Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hello from the land of doctoral studies!

So... I have been terribly remiss in posting. I landed my dream job and went back to grad school full time. A happy combination, but an extremely busy one needless to say. My bustling life has found the IG community to be very rewarding as I am on the go so very much.

However, the warmth of this spring day beckoned my heart back to my first love ~ blogging. I know I will not be as regular in my contributions as in former days, but my heart craves this space to think and breath and send happy wishes out into the great big world.

Crafting helps me keep my sanity these days. Any moment I can steal away into the craft room - even if just to fluff my nest for five minutes - feels like pure golden joy. Rejuvinates my heart,  empowering me to a place of calm and a sense of God's peaceful presence.

Miss Lucy Cat is sweet and ornery as ever. She is my furry baby and knows it. What a spoiled little thing she is! But I would not have her any other way.

Well, end of term grading calls my name, so I will bid adieu. Be back sooner rather than later this time, though! ;-)

Wishing you warm sunshine smiles! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

After our Williamsburg trip, I had precisely two days at home before journeying off again. Only this time in the complete opposite direction of our last trip and minus hubby. This excursion held a new exitement, for it meant getting to spend time with my sister who had moved states away for over a year. It also meant quality time with my parents and the opportunity to see new landscape. 

 However, I had just cozied back into my home routine. My morning breakfast rituals of coffee or tea with some sweet eat and devotions. All my pretty dishes. Table cloths. Quiet moments. Morning views.  

 The colorful details of my homely nooks. Embroidered pillows. Vintage linens. Happy familiarness. In a mere two days, these simple delights had not lost any of their charm. On the contrary, the thought of leaving my home again so soon and this time for just over two weeks simply wasn't striking my fancy. 

Lucy Cat seemed to understand. She saw my suitcase again by the door and hopped up into my lap for some chin rubs. She always seems to understand my mood. The thought of missing her cuddles made me (I will admit) a bit misty-eyed. 

But, I also knew that leaving would be the hardest part. Once I was on the road again, I would revel in all the new and beautiful experiences that awaited and cherish the moments with my loved ones. Yes, I would miss John, home, and Lucy Cat, but the time would go by quickly and they would be there waiting for me with open arms upon my return. 

And I was right. 

I will be delving into my trip West in the coming posts. Until then...

Wishing a happy day to you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Look Back at Mother's Day

     Mother's Day this year was a very purple occassion (as it usually is given that purple is Mimsie's favorite color).She was blessed to have a plethora of lilacs in bloom just in time for the special day. Then there were purple berries, purple flowers, purple envelopes, a purple gift basket, and even purple plates for the pie!

      As is my usual custom, I handmade at least one gift and bought some little sweet treasures that remind me of Mimsie. This posie was my hand made portion. I had a yummy smelling candle in a purple tin, but the top of the tin had a design that made it clear this was intended for use at Halloween time. So, I decided to top it with a posey!
     To make the a similar flower, simply make a magic ring and single crochet to the desired fullness (I believe for this one it was 10 sc). Next, chain a length and single crochet over chains ending with a slip stitch in the front of the closest single crochet in the ring to form a loop. Continue all the way around. Then, do the same only this time making longer chains to single crochet in the backloops of the ring single crochets. 
     There is actually a silver, metal butterfly hotglued into the center of the posey, but I had also made a magnet out of the paper rose you see and wanted it to be protected on the journey to Mimsie's. Hence, it was stuck to the metallic butterfly for added cushioning and eclipsed in all pictures. 

     I love how their dog Abbey is sneaking into the picture above. She is such a poser! Every time a camera comes out, we have to fight her if we do not want her in the picture.

Mimsie put the purple beadspray wreath I got her into immediate use.

     We topped off the day with Pineapple Cream Pie. So refreshing! 

      And that, my friends, was our Mother's Day celebration for this year. Will be back to the present time with my next post. 

Wishing you all a very lovely day!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Colonial Williamsburg Trip

Yes, dear friends, I realize that I have been "MIA" for some time now. I knew May would be a whirlwind, but did not take into account all the travel time I had coming in June. Lots of fun, but definitely kept me away from the computer. 

 The first week of June found John and I bound for Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We had rain on four of the seven days we were there which did not put us out too much. We wished we could have walked Colonial Williamsburg more (we ended up primarily in Merchant's Square dodging the raindrops) and wanted to drive over to Monticello in Richmond. 

 We had a really fun time despite the rain and would love to return again in the near future. We did enjoy one jaunt up to Richmond where I was thrilled to find a Dillard's at the Short Pump Mall. Anybody able to guess why I was so excited for Dillards?.... They now carry the Pip Studio line! I was in complete and total Pip heaven (pictures of my purchases will appear in future posts). We also tried the Tropical Cafe's smoothies for the first time. So refreshing!

On Tuesday, we drove the Colonial Expressway out to Yorktown's charming riverfront walk. 

