Thursday, May 15, 2014

DIY Decorating: Kitchenette Centerpiece

In the ongoing effort to spruce up and refresh the house, I decided that we needed a new centerpiece for the kitchenette table

Super simple...

I bought this not vintage Fiesta Disc Pitcher, in Scarlet, from JC Penny's last December, when they were getting rid of all of their Fiestaware for 50% off (so sad they don't carry Fiestaware anymore).  Since then, it has been sitting on my counter tucked behind some junk important paperwork... languishing, un-noticed... but not unloved.

So... I moved it to the kitchenette table and filled it with some faux hydrangeas from Michaels'... incidentally, also 50% off.  (cheap-cheap!)

But the best part of this super simple micro-mini make-over is the cool salt and pepper shakers I found at My Friends and I antique shop in Fremont for $5.00.

I love the shape and color.  There is no mark on the bottom, so I don't know who the maker is (I think the number on the bottom was the antique's shop booth/vendor number) or how old they are, but I would say they look like they are from the 50's...that is just a completely uneducated guess.

I'm afraid to do any looking online...which would surely lead to buying online...which would lead to collecting and displaying...and, sigh...I don't need another thing to collect...

Okay, maybe just a quick look...

And one parting picture...Bonnie is a bit perturbed that I was taking pictures of the silly shakers and absolutely not petting her!  Shame on me!

Pet me, pet me now!

I'm linking this up with The Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie sure to pop over and check out the rest of the link-ups!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Walk in the Garden

When we bought our house in 2009, we inherited several fruit trees planted by the previous owner:  two cherry trees, three lemon trees, a banana tree (long since removed...poor ugly tree), one pear tree, one pomagrante tree (or shrub?  not sure which) and a loquat tree.  I didn't even know what a loquat was in 2009!

Wikipedia says:
Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 centimetres (1–2 in) long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar...The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe....The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.

I have since learned to love them, although the peeling and eating of them is much messier than the Wikipedia description leads one to believe!

Anyway...I spent a few minutes the other evening checking out how the fruit trees are coming was a lovely warm evening and it was real nice to stroll around, camera in hand, to see what's growing...

The Loquat:

The tree is really ugly far more tropical looking than I like...but the flowers are so fragrant and the fruit so yummy, I can't bear to remove it...

The tree is just loaded with fruit...

Some not ripe...

And some almost ready to become jam!

The Pear:






The Pomagranate:

The Pomegranate is loaded with flowers!  Last year I had a pretty good crop and made some awesome pomagranate jelly.  I just finished off my last jar...such a sad, but delicious moment...

I can hardly wait until the fall to make some more!  Come on!  Grow...grow!

The Cherry:

Oh my...where do I begin...this is a sad tale, be sure to grab a hankie to wipe your eyes...

For the last two years we have had a pretty dismal showing on the cherries.  What we have an ugly case of black cherry aphids.  Ack!

So this year I made sure to spray the trees in early spring...right after they flowered...

Which is exactly the wrong time to spray the trees...according to UC Davis.

Which is why I have shriveled dead cherries...

And a tree full of black cherry aphids! home-grown cherries, or cherry pies, or cherry jelly.  Good thing I live in a little valley full of farms and orchards...including a cherry stand!

Check back...I'm doing some online Google-ing to prepare for the next battle in Word War A!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paper Pieced Present

I have a love-hate relationship with foundation paper piecing.

Foundation Paper Piecing by Cafemama/CC BY

I love the look of the perfect points....

 Paper Pieced Star for Sandy by Sakuraboy/CC BY

 I love collecting the patterns...I even love starting the pattens...

But they aren't "get-rich-quick" patterns...and often tedium sets in and the unfinished pieces languish in the UFO pile.

I started a wonderful Snow White pattern for my neice...back in January.  I didn't get it finished in time for her birthday in late February....had a sewing machine break-down in March...not to mention a number of excuses as to why I couldn't possible finish it on my trusty back-up featherweight sewing machine...

but this weekend...

I finally gathered up all the parts and tiny pieces and forced myself to finish.

It only took about three hours to finish the paper piecing part...

Tear off the foundation paper, add some embroidery, borders and turn it into a pillow.

 With a cute little "Sweet Dreams" label

And I love it!

A note about the pattern...AWESOME!  I came across the site, Fandom in Stitches several months ago and love their fun-fan patterns; I totally need me a Minion!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Breakfast (in bed) at Tiffany's

There are oodles and oodles of blog posts written about color.

There are books, magazine articles, classes and lectures about color.

The only thing I have to add to the discussion is...

Ack!  Why is it so hard to pick a paint color!

I mean, I know what I like...bright and cheery and saturated.  But that all goes out the window when confronted (and I mean that in the most threatening sense of the word) by the hundreds of colors in deceptively neat little swatches in the paint department.

I walked into Home Depot with my paint color decision made...a dusty-turquoise with a french grey accent.  I boldly went to the paint sample section and confidently bought my samples...all six of them in ever so slight variations.  (I was like a kid in the candy store!)

