Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy

Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy
dropping petals... one by one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

India Trip: Diary of Color and Smell, Part 1

I'm finding that after landing even 2 months ago from this trip, I still can't get around to re-write all of my journal entries - instead, I'm going to post highlights from our trip. Colorful images and so many memories... now, if only I could make this a smell-a-vision computer.

The "top smells" list from our trip...
Greg and I never kid when we talk about the smells from this trip that still occasionally linger. They are in no particular order:
  • urine (sound gross, and is, but most of the men and all of the animals pee in or near the street. It is impossible to miss.)
  • spices (stalls everywhere with intoxicating aromas of complex mixtures of spices)
  • food (the best food on earth!)
  • sweat (humans in masses, toiling in every day existence)
  • manure (where the animals live, the animals must go...)
  • pollution (don't need to elaborate)
  • coal and wood smoke (for heating, cooking, factories)
  • incense (floating from the temples)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dehli Journal Entry 10-21-08

On board the famous India Railway system, taking a train to Agra. We are officially on our tour. Yesterday we met together with our group for the first time. We are a well rounded group representing Australia, Switzerland, Canada and the U.S. We cover a wide range of ages, some of us are married, some single.
The first item was to hold our group meeting at our Delhi hotel. Our guide, Mayur is wonderful and very good with us neophyte Westerners. Following that, we (eight plus Mayur) hopped onto a public city bus with the locals. Wasn't too hot or crowded, but a long drive to Old Delhi, but the Red Fort. The bus "caller" and ticket taker, insisted we girls take seats and yelled at the guys that wouldn't get up for us. We were stared at constantly. I am perpetually surprised at how few Westerners the general must see (excluding TV of course)... but everyone is very kind and friendly. They want to practice their English with you. After arriving at Old Delhi, we ventured to Delhi's oldest and largest mosque. It was impressive in size but slightly overshadowed by the hustling of sellers outside. Very dirty and dusty entrance, but must have been a true splendor in its day. We removed our shoes and had some time to explore. Not too much to see but would be cool to see it during prayer time. IT can hold up to 20,000 people... men only.

Next we made our way to my favorite place as of yet - the Old Delhi Market. If I only would have known I would have planned to go there with more time. It is a series of very long and narrow alleys completely splattered in colorful garland shops, jewelry shops, sari fabric shops and food stalls. All in a matter of five feet across, people are walking against each other, scooters try to pass you at critical speeds and rickshaws try to run over your toes. The lights were coming on as it was getting late - a magical experience - an overload of sensory stimulation. I could have spent much more time there and would love to have bought bobbles for Whimsy Wendy.
From there we headed to a revered Siek temple and their kitchen run solely by donations and volunteers.

To cap our night off, we ventured into the newer metro service. Security check points, bag scans and body checks just to get onto the subway. The India government is try to protect any installation the Pakistanis might target. But what made this part of our journey so memorable was that at one point we had to shove our selves (virtually hurl our bodies) into a train clearly not meant to hold the sheer volume that was trying to fit in. That and a lack of sleep set me into a fit of hysterics with the rest of the group.
p.s. Had to watch closely for Pick Pockets!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Journal Entry: Dehli 10-19 and 10-20

(Picture of Our Hotel: Clark Heights in Delhi)

10/19 5 a.m.
Arrived at our hotel last night around 8 p.m. and am writing at 5 a.m. We've been up since 3:00 a.m. and very thankful for the English channels we're getting on cable TV.... we even have HBO.
If getting to our hotel last night is any indication of what our trip will be like, we are in for an adventure with a capital "A".
First think we thought when we stepped outside of the airport was "What is on fire"? The smell and smoke was seemed to be coming from close by. Our welcoming committee of one said, very casually, it was just the pollution... "smog". I'm thankful we don't have asthma.
Thank God I had a seat belt. We had just ventured out of the airport express lanes, when I felt our taxi veering sharply to the right. We were passing an elephant. And that was in the first ten minutes. Within the next forty-five minutes we drove by goats, cows, horses and a camel.
The street our hotel is on, does look like Beirut in the dark, but the hotel "Clark Heights" is clean, quiet and comfortable.
We'll be off soon to start our adventures for the day. Will try to hit Cannaught Place - an old vestige of the British rule with shops...etc.

