Monday, June 30, 2008

Always fun things to do . . .

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? (Dawn)
2. What is your favourite food? (Maryland Blue Crabs)
3. What high school did you go to? (Westminster)
4. What is your favourite colour? (pink)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Heath Ledger, may he rest in peace)
6. Favourite drink? (iced tea)
7. Dream vacation? (a private villa in the Maldives, over the water)
8. Favourite dessert? (apple pie)
9. What you want to be when you grow up? (grandmother, but in due time)
10. What do you love most in life? (Harleigh)
11. One Word to describe you. (content)
12. Your flickr name. (gahangirls)

Click on this link for photo credits.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tole Cabinet

This tole cabinet, a find at Lakewood, is in my laundry closet and holds small jars of stain remover and dryer sheets. It's also home to a stray German doll I can't part with and a teacup pincushion. It's not in great shape, with some rust spots and a stain or two or three. A true catchall . . . just like the key holder below it!

The Red Vest to the Rescue Once Again

Thanks to her wonderful grandfather, who recently passed away, Harleigh now has a car. It was one of his wishes that she have one. With the help of her grandparents here in Atlanta, she now has a 2002 Nissan Sentra, in great condition. With all of her extra-curricular activities both before and after school, jobs, babysitting commitments, wanting to go the gym, etc. this will help us out considerably. With a full-time job, it's really hard for me to juggle work and getting Harleigh to all the places she needs to be. Melinda, a dear friend and stay-at-home mom, has bent over backwards to help out, but it's just a band-aid to what we really needed which is for Harleigh to be able to get to and from where she needs to be at the times needed.

One snafu with the car is that when we purchased it there was a CD stuck in the CD player. It played OK, but just wouldn't eject. After googling "CD stuck in car CD player," Harleigh and I went to work "operating" on the patient using everything from tweezers to duct tape to a shish kabob skewer. To no avail.

We had to make a trip to Ace Hardware to get an extra key as well as a new battery for the car remote. As readers of my past posts know, Ace Hardware is my hardware heaven here on earth. I extolled their virtues with the story of the key. These men can do anything.

So in we walked, to lots of hellos from all the guys (Harleigh used to work part time there). After addressing the key and remote, I asked my "red vest" if he knew of a way to get the stuck CD out. Within a matter of minutes there were red vests everywhere, pulling together an arsenal of tools. There was no doubt that the challenge was "on" and that we would not leave Ace Hardware without an ejected CD in hand. And we did. (The player still eats CDs, but at least we have a CD in there now that Harleigh doesn't mind listening to over and over again.)

I baked brownies, like I always do when my knights-in-shining-armor get me out of scrapes and do things that they don't have to do. This time I made a stencil (thank gosh for easy-to-cut logos) and the guys will hopefully know how much I appreciate all they do. (That or they'll think I'm that crazy lady who needs to get a life 'cause she took time to cut an Ace Hardware stencil for the powdered-sugar logo emblazoning their gift of brownies. Ah well, one more thing that sets me apart and paves the way for me becoming quite the character in my old age.)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tole Watering Can

Got the inspiration from a post at Songbirdtiff who had inherited some of her mother-in-laws platters, including a tole one. I have a number of tole pieces around the house and I'd like to start using them more, or at the very least start highlighting them beyond their utilitarian purposes. I've posted about my four tole pins that I adore. Well, here is the beginning of sharing with you some delightful pieces I own.

This watering can probably isn't considered tole because I think that the pattern on it might just be a decal, but this ain't no Antiques Roadshow, so let's call it tole and leave it at that. It usually has a place of honor on the shelves in the study, and I put it to use at the baby shower for Georganne as a utensil holder. But using it for a vase works too. I put a glass inside for the water. This bouquet is all from the yard . . . shasta daisies, hydrangea and even a cut vine of clematis. It sets on my mantle. Jane at Posy furthered the inspiration with her post about doilies, so I got into my stash of doilies inherited from my grandmother and found this one to be perfect.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Keeping Evil at Bay

Dear friend and co-worker Courtney returned from a 10-day trip to Greece with her church's youth group. Visit her lovely blog A Year of Drawing and you'll see some drawings from her trip there. She brought me back an evil-eye bracelet. She chose one in a lovely, warm shade of pink ('cause she knows I'm a sucker for anything pink). With the way things have been going at work lately I sometimes — no, a lot of times — feel evilness. It's not that the people I work with are evil, nor the surroundings or even my daily tasks. What I struggle with most is warding off the evil that manifests in my own being. When people annoy me or intimidate me, I wind up saying nasty things to myself either under my breath or in my head. Granted no one can hear my sarcastic, biting remarks, but I know that what I'm doing is not very Christian-like. And I'm fooling myself if I think that God doesn't cringe when he hears what I'm thinking.

