Friday, November 15, 2013

Zip It!

This past weekend, I packed my bags and headed to sunny California. Pasadena, to be exact.  The reason?  Debbie Murray and Shea Fragoso's yearly event at the Langham Hotel... Spellbound!

Even the mention of the name makes me start to swoon remembering how we all were enveloped in glitz and baubles and bling - oh, my!  Sharing five days of old friendships and new; shopping geared towards our creative natures; and crafting with all of us taking classes with amazing teachers.  

At these events, attendees are given an opportunity to participate in a swap.  I always try to partake in one as it affords me a chance to get my creative juices flowing.  I have a deadline in which I must  complete a project with specific guidelines to follow, leaving me no opportunity to veer off-course into indecisiveness.  Now that's a good thing, in my case!  This year, I chose to join Sue Elseth's, Textile Treasures Zip Bag swap. Seven bags for seven women.  Seven unique versions of a zippered bag.  Seven bags filled with
goodies that you felt each person would love to receive.  Wow!  See what I ended up with!!  

There were pink bags.....

There were white bags.....

There was a brown bag.....

There was a blue bag...

.. with vintage lace sewn all the way around the back......

And what did the ladies tuck inside?  Buttons, candy, a votive candle in a sweet tin, ephemera, laces, lip gloss, hand sanitizers, and packets of cookies.  I was so very tickled with each and every one!

So, you wonder what I created?  Here are mine.....

Shell pink silk pleated bags with a band of vintage printed fabric. Each one embellished with vintage laces and bling.  Tucked inside mine were...

.. laces wrapped around mini wooden clothespins secured with a button and twine.  Packets of old buttons.

Two small charlottes inside a brown craft paper envelope, tied with string and a single vintage, velvet posy placed on top.  Oh!  And of course, a sweet which was a snack sized peppermint patty.. my fav!

Did I mention that our hostess also sewed an extra bag from vintage fabric so all of us would have a way to hold all our treasures?? Unbelievable!  But that is what you find at Spellbound.  The unbelievable generosity of women!  Unbridled creativity displayed in so many different ways!  And tons of smiles and hugs to last you until next year!  Let's see.... that's how many days until then??!!

Monday, October 14, 2013


                      Look out any window
                      Look out any open door
                      Look out any window
        See what's going on in the air around you.

                       Lyrics to "Look Out Any Window
                                               B.R. Hornsby/John Hornsby 

 Flying down a country road, a blur of bright colors mashed together.  It caught my eye.  A sharp contrast to the dusty, muted tones of harvest fields.  Dried corn and bean crops with farmers in the midst of harvest, knowing the onslaught winter is breathing down their necks.   Those bright colors.  The unexpected.  Requiring me to turn around and capture this on film.  

As I'm viewing others who have submitted a photo to Kathy's Sunday "Song-ography" at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out,  I felt this one was worthy to be added.   With the lyrics to "Look Out Any Window" being the prompt, I focused on the line "look out any open door".  And here's where I am going to get a bit personal.  How many times have I felt locked in.  Trapped.  Blocked.  Seeing doors closed.  I sit and stare at them.  However, the reality is that I already am free.  It just requires seeing the possibilities.  Requiring a completely different mindset and point of view.  And that's what I see with these doors in the field.  These doors that you think require you to put your hand on the knob and turn it are already open.  The possibilities are right there.  I'm just sayin'. 

Linking up to: You'll Shoot Your Eye Out


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Front Entrance .. Ready for Fall

When house hunting, we all have a list in our heads of what our
needs are, what our priorities are and, once we find the house that matches our expectations, we know there will be things we will want to change.  With this little cottage, we were thrilled that the kitchen had been updated. Check that off our list of needs.  It was enough room for two. Check that priority off our list! But the exterior?  It needed to be updated!

This home was built in 1907 but she didn't need to look dated.  What she needed was a makeover to become more stylin'!! The blue trim, which we found out upon closer inspection was interior wood trim, needed to go.  The gold paned insets in the glass front door needed to go.  Toss out the black metal railing and get rid of the cement steps! I needed to put my own touch on things! 

Brick steps would make a huge difference and, after choosing the one that would be just right, one with a vintage feel, the bricklayers got to work.

