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 30, 2015

Paris, Part Deux

Bonjour Mes Amis!
Ready for another day in Paris?
Well today I thought I'd share with you some random shots that I snapped while visiting my favorite city.
I just love all of the amazing window displays, so full of creativity and unexpected delights.
Just look at this Eiffel Tower covered in macarons!  
Can you say "Oooh, la, la?"
Macarons are very popular in Paris, and you will find them in just about every patisserie and boulangerie.
They are a meringue based sweet treat, and come in such amazing colors.

 Ok, if a macaron covered Eiffel Tower is not up your rue, then how about this Arc de Triomphe?
 On nearly every corner is a flower shop, and flower markets also abound thru out Paris.
So of course I just have to stop and admire, smell, and enjoy all of the wonderful blooms and scents!
I really loved this pretty herb and vegetable display, below.
 I can almost smell the French lavender now!
 Aren't these hydrangeas just stunning?  I wish I had better luck growing them.
 They were so perfect looking, they didn't even look real!
 Another lovely display at a flower shop.  I was in love with all of the beautiful pink roses!

 I think the French must have perfected the art of display!

 Another pretty window.  Look closely and you will see a beautiful "cake" of lady fingers and roses in the center of the top shelf.
 Nothing is more quintessentially Parisian that a sidewalk cafe.  There must be literally thousands thru out the city!  And of course the folding bistro chairs are also a common staple.
Doesn't this just make you want to pull up a seat and enjoy a hot cup of caffe au lait, or perhaps a nice glass of chardonnay?
Ok, this shot is totally random, but I couldn't resist sharing.  I was so surprised to see an Office Depot in Paris!   We have never come across them in our travels to Europe, so I got a real kick out of spotting this little slice of home!
Remember I told you that we enjoy lots of great food on our trip?
Well I just love chocolate mousse and of course it is oh so French, and on nearly every menu.
I am rarely one to order dessert at home, but on vacation, well, that is another story!
And how many chances does a girl really get to indulge in one of her favorite treats, and in Paris?
 I don't even want to know how many calories was in this little dish!
Thanks so much for joining me on my little tour again!  Stop back in a few days and I'll share pics from our visit to Versailles!
Au revoir!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bonjour, Paris!

Bonjour Mes Amis!
Hubby and I just returned last night from 6 days in Paris, and I have so many photos to share with you!
First off, we had such a great time, and celebrated my birthday (which was yesterday) while we were there.
Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and we were so glad it didn't rain the entire trip.
 The flowers were glorious, including this arch of roses that I'm standing beneath, with Notre Dame in the background.  Notice all of the pretty fox glove too?  I just loved them!
And of course I had to snap lots of shots of fleurs at the street markets!
Here are just a few I took.

 It's a good thing we walked alot, as we ate very, very well!
I had a hard time saying no to all of the wonderful baquettes and butter (European butter is much richer than ours!), not to mention the wine, croissants, and Nutella filled crepes!

 The highlight of the entire trip was the day we climbed the towers of Notre Dame.
We've climbed just about everything else in Paris on previous trips, but never here at my very favorite church.  It was even more amazing than we expected!
(not to mention a whole lot easier than climbing the Eiffel Tower on our last visit!)
 Notice all of the people lined up in front of the church? They are actually waiting to get in!
Thank goodness, we weren't in that line for the towers!
That was just about a 45 minute wait, not so bad.
We did spent alot of time waiting in lines on our trip, though.  The craziest was Tuesday, when we went to Versailles and spent almost 2 hours just waiting to get in!  Ugh!  I'll share that for another post, though!
 Ok, back to the fun stuff!
The climb was well worth it, as look at what we got to see!
Gargoyles, and lots of them!  Up close and personal, too!
The panoramic views of the city were just gorgeous, including the Eiffel Tower, in this shot I snapped, below.

An aerial view of the line waiting to get into the church.
 Sacre Couer,  which means "Church of the Sacred Heart", perched on the highest point in the city.
 In the photo below, you will see the stunning and ornate opera house, near the horizon.
 Check out my new French friend, below!
 It was so neat to be up with the spire!
 A pretty view of the Seine.
 We were pleasantly surprised that we got to climb into the belfry!
There were two of these bells, and they were huge, each weighing over 19 tons!
Since the bells ring several times every hour, I was more than a bit concerned that they would start ringing when we were standing next to them!
So when we found out they only rang during special religious holidays, I was very relieved!
It is the bells in the north tower, not the south that we climbed, that ring each hour. 
 Another amazing view.
 This guy looks pretty hungry!
 And below is my favorite view of the church.
Unfortunately, several years ago people started putting locks on the bridge, which I personally hate the look of.  They are called "locks of love", and the new tradition is that the couple in love writes their initials and date on the lock, then tosses the key into the Seine river.  I was shocked how many more locks are there since we visited Paris two years ago!  In fact, there are even locks on top of locks now!  Ugh, what an eyesore!
I am hoping that one day, they will get removed!
Thanks for joining me on my little tour.  I have many more photos to share, including our visit to Versailles.  Stop back in a few days!
Au revoir!

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!