Dried Hydrangeas

I almost titled this post “Drying Hydrangeas: No Seriously, Does Anyone Know How to Dry Hydrangeas?” but thought better of it.  I think I’m getting the hang of it now anyway.  I had a few attempts that started out great but then my hydrangeas just shriveled up and turned brown.  I did the thing where you put them in a little water and wait for them to absorb all the water and then just dry out but that didn’t work at all.  I think the secret is waiting until they are turning papery before you cut them for drying.  These have been sitting out for a couple of days and are looking good:

The dark purple ones were pink on the bush and the green ones were blue–I didn’t realize they would change color so dramatically.  I figure if they turn out well I’ll use them for the flea market this weekend.  Also, perhaps someone with more experience could do this, but I can’t get the Annabelles to dry out properly at all.  I think they are too delicate.  Has anyone else tried these with success?

Antiques Faire Countdown

Since I’m headed out of town tomorrow, I’m scrambling to get several last minute projects ready before the flea market next weekend.  I finished fixing up this large vintage mailsorter I found.  It’s in fantastic condition, has casters and would be a great place to store office items, crafting supplies, shoes, wine bottles (thanks for that suggestion Amy!), or even more decorative things.  I rather like the rustic nature of it paired with fine china…

I have to admit, I’m kind of in love with the mail sorter.  If I could find the right place for it in our house I would keep it but so far it hasn’t found just the right spot.   Other items for sale in the photo above include the antique cane chair, the vintage basket holding all the linens, the vintage basket holding the hydrangeas, many vintage table cloths, and the dwell fabric pillows in the basket.  I’ll have other pillows for sale as well.

These chevron striped pillows will be for sale too.  I made these to go with the orange sofa Camille and I found.  You can see it in this post on Camille’s blog.  I also am having a hard time letting go if this antique trunk.  It has casters and the age and patina on it is amazing–I love the brass lock.  Unfortunately one of the hinges is broken and I don’t think I can fix it before next weekend.  So, it may end up coming back home with me anyway if some discerning buyer can’t see through the flaws to how awesome it is!  Also, some more lovely vintage linens.

If you are in the Bay Area be sure to come out to the next Alameda Point Antiques Faire next Sunday, August 5 and stop by our booth, (R12) and say hi!

And the winner of the NOVICA gift certificate is:

(Randomizer pick)

Judy Gardner

I’ll email you soon with the details.  Thanks to everyone who participated!


NOVICA Giveaway

I’m so happy to announce a giveaway today from NOVICA–not only because they have beautiful items including jewelry, art, clothing, and accessories from around the world, but also because they are one of the leading fair trade artisan websites. They work with National Geographic to give talented artisans around the world a place to express their artistic talents and provide access to the world market. They have literally thousands of top fair trade corporate gifts, accessories, jewelry and home decor items on their website and each one helps an artist around the globe support him/herself through their work.  What could be better?

I recently gave NOVICA a try and ordered this lovely blouse:

(photo by Duncan, age 5)

It was made by Jariya Kakaew in Thailand and arrived in a sweet little package wrapped with a card with info about the blouse and the artisan who made it.  It also arrived way ahead of schedule from Thailand–less than 10 days.  It’s so comfy and flattering–always a bonus in my book.  But here are some other great finds from the NOVICA site that caught my eye:



Or perhaps home decor and accessories:

Palm leaf market baskets

Green sunflower fan mirror

Carved elephant sculpture

And, here are a few links for items NOVICA is specifically trying to promote at this time:

I could go on and on as there are literally thousands of items to choose from.  Today, NOVICA is offering a $40 gift certificate to one of my readers!  All you have to do is go to NOVICA’s site and come back here and leave a comment telling me which item you might like to buy.  A winner will be chosen at random from the comments section and the giveaway will close Thursday night 9pm pacific time.

Good luck!

PS-although I did get a gift certificate to try a NOVICA product, I have not been reimbursed by them.



The Dessert Sharks

A cupcake in our house is like a drop of blood in a shark tank…

Big brother tries to play it cool:  Hey sis, what’s up.   Oh is that a cupcake?  I didn’t realize…

Oh yeah, look at that, it does have chocolate on it.  Huh, cool.  (Younger brother appears from thin air with silent, laser focus).