So I don't wear my evil-eye bracelet like a Wonder Woman cuff, taking a stance with my wrists crossed, fending off the forces of evil. Rather I take a glance down at my wrist and am reminded that I really need to take the high road and be a better person.

Last night I was reading a Town & Country magazine and came across an ad for evil-eye jewelry made by Aaron Basha, famed jewelery designer of jeweled baby shoe charms. What are the chances of getting an evil-eye bracelet and spotting an evil-eye jewelry ad in the same day? The picture above is of the ad and you can see my pretty pink bracelet as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Friends

When Jane at Posy listed my blog as one of those that she reads I thought my chest was going to burst with pride. Such a compliment from someone whose life and lifestyle I've come to admire so much. And then today, catching up on my blog reading, I discovered that Liz at Mabel's House had featured my site in a post. Again, almost to tears with feeling so honored.

I don't mean to be dramatic about this, but I really put my heart and soul into my posts. It was a huge effort for me to put myself out there — for the world to see — with my passions, my faults, my thoughts, my family. And when you get recognized by a fellow blogger who bares herself just as much, if not more, than you . . . it feels very intimate, like the miles between just melt away. And there's a friendship there that couldn't have been possible were it not for this wonderful medium of sharing. I am grateful to those I've met and come to cherish.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shell Mirror

Back on June 7 I posted about a mirror that I have that I wanted to cover in shells. Done. Here it is (the light wasn't great for taking the picture but I really wanted to post about it today). I rather like it. Debated covering the WHOLE frame in shells, but stopped at a point where it seemed just right.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Word Cloud

This website creates these fun word collages or "clouds" as they call them. Here is my collage of things that make me happy (please don't be offended, family and friends, but I didn't include people).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fashion Show at the Manor

My grandmother, MamMom, lives in a very quaint, small town assisted living home. The gal in charge of social activities is a hoot and has the residents busy all the time. The community is also very involved in the care of these cherished elders — coming in to help with bingo games, performing, and even bringing in dogs for the elderly to love up on. It's always heartwarming to visit and see how treasured these people are by the staff and volunteers.

This day's long-awaited big event was their Second Annual Fashion Show. When we arrived, the "models" were all dressed in their finest or funnest outfit. A volunteer had a nail station set up and was making sure all the women had their fingernails freshly painted. Another volunteer had done all the makeup. Cameras were flashing everywhere (the community newspaper had a photographer/reporter there to do a story and the way everyone acted, you'd have thought Oprah was covering the event; it meant so much to them to be recognized) and compliments were showered on the models.

I went ahead down to the cafeteria to get a seat (by start of the show they could fit no more people into the cafeteria; it was standing room only). Mother and daughter flutists played before the show began, which I thought was a nice touch. Harleigh stayed behind to escort in MamMom. Each model was escorted in by a volunteer (boys from a local church, respectively dressed-up for the occasion) or by a family member.

The head administrator gave the opening remarks, a youth pastor from a local church gave the invocation, and an elder care pastor served as the mistress of ceremonies.

Here is MamMom's room, which she's made very homey.
The program.
MamMom looked so pretty; even her walker got a pretty green bow to match her outfit.
Entering the room.
MamMom chatting with the emcee. (She IS one of us so there's no shutting her up, especially if there's an audience!)
And then there's the crowd to talk to!
This lady wore a super cool silver cowboy hat. She didn't smile much, but I'm sure on the inside she was Tyra Banks workin' it!
The show didn't have a shortage of male models. This handsome dude even had props!

