Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eagle Watching at Starved Rock

We visited for the first time, Starved Rock State Park here in Illinois. At this time of year Bald Eagles roost on two islands. We saw at least 16 roosting and several flying during our visit. The Illinois River Valley in the Starved Rock area is quite different from the rest of the surrounding area. It was formed by glacier melt. The melt water cut through the sandstone and formed canyons and waterfalls and other beautiful formations that are a very different from the flat terrain we're used to here on the prairie. The beautiful surroundings and seeing my first Bald Eagle in flight was awesome. Sharing it with my husband and and our dear friends Sue and Ron, made it magical.
It was a dark and overcast day, but you could see the beauty of the park, and imagine it in Spring when the waterfalls and bright green buds appear.
Here is one of the canyons, photographed from a bridge near the lodge where we had a great lunch.
The views are fantastic. Check out the site here to learn more about the Park.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Things That Make A Home

I went through my photos and here's what I'd like to share...Things I haven't shown before. Things that make my house a home.

My afghans. I have many made by my Mom. They are not just for show, but used and cherished. Unless you use them and leave them balled up on the sofa or floor. That can get you banned from using them ;-) My brother Greg who loves a nap under one of Mom's afghans was banned for a while. It's like a hug, snuggling under those labors of love. The bottom one is a tablecloth I use under the Christmas tree. Our little bird touches it and says, "great grandma made this!" so sweet.
This is in our bedroom. The lamp I've had forever. The pitcher and bowl I made back in my second ceramic period. Oh yes, I've had a few ceramic periods. The babies are my dearest hubby and me. The rose covered picture frames were made by me back in the day. All on Buscia's table.
This is the wall of my family room. That's my Mom, she was a beauty, and in fact this photo was taken when she won a beauty contest.
The old family photo my dear cousin Di let me copy. Seeing my Mom as a little girl for the first time was so special.
The closet in my guest room. Sorry guests, no room for your stuff. I've yet to "DO" my closet in my new craft room. Books and boxes, jars and good stuff. Hope you enjoyed the tour. Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Floral Design Show

Last night I attended a Floral Design Show benefiting a local high school's music program. Floral designers took the stage and created beautiful arrangements, as we watched. It was inspiring, and interesting, especially watching with my dear sister in law who is a floral designer herself. After each arrangement was completed and explained, they drew a ticket from a large glass bowl. Someone in the audience went home with the arrangement. Betty and I went home empty handed, except for some ideas that will be used in Betty's own arrangements.
I love the look of the orchids in the mossy container.
This was the bottom of one arrangement. The clear bowl filled with flowers was really more beautiful than the arrangement itself.
The floral designers work under the pressure of a large audience watching every move, yet they produced the most lovely and complex arrangements. Two choral groups entertained us, and cookies and punch were served at a 30 minute intermission. It was great to see all the arrangements close up, but it was difficult to photograph the flowers, with the crush of people all trying to do the same. I took the best of the bunch and had Picasa put them together, into a little mosaic. All in all it was a fun evening, and a pleasure to spend it with my talented SIL. It was a little bit of Spring on a cold winter's night

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Nervous Energy

I used my nervous energy for good yesterday, while watching our Bears lose to the Packers. I started crocheting these cute little hearts, from Little Birdie Secrets, and as you see, I was very nervous. I don't know what these little hearts will end up as, but they are quick and easy.

I recently met a wonderful blogger named Barb from Babs Just a Babblin'. We've been emailing back and forth, and I think we're kindred spirits. We are both of Polish heritage and both make our traditional foods and treats. She's crafty and talented and lovely. Barb has the BEST recipes on her blog. This is one of them. Oreo Cookie Balls. Made with oreo cookies, and philly cream cheese. The recipe called for bakers chocolate for the coating, but I had some vanilla melts, the kind you use for candy making, available at Michaels and Hob Lob in the Wilton section. SO good!

Thanks Barb for sharing your delicious recipes. It's been great getting to know you! And you, dear readers... What's up this week in your neck of the woods?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Over The Top Valentine Mantle

I went a little crazy decorating my mantle for Valentine's Day. I can't help it, I Love Love!
My little cherub topiary, they've been helping me celebrate for so many years now. Still sweet, don't you think?
My lamp is finished. I've very pleased with how it turned out. My husband made the lampshade work. A team effort!
The minion that was in my cloche is replaced by some faux herbs. Sorry honey... He looks better in your office anyway!
We are freezing here in the Midwest, though they are promising a warm up, all the way to 18 by game time Sunday. A busy weekend awaits, stay warm and GO BEARS!

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Leave Your Cloches Unattended!

It's been a busy week... Sewing for service, and for myself...

The lamp I'm working on is almost finished. A small problem with lampshade compatibility, but I am pleased with how it's turning out.

Still adding touches of Valentine romance...

Why, in this house filled with men do I bother! Girls, don't leave your cloches unattended! ;-)

I don't mind the cold, but I need some sun! Though, everyday, even an overcast one, is a gift!

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Do you save catalogs? I do. Especially from Pottery Barn. So many good ideas, free for the asking. I've been holding on to this Autumn issue because of this lamp. It's all chippy and vintage looking and tall. I need a tall lamp.

I went to the goodwill looking for some items for another project, and the lamps were in the same aisle. When I saw this lamp, in my head I saw that chippy vintage PB lamp. It was about $7.00, a savings of $93 dollars, from the lamp in the catalog. I have everything I need to paint and distress the lamp. A trip to Ikea with a tape measure will probably solve my lamp shade problem. A project for a cold and snowy winter day. (Can you see in the back by the fireplace, I still have my Cinderella pumpkin from the autumn. It is still solid and beautiful, bought at the NaDa Farm Sale. I can't seem to throw it away.)

"Nature gives to every time and season, some beauties of its own." --Charles Dickens

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Mom's Brooch Collection

My Mom collected brooches, and I've kept them for years and years on this velvet pillow. The other night I decided to take them all off of the pillow, and gave them a good wash in warm soapy water and scrubbed them with an old toothbrush. Some are awful, some are really beautiful, but they are all special because Mom bought them all. One at a time she found them. This was before garage sales were popular in the city, so I'm not sure where they came from. One I made, the letter "I" for Irene I cross stitched, at the bottom of the first photo. I remember she wore the cameos.

They cleaned up really well. The sparkle and shine doesn't really show up in the photos.

I mounted a few on a linen like fabric in this frame, I painted and distressed. The rest are in a cookie tin, waiting to be reborn in another craft project.

Funny, these brooches, though they were Mom's, make me think of a woman I worked with long ago. Her name was Claire. We worked together at a Savings and Loan (A bank, for you youngsters) where we wore a lime green uniform. (The seventies were like that!) Well, Claire was much older than me, and wanted to set me straight. I was Mother Nature's daughter and wore no makeup, with very long and perfectly straight hair. (Obviously trying to hide the lime green polyester uniform) Claire thought me to be very unprofessional looking. She worked the lime green uniform, with her bright red hair perfectly coiffed and sprayed, and wearing a different brooch every day. God Bless Her, if Claire is still alive, she is well into her hundreds. I bet she never gave up that look, the bright red hair and the colorful brooches.

Well friends, the Bears won, HOORAY!, the snow is falling again and I have some projects to finish. Looks like a great day.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Go Bears Go!

Some of my favorite Sundays consist of me cooking while my guys watch football. That's what's happening today! The Bears
are playing and I'll be cooking, Spaghetti and Meatballs. ( and a chocolaty dessert to be named later;-) Have a great Sunday my friends and GO Bears!!!

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