Woke up this morning around 4:15 a.m. again. We're having a tough time adjusting to the time change!
Have been watching a lot of late night/ early morning HBO - movies I never watched at home are looking really good.
Yesterday was our own day to spend in Delhi before we meeting up with our group. We started out just trying to figure out if we wanted to risk the breakfast buffet. We ended up gambling and were pleasantly surprised. We had toast (white bread like Wonder) with jam (really sweet), really flat scrambled eggs with small chopped onions... and for our caffeine kick, we had a really sweet coffee that tastes like these is chocolate in it. After breakfast, we ran back to our room for what was to be a "little nap" and woke up at lunch time - uggh! Missed half the day.
A little fuzzy headed, we hired a car and headed into Cannaught Place and the Intercontinental Hotel. We must be feeling a little culture shocked, because we just sat in this very Western hotel and ordered Cokes with fish and chips.... used their internet cafe to send a note home to the girls. I miss them so much!
(Picture Taken Near the Entrace of the Red Fort in Dehli)

After, we had our driver head to the Red Fort. I can't believe how big it is! And true to it's name it is red.. out of red sandstone. Took some good pictures that should turn out of some perspective on scale. Lots of Indian toursists - got a lot of stares. Had to go through a secruity system and was thoroughly frisked by a female security guard. Tons people milling around, and shocked at the garbage dropped by everyone INSIDE the fort and palace.
When we left, our new friend and driver tried to scam us into an Old Delhi rickshaw ride with one of his best friend. We were very adamant "NO!" After that fiasco we decided we'd had enough and headed back to our rooms. Had really good food through room service (chicken curry and chicken friend rice). They seem to be big on Chinese food here. Made ourselves stay awake til 9 p.m. Today we meet our Intrepid group. Excited to see where everyone is from.

Friday, October 17, 2008

the adventure begins

I am actually writing this on the 23rd of October. I hadn't anticipated how hard it would be to find Internet access, let alone spare time to sit and write. So, I've been writing a journal and will just try to find time to copy my entries! I have to say at this very moment, I am writing from the Internet cafe at a palace hotel in the city of Jaipur, India. This whole trip has been surreal. Our travel group (through Intrepid) has been wonderful - and so far (at least after the first tearful days away from the girls) the days are flying by!

October 18, 2008 (flying to Dehli)

On the plane, first class seats (thanks to upgrades from hubby) - beautiful for a 15 hour flight.

Flew over Arabia and a very large desert. Right now we are flying over Afghanistan will soon fly directly over Kabul. Weird to think we are flying directly over an area we hear so much about in the news. Glad we are at 34,000 feet. Flying over the desert was impressive - it stretched out for miles - you could see the undulating waves of paper-bag brown.

Getting cloudy now as the sun is setting behind us, but can see a little of an oasis belt of delta somewhere below by Pakistan. Two more hours until we land. Sipping juice from a wine glass just handed to me by our steward.

Very eager to see Dehli - bet it will be too dark!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

India or Bust, Part 2

8 days and counting...

Okay, Greg and I are taking our typhoid pills, will start our malaria pills shortly, have two sore arms from our shots and our eyes wide open after sitting down with 'Bob' last week. Bob is a travel RN who gave us the low-down on the "things to worry about while traveling to the remote regions of India". Needless to say after almost two hours, we've decided that we'll lose a lot of weight considering we won't be able to eat or drink on our entire trip.

With that being said, I guess I'd rather know the perils up front, rather than find out the hard way. A VERY eye-opening session.

