A New Appreciation

Last week I had the good fortune of visiting my aunt and uncle in Gettysburg, PA for a few days and while I was there I went “antiquing” for the first. time. EVER!  I know, can you believe it?  And as if I don’t have enough hobbies already, I think I just found another one to add to my growing list 🙂  It was so much fun to spend the afternoon strolling through the picturesque little town of New Oxford, only a short 10 minute drive east of Gettysburg.  For those of you who ever think about visiting the area, this town is a must.  They have the cutest square complete with an amazing coffee shop and it’s the “Antique Capital of the World.”  There you go, what a better reason to visit!

Through total admission, I have to tell you there were ulterior motives for my maiden voyage into antiquing.  I was shopping for display items for our first show!!  Exciting, exciting!  I found out last Monday that Cherry Valley Designs had been accepted as a vendor at this NQA’s national conference this June in Columbus.  We will for sure have more information as the time gets closer.

As for last week’s antiquing, it was a success (even though success was found at the last stop).  But there was so much inspiration along the way and the most astounding discovery for me were the antique quilts I saw!  Amazing!  In the past I’ve read about people who collect antique quilts and I thought, “Never!”  Well, as the saying goes, “never say never” because I am just yearning to get my hands on some of the beautiful quilts I saw last week – they do have a wee bit of a pricy price tag 😉

It is just so hard to believe the time and effort people put into the quilts and I was just in awe of the hand stitching … I’m pretty pumped because I can just run a machine to quilt my pieces, hand quilting … eeks … not me!

So … what we picked up … these three apple crates (south central Pennsylvania is big time orchard country) for $4.50 each – crazy, right?; the window frame for a steal at $8; and my sweet aunt gave me this cradle which my dad, aunt and uncle all used as infants complete with the antique wheels – I can’t wait to refinish this and load it with quilts.

My aunt also has the most amazing green thumb and even though they live in town she turns her little quarter acre lot into a gorgeous garden.  These were just a few of the blooms blooming while I was in town.  Enjoy!


Comfort and Joy Day 2: A Different Kind of House Tour

Welcome to Day 2 of “The Six Days of Comfort and Joy”!  Have you ever seen those gingerbread houses they feature in magazines around the holidays?  Aren’t they just gorgeous??!!  Every year The Gettysburg Festival hosts a Gingerbread House Celebration as an event to support their main event in June.  If you’re ever in the Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) area around that time of year, you definitely should check out the festival’s events – it is an awesome festival with great music, artwork, food and lots of activities for the whole family! 

Anyways … this past weekend was the Gingerbread House Celebration. We have wanted to go for some time and this year, finally made it!  Fortunately, we were able to take pictures so we can take you along with us as we do a different kind of house tour today!

House 1 …

There was no credit on this house, but it did win 3rd prize!

House 2 …

By “Sarah Dutton,” won 2nd prize!!!  We were told this lighthouse had over 700 individual gingerbread bricks to make the base of the lighthouse!!!  Amazing!

House 3 …

By “Sweet! The Candy Store”

House 4 …

By “Hilton Garden Inn”

House 5 …

By “Koney Island Confections” … This won 1st place!!! Hands down, my favorite!
They even put a little kitten in the top window … how sweet!
 House 6 …
By “Joanie Schaffner”
The organizers also provided a big, “blank” gingerbread house for the kids who stopped by to decorate … how fun!  This would be great to do at family gatherings as a way to keep the kids busy.
This was such a fun way to spend the weekend, we hope you enjoyed coming along with us!  Have you ever made a gingerbread house?  How did it turn out?

England! Part 2

Yesterday I talked about my stay in England and about how the first weekend I toured Cambridge’s city center.  Today I am going to talk about my second weekend when I visited and toured London.  Again, I was very fortunate because my advisor at Wright State has a dear friend who lives in a suburb of London and she arranged for me to spend the weekend with her.  Her name was Hilary and she was absolutely amazing! She drove up to Cambridge (about an hour and a half drive) to pick me up and drop me off!!  She was so gracious with her time and I will always remember her hospitality!  With her I had my first taste of fish and chips … delicious(!) and English peas which are not like our peas.  They are mushed and amazingly good! Who would have guessed?  On Saturday we rode the train into London where we boarded the big red bus and I got to see all the highlights of London.  Not a lot of words, just a lot of pictures … enjoy!

Trafalgar Square

Westminster Abbey


Big Ben & The House of Parliament

We also took a boat ride on the River Thames where I was able to see Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Tower Bridge straight on.
But the highlight of the day for me was Buckingham Palace.  It was so, so beautiful and St. James’s Park was just gorgeous!  
The gates entering The Mall – the road leading up to Buckingham Palace.  If the center gate is open that means the Queen is passing through, that is the only time the gate is ever open.

Prince Charles’s palace

The Royal Horse Guards – they actually were passing as we walked up to Buckingham Palace!

The guard outside Buckingham Palace
The statue outside Buckingham Palace that Queen Victoria had built.
Buckingham Palace

St. James’s Park


I could have spent days in London alone and am looking forward to the day I can go back and visit!


England! Part 1

In March I had the amazing opportunity to travel to England for three weeks.  It is still hard to believe I “lived” in England for three weeks and that I traveled totally by myself … a little freaky, but I lived to tell about the experience!  The graduate program I was in (I graduated June 10, yay!) started a pilot program this year for an international internship experience.  We learned about the opportunity in late August and only myself and another student showed an interest.  So, the other student went over during Thanksgiving and I got to go during March.  I stayed in Cambridge and interned at Anglia Ruskin University.  Cambridge was such an amazing city and I would have never guessed how big it was.  To be there totally surrounded by all the history, architecture and amazing food was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and one that I will remember forever!

The first weekend in Cambridge I was so fortunate that one of the women, Michele with whom I had been working at the university took me on a tour of the city center.  I know I would have never seen some of the things she showed me if I hadn’t been with her.  For example, we first stopped at the Round Church, literally a round church, dating from 1130 AD!! Can you believe that?! At Michele’s urging, I touched the rounch church so that I can now say “I touched a building 882 years old!”
The Round Church

During the rest of the day we ate a delicious lunch at an authentic Italian restaurant, saw several of Cambridge University’s colleges, walked through the Fitzwilliam museum, and had afternoon tea at the Agora at the Copper Kettle Tea Room (where I must admit, I had coffee!). It was an amazing day filled with lots of wonderful memories.
 Around Cambridge

Inside Corpus Christi College of Cambridge University

 Inside Queens College of Cambridge University

Outside the Fitzwilliam Museum

March is usually a dreary and rainy month in England, but all except the first week I was there the weather was amazing! No rain, warm temperatures and the sun was always out.

The English love their gardens and their animals.  One thing I really miss is walking through Midsummer Common and seeing the people out with their dogs (off leash!) just playing and talking with one another … they taught me it’s okay to take a break and just relax … as their saying goes “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  I loved all of their green spaces!


P. S. Tomorrow I will be posting about my weekend in London, have a great day!