Wednesday, October 1, 2014


 I'm the mother of boys!  I don't know about girls other than my two adorable (now grown & married nieces) but, I'm getting a CRASH COURSE!    At the end of August my friend Ginger called in a panic.  She already had her Exchange Student Elma (this is her 5th student in 7 years) & there were two girls that had just arrived to the USA with the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program that needed new placement & they had 72 hours to make it happen.  I feared I just couldn't handle it with all the mess from just finishing the move & remodel.  As well as I thought my son & his family would be living here on weekends while their new home was being built (but, it ended up they rented a duplex in the new town they are building in).  We decided that we have been so blessed that we just couldn't say NO.   Anna is from the Kamchatka Peninsula  
which is a 780 mile peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 100,000 square miles.  It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east & the Sea of Okhotsk to the west.  Anna's country is actually closer to Alaska than to Moscow (sitting above Japan).   So, our Anna was no longer homeless in the USA.  She came to spend the school year with us & life has changed for all of us.  She is such a blessing & joy! 

She was only here two days & then it was her 17th birthday.  We celebrated at our favorite little bistro & she had a coconut pie instead of cake but, you can see that she loved it!  Just look at that photo above & the happy glow as she is blowing out her candles.  

A couple of nights later we went to a rooftop restaurant where one of the other host Mom's was singing & we celebrated Anna's birthday again.   Below is a few shots of that fun filled evening. 

Next, it was getting school supplies, school clothes, tennis practice outfits, calling school buses for schedules, packing lunches, running car pool.   I WAS OUT OF PRACTICE!  But, we've got it now.  I can tell you BOYS ARE EASIER!!!!!

Elma & Anna both adore Marble Slab Ice Cream & NEVER miss a chance to try a new flavor!

And there are so many new restaurants to try...

Below is a picture of the girls dancing with a lot of other people the night we went to Main Event to go bowling.  They loved it!  They love music & dancing.

Bowling scores weren't high but, we had fun!!!! 

Halloween is not celebrated in Russia but, Anna has had so much fun in all the stores seeing all the many choices we have for such silly fun.  She came home to tell her "Pops" that she had a new skinny boy friend & a new cat....

Anna loves dressing up so she & Elma are always doing photo shoots.  Below are two of my favorite shots.  So I hope you'll join me as Anna has her "American Dream" come true.  It is so amazing to see this happen & know that our government has such great programs for kids to come & experience our wonderful country & all she has to offer.  It may not be perfect but, I think it's the best thing out there & it seems many other countries feel the same way.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Birthdays... IF a girl has to have one nothing takes the sting out of it like sharing it with a
 BEST Friend!  
While at Joy's Sandy & I shared our BDays (mine at the first of the month & hers at the end).  
AND presents of course really help!

A MERMAID Necklace from Joy & Laurie (found while they were at Round Top I believe).  Joy put the pretty turquoise necklace part together.  LOVE HER!!!!!

That AMAZING Necklace of bling was made by none other than Ms Sandy!  And I adore the cabinet card of the little girl that she used to  display it on.  Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!   

And the beautiful burgundy flower was made by Vickie Orlando as well a string of Miriam Haskle pearls (so she said).  And that darling little mermaid on the left is a chocolate lollipop made by the infamous Cynthia V.  She does such detailed, beautiful, yummy creations.  She also made me a sand castle cake but, darn NO ONE got a photo of that.  Loved it Cynthia.

These beauties were made by Diana Salvucci Smith.  She & Vickie took a class from Arlene Baker & hand made/formed those flowers from velvet.  Hours I'm sure.  While out in California last summer Vickie took me to Arlene's house & I got to see students working in a class as well as being able to shop among all the velvet, patterns, molds, buttons, & findings.  HEAVENLY!!!!!  And that mirror... a vintage hand mirror that Diana use the "Laurie Mika clay technique" on.  I would sooooooooooo love to learn to do this! Below you can see the crown she made for each of us using clay & the same technique.

 How can I thank you girls for spoiling me this weekend & helping me celebrate my birthday?  Now that it's September I can't believe it was so long ago.  But, soon I'll share a post of the BDay celebration we had for Sandy in San Jose at the end of June... Never enough time for friends!  Come back soon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Visit to Andrea's AMAZING Home

I bet that EYE CANDY caught your attention!!!!  This is the studio of my friend Andrea of Freckled Star Blog. Be sure to click on the blue links to go visit the girls & see their blogs as you will be hooked on all the goodies you find there.  Andrea is an AMAZING, TALENTED, FUN friend that I have been blessed to know for years. We first met through Kim Caldwell & her fun filled EVENTS but, through time we have been together in many classes, Antique Fairs & this June I was invited to a class by Robin Dudley Howes which was held in Andrea's AMAZING home.  I didn't even take many photos of the project or any of our finished work because I was so OVERWHELMED at the beauty of Andrea's home/studio.  Maybe I have studio lust since I STILL don't have a studio.  But, what beauty... Let's go peek.

 Andrea LOVES Dollies & has MANY different one to look at.  Here are just a few.

The ones below were made in a class by my talented friend Diana Frey.  Nice job Andrea!

And I think the bird necklace is a Sally Jean class.  I need to try that one as it's really pretty!

She has such a knack of display.  Don't you love the garland of gloves?

