Sometimes after a long, draining day, nothing does me better than to come home and do a project that requires so little in effort and materials but results in something sweet and mindful of the important things in life. Today was just that day. A short day at work (daughter had a doctor appointment) but stressful with so much left behind at the office, lots of driving (and in the rain!) during rush hour traffic, and a State of the School this evening, then home to help my girl to study for a big test tomorrow. Dog and child tuckered out for the evening means that mom can sit at her table in the study, Paul Potts on the stereo (how can anyone NOT love this man) and make something gentle out of a rather hurried day. And with just a pair of scissors and some felt (and a few dots of glue and some embroidery floss to tie here and there), ta-da . . . the day's lovely outcome. Topped off with a butterfly. I'm off to bed. Sweet dreams.
Having a few small, colorful vintage bottles on my windowsill adds a litte color to the gray view outside. I can't wait to throw open the windows and have nothing but the screen between me and the warm, green outside filled with the sounds of kids playing and lawn mowers whirring.
At the conclusion of my daughter's science fair project on peas and chrolophyll, I was left with a handful of pea seeds, which seemed a perfect match with the sunny windowsill in my kitchen. Especially with the cold, dreary and dormant world outside, it only seemed fitting to bring life to view as I wash dishes and clean vegetables at the sink. Here is the pea pod we've grown. Like little babies snuggled in a papoose, warm and cozy. It makes me happy.
It might have been for-e-ver since I've posted but I've been super busy at work and equally as busy on the homefront. This weekend I "pounded the pavement" so to speak and have a shop now signed on to carry my line of cards. It is called Fiddle-dee-dee! and is a charming store of gifts, collectibles and southern charm. Every shop I visited on my quest to market my cards was more welcoming than the next. Shopowners embraced the whole idea of showcasing local artisans, and I learned a lot about how to make my work more marketable. I begin work in earnest this week, creating a line of Mother's Day cards. I can't think of a better first endeavor than working on a craft that is all about my absolute favorite thing of all . . . being a mommy.
Our boy Gideon is, as of yesterday, 10 months old. He was born on St. Patty's Day. My daughter named him after one of the brothers in one of her Top 10 movies Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He was always her absolute favorite brother. (The movie just lends itself to lots of those discussion questions . . . which bride would you want to be, who do you think is the cutest brother, which dress would you want to wear . . . .)
Our Gideon just happens to be the youngest of his litter as was the movie-Gideon the youngest of his brothers. Anyway, he's cute as all get out. In this picture he's lying in his favorite nighttime sleep spot, under our foyer desk. My daughter's Vera Bradley bookbag is on the chair. I liken this picture to an ad — Ralph Lauren has his blonde and regal Labrador Retrievers and Vera Bradley has her moppy and oh-so-cuddly Old English Sheepdog.
I came across a stash of glassine envelopes ages ago and was inspired this month — with Valentine's Day fast approaching — to create a valentine card to look like a tea bag. They were very easy to make (including the envelope). Click on the third image to see the tea bag label close up. I used a Valentine sticker, tiny silk posies and leaves and, of course, little jewels for the centers of the flowers. I dressed up the To/From label on front by cutting it out using decorative-edge scissors.
Can't beat a handmade Valentine; what better way to tell someone that they're loved and thought of.
At our company's first annual Christmas Cookie Swap this year, the cheese wafers stole the show. There was much debate over whether a cheese wafer counts as a cookie, but from someone who will always choose cheese over chocolate, I will gladly sit down with a plate of these "cookies" and a cold glass of milk and consider it the finest snack on the earth. Aside from maybe cheddar flavored ice cream or a cheese scented candle, anything is "beddar" with a little bit o'cheddar.
Here is last night's homemade batch of cheese wafers (yes, lots of multi-tasking going on at Chateau Gahan . . . baking, cape making, and just wait 'til you see the Valentine card idea I hatched last night and began working on). The recipe is from Southern Living. I made them for my family's traditional Christmas Eve chili dinner, they're good for breakfast, and taste great alongside a crisp, cold apple. And steal some when they're right off of the cookie sheet, fresh out of the oven . . . like a toasted cheese sandwich.
