Mine would be a tie between summer entertaining, and all of the great produce availanle...like strawberries, watermelon and sweet corn on the cob.
Actually, now that I think about it, the two go hand in hand. Great food that looks good and tartes better make for a fantastic meal.
Anyway, I got to thinking about summer entertaining , and I thought I'd share some of my tricks with all of you, sooooo....
Next week I will be starting a summer entertaining guide of sorts, including:
Armed And Organized: Gotta Haves and Where To Find "Em
It's About Time: Entertaining Timeline For Parties
The Eyes Have It: Theme Ideas For your Table
Love In Your Tummy: Easy but Fabulous Desserts
Beyond the Table: Summertime Friendly Activities For Entertaining
I hope you'll join me (And share your ideas!) next week, starting Monday!
Are you that way too?
I swear, you could sell me a package of used staples if you put them in a pretty box, tied with some vintage ribbon, and a fabulous tag on it.
That's exactly how I ended up with not one, but four packages of fry boxes from an online company. They were online, and shown in multiple cute photos in various vignettes that I cannot recall now.
I had to have them.
Ask me if I have a use for these little boxes.
Or, why, (if I do in fact have a use for these boxes) I don't make them myself with my Cameo cutter tool.
It's called marketing, and I am a sucker for it, folks.
Seriously, I so love packaging, and teeny, tiny details, that I will take pictures of items in shops and online, just to enjoy the eye candy. (If you don't believe me, check out my Pinterest Board here.)
What is it about the way things are presented that makes me swoon? Is it the textures? The colors?
I'm not at all sure, but it conjurs up a warm and fuzzy feeling deep inside of me. Tell me you're the same way...please.
Then, tell me what to do with all of these french fry boxes.
We welcomed her back with a "clap in" where we all lined the main floor entry foyer and cheered as she entered. I made her a special top hat that read, "Today it's all about ME!"and flags for friends to wave. Someone else got pinwheels, they had this song, and this song playing on an iPod, and we had a nice little breakfast buffet.
Such a happy way to start our week!
She was all smiles and tears. We all were, pretty much.
Life is short people. Be sure to let people know you care about them.
For a girl who only ever wanted to pick a spot and stay put for forever, I certainly seem to alway be announcing a move of one sort or another, and I have become a very proficient packer.
Well, I've moved again. My teeny tiny booth case at Camas Antiques was very shallow, and proved to be quite a challenge for me, but I was still very much enjoying the challenge.
About a week ago, I got a wonderfully delightful voice message from Joann at Camas Antiques asking me if I would like to move to a soon-to-be-open spot.
Would I ever! It's over one aisle, to a deeper case, and it sits on the end of the row, which I consider to be prime real estate!
My mind began whirling, and I jumped on craigslist, and hit the thrift stores looking for some anchor pieces to hold my things....Having a deeper case space makes a huge difference in what kinds and sizes of foundation pieces you can use.
I ended up with some great stuff, and I moved my things over last Monday, along with some new inventory....I'm thrilled with my new location in Camas Antiques! What do you think?
If you live nearby, remember, tonight is First Friday here in sweet little Camas, and all of the shops will be open late, along with a classic car show and live music!
We all owe Ronald Reagan a big fat thanks-so-much.
Okay, maybe you didn't know that in 1984 Ronald Reagan declared the entire month of July as National Ice Cream month.
Mmmm hmmm...Happy National Ice Cream month!
You might remember from last summer, that I am a bit of a homemade ice cream fan.
(Oh, and here.)
You know, half of the fun for me is foofying up my containers, and turning the newest falor of ice cream into a party.
Anyway, I am currently gearing up to add a sweet (pun totally intended...har, har, har..) little line of ice cream accessories to my etsy shop, and I thought I'd give you a sneak peek at one a couple of the printable signs.
Oh, one more thing...The third Sunday of the month is National Ice Cream Day.
This year, that date will be July 21st.
Now you know.
Mark your calendars accordingly.
And host an ice cream party that day, (homemade or storebought...) or, at the very least, plan on sharing some ice cream with someone you love.
I have a friend that is a media buyer in the company I work for. The other day, I cruised downstairs to say hello, and couldn't help but ooh and ahh over her adorable little teeny tiny American flag banner.
Me: Oh! Where did you find that?!
Her: Oh, gosh. I don't know. I've had for years....hmmmm...Maybe at World Market...I'm not sure.
Me: I love it! I want one! Wait...I think I can make one! Thanks for the fabulous idea!
And I went home, and shamelessly copied it.
And now, it's nice little patriotic prezzie from me to you.
First, I designed the little printable American flags....
