Sunday, May 31, 2009

sewing & thrifting with Ginny

Take a look at Ginny's latest pin cushion creations! Two words. Precious & adorable. Mine is the precious one with the yellow candle and Miranda, yours is so adorable covered in sprinkled pearls. Wish you could see Nicole's! So cute. Thank you Ginny! The bottle cap cushion was made totally by hand. I adore the delicate detailing. Be sure to click the pic and see for yourself.

The Sewing Sisters intently sewing while sharing our hearts and handiwork. Very few things leave me this fulfilled. I would show you the completed thread catchers, but I can't find the pail of fine sand that I fill the cushions with. It's buried in the garage under all of Miranda's belongings when she moved home before leaving for England. Speaking of Miranda, she arrives back in London tomorrow night after a 16 day whirlwind trip throughout Europe. She'll finally be home for good in 3 weeks! I can't believe how much I've miss her.
Ok, so do you see my old plaid couch in the background? As you well know it was gone in a matter of hours. And I have not once missed the old fella. It was the ultimate dog hair magnet! Remember, we have two dogs.
For those of you that may want to see a completed thread catcher, click HERE.

Ever since we got our flat screen TV back in November, I have been on the lookout for something to hold our components. I could not believe the poorly made furniture out there that costs a small fortune... and crafted with very few pieces of solid wood. So, when Ginny & I saw this sofa table (pictured below) at my little thrift store, I took a double take. Every single inch of it is solid wood, with dove-tailed drawers and very, very heavy. But the glass top was broken. They wanted $80.00 for the sofa table and two matching end tables. I only wanted the table, so they told me to come back on Memorial Monday (half-off day) when they would break up the set and sell me the table, if it had not sold. Of course I was up for the gamble. Well, I totally forgot till 3 PM that Monday... but there it was... and only $10.00!! I even went back a couple days later and got one of the end tables ($12.00) because I could not believe how they looked after we treated the wood with Howard Feed-N-Wax wood preserver. Love this stuff. Totally transforming! Literally night and day! Gorgeous results!

Randy had plans to hide all the ugly cords, but I couldn't wait. When duty calls... photo ops and blogging take front & center. I'm not a perfectionist. But I can sure obsess about my next blog post.

Thought you might want to see how my living room looks without the plaid monster and with the addition of my two new pieces. Sooo pleased. Love how the pieces soften the room. I have always decorated with a mix of woods. I love that eclectic, textured look. Quite frankly, having the table with a matching end table is almost too matchy/matchy for me. Anyway, Randy ordered a glass top yesterday and 2 hours later we had ourselves a functioning table. The brown couch is Miranda's and will go when she moves out. And then I suppose I'll get a new one. After 30 years of marriage, it will be our very first new couch. Unless I cave and buy a used one. It could happen.

And my best deal! Well, Ginny & I came across this stunning lamp at another visit to my little thrift store. I was immediately intrigued, turned it over and there it was... a $189.95 Quoizel Tiffany Lamp price tag. Oh. my. gosh. And I paid $5.98! It is so solid and heavy. The lamp shade was rather dingy... so Ginny cleaned it up with sudsy Woolite, set it out in the sun... as good as new! I am wild about it! So perfect sitting on top of my Grandma Steinke's antique sewing machine. I'm one happy thrifter!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emolyn @ 15 months

Emolyn is 15 months old now and let me tell you, she is quite the character. She has the cutest expressions! I can hardly stand it! She is the happiest, most content little baby. But she occasionally goes a little wild... like when she discovered lipstick. Oh, but don't worry, it's pretend lipstick.
She recently had a photo shoot with Kelsie Pinkerton Photography. Click HERE , turn up the volume and check out our pretty little baby!

