Saturday, December 29, 2007

Like mother, like daughter...

We LOVE our coffee!

Just can't get enough!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


I hope everyone enjoyed a warm and cozy Christmas like ours!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Countdown: 1 DAY

I guess that Santa guy is packing up his sleigh and checking his oil today. I can't believe that tomorrow is Christmas. This year surely sped by. Having family around is great - I only wish that Jared could be here with us. I am counting down the days to his return and it is quickly approaching. Just a few more weeks!

I am celebrating today by eating the cookies I baked the other day. Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal cookies. YUMMY. They are GOOD.
And for a dose of Christmas decorating, enjoy the Christmas Tree sampler that I did last year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

The house is decorated and Christmas is just around the corner. I can breathe easier because I have finished all of my homemade Christmas gifts and my shopping is finished. I was feeling a little pressure in trying to finish up my projects and had to make a few adaptations, but I think everything worked out well. I felt so good about my progress that I even did a little wrapping today! After the presents are handed out I will be posting pictures on here!

Last night I made this fancy star/snowflake thing that I found here:
I love Christmas decorations (well, unless they are out of control, tacky and cheap looking, which apparently some people like). The good stuff I am talking about is elegant and warm. I also enjoy having family around for the holidays. The house is bustling and busy like it used to be. Stacy has been here for a week. Ben and Jen got in last night. They had a very long drive - I don't envy them - and an even longer one coming up next week. No thanks. I've had enough long drives for this year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the traveler returns

I am finally back home after what feels like my tour of the eastern U.S. Before Thanksgiving I was in Myrtle Beach, Thanksgiving was spent in Pensacola, Florida. Just after Thanksgiving I went to New York City for a few days, followed by a few days in Washington D.C. where I saw the first snow of the year.
This past weekend I ventured back to the south to play with the Knoxville Wind Symphony in Tennessee. There I met up with old friends and got to play a holiday concert (which also reimbursed me for all of the traveling I have been doing - whew).

I had decided that I would spend today at home, working on Christmas gifts like the Santa's elf I am becoming! Everything was rolling right along: itunes pumping out some tunes to keep me happy, sewing machine speeding over the fabric, iron steaming up a storm; things were looking good until....


Well, there's not much I can do with a needle that looks like this: and my expert sewing helper is not home, so I guess it's time to move on to something else for the afternoon....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Welcome

Look what happened yesterday!

First snow of the year!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007


I am in New York City this week!!! I have been here since Tuesday and am having a great time. I've done lots of shopping, sightseeing, and even a little relaxing.
Tonight we went to Rockefeller Center and saw the Christmas tree! It is so HUGE! And very beautiful. Crowds of people were fighting to get their own pictures of the decorations - not only on the tree, but in the windows of the large department stores in the city. Such amazing displays- some coming to life to tell a Christmas story while other feature the most exquisite clothing and gifts of the season.
I must say - I am really getting into the Christmas spirit this year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let the Christmas Season begin!

My latest finished project: the felt "joy" wreath. Time for some holiday cheer!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

myrtle beach II

Here's one more for the road - because I really like it.
Happy sunrise to all as we head down to Florida for Thanksgiving.

myrtle beach

I spent last week at Myrtle Beach with a group from church and what a relaxing time I had! Since we went in the fall instead of during the summer, everything was much less crowded than it normally would be - which I found very enjoyable. Kind of strange, seeing those tacky beach giftshops looking like they are part of a ghost-town, but I didn't mind! And being able to slip into a hot tub or the lazy river without being run over by a million kids - I got used to that pretty quickly.

I have so many beautiful pictures that I can hardly decide which ones to put up here. Our hotel was wonderful and our room had a fabulous view of the ocean. As much as I love to sleep in, I couldn't stay in bed and miss one of those beautiful sunrises. What an amazing thing to watch as the colors in the sky transform before my eyes up to the moment when dawn cracks and the sun peaks over the horizon (or through the fog, as it did one morning).

