Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lil' Girl Cupcake Tote Give-Away!

It's time to celebrate little girls! Spring is in the air and summer is around the corner. It's time to make a little girl happy with a tote of her very own to cart around during these blissfully warm months! This week I whipped up a give-away tote for a special little girl in your life.

Good enough to eat! That's how I describe these deliciously adorable Cupcake Totes. "Baked" with TLC, topped off with a generous dollop of frosting, and crowned with a "cherry" this mini-Hang Up is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth! Here's the yummy cupcake I'll be giving away...

Please follow the rules of this contest carefully. If you don't follow the rules, you just might find yourself being chased around your neighborhood by a middle-aged woman with a penchant for smacking rule-breakers with a big ol' ruler. I learned this particular discipline technique from my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Graham. She was an expert at whacking rule-breakers. She was a more "mature" woman that had the response time of a rattle snake. She'd go up and down the aisles of her classroom with a ruler grasped tightly behind her back, and when something didn't go her way, she'd bring that ruler down lickety split on the offending first grader's desk! One time she got especially ticked off, and she brought the ruler down on a classmate's head. ("Disturbed" is the word that comes to mind.) If she had worked in the school system today, she'd be sporting stripes and taking her meals behind bars. Back then she was praised for having the most obedient class. Anyway, Mrs. Graham gave all her pupils a healthy respect for rules. As a result I became very good at following rules and, because example is the greatest teacher, I became just as good at expecting them to be followed. I'm confident after this little tirade that you are shaking in your boots flip-flops and that you will follow my give-away rules to the letter! tee-hee ;o) Alrighty then -- let's have some fun...

Here are the rules and conditions of the Give-Away...

1.) The participants must live within the continental U.S. or Canada. I will provide the postage.

2.) Each person that makes a comment below will have her name entered into the contest.

3.)
If you put a "shout out" on your blog about the contest, and come back and let me know through another comment, I will enter your name two more times.

4.) All those who enter this contest and have already (before May 28th) commented on my blog in the month of May will have their name added one more time! Thank you for your kind comments!

5.) No anonymous comments, please. If you are not a close friend or relative whose email I already possess, you must leave an email address or blog that I can visit. Private bloggers must leave their email address. If I don't have any way to contact you, your name will not be eligible.

6.) This tote is not meant for resale. Only those intending to use the tote for personal use may register to win.

7.) Lil' girls may enter this contest. In fact, they are encouraged to do so! ;o)

This contest will run through midnight Thursday, June 4th. Friday morning, June 5th, the winner of the contest will be announced.

Feel free to go to my Etsy and check out more yummy items!

Good luck!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday...

...at the base of the Colorado Rockies! Last week was filled with gardening. I finally got the lead out and started a few of my more demanding gardening projects. These projects consisted of planting a tiered space with 288 impatiens and filling 14 containers with a variety of blooms. As much as I dislike planting those impatiens every year (it's back-breaking work!), they give me a bounty of color and blooms throughout the summer. Just love 'em. I think the one thing I most love to do each spring is to plan and plant my potted plants. Throughout the summer months they grow and develop and give me a huge variety of sumptuous color! I'll be showing some of the containers that I planted this weekend in this post. Click on the photos to enlarge them to see the flowers more clearly...

I had a few emails and questions about my container planting on the post I published a few days ago, so I thought I'd answer those questions about my potted plantings today. I want to state full out that I am not a gardener -- I'm a lover of flowers. There's a big difference. I don't know much about individual plants or species or habitats other than the fact that certain flowers have worked for me in the past, so I expect their behavior to be consistent in the future. This is where it's a benefit to have a few years on me! I've planted a lot of flowers over the years, so I know what works and what doesn't because of my "experience." (Gadzooks, I'm making myself sound like Whistler's Mother!) I don't think there are any hard-fast rules, but here are a few things I've learned...

In designing a mix of plants for a specific pot, there are three things I consider to add variety to the container:

1.) color
2.) shape
3.) height

Color: Someone asked me this week if I mix colors or if I stay to a couple coordinating colors in my containers. I have found that I am drawn to pink, purple and blue flowers. I have to physically force myself to consider red, orange and yellow blooms. However, when I plant a container I have found the container is much more interesting if I throw a warmer color in with a variety of cooler colors or visa versa. White flowers have a way of "breaking up" coordinating flowers too. Take the container below for example. The principle players are a bright pink gerbera daisy, a pink geranium (not in bloom), and an orange/yellowish osteospermum. I think that dash of golden color adds a lot to the mix -- at least it will when the geranium comes out and creates a majority of pinkish hues in the container...

