Have you ever had something like this happen? Good Gawd, look at my photo today. Those cupcakes. It's like food coloring on steroids.
See, here's my completed cupcake order for a baby shower. She (the hostess)asked for pink, orange and lime green. Hmmm, sounds bright, right? (Well, it did to me anyway.) Now, I am worried half to death that this green is a bit...well...over the top. (Are lime green and neon green one in the same?) Together, it's all just so bright.
You see, this is what happens when a person orders something without giving me a napkin, or invite to go off from. I sure hope this is what the hostess was envisioning.
I just decided I'm not going to charge her for the green ones.
**edited 6 hours later to add** I know some of you love the green, but I simply couldn't imagine folks eating them and it was bothering me...worrying me. (everyone's tongues would be bright green!) I know my friend that ordered these pretty well, and I decided the screaming neon green had to go, so I swapped out the green ones for white frosting with green or pink accents.
*sigh* Still bright, but a teeny tiny bit more subdued. (sorry to you folks that loved the green!)
In between all of the excitement of preparing to make things happen at the new place, I ran over to Junkee last night after I got home from the bank in an to attempt to refluff and straighten the Tumbleweed Cotillion booth space.
Oh my. It is needing new product, new energy...a new look..desperately. The picture above was the only one that came out to share today. (Isn't that little French table with lamp just oh, so darling?!) Luckily, my garage slash warehouse is crammed full of fabulous pieces that will be transformed this weekend and placed in the booth for a completely fresh new look!(Mmm hmm, wait until you see the hall tree I am working on....)
Yup, I had a bit of an epiphany this morning. Today I am feeling...well... kind of mildly, happily, surprised. I discovered that I am happy, truly happy, in my life now. I mean, okay, for the most part I already knew this, but I am more whole than broken these days, and I didn't really see the repair work happening.
For the past two years, May 27th has been an anticipated, dreaded day for me, marking my wedding anniversary. Yesterday, each time I had to write the date (which, as a bank teller, you do all day long) I kind of winced, and felt that familiar tiny pit in my stomach, reminded of the failed marriage behind me. It felt different than before though. Sad yes, but not nearly so painful. More like an accepted sad chapter in my life, and a long ago past chapter at that.
I didn't mention the date and it's significance to anyone; there was no need to, after all. I focused on all of the good things going on in my life and how busy I am. (I even got to have a quick visit with Miss Isabelle and my cutie patootie daughter-in-law!)
When I awoke this morning, I laid in bed a long time, which, if you know me, you know is really unusual for me. I felt like I had turned a corner, and it kind of surprised me to realize this. I just stayed in my cozy cocoon of blankets and feather pillows and pondered it for quite a little while.
I am content with my life.
Time really does have such a good way of assisting in healing.
Remember last summer when we got tour everyone's gardens online? It was so much fun and it really inspired all of us. I was thinking it might be fun to...take it up a notch this year. I was thinking that it would be fun to focus on one specific idea, or spot, or project in your outdoor area, and share it. (Of course, you are still welcome to share your entire garden or yard as well!) You know, wow us with large (or small) projects, or outdoor vignettes that you have done to make your outside living space fabulous and special.
Here's an example of what I am thinking: I have this old hutch-y thing on my patio. (Do your remember it from the last tour?) It had the weathered look when I got it at a yard sale and I left it as it was...but now I am ready for a change!The past two summers it has been used as a potting hutch on my patio (which is a total lie, because I use my patio table to pot my plants in reality) but I am going to re-invent it this weekend, and I was thinking it would be such fun to see what you have repuprosed, or done creatively in your yards as well...
Ideas, like creative bird feeders or birdbaths, unusual furniture used in an outdoor setting, tablescapes, lighting, or outside-the-box garden ideas...sound fun?
If you're interested in participating, please email me by Tuesday, June 2nd, and include a photo and a link to your blog post about your fabulous outdoor idea.(Oh! And, feel free to use my little tour logo!) I'll start the tour on Wednesday, June 3rd, and we can all be inspired!
I hope you'll join me in this!
