Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brown and Grey

sounds like a threatening sky or a healing bruise—so why am I in love with this color combo???


it is difficult for me to catch the colors . . .

trust me—it’s brown and grey


brown and grey

PJ brown and grey

(even my PJs)


grey and black (I am so not good at taking pics of myself—perhaps my daughters can teach me . . .)


and now, images where you can actually see the colors . . .


especially beautiful with her grey hair



nature knows best!


grey and brown scarf



stylefiles1-brown and grey






weathered wood—love!



natures versions of brown and grey can’t be beat

What is your current color obsession?

thanks for your indulgence,


Friday, March 15, 2013

Last Night When I Got Home

I found myself thinking . . .


rainy day 1

. . . a house in the suburbs—you know the kind with an attached garage—would be kind of nice.


rainy day load

especially when I’ve got a load of these, no kids at home to help and it’s raining.


rainy house

Then I look out the passenger window and see this and I think, so what’s a little rain?


rainy night

Then I thought about what my big plans for the evening included and I relaxed even more.

I have yet to get caught-up in Downton Abbey, but fully intend to do so (thanks to the loan of the first two seasons from my friend, Kimberly).  I thought I’d pop in a DVD and peruse the new issues of Mingle and Somerset Life.

I was able to achieve part of that plan.  I popped-in the DVD and started the first episode (I’m hooked, by-the-by), then remembered I promised Kendall I would get her the information she needs to post some future Artful Origins workshops.  So, I left the magazines on the ottoman and picked-up the laptop instead.

I was able to pull-together two workshops and watch two episodes of Downton Abbey.  Not quite as I planned, but I was able to check something off of the “to do” list, so sleep came a little easier.

Here’s a sampling of what we will be creating:

Two Birds of a Feather plates

bird plate 1bird plate 2

This workshop will be on Tuesday, April 2nd at 6:30 a.m.


The other one I pulled together is:

flowers for flip flops

flipflops, flowers 3

This workshop will be on Sunday, April 30th at 2 p.m.  It will be an early Mother’s Day celebration of sorts.  So, sign-up with your daughter, your friend or come by yourself—we will have lots of fun and we make these vintage inspired embellishments for a pair of basic flip flops.

For more information on these and other workshops, please visit our blog at Artful Origins.

Thanks, as always, for your indulgence!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

You Can Tell a Book by Its Cover

. . . or lack thereof.
I love decorating with books.  Books are something many of us have—some of us have them in abundance.  Which makes them an easy “go to” for our decorating needs.
I’ve helped a few clients redecorate their home and often the simplest changes I make include repositioning the books on their bookcases or end tables.  I am usually met with comments like, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”
I am especially fond of using vintage books to add interest and history to your decorating schemes.
Here are a few tips for using vintage books in your d├ęcor.
You  can use books elevate something small, like this postcard, to a level of importance.  (The green ribbon draws attention to the greens of the postcard.)
 green ribbon books
This would make a lovely display on a nightstand—a bedside carafe and small bird’s nest set atop a stack of vintage volumes is intriguing.
nightstand books

I also like removing the worn covers of some books.  I usually only do this when the binding has already been torn or become very loose.  I check for indicators of value—such as first editions—but readily admit I don’t know what I’m looking for most times.
books in waiting

I like the neutral appearance of a stack of naked books.  They will compliment a display without taking it over.
I will usually leave the cover or title page, but often it’s worth looking further and removing a few more pages for a more poignant commentary . . . 
once in a life

I love finding books with handwritten notes in them.  This one simply tells us to whom the book once belonged, but often you will find notes from the giver to the recipient when the book was presented as a special, thoughtful gift.
personal books

And then there is the most basic of book displays.  I am not sure why I find these vintage books so fascinating, but I do.  I cannot pass-up a display of books.  Sometimes I buy them by the lot and don’t have the chance to peruse them until they’ve been on display in the shop.
simple display

