Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two Weddings and a Baby

with an all star cast of
Hugh Grant, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts,
Sarah Jessica Parker, Meryl Streep and Robert Redford

The story of your average American family planning
two weddings and a baby on the way
during two weeks of pulling it all off without a hitch. Or so they thought....

A fun tale of the family's planning, organizing, leaving nothing to chance with Martin Short as the wedding and event planner. You think you've seen this before - but never has such a heart warming story hit the big screen with this all star cast of zany and entertaining characters.


This isn't the Hollywood Blockbuster it claims to be
BUT, my life!

Next summer, I'll have two new daughter-in-laws and my first grandchild
(and yes, all happening within two weeks)
I may just have to call on Martin Short to get it all done as planned,
without a hitch and make it a fun filled two weeks we'll never forget.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas

Tis the season to be busy, so I'm taking a little break from blogging. Merry Christmas to all of you, enjoy the holidays, your family and friends, your favorite holiday music, and Christmas cookies. I'll be back in a week or two with new postings.

Attic Whispers is still posting new stories (and all through the holidays, too) every Wednesday and Friday with the continuing Kenneth and Martha post card series every Monday. Become a follower of Attic Whispers, today and don't miss the weekly short stories being told by lost photographs.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If you could.......

If you could live in a book, which book would you love to live within?
For me, it's hands down Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher written in 2000.  As one book reviewer wrote: A story of 5 very different people by happenstance ending up in northern Scotland during the Christmas season. I've read this book every year during Christmas and when I've finished I dream of being in northern Scotland during Christmas and these are my dearest and closest friends.

Elfrida Phipps, once of London's stage, moved to the English village of Dibton in hopes of making a new life for herself. Gradually she settled into the comfortable familiarity of village life — shopkeepers knowing her tastes, neighbors calling her by name — still she finds herself lonely. She's the auntie that gives you huge hugs, never judges and opens her heart fully to those she loves.

Oscar Blundell gave up his life as a musician in order to marry Gloria. They have a beautiful daughter, Francesca, and it is only because of their little girl that Oscar views his sacrificed career as worthwhile.
A quiet, kind and thoughtful man who leans on Elfrida to get through a tragic event.

Carrie returns from Australia at the end of an ill-fated affair with a married man to find her mother and sister sharing a home and squabbling endlessly. With Christmas approaching, Carrie agrees to look after her sister's awkward and quiet teenage daughter, Lucy, so that her mother might enjoy a romantic fling in America. Carrie is always there when Lucy needs her and she needs her now. Carrie is a beautiful woman, at loose ends herself and needs a huge hug from her great aunt, Elfrida.

Sam Howard is trying to pull his life back together after his wife has left him for another. He is without home and without roots, all he has is his job. Business takes him to northern Scotland, where he falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and set his sights on a house.
A strange twist of faith lands Sam on Elfrida and Oscars door step on a cold and snowy night.

It is the strange rippling effects of a tragedy that will bring these five characters together in a large, neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan.  It is in this house, on the shortest day of the year, that the lives of five people will come together and be forever changed. Winter Solstice is a novel of love, loyalty and rebirth.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's a Wrap.....

In my family, holiday gift wrapping has become an art form.

My hubby's family use to challenge each other to create disguised wrappings to house their gifts.  Decorating a train of boxes including an engine and caboose to hide the umbrella inside. The large boxes would have a castle on top made out of toilet paper rolls, empty wrapping paper rolls and little boxes all wrapped in white. Or a silver foil ice skating rink with a forest of miniature trees. Another box may be decorated to become a gingerbread house.  A large paper bag (with gift inside) was transformed into a reindeer with a bell hanging from one antler. The wrapping usually took longer than the shopping for the gift. 

