Thursday, September 30, 2010

Is it too early to get ready for...

Our vacation
♥ Halloween
♥ Christmas Break
♥ Easter Break
♥ My husbands retirement from the Air Force
♥Job hunting
♥ Our move back to the USA
♥ House Hunting

Quote of the day

Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase.
~Erma Bombeck

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quote of the day

If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
~Mary Engelbreit

Monday, September 27, 2010

My British Goodies!

I have loved Royal Albert's Old Country Roses China since before I was married. My mother-in-law has this pattern and when I saw it I knew that THIS was the china pattern for me! Did I get this as my wedding china? No. Would I have liked this as my wedding china? You know it! So I made up for lost time and bought this pieces a little at a time on e-bay UK. There's no way I would pay the awful high prices back in the states for something made in Malaysia when all I want is the real deal that was made in England! I found a couple of pieces (cups and saucers) in antique shops but I was wanting more than teacups and saucers, I was in want of a dinner service! I bought a little here and there and now I have the china service of my dreams! Granted the only so called extra pieces I have are the teapot, creamer and sugar bowl and a cake/sandwich plate- but I'm fine with that. Platters and bowls- well I have plenty of those in other patterns!

Here we go with other things...Lilliput Lane houses. I got my first one back in 1992 the year our son was born. My husband was on tdy (an acronym for military business trip) to England. He brought my back "Penny Sweets". I was in love! Over the years he would bring me back one whenever he went to England. The rest I've managed to find here and there in Antique shops, Charity shops or have bought at the BX at RAF Lakenheath.

Now the Curio cabinet- we bought this yesterday at our favorite Antique Shop, The Brackley Antique Cellar. We've been looking for a curio cabinet for years, never found one that we really liked. So we've waited. I saw this on Friday and hoped and prayed that it would still be there on Sunday when I could take my husband in to see it (and check it over). It's got claw and ball feet and a skeleton key that lock it closed, how cool is that?!! We plan on add lighting to the cabinet once we get state side.

Burleigh Pottery- I thought that I was immune to the Blue & White pottery phenomenon that is after all, a very British thing to collect and display and I was for the most part since I'm not into the Asiatic Pheasant or the Oriental Blue Willow designs (and that's what seems to be most prevalent out here). Then I went to the Burleigh factory and saw all of the blue and white (and other colors too) that were all out on display before me and then I knew...THIS is the Blue & White pottery for Me! I'm standing there looking at all of the different flower prints and I could not make up my mind, I liked them all- okay I liked most of them (dark blue and red). The pale blue prints aren't really for me, it was dark blue that really caught my eye! I started small, only a few teacups and dessert plates and I worked my way up from there. The cow creamers are adorable! Seriously, who can resist buying at least one? I don't have it all out on display, I have some more pieces tucked away in my sideboard. I even own a piece of green Burleigh (a serving bowl in the retired pomegranate print- which is apparently a pretty rare piece). I've got pitchers, soups bowls, cake plates, a sandwich tray and my cool little canister that holds my loose tea. The Burleigh teapots are awesome because they don't dribble, not at all!

My new to me Sideboard was a stumble upon find at the antique store yesterday. As my husband and I were poking around in what I call "spooky corner" (it's the part of the store where there's so much furniture china and stuff piled up that if it fell on you, you'd never be found alive). Well... as were in spooky corner waiting for the sales staff to dig out a path to take the Curio cabinet up to the check out desk were looking around at "things" and as I see my spouse looking at stuff it's then that I realize that I'm standing right in front of a really neat Sideboard. We start looking at it and I of course look at the price tag, I couldn't believe my eyes- the price was seriously reasonable, so much so that I first thought that it must have been a misprint because other Sideboards in this place were priced MUCH higher, at least £100 or more higher! I also felt the same way with the Curio cabinet. The spouse and I check the Sideboard over from top to bottom, it's in great shape minus a little ding or scratch from normal wear. He looks at me I look at him and we know that we've got another great find! I would have been stupid not to get this piece. I've been looking for a sideboard ever since we got here and I've never found one at this price! It's in great condition and it's the size that I wanted!

