Monday, June 27, 2011

One Dilemma Solved and a "That's Good Enough" Tutorial

You guys are awesome!
You gave some excellent advice on those two items I couldn't quite decide to sell.

I'm definitely keeping the two floral prints.

Let me show you what I did with them......
Want a close-up?
Still not close enough?
Not placed quite perfectly yet, but since I'm painting, it will do for now.

I like it with the green of the back of the bookcases, but I'm going to be painting those this week.

And now for the "That's Good Enough" Tutorial.

I have the best (in my opinion) all weather wicker chairs ever!  I love them!  They are so comfortable.  We bought them at Target about four years ago on clearance.  Why am I giving you all this information?  Background!  (Teachers know the more background knowledge you have  - generally speaking of course - the better you do in school.)

Well, this year, the seat cushions were shot!  I mean literally, they looked like someone shot at them.

We actually think a Mr. Sam Cat and a Miss Brody Cat and the neighborhood cats might have partied a little too hard on them.  See?

Well, I really wanted to sew a slipcover for them out of those drop cloths everybody raves about.

Talked my plan over with my two favorite seamstresses, the Fabulous Phyllis (owner of Sawdust and Stitches) and the Sewing Bee (my mom) and it started to get complicated.  It moved waaaaaay beyond my sewing skills (which are pretty much nonexistent) and Sewing Bee doesn't really have time to help me with it right now and the Fabulous Phyllis is pretty busy too.

(and you all know this is the real reason)
 I wanted them done right NOW!  
(picture me stamping my foot and holding my breath)

So here are your supplies:
duct tape
scissors (that are sharp enough for cutting fabric)
canvas drop cloth (I bought two 6' x 9' for four cushions)

1.  Don't clean the cushions.  Why bother?  You're just going to cover them with canvas and duct tape.  (That's the best part of a That's Good Enough tutorial.)

2.  Cut a square or rectangle that gives you about 12" around all the edges. Great thing about these drop cloths is you can just start the cut and then tear the rest of the length.  This gives you a nice straight edge - definitely straighter than I could have cut it.
3.  Wrap the front and back of the cushion snugly.  Tape to the old cushion.

4.  Wrap the sides like a present.  This took some finagling to settle the bulk of all the fabric into some nice folds, but it was worth the time.  Tape down like you would a present with wrapping paper.

5.  Flip over (and promise to never flip them over to the other side) and settle them into the BEST patio chairs ever.

6.  Place your cute (but slightly sun-faded) pillows back on the chair and relax.  Enjoy a coffee or a cocktail or, in my case, a nice cold glass of iced tea.
Welcome to the end of my "That's Good Enough" tutorial.
I'll let you know how they survive the summer and early fall.

And, in the meantime, please enjoy a few pictures of my little patio.
 Just found the milk glass jars in my garage stash.

Thank you for buzzing in today!  It's always a treat to see you.

Still working on that 500 follower giveaway.  I do hate to be a tease, but I want it to be really nice for you.

All right - you got me - I LOVE to be a tease!  I was born a teaser - so here's a sneak peek.......
And c'mon back!  I'll make you a peach iced tea!  And I'm not teasing about that!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Here's My Dilemma......

As some of you might know, I've started selling vintage treasures on etsy.

I have had fun finding great items at estate sales, thrift shops, and yard sales.


I have fallen in love with a couple of items I bought with the intention to sell.

What to do?  What to do?

I'll let you look and give me your opinion.
 Do I have turquoise in my house?  Of course not!  
Do I like turquoise?  You bet!   
Do I LOVE flowers?  You bet!

But they don't go in my room or my kitchen or my bathroom or my living room! 

Well, Baby Bee is not nearly into vintage as much as her mom is, but we hope to redo her room sometime soon and turquoise is the color.  So maybe I could hang onto them for Baby Bee.

But then......
I'll want them back.  
I don't think I can let her keep them.
They will have to stay with me!
(Bad mom, bad mom.)

Here's dilemma item #2.......
Four vintage yellow trays with jadeite green stripes and a bouquet of anemones and asparagus ferns. 
Honestly, it's the stripes that are calling my heart.  I've seen plenty of trays with florals, but the stripes......the stripes.......the stripes......

Ahhhhhhhhh.  My heart is going pitter patter........
and Worker Bee keeps saying, "I was afraid this was going to happen."

What am I going to do?

What would you do?

Well, that follower odometer flipped over 500 so I'm getting ready for a big follower appreciation giveaway!  Hope you'll come back soon to check it out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm on a Berry Delicious Roll!

