Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 4th anniversary. Happy anniversary, Scott!

Hand Stamped Fabric

This is one of the projects my Mom and I worked on at the cabin. A holiday motif. We stamped Fabrico/Versacraft ink on an old pillow case and heat-set it with an iron. Mom is going to tea-dye the fabric. I'll be interested to see what she does with it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Project Runway - Catching up on TV

So I watched the 2 episodes of Project Runway that I missed while on vacation. Let me just say that I can't BELIEVE they kept Vincent over Alison. She was so fun and playful and creative and he's such a has-been egomaniacal weirdo! I'm sad. I knew she'd be the one out when it was down to the 2 of them, but I'm disgusted. And how did they not pick Jeffrey to win. His dress was fantastically creative and beautifully executed.

And the other episode. How could they not eliminate Jeffrey after his outfit sucked soooo bad. Robert's was boring, but his customer was happy and he did a good job on it. Jeffrey's was equally boring, and it looked like it didn't fit her. Or like she was wearing it over her regular clothes. And he made his customer CRY!

Makes me almost want to stop watching the show. But I want to see the challenges and the creative process. Maybe I just won't watch the judging part next time because I just get too annoyed.

Back in California

We got in very late last night. Here's just a quick update on the craziness of the past week. More details to come later.

The 4-plus hour drive from Mystic, Connecticut, to the cabin in Pennsylvania was brutal. Sitting in the back seat of a four-wheel-drive vehicle for 4-plus hours on winding roads was brutal. Scott and I both had a bout with stomach flu or food poisoning or something along those lines that lasted a couple of days. Had me in bed for the better part of 24 hours with nausea and cramps. And actually resulted in a day spent at the hospital for Scott.

The rest of the weekend at the cabin was pleasant enough, but it poured down rain the entire time. Keeping a 2-year-old couped up is a bit like shaking a soda bottle and unscrewing the lid only a little.

The last night there, Jake kicked all night (sleeping between us - he managed to do this kick-one-parent-while-simultaneously-head-butting-the-other-parent-thing repeatedly for hours), and some kind of critter scratched and scampered all night inside the wall over our heads. (Later, we found out from the exterminator that it might be a flying squirrel, rather than mice as we had assumed. He says we should hope for mice because if the squirrel dies in the wall, it will stink to high heaven.)

Our flight back was fairly uneventful. In the airport in Philadelphia, while eating pizza, one of my teeth broke. I spent most of the morning at the dentist today having a temporary crown put on.

Jake is on East Coast time and having a hard time with naps today. He's super-tired right now, but it's bright daylight still, and he wants no part of going to bed just yet.

Will fill you in on the fun stories and whatnot & share some photos as I have time.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Saturday was my Dad's 60th birthday. It was a pretty low-key, uneventful birthday as far as birthdays go.

Dad made pancakes for breakfast again. He seems to enjoy the ritual of being responsible for breakfast at the cabin, though he doesn't usually cook any other time.

Mom, Dad, and I went to the Antique Barn to scout for anything new. I got two tins of old buttons, as well as some vintage linens to experiment with.

Back at the cabin, Mom and I watched Jake and worked on sewing projects, while Dad and Scott went to track down the Wayne County artists' annual open studio tour.

It took us a while to figure out how exactly we should combine rubber stamps and fabric, but we eventually figured it out, and were able to come up with two 9-patch pillows. I also worked on several other projects that I'll have to finish up myself - because we ran out of time.

Mom made 2 chocolate birthday cakes. One black forest cake for Dad. One cake with white icing for Scott & Jake. Both were thoroughly enjoyed.

We gave Dad a journal I bought in Mystic, so he'd have something to unwrap. He wants to document the wild flowers, the changing landscape, and what they do during their time at the cabin. I've never known him to keep a journal, but he enjoys both reading and writing, so as he finds himself with more and more free time, it does make sense.

The real gift was a new digital camera. We got him one 2 years ago, but there were both features and limitations of it that he didn't like. So, we all piled in the car and headed to Walmart to look for a new one.

We found one he wanted, but they were out of them. Mom and I had some success finding a bit more fabric to go with a project we'd started. I also found a really cute pink poodle applique and a couple of packs of decorative buttons.

I Catch Bears!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mom had planned to pick Tim up at the airport in the morning and then come up to the cabin. They learned too late last night for her to come up then, so she got up really early, and arrived around 8:30 this morning.

Dad made pancakes for breakfast. It rained most of the day. During the breaks in the rain, we played outside. Mom & Jake & I caught fish, while Dad & Scott went to the store and investigated some smallish cabins for sale locally.