We left feeling really good on the inside, and MamMom enjoyed a day of feeling beautiful, important, and special. Not that it takes a fashion show to remind her that she is all these things. I know how much today tired her out, and I'm sure she'll be asleep for the night before the sun even sets. But, a model does need her beauty sleep.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garage Gallery

Our garage is not just a place to park our car (soon to be carS, once Harleigh gets her license!). It is another room in our home, a space we've personalized. I have rattan blinds and cafe curtains at the windows. The floor is in much need of another painting; this time I think I'll go with a standard garage floor gray. But I really want to salvage the area rug that I painted on the floor; a great way to put to use all those cans of leftover paint you have hanging around. It took me a couple of hours to paint, and when Harleigh was little, we had a table and four chairs on it that she and her friends could sit at and play, do crafts, make as much of a mess as they wanted. When we moved into the house I told Harleigh that she and her newfound neighborhood friends could paint one wall in the gargage with anything they wanted. You can see part of their artwork in the picture below. My favorite (not pictured) is the word "Trash" with a big arrow pointing down, over the place where we park our curbside trashcan.

Ignore all the junk in the below picture; this is just a portion of the stuff I've been collecting for the yard sale that I WILL NOT HAVE. I am over it . . . over all the work it takes to price everything, take it out of the garage and get it staged, deal with strangers driving up on my grass and then dickering over 25 cent items, then finally having to take all the stuff that didn't sell to Salvation Army. Ugh. Not worth it. I have some items that I'm going to consign, but everything else is being hauled off. Will I regret not doing the sale? Yes, but I need to let it go.

Another thing I like about creating another room out of a garage is that I can display items that I love but that don't fit with my home decor. These two wood-inlaid pictures (by Ran Su) were in my grandmother and grandfather's house for as long as I can remember. I used to think that they were odd but so exotic and fun. After my grandfather passed on and my grandmother was moved to an assisted living home, my mom gave these to me. I don't think they're worth much, and are rather worn, but I can't part with them. Take advantage of hanging and displaying things in your garage that you like but that might not fit into your home decor scheme. I think the garage is the one place where you have carte blanche to be eclectic and kitschy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our dogs are IMPORTANT!

As a dog owner, I tap into lots of websites that help me with issues and questions I might have pertaining to my little buddy. As an Old English Sheepdog mom, my favorite site is one that is strictly about sheepies. The site is and has a ton of information as well as a community forum, where OES owners can get everything from grooming tips to finding play date groups. Yesterday I logged onto the site and was leafing through the photo gallery. Later that afternoon I had a comment on my blog from the webmaster of, Ron! Pure coincidence!

He had happened upon my site and read my “unimportant facts” list, commenting about one of the most important of my unimportant facts . . . my love for Old English Sheepdogs! I do think that I should change the list title from “unimportant facts” to perhaps “facts about me that you never knew” or something like that. I certainly don’t want anyone to think that Gideon is anything less than important!

Ron, thanks for all you do to bring the OES community together!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unimportant Facts About Moi

Kate sent me this meme, actually one of the harder ones I've done. It was rather tough to come up with facts about myself that weren't overly boring, very embarrassing, or begged a ton of explanation. But here goes . . .

1. Link back to the person that tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 6 unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your entry.

1. I am a distant relative of the famous newscaster Walter Cronkite. He is 92 years old now, and from what I've read his mother lived to be 101.

2. I was voted Most Artistic by my senior high school class.

3. I have been wearing the same shade of WetnWild lip liner and lipstick for the past 15 years. And none the poorer because of it! It used to cost 99cents and now it's $1.99, and still the best out there.

4. I grew up with an Old English Sheepdog named Shawn. Then after college my boyfriend at the time bought me an OES puppy whom I named Wyeth. And now I have dear, sweet Gideon.

5. I never walk around in my house barefoot. I always have to wear my socks and/or slippers. The idea of bare feet on carpet nauseates me. Harleigh does it, but I'd rather her wear socks or slippers. Weird or what?

6. My favorite music in the whole world is Christmas music. I start playing it November 1 and it pretty much plays all day, 7 days a week, right up through Christmas Day.

Now, I tag Laura, Devon (your list could all be unimportant slight obsessions), Ali, and Cammy.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Giving it a Home

My found nest now has a home in a pink pedestal candy dish. And two wooden eggs made the vignette come alive.

