Monday, March 30, 2009

spring inspiration


here is my mood board for spring...

and a poem that I have recently stumbled across.

I don't usually love poetry. I am too literal, too visual. Poetry is so often about eluding to something, not spelling it out and I really like things to be spelled out. But this poem, that I recently found in an old book at the Library called "Poems of Prayer," was particularly lovely to me, and is one I keep returning too time and time again. So I have included it with the pictures of the mood board. Though they really have nothing to do with each other, other than have been part of Springs arrival for me...


Prodigal
Like a bird that trails a broken wing,
I have come home to Thee;
Home from a flight and freedom
That was never meant for me.

And I, who have known far spaces,
And the fierce heat of the sun,
Ask only the shelter of Thy wings,
Now that the day is done.


Like a bird that trails a broken wing.
I have come home, at last...
O hold me to Thy Heart once more,
And hide me from the past.

Ellen Gilbert

Friday, March 27, 2009

contentment and curiosity are the best of friends

and messiness is their sidekick...

this is what real life at Casa D'Lovely looks like most days...




little bits and pieces strewn from here to there


always something on the To Do List


always something(s) on the floor


it is real. and comfy. and messy. and stressful. and delightful.


my life and my days are ever changing. nothing stays the same for long.


i can never predict the future. the more comfortable i get with me, the more comfortable i get with that idea.




or maybe it is the other way around?

The future is called "perhaps," which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you.
~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending, 1957

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reading this Week


The Cookbook for Girls
This is the most delightful, and colorful cookbook I have ever laid my hands on. Everything in it looks absolutely yummy, and lovely. Every girl - from the youngest to the oldest- that has come over to my house lately, has loved and adored this cookbook. The pictures are bright, colorful and instructional. The ingredients are fresh, wholesome and easy to find, and the recipe selection is varied & balanced.
One friend commented on how so many of the recipes would be ab fab for a variety of parties - dinner parties, baby showers, birthday parties and girls-nights-in just to name a few!
I cannot wait to order this book and have my own copy to mess up with sticky chef fingers...
I have been a lifelong Maurice Sendak fan, but somehow I had missed this little gem that he and Ruth Krauss created. Open House for Butterflies is filled with those little thoughts and sayings that put the world right as it should be... From sweet to witty to whimsical, there is a little bit of everything.
Here are some of my favorites :
" The minute you meet some people you know you will hate their mothers."
and
"When you are very tired, just throw your tired away"
and
"A baby is so you could be the boss"

This is another great little gift book, or a sweet little "just because" book.

Last Girls

This is the latest novel that I am reading, and I am enjoying it. I would not say it is my favorite, but it isn't bad either and I am getting drawn into the story and the characters. I read a lot of non-fiction (memories and bio's specifically) but I am always looking for new Fiction authors to get hooked on too. A think a healthy dose of both is good! Sometimes working at the library can make finding new authors a little overwhelming - too many choices! Especially since I don't have a lot of time to read (ironically. ) But recently I discovered the wonderful resource- NoveList

NoveList is a great resource for readers for a variety of reasons, but what I like best about it is, the"if you like this author then you might like this author" feature which they call Author Read-Alikes. Which is how I found The Last Girls.

So, my questions to you are: Have you read The Last Girls? Did you like it? What fiction authors do you just love to pieces?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

i love paris in the springtime



well, I think I would anyway. I haven't been yet, so I can't say for sure.


BUT my little sis Jemimah and my Mother are there today and I am thinking of them, and how much fun they must be having together - the 2 peas in a pod that they are- and how I am only winsy bit jealous. But not really, because what I really am, is extremely grateful for this time they have together and that my sweet mother- who never does much for herself at all, but is always doing for others- got to go on this amazing adventure! I cannot wait to read her blog updates all about it!




To celebrate their grand Paris adventure I created a whimsical 2 tiered Eiffel Tower Mobile.

This is a play on an idea I have had for a year, since my trip to Juneau last Spring, when I created something similar for baby Ellis' nursery...

It was great to get this out of my head and into my hands, and I had fun making it while thinking of all the wonderful experiences Mom and Jemimah are sure to be having!!
They were the perfect inspiration!