Another consideration is the shape of flowers and leaves. Having a variety of shapes engages the eye and adds variety to the container...

Finally, I consider the height of plants. In each container I want a variety of height. For example I might put a spike in the center, some medium sized plants like geraniums, osteospermum, gerbera daisies, or marigolds around the spike, and then I'll add some trailing plants that spill over the sides of the container like million bells, bacopa, diascia, vinca, nemesia, apsaragus fern, lobelia or ivy. The flowers in the photo below were just planted so they haven't matured, but you can see the height of the spike in the center, the geraniums and marigolds a little lower and the trailing plants lower still and trailing over the sides of the container -- the vinca with the variegated leaf on the left and the orange diascia on the right. As these plants mature you will see the variance in height more clearly.


I'm sure this has been a boring dialog for the more experienced gardener, but for those who are just developing a love of gardening, I hope it was helpful!

To see more Bloomin' Tuesday posts, go to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Did a little baking...

During our stay in California last week, all of my "Lil' Girl Cupcakes" flew out of the store. There must have been a few people that had a hankering for sweets! So I put aside a day last week and did some baking. I love making these little totes. Each one ends up being so unique...

These cupcakes are on "display" in my Etsy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Practical vs. Luxurious

Today is my birthday. Early on in our marriage my husband discovered my preference for frivolous gifts of luxury rather than practical gifts when he gave me a fly swatter as a gift for my birthday. It wasn't just any fly swatter. It was a top-of-the-line Fly Shooter Bug Gun. In his defense (a paltry one at best) at the time I was a nursing mother and we were having a bit of a fly infestation in our small home. He believed that by giving me this fly shooter gun he was doing me a great favor. He surmised that I could sit on the sofa, nurse the baby, and kill those pesky flies at the same time. He's a thoughtful man at heart. Shortly after receiving that gift I sat him down and "explained" to him that I preferred gifts of a more epicurean bent. He got the message loud and clear and since that time has offered me deliciously luxurious gifts of jewelry, scents, silks, and the like. That is, up until a few weeks ago...

Several weeks ago my husband and I were perusing the isles at "Anthropologie." To be accurate, I was perusing. He was walking around, arms folded, picking up an item every now and then, looking decidedly uncomfortable and keeping his eye on the door. He's the kind of guy that will suffer through any discomfort and never complain just to please me. A pretty sweet little catch, if you ask me. I have had my eye on a couple of items in that store for years...

These sweet little ceramic measuring cups...

and these adorable measuring spoons...

My husband saw me ogling these items and said, "Why don't you get them." I suggested he buy them for me. He could give me one for Mother's Day and the other for my birthday. His eyebrows raised. He was remembering a "certain conversation" when I emphatically delineated the advantages of presenting me with luxurious rather than practical presents. I could see his poor little analytical mind working over-time. He considered a set of measuring cups and spoons a practical item -- tools for the kitchen. It was a perplexing situation for him. He ended up getting them, but that man is a quick study and has the memory of an elephant. He also gave me some beautiful flowers for Mother's Day and I hear tell there are a few more delectable treats awaiting me at the end of the day ... Yippeeee!

Just curious... Do you prefer practical or luxurious gifts?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trying to Catch Up!

I'm way behind this year. Way, way behind. Usually by now I've got my whole yard planted. In past years by the third week of May I have the annual flower beds planted, the containers are filled, and the veggies are securely tucked away in their summer home. I'm several weeks behind at best. Today I decided to get serious, so I visited my four favorite nurseries in town and bought a bundle. At the first stop I bought some items for my containers. Million bells, sutera and lobelia were loaded onto the cart.

Then I spied this sweet little ceramic blackbird and lost all concentration. I'm such a sucker for garden nick-nacks. I paid for the flowers and the bird, got in the car, realized how easy it is for me to get side-tracked, and decided to get more serious.... (He's cute, isn't he? He has funny little beady eyes and a smile on his beak.) Uhhh, where was I...

At the second stop I bought two grocery carts full of container plants. You could say I was getting warmed up. I filled the trunk with geraniums, gerbera daisies, African daisies, marigolds, New Guinea impatiens, nemesia and nicotiana.

At the third stop I bought some plants to add "interest" to the containers, like ... spikes, vincas, asparagus ferns, and coleus. This last purchase facilitated a stop back home because there was no longer any room in the car. I spent the next half hour traipsing back and forth from my car to the back yard dumping off all the loot.

