Happy New Year

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the old and in with the new.   May the New Year bring you happiness and joy.

"Happy New Year"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

64 Via Fuorimura, Sorrento, Italy

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We were on a mission.  Locate the shop that sells Italian basil seeds.  We finally found the store but it hadn't opened yet after the usual mid-day closure.  So we waited.  And waited. And while we waited I spotted this mailbox next door.  Then we were joined by several locals.  Finally, the owner showed up and we rushed in an grabbed the last of the seeds.  Score!!!!

"64 Via Fuorimura, Sorrento, Italy"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

View from the Porthole

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cruising Alaska is spectacular.  From the raw beauty of the land to the isolation of this awesome scenery.  But it's great to wake up in the morning and be greeted with a close up view of Vassar Glacier.  All the glaciers in this fjord like area are named after colleges. 

"View from the Porthole"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Christmas Star

Monday, December 28, 2009

What a beautiful song.


It was overcast most of the day and I thought these bright orange gazinias added a bit of sunshine to an otherwise dreary day.  When planted "en masse" they provide a carpet of spectacular and vibrant color.

"Sunshine"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Real Men Know How to Knit

Sunday, December 27, 2009

For the last two years, this Frenchman sat patiently and knitted while his wife sold yarns and other goods for knitters at the weekly market in Eymet, France.  I never saw the finished product but it looks like he's doing a pretty good job.

"Real Men Know How to Knit"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Sunset Flight

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It was overcast most of the day today.  From LA to the desert.  On my way home from celebrating the holidays with family, I stopped to visit friends.  As I was leaving their property I spotted the sun kissing the distant hills across our valley.  But the treat was the bi-plane, probably giving tourists a sunset flight.  I hope they had their camera with them.

"Sunset Flight"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Wishing You a White Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spain loves poinsettias at holiday time.  Lots of red ones and lots of white ones.  Mass plantings abounded in the Canary Islands around government offices and parks. What a beautiful sight to see.

"Wishing You a White Christmas"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Artsy Restrooms

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Are you a Mona Lisa or a Leonardo da Vinci?  If you can't figure out which bathroom to use based on those clues the male -female symbols should help.  This is the most creative use of "potty" signage I've seen in a long time.  And it wasn't in Italy.  It was at a cliff side restaurant in Cabo San Lucas.  Don't you just love those colors?

"Artsy Restrooms"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Ghastly Shadows

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ghouls and gargoyles are strange looking creatures used as decorations since medevial times.  Some are functional others are meant to scare off evil spirits.   These critters are of the functional  variety.

"Ghastly Shadows"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Waiting for Santa

Get One At - Friendster Comments
I love this!  What a smart dog. As with all of these music e-cards and videos, you will have to pause my music player so you won't hear two different songs playing at the same time.


My Christmas Wish For You

I was reminded today that Christmas time is not a happy time for all. There could be many reasons, loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, divorce, family problems, money issues, health issues, soldiers who are keeping freedom for us, who are away and won't be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones, homeless families, and for whatever your reason is, my heart goes out to you and I hope you will be able to find some peace in your life at this special time of year. God Bless. 


Christmas in the Canary Islands

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sitting off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, these tiny islands are part of the Spanish Empire.  Used as a stopping point for the early explorers before crossing the Atlantic, these volcanic islands are mostly barren with few areas of tropical vegetation.

"Christmas in the Canary Islands"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Pudding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding 2 eggs 1 tsp. baking soda 2 cups flour 1 pkg. (6 squares) BAKER'S White Chocolate, chopped   HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add dry pudding mix; beat until well blended. Add eggs and baking soda; mix well. Gradually add flour, beating after each addition until well blended. Stir in chocolate.

DROP tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 min. on baking sheets; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.    

Pecan Snickerdoodles

2-1/2 cups flour 1 cup finely chopped Pecans 2 tsp. cream of tartar 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, slightly softened 1-3/4 cups sugar, divided 2 eggs 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix flour, pecans, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in large bowl; set aside.

BEAT butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients; beat on low speed until well mixed. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Another favorite.           Webfetti.com

Mexican Wedding Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 1 cup powdered sugar, divided 1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups flour 1 cup finely chopped Pecans

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat butter, 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and pecans, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended.