I found a very small frog and caught it for Jake to see up close. He was fascinated. I put the tiny frog (maybe he was an inch long) in a small bucket for Jake. He was able to catch the little critter, and we had to remind him a few times that it was ok to touch the frog, but not to squeeze him. I was taking pictures of Jake discovering the frog, and Jake put his face right up to the frog's face and said, "Smile, froggie!" (which came out rather like, "Mile, foggie!")

At one point, Jake tried to go back into the house, claiming that he was scared. When we asked what he was scared of, he shivered, pointed to the woods, and said, “I scared bears.” There weren’t any bears, of course, but my parents have a little bear-crossing sign up that I think came from Alaska, and Jake must have seen it.

When they returned, we headed back to the house, Jake chattering all the way, practicing what he was going to tell Daddy about his day. “I catch bears!” he announced. “Oh yeah, big ones!” We questioned him thoroughly, and he insisted that he did catch bears. When we got back to the house, we urged him to tell his story, but all he said was, “Daddy, I see fish. I throw rocks.” No mention of bears. So we asked him if he caught bears, and he nonchalantly said, “No,” and then went to play with his toys.

We had turkey sandwiches for lunch. We tried unsuccessfully to give Jake a nap. Then Scott & I went out, leaving Jake with my parents and some clay, which apparently entertained him for well over an hour.

We went first to my new favorite antiquing place – Barbara’s Books and Ephemera. I got a Victorian scrapbook for a song, a few postcards, and some other Victoria era ephemera. Scott got an earlier edition of a cabin book that he has at home.

Then we went to Walmart to get another memory card for Scott’s camera (he forgot his card reader), as well as some cardstock for me (I forgot to bring plain cardstock). Then we headed back to Honesdale to the Himalayan Café. An odd combination of urban coffee shop, new age retreat, and hippie open mike night. With bad coffee. Don’t think we’ll be going back there.

On the way back to the cabin, we stopped at Connie White’s house to inquire about the 1949 Dodge car that was for sale in the yard. She was full of all kinds of interesting information both about herself and the car. Her husband had worked as an engineer for IBM for 40 years. Worked his way up from being a janitor. He held 8 patents and loved to tinker with things. They raised 10 kids between them. She was a nurse for 30 years. He died in November. Went to walk the dog, had a heart attack, and never came back. Very sad.

Mommy sick. Daddy sick. Papa sick. Firetruck sick. Motorcycle sick...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scott woke up sick to his stomach around 4 a.m. and got progressively worse throughout the morning, and around 11:00 a.m. Dad took him to urgent care. Jake was pretty good all day, considering I had almost no energy. We played outside briefly, but spent most of the day inside. I slept on and off, and each time I drifted off, Jake would come and kiss my face and wipe my nose with a Kleenex, saying “Mommy sick.” By the end of the day, everyone was sick, according to Jake. “Mommy sick. Daddy sick. Papa sick. Fire truck sick. Motorcycle sick. Truck sick.”

At urgent care, they hooked Scott up to an I.V. and gave him anti-nausea medicine. Then did a bunch of tests, including bloodwork and a catscan, in order to rule out appendicitis. After six hours, it was pronounced to be stomach flu and they sent him on his way with a prescription for Imodium. He went to bed.

Dad & Jake & I played outside. We jerry-rigged a short-handled fishing net with the ever-useful collection of spears and dowels my parents bought at an auction with the Chorltons. With the longer handle, we were able to catch fish from the bridge without having to wade into the water. We put them in Jake’s little yellow wagon. Each time I got one, Jake would exclaim, “I catch fish!” as though he had done all the work. Then we had to teach him that it is not nice to shake the fish, squeeze the fish, or hit the fish. He had to settle for watching them and occasionally petting them.

Tim called in the evening to say that he couldn’t come after all because he had to work through the weekend. Everyone was disappointed.

We attempted to watch the Disney movie “Brother Bear” with Jake, but he was too scared by the initial scenes with the bears, and then too cranky to sit that still so close to bed time. After I put him to bed, I finished watching the movie myself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Looooooooooong Car Ride

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We were too tired on Tuesday night to do anything that involved leaving the hotel room. I stayed up later than everyone else, but was still in bed at a decent hour.

In the morning, Jake was the first one awake, as usual. He seems to have easily adjusted to the time difference. It’s going to be rough when we get home & he wakes up at 3:30 am. Dad, Jake & I had buffet breakfast in the hotel lobby area while Scott slept in a bit.

