Friday, November 20, 2009

Warning: Shameless Gramma Ahead

Here, Papa and the boys await the arrival of the fair princess {Gramma, . . . naturally} to the magical woods.

We spend one day a week with our grandchildren. Usually at our house. Papa and I cherish this day. I honestly think we all do. This week, Papa and I thought we would do something different . . . take the boys on a hike, and leave the parents at home.

Nobody complained about this arrangement.

I understand the boys slept like hibernating bears that night.
Three boys . . . a rocky bank . . . a body of water . . .
Didn't you think splashes were a forgone conclusion, too?

Christian, helping Papa manage the steep part.

Our artist at work. This young man wished aloud that he could come back and do some serious artwork. {sigh . . .}

Oh . . . my . . . Goodness! Be still my heart.

Our plein air date was made that very afternoon . . .

The young artist took this photo of the rapids, himself. This is the view that he especially wanted to return to sketch. { . . . and, he did.}

Today. This very afternoon.

We made the date . . . I picked him up from school . . . we dined al fresco . . . we sketched . . . we painted . . . I am so in love with my Grandchildren.

Aren't they wonderful?
I am so very, VERY thankful for the precious people in my life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Really Cool Giveaway

Can you believe this wonderful old pre-digital-age newspaper printing plate? Isn't it just the most wonderful? It is part of a giveaway over at Vintage Patina! No, seriously! It's a blog that I only found kind of recently. Where in the world have I been? Her give-away is a thank you to all of you lovely friends out there in blogland . . . for, well, . . . just for being there.
I have spent a little time considering that topic of late. {Considering life before/after discovering blogging.} I don't honestly have many friends who blog, or follow blogs . . . but I recently had a conversation with a new friend who mentioned it, too. {I was very glad to find her.} No matter what time of day or night, there are girlfriends out there. . . you know, . . . in Blogland, waiting to have a cup of tea and a chat. Opening up their hearts. There are people out there like me! There really are people like me! They love their families, their homes, their art, their faith . . . and their blog-friends. I love it! I just love it!
Drop in on Vintage Patina and leave a comment. That will enter you in her drawing for one of these really, super cool printing plates.
I'll try to be back soon with something interesting over here. We're all so busy getting ready for Elizabeth's Artsy Girls Boutique, that I haven't had time to write about all the wonderful things I'm working on. I'll tease, though . . . Not for the boutique, but I'm working on casting sterling silver frozen Charlottes. {There is no way they'll be ready in time.} I'm at the mold making stage. I'm doing it myself! No! Really! . . . and I'm working on fusing glass for a bracelet that I've been wanting to make for five years, now, out of the stained glass scraps from the window that I built for Elizabeth and Justin's wedding. {Shhh! Nobody tell her! It's a surprise!} . . . and . . . I'm working up a class on the soldered charms, that will be held at the Green Pea Boutique in Escalon, California. {I am so excited!} . . . and more! I have more irons in the fire! I am having such fun! . . . AND, Thanksgiving is next week! Can you believe it!?
Soooo . . . what are you thankful for? Me? You wanna know what I'm thankful for? {You are such a thoughtful friend!} Among all my other great and wonderful blessings, {And they ARE. Great and Wonderful!} I am thankful for the blogworld, where I am able to express myself, whether or not anyone is listening, both in written words, and visually. I am just such a happy camper. {all giggles.}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

. . .Thank a Veteran

It's Veteran's Day. This is my son. A Coast Guard Veteran.

My son followed his Grandfathers' footsteps. My Father, his Dad's Father, and his Dad's Grandfather. A very proud history. His Great Grandfather was awarded this little medal below.
The Distinguished Service Cross*

The gentleman with glasses, Einar Winfield Seastrand, is my husband's Grandfather, and an honest to goodness WWI hero. In France. 1918. He was a medic. He risked almost certain death and ran into open fire to drag fallen soldiers back into the trenches where he could treat them.
His citation was signed by General Pershing, under whom he served directly.

My own Father's portrait isn't here yet. I'll have to round one up and get it posted. I'm sure Mom can help me with that! Pop was in WWII. He was on the Victory Ship, Logan Victory. He was "Discharged at Sea" during the Battle for Okinawa. You understand, that means they sank his ship. He was taking a cigarette break and was up on deck when he normally would have been in the belly of the ship. He saw the Kamikaze's face . . . and his eyes as his plane struck the fatal blow to the ship. Pop tried to pull the Captain off the ship, but he wouldn't leave, and ultimately . . . sadly, he did go down with the ship. When Pop awakened, he was floating in the water, toward the island. He didn't know how he got there.

