Thursday, October 30, 2008

S.........pring has sprung,

Fall has fell,
Upon my word,
It's colder than can be expected!

The little tree autumn blaze maple tree that we planted two years ago, rewarded us this year with quite a show, and we wanted to share it with you! The silly rhyme was overheard many years ago on a college campus!

Monday, October 20, 2008

F.........ront Page!

This morning I had the most wonderful surprise! As some of you know, I have a shop on the ETSY site (you can get to it by checking the right hand column of this blog), and it's considered a great honor to be featured on the front page of that site. A lovely lady selected twelve items for a treasury and ETSY put it on the front page! A copy of that page is just above. One of my baskets is in the third row. Two other ETSY friends, glassgypsy and dazzledesigns, are on the same page! Each treasury only remains there for an hour or so, but it's great exposure. So a big thank you to Iris! You can see her classy shop at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

B.........eautiful blue!

Agate slices are one of my favorite ways to begin a pine needle basket. The agates are encased in resin and then holes are drilled into the resin so the stitching can begin. This striking blue agate was sewn with natural raffia, first with a wheat stitch, then a wrapped row, chain stitches and "v" stitches. Three small wrapped extensions add a dimension without detracting from the agate. This basket is more than 10" across and is available in my ETSY shop on the right. Please feel free to explore the entire shop for more pine needle work!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

T.........errific idea!

I'd love to have this striking necklace just for its looks, but is has another purpose as well. This month the etsy blogger group is featuring a blog and a shop which sells fabulous jewelry that is also baby friendly! Originally designed for nursing mothers, these necklaces, although not toys, are safe for babies to grab on to while they are nursing instead of Mom's hair, glasses or other clothing. Is that a fantastic idea, or what? What perfect and unique gift for a new mom! You can get to her very interesting blog and her shop, by clicking on the banner just under the sitemeter and above Katydid in the right hand column.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

T.........ravel fun

Even though we are retired, we still like to relax and get away from time to time, both to visit out of state children and to explore areas nearer to home. Because I'm of Swiss heritage, we decided to visit the delightful town of New Glarus, Wisconsin. As we pulled to a parking space near the center of town, we were greeted by the carillon of the graceful old church with a noon time welcome. After lunch we toured the town and I posed in front of a cheese and fudge shop with just one of the many hand decorated brown Swiss cow statues that populate the downtown area. Of course, we had to buy fudge after that! David decided the cows weren't so innocuous after all! Who says old folks don't have fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

T.........he Steamboat House

In Galena, Illinois, we were privileged to stay in the most wonderful B&B, The Steamboat House. Because we were interested in the Victorian architecture we decided to stay there and would certainly go back. The house was originally built in 1855, by Daniel Harris, who designed and built steamboats, and his wife, Sarah, a fascinating woman in her own right. At age 50, after raising 10 children, she obtained her medical degree in Chicago (after suing the school which did not want to bestow a degree on a woman), and became the first woman physician in Jo Davies County. She was also active in the sufragette movement and entertained Susan B. Anthony as well as other dignitaries, such as General U.S. Grant in the home. After their passing, the home fell into many hands and many stages of disrepair. The present owners, Glen and Char, completely restored this 9 bedroom, 8 bath mansion from the walls on in, in the style of the period. They now offer a 5 guest room B&B complete with hundreds of pictures and antique furnishings. The concessions they made to modern life (heating, bathrooms, queen size beds, gas fireplaces,and TVs) are unobtrusive. They are also very gracious hosts. Glen gave us a private tour of the home when we arrived and Char served us and the other eight guests a most elegant and relaxing breakfast in the morning. They also have a wine and cheese gathering every evening. The pictures are of the outside of the house, the dining room set for breakfast, and the upstairs parlor where guest may also avail themselves of hot tea and cocoa in the evenings and coffee early in the morning. We would highly recommend staying with them if you are in the area or as a destination for a charming night!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A.........visit to Galena, Illinois

Last Thursday, we had a little get away to the fascinating city of Galena, Illinois, about four hours southwest of here. We had been talking about Victorian architecture and the city has many fine restored examples. One of the most prominent is the Grant home which was built for General Grant and his family after the Civil War and before he was elected president. The lovely view of Galena is from that home. You can also see a long shot of the home and a picture of me on the front porch. Because it is an Illinois historic site it is open to the public for tours. We enjoyed walking back into the 1860's inside the home. The parlor picture features Grant's favorite chair, that he took with him to the White House.