Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jar Purchase #847

So the Fourth of July decorating continues...more decorating calls for the addition of more glass jars, right? I found this one at Walmart. I justified this purchase by classifying it as combat pay for having to go to Walmart.
Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Red and White Delight

For some reason Memorial Weekend felt like July 4th Weekend to me this year. We ate ice cream and even saw fireworks, so the whole summer timeline is now all goofed up in my brain. This has a benefit though... Whenever I have neglected to decorate for a holiday, I always get the sudden urge to do so either the day before or after the fact completely, when it's too late and really doesn't matter at all. This has happened on Valentine's Day and even Halloween. I have all these great ideas and intentions, but I usually just scrap them and make a solemn vow to myself that next year I will do better and start earlier.
Okay, so to make a short story long, since I am all out of whack thinking that Independence Day has already passed, I have begun to decorate for it. Makes perfect sense right? And can you believe it, it's only May and the Easter decorations are already coming down!

In my kitchen I have a wall where I change out the decor seasonally (at least in theory). I thought I would punch things up with a little red this year. I came up with this on July 5, 2007 but I waited until now to implement my plan. This may be as far as it gets, we'll see.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ribbon Candy

Yesterday, while at the craft store I had a Steve Martin moment. If you have ever seen a movie he was in called
The Jerk, you might remember the scene where the simpleton character he played was overjoyed because the new phone book had just arrived. He exclaimed, "The phone books are here! The phone books are here!" I could totally relate when I saw that the store already has the Christmas ribbon for sale. Who cares if it's 103 degrees outside and Christmas is seven months away? Not me, I was in the isle shouting "The ribbon is here! The ribbon is here!"

I love to see the new color combinations that they have out because that gives a hint as to what the decorations and wrapping paper are going to be like, not that we won't know that within the month anyway. LOL! When I was checking out, the clerk was already "bah humbug" about the whole situation. I think she even rolled her eyes at me, at which point I added to her annoyance by cheerfully reminding her that all the ribbon is 50% off...including the Christmas. I get another big eye roll followed by an agitated exhale. This did not bother me in the least though. As a matter of fact, I think I need to go back and get some more... before there's a run on it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summer Reading

When the Marie Antoinette movie came out in 2006 I couldn't wait to see it. I was not well versed in French history, but any movie trailer that mixed Big 80's music with amazing costuming and fabulous cinematography peaked my interest. I waited and waited for the film to come to my town. I think when it finally did arrive, it stayed a whopping five days and I missed it. Any film that gives off even a hint of culture has a very short run in the local theater, if it even comes at all. Talledega Nights on the other hand is probably still playing on three of the eight screens at the "multiplex." So, I had to then wait for it to come out on video (do we still say video, or do we have to say DVD?) Well, you know what I mean.

When I finally did see it I LOVED it! Probably could have used more gratuitous 80's music, but come to think of it most things could. My only misgiving about the film was I knew that I was seeing the Hollywood version Marie Antoinette. While that might have been okay for a teenager who had not done their required reading and had a report due on the subject the next day, I on the other hand wanted to find out the back story and why in this instance all roads led to the scaffold for Marie.

I started my quest by reading Marie Antoinette Portrait of an Average Woman. I thought it sounded interesting since my perception of the young queen was completely opposite from what the title of the book suggested. The book definitely begins at the beginning, in Austria where we meet Marie Antoinette as a child and follows her life step by step as it moves toward the inevitable. One of my favorite elements is that the book contains correspondence between her and her mother. What could be more telling of a person than that? I almost could not bring myself to read the last two chapters because I was so moved by everything that had led up to that point. I knew the outcome. Not even Hollywood tried to change that. But I still thought that if I prolonged finishing it, that everything would somehow be alright... for me, for history, and for Marie.
My husband asked why I was so interested in Marie all of a sudden. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it has something to do with Marie having been only thirty-eight, almost the age that I am now, and how that in many respects she was just an average woman...

Alright, so I have some true background now, which I did not receive from Hollywood or Classics Illustrated. Next stop in my Marie Antoinette tour de force... A Scented Palace.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Welcome to...

Hello dear friends, thank you so much for stopping by today! This is my first time to participate in Show and Tell Sunday and I couldn't be more thrilled with this week's topic...China, Silver, and Crystal! LOVE it! I love silver and crystal with equal enthusiasm, but I decided to limit myself to china so I wouldn't have to polish as much. LOL!

