Cork Lined Embroidery Hoop with Metal Tension Wheel

Embroidery hoop

I really wanted to purchase the French General "French Embroidery Hoop". Just because it is so cool. However! I have several vintage wooden and metal hoops in my stash, and even at a discount of $25, it doesn't make sense to add another item to the bin. 

Then this beauty appeared while I was searching for materials. {{cue angels singing}}

This one is approximately an inch larger in diameter than the one mentioned above. I love the wheel screw which makes tension adjustment easy. Similar ones are/have been for sale on eBay for $16.95.

If anyone has any information on its date of manufacture, please let me know. 


Unexpected gifts



We are thankful for friends and family that made our holiday season delightful! It began with a cross-country trip by our next door neighbors from Florida who traveled long hours to visit for a week here in Riverside. They brought laughter and gifts reminiscent of our adopted home state.  The day they left we traveled for my husband's work to San Francisco via Spirit "First Class" by chance. The best way to get there, of course. Holiday lights during visits with friends and family there made it extra special. The late night loss of the rental car in Redwood City made it an adventure. We were finally rescued by an off-duty sheriff and his family. (Who couldn't find the parking garage after several attempts, either. But, it ended well.)

Almost everyone I knew had their tree up and decorated for Christmas and my husband went out of town for another week. Our friends took me with them to get a tree, chose one on the lot, unwrapped it, tossed it in the back of their truck, stopped for a tarp for us, and set it up ... in the stand! 

Christmas Eve at their annual party is always memorable for the food and company, many were there from New York.

My sister came for a long week from Texas, a comfy visit, and a huge help when most needed at the birthday party. The same night I was rescued by two chefs who cooked my main dishes when this brain shut down after days of prep.

We are done now with 2016, which usually ends for us after the birthday on the 10th. Except, last night the "pizza man" brought a birthday tomato pie and white pizza in the traditional half sheet size of Rome, New York, my husband's and his hometown. 

The picture shows the contents of a shiny envelope that arrived for me from ipsy. A mysterious gift, indeed, to add to the list of thoughtfulness we were surrounded with this year. 

Thank you to many friends from Florida, the Bay area, central New York transplants, and a reluctant Waco, Texas resident. Your gifts were fun and helpful. Your friendship is treasured.


Action required

image from

I started a book club! 

We have been in our new home for a little over two years. Although the neighborhood touts itself as "the friendliest in Riverside", and truly, everyone does say hello and chat briefly, I have only made one "friend". 

Following a visit from my next door neighbors, from Florida, I decided to remedy my solitary situation in California and posted in Nextdoor for anyone interested in discussing non-fiction history books. We met once in December to set up our reading for the next few months. Success and such a nice group.

One member's son recently moved to Vermont, the same town in which my husband's work was located. 1776 by David McCullough was recommended to her by him and this is where we are starting.

Action with positive results and a surprising east coast connection right in my neighborhood!



My New Year begins

Pool rain

 today ... following Friday's birthday dinner for my husband. In the end, I had help. Two chef friends prepared the chicken piccata and garlic sauced pasta. I am beyond grateful!

It rarely rained here in the past couple of years. This holiday season while we had a week of friends visiting from Florida after Thanksgiving, and then my sister here from Texas over New Year's for 10 days, it has poured and been unusually cold. 

My walking plans need a rainy day alternative. The first day is a good time to put that in place. 

Stay warm! 


Birthday Party Day


Rum cake
Here's one recipe. There are many.

Oh, my!

I have what I would call a small dinner party for 20 tonight here. Those around me are more concerned about the logistics than I am. That concern is making me take deep breaths and practice how I imagine yoga calms one down.

Off to make for the Italian birthday boy:

  • Cheese plates, one fruit based, one savory.
  • Antipasto
  • Oil and garlic sauced penne
  • Chicken piccata
  • Italian rum cake

After all, we just finished with the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years trifecta. I'd rather do this any day than several cooked family favorites, pies, and cookies which I enjoy doing, but take a very long time. You notice I have only two cooked dishes and one cake.

Easy peasy.


Minimizing stuff, tidying up, destashing, etc.


...I'm done with it!

The stress became too much quite frankly. There was no end I could see in the process. I did learn to make it part of my normal day's routine, like cooking and cleaning which you do for yourself or your family. Yes, that means there is no finish date, but I'm okay with that as opposed to tossing everything except the minimum all at once. 

Yesterday I had help sorting out the configuration of my small closet which holds my sewing and craft projects in addition to clothing, coats, and shoes. It's brilliant now...for a 1950's addition with no fancy closet organizers. 

One favorite striped top went in the trash. 

Go me!

Embroidery Calling Me

Vintage white on white from a family member

Lately, embroidery has been beckoning. I have a large stash of vintage transfers, prestamped cloths, blanks and floss to be worked. It would be more fun in a group which I am trying to find (or start) in my neighborhood. 

My sister is visiting from her Texas "home". Today we tackle taking inventory of the large bin and gathering up items that are scattered about to get everything in one location. 

French General inspires me for hours, along with Pinterest, of course. Time to do.

I'll share my progress and projects and would love to see yours.

Happy New Year

Chilly Outdoor Patio
Too chilly to eat out here!


I'm a day late already on my New Year's post.

We had an impromptu dinner party with my sister who is visiting from Waco, Texas, and local friends from my husband's home city, Rome, New York.

Memories from the east coast, the mid-west and now the west coast were shared over a delightful meal. 

May you make 2017 your best yet!