Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paradise Lost

When we purchased our home one of the main features that attracted us to it was the mature landscaping. Our front yard contains several shady pecan trees and a couple of bearing plum trees. The back yard has pine, almond, apricot, and pear trees as well as a beautiful grape arbor. With all of this abundance you might think we could set up shop at the local farmer's market, but not so. We have The Interlopers to thank for that.
Allow me to introduce Exhibit A... aka the ravenous squirrel. I think he's eating one of the pecans left over from fall, but only because he has the deemed that the grapes in the first photo are not ready yet. Last year so many grapes went missing that I was sure these fellows had started their own winery.
The fruit trees and grape vines aren't the only all you can eat venues on the property. It seems as though pine cones from the Ponderosa pines are a delicacy too. It's odd though, apparently it's okay to eat these when they are still green. I think things would be alright if we just had two squirrels to contend with, but these guys are only a fraction of the day shift. The rest of the crew partied too much last night drinking wine, so they were all a little late getting on site today.
You would think that having a dog would deter some of this pilfering. Not the case here. We think the squirrel syndicate is pushing a few extra pecans Maggie's way so that she will turn a blind eye to their larceny. Nice try girl, but we're on to you.

That's what we get for having a literal chow hound on sentry duty.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

Long before I was born my father had a collection of various porcelain dogs. That may sound like an odd thing for a man to collect, but my dad was a pack rat by nature (See, I came by that trait honorably) and he always loved dogs. So this collection made perfect sense to me. I think that he had inherited some of them from my grandmother and I'm sure the rest he received as gifts. There were mama dogs that had matching pups by their sides, dogs that were linked together with thin chains starting with the largest and then graduating down in size. Poodles, Scotties, Terriers...all kinds of dogs, years and years worth of dogs. At least that's what I have been told, for you see I never actually saw any of them.

The story is that my oldest brother loaded the whole collection into a cardboard box without permission and took them to school for show and tell. The dogs made it all the way to school, lasted throughout the day there, survived the walk home from school, only to be accidentally dropped and smashed to oblivion right at the doorstep as my brother entered. AAUGHH!!! It was one of those days that lives on in family infamy, you know one of those events that gets replayed for the next forty years. And here I am, bringing up the subject again...

I'm telling you this essentially because I too love collecting little "doggities." I guess it's in the genes. To be in my collection dogs must meet this criteria: They have to be quirky...
They have to be cute...
They have to be unique...
They have to be lovable.

I guess requiring them to be shatterproof might be unrealistic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you are having a great week. Just wanted to let you know that I updated my shop over at Charm School Jewels with some fun new charm bracelets for summer. Those of you who receive my newsletter probably already know this, so my apologies for being a Repeat Rita. If your name is Rita, no offense. I have an uncontrollable urge to use alliteration wherever and whenever possible. Same song second verse, should get better but it just gets worse! Bear with me people.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ployvore Adore

For any of you who would like to spend more time on the internet, I just discovered the most wonderful place to do so. Ployvore. It's fabulous! You can create your own little collages right online with their images, and you don't even have to get out the scissors or glue stick. Now that sounds like that would save lots of time, right? WRONG! I just wiled away an hour (very conservative estimate) creating the set shown above. Between playing with Ployvore and the appointment with my retail therapist ,Etsy, no laundry is getting done. Guess everybody around here will be getting a new package of seat covers when I go to Target. Because of course, there is always ample time to go to Target.

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pillow Talk

Hello dear friends, hope you all have had a wonderful week. I am in the process of sprucing up my patio. The weather has been over 100 degrees everyday this week, so I have been waiting until the evening to do my decorating. These pillows are my find of the week! They were on sale at Hobby Lobby for half price, and I was able to get all three for what you might pay for just one teeny tiny decorative pillow.
This is a close up of the embellishment in the center of each pillow. I think they have a very Double D Ranchwear feel to them. No comparison in price though! The long rectangular one was only $7!!! That's right folks, you read that correctly.

This is one of the swings on the porch. I have four all together, so I am thinking about doing each one differently but having them complement each other. I just have this black and white toile wrapped around the cushion while I am experimenting. I like to change the fabric up every other year. Heaven forbid that things should get boring! I have never used these colors outdoors, but I'm liking it. A little punch of pink here and there, or even orange when autumn rolls around might be fun too.

