Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello all you Beautiful Bloggers!
I'm wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving filled with as much love and contentment as possible! As well as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and every other goodie we are so blessed with in such abundance today!

I can't wait to share with you all the wonderful trip we had last week and seeing my niece graduate from boot camp, I still swell up with pride when I think of it... check back soon! Ok, it's back to the kitchen for me... tata!

All my best,
~ Lisa

p.s. Thank you for the clip art Graphics Fairy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And the winner is....

Drum roll please...

The winner of my very first giveaway is...Paulette!! You've won some Blueberry Bang Tea, yay!

Thank you all for your kind comments and well wishes on our anniversary. It was a great weekend that we had to ourselves down in San Jose... I wish I could be that spoiled every weekend!

Today was a lovely and crisp fall day here in Nor Cal, the sun was shining and all the animals joined me in the garden to pick a winner for the tea giveaway, I don't think I've ever introduced these guys to you. They are my babies... my little critters. Yes, I'm one of those people.

This is Lola, my girl dog. The youngest member of the family, she's 5 years old. She was watching a hummingbird with such intensity when I took this photo, I don't even think she noticed me. Usually she looks right at the camera and smiles! I'm not one to brag (ahem) but Lola is the most beautiful dog to ever walk the planet earth. Swear. I could blog all day - every day, about Lola, I luv her. Whatever Looola wants, Looola gets...

This is Butch, or Butchie-boy, or Sausage... he's a tubby little guy. He loves food, and he works those puppy eys like no other. He's very spoiled (they all are), and such a sweet, sensitive little soul. He loves his daddy, Sean is his very most bestest friend ever. He is about 8 years old now. I want to clone my dogs. They say you can now for about $50K... that sounds reasonable to me.

This is Chyna-cat Sunflower. She's faaaaat. So soft & so skeeshy. Like a furry bag of jello. She's the youngest kitteh. My mom gave her to Sean for his 30th birthday, she was a tiny white fluff ball back then. Inside of a gold gift bag with pink tissue paper, cutest thing you've ever seen in your life. As she's gotten older (she's 8 now) her colors continue to deepen, she reminds me of a bowl of melted Tin Roof Sundae ice cream. That probably doesn't make sense to anyone but me... I'm weird that way. She's a cuddle~bug, but only on her terms! She'll sit next to you, nay lean into you, and you may pet her and scratch her head, but don't, I repeat don't try and hold her. She gets very indignant about that. Sometimes I do it just to watch her have a hissyfit because it's so funny. Oh... was that out loud?

This here is Egypt. He's the old man of the bunch -14 years young, and more spry than all except Lola! I've had him since before I met Sean, that's a looong time. He's definitely the boss, and all the other animals know it. He still loves to play, and he loves to be carried around and kissed on. He's like one of those hard old guys that's really a teddy bear on the inside. Lately, his favorite thing to do is find a sunny spot and snooze... I wish I were a cat, that sounds good to me too.

There you have it, my fanimals. I love them too much for words... Really, it's a miracle I haven't brought them up to y'all before, they are my life. In fact that's why Sean and I work full time, to provide these four a cushy existance... it's true.

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend! Eaaaaarly Tuesday morning, Sean and I, along with my mother-in-love, Kathleen, and our niece Ana are getting on a plane and flying from sunny California to St. Louis, Mo then driving down to Ft. Leonard Wood to see our other nieice, Alex (Ana's sister) graduate from boot camp of the United States Army, we're so proud of her. I miss her dearly, haven't seen her in 9 weeks! I'll make sure to take lots of pictures and share when I get back. This is my first trip any farther east than Texas, I'm excited to see St. Louis. We're going to visit Gateway Arch. Oooh, it's high... hope I don't chicken out!

This is Sean and I and Alex the day she left for the Army, I held it together until after she left, then I cried like a baby! I can't wait to see her!!

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A-Tea-C Card Swap

Hi Everyone~
Recently I had the oppurtunity to take part in an ATC swap, for those who don't know what an ATC is (as I just learned myself), it stands for Artist Trading Card. These ATC's are pretty neat , they're tiny pieces of art! The same size as a baseball card, just 2 1/2 " x 3 1/2" total. You're only limited by your imagination. Angela, one of my favorite tea bloggers over at Tea With Friends put a spin on this idea, and hosted an A~Tea~C card swap. How fun!

