Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Arcadian Beauty Necklace

I am always looking for old jewelry that I can convert into pieces of my own. I visit the thrift shops and Goodwill stores regularly to look at the jewelry to see if I can make it into a beautiful piece to sell or keep. I love looking in antique stores for old jewelry to take apart. When we went to Florida earlier this month, Bob and I met our friends Ross and Pat in Arcadia for a day of shopping at the antique stores and for lunch. There are many wonderful antique stores there. I found an old, yellowed pearl necklace that had a nice clasp on it that I bought for $8.00. When I got home, I discovered that the "pearls" were white plastic beads covered in paint. I cleaned up the clasp and threw away the beads from that necklace. I decided to use the clasp from that old necklace as a pendant on my own creation. I added some freshwater pearls, Czech glass fire polished faceted beads and a silver toggle clasp. Much better, right?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Catie Beth Bath & Body Soaps

Bob's niece, Catherine Dreher, makes soap that she sells on her Etsy website, Catie Beth Bath & Body -- http://www.etsy.com/shop/catiebeth. Catherine donates a part of her proceeds to help orphans get adopted. She and her husband Scott adopted a little boy from Ethiopia and the sales from her soap helped with the money they needed for this adoption. I started using Catherine's soaps about a year ago and I LOVE them! I asked Catherine a few months ago if she could make me some soap to match the scent of a face scrub that I have been using and that I like. Catherine mentioned on her Facebook page that she was good at determining scents, so I decided to give her a challenge. I love the scent of the Biore face scrub and when I looked at the Biore website, I only found products for the face. There were no body soaps, body wash or anything else in that category. Catherine took me up on my offer to create a soap that matched the scent of the Biore face scrub. I told her that on the Biore website that all that was mentioned in the ingredients was "fragrance". I sent her a tube of the Biore face scrub and she ordered oils for what she thought would match the scent -- mint, melons, cucumber and apple. I told her that I would buy all of the bars of soap she made unless she wanted to try selling them on her website. Yesterday I received a box with 17 bars of my soap in it! She sent me a sliver of it a couple of weeks ago along with a bar that I wanted to give to my sister when she visited. I have been using that little sliver and it smells so wonderful! It has a very clean scent, like fresh mowed grass. I have enough soap to last me a long time now. If you would like to try a bar of it, I will send it to you if you promise to try some of Catherine's other soaps. I love her "Energy" soap. I won her drawing that she had to win a bar of soap shaped like a tractor and I think that was an oatmeal soap of some kind. It had a wonderful smell to it! Let me know if you would like to try one of my new soaps. I think we need a name for it too!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Christmas 2011

I LOVE holidays with family! I wish that ALL of my family lived close to each other so I could be with every one of them for the holidays (and any time we wanted to get together). But, since my family is so scattered across the United States, I am very glad to be close enough to some of my family to get together for holidays, birthdays and any time in between.

My son Corbin, his wife and three children live in Tulsa which is only a four hour drive from Dallas. Also, Bob has a sister, two brothers and their families there. We try to spend holidays and birthdays with them. We went to Tulsa for Christmas and we had a wonderful time with everyone there.

We arrived in Tulsa on December 24th, thankful for the very good weather this year. We met Corbin, his family and Christy's family at their church for the Christmas Eve service. After the church service, we went to Corbin & Christy's house for a wonderful, traditional Italian dinner. We ate on their Christmas plates in their formal dining room, which was beautiful decorated. Then, we exchanged gifts. Bob and I gave Christian an Imaginex helicopter and police car that made lots of noise. He loved it and was glad he got some toys to play with. We gave American Girl Doll clothes to the girls for their dolls.

Corbin and his family like being just the five of them together on Christmas Day. Bob and I went to church at Joy Lutheran where we had been married. After visiting with Bob's brother Nick and his wife Sandra, we had a wonderful Christmas Day dinner with his sister Suzanne, her three girls and their families.

