June 28, 2013

Mini Project

Hello, all,

Over the years I've accumulated a fair amount of sewing notions and bits and pieces, often in bag of assorted oddments. Today seemed like as good as any to finally do something with one of the many cards of buttons stashed away. This is the result:

I chose this one because it fit in the frame  and for the brand, la  petite, so in sync with the current love of everything French.

My poor photography skills don't show the small print at the bottom of the card that says "washable" in a  font that looks like old typewriter printing. It looks pretty cute to me; I'm thinking about a friend who sews and has a birthday coming up soon and adapting this idea to make her a gift, or perhaps a card.

It's always a good feeling to do something with the stuff that's found its way to your house, isn't it? Do you try to remember to upcycle/use it up whenever possible? 

Have a great weekend!


June 27, 2013

A new collection

Hello, friends, how's your week chugging along? Mine was perked up by a long lunch with an old friend. It's always fun to touch base with someone you've known for decades and find out the latest in their life.

Yesterday I did a little  browsing at the Manna shop. Rounding the corner from the books it was easy to see what the increasingly annoyed volunteer was calling for help about. A low shelf on a stand of dishes and glassware had given way, with some breakage in the aisle. I picked up three pieces from the floor, mercifully undamaged. Upon seeing the price of $1.00 each, they jumped in my basket to come home with me.

Old glass flower frogs, two clear and one green. My grandmother had similar ones, but these are the first I've seen in a thrift. Freddy of the black feet we already had, of course. Next to do is check out blogland to see how other people use these to decorate, or maybe they don't. Perhaps they just line them up for pure display, I'll have to see. They are old and very heavy and somehow pleasing, whether used for their original  purpose or not. I will certainly BOLO for more, after Wednesday's lucky score. 

Have you ever found three of something unexpectedly at the same time and realized you just started a collection?


June 26, 2013

Hey, there


Sorry for the missed days. The heat seems to be rapidly melting my brain.

A while back I copied a magazine suggestion for making cloches out of other items in the post called "Cloche Encounters". Here are a couple of them when first assembled:

I happened to have a glass cake plate that is the same size, so here is one in use:

None of my flower pots are the right size to fit under it, but one of the funny candlesticks works fine, with an embellished styrofoam ball on top, instead of a candle. 
Plans were to get some plants to use with the three I've made, but so far have not managed to get to the nursery  early enough to even stand the thought of walking around in the heat this week. I really like the homemade versions, since you can let your imagination go wild with size, shape, knobs and have fun with the project.

That's my puny effort for the week. Have you been dragging in the heat, or does it not bother you? I just checked and it is allegedly 100 now! No wonder I'm wilting!

Stay cool!


June 24, 2013

Pleased to meet you

Hello, all,

Sorry for the gaps last week. The heat just about did me in, not a good sign since there are months of much worse still ahead. 

The beach/sea shell theme is fun and cooling to some extent. Here is how the front door looks:
I used a string of starfish from Big Lots on a grapevine wreath we already had. I hope the mail carriers and UPS drivers enjoy it. They're about the only people who ever come to the front of the house. We are on such a busy street it's really impossible to park there: the drive is behind the house, which is on a corner.

Mail delivery is iffy anyway. Don't get me wrong, our neighborhood post office is great. Sadly, though, our designated postman died over a year ago, walking on his route. He had a heart attack, which was terrible. Since then no single person has been assigned to this area permanently. It's a different person every day, which can be confusing. The counter service is always friendly and competent, though, so this isn't a complaint. I wish we had a larger porch to decorate that wasn't right on a freeway, but for now this is what we have to work with and a wreath is still fun. 

In front of Target today a woman told her small child "No, Christmas won't come for a long, long time!" which is probably true for the little girl. Since we somehow seem to be already in the last week of June, time  is flying by so fast that may not be the case for some of us geezers, though! 

I hope you're enjoying June and looking forward to July.


June 20, 2013

Books and Cooks

Hello, all,

This is a good  day to stay inside because you'll roast if you try the alternative. We got rain last night, which is nice, but a  cool front to bring the thermometer down twenty  degrees would be even better. 

So, if you're staying inside and as still as possible to avoid sweating, why not think about food? Not necessarily cooking it, but reading about it? Do you have cook books you read just because, not only when you're in search of a recipe? Here are some in that category for me.

