Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sweet & Sinister Swap Goodies

I received my wonderful Sweet & Sinister goodies from my uber talented partner Monica! Above is one of my favorites, oh heck, they are all my favorites! This is a wand.

Monica remembered that my birthday is in October and made me this precious birthday altered bingo card.

How did she know that I love glitter?! Okay, I guess we all love glitter! This is a super sweet Boo sign full of yummy black glitter and silver glittered letters.

A group shot of some fabulous items including special Halloween truffles, cat decor, pumpkin plate, doilies, lace and pearl trims, Boo lollipop, and more glitter in the form of a Spooky sign.

Love this black glitter! Love the above glittered stars!

A gorgeous treat cone with a K initial bottle cap and yummy candy inside!

Here are the items I sent Monica. Great minds think alike - I also made her a wand.

Had to get a box in there - I loved this spider that I found and realized I had the web paper.

A tag for the goodie basket.

A journal for family memories.

A vintage pumpkin image transformed into a holiday necklace.

BOO! Scared ya - didn't I?

Monica has a sweet tooth as well so I got in some candy.

A Halloween crown.

A bottle of glitter with a vintage Halloween image.

Here is a better photo of the goodie basket I made for her two kids.
Special thanks to Artsy Mama for hosting this wonderful swap and for the fabulous theme!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Apple Pickin'

For all my moaning and groaning about winter and holiday stress - one thing I do love about living in Connecticut is apple picking! Jeff and I had an apple excursion with my in-laws recently. This orchard is right around the corner from my home. We are blessed to have 3 orchards within walking distance of our home and several more nearby.

My father-in-law picking some of the top most perfect apples.

My mother-in-law with a yummy example.

Jeff sampling the inventory.

A view down one of the rows. The entire orchard is really breathtaking and it is quite a special feeling to stand in the middle and appreciate all that God has given.

Look at all those sweet little orbs just begging to go into a homemade pie, applesauce, baked apple, etc., etc.!

I had to sample one as well! Yum!


This particular orchard also houses a store where you can buy already picked apples, candy, jams, cookies, and crafts.

Some of the gift ware selection.

Some holiday pumpkins waiting for their new homes.

Ah, the end of the road - time to go home and bake a pie!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What Do You Love About Your Home?

One of my very favorite blog friends, Karla Nathan of Karla's Cottage (gosh - doesn't she have a great name?!) is hosting a What Do You Love About Your Home day. I think this is a great idea and I can't wait to see what fun things everyone is posting about. Above are two of my favorite things - two handmade plates that Jeff and I purchased while in Florence on our honeymoon.

One of my very favorite things about our home - the espresso machine! I chipped in with my family and Jeff's family to purchase this for Jeff for his birthday back in January. We both love it and use it pretty much daily. I can make espresso, cappuccino, and many other wonderful combinations of coffee drinks. Next to the espresso machine is a wine opener that was one of the first things I gave to Jeff when we started dating.

This is a weather vane outside our home. We purchased this while in Cape Cod for our first anniversary. This weather vane was our anniversary gift to each other.

This is a small peek at my purple powder room! This half bath is off of our kitchen. Jeff actually agreed to the lavender color!

This is a salvaged window turned mirror. I wish I could say I made it but I purchased it. This hangs in our front entry.

This is our guest room bed. I especially like the paisley pillows because I made them. I am not much of a sewer but I found a no sew method that worked beautifully. Our master bedroom is still a work in progress - along with many other areas of our home! I figured I would save our bedroom for one of the last projects as no one really sees it but then I read a magazine article saying how the master bedroom should be one of the first projects as we need to treat ourselves and gives ourselves a restful retreat. I hadn't thought of it that way so now our room has moved up on the to do list!

This is a wall of photographs in our dining room. The photos above are all old photos of my grandparents. Special moments from when they first starting dating. Precious times caught on film. The opposite wall of the dining room contains a similar display of Jeff's grandparents.

I lost my maternal grandfather when I was 8. I am the oldest grandchild and the only one that has clear memories of him. I miss him so much 21 years later and wonder what kind of impact he would have had on my life had he lived longer. I think I get a lot of my creativity from him. He loved to make furniture in his spare time (he was a tool maker by trade). He died before passing on his craft - if he had lived I know I would have wanted to learn. The photo above is a painting that he did and now hangs in my kitchen.

The photo above is one of the most important things to me. It is a desk that my grandfather made for me. He planned to make all of his grandchildren a desk, but I am the only one that received one before his untimely passing. On top of the desk is a music box my mother-in-law gave me when I had a work milestone. The teddy bear is mine from childhood. I actually purchased the bear myself when I was a pre-teen. I never had a teddy bear (I had many, many other toys though!) and decided that I wanted one. He is a little worn but he is a wonderful mint green color. The doll is Molly from the American Girls Collection. This collection came about when I was an older child. I wanted a doll so badly but my mother thought they were porcelain and wouldn't buy me one. Years later, my sister received many American Girls dolls as they are cloth and plastic! A few years ago I made this observation to my mother and mentioned I never got a Molly doll - guess what she gave me for Christmas! Now of course, American Girls have gone out of control with all the dolls and accessories. I liked it better when there were only three: Molly, Samantha, and Kirstin.
Last but not least, I love that my dog Margot is waiting for me with a wag, a lick, and unconditional love! (Of course, I hope it goes without saying that I also love that Jeff is there too!).

