Monday, September 29, 2008

Thanks, Mom!

For the beautiful appliqued tablecloth and napkins. You know it will be put to good use when entertaining. I love the colors, and the edging on all the pieces is lovely lovely lovely!

Sneak Peek

The stamping on the curtains is going along well. I have one of the four panels almost done and from here on out should be able to do a panel a night, getting them hung this weekend. I'm on a roll with getting projects done; there should be a gas shortage more often, keeping me home crafting.

This evening before I hit the sack I'm going to start working on the scarecrow. It's going to be a she. And I have an idea for hair that just might work. She's all sketched out and should be the crowning touch on getting Chateau Gahan ready for the Fall. And just wait 'til you see what Harleigh and I are doing for Trunk-or-Treat at our church this year . . .

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Farewell to Paul Newman

I was always the young girl looking to him as this older, insanely handsome man. What a package. Good looks, didn't come across as cocky, married to his soulmate. He was from the era that I grew up in but quickly graduated from and into a time far less romantic. Farewell to a legend.

The Headrest Cozy

My coworkers mock me (in a sweet way, mind you) that the Christmas season has officially begun when two things happen . . . . 1) I begin wearing my Christmas-pin-a-day. Never to be duplicated from one day to another. The collection is so vast that I usually don them starting November 1,

and 2) when I drive up to the office and have my Christmas headrest cozies on.

My sister actually gave me the idea; she uses bandanas, which are easy to find themed to any holiday. I made a set for Christmas, but I went the route of buying fabric, cutting a rough pattern to the shape of the headrest, then trimming it with ball fringe. I decided this weekend that I wanted cozies for the Fall. I found these napkins at a local hobby store for $1.29 a piece. They work for Halloween and also into Thanksgiving. I then pinned the fabric (luckily I have fabric upholstery, not leather) using straight pins, pulling it taut. I think they turned out great! (The second one is most true to its actual color.)

(Now you see why the only man who will ever suit me is the one who wears a Santa hat while Christmas shopping!)

Bedroom Curtains

I had planned on finishing these curtains today, but Harleigh wanted to watch a movie and so we snuggled down in the rumpus room and watched the first two disks of The Office Season Four. So worth taking the time out of my crafting to watch! I'm not sure TV can get any funnier.

Anywho, I'm not 100% sold that my idea for bedroom curtains will look as I'm dreaming them up in my head. I came up with the idea back in August (and posted about it on September 1). As much as I enjoy sewing, if I can come up with a no-sew fabric project, I'm thrilled. Hence the birth of this curtain idea. I bought the canvas dropcloths, which are not heavy and hard like you'd imagine canvas to be. These are rather flowy, and the fabric is a looser weave than what you'd see in canvas. I cut each drop cloth in half and then used fusible tape to hem them. I bought the package of four stamps and plan on using the design in the lower left of the picture below, creating a row of the design at the top of curtain, in the paint color of my room (maybe with white accents). My curtain rods are brushed silver and the curtains will hang on cafe clips.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


With the whole designsponge thing happening, I'm feeling, more than ever, the overwhelming desire to delve into redo projects with a vengeance. Last night (while enjoying the season premiere of Lipstick Jungle), I sat down and put together a fresh list of projects, and this weekend I'm diving in.

[And this picture has nothing to do with anything!]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


One of my most favorite sites has featured my Shoji Screen!

Design*Sponge is a website dedicated to home and product design and is run by Grace Bonney. Grace is a contributing editor at Domino Magazine and CRAFT magazine, and her accomplishments are amazing. She has been a featured guest on Good Morning America and the Martha Stewart Radio Show. You can read more on Grace in the About section of her site. Now you know why I'm so honored?!?!?!?!?!?

The site is updated throughout the day, has over 30,000 daily readers, and is sheer eye candy. I adore the Before and After section of the site (you can hone in on that section by going to the menu to the left of the site). They take submissions and I sent the screen pix on. It is featured TODAY! I have the site opened on my computer screen and keep refreshing it to read the comments. I think I'm going to pass out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Images

This velvety mushroom appears to be a Phaeolus Schweinitzii. I googled images of it and this specimen in my backyard is hands-down the prettiest of anything I found online. Here is some info about it. I think in its setting next to an old stump and amidst a bed of pine needles, it must be a place where fairies come to take shelter from the rain. See the picture below of its use as a dye for yarns.

