A Lovely Give-Away to Brighten Your Day!

Hey everyone!  I just discovered a brand "New to Me" blog & she's having a fantastic give-away.  Ann over at Sutton Place is offering some wonderfulness by Water Colors by Barbara.  Please go check out both blogs.  You won't regret it!


UPS Delivers!

Hey everyone!  I think that I'm maybe on the "road to recovery."  This illness
really knocked me for a loop, but I feel much, much better today.  Yay!!!  I do
so appreciate all the "get well" wishes that have been streaming in from all my
good friends out in blogland.  Ya'll are truly the best!

A few weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of a Give-Away from the very
sweet Vanessa & Heather from At the Picket Fence.  This was part of their
post & you just had to do the usual things to get your name in the pot for
a random drawing:

APRIL 4, 2011

It's An Etsy Giveaway! Meet Our April Etsy Store!

by Kim from
My Domestic Bliss
Well, I had been following Vanessa long before she linked up with
her sister, Heather, & started this wonderful new & fun blog; and
I had also already been following Kim & had an immediate
connection because she and my sweet DIL were expecting babies
at almost the same time.  (They ended up being 1 week apart).
Needless to say, I was all in for this give-away.  And GUESS WHAT?
I won!!!!  I was so thrilled & immediately went shopping.

Since ya'll know I've been sick this past week, you can well imagine
what a boost it was when the UPS man rang my doorbell.  It probably
wasn't too uplifting for him to see me like that, but they always smile
anyway!  This is what he delivered.

Yay, a box with my name on it, & I see immediately that
 it's from Kim!

Oh, the anticipation!  I do this with Christmas & birthday gifts, too.  


This is the cutest little frame, just a little chippy and worn.  

My 3 treasures!  Dog of Flanders, Rin Tin Tin, & Spike of Swift River.
Does anyone remember the movie "Dog of Flanders?"

I love that this is hand-written inside the cover of the Rin Tin Tin book.  

This is also inside the book.

Wow, does this ever bring back memories!

I love having this history to go along with the book.

My plan for these wonderful treasures is to use the frame for 
a photo that The Man & I do each year of us with all the "Grands."  
That photo, along with the wonderful books will go on some display 
shelves in the guest room in our new house.  This room will be most 
often used by our grandchildren, so I intend to have things in that 
space that they can relate to.  The Man and I are both really looking 
forward to reading these stories to the kiddos, even the ones 
who are old enough to read for themselves.  I see this 
as a really special thing for us to share with them.

For some of you young "whipper-snappers" these won't mean 
much, but I think there are some others who will enjoy my 
little "shared" walk down memory lane.  Thanks for stopping 
by and please come again soon.

It only seems right that I should link this to:


Nice Blogging Friends

Hey everyone!  I hope ya'll had a truly wonderful Easter.  The Man was sick all last week, like stay home from work sick -- very bad cold & cough.  By Saturday, I was starting to feel the first signs of the sickness & started popping Zinc lozenges & taking extra Vit. C.  Don't know if those things work, but I know they won't hurt.  By Sunday, I was feeling worse.  Yay, Happy Easter to us!

The really bright spot of my Easter morning was a very sweet Email from Janelle @ Of Pinks and Fairytales.  She left me a message regarding my post about the blooming cactus & then added "By the way, I am passing the 'Versatile Blogger' award to you. I know you have this 'Award Free Blog' sign on your page, haha but I really love your blog so I included you in my list anyway :)  

I just thought it was so sweet of Janelle, who lives in the Philippines with her hubby and adorable little girl, Andrea, to give me this award knowing I wouldn't participate further.  I decided what I can do is encourage all of you to go visit Janelle's blog Of Pinks and Fairytales, and see for yourself just how talented she is.

I'm a bit worse today, but holding off on my judgement of the Zinc & Vit. C until I see how long it takes me to get well.  Just hung out on the sofa today, catching up on "Bethany Happily Ever-After."  Seriously, do you ever watch daytime TV?  There is nothing of any value on the tube.  Anyway, it was something to watch while I blogged & napped, but now I'm really craving "Skinny Girl Margaritas," which is Bethany's new creation that is supposed to be flying off the shelves.  What can I say, I was heavily medicated with NyQuil!  LOL!!!

I'll be playing it pretty low-key in posting for a few days, but enjoying just checking in on my blog friends.  You are all truly the best!  As always, thanks for stopping by and please come again soon.


Look What's Blooming

Hey everyone!  A couple of you have said you were having trouble navigating my blog & couldn't leave a comment.  I have checked with Google, they did a "test comment" & everything worked fine.  I'm hoping it was just a short glitch, but if you are still having problems, please let me know via my email:  castebner@aol.com.

So what is blooming here in the desert?  Well, in all fairness, we have lots of pretties in full bloom, but as our temps rise, that will be changing.  If you've never seen the desert in bloom, it is truly a beautiful sight.  Sorry, I haven't been out to the desert to take any pics, but we have one  lone cactus in our front flower bed.  I don't know the name of this cacti, but it strongly resembles what is called a Peruvian San Pedro.  A friend gave me one piece of this years ago, & it didn't do anything for quite some time.  Finally it started to grow & produce another stem, & then a few years ago we had our first bloom.

The Man & I were working in this front flower bed last Friday, adding the rock, & this is what the cactus looked like at that time.  These little fuzzy pods were all over the stems.

This is looking down into the center of the plant.  You can see more of the pods & lots of baby stems.  This area gets full of debris from other plants, but until The Man hauls the outdoor vacuum around here, I'm not touching it.  Do you see all those things that look like thorns?  Well, let me tell ya', they are very sharp thorns!

