Monday, March 31, 2008

Beach thoughts

There is something wonderful about being at the beach. It doesn't matter what the weather is because the sound of the waves crashing, the seagulls crying and the wind howling is just as relaxing as any other day at the beach. When you go to the beach you bring along a satchel of books, a good bottle of wine and the desire to renew your spirit.

On beach days like this I'm reminded of my youth and the many mornings our family would head out to the beach for an all day affair. We usually went to a beach that had a campground or picnic area where my dad would cook up a truly awesome breakfast. It was always noon or later before the fog lifted, if it lifted at all. We would all be huddled up and shivering waiting for the sun to come out. But I always had a book to read until I could shed the clothes and start worshipping the sun.

Our first day here at the Outer Banks was stormy and we read our books most of the day (I'm currently reading Antonement). And, from this incredible beach home we look out directly at the ocean and our day was spent watching the storm come and go all day, leaving only once to go eat some really great seafood and bring back a bottle of wine.

Today, we were greeted with calmer waves and a partly cloudy sky. We each took our private time on the beach, picking up seashells and other treasures, taking time to say thanks for this awesome time together, or saying our own private prayers.

I can't think of any other place I'd rather be right now!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Broccoli Anyone?

Well here we are starting our "girls week" and after getting the rental car I asked the gal at the counter where to go for some good seafood. She enthusiastically replied, "Red Lobster"! Well I let her go on and on about how great it was, especially those biscuits. We walked away and I said, "If that's the best seafood place in Virginia, we are in trouble!"

Fortunately, I have my trusty GPS and looked up local restaurants "seafood" and found many within less than 2 miles from the airport with "Marina" , Captain or Seafood in the restaurant name! We decided on one that was on the marina overlooking the local yachts - very family style and very busy for 1pm.

The menu was great, but there was one very unusual item that was all over the menu - broccoli. With each entree you had a choice of two vegetables unless you ordered broccoli which must be a delicacy here in Virginia because if you ordered it you could only get broccoli as a vegetable (it counted as two veg's.). A salad which only counted as one vegetable had broccoli (plenty of it) on the salad, and yet, you could still order another vegetable!
Have I confused you yet?

Look for more stories and photos from North Carolina and the Southern Shores in the coming days ahead!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Design: Floral

At our garden club meeting this month we had a design program. I always love these programs as the speaker makes design look so easy. And, I guess it is if you don't stress about what it is you're trying to design. My favorite was this very traditional bouquet. Flowers included stunning white peonies, hydrangeas, heather, iris and more. It was just beautiful in this all white vase.

Speaking of design, our club is getting ready for our bi-annual standard flower show with this year's theme "Summer's Magic". I love to participate in these shows and I'm always amazed at all the talent we have in our club. The designs are fresh, modern, eclectic and fun. And to see someone's interpretation of the theme is always exciting. I'm not sure I will be participating this year as I may be out of town. Usually when I get the flower show schedule, visions just start jumping around in my head and I lose sleep until I decide which section and class I want to pursue. And then I start practicing and playing with the theme until my family starts shaking their head at me in that "here she goes again" way. It's really fun, except sometimes I think I put too much thought into it. And the ribbons you receive are great too, pushing you on to design more.

Oh well, my summer magic will be leaving town on my own flying carpet and enjoying myself where ever my travels take me. I'll have illusions of fairy dust and the mystique of that old black magic will have me in its spell as I wave my magic wand and "poof" I'll be somewhere fun and exciting.

Note: all words in bold are themes for Division II Design, Section A.

Want your own summer magic? Go to my website and and check out my Peek-a-Boo Strapz for your own floral look with "Flower Power" and "Secret Garden"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Knit One, Purl Two

I just finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club while travelling to PA. It really brought back a lot of great memories when we moved to New Jersey in the late 80's. I always had a desire to knit and didn't know anyone that could teach me. I knew how to crochet, which is really easy, but knitting just seemed impossible. I mean, have you ever looked at those directions? Well, one day I drove past this adorable house that was a yarn shop and thought why not! I walked in and sheepishly looked around when this very French woman came up to me and introduced herself as the owner. She was more than willing to teach me to knit so I took the plunge. And, just like in the book, there was always a group of women sharing their knitting (or not). It became a place that I loved to be to talk and knit. Knitting did become an addiction for me though. Good yarn, it turns out, is not cheap! I would spend up to $200 on a project and I was knitting a sweater in 1-2 weeks. That's right - I said it was an addiction! My projects became more elaborate as I craved the challenge of reading those crazy directions. In one project, which I started here in Illinois (picture above) and still haven't finished 15 years later, has like 50 bobbins because of changing colors and yarns throughout the sweater. Crazy! I continued to knit for awhile when we moved to Naperville and enjoyed making sweaters for my son when he was small. I love the turtle sweater as he was really into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But it became harder to finish a project, maybe because I no longer had the camaraderie of my knitting friends to encourage me to finish. I have two sweaters for myself that I'm so close to finishing. The one above only needs the sleeves to complete - a piece of cake at one time! I keep thinking I'll start again. Maybe I'll pack it up and take with me on my all girl get-away and attempt to finish one of the two.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's a Wonder!

In one of the many travel magazines I get in the mail, I saw a small blurb on Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright's beautifully built home for the Kaufman family from Pittsburg located in Mill Run, PA. We planned a trip to visit my son at college during Easter and decided this would be a good side trip. It definitely was off the beaten path, but well worth it. What a wonder! We arrived late in the day so really only had time to view the grounds. This beautiful home is somehow nestled into the hillside and becomes one with the waterfall. Can you even imagine living in such a wonder? I think I would spend everyday just watching nature around me, oblivious to anything else happening around me. We will have one more visit to PA this year and I hope that we can find time to stop by again and take the tour of the inside. I look forward to that, as it has original furnishings and art work.