These first couple of photos show my wedding china. The pattern is Southern Visa by Lenox. This was a new pattern for the company fifteen years when I was doing my bridal registry. The store in my small hometown did not even carry the pattern yet, but the very sweet owner special ordered a place setting so that I would be able to have a proper display on my registry table.

If you have read my blog before, you will remember that I am dish crazy. That being said, I couldn't just have one set of china for special occasions like a normal person. Instead, I love to find beautiful plates that might be perfect to use for my mother's birthday dinner or another set that would be fitting for my daughter's baptism brunch. The next two pictures are samplings from my stockpile.

The plate below is one of six that I found at an antique store. The back stamp features a lion within a coat of arms and reads, "Bavaria Schumann". I love the purple tones in the design and of course the scalloped edge.
This next pattern is Eggshell Georgian Chateau by Homer Laughlin. I have several plates along with some cups and saucers as well. I love this dainty pattern with its soft band of blue and modest gold accents.
Hope you have fun taking a peek at all the collections from today's participants of Show and Tell Sunday. Thank you so much to Analise and Cerri for coordinating this blog event each week. You can pop over to either of their blogs for a complete link list of all who are participating. Please visit here again soon, the welcome mat is always out and there is always cake and pretty plates off of which to eat it. Happy Day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

To Bee or Not to Bee

When I received my current issue of Martha Stewart Living, the cover photo was very familiar to me. Last summer when my baby girl turned two I had as the theme of her birthday party, "A Winnie the Pooh Picnic." My inspiration for this came from a Williams-Sonoma catalog which featured a bee hive shaped cake made from a pan they were selling. You could even purchase a little box of sugar paste bees to adorn your finished masterpiece. I thought this cake would make a really cute table decoration for the party, so I purchased both the pan and the bees.

When making the cake I cheated and used a boxed spice cake mix along with a can of cream cheese flavored icing, even though the pan came with recipe suggestions. I heated the icing just a bit in the microwave to make it pourable. (You didn't know you would get a Semi-Homemade episode when you tuned in today now did you?) I was probably heavy handed when I started applying the icing. I think I glopped rather than drizzled. I my defense I will say that I had to apply a lot of icing to make the two halves stick together, and one thing led to know how that is. Anyway, after applying the icing I had a handful of bees come in for a landing for the finishing touch. I don't know if I will have a need for this pan again, but the first go round was fun.And here I thought I could make it through a week without posting about cake. I guess I'll have to rename my blog...welcome to Cake Life everybody!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tiny Dancer

This week I signed my wee one up for ballet lessons. The lessons officially begin this fall, but you have to enroll now if you want a spot. I was slightly out of my element when I went to the dance studio. As I entered, I was sucked into a vortex of cell phone clutching, Franklin Covey day planner carrying mommies who embodied preparedness...or was it aggression?...and who were there to claim a coveted spot for their own little ballerinas as well. Now while I may be the girl who never has her cell phone charged and who jots down appointments on the back of Target receipts(provided there's a pen in my purse), when push comes to shove (literally)I can throw elbows with the best of them. I mean really, I've gone to after Christmas sales! LOL!!! That being said, I am happy to report that my little angel will be officially tripping and skipping with a whole company of three year olds when September rolls around. At least I'll have a few months to brace myself for the bloodbath that is surely to come with Nutcracker tryouts. Maybe I should start martial arts training now?
I think she would be a perfect little mouse for one of the opening scenes. Come to think of it, I think she would be just about a perfect anything!
There's only one problem, the youngest dancers aren't allowed to wear tutus the first year. (What?! That's the only reason she's interested!) I haven't broken this news to her yet. I'm thinking this could be a deal breaker for my girl, so all might be for not. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, May 19, 2008

There was a young lady who lived in a shoe...