Back in the car. I was just getting started. Four flats of impatience were added to the car at the last stop. That's 288 plants. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Then I had to buy 7 large bags of potting mix and 3 large bags of compost. The back of my car barely skimmed the pavement as I rode home, and the car took on the air of a cow pasture. A little too "earthy" for my taste.

The good news: The impatience, all 288 of them, got planted. Six containers got filled with a variety of beautiful blooms.

The bad news: I'm so sore I can't move, and I have many, many more containers to fill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday...

What surprised me this week?
I'm grateful for life's little (and big) surprises. For the last couple of months my son-in-law has been looking for work. He became one of those statistics that you hear about on the news when in March he was laid off from his job as an accountant at a national accounting firm. Since then he has been job hunting. That's a nerve-wracking past-time. Last Friday he had a promising interview with a reputable company in Nebraska. On Monday he was offered the job. Next Thursday they are moving from Nashville to Omaha! Even though he's been out of work for a couple of months everything happened very quickly once he got that initial interview. That's what surprised me this week. As I said, I'm so grateful for many of life's little (and big) surprises!

What moved me this week?
Some of you might know that members of our family visited Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Park this last weekend. I had a moving experience while I was there. There is a roller coaster at California Adventure called California Screamin'. This ride is aptly named. Grown men scream like little girls on this ride. Grown women scream like little girls on this ride. Little boys scream like little girls on this ride. Little girls don't scream on this ride -- they are too scared to utter a sound. All either laugh or cry hysterically when they get off the ride -- nervous tension gone wild. The ride accelerates from zero to 55 miles per hour in 4 seconds. Honestly, I don't remember most of the ride. I'm pretty sure I passed out after the first downward spiral. No doubt about it -- that's what moved me this week.

What inspired me this week?
I'm inspired by individuals who take the initiative to get things done. I'm also inspired by those who give of themselves in a way that is more than just a token gesture. This week Randi, over at "i have to say", published a post about a project, called "Sewing Seeds," that she is sponsoring. She says it much better than I, but she is collecting little girl's skirts and little boy's shorts for a friend, Bella, who is going on a mission trip to Costa Rica this summer. These items can be purchased or handmade. Bella will then distribute these articles of clothing to the children she meets on her mission. Please go to Randi's blog, read up on this worthwhile project, and pledge to help. Lately, I've felt the desire to participate in a meaningful project like this one. I'm grateful that Randi inspired me to do so!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Treasure Island" is heading out the door...

This beautiful Caribbean turquoise creation has found a new home. "Treasure Island" will sail out the door later today. My thanks to all who participated in this month's Give-Away. I've read all your comments and appreciate your kind words and encouragement! I'm sorry that I wasn't able to reply to each of your comments as I was out of town the majority of last week and not in blogging mode. I would also like to compliment you on following the directions and rules of the contest so well. Apparently my threat to kick hiney worked as this contest was a great improvement over former contests! I especially appreciated those who helped me advertise the give-away by posting it on their blogs. An extra big "thank you!" to those lovely ladies.

Without further ado "Treasure Island" will heretofore be found hanging on this winning woman's shoulder...

Congratulations Debbie!

Just because the Give-Away is over, don't be a stranger! Check back May 28th for another Give-Away. This contest will feature something for that little girl in your life!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday

This week's Bloomin' Tuesday post is going to be a bit rushed. We just got home from five days in southern California and I have to hit the ground running! We were at the "happiest place on earth." That's right. We went to Disneyland and California Adventure. I went there thinking I would take a number of shots of the beautiful flowers at those two adventure parks for Bloomin' Tuesday. Instead I spent a majority of my time screaming at the top of my lungs as I whipped around corners and rocketed through loops and laughing out loud at other people screaming at the top of their lungs while they whipped around corners and rocketed through loops. So fun (and funny). We had a great time with a few of our kids and grandkids. I did manage to get a few pictures for Bloomin' Tuesday. These will have to do this week...

Beautiful delphiniums...

Luscious roses...

Dreamy bougainvillea...

Amazing hanging petunias...

And a pretty sweet little replica of Mickey's face comprised of
alyssum, mums, and a variety of other flowers!

To see more Bloomin' Tuesday posts,
head on over to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May Tote Give-Away... "Treasure Island" Contest Closed

It's time to celebrate spring! The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, bees are humming and there's a tote to give-away! Earlier this month in a poll I asked my readers to choose the color of the tote for the give-away. Overwhelmingly the color "Caribbean Turquoise" was chosen. I have to admit I have a soft place in my heart for the turquoise color of the ocean in the Caribbean. Yum.

