Monday, January 31, 2011

The Hills Are Alive...

Okay, why would I choose to go to The Right Stuff (local gym) when instead I can get clean (it rained yesterday) air and bright sunshine?  As I've mentioned before... it's a no brainer for me. Nearly every walk in the hills near home fulfills me in some way. Plenty of beauty, song and scent to make the senses awaken today ~

Acacia trees are in bloom here. Happens in the late winter and early spring. The blooms on this tree are the color of sunshine. So vividly yellow - nearly like a neon hi-liter pen of nature. The scent from these babies wafted along beside me for the full hour that I walked.  The more I huffed and puffed up the hills the more inhaling had to be done... and the more perfume I took in. Truly intoxicating!

Yellow in nature seems to rule in the spring. Also in bloom along the roots of our local plants are mustard weed. We have fields and fields of this pretty yellow, edible flower/weed. There is a festival in the Napa Valley that is centered on this carpet plant. Another yellow I spied while walking was sour grass. When I was a child we would pick this weed and chew on the stem. It really is sour! Used to be we would claim that dogs would pee on the grassy areas where sour weed grows and that would cause the flavor!  eewwww... why then did we chew it?

grape vines with sour grass at their root
When I first saw this small plot of vines I imagined this was mustard weed. Just like the fields in Napa that I mention above. It's that same ol' doggy weed though.....

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vacation in My Mind

Thinking about tropical vacations. Warm evenings. Days that last long, long hours. Gentle breezes. Sunshine rays that cast shadows. Cool dips into a pool.

vivid sunsets

palm trees that sway


warm oceans

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cold Night, Warm Soup

Not a whole lot to say tonight. I'm really tired. I finally got back under the covers last night at 3:00 a.m.!!
I think my mind was doing a Barn Dance!! All I could conjure - rather than sleep - were thoughts of my booth at the Fall Affair. I already have a theme and lots else to go with that! Even found many items to sell while stopping at Estate Sales today!

We were socked in with fog and grey today. Twas much colder than this past week. So very glad to have made chicken noodle soup for dinner. It was a quiet night in our abode, and we're glad for it. Maybe a little mingling tomorrow night. We shall see. Off to sleep - I HOPE!!

* Sad to say that I had a couple of cute clock images all set-up for this post about non-sleep... and
  there seems to be some technical error. *
* 2nd addendum - now the pictures are here...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Picnic Dreams...

It seems funny sometimes to write this blog as if to an audience. Most of the time the reality is that I am writing to ME. When I started on this new creative outlet I did so thinking that it is just as though I am journaling each day. Even though a blog is out there in the blog-o-sphere/universe, no one is any the wiser unless I somehow make them aware. I've only chosen to mention Abundant Picnic to a few close people. Some days I'm ready to go further, other times, not.  For now I'll wait until I have the gumption... ah, go ahead and say it!!.... the balls to ask a veteran blogger for advice and mentoring. So now, I'll continue to post to the pretend "YOU" out there that are reading....

Lunch today went something like this: I met 2 acquaintances, no make that friends! We are new to hanging out together. I have known them for a couple of years. The kinda gals you wish you had met years earlier than you did! We have many of the same likes. I frequently spot them out thrifting, at estate sales and all sorts of treasure trove places! They have taken their love of vintage and made businesses out of it. I admire them.
One of them said: I'm planning a barn event/sale/faire for the Fall.
The other says: she wonders if so&so, and so&so would be available to sell their wares... 
I chimed in : I think I might like to be involved....
They seemed glad for my response. Later I was told they had been wondering if I might want..
So, I may have a booth at a home in the mountains, that's plopped in an orchard, that has goats milling about
and a barn nearby in which I will sell all matters of vintage delights!! We'll see what happens. And just so you know, it feels like kismet! Because this is exactly one of the ideas I posted about on About Those Finds. I may take Abundant Picnic to the barn.

vintage wicker wine jug & picnic hampers

While seemingly unrelated to the Picnic Dreams title, the place I'm going with this is - my Abundant Picnic is a dream that seems to be growing and improving! Until now I hadn't noticed that there is also a connection to a dream from my past. I can't remember the year, but for a time it was a dream of mine to open a shop and call it : Pique-nique. The french word for picnic. I talked about it. I knew what I wanted to do with it. I also knew the amount of work involved. Funny, now here's the picnic theme in my life again!

And lastly, but oh so sweetly and memorably - my Mom just recently told me a picnic story.... how apropos!