I enjoyed my loaded baked potato and bowl of shecrab soup at The Beach Delly. I did not enjoy watching two of the waitresses get into an argument right behind our table. I think they realized that everyone in the small establishment was hearing them and they abruptly stopped, but it was still awkward! Made for an interesting memory to be sure.

 The sand was warm and the breezes stiff as we made our way to the boardwalk overlooking the jetty. Fishermen lined each side of the walkway, their buckets of bait pungent in the noonday sun. Each one called out a friendly greeting as we passed by. 

 From the farthest point of the boardwalk, my breath caught as I beheld the magnificent way the water danced and sparkled before this picturesque Revolutionary Era home (still a private residence). 

The day grew hotter yet, so we decided to leave the sandy shores behind and take a driving tour of the remaining streets of historic Yorktown. I adored the aqua on this old home. 

On Wednesday, we discovered Norfolk, Virginia's famed shipyards lived up to every ounce of their impressive reputation. We made a quick stop here in the morning to buy our evening harbor cruise tickets before we drove on out to Virginia Beach. 

The beach was relatively quiet as the main summer traffic had not yet hunkered down upon the surprisingly small beach town. We merrily staked out our little corner of the sand and surf to enjoy two and a half hours of blessed peace and relaxation. Beach crochet is my new favorite activity!

 Even though I had slathered on liberal amounts of sunscreen, the tops of my feet began to pink up in an uncomfortable manner, so I asked John to burry them in sand. Which he obligingly did as he joked about burrying me up to my head! I assured him the rest of me was not burning and that my feet were quite sufficiently buried ;-) 

 The Atlantic Ocean had plenty of sights to keep us entertained. At one point, as you can see in the picture above, a yacht, a frigate, a parasailer, and some other type of pleasure boat paraded by in one fell swoop. Our far off perspective gave us the illusion that the parasailer was floating right above the frigate when in fact they were quite far apart. 

This straw hat was chosen purposefully for its superb floppiness (and the fact that it had pink piping). I knew that even with sunglasses the glare at the beach can be oppressive, so I wanted to be prepared. Forgot all about my idea to have a good, serviceable hat until the night before our treck to the beach. Thankfully, a local store had one at the right price and with exact right dimensions I needed. 

The waves and their steady rhythm gave the afternoon a sweet, lulling feeling. Gulls would scutter by with an occasional squawk. Everything was calm and right (I think I need to visit the beach more often).

 After the deep serenity of the early afternoon, we were given quite the wakeup call when we hit wall to wall traffic on our way back to Norfolk. We nearly missed our harbor cruise because it took twice as long as it should have for us to drive across town. The obliging crew saw us running from a distance and graciously waited for our arrival before setting sail. John and I could hardly breathe the first few minutes aboard after our race. We ended up finding a great spot on the top deck where we got first-rate views of all the incredible ships. 

Out of the myriad of ships we oohed and aahed over, I found two favorites. The US Naval Hospital Ship Comfort (pictured above) boggled my mind. This picture does not give you the perspective of how massive this fully operational, floating hospital is. It can bed 1200 patients and is equipped with state of the art technology, operating rooms, plus housing for all the hundreds of ship crew and hospital staff. Quite impressive!

 My next favorite was the recently decommissioned USS Enterprise. She was a nuclear powered ship that only had to be refueled one time in the whole of her 50 year naval career. The Enterprise was outfitted with all the amenities a crew could want during their downtime including barber shops, a movie theater, and a twenty-four hour fast food restaurant. Incredible! It was almost like a regular town (except for the floating at sea business). 

We were delighted with a glimpse of this sleek fellow on our return trip. He had a friend with him, but I was never able to get a picture with both at the same time. 

 On our final evening, we drove across the 17.5 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge (and through its two tunnels which were each one mile in length!). 

This is my rather failed attempt to make it look like I am holding up the passing frigate. We recognized this one from our harbor cruise a few evenings before and were excited to watch it begin its journey to cross the Atlantic. 

For our last golden evening of vacation, the sun set over the bay casting a perfect, clear light across the sandy shores.

Once on the other side of the bridge, we made our way to Port Charles where we had an exquisite dinner at Kelly's Gingernut Pub (the bar was separate from the dining tables making for a nice, quiet atmosphere) and made our way back home just as the sun was saying a final, colorful goodbye. 

The next morning, we got on the road early. Before completely leaving Williamsburg, though, we just had to stop into our favorite restaurant for one last meal and we were not disappointed. Breakfast at Food for Thought was every bit as scrumptious as dinner had been two nights previous. We had discovered it that past Friday when Tropical Storm Andrea came raging through with endless bucketfuls of rain. The dim lighting and delicious comfort foods so expertly prepared had given us the exact warm and cozy feeling we had needed after surviving such a sopping wet day. On this sunny Sunday morning, it was hard to remember the darkness of Friday as we gobbled down the delectable offerings. With our bellies full, we began the nine hour drive back to Ohio reminiscing about all our favorite places and making plans for what we would like to do the next time we visit. 

May all your summer travels be safe and pleasurable!