Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to the Beach

We love the Gulf Coast! The sugar sand and emerald water are breathtakingly beautiful. Is there anything better than sitting under an umbrella and watching the dolphins at play? I just made reservations for us to go back to "our" beach house again near Seagrove Beach, Florida in July. For one glorious week every summer we meet my brother and his family from Texas for fun in the sun. It is a time of lazy days on the beach, seafood of one sort or another every single night and, best of all, ending our days watching the sunset and being with the ones we love best in the whole world. Does it get any better than that?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden Gate Shovel Hanger

My own sweet Megan had miniature garden tools when she was little. Her small rake, hoe and shovel dug many a hole to "plant" in her sandbox garden. When I found this little shovel last weekend, I knew that it was destined for hanging, not digging! This cottage is one of my own designs. I love pink and plaid, so what better combination than that for a roof? The wood birdhouse is a duplicated on the cottage on the shovel. It even has its own picket fence! I removed the wooden perch and replaced it with an old silverplate iced tea spoon that I cut to length. A sage green ribbon provides the hanger.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

prIM meSSaGe cENtER

I was thinking about cleaning up the studio and going upstairs to fold clothes and do some wifely chores. But one of the metal dustpans in my stash called to me (REALLY!!!) and here is what I came up with. The bubble magnets are made with graphics I purchased from my friend at Ewe and Me Printables (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5255329). The note paper is from Susan Winget and the yellow pencils are from my collection I always keep on hand. You just can't get out of that "teacher mode" once you have been one! I already have a plan for a cottage style message board that I am going to work on tomorrow.

What an inspiration!!!

Do you ever fall in love at first sight? Oh, I don't mean the "romantic" kind of love, although I do believe in that phenomenon having been a victim 30 years ago myself! I am referring to the kind that you feel when you see a little vase, a piece of silver plate or, for me, a precious antiQue doll trunk. I found this gem at an estate sale not long ago. The outside showed that it had been well loved by its previous owner but the inside is in almost perfect condition with the original paper and hanging rod still intact. I used one of my Terrye French patterns for inspiration and painted this "twilight" angel on front. I cut her wings from my collection of vintage sheet music and applied another piece on the back. All that was needed for finishing touches were the ribbons and lace tied to the handle along with a cast iron key.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time to plant a garden!

We are preparing our garden space. It's time to get serious about making a decision about what will be planted where. Several years ago we decided to make a "square foot" garden. It is amazing what you can grow in a small place. I am of the opinion that the worst tomato from your garden tastes better than the best you can buy at the grocery store! My brother is an expert at growing tomatoes, so we are following his advice this year on what plants to get. He recommends Better Boy, Big Boy, Early Girl and Beefsteak. I want to try some heirloom varieties too --- how could you go wrong with such names as Chocolate Amazon, Brown Derby, Lollipop, Sweet Orange Roma, Lenny and Gracie's Kentucky Heirloom, and Brown Berry?

This is a garden trowel that I painted and it hangs on the garden gate. I have my eye on a child-size shovel that I am going to do something with. Oh, and I also have an idea for a scarecrow that I hope will talk some sense into the mocking birds who have taken up residence in a nearby stand of white crepe myrtles. Stay tuned.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Transformed Traincase

I found this great traincase at one of the consignment shops I love. It is bigger than most and a perfect container for books, file folders, or anything!!! The design is one of my own in the springtime series. I love the hollyhocks that are growing beside the cottage. Sadly, I have had no luck with any I have planted so these will have to satisfy my longing for those beauties. I decoupaged wallpaper bluebirds and a picket fence around the bottom. My dearest reminded me that everything I paint lately has been pink. I guess I need to switch from this phase but I dearly love that color and just can't help myself!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I decided I would fix a crumb cake for dearest to take to the office this morning. Everyone works so hard there and they deserve a little treat. This is an easy recipe and I promise there won't be one crumb left!!!! Try this for breakfast or brunch!

