Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... Obee Designs

All photos courtesy of Gail McGinley/Obee Designs

As part of my continuing Beauty on Etsy Series, I'd like to introduce all of you to a wonderful Etsy shop chock full of beautiful goodies. Gail McGinley opened the Obee Designs shop on Etsy in collaboration with her daughter. They not only make beautiful creations, but they have big hearts, too, as you'll see...

Name of Etsy shop: OBEE DESIGNS

Etsy shop URL:

Blog name and URL:

Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop:
Obee Designs is the place where you can find Fun, Funky or French items for you and your home.

What inspires you to create?
I love anything that is pretty, feminine, Frenchy, pink, cream, Shabby Chic or Fun and Funky. Bees, crowns and Fleur de Lis make it that much better!!

What would you like others to know about your work?
I opened this shop in collaboration with my daughter, who is an art student, to honor my late father, who the shop is named after. He was an artistic man that loved French Baroque style. I guess that's where I acquired my love for French things! We sell French-styled items such as flour sack towels, coasters, sachets and pillows, as well as our line of Near and Dear items.

Is there a particular philosophy you follow?
Stay true to your heart and only make things you love. Chances are if you love them, then your customers will, too. I love to make beautiful, feminine shabby, fun or French items. I try to ask myself when I'm making a product, "Is this something I love and would buy if I saw it in a store?" If it isn't, then I'm pretty sure others won't either. I also like to package my items for my customers in a pretty way. When a customer receives their package, I want them to feel like they are getting something extra special.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your work?
My daughter and I make a special line of T-shirts and necklaces called "Near and Dear." A portion of the proceeds goes to benefit the American Heart Association. My father struggled with heart disease for nearly 10 years before the disease finally took him. My daughter decided to take her heart with wings artwork and make items to benefit the cause Near and Dear to us. Giving a portion of the proceeds not only helps fight the disease, it also helps honor the man we loved. Anyone who purchases one of our items will be honoring and remembering the ones they lost too. It is a win-win for everyone involved. You can go to the link to see the news story:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pretty outdoor pillows...

Pillows are a great love of mine. My bed overflows, there's no room left on the couch, every chair has a mate, and if I could figure out a way to put a pillow in my bathroom, I would do it. Much like books and dishes, having pretty pillows scattered everywhere makes me happy.
Outdoor pillows have become very popular the last several years - and I admit, I have jumped on the bandwagon. Because of the special fabric they require, outdoor pillows can also come with a bit of a price tag, which isn't such a great thing. I came across these simple ideas for making my own outdoor pillows on Martha Stewart's website. The first suggestion was to use those inexpensive vinyl tablecloths to make new coverings - some examples are in the top photo. Ingenious, I thought. The second was to use old fabric napkins to make the covers - the idea being, it's something you have on hand and aren't using, for whatever reason, and they are relatively inexpensive so it wouldn't be a big deal if they were damaged. Their size also makes sewing a snap. You can see some examples of those in the bottom photo. Whether you buy or make them, outdoor pillows add a welcoming touch to an outdoor space ~ perfect for this time of year.

I am linking to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer. Be sure to stop by for your fill of outdoor beauty this week or to join in.

All photos from Martha Stewart Living

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's a Blue Monday...

For the first time, I am joining the popular Blue Monday gathering. The occasion? Finding this very pretty vase on clearance at TJ Maxx. For $6! How could one leave it in the store at that price? It looks smashing in its new home on my dining room table. For this photograph, I moved it by the window for better lighting. Honestly, it looks great there, too. It’s a wonderful piece, with or without flowers ~ I’m absolutely tickled pink (or blue?) with it.
Thanks to Smiling Sally for hosting Blue Monday. Stop by her blog for a list of participants or to join. Wishing you a lovely week filled with lots of beauty...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The fruits (or veggies) of my labor...

With August nearly here, I thought I would update all of you on my venture into container gardening. For those lovely new followers of mine, a little background: There's really no place in my yard for a garden, but I wanted to grow fresh vegetables, so I decided to try growing them in containers. And I am happy to report, everything except the cucumbers are doing quite well. (Seriously, is there a trick to growing cucumbers? Because I am lost. Any tips welcome.)
I started getting my first ripe tomatoes a couple weeks ago, and my green bean plants went to town about three weeks ago. They are now rejuvenating and readying a second round of deliciousness, bless them. I have always purchased fresh green beans at the grocery store, but I discovered there is simply no comparison to them and eating ones just picked before dinner. I am a total convert to just picked freshness.
My herbs are all doing wonderfully - it's a joy to be able to snip a little basil, rosemary or some chives to add to a dish, I must say. Not to mention they look beautiful in my kitchen windows. And my onions seem to be doing well, too. My peppermint plant had a small bug issue a few weeks ago, but a little dish soap and water did the trick. All in all, the container gardening is really working out well.

With all the delicious goodies my labors are bearing, I thought I'd share a light pasta salad I developed that uses quite a few of the veggies and herbs I am growing.

Summer Pasta Salad

Prepare pasta of your choosing according to directions, enough for about four to six people. (I used a mixture of whole grain and regular pasta). While pasta is cooking:

Dice a tomato or two and put in mixing bowl. Chop fresh basil, chives and onion to taste, and add to bowl. Add about a tablespoon of flavored vinegar (I use fig-infused vinegar) and a dash of lime juice. Add 3/4 cup to 1 cup of Italian dressing to the bowl and stir everything together. Add a little water if necessary (a tablespoon or so) and stir. Add about a half cup of dried cranberries, stir well, and refrigerate.

When pasta is done, drain and cool. Add pasta to wet mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You may need to add a splash more Italian dressing before serving.

