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Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favorite Posts of the Year

Taking another page from Kim at Cheap Chic Home, here are my four favorite blog posts from this year that did not make my all time most viewed blogs.  These French signs are my favorites and are the only ones as of this posting that have not been sold.  I have sold a couple others similar to these so I know it will take a special person to purchase them.  Also I do not want to separate the pair.
 This crate was a very popular post as well and one of my personal favorites.  It has since gone to a good home.  This was a fun crate to transform and it attended one of my first link parties.
 I adore these pumpkins.  They were, believe it or not, my second post on October 25.  I thought they turned out so cute, but, of course, did not get any comments.  I love them just the same.  They are full of fond memories of stepping into the unknown world of blog land. 

 My Great Find Cabinet has also found a good home.  It was hard to part with her, but I think she is happy to find permanent lodging.
Happy New Year and thanks to those of you who view my blog  You all inspire me to continue.  I wish for wonderful things for all of us in 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top Four Posts of the Year

I am taking a page from Kim at Cheap Chic Home and showing you my top posts since I started my blog on October 24.  It took me into November to figure out what the whole Link Party thing was all about, and I totally credit Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for her fabulous tutorial on linking up.  Thanks for all the help you experienced bloggers provide for us newbies.  I would be lost without you.
 My roses made from newspaper and coffee filters were my all time most viewed post.  Thanks to Debbie at our shop, Aubergine Emporium, for explaining the process.  Her wreath was my inspiration for these.

 I used a graphic from the Graphics Fairy for Spoonful of Sugar.  I am a paper-holic and Karen was one of the first blogs I started to follow.  I have another upcoming sign I am planning that will complement this piece.

 My next most popular post was this paper poinsettia from book pages.  I saw some paper flowers in a shop in Orange County and that inspired me to try a holiday flower. 

Last but not least was this incredible buffet my husband labored over forever to get it to the perfect place for resale.  I couldn't do this without his help.  He literally transformed this broken down piece of furniture into a thing of beauty that is now capable of being used for decades to come.  Thank you to all who inspire me.  It is the support that we give one another that makes the world a happier place to live.

Vintage Graphics

I feel like this week is a winding down week.  I am off of work and have family visiting.  I am not sure which new projects to start in the coming year, but I assure you I will hit the ground running on January 1.  That is usually how I work.  I purchased a new computer on Tuesday so I can hold more images and use my  computer to do more creative things.  For these endeavors, I rely heavily on my tech support team to make technology decisions aka my two daughters.  It amazes me how tech savvy they are, while we older types struggle to learn new skills.

Since I am still in this limbo state, I went through my graphics collection and found three new images you creative blogger types might be able to do some creating with.  I love this first one.  It is so simple yet complex at the same time.  I love the gray and white coloration.  I might try to create a Valentine's card with this one.
 The next two are very colorful for sure.  I happen to love the soft time worn vintage pinks and aquas.  There is something very romantic about them.
 Hope you can think of something creative to do with these.  Thanks for visiting today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Field Trip to the Ronald Reagan Library

This week my daughter and son-in-law are visiting from Northern California.  Monday we went for a visit to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.  It is a beautiful facility and has amazing exhibits of our history.  We got to actually go on board Air Force One which is permanently housed in a huge hangar.  Of course it is not the current Air Force One, but it is the actual one that President Reagan used.

Now normally I hate to have my photograph taken, but I thought I would share this one for the blog.  I really need to get more updated pictures for the blog in general, but there just hasn't been time.  My son-in-law snapped this photo of my oldest daughter and myself in front of the President.  This mural is larger than life and makes us appear even more petite than we are, but it was still a fun photo op.

