Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Welcome Of My Home

First impressions are everything, right!  Well, not always, but I always try to make my entrance feel warm and welcoming.  I want everyone that enters to feel comfortable and welcome. 

I'm really proud of my front foyer.  When we bought our house about six years ago, the foyer was just all white walls, old brass chandelier, a plain and solid cheap wooden door, and pink carpeting going up the stairs.  Of course, back then I never thought of taking "before" pictures, so put the pictures in your head of what I just described, and now here are the "after" pictures.

We had a new oak door with sidelights and leaded glass installed.

We hired two painters to paint the foyer.  The first painter painted the solid gold color on the walls.  The second painter took us months to employ.  She's a very talented muralist and faux paint artist.  She painted a faux plaster look over the solid from the floor halfway up the wall.  In between the faux technique and the solid she painted a grapevine all the way around.

When you walk in the front door, off to the right are glass doors leading into my tea room parlor.
This room can be seen here as it was at Christmas.  The chair by the front door is an antique from an old court house.

Above the parlor doors was painted this stained glass window and balcony.

To the left as you walk in the front door is my dining room.  The wreath on the wall by the door was made for me by a very good friend as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago.  It's made from wine bottle corks.

Straight in front of you as you walk in the front door is my entrance table that I always have decorated for the season or holiday.  I always have a dish of candy sitting there and a guest book for everyone that visits here to sign before they leave.

Above the doorway going in to the living room was painted a cherub.  I love angels and cherubs so my husband had asked our painter to paint that there for me.

Going up the stairs are stair lights.  Again, you have to use your imagination for the "before" picture.  The glass covering the lights was originally just a plain clear plastic.  We had stained glass covers made that mimicked the stained glass painted on our faux window.

The chair on the landing is one of my favorite antiques.  Notice how short the chair is.  Years ago people were not very tall.  The chair has been refinished, re-glued and varnished.

Our faux painter also put these plaster stencils on the walls.  After the painting was done she suggested this as it just looked like they needed to be added.  She was right.

Here is the view from the top of the stairway.  The new chandelier was put up after the painting was all finished. 

 Welcome into my home.  I hope you come back to visit soon.

I'm linking this to Cielo's Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Friday, February 25, 2011

"My Favorite Things" Mini Quilt

Making miniature quilts is one of my many hobbies.  I tend to go in cycles with my hobbies.  Cross stitching was one of my first obsessions many years ago.  I'm thinking of getting back into that.  I just gave my DIL a cross stitch lesson.  Lately I've been very much into knitting.  I like knitting because it's so portable and I can travel easily with it.  But between the cross stitching and the knitting was a large obsession with quilting.  I especially liked making miniature quilts.  I find it to be more of an art than utilitarian.  I 've continued to quilt, even through my knitting phase.  There's just something about the feel of good fabrics and making the seems and stitches and points as perfect as I can get them.

Here is one of my first miniature quilts.  I tend to really enjoy small, precise work and so challenged myself at making miniature applique squares.  Here is my little sampler that I call, "My Favorite Things".

Since I can't stand to part with this, it hangs on the wall with several of my other mini quilts in my little studio.

This quilt is a total of 17" square.  Each of the nine little squares is 3-3/4".

 All the applique is done by hand by the "turn under" method.  Then I padded or stuffed many of the appliques to give it some puff and dimension.
These little berries were a little time consuming in order to keep them as round as I could.  They're very tiny.
I embroidered the veins on the leaves and the eye of the bird.

Beads and pearls were sewn onto the center of the flowers.

The center of these flowers I made with silk ribbon french knots.

I put little heart charms on the collars of the cat and the dog.

A few little button embellishments.

I hand quilted this, which I love to do, but it is very time consuming.  It's not too bad on these little quilts, though.  This whole process is so relaxing for me and I love to see all these little bits and pieces of fabrics, beads, buttons and floss come together into a "picture".

I do make little 4" quilts that I frame and sell in my Etsy shop, but I won't part with these larger minis.