My sister Ginny and I had the best time together. And the weather could not have been better... rainy and in the 80's! When they arrived the high was 107... the next day the high was 87. Perfect for our shopping day when we were in & out of the van. We checked out the new Container Store in Scottsdale, a few Estate Sales, my favorite little thrift store in Tempe, JoAnns, the Quiltz shop @ 32nd & Thunderbird and of course IKEA a couple 2-3 times. Heck, when you live a mile from IKEA, you have to check out the as-is department daily!
So it only made sense to pamper our poor feet with an Arbonne sea salt scrubbing at the end of the day. Aaahhh...

We also had a day of sewing and redecorating my home. On that particular day I not only sewed two thread catchers, made a pan of lemon bars and a meal of roast, mashed potatoes & gravy but we also rearranged my living room. We even hauled my old humongous plaid sofa bed out front with a free sign and it was gone in a half hour! And when I say we, I mean Tyler helping us. Can't tell you how awesome my living room looks without that monstrosity taking up so much space!

We also watched the American Idol finale. So exciting! So much so, that I finally caved, checked online and announced to everyone that Chris had won!! Actually, everyone wanted me to do that all night long. But the drama finally got to me, and I wanted to find out early too. We were shocked but pleasantly surprised.

Hey, check back for pics of our favorite thrifty finds and sewing projects. I hit the jackpot!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Randy's Dad served in the United States Air Force for 26 years. He died a year ago and we miss him. His wife of 65 years misses him terribly.

Tyler wrote this on Facebook today and I asked him if I could post it on my blog.

Tyler Thompson- Thank you to all the men and woman who bravely serve, and have served our country and paid the ultimate price. My papaw was a man who proudly made a career serving his country in the United States Air Force. His passion for the military and the steadfast love he showed his family throughout his life will forever be a reminder of how possible it is to remain a family man, a military man, and most of all a Godly man.

Wow, that will be my prayer for him... that he would settle for nothing less than that... as he enters the military in January.

Tyler wanted to put some American flags at his Papaw's place. So we did. And we miss him even more now.

Let us never forget those who have made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.

Monday, May 18, 2009

this 'n that

Wow, it's been a whole week since I lasted posted. Where did the week go! My mind is pretty scattered, so it's safe to say, this post will be rather scattered. So let me give it to you in bullets.

~ Our 20 year old son Tyler enlisted in the United States Marine Corp. And we couldn't be more proud and thrilled and anxious! He will not be leaving for boot-camp until January 4th. But in the mean time, he is training each week with others that have enlisted. I have never seen my son more focused and excited about anything in his life. He is truly living out what he has dreamed of doing since he was a young boy.

~ Miranda left this weekend for her first trip throughout Europe. You can check out her itinerary on her blog. She finished all her exams and is now traveling for 16 days with her friend Phoebe. It's kind of unnerving because I won't be able to chat with her on facebook. The hostels she's staying at are suppose to have internet, so she's planning to post on fb using her iTouch, to let us know she is alive and well. Still, I'll miss our daily chats.

**** We just chatted on fb! Just as I posted this, she popped on fb! We had a quick chat. She's soooo happy! And now Mama's happy! Thank you Lord for free Wi-Fi @ McDonald's in Paris! Miranda posted on fb "c’est tout ce que j’aime"... means "I'm lovin' it!" in French. And I'm so glad she is!

~ My sister Ginny & her husband Dave are arriving from WI this week. She will be staying with me for a few days while Dave travels on to Sierra Vista to visit with his Mom. Then later this week we'll drive Ginny down there. I always look forward to seeing Millie. She is one amazing woman. Anyway, you do know what that means when Ginny & I are together? We become the sensational Sewing Sisters! Stay tuned... projects to post for you to peruse in the very near future!

~ I am itching for a road trip real bad. Preferably the mountains... the Mogollon Rim to be exact. With my handsome husband. There is nothing I love more than hitting the road with my best friend in all the world. And dipping my feet in an icy cold creek after a long exhilarating hike.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ireland- Day 2

We're finally on our way out of Dublin and experiencing the beautiful green countryside that the Emerald Isle is known for. I've got to be honest with you, it reminded me of the rolling green hills of Wisconsin. The one difference, other than the rich, ancient history, is the stone fences and handsome hedges meandering along the roadways and hillsides. You don't see that in Wisconsin.

