Saturday, August 28, 2010

Inspiration, pink, giveaways... What a beautiful weekend!

Today is an especially beautiful day, dear friends...
First and foremost, it is, of course, Pink Saturday. But this isn't just any Pink Saturday, but a special one, dedicated to inspiration and gratitude. It also happens to be my birthday and my 200th post. And, I'm holding a giveaway... but more on that later.
Thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound, Pink Saturday is joining with Kelee at The Katillac Shack for A Miracle Party blog event. The party is being held to celebrate Colette Gauthier's recovery from cancer ~ which was aided last year by bloggers, Kelee and Guideposts Magazine, who refused to let her fight cancer in a soulless room, devoid of beauty. Please visit The Katillac Shack to see the reveal ~ which is being featured in the September issue of Guideposts Magazine ~ and to register for some wonderful giveaways.
You can also contribute to future makeovers simply by leaving a comment at The Katillac Shack, Country Wings in Phoenix, Pink Saturday and Spiritual Sundays. Each comment left at each site earns a $1 donation toward another makeover project. It's an easy way to spread a little beauty to people who really need it.

One of the giveaways at The Katillac Shack is for this lovely painting.

As part of the Miracle Party blog event, we were asked to share something inspiring, something about celebrating life's gifts, be they little or big. So here's mine: When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I was searching for a creative outlet. My career had taken a turn from doing the stuff I really loved ~ writing and editing ~ to more administrative type work. And while I have no complaints because I am truly, truly grateful to be employed in the current economy, I was longing to connect with people again. To write something more than just basic e-mails.
As a journalist, I wrote for thousands of people every day for years. As an editor, I helped shape the next day's paper. Both were roles I relished. I loved getting those calls, e-mails, letters from the community ~ the nice ones and the not so nice ones ~ because either way you knew you had connected, you had broadened someone's knowledge, someone's world. On the really good days, I was able to help someone with the words I wrote. Then, I found myself in a job where the words didn't matter so much anymore and creativity wasn't exactly encouraged. After a couple years of that, I found that I dreaded getting out of bed in the morning, knowing there was nothing interesting awaiting me.
Then, one day at work, I was cruising around the internet (shhh ~ don't tell) and I somehow stumbled onto a blog, The Comforts of Home. And I was instantly in love. I had never really paid much attention to blogs previously, but suddenly, I felt like I had discovered fire. I was so inspired by this newfound world of expression and creativity, I took the plunge and started my own blog, which you kindred spirits are now reading. I decided I would focus on sharing my love of beauty, partly because I was hoping to inspire people to add more beauty to their lives and partly because I needed a constant reminder to focus on the good, the beautiful, instead of what was lacking in part of my life. At first I worried no one would bother to visit or find me among the millions, but sure enough, you did. And you kept coming, which inspired me to write and share more about living beautifully. And now, I belong to this wonderful little creative world waiting for me to add something more to it. A world that has given me not only this blog and my lovely readers, but a chance to write for a new e-magazine, Belle Inspiration. Because all of you took time out of your week to visit and follow my blog and leave a comment (and still do), you lifted me and gave me back something precious that I had misplaced for awhile. So, thank you, all of you.

"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
~Albert Schweitzer

And, since this is my 200th post (yay!) and today is my birthday, I thought I would celebrate and say thank you with a little giveaway ~ a sampler pack from Sweet Cheeks Bakery. Yum. The winner gets to choose three different types of cookies; there are 42 cookies in a sampler pack, so you'll get a little more than a dozen of each. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower and leave a comment on this post. I'll leave the giveaway open through the end of the month. (I'll contact the winner with a list to choose from. If you don't have a blog, please leave your e-mail in your comment.) Good luck to all, and don't forget to stop by The Katillac Shack and register for those giveaways, too.
I'm off to celebrate my birthday. Wishing all of you a sweet weekend, full of inspiration and gratitude...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... Cottage by The Pond

All photos courtesy of Cottage by The Pond

For the latest installment in my Beauty on Etsy series, featuring Etsy shops I adore, I'd like to introduce you to a talented mother-daughter creative team, Diane and Holly Knott. Their work includes everything from beautiful bags and scarves and handmade home items to sewing patterns and jewelry. I am particularly fond of one of their newest creations - pincushions/lavender sachets. I bought one from their Etsy shop, Cottage by The Pond, and it arrived yesterday. It is beautiful ~ a true work of art ~ and it smells heavenly. I will be using it to display some of my grandmother's vintage pins (all I have to do is remember where I put them). So, without further ado...

