Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mad Tea Party

Oh my, what an interesting surprise… a strange door just appeared in my yard and there seems to be something shining through the keyhole! What could this be? Curiouser and curiouser!  Come with me, let’s take a look and see what’s on the other side.

Quite intriguing, let’s take a closer look…

Doesn’t that look inviting? I think we should go in, don’t you?

So lovely, that looks like vanilla orchid tea! My favorite. Please sit with me, let's have some tea, I'm sure if we ask nicely they'll share that tiny cake with us. It is so nice here under the trees, such a magical spot and to think I didn't even know it was here!

Those little bottles are glowing and they have something written on them...

Do we dare? What do you think? Let's just take one home and see how it tastes...well, maybe not!

Thanks for having tea with me. It was a fantastical summer afternoon, sipping tea under the locust trees, behind a door that really should't be here while we wait for the sun to go down so we can visit with the strange and fascinating creatures that created such a magical place for us today.

I almost forgot...leave a comment and make sure you are following my blog and you could win this mini lace top hat. I'll draw a random winner on August 4th! Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you to for hosting such a lovely day. Be sure to visit some of the other parties going on today, you can find more of them here. I hope to see you later


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gold Panning

While my son and his girlfriend were visiting we decided to do something that none of us had ever done. We went gold panning. My man has a friend who actually owns a gold claim and he gave us directions and a map and told us to have fun.

So the kids and I took off, just picture it, me, my 3 sons (ages 14, 20 and 22) and my son's 21 year old girlfriend. My guy couldn't go up with us due to a meeting but he was going to meet us there later.

When we arrived we stopped at the wrong claim, the owner of which came and told us we had to move. He was very nice and when he realized that we were just panning told us we could stay. After talking to him a while he told me where to find the claim I was looking for and off we went. I really didn't want to intrude on his claim,no matter how nice he turned out to be!

We drove down the dirt road until we found what we were looking for. Then we geared up and got busy. The funny thing about doing things outside with my kids is that they all seem to be allergic to fun in the sun, all four of them are serious gamers and while they made an effort I think it was so they could say they had done it and really for the novelty of it. I however had a blast!

I love being outdoors and being in the water is just a bonus! I didn't take too many pictures because I was playing. After an hour the kids were pretty much done. Unfortunately for them we had to wait at least another hour and  a half to make sure my man wasn't driving up to meet us. So I played in the water gold panning and they sat in the truck playing on their smart phones - all of us were happy with that arrangement.

When we did decide to head home we had yet another adventure. Since my jeep won't hold everyone we took my guys truck. Usually that is great however as we were leaving the site we got a flat tire. The funniest moment for me was when I got out of the truck and announced we had a flat. All 4 kids climbed out of the truck and there we were, in the middle of nowhere California, in the middle of a dirt road, standing in a semi-circle around the front end of the truck staring at the flat tire. It makes me giggle every time I think about it.

Then I think, No problem, I've changed a flat before and I had all three of my boys with me - we can handle this - sure that sounds right. NOT! First off, I had no idea where anything was in the truck. So we got out the owner's manual, found where everything was located but then couldn't get any of it out of the truck. Since we had no cell service I sent my middle son and his girlfriend off to try to find somewhere they could make a phone call - turns out that is about 8 - 10 miles from where we were but at that time we were blissfully unaware of that little bit of information.

Meanwhile my oldest and I got to work figuring out how to get what we needed. After what seemed like hours but was probably only about 15 minutes we managed to remove both the jack and the spare tire from their clever homes. It was then that a car with a young family - mom, dad and three adorable little girls arrives - along with my son and his girlfriend. They all got out of their car and the three little girls walk over and look at the flat in the same way that the five of us did, it was the cutest thing! Dad then informed us that cell service was an 8 - 10 mile drive out. Since we had everything under control at that point they went on their merry way and we changed the tire.

What would normally have taken 15 minutes took 45 but we finally were on our way and everyone was still in good spirits. About twenty minutes later we met my guy, who finally was able to make it up to us. He and I went back to the site in the truck while the kids took my jeep and headed for home. We panned for gold for another hour or so and then headed for home since we both had to work the next day.

The drive was stunning. We saw all sorts of wildlife, a coyote, deer, wild turkey and just before the turn off to the site there is a Buffalo farm - seriously cool!

The last stop on our adventure was the Polka Dot ice cream and sandwich stand in Quincy,California. They make the best butterscotch milkshake and grilled cheese on rye bread- I'd drive back to Quincy just for that!
The top picture of the gold pan links to a site that has a bit of information on gold panning. We had a great time and plan on going again. Now I know more of what to do and what to look for, pyrite looks so pretty and gold yet the gold, looks more like copper and is so shiny and so beautiful!

You are probably wondering if we found anything... well we brought back a small amount of shiny fools gold and a few tiny flakes of the real thing. Once I figure out how to take a picture of it I will post it, right now my camera just can't focus on something that small!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Little Birdie has Flown the Coop

Yes, our doves did hatch a chick and it has flown the coop. After several days of the nest being vacant we decided to make our move and relocate the nest. As you can see, the doves were very savvy when building their nest, making use of all sorts of construction tools available to them!

