Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Fall Dinner

Haha...this is titled Fall Dinner but it sure doesn't feel like fall.  It was another warm day today in the mid 80's and we're expecting high temps again this weekend.  Where are the glorious clouds and rain?

I had a great day today.  As my dear husband told me this evening, you got to shop and cook.  What more can a girl want?  I did have fun this afternoon shopping at one of my favorite store, TJ MAXX.  You never know what you will find there.  Then I came home and made dinner.


I had some huge boneless pork chops I took out of the freezer this morning.  I was inspired by a recipe I found on Margaret Powling's website, Devon Dreaming.  I didn't add the cider as I wasn't sure if it was hard cider or regular cider?  Either way it turned out very nice.  Although, I cooked mine on top of the stove in my le creuset dutch oven.
 
I had bought some root vegetables  last week to make roasted vegetables.  I was inspired by a recipe from my friend Elizabeth.  This was the first time I had peeled and roasted a raw beet.  It turned out quite well.  In the past, I've always either boiled or roasted an unpeeled beet and then used it in my in dishes.  Beets are so cheap.  I paid 50 cents a pound at the Persian market.  If you want fresh beets, they are like $1.50.  Yet, I see on TV those advertisements for super beets supplements.  No need if you go to your local market and pick up some fresh beets and roast them.

I just had to buy some fresh flowers for my kitchen table today. I found this huge bunch of chrysanthemums for $5.99 at my local Sprouts store.  Sprouts is a unique little market with lots of organic, artsy stuff.  But, when they have a sale, it is really quite good.  And, best of all, it's across the street from TJ MAXX!  

I found two ripe pears in the frig drawer so I made a pear crumble.  No recipe really. I just sliced up the pear into two individual dishes and made a crumb topping with a little flour, brown sugar, oats and butter.  I added in a little vanilla powder and cardamon for some flavor.  They tasted quite good.

Here's my sweet kitty, Lilly.  She enjoyed her morning outside with me today.  She's almost too big for the patio chair!  It was pleasant sitting outside this morning as we had a little breeze.  The good thing about SoCal is that it's warm during the day but almost always cools off at night.  Except this week . . . it was still warm when the sun set.  Unusual for us for sure.

Thank you for your kind comments and listening to my complaints on my last blog post.  I have to say that finally, keep my fingers crossed, I feel a bit at home this fall here in SoCal.  It's probably because I do have memories now made here that I can grow and expand on.  I know it sounds funny but really when you get a bit older and your children have grown up, it can be hard to settle in a new place.  But, the best thing is that my little grandchildren are a 10 minute drive away and it's so much fun seeing them grow up.

I've love to hear what you've been up to.  How is your weather?  I miss the four seasons but I probably don't even have proper shoes to wear for winter :) Sandals and flip flops won't work!

My best to you,

Pat




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lessons of Life

 It's a quiet Sunday afternoon here.  A time for reflection.  At 63 years old, I've never been one to reflect or spend a lot of time thinking about myself.  But sometimes things can change. . .

After being in Turkey for six weeks, I returned home and here was a lovely letter from the management company telling me that the front door at one of my rental properties needed to be painted.  On Monday, I loaded up my car and after picking up the paint at the paint store, I went to the property.  I'd never officially met my tenant since our property manager takes care of that.  As I started painting her door, she sat down to chat with me.  She's a actress/reality TV star but since I'm not interested in that "stuff" she easily talked with me.  Turns out that we are both from the same state and think that Orange County, California is odd! We both had a good laugh.

She told me she thought it was "cute" that my husband and I sometimes take care of the repairs on our properties.  I told her after 40 years, it's kind of normal.  She then asked me about my husband, and when I told her he's an Egyptian Copt she then asked me had I ever felt discriminated against in the middle eastern community.  Wow!  What a loaded question.  If she had asked me 7 years ago, I would have said "no, never".  But it finally dawned on me that after being married for 43 years, maybe I have been living in a bubble.  It was not until I moved here and started attending churches that are 99% middle eastern did I feel discriminated.  Discriminated to the extent that now I have a true phobia.  It's lead to me totally alienate myself whenever possible.  Isn't that odd?  After 43 years?  Funny thing is, never, ever has I felt discriminated against in my husband's own country or with his own family.  It's been by people who know nothing about me.  Only because I don't look like them or speak like them.  It's made me sad over and over again.  But, this time a light went off and now I'm no longer going to be the victim.  I feel I have finally become victorious.