Crumb Cake

2 cups sifted flour
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/2 cup additional sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
powdered sugar, optional

In a mixing bowl, combine sifted flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for topping. To the crumb mixture in mixing bowl add the beaten egg, additional flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and milk. Blend well with electric mixer on low speed. Spread the batter evenly in a greased 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over the batter and bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and dust with powdered sugar before cutting, if desired.

Blessings on you, little lamb

It is beautiful here in Dixie this morning.... I have the studio door open and I can here the birds singing. My dogwood is ready to pop open its blooms and all's right with the world.

I am still determined to paint and craft with what I have in the studio before I go out and haul in more "stuff" (she says with determination, but in her heart she knows better!). I had one more wooden frame left in my stash so I decided that the project of the morning would be this adaptation of a Terrye French design. The frame is distressed for that shabby chic look and the little lamb is painted on canvas. I love her little friend who sits on her back. The frame needed a little puff and fluff so I lettered "Blessings" across the bottom.

Alrighty, I think I will go work on an altered book box that is waiting in the wings. Suki says, "Come and throw the ball" so I may have to hop outside for a bit, play with the pup and soak up some sun first. Then it's back to work.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Old Spoons

I am still rummaging around in my little shop, going through my stash of collected treasures. This old silverplate spoon was at the bottom of a basket and though I passed it up a time or two, I kept going back to it. Finally I decided to do something with it. Painting on it would have been o.k., but I wanted to do something a little different. So, here it is.... a hanging pin cushion. A little piece of antique lace here, a scattering of forget-me-knots there and it is finished. I am thinking it might need a little hang tag. I will mull that over a day or two and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Old Sifters --- New Life!

I am drawn to old kitchen utensils. I love to find old flatware and serving spoons that have been well loved and well used over the years. Old teapots and coffee pots are my delight!!! I go back to my childhood when there were no coffee makers and my mother would perk coffee every morning on the stove top. Who needed an alarm clock when the smell of fresh brewed coffee did the trick? I can see my grandmother even now as she baked in her kitchen. My job was always to sift the flour and, even though I got more on me and the surrounding work area than in the bowl, she never lost patience.

Sifters of all sizes are perfect pieces to breathe new life into for me. I love their knobby cranks and handles and the indentations for the measurements. It is so much fun trying to decide what do do with each one that comes my way. Here is a tiny little sifter, only one cup, that I found at my favorite thrift store. It was just the perfect size to hold pencils and maybe a pair of scissors. I think a bunny and rosemary make a great design for this little guy.

Sometimes it's not what you paint on the sifter that is important, but rather what you put in it. Using an old sifter as a container for a little kitchen Christmas candle light composition was just the ticket for this piece. Cinnamon dough ornies, little apples with evergreen and "candies" formed the perfect compliment to the cinnamon coated light. Even the silicone bulb had that fabulous spice in its coating.

My latest repurposing started with an old Bromwell sifter that had seen a lot of use. I decided to try out one of my new designs and use it also for a candle light. This time a wooly sheep surrounded by a verse from Psalm 100 seemed the perfect thing to paint. I have pieces of an old antique quilt that is so worn the cotton batting is coming out. I used a piece to cover the top (and the bottom) of the sifter. The candle light is stained to make it blend in with the old pieces. And the hang tag???? What better than "This Little Light of Mine"? I have always told my friends I have never been bored a day in my life. How can I be when there are so many sifters to paint?

Monday, March 16, 2009

pRiMiTiVe anGeL coFFeePoT

I found this cute little vintage coffeepot with its original glass-knobbed lid and working parts at one of my favorite thrift stores. I love old kitchen items like this.... they have such a history when they come your way. I wonder how many cups of coffee were brewed in this little gem and how anyone could bear to part with it.

I gave it a new life and purpose with this adaptation of a Terrye French design. The angel on the pot is so perfectly prim with her saltbox house, pear, crow and bittersweet twigs. The teapot lid reminds us to "Count Our Blessings."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pack up all my cares and woes....

