Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shopping..check! Decorating...check!

Thanksgiving weekend is a big weekend for me.  Besides having family and friends over for the "All you can eat" marathon, the entire next few days are packed. I mean, we have TRADITIONS!!!

What would Thanksgiving be without watching the Macy's parade over breakfast?

The day after Thanksgiving starts early by downing some orange juice and a couple of Tums, then heading for the's Black Friday!!!!  Though I peruse the 100 pages of ads from Thursday's paper, I rarely set out to find the bargains. My goal is to follow my daughter and daughter-in-law through the stores of their choosing, let them show me the bargains and what what the grand kids want for Christmas. 

"Ooh, Kellie would like that..." my daughter exclaims.  I snatch it out of her hands, and throw it in my basket. One present...check!

"Owen said he wanted that," my daughter -in-law says, as she contemplates spending that much money.

"I'll get it."  I throw it into my basket. And so the day goes. I got this Black Friday thing hair pulling, trampling or rushing. I leave the stores, bags of gifts in hand and head for home. I shopping is DONE for 9 grand kids!!!! Bonus - leftovers for dinner!

Saturday is Christmas Tree Cutting Day with the fam.  Even though I have a stunning artificial tree, we go to watch everyone else saw down trees.  It's Small Business Saturday, so after some biscuits and gravy, we head for Cool Forest.

Many friends an families join in this annual event. The forest was crisp and beautiful this Saturday morning.

The day is topped off by gathering at a local pizza place for a few pitchers of hearty ale and lots of pizza. We chat and laugh and watch all the kids beg for quarters for the games. Dave dauddles over his brew because he knows what's waiting at home....that's right, big boy...CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS need to come down from the shelves!!!!

Sunday is my all-in decorating day.  Out with the Fall decor and in with the RED stuff!!!  It usually takes me two days to finish everything, but it's worth the effort, because 


Laurel. I'm 'bout you??

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"I Coulda Been a Contendah..."

Among the many things I admired about my husband when we first met 30 years ago was his devotion to his two boys.  Since I didn't have much experience with decent men who put their kids first, I was pretty impressed. But after his kids - if you like to put stuff in order, e.g "God, Country, Family, etc." - Dave's number two love was (and still IS) golf. He learned to play when he was young with his beloved Uncle Ralph and for well over 50 years has been working on achieving that illusive single digit handicap.

So it should come as no surprise that he wanted me to learn to play. I had just landed my "corporate" job and according to Dave, if I wanted to get anywhere in that company I better learn to play with the big boys. My new boss was also an avid golfer who took his clubs to every meeting we ever attended and stopping for a quick nine on the way out of town was obligatory.

Unlike the countless husbands of less than perfect golfing wives, Dave was a great teacher.  He was patient and beyond giving me the basics about stance, grip and swing, he quietly watched me hack my way from tee to green, offering occasional hints here and nagging, no criticizing, no "just pick up your ball, honey!" comments.  Somewhere in the middle of ghastly slices and skulled wedge shots, I learned to play respectably.  And if you listen to Dave, I'm pretty good.  He tells all his golfing friends "Laurel could be a tremendous golfer...if she would just PLAY!" 

And there's the rub - it just takes too much time to play a round of golf, and we all know I have more pressing things to do in my retirement. I played so much when I was corporate - tournaments, charity events, the company league, etc., mostly because it was expected. But these days, I am a "fair weather" golfer.  Ask Dave...he will tell you that I only play when it's Fall or Spring, 80 degrees outside, puffy white clouds in the sky, and on a course with pristine greens, maybe some mossy rocks, lots of trees or the ocean nearby, not too crowded. Hence, I maybe golf once a year...maybe.

Last week, the rain scooted out for a day, the sun came out and I wanted to play. My favorite course in the area is Turkey Creek, a challenging course east of Lincoln, CA...pretty course, lot's of Fall trees, ponds and traps.  It was a stunning day.  Along with my clubs, I took a Snickers and my camera.

What would "Turkey Creek Golf Course" be without turkeys??

Or deer???

I made it over this water balls for Laurel!
This isn't the Masters folks...just hit the ball!!
By the back nine, I'm starting to peter out....
made it over this one too....
Such a pretty day...such a pretty course...
And what better way to finish off a round of golf???
Yea, the guys have it right....I passed on the cigar, but...
Did I mention that I shot a 106...not too bad for somebody that hasn't golfed in a couple of years...
but definitely NOT ready for the Tour...
Laurel. Four!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's Not Vermont, but....

at least it's here. Fall!!! Yep, I'm a Fall junkie and I have been waiting for weeks to see some color here in California. I'm sure that all the brilliant leaves are long gone at Becky's house in Quechee and probably most of them at Diane's place in the Blue Ridge mountains, but we have to wait forever for the richness of Fall to hit the Golden State.

