Sunday, August 29, 2010

European Blown Glass Beads for Garlands, Ornaments and Crafts

Glass beaded garlands are a staple on our trees year after year. From simple balls to elaborate shapes, each bead is handmade with such beautiful and careful attention to detail. We recently added many shapes and sizes of traditional blown glass beads to our etsy shop. Made in the Czech Republic using old fashioned molds, each bead is blown and silvered by hand. Here's a small sampling of what we're stocking; to see all styles we offer, click HERE.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Yard Summer Project Part 2: Another Brick in the Wall

And the work continues! Our cool and cloudy weather has turned for the warmer and a mini heat wave has kept us seeking shady tasks as we continue our yard re-do. After many trips to The Home Depot for more blocks, we've continued the wall and added another curve.

The wall will wrap around about to where the large queen palm is in the shot below, then be back filled to create a second level effect. You can see there's a palm stump -- it's coming out today as soon as I finish this post. The large queen will also come out and most likely be replaced with a king palm.

Speaking of palms, we transplanted a medium sized kentia into a pot. Here is where it used to be:

And here's its new temporary home. It took almost as long to get it into the pot as it did to dig it up!

I used to have a rickety hose reel with a handle that wobbled each time I reeled the hose in. I thought a change to a hose pot might be an upgrade and was thrilled to find this handsome pot at The Home Depot for only $23.

Time to get out there and tackle that palm stump before it gets too hot!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Traditional Advent Calendars

One of my favorite childhood Christmas memories is the excitement of opening windows on advent calendars. It was so hard to open just one window per day!

We just received several new styles, including two standing 3-D ones, and they're just as charming as ever. It's hard to pick a favorite!

All of these calendars and more are available here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Visit From Thomas

Thomas, the cat who lives across the street and visits us frequently, has been stopping by in the evenings for a little exercise. I keep a shoelace draped over the back fence for just such occasions.

Thomas likes our heavy gardening, too. With so much bare soil he can roll in the dirt and run through the dried lawn all he wants. Above, he thought attacking a calla was more fun than the string...

I got his attention though and pretty soon he was in hot pursuit.

He'll play "I'm not watching you" then, with a leap, he's up and on the hunt, chasing as fast as he can move. Even though we've played countless times, his speed and agility never cease to amaze me!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Yard Summer Project Part 1: Rock and Roll

I've alluded to some heavy gardening that's been going on around here lately and finally have some photos to share with you:

Above, a load of stones after being unloaded underneath our gingko tree. Each piece weight just over 20 lbs. and between loading, unloading and taking them to the wall area, each piece gets moved several times.

We chose Pavestone's Natural Impressions Flagstone in Charcola/Tan. When I pictured the perfect look for re-doing our raised flower beds, I envisioned something like this and hoped they actually existed. Needless to say I was overjoyed to find them at our local Home Depot! They have a little lip to "lock together" and stay in place, no mortar needed.

Here we've started laying the first course and stacking a few to see how they'll look.

And after a few hours progress a significant section takes shape.

Keeping things level is a must!

The old planters used to be wood planks with super straight lines. These stones are perfect for making gentle curves, like we've done near the palm above.

I'll have more to share soon, but for now I'm being called outside to work more!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet Cathe Holden!

We've been big fans of Cathe Holden for a while now and are thrilled to share a bit about her with you today! Apart from being a super talented graphic designer, she's one of the most continuously creative gals around who never ceases to amaze us with her projects and ideas. Her blog, Just Something I Made, is a treasure trove of crafting at it's best, complete with tons of images, graphics and detailed instructions to excite and inspire you. Read on for a behind the scenes peek into Cathe's world...

A glimpse into Cathe's studio. See more shots here.
All photos by Cathe Holden.

* A bit about yourself (name, location, where we can find you online).
I am Cathe Holden of Petaluma, California. I am a mother of 3 really, really awesome teenagers, and wife of a fireman, Mr. Wonderful. I am a professional graphic designer and avid crafter/blogger. You can find my logo design portfolio at and and my do-it-yourself craft site at

* Describe your signature style.
My style is all over the map. But I think I gravitate quite a bit towards vintage advertising art of the late 1800 through the early 1940s. I have been hooked on typography since I began my art career in the early 80s. Although much of my design may be considered pretty, I often lean towards a less delicate or feminine style in my designs and crafts.

A set of vintage cheese labels becomes bunting in Cathe's studio. See what else she did with them here.

* How long have you been blogging? Has it developed like you thought it might or has it completely surprised you?
I am half way through my third year of blogging. I could have never imagined a blog could have taken me this far. Not so much in financial success, but sharing on the internet has taken me on an amazing ride around the world. I am so blessed to have connected with so many wonderful people on this earth.

* Creative influences?
Vintage books, Martha Stewart, creative blog friends, like Selena Cate of Apron Thrift Girl, who, for example, has exposed me to a whole new era of style I’d never been interested in, but one I have recently come to adore, Mid-Century Modern. I find so much inspiration from other bloggers’ styles and the things they share.

Soft and tough: leather two ways. See what Cathe does with these leather shields here. And how she replaces a suitcase handle here.

