Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010

Yippee, Hoorah - it's nearly time for the Mad Tea Party!

My invitation came today:
And it is an invitation for all of you as well. Be sure to visit as I'm really hoping to have a grand time here and a giveaway, too!! To see last year's party simply look on the right side banner of my blog and click on the link. It was a great time, even with the scorching weather. This year promises to be even better...
Hope to see you there!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Windy City Here I Come + Random Studio Pics

I'm heading off to Chicago for a long weekend - see the museums and see Craig Ferguson perform. Anyone got some tips or sights I should see?? I've been there before, but only briefly. Good restaurants or even better - good vintage-y shops would be a huge plus!

But until then, I spam you with pics of my studio I took while in a good mood with warm weather last week. I made up my daybed a bit, it make it useful as a guest bedroom and also when I desperately need to lie down and rest when my back hurts. Plus I've ALWAYS wanted a spare room for my favorite bed. It really suits my studio and makes me smile. I grabbed some random pillows laying around and voila - a comfy bed pour moi.

Next to my bed, probably already posted, but just in case:

An inspiration shelf with bits of my art and little tidbits and presents. The slugs from an old press spell out Art - kinda hard to see. Love the backwards R. ;) The Eiffel Tower was a present from Fairy Godmother, naturally. It's so bright and airy in here - can you believe this is our basement? Lots of big windows and light and a view of my garden - such a lovely room.

I love the white beadboard walls, at first it made it stark and boring, but now I appreciate how they bounce the light and make my art and furnishings pop out more. And I'm filling it with my favorite shades of pale pink and green, turquoise, other shades of white, etc. Makes me very happy to spend time in there. I just need to get out my hammer and nails and hang up a few of my favorite artists' works I've collected. ;)

So please let me know if you have any recommendations for Chicago and just in case don't post again til then - have a great weekend!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

All Keyed Up

I had a theme birthday without ever meaning to...
First it started with a little gift to myself a few days before my birthday. I had a chance to swing by a TJ Maxx and at the jewelry counter they had some key sterling silver key necklaces! Wow, were they stocking them just for me? Too many choices and some so very ornate, but in the end I just picked the most simple and realistic looking key that appealed to me the most.

I liked it so much I bought my mother one, too, different style, larger and gave it to her as an early birthday present. I'd show a pic, but I think she may be wearing it today...
(This pic is on a VERY old lace collar on my mannequin which I got as a present brand new and we've been working on antiqueing it to look like an old mannequin as I can't find one on my own and Romantic Homes showed us a great way to make a new one look old. It's only half done so I'll show it off when done.)

Then this came in the mail:
A giftie from my Fairy Vintage Godmother... You may remember me going on and on in previous blog posts on how much I liked this fabric here.
Well, turns out she didn't even have to buy it at the online store - she just opened her magic fabric cupboard - okay huge room of fabric - and voila - key fabric already purchased and sitting there!! She said she might as well send it to me since I loved key fabric so much and it was going to waste sitting there. Isn't she sweet?? I LOVE it!! If you look close, you see my three ringed key on it, and the other plainer looking one with just an oval head is JUST like the one I bought my mom.
And I thought it so funny to get key fabric right after buying myself a key necklace. Then later that night mom plopped down a few big brass keys down she'd tucked aside for me...
Another sign!! I'm officially calling this my Key Birthday this year. I hope it unlocks my dreams and makes it the best year ever. ;) Already today I finally got the courage to go and buy myself some nice business cards. I hope I made the right choice.
Also a nice surprise on my doorstep after a lovely lunch out at Joe's Crab Shack (Yes, I ate my fill of crab legs - YUM!! Big treat for me!!) and with a big smile already on my face I found that I'd gotten a delivery of flowers from an old friend...

Very pretty and colorful. I had a great birthday. Thanks to those who commented on my earlier post. You'll be happy to know no cats got into my cake this year. LOL Kept it under lock and key...(no pun in tended) in its box and it was delicious. Off I go to get to work... Have a great Thursday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to me...

