Thursday, April 29, 2010

Touching So Many Lives...

On MAY 16th 2010, New York will host its annual AIDS WALK NEW YORK. Each year my daughter Wendi supports her close friend Vanessa, who lost both her parents to Aids. As is my daughter's custom, she always sends me an email reminding me to help support Vanessa's cause.
Below I have posted the e-messages from both my daughter, Wendi, and her friend, Vanessa.

Hi Everyone ... Vanessa is doing her AIDS Walk again and I am sending this out to anyone who, in this economy, can spare money for a donation, any amount is more than enough. Below is a personal note from Vanessa so you can get an idea of why this is so important to her and that this is just one of many steps in her personal journey. I do hope the link works for you all but if not if you just click on Sponsor a walker and type in Vanessa Felice you will come to her page.
Dear Friends:

As you know, there are few causes nearer and dearer to my heart than AIDS related charities. I'm going ahead with doing the AIDS Walk again this year, despite the tough economic times, and I was hoping that you could find it in your budgets to donate.

I did the walk for the very first time when I was 10 years old, with my sister and the people who worked at the clinic my mom used to go to. The nurses and social workers there were a huge part of my childhood; they were always very kind to me, and I had no idea that it was the first walk that I would do in honor of my mother. Six months later, I lost both my parents to AIDS.

As an adult, I've been extremely passionate about doing the Walk in honor of my parents. They were amazing people: funny and sarcastic and smart and handy (though that trait skipped me over), and they did their best with what little time they had. I think they raised a pretty awesome kid (not like I'm tooting my horn or anything. Nope. NO-SIR-REE) despite their sicknesses, and I enjoy doing the walk in their memory.

Also, I'll share the freebies they give out along the walk. (Seriously. Those weird flavored waters have to be SOMEONE'S taste, and Wendi will thank you for the room in our fridge!)

Thank you so much for your generosity and your time. I've included the link to my AIDS Walk page below. I hope you'll find a way to donate and keep me walking! You'll even get a thank you card, with me all sweaty and red and shiny at the finish line (I might even be able to promise frizz!). I know, your motivation has since increased! LOL

Much love,
Vanessa Felice

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Shamrocks and muddled thoughts

The past few weeks I feel like I've been running on empty, just getting by on the fumes of my depleted tank.

Today I noticed I lost another follower to my blog...perhaps it's my fault, I haven't been keeping it as updated as I used to, I haven't been hitting the forums...perhaps the follower had a blog of their own and abandon it and with it the blogs they were following...could be they found my blog boring...needs more bead projects?...needs less chatter about me and my little world ? A hundred reasons but whose to say what the real one was or is.
Twice in 2 weeks I've thought about closing my Esty Shop and even putting my blog in moth balls. But there is this never dying optimist in me that always says "hang on" and so I do.
So while I try to sort out my muddled thoughts and feelings I leave you with a touch of sunshine and promises.
Photos above and below...Shamrocks growing wild under the giant oaks near the pond and wetland area of my humble home.

Photo below...huge shamrock leaf. Wonder if I made a wish on it would it come true?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Impossible Toxic Lemons

Peter, Paul and Mary sung "Lemon Tree", a song still being played to this day. The words were poignant and yet wise: "Lemon tree oh so pretty and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat."

Our tiny lemon tree was planted last summer and it had survived through a miserably cold winter only with the help of my hubby and me. Each evening John and I would brave the sharp cold wind and lovingly cover the tender lemon tree and the even more delicate Persian Lime. Throughout the frost and the exceptionally low Florida winter temps, our little lemon tree clung faithfully to 3 tiny bright green fruit. Then, as the days warmed the fruit got bigger and started adopting a shade of yellow.