Then Dad took Jake to the aquarium, while Scott and I headed back to downtown Mystic. We did make a quick stop on the way to confirm my suspicions that the rubber stamp store was no more. It would have been within walking distance of our hotel. Bummer. We split up right away, so Scott could take pictures and I could shop. I went first to the stationery store. I found a few graphically interesting greeting cards, a journal for my Dad, and a notepad with an accordion folder just the right size to hold the cards I’ve been trying to churn out on this trip.

I looked briefly in a couple of other stores, but didn’t find anything. So I headed to Peppercress and Tulip, which had really caught my fancy the day before. I got a bunch of lovely decorative & sparkly items that will be perfect for a project I’m working on. Really looking forward to putting it together.

Scott & I headed back to the hotel room to pack up our things. Dad & Jake came back just as we started loading the car, and we were off to our next stop. Jake was very excited about having seen whales at the aquarium. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, whale! Daddy, whale! Mommy, I see whale! Daddy, daddy, daaaaaddyyyy, I see whale!”

Luckily, the whales had exhausted Jake and he slept for the first 2 hours of the trip. When he woke up, we stopped at McDonald’s for a bite to eat. I was feeling carsick already and couldn’t eat much. It was a little over 4 hours driving in all. It felt like 2 days. Near the end of the car ride, I gave Jake a couple of peanut butter crackers, and he kept trying to get me to eat one by sticking it in my face, saying, “Try, Mommy. Just try.” Exactly what I do to him when I want him to eat something. It’s annoying. I thought I was going to vomit. We were wiped out when we arrived at the cabin in Pennsylvania. But we unloaded the car, took a walk to assess the changes in the property since the flood shortly after our visit earlier in the summer, and then Scott & Dad went to get some groceries and some dinner. I was still quite ill, I thought from the car ride, so I skipped dinner.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Heading to Mystic

We joined Jake & Mom at the park and took turns pushing Jake on the swing. Higher. Higher. Faster. More swing!

I went to check out the Christmas shop called Thru the Years, while the rest of the family went back to the rooms to pack up and check out.

They had some really cute things, reasonably priced, many of them hand made. Much better than your usual tourist junk fare. I picked up a cute little felt stuffed pumpkin, a stuffed bird, a pillow with a bird on it holding a star from his beak, and a couple of cute journals with bird images on the covers.

We packed up the car and headed out. An hour to Boston to drop Mom at the airport. Then more than 2 hours to our next stop: Mystic, Connecticut. We listened to Yann Martel's Life of Pi on CD. It's as entertaining as it is fantastical. Can't wait to hear what happens next with Richard Parker.

We arrived around 5:00 pm in Mystic. We moved our tons of baggage into our new hotel room. Then Dad and I headed over to a parking lot "estate sale" we'd passed on the way to the hotel. I got a tin box of buttons, a rhinestone tiara, some star jewelry findings, 2 vintage broaches, and 8 Power Rangers for a mere $20.

Back to the hotel to pick up Scott & Jake, then to downtown Mystic for a little slice of heaven at Mystic Pizza. Yep, the same place that was the setting for the Mystic Pizza movie that starred Julia Roberts in 1988. We got our pizza "to go" and headed back to the hotel. We were all worn out from the long day and decided to stay in for the evening. The little bit of town exploration we did while waiting for our pizza has us curious enough to want to go back tomorrow morning and explore more thoroughly. I got really excited about a place called "Everything but the Stamp" which appeared to be a rubber stamp store at first glance, but turned out to be a stationery store. I may still have to check it out - they might have some cool greeting cards.

A quick internet search reveals that there IS actually a rubber stamp store right here in Mystic, called Mystic Stamp and Stitch. I will be definitely trying to squeeze that in tomorrow.

Morning in Sandwich & a Little History Lesson

Still in Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Incorporated in 1637, Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod. Originally settled by the English, Sandwich became an agricultural community, the main export of which was timber sent back to England. Even during the American Revolution, it remained a primarily agrarian community, supplemented by coastal fishing. But in 1825, the landscape of Sandwich would drastically change because of Deming Jarves, a Boston businessman and former agent of the New England Glass Company of East Cambridge, Massachusetts.

We all went to breakfast at the restaurant at the Daniel Webster Inn (where we were staying). After breakfast, we walked over to the Dexter Grist Mill and pond. The Mill was built between 1640 and 1646. Our intent was to feed our leftover breakfast toast to the ducks. I did this as a child and loved it, and my family was really looking forward to experiencing Jake feeding the ducks. But there were no ducks to be found. We had to settle for throwing crumbs to a few fish that weren't very interested. Jake did see a few fish snatch breadcrumbs from the water surface and he was pretty jazzed about it. "Slurp! Fish go slurp! Yum!"

