2015 Christmas Card(s)

My Christmas cards are mailed!! Honestly I think this is the earliest I have EVER mailed out my cards! Granted there are a few people who I know have moved, and I don't have their new address yet, so I'll have to mail cards out when I have their new addy, BUT! All the other cards - friends, family, Christmas Card exchange - are in the mail! I'm actually really super excited about that, and also feel SO relieved! I even have some cards (store bought, but still ...) for my co-workers, so I'm in really good shape card-wise this holiday season!

This year I only stamped one Christmas card design, and only made 12 of them. Last month when I was going through my two boxes of cards, I found quite a few Christmas cards from past years - some hand-stamped cards, some photo cards, some store-bought cards - that I decided to use up this year for Weetabix's annual card exchange. Hopefully no one will be disappointed if they happen to get a duplicate card from me, or even a store-bought one; I'm just trying to declutter my home, and since they were still perfectly good cards, I didn't want to just throw them away! Honestly, I love you all regardless of what kind of card I send you! My hope is that I will finish up all the cards this year, and be able to start fresh next year.

Below are all the leftover hand-stamped cards I've made over the past few years and mailed out this year, including the new design I did this year. Enjoy!







This one above I had my mom colour in for me after I took this picture, so if you get it, it'll look a little different! But it's still super cute!


The above is a photograph I took during a vacation in Pismo Beach, California, and used an online card-making company (sorry, I can't remember now what it was!) to make the cards.


And this is the 2015 Christmas Card! I found these fun "ugly Christmas sweater" stamps at Simon Says Stamp, and while I have lots of Christmas-themed stamps, I just had to have them!

Do you mail out Christmas/Other Winter Holiday cards? If you do, do you make them yourself, or just buy a box at the store? Either is awesome as far as I'm concerned! Cheers!


I is for Income


This homeless guy in Monterey, California had a rather clever way to make money - building towering stacked stones that attracted tourists with cameras. Instead of just sitting on a street corner with a sign doing nothing, he created art! I don't mind donating a buck or two to a fellow like that! This picture is enhanced with the Urbane effect from PicMonkey.com. It made the brown in the rocks and sand richer, and boosted the blue in his sign.

Art Wall April 2015


I finally updated my Art Wall with some shots I took in Morro Bay a few weeks ago. Top row from left to right: spikey yellow flowers, "Iron Man" on a gate outside The Garden Gallery, Morro Rock, and a turtle sculpture. Bottom row from left to right: a giant succulent, a bush with some pretty purple flowers (sorry, I don't know the names of any of the plants!), two seagulls sitting on a rock, and an old row boat. In case you're wondering, I edited several of these photos (the old rowboat, the purple flowers, the turtle, and Morro Rock) using my favourite photo editing site, PicMonkey. I hope you enjoy them! Cheers!

Art and Wine Tour March 2015

Last Friday was the Quarterly Atascadero Art and Wine Tour downtown Atascadero. My mom and I went, and had a really good time! The weather was fantastic, and it stayed light until almost 8:00 PM. There were actually quite a few people there (I saw about 25 - 30 people, but I haven't seen an official count yet), and there were a few new wineries as well. Unfortunately I didn't take any notes, so I'll just have to try to remember what we tasted.


I don't recall if August Ridge Vineyards has been on the Tour before. They're located out towards The Yellow Rose Inn where my Grandpa stayed for a time. Mom and I kept saying we should stop there when we'd go out to visit him, but we never got around to it, and now there's no reason to go out that way, so we probably never will. So, it was nice to be able to try one of their wines. I want to say it was a Viognier. Whatever it was, it was delicious! 


One of the new shops to open up downtown is Maui Teeth Whitening. They didn't have a winery, but did have an artist, Daniel Hernandez, who made this lovley, beachy sidewalk chalk drawing.


Pomar Junction is one of our favourite wineries! Sadly they didn't have their Picnic Chardonnay this time, which we love, so we tried something else. I believe it was their Viognier and we loved it as well.


There was an artist set up by the Pomar Junction table with what looked like watercolour prints and postcards, as well as a table of small BBQ chicken sliders, which were delicious! I'm not sure who the chef or restaurant was who made them, though.


Mondo is a new-to-us winery which was set up in the 805 Boardshop along with a woodworking artist named Janine Stone, who had some really cool stuff! Check out her Etsy shop: If You Give a Girl a Saw.


Stellar Vapes had Ruby Cellars pouring, again. I can't find a link to that winery, though, but I believe I tried a really good Zinfandel and my mom had either a Sav Blanc or Chardonnay, because she's not really a fan of reds.  


Indigene Cellars was pouring at the newly redecorated EmPOURium. They've got a bank of wines for sale, as well as a tasting counter in the back, and several tables where customers can sit and sip. The other section had wine-themed gifts and trinkets as well as a cooler with cheeses and meats.




