21 December 2008


We went to The National Gingerbread competition in Ashville North Carolina this week. It was huge. I am not sure how many houses were entered but I took well over 100 photos. Most of the houses are on display at the Grove Park Inn. There are more at The Grove Arcade. The first photo was taken inside the Grove Park Inn, I believe this is set up for a professional photographer to take photos of guests. The photographer was on break so we climbed in for the photo. Maybe it will be a future Christmas card. The Grove Park itself is a lovely old Arts
and Crafts style Inn. The interior
is full of antiques. It is well worth a visit on its own. It is expensive however, the Gingerbread competition is open to the public for free Monday thru Thursday. This gave us an opportunity to check the place out.
The neighborhood around the inn is full of life size houses that could easily model for the competition. The second photo is one great example.
The third is the Inn itself. It is huge and I had some difficulty getting a good photo of it. This one at least shows why this is such a great venue for
Gingerbread. The inn sets high on the hillside and
has amazing views from almost every direction. This photo was taken from a wing of the inn. You can see the reflection of one of the Arts and Crafts style lamps that are placed throughout.
The Grove Arcade is more centrally located in downtown Ashville. The exterior is fun and a just a little castle like. The interior is even better. This photo shows why it is another great place to display Gingerbread.
I had a very hard time deciding which gingerbread houses to use. My favorite is the cupboard near the end. (That is why it is a bigger photo) My sweet Hubby's favorite and a close contender for mine, is the one called "Welcome Home" There are two large photos of this one. So many details! It is amazing.
If you hold the cursor over each photo, you should be able to see what I named it. If I know the name of the artist, it is in the title.
Since there were too many favorites, I tried to show the great variety.
This display is available for viewing until Jan 11, 2009. If you are feeling inspired, there will be another competition next November. For more info go to: www.groveparkinn.com

Last but not least, this is my inspiration, all dressed up for Christmas. If you look closely, I am on the balcony.
Happy Holidays!

15 December 2008

Abbeville Christmas

This is Jack and Bud. We met them in Abbeville SC last weekend. Each year the first Saturday of December is set aside for Abbeville's Christmas celebration. Abbeville was an important part of the Civil war. According to some locals, it was the Confederacy was born here, and died here.
The old part of town gets all dressed up and many of the locals come in period costumes. (Some businesses offer discounts to people who dress appropriately to encourage it.) Jack and Bud were kind enough (for a small fee) to give us a ride. The carriage is quite comfortable but a little chilly. The horses were friendly and so was the driver.
The lanterns were for sale in one of several local antique shops we visited. The flower is a Camilla. They look a bit like roses, but have no scent. This particular bush is the size of a tree. It was quite

cold and most of the flowers had faded but I could not resist this one.
The Burt-Stark Mansion is a beautiful old Southern house where Jefferson Davis stayed at the end of the war. It is open for tours and on this Saturday, it was free after 3:00.
Reenacters were camped on the grounds, they even had a very convincing Jefferson Davis. At one point they staged a running battle up to the steps, complete with cannon fire. We joked about the fact that it might be safer not to talk, (I don't have a Southern accent). Accent or not everyone we met was friendly.
There are quite a few lovely old houses in Abbeville and a beautiful church. Usually they open some of the private residents for tours to raise money for charity during the Christmas
festivities. This weekend they didn't. I hope they
do next year.
The Christmas village was on display in the Chamber of Commerce office. The starry sky affect was achieved simply by hanging twinkle lights behind blue cloth with a few tiny holes in it. The effect in person is quite magical.
The last two photos are of my place. I still think it is one of the prettiest places around. The second is moonrise as seen from my side porch. The first is sunset over my summer kitchen a few nights ago. Hope you enjoy.

