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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Piece of Paradise at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

If you like a tropical landscape and atmosphere, you will think you have fallen into Paradise when you enter Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, which is included in the Moderate class of Disney's resorts. It is, in fact, anything but moderate in its appeal. The resort's theme is that of romantic Spanish-Colonial Mexico. Taking full advantage of the Florida sunshine, the entirety of its sprawling grounds is chock full of just about every type of palm tree imaginable. Exotic tropical plants and shrubbery abound. Colors of buildings, inside and outside, range from sand to coral and soft blues to turquoise. Pops of rust and brown are interspersed for accent. The ultimate effect is soothing and relaxing. A supremely pleasant experience!

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, we just returned from a second stay at this extraordinarily beautiful place. We visited the resort several years ago when our youngest daughter, her husband and two daughters, accompanied us. During this visit we were reminded of just how astoundingly gorgeous and special it is! 

Walking toward the front entrance to the lobby, we are struck by the color scheme of the portico:
View from the Parking Lot to the El Centro Building and Lobby at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

The wonderful architecture and colors of turquoise blue and coral are a welcoming sight as we approach the entry's portico.

Entry Portico Leading to the Lobby and Registration Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

As we enter the doors leading into the lobby, El Centro, area of the resort, we look to our left and see this wonderful carved wooden horse statue.

Wonderful Carved Wooden Horse in El Centro (lobby) Area of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
This picture, taken from a closer proximity of the statue gives one a better understanding of its beauty.

Carved Wooden Horse Statue in El Centro  at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Front and center and directly in front of the door we enter is this gorgeous fountain!
Fountain in the El Centro (lobby area) of  Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The sound of the water flowing in the fountain is relaxing and entrancing. Here is another view of this fabulous fountain.
The Fountain in El Centro at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A painted mural on the wall:
Painted Mural with a Spanish-Colonial Theme
A tile wall mosaic with cherub statuary and plantings on another wall.

To our right is the breathtakingly beautiful registration area. Because the light fixtures and lamp posts at all the Disney World resorts and theme parks are so fascinating, I find myself continually taking pictures of them. I did not get pictures here the last time we stayed. The fixtures hanging from the ceiling in the registration area are awesome, so I placed myself directly at the middle of the entrance, so as to achieve the full affect and snapped. The gentleman who had welcomed us when we walked into the area, walked quickly back over to me and asked if I saw what I had done when the picture flashed. He told me to check the picture I had just taken and so I did and was very surprised to find I had just discovered a "hidden Mickey!" You will see the glowing silhouette squarely in the top middle and beyond the fixtures in the picture below!
Beautiful Light Fixtures Hanging in the El Centro Registration Area with Hidden Mickey Glowing Beyond the Fixtures

This picture was taken as we walked back up the hallway of El Centro off which the eateries are located. Some unique light fixtures can be seen hanging from the ceiling along the length of this hallway with that gorgeous fountain placed in the middle in the foreground.
Light Fixtures in Hallway in El Centro with Eateries Situated on the Right of Photo
We had checked in to our room online weeks ago and so it took only a couple of minutes and we were on our way to our beautiful room. Our room was decorated in the same beautiful tones as other areas of the resort. The wall color of the room was a more muted and very light and soothing shade of blue/green and a bed "runner" sported the turquoise and brown found outdoors and in other areas.
Our Lovely Room at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
The bed runners also featured tiny Mickey heads in the design. It is always fun to hunt for Mickeys located here and there around the resorts and theme parks. The signature "Mickey" towel creation was positioned on one of the beds.
Signature "Mickey" Towel Decor on Bed

A picture of the vanity area and water closet area of the touches of brown, rust and golds, which lend a bit of richness to mix.
Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Bathroom and Vanity Disney's Coronado Springs Resort.
During our stay at Coronado Springs Resort we took several strolls around the vast and beautiful grounds of the resort. Hopefully, these photos will illustrate in some way the astounding architecture and gorgeous landscaping that abound throughout.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall

Night View of Lost City of Cibola Pool with Maya Pyramid Waterfall 

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Three Caballeros at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Three Caballeros and Me at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Light Fixture at Entrance Portico of Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Crossing Bridge at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
What better to plant in this tropical paradise than a Bird of Paradise?

Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
A close up picture of the beautiful Bird of Paradise Flower allows us to realize why the plant is called Bird of Paradise. It really looks like the head of a colorful plumed tropical bird.
Bird of Paradise Flower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Another outdoor fan/light fixture which has become a home for a bird of some kind. Note the bird's nest at the top of the fixture.
Fan Light Fixture at Disney's Coronado Springs Resor
 Another tropical flower, Yellow Hibiscus.
Yellow Hibiscus at the Resort
A good breakfast was available at the Pepper Market.
Spanish Omelette at Pepper Market
For a quicker selection pastries can be purchased as well at Pepper Market.
Pastry Case at Pepper Market

If you choose, you can select from a buffet which also includes pancakes and waffles.
Breakfast at Pepper Market

Breakfast at Pepper Market
Breakfast at Pepper Market
A refreshing late night refreshment after a busy day in the parks. Lemon Sorbet and Strawberry Sorbet from Cafe Rix.
Cafe Rix at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Sorbet Case at Disney's Coronado Springs Cafe Rix

Strawberry and Lemon Sorbets from Cafe Rix
Each of Disney's resorts is special and unique in its own way. Thank you so much for taking time to read my blog. I sincerely hope you enjoyed this little visit to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. It truly is a little piece of paradise!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's the Buzz and Life at Boarding School

There are a few things happening in my back yard. The first is a fragrance so divine that it would be very difficult to ignore, even if I wanted to. I fell in love with this fragrance many years ago as a resident student at boarding school.

Let me tell you the story of how I discovered the fragrance. I had been excited about the prospect of attending a boarding school. I had never been away from home alone and thought it would be a positive experience--an adventure. I have to admit that it ultimately was a very good experience  and one which helped me to learn how to deal with all sorts of people, to mature and learn how to be independent in so many ways. Upon arriving, however, I found myself thrown into totally different surroundings, living in a room with three sets of bunk beds with five other girls!  The six of us girls shared a connecting bathroom with another six girls in the other room. Twelve of us and one bathroom. Living in what had once been a private mansion, now filled with dozens of people, other girls and Catholic nuns. These were people I had never known before. Some of whom , I was to discover, were a good deal more experienced and worldly than I.

After a while we girls were like sisters. We were "in it" together! Kindred spirits, watching each others back and posting look out when necessary! I found myself playing decoy on more than one occasion. Honestly, the stories could fill a book!

Have you ever lived at a boarding school? If you have, you know this is the truth. It is an experience unlike any other in the world and that is an understatement! Have you ever seen the movies The Trouble With Angels and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows?  I promise you, life in boarding school was exactly like those two movies. For fun, I am posting links to Youtube clips from them here and here.  The nun who was in "command" of  our residence hall was a dead ringer for the one in these movies. She was tall and lithe and walked as if she was floating on a cloud. We could not hear her coming and she would appear as if by magic. She could smell cigarette smoke a mile away! I was glad I wasn't a smoker and seeing her grab the hand of a girl and sniff her fingers could strike sheer terror into the heart of anyone who might be contemplating lighting up!  If she ever caught a whiff, which was apt to happen, it could lead to some sever consequences! So could food fights in the dining hall. Consequences like being grounded on weekends for a month from dating privileges or from the privilege of going downtown on Saturday afternoons.

We had huge fireplaces in almost every room and the girls who smoked would rearrange the furniture. The fireplaces were no longer in use and the girls would place the long bureaus in which we stored our clothes in front of the fireplaces. The girls would hide in the fireplaces and smoke. Presumably, the smoke was to go up the chimney. It is amazing that the nuns didn't catch on. Now, I did not smoke, but I admit to being guilty of pushing the big bureau back after the others crowded into their hideout..

The dreaded "sniffer" came into our room once as I was trying to catch my breath from the exertion of moving that big piece of furniture back up against the fireplace. I decare,  I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die, right there on that very spot! Needless to say, so did the smokers who had just lit up. Sister spoke to me briefly. They heard what was going on and started stabbing those cigarettes out. They almost choked trying to keep from blowing out the smoke. To this day, I still cannot understand how she didn't smell it. I swore to myself that I would never do that again and, indeed, I did not!

After two years, the place had become a home to me and I loved it and the people. I adore those old movies about the "angels!" and can identify with the resident girls.  I kid you not that for each of the nun characters in those movies, no lie, we had a nun in residence with the personalities of those nun characters. They could have easily filmed those movies at our residence and school, using us girls and our nun overseers to play the parts! The similarities and circumstances are uncanny!

