October 31, 2013

marvelous moths

These seem to be popping up more often these autumn days. The moth inside was a teeny little guy. The one outside was excitingly huge. My older daughter discovered him.

One of my favorite fabric designers, Anna Maria Horner, featured moths in her latest fabric line and on some limited edition prints.

October 30, 2013

Sunroom treasures: curtains & crewel

I finally got the curtains sewed for the sunroom!

I first wrote about my fabric selection way back here in February of 2012. The design is by one of my very favorite artists and bloggers, Geninne Zlatkis. I just adore her sweet little birdies and appreciate our mutual love of nature. When I finally went to buy the fabric it was actually rather difficult to find a continuous piece. There seemed to be plenty of smaller quilt-worthy cuts but it was a trick to find what I needed. The moral of that story is if you see some new fabric line you absolutely must have, well, don't delay in buying it.

Curtains are fairly simple to sew once you've mastered the elusive straight line (I will admit this was actually quite difficult when I was first learning to sew) but I still sought some online guidance. I ended up following these directions posted on Design*Sponge.

I also added these sweet little crewel pictures I bought for a mere $2 each at the Allegan Antiques Market. Of course odd numbers are better when it comes to decorating so I will have to keep my eye out for a third!

The oval shaped one had this inscription on the back. If anyone knows Judy Verslype, please pass along my compliments. Her craft work from long ago is making me smile today!

October 29, 2013

tidbit Tuesday

1. Katydids (or "Leaf Bugs" according to my daughters) are pretty sweet.
We saw this one sitting on the back of a car at a park one recent evening. Nature never ever fails to impress me. All I have to do it get outside.

2. Still
I saw an interview with the photographer Mary Jo Hoffman in Martha Stewart Magazine and was intrigued. So of course I had to go check out her blog. So. Very. Beautiful. I have dabbled in similar things – y'all know I love my details shots of nature so I really appreciate her work.

3. I touched this snake.
I wanted to set a brave example for my daughters and teach appreciating instead of freak-outing!

October 28, 2013

Adventures at the Allegan Antiques Market!

I went to the Allegan Antiques Market on the last Sunday in September for the very first time and – wow! If you have any love of vintage or antique anything this is the place to be. Absolutely astounding in its size. I went with a dear friend who happens to be old hat at this sale. Thank goodness because otherwise I would have gotten myself turned around for sure. I tend to be directionally challenged!

I bought a dresser (future project & future post on this one) and a few other treasures I will be sharing with you tomorrow. And some others I will share in the far future when they get revealed in my home as surprises related to future decorating adventures.

Isn't this a fun idea? The tabletop was finished with yardsticks. I liked it.

October 25, 2013

the art of the gravestone

The weeping willow is a symbol of mourning
 So today, dear readers, I am going to reveal something to you that might strike you as odd. Maybe even creepy. Or morbid.

I love cemeteries!

I especially love the older stones (here in the Midwest, that's the 1800s) and their designs. In fact, I even did an extensive report on gravestone design and symbolism back in high school. My husband I took a trip to Boston several years ago where the stones are from the 1600s and 1700s and those have even more history to them.

The broken-stemmed flower symbolizes a life ended too short.
The hand is pointing heavenward.

So when we vacationed in Pentwater and I realized how old the town was thanks to numerous historical plaques adorning the homes I made a point of finding the cemetery. My poor children were not nearly as entertained by this as I was but they survived. Here are a few of my favorites.

The anchor can symbolize Christianity but it is also found on gravestones of sailors or of people who drowned. This might be especially relevant considering Pentwater is a lakeside town.

And my very favorite of the day!

October 24, 2013

A brightened basement corner

Speaking of the basement, I painted two walls back in the laundry/utility area with some leftover kitchen paint. I was loving the color, I had extra, and it was, well, gray, down by the washer and dryer. Top things off with my wooden fish that I bought one per year at Festival of the Arts long ago and have never ever hung on the wall and you have an improved space. Someday, I'd like to add some beach photos of my own to the room.

And now that I have fish swimming in the laundry room, this octopus laundry dryer from IKEA makes even more sense! I chose the red, of course.

October 23, 2013

map, map on the wall

During my big craft closet clean-out I discovered a stash of Grand Rapids maps. I very vaguely remember rescuing them from their trash destiny at an old job but the details escape me now. I had 12 of them and have been happily gifting them to people I know, especially those who live here in the city and feel fond about it.

At any rate, I actually went from vision to completion fairly quickly on this one. I bought a huge poster frame on my IKEA trek, paper punched a heart out of some translucent glue, marked our lovely home, and then leaned up against my black & white wall in the basement living room. Simple and fun! My older daughter likes to study where we live in relation to other places she knows. Her school in a neighboring city even shows up on the bottom of the map.