The railing was pitched and the cement was prepped. Ready to go!
Upon completion, this old house already stepped into the 21st century.  What a huge difference!  I had the glass man come and remove the 80's gold from between the two panes of glass on the front door.  Confession:  Because the door and side panels are 90% glass I now felt exposed without anything to distract an individual from having full view of the interior of the house.  Ok.  Time to get going on details to add as a distraction!

Urns filled with small boxwoods on either side of the front door.
Oil rubbed bronze door handle installed to replace the gold one.  

Still had the issue of what to do to block the view of the interior of the house.  Solution?  An autumnal wreath that I created with my own little hands!  Yes, the "garden club dropout" actually did this on her own!!

A trip to Hobby Lobby, with 40% off coupon in hand, and I selected the size of the grapevine wreath I wanted to use as the base.  

A trip to Michael's where I found all their autumn picks at 50% off.  Love, love, love a bargain!  Gathered a mix of textures and colors....

 .. and headed home.  The wreath was hung on the glass door using clear suction cup hooks. Done! I stepped back to admire the changes. 

I'm not sure if I will paint the front door or even what color I will choose. For now, I'm letting it all sink in.  In time this ol' girl will let me know what her "signature" color is. But for now we're both happy!!

Linking to:  Wow Us Wednesdays
             Be Inspired Tuesday 
             Inspire Me Tuesday
             Nifty Thrifty Tuesday  
             Tweak It Tuesday
             Share Your Cup 
             Tutorials Tips and Tidbits 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vintage Pink

                         Vintage pink.

                   Distressed with time.

                   A glittered banner

                   I wished were mine! 

I went over to Kathy's blog, You'll Shoot Your Eye Out  and found that this week's theme was "Pink".  You know I love vintage! Make it vintage AND pink?  And I'm in heaven!  Sprinkle it with a bit of glitz and I'm over the moon!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013


It was one of those mornings not unlike any other I had been having lately.  An errand needed.. no, demanded! ... to be accomplished before I could even had the time to wash the sleep from my eyes.  Weeks of non-stop projects working on our new cottage, plus, the addition of working on my mother-in-law's home in another state, were taking its toll. It was all becoming too much to bear.  I'm not the type to wake up joyless, but I was. 

Parked in front of the bank, waiting for it to open, waiting to tick this errand off my "to-do" list, I was feeling lackluster.  Feeling joyless, yet again, at the start of another day. 

My eyes were glazed over blankly starring straight ahead... feeling numb.  Waiting for the strength to venture in. Until the sight of a solitary man passed by.  He was dressed crisply in freshly pressed khaki pants and a short-sleeved, summer-white, button-down shirt with hair neatly combed back.  "Fresh as a daisy", my grandmother would have said.  I marveled at how he could pull himself together at such an early hour.  I also marveled at how his hobbling along, at a measured pace, cane in hand, didn't deny him the ability to put a peaceful expression on his face.. undeterred by a disability.  My eyes became focused.

Someone was speaking to me.

As I entered the main lobby of the bank, this gentleman was in
front of the only teller, tending to his financial business.  I slipped into a chair, glad for the chance to just sit, waiting for my turn. Hoping he would take his time.  Picking up the local paper, my eyes perused the news.  That is until a strong, male voice took over my senses.

"Beautiful morning, isn't it?"  as his voice boomed out.

The teller responded with the obligatory "Yes".

"And you know what we say?"  Not waiting for the teller to respond again, he continued on.

"We say "thank you"!  Thank you, God, for this gift!  This beautiful gift You've given us!  This gift that You have given us so that we may do great things today.  Help me make the best of this day so that I may honor You."

I didn't hear a word in response.  Perhaps the teller was taken aback.  Perhaps just a simple smile was all that she felt was needed. I really don't know. 

With that small bit of advice given to those within earshot, he turned around, and with cane in hand he hobbled back out the door.

Sitting there, I had taken in each word.  
I had been given a message.
And I heard it loud and clear!

Linking with:  You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Saturday, August 17, 2013

It's Gonna Be A Bright Sunshiny Day!

Whack A Mole!!  Remember playing that game at the state fair?  It's the one where you pay to beat the heck out of those darn critters popping out of their holes.  Easy game, right?  Certainly seems easier than tossing a ring on a fish bowl.  Or shooting hoops with a basketball slightly larger than the diameter of the rim (they failed to mention that little detail).  Yup... should be a piece of cake!  Handing over your money, with a slightly cocky smirk, you brace yourself for the bell to ring indicating "game on"!  There's the first one!  With a large, plush mallet gripped tightly in your hand, you hit the mole so that he retreats back into his hole. One down.  Oops.. there's another.. and another.. and another!  They're popping up all over and in rapid succession!  And hitting has now turned into smashing!  Your smirk has given way to a deeply furrowed brow set with a mix of determination and frustration because you haven't been able to get every one.  Another sounding bell and game over.  Try as you might, you found this game wasn't as easy as you thought it would be.

