Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Those of us who are land-locked desert dwellers love seeing things like this, just to whet our whistle, so to speak.  We are already in the triple digits and this, somehow, makes it seem ever so much cooler in our sandy, incredibly hot, part of the world.  Aside from complaining about the temperatures, this is just PLAIN COOL!
The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has done it again, and this time it's something we've not seen from them before.  My daughter and I got there as this was being installed for the Memorial Day weekend - it is complete now, and in place until September, I believe.  Don't know much about it yet - it hasn't been written up in the local newspapers, and I had to shoot this from the outside looking in, literally, as it was all roped off that day.  The upper right bed of seaweed with the schools of fish is evidently a moving mobile, as they were working on the mechanics of making them "swim" that day.  GIANT bubbles and droplets hang from the rafters.
The biggest, and most colorful, seahorses you've ever seen, suspiciously watching lunch goers.
THESE are SO beautiful - I don't even have a guess as to how large these jellyfish are - HUGE, if I have to be technical.  The bottoms are some sort of shimmering, swaying gossamer fabric, undulating in little waves thanks to large blowing fans inside (and that was a grammatical mouthful, there!).
The sea turtle is most wonderful - filled with cut flowers, and accented with real seashells along the sections of his shell.  Hydrangeas to die for - eye-popping colors everywhere, to make you go, "Oooooooh!!!"
Tropical fish and anemones, encircle a large reef.  They were working on a mermaid and treasure chest the day we were there, but we could get nowhere close enough for photos.  You'll just have to visit it and see for yourself, if you're in town...or wait for me to go back, which is most definitely on the summer agenda.
And the show continues out through the lobby - don't ever just stop at the Conservatory!  These large floral displays, under the amazing Chihuly glass ceiling in the Lobby of the hotel, are spectacular - and notice the netting holding Starfish, Abalone, and Conch Shells. Attention to detail is remarkable in these displays - ALWAYS!
Visitors in the lower left give a tiny bit of perspective.  Believe me - HUGE!  I hope your Summer is off to the best of starts - I sure can't believe the year is half over, already.  Have a safe and happy June, my friends (and family)!  If you're in Vegas, get out of the casinos and see what else the town has to offer (this is all free, if that helps to persuade you to leave the machines!)  See you right here, in July.

Monday, June 1, 2015


If you're gonna' run with scissors, you're bound to cut a really nice wool blanket once in awhile! Mom always warned me against running with them, but at the very least to keep the cutting end pointed down - or at a blanket! It's happened to me TWICE now.
The good news is, it wasn't a total loss - in fact, it wasn't a loss at all! Four shoulder bags and one clutch purse from one seriously HEAVY wool blanket purchased in Santa Fe over the winter - two bags finished this weekend.    
The blanket was a little larger this time - a Pendleton Beaver State (64 X 80"; 82% pure virgin wool; 18% cotton ) San Miguel pattern blanket, to be exact - patterned after Native American blanket designs.
This blanket was incredible on BOTH sides (as are all of the Pendletons) and provided for two totally different looks/"feel" of bag, though the same pattern was utilized for both.  The lighter of the two (it may look cream, but it's a very pale grey) was finished with the same rusty brown lining as the previous red Pendletons, and has dark brown leather thongs.  The 1.5" button on the front is an OLD one. Antique, and made from a horn (don't ask me from what animal), with a detailed brass inlay.
The second bag was finished with red lining to match the red wool cut from the same blanket, with grey crosses that echoed the rest of the design.  Finished with a 2" geometric bakelite button, silver-tone grommets, and black leather thongs.  For those that sew, the pattern used (with my own modifications) is the Lucille Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts.

Both of these are going to their new home in Colorado.  Both will be very loved, I'm sure of it.  Hope your week is off to a wonderful start - watch running with scissors.  You never know what you might cut!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


They say it's your birthday...
I hope you get LOTS of cake (these were at the Bellagio a few weeks back) - enough to make you sick if you want - at 81 years old, you deserve as much cake as you can stand, and then some!  I'll be there in four, and we'll eat some more!
For all the goofy things I've ever made you do (like going into a strange building in the middle of hippie central to find an amazing carousel, or dragging up and down ALL those stairs at Red Rocks to fill in for Mom) - why, even those things 60 miles away...
Like Acoma - I love you more than you will ever know (just like I love this picture of you two)!
Happy Birthday, Dad - I wanted this post to be on here earlier, but spent the day wrestling (figuratively) with this stupid computer.  See, it's not just you who has issues with electronics!
And MORE cake, because I missed a Mother's Day, a Mom a lot of girls WISH they had.  I know your day was wonderful.  We might just have a belated cake for that TOO, when I get home. For right now though, these are "empty" calories so enjoy!
Quite a pair - the two of 'em have been at it almost 59 years this year...wife, MOTHER, friend.  I love you to the moon and back - and this would be the best parting shot I could leave you with, Mom - sorry it is so late, but the thought was there...
Love you both - see you soon!  XOXO

Thursday, May 14, 2015

DUCHESS WRAP - My "Nighttime, Take a Break, Sit-on the Couch, and Rest Your Back" Medicine...