Unfortunately at this moment in time the weeds went on a rampage and all around the base of both lemon and lime trees the weeds grew lush, thick and tall. I wanted to go out and hand pull them but my last adventure in the great outdoors left me with over 27 assorted insect bites so I was waiting on 2 things; the bites to heal a bit and a tube of organic, non toxic bug repellent called Buzz Off from Teddy Started It .
John, being a tackle it now and get it done type of guy, went and grabbed a bottle of Round-Up weed killer, which I was not too happy with at all.
Sure it killed the weeds but the little lemon tree had been covered in tiny very fragrant blossoms and, just days after the herbicide attack, it dropped every teeny-tiny green orb that could have matured into a lemon. At the same time all the new buds of promised, flowers-to-be also dropped abruptly to the ground. Afterwards I asked him if the weed killer he used was recommended for use around fruit trees and other edible plants. Hmm, guess what?... it says right on the label ; "not to be used around vegetables or edible plants..."
So looks like our lovely lemons will have to be tossed as they are now toxic and not safe for human consumption...there goes the summer lemonade that I had been looking forward to.

Monday, April 19, 2010

True Blue

Spent the weekend creatively. Haven't made jewelry in awhile, especially seed bead work so decided to try a pattern that I've been admiring for some time. The only problem was I had some beads that I really wanted to use and wasn't sure if they would work in this particular pattern. The beads were called sapphire blue and are 3mm Czech glass round beads. To me it was more of a light cobalt blue than sapphire and seemed to compliment the stash of cobalt blue silver lined seed beads that I have. However the pattern calls for size #11 and #8 seed big is a size #8? Was it as big as a 3 mm? Still don't know the answer to that question but the size 3 mm round beads appear to work and I like the over all look of them in the bracelet. Guess that's all that matters?

As I worked the design I thought about what type of clasp to use and knowing that the original pattern called for a button clasp I contemplated using something different, mainly because I really didn't have much of a selection in decorative shank buttons. On a whim, or perhaps more of a hunch, I scouted through my button tins (all three of them...those Danish butter cookies have the nicest tins).
Finally I found a couple of cards of old shank buttons. How old ? Well let's say I bought them back when my daughter, Wendi , was only 2 and she is going to be 38 this summer. Guess that would qualify them for being Vintage ? The cards are marked La Mode, which is a brand name of sewing notions and, according to the card, the buttons were made in Western Germany. I was fascinated that they were not sewn to the card packet but each was held in place by a tiny metal pin that looks very much like a little cotter pin, very cute and rather quaint. Anyway they were the right color of blue so they are now a component of the bracelet which I named; "True Blue Heart". Corny yes but my brain wasn't very sharp this weekend.
Well it's finished and it's pretty and it only took me 10 hours to make...let's see at $10.00 an hour that would be...hmmmm don't think so !!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Not that I couldn't think of anything to blog about today, I just couldn't think of anything interesting to blog about. This little tidbit however caught my attention and I'd like to share it with others, for whatever it's worth...2 cents or less.

John, my hubby, is a die hard bread eater. If the meal isn't served between slices of bread or between a bun, he requires it be served on the side. One of his favorite breads is a soft french baguette with sesame seeds. Our local supermarket doesn't carry it very often, I think it has to do with the fact that most of the sesame seeds tend to fall off the loaf before it's eaten.
Recently John return from a quick trip to our local Super Wal-Mart with an oddity. A baguette of french bread with EVERYTHING topping. No, I'm not kidding, that's exactly what the label says. I can't say that the topping is truly EVERYTHING, but it is sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion pieces and lots of garlic.

Pretty good actually, but also a little messy as all the onion pieces stuck to my hands as I tried to slice the bread.
Are there any other bread fanciers out there and what kind is your favorite. Do you like plane white, wheat, rye, seeded, garlicked....what's your preference ?

Monday, April 12, 2010

AlyGator's Miraculous Banner Brightening

I have a brand new banner in my etsy shop thanks to the lovely handiwork of none other than our very own and wonderful AlyGator's Everywhere .

I took a trip into Aly's sweet Etsy Shop and couldn't help but notice her crisp, clean, very appealing banner and had to compliment her on it. My own banner was not quite, but almost an eyesore. It was drab, lackluster and had a disheartening grayish tinge to it that made it look dingy and would have been the perfect candidate for that laundry commercial; the one in which a British lady goes around washing people's dingy socks and shirts, making them bright and white again.
Once this wonderful banner was installed I couldn't believe how much more cheerful and inviting my little shop looked.
Thank you Aly ! : )

Thursday, April 8, 2010

An Award and 10 Things You Probably Didn't Want To Know About Me.