07 December 2008

Ten Things I like about Cats

1. Cats can be very cuddly. (It is entirely up to them of course.)
2. Cats are fairly self sufficient. They enjoy spoiling, but do not really need it. (We are not supposed to know that.)
3. Cats are full of character. They all have unique personalities.
4. Cats are picky. Most dogs will love anyone who feeds them and pays them attention. If your cat loves you, you must deserve it.
5. Cats don't need a lot of food, they are after all, at least partially solar powered. ( Now you know why they love to stretch out in the sun.)
6. Cats are experts at stress management and they love to set a good example. When they do get stressed, they never stay that way for long.
7. Cats are natural therapists. They always seem to know when we need them.
8. They groom themselves. (Some need a little assistance, but you can choose which kind suits you best.)
9. Cats are natural entertainers. Even asleep they are cute.
10. They come already box trained by their Mother's. If your kitty was raised outside and you want them to use a box, just start by putting dirt in the box, then gradually add litter each time you clean it. (You need to change it much more often while it has dirt.) The kitty will do the rest.
All of the lovely kitties in this weeks post were photographed at the Atlanta Cat show from last weeks post. If this post has you thinking you would like a kitty to live with you. Why not visit your local shelter? Please remember though, you should never pick out a pet as a gift to someone else. Adoption is rewarding, but it is also for keeps.
Next week, something besides cats.

26 November 2008

Cat Show

We went to the Cat Fanciers' Association Inc. Cat Show in Atlanta and I of course took my camera. For more information on the association or to see the winners go to http://www.cfa.org/awards/top25-championship.html

There were several hundred cats there. As you may have guessed, I love cats. We currently live with my Grand kitty Spontaneous (who has been pictured on this blog several times.) This is the first cat show we have attended and I hope it won't be the last. The first two pictures are shelter kitties who went to the show to find new homes and raise money for their shelter. I
don't know if they were adopted but they sure

were cute. I don't imagine they will be homeless for long. All of these kitties were quite
Charming seeking attention. They "mushed" their chins up to the bars and purred whenever anyone came close. The shelter kitties were arrayed quite near the entrance.
The IAMS stage was set by the shelter kitties. I did not catch the man's name, it was rather hard to hear what he was saying. Hearing was not required to enjoy the show. He claims to have trained his cats. Everyone knows you can't train a cat. His must really love him though as they were quite cooperative. These kitties literally jumped through hoops for him. They also and walked on tightropes, climbed ladders .
There were I believe twelve different arenas for judging and they were busy. That is a lot of

beautiful kitties! This photo is a group of
Birman's. Lucky judges got to play with all that
fluff. The grey sweet heart with the big eyes is
named "Diamond Dust".
I also took photos of some of the cat's carriers. Some of their owners have really decorated them up. These cat's deserve to be pampered.
The Persian with the pink bib looks just a little grumpy. (Isn't it adorable?) The bib is to keep him (His name is Joey, maybe the pink bib is why he looks grumpy?) pretty and neat for the judges when he has his snack.
Last but not least, Spontaneous, I brought her a new toy back from the show. Generously donated by the people from IAMS.

23 November 2008


With Thanksgiving this coming week, I wanted to take just a moment to let you all know that you, my family and friends, (including the new friends I have met through my blogs), are what I am the most thankful for. There are so many wonderful people in my life!
I am thankful to have such a lovely roof over my head and with special thanks to my Dear Hubby, plenty of good food to eat.
I am thankful for these beautiful woods and the ability to walk in, and appreciate them.
I am grateful to have a job where I feel like sometimes I really do make a difference.
I am thankful for my health.
I am glad to be able to participate in all my various hobbies and to travel as much as we do.
I love the Holidays!
As you probably know, I love cats. (One of which is currently a purring bundle on my lap.) We went to Atlanta this weekend to the Cat Fancier's Association Inc. Cat Show. I was surrounded in FUR! I of course took my camera along. My next posting will be in celebration of the event.
See you then.