The first day began with this sun welcoming us to a new day in South Carolina:
Afterwards we enjoyed a day of shopping and finished off the evening with a delicious seafood buffet, where I stuffed myself with all sorts of good food - including quite a few crab legs. Then we ventured over to a show, The Grand Cirque - where we were fascinated by people who can do UNBELIEVABLE things with their bodies. I had a hard time believing those contortionists were real people - I still wonder if they had surgery to remove the tendons and joints so they could move like that. Wow.
Day 2 had another great sunrise - this one a little hazier than the previous, but still nice. Again, followed up by a good breakfast, great shopping (outlet mall day- my favorite!), and another show! This time we went to the Dixie Stampede Christmas show. What seemed like about 10,000 calories were put down in front of me, with no utensils to assist with this feast. Roll up the sleeves and dig in!

Thursday also began with, you guessed it, a nice sunrise followed by breakfast, shopping, more food, and another show! We are creatures of habit, aren't we? Our third and final show was the Carolina Opry's Christmas Show. It was the perfect way to end the trip and get us all in the holiday spirit!

All in all, I must say we had an excellent trip. Good food, good shopping, good company, good weather, good shows... what more could we ask for???

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I haven't been sewing a whole lot lately. I have been working on my felt Christmas wreath and it is almost finished. Finally! I haven't actually been working on it that long, but I bought the kit several years ago. Once I get going on something I am in good shape, but it's hard to get started sometimes! I'll get some pictures on here of that later.

I have a pattern for a dress I want to make. I want to make the "B" version. I am excited to get started on it, but I also see Christmas lurking around the corner and I have several sewing/craft ideas that I want to do for Christmas presents. I should probably get those done sooner than later. Otherwise you will see me "burning the midnight oil" the week before Christmas trying to get things finished. Oh well, it wouldn't be the first time and surely won't be the last. Last year I had to give a WIP slip for a Christmas gift. Ooops! Sometimes things take a little longer than expected. I'm new at all this - cut me a break!
Well, back on topic of my dress! I already have the material and everything! The print is for the main part and the navy solid is for the trims and midsection. Sorry the picture is a little dark, but the print has a shine to it that just doesn't work with a flash. I think the dress will go well into spring since it is lightweight, but I need to get it finished before it goes out of style! Oh, fashion!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007


I am still here - I just haven't blogged much lately. Fall is passing by and I try to get the most out of every day. A few weeks ago I found my way over to the New River Gorge Bridge and it's Bridge Day festivities. The weather was beautiful and the sights were amazing. The leaves were not as fully colored as I had hoped, but they were still something to see...especially for someone who has a "fall deficiency" as I had!
Here is a picture of the hills taken from the bridge. We actually walked all the way across (and back, of course). People were jumping off from a station set up in the middle of the bridge. I enjoyed watching the jumpers, but I know that is something I could never do. Each time someone jumped I would hold my breath and watch, amazed, until the parachutes would come out and the person would be safely floating to the ground. I wanted to "interview" someone just before they jumped. What does a person think about those minutes before he jumps off a bridge 876 ft. in the air? What kind of heart rate are we talking about here? Do you look before you jump or just take a run for it? I suppose it takes all kinds - the jumpers did seem to have different approaches. Some looked calm, almost prayer-like (can you blame them??? I'd be praying more than ever!), while others were getting pumped up and ready to go! Several people had interesting accessories, such as Santa hats or stuffed animals. Or how about this guy, the Barbie guy?
I guess if you are going to put something on your helmet, it might as well be a Barbie doll! Barbie has been everywhere else - now she's been over the bridge on Bridge Day!
I also thought it was interesting that several jumpers had video cameras on their hats. I would be afraid I was recording my own death, but I guess those guys have a little more confidence than me. My favorite was watching a pair jump: the first would jump backwards, with a camera on his head and the next person would jump forwards over him - that would be a neat video to watch. Here is a photo of that: this guy is just hangin' out on air before he decides to take the plunge.
I had a great time and I'm glad I saw this West Virginia tradition - but don't ever expect to see me doing anything like jumping off that bridge!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Where are my glasses?