Sunday morning, those fuzzy pods had turned into these.

Tuesday morning, we had our first blooms!

The bees and hummingbirds love this.

This is what we see from our front porch.

And this is what we had Wednesday morning.

 Aren't they just gorgeous?  The color is so incredible.  Sadly, they only last about 2 days max, so you must enjoy them while they last.

All of this growth has come from one stem or stalk (whatever you want to call it) in less than ten years.  That might not seem like much growth, but you have to remember that things grow slowly in the desert.  Well, unless it's a weed!  We usually lose one of these stalks every year if we get a lot of rain all at once. The root system on cacti is extremely short, so when the cacti fill up with water, they topple over.  Every time that has happened with this cactus, we get 3 or 4 little ones to take its place.  Nature's evolution.

Hope you enjoyed the little cacti tutorial.  Thanks so much for stopping by, & please come again soon.

I'm happily linking to:


My Inspiration Journal

Hey everyone.  I hope ya'll are havin' a great week so far.  It's starting to warm up pretty fast around here -- we were already in the high 90's last weekend.  I know, YIKES!  We are all starting to think about moving indoors, just as all of you are throwing open the windows & doors.  Even so, we are die-hard desert dwellers;  and as long as they continue to make sunscreen & moisturizer, we will survive!!!

I have just started to do some clearing out in my sewing/craft room & ran across something I have been wanting to share.  It's my Inspiration journal.

What is "inspiration" & what does it mean?  Well, according to the dictionary:



[in-spuh-rey-shuhn]  –noun
an inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
something inspired, as an idea.
a result of inspired activity.
a thing or person that inspires.
Theology .
a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
the drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.
the act of inspiring; quality or state of being inspired. 

Inspiration, for me, is something that makes me take an action.  That action can come in many forms.  A beautiful scene might make me smile or give a little gasp, both actions showing pleasure.  A magazine page of the perfect room will probably make me giggle with glee & say "YES, I can create this!"  I'm also very inspired by many of the "Self-Help" books & tapes.  I'm not saying that I'm so gullible that I BITE on any & everything.  I have a good filtering system!  All that being said, I am most inspired by  images or pictures.  I can take those visual images, whether it's a scene, a magazine page, or on a blog, & expound on that vision in my head;  and MOST of the time, I can translate that to a drawing or written description. 

Several years ago, I decided I needed a place to keep those things that inspire me.  I remember the day very clearly, because I had been listening to one of those "self-help" tapes & the person was talking about the importance of an inspiration board.  He was talking about using it more for goals & visualizing those goals, like the kind of house you want, travel you wanted to do, that kind of thing.  Well, I do believe in the "power of positive thinking," but not to the extent he was talking about.  I did, however, really like the idea of a place to keep all those pictures & pages that get ripped from magazines.  I didn't want it on my wall -- I could have wallpapered the room with all the pages I'd accumulated.  Well, it just so happened that Michael's was having a sale that day on sketch books, & I thought that would be a great thing to use.  That's the day my "Inspiration" journal was born.

Before I started gluing in my stack of lovely ideas, I had to first decide if I wanted it to be orderly, like with labels & such.  Normally, that would be the way I'd go -- you know with my OCD!  But, I decided on random;  and that has worked so well for me.  I also "weeded" my stack before I even began the gluing process.  I had been saving things in a designated folder in my "Go To" file drawer, but now I can thumb through my book & see all the loveliness.

Some interesting things have happened since I started my Inspiration journal.  As I go back and look at older pages, I'm seeing similarities in things that I or we have actually purchased. The magazine photo of the fountain, above, was toward the front of my journal & I hadn't even looked at that page for a long time, until I was thumbing through to see what pages I wanted to share with all of you.  The fountain below is in our backyard.  Yeah, I know, I was pretty surprised, too!

I love planters like this with all kinds of different plants grouped together.  This one inspired me to do......

this one, plus several others around our yard.

On most pages, I will write notes about what I like best or how I would like to tweak the look to fit our home.

This was another one of those weird coincidences.  I refer to a few pages in this part of the book as my "Pastel Period!"  I was totally enamored with pale peach, pink, etc.  I knew I liked Fiesta Ware, but had no idea that the company was actually making new pieces or that I might be the proud owner of.......

my very own growing collection someday.

I love putting clothing outfits together, so when I see some ideas that I think might work for me (sometimes only in my dreams would it work!), then it gets ripped out & placed in my journal.

I had plans to replace a couple of light fixtures in our current house, but now I may be doing that in the new house.

I'm very inspired by all the new paint colors & how they can be combined for such loveliness.

Organization always inspires me.  This well-organized drawer inspired me to create.......

my "much less expensive" version, using poster board.

As with all things, our tastes certainly change.  Some of my pages make me stop & wonder "What was I thinking?"  LOL!!!  But, if it's glued in, it's staying & will be part of the story of how this journal has evolved.  I'm also finding, as I "age" (ouch!), I rip fewer things from those magazines.  I hope that's because of my efforts to be much more satisfied with where I am right now -- living in the present rather than always having the need to project myself into a future, better scenario.  That's something I work on every day.  

I hope you have some kind of "Inspiration" keeper.  Whether it's a board, a book, or a folder, I really believe it tells so much about us.  If you do something along these lines, please let me know or even consider doing a posting about it.  You just never know who you might inspire!

Thanks for stopping by and please come again soon.

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