Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Creative meringue

Mary's post about cute marshmallow men reminded me that I forgot to post this pic of meringue snowmen and trees (piped shapes 'glued' together with royal icing). Specialty cake decorating supplies (at cook shops and some Michael's locations, etc) sell sprinkles that look like opalescent glitter. The stuff available out there is mind blowing. I'm not personally fond of meringue, but these are too cute. From the Christmas 2005 special edition of Family Circle magazine (tons of good recipes in this thing). Posted by Picasa


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Cute how-to article in the January 2006 issue of Martha Stewart Living on making strawberry pincushions.

Or check out Laura's necktie strawberries (no permalink, so scroll down. There are three posts related to necktie strawberries). These can be pincushions too, or accessories, or embellishments on bags, or....

Monday, December 26, 2005

Future hopes and dreams

I had a co-worker approach me today and offer an unsolicited psychic vision she had about me via a dream. Evidently she has done this in the past with others, and has a solid success rate. I find the subject fascinating. What are your views? I believe in God (I'm a protestant), but I also believe in psychic powers. I do not follow the idea that intuition is "of the devil". I believe it is a gift, and a God given one. I believe most of us probably had the gift as children, but society has coaxed it from us. I took a class in honing intuition, and the results were pretty amazing. I also learned how to read tarot cards. No I'm not in lala land, and I do not go so far as to believe in channeling or any of that hocus pocus nonsense (in my humble opinion), nor UFO junk. I do, however, think intuition is a powerful tool, and one should always listen to the body to gain insight as to whether or not you are headed in the right direction. But I digress. This co-worker said I will meet a man within a year that either has a small child that I will adopt, or I will have a child. I certainly hope she's right, because I am so ready. I took a little over a year break from dating, and I am ready to get back into the....what's the word? Not game, not muck, not process....well, you know what I mean. So we'll see. I have a really good feeling about 2006 though, and that's exciting.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My favorite card this year was actually an ecard. Well, I don't want to diminish the enthusiasm I felt for any of the cards I received, it's just that this one is so perfect for this blog. The "you have a card..." message was all written in German, which just added to the coolness. Thank you Claudia, this makes me smile. Posted by Picasa

Animal cuteness

Christmas kitties
Cute site with cats installing a Christmas tree, look here

And cute baby animals here.

Merry Christmas!

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Wishing all of you a memorable and magical Christmas.

Festive idea for a holiday table setting. Brush the apples with lemon juice so they do not brown. Add a selection of Granny Smiths and some russet-colored pears also. Idea from this year's Christmas edition of Family Circle Magazine (a special publication, not just the December issue). Posted by Picasa

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I love this idea for wrapping a gift. Posted by Picasa

Chinese take-out menu as wrap! Buttons on pipe cleaners! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blog DIY, holiday style

I'm still sewing last minute gifts and will post those soon, but in the meantime I've seen a bunch of fun stuff on other blogs:

I never got around to finishing my cards (again!) this year. I used to be so good about that, but it didn't happen this year. I love the cards that Claudia made. The ever-amazing Amanda also did some tree cards, and has a link on her site to similar ones made by others.

Absolutely adorable Christmas necktie skirts by Laura.

Decorations galore at Mary's house (she's living up to her blog name on this one).

Homemade biscotti recipe for a quick gift, by Deborah Merlo.

Wow, tiny pinatas by Not Martha. These remind me of the Christmas crackers they have in the UK.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Monster Surf! It's gnarly, brah

Photo from the front page of today's San Diego Union-Tribune. Our coast is getting pounded by huge waves, beautiful waves, and causing a bit of a Hawaiian-style community vibe. This pic is actually of Ensenada, Mexico, but that is just a hop, skip, and a jump distance wise. Up in Santa Monica, the surf took out a concrete bathroom. Don't mess with Mother Nature--she has all the power. An ex-boyfriend and I went (a couple of years ago) to a choice surf spot way down by Colima, Mexico, and the beach there is just ravaged with pieces of steel from buildings the sea has swallowed then spit out again. He is an excellent surfer, but even he wore a helmet in that surf. Third world but idyllic, that place. Someday I'll return and perhaps stay forever. Posted by Picasa

Vintage Aluminum Donut Master

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Funky kitschy thrift store find. There are eight donute recipes on the box. The batter goes into the container, and you press out donut shapes into hot oil. Probably from the 50's? I just think it's fun to look at, though I may try to make some donuts too.

