Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why People Are Stopping At My House to Take Pictures

It's not all the work we've put into this house that is causing drivers by to stop and take pictures.  I wish I were telling of our immaculately landscaped yard where a plethora of flowers bloom and a lush, green lawn grows that makes one pause to behold its beauty and thus feel the need to stop and take pictures. No, that's not quite the story I have to tell.  It's because Michael's car was totaled night before last, and now sits in our driveway, that people are doing double takes and even coming back by to take photos at our house!

I have joked a bit on my blog about my being OCD, but the truth is that I am.  So, I have to play everything out in my mind and try to analyze certain situations so that I can better understand them.  I need for things to make sense.  It amazes me that Michael and Ethan had just headed home in our car and left Michael's car at our house, parked in the street.   Normally, Michael and Ethan come by the house and carpool with Shawn to the restaurant, leaving whichever of their cars they drove over behind.   Michael/Ethan usually takes his car home at night but for no reason other than wanting to get home faster that night, the boys dropped Shawn off and left Michael's car parked in front of our mailbox.  Not 15 minutes later I heard what sounded like an explosion and within seconds was out the front door with Trevor at my heels. About 12 of our neighbors including a couple from the next street over, also heard the noise and came out to see what had happened.  Sadly, it was a neighbor who'd had one too many drinks and came plowing down the hill at 50-55 mph in his Hummer, colliding into Michael's Lexus straight on.  It sent the Lexus forward about 40-45 feet, up and into a neighbors yard.  Trev and I watched in bewilderment to see the driver of the Hummer casually pull into his driveway a few houses down the street, slowly get out of the car, and walk inside his house as if nothing had happened. 

After it becoming obvious that the man had no intentions of coming down to acknowledge what he'd done,  some of the neighbors went to confront him.  He walked up the street and told us that it was his wife who was driving the Hummer when it hit Michael's car.  I could smell alcohol on him, though I was ten feet away from him.  He was by all accounts intoxicated and slowly murmured "tell me the cost and I'll pay the damages" and then went back home.   That didn't work out for him.  My next door neighbor, a canine unit officer, had the accident on film from cameras on his house and radio'd in the hit and run.  When the police came we all gave our statements to them and they went down to the man's house to talk to him.  We'd told the police that he was driving but had claimed it had been his wife.  When the police went to talk to him they told him that his wife would go to jail for leaving the scene of an accident, believing that he would then cave in and confess that he had been driving.  He had the gall to tell the police he was just fine with them taking his wife to jail.  That is pure cowardice in my book!  As it turned out, Michael's car was not the first thing this man had hit that night.  The other side of his Hummer had bark fragments and leaves on it from hitting a tree, which the police located after scouring our neighborhood.  The guy has a previous DUI.  His wife later came out of the house in her pajamas...what a surprise...she had been sleeping, along with their three young children.  She wasn't going to take the rap for him and gave a written statement saying as much to the officers.  The man was arrested, taken to jail and the car impounded for evidence.  Having a prior conviction for drinking under the influence, leaving the scene of not one, but two accidents in one night that he caused and then lying to police to save his own skin may put him in prison.

I suppose I'm telling you the story because I feel so thankful that Michael and Ethan were not at the car, in the car, or getting into the car, when this happened.  They would not have survived the impact of this crash.  Glass, metal and debris were into the front seat.  Everything under the hood of Michael's car was shifted forward, including the engine, by several inches, just from the impact.  Think of what would have happened to a human beings neck. Snap!  I'm so thankful that noone was injured, including the drunk driver.  I can't tell you how I hurt for his children and wife.   And, though it really makes me angry that he was going to let his wife take the rap for this, I also am thankful that he hit Michael's car...for had it not been parked in the street, he'd have missed the curve altogether and driven into a home instead, probably killing himself or someone sleeping inside, or both.  I hope he is able to get help for his apparent problem.  I do believe things happen for a reason though I don't always understand.

Now, what has been a little funny in this situation, is that we had the car towed into our driveway to get it out of the neighbors yard.  It was about 1:30 a.m. by this time and we thought we'd deal with insurance, etc. in the morning.  We were all tired.  Well, the insurance company has not yet come to tow Michael's car away and since then I have lost count of all the cars that have driven by, stopped or backed up, turned around for a longer look and taken pictures of what is left of Michael's car.

