Saturday, December 31, 2011

Small painting project

I'm linking this little project to the "Get Your Craft On" Link Party at Today's Creative Blog! Please click through to see loads of great projects!

New Years Eve Day and the rest of my family is enjoying the zombie apocolypse on television ("Walking Dead" marathon - ick!!) so I decided this was the time to paint up my 2012 weekly planner that I use at work. I had brought it home a couple weeks ago and sprayed the black surface with a soft green base color, and had to practice up a little on my "one-stroke" roses. I am terrible about laying out any kind balanced pattern/design, but I think it turned out okay. Here are a few pictures...

Plain green cover, with paints ready to double-load the brush.

Started with the leaves, which fall into the background.

Added roses and "filler flowers," and an attempt at numerals signifying the year in the upper corner. Waiting for the clear coat to dry.

Finished roses!

More soon!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Use what you have: Christmas Centerpiece

Sure hope you had a lovely Christmas - we were blessed this year to have my husband home from the hospital (18 days, for an appendectomy and many resulting complications!) so we kept things simple; I even felt like I was able to slow down and actually enjoy things rather than rushing around at the last minute to make things impossibly perfect. And you know what happened? It was perfect all on its own!

One of my favorite parts of our little family Christmas is making our lunch on Christmas Day. This year I decided I was going to dress up the table a little bit (highly unusual in this neck of the woods), but I didn't think things through soon enough to purchase a centerpiece. So I decided to just make one from materials I had on hand. Here's what I came up with, after picking a stray piece of left-over garland from the craft box and a few ornaments off the tree, plus my lavender candlesticks and tapers, all on-hand:

holiday centerpiece

holiday centerpiece closeup

holiday centerpiece closeup

More soon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sweet and simple Easter dinner

We had a very quiet but lovely Easter Sunday - just the three of us celebrating - which included a visit from the Easter Bunny (he brought Scripture-themed t-shirts and a "God Is Love" necklace, plus Peanut Butter Eggs, for our daughter) and a very yummy dinner served on a pretty table. Yes, I actually broke out a tablecloth - this is unique because our dining room table usually has computers sitting on it so normally we just shove them out of the way!

It was hard to get a good overall picture, but it sure looked pretty in person. Since there are only three of us and the table normally sits against a wall, I put the centerpiece to the back of the table.

The "Crazy Daizies" really looked bright and cheery in my white ironstone pitcher. The white runner is actually a pillow sham (thrift-store find).

The plate, dish and relish spoon are for the butter and jelly that accompanied the dinner rolls. The jelly dish is a vintage piece of Depression Glass; I believe the pattern is called Swirl.

I haven't done too much in my table settings with lots of accessories yet; I tend to keep things simple so we have plenty of room to pass the dishes. We are of course using my beautiful everyday stainless flatware, "Chandelier" by Oneida.

I liked how the sun was coming in through the dining room window for most of these pictures.

Here are the plates at each setting - just 2 layers. The gold-rimmed plates (from Pier 1 many years ago) were for bread...

... and of course the Corning Centura "Tulip" plates were for the main meal.

Here is the detail on the dinner plates - so pretty! I recently got a set of sixteen of these (8 dinner and 8 salad) at the Goodwill, in pristine condition, for $2.99!!

Our meal consisted of "grilled favorites" (bacon-wrapped sirloin filets for my daughter and I, and a rib-eye for hubby), cheesy scalloped potatoes, a giant crab-stuffed portabello mushroom (split three ways - it was HUGE), and dinner rolls. And, after our tummies had settled, dessert was served: strawberries and ice cream served on homemade shortcake - yum!!

Hope your Easter celebration was delightful!

More soon!

More breaking news from the yard

Another bit of "yard drama" I've been meaning to share (in addition to the loss of half my lilac bush - arg!) ... after doing some brush-clearing in an area of our yard that used to be a vegetable garden, I discovered a small, struggling redbud tree.

Back at our old house we had a really pretty one that I carefully pruned each year so it developed a truly beautiful rounded canopy. Sadly, the crews that demolished our house after the flood in 2008 almost immediately snapped this poor tree in half with the backhoe. It was heart-breaking. So I was quite ecstatic to uncover this little specimen in our new backyard - yes, we've lived here almost 3 years and I've never seen it before - that's how "covered" it was by all the overgrowth in the former vegetable garden! Hard to get a picture of the full tree, but here's a close-up of a few of the buds finally in bloom.

Also, we haven't mowed yet for the first time so there are violets everywhere amongst the bright green grass. Here's the view heading up the hill from the vegetable garden - it looks like a little "meadow" of violets!

A close-up of some of the violets...

And, it looks like this shrub is back in full force this year - it didn't bloom nearly as much in 2010, and needs to be trimmed a bit, but it's one of the few things that's bloomed under our recently-overcast skies. My mother-in-law called this Quince.

Close-up of quince blooms...

More soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring is blooming... indoors

The weather has been really frustrating around here for the past 10 days... upper 40's to mid 50's and rainy, which actually means cold and damp. That means our fruit trees are going to bloom really late this year, but I was getting desperate for a little Spring cheer in the house. So I snagged an idea from Wendy over at The Shabby Nest, and brought some budded branches inside. It only took a few hours before the warm house coaxed these branches from our pear tree to open and provide a very pretty "show" in front of the dining room window. I have really enjoyed this vase full of blooms all week!

A couple days after bringing those branches in, I noticed that a good portion of my one lone lilac bush had been broken off at the base, either by animals or high winds. This really "hurt my heart" (as my daughter used to say) because lilacs are among my absolute favorite Spring flowers and we only have the one shrub. Not about to admit defeat, I clipped off some greenery and the one piece that seemed to have some buds on it, and brought that inside to force as well.

This sprig hasn't bloomed yet after several days, but I am giving it plenty of time - the buds had just appeared when the branch got broken.

And, here is the neat vintage green-and-gold vase I'm using. I'm not sure of the maker, it belonged to my grandmother and simply says "Made in USA" on the bottom.

Meanwhile, neither the pear or apple tree, nor the remainder of the lilac bush, appear any closer to blooming outside than they did ten days ago. Hopefully we'll have some warm sunny days really soon!

More soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Daffodils in bloom

It's an absolutely beautiful and perfect day here in Iowa today, bright blue cloudless sky and headed toward low 70's - and, what could be more cheerful than these soft yellow Daffodils blooming in lemony clumps all over my yard?? I have got to plant more of these this fall and mix in some early bloomers as well. Just sharing a little garden cheer with you today, I hope to be enjoying a little "motorcycle cheer" as well. (Here's a link to the write-up on my other blog about the ride we took on Sunday, just in case you want to live a little vicariously. LOL)

More soon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Easy zipper pouch

Even though I totally should have been riding my motorcycle today, I decided instead to take on a few small projects that I've been thinking about for awhile. A couple of them were just spray-paint projects,. but my favorite is this cute little bag I made using Kate's super-simple zipper pouch tutorial.

Seriously adorable!!

My little pouch is made up of some favorite scraps: green corduroy from a blazer/jacket - I left the flat-felled seams intact because I really love the look of them...

and lining made from a too-small shirt I bought at Goodwill just because I liked the toile fabric.

The crochet trim is a scrap from a grab-bag of old sewing notions I recently picked up while thrifting.

The whole project took me a little over an hour - I have decent sewing skills, but I don't have the patience to make anything too complex. I also don't have a "zipper foot" on my vintage sewing machine, so there were a few tense moments getting past the zipper pull ;)

But, Kate's tutorial was spot-on simple, and I am IN LOVE with this little pouch. I am not even sure what I'm going to put in it - I just knew I needed it!

More soon -

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More thrifty joy

Just thought I would show you a few of the treasures I've found while "junking" lately - I haven't really been looking for anything specific, just the "I'll know it when I see it" type of stuff.

First, I went to a church rummage sale in my neighborhood and boy, do those ladies know how the meaning of "priced to sell"! I bought this Fall tablecloth for a dollar (I might make some pillows out of it - not sure yet!)...

...and this pretty gold wire-and-bead box (in which I'll be storing some floral notecards) for 50 cents.

Moving on to the Goodwill, I found this gorgeous (and heavy!) blue glass vase, about 10 inches tall, for $1.99...

...this blue Depression Glass toothpick holder in the Moon and Stars pattern for 59 cents...

...and this urn-style vase in a sort of "polished pewter" faux finish, also about 10 inches tall, for $1.99. (This one will be getting a makeover!)

Finally, up the street at the Salvation Army thrift store, I found this pretty faux-silver bon bon dish for $1.59...

...and these darling little heart and cherub figures. They stand about 1.5 inches tall and there are five of each, all ten figures for $1.59. I am not sure but I think possibly they are figures from a Valentine-themed Tic Tac Toe game.

More soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My favorite cupboard: Heart of the Home

I wanted to share my beloved barrister bookcase, which is full of keepsakes from the estates of my mother, grandmothers, and mother-in-law, as well as some of my own thrifting finds. The cabinet itself came from my grandparents' home, along with two others which now reside with my brother.

Along the top, a few notable treasures include a blue Depression glass banana bowl in the Moon & Stars pattern, a couple of favorite blue vases, and - yes, that IS a picture of a bird firing a cannon!

Also on the top shelf, a plastic urn I spray-painted filled with Goodwill flowers, and a "natural edge" pencil cup turned by my hubby on his lathe.

The first interior shelf houses my (very) few pieces of Royal Albert Old Country Roses...

a collection of bone china animals...

and a stack of thrifted (and Ebay) dinner and luncheon plates.

Most notable on the second shelf are a short stack of vintage table linens, and my most recent thrifted treasure: a Lefton rose chintz teapot (sans lid) for $1.99:

Finally on the bottom shelf, a few favorite figurines and other goodies.

Now here's my secret: I had to pull furniture away from the cabinet to take its picture, because it's really crowded in the ol' mom-cave these days. Here's how the corner usually looks -

More soon,
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