Homemade scrubber for pots and pans

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My friend Michelle makes these fun crocheted kitchen washcloths around a nylon scrubbie--everybody loves them. I like these better than the sponge pads, and now I don't have to go to Mexico to buy homemade washcloths anymore. It's such a good idea, I thought I'd post it so you guys can get inspired to make some too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Traffic Court

I dragged my butt out of bed this morning and headed down to Superior Court. I had to appear before the judge for a minor traffic violation. No, it wasn't a big deal, and if you're wondering, I really am an excellent driver (I get the good driver discount off my insurance and everything). This was just a dumb oversight on my part (I tend to put paying registration on the back burner, and I've been busted for expired plates two years in a row now). Anyway, if any of you ever gets a traffic ticket, take my word for it--take the time to appear in court. My fine today was about 1/3 what I expected. If you just mail payment for the fine, you'll end up spending too much money. They're cool at court too--they'll even make payment arrangements if that's what you need.

Okay, the majority of the other attendees, however, left much to be desired. I hesitate to stereotype large groups of people (basically it's a form of prejudice), or look down on people for their grammatical skills (or lack thereof), or put a label on them because of how they dress....BUT come on people! Poor white trash makes me twitch, and God love 'em they may be the salt of the earth (I don't know and I'm trying not to judge), but ahem...

1) A mullet does not make you look younger.
2) 'took-en' and 'bought-en' are NOT words. Double negatives are only acceptable in Spanish.
3) A pink mini skirt, pink Ugg boots (or the generic), and a midriff-revealing top is NOT acceptable court attire (yes the weather is THAT nice here right now). Ditto ratty jeans, tee shirt, and baseball cap.
4) Speaking profanity in the waiting area is not too bright an idea.
5) If you're being evicted for inability to pay rent, exactly how did you get the cash to afford the items that garnered you that possesion violation? Just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Kind of Food are you?

As seen on Tweety's Nest

You Are Mexican Food

Spicy yet dependable.
You pull punches, but people still love you.

God Bless the US Post Office

I love mail. Good old fashioned stamped letters and fun packages to open. I received a few Christmas presents in the mail this week, and though I can be patient with some things, waiting to open gifts isn't included. I didn't even wait to get home, I just tore off the wrapping right there in the post office! My aunt in Mexico sent tequila-flavored chocolates and a letter saying she hopes it intices me to come back and visit! Um, I think a visit is definitely in order again. It's a long bus trip, but it's fun to catch up with her. She's 90 years old and like the grandma of the village there. All the neighbors pop in for visits every day, and on her birthday, mariachis always throw her a huge fiesta and entertain everyone.

My friend Michelle called from Indiana last night to thank me for the gifts I sent, and I was able to in turn thank her for the box I had just received from her. I talked to her for two hours (and that was a short call because I had to be at work so early today), and I was laughing so hard I fell backward and couldn't stop. Man, I haven't done that in so long--it was wonderful. Today, I received a second box from her, literally bursting at the seams with goodies galore! I wish I had a digital camera so I could capture the wealth of this. The fun thing about Michelle is that she is queen of the deals. She always leaves the price tag on just to show the amazing sale she came across. It's our tradition. She sent me a huge Joe Boxer straw tote with an aloha print interior and embroidered palm trees on the outside. Adorable, and she found it on clearance for $1.35!!! I love it. Tons of stuff for me to mosaic with, including a broken toile plate that was in her family stuff, and lots of beads, boxes, charms, and jewelry to work with. She finds stuff, says it screams my name, and saves up enough to fill a box. Oodles of notepads and dishtowels and a cute clutch bag with embroidered cherries....it's the best. I love giving gifts, but receiving them is pretty cool too :).

Monday, December 19, 2005

Vintage Apron Dress Pattern

Apron Dress

My favorite apron patterns are the ones like sundresses, or the ones that wrap--this one is both! Called an Apron Dress, it can be worn as an apron over clothes, or alone as a sundress. How cute is this?! Mail order item (no date indicated, but the stamp is two cents), Design by Clotilde.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Oh my gosh, a big thank you to Nicole of Craftapalooza for posting about Festivus. What a wonderful solution to my friends problem (or would have been, had I known about this earlier). My bad...I guess I should say 'problem with my friends' so as not to imply.....well, you know.

