29 February 2012

Observations About Our 10th State

Here are a few observations from my travel to the State of Virginia:

1) I am still thrown by the ocean being on the East side. One day I was momentarily totally confused about why the sun was setting on the wrong side and not behind the ocean. Clearly a West Coast girl. I do like my ocean sunsets. My sense of direction has been totally thrown off because in my head the ocean is west and you can figure out north, south and east from there. Does not work so well here.

2) There are a LOT of cops all over Virginia handing out tickets for traffic violations. A LOT! They are hiding behind bushes, under bridges and clearly visible along the sides of roads with cars already pulled over everywhere you go.

3) People here seem to really like stickers on their cars. It seems like more than half of the cars here have 5...6...10 stickers on the back of their vehicles. Clearly there are things to be said in Virginia. Interestingly I have not seen the bumper sticker "Virginia is for Lovers" on any car. Haa, haa.

4) There are big mosquitoes in Virginia even in the middle of winter. Granted it's been a mild winter here but it was snowing and freezing just two weeks ago.

5) I like Virginia. It is full of history, waterways, beaches and trees. There is no shortage of beautiful homes with boat docks in the backyards. Gorgeous. The people I have interacted with are warm, friendly, kind and helpful.

I have collected some amazing shells and driftwood bits in the afternoons the past couple of days. And I'm getting a nice little tan from the neck up and the ankles down from my few minutes on the beach. The rest of me is under a couple layers of warm clothing and often a hat. Winter and beach is a big switch for me. But I've enjoyed every minute.

28 February 2012

The Museums at Colonial Williamsburg

While visiting Colonial Williamsburg, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit another folk art museum. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum are situated at the southwest end of the village. Admission is included in the ticket to Williamsburg. On the weekends the museums are open til 7 p.m. so it's a great activity to do at the end of the day as we did.

Both museums are technically in the same space, so you can wander between the two a bit or connect directly from one to the other. The museums included grand collections of kitchenware, furniture, weaponry, clothing, signage, ship ornamentation, quilts and pottery.

There was also a very interesting gallery on museum conservation and all the work required to protect works of written word, paintings, fabrics, woods and other items often seen in museums. It's easy to forget all the work that goes into restoring and maintaining pieces in museum-ready condition. There was also a great display detailing the refurbishing of one of the Williamsburg buildings and all that was uncovered as they took the building apart and rebuilt it according to original construction techniques.

You never quite know what you'll find in a Folk Art museum. The animals on this carousel looked as if they might come to life and begin to create mischief in the museum. It was a little spooky yet fascinating.

The museums also have a very lovely gift shop filled with unique jewelry, housewares, folk art, glassware and books. We spent quite a while there pouring through the shelves of interesting merchandise.

I also must mention that Colonial Williamsburg has some great programs for homeschoolers. On the official website there is also a section filled with educational activities for kids and a special section for parents and teachers. That would be a great way to get kids excited about visiting and knowledgeable about Williamsburg before a visit.

I have found when traveling with family that the more invested each person becomes learning in advance about the destination the more enjoyable and rich the experience becomes for all. Everyone ends up contributing what they learned and everyone benefits from each person's enthusiasm and interests.

In every state in the country and any country in the world there are great historical sites worth a visit. Next time you are looking for something to do, consider paying a visit to a local historical site.

all images by kalanicut

27 February 2012

A Childhood Dream Come True

I recently had the chance to do something I've been dreaming of since I was in grade school. I remember my grandmother used to frequently visit to the Chesapeake Bay area when I was a child to visit her brother. She was an adventurer and traveler and I loved hearing about her trips and the East Coast that seemed so far away when I was so little.

In grade school a teacher showed us several movies about life in the colonial period that were filmed at Colonial Williamsburg. Those films completely captured my imagination and I was certain that I must someday visit Colonial Williamsburg.

Recently on an unexpected trip to the East Coast I had the chance to visit Colonial Williamsburg for the first time. It was a cold day in mid-winter, but thankfully the sun was shining all day long. After my first, one-day visit, I am already looking forward to visiting in the summer when all the park is open and full of life.

I was most interested in the handcrafts and enjoyed the spinning and weaving house, silversmith, gardens and shops. The streets were so beautiful and because it was winter you could see through all the trees for beautiful views around the village. Living in a place that does not have distinct seasons, it was fun to see the first signs of spring raising their heads out of the ground. 