We gave up on the ducks and walked across the street to the Sandwich Glass Museum. The Sandwich Glass Museum exhibits nearly 5,000 pieces of glass produced at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company between 1825 and 1888.

Jake was getting tired and crazed, but we wanted to keep him awake until we left Sandwich, so he would sleep in the car. So, Mom took Jake back across the street to the playground at the public library. The rest of us stayed and walked through the museum and watched the glass-blowing demonstration.

The most interesting thing I learned from the glass exhibits was about cup plates. We received a Sandwich Glass cup plate as part of our package deal at the Daniel Webster Inn. But they just seemed like small decorative trinkets. Turns out, they actually had a purpose.

Cup plates are small glass or china plates that held the cup while a diner of the mid-nineteenth century drank coffee or tea from the saucer. The most famous cup plates were made of glass at the Boston and Sandwich factory located in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Sandwich Starfish Rescue Society

Scott & Mom got up at the crack of dawn and went back to the beach by Sam's Seafood. Scott walked all the way to the pier and took lots of fantastic pictures of the sunrise. Mom started the Sandwich (as in Sandwich, Massachusetts - the little town on the Cape where we're staying) Starfish Rescue Society... finding starfish that had been stranded on the beach as the tide receded and gently moving them back into the ocean with a seashell.

ETA: Ha! Y'all are too quick for me. I was just posting the skeleton of what I wanted to write about later - I always forget that there's an audience! Updated with details.

Sam's Seafood

Jake napped, my parents rested, and Scott went out exploring for a couple of hours. Then we went to Sam's Seafood for dinner and had Lazy Man's Lobster (which is lobster that someone else has pulled from the shell). It was delicious!

Eating lobster with my parents nearly always prompts the lobster story. We all have those stories that we tell over and over about shared experiences. The lobster story is about me, when I was six years old, and had just learned to read. We were living in South Jersey at the time, and my family was out to lunch after church on a Sunday afternoon with my visiting well-to-do but penny-pinching Great Uncle Harold. He offered to buy lunch for all of us, and very proud of my new skills told me that if I read the menu myself, I could order whatever I wanted. So, not having yet learned to look at the prices, I ordered lobster. The most expensive thing on the menu. And although the adults had a good laugh and I didn't understand why, they didn't stop me. And I ate it. And liked it.

On the way back to the inn, we stopped at Paul's Bean & Bagel at Russell's Corner for coffee and some gourmet chocolates. Jakob got his very own piece of chocolate ("choc") about the size a 1/2 candy bar and was determined to eat all of it. "Yum! Yum! Mmmm. Yum!" The coffee was delicious and there was a nice selection of children's books that Jake really enjoyed flipping through while we all chatted.

Then Jake had a giant poo that was so stinky that Mom & Scott opted to walk back to the inn, rather than riding in the car with us. Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ice Cream Sandwich

In our room, there were some freebie recent issues of a local magazine called Cape Cod Life. The August 2006 issue has a terrific guide to homemade ice cream on the cape and islands.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for ice cream at Ice Cream Sandwich, which I'd read about in Cape Cod Life magazine.

Recommended favors:
Bear Claws: chocolate ice cream with chocolate covered cashews and a caramel swirl

Hazelnut Coffee: coffee ice cream with hazelnut flavoring

B.K.'s Special: peanut butter ice cream with Oreos

Green Monster: mint ice cream with chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy

I opted for the nonfat Coffee Heath Bar. Yummy and not at all diet-ish. Dad had peach, which actually had a chunk of peach in it that was the size of a 1/2 peach along with all the smaller bits. Mom had Almond Joy. Scott had basic chocolate. Jake enjoyed sticking his tongue out for a constant rotation of licks from everyone else's ice creams.

Heritage Gardens

In the afternoon, we went to Heritage Gardens and explored the grounds. My parents said I was there when I was little, but it didn't seem familiar. Jake really enjoyed the chance to actually run around.

We walked the labyrinth, reminsicent of the one we saw in Chartres last Fall. Dad has a friend (former colleague) who is writing a book on labyrinths.

Jake particularly enjoyed the antique car museum on the grounds. There was even a car that kids could climb on and sit in. Jake "drove" it for a while, but we had to pry him away so some other kids could also enjoy it.

We all rode the carousel, which featured hand-carved horses. There was an interesting art display in the carousel building. A collection of amazing art made from seashells. And a collection of children's portraits from the 1800s. I learned that boys and girls had similar hair styling and it was common for boys to also wear dressed through the mid-1800s.