We have a very proud military history, and we are so very, very thankful to those who have served.

*{It's displayed in a sealed frame, the picture was taken through glass, sorry for the quality.}

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Delicious Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

Because my sweet son has recently discovered that all Mulled Cider Recipes are not created equal, I am sharing the recipe that I have used for almost my entire adult life. {Which, just in case you're paying attention, is a substantial amount of time.} I can't remember anymore, where I got this. . . hmmmmm . . . trying . . . no luck. Oh well! Now I get credit for it!

You can add the sugar, or not. I prefer it without.

Mulled Apple Cider
2 quarts sweet apple cider {or apple juice}
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 ~ 3" cinnamon sticks, cracked
15 whole cloves
12 whole allspice
Cinnamon Sticks for garnish

1. Combine cider, sugar, 6 cinnamon sticks, the cloves and allspice in large saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved {do not boil}. Remove from heat. Let stand several hours to allow flavor to develop.

2. Strain cider; return to saucepan. Heat just until hot. Serve garnished with cinnamon sticks.

I don't believe I have ever let it stand several hours. I heat and serve. It does develop flavors beautifully over time, though . . . there's no doubt about that.

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Before I left for the East Coast, I had to prepare goodies for a boutique that Elizabeth, bless her heart, was manning for us. {Preschooler, infant and hubby in tow.}

I made a quick mock-up of my display for her. My hope was that it would make her set-up quicker and easier, kind of working from a plan.
All of the glass charms are made using stained glass techniques, with non-lead solder. I promise.
See the marble? It was one of my son's. If he finds out, I may have to return it.

The charm above is 1" x 1.5". It is a paper scrap from an antique french dictionary behind the shoe. I promise, I absolutely did not tear that book up. Someone else did. And sold it to me. {I am such a hypocrite.}

Between two sheets of glass, these are double sided with vintage ephemera images.
In some cases, the images are copies, like the Victorian scrap birds that I copied, then spent an entire evening cutting out, while spending quality time with my hubby. {watching tv}

This one {above} is an inch square, and almost a half an inch deep. It has a truly vintage millinery flower {from our store . . .sigh} stitched to a piece of vintage green velvet ribbon. The back side is the image from our pretty price tag. Ah. Sweet memories. Which, I suppose is the reason it's called a treasure necklace.

Now, if I had been thinking, I would have made copies of this sweet paperdoll. I couldn't sell it, I liked it so well. It's Elizabeth's now. But I have a couple of antique paperdolls in my stash that I think I'll copy, and shrink. Won't they be the cutest?

{I'm sorry that I didn't get a clear photo of the paperdoll. It doesn't look terribly fuzzy in a small photo, though.}
Isn't this just the bestest fun?!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where This Woman Creates

I had a moment of brilliance! My work surface is always a cluttered mess.

Beautiful clutter, but clutter all the same. When I'm working on a project, I like to be able to see all of the goodies that I might want to include, but just try to find the next perfect element in the midst of the chaos.

Enter . . . the solution! A pinboard! That's it! Everything within reach, and all visible at once! A moment of utter brilliance, I'm telling you!

I'm attempting to make a beautiful and functional workspace. A place where I can work comfortably and easily. My husband built the most wonderful work table for me, I can't wait to show you! The perfect size, the perfect height. Ooh, he's such a keeper. Besides the pinboard, I filled pretty jars {and some ordinary ones, too} with ribbon bits and vintage fleurs. There are jars of every trinket that I couldn't hang. Jars of buttons, glitter, jewelry findings, teenie little toys . . .

Soooo . . . I'm surrounding myself with beauty and whimsy. Stuff of inspiration and creativity. At least as it speaks to me. All the better an environment to play in, my dear.

Nah . . . I don't plan to do anything with these acorns.
I just think they're just pretty in a canning jar.

I found this really cool map of Europe, dasted 1957. Not ancient, but getting up there. I should know. :)
I haven't framed it yet, so for now it hangs from a dowel and string, just the way I bought it. It's totally and completely imperfect . . . just the way I like it.
Oooohhhh, I'm such a happy camper.

Autumn in Our House

As if our trip to the East Coast wasn't inspiration enough, with all of the colors of Fall . . . the weather here finally feels like it's time to decorate.

Even if the trees have only just begun to change . . .

II collected the leaves on the grounds of the Seminary in Princeton, and pressed them in the hotel room. I had to bring some of that East Coast color home with me!
The pretty little silver birdie is from my girlfriend's shop, The Empty Nest, in Oakdale.

That's the way I like my home in the Fall.
{All snuggly and warm and cozy and candlelit.}