Welcome to my blog!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I believe that everyone can have a beautiful home without spending a fortune! One of my favorite things to do is find creative ways to re-purpose things I already have on hand, or have picked up at yard sales and thrift stores. Join me as I share with you some of my favorite ideas for crafting and decorating, as well as travel adventures, and fun things that I pick up on my treasure hunts! Much of my work is influenced by my love all things French, nature, and of course shabby chic! I have gotten so many creative ideas from you very talented bloggers out there, and I hope that I can be an inspiration to you as well!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Vintage Inspired Wooden Tool Box

Bonjour Mes Amis!
Hope you are enjoying a nice weekend.
Today I wanted to share with you one of my latest creations, or rather, a joint creation between hubby and myself.
Awhile back, I shared with you a cute vintage wooden tool box that I put in my shop (and have since sold).  Well, that was the inspiration for this project.
Good thing I have a handy hubby around!  After giving him my specks, he went and bought the materials, and in no time had built this beautiful tool box/caddy for me!
 It is even larger than it looks in my photos, at 2 feet long, and quite heavy, too!
I love green, and thought it would be the perfect shade to paint this box.  Unfortunately, I didn't have just the right color on hand, and I didn't want to go out and buy more paint.  So, what is a girl to do?
Well, mix up her own custom color using what she already has on hand, that's what!
 So, I pulled out my DecoArt chalk paints, and set to work playing with colors.  I think I have just as much fun creating new shades as I do the actual painting process!
I'm so happy with the way it turned out, and can think of so many uses for this piece.
Filled with potted flowering plants, used to carry garden tools around, or even enjoyed indoors to hold books, magazines, and more.  I had hubby build this for my Etsy shop, and it sold just a few days after I listed it!  I was super excited, so now I've put in a request that he build me some more:)
 I had fun during our little photo shoot, placing the tool box/caddy (or whatever you feel like calling it!) on my picket fence plant stand.  I plopped my pretty African violet inside (which always lives indoors, by the way), and added to the vignette my Grandma's vintage watering can and a cute little soapstone bunny, a gift many years ago from my mom.
Oh, a little side note about my Afrian violet.  My mom started this plant for me many years ago, from a plant of her own.  During the course of several cross country moves in the past few years, we had to get rid of nearly all of our houseplants (we had alot of plants!!).  But, this was one that I just wasn't willing to part with!  It traveled with us all the way to Washington State and then back here to Michigan in the shower of our motor home!  And for the past two winters, I took it with us when we headed south to Savannah, also toting it along in the motor home's shower!
So this puppy has put on alot of miles, and she still is blooming her heart out!
Thanks so much for popping by, hope things are blooming at your home!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Vintage Picnic Basket Makeover

Hi everyone. How is your week going so far?
Today I wanted to share with you my latest creation, a vintage picnic basket makeover.  As a member of the design team at DecoArt, I was assigned a project using their chalky finish paint. The end result was totally up to me; I love those kinds of open ended projects!  So, the question was, "what to make?".
Well, I'll show you my inspiration in a sec, first I want to show you the end result,
a drab to fab makeover
 Ok, are you ready for the "before"?  I was super excited to spot this vintage wicker picnic basket at my favorite consignment shop.  I couldn't scoop it up fast enough!

 Below is what inspired me, straight out of the June issue of Romantic Homes Magazine.
I fell in love with this gorgeous pale green picnic basket.  You can't see from this view, but the wood top was painted with pretty roses.  Since I'm not talented enough to hand paint flowers, I had a bit of a brainstorm, and thought that decoupage would work perfectly for my wooden lid.
 I went over to Pinterest and found some gorgeous vintage floral wallpaper that I totally fell in love with.
I printed out several copies, then cut out each grouping of flowers by hand. That actually took even more time than painting the entire basket!
 Ok, I am getting way too ahead of myself!
First off, I began by painting the basket with DecoArt's chalky finish paint in a gorgeous aqua color called "Escape".
 Then, I dry brushed a bit of their creamy white chalky finish paint, called "lace" (one of my favorite shades of antique white).  The dry brushing creates not only interest and depth, but helps to give it more of an aged look.
 Then I lightly distressed it here and there with fine grit sandpaper.
 I was worried that the paint wouldn't want to adhere to the metal handles, but didn't have any troubles.

 As you can see by the amount of pictures I took, I was having fun with my little photo shoot!
This spot is in our back yard, and since it's mostly shady, my hostas really thrive here.  Come summer, I'll have tons of black eyed Susan's blooming in this bed.  I actually was ripping a bunch out last year, they really were too big!
 Getting back to the lid, I used DecoArt's decoupage medium to adhere the floral designs that I cut out. Several coats were brushed over the top (allowing dry time between coats), then I covered the entire basket with DecoArt's clear satin sealer varnish.
I am so happy with how my basket turned out!  It was a really fun project, the colors and floral motif make me happy.  And I can think of so many great uses for this basket.  Filled with craft supplies, toiletries, or even extra towels in the bathroom.  Oh yes, and even used as a picnic basket!
Thanks so much for stopping in today, hope this has inspired you to create your very own
"trash to treaure" piece!
Disclaimer:  I have been compensated by DecoArt, but the ideas and opinions are my own:)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Blessings of a Mother

