Pumpkin Cottage

Pumpkin Cottage
sit and visit a spell

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spondylitis is not our Friend

Spondylitis what a menacing looking and sounding word. This is the condition that has invaded my life since my first sciatica attack at the age of 14. Ankylosing Spondylitis has stumped my posture but not my spirit. It took until about two years ago for a true diagnosis but at least now I know.

I share this with you because you or your loved one may be suffering from a condition but you have not taken advantage of all the associations available on the internet. I encourage you to seek knowledge and support from all the expertise that exists within your reach.

As we start out this Valentine filled February, I encourage you to seek the unconditional love of caring for yourself or a loved one.

My mother would always sign her notes with XXXOOO. Here is a list of the organizations that have helped me.

Alzheimer's Association

Developmental Optometrists

Educational Psychologist


The journey that I take every year.

Simple Abundance

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Endings

Thank you, sweetie Yolanda, for leaving a comment. I LOVE comments. How do I know if you like to visit the blog if you all don't let me know? Love brings more cheery posts.

Because of Yolanda, I am going to share our adventures at the CHA Anaheim Show that was held last weekend.

The show was so much fun. I met Kathy Cano-Murillo, the CraftyChica. Oh my goodness. She is so sweet and full of energy. Just one of those people that is a magnet of positive energy. What you see is what you get. She has developed a whole cottage industry that originated in the living room of her modest home in Phoenix, Arizona. Last year, Lee and I visited the Heard Museum in Phoenix just to bask in the glory that was her exhibit. Here are a few photos from that exhibit.

See the sewing machine covered in buttons?

The CHA show provided lots of free "make and take" opportunities in addition to fee based workshops. Believe it Jacob and Holly took advantage of all the crafty fun.

Chrisy, if you are out there check out Jacob's sweater.

We visited with the folks from Craftster see the online shop. See Jacob above making the buttons from their booth. We purchased the Handmade Nation DVD and Holly decorated a cupcake over at the Cricut Cakes booth.

See what goodness comes from a little encouragement?

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Road Trip 2010

I promise this get along gang update was worth the wait. It has been pouring rain all week. We lost our electricity on Monday-a great adventure for the kids with glowing candle light from saintly candles. Us Catholics love our candles. Always looking for the joy. We have been sick, but that has not precluded road trips.

In anticipation of Michele and Duarte's wedding in February we revisited Turlock. The trip was planned primarily to get better acquainted with my niece's fiance and to better understand the essence of their relationship. We all had a wonderful visit. Lots of laughter and serious conversation about their marriage and future expectations. I am happy to say that it is apparent that they have already shared heartfelt and honest discussions.

During this visit to Central California we explored new venues:

Road side shops along State Route 99.

Check out the penny flooring. Jacob was facinated by the concept. The shop accepts donations of pennies.

Six hour tour. Goodness, I am so happy for quiet and reading time. Thank you honey for always taking the wheel. I finished my undergrad by reading while commuting on the train and road trips. Seriously. No motion sickness in this family.

As I have shared before, our roadtrip
targets are downtowns, antiques, bakeries, used bookstores, destination nurseries (really any nursery), American Cancer Society "Discovery Shops," and quilt shops. This is the
M & S Portuguese Bakery located in old downtown Turlock. We missed the goodies, because it closes at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays and is closed all day Sunday. Looked yummy inside though full of traditional Portuguese pasteries, sweet bread and cookies.

The Turlock Portuguese Bakery. As luck would have it, the VoVo angel rides with us, we found another Portuguese bakery near by.

We visited Old Tyme Pastries, so you do not have to, for cupcakes but found that even though the cupcakes look delicious they tasted "store bought."

Then we hit pay dirt, for me any way, Cloth and Quilts, the store looks small but isn't. At the back of the store were quilting long arms humming away quilting. We were all fascinated. Imagine what a time saver for the quilting bee ladies of long ago.

The kids had fun exploring this "tent" fabric. We purchased the front panel to make our own sweet tent.


My sweet peeps, now if you know me at all, you know that I am not happy unless I am purchasing the tiniest herb, flower or what not at a nursery. Something Lee will dread planting later. The Greenery is located a short walk from Cloth and Quilts. We brought back two sticks, seriously, an ollieberry (many variations in spelling) and a red raspberry. And these great pictures to share with you. This beautifully trained espalier apple tree. Be still my heart. It is dormant now but imagine its glory in the spring time. It is the first one I have ever seen in a nursery setting.
This gazing globe.

For another must have on our road trip-used records we detoured to Modesto. Not very well organized but a haven for those of us that don't mind the hunt.
Also, in Modesto, Yesterday's Books. We have visited before and it is always worth the trip. Well organized, clean and affordable for the whole family. One of my favorites. And Park Cousins quote hit the spot.

