Thursday, July 26, 2012

Large Wooden French Rosary

While listening to the much needed rain patter on the rooftop this afternoon,
(after a morning of making a couple dozen pints of dill pickles 
and bread & butter pickles with The Husband)
I played with some beads.
Big beads.
Big wooden beads.

After swooning for many months over the oversize wooden rosaries I've seen on many beautiful blogs,
(I love the natural, rustic, inspiring statement they make in a room)
Source:  Simply Me
Source: Rachel Ashwell

and knowing that I would get the hairy eyeball from The Husband 
if I shelled out the $100+ to buy one,
I dove right in and tried my hand at making one.
I thought, 
"Why not?" 
 If it didn't work out, I could just donate the beads to my church's pre-school or something.

After an hour (or two) in Hobby Lobby yesterday,
I filled my basket with these goodies.
Beads with large holes...

beads with small holes...

oblong beads, a little pine plaque, and leather cording.

(Side note: Do you realize that they're putting out Christmas items in stores already?
What in the world....?)

Anyway, I asked The Husband for some help because unbeknown to me,
the beads had a hole on only ONE side.
In my excitement at finding them, I failed to look at both sides in the little bags.

But he fixed me up right away with the drill press.

Yes, my friends ~

Can I get a lady-like grunt here....???

I drilled a hole through each and every bead which took me about an hour.
I'd definitely use that drill press again after getting the hang of it.
It brought back memories of seventh grade shop class.  :)
 The Husband is a retired "shop" (Industrial Arts) instructor, so I had a great mini-refresher course in his work room.

Sheer and utter concentration because I didn't want to drill a hole in my hand!

While I was drilling one little hole after another,
The Husband helped out by cutting out the rustic cross for me.
A little sanding of the edges, and I was ready to rock and roll with this project.
I didn't change the color of the wood.
I liked it's light, natural color.

Knot, bead, bead, bead, bead, bead, knot, bead, bead bead, knot...

After a couple hours, my new shabby chic inspired wooden French rosary was completed ~
all for under $25.

~  Blessings ~

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Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Garden Arbor

God bless you for your kind words and the love you sent me last week.
I held them close and found comfort in each and every one.
You are all amazing.


When we had to take down this mammoth maple tree on a frigid day last December, 

(read the whole story here)
it opened up the landscape in the front yard so much,
we could almost hear Heaven's Walk breathe a deep sigh of relief.

[You'll never hear me admit this....but doesn't that snow look a wee bit inviting.....?]
But, if you know me like I think you know me,
you know that the gears in my mind started whirling
the second that old tree hit the ground.

I knew what was going to be needed on that north side of the house.

Another garden room.

With an arbor.

A BIG arbor.

But big arbors are expensive.

Being on a limited budget, and not knowing when I would be able to buy one,

I started planning
and digging
and weeding
and staking out the new room

We plan on grinding out the remaining huge stump this autumn.

I put driveway stakes where I pictured the placement of the arbor would eventually be.

I'm considering curving this new bed around to include the dwarf crab apple tree - thus creating an outdoor 'room'. (Standing at the NW corner of the house.)

The plants along the north side of the house include a variety of hostas,
bleeding heart, sweet woodruff, foxglove, hydrangea, and a clematis.

Standing at the northeast corner of the house and looking toward the road.

My husband recently surprised me by asking a carpenter friend to build an arbor for me that matched the smaller one in the back yard. I'm sure it had nothing to do with my constant whining.

Yep...he's a keeper.
My husband...not the carpenter.
Well....maybe the carpenter, too.

I spent two days painting it,
and the next day we pieced it together 
and set it in place with the help of our beloved neighbor.

Isn't she beautiful?
She's a glorious eight feet tall and four feet wide!

You can see my smaller arbor in the back yard.

Looking toward the road.

You can tell where I've been watering the grass every day
and where I haven't.
We didn't have any rain for four weeks,
but have since received a slight reprieve from this month's drought.

I think placing the arbor there extended the visual aesthetics of our tall house
by extending the landscaping out into the yard,
which is exactly what I did with the curved beds and arbor in the back yard.

I know there's probably some mathematical equation that tells you how far your landscape should extend out into your yard in conjunction with how tall your house is,
but I haven't a clue what it is - and I am no mathematician.

[My inspiration for creating garden rooms throughout the landscaping comes from Carolyn's breathtaking gardens.  If you haven't visited Aiken House & Gardens on Prince Edward Island, prepare to spend the rest of your day swooning over them here. You'll agree that you've never seen a more beautiful place to live - nor a more elegant lady. I've got a lonnnng way to go before my gardens look anything like hers, but she keeps my head filled with all sorts of ideas (much to The Husband's chagrin).  :) ]

'Sarah Bernhardt' peonies, pink 'Knock-Out' roses, miniature roses in 'Sorbet',
'Blushing Bride' hydrangea, miniature purple butterfly bushes, and hostas found their way into the new bed.

I spread two yards of rich, dark brown mulch,
lugged in some large rocks...

and planted my new favorite climbing rose bushes ~

'Eden' and 'New Dawn'

which will eventually clamber up the sides and cover the top of the arbor like a fragrant, pink canopy.

The only thing left to do is to place some New York Blue stepping stones from the front of the arbor into the grass behind it, connecting the two areas...

and I'm sure I have room for some more roses.

I'm also visualizing some type of small, flowering tree or large, flowering bush on the right side between the house and the arbor.