One of my favorite bloggers, Alyssa of "AlyGater's Everywhere" and also an outstanding contributor to a great team blog "The MamaDramalogues", has presented me with a coveted honor and one of which I am most flattered by; "A Beautiful Blogger Award". This award, coming from a blogger of such esteem and talent is indeed the highest compliment I could ever hope to receive.
Normally I shy away from awards as they often make you choose a slew of other blogs to pass the award on to. It is always a challenge to try to choose 10 or 15 blogs when there are so many (too many) great blogs in ones "favorites list".
The rules of acceptance are that I list 10 little known morsels about my life or myself and then pass the award on to 3 other notable blogs. So here goes...

1. Not many know that I was born in Messina, mother is Italian, my father American...and no, I have absolutely no Mafia ties, so please don't ask me if I can get you a deal on anything. If I could, I'd have everything I've ever wanted, including that lipstick red '64 Ford Mustang !

2. I'm a pre-boomer...born just at the end of world war II. My mom was what they called a war bride and she crossed the Atlantic ocean by ship to live in the promised land of the USA. I was only 2 at the time; can't imagine what that ocean crossing must have been like with a rambunctious, impatient 2 year old in tow !!! Just before entering the port of New York, I was bouncing up and down on the bed, fell and busted my lip open, blood every where. My mom ran all over the ship trying to get someone that could speak Italian and understand that she needed some ice to bring down the swelling of her toddlers busted lip. She must have had nerves of steel or a very good tranquillizer!
Photo below...In honor and memory of my sweetest Mom. A woman of many talents, charms and infinite patience.
3. I love music but the genre changes according to my moods. Some days it's Jazz, others it's Rockin' Oldies, on rare occasions I might even find myself humming show tunes..."I'm gonna wash that man, right outta my hair and send him on his way..." oops sorry.

4. I love to dance so I married a man with 2 left feet that would rather replace the muffler on a car than get up on the dance floor. Hmm, go figure, guess that fickle finger of fate again (it has a warped sense of humor as far as I can tell).

5. I've never been able to grow dagger long fingernails. The best I ever came up with were fake glue on nails bought at my local 5 and dime, think I was maybe 13 at the time, the nails looked phony and had a habit of popping off. "Oh look, you just lost a fingernail !"

6. When I was about 15 I bleached my hair blond. Not a good idea if you have rather dark hair as the roots show like crazy in just a few days. After a few bleach sessions my hair looked and felt like straw...who knew you were only supposed to touch up the roots ? Oh well every gal has to try being a blond at least once in her life.

7. One of my top favorite desserts is Cannoli; especially chocolate cannoli and super especially, pistachio and chocolate chip cannoli, covered in a thick layer of rich dark chocolate. Uh, please excuse the drool !

8. Occasionally I've been know to experience hysterical fits of uncontrollable laughter. Not sure what triggers it but some part of my weird brain will find something exceptionally amusing and I'll begin giggling, which then turns into laughter and pretty soon I'm laughing so hard that tears are streaming down my face, I'll continue laughing until my sides ache and I feel exhausted. Sign of insanity, perhaps ?

9. I hate my feet ! My big toes are NOT longer than the toes next to them so my feet are not designed for pointy toed shoes, or any normal shoe for that matter. Of course I can pick things up off the floor very easily with my toes...pencils, buttons, small toys etc., and I would have made one heck of a ballerina as I never had any problem getting on point (standing on the very tips of my toes).

10. I don't follow directions very well. Give me the manual to the cable company's remote control for our HDTV and you've lost me after "Make sure the TV is plugged in and turned on."

I'd like to pass this award on to all 467 blogs that I have in my "blogs that I'm following list", but since that's an impossibility, and I probably don't have a life expectancy that would allow me to complete that task, I'll stick with the prerequisite 3 bloggers.

I'll try to pick out 3 different ones rather than those with which I have formed a bonded friendship with; such as sweet PoppyPlacePDX and lovely Eco conscience Green Leaf Reviewer. I'll also try to pick out some great but under appreciated blogs :

1. I love ChileCats blog. She's a true cat fancier and her blog is filled with cat information; her perspective on life and lots of humor. I always end up with a smile after reading her blog. She is also a beadaholic and cheerfully shares her lovely bead finds and creations with her readers.