I’ve also been known to use books to create other items, such as this Pages and Ribbons Garland:
book page garland
(In fact, we’ve got another workshop scheduled so you can make one, too!  Check-out our Artful Origins blog page for details about this class and more.)
Recently, I’ve started altering books in other ways; it’s referred to “page folding.”  Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started:

book art 001
Find the approximate center of the book (I usually see how many pages are in the book and divide by two—the answer is the approximate center.)  Fold six pages in half—I usually fold in pairs, folding toward each other—create a good crease.  These are your “center folds.”
book art 002
Leave two flat pages before folding the next group of six pages to the left of your flat pages; then, leaving two flat pages again, fold six pages to the right.   Continue, alternating left then right of the original “center folds.”
book art 003
Once you’ve folded nine or so sets of six pages—fold the pairs of two flat pages toward each other, WITHOUT creating a crease.  Just leave them kind of “bowed.”
book art 004
Here is the finished product:
book art 006
You can use it as an objet d’art or you can display items between the pages—photos, postcards, greeting cards, love notes!
book art 007
If you need some more inspiration, you might visit You Tube for video instruction. (I would have videoed my tutorial, but that would have taken another month or so . . . I’m so techy!)  When you get to You Tube, type in the search “book page folding;” that will yield good results.
This is a very basic technique, but there are many other ways to fold pages that yield very fanciful results.  This “level” of page folding is a relaxing project that can be done in front of the TV.

Haven't linked with Debra at Common Ground in a while, but I think this one is "link worthy" so . . . be sure to visit!
Thanks for your indulgence,

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Cool Find

The weekend we went to visit my cousin, Stacy, we did a little shopping at an antique mall.  While I was astounded by the selection of items, I was equally astounded by the prices (it was located in Decatur—an Atlanta suburb).  Wow!  I think I’ll stick closer to home for the bargains!

One item we were willing to drop some high dollar coin on, however, was this:

closed case

Any ideas?

Well, if you were able to identify the case, you probably going through a similar phase of life as we are:

“middle aged* with the ability to travel”

*with a 20-something’s mentality

It is a mini liquor cabinet in a travel case . . .

open case


I was really proud of myself when I found a different case (albeit empty) in the same shop—was already toting it around, claiming it as my own, when Darren said he had found a better one. 

“Do you even know what it is?” said my smug-little-self.

inside left case


He said he did and instructed me to follow him.  So follow, I did—passing numerous booths with interesting content in an effort to humor him. 

Of course, he had found this one--complete with four stainless cups, two stainless shot glasses, a stir-spoon and a horn-look, bakelite handle bottle opener.

contents case


What a find! 

case contents


All of this made and brought to you by:

case label


Note the fancy, schmancy snap

case snap

Bakelite is tricky—looks like the real thing (horn) doesn’t it?

horn handle opener

Our drink du jour . . . an Old Fashioned made with Rye Whiskey.  Oh, and thanks to my cousin, we’re now Maraschino cherry snobs . . . only Luxardo will do!

critical ingredients

We actually didn’t use the Orange bitters—we used Angostura® bitters.

Here’s the recipe I followed and we all agreed was the best we had (taking a reflective bow as I type this) :

2 oz bourbon whiskey
2 dashes Angostura® bitters
1 splash water
1 tsp sugar
1 maraschino cherry
1 orange wedge

Mix sugar, water and angostura bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Drop in a cherry and an orange wedge. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, fill with ice cubes, and stir.

Read more: Old Fashioned recipe http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink407.html#ixzz2Musfda4c

(Mixer’s notes:  I actually used Rye Whiskey—the one in the pic above—and only one slice of a Clementine orange.)

Well, I hope you don’t think less of me for this post!  Rest assured we “drink responsibly;” it’s one of the many reasons we love living within walking distance of our favorite restaurants.

thanks for your indulgence.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

army family

Recently, my husband and I were able to make a brief visit to see our dear friends of more than 20 years.  

We met Ruta and George at Ft Hood TX, where we briefly lived prior to our first duty assignment in Germany.  As it happened, George was the company commander for A Co., 2/1 AVN  without a doubt our best loved and remembered unit.

Ruta and I became fast friends. 

Over the years, our friendship has grown as we have both endured  the often trying, but always rewarding life of military spouses.  Our circle has grown to include many other friends, but truly, it is this couple we all have in common. 

Our weekend together was wonderfully punctuated with a surprise visit of one of these friends, Brooke, and further enlarged by another, Tim.

ruta brooke and paige

Nothing says “good friends” like matching hats and a frosty bottle of J├Ągermeister (for medicinal purposes only).

In recent years, we have not been stationed with or even near most of these friends, but I am pleased to say we have always made efforts to get-together.  Usually, it’s just a small gathering—and those unable to be part of our gatherings, can almost always count on a late-night phone call from the revelers.  (No apologies—its just how we roll.)

Now we are getting older and, among other things, with age comes a little freedom.  The kids are moving out, at college or at least old enough to be left with friends or older siblings while we are out cavorting.

I feel so fortunate for all of the  blessings in my life—I’ve been given much more than I deserve—but today, I am especially grateful for my Army family.  You know who you are and I love you!

Thanks for your indulgence,


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