27 May 2015

Butterfly Wreath

I have been making wreaths. This one is a little time consuming, but the result is pretty.

The supplies needed are on the collage.

I made two different kinds. Personally, I prefer the one with the more expensive moss, but it took an entire bag. The expensive moss is prettier, cleaner, smells fresher, and is more compact. In contrast, the wreath for the front porch was made with inexpensive moss.  I used a punch to make butterflies, because it is faster than cutting my own. I used scrap booking paper that I already had, though any will do. If the paper is thinner the butterflies are a little floppy. The pins were tiny silver ones from the sewing section, though on the outside wreath I added a few colored ones for accents. I found the wreath form at a dollar store.

One For the Front Porch...

I hot glued the moss on, pinned the cut-out butterflies, pinned the ribbon, and that was that.

And One for the Sleeping Porch...

Have a wonderful week.



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25 May 2015

The Old Front Porch

I'm actually not blending in with this house, and I've gone outside my comfort zone. My spouse's too. (It also may be a shock to your system, because I use a lot of grays and whites here. ) When we first moved here, there were only a few houses fixed, and most were a shade of beige or brown, a safe desert color, but brown is extremely dreary on these types of old houses. Fortunately, on these old houses there are no rules and no HOA. Then came the pink and white house, and it was so adorable. Well, I decided then to paint ours blue and white. But in addition to SW rain and SW Pure White, it now has accents of SW Lime Granita (a custom color, because it was an interior color, and the formula had to be changed to create the shade we wanted. So if you actually want to use it, you can ask me for the formula.) (I actually do love color.)

We added shutters, which are on most of the houses in the neighborhood. I could not find old ones, so these are custom made from either sustainable redwood or teak because they needed to be 59 inches. (Vinyl will disintegrate here.) In front of this window is our flowering cottage garden. It can't be seen from the street, because it is behind the grasses. It is a little sitting area under the tree, and someday when the tree has enough shade, I'm going to place a bench under it.

Now, the 71 year old house is cheerful, and it puts a smile on our faces when we see it from the street.


2.5 years ago
(The tree on the right was moved to the back and replaced.)

3 years ago
Everything was dead! You can't see it in this photo, but the front door had a jagged hole in it that someone made with an ax, and wrote in sharpie "mail here". We restored the giant corner windows, and when we replaced the roof, we restored the roof line with the tiles, moved the roof vents to the backside of the house, and used new energy efficient material. Around here, the attic is probably 30 to 40 degrees cooler in the summer with a white roof. (White roofs were common and still are on the old houses that have not been repaired.) The porch support was not original and probably from the 60s or 70s, and it had to be removed day one, because it was rusted through. See how drab it was.  

When the shutters came in, it was my daughter that encouraged me to go beyond white. She selected three shades of green in sample cans, and then we painted canvases, which we leaned against the house in order to get an idea of how it would look. It's sort of a variegated agave color. You see there is a rhyme and reason to this choice.

Yes, it is very different from the back! I wanted the back peaceful and besides, I like white wood. On the front all the wood trim and the wooden carport are white. So I have a house with two blue sides, and 2 white sides, but the only one that knows is us and you. The concrete brick is blue except for in the back where it is white. The front is for us, but also for the neighborhood.

The Bell is the Doorbell 
Now in our neighborhood, in addition to ours and the pink house, there is  a yellow house, a sage green, a gray one with bright red trim, a mustard, a shamrock green with white, an orange and green one... and so on... The orange and green one is pretty cool, though it doesn't sound like it when I write it. Neighbors suddenly felt free to do something different. The original color of this house was mint green. How do I know? My daughter's wall in her closet was an outside wall, because at some point  her room was an addition, and the once outside wall is an interior wall and it was mint. (But we had the blue paint already.)

My spouse rebuilt the companion Adirondack chair to the other, because they were retrieved rotted from a dumpster pile.

Now, you might be thinking where are the cacti? These are all drought tolerant plants, and I have no cacti in the front. I personally don't like cacti in front of old houses, unless they are Spanish or mid century modern. It's not that I don't love cacti; it's just that they are sculptural and not, soft. I wanted grass, but a lawn won't grow, because we are too close to the mountain, but ornamentals will. These do not seed, so they do not spread. (Some do spread, so you need to check before choosing.) If you want to make more of them, you have to separate them. And depending on the lighting and time of day there is a lot of cranberry in them.

It's a very simple home, nothing fancy, but small and sweet and it makes us want to eat macaroons and sit at the beach. Vibrant colors are pretty on certain older desert homes, mid-centuries, and more modern/contemporary ones. 

Later this week, I will show you the wreath(s) we made. One is outside.
Thanks for visiting.