Monday, March 23, 2009

These Birds Have Wings

The kids are at my in-laws for the next 2 days. Ah, lovely Spring Break...
I am off from the library today, and the creative wheels are turning. I took a little time this morning to create a new little ditty I had been dreaming about all weekend:

The Vertical Bird Mobile for Spring ....

Another version is coming soon, along with something very "oh la la..."

For now, this little flock is for sale HERE
(kits also available upon request)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

To Grandmothers House We Go

Here are some pictures from a 2 Room Make-Over I did a while back. The rooms are at one of my very favorite clients house, and they are her "Grandkid Rooms." She didn't want them to be too girly (even though right now she has granddaughters) and she wanted me to use the old red bed and the new red chair that she already had. Since I have been lucky enough to do the rest of her house, I knew that her favorite color is red, so I knew I would use lots of that color, but I also wanted some bright and cheery things for the kids.... So this is what I came up with:
The Bedroom








My client is a personal chef, and one of the best cooks I know, so I decided it would be fun to go with a "Sweet Shoppe" theme for the playroom... My friend Jeanetta did the 3 original artwork pieces you see hanging on the walls.
The Playroom











Over the next few weeks I will posting a few little tutorials about a few of the projects that I did in these rooms to save on time and money, so stay tuned!! Oh, and if you have any questions about resources or items let me know - I will be happy to answer!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

cupcake luck

Yesterday was our semi-regular weekly playgroup/dinner, and it was our turn to host.
We decided since it was St. Patrick's Day that we should celebrate in true Irish style and so my Sweet Man whipped us all up some of the yummiest corned beef & cabbage I have ever had... see there was this subtle mustard sauce involved, and butter and cabbage and... well I could go on and on, but I won't - maybe I could talk him into posting the recipe on his blog...? Hint, hint.
I could also go on and on about the baked chicken he did, the amazingly gooey and delish hashbrown brown casserole Michelle brought, the yummy & fresh salad that Alison brought... oh I am drooling again. Sorry about that...
My contribution to this St. Patty's day feast was dessert. I of course had to go with something green, and because I have been on a Pistachio Pudding kick lately, I knew just what I wanted to try: Pistachio Cupcakes.
Instead of going all fancy /gourmet, I wanted to try and do something very vintage in feel, but still really yummy.
To me pudding is one of those great vintage treats that nobody really pays attention to much anymore, but I still love it all the same. Seems like by the way the cupcakes were all gobbled up yesterday, eveyone else agrees!
The cupcake recipe itself is pretty basic, with just one "twist," the frosting on the other hand has revolutionized frosting making for me from now on. I have found the easiest, most delish frosting and it requires no egg whites or shortening (2 things I have never really embraced in my baking) and could be very easily modified by just switching pudding mixes. I don't know if the instant jello's will work as well as the pudding, but you better believe I am going to try!
Here is the recipe I used (modified somewhat from one found online)
Cupcakes:
1 package White Cake Mix w/Pudding in the Mix
1 3 oz. Package Instant Pistachio Pudding Mix
4 Eggs
1 1/4 Cups Water
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
7 Drops Green Food Dye
Place all ingredients in bowl, beat at low speed to moisten.
Beat on medium speed 4 minutes.
Spray Cupcake liners/pan with Bakers Ease Spray
Fill Cupcake Liners/Pan 1/2 way - 2/3 way full.
Bake @ 350 degrees till done (use toothpick testing method)
Makes 12-16 Cupcakes

Amazing Icing Recipe

(found on recipezaar.com by Thierry Schwartz)

Place beaters and mixing bowl (I used stainless) in fridge for 10-20 minutes to get cold.

Combine the following

1 Box Instant Pistachio Pudding Mix

1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream

Start beating very slowly at first, gradually increasing the speed of your mixer till peaks begin to form. Don't beat too long or you will have pistachio butter!

(which honestly I think would be yummy as a spread on scones...)

PS- thanks for all the birdie love - you all sure know how to make my day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Going to the Birds

Look what has flown in...



Some new birdie goodies arriving daily at Storia HOME...

