Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'd like to share a great recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I have several favorites but this seems to be the one that I revert to whenever I want something that is quick and easy to prepare.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the butter and both sugars. Cream together until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla and eggs. Mix until well incorporated into the creamed mixture.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until a stiff dough forms.

Stir in your favorite chocolate chips.

Place cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper. I like to make large cookies so I use a medium-sized cookie scoop to form the dough balls. Bake for approximately 18 minutes. Adjust your time to 10-12 minutes if you are making smaller cookies.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Voila! Now go save yourself a few before your family devours them!

I am currently in the process of making tooth fairy pillows. These were started earlier in the year and then were tossed aside after I got bored (standard modus operandi).

It feels good to finally see the piles of UFO's getting smaller and smaller. I keep reminding myself, one bite at a time, Lettie, one bite at a time.

I hope you all have a creative day!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules. Today is the last day, so hurry and get your entry in!***

Monday, April 28, 2008

My Attempt at Spaghetti alla Carbonara

While we were in Florence, Italy this past Fall, we found a fabulous restaurant near our hotel called Ciro & Sons. It was a cozy little family run restaurant with mama at the helm (we found this to be very typical throughout Italy). We enjoyed many traditional and delicious dishes at this restaurant. One dish that we especially loved was the Spaghetti alla Carbonara. We had it again while in Florence, but it just wasn't as good as the one that we had in Rome. Since returning home, I've had Carbonara on my mind. Last night, with a recipe from Tyler Florence as a guide, I decided to try my hand at making this wonderful dish.

With heavy garlic breath, I present my attempt at the traditional Italian dish called Spaghetti alla Carbonara. I've also added shredded chicken which is non-traditional and not a part of Tyler's recipe. And although I tempered the eggs with the warm milk, I still ended up with a bit more scrambled eggs than I wanted. But it was delicious just the same. Hubster loved it so I would consider it a success nonetheless. The best part was that it brought back fabulous memories and wonderful conversation of a very special trip that we took together.

On another niece has been waiting on a handbag that I promised her 6 months ago. I lost interest in finishing it and tossed it into my "do it later" pile. I pulled it out yesterday and finally finished it. All that was needed was the inside pocket to be attached to the lining, sewing the lining into the bag, top stitching the outside top edge, and a button closure. It took me all of 30 minutes to complete. I felt like kicking myself for not doing it sooner. As you can see, it's very basic in color and should match most anything she chooses to pair it with. Too bad the poor girl had to wait so long. Bad, bad, Auntie!

Please have a most enjoyable day, everyone. See you tomorrow.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules. The month is almost over, so hurry and get your entries in!***


I know that I have bellyached long and hard about my lack of motivation when it came to working on the tufted pincushions.

Maestro, may I have a drumroll please...

They do look lovely sitting side by side, in all their flowery splendor. Like little cactus flowers blooming in the desert sun. Hee hee...humor me, okay? LOL I cant help it, I'm giddy with excitement!

The bottoms of the pincushions are almost as pretty as the tops are.

The flower center is made for storing sewing needles. I put it together in a way that discourages the needles from infiltrating into the main body of the pincushion. I remember having a red tomato pincushion that I used for many years. When it developed holes and was no longer functional, I took it apart and reclaimed all of my lost sewing needles. You wouldn't believe how many were in there. It was a wonder that I could find a sewing needle when I needed one.

Until we meet again in October, Au revoir my little lovelies!

Have a fabulous day, everyone!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. There are only a couple more days to go before we'll be selecting a winner. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pincushions...On the Homestretch

Pincushions are progressing along just like I had hoped they would. The beading is almost complete. Felt flowers will be the crowning glory and then these little gems will be done. They'll be packed away and not seen again until late October. Whew, I can hardly wait!

I finally hauled out the felt and will be starting on the flowers today. I love looking at the array of beautiful colors.

My heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been leaving such lovely comments on my blog. I also want to thank you for all the great suggestions on how to use those fabric flowers from yesterday's post. I'll be sure to keep those suggestions in mind as I create a project around them.

