Where did the time go? Can it really be..?
My two first-born grands, just a month apart, are heading off to kindergarten. Their respective younger brothers are heading off to pre-school.
Oh, I am so excited for them all! I have some special little somethings for them to make the big day even more special.
(Okay, I got them all underwear.) My grand daughter will be wearing a uniform at her school, and I was stumped on what could work universally for all four of them...underwear seemed like a logical choice at the time.
Don't judge me.
They're Super-heros underwear....for the boys anyway. Ms. Cutie-Patootie got fun prints in various shades of pinks and her favorite color...purple! That should garner a small amount of hoopla I am thinking.
(I am hoping it does, at any rate.)
I thought it might turn out to be another new family tradition.
(Although, I am not sure how this will be going over when I am buying boxers for 15 year old grands.)
A Gramma can hope, you know?
For now, I am looking forward with eager anticipation to hear how those first big days go! (and having really cool underwear from your Gramma Cupcake just might be the icing on the cake.)
Okay, probably not, but I want them to all know I am thinking of them on their big day.
I convinced my Rock n' Roll Buddy that we needed a shed last fall, and we placed it strategically in the yard to become a focal point as our backyard landscape is evolving. We painted it to match the house (I love the rich gray and white. So New England looking to me!) Now, I am having fun searching our treasures to foofify up the exterior.
I am still debating on whether I should make a planter bed along the side there, but for this summer, I am happy with my old vintage French table full of pots and such.(What do you think?)
I wish I were a better gardener, but my squeamish nature at the sight of any kind of worm, slug, or snail makes it a little more challenging for me. I go along fine until the sight of one of those little creatures, and I am done for the day.
I am still perfectly content with the neutral color palette as a backdrop for my potted flowers and tablescapes. This works great for adding whatever punch of color I might want to use when entertaining.
I tossed my much loved old crocheted blanket throw on the loveseat for texture and a vintage touch. I got my cutie patootie pillow at Camas Antiques (of course) and the striped gray toss pillow covers are from Ikea. Oodles and toodles of mason jars filled with tea lights add ambiance after dusk.(I like to fill the bottoms of the jars with birdseed, but I am currently out of it!) Pretty welcoming, no?
What are your favorite tips and tricks for cozying up your outdoor spaces at home? I would love to read and be inspired!
Over 10,000 cars on display all over Reno and Sparks, everywhere you looked.
I have experienced Hot August Nights many, many, many times, as I lived in Reno for over two decades, but for my Rock n' Roll buddy, it was a first.
There was more to see than cool old cars. There was live music.
This guy danced like nobody was watching.
I have pretty much decided that very nearly everyone that went to high school in the 60's or 70's is now an old car enthusiast on some level.
It makes sense. We've raised our families, the economy is improving, (slowly, but steadily) we've got the time. and it takes us back to some fond memories of cars we had, or our parents or grandparents had, back in the day. In some cases, the guys that have restored these cars have had them since they were in high school.Such was the case with this guy... he originally bought the car for $20 while in high school.
He took his dad for a test drive in it before he bought it and his dad said, "Honk the horn."
He did, and it was loud.
His dad then said, "Heck, the horn is worth twenty bucks! Buy it!" and the rest was, as they say, history. (Granted, it didn't look like this back then. It was a rust bucket jalopy that needed some TLC and clearly this was just the guy to provide it.)
If I knew then what I know now.
I would have hung on to my midnight blue '71 Superbeetle that I bought on payments through my Mom's credit union for $800 after high school.
Such charming little creatures.
You may know that my affection for chickens is not really new, as I shared here a few years back. I know I am not alone, as raising chickens has become pretty popular these days, even in urban settings.
If you pay attention, you'll see that they all have their own personalities. (Some share better than others, for example.)
We saw chickens and roosters everywhere...they were enjoying the beautiful lush landscape when we stopped at the lookout point...
...and we had fun watching them sunning themselves, poolside. It was even more fun to watch other people watching them cross the road.