SHAPE dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 1-1/2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE 14 to 15 min. or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 min. on baking sheets. Roll warm cookies in remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar until evenly coated; place on wire racks. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

These are my favorite cookies at Christmas time.

Peanut Blossoms

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 2/3 cup peanut butter 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 egg 2 Tbsp. milk 1 tsp. vanilla 1-1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, finely chopped 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 48 foil-wrapped chocolate kisses, unwrapped

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Beat butter, peanut butter, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat until well blended. Combine flour, peanuts, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended after each addition.

SHAPE dough into 48 balls, each about 1 inch in diameter; roll in remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Place, 2 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE 9 to 10 min. or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate piece into center of each cookie. (Cookie will crack slightly around edge.) Cool on baking sheets 1 min. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.             

Snowman Punch

Sunday, December 20, 2009

There is a mute button in the lower left corner if you don't want to keep listening to the music. Have fun.

Moroccan Brass

If they can make it in brass, you should be able to find it in Morocco.  Spread out on the ground for all to see, the highly polished pieces are eye catching.  However, once you get them home you have to keep polishing to maintain their original shine.  Too much elbow grease for me.

"Moroccan Brass"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Door Panel

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wood carving is a dying art and it's a pleasure to see something as beautifully done as these wooden doors on the entrance to the lower chambers of the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi in Assisi, Italy.  The entire church is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.  The marvel is the restoration of the frescoes that tumbled to the floor during an earthquake on September 26, 1997.  The corner stone was laid in 1228 and this 700+ year old church holds many treasures.

"Door Panel"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Zinnias for Sale

Friday, December 18, 2009

Every Sunday morning we have a Farmer's Market in La Quinta.  The produce must come from within a 50 mile radius of the area so we know it's realatively local stuff.  Sometimes there are flowers and I was surprised to find cut zinnias.  They're hardy and make vibrant floral arrangements.

© Kathy Dunham 2009
"Zinnias for Sale"   

Roof Garden

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It doesn't take much in a humid climate for plants to sprout on the roof.  An accumulation of dust and moisture provide fertile ground for seeds that travel in the wind or by our feathered friends.  And these centuries old (at least 500 years) roof tiles are no exception.  The medieval town of Beynac, France, perched high on a cliff,  has plenty of places for plants to sprout.

"Roof Garden"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Evening Light

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Evenings in the desert are the best.  The light is spectacular and the unique shadows that are created by the landscape provide never ending entertainment.  As the seasons change, so do the shadows.

"Evening Light"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Christmas in Aruba

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas feels different in the tropics.  No snow, it's not cold and there's lots of sunshine, humidity and warm weather.  But it's still the holidays and gets celebrated like it does in the colder climates.

"Christmas in Aruba"   © Kathy Dunham 2009


Monday, December 14, 2009

If I was any closer, I would have been worried that this steer was going to charge me.  Maybe he was just curious and wanted to keep an eye on me.  Either way, I kept my distance.

Staredown"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Las Ramblas Flower Vendor

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Las Ramblas is the Champs-Elysees of Barcelona.  A pedestrian promenade that runs up from the waterfront, it is home to news vendors, bird sellers, mimes, restaurants and florists.  It was Christmas when I was last in Barcelona and an evening stroll was a delight in colors and light.

"Las Ramblas Flower Vendor"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Age Spots

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Even beautiful flowers age and this camellia is beginning to show his.  A winter flower, they offer a hint of what spring will bring.  But they do bruise easily and must be handled with care.

"Age Spots"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Pow Wow Regalia

Friday, December 11, 2009

Native America Pow Wows are a spectacular event.  The music and the spectacular outfits, known as regalia, are phenominal.  Each tribe or band has their own unique style.  In addition, the different dances require different style garments.  But they are all referred to as regalia.  Feathers, beads, jingle bells and fringe are just part of what it takes to create the beautiful designs, many worth thousands of dollars.