I've always liked using cloth napkins. Even as a newlywed back in the 70's, I used cloth over paper table linens to save money. I love the look and feel of them, whether they are charming old vintage napkins, or newly made to coordinate with my tablescape by the Sewing Queen. Besides being good for our environment, they really make the table look so nice, and there is such a feeling of being pampered and spoiled- a feeling of living a truly charmed life.
I have amassed quite a collection of sweet vintage table linens that I am getting ready to take to Junkee later today....if I decide I can part with them.
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Mr. Bear celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday. He turned 15, which makes him...er...a senior citizen in dog years.(Honey-Bear, you don't look a day over 12. Really.)
Now, Bear is not one for wild parties and making a lot of hoopla, we celebrated rather quietly, reminiscing about when he was a puppy, then followed up with milkbones and me singing happy birthday. (Actually, Moose was much more excited about the singing part than Bear was.)
Happy birthday, Bear. Oh, I love you so.
I arrived home from PTown with an extra suitcase (what else is new?) full of thrifted treasures for my booth at Junkee and the new shop, courtesy of the Obsessive Auntie. Not only is this girl an incredible cardiac recovery unit nurse....Um....Did I mention she was nominated for AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses) Greater Portland Chapter Association's Nurse of the year?!) but she is also an amazing thrifter, with a keen eye for finding fabulous treasures!
Oh yes, the Goodwill folks know her, (and my son-law!) and she can wheel and deal with the best of us. I was so excited when I opened the suitcase and out spilled all of the gems from her treasure hunts! It's hard for me to not want to keep all of it, but, alas, there is no room left in my cottage, (trust me on this one, people.) and so I will be pricing things and they'll be making thier way to Junkee this weekend, looking for new homes.
I had to share.
Oh yes. When I'm up in Stars Hollow Camas, Washington, I make sure we always squeeze in a trip to my favorite spot, Camas Antiques, and this trip was no exception. While browsing through all the nooks and crannies, I found these fabulous knobs.(Pulls? Whatever you call them, I call them cute.) I haven't decided what I am using them on just yet, but trust me, whatever it is, they will make a statement.
Aren't they just spectacular?!
I am working on improving my portrait photography skills and Miss Isabelle graciously agreed to model for me this past Tuesday morning.(See? It's not another shameless Gramma Cupcake bragging post, it's about improving your portrait photography skills!)
Each time I practice, I learn a bit more of what I am doing wrong and it is exciting to see ways of improving my skills with this. Even though she was getting over her first cold, sweet Miss Isabelle was such a good sport all the same. And, hopefully she will be back over for another session in just a week or two when she is fully over her cold so I can work on this photography thing some more.
I am by no stretch of the imagination a pro at this, just somebody's Gramma, trying to get better with my picture taking skills, but here are a few tips that I have learned from trial and error so far...(learn from my mistakes here, people.)Take the tips for what they are.
*For outdoor shots, don't photograph directly in the sun. It's just too bright. Glaring. Make sure you, with your camera, and your model are in the shade, at least for the most part. (See the grass in the picture above? Some sun, some shade? You want the subject of the picture in the shade fully, or there are too many visual distractions in the picture..just my opinion here.)
*Close ups are nice, but the photo doesn't have to be a close up to start with. Cropping it in after wards works really great, and you may end up with two shots from the same photo that you like both ways, like here:
*Be organized and prepared when photographing babies and little children...(actually, I guess it's good to be organized when photographing anyone.) The time frame is kind of short, since they aren't always thrilled to keep posing and being repositioned for you for hours on end. Check out the area in which you'll be taking the pictures. Look through the camera viewfinder at the area before the subject arrives to get the are a set up if you're doing this shoot outdoors, as I was. Then you see if it's too sunny, or has too much going on in the background.
*Have fun! Just take the shots you can, and then gather up your model (and her mama!) and go out to lunch. It worked for me!
Thanks so very much for all of the well wishes and especially for the name ideas for the shop.(I am so excited about it all!!!) We're trying to narrow it down to the top two or three and decide within the next couple of days, so you know I'll be sharing that!
