Friday, July 31, 2009

Who's Grading?

You may recall that I said I do not sew. Well actually, on occasion, I've been known to sew----for decorative purposes only. I think that I would probably sew more if it weren't for those horrid memories of Junior High Home-Ec sewing class. I remember unpicking more stitches than I sewed, or at least it seemed that way. I wanted my project (a cotton slip with lace and an elastic band waist) to be perfect so that I could get a good grade. Yes, I unpicked and unpicked and unpicked so much that I dreaded sewing and hated the finished product.
But lately I've been making some changes in my life. You see, I have spent my entire life only trying things if I first knew that I could do them well. I steered clear of experiences if I felt that I couldn't succeed.
But I have finally realized that I have held myself back from so many wonderful adventures in life. Why do I still feel, years and years after graduating from school, that I am being graded on my performance?
The real truth is,
I'm the ONLY one that's doing the grading!

Even if someone else comments on my performance, it's still MY CHOICE to let their opinion influence my life.
MY CHOICE!
And so, with those thoughts in mind, I pulled out the sewing machine, plopped my faded outdoor cushions on top of pretty fabric and got to work. About an hour later I proudly placed my newly covered cushions outside. I had a real feeling of accomplishment! Are the covers perfect? Let's just say that if I was being graded I would not get an A for quality. But I would get an A+ for effort----and that's really all that matters!
My family and friends will enjoy the new seating. It won't matter to them that the seams aren't perfect. They, and I, will appreciate the overall beauty and comfort of the cushions and the memories that we will make on our back patio.
I have the satisfaction of knowing that I created something beautiful. But even more, I have learned that life isn't about grades, it's about
learning,
making mistakes,
and realizing that making the effort
to learn and grow is when we
truly succeed.

AL FRESCO DINING..........

Well, it's finally here........... we're off on holiday, so I thought that you would like a picture of where we are going, so that you could all linger over it while I'm away !!!!!! To stop you being too envious, here are some lovely pictures of outside living for you to feast your eyes on and imagine me with my linguine al granchio and a chilled glass of pinot grigio , sitting high up on the terrace, the warm sunshine on my face......MMmmmmmmm
Come with me through the gates to see some beautiful ways to eat and drink outside...........

Look at this....... the most wonderful view and such a lovely seating area.


A stunning, slightly weathered look....... couldn't you see yourselves reading a book there or even having a few ZZZzzzzzz's.......... I nearly went off to sleep myself there for a moment !!!!!!!



Oh, I love this picture..... 50's retro with chandelier. Looks like she's gone to get a cuppa.......and they must be new shoes and they're rubbing a bit !!


If only we could all meet up and sit, eat, drink and chat here
....wouldn't we have the best time ?



........... or here.....


I had to include this one as I think that it's one of my favourite pictures....... you and I could sit there and change the world couldn't we ?



A little bit more upmarket now......... we could change the world there as well, I think......in an upmarket sort of way !!!!


How about this for a bit of decadence ?.......... champagne on your own private piece of beach( O.K. so I know it's water in the ice bucket but humour me !! ) ......James, peel me a grape !!!!!!!


Oh, if only...................


A little bit of romance.


................ and finally... dappled shade and half an hour, writing up your journal.
Well, that's it for a week, see you all on my return, when I shall make you all envious with tales from Italy.
Ciao.
Jackie.













Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picture a Tray

The only negative thing about making a door into a table is that the uneven surface makes it difficult to display things. I could have topped it with glass, but seriously, who wants to have that additional cost, let alone clean a glass surface constantly.
My solution for creating an even surface is to
use a tray.
Oh how I love trays!
I'm pretty sure I have at least a couple of dozen of them, silver ones, wooden ones, store bought and handmade. But I thought I'd make one more.
I took out a wooden picture frame
from my stash.
Then had hubby cut and glue a piece of
scrap beadboard to fit the opening
(he enjoys taking part in my projects). I gave it a pretty coat of spray paint. And then gave it a good distressing.
My technique for distressing is pretty simple. I start by using my palm sander and scuffing up the areas that would naturally show wear, the edges, corners and under the handles. If I had used brush-on paint, I might have rubbed those areas with wax before painting so that the paint would wipe off easily to show the original layer. To add more character, I use a paint scraper. With both the sander and the scraper I make sure to vary the scuffs, heavy in some spots and lighter, or not at all, in others. If the scuffs are too uniform it doesn't look natural.
I then finish with a coat of stain or diluted brown paint.
I like working with water-based stains and paints because I can spray on a little water and wipe off as much stain as I desire. I try to leave stain in the corners and low areas that would naturally attract dirt and grime over years.Once dry, I added two old drawer handles. I could have added knobs, wooden balls or finials to the bottom for feet like I did on this tray, but I need my picture frame tray to have as much bottom surface area as possible. My new tray is beautiful and serves as a nice flat area on my door table to set my burlap lamp and other pretties.