On another note...Before I started blogging, I had been a blog reader for many years. I seldom left a comment, just loved reading and being inspired. Now that I have my own blog, I find it very interesting to see just how many people from cities all over the U.S. and all over the world drop by on a daily basis. My stat counter tells me that the majority of the people who visit never leave a comment even though they pop in daily. Some people even drop by 3 or 4 times a day. So far, this has truly been an amazing adventure. I hope to meet many more of you readers out there. Please leave a comment for me, I'd love hearing from you!

It's hard to imagine that we are already nearing the last weekend of April. The kiddies will be dancing around the Maypole before we know it!

I hope you all have a glorious weekend. See you on Monday!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules. The month is almost over, so hurry and get your entries in!***

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Raining UFO's

Since I'm still knee deep in tufted pincushion goodness with nothing new to report, I shall leave you with a glimpse of yet another UFO (unfinished object). I'm going to turn them into something, exactly what that something is, I have yet to figure out. I started out with one idea, that changed to another, then another, then it just got tossed into that I'll get back to it later pile.

Piles and piles just a sittin' and a waitin'.

Hope your day is filled with inspiration and creativity.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

When Motivation Goes Awry...

It all begins with a good idea. Once started, adrenalin begins to flow and your concept starts to take shape. You carry on, cutting fabric like a mad woman. Then the sewing begins. You bottom out. You realize you passionately hate putting in zippers. Everything is packed up and put away, never to be seen again. Out of sight, out of mind.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects. I am here to prove it to you once again. These are coin purses that were started early last year. The majority of the work has been done. In fact, a few have already been completed. The majority are still waiting for their zippers to be installed.

Unfinished projects clutter my mind, lay a guilt trip on me, and hamper my creativity. I know this, yet I frequently toss things aside when the frustration level rises. Somehow, I am going to find the motivation to complete these coin purses before years end. There, I've said it and it's almost as good as a promise. Almost. LOL

I hope you all have a fabulous day.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pencil Pocket, A Simple Solution!

My husband is one who cannot live without a calendar on the fridge. I don't care to see anything hanging out on the face of my fridge. The solution for us was to put the calendar on the side of the fridge. You cannot see the calendar from the dining room which suits me and it makes my husband happy because he is able to view the calendar if he walks to the side of the fridge. Easy solution that pleases both of us.

Finding a pen or a pencil to jot something onto the calendar has proven frustrating at times, especially when I need to record something right away. Well, I've come up with a fabric pencil pocket with a magnetic strip on the back so that a pencil will always be handy. I've been using mine for many years and it works like a charm. Simple things like this can make life easier.

I have to admit that I hesitated to post that plate lunch picture yesterday simply because I wondered if you all would think that I eat like that every day. Or maybe think, gasp, she eats that, gross!!!! Well, it's nice to know that Hawaii isn't the only gastronomical artery-clogging place out there. Now I feel less guilty about having eaten that plate lunch. Yes, really...sort of.

I plan to park my bottom in front of the television today to watch the Pennsylvania primaries and work on my pincushions. It should be a very entertaining day!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Monday, April 21, 2008

Heart Attack on a Plate

From Grace's Inn...Chicken katsu, 2 scoops rice, 2 scoops macaroni salad, chow fun, kim chee, katsu sauce, and gravy over everything. (The kim chee is missing from the photo). This is what islanders refer to as a Plate Lunch. Eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it is still called a Plate Lunch. I only eat a couple of plate lunches a year at the most because it's so full of fat and calories and plainly not good for you, especially the way I enjoy it. You can make better choices than I do and enjoy a plate lunch much more often, but I'd rather give up quantity for quality, if you can call it that. LOL As time goes by and these drive-in's change owners (largely purchased by Asian immigrants) the old-time flavor of the food changes too. Graces, Rainbow's, Diner's, Ige's and Tsukenjo's still retain that old-time local flavor. Many islanders who make their home away from Hawaii, dream of the day that they can return home to have one. Upon their arrival, it is not unusual to head straight from the airport to a drive-in for a plate lunch. Yes, plate lunches are that good!