And that, dear friends, is life!  Right now I am playing my own version of Whack A Mole... trying to handle a million things at once, hoping to eliminate each one with expediency.  It's the reason why it's been eleven days since I last posted anything.  I feel bad about that.  So, I'm sending out a river of sunflowers to you.  To thank you for your patience!  To thank you for following me! To thank you for being my ray of sunshine!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It Started With Paint

I was flip-flopping.  Before moving in, the cornflower blue walls in the guest bedroom were just not going to work.  I'm not a "blue" person.. at least not that particular shade.  However, with boxes unpacked and the room starting to take shape, that cornflower blue was growing on me. I was making friends with it.  Well, long story short?  Some friendships just don't get beyond a nod "hello"!

Out came the paint brushes and a fresh can of Benjamin Moore, White Cloud.  I was going to take a leap of faith and try creating a soothing palate of neutrals throughout the house.  And the guest bedroom would be my first foray into creating a home void of strong colors. 

I wanted to embrace a softer ambiance... one that would work well with accessories such as this Anthropologie ruffled comforter.  In my eyes, strong color on the walls would only fight with this softer look.

The fireplace mantel that I painted and distressed would find a home here in this room, also.  Along with other pieces I did a makeover on.

Did you notice the bed frame in the first two photos?  It was my grandmother's mahogany twin bed.  Yes, you do have to say "mahogany twin bed" as grandmother was always proud of the quality of her possessions.  Tickles me to say the string of descriptive words many years after she has passed!  But I think she's beaming up there knowing that someone still appreciates her things!  Anyway, I wanted to bring it up to date by painting it Annie Sloan's French Linen.

Annie Sloan's, Old White, was dry brushed on the detailing really making it pop!

I love how this room is coming together!  It's so soothing and I'm pleased that I took that leap of faith into a world of neutrals.  And how does the whole room look?  Not done yet.  Just a few more details and I will give you the grand tour of this darling, little cottage room!   

Linking To... Blissful Whites Wednesday
              Wow Us Wednesday 
              Be Inspired Tuesday
              What We Accomplished Wednesday 
              Tutorials Tips and Tidbits
              Creative Things Thursday 
              Feathered Nest Friday  
              Be Inspired Friday
              Simple Sweet Fridays 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Lean on Me....

Kathy's assignment, over at You'll Shoot Your Eye Outis Bill Wither's song, "Lean On Me".  What image conveys that message?  Without a doubt it's this.

Thirty three weeks and one day... that's how long it's been since she's passed.  Thirty three weeks and one day since I've had to go it on my own.  We leaned on each other.  One was no less important than the other.  My rock.. my constant companion.. my soul dog is waiting for me on the other side.  

You can read my tribute to Annie here. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Window Treatment

It was a "no brainer"!  When we signed on the dotted line to purchase our little cottage, my mind would race with thoughts of where would all my furniture go? Which pieces would be sent  immediately into storage and which would have a place in the cottage?  All concerns aside, there was one thing I knew for sure.  Out of everything I owned, one piece.... one antique, chippy piece purchased at an estate sale.. would have a perfect place to rest.  I saw it so clearly in my mind!

When you come through the side door... no, don't even think of ringing the front door bell as I only think of all of you as side door, shout "hello" kind of friends.... there are three little steps leading to the main floor.  Three little wonky steps that are capped off by a window.  I knew it was in this window that my chippy piece of iron grating would rest.  And there it is!  This odd placement of a window now had significance!

This piece of wrought iron that had been painted creamy white and aged through the years was now secured within this space.

The detailing is fabulous!

And just as I knew this piece of iron grating belonged here, I knew the exact window treatment to sew for it.

A delicious piece of vintage linen sewn with a rod pocket on one end.  Sides left rumpled from being stored away in someone's attic.  All roughly bunched up in a loose roman shade form. 

Funny how some things come together so easily!  A "no brainer" that leaves me feeling  so contented with the end result. 

