Thursday, May 29, 2008

Garden Pictures

My irises are profusely beautiful this year. Here are a few pictures to show them off!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Piano Recital

Last night was Lizzie's piano recital. Lots of sweat and nerves for less than 60 seconds of performance. She did pretty well considering how nervous she was. And now, for your viewing and listening pleasure, here's Lizzie playing "Turkey in the Straw".

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day weekend

For once we have had a nice Memorial Day weekend weather wise. Typical weather here on this weekend in Western Washington is rain and more rain, but other than a shower in the middle of the night Saturday, it has been very pleasant. Saturday was quite warm, actually, in the high 80's. John and I went shopping for a new gazebo for our patio...and came home with one that is probably intended for camping, but it will do the job just fine. Here is a picture of the old gazebo. It needed replaced as the top cover had completely disintegrated due to the weather over the years. We picked up the old frame intact and moved it over in to the yard. John is going to remodel it a bit, and we are going to put it in a cozy location in the yard, plant ivy next to it, and have it as an ivy covered trellis for sitting under on hot summer days. I think it will look very nice once the ivy grows up onto it.
Next picture shows the new gazebo being assembled and then a picture of the finished project.

This gazebo will be easily disassembled in the fall and put away for the winter, hopefully allowing a few more summers of use. We will also be able to take it with us if we ever decide to go camping.

Mom and Dad, and Alli and Chris came over this afternoon, and we barbequed hamburgers for an early dinner. Amy made a macaroni salad and Mom brought a jello salad, so we had a very nice picnic sort of dinner. I did quite a bit a house cleaning this morning, even spent some time washing windows, so I feel pretty good about that.

I've done some more stitching on my current project as you can see below.

Not alot, but it's getting there. I bought the movie National Treasure 2 yesterday, and hope to get some more stitching done this evening while watching the DVD. I didn't see this movie in the theater, so I have been looking forward to seeing it for quite some time. Lizzie's piano recital is tomorrow evening, and the rest of the week promises to be busy, but I'm glad there are only four days of work until the next weekend!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

She's caught the hardanger bug...

Please visit my daughter Amy's blog at She has been bitten hard by the hardanger bug...and she does such lovely work for a beginner. I'm so proud of her. Thea had given us a couple of Beyond Cross Stitch kits as gifts at the Victoria Sampler Retreat last month, and Amy ooohed and aaahed over them, so I gave them to her to do. She did those two, then one more that I had in my stash...all in about a week's time, even with two little ones underfoot and teaching homeschool... She's gotten more done that I have lately stitching wise.

Thea, she's hooked on your designs now too!!!

It's been a very warm weekend here. Yesterday we went and bought Alana a water toy to help keep her cool and she has been having such a good time playing in the water:

It was so hot here yesterday, about 95 degrees, that I was about ready to crawl into the water with her!!! It's 20 degrees cooler today and now there is a high overcast, so it is actually very pleasant.

Here's a picture of my current stitching. I picked up this pattern while in Victoria, and I love the design, but after looking at the called for threads in the shop, I didn't like the colors much, so I picked up a couple skeins of Gloriana overdyed silk called "Marc's April Mai" to use instead of what the patterns calls for. It is such a wonderful thread and the colors are lucious. I chose DMC threads in colors and hues to complement the Gloriana and so far I am pleased with the result. It's been slow going getting much done as life has been so busy.

I've started studying for the second part of my General Insurance designation, and will probably take the test in August or September depending on how quickly I am able to get through the materials. Much of what I have covered in the first two chapters is a review of Part One that I took last year, so it hasn't been difficult yet. I am trying a little different approach in my studying this time, hopefully it won't be quite so time consuming! I am still going to need the next three months to get through all the material. I passed the first part with a 96% and my personal goal is to do as well next time, tho I think we only need 70% to pass.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Little More about Victoria

On the first full day we were in Victoria we went out for a walk and some shopping at the needlework store. The weather was bitter cold that afternoon, so we ducked into a place called Murchies for a bite of lunch. We don't have any Murchies in the States that I know of, but I sure wish we did. It is a lovely tea store, and they also have a lunch/coffee counter where you can get a light lunch or lucious deserts along with your tea or latte. They even serve the food on beautiful silver trays.

They were serving Chicken Pot Pie for their lunch special and both Von and I ordered one. Mmmmm, it was probably the best chicken pot pie I have ever tasted! I also had a side of pasta salad that was quite good and some chai tea. It was a wonderful meal to get warmed up with.

I've always admired food photography on blogs, some of the pictures look so professional. We took pictures of our pot picture is not that professional looking, as it was half eaten before we remembered to take pictures...oh well. You get the idea.

Later that afternoon, about tea time, we were hungry and cold again, so we went back into Murchies for tea. Actually, we had coffee and desert. My favorite desert in the whole world is creme brulee (burnt cream) and I couldn't pass up the most beautiful looking creme brulee I had ever was gorgeous as you can see. It was good, but not nearly as good as my brother used to make when he had his restaurant. I still have not found a creme brulee that is as good as his. Some have come close, but never the same! It may be a life long search...but when it comes to creme brulee I don't mind! LOL

A Mother's Day Tale.

I had intended to post this little story last Sunday on Mother's Day, but with all the celebrations, the day got away from me, and now this is a little late. So just pretend it is 6 days ago, and it is still Mother's Day.....

22 years ago today I was in the hospital having a baby. On Mother's Day. Only one other lady and I were privileged in 1986 at St. Alphonsus' Hospital in Boise, Idaho, to be giving birth on Mother's Day. Yeah, it was cool. The paper had a big write up about mothers giving birth on Mother's Day that year, but the lady they used for pictures actually had given birth the Friday before. I still don't like that she got all the glory for something that myself and another lady actually did!

