Thursday, May 31, 2012

how does your garden grow?

Ours didn't seem to be doing much of anything then we went out of town for Memorial Day weekend and Wham!

Everybody is looking big and bushy all of the sudden. 

I got really excited when I spotted these.

Yup, those are little green strawberries.  I'm already nervous that our anti bunny theft mesh system might not be enough to keep them out and am debating wrapping more mesh around it.  What do you think?

We are going to have a little salad with our greens this evening.

Everything is looking good with the exception of our peas.  They look dried out.  It may have gotten too hot for them already?  I might dig them up and use the valuable real estate for somebody else. 

We've got our first CSA meeting this Sunday so between our garden goodies and the produce we get from a local farm I'm hoping we won't need to buy veggies from the grocery store at all!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Now that's some paper!

We decided to avoid calling the electrician and try to move our doorbell chime in the kitchen to free up the wall space for our new cabinets.  Much of the electrical wiring in this place has proved to be a little wonky.  Turns out to move the chime box it would be more work that it is worth.  So we wrapped the wires and jammed them in the wall and instead bought a wireless doorbell that is working perfectly thus far.  I'm glad to have avoided a pricey electrician visit.  

Our house was covered in wallpaper, well IS covered in wallpaper.  Most of it is painted over and the only rooms that actually have the paper removed are the kitchen and the bathroom.  It was a torturous process trying to strip all the wallpaper in our kitchen and I will never again heckle those couples on House Hunters who complain about wallpaper in a house.  I used to yell "oh stop it!  just peel the wallpaper and move on!"  but now I see what a fool I was.  Anyway, I actually like wallpaper but we probably won't be adding any to this home.  Especially since we'd be papering over painted paper, can you even do that?

Look at this paper we uncovered when removing the old doorbell chime.

and a close up

Wow!  Avocado green, orange and metallic gold.  Looks like we have a royal lady, a coach, something about perfume?  An interesting choice for a kitchen.  Can you imagine facing a whole room of this in the morning?  Funny enough the green is rather close to my green accents in there but I think I'd skip the orange and gold. 

We toyed with the idea of wall papering the kitchen.  When I was removing the old wallpaper and finding some imperfections in the walls we thought it might be nice to cover them up with paper.  I still think it would look nice but the mere thought of doing it makes me tired.  There is no doubt wallpaper can look great in a kitchen though.  I'll leave you with this pretty image of a kitchen filled with trees.  Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

master pillow

Sorry for the absence.  You know how it goes,  a little of this and that and well life gets in the way!

I had a lovely Mother's Day weekend and went to a mother daughter tea with my Mom at a once private home here in NJ that now hosts classes and events in their public gardens.

We got to have tea sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and drink really delicious tea out of proper china tea pots on the veranda of this grand place.  Isn't it fun to be fancy sometimes?

My Mom brought down my gift with her.

A new pillow for our master bedroom.  We're getting more yellow in here little by little.

I'm not sure how to arrange it yet.  Like this...

or this

or this

It looks pretty to me every way.  She did an excellent job, complete with contrasting striped piping.

Well done Mom, I love it.

at the picket fence

Thursday, May 10, 2012

letter gift

It is pretty clear that I like letters.  I use (or overuse) them in our home decor really often.  When my friend was getting married last year and her M was becoming an H, I figured  I'd spread some letter love and put a little more H in her life.

I ordered a monogrammed tote from Lands End.  There are tons of options in colors and styles.  I went with a medium size tote with tide pool aqua trim and had them monogram a letter H for her.  You can check out all their options here.

I picked up a letter H hook from Michaels and a little monogramed H notepad as well.  Then I picked two platters she had on her registry.  I know people register for things because they actually want them but I'm never a huge fan of only getting registry gifts, especially when it is a close friend.   Getting a couple things from the registry and a couple that I picked always feels like a better balance to me.  I wrapped the platters and got it all together...

and we were in business.  It was a hit and she has used everything in her home and toted around that tote plenty.

I did a silhouette of her and her fiance for their wedding gift.  They kindly displayed it at their reception and it now hangs in their home.

The happy couple will be married a year this June.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I've got a new print to share.

A big old tree with a swing.  I never had a swing hanging from a tree growing up.  I love the idea of swinging and looking up through the leaves and branches to the sky.

I mixed up a tealish green for this one.  I'm going to experiment a more with printing in colors.  I also picked up gold printing ink and tried out the peacock in solid gold.

Suits that fancy bird I think. 

The interesting thing about the carving and printing process is once you carve it away, its gone!  I had intended to leave that hole in the trunk to absorb ink but I was carving away and forgot myself.  I get in a bit of a rhythm and forget my plans at times. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


When I talked about my home goals for the year I mentioned we wanted to replace our baker's rack with real cabinetry.  I showed a picture of it like this.

Looks pretty tidy and not half bad but it generally looks more like this.

and this is after I removed the empty dog food can and assorted crud off the counter top.

It pretty much always looks like a sloppy mess and so I'm a glad to say that we will be replacing this with more cabinets!  An upper double cabinet that goes to the ceiling and some open shelving too.  Some lower cabinets, a little spot for a stool and a garbage drawer.  We'll be putting a butcher block counter there because we don't want to spend the money on more granite and I like the way the wood looks on the bakers rack so I think it will be a nice touch.  We're not excited to spend money but really excited to have more storage because we truly don't have enough room for food in this place.  I can deal with being minimal with kitchen dishes, pans and gadgets.  We have a spot in the basement for overflow and things we don't use all the time like the crock pot but not having enough room for pasta and canned goods is a serious problem!