Now don't think I'm going to leave these lovely pillows out day and night. If I did that the squirrels that use my backyard like a frat house would have a heyday! Ooh, I just checked the thermometer and it's currently a balmy 95 degrees in the shade. I better get out there and start froufing. Happy decorating to you my dears!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All Olivia, All the Time

My two, soon to be three, year old daughter has only one book on her summer reading list...Olivia. Everyday, all day...Olivia plain and simple. She's only had this book for two weeks but has already "read" it countless times. After playing with other toys or being gone from the house for awhile, she will look up and ask quizzically, "Where's my 'Livia' book?"
During my wee one's swimming lesson the instructor had her stretch out by the side of the pool to practice the floating technique prior to having her do it in the water. While getting into position she informed her teacher (in true Olivia fashion) that she had to "bask in the sun." Is she brilliant or just highly suggestible? I'm going with brilliant of course! Gotta run, someone is looking for her "Livia" book again, and I didn't even hide it this time. Happy Day!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jam Session

The apricots were finally ready, so I thought I better switch over into Betty Crocker mode and make that jam I mentioned before.
These girls needed a dip in the tub.
I use the recipe that comes with the package of Sure-Jell. All you need is fruit, Sure-Jell, sugar, and lemon juice.
This is five cups of finely chopped apricots. At first I was worried that I would not have enough fruit to work with. The birds were privy to the ripe and ready status before I was, so a large amount had already been sampled. Those birds are so fickle, they just hop from piece to piece taking a bite here and a bite there, never satisfied to finish the one they started.
It only took three lemons to yield a fourth of a cup of fresh juice, but I was prepared just in case.
Fire up the stove and get ready to stir!
Okay, I had been stirring for a LONG time at this point.
Alright, things got a little dicey after I added the sugar, that's why we leap forward a little with our picture documentation. If I hadn't decided to do this between the hours of 11 PM and 2 AM I might have had someone other than myself taking the snaps, but that's not how I roll. Turns out it's next to impossible to stir the equivalent of molten lava and hold a camera.
The lids needed a steamy bath too.


Their fate is sealed...hopefully!


Too hot to handle, but I managed a pic anyway. Man, where is my key grip when I need him? Oh that's right...ASLEEP like all the other sane people in the world at 2:00 in the morning.


Totally worth staying up to make this batch. All the jars sealed perfectly and it is yummy! If you're really good this year, I'll put you on my Christmas list. And if apricot is not your thing, I'm thinking strawberry and blueberry might be worth the trouble too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Time again for...

The topic for today's Show and Tell is "Favorite Flea Market Find" My item was not purchased at a flea market, but it is definitely my best find. I hope you agree!

Several years back I went through a phase of collecting Coca-Cola memorabilia. Truth be told, at the time I was very much into the color red and I think the Coke stuff just came along for the ride. That had to be the reasoning, because as I have mentioned before I am a Dr. Pepper girl through and through.

I collected various Coca-Cola items both new and vintage, everything from the glass straw dispensers to the old wooden cola crates. The one item that proved to be the Holy Grail during my quest to build my collection was the illusive old time upright Coca-Cola machine.
I had I rough idea of the type machine I was after, the problem was I had never seen any for sale in my neck of the woods. I combed the flea markets and antique shops in my area for over two years with no luck. It seemed like there was every imaginable type of vending machine available, except of course the one I wanted.

One day when I was out and about, traffic was being diverted down some less traveled side roads because of a broken water main. This detour took me through an area that might have been occupied by relatives of Jeff Foxworthy. On one side of the street there were cars on blocks in the middle of front yards that were waist deep in weeds. On the other side there were a pair of fifty something gals clad in tube tops and bikini bottoms sunning themselves in lawn chairs while the sprinkler splashed them intermittently. And let's just say they were wearing Brittany Spears style outfits despite their Mama Cass bodies. But I digress...Okay, so I was still on the detour when I saw what could only be described as a mirage in the distance. Up ahead on the left there was a blinding glare, the kind of glare that comes from direct sunlight hitting metal. I blinked and tried to adjust my eyes. When I did so, row upon row of vintage cola machines came into view. All of these machines were standing at attention in the front yard of a tumbledown clapboard house. I slammed on the brakes and was almost rear ended by another driver on the detour. I barely heard the blaring horn of the person behind me as I pulled over in my hypnotic state, but I was on a mission. I could sense that among the rows of discarded machines, the one I wanted was waiting for me.

I didn't have to go to the door because the seventeen hound dogs that resided in the front yard in the shade of the machines had already sounded the alarm. The commotion served to bring a wiry old fellow out on the porch. With one command of his voice he silenced the barking dogs and then came to greet me. I told him that I noticed all his cola machines as I was passing and I just had to stop. He seemed very proud of his collection and eager to talk about how he had amassed so many...and how his wife wanted to get rid of some. After letting him talk a while, I told him that I had been searching for a machine of my own. I told him some of the features I liked and he said he had one something like that. I followed him down a row and then we zig zagged around until we came to this beauty... It had a rounded top, embossed lettering, and its original paint, in other words almost everything I wanted. By this time the man's wife had joined us in the yard. I'm sure she thought I was crazy for stopping, because after all this was not a shop that was open for business, this was their front yard I was touring and making myself at home in. Her presence had a benefit though, when I asked if this machine was for sale she was the one to respond. She said yes before her husband could even open his mouth! He had a very dejected look on his face when she said that. I saw I had no time to lose, so I asked how much. She said, "You can have it for $100 if you cart it off." Her husband now looked ill in addition to dejected. "I'll take it!" I said.
The only painful part of the transaction was having to call my husband. It was worth it though!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! For a list of all the participants in Show and Tell please visit our darling host Heidi.

