Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An interview with me and a drawing to win one of my audiobooks!

Paul Stokes of Audiobook Reviewer interviewed me on his site and is also hosting a drawing for 5 free chances to win one of my audiobooks of your choice. 

If you'd like to know more about how I got started as an audiobook narrator and things like my favorite genres, biggest challenges, etc., check out Paul's site and enter for a chance to win one of my books here

You have 30 days to enter so there's plenty of time.  Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Making Christmas ornaments and other stocking stuffers...

Made 3 of these.
For the past few years, I've made my three nieces (now ages, 5, 7 and 8) ornaments to go with their Christmas presents.  This year I decided to make them each a snowman.  The pattern wasn't difficult and I made a couple of slight changes but followed it completely for the body, hat and scarf.

Last year I made them each Christmas trees and the year before that I made Santa Claus ornaments.  This snowman is crocheted and the pattern can be found here along with some other ornaments.  I might try the Gingerbread Man next year!

I also found the most adorable pattern for a bookmark.  It's called the Cat in the Hat Inspired bookmark and was very fast to crochet.  The pattern is here.

These will go in the 'stocking stuffer' bag that I always make up for my three nieces.  So cute!

Cat in the Hat bookmarks.

My two nephews are in college now but they never get too old for me to give them 'stocking stuffer' bags, too.  Obviously, the contents are a bit different than the ones for the girls.  I included a  crocheted 'soap sack' in each of their bags.  These make up very fast.  I used 100% cotton worsted weight yarn.  The idea is to use the soap while inside the bag and give yourself a good scrubbing.  When you're finished, you hang the bag with the bar of soap in it on a hook to dry.  You can find the pattern here.  Hope the guys like them.  

Soap sacks for the nephews.

There are a few other items I made that I can't show on this blog but I will say that I've been busy.  Any downtime I've had from recording/research/editing I've used to make gifts.

Oh, I did take time, along with George to decorate our tree.   I took this pic from upstairs looking down on the tree in our family room.  I should probably have asked for photography lessons for Christmas. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Cool Friday Estate Sale

We considered today's estate sale that we shopped to be cool for two reasons.  One -- great stuff and two -- cool weather.  The person or people who owned the house had been travelers.  They acquired a beautiful collection of carvings, enamel and art work from around the world but specifically Japan.

The sale began at 8am but we didn't get there until closer to 8:30am.  We missed some really good stuff but none of us left empty-handed.  Some of the items we were interested in were still there, but, alas, had sold signs on them.  The early bird...

This sale was in a small town right next to Tampa called Temple Terrace.  It's actually hard to think of it as being a little town because you cross a road with lots of stores, etc., around and you're no longer in Tampa -- you're in the Temple Terrace city limits.  They have their own mayor, etc.  When my family moved back to Florida after my dad retired from the Air Force, we lived in Temple Terrace for years.  A nice place to call home.  
I ended up buying a vintage camera for George.  I have no idea if he'll like it or not or will think it's worth bothering with but it's a German brand and looked really cool.  I also bought an antique children's book, The History of Tom Thumb and Other Stories published in 1905, along with the coolest set of tiny pictorial paper bookmarks from Japan. 

Linda found a beautiful pitcher for her vintage Japanese Noritake collection and Duane bought a dark blue cordial glass.  After we left this fabulous sale, we passed a sign for a yard sale in the same neighborhood.  Everything was priced at .50.  Duane bought a couple of vintage postcards and 2 DVDs. 

After that it was time to head for coffee and treats and our usual catching up on everyone's week. 

Next Friday we plan to head to Dunedin again to do some last minute Christmas shopping and have lunch with our friend, Danny, who now lives there.  Looking forward to that!

Our purchases.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My latest recording -- a Christmas book for kids!

Peter Rabbit's Christmas written by Duff Graham and narrated by me is now on sale on Audible.

Peter Rabbit lives with his mother and three sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail down in a sand bank under a big fir tree. One day when Peter is outside exploring, he hears the bells of a beautiful red sleigh. A pretty little girl riding in the sleigh scoops Peter up and takes him for a ride which includes a visit to Santa's workshop. The mischief Peter gets into at Santa's workshop and how he gets home is a true Christmas adventure for the little rabbit.