Then I printed the page and cut them out (See? You can print as many as you like to make your banner as long as you wish for it to be.)
Once the flags were all cut out, I simply folded each them in half...
.....and used a glue stick on the inside as I folded the flags over a length of twine. You could use ribbon or string...whatever you fancy, girlfriend.
(Pretty cute, right?)
So, think of this as a little prezzie for Independence Day...from me...to you.
(Get yours right here: Download God bless america flag banner e-kit )
I wanted to share a pretty sweet little Before and After. (Anyway, I think so.)
You know, lighting can make or break a room. It adds a little sumthin'sumthin' when it's the right fixture, and when it's not...well, it can have the complete opposite result.
Kinda like how shoes can make (or break) your outfit.
We moved the dining room to the used-to-be-family room, and that left the original dining room as an open canvas, just waiting to be transformed.
Oh, how I love a project!
The space is now my office...er...craft room...or whatever you'd like to call it. I'll share pictures of the entire room shortly, but for today, I'd like to share the detail that brought the roomout of 1983.
I found it for $40.
I thought that was a steal.
I had to use the top piece from the original "chandelier" in the room,as my new-vintage one was missing that part. I painted the base to match...it came out perfectly.
I was very, very happy with the outcome.
You see, this was the original chandelier (I actually hesitate to call it that...maybe I should have said "light fixture" because when I think of a chandelier, I think of something rather curvy, and chic, but hey, that's just me.)
Now, it is a functional light, I will give you that much. (Yes, it was missing a rectangular wedge of amber glass, and I never asked the story behind that) I have to say, that once we took the amber colored glass rectangles off the little metal frame, my mind actually began to whirl at the possibilites for that frame.....
....vintage spoons hanging from it, like I have seen here..
....or who knows what else.
Now all I have to do is start collecting vinatge spoons....
Can you say yummy-yummy-got-some-love-in-my-tummy?
Let me start at the beginning here.
Sometimes I get offers from vendors, or companies, to write a review, or a post about a product. Most times I don’t participate, as I really don’t want my blog to be all about ads, and I certainly do not ever want to post about a product I am not 100% behind.
This being said, the folks at Newtons asked if I would like to try out and share my two cents on a new line of delicious, oh-so-tasty cookies. I am a huge Nabisco fan, and so I said sure. I am so glad I did.
First off, let me share a little “Newtons”-side-story here. For as long as I can remember, one of my Mom’s favorite lines when anyone was having a bad day was, “You just need a nap and a Fig Newton.” As if to imply that a little rest and a sweet little treat of a Newtons cookie would make all well in anyone’s world.
I am not sure if this was a line off of a Fig Newtons commercial, or just something my Mom thought up, but regardless, to this day, the mere thought of a Fig Newton brings a warm and fuzzy feeling to me.
Back to the new Newtons cookies.
These little gems are made with real fruit and dark fudge and boast 8g of whole grains per 31g serving. (That's pretty healthy!)
Oh, and they are pretty too.
My hands down favorite were the Fruit Thins Coconut Drizzled with Dark Fudge, closely followed on its heels by the Fruit Thins Banana Drizzled with Dark Fudge. The Fruit Thins Coconut Drizzled with Dark Fudge are very, very tasty, and the Fruit Thins Banana Drizzled with Dark Fudge are a great competitor to anyone's homemade banana bread. Please visit newtonscookies.com to take a look at all their new Fruit Flavors and also get access to great tips there too!!!
Seriously, these days, my free time is at a premium, and when I opened the package, I was impressed with the cuteness of the cookies, along with the heavenly smell that came from them.
Perfect for keeping a supply of them on hand for serving up to guests that might stop by, as well as a nice little before bedtime snack for me. I can just keep them tucked away in my pantry. (Now, that’s a nice little plus for a busy gal like me…as long as I don’t eat them all up before guests happen to stop by.)
Be sure to check out the Newtons brand page on BlogHer.com to read other bloggers’ posts.
I don't know about you, but for me, having my home smell inviting has always been just as important as making it look inviting.The smell of fresh baked muffins; cinnamon, and spices, or fresh peaches or apples. Oh yes, it sends me.
I used to be a total and complete simmering potpourri gal back in the 90's (am I dating myself here?) and more than once I turned on my stove to simmer my applejack and peel simmering stuff, only to forget about it until the smoke alarm would go off and I'd inevitably come racing downstairs to a house full of smoke and stench of burned-to-a-crisp potpourri.
