Monday, March 30, 2009

Pick Me Up!!!!

I have to say one of my favorite stores in the world is Trader Joe's. Besides great food, especially their frozen section, not to mention their wine selection, they have an outstanding floral selection.
My kids and I stopped at the Geneva Trader Joe's today to pick up some treats and boy did Mom find some treats. I think my eyes about bugged out of my head when I walked in.
They had cut branches of peach blossoms...gorgeous tiny pink flowers will emerge, hopefully in time for Easter.

I thought they would look perfect in my foyers where the sun should hit them just right. The mirror behind the arrangement will make it look even more abundant when it starts blooming.

I couldn't pass up these beauties....oh be still my heart. I have longed for these flowers and now I can't think of the name. Still, mental fatigue aside, they are a lovely addition to the cottage pink theme I have for this Easter season.

I decided that since the sun was shining and I felt so happy inside, I would go outside and take a walk around the house in search of other signs that would make me feel just as good.

The buds on my crab trees were there despite the snow and cold of the weekend.

The ever hardy sedum plants were starting to emerge all over the place...they too survived the arctic nightmare.

My black alder trees in the backyard were propagating with unabandoned proliferation.
So with all this joy in my heart, much different from the way I felt this past weekend, I decided to get back to my workshop. Here is a sneak preview of just one floral arrangement I created today. I was able to get three of them finished before my energy wore out.

Hopefully, I can get the photos done tomorrow and have them up on Etsy by evening.
Oh what a difference a day makes...thank you God!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Will it ever end??

All I can say is have got to be kidding me.
This is what we woke up to this morning in the Chicagoland area.

Snow and lots of it....30mph winds and 30 degree much for my visions of Spring.
Just to think that last weekend I was planting my spring flowers in a nice warm greenhouse, flooded with sunshine, feeling all warm and fuzzy.

These were the planters that I put together for my front porch....thankfully they are growing in a nice warm peaceful environment.

To top it off the power is out...please go away winter.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspiration .... Spring Hats

Ok...obsession begins again.
I have always been a hat freak.

In high school...being the dork that I was...I had an old fedora that I use to wear. Not sure why I loved it so but it did make me look different???

The hat then went to college with me and thankfully a very kind young man traded hats with me...I ended up with a Chicago Blackhawks baseball hat. I still have it till this day.

As I matured, if you want to call it that, I still had a love of hats. Laura Ashley was huge at the time of my maturity and all her dresses had coordinating hats. I had several of these beauties and wore them proudly.

My absolute favorite outfit has been worn to death. My hat is no longer functioning and The Accountant laughs at the fullness of what he calls "the pregnancy dress". No, I was not pregnant when I bought it...must have been wishful thinking on my part. I still refuse to give it away because the fabric is outstanding and it just makes me happy.

Last year for the First Communion/Derby Party we asked that all the ladies wear a hat. My friends obliged and we had a great time.

Hannah even got in on the act.

Jeannie over at A Bushel and a Peck posted some of her favorite shopping finds today, which included an awesome hat. I loved it so much I went to etsy and purchased a linen version in the same style. I blame it all on you Jeannie

From Bonnie's Knitting...Hats from the Past

So, I thought I would shop for some more hats and this is what I came up with.

Haute Andi has this outstanding Beach Bowler for sale.

Nadine of New York has this beauty on Etsy

Karen Meyers has this adorable hat as well... had this hat which reminds me of the hat I brought on my honeymoon. Picture this...alabaster white skin with a red and white bathing suit and this huge white think I stood out on the Jamaican Beach???

Moral of the story...if you love hats...wear them. They are a fashion style that has been left on the wayside. Let's bring it back to front and least this time I will have better fashion sense and not wear the fedora.

Country Living Women Entrepreneurs

I was just looking through my calendar and I have this event inked in.

It is all happening here in Chicago on May 30th. I was not able to attend last year but, friends of mine did attend and said it was definately worth taking the time to go.

I plan on attending this year and wondered if any of my new friends were thinking of going as well. I would love to meet you and think this would be a neat opportunity to network with others who share the same passions. (Easy for me to say since I live in the area).

Let me know your thoughts....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Update

Can we just say splendid!
Where to begin with all the fun activities of this past weekend.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a spring planting workshop. My cousins have been doing this for a couple of years and thankfully invited my mom and me to join them this year.

We went to Shady Hill Gardens in Elburn, Illinois. It is a gorgeous, sprawling, well organized greenhouse that I love to visit. They offer a Spring Container Workshop in which you can either bring in your own container or purchase one of their gorgeous options. (Can't guess what I chose??)

