Lake Tahoe Raod Trip

With summer winding down and school ready to start, vacation time may be over.  But, if you love road trips like Mr. T and I do, you might want to put Lake Tahoe on your bucket list.  It's a great place to go all year with snow sports in the winter and water sports in the summer.  The Lake is surrounded by towering pines.  For us late August, early September is perfect.  The big vacationing crowds have left. The crispness of Autumn is in the air.  A light sweater is perfect for a walk along the beach, going to the Antique Car Show, browsing the many shops and having lunch on the patio of one of the tasty restaurants.

The big paddle boat we rode on paddled through crystal blue, dark blue and emerald waters. We discovered mysterious coves that couldn't be seen from the shore.   Tucked back in the trees of one of the coves was a beautiful  ornate summer home built  of stone in the 1800's.  I can't even imagine the expense of hauling all the building materials across not only the lake but through the mountains.  They also built a tea house on a rock island.  Visiting  friends enjoyed many fine luncheons on the small bit of rock surrounded by the lake and mountains covered with deep green forests. 

All aboard the Amsterdam paddle boat.
Lighthouses have such a lonely beauty.

All is quiet on the beach after a busy summer.

This piece of shoreline reminds me of the spot where Mr. T and I were engaged.  It brought back fond memories of us walking  along the sand hand in hand, sitting on such a rock and talking about our future.

I love these totem poles.  I had to build one for our garden with arrows pointing to some of the places we have been.

I hope you've had a wonderful summer.  Maybe there's time for one more trip!

Sunshine and Happiness!


Why I Love The Beach

 Do you love the ocean?   Just about all of our vacations require that we be by the ocean.  Summer or Winter we're often soaking up the sun at the beach.  The Pacific Ocean,  the Atlantic,  the Mediterranean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, they are all beautiful in their own way.   One of our favorite places in San Diego, on the Pacific Highway,  is Hotel Coronado.  It's Victorian architecture with a crisp white exterior and red roof beckons all who drive by to spend an afternoon strolling the beach.  There are many enticing things to do.  We usually have a grilled hamburger or hot dog on the deck overlooking the blue water with its foaming waves crashing on the seashell covered sand.  Seagulls swoop from sand to wispy white clouds.  There is also a restaurant on the corridor with unique boutiques on either side, always tempting me with an array of colorful beach wear, ceramic dinnerware, paintings, kitchen towels and beautiful books.  I'm reminded of this beautiful getaway with a painting we bought of a bistro set on the lawn overlooking the ocean.  Aaah, it does a heart good in the middle of winter.

Through the years we have collected a few shells from around the world.  We have used them in decorating our home. They are displayed in crystal bowls in the living room.  Our accent lamp in the bedroom has a glass base with a variety of seashells in different shapes and colors.

The ocean is a place to let your worries wash out to sea.  It makes problems and looming deadlines seem small.   Life seems to fall into place.  All of a sudden in the great scheme of life those things that seemed so big and overwhelming find their place and you feel balanced once again.
Stroll along the beach barefoot.  It's an inexpensive pedicure.  The sand smooths the bottom of your feet, and leg muscles are strengthened as your toes grip the sand.  Feel the cool breeze and ocean spray on your face.  You'll feel the immediate hydration of your skin.

These are just a few of the reasons why I love the beach.   As a teenager,  my friends and I would frequent the beaches at Santa Monica, Huntington, and Malibu in Los Angeles Co., California.  We had a whole different list of reasons we liked going to the beach.  One of the main reasons was to lay on the warm sand and tan ourselves up with a slick layer of cocoa butter.  We would buy a small bar of cocoa butter at the drug store for twenty-five cents.   Who knew we were frying ourselves, we just knew Copperton would not give you a quick tan!  Live and Learn.