More than I can chew (as usual)

Note to self:
Embroidery is just a synonym for frustration.

Next time you decide to personalize gifts A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, you might want to rethink that nugget.
Just sayin'.

Heartfelt words and difficult times (the essence of blogging)

This time of year is difficult for many people, especially those ones missing loved ones, or who are estranged from their families. I have come to terms with my own sorrows there, but still find myself more introspective than usual (and that is saying a lot). I have been reading posts lately about "why we blog" and have seen some people like Amanda, reach into their souls to see if revealing so much of themselves is appropriate. I have been asking similar questions, and whether I should continue this venture.

Many of you do not know that I recently had a huge drama erupt with my three closest friends (a friendship that has been like family for 25 years) because I chose to blog about a disagreement we had over Christmas. My blogging resulted in an enraged reaction on ones part (and a scathing email of resentments against me from the past 12 years), another has had no reaction, and another has been hurt by my comments, though hurt was certainly never my intention. Gossip, she called it. So why blog about it again now? Because blogging is a journal. Blogging is a way to work things out and discuss elements floating about in your head. Because blogging is bits and pieces of things that are important to you, and in discussing what is important, you aim to touch other peoples' lives as well as your own.

In a brief synopsis, I was upset because one of the girls wanted to give out gift cards for Christmas, and it pissed me off because it just seemed to me like one more element of her over-busy lifestyle infringing on our more and more infrequent gatherings. I have continually tried to say, look, we need to spend more time lest day to day changes create gaps that become too far to bridge. I felt like I was looking at a chasm, and trying to call to them...and my words were never heard. I was tired of trying to be understanding of their choices. Yes, I know they have families, but you're telling me you only have time enough to get together twice a year for holidays?

I guess a part of me can see their frustration. I am forever the one questioning. I am the one shuffling my feet. I am the emotional one, the one who analyzes everything. I am the artist temperament. And they're tired of it. And I see that. For so long so many things just didn't feel right for me, though, and I have to acknowledge that. Yes, I know the situation has to change with the addition of families--but THAT much? Why? You're telling me coffee once a month is out of the question? I don't think so. I WASN'T asking too much. And I got tired of my take on it being overlooked. That's the bottom line. Barb the confused one, Barb the emotional one, Barb the fucked up one. No, I was just wanting to really feel accepted and integral, and I never quite got there. Friend X was the keystone, and it's with X that the others will side. I can no better make my point of view valid than Z (a former member of the group who was left by the side of the road, so to speak). It will be shunted off to a "whatever" category, and how wrong I was/am. And I'm just standing up to say, no, my words are valid, and I was right all along, and I'm not going to play this game anymore of what subjects we can broach and the others that are off limits because that's your own deal with yourself. If we really were like family, I should have been able to make a comment about kids without being told "I hate it when people who don't have kids try to say stuff". Well, maybe it's just common sense, and maybe I DO have valid points. Okay, so it's too sensitive for you to hear. That's the problem--there's too much that's sensitive. I have to step carefully lest I step on land mines, and I was tired of protecting my comments so much. That's the great thing (seemingly) about men and their relationship with other men. They can yell and scream and then go out and have a beer. Done. Women need to learn how to do that more often, so we're not pots of resentment just waiting to boil over at any little addition of flame. Sigh. It's all so complicated. As I've said before, I am nothing if not honest and forthright, and I don't plan on changing now. This is the only way I know how to live, and overall it reaps rewards ten fold.

I have so many mixed feelings. One part of me wants Friend Y to write or call and say, "gosh, I over-reacted, I'm sorry". That wouldn't discount the fact that she really felt the things she said (and I'm glad that was finally given voice), but maybe we could cross that bridge. I don't really think it's my place to work things out. Yeah, I started the blogging that started this whole thing, and I was the one who considered the exit...but I wasn't actually the one who exited. So I don't feel like it's my place to try to mend anything. X tried to mend stuff by having us get together and I declined. But I didn't want to be in the midst of a smackfest and having to defend myself.

