Subway Art

Thursday, June 30, 2011
When they cleaned up the NY subways they did a great job of incorporating art into the subterranean tunnels.  Most of it is mosaics, which is easy to clean.  These little critters remind you that it's the stop for the zoo in Central Park.

"Subway Art "      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Yellow Dahlias

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
What could be more heartwarming than a bouquet of bright yellow dahlias?  OK, a good glass of wine maybe.  I wish it was possible to grow theses beauties here in the desert but alas, it just gets too hot.  And with temps around 112 this time of year they wouldn't survive very long.  But a quick drive to the Getty Museum in LA and I can get my fill of a wide variety of dahlias.

"Yellow Dahlias"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Candy Canes

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Natasha from has got me hooked on It's a website  for cataloging images you love...eye candy! It gives me good ideas and inspiration. You can type in anything to search for and you'll be very surprised at what you find!  I have found many things to do with candy canes...candy canes, who would have thought there were so many ideas out there for this peppermint candy!

You can decorate packages,

make a beautiful candy cane urn,

a lovely wreath,

Source: via Dorothy on Pinterest

a vase wrapped with candy canes,

Source: via Dorothy on Pinterest

an ornament,

Source: via Dorothy on Pinterest

a really cute candle holder,

and trees,

Now, onto the goodies,

Candy Cane macaroons,


Brownies, cookies and truffles,

 Ice cream,  yummy.....unless you're lactose intolerant!!

or a nice cup of hot chocolate, mmmmmm....

and one last cake that looks like a big bowl of m&m candies!

Very creative! I never would have imagined so many things to do with a pretty candy cane!

Strange Perch

This young barn owl found a new place to rest on the sign of a veterinary hospital.  Strange choice, maybe he was injured and needed a doctor. Who knows.  He wasn't afraid of us and made no attempt to leave. 

"Strange Perch"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Handmade Christmas Card Inspiration

Friday, June 24, 2011
Who doesn't like to receive a homemade Christmas card? I love them. I used to make them a couple of years ago, but got away from it, not enough time, but they are so beautiful to receive! Recently I ordered a card making magazine to see if I could get some inspiration to try my hand at it again. I guess the thing to do would be to start early in the race! Here are a few ideas to inspire those who love to make them. Ideas  from

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Shafts of Light

I've seen may pictures of the slot canyons in northern Arizona but when I experienced them for the first time I was awestruck.  A definite big WOW.  The way the light bounced off the walls and when shafts of light drifted down through the narrow slots you couldn't help but have your breath taken away.  A truly spectacular sight.

"Shafts of Light"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Snow Ladies

Thursday, June 23, 2011
The botanical garden in Spokan is beautiful in the summer.  Full of blooming plants, I'm sure you'd find a couple of favorites.  These dwarf Shasa Daisies are aptly named "Snow Lady".  So I guess a bunch of them would be considered "Ladies"

"Snow Ladies"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Gift Ideas For $25 and under

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Hard to believe that half of the year is almost gone! Time seems to fly by these days. Next month will be "Christmas in July." Some people like to start Christmas shopping early and with the economy certainly not what it used to be, lots of people have a Christmas budget amount for shopping. Here are a few ideas for gifts $25 and under....but this does not count the shipping and handling. Lots of times when I shop online, before checking out I will open another tab and search for coupon codes for whatever it is that I'm puchasing. Lots of times I will have great luck with this and sometimes not! Here are a few ideas. Gift baskets are always a great idea. These ones you can find at Gourmet Gift Baskets.

· Banana Chips by - 4 oz. - These chips are the crunchy, dried versions of the world’s perfect food.
· Gourmet Twisted Honey Wheat Dipping Pretzels by East Shore Specialty Foods - 5 oz. - Honey? Wheat? What could be more healthy?
· White Birch Pinkhams Nosh Trail Mix - 4 oz. - This all-natural trail mix is the perfect food for the trail, golf course, office, home, ...pretty much anywhere!
· Original Almondina Biscuits - .7 oz. - Almondina biscuits are light and sweet and peppered with almond wedges.
· Metropolitan Trail Mix by - 4 oz. - Our “Metropolitan” trail mix is a nutritious snack that is as appropriate in the big city as on the trail!