Nice little classic for young children!  You can listen to an excerpt or purchase here

Monday, December 1, 2014

We 'Shopped Small Saturday'!

Duane, Linda and I participated in the 'Shop Small Business Saturday' that was going on all around the country.  Many small shops hope to make this a tradition for the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Duane's neighborhood, Seminole Heights, which is a place we love to shop, anyway, had another good event similar to last year's shop hop.

Each store was offering anywhere from 20% to 30% off their merchandise and also offered refreshments (treats and drinks) from 10am to 6pm.  We started early -- just a little after 10am by visiting the Bali Bay Trading Company.  All three of us bought a few things there.  Gifts and a few items for ourselves.  They always have cool jewelry and I bought a tassel necklace and bracelet for myself along with stocking stuffers for my three nieces and a friend.  Duane found a gift for her sister and a bracelet for herself and Linda also found a pretty wood and mother of pearl bowl along with a bracelet.  She wasn't sure what she would give away and what she would keep.  Of course, we had to sample the homemade treats that the ladies of Bali Bay had made.  Terrific chocolate and peanut butter brownies.

Next we hit one of our faves, A Modern Line, owned by our buddy, David.  He had refreshments out, too, so we sampled the punch and cookies.  I bought a little orange enamel tray for my guest bath that I had looked at a couple of times and Linda and I are both still debating on the same mid-century modern chest by Lane.  Hope we both don't decide to pull the trigger at the same time!

A vintage shop called Frolic Exchange is right next door to David's shop.  They have a little bit of everything vintage although the focus is on clothing for gals and guys with a smattering of accessories, home decor and the prettiest garden area just outside the back door of the store.  They had their refreshments in the garden where I had a glass of tasty homemade lemonade.  I also bought a plant that one of the owners promised me is impossible to kill.  I have high hopes for it in my backyard.  Duane bought a pretty vintage English tin with lid. 

We headed down the same street to an old favorite, D & D Antiques and More, where the owner, Debra, seems like an old friend.  She had treats out, too, and Linda purchased a set of Christmas oven mitts there.   I think Debra would rather have been out shopping but she had to mind the store!

Our next stop was the Cleanse Apothecary which carries very nice lines of anything to do with soaps, lotions, cards, etc.  I discovered that they are now carrying Lipstick Queen lipsticks which I love.  I had been ordering them for years from Barney's but now I know where to get them locally.  Linda decided to try a tube and chose the Saint Pink color.  I bought a bottle of Philosophy bath lotion/shampoo in Cinnamon for my mom along with a Lipstick Queen cosmetic bag (her favorite and only lipstick she wears now is LQ's Coral Sinner).  Duane bought several delicious smelling handmade soaps for gifts.  We all left with our purchases in the Shop Small Saturday bags designed by Rebecca Minkoff.

At this point, we had to have lunch before hitting a couple of more shops.  We ate at one of our fave places in Seminole Heights, The Front Porch Grill and Bar.  Normally, we would have had dessert there, too, but we were getting plenty of sugar from our visits to the stores.  It was certainly a nice break to have a leisurely lunch, though.

After fortifying ourselves with a meal, we went to Susan Gott's place, The Phoenix Glass Studio.  Susan was there to greet customers and she was having a glass blowing demonstration along with a chance to make something yourself (with some help, of course).  I bought some more of her adorable little glass kiss designs to give as Christmas ornaments.  I had actually already Christmas shopped at Susan's studio a few weeks back.  She had plenty of treats and drinks (alcoholic and non) so Linda had a nice glass of wine.

The last place we hit (we were getting pretty tired by then) was a store that opened recently.  It's a design studio and it's called Christopher Wayne Home.  The store in Tampa is actually a sister store to one they have in Nashville.  Although the shop does mostly interior design, they have some lovely items to purchase.  I bought the coolest wine bottle picture holder and Duane purchased a book that was written and illustrated by a local writer.  Wonderful treats and drink were also on hand and we finished off our sugar buzz for the day.

We headed back to Duane's house and took the picture below before Linda and I both left for our respective homes.  We all agreed that it was a great shopping day -- lots of fun and we actually accomplished something, too!

Our purchases.