Scientific name: Phaeolus schweinitzii (Fr.) Pat.
Derivation of name: Phaeolus means "dark" or "obscure"; schweinitzii means it was named for L.D. von Schweinitz, American mycologist (1780-1834).
Common names: Dye polypore.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Parasitic and saprobic; solitary or in overlapping clusters or rosettes on buried roots and at the base of living conifers, sometimes on dead stumps; rarely reported on deciduous trees; June through November.
Dimensions: Individual caps 4-25 cm wide; clusters up to 60cm (or more); stalks (when present) 1-6 cm long and 1-4 cm thick, branched or unbranched, central or eccentric, sometimes rooting.
Upper surface: Densely matted or wooly, less so with age; ochre to orange or reddish-brown with yellow margin when young, rusty-brown to dark brown in age; somewhat zonate.
Pore surface: Greenish-yellow to yellow or orange when young, bruising brownish, yellowish-brown to dark reddish or rusty-brown in age; pores 0.5-3 per mm.
Edibility: Inedible.
Comments: The Dye polypore is used to prepare dyes for fabrics (Figure 7). This polypore encompasses twigs, needles, and grass as it develops. Check with Bessette or Roody to compare with similar Inonotus tomentosus which is smaller and thinner, does not have the greenish-yellow pore surface, and does not grow in overlapping rosettes. Phaeolus schweinitzii is a significant parasite, often killing the host tree as a result of the root and butt rot it causes.
And here is a gourd I bought at Ingles to bring into work, where everyone this year is obsessed with gourds! Even my sister up in Maryland is goin' gaga for gourds. Must be the year of the gourd. Here is some info about this type of gourd. Some find it rather repulsive; I, on the other hand, think its color is lovely, and I find that the peanut-like warts give it a personality of its own (in a freakish kinda way).

(Yarn image pulled from a webpage by Gary Emberger, Messiah College. The wool color sample was provided by Gail Blakely.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

6 Random Things

Jackie, over at Empty Nest Full Life, tagged me for this fun meme. I've done this one before, but it never stops me from playing again! I can ALWAYS come up with random things about myself.

1. I can't stand small paper clips. Detest them, actually. I only use the big ones. At home and at work. If I get something with a small paper clip, it comes off and is replaced with a big one. I'm a freak.

2. I can't get gray hair fast enough. I started getting gray hairs about 9 months ago and you'd have thought I won the lottery. I adore gray, especially pretty gray. I have no plans on coloring it and only hope that it comes in quickly. I think it suits me.

3. I love eating alone in restaurants. Given the chance, I'll gladly ask for a single table and sit there for hours. I suppose I consider myself my own best company . . . which means I am often alone, but never lonely.

4. I have tried to talk myself into being a cat person, but just can't seem to get there. The thought of having a cat as a pet is so foreign to me that it scares the crap out of me. What, actually, makes a person a cat person or a dog person??

5. I find that the older I get, the less of a good friend I become (at least in terms of keeping up with people). It's not something I'm happy about. It's just a fact. I've become more of a loner in my old age.

6. All that said in #5 above, I did start, three years ago, to send one of those catch-up letters with my Christmas cards. I've always enjoyed getting them (I suppose you either love them or hate them). I try very hard not to sound too Pollyanna (and include a sprinkling of Gahan Girls reality "caca" to keep myself humble), but I do rather enjoy collecting pictures and milestones throughout the year that I can share with family and friends.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How could i resist . . .

. . . this frosted glass lamp shade with painted daisies for 80 cents at the thrift store up in Roswell. Put it on top of a plain votive candle on my kitchen island. Next to one of my decorated matchstix boxes, which I'll start working on again for the Christmas holiday.

