Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo, Y'all.


Happy Halloween!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Spice, Spice, Baby.

I have been craving spice cake since last week. I'm not particularly sure why, as it rarely is eaten in my house. But after a miserable attempt at making my own-Oh, dreaded heavy hand! How couldst thou have added such an excess of cinnamon?- I went to the grocery store and bought a mix. Problem solved.

Perched on a tiny plate, from a tea set I was given when I was 5, this perfect little bite was definitely not safe in my presence. Swathed in homemade (hey, I had to make something myself) cream cheese icing I could not even wait to take a picture of it in full dress. Hence, the assaulted view.
Mmmmm, it was as if Autumn itself was in my mouth. The flavors of the spices burst on my tongue like a leaf-fall and the icing, silky and smooth, wrapped around them like a cozy blanket. It was so good, I ate another one.
I now feel ill.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Over and Under.

Our drive to Lake of the Ozarks was full of beauty and wonder- wondering what we would find as we had not really heard anything about it before our trip. Silly us, we should have known that it would be a treat.

This is the view from the overlook on Thunder Mountain. We all gasped when we saw how the sun cast a pool of light on the lake.
A quick drive down a bit was the entrance to Bridal Cave. Now, I am not much for small spaces. I tend to be a somewhat claustrophobic in fact. But I do not mind entering a cave that, 1. I know someone has traversed before, and 2. that has lovely cement pathways and lights directing you in and out of the cave. Since Bridal Cave held all of those qualifications, we jumped at the chance to take the tour. Oh, how happy were we? It is stunning inside. Imagine having all of this beauty and splendor hidden underground!

This is actually the last view of the cave. The stream that runs underground appears to have no end. There are pieces of wood below the surface that have been there for decades. They were not brought in from the front of the cave where we entered, and no other opening has been found. Their presence here is a mystery that has yet to be solved. But not for the lack of trying.

This particular formation reminds me of the Art Nouveau style of trees. I want to quilt this one day.

Cave ribbons and a brilliant piece of cave onyx cascading below them.

The "Pipe Organ", a formation that has taken millions of years to develop. It is huge. I would venture a guess that it is thirty to forty feet in height and fifteen feet in width, each section a delicate fold of cave onyx.

Can you imagine what the first person thought as they entered into this cave and found all of this? I am so grateful that there are people brave and adventurous enough to see a small hole, slip through it and make the beauty that lies under the ground known to the rest of us. If it were up to me, we would never have any idea that there are miracles hidden below the surface of the earth. I'm just too chicken.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


On this beautiful Sunday, I give you this to enjoy. Let it fill your heart and allow your soul to fly.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soldier Boy.

We're home. It was a wonderful trip to Missouri. The hotel was lovely, the staff very friendly, the area beautiful and the best part was seeing this boy right here:

Brothers and best friends.

Looking out over Lake of the Ozarks.
Isn't he handsome in his uniform?
I have a movie of his platoon as they graduated, but I have yet to figure out how to get it in here. I'll keep trying because it is worth watching.
Thank you for all of your well-wishes for Nathan. I relayed all of them and he was very grateful. He is now in California, waiting for his AIT to begin in November. His orders came through and he will be learning Farsi. I knew I needed to buy that English-Farsi dictionary at the PX!
I did not take a lot of pictures while we were with him. I think it is because I was just so happy to see him and talk to him.
We were able to leave the base and spend the day with our soldier. We decided to drive, letting the road take us where it may. We ended up in Dixon, a very small town. Since tummies were rumbling, we stopped in at Linda's Family Restaurant for lunch. It was like stepping back in time, with 1980's prom pictures decorating the walls. Nathan and the hubs had bacon cheeseburgers and fries and JA and I had fried chicken with mashed potatoes. Real mashed potatoes. You can't beat small places that have been around for ages for home-cooking and Linda's was no different. Yummy food, friendly people and they all thanked my son.
We then drove to Lake of the Ozarks and took in the incredible views. A quick stop at a little antique mall and we drove back near the base for dinner. Nine hours never went by so fast.
We took Nathan back to the base, hugged him again and said our goodbye's.
He will have a two-week leave in December. Christmas cannot get here soon enough!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

On The Road. Again.

We leave early tomorrow morning, driving out to Missouri to see Nathan graduate from Basic Training. It's a long drive, eleven hours, but totally worth it to give that boy a hug before he leaves for California.
We are staying in a hotel for three nights and since no other pillow will do, I am bringing my own from home.
I'll be spritzing it with this: Bath and Body Works Lavender-Vanilla Sleep Spray. Mmmm. It smells heavenly and sends you off to dream land in no time.

