Halloween Full Speed Ahead

Wow!  Are you ready for Halloween?  Where does the time go?    It's a fun time around here.   Parties are booked.  Costumes are still in the thinking stage.  Any ideas for the 80's era?   
I thought I'd share some crafty Halloween ideas today.  With a little embellishment to some common craft supplies you or the kids can make some personalized spooks to decorate your party table.

These wooden masks are painted with acrylic craft paint and sprayed with a clear gloss.  Squares of craft paper were glued behind the eyes to give them a very playful expression.

Glue and glitter give them plenty of sparkle.  They are outlined with a a Black Sharpie marker.  These look great in potted plants or in arrangements of fall foliage, apples or pumpkins.

Styrofoam balls wrapped in strips of Halloween fabric make simple decor for tables and mantels.  Nestle them among fall leaves or group two or three on a tray.
A witches potion book was made from an old leather book of Trigonometry calculations and embellished with glitter and a witch print.They look like a bunch of weird formulas.
Black tulle net, feathers, a black rose and ribbons were added to a purchased mask.  If you like to collect bits of ribbon, buttons and odds and ends this is the perfect project to use some of those whimsical tidbits.
The finishing touch for your Halloween table could be this witch hat.  It is quite glamorous with it's finery.  A plain cardboard hat was decoupaged with torn pages from a book and then given a smokey wash.  Curved edges made with glue and glitter.  Strips of fabric are pleated and set with a glue gun. The crowning touch more feathers, tulle and a black bird.

May all of your happy holidays begin with a spooky Halloween!

*Have Fun*


Summer Gardens

I'm loving the glorious colors of summer.  I can't resist taking pictures of God's beautiful creations.  Everywhere we go it's picture time.  Flowers of every shape, texture and color.  We've seen several botanical and estate gardens this year.  I always have my camera ready!

I thought I would share a few of these beautiful sights with you today.  I hope you enjoy.

"She said she usually cried at least once a day not because she was sad but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short"

This was taken at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada.  Once a limestone rock quarry.  One woman's vision of turning the unsightly quarry into a sunken garden came true.  She was lowered into the quarry on a chair contraption by ropes.  Hanging by the side of the quarry she would plant vines and greenery into the cracks in the rock wall.  Her work definitely took root.
A pond and fountain at the bottom of the quarry.  There are several theme gardens with meandering paths to each.
I had to throw in one of our beautiful sunsets.  Every night they are so colorful and lingering.  The sun sets around ten.
The 2,100 acres of the Crane Estate on Castle Hill in Ipswich, MA. was the summer home of the Crane family, and playground for the rich and famous in the 1920's.  Overlooking the rolling green lawn which ends at the rocky white sand beach and blue, blue ocean, you can  imagine relaxing summer lawn parties and for moment imagine yourself in this private sanctuary under a summer sky.  Picnics are always fun on the grounds.  In the summer they have evening concerts.  The Estate is open  for tours certain times of the year.

Every garden needs a focal point.  A sculpture or a piece of garden art that draws attention to the beautiful garden below.  Maybe not this big. :)  The World's Fair Space Needle in Seattle, Washington is such a piece of art.  Among theaters and exhibit halls the 500 foot Needle soars above.  The view at the top is spectacular with the sprawling city, the coastline and the water features and park below.  During the World's Fair and many years afterward the glass dome was a fancy restaurant.

Bright hydrangea, peonies and petunia always bring a smile with their boisterous exuberance.

The hillsides in our area are now covered with sunflowers.  They are one of my favorite flowers with their , bright nodding heads
Through out the day their faces follow the sun as if to say, "Always keep your face towards the light."  A good message for us all.

Have a Beautiful Day!


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...


Summer's Checklist Completed.

My checklist is complete.  Now looking forward to the beauty of Fall.

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.

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Wow!  Are you ready for Halloween?  Where does the time go?    It's a fun time around here.   Parties are booked.  Costumes are still i...