Friday, October 29, 2010

Memories in a Cemetery (in Sicily!)

Apparently this is a week for reminiscing. 

Four years ago this weekend, I took a trip of a lifetime. I was studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain and traveled to Italy for 10 days. I met up with my cousin, Sam, in Rome, where he was studying. After a few days of touring Rome, my uncle (Sam's dad and my dad's brother) flew in and we hopped on a train to Sicily.

My grandfather on my dad's side is from Sicily and still has family in a tiny town called Delia. My cousin, uncle and I traveled 10 hours by train and arrived in Delia the day after Halloween 2006. 

When we arrived in Delia, we had to search for our hosts, Guiseppina and Fortunata Riccobene, my grandfather's cousins and the cutest little Italian sisters you'll ever meet. 

They knew we'd be coming sometime that fall but we didn't really have any way to get in touch with them to let them know we were coming. The town was so small and the people we met in the street and in this tiny store knew the sisters and pointed us towards their house. 

(By the way, we only met one person all week who spoke any English. All we spoke was Spanish. We tried to pick up Sicilian as fast as we could but it resulted in some comical 'conversations' that week!)

Oh my gosh, I love these ladies. 

As soon as we arrived at their house, we were welcomed and fed LOTS of food. Heaping. Home made. Sicilian. Delicious. 

As soon as our bellies were full, we headed out to the cemetery. Yes, the cemetery. Being the day after Halloween, the whole town was there to pay respects to their deceased relatives. I will never forget meeting relative after distant relative and getting pulled into their arms for a big hug. 

In the middle of the town cemetery. 

(My maiden name is Palumbo. See it down there? My family!)

After the day at the cemetery, Sam, Uncle Paul and I walked around the town and discovered that this church was designed by one of our many relatives. As we were admiring the church, a car rattled up to the curb and asked us if we were Palumbos. (I mean, we were the only Americans in that tiny town, I think it was pretty obvious.) He said, "You're coming to my house for lunch today!" 

And off we went for more food and family time. (They served us rigatoni with peas on top. I think you know how I felt about the peas.)

I'll never forget the three days I spent in the beautiful country of my heritage. 

I hope you make amazing memories this weekend! 

CSN Stores Review: Choices, Choices

 I'm sure you have heard of CSN Stores, the one stop shop for everything from a counter stool to galoshes, Rachael Ray cookware and pressure washers! has over 200 stores to choose from and I could spend hours on there browsing. They've asked me to do a review on one of their products. I'm thinking maybe an outdoor rug for our patio. Hm.

Love this orange one from Koko Company.

Of course, there's also this awesome Dash & Albert rug.

What would you choose? Stay tuned to see what I choose in a few weeks. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Cute DIY Wreath.

I can't take any credit for this project. Meg posted about this on her blog and she linked to a great tutorial that she used. I never thought I was a wreath person until I saw hers. So adorable. Here's mine. 

So simple too. I used a foam wreath, about 1/3 of a yarn skein, and some squares of felt. Wrapping the yarn around the wreath was tedious and took a lot of time. I did it while watching old episodes of The Amazing Race. (Have I ever told you how much I LOVE that show? I wanna race with Chris some day). 

I like how the felt flowers match with my entry colors. I didn't even mean to do that. Awesome. 

(By the way, do you like our purpley- brown door? Blech. Wish I could paint the thing.)

Rolled flowers are so easy. I also cut some leaves out of some burlap I had sitting around. 

At first I tried to use craft glue to attach but that didn't really work and I don't have a hot glue gun. Then I realized that pinning the flowers in would work best AND have the added bonus that I can change out the flowers and embellishments later. 

Love it. 

Any fun fall projects on the docket?


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tamale Time Machine

 I was looking through old pictures on my Facebook last night and took a virtual trip back in time two years. In 2008, I spent several months in Acapulco, Mexico on a missions internship with Mission to the World. I told you a little bit about it here when I told you our proposal story (which is pretty awesome--you should read it.) I thought I'd share some more about my time in Mexico.

I lived in an apartment in the back of an orphanage, Casa Hogar, and during the days, I worked at a street kid center, Sobre El Puente. 

The months that I lived in Acapulco were some of the hardest of my life. I missed home terribly. I missed Chris so much. I was lonely and countless tears poured down my cheeks in those months. And I have to admit that I that homesickness hindered me in fully engaging in my time there. 

But they were also some of the most rewarding months of my life. I spoke Spanish 99% of the time. I was once asked by a cab driver where in Mexico I grew up (um, amazing compliment!). I got to love on kids that had been abused and abandoned and share the deep love of Jesus with them. I worked with sweet Mexican women in the kitchen and learned how to make tamales from scratch. My heart still melts when I look at these pictures.

 Carlos was thirteen years old when I was in Acapulco. He had been on the streets since he was six years old, doing drugs and prostituting himself. Every afternoon at the center, we would have homework hour. During that hour each day, I had the privilege of helping Carlos learn to read. I cannot express how amazing it was when he would exclaim with joy as he read his first words! 