I've never been to New England, but a couple of writers make it sound very appealing. The first is Gladys Taber. I have countless books of hers, but also enjoy perusing:

 Here's one filled with yummy, if not healthy by 2013 standards. From another part of the New England area is Louise Andrews Kent. Last week I showed a copy of her Summer Kitchen. I also own:

Kent writes through the viewpoint of her main character, Mrs. Appleyard. There is also

Books like this are ideal to escape a Texas summer.

It was a terrible blow when Laurie Colwin died way too young. I have her fiction works, but also treasure:

Both are wonderful.

About food, if not a cook book it is hard to resist Calvin Trillin:

I have the companions that comprise the rest of the trilogy, American Fried and Third Helpings, too.

One of my best beloved series of YA books is by Lenora Mattingly Weber, the books about Beany Malone and her family who live in Denver with their crusading journalist father. Beany was always cooking, so this volume is a natural result about all sorts of dishes mentioned in the previous fourteen books. 

There are cook books of every type and description, from all the different cuisines of the world, but it's hard to beat these with literary associations if you just want a little cozy comfort  on a hot afternoon or cold winter night. 

Do you read cook books just because? What are your favorites?

Stay cool!

June 18, 2013

Tuesday + Weekend Haul

Hello, folks,

If it's raining where you are, send some this way. It is going to be 95 today and we need it badly.

Here are a few things bought at Saturday's yard sales and the thrift shop today. The pictures don't include a nice skirt. The picture it was in came out, sufficiently annoying  to not re-do the whole thing for. 
The spoons and crocheted doily are from Saturday. The forks, little suitcase and package behind it from the thrift shop. The plastic bag is a new set of bird-related  images to decoupage, a big stack of them.


There are some books, a Homer Laughlin sugar bowl, blue tee, bird game, basket, sun glasses and readers, a pair of fruit earrings and my first ever yellow pyrex.  I almost forgot, a very nice Talbot's scarf for the holidays and a nice small cloche. The earrings, one book and the new package of cork were from the weekend, rest from Family Thrift.
The basket was .99 cents. Four pair of sunglasses and one set of readers in a bag were also .99 cents. Flossie seems to think if they were moved it would be a good place for a small cat to nap. 
I wanted these because one of the pair is the kind you wear over conventional glasses and they are surprising expensive new, so .20 cents is quite a bargain. Mr. B may be able to use the readers; he seems to break or lose a pair each week.
Now I think it's time to take a break and go read for a while till time to start dinner.

Have a good one!

June 17, 2013

Let the Games Begin!

Hi, friends,

I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is, and it isn't. I did a lot of heavy cleaning in the kitchen today, which left me worn out. The good news is something got done. The bad news is that isn't everything, not at all. Sigh. 

Anyway, today I thought to share with you some little goodies picked up at thrift shops at different times, but the same idea. First:
Tabletop croquet, how cute is that? All the pieces were in original packaging inside. I love the wooden box with lid that slides off, too.

A little later what appeared but  its smaller cousin:
Ring Toss, also in a wooden box. These could be so cute as part of a table setting for a child's party or other event, don't you think?  They couldn't be set up in here because of nosy cats who would undoubtedly try to start a game of their own and lose the pieces, but maybe the fairy garden could use some summer sport. 

Are you drawn to little things too?


June 14, 2013

Ladies who Lunch

Hello, folks,

Today I met a longtime friend for lunch at a place Mr. B and I recently discovered. It's called Cafe Brussels and not surprisingly, features Belgian food and beer. You can read about it here:http://cafebrusselshouston.com/. She got the luncheon  shrimp salad sandwich that comes with fries, but I got this:

Le Salade Bleu. Greens, tomato, lettuce, shredded carrots and lots of bleu cheese. In this picture it looks a lot more heavily dressed than it was in reality. It was wonderful; more importantly, it left room for dessert. We shared a plate of profiteroles with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream that was heavenly. The only downside  to this very enjoyable visit is the total lack of motivation to do anything once home again. Maybe it's time to channel Scarlett O'Hara and think tomorrow is another day--for cleaning!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Till next time,

June 13, 2013

Wishful Thinking

Hey, folks,

Is it already HOT where you are? If you're shaking your head no, count your blessings.
Texas is smoking. Thoughts of cool breezes and water are never far away, which is why a few letter tiles spelled out a pleasant thought:

Surely a lot more pleasant than by I45 North!