I am spending my day with my new computer, getting it internet ready and loading my various softwares on it.  I can't believe how much time all this tech stuff can take.  I know it will be worth it.  I can't wait to learn some Photoshop skills.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Books For My Library

I love decorating books with a passion!  I would almost say I am addicted to them.  Although some of them are a bit pricy, a book is solid photography and great content while some of the magazines today are $10 to $12 and to me they are loaded with too many advertisements.  Here are some of the books Santa brought me for Christmas.  This one by Fifi O'Neill, Romantic Prairie Style, is incredible.  The other book is great as well.  Pale & Interesting is the title and it is written by Atlanta Bartlett (love that name) and Dave Coote.  Both ar recent books.
 I also received Photoshop Elements for Dummies and some other informational books on selling one's wares and growing one's craft business.  I do really want to learn better photography skills this year and I want to learn how to do awesome things with Photoshop.  Baby steps, baby steps.  I want to learn it all at once so I need to pace myself and set small goals so I don't get overwhelmed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Recovering from the Holidays

I think the holidays have gotten the better of me.  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve, enjoyed a huge holiday meal and opened our gifts.  Christmas Day the guys golfed in the early morning and came home and dove into all the yummy left overs.  I am still feeling exhausted today from all the extra activities of December.  It is always one of the more enjoyable months of the year but leaves me drained by the final week.  It is also a good week to reflect on the year's events, goals and achievements and a time to make decisions for the upcoming year.  I am still wondering what the new year will bring and deciding what direction I would like to take.  I plan to grow my blog, learn more about photography, and set new personal goals to help me grow as a person.

I loved the simple arrangement my friend did for her holiday party last week, so I tried to duplicate it for our Christmas Eve dinner.  We have a long table so I did three clear bowls with cranberries and used one white Peony in the center of each one, surrounded them with pomegranate halves that I baked for a half hour to dry them and spread a few evergreen sprigs and put them on a long mirror down the center of the table.  They were the perfect height to converse over.  Peonies happen to be one of my favorite flowers and these were exceptionally beautiful.

My daughter found these cute booty socks at Target and we all had to take pictures of them.  I love Target.  They have great buyers and the merchandize is wonderful.
No slipping and sliding in these babies.  They were even skid proof. 
Last week I reached 32 followers.  Woo Hoo!!  That was very exciting for me.  I hope you are all recouping from the festivities.  My family is off to the Reagan Library for the afternoon so I had better get going.  Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Working Well Under Pressure

Part A:  Every day I get updated posts from different bloggers with pictures of their holiday decor and they all seem to really have it "together" for the holidays.  I am writing this post on December 21st just before I leave for work.  Would you believe I just started shopping on the 20th?  I hope to have time today to run into Macy's and grab a few more things, and hopefully I can complete my shopping by the 22nd.  My youngest daughter still lives at home and is bewildered by the lack of gifts for her under the tree.  I keep assuring her Santa has not forgotten, that sometimes we work under a little extra pressure. 

Part B:  So since I didn't publish the post because I was not done writing it, here is an update.  The streets are pure madness, the malls are crazy, but I must say I only encountered one rude person and one horn honker in the traffic today.  For the most part everyone was beyond patient and just went with the flow.  Although I am beat from my day of running store to store after working for a few hours this morning, I am pretty pleased at how calm my fellow shoppers were and surprised at my own serenity.  Never have I been this late with Christmas.  Maybe it's been the blog or the trip for Thanksgiving to visit my daughter and the whole day job thing, but it was all worth it.  Life is good and I have so much to be thankful for.

Soooo, if anyone out there is as behind as I am, take heart.  You are not alone.  In the end it all gets done, and I am just thankful we will all be together once again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Get Together

We were invited to a Christmas get together on Sunday at a neighbor's home and it was a lot of fun.  I have used cranberries in arrangements before but not with floating flowers.  This was a beautiful easy centerpiece.  This magnificent rose came from her garden.
 These cookies looked so perfect like they were out of the pages of a cookbook.  Nancy's daughter was home for the holidays from Switzerland and she brought a special cheese home to share with us.  The name of the cheese is Raclette.  You place it underneath a Racletterie which broils the very top layer of the cheese and melts it.  You then tilt it up and slide the cheese onto a plate of boiled small potatoes and pickles.  Sort of like a hot potato salad.

 The end result was totally yummy.  Needless to say, it made quite the conversation piece.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Glitterfest Starfish

This could or could not be Christmas.  One of our dealers at Aubergine Emporium made up a few starfish with jewels and they were selling like hotcakes.  I asked her if she would make some for my blog but she encouraged me to do the project instead since she is out of stock.  I glittered mine and kept the color scheme simple, clear and aqua rhinestones.  On one of the starfish I experimented with just globs of glue and then I glittered that.   The pictures don't do them justice.  They would be beautiful in a Christmas tree or on a silver tray just like I did here.  They have a very beachy feel (dah! they are starfish), but none the less they are quite stunning.