16 November 2008


OK, I know, there really should be a limit to the number of autumn leaf pictures any one should be subject too. I just could not resist one more. :) I hope it looks as nice on your computer as it does on mine. Hubby and I were out for a walk the other evening. We left a little later than we meant to. By the time we got to the far end of the road, The sun was starting to set and the leaves were just glowing. This particular bunch is right next to a lovely little stream. After I took this photo, I just stood there in wonder for a few minutes. The leaves were magical, birds were
singing, I could just hear the stream merrily going by. The woods smelled fresh and clean. That was one of those moments that keeps me whole. When I find them, I try to take time to appreciate them, hold them close. When I am stressed, that moment will be waiting for me, carefully stashed away.
The next morning, we woke up to this wet and rainy view. I did not mind in the least. Isn't it pretty? We need the rain, and, what a lovely excuse for a lazy, cozy day off. I had homework to do of course, but no where I needed to be.
It was chilly in the house to start with so my sweet Hubby lit a fire in the fireplace. Our second
fire of the season. All that work a few months ago is certainly paying off.
I love to be cozy! I do not like to be too cold, but in order to truly appreciate cozy, you need a little chill in the air. This is what we call "SNUGGLE SEASON". I fall asleep best tucked up close to my Hubby with the blankets pulled close around my ears. In the morning, the day just starts better if I can hit the snooze button a few more times and snuggle back in under the blankets.
This fireplace is in our library. When we bought this lovely old house the chimneys were threatening to fall in and none of the fireplaces were usable. Most were boarded up. We had the chimneys rebuilt and four fireplaces restored. My Hubby found the bricks in the arch on the premises and had them incorporated into the design. This is a nice cozy fire and makes for a nice cozy room. In another corner of the same room, my grandkitty Spontaneous is demonstrating her version of cozy. She is curled up on a tuffet. What could be
cozier than that?
Once the fire was going well, we proceeded to spend most of a lovely rainy day in this cozy room. A long and scrumptious breakfast, (Guacamole omelets) and plenty of Nice British tea. One of the most delicious things about this lovely day was the fact that the season is just beginning.
How do you get cozy this time of year?

09 November 2008

Mood Improvement

This list started out as "Ten things that improve my mood as the days grow shorter." However, it grew so fast, I didn't see any point in limiting it.
1- Snuggling in on a cold morning.
2- Walks in the woods. (With camera and Hubby of course.)
3- Holiday specials on TV.
4- A good book that I have not already read by one of my favorite authors. (I recently found an Agatha Christie I had not read yet "N or M" Pure Bliss!)

5- A great book that I have read before and
loved. (Anything by Charles De Lint, Anna Mcaffery, Mercedes Lackey, Agatha Christie, Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown, and many more.)

6- Traveling and seeing new things with my family.
7- Having someone tell me I helped them to feel better.
8- A fire in the fireplace.
9- Sitting on the balcony when it is warm out.
10- Writing in my blogs and reading other peoples blogs.
11- Reading my collection of Christmas Magazines. (I only save the Christmas ones,
I have some going back into the 1980's. Even the

adds are fun.
12- Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit.
13- Rain on my metal roof at night.
14- A lovely cup of hot tea. Today it is "PG Tips" a British tea we are lucky enough to be able to obtain from the Commissary. It is shown here in an Old Russian Tea Glass with scenes commemorating the launch of Sputnik by the former Soviet Union. (Do you remember Sputnik? How about Sky Lab?)
15- Hot Chocolate.
16- The sound of our clocks chiming.
17- Christmas music. (I will start out early in the
season with it on my Ipod so I won't make the

family crazy before the day actually arrives.)
18- Candles, not the scented ones, just the lovely soft glow.
19- Baking cookies. (Need I say more?)
20- A purring cat.

I keep thinking of more things to add, like the Frankencense and Myrrh my sweet hubby will soon be burning to scent the house, or vintage buttons, or finding a dandelion to photograph in November. So even though I really do not like to be cold. I love this time of year.
What improves your mood when the days get darker?

P.S. In the new issue of Artful Blogging, (The magazine that got me started on this lovely pass time)I read about http://shabbyscraps.typepad.com/ and how her husband did not like her dress form. Several people sent photos of their dress forms and she was able to convince him. Well, my dress form holds a set of Sixteenth Century Footman's armor. I posted a photo here so she could see it.


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