Friday, February 26, 2016

Snail Mail Recently Received


I have been really enjoying my foray into the world of snail mail.  


This is my first postcard from Postcrossings!  
My favorite part were the wonderful stamps on it!
It came from Oregon and I met a new friend with twin boys!  

I joined in January and have sent out five postcards now.
  This first postcard was very exciting to receive!
Postcards take quite a while to travel and one must 
be very patient in this instant age!  

I sent one to Taiwan this morning to a young man interested in lighthouses.
Well, heavens!!  He hoped I would send a postcard with a lighthouse for his collection.   I didn't have one for him on hand so I sent one with a photo my son in law took on a visit to the Outer Banks.
I used an app on my phone, Postagram that my sister Karan, the world traveler discovered and shared with me.
  
The receiver doesn't have the fun of great looking stamps with this app,  but at least my new pal in Taiwan won't have a duplicate postcard since the picture is an original.  He has quite an extensive lighthouse postcard collection.  

I love Postagram because it's instant and
 it only costs $1.99 to send an international post card including postage.  
The app is free.  Domestic cards are only .99  (I'm not connected with them in any way
A free ad for them!  Just because I like them!)

So then I learned about Pocket letters!!

 This is my first POCKET LETTER!  

 I received it from Jill a longtime blog friend.  I loved her post on Pocket Letters 
and asked her more about them.  Since them they have consumed me!  I have sent out three and have four more almost ready to go!  I found swap partners on Pocket Letter Pals on Facebook
and on the Pocket Letter Pals webpage.
This one was truly amazing noting how personalized it was as Jill lives in Canada and I live in Florida.


Inside, the pockets are filled with little treasures, like tea and thin chocolates, gifts for making more Pocket letters like fancy tapes and stickers and wise proverbs and stencils and sequins and all kinds of interesting pictures etc.  They are so fun to unpack!  


Each pocket letter received is different and shows the artistic creativity of the individual.



This is my second pocket letter received!  


Jill's longtime penpal and also a member of Pocket Letter Pals on Facebook, asked if I would like to 
swap and of course I said yes!  She is also from Canada  and her pocket letter was once again, 
so FUN to unpack!!  Each pocket held something different!  And I loved how she created pockets on the cards to tuck little gifts into.  I'm already using that idea  on the last few I've made! 
 My favorite gift from Carol were a supply of cutouts of the mason jars she used in different patterns.    But it is hard to choose a favorite when there are so many delightful things tucked into each pocket!


Yesterday I received another post card.  This time from Indonesia! 

Now isn't that great to find in the mail amongst the ads, circulars and bills?  
She had fun stamps, and a personalized Hello Kitty ink stamp and look!  Down through the middle decorative washi tape!   A month ago I had no idea what that was, now I love it!  

I learned to say How are you in Indonesian and used that knowledge already (in my emailed note to let her know it arrived!)  

Now I'm looking forward to the mail again as I used to before the internet when long newsy letters would arrive and pictures would come in the mail from far away sisters and my mom.  

The joy of snail mail! 


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Saturday, February 20, 2016

How to Have a Tinkerbell Party!

What can be nicer than having a Tinkerbell birthday party when you are turning TWO!


The first thing is to dress up just like Tinkerbell herself!


Have your party in Neverland
  You will want it outdoors where there is a shadowy lagoon with a volcano, a hot springs and a bridge to fight off pirates or walk the plank!  Beyond the lagoon.... a ticking alligator lurks. 




Also, at a Tinkerbell birthday party, one must serve her guests a beautiful Tinkerbell Cookie Cake!

Every little girl believes in fairies and who better to grace her 
special two year old birthday cake but charming Tinkerbell nestled in a flower!






You'll want your very own Peter Pan to assist you in the fine art of opening gifts by the lagoon
You can barely see it, but Peter still has his shadow!


It is a serious business inspecting gifts among the lost boys and pirates who are
clamoring for more of the treasures to be revealed.





