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!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A few spring blooms

Hello and happy Friday!

Spring is my very favorite time of year, and it has been a great one here in Michigan!  Actually, today feels more like summer, with temps in the low 80's!  It was such a gorgeous day that I spent about every second outdoors.  I snapped a few close up photos of what's blooming in our yard right now.  I love to garden, and have quite a few flower beds.  Last year I finally realized that because of this, our yard is really high maintenance!  Oh, to have a full time landscaper!  At any rate, I will show you more of the bigger picture soon as my flower beds start to fill in.

Here's a close up of euphorbia, most commonly known as "spurge".  I love the bright chartreuse color, and bees love it too! It looks great in a rock garden, but be careful to put it where you don't mind it spreading, 'cause it can really take over!  Smells good, too!

I just love this little froggy!  He's watching over a patch of grape hyacinth.
Love the bright pink creeping phlox. You should see my bleeding heart! It's huge!

I love violets!  And I was so happy to see my lily of the valley starting to bloom!  they should be out in full force in a few days.  Check out this neat Jack in the Pulpit!  I've got some in the shade gardens in our back yard, and the woods surrounding our house is full of them!

That's it for today.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Brucshetta

Hello, hope you are having a good day!  I thought I would share with you one of my favorite appetizer recipes.  It is so yummy, and a real hit whenever I serve it to company.  I got the recipe on a package of feta cheese, and made it alot last summer! Of course, you can make it any time of the year, but the recipe calls for grilling the bread  (here in Michigan you definitely don't want to be outdoors grilling in the winter!). You can also toast the bread under the broiler, but I prefer to use the grill.  One more reason that I make it alot in the summer is because I love adding in some fresh herbs that I grow, even though the recipe doesn't call for it.

I made it last night to go with our dinner.  Sorry for the blurry picture!  At any rate, be sure to give this a try, and it might become one of your favorites!

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Bruschetta

1 cup drained and chopped roasted red peppers (I usually get mine from Trader Joe's)
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped green onions (tops included)
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
French or sourdough bread, cut in 1/2" thick slices (I always use sourdough)
optional:  fresh chopped chives, or my favorite: fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade 

1.  Mix peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon juice, onions, cheese & fresh herbs in a bowl & set aside.

2.  Lightly brush or drizzle olive oil on each side of bread, and grill over low heat, turning once, til lightly toasted.  Or, place on baking sheet and broil, turning once.  Be careful that you don't burn the bread!  Been there, done that!

3.  Top each slice of toasted bread with pepper & feta mixture & enjoy!

That's it!  Do you have a favorite appetizer?  Let me know if you try this one out!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another clock make over!

I know what you are thinking:"  That is one ugly clock!"     And you are so right!  I first caught site of this poor thing at an estate sale last weekend.  It was the first sale I had been to this year, and I was so excited to go on another treasure hunt!  Anyway, I just knew that with a little paint and imagination, she could go from drab to fab!

First off, I had to remove that ugly (err, I mean lovely) faux stained glass insert at the bottom.  Luckily it can out really easy. I had my hubby cut a small piece of 1/4" plywood to fit the opening, then I painted it with chalkboard paint and epoxied it into place. Then I found some really pretty wooden appliques at Hobby Lobby (30% off this week!) and also picked up a can of American Accents spray paint in aqua.  It was my first time using bright aqua in a project, and I thought it would be fun, since it's really "in" now.  Then I mixed up a bit of epoxy & glued the appliques on.  Oh, I almost forgot to mentiont hat I also removed the clock face, because I didn't want to take a chance & get glue on it.  After the epoxy dried, I gave her a couple of coats of primer, then two coats of the aqua spray paint.  Once that was all dry, I distressed it and used some of my favorite Ralph Lauren antiquing glaze in "smoke".  There's hardly a project I do that I don't use Ralph!

And here she is!  What do you think?  I am so happy with the way she turned out!  I am going to be adding her to my Etsy shop.  Now I want one for myself, though, so I guess that means I need to get out & hunt for more ugly clocks that I can transform!

