Saturday, December 26, 2009

We made the Cover!

You know that we made the cover of Somerset Studio with out collaborative project don't you?! The photos that I am sharing aren't the most wonderful, it is dark again. . . {that's when I seem to have the time to sit down, sigh . . .} It doesn't appear that the next few days will give me any more time for this than I've had, so I decided to just go for it, and replace the photos later. You don't mind terribly, do you? {I have posted each artist's name and web link, if she has one, beneath the photograph of her work.}
Judy Bidwell
Milli Wagoner

Sue McPherson

Ada Pringle
Dede Warren
. . . the champion of our project . . . the one who conceived the idea, bound the finished projects, submitted it to Somerset . . . and generally acted as the catalyst to bring us all together . . . and . . . And . . . that is her work gracing the cover!

I still can't get a good photo of my page . . . glass, you know. . . glares something awful, and I . . . shooting directly under a bright lamp. Just sad results, really. But aren't the others lovely? Aren't the ladies terribly talented?
Each one of us has her own original copy.
Isn't this just the bestest!?
I promise. I promise! I will write this up properly, just the minute that I get a little rest. I promise!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Big Ol' Surprise on the Magazine Rack at Barnes and Noble

Do I ever have something to tell you!? So . . . there I was . . . wandering around Barnes and Noble . . . minding my very late Christmas shopping, and you know how it is . . . you'll see something kind of familiar out of the corner of your eye . . . and then you're drawn to it . . . and it's takes a moment before you're really aware that you're seeing what you're seeing? Okay . . . are you there? Do you feel it? So now, you let your mind wander over to . . . where you've seen that image before, and when you come to . . . you realize that you're looking at the new Somerset Studio and you're in it!

Sort of, anyway. {My blog address is.} Last Summer, Dede Warren invited me . . . and a few other women to work on a collaborative art project, which she ultimately submitted to Somerset Studio, and they picked it up! However; my submission ended up on the cutting room floor . . . so to speak. ah, well . . . ah, well.

Oh, wait! I didn't mention . . . that's our project . . . ON THE COVER!

The other talented ladies, though, are represented pretty well . . . and I, in my never ending public service mode, will share with you, my photos of the entire project.

Unfortunately, I have a new computer . . . that's not the unfortunate part . . . that's actually the good part . . . but unfortunately, the photos that I have taken of our project are on my old one, the one with the cracked mother board . . . let this be a lesson to you to back up your photos. {grin} I'll have to take new ones, and share them with you tomorrow! I hope you can contain your excitement! {Just kidding, you know} There isn't enough light tonight to photograph without flash . . . largely because it's dark. {smile} {It is almost 1:00 AM}

In the meantime, the beautiful and talented ladies involved in this project are:

Dede Warren ~ Dream Create Share

Judy Bidwell ~ My Artistic Side

Milli Wagoner ~ Sashagirl on flikr

Sue McPherson

Ada Pringle {sorry, these last two ladies aren't bloggers}

Now that I can talk about it . . .I would like to publicly thank all of the ladies involved. I LOVE my book. I will cherish the memories of the process forever! Thank you Dede, for inviting me. I promise, if you ever invite me again . . . I'll do a collage. {Grin}

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

The Christmas Tree in our guestroom.

Our guest room has been named by our Grandsons. The proper name is "The Museum". When bedrooms started to empty out around here . . . I had a plan for the perfect room. It had to serve as a guest room, because occasionally the original occupants return. {Big Smile}

My vision was formed from childhood memories of wonderful literature. Didn't every child in every book have: 1) a window seat in which to curl up with a book? 2)a wealthy benefactor with a gorgeous and well stocked library? 3) an intensive education in all the things of nature?

The book shelves in our guestroom are filled with those things of nature and my favorite books, most of them written around the last turn of the century, almost all written before it was half over. There are bird nests, wasp nests, bird eggs, sea shells, preserved butterflies, petrified wood, a couple of rocks and a fossil. {You understand the name, now.}

There are precious toys, like a xylophone, jack in the box, teenie little tea sets, and other things that make it onto my "Special" meter. Nothing is off limits. It's a place for exploration, and understanding, and touching. And of course, there is a window seat. My goal was an idyllic setting for imagination, study and precious reading time. I think it is quite the happiest place in our home. I know three little boys who would agree.

The room is painted the loveliest Robin's Egg Blue. One day our daughter showed our little library to a girlfriend, and I thnk I will hold her reaction in my heart forever. She said, "I think it's even easier to breathe in here."

The original occupant will be making a return visit with his bride in a few days . . . I hope they approve.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Midnight Madness . . . the way I do it

If you've read my blog recently, you might recognize my new end table. Right. Over there. Next to the fireplace. I have owned the components forever, most of them anyway, and I have used them now as props for two recent boutiques. I love it. So why do I bring all of the pieces home and store them? I ask you? This time, I mustered the courage to actually put them in my living room.

