Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Cabin in the Woods

Merry Merry Christmas!!! I am hoping each of you enjoyed a warm and lovely and peaceful Christmas.

Our joyous holiday was spent at a cottage in Cumberland Falls State Park for what we have referred to as "The Christmas Cabin in the Woods". Oh, it was lovely ~~ kind of idyllic, like camping, except with heat and electric, running water and a kitchen. And a fireplace.

We had such a nice time -- my son, daughter-in-law, grandson, boyfriend and me. The weather could not have been nicer. It was a little cloudy, but warm enough. We enjoyed a lovely outdoor lunch on the deck of our cabin...

This was such a nice relaxing way to spend Christmas together ~ we went hiking -- or rather, the way we do it it might more accurately be called "tramping" through the woods.

My daughter-in-law, practically perfect in every way, is a pastry chef and a dazzling cook. I'm a fair cook myself. We much appreciated having the kitchen. Of course we brought way more food than we could ever consume... just in case. (Adrian has been trained from the cradle to help and he's very artful at it.)

And because we are the sort of people we are, there was crafting. The plan was to craft ornaments for the tree, but the only good craft project was designed and brought by my boyfriend, Gordon. And it was so simple -- play-doh rolled out and cut with cookie cutters. We blended colors, embedded gems and stamped the clay with pine branches for texture.

With all that cooking and eating and hiking and crafting, we just about wore ourselves out. Baby Kai looked after things while we napped. (He looks like he is telling a bedtime story... and maybe he is.)

But I think it is just a clever ploy to get the grown-ups to fall asleep so he can peek into all those presents.
Merry Christmas Everyone.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Will Work for China

Does everyone know I have a china fetish? Not of the very large, faraway Peoples Republic of, with billions of bicycling citizens and pandas that romp in the wild. Not that China. But rather china. Dishes, porcelain, ceramic, pottery, crockery, if you will. Have I mentioned it here before? If I haven't, well, there it is -- I'm now outta the closet. "My name is Jenny and I am a china addict."

I didn't even know I had china leanings till I was on my fourth... or fifth set. This is because they are not full sets. I've been a dabbler, a social addict. A few plates here, a service for four there, add on a serving piece or two. If you are a china addict then you know how it is -- you see a few pieces, half a set... Or an event crops up that warrants all new plates. It happens.

And as it happens, I like to mix and blend pieces -- all of mine have a pink, green, blue, yellow "theme". In fact I have Fiestaware in each of those colors. I have a set from Pier One Imports that are white with with pink, green, yellow and blue stripes around the rim. A set of Pfalzgraf I once stalked and snatched up on sale have pink and green and yellow and blue featured in fruit and flowers. Chintzware, bless it, goes with everything. So when I put all these pieces on my table, a few plates here, a few serving pieces there, they absolutely are fitting with one another.

But every china addict has their "Holy Grail" -- a certain pattern... Staffordshire's Welcome Home or Pfalzgraf's Grandma's Kitchen... the pattern that one desires above all others. For me that pattern is Franciscanware. The old stuff. the real stuff.

And yesterday... a client bartered my service of cleaning and organizing for the thing I want more than... a new car, diamond earrings, a bigger table saw or grass mowing for a year.

The thing I want, the pattern I most covet, is Franciscanware ~ Desert Rose:

Need I say more?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dying to Play

If you've been reading along a bit then you know I am finally rehabbing-updating-decorating the living room/dining room portion of my abode. Rather than continuing with the disheveled hovel look, I am reaching for something more ... cleaned up.

So now that I have ripped out the radiator (not me personally, but I cheered heartily), replaced the carpet (again more cheering), painted (me) and upholstered (me too), I am moving on to the drapery aspect of the new decor...

This was a hard step for me ... because I am funny about fabrics. By "funny" what I mean is I LOVE them. ALL. My heart races, my breath comes in short bursts. I could grab any fabric, sew it up, stretch it on the window... and even if it is the "wrong" fabric for the room, what I would see is a beautiful fabric for which the room is wrong -- don't change the drapes, change the room. WAIT.

This time I decided to go slow, hold my breath, put blinders on if need be, but choose drapery fabric very carefully, very cautiously. Whew -- it was hard... it's a mine field out there. There are florals and checks and stripes and toiles and sheers and wools and, oh my, a girl could get dizzy.

But here is how it worked out:

Yards and yards and yards of tone on tone white floral jaquard. Now, white will work... but it won't be what I want. With three windows, 6 feet tall, in a small room, the draperies will loom large. And what I want is for the draperies to be a feature... but not too much, I sure don't want the drapes to be the biggest freakin' thing in the room. I want them to blend in with the walls... I want to dye.

I LOVE to play with dye. Can you tell? Have you ever dyed anything? Do you mix and blend dye colors? A little wine with a little tangerine and brown and you get burgandy. A bit of orange and a smidge of fuschia and you get peachy-shrimpy-melon. Hip-hip-hooray for dye. I even dyed the fabric for the dress I wore to my son's wedding. Any excuse to play with dye. Any excuse at all.

And here it is -- from yards and yards of white to yards and yards of medium green:

Doesn't it look like the paint is leaking off the walls and flowing onto the sofa. That is it -- my singular skill -- I can match any color, be it in paint, dye or clay. And now, the only task left here is to get the fabric up from lounging all over the sofa and make it stand straight and tall at the windows.... I'll get back to you on that.