Name of Etsy shop: Cottage by The Pond

Etsy shop URL:

Blog name and URL: Diane Knott's Musings
and Finger Lakes Art

Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop:
From my studio (Diane's) they'll find hand-sewn pillows using vintage fabrics, laces and trims and unique embellishments; wall hangings, artwork, fiber jewelry made with vintage and unique materials, as well as sewing patterns I have designed.
And from mine (Holly’s), they’ll find one-of-a-kind handbags, tote bags, wristlets, scarves for both cold and warm weather, small contemporary art quilts (mostly landscapes and nature scenes), and greeting cards of the quilts. Together, Mom (Diane) and I are creating a line of sewing patterns that include items like scarves, bags, wallhangings, table runners, etc. Easy to make, lots of raw edge appliqué. Great for beginners and advanced stitchers alike.

What inspires you to create?
Diane: I can't be idle. I'm not a TV watcher, would much rather have a project or a paintbrush in my hands. I just can't help it. I've always been motivated to be productive and creative; studied art in college and have always earned my living with my creations, whether 3D or by my paintings.
Holly: Nature, and the amazing fabrics available today! I really enjoy photographing nature, and then turning my photos into either landscape art quilts or pairing together fabrics on my bags and scarves that remind me of the seasons, or have leaves appliquéd on them. I even print some of my photographs directly onto fabric and incorporate them into some of my products. I love the four seasons and all the different colors and sights they bring to us.

What would you like others to know about your work? Is there a particular philosophy you follow?
Diane: I like to reuse and recycle and create with things that have been loved, used and probably handmade by other women in the past. I have a love for old things of all kinds, fiber, wood, tin, etc. I'm a collector. I'm afraid once bitten I can't stop! I hope that everyone who likes my work sees the value in things from the past being used again and passed on for future generations to enjoy. In my paintings, I try to paint subjects that make people feel good, homey things, the kinds of things that give comfort. I'm not into art with a political message. I just want to make people's eyes happy and make them smile.
Holly: No hidden meanings in my work. I often use hand-dyed fabric (some dyed by me, some dyed by others and purchased by me), and I often cut free-form and don’t measure or follow any patterns. I don’t like to make the same item twice, so when you purchase anything made by me, unless otherwise noted, it’s all unique and one-of-a-kind. As Mom said above, I like people to feel good when they view my work; nothing political or angry in it, no statements.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you and your work?
Diane: That I love creating! It's important for me to leave something of myself behind when I'm gone from this Earth, and to feel that while I'm here I'm using the gifts and talents that God has given me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Add a little loveliness...

Finding simple ways to add a little more loveliness to my world is like a great big hug from the Universe. I came across these wonderful ideas and thought I'd share.
If you have a great old mirror but no use for it, glue felt to the back and use it as a tray. Perfect for a bit of glamour on a dressing table or nightstand. Or, store your sugar in a glass canister and use a pretty tea cup for the scoop. Beauty and function all in one - love it. I am totally on a quest now to get some of those glass canisters. Old colored bottles displayed in front of a window offer a stained-glass effect at a fraction of the price. And if you're in the mood for a subtle change, swap out your candles with a different color, such as pink - my favorite.
After all, paying attention to the little things adds up to a beauty-filled life...
Stop by this weekend for a chance to enter my sweet, sweet giveaway. More details to come. :)

All photos from Country Living

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beauty and pathways...

May all your paths this week lead to beauty; may you find loveliness awaits as you walk through every gate. And should it not, stop and leave a little beauty behind so the next person who walks down that path will find something lovely awaiting them.
Wishing everyone a beautiful week...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Peaceful pinks for Pink Saturday...

