Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flowers in My Garden

1. Allium 2. Vinca ground cover 3. Columbine
4. Pansies 5. Miss Kim Lilac
6. Sweet Woodruff 7. Virginia Bluebells 8. Bleeding Hearts

If you stopped by my garden for a visit today, this is what you would find blooming. It is so much fun to walk around the yard and discover what flowers are bursting open with color. Each day I find something new has opened up. It truly is a miracle that these plants stay under the earth all winter long and come back year after year with new blossoms for us to enjoy. So what's blooming in your garden today?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Potting Shed, Revisited - Part Two

Here I am again with the rest of my potting shed pics. Check out the previous post for more photos if you missed them yesterday. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett has always been my favorite book. My 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Kissel read it to the class on Friday afternoons. I just loved sitting there at my desk imagining what everything looked like in that fictional world. I attribute my love of reading to those Friday afternoon readings. A friend who knows how much I adore that book gave me this little plaque to hang in my potting shed/garden house.
Another thing I like to collect is bird houses. These sit on a shelf above one of the windows.
And my watering cans are displayed above the other window.
My daughter and I lugged this piece home from a shopping trip one day. It was a display piece from a favorite shop that was going out of business. The shop was appropriately called, "The Potting Shed." (Coincidence or karma?)
The shelves get rearranged periodically as I acquire new items or just want a little change. This shelf above has some of my frog themed goodies, including some vintage glass flower frogs.
My daughter made the square pottery box when she was in elementary school and I decoupaged the white box that my frog prince sits on.
Garden cloches and urns are two of my favorite things to collect. Cloches are fun to cover little treasures with to make them seem more special, like a bird nest or fragile quail egg. Sometimes I make a little vignette on a vintage plate and cover the whole thing with a glass cloche like I did here. At Christmas time I do the same thing with a grouping of tiny pine trees and a dusting of salt to look like snow. More cloches, nests, urns and some terracotta pots which nature has aged to perfection. The large pots began as new clay pots which I painted with antique white acrylic paint. I learned later that I should have sprayed some sealer on the pots before painting them, so as a result the paint started chipping and peeling off half way through the summer. However I ended up liking the chippy paint better and put them in the potting shed before they "aged" any further. What potting shed would be complete without a tool caddy full of gardening tools? Of course these vintage tools have long since been retired and don't see much pruning and cultivating these days.Of course there's a candlelier hanging for a little touch of romance. It's fun to sneak back to the potting shed after dark to listen to music and sip a glass of wine. It looks so warm and inviting from the house when it is all lit up at night. It's like having a mini vacation in my own back yard.Another pillow from the collection. This one says, "Welcome Spring" on it and is handpainted by another artist from the shop. I hope you enjoyed the tour of my little piece of backyard paradise. Thanks so much for visiting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Potting Shed, Revisited

Some of you may remember a post that I wrote a long time ago about the cute little potting shed/garden house that my DH designed and built for me. Yes, this is the same wonderful hubby that is building a shed up at our cottage, but that one will be strictly for him. I told him he should start up a side business making these, because I am certain there must be other ladies like me who would love a little getaway like this.
We opened it up this past weekend. (We use it to store our patio furniture during the winter since it is not heated.) We scrubbed and swept and gave it a thorough spring cleaning. So I thought I would take some more pictures to share with you.
Come on in and sit a while ~ Perhaps you would like light refreshment like a cup of tea or glass of lemonade?
I got this angel fountain from the shop I used to manage. It was an extra one sent in error by the manufacturer, who told us to keep it instead of sending it back. Who am I to argue with that decision? The water creates such a soothing sound and is great to have running when the neighbor decides to mow his lawn at the exact time I am spending a relaxing moment in the retreat.
These are a few of the pillows in my collection. They make the wicker loveseat all comfy and cozy ~ perfect for curling up and reading a good book.
This chair is my all-time favorite and was made by an artist who sold her things through our shop. My favorite part is the little hand-carved chickadee sitting atop the back of the chair.
I had this basket of flowers personalized specifically for the potting shed after reading that the word FOLLY means, "a building constructed strictly as a decoration, having none of the usual purposes of housing associated with a conventional structure. A folly originated as decorative accent in parks and estates and is used in the sense of fun or light-heartedness, not in the sense of something ill-advised."
We used recycled vintage windows (and french doors) in the construction and the view is as pretty as a picture. Not much is blooming at the moment except for the bleeding hearts on this side and. . .
. . .blue columbine and a fragrant Miss Kim lilac out the window on the other side.
I found this sconce at a flea market, rewired it myself and added the beaded shade for a touch of shabby chic elegance.
An inspiration board for garden dreams. . .
And a cute little desk for writing or drawing. I bought the nest lamp and hand-painted the shade.

Two little love birds sit in a flea market find cage. The color was perfect. . .I couldn't resist!
That's all for today....stop back tomorrow for more photos!

Monday, May 26, 2008

We Remember. . .