she had so many collections that she kept adding to. She knew that she shouldn't but she persisted her folly. Amassing such lovelies proved to make her quite jolly! Who knew a little shopping would make me wax poetic? I had to show you my Saturday finds! I was browsing through Tuesday Morning and found this adorable tiered tidbit tray. The color may be a little off in the photo, but it is the most wonderful shade of aqua! I don't know if you can see it very well, but the bubble gum pink place mat came from there as well. They came in a set of four and look tufted.
After Tuesday Morning I headed to the antique mall where I found the adorable Shawnee shoe planter. I added the vintage millinery, but I might find a different use for this little shoe later. I came home with this sweet platter too. The pattern is called "Pink Blush" LOVE that! I think it will definitely find a place on my wall.
Now that tidbit tray looked so bare, so I filled it up with some other pretties that needed a good home.
The top tier features this fun charm bracelet. It has so many interesting cars on it. I wish I knew the back story of it all. The spherical charm looks oddly enough like something out of Star Wars. My Sweetie looked at this purchase with new admiration after I pointed out that observation. LOL!
The bottom tier has some yummy vintage earrings that will probably find their way into a charm bracelet soon. I've read on some other blogs that people are making an effort to live by the "One In, One Out" rule, where they get rid of something they already have each time they bring something new into the mix. So I'm earrings count as one item or two? Never mind, I'm totally delusional if I think I would have the willpower to follow a rational formula like that! Hope you have an excessively good day...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Save The Date...

Okay, so the class reunion is two months away but something far more important is only two WEEKS away!!! That's right, the Fab Four are getting back together for their big screen debut on May 30th and I can't wait! (Insert catchy theme music here.) The trailer looks fabulous! My only hope is that they didn't show all the best parts of the film during the trailer as often is the case. I don't know about you, but my senses are in dire need of some haute couture, and watching Ugly Betty only does so much for me. Bring on the parade of Prada and the march of the Manolo Blahniks (that's part of The Nutcracker ballet you know).

Oh, and while we wait patiently for the premiere I thought it might be fun to take a little quiz...

I am a Charlotte.
After taking the quiz myself, I announced the results to my Sweetie. He said, "Like there was any question about that." Awww... did I marry Mr. Right or what?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Issues and Subscriptions...

My High School Reunion is just two months from today. That's right, let the fear and loathing begin. I'm too much of a voyeur to NOT want to go, so I made the little to do list above to get the correct mindset going for the whole event. What do you think, should I bring up the fact that I am the proud new owner of a cotton candy machine during cocktails the first night or should I hold off until the banquet on the second? I'm torn. Whatever the case, I'm late for tanning so I'll leave you to decide. Guess I will just have to drink my Slimfast on the way.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Me, From Me

This is a little something I bought myself for Mother's Day. I have been asking for one of these ever since I saw them for sale a few years back. No one took me seriously though... not even Santa. He thought my wish list was that of a seven year old boy and left what was rightfully mine at the house next door. But I have had the last laugh, I saw this little dream machine at Target and I brought it home with me. Now I don't plan on keeping all the magical fairy floss I whip up to myself. I have very altruistic plans in mind...
First, I will dazzle the neighborhood children on Halloween as I spin orange, green and purple webs of happiness for them to enjoy. Forget the neighbor giving out full size chocolate bars, the lady on the corner is making COTTON CANDY!
Next, I will whip up a Pina Colada flavored batch for my Girls Only Movie Night!
But most importantly, I will have a cotton candy station for my daughter's next birthday!
Okay, let's reevaluate. It took me 45 minutes to make just four paper cones "full" of goodness...Maybe if I start TONIGHT I will have enough made for the birthday party... in July.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cake Again?

Hello dear friends! Looking back over my posts for the last couple of weeks, you might get the impression that this is a baking blog what with all the cupcake fanfare and layer cake love, so continuing with that trend I thought I would give you a peek at the dessert we had for Mother's Day. This is "Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake" from the May/June 2008 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen. If you are a fan of strawberries, you will love this cake! It is so moist and the to die for icing is even low cal. since it only has a half a stick of butter rather than Paula's requisite one stick minimum. LOL! I had to kick the color of the frosting up a notch with the help of some pink Wilton concentrated paste. If the sugar from the cake doesn't give you a buzz, the pink dye will! Hope you all had a sweet weekend too!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

My Grandmother and Mother circa 1934

"All that I am or hope to be I owe to my Mother."

