decorating with dodi

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Monday, October 27, 2014

"How Much Did They Pay You?"...

..."to take that off their hands?" I think I have mentioned before that is is a common reply of my husband's when I come home dragging something that has been "very loved" in a previous life. Somehow, I am totally drawn to "rustic" and "weathered". The old red cupboard and mantle in my family room are just two of the many things I have fallen in love with and brought home over the years. Some of my favorites are no longer with us - like the real goat cart that I truly loved so much. I bought it at an auction and started out using it in the house with all sorts of seasonal displays. But, that thing was BIG and I eventually moved it outside where the Florida weather finally got the best of it.

In any case, it was no surprise to me when I was looking at my autumn Pinterest page and saw the beginnings of a pattern:

Tables with old weathered wood running down the center were everywhere. I love that look. I was kind of hoping that I could find just such a perfect piece of wood hanging around my house or garage but no such luck. I could probably buy a piece somewhere but before I even got that far, I opened an email from Williams Sonoma and found  the wooden piece I showed you a blog or so ago. I think they call it a trivet?? Or maybe a cutting board?? In any case, I had seen it on my last trip to Tampa and have regretted not getting it several times since then. So, when they are not only offering it to me on sale but with free shipping - and this things weighs a ton so that was a good deal - how could I say no?

The little card on this tells me that this is from a vintage collection of wood products salvaged from old buildings throughout Europe. It certainly looks like it could be and I don't think Williams Sonoma would lie. I can just see it on the floor of an old church or market somewhere down a lovely cobblestone street. It is cracked and pitted and it COULD NOT be more beautiful in my eyes!

This is how I am currently using it because, quite frankly, I don't have time right now to do anything else but I can not wait for my Thanksgiving decorations to come out - the possibilities are endless!

And who can forget this beauty and all of its variations? I made a rather long one several years ago and have some smaller wooden boxes from many, many years past. Still love them and still use them all! I made the long wooden box out of old wood from a pergola we were ripping down. There is just something about that stuff that speaks to me. I think it is just the warm tones that feel so cozy and homey - and, the older I get, the more of a cozy homebody I am becoming!

I am still in the midst of party preparations. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Just a Bit More

Even though yesterday was a picture perfect autumn day around here, I spent a lot of it inside and can now say - except for one last try-on and some hemming and adjusting - this year's Halloween costumes are all ready to go! Yeah. And, even though mine and hubby's may not be our best ever, I am happy with how they turned out and they are definitely "kid friendly".

I did find that I could not spend my entire day without being in that beautiful weather a bit, so I would give myself breaks in the garden. I used my time outside to put out a few last minute decorations. Since all of our party games are usually outdoors - and, we will probably end up sitting outside a lot - I like the backyard to be festive as well. I don't have tons of outdoor decor but what I do have helps lend to the festivities.

Welcome to the garden! Wish I had time to pressure clean the deck, but that isn't going to happen this very busy week, so I will just have to pretend that it is part of the "spooky" factor!

Haven't been able to be out in the garden much since my eye surgery so you can imagine my surprise when I happened upon this beauty! I love it when this happens. This is a large and blooming "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" surrounded by lots of smaller off shoots as well. I planted ONE of these plants on the other side of the walkway and suddenly "babies" are appearing everywhere! This particular large one is coming up around my very old and probably dying gardenia so it serves a purpose very well right now until I decide if I am going to dig out the gardenia's very deep roots and replant another or just let this beauty take over - we shall see. I love my gardenias in spring but I put down a lot more plants this past year so I think I will have more than my cutting quota.

I have a very busy week coming up..lots of appointments as well as a few fun get-togethers before our big weekend. Can't wait to share. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finishing Touches

I am still sewing Halloween costumes...well, to be exact, costume only so far. If you remember a few months ago, I posted a blog about just "how smart and clever" I was to grab what would surely be this year's "hot" costume pattern. It was sold out everywhere and the asking prices on Amazon were even more ridiculous than the asking prices of any pattern these days. But, if you are patient, either JoAnns or HL will put their patterns on sale. That is what happened this summer and I ran straight out to JoAnns to see if they had the one I wanted. where to be found. But, I have been doing this so long that I know to always double check so, I got a number and waited in a very long line.

When it was finally my turn, I had a very nice young lady wait on me and when I told her my plight she told me they may have just gotten one in on a truck that just unloaded. Loonnnggg story short, I got it! Yeah smart and clever me!! I would be ready for Halloween this year - way ahead of my usual schedule even.

Fast forward to the start of sewing this year. This costume would just not look right without two of my LEAST favorite fabrics to sew on - sequined stretch and filmy glitter! I have been making many costumes for many years. In fact, I have probably made about every Halloween costume made by McCalls and Simplicity. Some of them were doozies...but, I made it through. This one did not look like it would be that difficult - even with my eye surgery obstacle.

