Monday, June 30, 2008

Accent On Accessories

This week, I thought I'd go to my file of inspiration photos again! I always enjoy looking at them. Every time I do, I am reminded how important the accessories are in a room.

Each day, starting today through Thursday, I'll be showing off a photo of some of my favorite accessories. Some will be in vignettes, as this first one is, others may be photos of the item from the catalog, magazine or shop where I found it. I hope you'll enjoy seeing these and that they'll inspire you too!

Today's photo is of a beautiful candelabra. What I found so charming is that the designer has placed glass tubes in the candle holders and placed flowers in them! I love that it has been repurposed for the summer months when candles aren't used so frequently.

The other idea that I love in the photo is the use of books to elevate the candelabra. This works for lamps, floral arrangements, or to give any item more height and/or importance. I also think the addition of the "scattered" fruit (actually carefully placed, I'm sure) is unexpected and much more interesting than the traditional bowl of fruit. One caution: Real fruit could be problematic in a situation like this, unless you're just "dressing" the house for a party. Wax or wooden faux fruit would be the best choice! *Ü*

I'm on the lookout for a similar candelabra at every thrift store, flea market & garage sale I find. I haven't found just the right one yet, but I know it is out there!

Enjoy! Chris

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A New Church

"Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill,
for the LORD our God is holy." Psalm 99:9

I am thankful for every Sunday. Going to church, singing songs of praise, listening to our Pastor's message, fellowship with church family; it is always a wonderful time!

But this is an especially exciting Sunday for us! Today, our church will be officially "born"! Our church was "planted" two years ago. Today, we officially adopt our constitution and elect our leaders & Pastor. There will be much prayer & praise today! I thank God for allowing me to be part of it!

I wish you all a blessed Sunday!


Saturday, June 28, 2008

An Award

I have been presented with the Arte Y Pico award by Theresa at “Take a Sentimental Journey”! What a fun surprise! Theresa, your blog is funny, informative, thought-provoking and just plain wonderful! I am humbled to be in the company of the others you chose & I am very grateful.

The link to the award will take you to a blog written in Spanish. Between my 5 years of Spanish classes and the use of an online language translator, I gather that the award was started by a new blogger who was amazed and thankful for all that she was learning & seeing as she explored blogs from all over the world. It is a gift. I certainly agree that my life has been enriched by blogging; both writing and reading, don't you? Here are the rules :

1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribution to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2. Each award should list the name of the author and a link to his /her blog to be visited by everyone .

3. Each award winner should show the award and put the name of and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award .

4. The award winner and presenter should show the link of the Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

Now for the difficult part. Here are five blogs (of many) that inspire me, in no significant order :

1. Becky at "Queen of Theme"

3. Katie at "Harrington House"

4. Doodles at "Tombstone Tumbleweed"

I might just have to add another batch of awards soon. There are so many blogs I enjoy reading every day. There is no shortage of fabulous, talented, caring women out there in blogdom! I don't like leaving any of them out...



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Walls in Black

My husband & I have been watching HGTV's Design Star. I did not think we would bother. After the first night, there wasn't one of the designers I liked, one that I thought had any "star" qualities. I did however discover a couple of the wannabes that I really disliked!

I think I watched on the second week, hoping one of them would get the boot. That did not happen, sigh... What did happen is that a couple of the others are growing on me! One of those is Matt. I have to say that I thought the black-walled living room that he and Michael designed was beautiful!

That room reminded me of some pix I have saved in my inspiration file. If I remember correctly, these were posted on the HGTV message board. Sadly, I don't know who designed the room, because I would love to give them credit!

I am not sure whether I could live with a black room, but this one is certainly stunning! It seems to me that I would love it in the colder months, but that it might be oppressive in the warm/hot summer!

What do you think of this room? Are you watching Design Star? Did you like Matt & Michael's room?

I really like the way the bed drapes created a "room within a room" in this large space.

The panels & moulding are beautiful & the red accents (especially the coral) are just WOW! Somehow, the shell fabric and sea-themed accessories help to add life to the room, don't you think?

Enjoy! Chris


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cough! Cough!

The photo above is the view from my back deck this morning.

I as you probably know, Northern California is having HUNDREDS of wildfires! I live smack-dab in the middle of them all! Well...that might be an exaggeration, but we ARE surrounded. We have been living for the last couple of days under a gray pall. It is very warm & there is no breeze. I can keep the windows closed and use the air conditioner, and keep the stink and "particulate matter" out.