Other ideas might include marking multiple homes or meaningful spots or collaging related photographs onto the map. One woman I know who has lived in multiple homes in the city throughout her life wanted to attach photos of her at the age she lived in each home.

Any other map inspiration, friends?

October 22, 2013

tidbit Tuesday

1. Doesn't this cicada look like it has an olive green flame job? Like a custom motorcycle? Just sayin'.

2. This homemade recipe for removing cat pee and its horrendous smell from carpet, courtesy of cat people in Australia, actually works. Kind of messy and it actually looks worse before you vacuum in the final step but my goodness it actually works. Props to them.

3. I am loving this library book: Better Than Peanut Butter & Jelly: Vegetarian Recipes Your Kids Will Love! by Marty Mattare and Wendy Muldawer. Almost every recipe we've tried has been a hit, even with the kiddos. I especially recommend the taco soup – so yummy!

October 21, 2013

maple seed inspiration

I am loving these color combinations. Mother Nature certainly knows her stuff!

October 8, 2013

little pretties at home

Things that make me smile:

my feather collection upon the kitchen windowsill

my five-year-old daughter bought these at the Farmer's Market for me!

a new arrangement upon the shelf – nature + antiques

October 7, 2013

I finally painted my kitchen! Rhapsody!

Once upon a blog post written in 2010 I lamented that my husband had "successfully put me off for almost four years now" from painting the kitchen. I then enthusiastically described the color I had settled on… perhaps with thoughts that I was going to paint it soon.

Well, fast-forward to August 2013, and my dear husband surprises me by bringing home a couple of gallons of "Sweet Rhapsody" by Behr. I was so excited I screamed! Painting a room a bright, fresh color is such a joy to me. I absolutely adore the transformation. Our girls went camping with grandma & grandpa for 2 nights and we used the kid-free time to paint the kitchen (and go on a romantic dinner date too!).

Check out this post from earlier this year when I finished the new kitchen curtains. Then you can see a proper "before" image.

And, here is the lovely, bright, cheerful "after:"

October 3, 2013

ArtPrize 2013: Silkwaves in the Grand

These billowing banners, Silkwaves in the Grand by Al & Laurie Roberts of California, are placed within the Grand River where they sway and move with the wind. Together they create an object of beauty and color. This piece is truly a delight to watch (and photograph!).

Of a related material and location and beauty is Hydro-Anthem by Liz Miller of Good Thunder, Minnesota. The warm colors contrast beautifully with the freshly-painted Blue Bridge. I was also a fan of her 2012 entry titled Imperious Decorum.

October 2, 2013

ArtPrize 2013: Anne Loveless is back!

Anne Loveless is back at the Ford Museum with another beautiful quilt as painting.  Read my post on fabric pieces from ArtPrize 2012, including her entry, which I also loved. This year's piece is entitled Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore. I am so very thrilled to see fabric and sewing and quilting on display as the artform they truly are. This is a good lesson in how important the quilting itself can be as an element in a quilt piece like this.

October 1, 2013

tidbit Tuesday!

One of the many bloggers I follow occasionally (regularly?) posts a list of funny little things she has learned that week. None of them warrant a full post and some of them really have nothing to do with the regular theme of the blog. I enjoy the lists though and they allow me, the reader, to know her more personally.

So along that line, I bring you "tidbit Tuesday" where I throw out some tidbits. I don't think it will happen every Tuesday but you never know.

1. Use Feedly if you read any blogs on a regular basis.
Don't rely on a bunch of bookmarks. Don't bother googling the name of the blog each time you want to check in on it. Instead, pile all your favorites into Feedly. You can even – heart flutter – organize them into folders. Yours truly is a bit of a blog addict. I follow roughly 50 blogs at any given time so this keeps everything all in one easy-to-check place. I can read by category, or by individual blog, and I often pick and choose, skipping posts that don't interest me. Feedly also has a feature where you can save things you want to look at later.

2. Birds are migrating!
Keep your eyes peeled for interesting feathered friends fluttering about. Last week I saw a group of these brown speckled birdies (see photo above) eating off the ground in my front yard and got obsessed with figuring out what they were. Best as I can tell, and I am no expert birder by any means, they are they Gray-Cheeked Thrush. They summer north of me in Canada and winter far south in the tropics.

3. Great new book: The Returned by Jason Mott
I don't consider myself a sci-fi reader but I don't mind a dash of it or any other supernatural elements within a more realistic story. Could not put this one down and neglected many things to keep reading another bit. Plus, I was kind of sad when it was over. That's a sign of a good read if you ask me!