Okay. Let's get back to that heavenly fragrance in my back yard. It comes from a bush or some might call it a shrub.

There were many of these bushes located in what was referred to by everyone who lived at the residence hall as The Sunken Gardens. The Sunken Gardens was an area located about half way along the brick pathway from the residence hall to the school building where we resident girls attended classes, along with other day students (girls and boys) living in the Aiken area. It was on one of the trips from the hall to the school in early Fall my first year in attendance. It was around this same time of year that I first noticed this entrancing fragrance. That same aroma came wafting through the air every time I walked up that path. Such a sweet perfume! I was intrigued and so I finally asked one of the sisters where it was coming from. It is called Tea Olive bush.
Tea Olive Shrub
If you are interested, the technical name for the plant is Osmanthus. If you would care to find out more about this wonderful plant you might want to visit Clemson University's site here.  

I remember many times sitting in the Sunken Gardens and breathing in that wonderful fragrance and how it somehow helped to ease the feelings of  homesickness and uncertainty I was experiencing and made me feel more at home with my surroundings. A girl of sixteen can feel very alone when the family she has never been far away from seems light years away. As it turned out, I met the man I was to marry and spend my life and raise a family with while attending that school. As a matter of fact, he and I spent some time sitting in that special little spot in the Sunken Gardens!

I thought then, and still do, that if there is a fragrance in Heaven, surely it is that which comes from this shrub whose clusters of tiny and delicate white flowers are so unassuming as to be missed on first glance! I promised myself that someday I would enjoy this heavenly scent in my yard. And so I did. My husband and have planted one of these at every house where we have lived. It is an evergreen shrub. The fragrance wafts over the entire yard from those little flowers which appear in the Fall and several other times throughout the year!
Obedient Plant/False Dragonheard

Obedient Plant or False Dragonhead. It is called Obedient Plant, I have read, because it can be bent and will hold its shape for flower arranging. It is, as I have discovered not as obedient as its name implies as it is somewhat unruly in the garden and seems to want to spread itself about. I like it anyway as its flowers are a lovely bluish/purple in color and I like blue flowers. I couldn't get a better picture because of  some very aggressive Yellow Jacket wasps that were buzzing around. Every time I see one I have a flashback of a time I was drinking a Sprite after school while talking to my friend, Iris. I lifted the bottle to my lips, not noticing the Yellow Jacket sitting on the rim of the bottle. Oh, the throbbing pain! Oh, what a fat and swollen top lip! School pictures taken next day--not a pretty sight! I do not take any chances with those particular insects!

I loved Betty, my sweet and lovely mother-in-law. She loved growing flowers and she always had Marigolds in her garden. I learned a lot of things from her.  She taught me to save the seeds from Marigolds and I always think of her and miss her when I see Marigolds growing. I save seeds from the ones I grow now and I planted  several varieties in my vegetable beds in the Spring to try and discourage insect pests.  After I removed the spent veggies, I decided to leave the Marigolds for a while. They have now taken over and are putting on a real Fall show, spilling over the sides of the planters in a wild and reckless way!
Marigolds Spilling Over Planter

What do you think about the fragrance of Marigold flowers? My opinion,  it is one you either love or strongly dislike. I know people who think they have a pleasant aroma. Not me.  I really do not like the smell and that may be why certain pesky insects might not bother vegetables planted among the flowers. It is my experience that one must get pretty close to one of the blooms to be able to smell it. Therefore, the assets of this plant far outweigh the fact that it possesses a somewhat unpleasant odor.

Marigolds grow in a great variety of hues of yellow, ranging from a buttery white to deep gold. To see a variety of beautiful Marigold,s you can check out any seed company's website or catalog. Here at Burpee Seed Company website, you will find many gorgeous types of Marigold plants. There is something else happening back there. Something else is buzzing!
Bumble Bees
Bumble Bees are buzzing about and working very hard, gathering up much nectar and pollen! They seemed totally oblivious to me as they worked and I was taking pictures. It is easy to understand where the term "busy as bees" comes from if you take a minute or two to watch them at work!

