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!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

From "Udderly" Ugly to Fab and French!

You know how much I love to do what I refer to as "drab to fab" makeovers, right?
Well just check out my latest transformation, which I think qualifies for the drabbest, tackiest "before" ever!
Hello, the 1980's are calling, they want their "udderly" ugly tray back!!
This past week I came across this beauty in the thrift shop.  I was drawn to the neat shape, as well as the fact that it was solid wood and sturdy and substantial.
Of course I had to look beyond the cutsey country painting of the cow and  milk maid!
When I was standing in line to pay, the woman behind me said how cute it was.  
I'm sure she was secretly thinking 
"This poor woman needs help!"
I quickly told her that I was giving it a makeover, that I really didn't have awful taste!
I knew right away that I wanted to give the tray a French twist, so here is what I came up with..........
 Viola! Much better, don't you think??!
I began by sanding down all of the painted design.  I didn't want to take any chances that anything (udders included!) would show thru after I'd painted the piece!  Then I used some of my Deco Art chalky finish paint in a pretty cream color.  After multiple coats, the tray was feeling happier already!
 I then chose a French Patisserie stencil, also from Deco Art.

 I used acrylic paint in black for the stencil, and I'm so happy with how it turned out!
 I distressed it a bit here and there, then followed up with a clear sealer.
 I'll be putting this puppy in my Etsy shop.
So remember, if you come across anything on your treasure hunts that is beyond "udderly" awful, don't be too quick to pass it up! With a little imagination and tlc, you can take it from
drab to fab!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Exploring Italian Hill Towns

Buon Giorno!
Ok, today we are concluding our tour of Italy by visiting a few Italian hill towns in the Umbria region!
Hopefully you aren't sick of seeing my trip photos, I promise that this is the last post I'll do!
I was in love with all of the beautiful architecture, shutters, and flower boxes.  I could have spent forever just soaking up every last detail of these towns and villages!
I just loved this stone and brick archway, below!  It made me think of a secret window that opened onto the Italian countryside!

No, this is not an alleyway, above.  It is a street, a very narrow street!
And the large arched wooden door, below, is actually someone's garage door.  How cool is that?
Visiting the medieval villages feels as if you are truly stepping into the past! 

We had lunch at this pretty little restaurant, below.  It was way out in the middle of no where, and the views of the countryside were amazing!  I wish I'd thought to take photos of some of our meals.  Here we had the best home made pasta with pesto, it was delish!  How can food that is so simply prepared taste so incredible??!
Sorry for the poor photo quality below.  I snapped this as we were driving along in the countryside.  I just love the tall cypress trees, which are quintessential to the Italian countryside.
There was hardly a day that went by that we didn't visit an amazing church or two.
Here we are in the town of Spoleto, the most beautiful of the Umbrian hill towns.
Dating from the 12th century, the San Pietro church, below, was just gorgeous!

Words can't express just how beautiful it was inside. Notice the pretty mosaic floor?
There were several chapels inside, this one, below was my favorite.
More amazing painted and carved ceilings.
The colors were gorgeous!
A view of the town and surrounding hills.
Mysterious and romantic alleyways.
We stopped for lunch in the cutest little restaurant!  With the checkered tablecloths, hanging bunches of garlic, and old family photos, I felt as if we were eating in an Italian relatives house!
While it feels so good to be home, I really do miss Italy, and think of our trip each day!  We saw so many beautiful places, ate the best food, and met lots of warm and genuine people. 
As they say, we have memories to last a lifetime!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Artist Behind the Etsy Feature

Hi Everyone,
Hope you are enjoying the first weekend of summer!
Awhile back, Kathy from Creative Home Expressions asked me if I would be interested in having my Etsy shop featured in her weekly series, called "The Artist Behind the Etsy".  Not only was flattered, but I super excited as well!
Etsy is such an important part of my life, and I know that it truly means alot to so many of you who may have boutiques there as well, or who love to shop on Etsy!

So I am honored to be the feature artist today!  I would love for you to check it out here!
Thank you again, Kathy!  You are awesome for supporting us all!

I thought I'd share with you one of the latest additions to my shop, this gorgeous vintage Syroco chalkboard/mirror combo!
It began life a gaudy gold, and I think looks oh so much better now that I've painted her a pure white!
 So many pretty details, and a unique double frame.
 The best part is she pulls double duty!  I added heavy duty chalkboard vinyl to the back side of the mirror. for two looks in one!
 Have a great day, looking forward to seeing what you all have been up to!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

From Italy With Love!

Buon Giorno!
I hope you all aren't getting sick of seeing photos of our trip to Italy!  I took so many pictures, I couldn't resist sharing more with you.
Lemon trees grow in abundance, especially along the coast.  So you will see lots of lemon products, ranging from lemon gelato (yum!) to lemon ice, to the famous limoncello, a very potent lemon liqueur.
I thought this little truck/scooter refreshment stand was just too darn cute!
Remember when I told you that driving in Italy is crazy? Well, we made the mistake of taking the 
"scenic route" from Rome to the Amalfi Coast, and ended up having to drive thru the middle of Naples.  It is a huge city, and the traffic is beyond nuts.  While I am sure there are some that love Naples, we couldn't wait to get out of there!  It is very dirty, crowded, and crime ridden (that is where the Maffia was founded, yikes!), and often referred to as "gritty".  It made me think of a third world country!  It actually took us one hour to drive thru the city!
 This is what it looked like driving thru the streets!
 Ahhhh, what a sanctuary when we finally made it to our hotel in Praiano, right on the Amalfi Coast!  I miss all of that gorgeous bougainvillea!
 More views of the gorgeous Tyrrhenian Sea.  I swam down in this little cove, but the photo hubby took of me was hideous, so I will spare sharing it with you!

 We visited this amazing cathedral in the town of Amalfi, which dates from the 9th thru the 13th centuries!  We had visited there on our first trip to Italy 14 years ago, and it's even grander than we remembered!
 It was such a hot day, so it was a treat to cool off inside and admire all of the amazing details.

 Wow, is all I can say!
 Just look at the ancient paintings on the walls and ceilings, below.
 I believe this is supposed to represent the Last Supper, below.
Wait, what do we have here??
An Italian mountain goat??!
 This little guy greeted us as we visited this centuries old stone watch tower, which was the home of an artist's studio.
 After our 4 days on the coast, we headed north of Rome to Umbria to visit medieval hill towns.
The region of Umbria may be a bit lesser known than famous Tuscany, which is right nearby.  But it's just as beautiful, and not as crowded or expensive.  
 The views were amazing!

 We stayed in the little walled village of Todi for 2 nights, a town that we fell in love with on our first visit to Italy.

I lost track of how many churches we visited on our trip.
This gorgeous one in Todi, the Santa Maria della Consolazione, was completed in 1607. 
 The interior was a bit spare compared to other cathedrals that we have visited, but it still was impressive and just so beautiful.

 I told you I was obsessed with ceilings!
Just look at all of the amazing carved details!

 Hard to imagine something so old still stands, in our country we tear things down if they are 50 years old!
 I just loved all of the neat alleyways tucked here and there in the villages!
 Yummy looking desserts!
 We did a bit of wine tasting in the building below, lots of fun!
If you aren't too sick of seeing Italy, I'll share more photos with you in a few days!
Ok, now that we are back home, I couldn't resist sharing a few pics that I snapped of our Katie today!
She visited the "puppy salon" this afternoon for a grooming, and I think she looks so cute!
 Don't let her shy looks fool you, this is one party animal!