But when it finally hits, we do have some pretty colors, even in my little neck of woods in the Valley. I took a little drive around the neighbor hood after church.

Did I mention Fall is my favorite time of the year....




Laurel.  Good day to sit by the fire, huh???


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A great day to sew....

Laurel (thinking to herself): "Maybe I'll sew something after I come home from my facial.."
Colette (telepathically): "Pick ME...Pick ME!!!"
Laurel: "Maybe I'll make something for Colette"...
Colette: "Score!"

When I find something that fits well and I love it, I like to use it as a pattern to make another one.  Take this knit top that I wear constantly with my jeans.  I love that it hides my "situation" around the middle and yet it's totally stylish and comfy at the same time.

In order to make the pattern, I just lay muslin fabric down and draw an outline of the shape of the top...bodice back and front and sleeves.  I allow for seams and adjust the fit where necessary.

I visited Stone Mountain and Daughters in Berkeley, CA a few weeks back and found an awesome knit on sale. It's soft, yet the animal print design is very on trend these days.  I thought it would be perfect made up in my knit top.  It only took a couple of hours to sew. And in the process, I discovered the perfect stitch setting on my machine for these soft knits...

VOILA! Colette is loving it!

Throw a little jewelry on with it...
Yea, I will have to borrow it from Colette to wear with my new skinny NYDJ Jeans
that I picked up in Nordstrom yesterday!!

Laurel. Besides, I'm cuter than Colette...
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Something pretty....

I was just reading a post of blog that's new to me, Beauty in the Ordinary. Jacqueline's "quest" (my word) is to sort through all the mish mash of life and find the good things in life to celebrate. As I read her most recent post this morning, I was struck by the simplicity of the notion that no matter what happens, there is always something "good", there is always beauty in life to behold. Her blog is an artsy feast for the eyes...lovely photographs mingled around words from her life...

It made me want to post something "pretty" this morning, just for the sake of art....something beautiful, captured through my lens...

Like these little friends at an East Coast wedding...

or this stunning bloom from he Chrysanthemum show...

Or my pretty little Bella, whose life is as simple as they come...

Fall Family Dinner is over,
Thanksgiving is around the corner. 
Dreams of Christmas holidays are dancing in my head...
and with it, the Annual tree cutting day with the kids and grand kids...

Laurel. Life is good.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Dress for every little girl...

Young volunteer modeling a recent "creation"!
I love how God subtly leads you someplace unexpected, even on the "evil" Internet. While perusing a local church site, I stumbled upon a ministry opportunity that caught my eye: "Dress a Girl Around the World". The opportunity was to gather with other women who like to sew and make dresses for young girls in impoverished countries.  The idea behind the ministry is that every little girl should own at least one dress. Now there's something I can get behind!

This awesome ministry is a division of Hope 4 Women International, a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring dignity to women around the world, and for every girl to know she is loved and respected from childhood. Volunteers around the country get together on a regular basis and create dresses made from something a ubiquitous as a pillowcase.  Using a little elastic, some double fold bias tape, perhaps some lace and embellishments, you can make the cutest little dresses.  It's quick, it's creative, and it's very rewarding, not to mention having fun and fellowship with other volunteers... Imagine a Saturday morning in a big room filled with laughter and chatting, the hum of sewing machines, the laughter of teens at the assembling and ironing stations -  it was almost like being at an old fashion quilting bee. 

The donated materials for each dress are put into zip lock bags.  Volunteers cut the pillow cases, fabrics, elastic and bias tapes. You add the embellishments if you feel extra creative...

The bias tape is sewn around the armholes and form a little strap
that ties the dress at the shoulders with little bows.
I loved this fabric!
Pockets are added to each dress, not only because they are cute,
but because a new pair of panties are slipped into each pocket. How cool is that!
Hard for me to pass up making a "pink" dress!
The dress hems and casings for the elastic are already folded in the kits,
so all you have to do it sew the hem...I used a decorative stitch on my machine for this hem.

How cute is this???

Or this???!!!

one of the many volunteers showing off her creation!
It was fun to see other people's creativity...

The "Sew Fest" lasted for four hours and I was able to finish two dresses. 
 I started a third, but I had to bring it home to finish. 
I grabbed a couple of kits to work on at home until the next month's Sew fest.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the children of Africa.  I see the pictures of the little girls and I weep. This ministry is a way for me to actually DO something, rather than just watch their plight on the television. And God knew it was right up my alley!

Check out the Dress a Girl around the World website, and if you're in the Sacramento area, why not join me and the dozens of other women (men are welcome too!!) who want to sew to make a difference in a little girl's life. 

The next "sew Fest is scheduled for
Saturday , December 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Bayside Church
Room 418
or contact Susan Bushnell
Area Coordinator

or Sharon Miranda,
Northern California Representative
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