Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black & White Wednesday :: Charlie

This week I am participating in Linda's Black & White Wednesday with photos of one of my favorite subjects, Charlie. I have to admit, I cheated a little by doctoring color photographs in Picnik to make them black and white.

I wish I could show you a picture of how Charlie looked when I first found him as a tiny five week old kitten so that you could see the contrast. He was skeletal and had a swollen, infected eye. I doubt he would have lived through another day if someone hadn't rescued him. (If you would like to read the story of how Charlie came in to my life, it is here.)

It is amazing when I look at him now, so big and healthy and gorgeous. I found him during a particularly difficult time in my life, so I like to say that I rescued him and he rescued me right back. He is a chatty, playful, loving, and mischievous companion, and I adore him.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wonderful morning

I've mentioned a few times that I love the beach and often want to go on the weekends, but can't seem to get moving early enough to avoid the traffic that can back up for miles. Well, this morning I managed to get there, thanks to a certain cat named Charlie who decided I'd slept in long enough at 7:30am.

It was a cool, beautiful morning. There were lots of crashing waves, pelicans, and a few paddle boarders playing in the water. My walk took about an hour, and while I enjoyed it very much, I was a bit preoccupied with a craving for something sweet.

So, I popped in at a French bakery for coffee and a pastry. The line was out the door, but it was worth the wait because I had the BEST chocolate eclair that I have ever tasted. Oh. My. Goodness. I think I may have found my motivation for getting up early and going to the beach on the weekends.

I also tried macarons for the first time. I've wanted to taste them ever since Anna wrote about them on her blog. The chocolate one was okay, but a bit too sweet. I saved the pistachio macaron for later because let's face it, a green pastry is not terribly appetizing, but have since tasted it and found it to be YUM.

As if that weren't enough, next door to the French bakery is a yarn shop!! Within minutes of entering the place I found six skeins of yarn I wanted to buy, but somehow managed to walk out empty-handed. I have so much yarn in my stash that it just isn't okay to buy more right now. But I thought about that yarn all the way home, and if there wasn't so much traffic in the opposite direction I might have turned around, gone back there and bought it.

Back at home, I stopped by my neighborhood farmer's market for fresh fruit and veggies. The strawberries are so good this year. I'm not sure why they taste better from the farmer's market than the grocery store, but they really do.

I also treated myself to a bouquet of flowers from the farmer's market, which Charlie seems to think are for him from the way he keeps sniffing and nibbling at them. Oh well, I guess he does deserve a thank you gift for getting me up and out the door so early.

Hope you enjoy what is left of your Sunday.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trying to relax

I never realized how much blogging relaxes me until today. I've been busy/stressed/exhausted lately, and thought it best to take a break from my blog. But today I discovered that the act of taking photos and planning what to write really calms me down.

[There should be a photo here, but the ones I took that relaxed me so much turned out terrible, so never mind.]

I've been doing lots of other stuff to try and relax. Last weekend I got a pedicure (my toenails are a lovely shade of blue) and a massage. On Saturday I visited my favorite bath and body store, Lush, for a special they were offering-- buy fifty dollars worth of products and get a free goody bag. Have you ever tried Lush? Ooooh, their lotions, bath bombs and skin cleansers are wonderful.

Not only did I get my bag of freebies, but on Sunday I found out that I had guessed the correct number of Rollos in a glass vase and won almost $100 worth of products. I had a big smile on my face all day.

I also discovered Jane Eyre in the last few weeks. Not the book, but the Masterpiece Theater production with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson. Have you seen it? I didn't know what the story was about and found myself spellbound by the tale. The actors were so good! Especially hunky Toby. I ended up watching two other productions that I found at the library, one with Timothy Dalton (also hunky) and another with William Hurt, but didn't like those quite as much. At some point I will get around to reading the book.

Last but not least, have you seen the crochet-covered sea stones at the Purl Bee? Oh my gosh, they are incredible. The designer, Margaret Oomen, is so talented. The Purl Bee describes them as mesmerizing, and that is the perfect word-- it's hard to stop looking at them.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


The theme for our July ATCs is butterflies. I kept mine simple with stickers and scrapbook paper.

In another post I will show you the ATCs I received from the group-- they are gorgeous and so original.

Next month's theme is shoes and purses, which will be fun. I have a few ideas but haven't decided what to do yet.

The butterfly theme is timely because I constantly see a large yellow butterfly floating by outside my living room window. I wonder if it is the same one or if there are many of them? I never see more than one at a time.

Apollo looked so handsome this morning resting on the sunny window sill that I had to get a picture. I tried to take a black and white shot so I could join Linda's challenge, but couldn't quite figure out the camera settings. There is still a bit of pink in that fleece blanket.