When my parents were young with two small children (myself & first brother) they left a very small town and moved to the city. My father had no work in the lumber industry. They went searching for a job and a better life. It was hard for them to make their money last through the month. One of the ways to scrimp was by watching the grocery budget. My Mom says that this was my Dad's idea and his "term" for it too - once a week they would have a PICNIC for dinner. The picnic fare was fried potatoes with cut-up hot dogs mixed in. They both thought that the word picnic just made everything seem a little bit nicer. I could cry!!
Ya know - I always loved that meal when we were older. I didn't realize the meaning and I don't think we called it a picnic then. Somehow this story was just passed on to me... at just the right moment!

only 2 of many picnic baskets I hoard

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


They say 'Man cannot live on bread alone'.... I think I could easily sustain myself for days running on just bread! What's not to love?? The options of flavors and extra sprinkles is mind boggling!  YUMMY! Frequently on Monday when I walk in the hills there is a spot that offers bread for free. While it is sometimes a tad stale, it is still pleasantly edible. Especially when toasted.

This week I did get myself a free loaf of artisan ciabatta. Yes, it too was somewhat aged. I did however manage to get my worth from it.  Some of this cost-me-zero baguette was sliced and toasted to go with dinner. As we ate, another part of the loaf had it's crust removed and was soaked in milk and baking in the oven with cinnamon sprinkled on top. Dessert was going to be bread pudding. As you see, one is supposed to use stale bread for this recipe. Really used my noggin for that one! Croutons were made for our salad.  And last, but not least, our feathered friends would also enjoy a meal from the crust pieces.

croutons, bread pudding & bird food
 All of that goodness from a single... and I'll say it again - *free* slab of delicious carbs! Those people that follow Atkins Diet don't know what they're missing!!  Ha!

Monday, January 24, 2011

About Those Finds.....

New possibilities have shown their faces. I'm feeling inquisitive. I have many ideas, plans and maybes. How to make them real or weigh the pros and cons to come to the decision that I do/do not want this reality... these are the questions I'm posing to myself.  All good thoughts and all related to my new work environment. Decisions, decisions....

Also related to the shop; here are some pictures of a few items I scored this weekend. Most I hope to sell.

This project in the beginning phase ~


vintage chair - seat made into a plant basket

The chair actually looks much prettier in person!

I have more treasures than those pictured, so the truck is loaded to go to work tomorrow! Just call me Elly May Clampett!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Garden

Really, I truly have a pretty yard - IN THE SPRING & SUMMER , if you were to look at it now you would never believe me!! So, I didn't take a picture of it to display.... oh no, it's just that bad!
how the backyard looks PART of the year

This pretty faux-spring weather has me all a twitter about the garden! I spent a small increment of the day in the yard... boy, was it nice! There is so much work to be done though.... uggghhhh! There were still a few wayward bulbs that never found their way into the ground, so I was digging holes and adding bone meal this afternoon. Some of the early arrivals are already poking their heads up... look see~

 and also these ~

crocus - the tiny, spiky ones at right
And I still have a vegetable garden, albeit very small, that needed tending ~

fava beans


curly leaf kale cuddling up to the cauliflower head!
 Football Frenzied Hubby, and Gardening Goddess (me!) had a lovely Sunday. The End.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Here & There...

My day started and ended with a walk. It's been delightfully warm and sunny this past week, surely not to stay since it is early winter. Funny how the scenery and one's point of view seem to change in golden days.....  

Here are random scenes I came across today. In no particular order, just here and there and everywhere:

let the sales begin...
Along with the weather comes many a yard sale! I think the season is off to it's start. At this one I came away with a bulging Hefty sack that Santa'd be proud of!! Mostly items to sell at the shop. Maybe tomorrow I can get a shot of the goods to share. Then, I really did get in a short walk.

I bet only us lucky folks in Cali, and a few other Southern states would see neighborhoods with citrus fruit ripe for the taking.... in winter! And I saw these in 2 different hoods.

Also on the agenda for today was a family friend's 90th Birthday party! So nice to catch up with this lovely group!

Then as mentioned I ended my day with another walk. I went to the Los Gatos hills just before sunset. It was beautiful and still warm, pink sky-ed and jasmine scented! Just happened to see this gal enjoying herself too:

pretty husky there,Gal! might need a walk yourself!

And just to make a point of how random, and here-and-there this blog post really is......  *drum roll*...
This is one of the silliest things I've ever seen!!...

Now who in the heck would decorate their porta-potty??? I'd love to meet that person! I'd love to hear their story!!  Maybe I'd love to join them! HA!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Starve A Cold ?

Is the saying - Starve a cold; feed a fever, or the other way around?? I think I have it right in the first place. I'm here to say that I nourished myself, sans a cold, and I hydrated too! A couple of us did...
Hubby did not starve his cold - he fed it!

We had a few stop-by's tonight. No one stayed long. Just a glass of wine and they were gone. Then we went for sushi for further nourishment of selves.

such a blurry photo - why bother??
Why do they call these (above in pic) "dead soldiers"???? hmmmm just wonderin'... Kind of a weird name for empty bottles. Don't know why I posted the blurry photo, or why I'm asking the silly question either.  OH NOW I KNOW!!... I get why the brain is mushy.... NyQuil!.. yep, that's the ticket!! Time for bed. Fun day tomorrow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Nyquil Night ?