But Tinkerbell can drift away 
and take a moment to admire her new purse full of pixie dust and dreams



She is every inch a female
where every bag is her purse, even those as large as she is!





When all the treasure is gathered, Tink and Peter return 
 to Mama and Papa Darling
who wish they will never grow up.  

A very tired Tinkerbell will sleep well tonight!  
Second Star to the right and straight on till morning!

Here is a link to her baby shower! Two years goes by fast!
Everly is my sister Karan's granddaughter
and she is so sweet!






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Friday, February 12, 2016

Having Afternoon Tea at the Tilted Teacup in Brooksville Florida

In Brooksville there is a little complex of  very adorable shops and this lovely tea room!
Many of the shops are interconnected  and you can walk from one to the other without going outdoors. 
You can also enter each shop from the main porch area.  Here is the entrance to the Tilted Teacup.  



 They serve a lovely high tea!  This is the main portion of the meal.  
Each person had four different sandwiches, a hot quiche, and three different mini desserts.
This was after a preliminary pot of tea and blueberry scones.

 It was really elegant.


We had a choice of Butternut Soup or Broccoli Cheese today.
I chose the butternut and it was perfection.

The blue teacup made me think of Blue Monday!  I knew I would pick this shot for my photo!



 The room wasn't overly decorated but was charming with cute touches like this 
hat rack with vintage hats in the hall way.  The ruby red one really stands out.

There is a little shop as you come in



I loved the fireplace area with the pink birdcage and flowers!


I thought the Valentine Tree was sweet. I'm sure it probably changes with the holiday.



Behind the counter there was a delightful array of colored napkins, folded and ready to be turned 
into rosettes. 

A chalkboard that listed some of the menu items.

But come early for tea as some were sold out by our tea time at 1:30 


There were many lovely items in the store

Some vintage decorative items were also scattered about. 

The faded roses were a nice touch!



Afterwards, with full tummies, it was tempting to linger here on the shadowy front porch.


My friend Isabelle from Ocala came down to have tea and a little meetup! 
We have been online friends for many years, both writing on the same sites and following each other.

This was the first time we have met in person!  

We found that we are Irish cousins!  Both being Fitzgeralds who can all trace their linage back 
to a few people in the middle ages.  It's crazy!
Here is a link to Isabelle's blog


The conversation never lagged, it bounced from one topic to another so rapidly I mourned that each one was not explored enough!  Her husband Al dined with us and could hardly get a word in! But then again he was very interested in the meal!  

They are a wonderful couple and so much fun!  These snowbirds will fly back to Connecticut soon but next winter I hope to meet up with them again when they return to our beautiful Florida.


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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chinese New Year 2016

Chinese New Year!!

It's the year of the Monkey so I trotted these out for the day!

 Perhaps it was my sister Karan's garden that inspired me but I started thinking about having a Chinese for dinner.


I decided to order Chinese take out to celebrate but even an order for one is too much so I asked Mom to come over and bring my sister Janet, who was visiting!

It's nice she lives just 'round the  corner!

I ended up ordering extra dinners after all.
with lots of Ruby Red Sweet and Sour Sauce!


It was only an impromptu dinner 
but those are the best kinds sometimes!

Mom insisted on there being a picture of me too....in my oriental top!



My sis Karan visited China recently.  
Karan published a wonderful blog post on her visit...look HERE for some absolutely gorgeous photos and 
a story about their day in China.  

So,  Happy New Year.....again! 

Did you celebrate?  How?


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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Karan's garden

Getting together with the family

Karan, my sister asked us over for the afternoon last week.  It's nice we don't have to wait 
until the weekend to hang out.  We're all retired, footloose and fancy free.

She has put in a new garden and it was really beautiful at night
I had to have this shadow picture!
The twilight give the rocks and shadow an amazing blue color


Karan is happiest when entertaining!


 My younger sister was here as well as Joel, Karan's friend, and Mom

 I was having such a good time I forgot to photograph the delicious dinner she made
for us:
To begin:
Wine and a variety of crackers, white and yellow cheeses and meats

Roast pork and sauerkraut
 baked with apple and onion
Mashed potato
Green beans with almonds
Rolls

Godiva chocolate liqueur

And to finish...