You can see the rest of our Christmas photos at this link -- http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbMmLJq3aKRag

Cindy's Visit to Dallas - December 2011

My sister Cindy and I are as close as being twins. We are 18 months apart in birth and even though she lives in Elgin, IL and I live in Dallas, TX, we are still very close, keeping in touch through daily phone calls, emails, and texts. We try to get together in June at her house and in December at mine.

Cindy arrived in Dallas on December 26th and after we picked her up at the DFW airport, we found a place for lunch and did some shopping at the Grapevine Mills Mall near the airport. I don't go to that mall very often since it is not close to where we live and I wanted to shop in particular at the Ann Taylor outlet store. We both love to shop and we shopped 'til we dropped!

We had a full calendar of things to do while Cindy was visiting. She decided to try going to my yoga class with me on Tuesday the 27th. This was her very first yoga class and she liked it. After we got cleaned up, we hopped on the trolley, got off downtown and had lunch at the Neiman Marcus cafe.

Cindy and I always have lots of fun craft projects to do when we get together so we had to schedule to do them in the evenings since our days were full of other fun things we wanted to do. We made some gift bags for our jewelry one night. We used the pages from the glossy ads in the "Paper City" newspapers for our bags and decorated them with ribbons, beads and baubles I had around the house. You can see them at this link -- http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbMmLJq3aKRc4

One night Cindy made me some new cloth napkins to match my placemats. She loves to sew and since I find that a horrible chore instead of doing something fun, I asked her to do this for me. I always save up my mending and sewing projects for her to do when she comes to visit. Such a wonderful sister she is!

And, of course, we had to get out the beads and make some new jewelry!

On Wednesday the 28th, we drove to Waco to meet our cousin Larry and his daughter Katie for lunch. Larry & Katie live in Austin and Waco was a good half-way point to meet. We met at Buzzard Billy's for lunch. It is always fun to get together with family!

On Thursday, Cindy and I took a jewelry riveting class together at the Beading Dreams store. I had taken the class a month prior, but Cindy wanted to take it. I audited the class and got to make another riveted copper and brass pendant.

On Friday the 30th, Cindy and I drove to Arlington and met Annie and her boyfriend for lunch. Annie used to live in our garage apartment when we owned our house on Monticello from 1996 - 2001. Annie teaches pottery here in the Dallas area. Cindy also teaches pottery and she and Annie always have a lot to talk about. After lunch, we visited Annie's pottery studio and saw her new kiln.

That evening, Cindy and I went back to the Beading Dreams bead store for a metal craft studio night. I made copper and brass book lockets for my granddaughters and Cindy made name pendants for her granddaughters.

On Saturday the 31st, we ran our Saturday errands, had lunch out, went to bead stores and we were all in bed by 10 p.m. Just the usual day and evening for us.

Cindy got to experience our bilingual service at our church, Emanuel Lutheran, on Sunday. On special Sundays such as this one for the New Year, our church combined the Spanish and English services into one service so it is a little lengthy. After the service, it was a gorgeous day and we wanted to be out. We took a walk on the Katy Trail and tried to eat lunch at the Katy Trail Ice House. Everyone in Dallas decided to do the same thing! When we found out that there was to be over an hour wait for food, we walked to the Idle Rich and had lunch there instead.

Cindy's flight on Monday was at 7 a.m., so we both took her at 5 a.m. to the DFW airport. We always hate to part, but we had some good memories and knowledge that we will be together again soon.

You can see the photos we took at this link -- share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbMmLJq3aKRlQ

1,067 Miles Later

Bob and I took our 3rd annual trip to Florida last week. We have a lot of friends who live there since we lived there for 6 1/2 years and we have family who live there. I try to get back there to visit at least once a year. Of course, it is hard to get to see everyone, but we try to see as many of our friends and family as we can. This year we put 1,067 miles on our rental car! We drove from Tampa, to Jacksonville, Lake Placid, Vero Beach and back to Tampa.