This week is Winter Homecoming week at my daughter's school. Each day this week there is a different theme, and students and teachers are encouraged to dress for the theme. Yesterday was Sandlot day, dressing in baseball garb ala the Sandlot movies.
Today is Superhero day. We gave it some thought this past weekend but didn't get very far. The bottom line is that I didn't want to spend a ton of money on things she'd be wearing for only 7 hours in a given day. We found these funky pants at Goodwill. They are sheer and have a glittery water pattern; underneath they sport built-in bicycle-type shorts. Fun stuff. Last night we worked on the cape. We headed for the Candy Spelling Gift Closet (deserving of initial caps for its importance in our lives) and voila, found a super big piece of teal felt for the cape (a friend was going to throw this away — he had used it on a photo shoot — and I nabbed it, knowing that it would come in handy one day), a bag of remnants with more felt and this wonderful shiny sequined fabric, and plastic jewels for eyes.
Within an hour we had constructed (using only scissors and glue) a cape. It was great mother/daughter time, and it cost us nothing! We found a website where you can create logos and printed out a paper superhero name which we pinned on the back of the cape. And Aqua Woman headed to school this morning in the true spirit of Winter Homecoming week!
Aaron Spelling (producer of 7th Heaven, Beverly Hills 90210, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Melrose Place, to name a few) and his wife Candy Spelling have a 56,500 sq.ft, W-shaped house, "The Manor", which includes 13-foot ceilings, a doll museum, a gift-wrapping room, 20,000 square foot attic, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis court, screening room, eight 2-car garages, 123 rooms, 12 bedrooms, 3 kitchens, 4 bars, a greenhouse, 12 fountains, a gazebo, and an entire wing for Candy's wardrobe.
Of all the lavish perks in this list, the one thing that caught my attention was the gift-wrapping room. How wonderful to have a whole space devoted to pretty papers, bows, ribbons, baubles and such for wrapping and decorating gifts. I imagine giant rolls of tape, tables like the ones in fabric shops with rulers on their edges, bins and baskets labeled and organized to perfection. And I'm sure there is a detailed archive of all the gifts given and how they were wrapped so that there is no duplication . . . ever.
So, I bought my first house — a modest 1600 sq.ft (54,900 less than Candy's!) — and decided that I'd have my own Candy Spelling Gift Room. Once we got settled in, though, much to my dismay, the only space left for a Gift Room was a small, windowless closet in our guest bedroom. But I forged on. I may not be a Spelling, but I like gift wrapping just as much as the next rich Hollywood socialite. And so the closet it is. I had a closet organizer company come in and give me a wall of pull-out bins and shelves. It now houses gifts I've bought for certain people, things I find that I think will make nice gifts, papers, ribbons, scissors and tape . . . all the things I need to gift and to wrap! I also have places to store my sewing machine and ironing board, and bins to hold all my fabrics. Now, to work on finding a place for that bowling alley.
I found these rose-shaped lollipops at the dollar store amongst the oodles of Valentine's Day goodies. At $1 for a "bouquet" of 6, I couldn't resist getting a full dozen roses. They'll be sweet little leave-behinds on Valentine's Eve for those at the office who, like me, won't be coming into work the next day to real flowers delivered from husbands or boyfriends.
I can't pass up taking a detour into a Salvation Army or Goodwill; you never know when you'll find a treasure that you need or that just makes ya happy. Such is the case with this ceramic find, a bust of a lady that I found at Goodwill. With no earthly idea what to do with her, I put her on my vanity, where I was just content to see her Mona Lisa smile looking at me, as if happy to have a home. She now wears a collection of my necklaces, serving a purpose and glad to finally have some bling of her own!
Christie Brinkley's lifestyle has always been an inspiration to me. Not her personal lifestyle and choices, but the things she loves and collects. She loves shells and has a studio, that I've seen in pictures in magazines, where she creates beautiful artwork using shells and found sea objects. She also collects Eiffel Towers and uses them as "easels" for pictures, objects and artwork. When I chanced upon an Eiffel Tower garden piece in Target, I knew exactly what I'd do with it. Here it is on my coffee table, adorned with pictures, postcards and charms. (It gave me an excuse to start a new collection . . . miniature frames.)
