Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Finding Christmas

Words can't begin to explain the Joy and Peace we've been given this year for Christmas.  You see, we have FRIENDS all over the world, and Friends are the BEST Presents!

2012 has been an unbelievably hard year for our family.  Our son Chris (born on Christmas day many years ago) lost his battle with diabetes in March.  We spent our last few weeks with him while also dealing with a house that had been flooded by a backed up sewer line.  Nine days after he left us, as the house was beginning to take shape again, a second flood was forced upon us and we had to start over again.  Another son took over the refurbishment, and we continued our quest to build our dream home in the piney woods of East Texas.  Building a home is stressful under the finest of circumstances, but progress was made with my hubby's endless energy and persistence.  Then came that dreaded call in the night telling us the family home (yes, the one with 2 floods already) was on fire!  Praise God - our son, a friend and the pets were able to escape.  Morning brought visions of charred rafters and ceilings now covering the floors.  Thankful, but tired, we began the dreaded business of insurance claims, clean up and rebuild.   And so it continued.....but then it hit me - the fire had stolen what little Christmas the year had left us!  Forty years worth of decorations had been in that attic!  All the handmade projects - the thumbprint mice on wooden spoons, the painted and glittering pine cones, the salt dough treasures lovingly crafted with tiny hands.  They were gone, or totally covered with smoke and soot!  So it was decided - NO CHRISTMAS this year!  No tree, no lights, maybe not even any presents. 

But then our family and friends stepped in.  An enormous second-hand tree was supplied by our daughter, along with thousands of lights.  My fellow shop-owners at Zibbet.com began shipping ornaments on a daily basis. Other online friends read my joyful posts and soon joined the effort.  The postmaster declared the good news of more boxes arriving to a crowded lobby, so soon my neighbors joined in the giving.  The outpouring of love is beyond amazing!  It has rekindled our spirits, awakened a lost hope, and brought unknown joy.  And now we have the most amazingly beautiful "Friendship Tree" to remind us forever of our blessings.

We have always given to others - it's just "what you do".  Our kids were raised giving blankets and singing carols at the nursing home; going with Papa to deliver baskets to the poor; selecting an angel and buying gifts from their own allowances; dropping every bit of change in that red kettle.  Giving and Christmas were one and the same.  Now we've experienced the joy of being on the receiving end, and what a blessing this has been!  My friends have given up beloved treasures, crafted one of a kind delights, and most importantly - shared their hearts.  We are blessed beyond measure.  Our cup runneth over.  Thank you dear friends!
Merry Christmas!!!!

Joy to the World!

These are just a few of the many gifts of love we've received.  You can see the whole album on my FaceBook page here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fine Art Prints from Texas Eagle Gallery

Grab a cup of tea and join us for a slide show of some of our favorite images.  All are available through Fine Art America in your choice of papers, canvas, or metal!  They make great gifts too!

Art Prints

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big News!

We are super excited to announce that Texas Eagle Gallery has joined forces with Fine Art America!  We can now offer more print sizes, framing, and specialty materials like acrylic and metal!

And it all comes with a 100% guarantee too!

Come take a look at our new digs....we're adding new prints daily!

Texas Eagle Gallery

ireland photos

Friday, October 12, 2012

Handmade Soap Challenge

Who knew that I'd fall head over heels in love with SOAP?  It was "Love at First Try" when I received a sample of Fresh Snow from RWest Designs.   I couldn't believe the difference I felt over commercial bars and body washes!  They either left me feeling oily or dry, with no in between that just felt Clean.  I knew I'd never go back, so I started a quest to try as many handmade soaps as possible.  I promised a review of my favorites in October, so here we go:

My mission was to fully explore each bar, not just do a quick hand wash test.  I quickly discovered that these long lasting soap bars would take me months to enjoy, so family members from ages 2 to 80 were engaged in my challenge.  My Dad enjoyed washing his hair with one; my little granddaughter needed some skin soothing softness.  I adored the long soaks in the tub with soothing lather and scents.

Bars were sliced into pieces so a full range of opinions could be gathered.  That said, there were NO losers.  Every single bar of soap was a delight to use.  Soap qualities were graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest standard.  So here we are to share all our winners with you.  We hope you will try some of these amazing products and find your own favorites.  (Please visit these fine shops by clicking the embedded links)

As you can see, the highest rated soap of all was the aptly named "True Love" by Uber Dreamer Concepts.  The lather is luxurious and leaves the most amazing silky smoothness to your skin.  The scent is simple and clean.  Check out Uber Dreamer, as the research and insight into each product's ingredients is obviously well done.  Additionally, all Uber Dreamer soaps scored highest among Men, so there's a fine gift idea for the Males on your list!

On the subject of gift giving, it's a great idea to keep some extra bars around for last minute gifts.  Who wouldn't love these sweet handmade treasures?  My favorite packaging reflects the simple goodness of all things Handmade.  Tierra Verde won the highest marks for packaging, and her soaps are lovely and diverse.

Our other recommended shops are Soaps that make Scents and Tenth Avenue Soapworks.  I hope you'll check out all of these fine handmade soap shops.  Every single bar was a delight to use and far superior in every way to commercial products.  There are still dozens of soaps in the cabinet to discover, so join us for another edition of our Soap Challenge soon!

Just one more thing...check out that fantastic washcloth in the photos...you can find them at The Needle House!  They are super!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Driving in Ireland

Just home from another lovely visit to Ireland, and thought I'd share some insight on one of the most asked questions about Ireland....."What's it like driving in Ireland?"

First, let me admit, I've never driven in Eire.  Dear Hubby has assumed that task with great skill and devotion.  However, I must agree with many who have said that driving is easy - it's being a passenger that takes a strong stomach!  One strong, manly firefighter even told me he "screamed like a girl" when it was his turn to leave the wheel and become a passenger.  So, here's my attempt to explain in pictures.  Come along as I take you on a little journey from my side of the car in the splendid Emerald Isle.  These are from Clonmel to Killarney, to Ballina, then out to Achill Island.  Enjoy!!!

Castle views....
and narrow lanes
and that breathtaking Green Whrrrrrrrr!
 and sharing the roadway...
wondering how SatNav (GPS) knows this road???
See the slot cut by the side mirrors into the hedges?

and pulling in your shoulders as you pass...

scenic views...

and Turn Arounds!

Ruins round every bend

and more GPS shortcuts!

Rain, Sheep, and Roads that Rise Up to Meet you!

Views that take your breath away....

and thinking these sheep are the luckiest creatures on earth!

and finally, a reward at the end of the journey!  What a view!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ireland, a Land of Beauty

Howdy!  It's been a long while since we've posted here, but I think the wait was worthwhile!  Dear Hubby and I took a nice long trip across the pond during the month of September.  We shared good food and good times with dear friends, and came home with another 20,000 photos of the lovely Emerald Isle!  Many of them are in a charming watercolor or illustration style.  As you can imagine, it will take some time to get the best of them edited and listed for sale, but here's a preview!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we loved taking them!

Available for sale in the Wee Irish Gallery section of our Zibbet shop!

We're adding new pics daily, so stop on by for a look...and a virtual cuppa!  Slan!