All this happened as I was about to give up hope that we would ever find a piece of Antique British-Made furniture to take back with us when we move state side. Many of my friends have found furniture pieces that they like and enjoy and all I've found up to this point were books, shoes, clothes and of course pottery. Now I have real conversation pieces!

WOW! What a weekend!

You know how some weekends can go by so quickly it all seems like a blur? Not for me, not this one! I can recall and savor each and every sweet moment!

Saturday's trip took us to London where we saw Buckingham Palace, The Royal Mews and Westminster Cathedral. The weather was a little on the brisk side but not so cold that one needed a heavy jacket, for me a blazer and a silk scarf was enough.

The Royal Mews- what a neat place! This is the livery area, where the horses, carriages and cars are kept (in plain terms, the transportation area). The carriages were really something to see- my favorite being the glass coach as it wasn't too ornate (like something out of Cinderella). Each carriage was lovely to look at and I took pictures of all of them! This is the glass carriage below.

There was a 2 hour or so break between our tour of The Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace so we went walking around for a bit. It's a short walk over to Westminster Cathedral. I loved the pedestrian signs, here's a picture of one of them.

Westminster Cathedral- it's the most beautiful church I've been in to date! The tile mosaics were amazing! I didn't take any pictures in the inside as my husband misread the no photography signs. No photography while Mass is in session, not NO Photography. So again I bought a tourist type guide books that tells about about the history of the place AND a book on the mosaic tile work. We went to the top of the bell tower and took photos of the surrounding area- the view from up there absolutely breath taking!

While walking Through Buckingham Palace all I could think of was "wow, it must have been something for the royal children to have grown up in a house this size" - talk about not having a real perspective on how everyone else around you lives. Of course "NO PHOTO'S signs were everywhere and obviously I didn't take any pictures indoors. There were many rooms that I wished to take snapshots and learn the history of, so I did the next best thing- I bought the tourist guide!

We walked through a park that was near the Palace and saw some interesting things...

Love the monogrammed gates!
These gates are quite impressive!

A view from the park of the palace

This water feature is a Canadian memorial, I especially love the leaf design in the concrete.

above- Princess Diana Memorial walk
below-an extra circle added for the Canadian Memorial

There were so many lovely things to see and experience that day. What ever you do, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers!

quote of the day

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.
- E. B. White

you know that this is my motto right?

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's the little things...

As I was going through some Rubbermaid bins looking for my seasonal valances , yes I change out the valances in my formal dining room for the season/holiday- you all knew that right? Anyway, I came across a handful quilting kits and patterns that I had tucked away for a rainy day. All of my new found treasures came from the last Quilt Fair that I attended in Rapid City, the one that was right before our move here to England.

MY oh my are these things ever cute! There's a couple of kits for making little tote bags for crayons, (my 5 year old nephew needs one of these for Christmas) there's a quilt kit that my Hannah HAD to have! I remember how badly Hannah wanted me to buy this quilt kit, she was wanting it in a major way! I usually don't buy quilt kits as I prefer to put my own spin on the fabrics used to make a quilt but this one was special and have a lot of very unique fabrics in it -not to mention that the price included the fancy backing fabric and binding! And look, here it is a year later and I've still not made it- shame on me!

I showed the quilt kit to Hannah last night and we both agreed, this is my next project! Okay as soon as I clean up my mess from my last quilting session :-D

quote of the day

But some emotions don't make a lot of noise. It's hard to hear pride. Caring is real faint - like a heartbeat. And pure love why, some days it's so quiet, you don't even know it's there.
- Erma Bombeck

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Inspired and Rejuvenated

For my neighbors- I'm not a recluse, really I'm not! I've just been keeping busy that's all!

My trip to to the various quilt shops in my little neck of the woods in California left me inspired and rejuvenated. Granted the trip it's self was for not so good reasons BUT my little escapes to the various quilt shops around the area renewed my passion for quilting and sewing. It's been almost non-stop sewing for me since coming back. First it was the valances for the made over guest room and sewing corner.

