Monday, December 15, 2014

An Island Holiday

I had almost forgotten the smell of the sea,
                                    the complexity of salted air.....

...... we've just returned from an island holiday~
a cruise to warm places, white sand beaches, and
 turquoise waters...

 the beautiful island of

the Gardener took off on a
snorkel trip-
(the crystal clear waters of Bonaire
are the best in the Caribbean for snorkeling)

My lazy day was spent here...
a quiet little place, just minutes from the cruise ship pier

 all those folks on the cruise ship went somewhere-
but they did not come here...

that's my chair over there...
                  the one with the pink sarong~

I'm (almost) ashamed to admit that my day
was so totally lazy...
my afternoon was spent watching
 a little bird building her nest
 under the thatched roof
of this cabana.
(sometimes I gave her bits of my yarn to add to
her nesting) 

 just a few steps from my beach chair
was this beautiful pool~

and just a short walk away
was the beach bar ...
(they make awesome mango smoothies here!)

in the afternoon,
I took a little walk along the beach~


after his snorkel trip was over,
the Gardener joined me here for a few
hours in the sun~

even lazy days have to end sometime.
So in the late afternoon,
we walked back to our temporary home
on the ship~

waiting for the sail away~

the view from our balcony
 just before sunset~

I'm sharing our island holiday
in a 3 part series over these 
next few weeks...
(after that, I'll be taking you on our amazing tour
of the Gaspe Penninsula in Canada)
Did you know that you were
going to travel so much this winter??

A few notes about our island travels~

All these photos were taken with my Iphone 5 camera.
What I read -- "The Glassblower Trilogy", book one.  What a wonderful story! I cannot wait until the second book in the series comes out in March!

this is the third in the Maggie Hope mystery series.  I love, love these books...

