Friday, September 26, 2008

Show and Tell Friday!

Oh boy! I found another "share along"! I enjoy these because it's so fun to see how other bloggy gals do their "thing". I just stumbled on Show and Tell Friday via Tales From An O.C. Cottage. Kelli at There Is No Place Like Home is the lovely hostess. Why don't you play too? I love seeing people's treasures. So, this is something I have actually never talked about or shared before. This is a tiny bit of my Wexford collection. There is nothing special about Wexford- it's just pressed glass from Anchor Hocking that first came out in the late fifties I believe and it was made until the mid-eighties. I could be completely wrong about those dates, but I'm pretty sure that's the range anyway. My grandma had Wexford and so did my mother. I never thought about it- it was just regular glassware to me while growing up. In fact, I remember donating what I had to Goodwill back in the early eighties when I was setting up house for the first time. I had bought a full set of "modern" drinking glasses and didn't want my odds and ends anymore!

After my grandma died in 1996, I was the happy recipient of her Magnalite pots and some of her other kitchenwares, including a few Wexford goblets. Seeing those goblets made me so happy and nostalgic! I began noticing Wexford at my usual thrift stores and starting picking up pieces. What you see in the cupboard above is just a portion of what I have. I have mostly vessels, but I sure wish I could get my hands on some dinner, dessert plates and platters. They aren't nearly as common, but I know Anchor Hocking did make them. Someday, someday!

I love this stuff because it's so durable! Yes, sometimes we break a piece, but not as much as we would with thinner glass. This is thick and heavy and I just think it's pretty. I know it's not as nice as crystal, but I can afford this and it's just so special to me.

Will you join in Show and Tell Friday? I would love to see what you share! Go visit Kelli and get signed up!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Well, that week flew by! Thankful Thursday already!

I bet you already knew what I was thankful for too! Daughter Carmen made the prettiest blog banner for me this morning. I figured it was time for tea and lemon now that summer is gone. My cute little thrifted bluebird dropped by for a sip too. Thank you, Sweet Carmen!

What are you thankful for today, Friends?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Forgot How Much I Love Swedish Style!

Oh my goodness! This post is so long and pic heavy! Sorry guys!

Carmen and I were at the library yesterday and I ended up, as I usually do, in front of the decor and craft section. There was nothing new to me, but I picked up this old friend for some fresh inspiration: I first checked this book out in 2000 and I still think it is quite timely. Probably because Ms. Waddell's interpretation of Swedish style is based on Carl Larsson's home which is, of course, timeless. It's a great style- like a paired-down cottage look, I think. That's perfect for me because with teenage boys and pets everywhere, I can't do a lot of cute collectables anyway. (That's why I love my china cabinet- it's all enclosed and safe!) Sasha Waddell still designs and sells lovely, Swedish inspired furniture pieces at her website and there are even some really beautiful fabrics here.

Anyway, I've been thinking lately that I'd like to decorate my dining, crafting, computer room in a "cottage garden" theme, but haven't really been able to get started. (Well, duh! I'm still not finished with my bedroom, nor have I started the boys' room! When it comes to decor, lately I feel like I am all talk and no action, but I'm sure I will get it all done eventually, say 2036 or so!)

When we first looked at this house, it was this room that sold me. Even though it is a north facing room, the fact that the kitchen was connected to the dining room with a big breakfast bar and that there were windows on two sides of the room, really made it seem light and airy.

I had seen a dining room on HGTV that I loved and I wanted to replicate with lime walls, white painted furniture and blue and white china with blue toile curtains. It looked so fresh to me and I thought it would be the perfect way to show off my blue and white china pieces. So we moved in and painted the walls green. It immediately got the nickname "Hulk Juice"! Then I went shopping for my blue toile for the curtains and instead fell in love with a red and white fabric collection! Here's how it pretty much turned out:
This is obviously the dining/working side and below is the wall opposite my work wall where we had enough room for this cute little loveseat that I slipcovered.

Directly to the right of the loveseat was the computer area. So... that was all good and cozy and cottage-y... except for when we tried to take photographs of actual people in this room!

