Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Gift Bags for Special Friends

Do you have a special friend, or perhaps two friends, with whom you are particularly close?  I know I do.  And any time I have an opportunity to let these two friends know how special they are to me, I seize it.  Even at Halloween.  So this year I put together two gift bags for two very dear friends and I would like to share this project with you.

I found these cute little gift bags at Safeway, of all places.  You never know where you will be when you find something that is perfect for your next project.  I was making my way through the Safeway on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown a few weeks ago and on my way to check-out I saw these bags on an end-cap.  I knew right away that I needed two of them.

I set about filling them over the past weeks whenever I would see something that I thought my friends would like.

So one bag has a bag of  Dark Chocolate Covered Orange flavored candies, two Godiva chocolate bars, an orange scented candle, and two flavored coffee stirrers.

The second bag is very similar.  It has a bag of Milk Chocolate Covered Strawberry flavored candies, two Godiva chocolate bars, a Pure Radiance Yankee Candle in Yuletide and two flavored coffee stirrers.

Just the simplest of gifts is all that is necessary to show someone that you care and that their friendship means the world to you.  It doesn't take an enormous amount of money.  Just that you thought of them enough to put together a little something is enough.  Who knows.  Your friend may really need the show of love on the day they receive this.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Front Porch of Pumpkins

I usually like to have several pumpkins on the front porch.  This year was no different.  The only thing different this year was how we prepared the pumpkins.  No carving.  Take a look.

We started with two regular orange pumpkins that we picked up at Walmart.  I decided I wanted to paint them this year.  So I bought two Crackle Finish kits and gave them a try.  First order of business is to make sure your pumpkin is clean and dry.  Then apply your basecoat.  The first pumpkin was painted black.

And here it is completely covered in black paint.

The second pumpkin was cleaned and dried.  I used a regular countertop wipe to remove any residual dirt from the pumpkin patch.

The basecoat for the second pumpkin was silver.  The silver paint did not completely cover the pumpkin like the black paint.  I was not sure how this was going to turn out, but I stuck with the project.  They were both painted and then placed on the deck to dry.

This is the Crackle Finish kit I used.  I picked this up at Michael's.  Actually I bought two of them. Depending on the size of your pumpkin, one kit may do two pumpkins.  But that is only if they are small.  Count on one kit per pumpkin.

It does not come with these little paint containers.  Those came from Walmart.  You get a pouch of black and a pouch of silver paint and a pouch of the clear crackle coat which is applied in between the two contrasting colors of paint.

Into the little paint container with the black paint.

The kit comes with these tiny little sponges which they instruct you to use to paint the pumpkin.  I really found this rather funny.  There is no way on earth that a child or an adult could actually use these tiny little sponges to paint an entire pumpkin.  You would be there all day and there would be paint all over your hands and everywhere else.

So, ... while I was in Walmart buying the pumpkins, I stopped by the paint department and picked up some of these wonderful little sponge painters with handles.  What a superb idea.  Do not even attempt this project without first buying some of these sponge painters with handles.

So we were all done with the silver paint on the second pumpkin.  I let both pumpkins dry all day on the deck in the sun.  We also had a light breeze and that helped to dry them thoroughly.

The following morning I brought them both inside, still on the paper bags.  I applied the clear crackle coat to both and placed them back on the deck to dry.  Several hours later, when they were both completely dry, I applied the topcoat.  Over the black I applied the silver.  I really love how this looks.  This one did not actually "crackle" in the truest sense of the word.  But it is very iridescent. Very beautiful.

The other pumpkin (which is the one at the bottom of the picture), with the silver basecoat, got a topcoat of black.  That one did actually crackle somewhat.  We placed them on the front porch with the other oddly shaped pumpkins we picked up at Lowe's and we were all set for Halloween.

My suggestion on the Crackle Finish Kits?  Give them a try.  They are not terribly expensive.  I think they were $4.99 each at Michael's.  Make sure you pick up the sponge painters and that you have a suitable container for the paint.  The kits also come with stencils for a raven and a spider.  I did not apply either to our pumpkins because I loved the way they looked without the added art.  Either way, it is a fun project and you get good results.  I will likely use them again in the future.

We Are Getting Ready for Halloweeeeeen!!!

Halloween is just a day away and we are getting all set for the little ghouls and goblins.  I have had this wreath for several years now and I love the way it looks on the front door at Crest Avenue.

An all black wreath on an all black door.  You might not think that would work, but it does.  Very spooky.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Somebody Needs to Get a Haircut

Somebody is looking a little shaggy this morning.

Baxter needs a haircut

We need to call or email Cassandra TODAY and get an appointment for this boy.  That is way too much wire hair.  I think next Friday would be the perfect day for him to have a spa day.

Our New Logo on Several New Items

We received a package yesterday with some goodies we ordered last week with our new logo.  I thought I would share this with you.

I love our new colorful logo.  It is called "Modern Rainbow."  I wanted something colorful and catchy and I fell in love with this.  So we have ordered new envelopes and letterhead and business cards and yesterday our box arrived with these items.

A new mousepad for the office.

This great canvas bag to carry all sorts of things.  You can never have too many canvas bags in different sizes.