Oh, and one last note...what a testament to the safety of Hummer's...not only did its driver walk away unscathed but the Hummer itself scarcely had a scratch on it!

joining: Miracle Monday

Friday, July 29, 2011

Veal, Chicken, & Shrimp in a Cognac Cream Sauce over Homemade Pasta

Shawn made this for Ashton, Trevor and me a couple of weeks ago, after he'd come home from the restaraunt.   We all loved it and have anxiously been awaiting him to make it for us ever since.  It is absolutely delicious and will most likely be on the restaurant menu soon. 
I wasn't even sure what to call it and came up with the title quickly.  Any suggestions?  Or, does what I have sound okay? 
 Veal, Chicken & Shrimp in a Cognac Cream Sauce

Shawn makes homemade pasta.  There's just nothing better than from scratch pasta!  The taste, the texture, they just cannot be compared to that of packaged pasta.

He began with fresh shrimp, veal and chicken.  He split the chicken breasts and then pounded out both chicken and veal.

The chicken and veal were both dredged in a little flour 

and then put into a heated skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil

Once the chicken and veal had cooked on one side, Shawn added the shrimp (large shrimp with tails on), fresh mushrooms, portabella and um standard?...what do you call the standard mushrooms at the grocery store?  Funny, but I have no idea.  Anyway, that's what he used in this dish.

Add some salt and fresh, course ground black pepper
and cook until shrimp are done

After the shrimp and mushrooms had cooked, he poured about a cup of VSOP Brandy into the pan.  

Next, use a long lighter (you can see his in his right hand) and light the food in the pan so that the the alcohol cooks off.
 You'll have a flame obviously and it will die down as the alcohol cooks off.

Next, he added some cream (whole whipping cream), about a cup.
 And then added about 1/4 cup salted butter.
Stir  in the butter allowing it melt and blend with the rest of the sauce.
Shawn served this over fresh from scratch pasta noodles.  For this dish he cut the noodles a little larger than fettucine and smaller than egg noodles.    

I topped it with fresh rosemary...the only herb we have grown that's survived the heat..gotta make it picture perfect! 
I can't begin to tell you how yummy this is so I hope you'll make it, or come by the restaurant and try it for yourself...just make sure to tell Shawn you saw it here first!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Kalyn and her bf surprised me about an hour ago and said they are taking me to the movies and out to dinner tonight...on them!  I am sooooooooooo fortunate to have my children.  How cool is it that my 16 year old daughter wants to take me out on a Friday night?  I think that is the coolest thing!  I don't even have makeup on yet and it's off to get ready.

I hope you all are looking forward to your Friday night as much as I am.

p/s  I was working on another post while working on this one...sometimes I think I might have ADHD like a couple of other peeps in my immediate family...but anyway, you won't believe why people are stopping in front of my house to take pictures.  I hope to finish it tonight to show and tell!

I'm joining:  Funky Junk Interiors, Stone Gable, Miz Helen's Country cottage, and Foodie Friday

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Red Roses Transferware Tablescape

Love, Like Flowers

Seasons have come and gone with each having a glory,
And my lips smile sweetly as never before,
As I'm reminded again of my flower story,
While watching Spring's beauty come on once more.

Flowers were wilting as if by foregone conclusion
When the somber tones in his words did murmur,
Of our love being just a romantic illusion,
Then left my heart breaking on boughs of summer.

With the close of those days my heart shut its door.
I listened not to futures vague rhymes or reason.
His love had vanished like others who came before,
So, for me, love was always just a season.

Like those wilting flowers for which life ended too soon,
I'd wished for some firm roots that could live on and on.
I'd wanted love's flower that grows more with each bloom,
Not those that died ere their season was gone.

Then after three Falls and Summers, and lonely Winters,
That were missing of love and all it might be,
I opened my heart's door and removed dull splinters
And saw a world that looked brighter to me.

Spring had come to the air and did gaily speak,
And with warm breath was sprouting green growth in glee;
And my ears were filled softly with promising music,
As small buds sang gently of colors to be.

My heart, like that Spring after sleeping, felt stronger
And had stirred its quiet bed with hope once again,
Of replacing its lost with a flower to live longer-
And a red rose now grows where pansies had been.