I was beyond impressed with the knowledge of the staff and volunteers. It was so interesting to have them be able to explain in depth how so many things were done during that time period and why. I enjoyed all the goods available in the several shops: beautiful jewelry, fabrics, metal work, books and many lovely and high quality children's toys.

I also thought the prices were very fair, especially for families who might visit. That gave me the impression that making sure people learn about this time period was valued more than making a buck.

I'll share a few more photos and a little more about my visit tomorrow. Besides all the great things I saw and experienced at Colonial Williamsburg, the best lesson I learned from my experience is that you just never know when you might have a chance to make one of your dreams come true.

Never think something is not possible just because you don't see how it will come to fruition. Life is full of surprises and things that seem geographically, financially, or otherwise impossible can come to fruition even within days. You just never, ever know. So never say never when it comes to your dreams.

24 February 2012

Driftwood Garlands, My Next DIY

image via Koyal

I have seen driftwood garlands at several shops lately and of course with my beach themed house and wedding plans, I completely want one (or more). They are not cheap. Yesterday I happened upon a new beach I have never been to and what do you know, there are tiny bits of driftwood all over the place. Yipee. I see a DIY project in my future. I will be going back over the coming days to gather a nice little supply of driftwood and shells. I also found a couple of weathered lumber that has washed ashore that would make a perfect driftwood sign at the wedding. I just need to get them home which will be a trick.

I love going to new beaches because you never know what you will find. Some beaches are all about round black rocks with pretty white stripes through them, others are sea glass central and it's always fun to see colors and shapes of shells you will find at different beaches. Whatever beach I visit, I always take along a bag to pick up trash that has washed ashore.

I found some good shells yesterday too and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset behind gorgeous dunes. Ah, dreamy. If only I had taken my camera with me. Hoping for another great sunset soon, I will definitely keep my camera close from now on. Having an unexpectedly fantastic weekend. Yeah. Hooray!

What are you up to this weekend? Any plans you are excited about? Home projects? DIY adventures? Museums? Familiy time? Hope it's a great weekend for you and yours.

23 February 2012

Lucky Weekends

We were lucky all around this past weekend. Had an absolutely dreamy weekend with The Bug. So lovely. We got to visit my parents who are serving a mission just 20 minutes from my apartment. It was a bit of a double-edged sword to see them for the first time since they moved here because now that it's really clicked that they are so close we want to go over there every day and they keep trying to get us to come over. Good thing we're all busy or we might just never get anything done again and hang out together every day.

I never in a million years imagined that my parents would live in SoCal. It's like I was living on the moon, so far away from all my family, and then my parents just showed up on the moon one day. I am still trying to make sense of it, but I'm afraid I may get quite addicted to having them here and never let them go.

I took my mom on her first trip to Home Goods. My dad and I, laughing, said it was like taking a crack addict to a crack house. Home Goods will do that to a girl! As always Home Goods was looking good and I was amazed at the deals.

While we were there I also found this small piece of art above that merged some design ideas I was having a hard time bringing together. Finally some challenges I couldn't see through, clicked. Another great thing happened, thanks to Pinterest.

I was just doing a quick browse through and started jumping through a series of links that I followed to a DIY project that solves the biggest question mark I've had for the past couple of weeks about vessels for flowers on the wedding tables. I was so excited. I later realized that it may be impossible to find the supplies I need to make it. So we'll have to see. Frustrating.

We also had a lot of art going on at home over weekend, which I love. It's amazing to see The Bug lose herself in creativity. It gets so quiet....and messy. Even after she does a great job cleaning up I still find bits of paper and things askew for days to come.

So I'm counting my lucky stars these days and looking for the good in every day. Feeling very blessed this week.

22 February 2012

Attracting Good Friends and Friendships

image via

We often hear people talk about how much they appreciate a friend they can pick right up with no matter how long it's been since they've seen each other. I've been thinking about the great friends I have that fit in that category and what it is about these people that makes life so grand with them in it.

