Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sweet Memories

Quand j'├ętais une petite fille...

When I was a little girl and we went to Aunt Lolly's house this small candy dish was always filled with candy  for us. These visits were usually some kind of family celebration, or seasonal holiday. The food would be delicious, all of our favorites. Everything would be done to make sure that we had a wonderful time ~ and being with Lolly guaranteed that. My mother's sister, she had no children and thus we were in many ways her children too. She was the Aunt that would climb into our bedroom window on Christmas morning to help us open our stockings; the one who would show up unexpectedly to take us out of school  to go to the Fair; the person who always seemed to know exactly the right gift. And she was so much fun!  Sadly, she is gone now but the love, like all love remains.

This little dish isn't filled very often with candy anymore; I really don't eat much candy now, but nothing could be sweeter than the wonderful childhood memories it brings to me.

Thank you for joining me for this post. I hope that you too have a sweet childhood memory.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finally ~ Out from under

 Lately I have been feeling  like this...a bit overwhelmed and buried under tons of fabric.

I have been making the curtains for the interminable media/library redo, dangerously approaching it's one year anniversary. I guess this is to be expected when you do most of the work solo and other things in life seem to demand attention. But it is finally almost done and I want to share the alcove part of the room, which is  finished with you, and primarily in this post, the curtains. This alcove area is kind of funky in that it leads straight through from the front door entry, to the alcove and then out to a deck. Actually I think it adds charm to the space and I have always used it as an ancillary sitting area. I decided this would best be shown in two parts, first the curtains and then in a later post, the entry.

          You might recognize the little lamp on the table, it is the one I recently made the new shade for.

This room is west facing and in the afternoon receives a lot of sun, picking out the paint color was made much more difficult because of this, so I painted the alcove in a slightly darker tone than the main part of the room. I had  the chairs, which are quite old, reupholstered in a small creme and red check. I think it compliments the drapery fabric and goes well with the floor. Hi bunny...what are you doing there?

The little table between the chairs is an antique french Art Deco piece, I love the inlay. Actually, it is a bar and has space for bottles inside on a turn-table, somewhere along the way I picked up the old chair with it's needlepoint seat and the magazine rack. I made the needlepoint cat pillow.

I fell in love with the curtain fabric when I first saw it, I thought that it's richness would be perfect for this room. Now I just have to finish the curtains for the other six foot window in the main area of the room. As they say...there is no rest for the wicked ~ Or for the decorating enthusiast!

Have a great day! And thank you for visiting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fresh From the Vine

A few days ago I met two of my favorite people for breakfast. Not only are they interesting, generous, and just fun to be with, but two of the most knowledgeable gardeners that I know; with their combined years of experience and expertise they are my 'go to' people for any gardening advise. After eating and visiting we walked to their car to pick up some grapes that they had brought me from their garden. When I saw the grapes I beautiful these are, far too pretty to eat, first I need to take some pictures! So when I got home I got out my camera and...

These are Concord grapes, luscious and succulent for eating, and wine making. They have seeds and the skin is a bit thick, but what taste! To me these plumb, juicy clusters conjure up thoughts of Roman banquets and images of Bacchus...a feast for the senses.

                                                       Thank you Ralph and Barbara.

                             And thank you also to all my blogging friends who joined me for this post.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Plaisirs Simples ~ Fountain

When we bought our house many years ago, it had a horse stable in the back; I still have the stall, it is in my vegetable garden and I use it for storing the larger gardening equipment. This cement watering trough was in the stable and I got the idea of making it into a fountain, so we moved it against a wall near the back deck. I don't remember where we found this wonderful satyr but he has always reminded me of a fountain you might find in a grotto in Italy. I love the look of the Ficus vine around the fountain but here in Southern California it is a gardening thug and requires a great deal of upkeep to keep it in check, one of those plants you almost wished you wouldn't have ever planted...but it certainly adds to the overall effect.

I have put a variety of things in the trough over the years, and Water Hyacinth seems to work the best, even though it is usually decimated by raccoons...they seem to like it's crunchiness.  For some reason this year they have left it alone and the other morning when I left the house to go for my morning walk the sun was catching the new blooms in such a way that I knew I had to try and capture their beauty. When I came home I immediately went in, got my camera and came out and took these photographs. Now of course they are gone...oh how fleeting are beautiful things, but happily sometimes they will return and grace us with their loveliness anew.