Next it was this table runner (the Christmas one). I actually made a mistake with this BUT fixed it and no one is the wiser- well until now. What happened? It's one of these twisty turning pattern things where someone thinks they're being smart and giving you a newfangled way to make something simple and I ended up cutting the wrong part apart- so now I have TWO holiday table runners instead of one very wide runner...oh well! I added a border and it's just fine! One for me and one to give away as a gift! My mistake is someone elses surprise gift!
This is the table runner that I finished sewing up yesterday (still need to quilt it though). The harvest fruits table runner will look great on my Thanksgiving table.
Here is my tribute to Autumn- this is something I out together today- it's along the line of a stacked coin design. I figure that I need to start making a dent in my stash of fabrics. The fabric I used as my anchor piece was left over from a pair of valances that I made a while ago. I'm going to change out the valances in my formal dining room and put my Autumn leaves valances up.

This is the Wild Chickens quilt top that I finished the other day. I laughed every time I looked at it. What a crack up! The backing fabric for this lap quilt looks like chicken wire- I'm looking forward to finishing it up soon.

quote of the day

Thou shall sit on a cushion &
sew a fine seam & feed upon
strawberries, sugar & cream.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

planning a holiday

I'm thrilled to even say it...I'm going to Egypt! Tickets bought and I'm ready!

quote of the day

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints
his own nature into his pictures.
--Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday is creeping into my Tuesday

Today's weird and wacky thing is...all of a sudden my mobile phone has a pop up saying that my phone has an unregistered sim can that be? I've had this same phone for over a year now. UGH!

quote of the day

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.”
--Benjamin Lee Whorf.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Monday

This picture says it all. This was my house key- it broke while IN the lock. Nice huh?

quote of the day

The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly- that is what each of us is here for.
--Oscar Wilde

Friday, September 17, 2010

Color- bringing the outdoors in

I love living where there are 4 separate and distinct seasons. Where you can feel the temperature change, and see the effects of the season upon the plants and trees. You know when Autumn is on it's way, it's when it starts to feel a little brisk in the evenings but not cold.

Moving time has always been in the Autumn for us, it was when my husband and I got to decorate our first place together. I love the bright colors of Spring and Summer and the cool crispness of Winter colors but Autumn holds a very special place in my heart. The richness of color from the fall foliage, and the warmth that it brings to a room is amazing! I'm looking at quilt patterns and all of the new rich Autumn hues the fabrics are now available. I saw a quilt pattern for an Acorn wall hanging- I am drawn to this thing like a moth to a flame! I think that I better order before I regret not getting it for myself!

One of my favorite pictures of my of children is of them in these beautiful hand-knitted sweaters (made by my mother-in-law) sitting in a pile of just raked leaves in my parents from yard. This of course is before I went digital and I will have to look through my thousands of filed negatives to find it so I can blow it up to a larger size so I can hang it on the wall of my next house. I did make a layout with this photo- I should dig it up and post it here.

One of my other favorites is a series of close up photos of the rich hues in the leaves while still on the trees. I took the pictures in 1990 while we lived in Maine- it was my first Autumn and winter up there and the seasons were nothing less than spectacular! And yes I also have these photo's in a layout.

* note to self- go through scrapbooks and locate these layouts and post them here to my blog.

You better start taking pictures now of the changing colors of the leaves on the trees- the colors can change so quickly! Hurry before the leaves start falling off!

quote of the day

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.
--Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) American reformer

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the day

As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world.
--Terri Guillemets

things that are in storage

It's be a story I've repeated at least a thousand times since moving here to the UK- "it's in storage". You have no idea how tired I am of saying this! Things being in storage that were not supposed to be in storage and things arriving here that were supposed to be in storage- it's VERY frustrating to say the least! Why the moving folks put several of my quilted table runners and wall hangings into storage is beyond me!

NOTE- While looking for something in the garage I found these 2 table runners! So not all hope is lost in my decorating for Autumn around here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Art of making people happy

This is my friend Alisha and she's modeling the custom apron that I made just for her.

It's the little things we do for others that shows how much we truly care about them.

Quote of the day

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.
--Dorothy Day

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I still can't bring myself to turn on the TV today. I'd rather keep it off and not have to listen or see the gruesome events that took place on this day. I know where I was and I think about it and am ever so thankful that my husband was not at the Pentagon that day. I still grieve for the lives that were tragically cut short and for the families who lost loved ones.