We came back to the hotel for breakfast. Then Scott took Jake back to the room for napping. Dad decided to nap too. Mom & I went shopping. Mom is on the hunt for a butter dish - the round kind with a domed lid. I just like looking. So we went to several antique stores.

I picked up a little book of "gummed papers" that I've not had a chance to study very well yet, so I'm not sure what it is exactly. But it looks old and interesting. I also got a handful of interesting early 20th century postcards. Then we went back to Wicked Goods and I bought the little papier mache Halloween figures I'd seen the day before. So cute!

It's always fun to see things in antique stores that are similar or the same as things we own. There were quite a few Royal Daulton ladies selling for around $200 a piece. And we saw a cross stitch sampler nearly identical to one that may parents have in their living room. The one in the antique store was not dated but was tagged with an estimation of being from the 18th century. It was priced at $550. Ours is most likely from the early 19th century, is in much better condition, and we even have a photograph of the person who made it.

Oh, Big Water!

I wanted to look for seashells and beach glass, so we all piled in the car and headed to the beach early in the morning.

The beach mainly had rocks. And stones. And pebbles. And boulders. And crushed shells and seaweed. I found one small piece of beach glass, and a handful of small shells. Not much of a haul.

But Jake hasn't been to the beach much (yeah, I know, we live on the coast in California and we have no excuse), so his reaction was entertaining. After parking the car, we had a long walk along a boardwalk that crossed the marshlands and led up to the beach and over the dunes. Just beyond the dunes, is the beach. Jake said, "Oh, BIG WATER!" And then shivered and clung to my leg, claiming to be scared for about 30 seconds. Then he forgot he was scared and dug in the sand and pushed his Matchbox car through the sand and picked up stones to throw into the ocean.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

More New Home: Sandwich

In the morning, Mom & I took Marion and found a laundry mat so we'd have clothes for another few days.

Who is Marion, you ask? Well, she's my GPS. Dad said she sounded like a librarian, specifically like Marion the librarian. And since "the nice lady who travels with you" was no longer sufficient, she has been dubbed Marion.

After laundry, we loaded up the car, checked out of the hotel, and headed to brunch at Laurie's parents' house. We stayed very briefly, then headed to Sandwich on Cape Cod. It took about an hour to get there. We had fun laughing about the Sandwich Police, the Sandwich Fire & Rescue, Sandwich's Sandwiches, and other places with the name of the town included - all these Sandwich places that don't serve sandwiches!

Jakob has rationalized the hoteling experience as a "new home." For the portion of the travel time that he was awake, he demanded, "New home!" repeatedly.

We're staying at the Daniel Webster Inn. We arrived around 1:30 but weren't able to check in until 3:00, so we left our luggage and went in search of lunch. We ate at a Victorian former parsonage that has been reinvented as a restaurant called The Painted Lady. Service was terrible. The food was okay. The place attempted to have personality, but didn't quite hit the mark.

After lunch, we checked into the hotel, got ourselves cleaned up, explored the town a little, including a fun little home decor and gift place called Wicked Goods. Then we had dinner in the hotel dining room. Fancy dinner that was pretty tasty, but again terrible service. It took nearly 3 hours to have dinner, and Jake only lasted about the first hour. So Scott took him back to the room while the rest of us finished eating, then Mom went back to the room and Scott came back and sat with us for a while.

Wedding Details & Reception

One of my favorite things about weddings is all of the choices people make... how formal the ceremony is, what they wear, what colors the bridesmaids wear, whether everyone wears the same shoes, what the flowers look like, the decorations, the favors... I love to take it all in.

John & Laurie's wedding was primarily blue, with green and purple accents. And the theme was beach, mainly seashells.

The wedding programs matching the invitations, featuring a blue scallop shell that Laurie drew and painted herself, with an L and J in the center. The wedding "logo" for lack of a better term. It was repeated everywhere. Wreaths on the two church doors featured an L in the center of one and a J in the center of the other. The tins of hydrangeas hanging from the pews along the center aisle of the church featured the shell logo as well.

At the reception, the tables had pillar candles with real shells glued to each side with the L & J initials on them, inside glass hurricanes. Then a little wreath of blue beads and shells, also made by Laurie, around the hurricane. There was beach glass scattered on the tables. Turns out Laurie really went all out. She made all the jewelry for the bridesmaids, selected every detail of their outfits, including their wraps in case it got cold. Even their cake featured their shell logo on the top of it.

Wedding Day

We went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, just a block away from the hotel. Then we split up. Jake, Mom & I walked around town exploring the shops a bit, while Dad & Scott went to a museum.

