My life is to make everything around me beautiful.

Friday, February 29, 2008

I Been Tagged, Chickadees!!

Happy Easter early, ladies! I love this graphic because of the roses.

Miss Rhea, our Ray Ray, has tagged me. Here are the rules:

1. When tagged, place the "tagger" URL and name on your blog.
2. Post rules on your blog.
3. Post 7 different things about yourself.
4. Name 7 of your favorite blogs.
5. E-mail or leave a comment for those 7 people so they know they've been tagged.

Oh my gosh, where do I start???
1. I love beans, coleslaw and cornbread together. One of my favorite meals.

2. I knew Jack only about 2 months before we became engaged. Married after only knowing him for 4 months. It's been over 46 years so far.

3. I once put salt in my sister's iced tea and never told her. The look on her face when she drank it was so funny and she asked if anyone else's tea tasted funny, but I kept a straight face and have never told her to this very day!

4. In Mexico once I threw up in the plate at the restaurant and emptied the closest tables around us. It was totally embarrassing but I've gotten over it. Things happen!! I got over it........

5. I once owned a little convertible Italian sport car called Pininfarina. I loved it for the looks and comfort but it was a dud "electrically"! It was always stopping on me. I'll never ever own another Italian sport car.

6. I once slept with my boss on a business trip. Hah. Gotcha on that one. It was a woman and we could only get a single room in a small town and we slept in the same bed. Boy, did I hug the edge of the bed that night!! Nooooooo, nothing exciting happened!!

7. I didn't get my driver's license until I was married and had 2 kids. I kept failing the driving test and could walk to everything I needed anyway and we only had one car so it wasn't a necessity. But try telling that to your kids when they passed the tests the very first time! Not a pretty story I tell ya!

Seven different blogs I love???!!! I love many of them. Hmmm..... let's see. I love Natasha's, Katie's (because she can grow anything), Esther's (because we've become I-dee-ho buddies), Jennifer's, Ele's, Karla's, and Vickie's because I love Vickie and her house is something else to view. Love her sofa! Actually I love all my PRH sister's blogs. ALL OF THEM! You need to check them all out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Romantic Cottage Vignettes!

I've talked many times about vignettes, but they can be just about anything you want them to be. I'll explain about them below each picture.

Above are some of the aprons I've made. I use them as eye candy around my kitchen. Most of the aprons above have been sold on ebay but I plan on making more from the gorgeous fabrics I have on hand. Besides I use them! Try this in your own kitchen, dining area or even a boring hallway.

This is one corner of our family room, which is small by many standards but there is only me and hubby so it suffices. I probably break all the rules when it comes to pictures. Most decorators say to group them together according to subject, artist, colors, frames, etc. I say to heck with that! If I love to look at it then it goes where I want it to go. Of course, I want them pleasing to my eye, but I want to see all I can see when sitting in my favorite chair. I know I'm quirky but hey, that's just me! Here we can see things I've made, gifts of painting that have been given to me, favorite books and boxes I use for storing LOTS of things.

Same thing on the other corner of this room. More books, gifts from friends and souvenirs of our travels.

This little table "hides" in plain sight my brushes I use to paint. I do NOT have room for everything to be hidden in this house so I've used space creatively by sticking things in cups, pots or beautiful containers to make a home romantic, which is the style I love. Throwing in a little life-like fern to add a garden like feel to that tiny area.

Go ahead and experiment with your own things and style.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Easter Eggs in Pink Carton!

Look what I did yesterday! These are so cute. I painted some wooden eggs with pink and blue and then added pink and yellow roses with leaves. It's my first time of painting roses on wood eggs or any eggs for that matter. Oooooh, how scary that was! I was so nervous. The egg carton I had to steal from Jack's eggs! He asked me where the eggs were. I said they were in the fridge. He asked me what I was going to do with the carton. I said, "paint it, of course." He's used to these conversations by now. Hah.

I then added some little chenille chicks, grass I cut from green raffia and little posies. I'm rather pleased with myself. Maybe someday I'll be a rose painter of note! Sigh......................