I read somewhere that men should not have too much exposure to lavender, as it can cause the developement of "man-boobs." Gee, I wish I had known that before I sprayed it all over Mr. Smith the other night because he had emitted noxious fumes while I was trying to read.
Maybe I had better pack an extra bra. Just in case.

Home Sewn.

Usually, the use of the term of "home sewn" is not flattering. In fact, I remember Heidi Klum uttering those words in respect to a designer's outfit on Project Runway this season and thinking to myself, "Ooh. That can't be good."
But then I found this:

Kaari Meng's new book French General Home Sewn. Oh, bliss. If anyone can elevate the term home sewn to a new level, it is Kaari Meng. I want to be her when I grow up, to travel to the French countryside and bask in the glow and softness of homespun linens. I want to gather them up and enrobe my home in them, creating a cocoon to soften the blows of the world outside and give my family a comfy place to land.

Inside the front cover is a pocket of patterns and iron-on transfers that will allow you to create your own works of art. Can you guess what I will be doing this winter? Embroidering everything I own!

Every page is a delight. The rich text evoking the bliss of domesticity and the quiet joy of creating your own haven, or heaven as the case may be.

Simple, well- explained instructions make these projects achievable for every level of sewing expertise. Now that I have seen this, I must make an organizer for my sewing instruments. I believe that they would be very happy in a home such as this.

The ideas are sweet, the images lovely to behold. What Kaari has done is to take the ordinary and give it her extraordinary twist. I promise you that once your eyes gaze upon the pages of this lovely book, you will never look at the humble workhorses tucked away in your linen closet, draped upon your tables or cradling your belongings in the same way again.

Thank you, Kaari, for giving us such a feast for the eyes, a lift to the heart and a reason to create.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Gift For A Friend.

I popped into my craft room last night and created a necklace as a gift for my friend from Kentucky, a little thank-you if you will.
I recycled a box and filled it with wool fleece. I then created the necklace from a tiny nest, pearly tear-drop "eggs" and a mother of pearl button, with a simple ribbon to tie about her neck.

I hope she likes it.
I am now off to Michael's to buy out all of their tiny nests. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sunday, Sweet Sunday.

Oh, darn. I loaded these backwards from the order of the day. Oh, well.
Rolling out of bed at 8:00 AM after a blissful night under the stars, I hopped in the shower for a quick wash-up and then partook of a yummy brekfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and the apple crisp I had brought for the weekend. (I popped it in the oven so that it was lovely and warm , perfect for eating on the back porch in the cool of the morning.)
Now, in no particular order, comes what we accomplished on Sunday. My crow doll made from scraps of an old quilt, an antique spool and a crow head made from Sculpey clay by our instructor, Jo Gummere, who had made a kit for everyone in attendance.

Jo Gummere, from North Carolina, who created the incredible dolls that we made. Sweet and gracious, she led us well, allowing each of us guidance when needed and encouragement
as we put together the bits of fabric and clay into something spectacular.
(She also makes some mean bacon!! )

Some of the girlfrenz gathered in Frannie's cozy kitchen.

Digesting good conversation and an even better breakfast!

Cindy Rowe instructed the girls on making a darling primitive pumpkin tree. She handmade each pumpkin in the kits!! DayLa and I did not get to take this class because we were taking down the tent and packing up the car, clearing time for the afternoon.

This is Cindy in the center, painting and chatting with Betty Jo and Kathy.

Pat, the only Aussie in the group, beaming proudly with her pumpkin tree. Pat was a devil with her camera, snapping photos at every turn. She even took a picture of the menu board at Lee's chicken place because it had Livers and Gizzards on the menu!! She lives in Maryland now and I and so glad to have been able to get to know her.

DayLa, (as she is now known) my sister, feverously working on her felted pumpkin while the girls finish up their pumpkin trees. Hers turned out much better than mine. Probably because she took so much time with it. Mine looks a bit wonky, as though it grew on its side.

After breakfast, we set up for a Trunk Show. Such a great idea!! We all brought things from home to sell (or barter) and when all was said and done, I made enough to cover my shopping trip to Glover's Station. But then, I spent enough to offset that again because there were so many cute things!!

