Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Halloween cocktail party

This year, we have been invited to a couple parties. Jason tends to only go out for Halloween ON the actual day, and has been extra super busy with freelance projects, that we have declined all invites.
However, I decided to (once again) invite myself over to Auntie's house the day before my day off this week. That later turned into an informal Halloween-type get-together. That kind of ended up being a small party, in the end.
I was there most of the day on Thursday (from about 12:30pm...after being at work since 4:30 that morning), but waited for others to arrive to start drinking. Uncle made me a Manhattan as soon as he got home, though, so that was nice.
One of my sisters bought this beautiful punch bowl for Auntie's birthday (next month), but gave it to her early so she could use it.
Oh, what a surprise! I brought a cheese plate! I chose what I called 'Halloween inspired' cheeses: (clockwise from the red log) the log is a cranberry goat cheese-chosen for the obvious's red color; there's a tintern- a chedder with chives-which i chose for the green wax coating; then a white stilton with apricots-again, chosen for the orange coloring; the little wheel is a delicious triple cream brie coated in vegetable ash-it's called 'moon dust' with i thought was kind of 'spooky'; and, the top wedge is the black pepper crusted toscano...looks like dirt.
At first it was to be a small gathering, where we'd not get to fancied up with costumes, but just make masks to wear. I made my mask, which i was going to wear with a fancy dress, but my idea morphed into something of an owl. Basically, I made the owl mask and found some brown fabric, and decided to just drape it around me to be a 'fancy owl'.
I actually ended up wearing the mask as a hat the whole night...
...which i really LOVED!
Here's part of the gang ready tarot cards.
Some spooky decorations.
This awesome cake was made by the girl in white, sitting on the floor in the above photo (she was a latte).
I actually liked my hair, but this is how i looked when i got tired I had to keep telling myself not to fall asleep as I drove home. I am not a 22 hour day kind of girl!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Castle pictures...just for fun

Our badge of honor!
Working backwards, this morning.... I managed to get the 'brake for moose' sign. Sadly, the only moose we saw, was dead, in the back of a truck. This was posted on the gate to an inn's dumpster. I took it for reference, so I'd know what to do if we ran into a bear. We did not.
Back to the castle...
We had lunch after our tour. There is a small restaurant in the carriage house. We ate in old horse stables! So cool!
Okay...more castle pics:
Hubby making a wish Awesome tiles in the bathrooms
There were several sewing machines in this least 3 This one was actually in a 'sewing room' with this basket I thought this looked like a giant tarantula!
The bedroom the couple used when married The wife later moved down the hall to her own room when she got tired of Mr. Plant's infidelity.
The awesome library to the right of this little alcove, was a secret room he had built for himself He was just 5 feet tall (his second wife was 6 feet tall). The door was short, but the ceiling inside was of normal height.
The game room is the first thing you see as you enter (front or back) and this is the view coming down the 'grand staircase'
there were lots of really interesting things, and this is the 'brine cooled' refrigerator. Everything was just so beautiful...vacation eyes, maybe?
And, the needle shower sounds scary, but it's just a surround-type shower. And I want one!'s just beautiful to look at! Obviously, my pics don't do any of it justice!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A visit to a castle

Before heading off to Jackson, New Hampshire, a few of our friends said they had actually been to the area where we were headed! And a couple of them said, if we had time, that we should check out a place called Castle in the Clouds. It seemed that no one could really recollect where exactly this place was, but having the internet to tell us anything we could ever need to know, I researched it and realized that it was only a short drive out of the way. Since we had nice weather on the way home, and didn't want the whole day to be about driving, we decided to see what it was all about.
I'll skip the wordy commentary and post a few pics:
a long winding road to the top of the mountain had two stops for photo ops New Hampshire is loaded with waterfalls, and this one was on the way to the castle Once we got to the 'carriage house', we took a trolley up to the castle (and then later walked down a short path to get back to the carriage house).
The castle entrance this was technically the 'front' looked out onto Lake Winnipesaukee.
There was so much cool stuff to see. Here are a few of my favs. I think i might have to dedicate a whole separate post for the rooms and views! Cool old typewriter.
Stickley furniture in the entrance. I worked with Gustav Stickley III, and he said, 'sure, everyone knows his stuff now, but he never made any money from it.' The Gus I knew was working at least 3 jobs when I knew him.
Intercom system of yore. View from the second floor veranda.
This was such a beautiful place, I honestly didn't want to leave. And we only got to hike a bit of the 45 miles of trails they have on the property!
You should check out their site if you're at all interested...
I will post pics of the interior...including one of the 'needle shower' system!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