According to some folks, the reason for the incredible number of these birds everywhere was due to hurricane Iniki, back in 1992, but other people say the Polynesians brought chickens to Hawaii in the canoe voyages, and they just kept multiplying.
However it is that these fluffy foul arrived, there's definitely no shortage of them anywhere you go on the island.
We also discovered that they develop a fondness for french fries at an early age when we stopped for lunch at Bubba's on our way to the airport.
Say it ain't so.
(Insert huge bewildered sigh here.)
(True confession here, there is a teeny-tiny part of me is incredibly homesick. Do you feel that way at the end of a trip? So sad for it to end, wondering where the time went, and longing for home at the very same moment?)
Okay, back to my story.
We rendezvoused at the baggage claim in Lihue last Wednesday at noon, and while we didn't have any sort of real agenda or schedule for our time on the island, my oldest-dearest-bestest gal-pal since fifth grade and I managed to make the absolute most out of every single second in the tropical paradise that is Kauai.
The sun, and the sand. The pool, and the steam room, the hot tub, the restaurants, and the quaint little towns nearby. We even experienced one real life up-close-and-nearly-personal celeb-siting.
(We saw Pierce Brosnan shopping for produce at the local Big Save grocery. We held back on taking selfies with our cell phones with him in the background, let him have his space, and his strawberries.)
We drank our share of grown up drinks with pineapple wedges adorning the rims, and scarfed down pulled pork sliders, and a gazillion several orders of chili pepper chicken wings (So yummy!) while discussing everything from grand babes to boyfriends, to career choices and challenges.
We laughed. A lot.
Not wanting to waste one precious minute, we woke up early and stayed up late, and spent all most of our time eating and drinking, or talking about when and what we would next be eating and drinking. (Melissa, our favorite poolside Nashville-born-and-raised-waitress, was never more than a nano-second away from filling our food and beverage needs with a smile and an adorable Tennessee drawl.)
We reclined on side by side chaise lounges close enough to the water to jump in and cool off when the sun hot. We debated the pros and cons of mix and match two piece swimsuits,(that seem to neither mix nor match) discussed and debated our assorted weight and exercise challenges,including, but not limited to, what to wear to Zumba.
We talked about our bucket lists, future vacation ideas, recipes, coffee makers, and quite literally, everything in between.
Today we will leave the island, and fly home. Back to daily life, and reality, with our phones full of photos to take us back to this magical escape at a moment's notice.
Truly, the eye candy never disappoints.
There is always inspiration, and mind-boggling creativity that I can only aspire to.
It always makes me want to scurry home and revamp, and rearrange, and fluff, and clean.
And it's just down the hill from my home.
Oh, I am blessed!
Summer has arrived at last here in the Pacific Norhwest, and at our house, that means cool and refreshing salads on the back deck for dinner a lot of evenings.
I chill our salad bowls in the freezer, which is especially nice in triple digit weather. (if you haven't ever done this, try it!) The chilled bowls are a nice touch, but what really takes our supper up to a whole new level is a little just-the-right-size-for-two loaf of bread, warm and buttery, fresh out of the oven.
I like to cruise through the bakery section of the grocery store, and for thirty eight cents at my local Winco, I can buy just a single mini baggette. They are on the petite side, which is perfect for accompanying our dinner for two.
I am an incredibly visual person, and I always like my table to look (and smell) inviting. I rub the crust of the baggette with butter and pop it in the oven at 400' for about six minutes to make it really yummy. Taking those extra couple minutes to step things up a notch makes every meal a memorable event.
Try it yourself. I'm betting you'll enjoy your meal just a wee bit more.
We all know that there is nothing better than an ice cold popsicle on a hot summer day...
....although it can present some challenges.
In the end though, it's all worth the effort.
The baby shower theme was "Mama-to-Bee" which you might remember from my daughter's own baby shower, and from the Bingo game a couple of weeks back. (Some of these are already in my etsy shoppe, and the rest will be there very soon!)
