Monday, March 28, 2011

The Princess and me (Lady Di and I)

What can you do when the weather suddenly turns from summer back to winter?
Road trip with the girls!!

Despite weather reports of impending snow and ice, we left early Sat. AM for Kansas City (3 hours drive) to see the new Princess Diana exhibit. This traveling exhibit will only stop in 2 places in the US, so we had to see it before it moved on!  First things first...we stopped for brunch!  My daughter Ali lives in KC, so she recommended a cool girls place for lunch.  As our GPS was taking us thru a rather sketchy neighborhood, suddenly this charming restaurant appears.  After we brunched on yummy crepes, we emerged to find big, chunky (inappropriate at the end of March) snowflakes falling.

Across the street from the creperie was a very cool neighborhood bread bakery. They were almost sold out, so we helped them further deplete their daily inventory, and took loaves home to the men!

The Princess Di exhibit is at Union Station, the historic train station in downtown KC. You can't take any pics of the actual exhibit, so here is the big banner hanging on the entrance to Union Station.

The exhibit was a real girl thing, complete with a hoard of women in purple wearing red hats shuffling everywhere. There was a small history of the Spencer family (including family jewels!), pics and memorabilia from Diana's childhood. Then more photos, etc. from the courtship and royal wedding, with Diana's wedding dress as the centerpiece of the exhibit.  OK...we thought the dress was a little underwhelming...definitely very puffy and bulky (how did they stuff it in that carriage?!).  Her shoes (which you probably never saw under that big dress) were sweet (and flat) with pretty heart shaped lace decorations.

My favorite part was the room near the end of the exhibit with a couple dozen dresses (with matching hats) that she wore to official functions. Some were everyday princess wear, but some were beautiful evening dresses. It was startling to see the costumes on mannequins, then see the photos of Diana wearing that same dress. That girl was a designer's dream!!  She could take an 1980s vintage suit with shoulder pads and make it look positively glamorous!  I think she also had a better figure than those mannequins for making an evening gown sizzle!

The exhibit also highlighted Diana's philanthropic work, which still lives on thru the foundation established at her death. There was a small gift shop at the end, as well as an opportunity to record your thoughts.  One stunning part of the exhibit were books and books and BIG BOOKS full of official condolences that were collected all over England and eventually assembled and bound. Shelf after shelf after shelf full....and these were probably just representative of the whole collection.

Honestly, the exhibit was very moving for me.  I remember the engagement, then watching the royal wedding in the wee morning hours, then following Lady Di through the highlights and trials of her life. Finally, sadly, watching the funeral that signaled the end of her too-short life. Thankfully she lives on through the ongoing work of her foundation and the many charities that benefit.

Contemplating the long ride home, we realized we needed something sweet to keep us alert!  We found the Cheesecake Factory and I was so excited, I forgot to photograph my beautiful piece of chocolate coconut cheesecake. Alan doesn't like coconut, so it was a treat to indulge my chocolate/coconut passion.

And so...the 5 little girls returned happily to Ta-town!  Lots of fun, chatter, culture and fab food later we're asking...."When is our next road trip?" 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is there still time for Easter stitching?

You betcha!!! I saw this cute display at my LNS (local needlework shop) and thought I'd share it with you. If you want to stitch up something quick for Easter, here are a couple ideas.  These are a few L*K projects, some old and one very new, but they're all super QUICK and fun.

FYI - here is the info on these projects.
Left: Hop Squared Snippet S78
Center: Spring Crazy #129 (one of 6 egg ornaments)
Right: PEEP Limited Edition Kit K53 (this is super new - if you want one, grab it now. We are almost sold out, but your LNS probably has it in stock or can order for you).

While I was thinking about quickie projects for Easter, I pulled a few of my other favorites from the shipping shelves.  
Top: F37 April Stamp Flip-it (comes with tiny aqua buttons - cute)
Left: Q005 Sampling Easter Quick-it (comes with darling walking bunny charm)
Right: F15 Easter Flip-it (includes golden carrot charm - love it!)

Need to see even more projects for spring? Go to our website, click on the categorical listings and check out the Easter/rabbits and spring sections - there's a whole lot of spring!

So..."hop" on in to your local needlework shop and pick up another project for your own Easter basket.  There's plenty of time before the big bunny arrives!

Monday, March 21, 2011

I succumbed....

ACKK!  It's March, but the weather here is strangely too warm!  The temp outside this afternoon was 75, but my office was 85ish, so what to do?  Turn on the air conditioner!!! I's criminal to run the AC in March, but it was either that or not work!  Since it's Monday and my desk is piled high with lists and projects, comfort was king (or queen, as it may be!).

Open the windows you say...tried that!  We had them open all night trying to cool things off and it helped for part of the day. But the wind is howling and the curtains were standing on end, my plethora of indoor plants were confused by the sudden rush of I succumbed!