We arrived in Tampa on Jan. 3rd. Bob's son Zach lives there and he was working when we arrived, so Bob and I found a nice restaurant where we had lunch. We checked into the Hampton Inn, met Zach for dinner and chatted for awhile at a nearby coffee house.

After breakfast with Zach on Wednesday the 4th, Bob and I drove to Jacksonville. DeWayne, who is one of the recipients of my son's organs, lives there. Michael is another organ recipient and he lives in Gainesville. Michael drove to Jacksonville and we all met at the hotel where Bob and I were staying. I met DeWayne and Michael for the first time in January 2009 and we all stay in touch through phone calls, emails and texts. We went to dinner at Ragtime, near the Jacksonville Beach. We took a very short walk on the beach, as it was cold -- in the 40's.

On Thursday the 5th, DeWayne, Michael, Bob and I met at DeWayne's house. DeWayne had told me a lot about all of the antiques he collects and I wanted to see them. His room is like an antique museum! So many wonderful things to see! We went to lunch, told them good-bye, then Bob and I drove to Lake Placid to visit my dad and Susan.

Bob and I stayed with Daddy & Susan through Sunday morning. DeWayne had given me two new cookbooks, so we picked a Chicken Parmesan recipe that I made for dinner the day we arrived. I love to cook and try new recipes and the others love to eat the foods I make. It is a win-win situation!

Bob and I have a new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 that we wanted to use at Daddy & Susan's, but they didn't have wireless, so Bob got them fixed up with a wireless router so we could use our new toy. We also got them a camera for their computer so we could use Skype. We chatted with Ken, my brother, and Cindy, my sister. Daddy & Susan thought that was wonderful! We also noticed that Daddy was using the closed caption on the TV so we bought him some wireless headphones. He is in the Techno Age now!

My friend Junie, whom I met through the Florida Navy Moms group, lives in Lake Placid with her husband Jeff, so we met them for lunch on Friday the 6th.

On Saturday, Bob and I drove to Arcadia and met my friend Pat and her husband Ross for lunch at the Mary Margaret Tea Room. Such a cute, girly place! Thank you Bob & Ross for going along with us and letting us eat there. We walked around the town and into several antique stores. I bought an old necklace that I plan to remake into a piece of my own.

On Sunday the 8th, Bob and I drove to Vero Beach to visit my sister-in-law Chris, her son Paul and daughters, Chelsea and Tarah. What fun to get together with more family! Chris loves to cook and entertain like I do. She made yummy quiches, homemade bread and a salad for lunch. Later in the day, Chris, Bob and I went to Treasure Cove Beach, where we walked and found many shells and pieces of sea glass. Chris collects the sea glass. The weather had warmed up to the upper 70's. We took Chris and Paul to a restaurant on the water for dinner. Too bad it was so dark and we couldn't see the water. Bob and I stayed overnight with Chris. After a big breakfast of cheese grits, eggs, toast from the homemade bread and Florida oranges, Bob and I drove back to Tampa.

The weather in Tampa was sunny and in the upper 70's when we arrived. So different from the cold couple of days from the weekend before when we first arrived. We met Zach for lunch and then, he returned to work. Since it was such a beautiful day, I wanted to be out in it instead of sitting in a hotel room. So, we walked along the Riverwalk and we took a trolley ride through Y'bor City. That night we returned to Y'bor City for dinner at the Columbia. Their famous 1905 salad is THE BEST! After our dinner, we went to Zach's apartment and watched a strange movie, "Momento".

Bob and I met Zach for breakfast on Tuesday the 10th. We went to a wonderful French bakery and cafe. It was a beautiful day and we sat outside to eat and chat. Zach took a little time off work to spend it with us, so we went to the International Mall. They know I love to shop!

Our vacation had come to an end and we arrived back in Dallas around 7 p.m. It was 76 degrees when we left Tampa and 46 degrees when we arrived back in Dallas. It was still nice to be back home.

You can see my photos from our Florida trip at this link -- http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8EbMmLJq3aKRjI