So it will be about a month or so and in the meantime we have to move that pesky doorbell chime up above the bakers rack that you can see in the first picture.  This may be beyond our limited electrical capabilities so a call to the electrician will be in order. 

I'm excited.  It is another big step in making this house more functional for us like I talked about in my Home Goals:

7.  Work on making this house work for us.  Our house is on the small side but the truth of the matter is there is more than enough room.  The more we can fine tune the way we live in our little house the happier we'll be.  We might have to be creative and resourceful but this is and can continue to be a great home for us.

I'll keep you posted!  I have to get matching hinges, knobs and pulls for the new cabinetry.  It was only a year and a half ago I got everything so I'm assuming it is all still available.  Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 4, 2012

iron bed

I haven't mentioned much about the big boy room transformation in a while.  We are at a bit of a stand still.  Things are as updated as they can be until we put our little guy in a real bed.  At the moment we have removed the side of his crib so he has a toddler bed/day bed situation going one which he has been doing very well with.

I'm a little anxious to put him in a real bed so I can finish up the room but I don't want to rush it.  While we were driving to Trader Joe's the other weekend I spotted a yard sale with an old iron bed out front and screamed "I want that!!!!!" so we stopped the car and found an awesome antique iron bed on sale for just 45 bucks!  Old iron beds were generally made to whatever size they wanted and they don't adhere to the twin, full, queen, king world of today.  This bed frame was just a few inches wider than a twin and the same length.  Sold!  We crammed it in the car and still went to Trader Joe's then returned home with a trunk full of junk!

We brought the bed frame down in the basement when we got home so I could check it out further and realized that one of the bed rails wasn't fitting quite right.  They are tapered pin rails and once I examined them a little closer I realized one fit the headboard and footboard properly and the other was very similar but didn't slide all the way in.

I got a little swept up in the purchase and didn't look at it as closely as I should have.  Without finding a welder or trying to purchase some other antique rails that would fit  (which are triple the price we paid for the whole frame on ebay) we wouldn't be able to make it work for our little guy in a way that I would be confident was safe.  We only paid $45 for the whole thing and I was pretty happy with that price for just the fantastic headboard.  So we decided we'll be painting it and attaching it to the wall then placing a regular twin bed frame in front of it.  Works for me!  The foot board might have shrunk his little room a bit too much anyway and maybe in the future we'll figure out a way to make it work.

Here is the headboard.

A terrible photo from the basement but you get the idea.  It is very tall and has a worn gold paint job at the moment.  We were unsure what color to paint it but then I saw this.

crate and barrel
and realized that is would be fantastic in black.  Especially against his light blue walls.  So that is the plan!  We just have to decide when to make the leap into a twin bed for him.  When did you transition your little one?  I think he would be fine with it but we are a bit hesitant because he is sleeping so wonderfully right now, who wants to mess with a toddler's sleep?!

We took a trip to an art supply store this morning.  It has been a while since I wandered around a proper art store not just A.C. Moore or Michaels.  Not that I don't adore those stores as well but a real art supply store is entirely different.  I got more supplies for my prints and enjoyed browsing all the goodies.  I'm a stocked up and ready to create so hopefully I'll have more to share soon.  Have a happy weekend.  It is supposed to stop raining here finally I think!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I added a tab up top for my artwork.

 Yup, there it is!

I thought it would be nice to share my work in one spot and let everyone know that I have an etsy shop where it can be purchased.  You can take a look,

My focus drifted from making art for a while and settled more on our home.  Probably a pretty natural shift for a new homeowner who is giddy with decorating options.  Decorating and making things for a home are artistic endeavors as well after all.  I've had an etsy shop for several years and have sold a handful of pieces.  I also had a personal website that focused on photo realistic oil portraits I was doing at the time.  It wasn't really work that I enjoyed anymore so I let that go by the wayside.  In my goals for the new year I wanted to get drawing and I remembered how much I enjoyed printmaking.  I thought maybe that would get me excited again.   So, I started with the linocuts.  My owl for starters...

and the work had me inspired.  A lovely feeling when you've been in a dry spell and feeling distant from making art.

This blog will always be about what I do in our home because I truly love it and it is such a great passion for me but I want to keep sharing the artwork I make because that too is a passion and I get so excited every time I make a new piece.  My nature as an artist has always been to drift in and out of periods of great productivity and inspiration to more challenging times when there wasn't much happening.  I'm in a good place of inspiration and productivity in both my home and my personal artwork.  So I'll keep working and keep sharing and if perhaps there has been a while since you've seen any artwork you could mention it to me?   A gentle reminder to get to work : )

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

little lady

I have a new linocut to show you.  I had this image in my head for a while.  Little tights, black mary janes and striped wallpaper.  

A close up of those little legs.

To learn about the process read more here.

It is a grey day so the pictures aren't the best and I think it would be better with a black mat so I'll update you on that.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

no bake PB cookies

Last night I wanted something sweet but didn't feel like turning the oven on.  I remembered this recipe I found here and got to work.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups rolled oats (old fashioned) [*Quick oats will make the mixture too gooey]


  1. In lg saucepan, mix sugar, butter, and milk; bring to a full, rolling boil over med heat. (full, rolling boil = large bubbles rising to surface that can't be stirred down).
  2. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until peanut butter is melted; stir in oats.
  4. Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

    I decided that about a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips couldn't hurt matters so I went ahead and threw them in with the oats.

    They are sweet, really sweet.  Like a peanut butter cup with oats mixed in.  A sugar bomb was how I explained my first bite to my husband.  A wonderfully delicious sugar bomb.