We rode an hour and a half on the top deck of a DD bus and just feasted on the beauty, often times catching a glimpse of the Irish Sea. When we got to Drogheda... just north of Dublin on the map... we called the taxi that would take us to our B&B.

When we booked our B&B, we just chose from a couple B&B's that Miranda had found online. Well, little did we know that across the valley from the Roughgrange Farm Bed & Breakfast was our first surprise. More about that later.

Our charming B&B was built in 1760. Yes, I actually slept in a bedroom that is older than the United States! We were the only ones staying at our B&B. Miranda had her own room... Randy & I had our own beds... and we all had our own electric mattress pads to adjust to our liking. Mmm, nice & toasty warm. Don't know if I told you, but Ireland is real cold!

The next morning we had the dining room to ourselves... and we had Irene all to ourselves. Irene and her husband own the working sheep farm along with their son and his family. It was so relaxing just to sit and hear her talk about the rich farm heritage and all the history surrounding the area.

Randy & I downed that entire pot of tea... so creamy smooth. And the breakfast was wonderful. The best part... a big bowl of fresh cut-up grapefruit chunks that were as sweet as can be.

I have never slept in a house so deafeningly quiet before... ever! And do you see the reason why? Check out the window sill. The walls are two feet thick!! The three of us slept 12 hours! Best sleep I ever had!

Do you see our surprise? We happened to be across the valley from Ireland's most famous Monument. Do you see the mound off in the distance from our B&B?

Newgrange Monument dates back to the Stone Age... over 5000 years ago! Be sure to click the link and read all about it.

Only 20 of us can fit inside the chamber. I was in awe of the fact that I was inside of something that is older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge! Yes, it was built 500 years before the Great Pyramids and more than 1,000 years before Stonehenge. People, that's OLD!

Newgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage of the Newgrange mound there is a opening called a roof-box.
On mornings around the winter solstice a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19 metre passage and into the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens so that the whole chamber is dramatically illuminated.

Thousands of people from all over the world sign up for the annual lottery drawing so they may be one of only a chosen few that could witness such a phenomenon every Winter Solstice around Dec. 21st. Many spend a fortune to come, only to be disappointed if it is a cloudy day. That's quite a gamble if you ask me.

After our tour, we leisurely made our way back to Dublin, only to stumble upon the oldest pub in Ireland. Another nice surprise! Truth be told, a couple other pubs vie for that distinction but we are pretty certain ours is the oldest! OK, so one of the oldest!
Anyway, what a way to end our trip... relaxing at a pub, sipping on Guinness & hard cider and eating real bad Irish food. Oh, funny story. So Randy hates meat loaf. Well, the burger he ordered was seriously meat loaf on a bun! And real bad meatloaf, cuz I happen to like meat loaf. But we sat there for a couple hours, laughing and reflecting on the past week and all that we had shared together. It was raining and cold outside. A couple older gents were jawing away at a nearby table and our hearts were happy and full. All the elements to a perfect ending, as our time on the enchanted Emerald Isle was coming to an end. Cheers!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ireland- Day 1

OK, so before I get started on Ireland Day 1, you need to know a couple things.

* First of all, we got back from WICKED real late. And then we had to walk an extra 2-3 miles from the train station because they had already locked the gate to the back entrance of Royal Holloway.
* We had to get up at 5 AM... after only 4 hours of sleep.
* Took the bus to the RyanAir airport, only to find out they were going to charge us an additional 60 pounds, called an airport fee. That didn't sit well with me.
* Landed in Dublin and didn't have a clue how to get around.
* All to say... we were tired, grumpy, hungry and irritable... times that by 3 and you have a formula for disaster or a major melt-down.

So: we regrouped. Found: the right bus. Destination: downtown Dublin.

Needless to say, Dublin didn't have a chance. I was not in the right frame of mind to embrace it for what it was... to me, it was huge and crowded. I just wanted to get to our B&B in the country. But we had a few landmarks that we really wanted to see. So we pulled up our boot-straps and hit the pavement.