· Triple Chocolate Bliss Cookies by Brent & Sams - 7 oz. - Overstuffed with white and milk chocolate chips, these award-winning cookies are made with all-natural ingredients and packed with ultra-chocolaty flavor.
· Milk Chocolate Signature Bar by Lake Champlain - 3 oz. - Lake Champlain is one of the top chocolate makers in the gourmet industry, and this rich, creamy milk chocolate bar is a prime example of their best work.
· Blum's Gourmet Milk Chocolate Dipped Pretzels by Supreme Chocolatier - 1.5 oz. - One of the favorite ingredients in our chocolate gift baskets, these oversized gourmet pretzels are covered in rich, creamy Blum’s gourmet milk chocolate.
· English Toffee Caramels by Marich - 2.1 oz. - Anyone who says the English are not known for their cuisine has never tried these smooth, rich English toffee caramels by Marich. These caramels are sure to dispel food misconceptions one sweet bite at a time!

These are just two samples of ten mini baskets you can find here.

Of course you can always make your own. Dollar stores are a great place to shop. You would be surprised at the things you can find there. Also, if you are that gifted person who bakes your own goodies...cookies, breads, candies, make your own jellies, jams, etc. , these make the best gifts!!

For those of you who know someone who likes to have a drink or two,  here are some ideas from Kir DeVries.

Rocking Whiskey Glasses, set of 6.

Ice Melts Whiskey Stones (or you could use these for any drink of your choice.) Each stone holds and chills your drink without diluting it like ice would. 9 Whiskey stones.

Wine Tote Sling.

  • Fully insulated
  • Full zip open back to easily insert or retrieve wines
  • Extra zip pocket on front
  • Adjustable strap              
QVC is a great place to shop. Closer to Christmas, they always have shows featuring gifts for $25 and under. July 23rd.  at midnight is their Christmas in July show. It will be all day Sat. and Sun.  I watch this every year. I try to be good and not order to much! Something I always do wherever I shop is to check out the reviews if available before I make a decision in purchasing a product.

Bronner's has a very big selection of Christmas ornaments at reasonable prices. I love collecting ornaments. My friend and I decided to get each other a new one each year. Now I'm sure there are so many other places that you can find nice ornaments from, but I'm just giving some ideas here.

Amazon has a huge assortment of books. Most times if you purchase $25 you will get free shipping! You can find just about anything there.

There are 95 pages of gifts under $25 at
Sun Safety Kit

So, depending on the person you are buying for, there really are a lot of gifts for $25 and under out there. You just need to search and think and keep your budget in mind. And can always put money in a card or a gift puzzle box...this makes it into a game to try and get it out... I don't know about you, but I could always use some extra cash!

Doge's Palace

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Venice is my favorite city in the world.  The history, the architecture, the art and everything else that's unique to Venice.  These columns on the Doge's Palace show a definite Moorish influence.  Several decades ago they were black with soot and grime.  Today, thanks to modern technology, they have been restored to their glistening white beauty.

"Doge's Palace"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Taking a Break - Boboli Gardens

Thursday, June 16, 2011
After having climbed more stairs than I thought possible, I understood why this couple was taking a break.  No one told me that Boboli Gardens was built on a hillside but if it was good enough for the Medici's it was good enough for me.  I can't believe they climbed all those stairs very often.  But there was a great view of Florence from the top.  I guess all good things come at a price.

"Taking a Break - Boboli Gardens"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Cascading Clematis

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
In the small village town of Tremolat, France is a gorgeous four star hotel.  Loaded with charm and ambiance, a great restaurant and a garden with beautiful plants and flowers.  Never before or since have I seen so many spectacular clematis in bloom as I have at this hidden treasure.

"Cascading Clematis"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

Pink Peony

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
For one short week in June I can find peonies in my local floral shop.  It's too hot to grow them where I live and it gets too expensive to travel to France where I first experienced this beautiful flower.  I enjoy its faint hint of a fragrance and of course, the bountiful cluster of petals that make this flower look like a cheerleader's pom pom.

"Pink Peony"       © Kathy Dunham 2011

Iris in Lily Pond

Monday, June 13, 2011
The sun wasn't out when we visited Monet's Garden but that didn't stop me from taking a ton of pictures.  This one was a little different.  Dutch Iris aren't as spectacular as the bearded iris but in this setting they make a classy statement.

"Iris in Lily Pond"     © Kathy Dunham 2011

No. 15

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Italian house signs can be plain or fancy.  But the blue on white ceramic numbers was something I found all over Italy.  The spray painted version isn't as attractive but does serve a purpose.  The flowering vine adds an artistic touch.

"No. 15"      © Kathy Dunham 2011

Anazasi Ruins

Friday, June 10, 2011
Canyon de Chelly, Arizona was once the home of the ancient Anazasi.  Nestled on the canyon walls, these cliff dwellings provided shelter and protection from invaders.  No one knows when or why they left the area but thank goodness it's now a National Monument under the protection of both the Federal Government and the Navajo Nation.

"Anazasi Ruins"     © Kathy Dunham 2011