Here are some of the wares that were offered:

There was something for everyone!
After we finished the doll class, DayLa and I packed up the rest of our belongings and began the sad task of saying goodbye. Hugs were given, tears flowed and lots of "See you again next year!", rang through the air. We missed the Pumpkin Bowling, which was okay, but we also missed the Gratitude Circle.
At some point during the weekend, we were to find a rock which would become our Gratitude Rock. Sunday night all ofthe girlfrenz gathered together and stated what they were grateful for and placed their rock next to another to form a heart. I'm sad we were not there for that. My heart was full of gratitude for those women for welcoming my sister and me with open arms. For being generous with their friendship, laughter and talents.
There is a phenomonon that occurs when women get together, an energy flow that brings out the very best in each of us. It's as though a thread forms, like spider silk, and connects us heart to heart. It opens the places in us that are waiting to be filled and pours into us until overflowing. I will ever be grateful to Frannie for giving us the opportunity to come together as strangers and to leave as sisters. Will I go again? Absolutely, without question, yes. If I could go tomorrow, I would.
As we were driving away, I lamented to my sister that I wanted to go back, right then, so that I did not have to leave that feeling behind. She knew exactly what I meant.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Our Way.

Down the road apiece from Frannie's is the small town of Greensburg. It is a place that is enjoying a resurgence of sorts, with plans for improvements being made at every turn.
Like a step into the past, Greensburg offers a peek into a simpler life. It is, quite simply, a gentle place to be.

This is the town looking out from Glover's Station Antique Mall. Can't you just picture women in long dresses and carriages parked where the cars are now?

I loved this window at Glover's. It made me smile with all of its red and white vintage children's items. I really wanted to take that hutch home, but we drove my sister's car and there was no room to be found. Next time I go, I'm bringing the truck.

Our next stop after shopping was the old courthouse, built in 1804. It is beautiful inside and out. This is Nan Montgomery (with Frannie), our gracious hostess who gave us the history of this amazing place. If you look back in the first photo of Greensburg, you will see what used to be the tavern owned by her ancestors. It is the painted red brick building, fourth from the left.

The front door of the courthouse, in its original state. It appears as thought the picture has been stretched wide, but no, this door is really that big. And beautiful.

After our tour of Greensburg and our meeting with the Mayor, we traveled to Rineyville to Kathy "Sugarbucket's" place, Sugar Bucket Antiques. I think by then we were two hours late in getting there. Good think the women in Kentucky don't mind a flexible schedule!

The first order of business was to S*H*O*P in her darling place, a small cabin outfitted with all things primitive. Kathy made the gourd Jack O'Lantern by cutting out the face and then coating the inside with flourescent paint. I love how it glows sitting on the shelf.

A while later we made a sweet little gourd garland (why did I not take a picture?) and then gathered for the Iron Skillet Toss, a game new to me. This is Cathy "Cobblestone" trying her hand at flinging the skillet. It landed in the trees!!

Sweet Millie gave it a whirl, literally, by spinning around until she felt she could let go. We were all a bit dizzy from watching her!

The women look calm now, but there were some scary moments of wondering if they needed to duck!!

Now, I wonder if you can guess who won the skillet toss? Yep, me. Go figure!

Hopping into our cars and driving to another spot in Rineyville, we came to Luna's farm, where we would spend the remainder of our day. The photo above is of the side of her sheep barn. Everyone decorates in Kentucky!!

Luna gave us a demonstration of preparing wool for spinning, from laying the fleece out to pick clean, washing it, carding it and then onto the spinning wheel. Her sheep give the most beautiful, soft wool and I could not resist purchasing a skein of nubbly brown yarn to knit something with.

Millie tried her hand at spinning and turns out she is a natural! This wool was combined with a gorgeous teal acid-dyed wool that fairly sung its way onto the winder.

Baa, baa white sheep. Have you any wool?

Luna's beautiful farmhouse, where we sat and felted tiny orange pumpkins and ate the most blissfully delicious Harvest Stew, with chicken, carrots, potatoes and beets. That and slices of warm bread and butter filled our tummies and warmed our hearts.

After leaving Luna's, we traveled back to Frannie's where we all put on our pj's, gathered for conversation at the Outpost and then turned in for a very welcomed good night's sleep.

Tomorrow, it's back at Frannie's for a whole lot of fun and crafting. See you then!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Freedom Valley Farm, Kentucky.

Winding our way to Frannie's house, we only got lost once. Not bad, considering we had to read the directions in the reverse of what was printed as we took a little detour.
Coming down the hill of the drive, we were greeted with our first view of Frannie's home, and what a view it was! Isn't this beautiful? I could absolutely see myself living in a place like this.

Made up of small cabins, hooked together, Freedom Valley Farm (formerly Cabin Creek Farm) is a picture perfect spot in the hills of Kentucky.

The front porch, where the bounteous fruits and flora of Autumn decorate every nook and cranny. Everywhere we went there were beautiful porches like Frannie's, decorated with love and joy. There were many "Oooh!" and "Aaah!" moments as we drove through the countryside. I think I may have to change my idea of Autumn decorating from waiting until the leaves fall from the trees to cover my yard to something more festive, like this.

