My life is to make everything around me beautiful.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Especially for Princess Amy Bunnyrose!

I told Amy I was doing a special one for her today because she is painting her home's main areas yellow. Hubby said he can stand just so much pink and then he would like to see another color! They've decided to go with yellow. So I thought I'd show Amy the possibilities of pink and yellow together. That is my favorite color combo also. So this is for a young woman who lives in a house with 5 boys and a very masculine hubby!

I love pink and especially red, pink and yellow together. This is a shabby little cottage I could move right in to. A bright red sofa with a pink cover thrown over the back, lovely yellow pillows, persian rug and pink walls. But the black and white punctuates the room with "punch" and makes quite a statement certainly. Just lovely. Of course, the pink walls are an added bonus in this gorgeous room.

Black and white is carried over to the dining room in the chair covers with the bottom a black and white check and the tops black and yellow. The pinkish red wallpaper takes it from blah to ah in a snap but the french doors and curtains add to the ambiance here. I love this room. And it just flows easily from the living room to there. The vintage chandelier is an extra special treat to have in that room

While there is a lot of pink in this bedroom, it is also punctuated with the yellow tones in the bed frame and green on the bed quilt. Triple layered bed coverings add to the charm of this cottage. Delightful...........

Would you just look at that chintz teapot?!?! And as a table, some old hat boxes have been used with a touch of a napkin for a topper. Carrying through with the theme of yellow there is a comfy tucked yellow chair and a tiny tea tin on the "table" and little yellow blocks on the windowsill. So charming! I'd be spending my spare time in that chair reading a good mystery or espionage book. :-)

What a view to look at after a day of "franticness"!! Blue skies aren't that familiar on the northwest coast so it's a rare day indeed here. The garden has also the pink, red and yellow color scheme. The blue-gray garden wicker table and chairs adds to the serenity of that outdoor room with the trellis framing it. I think I may do that to our patio out back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kitschy, Cute and Shabby Chic!

Oh be still my passionate heart! Here is why I love Susan Rios so much. Always romantic and feminine paintings. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh........

California cottage chic! Don't you just love it? A little footstool as a tray for your cup of tea just adds cutesy to this bedroom. And that little chair? To die for!!! Lush pillows, serene view and vintage fabric draperies. Yuuuummm.......

Same home but the living room of the small cottage. I love that patio view and the lush foliage of California as that view. This kind of reminds me of a friend's redo of her Nevada living room. Look at Katie's blog. She's new but I'm sure she'll post pictures of her desert home redo! I'll "encourage" her to, but she's so thrilled with it all I think she'll readily to it. Be sure and visit this talented sweetie!

The living room above is in Seattle area and it just popped out at me. It is so sunny and light filled and that's very unusual for that area. But the couple achieved sunny, bright rooms with the colors they've chosen and the way the mirror tiles send light back into the room and make it look larger. Just a stunning project and it achieves much more than the effort it took. I had a kitchen in California that I did this to on the stovetop. It looked great, gave light and was sooooo easy to clean - just spritzed it with glass cleaner when the grease popped back there and it was clean. Wonderful thing to have in the kitchen!!
In the north midwest this kitchen is a summer cottage. I just love it for it's kitschy cute decor. The beadboard gives it even a more summer cottage flavor and doesn't take itself too seriously. Very cute.

Same summer cottage but I've shown the bathroom here. This could be done in a shabby cottage also. But this looks like it just needed a coat of paint and some antiques thrown in to give it the flavor it has.

This is more photos of the Oregon cottage from yesterday's post. I love the way she adds little flowers in vases to her window. Such a sweet and easy thing to achieve the dramatic statement.

The Oregon cottage dining area. I don't see anything in that room that is new. Just old accumulated junk! But how darling she made it. Little wooden pickets for her window dressings.........very original!

This struck me because of my recent laundry redo. I purchased a little vintage shelf to put in there to hold our shoes and put laundry soap and softener and such. The middle shelf of mine has some fluffy towels. After looking at this I think I'll add a little curtain to the middle shelf to hide those towels! How cute is this with all her vintage "stuff" to make a darling vignette!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Vignette Can Be Many Things

Vignettes can be anything we want them to be. The sweet photos above and below are perfect examples of this. The one above is an antique cabinet that has been stuffed to overflow with quaint old boxes, snippets of beautiful old lace, roses fabric, books, antiques, a portfolio of love letters or stationery, spools of antique rick rack and even ivy. I absolutely love this idea. Isn't it just beautiful?