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bird Nest and Roses Painting

I am so excited!! This is my first painting on canvas. I'm just learning and hubby gave me a few "critiques" on how it could have been better but it's my very first one I'm offering for sale. But look at it this way: there's only one way to go from here - UP!! Hah!! I'm on a roll now.........yep, I do have a tremendous sense of wit and humor!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Papier Machè Bowl Making

To make a papier machè bowl, I started with this old stainless steel mixing bowl. Start by coating it with vaseline for easy release after medium has dried. I started with homosote (found in any craft store and dries very hard) or you can use medium specific for papier machè or plaster of paris. Tear up strips of newspaper or old brown craft paper. Make the paste of the medium, drag the strips of paper through it and start covering bowl. As you can see I made it less deep than the bowl and started forming a "lip" out from it and just started molding it the way I wanted it to go. Very easy.

Let it dry; take off from the bowl. Then paint it whatever color you want. I decoupaged some old paper onto it.

Curve or form it any way you like.

Bottom of bowl.

Side view

French Flowers Gift Wrap Papers

These are absolutely gorgeous papers. I bought one many, many years ago and then found the other one a few years after that. Very hard to find and expensive when you can find them all in one piece. Strangely though the 2 books have differences in the papers. Each book I have has one of the papers missing. I've only used one out of each. I keep them for the beauty but they absolutely can be used. I collected beautiful roses papers at one time but the company I bought them from in Sausalito sold the business and never did quite measure up with the new ownership. I still have some of that wrapping paper and will probably never use it all up. But I'm going to sell one of these books. All the papers are beautiful and I don't think anyone would be disappointed in either book. They are all shiny papers and are 4x the size of the book. They are perforated in. So with knowing that one of the giftwraps is gone and there are only 15 instead of 16, let me know if you'd like to purchase it. I'll be offering it on ebay starting at $25.00 and that's a very good price for the excellent condition of the papers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Favorite Lifestyle Book and More

My favorite lifestyle and decorating author is Alexandra Stoddard. I bought her book, Living a Beautiful Life, many years ago when we lived in California. It is the epitome on how to live graciously in a frantic world. Of course, there are lots of decorating tips in the book, but for the most part it is just about living life. Or as the cover describes it: "500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life." And it keeps that promise! I absolutely adore it and have even found some old copies since it was published in 1986 and given them as gifts. I believe the women who have received a copy from me have love the pleasures it offers inside the covers.

Another of her books called, Creating a Beautiful Life, which I also enjoy immensely, is described as "From starting fresh to freshening up - inspiring ideas to help you turn your house into a warm and welcoming home. I suggest you try finding them to read as you'll not be disappointed. I try and live my life graciously and it shows in my home.

Here are the 2 books. It looks like 3 but the Living a Beautiful Life has 2 different covers as I discovered when looking for more of these books.

The illustrations aren't in color but I've colored mine. I relax when I color and this seemed the perfect thing to do to this particular book.

I am also a "marker" of books. I use different colored pencils or markers to highlight thing I want to remember or go back to. She encourages this in her books. She also leaves room at the end of each chapter for "Grace Notes." Plenty of space to add your own grace notes.

Another page I colored and marked on the other side.

Ah, but this little book is something special. It's a grandmother's remembrance book. "A Book of Special Memories for the Family to Share." It all bright pink with beautiful green leaves on the cover and all the way through it also. I did one of these for my son and my daughter, but this one I've had for a very long long time waiting to see what I'd do with it. Well, the time has arrived that a woman I know is expecting her very first grandchild soon and it's to be a girl. So this will be her special prize. She's going to have to read this post to know it though. I can't wait till she finds out. But she is a painter of roses so I know she'll love it.

My "Room" Dilemma

I've got to make space somewhere! Here is the dilemma. As you can see a couple of posts back I have my office filled with craft stuff and hardly any room left. I use it for a home office and shooting photos and ebaying.

Then I also have a sewing room and haven't done much sewing lately, but do sew occasionally. And I also use the kitchen table to paint on because of the limited room in the sewing room and office/craft room.