I realize that Bumble Bees do not make honey like Honey Bees do, but they have a purpose and so I am glad they have chosen to take up residence out back for a while. I am not a tree hugger but I think we need to to preserve and conserve whatever natural resources we can. I think most reasonable people realize and understand that bees play an integral role in the survival of the human race as they serve to pollinate many of the plants that we eat and use for various purposes. I have heard that our planet is losing much of its bee population. I am not fond of getting a bee sting or a sting of any kind, for that matter, but I am encouraged when I witness them as they eat the nectar on flowers and see the pollen stuck on their mouths. ensuring that we will be able to have plants to eat and to provide oxygen in the air for us and all the other animals in the world. And so the cycle continues. Therefore, it makes me happy to see they have chosen to stop for a while here in my little piece of the planet!

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane and thanks so much for stopping by to check out the buzz!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What a Crock!

Most of my readers probably know how much I like to go to thrift stores in search of treasures of one kind or another. I keep my eyes peeled for that certain item that I have my heart set upon. It  can take months or even years to hit the right place at the just the right time to find it--that thing I have been searching for without having to give up an arm and a leg to make it my own. I post today about one such item I have been looking for.

A week or so ago, I stopped by a little shop that I sometimes forget about. It is tucked away in an inconspicuous place and I glanced down and spied something that looked very much like something my heart had been desiring. It was sitting on the very bottom shelf of one of the displays. I figured it was a flimsy reproduction of some kind. I reached down, expecting to quickly lift it up to check it out. To my amazement, the thing was heavy--very heavy! I finally managed to get the thing on to a higher shelf, more at eye level, so I could examine it more closely.

It had a design on one side that I think is called "gaggle of geese" but when I turned it around looking for a maker's mark and a price., I saw a stamp on the reverse--a crown with an encircled number "1" and U.S.A., which I later discovered was the reason the item was so heavy. Such items made in the U.S.A. are very sturdy and heavy. The number 1 stands for one gallon. I was then wondering if there would be an equally heft price tag. When I found the price sticker I had to wonder if it was for real.

I asked myself,  "For the price they are asking, is this thing for real or is it a real crock?" It took a couple of minutes to soak in, but I decided, it is both. Seriously, it is not a "crock" as in not for real (an impostor or cheap reproduction). It is, however a real crock.  This seems to be a contradiction in terms.  It is not a crock but it is a real crock. Enough of the conundrums! A picture speaks a thousand words.

One Gallon Butter Crock 
I am one of those cooks who keeps a lot of kitchen utensils at the ready. I do not like to spend a ton of time digging through drawers as I work in the kitchen. I have utensils corralled in two different containers, one of which I was looking to replace. I had now found the perfect replacement, but was I prepared to pay the sticker price for this one? Would you pay $1.99 for it? That's right people, $1.99! Can you believe it?

You can visit some of the links below to see some similar crocks. There are vintage and antique ones out there. However, there do not seem to be many examples of the one gallon type for sale online.

Pinterest is a good place to find some good source to find ideas for using this type of crock for organization and decor.

Here is a comparable crock on Amazon.

Ebay is also a source for looking for some of these crocks and this antique one.

Well, I can tell you, I was not about to let it sit there a minute longer. I had been waiting a long time for this one and I could not get to the check out counter fast enough!

One Gallon Butter Crock to Hold Kitchen Utensils
I realized only after I was almost done with posting about the crock that the photo I had taken of the opposite side of the crock with the geese is one that I was planning to use for a future post. The other side does not particularly appeal to me and I will probably be using it with the maker's stamp side showing most of the time, anyway.

Granted, I discovered a vintage find, not an antique. It is probably not nearly as old as some old antique ones I have seen on some sites. It is not all cracked, chippy and crazed like those. It is, nonetheless, "genuine" and a true American-made product, something increasingly difficult to come by these days. For less than $2.00, I genuinely like it and am satisfied it will serve my purposes. Now, that's a real crock and what a crock!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hand Crafted Gifts are the Best!

Of all the gifts I have received over the years, the ones that are hand-crafted are the most significant and special to me. It's not that I do not appreciate every single thing that any friend or loved one gives me. I certainly do.

Because I am a person who has spent a lifetime  creating things myself, I understand how much thought and consideration, time, effort and materials are poured into the process of creating . There is something very unique and endearing about gifts from the heart and hands, even those made by the little children in our lives.

Bragging is not something I do much of, at least not on myself, and I am not starting now. However, I think it will be acceptable if I brag a little on my beautiful, generous and fabulously talented friend.