The Bike Dressed for Fall

One of the great things about the old bike I painted and made a garden ornament is that I can dress it up for the seasons and holidays. I spent $4 at the Dollar Store and got this crow and three pumpkins. I skewered the pumpkins with wooden shish kabob sticks so that they would fit down into the dirt of the basket and stay anchored.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fall is here, and I don't care if it's 90 degrees outside . . .

I keep grasping onto any little hint of Fall. The wind picks up . . . it's Fall! The temperature drops a few degrees . . . it's Fall. The community swimming pool is closed for the season . . . well, of course it must be Fall. Ingles has pumpkins in their produce department . . . that's as good an indication that Fall is here as a printed date in the Farmer's Almanac. And at $3.98 a pumpkin, we're stocking up! Look at these two beauties on my front porch.

I keep my front porch decorated with live pumpkins right up through Halloween. I love their color. And then there's carving them, and lighting up their innards every evening when I get home, a gaggle of glowing personalities on my doorstep.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Voice on an angel

This morning Harleigh was a guest soloist at a small Baptist church where her voice teacher is the music director. When she sings, I have to look away. Being the crier that I am, it moves me to no end that my daughter can get up in front of people and sing with such passion and so beautifully. The song she did is Hallelujah (she sang the Kate Voegele version found here on You Tube). She sang to piano accompaniment instead of guitar, but it was breathtaking nonetheless.

For Christmas at our church she will be singing a solo of the Amy Grant song Breath of Heaven. Tentative plans are for the church to start off dark and then for a light to shine on Harleigh dressed as Mary as she sings this. If this is the case, then you'll find me curled in the fetal position underneath the pew, with a box of kleenex close at hand and a stick to bite down on to keep me from sobbing out loud like an idiot.

No Charge for the House Tour

Yesterday I stopped at several yard sales. One was the kind where one house is having a sale and has put up signs, and then on the day of the sale the neighbors wind up setting up "shop." I call it yard sale piggy-backing, and the house that went to all the work to set up the signs is called the"host" (as in a living animal or plant from which a parasite obtains nutrition). Piggy-backing is not a bad thing at all.

1) For the piggy-backing neighbors, it's in their favor to not have to deal with setting-up signs. I happen to think putting up the signs is one of the most dreaded tasks of a successful yard sale, so if someone else is gonna do it for ya, go for it.

2) For yard sale clientele, driving up and seeing several houses involved in the sale is a draw. So the host should view it as a plus. I might do a drive-by of one house and choose not to stop, but if there are several houses, it's usually worth my time to stop.

So yesterday I pulled up to the host townhome and before I went in I stopped at the piggy-backing neighbor, a dear woman in her 60's who had one measly card table set up outside her front door. We got to chatting, I asked her to put aside some vintage Christmas napkins she was selling for $2, and then went into the host house. Ugh. Smokers. Who in their right mind would buy a piece of upholstered furniture from a house reeking of cigarette smoke? I might buy something made of glass, maybe.

So I went back to the neighbor to pay for my napkins and she asked me if I was sure I didn't want the owl lamp (pictured above; it is over a foot tall). I said I really didn't need it. She said that she had made it, to which I replied, "I'll take it. And it will go to a good home." She clapped in delight and then showed me the other items on her table, each with a story, not my taste, but for someone else, probably a gold-mine of vintage finds.

She then asked if I wanted to see the inside of her house. "You seem like the type of person who would appreciate what I collect." Husband took over the card table, and she (Frances; by then we were on a first-name basis) and I headed inside. What a collection of stuff! As a world traveler, she had a lot of things from the countries she had visited. And lots of beachy items from trips to Florida, including a driftwood lamp in her foyer that I would have loved for my place. And, believe it or not, included in her collection of figurines, was a set (probably 15, at least) of ceramic Old English Sheepdogs. I asked if she had ever had an OES, and she said no, she just liked dogs and these particular figurines spoke to her.

I have no use whatsoever for the owl lamp; it goes with nothing I have. And Harleigh took one look at it and said it was the ugliest thing she's ever seen. But I have high hopes for this little guy. I think for Halloween I'll hang him on the front porch. I always have the porch lights on anyway for the trick-or-treaters, so why not light the way with something fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Finished Screen

Dang, I wish I got better light in my bedroom, so that I could take a sun-lit picture of the screen, but I wanted to show you where it lives now. I picked up the floor lamp at Wal-Mart last night for $9; makes for a better reading lamp than what is on the dresser next to the chair.

