Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's My Party Fall Giveaway

Fall is my very most favorite time of the year. I've always said that it's because I was an October baby that the autumn colors, crisp air and cool nights restore my soul. I love all holidays, but the colors of Halloween just make me happy. So, because my birthday is coming up soon, October 2nd, I've decided to share a couple of my fall goodies with you. I've had so much fun meeting and getting to know you all that I wanted to say a little Thank you and this is a good way to do it. Just leave me a comment about why YOU love fall and you will be entered in the drawing for the two items that you see here. The first one is a 5x7 glossy print of a photo that I call Cat Eyes. Our cat, Boots, was stalking his prey when I happened to catch it just right for his eyes to shine through the fall leaves. The second treat is Spunky, the blue-eyed ghost. I made Spunky for Noah, my grandson, and he turned out so cute that I had to make a few more. These items are also available in my etsy shop.
If anyone wants to post a link to this giveaway on their blog, just let me know and you will get a second entry.
If I have any lurkers out there, who have never left a comment, please join us. I would love to know that you're there. Anyone who doesn't have a blog is also very welcome to enter. You don't need a blog to comment, but you will need to check back later to see if you've won and get your mailing address to me.
Entries will be accepted up through next Friday, October 3rd.
It's my party and I'll...give things away if I want to!
Good luck and happy fall, ya'all!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Creepy Crawlies

It's fall time here on the Oregon Coast, which means that our eight-legged friends are spinning their magic on our rhododendron bushes, dahlia stocks, window frames, front porches and anywhere else that they can get a foothold. The webs are beautiful, the inhabitants kind of creepy, but they mostly live outside and that's alright by me.

Riff and I were tucked away in our cozy bedroom from the fall fog the other night. He was happily snoozing away while I had traveled back to Colonial America and was with Martha Washington meeting George's mean-spirited, unhappy mother at Ferry Farm for the first time. Suddenly, from God-Only-Knows-Where, a large spider appeared right on my thumb. I was instantly back in mid-September 2008, shrieking and flinging both spider and book across the room. Poor Riff was jolted out of his happy state and into my creepy world where he bravely spent a half an hour helping me look for my eight-legged friend while assuring me that he was long gone. Since the creepy crawler was nowhere to be found, we pulled the covers back up and flipped off the light.

For me, sleep did not come easily...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Small Town America - Condon, Oregon

I picked Condon, Oregon for the fourth town in my Small Town America series, but my research on the town didn't bring up a lot of information. I do know that Condon is located at the junction of Oregon highways 206 and 19 in Gilliam County and boasts a tiny little Powell Books store. Who would have imagined that there was a Powell Books out in the middle of wheat country hundreds of miles from Portland? It's located inside an adorable little shop that has everything from fresh cut flower arrangements to a soda fountain. Really cute and well worth a stop if you're in the area. Open Sundays! I grew up in a small farming town where nothing was open on Sundays, so was amazed at this little fact.

Condon has a population of around 700 people and was originally known as Summit Springs. The town is now named after a local attorney from years ago, I know not why the name was changed, only that it was. I suppose I could make up a good story to go along with it, but would probably be called out by someone who knows the real story and I don't duel well, so we'll just leave it at that for now. I do know that two, yes count them, TWO Nobel-prize winners have lived in Condon. A Dr. Linus Pauling was presented with the award for his work in Chemistry in 1954 and again for peace in 1962, while a Dr. William Parry Murphy won the Nobel-prize in 1934 for medicine. I certainly would like to know those stories and will need to do a bit more research to find out more. Fascinating!

Pretty parks and pretty girls are to be found in Condon. Oh, wait. That's Shilo, she's going home with me!

Looking up Main Street in Condon. Right next to the hotel is the Liberty Theatre which I understand has been restored also. Condon is a sweet small town that has some very cute shops that we would have like to visit had it not been a late Sunday afternoon. I very much may go back someday when there's more time to poke around. I did see some really nice old houses also. Old houses, old stores and small towns are a big weakness of mine. Real people live here. Real lives are lived and characters are made.

Hotel Condon was built in the 1920's and has been beautifully restored by Taylor's family. It boasts really nice guest rooms, a restaurant that serves some incredible food and a great little bar. It was an absolutely perfect setting for a bridal shower.

