Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Pretty fabrics, part deux

Greetings, all. I hope this finds you enjoying the week. And if not, I hope these pretty swatches of fabric brighten your day and maybe get your creative juices flowing.
For those who are new to my blog, a little background: As a rule, I dislike Tuesdays. To help combat that, I decided to start posting pretty pictures each Tuesday of whatever strikes my fancy. It gives me (and hopefully you) something to look forward to.
As previously noted, I adore fabric. Old fabric, new fabric - I could spend hours in a fabric store on a regular basis dreaming up new schemes for drapes, upholstery, pillows, etc. Fabric is one of those things everyone can use to brighten their surroundings, no matter what their taste. I particularly enjoy finding vintage fabrics like some of these; it's always interesting to see what people enjoyed in the past. The best is when you come across a classic pattern - one that is as beautiful and appealing today as it was when it was made umpteen years ago. I redid my dining room chairs using some vintage fabric I found on eBay (a great place to hunt for that sort of thing, by the way.) If you'd like to see my chairs, click here.
All the fabrics you see here are swatches I found one day searching for inspiration. Maybe they'll inspire you to wander into a fabric store and add a bit of beauty to your life.
As always, best wishes for a beautiful week!

Photo credits below: Laineys Repertoire via flickr

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pink Saturday...

Happy Pink Saturday, all! I've missed the last couple weeks, but I am glad to be back. Today I thought I would share some of my pink dishes, compliments of my grandma. (Excuse the not-so-great photo). My grandma gave me her depression glass pink cake plate, the tea cups with pink flowers and the beautiful cream plate and bowl in the background with pink and gold designs. The bowl and plate actually belonged to my great-grandmother, so it's nice they've been handed down. Those adorable pink glass salt and pepper shakers in the front aren't old, but they are from my grandma. She found them on one of her little shopping excursions and of course thought I had to have them.
As part of Pink Saturday, I'd like to feature a blog I discovered through this event. Be sure to stop by and see Vicki at Bunny Cottage. I'm sure you'll find something cute to enjoy. :)
Also, don't forget to stop by the other blogs participating in Pink Saturday. You can find a complete list at How Sweet the Sound. As always, thanks to Beverly for hosting.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Autumn is here!

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.
~George Elliott

This week's Tuesday brightener was going to be the sequel to my pretty fabrics post, but... then I remembered today is the first day of fall and so the fabric got pushed back another week. (I figured it's already been a couple weeks, one more wouldn't hurt.) Because, really, what could be a better brightener this week than the arrival of my favorite season?
So, to brighten everyone's Tuesday, here's a glimpse of things to come. It's such a great time of year - I hope you embrace and enjoy all the beauty fall brings. Dig out your sweaters and blankets, bring home some mums, take a few walks to enjoy the changing leaves and then top it off with a cup of cider. (This recipe for Spiced Apple Cider from Victoria magazine sounds great if you're in the mood to try something a little different.)

Photo credit: KaCey97007 via flickr

Photo credit: Victoria magazine

I hope this little glimpse of the new season brightens your day. Ah, fall...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The beauty of restoring order...

Photo credit: Country Living

Greetings, all! I apologize for being gone longer than anticipated, but it's been hectic around here this entire month. Realizing that I simply was at my limit, I spent the entire weekend cleaning, rearranging, sorting and organizing so that I could feel sane again. There is something so incredibly comforting about the beauty that comes from restoring order to one's surroundings.
In preparation for the change in seasons, I pulled the covers off the furniture and changed the colors to something more fall/winter. I scrubbed everything to within an inch of its life. Rearranging a little furniture got the creative juices flowing and I finally got my dining room situated perfectly (it's only taken me two years to get it just right). I even managed to get my closet cleaned out and reorganized to make room for the fabulous new clothes I bought for the new season. My cupboards are stocked once again and there are gorgeous fall mums on my coffee table.
Oftentimes I have found that the simple process of restoring order and clearing out to make room for the new, whatever it is, rejuvenates me. After all, if your life/house/mind is just stuffed all the time, where will you put (figuratively speaking) all the wonderful new goodies the universe has ready for you? A clear out can do you and your life the world of good. There is something supremely satisfying about looking around your home and seeing nothing but beauty. No items to be put away, no floors to be cleaned, no projects left scattered. Just a clean, beautiful home that emanates serenity. Let order reign. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just a quick note...

Hello, all. I'm taking a short break and should be back next week. Until then, please enjoy some of my older posts from the archive. There's some good stuff in there. :)
See you later.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pink Saturday...

Happy Pink Saturday!
Before the summer gets away from us and our rose bushes completely stop blooming, I thought I would share some of their beauty. The pale pink roses in the vase are from a gorgeous climber that creates these fat, beautiful blooms. The pink and cream roses are not only stunning, they smell wonderful, too. I love roses that actually still have a scent. The second photo is of another pink bush. We have other colors, too, but the pinks are my favorite.
Thanks again to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting Pink Saturdays. Stop by her blog for a complete list of participants - it's fun to hop around and see all the fabulous pink everyone shares.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Summer's last hurrah...