Aside from eating terribly this weekend, I feverishly worked on my pincushions. I have set a goal to complete all pincushions by the end of this week. I totally dislike stuffing things because it gets pretty challenging trying to get stuffing through a very small hole. I believe that is what was holding me back and why I lost interest in completing this project. Now that the worst is over, I feel motivated to finally get them done.

I hope you all have a great day. Gotta get back to those pincushions if I plan to reach my goal!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Friday, April 18, 2008

Inspiration Friday

My craft room is a chaotic mess and I know that I'm not alone. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for really good storage ideas. Many crafters are faced with heaping piles of supplies that they do not have room for. When I delved heavily into scrapbooking, I frequented a site where members shared their page layouts, ideas, and work spaces. I have to admit that photos of their work spaces are what attracted me to this site. Although I have it bookmarked, I seldom took the time to browse until this past week when someone on a craft message board pointed it out once again. I'm sure you will be inspired by what you see and if you only take one idea from this site, it will be time well spent. Their ideas can be incorporated into any craft setting, not just scrapbooking. I hope you enjoy the Two Peas site and be inspired by the creativity of their members.

I have been making bunting (some call them banners) for several years. They make cute party decorations and can be adorned with letters to spell Congratulations or Happy Birthday or any message you wish. This is the bunting that I take with me to fairs to decorate my booth. I usually hang it in the front to add some color and interest. I love the smiles that it brings to the faces of my customers when they see that they're decorated with yo-yo's. Many times, it sparks interesting interaction between the customer and me about the time they spent with their mothers or grandmothers making yo-yo's. I know that with each word spoken, they are recalling fond memories and I feel very privileged to hear them. This is just another reason why I love yo-yo's so much.

Thank you to all of you who have inquired about Mouse. The Vet is happy to see that he is doing so well and has now decided to take a wait and see approach to further treatment. I will be monitoring Mouse closely and reporting to the Vet in two weeks. Here is an excerpt taken from a previous post regarding his condition.

"Mouse had another test done on Thursday. The test results show that his kidney function is better but it still shows that he's in kidney failure. In order to slow this down, the Vet recommended changing his food which should result in a little less stress on the kidneys. We are hoping that by doing this, we will slow down the kidney failure. He will continue to get his fluids, but for now, it will be limited to twice a month since he seems to be doing a lot better. That is such a relief because the constant transporting of him to the Vet was wearing thin on both him and me. In jest, the Vet mentioned that he sees that Mouse is getting better because he's gaining weight. Believe me, Mouse does not need to gain any more weight. According to the Vet's assistant, Mouse is the biggest cat that they've seen. He's the biggest cat that I've ever seen too."

I hope you all have a great weekend!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

I almost feel like running down to Border's and picking up a copy of Embroidery for Dummies. I'm almost certain there must be a book by that name written for people like me. I've found quite a few great online tutorials on embroidery stitches but I find that impractical as I don't want to be tied to my computer while practicing. I would love to find an instructional book with vivid color photos, the more the merry. If anyone knows of a good one, please send a shout out my way.

As you can see, I've also managed to incorporate fabric yo-yo's into a couple of pieces. After all, anything round like cherries are just screaming to be replaced with a yo-yo, don't you think?

Mouse heads back to the Vet this morning for more fluids. You wouldn't guess that he's ill because he's still carrying on like his old self. Here he is, sitting and shaking my hand and begging for a snack. How can I resist when he does cute things like this. I know it's not a great picture but I had difficulty taking the picture and shaking his hand at the same time. I'm obviously one of those people that can't do two things at the same time. LOL

I hope you all have a great day!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Knew You Were Coming So I Baked A Cake

Well, I really wished you could have stopped by for a bite of this delicious Applesauce Cake that I made last night. It came out so moist and paired well with a cold glass of milk.

Look at the beautiful, fluffy batter dotted with spices...

I didn't have a tube pan like the recipe called for so I baked it in a bundt pan...

Here it is right after coming out of the oven. The aroma was delightful!

The icing looks beautiful dripping down the sides of the cake...

Of course, we had to try it...

Here's the recipe from


3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1. Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cloves and soda. Set aside.

2. Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs. Add flour mixture into creamed mixture alternately with applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in the raisins, dates, and walnuts. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.

3. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 1-1/2 hours, or until done. Cool.

4. To make icing, melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stir in 1 cup brown sugar. Boil for 2 minutes. Stir in milk, and continue to stir until the mixture returns to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool for 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and confectioners' sugar. Frost cooled cake.

***My personal opinion...I think the cloves in this recipe can be cut by 1/2 depending on your taste. I used a scant teaspoon this time after reading the reviews for this recipe. I'm going to cut the the cloves to 1/2 teaspoon the next time I make it. My taste buds are still pretty dull due to my cold and I could still taste a strong clove flavor in this cake.
Another thing that I should mention is to cut the icing recipe to 1/4 unless you enjoy a huge amount of icing. This makes way too much icing for my taste and I have a very sweet tooth.
The fruits and nuts were omitted from the cake due to picky family members.
Be sure to test the cake during the last half hour of baking. My cake was ready to come out of the oven 10 minutes earlier than the recipe called for.

On a crafty note...

Another craft fair project that I've made over the years are these floral paper clips. It's so much fun to adorn a stack of papers with something bright and pretty. It makes a great teacher's gift too. I'd choose these over a boring silver paperclip any day.

I hope you have an extraordinary day.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

****Hi! I'm sorry the pictures aren't showing up for you. Blogger can be very strange at times because the photos are showing up for me. I've uploaded them once again. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you still cannot see them.
By the way, I haven't had an applesauce cake for over 20 years too and I had been thinking about the applesauce cake with raisins that my mom would make when I was a child. I hunted around for quite a while until I found a recipe with pretty good ratings and then took the plunge. Worth every calorie, I tell you. I also wanted to mention that my son says that the spices are just right as it is. I guess this is where personal taste comes in. Thanks everyone, have a nice day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I feed my soul...By the stitches I sew.

I have had an interest in embroidery for as long as I can remember. As you can see, I'm not that good at it and my stitches are all wonky and uneven. Over the years, I have completed many cross stitched pieces but no embroidery. I'm finding that cross stitching is a piece of cake when compared to embroidery. I'll admit that this is one skill that I have yet to hone, but I won't let that stop me. I'm a firm believer that practice makes perfect and I plan to practice until I get it right.

This is a classic pattern and one that I'm sure many of you have seen before. There is a certain nostalgic feel to it and it reminds me of my paternal grandmother. It looks very much like something she would have embroidered onto her pillowcases.

I have been admiring quilts that include embroidery work in their design for a very long time. There is something very pleasing to me to see embroidered pieces scattered amongst the beautiful blocks of color. I know that I won't be attempting a quilt anytime soon, but maybe a few embroidered pieces may find their way into my handbag designs this year. This is just in the planning stages, but one that I hope to bring to fruition sometime soon.

I want to apologize for the quality of my photo. In an effort to post early in the morning, I'm having to take my pictures while it's still dark outside. I'm sure there is a way to get better photo's even in the darkness, but I'm a bit camera challenged. If you click to enlarge it, you will get a better idea of what it looks like in person.

I want to extend my thank you to each of you who made a comment to yesterday's post. I will admit that it has gotten a little bit overwhelming at times to answer each and every one of you individually, but please know that I appreciate the time and thoughtfulness of each comment that I receive from you.

I'm off to practice my stitching. I hope you have a great day!


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Beautiful Hawaii.....Well, Usually.

Imagine this...You've been saving your money for many years to take that once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii and upon arrival, you are faced with dark, angry, overcast skies. I'm sure that with the passing of each rainy day you would be trying to convince yourself that there would most certainly be blue skies tomorrow. After all, this is Hawaii, right? I'm sure our recent visitors are still shaking their heads in disbelief and cursing their most unfortunate circumstances that they have visited during such an extended period of lousy weather.

The photo above was snapped on Sunday afternoon from my patio. Where's the sun you ask? Well, let me assure you that it's under there somewhere. Notice the tiny blue patch of sky peeking from between the clouds. Tiny snippets of blue sky made intermittent visits throughout the day.'s sure to clear up by late noon, you enthusiastically say. Well, if it's anything like yesterday or the day before or the day before that, it likely isn't going to happen.

