Saturday, July 10, 2010



Weathering the Heat Wave

We have spent the past few weekends working on this section of the yard. It started with a bluestone pathway leading from the front walk to the side yard. The stones are so nice to walk on. We made the path a little wavy, then tucked the plantings around it.
Using several of the big hostas that were here, we spread them out for an interesting mix of shapes and colors.
We mulched the whole thing and are calling it done for now. The heat wave with temps over 100, has meant that we are on a busy watering schedule. So far, everything is holding up.
And we are enjoying general approval from the neighbors.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scaring the Neighbors

So, just to catch up - we bought this house 8 months ago. The former owner was a full time home gardener. We even heard reports of her mowing, weeding and digging at 11 at night! Our lovely property was planted and manicured from edge to edge. The above photo was taken just before she filled that circle with bountiful flowers in a pattern of pink and white. Seriously, when we met our new neighbors, each and every one said, "Oh, the house with all the gardens."
So, after spending the winter and spring on major indoor projects, we knew it was time to keep up with the yard. And yes, it is lovely, but we want to make it our style. So, I'm sorry, but we had to give the neighbors a real scare!
Yup, we ripped out the entire front lawn! Oh, and the shrubbery. We do have a plan. No, really.
The front will be filled with interesting plants and flowers that will show more of our creative nature. (Literally "creative nature!") The plan is to have things that will grow and thrive without constant watering and grooming. And a lot of what we're planting there is being moved from other parts of the yard where it's overcrowded. So, its recycling, actually.
We have planted small sections, so far, but a heat wave is keeping us waiting on moving forward.
I'm sure the neighbors are anxious to see what's next!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Counter Culture

So it is week EIGHT of the kitchen renovation. Things are coming together now. We had about six weeks of tearing things out, one section at a time, so that we could use the kitchen as long as possible. That went ok, but was very messy and caused a mounting (or should I say "mountaining") accumulation of STUFF in the adjacent areas. We had to keep bringing stuff out of the parts that were being torn out every few days, and ran out of places to put it all.
But now that is done and we are beginning to put some of the stuff back in there. The floors are done. The new appliances are in and working, except for the dishwasher. We have cabinets in place, not all, but most of them. The soapstone is on order for the counters and sink. But, best of all, we have the custom reclaimed wood counter in place on the eating peninsula.
The peninsula, island, whatever you want to call it is something we knew we needed. When we put one in at the old house, it was so useful and perfect for our way of eating. So in this house, it was a part of the plan from the start.

We planned for a big counter and knew we wanted it to be topped with wood, comfortable to lean on and not cold like stone. We wanted an old wood with character, and hoped to find something reclaimed to "keep it green." I kept my eyes open on Craigslist and it finally paid off. I found a craftsman who was able to get his hands on some beautiful old chestnut beams from a 300 year old barn in Princeton, NJ - not far from here. And this craftsman, Josh has a similar aesthetic sense to ours, so we were able to "get on the same wavelength" right away.
And now it is done! It is the counter of our dreams, if we were going to dream about counters. It has style and presence and it has character and age. It even has wormholes. And it turns out, we love wormholes!

It looks great now, just imagine how perfect it will be when everything surrounding it is done.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vintage Sunshine

It's almost Spring! and I've been seeing a lot of sunshiny yellow around Etsy vintage lately. Something about that soft faded kind of yellow is just so soothing.
So in honor of the coming season, here are a few bits of vintage sunshine. Click each item to see the Etsy listing.

Handmade Girl's Easter Dress

Soft Boiled Eggs Salt and Pepper Shakers

Rooster Egg Plate

Deco Shakers and Egg Cup

Easter Basket Covered Dish

Golden Apple Shakers
Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ties that Bind

In my two years of selling my handmade creations on Etsy, I've encountered many different and interesting people. Occasionally, I have had the opportunity to touch their lives.
A young woman contacted me through Etsy, saying she was local and wanted to talk to me about a custom job. She had seen in my Fisheye Shop that I make all kinds of bags out of reused and upcycled materials, and had a special bag in mind as a gift for her mother.
Her father, who had recently passed away, had been a guy known for his colorful neckties. She had saved a box of his ties because they were such a special remembrance of him. What she had in mind was for me to make a tote bag for the mom highlighting some of the ties in a stylish way. She gave me specifications on size and shape, but left the design up to me.

I had a nice piece of charcoal pinstripe in my stash, so that is what I decided to use for a base. Using several of the ties in a cohesive color scheme, I made a design that is not at first recognized as neckties. Once I got going, I started to feel good that I would have some part in the healing of this family's loss. I sewed a secret heart inside the bag, for the woman to see each time she opened it.

With the leftover ends cut from the ties, I made a small clutch to go with the tote or for the daughter, herself, to keep.

This is the kind of work I really enjoy. If I make something unique and it is special to someone else, that's what it's all about.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Paper Trail

Home renovation can be a bit like an archeological dig. You make discoveries about past life in the region as you remove the layers built up over time. Here's what we've been discovering about our house.

Sometime around the 1930s the owners decided to spiff up the kitchen with this pinky-peach paper decorated with little patterns in tan or gold. It gave the room a real lift after 30 years of use. Those folks were looking for a soothing mood in the kitchen.

Around 1955-1960, the family that lived here chose this trendy paper with "early American" motifs, in the up-to-date colors of turquoise, salmon and olive green. This time we got a homey warm feel.

Late 60s or early 70s, it seems there was a shift to the earthy, Asian style of this paper covered in ferns on a bamboo lattice. And of course there was orange! A hippie chic tone!

Then we have the look that welcomed us when we moved in. This paper needs no introduction - its mauve and grey tones are quintessential 1980s. It's had a good run -- time to say goodbye!

I almost wish we were planning wallpaper in our design, just to carry on the tradition!