To see the story in a clearer view, my husband immigrated to America and settled into a small, eastern Washington town.  There was only two other Egyptian families.  And, they were of the protestant faith.  There were no immigrant churches at that time; even in Seattle.  They had no choice but to assimilate into the culture.  My husband is 110% American and so proud of this country.  Here in Orange County, there are huge groups of people from everywhere in the world.  For instance, when a new church opens, you don't get "new members" to the faith.  You get "members" from neighboring churches.  Hence, they all know each other and some have been close friends for 30 to 40 years.  They don't want "outsiders" in their circle.  It's sad in that it's a practice that is totally opposite than what their faith professes.  And, this is not just happening at one church.  Many, many churches.  My faith is still there.  It will be guarded from now on and more than likely I will worship with my dear little grandchildren at their church God willing.

On a brighter note, I read so many lovely blogs where they always ask what are your favorite things.  I will have to say after handbags and jewelry, I love fine linens.  It wasn't always that way.  My dear Mother always bought me lovely household linens.  But she has been gone for many years (I as 39 years old when she passed away from a sudden stroke).  I have to admit next to high thread count hotel linens, I love Italian linens.  This is the second set I've bought and it 100% Egyptian cotton made by Patresi.  You can find it at the high end department stores (where I never shop), or at Home Goods.  It was on sale at $70 off and I love the detail of the hemstitching.  (Sorry for the wrinkly photo as they were properly ironed but being cotton, they wrinkle).  All the better for a heavenly sleep.

Speaking of sleep, my two dear grandchildren (ages 2 & 8), spent the night for the first time together here.  They were in bed on time according to their schedule but for some unknown reason, the little one decided to wake up at 4:15AM and sing and talk which then woke up the older one.  We all got up by 5:15AM to usher in the new day.  They are precious so I will never complain of lack of a little sleep :)

I hope wherever you are you are safe.  My heart goes out to all those in the path of the fire storm.  The photos are heartbreaking.  Have a great week and I will be back again soon.

With my best wishes,

Pat

Oops, almost forgot.  The lovely bouquet above was given to us my our dear friends.  It was a lovely surprise to receive it this week.  The vintage Austrian enamelware was a gift from my dear daughter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

It's Good to be Home

The joys of home . . .
I'm back to my routine after spending six wonderful weeks in Turkey.  Oh, Turkey. Maybe you have read the disturbing news about America and Turkey suspending visas?  What a mess; I wish our government would stay out of other people's business!  But, that's a story for another time...

Today I thought I'd share a little bit about what I've been up to this week.  My jet lag is not so bad and my energy level is high.  Yes!  My home is always "clean" but not everything is organized in the cupboards, closets, etc.  I recently discovered a new blog and it has really inspired me to get myself in gear and try to decorate a little more posh.  It's been fun as I have so much "stuff" to decorate with.  And, my cupboards have been cleaned along with my closet.  So, things are looking up.

My new decor for my nightstand.  I used to read in bed years ago but not anymore.  My nightstand looked so bare and neglected.  When I wake up now, I see something bright and happy.


I went to the store to buy fresh flowers but I didn't feel like buying pink or red flowers for fall.  Instead I opted for this "green" bouquet.  It matches the decor quite well and will last for a long time as it's fresh greenery vs flowers.

 
I found my fall decorations and decorated the mantle in the family room.  I bought these little pumpkin candles years ago and have used them as decor vs candles.