My sister, commenting on the post about finding the nest, said her favorite part of the find is the string. We agreed that mama bird probably had it in her beak, and the daddy bird said "What are you going to do with that old thing?" to which she replied "You know me, I can take anything and turn it into something homey and cute." And the string woven loosely through the twigs is something that I'm sure she stepped back from and said "it works."

Then Beth added the cutest outlook on the birds who built this really quaint nest . . . they are the same birds who in cartoon movies are tying the strings of an apron into a bow around some fairy tale princess.

My Shasta Daisies . . . first of the Summer!

Father's Day Seafood Feast

My stepdad, wonderful Fred aka Poppy, chose today's menu. My mom always entertains with such attention to detail and with such love; it's a joy to eat one of her meals! We feasted on lots and lots of steamed King Crab legs with little pots of warmed drawn butter, cold steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce, fresh calamari in tomato sauce, pasta and potato salads, champagne and mimosas, fresh bread, and a cappuccino cake for dessert. Lots of laughing (and crying — not a bad kind of crying, but the kind usually coming about as a result of a story told, a memory retold . . . we're a very emotionally raw family, not afraid to be ourselves and embrace each others' sufferings and happiness with equal empathy). Ate 'til we were happily full and then Fred opened gifts. Happy Father's Day, Poppy!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Nest

. . . and then I came home from the car dealership, four hours later than I had planned, and with yard work out the whowho to accomplish. One year for my birthday my dad got me one of those limb cutters. It is, without a doubt, one of the most fun yard implements out there. I go crazy twice a year, cutting down branches. The thing extends to like 30 feet, and the satisfaction I get from clearing large patches of my yard for the sun to kiss is cleansing and empowering. In the 90 degree heat I was sweating like crazy and cutting like a mad woman! Got it done before the skies opened and we had a thunder- and lightening-filled rain storm afternoon.

Here is a nest I found, one of four actually. But this one was in a branch that had to come down. I love that the mama or papa bird built this nest using a bit of found string. Did it come from my yard or did he/she carry it for a ways before coming back to Chateau Gahan to birth the babies?

Those Pesky Necessities . . . Cars

Today I spent waaaaaaaay too much time at the car dealership. After waiting the 2 hours, from 8:15-10:15, which was the estimated time they gave me to complete the work, I got the "quiet approach." In a sea full of waiting people, all sitting semi-uncomfortably in waiting room chairs, watching CNN, always a handful of people talking a little too loudly on cell phones, there I sat — reading my book, balancing my checkbook, taking glances at CNN, listening to people's cell phone conversations, and drinking complimentary coffee with bad powdered creamer. I could handle all that.

But then my serviceman did the "quiet approach." It's when they come at you, smiling, piece of paper in hand (with lots of dollar signs on it and words like "differential" and "transmission" that make me feel vulnerable and stupid) and they say your name quietly, always politely and with a Ms. in front, and they tell you very softly, almost as if talking to a sleeping baby, what "needs" to be done in addition to what you came in for. And when the conversation is done, the serviceman walks away and everyone in the waiting room gives you that sorta sympathetic look. And you were so close, so close to getting out with a simple "Your car is ready Ms. Gahan."

Luckily the dealership is across from a mall, so I took the shuttle over and walked around, grabbed an iced tea and pretended to shop. Remember, I'm poor now that I have to get my "differential" fixed. So the iced tea was all I left with . . . oh, and I have a new differential, or maybe it's just new fluids in the differential, or perhaps they just replaced the loose screws in the differential, was there a hose involved? . . .

I think I want to marry a mechanic.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting Old

Yesterday was not a good day. Well it was in the sense that Harleigh and I went to dinner together and walked around the Forum, where I bought a darling Madras plaid patchwork pocketbook and a crisp, white linen blouse. I very rarely buy anything for me, so that was a treat.

