Monday, July 28, 2014

A Tribute to the Quilting Bee

How things can change in a month.  Sometimes for the good and then sometimes not.

Late on the evening of Feb. 1, Worker Bee got a text from his brother saying that their mom had just been diagnosed with cancer.  Cancer of the pancreas, liver, and possibly lungs.  The doctors said 90 days. She stayed with us for four weeks.

This post is so very difficult to write.  I loved my mother-in-law very much.  She was a role model for  my daughter and me.  She was generous and very loving - especially to her family - and I was lucky and blessed enough to be loved by her too because I married her baby boy.

I haven't written a lot about her before.  She wasn't a part of our daily lives like my mom is, but she was always in our heart.

When Worker Bee and I met in college, his parents lived in the Bay Area, one of the loveliest parts of our state.  I loved going up to visit them and I think we must have gone up about once a month.  I remember being so impressed with how warm and inviting their house was.  And thus began the lessons I feel I learned from Helen (aka The Quilting Bee).  From her I knew I wanted our home to be inviting.  I knew I wanted it to feel warm.  I wanted for it to feel cozy.

At that time, she was also very into gardening.  Worker Bee shared that love with her too.  And then he shared it with me.  I learned the names of plants and how to care for them from her.

Then, shortly before Worker Bee and I got married, his parents were transferred to Ft. Worth, Texas.  And again, Helen made the house in Texas into a warm and welcoming space.  I also saw her make a new group of friends.  I've almost always lived in the same town I grew up in and my parents grew up in and my grandparents grew up in.  I marveled at how she did that.  How did she even know what to do to make new friends? 

And she became a quilter in Texas.

She made beautiful quilt after beautiful quilt.  I'm not sure how many she ended up making, but each grandchild received one, and there are 11 of them.

This is the last quilt she made and she made it for Baby Bee.
The back is in Mary Engelbreit fabric - I think she might have picked that just for me!
I want you to know that she could do anything she set her mind to do.

She took cabinet making classes (I never knew that - she might have kept that one secret so I wouldn't ask her to build me a new kitchen) and learned how to build furniture.

She took classes on ornamental horticulture and worked towards getting her degree in that.  Sunset magazine came out and took pictures of her succulent Christmas tree.  She won blue ribbons for her plants at the Santa Clara County Fair.

She refinished furniture.  She reupholstered furniture.  About eleven years ago Helen and Bob (my father-in-law, he passed away in 2004) flew out to see us and I convinced them to reupholster our couch.  It was amazing!  They made such a fabulous team.

She had great style too.  As was said at the memorial service, she had sass and she had class.

After Bob died, she uprooted herself again and moved to Louisville which was closer to her oldest son and much of his family.  And she made a new group of friends again.  How did she do that again?  At the age of 74? 

Helen was born in Wisconsin, then moved to Illinois (where Worker Bee was born), then to Southern California, then to Northern California, and to Texas and then Kentucky.  She made friends wherever she went, but family was first.  

I didn't mention what a bridge fiend she was.  She loved to play games, but bridge was her favorite.  She tried to teach me a couple of times, but I just wasn't interested enough.  Worker Bee likes to play bridge, but who our age plays bridge?

So, today, Helen, on what would have been your 84th birthday, I am finally able to write down a tribute to you and how much you meant to all of us.  We miss you every day and especially when Baby Bee dances.  I know how much you loved to see her dance.  I imagine you dancing away in heaven with Bob (after he has cooked a gourmet dinner and dirtied every pan, utensil, and dish in the house).  

Love you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Too Many Irons In the Fire

Wow!  It's been a busy few days.

My Baby Bee is off to camp this week, but getting her packed up and organized was a job.  Plus, right before she left for camp she had two big dancing shows in our small town's new theater.  That girl sure loves to dance!  (Side note:  I always wanted to take dance classes.  Two of my cousins did and they were quite good.  I, on the other hand, took piano lessons.  I always wished I could dance like them and they wished they could play the piano like me.  I guess my lessons lasted longer because I am still playing the piano and I don't think my cousins are doing much ballet anymore.  Baby Bee has taken both dance and piano, but I believe dancing is her real passion.)

So. At the same time she was having tons of rehearsals and classes and her room was a jam-packed mess, we ordered her a new full size bed.  Which meant rearranging her room.  Which meant going through some items that have been stashed for awhile.  Which meant getting rid of some furniture.  Which meant…..  You get the picture, right?  And now she's gone to camp. Dare I just get rid of some things?  Get rid of all the things I don't think she needs?  (No, that last one won't happen.  I don't think I would ever be forgiven!)  But I am sorting through and cleaning out drawers and the closet.  I have a couple of projects to get done in her room before she gets back. (fingers crossed that I actually get them done)   We were able to order the same bedding she had in twin size from PB Teen for her new bed with some minor tweaks.  She also needs a new headboard. Ordered one online but it's black.  We don't want black.  We want white.  Luckily (when it comes - it's on back order) the Counting Bee knows of a company that does powder coating and we'll have it painted.  I'll let you now how that goes in a few weeks.