We have a shared history that is intense (at least I thought so) but so much resentment has built up with changes. This started because I felt too many words were left unspoken, and too many subjects off limits. I felt like I did when I was with J (first boyfriend, a seven year relationship) and I had to be a different person to please his family. After awhile, you give away little pieces of yourself and there's just a few scraps left with which to work. I just don't buy into the psycho-babble your garden/my garden thing--it's like trying to validate why the friendship is currently held together with little pieces of tape. I can't discount the entire 25 years as invalid. I don't think I'm on a path of self destruction nor am I prideful...or any of the other accusations they rallied my way. I think I'm a nice and kind person who sometimes has bouts of self doubt and depression and this can be overwhelming to others who don't understand. Would that they had just talked to me about this rather than blowing me off, because that started my distrust in them. Bottom line is that it wasn't so much fun to get together anymore. Not with X whining about how tired she always is. I thought Y and I had fun still, but I didn't know about all the anger brewing under the surface. But how could I? None of us ever TALKED about anything. We saw one another so rarely, we were just trying to catch up. Like Debbie (my co-worker friend and former roommate who also has three kids) says, "if you really WANT to spend time, you MAKE the time". I just wasn't important enough, or so it felt. Even as X is ill she doesn't see that her lifestyle is crying out for change, and it pisses me off. The way Y handled it though (a good-bye email? Sheesh), that was below the belt. So now it all just feels sort-of odd. I'm never going to talk to them anymore? All because I wrote about them on my blog? What is that all about? I guess I always felt like my voice was silent, and maybe I was right in my assessment. Maybe they just never wanted to hear. So in many ways I'm glad because this is more real, and I do have other friends. Not to the same degree, granted, but I can certainly make new ones. I can certainly survive, even though this is painful like a divorce is painful. I keep thinking it's going to smooth over, and perhaps that's not the case. Last time our rift lasted 7 years. This time I don't think it will mend unless it does so in the next week (it will be Christmas). I don't think I'm being stubborn--I didn't do anything wrong. To speak ones mind is not a crime.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Preserves attempt #1: a bust

Here was how my night went:
Decided to set much-needed sewing aside (having spent all afternoon writing two CD reviews), and figured I'd try my first canning experience. I chose tangerine marmalade, since Satsuma mandarin oranges are so sweet and in season.

7:00 or there about: started zesting grapefruit and lemons, and cutting up fruit. This should be a breeze, right? Have to simmer for 45 minutes, then boil for 20, so I should be out of here in no time!

Fast forward to after 10:00: I'm slicing little slivers of tangerine peels. What a process, let me tell you. Not to mention how difficult it is to cut up 2 lbs of fruit and being careful to remove seeds and membranes and pith...and those all get tied up in a cheesecloth bag so the pectin can be released.

Midnight: the kettle is way past the time limit and it's still not reaching the correct temp. Perhaps the pot I'm using is too thick. Perhaps I should have turned the heat up more. Sugar is warming in the oven, as are the sterilized jars.

2:00am: Set my alarm for an hour to try to get a nap in while the mixture cools and gets a film on top. It never did seem to reach 220 degrees, but it HAS to be done after all this boiling, right? Right?

3:00am: Hmmm, no film. Screw it, I'm pouring it in the jars anyway.

3:40am: Cleaning little drops of sticky, syrupy stuff off the stove. Dishes washed and put away.

4:10am: Jars finally filled and reboiled to seal.

4:15am: In bed at the same time I got up for work the day before yesterday.

This morning I got up to find the jars full of liquid. The stuff never set up. All that work and time for naught. I guess I'll try to add commercial pectin and reboil and buy new lids (lids can't be reused), and see if I can salvage anything. The ironic part is....I don't know of anyone who likes marmalade other than my mom. I was just trying to learn, and I never realized this was going to be such a process.

Then my favorite coffee cup fell off the computer desk and broke into several pieces. At least I can mosaic those. Maybe I should go back to bed....