I'm linking today to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday
And Alison's Fridays Unfolded

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Not Your Regular Old Chicken Salad

I love to come across new recipes that are good, easy, and not too many ingredients.  While I was in Spokane my DIL made some very good dishes.  She's a good cook!  Warms my heart!

She made this delicious chicken salad for dinner one evening and I just couldn't quit eating it!  It has enough of a different taste to it that it's not your regular old chicken salad.

Curried Chicken Salad
2-3 cups cooked chicken (I used 3 cups.  I boiled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then cut them up into 
                                          large bite size pieces)                                                                    
4 oz. can water chestnuts (drained and sliced)
1/2 lb. seedless grapes
1 cup celery
1 cup mayo. (I like "light" mayo and/or mayo with olive oil)
1 t. curry powder 
2 t. soy sauce (I also use "light" soy sauce)

That's it!  Now just mix the first 4 items in a large bowl.  In a small bowl mix together the final 3 ingredients into a dressing, pour over the chicken mixture and stir.  

I served with Rhodes whole wheat dinner rolls.  You could make sandwiches or just eat the salad by itself with the rolls on the side.  

Mmmm, Mmmm, Good!! Fairly low fat, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Show and Tell

I know St. Patrick's Day is a month away, but I took the Valentine decorations down, along with the straggling Christmas decorations, so the next holiday and seasonal decorations have to come out.  Since we have had two beautifully unusual warm days, I was able to do a little bit outside.

Here's my little tree that sits on my front stoop that I decorate for each season.

  I don't totally re-decorate it because it's my grape and wine tree that stays in keeping with the overall theme of my home.  Then I tweak it a little bit to go with the current holiday or season.

I exchanged the heart ribbon for green plaid.  I also had a few Christmas remnants still left on so I took those off.  And I had LED lights on, but if you've ever used those you know how they put off a different color, like a bluish color rather than a yellow color.  I had to switch that back to a regular strand of lights.  That blue tint drove me crazy.  I'm told you can get "cool" LED lights that are more yellow, but I can't find them right now.

I had to also change out my foyer entrance table.
The teapot and teacup are from JoAnn's Crafts two years ago.
This little "Welcome" sign hanging from the drawer pull is from JoAnn's yesterday.

I don't do too much more for St. Patrick's Day.  I may put a green tablecloth on the dining room table instead of the burgundy.  I also exchange some of my pink candles with green ones.

Now I just need to put the Valentine's boxes away and I'm good for another month.  Then it's time to work on Easter!
Thanks for stopping by!

I'm linking up to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday.

And also to Cielo's Show Off Your Cottage Monday
The House in the Roses

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Travelling -- Through Life

I'm home.  I'm back from Spokane and it feels good!  But---I hate to not be with these adorables.

It is always so hard to say "Good-bye", especially when you know you aren't going to see them again for several months.  We're hoping they can come back home in June.  That's a long time!

Dee, Riley and Heath took me to the Spokane airport at noon on Sunday.  Riley cried and cried when I told her "Good-Bye" at the airport passenger drop off.  I HATE THAT!  I tried as hard as I could to hold back my own tears.  I hated to leave Dee, too.  We get along very well.  Both of my DIL's are like daughters to me.

I tried to think of the positive about coming back home:  I was going back to my hubby, parents, pets, and my other son and his beautiful family; I was getting back to my home that I love; I was looking forward to getting the Valentine and any lingering Christmas decorations put away; and I would be back on my OCD schedule.

I had one stop in Minneapolis, then on to Pittsburgh.  I wouldn't arrive in Pittsburgh until 10:30 p.m. with my hubby picking me up.  We then would have a three hour drive home from there.  Oh how I hate that part of any trip we take!  Years ago travelling was fun, and plane rides were exciting.  Not so much any more.

I was flying on Delta because that is usually the only flight from Pittsburgh to Spokane and vice versa.