We did a little window shopping. These stately kilts caught my eye. Randy's, not so much.

Dublin castle is situated, smack dab in the middle of Dublin, surrounded by modern architecture. Quite the contrast. It was built in 1204 and various stages of construction were added throughout the years.

We sat in this beautiful Dublin castle park and Miranda called our B&B to find out how we would go about getting there. She talked to Irene and we had a plan.

We were thrilled to see St. Patrick's Cathedral! Beautiful gardens surround that structure that dates back to 1191. It is the largest church in Ireland.

While walking past another old church, this old brick arch was calling to me. And I'm thinking Randy could easily build me such a structure in our backyard. Right? Randy quips, NOT!

Our final Dublin destination... Guinness Storehouse. Talk about impressive! The tour was fascinating and informative. And this being the 250th Anniversary of Guinness made it extra special.

They take you through the entire process in perfecting a pint of Guinness. We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. An Ireland must see!

Check out the seven floors Inside Guinness Storehouse! The step by step brewing process is truly... poetry in a pint!

I gotta tell you, I loved it. Unlike anything I had ever tasted before and likely ever will. They don't offer the Guinness Stout on tap, in these parts anywhere. That's what I've been told. (or is it the Guinness Draught? Now I'm confused) Anyway, it was 105 degrees yesterday and well, an ice cold pint would have been nice.

Cheers! (oh and I'm wearing my $2.00 clearance shirt from Target! But don't tell anyone.)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

more London & Wicked fun

Back for a full day of sightseeing in London. We started our day at the gates of Buckingham Palace. The flag was up which signifies that the Queen is in residence. Why she didn't make an appearance could only mean one thing... she didn't know we were there.

We had the most lovely walk along St. James Park through the most glorious gardens. Beautiful bulbs in bloom everywhere!

Westminster Abbey was everything and more than I ever could have imagined. Simply in awe of such grandeur and history. Our friend Amy visited Miranda just days before we arrived and she recently posted about her Westminster Abbey experience. Check it out HERE. So amazing! Remember, she's a professional photographer... need I say more.

Parliament and Big Ben

Trafalgar Square

And finally... St. Paul's Cathedral

~ Oh my gosh, loved St. Paul's Cathedral! Climbed the 376 steps to the Stone Gallery and had a birds-eye view of London. Breathtaking.

~ St. Paul's Cathedral, which took nearly 35 years to build, is Christopher Wren's masterpiece.

~ At 360 feet, it is the second largest dome in the world after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

~ Christopher Wren's design would later be the model for our Nation's Capitol building.

~ Princess Diana was married here. Who can forget her walking down that long aisle. I have now walked that aisle. The ceilings are works of art.

Needless to say, we had worked up an appetite. So across the street from St. Paul's is this darling French Pizzeria. It is there that we had the best pizza ever. By far, our favorite meal. I asked the waiter if the chef made a white pizza and he got so excited. Because even though it was not on the menu, the chef loves to make it if people ask. It was the best white pizza...

... followed by the best dessert I have ever had! Banoffee pie w/ ice cream. Get this! I just googled Banoffee pie and if you click on my link, it takes you to Paula Deen Cooking. She recently posted her favorite recipes from her London trip! And Banoffee pie is one of those recipes! So now you can make your own!

Back to the steps of St. Paul's, for one last photo op of Miranda and her beloved St. Paul.

And then it's back on the tube to WICKED!! Talk about a dream come true! WICKED in London! And the best seats ever!

OK, so when they got to the song Defying Gravity, I was like sobbing! I leaned over and told Miranda that she had defied gravity. She was doing the impossible. She was living out her dreams. By then we were both crying. It was the sweetest moment of our whole trip.
Listen to the song HERE... especially the last verse.
So proud of you Miranda.

Miranda snapped this pic of the three of us just before they raised the curtain. It was without a doubt the most entertaining musical... and our most memorable night.