In the next few days we'll need to coordinate schedules for family and the girls, get the dog groomed, find good light hiking shoes, figure out what to pack (we're back-packing), over-eat to compensate for the 'lack-of' on the trip, get the house winterized in the event of an early season snow storm and basically throw our common sense and caution to the wind. I do believe this will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Now... if we could just stop terrorists from ruining our get-away.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Right now I am having more fun getting ready for Halloween. Everyday I'm getting all sorts of new and unique requests. Today I thought it'd would be fun showing a few new ones. My favorite creation (I'm very proud of figuring this one out!) is my flower tutu! Look how pretty the petals turned out! The matching cap is so cute on!
Here's a Minnie Mouse skirt! A mom requested the red skirt with giant white poms to look like polka dots.

And here's a really sweet rendition of the poodle skirt - tutu style!

A think I have a few more up my sleeve just yet... keep watching!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Peach Crumble...and it does it well!

I know I am on this peach kick right now, but to have fresh peaches off your trees in the back yard is really something special. After our brief encounter with our Peach Pie (the finished product lasted in my kitchen for only two hours), I thought I take a different route...

Hence, Peach Crumble:

3 1/2 c. sliced peaches

2/3 c. sugar

2 tbsp. flour

1 c. flour

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 c. melted butter

Arrange peaches in the bottom of baking dish. Combine 2/3 cups sugar with 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle over fruit. Then combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and egg. Combine ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit. Then pour over melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve it warm or room temperature... to indulge add really good quality vanilla ice cream with the bits of Vanilla beans.

Personally, the recipe seemed like it add a lot of sugar, so I omitted about 1/4 cup with no repercussions. The peaches are so juicy and full of their natural sweetness. Now, what to do with my last dozen?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It's Not 'Home-made", it's "Mom-made"

To top off this glorious Wisconsin September Sunday, my family and I picked our peach trees. We haven't sprayed them for the last few years, opting instead, to let Mother Nature tend to the fruit, and did it ever pay off this year! We picked an entire bucket of clean, insect free peaches. They are so fragrant it's almost heady. (I wonder if all the colder weather and rain helped them out)

So what does one do with a bucket full of peaches? Well some go to the neighbors, some go to the office and some go into my favorite and ridiculously simple fresh peach pie.

We were craving it so much, I made the peach pie this afternoon. We didn't even let it cool all the way (still needed to firm up a bit), but eating warm is simply the best.
My youngest declared it was so good, "It's not just homemade, it's mom-made"!
Can't think of a better compliment. Needless to say the pie is almost gone and it came out of the oven an hour ago.

Here's my recipe:
Easy Fresh Peach Pie

9-inch unbaked crust (I like deep-dish)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
6 medium-size fresh peaches, skinned and quartered
1 1/2 T of flour
1 1/2 T of corn starch
2 T of butter
Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and corn starch. Sprinkle half of mixture over unbaked pie shell. Arrange peaches over mixture and sprinkle peaches with remaining dry mixture. Dot with butter. Bake at 400 degrees for about 1 hour or until juice thickens and crust is light brown.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Adventures in Minneapolis, Part 2

I can't get over how much Minneapolis (and the western suburbs) have changed in the eight years since we've moved. Every time we go home, something new is being built or updated or remodeled. I always come away feeling re-energized and full of the promise of possibilities.

We've been really lucky to watch the river-front grow too. My in-laws now live in the revamped mill district near the new Guthrie (We saw Little House on the Prairie last week - fabulous!). Every morning we're there, Norman (our Bichon) and I go for long walks on the Stone Arch Bridge, watch the locks go up and down, stroll along St. Anthony Main... my little slice of heaven.

BUT my favorite thing to do now is hop over to the Mill City Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings. I couldn't help but take some pictures of all the colors and produce. It was a feast for my eyes.