Okay.  More irons in the fire.  On the same day the new mattress was delivered, Worker Bee and I went to go buy a new flatscreen TV.  We've had a 40" (or probably less) for about 5-6 years in our living room, but we wanted bigger.  (Note to self - what looks like a reasonable size for a small cottage living room in Costco is ginormous when put in a small cottage living room.)  So now we have a great BIG TV and furniture needs to be moved around.  However, Worker Bee will have to help me with this and he is not too thrilled about it.  (It involves moving the huge, upright, 2 million pound piano across the living room.  Last time we moved it there might have been a little damage to our poor hardwood floors. Just a little damage.  Oh.  And there might have been a little damage to Worker Bee's back. Just a wee bit. Really.)

Well, the house is a mess with furniture that needs to go to the Fabulous Phyllis, a bazillion (yes, I counted them) little girl toys/accessories/etc. that need to be donated, bags of trash from Baby Bee's room, boxes of supplies I bought for my future third graders (did you know 48 notebooks, pencil boxes and other items can take up quite a bit of space in your living room?), and just we're too lazy ('cause it's summer) to really get everything put away.  

So.  Nothing pretty to show here.  Not one thing.  But at least you know I'm still fighting the good fight.  Today I'm working on straightening up things (although that furniture and donations will still be in the entryway) and just making the house a bit more presentable.

Okay.  I decided to show you some reality…please avert your eyes if you were only expecting some cuteness.  Now there's lots of potential cuteness here, but it ain't finished yet.  

Keep buzzing and I'll be back to show you more!

P.S.  Meeting the More Creative Bee today to plan our strategy for the Big County Fair!

P.P.S.  Now I'm in no way being compensated for this, but Worker Bee and I went to a Mimi's Cafe restaurant last night and we were impressed with their new menu.  They've pared it down quite a bit and the focus seems to be on French style food and American comfort food.  Both of our dinners were really delicious!  I had the bouillabaisse and he had the pot roast.  Yum!  (And don't tell Baby Bee, but the rest of us here plan to go out to dinner a couple more times while she's at camp!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Step 1 (and a Teensy Bit of Step 2 Too)

Here's the first little project to send my little cottage to the beach.

When we were at the little beach cottage a couple of weeks ago, there was the cutest little dresser in the master bedroom.  (It was built into the wall, which I loved, but that just won't work at our house.)

Now.  Was I a good blogger and take a picture of it?  Of course not, so you'll just have to take my word for how adorable and beachy it was.

Here's what we started with…

And this is what we have now…

Simple.  The little dresser at the REAL beach house was pine and had a different knob on each drawer.  They were all in colors of blue, green, and yellow.   This is an end table in our living room/family room that started off as a nightstand in our bedroom but I'm of the "Anti-Matching Nightstand School" (yeah, there's night school for it and everything - I'll show you my diploma some day).

Wanna' know what we keep in there?
We keep our DVDs in there!  Please note the slight addiction Worker Bee has for The Simpsons.  (And he converted Baby Bee too!)

So Step 1 is complete.  Yeah, I know.  Too easy.  But, hey.  It's a start, right?  Weather is supposed to cool down a bit later this week so maybe…finally…..I'll get some painting done!  But no promises.

Oh and here's a tiny bit of Step 2 too.  

Found the perfect fabric for welting on our white denim slipcovered wing chairs in the "library."  
Currently they have a mustard/barn red gingham check for the welting, but we're replacing that with this…
Isn't it gorgeous?  And only $8 a yard for decorator fabric!  

Well, Baby Bee has a friend buzzing over for the night, so I better get dinner ready….yeah…ha…..calling out for pizza!  I know how to make those teenage girls happy!   

P.S.  And you'll never guess where I got the knobs.  No you won't.  Okay, you're right.  I found them at World Market.  (aka the "Bad Place")  Don't judge me.

P.P.S.  Linking up with….
Share Your Cup
Tweak it Tuesday
Show and Tell Friday

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I Went to the Bad Place...

Okay….maybe only Worker Bee thinks of it as the "Bad Place."  Oh yeah, Baby Bee is not a shopper (yet….one day I'll turn her into one, I'm sure) so she doesn't love the "Bad Place" either.


I went out of my way (sorta')  to buzz into the "Bad Place" and I bought something for me (alright, you caught me, several things for me) and a couple of things for you too.

What?  For little ol' me you say?

Yes.  For little ol' you!

But first MY stuff!  HA!

A local instragram buddy let me know that these were back in stock at the "Bad Place" so I bought some for me.

And then I found a cute dish towel that fits my new beachy look.  

And….of course…..

I could NOT resist this!

I passed it by the other day, took pictures of it, talked about it on instagram and Facebook and after much contemplation, I had to get it.

