Saturday, March 31, 2012

Albert, My English Bulldog

So I think it is about time I introduce you to my English Bulldog Albert...

This is how we find him most of the time

I love the bent paw, so cute.

What you lookin' at?!

We have had Albert since he was 8 weeks old, he is now 3.  He comes from a wonderful breeder located in Northwood NH called Glory B Farms.  The breeders Rick and Debbie are passionate about their bullys and breed all their pups to be the healthiest english bulldogs. 

I love this photo, his legs are wedged in between the cushions.  So cozy.

Another favorite (and yes, his nails were clipped shortly after this photo was taken!)

He's so handsome!
English Bulldogs are a very special breed that need owner's who are knowledgeable about the special needs of the breed.   We fell in love with the breed while watching an episode of Dog Town.  There is so much I could tell and share about this breed but this post would just go on and on.  Let me some it up with this, this breed/Albert is the most loyal little fella, he is clutsy, playful, loves affection, is super social, loves children and the elderly.  He is a pleaser.  He is also extremely stubborn in a very funny way, I truly believe he thinks he is human.

I leave you with super cute puppy pictures...

Wait, did we get a rabbit by mistake?


Or wait, did we get a lion cub?






Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Night To Myself

I am having so much fun tonight!  I'm basically a single woman for the entire evening.  <happy dance>
My 17 year old son is the only one here and of course Albert, who is always by my side.

My honey is in Boston for a business conference and my other 3 kiddos are otherwise engaged.  Soooo what is a girl to do?

Coming home to not only one but two packages certainly started my night off great!  More on that a little later.  I made my favorite meal of all time, pasta primavera. 

I know this is not a cooking blog but since this is my favorite meal I am going to share it.
Super easy and if you use whole grain pasta, which I did, it is a healthy indulgence.

Good olive oil, ripe grape tomatoes, mushrooms and my favorite herb basil.

Saute rough chopped veggies in olive oil and garlic, a little salt and pepper.  

Recently I discovered how delicious primavera is with artichokes.  Adds a nice yummy tang.
Once it's all done, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan.

Perfection!  My primavera with San Pellegrino sparkling water.  Here it is sitting on the end table next to my chaise.  Yup, I'm gonna eat this fab meal while watching some food network, HGTV and maybe a lifetime for women movie!  Doesn't take much to make this girl happy!

Here I am looking all lady like just before I dive in.

Here I am after finishing the ENTIRE bowl, not so lady like.

So moving onto one of the packages that arrived today.  Come take a look with me....

'It' came in a wonderful wooden box that was hand stamped

Oh what is this, I can't quite tell?

Betcha can't guess what it is?

It's my new absolutely beautiful bracelet made from a teacup! 
I found this beauty on Etsy at the Stay Gold Mary Rose shop which is located in the United Kingdom.

The Original Maker Of Teacup Bracelets By StayGoldMaryRose - Charming Vintage Bonechina Tea Cup Bracelets
Here are a few more from the shop.

Last but not least, cause' I gotta get off this computer so I can take advantage of this 'me' time!

My beautiful fragrant candle from The Enchanted Home Shop.  That came earlier this week!  It is hard to see but the glass has beautiful etching.  Shout out to Tina!!

                                                                      Linking up:
                                                               The DIY Dreamer

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

And The Award Gets Passed Onto...

If you missed my prior post when I received the Liebster Blog Award from the lovely Sharon over at La Vie en Rose, click here. 

As I mentioned in that post, Liebster is a German word and in the context of a blog award is meant to be translated as a word meaning 'favorite'.  I have not been able to find the awards' origin despite poking all around the internet.  I can tell you this, whoever came up with the idea clearly intended it as a wonderful gesture to recognize new bloggers and encourage them to continue sharing their passions via their blogs.

While the origins of the Liebster Blog Award are obscure, the rules associated with it are well explained and I have included them at the end of this post.

So far I have discovered 2 lovely new blogs that have made me smile and taught me a few valuable things about home decor.  I would like to pass the award onto each of them.

They are:
Rachel over at My Vintage Verve.  I have featured Rachel on my blog here and here.  Her blog focuses on her passion of refurbishing old furntiture. She does amazing work and has so much to share.  Please give her a visit and see for yourself how much you can become inspired and learn from her.

Framed vintage paint by number
Painting Rachel has for sale in her Etsy shop.

Mrs. Sutton over at The Hill House Diaries.  Mrs. Sutton is from Norfolk, UK.  Her blog is beautiful and focuses on creating a beautiful home on the countryside for her family.  She shares photos of her lovely home and takes us along her journeys bargain hunting. 

Mrs. Sutton's lovely home on the countryside
I believe both of these ladies have true passions that are expressed and shared in their blogs and I wish them all the luck!!

One last thing.....the Liebster Blog Award looks like this:

 And while I recognize someone took the time to design this, I do believe the intent is far more important.  Since I can't find the origin anywhere, I took the liberty of designing my own award to display on my blog because I think it fits in much better with my style.  I decided to 'borrow' a photo from the woman who awarded me, Sharon.  I thought it was appropriate and hope I have not offended anyone by altering the design for my blog.