Now what woman hasn't imagined her bedroom looking like this romantic one? I certainly have. Well, there is nothing wrong with "setting" our bedrooms like a stage and having this to feast our eyes upon every single day. It's a "mood" we're looking for here. A teapot, teacup, plate, even a faux pastry and a small silk plant can assure it looks like this every single day. The plethora of soft, cushy pillows add to the ambiance, of course. I plan on getting an old breakfast tray I have and "setting" it up and displaying it in my bedroom just as soon as I can today! A lovely vignette with not much work involved at all, my sweet chicks and bunnies!! Get on it now!

This tiny section of a cottage living room on the Oregon coast looks like it just wraps its arms around you and welcomes you like a nice feather bed. Ahhhhh..... Isn't it adorable? The wicker settee wrapped in a vintage rose fabric or even an old quilt that has been softened with many washings. Put books around your home on the floor. I DO!! Put them under coffee and end tables. I don't have enough book cases so I do it this way too. But you can also put the books on little stools. Hang an old pretty hat somewhere in a room. Put fresh flowers around when your garden is blooming and at other times get the beautiful silk or paper flowers that look so real and are available readily in today's world. Hang things in your window to reflect the light and throw it into your room. Be bold!!

A tiny room can double as a guest room, craft or sewing room or home office and can be beautiful as this one is. It's just a different view of the living room above but can certainly be adapted to something else. Nothing says rooms have to be used as intended. Adapt this to a little used room. Also use different kinds of shelves in a room. It gives a "flair" to a room that says you've collected through the years and not just bought the "suite" off the showroom floor. Mismatched chairs or chairs with pretty fabrics thrown over them show a creativeness. Personally, I love the look!

A small dining room such as this one can be receptive to small vignette displays. A vintage high chair would be glorious if you can find a small one. If you have a curtain that doesn't quite "fit" a window, so what? Put it up anyway. Look at the piece of old lace in each window above. It adds bravado to the room and is still in keeping with the design. Set an old teapot, a basket of napkin rings, a ceramic bunny or cat or a beautiful pot of foliage on the table.

A view such as this one should not be covered up! The sheer lace lets it show through plus they have been hung low on the door, which in itself makes a glorious statement, and then they are drawn back with a flair for drama. The other vignette is on the table. Nothing says that tables have to be kept "clean" all the time. By this I mean "swept of all adornment" but can have place settings that can be swept up for meal time. Nothing too fancy need be on, just something to draw and please the eye.

Vignettes certainly don't have to be in the house; they can be outside also, such as this one. Very simple! Just an old settee, and a few wreaths attached to the wall and voilĂ  you have it! Maybe a pretty thermometer, garden signs, old garden gate, mirror or an old clock out there. It can be anything your imagination comes up with.

Lastly, and I'm almost embarrassed to show you mine after all those beautiful ones above, it can be something as simple as your paint brushes. Since we've moved from a large home to a much smaller one, storage space - actually, just "space" - has been a problem. I'm having to be more creative so here is what I'm doing with some of my things. I just strew them about the house as adornments. This area needs some foliage and it will get it when I get time(!), but I've always been an advocate of "hiding in plain sight." This is an example - my paint brushes and our scripture markers. Placing them in beautiful cups or candleholders and just setting them on an end table (which, btw, is actually an old Marine Corps field desk that opens up to reveal old reel-to-reel tapes and stereo equipment) covered with a scrap of an old damask tablecloth. If you were to look at the back you'd see a cut edge where I used part of it for a pillow!

And The Winner Is....................

I pulled a name out of the hat and that name is "Celeste"! Congratulations, Miss Beazy's mom! Now I can send everything to you at one time, sweetpea.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Teacup for a Prize!

It's time for a give away! So here are the rules:
You have to leave me a comment on this post.
Then I put your name in a pretty roses teacup.
If your name is picked you WIN!
How much easier can it be than that?
Oooooh, and the prize?! Well, you're looking at it. An Old Country Roses teacup filled with pretty greenery and roses and organza ribbon attached to make it ready to hang over your kitchen sink or some place in your little romantic cottage. That's it. Just be sure and comment on THIS post. Oh, one thing more..... you have to live in the U.S. to win. I do not ship internationally.

What's for Dinner and Why Are You Photographing My Food?!