Freedom Isn't Free
by Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was stillI
Listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Challenge and The New Book

It's here! It arrived in today's, was that fast! Of course I'm talking about my copy of Postmark:LA. And it is every bit as beautiful as I thought it would be. Those 6 gals are super talented.

Dawn over at 4:53 am blog posted the ABC's of Me Challenge and it looked kind of fun, so I decided to give it a try myself. If you want to join in, leave me a link to your post in the comment section of this post.
Accent: None that I know of.
Breakfast or no breakfast: I love, love, love breakfast….my favorite meal of the day.
Chore I don’t care for: Vacuuming and scrubbing toilets - ick!
Dog or Cat: I have one black cat named Midnight and a "grand-dog" beagle named Shooter.
Essential Electronics: Computer and Printer
Favorite Cologne: Romance by Ralph Lauren
Gold or Silver: Silver
Handbag I carry most often: Vera Bradley “Betsy” bag….it has tons of pockets!
Insomnia: Sometimes – like right now….it’s 2:06 am
Job Title: Artist, mother, wife, bookkeeper, cook, maid, caregiver, etc., etc.
Kids: Only one ~ a lovely daughter.
Living Arrangements: I live in a 3 bedroom house in the suburbs with my DH
Most Admirable Trait: Honesty.
Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: Unscrewing the finales on the lamps and hiding them.
Overnight hospital stays: Four and I hated them all….with the exception of giving birth.
Phobias: Claustrophobia
Quote: “Life is a gift; live each day as a thank you note.” ~ author unknown
Reason to smile: A sunny day, a good book, and a cup of joe.
Siblings: One older brother.
Time I wake up: 6:00 am
Unusual Talent or Skill: I can read coffee grounds ~ like a gypsy reads tea leaves.
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Brussels sprouts ~ I was traumatized by them as a child.
Worst Habit: Biting my nails
X-rays: What about them?
Yummy Stuff: Tiramisu....mmmmm!
Zoo Animal I Like Most: kitty-kitty.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Etsy Treasuries

I just discovered Etsy Treasuries and in doing so, found out that I am featured in two of them! How exciting is that? My Wire Bird Nest made the Cottage Style Street Team's Treasury here, and then my NEST Sign is featured on the ABC, 123 Treasury here. You can check out both these treasuries through Saturday evening.


The assignment for this art journal page was to incorporate sewing and/or stitching onto the page. I planned to have more sewing than actually is on the page, but the thread on the bobbin ran out and I was too lazy to refill it. Of course if you could see the space surrounding the sewing machine you might know why. It's a miracle that I could even find the on/off switch with all the piles of stuff on my desk. Yep, it's a mess again. So "what else is new" you are probably saying ~ and of course you would be 100% correct. My desktop never stays clean and tidy for long, no matter how hard I try. It actually has turned into a dumping ground and I have recently realized that this is an integral part of my creative process ~ how's that for rationalizing? But it truly is, because I cut out snips of this paper with decorative edged scissors, or cut a picture out of that magazine or text from an old book, or a bit from a roll of wallpaper or a length of ribbon and the unused remnants end up all over my desk and eventually get incorporated into a journal page or another collage. And I love's serendipity at it's finest!
Yesterday I was at Michael's for an artist's date {isn't that what author Julia Cameron calls an outing to the art and craft store?} and I ventured over to the Martha Stewart Craft aisle because they were having a sale on all her tools, glitters and adhesives. As I picked up a bottle of my favorite glittering glue {which never clogs, buy the way}, I saw this border punch hanging from the display and thought how pretty it was. I've seen it there before, but somehow it just called out to me this time in an Alice in Wonderland voice and said, "Buy Me, Buy Me." So of course I obeyed and immediately took it right to the check out counter. But it does make a pretty edge, doesn't it? And it is very easy to line up the paper so you can make {as Martha would say} a perfect continuous line of punches all the way across the edge of the paper. You can see my first attempt at this on the blue post-it note turned out so pretty that now I want to punch all my post-it papers.

I decided that my blog needed a new spring look, so yesterday I played around in Photoshop and created a new banner and while doing that I figured out how to get it to appear bigger across the top of the page. It was so simple, but it took a lot of hit and misses until I got it right. See Donna, you aren't the only one who struggles with her blog.

So does anyone have any plans for the Memorial Day weekend? With gas prices at $4.07 around here, we are staying close to home this year. We're getting together with my DH's side of the family tomorrow and Sunday we'll be with some other family members. I think we'll have a cookout at our house on Monday and let everyone else drive out our house for a change. Have a great weekend and don't forget to fly your flag!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stampin' and Cookin'

This is another page for my Art Journaling Without Fear group. We were asked to use rubber stamps for this assignment. I used stamps from Stampers Anonymous (scalloped ledger border), Ali Edwards (find beauty everyday), PSX (flower), Hero Arts (zig-zag stitch), JoAnn Fabrics (date stamp), Stamps by Judith (babies breath and scattered dots) and Stampabilities (vintage flourish).

