Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Fresh Start.....

Warmest wishes for the New Year.
May 2012 bring you contentment, a few welcome surprises and fragrant flowers on the kitchen counter!

Will be starting the year off with...
Show Off Your Cottage Monday
White Wednesday

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Upcycled Business Cards

Do you find that some of your best problem solving happens in the shower?

It's probably the blissful combination of warm water / deep relaxation and being alone with your thoughts - far away from the distractions of conversations, smart phones and computers.
There is a local craft fair this Saturday where I will be setting up a table and I realized just today that I needed some sort of business card to hand out.
Do you save those standard sized business cards for future reference?
I never do - so didn't even consider making some up.
And actually I was looking for a "greener" option.

Then I had a moment of inspiration in this morning's shower.....
Since I collect and sell vintage paper I have lots of it lying around - bits and pieces, some of it a little forlorn and rough around the edges, and not quite suitable for framing.
Using scrapbook scissors I added a decorative edge to vintage Victorian cards, and attached one of my business labels to the back.
I'll have them standing up at the front of my display table and let people look through them to choose the image they like.
Guess it wouldn't hurt to have some candy scattered around as well....

If you're in San Francisco this Saturday afternoon the craft fair is being held at the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in the Castro - drop by, say "Hi" and pick out your favorite card!

Sharing this post at
Show and Tell Friday

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Burgundy Bromeliad Terrarium

Wanted to share this terrarium I put together over the weekend....

The glass urn is actually quite large - about 18" tall - and the two deep burgundy plants are tillandsias: the same genus as the ubiquitous gray "air plants" so popular right now.
Love how the chartreuse reindeer moss makes them appear darker and even more dramatic.
This terrarium will be entered in a fun contest being sponsored by Potted in Los Angeles -
here is the link if you'd like to see what other wonderful creations have been submitted....
Terrarium Contest

Hope to see you at.....
Home Sweet Home
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Potpourri Party
Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Wow Us Wednesdays
Well Made Wednesday

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vintage Owl Figurine - Halloween Candle

This little guy was cast from a vintage Westmoreland glass toothpick holder and a real candle, then hand poured in white beeswax.
Love the way it seems to stand alert, wings widespread, excited about the imminent arrival of Halloween!

Will be sharing this over at.....
Wow Us Wednesdays
White Wednesday
Vintage Thingie Thursday
Show and Tell Friday

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Morning Coffee....

Let me show you a corner of our home that has remained unchanged literally for years....

The Chinese rug hanging on the wall was a flea market find some thirty years ago, the basket we purchased in a Guatemalan market on our 1978 trip through Central America.
Other things have been added over time....
The painting was an early eBay find, the fabric flowers I had to have, even though they're fake, because I love brugmansia.

The rocking chair gets quite a lot of use, as it faces the living room couch.
Every morning I take my mug of coffee to the end of the sofa, sink down and lean into its large, upholstered arm, and do my best to acknowledge the day.
Many mornings, but especially on weekends, the husband sits across from me, in this rocking chair, and together we review the progress of ongoing house projects, or share details of the most recent pet misadventure.

Every home has one of these special places, where ordinary things are quietly discussed over the last sips of morning coffee.......

Hope to see you at.....
Home Sweet Home
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Potpourri Party

Show Off Your Cottage Monday
Whatever You Want Wednesday

Friday, September 30, 2011

How Faux Will You Go?

Seems that many of our personal likes and dislikes can be traced to what was in fashion as we grew up.

I had an older flea market friend in the 1970's who couldn't believe I collected Roseville pottery (it was still quite affordable then).
Seems he remembered it scattered on tables in his family's home and his memories of it made him quite immune to the beauty of a piece like this.....

Instead of Roseville I grew up with artificial flowers.
In the early 1960's it was quite common to have arrangements of plastic flowers and wax fruit scattered throughout the house - on sideboards, coffee tables and in out-of-the-way dark spots that were not suitable for plants.