From time to time we go through periods like this. The downside is that the tourists probably won't get that fabulous tan that they told everyone back home they would. The upside is that they probably won't go back home looking like an overcooked lobster either. If you have ever had the opportunity to people watch at the Honolulu International Airport, you'd know exactly what I mean. Tourists step off of the plane looking like normal human beings. Hawaii sends most of them back home looking like bright red lobsters. I kid you not! The only advice I have to offer while vacationing here is to use a sunscreen with a high SPF level and to plan your vacation during the summer months. The weather is usually the most stable then and you will be sure to go back home sporting a beautiful shade of red, err, I mean tan.

As you can see, I continue to have pinwheels on my mind. I squeezed in a little time to put together a quick pinwheel project. I used the extra fused fabric from the wall pocket to make teeny tiny pinwheels for little girl's hair elastics. Of course, I'm sure the little ones would appreciate much prettier patterns and brighter colors. I think that the experiment was a success and I probably will be making more very soon.

I hope you all had a very fun-filled, creative weekend. Tell me about your weekend if you have the time. I love hearing from you.


**EDITED TO SAY: Who woulda thunk it, when darkness turned to light, lo and behold, blue skies reign over Hawaii once again. I guess I was starting to feel the effects of the dreary weather we've been having lately, hence today's post. LOL**

***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Friday, April 11, 2008


Thank you to everyone who stopped by yesterday and entered my giveaway. I'm sorry that I couldn't respond to each of you individually. I spent much of the day with my head on my pillow in a semi-unconscious state. Cough, cough, sneeze, get the picture. And the fever, oy vey! I awoke this morning to some really wonderful comments. It's amazing how intertwined our memories are. My heartfelt thank you for sharing them with me.

Drum roll please...I have finally completed one pincushion. Yes, you read that right, just ONE pincushion. I have absolutely no motivation to get this project done. Here's a photo of the pincushions in various stages of completion. Hopefully they will all end up looking like the black and red one in the front. One down, 56 more to go.

Here is a close-up which shows the beading that I have done. I love how it adds a little bit of interest to an otherwise mundane pincushion.

Have a fabulous weekend. See you all on Monday.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pinwheels In My Pocket

As a child, I remember how much I appreciated each and every toy that came my way. I didn't have everything that I wanted but I'm sure that I did have more than many children. I have very few memories of expensive, fancy toys. Most of my toys were simple things like jump ropes, liquid bubbles, jacks, hula hoops and pinwheels.

I grew up in simpler times. A memory that I hold so vividly is playing house and dress up. A calabash aunt from across the street gave my sisters and me a bunch of old clothes and shoes that she had acquired from a friend. I remember how the clothes looked so "old" to me at the time, probably items from the 40's and 50's. We cherished them just as much as our favorite toys. We'd gather the neighborhood kids, dress up in our finery and play house for hours and hours each day. Pure and simple fun and great memories.

If you are wondering why I'm reflecting back, it is because memories of my childhood came flooding back to me as I assembled this wall pocket. I began reflecting on many things that I hadn't thought of in years. Who would have thought that making pinwheels would bring back so many happy memories.

My pictures are pretty dark because of the lack of sunlight due to heavy cloud coverage. If you click on the image to make them larger, you will be able to see the details much better.

I know this will not be my last pinwheel project since making them brings me so much joy.

I wish you all a memorable day.


***Don't forget to enter my giveaway. If you are new to my blog, please refer to my post of April 8 for the rules.***

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's a Rainy Day in Hawaii Nei

Woke up this morning to terrible weather and a terrible cold. My son and his girlfriend have been sick for a couple of weeks and finally hubby and I have succumbed. The islands are currently under a flash flood warning with rain expected through next week. This looks like it's going to be a very icky week(s).

For my new readers, please refer to yesterday's post for the rules to enter my giveaway. I will try and post as early as possible each day so that my international readers will have the same opportunity to enter the giveaway. Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm going to try my best not to leave anyone out.