More still to come...

oh Poppytalk!


I am very lucky to be one of the current vendors over at Poppytalk Handmade
for their Eco, Spring & Easter Market...(my Plain Jane Eiffel Tower is featured on the home page currently)

There are a ton of great crafters featured for this market, so go check it out if you get the chance!

And be on the lookout for my newest little creations, they'll be swooping into Storia HOME very soon!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

a little thought


Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live.
~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

(picture Cath Kidston)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Springin' Up


So I took everyone's lovely and wonderful advice (and encouragement!) and have been resting up a little more this week. Lots of getting in bed early (for me) and saying "no" to a few things (so unlike me!)
The doctor said that this silly mono thing is just going to take some time. Some days I feel fine, some days it requires a little more rest. I guess I will just have to take it all one day at a time.
Another important life lesson no?
One way that I rest is by fluffin my own nest, so I took some time to do just that, and got out the Easter decorations and fluffed the dining room a bit. It was so much fun unpacking it all, enjoying the sunny warm weather that was pouring in through windows and screen doors...
Of course the very next day it was 30 degrees and raining sideways, but at least it was bright, sunny and springy inside!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

waiting, waiting, waiting


Today I am waiting. Waiting for spring. Waiting to find out if both my boys got into the new charter school, waiting to hear if we got the good room rates for our trip this weekend, waiting to go to work, waiting for the tree in the back yard to bloom, waiting on a check from a client, waiting to have time to finish our taxes, waiting to be well again.




Did I tell you that I have Mono? Yep, that's right the kissing disease. I have the kissing disease.
Sad thing is I first caught it when I was a teenager and not kissing anyone. I have always had a bit of wimpy immune system despite my mothers best efforts to bolster it with disgusting early forms of herbs and vitamins (remember back when echinacea was a tea that looked (and tasted) much more like sludge than herbal relief? No? Lucky you!) and somehow I picked the nasty virus up, without having even earned it with the lovely kissing I thought was required for it's transfer.



So that was well over 16 (maybe more?) years ago and apparently I have it -or a flare up of it - again (which disproves the old myth that once you have it, you never have to worry about it again... and I have the blood test to prove it) and this time it is really kicking my tail.

I am too old for the kissing disease. I do not bounce back quite as quickly these days as I did in my youth, and I am not recovering as fast from this bout as I did in my younger days.

And waiting? Well being in this state of waiting, waiting, waiting is not helping. It just makes me more anxious, which makes me more tired, which makes me less well.
It's a lovely cycle.


The thing about waiting and being anxious and being sick, is that they really all have the same cure. Resting. Resting, resting, resting.

Isn't it one of the great lesson of life, that sometimes the best thing you can do when there is so much to be done, is to do nothing at all?

Apparently it is such an important lesson that we all need refresher courses from time to time.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”

John Lubbock quotes


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Introducing


Taken by Storm

You may remember that recently I posted about the loveliest little online shop,
McMaster & Storm. What you may not realize (and neither did I at the time because I can be a little thick headed) is that they are the same McMaster & Storm that were featured in a Country Living Magazine article a while back. How I failed to connect those dots initially I have no idea. I probably had not had enough coffee that day or something.

(picture from country living magazine)

Anyway, shortly after my mini-post about my love for their petite online department store, I entered a Giveaway Drawing on their blog on Valentines Day. I could not believe my luck when I found out that I won only a few days later! Joy, oh joy!!


When my lovely "organizing" themed package arrived on my doorstep I was downright giddy. And then I opened it up and it was even better than I dreamed!


Everything was wrapped so springy and happy, with sweet personal notes attached to each item...


and each item had a wonderful vintage quality, while still being perfectly practical in use. I am a strong believer that you won't have to choose between form & function if you just look hard enough, and these sweet items just proved that point once again!

Thanks so much to Kara and Darcy for this precious, happy, perfect package - all red and pink and oh so pretty!

I am such a lucky girl and I can't wait to put every single thing to use...
(The prize ribbon has already found a home on one of my dress form girls!)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Nestin'


My little nest pin cushion is featured in a Treasury! Woo Hoo!
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