Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sweet Giveaway

Stop by Darly's blog and see her giveaway of a CREATE banner that is ready for a home in your studio or creative space. Her blog is a wonderful mix of vintage finds, a beautiful home, and her crafty endeavors. (Photo courtesy of Darly)

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Chair a Day . . . Wooden Park Bench


I do love a pretty mailbox. Susan at T-Cozy has a blog post about a mailbox that is one of the prettiest (and beachiest). Years and years ago I began collecting vintage mailboxes. I always liked the idea of a postman on foot coming up onto the front porch, pulling a handful of your mail out of his weathered leather satchel. I sold most of the boxes, but kept this one, way too pretty to let go of. My mailman, Henry, delivers by truck to my mailbox which sets on a wooden post at the street. Not nearly as small town a notion as my little green box conveys — complete with a scrolled holder for a newspaper. I have the box in my garage next to the screen door. It has no use, but just serves to make me smile, remembering simpler times.

Hebron Pottery

My parents just returned from a trip to the Holy Lands and brought me back this piece of Hebron pottery. It's small, about 3 3/4' inches in diameter. It's the perfect size for corralling loose change or holding rings and bracelets while you do the dishes.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Evening at Chateau Gahan

This view of the study and part of our living room is typical on a Sunday evening. I'll be busy crafting at the table with NPR as my muse. The living room chair is now devoid of a slipcover; it's off to the upholsterer so that they can create a pattern and make a new one. The manufacturers of my living room suite, Mitchell Gold, was going to charge me over $800 for a slipcover for chair and ottoman. A little on the high side? I figured it was worth it to go to a mom-and-pop upholstery shop that my parents have used with much success. Will keep you posted on the outcome. In the meantime, the ottoman is naked and the chair will don an Early American blanket.

The Family at Home

Jane at Posy has a wondrous library of decorating, craft and fiction books. Many of the titles grace my own study shelves, but a handful of titles that she owns are ones I want to add to my collection. One book that she featured in a blog entry, Home by Anita Kaushal, is unavailable in the States, but the version I purchased on US Amazon is, I believe, the same book but published here in New York. The cover is different, but the spread that Jane featured (pages 138 and 139) matches exactly what is in my book. I mirror exactly what Jane said about it, everything from the love of its non-glossy pages to its subject of creating a home for family. I love a decorating/style book that captures me with both its pictures and WORDS. I read every single page of it last night. Here is picture of my favorite spread in the book; this kitchen is one I would love, and I'm only seeing a table and window. But I just know that the rest of it must be just as enchanting.

The Bench Found Its Home

Yesterday's yard sale find now has a place in our garage. It had quite a layer of furniture polish on it which can, over time with buildup, leave the surface rather sticky. Such was the state of the seat on this bench and so I stripped off all of the buildup and gave it a good rubbing with tung oil. Plopped a pillow on it. Now Harleigh has a place to sit when she's putting on shoes. The basket underneath the bench is filled with SOME of her flipflops, a staple here in the South.

P.S. Cece and my sister asked if I would be painting the bench. Not sure. I sorta like the wood (maple?) and it certainly won't show dirt. Of course, on a whim who knows how it might look down the road.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Seriously . . .

. . . this has to be one of the sweetest yard sale finds ever. Did some googling on it and found out that it is a vase sold by Avon in the early 1980's.

Fund-Raising Yard Sale

Dropped Harleigh off at church early this morning where a group was meeting to head off to a rural area of Georgia to work on a Habitat for Humanity home. She is required by her school to get so many hours of community service in a year and this is a great way to earn them.

On my way home I stopped at a yard sale where the proceeds are going to English Springer Spaniel Rescue. The sale was out of control good. Tons of stuff. I bought a bench for the garage, a glass champagne bucket, a pink glass compote, little round blue vase, two salt shakers, a floral serving plate, ceramic scissor holder which I'll use at work, a ceramic Nantucket basket which holds a tealight candle, and this couldn't-pass-it-up trim with beads and shells . . . which when added up, the lady apologetically asked, "Is $16 OK?" Needless to say, I wrote the check out for more. Here's my stash.

A Chair a Day . . . Wrought Iron Bistro Chair

Friday, April 25, 2008

A New Header! Hip-hip-hooray!

Thanks so much to my dear dear friend Ali for doing my new header. This is my mantle which I hope screams a little bit of beachiness in this landlocked town I live in. The painting is one I talked about in an earlier blog. Now all I have to do is finish labeling all my posts (which I should have been doing from the beginning!).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Chair a Day . . . Bentwood Rocking Chair

This stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and is made of metal. My mom had one of these and so it brings back fond memories of where she lived when she had it.

