Friday, August 12, 2016

Happenings Lately

Hot, Hot Summer

It has been terribly hot to me this Summer…  Not sure why, it is always hot in the Houston area in the long Summer.  
My husband and I made a road trip to Kentucky about a week ago to visit my brother and his family who welcomed a new baby boy this Summer.  We had such a fun time!  We stopped in Arkansas, on the way, to visit with my family who live there.  It is always wonderful to be in Arkansas!!!
I wanted to drive through Paducah, KY on the way to see the town.  There is a cool Quilt Festival there each year, and I wanted to check out the town.  It was a pretty little town and a nice quiet drive there.  I managed to go in a quilt shop there and purchased a few yards of cute novelty type fabric for some kid quilts I have planned to make for family and friends.

Lovely, Lovely Kentucky

Rainbow from the back porch at my Brother's and Sister's-in-law farm.  We actually saw a rainbow 5 out of 6 days while in KY!!
Good Luck I think :)
My husband and our niece - going butterfly hunting -
it was beyond precious!!!
Can these country roads be any more beautiful?!
 I am hankering to move to Kentucky...
Couldn't resist this 'Share the Road" sign - a tractor and a bicycle - 
I think I could handle sharing the road with these two :)
Everywhere you look is like a postcard.
Field of tobacco.
A picture from the last night at the farm.  It is hard to leave…
Lightning bugs at night, cool breezes - so we sat outside all of the time!!
Not to mention a niece and nephew to love on...
I miss my family so much.
My husband and I have lived in the Houston area for 
20 years and we have made such good friends,
but nothing beats living near family.

Highway 127 Yard Sale

Have you ever heard of the Highway 127 Yard sale?  It meanders along US HWY 127 from Ohio to Alabama.  And there are literally thousands of road side yard sales along the way.  Sometimes there were many families and small businesses who set up booths in one area, or there was one person in front of their house.  Most were near the towns along the way, with miles between the areas.
Well, my brother lives near HWY 127 in Kentucky!  I can't believe we were in KY on the week before the weekend the yard sale started!!!  And, I didn't even plan it!  Luckily, most of the spots started the sale early, so we were in on the beginning of the sales!
We left Kentucky on a Wednesday morning, planning on arriving home on Thursday night (so we could be home for the Olympics…ha ha).
I was SO excited, and SO happy that we drove so I could bring home many many treasures :)
We didn't stop at that many places really, because it was VERY hot.  We bought some fresh peaches at one place and got good and messy eating sun warmed peaches in the car.
Cool purse that I bought somewhere in Tennessee.
I am sure it is Bakelite… :)

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Our plan was to drive to Tuscaloosa to spend the night before driving the rest of the way home to Houston.  Al and I like to stop at Whole Foods stores around the country to eat a healthy dinner while we are on the road.  I can only take so much fast food at any time, and just sitting in a car for 10-12 hours a day makes greasy food less appealing. After eating several peaches, we weren't very hungry, so we each got a slice of this delicious chicken, onion and goat cheese pizza.  The Whole Foods in Birmingham, AL also has a great display of the Gee's Bend Quilts!  I love these quilts and the sweet ladies who made them.  Look it up, here, if you haven't read about it before.  There was a display in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts several years ago and it was amazing!! 
Ok, in spite of University of Alabama being in Tuscaloosa (ha ha - go Razorbacks!), it is a pretty cool place!  I googled "best breakfast in Tuscaloosa" and came across this really cool place named, Edgar's Bakery!  Oh my goodness!  It was so cute, that it looked like a movie set.  I got a savory pastry (ham and cheese) and a sweet pastry (orange cinnamon roll).  They were so good!!  Al got a mountain of glazed pecans with a sweet roll underneath, and a 4 cheese pastry.  It was so many calories that we actually didn't eat again until Thursday night! ha ha