Happy Pink Saturday, all! It's been a busy week for me so I thought I would close it out with some lovely images radiating calm. I adore the simplicity of that all-white dining room with just the smallest touches of pink. The roses and dessert plates? Perfection. And the vintage pinks in the kitchen are enough to make me swoon...
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend, full of beauty and calm. Be sure to stop by and see Beverly, our Pink Saturday hostess, at How Sweet the Sound.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Favorite find... beautiful bed linens

It's been awhile since I've done a Friday favorite find, so when I came across this bedding sale at Pottery Barn, I thought I would share. I always enjoy perusing the Pottery Barn catalogs, but I'm not exactly a devotee. Their look tend to be a little too perfect, too pulled together for me. I prefer a more eclectic look with finds from everywhere. Still, they do some things very well, and bedding is definitely one of them. They have some gorgeous bed linens on sale right now, if you're interested in a little something new for the upcoming season. And if not, the window shopping is still good...

All photos from Pottery Barn

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I wish, I wish...

It's Wednesday ~ time to step back and make a wish. I wish, I wish, I wish... for time. But not just more time in general. I wish for time to turn my recent yarn purchases into lovely bits of knitted beauty. I have tried several times in the past few weeks to start new knitting projects but something always seems to get in the way - laundry, cleaning, errands, etc. There's an old saying ~ When God made time, He made enough of it ~ which reminds me that making time for what truly makes our heart sing is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. Perhaps the laundry or vacuuming can wait. Maybe I need to take the time to turn these beautiful skeins...

into these...

Or these...

into these...

Creating some knitted beauty seems like a good way to spend a few hours this week, don't you think? Fingers crossed that my wish comes true...
To add your wishes to the Wednesday wish list, stop by Just a Happy Housewife. Thanks to my buddy Kathie for starting this event, which is shaping up to be one of my favorites.
Wishing all of you bits of beauty to brighten your days...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lighting the way, one tea cup at a time...

It's Tea Cup Tuesday, the perfect time for me to share this delightful little tea cup lamp I picked up about five or six years ago. I was out shopping one afternoon with friends and found this in a little shop. The owner's husband had taken some old, unused tea cups and crafted this lamp. I fell in love with it on the spot and took it home with me.
It took me a little while to find the right shade. One lampshade I brought home was way too big ~ it nearly swallowed half the lamp. I don't know what I was thinking on that one. Then I realized it needed more like a little top, hence the shade in proportion with the lamp. Once I put it on... perfection. Isn't it adorable? It's one of those things that nearly everyone who visits my home comments on ~ everyone falls in love with the little tea cup lamp.

Thanks to Martha and Terri for hosting Tea Cup Tuesday. Head over to Martha's Favorites or Artful Affirmations to see more tea time loveliness or to join in.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer window treatments...

Just a few pretty window treatments to inspire you this week. They all look like summer, don't they? Might as well enjoy it while it's still here...
Wishing all of you a wonderful week, filled with beauty.

All photos from Country Living

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Faded beauty... and a 'Cherry on Top'

My blogging buddy Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife was sweet enough to pass on this award to me. Isn't it cute? I always think it's sweet when someone passes one of these on to me ~ it's just nice to be thought of, whether you play along or not. This one is a little different than most, so I thought I would pass it on.
With the award, you are supposed to thank the person who gave the award to you; post it on your blog; list three things you love about yourself (hmmm...); post a picture you love; and pass the award on to five new people.
I'm skipping the list of loves, but I did post a favorite photo of mine, above. I took this photo earlier this year and I've always called it "Faded Beauty" in my mind. I love how the rose is still beautiful, even though it's past its prime. And that insect seems to like it, too.
I'd like to pass this cute little award on to some new blogs I've discovered, and a couple of old favorites:
Thoughts from Meme's Corner ~ Anyone who starts blogging at 80 deserves a little 'Cherry on Top.' Just a sweet blog.
The Working Home Keeper ~ A new discovery. I like her style and enjoy reading her blog. And she has some great homekeeping ideas.
My Carolina Kitchen ~ I just love reading about Sam's adventures and her recipes are wonderful. This award seems somehow particularly fitting for one of my favorite food blogs.
Martha's Favorites ~ One of the great collectors in blogland. Anyone who has that many tea cups ~ and delights in getting everyone to share theirs ~ is A-OK in my book.
One Size Fits All ~ A new blog on relationships, size, fashion and life in general. I have laughed out loud several times reading it ("Am I supposed to know who Blake Lively is?") and I bet quite a few of you would, too.
I hope all of you enjoy this little bit of blog love. Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend, full of beauty (faded or not)...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beauty on Etsy... Le Boudoir Secret

