Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Victoria!

Today my youngest daughter, Victoria Grace, turns 17. It would be the echo of mothers everywhere to say how quickly the last 17 years have flown. Do we ever really understand how short childhood is? Not until we are looking at it's end can we comprehend it's lightning quick progress. I look at Victoria and I see that soft cheeked, bright eyed baby even as I marvel at what a lovely young woman she is becoming. One more year of high school and then off to college. Happy Birthday my sweet child. I intend to cherish each second of the year ahead!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Kitchen

Dolly asked to see more of my kitchen a few days ago. So I will give you a little (and I mean little) tour. Now before we begin let me tell you that my home is truley cottage size. When we moved here as newlyweds 26 years ago, it was a whopping 600 square feet. We loved the five acres it was on though, and the price was right. We have since added on but it is still only 1100 square feet. The rooms are not big, but they are cozy and have made a loving home for our family of four. When we moved in there were no kitchen cabinets or appliances! Just an old table and very old (1940's) fridge that we actually used for several years until we remodeled the kitchen. The bookshelves you see my cookbooks on were built in cupboards and there were some wall cabinets where the refrigerator stands. Someday soon I will show you what I did with the doors that used to be on those old cabnets.
The kitchen has been red for about 3 years. It has been white and yellow and I think green. LOL, I can't even remember because I paint so much! Anyway, Earl went hunting one year and I decided to do something wild and paint the kitchen red. I had made the Toile curtains and thought the red would look good with it, and besides, I have a thing for red as you will soon find out if you read this blog for long! I did it in one day. The first coat went on and it looked Fuschia! I just kept going, knowing that darker colors need multiple coats and it turned out ok. It is a Ralph Lauren red, can't remember the name of it. It isn't a summer color but it is so warm and festive in the winter. It looks very holiday friendly! We have actually been thinking of redoing the kitchen and adding on to the house again, but it will probably be a few years down the road. The economy in Michigan is tanking and that kind of expenditure needs to wait for better times. When we actually get around to it I think my kitchen will be a lot brighter, maybe even with white cabinets. But I will be ready for change by then, as usual.

Oh look! I forgot to crop some of the junk out by the sink! :>) Oh well, this is a real working kitchen and about as clean as you are likely to see it. You can see the paintbrushes and scrapers in the bowl by the sink (I made the bowl). They are always there because I am always painting something. If I ever get a new sink it will NOT be stainless steel. I just cannot get it to look shiny and unspotty anymore. The word "stainless" is false advertising if you ask me!
Here is a final picture, my daughter modeling an apron I got at my last garage sale outing. The one where I got all the wonderful pillowcases? This adorable apron was $1, and it reverses to the cotton print you see on the pocket. Cute. That's it for the kitchen, not much to it but we do a lot of cooking and living there!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sorry it's been a few days since I posted. I am in the home stretch of getting all the crafts for our Vacation Bible School prepped for next week. I am the craft lady this year, and since I have never actually headed this up before I am stressing a bit and feeling a little overwhelmed. I am taking a break to give you a laugh. I got new glasses last week. I only get them every two years and I needed everything. I have bifocals and if any of you out there have them too, you know that looking at the computer for any length of time with your neck cricked back so you can see out the bottom of your glasses is maddening. I would love to get soft contacts but I have a particularly bizarre astigmatism and for my eyes they aren't an option unless they are special ordered and we all know that is code for big bucks. Anyway, I got my usual bifocals and some Rx sunglasses and I also indulged myself with some reading glasses just for the computer. That way I can look at it head on without getting a stiff neck. So I ordered some kind of funky, fun glasses for the computer so I would know which were which and they look like this.

No, they aren't really bizarre or anything, but I usually wear wire rims so they are different for me. Anyway, dear husband comes home and I am at the computer wearing them and I turn around and he actually blushes, gets this goofy grin on his face and starts telling me how cute he thinks these are. Every time I put these on he has the same reaction. It cracks me up. If we are having a disagreement (we only have mild disagreements by the way), I put these on and he starts to grin and tells me how cute I am. I now have a secret weapon! LOL! I went through some of my old grade school pictures and if he thinks these glasses are hot he should get a load of these.
This is me in 6th grade. I think these are actually quite similar to what I am wearing now. I would like to thank my mom for the fabulous spit curls that are now immortalized in my school pics. Wow, what a babe. Several years later, (I think this is about 8th grade) I switched to these hot numbers.
Oh Yeah! What was I thinking!? Why didn't someone stop me! I can only blame youth and a total lack of fashion sense for these eyewear choices. Fortunately, if Earl sees these pics he will only blush, grin, and tell me what a doll I am. How did I get so lucky?! :>)

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Hummingbird!