Crow bar for some added protection

Beam support bracket as a base

Now construction can resume on the deck project! Yippee! I enjoyed having the doves in the yard and I do hope they return next year. Mostly, I am relieved that no baby birds were eaten by my dogs!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Steam Punk Party

This past weekend my girlfriend hosted a Steam Punk Pinterest party. If you haven’t heard of Pinterest yet check it out! It’s like an online bulletin board full of really cool and inspirational stuff on almost anything you can imagine – really!
Back to my friend’s party - We all were to come dressed in SteamPunk attire and bring a Pinterest inspired craft and food item to share. What a fun day. Playing dress up with my friends is so much fun, seriously, I don’t care how old you are playing dress up is fun! Since I have nothing else to do (yeah, sure, I wish) I decided to hunt through the local Goodwill store for some items that I could use as a base for my costume.
I found the perfect brown peasant style skirt and a lovely, suede-like jacket. Yep, exactly what I needed. Meanwhile, my man agreed to make me a Ray Gun.  He rocks!

Here is the jacket. I forgot to take pictures before I cut the sleeves off so I placed them back on to give you an idea of what I started with.

Making the costume is really one of my favorite parts of dress up. With this one I knew that I wanted to embroider a couple of the Steam Punk inspired designs I got from Urban Threads. So I chose two designs, one for the jacket and a separate one for the skirt.  I chose to embroider both designs in grays and metallic coppers to tie them together. The dragon on the back of my jacket turned out great as did the spider on the skirt.

To make the skirt hang properly, I cut holes between the skirt and the lining and threaded leather belt like strips through the holes, then using buckles I was able to belt both sides of the top skirt up to reveal the embroidered lining. Awesome and easy! I had some leather that I cut into strip which would fit through some scrapbooking ribbon slides – yep, I used my scrapbook supplies on my costume, and I didn’t stop with those ribbon slides either!

On the front of the jacket I used more scrapbook supplies, Tim Holtz gears and extra long brads. I really didn’t have time to sew all those gears on to the front and the brads held up all day!

To top of the outfit I used another Urban Threads embroidery design and made this adorable mini lace top hat – yes, I love my embroidery machine – coolest toy ever!
The outfit came together really well and I was quite pleased with it and then my man texted me a picture of the ray gun. I had no words, it was that cool. Then he tweaked it a bit and I helped with the finish of the handle and a few other tiny details and the result was this…

How cool is this! I have my very own ray gun J

So here I am, all decked out in my steam punk attire.  I felt like a bad ass until I realized I had to drive to meet the friends I was car pooling with and my jeep has no doors or roof right now. I thought I would feel like an idiot but I didn’t, it was too much fun. (This picture was taken at the end of the day so I am looking a little ragged LOL)

We had a great time, ate yummy foods and created interesting projects.  Here is the pendant I shared. I’ll hopefully be putting a couple of these on my ETSY shop tonight since they came out so well. I forgot how much I liked making these.
Now I am starting to gear up for the Mad Hatter Tea Party! I can’t wait to share that with you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Northern California/Northern Nevada Adventure

Looking towards Reno, Nevada

This weekend, since we were not to able to work on the roof of the deck (see previous post) John and I decided to take the top and doors off my jeep and head out to the Toyiabe National Forest and play. We took a very narrow path and headed up the mountain. It was such a beautiful day.
We saw this lovely deer. She stopped to look at us and once she went into the brush we continued on our way. We drove to a place that was wide enough to park and then hiked through the silent back country forest. It was amazing!
I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I like to travel. On the walls of my home and studio l have framed pictures that I have taken from all over the world yet until this weekend I didn’t have any from the area that I call home. So here are a few that I took over the weekend. I think I even have one or two that I will frame!
Looking towards the Valley

 A Hazy view of Reno
View from the road - very narrow road!
The Sasquatch Tavern & Grill, Verdi Nevada - Last Stop!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

For the Love of the Birds

This season has been tough on the birds in our yard. About 5 weeks ago we decided to clean our side yard after 2 years of total neglect. As we were raking and tossing and basically clearing out 2 years’ worth of overgrowth we disturbed a quail’s nest. Sadly mom did not return to the nest after almost being stepped on and her nest uncovered so the eggs died.
Fast forward to this week, my man has been building a full roof over the deck we have in our back yard. Once complete, we’ll be able to use this wonderful space all year. He has it about 2/3 of the way done and it is looking pretty cool. He had planned on finishing it this weekend in time for a Bar-B-Q on July 4th. Well, that isn’t going to happen. A dove and her mate have built a nest on one of the main support beams so his construction project is on hold until baby birds leave the nest – much to his irritation. Fortunately he’s a good sport.

Mama dove sitting on her nest

Of course, having a nest in the middle of my back yard also poses additional challenges. I have two dogs. Jack Russell /Mini American Eskimo mix pups with springs in their feet and a serious case of OCD. Unfortunately, one of them really thinks doves are tasty. She is the reason that I had to remove the bird feeders from my year. She would lie in wait and pounce on unsuspecting birdies. Now I have a nest above the deck. A baby bird falling out of that won’t stand a chance. So, what to do, what to do? Naturally we’ll be hanging a makeshift bird hammock. It will be high enough that the pups can’t reach it and low enough to hopefully not bother mama and her chicks. As I said, my man is a really great sport. When I told him we had to do this the only telling sign that he thought I was nuts was the lifting of one eyebrow, then he started to figure out what we could do…yay for engineers!

After I wrote the above I found out that we also have a Blue Jay nest in the yard and their baby keeps getting out of the nest. When that happens both parents get noisy and obnoxious until they get baby back where it belongs. So far no baby birds have been injured in my yard and we are doing all we can to keep it that way. As you can see below, the Jays are not afraid of the dogs and the dogs are ignoring them-  for the most part! Yay!

Alice looking at the Jay

In the above picture, both dog and bird are behind the fence, that fence is to keep the dogs out of one of my gardens. The jay is in the tree straight up from Alice's head.Keep good thoughts for the birdies in my back yard, hopefully they will successfully raise their babies and come back again next year – after the deck is complete!