Leaving Condon and headed for home. What will we see in this beautiful farm country? What might be around that next bend?

Ah, two of my favorite things ~ windmills and old abandoned buildings always start the stories going in my mind. Who lived here? was this a house, a shed, a barn, a school? What did the windmill power? Does it still work?

Windmills - Did I mention Windmills? Hundreds of windmills? This country is known as the High Plateau Columbia River Region and the Columbia River Gorge produces great amounts of wind. Driving home, we were amazed by the vast amounts of new white windmills for as far as the eye could see. What an incredible resource. The windmills themselves are kind of mesmerizing. Could be dangerous for this driver who could get lost in those turning blades. Along this lonely stretch of highway there are many old wooden windmills next to the new ones. That second picture is my attempt at trying to capture the new and the old together: the old standing tall and proud but making way for the young ones who are creating energy for so many.

It was a hazy day, due to some fires in the area so we could catch glimpses of some of the incredible mountains to the south, but nothing ever clear enough for pictures. A hot drive in early September, but beautiful and off the beaten path which is where I like to be.

I hope you enjoyed your little visit to Condon and Gilliam County, Oregon. Be sure to stop by the soda fountain for a cool drink when you're in the area.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Bride-To-Be

Taylor's going to the chapel and she's gonna get married....
She's absolutely beaming and going to make my nephew a beautiful bride. Shilo and I went to Condon, Oregon last weekend for the bridal shower, driving down meandering farm country roads to get there. The shower was held out the Hotel Condon which Taylors family owns and has beautifully restored to it's former splendor. We were greeting by the lovely bride, her mother and sister. We were seated across the table from both Taylor's boss and my nephews boss for some stimulating conversation over a lunch of rosemary bread, ceasar salad and chicken fettucinne. Delicious! I'm still kicking myself that I didn't take any pictures of lunch and the beautiful table settings.

Shilo and I had planned on sneaking out a bit early since we had a 5 hour drive in front of us, so Taylor decided to open our gifts first. (I ended up getting caught up in the unwrapping and stayed until she was finished!) Taylor loves to cook and had mentioned to my sister the other day that she needed an apron, which is one of the things that I had planned for her. Taylor's very cute and was really excited when she pulled her apron out of the packaging.

She immediately put it on and wore it the entire time she was opening gifts.

We didn't stay for cake, (which was gorgeous, but NO I didn't take a picture again!), but got on the road, driving through lots and lots of wind farms before finding the highway again. I feel another post coming on...

Congrats Taylor!

Friday, September 05, 2008

What is it About Aprons?

Aprons have been a hot item for quite some time now, evoking memories for us of our mom's and grandma's in a cozy kitchen whipping up something fantastic or laboring over a steaming canner. I think we have been drawn back to our apron-wearing days because they remind us of a simpler time when our homes and hometowns were filled with love and laughter. Not that they're not now, we just want to make sure that some of the old feeling remains. All of my memories of my grandmother ~ in the kitchen, manning the counter at the hardware store, or puttering around in the garden ~ include some kind of an apron or covering. Grandma Simmons wore the smock-style that snapped up the front and covered all, Grandma Sannar wore half-aprons in her pie-baking days. My own collection is growing, including some I've made myself and some vintage aprons that I have picked up at estate sales and such. Recently, I joined the Flirty Apron Swap. This swap had a dream vacation theme. You were to make your secret partner an apron, keeping in mind her dream vacations. We wrote about two destinations and your partner could pick either one for the theme of your apron.

My partner chose Japan or Hawaii as her dream destination, her favorite color being red and her favorite style the half-apron. I found this beautiful red Japanese fabric at Ana Lena's quilt shop in Longbeach, Washington and the golden silk fabric at Joanne's. The pocket is shaped like a Japanese fan, my own interpretation of course. Shilo is my model today.

My package is off to my secret partner and I'm rubbing my hands together in anticipation of the apron I will receive from a different secret partner. I asked to be sent to a cabin by a lake with a canoe, or Ireland...

Last night I finished a fun, kinda sexy apron for my soon to be new niece's bridal shower this weekend. Post to follow.

Do you wear aprons? What's in your collection?