Angela drew partners for us, and I was lucky enough to get Donna from My Cup of Tea as my partner. Her package came in the mail first, look what I got!!

What a wonderful goodie package! Isn't it fab?!? Along with the A-Tea-C's (which are the burgandy & black card on the left, and the black & white card in the center), Donna also sent me an adorable handmade Halloween card, another pretty ATC card with a tiny little purse on it, a pretty beaded fob, and a Tea Cake! It's so darn cute, you can't see it very well in this picture, but it's a flamless candle that's paper-deco'd into a little cake! I've never seen anything like it. I loved everything, thank you Donna.

Now, for a bit of a confession. I... don't know how to paper craft. Not even a little.  I know people who do this, people who haul around steamer trunks full of 10,000 kinds of decorative paper and chopping devices, a hundred different bladed-scissors, hole punches of every imaginable shape, size and description. I've seen that corner of the store at JoAnn's and I avoid it. I need another hobby like I need a another hole in my head. To a newbie, this scraping stuff is a little overwhelming. Tiny bobbles and brads, cute bits of this & that, and everything looks like it has a specific purpose or should only be used by professionals or at least someone who has a vague idea of how these things are supposed to come together. I felt sooo out of my league. Ehhh... I'm scr'd! Ok... 1, 2, 3 - plunge!

I did some sketches of what I thought I might like my A-Tea-C cards to look like, but had no idea how to execute what I'd drawn. I knew I wanted both of them to be totally different from each other. Of the three ideas I had, only one came out remotely similar (and yet better than I'd hoped and produced in a completely different way). On to the task at hand! Shortly after sitting down to start this project, this is how my work surface looked. I felt like I was in the middle of a full on craft blitz! Madness!

Here is my very first paper craft, and ATC card. I called this one "Pret~tea in Pink". I started with the pink paper in the background (which incidentally, I just remembered I used at my very first tea party) Then I stamped & embossed in gold, a cute teapot & creamer pitcher. Next I added the felt letters and the tiny iridescent teapot and tea cup stickers I found at the scrap book store. Lastly, I added the little fabric tea cup in the lower left corner. I used this fabric to make a table cover for my garden over the summer, I had some left and I thought it would be cute to embroider over some of the printed designs and use them somehow in this process. I think this came out all right considering it was my first go and all. What do you all think, is there hope for me?

This was my 2nd A-Tea-C card. I like this one best! This was similar in design to what I'd imagined, but different. When I sketched this, I thought it would be a small water color painting... truth be told, I don't really paint either, so who knows how that would have come out. I decided to "go with what I know" -- I embroidered it!! I called this one "Sereni~tea".

I started by finding the Japanese symbol for "tea" online, printing, tracing (backwards!), making a paper transfer with my new handy~dandy transfer pencil and transfering the symbol to the fabric, then I emboidered over it. Don't look too close, again, there are some wonky stitches.

Then I cut from felt, the shape of a small tea bowl, a sliver of brown tea, and the very vague shape of a fortune cookie. Sean said the cookie looked like a squashed, beige PacMan. Whatever. I pinned them to the fabric while still on the hoop and embroidered them into position. I felt like it needed a little something extra over the tea bowl, so I added a whisp of steam.

Next, I removed the fabric from the hoop, cut it to size, and then picked out threads from the top and bottom to create a tiny fringe. Lastly I glued the fabric to the ATC that I'd covered in a decorative paper which had a water color effect... not that you can tell, but I knew...

The very last thing I had to do was add the blue ribbon  you see at the top & botton, this was out of necessity, not design. I probably shouldn't point out my mistakes, but... when I stuck the fabric to the card, the darned glue bled thru, I'm glad you guys weren't here... a minor freakout ensued. I should'a used double sided tape... Ah well, maybe it needed a little bit of something else anyway... I delicately glued a thin blue ribbon to the top and two very carefully trimmed pieces to the bottom on each side of the cookie so that it would like all one piece.

There you have it, my first A-Tea-C cards. All ready to go to Mz. Donna! I made a little bag from the left over fabric as well so that the cards wouldn't be sliding all over the place while in the mail. You can never have too many teapot covered, drawstring bags, right? I hope you liked them Donna :o)

Once I got my imagination fired up, I wanted to keep going! Angela, thank you for putting this swap together, it was so fun. I think we should do it again!!