A Ruth Rae piece to show off...  I think I was with her at a class in Kim's home when she bought this beauty.  It was the first time Andrea had used a sewing machine & I will tell you that girl made that machine FLY!!!! Finished her piece in class!  I was impressed.

How sweet is the window covering below... vintage baby slips?

 More views of "STUFF" in her room.  Like me, I think she has enough paper.  My friend Jo Ann & I always end up buying paper but, do we use it?  NO!
We live by the belief that the one with the most paper wins!

In her guest bathroom her displays of perfume bottles, soaps, goodies abound.  And MOUSE TRAPS anyone?  Have you ever seen cuter ones?

 Let's move on to a few more rooms in the house.  Each one cuter than the next.  Now anyone who knows me knows I am a beach girl & so is Andrea.  Her displays speak to my heart!  LOVE the starfish tree.

The "P A R I S" bottles are 2 Die 4!

The mantle in the family room.  

The jewlery nook in the corner of her bedroom... Oh she had some treasures there!!!!

This little beauty above was sitting on her dresser.  A suitcase with the side cut out, a mermaid scene & fish inside.  BE STILL MY HEART!!!! Angela I MUST have one!  And last but, not least look at her little reading nook in her room.  LOVE the saying... You have my whole heart for my whole life... SWEET!

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into Andrea's special world.  I feel blessed to have been invited & thank her for her hospitality & sharing.  

I have been away from Blogland for such a long while with the move/remodel & last week I posted for the first time in months.  I hope that you will come back & make it a habit to visit as I want to visit many blogs each week because I have missed Blogging.  Andrea did a post a few weeks back about blogging & Face Book.  I think each have their own special place & I would hate to see Blogs disappear altogether because FB is eaiser! What do you think?  IF you stop to visit please comment & let me know you were here.  But, even if the comments are few I keep reminding myself that my blog is a place for ME!  A place for me  to share but, most of all it's my journal of my life & I will keep it up no matter what until I decide it's time to stop.  If you're here... thank you for stopping & visiting.  I hope you enjoy what I have to share.  Have a beautiful week!  HUGS!

Monday, August 4, 2014

All Aboard for our Train Case Swap & FUN at Joy's House!

Missing in action????? I bet that's what you think!
Well almost...

We bought our house back in February 2013 & ever since it's been a crazy re-model & move merry go round.  In between trying to heard the goat rodeo of contractors & take care of "life" & work I've had my hands FULL!!!!!!  In June (this year) I got a pass!  "Daddy Darling" (that's one of hubby's nick names) said go play with your girls for your birthday!  He didn't have to tell me twice!  

One of the things we did while there was to do our Train Case Swap.  This started A LONG TIME AGO!  Back in January 2013 Joy Campbell came up with the idea & we all agreed.  Little did we know that of the 6 that started (Cindy Craine dropped out due to having the shingles) 3 of us would sell our houses & move.  Not only did we move we did HUGE re-models.  Needless to say the Train Case became a derailment!  18 months latter we got together to exchange the cases that traveled from California to Texas to Washington state.  Below is four of us with our finished cases.  Vickie Orlando was also in the swap but, she was out of town at The Country Living Antique Show back east when we got together.  She & Sandy had a pre-party for her to open hers.

Left to right is ME,  Sandy Navarro , Joy Campbell & Laurie Garcia.

The OUTSIDE of the cases!  We bought our own cases & decorated a little bit to develop the "theme".
 The case was then sent to the next person who put at least one personal touch to the outside & then we added 5 to 6 things that the receiver would possibly use to "CREATE" with.  Or something special you thought that she might like.
Since Cindy had not done a case we each gave her a few goodies & the adorable Doll Head Fur Muff was given to her by Laurie.  As anyone who knows Cindy knows... she is CRAZY about dolls/doll heads.  Laurie said she remembered having one of these as a little girl.  When she went to church (she lived up north) it was one of her favorite things to have as it kept her hands warm & was a toy to play with while sitting still.  IT WAS PERFECT for Cindy!
 The weekend was held at Joy's new home near Temecula.    BEAUTIFUL doesn't even begin to describe her home & the grounds around it.

 Dinner in her back yard.  Good dinner with AMAZING FRIENDS!

Above you see some of the fun....  Diana Salvucci Smith also joined us & you can see in the photo to the left we were doing chocolate cake shooters.  And Cindy/Joy messing around being silly.  With Joy doing a photo bomb on my case.  We had sooooooooooooo much fun!  THANK YOU JOY FOR OPENING YOUR HOME FOR US & FOR BEING AN AMAZING HOSTESS!
 On Friday we all took off to go to Vintage Market Place in Rainbow, CA.  Our sweet friend Cynthia  met us to shop & party.  We also ran into Jan & her husband Steve while we were there.

This was so cute but, I bought the Mermaid &  "Cocktail" sign all done in lights.  I don't know why I didn't take a picture of what I bought but, I guess I took this thinking I would add this cutie to the other things later & would need a gentle nudge to remember him.  I'll share my purchase when I get them hung.  Not much was purchased by me but, I can say I did my share of the HUGE shipping bill in size of the items.  Oh well...

I'll try real hard to be back soon to share our class that we did at Andrea's house.  The teacher was Robin Dudley Howe & we had a wonderful time.  Andrea's house is AMAZING & I took tons of photos of her studio.  Glad to be back in BLOGland.  I've missed you!

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