I shouldn't admit this, but last weekend I ate:

-organic mini donuts
-dim sum

-the most delicious BLT in the world

-Mo mo's - a type of dumpling

-fresh strawberry lemonade

-more mini donuts

-carrots that were bright red on the outside and vibrant orange on the inside

-pie samples from the pie contest (did I mention the pie contest? Chef's from around the city and local growers and farmers make home made pies from local produce and created pies to beat the band)
It's official. I think I'm now a foodie.

Adventures in Minneapolis, Part 1

One of my favorite things we do every summer when visiting our families in Minneapolis, is go to the U of M's Arboretum, just west of the Twin Cities. I took some fun shots of just a few of things we got to see.... Dahlia's the size of dinner plates! Sorry this waterfall is sideways! It cascades down with bridges crossing it a various places. Perfectly cool in the shade.
One of my favorites. They built this 'house' out of logs and sticks; outfitting the inside with natural furniture and decorations. Wouldn't this be fun to have in your garden?
The kids' favorite... a maze made out of various evergreens and shrubbery. This picture only shows a portion of its size. They ran around in there for an hour.
Three oak leaf swinging chairs...
It was a great rest stop for everyone. We grabbed snacks in the Arboretum's lodge and even after a few hours had barely touched upon one-half of what there was to see. ( I highly recommend the 3-mile drive too!)
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Mill City Farmer's Market

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What Needs to Get Done?

It's such a bittersweet time of year - I miss my girls around the house but relish by creative time alone. I think we're all going through an adjustment time. One of our favorite past times we were able to squeak in this summer was making our way to the Ozaukee County Fair at the end of July. It's a small taste of old fashion fun with animals, activities, fair food and rides. I'm including some of my favorite photos.

How can you resist that face!

My daughter's favorite bunny (out of the hundreds we looked at).
This is by far my favorite chicken. I love the graphic stripes and bold colors. So pretty! I would love to paint a rooster like this - add it to my list.

My youngest won a blue ribbon for her island painting and $1.75 in prize money! So proud. (Maybe she'll take after mama).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

India or Bust

Hard to believe how long its been since I've been on board to blog. This summer has been totally preoccupied with my girls - going up north, swimming, camping, playing, traveling and basically hiding from the real world. We were blessed with great weather in Wisconsin this summer.
What's harder to believe is I just celebrated my 40th birthday - UUUUGGGGHHH! Not sure how I feel about it yet, but I'm coming around. Hubby surprised me with a choice of trip for just the two of us, anywhere in the world - I chose India!

We'll be leaving in six weeks for Delhi, Agra and general northern India. It should be quite an adventure. What I am most excited about (besides the obvious... spending alone time with hubby) is all the eye-candy I'll be seeing. I'm expecting it to be a creative explosion of colors, materials and ideas.

In the mean time, I'm making a big push for all my Halloween costume sales before I leave. Some of my new designs I've been working on are gorgeous new sash tutus. Check out the colors I did for a new client on her way to the American Girl Doll store in Chicago with her three daughters! They are almost my favorite to date! Look for more of these on my Etsy site very soon...

And finally just finished a last minute order from one of my retailers for these cuties!

One of our special excursions this summer was visiting our family in Minneapolis. One of the field trips we took while we were there was the U of M Arboretum. I'll be posting photos from that adventure very soon!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Barter System

There are more times than I can count in the past few years, where random people have come across my path, only to find out they are invaluable to me. One such person is my new photographer. Lori Kenney of Firefly Photography (http://www.fireflyportraitart.com/). I am so thrilled our paths crossed. It seemed like seredipity. She needed props and tutus, I needed product shots...
And here is just a sample of what I got!!

She's got such a great eye and touch.

Just an idea for a lot of us crafters out there. Find a photographer or other business that could make a good partner for you and find a way to lift each other up!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I Gotta A Great New Idea!!

I was trying to rack my brain on a new line of products to expand the teeny age group I have to work within.... My girls (once again) led me to discover the cuteness of miniature tutus for dolls and stuffed animals.

