Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Magazine butterfly shadowboxes

Garage sales continue to be the pits for me. This past weekend all I picked up was a free pile of Elle Decor magazines.

Inside one of the magazines was an old Target ad with butterflies on it. I knew right away they were perfect for this project , which I have been in love with since January.
Simply cut out glossy butterflies, bend the wings up and stick them in a shadowbox.

Dave and I both love this thing. It really is hard to tell the butterflies aren't real.
Of course, it was also incredibly hard for me to get a decent photograph. Jasna's photos are gorgeous!
I am already tearing out butterflies for another one!

(The background paper is Amy Butler, the shadowbox was a clearance deal from Target a few years ago I knew I would eventually find a use for. Total cost? $0, everything was kicking around the house. Wooohooo.)

P.S. Take a minute and really soak up her photostream . I think it is fantastic. I want to just move right into her beautiful photos.right.now. :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Apple seed necklaces

Yesterday we took Jack to the "beach" at a local state park late in the afternoon since our heat wave finally broke.

I enjoyed a library book on a new to me thrift store quilt that has been deemed the "picnic blanket". (Only because most of the colored squares are polyester or upholstery fabric.)
Jack enjoyed a warm swim in the lake in his clothes.
And we watched the moon rise as the sun got lower.
Instead of doing any type of patriotic decorating this summer I have been adding some "natural" touches to the house here and there.

Over the weekend I picked up three apple seed necklaces and knew immediately they were destined for a garland. I LOVED those type of necklaces when I was small after I discovered them when my Dad's best friend brought me home one as a souvenir from a trip to Hawaii. (Wow, my mirror is seriously dirty.)
I LOVE their dark lacy shapes and the soft green velvet ribbon on the chippy white mantel.

I will be back with a few other "natural" decorating projiks this week!

EDITED TO ADD: When I was searching around the 'net yesterday before I made this post I tried to figure out what the seeds were. When I searched "seed lei" Koa seeds came up, but none of the pictures really looked like these. When I searched "seed necklace" a lot of hits for apple seed necklaces (vintage) came up, and they all looked like this. One of these does have an old paper tag on it, but it is unreadable. I suspect that one of the references is incorrect, either koa or apple, but it's impossible to tell given that everything on the internet seems to use both names. As a kid I always thought they were apple, despite the fact that it would take a coon's age to get that many apple seeds. So, apple it is, at least for the blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot it up

How about a post with a whole lot of random?
*Whenever Jack wants something heated in the microwave he asks for it me to "hot it up." Predictably, I think this is adorable.

*Speaking of hotting it up, I am pretty sure we are living on the surface of the sun here. It has been so bloody hot and the humidity has been 70%+ every single day for more than a week now. You know it's bad when the van thermometer says the outside temp is 94 at 8 am and 108 by 11 am. Holy smokes. A few days ago Jack said to me, "Mom, it's like the desert!" Yea, but worse. So humid. Either way, he was VERY excited the first time he saw the thermometer reach 100. (Obviously me not so much.)

*I decided at the last minute to send Jack to vacation bible school this week. He protested heavily, but I forced the issue. He has really enjoyed it and has spent the week wandering around singing This little light of mine. I loved that song when I was small.

*I pushed the issue thinking it would be a nice break for me for a few hours each day, but seriously, I am EXHAUSTED. All the chauffeuring back and forth, plus play dates each afternoon. And swimming pools. And lunches. And on and on. I need a vacation from my vacation!

*With all the heat my house has acquired a serious bad smell. It's been closed up tight to try and keep it cool in here and now it STINKS. There was a big leak in the laundry room which caused a mildew explosion, but that has been cleaned up and I still cannot find the source of the smell. I have no idea what to do about that. (I even tried cleaning under the fridge.)

*As I am sitting here typing in the dead quiet of the morning I AM SURE THERE IS ANOTHER MOUSE IN HERE WITH ME! Eekkkkkkk. Wires are moving in the closet. Mice freak.me.out.

*Also in the category of "it's so hot", I had to actually take down a chandelier and put up a ceiling fan. Gasp!

*Yesterday I went to 5 garage sales and 4 thrift stores and bought nothing. Nada. It's bad. And Goodwills around here are dead empty and have been for months. (While other thrifts are packed to the gills.) I wonder if people have stopped donating because of their ridiculous prices? I know I have.

*Ok, last thing. The buttons above are an insanely addictive, but VERY slow going, project. Buttons to cover are crazy expensive at the fabric stores, so I have been picking them up at the flea markets and yard sales. They are the perfect use for all those tiny scraps of feedsacks and vintage fabrics I cannot resist picking up. And I have a wonderful project in mind when I finally get enough of them!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Am I legit?

I go through phases of thinking I want entire collection of Martha Stewart Living, from beginning to end. So I am always picking up back issues of her magazine at yard sales and thrift stores.

I picked this one up because it is pretty close to the beginning of the magazine.
It was stuffed FULL of old papers, including these two pages, which I am pretty sure are pages from her Entertaining Newsletter - the precursor to Living.