Here are a few characteristics that I came up with:
  • they hope for your best and always wish good things for you
  • they have an abundant mentality, that there is enough good for everyone
  • they allow you to be you and love and appreciate your unique strengths
  • they have several good friends and don't cling to just one person
  • they keep their word and do what they say they will
  • they walk their talk
  • they maintain confidentiality
  • they are there for you when things go bad without judgment
  • they gracefully and gently offer suggestions for you when needed
  • they do not live in fear
Associations without a good base of these grounding elements are often competitive, disloyal, unkind and very dissatisfying. In the social media world you often see people snipping at each other or about others and talking about other people's drama. When relationships have the qualities I've listed above, there is rarely drama, name calling, jealousy or mean-spiritedness. The greatest part is that we can draw these quality relationships to us by merely being this kind of a friend.

What do you most appreciate about your friends? What characteristics would you add to the list?

21 February 2012

Seeing Through Frustrations

image by kalanicut/art by The Bug

We hope to be able to dance through the days in our lives. But some days there are alligators that get in our way and mess things all up. I had one of those nights last night when I drove an hour away and then had a sudden car breakdown the minute I headed home. I honestly had to get off the first exit I came to after I got on the freeway.

Thankfully, The Man took care of everything for me over the phone, so all I had to do was cry in frustration for about a minute, then wait for an hour for the tow truck to come. I made good use of my time by listening to an inspiring Joel Osteen podcast on my iPod. Two hours later than expected I was home, safe and sound and the car had been dropped off at the dealership to be looked at first thing in the morning.

Things turned out much simpler than my worse fears had imagined and I could not help but look at how I had been blessed that everything turned out to only require patience and nothing more from me. I was protected and taken care of and things were made easy. That seems to be a frequent lesson in our relationship with God. Hard things happen, requiring our faith and through our faith things are made easy. I love that lesson.

Here's a post from the archives from just about this time last year. It's all about looking beyond frustrations for unexpected blessings, going with the flow when things don't go as expected and how surprisingly great things work out when you do.

Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday. Life is good. We just have to remember to look for all the good and enjoy every bit of it. Hope you get to enjoy lots of good today.

17 February 2012

A Llama From A One Room Museum

I caught my little llama finger puppet looking very lifelike the other morning. This little beauty came from the Museum of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. If there is one museum in any city that most catches my attention it is a craft and folk art museum. The one here in Los Angeles, Craft And Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is one of my favorites and a spot I used to go to during lunch when I worked in the area. I also have a real soft spot for the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

A funny story about the museum in SF. We had walked quite a ways in the rain to get there and it was a little tricky to find. Once I had paid our entrance fee, the cashier informed us that the entire museum was around the corner from the front entry and it was only one room. I realized this was a let down she gives people only AFTER they've paid the entrance fee. We were a little shocked and once we walked around the corner out of her sight, we looked at each other, a little shocked and giggly. How could a museum be one room?

But it was interesting because we were definitely intent on getting our money's worth, so we really delved into every one of the pieces that we found in that room. We looked at everything, then read every description of every piece then went and looked at all of them again. We had a fun time of it and took the opportunity to truly appreciate every piece. I still remember many more details about the pieces we saw there than things I've seen at other museums.

Museum stores, I love even more than the museums themselves. MOCFA in San Francisco was no disappointment either. There was a fantastic collection of hand crafted items of all kinds and purchases were made. We spent as much time in the store as we did in the museum itself.

If you are looking for something to do this holiday weekend, look for some undiscovered museums in your town or city. I've made a list of museums I still have not seen after many years in SoCal and I'm making a goal to see the ones I have long been interested in. Do you have any great recommendations for SoCal museums you feel are must-see? I'd love to add them to my list!

Have a fantastic weekend. So nice that there are 24 extra hours in this one for us here in the States. Thanks for coming by. See you next week.

16 February 2012

Wedding Sandals & Thoughts On A Budget

image via Target

Where I stand today, for our wedding, I want it to be fabulous and I want to do it on a shoestring budget.  I would rather have money later than spend voraciously for the wedding itself. I know I can get the look I want for less with some savvy shopping. My dream is a wonderful, joyous day on the beach with family and friends and good food. I would love to wear some ridiculously high heel but I am already very tall and it's very hard to hug people when you're wearing high heels. I want to be able to reach people and never worry about having tired feet.