Burbank Ranch was pouring at Arlyne's Flowers and Gifts, and I think it was the Grenache Blanc we tried. It was delicious, and will be one I keep an eye out to purchase! 


Lone Madrone was set up in a brand new clothing store called Farron Elizabeth   It was an aesthetically fantastic store - minimalistic and very much like a boutique store or art gallery you'd see in a big city, or even a small one like San Luis. Her stuff appeared to be all for teeny tiny people, though, but I did see a couple gorgeous scarves I might go back for. As for the wine, Lone Madrone is one of our favourites, so naturally we loved our tasting (whatever it was)!



Another new-to-us winery, Felten Cellars, was set up in Violette's Wings and Gifty Things, and their selection was quite good, too!



J&J Cellars seems familiar, so I believe they've participated in this event before. I believe I tried their Autumn Flight Barbara red wine and really liked it. (Of course, by this time we've pretty much hit every winery, so I would probably like ANYthing!)


I don't know who this guy is who was singing outside Eden's Attic, but he was pretty good. We sat and listened to him for a few moments before going inside. Hidden Oaks was supposed to be there, but apparently they didn't make it. Bummer, because we always like their wine!

Finally, we stopped into the little antique store next door, and discovered an olive oil tasting taking place with the Legacy Olive Company. I tried a Chipotle which was yummy and had just a little kick at the end, then tried the Garlic infused, and loved that one so much I bought a small bottle! I can't wait to cook something with it!


And, my TGIF/Vino Tasting Outfit of the Day: Floral printed jeans by Lane Bryant, back lace top and statement necklace by Torrid, and one of the newly purchased wine glass holders mom and I just bought Friday night at a booth set up in 805 Vintage and Thrift (a newly opened thrift shop which appeared to have a "For Lease" sign in the window! I swear they just opened a couple weeks ago! Hopefully they just haven't taken the sign down, yet!). I believe her name was Traci Decastro (because I have her business card and don't know why else I would've picked it up), but I don't see anything up at her Etsy shop right now, so don't quote me on that.

So, anyway, it was a super fun evening, and I'm looking forward to the next Art and Wine Tour coming up in June! Do you guys like to go wine tasting? If so, I highly recommend San Luis Obispo county, particularly the Paso Robles area. There are tons of wineries as well as shopping, hiking, parks, and beaches. It's a pretty cool place to live!


Art Wall December 2014

I did a really crappy job of updating my photographic art wall this year. I think I only rotated the pictures twice, maybe three times. The last group had been up since August! Anyway, here's my newly updated wall with eight of the best photos I took during my vacaiton in Monterey Bay. Enjoy!


Top row: Waiting Heron, Steinbeck and Friend, Jellyfish, Watching Jellies.

Bottom Row: Seagull, Kelp Garden, Concrete Art, Stohan's Gallery.



Art and Wine Tour September 2014

Last Friday my mom and I attended one of our favourite local events: The Art and Wine Tour in downtown Atascadero. This was one of the better Tours they've had with a total of 17 wineries representing their best wines, as well as some flavoured olive oils and vinegars, lots of yummy hors d'oeuvres, singers, dancers, various artists like photographers and painters, belly dancers, a country band, and even the drama department from Atascadero High School! To be different, we started on Traffic Way instead of Entrada and paced ourselves this time, so we didn't get to taste at every winery, and didn't get to see all the artists (particularly bummed about missing the drama department!), but we did manage to try some different wines, and got to browse some different as well as newly opened downtown shops and businesses. And we broke out of our rut! Yay, us!

Frolicking frog

Frolicking Frog inside Olive Tree Gallery.


Model posing outside Olive Tree Gallery - pull up an easle and draw a picture!

Our one big regret was not thoroughly perusing the map showing the business and their artist and winery before we started because Envisions Gallery had as their artist, executive chef Shannon McDuffie who prepared a food and wine pairing with Eberle winery which looked amazingly delicious! However, we had already been to six places before that and they all had lots of really good food (Wilwand Tea basically put out a full meal!), so we were already full by the time we reached Envisions and only tried the wine and looked longingly at the amazing food. That was a bummer!

EberleEberle winery inside Envisions Gallery. 

The food thing is kind-of hit or miss as this event; you really can't count on there being any food at all. At one of the first-ever Art and Wine Tours, every business that was hosting a winery had a variety of  hors d'oeuvres, fruit, or desserts, so we snacked the whole way around as we drank. We didn't even need to have dinner afterwards, or worry about The $20.00 Rule. The next time we went, only a couple places had anything at all, and they were crumbly little cookies, and dried up mini cheese and crackers. It was not enough, let me tell you! So, from then on we decided  to play it safe and have at least a small snack before going down there, so we weren't drinking a lot of wine on an empty stomach if no one was offering food.  Still, if we'd checked the map, we would've gone to Envisions first, and tried their food and wine pairing. I'm hoping they'll do that again next time!