Inside, in an envelope, I also found this letter. (You can click to enlarge it.) It's a response to a question about her copper collection. She says she finds them at tag sales, flea markets, etc.

It's a real signature at the bottom, not a stamp.

But is it legitimately Martha's autograph?

What do you think?

This probably shows how boring my life can be but I think it is an exciting little mystery!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

For Father's Day this year I let Jack make his own stitching. He actually did a fantastic job, with very little help from me.
Isn't it sweet? (It's his own handwriting too.)

It's a still a little unfinished as we are deciding what to do with it. I was thinking of leaving it in the hoop, but in the shower this morning I think I decided on a mat + frame.

The idea was from The Creative Family, and the only thing I would add to Amanda's directions are that if you want to make a pattern it is easiest to use chalk on the burlap.

Oh yea, and leave yourself a few days to complete it. Jack did the heart fine, but with the letters he could only do one letter a day, max. Too much frustration otherwise.

So Happy Father's Day to the best Dad in the world - one who never complains about taking care of his kid, has never tried to get out of a parenting duty, does all the blood and guts cleaning up that comes with a little boy and makes this mama feel weak in the knees, who goes bowling and bike riding and hiking, and is generally the apple of his little boy's eye. We love you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Lots

Did everyone know that Big Lots has a ton of Martha Stewart (from wal-mart) stuff right now? And that everything is $2? I bought a lot of stuff, and it's a worth a visit* (quickly though, I tried calling other stores and they had nothing left).

I had really hoped for these or the small garland version of those, but no luck.

There is stuff that is still for sale at Wal-Mart though, like the peony bouquet, which is $20 there.

Now go, happy hunting!

*It is "wedding" themed, but if you do the heart to heart swap for Valentine's Day there are LOADS of possibilities.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


In my ideal world:
There are no repairmen at the door a mere 7 minutes after my kid decides to sleep until 8:15 for the first time in 2 years.

There are no bomb like explosion messes all over the basement where said repairman needs to work.

The cats DO NOT puke.
The children are never bloody. (Today a bloody nose, a few weeks ago a bad case of road rash all.over.his.face. with who knows what injuries in the middle.)

It is never a 105 degrees outside.

There is no bickering about who is going to cook dinner.

The sewing machine always works.

The back to the remote control is never lost.
There is not rice from one end of the house to the other. (My kid is a SERIOUSLY messy eater.)

Said kid does not dump an entire bottle of hand sanitizer in his bath, necessitating a call to poison control where I am informed that "they have never received a call like this before."

Right after he sprayed the entire basement with a Costco sized can of pledge ruining the couch, the armoire and who knows what else while making the floor a damn dangerous skating rink.

My grandfather does his own grocery shopping.

I have more than 2 a minutes a day that are kid free.

Oh yea, and the garage sales are good. Really good. With ornaments and quilts and pottery and tablecloths and vintage fabric instead of guns and tires and used wal-mart clothing.

Dream on Sarah.

And you?

(Photos all from 2007, when apparently life was more idyllic. LOL)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A country quilt cabinet makeover

In it's original "glory", a $15 field find. No shelves, doors flopping all over the place.
Complete with the nasty, hardest to remove flocked wallpaper inside the drawers and hideous gold hardware. I don't think it had been touched since the 1960's.
Add a fresh coat of a vintage looking green paint (Martha from Lowes, I wanted a color that would look original to the quilts I planned to put inside).

Ok, really it is 2 coats of stinky primer and at least 3 coats of paint. And a LOT of hours. I had to repaint every square inch, inside and out.
Plus some chicken wire in the doors. (Had to drive all over the city to find chicken wire, it took 5 stores to finally find some.)

And glass knobs of course.

The hole in the door under the knob is an old skeleton key lock that someone had filled with spackle at some point. I gauged all of that out, but the keyhole itself is not a pretty shape.
Add a pile of old quilts and voila! (I am still playing around with the quilts. It's not quite right yet.)
A new country quilt cabinet for the bedroom.
With "new" old wallpaper in the drawer of course.

Thank you very much to my patient husband who never once said this thing should just be burned. Instead he patiently glued and hammered it back together and cut all the shelves to repair it.

$15 cabinet
$6 primer
$13 quart of paint
$10 way more chicken wire than I will need in this lifetime
$25 glass knobs from Target
Shelving, wallpaper on hand

A bit pricey in the end, but it makes my heart sing! and it's much needed storage for the ever growing quilt collection. (Which had taken over the kitchen drawers and railings in unattractive piles.)

*Yes, the tv is on top of it. Not exactly home magazine worthy, but this is real life here, I watch 90210 there. :-)

Monday, June 15, 2009


With the arrival of summer, my kitchen has returned to it's summertime state of 9,450,000 degrees in the afternoon. In the wintertime it is really dark in there despite the big patio door, so I usually just have lace sheers. (Yes, the chandelier is off center, it was just a last minute addition to get more light for wintertime dinners.)
Last year in Kansas I picked up yards and yards of this vintage fabric which screamed new kitchen curtains to me sometime in the past two weeks.