So, I keep thinking of Carrie Bradshaw in SATC I (the movie) when she shows her little second hand suit, much to her friends dismay, and says something like "don't worry, I'm going to merchandise it up and everything." In the end, she did wear that little suit on her happy wedding day. In the spirit of merchandising something up, I ordered these sandals today for $16. I would never wear white sandals again, so I thought silver/pewter might work. I'm not convinced these are THE shoes since they are only currently available online and I have not tried them on.  

These are very girlish, they don't have any strap going between the toe and will hold my heel down snuggly and comfortably. That is hard to find. I have looked in all price points for sandals that would work and it has been a challenge to find something with all those elements in appropriate colors. I think they would be so pretty with a few silk flowers attached on the outer side of the straps. Maybe something like these or these. And chances are good I would continue wearing these sandals, sans flowers, after the wedding.

Here are the sandals that I originally wanted until I realized they were very poor quality and impossible to find. I also found out just this week that the website I found those at is completely unscrupulous and shady. Thank goodness they didn't have my size. Fingers crossed for these new sandals.

If you have any great sandal advice or wedding shoe advice I'd love to hear it. Please do share. It's a big day, you need lots of good advice AND a good shoe.

Update Mar 5: I took these back. I decided that they just weren't very flattering for me. I have had some luck with some other options and hope to make a decision very soon.

Fab Upholstery Remnants Available

 Yesterday was a nice day. It was definitely Valentine's Day 2.0. I got a call yesterday morning from a flower shop across town apologizing for not delivering a bouquet of flowers to me on Tuesday. That was a total surprise to me since I did not know they were coming. So mid-day yesterday a beautiful bouquet of mixed flowers arrived at my door. What a treat. When the flowers came I decided they needed a little chocolate to accompany them, so I treated myself to a bit. Made for a nice second Valentine's Day.

I am continuing to post items I am selling to eBay. This week I am posting some fantastic upholstery fabric remnants I have. These are some expensive, gorgeous fabrics: silks, animal prints, florals and even cotton madras. I am also posting a few vintage yarn craft & macrame pattern books. I am making progress which is exciting. And I am happy to be sending these things to a new home where they can be appreciated and used.

You can see everything I've posted at eBay here. I still have quite a few pieces of fabric & notions to post, so if you're looking for fabric or vintage touches for small home decor projects check back again throughout the week. A lot of these fabrics would make some fantastic accent pillows or to cover chair seats. I'll be back later in the morning with another  post. It's a beautiful Thursday already!

images by kalanicut

15 February 2012

Cedar Chests, Not Just For High School Girls

Yesterday I was thinking about starting a new home together with The Man, and the rituals of such things. It brought to mind cedar chests. I remember sitting with my much loved grandmother in her bedroom as she opened up her cedar chest and showed me her treasures. For the first time in a long time, I suddenly wanted a cedar chest to keep my treasures. I wondered who even made cedar chests anymore.

When I was growing up, it was Lane and they passed the "hope chest" marketing brochures around at the same time they pushed school ring and graduation announcement order forms. I am so glad I didn't get one in high school. Would hate to have lugged it around during all the moves I've made through the years. I looked at Lane chests and they don't look too much different than what I remember in high school. Classic styling is important if you want something to stay in fashion for 60 or 70 years, I suppose.

I stopped by CedarChest.com and was intrigued to see what was going on there. First the prices were half to a quarter of what I had seen to that point. And there were a variety of sizes. After looking at the most traditional styles I saw these in the photo above. They can be purchased with a cedar lining and are very study. I can just imagine one of these would look quite sharp resting atop broad, low pedestal at the foot of a bed. Of course there are more traditional styles as well. Here are a few.

There is something lovely and old world about a cedar chest. I just imagine storing wool blankets inside one. In our non-tradional world, it's nice to hang onto notions and traditions from our grandparents era. I vote for bringing the cedar chest back into vogue along with some of the values we've lost from their era as well. Treasuring life and our personal histories should never go out of style.

all images via CedarChests.com

Meet My New Girlfriend

I have to introduce you to my slightly wacky new friend. She obviously desperately needs a makeover. I met her yesterday at my neighborhood thrift store. You know, the one where I get angry every time I go in there because of the outrageous prices. That has not changed by the way. LOL. 