I was so confident in my choices that I waited three weeks before trying the samples on the wall...I mean, I know what I want, this is a no will be gorgeous.

Until, it wasn't.  The samples turned out to be dark, dingy and depressing.

So back to HD...I will just pick lighter brainer, it will be gorgeous...

Well  dark, dingy and depressing quickly went to cloying, cutesy and pastel!  Ugh!

Alright, I squeezed one more quick trip to the paint department in...and got Three. More. Samples.

At this rate, and with 12 samples hanging out on the dinning room table, I may open up a sample paint store!

So the latest three may be the final three...maybe...I am leaning towards the one in the center column, third row down.

It is called Sweet Rhapsody, by Behr paints and is VERY close to matching the color on my Tiffany & Co. box.

I may try one or two more colors close to this one, just to make sure...I mean, I love me a good Tiffany blue, especially when it has a nice Tiffany necklace inside...but I never thought of myself as a girl who would paint her bedroom Tiffany Blue...although it is definitely bright cherry and saturated. any opinions?  Aqua Bay or Sweet Rhapsody?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chia Pet Cat Grass

I bought this Chia Pet Cat Grass at Christmastime for my cats (and my brother's cat, Frankie).

Yes...I buy Christmas presents for all the animals...doesn't everyone?

Anyway...the first batch of seeds, those that came with the Chia Pet didn't do well.  Only a few seeds sprouted...sad.

I re-planted it last week with a pack of cat grass seeds I bought at the pet store...and today I noticed this!

So happy!  And..I kinda don't want the cats eating it...strange?

Thursday, April 17, 2014


We have lived in our home for just over five years.  For the most part, the house needed very little changes before we moved in.  It was a new house, only 6 years old at the time, and even though it was a foreclosure the previous owner had kept it in great shape.

Just some cleaning, a new dishwasher and stove and some window coverings...we were good to go.

A few months after moving in, we did some re-painting...not much, just a few rooms.  A bedroom (which was an awful shade of Pepto-Bismol pink), a dark burgundy bedroom (so dreary) and a couple bathrooms (I love crisp white bathrooms).

Otherwise, we have lived with the previous owners color scheme...which is very, uuuuuuu-m, warm and festive?

I love orange, I do...but I counted 7 varying shades of it...hallways, dinning room, family room, guest-suite bath, powder room, master bedroom, laundry  Seven.  Different.  Variations.

Basically every single room in the house is a different color...and most are high gloss...

Five years was a nice change from our very small, mostly white previous house.

Five years later...I'm ready to change.

So I have a few re-decorating ideas in mind...but I want to show the "before" pictures...

(Disclaimer:  These pictures were taken in the classic "before" spirit, with no make-up, all pout-faced, and pimples showing...In other words, I was too lazy to tidy up beforehand)

Starting with the Master Bedroom and Master Bathroom

And the Kitchen

And Powder Room

And the Foyer

then...moving on to the Porch  (I love this of my favorites)

The Dinning Room

The Living Room

The Family Room

There are a few other spaces that might need a little decorating and sprucing up here and there...but, mostly just paint.

We will eradicate the orange one room at a time.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hello Tomorrow!

I have been telling myself for months (about 24 months) to get back here and check in...but, just as it is so easy to do, I said, "tomorrow".  Well...

"Hello, Tomorrow!"

So, after two years and two-hundred and seventy six are you? 

Me, I'm doing good...workin' hard, livin' life and craftin' as much as I can!  As far as family-life goes (human, feline and canine) we've had our ups and downs, hellos and tearful good-byes...but each day is a treat, and usually good for a few belly laughs.

Hello, Joe!

I've seriously slowed down on the paper-crafting front.  I still check in on my fav paper-crafters to see what's up...and what's new, but I haven't done much more than an occasional card and odd little mini-album.

Christmas Cards...with springy-moving reindeer

I have gotten back into my sewing groove, though...big time!

Faux Cathedral window Christmas Quilt

Quilts, pouches, pillows, handbags, towels, totes, place mats...and baby shoes (for my friends first grand-daughter)!

For Loralai's tiny toes
Ruffled Towels and Potholders

...if it involves thread and needle, I'm in!

French Knot Sheep Zippered Pouch
I am buying clothing fabrics and patterns like I actually had confidence to make them.

Please don't judge me...'s an addiction!

I have as many started quilts...

All labeled and ready to go...

as I have finished...and enough fabric to comfortably, and warmly, cover Northern California in quilts!

A Quilt for Trish
Oh, and Spring-cleaning is slowly evolving into a bit of a re-decoration of our house! I am drunk with Pinterest decorating ideas and how-tos!  Bring on the tiffany-blue, shabby-chic, retro, suburban-county, modern-urban, Ikea-hacked, palletted hand-made vintage upcycled decor!  I have a glue-gun and paint brush...I can handle anything!

middle column, third we have a winner?

So...check back, if you are still there, I'll be back with all my grand ideas!