Not good — Part I: Got in the shower this morning and slipped on soap. Well, more than slipped. I fell. Big time. Naked body parts going everywhere. Both hands grasping for something to keep me on two feet. As I was falling, I wound up semi-sitting on the shower curtain in a maneuver that could have easily pulled the whole rod and curtain down on me, but instead just sort of cradled me in a wet hammock of plastic. While trying to right myself from this awkward lean, my left hand was grabbing for the over-the-shower-head caddy, which, from my sheer weight, bent forward, spilling shampoo and conditioner bottles everywhere creating quite a racket. (Thank God I didn’t pull the whole shower head out of the wall.) I finally got myself into a standing position with no broken bones or bruises. And because I was OK, could laugh at what I must have looked like. The noise woke Harleigh up and she came running in to find me standing there like a wet dog, still naked, attempting to twist the shower caddy back into its original shape.

Not good — Part II: As Gideon and I were heading back into the house after his last potty trip of the evening, he accidentally ran into me. I was on the patio ready to open the door and he came running, hitting me in the back of the knees. The force of the hit literally lifted me off of the ground, almost into a horizontal position (very cartoon-like I might add), and crashed me down onto the concrete. My one hand (I believe it was the shower caddy hand from earlier that day) broke some of the fall. But the real hero was my rather cushiony posterior. I swear I think I bounced at least two times before coming to a still position (albeit clothed this time). Again, no broken bones or bruises. Came into the house, yelled for Harleigh, and broke into tears, sobbing like a big baby. Gideon then jumped on the sofa, licking my face in apology, and the sofa inched back enough to hit a table and knock one of my favorite pictures off, shattering glass everywhere. Harleigh cleaned it all up, got me calmed down, and played mother for the next half hour (which, I must say, she is really good at). My tears had nothing to do with being hurt. It had everything to do with being scared instead of annoyed or embarrassed. And that felt very elderly to me.

So there you have it. I have officially reached the age where I am afraid to fall. Afraid of breaking a hip. I am OK with the fact that I will never roller skate again (and I haven't since I was in my teens, but whatever). Will never walk across an ice patch without my life flashing before my eyes. I am contemplating showering with a bathing suit on so that I am not the funny rescue story they tell at the fire station about the big, naked lady they saved that one time from the tub fall. I will be grateful for my big butt; she took the bullet for me big time. I will purchase those gross no-slip stickers for the bottom of my bathtub. I will forgive my dog. I will thank God that in both instances I was not hurt. And now that I think about it, I’m grateful that both times I didn’t lose bladder control. That’s me . . . always finding the positive.

[Photo courtesy of Lance A. Rothstein]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Will Always Love Lucy

I am a HUGE fan of Lucille Ball. The I Love Lucy show is my favorite show in the whole world. So when I saw this ad for Armstrong flooring . . . it made me both happy and sad. What a genius she was and what a missed and beloved comedian she will always be. I've torn the ad out and hung it on my fridge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Meme for today

I've been tagged by my dear friend and co-worker, Laura, to tackle this little ditty:

The Rules:
Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Your answer, of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was beginning to house-hunt here in the Atlanta area, intent on finding an affordable home in a good school district, and getting a little down that I'd never find anything (which of course I did, the following year, on Mother's Day . . . a sign that our sweet Chateau Gahan was a gift from God). I was two years into my work here at Unboundary (then EAI) and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of hours I was logging in every day (thank God for parents who helped out with my little one!). Oh, and I was a size 6.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?
• Schedule Harleigh's next voice lesson
• Pull together paperwork that we will need when 16-year-old daughter goes to get her driver's license at the end of this month (AAAAAHHHHHH!)
• Pick up Gideon from vet where he had his teeth cleaned and his annual shots administered.
• Balance checkbook (I am obsessive about making sure I balance to the penny every 10 days or so)
• Order fan stix for a fan craft I've been pondering

3. Snacks I enjoy: potato chips, red grapes, Yoplait Whips yogurt in key lime pie and orange creme, pistachios

4. Places I’ve lived:
• Towson, Reisterstown, New Windsor, Westminster, and Baltimore in Maryland
• New Brunswick, New Jersey
• Delaware, Ohio where I went to college
• Huntington Beach, California
• and finally here in Georgia!