Now, I have family members (yup, that's you kids) who are very creative in designing works of art in their wrapping ideas. The elegantly dressed brown shipping/craft paper, large cut-out initials, old photos attached to the tag (without a name - guess who that present is for?). Ribbons, twine, string, yarn, paper ornaments or stamped images, buttons and a few bows to adorn the wrapping of the gifts. We all look forward to see what appears under the Christmas tree.
Here are a few holiday wrappings I've found on the web for inspiration, help get the creative juices flowing and spark this year's creative gift wrapping.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

25% OFF

Flora is offering 25% OFF for a limited time
Browse the store
Spread the word 
and everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There's a New Shop in Town -

There's a new shop on the Internet that is a must go and see. Flora at has just opened it's doors and is filled with the flora work of Scott Mansfield, San Francisco professional photographer. If you're looking for the perfect holiday gift or need a little color added to your own walls -- this is the place to shop. There's a large variety of flower prints to choose from and it is super easy to pick the size you want and printing format.
The best place on the Internet to shop for flora prints, go see for yourself

Monday, November 21, 2011

They followed me home....

Some recently found ideas from Pinterest that followed me home.

A simple paper plate with holes punched about 1" apart, threaded with decorative ribbon.
So simple, So effective!
Great idea for those gift, holiday cookies or candies you make.

For the cupcake baker in your home.
Easy way to store your cupcake liners -- stack in a spaghetti jar.

One old dresser - remove legs - make seat cushion and wha-la,
you've got a perfect window seat or bench with storage.

Cover a pop can dispenser with paper (wrapping paper is about the right size) or contact paper and label for storing your can goods. We shop Costco - this will be perfect to organize the bulk buys.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Doors Are Open-Open-Open

Sam'Studio is all set up and ready to go at the annual Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts in Bellingham, WA.  Opening this Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday with extended opened days the week of Christmas.  We're back at the same site and filled to the brim with wonderful local artisan work for sale along with local musicians to entertain you.
Get your holiday shopping done early and shop The Festival this year! 

Sam'Studio is offering new items this year along with newly designed journals and notebooks. Plus,  mini photo albums, pocket Post-It note holders, gift card sets, desk Post-It note sets, bookmarks, note card sets and origami gift boxes.
All are reasonably priced to fit every one's shopping budget.
Think Global - Shop Local

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let Me Entertain You!

It's Entertaining
It's Fun
It's all new to me.....
Join me at my new blog, Attic Whispers located at
Bookmark it, Spread the word and follow me to
Attic Whispers
(during the transition set-up, you might have to use:
for a few days.

Sam's Amusing World isn't going anywhere -- it'll be here with new posts -- I now have two blogs 
One completely fictional and entertaining
and One for a little of this and a little of that

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recent Reads Book Reports

Betrayal of Trust by J.A Jance
J.P. Beaumont and his wife, Mel, are called in to investigate Washington's governor's family involving a murder, teens and mayhem. It's nice to see J.P. back in print.

Killing the Blues by Michael Brandman
A Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone story written by Mr. Brandman. Really? Really? The storyline was very good and had Parker's typical Stone situations and all of his usual verbal comebacks,  but not a Parker book. It was written and reads like a movie script. No descriptions, set-ups or background - just dialogue. And not very original dialogue at that. The book's cover is very misleading - it's not a Parker book, but a stand in author trying to continue the Jesse Stone stories. 

Misery Bay by Steve Hamilton
An Alex McKnight story set in Michigan's UP. Alex joins Maven, the chief of police, in searching for answers surrounding a suicide -- or was it? As a pattern starts to emerge and Alex won't stop until all the questions are answered. Another great Hamilton story.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
A light weight read staged in Scotland - so what's not to like? 1708's invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeed in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim is crown. Carrie McCleeland hopes to turn this story into her next best seller novel. Settling into a cozy cottage in the shadow of Slains Castle ruins, she starts to write what seems more fact than fiction. This book alternates chapters of the now and then, weaving a shadowy remembrance to what was and now.  I'll read more Ms. Kearsly books - cause they're not heavy, fun and sometimes it's good to get out of mysteries.

