Monday, January 31, 2011
A quiet spot in the garden is waiting for someone to share the beauty of the morning solitude.

"Waiting"    © Kathy Dunham 2011

Christmas Pillow

Here is a photo of my beautiful pillow my sister-in-law made for me for Christmas. She's very good at making home made gifts and those are the best kind to receive because they were made out of love! Another year she made me a beautiful quilted tree skirt. The picture doesn't do it justice compared to seeing it in front of you. My grandchildren also bought me a Grandma pillow one year that I love.  I may leave my pillow out all year long!

Sunset in Vernazza

Friday, January 28, 2011
It had been a stormy day along the Italian Cinque Terra with no hope of any decent light for photos.  I had dinner plans with friends so rushed back to the room to change then scooted down to the water's edge to meet them when I came upon this scene.  Needless to say, I was late for dinner but it was worth it to get this shot. 

"Sunset in Vernazza"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Machaeranthera orcuttii

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Common name - "Borrego Aster".   This beautiful purple wildflower is abundant in the badland regions of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  The park is located in Southern California just west of the Salton Sea.  This perennial grows to 36" in height and is very restricted to the local it grows in. 

"Machaeranthera orcuttii"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Lots of Peppers

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The open air produce market in Venice is a wild cacophony of color.  Tomatoes, onions, squash, zucchini blossoms and of course, lots of peppers.  Get there early if you want the pick of the crop.  And most of the vendors are gone by noon.  But everything is so fresh from farms on the nearby mainland. 

"Lots of Peppers"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Spring Will Soon Be Here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Clivia likes to grow in cool shady places so when a ray of sun peeked through to light up these beauties I grabbed the shot.

"Spring Will Soon Be Here"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Golden Trumpets

Monday, January 24, 2011
Even the bees are enjoying the beauty of these Angel's Trumpets at the Los Angeles Arboretum.  The Sunset demonstration garden has huge trees of this unique flower that hangs upside down.  One of the beauties of this relative of the "Jimson Weed" is that only at night, when the temperatures cool down, do you smell its wonderful fragrance.  So if you plant one,  put it by a window near the bedroom so you can enjoy it.

"Golden Trumpets"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

The Salvation Army and Christmas

Thursday, January 20, 2011
General William Booth

Each year during the Christmas season, we see the red kettles of the Salvation Army and the volunteers ringing the bells to collect donations for needy families, seniors, and the homeless. Money donated helps with Christmas dinners, clothing and toys for those in need. The Salvation Army endeavors to bring spiritual light and love to those it serves at Christmas so that the real meaning of the season is not forgotten.

I was curious to find out how the Salvation Army began and it all started with William Booth, the founder and first General. He was born in Nottingham, England on April 10th, 1829 and died August 20th, 1912. His father was a wealthy man, but made some bad investments that landed the family into poverty. His father then became an alcoholic, had gone bankrupt and could no longer afford his son's school fees. At the age of 13, William was sent to work as an apprentice in a pawnbroker's shop to help support his mother and sisters. This made him aware of the poverty in which people lived and how they were humiliated and degraded because of it. When he was a teen, he became a Christian and spent much of his time trying to persuade others to become Christians.

He spent several years as a Methodist minister but felt that God wanted more from him. He resigned and started preaching to crowds in streets and to the poor and wretched of the good news about Jesus Christ and His love for all men. He had found his destiny and formed his own movement "The Christian Mission". The mission began to grow but not without opposition from some. His wife wrote that he would 'stumble home night after night haggard with fatigue, often his clothes were torn and bloody bandages swathed his head where a stone had struck'. In time people converted, but it wasn't until 1878 when "The Christian Mission" changed it's name to the "Salvation Army" that things began to happen. The idea of an Army fighting sin and Booth's fiery sermons drove the message home and more and more people were able to leave their past behind and start a new life as a soldier in the Salvation Army.

 The early years were lean ones, but the Army persevered. In the early 1880s, operations were extended to other countries, notably the United States, France, Switzerland, Sweden and others, including to most of the countries of the British Empire: Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Jamaica, etc. During his lifetime, he established Army work in 58 countries and colonies, travelling extensively and holding, "salvation meetings."