The sharks work together, more like killer whales.  One distracts while the other goes in for the kill.  Put the prey can’t be tricked that easily–hey what’s going on?Get your hand off of there!

The sharks reluctantly move on to friendlier waters.

Happy Birthday Little Fish!  I can’t believe you are two years old!!

Little Bench: Before and After

Several months ago I found this little upholstered bench at an estate sale.  It was really cute and good quality but very dated:

You can see below it has that terrible faux finishing technique that was so popular in the sixties and seventies with the speckling.  Most pieces I find with this are antique reproductions of a high quality so there must have been something to that kind of finish that was very “in” at the time…

The upholstery was actually in good condition and high quality velvet but the gold color of it with the antique white and the gilding screamed early 70s boudoir.  I was basically dreading having to reupholster it so I stuck it in our storage shed all winter.  Then, today when I brought it out, I realized it wasn’t really gold velvet, it was mustard yellow, it just needed a peacock blue to accent it the right way…

I used ASCP Aubusson Blue with a dark wax to give it that darker peacock blue tone.  I left a little of the gilding for two reasons:  First, I liked it.  And second, it made painting up next to the upholstery so much easier.  I basically didn’t have to paint right up next to the piping because the line of gilding made a little buffer.

This little bench has such great lines.  And the upholstery has a ton of tufting.

Great carved details too.

This little bench will be going to the flea market along with all the other pieces from my recent posts.  I had been thinking I wouldn’t take it because I had decided I just didn’t like it–but now I think it’s one of my favorites!  The colors and style are so out of my usual box but I guess it’s good to push yourself now and again.

Also, before you think I traveled to Venice and took photos in a crumbling palazzo, I’m actually in the middle of replastering my living room walls.  I can only do it in bits and pieces when the kids are out or sleeping so who knows how long I will have to put up with my living room in a shambles.  Sometimes I just get a bee in my bonnet though and have to start doing something.  Anyway, I thought the crumbling plaster fit the feel of the bench–sort of faded European nobility or something.  Maybe I’ve been watching too much Downton Abbey…

Thanks for stopping by!

Lesley Evers: Beautifully Wearable Clothing Design

There’s a local designer here in the SF Bay Area who designs some of the prettiest and most wearable pieces for women I have ever seen.  Her name is Lesley Evers and these are some pieces from her collection:








(all images via Lesley Evers)

Last year for my 20th (gulp) highschool reunion I bought one of her dresses.  I tried a bunch of them on in a local boutique (Bella Vita–another great place to find one of a kind designer pieces as well as things for the home) and all of them were beautiful and flattering would have been a welcome addition to my wardrobe.  Lesley Evers designs are classic and there’s something for every figure type.  She even designs most of her textiles.

I decided after having Becky that I wanted to start paring down my wardrobe and only invest in long term pieces instead of buying a bunch of things that I never really wear.  If you are looking for a special piece to add to your wardrobe I can’t recommend her designs enough!

Do you have a go to designer or shop for special pieces in your wardrobe?

Oyster Shell Mirror

I finished the oyster shell mirror for the flea market:

Overall I was really pleased with the way it turned out–it’s large (2′ x 3′) and the shells went on well and were good shapes, etc.  BUT, then I noticed that somehow either while I was storing it or making it, the glass got scratched–right in the middle of the mirror!  So frustrating!   So now I’m going to have to drastically discount it at the flea market next month.  Next time I will be much more careful…

Thanks to everyone for sending good thoughts our way while Becky recuperates from a horrendous stomach bug.  After one visit to the ER, one visit to the doctor’s office, one week of being unable to keep anything down, and one bad case of hives, I think we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed in a few days it will be totally gone!

Thanks for stopping by!

Antique Door Turned…

Chalkboard and coat-rack!

You may remember a few weeks ago I was stumped as to what to do with an antique door I had found in our yard.  It was one of the original doors to our house and had been exposed to the elements so long the center panel had rotted out.  Here is the before picture:

Thanks to everyone who posted such great suggestions on what to do with it!  I went with the chalkboard idea mostly because I decided to sell it at the flea market and I wanted to keep it simple.  Thanks to Camille at The Vintique Object for guidance on what materials to use for it (hard board).