"Pow Wow Regalia"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

The Pieta

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This might be more appropriate for Easter but I think this is one of Michelangelo's greatest pieces of sculpture.  Finished in 1499 and the only piece where his signature is visable (it's on the sash the Madonna is wearing) the Pieta is an intricately and delicately carved piece of marble.  It's the first thing you see when you enter St. Peter's Basilica.

"The Pieta"  © Kathy Dunham 2009

A Magical Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Santa Claus meets Krissy the Spider as he brings presents to a house where she lives. Krissy is a 7 year old little girl spider. From her home in a corner of the ceiling she gets excited watching a family decorate their Christmas tree. After a lot of asking, she convinces her parents to let her go visit with the angels. "But only in the night!" - they say. In the excitement she forgets about her webs and spoils the whole tree. Santa arrives, sees the mess, and blows Krissy a big red kiss turning her webs into tinsel and giving her a silvery coat, which, in later adventures, she finds out has magical powers. Everyone rejoices!

In Monet's Memory

Monet was obsessed with waterlilies.  He built his own pond to grow this elegant flower so he could paint them whenever he wished.  An artist's dream.

"In Monet's Memory"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Street Artist - Sorrento

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He sat on the same corner, ready to do a portrait of a passing tourist or local for that matter.  I never saw any takers but he made a nice subject for my photo.

"Street Artist - Sorrento"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Rainy Night in Indian Wells

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's been raining all day, a slow steady drizzle.  We need the rain and it feels great to have some cold wet weather.  I was returning from a reception tonight when I spotted these decorated trees in front of City Hall in Indian Wells.  I was surprised they were all blue, a first for this small city, but they looked great.

"Rainy Night in Indian Wells"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

The Mosque at Agadir

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Although simple in overall design, the elaborate carvings and details in the facade are unique and spectacular.  We couldn't go inside (women are excluded) but did enjoy the beauty of the architecture.

"The Mosque at Agadir"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Christmas in Malaga

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This is the main shopping district in Malaga, Spain.  It's a pedestrian mall and decorated in all it's finery for the holiday season.  The Spanish really know how to decorate.  The town was covered with live poinsettias. Everywhere we looked there were fresh plants of vibrant red welcoming the season.

"Christmas in Malaga"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Peace Y 'All

Friday, December 4, 2009

This is Christmas New Orleans style, accent and all.  It's a great place to visit at holiday time.  The decorations will knock your socks off. 

"Peace Y 'All"    © Kathy Dunham 2009

Bridge over the Dordogne River

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It was a beautiful sunny day as we floated on the Dorgogne River in the Perigord region of France.  Above the river, high on a bluff was the town of Beynac with its huge castle overlooking the valley.  This bridge was astutely built with hollow pilings, which allows water to enter during flood stages giving it more strength against the raging waters. 

"Bridge over the Dordogne River"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Reindeer, Elves, Mrs. Claus

The common names given for Santa's reindeer in modern culture are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner/Donder, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Eight of these names are taken more or less directly from Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas," and the ninth from the song "Rudolph the Red  Nosed Reindeer" and the TV special based upon it.

Santa Claus has many elves. They speak all different languages just like Santa Claus. If there is an average of one present per child, there needs to be a lot of elves to make all of those toys. Most children even get two to three presents from Santa Claus. Name a name, and at least one elf probably has that name.

Jingle and Jangle are the names of the two elves who help Mrs. Claus in the movie, "The Year Without A Santa Claus". Elisa, Aaron, Roger, Miley, and Taylor are a few one of the known names of elves. You can find more by searching the internet.
Mrs. Claus is the wife of Santa Claus. Unlike Santa Claus, however, she does not have a counterpart in folklore or mythology, but was the creation of American authors. She was popularized by poet Katharine Lee Bates in Bates' poem, "Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride" (1889). The character has since appeared in story, film, television and other media. Since 1889, Mrs. Claus has been generally depicted in media as a fairly heavy-set, kindly, white-haired elderly female baking cookies somewhere in the background of the Santa Claus mythos. She sometimes assists in toy production, and oversees Santa's elves. She is sometimes called Mother Christmas, and Mary Christmas has been suggested as her maiden name.
GreetingSpring.com                             GreetingSpring.com
From Wikipedia
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A Looney Tunes Sing-A-Long Christmas

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Go ahead and sing! You know you want to! Aww...c'mon...!