Today I thought it would be fun to share an easy peasy tutorial for making vintage style votive candle holders. After the last wedding a year ago this past March, I had oodles and toodles of votive candle holders left, and I knew from the start exactly what I was going to do with them. They have been waiting ever since.
Last weekend I finally began my little project, and I am quite smitten with how they came out. (Why didn't I make these sooner?) So simple and sweet, and so easy to assemble. If you don't happen to have 40+ votive holders laying around like I did, you can buy them very cheaply at places like WalMart or a craft store...or...you can use little jars, or empty votive holders from past votives that came with a candle in them (Like the Glade ones at the grocery store)
Here's the supply list:
votive candle holders or small jars
ribbon or lace
millinery flowers (mine are new, from Michael's. I coffee dyed them!)
old book pages (the more yellowed with time, the better!)
optional* old buttons of vintage tags to adorn the votive instead of the millinery flowers
optional* glue gun
take an old book page and make sure it's the length that will wrap around the votive holder. Fold the page so it is about 1/2 inch shorter than the votive holder.Tear the page along the fold for a soft look. Fold the top two end corners so when they meet around the votive holder they will form a nice little "V".
Rub a bit of glue stick to the back of the paper and then wrap the paper around the votive. Cut a length of ribbon and tie it around the jar. Tuck in a flower and you are all set! (At this point you can glue gun on a vintage button or tag...)
I think these are so charming. I can picture them on a table setting by everyone's plates, (Maybe add a coffee dyed tag with each person's name?) or simply tucked into a bookshelf near old photos and books...or, how about boxing one up in a see through acrylic box with a bow, and shredded book pages in the bottom for a hostess gift? They are perfect just about anywhere you want to add a bit of personality!
So, what do you want first? Okay, let's get the bad news over with. I'll make it quick. (Well, as quick as I can. You know I kind of ramble.)
We won't be at Farm Chicks.
There, I said it. And I still can't believe it. Every time I think it, I get a pit in my stomach. It was a dream for so long, and it was so, so close. We've been planning and buying and prepping. Looking so forward to meeting blog friends. Both of my girls, one son-in-law, and the Sewing Queen were coming along to help. Rooms were booked, cowboy boots bought. I want to cry each time I think of it.
We knew from the start that Farm Chicks wasn't going to be a huge money maker for us, because of all the expenses involved for the trip itself. We were okay with that, because it was going to be kind of a paid vacation of sorts; a memory in the making. Then, when we made the giant leap of faith and got the house, we had to take a hard look at numbers and bottom lines, and ask ourselves, "What is the smart thing to do?" It made no sense to try and cram the huge fabulous Farm Chicks event into the middle of the time line for opening the new place, especially when I would be using up all of my paid time off from the bank for the week long trip that Farm Chicks would require (Since we live about 18 hours by truck and trailer from Spokane) and the financial returns would be be little to none in the end. We need every spare penny, nickel and dime we can get right now as we start this place up.
So, we made the very hard decision to back out of our booth, before it was too late for the Farm Chicks to replace us. We wish everyone attending and selling at the Farm Chicks the very best of luck and good times. We'll be there in spirit.
The good news is that we will now have an entire week to spend every waking moment working on the house, since I do have that week requested off from the bank! Do you even know what this means to me?! To devote my days, (seven of them!) to working on my passion, my bliss?! It's heaven, that's what it is. And...all of the incredible merchandise we've been working on and stockpiling will be going in the house for our big opening. (And,trust me here, we have some wonderful stuff, people!)
The sewing queen will be working feverishly on curtains and slipcovers for little children's chairs and making tablecloths and sink skirts. (I am hoping she realized this before she read this post! Thanks Mom!) We'll be painting and working out all of the fun and fabulous details, like marketing plans and our grand gala party opening...Oh! Be still my heart. (Did I say it would be heaven?!)
Somebody pinch me. I still can't quite believe I am doing this.
We made Pro Con lists and crunched numbers. We asked advice from our families and friends. We prayed and looked for signs. Then, we took that leap of faith, and the other Tracey and I rented the fabulous diamond-in-the-rough little cottage!