I just have to show you my new electric tea kettle.  I think this is the 5th one we have had.  Years ago when they came out, we bought one and it lasted for so long.  Since then we've gone through a couple of them that didn't last long at all.  This is the latest one from Amazon.  The cost was $25.00 and free shipping, too!  So far, it's working great, heats the water fast and is an attractive design, too. (Do you spy my new cookie/cake tin? A new buy this week from Home Goods.)

 
 People have asked me how did my cat Lilly get along without me for so long.  She did great.  She got to stay at home and we have some dear friends who come by every couple of days to take care of her, pet her and let her wander in the back yard for awhile.  The best thing I did before I left was to buy Lilly this HUGE covered litter box.  It's amazing and no more mess.  I should have done this years ago but Lilly is a 17 pound cat and my dear Pumpkin was 15 pounds.  Try and find a covered litter box to fit a big, beautiful kitty!

I left my completed needlepoint in Turkey after I had them framed.  This is a new one I've started on and it's huge compared to the other pieces.  It's going to take me awhile since the colors are a bit darker and for my eyes makes it more difficult.

It's nice to be home and get ready for all the upcoming fall activities.  So many people have asked me if it's safe to go to Turkey.  We've never experienced any problem whatsoever.  Staying home could be just as toxic with the horrible Las Vegas shootings and the San Bernardino shootings.  Both of those incidents hit very close to home.  And, since yesterday morning we have a horrible wild fire near us burning down houses and destroying beautiful  natural areas.  If the wind had blown in the opposite direction, we would have been in danger.  We've been having Santa Ana winds which are strong, warm winds that cause havoc each year.  My hearts and prayers go out to everyone effected by these sad events.

I'd love to hear what you've been up to.  I'm going to plant some spring bulbs, iron and enjoy my day at home.  It's always good to be home.  Thank you for visiting today!

My best wishes,

Pat






Saturday, September 30, 2017

Needlepoint and Turkiye

Greetings my friends. I hope your day is going well.  I'm sitting out on the balcony enjoying the clouds moving past and the sounds of thunder.  It poured rain earlier today.  I love rain and clouds...

I also love needlepoint.  I discovered this amazing craft two years ago.  My dear friend Nadia, who is an expert at this craft, helped me to get started.

This is my latest piece I completed.  It's a kit from England called Evening Light Westminster. It was so bumpy and skewed when completed but it came out perfect after being framed.

Here's my collection so far.


This is the second piece I made.  It's an iconic scene called The Angelus.

And, here is my very first piece of needlepoint that I made.  Although the wool wasn't great quality. I think the depth of this piece is the best. It's a pastoral scene.

Would you believe I had all three of these pieces custom framed for less than $50.00?  Yes! I had them framed in Turkey.


We discovered a huge art store a couple of years ago.  We bought some paintings along with these hand painted decor items.  As you can see, they're my favorite gold, faux French design.  If I could, my whole household would be like this!

The framed needlepoint pictures are staying in Turkey, adding decor to our home, little by little.

My OCD doesn't allow me to sit down and rest unless I'm working on something; i.e., knitting, crocheting, needlepoint.  On my last shopping day in Turkey, I stumbled across a wonderful yarn shop. Oh my, was I in heaven!  They also had lots of European needlepoint canvases.  There was one I wanted to buy but will wait until next time as I have a large canvas waiting to be started.

My secret wish is that I wish I could do embroidery/crewel work.  I'm fascinated by antique needlework pieces.  There was an advertisement in a needlework magazine I subscribe to. It was for a ten day needlework tour in England. I'd love to go to this but my skills are zero...and the cost was a little too much at £8,000+...maybe one day.

Thank you dear friends for visiting today.

With my best wishes,

Pat



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Discovering St. Nicholas along Turkey's Coast

Hello.  It feels like ages since I wrote you all of you.  I hope you had a good end to the summer and a great start to autumn.  I'd love for you to go along with me on a little adventure today.  It was an unplanned adventure for me and one that I will never forget!