Natchez Trace - Mississippi

Al and I decided to drive along the Natchez Trace from Jackson, MS to Natchez, MS.  We have driven the Trace before, but wanted to experience it again.  It is slow and pleasant.  The speed limit is 50 and there is almost no traffic. You can read about it here.  There were no stop signs on the section we traveled, and we only saw like 10 cars.  We saw 1 deer, and 2 snakes,  a lizard and lots of birds.  I am always really disappointed when you see a sign that says "watch out for wildlife" and you don't see much.  But, the lovely quiet roads made up for the lack of animals :)  Plus, it was crazy hot (over 100 the whole time we traveled along the Trace).
After the Natchez Trace ends in Natchez, MS, we headed to Louisiana.  Our plans were to drive to Manchac, LA - North of Lake Pontchartrain - to eat at Middendorf's Seafood.  We ended up driving on many country roads, and getting in a terrible storm, but we made it!  It was as delicious as we remembered!!  Thick or Thin - I will take either one!  SO, SO good!!
We didn't quite eat it all - but it was wicked good, and worth the drive!
After we left Middendorf's we headed to Baton Rouge to go to a cute grocery store that a friend told me about that sold the "Best Salsa Ever"!  We found this cute grocery named, Alexander's and bought several jars of Hola! Nola! Salsa.  I have to admit - it is really good!!  A funny side note - when we were in the grocery, a man came up and says, "Hey! Al!" and Al saw someone who he used to work with, who now owns a bike shop in Baton Rouge!  It really is a small world :)

Fridays in the Garden with Joeby

My garden is kind of the pits right now.  It rained so much this spring, then it was dry and now it is crazy hot.  I have a few peppers, and lots of herbs.  There is also a lovely French Pumpkin vine and some sweet potatoes growing in the old tomato bed.  Even if they do not produce, the vines are lovely.

I hope your day is going well and that you are looking forward to a weekend filled with happiness and good company.
~ Joeby

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spring is Springing!


Just when you think that Winter will last forever, Spring shows up :)
We actually had a very mild winter in the North Houston area.  A lot of our tender plants that usually die back, did not this year - which means little to no freezing weather for us.

Valentine's Day Planting

In our area of Texas, Valentine's Day is considered good luck for planting tomatoes.  This year we were going to be away from home on Valentine's Day so I planted a few days early.  I planted a few tomatoes, potatoes, and onion sets on February 12th before we went on a quick trip out West. 
Everything is growing nicely and loving this warm Spring weather!

The potatoes ready to be covered with dirt :)  I found two packages of organic potatoes at Lowe's - one red potatoes, and one white.  I usually try to get a little pack of Yukon Gold, too, but I couldn't find them this year. 

Garden Now

Just 20 days later!  I need to pull some dirt along the sides of them...
I don't think I have 2 of the same variety of tomatoes - more fun to try different kinds.
Swiss Chard and little spring onions.  When I was growing up in Arkansas, I remember having spring onions to eat on Easter.
My little helper, Trixie, in the Garden this morning.
Daffodils from my honey - with a few of my colored pencils in the background.  

Few Pictures from Trip Out West

My sweet husband, gave me a trip out West for Christmas.  We went to Utah for one day to go to the sweetest Sealing ever.  Then to California for 2 days to see my Girl!  I can't believe my baby is, not only 23, but married and living in California!!!  How did she get so big, and how did I get so old?  Then we went to Las Vegas for 2 nights.

Isn't this the sweetest picture?  Victorian looking, and perfect.  We have the sweetest kids, and sweetest grand babies! 
Lovely hills near San Clemente, California - 
nice and green from the winter rains.
Desert Flowers near Palm Springs, California where we went one day.  My husband, Al, and his family used to go there occasionally when he was younger and growing up in Los Angeles.  We got all got Date Milkshakes (another childhood memory from my sweetie), but I forgot to take a picture!!  
My pretty girl, my honey & me, 
The Tropicale - great restaurant in Palm Springs, and the desert night sky.
The next day we went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park - it was SO hot! 97 degrees for February 15th is craziness!
Fish Tacos in San Diego :)
Our room with a view - The Wynn - 56th floor.
I turned $10 into $25.50 and decided to call it quits :)

Joeby's Studio

 I started a little crafting business last fall - Joeby's Studio.  I did a few craft shows nearby with a few open houses at our house for people who couldn't make the shows.  It was SO fun!  I opened an shop early this year, with not too much success.  But, truthfully, I haven't tried very hard.  I haven't promoted it very much, nor have I tried to make any new stuff to put online...  I did get an order to make 300 little table favors from a lady who saw me at a craft sale and picked up one of my little handmade business cards.   I finished and delivered those early this week.  I think she was happy.  They are prettier than the picture - all pastels.
My goal for the next month or so is to put some cute crafts on my shop -

