Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful fo my Orchid Whisperer

My hubby is obsessed with Orchids.  Sometimes it is kind of funny, how excited he gets over a new flower spike or psudo bulb.  It is really cute, he acts like a proud papa.  I guess you have to be an orchid lover to get it.  I liken it to my excitement over a vintage rosary or some cool funky rusty thing.  He is so great and supportive of me and my passions... I like to go with him to the orchid shows and photograph the flowers for him.  Here are some photos I took at a few shows over the past few months...I am a lucky gal, who is thankful to have a house full of beautiful blooming orchids and african violets that others can't usually grow...  Thanks to the love and care of my wonderful hubby.

 Today, on Thanksgiving, I am taking time to count the things I am thankful for.  My kids, of course.  My parents and my brothers Chip and Joe, my sister in law Krissy, my friends all over the world, my cats, my health, a car that runs, a new home with a fabulous kitchen and backyard.... but most of all, above all else.. I am thankful for my husband.

Eight years ago today I stood on a beach in Maui and married my best friend.  We giggled, and laughed and cried, as the preacher blessed us with an ancient Hawaiian wedding prayer and wished us a lifetime of love and happiness.  I still get goosebumps when he tells me he loves me.  I love him more today that I did then,  Every day gets better. Our live has been one long roller coaster ride...  We have been through it... some of the worst things life can throw at you...and come out the other side still together and loving each other.  I am a lucky woman, and I am so thankful for him.

I will be taking a brief sabbatical from blogging for the next 10 days as we move into our new home,... I will be back in December with a post a day until Christmas!  I have been working like a little elf on all kinds of cool things for the holiday season.  So check back daily for kid crafts, home decor ideas, recipes and other tips and tricks to help you have a fun and frugal holiday season.

Big holiday hugs to you all
with much love

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting ready for the holidays

I am so excited for the holidays this year.  Not for any particular reason, but for a lot of reasons.  We are starting a lot of new things in December.  My hubby has a new job he starts after Thanksgiving.  We are moving into a new house December 1st.  I am back home in Northern California where all my family and childhood friends are.  My kids are all close by for Christmas baking and holiday crafting. 

So what if we don't have furniture.  Who cares that we will be moving and unpacking at the height of the holiday preparation time.  We are all here....  We get to be together.  We don't have to be frantic and bring everything with us in the car from OC. 

Everything we need can be found at a garage sale or thrift store.  I am on the hunt for a pre lit tree, a sofa or two and queen beds.  Hopefully I will find them quickly and inexpensively.  We have time.  I am excited to have a studio space again.  Pascual is thrilled to get a greenhouse and chickens... Kayleigh is happy to have a room again.  Life is good, we are happy.

I am working on being in the moment.  Enjoying every single day for what it is.  A gift.  The present.  The ducks on the pond every day when we go for our walks.  My sister in law Krissy, my friend, walking partner and therapist.  Our cozy little apartment that we have quickly ourgrown.  My new little nephew due to be born in March.  Our nieces Breanna and Adrianna, and nephews Diego and Pablo that remind us how fun it is to have kids around at Christmas...

I am off to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Happy Turkey day to you.  May yours be filled with love, laughter and lots of great food.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paris Flea Market

I have been telling everyone about the shop I have space in called Paris Flea Market.  It is a great shop that is open once a month for 4 days.  They sell all kinds of cool vintage and not so vintage things, From furniture to vintage clothes to anything you can use in your house.  It is like your favorite antique store with Junque store pricing.  Tons of beautiful thisng at great prices.  Their sale days are the first Thursday, Friday Saturday and Sunday of every month.  their website is here.  Their sister shop A Room With a Past in Walnut creek has their sales on the 3rd Thursday thru Friday of every month.  There are always lines to get in on Thursday nights.  The stuff is wiped out by Sunday afternoon so shop early for the best stuff.  Room is open this weekend, starting tonight.  Paris Flea Market will be open the first weekend in December.   If you are looking for some cool, unique funky vintage things for christmas gifts... this is the place to shop.   

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

making a patio set

When we moved from Southern California, my hubby said to give away or sell everything and we would get new stuff....  well... it didn't really happen like that.  I gave away and sold a lot of really great furniture pieces, some of which I really miss and regret getting rid of.  Our teeny apartment has no space for a table and chairs... so we really needed a patio set...  so what is a resourceful gal with limited funds to do?  Break out the paint and go to town... 

I am a big fan of the Hazardous Waste Materials Collection Facility in CoCoCounty.  They always have a TON of paint... I found the best day to go is Saturday afternoon.  They get a lot of donations on saturdays.  I got 5 gallons of Kilz primer, 5 gallons of white satin latex interior exterior paint, 6 gallons of various white, blue and green paints, some pre mixed mastic for mosaics, faux patina paint, 20 quarts of various shades of white cream and blue.  I mix all the whites together, all the creams together and the blues I mix with whites and greens to get soft blues and aquas... and the best part of all... it is 100% FREE!!! you can only make one stop there a day for stuff, but you can take as much as you want!  Whenever I go to the bay area with my car, I stop there and get paint.  So see if you have one in your area.  If your community recycles these things like they should, there should be a lot to choose from.  I can say the one here in OC is pretty bad.  Not much stuff.  I think people don't recycle down here as much as they do in Northern California...