The rotten thing is that the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is open any doors and windows that weren't left open overnight. The breeze, even if slight is so refreshing! I can keep the house cool by strategically closing blinds and drapes around the house, usually until about 3 pm. No such luck now. I am feeling closed in, craving a breath of fresh air! I walked outside for a few minutes this morning and my eyes were running and throat was sore in no time! I definitely have always had an appreciation for the brave men & women who fight any fire, especially the wild land variety. But to think they live with this for days, sometimes weeks on end, is just unimaginable!

The whole place smells of smoke. My husband walked in the door and positively reeked! This from the guy who never misses his daily shave & shower. I am just so tired of it already, and the weather guy said tonight it might be "several days" before we get relief!

I am so thankful that we have not had a fire that was close to us, or been evacuated, not knowing whether our home is still standing. I do know that we live in prime wildfire country!

It is going to be a l-o-n-g summer!

The photo below is a couple of hours later. Notice the foothill are almost completely obscured!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lamp Envy!

I cannot tell you how much I love this lamp!

The Gladys Table Lamp

While searching for some contemporary accessories for a friend, I happened upon a website called The Artful Home. Most of the items on the site are not my taste, but they are certainly beautiful and interesting.

I clicked into the "Lighting" category, since I am on the lookout for MBR lamps. When I saw the designs of sisters-in-law Susan & Caryn Kinzig, I thought they were so amazing! There isn't one of their lamps I wouldn't have in my home!

At $625, the Gladys lamp above, isn't going to make it into my living room any time soon, especially if I wanted a pair! But a girl can dream, can't she?? *Ü*

Hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Mantel Show Off!

Kari & Kijsa at "Decorating for Life" are hosting a mantel show off! I know you'll all want to visit them and get some inspiration!

My current home doesn't have a fireplace! My last home had 3, and I miss having those opportunities to add decor to my rooms! So, until we put the the planned fireplace in the family room, my husband (sweet man that he is) has hung a mantel shelf for me.

This first photo is the mantel shelf as it looks now. I am definitely a "more is more" girl! Interesting that when you view your photos, you see things to change! This design needs something taller! I'll be working on that!

Next is the mantel for Christmas 2007.

Christmas 2006

This is a photo I have saved in my inspiration file. I can't remember where I got it so I can't give credit, but it was probably either Veranda or Traditional Home magazine. I absolutely love it, and one day will attempt to do my own version!

Now I'm off to visit a bunch of creative bloggers and their wonderful mantels! Thanks again Kari & Kijsa!

Enjoy! Chris


Collecting Plates

My collection of decorative plates began as a teenager. My parents had friends who were retired military and had lived all over the world. We were visiting them one day when I admired a hand-carved & painted wooden plate hanging on the dining room wall. Betty took it off the wall and handed it to me! "I've been going to make a change in this room, and this is the perfect excuse!", she said! I hung it on my bedroom wall, and in every home I've had since! It is a Tyrolean scene and I love it!

Another favorite is the copper plate, which my mother's dearest friend, Doris, brought to me from Israel as a gift for house sitting for her. It is a Tree of Life design and is also precious to me!

Next I'm showing off some of my red transferware. I have other pieces, pitchers, platters, and teapots, and I'll be showing more of them tomorrow. (More about that later.)

Of course, I just HAD to show off my rooster plate. It sits in my entry on the tile-topped table my husband made me. It was a lucky find...girlfriend & I shopping, spy marked down $60 plate, walk out with it at $12! That was a fun day!

These plates hang on the dining room wall. The one on top is another thrift store find. The Rose plate is hand-painted by a local artist, and the Wedgewood Jasperware plate was a gift from my mom.

Finally, here's a little $6 plate I picked up in a thrift shop. When my husband & I opened our custom framing shop, long closed now, we needed something to put into a shadow box. I loved it so much, I brought it home!

Now for some fun! Kari & Kijsa are hosting a Mantel showoff on their "Designing for Life" blog! Hop on over for a visit and sign up to participate or just for inspiration! I can't wait to see all the creatively decorated mantels! Thanks Kari & Kijsa!
Enjoy! Chris

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Daylily - "Little Wine Cup", Summer '07

Sometimes, living in the country does have it's challenges...