They are doing the job of keeping it cooler. And I love how they look like an old tablecloth.

Usually sewing curtains makes me curse up a storm, I can never get the measuring right and I always seem to cut them too short, ruining yards of fabric.

This time I draped the fabric over the curtain rod, pinned it in place on the rod and then cut.

Worked like a charm, no cursing needed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Heart of the matter

One of the things I like to do when we make that trip to Kansas for Thomas is to visit a city wide yard sale there. Usually I can fill up the car with treasures.

Not this year.

I am not having any luck here at home either. Yard sales yesterday, flea market today and I bought nothing. Not a single thing.

Maybe everything is crap. Maybe my heart just isn't in it lately. (Although I am leaning towards everything just being crap, lol.)

Here is what I did manage to buy in Kansas:
a piece of pottery;
a set of those german papier mache eggs I loved and started collecting this year...I didn't know they came in nested sets!;
and a way cool vintage Halloween costume that is actually fabric and not plastic. It rocks, but I wonder if I can clean it up and iron it?

I have been working on getting the new cabinet in place and that means rearranging furniture.

Which means cleaning out drawers.

Which means I am going to have some things for sale on my not very often used blog Clean out my closet . Check it out.

If you want to. :-)

Friday, June 12, 2009


I didn't think I liked raspberries until we discovered them growing on the farm near our house.
Now I have developed an obsession with them.

I dream of their flowery, fruity, beautiful flavor all winter.
Even Jack is peaceful out there, picking berries quietly.

We've already picked 14 pints and made: raspberry buckle, raspberry muffins, raspberry syrup and more raspberry jam is on the way today if I have a moment to spare. (Jack was asking for the jam at the farm, we've been eating it all winter.)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

June, 1993

Just before the miscarriage stuff started (man, writing that is still hard), I picked up this cabinet at a yard sale in a field. It was marked $20, but one look inside...
(no shelves at all!) and I offered less. He took the money, we loaded the cabinet up and off we went.

It had great potential and I was excited to refinish it.

But everything turned into a big mess around here for a long while, and it sat, unloved in the garage.
My girlfriend (who has been down this road herself a few times), kept telling me that I really needed a project. But my heart was just not in anything I could think of to do.

And then last weekend I got the urge to start on it. (That is someone else's test paint there.)

So, I have spent about 9,000 hours working on the cabinet this week. It is a way bigger project than I imagined, requiring a LOT of paint. And it's been rainy, so I have been working well into the night in the dim light of the garage.

While I've been out there it's been hard not to have a bit of deja vu.

I spent the entire month of June in 1993 in my grandparents garage, working well into the night, refinishing a whole small apartment worth of furniture for my big move out of their house. There was a kitchen table and chairs, bookshelves, end tables, and even a couch to recover.

You name it, I remade it. An entire first apartment of scavenged goods, in navy blue and forest green. LOL

A lot of those things are long gone now, traded away for other second hand pieces of furniture, but that smell of paint and the sound of the paintbrush smoothing away the years is soothing for me. It reminds me of a time that was both harder and easier.

It reminds me of how far I have come, and yet, how many things are the same.

And while many of our friends are excited to be at a point in their lives where they can go into the department store and buy "grown up" furnishings, I am still perfectly happy with a $15 piece of furniture carted home from a field.

In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What was your first home (away from mom and dad) like? Do tell.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Family Tradition

We took Jack to Kansas on Saturday for our annual ride on Thomas. I thought he might be getting too old for it, but he actually enjoyed it more this year than he ever has.
Despite showing nothing but attitude about taking pictures.
Really. I am pretty sure he turned 12 when I wasn't looking.
He said this was his favorite part...everyone yelling "pull Thomas pull!" when we changed directions to go back into town.
I love this old train that sits on the tracks awaiting restoration.

Which will likely never happen.

They told us this year when they noticed we were from the St Louis area (and were remarking on making a long trip to ride Thomas) that without Thomas there would be no railroad in their little town at all.

Sad. It is an awesome little town and I always enjoy our visit there.

Monday, June 08, 2009


I love finding an unexpected treat in the mailbox.
They are perfect and are already hard at work earning their keep around here!

Thanks Patti .

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Feedsack Find

I found a pile of feedsacks a few weeks back. Aren't they lovely?
I think the blue is my favorite.
But then again, the diamond one is awesome. And so is the one with the tulips.

Too hard to choose.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Six flags

Jack and I were lucky enough to tag along with some friends on a trip to Six Flags yesterday. I haven't been there in years, and it was Jack's first trip.
I am pretty sure he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. He rode every single thing he could get someone to take him on (even things I thought I would be WAY too scary).

And of course there was junk food galore.
As for me? Worn out! 6 hours, 5 kids under the age of six and plenty of sunshine. I passed out by 8:30 pm. LOL

I did notice one ride had awesome vintage bamboo chandeliers that would be right at home in my house though. :-)