Instead of being angry about what happened do something to honor those that are gone. Don't wait for an opportunity to help someone, make one happen! have an elderly neighbor? Mow their lawn, or rake their leaves or even take their trash cans down/up to the curb for them. Know of a single mom on your street that's always busy with the kids and work? You could do the same for her too! What I'm talking about is called "Being Neighborly". Try it, you'll be hooked!

Quote of the day

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
-King Whitney Jr.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The things that drive you to create art

Art as defined by Wikipedia

Traditionally, the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery. This conception changed during the Romantic period, when art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions.

There's more to this definition- please use the hyper link to read more.

For me lately it's been the seasons that have driven my desire to create. I've got Autumn on the brain right now. The emotions evoked when looking at the Autumn splendor of Maple trees changing colors in Autumn- there is nothing like it in the world! For this fact alone I miss living in New England. It's these colors that I most desire to work with. From creating greeting cards, scrapbook layouts, quilting projects and more! I find myself working with the color Orange this week and frankly I don't know why I haven't made something with orange as the focus color before. It's not a hard color to work with, it's a cheerful happy one. So go out there and embrace the season and let it drive you to create something fun- you might be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with!

quote of the day

Art is not a thing; it is a way.
-Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Alone but not lonely

With school officially underway for our daughter here in England, our son away attending University in South Dakota and my husband at work I find myself all alone for the very first time in weeks. I might be alone but I am not lonely, not by a long shot!

I think of my Dad and the things that he coffee (the hotter the better was his motto), his love of nature, chocolate cake and of course ice cream! That man was crazy about ice cream! I know which flowers were his favorites and we will be planting them in my next flower garden. I plan on getting a plaque made honoring my parents and their love for one another. I'll have it in my garden at my next house.

Today will be filled with me doing fun stuff like running errands, going to the post office to ship some packages, and of course a stop by the dry cleaners to pick up those trousers I dropped off a week ago (ooops- meant to get them sooner).

I'm to meet a girlfriend here at my house later so I can measure her for a custom apron that I'm making for her. It's not only custom in color and design but in size. I'll have pictures of it once it's finished. So far I've made some subtle but must needed changes to the pattern adding the D rings was a must to make the neckline adjustable. I added length to the ties as I felt that they were rather short. Now I will adjust the size of the apron it's self to better fit my friend. Stay tuned to see what I've made for her in her favorite color!

quote of the day

My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.
-Cary Grant

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Death of my Dad

It's on a sad note that I announce the death of my dad. He was a kind soul who was always there for his family and friends. He was the neighbor who was always there to lend you a helping hand when you were putting in a new lawn, fixing a broken fence post or putting on a new roof. He loved ice cream, hamburgers, chocolate chip cookies, a frosty mug of beer on a hot day and a steamy hot mug of coffee every day!

He died this past Sunday, September 5th, 2010 in his sleep. I like to think that he's in heaven taking a walk in a garden, no longer trapped in his body able to express his thoughts. That he is having a conversation with Jesus about fruit trees (he loved his fruit trees) and how best we can go about to feed the hungry of the world.

Quote of the Day

Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.
--Helen Keller

Friday, September 03, 2010

In my element!

Where would I be without coffee? Still in bed with a terrible headache I suppose.

So what have I been doing since I got back from my trip to California? Well besides getting that newly vacated "spare" bedroom re-purposed into a guest room/sewing corner, getting the kids bathroom done up to reflect it's new ownership belonging solely to our teenage daughter, designing and making a set of 2 new valances for said guest room, working on completing my sheep themed counted cross stitching project...I've also managed to make 2 Christmas themed table runners (I still need to do the quilting process on them), I'm currently preparing fabrics for a new lap quilt for my daughter, about to make a fancy apron for a dear friend in her favorite colors, AND I'm about to whip out a quick Autumn themed table runner for myself!

So stand back as I make myself another steamy hot mug of coffee and get to sewing!

quote of the day

One yard of fabric, like one cookie, is Never enough!
-United Notions (a quilt shop in Dallas TX)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

quote of the day

One out of every four people in this country is mentally imbalanced. Think of your three closest friends- and if they seem okay, then you're the one.
-Ann Launders