St hilaireSt. Hilaire inside Grape Enounters Empourium

Still waters

Still Waters Vineyards inside Wilwand Tea Co. & Healing Arts

Robbins family olive oil
Robbins Family Olive Oil and Vinegar outside the Empourium 

Several businesses who participated in this event before weren't open this time, which was disappointing because I always enjoy browsing those shops, and a couple new businesses joined in. It's always nice to see new faces downtown, and I wish them all the best of luck!

 Demeter Winery at the Atascadero Family Chiropractic.

Ancient peaks 2

Ancient Peaks at 805 Board Shop.

Trader joes red

Trader Joe's Coastal Zinfandel inside Back on the Racks Consignment.

Pomar junction

Pomar Junction's fantastic Picnic Chardonnay inside the Historic Carlton Hotel.


All in all it was a great event - good job, Downtown Atascadero Association! Looking forward to the next big event!

Atascadero Art and Wine Tour June 2014


Recently mom and I attended the quarterly Art and Wine Tour in downtown Atascadero. It was such a fun evening tasting a variety of locally produced wine, meeting local merchants, checking out new little shops, and perusing the talents of local artists.

There were 20 wineries pouring, but unfortunately we didn't get to all of them before the Tour concluded at 8:30 (it really should just go to nine; it's Friday night after all!), but we managed to hit  a little more than half of them. There were some of our old favourites:  Pomar Junction (with their delicious Picnic Chardonnay!), Hidden Oaks, Eberle, and Castoro Cellars; a few we've tried before and liked:  Whalebone, St. Hilaire, and Lone Madrone; and some new ones I'm pretty sure we've never tried before: Pear Valley, Calcareous, Bianchi, and Tolo Cellars.



The weather was perfect for the Tour: sunny and warm, but just starting to cool off, and little to no wind! There were tons of people there, I think more than I've ever seen at one of these events. It was so nice to see so many people come out. Our downtown is struggling, to be sure, but it's quaint, friendly, and hosts several really nice, unique, fun shops! 

During the last Tour back in March, I think it was, this little store appeared to be closed. I was very sad because it's one of my favourite little shops in town. I'm not sure if they were just on vacation, changing hands, updating inventory, or what, but Times Since Remembered was back and filled with delightful things!!!



Rhonda's Relics is a brand new little shop that has lots of unique, vintage items as well as quaint gifty things. I really hope it does well! 





I've never been to the patio area behind The Spa Central Coast and  Avian and Claw (formerly Haven Wine Bistro), but it was quite lovely! Lots of seating and there were two wineries pouring there: Whalebone and Nobelle Wines.






When I first saw this paper-wrapped bench outside Envisions Gallery, I assumed it was a newly installed bench that hadn't been unwrapped yet. But when Iw ent around the corner and saw a wrapped up bicycle parked by the building and a small car wrapped up in front I realized it must be an art display! It was called Wrapture by Chris O'Mahony, and I thought it was quite clever!








Garth Wilwand  played some great tunes in the atrium between Wilwand Tea Co. and Healing Arts and Grape Encounters Empourium.  I tried to post a video of him singing "Message in a Bottle" to my Instagram, but I screwed it up, so you'll have to check out his music on his website linked above. 






So, it was a super fun night, but wow, that was a lot of wine! When we got home we noticed that the glasses we'd been given were even bigger than the Big Wine Glasses we got at another wine tasting event (though not quite as big as the Ginormous glasses we got at the last Atascadero Wine Festival we went to several years ago).  Just for fun I did some photo comparisons. The newest glass is the one on the left.



The first picture has the glass from a few years ago on the right (don't remember if it was the Art and WIne Tour or Sweetheart Stroll). This is the one we consider the Big Glass and is also our Friday Glass, because by Friday I really need a nice big glass of wine! The Ginormous glass is in the second picture, and I think breaks some kind of world record for the largest wine glass ever! Oh, and that teeny tiny glass in the third picture is the original size of wine glass we used to get at wine festivals/tasting events. Why they ever changed is beyond me! The bigger ones are so cumbersome when you're walking around trying to drink wine, eat food, take pictures and look at stuff.  Maybe next time we'll just remember to take some of our own glasses!

So, yeah, it was fun. Too much fun! I was planning to go to the Central Coast Oyster Festival in Avila Beach on Saturday, but woke up late in the morning just exhausted from what was really a busy, busy week that actually started the Friday before, and decided to not bother. Just the thought of spending hours fighting my way through throngs of people in the sun and heat for a few oysters and a couple cocktails just didn't sound as fun as it had on Thursday! Oh, well. Maybe next year!