A store owner who regularly purchases my items asked for a specially made tutu to go with one she had just purchased for her granddaughter. It appears that this granddaughter carries around a stuffed pig everywhere they go. They are inseparable! My girls helped me work on the size and scale and detail work. It makes sense... small people have a better sense of smaller scale. The pig is now running around town, wearing the cutest hot pink tutu with multi-colored poms! I LOVE IT!

Now, lo and behold, I am starting to expand into a new line of coordinating tutus for "specials"! I took a number of custom orders at my last show and have done up some new samples of the endless possibilities. It is just the beginning! I took a few pictures and think they are turning out beautifully - what do you think? They are made the same way as my "big girl" skirts with all the trim and elastic being sewn in place.

I have a bunch of new ideas for my upcoming blogs so visit again soon!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pretty Settings

Photos from the Kohler show... Probably one of my favorite set ups! I really liked the eye catching color and the layout. I had tons of great comments and a lot of "oooohh" and "ahhhhhs". My favorite reactions from people! I think it is almost as good as getting paid!
I used the garden trellis for this event. I really think it lend ed itself to room... there were a lot of garden stores with fresh flowers, potted plants for spring gardens and garden accouterments.
Sales were slow, but I had a lot of feedback and a lot of card takers. By the way, friends have led me to www.vistaprint.com for VERY well priced business cards, postcards, and note cards. I love them!!!!
Next month I have a princess party at Kid-Do in Menomonee Falls on May 18th. They'll have up-dos, manicures and lots of girly stuff for sale! Should be fun.. after that... the daddy of them all.... Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg Wisconsin. I think the date is June 28-29. That is an even all on its own!
p.s. thanks for the comment regarding what to pack. You're so right! Money!!! I did actually do a show last year, and only by the grace of God, remembered an hour or so before it started that I needed money!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting Ready For the "Big Dance"!

I am back!! After rest and re cooperation from a very long winter, I'm diving back in!

Right now, I am in the midst of getting ready for, what I hope will be, one of my biggest shows of this year. Next weekend I have a booth at the American Club in Kohler Wisconsin! These pictures of my stash of oil cloth lunch bags is just the start of my preparation. I love the retro patterns on the fabric. And so sturdy!! I buy these reasonably priced fabrics through http://www.denverfabrics.com/.
Great selection. Now I have about 20 more to zip together. They are so cheerful, it's hard not to get a kick out of them while they are being peiced together. My girls and I have come up with a number of fabric variations - there isn't one I don't like!

After the Spring Marketplace in Kohler, I'm setting my sites on the annual Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wisconsin... around the 20th or so.

Which leads me to my on-going list of "Need to Have" for a craft show:

  • products
  • product tags
  • sharpies
  • ribbon
  • duct tape
  • scotch tape
  • scissors
  • table/s
  • table coverings
  • arbor (I use for my display)
  • Whimsy Wendy sign
  • snacks/ water bottles
  • sales permit number
  • receipts
  • credit card forms
  • calculator
  • product photo album
  • rolling card to put all of this in!
  • bags for purchases (3 sizes)
  • business cards
  • thank you cards
  • custom order forms

A work in progress... I'm sure I'll add more to it tomorrow! Feel free to add your reminders...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saw a Bumper Sticker Today...

I was driving behind a woman today in a very little car with a great, big bumper sticker. It read...
"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred did... Backwards and IN HEELS"
Need I say more?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Trim Makes A Big Impact

I was so excited to find this new mini pom trim for my tutu edges. I've been looking for a while, trying to come up with an edge that will dress up the skirt on it's own, but light enough not to weigh it down. I went to http://www.jcaroline.com/, one of my favorite trim and ribbons stores and found this delightful blue/ green pompom trim.

Coming up with a way to sew it on was a little difficult. I didn't want to sew over the poms, and the width of the trim was only 1/2" wide. I ended up going very slowly with my needle in the left-most position with coordinating thread. It went on beautifully and makes a wonderful edge.

Although it is a little spendier per yard, I think this will be a nice addition to my designs.
Any thoughts?