Archive for March, 2011

My $38 Photography Light

March 31, 2011


I am determined to take better photographs!  I’ve got my big girl camera off of the automatic setting.  Thanks Julie!  I also learned so much about photography specific to blogging from the splendid Blogging Your Way course I took from Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring recently.

Our guest bedroom is serving double duty as my new photography studio.  Instead of forking over triple digit bucks to buy a light on a tripod with a reflecting umbrella, I created this assemblage to do the trick.  I was inspired by this really useful post by local food blogger, Matt Wright. 

I started with a vintage floor lamp that had been gutted, which I already owned.  Attached a clip-on light from Lowes ($8) and a genuine light reflecting umbrella from Glazers ($30) with an extra clamp I had on hand.  The darn thing works well!


Wonderful Wednesday

March 30, 2011

Blue canning jars are what is wonderful about my Wednesday.  I’ve been rounding them up from their storage areas, giving them a good bath, and storing pantry supplies in them.  So many shapes, styles and hues of that gorgeous aqua blue.  I have happy pantry shelves.

Serenity in the Spice Drawer

March 29, 2011

Whole Coriander Seeds.  I recently bought some to make Amy Pennington’s Quick Carrot Pickles from her ultra-wonderful book, urban pantry.  There was no good place to fit them into our spice drawer.  I can’t control very much in my life (we are close to having our eleven month anniversary of our former home being still on the market!), but I was going to make this little drawer in my little world all better.  After living in our new house almost five months now, this organizing system for our spices has been darn handy.  Visually, the names of the spices on the bottle tops were sort of hard to read though.

I didn’t want to spend any money for a fix, and it seemed wasteful to get all new matching containers.  I created matching white circle labels from a surplus of name tags and a crafting hole punch.

With a little purging of a few drawer items, there was room for the whole coriander seeds.  And all was right with this little drawer.  The carrot pickles were a big winner too!

Bartering Is the Best Bargain

March 24, 2011

For a bargain lover like me, bartering is the best.  It’s a win/win for everyone.  My friend Dawn admired a lovely vintage sofa we no longer needed.  Dawn is a talented landscaper with an abundance of plants she has acquired from various jobs.  I would love more plants for our new garden.  So here is our sofa loaded up in Dawn’s truck on its way to live with her.  Next week I’ll be loading up my car with free plants from Dawn’s house.  And you might remember how much plant material my trusty Subaru can hold!

Another barter I’m enjoying is with my friend Julie.  She suggested that I could be her gardening coach, and in return, she would be my photography coach.  We recently spent a fun morning at a nursery finding some interesting yet low maintenance and drought tolerant plants for her garden.  In this photo, I’ve brought a surplus of a lovely grass I have, carex ‘Ice Dancer’, and showed Julie how to divide it up with one of my favorite gardening tools, the Hori Hori.  Regular hands work well too.  Julie is a natural when it comes to propagation.   

Next up was my first photography lesson, and I got my camera off of the automatic setting!  I am really encouraged to start taking better pictures.  Stay tuned for my DIY photo studio (aka the guest bedroom) reveal.

Plant Search and Rescue

March 21, 2011

Such a beautiful sight – free plants!  I seem to have replaced one addiction – rescuing good junk with another – rescuing good plants.  One of the few silver linings of our former home still being on the market, is we have the time and energy to move some plants from our old garden to our new one.

The beginning of our new hydrangea garden.  This probably looks like a bunch of sticks to some.  But gardening for me is about hope and patience.

I’m dreaming and visualizing when this space will look as heavenly as our old garden.  And even better with some hard-earned wisdom I’ve learned about low maintenance and drought tolerant virtues of garden design.  Plus I’m excited to include as many edibles as possible. 

Gardening is all about optimism.

Charm Swap Fun

March 18, 2011

Twice a year, I host a very fun charm swap for 25 or so friends.  We’ve been enjoying this special tradition since 2007.  Everyone brings 25 hand-crafted charms to trade with everyone else.  The presentations are as terrific as the charms.

After we all select our new beauties, we hear how each charm was created, and share all sorts of jewelry-making hot tips.  Usually the jewelry you wear to this swap gets passed around for show and tell as well.  There’s food and friendship galore.  And when its all over, you have the best pile of new jewelry jewels!

What’s In Your Magazine Basket?

March 16, 2011

Even though I am embracing on-line mags, I still have a soft spot in my heart for paper magazines.  Here are eight favorites I am really enjoying these days.

Where Women Cook – Oh my my, this is a dreamy and inspiring collection of a wide variety of women cooks.  I seem to never tire of getting a good look at how each one of them celebrates food, and how they organize their kitchens. 

Flea Market Style – I certainly wish this was a monthly publication instead of twice a year (so far).  Chock full of my favorite vintage decorating styles.

ReadyMade – After reading this magazine, I feel edgier and younger.  Yippee for magazine osmosis.

GreenCraft – Recycling and Repurposing Waste into Ecologically Chic Creations – their description, and so very true.

Sunset – It always delivers some hot tidbit for a new place to check out in the Northwest.

Country Living – I’m grateful it survived the magazine masacre of 2008.  I’m still grieving for the loss of Cottage Living, Domino, Country Home and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion.

Martha Stewart Living – It’s such a darn beautifully made publication.

House Beautiful – Depending on who the editor is, I’m either a fan or I’m not.  I’m liking the current one, but still miss Peggy Kennedy’s touch.

I’d get a kick out of hearing what your favorite magazines are these days!


March 14, 2011

I am so grateful for all the positive and joyful people in my life.  Here’s a great shot of a special friend, Christie – my playmate and helper extraordinaire for last month’s Ruffles and Rust show.  And a special thank you to Amber of Tres Birds Photography for this happy pic.

The Daily GOOD

March 11, 2011

I’ve recently discovered The Daily GOOD, and would like to share it with you too.  It began with our builder and friend, Martha Rose, sending me a link for the above Project:  Take a Picture of Something Repurposed.  Of course I had to look into that because this picture of a cement lightbulb living another life as a wall hook was just my deal.

So I submitted this upcycled creation of mine, a candleholder fashioned from various lamp parts.  Thanks to my talented friend, Julie Sotomura, I had this photo.

The Daily GOOD received a substantial amount of submissions, readers chimed in on their favorites, and this snappy idea  received the most applause.  A really striking lighting assemblage. 

I am enjoying my daily doses of good news from this website!

The True F Word – Fear

March 10, 2011

Fear is an ugly feeling.  I’ve been experiencing a fair amount of it lately.

I listened to a soul-touching podcast yesterday from Holly Becker as part of our Blogging Your Way course.  The topic was Fear and Pushing Past It to Do Your Best Work.  It was so the right place and time for me to hear her perspectives and suggestions for pushing past my fears to create more courage, not feel regret and to keep believing in my dreams.

One thought Holly shared that resonated with me, and that I’d like to share with you – the brick walls we run into are there not to stop us, but to remind us of how much we want our goals.