Sweating inside the house. What is wrong with this picture?

Later, Michele

June 12, 2013

Leaving Home - the Sequel

Hi, folks,

Since I set up the little travel vignette not long ago, a couple more things turned up that seemed like they'd fit in it very well. Some time ago I got this beat up tin suitcase at a thrift shop:
The other side says "Elizabeth Arden" so clearly it was probably included in some promotion for cosmetics.

On a trip to Texas Art Supply I picked up these:
so now we have :

Only a small change, but all there was time for today. I have been  busy making shrimp salad for dinner and seven-layer bars to take to Bible study tomorrow, as well as writing descriptions for ebay. Miss Flossie was so sound asleep in the cat stroller she didn't even come critique my picture taking, which is okay. Quiet cats are A Good Thing.

I hope your week is going well, and if you're about to leave home you have a great time from start to finish. We could do that easily, if they'd just invent a teleporter like there is on Star Trek, so we could visit all sorts of places, then be home to sleep in our own bed each nice. Really, is that so much to ask of scientists in the 21st century? I think not!

Have a good one!


June 11, 2013

Summer Reading 2013

Hello, all, how is Tuesday treating you? We had the welcome surprise of a little rain shower after lunch, very much appreciated.

I thought today might be a good time to offer a few suggestions for summer reading, so here goes.

There are plenty for children and teens. Here are some golden oldies:
Magic by the Lake is by Edward Eager of Half Magic fame. Lots of fun adventures for the children spending the summer in a cabin fifty miles from home.

Beany and the Beckoning Road is a great road trip novel by Lenora Mattingly Weber about Beany and other members of the unruly Malone family, with a hint of mystery.

Part of The Dark is Rising series, magic on holiday in Cornwall.

Summer fun in the 1950s with Fripsey Summer by Mayde Lee Chastain. 

Second in the series following The House at World's End finds the Fielding children largely on their own, trying to avoid meddling grownups and having adventures with animals.

There's non-fiction too, like:

part of the Crosswicks Journals by the by the celebrated author of A Wrinkle in Time

I love this book. It is about the experiences of a woman with five children. After she was widowed in 1926 she spent the summers with them on a boat exploring the wild coast of British Columbia.

Of course, we have to eat year round, and what better place to glean ideas than from Louise Andrews Kent in Vermont? If you aren't familiar with her Mrs. Appleyard books, you're in for a treat.

These are all perfectly fine, but most people think about fiction during the summer, so here are a few titles to think about.

I'm reading this right now, set in the South Carolina Low Country, plenty of good escapist fodder here.

If you're more interested in distant parts you might try:

Some families always go on holiday together, but this particular summer there are complications galore.

Also British, but set in the period before WWII, this is a comedy of manners which no one does better than Angela Thirkell.

Beverley Nichols was a writer who wrote several books about his home and gardens at Merry Hall, as well as the other residents of the village and his animals, a special delight for gardeners.

Summer in Provence for Anna and her teenage children with the complications of a marriage gone wrong back in the UK and a captivating stranger brought to visit by her brother.

Three sisters open a bed and breakfast in Nantucket. 

An affluent wife finds new direction and meaning when she spends the summer with two old Quaker sisters and an acerbic nun.

I loved Nancy Clark's first book, The Hills at Home, and this one is every bit as good. You won't want it to end and be forced to leave the Hills after this tumultuous summer. 

Do you have a particular author or genre you gravitate towards reading during the summer months, or re-read old favorites? 

Till next time,

June 10, 2013

Mini Monday

Good afternoon, friends, how is your week starting off? I've gotten a few things done, but mostly have been doing remedial work after the weekend, so this is going to be short and sweet.

I grew up with a grandfather who hunted, so antlers and heads were commonplace at the maternal grandparents' house. We just took them for granted way back then, so it surprised me when heads of all kinds started to become popular the past few years. A big disaster means none of those are in our family anymore  (the short explanation: My folks put most of their things in storage while looking for a smaller house to move to; unfortunately, it was in a warehouse next to a railroad track. When a boxcar fell off onto a gas line that exploded, there went most of their stuff, boom.) 