 There is no non-stop flight at all.  There is always at least one transfer.  Delta has got to be the most boring airline.  I have never been on a Delta flight with any type of media screen.  No TV or movies at all.  And of course the regular peanuts, pretzels and soft drinks.  You must have to travel around the world to get this accommodation advertised on their web site.

In-flight Products Personal Entertainment
I've never been on a flight like this with Delta.
And it's not like I was flying from Spokane to Seattle or Salt Lake.  I was going across the country.  Even from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh was a three hour flight.  This is the little puddle jumper that we were on for that distance:

CRJ-200 Aircraft Seat Map
Here is the fun part of the story.  I was waiting at my gate in Minneapolis and dreading this flight to Pittsburgh.  It's dark now, I'm getting tired, and I'm hungry because I didn't have enought time between flights to eat.  Then walking toward me is a lady that I think looks familiar.  As she gets closer I realized that it's a very long time friend of mine, Holli, that I had not seen in five years!  We have know each other for 47 years, since the first grade!  There were many years in between that we hadn't seen each other at all due to moving long distances away.  Now she lives in Pittsburgh and had been visiting her nephew at Purdue and was also travelling back home with a connection in Minneapolis.  We just couldn't believe it!  Here we were on the same flight back home.  After asking my seat mate if he would mind switching seats, Holli and I were able to sit together and talk non-stop for three hours.  I was almost wishing the flight was longer because we had so much more to talk about.  Now we're planning a visit in the next couple of weeks in Pittsburgh so that our mothers can visit.  They were also good friends all those years ago.

What could have been a miserable and long trip turned out to be so much fun.  I didn't even notice the cramped, dark and boring conditions!  The peanuts and juice now tasted good, and it was a bright and comfortable ride.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Love!

(Mary Englebreit)

I think Valentine's Day takes on a different tone as you get older and have been married happily to the same person for over 31 years.  We don't buy gifts for each other on this day.  We didn't even buy cards for each other this year.  It can just be a waste of money if you're just trying to come up with something at the last minute just because Hallmark says you need to.

We just love that we are home together. ( I got home last night from Spokane.  I'll have to write about the trip tomorrow.)   I  Love being home. We allowed each other to sleep in this morning since we didn't get to bed until late.  Then first thing today we promised  to be nice to each other all day!  How's that for a Valentine's gift!?  It doesn't sound so good writing it, but I have to say, it was a nice gift to each other.  We can have a tendancy to pick at each other and get on each other's nerves since we work out of our home and we're together all day.  Today was nice.  I Love my Hubby!

My little babies were very happy to see me when they came with "daddy" to pick me up at the airport. I  Love my babies.

I Love my morning coffee in my "Love you, kiss, kiss"  mug.

I Love to look outside and see the red cardinal that shows up every morning for breakfast.

I Love my family, friends and all my blog followers. 

I Love my life!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Show and Tell My Knit Necklace

I love to knit, and when I saw this pattern I just had to try it.  Isn't it just so different and pretty?  The necklace I'm talking about, not the sweater.
It's knit, it's beaded, it's jewelry!  This is just so different!  I love to knit and I like to make things that are just a little unusual than just a plain scarf, or plain shawl, or plain hat.  I don't like plain.
Here's a closer view.

I used a sock weight yarn called "Mini Mochi".  See how it's shaded?!  The beads I used were carnival colored with the same shading.  I actually could have used some smaller beads, but I could find smaller in this color.
I used a #2 knitting needle and for anyone that knits you know this is very small.  You almost feel like you're knitting with toothpicks!  I tried another necklace using a #3 needle but didn't likee how loosey goosey it was. 

I thought it looked nice against my new purple turtleneck.
These are the hooks I sewed on.

This pattern was in the March edition of Creative Knitting magazine.

I'm linking up to "Show and Tell Friday" hosted by Cindy at "My Romantic Home". 
This is the first time I've joined this party, but I thought it was such a great idea because I have a lot to show!


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