back from New Hampshire

First of all, 2 day vacations are NOT vacations. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to get away, and it was fun (what little we did), but 'two days' flies by in the blink of an eye.
Wednesday: I worked until 10 a.m. then it was back home to get ready to leave. We stopped by the Underground for a coffee for the road, then headed to the bank and gas station. Along the way, we realized we had forgotten to leave money for the dog sitter. So, back to the house...and then, finally to the highway to start our 4 or so hour drive up north.
We drove through rain the entire trip, some of it pretty heavy... through Boston... ...through the tunnel...and, finally into New Hampshire, still raining...
We had stopped at a golf course restaurant for lunch (as much as New Hampshire is known for it's skiing, there were a TON of golf courses! Although, I guess they're pretty good for cross-country skiing.) and a liquor store for some scotch and bourbon.
The inn was lovely, but inn-keepers kind of make me edgy.
Our 'deal' included one dinner credit ($45 value...drinks and gratuity extra), so we decided our first night would be good, since we just got there. We opted for the less stuffy lounge over the dining room. The second (and last) night we got drinks at the bar and sat out on their beautiful wrap-around porch.
Our room was nice, with a fabulous bathroom, complete with a two-person jacuzzi tub. I have never seen a tub so big!! It also had a nice gas fireplace, in front of which we had many a glass of scotch!
And the views...everywhere, the views... this was from the side porch. Not until the morning we left did we realize just how many more mountains are in those clouds!
Day two was a lot of wandering around Jackson, and a short trip into a neighboring town (North Conway). It was still damp, and we got another rainstorm, so we didn't do any real hiking (which was our main purpose), but it was a nice day anyway. Stay tuned for the exciting continuation...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yesterday was day off. Seems my grocery store job scheduler likes giving me Wednesday off these days. I spoke with him today, b/c it just doesn't work for me. It makes way too much work for me on me 3 days away from a job where I'm in charge of a major order just doesn't work.
No is what it is...I'm not here to complain about work.
I'm here to show off my newest quilling project. Oh, right, there was a point to my rambling about day off. I had chores to do in the morning, then a walk to the beach. We always end up chatting with our bakery friends anyway, but yesterday I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time, so, before we knew it, it was nearly 1pm!! The super sucky part was that I had to be back to my kennel job for our annual OSHA meeting at 5 last night.
So I ran 2 miles to get my exercise in (not that walking 3 miles to the beach wasn't enough, but you know...running...sometimes it actually is therapeutic!). Then, I played with some paper for a bit.
I twirled a bunch of strips i cut from old scraps hubby had brought home from his other job (back when he still had that job!). I set them out as I liked them
...but then, I bumped them, and saw a big one next to a smaller one, and thought it looked like crazy eyes. Like the bird from the coco puffs commercial. that is what i made...
I thought it would stand up, but it's tail is too heavy. Or, his 'feet' aren't strong enough.
Anyway, I thought it was funny.
I also had an idea to quill some nursery rhymes.
Here's the start of 3 Blind Mice:
cute, huh?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

etsy stuff...and magic bullets

i logged onto Etsy this morning with a surprise that sent my head reeling...they're giving shop owners a chance to change their shop names! I had toyed with the idea of closing my shop and re-opening under a new name, but it's a hassle. And i don't NOT like my shop name, I just felt like I rushed into setting it up and kind of took the first name that worked out of my long list of brain-stormed names.
Here's the thing, I originally was selling handmade paper and cards and such (some made with my handmade papers). So, I chose my name based on the stationery in 'my dearest so-and-so,' (for those of you who don't know, I chose the name MyDearest as my shop name). So i don't have the issue of those poor souls who decided to sell under their original user name (like jeni100300199), but i did start to branch out...silkscreen shirts and bags, for instance. And I'm toying with the idea of putting some of my photography up as well.
So...given a week to change my name, do I take advantage? I don't have a large following of buyers, so i won't have to worry about losing anyone or confusing anyone. I only have a handful of business cards left so no harm there.
With my new love of quilling (which, of course b/c i'm a little bit crazy for paper, is still along the lines of paper crafts) and the possibility of adding photography at some point, AND my want for a better store (read:more traffic!) I'm tempted to change it.
I guess I have until the 18th to do so, if i choose.
Any thoughts? And i'm not looking for you all to tell me what to name my shop, I'm just wondering if my current name is good enough. Would it be confusing if it also had photographs and non-letter writing items? is it confusing NOW?
Just a reminder, it's: MyDearest...handmade paper and gifts
and my etsy banner reads: MyDearest...handmade paper and gifts for your 'Dearest'
already, i see a problem in that I haven't actually had the desire to MAKE paper in quite some time! :(
In other news:
my wack-o (I say in a loving way) father decided to buy a Magic Bullet blender system. One of my sisters already has one, so he asked if i wanted the 'free' one. I said, 'sure'...that was back in May. I got it this past sunday.
Now, I wasn't really familiar with it. Dad says, 'oh, it's like a little blender but you blend it right in the cup and take it with you.' OH, okay, sounds fun. My mind had pictured a little personal sized blender.
This is the box my sister presented me with:
It's not just a little blender! Four cups!? A weird-ass strainer thingy!? Lids with different sized holes in them!? What the!?
There's a recipe book...I hope there is also an instruction manual! Looks like this will be in the box at least until we get back from our's just too intense to think about right now!