I'm sure I did that first one all wrong... but it's small, cute, pink and covered in teapots, so it can't be all that bad. I have a whole new respect for you paper crafters out there! Oh yeah, a question for you paper ladies... how the heck do you set those tiny embellishments? Tweezers? Man, you girls are coool.
I'd love to hear what you all think, or any tips you have.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

1 Giveaway! 8 Years! 25, actually 26 Posts!

Dear Blog~
I know I've been neglecting you these last few weeks, I've just been so busy you see. The living breathing world takes so much time and energy that sometimes at the end of the day the tank is empty and there's no power left in my little filanges to punch out a blog... even a pipsqueak blog. But, with great relief it's my pleasure to confirm that, at least for me, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. I've missed you blog. I'll do better. I promise. I love you blog.

Hi Bloggie Peeps!
I've missed YOU most! I've met through the blogesphere, "e" and "snail" mail some of the most lovely people since I've begun this blogging adventure. Tea lovers, crafters, artists and and down right, good ol fashion great folks. You've been ever so kind and encouraging, and I just want to thank you for all your comments. As I looked back through what I've written I was a little startled to realize that I've written 25 blogs already! Wow. I always knew I was a bit of a chatterbox, I confess I do have a tendency to ramble, but I didn't know I had that much to say, and to be honest I feel like I'm just getting started. Heehee, what fun! So in honor of my 26th blog (a scouche late, just like me) I have a little giveaway that I'd like to present to you all. 

This here is a tin of one of my favorite Rooibos Teas from Let's Do Tea. It's called Blueberry Bang! It's tea-rrific and oh-so refreshing. Delicious both hot AND iced, and caffine free, so it's great little treat during your late night blogging sessions. Oh, is that just me?

I'm also including a cute little bookmark and a few other little goodies that are sure to make any tea lover smile! You'll love this tea, everyone does. All you need to do to enter is leave me a comment on this post (which is a doosie, I admit, and apologize in advance). If you post a link on your own blog, I'll throw your name in the hat twice! Easy peasy! I'll end the drawing at Midnight (Pacific Time) Friday, November 13th 2009. Post, post away!

Now for some catching up! Whew, can you all believe that it's already the end of the first week of November?? Holy moley! Where have the last 2 months gone, seriously, it's a blur. Since my last post of Oct. 18th a lot has happened. I served tea at another craft fair, my husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary, our neice turned 5 years old, we snuck away on a mini vacation where as always, we squished a lot into a small amount of time, my sweet, sweet baby brother turned 33 years old, and my beautiful sister-in-love has a birthday just this next week, shoe! I'm beat, but dang, these are great things to be so busy with! Get some tea and a comfy chair folks, this is gonna be a long post!

Where to begin? Hmmm, let's go by date, shall we? On October 20th my wonderful husband and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. I love him more every year, but gosh it doesn't seem like that long. It seems like just last weekend I was teaching my best friends how to fold napkins for the tables at our reception... very fond memories. I think this is the most singular reason for my love of autumn. The colors, the weather, the birds making their way south in the skies over the harvested wine vineyards that surround my town... it all reminds me of that day. We were married in a beautiful backyard out in the country that was surrounded on all sides by grapes. Wait, I'm getting mushy... hoooonk. S'cuse me, I hadda blow my nose. Thank you Lord for sending him to me :o)

This is Sean and I on our big day, and a picture of the prettiest wedding cake ever, in my lil ole opinion.

So, this might be a little weird... you tell me. I've kept the top layer of our wedding cake all these years. I know, I know... you're only supposed to keep it one year but back then I thought, well, two is better than one, so what the heck. I just wrapped it up and stuck it back in the freezer... and left it there... for 8 years. We've moved three times. I just keep packing to the next house. I think we took it out if the freezy on our 1st and 5th anniversaries and now our 8th. I think our baker did a great job, when we unwrapped the cake it had a tiny bit of frost, naturally, but once that was removed, the cake smelled great! It was soft and spongy and looked like it was made yesterday, swear! Even the frosting didn't look that bad. See...

Ok, well maybe it did look a little smooshed... but it smelled nice. I was being all firm and practical-like, and said this was the year it was going to go. Eight years is long enough, it's going in the trash! Then I chickened out and wrapped it up and put it back in the freezer... It's happy there. I'm happy it's there too, weird or not.

The next event was our nieces 5th birthday, she's a cupcake. Thinks she's a princess...seriously.
Here she is in her Belle Birthday Ballgown.