At first I put Modge Podge on the starfish and sprinkled it with the shiny white glitter.  For the first couple I did, I mixed the two-part epoxy and used tweezers to hold the rhinestones.  This was doable but not very easy.  I finally got smart and put a dollop of the Martha Stewart craft glue on the starfish and used the tweezers to place the gems.  This was a lot easier.  Tacky Glue would probably work too.  I embellished the centers with stray earings and broken pins.

I am linking to the following link party.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherished Christmas Gift

This past Sunday I ventured out to my favorite flea market where I meet an old friend nearly every month.  Now if you browse around my blog, it won't take you long to realize I like to paint signs on just about any flat surface that I find, especially old cabinet doors. 

It was pretty cold on Sunday, and I hadn't taken much cash, and I just wanted to go home as I had been there since 5:30 in the morning and this was about 8:00, but my friend convinced me to make one more trip around the vendors to see if anyone new showed up.  We came upon this old box full of stencils.  There is no date on it, and the city and state on the box have no zip code and the only reference I found on the internet was 1947.  This box is a complete set of old stencils with many different fonts and sizes.  What a great find!  Neither one of us had seen anything like this and it was a complete set with an intact box that is beautiful in its own right.  I was so excited and to my even bigger surprise my friend insisted this was my Christmas gift from her.  I cannot wait to get all the stencils out to see exactly what is in there.
 This box is beautiful.  It is called a Showcarder.
 Each category has at least two to three stencils in it, plus it has the original instructions and font sample pamphlet.  Is this a cool gift or what?  Beautiful, practical and oh so special.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Farm Fresh Eggs

Here I am with my old cabinet doors again.  This particular door had flaking varnish and was in really rough shape.  I did not sand it down at all because I wanted a very primitive sign.  My husband made me some rooster shutters a few months back and I had two roosters left over so I decided to put one of them to good use.  These are wood cut outs that I purchased on Ebay.  I like that the relief of the rooster gives the sign a three dimensional quality.  To start out, I painted the sign with Colonial Red American Accents paint by Rustoleum.  This is an indoor outdoor paint that can be used on metal or wood.  Then I applied the rooster cut out with epoxy glue.  If you are going to put the sign outdoors, I suggest you tack it on to the board with a couple of tacks.  Once that was set securely on my door, I stenciled Farm Fresh Eggs across the whole sign.  My daughter didn't like that the rooster was white so I streaked some different browns on him.  I trimmed in the details with a little yellow and outlined my letters with black.  When that was all done, I hand sanded very hard and where the original varnish had been flaking, the red paint just chipped away leaving a wonderful naturally aged look.  There were some holes drilled in the cabinet door and I neglected to fill the holes with putty.  Not too worry.  I have a drawer full of rusty screws I scavenged from other projects and I screwed them into the holes.  Some of the streaking on the rooster wiped away when I washed down the board to get the sanding dust off, but that is okay.  This sign looks truly primitive and that is what I wanted it to look like.  When it was complete, I sealed it with Valspar satin clear spray that is suitable for indoors and outdoors.  That should set the paint and keep it from wearing off even more.  Wouldn't this be great on a chicken coop or in a country garden?
I am participating in the following link parties.  Thank you so much to Donna and Debbie for hosting these wonderful link parties every week.

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lucky Moon Graphic

This post probably would have been more appropriate for Halloween, but I just came across it in my archives.  It's been a long week so I will just leave you with this.  You computer techies might be able to do something with this image.  I think it is very cool.  I hope I remember this next fall when I need something with a fabulous moon.  Have a wonderful evening.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Peppermint Madness: Martinis, Peppermint Bark, Peppermint Cupcakes

My daughter Stephanie went a little crazy with her peppermint experiments this year, but all of us enjoyed her laboratory (kitchen) experiments and they were delicious.

To make the Peppermint Bark, use one package of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 12 oz.  One package of white chocolate chip morsels, 12 oz., and 12 candy canes.