Okay Okay, men don't understand these things! I wanted to post my recipe for spanish rice. So being very visual I wanted a picture of it so others could see how good it is. We have this frequently because it is so good and so quick. Soooooo, I made it while hubby went to a meeting. He called to say he was on his way home so I dished it up. Then I had to photograph it, of course. DUH!! He just looked at me and asked why are you photographing my dinner? I told him it was for my recipe that I'm posting on my blog. Then he started laughing while saying, "You're posting our dinner on your blog?!" Wrong thing to say with that kind of attitude to a post menopausal woman! I made him wait until I did 10 shots of it and then said "dig in"! Hah, that'll teach him to mess with me. Hey, I don't think they truly understand about blogs, selling on ebay or WOMEN truly.

Anyhoooooo, here is a picture and my really good recipe. Dessert comes next.
1 cup of rice
2 tblsps of butter
1/2 pound of hamburger
1/2 onion
1/2 tsp of New Mexico chili powder
1/2 tsp of pasilla chili powder
some chopped red bell pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes with just juice - NOT the italian diced tomatoes
1 - 1/2 cups of water
Brown onion and hamburger in sauce pan with butter. Then put in rice and brown it a bit also. Then throw in the red bell pepper. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water and one 15 oz can of diced tomatoes - regular with just the juice, NOT the italian spice tomatoes. Put in the chili powders (this may be adjusted to your own tastes). Stir it all together, let it boil and then simmer for about 25-30 minutes. Yummmmmm.......
One pan to clean, fast and easy!!! What more could you want? Women understand when the "one pan" and "easy" thing.

Strawberry shortcake was for dessert. I made the shortcake from scratch, added some luscious strawberries with whipped cream and then photographed it. He still doesn't understand why I had to photograph the dessert! Will they never learn?! photograph the main course you have to photograph the dessert also!

For Celeste, Katie, Amy the Princess, Sharon & Vickie

Miss Katie's wish is my command. She requested that I show her picture of her old home in the city:

"This is a picture of me in front of our previous home
in the city. It was a typical tract home. I thought
Connie might like to post it here, after showing the
cottage doors. The yellow blossoms I'm standing under
are from the climbing rose called Lady Bank's Rose.
It eventually trailed up and over the entire carport
edge. Far right was my lilac bush. Living in the
country we now have about 14 lilac bushes! Katie"

I found these pictures in an old book and each one brought to mind a certain person in our PRH group. All beautiful and wonderful chicks if I do say so myself. ;-) Anyway, I'll tell you why below:

Here we have what I thought looked like Celeste's Miss Beasley, who follows Celeste around from morning till night and sometimes beyond! While this doesn't look anything like Celeste's bedroom, I'm sure she would appreciate the look but most assuredly the "puppy" lounging on the flower strewn bed. Yo, Miss Beasley, do ya hear us talkin' 'bout ya??!!

Katie is brought to my mind when I see this desert oasis above. Katie and Bob work diligently in the arid desert of Nevada to make it lush and productive. You should hear what she has planted on those 2 acres. Trees, rose bushes, flowers, vegetables, grapes, goats, cats, doves. Plus they live off a lot of the stuff. It's Katie's dream spot but they make it better and better each year.

While this isn't especially victorian, it "smacks" of it and another style also - shabby chic. This is for Sharon, who loves all things antique. Plus she can wear the most wonderful hats and lets those sweet cheeks smile up at ya! She is a true beauty and is married to a sweetheart of a man. We love her even though she has skin we ALL lust for!

Vickie would also love this. She has a "sofa of many different colors" that we all love also. But recently she had a catastrophe in her family and when she went to help out she became very ill. She's back with us now but not up to her usual self. We love her immensely and her sofa, of course. A real treat for us to have Vickie.

The rest of these pictures are for Princess Amy, our "munchkin mom of 5 boys"!! Amy is a petite thing raising 5 boys and one "football sized hubby." She's the only feminine part of that family and she loves Victoria's Secret and PINK! I KNOW she would love this bathroom to soak in a bubble bath like a princess. :-)

I have no doubt that she'll catch the meaning of this picture - vintage and bunnies!

Bunnyrose Amy would adore this kitchen also. She's a frou frou-y kinda chick!

Same with this living room in a cottage. She'd adore it!

Personally I love this room with all its sunlight, high windows and PINK. But Amy would love it also. I thought of her when I saw this one also.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cottage Doors

I just realized I need to show you MY front door. It's not as elegant as these but I thought I should be brave and post it! I have a little "viewer" to check on who is approaching our home and a little cup hook to hang a pretty wreath or something I've yet to create! But it will be there in the not too distant future. Anyway, here's mine!