I'd like to show you a bookmark that I've been making for my craft fairs and plan to do so again this year. Notice in the photo all of the woven ribbon that is still waiting to be turned into bookmarks. The story of my life, I tell you. If there was an award for the person with the most incomplete projects, surely I would win.

The main part of the bookmark (the flower stem) is made from woven ribbon. I've attached a flower and leaf to each end. Simple, cute, effective.

Here is a look at it in action. I love how the flower and the leaf peek out from both sides of the book.

I hope you all have a truly fabulous day. Good luck in the giveaway, everyone.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yes, It's Another Giveaway!

That's right, I'm doing another giveaway. The last giveaway was such a success and so much fun that I'd like to do it all over again. If you'd like to see who the lucky winner of my last giveaway is and all of her goodies, scoot on over to Cheryl's Blog. She has a very charming blog filled with many vintage items that I'm sure you will just adore. And lucky you, she even has a shop where you can purchase her little lovelies. So hurry on over!

This giveaway will include a quilted tote. It is 15-inches in width, 13-inches in length with a handle drop of 11-inches. It's a very nice size for carrying around your crafting or quilting supplies. And of course, a few other "surprises" will be included too.

A closeup...

THE RULES (There are many so please read carefully)

This time, the rules will be a little bit different (I like making things difficult, err, I mean fun). To enter, all you will need to do is to make a comment whenever you see a new post, starting from today through April 30. You can increase your chances of winning if you make a comment each time I make a post. YOUR COMMENT HAS TO BE DATED THE SAME AS THAT DAYS BLOG POST AND MADE IN THAT DAYS POST FOR IT TO BE ELIGIBLE. I seldom blog on weekends unless I have something important to say and usually blog anywhere from 3-5 days a week so be sure to check back often. This contest will end on April 30, 2008.

On May 1, 2008 a random date will be chosen, anywhere from April 8 all the way through April 30. For example if April 10 is chosen, all the people who posted on April 10 will be entered into the drawing. From that pool of people, one lucky winner will be chosen.

This contest will be open to everyone. Please, no "anonymous" posts unless that's your real name, okay? LOL If you have a blog, please link back to it when you post. If you don't, please make sure to leave your name (and don't forget to check back on May 1 for the winning name since I won't have any way of contacting you for your mailing address). For example, something like, Shelby T. from Middleton would be ideal as it will help me to distinguish you from Shelby T. from Honolulu. If I end up with three comments from three different Mary's, it could be difficult to determine the actual winner. It would make my life so much easier if you were to comment as Mary S. from Seaside or Mary K. from Seattle or Mary P. from Gainsville. Okay? And please, only one entry per IP address, per household, per day. I hope I have it covered. Any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you.

And last but not least, I'd like to give a shout out to the Garden Web Quilting Board gals. My stat count soared by leaps and bounds today. Thank you to Crafteedee for linking to my blog and most of all, I hope you all enjoyed the yo-yo tutorial.

Good Luck to everyone.


Miscellaneous Rambling and a Pinwheel Pin

When weekends roll around, my mind tells me that it's okay to take it easy and do nothing. Well, this past weekend, I accomplished just that. Nothing. I partially cleaned my bedroom. Notice that I said partially. I gave up doing anything productive after a conversation with the Vet as it was a little bit of a downer.

Mouse had another test done on Thursday. The test results show that his kidney function is better but it still shows that he's in kidney failure. In order to slow this down, the Vet recommended changing his food which should result in a little less stress on the kidneys. We are hoping that by doing this, we will slow down the kidney failure. He will continue to get his fluids, but for now, it will be limited to twice a month since he seems to be doing a lot better. That is such a relief because the constant transporting of him to the Vet was wearing thin on both him and me. In jest, the Vet mentioned that he sees that Mouse is getting better because he's gaining weight. Believe me, Mouse does not need to gain any more weight. According to the Vet's assistant, Mouse is the biggest cat that they've seen. He's the biggest cat that I've ever seen too.