Birthdays, Sweaters, and Scarves Oh My!

My cute little puppy dog Margot turned 2 on Saturday. I had asked my very talented mother-in-law, Janice to make Margot a sweater for Halloween - after all - she needs to look cute greeting all those adorable trick-or-treaters! Janice came over today with the finished product. I love it! Janice also made Margot's Easter sweater, click here for that photo.
Another view - how cute is this?! Janice makes and sells these sweaters for toy and small breeds. A plain sweater starts at $20 and a sweater with a design like above starts at $30. If anyone is interested, leave me a comment or e-mail me at and I'll give you her contact information.
Janice also makes these spectacular beaded scarves in just about any color. This photo doesn't do them justice, they are really stunning!

Janice models one of her creations. She also sells these for $45/each. She is hoping to start a blog in the near future - check back here for updates!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bittersweet Autumn

I've been reading about how everyone was so ready for summer to end and autumn to begin. Autumn signifies cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, apple pie, Halloween, and many other wonderful things. I truly enjoy the fall season but oh how I wish it was a bit longer! It comes and goes so quickly - already you can see some of the mums wilting in the above photo and it isn't even technically autumn until Saturday! Living in the northeast, I've had four seasons since day one. I am blessed to have a lovely home in a lovely part of the country - I just can do without winter. Scratch that, I can do without winter after January 1. White Christmases can certainly be magical but after New Year's all the snow, ice, and freezing temps can go buh-bye!

As we enter this wonderful autumn season, I'm already starting to feel the stress of the Christmas season. Growing up, my mother always disliked Christmas time. I could never understand - Christmas was my favorite! How I wanted that magical feeling to stay with me all year! How in the world could anyone dislike it? How in the world could anyone not be filled with Christmas joy! Now that I am a married woman, I understand my mother's point of view. I still truly love Christmas and I get the warm fuzzies as we approach but I also get the heebie jeebies as I think about all of the Christmas shopping and how it falls on me to shop for both my family and my husband's family (wait, how did he survive all those bachelor years?!). How there is stress to make the yard look aglow in light, the tree to be trimmed just so, the house to be decorated with warmth and light and cheer. I feel added pressure because my front yard won our local garden club's holiday house award last year! That was such a highlight until I realized I need to keep this up year to year!

Wait, I'm getting way ahead of myself! Being the event planner that I am, I'm already devising ways to knockout this holiday stress once and for all. I've already begun to create the Christmas list of gifts I want to buy for everyone, I'm also going to get the Christmas photo done early this year and have the cards printed well in advance, I'm not going to stress about having the perfect house, and just go with what my heart tells me. I'm bound and determined to bring back that wonderful childhood feeling and banish the dread from such a magical time of year! I must point out that I don't yet have little ones (other then my cutie dog) - imagine what a basket case I'll be once they come into the picture! Okay Karla, relax, enjoy life. Sometimes I have to remind myself that these are not real problems or areas of concern. I don't live in Iraq or Darfur. I am healthy, my family is healthy. Life is good. Bring on the snow.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Sissy & A Sneak Peek

Today is my little sister Shelley's (aka Sissy and Belle-Belle) birthday! Happy birthday sis! We celebrated yesterday when she made us a yummy dinner. Yes, she cooked her own birthday dinner - she insisted! She made yummy Creamy Lemon Fettuccine. My mom made dessert, Lemon Cloud Pie (per request of the birthday girl - no cakes for her!). It turned out to be a citrus themed day. Shelley is holding the altered Hello Kitty birthday hat I made her.
She admired the unadorned hats that I had leftover from another project, so I dolled one up for her!
I also wanted to give my Sweet & Sinister Swap partner Monica a little sneak peek. Monica said she will be shipping my package this week. Yay! Can't wait to get it, she has posted some very exciting sneak peeks. Monica, your package will ship this week as well!

Deities & Divine Swap

A big thank you to Amy from Magical Musings for hosting the Deities & Divine Swap. I received my fabulous package of goodies the other day. Love everything, Miz Smoochie Lips especially outdid herself - she created that fabulous blue fringed number above. Wonderful papers and stitching. The second photo is my contribution to the swap. I chose the image of the Divine Mercy, an especially meaningful painting to me and I thought very appropriate for this swap! Amy and I think a lot alike as she created the piece in the upper right corner of the first photo! Certainly a case of great minds think alike!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Big E

If you live in the Northeast or will be visiting the area before September 30, plan a stop at The Eastern States Exposition, otherwise known as The Big E! The Big E is a large scale fair highlighting all that is good about the Eastern US. There are lots of things to do, including traditional carnival rides and games, concerts, agriculture contests and exhibitions, and my personal favorite - eating! Each state has an area that contains things specific to that state, including a food item!

My those are some large pumpkins you have sir!

The might Clydesdale - such a spectacular animal!

Photo credit: The Big E website.

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