The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
Not so much about a knitting club but more about how to cope with the death of a cheating husband and carrying for two small boys. Jo moves to the UK beach and takes over her grandmother's yarn shop. Great characters, funny, with a cute storyline. Not a run to the library to find book but very entertaining.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
If you haven't read this book -- Do It Now!
There's a reason this has become a best seller, made into a movie and a must read. It's just that good.

The Affair by Lee Child
 While recently stuck in an airport waiting for a flight, I realized I was about to finish my take along reading material and needed to find another book as my traveling companion. I was roaming the mystery aisle of the airport's bookstore (Portland's Powells) when the salesperson asked if she could help. We started discussing the various authors on the shelf and she said, I think you need to come with me.  She took me to her station and recently opened box. There on top was the just released Lee Child book -- and I love Jack Reacher stories (and so did the salesperson). 

This one is one of the best of Jack Reacher stories.  A flash back in time that tells the tale of how Jack became a traveling, wandering, out of the army, helping those in need guy. It all startred somewhere - elite military cop, Jack Reacher is sent to Carter Crossing, Mississippi in 1997. A lone railroad track - a crime scene - a set up with lots of twists and turns - Jack's undercover to help the local sheriff, Elizabeth Deveraux, to get to the truth. Town's people or military base?

Needles and Pins by Gil McNeil
The continuing story of Jo MacKenzie from The Beach Street book (read above). It's been a year since the move to the beach town, out of her comfort zone and settled into a quite way of life.  Or is it? This was just another chapter to the original story. Another fun read without a lot of hup-la, plot or drama.

Northwest Angle by William Kent Kruger
Cork takes the whole family on a little R-N-R houseboat vacation to Lake of the Woods. A freakish storm hits and hits hard - separating the group.  Cork and his daughter land on an island and find a tiny baby and his murdered mother. Is the killer still around? An adventure to stay ahead of the killer, get some answers and discover somethings about themselves. Not Kruger's best story - but a must read for his fans.

Heat Rises by Richard Castle
This is the third in the series ABC publishes to go along with the TV series, Castle. This book was pretty good, better written than the last two. A lot of the TV show's scenerios are used to develope this story line. If you're a Castle fan, like I am, you'll recognize season 3 in most of the book - a different plot with all the characters we've come to love. Good Book.
and books I just couldn't finish
Mariana by Susanna Kearsly
I got half way through and put it down -- slow, slow, slow read that wasn't going anywhere and I wasn't interested to see if it ever would.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel
Having read all of the previous Earth's Children books, I was looking forward to the latest edition. However, if you've read about one painted cave, you've read about them all. And this book was one description of numerous caves, without any plot and dragging storyline.  I was half way through the 756 pages when it was put on the shelf. Boring.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apparently, I'm Gray Mouse. What's your superhero name?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Pot of Soup...

This last September the family gathered in Cannon Beach, Oregon. The main event was a coastal wedding - the benefit was getting the family all together in one place for a few days of sun and fun. After comparing notes on local restaurant reviews (not very good) (sorry Cannon Beach) and being very disappointed on a few "let's try it one more time" outings, we ended up walking down the block from our beach house to Warren House Pub. What an amazing find! Fantastic food, very friendly service and a great menu. We ended up feasting at The Pub numerous times and we were never disappointed. 

I was very pleased with their soup of the day Beer Bacon Cheese Soup and had it a couple of times -- just couldn't get enough of this liquid magic.  Being a soup maker, myself, I had to try and replicate this winner when we got home. I'll share with you my results -- I'd have to say that the following recipe hits about the 98% mark compared to the original. YUM!!