We're going to start from Alanya on Turkey's central Mediterranean coastline in the Antalya province and we will travel to Fethiye in the Mugla province.  Fethiye is a beautiful fishing village with a lovely natural harbor situated on Turkey's Aegean coastline.

It's late afternoon and after driving along a narrow road above the city of Fethiye, we continue on the road and take a right turn which puts us on a newly paved, well marked two lane road.  We continue along, going over the mountain top until we can see a lovely valley below.

We end up in the village of Karakoy.  We spy a sign that points us to St. Nicholas  Church; not sure since the sign was in Turkish! With the blue and white colors, it feels like I'm truly in the Aegean.  There are signs of Ataturk all over Turkey since he's the father of modern day Turkey. 

Look at this view from the mountain top.  Stunning, natural, untouched beauty...

It turns out that this little village is a hot spot for tourists with their many boutique style hotels/pensions.

Driving slow through the village, we spy these amazing sheep grazing on the side of a lovely Turkish style home...

After a few more minutes drive, we arrive at the entrance to where we are going.  Maybe I should reword that, we are not sure where we're going but luckily we found the right place!  After paying 25TL; approximately $7.00, we find ourselves at the water's edge.  Across the water, tucked along side the edge of this island are the remains of churches and other buildings dating from the 3rd to 6th century.  This is where St. Nicholas was originally buried.

It's late in the afternoon and although the captain of the small dingy boat offered to take us ashore, we didn't have time to explore.  And, for sure you need proper footware!

Back to present day; I was so excited to have found the original place of where St. Nicholas was buried.  I'm Orthodox and I took my catechism at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tacoma, WA.  It holds a special place in my heart.

Time to get back in the car and make our journey back home to Alanya after spending three delightful days in Fethiye.  St. Nicholas' body was moved 25 miles to the East to the ancient city of Myra.  St. Nicholas was Bishop of Myra.  Myra is now known as modern day Demre, named for the Demre River.

Driving along the beautiful coast highway outside of Fethiye, we spy another sign for St. Nicholas church.  Making our way into the city, we find the church and following the road a little ways to where we see this huge area. . .We have found the ancient city of Myra!

We're greeted by an icon of St. Nicholas (notice that all the signage is in Russian).  I'll try to explain.  Turkey has a rich history that includes the ancient Church.  Modern day Istanbul was ancient Constantinople and is still home to the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church.    

There are many ancient Christian sites in Turkey.  Due to a political situation, the Greeks are not frequent visitors to Turkey.  The next large Orthodox group of 
Christians are the Russians.  And, the Russians love to come to Turkey on all inclusive vacations.  Hence, the Russian marketing at St. Nicholas site.  It's sad that more people are not aware of this amazing place.

This is the entrance to Myra.  It dates from the first century BC and you can still see the remains of the amphitheatre.

Can't you just image this area centuries ago?  It quite fascinating to think about it.

One of the most spectular scenes are these cliff dwellings.  Or, I should saw, rock cut tombs cared on the cliff side.

St. Nicholas became bishop of Myra in the 4th century.  Also, St. Paul changed ships at Myra's port on his way to Rome.   You can read more about St. Paul and St. John in Turkey here.

The sun was starting to set and we still have a three hour journey before we reach home in Alanya.  You can now sit back and rest awhile. . .

I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into this fascinating part of Turkey's history.  It really was by chance that we discovered these ancient places.  

Many people have asked me about Turkey and whether it is safe, etc.  We have always been treated very well and never have had any problem.  Of course, it depends were you are, like any place in the world.  Our goal when we are in Turkey is to be a part of the country, meet and make friends with Turkish people and learn more about this fascinating country.  And, of course, respect their country and culture.

I will be back soon with another post about Turkey.  Thank you everyone for visiting my blog.  And, Lilly thanks you too for your comments from her blog post :)

With my best wishes,


Pat

PS...Our modern day Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas!





Friday, September 15, 2017

Pincushion

Hello everyone.  It's me, Lilly, writing this post today instead of my Mom, Pat.  Since this blog is named after me, I thought it would be appropriate that I write and let you know how thankful I am that you discovered this blog and have been visiting, commenting and sharing your ideas.