Between work and blogging I have been spending so much time on the computer that my arms and wrists are starting to ache. I have been reading your blogs but not commenting as much as I usually do so I can give them a rest. Please know I enjoy your posts very much and will return to commenting more frequently soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A night in Santa Cruz

Friday night I treated myself to a night at a hotel in Santa Cruz. I've wanted to spend the night at the beach for a very long time so that I can wake up and be a few steps from the ocean. The above picture is the view from my deck at nine o'clock at night. I could hear the rhythmic lull of the waves from my room, or at least I would have if I hadn't had to sleep with ear plugs. My neighbors in the next room were beer drinkin' rowdy types.

It was a very elite, upscale hotel. :o)

(Actually, I have no complaints and would stay there again. It was the perfect location and my room was nice. There is no escaping noisy neighbors on a summer weekend when you stay in a hotel near the boardwalk.)

I wanted to take a bunch of cool blurry nighttime photos of the rides at the boardwalk, but this is the only one that turned out decent. Not sure if you can tell there are swings on ropes attached to that disc. There is no way I would ever go on that ride.

When I arrived at the hotel, I could hear a band playing near the beach. The woman who checked me in said there was a free concert going on, but didn't tell me who it was. I walked over to find out and you'll never guess. Santana! They were awesome. I have my doubts that Carlos Santana was actually playing with them, and I couldn't get close enough to see because the place was jam packed, but no matter, they sounded so good. I had an urge to dance, but nobody else was dancing and I didn't want my tubby self to end up on YouTube.

This is the boardwalk early the next morning before it officially opened. Being there brought back so many memories ... family day trips as a child, me and my sister riding the Big Dipper and Cave Train, and when I got older going on dates there. I have so many memories of that place over the last thirty years that it feels a bit like home.

This is the municipal wharf. I love the look of the palm trees and hotels in the background.

And this was the view on my morning walk along the top of the cliffs. That was the main reason for going, an early stroll near the water, and it was the highlight of my short time there. Being at the ocean is soothing. Now I want to go back for a long weekend ...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Apple Tree scarf, more bird crafts, Twilight fun

I'm getting close to finishing the Apple Tree scarf-- finally! It has taken an unbelievably long time to knit and I'm not sure why. It's only a four row repeat on size six needles. But I'm happy with how it looks. Soon it will be packed up and mailed to Jen over at Miss Punkie Pie for a little swap we are doing.

I'm working on this tiny book-- not sure what to call it, a collage or mixed media book? I created the cover and have the words ready to go, just need to figure out how I want to decorate the pages.

In the middle of making my bird book, I came across this sewing machine trading card from the olden days and had to stop what I was doing and make a note card.

I'm still reading Pride & Prejudice spin-offs and sequels. Every couple weeks I take a stack of books to the used book store and trade them in for new ones. This evening I finished Jane Austen in Boca and got such a kick out of it. Imagine Pride & Prejudice set in a retirement community in Boca Raton, Florida. It was smart and funny.

Thank you to Cory at Pink Dogwood Blossom and Suz at Begin Again for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I appreciate it! Some day I will get around to sharing ten interesting things about myself. Lately I haven't been feeling terribly interesting.

My sister Hilary and I went to see Eclipse on opening night last week. I liked it, but thought New Moon was better. If you are a knitter and a Twilight fan, check out this funny, funny post. It will give you a good laugh, especially if you enjoy knitting with Malabrigo.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Things with Feathers

I love, love, love birds and have been enjoying making bird-themed crafts lately. These are note cards I sent to my friends in my ATC swap group.

I've had the bird stickers for a while now and was happy to find a good use for them.

It was a nice to use up some of my scrapbook paper, too. How did I collect so much of it? I think I could make cards for a year and not run out.

Sometimes simple is best.

I just heard the call of a Nutall's Woodpecker outside my window. Perfect timing!

* * *

Hope is the Thing with Feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th!

Happy Independence Day! Do you have any plans for the weekend? I took the day off work today and went to the beach.

I've been wanting to go for sooo long. The beach is less than an hour away, but on summer weekends I will only drive there early in the morning because traffic can be a nightmare later in the day. After getting up early to commute to work all week, I have a hard time moving early on the weekends.

It was sunny and warm today, which surprised me because it's often freezing at the coast during the summer.

I would love to stay in one of those colorful little beach rentals for a long weekend so I can wake up and be right there without having to drive.

I had to take a break from blogging this week. It has been so busy at work I've been coming home exhausted. I haven't been doing much knitting or any other crafts, just reading, watching television and shopping. Look at the cute kitty I picked up at Anthropologie.

I will visit your blogs this weekend and get caught up. Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend.