Sunday, September 28, 2014

Feeling Like Fall

Our Fall mantel ~ books, fall colors and birds!


Fall is finally falling in Southern California!
Oh, sure, we'll still have warm days but the 
nights are definitely cooler!
Yeah!!! :)

With the lovely 70 degree days all this weekend, 
I really feel like bringing in 
more of the traditional fall colors, a few pumpkins for 
out front of the house
and doing some much-needed fall dusting!
Must be time for Fall Cleaning! ;)

This was our mantel decorated for summertime


In the photograph, above 
is how our family room mantel looked 
for most of the summer.
Now, in the top photos, here is the mantel dressed for fall!
I spent some time playing around with the old books
which had been my mother and father's.
Some are lovely poetry books
like one by 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 
another is a book of 
Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.

But, perhaps my favorite is my mom and dad's old
A Field Guide to Western Birds
by Roger Tory Peterson
1961 


Every year I keep an eye out for new birds coming to our 
backyard birdfeeder to see if anybody new
shows up!
When a new species does come along,
migrating south for winter or heading back home during the spring,
I enter it onto a sheet of paper
with the date I noticed.
It's very exciting to have new feathered friends coming over for dinner!


This carved American Goldfinch was given to my father on his retirement.
He lived just six months longer, so it is very special to me!
It reminds me just how much my parents loved feeding their own wild bird friends!

Here's to a wonderful Fall wherever your home may be!
Blessings to you and yours always,
Barb :)

Matthew 6: 25-26  ~  25"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Furniture Re-do



My Fall furniture re-do
last year was working on my dining room chairs.
I had thought about refinishing them for several years
having grown tired of them being brown.
They were quite pretty as they were, but
I was tired of them,
so I knocked out four in one weekend!
:)




First, sanding with 60 grit sandpaper.
I know ~ really, really rough.
It took off the varnish really fast and I was careful
not
to knock down any of the carvings.
As pieces of sandpaper wore down on the legs and seat,
I would use the still good parts, folded
to get into the grooves of the 
chair carvings and around the little flower parts.


On the caning, I just lightly sanded the fronts and backsides.
The caning was already worn from 
years of use, so I was pretty sure it would take the paint
really easily.
It did.
:)


Tip:  When you refinish your furniture, you may want to go over
your piece with a much finer grain sandpaper after 
the first coarser sanding to close your wood grain 
before painting.

Just did a light dry-brushing so some of the grain and dark would show through.
:)


didn't do that as my hands gave out...
But, I am pretty happy with the results!
Now these chairs have a kind of 
chalk paint-feel to them!
:)

Really loving how they turned out! 
I just dry-brushed the 
white paint onto the chair, 
lightly going over the carved parts.
Now, this fall to finish the other two.
;)

Here are the chairs in our dining room at one of my teas this past winter
(a mini preview of Christmas-time!!!)


Happy decorating and redoing around your home!
Blessings to you,
Barb :)

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Playing with Light ~ a Fall Placesetting




Playing with light last evening
I was having fun setting the table with lovely baby boo pumpkins in whites and creams,
my teal Ball glass jars (a new favorite for vases!),
and my favorite white china purchased from 
TJ Maxx
 about a year ago.  



The light coming in the front window was fantastic!
So...
quickly I whipped out one of my most favorite tablecloths 
(bad grammar, I know!)
tossing it into the dryer to unwrinkled it a bit.
I set the table as fast as I could, 
grabbing this and that, 
mixing silver flatware as I went. 


What teacups to put out???
I love pink and I had seen some cute fall displays on 
friends' blogs with using the color pink with white pumpkins,
so...
that's what I went for!!!
:)




Not much editing here, just a little enhancing the photo and tinting a bit more to the pink.
;)


I am loving this tablescape!!!
(Did I mention this already?)

We just had pizza for dinner, but so what??!
Even pizza can be elevated to a party
with a little decor thrown in!
;0)

I am sure my journalism son would say,

"Mom, your photos are over and under-exposed,"
but
I'm okay with that.
;)
(My daughter loved these photos, btw!)


Don't you sometimes like the contrast between lights and darks

 in your photographs?
Me, too.
:)Happy First Day of Fall!!!
(it's finally here!)
Enjoy,
Barb :)


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***
Updating July 2017 ~ Funny to look back on these
early posts now... I was writing in "mice type"
and didn't realize that it was hard for you all to read.
We've since changed for you!
:)


You can now reach me either by leaving comments
at the end of each post
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Happy you are here!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tea with the Duchess

Wedgwood's Sarah's Garden tea set and tray ~ not named for the current Dutchess of York, Sarah Ferguson (and formerly married to Prince Andrew, Duke of York), but for the first Dutchess also named Sarah. Sarah Ferguson was spokesperson for Wedgwood back in the early 2000s.




Okay, I admit it. I am a completely 
nuts for royalty!

When my friend Cheryl and I found out that Macy's 
was hosting Sarah, the Dutchess of York,
in a meet and greet back in 2001
We Had to Go!!!




I am not a royalty snob but I followed 
Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mum, 
Prince Charles and the whole crew 
back then 
buying and collecting
People and Majesty magazines 
whenever they had 
Princess Di
on the cover. 
She was my age and generation, 
after all...
;)

I, like many of you, was devastated when 
Princess Diana 
was killed in that terrible auto accident.
I had seen her wedding to Prince Charles
when I was 19 years old
and in Germany on an 
exchange program.


From Leverkusen, at 2:00 o'clock
on a Saturday afternoon,
the family let me take over the television and 
stare dreamily at the screen as Diana, 
shy and beautiful in her voluminous gown and 
sparkling from the camera lights
bouncing off the pearls and diamonds 
in her tiara, 
she married her prince.


***




Flash forward to 2001...

Meeting the Dutchess was like getting to meet
Princess Diana for me... 
She was wonderful! 
Gracious and funny, Sarah Ferguson 
gave a talk about taking a
china tea service 
wherever she goes
as she really dislikes taking tea 
in a styrofoam cup!
(Her lady in waiting would prepare tea for her
when there wasn't a nice tea service around.)

She and the representative from Wedgwood
showed us all how strong their bone china is ~ 
that you can quite literally
flip a teacup over and stand on it!
It will not break.
It was really cool when the man did that. 
Everyone seemed quite impressed!
Has something to do with the way the cup is shaped,
and the strength of bone china. 
We still were impressed!




Having the same first name as the 
first Dutchess of York
was one of the reasons 
Wedgwood asked Sarah to be 
their spokesperson and to promote 
this ethereal line of botanical china.

Personally, I love the realistic look of the
fruits and flowers, butterflies and bees!
Soooo cute!




I use this china a lot at my teas. The salad plates are
standards in my cupboard for serving cake, muffins, whatever!
They are used daily.


The teacups come out when I want to visit with

one friend and have a 
heart to heart.
:)

Pumpkin scented candles ~ replacing some of my usual vanilla ones.
These are my favorite candleholders!
My friend Kathy gave me the front-left, cream-colored one with the roses and tied tassels.
The others I have found in various shops like Tuesday Morning and Home Goods.



Sarah Ferguson, the Dutchess of York, signed three pieces of china for me: this large serving tray, the teapot, and another tray.  Wedgwood uses a technique involving vodka to loosen up the glazing. Once loose, one can "write" on china with a certain type of pen, then each piece has to cure for a month or so to "harden."

The teapot holds eight cups of hot tea,

which is quite good when serving
many thirsty friends!


This week we are having super hot days ~ 

over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, it was nice this afternoon to come home
in the rain,
with the weather slightly cooled

and have a nice cup of tea! 




An ethereal piece ~ so lovely!


I am looking forward to many more fall days with tea and teacups, and you know Sarah's Garden
will be involved in there somehow...



~ As always, please feel free to "Re-post," "Share," and "Pin" from my blog, thanks!!! ~
Happy tea to you all!
Enjoy,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Making a Sofa Slipcover, Part 5 ~ Settee Cover Reveal


The Settee cover's debutante party!
I love how it turned out!!!


After a couple of weeks noodling how I was going to 
stretch 202" of fabric leftover for skirting
to fit around a sofa that needed 
200"
which didn't include inseams...