Wishing all of you time to enjoy the fresh beauty of summer!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Beautiful container garden ideas...

While reading a favorite blog earlier this week, I saw a most ingenious idea for a plant container. That got me thinking and so out I went, seeking more inspiration. I thought I'd share some of what I found - the lovely and unique ideas seem endless.
And if you're curious, please do check out Penny's blog, The Comforts of Home, and in particular, this post, which started me off on my little tangent. Her blog is beautiful and full of inspiration. I'm sure you'll enjoy.

All photos from Martha Stewart Living and Midwest Living

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lovely lavender...

Photos from Caters News Agency

As some of you know, lavender is one of my favorite herbs - the color, the fragrance, the little bit of healing it brings. I have pots of it now and a little here and there in the yard, but one day I shall plant bushels of it to line my front walk way. I can just imagine that wonderful smell wafting up as you walk to the front door... bliss. These beautiful photos are from Somerset Lavender Farm in England. How wonderful would it be to wake up to that beautiful view every morning? (Click here to read more.)
Wishing all of you bits of beauty throughout your day...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The princess and the rose...

The princess - aka, Emily, our little Shih Tzu - decided to help me cut a few of these gorgeous pink and cream roses from our bushes the other day. I think she really just wanted to show off her new summer hair cut to the neighbors (her fur is usually much longer, as you can see here). Either way, she's adorable, don't you think?
Please stop by How Sweet the Sound to check out other Pink Saturday posts. As always, a big thanks to Beverly for hosting this weekly tribute to pink. Have a lovely weekend, all.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Needed: One good cherry pie recipe...

I'm on a mission, dear readers. A mission to find a great cherry pie recipe (or two). There are plenty on the Internet and a few in my cookbooks, but I would really like to have a recipe someone has actually tried - and loved.
Why is this so important? Because I promised my sweetie I'd make him a cherry pie. (Just plain cherry - no berry blends.) This coming weekend. And then I realized - hmmm, I haven't actually made a cherry pie before. I've made other pies, but never a cherry one. And I'd prefer to just make a good one the first time out, rather than experiment. So, if you have a recipe you would recommend...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Unexpected beauty...

This past week, we had a gladiolus bloom in our yard. We've lived here for a few years and it's never bloomed before ~ we didn't even know it was there. Just one, among some other flowers and bushes and calla lilies. We thinned out that area earlier in the season and maybe we made room for it to grow and bloom again without even knowing it. It was a lovely surprise.

I am linking to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Day Dreamer. Stop by and see a little more outdoor loveliness.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tea time beauty...

I found this beautiful tea cup and saucer in a little shop one afternoon browsing with friends. It was the only dish in this pattern. I have a special affinity for orphan tea cups, so naturally I brought it home. The pattern reminds me of autumn ~ it's the mixture of orange and blue, with that little bit of green thrown in. Even though summer is really just getting started where I live, I find myself already looking forward to fall, my favorite season. I can just imagine enjoying a nice tea break with this lovely cup and saucer ~ and a few cookies, of course.
Today I am linking to Tea Cup Tuesday, Teapot and Tea Things Tuesday and Tea Time Tuesday. Please stop by and visit our lovely hostesses for a little more tea time beauty.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Wishing all of my fellow Americans a sweet and fun Fourth of July holiday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... afiori

All photos from afiori. Above, Eiffel tower love, mixed media collage. Below, various journals and notebooks.

Today is another installment in my Beauty on Etsy Series, featuring artists and bloggers I adore ~ lovely, talented people who add a little more beauty to the world. I am thrilled for you to meet Maria-Thérèse at afiori. Her Etsy shop is full of gorgeous photographs, mixed-media collages and journals. Sometimes I browse through her Etsy shop just to cheer myself up, and her blog is one of my favorites. So, without further ado...

Your name: Maria-Thérèse Andersson. Maria-Thérèse is like one name.

Name of Etsy shop: afiori

Etsy shop URL:

Blog name and URL: (Main site:

Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop: Fine art photography, collages and one-of-a-kind notebooks with mixed paper inside and my prints on the covers.

What inspires you to create? I am inspired most of the time! I have always had a great urge to create things, to invent something new, to collect my impressions and turn them into art. Often, an image or a sentence will appear in my head - sometimes in a very finished way - and I try to make it real. Making imagination real is a big part of what my business afiori is about.
Paper, paint and art supplies in general also inspire me, but most of the time I just have this feeling that I need to create something. I will see a collage in my head, part of a poem or start to think about a problem or a question which I will then illustrate to try to understand it.

What would you like others to know about your work? Is there a particular philosophy you follow? I create everything with my heart and soul and I believe it shines through in what I do. I don't try to be like anyone else and I don't try to be popular. That is how I've lived my life so far, not necessarily by choice, but recently I have become increasingly convinced that it is the right thing to do. I think that if something is fake, people will eventually know and the work will be hollow. I want to do things that are important to me and that I can proudly sign with my name.
I have been a vegetarian my entire life and do not create anything using leather or other animal products. My work is part of me, even if people will interpret what they see according to their own view.
Many of my images are created using both photographs and paintings or collage elements. I really like to paint and actually don't have Photoshop (which seems downright shocking to a lot of people!)

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your work? Well, I live in Härnösand, which is a beautiful town by the sea in Sweden. I moved here partly because of the sea and because I studied here (I have a Master's Degree with a major in English Literature). I started my business last year and am looking for opportunities to collaborate with other artists and to exhibit my work in other countries as well.

Above, Adagio in G Minor, fine art photograph. Below, The Secret Garden, fine art photograph. Photos from afiori.