In need of a facelift

I bought this cabinet at Lakewood with no idea what I was going to do with it, but I had to have it. It's a wonderfully multi-functional piece of furniture due to its height, depth and overall size. It is currently a night table in my bedroom and holds my bedsheets (which were jammed in the hall linen closet). I think I want to do something to it to give it a little ooomph. Just not sure what that would entail. Stripping and refinishing? Stripping and painting? Stripping, painting and then using accent colors on the bas-relief embellishments and the carved legs? Leave it alone?

Any ideas?

Three'fer Thursday

Got this meme from Kate . . .

1. What is your prefered type of candy?

Hands down, a pecan log. Perhaps my love of the most famous of all pecan logs, the Stuckey's version, stems from road trips to Florida as a child. Back then there weren't a ton of gas stations like there are today and so you usually stopped at a Stuckey's to gas up, go potty and walk around the gift shop. Lots of souvenir items from American Indian reservations, Mexico and of course Florida. And you couldn't leave without getting one of their famous pecan logs. I had an assistant at work who shared my love of these sinful delights and I made homemade ones one Christmas as a gift to him. I gotta admit that they were just as good, but messy as all get out to make.

2. What is your favorite meal?

A medium rare T-bone steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream and a green vegetable of any kind.

3. If you could only have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Steamed Maryland Blue Crabs. Eating them is such a production, a creative feast. I think the only reason I ever stopped eating at crab feasts was because they ran out of crabs.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Chair a Day . . . Dawn at the Beach

This was one of the very first chairs I bought. It was raw wood and I can't even remember what the seat fabric was. I painted it pink and replaced the seat with this gingham gauze fabric. I glued the hat and shells on. I can feel the sand 'tween my toes just looking at this little lovely.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This is . . . the contents of my closet

Everyone who knows me is well aware that my daily outfit consists of Merrells on my feet (and white socks, always white), polyester elastic-waist pants, and a big buttoned shirt. That's pretty much my uniform 7 days a week. Yes, as I've alluded to before, I am a prime candidate for What Not to Wear, but I'm certainly comfortable and save a ton of money on expensive clothes obsessions. My closet is a small walk-in with great shelving and hanging space. If I purged it of all that I don't wear or doesn't fit anymore, I could rent out the space as a storage unit, it would be that widdled down to just a handful of items. I don't use wire hangers (except where you see them on pieces just back from the dry cleaners). Instead I use the plastic hangers with the hook part that moves. My daughter, on the other hand, uses only the molded plastic hangers that are all one piece and come in colors, and she has her clothes separated by type, each type with a different color hanger.
The basket on the shelf holds a small steamer, Febreze, lint brush and a non-static spray. Purses are in a plastic tub, as are scarves.

At the bottom of the closet is my beach/pool tote ready to go. And a basket of Beanie Babies that my daughter can't part with that just haven't made it up to the attic.

A Chair a Day . . . Goldilocks Chair

This has always reminded me of the type of chair Goldilocks would sit in while at the cottage of the Three Bears. It was plain wood and I painted it these fun colors with a splash of flowers on the two back panels. It stands about 6 inches tall.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bald and Happy

OK, he is sooooo not the same looking dog, but he is a happier one. With the hot winter coat gone, this guy played fetch for almost three hours straight today while I gardened. Dig (me), throw (me), fetch (him), dig (me), drop (him), throw (me), then repeat about a million times. This is the state he was in when he finally called it quits. That was one happy, sleeping little guy. You can even see the drool puddle at his mouth.

Tastefully Simple Muffins

Had these at a church function and tracked down the gal who made them. Turns out that they're from a box mix from a company called Tastefully Simple. These foods are sold at home shows (and can also be purchased online); her daughter is a rep. She got me 2 boxes and I made them this morning. Served Harleigh a few and watched her eat it and she got that same gone-to-heaven look on her face that I did when I first ate them. You can find the mix on the Tastefully Simple website. I'm really tempted to try more of their products.

A Chair a Day . . . White Metal Swing

Found this in one of my favorite antique/flea markets in Roswell. I like dressing it up at Christmas with miniature lights. When Harleigh was little, it was inevitable to find a Beanie Baby or two sitting on it lollygagging around.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

One of the best Saturdays in a long time

This morning started rainy, but when the sun came out at around 10:00, the early morning moisture did wonders for the colors in the sunshine. The grass looked greener, flowers more vibrant, the sky bluer.