Friday, December 16, 2005

Quilting with Paper

I've posted previously about Naive Knitting's paper quilts, and it is still on my To-Do list to make one of these. My art is becoming more cathartic in nature, and I plan to make this out of old cards and letters I've saved over the years...from friends now estranged. This book, Paper Quilting, by Bridget Hoff, offers a few tips, but overall it is more collage in nature. I want to make a paper quilt following a traditional quilt pattern, but I do like the idea of embellishing it with trinkets and charms and memorabilia. These are wall hangings, after all--they can include a variety of techniques and objects. Posted by Picasa

The book showcases several artists' work, including the author's domino boxes and embellished houses. Though lovely and inspiring, they are not paper quilts, and that is the information I am seeking right now. Posted by Picasa

I love incorporating elements of nature into my art, and sewing leaves appeals to me. This would also work for card making, or on giftwrap. I love the idea of sewing old photographs (copies) to cards also, but that's another subject. There is a gel you can paint on leaves (available at stamping stores) that will keep them supple and therefore keep them from crumbling to future dust. Posted by Picasa

This is a nice example of a mixture of quilting, embellishment, collage, and statement. Posted by Picasa
(sorry about the white border here. I must have scanned 10 times and it was not cooperating, no matter how many times I cropped).

Using wax intrigues me. This technique would work for scrapbooking too. I have used paste wax (the type for picture frames) before, over raised glue, and that was nice too. I'm all about trying new things. Posted by Picasa

Interesting and appealing collage "quilt" of embellished luggage tags. I saw some DIY-type Christmas tags made from these inexpensive manila ones at an expensive stationary store yesterday. Be resourceful and creative with your supplies! I once read a newspaper article about a company that bought (or was given) old rusted farm equipment, then turned around and called it "garden art" and made a fortune. Go figure. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Stuff I'm Cooking this week

Pumpkin Fudge
Pumpkin Banana Bread
Pomegranate Jelly
Cranberry Jam
new link: Cranberry Jam
And a Tangerine Marmalade and Pineapple Jam from a book my mom has that features homemade vinegars, pickles, and preserves.


Necktie Box

I came across an old set of craft files that I had made in the 80's. I had all these dreadful magazine clippings of 80's fashions ~shudder~.
But then this find! A box for scarves or neckties, constructed out of neckties! As Laura knows, I love sewing with neckties, so to find a new project just made my day. This is from a craft card by Georgia Bonesteel--better known for her books and PBS series on Lap Quilting. The box would also be good for a memory keepsake (or a mourning one), or even for stationary. Posted by Picasa

The ABC's of Me

This is a fun idea I copied from the beautifully written blog, Eve Thinking

A - Age you got your first kiss:
I was old for the standard--9th grade. What is that? Fourteen I guess. Danny (can't remember the last name) from church. He was so adorable, and I was so very naive. He wanted to kiss more than just a standard peck, and I giggled. He made fun of me behind my back to the rest of the "church kids" (meaning the popular cute ones). After that I went out and got ahold of every informative sexual thing I could, because no one would ever laugh at me again. I read The Sensuous Woman, Fear of Flying, Everything you Wanted to Know about Sex but were Afraid to Ask, Playboy, Penthouse....everything. My mom was appalled, and she didn't know the half of it. I waited on the virginity thing though. So there you go.

B - Band listening to right now:
Tally Hall. Anything close to the Barenaked Ladies is right up my alley. I write CD reviews, so I am fortunate enough to be exposed to things that I might not hear otherwise.

C - Crush:
Hmmm, no crush right now. Well, maybe that Josh guy on the Apprentice. I consider myself to be a very passionate person, and it's just bizarre to not have dated for a year. I needed a chance to get to know myself though. To not make hasty, foolish decisions. It was a wise choice, and now I'm ready to spring back into the relationship world again. Somehow.

D- Drink of Choice:
For non-alcoholic, it's always regular Coke. No diet for me (although I sometimes, oddly enough, like Tab). Alcohol: Myers rum and pineapple juice.

E - Easiest person:
I don't know what this question means.

F - Favorite band at the moment:
Duh, Barenaked Ladies. Best band live hands down. Tons of energy. But I have varied tastes in music. I love reggae. I appreciate folk music. I love lounge music. I love world music. Favorite CD: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

G - Gummy worms or gummy bears?
Bears (they're thicker).

H – Holiday:
New Year's Day. The Rose Parade is on television, and my slate is clean.

I - Instruments:
I don't play any, but I love the sound of a good sax.

J - Juice:

K - Kids:
Never had any, and it brings tears to my soul.

L - Longest car ride ever:
Up to Vegas with my ex-boyfriend and our friend Wayne. I was in the back of a Neon rental, and spent most of the time crying out, "are we there yet?". Horrendous. I've driven across country and that was enjoyable, but that drive to Vegas...ugh.