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
• First of all, my sister and her family would be financially set and my sister could buy that little house out in farm country and maybe even a ranch so she can be the cowgirl that she truly is.
• Definitely not work, but instead devote my time to traveling, crafting, and creating beautiful environments.
• I would have a house in Palm Desert California with a pool, a brownstone in NYC, a horse farm in Chadds Ford Pennsylvania, and a beach house on Sanibel Island Florida.
• Treat myself to a facial and a massage every week
• Figure out what "cause" is truest to my heart and give a buttload of money.

I have to tag six people for this, so I tag Courtney (and you may have to draw a picture to go with it in order to stay true to the intent of your blog), Erin, Ali, Darly, Freckled Hen (and only if and when you get a chance; you're juggling a lot right now!), and Elizabeth. If any of you have done this meme and I've overlooked it on your blog, my apologies!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dang Nab It

Back on June 3 I posted about my big plans for the slipcover for my living room chair and ottoman. Wanted gathers at the base of both chair and ottoman. Lots of girlie ruffles! Found out today, after my parents dropped the fabric off at the upholsterer (thanks for doing that!!!!), that the fabric is too heavy to do gathers. So I guess it's back to matching the old slipcover pattern. Well, looks like I'll have to gather something else. Here is the picture I took as inspiration, which I'm posting just to torture myself (photo courtesy of Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic: Treasure Hunting & Decorating Guide).FYI, the mirror that I'm adding shells to is coming along beautifully! Can't wait for the reveal! Harleigh liked the mirror before, but I think it looks great . . . but then again anything is fair game for me to encrust with shells.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Wisteria-Covered Treehouse

When my daughter was in third grade she told me she wanted a treehouse. Had I a husband around, that would have been achieved. I sorta felt like, what with being a single and penny-pinching mom, I was safe from having to deal with the request. And in my falsely perceived safe place, I told my daughter that if she got straight A's on her report card, I'd build her a treehouse. Lesson: don't give a child a challenge, dangling a prize, unless you're willing to pay up. That little booger got straight A's on her next report card, and I was on the phone with our handyman negotiating the price to build a treehouse.

Harleigh grew up on the Little Rascals (the original Hal Roach Our Gang) and there were always lots of forts, treehouses and clubhouses in their little comical lives. In fact, Alfalfa and Spanky had THE BEST clubhouses ever. Lots of trap doors, signs with words spelled wrong and with backward letters, ropes and pulleys, all kinds of contraptions. I knew this was what she probably had in mind, but I went with something that 1) wouldn't harbor stray racoons within the confines of walls and a roof, 2) would be of a size that she could continue to use into her teens, and 3) would be easy to build (thus cheap, well, at least cheaper than a "house" in a tree). Here is our treedeck, more or less, covered in part with a wisteria vine. A tree grows up through the middle of it.
From when it was built, through the next 7 years, the deck was a place to play dress-up (we had plastic tubs up there with gowns, high heels, purses, gloves), an Out-of-Africa tent (I attached tall wooden poles to each corner with a nail in the top of each, along with hooks on the trees, then made 6'x6' fabric "tents" with grommets that could be attached to the poles and trees, creating an Arabian Nights feel), and just a general hangout with a blanket on the floor and an eye on the leaves and night sky above.

I have plans to clean-it up a bit this weekend, pruning back the wisteria, cutting some limbs back, sweeping, and maybe figuring out a way to add some color up there (flowering baskets? window boxes? something to add some color since the wisteria did not bloom this season).

BTW, for the next report card, when she again got straight A's (I think she warmed up to the satisfaction of challenging herself and seeing the results), she promptly asked, in jest, for a pony.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Another Over-the-Sink Window Love

One other thing I love about the window above my kitchen sink is the lamp that graces the side of the cabinet, giving me light to wash dishes at night. I remember my Nana having a light above her kitchen sink and the grandchildren thinking it was a thrill to stand on a chair and do the dishes after a meal (this was obviously before dishwashers). I think her's might have been a fluorescent one, but it was a light nonetheless. I got mine at a silent auction at the Fall Festival of my parents' Catholic church. I don't remember it costing that much (although all of it went to charitable causes), but the silk shade was a little pricey, but so worth it. It feels vintagey, and thats what I was going for.