Took Gideon to the groomer this morning for his summer shave. Harleigh goes into quite a funk when we do this because she feels like she's lost her Gideon. I will admit that he looks totally different, more fragile, less cuddly, and somewhat gangly and teenagery. Nonetheless, it really makes him more comfortable for the hot months ahead.

Harleigh had a job interview this morning for a summer camp "servant" (what they deem the high school help) at a local mega-church. She was a camper there for 9 years, then served her first year last year as an employee. We so want her to get back on staff this summer. She loves it. Every weekday outside, with kids, in a Christian atmosphere. And during college summers she will want to serve as a counselor. We'll hear in two weeks.

We got her some more uniform wear for school: a short sleeve white blouse and a kilt. What with the warmer weather hitting, she needs some cooler duds. The saleslady who worked with us was one of those people who when we checked out I said, "you were so helpful and good at what you do. Thank you." She made me happy.

Then off to our town's park for a festival. The day couldn't have been more perfect. We arrived, spread out a quilt, and laid back to enjoy the town high school jazz band. Then the three sons of friends of ours, who are in a band, played (the main reason we went) and it was great to be there to support them. It was one of those days when I like living in a small town. In the one picture with the funnel cake stand, you can see the train chugging through.

A Chair a Day . . . Bunny Bench

I bought this one when Harleigh was little because it felt girly. What with the bunny on it and all. At the time that I bought it, I was on a white kick. It hung on a wall for the longest time.

Friday, April 18, 2008

This is . . . the contents of my jewelry box

Any necklaces I have are on Lady Goodwill. And the few bracelets and earrings I have are in a smaller trinket box. But my jewelry box is strictly for my pin collection. I go in waves. There are months at a time that I won't go out of the house without a pin on. And other stretches where they get a rest. (Come November I'll share my Christmas pin collection which, if I must say so myself, is quite impressive.) Here is the box that holds them all. It's a vintage piece where the bottom drawer slides open by itself when the lid is lifted. I've got three or four of these types of jewelry boxes that I've been meaning to do something with.

A Chair a Day . . . Faerie Chair

This rustic twig chair came from my friend Jenn; I believe she got it on a trip to Washington and carried it back on a flight unscathed. It is my fairy chair. And you HAVE TO say "fairy" in a soft, lilting English accent, drawing out the vowels. It makes it that much more magical.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Dinner Meme

I kept seeing the word "meme" in the "This is . . . " blog entries I was reading. Now I know what it means. Am I that electronically unsavvy that I didn't have a clue what it is? Anywho, here is a meme that I jumped onto that was really fun to think about.

You are hosting a dinner party and you can invite 6 other guests.. All we would love to see is your choice (images please) and your reason why you chose that particular person. (I went under the premise that the person be alive as of this posting.)

Alan Alda has my sense of humor and he's witty as hell. He's one of those guys who becomes more and more attractive as you get to know him (which I do from film and TV). He exudes such confidence without seeming cocky. There's an arresting vulnerability to him as well that I think makes him relate so well to women. His movie Same Time Next Year is in my top 10 list.

Ellen Degeneres makes me laugh so hard that I snort. Won’t I be a blast at this dinner party?

Garrison Keillor’s voice is like melted butter. Every Sunday evening I get cozy in the ken of the house and put on NPR to listen to his show. He can talk about poop and make it sound like a love story you don't want to end.

Tony Bennett, legend, would have such wonderful stories to tell of the Rat Pack. And he’s become quite a well-known painter as well. After dinner we’ll all lean on the baby grand and he can sing as we drink warm cognac.

Robin Roberts is one of those women who seems to be a complete package. She’s pretty, smart, funny and would seem to be a great friend and conversationalist. And she strikes me as the kind of gal who would be totally comfortable with silences in a conversation, not feeling the need to fill them with fluff. Ellen Degeneres is out-there gay; lots of speculation about Robin’s sexual preference. Honestly, I could care less. I just think it’s interesting that the two women I chose are not girly girl kind of gals (I tend to be more girly girl in the things that I like). I guess if I were to choose a more girly girl for the party it would have to be Candice Olson from Divine Design.

Curtis Stone from Take Home Chef . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That man could fix me deep-fried souse and I would think it the most delicious thing to ever cross my lips. When he looks at women, whether it be over a grocery cart, a cut of meat or a lush, green mound of produce, he has this bedroom look that seems there is no other woman in the supermarket. Sometimes when I’m in my local Kroger, I imagine seeing him come toward me followed by a trail of cameramen. Shopping with him, coming home to cook with him, eating and drinking as he peeks from the kitchen to see my closed-eye rapture with every bite. It makes me want to clean my house before I go grocery shopping and wear something bewitchingly sexy . . . just in case.