I also did some long-needed grocery shopping. Thank goodness my husband doesn't mind going with me. I dislike grocery shopping with a passion. I try to do the major shopping once a month with just a quick run for the essentials in between.

If you are local, you can relate to buying rice in 20 pound bags (islanders eat a lot of rice). As I was transferring the rice to my rice container, I dropped a little onto the floor. I felt a few grains cling to the bottom of my foot. In an effort to rid my foot of the rice, I rubbed it about 3-4 times back and forth on top of my other foot. Somehow I couldn't dislodge the grains from under my foot. When I looked down, the upper portion of my foot had several deep gashes and was oozing blood.

Let me take you back to a little earlier...As I was unloading groceries, one of the bags that was sitting on the floor fell sideways and a bottle broke. The breakage was contained to the plastic bag, or so I thought. What I didn't realize is that one piece of glass found it's way outside of the bag. And wouldn't you know it, I stepped on it without knowing. I'd show you a picture of my foot, but I know you don't want to see my ugly Luau feet(a.k.a. wide feet from going barefoot as a kid). Suffice to say, I'm in a little bit of pain but nothing that needs stitching, thank goodness. I have since found another piece of glass in my kitchen even after sweeping it twice. Either I'm a lousy sweeper or those are some sneaky little pieces of glass. I'm probably a lousy sweeper. LOL

On another note...For at least a couple of years, I have been wanting to make pinwheel pins. I know that I mentioned that I would try and stay away from pin making for a while but I couldn't help myself. I finally decided to try my hand at it (anything to get away from sewing those pincushions...LOL). Well, I must say that it turned out pretty cute and it's everything that I was hoping for. The pattern that I used to create this pinwheel can be found here
This gal has a site dedicated to paper crafting and rubber stamping. I hope you give her a visit as she does wonderful things with paper and is sure to inspire you.

The pinwheel is made by fusing 2 contrasting fabrics together with Heat 'n Bond Ultrahold prior to cutting out the shapes. I frequently use fused fabric in my projects as it keeps fraying to a minimum. It also adds body to an otherwise floppy piece of fabric. I hope you give it a try. It was fun to do and it brought back memories of how much I loved pinwheels as a child.

Well, I'm sorry that I've been so long winded. I will close by wishing you a fabulously creative day!


Monday, April 7, 2008

European Tour

On September 17, 2007, my husband and I took an 18-day trip to Europe. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Lucerne, Paris and London. I thought that I would post a few pictures of our travels in Europe. Rowena, I know I promised these a long time ago. Sorry it took so long. Maybe one day I will do an actual trip report, but for now this is the best I can do. We took thousands of photos so what you will see just barely scratches the surface. What fond memories I have as I look at these pictures...

First stop, Rome. Man, all I could say was, "can it get any more crowded than this?" I heard that the city would be overrun with tourist, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine just how crowded it would be. You needed to pay attention to where you were walking in order not to bump into anyone.

(Just a side note...Since it takes almost a full day to travel from Hawaii to Italy, we were very exhausted upon arrival. When I'm really exhausted, I dream. Each night, in my dreams, all I could see is the constant barrage of people coming toward me and my attempts to avoid them. I dreamt that constantly throughout my stay in Rome. I woke up tired every morning. LOL)

We arrived in Rome about 8:30am, dropped off our luggage at the hotel and immediately went on a walking tour. A very busy city with fast moving cars and Vespas constantly racing by. Those people have nerves of steel to be able to drive in those conditions. And forget about traffic lanes. They make 5 lanes out of a 3lane highway. So amazing to see.

We ate our first meal at lunch in this cute little restaurant off of a side street behind our hotel. For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of this restaurant but the food was very good and it was our first taste of an authentic Roman meal. We were tired and full so we literally "rolled" back to our hotel to unpack.

In the afternoon, we went off on another walking tour. We saw many interesting places on this walk. We took this picture at the Piaza del Campidoglio on top of Capitoline Hill. It is now used as a government building. What a spectacular view of the city.

The Forum was amazing. It was hard to imagine how these structures could still be standing in this day and age. It takes your breath away.

