Sunday, December 23, 2007

A River To Skate Away On

Well, it's a puddle really, but once I put on my red dress & tights, and step outside my little front door, any frozen water will do, despite my lead feet! The snow catches the light and glows just enough at night for me and my beau to skate. And there's Audrey over by the church, gracefully doing figure 8's, while her beau pulls the kids on the sled.

Above us, the icicles hang in the pine, and birds watch from their roost in the bare branches.

Inside, the tree is decorated and awaits us for our gathering underneath it on Christmas morning.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas. See you in the New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Lucky Little Me!

Look at this darling "Little Purse" designed by Pam at and made & sent to me by Elizabeth over at! I love, love, love it!
Her kind-hearted idea for this give-away was to help the winner cross a name off their holiday shopping list, but look at am I supposed to give it away? I mean, don't I deserve a little something? Doesn't everyone? Don't YOU?
Well, you can have one too, if you feel deserving of all this cuteness, because she sells them here: I'll be pulling out my wallet quite a bit in the next two weeks. And now, I'll be pulling it out of something that makes me smile!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Calendar Girlies

Just for fun (and it really was), today I started making greeting cards using illustrations from old children’s books. The colors came out beautiful when I copied them! I’ve had the books for about a year now, and decided (in the midst of creating for Christmas, too) that it was time to get them done! After trying to embellish them with rickrack, (they looked sooo cute…) I opted for red polka dot and checked paper, as it’s less bulky for slipping into the envelope, and doesn’t drive up the cost of postage for mailing them. Ok, I know they are a bit sexist by today’s standards, but you can’t deny they’re sweet, right? I remember when I was about 8 years old, my cousin Nancy, would come over to my Grandma’s house to visit and we would actually draw daily chore pictures. We thought they were cute and old fashioned back then! Fat chance we would actually DO those chores. Even though Grandma had a clothes ringer she still used out in the garage. (That thing was painful on the pinkies!) And if we did, I know we wouldn’t have looked as wistfully thoughtful as the pink-cheeked little cuties on these cards!

They’ll be ready for the next sale at the shop ( which starts on December 13th.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I do some things very well, some things pretty well and some things, well, I just don’t do well because I don’t like doing them. Like cooking. You can see by the picture of me here, that the last interaction I had with my oven was to set the time a few weeks back. And I had to read the instruction booklet. I don’t even know if you call it a stove or an oven. It’s just a large dust-catcher to me.

Thanksgiving will be at my parent’s house this year. All the siblings in attendance will be bringing some part of the meal. When one of my sisters asked what I’d be contributing, and I answered, “Mashed potatoes” she stared at me for a few seconds and said “Oh”, then quickly changed the subject. My mashed potatoes have a history flavored with ice crystals, sand (don't ask) or lumps in them. So this year, I consulted my friend and down-home cookin’ expert, Lisa. She understands my culinary background. When we were roommates about 100 years ago, she figured out that if something took longer than a despised 10 minutes of cooking, I just wasn’t going to make it. It was she that kept us fed with homemade staples such as brownies and noodles covered in white sauce. So over the phone yesterday, and this morning, she guided through the procedure. I’ve finally ended up with potatoes not unlike I’ve seen and eaten before at many a holiday gathering (made by someone else). In fact, I think it’s a shame to eat the evidence confirming my creation! But it's time for my dish to join in its rightly place among the other dishes waiting in my mother's kitchen. Eat up everyone, because this year, they're edible!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh, Go Ahead and Have a Good Cry (If You Want To)!

Whenever I hear that song, Big Girls Don’t Cry by Frankie Valli, I can’t help but smile and think of my sister, Madonna, holding a hairbrush and singing along to it. She is 10 years older than me and was like a second, and funnier mother. Today is her birthday and I wish with all my heart that I could be in Louisiana with her to say “Happy Birthday”. But since I can’t, I sent my heart, in the shape of a crown, her way. I made the base with a silver leafed filigree wood, and backed it with ribbon and paper cut to shape. The medallion is a silver cupcake wrapper, backed with a blue string flower, topped with a folded crepe paper circle, topped with a precious, old picture of her in a glittered frame, and wrapped with a copper wire shaped on a jig. Silk leaves of brown and silver fan out from either side, and it all ties up with a shiny brown ribbon. I hope she likes it, and it doesn’t make her cry too much ! Happy Birthday, Madonna! I love you and miss you.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Walls Have Ears...