I just had to show everyone one of the hummingbirds that have been enjoying my garden. This one is right outside my window by the computer. I have a butterfly bush (buddlia) outside and it seems to really enjoy it. I think this is a female (the male has a red throat). This weekend she was drinking from every tiny flower on the buddlia and then she actually sat down and rested for a while before continuing! I sat at my desk and snapped these pictures, I've never seen one spend so much time at one plant. I absolutely adore these little birds! I have planted as many flowers as possible that I think might appeal to them and I have seen them so much this summer it must be working! They seem to enjoy hollyhocks, lavender, petunias, and everything else around here. I even have a nectar feeder on the pergola by the back door for them. Aren't they just adorable!?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Another small corner of my home

This is a corner of my kitchen. It is a little dark because it was stormy here yesterday, but I have this little shelf by the back door that I decided to put something new on. Found the letters (E for my darling husband Earl and K for me) on clearance at the craft store and painted them up. They just fit the shelves and I love how they turned out. It was a fun little project.
I especially liked how the K turned out. I pulled out the stops and made it all flowery and girly and glittered. It is very me.

Also, my dear friend
Jan and I went garage sailing yesterday and I hit the jackpot! I am a total pushover for old linens, especially old pillowcases. I don't think you can beat how soft and pretty they are. Well at the first sale we stopped at I found a few for a real steal. Three lovely lacy edged pillowcases for $3.50!
I am sorry this isn't a great picture. But hopefully you can see that these have a lovely drawn edge to them.

The bottom case in this picture was in a a bag of what looked like stained bits and pieces of embroidered dresser scarves and odds and ends. It was only $1.50 for the whole bag so I took a chance. It was full of more beautiful pillowcases! I took some Fels Naptha to them last night and washed them in hot water. They had those yellow and brown stains all over them and I didn't know if I could make them look better or not. The pansy one above is the only one that didn't clean up very well, I will keep working on it. But look at these beauties!
Can you see the bottom one says "sweet dreams"? The one with the multicolor edge is actually little pansies crocheted all the way across. I LOVE the one with the pink rose edge, and the other is a beautiful hand embroidered morning glory! They all cleaned up beautifully with the Fels Naptha soap. Brown spots are gone and they are gorgeous!! I got eight vintage pillowcases for $5! I had never tried the Fels Naptha on old yellowed stained linens before, but I will certainly try it again! I simply wet the pillowcases, rubbed the soap all over the stains, let it sit in the sink for about an hour and threw them in a hot wash. Love it ! My final find at that same sale was this.
A very pretty, hand embroidered old linen dish towel. I use the linens I find at these sales. I always say what is the use of having beautiful things if you can't use them and enjoy them? I will be careful how I use it, but these have already survived a generation or more!
Well, I am off to get some work done now. I have 250 muslin bags to make for Vacation Bible School by the end of next week (yes, I am quite insane!) and tomorrow Hubby and I are going to the Ann Arbor Art fair. A HUGE and wonderful annual art fair that we love to look through. I will try to get pictures to share! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Living room paint

As promised, here is a sneak peek at the living room re-do. Behind the couch is the new yellow color that I am painting. The old color is just barely visible next to the curtain. I found the old water pump made into a lamp at a garage sale this summer. The little folk art church was made by my husbands great grandfather and is a model of the Free Methodist church they helped establish and which his family has been a part of for at least 5 generations. The original building is still standing in the little Town of Oxford, Michigan. This little building caught my eye at the new church building we went to down the road. I knew they were going to be doing a huge clean up at the church and asked if I could have it if they were going to get rid of it. I didn't even know his great grandfather had made it! That thanksgiving his mom saw it in our living room and told me where it came from and I was so happy that it caught my eye! What a treasure! Anyway, I am a long way from done with the painting. As you can see, the old trim is a med. wood and it will all be white when I am done. I will show more as I get things the way I want them to be.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Glorious Morning Glories

