The Feeling of a Surprise

One more week for you to enter the Cracker Jacks surprise contest!  The drawing will be held on next Thursday, right around midnight…

As I’ve been getting your surprises together, one has been on it’s way to me.  It arrived this week.  Do you remember what it feels like to have a lovely something unexpectedly show up in your mailbox?  I have a new doll from Lubov Nalogina, an excellent doll maker from Moscow, shown below.


I also came across a flash back from my childhood when I went to pick up an English workbook for one of the munchkins.  Hello Kitty items were being clearanced at Learning Palace.  This character is new to me, but just as sweet as Hello Kitty herself.  Here are some more saccharine Japanese items, mostly dolls.

I sent off for a blank moleskin notebook from  They are collecting books from various artists to tour in their “library” of sketchbooks.  I was given the theme ” I keep forgetting to call you back”.  I feel like it’s a little bit odd, but I’m working with it.

You simply can’t go without a nibble before you leave today, so here’s a tasty morsel. The photostream is from and she has many more yummy things on her own site as well.

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Fall Colors

I’ve woken up to fall being here with the new colors in the trees.  The reds and golds shimmering in the late sun have been tickling at the edges of my vision, cajoling me to like fall. The birds must have flown south.  Their nest was unoccupied by the little cottage.

We’ve found that the apple trees each have their own ripening date, one after the other.  The last two trees are ready now, crisp and sweet. They’ve been feeding the deer for the last week, as I didn’t know that they would continue to ripen.  We thought they were crabapples.  I may not get to them even so. They do look so beautiful out my window.


I found the most ingenious box handles today. They looked like faux crystals and when you opened the box, they were attached with a screw. I immediately thought of drawer pulls. Can you envision cute little boxes with all different kinds of drawer pulls for lid handles?  What about on the sides of your boxes?

Have you seen this perfume display? I thought it was just adorable, and lends itself for so many different uses. It would be lovely on a dresser, holding your special items, or in a larger version, to hold cups with silverware and napkins for a party.

Some beautiful colors were showing in the blackberry patch, but alas, they will never sweeten in this chill. I think it’s time for cocoa and candlelight.

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Dancing in my head

I had a little doll dancing in my head this week.  She simply wouldn’t let me go until she was made.  She’s not finished, but all of her parts are there.  Finally, she’s out!  Once out however, I have to start thinking about her clothing.  What do you see her wearing?

I’m starting to read a favorite book from my childhood to my munchkins this week.  It’s The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, by Margaret Sidney.  Do you have books that you were crazy about as a child?  I completely identified with Polly, the oldest girl in the Pepper story, as she takes care of her younger siblings with such heart.  I had the same “brood” at my house growing up.

As you know, I love cooking (as long as it’s creative).  However, with cooking and a constantly revolving back door, comes flies.  I know they are necessary to break down garbage, but I hate flies.  The munchkins are hired assassins to keep them down around here.  However, they don’t get paid if I have to see the dead creatures laying around.

This one must have died of natural causes.  He may have had a point about something stinking though.  I found this on the bottom shelf, way in the back of the refrigerator this week.


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Birthday Wishes

This is the last day to wish me a happy birthday and get a treat.  I’ve been stitching them up and I must say they are very cute and even useful. (I’m keeping one myself.) If you have a friend, I’d mention this blog before the end

of today…

I’d been to the Sharpie website, searching for more colors about a year ago.  I saw them, but there was no way to order them directly on-line. What a lovely surprise to see them at Wal-mart today, while I was picking up dirt cheap school supplies. Apparently, I don’t shop at Wal-mart very often as I was completely surprised that they’d removed their sewing section. Months ago. (I missed a fabric clearance sale?!)

I showed you some shots of Jenna’s wedding shower last week and I have some of the wedding this week. It was lovely with the same “beach colors” theme.



My cousin Cheri is due next month and thinks my blog is beautiful, except that I post photos that make her hungry.  My apologies, but you’ll wish for some of these “steak frites”.  Here’s a link to a New York Times article on where to find the best steak frites in Paris.

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Your Birthday Present

My birthday is next Friday, the 14th.  That means that I get to party and you get to open presents!  Some of the past presents include the bag to the left and the item listed on my blog here.  They are surprises, as I like most things to be a surprise, so email me with your mailing address before my birthday if you want a package to arrive at your house!

In case you didn’t get the email, my cookbook template is now accessible on Microsoft’s template page.  It is fully editable for you to add all of your lovely recipes and family history.  It also has my lovely elephants marching around the border.  (Hurrah!)

I made Italian sodas for Jenna’s shower last week, but Meredith took the cake for decorating the room.  Jenna’s wedding decor theme is tropical, and the party room was bamboo and lime green.




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Summer Projects

I think I need a cupcake from Sprinkles right now. It needs to be the Dark Chocolate, the Lemon, Key Lime, or Raspberry.  Are you coming over to bake with me?

This summer I’ve actually been working on the list of projects left in limbo on this blog.  You may recall the fluffy white Frankendeer.  She now has a head, all the pattern pieces have been created for her body and I finished up the colors for a leg today.  I guess you’ll be seeing her in stages.  She’s currently nameless.

Today the littlest munchkin wondered whether green eggshells tipped you off to trouble brewing inside the egg.  I assured him that Araucana eggs were just pretty on the outside, normal on the inside.  He made me think about the chick photos I took last year at this time.