I'm off to Hobby Lobby this afternoon, where Steve, the manager, is holding another ripped screen for me. I think I might try to get it even cheaper than the last one considering he had already moved it off the store's floor and into the warehouse as "unsellable." Ha!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Photography Bug

Even with my mid-priced digital camera, I've managed to get some decent shots for my blog. But since seeing other blogs with such beautiful photography, I have truly been bitten by the photography bug and the desire for more shooting options. Here are my new birthday pins in a peach pincushion.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Amazing Gifts

Here are some of the presents I received on this most wonderful of birthdays!

This is what was in the package I posted about yesterday. Courtney did this little watercolor of Gideon. She used a photo of him that I had posted on Independence Day. And she captured his personality, his cute barrel chest, the big black eyes, the cock of the head, his feet. I can't tell you how much I will cherish this.
Devon got me this vintage switchplate. Can't wait to put it up. What a sweetie.
Flowers from Robin. She is our rep from a printer we frequently use and such a girlfriend. (Notice the fan on my desk pointing directly at me head; for all those menopausal hot flashes)
The lovely pins from my daughter.
Julie M said this ceramic dish and lid just screamed-out my name when she saw it. It does have Dawn E. Girl written all over it. I plan on using it to hold pins.
My sister sent me the straw basket/tote, the pink bucket and the Christmas scarves. They were all wrapped up in gingham fabric tied with a pink ribbon. She knows that I'll find a use for everything, including the fabric "wrapping paper."! Thanks, Boo!
Julie T has always gotten me the best soaps. (I'm a lover of bar soap vs. liquid soaps and gels.) This soap and candle set from M Luxe is in the best almond scent I've ever smelled. People kept coming to my desk asking if they could smell my soap!
And then my new Traffic Coordinator, Ashley, got me the coolest thing from Anthropologie. The growing egg. The first is a picture I took of the box and the egg (rather artsy, don't you think? Taking a picture like this makes me want to get a good camera so bad!). And then the picture below (from the website), shows what it will look like when the mint inside the egg begins to grow!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Big 48

Today I celebrate being 48 wonderful years old. I feel settled, comfortable being me. I will share pictures of some of the beautiful gifts I've received from family and co-workers. (The gift in the above wrapped package made me cry.)
Laura brought in warm Krispy Kremes to celebrate. Thanks, Laura! (Down here in the South, Krispy Kreme donuts are the "caviar" of breakfast edibles.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Screen is Done!

I finished it last night. It was worth all the time and effort I put into it! The big lesson here is to find a project in something damaged or worn. In this case (as I posted when I made the purchase), there was a tear in the fabric backing of the screen. I asked the store manager if I could buy it at a discount and he said "but it's ripped!?!" He knew not with whom he spoke. Onward home, a damaged Shoji screen with "project" written all over it.

I will take a picture of the full screen when I can get some decent light. In the meantime, here is a section of it. I think the black filagree stencil-like paper was such a great addition. I used roughly 30 different patterns of scrapbook and origami paper for the panes, cutting then gluing each one individually.

I think I might go back and ask the manager if he has any more torn screens. I could make one for my living room, with perhaps just a few colors and patterns.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gideon, we love you more and more every day.

I have to admit that I can easily, while channel surfing, get sucked into watching Animal Planet, especially when they do those shows on Humane Society teams around the country helping animals in need. Now granted, we are a family who purchased an AKC pure-bred from a breeder (so I can't claim to be one of those people who did the "right thing" by adopting a pet bound for euthanasia), but we got our Gideon with the same intent as any other pet owner . . . to love our pet as we would any family member. Our boy is such a good boy. He has taken on a rather docile nature, thanks in part to being in a house of two girly-girls who would rather snuggle than wrestle. I snapped this picture of him lying on my bed, spoiled boy that he is.