These morning glories have self-seeded on the back of the shed for several years now. They are a deep purple and they are called "Grandpa Ott". I think they are lovely! They will reach the top of the shed by the end of summer.
Here is a somewhat out of focus close up of the flowers. I think next year I will sow a lighter, brighter color in with them for a multicolor display. Maybe pink or white.
I have plenty to do today. I need to get back to making time for art, but I am also in the middle of repainting my living room. I usually pull everything into the middle of the floor and have it done in a day. This time I have all the trim to paint for the first time which I know means multiple coats beginning with washing the woodwork, a light sanding and primer. Yikes. I like things fast and dirty, get it started, get it done, enjoy. I have half the living room walls painted (am I supposed to do the walls first or the trim? Well I started with the walls) I love the color, which my darling youngest daughter helped me pick out. She seems to have an excellent eye for things. It is a creamy yellow that changes color a lot depending on what time of day and how the sun is hitting it. That should keep me from getting too bored with the color! I will take some pictures of what I have done tomorrow and post them. I will also be making new pillows for the couch & love seat and rethinking my accessories and art. Might as well do it right. Things get stale otherwise. Did you ever notice how when you went to your grandma's house it was stuck in a time warp? Now don't get me wrong, I still have lovely fond memories of grandmas house. In fact, grandmas house was more my home than my real home in many ways, but I don't want to be one of those old ladies whose home kind of smells like mothballs and is still painted avocado green (shudder! as if!) As I get older I feel the need to keep reinventing myself and my surroundings. I can already feel my brain hardening into old ways of thinking and I can tell you it isn't pleasant! So I am trying to open my mind to new things and new ideas. Certainly in my art and absolutely in my home. I don't intend to change my ideas about God or family or anything like that, but I can sure embrace new things elsewhere. Any other "old dogs" out there trying to learn new tricks? Tell me how you stay fresh & up to date!

Monday, July 16, 2007

YAY! Check out my new Header!

P. Covington of Shabby in the City and Adrienne from With a Grateful Heart were kind enough to advise me on how to change my header. It has been a mystery to me, a simple and apparently technically challenged woman, for all the months I have been blogging. Oh, how I longed to have a fancy, lovely header on my blog like I saw on so many others! Well, thanks to these lovely ladies I know how to change it! It was simple and right there in front of me all that time, but I needed someone to point out the how to of it all. Thank you both so much! By the way, Ms. Covington was my bookmark swap partner and has just today, posted about my bookmarks and several others she got in the swap here. So if you want to see what I sent her, stop on over and take a look. Adrienne has a lovely blog too, one I enjoy very much. I encourage you to take a peek here. I doubt that this header will be my permanent one, in fact, if there is one thing I like to do it is change things around, but I sure had fun messing with it!
Thanks again ladies!


Can anyone tell me how to insert my own header in Blogger? I can make my own, I just have no idea how to change the HTML, what to change, do I need to delete the old code to insert a new one for the header? Is there a tutorial out there about it? There are so many gorgeous headers out there and I want one! Please help !

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ever have a last minute gift and no tissue paper? My daughter has a bridal shower to attend tonight and came home with the gift thinking we had lots of wrapping goodies (I usually do).
She found a bag but no tissue. I remembered that we had some cellophane on a roll downstairs that I have had FOREVER. I actually like it better than tissue. It isn't wrinkly, didn't rip, stands up out of the bag prettily and for extra measure, I sprinkled pretty little iridescent heart shaped confetti (from my matchbox swap partner!)in the cellophane. It stuck to the wrap with static and now the glittery pink confetti adds another dimension and some glitz! What started out as a way to solve a problem may become the way I do all my gift bags!

Friday, July 13, 2007

I wanted to share with everyone the beautiful trellis that my sweet husband made for me and put up on the side of the pergola outside our back door. I have an annual mandevilla vine growing up it right now. I will try to take it in over the winter and see if I can save it, but I have no experience with Madevilla so I don't know if it will work. Anyone ever overwintered this type of plant?

Also, here is a view of the trellis from the other direction and you can see how high some of my hollyhocks have grown. The Pergola is about 8 feet high and the hollyhock is getting really high. It seems to still be growing, I hope it wont get knocked down when the rain comes. I think I will tie it to the structure somehow to prevent it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. The weather here is going to be perfect, in the 70's (it is about 66 right now!) and sunny. I am heading outside to do some lawn and garden work and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I am in the summer doldrums with this blog. It isn't that I have nothing going on, maybe I have too much. I am in the midst of painting the living room, doctors appointments, trying to get a handle on my art and get things accomplished. There is almost too much to write about. I will share this cute pic of one of the hens in the daisies for now. Hopefully I will be more inspired soon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Art 101

This is a painting I just finished, the paint is probably still a bit wet! I haven't painted anything in a while and I feel a bit rusty but here goes. I have always been a bit reticent to show my work. Art being subjective, I have always looked at what others do and compared myself unfavorably. I know it is silly. I used to do shows and sold a lot of work, my husband had to work them with me. I was so afraid that others would hate what I did. They didn't. They bought it. I got away from my art when homeschooling my daughters began to take up a lot of my time and I just never seemed to find the time to get back to it. It was always there in the back of my mind though, and this summer, this time that I have off from my "real job" I have decided to dedicate to getting back into my creative side. Seeing the wonderful things posted on other blogs has helped. The kindness of other bloggers has made me brave enough to post my work. So this is it, my toe in the water. My hat in the ring, so to speak. This is my first attempt at painting in a long time. I can't say I am entirely happy with it. I can't say I won't go back and work on it some more, it may actually be unfinished! I will eventually put some of my work on ebay and see what others have to say. It feels good to be back.