First thing I need to do is give her a makeover, get her out of that horrible 80s neon outfit and put some proper attire on her and get all those horrible little gems off the top. I hope they are press on, rather than glue on.

Now what do I have in mind for her, you might ask. This is a high quality piece, very heavy. The fabric is very nice or maybe was is a better word. But it is still in good condition. I think I will paint the fabric with fabric paint, maybe black, or gray or silver or something.

What am I going to do with her? Well, you may remember I bought this beauty last year without a particular plan. When I got her home I found my necklaces looked amazing on her and she fit so appropriately on top of my taller set of dresser drawers.

So when I bought crazy girl yesterday, I thought that perhaps all my longer jewelry would look lovely on her. I have some fantastic pieces that I have been given, collected and even made over the years. They are all hidden in closets and drawers and I truly forget about them and so don't wear them. I imagine having them all out and visible would make me so happy.

My one concern is that she will scare the dickens out of people (most importantly ME!) if they (I) walk into a dark room where she might be standing. I can also imagine she might just become one of the family and be dressed up according to inspiration, season and crazy mood now and again.

I have to confess that I bought this young lady as a Valentine's gift to myself. Hopefully someday I will have a design studio where my crazy new friend will live while I design circles around her. So welcome home, my new friend. I look forward to what we will create together.

For the rest of you, I'll be back later this morning with a post on my latest wish -- a cedar chest -- what I found when I started looking around and how grateful I am that I didn't get one in high school. Have a super morning!

images by kalanicut

14 February 2012

Need Some Nails? No, I Need A Closet Makeover

On Saturday when I went to find finishing nails for my pretty new tray, I came upon a closet that I just couldn't avoid for another moment. I found my nails instantly, but looking at that closet just pushed me over the edge.

I am pretty organized with my storage and just cleaned this closet last summer. But with all the DIY gear, car and bike care junk, cleaning stuff, tools and storage kept in these shelves it had gotten a little out of hand. So I emptied everything out and regrouped everything together.

I was totally annoyed with myself to find out how many foam craft brushes, sheets of sand paper, drill bits and tiny paint rollers and handles I have bought over the years. As I moved down every shelf I kept finding more and more. Note to self: STOP buying tools and brushes every time you start a project.

I grabbed my painters tape and labeled every shelf section and put small things in shoe boxes or plastic bins. I stacked all the paint cans in one corner. Put all the different kinds of glue into a plastic zip up bag. I also took out tons of rags that had been put here over time and put them all in one bag and hung them in the front closet so they are easy to see and use.

Everything now has a home. And when I got done with the top three shelves, you can see what I had left-a practically empty third shelf. Most of the stuff on the bottom shelf that you can see are things I was using for the project, my marker, scissors, etc.

In a perfect world I would own a label maker. In my usually perfectionist mode I would've at least cut the edges of the painters tape to make it look better. I didn't feel like this project required too much craziness on my part, so I did it quick and dirty....Okay, let's be honest, in a perfect world, these shelves would be pretty, all this stuff would not be in the same space and I wouldn't have popcorn on my ceilings and vertical blinds on some of my windows. But let's not get too depressing here, ha-ha.

Once I'd done these three top shelves, I popped down to the lower three shelves and gave them a quick clean up too. Everything in the bottom shelves is big stuff, which is much easier and happier to deal with than organizing tons of small nails, screws, hooks, paint brushes, rollers and drill bits.

It was good to go through this stuff too because I found a big bag of shells I didn't know I had. Great since I want to incorporate shells into the wedding decor and was anticipating buying shells soon. Love the freebies. Excellent.

It is so nice to quickly and easily see what I have now. No more buying stuff I don't actually need. It feels good to have everything in its place and with its mates. It also means I have space to move some things to the bottom of the top three shelves here. In a small apartment with lots going on, every inch of storage space matters. We shall see how long it stays this way. But at least I have a plan now so that the next time I clean up I won't have to figure out where everything would best go. I also liked seeing what I could accomplish in less than an hour on a project no one really ever wants to do.

Does this happen to you too? Have you been stopped in your tracks lately by a house project you just couldn't stand looking at for one more minute? What did you organize and how good did you feel when you were done? Did you find anything you'd been looking for or didn't know you had? Talk to me people, I would love to know I'm not the lone crazy woman, haa-haa.