* Favorite materials? Any tools or supplies you can't live without?
Leather has been lots of fun to work with, sewing and transferring images to. I could never live without my number one tool, the X-acto knife. The computer has been an incredible catalyst for taking my ideas and making them happen. I’d like to thank my Mac, and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS3 for that.

* A glimpse into your typical day?

Coffee, then coffee and then I sneak into my studio before the kids arise. In the summer, that gives me until almost 10 am or later. Otherwise, during the school year, I drive one hour commutes in the morning and another hour or two in the afternoon depending on sports activities. In between that time, I work on client logo designs or crafts and blogging. My husband is a fireman and is gone several days and nights. But when he’s home, he helps take care of most domestic things so I can continue to create. It’s teamwork at it’s best, and he’s amazing.

One of our all time favorites: Cathe's water transfer decal images for tins and canisters. A must-see! Click here.

* Biggest design or crafting challenge so far?
Blogging on demand. I do hit a wall trying to come up with ideas occasionally. There will be times when I haven’t blogged in days, or am scheduled to write for another party and am under deadline with a sort of writer’s block. It can be quite frustrating. But somehow, it all comes together and I get through it. More often than not, my best posts come from those difficult moments, so I try to not get discouraged.

* How has your approach to crafting changed over the years?
I used to not want to tell people that I “crafted”, let alone blogged about it. I thought it wouldn’t be taken serious in the least and would perplex people as to why I give it such high priority in my life. But through blogging I have found myself wonderfully embraced by other creative thinkers and doers and am so excited by how far crafting has come since I was stuffing and glueing wicker-basket lids with calico fabric & ugly lace in the 80s.

Meticulous organization in the studio using cigar boxes and labels galore. Check out Cathe's labeling here.

* Being organized is such a big part of crafting and creating... Any organizational tips for others?
Label everything. I forget more than I remember of where I put things that I don’t use on a daily basis. Labeling every drawer, compartment and box is very important for me and helpful to others, such as my kids, when looking for materials and supplies to work with. It also makes for a quicker clean-up.

* What do you like to do besides create/craft?
Sing. In the car, alone mostly. But I love to sing.

Cathe shows you the ins and out of embossing velvet with rubber stamps here.

* Any crafting projects or techniques that you haven't done that intrigue you?
I’ve yet to carve my own rubber stamps. I find that extremely interesting. It’s just a matter of time.

* Anything else you want readers to know about you?
Yes. I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s by God’s amazing grace that I am able to create the things I do. It’s been an extremely difficult few years for me and crafting & blogging helps me move through tragedy. Having opportunities to share my gifts with others is a blessing of comfort in itself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Halloween Crafting & Decorating

Have you started thinking about your Halloween crafting yet? We've been gathering lots of fall supplies and decorations for the past several weeks and what follows is just a quick sampling.

We found several rolls of vintage crepe paper streamers with pumpkin and cat faces. They're flanked above by two styles of black Dresdens.

We also have a wide selection of orange and fall colored paper flowers.

You can find all of these items here in our etsy shop. Including the orange seashells and inky black glass prisms above.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Identifying Vintage Milk Glass

First produced in Venice, Italy in the 16th century, milk glass is made white by adding an opacifier - either tin dioxide or bone ash. In the United States, one of the premier manufacturers was the Westmoreland Specialty Company, founded in Pennsylvania by two brothers in 1889. Their focus was pressed glass and, in 1921, the name changed to Westmoreland Glass Company.

Milk glass of many colors was mass produced beginning in the 1940s. Pieces from the Victorian era are lighter and more finely detailed. The best way to tell the difference between an earlier piece and a mid 20th century piece is to hold the piece up to the sun. An older piece will glow pinkish at the edges and a new piece will show blue. I've tried to show you the pink glow in the photo below, but seeing it for yourself in real life is most illustrative. Once you compare two pieces, you'll be able to spot the difference easily.

The four legged covered jar below was made as a mustard pot, circa 1900. It has finely scrolled feet, a fluted and scalloped base and a lid with a crown finial. It still has remnants of its original paper label on the underside. The Westmoreland Specialty Company made lots and lots of different patterned mustard pots before closing their doors in 1984 and they are widely collected. The cherub plate with the openwork border is also circa 1900, but is missing its paper label.

Here's a shot of the label:

And a closeup of the crown finial:

One of my favorite milk glass pieces is a chipped up old covered box that long ago lost its lid. It's nothing to look at but I use it to hold makeup in my medicine cabinet and appreciate it every day.

Be sure to stop by Faded Charm for more white!

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Handmade Bias Tape

There's something totally soothing about making bias tape and it's always exciting to see how larger prints look once they're ironed down. This time we've made several hundred yards using pretty Ralph Lauren fabric in 4 different prints. Here's how they look made up:

And here's what they started out as:

One fan of unique bias tape told me she'd used it to trim a kimono style baby's top. She'd bought a a pack of the plain white tops by Gerber that are widely available and personalized it with a pretty floral trim. These prints are perhaps a bit grown up for babies, but we have tons of bias prints that we've made in our etsy shop to please all ages.