Oh, true story here- I remember a friend putting her simmering potpourri in a crock pot, and her elderly father lived with her. Well, she had the yummy smell of applejack going (it was our favorite) and left the house while he had a couple of friends over. (Can you guess where I am going with this?) Mmmm hmmm. He served it up to his pals, thinking it was cider she had made for him to share.
Lousy tasting cider.
She ended up calling the hospital to make sure they would all be okay. True story, as I said.
After the millennium, I got into candles. Yankee candles and Yankee candle-wanna-be's. Apple cider in autumn, pine and berries at Christmas, and peach for spring and summer. The trouble with candles as scent-makers is that you need them all over the house and I always would forget to blow out one or fourteen of them when leaving the house and was always then half worried I was gonna burn the house down. (Obviously not too worried, as I am pretty sure I alone kept Yankee Candle in business until about 2009)
Fast forward to about 2011, when I discovered the wax burning electric simmer pots...you know, Scentsy. (And WalMart's Scentsy-Poser brands that aren't half bad either.)
Sweet home Alabama.
Finally a safe way to scent my home, and no side effects or potential 911 calls to speak of.
Other than what to do with the wax after I burned and melted all the fragrance out of it, I mean. I felt bad tossing the little saucer shaped wax wedges into the trash.
So, I didn't.
I used a big zip-lock bag to save them in.
And so it was. Me burning my scents daily, and collecting an ungodly amout of wax wedges in...well, lets just say several zip-lock bags and leave it at that...
Finally, after saving these wedges in the laundryroom cupboard for a few months, I took myself to GoodWill and scored a super cheap aluminum cooking pot.
I plopped the wax wedges in my thrifted pot...
...and heated the stove top up on medium. It didn't take long at all. I whipped out an old cupcake pan (as you might imagine, I have no shortage of cupcake pans...if you need one, run yourself down to a thrift store and grab one.)
I plopped cupcake papers and shredded cedar (You get it in the pet section of the grocery store, and you get a lifetime supply for under three bucks here.) into the cupcake pan...
Just enough to hold the shred all in and make little "cupcakes".
(Yes, I know they look like incredible little spice muffins..)
These are the most amazing fire starters anyone has ever used. Place just one in your fireplace, wood burning stove, or fire pit on your patio, and then pile on your kindling and wood.
Light it, and it will get your entire fire going. You see, the wax makes the cedar cupcake burn for a good long while, which helps to catch all of the wood in your fireplace on fire, and youa re in business.
It makes me feel extra good, knowing that these fragrant wax melts are doing double duty.
I've added a new e-banner kit to my etsy shop. It's designed with dark grey letters and the sweetest little birds on big key rings for the ends (or printed alone as a solo piece of art.) It's an e-kit, which means you simply download it after purchasing, and then you can print it out as often as you like, and create a different look each time, depending on your paper choice!(Click here to see the kit on etsy.)
Here, I printed the banner on some darling yellow chevron stripe scrapbook paper...
....and it also came out great when I printed it a third time, on old book pages.
Oh, the possibilities are endless!
You thought I told you that I lived in Camas, Washington.
Well, you are right. In the most literal sense, I do.
But, there's another place I live a fairly good portion of the time. It's a fabulous place, where I feel euphorically happy 24/7 and life is always good.
It's a little slice of heaven called Traceyville.
Let me tell you how I get there:
Whenever I get a really great new idea, it is nearly always followed by a brain-flood of other ideas that come blasting into my mind, like a domino effect, and I find myself in Traceyville lick-etty-split, where I can visualize just how they can look if when I get to them all. (In Traceyville, I always get to them all...because there are an extra four hours in every day there, and I invariably seem to stay on task!) I can imagine 500 crafty or entertaining ideas in five minutes, and see them all...completed perfectly in record time (and without ever leaving a mess!)...in Traceyville.
Likewise, when I am having a bad day in Washington, I might end up catching the train to Traceyville, where I only find close parking spaces, never run out of Pepsi Maxx, and the biggest serious life issue at hand is figuring out which cute pair of shoes to wear. In Traceyville, there are no pity parties.
You see, in Traceyville, everyday is a good hair day. People from all over America live solely to see what the next incredible tablescape I come up with looks like, and I can eat homemade coconut ice cream non-stop without ever thinking about it finding a home on my hips.
Or my patootie.
Or my where-ever.
In Traceyville, I am constantly a stunning example of cutting edge fashion, whether I am mowing the yard, or going to work. Folks cannot believe I am old enough to have six grandchildren. I never, ever find a stray eyebrow on my chin.
Ralph absolutely hangs on my every word in the sweet town of Traceyville, and he is gob-smacked at my never-ending ability to make cuter-than-the-last-time place cards for our little dinner table. My lip gloss never needs refreshing.