Wet Screens and Window Boxes

When I moved into my house I was delighted that I had a window over my sink. I look out onto my neighbor's driveway, mostly camouflaged by crepe myrtles and a few unidentified bushes. There's my beautiful Japanese cherry, which blooms in the Spring and creates the best picture out of my window EVER. But the best part of having a window over the sink is being able to have a window box. My parents bought me one for my birthday and I have loved it. My sink sprayer goes unused except to do what it does perfectly, and that's to water — right from my place at the sink, through the screen. A daily morning ritual that trumps that first cup of coffee. I especially like the light playing off of the water on the screen, filling in random squares, almost like playing Lite-Brite, counted cross stitch or paint-by-number with water.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Have Shells, Will Cover Things in Shells

I had made posts about the shell crosses that I'd created. Liz of Mabel's House commented on one of those posts about trying to make a shell mirror. That spurred me on to address a mirror in my house that I've been meaning to do something with for a long time. I'm pretty sure I got it at a yard sale and liked the extra wide frame, knowing that it had potential to be "dressed up." So, with my over abundance of shells, I think I'll take some inspiration from Liz and start gluing. Wish me luck. (Dog paw reflection in mirror is a sign of good luck. I just made that up.)

Fun Finds with Harleigh

Today when Harleigh and I were running errands, we popped into Goodwill. She saw this chair, which I pretty much gave just a passing glance, but she stopped for a closer look and thought it would be perfect in what she calls her evolving Teen Vogue bedroom. Her room is a mix of Victorianesque and all-era vintage, with lots and lots of torn pages from Teen Vogue in various configurations on her walls. Harleigh was so right. This chair was perfect for her room. What a fitting piece to match the chest-of-drawers I just bought last week! I'm afraid the pictures don't quite capture the true color of the fabric (a silver gray with hints of gold in the sunlight) and the wood (a brushed gold). But it's cute as all get out. And I was quite impressed with her "eye" for what works. You go girl!
The following definitely fits in the category of "fun find" but not one that Harleigh necessarily was 100% behind. Only with the wisdom and foresight of a 47-year-old visionary, could one see the potential in this little treasure. Now ya gotta remember that I took that old natural-color bamboo birdcage and turned it into a centerpiece for Georganne's shower. So I'm still sorta ridin' high from that craft project. I saw this little find from about 20 feet away and couldn't figure out what it was. In one ear was the imploring "come on, Mom, let's get outta here and go home," and in the other ear, the voice of the 47-year-old visionary. Age always wins. I had to have it. "What are you ever gonna do with THAT?" (young girl speaks). And then, after she saw the glazed look in my eyes, the way I cocked my head and held THAT at different angles, there was no reasoning with me. I will SO do something magnificent with this, I promise you. It's a vintage wall pocket, rather large, and borderline gaudy with its gold spray-painted accents, but I saw beyond that. I googled "vintage parasol wall pocket" and found one on Etsy. Can you just imagine this as a shower decoration? Please, someone get pregnant, get engaged, ANYTHING so that I can turn this into something spectacular.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Do I sound like a commercial?

OK, so I did gush a little about the clay masque and cucumber eye pads a few posts ago. I certainly don't want my blog to become a cold, lackluster soapbox for consumer goods. I'd much rather post cute pix and anecdotes of my dog, features on my latest craft project, sweet finds at yard sales, and home decor at Chateau Gahan.

But in this case, I really must share. If you've never used these, then they're worth a try. I used them on plastic patio furniture that I had contemplated trashing, and you wouldn't have believed the difference. With one swipe, the stained surfaces looked new again. Sorta like the commercial where the guy dips the tarnished silver in the cleanser and it comes out spotless and shiny. There have been some issues raised with these as they pertain to children, so you have to exercise caution due to the chemicals in the sponge. And I've had to test small areas of things I'm wanting to clean to make sure that I don't remove more than just dirt. But do try if you've never been exposed to these little gems.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Another Cross, Many Blessings

Finished this one up yesterday. (I'd made my first one back in March.) It's an easy project that I can pick up whenever I want some down time. This one has a sea urchin as the "thorn of crowns," and I like how the shell where Christ's face would be almost has a Shroud of Turin feel to it. And the sanddollar is such a fitting center to the whole thing. I will hang these crosses, and many more to be made, in my beach house someday.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Caesar Salad

My family's caesar salad recipe is the bomb. I served it a week ago when out-of-town friends came in. When I asked "anchovies or not?" I got a resounding "I don't care. Either" which was music to my ears. As far as I'm concerned, anchovies are what make a caesar salad THE BEST SALAD. I wouldn't eat anchovies on anything else, mind you, and so when I make this salad I do cut them up really really tiny and also mash them into the wooden bowl to infuse the salty taste. I made a huge bowl for 5 people and we ate our salads off of dinner plates and there was none left . . . enough said.