M - Major:
I never graduated, in part because nothing ever truly called to me. I started out as a Biology major, but refused to dissect animals, so that was out. Changed to Geography until the dean told me there was no future in it (I foolishly listened). Changed to Journalism but got discouraged when the parking was out of control at the university, and dropped out. Went to Interior Design school and got excited about Feng Shui until an instructor told me there was no future in it (foolishly listened again. I think even then I knew she was wrong, but it just sucked my excitement out of it). Got totally into green design, but again got frustrated and dropped out. Another instructor told me I'd never make it in the business if I didn't like to draw (once again, WRONG. Aren't teachers supposed to be inspiring?).

N - Nicknames:
Barbie Doll. Barbie Ann Sweetrolls. BD. Boo. Babette.

O - One wish:
To have a family of my own.

P - Phobia[s]:
Being in dark water and near the creepy crawlies within it.

Q - Quote:
"If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy hyacinths, for they would feed my soul."
I believe this is from, of all places, the Koran.

R - Reason to smile:
Discovering I am worthwhile without a man or friends or anyone or anything. I am worthwhile for who I am. Long time in coming, that one.

S - Song you sang last:
Funny Valentine. Really loud in my car.

T - Time you woke up [today]:
4:15 am to get to work. Usually it's much later, as I like to go to bed after midnight.

U - Unknown fact about me:
I can sing well, I'm just too shy to let people hear me.

V - Vegetable you hate:
Mustard greens. Does that count as vegetable? Brussel sprouts too.

W - Worst habit(s):

X-rays you've had:
Chest and jaw. No broken bones (knock on wood)

Y - Yummy food:
Peanut butter! And most everything else too.

Z - Zodiac sign:
Aries. The fire sign.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So much sewing to do....so little time

Just one of the shawls posted by Se La Vee. No offense to Anthropologie, but wouldn't it be fun to make a DIY version? I love getting inspiration from magazines and catalogs. Posted by Picasa

Speaking of crafting, I have soooo much to finish before Christmas. My gosh, how did the year end so quickly? It's hard to fit everything in between working, etc. Just running around for the supplies seems to take forever. I'm just going to have to start going nuts with the machine if I plan to get everything finished. I have two aprons to make, a shrug, and five cosmetic bags. I decided to hold off on a tote I had planned when I found an amazing votives holder/vase in wrought iron at Joanns for only $12.49 (half price sale). So that lightens my load a bit. I have another bag I need to finish, but the recipient already knows about it, and I got her package off in the mail yesterday. It cost more to mail than anything else!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Chicano Park

Chicano Park is located within an area of San Diego called Barrio Logan. Muralists have given the Mexican-American community here a source of pride. Murals and grafitti art are painted on the underpass of the freeway. I love this photo with all its contrasts, and the man in the background with his sombrero (well, it's a straw hat, but it still looks cool). More history here, and here.  Posted by Picasa

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I ran out of film before I could get a shot of this one, so this image comes from here. I am having one of the artists (Mario Torero) do a painting of Bob Marley for me (copying a banner he made that I saw at the Bob Festival several years ago). I tracked him down through the local reggae radio program. Now to just finish paying for it. Posted by Picasa

I'll post more pics of the park in the future.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas at the Hotel Del

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The famous and historic Hotel Del Coronado hires a staff to decorate its huge interior tree, and each year the theme changes. This year is an apropos sea-inspired theme with a Victorian twist, and it is just spectacular.

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Bulbs, stars, starfish, tassels, beautiful fabric and ribbon, seashells atop packages, and a seahorse-shaped ornament.

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More wrapping inspiration!

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Foyer table with Father Christmas.

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A fireplace mantel I would love to call my own.

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Exterior light fixture, surrounded by a wreath with the sea theme. Stunning.

My photos of the Christmas Parade didn't turn out, unfortunately. I love parades, because they give a small town impression to this big city. Marching down the street was the local high school band, cheerleaders, drill team, and ROTC. There were police cars with all forms of sirens sounding, small floats publicizing local businesses, the city's beauty queen, Navy Seals and Sailors, floats with a California twist, and doggies looking to be adopted. Even a trash truck, all decked out in lights, made the route! Girls in Santa caps came skipping by throwing candy canes. Little kids oohed and aahed. A parade is Americana at its finest. Santa Claus made an appearance in grand style--atop the laddered fire truck.