What do you think of the result? I kinda like it. I would like to point out, and I may have written about this before, but it bears repeating . . . that was a plain old, tract house brick fireplace with a puny little, slightly raised, brick hearth I was worried about children falling on the bricks, and I really, really, really disliked the fireplace. Really. My wonderful husband built what you see today.
The travertine is just flat . . . you know, floor level. The pillars were once just one antique pillar {that we found at an architectural salvage place}. A cabinet maker friend helped my wonderful husband make it into two pieces, and the rest, as you see, is just gorgeous! It is my favorite part of the entire house.
{You're right. There is no wood in there. I live in a nanny state, and we weren't allowed to burn wood today, even though the temperature topped out at something like 38 degrees. Just too, too, cold. I burned the gas.}

So here it is, the middle of the night, and I was suddenly inspired to put my room together, you know play dress up, like trying new jewelry with an old dress.

We haven't decorated for Christmas yet. My husband's a firefighter. We have a tree for a two week maximum, before Christmas. And we select it together, the whole family, if possible . . . so it's good if we're both home on tree selection day. So far, within our two week window of opportunity, we have had either one of us, or neither at home. Tomorrow looks like it might be the day. {Unless, for some reason he has to work. Happens kind of a lot.}

So, until the red and green comes in, we're still nice, comfy, warm, winter colors . . . green, taupe {sepia, really} . . . . and I do so love it . . . for some reason . . . especially tonight.

{ This is what became of the table that I replaced.}

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Artsy Girls Boutique

I promised to share photos of the boutique. The first photo shows a lot of the things that I made. In spite of myself, I don't have pictures of everything. Can't imagine how that happened.
This painting is the work of my very own lovely and talented daughter, Nevertheless, Elizabeth.

The vintage clocks and sign letters that didn't sell will be for sale on Daughter's Etsy page within a few days. You'll wanna snag those.

Love the Children's Table!

Do you love these scarves? The ones that didn't sell will be for sale in a chic little shop in San Francisco in a week or so.

Hand painted matryoshka dolls, also by Nevertheless, Elizabeth.
. . . actually, I bought this set. :)

But look at this set! Oh my goodness! Okay, I'm her Mom, but the girl knows what she's doing!

The adorable knitted baby accessories, were designed and hand knitted {naturally}, by my lovely daughter-in-law. {interestingly, also an Elizabeth, hence, my occasional use of the expression "the Elizabeths". Now, you know what it means}

Oh, my Goodness! The jewelry! Fully half of our sales were the handmade jewelry!

Oh, I do wish you could have been there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Warning: Shameless Gramma Ahead

Here, Papa and the boys await the arrival of the fair princess {Gramma, . . . naturally} to the magical woods.

We spend one day a week with our grandchildren. Usually at our house. Papa and I cherish this day. I honestly think we all do. This week, Papa and I thought we would do something different . . . take the boys on a hike, and leave the parents at home.

Nobody complained about this arrangement.

I understand the boys slept like hibernating bears that night.
Three boys . . . a rocky bank . . . a body of water . . .
Didn't you think splashes were a forgone conclusion, too?

Christian, helping Papa manage the steep part.

Our artist at work. This young man wished aloud that he could come back and do some serious artwork. {sigh . . .}

Oh . . . my . . . Goodness! Be still my heart.

Our plein air date was made that very afternoon . . .

The young artist took this photo of the rapids, himself. This is the view that he especially wanted to return to sketch. { . . . and, he did.}

Today. This very afternoon.

We made the date . . . I picked him up from school . . . we dined al fresco . . . we sketched . . . we painted . . . I am so in love with my Grandchildren.

Aren't they wonderful?
I am so very, VERY thankful for the precious people in my life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Really Cool Giveaway

Can you believe this wonderful old pre-digital-age newspaper printing plate? Isn't it just the most wonderful? It is part of a giveaway over at Vintage Patina! No, seriously! It's a blog that I only found kind of recently. Where in the world have I been? Her give-away is a thank you to all of you lovely friends out there in blogland . . . for, well, . . . just for being there.
I have spent a little time considering that topic of late. {Considering life before/after discovering blogging.} I don't honestly have many friends who blog, or follow blogs . . . but I recently had a conversation with a new friend who mentioned it, too. {I was very glad to find her.} No matter what time of day or night, there are girlfriends out there. . . you know, . . . in Blogland, waiting to have a cup of tea and a chat. Opening up their hearts. There are people out there like me! There really are people like me! They love their families, their homes, their art, their faith . . . and their blog-friends. I love it! I just love it!
Drop in on Vintage Patina and leave a comment. That will enter you in her drawing for one of these really, super cool printing plates.
I'll try to be back soon with something interesting over here. We're all so busy getting ready for Elizabeth's Artsy Girls Boutique, that I haven't had time to write about all the wonderful things I'm working on. I'll tease, though . . . Not for the boutique, but I'm working on casting sterling silver frozen Charlottes. {There is no way they'll be ready in time.} I'm at the mold making stage. I'm doing it myself! No! Really! . . . and I'm working on fusing glass for a bracelet that I've been wanting to make for five years, now, out of the stained glass scraps from the window that I built for Elizabeth and Justin's wedding. {Shhh! Nobody tell her! It's a surprise!} . . . and . . . I'm working up a class on the soldered charms, that will be held at the Green Pea Boutique in Escalon, California. {I am so excited!} . . . and more! I have more irons in the fire! I am having such fun! . . . AND, Thanksgiving is next week! Can you believe it!?
Soooo . . . what are you thankful for? Me? You wanna know what I'm thankful for? {You are such a thoughtful friend!} Among all my other great and wonderful blessings, {And they ARE. Great and Wonderful!} I am thankful for the blogworld, where I am able to express myself, whether or not anyone is listening, both in written words, and visually. I am just such a happy camper. {all giggles.}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