Super Fast, Yummy Side Dish, and Dessert

With all of the summer barbeques and casual dinners you're being invited to are you running out of ideas for a side dish?   Here's an  easy and tasty dish you can make in a few minutes.  If you have the simple ingredients on hand  and in a hurry you won't have to run to the store.  It takes 5 minutes to get your potatoes ready and about 25 minutes in the oven.  There!  You've got 30 minutes to get everyone else ready and you'll be a star with your scrumptious potato dish.

It's a side that goes with all kinds of entrees, from hamburgers to kabobs, grilled fish or steak. It looks delicious with scattered herbs and spicesHow to below.


1 pkg. Lipton Onion Dry Soup Mix
5 lbs. Red Potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbls. freeze dried chives

Scrub and rinse potatoes.  Cut into 1/4" slices.  In a gallon size zip lock bag add olive oil, soup mix and potatoes.  Shake until the potatoes are well covered.  Put the potatoes in a 9"x13" baking dish and sprinkle with chives.   Bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and browned.

How To:

Prepare cake mix per box instructions.
Place liners in cupcake tin.
Fill the liner with cake mixture 1/4" from the top.
Bake per instructions on box for cupcakes.
Let cool.  Swirl canned cream cheese frosting on top.
Place an unwrapped chocolate kiss on top.

Party On!  Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for visiting with me today...


Fresh Looks for Summer

This Summer I Will.....
1.  Redo the library shelves. Simplify with streamline accessories.  A touch of green and a minimum of color.   Turning the books around so the white pages show is refreshing.
2.   I will set aside an area for summer essentials.  Tote bags, towels for swimming.  Lots of hooks to keep things off the floor.  A place for everything and everything in it's place.
3.  I will freshen up the bedrooms with cool colors and pops of color.  A clean and inviting room is a wonderful retreat after a hot and active day.
4.   I will find fun places to showcase souvenirs from our travels.  Utilize wall shelves to add interest.  A colorful banner made from fabric remnants or craft paper will add balance and pizazz.
5.  I will add some fresh colored pillows with cute embellishments.  Great additions to prop up for reading a book or scatter them on the floor when little friends come over so they can lounge about on the floor and talk.
6.  I will use some new color combinations and light fixtures to update rooms and create a cozy family gathering spot.

                                        "Oh Summer, How I Love You"

Garage Sale Girls


One of the many things I love about summer are the enticing posters on stop signs and light posts. It's like a red light flashing....Treasure Hunt coming up. Before the girls and I take off in our different directions we huddle together and discuss what we're looking for. Maybe it will be an unknown surprise, a book, a chair or a dish.  It doesn't even matter if we come home empty handed.  The thrill of the hunt is enough!

The bamboo bistro patio set was one such find.  It looked pretty sad with it's rattan ends poking out in all directions.  The cushion covers were of an ancient design and very dirty!  I was sure the tabletop was glass under the layer of dust.  And the furniture color was a unbecoming brown and yellow.

With a place in mind for this little bistro set I paid my meager sum and headed home.

First of all a good wash, revealed an unscratched glass tabletop and bamboo that was in pretty good shape.  With a glue gun I tacked down the loose ends and placed the set outside to spray chairs and table with a black flat paint.  After the paint was dry it was sprayed with a polyurethane finish to protect it from moisture.    

I had previously bought a half yard of upholstery fabric on sale at JoAnne Fabrics.  It was the perfect finish for the chairs with it's green and black stylized flowers.  I cut off the old fabric.  The cushion was still good so I just stapled the fabric onto the wood base.  Voila!  This refinished bistro set was placed next to our Hot Tub and it's the perfect place to set towels, etc.

Every once in a while I find unique salt and pepper shakers at a garage sale or flea market.  My first set were a set of dogs with Christmas wreaths around their necks.  They always come out at Christmas and receive lots of compliments.  Does anyone remember Aunt Jemima and the story of her delicious pancakes?  I was smitten when I saw a pair.  They remind me of a favorite childhood memory and are a real conversation piece.