I was so not into adding a pet to our home, knowing the work and expense that one would be. But Harleigh had always wanted one, so I took the plunge. And I'm glad I did. We have the greatest dog in the world. (And that is, indeed, a biased mother speaking.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birthday Party

Tonite my family celebrated my and my stepsister Karla's birthdays. My mom (aka Grandie to Harleigh) outdid herself as always. She started us off with homemade paté, yes homemade. To die for. Also homemade (and I'll stop prefacing everything with homemade, since everything she makes is from scratch) crab rangoons. Then for dinner we had pork tenderloin with a heavy-cream and dijon mustard sauce, oven-browned white and sweet potato "fries," and a cold pea, onion and egg salad. And always accompanied by a wonderful selection of wines.

For dessert dear Grandie outdid herself with our favorites: for Karla, pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger snap crust, and for me an apple pie, both with vanilla ice cream on the side.

Harleigh has already put in her birthday dessert order . . . a quiche-sized crème brûlée, all to herself!

Thanks again, Grandie, for a wonderful meal, a wonderful evening.

Fairy Lights for those who inspire

Ali (over at Flibberty Gibbets) inspired me to start a blog (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and then Jane at Posy — through the beauty and words of her blog, each post leaving me breathless with the treasure I had stumbled upon — encouraged me without even knowing it. She has been having a tough go of things lately with blips in her health that have left her feeling rather frustrated and defeated. And yet, as always, she manages to inject in all her readers a generous dose of smiles and happiness.

She did a post this past week on putting fairy lights on her mantle, and encouraged others to do the same. I pulled out my own fairy lights, a set given to me by a friend and past co-worker years and years ago, a set that has adorned everything from a headboard in the bedroom to the window frame above my kitchen sink. So Jane, here's to you, good health, and "heading into autumn with a little bit of sparkle."

Put up your own fairy lights as Jane has done and let her know you are sending good get-well wishes her way!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sweet Gift

My new assistant at work, Ashley, went home over the holiday weekend. Her mom, whom I've never met (even though Tim, their son, used to be my assistant years and years ago, so I sorta go back a ways with the family) knows that I like shells. Ashley showed up at work on Tuesday with this gift to me from her mom. Shells that she's had forever and thought I might like. Of course . . . I love them. Not only are they beautiful, but the simple gesture of thinking of me is what makes them treasures. Thank you, Phyllis. And I love that she gave them to me in the box that she had been keeping them in, complete with a label "seashells."

P.S. Got an email from Phyllis a day after I did this post. She said to give her husband some credit for the gift since the shells are ones that he has collected since he was a kid. Even more special!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The project is now officially fun!

The painting of the screen is all done and now I'm gluing all the cut pieces of scrapbook and origami paper on. I created the pattern (or rather placement; there is no pattern) and then picked them up in an order that I would then remember when I went to glue them in place. It's mindless, relaxing work. And I'm seeing the progress. The study is a bit messy, and will remain messy for probably the next week or so.

I placed the screen on a white tablecloth so that I could easily see all my tools. And by using a tablecloth, I can easily move the screen over the surface of the table (and without scratching it or the screen).

More projects to come:

1) I have an entire wall in our rumpus room covered in pictures, plates and sculptural things. I want to redo the wall and so I've started taking pictures down and relegating them to the attic or Goodwill.
2) I bought rods for my bedroom curtains. They're brushed silver with simple finials. And then I got silver drapery rings with the cafe clips. I decided to make my curtains out of dropcloths, yes dropcloths. (I've used these lightweight canvas dropcloths with much success as tablecloths for my office's annual Thanksgiving Feast. They launder well and iron beautifully.) I'm going to stencil on some filagrees at the top in the paint color of my room and add some white accents. Wish me luck on this one!
3) My Fall scarecrow. I've sketched out how I want it to look. She's rather charming!

Giveaway over at Bella Casa!

Stop by Bella's blog where today she has posted a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card! And while you're at it, take a look at all that she loves . . . great craft projects, yummy recipes, household decorating galore, and garage sale finds!

[Image courtesy of Bella's blog nameplate.]

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