Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tea For Two

In a few weeks, I'm having some friends over for a tea party-- so I decided to do a little trial run on a smaller scale. I invited my dear bloggy buddy, Lisa over for tea and an afternoon of stitchin'. (We both love to embroider, and met through Stitchalong.)

I had so much fun preparing for this little tea get-together! I finally had the opportunity to set the table with some of my vintage Spode china and my candlewick creamer & sugar. I must admit, I felt like a little girl playing tea party. I even told Lisa that I felt like Anne of Green Gables preparing to have tea with her kindred spirit friend, Diana! (Those of you who have read the book, remember how excited Anne was?!) I experimented with a fun variety of finger sandwich combinations, and Lisa baked those wonderfully yummy apple spice scones. There were warm crumpets, and various sweets too. (Well, yeah-- of course! Gotta' have some sweets!)
It was fun to "fancy up" the table, but so fun to feel casual and unfussy at the same time. Lisa taught me how to make a "proper pot of tea", and it was wonderful!! (Thanks so much, Lisa!)
Oh, how I wish that I could have all my bloggy friends over for tea... wouldn't that be fun?!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Everyday Holds a Miracle

My friend Kelee, from the inspiring blog, The Katillac Shack is hosting a Magnificent Miracle Party this weekend. Kelee has collaborated with Guidepost to do a room makeover for a wonderful woman named Colette. Colette is fighting breast cancer, and has been in need of a peaceful, healing space to uplift her during her healing process.

Kelee (and her design angels) have created a beautiful, healing, peaceful bedroom for her. Please visit Kelee's blog to learn more about Colette and view the inspiring reveal video. For each comment left there, $1 will be donated for the next makeover for someone in need.


PS: The angel in the photo above floats above my bed under a glittery white paper moon...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

So what do you do for your dog when it's 106 degrees outside? You make him a GIANT ice cube! A little while back I purchased this nifty "Kool Dogz" ice treat maker from Fetchdog.com. Haggie loves it! He just kept licking, and licking, and licking...
...and licking, and licking!! The "bowl" is made so that it stakes into the ground, so you avoid that slippity-slidey-dirty-grassy-slide-around-the-lawn-mess. Plus, the bowl catches the melted part, giving him ice cold drinking water. I love that it's also designed so that you can freeze treats and toys in the ice!

Here, Haggie's come up for air... don'tcha just love that big black gum drop nose?! He really enjoyed this fun treat.
Now, how about a summer treat for me?
Mmmmm... a fresh, heirloom tomato salad! This is my favorite summer salad. No big recipe, just slice up your favorite heirloom tomatoes (I used Green Zebra and Purple Russian that I grew, and one red unknown heirloom from the store). Then add sliced red onion, chopped basil, and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and some olive oil on top. Maybe sprinkle some fresh ground pepper and salt, and yummmmm! It's an easy, great salad!
I hope you are all staying cool, and enjoying the good things that summer brings!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fabulous Mystery Gift Revealed

Okay, those of you who follow my little world were probably wondering what the heck happened with that Fabulous Mystery Gift that I started back in the beginning of June. Yes. June. Well, it's kind of a crazy story. I had a bit of crafty drama. Simply put: grandiose idea, limited skills.

However, I did finish. Then I wrapped it. Then I sent it. Sooooo.... what was this fabulous mystery gift that I sent to Laurie at the fabulous blog, Magpie Ethel??
This! I started out creating an embroidered dish towel in my favorite color combo. That went smoothly. Then I embellished it with rickrack and pompom trim. That went smoothly. Well, then I decided that this towel just wasn't enough, so I decided to make the little house shown above in the left corner. This little house was going to be a pincushion. Yes, the roof was going to be a brilliant pincushion. It was going to be the pincushion of all pincushions, so cute that you would see it, gasp, and say, "Ohmygosh, that is the cutest pincushion I've ever seen. Jill is amazing." Well, you might not say the "Jill is amazing" part, but you get my drift.
Anyway, the brilliant project did not go as planned. Plan A did not work. Neither did Plan B. What you see is Plan E. I'm not joking here, friends. (I counted the attempts when I was cleaning up the debris.) After many attempts, resorting to the use of duct tape-- and yes, some bloodshed (darn those new scissors!)-- this is the result. It's not a pincushion, but it's cute. It's a .... doo-dad, knick-knacky thing. Yep, that's what it is.
Poor Laurie-- she waited so patiently as I worked on this project-- and then walked away from this project-- then worked on this project. She endured sneak peak teasing, and even lame excuses. Thankfully, Laurie is a sweetie... click on over and check out her post.
Thanks so much for being the sweetie you are, Laurie. Next giveaway, I really should have the prize ready prior to the drawing, with photo to prove it's existence.
However, it wouldn't be a Fabulous Mystery Gift-- and I love surprises.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Lovely Day In The City By The Bay