We discovered a darling little gift shop called Priscilla's of Plymouth, full of eclectic gift items, many of them obviously hand-made and/or one-of-a-kind. Just the kind of thing I like. I bought 2 FABULOUS and completely useless tassels - one with a cat and one with a flamingo. I adore them. And I found some very unusual greeting cards that I think I can use as templates for cardmaking. I did bring crafty stuff with me and hope to eventually find some time to play with it.

We ran into Scott and Dad just when we were looking for a place to eat lunch, so we all had lunch together at a pizza place. Then Scott took Jake back to the hotel for a nap, and the rest of us visited some antique stores. I found a few things that were kind of interesting, but nothing was must-have. Of interest was a series of late 19th century prints of bird eggs. They were really beautiful. But they were $45 each. No thanks. And there were lots and lots of postcards, but definitely overpriced. I'll wait until we're in the Pennsylvania Mountains where I know I can find ephemera more reasonably priced. My mom is on a search for a butter dish for the cabin. But my dad vetoed all of the ones we found.

We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. I wore a long black dress with spaghetti straps and sequin detailing that I'd found at the Burlington Coat Factory in Revere. Scott and Jake were in dark grey suits. Adorable. Will share photos when I can.

We walked the 2 blocks to the Church of the Pilgrimage. My dad - church history buff - told us the story of the 2 churches next to one another. The gothic church at the top of the hill was on the site of the original church that was built in Plymouth - probably the oldest congregation in the US. That church is now Uniterian Universalist. When the church shifted that direction, the congregation actually split and a group of them built the church next door (where the wedding was), claiming to be more aligned with the spiritual beliefs of the original settlers. So apparently now they bicker over which is the actual successor to that original congregation that moved here to the US as a group in the 1600s. Can you imagine that?

The wedding was nearly 1/2 an hour late getting started, and Jake used up all his capacity for sitting still and behaving, so Scott took him back to the hotel. The wedding itself was fairly short and succinct. It was a United Church of Christ church. When they exchange rings, they did her wedding ring, then his wedding ring, then her engagement ring. I'd never seen the engagement ring actually part of the ceremony before. Then, at the end of the ceremony, the pastor said a few words about his research into Irish Celtic early Christianity, and a concept he learned about called a "thin place" a momentous time, such as a wedding ceremony, where the barrier between human and divine is so thin as to be indistinguishable.

Plymouth Pebble

After our Boston adventures, we headed back to the hotel, checked out, and got on the road to Plymouth. It took over 2 hours to get there - we were caught in the weekend rush of beach-goers on their way out to Cape Cod. Luckily, Jake slept for a good portion of the trip.

Plymouth is a charming little town. We basically got there in time to check into the John Carver Inn, get a little something to eat, clean ourselves up, and walk down to the Harbor for the wedding rehearsal dinner cruise.

On the way to the boat, we passed Plymouth Rock. Yep, THE Plymouth Rock, which the locals lovingly call "Plymouth Pebble," because it's so small. Over the years, so many people have chipped away pieces of it and worn it down by touching it that it's actually just the size of a small boulder now. And it's now sheltered from weather and out of arm's reach.

It was a three-hour paddle boat cruise with Texas BBQ. Odd fare for New England, but it was a good time. The hosts had very thoughtfully put together little gift bags for the kids that attended the event.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Friday morning we didn't do such a great job at getting up and about early in the morning. We opted to sleep in a bit. Then packed up all our things so we'd be ready to load the car right after check-out.

Then we headed back into Boston to Faneuil Hall Marketplace (also known as Quincy Market). Faneuil (rhymes with Daniel, as best I can tell from listening to the locals) Hall is four places in one location - Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market, all set around a cobblestone promenade where street performers from all over the world entertain the passers-by.

In 1742, Boston's wealthiest merchant, Peter Faneuil, built Faneuil Hall as a gift to the city. The building was home to merchants, fisherman, and meat and produce sellers. George Washington toasted America's 1st birthday there. The market remained a vital business hub throughout the 1800s, but by the mid 1900s, the buildings had fallen into disrepair. The 1976 renovation was the first urban renewal project of its kind.

There was lots of food to choose from, but we decided it would be best to stick with local cuisine. We had New England Clam Chowder. Then we walked through the marketplace shops. I found a rubber stamp store called Stamp of Approval, which was tucked in among several shops in a sort of craft/tourist mall area. It's about the tiniest stamp store I've ever seen. More like a booth at a trade show. Probably about 6 feet wide and maybe 8 feet deep. Inventory was packed in, but there didn't seem to be much that was fresh or recent. I was specifically looking for acrylic blocks, but the woman that worked there didn't know what an acrylic block was - she tried to sell me some metal tins instead. Despite her "help," I did manage to find one long acrylic block. I was a bozo and left ALL of my blocks at home, but brought LOTS of rubber stamps on EZ Mount with me. So, the one block will have to suffice, unless I manage to locate another rubber stamp store.