I chose some wondrous Amy Butler fabric from her Daisy Chain line to comprise this month's give-away, and I christened the Hang Up "Treasure Island." The lush floral fabrics and soothing color schemes in these fabrics remind me of the islands and, most certainly, the winner will carry a little bounty or treasure in this tote as she puts on her Hang Up to go shopping! Thus ... "Treasure Island" is a perfect name for this creation.


Here are the rules for the contest. Uhhh... Before I give you the rules, I feel impressed to reiterate that I will not make exceptions to these rules. I don't mean to sound huffy or persnickety, but every time I have a give-away I have contestants who try to reinvent my rules, but I'm here to tell you it doesn't work. I'm a stickler when it comes to playing fair -- just ask my kids. Please follow the rules and you'll be entered into the contest. If you don't follow the rules, your comment will be kicked out on its hiney. Trust me on that one. I'm a mother of seven -- I know how to kick a hiney. (Figuratively speaking, of course.) Alrighty then -- let's have some fun...


Here are the rules and conditions of the Give-Away...

1.) The participants must live within the continental U.S. I will provide the postage.

2.) Each person that makes a comment below will have her name entered into the contest.

3.)
If you put a "shout out" on your blog about the contest, and come back and let me know through another comment, I will enter your name two more times.

4.) All those who enter this contest and have already (by May 13th) commented on my blog in the month of May will have their name added one more time! Thank you for your kind comments!

5.) No anonymous comments, please. If you are not a close friend or relative whose email I already possess, you must leave an email address or blog that I can visit. Private bloggers must leave their email address. If I don't have any way to contact you, your name will not be eligible.

6.) This tote is not meant for resale. Only those intending to use the tote for personal use may register to win.

This contest will run through midnight Tuesday, May 19th. Wednesday morning, May 20th, the winner of the contest will be announced.


Good luck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Bloomin' Tuesday in Colorado...

Today for Bloomin' Tuesday I am featuring the little rock garden by my front door. This petite garden consists mostly of perennials, but I also plant a few annuals just to add a little color throughout the summer months. It's mostly shaded, but faces west so it gets a lot of heat in the afternoon, and most flowers -- whether they are shade loving or sun loving -- seem to do quite well. Here's what it looks like today...

Bleeding Heart...

Hosta and Candytuft...

Primrose...

Creeping Phlox...

Iceland Poppy...

Happy yellow-faced Pansies...

Diascia "Flying Colors"...

We also have a cool little spruce tree in this garden area. Its funky round shape adds a little character to the area. Below the tree is my "cat." My mother bought this for me in California years ago. It's a painted rock. She didn't realize how heavy it was until after she paid for it and went to pick it up. Then because they loved me, she and my dad lugged that feline through two airports before it was unceremoniously dropped it into my hands. Anyway, she (the cat -- not my mother) must have eaten her fair share of Meow Mix in her lifetime, because she weighs a ton. In fact I would venture to say that this cat weighs more than my mother.

Much to the delight of every bird in our neighborhood, there are strawberry plants that surround this little rock garden. I imagine these strawberries taste delightful, but we wouldn't know. Let's just say we have a lot of fat, happy birds in our neighborhood thanks to this little strawberry garden. You'd think our "cat" would guard those strawberries a little more faithfully, but she just sits there like a rock!

To enjoy more Bloomin' Tuesday posts,
go to Ms. Green Thumb Jean's!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Sneak Peak.... for May's Give-Away

A big "thank you" to all who participated in my poll this last week and helped select "Caribbean Turquoise" as the color that you would most like to see in my May Tote Give-Away! I was so happy that most of you chose that color because I just happened to have these beautiful, Caribbean turquoise Amy Butler prints in stock. So... I'm giving you a sneak peak of what's in store for the May Give-Away. I'll start that contest next week -- on Wednesday, May 13th.

These beautiful fabrics are from Amy Butler's, Daisy Chain, line. In the spirit of Art Nouveau, Daisy Chain offers a stylish and free spirited vision full of floral and garden styled motifs. The color schemes in these fabrics are a soothing, calm blend of mossy green, creamy vanilla, and limpid turquoise. Did I mention I love this fabric? Who wouldn't? The top fabric is named "Clematis," the middle is called "Kaleidoscope Leaf," and the bottom one was christened "Wildflowers." Can't wait to whip it up. Make sure you come back in a week and sign up for this contest!