I have a fabulous supply of overstock custom banners and papercrafts neatly tucked away, waiting to go on the shelves in my case at Camas Antiques, and Michelle Obama's secretary just emailed me about possibly doing invitations for one of the girl's birthday parties.
Do you have a place like Traceyville that you go to on occasion? If so, what do you do (or not do!) there?
Oh yeah, we love us some homemade french fries at our house.
Mmmm hmmm. Our barbecue sports a deep fryer on one end of it (A killer deal on craigslist a couple of summers ago!) and when we make burgers, we make fries...of course.
Well, I came up with a vintage-y fun way to serve up our fries, and I wanted to share it with you all today!
They're simple vintage mattress springs. I found mine here. (Gotta love etsy!) They arrived within days of my purchase, and I couldn't wait to break them in!
I used simple parchment paper, sold in rolls at the grocery store o(next to the aluminum foil) cut in a triangle (tear off a square and then cut it diagonally to form two triangles)and then shaped into a cone, and placed in the center of each spring.
I placed the freshly cooked french fries in the cones, and placed the cones by everyone's place settings.
And functional, holding a good sized serving of fries for each of us.
Do you love it?
We've been enjoying some pretty fabulous weather here in the PAcific Northwest, and warm weather makes me think of ice cream. Ice cream makes me think of coconut, and when I spotted a recipe for coconut limeade smoothies the other day on Pinterest, I knew we had to make up a batch.
All coconuty smoothness with a hint of citrus-y lime.
These babies are filling, so one smoothie is pretty much all I could imagine drinking, but...oh! Such a treat.
So proud of her, managing a family and going to school.
We gathered all the babies up (the six grands from our side of the family and the three from my daughter-in-law's side of the family..) and Carter, Coen and Keaton's Mama made up shirts for all the kids. She had the little guys help out with a surprise at the celebration party.
It was a bit like herding kittens....
...but we finally managed to get them all rounded up, and in order...
...with only one minor casualty....
(Little Letter "D" tipped over, but was no worse for the wear)
,,,,,And Miss Letter "A" decided that she had more important things she wanted to do...
...it was a priceless photo-op, and we all had a fantastic day.
Cute (and trendy, even!) paper goods for parties?
Fabulous stocking stuffers for the kiddos?
Cold medicine, toothpaste, aluminum foil, or dishtowels?
They've got 'em.
Million dollar candy bars for our "Million Dollar Providers" attending a Bootcamp at work?
(And, for all of these items for a dollar, no less.)
Every time I start a creative project for any type of event, whether it's for work, for home, or for a friend, I pop on over to the dollar store and just cruise on through each aisle.
Last week I got square paper plates. Totally designer looking, and, at 10 in the package for a buck, the price was right. I can't wait to use them.
In the case of the candy bars, I was wandering through on my lunch break and spotted them. Since one of the point we teach our members is how to become a "Million Dollar Provider" they were just too perfect to pass up. I took a picture of one with my phone and headed back to work.
I then shared the photo with a coworker and we came up with a use for these perfect candies.
I ran back over a few days later and bought up the amount we needed, and then I created little little printed strips to cover the brand name marketing already on the candy wrapper. I printed them, cut them out, and added them to our candy bars for a custom look.
This idea would work for any kind of event; a birthday party, a congrats present, a just-because-you're-so-special gift.
Do you shop your local dollar store? I'd love to read about your finds!
Now, you would think since it's so close to my heart, I'd be moving faster on it, but...no. I've been oh-so-slowly working on this since...gosh, I think just after Christmas.
Well, I'm getting focused in on it now, and moving along at a slightly faster pace, and so I thought I'd share a little sneak peek.
I'm still trying to organize all of my assorted types of paper, and litle bits of ribbon. I'm still searching for the right rug, (or not) and maybe some item for the center of the room (a chopping block type of island, about three by three)...or maybe I just need a rearrangement of furnishings?
Gosh, I just don't know.
When I am trying to figure out the best room arrangement, I use graph paper and use one square per foot. I measure the room, the windows, the doors, and then all of the major furniture pieces. (Do you use this method?)
You know, you don't even have to buy graph paper anymore, you just google some up and print a page.
How easy is that?
I always make sure to have around three feet of walking space around pieces that stick out into the room. Make sure you don't ignore how many little one foot boxes are between furniture pieces, so you end up with enough walking room.
I'll be sharing an update with more complete photos soon!
One of the charming vintage shops in Vancouver Washington came up with a not-new-but-new-for-our-area event…a monthly Vintage Flea Market, to be held on the first Sunday of each month through summer.