Whatever your treasure, it will surely be a day to remember!   Save your pennies, grab your girlfriends and have some fun next weekend.


DIY China Cabinet to Craft Shelves

I have to admit it took me some time before I was ready to start on this project.  I could see in my mind what I wanted but was I willing to distress the cabinet, take out the glass panels, repaint the wood finish.  Why was it a hard decision?  Totally sentimental!!  This was our first china cabinet years ago.  How excited we were to put a beautiful traditional china cabinet and French dining table with six chairs in the dining room.  The room had waited so long for furniture and here it was finally.  A dream come true! 

When I finally decided the cabinet was the perfect storage solution for my sewing studio I bit the bullet and bought the paint.  Then the work began.  The robin egg blue chalk paint finish is the perfect accent for the gray walls and white tables in the room.  I love it and only wish I hadn't  waited so long.  Here's a peek of the process.

The cabinet has three open cupboard doors on top and three wood cupboards on the bottom.  I love chalk paint.  No need to sand before painting  and it  has a little bit of a rustic look to it.  After the paint dried I applied a clear wax which tones the color down a bit and gives it a nice finish.

This was the hard part, giving it a worn and been around for a while look.  Prying off the handles, scratching and nicking it up broke my heart.  But I had a vision.   I couldn't turn back now.
A screw, nail and a hammer did the trick.  The wood was pretty  hard.
Glass panels out, paint dry and checking out some drawer knobs I've been collecting for awhile.  The knobs are from Anthropologie and Hobby Lobby.  I love  the colorful variations they have.
 Before the glass panels go back in the shelves the beastly job of putting chicken wire in the sides and doors began.

I bought the chicken wire at Lowe's.  At this point I was very anxious to get it done.  Without wearing leather gloves or a long shirt I began cutting and stapling the wire to the back of the door  and finished in an hour or two.  Needless to say my arms and hands were  pretty scratched up. 

How exciting to have a new place for my books and notions.   It's the perfect focal point in the room, and crafty resources and tools are close at hand.

On To The Next Project! 

Sunshine & Happiness


Charming Ann Arbor, Michigan


I love the details in these towns built in yesteryear.  The attention to detail is what captivates me. The arched windows, the small shops snuggled close together differentiated by their colorful store fronts.  Tree lined streets offering shade and shadow.  A few years back I discovered my great-great grandmother grew up in Michigan. This adds a special delight,  thinking about her carrying on with her life in these very areas which I am very fortunate to visit.

Main Street in Ann Arbor.  This is a college town with many outdoor cafes, pizza parlors in old Victorian buildings and hip clothing stores lining the street.
I feel my day is complete if I can take a stroll on such a street soaking up the history of the buildings.  Questioning as if they would be so kind to answer my questions. What year were they built? What was it's original purpose? If only these walls could talk of another time.   Graceful architectural embellishments give character to brick and stone.  Always beautiful details. 
A fairy garden tucked under a big tree.was a happy surprise.   One of these days I am going to find a place for my own fairy garden.  In the meantime, Bostyn and I made a lovely one in a garden pot.  We found all sorts of things from the house that made a perfect landscape for our little fairy.  Glass pebbles for a stream,  a little mirror for a pond, a small wood bird house Bostyn had painted was the perfect fairy dwelling. 

More enchanting details.  What ghosts of the past looked out of these windows watching the hustle and bustle of the street below.  A business man, a maid, a professor, a student, a child, a writer?

Antiques or Book shops are a definite stop.  I can get lost for hours among the dusty shelves.  Luckily Mr.T also loves books so we disappear into our own corners for a while.  Later we stop at a cute little restaurant with it's original tin ceiling  and tell each other about the historical treasures we found in the book store.
Are you a modern girl or a Victorian at heart?  Do you get lost in history?

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With summer winding down and school ready to start, vacation time may be over.  But, if you love road trips like Mr. T and I do, you migh...