My Birthday is this Sunday and I thought it'd be funny to show you my cake from last year. First note the ugly green roses mixed with the pink roses...huh? What was the cake decorator ON? Not what we ordered, we wanted pink roses and pink and green ribbons...

Oh well, that doesn't matter half as much if you note a little detail someone else added to it once it got home and was on the counter. Look at the top of the cake...notice anything??

No? Here's a detailed pic...

One of my cats decided he wanted to put his signature on my cake and WALKED on it. LOL!!! Funny and gross at same time. I was laughing too hard to be upset. This year we know better than to leave it unattended for more than a minute. ;)

I'm planning a trip to Joe's Crab Shack for some delicious crab legs (my fave!) and maybe a margarita while I'm at it... Maybe a little shopping, too. I bought myself some sandals already and proudly walked in wedges for the first time since my operation - it's official - if I can walk on (admittedly low) heels, I must be healed. Ha! This time last year I couldn't walk unaided - I'm a very lucky gal and I know it, I have lot to be grateful for this year.

Sharing a piece of my virtual birthday cake with you all...thanks for reading my blog and being SO supportive. You guys rock!

Have a GREAT Weekend!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Och, Aye: T'was a Grand Highland Weekend!

First of all, here's my Fraser of Lovat badge -

I wore it the second day - in honor of the Outlander novels. Je suis Prest - I am ready!

And I really coveted this shield until it was pointed out to me that a: it wasn't real wood, but that polymer junk, b: that was apparent because it was chippd in at least two places, and c: $100 for a chipped cheapo shield?!

Oh well - still looks cool in the picture:

This is actually the first pic I took at the festival as some ladies in authentic scottish dress were leaving. I was too scared to take their picture from the front or ask for permission lest they say no, so I waited until they passed and still got a good pic.

The SCA was there in full force yet again on the last day.

I am still kicking myself for not having a camera with me the first day when they demonstrated making chainmail and I saw the cutest young couple in GREAT costumes. But there were still a few good shots left to take. I thought this banner was cool:

The poor blacksmith worked hard all day, but he was lucky to be in the shade - it was HOT in the sun.

And this shot - oh, so adorable! Even the baby has a medieval bonnet on and little costume. They had a whole village set up and lots of tents, their own food, clothes, society in the midst of the festival.

I really felt bad for the guys that wore full armor - padded suits, chainmail and armour and fought for the crowds. Whew - they mustve been scorching!

Some women dressed up a little more royally than others...

But the costumed were few and far between outside the SCA village, mostly there were just lots of guys in ther kilts - some bagpipers, some just using the day as an excuse to break out a kilt.
This young man was actually the cutest one I saw all day, but he must've caught me and the camera as he suddenly struck a pose and kind of ruined the cute effect for me.
This was the first stall we visited and spent the most money on. They had grea authentic knee length wool socks, kilts, peasant shirts, belts, etc. as well as lots of toy swords for the kids.
And no Scottish festival is complete without highland games, they had a few going on at the same time, but I found the caber tossing the most fun:
This booth had LOTS of swords and flags and a few nice jewelry items. Other booths had really beautiful earrings, rins, necklaces, bracelets, etc. and we bought far too much - enough for us all to say we fulfilled our birthday present requirements for the next two months. LOL

All in all - even as the last day and too hot to stay long, it was a good thing we went back, I have LOTS more pictures and we had fun. They even had bridies and haggis and all sorts of Scottish food as well as normal festival food like funnel cakes and kettle corn, etc. We resisted it all, thankfully. ;)
I had a great time and must remember to go again next year. And also find out when the French festival is - one of the perks of St. Louis is we are a diverse melting pot of cultures and we have plenty of cultural festivals to look forward to from spring through fall.
Hope everyone else had a nice weekend. I'm still recovering from heat stroke - we had rather hot temperatures for April again. But at least it didn't rain and ruin the festival. l look forward to some more fun now that I can walk around again. Bring on the craft shows and festivals, but I better save some money for our trips...