                                              I hope that your day is full of beauty and loveliness too.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tools of the Trade ~ Sewing

I thought it might be interesting to start a new series of occasional posts called Tools of the Trade, on the innate beauty of objects connected with everyday activities. The first subject I picked was Sewing. I also thought that it would be fun to use these posts to experiment with different kinds of photo editing techniques. I started out thinking that the following photos would all look best in sepia, as you can see that didn't work out, maybe next time. Instead on most of the pictures I used Cross Process, it gave them just the touch of age that I wanted.

Sewing has been a big part of my life ever since I made...or I should say, 'ill-made' my first dress in the eighth grade; for some reason I picked out plaid fabric, I shudder now to think how it must have looked, all of that mismatched plaid! But I gradually improved and throughout the years being able to sew has not only provided me with clothing at a reasonable price and, very important: clothing that fit, but also allowed me to decorate my home with draperies, pillows, and other accouterments that I never could have afforded to have custom made.

This was my Aunt Lolly's sewing machine, it was a graduation gift from her parents, she sewing with it, and only it, for her entire life. The clothing that she made was exceptional and her craftsmanship was superb. I don't sew with it, but I keep it in my workroom to remind me of her.

Lolly's sewing machine, circa early twentieth Century

My Grandmother's iron and one of my Grandfather's tailoring aids

Does any one that sews ever have the right colored thread?

one of my antique pin cushions

Doing this post was a lot of fun and I hope that you enjoyed seeing it as much as I enjoyed doing it. Now what will be next...maybe kitchen gadgets, or gardening tools...hmmm....

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Monday, August 8, 2011

New Header

I find taking pictures of interiors very difficult, either the light isn't good, or the reflections are bad, and then there are all of those pesky views and other stuff that seem to creep in that distract or make the photo just plain unappealing. That is why I am in awe of people like Pat at Back Porch Musings who seem to do it with ease and the results are always wonderful. So when I finally was able to take a picture that I think really captured this area in my kitchen I was so excited that I decided to put it in my new header.

I remodeled this room a couple of years ago, it was my first big solo project and it took quite awhile. Although I was used to painting, wallpapering, and making window treatments this was my first experience using power tools and one of the things I am most proud of are the new moldings I installed; the shelf I built under the window, and what seemed like zillions of handles and drawer pulls I drilled holes for and put in.  I love the results and it turned out just the way that I wanted it to. I don't remember now how many yards of fringe I used on the table covering and window treatments...there is another big window over the sink...but it was a lot; good thing it was cheap!

One fun part, while I was in Paris I kept seeing my floor! I was pleased because that look was just what I was after. Someday I hope to share the rest of the room with you, but first I have to get some more good pictures!

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Lampshade Redux

I have had this little crystal lamp since forever and I have always loved it.  Sadly, after so many years the shade had gotten in such bad shape that I had no other choice but to replace it, either with a new shade or try to recover it; because I like the shape so much, I chose to recover it. You see it here stripped of the old fabric...really quite pathetic. And for those of you who have never done this before, this is how I did it...

First I made a pattern by wrapping a piece of tissue paper around the form of the shade. For the new cover I used a bit of silk fabric left over from the drapes I have been making for this room.

Now is where you can get creative, I chose to add a ruffle of contrasting fabric which
 I folded  and gathered to go around the base of the finished shade. I always make ruffles using the zig-zag stitch on my sewing matching, stitching over crochet thread...this makes it so easy to gather  the ruffles ~ no breaking of thread, you just pull the ends. Of course there are all kinds of purchased trims  that you could use.

I attached the fabric to the shade using a spray adhesive and then with  my handy glue gun I applied the ruffle and used a decorative gimp to cover the raw edges. And....voila! this is the result.

                                   What do you think...pretty, n'est pas. And really so easy to do!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Rudbeckias and Mailboxes

I thought that the combination of these glorious, golden  Rudbeckias and the re-purposed mailbox was so delightful that I wanted to share it with you. Rudbeckias are one of the flowers that not only stand up to the warmth of late summer, but seem to almost thrive on it. When other plants have shut down in the heat and become miserly with their blooms these 'daisy-like' flowers provide wonderful accents and interest.

I like to use old mailboxes in the garden, not only can they be handy storage places but I think they are very charming, this one stands just below my deck, outside of the backdoor. I have painted it my signature red color, it has been here for a while so it is a little worn, but I think that only adds to the charm.

Now usually you will only find bits and pieces of gardening needs such as extra secateurs, twine, hand trowels, and maybe a sprinkler head in my mailboxes but once in a while it is nice to open it and find some items of interest and beauty. After all one never knows what might creep into these places unawares!

                Au revoir little friend, I hope that you come and visit me again soon. You are always welcome.
                                                        And so my blogging friends are you!