Others I thought of but who didn't make the cut included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Watch this YouTube photo montage to see two beautiful people who are so crazy about each other. It makes me wish I had found a soulmate in life. David Sedaris for his sense of humor. And Valerie Bertinelli 'cause she's so down to earth. If I had included people who were no longer with us, then four chairs would easily be filled, hands down, by Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

A Chair a Day . . . Windsor

A delicate metal windsor chair. I love the color of it. It stands about 8 inches tall.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cupcake Recipe

BJ sent me the cupcake recipe. Quite surprised to learn that the cake part is just a box mix (she uses Duncan Hines yellow cake mix). So it's the icing that makes these so unbelievably wonderful. And the smaller size seems to suit these well; makes it easier to pop in your mouth and go for another.

Butter Icing
6 T. butter (softened)
1 Pkg. confectioner's sugar
1/4 C. light cream
1 and 1/2 t. vanilla
Cream butter and add half the sugar
Beat in 2 T. cream and the vanilla
Blend in remaining sugar; add cream to spreading consistency

Ask yourself . . .

I came across the following sentence in one of those feel-good emails that was sent to me.

I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:
a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

It made me think about how frustrated I get with Gideon's big ol' wet paws on rainy days, tracking water and mud into the house. Shouldn't I just be glad that I have a warm body in my life who loves me unconditionally.

I've got to make more of an effort to send my grandmother fun things in the mail. She is about 45 minutes away in an assisted living home. Harleigh and I don't get out there that often (we see her whenever our family gets together), but she loves her mail, and getting something from us would be the next best thing to us landing on her doorstep. I will put together a post tonite.

I have never had lost luggage, but I very rarely pack important or irreplaceable things in my checked-in bags anyway. I would like to think that I'd be calm and, most importantly, not take it out on the person at the airline counter.

Tangled Christmas tree lights are something I haven't dealt with in years. When I weigh how much lights cost vs. the headache of untangling at a time when I want to be having fun, it's off to the store I go.

A Chair a Day . . . 1950's Metal Patio Chair

I imagine myself as a little girl at my grandmother's rowhouse in Baltimore City, on her back porch where it seemed everything was metal . . . the furniture, the clotheslines that ran from the house to the garage and squeaked as they were pulled through those rusty metal wheels, the patio railing, the aluminum awnings, even the drinking glasses were often the colored aluminum ones that would sweat from their iced contents.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This is . . .

I got this idea from a new blog I just happened to read (thanks to Ally of Born to Read and Knit!). The idea is from Lucy Locket (who got the idea from three buttons). It is a way to post without much effort. The theme for the week was "This is . . . the contents of my handbag." (And if you go to the three buttons blog, she has listed all the blogs who are participating in "This is." Obviously I've just hit on the first one — the handbag one; there are loads more that they've tackled!)

I like a shallow purse because I detest digging. It is one of the few things that truly gets me irritated and close to cursing. This pocketbook is from Walmart (and yes, I do call it a pocketbook; what am I . . . 90?). I own one expensive leather bag (actually it's a knapsack) that I've used for years, but I have to dig. Enough said.

This Walmart pocketbook is shallow, a dark color so dirt won't show, and is waterproof. The compartments suit me too.

Here is Dawn E. Girl's pockee-book contents:

• my wallet
• my rather outdated phone (which I love and will hate to part with when it finally up and dies)
• a tape measure (for when I am flea-marketing furniture)
• a small spiral-bound notebook (I MUST write everything down)
NOTE: Whenever I buy a new notebook, I cover it with tacky-backed scrapbook paper. I've also covered the tape measure, which I believe had an advertisement on it for something or other.
• my daytimer . . . my life
• glasses
• hand sanitizer
• house and car keys
• keys to my church (I'm always working on a project there. I designed the decor for our children's wing and also worked on a part of our teen center. During that time I was given a "master key." You'd have thought Jesus himself handed it to me, I was so ecstatic. But come to find out, there are master keys, and then there are master master keys, and then, drumroll, the master master blaster keys. I'm sure I'll have to reach sainthood before moving to that level of key ownership. In the meantime, I'm quite happy to be able to enter the hallowed refuge any time I please.)
• makeup bag with lipstick, compact with mirror and tissue stash, nail clipper and a lovely little pill box from my friend Sacha.