Photo credit: Pink Sherbet via flickr

With Labor Day weekend just ahead, I thought it would be appropriate to indulge in some of the goodies summer brings one last time. Each season brings with it much beauty and many pleasures; I believe enjoying those unique gifts helps bring us more in harmony with nature. In other words, eat what's in season and take part in the activities each season brings. Mother Nature knows we all need beauty and a change now and then, so she brings both to us every few months.
Enjoy summer's last hurrah this month (at least here in the States) and head out to the beach one more time before the autumn chill descends. Keep cranking up the barbecue grill until you've had your fill of hamburgers and hotdogs and whatever else. Get the last of the season's fresh lemons and berries and make lemonade and a wonderful summer dessert.
I'm partial to lemons and am fortunate enough to have access to a lemon tree that produces the lemoniest lemons I have ever tasted, complete with that beautifully strong fresh lemon scent. I use them throughout the summer in water, tea and fresh lemonade. I also like to indulge in a lemon-flavored sweet or two in the summer, and thought you would enjoy this recipe from Betty Crocker for super-easy, really good cookies. It uses a mix, but hey, it's still summer and you don't want to spend all day in a hot kitchen.

Lemon Cookies
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist lemon cake mix
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container lemon frosting (or vanilla or buttercream or whatever your pleasure is)

Heat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark or nonstick cookie sheets). In large bowl, beat cake mix, shortening, butter and egg on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until blended. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or until light brown around edges. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely and frost with frosting. Store covered.

And if you want to do something the old-fashioned way, here's a recipe from Country Living via delish.com for homemade lemonade:

1 cup sugar
6 large lemons, seeded and juiced

Bring the sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves completely. Cool. Stir the sugar syrup, unstrained lemon juice and 4 cups of cold water together in a large pitcher. Chill and serve over ice.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart Living

Berries are also a wonderful summer indulgence. I particularly like the ease of this recipe from Martha Stewart Living - it makes a great dessert to try. If you don't care for raspberries, I'm sure you could substitute another berry.

Raspberry Ice Cream Cake
1 loaf pound cake, sliced horizontally into thirds (in other words, you're going to have three layers)
1 1/2 cups raspberries (6 ounces)
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
Confectioners' sugar, for serving

Place bottom layer of cake on a large piece of foil or in a loaf pan of equal size. Sprinkle half the raspberries over cake, spread evenly with half the ice cream, and top with another cake layer. Repeat with remaining raspberries, ice cream and cake. Wrap with foil and freeze at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove cake from freezer about 30 minutes before serving. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar.

Best wishes for a lovely holiday weekend - wring every last bit of beauty out of summer while it lasts. Happy end-of-summer, all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Workshops and parties... oh my!

Photo credit: Martha Stewart Living

I realize it's a bit early to be thinking about Halloween, but...
I received an e-mail inviting me to sign up for a free online 8-week Halloween workshop hosted by the editors of Martha Stewart Living. It looks like such fun I thought I'd share it with you, in case you are interested, too. They'll be doing all sorts of great fall/Halloween decorating, recipes, crafts, etc. It starts Sept. 7, so check it out soon. The link is: http://www.marthastewart.com/halloween-workshop?xsc=eml_hws_2009_08_31
While we're on the topic of Halloween, the delightful A Fanciful Twist is hosting a blog Halloween party on Oct. 17. Click on the box in my sidebar for details and please consider joining in the fun.
Autumn is my favorite season - I love Halloween and Thanksgiving - so I'll be indulging in all things fall as the weather cools - pumpkins, mums, Indian corn, etc. I hope you'll join me as we walk through all the beauty the upcoming season holds.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday brightener... Pretty fabrics, part une

Photo credits: Laineys Repertoire via flickr

Greetings, all! I am back from my fabulous long birthday weekend. My love arranged a surprise trip to San Francisco and it was wonderful. I found out that's where we were going when we got to the airport. Isn't that a great birthday gift? I haven't had a chance to go through my pictures, but if there's anything worthwhile in there, I'll post them.
OK, on to the business of the day. This week's Tuesday brightener is actually the first of a two-parter on beautiful fabric patterns. There was just too many to share in one post. I came across these photos of a fabric collection and thought they were just lovely. I absolutely love fabric - I get so inspired wandering around in a fabric store. Using fabric is such an easy (and fairly inexpensive) way to build a beautiful room - think table runners, slipcovers, pillows, drapes, even placemats and napkins. I love putting patterns together that surprise and complement one another. The bottom two fabrics, for example, would go lovely together. I would use the floral as the main fabric and the paisley as an accent. I'm not sure what I would pair that top one with - that would require a little more thought than my brain is allowing right now, but that second one would look lovely with a nice clean pink stripe, don't you think?
Stop by next Tuesday for the rest of this lovely collection. Until then, I wish you great fabric finds and much inspiration.