…and eyes and mouths and all the other prominent features that run in my family. Not that we’re a family known for running our mouths (or runny noses for that matter).

My bedspring gallery is up on the wall (leave it to a family gathering to motivate you to get things off the floor and somewhat completed) and off to a good start. My mother and future sister in law were looking it over, pointing and grinning, so I take that as a good sign that this project is headed in the right direction. I have an old magnifying glass attached so every small grin, wink, and twinkle in their eyes can be seen on the smaller photos. I need to find some more vintage office clamps and hooks, because I have more beautiful photos and other family ephemera to put up.

Eventually those small frames (I found them at a garage sale for pennies!) will have pictures of people I know in them. The ones on the bottom row currently have great “masterpieces” in them. This guy (labeled The Jester) is going to be replaced first—he looks like Jeff Beck! And while I do like a few of his songs, I’d rather let my own family members serenade me with their ode to the past, and the future enjoyment I’ll have seeing them on my wall.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Little Gray Houses

Being born 3 days before Halloween, you can bet your waxed lips that as a kid, I had the best birthday parties on the block. Everyone would come in costume, and we'd ooh and ahh over the finer details of each as we played games, and stuck our fingers into bowls of eyeballs, brains and guts, thanks to my mom.

So it's no wonder that Halloween has always been a fun time of year for me. I do a little decorating, have my family over for a spaghetti feed, dress up in costume, and hand out candy. This year, after painting the entire exterior of my house (yes, I really do live in that little house) a dull gray, I used a translucent fiber cloth and gutter mesh to cover the windows. There are only a few beat-up shingles left on the roof, as the moss has overtaken the high peaks as well as the yard. The trees have dried and blackened, and the condition of the fence is horrible, as you can see. I'm getting estimates on having those missing boards replaced.

But, it's warm and cozy inside, and there's always room for those I love, who love my spaghetti. The pumpkin has been carved and set outside the battered door. Its glow signals the trick-or-treaters that we still have some candy and time left before we blow out the candle on another Halloween. Hope you and your family have a happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Queen For At Least One Day

How do you tell someone how special they are on their birthday? I have started making crowns for the birthday girls in my life. No body can ignore a lady with a crown on her head; it's an obvious and outwardly symbol of how special she is, not only when she wears it, but always!

Here is the one I did recently for my friend Rosann in “her” colors of yellow and green. It had to be extra special because she appreciates the details that go into things that are handmade. I chose the diamond pattern paper because it reminded me of the floor she just designed and painted in her house. The silver do-dads were something we went ga-ga over when she spied them on a shopping trip together. The silver embossed trim is from a huge roll I got at the last Addison Studio sale in Oakland. The crimped cloth is from a vintage lampshade, because she lights up my life!

I get a lot of inspiration from the fabulous book Crowns and Tiaras by Kerri Judd. There are a dozen or so different artists who have contributed to it’s fanciful entries, and I can’t wait to make more with the jumbles and baubles I’ve been collecting. I always add a poem that I wrote on the inside and leave room to note "to & from", the celebration and the date I presented someone with a distinguishable display for the world to see that they are special on this day.

Here's the very first crown I made called "Birthday Queen". I made it for my own sweet Queen Mum's 80th birthday. She loves pink (almost as much as I do) and roses, so there is a heady bunch on it. I made sure the sheet music I tore out of the vintage book and then used was page 80!

Here's one I made for Audrey. She's a sweet little thing, so she got a 3D calorie-free cupcake medallion on her birthday crown, backed by a doily with crystals, and done in her colors. The banner on the side says "Happy Birthday to you" and on the other side "May your wishes come true".