I can't ice skate worth a darn, but I sure do like the ice skates. I've got this pair hanging on my front door for the Christmas holiday. Every year I change out the silk flowers; this year it is pink poinsettias and evergreens with silver berries . I love that the skates are worn; they even have the ID tag (the round red thing you see) from the skating club that once rented them out. I'd like to think that the club might have been in a beautiful outdoor setting up in New England (not like the indoor rinks we have here in the South), and that powdery snow sets the scene and a big bonfire is nearby warming up the skaters. I just purchased a pair of child's black skates and plan on making a door arrangement for a friend with three small boys.
I created these plant adornments for table decorations for my office's Thanksgiving Feast two years ago. Orange and red silk butterflies flitted about in leafy and cat-tailed floral arrangements. I would have just hot-glued them onto a straight wire, but taking wire and wrapping it around a glass gave the stem the quality of the butterflies flight paths, very fluid and playful. I now use them at home in ferns. My own butterfly garden all year long.
I love lamps. The glow they give is so homey. In the evenings during the week when I pull up in the driveway, Harleigh will have turned lamps on. The house looks like a little cottage with everything golden with warm light. My Nana left me many of her lamps; many are vanity lamps, like this one, white hobnail with ball-fringed shades. They remind me of my sister and I as children spending nights at Nana and PapPap's, eating peanuts in bed at night after we had brushed our teeth and smelling of baby powder and clean hair. We'd lean out of our beds and watch our grandparents playing Pinnochle at the kitchen table with friends, laughing and eating. And we'd always yell out that we shouldn't be eating peanuts after our teeth were brushed. And Nana would tell us that it was OK because peanuts clean your teeth. I wish I could tell her now how much that memory means to me.
These boxes were my Christmas craft project this year. It began with my own need for pretty matches. I've usually got candles aglow in the house, and I prefer using boxed matches over matchbooks (they're sturdier for striking). But the matchboxes you buy at the grocery store are plain ol' ugly, hence a craft project was born.
I started by purchasing self-adhesive scrapbooking paper. It couldn't have been easier to cut the paper to size, tear off the backing and adhere to the matchbox. All the baubles, smalls, trinkets and charms I've collected over the years were put to good use for decorating. They look lovely on my tables, and they made sweet, inexpensive gifts. I created mucho little boxes and have begun decorating the large matchboxes you see here.
This year, a first for us, we got a live tree. I will never go back to artificial again! Here is our kitchen den (or "ken" as we call it) with the tree. My friend, Courtney, made us beautiful white Moravian star ornaments (put on the tree after this picture was taken). And we also put candy canes on it. Very simple. Next year, because the tree is next to the kitchen, we might decorate the tree with cardboard gingerbread men (so that Gideon isn't tempted to eat them!) . . . a fun craft project I can start now.
The wreath is one I made using a huge grapevine wreath we had gotten as a gift. I glued Christmas picks and ornaments all over it. I love looking at all the detail.
This is my chair in the ken. I can sit here and gaze at my tree, which, by the way, is still up as of today's posting! We'll take it down next weekend.
This lovely and glittery box has a special place on my mantel every year. (Another gift from Courtney who knows me oh so well.)
And here is our little boy, Gideon, after getting into his stocking. Santa knew exactly what he'd want!
"Our house was not unsentient matter — it had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see with; and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benedictions. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up and speak out in eloquent welcome — and we could not enter it unmoved."- Samuel Clemens
I am probably the most content person you'd ever want to meet. I have a decent job working with people I like, a loving family including a swell Old English Sheepdog, a home where nesting and curling up on slipcovered sofas is required, and a life rich in creative crafting and daydreaming. I someday want a cottage at the beach where my grandchildren can bring sandy feet into the house, wet bathing suits can dry on the front porch and everything we need to get to is a bicycle ride away.