There are, however, a few authentic signs of spring in my yard. The forsythia bushes right outside our office just popped open yesterday.  A small patch of daffodils in the front yard are also greeting front door visitors. 

But my favorite springtime ritual is growing live Easter grass!  I planted a couple patches last week and they are almost ready for their first haircuts. Our friends may laugh at our yearly Easter harvest, but they are already asking..."have you planted your Easter grass yet?"  It's always an attention getter in the middle of the kitchen table, on the table in front of the sofa, wherever it lands. When it gets "mature", you give it a haircut. It's strangely fun and cathartic to cut your grass regularly (much more fun that cutting the outdoor variety!). It's also fun to add colored eggs (real or not) for a classic Easter scene.

FYI - that's a scraggly little patch of spinach coming up in the pot on the left.  The topiary is some leftover market decor which is almost done blooming, but smells heavenly. Here's hoping the AC is soon dormant until May!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Something old, something new...

Isn't it fun to get NEW stuff...especially when it is something OLD!  I love collecting old things and incorporating them around my house and office. I like to move stuff around seasonally, even tho it's a lot of work and I always make a big mess. And...sadly...the kids aren't around to appreciate it anymore, but it lifts my spirit!

I remember one time when my daughter Sarah was about 10 years old, I brought home some really ratty (primitive!) finds and she said "Mom, I think you have enough OLD stuff now!".  Of course, now she is the one buying old teacups, furniture, etc. for decorating. 

Here are a couple new treasures at our house.  My mother-in-law, Georgia May, passed away recently. She lived an extraordinary life, living independently almost until her 94th birthday.  My husband gathered with all of his siblings last weekend to clean out her house, and brought home a few goodies.

This hefty family Bible is so beautiful!  It's a little fragile, but it's occupying a prime space on the coffee table in our family room (next to the Easter decor, of course!).  It has a very cool inscription inside dating from 1858...amazing!

This sweet little painted green table is also from Alan's Mom and it landed in my office. It's a great little piece that will work in a zillion places, and I'm sure it will make lots of moves in the years to come.  On top of the table is the "something new".  Last weekend I hosted a wedding shower for a friend's daughter. Her wedding colors are purple and green (challenging).  I couldn't find any pretty purple cut flowers, so I ended up at the garden store buying pansies. 

Here's how our little girl gathering looked that day. I decorated the table and did the baking, and delegated the rest of the cooking to my helpers. Now I'm enjoying the pansies in my office before they land outside on my patio!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday desk cleaning!

Every Friday I TRY to clean my desk. Why, you ask?  Many reasons...get ready for the weekend, assess what I did/did not accomplish during the week, avoid Friday afternoon work, etc.

So I thought I'd share some things that DID happen this week. I designed and stitched a couple small models - whoopee!  Sometimes things come together smoothly, and sometimes they don't, but these were really fun.  Here's a sneak peek of a new Flora McSample Quick-it.  Flora is our little sampler girl and she's been in a garden groove this week. Flora found some really lovely beads to accent her strawberry (a newish color from Mill Hill called allspice), so they also got ordered.

I also bought the annual shamrock plant (oxalis) for the office. I adore these little plants every year.  They always appear at the grocery at St. Pat's time. They are a lovely, old-fashioned plant with 4-sided leaves that open in the day and close up at night.  After they are done blooming and weather warms, I dig up the little bulb things (whatever they are called) and put them outside and hope for more blooms later.

Another Friday activity - sorting out a weeks worth of threads and (hopefully) returning them to their proper places.  But, more often than not, they sit there and get pulled out for more projects the next week. Here's to a (relatively) clean desk and the start of a beautiful weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oh, HENRY!! (the mighty grand dog)

Things just got a little more interesting at our house/office since Henry came to town! Yes, he just may be the cutest dog EVER...that interesting mix of brown, black, white, tan and grey shagginess all add up to his exceptional good looks.

Henry is our daughter Ali's dog and he's come to Ta-town on an indefinite visit while she sells her house. It just seemed complicated trying to juggle Henry's schedule, her job and random realtor visits, so she optimistically asked if we could keep him for awhile.  Ali knew I would readily agree, but she wasn't sure about her Dad. Since our dog Lucky died a couple summers ago, we have been petless, and farm boy Alan thinks that is fine/convenient. You know the story..."when I grew up on the farm, our animals were outside, blah, blah, blah....".

OK...Henry DID get off to a rocky start his first full day here. Not sure why (nerves, ear medicine) he was a little...ah...irregular in his bathroom habits. After a trip to the store for stuff you spray on doggie accidents, and a load of laundry with poopy rags, things seem to be improving.  He prefers laying next to Alan (go figure) which is good because our part time helper Carmen "no quiere perros" (doesn't like dogs).  Maybe Carmen can teach Henry (Enrique) some Spanish commands.  He doesn't seem to obey in English!

Here's one of my favorite Henry photos that Ali took when he dove into her recycling and unexpectedly got caught in a Kleenex box. It's a dog's life!!!