Although much of this decorating trend has since been rejected as just plain tacky, I'll always have a place in my heart and home for those vintage plastic grape clusters.....

At an estate sale quite some time ago I found a wonderful assortment of them in mouth-watering colors, and I knew I was hooked.
Drop them in some vintage wicker, surround with art pottery and candles, and Voila! - Vintage Faux!

I'm off to...
Home Sweet Home
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Have you reclaimed some special home decor memories of your own?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Candle Tablescape

Happy September everyone!
For the past month or so I've been preoccupied with casting a collection of original candle molds that will work together grouped as a centerpiece.
Here is a quick glimpse of where I think this project is going.....
Looking forward to having something stunning put together in time for holiday celebrations -

Sharing this with the the first installment of 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vintage Pottery in the Garden

A great way to add interest to container plants is to decorate with vintage pottery and ceramics.

Here a bulb pot of miniature hosta and babies' tears plays host to a screaming orange mushroom figurine from the 1970's.

The color is so loud that it almost looks poisonous -
but luckily this is one shiny, ceramic, safe mushroom.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bloom Day August 2011 - Giant White Flowers

Seems that most of what's blooming in my San Francisco garden right now is big, white and fragrant!

There is Impatiens tinctoria.....

The 30 year old fragrant in the early evening -
And the Burmese Honeysuckle (human hand for comparison).
Fragrance, to me, is such an important component of a garden, that I'm just really happy that these three guys are doing so well.
This is my first contribution to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, and I hope to have something to share from my small garden every month.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jewel Box Colors

The sun finally broke through the relentless San Francisco fog today, and I cut this magnificent cluster of butter yellow lilies from the back of the garden - the stalk was over six feet tall!

Their fragrance is so powerful that it is even detectable all the way up here on the third floor...

And the fresh yellow flowers are just the right accent for the saturated, jewel box colors on our kitchen sideboard.......................

Don't you find the late summer garden a little bittersweet?
Mixed in with the riot of color, flowers and fruit is the subtle but distinct undercurrent of things winding down.

But today I refuse to be distracted by thoughts of autumn, now that our fickle summer sunshine has finally returned!

Will be sharing my sweet-smelling lily with everyone over at
My Romantic Home
French Country Cottage
The Charm of Home
No Minimalist Here
this week.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Real Life Work Table

Here you have this week in a snapshot.....

- Scattered piles of client paperwork - check!
- Laptop - check!
- Framed pieces and vintage wreath to list on Etsy - check!
- Overall gray tones from the relentless SF fog - check!

- Emma, under the table, taking it all in.

This is my real life, not the tidied-up blog version.
Sometimes there is a really wide gap between the two worlds - I suppose that's pretty common.

I will be sharing my reality-check over at My Romantic Home .....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wild Sierra Orchid

Recently had a slow paced, away-from-the-city weekend with a friend at her home in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Spent quite a bit of time alone, walking around her wooded acres looking for the perfect downed tree branch for the new aviary. While scouting around I stumbled over this lovely wild orchid pushing up through the mat of fallen pine needles.....
It is a Spotted Coralroot orchid (Corallorhiza maculata) and thrives so well in the rich woodland humus of the Sierra pine forests that it has no need for leaves.

The backyard garden beds were just starting to show some color.....
 But the moss and lichen patterns on the tree bark were especially beautiful.....
And inspired this windowsill sized terrarium - a small fragment of the Sierra foothills, living in a tiny glass bell jar....
Today I'm linking up with An Oregon Cottage to be inspired by what's happening in other gardens.....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Garden Snapshot: Foliage Follow-Up

The variegated sage is looking especially nice this year....

And I really like this combination of Aeonimu "Kiwi" and the small red creeping sedum (whose name escapes me)...

Come over to Digging to see more beautiful foliage.......

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Life - Bowl of Cherries...

Life is like......

Glorious summer and its sweet farmer's market treasures!
I'd share them if I could.....
Passing the bowl around for Show and Tell Friday at
Let me know about your favorite pick from the summer produce stand!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Needs No Sun or Water...