I hope you have a lovely Spring!  
Plant something - it makes you happy :)
~ Joeby

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Vienna & Innsbruck, Austria (Days 3 & 4)

I can't describe how much fun I had going on this trip to Austria!!  It was really great to hang out with my brother!  We have been on vacations since adults, but never just the two of us.  It was super fun.  We laughed and talked way to late into the night!  Thanks again for inviting me, Ken (Bud)!!!

Day 3

Day 3 was really fun!  We started the day off with a WBFSH (World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses) tour of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna - Royal Lipizzan Stallions.  We got to watch the morning practice and tour the stables.  Once again, I was amazed at how old the buildings were that I was getting to go into!  The current riding school was built between 1729-1735.  The school has been in constant practice since 1565.  The horses were just magnificent.  They were practicing to classical music (a regular occurrence).  It was beyond marvelous to have this opportunity!  I can't believe I got to go!!!
Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School building - so lovely!!!
Statues for sale at the gift shop.
We got to set in a special section on the ground level - the horse would kick dirt on us when they went by.  :)
Ken on the other side of the arena from where we were setting during the practice - you can see the stand where the live orchestra plays during the evening performances.
A lovely high-relief of a horse head in the stables.  Can you believe this loveliness is above a horse stall?
The stables were fabulous!!  The horses were all curious about us walking around.  I can't believe how well treated the horses are and how clean the stables were.  One of the guides taught us about the blood lines and how they are bred to be white (where they used to be all colors hundreds of years ago).  Occasionally now a horse, other than white, will be born.  They consider them their good luck charms, and they get to participate just like the white horses.  A dark one was practicing that morning.
Various sculptures built into the lovely building - 
I could have been there for hours!!!
But, the participants of the Horse Assembly had more meetings, so we had to go back to our hotel after a too-short, but fabulous visit to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna!

More Exploring on My Own!

After we went back to the hotel, I though I might take a nap.  My brother and I were up all hours talking.  We had so much fun!!  Then I got to thinking that I could always sleep on the way to Austin for the Formula One Race (that my husband and I were attending when I got home).  So off I went on foot to find something fabulous to take pictures of.  It was a lovely day and didn't rain!
Not too far from our Hotel was a fabulous outdoor market  - Naschmarkt.  I walked through it several times to get to some other locations. 
All of the fruits and vegetables, and fresh foods were beautiful!

 Karlskirche - St. Charles's Church

I had seen a picture of this church on Pinterest, so I plugged the address into google maps, and off I went to find it.  It wasn't more than a couple of miles from our hotel.
St. Charles's Church was one of the churches I most wanted to see since the pictures on Pinterest were so lovely and it was in walking distance.  It was completed in 1737 - another fabulous old Baroque church for me to go into!  I am so lucky!!
I just can't say how lovely the painting and sculptures are! 
Pictures do not do it justice...
Apotheosis of Saint Charles Borromeo by Alberto Camesina.
The Church is named after St. Charles Borromeo.
There was scaffolding inside the church in the center dome.  It was big, but did not detract from the beauty.  After walking around a good bit - again, not many people around, I noticed that it appeared you could go up about half way towards the top of the dome in an elevator.  I saw someone going up, so I did too! :)
When you went up probably 5 floors the elevators stopped at an observation area to see the ceiling fresco better.  Then you could take rickety shaky stairs the rest of the way to the ceiling!  There was a sign that said only 5 people could be on the stairs at any one time… Well, how did one know how many people were already up there?  Up the stairs I climbed!  By the way, the dome is 70 meters tall…that is 230 feet…  After I went up probably 10 flights of stairs, I saw another person.  The rest of the way up I was all alone.  You got within inches of the ceiling and the scaffolding had a sway to it.... I started to get nervous because not another living soul had any idea where I was.  So I snapped a few pictures and climbed back down! ha ha
This picture is from the "landing" area before the stairs.  I wish I had a better lens on my camera so you could see how lovely the ceiling was!
I could have reached out and touched this little guy if I wanted to let go of the railing long enough to actually do it...
Picture from inside one of the small domes (from the ground - no climbing to get this one).
Goodbye Karskirche - you are beyond beautiful!!
More lovely flower shops on the walk back to the hotel.
Every where I looked it was beautiful!  Could you imagine living in such an apartment?
Pretty private park near a sweet little elementary school that was letting out when I walked by.  All of the moms or nannies were picking up the cutest little kids.