So were you a David Archuleta fan or a David Cook fan? I really liked them both, but felt that David Cook was the most marketable American Idol performer. I think he will go far.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Monday Mosaic

Just a little lovely inspiration for your eyes on a Monday morning......enjoy!!!

And if all that wasn't enough inspiration for you, just feast your eyes on this little beauty. . .

It's a brand new self-published book, chock-full of all my favorite artist's creations and ideas, called "Postmark:LA." It sounds divine, doesn't it? My copy is already ordered, but you can get one of your very own right here!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Back Home

We're back from the cottage and look what I found in my email-box. . . . .
On Thursday, my Etsy Shop was featured on Laundry and I am tickled pink about that.
Stella, you're such a sweetheart for doing that ~ I am so honored.

As I said, we went up to the cottage for a few days, mainly to put together a storage shed. We don't have a garage (at least not yet) so my DH wanted a space to store our bicycles, lawn furniture, gardening tools and all the other miscellaneous stuff we have. So he designed one after studying the sheds at Home Depot. He built the whole thing here and then took it apart in sections so he could transport it up to the cottage. Isn't that clever? I'm SO lucky to be married to such a handy guy.
Fortunately we had full cooperation of the weather - not too hot and not too cold and most importantly, NO RAIN! And even though we had to come home a day earlier than originally planned to attend a memorial service and we were still able to complete the shed. We still have to put a second coat of paint on it and finish off some of the trimwork, but other than that it is finished!!!
Thursday we took a break and picked up a couple of boxed lunches to eat down by the bay along with our new best friend. . . . .
We also saw a flock of Sandhill Cranes which happened to land right in the farm field next to our property. Sorry, no pictures of those (and I have no idea why not) but they were very cool to see.

Well, it's 1:40 am I finally finished going through all my email, so I think it's time to get some shut-eye. I am hoping tomorrow will continue to be nice, weather-wise, so I can work in the garden. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

Wow, I can't believe it! I am all caught up on my Etsy orders and swaps. I don't know what's gotten into me, being so efficient?! LOL!!! Anyway, it feels good to get everything checked off my to-do list. We're planning a short trip up to the cottage to deliver the shed that my DH built to keep our garden tools and bicycles in, so I kind of HAD to get everything taken care of around here.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day on Sunday and I hope all of you Moms out there did too. We went out for brunch and had a relaxing day. I even took a nap in the afternoon....that never happens! Later my DH and I went to see "Ironman." I wasn't exactly thrilled at the movie choice at first, but there really wasn't anything else worth going to see and we haven't been to a movie in ages. I was pleasantly surprised though as it was a pretty good movie. It was the typical superhero plot peppered with humor here and there. I like Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwenyth Paltrow and I hardly recognized Jeff Bridges in the movie.
For Mother's Day my DH gave me one of these (yipee!) and a beautiful flowering pot for the patio. My darling daughter has discovered Etsy and gave me this and these. One additional item she ordered has yet to arrive, so I still have another surprise to look forward to.
I've been working on the Vintage Workshop Birds and Bonnets Swap that Karla and Beth are hosting. The picture above and those below are a few of the collaged panels I created. You can see all eight of them here.

Well, it's time to make dinner....we're having chili and cornbread muffins ~ YUM! And then it's off to watch American Idol.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day and Happy Show & Tell Sunday! It's pouring down rain here today ~ not a very pretty scenario for a lovely Mother's Day. But it's the people we share the day with that's most important and the inclement weather can't put a damper on the celebration. I got up early to write this post and then later my DH, daughter and I are going to a favorite spot for brunch. We celebrated Mother's Day with my Mother-In-Law yesterday because it was her birthday as well. My mom passed away years ago while still in her prime, so for me this holiday is always filled with a bit of sadness and melancholy as well as joy.
This is my grandmother with my mom, when she was a little girl.

This is grandma setting the table for one of her fabulous dinner parties. She was quite the entertainer, as well as a wonderful cook and baker. I used to love helping her in the kitchen.

"God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers." ~Jewish Proverb
"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."
~Washington Irving

"I love my mother, as the trees love water and sunshine - she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights. " ~Adabella Radici
"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child." ~Sophia Loren
This is my mother singing songs with my cousins at my grandparent's piano before I was even born! Mom was quite an accomplished pianist. This piano now sits in our livingroom and is filled with happy memories.
This is my Mom.
"I miss thee, my Mother! Thy image is still the deepest impressed on my heart." ~Eliza Cook

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born." ~Rajneesh

This is my DH's mother. She led a difficult life in her younger days and she worked very hard so her children would have a better life than hers . "There's nothing like a mama-hug." ~Adabella Radici
"The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks." ~Carrie Latet
"A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled." ~Emily Dickinson
"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along."
~Margaret Culkin Banning
But of all the Mother's Days in the past, this one truly was the BEST of all ~ the day my beautiful, darling daughter was born. How could anything ever top that? :)

I wish all the mom's out there a wonderful Mother's Day.
Remember to relax and enjoy yourself and most of all, soak in all the love.
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