A little  antelope head on a pad in a thrift shop caught my eye. Once pried off with a little glue and a cork coaster this is the result:
Now to get a hook/fastener for the back to hang it with. It's a tiny bow to the heads/ antlers trend, but could be cute on a bookcase or shelf, don't you think?

Off to write some auction descriptions before unloading the dishwasher. It's all about the glamor here!

Take care,

June 7, 2013

Friday Finale

Hi, Friends,

Here it is Friday once more, so it seems like a good chance to show you the latest thrift haul.
I'm sorry this is so dark, but the way things have been going today, trying to take another picture would probably make the camera explode or something. I've picked up a few books, a nice wooden hand mirror and comb, some new greeting cards and a pretty holiday silk scarf. Also another ampersand sign to give my oldest dd as part of a running joke, a Mercury glass vase, Marjolein Bastin basket with handle, a little wooden chair for my collection and two huge mugs from La Madeleine restaurant. This pair says "C'est la vie!" on the sides. Those books are mostly for us, but there are a few more already listed to sell. The one in the front middle is interesting. It's a guide to rate restaurants and make notes on what your experience was like, with a cover like an old time diner ticket. There is also a brand new small box with a hinged lid to put a pretty trinket for a bride in. It cost .90 cents, but I just noticed the original price tag still on it for $10.00, so even a better deal than it first seemed. Those are little tennis shoes for a doll on the seat of the chair that came in a random bag of something or other. 

Now I'm off to put away laundry and do a little early dinner prep. 

May your weekend be wonderful from start to finish.


June 6, 2013

Leaving home

Hello, friends,

Is school out where you live? Today was the last day here, which means navigating around the Travis Elementary will be much easier for the next couple of months. The children don't bother me at all. Their parents, whose cars line the streets and make it impossible to see if it's safe to pull out, are not in the same category.

Once June arrives many people head off on vacation, going near and far. Mr. B and I don't do much of that; we're not good travelers in general and got out of the habit during the years we couldn't afford to go anywhere. This may be why I'm more of an armchair tripper than intrepid explorer. Still, it seemed appropriate to honor this hallowed rite of summer, so starting with this:
the old globe bank on the right, and adding these:
from the loose toy bin at Sand Dollar. I covered the camo on the binoculars with a piece of map.
to come up with the finished result:

Send postcards!

Later, Michele

June 5, 2013

Playing House

Hello, folks, we are into regular summer now. I try to do anything outside before noon, then  stay indoors till evening.

While puttering around inside after lunch, I started putting some little bits and pieces of doll furniture together in a divided wooden box from the thrift shop and came up with:

It's just cheap plastic stuff, except for the ladder, but still appealing. 

I like the way the drawer opens on the desk and the doors on the armoire and the

accessories, the books, food and dish towels. Not really anything you could call a project or creative, but still a fun way to spend a few minutes. 

Do you think miniatures are enthralling, or are you not a fan? Am I the only one who finds the mixed bags of any and everything in thrift shops impossible to ignore?


June 4, 2013

Bye, bye birdies! Part Two

Hi, everyone. I hope you're having a terrific Tuesday.

As promised yesterday, here is more of the cool coastal decor we're using for summer.
The birdcage is again pressed into service to keep the centerpiece unavailable to cats. A cool blue pillar candle and lots of shells does the trick.
Here is the terrarium, mostly holding glass bottles, some with sand and using shells for stoppers as well as the old photo featuring my mother in a family group at the beach around 1926 or so.
The big cloche on the desk holds an urn with a rustic decoration and a scallop shell filled with others.
 Here is a blue tray updated with some shell wooden plaques from a thrift shop.
Here's the tray on an end table by the sofa, utilizing one of my miniature chairs for display.
Here is its mate, holding a starfish on a corner shelf. It looks as if we're set for summer, or at least, the next couple of months. By the time August arrives I'll probably be more than ready to switch to sunflowers, but these add the illusion of cool ocean breezes for now. 

Are you a beach or mountain person? I am wholly beach, which is surprising, in a way, because my beloved PaPa loved nothing better than going to the mountains of Colorado. Not me, though. There would be not a second's hesitation for me to choose coastal every time. 

Have a good one,