I am linking this project up at Beyond the Picket Fence and metamorphosis-monday
and Chic on a shoestring's Flaunt it Friday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

White and Cream!

Hello and Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday I told you how I love vintage linens.  Today I want to share with you my love affair with all things white and cream, and every shade in between!  don't get me wrong...I love color!  But it's just something about white that feels so calm and soothing.  I guess that's also why I adore shabby chic and cottage styles!  So here are a few of my favorite whites and creams from around the house!

I know, the in the first shot I am cheating a bit by showing you white and blue, but I just couldn't resist!  It is my favorite color combination, and I just love toile!  The photo to the right is in our living room.  I got the tray with the magnolias quite a few years ago at a moving sale.  The candle holder came from the Goodwill, for only $1.00!  I couldn't believe that not only would someone want to part with it, but that it was so cheap!  It's made of creamy/rusty iron, a look that I really love, and it's very heavy!  Thought you might want to see a close up look.

The photo below is also in our living room.  I have some of my favorite creamy white things on a very old vintage hutch.  I will show you the entire piece some day and tell you of its' history (it's been in my family for many years).  Of course I have to have my Eiffel tower!

Here's a close up of a cute little creamy mirror.  The lion realy means alot to me.  It was my Dad's bank when he was a little boy, and it still has some of the Indian head pennys he collected.  My Dad passed away 5 years ago, so I really treasure this piece.   And here is a closer look at the urn on my hutch.  I just love urns, and the shape and detail of this one is gorgeous!

This cute white house came from a garage sale for $2.00!  I have it displayed in our kitchen above the cabinets.  Can you tell that I also love ivy?

And I just love chandeliers!  This one hangs in our bedroom.

This little lantern didn't start out so pretty!  She used to be a very ugly, and I mean very ugly, light that hung in our entrance.  It used to be black, and had the most hideous gold glass globe inside.  Very early 1970's Spanish style.  Very not my taste! Enter Heirloom White spray paint!  Just had to remove the ugly glass and all of the electrical wiring first!  I also added a glass votive to the center, and hung some beads from it.  Love it!

Ok, one last thing.  This is in our living room.  I love anything on a pedestal, so I just had to have this pretty piece on the right!  I found it on vacation last fall in Savannah, which I just loved, by the way!  And don't worry, I won't be burning those candles right next to the lamp shade!  They are just there for looks!  Besides, I am a real safety fanatic!

Well, that's all for today!  Hope you are having a good one!

I am linking up to White Wednesday,
I am also linking up to Show & Tell Friday with Cindy over at My Romantic Home

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vintage Linens

I just love vintage linens, don't you?  I have quite a collection that I have gathered over the years.  Most of them came from yard & garage sales for next to nothing, and my Mom also gave me some really pretty ones, too.  I thought I would share a few of them with you today.  Isn't the runner above gorgeous?  I just love it!  Here is a closer look at some of the detail.  The trim around the edges looks like tatting.   I really love this pretty tablecloth, featuring my favorite flower, violets!  Not all of my linens are in perfect condition.  Some of them might have a spot here or there that I could never get out, or a little tear here or there. I still love them anyway, and figure that I can always hide their flaws with a vase or something!
Check out the pretty trim on this peach bark cloth runner!  And the sweet sunbonnet Sue! And I do love my vintage hankies.  Can you tell that I like blue & white?  I especially love vintage embroidered pillowcases.  You just don't see this kind of workmanship anymore!  This one has some really pretty crocheted trim on the edges.  I really love using them, rather than just keeping them packed away in a drawer!  The last piece is a tablecloth from Germany, and is in near perfect condition.  I didn't show you more of it because it was really wrinkly, and I was all ironed out!