Speaking of etsy, I popped over to etsy and found the perfect little cookie cutter here.
In the end, I didn't make any of the bumble bees, but opted instead to make little pale pink frosted hearts.
There were other yummy treats as well. Mini cinnamon rolls, just-right sized yogurt, fruit and grannola parfaits, and lemonade in the bee skeep beverage server.
It all made for a darling display, and a yummy spread, and it has inspired me to get back into baking this summer, when fresh fruits abound, and my creative juices are flowing.
You might remember that a couple of summers ago I helped with a Mama-to-bee themed baby shower for one of my daughters.
Now that very same daughter is hosting a baby shower with the Bee theme for a girlfriend and has asked for my help.
(You know she didn't even get her request out before I jumped on it.)
We still had the sweet little Mama-to-Bee banner and the beverage server, so I decided to add on to the Bee theme with a cute version of Bingo.
I designed the Bingo cards to be blank, and each guest will have a pencil to write in their words of choice. The idea is that, as the Mama-to-Bee opens her presents, each guest will mark off (or cover with an M & M) items they wrote down on their card. If they have written a word more than once, they may only cover up or mark off the wprd once for each time the item is received.
I am in my happiest when I am creating, and this latest baby shower has got my head spinning.
Stay tuned for me bee-utiful items!
He would almost rather read his books than play with his bulldozers and diggers, and cars.
His Mama takes him to the wonderful library here in Vancouver, Washington, and he loves every minute of it.
He can't wait to go through each new book, page by page. (over and over, and over, again.
Mark Twain was right when he said, a good book is a good friend.
Way back in the summer of twenty-ten, I found part of an old headboard at the Goodwill Bins Outlet, and I just knew it would make a fabulous sign for me to use when I did Junk Shows.
I took it home and dolled it up. It was perfect for what I needed it to be at that point in time.
Time passed,and I haven't done a show in about three years. (How can that be?! Oooooh! That makes me rather miss doing shows....)
Sometime long ago, a year ago last February or March at least, an idea came to me. I would reinvent the sign to be something for my Rock n' Roll Buddy to have hanging above his big ol' barbecue on the back deck.
Maybe for Father's Day, 2013.
So I designed a cute banner to transfer to the board, using my cheesy PrintShop Program that I always use.
I was feeling pretty danged proud of my cleverness and creativity, and my incredible foresight to reinvent a portion of an old headboard not once, but twice.
I painted a coat of white paint over my "A Cottage Industry" logo.
Oh yeah, feelin' proud.
And then, a year went by.
And then, about three more months passed.
And the old portion of headboard sat there, patiently waiting for me to complete it's transformation.
And it sat there some more.
Father's Day was approaching, (again) and since he is a Dad, I thought I would go ahead and (finally) complete the clever sign for him (and for me, and all of our summertime barbecue guests) to enjoy.
So I got out the old portion of a headboard-turned-sign, and I printed my homemade banner pattern. I painted it on there, and within an hour, my work was done.
I think it turned out just right. (And I am feeling extra proud because it was free!) I just can't figure out....Why did it take me so long to get it done? (Do you do that? Get a project just far enough to almost see it's vision, and get sidetracked?)
I made a cutie-patootie tag and tied on there with a big ol' bow. I propped it up, just so, on the sofa, so when he came out on Father's Day morning early (we were heading out to a Mariner's Game) he couldn't miss it.
He liked it.
He commented later that he realized this new sign must mean that we would be entertaining more this summer.
Great minds think alike, and all that.....I can almost smell the grill now.
I know I have said this more than once, but life these days (for me, anyway) seems to be so busy, and so full, and it seems that there never are enough hours in the day to fit in everything I want to do.
In lots of ways, that is a good thing. To me it means I'm living life to its fullest, every day of my life.
(I keep telling my Rock n' Roll Buddy that sleep is over-rated.)