Monday, July 9, 2007

I Love the Mail!

. Look what came in the mail today! I won a beautiful lace and beaded pillow sham from Bertie at Aunt Mays Cottage. She has a gorgeous beaded lamp shade she is giving away this month, made from a bridal gown. Go enter now! If you have never been to her website you should really go look. She has a lot of information about Victorian houses and decorating and a shop full of beautiful handmade items like this pillow sham! This pillow sham is really a treasure! Thank you so much Bertie! You made my day!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Matchbox swap arrived!

Today I went out in the mail and found a package! It's my matchbox swap gift all the way from Australia. Shannon of Paint Mine pink sent this beautiful little matchbox decorated with ribbons, pearls and images of some of the faux cupcakes she makes and sells. Cute!
Inside were some pretty ribbons, gift tags, blue ribbon roses, little flower stamens and an adorable cameo, all wrapped prettily in pink tissue paper and the box finally filled with glitter (I am a huge fan of glitter!) These will all be great for craft projects. What a lovely surprise to find in the mail. Thank you Shannon! Apparently my box finally arrived too. If you want to see what was in it, you can hit Shannons link above. :>)
Just had to share the Hollyhocks that are blooming in the garden. This is a short one but I have some by the back door that are approaching 7 1/2 feet tall! My dear husbands grandmother had hollyhocks by her back door and I always think of her when I see them. They are the definition of a cottage garden to me. Not much going on today. I have a lot to do but nothing amazing so I will just leave you with a few pictures of the garden for now and hope you have a peaceful and happy weekend!
Lilies by the fence.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I Love A Parade!

The Fourth dawned Gray and rainy, here in Michigan, not the usual state of things. We usually have hot sunny weather for the fourth, but we made our way into town to stake out our spot for the parade and join our friends for breakfast. The street was full of red white and blue banners, balloons, flowers and festivity, so in spite of the rainy, cool weather we forged on and got into the spirit of things.
My girls (in the grey and green) and their friend, got their flags to wave from the parade officials.
I don't know if you can see the "made in China" emblem on the flag. My girls thought it was a bit ironic, and so do I.
Don't you just want her to wheel this right to your yard after the parade!?

And this little blue haired cutie! What a doll!
Small town parades. Aren't they fun? After the parade we went with our friends to their house for a cookout and spent the day on their boat on the lake. The sun did finally come out shortly after noon, and we ended the day watching fireworks from the boat. What a gorgeous day we had! I hope everyone had a wonderful fourth!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Book mark swap!

They arrived! P. Covington at Shabby in the City sent me the book marks she made for our book mark swap and aren't they sweet? I told her our family are HUGE readers so not only are these pretty they are useful too! How fun to have something to look forward to in the mail! If you click on the picture you can see the details much better.

My garden is amazing right now and I just wanted to share some pictures with you! As it turns out, my camera wasn't broken, it was just jammed somehow, I couldn't seem to push the shutter button down, I think i still need to have it looked at because I have to push really hard to take a picture, but, yay, I can still use it! Any way, the garden right outside my bedroom/office window is glorious right now. The lavender is in full bloom and it is interspersed with my roses which are finally blooming and these gorgeous bright yellow lilies!
this is an overall view of what I see when I am sitting at my desk (except I am looking out, not toward the house obviously). I have been seeing a sweet little hummingbird feeding at the lavender, he seems to just love it. It is also full of butterflies and dragonflies and bumble bees. I love looking out at the flowers and seeing these little creatures visiting the garden. I also have a bird feeder right outside the window so I see the goldfinches, cardinals and purple finches. Beautiful!

These aren't the best pictures of the roses, the morning light seems to be a little strong or my focus is off or something, but, trust me, they are lovely.

It promises to be a very busy week for me. We have plans with friends for the Fourth of July, the parade, a day on the lake and fireworks and a bonfire. Can it get any better than that? I have also decided to paint my living room, usually it is a one day job, but I have decided to paint the woodwork too and that will complicate things and drag the job out longer. But I am looking forward to the change. I always have a little trepidation that I will not like the new color, but it is only paint right? I can always go over it with something else. Anyway, I will post progress as I make it.