Blog Award! And Top Ten Lists

The sweet Knitting in Wonderland sent me this award:

Apparently I must post 10 favorite things and then 10 favorite blogs (including the one the award came from) - my only problem being limiting myself to 10 in both catagories. LOL
Top 10 Favorite Interests/Items/People:
1 - My Family - they keep me sane - and crazy, but that's what family is there for.
2 - Spring/Summer - warm weather, BBQ's, beautiful flowers, swimming, festivals, the sun, etc.
3 - The Ocean - I miss the sound of the waves, the sand beneath my feet, the shells, the peace...
4 - Reading a good story - nothing better than being transported into a different place, life or time period.
5 - Vintage Items - like typewriters, china, linen - a great find at a garage sale or flea market makes my day.
6 - Art - visiting a mueum, hanging a favorite picture or making art myself - it soothes the soul and inspires me beyond measure.
7 - The Internet - how else could I find such wonderful people that inspire me, make me laugh, share common interests, encourage me, and make me forget my own physical limitations?
8 - My House - decorating it, baking cookies in the kitchen we designed, built and made ourselves, gardening and adding to its beauty outdoors or just sitting still and enjoying the wonder of our lovely home.
9 - Making People Happy - even if it is just making a stranger smile or making a loved one feel cherished. I can't stand to see anyone unhappy or upset, it makes me hurt to see pain on anyone's face.
10 - Animals - nothing quite touches the heart as the pure and unconditional love animals are capable of giving you. Cats, dogs, rabbits, wild aimals like Foxes, bears, deer, etc. I wish every home would adopt at least one homeless animal from a shelter. I can't stand thinking of them lonely and in need of love and care.
Bonus - because I don't want to erase any of the above, but thought of one more I can't resist adding -Writing -I love to write almost as much as I love to read. I don't share my stories with anyone I know, but I do enjoy posting to other blogs under another name or just writing for myself.

Now for my favorite 10 Blogs. This is a toughie, please know if you aren't on the list it is only because I'm limited to 10 and that is a tough one. These are in NO particular order, just as they come to mind as I write. Also, I list my favoritely frequented blogs on the side, so most should come as no surprise. :)
1 - Knitting in Wonderland - thank you so much for your award! Sorry it took me so long to post it. I just LOVE your header pic - Alice in Wonderland done so whimsical and pretty. Did you design that yourself?? I have barely begun to look through your blog, but I really look forward to doing so later today. Thanks again!
2 - Du Buh Du Designs - Christine is a remarkable doll artist of the first order. I find her attention to detail, her obviously amazing talent and artistic integrity amazing. Having managed to snag one of her most beautiful dolls myself I can honestly say - her work is even more beautiful in person. Her blog and portfolio is an insiration.
3 - Inside a Black Apple - I might never have stumbled upon the online community of artists and crafters if I hadn't watched Emily on Martha Stewart. I checked out her blog and soon found to my amazement, people sharing their art and crafts and how strong Etsy had grown and how much easier and more fulfilling it was to use Etsy and the blogging world to share my own work. I'd become disappointed with Ebay and their high cost of fees and limitations and had just about abandoned the idea of selling items I made when I discovered this wonderful online movement where you could have a virtual store, more control and loved the focus on handmade and vintage items rather than the HUGE amount of inventory that just about ANYTHING can be sold on Ebay which makes it impossible to find unique and quality items. I enjoy Emily's inspiring leaps in her business and am amazed at how many similar interests we have at times and how nice she is to everyone. I own a few of her prints and I find her to be a great inspiration for what a gal can do if she works hard and stays true to her vision. If only I had her work ethic. What a great entrepreneur she is!!
4 - Some Girls Wander - another Emily blog, but very different as she focuses on vintage finds in clothing and I admire her confidence and sense of style. I check this blog even more often than the big blog because I'm always looking for tips or just to check out her newest interests. Such a fun blog to follow. I only wish she'd update more. I'm always looking for other good fashion blogs, but they are hard to find, at least those that are similar in taste or post clothing items I could actually buy, make or find. High fashion isn't much of an interest to me.
5 - Danita Art - Another inspiring entrepreneur and I just love how she's made her own niche in the art world and some of her folksy works really make me smile. Like her Frida paintings or her Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White, etc. Just too cute. I also totally sympathize with her not bein able to stop picking up new mediums and trying new ways to display her art. I only wish I had her ability to FINISH some items, I have far too many abandoned projects sitting around in various states of progress. *sigh*
6 - Audrey Eclectic - Heather is so sweet and supportive and she's another prolific artist that I can't believe manages to paint so fast! I dither and throw away so much of my own art and yet she has a small child an still manages to do so well finishing her great folk art and doing commissions on top - and art shows, too! Wow! I also share her love for Austen and Victorian gothic Halloween art/items and wedding portraits, etc. And also a midwest gal, so hard to find. Seems everyone else has migrated to Portland some days.
7 - A Fanciful Twist - Never a dull moment with Vanessa's blog! She's full of color and action and crazy/amazing ideas. I especially love her Mad Tea Party every year. I can't wait for this years. ;) She's also so supportive of my work and my first customer - the little German papered house - what a thrill I got out of selling my first item on Etsy. AND to find her posting it up on her blog around Halloween. What a huge ego boost that was and inspired me to keep going. ;)
8 - Heather Bullard - Just a glance at her latest post full of beautiful antiques tells you why I like looking at her blog. I love the latest post and covet just about everything in it. Too bad I've told myself I must be good with money for awhile...
9 - Little Byrd - A cute name for a cute blog. I just love all the inspiring photos of vintage and antique items. Just like the blog above - too much temptation!!
10 - Posie Gets Cozy - Another industrious woman that is constantly at work. I'd love her blog just for the ultra cute photos of her sweet puppy Clover. Cutest dog ever (besides mine...) and her kitties. But her blog really is cozy - full of projects and cups of tea, quilts, little dresses and her latest publications. Great blog to follow.
And that's all for now...dinner's finished and I must go eat. I'll let everyone on my list know of their own award and pass on the fun. :) Also - I have lots of Scottish Festival photos to share. I'll have to trim them down to just the most interesting and fun ones I can't help wanting to show you guys!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Tartan Day!!