(But I didn't buy one of those for you - I know - I'm cruel that way.)

But I did buy two of the things I mentioned in this post (and it wasn't the dish towel) to share with you in a giveaway….soon I promise.  I mean, I've so neglected my blog lately, I've got to do something to bribe you to come back and visit!

Can you figure out what it might be???

So, what's your favorite "Bad Place" to shop?

P.S.  BTW, my "Bad Place" is World Market if you didn't know.  Really!  They should hire me!
(well, they did when I was in college)
P.P.S  Do you love emojis?  I'm afraid I might be addicted to them when I text.  There could be worse things, right?  Right?  I'll try not to get addicted to them on blog posts.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Have You Ever Loved a TV Kitchen?

Besides the Brady Bunch kitchen, right?

Well, I am in 
with the kitchen 
Damaris (I feel like I can just call her Damaris) was the winner of last year's Next Food Network Star.  Worker Bee and I enjoy watching that show and we were both fans of hers.  

She is quite quirky (does that remind you of someone?) and has a fun sense of humor and she is a culinary teacher (remind you of someone again?)  I find her quite endearing.

But in all honesty, as much as I like her and her show,
it's the KITCHEN I'm smitten with!

And it's not even the cupboards or counters that get me all excited.

It's the accessories PEOPLE!

I struggled to find images on the internet to show you all the delightful little containers and tools she uses.  And with my World Market Eagle Eye (yes, that is a medical condition and it can only be treated by frequent trips to World Market so you can spy new things to want with your World Market Eagle Eye) I noticed quite a few of the little aqua delights are from there.

 Not sure if the little birdie butter dish is still available, but most of the other items I saw at the store just the other day.
Best way to spot the cuteness for yourself is to watch the show!  I am not usually home when the show airs, but I catch it on demand.  

So what TV kitchen do you LOVE?

And what have you been making in your kitchen this hot summer?  Well at least it's hot here in Central California!  
My sis-in-law just sent me pictures of the flood at the lake they live on in Minnesota.  Sure wish they could send that rain our way.

P.S.  Notice the beachy colors?  I wondered if you were paying attention.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet Bee-ach Cottage

Please forgive the spelling in the title.  I just couldn't resist.

I've come back from our beach vacation, freshly inspired.

When I first started blogging, I was all about the 1950s vintage cottage - inspired by vintage tablecloths.  I still have quite a bit of that style, especially in my kitchen, and I'll always love it, but I'm finding myself drawn more and more to the blues and greens inspired by the beach.  

So I'm going Sweet Bee-achy!

Now, I'm fully aware that I live about 130 miles from the beach, so I don't want to go too beachy.  I think it would look a bit ridiculous to have tons of sand dollars and shells in a house where we frequently have 10 or more days in a row of 100º+, but wouldn't the cool colors from the beach be so refreshing when it's so hot outside. 

In fact, at our wedding, Worker Bee promised to never grow tired of the colors blue and white, so I know he's fully committed.  Ha!

 Are you inspired?

I love seeing you've buzzed in for a visit! 
Thanks for hanging in there with me.

P.S.  Collage images snagged from my Pinterest board - I Left My Heart at the Beach.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I Left My Heart at the Beach (Again!!!)


I thought I was back on a roll with blogging and I guess I wasn't (since it's been at least 6 weeks since I've posted anything).  But I am vowing to get going again.  

And what better way to start off than with a another trip to the best beach cottage in the world.  Yes, all of the Sweet Bee Family spent another week at the beach in a small town on the central California coast.  And we get to go back next year too!!! 

Last year I showed you the main floor and the exterior.  Today I'm going to show you the upstairs loft where Sewing Bee (my mom) and Baby Bee (daughter) and Reader Bee (niece) and Cutter Bee (other niece) get to sleep.  

I'm pretty sure the second floor/loft was not original to the house.  You reach it by climbing up a narrow little staircase (not even room for a rail) and, right at the top of the stairs are…

And then you turn around and there's another bed…

I also spied this little lady…

I cannot resist a girl with a curved apron – and aqua knobs! (Does that just sound wrong?)

The family read and walked and ate and played and read and read and read some more.

 (Took these pics while we were driving - I wasn't driving, just passenging - and we loved how the fog just hugged the rock - Morro Rock that is, California's own Gibraltar.)
It was just a fabulous week.  

Came back here to 100º+ temperatures and not much motivation to get things done.  But today…yes today…I plan to clean out our entry way closet.  Maybe if I'm brave I'll even blog about that too.  The last time I did it was about 5 years ago and in the process, I backed up into a drawer I'd pulled out to clean and fell hard.  Broke the drawer.  Just about broke me too.  So wish me luck!  Or, better yet, pray I don't do that again.

Thanks for hangin' in there with me!  Hope it cools down  a bit so I can get outside and do some painting.  

I have been doing LOTS of reading!  I'll have to share some of my favorite ones with you.