What I started reading, but have not finished yet--
 "Fall of Giants", book one of the Century Trilogy.  Why have I not read this book before now??  OMG --- I can not wait to read the entire series.  My husband read books one and two while we were on the cruise,...he was totally captivated by the stories. 

~~~~While the rest of you are wrapping your trees in tinsel and colored lights, I'm here to tell you that coming home from vacation in the middle of December-- with the holiday just 2 short weeks away--- is madness!  I thought I was being so organized, ordered all my gifts before we left on vacation ---- and came home to a house full of boxes!!  Spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the Caribbean was nothing short of marvelous, but---- if I ever do this again, I will have all my packages bought and WRAPPED before I leave. I'll be back in a few days with the second in this series----we did so many new and wonderful things, went places we've never been before,...
But first, I have some wrapping to do!!  


the winners were published today for those who participated in the "Josephine's Children" project. You can find the complete list of winners at the end of the post here 
 I'll share the final updates to this amazing project at the end of my next blog post.Your generosity has been amazing -- as always.  I can't wait to share with you all the details!
Don't forget-- the deadline in nearing to sign up for participation in the next "Grow Your Blog" party.  You have until January 15 to enter. We have just over 200 participants so far!  If you want to make new friends and increase the readership of your blog --- you can find all the info here

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Do you want to "GROW YOUR BLOG" -- make new friends-- increase your blog readership? The opportunity do do all of those things is just around the corner~

My "GROW YOUR BLOG" event is designed to bring more readers and FOLLOWERS to your blogs. The premise is simple-- just visit as many blogs as you wish and sign up to follow those that interest you. In turn, all the other folks will be doing the same thing~ we will all be growing our blogs!

We need some guidelines for everyone to follow
so here they are~
(the really, really important stuff is highlighted in red!!)

1.Everyone who has a blog is invited -- 
this is an international event.  
Wherever you live~you are invited to party with us. 
Please note -- the deadline for entry is January 17.  This is THE official sign up post -- if you wish to participate - please leave a comment here on this post.  (I can't go back and forth between multiple posts for all the entries -- so please consider that this is the official sign up post.)

In your entry comment -- please tell me how many followers you have.  I will be grouping the participants according to their number of followers.  While you can certainly visit as many blogs as you wish -- those of you with only a few followers may wish to begin your visits by going to those blogs who, like you, only have a few followers -- that way you can support each other and more easily add to your follower lists!

***** in addition to your number of followers - please leave me a live link to your blog in your comment.  Copy the URL of your blog and paste it into your comment.  This will make it easier for me to go directly to your blog when I add you into the blog lists.  If I can't find your blog ---- I won't be able to add it in. 

and---- new this year-----
if you have a particular craft or hobby that your blog is primarily associated with ---
eg.. quilting, embroidery, knitting, cross stitch, photography, painting,... -- leave me a comment about that as well.
if you have multiple hobbies--- you may list up to 3

I'll list your craft choice out from your blog name on the party list -- that may help to bring more folks to your blog who have similar interests.
(if you don't have a hobby, that's fine--)

2.  Please share the beautiful party badge 
(created by my friend Karen Valentine)
with your own blogging friends. 
 Post it on your sidebar and encourage your friends to do the same.  The more blogs that participate - the more chances we all have of growing our blogs.  SPREAD THE WORD!  Perhaps even consider doing a post about this on your own blog. The more people who participate -- the more chances you have to "Grow Your BLOG!!"

3. Prizes --- 
the choice is yours
 to give away prizes or not. 
 Last year it was about half and half.   In the many comments that I received relating to last year's event -- folks seemed to really enjoy the prizes that they won and appreciated the efforts by those who gave them away.  But - the choice is yours and there is no requirement to do so.  If  you do chose to give away a prize - it can be anything you want.  The rules need to be the same for everyone~ anybody can enter, anybody can win.  
PLEASE do not make it a requirement to follow your blog in order to enter. In fact -- you do not have to have a blog to be entered to win a prize.  Blogging has NO boundaries so you need to be willing to ship your prize any where in the world.  Everyone can enter - regardless of where they live.  

**Let's all do the same thing and give the prizes away on February 15.  You can announce the winner of your give away on your blog on that date. **

4.  Please publish your blog post 
late on the evening of January 24 --
 that way it will be ready for those on the other side of the world
 who wake up before us.
As the host blog, I will publish my post with the list on participants
 just after midnight 
on January 25. 
  Please take a moment and read the following
suggestions for making this a great and fun 
experience for us all~

1. Please title your blog post "GROW YOUR BLOG".  Introduce yourself, tell us who you are and why your love to blog.  If your blog pertains to a specific interest or area - tell us all about that. In short - we would all like to know what drives you create your blog. 

2. There is nothing more dreaded than the "no reply blogger" status.  Simply go to your blogger profile page and add your email address. This will allow folks to reply directly back to you from your comment on their blog. We all want to be able to reply directly back to our visitors - especially if they ask a question-- it's so frustrating when that cant be done.