Recently, Lisa (of A Cuppa Tea With Me) and I went to San Francisco for the Renegade Craft Fair! Give me any excuse to go to The City, and I'm so there! I love, love, love San Francisco.

This craft fair was held at Fort Mason down near the Presidio/Marina District. It was HUGE!!! Now, let me explain-- this wasn't "your granny's craft fair." It was very artsy and edgy. Not all of it was "my thing" but it was fun to see such diverse arts and crafts-- and meet people that are passionate about their art.

There was lots to see-- and lots to do, also. There was a hands-on crafting area where you could sit down and "get your craft on"! We made these mini buntings, and picked up some fun "freebies."

I have to admit, there wasn't a lot that I saw that I "just had to have", but I did find this beautiful pressed clay bird. It's by artist Sara Paloma-- this postcard really shows what most of her work looks like. It's really stunningly beautiful.

The craft fair was really fun, but I think I was even more excited to move along to our next stop. Okay, are you ready to see the next stop that day?? ((Squeeeel!!))

The Crown & Crumpet!!! I've wanted to go to this tea salon for quite a while, so when Lisa suggested it I was thrilled! It's located in Ghirardelli Square-- easy to find, and there's underground parking. (Expensive, but it was worth it, after walking around the craft fair all day!)
There was so much to look at! I had seen it in magazines and on various blogs, but it's even more fun to see through your own eyes. We were really lucky to be able to make last minute reservations, but I do suggest to make your reservations ahead of time.

Lovely, lovely, lovely... everything was so lovely-- from the silver to the custom teacups. I wish that I would have taken a picture of the center of the saucer under the teacup. Each saucer had a different quote or saying-- so cute!

We ordered the "Tea for Two"-- I'll try to refrain from singing the song. (It always reminds me of Jessica Lange's performance in "Grey Gardens".)

Everything was so wonderful... so charming!

Lisa and I loved all the tea sandwiches-- the chicken pesto was one of my favorites.

This tier held wonderful warm scones and crumpets, all of which we slathered with clotted cream, jam or lemon curd... yum! The scones were such melt-in-your-mouth yummy goodness!

Oh, and there wasn't a crumb left on this tier when we were done! The shortbread was my favorite, with the little blueberry tart coming in second. Okay, the chocolate truffles were yummy too. Okay, everything was delish!

The "Tea for Two" included two large pots of tea. We chose "Marie Antoinette" (that choice was a no-brainer!) and the "After Seven Fifty-Nine". I enjoyed both of them, but I loved the Marie Antoinette tea the most.
Don't you love the pink and white checkerboard floor? I loved the fabrics, colors and charm of the whole place. It felt very Cath Kidston.

There was a little girl's birthday tea party going on while we there. Those girls were so adorable, all dressed up in their sweet party dresses. (Hey Lisa-- let's wear party dresses next time! Giggle!) Oh- can you see The sofa? (You can barely see it in this photo.) When I saw The sofa, I felt like I had arrived. That adorable sofa is in every photo feature that I've ever seen of this place!
Photo by Lisa Leggett
Just a few random photos...
The Sofa! Umm, there was someone sitting on it and I didn't want to be an obnoxious blogger person-- so this is the only significant shot I got of it. I touched it though. Kind of like my friend touched Elvis' bed in Graceland-- but I didn't get reprimanded.

This cabinet was full of all kinds of fun creations...

I thought my miniaturist friends would enjoy this. It's so "Castle in the Air" (a store in Berkley).

I loved these little felt creations. You've got to check out the felt Marie Antoinette that Lisa photographed.
More for my "mini friends"...

... and some more...

The gift shop was so fun. I felt like a kid in a candy store!

Photo by Lisa Leggett

Photo by Lisa Leggett
Isn't this dress form adorable?!