Any suggestions...?

The baby spruce trees you see on this side of the house
will eventually hug this garden area
creating a cool, cozy room in the landscape.

Creating "rooms" in your garden truly adds atmosphere and charm to your landscaping by
introducing a little mystery by forcing you to peak around fragrant, colorful corners,
as well as mixing in a variety of flowering plants, greenery, bushes, and trees.

I'm looking forward to watching my new room grow and bloom - and will keep you updated on the progress!

~ Blessings ~

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Roses

Not many thoughts today.
But I am finding so much comfort in the love you all sent me.
Thank you...from the bottom of my heart.

Beautifully pale, blush colored roses
brought home to celebrate the sale of our lake house ~

became a balm for the emptiness in my soul instead.

~ Blessings ~

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Another Angel in Heaven

Good bye,
sweet girl.

We will miss you so very much.

The way you greeted us every morning with your loud meow.
The kisses you covered my toes with as I stood at my craft table painting.
  Your loud, rumbling purr that I felt deep in my chest as I hugged you.

Don't be afraid, sweetie. You won't be alone.

TobyTessa, Hannah, Libby, Kodey, Libby, Shiloh, Brandy, Wink, and Punkin are all waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Until we see you again,
we will miss you, sweet Roni ~
and we will carry your love forever in our heart...

 Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together....

~Author unknown

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In Love with Linen


White ruffles like dollops of whipped cream
or fluttery little angel wings.

Nothing feels better or looks better in shabby old French-Nordic inspired farmhouse
than creamy white linen floating above vintage oak floors.

Even the furniture slipcovers, although cotton,
have a linen-like look and feel to them.

I can't seem to get enough of washed linen.

Nestled among my bleached linen/cotton shams
are the down-filled linen shams handmade by my sweet, funny, talented West coast friend,
You know her from her lovely Ticking and Toile blog
and beautiful Etsy shop.

Her creations are made with 100% linen with an incredibly rich and silky feel.
A beautiful creamy vanilla white,
(or whatever color your heart desires)
and ruffles you could completely lose yourself in ~
never wanting to come up for air.

This pillow cuddles a flax colored linen sham I nabbed on eBay 
for a sweet price
because the monogram was accidentally stitched slightly off center.

(I told myself I bought it for the husband because his first name begins with that letter. ♥)

A sofa filled with soft, cushy, wrinkly, smooshy white linen
for snuggling and sprawling in the dappled sunshine.

And then there is this beautiful piece of art.

Silvery blue ruffles like rolling ocean waves.

A linen throw in a such a beautiful color,
also created by Shellagh.

I found myself wrapping it around my body.
I found myself draping it over tables
and letting the silky ruffles cascade down to the floor.

Even the peonies couldn't stop gazing at it.

I watched as the ruffles slipped over themselves
like a waterfall,
creating a puddle of linen on the floor.

I loved it most flowing over the corner of the chaise in the living room
where I could gaze upon the silvery blue puddle every day.

But in the end,
Maizie had the best idea
and claimed it as her own.

A nap among the ruffles.

She's a ruffled linen kind of girl, too...

You can find Shellagh's breathtaking linens in her awesome Etsy shop. 

~  Blessings ~

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No Fear Layering

After playing with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the past year, and seeing the beautiful transformations by Rosemary at Villabarnes and Amy at Maison Decor 
(who, by the way, show no fear by combining colors and washes) ~
I'm learning that the beauty of a painted piece is all in the layering of paint colors.

(Kind of like getting dressed in the morning.)

This little French side table is by far my most favorite piece I've completed since I started painting furniture ~
because of the layering technique I used with four colors.

(Back in April, I applied a two-color technique on this beautiful French dining table.)

When I brought her home from the antique market last month,
this is what she looked like.
Chic and pretty in her little black dress.
Legs to die for.
Detailing to swoon over.

But I envisioned her in a light, summery dress that would compliment the master bedroom better.  Something less formal.

(You know formal attire here.
Scrappy blue jeans, boho tops and bare feet, baby.)

This would be the first time that I would layer so many colors on one piece,
but I was ready to give it a whirl.

I applied a light coat of Duck Egg Blue first.


Pretty ~ but not enough interest and depth yet.

(Like a new pair of jeans that desperately need to be broken in.)

I applied French Linen next.

After letting that dry,
I distressed it with my palm sander
which brought back the Duck Egg Blue as well as the original black and bare wood.

Better ~ but not quite finished yet. 

(Like my soft, broken in, distressed jeans with the holes at the knees.)

The next step was a whitewash of Old White 
which I immediately wiped back with a terrycloth rag.
The watery white paint crept into the nooks and crannies
highlighting the beautiful detailing. 

(Like throwing on a favorite lacy top over those holey jeans.)

After a coat of Clear Wax and rubbing to a subtle shine,

(like putting on my favorite big, silver hoop earrings)

she danced her way into the bedroom in her new summer dress...

barefoot, of course.

It's all in the layering,
whether you're painting a table,
styling a room...


 just pullin' on your favorite jeans.

~  Blessings ~

PS ~ God bless all of you who kept us in your prayers concerning the selling of our lake house. God sent us a buyer (finally) and we close on it this week! The terms and price weren't quite what we wanted, but we are considering it an answer to long time prayer and trusting that we're making the right decision.
Thank you, Lord!  :)

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