Beer Bacon Cheese Soup
makes about 6 cups
Takes about 2 hours to make and ready to serve
6 Tablespoons butter
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion - finely chopped!
1 cup finely chopped celery - finely chopped!
1 cup finely chopped carrot - finely chopped!
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 12 oz. can of beer (I used Pabst and was very satisfied with the results)
1 & 1/2 cup chicken broth
12-15 pieces of bacon -  cook bacon & chop into tiny pieces
1 cup heavy cream (heavy whip cream works well)
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese -- I added a little bit extra
1 cup grated Colby Jack cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard
5-8 shacked drops of Tabasco sauce
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cracked pepper

Place butter and garlic in a large pot over medium heat. Stir butter and garlic until all the butter is melted.  Add onions, celery and carrot. Cook about 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Add flour and stir for 3 minutes (be careful not to burn).

Continue stirring, while slowly adding the beer and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and continue stirring every few minutes until soup has thickened (should take about 40-45 minutes). I know this is the boring part - but, very important to get the mixture thickened, slowly.  Add bacon pieces.  On LOW heat, add the cream, cheeses and spices. Make sure the heat is on low, if it is too high it will cause the dairy to break down.  Serve when the cheese has melted and all is well blended.

Serve as is (yummy!) or topped with a few croutons or additional bacon pieces. Hubby likes it with bits of crab added. ENJOY!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just a little fun, today.....did ya find it? huh? huh? huh?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So Cool!

I love bandanas - what's not to love? They're cheap (usually a buck each) come in fabulous colors, a great size to craft with and they're not just for doggy neck wear or cowgirl costumes. Take these little paisley prints out for a spin and let your imagination fly.
I found these on the blogger web site: under the table and dreaming 
where there's more ideas waiting to be discovered.
These are few of my favorties!
table runners
table cloths
a napkin holder
a quilt
or maybe a fun handkerchief

I'm heading to the store, partner, and getting some bandanas to play with.

Friday, October 7, 2011


3 glorious days of music! Blame Sally, Chris Isaak, M. Ward, Robert Earl Keen, Hugh Laurie, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Broken Social Scene, The Low Anthem, Dr. John, DeVotchka, Buddy Miller, Elbow, and Gomez just to name a few of the stage acts we followed, rocked to, danced to, and thoroughly enjoyed along with thousands and thousands of Golden Gate attendees. We missed not having March 4th Marching Band roaming the stages, but we rocked out just the same. It was sunny and warm then foggy and chilly -- that's San Francisco at it's best. Plus, we topped off each evening with some absolutely wonderful eats at local eateries. 
Now to wash off all the dust, do some laundry, take some make-up naps and get back to the ordinary, usual daily routine and look forward to the next Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I'm getting on a jet plane and heading to San Francisco for some foot stomping, hand clapping, dance moving good music, rock out times. Catch ya on the flip side next week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It was 40 years ago, today.....

Today is our 40th wedding anniversary. 

and now.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You're going to love this -- I promise!

More Pinterest posts that followed me home

This would be so cute for wedding tables.
Hershey Kisses instead of peppermint? OR Valentine candy hearts (if you planned ahead)
Use large round plates or serving platters - depending on the size of your tables.

A blank white canvas and Elmer's Glue
How simple - How beautiful!

Using shower curtain hooks to hang up those bags
If only I had the closet space to do this -- I'd be in heaven

Using a Large V-neck hooded sweatshirt
Cut down center - hem - wrap to the side and add buttons
Adorable - Simply Adorable!

A Goodwill suit jacket -- there's lots out there without the matching pants.
Find one that is a good length and fit (don't worry about the arm lengths)
Trim off the arms (or remove at seam) - leaving some of the lining from the jacket side to fold inward to create a finished edge. WahLaa- you've got a custom vest, man (or woman).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mirror Mirror On The Wall.....

More Pinterest finds.....

Love this idea to fill a small blank space
I've got the old windows - just need some scrap wood

Using inexpensive mirrors and hung horizontally
Be great to fill a wall - top to bottom

Oh, what you could do with empty toilet paper rolls
Love, Love a burst of flower power