Saturday, June 28, 2014

Shifu flys

Darling Shifu had his first airplane flight today and he came through with flying colors.  Ha ha, get it? Flying colors?

Me, I was nervous the whole time. It's an awfully long time to be stuck in a little bag but he was a trouper and just slept through the whole thing. It was a pretty easy experience and it's great to be all together in a place we really love.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fun in the sun

Shifu and I will be off for a few days,  catching some rays and celebrating an anniversary with Mr French. 

I'm not taking my computer (oh the horror) so don't expect any lengthy blog posts but maybe I'll share a picture or two of all the fun we're having.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

prairie by the sea

Our big project this week has been a clean up of the backyard of our little coastal cottage. The previous residents left behind a lot of stuff in the yard and we may have gotten a little behind on the leaf raking and tree trimming last winter so some attention to the yard was overdue.

Lots and lots and lots of stuff went to the dump, I lost count of the number of broken plastic flower pots, but underneath the piles of branches and leaves, we found a few wonderful treasures that remind me of my beloved prairie.

 As a card-carrying "bonnethead" scholar of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I am so in love with this wagon wheel. It's a bit fragile, some of the wood would love to fall out, so I threatened everyone with bodily harm if they dared to move it. Nobody touched it.

I squealed for joy when we found this rusty windmill neglected in a corner of the yard. A little oil and love and it's twirling away once again.

I may not live out on the prairie (and since I am not a fan of snow, it's unlikely that I ever will) but it's fun to bring a little bit of the prairie to my home by the sea.

Monday, June 23, 2014

motivate me

Jealousy is both reasonable and belongs to reasonable men, while envy is base and belongs to the base, for the one makes himself get good things by jealousy, while the other does not allow his neighbor to have them through envy.

This is a hard post to write but it has been running through my head for days now and whenever that happens, I simply must write.

For the past few months I've been struggling with the emotion of jealousy, fueled no doubt, by all the decorating magazines and blogs I've been reading lately. It's hard to look at picture after picture of beautiful rooms perfectly accessorized and not be tempted to turn a more critical eye on my own humble abode.

Just the other day I spent some time "touring" a fellow blogger's beautiful home. Huge rooms, beautifully furnished, with perfectly landscaped grounds that would rival many resorts. For just a moment I questioned my own life choices.

Luckily those moments don't last long. I truly love my little cottage and don't long for a big house. It's a wonderful choice for other people but I prefer cozy, quirky and vintage which is good because that's exactly what I've got. Once I'm secure in that, I can channel my jealous moments into inspiration for making the most of what I've been blessed with.

I'm having a lot of fun defining and refining my decorating style so the motivation seems to be working. I spent the last 4 years in a bit of a fog, not really caring about my surroundings so it's a nice change to want to turn my home into a place of own definition of beauty.

More troubling, recently I've watched people around me accomplish goals that are similar to mine but that I am not even close to obtaining. And for a moment, I feel extremely jealous. Why do they have a successful blog, why are they considered the expert in my favorite subject, why are they getting published and not me too?

It would be so easy to stop right there and wallow in my self-righteous indignation and never hold myself responsible for accomplishing something.

But I've watched envy and discontent ruin lives and I don't want to go down that road.

I'm also truthful enough to admit that I have nothing to be envious of.  If I don't reach my goals it's my own fault because I never get very far beyond the idea stage. I certainly haven't put the work into it that others have. I've got a lot of interests and all sorts of ideas for projects, articles, research and books but just having ideas isn't going to get me to the finish line. So I'm hoping to turn the whole jealousy thing on its head and use it as motivation to meet my own goals. A little judiciously applied jealousy has worked quite well with the decorating, no reason it shouldn't work with my life goals, right?

So for all you bloggers out there posting pictures of your beautiful houses, keep on doing what you're doing because you inspire me everyday with your creativity.

And for all my colleagues, fellow board members and relatives who are reaching new heights and fulfilling your creative goals, I am so proud of you (and yeah, teeny bit jealous) and will personally thank each one of you for inspiring me in the forward to my first published book.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Clothespins - not just for laundry anymore

Don't everyone fall over in surprise but I've been creating and crafting lately and I've actually enjoyed it. Believe me, it shocks me too!