Submitted for evidence:
Exhibit A: Yikes! My brother Dean and I against eye-befuddling red checks
and Exhibit B:
Max's tenth birthday party set against Hulk Juice walls with a seasonal orange tablecloth. Ugghhh....So, I knew I wanted to change some things! Last April I painted the wall in Toast, the same color as my living room. Here is how the room looked for Easter:

Hmmm, still not liking it. The toast color, which is so warm and cozy in the living room is just ...harsh and orange looking in here. All the colorful linens (vintage bedsheets) are gone now and I just have beige panels on the slider and this table and chairs:

Earl took the big table which is fine- it was his choice anyway, not mine. I adore my little table- it was a dumpster find, but that is a story for another day! I like my craigslist chairs too, but after my re-do, they might become outdoor seating. I think I need a more traditional wooden chair for a Swedish style room. *sigh* Like this beauty in this Larsson painting:

Sasha Waddell says in the book that it's the northern light that makes the difference and I think that's really true when you see this painting. Also, since my room is north facing, I think this pallette is much more suiting. Another thing in the book that I thought was interesting is that she suggests adding a small amount of raw umber to paint to soften the color. I really want to try that, but I don't still don't know what color to paint this room! I'm leaning towards an antique white with simple muslin curtains (I've talked about that idea before, I think, on my old blog) and then bringing in color with fresh flowers and accessories.

Well, Friends, if you've read this long rambly post all the way to the end, I salute you! I'd love to hear your thoughts on this room. It's big and it works hard. What kind of paint color and curtains do you think you would choose for it? I'm keeping the furniture where it is. There is still a computer in the corner and I think I want to paint the big craft cupboard to look like the TARDIS! Shhhh....don't tell Carmen- I want to surprise her with it! And yes, I do think it would still look cute with a Swedish style room!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Introducing Miss Josephine March

Sorry Jo! She hates to be called Josephine, you know. If you don't know, she is based on the character Jo in Louisa May Alcott's classic, "Little Women". Before reading this book, I had read lots of Nancy Drew and then I read (and loved) The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. "Little Women" was my first BIG book. I read it in the fifth grade and I was as happy as a clam to come home from school, make a peanut butter and butter sandwich with a glass of milk on the side and start reading, reading, reading! I would lay on my side on my blue gingham canopy bed and put the book on the pillow next to me. It was so heavy! When it was time to turn the page, I would roll over and take the book with me and lay it on my other side! I loved this book so much. I think I love it even more now as an adult. I feel like I have related to different aspects of all the sisters at different times in my life.

Anyway, this is my version of Jo. She has just joined Beth in the shop. Who shall I do next? Meg? And leave Amy for last? I think that would be fitting since she is the baby. I am thinking of making Meg in her wedding gown. Wouldn't that be pretty?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Twenty Little Things to Treasure in Autumn

An end to watering and mowing!

Colorful leaves dancing down the street

Driving through the leaves dancing down the street

My birthday!

(Emily, made and sold in 2007)

Max’s birthday too (he was supposed to be a girl and he was due on Halloween so I referred to him as “my little ghoul”. Guess I got a surprise, eh?)

Max and Eric, Halloween 2005

My dear sister-in-law Deb’s birthday (love you, Deb!)

High school football games

The Mighty Mavericks at their first home game Friday nightEric, his friend Travis (on the left) and the rest of the band provide the heartbeat of the game!

Geese honking overhead

Socks and shoes after a season of sandals

Halloween in my neighborhood! It’s like Mardi Gras!

Seasonal decorating

Snuggling under my favorite throw on the couch with an old movie and a bowl of popcorn

Switching out the sheets to flannel

Roses in our cheeks

Walking through the fallen leaves

Mmmm, sweaters

Crows! Quite possibly my favorite bird

Candles- the soft light and fragrances so appropriate for fall

Using the oven again- hurray for baked goods!