Can you see the potential, there in the living room? The magnificent fireplace, the warm, worn, hardwood floors, and the wonderful windows? Oh! We are so excited, and yes, still a little scared, as we begin working on all of our plans.
Let me back up a bit. To give you the entire picture- I'm still going to be at the bank, and plan to stay there,( I'll be doing what I can around my grown up girl job hours!) unless I end up at the non profit job, if and when it could be offered. But..
In the meantime, we decided that there could be a nice have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too set up with the house business idea. The plan is to host frequent Tumbleweed Cotillion vintage faires at the cottage, possibly monthly, with our vendor friends and even some out-of-town guest vendors. In between the vintage faires we will sell our own products during regularly set up business hours (and we will, for the time being, still keep one small booth at Junkee, just around the block) and..(here's the really fun and exciting part!) we plan on using the cottage to host intimate events, like bridal and baby showers, rehearsal dinners, anything you'd like, for up to about 50 people! (oh! Imagine the cupcake towers I'll be creating!)
The events may be as simple or elaborate as you wish, with all of the details attended to in a charming setting. Now can you imagine the wonderful events that might be held in the spacious living room with the beautiful fireplace? (Just wait until you see how the room will look after we paint and polish and foofify things!) Here's another peek into the living room. It's the most incredible radiator cover I have ever seen...
That's the plan.
One more thing. We're struggling right now trying to decide on the name for our new place. Do we stick with the Tumbleweed Cotillion, since that's what our faires and our booth space is called? (You know, just build on our brand?) Or..do we use a new name to identify what the business will be....(Maybe one word, like "Cottage" or "Tumbleweed". Maybe something more hip, like "41 Taylor", which is the address of the house? Maybe something to do with our names? Or...something else entirely?) Please, we'd love to hear your ideas and suggestions!!!
Here's a lil' somethin' I reinvented out a couple of days ago. (I set the kitchen scale in the picture so you could get a better perspective of the size.) It began life as a calendar frame. You know, one of those things you would hang your calendar from so it looked more substantial and decorative? It was whitewashed and had a stenciled floral pattern on it, a la' 1992. The lines and shape of the holder are fabulous, but it just looked so outdated.
It might be a bit hard to tell the color in the photo, but I brought it up to 2009 with my favorite Robins egg blue and chalkboard paint. I added the little basket of flowers to hang from the calendar hook, and it's ready for a new home in someone's kitchen or laundry room.
What do you have already in your home that's just screaming for a lil' update?
Did you know that certain Thrift stores sell gift certificates? Mmm hmm, they do. Both Salvation Army and Goodwill sell them, and I am betting some others do too. How do I know this? My fabulous daughter-in-law surprised me with one in a special thank you card for helping with the cupcakes and such at the Bachelorette party last week. (Does this girl know me, or what?!)
Talk about a perfect present! (I'm gonna make sure the whole family gets this news flash.) Thanks Storm, you're a sweetheart.
First of all...Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas out there! Next...Thank you for all of the concerned emails about my absence from posting the past few days.(Such wonderful friends!) Not to worry, I am fine...just trying to search for different ways out of a rut of my own. Okay, not necessarily a rut, but...well, more of an unfulfilling, safe place. (Sheesh, I sound so deep and vague, you surely haven't a clue what I am trying to say...I'm not even sure myself.)
For those of you with inquiring minds that have been wondering what I've been doing all week, I'll tell you. I've been debating. Make Pro/Con lists. Praying. Worrying and fretting. Trying not to worry or fret. I've been filling out forms for loan modifications, going to my Senator's office to waste my time look for assistance on another issue, and while trying to decide which financial-slash-career path to take, (The secure-but-barely-buys-my-groceries-and-yet-allows-me-time-to-follow-my bliss bank job, or the throw-caution-to-the-wind-and-shoot-for-the-moon-leaving-everything-behind-me idea I tossed around) two more doors were thrown wide open for me.(As if I weren't confused enough already...)