I've fallen in love with the idea of painting things. I love to take something old or merely functional and with a little bit of paint and embellishment, make it pretty as well as practical.

That was the idea behind my recent clothespin project. Really it all began when I couldn't find any plastic clips for my potato chip bag. I had some extra clothespins around but I wanted something with a little more flair so an idea was born.

All I needed was a quick trip to the craft store for some supplies and I was off and running.

Note the very sophisticated drying rack, nothing but the best for me!

I finally found a use for scrapbook paper!

Once the scrapbook paper is cut to the right size, I Mod Podge the heck out of it...covers a multitude of sins, love that stuff.

and voila - the finished product ready to adorn a chip bag near you. Put a magnet strip on the back and they're great on the refrigerator for holding notes or pictures. I'm kind of in love with them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

more backyard treasure

One of the first things I found in my backyard of junk treasures was this cute little pig. I haven't given her a name yet, maybe somebody has a suggestion for me?

I have thrown out a lot of the stuff that was left in the back but I knew that this little piggy had found her forever home with me.

As you can see, she loves dressing up and posing for my camera. Isn't she adorable?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Rustic country

Sometimes you don't even need to attend a vintage fair to find treasures.  Look what I found hanging around in my own backyard.  The previous owner left behind all sorts of stuff, most of it not to my taste, but every once in awhile I find a couple of gems. Today was one of those days.

Friday, June 13, 2014


I'm going to confess something.

I am not artistic.

I can't draw worth a lick, ask all my art teachers throughout elementary and high school. I can't sew or knit or crochet despite my mother's best efforts...and believe me, she tried again and again and again to force coerce interest me in at least one of those crafts. I also have never had any interest in scrapbooking even though EVERY friend I've ever had has been crazy about it. And don't even get me started on how I feel about rubber stamping.

Despite all of this, I've always thought of myself as a creative person even though I'm still not sure what I want to create. At least I'm pretty definite about what I don't want to create.

So the above stone, given to me by a dear friend, has become my inspiration for life. I want to spend my life creating beauty in some form.

I once saw a leather cuff bracelet with CREATE on it and I've wanted one ever since so when I saw the Junk Girls booth at Goat Hill, I was thrilled to see a large selection of leather cuffs.

Each cuff sported a brass plate with a word hand-stamped on it. Best of all, the Junk Girls were offering free personalization during the show so I could get a bracelet made, just for me, with my special word on it. Bliss! I knew I could only buy one thing at the show and in the end it was an easy decision.

The whole process was fun, I got to place my order with Jenny from the Junk Girls, who is an amazing artist, and we tweaked the design until it was perfect. I picked out the leather cuff and then Melissa got to work banging her hammer on the anvil to stamp the letters. Speaking of creative endeavors, metal stamping looks like fun! I have all sorts of ideas for future projects.

After the brass plate was stamped, I was taken over to Bombshell Betty's booth where Betty (aka Jodi) attached it to my leather cuff with brass tacks. The end result was a piece of art that brings back wonderful memories of the beautiful Goat Hill vintage fair every time I look at it.

I really wish I could end this blog post by telling you about all the wonderful things I've created in the month since I've been wearing this bracelet every day. Yep, I wish I could.

ok, maybe I've been up to a little something

Ta ta for now! Have a great weekend, my friends.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Goat Hill Vintage Fair

Recently I attended my first vintage fair. It was wonderful and beautiful and so much fun. I loved all the creativity in the booths and even the clothing worn by the attendees and vendors was fun and sassy. I was in my element. I would LOVE to have a fun booth to decorate and sell things. Notice I said "decorate" first? That part seems waaaaay more fun than selling but I have a feeling that selling is more important.

Goat Hill has been around for a few years and used to be held on a goat farm (yeah, I know you were wondering about the name) until it got too big and had to be moved to the county fairgrounds. I didn't know anything about it until this year but now that I know about it, I plan on going every year!

I'll shut up now and just let you enjoy the Goat Hill loveliness!

I'm sure you're wondering what I bought. I mean, come on, there's no way I could go to the fair and not buy anything, right? It's true, I bought something, something really special and meaningful to me but it's not in any of these pictures. I'll tell you all about it next time!