I've been working, little by little, on carving out a bigger sliver of time to focus on my crafty side; my booth case at Camas Antiques, and my etsy shop.
It's my own personal regroup and rejuvenate thing when I get through a full day at my grown-up job. While I enjoy what I do all day, there is little-to-no room for creativity within my job, and I have realized that I need that in my life.
It's not simply something I like to do. It is much more than that. When I can sit at my laptop or my table in my craft room, and create something, I feel happy and inspired. I feel re-energized in a way that I can't fully express in written words.
Even after a bad day at work.
So, I'm expanding my crafty-horizons, and opening a new door for myself to create some extra special entertaining and packaging items.
(And since we all know just how much I love to entertain, even if it's just the two of us having a sofa picnic on a Tuesday night, the possibilities are endless...)
I am refreshing the look of my etsy shop, and will be including a new section to the roster. Instead of offering only Printables, I am now going to be offering themed and custom hard copy paper goods. (shipped directly from me in sweet lil' Camas, Washington)
If you stop by Camas Antiques this weekend (there is going to be a sidewalk sale!) you'll see more of my new papercraft ideas. You know I like to make every day special, and now I will be going further than ever to help inspire others to do the same.
That makes me happy too.
It's a win-win, don't you think?
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I have been meaning to share the incredibly fabulous wooden placemats my daughter made for Christmas. (We do a family secret Santa sort of gift swap, and I got them!)
She's quite the carpenter, and she said these were a snap to make. She simply cut two pieces of wood, and then glued them together with wood glue. (We saw the idea somewhere through Pinterest)
Then, if you like, you may use rubber stamps to put initials, or a fun word. I am planning on doing the word "eat".
(I will be sure and show them once I get them stamped.)
The great thing is that you can do a fun word on one side, and leave it plain on the other, so you have options.
You like this idea?
(I am so very, very blessed!)
I managed to snap a few pictures of our newest family member last time I was at his home. (The natural lighting in their home is the best!)
He's a week shy of three months, and he's smiling, and cooing, and oh! He's discovered his hands...(he's gonna be a chatterbox like his big brother, I think.)
I plopped him down on the bed, and started talking to him, and he was trying his very best to talk back to me.
We had a moment, he and I.
Heaven on earth, for sure.
Here's my favorite photo of the day....
It's so good to be Gramma Cupcake.
That little counter on the sidebar over there? The one that reads "Countdown to KAUAI...ALOHA"?
It seems that 2014 is going to be my year of travel.
Hawaii is my next travel destination.
I get to go to Kauai in late July with my best friend since 5th grade. Long days of sun, sand, girl-talk, and little umbrellas in our drinks.
I'm counting the days (as you can see by the counter over there on the sidebar...) and I am working on some fun little projects and surprises, for my gal-pal and for my Rock n' Roll Buddy for while I am away.
(You know how I love a project...and a deadline.)
I can hardly wait!
I only just found out yesterday myself when a coworker at work alerted the team.
He's bringing in donuts from Portland's world famous Voodoo Donuts and was taking requests.
I said no thanks.
But thankyouverymuch anyway.
I mean, I couldn't.
No, really, I can't.
(I'm doing so well with my healthy eating, you know?)
It wouldn't be smart.
He's bringing me a glazed one.
For some reason I didn't see that coming.
We spent a good portion of this past weekend prepping the backyard for summer.
Oh, how I have been craving summer.
My mind wanders to grilled suppers on the deck, flowers in weathered pots, windows open with my favorite peach wax burner scent wafting through the house.
Homemade coconut ice cream.
Where was I?
Oh yes. Prepping the backyard for summer. I got all of the cushions out for the patio furniture, and potted some flowers while my Rcok n' Roll Buddy power washed the deck and the patio firniture frames.
It looked great when we were finished, and we sat on the deck, enjoying the fruits of our labor.
I got my lights swagged from one large tree to the next, and when the sun set, we plugged them in.
Are you craving summer where you live too?