. . .Thank a Veteran

It's Veteran's Day. This is my son. A Coast Guard Veteran.

My son followed his Grandfathers' footsteps. My Father, his Dad's Father, and his Dad's Grandfather. A very proud history. His Great Grandfather was awarded this little medal below.
The Distinguished Service Cross*

The gentleman with glasses, Einar Winfield Seastrand, is my husband's Grandfather, and an honest to goodness WWI hero. In France. 1918. He was a medic. He risked almost certain death and ran into open fire to drag fallen soldiers back into the trenches where he could treat them.
His citation was signed by General Pershing, under whom he served directly.

My own Father's portrait isn't here yet. I'll have to round one up and get it posted. I'm sure Mom can help me with that! Pop was in WWII. He was on the Victory Ship, Logan Victory. He was "Discharged at Sea" during the Battle for Okinawa. You understand, that means they sank his ship. He was taking a cigarette break and was up on deck when he normally would have been in the belly of the ship. He saw the Kamikaze's face . . . and his eyes as his plane struck the fatal blow to the ship. Pop tried to pull the Captain off the ship, but he wouldn't leave, and ultimately . . . sadly, he did go down with the ship. When Pop awakened, he was floating in the water, toward the island. He didn't know how he got there.

We have a very proud military history, and we are so very, very thankful to those who have served.

*{It's displayed in a sealed frame, the picture was taken through glass, sorry for the quality.}

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Delicious Mulled Apple Cider Recipe

Because my sweet son has recently discovered that all Mulled Cider Recipes are not created equal, I am sharing the recipe that I have used for almost my entire adult life. {Which, just in case you're paying attention, is a substantial amount of time.} I can't remember anymore, where I got this. . . hmmmmm . . . trying . . . no luck. Oh well! Now I get credit for it!

You can add the sugar, or not. I prefer it without.

Mulled Apple Cider
2 quarts sweet apple cider {or apple juice}
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 ~ 3" cinnamon sticks, cracked
15 whole cloves
12 whole allspice
Cinnamon Sticks for garnish

1. Combine cider, sugar, 6 cinnamon sticks, the cloves and allspice in large saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved {do not boil}. Remove from heat. Let stand several hours to allow flavor to develop.

2. Strain cider; return to saucepan. Heat just until hot. Serve garnished with cinnamon sticks.

I don't believe I have ever let it stand several hours. I heat and serve. It does develop flavors beautifully over time, though . . . there's no doubt about that.

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Before I left for the East Coast, I had to prepare goodies for a boutique that Elizabeth, bless her heart, was manning for us. {Preschooler, infant and hubby in tow.}

I made a quick mock-up of my display for her. My hope was that it would make her set-up quicker and easier, kind of working from a plan.
All of the glass charms are made using stained glass techniques, with non-lead solder. I promise.
See the marble? It was one of my son's. If he finds out, I may have to return it.

The charm above is 1" x 1.5". It is a paper scrap from an antique french dictionary behind the shoe. I promise, I absolutely did not tear that book up. Someone else did. And sold it to me. {I am such a hypocrite.}

Between two sheets of glass, these are double sided with vintage ephemera images.
In some cases, the images are copies, like the Victorian scrap birds that I copied, then spent an entire evening cutting out, while spending quality time with my hubby. {watching tv}

This one {above} is an inch square, and almost a half an inch deep. It has a truly vintage millinery flower {from our store . . .sigh} stitched to a piece of vintage green velvet ribbon. The back side is the image from our pretty price tag. Ah. Sweet memories. Which, I suppose is the reason it's called a treasure necklace.

Now, if I had been thinking, I would have made copies of this sweet paperdoll. I couldn't sell it, I liked it so well. It's Elizabeth's now. But I have a couple of antique paperdolls in my stash that I think I'll copy, and shrink. Won't they be the cutest?

{I'm sorry that I didn't get a clear photo of the paperdoll. It doesn't look terribly fuzzy in a small photo, though.}
Isn't this just the bestest fun?!