Put aluminum foil on a baking sheet.  Heat chocolate semi-sweet morsels in microwave, then spread evenly on aluminum foil with a spatula.  Place in freezer.  While that layer is in the freezer, place your candy canes in a plastic bag and crush the candy canes with a rolling pin or object of your choice.  Make small, small pieces of the candy cane.  Once that is completed, heat your white chocolate chip morsels in the microwave.  Heat all chocolate a half a package at a time and check after a minute and a half.  Once the white chocolate is ready and melted, stir in peppermint crushed candy canes.  Take the frozen semi sweet chocolate out of the freezer ( make sure it's frozen) then spread the white with a spatula over the dark.  At this point Stephanie  says it looks kind of funky and you think it's not going to look good so place the whole thing in the oven at 250 degrees for 10 minutes.  Let it cool at room temperature or put in freezer until firm and ready to break.  This is the best peppermint bark I have had so far and everyone asks for the recipe.

To make the Candy Cane Delight Martini, use 2 ounces Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, 2 ounces Pinnacle Whipped Vodka to one ounce Peppermint Schnapps and about 2 ounces of heavy cream.  Use Grenadine for color if you would like to make it like a candy cane.  Stephanie bought the peppermint rimming sugar  and all other ingredients at Total Wine.  Rim your glass with the Peppermint rimming sugar.  Wet the rim of your glass and dip it in the sugar.  In a shaker mix the rest of the ingredients except the grenadine.  After the martini is made, pour it in the rimmed glass and do a splash of grenadine in a circular motion to make a swirl and garnish with a candy cane swirl.  Enjoy and please drink responsibly.

For Stephanie's cupcakes, she used regular cake mixes and used a cake decorator tip to swirl the frosting and then crushed the candy canes into pieces using a rolling pin or a mallet.  (a food processor works too.)  Sprinkle the crushed candy cane onto your cupcakes.  They look so festive and taste divine!  We consider ourselves cupcake connoisseurs since we live so close to Sprinkles and Crumbs cupcake shops.  I enjoyed hers just as much.  They were truly beautiful and were a fraction of the price.  Besides, cupcakes make the perfect serving size.  She served them on a pretty paper doily and then surrounded them with the peppermint bark and some holiday candy kisses.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tarnished Silver Twig Wreath

 The other day I stopped at my friend's shop in Westlake Village, California, Hoot n' Anny Home, for a visit.  I love to visit her shop.  It is full of such creative ideas.  I don't know where she comes up with this stuff.  This wreath is a wonderful example of her talent.  A simple grape vine wreath adorned with tarnished silver and pages from whatnots.  She attached some of the items with burlap ribbon.  I just love it and am glad I am able to share it with you.  She has attached candelabras, salt and pepper shakers, a silver vegetable bowl, a silver tray and a silver tea pot just to name a few things.  How original is this? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bed Cornice

One of my most recent posts was Spoonful of Sugar and I told you I had another project in mind for the rest of the table my board came from.  Well, here it is.  This table was 36 inches wide so this would fit a single size bed.  Great for a little girl's room.
When I picked up the table from the auction (I had no time for the preview so bought it without seeing it) it had two broken legs, a busted cracked top and was generally trash.  Since I am a junker at heart, I immediately saw two projects and neither one of them was a table.  I had my husband remove the legs in the back.  The front legs he left some of the detail of the leg up near the top.  I had two old finials that had been painted white that were scrapped from another project a few years back.  I actually keep a finial box so I can grab an odd one or two of them every now and then.  He doweled my two smaller finials into what was left of the detailed portion of the original legs.  I added a furniture applique to make it look feminine as I always think of these things draped with beautiful fabrics and they always add a feminine touch to any bedroom.
I had Steve paint the whole thing white and then we went back in with my light gray paint to two-tone it.   Since I am selling this, I didn't want to put a lot of money into fabric and Velcro because I think whoever purchases it will want to do their own thing with it so I had a scrap of white gauzy-like fabric that was just enough to fold in half and then I hand gathered it and took some upholstery tacks we took from another project and tacked it in.  Now the fabric is easily removable but at the same time it is in there for as long as anyone would like.  To mount it on the wall, use strong straight reinforcing brackets that will not give way and leave some of the screw holes exposed at the top to screw it into the wall.  Of course, toggle bolts are a must.  It can also be drilled right into the wall with toggle bolts and then the screws could be touched up with paint.

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