Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

My niece Breanna is a hoot.  I told her I would make her costume... I am feeling nostalgic over halloween lately.  SHe told me she wanted to be a princess.  Easy peasy.  I have tons of princess-y dresses and fabrics in pinks and purples... simple to whip up a costume.  She calls me last week and tells me she wants to be a bumble bee... but not a fat one, a cute one.  Here is the results...

I found the wings (unembellished) and the antennae at the Goodwill...  I had a black ladies skirt that had 8 layers of lace ruffles.  I took that apart and split it into 2 pieces of four ruffles each.  Sewed yellow ribbon on it, then gathered it all up and attached it to an elastic waistband.  I found the striped leggings at the costume shop, glittered up the wings with black glitter and gold glitter glue...  made a daisy necklace and got her a turtleneck top.

She was most impressed with how spinny the skirt was.  It floats out to the sides in a big circle.  Always a must with every little girl.  She was so adorable when we took her trunk or treat at the farmers market on saturday... she got extra candy because she was so cute.  She kept walking up to everyone and turning around to "buzz" them with her butt.  So funny.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Blues

I remember when Kayleigh was 2 and Savanna was 3.  We were at my brother and sister-in-laws house for a Halloween birthday party for my niece Savannah.  All the kids were dressed up in their little costumes, playing party games and looking so adorable... My sister-in-law Krissy's sister Suzy was there for the party, snapping photos like crazy, gushing over how cute all the kids were...  and I remember so vividly, her saying "Halloween isn't fun anymore when your kids grow up".  Hers were teenagers at the time, and she was living vicariously through her sister with her little niece.  Flash Forward 13 years...  I am the Suzy now.  Scouring Pinterest for costume ideas for my niece.  Begging to take her trick or treating.  Wanting to bake treats for her kindergarten class...

Why is it.. when your kids are small... you can't wait for them to grow up and outgrow the baby phases... and then when they are teenagers, you wish all those years back again.  I am feeling so nostalgic for those hectic times of shopping for things to make costumes, the decisions of who would wear what... whipping up something at the last minute for a kid who changes their mind after wearing the costume to school and deciding it was too uncomfortable,  I remember Austin age 3,, wanting to be a fat pumpkin for halloween.  I put Megan's old pumpkin costume on him, and he insisted on me stuffing it until it was really fat... He looked like the kid in Christmas Story, couldn't put his arms down he was stuffed so fat...  We get in the car to go show the grandparents how adorable they are and pre-load up on candy before trick or treating...  and he can't buckle the seatbelt... he is wailing in the back seat... "I'm too FAT,,, I don't WANT to be a fat pumpkin anymore..." He insisted on me taking every single piece of stuffing out of the costume, so he was left with an orange satin sheath that didn't even look like a pumpkin anymore...  Or the time Megan wanted to be an UGLY witch, she was sick of being a princess every year and in 3rd grade decided to be an ugly witch.  I spent almost 2 hours following instructions on how to do the ugly witch makeup.  She sat so patiently while I applied it, not wanting to look in the mirror until I was done...  she turns around to look at the final product and starts sobbing "You made me TOO ugly...  I didn't want to be THIS ugly.."  so we had to take it all off, and make her a beautiful witch instead... At the time... in those moments... I really wanted to wring their necks... those delays caused us to be late to functions, made more work for me, the then so-stressed-out-working-full-time-not-a-minute-to-spare-mommy of four.. that I sometimes screamed in frustration... and here I am now, looking back on those times as some of the best moments I had with my children.    I miss the early years of trick-or-treating when your kids are really little and they hold out the bag and you say to them "What do you say to the lady?" and they respond "gimme candy!"  "No sweetie, we say Trick-or-treat..." and they say "Oh yeah... shrickee shreet, gimme candy"  Or when they are 3 and more discerning, and the person goes to put a candy in their bag and they pipe up loudly "That's ok, you can keep it, I don't like that kind..." as they turn around to walk away... I miss all the lessons about not eating candy until we get home to check it... and the inevitable trades that happen, some fair and some unfair as the older sibling swindles the little one out of the best candies... I can still hear their sweet littly teeny voices saying "Here mommy, you can have this one, I know these are your favorite..."