 ©1975 Marilyn Stubbs Robinson (my awesome Mom)

The beautiful red transferware in this tablescape is by Ridgway.  Plates, cups and saucers are for sale in my shop, English Transferware.

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.
~J. M. Barrie~

The rose is a flower of love.
The world has acclaimed it for centuries.
Pink roses are for love hopeful and expectant.
Red roses, ah red roses are for love triumphant.
~unkown author~

How cunningly nature hides every wrinkle of her inconceivable antiquity under roses and violets and morning dew!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
I love to mix and match flatware.  Towle Stockholm is paired with Barenthal Mabre' in burgundy.

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck
~Emma Goldman~ 
I couldn't agree more.  
Here, on my table is a profusion of roses in pinks, reds, whites and red tinged ivory's in an antique silver teapot that belonged to my Great Aunt and Uncle.

I don't know whether nice people tend to grow roses 
or growing roses makes people nice.
~Roland A Browne~

Vintage ruby flash, Kings Crown thumprint tumblers pair well with wine glasses etched with a single rose. I found the wine glasses for a quarter a piece at a thrift shop!  I placed tealight candles in each ofthe wine glasses.

"For, if I wait", said she, "Till time for roses be-
For the moss rose and the musk rose,
Maiden blush and royal dusk rose
What glory then for me
In such a company?"
Roses plenty, roses plenty,
And one nightingale for twenty?
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning~

Napkins rolled into rosebuds are nestled into the teacups. This rosebud napkin fold is SO easy!  

A friend gave me a napkin folding book years ago with instructions on how to fold this rosebud, and today I found a video on YouTube to show you just how easy it is. I've included it at the bottom of my post.


I'm joining:

Between Naps on the Porch,
 Savvy Southern StyleRomantic Homes Common GroundFeathered Nest Friday,Charm of HomeFunky Junk Interiors No Minimalist HereA Stroll Thru Life
Pink Saturday, A House In The Roses, Under the Table and Dreaming, Homemaker on a Dime

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shabby Beach Cottage Bathroom Reveal

Check this room off the list.

Lets first take a look at the before photos of the bathroom.  You can see the post HERE that shows more of how filthy this house was when we found it.
 The floor above was regrouted and some of the broken tiles were replaced.

Besides obviously needing to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, which was the first thing Kalyn and I did, the second thing was to take the doors off the vanity.  One was already broken partially off and missing,  and one was hanging by a single latch.

  Next I sanded down some of the areas that were badly chipped and painted the cabinets Table Linen White.  I'm using this on the woordwork throughout the house.  I found these Lowes Promotional Codes which helped save money on my mini bathroom remodel.

I installed tension rods underneath the cabinets and opted to hang sand colored tiers in the back and some Heritage lace tiers (from our first home!) in front, doing away with the doors altogether.

The ticking striped, canvas rugs were a $3.99 find at Ross!

To create the look I wanted for the shower curtain I used one standard sized shower curtain which I found at Home Brands New and Used.  This is an Ebay store specializing in housewares and decor that have been discontinued.   She carries name brands and has such a cute selection to choose from, all with very reasonable pricing.  
I love the mix of fabrics, the touch of pink and the crochet lace trim.

I wanted more height than a standard shower curtain offers,  the addition of darker blues and more pattern for the cottage feel I was aiming for so I turned to another Ebay shop, Show Cases Fine Sewing Plus for a custom toile valance to finish out the look.  This shop carries over 80 toile valances as well as many other styles and does custom work. 
I hung this valance on another shower curtain rod and simply raised it about 15" above the standard shower curtain.   This is stationary and the standard curtain below it opens and closes for getting in/out of the shower.
I added the pretty rose hooks to tie in with the pinks in the room.  These are just fitted between the gatherings at the top of the valance, over the rod.  From each hook I hung a twine wrapped jar with seashells attached, which pulls in the beachy cottage feel.


 I looked and looked for the pictures of the walls before I painted and I can't find them on my computer anywhere.  They were papered in an 80's era wallpaper.  It was white with green, blue and red stripes and little tan dots. Although it was filthy with writings, marks and dirt, it was very much intact.   So, shhhhh, I know you're not supposed to do this but...I painted right over it.   This color is called coffee with cream, but should have been called cream with coffee.  The only people I know whose coffee looks like this after adding cream are Shawn and Jonah.  I just finished painting my office this color to.   I like it because it's pretty neutral.  In this room where there are no windows it's much more like a sand color, which is why I chose it.