This is our group walking uphill to find the end of the really long line to get into the Vatican. It was pretty harrowing considering how close we were to the traffic and how fast the cars were speeding by. You could almost touch some of them as they passed.

Resting our tootsies in the Vatican. Boy, is this place huge.

These are the women on our tour. The backdrop was a breathtaking view of the city of Florence.

The Ponte Vecchio, overlooking the Arno, was so beautiful. The colors of the buildings were soft muted tones of peach. If you love gold, this is the place to shop. Shop after shop of nothing but jewelry. You gotta see it to believe it.

It was very crowded in Florence too. The main street was filled with wall to wall people.

I don't know the name of this restaurant, but everyone who visits Venice takes a picture of it. You have to catch it before it gets too dark so that you can see all of the details. I dragged hubby over there specifically to get this picture.

The Rialto Market had the most fabulous seafood. Here at home, flies would be swarming around it if you left it out in the open like that. Not over there. In fact, we don't remember seeing any bugs at all throughout our tour.

Of course, we had to play tourist and take a gondola ride. It was really memorable. We were serenaded by a gentleman with a fabulous operatic voice. I was having problems with light sensitivity so it really was uncomfortable on my eyes with the light bouncing off of the water. Hense, those ugly sun glasses.

We travelled throughout Europe by train. Here we are leaving Italy on our way to Lucerne. The train rides were nice and comfortable. I doubt I would ever take a bus tour after riding the trains. Rowena, it was on this train ride that I waved to you. When I saw the Como stop, I knew you were nearby.

We arrived to beautiful weather in Lucerne. This is the beautiful view outside of our hotel room. The Hotel des Balances overlooked the riverfront. It truly is a very elegant hotel. The rooms were beautiful and those feather beds were divine. It soothed our tired bodies after long days of walking.

On our last night in Lucerne, we had dinner at the Old Swiss House. It doesn't look like anything special from the outside, but on the inside it is very elegant and full of old world charm. It's a beautiful fine dining restaurant but a little on the pricey side. The service was especially good.

A view from inside the restaurant...

It was recommended that we have the Weinersnitzel. Actually, it's exactly like Tonkatsu w/o the katsu sauce or veal cutlet w/o the brown gravy. I still don't know what all the hype is about. It was tasty, but very plain.

The lobster bisque was very velvety and delicious.

This is what it looked like when we arrived in Paris...storming. Do you see the Arc de Triomphe in the background? It's almost barely recognizable in the rain. Too bad, this was the only time we had the opportunity to get a glimpse of it. Luckily, it cleared up for the remainder of our stay.

We stayed at the Hotel Brebant. It was central to all the major attractions. The hotel was small and not very modern. Evidently this is not the usual hotel that the tour uses. The World Cup was being played during our stay, so most of the hotels were booked way ahead of time. Luckily they were able to secure this hotel.

Here I am inside the Louvre. Can you see me standing near that giant painting? I look as big as an ant in this picture.

This is one of the many beautiful ceilings in the Palace of Versailles.

We rented headsets in order to take tours on our own time. It was much easier this way. It was so crowded and noisy in there that it would have been virtually impossible to hear our guide.

The beautiful fountain in the gardens at Versailles.

We arrived in London to rain. Here we are with our rain gear heading out for a ride on the double decker bus to the Tower of London. Thankfully only a few drizzles remained after the first day.

Visiting the Tower of London. It was interesting walking the spiral stone staircases and seeing all of the old weaponry. I kept thinking Rapunzel had to be around there somewhere.

Getting cheeky with Sir Winston Churchhill. LOL

The Sherlock Holmes Pub was a short walk from our hotel. Being really tired one evening, we opted for a fast dinner before turning in. I had fried shrimp and chips and hubby had the steak and ale pie. He had that at two different pubs while in London and he really loved it.

View of the city from the London Eye. Standing high above the city in a clear bubble made me a little bit uneasy but I tried not to think about it too much. I am uneasy at such heights.

Knock, knock, is the Queen home? Outside Buckingham Palace.

Well, this tour was very enjoyable but at the same time very exhausting. It took me several weeks to recuperate after returning home. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I think about Europe often and hope to return sometime soon.