Monday, August 31, 2009

Cottage Fever

Recently, my sister and I spent most of a Friday shopping at The Barn - a store in Castle Rock, CO filled with fabulous antiques, western art, French-styled furniture, vintage finds and many Cottage collections. And yes, it is an old barn. Well, our outing obviously left an impression on me because everything I created over the next few days had a light background and roses. It was time well spent. Below are a few of my new cottage creations. You might say I came down with cottage fever over the weekend.

My Cottage Accessories include plaques, signs, a door hanger, tissue holders and a picture of a ballerina with a wreath of roses around her waist.

Cottage Sign.

A plaque for the Powder Room door.

Beautiful French Roses on a Tissue Box Cover.

You never know just what might inspire you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Secret Garden

"There's a secret garden she hides ... she'll let you in her heart, if you've got a hammer and a vise, but into her secret garden, don't think twice"

Those are lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's "Secret Garden". I am sure our meanings are different but my secret garden is just as hard to get into. On the southwest side of our home, there is a small area that is completely enclosed. It cannot be seen even if you are in our backyard. However, you might wonder what is behind the large gate.

Sometimes I like to refer to my secret garden as my European-styled courtyard and it's just about the perfect size garden to take care of. And no, the rest of my yard is not as well kept. I believe the previous owners used the area for a dog run, but they did build a small raised garden bed. Every summer we have added something new to the "Secret Garden" and it is now my family's favorite outside place. Take a look...

Secret garden lamb statue.

Another view.
This summer we built a small patio area just large enough to hold my antique black wrought-iron and glass table with four matching chairs. The patio area sits under an aspen tree and it's a great place to eat dinner. It still needs a little work, so maybe by next summer it will be ready for pictures. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

"A" is for Absoutely Perfect

Late last Friday evening, I was trying to think of what I could bring for an absolutely perfect hostess gift (that I needed the next day). I did not want to bring a bottle of wine or food, I wanted my gift to be more personal. Never setting foot in their home before did not help my quest. In my studio I had a few hundred tissue box holders, trays and boxes to choose from, but did not have a clue what would work in their home. Then it hit me. I could make something with their family name initial "A". At midnight, I decided to make a paperweight. While the initial part was easy, I had to design the background and choose a style and color. I remembered that the hostess had once worn a beautiful brown and white jacket. So, I decided brown would be a safe bet. I then took one of my antique French floral images and changed the colors to shades of brown and added a chocolate colored "A". She absolutely loved it and it was absolutely the perfect gift.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Keep it Simple"

Every time we have friends over for dinner, my husband says "let's keep it simple". This is because I tend to go overboard cleaning the house, planning the food, worrying about everything being ready at the correct time. After 19 years of marriage, he knows my routine. So, when we had friends over recently, I did spend the day cleaning and worrying. However, I did find some time to rearrange our entryway. And I think I kept it simple and beautiful.

I did not buy anything new, just moved some of items from around the house. I love to dress up simple old wooden tables. This one is my favorite because it is such a great shade of red.

The tole tray is an old painting on top of an oil lid of all things, the matching silver candlesticks were purchased by a friend on a trip to France, the bust of the woman was a great Hobby Lobby find, the canvas is one of my new designs and the crown hook was a recent gift. And of course, we have a few Pug accessories here and there.
I did find some time that day to make strawberry soup for dessert. It's a simple, fun summertime recipe from the July/August issue of Victoria Magazine. The recipe called for bowls, but I liked the vintage sundae cups instead.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Soup
3 cups hulled, sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup peach nectar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the strawberries, sugar, and mint. Pulse to roughly chop. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the peach nectar and vinegar. Refrigerate soup until chilled, about 1 hour.
2. Spoon chilled strawberry soup into bowls, and top each with with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paris Street Market August 2009

Summer in Colorado is not predictable; after almost a week of rain, vendors and shoppers alike at the Paris Street Market, were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful, sunny day! Thank you to all who visited me - I enjoy talking with each one of you and I hope my little creation finds itself in the perfect spot to brighten your home.

A table full of my decoupage creations.

A Paris-themed display was a hit at the Market.
Early into the morning a woman came into my booth, she seemed familiar to me, though I could not recall if I knew her. As she shopped I could not help but notice the charming pink flats she wore and crochet purse she carried. As I was admiring them, it dawned on me-I had recently viewed her picture on a blog I found; I asked her if she “blogs” and it opened the door to a great little chat. The “blogger” is Jeanne Oliver and she has a fun and charming blog She is also featured in Tara Frey's new book, "Blogging for Bliss". We talked for a bit and she shared some valuable information with me on the importance of blogging and the benefits in having an Etsy shop (number one priority for me this week-create an Etsy shop). I was so happy to meet Jeanne face-to-face; it was definitely a highlight of my Saturday!