2. StonyCharms blog is the blog of a true jewelry maker, the kind I could only dream of being. She creates from scratch, uses the art of lost wax casting and molten precious metals, she know her gemstones and their properties (Is it too fragile to be used in a ring? Can it be cleaned with standard jewelry cleaner?) Her blog not only shows her step by step process of crafting a truly unique piece of valuable jewelry but it is peppered with her keen sense of humor. A blog truly hard not to enjoy.

3. PetiteCreations simply because I find her work astounding and am in complete awe of what she creates. This blog is a true MUST SEE !!!

Monday, April 5, 2010


It has taken a while to put together all the lovely Hickory cabinets but our entertainment/media center is now finally completed. There were a couple of obstacles that had to be overcome but my very astute, engineer of a hubby figured ways to make things work.

Photo above...One problem John faced with the unit above involved the center section, the unit that contains 4 doors and 2 drawers and sits directly beneath the HDTV. We realized too late that we should have ordered either a longer top section or we should have had them finish off all 3 of the outer edges on the furniture top. Trying to figure out how to fill in the corners to this top section was a real bear...grrrr!

Photo left below...Mitered corner. The front edge was the only edge on the furniture top that was finished off. John had to figure out how to incorporate a mitered corner in order to bring a piece of edging around the sides and cover up the unfinished side edges. Another problem was that things didn't line up 100% so he ended up making the corner section in two pieces and had to route out the back of the longer piece to compensate for the unevenness. Believe me it really would take a detail diagram to explain it all, but now things match and look even instead of out of kilter.

Photo Right above...Of course this did leave some gaps that required a chunk of caulking !
Photo Below...Behind the right doors in the center unit is storage for musical CDs and video DVDs.

Photo Below...One large drawer on the Far Right Tower unit holds video VHS tapes...hey you think that's old ? We also have a cache of Beta Max tapes too ! And we still have the old Beta Max player/recorder. Bet a lot of you are too young to even know what Beta Max was. LOL

Photo Below...Same Right Tower unit, top small drawer is perfect for storing all our old cassette music tapes.

Photo Below...Left Tower unit. One of the large, deep drawers is now home to more of our VHS tapes.

Photo Below...A true Dinosaur...old vinyl LP records. This is John's collection of albums, and yes we do play them every once in a while.

Photo Below Left...Still have lots of storage space as the VHS recorder/player and the DVD player haven't filled up this tower.

Photo Above Right...This tower is pretty much occupied with all the different sterio components, from our "antique" phonograph (record player) to the CD player, the Cassette player, and of course the radio and the amp. Since I mentioned antiques I could mention that, somewhere in our attic , John also has an old reel to reel tape deck.

Photo below...This unit was constructed by John over a year ago. It too is made from hickory cabinet units and it is a lovely and useful part of our dinning area.

Photo Below...Better look at the top section of the dinning room "hutch"...yeah I need to get serious and do some decorating inside those glass doors. Right now my collection of ceramic pitchers is rather hodge-podge.

And as Porky the Pig would say "T-T-T-T-That's all F-F-F-Folks"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

S_ _ _ Happens !

I admit that for the past day or two I was feeling down because I had received my first neutral but negative feedback. Today I realize that it's true about the saying; "S _ _ _ happens!" and I need to accept the fact that like a coin with heads or tails, life throws us ups and downs. I sincerely thank all of you who gave me a shoulder of support. You are fantastic.

Today I'm accepting the feedback as a valuable lesson to make sure I check, and double check my listings to make sure I have covered everything humanly possible in my descriptions, title, tags whatever.
So on a sunny and happier note I give you a couple of springtime photos.

Photo above...Have no idea what these weeds are called but each spring their flower stalks rise above the grasses and sometimes they are in such dense masses that they form lovely lavender splotches in lawns and along roadsides.

Photo below...Close up of the tiny flowers, each one only about 1/4 inch across. So small they'd make a lovely miniature bouquet for Miss Barbie herself.

I finally managed to capture a couple of pictures of a tiny but beautiful little weed, had to use macro setting and fast shutter speed as the blooms are very small and the slightest breeze causes them to sway. Think I must have taken 30 photos of this wee little weed and most of the pictures were either a lavender blur or at best fuzzy. These were the only two that came out.

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