Please visit me again, so we can share another Coke and a smile. Happy Day!

My heart remembers Daddy...

Today and Always

Friday, June 13, 2008

Decorating Daydream

When I was in seventh grade I took Home Ec. for the very first time. It was in that class where I learned all the basics of baking. For a time I even wanted to go into the cake baking business. I must have talked about this pretty adamantly, because my grandmother gave me this book that same year. The book was was copyright 1961, making it over twenty years old, but I still thought all the ideas inside were wonderful.
I remember paging through it and getting excited at the thought of all the perfectly decorated cakes I was going to create.
I loved this shoe cake especially and studied the directions to it countless times. I was intrigued with those round party favors too, and often wondered what was inside them.
I loved the thought of making tinted coconut for this cake too.
I didn't remember this adorable doggie until flipping through this book again. Love him!

My cake baking ambitions were short lived. I guess ideas are like that in the brain of a twelve year old, but I kept the book. Now twenty five years later, I am poring over this now forty-seven year old book thinking again how wonderful all these ideas really are.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Membership has its privileges...

I have only been an official member of the blogging community for a few months, but my sweet friend and follow blogger, Natalea has given me the nicest award. It's the Arte Y Pico Award and it is "dedicated to many who nourish and enrich the spirit and creativity" as described by it's originator at . I am so honored that Natalea chose me as a recipient! I would re-award Natalea with the same honor in a heartbeat, but recipients are supposed to pass it along to five different people who inspire them. That being said, I would like to pass the Arte Y Pico Award along to the following...

1. Amy Powers at Inspire Company. Amy's blog was one of the first I ever read. I loved her funny storytelling right from the start and her boundless creativity.

2. Deb Trotter at Cowboy's Sweetheart. Deb's blog was the first blog I ever read. I loved her passion for the Wild West and for the way she expressed it through her art.

3. Sanya Pallos at In the Pink Antiques. While Sanya is new to blogging , she is definitely not new to e-commerce or to being an inspiration to the masses. I loved Sanya's first online shop, Two Shabby Chicks where she provided a rich source of creativity through the Projects of the Month that she featured...way before blogs were so commonplace.

4. LeAnn at Pink Icing on the Cake. LeAnn is one of the most upbeat gals in Blogland. She loves to share her decorating adventures and she always leaves the nicest comments!

5. Sandy at Lu Lu's Fluffy Ruffles. Sandy invites you into her magical land of pink roses and pug dogs, where she always makes you feel welcome and makes you laugh too!

Hope you all enjoy popping over to these blogs if you haven't been there before. Thanks again to Natalea who made it possible for me to pass on these awards. Happy Day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You haven't seen our movie?!

Not until yesterday anyway! Geeze, I thought it was going to be the whole Marie Antoinette saga all over again! Fortunately, my own Mr. Big took me to see it. Don't tell him I told though, he would be embarrassed. That was payback for me standing in line three hours in 1999 to buy him a ticket to see Stars Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace while he had to work. A girl doesn't forget a favor like that. I was just waiting for the perfect time to call in my marker.
So glad I had the chance to go. If you loved the show you will love the movie... I LOVED the movie! Only one thing bugged me though, Carrie wore the same belt (the one in the picture above) several times in the film. That seemed like a very "un-Carrie" like thing to do. The first time I noticed it was a repeat I made the mistake of asking my Sweetie whether it was the same belt she had on with a previous outfit. That question was rewarded with an eye roll followed by an empty stare. If I had asked him a similar question about Obi-Wan Kenobi's attire back in 1999 he would have been able to prattle on and on. Note to self...Don't take a boy to a chick flick, even if they watched every episode of the TV series it was based on with you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Apricot Anticipation

The apricot tree in my backyard actually has fruit on it this year. Whether or not it will varies from year to year. We always seem to have an early heat wave in Spring causing the trees to bloom out beautifully, only to be followed by a fluke snowstorm that wreaks havoc on the would be fruit. That was the drill this year, but for some odd reason the blooms survived and there is a good crop of apricots ripening nicely on the branches.