I just can't stop!  

Now I've gone and made strawberry syrup!  
(I know!  When will the madness end?)
Just like the boysenberry syrup, I took 
2 cups of water, 
2 cups of sugar 
(Oh!  Rats!  I should have used my turbinado sugar!  I didn't think! That probably would have been even BETTER!)
a pint of stemmed and washed strawberries......
Just bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until slightly thickened.

Then strain and cool.
Put in a pretty jar - especially one with a red lid - continue to let cool and then refrigerate for up to 30 days.
(Okay, you've caught me - it doesn't HAVE to go in a pretty jar, but doesn't that make it more fun?)

What am I going to do with all my berry syrups?  

Well, I could.....

1.  Pour it over ice cream.
2.  Add it to lemonade.
3.  Make Italian sodas with sparkling water or club soda.
4.  Make Italian cream sodas (add half and half to the above "recipe").
5.  Make strawberry margaritas or....maybe.....martinis.
6.  Pour over pancakes or French toast or waffles.

Do you have any ideas?
I'll make you a batch!

Oh my!  I also noticed I'm very close to 500 followers, so a giveaway must not be far behind!  Come back for details once that follower odometer rolls over to 500!  
Just a gratuitous strawberry shot 'cause I think they look pretty in my blue bowl!

And thank you very much for your visits and for choosing to follow!  
I most definitely appreciate it!

Now how can I resist joining this sweet party?
Please go check out some reds for Rednesday over at Sue's!

And, lest I forget,

Happy Father's Day
Worker Bee!

Thank you for being such a wonderful father to our dear sweet Baby Bee!
But, can I just ask this publicly?  
Why did you get her hooked on Archie comics? 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yumptious! Homemade Boysenberry Syrup and Lemonade

Well, I finally did it.

Yep, I made myself some homemade boysenberry syrup to add to my lemonade.

And it was so easy and so delicious!

(Yes, I know I've been promising you blackberry syrup, but the farmstand only had boysenberries, so boysenberry syrup it is.)

Want to make your own?

Well start off with 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water.

Rinse the berries you are using.  Add 1 pint of berries to the sugar and water mixture.

Bring to a boil on the stove and let simmer for a bit to thicken.

Then pour through a strainer and mash what you can through the strainer.

Let cool before pouring into a bottle or jar.

Once cool, refrigerate promptly and this will keep for 1 month in your refrigerator.

I added about 1/2 cup to frozen lemonade concentrate that I mixed up.

So yummy and refreshing!

Won't you join me?  I'll have one waiting just for you.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Are Those On That House?

Did something today I've wanted to do for a looooooong time!

Can you tell from this picture what I did?  

Or this picture?

Bet you can tell now!
Do you think the neighbors will be scandalized?

I know they weren't thrilled when we put up our picket fence! 
(How can you not love and adore picket fences?  I mean, c'mon people!)

But so what?  
Did I hurt anybody by hanging vintage plates on the OUTSIDE of my house?
Will it bring down property values?
Heck, it might even raise them when people see the cuteness going on at Sweet Bee Cottage!

But bottom line, I know I'm going to have a big ol' grin on my face when I pull up and see those hanging on the front of my house and it is so worth it!

Oh, and while I was out there, I replanted my three-tiered planter.
Can you guess what my theme was?

Now can you tell?
Well, just in case my picture doesn't make it clear......

red dianthus on top
white alyssum in the middle
blue lobelia on the bottom!
All for the 4th of July!

Well thank you so much for buzzing by today!
I'm so delighted to see you.

Hope you can buzz on by and see the fun over at Cindy's for
I know I'll be seeing all the sweet things all those talented bloggers have to share.

Hope you can come back soon.
I'm working on making some blackberry syrup to add to our lemonade for your next visit.  Doesn't that sound yumptious?

And I found some new to me parties to join today too.

Have you been to

Or how about

Time for this little bee to buzz on over there!
Wanna' come with?

Monday, June 6, 2011

School's Out! Scream and Shout!

Wooooo Hoooooo!

Friday was my last day of school!  

C'mon!  Sing it with me!

No more pencils, no more books,
No more teacher's dirty looks......

School's out for summer!

I am so excited!  It has been a year full of wonderful progress in my students, but it has been tough at the end because one of my Teacher Bee partners has to leave our school due to declining enrollment.  I am going to miss her so much.  (Don't worry - she does still have a job, just at another school. And she's not that far away so we can meet for lunch or coffee.)