This is standing at the doorway looking in.

This is standing in opposite corner and looking at door. I was rearranging the fabric at the time these photos were taken. It's now nice and neatly stacked.

Since those are metal shelves I could possibly stack more fabric on there if I needed to. Anyone wanna buy some beautiful fabrics?!?!?!

This is just inside the door on the right. It hold mostly fabrics I don't use much. The rest of the "stash" is in the garage attic. And yes, there is a LOT of it out there and in here! I'm thinking of taking the fabric off the 2 gray shelves on the left and using that for the crafting items and painting supplies. I could collapse the table when not using it and bring in the little foldable table from the office/craft room in here and freeing up the space in there. It's becoming quite a jungle in there to get around.

The room is on the south part of the house and would give more light for painting and free up the dining room table. (I just hate it when you go into old people's houses and their dining table is stacked up with a lazy susan full of medicine bottles. Ooooops, hang on a sec.........we're old too! But no way will I ever do that to my table. Only pretty frou frou-y things on my dining table.

Soooo, whatta ya think, chicks?! Does this seem doable to ya? Any obvious problems I'm not seeing.

My First Birdie!

Oh my, can we say that at least my first attempt at painting a bird is at least "respectable"?!?! I'm happy with it. Since I can't do much else lately with this coughing I've been practicing on some bird's nest and then I saw this darling little bird from my friend Lorena and thought "hmmmm, can I do that?" I tried and this is my very first try!! Wooooohoooooo!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thinkin' Spring!!

If you've ever visited a Crabtree and Evelyn's store you'll recognize these scents. The Nantucket Briar is a heavy musky scent; the Elizabethan Rose smells more like a rose than a rose does but they don't make it anymore (sadly); the Rosewater Rose is also a wonderful rose scent but not quite as "heady" as the Elizabethan Rose. I adore these scents of theirs and am putting them in a light bulb ring today to bring in some spring air. I so want spring to appear now from all this snow these past months. And if you're not familiar with these wonderful oils you're depriving yourself! Head to the nearest Crabtree and Evelyn and stock up!! You'll love LOVE loooooVE these fragrances!!

Daydreaming Day

One of those days. Just can't seem to get motivated after spending the last several days in bed with hubby. Both sick. Today I think we both feel almost human again. I know I do.

My fabric sits there awaiting to be made into a pillow. I found some beautiful pale lavender chenille also. Isn't it neat?!

I've tried getting motivated; I truly have. Sunday I even painted a little picture. I'm here in this office/computer/craft room looking at my little space across from my desk and reeeeeeallly trying to get motivated into doing something. I even had hubby take me to Michael's today and spent some money! Now if that doesn't motivate me what else will?! The packages still sit in the living room unopened.

My little craft space - one of about 3 around this house. I've even got some cones painted or wrapped with wallpaper or wrapped with fabric but haven't finished any of it yet.

I paint on my kitchen table because the light is so good in there with the patio door and facing south. But it's still as it was sunday night. Sigh.............

I even have that glorious crystal chandelier for inspiration with Rhea's little teapots hanging adorably there for inspiration.

Okay, better go open the packages I got today. Ooooooh, will spring ever get here? I'm so looking forward to some green grass out here in the desert.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some Lessons I've Learned in My 6th Decade

I handpainted this little bird's nest yesterday. It's my first attempt at painting something other than practicing shabby roses!

I've been in my 6th decade of life for several years now and life is funny because we keep on learning. I'm going to list a few that come to mind recently. I'm sure I'll be adding more to the list as I "age"!

* I'm learning to paint and am getting adequate at it. The above one is my first birdnest with eggs and roses.

* Sometimes I just wanna be a slob. I've earned it. I wore those binding tight pantihose for 35 years so it's time to let it all hang out.

* Bras are also optional. See last 5 words in above sentence!

* When shaving your legs and you cut yourself never ever use a "sheer strip" bandaid. It blends in too well and you'll forget it's there (especially when it's on the back of your leg) until the next time you shave your legs or for about 6 months, whichever comes first.