After shopping, we stopped to watch the street performers. They were fairly entertaining, but could use some practice before they hit the big time. The funniest joke one of the performers told was when he was explaining to the crowd that they are trying to earn enough money to go back to England. And if they don't earn enough money, they'll have to stay here. And marry one of your daughters. Or sons. Because this is Massachusetts. And that's legal here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Map of the World

My Mom arrived by plane this evening and joined us. She and Jake had a fantastic time playing cars on a large canvas map she painted for him. It has our house, their house, their cabin, my in-law's house, my brother's house, the fire house from the town where my parents live, a barn & tractor, and lots of roads and parking places. She did a great job on it - I'll share a picture when I can.

Boston Common (Public Garden)

Our rooms at the hotel are just across the hall from one another. When Jake woke up this morning, he asked for Papa right away. So I sent him right across the hall. My dad took Jake down to the breakfast buffet, and Scott and I joined them once we were up and about.

After breakfast, we piled in the car and headed over to Boston Common. We first went to see the famous swan boats. Jake was really excited about the swan boats until we got in line to ride one and then he said he was too scared, so we didn't get to do that activity.

Instead we went back to the part of the park where you can walk on the grass and let Jake loose. He quickly discovered the frog pond. It's a huge, but very shallow wading pool. In the winter, it freezes and people go there for ice skating. Jake had a terrific time splashing from the edge of the pond. I got soaked. It took some coaxing, but when Papa took his own shoes and sock off and waded into the pool, Jake finally consented to having his tractor shoes removed and splashing his feet in the water. My dad held Jake by his arms and twirled him round and round till they were both so dizzy they could hardly stand up. I think Jake would have been happy just doing that for the rest of the day. He also enjoyed stomping any leaves he could identify on the bottom of the wading pool.

After we were all thoroughly soaked, we headed back to the hotel for naps and dry clothes. Jake was tired, but not giving in to the new schedule and he wouldn't go to sleep. So he and Scott stayed and relaxed in the hotel room, while my dad and I walked over to Burlington Coat Factory.

We got Jake some cute new clothes, so he'd have something nice to wear to the rehearsal dinner. And we got him a pair of shoes to wear with his suit for the wedding. I found some really interesting jewelry, a small camouflage purse with embroidery, and some clothes, including a dress for the wedding that I like better than the outfit I brought with me.

All Done Airplane

We're on vacation! We traveled all day Wednesday to get from San Diego to Boston. Usually, we take a red-eye flight and are able to sleep for a good portion of the trip. But there were not red-eyes available when we booked, and also no direct flights. The whole day before we left, Jakob couldn't stop thinking and talking about going on the airplane, flying up high in the air.

The first leg of our trip was between San Diego and Phoenix. Just the right length for Jakob to get a pretty good nap. When we landed, he woke up and immediately said, "more airplane!" He really likes the taking off and the landing. The riding part is a little on the dull side. About an hour from Boston, he said, "Mommy, all done airplane. I down."

My dad drove up to Boston from Philadelphia and picked us up at the airport. Thanks to my dad's brilliant planning, we're staying at a hotel very close to the airport, so it was just a short jaunt to get to our sleeping quarters.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hello, Mom...

... I'm in jail...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thank for the Thanks!

Look at this cute card I got in the mail this week from Stamp On In in Chicago, IL. We had a great time hanging out with the owners when we were in town for CHA. I'm definitely on the lookout for opportunities to go back to Chicago.

Illustration Friday: Capture (My Own)

So, I finally was able to come up with an idea... though it's too late (and too embarassing) to link to the Illustration Friday site, I'll share it anyway. It seemed like an ok idea, but I think the hearts are scaled too large for the cage. Maybe I'll re-do it later with smaller hearts.

Friday, August 11, 2006

2nd Saturday Reminder

Just a quick reminder that tomorrow night is 2nd Saturday* in Escondido. Distinction Gallery will have a new show featuring artwork by Christopher Polentz. Scott will have a new show up in his studio (upstairs at Distinction) featuring pieces from his Abandoned Americana collection. AND, it's Distinction's 2nd Anniversary.

Hope to see you there!

