Monday, May 31, 2010

Travel photos

I took many, many photos at the mission in San Juan Bautista last week but was hesitant to add too many to my last post for fear of boring everyone. This morning I decided I want to preserve more of those photos on my blog because I am so pleased with how they turned out and because the mission has such a special place in my heart.

Cactus blossom

Mary in the garden

An abundance of pink roses

Glowing rose

In the garden

One of the wandering chickens

Chicken feet

Peep and shadows

Bell tower

In the church

Friday, May 28, 2010

San Juan Bautista Mission

Is there a place that you go when you need to replenish your spirit? For many years I have gone to the small town of San Juan Bautista to visit the 200-year old mission, and that's where I found myself earlier this week.

It is a peaceful place with a large rose garden dotted with cactus. While it's odd to see roses and cactus growing beside each other, it's also quite beautiful.

The mission might look familiar to you. It was featured in the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo. Another interesting tidbit is that it is situated on top of the San Andreas Fault and has suffered damage from earthquakes periodically. There are signs everywhere warning visitors that it is not earthquake safe.

As I walked the mission grounds and around the small historic town, I saw families of roosters, hens, and chicks roaming freely. My jaw dropped the first time I saw them; I have never felt more like a city girl.

The roosters crowed in protest when I got too close to the babies with my camera, but I couldn't help myself because they were so darn cute. I took zillions of pictures, most of which turned out blurry because those little chicks rarely hold still.

This little guy was right at my feet.

I ended my visit by browsing around a couple of antique stores and picking up an old bird book, trading cards, and vintage ephemera. It was a really good day.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Travel ATCs

The theme for my artist trading card swap group this month was travel. Actually the theme was a foreign city, but I decided to go with a more general travel theme because ... well, because I'm me and need to do things my own way :o)

I made collages with antique maps, postage stamps, and stickers. The silver around the edge of the cards is Memory Foil Tape.

I can't explain why I love antique paper so much, but I really have a thing for it. On Monday I spent a good hour in an antique store sitting on the floor rifling through a basket of post cards, train tickets, vintage images, and other ephemera. It was sheer heaven, and I brought home some great stuff which I will show you soon.

The background for the above card is embroidered paper.

This is just a quick post because I need to go and watch the American Idol finale. Go Crystal! Or Lee! They both deserve to win.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Glass Beach

Early Saturday morning on my weekend getaway, my sister and I walked from our hotel to Glass Beach. I had been there several years ago and remembered it as completely unimpressive, so I was surprised at how stunning it actually is. The mist and rain added to the beauty of the rocky shoreline.

The beach is covered with sea glass, and we filled our pockets with it. I'm going to make a souvenir out of mine by putting it in a glass jar labeled with the name of the town and date we were there. (I'll post a picture when I find a suitable glass jar.)

I left this heart where I found it so that the next person can enjoy discovering it.

We went for a walk at Hendy Woods, which has the most beautiful grove of old growth redwoods that I have ever seen. Normally the serenity of the park is disrupted by the sound of gunfire from a nearby shooting range, but we didn't hear it this time. My brother-in-law, who is a Star Wars fan, says "it feels like the Return of the Jedi out there."

There are many boutiques and art galleries in the town of Ft. Bragg and Mendocino Village. This is a sculpture made with branches and pieces of handmade paper.

I love art that incorporates the use of words.

The nasturtiums and poppies flourish in the cool coastal climate. I couldn't resist a few close-ups.

We browsed the shops and I bought yarn, slippers, and artisan paper for collages. (I didn't go in to the Understuff store, but isn't that a great sign?)

I didn't feel ready to leave on Sunday, but now that I'm home it's good to be back. Knowing that next weekend is a long one due to the Memorial Day holiday makes the work week more bearable ... I think I have vacation fever :o)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Off to the North Coast

I've been in a good mood the last few days because tomorrow I'm heading to the North Coast for a long weekend. I'm so ready for a vacation, even if it's just a short one. I've been itching to get away for the last month or so and thought this weekend would never arrive.

It's going to be cold, but I'm looking forward to seeing redwood trees and the rugged coastline. The village of Mendocino has lots of cute little shops, including a yarn store. Hurray!

My half-finished Multnomah shawl is packed up and ready go, along with a stack of novels to read (I am a fast reader).

I'm sorry I won't have a chance to visit your blogs before I go, but I'll catch up with you next week. See you soon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tea & Gardens

On Sunday Cory and I met in the tiny town of historic Niles for lunch at a tea room and to see the quilt show and garden tour. It was such a fun day.

The gardens of the bungalow style homes overflowed with bright flowers.

The red roses were lush and vivid.

We limited our tour to a few blocks, but I think we could have spent the entire afternoon peeking at gardens.

There were many antique shops to browse. I picked up paper goods and small charms for collages.

There was so much to see and do, but the best part of the day was just sitting at a sidewalk table outside a cafe, sipping coffee and chatting. It all comes down to the simple things, doesn't it?

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Ever since I started my blog I've wanted to spend the day taking photographs of one color. Yesterday I was inspired to finally do it after reading the latest issue of Somerset Life . (Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like a Somerset magazine. It's crack for my muse.)

The color I chose is red.

Focusing on one color heightens your awareness. You see things that were previously invisible.