Road trip home, you may recall that we stopped outside of the Chicken Pie Shop, in the Tower District of Fresno on our last road trip, but this time Lee actually went in and purchased pies.

Just saying. If you don't have time for a fresh baked chicken pot pie, bring a cooler and take some unbaked pies home...perfection.
Also, in Fresno, Gazebo Gardens, we ran out of time but I promise we will stop in for a visit next time.

There is plenty more to share, and I am only sharing the best of our adventure. Just a tease for now...Downtown Visalia. What a beautiful city. I know California is in a financial mess but what an amazingly beautiful and diverse state. Be proud to be a Californian.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The news from Haiti is devastating. The blog and craft community is trying to help. If you are a praying person, please pray for all the people in need and their families. Pray for the military personnel, relief workers, and media personnel that are in or heading to Haiti.

Follow the news at BBC News Haiti. You can also text a donation of $10 directly to the Red Cross.

God bless.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Calendar is Filling Up

Lee says the calendar is filling up. I have to plan...that is the only way I can push through to joy.

Please see my list of favorite places to visit. With the exception of the Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire, the get-along gang has personally visited each location. We are hoping to visit the faire in April.

For Valentine's we will be visiting the Rose Bowl for new vintage frames. And I mean plural.

Susan Branch will be in California for two events: one at Road to California Show and the other you will just have to read about here.

Besides road trips, where would we be without shoes...check out Re-mix on Amazon. I am just saying.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reading Recipes

Reading cookbooks and recipes is almost as enjoyable as cooking the recipes. Right now I am reading Maya Angelou's hallelujah! instead of homework. Each recipe section begins with a story from Maya's life. The stories are so good I felt compelled to read aloud to Mark.

I first learned about the significance of reading aloud when Mark and Nicholas were little. In my early years of parenting, I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture with the author of the Read-Aloud Handbook. That hour of two of instruction held sage advice that I still use today. The handbook is a great resource for techniques to encourage and develop the love of reading in children. As a family, we learned to share our passion for reading books, magazines and even short passages by reading aloud to each other. It's important for children to see men reading.

As a couple we read together. Before Jacob came along, I would read aloud to Lee on road trips. The first book we read together was A Portrait of a Marriage.

Cozy up with a hot chocolate and read aloud together.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I want this book Watching the English.

Shop on Amazon UK with great confidence. Even when I had a shipment glitch it was taken care of right off.

Right now I am watching How Clean is Your House on BBC America. I am in heaven with Kim and Aggie.

Oh joy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Joe

Yes, I know your friends read this blog and just in case they forgot your birthday...here is a gentle reminder. Wish Joe a happy birthday..because I am far away.

Here we are... it was just a blink of an eye. Still adorable you.

A little song for you...this reminds me of when we were kids. It is how I feel inside...Uncle Albert.

Just a little side bar. I loved this picture. I still love this house. This room is the the parlor of the house at 424 Purisima. I know it is where my sweet memories start. It is where our affinity for old things, gardens, hanging our clothes on the line, cats, the color pink and so many things that make us who we are started. Parents take heed: The sweet memories you make today may just be what carries your children through in your absence.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Part of freshening our home for the New Year is getting the garden ready for spring. I was out in our little garden all morning. Being out in the fresh area alone allows me time to for reflection and rejoicing in all that my mother taught me.

Until today. we had a beautiful lavender snail vine but it had to go because it had taken over my black berry bush. A few years ago, the black berry bush was huge. My mother offered to prune it...she had such a green thumb, of course I said yes, but by the time I wandered back to check on the pruning progress the bush was nothing but a few sticks.

I left my mother outside to pick up the pruned canes and went inside to cry. She meant well so I couldn't be angry. You might guess that in the following spring the black berry bush came up strong and we had lovely berries in the summer.

Today as I pulled the snail vine from the ground and away from what is just three strong canes now I was reminded of my mother. I am comforted because I know that eventually everything will be all right.

My mother's hand is with me and touches all that I do.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010

Whew!!! So happy we cross the threshold into 2010. What a wonderfully full day. This photo of Holly was yesterday. My father used to make these orange peel glasses for me. Isn't it funny how memories will flood back. Isn't she cute.

Jacob and I started our day and year by sorting VoVo's collected buttons. My mom was a thrifty woman and nothing went to waste. We are committed to continuing that tradition in this wonderful new year.

We crossed another item off our list. With made stepping stones today. This has become a lovely tradition that really started with Mark and Nicholas years ago. Mark and Nicholas' stone was made as a gift for VoVo and my brother gave it back to me a while ago. Now, our little garden is full of stepping made since July 4, 2003.

Lee is painting some of the loot we purchased yesterday can wait to show you.

Lee made Mark's favorite dinner today. Albondigas soup. What a treat. We usually only get it at Mark's request for his birthday.