First, I was recommended by a friend for a pretty good paying job at a huge non-profit organization, so I sent my resume to my daughter for some tweaking (Oh my gosh! She made me sound so fabulous even I wanted to hire me!) and hand delivered it to the Exec Director. Long story short, I was called in and interviewed, and have now made the short list for round two of the interview process. (Wow, I just may land this job opportunity.) Making a salary that would guarantee me being able to pay my monthly bills would be pretty sweet, to say the least, and working for such a good non profit would be right up my alley. (But, would there be enough time left for following my bliss? For my writing? My painted furniture?)
In the meantime, a fabulous new shop in a charming little house is getting ready to open here in the biggest little city, and the other Tracey and I have been asked to teach some workshops there and put some of our merchandise in on consignment. (I know! Pretty cool, huh?) While chatting it up with the owners of the shop, we discovered they owned the house next door as well...and wouldn't we like to see it? Um, well...the rent is affordable?.....well...maybe just a peek...Oh-me-oh-my-oh. It looks to be a diamond in the rough, a perfect location for upcoming Tumbleweed Cotillions and also for hosting intimate events like showers and parties and bookclubs and...It could be a charming event venue..(but would there be enough income along with the bank job to support me?)
So....with all of this being said, I am completely dazed and confused.(I think God needs to close some doors for me.) I look at my choices and I'm scared to death and thrilled at the same time, if that makes any sense.
After all, like M. Scott Peck says, this decision could just turn out to be one of my life's finest moments.
Here's a little peek at what I was working on last night for my booth at Junkee and Farm Chicks.
Handmade oatmeal and lavender soaps wrapped in vintage papers with tea dyed tags, three D letters and altered art, all in yummy shades of creams and wheats and warm browns and pale blues.
*sigh* All of my favorite colors.
The other Tracey and I spotted this little gem in one of our local thrift shops and I had to take a picture, or I feared no one would believe me when I told them about it. Obviously someone spent an inordinate amount of time, painstakingly painting it (...with dark pink nailpolish, no less. Talk about ingenuity!) oh, so neatly.
I can just picture them, giving a loud sigh during a proud moment filled with satisfaction, when the last little bit of pink polish finished off the "e" on the end. Then, standing back to admire their own handy-work and thinking,(As I have done more than once myself) "Wow. Now that's nice. Perfect, really. Wait..Hey, that doesn't look quite right. P..R...aauuuurgh!"
Have you ever had one of those moments?
Actually, I do think Moose always has a song in his heart, and my camera simply caught him in a pensive mood. (Or maybe he just wasn't happy being photographed with that screamingly pastel Easter egg themed 'neckerchief, even if it did compliment his blonde hair.)
After watching us unload some new stock into our spot one day, a fellow booth vendor at Junkee remarked to the other Tracey and I that we obviously "like things that hold things". After organizing the garage this past weekend, I'd have to say she's right. We've got wire holders of all sorts, and odd kinds of baskets and trays...and they are all just oh, so cool to me. I'm a very visual person, and I like things to look put together and charming, not simply be functional.
Among a large pile of other things, currently I have these couple of items waiting for re-purposing. The tall-ish, silver-y, thing-y with the fabulous handle..well, I think it held vinegars or something, maybe. The file doodad? I am sure it was made to be a bill organizer, with the numbers and all. Sadly, somewhere along the line it lost a knob, but I've already got an idea for a replacement.
What they will be in thier new life?...I am not quite sure just yet, but give me a day to think on it and I will surely come up with something!
My daughter-in-law is the Matron of honor in her sister's upcoming wedding and tomorrow night she is throwing the bachelorette party. I am thrilled to get to help with cupcakes, a cute signature drink sign, and a fun banner that reads, "Sexy little bride"! (Thanks to Victoria's Secret for the banner phrase)
Working on the banner and little flags got me all excited again to be working on little details for an event, although there is no one left in the family to get married..at least not for another twenty plus years when the grandbabies are grown. This got me thinking and I have an idea I am going to play with a bit (in my spare time...ha!) about adding some kits and banners to my website in the very near future.
I'm off to work at the bank now, but my mnd is whirling with ideas.