Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Little End Table for the Porch

Saturday was gorgeous, the perfect day for getting things done around the house! Besides working on the dining room windows, I also tidied up the porch. The floor needed a good wash and the spiders have been so busy making webs everywhere! (Anyone else notice a plethora of spider webs?)

Since everything was clean, it was the perfect time to rearrange things a bit. And then everything was looking so nice, it was a great time to take a few photos! So today, I am sharing the little end table that I have been working on all summer. It was a fit-in-when-I can and when-I-needed-a-little-break from bigger projects kind of thing. 

 The bottom part is a plant stand from Ikea we have had for several years, the tray from the Hobby Lobby clearance section for five dollars. And once both piece were painted they look like they have always a set!

 Once everything was painted, I added a few small stencils to the tray for detail. By adding white to the aqua paint the stenciled florets contrast softly without being too stark.

I love how this project turned out! And it goes so well with my pinwheels!
 Don't you love that bit of unexpected aqua? I hadn't realized until I bought the paint (for a different project) how many touches of aqua there was in my pillows. It adds a nice pop of color!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer + Books

 What can you say about August? We have been experiencing our usual weather, 90+ degrees and 98% humidity. It certainly doesn't make me want to go outside and work on any projects! 
I just want to lay in bed and read. Is anything nicer then a cool room and a good book on a hot day? (maybe a warm room and a good book on a cold day!?!)

 Several weeks ago my sister discovered Summer at Tiffany. It has been our summer favorite! The author, Marjorie Hart writes about the adventures she and her best friend have working at Tiffany's in the summer of 1945. It is a lovely story of friendship, life adventures and an exciting place at an exciting time. Woven through it is not only the awe and excitement two small town collage girls have for New York City, but the excitement of witnessing historical moments like VJ Day in Times Square.

After Summer at Tiffany, I was ready for more memoirs and found Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cordelia Otis Skinner, which I am about half way through. It is a romping tale of a European tour the summer of 1923. 

Next on the list is Here Come the Brides by Geraldine Napier. Though listed under fiction, it is told in memoir style and I am sure must be based on a true story. It is the hilarious accounts of the bridal salon in a large department store. 

More Favorite Memoirs; 
Living In State ~ Beatrice Russell
When We Went First Class ~ Ellen Williamson
Dearest Ones ~ Rosemary Norwalk
Cheaper By the Dozen ~ Frank Gilbreth
Bells on Their Toes ~ Frank Gilbreth

So what have you been reading lately?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fashion Service Women's Institute magazine 1931

 I was absolutely thrilled to find this Women's Institute magazine at an antique shop recently. The Women's Institute of Domestic Art and Science was founded by Mary Brooks Picken in 1915. She wrote and published a variety fashion, sewing and millinery books including a magazine. (In this post I shared a sewing course written by Mary.) My sister also reminded me of Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman, which is a compilation of excerpts from her collection of Women's Institute magazines.

The lasted mode in millinery. Love the sketches!

Frocks and Fashion....

Sewing tips and hints.

 Cooking, one of my favorite pages! 

And of course, the ads are just as fascinating as the articles! Could I have two please of the charming afternoon frock?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Asters (and the Jungle Garden)

I don't know about you, but this summer has gone by too fast! It has been full of family visiting, projects (garage painting and windows), and  few lazy days. Something about August makes one lazy, ready to flake out on the sofa with a good book. 
Already we have noticed little signs summer is drawing to a close; acorns beginning to fall, asters in bloom, spider webs (anyone else notice how many there are this year?), the angle of the sun, cicadas singing.....

 Aren't gardens amazing? I love to look back and see how much they have grown. This was taken just after planting, May 29th.

 Such tiny little sprigs!

 Now it is starting to go places, June 27th.

 And here is was almost a month ago, July 15th.

 Just a few days later the cucumbers were over the top of the supports (which are about 3' high) July 21st.

And here is the jungle now! Taken yesterday  Aug. 11th.

The beans have gone a bit wild and the cucumbers are doing great!

Another sign summer is almost over, gladioli are blooming!

Enjoy the last bits of summer Friends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Review: The Gentle Arts of Domesticity

 "The Gentle Arts of Domesticity" has been one of our favorite books for several years now. The author, Jane Brocket, is an extremely intelligent, educated lady who advocates domesticity. And not the perfect magazine kind of domesticity, but the get messy in the kitchen, decorate because it makes you happy kind of domesticity. The British have such a deep appreciation for the everyday comforts and things of life and Jane Brocket is a master at it.
"There is a world of difference between domesticity and domestication. This book is about domesticity and the pleasures and joys of the gentle domestic arts of knitting, crochet, baking, stitching, quilting, gardening and homemaking. It is emphatically not about the repetitive, endless rounds of cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping and house maintenance that come with domestication. Domesticity rises above the business of cleaning products and media exhortations to keep our houses pristine and hygienic, and focuses instead on the creativity within the domestic space."

"The gentle arts are all about comfort. They are the soothing, relaxing, consoling, and caring. They benefit both the maker and the those around her with the creation of a comfortable, creative, tactile environment in which individuals can feel secure, at ease, happy- even if it is only a temporary respite from more pressing cares."

"For domestic comfort lies in the knowledge that things do not have to be perfect. .........Many women in the past had no option but to be good enough because they couldn't afford perfection and had to make do with what they themselves could create."

Jane Brocket has several other books on quilting, baking, embroidery and children's activities. She also blogs at Yarnstorm Press.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


The hydrangeas are doing really well this year. I love all the shades of pink the flowers go through!

Vibrant, rich pink when they first bloom.....
A muted dusty rose pink when they are finished.......
And a lovely soft pink in between.

  I am just now figuring out how/when to prune and what hydrangeas needs for upkeep. This bush  in the front of the house which is very shady for most of the day, but it doesn't seem to mind. The variety is "Invincible Spirit", which I chose for the color!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Dog and Wood Floors

 Before I had a dog, I always wondered how wood floors would fare. Would there be more scratches from four paws with large nails? Would there be a large scratch when the dog ran full tilt and came to a sudden stop? What about soggy paws, slobber or wet noses?
(You don't mind seeing a bunch of cute dog pictures do you? Kerri was so cute with a new hair cut!)
 Well I am happy to report that both the wood floors in the previous house and the floor in this house are doing just fine! A dog is only a very small portion of daily abuse we dish out for the floors to handle. Grass from the freshly cut lawn is ground in, wet shoes tracked across it, dirt and grime from the latest project scattered about. 
It has been about a year since a put a couple extra coats of shellac on the floors. They survived the winter much better this time.

My floors certainly aren't perfect, they weren't perfect to begin with! But they have held up rather well for being almost 100 years old and refinished by an inexperienced person who didn't quite know what they were doing.

  Of course there is that little dent where the iron fell off the ironing board and under the table there is a patch of tiny scratches were Kerri likes to lay (I got a bit aggressive on the nail cutting, now I file her nails after trimming and the problem is solved.) and next to the rug in the front hall is a bit of a water spot from some winter boot. 

So perfect floors? No. Perfect for dogs and life? Yes!