I finally came up with the solution:
Gusset inserts of 11" widths x 9" tall of beautiful
Battenburg lace.


I wanted to use the lace but wasn't sure where to cut the drop cloth
to get it all to work.
That's what has been holding this post up. 
;)

I pulled out the side gusset so you could really see the fabric,
but normally it will be tucked under a bit.

There was a lot of pinning and re-pinning. Also had to remove pins from under the skirt as I went (that were holding on part of the welting, not already sewn down)
I felt like a very couture seamstress!!!



Another view of pinning around the skirt

Really loving this new slipcover! 
At month's end, on payday, a trip to Lowe's will be in-order...
to pick up another drop cloth for
Settee #2...
(you can see it peeking out over to the left there!)


Pretty nice & oh so ready for fall's
afternoon cups of tea
and some 
fun reading.

***Thank you for "Liking," "Sharing," and "Following" my posts! Feel free to invite your friends and please leave a comment for me. Let me know what you'd like to see in a How-to post.  Enjoy!!!


To see the whole of Making a Settee Cover
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 ~ Ruching!

Blessings to you on this day!

Happy Weekend

Preview of settee cover ~ just about finished!


Just a quick weekend post
to say
It's the weekend, yeah!!!


Here's a couple of things I shared this week:

Pumpkin Chip Muffins on Wedgwood Sarah's Garden
Fall is... A collection of what fall is to me


Here's a sneak peak at the settee/sofa cover! 
The ruching around the front
of the settee's arms
took a bit to figure out,
but only because drop cloth material is pretty thick!
;)

Remember I bought the biggest size available?
I have used EVERY piece of it except for a bit leftover 
from the ruching lengths and a few triangles!
A 9'x12' dropcloth...
That's a lot of material, folks!


Anyway, hoping to have the skirt all sewn on this weekend for you!
It is sewn together, but still being pinned on.
Welting around the whole cover 
looks great, too!
Hope your weekend is going well!!!
Barb :)
&
Phillipians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!


Always good to remember when we try something new 
and it seems a little scary.



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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pumpkin Chip Muffins



Autumn is the best time for baking!
 Since I woke up early today 
I thought I'd bake something yummy
for breakfast!


I love to cook when the weather turns cooler.
Those of you who know me
know that I am not really a cook
but a baker!


I like going out and searching the web for
delicious scones, breads and muffin recipes!
I have found good ones on many a site and 
quite a few from the
King Arthur Flour website. 
King Arthur has wonderful baking cookware 
as well as boxed goods to
bake-up at home.
I found King Arthur through their cake flour and
bread flours available in California's grocery stores.
:)





However, this recipe is adapted as muffins from
Dorothy Sue and Millie B's too
recipe called:



Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.
Here is the recipe as it is written:

Ingredients:
3 cups canned pumpkin puree (must use Libby's)
1.5 cups vegetable oil
4 cups sugar

6 eggs
4.75 cups all-purpose flour (I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for one)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cloves
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bag Nestle semi-sweet mini chips (I used dark 
chocolate from Winco)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans ( used muffin tins)
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar and eggs.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves, 
nutmeg, and ground cinnamon.
Stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.
Stir in bag of mini chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.
(I used my cake tester, when it came out clean, they were done.)

***
Because my Libby's can of pumpkin puree
was the large one, I had one more cup than was needed
for this recipe, so...
I decided to add another quarter to the measurements.
Brought some muffins into work today to share
and the other aides liked the muffins a lot, too!

***
I used tea cups and dessert plates from my set of
Wedgwood Sarah's Garden ~ Queen's Ware
which have a little fall color to them. 
These were bought on a fun meet-and-greet talk
& shopping trip
to the Costa Mesa Mall's Macy's 
back in the late 90's
with a friend to visit
Sarah Ferguson, the Dutchess of York,
when she was spokesperson for
Wedgwood.

In another post, I will share my whole tea set
and momentos of the trip to
meet the Dutchess.
It was quite lovely!!!


Happy Fall cooking!
Blessings to you and yours,
Barb :)
 
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