Friday, May 30, 2014

busy june

 June is bustin' out all over
All over the meadow and the hill!
Buds're bustin' outa bushes
And the rompin' river pushes
Ev'ry little wheel that wheels beside the mill!

~ June is Bustin' Out All Over, Carousel

These lyrics embedded since fourth grade glee club keep running through my mind as I ramp-up for what is going to be a very busy month ahead. My publisher has arranged for me to give a talk at the Country Living Fair next Saturday! I'm very excited ... and nervous ... and excited! So excited to be featured on the website, too!

Click to enlarge

My presentation is titled Tinkered Treasures: From Blog to Book with Elyse Major, author of Seaside Tinkered Treasures, and will include my tinkering a few projects on stage. As you know, most of my projects are quite small. Perhaps I will shabbify a large trash can! (I kid, I kid). My longtime dear blogging friend Claudia of Mockingbird Hill Cottage is giving away event tickets. Click here for details!

Meanwhile I have been busily assembling a series of events which I'm calling a summer tour. It's all very fun to keep jotting dates on the calendar but then you realize: Eeks! I've got some planning to do here! 

But it's all good because I want my Seaside book to be successful and will help to promote it however I can (because it sure would be nice to do a third book ...).

I did manage to paint the back door and am very happy with the color (Sparkling Brook MSL148). I also wrote up the blinds project as a Make It for Romantic Homes, slated for the September issue.

Best of all, I'm always sending photos of pretty houses to my fairygodmother Fifi O'Neill and last week visited her on four photo shoots of friends' homes that got the green-light.

Me pitching in to block the light
What a thrill to play fairygodmother myself and watch people I adore beam with pride as they witnessed their homes being styled so exquisitely by Fifi and photographed so expertly by Mark Lohman.

Okay, time to work on the book party menu and event talking points and demo ideas. All of the fabulous Seaside Swag is in from my generous sponsors and ready to be packaged! 

If you have any recommendations on projects you think would make good tinkering demonstrations, please suggest in a comment.

Looks like May was bustin' out all over, too!


Friday, May 16, 2014

seaside book party: swag shout-outs and prep!
Ahoy! I am excitedly making preparations for my book party next month and want to share some details and acknowledge the generous sponsors! So, what is a book party? you ask ... It's really just an excuse to have fun and meet 'n greet 'n eat while helping to promote my latest effort: Seaside Tinkered Treasures.
Make it A Day: Nancy's picks for exploring Bristol, Rhode Island
As with any event, it's nice to plan around a theme and since this fete will celebrate coastal-inspired crafting, Sea Rose Cottage just steps from the waterfront is the perfect venue.
Sea Rose Cottage, Holiday Preview 2013
Located in a historic home, it's a combination retail shop and studio space known around New England for carrying Annie Sloan chalk paint. Owner Nancy Chace and I had a great time together when I was part of the shop's holiday preview event in November and we knew we'd like to plan something together again.
Thank you, Beckett Media and Meryl and Jacqueline!
Taking a cue from my friend, stylist and author Selina Lake, I decided it would be nice to assemble and offer Seaside Swag Bags to the first ten people to purchase a copy of Seaside Tinkered Treasures. Nancy pursued businesses local to her shop and I put the word out online for sponsors invited to provide ten items with business cards. I am so excited to share with you the items (so far!) that will be in each swag bag:
THANK YOU to Beckett Media publisher of Romantic Homes of which I am a contributor, for sending the special publication Seaside Style (shown further above) along with the beautiful June issue!
THANK YOU to Alayne White Spa
THANK YOU to Harbor Bath & Body for the handmade soap!
THANK YOU to The Knotty Dog for the drink cooler and coupon for free soap!
THANK YOU to Revival and Tea the Belvedere for the tea sample!
THANK YOU to hostess with the mostest Nancy Chace for the paint sample of Duck Egg Blue!
THANK YOU to Theresa January-Butler of Pat & Toot for sending handmade note cards!
THANK YOU to Jennifer at Sugar Pink Boutique for the pretty packets of vintage millinery and seam binding!
THANK YOU to Stacey at Cottage Industry who is busy filling vintage fabric sachets with lavender!
THANK YOU to Danielle of Finding Silver Pennies who is busy making small versions of her brilliant driftwood boats
THANK YOU to Susan of Two Orange Cats Jewelry who is busy making these charmers!
Check back for updates to this post as swag seems to arrive on my doorstep almost daily! Of course, I will be assembling tinkering packets to include as well, featuring cupcake ballerinas from Specked-Egg!
First Cath dress!
I even splurged on a new dress for the occasion from Cath Kidston!

Thank you to The Greenery for being the provider of pretty posies!
Thank you to Stampington & Company for including the party on your Events Calendar!
I hope you can attend the Seaside Book Party! It promises to be lots of fun. If you can't, please check my Author Page at Amazon for other upcoming events. Please also note that my publisher is looking for craft bloggers to receive and review Seaside Tinkered Treasures for a second online tour. Make your request by emailing

Or ... just order yourself a copy of Seaside from your favorite bookseller, grab some supplies and get tinkering!