3.  Comment moderation spam filter -- ugh.  Most of us hate it!  Please consider turning it off for this event. This is NOT a requirement - but it will definitely make your visitors more likely to stay longer and leave a comment if they don't have to play with the robot.

4.  VERY IMPORTANT-- if you want more followers - be sure to add your FOLLOWER gadget to your sidebar! Please have it positioned prominently where we can all see it.  (you can find the Follower button in the gadget section of your design page.  Just click on it and position it on your sidebar.)

5.  You might want to consider adding your email address to your public profile and also somewhere on your sidebar.  Mine is listed in 2 places on my sidebar -- I want my readers to easily be able  to reach me. I also often list my email address directly in my post so that folks can find it more easily.

6. Consider telling us your name.  Seriously. Folks want to be able to call you by name and to connect with you when they leave a comment.You might want to also consider posting a photo of yourself somewhere on your blog- that helps your readers to connect with you also.  My name is Vicki. (see photo at bottom of this post) .  See -- that was painless!  

7.  I know that many of you are artists (like me) and that your blogs are often about the things that you create. If your craft is genuinely a part of who you are -- then by all means share with us what you make!  BUT -- this event is not about selling our wares-- this event is to meet people and grow our blogs. Just have your website or ETSY shop listed on your blog sidebar-- if your visitors are interested in making a purchase -- they will go to the trouble to find your shop on the sidebar or to email you. 

8.  Sometimes when you go to a party -- you just feel like getting a new dress or outfit.  So-- if you would like to update the appearance of your blog -- a new blog header --or a whole new layout-- you might want to contact my friend Karen Valentine.  Karen has dedicated her entire blogging career to helping us all with our blogging concerns,questions, and also helping us create beautiful blogs.    Karen is my very own "go to person" when it comes to anything that I need help with relating to my blog. She has practically "adopted" me.  I know that she would be thrilled to help you with updating your blogs in preparation for all the company you will be receiving at this event!  

 SO -- please mark your calendars.  Make a poster - put it in your datebook-- place a reminder on your phone -- a sticky note on your computer--write the date on your bathroom mirror~~~ if you are a reader or follower of my blog, I won't let your forget! 

As I add blogs to the lists, I won't be sending emails to each of you this year telling you that you have been added in.  I just can't-- that takes hours and hours of extra work.  So please, if participating in this event is important to you - please save the date, mark the date -- and refer to this post for all the info that  you need. 

*** please note~
After the party begins, I will wait 24 hours and then begin to delete those blogs that do not have a specific "GROW YOUR BLOG" post.  (I'm so sorry-- but I want this to be fair to everyone.)  So please do remember the date.

Volunteers needed!!!
those who volunteer to help with the party will be listed at the very TOP of the party page (before the regular lists begin)
 -- you will also be listed in your blog grouping based on your number of followers -- so you will have 2 opportunities to have visits from folks at the party!! 
***I'm looking for about 20 volunteers to help me visit the blogs who are participating. If you are someone who is comfortable with the "how-to's" of blogging, and consider that you could answer questions from novice bloggers regarding blogging issues --- then please consider being one of my VALUED volunteers for this year's party.  In addition -- on the day of the party you will visit the short list of blogs that I assign to you and report back to me which ones forgot to do a "Grow Your Blog" post.   If you are available to help me -- just send me an email-- 

 This is me --- photo taken on our recent trip to the Gaspe Penninsula, Quebec, Canada.  (I'll be posting this entire trip beginning in January -- taking my readers on an incredible adventure!!)

I want to personally invite you to be a part of my third annual "Grow Your Blog" party for January 2015---  it is truly  a wonderful opportunity for folks to meet new friends.  Last year, the  party started with almost 600 participants.  Because I leave the party post up all year long --- the opportunity is still there even after the party closes -- for folks to continue to visit you -- and for you to visit all the other participants.  My blog continues to get almost 200 visits per week on that party post--- so it lives on, and on, and on!!  I hope to see you there~
If you have questions, please dont hesitate to email me ---

ps --- I want to leave this post up for several weeks so that the info about the party will be easily available to everyone.  I'll be back with my regular posts sometime in mid-December.  xoxo

Friday, November 7, 2014

The last Blooms of Summer--(introcucing my new knitted wrap collection)

'tis the last rose of summer,
        left blooming all alone;
                   All her lovely companions
                                  are faded and gone."
                                                               Thomas Moore

the last of the summer blooms--
fading more every day~

 in the sunlight,
on this last warm day--
their colors are still lovely

pinks, reds, purples, 
vibrant colors in nature's beautiful hues~

fragile stems reaching 
for the warmth of the sun,
not knowing that
tonight comes the frost~

my latest knitted wrap collection

trailing vines
covered with beaded flowers
in a variety of textures and fabrics

exquisite blooms,
each one unique and beautiful~
created from vintage fabrics,lace,crochet pieces, ribbons

 tiny beads
