Tuesday, September 23, 2014


About five years ago my community's local animal shelter, THE ANIMAL PROTECTIVE FOUNDATION hosted an elegant jewelry sale to benefit the parentless pets.  This was just one of their wonderful events.  For many years I had been bringing food, treats, toys and supplies by for the pets, but I wanted to do more.  I do not have it in me to volunteer at the shelter.  I wish I could, but I would bring every "mommyless" baby home and my cats, Blossom and Six (my first two girls that passed away a little over 4 years ago) or my girls, Dharma and Thora would never stand for it.  They barely let me reside here now.  They need me for my thumbs.
So I thought about making raffle baskets.  I put a few together and brought them down.  The event was just before Valentine's Day and the baskets were so pretty in all reds, pinks and whites.  After that a member of the staff approached me about making baskets for other events.  Although a little overwhelming at first, I really started to enjoy it.
My sister and I do all the shopping, and purchase the items ourselves.  We do seek out donations for a few things very occasionally, but we love looking for bargains and all the unique things we can buy.  Besides who needs an excuse to shop. 
Every September the shelter holds THE FIREPLUG WALK FOR ANIMALS, at Central Park in Schenectady.  We just delivered 14 baskets. 
I was very pleased with how they turned out.  My only regret is having to cover them in plastic basket bags.  For indoor events we use Toile fabric, which makes the baskets look so rich.  But, my fear for an event in a wooded park on a warm September day is finding the baskets full of Tics, Fleas and other creepy crawlies.  But, we try to "fancy" them up with bows and ribbons.  Every basket gets a purple curling ribbon, to represent the APF color and we found paw print curling ribbon for the pets.  So here is look, and hopefully the winners will love their treasures.

NASCAR, Dinosaur Double Feature, Givenchy Play for men with a sports theme, For the Sports Lover.


Two of my favorites, both baskets have books, one has Agatha Christie.  The Agatha Christie has the prettiest Audobon Society tea pot and mug set.  They other has two books, coffees and a very unusual clock design set.
Tea With Agatha Christie and Hot Coffee and a Good Book.  Both have biscuits and cookies.
A Halloween theme wine basket.  Werewolf wine, trick or treat wine glasses and everything for an elegant Halloween even a pumpkin carving kit.
An Elegant Halloween.
Two for little girls or even big girls; Barbie and Pretty Pink Bunny.
Two for the Fur Babies, Doggie Day at the Spa and One Lucky Kitty.  And purple baskets for the APF connection.
This one came cuter than I expected.  I had so many little cat and dog things that had just never fit anywhere.  So we grouped them all together and made a grab bag.  Normally I list the contents on a hang tag, but for this one I just made a title tag.  Letting the contents be a surprise. 
Trinkets and Treasures, Somethings to Keep, Somethings to Share.

Fendi for men with neckties, handkerchiefs, and a Carson Kressley book on CD, Fendi for women, Givenchy for women in a gardeners theme with the cutest sun hat.
For The Stylish Man, Everything a Girl Needs, For the Gardening Lover.

All the baskets could be retail valued from $50.00 to $200.00 so we think for a $1.00 a ticket or 6 tickets for $5.00, even if you spend $20.00 on tickets you will get a really good deal.  We make sure all the baskets are full and worthy.  It is all about the pets but it is so important for me that when a person wins one they are so happy and enjoy their prize.


Saturday, September 20, 2014


A spectacular show at the Times Union Center in Albany yesterday.  We were very lucky to be one of three cities the United States Army's Spirit of America visited this year.  The other two cities are Boston and Hershey.  They preformed four shows, we chose the 10:30 a.m. show Friday.  There were many school groups, but luckily the schools and teachers in the Capital Region do a wonderful job of requiring exceptional behavior from their students. 
The event is free, but does require tickets and it is general admission.  We found perfect seats right in the center and at the top of the lower tier.  We had a great view. 
This was one of the most moving and exciting shows I have ever seen.  The music, the history and the inspiring stories made for a fantastic morning.


The show is 2 hours and 15 minutes with a short intermission.                                                               
Historical accounts, taken directly from Soldiers’ letters and diaries, provide the story line for this powerful drama, designed to entertain while presenting the history and development of the U.S. Army from its origins through the wars, conflicts and missions that have molded the Army and the nation

The Army units that preformed:
 Continental Color Guard
 Commander-in-Chief's Guard 
 Caisson Platoon
The U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
The U.S. Army Drill Team
The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own"

This is a show I would not have wanted to miss.  My only regret is they do not yet have the show on DVD.  I hope at some time in the future it will be available.  I would love to have it to watch on Independence Day and Memorial Day.
Thank you to the men and women of the United States Arny for the unforgettable experience and thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Here is the link for The United States Army's Spirit of America
The United States Army's Spirit of America

Sunday, September 14, 2014



We got away last week to the Monadnock Region in New England.  I am a New England girl at heart.  Although I don't (technically) live in New England I am close enough geographically to consider myself a New Englander.  And, the enviornment of my home area is not much different.  I like to think of it as a New England State of Mind.
So, traveling around New England is a regular adventure, whether for a day or longer. 
Off to Keene, New Hampshire and Brattleboro, Vermont.  Both Keene and Brattleboro have vibrant main streets full of shopping, art, culture and fantastic dinning.  The weather was ideal, 60's and 70's.  Perfect for wandering around.  We were lucky to have a Marriott Courtyard in the heart of Main Street/Central Square, so we simply had to walk out the front door of the hotel and found all the shopping, dining and entertainment we could want.

Cenetral Square Shops and Pedestrians
After a short drive on Route 9 West we spent the day in Brattleboro, Vermont.  Brattleboro is known for it's vibrant art community.  With great shopping and dining.  We grabbed a quick lunch at the Brattleboro Co Op after hitting the shops.  Before heading back east on Route 9 to Keene we stopped at the Grafton Cheese Factory and Store.
 GVC Bldg.32.small
For the drive to New Hampshire and back home, we traveled along I90 and I91.  For lunch on the drive up we stopped a Chandler's at the Yankee Candle Flagship Store in Deerfield, Ma just off I91.  A wonderful lunch and a little shopping around the massive store.  For the drive home, we stopped for lunch at Kringle Candle and had lunch at their Farm To Table Resturant.