I know when my Mom started this blog, she never imagined that it would take off and get viewers from all over the world.  She's always telling me how exciting it is to see new comments and know that people are stopping by and visiting this blogspot.

She wanted to share what she made awhile back.  A pincushion.  She's entered it into the PPPP, Perfectly Pleasing Pincushion Parade 2017 over  here. 



Mom told me she can't take credit for the pattern since she found the pattern here but she added her own embellishments to the pin cushion.


As to what else my Mom has been up to, she recently finished a needlepoint picture that she will share with you another time.

Feel free to write me and say meow.
Love and Meows,

Lilly




Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday's Ten Random Things

Hello friends, It's Saturday morning here and I just read Janet's blog and her take on Ten Random Things who got the idea from Amy over at Love Made My Home.    So, here are mine . . .

#1 I have enjoyed the weather this week with the cloud cover.  My plants enjoy it too.  This lovely trailing plant is growing over the wall from the neighbor's garden.  The neighbors are having a party tonight supposedly with music.  Too bad they didn't invite us :(

#2 Lilly has to be in the center of everything!  She's a curious kitty but so loved.

#3 Thursday night my dear husband and I headed off to the beach to have dinner at our favorite restaurant.  But, there was NO parking anywhere to be found.  We decided to go back home via Pacific Coast Highway and found a new lovely restaurant on the harbor.  It was a fun evening after all!

#4 I am addicted to making my Sophie's Blanket and also to my teacup/tea collection.  Here's the new teacup I just had to have.  It's Wild Strawberries by Wedgewood.  I originally saw this pattern on the Japanese TV show I watch "At Home with Venetia in Kyoto".  Venetia is from England and has the most lovely collection of different china.  The tea is Fortmason from Fortnum and Mason.  A lovely black tea scented with orange.

#5 My children are off camping this weekend.  I love how scenic this campsite is although I don't now exactly where they are.

#6 My daughter ordered some new Tory Burch flats and asked if I wanted a pair.  I liked these gold ones but for some reason, they really don't fit my feet.  Having a bunion doesn't help either!

#7 I did my grandma duty this week of babysitting.  They soon will be turning 8 and 2!  Time goes by so fast.  I'm lucky that I'm just a few minutes down the road from where they live.

#8  I really have enjoyed the cloud cover these past few days.  I'm not a fan or sunny, blue skies!  The sun kills me (although the UV rays are just as bad with clouds).  We're having some monsoon moisture coming our way which is a bit unusual for us down here in SoCal.

#9 My "to do project" which will be a DIY.  I bought these handmade Mexican tiles last month in San Diego.  I'm going to apply them to the wall where the outside bar-b-que area is.  I don't have enough so these will be intermixed along with some large, plain tiles.  Question is; when will I get this done?

 
#10 We found a new coffee place.  I'm not a fan of Starbucks (sorry but the inside of their messy stores upsets my OCD).  But, there is a little lane of old houses in San Juan Capistrano and one of them has the cutest coffee shop with beans roasted onsite.  You can sit outside in their garden under the trees and savor your cup of coffee!  Heavenly.

That's is for me.  I hope your weekend is off to a great start wherever you are!

With my best wishes,

Pat

Monday, July 17, 2017

I'm so Excited . . . and I just Can't Hide it . . .

Hello my dear friends.  I'm back again to share with you something that has taken over my life!  It's Sophie's Universe.  A beautiful crocheted blanket that was designed by the very talented Dedri Uys.  Dedri started this pattern back in 2015 as a CAL that ran for a total of 20 weeks. The pattern is still available on her blog.  It seems as though I'm always behind in joining in with these fun activities.

 
I discovered this amazing pattern from my friend Kate, who recently finished her beautiful blanket.  Since I didn't want to download/print the pattern, I decided to order the book online from Wool Warehouse and it's the best money I've ever spent on a pattern.  