Abraham Lincoln

Friday, May 9, 2008

Everything Old Is New Again

One of the first pieces of furniture we purchased as a newly married couple was this armoire. That was almost fifteen years ago, and at the time "Country" style decorating was very in. I could never give myself over totally to that look though. I think I always preferred "Cottage" style furnishings even though that term wasn't common then. Several years ago when we moved to our current home, I had grown very tired of this piece and even tried to sell it. It was not shabby chic white to begin with, but rather the yellow tone pine you see in the second photograph.
It was during this same time that I was an avid visitor to a website called Two Shabby Chicks, whose owner, Sanya, was always posting fabulous Project of the Month tutorials. She showcased wonderful decorating projects and provided a wealth of information and inspiration. It was through one such tutorial that I worked up enough nerve to revamp this tired armoire into a piece that fit better with my newly evolving sense of style. I had to do some restructuring of the inside to create the shelves I wanted, and I took the doors to a frame shop to have the glass installed. After priming the piece with Kilns, I then rolled on a matte finish in basic white. I found some wonderful glass knobs online and switched out the existing wooden ones. Now, I probably won't be giving you a very close look at the shelves I built because it was my first go at constructing something like that, unless we count all the chest of drawers I used to make out of cardboard boxes as a child! Overall, I am thrilled with the result and am so glad I had no takers when I was trying so hard to kick this baby to the curb.

Next time I will give you a close up of some of the treasures I have on display inside my little cabinet of curiosities. Until then, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Whatnot Wednesday

Someday I am going to show you my studio... I love the book Where Women Create, which features fantastic photos of the work spaces of creative souls. I love to get to see what's behind the curtain and where the magic happens. At present, the only crew that might be interested in coming to my house for a photo shoot would be from the less widely read publication...Where Trolls Create. And the only magic that is happening is how I'm making the mess "disappear" by covering it with this lovely piece of shabby chic fabric.

So rather than be productive and do something like...CLEAN, I decided to give you a peek at one of my favorite finds. I found this pink gumball machine at a local antique mall several years back and fell in love with it. For awhile it was in my daughter's room with pastel baby blocks on display inside. Recently I moved it to my studio as an inspiration piece. I love to have pretties in close proximity while I'm creating. This little dogie is part of a larger collection, but he likes to break away from the pack every now and again for some alone time.

Alright, so at some future date I will give you a pulled back look at the joint. And to answer your question "Yes, it really is THAT terrible!"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Margarita Monday

I thought you might get a kick out of these Margarita Cupcakes seeing as how today is Cinco de Mayo and all! I found the recipe here. These were so much fun to make and you are going to love the icing...YUMMY!!! I sliced key limes and used them as the garnish because they are smaller than regular limes and I thought they were adorable. I really wanted to use the candy that looks like lime slices, but I couldn't find any. When I iced the cupcake, I extended the frosting all the way to the paper liner and over the edge so that I would have a nice band to pick up the colored sugar with. I used the jumbo size cupcake liners and doubled up on them so that their true vibrant color would show. Here is a group shot of some the girls... Hope your day is a festive one!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday In The Garden

Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May Day!

One May when I was about seven, my friend and I decided to make May Day baskets for our neighbors. Like most craft projects completed by seven year olds this involved the use of an inordinate amount of construction paper and crayolas. We arranged flowers on the pieces of paper we had decorated and then rolled the paper around the flower bunch to form a cone. We had no problem getting our hands on paper and crayons, but when it came to scrounging up enough flowers, we had to get creative. This creativity took the form of us "borrowing" flowers from other people's gardens...Mrs. Micheals had climbing roses, The Norwoods had had some type of flowering shrub with orange colored blossoms and berries, The Brunings had get the idea. Looking back I don't think we tried to avoid giving people their own flowers back, that would have made too much sense. We wanted every one's basket to be full with a happy mix of different flowers... so thoughtful of us right? When we had our baskets complete we took them one by one and left them on our neighbor's doorsteps, rang their doorbell and ran. I guess "borrowing" flowers along with ringing doorbells and running was not a good combination, because after one phone call to our parents from the grouchy lady two houses down, we did not get to make May Day baskets again. It was fun while it lasted though!

When I saw Amy's Inspired Idea tutorial for making May Day baskets, I had to join in the fun one more time. I did the project that uses the tin can as the base element. Here is a closer look.

Oh, and in case you are wondering... the flowers are not ill gotten gain, they are from my own backyard this go round! Hope you each have a wonderful day filled with surprises waiting at your doorstep.