The coziness that one only gets from life indoors

Big thanks to Melissa at The Inspired Room- this was a fun exercise. She has Mr. Linky up with other bloggers ideas of Twenty Things to Treasure in Autumn. A good way to spend the first day of Fall, don't you agree?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Farewell to Summer, My Enemy

Summer, I am not sad to see you go. You were a difficult season, to be sure. You are much too hot for a girl raised in a temperate clime and this year you were not just hot, but very sad and trying for me as well.

Mainly I dislike you, of course, because of my separation from E. Your blazing heat made that difficult situation harder than it had to be. Early into that experience, after the decision to separate, but before E moved out, Carmen and I escaped your punishing weather and our sad home at Barnes & Noble. There were many other “browsers” there that day too, all wanting to get away from you, Summer. I discovered the book “Vintage Vavoom” and lost myself in the gorgeous vignettes photographed therein. Once home, I busied myself re-working my china cabinet. Inspired by what I had seen in the book, I attempted to create a more soothing, monochromatic display of creams and browns, with a few hints of blue and pink. I arranged jars of river rocks and sand, a dish of sea glass and my antique vegetable bowl full of pottery shards that we discovered on our hike at Folsom Lake last year. All of these are mementos of happier summers. I also included photos and artifacts from my ancestors. When I look at the cabinet now, I think I was creating a visual story of sentiment and loss. It helped me process the changes our family was facing.

Another thing that made you so objectionable, Summer, was the fact that you were all work and no play this year. There were no vacations and no outings to beaches or lakes or rivers. If not for Uncle Jon and Aunt Deb, my boys would have been prisoners at home. For me, it was work, work, work. I am very thankful to be able to provide the neccessities for my family, but did you need to taunt me with the sight of happy, vacationing families driving past me on the road? Their roof racks proclaimed their purpose and left me feeling sad for all the adventures that I was NOT providing to my children. It’s a pretty sad Summer when a cemetery tour is the highlight!

I am grateful for this new chapter in my life, difficult as it may be at time, but I want you to fully know, Summer, that you made it worse than it had to be.

I’m ready to embrace Autumn, who has always been so kind to me, with her brisk breezes and visual delights. She offers fresh hope for happier times. I am looking forward to decorating my home and china cabinet to welcome her. I am thinking longingly of the new, happy memories I will create with my children and my oven is trembling with anticipation of being put to use again.

But you, Summer, are no friend to me and I bid you a glad adieu.

Thankful Thursday

For more information about Thankful Thursday, visit here. Will you join in?
Photo found here at flickr.

Am I thankful for propellors? The 1940's? Women workers? Well, not exactly, but I am thankful for work. The economy being what it is, I know that I am blessed to have not just one job, but two. And I am so thankful for them. At 9:30 at night when I am getting off work at the hardware store, it's easy to forget, but I am only human! I do enjoy both of my jobs and all of my co-workers. I am thankful.
What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This and That

I've got a few more things hanging in my bedroom. The little pink shelf/corbel was my mother's. I've always loved it. The blue pocket is a Victorian watch pocket. Victorian women made them for their husbands as a place to protect their pocket watch at night. I guess that makes it a "pocket watch pocket"!

Anyway, back in the eighties I checked out a book from the library that was all Victorian crafts. I was very inspired by it and made this for my husband, Jerry. It's velvet and it was the first time I had ever done any bead work. I think I will put a photo of Jerry in it and I need to find a more attractive hook than a pushpin! He loved it and used it every night so it's a pretty special little item.

On the other side of the bed I have these pastel portraits. They are a little big for the space, but I love to look at them when I wake up or if I get a nap in on the weekend.

The portrait on the left is Carmen at age three and the other is me at age three. They were both done at Disneyland in New Orleans Square. I grew up looking at the one of me and when we took Carmen to Disneyland I had to have her portrait done! I gave it to my mother and they have been together ever since. I think they are kind of sweet and nostalgic looking.

Here's something you don't see everyday- a naked Josephine March! I am continuing my Little Women sister dolls. I have the most adorable tiny hounds tooth in navy that will be her dress. Very Jo, I think!