Anyway, our daughter Allison Christine was born on Mother's Day. And every so many years, her birthday still falls on Mother's Day. This year is one of those years. Happy Birthday dear daughter! But this Mother's Day is even more special, because a few weeks ago, Alli discovered that she and hubby Chris are expecting their first baby!!! (Woo Hoo! I'm going to be a Grandma again!!!) So this year, on Mother's Day, on her birthday, she gets to celebrate HER first Mother's Day as a Mother to be. Can it get any more wonderful than that???

Allison and Christopher on their Wedding Day, Sept. 10, 2005.

Baby Phillips at 9 weeks old. Arms and legs were moving during the ultrasound!
In one of her posts about our trip to Victoria, Von mentioned a special phone call that we received when were driving up north. Von's cell phone rang, and it was my daughter, Amy, saying Mom, we have something very important to tell you. Mom where are you? You may want to turn around and come home for this (by this time we were 45 miles away from home). Mom, why didn't you answer your phone. Mom this is really important...
Okay already, just tell me will you? (of course my first thoughts were somebody was badly hurt or worse). Okay, she said, you sure you don't want to come home? No, I said, we are in Federal Way, it's too far!!! Okay, she said, I'm going to let you talk to Alli!
And I KNEW!!! Alli gets on the phone and says, Hi Momma! my response? ARE YOU PREGNANT? little voice responds, yes!!! Von and I both break out in cheers and horrahs!!!
Another fun story that will be told for a long time around our dinner table!!!
Congratulations Alli and Chris!!! We are all so excited for you!

A long time wish fulfilled!

Tonight is a first in my life...writing a blog post on my own patio. What's so great about that you ask? Other than the fact that I have been tied to a desk top computer in our computer room since 1992, this is a big deal for me. Here is my Mother's Day gift for this year!!!

My very first laptop computer. Ah well, it's a big deal for me. It literally is 6 times more powerful and three times the hard drive size than the desk top we bought three years ago. And it even cost less than the desk top too! I am enjoying it so much, while still figuring out all the new bells and whistles. I am finding, so far, that Windows Vista is very nice to seems much smarter and anticipates my needs far better than Windows XP. I am sure there are still some bugs that they need to work out, but I am impressed after the first week. My only complaint, which I believe happens with most laptops, is that when I bring it outside on the patio the screen gets very hard to see. Not complaining though! I LOVE being able to use the computer where ever I want to! My family also bought me a small cordless mouse to use with it, a new router for excellent internet reception, and even a spiffy carrying case for travel. I feel very spoiled, and very happy!!!

I never intended to be away so long...

But somehow life kept getting in the way. I have one more post about Victoria that I want to write, I have a very special announcement to make, I need to show off my Mother's Day gift, and talk about what very little stitching I have accomplished in the last two weeks. Arggghhh. Where to start?

On to local news, the weather has turned gorgeous and warm. It was in the mid 80's today here in Lacey...quite a nice change from the snow and rain and cold. There is a big surfing competition going on this weekend at Westport, about 45 miles directly west of here. The temps at the beach today were in the mid-90's, and the wind was blowing from inland, so it was really piling up some big waves. I don't think I have ever seen such big waves here in Washington except during a storm...the surfers were even actually surfing in the "pipe" or curl of the waves. Pretty neat looking.

Even with all our lousy weather, the flowers and flowering trees have been flourishing this spring, and I think it has been one of the loveliest springs that I can remember for blossoms. My yard is looking quite lovely. Thankfully the bark we put down last year has kept this years weeds to a minimum so we haven't had to spend too many hours sprucing up, which is a good thing since it has been too cold and wet to work outside much.

Von, this one is for you...this is the little flowering plant you brought me last year when you came to visit. It's doing really well this year right by the front door and I admire it everytime I go in or out:

We have a large hole in our side yard waiting for the septic cleaning truck to come. We didn't realize that there would be a three week waiting list for this service or we wouldn't have dug the hole so soon. I just hope we don't get a deluge of rain between now and then or we will have that pond I've been wanting. It's just not in the right spot though!!! LOL!

School is winding down for Lizzie, and I know she is looking forward to being done for the summer. I think that history is done now and maybe one other subject. Just in time to spend extra time practicing for that piano recital in less than 10 days. She doesn't want to talk about that! She will be playing "Turkey in the Straw". This will be quite a large recital as her teacher is combining forces with another there will be over 30 people performing. Thankfully they are supposed to all be short songs!!! Tuesday night the 27th, Mom and Dad you are invited, but the invitation says one must stay for the WHOLE THING!!! Think hard and long about that before you respond!! Double LOL!!!

So that's it for now. Stay tuned for the next post. Hopefully within the hour!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More from Victoria...

Our very first afternoon in Victoria we decided to walk up to the needlework store from our hotel. It was probably about a mile, which was not a bad walk at all in such beautiful surroundings, though the weather was a bit chilly. The Button and Needlework Boutique is a delightful shop packed competely full of wonderful fibers, buttons, patterns and kits. We must have shopped for over an hour the first time we went. Notice I said, first time. We visited three times over the course of the week, and each time spent an hour drinking in the sight of the gorgeous models, "petting" the silk fibers and finding that one more thing we couldn't live without!!!

The shop has two entrances on each side of the building, and the furnishings and displayed are artfully and skillfully displayed to draw you easily from one end of the shop to the other. The owners were so gracious and welcoming each time we visited, and even extended a 10% discount to those of us who attended the retreat. What was even nicer surprise was when we opened our gift bags at the retreat and found that they had so generously given each of us a sweet gift package containing a bookmark kit and charm! So unexpected and so nice of them!!! This shop is definitely worth going out of your way for, even if it entails a ferry ride!!! LOL! More tomorrow!