I selected red because it is a color I have shied away from most of my life. Lately I've been adding touches of red to my home and feeling more comfortable with it.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way ... things I had no words for. ~Georgia O'Keeffe

My sister Lisa, aka Feltypants, is selling off some of the yarn in her stash at discounted prices. Among her offerings are Crystal Palace Panda Wool, Berroco Ultra Lite Alpaca, and Classic Elite Beatrice, some in large quantities. If you are interested, please check it out here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Knitty gift

Did you have a nice Mother's Day? I hope so. My family came over for a potluck brunch and we had lots and lots of delicious food. I'm not much of a cook, but most of the deviled eggs that I made disappeared, so they must have been okay. I tried a new recipe with horseradish that I wasn't too sure about.

Tomorrow is my friend Cathy's birthday, so tonight I wrapped up two hand knit wash cloths and a bar of good-smelling soap for her. (I'm pretty sure she won't read this tonight and see her surprise.)

That White Tea soap from Cost Plus smells SO good I bought some for me, too.

I am ready for a juicy new knitting project and finally decided on the Multnomah shawl from Hello Knitty with my Misti Alpaca yarn that I adore. It's a fun knit.

For those of you in the states, do you watch American Idol? This is the second season I am hooked on it. Now that we're down to four it's pretty exciting. I've been rooting for Crystal, but I'm okay with Lee or Casey winning.

Well, off to watch Idol and work on my shawl. Talk to you again soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

News from the neighborhood

My favorite farmer's market began this week. It's held on Wednesday evenings and I pass by it on my way home from work. I love the routine of stopping there every week, but I have to admit I'm more interested in the booth with the chicken tikka masala than the fruit and veggies :o)

They sell gorgeous flowers, too, including orchids for five dollars. I'm not sure what kind of flowers these orange ones are, but everyone was oohing and ahhhing over them.

You'll never guess the song these two guys were performing at the farmer's market. I'll give you a hint:

If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.
If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.

That's right, "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. I bet that's the first time that song has been accompanied by a ukulele.

I'm slowly creating a container garden on my patio. Last weekend I planted fuchsias to attract hummingbirds so I can watch them from the living room window. The patio is pretty shady, so I think the fuchsias will do well.

A brand new Jo-Ann Superstore opened down the street. It is huge! One half of the store is filled with scrapbook materials, beads, artist supplies, and row upon row of yarn. The other half of the store is all fabric and sewing supplies. I plan to shop there, but I feel a bit disloyal to the Michael's I've been going to for years. I hope the new Jo-Ann doesn't steal too much of their business.

Last night I finally finished the ripple scarf I've been working on for weeks. (I think I must be the slowest knitter in the world.) Now I'm itching for a new project, something a little more challenging. Hopefully this weekend I will get started on it.

I wish you a very happy Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ten things that make me happy

Last month I was tagged by Jane and Erin to list ten things that make me happy. Here is my list …

1. Really good books, the kind that make you wonder how in the world the author was able to come up with such a compelling storyline and interesting characters.

2. Spending time outdoors, whether it's walking, birdwatching or just sitting.

3. My two naughty, playful, loving cats.

4. Yarn. Love to buy it, love to knit with it.

5. Getting enough sleep and waking up feeling good. It just doesn’t happen often enough.

6. Spending time with friends who are positive and supportive.

7. Writing. I like it when I get so involved in my writing that hours slip by unnoticed.

8. Succeeding at something I wasn’t sure I could do, like learning a new knitting technique or traveling alone to a new place.

10. Rain. We don't get enough of it around here. I love to be at home during a storm, snuggled up in a blanket with a book or my knitting.

11. Silence. The absence of noise makes me really, really happy.

Oops, I guess that was eleven things that make me happy. What makes you happy?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Surprise destination

Have you ever started out with one destination in mind and ended up some place completely different? That's what happened to me today. I took off this morning intending to drive to the beach and ended up going to a used bookstore and a bird festival.

At Recycle Bookstore I picked up a few books that have been on my mind. The last time I read To Kill a Mockingbird was 8th grade and I can barely remember it. The Little House books were among my favorites back in elementary school, and I'm curious to read them again.

After the bookstore I went to a bird festival at a wildlife refuge and was greeted by giant bird. (Even more interesting is the length of that woman's braid. I didn't notice it until I came home and looked at the photo. Her hair is so long it must almost sweep the floor when it is loose.)

The festival offered a live animal show, so I got a ticket and a good seat in the front. When the woman from the wildlife rescue center said that she was going to show us a crow, I got annoyed. I can walk out my front door and see a crow pretty much any time of day. But it turns out this was a special crow-- it's an albino, and I've never seen anything like it. She was forgiven.

(I read up on how to improve my wildlife photography skills and learned that you should always make sure the animal's eyes are in focus. Unfortunately, my camera settings got screwed up and this was the best shot I could get before the bird was put back in his box. Grrrrr.)

After the show I went on a short tour to learn about the different types of habitats at the refuge. The birding was great-- a white pelican glided by surprisingly close and a couple of snowy egret babies were hanging out on a wooden platform. Best of all was a burrowing owl. I was able to get a good look at him with my binoculars, but he was too far away for a decent shot with the camera. If you look closely, you can kinda see him.

I might not have made it to the beach, but I did have a fun day and I'm glad things turned out the way they did. Tomorrow morning I'm going to head for the coast again and see where I end up.