That's it for today!  Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dreaming of Paris

Bonjour!  By the time spring rolls around here in Michigan, my thoughts turn to my very favorite place in the world, Paris!  I love the Parisian lifestyle:  shopping for fresh ingredients for your meals each day at the neighborhood markets, enjoying the most delicious  croissants for breakfast (or petit dejeuner as they call it), strolling along the river Seine, stopping for a glass of wine at a little outdoor cafe, watching an expert crepe maker prepare the most magnifique crepe filled with nutella (creperies seem to be on every street corner).  Wow!  It seems as if I have food on the brain when I think of Paris!  I thought I would share a few photos from our trip last year, and the year before, both in May.  We are so fortunate to be able to travel for really cheap, or sometimes free, as hubby has worked in the airline industry for years.  Anyway, hope you enjoy the tour!

Please forgive me in the placement of some of my photos!  I am still trying to learn the ins & outs of blogging!  I would love to be able to figure out how to add captions below the photos.  Any help would be appreciated!

The first pictures are when we visited Claude Monet's Giverny. It's only about 1/2 hour train ride from Paris.  It is beyond gorgeous! The huge chateau is Chateau Fontainbleu, that we toured last year.  It is just incredible, and hard to believe people actually lived so lavishly!  It's about 1 hour from Paris by train.  Oh, that's another great thing about Paris, you don't need a car to get around.  Actually, you wouldn't want to, because they drive like maniacs!  It is so fun to walk everywhere (so I can afford to eat sorbet every day!), or take the metro or train.

Check out the two pictures of the cute bunnies in the shop window.  They are made entirely of chocolate!  And I just had to snap a picture of the menu on the chalkboard (I love chalkboards) outside of a cute little bistro.  Tres chic!

Can't wait to return to our favorite city!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
I am linking up with Le Chateau des fleurs

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cute Bird and Nest Decoupaged Plaque

Hello and happy Saturday!

Today I wanted to share with you a fun project that I made using a sweet bird image that I found on TheGraphicsFairy.com.  She has the most amazing vintage images that she so graciously shares each day!  I love birds and nests and eggs, so when I found this sweet one I was so excited!  If you have never been to her site, be sure & check it out!

First off, I had my hubby cut a 5 1/2" x 8" piece of 1/4" plywood from a big sheet that we have.  One of these days I need to get my nerve up & learn how to use his table saw, so I don't have to ask him each time I want something cut! (even though he is more than willing!)  I then sanded the entire piece, including the edges.  I primed & painted one side with a creamy white interior latex paint, but you could use craft paint if you want. You don't have to paint both sides, because the front will be covered in paper.  I then used one of my very favorite products, Ralph Lauren's faux glaze, in "smoke".  So many of you bloggers out there use it, that I just had to give it a try.  It is so easy to use!  Just brush (I use a foam brush) or wipe on with a rag, then wipe off with a rag.  I have used it for so many projects (I bought mine at Home Depot).  All it takes is a little bit, so your can will go a long way!

Once the back was dry, I was ready for the fun part!  I began by decoupaging a few pages from a vintage French book.  I just love the look of French text, and use it in so many projects!  Our local library has a monthly used book sale, and I find some really great books there for my crafting.  You can't beat $1.00 for a book!  Once the decoupage was dry, I added the cute bird that I printed out, and some scrapbook paper that I cut in a scallop on one side.  I added 2 tan colored photo corners to the top, just for some added detail.  I also added a cute tiny bird image from The Graphics Fairy, and the word "nest" that I printed on the computer.  I sprinkled a bit of Martha Stewart's clear glitter over it all while the decoupage was still wet.  I love glitter!  I applied a couple more coats of decoupage, Mod Podge, to be exact, letting it dry between coats.  Another one of my favorite products that I used, that I first heard about in blog land is "Rub n Buff".  I like "antique gold" the best.  You only need to use a teensy, tiny bit!  And be sure to wear disposable gloves!  I applied it to the edges of the plaque.  Then I used my handy dandy dremel tool to drill a small hole in the upper corners.  I used some fine gauge bronzy colored craft wire for a hanger.  As a final touch, I added 3 pretty vintage glass buttons along the bottom, using E-6000 glue.  If you have never worked with this glue, it is really strong!  And also really stinky, so be sure to work in a well ventilated area!

I am really happy with how the plaque turned out!  One of the best things was that I already had all of the products on hand for this project, too!

I am linking up to Brag Monday over at the Graphics Fairy.