I am just about to become 51, yikes, when did that happen??? I've been married for 31 years to a wonderful man, we have 2 children, the lights of my life. I homeschool my kids, funny because I got a degree in art education that I never used because I HATED teaching. It really is better when it's just my two, although there is not enough money in the world to pay teachers who have to teach reading--it is the bane of my existence. My husband and I both love scouring antique stores and travelling to comfortable places. I often say our idea of the great outdoors is a table at a sidewalk cafe. Nature is pretty, but must be kept in its place.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is equal parts wonderful and horrible. They really did re-create the castle and the village, it was perfect. The paintings talked and moved and looked very real, the butter beer was surprisingly delicious (hard to describe, but kind of a not-too-sweet butterscotch candy, only frozen and slushy), and we wanted to buy absolutely everything from pepper imps to sugar quills. The bad parts were the crowds, which supposedly were smaller than usual (if it had been even more crowded and hot summer, I think I would have hated Harry by the time I got done)--the shops are so small you can hardly turn around to begin with, then stuff that tiny space with too many cranky travellers, not good. Next was the ride---not one of the reviews I read said anything about how scary this ride is, and it was scary, a complete horror for someone with claustrophobia, which is me. First, the seats have a head rest that goes around the side of your face which started me right into panic---I sit down, it goes off, I'm repeating "Don't freak, don't freak", then a giant spider is suddenly right in my face spitting at me, followed by dementors and other things. Now it is not that the things were that frightening but that they were right in my face, something I just cannot stand. The idea of the ride was pretty great--Hermoine casts a spell on you so you can fly and you see Harry in front of you on his broom, taking you on a flight past Hagrid's dragon and the spiders and the dementors. They really need to change the too darn close imagery though. I had been certain we would go again and again like we do on the Indiana Jones ride at Disney, but not a one of us wanted to go back! Honestly, I'd do the Tower of Terror again before I'd go on that ride again. In case you don't know, the Tower of Terror puts you in an elevator and drops you about a million miles an hour about 5 times, total heart attack ride.
I am so missing southern hospitality. I always gave Iowans very high marks on the friendly scale, but must admit the southerners outdo us. I miss hearing "Ya'll just make yourself at home" and being called Honey. The girls were "Baby" to everyone! The scenery and weather were the best, a really nice trip across America. One of my new favorite places is Paducah Kentucky--the town is just gorgeous, downtown mid 1800s buildings in very good repair and antique shops everywhere (even though Paducah is the quilt capital, I was enthralled with the antique shops). The dealers were having a tough time of it, I think travelling is way down and the town was certainly empty on the Saturday we were there. Anyone with a hankering for a trip, I highly recommend a stop there.
We are home at last, and I can hardly keep my eyes open at this point, car lag could be worse than jet lag....
Our first real part of the vacation was a stop in Nashville, a night at the Opryland Hotel (an amazing place about as big as Clarinda, it has pools and gardens and fountains and shops...), and of course we had to see the Grand Old Opry. A most wonderful surprise was the last set was Charlie Daniels, and he brought the place down when he played The Devil Came Down to Georgia. It was awe inspiring to see him play that fiddle. We had to go downtown to Gruhns Guitars, and stop at Fanny's House of Music and Vintage Fashions, as Taylor Swift mentioned that she loved the shop and my girls think seeing Taylor's fav shop is almost as good as seeing Taylor.
Love the southerners, but sure wish they'd stop with the sweet tea and get me an espresso~
My husband gave me the tiny antique butterchurn for my birthday, I immediately asked if it was ok if I painted it, and it turned out perfect! The doll I bought for myself, she is also perfect with the churn. I've had this old tea tin forever, and blued it up just for me...
I had a great birthday, nice weather, my favorite antique stores and dinner at the Olive Garden, which I love a lot, despite snarky comments from the food "experts". We started in West Branch, tiny birth town of Herbert Hoover and walked around the little Quaker village there. There is a little bridge over a creek, where the girls love to play Pooh sticks--now, if you want someone to stare at you and say "WHAT did you say?", try saying let's play pooh sticks--it is a Winnie the Pooh game, people! Drop a stick on one side of the bridge and see who's stick floats to the other side first, that's all! Now, my other "WHAT did you say?" moment was at Disneyland a few years ago, Grace was about 6, we were waiting in line for the Haunted House when she said, "Mom, this looks just like a horror house.", but of course, it did not sound like horror house, but whore house--I tell you, the whole line of people stopped in their tracks and turned around to stare at me. I couldn't even explain.
After our walk, we stopped in at Margs Red Schoolhouse and Main St. Art, plus a new shop on the way, the Red Barn Market, which is really a great shop, clean and pretty and full of nice antiques. Next, it was off to Amana, as Grapevine Antiques was having an outdoor market. I stocked up at Erenberger Antiques again (oh, how I LOVE her store) and got some more of those pretty blue rag balls to sell. We came home, had a bike ride and a walk, painted some things blue...then had my favorite Olive Garden meal of shrimp and chicken carbornara--Grace and I always share (good thing we like the same food), she asked what on earth I would do when she's grown up and I have no one to share dinner with--told her I guess I'll have lots of left overs!
It is finally warm enough to get out and walk a bit, and of course, why not walk by the neighborhood bakery? Deluxe in Iowa City is soooo good, and as you see, beautiful as well. The violas are my only flower out so far--I just bought the wonderful cement bird on ebay, I just love him.
In the background, some of my favorite things, Fat Hen Farm Dolls, early blue china and if you haven't noticed, I am enamored of the spice chest that I bought at Annies in Cascade and transformed with cupboard blue paint
Early One Piece Toy Rolling Pin
$28 for this cutie
The Spice Girls
The Early Littles
Finally, warmth and sunshine, I am re-taking a lot of my photos
Blue Willow Bowl
Oh, I do love my blue and whites!
Kreamer Pantry Tins
These are large canister size pantry tins that I painted, from the Kreamer company
Shaker Pantry Boxes
I was a really good girl and did not paint most of the mid 1800s pantry boxes, but I just had to allow myself these two, they are most gorgeous
Cupboard Blue Spice Tins
I decided these needed labels after all, back to the store for $85 set