I cleaned the whole thing up really well and then warmed up the wood with some wax.  Also. I was able to find these antique brass hooks and attached them to the sides to add interest and more function.

I think would be so cute in somebody’s entryway with a little bench at the bottom and some baskets for shoes, etc.

The bag hanging on the hook was another find–a vintage woven market bag.  That will be going to the flea market as well.

Sorry for being off the blogging radar this week.  John was out of town, Becky has had a really bad stomach bug, and something beyond my technical skills was going on with the formatting on the blog.  Thankfully my IT guy returned and I think we are getting back to normal. :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Chair Before and After

I found this little chair a few weeks ago and have been meaning to fix it up for the flea market.  Today while Becky was taking her nap and the boys were at camp I was able to get to it.

Here it was before:

And after some paint and new fabric, here it is after:

The fabric is a scrap I had left over from a few years ago called Oriental Traditions by Robert Kaufman.  It’s a take on a traditional toile–but done almost like a line drawing.

It was perfect for a little touch of ASCP Olive on the spindles.

This vintage basket will probably be going to the flea market too although I’m having a hard time letting go of it–it has those great rails supporting it on the bottom and it in such good condition.  I’m actually finding that to be the case with a lot of the things I’m supposed to be selling–I really want to keep them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Growing the Garden


This past week I have been busy adding a lot of new plants to the garden thanks in large part to my mom visiting (She’s been here for 2 weeks and leaves tomorrow–it has flown by!  Wish she could stay longer!).  She has been great helping me pick out (and purchase) many of them and although I know it’s not an ideal time to start planting, you have to strike while the iron is hot!  Although the garden had been looking better, I realized this spring that I really wanted a full flowering garden with butterflies, bees and hummingbirds coming to visit but I also wanted reasonably low maintenance.  I love gardening but I knew that realistically with 3 young kids and our dry Mediterranean summers I needed something fairly hearty, independent, and sun-loving:  So we went with mostly sages.

To be honest I can’t remember all the different kinds of sage we got (There are so many kinds available!  I know what I bought is not the clumping kind but the bush kind) and I chose pink, purple and white flowers.  These are interspersed with Penstemon and Nemesia in various shades as well.  I also got a ground cover that does well with foot traffic right up next to the path called Pratia Pend but I don’t know if it’s going to make it.  It does not seem to like where I planted it.  The sad little brown clumps up next to the path would be those…

The pink flowers in the back are penstemon and the little purple, pink and white ones closer in the frame are sage.  I have already seen a couple of hummingbirds and many bees and butterflies!

Besides having a very sunny side of the yard, we also have a full shade portion that I filled with more hydrangeas.  We found some beautiful Annabelle hydrangeas and I placed them along the house under the diamond windows.  This fall I plan to remove the old Camelia stuck there in the middle and turn this area into a little outdoor room surrounded by hydrangeas on one side and boxwood on the other bordering the path.  We have some leftover hardscape that will make the table and chairs more usable too.







There is still so much work to be done here but we are definitely making progress.  The hydrangeas alone improve the space immensely!

I also mentioned the other day that I planted some limelight hydrangeas under the kitchen windows behind the ferns.  Here’s a little shot of them:

They look tiny now but I think next year they will really come in and show up more from behind the ferns.  I love all the green right here under my green and white kitchen!

And finally, here’s our summer vegetable garden starting to come in nicely:

In front you can see all the lettuces followed by strawberries.

Then we have little green bean plants, zucchini, tomatoes, and corn.  I’ve never grown corn before so we’ll see how it goes…

The hedge behind the veggies goes all around our corner to block all the traffic from what is a pretty busy street.  The hedge is called Tea Olive and we love it (the previous owners planted it but it has grown in while we have lived here).   I need something to fill in at the base of it in the rest of the yard where there are no raised beds.  I was thinking French Lavender but I’m not sure yet…

I really love summer gardening and am so excited about all our new plants.  What’s growing in your garden this time of year?