In 1909 on a motor tour in the United Kingdom, he discovered he was blind in his right eye and the sight in his left eye was dimmed by cataracts. A surgeon at Guy's Hospital removed his right eye. Despite this setback, in 1910 he continued campaigning in Holland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, finally returning to England. He was 83 when he died. At his funeral procession were 10,000 uniformed Salvationists.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tulips of Giverny

Monet's Garden in the Spring is a real treat to both gardener and artist alike.  This is where he created some of his most famous paintings.  But the town of Giverny is quaint and charming.  It's small and probably not much different than it was in his era.  The townspeople love their flowers as well.  These beautiful tulips were growing along the roadside.  Plus there are other gardens for the visitor to stroll through and enjoy.

"Tulips of Giverny"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Japanese Tea Garden

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
There is something peaceful and relaxing about the design of a Japanese Garden.  The tranquility gives a meditative quality to the experience.  Most major cities have a Japanese Garden and it's worth a visit.  This one is in the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. 

"Japanese Tea Garden"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Marcella's Lavanderia

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
It looks like this Italian laundry shop is hanging out the wash.  I don't know if that's supposed to be an advertisement for the quality of work or just a neighbor drying their own laundry.  Probably the latter.

"Marcella's Lavanderia"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Christmas Cakes

I enjoy watching the Cake Boss! He's awesome at what he does! The work that goes into his specialty cakes is unbelievable! Here is a video of the making of an office party Christmas cake. He has made it into gift boxes with all of the accessories. He is so creative...and can you imagine trying to deliver these specialty cakes!!

Found at TV News & Reviews

Cake Boss Cake found at http://jessgiggles.wordpress.com/tag/doglets/

I also found some beautiful Christmas cake photos to share. If any are copyrighted I will gladly remove them. I just thought they were so pretty and wanted to share how creative you can be in making a cake! If you click on the pictures of the cakes, it will take you to the website they were found on. Don't they all look so......SWEET...... ! :)

Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta

Morning Dewdrops

Monday, January 17, 2011
The kiss of dewdrops always adds a sparkle to petals.  Almost like having diamonds sprinkled by Mother Nature.

"Morning Dewdrops"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Desert Sunset

Sunday, January 16, 2011
Tonight's sunset was gorgeous.  The pinks against the blue sky made a spectacular show for those of us here in the desert.  Just one of the many reasons we live here.

"Desert Sunset"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Rainy Day Dining

Friday, January 14, 2011
The umbrellas come out, rain or shine, for outside dining in Vernazza, Italy.  This quaint seaside town along the Cinque Terra is one splash of color after another.  Even on overcast days, the town displays color where ever you look.

"Rainy Day Dining"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

White Amaryllis

Thursday, January 13, 2011
A very dear friend invited me over this afternoon to see the white amaryllis that were blooming in her back yard.  It was late afternoon when I arrived and the light was fantastic.  I love white flowers and these were awesome.  I think you'll agree.

"White Amaryllis"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Iceland Poppy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The weather is supposed to start warming up where I live and that always brings out the flowers.  Iceland poppies are one of the favorites that are planted in this area.  I love the vibrant colors and the crinkles in the petals. 

"Iceland Poppies"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Bon Voyage

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A beautiful white cruise ship at the dock always says adventure.  And this ship was docked right downtown Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Not at a long dock into the harbor, but nose to sidewalk.  It's a very imposing sight if you're walking around and suddenly come upon this huge bulk right next to the street.  There's a hotel right across the street.  Can you imagine waking up in the morning, opening the shades and here's this big ship staring at you if you were on one of the lower floors.

"Bon Voyage"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

What is It?

Monday, January 10, 2011
Some might call it green cauliflower but it's actually a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  Botanical name....   Cavolo broccolo 'Romaniesco'.  We found this specimen in Italy and it made a wonderful appetizer one evening.  It tastes more like cauliflower but it's the unusual patterns that make this a fascinating piece of nature.

