Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Un Petit Quelque Chose

"A little something" Photo: ceramic mushrooms along the driveway

"Magicical  mushrooms"...wishing you a little magic in your life.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Notch Up - the ceiling

I love to add interest to ceilings a la some of the pictures in my post: All Taped up. But my favorite is this one that I painted and decoupaged in my dining room. I would have loved to repeat something similar in the family room remodel but the ceiling is rough plaster and you need a smooth surface to do painted, I was a bit stumped? Than an idea struck!

I sent away for these. And this is what I did. First I put up a very inexpensive molding leaving a 24 inch border. The border was painted the same color as the walls; the center of the ceiling was painted white. This lends an amazing visual effect, adding dimension and depth, creating the effect of a recessed ceiling. This was nice but I have always wanted a ceiling with decorative plaster accents and this was my chance!

First, I applied rope trim around the molding to give a touch of color and finish off the edges. Rope trim is a wonderful way to add definition between contrasting paint colors in older houses where walls and ceilings aren't straight. Then in each corner I applied a decorative onlay - easily glued on, spackled and painted the same white as the rest of the ceiling.

Here is the before...(this picture was taken before I painted  the ceiling border the in the wall color)

And here are...the afters

I am very pleased with the results. Actually, doing the ceiling was easy; the hard part was trying to take these pictures! (I so want a wide angle lens) I hope you like it and it has inspired you to do something creative with your, "fifth wall": your ceiling.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Un peu de beauté pour la journée

This lovely Othello rose by David Austin gave me "a little beauty for the day".
It is a bit of a surprise because most of my roses have quit blooming now...but here it is with it's beautiful velvety petals and luscious color.

I hope you had some beauty in your day. Please leave a comment and tell us what it was.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book of the Week

Shanghai Girls          Lisa See

This story starts in the late 1930's and continues on for two decades through World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. Two sisters, May and Pearl come of age in affluence and comfort in Shanghai; the "Paris of the orient". Ill prepared, they are suddenly thrust into a hazardous and life defining escape from China during the Japanese invasion. After arriving at Angel Island in California as wives in arranged marriages to "paper sons" they are faced with multiple challenges, all the while living with a huge and dangerous secret. But this story is much more complex, it is also about the enduring love between sisters; age old traditions; difficulties that illegal aliens face; the definition of family and what it means to be an American. Simply wonderful.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Plaisirs Simples

One of my simple pleasures is to take an early walk in the garden usually after I have returned home from walking. I don't do it everyday, life is just too busy and sometimes I am anxious to get inside for a bite to eat and a cup of tea. But on mornings when I have a little extra time I wander the garden pathways - often pleased, and then other times disappointed, but always feeling fortunate...thinking: what can be improved; what do I like; which area is calling for attention...and of course trying desperately to ignore the weeds! On this morning I was pleased.

What is one of your simple pleasures?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cozy Up

As some of you already know from one of my past posts: All the Tea in China, I love tea...brewing a pot every morning to have with my breakfast. A good pot of tea needs to brew and that requires keeping it hot; the traditional way to do this is with a tea cozy. I have made quite a few of them - it's fun to use them with different china patterns. I hope this tutorial will inspire you to make one.

I made this improvised pattern (lovely don't you think, but handy) by measuring my largest tea pot, this way it will fit over all of them. It turned out to be 16 inches wide at the bottom; 10 inches high and 7 inches at the sides before the curve. This should fit any regular size tea pot.


12 inches of the following plus any trim or accessories to add embellishments; the fun part! All seams are the standard 5/8 inch.

Decorative fabric
Lining fabric; it won't show so you can get a little crazy here.
Pre-quilted fabric (easily available) or a piece of batting. I used quilted fabric. This is a great way to use up some of those odds and ends of left over fabric. The one I used was a sample I bought when I was looking for fabric to use in the kitchen.

Using the pattern as a guide cut out the pieces (two from each fabric) plus a 11/2 X4 inch strip to use as a handle. Sew on the trim. Then, and this is important, cut off 1 inch from the bottom edge of the lining and the quilted will see the reason for this later. For ease of handling you can either pin or sew them together. I used a contrasting thread so you could see it better.

You are almost finished...make the handle by folding over the strip and sewing it together. Sew the two lining pieces together and then the two decorative pieces, sandwiching the handle in between at the top. Trim all seams and press. Press a 1/4 inch fold at the bottom of the decorative cover. Then insert the lining inside.

This is where the inch of fabric you cut off comes into play, it will allow you to fold over the bottom of the decorative fabric to use as a facing. Sew either by machine or by hand. Now add any fun, extravagant, pretty, embellishments you want -love this part, I am the "Queen of Embellishment".

C'est beau n'est-ce's beautiful isn't it?    Hope you had fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Seasonal Color

My entry hall was looking a bit drab and needed a little pick-me-up to carry it through the fall and winter months. So...I had all of this dried foliage...eucalyptus, wheat and branches...

for added color I bought this (I took most of it back as it wasn't needed)...

...and I ended up with this! I think it is just the burst of color I needed in this space. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Falling into Temptation

Going into Marshall's is always a dangerous thing to do, especially my local store since along with all the other fun stuff, it is one of their supper, shoe stores. But last week before going into the Trader Joe's next door (also a dangerous place) I thought I would pop in and see if there was anything new. Bad idea! I saw these shoes and everything else fell away in a mist. I didn't need them and I actually walked out the store telling myself that - but I quickly fell into temptation and walked right back in a bought them. I mean really, could you resist...they are so cute!

What kind of temptation have you fallen into recently?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

All Taped Up

The walls in the family room are all painted - love the colors: Behr's, Cornerstone and Sensible Hue. I am trying to include some additional architectural elements to this room and although it has nice crown molding I thought it needed a little something extra to bump in up a notch and give it a bit more heft. What did I turn to as a cheap and easy fix? One of my favorites: painters tape. I have had a love affair with painters tape for quite a while, using it along with a stencil on my workroom ceiling; in a metallic on my bathroom ceiling and combined with a stencil above the baseboards in my kitchen.

I used one inch tape, made for delicate surfaces; a template I made out of a paint mixing stick faciliated putting up the tape.

Then I applied two coats of the same high gloss enamel I used on the crown molding.

I love the fun of taking off the tape - but it does take a lot of tape (good thing it's cheap) and it makes a bit of a mess! Oh well.

Voila! I know this is extremely simple, but it is just the touch I wanted...and one you might never have though of. Do you like it? Next, the ceiling, I have some fun new ideas to try that should go well with this. Stay tuned...