Mom brought a homemade
Blueberry Cobbler,
Karan added Vanilla ice cream
coffee


I really like the serenity of her new front garden.
Is it a Zen Garden?


It's days like this that I feel fortunate to have such a great family.


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Thursday, February 4, 2016

To Amuse Myself



I don't decorate for Valentines Day these days but this week, I decided to put up a garland 
in honor of Valentine's Day that suited me

It was an impromptu gesture and I just used some fine twine and colorful paperclips




 Do you feel the itch to straighten them? 
I liked it better this way than perfectly aligned.


It's nothing special but it amuses me,
now that I'm on my own via widowhood
to bring out my vintage...OLD MAID cards!

This is what is fun about thrifting.  You never know what you'll find!


Who remembers this series of cards from the 50's!

Do you remember your favorite card?  Mine was Molly Moo



Favorite picture of the week!


Total serenity!  





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Monday, February 1, 2016

A Caching Kind of Day

I always enjoy attending a caching event.  It's fun to catch up with new and old(ish) friends and share tales of our adventures while out geocaching.   Yesterday the event was held at the Thirsty Marlin in Palm Harbor.




A photo of one of our hosts, was
Wild Rice (her geocaching name)!  She co-hosted with Gray Wolf, her husband.




 For the uninitiated, geocaching is a world wide GPS game where we are hunting out hidden containers that hold a log book and sometimes fun objects like coins, toys, etc.  Once you find the container (cache) you sign the log book as proof and then enter your find on the website. It's really a lot of fun.

 Here are some of the guests and there were perhaps a dozen more I didn't get.  The groups are usually small and 
very friendly.  

One of the guests was able to claim her 2,000th find here today!  It puts my paltry 315 to shame as I have been involved since April of 2009.  I didn't look for any caches though for five years during that time, so technically I claim only two years of active hunting. 

Later I was inspired to look for a couple on my way home.  I was loaded with opportunities, there are literally thousands of hides in our area, over a hundred just on my drive home.  But I hit the mother lode of caches!  First though I stopped here:


It looks desolate, but really it isn't.  I entered on foot and found a cache hidden on the back side of the guard rail.  It's a favorite hiding spot for cachers.  Usually they are magnetic and can be anywhere and are notoriously hard to find.  This one was in the curve, in the little shelf area they all have and I found it almost instantly.  

I had time for one more before it got dark.  As a lone person out caching I don't do night caches just for safety reasons unless it is a parking lot that is well lit or something.  

I stopped  at my second place approximately where my GPS said it was and looked at the plain front of the restaurant.  It was closed but clean and pretty bare of ornaments out front.  Just benches and a large white box type bench.  I looked everywhere and could not find it.  I tried opening the box several times after looking at the comments where people noted it was such a large cache.  Finally,  after hunting for fifteen or so minutes, I tried again, this time pulling on the side instead of trying to lift the top and out slid a massive treasure chest!




I was so excited!  This is by far the largest cache I have ever found.  It was locked however, but I looked at the hint on the website and the clue was "Found".  So I turned the lock to read "found" and it unlocked a treasure!
!


I had already pulled out and signed the massive log book when I took the picture.  It alone, was very cool!  A real looking ships log. 


 There were, in addition to the usual swag, larger toys and several travel bugs.  (special items you pick up at one cache and leave in another.  As they travel you can watch them on line as people log them when they move them).

I signed the log book and put it back, picked up two "pieces of eight" and left a little prize of my own.  

It was harder to relock the thing and I tried and tried and finally left it, hidden back in its hiding place but unlocked and went back to the car.  It was getting dark but I just couldn't do that, so I went back over to it and played with the lock forever until it locked tight.  Whew! 

It was fun to find the Pirates chest on this particular weekend when the Gasparilla festival was in full swing in downtown Tampa.  I don't go because the crowds are horrible, but I felt like I participated in a small way anyway.