Today we visited my grandmother again and she's looking MUCH improved and seems she'll be okay. She even got up and walked around already. Afterwards we went to Historic St. Charles Main Street which I blogged about in this post.

And today was the Missouri Tartan Day!! Yippee! I'm part Scottish and love all things Celtic so that was a blast! We went to the festival and unlike the first few they had which were small, this year had LOTS of entertainment and people of all kinds dressed in so many fun costumes or traditional Highland dress. I especially loved one girl's medieval queen's gown with a bit of Tartan tucked in. Her boyfriend or husband had peasant Highland clothes on, rather authentic. I'm very shy so I urged my mother to ask her if she'd made the dress herself. My mom laughed at me and said for me to do it and finally I just managed to say, 'I love your dress' and then mom took pity on me and asked her - she had it made for her. It was so nice. But not as nice as a costumed as the one I saw a few years ago advertising for the French Festival. So I have to find out when that one is!!

Picture courtesy MO Tartan Day Website

Anyway, back to the Scottish festival, I was caught unprepared and so have no pictures of my own to show - alas!! I saw so many cool costumes, jewelry, funny shirts, dressed up dogs (there was some kind of contest) and showing of different border collies, etc. and some girls had really dressed up their hair in cool buns or lots of pixie braids. There were even some very odd, out of place Goth/Scots that were outlandishly dressed and not a little scary and playing with thick sticks in mock battle. The Society of Creative Anachronism was there demonstrating how to make chain mail and making jewelry from old medieval style molds, etc. We all bough silver jewelry - bracelets, rings, and I bought a pin from the Fraser of Lovat clan badge - because I love the Outlander novels by Diana Gabledon so - it had the stag and Je Suis Prest and I was so thrilled at it I bought it instead of my own clan badge - our last name is Todd, but they are only a part of the Gordon clan and so I can never find our crest (which has three Fox heads on it and really cool) but instead the Gordon clan one which is in comparison...sorry to say, not quite as cute. So I got Jamie Fraser's badge and put it on my purse for now. LOL Fans of the book will understand the urge. ;-)

