can't help but smile when I see what she is working on over there in England! I am really excited about starting something new soon and this Japanese flower scarf looks fab!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dipping a toe into Pilates

Risking another failure I am stepping out and signing up for some Pilates classes at a small local studio in my downtown area. Yesterday I spent 30 mins. with the owner and she led me through about 4 exercises on the reformer (pictured at left). I had to admit it was hurting my lower back to just lie so flat on it. Right away I noticed it was my lacy underpants that were pressing into the skin of my butt causing the pain -OMG can you believe it? The instructor confirmed that you need to choose your clothing wisely for comfort. Note to self - there are clothes for this - time to hit my local Target. Grin.
On this rainy Saturday morning I actually attended my first class - class size limited to 4 since the studio is petite and there are just 4 reformers. Hey - it went well! My secret weapon was a thong under my leggings - Ha! I even caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror a few times and thought I didn't look like total blob or anything. I didn't keep absolute pace with the class but I felt good about my capabilities and about the fact that I didn't do anything embarrassing during the hour. The instructor was awesome and knowing I was new she gave me enough attention to ensure my form was good. I really do want to ensure I'm doing the exercises with good form; otherwise, what's the point? Now I'll go on-line and sign-up for classes that will fit into my schedule to keep this going.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


My current musical obsession is Adele. Truth be told I've loved her since her first album came out - Adele 19. My kids gave it to me for Christmas and honestly, every song is fantastic. Now she is about to release her second album, Adele 21. This tune - Rolling In The Deep is the early single that has been released ahead of the album. It may be here best song yet. Anyway - enjoy the fantastic vocals of Adele, playing here, and in my head at any given time. Ha!
P.S. I particularly like this studio footage - not the officially released video production of the tune - which is also quite good.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Help - to aid, assist, improve

That's my one word for 2011. I feel like it was just handed to me - literally popped in my head. Funny. I had been thinking on this idea since hearing of this at the beginning of the year. Instead of creating these New Year's resolutions that almost always fail, this idea is to have a guiding word for the year. You can find out more on the web site. I thought and thought on this and even got down to a "short list" of three words. Help wasn't even on the short list. Then just as I was going to put a stake in the ground and record my one word officially - help popped into thought. I pondered it briefly, referred to and new instantly that it was my 2011 word. I love how simple it is. I love how I can use it as a lens to examine what I do at home, at work, with friends and in the community.

I'm really not "that girl"; not the first to say - How can I help? Admittedly, I avoid asking that question and opt instead to offer up something I wouldn't mind doing, something that limits my getting too involved in situations where it is obvious that help is needed. What am I afraid of? This is going to seriously stretch my comfort zone, open up new opportunities to develop deeper relationships, and benefit others. I have friends and life is pretty comfortable in my little corner of the world, but the person I want to become is helpful. Imagine if that is the first thing that came to mind when someone thought of you. ...Oh yes, I know her; she's so helpful. I'm stoked!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Woman Is Always In Her Thirties

A woman (at any age) is always a woman in their 30's. A famous designer said this recently when discussing his clothing line. He started out by showing us how to put this particular outfit with a pair of these suede flats and that bag and ...oh my - this would look so great on a woman in her 30's - can't you just see it? He then quickly threw in ...well every woman is really a woman in her 30's, right? It was as if our 30's is the period where we women most identify with, where we were most confident, where our true spirit sort of settles in. Is that right? In our souls do we always feel like we are 30 - ish?

As a woman closing in fast on the mid-century birthday, I certainly don't identify with being 50. I wouldn't even know how to describe what 50 feels like. I'm still trying to keep my figure and my sense of style as I did in my 30's. Wait - scratch that - I may be more in tune with maintaining my figure, my health, and my sense of style than I ever was in my 30's. When I was in my 30's I was consumed with obligations and fun activities as was any other woman raising a family while maintaining a full time career. Looking at those faded photos now, I'm sometimes surprised at how frumpy I looked in those vacation photos with the kids, wearing my pleat front khaki's and fanny pack. I can't believe I let that secret out! Ha!

In this survey out of the UK ( I found results that indicate women feel most beautiful in their 30's - particularly as they peak 40. Apparently we've had enough life experiences by that time to gain confidence and be in a very happy state. I suppose that's a good place in the lifetime of a woman for our spirits to settle and I find no reason to dress less impressively as I hit the big 50 - I mean this is no time to begin wearing Hillary Clinton pantsuits for goodness sakes!

Maybe Isaac has it right!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Little Cabin in the Woods...

It reminds me of a little tune about Little Bunny Foo Foo hopping through the forest, which I used to sing with the kids when they were small. I'm sure you know it too. Well a little cabin in the woods is now something more near and dear to my heart as hubby and I wrestle with the idea of a vacation home. Is now the time to buy given all the foreclosures and really low prices? Is it too much of a stretch for us? The youngest is almost through with college and we have been doing the pay-as-you-go so as hubby likes to say - when the boy gets done with school we get a pay raise. LOL!

Life has been rolling along clickity- clack since the holidays. Work has been busy and the new year seems to indicate more of the same for which I am grateful. There is some fear of creating this new obligation but I'm one to jump right to fear - it's in my DNA - so I have to be sure I'm not being unreasonably fearful. Hubby is a Steady Eddy; he can see his way through things and doesn't operate out of fear. We're a good team that way. So this is what we are thinking on this January. The photo's are of a little place on 1.5 fairly private acres about 30 mins. from Kirkwood ski resort in CA. It needs a whole new deck and it's time for a roof but has so much character and charm.
Let's just say - if things progress I'll write more. After all - think of the decorating projects!