For the latest installment in my Beauty on Etsy series, I would like to introduce you to Heather at Le Boudoir Secret, who makes some absolutely beautiful and unique jewelry. I am fortunate enough to own several of her creations. The first two were gifts from a friend ~ a fabulous funky necklace and a pin that says "tempestuous goddess" ~ and the third I purchased. In fact, the piece I bought is similar to the necklace in the first photo. Read on and enjoy...

Name of Etsy shop: Le Boudoir Secret

Blog name: Living with a constant muse

Briefly describe what browsers and buyers will find in your Etsy shop:
Le Boudoir Secret is filled with one-of-a-kind jewelry that is hand created for the passionate soul.

What inspires you to create?
My inspirations are many. Sometimes just seeing two colors dancing together invokes a need to create. Other times, I am inspired by nature or the kindness of others.

What would you like others to know about your work? Is there a particular philosophy you follow?
My biggest philosophy is that if I wouldn't wear it or buy it for a gift, it's not good enough to sell in my shop.

Anything else you'd like us to know about you and your work?
I love to create commission pieces!

All photos courtesy of Le Boudoir Secret

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Wishes... Window seats

Kathie @ Just a Happy Housewife is having a fun meme today ~ Wednesday Wishes ~ so I thought I'd join. Today I find myself wishing for a lovely little spot by a window to sit down and read. Work is just not doing it for me today. :) I have always longed for a beautiful window seat, ever since I was a little girl. There's something magical about a pile of pretty pillows and comfy cushions on a window bench, just beckoning you to sit down and be still for awhile. And if there's a table nearby to put a nice glass of iced tea and a vase of daisies, well, that's even better. I still don't have a window seat... but I will ~ someday.
What are you wishing for today?

First two photos from Country Living; bottom photo from Midwest Living

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A little blue beauty...

Blue glass is a fairly new love of mine. I have a vase and a small swan dish my grandmother gave me, both pieces I love. I've been on the lookout for some other pieces to grow my collection, but until a few weeks ago, I hadn't seen anything. Then I stumbled across these blue candle holders and felt the urge to bring them home. They complement the old mercury glass candlesticks a dear friend gave me a few years ago, don't you think?
Wishing everyone a happy Blue Monday and a week full of beauty.

Thanks to Smiling Sally for hosting Blue Monday each week. Stop by her blog to see other participants or to join in.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A little pink beauty for Pink Saturday...

Happy Pink Saturday, ladies. Last weekend, I wandered into a garden center looking for a new planter. Instead, I walked out with these gorgeous pink roses. (Am I the only woman to do that?) It's been awhile since I bought myself a bunch of roses; usually I just clip from the bushes in our yard, which turn out some beauties. But our roses are currently in a bit of a lull - maybe that's why this bunch in my favorite color called to me so strongly. I need flowers in my life - it's just the way I am.
As always, thanks to Beverly at How Sweet the Sound for hosting this lovely tribute to pink. Please stop by her blog for a complete list of this week's participants. Have a lovely weekend, all.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The inaugural Furry First Fridays...

Welcome to the very first Furry First Fridays! Since I started this event to honor my sweet, wonderful Russ - the oldest of my dogs at 13 - I figured I would show a couple photos of him this month. He's hanging out in one of his favorite spots in the backyard in the photo above, and below, he's catching a nap with Nick, who's 10. I love it when they curl up next to each other - it's so cute, and it doesn't happen often.
Furry First Fridays will be held on the first Friday of each month. Think of it as an excuse for all the pet lovers out there to show off their collection of cute photos - and an excuse to take more (as if we needed that). For those who are joining this month, just add your link to the bottom and be sure to link back here. I am looking forward to seeing everyone's photos. Happy Friday!

I am also linking to Round Robin at Keeping up with the Schultz Family. Pop over to see Amy; she always has all sorts of fun things going on.