A Chair a Day . . . Lifeguard Chair

I'm not sure what began my fascination with small chairs. But a collection it did make. I will show a chair a day. Here is today's . . . a lifeguard chair complete with life preserver and a towel. This feeds into my love of the beach. I saw this chair in an old, old issue of Romantic Homes magazine. It was not listed in the Resources section at the back of the magazine and so I called the publication and was connected to a photography stylist who gave me the name of the man who makes them (not even sure if he's still around anymore). I talked to him and ordered one. He was a rather soft-spoken man who I imagined living in a farmhouse, working out of his toolshed.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

DAY 8 — The Recipes

There was so much good food to be had at the shower on Saturday. BJ, Sherry's Mom, graced us once again with her Norwegian meatballs. We eat them like popcorn; it's obscene how much we eat of them. She'll be getting me her recipe for those as well as for her cupcakes (never had a cupcake this good in my entire life) and for her bacon cheese toasties.

Here are my two recipes to contribute, both very simple but great staples at any party or potluck.

Chicken Salad

- Boil 5 chicken breasts until completely cooked. I'm usually not a big fan of boiling food (as a seafood lover from Baltimore, we steam everything to maintain its flavor and color), but in the case of this recipe, it really is the best way to keep its moistness. Shred or cut chicken into small pieces. Let cool.
- Peel, core and cut up into bite-sized pieces one large Gala apple.
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, to taste.
- Mayonnaise to likeness.
- Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients. I don't like to over-mayonnaise salads, so I start off with a little and keep adding. Garnish with watercress.

Shrimp and Onion Appetizer

- One pound shrimp, steamed using the Old Bay method. Cool and peel.
- Equal amounts oil and lemon juice (about 1/2 cup each)
- Two small onions cut up into thin slices (I've used regular yellow onions, but vidalia work really well)
- Paprika; start off with 1 tablespoon and add more to your liking. I tend to go on the "more is better" side.

Mix all ingredients, cover and soak overnite in fridge, stirring occasionally. Serve chilled or room temperature. Say goodbye as soon as you put this one out, 'cause it goes quickly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

DAY 7 — The Shower!

Today was the shower for Georganne who will be welcoming twin girls! Julie was sweet enough to host the shower at her home, and the setting couldn't have been lovelier . . . an urban townhome in a quaint city community where she can borrow sugar from neighbor Vern Yip.

The main food table pictured below (before we added all the food). I took a bamboo bird cage and painted it pink. Inside the cage I lined the bottom with reindeer moss and river rocks. I tucked one of the dogwood limbs inside, pulling out several small branches and blooms. Then I added a nest with two pink eggs (twin girls!), which are actually gum eggs I purchased at Easter. And then I topped off the cage with more fresh flowers. The pink cowboy boots (2 pair purchased) on the credenza have water-filled votive candle holders inside and are perfect vases, overflowing with fresh flowers. A great decoration that Georganne can take home, that her little girls will one day wear ('cause what little girl doesn't love cowboy boots?!?!) Lots of cake stands grace the table; I like adding varying heights to a buffet without it looking too all-you-can-eat hotel buffet. On one cake stand I hot glued a pink-trimmed white ruffle for a girly girl look. And the table runner is white eyelet.
A momma duck and her two baby girls decorate the bathroom sink.
On the drink island I created a bouquet of dogwood and Japanese Cherry.
I alluded to these decoupaged plates in an earlier post. I created them using children's books (Snow White, Peter Rabbit, Mother Goose, Pokey Little Puppy, Goldilocks) and clear plastic plates. They're really easy to make and while we did trash them after eating (they're not made to be washable), they were enjoyed by all. And Georganne took home the plates we didn't use. It's the kind of project you can do while watching television. Easy peasy.
For the utensils, I glued dollar-store baby shower decorations onto plasticware. (With Julie being nice enough to host the shower, we really didn't want to use a bunch of real plates, glassware and such and have to deal with cleanup, so the next best thing is to go with the plastic but pimp it out.) The forks are in a vintage watering can with a pink butterfly alighting on the spout. (I put a circle of white felt on the inside bottom of the can to keep the utensils free of the can's rust spots.)
Found these giant safety pins in the clearance Halloween section of a party story (for a grownup dressing as a baby . . . yuk). These were perfect to set around (I kept the origin of these to myself, not wanting the guests to conjure up images of grown men wearing diapers and bonnets).
Jenn made these charmingly sweet glass charms. And Georganne left with every one of them, to make a bracelet or necklace using all the baubles and beads. Such a utilitarian party item turned into such a memorable keepsake!
And the gift that got a rousing round of applause and chants of "Laura . . . Laura . . . Laura," these knitted baby booties made by knitter extraordinaire (and teacher of moi, I might add) Miss Laura. I was only able to capture one of the booties for this photo opp. But isn't it darling?

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