Over the twalletia (toilet) as we call it, hangs a painting in oil by my Mom of a vase full of daisies.  This is called a pallet knife painting (done entirely with a pallet knife, like these shown below, and no brushes).  

This won some awards and came in first place in one of the art shows she had entered.  It's about 35 years old. 

 Continuing on with the cottage beach theme, over the painting I draped a starfish motif' lace runner trimmed with seashells.

The cabinetry in this area got the paint job I wanted and intended for the rest of the woodwork.  Instead of a full coat of paint, I just barely got paint on my brush and gave the cabinets a light, quick once over which ended up in almost a white washed reminds me of weathered driftwood and goes so well with the theme in this room.

When I painted around the sinks it was night and being about as blind as a bat I grabbed the wrong paint and painted them a flat ceiling white.  After realizing the error of my ways, I went back over it with the Table Linen White.  

This towel ring was already here but it definitely needed a makeover.

Again, in keeping with the cottage beach theme, I dug around my candle ring stash and came up with this one made of seashells.  I just used picture wire to attach it to the ring, creating a seashell towel ring. EASY fix!

Have you heard of Canvas4Life?  You can upload any image from from your computer and then they reproduce it as a canvas print.  For this room, I chose an image of  a porch decorated with wicker furniture, flowers and seashells overlooking the beach,

and an 1896 print from a painting by Kate Greenaway entitled "A Sailors Wife'.  I'll be announcing a Canvas4Life giveaway this week!
Both of my images were 'poor quality' but still came out wonderfully produced on the canvas.  Canvas4Life has a built in image screener which will let you know the quality of the image you upload.  That was nice, because with mine being poor quality they would not have come out clear had I chosen larger images.

Okay, moving on around the bathroom...I was able to put together a small collection of vintage jewelry made entirely of seashells.  
This darling brooch and earrings came from GretchensPretties, an Etsy shop offering vintage jewelry and accessories, and are displayed in a sheet print transferware patterned soap dish, Calico by Royal Crownford.

A Charlotte, blue transferware toothbrush holder displays a vintage bun holder adorned with tiny seashells from HardlyAbleStable where you can find a fantastic array of vintage jewelry and decorative items.
This stunning boutonniere is from VintageVasso, an Etsy shop featuring hundreds of vintage home decor  items.   This is made of tiny little shells, each one intricately wired to form a floral bouquet.  Isn't it amazing?  I'm a little enthralled with these delicate seashell intricacies.

Transferware egg cups make perfectly adorable  storage containers for the girls bobbi pins and jewelry.

On the counter, between the sinks was a big brownish stain that I could not get out even after scouring with Comet a few I just covered it up with a pretty woven tray which holds a blue transferware vase filled with pink roses, a hand shaped dish (like the one in my header but this is a Calico pattern), a white wicker Barbie chair from my childhood,  an Aesthetic movement transferware razor box and a few scattered seashells.  Behind this little vignette stands a seashell framed mirror.

On one side of the tray is a vintage glass compote (.75 thrift store find) filled with the crushed seashells and a candle. 
The crushed shells are the leftovers from the light fixture makeover I shared HERE

On the other side of the tray is this cute jar wrapped with hemp and shells.  I filled it with bath salts and an antique souvenir spoon from Portland, Oregon dated 1905.  The handle is art nouveau design, made of sterling and the spoon is made from a real shell, hand painted with pink flowers and writing indicating its origin and date. 

A bakers rack holds more wicker/woven baskets lined with vintage ruffled napkins, and towels.  The baskets are supposed to hold the girls hair straighteners, etc. but sometimes they quickly 'clean up' by putting everything in here including their dirty clothers...arrrgh!
Another basket, blue transferware wash bowl & basin filled with pink hydrangeas, and greenery are displayed on the shelf over the toilet.

I couldn't help but to mix in some Safe Harbour transferware pieces...perfect fit with the nautical scenes and floral border.  I have extra pieces for sale in my Etsy shop.

I'm really pleased with how this bathroom turned out!  So, whatcha think?

I heard thunder a few minutes ago...and now it's raining here!  yaaay! 
 I've got my living room painted, my entryway finished, and my office painted  so look for those posts coming soon!