I hate when I go silent on here for too long.  I've had a good excuse in that I've been painting and re-doing a room, but I owe my Mom a Mother's Day post, in the very least.  Freshly painted walls make a great backdrop for the project I finished up last night - my evening "therapy sessions" where I rest my back in preparation for more painting shenanigans.  This is the Duchess Wrap from the new "Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves" book.
I won't bore the non-knitters with the details - for those who want to know, comment here or email me direct.  I did do change-ups (actually they are simple, and only encompass the first three rows) on the pattern at the beginning to rectify buttonhole and needle size/gauge issues I had with the pattern - I'm more than happy to share what I did.  I used ten 3/4" antique buttons - five of them are Victorian age "twinkle buttons", with mirrors behind the pierced metal.  My "go-to source" for all of these is a sweet local friend who deals in antique/vintage buttons, as well as antiques, period. Want her contact information?  I'll gladly provide that, as well!
Cooler weather can't come soon enough now - especially for those of us in the desert that are heading into soaring Summer temps already.  There's a winter coat in a closet back home in CO that this is going to look fabulous on...
In the meantime, it's seems to feel "right" on my old (not really - it's vintage Chico's) long, paisley Janis Joplinesque coat, with the faux fur collar and cuffs.  The mannequin never looked so groovy!  Happy Thursday - looking forward to being done with the paintbrush for awhile!

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Parting shots from the Ethel M Cactus Garden, as our Spring winds down and we head into Summer - always a good sign, honeybees!

Various paddle cactus - I can tell you the one on the right is a Cow's Tongue Cactus.

For loved ones in CO, something you'll rarely see - a lizard crossing Rabbit Ears Pass.  Bottom left is a Fire Stick Cactus.
Ocotillo in full bloom on the left.  The cactus on the right was "in the pink" and bare, all within a week's time.

This grand old sentinel of the garden seems to be saluting the end of the desert bloom.  Here's hoping your May is already bringing the blooms promised by those April showers (and snowstorms), and that your own colorful display is starting as ours is ending.

Thursday, April 30, 2015


I know - looks tropical, huh?  I spied two MASSIVE white blooms truly hidden in the garden.  Off the beaten path, and probably missed by mind was wandering as I was walking across the parking lot, and caught these out of the corner of my eye, in a remote section.  This was, no exaggeration, the size of a salad plate.
As near as I can find out (there was no one available to ask on Sunday), this is called an Easter Lily Cactus.  I couldn't get near to it, so these were all zoomed as far as my camera would let me.  It sat at the base of a much more imposing cactus - I went back two days later, and the bottom right was all that was left of the bloom.  Things "come and go so quickly here"...I'm sure a lot of people missed this one!

The yellows are predominant in the garden now, with most of the pink and orange blooms having already made their showing.

And THIS guy...lounging atop a Purple Cloud Ranger, as I drove into the parking lot.  Tried to get the shot through the car window, so as not to disturb him...too dark.  Actually got out of my car - I was evidently a non-threat to him, as all I got was this "look" and a few shots before leaving him in peace.  No nest - just laying on the bush!
The birds ADORE these's a cheerfully noisy place to walk through.
Even the areas that aren't heavily laden with blooms are beautiful - just a smattering of soft purple against all these sharp spines is a show stopper.  The barrel cactus are spectacular, if not menacing at the same time.  Happy Thursday - off to paint some walls...

Monday, April 27, 2015


Short on verbiage this week, but long on beauty.  An entire week of blooming cacti from the Vegas Valley.  The photos here were "enhanced" (because I was in a "pick-me-up" mood), but the blooms are really as bright as you think.  And, that cactus above is really purple - a Purple Pancake Cactus, to be exact.  The blooms are short lived, but always spectacular...all photos were taken the past three weeks at Ethel M's Cactus Garden, here in Henderson, NV.  The reds and brilliant oranges are the first to come and go every spring and were missed this year, but the rest have been mighty impressive.
And darting around the blooms on one particular plant yesterday, was this little guy - SO fast - SO bright.
He stayed long enough to drink his fill, allowing for some hastily snapped shots... 
Do you know how hard it is to follow a darting hummingbird with a camera and snap before he moves again?!  And then he was gone.

Happy Monday - back tomorrow with a little more Spring in my step!