When I left, I gave him my Spanish Bible, complete with highlighted verses for him to read and a promise that he would keep learning. 

I also got to paint a funky mural for the center. That was fun. 

[PS. Did you notice my new pages up top? Check them out if you please!]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Etsy Love: Pretty Swell

Have you used the Shop Local feature on Etsy? I love using it and finding artists that live on Oahu or neighboring islands. That's how I found Pretty Swell. She creates on the same little island I do. 

And, well, her shop name just says it all. 

She makes delicate fabric flowers in every color of the rainbow. I love everything in her shop from her party garlands, to the cake toppers, to the sweet crown of flowers for darling little girls and hair pins for fashionable big girls. 

I think the flower garlands would look awesome as home decor, swagged on some shelves or over windows. :)

And her photography is delicious too. :) 

{Click on the pics to check out the rest of her lovely shop}

{If you have a second, would you care to "like" my Facebook Fan page? Or maybe you wanna follow me on twitter?}


Monday, October 25, 2010

[over the weekend] Sunset, Sunrise

Aaand, it's Monday again! Funny how that happens, huh? What'd you guys do this weekend? 

We [of course] hit up the North Shore at sunset on Friday night and again on Saturday morning at dawn. Chris took my board out on Friday night and it got crunched by some punk on his first wave. So that was a bummer, but he fixed it yesterday so all's well. 

I'm in love with this photo I got of him heading out into the surf on Friday night. 

And I got this one of him sitting in the surf on Saturday morning before all the other surfers got out there. 

I married a hunk for sure. 

After our boating class that got us licenses to rent boats on the Marine Corps base, we headed to one of our favorite spots for lunch. The Dixie Grill has the BEST sweet tea, yummy steak sandwiches and other good Southern food. 

I am obsessed with the popcorn they set out while you wait for your food. Salty, buttery goodness. Unfortunately, I usually fill up on this before I even get my meal. Bad habit. 

Remember that sneak peek from Friday? I listed this pretty little painting in my Etsy shop on Saturday. It's a 9x12 canvas with pure white flowers on a bright mint green canvas. I was inspired by the color scheme on the banner over on fabulous k blog. 

Are you getting through your Monday alright? Chris is gone again until Friday so I'm on my own again all week. Woo. 

Have a fabulous day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fresh Paint {& Some Venting}

 Some new paintings to show you!

This modern spin the chrysanthemum flower is already listed in my Etsy shop.

I'll be taking some better pictures and listing this cute ampersand later today. I think it would be perfect for a gallery wall. Remember I can do custom colors and sizes, so if you want something a little different, just let me know! 

This one's not finished yet, but I wanted to give you a sneak peek anyway. I'm digging the mint green. 

So, despite a productive week on the Etsy shop front, it's been stressful around the Wilkins' house. Can I vent just a little here? Feel free to just look at the pretty pictures above if you feel like it. I won't blame you. :)

Chris has had some really stressful and frustrating few months at work. A lot of late nights, extra days at work, and discouraging interactions. I won't go into too many details but let's just say that I (we) were really looking forward to November when we were told that he would be going to training for three weeks here in Pearl Harbor. Schools are generally pretty great, given that there's a much more lenient schedule and none of the usual stress from his work. 

Well, we just found out that he won't be going to that school. I guess I forgot that you can't count on the military to follow through with any plans. It was a tearful evening (on MY part) last night when he broke the news to me. Instead of an easy schedule and getting a three day weekend together, he gets no break from that stress AND he'll be gone for about a week over that three day weekend. I know other people on his ship don't get a break, but I'm just SO ready for the stress to stop. And I know Chris is too. 

On top of that, he has spent months preparing for a board transfer to get to his dream job and we also found out recently that he may not even get a chance to get to that board. I want so badly for Chris to be able to follow that dream of his and it breaks my heart that he may not even get the opportunity to try for it. 

I'm so proud of him. His great attitude, his hard work, days with little sleep. I wish there was more that I could do for him. Dinner on the table at night and countless "I'm proud of you"s seem so useless sometimes. 

So that's what's going on here. Light and happy Friday post, huh? Thanks for letting me vent a little. You guys rock. 

Have a happy weekend! Chris is hoping to get off a little early today and then on Saturday we are taking a boater's course together so we can rent pontoon boats and take them out in the bay! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Etsy Love: meg j. roberts jewelry


Ah, the joys of Twitter. Etsy tweeted about this shop yesterday and I fell in love with Meg's quirky jewelry collection right away. I knew you would love it too, so I'm here to share meg j. roberts jewelry with you!

Her unique little animals are made from blackened steel and hung on blackened sterling silver chains. Any of these necklaces would make fabulous gifts, wouldn't they?

 [Click any of the pictures or the banner above to jump over to the shop!]

You could be the only girl on the block with a dead fish necklace!  

(How can something so morbid be so adorable?)

When I have some extra spending money, I'd love this little humpback whale to remind me of the times spent whale watching with Chris here in Hawaii. 

What do you think? Gotta have one? Not your style but perfect for someone on your Christmas list?