20 May 2015

Splendiforous Simplicity: Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is so elegant, and it could be fancy, but if you want to do it often, it might have to be unpretentious. Today, I have a treat for you. First, these photos are my daughter's. Secondly, this is the second effortless and uncomplicated project this week!

Afternoon tea... 

Today the china is Alice inspired. " Oh mouse, Oh mouse do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired of swimming about here..." 

There is paper for drawing. 

There are objects from nature. She set the table with this pretty sea shell that she purchased from a second hand store.

Then she chose her Alice teacups. See the Dodo Bird.  That's her favorite image on these cups.

On the table, she placed the powdered sugar container.

She then added two antique copies of Alice in Wonderland  for reading and browsing.

She also added a flower from the bouquet earlier this week.

And here is her cookie secret. You only need the box of cookies and powdered sugar. These wafer thin cookies are for me, and there is only 130 calories in 9 wafers. 

Elegant and Easy...

She took this photo and the first photo in the series while she sprinkled the lemon wafers with powdered sugar. Don't they look beautiful and fanciful? I love the powdered sugar rain.


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I'm also joining Vanessa from Fanciful Twist on July11th for her Mad Hatter Tea Party. I think this is our fourth time celebrating with her.

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18 May 2015

Pin Bowl

This is the easiest project ever, and I give credit to  Kerryanne at Shabby Art Boutique.  She has a beautiful blog about shabby with lots of craft ideas. She is also an artist. I did not know this trick! I found a little bowl that didn't belong to a set that I had lying around. A vintage bowl would be nice, but each one I picked up my daughter said, "No, not that one."

I used four magnets, because I could not find one single, bigger strong one. I positioned them so they would not repel each other and hot glued them on rather messily. These were 5/8 size which was between the size of a dime or a nickel, but thicker. 

Now the pins have some traction in the bowl.  The package of magnets was 2.00 and I still have four left to pick up the spare pins that we drop on the floor. Who would have known!? I'm sure lots of you do, but I never payed attention to my mother's sewing lessons. This week, we are working on a couple of projects that involve pins, and this will come in handy. 

Thank you for visiting.


A little bowl with a cover would be great too.

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17 May 2015

Seven on Sunday

Since Mother's Day I've enjoyed some flowers in the home. This week I decided to buy them, because I discovered that a bunch can be found for 3.99 or 4.99; if, I am choosy. And since I feel like I am spoiling myself, I put something back that I don't really need from the grocery store. It's my way of being frugal. 

Gerbera Daisies... I have never seen them this color before. They are sort of a French pink with a chocolate center and a ring of cream around the center. 

I needed to wait for my spouse to move them, because I over filled the water, and I hate wasting.

We had a relaxing weekend of music with friends without competitions. Also, my daughter and I worked on some wonderful projects in our potting shed. We also worked on selecting a paint color for our  exterior front door, but it did not go as planned. The paint looks different than the sample we purchased, so back to the store.

And just some randomness...

1. Trader Joe's and sometimes Whole Foods have a nice selection of affordable flowers. I don't usually shop at WF, but it is right next to Trader Joe's and they do have tasty chicken salad.

2. I enjoyed Victoria Magazine's issue of Victoria Classics: French Country

3. I hope it's just a matter of time before the drought is over in some of the western states. Here in Arizona we had our wettest May day ever in the Phoenix area, and we are probably on record to have our wettest May ever.  We usually get none. The last record was in 1951 and that was .24 of an inch. On Friday we received almost an inch of rain, and in some parts of the valley over an inch. When it rains hard and fast there is no where for water to go because the ground is clay. These are really handy: sandless sand bags. They are a little pricey, and I was skeptical, but we couldn't find real sand bags. The package is small!? There are two ways to use them. The first way is preventive; wet them, place where needed, and they act like a dam. The second way to use them is absorption of excess water. They come in two shapes. Lay them out and this happens. Best of all, these are reusable; the water evaporates and it shrinks again if you leave them outside to dry. We needed four. One became quite long, and  it could have probably covered the length of two French doors.

4. Fact: Most houses in Arizona don't have rain gutters, because it doesn't rain much here. Rain barrels are on our to do list.

5. All of us loved this film: Seymour.  We laughed. We cried. Seymour really described what life was like as a classical pianist and some of the quirkiness, and it definitely crosses over into the other worlds of art. Matt Damon  Ethan Hawke as a narrator and sometime interviewer is at times a little annoying, but overall the film was touching.We went with a a friend and his daughter. He is visual artist, and he loved it too. It leaves you pondering.

6. We are reading Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. We are well read, but I've avoided reading these books with my daughter, because I find them too depressing, but the new film looks interesting.

7. We are using Duolingo to learn French and we are probably 70 percent through. But we are also using it to pick up some German and Italian. I don't have much of a problem with Italian, because my college Spanish gets me by.

Thank you for visiting, and I'm catching up on reading your blogs after a few days off