The View:

Enjoying the grounds:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hats, Hats, Hats!

When I was a little girl, I remember my mom dressing us up for Easter like we were royalty. A dressmaker made dresses for my sister and I for this main event. Along with the extremely frilly dress went a hat, pretty white shoes and socks and sometimes gloves and a small purse. Wow! is it any surprise I'm interested in fashion and accessories? The hat was a necessity for Easter, as we were Catholics, and females could not enter church without a scarf or hat. And you know, that probably was the single most memorable thing to me about Easter - wearing a hat.

What happened to the importance of hats? Even men looked extremely dashing in a Fedora didn't they? My grandfather always looked important to me because he always had a great hat on when he came to visit. Now men only seem to wear baseball caps.

When I was in Paris a few years back, we went into this really wonderful store with the most glorious hats that no one in America would wear except maybe once to the Kentucky Derby. My friend and I tried on the many different hats and the french ladies giggled at us because they knew as we knew, they looked ridiculous on us. I just can't wear a hat and I love hats! It's so unfair!

There are groups of women here in America that call themselves the Red Hat Ladys and wherever they go they wear red and/or purple hats. What's really interesting when you see these ladies, is that they truly enjoy wearing the hats no matter how silly they may look.

I really enjoyed wearing that Easter hat and hope someday I can find a hat that truly looks good on me and I can wear with confidence and flair just for this special occasion!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thank You Mississippi

I was going through my pictures the other day and came across this "Katrina" house I saw last Fall in Bay St. Louis, MS. I remember when I saw it because it was such a surprise to not only see how cute it was, but the humor and stamina this homeowner obviously displayed after losing everything they owned except this piece of property. I didn't have my camera with me, but had my trusty cell phone, so quickly took a picture while we were driving down this road. I believe above the front door it read "The East Wing".

What a lot of people don't realize is that Mississippi was hit much harder than New Orleans. In N.O. they still have their building and maybe some personal items they were able to salvage. In Mississippi people lost everything - it was all taken by the Gulf. Absolutely nothing remained. No house, no appliances, no furniture, no cars, no shrubs - just complete devastation. And all that stuff is somewhere in the Gulf. The theatre my aunt and mom went to as kids is gone, along with the shops and restaurants that I came to love during my visits.

Thank God for the volunteers that you see around the Gulf Coast that are still trying to clean up and rebuild. It will never look the same, as the pecan and oak trees are almost all destroyed and the beautiful antebellum homes along the Gulf Highway are all gone. But the people there have a great love for the Gulf Coast and will continue to live and rebuild their dream.

So for all those that live along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, I say thank you for enduring probably the worst storm in your history and for wanting to rebuild the towns along the coast highway that held my family's past.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Are you feeling Irish today?

Don't you just love St. Patrick's Day? After recently exploring my heritage I discovered I don't have even a wee bit of Irish in my blood, but yet I feel very Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

And I guess that's why I volunteered to be in this year's parade with my fellow Naperville Garden Club gal pals. It didn't snow and it didn't rain, but it was very chilly. We all had a great time dressed in our green feather boas and anything else we could find that was green. Because on this day that is all that matters - the wearin' of the green!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Fever

Ah-h-h, what a beautiful day. Sunshine at last! It was maybe 50, but to Chicagoans that is quite balmy. I'm so looking forward to spending a nice day in the city and maybe take in Millennium Park again. The "bean" is quite magical and you can spend many hours just gazing at yourself and the city in this mirrored sculpture. And just look at the kaleidoscope of shapes and shadows on the inside of this truly great piece of art.

When you're all done at the park it's just a walk away to great shopping. Soon all the planter boxes will be overflowing with flowering tulips in every shade imaginable. All of them will be big, bold and beautiful. Be inspired by Spring and make a statement with your choice of this season's accessories.

You can't deny Spring fever!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My Backyard Paradise

I was raised a California girl. So moving to the Midwest was quite a change for me. Over the years I have transformed my yard into a little bit of my California paradise. My favorite --- this beach! I can't wait until it's warm enough to go put my toes in my sandy beach and have my glass of wine as I kick back with a good book and listen to the water splashing down my ponds waterfall. It's not Santa Cruz, but when I close my eyes I can imagine it to be just that. Hopefully, we will soon slip into warmer days and I can once again enjoy my beach paradise.

Bring a bit of paradise to your life through my Murano glass starfish necklace.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I've been living in this great land of Naperville for 20 years now. When we moved here it was a nice sized town with farmland surrounding the town. But now our town of Naperville runs right into all the surrounding towns with no empty space in between. We have a riverwalk that actually came about when the townsfolk visited San Antonio's riverwalk and thought somehow they could take our river, clean it up and make it a great place to visit. In the years we have lived here we have seen this riverwalk expand and become the jewel of Naperville. Spring is my favorite time to visit the riverwalk as the park district plants so many spring bulbs of varying colors and types. And of course all the kids love to come and see all the new baby ducks and geese.

When you get out to enjoy your Spring surroundings make your personal Spring accessories a part of the fun. Some Spring color names this year are Spring Crocus, Cantalope and Daiquiri Green, the later being my favorite!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Are you looking for a wee bit of green?

Even if you are not Irish, wearing of the green is fun for everyone. All of the items above are in my store at WhatEver Accessories. And check out this great flower ring recently seen in People Style Watch magazine.