Uh Oh... think I feel a cold coming on! Nooooooooooo.....
Going to bed and it's only 8:30. So tired - must have used too much energy on all of that Royal Wedding stuff!  HA!
New crisp, clean sheets are calling...


My current obsession has to do with a very festive event.  Straight away I thought of hosting this party here at home for a small group - cause that's all this tiny house will hold! At second glance I emailed "my girls" and offered a strong  sweet suggestion that this be the theme and date for my Birthday get together. The way that our Birthday group works, I am allowed  (by the rules & bylaws) to hint at type of affair, place and gift. An email has been sent to each of my fellow "flamingo" members. We'll see if they like my idea - OR NOT!

Just in case my Birthday idea doesn't pan out, then I'm onto the third possibility. See what I mean? Obsessed I tell ya! Can't let it go!.... the 3rd way to accomplish my goal is to see if the new boss likes my idea and if she'd like to use the theme, and host the party. While I hope to do the decor and any other tasks that might make my dream come true. The fact is though, if Boss hosts it then at least I'll be on the guest list!! She had mentioned recently that she wanted to have an employees appreciation lunch. So maybe she'll do it!!

What is this event I'm so nuts over?? Okay - ya ready?... I want to have a
Royal Wedding Party !

I think this would be a total kick in the pants!! I'm already imagining the decor, the table scape, the dress!!!
A few problems arise with the option of actually witnessing the ceremony a la' the telie. You see Wills & Kate are marrying on a Friday morn. In our part of the world one will have to be awake at the ungodly time of  2 a.m. on Friday..... so, like have the party on Thursday night and just try to stay awake until the nuptials commence in the wee hours. Not likely! Many ways around this issue, I guess. Tape the whole bloody thing and watch it at a reasonable time. Or throw a party and have it be on a regular weekend eve with no television sighting at all.....     hmmmmmm, what to do? what to do?

Definitely won't let it stop me! I'm now fanatical!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Valentine Thoughts

As I swept, redecorated, wrapped and mingled with customers the thought of Valentine's Day was ever present. I am working retail in a lovely den of femininity and nothing seems more sweet and girlish to me than Valentine's Day.  We had a project going on in the shop that required me to browse magazines and tear pages of beautiful scenes. Such a horrible job...  NOT!! In many of these now defunct prizes-in-print I found items that captured the spirit of the Day of Love. I sprinkled these beauties all about the store.

Life Love is like a box of chocolates! So I brought a box of cherry liqueur bon-bons for the counter. More enticement for our shoppers.
Aren't they so special... all wrapped in pretty golden foil?

Trying to dream up more Valentine goodness for tomorrow. I made a postcard with some of the pictures I took while pacing about and dusting up.

Enjoying this new chapter in my life. Hoping that the opportunities here grow & grow.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Can't say that I can find a huge connection between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the day we spent ... I did consider printing out MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech so that I could read it to my family at the beach today. Forgot to do that though. One sentence near the end of this speech says - "let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California". We rode those curvaceous slopes on our way to sunshine, relaxation, and our own form of freedom at the coast.

Didn't I just write a beach adoration post???  Well, sorry, but gonna do it again!! Love, love, love the seaside! Wish I woke up to that sound and view every morning. Once for a short period of time, I did! We rented a cliff side apartment in the town of Capitola. Our friends shared the time with us, so we lived at the beach one week and back in the city the next. Oh, I still dream of those views!

Rather than yammer on about what we ate and what we did.... I'll share the views we took in as we filled our souls with our big, beautiful, abundant slice of American apple pie with a scoop of freedom on the side ~

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spanning the Ages

Saturday had my emotions all over the map. Feeling old before my time at one point, and young-again happy later.

We filled the pews at a funeral for a friend of our own age. Each time these sorrowful events happen it casts a shadow, ever so briefly, on my life gauge. That being where I am at the point, at that age, and where I hope to be in the future. It stops me in my tracks, puts a fuzzy gray blanket on those years that are  a ways down the measuring stick. If someone my own age has passed then how can I take for granted the fact that there will be many more years? Thankfully I don't dwell on this and I DO make plans for the future while being grateful for each day.

By day I felt older than my number. Sadness has the ability to tire you and make one weary don't you think? And then, by night I was light, happy and oh so young again. We went dancing, stayed out late and were in the company of new love. A definite prescription to feeling years my junior!

club essentials!
Now I'll sign off and go be silly, giddy even... and YOUNG!! I'll be watching the Golden Globes.

* Also, I've added some important work to my Jan. 12th post - Growing! Go see...