I had these 4 wooden folding chairs that my mom gave me.  They were really weathered, so I painted them a couple years ago with a bright green.  The color faded, and I really loved it.  Then I was at the goodwill and found 4 more folding chairs in really great shape for 6.99 each.  So I got all, 4.  I painted them all apple green, and I must say they turned out really cute!


I had a table and chairs that was silver and gold.  I spray painted it white and recovered the seats.  A simple process where you turn the chair over, unscrew the seat board, remove the existing fabric and replace with something new.  I saved the cushions, and just recovered it all, stapled it in place with a staple gun and reattached the seats to the chairs.  The fabric I used was a plastic coated fabric that is waterproof for the more wet outdoor weather of northern california.  I had 5 chairs, so I mixed in 4 green folding chairs for a table for 8.  I like the ecclectic look of the mixed wood chairs with the metal ones.  I also love the bright spring colors.  Even in fall in winter the colors are so cheerful and reming me of the warmer weather that I love. 

I would love to hear about a patio or garden makeover project you have done.  Please post a comment and add a link to your blog with some photos.  I love to see what other people come up with.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

parental growing pains

I have four kids.  Four beautiful, self sufficient, amazingly intuitive, giving, funny young adults who are the joys of my life.  Daughters on both ends and boys in the middle.  It has been nine years since I raised a teen aged girl.  Boys are hard in the little stage and easy as teens.  Girls are the opposite.  I forgot that.  I am rusty on this whole teen girl drama stuff.  In fact, I want to opt out this time on all of it.  I think I more than paid my dues with the first daughter.  She turned out OK, we both survived it, and she is now a loving nanny to two little boys who have a mommy dying of brain cancer.  Seeing the capacity she has for love, the patience she shows these children, lets me know I did a good job with her.  Hearing that my son has gone over and mowed my dad's lawn and done some household tasks for him that he is not able to do anymore, fills me with pride.  The fact that all my kids are so kind and respectful to elderly lets me know I taught them a sense of tradition and reespect for elders.

I don't want to do the girl drama again.  I just don't think I have it in me one more time.  I remember my own teen years, so filled with angst until I turned 16.  I wouldn't live those years over again for anything.  But here I am, going through them again with my 15 year old daughter.  Again I have to teach a young woman that manipulation is not love.  That a real friend will love you no matter what, and will always be there for you.  She won't call you a slut behind your back to all your friends and then deny it when everyone tells you she said it.  She won't play divide and conquer with your posse and split the group just so she can be "right" in a situation where she is clearly wrong.  She is learning that it is OK to be different, to not fit in is actually considered cool when you grow up.  She is learning that your heart can actually break, and you do survive it.  I want to skip past all of this.  I don't want to hurt along with her, as I did with her sister. 

Teaching your children how to be adults is by far one of the most difficult lessons we give as parents.  I hope I manuver through these turbulent emotional waves with the same grace as I did before.  I hope I have learned a few things in my years, and that somewhere in that beautiful stubborn head of hers, she hears me.  It is only a few years of my life.  After she graduates, I will become cool again and she will want to spend time with me, she will seek out my advice and actually care about my opinions.  It is such a little space of my life in the grand scheme of it all... but today, in this very moment, I want to put up my hand and stop the next saga and say "I gave at the office" and shut the door.

Lord, please give me strength to handle this thing I never saw coming when I held that precious bundle in my arms the first moments of her life and promised I would be there for her always.  I am here, I would never abandon her.... but just for today, can I be the little kid, and stomp my feet and say "I don't wanna do it!!!"  


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Faux Opal Necklace

I love opals.  They are my favorite stone.  I was playing around with some of my stuff in the studio and came up with a fun way to make faux opals.  You will need the following supplies:

Substrate of some kind (I used a wooden placemat piece)
white, turquoise and blue paints (or any other color you want to make your opal)
Black Paint
chunky glitter (I used the cheap kind you buy by the bag at christmas for fake snow)
crystal laquer
Silver foil tape (or copper foil tape is fine too)
1 scrap of wire about 1 inch long
E600 or other strong glue

Start off by painting the back of your substrate black, let dry and brush on a coat of crystal laquer to coat it.

Next make a small puddle of the 3 paints and dab them on the front of your piece in random blobs.

While piece is drying, get glitter ready.  I take several flakes and cut them smaller with detail scissors, and keep a few large.  This glitter tends to be in several layers, so I recommend seperating them with and xacto knife. 

When the paint is dry, put a layer of crystal laquer on the top and gently place glitter by stabbing it with an xacto and placing it on top.  Press glitter into the laquer, it is ok if the glitter pokes up a bit, it adds to the depth and dimension of the piece later.  sprinkle smaller glitter over larger placed pieces and then cover again with laquer.  Let laquer dry, check surface for smoothness, and if still bumpy, keep adding layers of laquer until it is smooth.  Let dry overnight.

When piece is dry, surround edge with foil tape.  Drill a hole in top and insert a loop, glue in with E6000.  Add jump ring and secure to chain or beaded necklace however you want. 

I get a lot of compliments on the pieces I made.  I love the color and sparkle, and am making a bunch in different colors.

Experiment with things you have lying around the house...  here are some different ones I did with other colors, and using the natural color of the wood.