Linking to:  Be Inspired Tuesday
          What We Accomplished Wednesday 
          The Farmhouse Porch
          Blissful Whites Wednesday 
          Centerpiece Wednesday
          Tutorials Tips and Tidbits 
          Share Your Cup Thursday 
          Be Inspired Friday
          Feathered Nest Friday 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here Comes The Sun

Once in awhile, the "spoiled child" comes out to see what's up.  Oh, oh... the corners of her mouth are drooping down thinking about the good ol' days when she'd wake up to the swish, swish, swish of the lawn sprinklers running.  Each station would run about five minutes getting every corner of the yard soaked during those hot summer months.  And how the grass, shrubs and trees would enjoy their daily dose of cool water!!  Responding by dressing themselves up in a rich shade of green, disregarding whatever the temperatures were.

Downsizing has happened in its truest form... even in regards to the size of the yard.  Our sprinkler system here?  Moving the garden hose!  Being a "garden club dropout", I haven't been doing a very good job. I keep forgetting, what with all the projects on the inside of the house to do, that wilting leaves means someone's thirsty!  That tinges of brown appearing within the centers of bushes means "water ~ ASAP"! 

I've reprimanded the "spoiled child" letting her know everything's ok.  That the reason why the neighborhood can be so quiet in the morning is due to the fact that neighbors don't have sprinkler heads popping up every five minutes. And their yards are perfectly fine without them!  I've turned that frown upside down again.  Doesn't take much to realize that this is the good life!

Linky to  Song-Ography where this week's inspiration was the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun".  This photo was taken last summer at our old house. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chicago Nights

So, the inspiration this week at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out?
                    Song-Ography ~ Up On The Roof 

The song brings back the memory of me as a kid .. alone in my room.. listening to the radio late at night.  I loved that song!  Imagining what it would be like to live in a city with concrete surfaces all around.  Loud noises of cars and buses intent on getting to their destinations.  People's conversations drifting up from the pavement below.  Such a stark contrast to where I lived in Connecticut, where we were surrounded by acreage and the houses were buffered by statuesque trees!  Oh, how I wanted to go out into the world and live this completely different lifestyle! 

Who would have thought that, many years later, my dreams would come true!  Chicago!  Great city with energy that jolts right through you! Towering concrete buildings creating winding canyons all around the city.  Lights blazing... taxis careening around corners... people walking Michigan Avenue until the wee hours of the morning.  And my favorite way to enjoy the city? At night, when I am part of that "hustlin' crowd", stopping for a moment to look straight up at the roof tops ablaze in color.  Making me feel so alive! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Making Do

I don't have a fancy-schmancy camera. 
Not even an IPhone (gesh.. did I even spell it right??) 
Nope.  Just a point and shoot.  
Just a little ol' Cannon point and shoot.  And it will do for now. 

With great bravery I have decided to join a new party hosted by my fellow blogger, Kathy at Youll Shoot Your Eye Out.  I love the way she writes, leaving me cracking up at the end of each post.. she's that funny and witty.  Besides a way with words, Kathy has an innate way around a camera being able to capture moments through the eye of the lens.  I feel so lucky to have found her in blogland!  

Anyway, as I was saying, Kathy just started hosting a photography party called, Song~Ography.  Using a song title as a prompt to get your creative juices flowing, you match up a photo you've taken with the title.  First up?  Homeward Bound.  Ok, missy... I'm going to jump in with both feet and offer up one of my shots.

"There I was ... sitting at a table in the darkened corner of a hotel restaurant lingering over a poorly made Mai Tai (I knew the girl was too young to know how this concoction was made). One more night in some small town ... one more restless sleep in a hotel bed not familiar to me.. and I would be on the road heading back to....."

Ha, Ha!! Ok, I let my Drama Queen come out to play for a bit!  I took this shot at an historic hotel in Franklin, Indiana.  Road trip with my best friend.  But we were on our way back home!  

So there you have it!  I stepped outside my comfort zone.  Felt pretty good, too!  Thanks for hosting, Kathy!