Also, on swap-bot I have really been getting into handmade postcard swaps. There is something about postcards that is "just right" for me. ATC's are what a lot of people enjoy, but I get a little too intimidated by them. Postcards are just ...mail, I guess. It really frees me. The one on top is for a black and white artwork swap and the green one is for an alphabet postcard swap. It's so cool- it's going to take about a year to get through the whole alphabet, but when we are done we will have such an awesome collection! By the way, "S" is for sequin if you couldn't tell. I sewed them on by hand and then glued a backing to it. We are not going in order so that kinds of adds to the fun. Plus, I make each postcard tailored to the profile of my recipient so I can't jump ahead and just do letters randomly. It's kind of weird how much I am enjoying these!

In spite of my brave quote about attitude yesterday, I was having a very hard day. Yesterday would have been my twenty-fourth wedding anniversary if I hadn't been widowed in 1995. I think it hit me extra hard because instead of celebrating, I am mourning two marriages. I never thought I would find myself in this position at age 44. I am re-thinking my whole life, I guess. My mother married five times. All I ever wanted was to find Mr. Right and a picket fence and settle into the blissful domesticity that I never experienced as a child. I was so happy with Jerry and before he died, it seemed that I had exactly what I had always wanted. Instead of facing the fact that my life had changed in a very profound way after he died, I tried to replicate my happy life with someone who was not right for me in any way, shape or form. I tried for years and years!

Now I am really coming to terms with the fact that that old, old dream is gone and I must come up with a new plan for my life. Just as my marriage to E was an in-authentic (is that a word?!) choice for me, so is my job. I'm not completely sure how to get there, but art therapist is really looking like a compelling choice for me. I've never been able to commit to a career choice, but this one is different. To work in art and help people at the same time? Wow. That is amazing. It will take a lot of work to get there. First I need a bachelor's degree and then a master's! Whew- that's a lot of schooling for an old gal. But exciting too, huh? Of course, ideally, I would really love to be a full-time student, but I doubt there is a some big benefactor out there handing out scholarships big enough for that! And that's what I'm I love this dream enough that I will work at it while still working full-time to support my family? I think I do!

Photo from flickr.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Didn't Say It, But I'm Glad Someone Did!

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is, you have a choice everyday regarding the attitude you will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. You are in charge of your attitudes."
-Chuck Swindoll

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Thankful today to honor the memories of the fallen Americans. It's hard- every year it hits me hard just like the first 9/11. So much loss and so hard to comprehend.
I had only been at this job for a few weeks when it happened. I never watched the news in the morning, but I did that day and I didn't know why. It was just moments after the first plane hit. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. At that point it wasn't even known what kind of plane it was. I woke up Earl because it was so surreal. Carmen asked if the tower would fall and I said, "Of course not!" It seemed incomprehensible. I took her to school and when I got back, I got Eric up for school. More news was coming in. It was becoming apparent that this was not an accident, but a terrorist attack. I remember questioning whether to take Eric to school and whether to go to work- would it be safe? But I decided that I wouldn't be ruled by fear- if I were, then "they" would win. Win by terror. So I took Eric to school and I went to work and it was horrible, but I'm so glad I did.
My heroes are the passengers of Flight 93- regular Americans who demonstrated the ultimate bravery; they sacrificed their lives so that others could live. Yeah, hard day today, but I remain thankful.

"We can be changed by what has happened to us,

but we refuse to be reduced by it."

(paraphrase of a quote by Maya Angelou)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I made a little thing...

Okay, actually I embellished a little thing! This is a business card case that I received as a gift many years ago. It's very scratched up, but it's the only one I have. I want to be little more proactive with Tender Arts Studio so I needed something to keep my cards nice. A few little bits and bobs and presto-chango! A new case! I really like it- I think it looks sentimental and sweet. The business cards are printed on a laserjet printer onto Mylar. I get scraps of the stuff at work that are big enough to cut into 8.5"x11" sheets. I found the template at Business Card Land - a very cool FREE resource!