When I lived in the 'burbs, I had to deal with weeds in my garden. But boy, howdy! Most of the time, I seem to be losing the battle here on the ranch! Our property is surrounded by pastures and acres and acres of "as nature designed it" landscaping. The weeds & grasses, including the devil star thistle, grow without encumbrance, save the surrounding neighbor's cattle, horses, llamas & goats. The winds, the birds and even vehicle tires manage to scatter the seeds of this unwanted stuff all over! It does keep gardening interesting, to say the least.

I am lucky to have The Amador Flower Farm just an hour's drive away! Acres of gardens and thousands of specimens to choose from, it is worth several visits during the spring and summer. Daylilies are showy & hardy in the heat of California's central valley. So, I have developed a real affection for them. They are drought tolerant and WEED tolerant! As, you will see below, this is a good thing!

Our January storms, with their 70 mph winds and torrential rain blew away all my weedblock fabric and and washed away a good bit of the bark mulch in the daylily bed. The winds even tossed the little bridge you see in the picture above into the air and it crashed to the ground breaking into several pieces!

I was able to keep ahead of of the weeds for a while this spring. They appeared slowly and were fairly sparse. Then all of a sudden the weather got really WARM and the weeds rioted! Aided by the fact that I haven't been able to work in the garden because I am having some kind of "contact dermatitis" (breaking out in itchy hives from who knows what), my once beautiful daylily bed is a mess!

Yet, these wonderful plants are growing and blooming their little flower-hearts out! Each morning I walk by them and say a thankful prayer for their beauty & strength! I am asking God to help me to be a beautiful-inside, strong Christian woman whose countenance shines among the "weeds" of this life, testifying to His grace & love!

I am also praying that I will soon be able to work in my garden again! The pictures below, were taken this week and show the blooms on several of my plants. Unfortunately, the weeds are showing too. Please, just look past those weeds and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


This is a portrait of my daddy, painted by my sister. She presented it to him as a gift for one of his "late seventies" birthdays. She captured not only his physical image, but his spirit as well!

When outside, or even working in his workshop, he ALWAYS wore a ball cap. Which is a shame actually, since he has beautiful white hair from his late forties on. That brown leather jacket was buttery soft after decades of wear. I can still remember the smell of that leather mixed with Old Spice!

The setting of the picture from which the painting was done, is one of the thousands of campgrounds that my parents visited over the years. First in a tent, then a small camping trailer, then a big, beautiful 5th wheel trailer! He is perched on his yellow Honda 90. He and my mother each had one, and they had some hair-raising adventures on them! The painting is just "so Harold", aka Hal!

He came from very humble beginnings in Marion, Ohio, and grew up working to help support the family. After his time in the Air Force during WWII, he came home to take advantage of the GI bill. He graduated from Ohio State, and remained a loyal Buckeye his entire life! The first song each of us kids learned was the Ohio state fight song! When he had the opportunity for a job in aerospace, he moved is family to California, and the adventure began! My parents are the first and so far the only members on either side of the family to ever leave Ohio. And none of us have ever regretted that they did!

I am the first of 5 children, each of whom secretly knew that they were his favorite! Of course, being the first, it was me... He was a loving and kind father, but he had that "look" that meant you were treading on thin ice. And when he called you by your first and middle name, you knew that the day was going to be all downhill from there!

My daddy:
~Loved my mom passionately for over 1/2 a century
~Kept & cherished family traditions
~Thought each of his kids was brilliant
~Loved Christmas more than any other time of year
~Organized Secret Santa Deliveries for needy families
~Was the best BBQ'er ever (especially Santa Maria BBQ)
~Read books like Captain's Courageous & Treasure Island to us after dinner each night
~Lived & breathed football
~Could fix anything
~Was a fan of good bourbon & brandy
~Taught me by example, what a good parent is

I love you Daddy! I miss you every day...

P.S. My sister is an amazing artist. If you are interested in seeing more of her work, look HERE.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Graduate

She did it!

On May 24th, my daughter graduated, with honors from California State University Sacramento!
I am so proud of my sweet, determined girl!

Melissa left a great job working in the California State Attorney General's Office to earn her BA so that she can teach! And now, she is on her way! One year of student teaching to complete, and California will have one of the BEST teachers ever!

Her wish was to have a Santa Maria BBQ, with 70 of her closest friends and family members, here at our home. We have an oak studded "park-like" area where we have hosted a party or two, including a wedding. I was detemined to giver her what she wanted. Knowing that I would be gone all morning at the ceremony, I called my dear friend Diana who owns Simple Pleasures Catering. Diana is a whiz! She helped me design a wonderful menu, choose great decorations (a green & gold theme in honor of the CSUS colors) and most of all, allowed me to be mom & host and not worry about anything! Well, there was the weather, but together, Diana & I prayed about it over the phone that morning, and it turned out fine. Everyone had a great time!