Today I thought I'd show you "Doors" - yes, DOORS - of some adorable shabby little cottages.
Oh my, doesn't this look like something out of a story book? A little cottage on the way to a fantastic adventure maybe? Stone steps, lush foliage and gnarly trees. And look at that fence - something a little gnome would put up. Vines growing over the door! Aaaah....

This one has the earmarks of an English tudor cottage but it is here in the U.S. Again, lots of flowering vines, hedges, a little vintage wagon in the yard, the stone pathway leading to the sweet entry and the windows - straight out of an old English mystery novel! Just imagine those tree branches brushing the bedroom window on a dark and stormy night while reading. Ooooo, sends chills up my spine!

This little stone entryway is quite quaint also. It looks like the door has a "peephole" to view guests before they even arrive at the door. The weathered fence. The eyebrow arch over the window and the little architectural piece adds character to it also. But notice the chimney - I don't think I've ever seen one quite like it. There is also the stone pathway and the stone "window box" under the window. Very mysterious cottage!

This is more of an "arts and crafts" entry indicative of the northwest. The front door is open and the screen door seems to beckon to visitors to enter. I like the trellis over the entry and the little seats to rest or sit. Stone pathway again, window box and vines growing over to keep the sun at bay on a summer day.

Can you believe it??? A house called Green Gables in the U.S.?? I guess they loved the novel also. :-) But it has both the look of tudor and arts and crafts. Unusual, but it works! Brick entry and pathway and the door with a lovely floral wreath beckoning to all who enter.

YES!!!! It is "PINK"!! Oh, be still my heart!!! I love pink - in any form. But this was almost too much to even hope for. A pink cottage!!! It looks like it should be on a cake. Even has the stained glass windows in pink. A little stone pot to put flowers in and what more could you ask for??? But notice the small window atop the entry roof. Isn't that unique? I love this little romantic cottage.

"Stone Cottage" ought to be the name of this little one. A bit of statuary adorns the yard along with pots of rhododendrons - perfect for the NE or NW. Cedar shingles and pine trees put this one in the NW I believe. Stone pathways and mullioned windows with half curtains to let in the light while preserving the owner's privacy again foretell the cottage appeal to this beauty. Private and a bit mysterious I think.

Here the door has a "speakeasy" in it. How quaint is that?! But notice also that this one also has a stone path leading to the door and the requisite lush garden surrounding it.

On this one, the roof was put on unevenly to resemble thatched roofs of the European cottages. The stone walkway and lush little pathway adds to the ambiance of this little cottage. Notice the little "eyebrow" arch above the door along with the sculptured little plaque above that. Quite cute!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cottages and Chandeliers

My group of decorating buddies are all pretty much into chandeliers, shabby chic and roses and beautiful rooms for our homes. I put a beautiful chandelier in my dining area in our scaled down home and, personally, I think it faaaabbbulous, dahling. I love elegance even though my home is far from elegant. It's a "last home I'll ever live in" house!

But this little jewel of a cottage is just that - a tiny cottage with a loft for a bedroom. And although you cannot see it, the bedroom is behind those posts in the loft and the bathtub is actually in the bedroom.

Notice the elegant chandelier hanging over the table. The home itself is one big room and really quite small but it shows the true "shabby chic" elements. Elegance mixed with old stuff. The sofa the lady owns is actually painted. She didn't like the colors of the print on the sofa so she painted them! It looks beautiful and you can just glimpse a tiny bit of the sofa behind the buffet on the left. And the top picture is the actual living room. See the sofa she painted!

I love this tiny cottage.

Hubby Modeling My Newest Apron!

Okay, so he ain't the hunk that Rhea's hubby is but he's MY hunk! LOL. I asked Jack to model this apron I made on thursday and he was more than happy to do it. NOT!! But being the sweetie he is (and asking me to not get his face in it - I'm guessing that's because his former Marine buddies might recognize him.) - I complied with his wishes.

This one is made of Ralph Lauren strawberries and is a break from my usual shabby chic and roses kind but it's a cute fabric and I like it.

But I have to give hubby a hand........he handles it quite well and isn't suffering any trauma today from the photo shoot. Hah!!!

Filbert St. on Telegraph Hill

How would you like to traverse these steps every time you went grocery stopping or had something to be delivered to your house?! Yes, these are actually steps to little cottages in SF. It's a lush area of overgrown of honeysuckle, fuchsia, overgrown ivy, ferns, trees and wild flowers. Just quiet and lush. BUT each resident has to walk up and down these steps every single time they leave their house. It looks so serene living there.