Here is my rendition that now appears on my blog, in honor of Sharon.

    1. The award is intended for new bloggers with less than 200 followers.
    2. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
    3. Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
    4. Copy & paste the blog award on your blog.
    5. Reveal your 5 blog picks.
    6. Let them know you chose them by posting on their blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Welcome Rachel of My Vintage Verve

I would like to introduce you to Rachel.  She is a wonderful blogger friend I have been lucky enough to meet via blogging.  Her blog is My Vintage Verve.  Rachel has been blogging for as long as I have so we are both newbies navigating through all of this technology while trying to share our passions.  As you will see below, Rachel is incredibly talented at refurbishing old furniture.  She has a great eye for color and would make Annie Sloan proud.  Rachel is a very busy mom of three young boys and she is a teacher.  The fact that she even got a blog off the ground is incredible and I admire her drive!
Please visit Rachel and her blog.  You will notice the design of her blog is refreshing because it is not the typical template which I think is such a nice change.  Read on and see for yourself how wonderful her work is...
What is your day job?
You would think this would be a really easy question to answer, but for me, it’s complicated! First and foremost, I take care of three boys, all of which are elementary age. As most of you know, this is a full time job in itself. I am also a teacher. After my first son was born, I resigned from teaching and was home for about eight years. I went back to teaching a few years ago while my boys were still quite young, and it was pure torture on my entire family. It just wasn’t worth it. So, I resigned (yes again) and have been home for the past two years. Just this year I started subbing a few days a week. I needed an income to help support my newest adventure - My Vintage Verve.  Then I was asked to take a Kindergarten position until the end of the year for a teacher on maternity leave. 
So in between teaching and taking care of my family, I try to find time to paint. It is so much harder blogging now that I am working full time again. I am really trying to learn to accept that I can’t crank out one or two pieces a week anymore. Blogging has absolutely taken a back seat. But, it’s ok! I am really fortunate to have this opportunity to be back in the classroom. This experience will eventually help me make the difficult decision between teaching full time again and trying to take My Vintage Verve to a whole new level. Which one will it be? Even I don’t know that yet!
Why did you start blogging?
Honestly, it’s because I was comparing myself to a friend who is superwoman. I was at a Thirty-One party at her home. The consultant had us go around the room and introduce ourselves and tell everyone how we knew her. It was then, as I was listening to all these incredible stories about how she knew everyone and all of the great things they’ve accomplished together, that I wondered what in the world would anyone say about me? I’m not earning my Master’s degree. I’m not working part-time and running my husband’s company. I’m not training for a marathon or making a conscious effort to eat healthy. I’m just a mom.
Being just a mom wasn’t enough. I am unbelievably thankful that I am a mother and that I can be here for them. But, I had nothing to claim as my own; nothing for anyone to look back on and talk about my interests and talents. I felt I had that when I was teaching but since I was a homemaker again, I felt I had nothing to grab on to or identify with.
So, My Vintage Verve was in the making. I knew that I could do what I read about on other people’s blogs. At some point just last summer I bought a can of ASCP and have never looked back. That decision let me to Carter’s Cottage and to my very own blog. My husband is the one that encouraged me to start a blog. It’s a great way to connect with other people with the same interests as well as promote my business. I’m thrilled with how it is all falling into place!
What is the best thing that has come from blogging?
I have only been blogging for about 5 months. I am a complete novice. So far the best thing that has come out of this is that I have proven to myself that I can overcome my fear of the unknown. You’ll make mistakes and wonder if you should have done something differently, but in the end, it all works out. It’s also been incredible receiving email from people asking me advice about painting or restoring furniture. I still can’t wrap my head around that! I LOVE IT!
What’s playing on your IPOD?
I am technically deficient. Although I enjoy music, it’s way too much for me to work an IPOD. Really, I’m serious. I just listen to the radio or on occasion, listen to tunes on Pandora - daring, I know.  I am one of the few left on the earth that would still consider buying a CD.  I have not purchased a CD in a long time, but, if I went to Target to buy one, it would be Adele or Gotye. I love the song Somebody That I Used to Know. Funky and fun all rolled into one. Gotta love it.

Who would you like to meet?
I should know the answer to this, but, sadly I don’t. I am one of those people that don’t have a lot of favorites (besides food). It’s hard for me to name favorite people, places, books, movies, etc. I like a lot of different things.
If someone made me choose, I think I would have to go with children’s author Brian Selznick. He wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It’s the book the movie “Hugo” was based on. I think the book is much better than the movie! His work not only captivated me but many of my students as well. They went from hating books to begging me and their parents to read more! I wonder if he has any idea how his stories impacted the lives of so many kids. What an incredible feat!
Best Childhood Memory?
My Great Grandparents owned several acres and had a Christmas tree farm. Every Christmas my brothers and I would “help” their customers. We would hand patient customers saws and burlap sacks, tell them what direction the Fraser Firs were, or help collect the money. Our family would always cut our own tree down too. It took me a long time to figure out why we always came home with a “Charlie Brown” tree. My parents would never cut down a good tree for free if my Great Grandparents could make a profit on it. We loved the ones that no one else would.
 Every year at Christmas when I try to persuade my family to love the tree I picked out, my husband reminds me that I still have a special place in my heart for the Charlie Brown trees. Even though we don’t bring my favorite home, those trees fill me with sweet memories.