We also chatted about making paper.  I’ve made it before with 100% rag cotton and conversely with recycled scraps.  A few of my girlfriends had talked about wanting to learn how to make paper and I ran across this post in Mushroommeadow’s blog. Her hand made paper die cut tags are just adorable!

My trip to Goodwill (second hand store) was especially fruitful this week.  Though you can see that I don’t really do any light summer reading.  (Nary a fiction romance among them, unless it happens to be Jane Austin.)  I managed to clean out a good portion of the used books.  (Not from my house, mind you, from the store.)  We need new bookshelves. Again.

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Night on the Town

Caprial's Bistro

I’ll post more tomorrow, but we’re off tonight for our fifteenth wedding anniversary!  We’re eating at Caprial’s.

I scoured the internet to find a recipe for you!  Here is the cake we had at Caprial and John’s kitchen.  It’s to die for!

The house will soon be quiet.  The munchkins and dh are off camping, and I’m going to art camp right here. Three

days of just creating.  I warned them not to expect a clean house when they came home.  (I could easily spend all weekend cleaning, scrubbing, organizing.) But sometimes you have to put your foot down, and just work on your passion.  My girlfriend Patty wrote about doing this same thing just a few weekends ago for her book. (I may call her if I need to escape tomorrow night.)

The weather is heating up around here and I’m having to water the flowers. I had a beautiful grass in the front planter, but it didn’t survive the winter. (Hmm, maybe it needed to be brought indoors.)  However, the succulents

have taken over and started throwing vines over the edge like I hoped they would.

Frankly, most of my interest in plants comes from my desire to cook or eat without cooking.  My cousin understands this and sent me a terribly tempting site called Eat-It.  I’d like one of everything that grows in zone 8, please.


We visited some friends for the fourth.  They like to put on a big show, and I played with the camera to catch a few shots for you.  All of the munchkins are finally old enough to light the fuses with punks.  They were thrilled, we were watchful.  A friend sent me a site that highlights artists every day called artist a day.  I’ve been enjoying it lately and thought you might as well.


The house across the street has been abandoned and the cherry trees that line the street seem lonely.  Littlest Munchkin and I picked them this week.  (Munchkin held the bowl while I bent the saplings down to pluck the fruit.)  We found that there are two kinds of pie cherries growing there.  We shared the pie with a neighbor, and felt a little better about lonely house.


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One of my friends, Maja Ledgerwood, requested a custom item, so I worked on the pattern this week.

As the family walked through the room I was working in, they all had their own opinons as to what the end product would be.

It was so facinating to hear from each individual, and was so inspiring!  I thought I would pose it to you as well, to see what you think I should be making from the pattern in the picture.  Just click on the email sign on the left-hand side and send me your opinion. Or email me here.

I’m still working with the support staff in India to find out how the system swallowed my cookbook file.  When it posts, I will certainly let you know.  I’m counting the days now.  I think it’s interesting how long it will take for them to sort things out… If I could find my Adobe Writer disk, I could just make it available here as a .pdf, but alas, I can not.


These colors caught my eye in a flower case this week, and this Australian online magazine (Paper Mache) is pure eye candy.

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I love Easter

I really do.  I love that it’s symbolic of new life, I love the cheerful colors, and best of all, I love the whole “surprise” aspect.  I adore surprises. (Don’t forget to write to me about your best birthday dream here to find a surprise in your mailbox!)

I’m not crazy about plastic items.  I don’t like the thought that I’ve bought something that can contribute to a landfill at any point in time.  However, my Easter eggs are highly reusable, collectible (by me), and so darn cute!  I’m picky though. This year’s finds are a Hello Kitty head, carrot-top, a chick with wings, a pink striped one and of course, The Golden Egg.  Let me know if you find any particularly wonderful additions.  The munchkins had me read The Egg Tree to them tonight.  Another book

series that I like are the Daisy books.  The illustrations are so endearing and I loved the book that taught the munchkins that it really is important to listen to mum.  Of course, our Daisy duck has had her eyes loved off.  The munchkins have more empathy for blind stuffed animals

anyway.  It’s been raining, on and off this week, but between showers we’ve had simply gorgeous weather.  During the first sunny afternoon, the trees took their cue and began opening their blossoms.  It was as if we could see them opening right before our eyes.  All the plum and cherry trees in our neighborhood have bloomed out now.  It’s gorgeous.  They keep drawing me outside to peek at them, showing off like little girls in twirling white dresses.


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Full Moon

It was a lovely night.  Strains from the classical station followed me from the house as I walked out on our deck and looked up at the night sky. We’d been having warm weather and windless evenings, and no humidity at the end of summer in the northern hemisphere.

It’s a pity that it’s so hard to catch the deer in the darkness, for that’s the time they love Deer Haven the most.  Two nights ago they settled down under the apple trees while we were eating dinner on the deck.  Our trees are mature enough (and wild enough) to withstand their feedings.

There are too many apples for either of us to finish, and we didn’t get to all of the plums either.  The golden globes are still hanging, spiked as champagne, on the branches.

I started teaching art history at a school in the area, so my art is coming more slowly than I thought it would.  (I always think I can do everything at once!)  The drawings are coming, but not as soon as I’d thought.

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