Saturday, November 28, 2009


Christmas Carnival and Bits O' Shine

The Shabby Chic Cottage

The Shabby Chic Cottage has lined up a fabulous full day of giveaways with so many beautiful things from so many fantastic shops - if you haven't visited you really should! Yes, my shop got in on the action but that's not the only reason why I think it's so great. :)

I've made sure to stock my shop with tons (tons!) of new shiny bits in time for an excellent selection for Christmas (haha after I wrote this I visited a friend and her family who shopped from me and bought lots of shinies so I'm not as well stocked as I was earlier).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Making the shopping rounds - attn: fellow Oregonians!

At the risk of being shunned - I don't do Black Friday.

*awaits the hail of thrown objects, gasps and exclamations*


Okay. Got that over with. :)

If you've read my blog for very long you know I make most everything I give. What I don't make, I buy from other artists via etsy or I buy semi-locally. I don't really live near to anywhere so what seems close by to me will not seem that way to others. :)

Let's take a tour of some of my favorites! I hit all these places on Monday and had fun snapping photos to share with you. If you live in the Portland-Metro or state capital area of Oregon you should give these places a try.

First stop: The Apple Butter Barn (6002 S. Hwy. 211 Woodburn, OR 97071). It is run by the sweetest woman you'd ever hope to meet. She paints and you'll find plenty of her work in her shop.

The red wood and black letter sign is small and easy to miss and the actual "barn" shop is in back of the house, harder to spot from the road, so keep your eyes peeled!

The inside is bigger than you'd expect with a couple of rooms off the main. The place is heated by a wood stove which she had gotten up and lit at 5 am the morning I was there.

Her Christmas goods weren't on display the day I stopped but she was getting ready to get them out. They should be out for anyone who stops by now.

See the little silver bowls at the top of this shelf? Do they look familiar? Like...this?

I loved this basket of vintage linens - it was next to a rack of handmade flannel lap quilts all priced around $10-$20. What a deal!

From there the direction was Salem-bound. Spencer's Alley (found at 2673 S. Commercial St. Salem) is an old mall-type building that has been transformed into a multi-vendor spectacular. Space is rented to what I imagine are hundreds of vendors and each nook and cranny will have whatever that vendor decided to fill their space with. Home decor, handmade goods, imported fun stuff, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

There's a table with coffee waiting just outside the inside entrance. What a welcome!

This is on the door on the way out - too true!

On the way back home, decided to make a stop at Bauman Farm which has been a favorite stop every fall since college but I hadn't been there when their Christmas goodies were out.

Bauman's is a Century Farm which has been in operation since the late 1800's and has been built up to quite an impressive place to visit. See some animals, taste some of the wonderful things from the bakery, pick up some produce, pick up some local made wines or even sauces made at the Mt. Angel Abbey (my favorite is the Heavenly Honey Monastery Mustard which you can also buy online here).
Sorry that's the only photo. Forgot to take any inside shots! I was distracted by the hot cider, my peppermint mocha and the smell of fresh-baked donuts. You understand. :)

Bauman's can be found at 12989 Howell Prairie Rd. NE Gervais, OR 97026.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A bazaar day

The last bazaar of the season and all through the elementary school gymnasium, not a creature was stirring, not even a...customer. But my table looked shabby chic fabulous! I started with a vintage linen tablecloth I inherited from a great aunt.

Displayed my earrings on an old shutter - it worked great!

I displayed necklaces on made-by-me stand-ups (cardboard cut to shape and covered in muslin). Also used a box I covered in old dictionary pages, a vintage mirrored tray and a few ecru colored doilies. You can still buy these goodies from my shop.

Some of my paper goods from my other shop.

Thankfully my friend Karen was selling truffles right next to me and with her, her darling 6 month old, her mom and her mother-in-law we kept each other entertained!

I did manage to get away from my table long enough to buy a cute crocheted hat with a flower and I got some beeswax and peppermint lip balm and some cut and burn salve from the Watkins man. Good stuff! And who knew it was so tiring just sitting and talking to people all day?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let's DO be silly

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious."
~Brendan Gill

It's Living Lovely time again at Mt. Hope Chronicles!

If you really want to know how silly I am, I could tell you about the dream I had the other night in which a stegosaurus needed a brain transplant and my hand with thumb up and index finger out and me making "pew!" noises could be used to shoot the bad guys (I will blame Real Men, the 1987 movie, for that one - now that is a silly movie if you're looking for one).

But lest I frighten anyone into calling a psychiatrist on me, I'll just share some animal silliness.

Queen Isabella is old (14) but that doesn't mean she can sit still. If it wasn't her nose in the camera it was her nose straight up as she tried to lick my face.

She is a great source of my silliness - she loves to play and run around and she doesn't care that she's "mature" - it's all still fun for her! I took this video of her last December:

I love how animals can be silly too and even induce us to join in.

If you haven't seen this one of the elk calf yet, I thought it was great. :)

Enjoy a little silliness this weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thinking outside the box for home accessories

Who says that just because an item is meant to be for one thing, that it can't be used for another?

This carafe and glass set I found at Goodwill for $3.99. A couple rounds through the dishwasher (yes, two. You can roll your eyes at me if you want.) and it went into my bathroom and now holds my mouthwash.