There were caber tosses, bag pipers (sadly already done for the day, but trailing around), knights fighting, lots of other Hi gland games being played, it was so fun! My dad even bought and immediately put on a sort of modern kilt (khaki with lots of pockets like a pair of cargo pants, but pleated and rather cool - he then bought a leather sporran and mom bought him the traditional off white knee high socks. He still needs a sgian dubh - which is a traditional small knife worn in full dress - also mom wants to buy him a proper shirt to go with it so we promised the vendor to go back tomorrow. I really hope we do and that I remember my camera. Today was the really big day, but maybe tomorrow will still be good. The had a highland cattle pen, but I didn't get a chance to look. I had a great time, but so exhausted!! I fell asleep as soon as we ate and came home. Just dropped to sleep fit for the dead.

So my weekend is full and happy - hope yours are, too!!!!

Looking For the Bright Side

My grandmother's in the hospital right now after surgery on her colon today. It didnt go well - they took out more than they intended and still didn't get the polyps or anything bad and opened her up more to explore and still were frustrated so this probably means more surgery in the future and maybe bad consequences. She's still too out of it to know much and so we're worried how she'll react tomorrow when she knows what happened and what will happen in the future. I feel terrible for her and exhausted with such little sleep and worry. So... I decided to post some more pretty spring photos I took the other day to cheer me up.

First up - one of my many gernaiums I kept indoors all winter - it's huge and beautiful:
...and happy to be outside.
A carpet of wild violets around a stone stepping stone - so pretty and rustic. A view looking down from my porch to the side garden:
I think Fairies must live here...

My Dogwood bloomed, so pretty, and this is right after we had a quick and torrential rainstorm. The sun came out and I just had to take some pictures.
Such a pretty shade of pink even though Ithink they called it red at the store.

The sun shining through the delicate petals was just so peaceful and pretty...
And just in case you wondered whatever happened to that bench pew I was painting before my operation - I didn't quite finish, but with me coming home from surgery months ago and needing hall space, my dad put it outside ad it rather looks nice on the porch, though it needs protective outdoor covering.

So hope everyone has a Happy Weekend - I'll be at the hospital at least some of the time, but otherwise I hope to enjoy the warm weather and pretty flowers. Enjoy every minute!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Colorful Easter...

Hope you all had fun this Easter. The Easter bunny gave me a Dove chocolate bunny - mmmm....can't wait to eat it! And we had a small dinner - first you are of course welcomed by our stone rabbit that guards the hall window:
He greats you with spring blossoms from a tree and directs you to the table. Which at first was a little plain:

So I added a few more of my mother's egg cups and eggs to make it more colorful:
She collects egg cups so that isn't even all of them and we didn't do much decoratingwise as it was just a small lunch. Still I wanted to show you this special 'egg cup' my mum loves so much she keeps it in her room year round. You can put your earrings and rings in it by your bedside, etc. Isn't it cute??

Anyway, I didn't take a picture of our food as we were so hungry we dived into it as it came out of the oven. Just the basic ham with pineapple, au gratin potatoes, asparagus, and crescent rolls. And for dessert - carrot cake, of course. :) Then we went to a movie and I'm exhausted now and ready for bed already. So tired. Good thing we have plenty of leftovers. This Friday my grandmother goes in for surgery so I'll be a bit wrapped up in that. She should only be in for 3 days so we're hoping for a speedy recovery. And since my aunt is still recovering from her surgery and another in law was in the hospital for a stroke recently...I'm getting tired of hospitals and worrying about everyone. Let's all hope this is the last one we have to go through for awhile. I'm hoping for a bit of peace and good health for the rest of the year *knocks on wood*.
Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!!

I hope to take some pictures of our Easter dinner and some of the many Easter items my mother likes to collect (she loves rabbits and collects egg cups like crazy and other items), but just in case I don't - a little card from me to you all.

Happy Easter and hope you are having a Great Weekend!!

(I have a sunburn already - the weather here is so WARM I can't stay inside and today I overdid it big time. LOL)
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