That blue paper doily is from the same package I used when I made my Queen of the Nest crown:
For the first time, I'm beginning to feel a hint of Autumn in the air! There may be an Autumnal Crown inside of me waiting for creation! All I need is more time! And money! I'll tell you, Friends, this single mom thing is much harder than I thought it would be. I'm squeezing the pennies really hard these days. I'm getting more hours at OSH now so that will help a little and the shop is full, so that should help too.
I'm just wondering if going back to school is an option for me? I have about two years of college completed- I'm just not sure if anyone is going to want to hire such an old college graduate! If by some miracle I could get financing to be a full-time student, I would be 48 when I finished! How much older would I be if I have to attend part-time? I think it would be pretty neat to work in geriatrics. I like seniors- they've always been my favorite customers when I've worked in retail. Maybe I could find something like administrator in an assisted living center or something? Or art therapy! Now that would be cool! off on a little tangent there! Happy Wednesday, dear Friends!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dollmaker Shout Out!

I was cruising around etsy, enjoying all the sights, when I stumbled across this very talented dollmaker, The Dollimama! Isn't that clever? Anyway, she makes adorable traditional cloth dolls for children! This is a wonderful thing to know given all the problems discovered last year with children's toys from overseas. So, let's harmful chemicals, supporting an independent artist, cute as a button...I can't find anything NOT to love about this shop! Go take a look for yourself. Remember- Christmas is only 106 days away and indie sellers are not like Walmart- there won't be anything left if you wait till the last minute!

I am just in love with this darling boy and his dog, Joey and Roscoe! Aren't they precious?

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Happy Monday!

Good morning! I have photos to share! But this is not what I did this weekend. This is from last weekend. (Hey, I'm slow, but I get there eventually!) My brother, sister-in-law, sons and I went down to the Bay Area for an important mission. Carmen was not with us- she was at SacAnime winning the art contest! I will try to get her to scan in her winning entry another time. It is darling!

And here is what we were doing in Hayward: We were having our own Ancestor's Day! My mother's birthday was August 30th. We were there on what would have been her 70th birthday. Her niche has had nothing but her ashes in it since 2002. We decided to do a bit of decoratin'! We took a "more is more" approach which is how Mom was about everything! I'm sure we'll be back to do something a little more refined, but really, this is Mom's style right here! Colorful and exuberant and full! The yellow card with the large Y/tree is a card I made for her back in 1991. She kept it on her bedside until her death. It reads: "Youth fades, love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother's secret love outlives them all." by Oliver Wendell Holmes. You moms out there know it's true. Nobody loves our children the way we do and nobody has ever loved me the way my mom did. I know she is thrilled about her babies being together on her birthday and celebrating together. My grandparents and great grandparents are also at the same cemetery, so everyone got attention. What can I say? It was a really cool way to spend a day!

Anyway....when Jon and Deb and the boys and I were done, we went to Val's Burgers for lunch. This place is a Hayward landmark- it's been in the same location, offering the same menu for 50 years! It's so cool! And delicious!
Here are Deb, Jonathan and Max chowing down. The shakes are killer! They even give you the metal canister the shake is made in! It fills the glass three times! Yes- I know, not exactly healthy, but when it comes to diners, this is nirvana!

Look at this awesome root beer float Max got! A giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a pint glass of root beer, topped off with whipped cream and a cherry. Mmmmmmmm.

He did a pretty good job with it! He said his grilled cheese sandwich melted in his mouth!

Here's Eric with the Mama Burger- a half pound of artery clogging hamburger- but oh so yummy! He even got creative with it and topped it with a raw onion slice, grilled onions and an onion ring- a born chef, I tell ya!

Me? A classic tuna melt and a chocolate malted, thank you very much! So good!

In shop news, someone new has arrived! Meet Beth March! Do you remember her from Little Women? Sweet shy and gentle Beth was one of my favorite characters in the book. I'm so happy with how she turned out, but my photos are atrocious! I will take more and hopefully they will be better!

That's all the news that's fit to share for today. Have a beautiful day, my friends!