sewn in place to accent
 every bloom

they trail across a beautifully knitted wrap~ 
a remembrance of the last
blooms of summer

knitted from a variety of soft and warm
acrylic threads
surround yourself with exquisitely
soft luxury 
and beautiful blooms

scattered here and there~
tiny pearl like beads are clustered
to form delicate,tender

the wrap measurements are
78" length
24 inches wide
the wrap can also be worn as a
 chunky scarf

 tiny knitted leaves,
also intricately beaded,
are blooming on the vines~

this beautiful wrap is the first 
in my new "Blooms" design~
over the next few months there are more to come
in this series

this exquisite wrap 
is listed here
in my ETSY shop

Some updates~
My next post will be the official "Grow Your Blog" post -- more info coming in that post along with the party badge!

Do you have any plans for the winter?Do you want to travel with me? The Gardener and I recently returned from a 3 week trip to Canada where we drove the entire Gaspe peninsula.  There are no words to describe the beauty that we experienced.  Truly, it was the trip of a lifetime~

4000 photos later....
Starting in January, travel with us as I take you all along on this photographic journey to a place that National Geographic has described as the "third most beautiful drive in the world".  We will start in beautiful Quebec City and then journey eastward, along the St. Lawrence river and then later, along the coastline of the beautiful Chaleur Bay(known as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.) Scenic vistas, lighthouses, national parks,.... I will share the entire journey with you all.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Josephine's Children" Charitable Project --- an update!

Thank you ~
to the many of you who have contributed to this amazing charitable project for the children of Uganda.  Without a doubt, my blog readers are some of the most kind and generous people in the world~

to date--
 you have donated almost $1400
in a combination of cash and
Walmart gift cards~

 Even the smallest of donations
is such a HUGE gift 
for these needy children~

I've been collecting all the 
one dollar bills that you have sent--
your donations towards the purchase 
of supplies for the children,
and also to help offset the shipping charges
to Uganda~
today I deposited over $250
one dollar bills into my
"Africa account"

 I am so touched by the
beautiful heartfelt messages
that you have sent
along with your gifts.

your amazing donations of craft supplies 
for the children
are taking up all the space
in my bedroom floor!

Craft supplies from your very own
 personal stash--
true gifts of the heart!

these photos represent
"just a small part"
  of your generous crafting donations!

Honestly, I grabbed the supplies 
that were on the top 
of the stash
for these photos~

in addition to beautiful beads and threads~
you've sent embroidery hoops,
cross stitch supplies,
knitting needles,
pattern booklets,
and yarn--
gorgeous yarns!!
 you've sent 
wool threads for crewel embroidery, 
notions for jewelry making,
strings, lace, ribbons~

you've sent
colorful beads in assorted designs~
(amazing treasures from your own stashes!!)
crafting treasures 
that will make the children
dance with delight!
Can you even imagine
the smiles on their faces when they
unwrap all of these

some of you have written
asking me to extend the deadline
so that you can send gifts for the children~
I have done so.
The deadline for donations to the
"Josephine's Children"
charitable project
has been extended to
 December 15.
 You can find the original post
with all of the information for the
"Josephine's Children"
charitable project

the goal of this project
is to send supplies-
(clothing, school supplies, health related items)
to desperately needy children
 in Uganda  

the children help to support
their needs by making craft items
that are sold in markets in nearby cities~
your donations of assorted
craft supplies--
(from your own stash)
will provide the children with a world
 of new crafting opportunities
to help support their
 You may mail your
$5 Walmart gift card donations to me.
Additionally, if you wish, you may include a $1
bill to be used for shipping charges.
 Please mail the above donations to
"Josephine's Children"
311 West Main Street
Grayson, Ky
 Please mail your craft supplies 
to my dear friend Sue -- in Texas.
She is gathering all the craft supplies,
 as well as doing the shopping
 with the Walmart gift cards~~
(I absolutely could NOT do this project without her help--
and without all of you!)
she will fill a huge crate with all the items
and see that it is delivered to the shipping 
port for the long journey to
You may mail your craft items to:
Sue Kosec
2525 Hwy 360
Euless, Tx.
(originally the craft items were sent here to me-- but I never expected such an amazing participation amongst my wonderful blog readers and supporters!  Since, I  will be mailing the craft items to Sue -- it just makes more sense for you to mail them there instead of to me. )
 We hope to be shipping the items to the children
shortly after the first of the year.  The journey will
take several weeks--
later next year, I will post photos 
of the children opening their supplies
and seeing for the first time
all of the amazing crafting treasures 
that you have donated,
as well as the supplies for their school
and clothing needs. 
You can find info about the prizes
(Kindle Fire,Vera Bradley purses, artisan crafted jewelry,...)
 that will be given away as thanks
for your contributions --
by clicking the link 
that will take you to
Please remember that your donations
must be to their destinations
(to me or Sue) 
by December 15.
If you have any questions about the project or donations -- you may email me at
My heartfelt thanks to those of you
who have found a little place in your own hearts
for these special children.
Some updates~~
coming up in just a few weeks -- THE OFFICIAL sign up post for the next "Grow Your Blog" party!! Be watching for that!! The date will be next January 25.  You will need to sign up on the OFFICIAL post~~
and -- coming up next -- the last of Autumn's tender blooms,-- in typical Vicki fashion~ (it's beautiful!)