With Mother's Day just around the corner, many of us will be celebrating with those we love,
or thinking of our mother's or mother like figures that are no longer with us.
I am so thankful that my mom, who is 88, is still with us.
What I've never shared here is that she has dementia.
It is such a cruel and often times slow progressing disease, and one that I know many others are dealing with, too.
We first began to notice changes in our mom at least 10 years ago. The sad thing is that nearly all of her 8 siblings have it, or have died in the late stages of it, including her twin sister, who passed away quite a few years ago.
Mom has been living full time with my sister and brother in law, for about the last year.
It has been a challenging time for us, but especially for them.
My mom drifts in and out of reality, so I am oh so thankful that she still knows me.
I know that it's inevitable that she eventually won't know me.
That makes me sad to think about, and I honestly don't know how I will deal with it when it does happen.
She has mistaken my sister for her own sister, who died several years ago. And according to my mom, my dad is still alive, and my oldest brother just returned from Vietnam.
We usually don't bother to correct her any more.
Thankfully, we've not lost "all" of her yet.

There are still things we can enjoy together, even though much has changed.
I always take my latest issues of Romantic Homes magazine, and Romantic Country over.
We enjoy looking at them together and talking about things like decorating and crafting.
I won't sugar coat things here.  While it is difficult for me to share personal things in my posts 
(you know me, I would much rather talk about the fun stuff like glitter, paint, and thrift shopping!)
sometimes I do feel the need.
Like close personal relationships can sometimes be, that of my mom and I has often been complicated, difficult, frustrating, and even "she drives me crazy, I can't take it any more"!
Often the dementia would bring out the worst of her personality.
While we know she can't help that, it doesn't make it any easier!
But, thru it all, we've had a never ending love, a bond that is so unique between a mother and her daughter.
She, along with my dad, passed along so many things to me that I will be forever grateful for.
As a child of the depression, my mom perfected the art of "making do", or making something out of nothing.
I guess that's where I first learned to "make the most of what I've got".

She also instilled in me a love to create.  No, make that a need to create!
Both she and my dad passed along to me a love of nature, wild life, animals, and just enjoying the simple things in life:
Walks to the woods behind our house in the spring to admire all of the pretty wildflowers. There were phlox, trillium, violets, dog tooth violets, and many more that I don't have names for.
The wonder of watching a newborn fawn in the fields on our farm.
Taking a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.
And of course my mom passed along to me her love of baking, cooking, gardening, and making a house a home.
Thru both of my parents, I also learned about God and faith, and how that can help you get thru even the most difficult of times.

Over the years, mom and I enjoyed many outings and trips together.  Later, she would travel with hubby and I, even going with us to Norway almost 11 years ago.
So while the time now is bittersweet, I know that nothing can take away the happy memories.
And I am thankful for each day at hand.

I just love this photo of mom and me, when I was a newborn.  At 10lbs, 8 oz, I never really looked like a newborn!  Mom always liked to joke that I was born just in time for lunch, as I have always loved to eat!
So, weather you are a mother, have a mother, or there is someone special who is as dear as a mother,
wishing you a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dinner in a Wine Barrel

Ok, after reading the title of this post, you must be thinking that I've surely lost it!
(well, I think I just may have, but that is beside the point!)
 Anyway, over the weekend we had a fun little getaway, and flew out to dinner in hubby's plane.
Mon Ami's is a beautiful historic restaurant and winery near the shores of Lake Erie, in Ohio, just a short flight from us.
We've been there many times, but being seated at one of their wine barrel booths was a first for us.  It was a fun surprise and real treat!  It is actually made out of half of a wine barrel, and makes for cozy and romantic seating.

Dinner was excellent!  Hubby had prime rib, and I had the best angel hair pasta with shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese, and artichoke hearts.  It was a huge serving, enough for lunch the next day!
With all of the crazy stress from having our house on the market, showings and an open house, it was a much needed break.
Forgive the picture quality, they were taken with my cell phone, and lighting wasn't the greatest.
Made of field stone, it looks just magical all lit up at night!

 Mon Ami is French for
"My Friend".
Hubby's plane, our "taxi with wings":) 
The weather has finally warmed up here, and it's been just beautiful this weekend.
It feels like we skipped over spring and now are into summer!
So today we took a picnic lunch out on the boat.
We recently bought a "new to us" pontoon boat from a neighbor who was getting a brand new boat.
Our old one was pretty worse for wear, so hubby sold it.  We love this one, and it looks like Katie approves, as well!
 Thanks so much for stopping by, hope you have a great week!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cuteness




Hi, hope you all are having a good week.
For some reason whenever I get the camera out, a certain little pup by the name of Katie becomes camera shy.
She spent a few hours at the groomer yesterday, and came home looking oh so cute, complete with a new tie died bandana.  So of course I wanted to take her picture.
 Try as I might to get her to look at the camera, she suddenly becomes hard of hearing!