Here's a photo of the cupcakes & cookies that we served for dessert.

Diana has posted a few photos of the setting, and the table decor on her website here. It was such a blessing to have her help!

Enjoy! Chris

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mystery Solved!

My little gift has been identified!

A friend posted a picture of the plant on a gardening forum and sure enough, someone knew what it is! (Aren't forums/on-line communities/bulletin boards such a great resource?)

So, without further ado...

The plant is a Dischidia pectinoides (dis-KID-ee-uh pek-tin-OY-deez). Its common name is Kangaroo Pocket or Ant Plant. After reading the care & feeding instructions I am doing just about everything right, except that I should feed it occasionally. The bonus is, if I do that, it should bloom year round!

It seems that planting in shells is the common as seen in this picture from an exotic plant sale.

Janice, thank you so much for finding the information!

Cheers! Chris

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Mystery Plant

One of my best girlfriends, Marthine, gave me this plant about a year ago. She is a very lucky woman! Her husband is a saleman for a wholesale florist. As you can imagine, she always has fresh flowers!

She presented it to me one day, for no reason, except that she is just a very "giving" person. When I asked her what it was, she replied, "I don't know. I saw it hanging in DH's office and it reminded me of you!" She is a sweetie!

It is now hanging between two of my kitchen windows. It has grown very slowly, but it is blooming again, so I guess it is happy. I thought maybe some of you plant experts out there might know what it is? I actually appears to be similar to some variety of pea plant.

I love it! So even if I never figure out what it is, than's okay with me!

Thanks again Marthine!

Here's a photo the whole plant. It is planted in bark in a shell, and is climbing up the hanging wire.

Here is a close-up of some of the blooms. They don't open, just form these little buds that last for days!

Here's a closer look at the shell planter and the little pods. To water, I sit whole shell (it has a drainage hole in the bottom) in water for about an hour every couple of days - less often in winter.

Cool, huh? Got any ideas what it is??
Enjoy! Chris

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Collector of Things!

Yep! I'm a collector!
  • Teapots
  • Finials
  • Pumpkins
  • Red transferware
  • Red hats
  • Depression glass
  • Roosters & hens
  • Dragonfly jewelry
  • Santas
  • Bird Christmas ornaments
  • Dust

I love them all. Okay, the dust, not so much.

I don't exactly know how it happens. I "come by it honestly", since my dear mom was also a collector of things! Something will catch my eye, like the Eiffel Tower paper weight I saw the other day. I thought to myself, "Hmmm, a paper weight collection...or an Eiffel Tower collection would be fun"! Fortunately, I suppose, I did not succumb to the impulse!

As I was putting something away in a kitchen drawer yesterday, I noticed another collection. It isn't big, and it is actually useful, but a collection nonetheless. I have at least 7 sets of napkin rings! Woo hoo!

Now of course, I have to show them off!

First are a set my dad made for me. Every year at Christmas, he made gifts for his "girls"! This included his daughters, his wife and several of her girlfriends! They are very precious to me!

Next, a set I bought to use at Easter, many years ago!

Last one for this post. These are a set of Franz porcelain hummingbirds that I purchased on our honeymoon, three years ago.

I'll post the rest in a couple of days!

Enjoy! Chris


Friday, June 6, 2008

Teapots, Coffee Pots!

Today is the day to post the results of my "If I Were a Teapot" game. I only had one response and I hope it was because everyone is so busy this time of year, not because you all found it completely boring?? *Ü*
One of my newest blogging friends, Theresa over at "Take a Sentimental Journey" sent me four beautiful photos. She told me I could choose the one I liked best. So, I decided to post them all!

These pretty teapots are first because Theresa loves blue & white!

Next, is a gorgeous coffee pot! Look at the vibrant color & guilding!

I love this coffee set with the sweet roses.

This set, with the pansies (violets?) in relief is my absolute favorite!

THANK YOU Theresa for participating and for sharing your lovely things!

Perhaps, I'll try a slightly different version of this again sometime. I'm thinking of hosting a "Teapot Tuesday"! Hmmm...

Enjoy! Chris

P.S. Sorry about the weird line spacing! Blogger & I were at odds today!