* When driving with "daughter" - who is 40 something - be sure you remind her constantly of the potholes in the road, make sure her tired are in excellent shape, be sure your cell phone is fully charged, make absolutely sure she has AAA, carry a raincoat and be absolutely sure you've gone to the potty before getting in her car.

* When you catch a cough be sure you've gone to the potty before you cough and make frequent trips. This is a must. Also making sure your undies are all laundered and stacked in your dresser helps a lot.......personal experience this past week.

* If hubby has a cough with you.....sigh....isn't that s-p-e-c-i-a-l.......make sure he knows which bathroom he goes to when you both have to go......his should be the farthest point from where you are sitting or laying down. And if he forgets it's his problem he gets his feet stomped on. He was warned I promise you!

* When you're having a new storm door put on by a handy man always make sure you've cleaned the main bathroom toilet. DO NOT put it off because it isn't regular toilet cleaning day! This will assure you of not being totally embarrassed, trust me.

* Do not torture yourself. There is always someone you know who will be more than happy to do it for you thereby saving you the stress! Hubby, daughter, son come to mind here.

* If your hubby gives you Dr. Laura's book on the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands you'd better read it. Hubby has and he knows all the secrets so save yourself a lot of anguish and read it. You won't win this one unless you read it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

French Decorating

After shabby chic and romantic I love french decorating the best. I also like italian antiques, but french wins out as the next favorite.

I've done vignettes like this for years. Maybe from seeing this decorator and others doing it, but my true inspiration comes from a friend in a small Idaho town who did this. I go to the thrift stores and get the books with the most interesting covers. I'll usually stack them together and tie them with a beautiful ribbon and put flowers on top. Over the years I've given most of them away but it does set a romantic mood. I've also used books stacked to put our bedside clock radio on. And even small vases of flowers. It works and is so cheap to do and makes a stunning statement. You might even wish to break up the rows and rows of books with some of these ideas to create little vignettes.

This room is one of my favorite colors - RED! This is a den for a man who is a francophile. How many men would like this room?! I think quite a lot. It is very masculine even though it is red. He also subscribes to the "more is less" decorating philosophy I love. Yep, More is Less for me! He also balances it with different colors of wood in this room and lots of antiques.

I have a friend, Lorena, who has a blue dining room. It's gorgeous but a darker blue than this. I love this room because he's mixed red and blue together. Toile on the wall is red; blue is interspersed around the room on the back of the chairs, plates on the wall and dinnerware and goblets. And the whimsical part is the blue leopard print on the chairs front.

While his living is considered neutral, there really isn't anything "neutral" about it. Blue willow plates grace the wall and there are chairs in other colors thrown around the room but not visible in this photo. He also places red books around this living room to add even more color.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Secret Gardens

By now I think we're all tired of winter and snow! So I thought I'd raise everyone's spirits by posting some secret green gardens! Think "spring", chickadees!!!

A secret garden with clematis and an old stone bench and tuffs of moss growing up between the old stonework pathway, ferns and lush greenery secreting you away from all the troubles of your world to quietly caress you. Shhhhhhhhhh, quietly meditate, my bunnies and chicks.

A vintage rustic chair and table among the geraniums and lush greenery.

Look at the lace work of this old patio table and chairs. Have you ever seen anything so exquisite?! Just a perfect secluded shaded secret garden. And roses on the table! Does this lady know her priorities or what, chicks????

I love clematis! It is just so beautiful when it climbs a fence or pergola. I like this fence also.

I just thought you'd all enjoy viewing this little patio and tiny yellow cottage. Yellow with the red statuary just stands out here. Adorable, especially with the rhododendrons surrounding the space.

Through the years I've looked at this picture and thought about how I'd love to have an allèe like this one bordered by luscious droopy trees to walk though. This would be the ultimate garden for me.

Just a summer time garden!

Another part of my allèe garden would be this little "echo" of it in another part which I would keep sunny for some roses. ;-)

Water would always figure in somewhere in my perfect garden. What better way than to have a pond with a lazy chair beside it for meditating?!