I'll be back with another post this later this morning. Hope it's a great Tuesday for you!

all images by kalanicut

It's Valentine's Day, My Cookie

Hope it's a sweet day for you. I didn't do anything creative for the day this year. In fact I didn't even put up any hearts or anything. I think I hit the "decorate for every holiday" wall. After all I did just put away the Christmas decorations two weeks ago. I think I needed a breather. Luckily The Bug has just learned how to cut out hearts so there is no shortage of paper heart love here.

I am going to do some service for others today. So it will be a great day. I was inspired by this post from Brene Brown's blog called I Heart Generosity Day. I know it's been a good Valentine's Day for me if I get one good pink frosted, heart-shaped sugar cookie. Nothing is better than my mom's sugar cookie recipe. So, I will make some pretty pink cookies.

Hope you get a chance to receive and give some love today. That's what it's all about. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. Did you make anything fancy for today? What is your favorite Valentine's Day tradition at your house? See anything online that blew your Valentine's Day socks off?

Thanks for coming by. Later this morning I will have a post about an impromptu project I took on last Saturday posted here, Happy day!

13 February 2012

Lovely Delights Posted To eBay

Part of anticipating merging households for me definitely entails a consideration for what I own, am using and need. As I do regular cleaning and tidying up I've been going through my things considering what I want to keep and what things I could pass on for use and enjoyment by someone else.

I have putting a few things aside to sell and today finally got started posting items for sale on eBay. Just putting these posts together makes me love all these items anew and remember what it was that drew me to them in the first place. However, realistically it's silly for me to have them and not use them.

So I'm passing them on to the next person who will love them. If you are interested you can see the items at eBay here. Over the next few weeks I'll be adding some new items and posting a few things to Craigslist as well. I have a stash of fabric swatches, vintage buttons, vintage sewing notions and some larger pieces of fabric for that I will put up for sale soon. If you want first peeks, let me know.

Have a great rest of your Monday! Wishing you all the best.

all images by kalanicut

An Extra Large Tray For Less Than Lunch Money

Friday night, without a hot date (The Man was working), I decided to go out and do a little sourcing for the wedding. I got a sweet little green dress and white cardigan for The Bug. It's the same one I looked at last week and when I kept thinking about it, I decided to go get it. Total price was less than $25 total. Happy about that.

I was also looking for some very narrow rectangle trays for loose orchids on the tables. I am determined to find something for less than $3. I found a couple of possibilities. When it really sank in last night that the tables are only 30" wide and plates are usually 13" wide (factor two on each side of the table, so a total of  26" of table space) I had to do some rethinking. Ack. That only leaves you about four inches of space for anything down the middle with a little more room in the spaces between the table settings. That is not a lot of space. Sigh...

I found a gorgeous banana leaf woven tray for $2.99 last night and brought one home and laid it all out on the table with a sample table runner and the gorgeous wicker lanterns. I even picked up a $1 hawaiian lei to use as sample flowers to put inside the tray for my practice table. Unfortunately the tray is too wide at six inches. I am so bummed about that. Back to the drawing board.

While I was wandering the housewares department at TJMaxx I saw this extra large tray. It caught my eye immediately and I could see using it to hold escort cards, maybe sitting in shallow sand on the bottom. There was just one problem.

It was a little worn, which I am totally okay with. I always love things a little roughed up. But the bottom was completely falling off. In fact just carrying it around the store I was afraid it was going to collapse into pieces. I took it to the cashiers and asked if they could give me a price reduction, based on the damage. I anticipated they might offer me 10%, 20% if I was really lucky. That has happened to me at other shops. But I was pleased when it came back marked down from $12.99 to $6.99. She shoots, she score!

When I got home I looked up this brand of tray and these retail in new condition for $60. So I got it for just 12% of the original cost. Even better, there was no additional cost to repair it. First I applied a little glue all the way around the areas where the bottom had detached.

Then I found some very small nails in my supplies and went around the entire bottom of the tray nailing it down. Then I wiped the tray down. It's amazing how nice it looks and how sturdy it feels. I'm thrilled about that.

