Sunday, February 22, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Now, for confession of a shopkeeper. I have to admit I've become a bit of a candle/fragrance snob. I didn't mean to do it. Believe me when I tell you I use to scoop up the seasonal candles in the laundry aisle at the commissary, proudly flourishing those coupons I had clipped for them. So now, here I am, a jaded and cynical shopkeeper.
(I guess I can say "good-bye" to a lot of potential home invites I may have otherwise received . . .)
Okay, she's a shopkeeper, she just trying to unload her inventory . . . you're darn right I am. Yet, I do have a less selfish reason to introduce this topic. My point is this, if it's important to you that your home smell nice, you may want to consider upgrading to a quality diffuser or candles. Knowing that we process much of our experience through our olfactory system makes me think about how things smell--a lot.Smells remind us of our first love (Jovan Musk), our favorite teacher (Polo), our summer vacation (cotton candy and beach) and our best friend's house (European cooking). How do you want your house remembered? Like an aisle in WalMart or like a summer vacation?
How about you? Do you have a favorite candle or diffuser? You know I love my Archipelago Botanicals candles/diffusers (Bergamont Tobacco and Burl Wood, to be specific), but I love the new scented candles I'm getting from Colonial Candle. They might win me over! I know the price will--$14 for the 12.5 oz. and only $7 for the new 4 oz. size. The scents you can look forward to? Platinum Pearl, Lemon Leaf & Olive and Sandcastle. I'll also be restocking the classic 8 & 10" classic straight candles with some lovely new colors.
Just for the record, my first ever AB diffuser--the one I set-up in my entry way in Feb of 08, just gave out. The oil is gone, but it still smells great. So, don't think of it as a $40 smell good thing. Think of it as an "memory investment."
I'm also poring over several other catalogs getting ready for the rest of the year.
My favorite vendor:
As so much of the world focus in on our "failing economy" one might think I'd lay-off the orders for a while. Call it crazy. Call it irresponsible. Call it"she has no idea what she's doing." I think I'll call it optimistic. (Keeping that glass half-full.) Really, I have given this some thought. Here's my big prediction for 2009: I think you're going to spend a little more time at home this year. I think you'll invite friends over for get-togethers. I think you'll spend money on your house, rather than a big vacation. On activities close to home rather than summer camps. On creating memories with friends and family. Of course, I think that sounds a lot like last year and the year before that, as well as many years to come!
So what's different? You tell me. Are you making any decorating plans for the year ahead? Do you think you'll make any big changes or just little ones? Do you update/tweak your furnishings and accessories frequently or every 10 years--something in between? (I feel a contest coming on . . .)
So here it is the first contest of 2009 for Hodgepodge bloggers. All you need to do is add your comments to this blog, sharing some of your plans for your home for 2009. (I'll randomly choose a winner from all entries.) What's in it for you? An original design "Femme de Junque" long sleeve, vintage feel t-shirt . . . but wait! That's not all! You'll also receive an Archipelago Botanicals diffuser in a fragrance of your choice. Together, we're talking a nearly $60 value! I think that's worth a few minutes of your time. But I'll let you decide. (By the by, I'll ship to you, so don't let distance prevent you from participating.)
I hope to hear from you. Tell your friends about my blog and this contest--tell your friend to mention you in their comments and I'll enter your name again for referral! YessirreeBob! You read that right! Don't be selfish.
Thanks for your indulgence.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Our big project, though was before we hosted our first Thanksgiving in the house (we moved in in July) was to paint the cabinets. First we sanded, then a layer of the same Laura Ashley gold 4 or 5. Then, THREE coats of black later, I started sanding--aging the cabinets. We didn't seal them--I wanted them to continuing wearing/aging. We added new hardware. In between coats--while they were drying--we attached ceiling tin for our back splash. This stuff is the real thing--difficult to manipulate, cut, and attach to the wall. We didn't seal this either--I wanted it to patina. I LOVE it.
So that's it. Since then I've been bringing home floor samples and looking at appliances.
There is a lot that I like about my kitchen:
I like my stereo. I LOVE my island. It was a huge desk I found junkin' in Germany. Darren hated this thing--it took-up our entire garage for almost a year. I had NO idea what I would do with it. It had no feet; the top was destroyed--the veneer was lifting; it had no knobs on the doors (still doesn't--still thinking on those). I ordered the feet and added them. I attached a piece of plywood to create a "bridge" across the leg space. It now holds a small number of my cookbooks on one side and a wine rack on the other. We topped it with a piece of salvaged granite--it was slightly short so we finished the edges with some quarter-sawn wood we found under the house. The beauty of this island is that it's the perfect height for my short-self.
I also love this sink--it'll stay.
Not that this is a fixture, but I love our table. I found the base at a flea market in Germany--again, no real plan for it. When we got here, I found the door and we eventually made it into our table.
So, that's what I love.
Here's what I don't care for:
I hate my counter tops. I really, really dislike my flooring. It looks dirty even when it's just been washed.
I dislike--strongly--this oven. I've never liked it, but since the incident of the open house weekend (when it blew-out two burners) it's never been quite right. It's not big enough for the large meals I sometimes get to prepare.
Well, I could go on and probably will in future blog posts. If you have suggestions for me. Personal experience with certain brands, types of flooring, whatever--I'm interested. Have you renovated your kitchen? Any tips?
Thanks for your indulgence.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
We met at our house last Tuesday to make these:
I was joined by Teresa, Kathy, Kendall, Martha, Judy and Hannah. First, we inserted the floral foam into our containers. (I purchased the floral foam and the terra cotta containers at our local craft store.) Fill the container with one whole piece of foam (slicing-off excess at the top), then wedge small pieces into the spaces around the edge for a tight fit. Then, we fired-up the hot glue guns and got busy attaching tiny pink rosebuds to Styrofoam heart forms. You start by creating a hole for the trunk (an 18" cinnamon stick), which you'll insert later. Then you start adding the rosebuds. We found that, with our Styrofoam forms, it was easier to make the hole with a bamboo skewer, then add the rosebuds with the hot glue. We had several different approaches around the table. Some worked in one area filling in the entire area before moving around the heart; others filled-in the interior of the heart and worked their way to the outside. Either approach had the same problem at the end--nowhere to hold-on to finish the last of the heart. Most agreed it was easier to finish making the holes before your grip area gets too small. Once you have finished adding the roses, double-check the fit of the cinnamon stick; add the hot glue and wait for it to be secure. Then you're going to fit the cinnamon stick into the foam. Try to go straight in. Add a little hot glue around the base--hold steady until secure. The final touches will be Spanish moss around the top of the container and ribbon around the cinnamon stick--just under the heart. The completed topiary will last for a very long time. The one pictured here is at least twelve years old. The roses are faded (or dusty), but I love it.
Kendall was the only one to complete here topiary the night we got together. I hope our other participants will add their comments here.
One last note, when we have these get-togethers I usually provide food. This evening, I whipped-up a couple quiches, a fruit salad and creme brulee--YUM! I mention this because I used some vintage snack sets I grabbed from my mother's discards when she was scaling down. The funny thing I noticed as I was pulling these out for a cleaning, the box is marked "Informal Seashell Snack Sets." Immediately I thought, did the folks in 60s (when these sets were very popular) need to be strictly instructed? You may NOT use these sets at formal affairs!
Thanks for your indulgence.
PS You know I'm a HUGE shop local fan, but occasionally you can't find what you need anywhere but the net. Here's where I found the rosebuds and cinnamon sticks. It's an addictive site, so don't over-do-it!