GREY MATTER...........


I'm moving the tint up a tad to that hot, hot colour of ......... Grey !!!! This bathroom would be my perfect place to attend to my ablutions. I love it, love it, love it. It's not luxurious or spa like or unobtainable. It's just ME. This could be on the other side of the bathroom above. The only thing that I have got in these two pictures are the candlesticks and the mirror....oh well..it's a start.

That little jug is just right for some thick double cream to pour over the cake that would be sitting on that cake stand...... or is it a dish ? ....I'm not sure.


I do have a washstand similar to this, but mine is more cream than grey. I will do a post on some of my objects soon ....... when I take some photographs !!!


This concrete building is very harsh and doesn't have many redeeming qualities ( if you look hard enough you can see the one redeeming quality.... shutters...I think that I can see them there or are they just windows? ) but the owner has really brightened it up with some striking red geraniums.......... didn't cost much, but made the world of difference.......... oh dear...in the last couple of posts I have been going on about being thrifty a lot....You'll all think that I'm tight ( oh, that's an English word meaning not very free with money but it also means being the worse for wear 'cos you've drunk too much alcohol !!! I'm meaning it in the former connotation !!! )


I love this laundry /utility room as I love the first bathroom......... they would fit well together in a house, I think, don't you ?


Garlands or wreaths ( I don't like calling them wreaths because I always think of funerals ) are another one of my favourites. I have them above the beds in my house.
They look really good in front of a mirror as well, like this one.



MMmmmm....... lovely lanterns that look good inside and out.



What an ingenious way to keep a gate firmly closed. I wonder who thought to do this.It looks so good against that lovely grey wooden gate.



I just like this picture and it's grey.....and it's got a table, so it qualifies!!!.... actually, I think this picture would look good framed.... perhaps I'll do that ... or perhaps I won't !!!!! I'll let you know if I do.


I've just put these in because I love oysters, and they're grey !!!!..... an acquired taste, but, if you have never tried one give it a go...you only live once.....maybe not for long after you have eaten them!!!!! Just joking..........they are delicious.



Those oysters would fit right in on this gorgeous rustic table. ........ sorry, hope I haven't put anyone off now I've brought oysters into the equation !!!



These will make you feel better.......... forget all about those shellfish. I'll lay up another table with some more goodies that might be to your taste...........


There that's better.......pull up a chair, sit down and tuck in..... I'll just go and put the kettle on.
Jackie















Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comfort and Joy

There is something about a throw draped over a piece of furniture that makes the room feel that much more inviting and comfortable. I wanted to achieve that same feeling on my porches, after all they're like a room---without as many walls.I went on a search to find something that would look both pretty and appropriate. With temperatures in the 90's and 100's it would look a bit odd to have a heavy throw resting on outdoor furniture.
While looking through a linen rack at my local thrift store I discovered a bunch of beautifully hand painted sarongs. These would make the perfect throws for my porches! They're large, lightweight and infused with color.
Now the furniture on my porches beckon one to sit in comfort, to rest for a few minutes and take in the joy and beauty of nature.

WHAT, THEN , SHALL WE DO ? ..................

Inspiration is not forthcoming this morning............. coffee is all gone.... dare not have anymore or I shall be buzzing.........
Almond croissant is nearly finished , so no more excuses that I'm still having breakfast.......

It was soooooo much easier in the olden days !!!!! Just sit down at the typewriter, that was it........now there has to be photos, music, videos, dancing girls... oh dear..........

.........isn't it stressful.....what's a blogging girl to do...........
I could do ..........

SHOES........


...........or COCKTAILS.......

...............or FLOWERS........


.....or BATHROOMS......



.........or FOOD.....

..........or FURNITURE.........

..........or ANTIQUE LACE.......


..........or MORE FLOWERS........


........or TEACUPS.......

But no, I thought to get as many comments as I possibly could today I would just show ......

..........THE CUTEST BABY !!!!!!!!!!.......
Now, try not to comment on that picture !!!

Jackie