Latest candle - hand cast from a real miniature aloe......

Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Beloved Wedgewood...

Center of our kitchen, workhorse for over 30 years - let me show you our vintage Wedgewood stove.

And the best part is that this beauty was salvaged from a co-worker's kitchen remodel in the 1970's - incredibly, it was being discarded for an electric stove, which back in the day, was considered an upgrade.
Life would not be the same without our beloved Wedgewood!

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Will You Celebrate the Solstice?

It's truly such a beautiful time of year - the daylight seems to last forever, and today (at least) is unusually dry and warm here in San Francisco. Geraniums always remind me of the endless summer days growing up back East...they just thrive in the sunlight and heat.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Aviary - Real Progress!

And what is the key element of real progress on a home remodeling project?
Having access to a great contractor - really.
Typically we would have chipped away at this task weekend by weekend - the husband and I are both capable of framing out something as straightforward as this porch conversion.
But, quite frankly, it would have taken us to the end of the year to complete, because somehow weekends are not as long as they used to be - I'm sure you know what I mean.
But here it is, not officially summer yet, and we're halfway done - thank you, Steve!

We're still shopping around for sheets of frosted plexiglas for the tall openings along the side, and have already ordered a custom transom window for above the door.
The heavy wood door (in the process of being stripped of its 1930's era paint job) is one of our basement treasures. It was originally part of the back porch off our kitchen in the 1970's- a typical architectural feature you find here in San Francisco. It's nice to be able to recycle something that came with the house (and to finally get it out of the basement).

I'll stop now, I don't want to be tiresome - but I just wanted to share our sense of accomplishment with those of you also taking on house projects this summer.
Unfortunately from now on things will go slower, as we'll be the ones finishing things up over the next few months - unless the weekends mysteriously get longer......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Porch to Aviary - This Summer's Project....

We've just started work on the house project for this summer - enclosing a small outdoor porch off the kitchen and filling it with birds!

I've always loved finches, and for years had societies and sweet little waxbills living in dome-shaped canary cages suspended from the ceiling of our breakfast room - you can see part of the room just on the other side of the tall glass panel, at the end of the porch.

But keeping birds in the house can be quite a mess, with seed spread all over the floor and throughout the plants growing below the cages.

Also, some people, especially my dear brother, were troubled by seeing birds living out their lives in relatively small cages.

The new aviary will provide enough room for my tiny birds to perch and fly around and generally have a great time.

And the view from inside the house, through that large unobstructed pane of glass, should be fantastic!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garden Party!

This week I'm joining in the virtual garden party over at The Little Round Table. It's such a great time of year for sharing what's happening in the garden.
Here are just a few quick close-ups.....

 Hope your garden is giving you lots of joy - and enough cut flowers to fill your favorite vases.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victorian Garden Fairy....

Lovely Victorian fantasy image - one in a series of four tiny garden fairies found here...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Bird Candle - Ivory Sparrow

Bird Candle in Soy - Ivory Sparrow from an Original Mold
Plump, ivory songbird candle, hand poured in soy wax, stands about 2.50" tall and is about 4.00" wide - beak to tail.

This original mold was cast by me from a vintage ceramic bird figurine.
Hand poured in highest quality Ecosoya soy wax, which is produced using non-GMO soybeans grown without pesticides.
Pure all cotton wick.
New item in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Garden Snapshot: Volunteers....

We never planted these foxglove - they are "volunteers"... seed carried on the wind from an uphill neighbor's garden.
In the fall we have to pull them out like weeds, but do not feed them to the chickens, because of the digitalis.
We do our best to find them new homes in other gardens, and not toss them into the green compost bin, which is always a last resort.

And don't they look great poking up through the golden cotinus!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Let's Just Start.....

Blogging has been on the "To Do" list for almost a year now, and today seemed like as good a day as any to test the water.
Let me start with a random image from our life here - some of the good things that our tiny city garden produces.