If you have visited my blog a few times you might remember that my friend, Harriette, and I spend a lot of time together, doing the things that we both enjoy so much. Sometimes it is going to our favorite thrift stores and having lunch. Sometimes, it is cooking or baking and other times it is working on a craft or sewing project, such as a the Memory Quilt we constructed from shirts for Harriette's husband. The shirts had been collected by her husband over the years and held significant memories from his boyhood, work sites and so on. You can see pictures and instructions on the process we used to make this special quilt  here and here. What a wonderful and fun project that was!

Last week, I went over to her house and when I walked in the door, she surprised me with an early birthday present! Well, actually it was more than one present. That's what I mean when I say she is generous. She is extremely generous! She crafted some beautiful things for me and I could not resist posting some photos of them.

I always have a dish towel or two hanging on the handle of my oven and they are constantly falling off when I am standing there prepping and cooking. Does that happen to you or am I the only one it happens to? Look what my friend sewed for me! It certainly solves the problem of the towel slipping off of the handle all the time.
Dishtowel to Hang Across the Handle of Oven Door
This pretty and practical dishtowel is made by cutting one regular terry dishtowel in half, crosswise, A lined pinafore style "bodice" is attached, front to one half of the raw edge of the dishtowel and pinafore back to the raw edge of the other half of the dishtowel. One length of grosgrain ribbon is attached to the "waist" in the front and another length of grosgrain ribbon is attached in the same manner to the back side of the towel. It looks like a little girl's pinafore or dress with the sides left open. It is made to slip over the oven handle. Then the ribbon ends are tied together on each side in bows.  It hangs by the "shoulders" and, after being tied, it stays securely on the handle. Isn't that just the perfect solution?

Here is a picture of the back. 
Back of Dishtowel  for Hanging on Oven Handle
Since we are a family of predominantly University of South Carolina fans my friend used fabric with a team theme for the front of the towel's "bodice."  I made a  close up picture, so readers can see how cute it is. The Gamecock mascot, Cocky, is one of the features on the fabric, as well as football helmets and the "Carolina C and Gamecock" logo!
Close Up of  the University of South Carolina Themed Fabric Used to Create the Dishtowel
One more photo of the dishtowel as it hangs on my oven door:
Dress Style Apron Hanging on Oven Door
My sweet friend knows me so very well. We are like sisters and she knows I am a very practical person and that I  like the things that are useful in helping me in my struggle to stay organized. Therefore, she sewed for me this awesome bag to use when I am sewing and crafting!
Clippings and Strings Bag With Attached Pin Cushion
Seriously now, isn't this the smartest thing? See how it hangs from whatever surface you choose to hang it from. This picture was taken outside on my deck, so it is hanging from the round table there. The attached pin cushion is filled with white sand(the kind you put in a child's sandbox) and is heavy enough that it holds the bag in place. I will be using this a lot in my craft and sewing room, where it will hang from the front of my sewing machine cabinet, handily holding those straight pins and clippings as I am sewing. No more reaching for that trash can, as this will be there at my right hand! I love the fabric she chose for the bag. Notice the cute little scissors. I know I will definitely be using this practical and pretty gift every time I sew!

Now, as practical as I am and as much as I enjoy homemaking, sewing and crafting, there is a side of me that still likes feeling feminine and chic! Yes, I enjoy a good dose of the "bling"  thing and I am known to wear dangling earrings. Feminine and chic, folks, describes how I feel when I wear this sparkling crocheted necklace and earrings set, made especially for me! 
Crocheted Necklace and Earring Set
Well, I adore the combination of black, grey and white! And a bit of silver in the mix sends this set over the top! My friend knows that I often wear these colors. In the above picture,  I am wearing the necklace with the multiple strands hanging round in the front, which I like a lot. But when I first saw it, I thought it would look great, also, being worn as a casual "lariat" style.  Here, the necklace is turned around so that the connecting strands with beads are hanging in the front. 
Crocheted Necklace Worn "Lariat" Style
I think that, depending on what this necklace is being worn with, it will look just great this way, too. What do you think?  I can get two looks from the same necklace. There I go being practical again!

Sorry for the "deer in the headlights" look in the first picture of me wearing the necklace. You might have guessed, I took these pictures of myself.  As you can see, I am no expert at taking "selfies!"

Thanks for visiting my blog and reading about the things my dear, sweet, enormously talented and generous friend created for me!  She is the best friend anyone could hope for and I feel so very grateful and blessed that God placed her in my life!

Thank you,  Harriette,  for all the birthday goodies!