"What is It?"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Crucita's Indian Shop

Sunday, January 9, 2011
A visit to Taos Pueblo always inspires me.  When the light is right, the shadows created by the angular edges of the buildings is awesome.  But this turquoise door definitely caught my eye.  The color was so vibrant against the adobe color of the mud and straw that covers the walls.  This is the oldest continually inhabited Indian Pueblo in America.  The Indians still live here and many have businesses that sell goods and items for us tourists.

"Crucita's Indian Shop"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Enya-The Spirit of Christmas Past

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Just plain beautiful! You will need to pause the music player.

Christmas during the Middle Ages

Reformation and Counter Reformation in Europe....Image via Wikipedia
Protestant lands in blue.
Catholic lands in olive.
Christmas during the Middle Ages was a public festival that incorporated ivy, holly, and other evergreens. Christmas gift-giving during the Middle Ages was usually between people with legal relationships, such as tenant and landlord. The annual indulgence in eating, dancing, singing, sporting, card playing escalated in England, and by the 17th century the Christmas season featured lavish dinners, elaborate masques and pageants. In 1607, King James I insisted that a play be acted on Christmas night and that the court indulge in games. It was during the Reformation in 16th–17th century Europe, that many Protestants changed the gift bringer to the Christ Child or Christkindl, and the date of giving gifts changed from December 6 to Christmas Eve.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Christmas in the American Civil War

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Christmas in the American Civil War (1861–1865) was celebrated in both the United States and the Confederate States of America although the day did not become an official holiday until five years after the war ended. The war continued to rage on Christmas and skirmishes occurred throughout the countryside. Celebrations for both troops and civilians saw significant alteration. Propagandists, such as Thomas Nast, used wartime Christmases to reflect their beliefs. In 1870, Christmas became an official Federal holiday when President Ulysses S. Grant made it so in an attempt to unite north and south.

Soldiers not actively campaigning celebrated Christmas in several ways. Union soldiers would use salt pork and hardtack, which  is a simple type of cracker or biscuit, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt. Others were treated to special meals; a captain from Massachusetts treated his soldiers to foods such as turkey, oysters, pies, and apples. However, many soldiers received no special treats or privileges. In one incident on December 25, 1864, 90 Union soldiers from Michigan, led by their captain, dispensed "food and supplies" to poor Georgians, with the mules pulling the carts decorated to resemble reindeer by having tree branches tied to their heads. In some units, celebrating Christmas was not allowed. On December 25, 1862, soldiers of one unit were punished for celebratory gunfire for the holiday, when actually the gunfire was for a funeral salute.

Carols, hymns, and seasonal songs were sung during the period, with some, such as "Deck the Halls", "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", and Mendelssohn's "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" (1840), still sung today. American musical contributions to the season include "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" (1850), "Jingle Bells" (1857), "We Three Kings of Orient Are" (1857) and "Up on the Housetop" (1860). Although popular in Europe at the time, Christmas cards were scarce in the United States, and would not enjoy widespread use until the 1870s.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his pacifist poem, "Christmas Bells" on Christmas Day 1863 at the news of his son Lieutenant Charles Appleton Longfellow having suffered severe wounds in November during the Mine Run Campaign. The poem was set to the tune "Waltham" by John Baptiste Calkin sometime after 1872 and has since been received into the established library of Christmas carols. The carol does not include two stanzas from the original poem that focused on the war.

For children, Christmas was altered during the war. Presents were fewer, especially in the devastated South. In We Were Marching on Christmas Day, author Kevin Rawlings notes that some southern children worried about the Union blockade, and one little girl, Sallie Brock Putnam, plotted the course Santa Claus would have to take to avoid it. Sometimes fathers on both sides were allowed furlough, and children were said to react to their fathers as if seeing "near strangers". Excuses for a lack of Santa included Yankees having shot him.


Santa distributes gifts to Union troops.
Nast's 1st Santa cartoon, 1863.

A silk greeting card. 1860

A husband and family
 separated by war. 1862

 The lyrics of this beloved carol date
 back to the American Civil War.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Early Morning Hollyhocks

I love hollyhocks and continually forget to plant them each spring so when I find them on my travels I take lots of pictures to remind my how beautiful they are.  Originally of turkish origin, these have made their way to many parts of the globe.

"Early Morning Hollyhocks"   © Kathy Dunham 2011