 Nothing seemed to work during our little photo shoot. She was oh so bored!
 And totally disinterested.....................
 I felt as if I were being snubbed................
 Ok, now we are getting somewhere!
Finally!
Going thru a challenging and stressful time here, with our house on the market, lots of showings, and an open house this weekend.
Thank God for Katie, she always brings a smile to my face no matter what life seems to throw my way.
Thanks for popping by, Katie says to tell you all
"Woof!!!"
Which means: "Have a great weekend!"

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sweet Memories

It's been a busy week here at the chateau.  A week of sorting and purging, cleaning and house showings. We listed our home for sale just over a week ago, and already have had quite a few showings.
It's been a challenging time for me, full of all sorts of emotions and stresses.
The good news is that I've had alot of luck selling quite a few items on Craig's List.
I could hardly believe we even managed to sell hubby's ice fishing shanty 
(that he's not used in the 15 years that I've known him!) this morning.  I didn't think anyone would be interested in it this time of year!!
I also decided that my three remaining favorite dolls from when I was a little girl needed to find new homes.  Unfortunately, I never had little girls of my own, like I always dreamed of.
Well actually I decided to keep the first that I'm about to show you, I just couldn't bare the thought of parting with her!  The other two will go to my sweet little great nieces, who I know will love them as much as I did.
So, I gave them all baths and shampoos today, and even used conditioner on their hair!
Then of course I had to wash and iron their little outfits.
Meet Kissie.
Just look at this sweet face!
I can't remember if I received her for Christmas or my birthday, but I think I was about 5 years old when my parents gave her to me.
Did any of you have one just like her?
Poor thing, it looks like I gave her a bang trim at one point!
I really love her adorable face, and she still wears her original outfit that she came in.


 During our little photo shoot, Katie was quite inquisitive!!
 I wish that I'd gotten a close up of her dress.  It has the cutest navy blue rick rac, and nautical anchor and boat wheel trim.
 Squeeze her arms together, and she actually puckers up her lips and makes a kissing sound!
Even after all these years:)
So for now I will keep and enjoy her, before I give her to one of my little nieces to love.
 But I know they will love Mia and Velvet.  
I was a girly girl by all means, and spent many many hours playing with my dolls.
The youngest in our family (there was a large age difference between me and my other siblings), I spent most of my time playing alone.  My dolls were my friends!
 Velvet, the blonde, was my very favorite.  The purple dress (made of velvet!!) is original.
One year for Christmas, my mom surprised me with a big box full of outfits that she made for Mia and Velvet.  I don't know how she managed to keep it a secret. She sewed her heart out while I was at school.
I remember that the clothes were one of my very favorite gifts ever!
And she made the oh so mod lavender and white polyester outfit, above.
Ever the resourceful one, my mom never threw anything out!  She saved every little bit of fabric, lace, and more, from clothes she sewed for us, and fashioned the scraps into doll clothes.
She made flannel pjs, party dresses, and even faux fur coats for the dolls!
 These two girls have a little secret!  Push in their "belly buttons", and their hair gets longer!
 Want a shorter do?  Just turn the knob on their backs for a brand new look!
 It was fun to have these sweet memories today.  It was a much needed break from the selling/moving stress!
Hope you have a good weekend!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Green

Has spring sprung in your neck of the woods?
It's been slow to arrive here in the Midwest. Thankfully the grass is slowly starting to green up, and my daffodils are sending up their shoots.  I can hardly wait to pick a big bouquet of them!
When I think of spring, I think green!
Several years ago, I went thru a green stage, where I painted nearly everything in sight light green!
It is still one of my favorite colors, though now you will find me turning to cream, white, and all shades of blue when it comes to painting.
So the other day when I was about to makeover one of my thrifting finds, I was getting a bit bored with the same ol' same ol'  I am sure you know the feeling!
You know how I love finding trays to transform. So last week when I found a folding wooden bed tray, I knew right away that I could turn it from drab to fab!
Of course I forgot to take a before shot, but it was just ho hum boring white and oak toned wood.
I pulled out a bunch of different chalky finish paints from DecoArt, and began mixing til I came up with a pretty light green, that has just a tinge of blue.
 I love how the tray has legs that fold out, perfect for breakfast in bed!
(wouldn't that be a treat?!)
I did a bit of dry brushing, then a hint of distressing to give what I like to call "that aged over time look".
 I then grabbed one of my favorite French patisserie stencils, also by DecoArt, and added the design to the top of the tray in a creamy color.
 I really love all of the swirls and fleurishes in this design!
 I've added it, as well as this neat vintage wooden tool box to my Etsy shop.  I fell in love with the tool box as soon as I saw it!  Believe it or not, I resisted the urge to paint this puppy, as I just loved the original light green paint she's wearing.  I just gave it a really good scrubbing.
 While I would dearly love to keep her, I have to try and downsize, as we have our house back on the market now.
 It's a very stressful time for me, something that I definitely do not find fun!
 For me change does not come easy.
And of course fear of the unknown is getting the best of me.
So I will play with my paints, and glitter (my stress release!), between trying to sort and purge.  
Thanks so much for stopping by, hope you have a great weekend!