Thank you!


Friday, May 9, 2014

tinkering project: love is (wallpapered) blinds

Left: Savannah by Pottery Barn Kids; right: Antique Rose Bouquet, Cath Kidston
In a recent post (exterior illumination) I detailed my excitement over finally having ideas come together for the exterior of my Cape Cod style house. I still haven't painted either side of the back door but I had been thinking about replacing the existing and broken mini blinds inside with something else, something with pattern. And then inspiration hit and I was out the door to the home improvement store.

Fabric: Spray Flowers by Cath Kidston
Perusing the aisle of blinds I was drawn to the 2" faux wooden ones rather than the narrow 1" sort. The wider slats seemed right for a decoupage experiment. My next stop was the office supply store for color copies of fabric which I intended to adhere on each blind and then coat with a light finish.

I decided to keep the blinds in-tact and simply work around the cords. I started with the decorative valance which I covered with paper trimmed-to-fit and finished with a coat of Mod Podge. The paper began to bubble a bit, which happens, and so I smoothed it out using light pressure from my fingers along with the directed heat of a blog dryer. Blah. This was going to take forever. Was there a better way?

Wallpaper! Of course! No sealer-coat required! And I had a roll that I bought years ago knowing I would find a use for it someday. Now if I had a matte board and rotary cutter I suppose this could've been even easier but instead I tinkered and improvised: I cut sections of wallpaper small enough to fit my guillotine-style paper cutter and then trimmed to fit the two sizes of the three sections required for each slat.

Since I plan to shorten the length of the blinds (after I muster-up the courage), I extended them to determine just how many slats would need to be covered: twenty-three. Unroll, cut, chop. Unroll, cut, chop. Unroll ... you get the picture.

For the final step, I grabbed my trusty glue stick (Elmer's gel) and affixed each piece to a slat, gently smoothing to adhere well. Was each piece the perfect fit? Of course not. Did I even attempt to match-up the patterns slat by slat? No way! This is tinkering, after all.

This weekend's plan now includes prepping, priming and painting the back door so that I can take nice final photos and write this up as a tidy tutorial for Romantic Homes!

To paint shiny white

Hmm. Now I'm thinking the exterior of the back door will be the blue of the wallpapered blinds ...

Fickle-osity continues ...



Monday, May 5, 2014

souvenir love

Ship and heart-shaped box from Hilton Head, small square box from Cape Cod
I have always adored junky souvenir shops. My sisters still laugh about how as a young girl, I could enter a store with less than a quarter and still exit triumphantly with a purchase. And my boys know that I'm always a sucker for say, a Viewmaster-type toy that displays the main attractions of a tourist destination or a bottle containing shells, even a shark or gator tooth!

In my glory, Harbour Town, SC
My family and I just returned from visiting Hilton Head and Bluffton, South Carolina with a day trip to Savannah, Georgia. Forever the tinkerer with the heart of a nine year-old carrying a credit card, I found myself on a continuous quest for inspiration in ordinary and kitchsy stuff.

Who doesn't love receiving a post card weeks after you're home!
A coastal fave: T shirts to wear whilst tinkering
Back in the Day Bakery topped my list of Savannah must-sees but we nearly missed going as they closed at 5:00 p.m. (that day) and we lost track of time after a :90 trolley tour of the city. Dejected and lost at 4:55 p.m. my husband responded with, "Call and ask if they'll stay open for you to stop in! Tell them you're coming from Rhode Island!" So, I did and they did! In a whirlwind my sister-in-law Laura and I dashed in, bought cupcakes and cookies, a tea towel and a copy of owners Cheryl and Griffith Day's scrumptious book. I noticed the Days sitting at a sunny table and asked if they could please sign a copy (while I presented them with a gift of Seaside Tinkered Treasures). Boy, those treats were delicious and what a charming shop. What a BEAUTIFUL city!

Best souvenir!

Doesn't this unused/requested bag make a great bookmark? Souvenir times two!

Pretty packaging as souvenirs
Getting back to "the junk" -- I do like a good snow globe. Assembling this post I realized that mine are scattered throughout the house. I should change that.

I generally prefer glitter to white snow but that's not a fixed rule!
When I visited London, I wanted the small impulse buys from Cath Kidston found along the counter near the register.
An eraser or "rubber"
From Paris, a small Eiffel Tower was a must but post cards, a hotel business card, extra Metro tickets and snips of ribbon also came home.

Collage of a batch of projects prior to shipping to publisher
Seaside Tinkered Treasures was inspired by this love of souvenirs and many projects in this book are things I remember from childhood but can't quite find today, like the shell dolls on the cover.

 And just like those adored trinkets from childhood, makes won't cost much and are perfect for remembering special moments, wherever they take place.

Now, where's that miniature Liberty Bell? (Me and my sister Betsy)