I'm keeping my eye on their progress because I plan to make a batch of apricot jam in the next few days. Gee, doesn't that sound domestic? If you saw the inordinate amount of take out containers in my trash, any question about my homemaking abilities would be immediately cleared up. I can make jam though. And since those apricots only come around every other year or so, that gives me just about the right recovery time between batches.
Hope your day is fruitful!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Glad you dropped by for...

Hello dear friends, hope you all have had a nice weekend! The topic for today's Show and Tell is "Trash to Treasure." If you read my previous post, you already know that I happened upon a wonderful pile of junk right in my own alley. I selected one item from the pile to spruce up and the result is the star of my post today.
I picked this discarded door from the aforementioned pile of rumble. If that bike had not been a men's ten speed, it probably would have a coat of pink paint on it right now, but it looked too modern so I opted for the door. I waited till nightfall to retrieve this diamond in the rough. If the neighbor who ditched it had seen my interest in this door, he would either have wanted to keep it for himself or charge me for taking it... swell guy. And I must report, this baby was HEAVY, even though half of it is made of screen. I was not expecting THAT! So I huffed and puffed my way back to the house with only the street light as a guide, but with the door safely in tow.
After a coat of shell pink paint, a glass knob, the addition of a fleur de lys embellishment and some ethereal tulle curtains, I created this lovely backdrop for an impromptu backyard vignette.
Here is a closer look at the color and the added embellishment. I found this fleur de lys at the craft store in the unfinished wood section. I gave it a light coat of the pink paint, let it dry and then brushed a small amount of silver craft paint into the crevices to accent the details. I then attached it to the surface of the door with quick dry tacky glue.

Even though the door is rather large in size, it is still very versatile. For instance, this would be a great piece to serve as a divider for a booth space at an antique mall or craft show. When entertaining, I am going to use it in a different area of my yard where I want to hide some unsightly things like the lawn mower, extra trash barrel, etc. Hmmm, good for hiding unsightly areas?...I might need to find some more doors to use in other areas of my house too!

Thank you so much for visiting today! For a complete list of Show and Tell participants please visit our sweet hostess Analise. Hope you drop in again for a visit.
The door(s) is/are always open! LOL!
Happy Day!

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dumpster...

So here's the skinny, the topic for this week's Show and Tell Sunday is "Trash to Treasure." You are supposed to feature pictures of things that you have repurposed and made to look fabulous. I have several items that fit into this category, so my post for Sunday will be easy peasy, lemon squeezy...or so I thought! They would like for us to post the "before" shots of our projects too. Great, that narrows my Show and Tell items down to ZIP! I'm terrible at documenting projects. Most of the time I get a wild hair and just jump right in and start slapping primer on things before I even think to take a "before" shot.

So I was kind of disappointed that I would not get to play along this week, until I took the trash out and discovered this cornucopia of treasure. All of this stuff had been discarded in the alley and was ripe for the picking . It was tossed out by the neighbor who I "lovingly" refer to as Mr. Crankenberry, but bless him because he couldn't have chosen a better time to be cleaning.

Just look at that junk!
Now that's what I call Double Grade A garbage!

If you ever saw the kid's game show called Double Dare you might remember that contestants could take the arduous and often messy "Physical Challenge" well that's just what this contestant has decided to do. I have selected one item from the junk pile to beautify and present for Show and Tell. This item has its proper "before" shot, but I only have until Sunday to get the "after" shot.

Can she do it ladies and gentlemen?
Tune in Sunday to find out!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

ATC Adventure

Awhile back I was asked to participate in an ATC swap. I had never made any of these little cards before, so I was a bit reluctant to join. The canvas for the design is only 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches in size, so I thought it might be doable after all. After dragging my feet for far too long, I finally finished my required six cards. These are pretty basic compared to some I have seen, but I like the way they turned out. Building more dimension and texture is the goal for my next batch. And oh yes, there will be a next batch...They told me making these would be habit forming!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Patriotic Paraphernalia

Last year County Living Magazine featured the most wonderful Fourth of July decorating projects. Most of them had vintage crepe paper as one of the key ingredients. At the time I was unable to find the same style of streamer they had used, but this year I got lucky! My fabulous friend Natalea had some if this perfect vintage crepe available in her Etsy shop, and I was fortunate enough to snap it up. As I have said before, Natalea finds the best mix of goodies to offer in her shop. As an added bonus she always includes the most thoughtful extras in the package too. I only purchased the crepe paper, but she sent the wonderful buttons, millinery flowers, seam binding and that adorable "M" token. Ooh, and it's all color coordinated too! LOVE it!

I wanted to show you the picture of the projects I was describing from Country Living, but I guess they do not allow you to copy and paste their photos. However, click HERE and you can pop over and see them for yourself. Last year I made the little hats and used them as place cards. Now with this fab red, white, and blue crepe paper I plan to make those great chair decorations. If I am productive, I'll report back with my results. Hope you have a wonderful day!