Before I put the original bottle in the recycling I filled the cap to the marked line, then poured it into the glass so I'd always know how much I needed.

I find myself much more apt to remember to use mouthwash when it's in something so pretty!

Yes my bathroom counter is bright yellow. It helps wake me up in the morning, haha.

This little footed sundae bowl, which I bought at a local shop for $1.00, now holds bath confetti.

I love the little detail on the base.

This florist planter I already had once held cut flowers and now holds my mass quantity of magazines I can't seem to get rid of yet. The container is huge and the color (more mottled green than it looks in the photo) and rustic look go great with my other decor.

So bring a little spice to the ordinary and see what you can make work for you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A trash receptacle made from trash? Whoa...

This project almost ended up a Craft Fail!

I tell you this went together SO easily in my mind. My friend Karen asked me to make her a little trash box out of an old, empty laundry box. Love the idea! It's nice and big AND it's all nicely scented for you AND it's free because you're reusing/recycling.

(I've been working on this project so long I took this photo at the last house I was house-sitting at!)
I guess you could leave it like that but what were those Gain people thinking? My retinas are scorching the longer I look at that box.

My idea was to cover it in this beautiful red paper and then do some black patterned things on it. Except the paper I chose turned out to be too thick and the edges would. not. stick. down. I tried multiple times with no success so in a bit of a temper I ripped all the paper off and then realized that what I had was a box that was completely covered in sticky, lumpy texture. I mentally slapped myself in the forehead. Now what? I was working in the kitchen so I started looking around desperately.

Hmm here's a stack of paper napkins. How about I decoupage those to the box and make it look like this whole texture thing was on purpose!

*evil genius laugh* No one will ever suspect this was totally on accident and completely out of desperation! I am soooooo clever. *snort*

*Hint: the more wrinkled and crinkled the better!

Now that my plan is on the right track I spray painted the whole thing black. Brown would be good, but I was out of that.

While waiting for the paint to dry, I layered some rectangles of paper to make a label for the front. (Yes, that is the Garfield ruler I've had since gradeschool. Like I'm going to get rid of a classic!)

This box is going on her washer in the laundry room so she has somewhere to put the dryer lint.

It's not just anyone who has a "black leather" lint garbage box!

It does kinda look like leather, don't you think?

I also painted a wooden candle cup to glue upside down to the top as a handle, but if you read my last post you know I'm going back and forth between two houses and there is a conga line of craft supplies strung along behind me and I'm not sure what house that part ended up in. It's not exactly necessary, but I think it might make it a little easier to open and it will add interest to the top.

Phew! Thank goodness I had a craft mentor who taught me that a problem or mess-up was just an opportunity to be creative!

Also linked to Trash to Treasure Tuesday over at Reinvented!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crafting on the

I'm doing another stint of house-sitting and yes, that photo above and the one below are where I am. Isn't this place gorgeous?

I'm watching over a handful of chickens...

and a Bichon Frise named Lacy

And a pair of skittish kitty cats. Notice how there is no photo. :)

Sadly I didn't take a single one of the above photos - they were taken by the homeowners. I never go anywhere without my camera but I can't figure out how to upload my photos onto their computer. Ack! I took all kinds of photos to share with you - like the old furniture in the room I'm staying in, it belonged to the homeowner's grandmother and it is just darling!

I can't even show you the projects I've completed. Luckily I'm about ten minutes from home so I can just run over there and upload them where the technology isn't sticking its figurative tongue out at me.

In the meantime go back and stare at those sunrise shots one more time, it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Savor slow food

Thursday already? Ahhh but I was totally on top of it this week; I had this week's Living Lovely challenge done by Tuesday. :)

We had one glorious full day of sunshine this week so I took the opportunity to pull the last of the carrots from the garden before they floated away in the deluge. They. were. huge. And sooooo sweet smelling. And why didn't I take a photo of them?!

One of my favorite things to make and eat is a big pan of roasted vegetables. Chicken usually goes into this - a whole chicken I mean - but I only had a few straggly pieces in the bottom of the freezer so that is what those pale things are in my pan.

I usually make it slightly different each time but in this scenario I used three things grown by me: carrots, yukon gold potatoes and elephant garlic. My other ingredients were an onion, the last of some celery stalks and the chicken breast pieces.

I sprayed my pan with non-stick spray, peeled and peeled and peeled and chopped and chopped and chopped vegetables while listening to a long list of music on my mp3 player and then sprinkled everything with lots of rosemary and some Herbes de Provence.

This particular brand mix consists of thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil, fennel, sage and lavender. Yes, it has rosemary but I added plenty more. I really like certain herbs.

Then I placed the chicken pieces on top (I put them in frozen since they were so small) and poured a can of chicken broth over the whole and baked at 350 degrees for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. I ended up turning the broiler on for about 15 minutes afterwards so my chicken didn't look so anemic. It also put a nice crisp on the top layer of potatoes.

My favorite thing this time ended up being the garlic. A big clove of roasted garlic is oh so good!

If my recipe is a little too free-thinking for you, I was inspired by this one, I just didn't have all the necessary ingredients.

Considering most of the ingredients were grown by me this was really slow food - and I enjoyed every minute of it.