I want to take those moments and tuck them away in a special pocket in my heart where I can hold them close and pull them out like an old worn photograph, to look at and remember fondly.  Now that my kids are all grown and moved out, they are no longer the cute little trick-or-treaters they once were...  Now there are Frat Parties and Toga parties and Raves and Erotic Exotic Balls for them to attend.  I am waiting for grandkids... but until then, I will be like Suzy, and live vicariously through my little nieces and nephews... while holding on to the fun memories of Halloweens past..

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A favorite shopping place

I have been collecting photos of favorite stores I love to shop at and find cool vintage things.  One that I always go to and it never fails to inspire me is American Harvest on Main Street in Pleasanton Ca.  One block from my moms, I used to walk over and poke around in there all the time.  The owner has handcrafted items made by local artists, as well as vintage and commercially made products.  It is a lovely ecclectic mix of vintagey goodness.  She has many vintage French things here that she brings back from trips to France.  If you are in the area, don't miss an opportunity to stop by.  She redecorates often with new themes, so it is different every time you go in.  I love the vintage crown holder from France.  So unique and unusual for us here in the States...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Mediterranean Country Style Furniture

Whenever I go to a flea market, I take lots of photos.  I call it camera shopping.  I used to be good at photography, well people anyway.  I am learning how to photograph with my phone simply because it is much more convenient than lugging the ole Canon 20D around.  I love my Canon, don't get me wrong... but since the shoulder injuries, it is hard to carry around my purse, let alone a camera...  I know many bloggers use their cell phones as their main camera when photographing for their blog.  Please bear with me as I learn the tips and tricks to good photography with a phone camera.  I am happy with how these turned out, considering...

These were taken at the Long Beach Flea Market...  Man do I miss that show.  I just went on the 5th sunday with Nancy, and we had a blast...  I try to time my trips to OC around some flea market.  We are market deprived up here in the Bay Area...  I am always on the lookout for a good market.  I would love to hear from you on your favorite ones in your area.  Never know, I may be in your neck of the woods one day and I might make a special trip there...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's on my workbench?

I have been cranking out jewelry lately.  I am loving the earrings and have been making them to put in my ETSY store for the holiday season.  They are so simple to do.  I love getting all the cool little findings and beads out from my shopping sprees at Gilding the Lily and laying them out on a tray.  Pulling this medal and that dangle and adding it to a filagree piece, or a focal just makes me so happy.  I get in the zone, and before I know it, I have 10 pairs laying there ready and waiting for a new home. 

To celebrate the grand re-opening of my ETSY shop, I am having a giveaway.  Simply post a comment here on this posting to be entered to win. I will announce the winner on Friday Octeber 25th.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Assemblage Doll

I was gifted with a free class with Leighanna Light at the Art is You retreat in Petaluma a couple of weeks ago. If you have never taken a class from her, she is wonderful.  Very informative and generous. I need to say thank you to Reva Solomon and Stephanie Thiel for giving me the class.  I was looking to add some new techniques to my bag of tricks.  I liked learning how to etch metal in a different way.

We torched Altoids tins, did faux etching using matte medium and Novacan.  She showed us how to mold faces, and cut tin.  Most of the people were making steampunk stye dolls.  I left early because my daughter was sick.  When I got home, I pulled out this heart frame and cut the hole to make a window for the frame.  I wanted to be able to see the little doll inside.  I cut words from a bag she gave us and outlined the inside of the heart with metallic lace to cover up the ugly cut marks.  The legs are the arms of the typewriter letters.  The part where the letter is was cut off and wired to the top, the part that goes into the wheel and connects to the key was used as the foot.  Now I am on the hunt for old typewriters. I had just passed 2 up at estate sales the day before too... never fails.