Now I have this beautiful tray to use for the wedding but even better to enjoy for years to come. I am so happy that much of what I've been buying for the wedding I will be able to use for entertaining or easily resell to anyone planning a beach wedding. As I've mentioned before there are some great sites for reselling wedding decor on the internet.

This will be a keeper. I can see myself happily carrying food to an outdoor dining space on this beauty. It's nice and large so it will accommodate lots of supplies or larger bowls and pans. Now that I think about it, this would look pretty fantastic on my dark brown coffee table right now! I'm so happy I found it, got a great deal on it and so easily brought it back to a long, useful life. And I'll be enjoying it for a long time for just a very small investment of money and time.

all images by kalanicut

10 February 2012

Rising and Sinking: Paintings and Budgets

image via World Market

Happy Friday! I don't have any idea where this week went, but I stayed busy as usual. A sweet friend of mine said Wednesday, "I can't imagine you ever not being busy." She said it wasn't because I take on to much but that there would always be so many things that interest me all around me that I would always have something I wanted to be doing. It's a little spooky how people can peg you even if they don't spend a lot of time with you.

As the seasons begin to transition I always like to pop around to some of my favorite shops to see what they are up to. Yesterday I visited Cost Plus World Market's online store and ran into these two very interesting paintings by Maxine Price. At her website you can learn all about her very interesting technique and focus. I love the colors, the knife strokes and earthy simplicity. The above is titled Just Because II. For some reason when I first looked at it, I had a connection to it that made me feel strong, as if I was propping the world up on my shoulders and everything was opening up.

image via World Market

This is Just Because I. When I look at it I have the sensation of sinking into something very deep and interesting. It's intriguing that the most vibrant color is at the top of one and the bottom of the other, farthest from the white "entryway." A destination to work for -- mystery.

Wall art is so much fun and has such a way of personalizing and spicing things up. There are so many great resources for affordable art now that is really is something for everyone. And I think it's okay to rotate things and put things in a closet or behind a dresser for a while.

I have a few pieces hidden away under beds and behind dressers. I am not getting rid of them because they are investment pieces to me, but it's fun to rotate things around so that you can enjoy them more and see them with fresh eyes. A few simple shifts around the house can really make a big difference. Are you feeling the Spring itch to shift? What one thing would you most like to change?

One last note for today on dollar stores. I went through a dollar store web site yesterday and I was astounded at how many things from there I could potentially source for our wedding. Dollar stores have their cheesy, low quality reputation, which in some cases is well earned. But I am continually surprised and what I can find there and how I can make it work, rather than spending much, much more money. For instance I am thinking of spray painting some shells bright metallic silver. In that case, I need inexpensive shells that don't need to be physically beautiful. They just need to be shell shaped. Score -- a basket of shells for $1.

I also think I found some just the right sized tote bags that are good quality and might work for guest bags for $1. I am going to go check them out, but I was impressed at what I saw online. I'm going to look at some vases, floral supplies and other things as well. It's a blessing to the budget if any of these things work. 

I am really playing the numbers game, enjoying subtracting dollar amounts from my budget instead of adding them at any possible turn. And I'm having quite good luck. When I initially created our budget I based everything on basic retail costs. I did not take into account catering discounts and photographer discounts which are offered to us by the vendors we like through The Man's work. Those are significant and very helpful. 

Now that I am realistically looking at purchases it feels like a lot of things are quite a bit less than I originally budgeted. I know there is still a lot to add in and that budget could easily get eaten up by other things, but any savings is savings in my book.

I guess when I say I've had good luck, what I really mean is that I've spent a lot of late nights sourcing things for many hours and rethinking how I can cut costs. It's amazing how much you can save when you go from buying large quantities of things that cost $1 versus $3 or $5. So, having said all that, what I wanted to say was ---  give your dollar store a chance when you need anything for catering, taking food to parties, decorations, floral supplies or any of those things. You might be surprised. 

Hope you have a fantastic weekend. Weather is promising to be not too grand here, which is a bummer. But it's been so hot here the past few days that maybe rainy will be a nice change of pace. Hope your weekend is grand, wherever you might be and that you spend it with your favorite people.

Thanks so much for coming by this week and sharing your comments. I really do appreciate your comments and enjoy getting to know you from all around the world. So if you've lurked, say hello. Let's get to know each other. I would love that.
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