The Don and Joy Caesar Salad Extraordinaire — Must be used with a wooden bowl. Why? Just because. And I use a wooden spoon just because it feels like I'm in Italy and that's part of creating the mood!
(and of course, with a typical family recipe, there are no real measurements; it's all a matter of sticking your finger, rather unhygienically, into the bowl to taste)

- Rub garlic powder into a wooden bowl
- Add 4 tablespoons of oil (I use canola oil)
- Add one cap of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parboil one egg, add to liquids and stir (in many restaurants this portion of the recipe has gone away because of the danger of using raw egg; hence, this parboiled version should ease any fears yet still impart the same great taste. I parboil by placing an egg in cold water, bringing it to a boil, turning off the burner, covering it and letting it set for 3 minutes. The result should be a runny yolk and a watery but set egg white)
- One whole can of anchovies. Take one half of the can and cut up fine and rub in the bowl. Take the other half, cut up finely and mix in with the greens.
- parmesan cheese (I always grate fresh; big difference)
- romaine lettuce
- croutons (I never even use these because to me it's like putting steak sauce on a great steak. Not necessary. But if you feel inclined, go for it. Personally, I'd rather serve the salad with a wonderful bread.)

The Long-Hunted-For Chest-of-Drawers

I've been looking for a small chest-of-drawers for Harleigh's room for quite some time. I found this today, stopping at an antique mall on the way home from taking her to work. Luckily she's not super picky, and so I can follow my taste somewhat and have a pretty good chance of making her happy. I found this piece, reproduction French Provincial, probably part of a large bedroom suite, and bargained it down in price by 20%. The drawers are in great working order and lined (although I'll probably swap out the liner for something different). I love how this traditional piece fits in with her eclectic room, including the bright yellow walls. I plopped this lamp on it that I had stashed away in a closet, but I can so see her finding something that more suits her taste.And after weeks of searching for the fabric for my chair and ottoman slipcovers, I've decided to go with an off-white cotton duck. Home decor fabric hunting is daunting, to say the least. Not just the sheer volume of choices, the prices. Ouch. Even with a discount, I'd be looking at at least $15 a yard . . . and I need 12 yards! So I checked out the cotton duck. $7.99 a yard at Jo-Ann's, and with a coupon in next Sunday's paper for 40% off, I'll be paying around $60. I think this is the route to go. If I'd have bought one of the fabrics I fell in love with 1) I'd be freaking out about dog and child sitting and lying on it in any manner less than dainty and stationary (that won't happen), and 2) I'd be sending my slipcovers to the dry cleaner vs. throwing them in the wash, which to me defeats the whole purpose of a slipcover.

So with the money I saved on fabric, I got my girlie a much needed chest-of-drawers, and I think I'll ask the upholsterer to go to the extra work/expense of gathering the fabric at the base of both chair and ottoman. Chateau Gahan, after all, is all about the girls, so why not add a little frufru to cotton duck.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tree Men

Today my tree guys came to cut branches that are touching my roof. I can't stand to hear squirrels running across the roof. Not that cutting these branches will eliminate that, but it helps. Gideon and I relegated ourselves to my bedroom. With the guys moving back and forth from front yard to back, I wanted to find a place to camp out where I couldn't be seen reading magazines or watching TV. I feel guilty to have people busting their butts outside in the heat while I am relaxing in air-conditioned comfort. At least with us hidden in the bedroom, we weren't throwing it in their faces that we were laying back and being lazy. Gideon kept a close look out the window and the random branch that dropped from the heights of the trees. Then he couldn't keep his eyes open any more, so he rolled to his side and was out like a light.

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