How do you spend your days off?
I play with my boys. We love going to the movies and having movie nights at home. We play a lot of board games together. Now that the weather is getting nicer, baseball practice is right around the corner. I’ll be at the field watching games at least three days a week. I also love to shop for my next furniture makeover and cool vintage pieces.

If you could choose a place to visit for 3 weeks, where would it be?
I would go to Germany. My mother’s family is from Germany. Her parents came to the United States when they were in their 20’s. My mom learned to speak English when she was thrown into an English speaking Kindergarten classroom. I would love to go visit the small town in which a lot of her relatives still reside. I’d absolutely have to visit a castle or two as well. I tried to learn how to speak German when I was in High School but failed miserably. Mom will have to come with me for my 3 week dream vacation.  How else will I know how to order a beer and schnitzel?

If you could give advice to a new blogger, what would it be?
I am the one that should be asking for advice. I have learned that it’s ok to enjoy the learning process and to make mistakes along the way. There is nothing you can’t fix or do again. I have learned so much about this business, and most importantly, about myself. You usually hear someone say something along those lines and think “Yeah, I’ve heard it before”. But, in all honestly, it’s true. You will learn so much about yourself that sometimes it makes me wonder what else is there about myself I don’t know yet? That’s incredibly exciting and scary at the same time.

I would like to thank Rachel for sharing herself with my readers!  I actually learned that we have a lot more in common than I knew! 
Please show Rachel some love by visiting her blog and leaving her comments on your favorite pieces!  You will make her day!  Find her blog here... My Vintage Verve.

My Vintage Verve
Adorable Rachel

Monday, March 26, 2012

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail...

....hopping down the bunny trail.

Who doesn't love a 'chubby bunny banner' ?  Say that 3 times fast.

So now you know why I whined in a previous post about desperately needing Alice from the Brady Bunch.
As you will see from this post, my priorities are a bit out of whack.  I clearly should have been doing laundry instead of craft-o-the-month.  Let's let that be our little secret, K?

I must admit I have never made a banner of any type in my life.  However, once a person like me gets sucked into this craft world, I find myself day dreaming about very important things like banners, wreaths, board and batten, diy chandeliers, coffee filters, you name it.  I've already crossed the line and there is no turning back.

Here is my first and probably last banner.

Don't get me wrong, I loved making it (more than I should admit).  I just had to get it out of my system and I think I'm all set now. 

So for anyone out there who likes banners, bunnies, pom poms and on, this is your lucky day for that very combination.

Here is what I did.
I googled a chubby bunny sillouette.  I printed it out and cut it out.

Ignore the individual sections, I just used the complete bunny sillouette

Once I had my cute chubby bunny, I thought I would get some sheet music (we have loads in our house!), tea stain it and then use that for the actual bunny.  Alas my creative little mind took over and I thought it would be more appropriate to use images from the tale of Peter Rabbit so I went back out into never never land using google and got 6 images from the tale.  I copied each one onto a seperate word doc and then enlarged the images to the size I thought would be appropriate for the size of my chubby bunny.

Once they were all printed I went onto the next step (this is a very labor intensive craft--wink wink).

I digress for a moment (skip ahead if you need to crank out a chubby bunny banner pronto).  For those of you who know me....I managed to jam the printer yet again.  Remember the last time I mentioned the jaws of life were necessary for my vellum paper fiasco?  My big hero man ended up needing to literally take the printer apart with tools (not as rugged as the jaws of life but tools nonethless).  Needless to say I am on a 60 day probabation with the printer and if I mess up,  I will lose my printing privalages but I like to live on the edge so I forged forward with my chubby bunny printing.

So here we at the next step....just use your template chubby bunny and cut out your bunnies from whatever you are using for your final bunny. 

Once you've cut out all the chubby bunnies you want, you will need to soak them is tea.  I used a pie plate and filled it with hot water (I find they absorb the color better with hot tea as opposed to cold).  I used 4 tea bags and soaked for 2 hours.  Add more if you want them darker.  I put 4 bunnies in at a time and made sure none of them were sticking together. 

OMG!  He is so cute.

I dried them out on a cookie rack.

Once they were all dry, I added some pompoms I had on hand from a lampshade I took apart.  Now they have cute little chubby tails to match their cute little chubby bodies. 

I just taped the back of them to twine and that was it.  Super Duper easy!

I think the little fellas came out pretty darn cute!
If you like what you see, please follow my blog (in right side bar).

                                                                        Linking up to:
                                                            My Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia

                                                                      Vintage Wanna Bee

                                                                       No Minimalist Here

                                                                            Dear Lillie

                                                                           Brassy Apple