And a new baseball cap.  I love baseball caps.  I have an enormous inventory of them.  I wear them everywhere.  How nice to add a new version of the WTCA logo to the collection.

And finally, yours truly, modeling the new baseball cap.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bobino Key Clip

You all know that I frequently share with my readers various items that I find as I am out and about. When I find something that I think is really ingenious and which brings ease to our lives, I am all the more excited to share it with you.  That is what today's post is all about.  The Bobino Key Clip.  It is very small in physical size, but it is very big in its ability to bring ease to life.  So here goes.

I carry a messenger bag with me everywhere I go.  Actually, it is a Kenneth Cole bag which was designed to carry a laptop.  But it has the compartments I need, so I use it as a messenger bag to carry my essentials - my cell phone, an umbrella, my credit card holder, business cards, antacids, Benadryl, Excedrin Extra Strength, a bottle of water, my blood glucose testing supplies, shopping list/project lists, documents which need my attention, ... and my keys.  The problem with the keys was that I could never find them.  No matter where I put my hand inside the bag, I could not find them.  This drove to me to complete distraction.  Hunting and searching for the keys.  Every time I needed the keys, hunting and searching.  Then I found the Bobino Key Clip.  A Godsend!!  It simply clips right over the fabric separator in the middle of the bag and you clip your keys on it when you are done using them.  And there they stay until you need them again.  I do not carry my keys in my pants pocket.  Not a good look.  Nobody wants to walk around with their keys jangling in their pants pocket.  That is uncomfortable.  It stretches the fabric and wears a hole in your pocket.  Another alternative for the guys is to use a keyring that is easily attached to and released from a belt loop.  I have seen many guys using this means to carry their keys.  I do not generally find myself in social situations where that is appropriate, so clipping them to this little device in my bag was the perfect answer for me.  This little clip can be used inside a messenger bag, purse, backpack, briefcase or luggage.  I picked up my Bobino Key Clip at The Container Store for $3.99.

Check out their website at  When you arrive at the site, click on "Bobino" along the left side of the screen and it will take you to the homepage for this item and many other useful gadgets.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And the Final Pictures of the Wedding Day

After the ceremony and the exchanging of vows and brunch, we all moved inside for cake.

A happy Bev!!  And behind her our good friend Mark.

And another of our very best friend, Lea.  Happy and smiling as always.  Lea is a California gal who has traveled extensively all over the world.  We are so glad she finally decided to put down roots in Cheverly.

Here is a picture of Bette's hand as she began serving the most delicious cake you have ever tasted in your life.

Bette made the cake.  She used a recipe from Southern Living which included peaches.  I know that when Bette bakes she uses King Arthur flour, so I'm certain that had something to do with the extraordinary flavor of this cake.

Delicious, freshly made cake and a large pot of coffee with half and half and cane sugar.  That's my kind of wedding party.

I particularly like this picture of Bob offering Bette a serving of their wedding cake.  He looks so happy in this picture and, indeed, there was reason for him to be happy this day.  Bette is a wonderful woman and they make a great couple.  We all love Bette.

And, finally, yours truly, back on the deck after enjoying brunch and a slice of cake and some coffee. Ready to take a nap.  Which I did a little while later.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Favor Boxes and Other Things

Bob and Bette were married on August 24 and we covered our trip to Gettysburg for the wedding here on WTCA. There are a few more photos I would like to share with you of that day.

Here is one of the favor boxes Bev and I put together.  She did the "thank you" labels and the little organza ribbons.  They were so cute.

Here was the tray of them which we took with us.  We placed a box at each place setting.  The extras we put on a tray near the drink table.

Guests starting to gather for the ceremony.

Here is Bette descending the stairs and on her way to the altar to her waiting groom.  It was a beautiful day.

And Bette making her way across the lawn to meet with the minister and Bob.

Bette and Bob preparing to exchange vows.

Bette and Bob listening very intently to the minister.

Afterward, the celebration of the union was held on the deck at Bette's house.

Beautiful Bev.

Another view of the guests and Bob and Bette at their table, front and center.

Steven.  And in the background, near the left of the picture in the sunhat is our friend Lea.

Each table was adorned with one of these lovely little glass vases with sand and seashells.  They looked very nice alongside the floral arrangements.

Each table had a white and green hydrangea arrangement in little square glass block vase.

A close-up of the hydrangea table setting.  Just beautiful.

This is a shot of the corner of the pergola under which Bob and Bette exchanged vows.  These flowers were exceptional.

And a long shot of the pergola, fully adorned with fresh flowers and the table holding the unity candle and tapers.

Finally, a picture of Bette's BFF, Meg.  She was instrumental in helping Bette get ready for the ceremony, among other things.

We all had such a wonderful time.  We had a good crowd and the day was magnificent. Congratulations again to my dear friends, Bob and Bette. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An Amazing Sunset

Last night, as I was leaving the office, I saw the most amazing sunset over Rosslyn, VA I can ever remember seeing.

We had some rather severe storms pass through yesterday afternoon and the remaining thunderheads were quite a sight to see.

These pictures do not do the scene justice, but I had to at least attempt to capture this beautiful sky as best I could.  The angels are celebrating the arrival of my grandmother possibly.