The old school house, which is now the guest cabin. It was closed for our visit because Frannie had filled it to the brim with things from her house. I really wanted to peek inside, but refrained. Begrudgingly.

The side of the workshop and a portion of the apple orchard, where we pitched our tent on the second night. (We slept inside Friday night.) I haven't slept in a tent since I was 5 or 6 years old. It was in the back yard of our house in Marshfield, and my brothers and I each thought it was the most exciting thing that we had ever done. I am not really sure when I decided that camping was not for me, but that mindset has stayed with me throughout my adult life. So, after 45 years of not sleeping in a tent, I relented and did so. I discovered that I have been missing out! You could not call what I did this past weekend camping, as there was access to a proper bathroom a hop, skip and a jump away, but it was heavenly.

Once I got warm, with two quilts over me, I slept like a rock. The sounds of the night lulled me to sleep, nature's lullaby being sung by owls, insects and coyotes. Yes, coyotes! At one point I heard them baying in the woods, and Frannie's dogs baying back a warning to stay away. I love those dogs.
Tomorrow I will take you on a tour of Greensburg, where we shopped (at 8:00 in the morning, no less!), toured the beautiful court house, gathered a gratitude rock and walked through history.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CakeSpy Is Having a Giveaway!

Please Allow Me to Take You Along...

.....On our little jaunt this weekend. My sister drove up from Bradenton, FL on Thursday. The two of us headed into my kitchen to bake our treats for the girls that would be at Frannie's house. Dayna made Colleen's yummy angel food-pineapple cake into cupcakes and I made apple crisp, just tossing in what suited my fancy at the moment, with apples of course.
After a good night's sleep, we packed up the car and began our weekend early Friday morning. Conversation filled the spaces that our belongings did not and we mused upon what the weekend would bring. You could fairly feel the electricity that was generated by our excitement. This was going to be no ordinary weekend for sure.
One of our favorite places to stop for a meal is the Cracker Barrel and, conveniently, there is one located every 18 miles along the highway. We beelined for the CB in Kimball, Tennessee. We had to, Kimball is our maiden name and how do you not stop in a place named for your (possibly distant) ancestors?
After filling our tummies, and purchasing a few things from the store we continued our journey, crossing over the state line to Kentucky, and decided that we would find a cave tour for our next adventure. Dayna and I chose Lost River Cave as our destination.
Lost River Cave is a beautiful spot in Bowling Green. Just a few miles off Interstate 65, it is a step into tranquility. After purchasing our tickets, we walked to the gathering area to wait for the tour to start.
The tour begins with a walk along the visible portion of the river. The first location we stopped at was the Blue Hole. It wasn't blue on Friday because there had been rainfall a few days before, but it is sometimes the color of blue jeans according to our tour guide.

The Blue Hole
According to legend, there was an encampment of Union soldiers here during the Civil War. While they were camped, a few of the soldiers decided to go swimming in the Blue Hole. One of the men dove into the water, and never came up. Fearing for their friend, two more soldiers dove in to save him, only to follow the same fate. The remainder of the men ran to camp to tell their commanding officer what had happened. The three men were never found. They had been caught up in the pull of the current that was created by an underground opening to a rushing river that swept them out to the Barrens River and their deaths. What a sad story.
Years went by, and new discoveries were made about the cave at Lost River, one of which was the fact that it was "air-conditioned." The temperature difference is quite noticeable in the summer, with the underground cave being a lovely 57 degrees. A night club was created in the opening and from the 1930's to the early 1960's, it was the place to see and be seen.

This is the night club today. It is now used for weddings and proms.
Walking past the night club, down a few stone steps, you enter the cave. From this point on, it is a boat tour. Cold and dark, it was thrilling and scary all at the same time. Tours have only been given since the mid-1990's. Up until then the Friends of Lost River spent ten years hauling out trash and debris by hand. Eighty tons of it, including cars, washers and dryers, refrigerators and other unusual items. Gasoline had leaked into the water and had to be removed and the whole area thoroughly tested by the EPA before anyone would be allowed inside.
Looking back into the cave from the night club, my camera caught water droplets sprinkling over the river. Invisible to the naked eye, we asked the tour guide what they were. "Humidity." was his reply. He also told us that there were people who would be very excited to see the "orbs" I had captured with my lens, because of what they could possibly be. Later that day I thought of a good comeback. The orbs must be the spirits of the dead appliances that were found in the cave.

We had a lovely time in Bowling Green, seeing a part of this wonderful country of ours that we had not yet experienced.

Tomorrow, I will take you to Mt. Sherman and Frannie's place. You are going to love it!