It has also been a very hectic end of the year.  I have not had time to post much (there hasn't been much to post about either) and I have not had time to visit with all of you.  I miss that very much.  

But........I have some plans for this summer!

I'll start of with this.........
 Ahhhh.......the bliss of a lovely cafe mocha........
 in my very own special cup.......
designed and made by me!  
Have you ever been to one of those do it yourself ceramics shops?  My cousin and I went with our kids and I made this a few years ago.  I've had it at school, but I rarely drink coffee at school so I brought it home to enjoy!  

As I sit here and start to make my list of all the things I want to accomplish this summer, I'm thinking it just does not feel like summer - at all!

Here's why.....
It's raining!  In June!  In California!  It rained all day Saturday and we had thunder and lightning last night and it poured!
I know - cry me a river baby - all you midwesterners and east coasters and southerners are saying.  You've had it much rougher than us with the weather.  But in my defense, I'm just saying it doesn't feel like summer - it feels like spring.  And I do love that we haven't had to run the air conditioner hardly at all this year!  But I'm sure we will hit that 100 degree mark soon - and then I really will have something to cry (or sweat) about.

I have been hitting up estate sales and thrift stores for my little etsy shop.  Wanna' see some of my latest finds?
 I'll be putting these treasures up on etsy soon.  
If you're interested, I'm running a 10% off School's Out coupon.  

While at an estate sale this past weekend I stumbled upon these great pillows!  My wicker chairs in the living room have needed a more substantial look - 
as you can see here.  Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy (pillows that is)!
And now look!  
Doncha' just love 'em?
There were four of these pillows and through a series of events, I ended up getting them for free (not on purpose, but they ended up letting me have them).  Aren't they fabulous?  This estate sale was phenomenal!  So many wonderful treasures and this was on the second day (when everything was 1/2 off)!  You guys would have loved it!  It was like wallowing in vintage heaven!  I could have spent tons of money there, but I resisted.

Okay - on to the list of things I hope to get done this summer.
(Luckily all of Baby Bee's dance classes and swim practices are in the evening so I'll have whole entire days to get things done!  Yeah!)

1.  Paint living room. 
Currently all the walls are a Laura Ashley yellow, but I want to go a little more neutral.  I'm leaning towards the top color, even though it looks a little dark in the picture.  I think the lower one won't be enough contrast with my ultra white trim.

2.  Figure out a way to smooth out the stucco walls in our dining room.
It isn't pretty, is it?  You see our dining room/sunroom was added on to the house and 2 of the walls are exterior stucco and the other two walls are cinderblock. (We bought it this way - we didn't add the room.)  I saw a technique using joint compound to smooth the texture that I might try, but I'm open to suggestions.  Please share if you have any!  

3.  Do not get sick or have emergency surgery in the second half of July. (I'm praying for that one!)
In July 2009, right after we returned from our 13 States in 15 Days trip, I had to have emergency surgery on a strangulated abdominal hernia.  YUCK!   In July 2010 I got a horrible virus - fever for days, lost about 16 pounds, and very lethargic - and the doctors thought I might have lymphoma.  I ended up being just fine but for the past two years I have lost a good portion of my summer!  I really don't want that to happen this year.

4.  Read these books (and more I hope) and repaint the back of the library bookshelves.  I want to paint them a soft blue or aqua.
(hard to see the dark green in this picture, but you can go here to see what they look like)

5.  Paint the banquette in our kitchen nook.  I've had this custom built piece for about 5 years and I have never painted it!  I was so excited to get it that I immediately started using it and never painted it!  (Don't tell my Uncle Dump Truck that I haven't painted it yet - he built it for me and he would be very disappointed.)
Sorry!  No pictures of my shame!  I can't bear to show you.  
(Ahhh....not really.....I'm just too comfy sitting on my couch writing this and I forgot to take pictures and I'm not going to get up to take more pics.)

6.  Organize my hall closet, my entry closet, and my garage cupboards!
Now I would be too embarrassed to show you these horrors!  

I'm sure I'll be adding to this list - I am always overly ambitious.  I'm not very good at estimating the time involved in getting these projects done, especially once I get started on the first half of #4.  

But - maybe since I'm sharing with you guys what I plan to do - I'll get more of it done this summer!

So here's to a wonderful summer - full of promise and opportunity!

What are your plans for the summer?

I promise to make lots of iced lattes for you (and me) and to visit with you all.  And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for stopping by a visit or just a quick hello.  I always love to hear from you too!