I had some sewing productivity last night!! I had started my eyeglasses case several days ago, made from the same material from the corduroy purse I made last month. I got stuck for a little while trying to decide what I wanted to do for a little "something extra". I decided to appliqué some flowers from the lining onto the outside. I'm learning new techniques and becoming a sewing 'machine'! Mom's glasses jumped in there for a picture. They just couldn't resist!

I have several projects in line:
  • felt Christmas wreath
  • Christmas gifts for family (mentally organizing that now)
  • several cross-stitch projects
  • dress from new pattern and material

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good Eats in Williamsburg

Luckily while I was in Richmond I was able to put that pesky kidney infection aside long enough to go out and enjoy some good food! Uncle John and I went to downtown Williamsburg for some lunch. This neat little area filling the streets by Colonial Williamsburg is packed with interesting specialty shops and restaurants. We decided to try out Berret's Seafood Restaurant. We started with a large plate full of calamari with soy ginger dipping sauce, which was DELICIOUS! Then we both ordered the crab broil sandwich: pan-fried crabcake on a toasted English muffin, Surry bacon, tomato, melted Swiss cheese....YUMM.
And look how those fries are served on the side! Even a girl with a kickin' kidney can enjoy a meal like that - especially served outdoors on a beautiful day in September.

After the meal we wa
lked around Colonial Williamsburg as much as we could without paying the entrance fee. Here are a few interesting photos I snapped:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Time for desert!

I tried a new recipe today! I made Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies from Cooking Light. They were scrumptious! At first the batter was pretty dry - kind of like a damp blob with powdery stuff on it. I added a little water and took care of that... I don't think my eggs were "large" enough at first. Also had to cook it for about 5 minutes longer than the recipe calls for. But the end result was yummy!


Cooking spray
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
cup toffee chips


Preheat oven to 350º.

Coat bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine coffee and hot water, stirring until coffee dissolves.

Combine butter and chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 1 minute or until butter melts; stir until chocolate is smooth.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine coffee mixture, butter mixture, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with toffee chips. Bake at 350º for 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Went on a voyage to find this today:

Unfortunately, the light was no longer glowing when we got there. And they were out of the seasonal Pumpkin Spice donuts! Shame on those fundraiser people for taking all the donuts! Oh well...once I sink my teeth into a delicious "cold" one I forget the disappointment from the lack of neon anyway. Mixed with a steaming cup of coffee and good company...unbeatable!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


It's happening....

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Meet my friend...

This is Whiskie! This little egg whisk was first spotted at the gift shop at Bob Evans Restaurant. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I love love LOVE kitchen gadgets! I love to browse through those outlet shops that are full of random gadgets that clutter up the kitchen. I love coming up with that one reason that I have to have it! Sure, I already have something that can get the job done, but come on...this new gadget has character, and character goes a long way...especially in the kitchen. Could anyone use a utensil like this without a smile? I don't think so.

Well anyway, I fell in love with Whiskie when I first saw him in that gift shop, but it wasn't until after I was living in my apartment in Indiana that Mom decided he was a necessity in my own kitchen and adopted him for me. I love to make French toast and this little friend is the perfect size for whisking up the one egg that it takes for my single serving of the fabulous dish.

I have several other friends with their own stories, but those will have to wait for another day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

a nice weekend

Happy October! I can't believe it is October already. I thought this year just started! The weather is starting to get cooler, especially at night and into the morning. I remember this time of year used to drive me crazy back in high school. I would have to dress warm in the mornings because it was so chilly. By the time the end of the school day and outdoor band practice rolled around I was burning up in the clothes I had chosen that morning. Into the evening it would cool off again, so the clothes I had changed into weren't warm enough! How many outfits do I have to go through in one day???