I found another suitcase to paint on at one of my favorite resale shops! I couldn't wait to get home! I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. You have probably guessed that Terrye French is one of my favorite artists by now. Her pattern, "Simply Love" was the perfect choice. I painted the background color a gray-blue mix and then distressed and antiqued it to give it that well worn look. I love all the elements of this design, but that wooly sheep has won my heart! And what about Ms. Kitty and her locket? You have got to love a cat that is so well dressed! Wouldn't this be a great place to keep old pictures, music books or vintage linens? Time to look for another suitcase. I already have a plan for it when it comes my way.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's for Supper????

We love bay scallops! Our "shrimp man" as we call him makes a trip to the Gulf once a week and brings back the loveliest seafood ever .... crab meat, red snapper, the most glorious shrimp you have ever tasted. But of all the treasures of the sea, we love the sweet scallops the best! Here is a recipe we adore... I hope you will try it. We like a nice rice pilaf and a salad to go with the scallops. Yummers!!! Let me know how it works for you!
Scallops Zinfandel
8 scallops
1/2 cup Zinfandel White Wine
2 Tbsp chopped scallions
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
butter crackers
1 clove garlic, minced
Rinse scallops briefly and cut large ones in half. Place scallops in a baking dish and pour the Zinfandel wine over them. Sprinkle with chopped onions, garlic, and crumbled crackers. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 15 minutes in oven at 350 degrees. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serves 2.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds
You and your arithmetic,
You'll probably go far.
Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds,
Seems to me you'd stop and see,
How beautiful they are.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bunny Suitcase Footstool

I love rabbits. I have always thought one would make a sweet pet, but my Suki dog assures me this would not be a good idea. I tend to agree with her I think! So, I make do with my bunny projects. This one is a footstool! I adapted a Terrye French design on a suitcase that I had first painted a soft pink, stamped and antiqued. This was so much fun to do... I have made several suitcase footstools but I do believe this is my favorite. The bonus is all sorts of treasures can be stored inside. How's that for repurposing?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rosebud Baby Shoe Pin Cushion

I love baby shoes! I search high and low for them in all my favorite thrift stores and antique shops. The older, the better as far as I am concerned... I wonder what story each little pair could tell about the tiny feet that once wore them, about the little toes that wiggled in delight inside.

I found a tiny pair recently and knew exactly what I would paint on each one. Here is the first, a little rosebud nosegay painted on the side and lace painted on the toe. I covered a piece of pink toile with antique dresser scarf lace to give a nice layered look. On the opposite side I hand-lettered "Rosebud".

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Little House of Dreams
Louisa Cook Don-Carlos

My little house of dreams!
Who knows how warm, when fall the winter snows,
How bright its fires, how fair its rooms,
How safe and still 'neath starlit glooms,
My cozy little house of dreams,
All seasons are its best--it seems.

My house of dreams!
Where order reigns
Behind its glistening window panes.
Shady its trees, its garden fair
And best of all, my love is there,
With shining eyes and calm, sweet face,
The benediction of the place,
And peace and joy and heaven's light beams
Within my little house of dreams.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snowing in Dixie

It is a rare miracle to have snow here in the Heart of Dixie. Growing up in the Midwest, we thought nothing of it. Life went on, rubber boots and all. We put chains on the tires, put on our warmest coats and business went on as usual. But here in the land of cotton fields, magnolias and dogwoods, we are simply delighted when we hear that we may get a sprinkling of snow showers. It began here in the early hours. Like a child at Christmas, I was excited and kept peeking out of the windows throughout the night. Finally I saw the flakes begin to fall!!! I threw open the plantation shutters and marveled at the sight. Oh, we won't have much.... maybe 3 or 4 inches or so, but that's o.k. with us. We can have hot cocoa and cinnamon toast and watch it for as long as it lasts. Who knows??? We might even make a big pot of soup for lunch and forget all about that pot roast that was on the menu. It's snowing in Dixie and we are loving it!!!