One word of warning if you plan on making your own crowns: a head wrapped up in a glorious array of glint and glitter tends to swell a little bigger! I made mine with a fancy laced-up ribbon so they are all adjustable!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Forecast: Warm and Hairy

I managed to sneak this picture of Russ-Russ as he enjoyed the warmth of the day from his favorite spot on the porch swing. Hope you enjoyed it as much as he did!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pinch Me!

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture so cute that if it were a child you’d pinch its cheeks? That’s how I feel when I look at the latest project I just finished. How adorable is this? It’s a child-sized roll top desk. Can you see the little cubby holes inside? I had to fill the original holes that held the 1 ¾ sized original drawer handles, because I knew I’d never find replacements. I didn’t know they even made them that small! I drilled center holes and replaced the pulls with a simple, small knob instead.
The rolling mechanism was a little wonky, so that was all repaired and squared away. The bottom drawer (as you can see in this picture) was looking like a shy turtle pulled into its shell because it was missing the drawer stop, so I went down to the helpful folks at Olde World Furniture on Adobe St. in downtown Concord and bought a one, plus a few more to have on hand. And then I painted it. Just look at it! It’s a truly forgasmic* moment for me!
It's being loaded on the truck and taken into the shop for tomorrow's sale, where I hope someone will give it a good home (as I tearfully wave goodbye!).
*Forgasm(for gaz em)n. a serendipitous period when all existing positive creative forces in the universe have joined, and completed in attaining the perfect potential or purpose of what an inanimate object is truly FOR and is brought into being.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crib Notes

Have you ever started out on a project with hearty gusto only to be half way into it when you pose the dreaded question to yourself “Is this weird?” You begin to doubt yourself and head down into that creative cavern of despair because the project you see laid out before you is not what you saw in your mind’s eye. Or in person.

I was out with my friend Rosann, and I’ll be darned if I can remember where I saw it, but I turned to her in amazement to show her what I was seeing when I realized what it was: it was an old, OLD wire mattress frame that had been cleverly transformed into a memo board of sorts, with old clippings and photos attached to it. It was beautiful and I wanted one! I knew I had one similar to it from my (17 year old) son’s crib in the garage, and thought the marriage of something so intimate from his childhood combined with pictures of relatives hanging in my hallway would be a positive way to ease into the first phases of empty-nestism .

So I struggled it out of the garage, painted it black, and hit it with a little rust (did you know aluminum stays very well preserved if stored properly?) to make it look old. And put it in the hallway. Where it leans against the wall. After two weeks. (Next to another project in the same stage of undevelopement.)

And I now I ask myself “Is this weird?” The next downward question on the ladder is “Can this be saved?”, followed by “Is this garbage?”. I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For The Love of Old

When I was young, I took a whenever-I-needed-it break in an old storage shed on my parent’s property. With four siblings in the house, it was my private refuge. I would sit in a high-backed desk chair at my grandmother’s petite mahogany drop-front desk, and draw or write with the pencils I had stored in its cubbyholes. Maybe that’s when it started, this love for old furniture. Well, all things old, actually. (Just don’t tell my husband that I love OLD things—he might take it the wrong way!) But the love doesn’t stop there—I also love to hunt out vintage items, and after getting them in my hot little hands, I love to transform them to suit my own style or needs, and then obsess over the fact that I have no room in my house to keep most of them! I love to do a variety of crafts too, most of them inspired by a vintage look.

And so with this blog, I hope to share some of the things that make my heart beat faster, and the projects that make me feel as if I’ve been through a time warp, where I feel no cold, heat, hunger or passing of time as I work. And because it’s such a big part of my life, maybe a peek now and then at what’s going on at the shop. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or just to let me know when I’ve had too much to think!

And what was the fate of that drop-front desk I used to daydream upon? It traveled east to central Louisiana, where it now sits in my oldest sister’s house. (Don’t tell her I said she was OLD either!)