The fun part about the spring planting is that you plant with very small "plugs" and really don't know how they will look until they grow up. I really get the sense that this is how pots and planter get that professional look.

I was able to put at least 10 plugs/plants in each pot because they were so tiny. Now this is the best part of the story...since I do not own a greenhouse, Shady Hill will tend to my pretty little creation until it is warm enough to put outdoors. They water, fertilize and even talk to my new friends, so they will grow just right.

Can't wait to see how they turn out.

The next big event of Saturday was the Daddy Daughter Dance. Hannah allowed me to rag roll her hair and make it extra thick and curly. She had so much fun with it and so did I.



Hannah and The Accountant had a grand time tripping the light fantastic or even better yet, they learned how to dance hip hop. Oh, to see the Accountant's white mans overbite, priceless!

If that wasn't enough fun....Sunday brought another outing for me. Peggy and I headed into the city to McCormick Place for the 2009 International Home and Housewares Show. It is a very large venue in which most big manufacturers come to display their new wares.

No cameras allowed for this event, but I have to say I would not have taken pictures of too many items. Most of the items were not in my scope of interest, well at least for my potential business. I can buy cookware and "stuff" with the best of them.

Personally, I gravitated to dishware and table setting options. There was a great preponderance of tiny serving ware with little bitty spoons, those I could buy to my hearts content, not sure if anyone else would???

There were very few gift ware representatives, but oodles of Chinese Importers with lots of plastic items. We stayed far away from those booths as it was just too scary to look at all that colored plastic.

Because this show is directed to the bigger retailers, we now now what will be at places like Target, Walmart, and Macy's come next season. You will be happy to know we saw a lot of cottage floral patterns and some americana themes. Some black and white pieces but not the exact colors that I like.

Our excursion taught me that I do not want to follow the main stream production line. I think a better approach, for me, would be to blend the two different worlds, because I have to admit, there are just some items that would be cost prohibitive and impossible to produce without these big guys. I couldn't live without Target, my house would not be the same, but it wouldn't be the same without the flea market and individual works of art as well. Balance again becomes a theme...hummmm.

I like my individual sense of style, I love things that are carefully made with lots of attention. I love the mix of old and new, items with a story and multiple functionalities. Hopefully I can cultivate my loves for these two different loves into a business one day, as I always say...that is part of the evolution.

I promise to be true to myself and in turn know I will figure it all out. What works for me and my family is most important and that will be my main focus as I move forward. soon as I figure out how to get my pictures off my cell phone I will post the pots I put together...arrrhhhhhhhhhh technology.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can you believe it "I WON"

Ruth at The Beautiful Life has awarded me with more Caffine!!!! I love a women who runs on the same juice!
Her post on Coffee just struck the right note with me and I just had to share my addiction to Tea :) Life is good...looks like a good start to the weekend for me.
Hope yours is as good as mine!!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Simple Sayings Giveaway

Since we are on the topic of Hannah...she is just loving all the homemade T's she is accumulating these days. I know whe would love this one...we will see she may get one..even if we don't win... :)

You can check out Simple Sayings and win .. do it by tomorrow.

Oh I love a challenge....

This year Hannah makes her First Communion. Last year Mac made his and we had a combined party with our neighbors son, who made his at the same time.

Now, I am not sure if this is sacrilegious, but we partnered the party with the Kentucky Derby. The two events just happened to be on the same day. So, after Mass we had our friends and relatives join us back at our home to celebrate the Sacrament and then to watch the Derby. It was a great time and everything went off as planned.

We are fortunate to have the same First Communion date again this year and we will be hosting the party along with my Brother's daughter Mary Grace.

Can I just say... there is a big difference between planning a party for your Son and planning one for your Daughter. Not to say that I didn't put my heart and soul into the party last year, but I find I am taking some extra steps for my little girl.

For brevity of this post, my focus is what Hannah will be wearing. It is March and I am already in planning mode. First things first... I began searching the web and stores for the perfect dress, I have my heart set on a somewhat plain cotton dress with vintage overtones.

I found an adorable dress at Eden's Bouquet and desire it more than you know...but The Accountant has put a limit on my dress budget. I fully understand that she will wear it only once.... but......Oh I know... I can't do it to his poor heart.

I figured there was no way to get exactly what was in my head so ... I have to make it myself. YIKES

I started collecting vintage cotton lace and searching for the perfect material. It had to have the right amount of softness and light texture. I considered using some vintage Irish linen that I had but I couldn't get it to lay the way I wanted to.