Austrian Musical Performance at Wiener Kursalon

After I got back from exploring.  It was time to get ready to go do an Austrian Composers concert at the Wiener Kursalon with the WBFSH members.  My brother and I ended up taking the subway over to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna so we could get a couple of souvenirs.  Unfortunately, the gift shop was closed :(  But, we still had fun walking around and making our way over to the concert hall.
It was quite a surprise to come upon this very large pink rabbit while we were walking around :)
I have looked it up and it is a sculpture by Ottmar Hörl.  It is his representation of one of my favorite artist, Albrecht Dürer's "Young Hare", and is housed in the Albertina Museum that I went to yesterday!
This is the Spanish Riding School of Vienna by night - some big "to-do" was going on in the nearby palace and there was security and military helicopters everywhere.
Wiener Kursalon Concert Hall (built between 1865-1867) - so elegant!  Excited for the concert!
The Austrian Composers concert was FABULOUS!!!  I love Mozart, especially, and really enjoyed our evening.  this was from my seat at the concert.  Aren't the chandeliers lovely?

Last Day in Austria

One the last day in Austria, Ken and I decided to skip the horse farm tour and take a fast train across Austria, to Innsbruck!  We wanted to go to the Alps and see some of the countryside from the train.
Here we are on the train!  I am very drowsy because I had to take a dramamine to not get sick on the train.  It was all I could do to stay awake and see the lovely country side.  We left so early that the first hour was dark anyway.  I have to say…one of my favorite parts of the train trip was the girl who came by selling snacks actually had a European version of Diet Coke… ha ha.  I had not had one in days and enjoyed it, even though it is NOT the same as the USA version. 
We made a minute stop in Salzburg - we didn't get out - only sang what we could remember of "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music!!!"
Such a pretty train trip!!!
 Starting to see mountains!!!
A castle looking building - it isn't very clear - 
but you can tell how pretty it is.
Innsbruck!!!  Isn't it lovely!  Sorry my finger is in the top...
Making fun of my brother! My favorite picture from the trip, I believe!
Here we are taking a selfie - A couple of farm kids from Arkansas in Innsbruck, Austria!
My searching for pretty churches continues in Innsbruck - 
this time Ken got to join me!
St. Nikolaus Church - Innsbruck

We rode a train up the mountain.  We didn't have time to ride the gondolas to some of the ski areas, but we had a great view of the city from this far up the mountain!
Loved the signs in Innsbruck :)
Such pretty narrow streets - Loved it there! 
McDonalds is everywhere...
We had such a fun fast day trip to Innsbruck!  I got to add another city to my list of visiting cities where the Winter Olympics were held! 1964 and 1976.  It was so much more fun exploring with someone other than just myself.  Ken and I had such a fabulous time!!

Back To Vienna - Last Night

When we got back to Vienna - we decided to go to the city center and find something to eat and walk around.  St. Stephen's was still open so we went inside.  It looks VERY different at night than during the day.  For 5 euros each we could take an elevator to the roof and see the city - so of course we did that!!

A lot darker at night - but still lovely.
View of the fabulous tile roof and the spire.  It was kind of scary up so high, but it being dark helped you get comfortable quickly - you couldn't tell how rickety the observation deck was and you couldn't tell exactly how far up you were...
We got more comfortable as we were up longer and took a selfie to prove we did it!
After we left the cathedral we walked around and got "street" food.  We got back really late and packed and had about 2 hours of sleep before getting up and heading home to our lives in Texas and Kentucky.

That's our trip to Austria!  It was So much fun and a memory that I will treasure my entire life.  Thanks so much to the best brother in the whole world for inviting me along and for helping me have such a fun time!  Thank you Bud, you are my favorite brother :)