Linking to: Song Ography

Friday, July 12, 2013

Only the beginning...... Studio Tour

Our little cottage.... just delightful for two!  When this house came on the market, it was perfect timing as we had to find something immediately ~ our house had sold that quickly and the new owners wanted possession within eight weeks.  YIKES!!! We pulled up in front (hmmmmm... it has potential.. needs a bit of fluffing to get some curb appeal) and upon entering through the side door (where the newly remodeled kitchen is ~ smart marketing on the realtor's part) I knew it was perfect for us me (husband misses a bigger home with a few added bells and whistles).  And like my boys when they were little, I went through the home wondering which room would be mine for my studio, giddy with anticipation!  As I topped the stairs... BINGO!... I found it!

A cute little room with wide old windows that end a foot from the floor. A room that faces a big ol' tree in the front and windows wide enough to give me a bird's eye view of the street and sidewalk. I love all the activity outside my windows...

 ... the swish of the cars coming.....

... and cars going.

People walking to the train station for another day of work in Chicago, women going for their daily walk or girls coming back from Starbucks which is a block and a half away from my front door.  Ok... now you see why I love it here!!!  Pretty soon I am going to have my own version of "Cheers" where I walk through the door of Starbucks and everyone turns and shouts out "Kaaadee!" 

Anyway,  the room with a view is my studio and I love it.  Now before I show you around.. which won't take long~ remember, it's a small, but darling cottage I live in~ I want to remind you that with downsizing came a lot of tossing and donating.  But that's a good thing because I really need to focus more on what I truly want to do within the confines of these four walls.

The picture railing around the room was perfect to rest my distressed "BE",  showcased with my banner from a swap I participated in.  A great way to be greeted upon peeking into my space.

I kept my two bookcases where I still have a large stash of fabrics..

... bins of trims (my two Navy duffel bags jammed with even more laces and trims are in another room for now)....

.. love the cloth bins from The Container Store!

Like "Sophie's Choice", I had to pick which mannequin of mine moved to the new house and which one headed for storage.  This precious lady drew the "lucky card" and now greets me each and every time I walk in.  

She's dressed in her twirly petticoat .. studded belts... and

.. pearls layered with bling!  Ahhhh.. a girl after my own heart!

I have some of my things tucked away in the large, but awkward, closet I've dubbed the Hobbit Hole!  No light, but working on it. 

It actually goes deeper on the right hand side.  And see what I mean about needing a light?  Made for a cool picture, though!

And the door knobs make my heart go pitty-pat.  Reminds me of the door knobs in Alice in Wonderland with their talking "faces".

Don't you love their big "noses"?  One door knob has the duty of holding my collection of keys.

So, now we turn to the right and see my work area.

The stool used to be in the master bedroom at the old house but I'm using it here to remind myself of the drop in the floor.  This ol' girl was built in 1907 so, like some of us, she has done some sagging with age. I've had a couple of plastic surgeons contractors come in for a consultation and they both said not to worry.  However, one did say if it gets too bad, it would be demo time.  Gesh... I hope no one every says that about me!! LOL

The other side of that desk area, shot in the morning light.  No, the cabinets are not green, but cream.  The leaves on the tree outside my windows cast a green hue. I need to add lighting to this room.  And whatever I choose, it has to be on the funky side. Funk mixed with junk.. oh, the ideas percolating in my little ol' head!

I do love this simple vignette.  An antique doll's dresser to set my solitary lamp on.  My uncle gave this to me when I was little so it has sentimental value.

And as you leave this little space of mine, glance to the right.  On the wall is a reminder of who I was/am.  

I'm the one in the pigtails to the right of the word "Days".  That little girl who loves to laugh, be silly and talk to strangers.  Who, to this day, feels most comfortable sporting bangs.  And in the frame underneath my class photo?  My award from the fire department for writing the best essay on fire prevention, composed in the fifth grade.  See?  Loved to write then and still do! I think we all need to remember our roots because a little of those beginning years still hangs in the fringes of our heart!

That's it for now!  Not bad for living here only three weeks, huh?  Next time I show you around, the studio will have layers of yummy goodness.  This is just the beginning of a love affair with my vintage cottage!

AND.... a huge "Thank You" to a very special lady who started out as an acquaintance designing my blog and has now turned into an amazing friend!  Karen Valentine is again hosting  the "Where Bloggers Create" party and this girl knows how to throw a good bash!  Visit Karen Valentine's "Where Blogger Create"  for a full list of other fabulous studio's to visit!  Lots of great ideas there!

Enough chat... thanks bunches for dropping by! Now to get my party on!!

Linking to:  Inspire Me Tuesday
          Wow Us Wednesday
          Tutorials Tips and Tidbits