Legend of the Poinsettia

    The plants' association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.

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Sleepy Bear Time

I spotted these cuddly polar bears in the window of a children's clothing shop in Paris.  My son-in-law loves polar bears but these were just bit to big to bring home on the plane.

"Sleepy Bear Time"   © Kathy Dunham 2009

Cute Christmas Computer Wallpaper

Spread the cute feelings of christmas all over the web by exchanging and placing these cute christmas computer wallpaper with designs of cute snowman, crystal hanging ornament, aura, golden glittering balls and more.

Snowman Greetings

Christmas Snowman WallpapersPretty Blue Ornament computer wallpaper

Christmas Ornament WallpapersChrismas Aura computer wallpaper

Christmas Wallpapers

The True Meaning of Christmas by Brian K. Walters

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


In todays' day and time,
it's easy to lose sight,
of the true meaning of Christmas
and one special night.

When we go shopping,
We say "How much will it cost?"
Then the true meaning of Christmas,
Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter
And ribbons of gold,
We forget about the child,
born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa
In his big, red sleigh
Never thinking of the child
Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality,
When we look into the night sky,
We don't see a sleigh
But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,
Of that night so long ago,
And of the child we call Jesus,
Whose love, the world would know.

Zucchini Blossoms

Summer is past but these zucchini blossoms bring back warm summer days and a garden full of fresh produce.  A friend of mine in Spokane started a community garden and these were just some of the fruits of their labors.  I enjoyed walking up and down the rows looking at the ripening vegetables.

"Zucchini Blossoms"   © Kathy Dunham 2009


Monday, November 30, 2009

It wouldn't be Christmas without a gingerbread house.  A couple of years ago I was asked to build a gingerbread house as a fundraiser for the La Quinta Arts Foundation.  A number of artists were asked to participate and build a village.  Since I love to paint flowers it was natural for me to build a flower shop.   It was fun and I learned a lot about making flowers and other tricks of the "sugar trade".  The silent auction went well and mine was one of the top sellers.

"Floreria"  © Kathy Dunham 2009

Holiday Craziness

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, the Thanksgiving weekend is winding down. It was nice having four whole days off in a row! It gave me a chance to finish decorating for the holiday. It's only taken me just about two weeks to get it all done! Isn't that just crazy? This is why I need to get started early. I don't have all day to devote to just decorating because I work evenings, so I just do two or three...if I'm lucky...hours a day until I'm done. I'm so glad it's done!! I had Thanksgiving dinner at my house. It was a good day and everyone enjoyed the food. It seems like no matter how much you try to prepare ahead and clean things up as you go, you still end up with a huge mess to clean up at the end of the day. It's not just the dishes, it's extra tables and chairs that were set up, extra food table, sweeping the carpet, putting everything away, making room in the refrigerators for the leftovers and just putting your house back together again! Whew! But, I do like having people over for the holidays or I wouldn't do it.

Now...a little more Christmas craziness...Black Friday, the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. Stores opening at 4:00 a.m., people standing in line to get into the store at 2:00 a.m. for those great sales. I did this once with my husband, but never have since. He loves to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. He was up at 3:00 a.m. as I was just going to bed. I told him to have fun. He met up with his sister, shopped for a while, had breakfast, and was home by noon. His gifts were wrapped and are now under the tree.
Mine are still in boxes waiting to be wrapped...by me...and before you know it with all of the shopping, decorating, inviting friends and family over for dinner, visiting with others, etc., Christmas is here...and gone...in just a day. It's amazing how much of your time goes into preparing for one day. I get a little sad after it's over because I really enjoy this time of the year. Then reality sets in and I'm looking at two more weeks of taking down decorations and putting them all away. Yikes!!! But I'll do it again next year. I love the music, the lights and decorations, the Christmas movies, the yummy cookies, the food...but not the weight gain that comes with that...the wine to help me get through it all, the closeness of family and friends, and to help someone else have a better Thanksgiving and Christmas with a donation or a tag from a Christmas tree for gifts. It's a magical time of the year for me which I will always keep in my heart.