Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yellows and Blues

Here are a few everyday items, treats of the season and favorite crafty things. Our beautiful sunshine and clear skies had me drinking in the blues and yellows.

The ixias in the center top row are one of my absolute favorite flowers ever. I salvaged these stalks from a bit of heavy gardening earlier in the week.

Be sure to visit Mary over at Little Red House for more pretty mosaics!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Embroidery Project

A few days ago Geninne blogged a free embroidery pattern: a line drawing of one of her darling birds. I couldn't resist transferring him to a vintage style cotton tea towel and getting to work.

I tried to choose colors to go with the side stripes without being too matchy-matchy.

You can find Geninne's pattern here on her blog. You can find the tea towel here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Afternoon In the Garden

A view of my cottage from the best place to sit when the weather is warm.

Sometimes unanticipated yard work is the best and most productive kind. Sometimes one thing leads to another and simply mowing the lawn leads to heavy trimming and weeding. So went my afternoon and I am beyond thrilled!

Here's my new view from the back door: open, green and airy. No longer overgrown, dark or crying for attention.

You can see the freshly groomed palm trunk right above the calla lilies.

Other places in the garden are showing their spring colors and the irises are in full swing.

And the camellia is ready to burst with blossoms.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Fiery Sunset

Here's a shot from the front door looking west on a particularly fiery evening. It's always amazing how fast a sunset changes its colors -- this bright sky lasted for mere minutes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Click to enlarge.

The first day of spring was not one to disappoint: plenty of sunshine and lots of time spent outdoors at the beach and in the garden.

Some of you know that I've been an avid surfer since my teens and spend as much time as possible down on the beach and on the water. The center photo is of me at my favorite "secret" beach this past Saturday enjoying the sunshine and surf.

The other eight pieces of the mosaic, well, what can I say? The bulbs -- freesias, Dutch irises, daffodils --are all blooming happily and the nasturtiums and lavender are showing their colors as well.

Be sure to visit Mary over at Little Red House for more pretty mosaics!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Our run of sunshine for the last few days has everyone in chipper spirits, including these two sparrows. We happened to be in the yard photographing something else but turned our attention to the bird bath when we heard quite a commotion of happy chirping and splashing.

Usually these little guys have a sixth sense and make a hasty retreat before the camera is even totally pointed in their direction. Today though it was all about the bath.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

While we've already brought out the Easter decorations, that's not to say that St. Patrick's Day doesn't hold a special place in our hearts. Above are a few green pieces we've made in honor of today. And below is a beautiful shade of green mica aptly named emerald green.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Easter Decorations Come Out... and So Do the Flowers!

Sunshine showed up today ! After patchy clouds, rain storms, and chilly breezes, it seems that spring is finally here. All the flowers blooming in the garden inspired us to bring out our Easter decorations, after all, it is just three weeks away. Have you decorated yet?

Be sure to visit Mary over at Little Red House for more pretty mosaics.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Easter Preparations

We've added tons of Easter items to our etsy shop this week. Here's a quick sampling.... Above is a set of paper and lace egg ornaments we've made from scratch using items we carry (paper scraps from Germany, forget me not flowers, Dresden trims) plus metallic paint and vintage lace.

Above and below are hand blown glass eggs from the Czech Republic just begging to be embellished or displayed as they are. Find more styles here.

Below is a sisal and paper bunny with a straw carrot.

And finally a chick candy container reminiscent of the vintage style ones of the 1950s.

Hard to believe Easter is in 3 weeks! It's finally feeling like spring around here this week: breezy, crisp and plenty of sunshine. The garden is starting to show spring as well. Stay tuned for a glimpse of our own Easter decorations and a bit of garden color.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Make a Papier Mache Easter Egg Container

Easter will be her before we know it and with springtime crafting already in full swing, we wanted to share a fun project with you: decorating a German papier mache egg box.

You'll need:
• a blank egg, like those pictured below, available here
• acrylic paint in white and other springtime colors of your choice
• a selection of Dresden foils and trims, available here and here
• springtime and Easter scraps, available here and here
• and of course glue, scissors and paint brushes

These German egg boxes are lined with pretty vintage floral paper, just like the papier mache eggs that have been enjoyed for generations.

Start out by painting both halves of the egg white to ensure your final color choice is vibrant. When dry, paint with color. Next step, glue on scrap images and Dresdens. When adding trim around the seam of the egg, take care to line the trims up precisely. And voila! Your egg is complete.

You can also add colored mica, elegant fabric trims, glitter, and a glossy glaze to your egg. If you add any gloss, be sure to do it before you apply Dresdens so as not to dull any of their luster and shine.
We chose birds and florals for this set of eggs, paired with powdery hues in pink, blue and mint.
Happy Spring and Happy Crafting!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

An Almost-Spring Neighborhood Walk

click to enlarge

A few days ago blue skies drew us outside for a long-overdue stroll around the neighborhood. With cameras in tow and at the ready we set out on our favorite loop that includes a couple of good hills and plenty of pretty views. Funny thing... every single picture I took was a flower shot or had blue sky. Guess I'm more ready for spring than I thought!

Be sure to visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Repurposing Fabric into Handmade Bias Tape

A pile of strips ready to be passed through the bias maker.

We recently sorted through our fabric stash as much for organization as to remind ourselves of what exactly we had. Some yardage serves as souvenirs from past travels (a bold cotton flora from Tahiti, dainty Liberty of London-style silks from the Caribbean) other yardage reminds us of past phases and trends (like our chinoiserie craze several years ago).

Our sorting and refolding yielded several candidates perfect for a new project: hand making colorful and unique bias tape. Inspired by our project, my grandmother also sorted through her fabrics and gifted us with quite a stash of calicos, stripes and checks from the 1970s and early 80s.

Pretty brown and cream stripe bias tape freshly ironed and waiting to be wound onto a card.

To make our bias tape we used a Bias Tape Maker like the ones pictured below. They're available at fabric stores or online.

Here are several examples of the finished tape:

The above three are all vintage. My grandmother made me an Easter dress out of the purple flower print on the right when I was only 4. The below photo is from fabrics we bought in Hawaii and Grenada about 10 years ago.

If you've wanted to try making your own bias tape, we say go for it! It's fun, rewarding and makes you look at your fabric with new eyes. However, if you're hesitant and think it looks like a lot of work, stop by our etsy shop for a selection of interesting and varied prints that are ready to go and perfect for a multitude of projects (braided rug? purse edging? scrapbooking?).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And Then There Were Three

We've been doing a bit of spring cleaning here at the blog over the last week or so, adding new elements, changing columns and links, etc. The most noticeable change is undoubtedly that we now have three columns instead of two!

It was a bit intimidating at first to edit the html of the blog template, but everything worked great thanks to this easy tutorial at Not only were the instructions super easy to follow, but they have tons of tutorials for different Blogger templates.

We have a few more changes in store, like a wider header, so check back to see how our new look evolves!