*2nd Saturday: A free, monthly, self-guided "culture crawl" through Escondido's arts district, including historic walking tours, working artists, writers' workshops, and gallery openings. Second Saturday of each month from noon to 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 760-480-4101.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Illustration Friday: Capture (Creative Thursday)

Once I start looking through the illos, I have to see ALL of them. Even though it takes several days for me to get through them all. Here's one I found this morning on Creative Thursday's blog, while having coffee. Great colors. So cute with the little birdie inside the bigger birdie. Love it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!!!!!

The new rubber arrived today, in record time! I'm sooooo excited about the new images. Here's a little peek.

Illustration Friday: Capture (el Dodo Purpura)

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Capture" - I'm having a hard time with it. I usually don't look at the entries until after I've created my own interpretation, but when I'm stuck, to the blogs I go. Love this one with the dragon on

Self-Addressed August Kit

Got my Self-Addressed kit for August last week and was able to play with it a bit this weekend. The kit colors this month are really fresh & fun. Though none of it is anything I would normally select for myself, I actually LOVE the kit. I've already used up the cards & had to order more!

Jake's 2 Year Check-up

Jake turned 2 about a month ago, but when he had his doctor's appointment, they were out of the vaccine that he needed. So he had to go back yesterday to get his shot.

And he was such a big boy, he didn't even cry! The nurse was impressed enough to give him three stickers - a very big joy for a 2 year old.

I checked in with them by phone, and Jake told me all about going to the doctor (I go doctor), seeing the big fish (oh, big fish) in the waiting room, get stickers (I sticker doctor), and the rest of their day's adventures. He even showed me his band-aid. Yep, over the phone. He definitely understands talking on the phone now, and even asks frequently, "I talk phone?" The other day, I was talking to Cat on the speakerphone and Jake walked in the room and said, "hi, Cat." But he doesn't seem to understand yet that you can only hear on the phone, but not see. So he shows new toys, nods, kisses the phone, and shows mommy his band-aid.

Last Class

Whew! Taught my last class at Cat's Craft Cupboard on Saturday night. We had sooooooo much fun! We made Poppet self-portraits. Even Cat played along. I have pictures that I promise to share as soon as I get the chance. In the meantime, you can go to Jill's blog and see her project.

How did a whole week go by?

I've been busy, busy, busy!

There are new stamps coming, and I've been working hard trying to get the web site ready and the catalog supplement ready. I've also been making lots and lots of cards with the new images. I'll be sharing them very soon.

If you're not signed up for the justjohanna email updates, make sure you do that, because I'll be sending out a sneak preview of all of the new images some time during the next week. If you haven't actually signed up, then you are not on the email update list.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stamp On In

After our quick stop at Stampology, we got right back on track heading into the city to Stamp On In. Love the store. Rick and Terry were both there. I'm making it a very bad habit to keep them open late. But they were so friendly and there's so much cool stuff at their store.

I picked up some Chicago stamps, a Chatterbox embellishment kit, and I was a piggy and bought all of the little mystery bags they had placed around the store. When I finally got around to opening the bags up (around midnight the next night), we were amazed at all the goodies I scored. Thanks, guys!

We persuaded them to join us for dinner, and even had Terry making the dinner reservations for us. I didn't know at the time, but Terry has amazing taste in food. If he recommends a place to eat, definitely go. We had dinner at a place not far from the store called Sappori Trattoria. Yummy!!!

Left to right in the photo: Rick, Johanna, Terry. Aren't they adorable?


Hard to believe it's already been more than a week since Cat and I got back from CHA. I haven't finished unpacking, haven't put away my new goodies, haven't finished looking through my photos, haven't finished blogging. I know I say this over and over, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Day 2 of CHA, we got there first thing in the morning. Cat made a list of must-see stops and put them in order by location. So we spent the day visiting all those booths, collecting catalogs, and absorbing information. By mid-afternoon we were on serious overload and were ready to go do something else.

I had the addresses for several local rubber stamp stores. We knew we wanted to see Stamp On In, but on the way there, I realized we'd be driving right past another of the stores, so we quickly decided we should stop. Who can drive past a stamp store without stopping, really?

It's a lovely store, and the girls that worked there were very friendly. They had lots and lots of amazing card samples throughout the store, and they carry The Cat's Pajamas unmounted! There's a whole display of them near the register. I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture.

New Cat's Pajamas Stamps

The new Cat's Pajamas stamps arrived at The Cupboard while we were at CHA. I had to have them right away. Soooo cute they are! Here are the ones I got:

Tim Holtz


Paper Flowers

We R Memory Keepers Storage

Flower Card


Waste Not Paper