Well, lately I have been spending a lot of time with family! I am so thankful for a loving, caring family. Plus, we know how to have a good time! Brian has been visiting this weekend and we have enjoyed hanging out and spending time together. He has to head back to DC tomorrow. I will continue on my search for things to do around here! Including spending more time with this guy...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My kidney is so much better and I am ready to make up for lost time. Today was a day of finishing things! I started the day finishing the book I have been reading, Bill Bryson's delightfully entertaining, A Walk in the Woods. I really enjoyed this book as it provided me with both history and humor of the Appalachian Trail. Makes me want to put on my walking shoes and get out there and hike! Of course, I could never make it 2,200 miles with a huge pack on my back, but that's okay! I'll stick to the backyard.

ALSO - I finished another purse! This is my "fall" purse. My sewing skills are progressing! Here is a view of the purse from the outside:
And now a secret look at the inside, where all the excitement happens!
Now isn't that cute??? You must love the pocket.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I am not having as much fun today as I would like to be! I have a kidney infection! It's pretty painful and I am having trouble eating much. Let's pray for speedy recovery!

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Jersey

I spent the weekend at a farm in southern New Jersey with Brian. I saw his grandparents farm where they grow a LOT of corn, peaches, and pumpkins. The corn has just finished up for the season, but the pumpkins are in full effect!

I got to see his family that was in from Alaska and meet a lot of relatives I didn't know. Of course, we ate very well. Fresh, juicy peaches! Mmmm.... lots of fun!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

This makes me happy....

And here is my coffee with my new potholder/hot pads!!!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The results are in...

After a long day of waiting, waiting, and finally playing, I was not chosen for the Marine Band. I did my best and I guess it just wasn't what they were looking for. I am sad that I didn't make it and sometimes it is hard to know what to do next, but I am praying that with this door closed another one will be open for me. Besides, now I don't have to worry about how to gain weight fast!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Hello everyone! This is just an update from Washington D.C.
I've been here for a couple of days and will be taking an audition in the morning. I'm all practiced up and ready to go. Hopefully I will play my best and things will go my way. I'll be updating more soon. Now I need some rest.

Monday, September 3, 2007

New Projects

I have a couple of new sewing projects in the wings. I have started my first quilting project - making these cute nine-patch potholders. Got to use the rotary cutter and everything today!

I should be able to finish this up pretty quick and then it's back to purses! I got this new fabric at JoAnn's today to make a brown corduroy purse with a flowered lining. I am going to try a new pattern this time! Fingers crossed for the best!

Friday, August 31, 2007

White Water Rafting

Well - I have discovered that I am already getting in trouble for not posting enough on my blog! There is no rest around here! So I am taking this opportunity (during a practice break) to write a little bit about my summer. I guess this is a good time to reflect on the summer since it is also the last day of August and I always associate the start of September as the beginning of fall (regardless of the ACTUAL start of fall... of course, the hot temperatures around here show no signs of fall..hmmm...)
Anyway, I really had a great summer. I was fortunate to be able to travel to several places around the country, including California and Alaska. I was able to visit new places and see new things. Have new adventures, I could say.

One adventure I had this summer was something that I have been around my whole life and it happens practically in my backyard, but I never ever imagined myself doing it. Yes - I went white water rafting on the New River! I was sort of talked into it, and sort of volunteered to go. I was horrified when I learned I had been misled and the Lower New was not the floating family cruise that I thought, but filled with Category 5 rapids!!! And when I was told how the water would suck me under when I fell out of the raft - I didn't know about this after all. BUT - I gathered up my nerves, grabbed a life vest, a paddle, and a helmet and in I went!And you know what... I loved it! I held on for dear life over those rapids and screamed a few times, but I had fun! With all that adrenaline going I even jumped off a rock. Girl gone wild for sure!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here I am working hard on my sewing machine! I am so glad that I am learning how to sew. What a useful thing!
Update on my purple purse: it has a new owner and has moved to Florida. I think it will be put to good use. Especially the pocket!