I am off to BBQ up some more tins.  I am going to try the mini ones and make pendants with them this time.  Lets see how they turn out...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beach Cottage Furniture with CeCe Caldwell Paint

I recently painted a dresser and nightstands for a cottage beach theme.  Here are the before and afters.  The dresser cost me $5 and the nightstands were $5 each.  I used the CeCe Caldwell paints, and MAN are they fabulous.  You don't need to sand or prep the wood at all.  Just slap on the paint, and then coat with wax or use the satin varnish to finish up.   I get it at Paris Flea Market in Livermore, but many of the colors are on backorder. So when they come in, I pounce on them... This is hard for a die hard thrifty gal like me to PAY for paint. I usually go to the hazardous materials restore in my area and get free paint for all my furniture projects. These paints are pricey, but in my opinion worth every penny. The coverage you get is phenomenal. 2 coats and you are done. No base coat, no prep whatsoever.  They are a green company.  The paint has no fumes, cleans up with water, and they employ disabled vets!  So it is a win/win/win all around!

 I mixed the light blue color myself using the following recipe:  It was enough to paint all 3 pieces and I have some left over for a small project.

1/2 quart  Simply White
1 sample jar Blue Montana Sky
1/3 sample jar Santa Fe Turquoise

I have been buying all kinds of small furniture to paint.   I know, I said I don't paint everything... but I do paint a lot of things.  The colored furniture seems to sell better than white, and I really like the diversity of all the different ways you can make a piece look with a little paint.  Kayleigh has already called dibs on these pieces when we move to a bigger place. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Free Stuff Friday

First Friday of the month is Free Stuff Friday.  Enjoy these and feel free to post them to friends, If you would kindly remember to link back here.  Thanks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gilding the Lily is in Somerset Life!

I was down in OC this past weekend and stopped in to Gilding the Lily to see my friend Nancy Jamar.  I have told you about her shop before.  I have posted photos and talked about all the lovely things she has there.  She was just featured in Somerset Life... a lovely eight page layout with oodles of photos showing all of the lovely things available there.  She has recently rearranged things and given the shop a little makeover.  You can literally spend hours there looking at all the lovely ribbons and jewelry making items. It is a Disneyland for crafters.  Drop the hubs and the kids off at D-land and head to Gilding the Lily, a few miles down Harbor Boulevard.  I PROMISE you won't be disappointed.  Nancy is one of the sweetest, most generous people I know.  She is great at locating things you didn't even know you wanted.  If you are looking for something specific, a lot of time she has it, or knows where to go to get it for you.  She has an on line store that sells wholesale components in bulk here.  So all you vintage jewelry part junkies can shop on line to your hearts content.  You can take classes by top designers at the studio, check out her website here for more details.

I found this shop on a fluke.  I had just moved to Orange County from the San Francisco area...  I didn't know anyone, had no art friends and was trying so hard to make a connection with people.  I was going through my old Somerset magazines, and there was an article in there by someone saying they spent a lot of time at Gilding the Lily in Fullerton making jewelry and hanging out at the open studio.  I immediately googled the name of the store, got a phone number and called to see if the shop still existed.  (the magazine was 3 years old, and you know with the economy, many places are out of business)  I was thrilled to find out they were still there.  I went down there immediately and was literally in HEAVEN!  I met Nancy, and we talked about how hard it is to adjust to a new place, and how difficult it was for me to find community there.  She smiled and said, "Why don't you come to open studio tomorrow nite?"  She holds it in her home around the corner from the shop.  There is no charge, it is all about community.  People come, bring things they want to work on, usually some snacks and wine... we visit, celebrate birthdays and babies and other fun events while making incredible things and sharing techniques and supplies with each other.  I even drug my husband along one nite, and he hit it off with Nancy's husband Alain and now they are friends.  It is a magical friend making place...

When I go down to OC now, I try to schedule my visits so I am there for Open Studio on Thursday nites.  I miss my friends, and grab on to every chance I have to meet with them while down there.

Pop in and visit Nancy, tell her you heard about her on my blog.