Ooh, a new tea set! I wonder who that's from??

A new princess outfit. Mulan this time. I think this completes her collection. She has every princess outfit Disney makes, no joke. But isn't she a doll?

Next up was a craft fair I did in Stockton on Oct. 24th... here's a few snapshot of my booth. This was a fun event, but I think I'm going to focus more on home parties. More fun, more time to chit chat, and as I've said before, I am not a sales person, and I almost felt like I was hawking something instead of just sharing tea...

Next up was a trip that my darling husband planned all on his own, whata guy! On Oct. 30th we left for the bay area, he had arranged a room in our favorite hotel, the De Anza in San Jose, and bought tickets to a San Jose Sharks game, go Sharks! This is what was awating us when we arrived in our room... Chocolate truffles and champagne!! Weeee!

Look, he even bought me a new jersey to wear, #20 Nabokov!!

What he didn't tell me until the night before we left was that he'd also booked a second night at the hotel and some time for me in a spa!! His anniversary gift to me. Awww! So on Halloween afternoon, we were driven to the Plum Spa where I was pampered  with a hydrotherapy session, an hour massage and where Sean and I both got pedicures!! Heehee! He's never done that before, it was his first time. I think he liked it A LOT. Later that night back at the hotel we was remarking on how shiny his toenails were.
 Here are a few shots from the Plum Spa website.

 So, as if this wasn't fun enough (and you're thinking, seriously, there's more? --Yes, there is.) Sean took me to tea!! Yipee! I've wanted to have tea at Lisa's Tea Treasures since the first time I visited and I could only browse because we were so pinched for time. It was all I could hope for and more. The food was fantastic and the service was excellent! There were even two young ladies having tea that afternoon dressed as Alice and The Queen of Hearts. It was Halloween after all, and let me tell you. San Jose-ians really get into the spirit! People were dressed up all over town, it was great!
Here I am experiencing tea bliss...

See those bikers behind me? Yes, bikers- real ones... in a fancy tea shop... with doilies.
Variety is the spice of life!

Mmmm... The scones were AMAZING! (yes, I was shouting just then)

Sean is such a good sport... he didn't take tea, but he was very patient and spent some time reading the latest letter from our niece, Alex who's at Army Basic Training in Missouri.
His patience was rewarded with a new Mazarati.

This car was on display in Santana Row, where the tea house is located. Neato!
So after tea and a couple of leisurely hours perusing the shops in Santana Row, we popped into Rosie McCannes for some live music, a quick beer and some deceptivley strong garlic fries (which were the only thing that haunted us on Halloween, oofa!) before our last stop for the evening...
A Halloween Flashlight Tour of the Winchester Mystery House!
So fun! Gosh that place is huge, and easy to get turned around in... you think you know approx where you are during certain points of the tour, then you step out onto a balcony and look out over the vast roof lines and realize that not only were you not where you thought you were, but you also have no idea where you are currently. It's weird. Not scary though - bummer. I wanted to be scared, but I wasn't. Oh well... it was a really neat experience being there at night. They had the garden open for self guided tours as well, so we roamed around and checked out the grounds at our own pace. They had people giving out Trick or Treats randomly through out the garden, it was great. They only do night tours a few nights a year, Halloween and every Friday the 13th. If you ever have the oppurtunity to do it, I recommend it.

We had ambitions of hitting the town for some Halloween fun after our tour of the mystery house, but we were throughly pooped. They say on the house tour alone, you walk over a mile inside the house. I believe it too. So instead, we ajourned to our room and retired for the evening. This was the first time in my adult life that I wasn't at home on Halloween handing out candy. This was decidedly better. Plus, I didn't wake up on November 1st to find my pumpkin smashed all over the street infront of my house like I have the last two years, bonus!

So, this my friends is why I've been away from my blog so long... I've been a busy girl. There's been crafting going on in every spare moment too, but I can't share that stuff yet... it's super secret Christmas (gasp! it's almost here!) stuff.

I will share my A-Tea-C swap cards soon though... As soon as my partner, Miss Donna gets her package! Those were a kick! Tomorrow I'm off again to the mountains to visit my bother and his family for some belated (his) and early (his wife's) birthday celebrations! The fun never ends around here!

Ok, folks... sorry this was so very long. I had good intentions of keeping this post as short as I could... but you know what they say about good intentions.

Love to all,

**Don't forget, post a comment to win some fantastic tea from me!**