I had sixteen skeins of Stylecraft DK yarn that I had purchase and started to use to make a ripple blanket.  As you can see from the photo above, the colors were not "happening".  This project had sat in my craft closet for over a year unfinished.

I had wanted to mimic the coast ripple blanket I had made from Lucy and Attic 24.  Lucy is such an amazing, talented fiber arts artist.  Her sense of color combinations are unlike anything I've ever seen.  I had a great time making the coast blanket but unfortunately, when I tried to make my own interpretation of this blanket, I was bored stiff with the dull colors and repeats.

Voila!  That all changed when I received my Sophie's Universe pattern book.  My colors are now starting to come together (I think).  It might look very dark right now, but there's going to be a lot of creamy white borders around this blanket as it grows up.  I'm hoping it will measure 70" x 70" when I'm all done with it.

There are over 5,000 people on Ravelry doing this project!  Wow, that's a lot of yarn.  If you are new to crochet (I've been crocheting for 41 years), don't be worried about the complexity of this project.  The book is designed as follows:  each page of the book contains one row of the pattern along with detailed instructions and very detailed photos.  Dedri shows you exactly what your stitches should look like.  And, best of all, the color scheme can be whatever suits you.  And, you weave end the yarn ends as you go along so when you are all done, you are completely finished; no more yarn ends to deal with!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my latest obsession!  Please feel free to share what you've been up to this week.  And, thank you again for visiting Lilly My Cat.

Best wishes,

Pat





Thursday, July 13, 2017

Five of my Favorite Blog Friends for Five on Friday!

Greetings my readers.  I hope your week is going well.  All is fine here in SoCal although summer's heat has officially made its appearance!  I've been so behind in joining in with Five on Friday.  Today I'm going to share with you some friends I've met through blogging. . .

First up is Teresa Kasner who lives in Oregon.  Although I've never met Teresa, I love reading and following her blog.  She's an expert at crochet and shares such wonderful patterns.  And, the photos she shares of her area are breathtaking.  She lives in a lovely home tucked away in such a beautiful setting and her garden area is a perfect oasis.
Second is Gracie at One Saylor's Log and Gracie too lives in Oregon. In fact, she's good friends with Teresa above!  Gracie loves to paint, crochet, travel and share her beautiful family activities with her readers.  Last year, I sent Gracie some tea from Turkey as I know she loves tea, and she sent me this beautiful handmade card and bookmark that she had made.   

Number three is Karen at Beatrice Euphemie.  Karen lives in my home state of Washington and is such a talented lady and has a special talent for decorating.  She shares her handmade creations (like the little basket and heart she made for me pictured above), recipes, family, garden and the beautiful photos of the lovely area where she lives.  We both say that it's too bad we didn't meet before I moved to California, as I lived not too far from her when I was in Gig Harbor.

At number four is Christine, the author or Writing From Scotland.  Christine, who is originally from Oregon, writes about her life in Scotland.  I find it so fascinating to learn more about this beautiful country where she resides.  And, she is an expert knitter, creating such intricate, beautiful creations.  I "met" Christine when I asked her to translate some antique French postcards that I had been given as a gift.  

Last up is Heidi from Heidi Wanders the World, a new and exciting blog.  All you need to do is click on the link and immediately you will see the delightful tone of this blog.  Heidi shares her fashion favorites, along with some great bargain shopping and most of all, her amazing travels around the world with her family. (whew, I hope this is OK Heidi?  For those who don't know, Heidi is my delightful and much loved daughter!)

From the five people listed above, I only "know in person" Heidi but I feel as though I truly know and consider the others as my dear friends.  This past month, we were called away to Washington State and I had wanted to visit Teresa, Gracie and Karen.  But, that didn't happen as we were short on time and had to fly instead of drive :(

I'll be back again soon with another five of my favorite blog friends.  I really enjoy reading these blogs and learning so much and being inspired too, versus writing my own blog these days.  Thank you for visiting with Lilly My Cat (Lilly sends you her meows).

With my best wishes,

Pat
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