Okay, with so much to choose from, what do you think I ended up bringing home with me?

This is what I brought home! I loved this little tea cup/snack tray set, and I had to bring home some of that wonderful Marie Antoinette tea. I fell in love with the light switch plate, the cupcake lip gloss, and the gnome necklace also! Too much fun!!

This is a close-up of the quote on the snack tray. Very sweet!

After we finished tea, we did some shopping and went down to the beach. The weather was wonderful-- I didn't even need a sweater. That's a fairly unusual thing in San Francisco!

It was so nice to kick back and relax at the end of the day. We gabbed and people-watched as we watched the sun edge down behind the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a wonderful day, well-spent with a wonderful friend! I'm so grateful that blogging has opened up the opportunity to discover special friends of like mind. Lisa, you are a kindred spirit! Anytime you want to go to The City, I am so there!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Little Bits of Goodness

My much anticipated miniature order from Susanna at the incredibly inspiring blog, Elamaa Koossa 1:12 has arrived from Finland!! Susanna's blog was the very first mini blog that I discovered. (She participated in Amy Powers' "Club Little House"-- my first experience with mini's.) Her blog really opened my imagination to the world of miniatures, and was my springboard for discovering other mini bloggers. See what you started, Susanna?!

Susanna is an incredibly talented miniaturist-- she has created everything you can imagine, from sculpted polymer clay soaps and realistic food to intricate plants and trees. She has an Etsy store, appropriately named Little Bits of Goodness. Please stop by and visit her fun blog and store to see her fabulous creations. Be prepared to be inspired!

I have long wanted to own one of her wonderful creations but oh, the decisions! (So much great stuff!) So one day, she posted about something that I knew I had to have. Decision easily made, right then, right there.

Okay, do you want to see what I ordered? I bet you do!

((Squeeeel!!)) Okay, doesn't this beautiful butterfly jar and net just take your breath away?! When she first posted it, I became totally obsessed. Must. Have. This. Magical. Pure magic. How does she get those butterflies to "float"?!! it's like she took a full size, real butterfly jar and sprinkled pixie dust... and poof! They're teensy tiny! I'm so in love with this, I don't even have words... And then, as if I wasn't in heaven already, there was more in the envelope....

All this!! ((Squeeeeel!!)) Really, I squeeled everytime I opened each item!!! It's like, Susanna had read the mini wishes in my mind!
Have I ever told you how much I love handwritten notes from my bloggy friends? I do. I really, really do. Those notes help me believe that my bloggy friends are real people, real friends. Those notes warm my heart. Susanna was so thoughtful to think of Meg. (She goes by Maggie also! Really, she does!)
Is this fountain not incredible??!! It looks like real water is trickling through it! Oh! And the bowl of brocolli-- the detail is so incredible. I have such a great respect for miniaturists that can work that polymer clay into such amazingly tiny detail. Meg will love that brocolli-- it will help her keep her "girlish figure". (Susanna must have noticed that Meg has nothing but sweets in her kitchen!) Oh! Do you see those little houses? They are so tiny! So cute!
((Squeeeel!)) Books! Beautiful books! Current, chic, relevant-to-today books!! The sewing books will be so wonderful for Meg's studio. (Yes, she has a studio-- still under construction!) The cookbooks-- LOVE them! The open book is one by Gordon Ramsey (so cool!), and the smaller one is by Alice Waters.
I love Alice Waters. I love everything she stands for-- fresh, clean, organic food-- and of course, bringing gardening and nutrition to children in inner-city schools. Google her. She's amazing. I had no idea that people in Finland know of her. (Duh!) I've always wanted to go to her restaurant in Berkley. I drove past Berkley last weekend, but it wasn't on the itinerary that day. (More on that weekend, next post!) Okay, and do you see that other book?
Small House Designs-- is that just so perfect for a coffee table in a miniature house?!! Sooo cool! Love. It.
((Squeeeel!!)) (See? There I go again...) Miniature Lush soaps!! Aren't they amazing?! I love how she totally nailed the design and textures. Love, love, love them! They look so real, I can practically smell the fragrances. Have you ever walked by a Lush store? The fragrances are so yummy! Meg is a happy girl-- and so am I!

Susanna, I can not even begin to express how grateful I am for your generosity and kindness. I absolutely love everything you so kindly sent to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you... my mini wishes have come true!