Last Sunday was the first one. Both of my daughters and I had discussed getting a booth space in the parking lot, but...the weather here in May is dicey at best, so we chickened out, and decided we would just attend the event as shoppers. As it turned out,the event was great, and the weather was perfect, other than some pretty heavy winds, which were playing havoc on some of the booth displays. I took plenty pictures, but as I edited them, I realized that what I was drawn to more than anything else, was the fabulous art of display these talented people have.
The place was crowded with shoppers…lots of browsers and looky-loos, and folks eye candy shopping for inspiration. I say this because I didn’t see a wave of near hysterical shoppers running at items as I have witnessed in years past when the crowds of women scampered to grab what they could before someone else snagged it. Out of the three of us, only one daughter bought something. She got two darling wooden turquoise children’s chairs to go in the playroom.
It got me to wondering. (And maybe I’m wrong. I often am, you know.)
Could it be?...Have I seen it all? The weathered creams, whites, and burlaps. The feed sacks, the chalkboard painted buckets, tables, dressers...you-fill-in-the-blank.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like this look.
Heck, I love this look. ( I have a version of it in my own home, and my daughters have their own versions of vintage in their homes too..)
But I seem to have it already. So do my girls. I do not seem to come across anything that I feel like will add to my spaces with such impact that I am willing to pay a high price for it.
That brings me to the other thing that we all noticed. (and I am wondering if you have noticed this in your area as well, as this was not the first event I have noticed prices edging up.) People seem to have really raised their prices. (and this may have been why nothing really grabbed me hard enough to buy it.)
I mean, I am not expecting yard sale pricing by any means at all, but eight bucks for a small metal tag that I was thinking could be too-cute tied with jute around a cloth napkin at a summer barbeque? That’s just not happening at my house, when we are eating off my thrifted-for-twenty-dollars-six-years-ago pfaltzgraph Filegree white dishes, and the handmade cloth napkins my mom makes for me with discount fabrics. It just seems that as a vendor in afair, without the overhead that ashop owner has to bear, the prices would be a little lower.
Am I getting out of touch? Right now, the things that send me to the moon all seem to be table setting related, or for parties, or a small intimate event. (Like a cozy breakfast for two)I never to seem to find any gotta-haves for my own home decor these days.
I am hoping it’s not that I am “getting old”. You know, like before you know it I will be sporting sensible shoes that resemble men’s house slippers, (gasp!) going to bed with the chickens, and saying things like “he hasn’t got the sense God gave a goose”.
What do you think? Are you feeling like you have seen most of the ideas and pieces, or are you still finding so much stuff you need a pick-up to take it all home? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, and also, I’d love, love, love to read what kinds of things currently do inspire you right now into nesting mode over-drive...
**Edited Tuesday, May 7, 2013- While as of now, I have not had any negative comments here from readers....I want to apologize with all of my heart to anyone I inadverently offended with this post....those that had a booth in this fair, and to Billie who owns the charming shop as I stated in my first paragraph. I did not realize....(obviously, I had a complete brain lapse, and ...I did not think.) as I wrote my thoughts, that anyone involved in the fair would take offense. (Not sure why, it just didn't enter my mind as I wrote. I think maybe it didn't occur to me because I didn't say anything negative about the products- quite the contray, they were all fabulous, or I wouldn't have taken so many pictures.)
The main point I was sharing, (or...attempting to share) besides noticing pricing on the upswing, was that I am kind of surprised at myself, at not being swept away in a vintage frenzy, as I have been only a few years back. The fact was, it crossed my mind that I might be thinking more these days like...ehem...an older lady. (No ofense meant to any women out there older than me. Especially not you, Mom.)
Again I want to say, to Billie, and to the vendors in the Flea Market event...I am sorry if I offended you in any way.
(Insert large embarrassed cringe here.)
I will not ruin a perfectly decent apology here with excuses. I will say that Cottage Vintage Home's next Flea Market will be held June 2nd.
And...Love is all you need....along with a little paint, a few flowers, and some elbow grease.
After I shared my photos yesterday, it occurred to me that I had some old pictures of the house...before.
Before the little wicker chair and rain boots found a new home on the doorstep.
Before we drove around for more than two hours and then knocked on some stranger's front door to ask her what the name of her house paint colors were.
And she happily shared them.
We didn't spend a lot of money, but the changes are priceless when I look at the before and after shots side by side.(Oh, keep in mind that the before picture was taken at the end of summer, when a lot of lawns here look rather dry and...dead.)
Mmmm hmmm. I likey.
See what a little love can do?