Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving could be my favorite holiday. Each year, my husband and our two boys travel from the Ocean State to the Garden State to celebrate with my two sisters and their families. On Thanksgiving Day my brother-in-law Bobby and sister Dede cook the most delicious turkey dinner--my favorite meal of the whole year. On Friday, our new tradition is to all spend the day together in nearby, historic Collingswood, home to one of my favorite places: The Painted Cottage Studio. Thankfully there is a candy store in town to lure the boys along!

The Painted Cottage has three presences in Collingswood: a store (located in an old Woolworth’s building), a cafĂ© (yum), and the studio (gasp!). The studio is located in a 9,000 square foot, late 1800s exposed brick factory, which is used as a work space and retail store. When I wander over to the work space, I get so inspired and excited! It is bursting with creativity. There are bottles of paint, pieces of furniture, stacks of vintage plates … It’s just awesome and it makes me want to make things, try to sell things, and of course, buy things (which I always do).

Whenever I approach artist and co-owner Valerie, I gush like a fan to a rock star. Check out their websites and you just might gush, too!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Surprise from Shellie

Ever since my friend Shellie and I decided we would be partners in our first-ever craft fair, we have been meeting weekly to share ideas. How to display our items? What to charge? Even what to wear! At our recent meeting she surprised me with a banner! Shellie made each pennant from different, coordinating fabrics. The banner is amazing, just like Shellie!

It looks so perfect and festive in my "girly office."

To see more of Shellie's creations visit her blog at byathreadgifts.

(Hmm . . . what to make for Shellie?!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Before and After

In late October, I added a post and a poll (Vote 4 Vanity) so that my fellow bloggerettes could help me decide which colors to paint a vanity table. Turned out it was a three-way tie between white, pale aqua, and stripes. Well, I finally got around to painting the table. Thank you for all of your input. I went with all three!

While the paint can was still open, I figured I'd paint a picture frame to match the table.

Some "shabbified" details.

Putting together a little cottage vignette.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shiny New Button

My blog has a button! Warmest thanks to my talented and very treasured husband for "spinning" my wacky assortment of “straw” into a sparkle-y widget. [See it at right & wait a second or three . . . ] But why a troll? Well, when I paint or sand in our dark, cavernous basement I often joke that I feel like a troll—toiling away under ground. Of course when I do these things in the daylight, I feel more like an elf!

BROTHERS GRIMM, Snow-White and Rose-Red
Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967. Color illustrations by Marjorie Cooper. Start-Right Elf Book.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


When my youngest son began kindergarten this year, I knew that suddenly some snippets of free time would become available to me. Time to myself during daylight hours; time I consider a gift. I carefully avoid using this “gift” to clean my house or run tedious errands. This is time to paint and sand, meet friends for treats, wander around Michaels; to discover the world of blogging! Blogging is new to me. I enjoy searching thoughts for information that is “blog-worthy” to post, taking photos, and clicking link upon link to find new blogs. My experience with fellow bloggers (bloggettes?) has been wonderful. Everyone is so sweet, encouraging, supportive and generous.
This post is to say thank you to anyone who has visited my site or is just finding it for the first time today.
In the midst of a sometimes harried or hectic day, how restorative it can be to find a new comment. I recently won a contest at the Cynthia’s Cottage Design blog. In addition to the lovely things that will arrive any day (pictured above), I am making a new friend. What a gift that is!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Snowflake Bazaar

On December 6, my sons' elementary school will hold its 13th Annual Snowflake Bazaar. The PTO-sponsored event will feature arts and crafts from local artisans. This year I will be one of them! I have been working like an elf on my "tinkering" in the small bits of time I can find (and loving every minute of it). My friend Shellie (by-a-thread) will be joining me with her beautifully sewn items. If you are local, come on by; if you aren't, please wish us luck! For a complete gallery of my items, please see my flickr account. This is a first-ever for me so any advice is welcome!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Easy as Pie

This is the pumpkin pie I recently made for my sons' school Election Day bake sale. I first saw a pie "decorated" like this in last year's Williams-Sonoma catalog and thought -- hey -- I can do this. It's actually very simple and takes no longer than making a pie normally would. While your one-crust pie is baking in the oven, cut shapes from a second crust with cookie cutters. Place your shapes onto a greased baking pan and lightly carve details on them. I like to sprinkle my finished shapes with a little cinnamon sugar.

Here are my tools: cookie cutters for making shapes, a toothpick and small knife for carving details into my cut-outs (veins on leaves, polka-dots on acorn caps). Cutting the shapes and then "drawing" on them is the best part of making this pie for me. I find it fun and relaxing. Once the pie is out of the oven and cooling, bake your cut-outs (keep at the same temp used for the pie) for about 5 minutes.

Let your cut-outs cool and then have fun embellishing your pie. Someday I may attempt the Williams-Sonoma recipe but for now, I like the simplicity of Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie and a ready-made crust.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vote 4 Vanity Results: Three-Way Tie

Thank you so much for your votes on my Vote 4 Vanity poll. I asked my fellow bloggers to vote for one of three paint choices (white, pale aqua, or both in stripes) to help me in deciding how to paint a dark wood vanity table (see 10/29: Decision '08). Well, the polls are closed and the final votes were divided equally into the three choices! I guess I'm on my own! (I'll keep you posted.)