Then it happened, while helping my mom look for fabric at JoAnns today, I found the most adorable white/creme, cotton, crocheted/embroidered, fabric. It took my breathe away and I couldn't put it down.

Again, I am not sure if creme is appropriate for First Communion, but I decided it is exactly what we wanted and that God would forgive me on this one (I pray).

I had picked out a pattern but need to adjust it more to my liking, but for the most part I think it's a go. I have never made a dress before, only made costumes for Halloween. My Mom, thankfully, has sewn her whole life and is pretty darn good at it. She will be my guide and conscience as I proceed.

I have my dear Aunt Nonie's old Kenmore sewing machine ready and waiting. She passed away a few years ago but for some reason I know she is always with us. She would have loved to help out with this project, it was a passion she and my Mom shared.

I promise to share my progress on this one and I also promise to share in the details of the party as it draws closer to the date. You can share in my insanity...which I have to say I totally enjoy.

I started making the invites and should have those done once I find more flowers...Hobby Lobby ran out of them...arrrhhhhhhhh.

The other details include,floral arrangements for the house...trying to keep with the Rose theme for this one. Attire, ladies are required to wear hats, menu planning, and ...I say this quietly...."friendly wagering". (we are not gamblers by any stretch of the imagination but last year we found a few ways to get people engaged.

So, as this party EVOLVES, I will share my stories with you. I will also share the ideas I have for my Easter Dinner...having that on the Saturday night before Easter because, John's family comes in from Indiana and it makes things a little easier for them.

That's happening here...what's happening for you???

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

For the love of old books...

On my way home from dropping the kids off at school, one of my favorite people, Charles Osgood, aired his radio address on WBBM Radio 780. In today's discussion was "old" Children's "old" definition meant before 1985.

He indicated that two libraries in the US have already removed these "old books" from their shelves because the Consumer Product Safety Commision has indicated there may be lead in the ink used for the printing of these books.

There solution to this "danger" is a recommendation that the books be individually tested at a cost of $300 each, just to make sure.....

I am just in shock and left shaking my head today. Keeping our children safe is very important to me but, the amount of lead from reading a book has to be absolutely minimal. Unless, maybe you eat it.

Where has our common sense gone? Aren't there bigger threats to our children then "old" books. Personally, I still have a collection of the books I was raised with. There is not a chance in this world that I will ever get rid of them or refuse to let me children read them.

My common sense would tell me...wash your hands when you are finished. Think of all the great books we would have to destroy if we were to really believe this was a great threat.

What do you think?

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's really here...I know it is true.

Spring is here and I believe it with all my heart. As I am writing this post, I am listening to the beautiful chirping of the millions of frogs coming back to life.

We live in a newer subdivision and it sits on some old farm land. They created a beautiful pond but didn't stock it with fish until last year. So as you can guess, we have an over abundance of frogs and toads.

Last year the kids would pull buckets full of frogs and toads out of the window wells and every other place they could find them. They always had contests to see how many they could find, and let me tell you, when you added every one's together it amounted to over 100 a few times.

As the season progresses we get some huge...and I mean enormous bull frogs. Maggie thinks they are the neatest thing because she gets to chase them around. She won't hurt them but does like to nibble on...well you know...when they are no longer alive from an unfortunate run in with the cars as they cross the street. (Disgusting I know)

Several of the neighbors have in ground pools and find new visitors every morning. Mac and Hannah have created a new career, pulling the frogs from the pools for our friends. This is one of their favorite past times because they get to swim a little while on the job.

Since some of the lots are still undeveloped there are areas of standing water, so much so we call it our own little pond. There the frogs are procreating away and having themselves a good ole love fest.

I have to say I really don't want the lots developed, because they offered us years of fun and opportunities to explore the mud and wildlife.

We now have three large cranes that call our pond their second home and I think they will help thin out the population of frogs just a little...which is not a bad things. You see I love the faint chirping now, but soon it will turn into an all out rock and roll jam session making it difficult to sleep.

When you sit down and think about it, I guess I have more facts to substantiate my theory that spring is here. The frogs are alive with music, the finches and sparrows are building more nests in my pergola, the robins are back digging up bugs, and the cranes have returned. Yahoooo!

Just wanted to share this little bit of happiness with you. Spring is here and it is time to come out of our hibernation...just like the frogs. Everyone start chirping!

PS..I had to borrow some pictures from flickr to show you the cranes. I am not sure if they are whooping cranes or sand cranes, but I think I have figured out they are all female. How do I know..well as usual the females are a boring grey color while the men have all the neat red detailing. Chalk it up to evolution.