Was I ever wrong! I should have known when I found mistakes in the cutting instructions, failure to even mention the lining material (thank goodness I am as old as dirt and knew this bodice would have to be lined, so I bought fabric in advance) and an incomplete list of notions. When I got the bodice done, I thought it looked a little big but this child measured right in the middle of all of the 5-6 measurements so after making sure that is the size I cut, I continued on with the lining. Then, I made the skirt...and, when I went to attach the skirt to the bodice, there was a difference of at least 4". That is when I ran over and tried it on her and found the top was huge! In fact, even the 3-4 looked a little big. There was no taking the sequined piece apart, so another trip to JoAnns was necessary where I had to dig in the "re-shelf" bin to find what I needed and wait in an interminably long line.

Now that I know there is a problem, I am taking it slowly. When I held pattern pieces of the same size up to each other, they were off as well as none of the notches matching up. It will be a miracle if this thing even goes together Because of the construction of the costume, there will really be no way to tell if it will all come together until the last pieces go on. Fingers crossed. If not, I am praying the Halloween stores that have popped up everywhere still have one.

This is the first time in all my years of sewing that this has happened to me with a pattern being sooo wrong. So much for this being a simple project.

But, after looking at this little dancer, who wouldn't want to make her dreams come true. Yesterday was observation and it is always so fun. She is the youngest and smallest in her class. She has taken tap and ballet in the past, so this is also her first try at jazz...I think she did incredibly well! And, it was a much welcome reprieve from the sewing machine.

Thought I would also share a little project that I fit in today during breaks from the sewing debacle. I saw this vase on Pinterest a year or so ago and was going to have the kids make them when they were here for our craft weekend. Unfortunately, everyone else must have seen it too because everywhere I checked was out of the spray chalkboard paint. So, I shelved the idea for another holiday or next Halloween. I was just zipping through WalMart the other day when I looked up and saw a large display of the paint. By chance, I went on to their craft section just to see if they might have the chalk marker and, voila, I won again. And so, I decided to give it a try for myself. I didn't buy the generic WalMart brand "mason" jars because I happened to have a few old jars hanging around but if and when I do decide to make these as gifts, I will because apparently the generics don't have embossed lettering as the "real" jars do.

Such a simple project...the hardest part is just waiting for the light layers of paint to dry before you could add another. I taped off the top of the jar, painted, drew on the face, put the rim of the lid back on and tied it up with some twine. I am going to get some orange, bush roses the next time I run by the grocery store but for now these flowers from the garden will have to do. I think it is cute and can really see this working for any holiday depending on the sentiment you write on the front. Just embellish appropriately and you are good to go...and, if you don't want to use flowers, it could easily be a pencil holder.  

See that beautiful hunk of wood the vase is sitting on....more to that story next post. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 20, 2014

"She's Back"

This will be my view for the next few days as I tackle the rest of the Halloween costume sewing. Even after I set a place in my office as a permanent home for my sewing machine, I realized that I miss the view of the yard and all of the creatures that come to visit all day long so I decided to temporarily move it back to the dining room table. I open the windows, put on some music, plug in all of the Halloween lighting and light the candles. All of that along with a nice cup of pumpkin spice coffee and I am in heaven! I somehow want to freeze these moments in time yet I know that as each day passes, we are getting closer and closer to our big party and I really do need to sit down and get some lists made. Oh well, it won't be far from this spot to my new, favorite sitting spot and I can get working on that too. Although, I will say, being a family of "traditionalists", I am not expecting much of a change from previous years. I sent out an email asking about what new things anyone would like to see us do and what old things could go by the wayside and I have received NO responses. When I asked the same question in person this weekend to my daughter and 2 of the grands, I received a wide eyed stare like they thought Nana may be losing it - change a tradition? Whaaaaatttt? And so, the need to get the lists made just doesn't seem as pressing to me as taking time to "smell the pumpkins". In fact, I can probably just find the list from last year, or the year before that get the idea! Gotta love tradition - for oh so many reasons!! Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Perfect Autumn Weekend!

We had our second wonderful family filled weekend in preparation for our Halloween extravaganza!

We started at Hudson and Presley's soccer game. They took turns as goalies and they both play hard! It is fun to watch!

I love how the YMCA encourages good sportsmanship and positive motivation to all of the kids. It is so much more fun to me than the programs that are so competitive and make kids feel bad about themselves when everything doesn't turn out is just a game after all!

Next, we were off to daughter #2s and then on to the pumpkin patch and Scarecrow Row in Alachua.

This is a tradition we started when Hannah was just a baby. Can't believe she is a freshman in college already... where does the time go?

I love this little town. It is always so seasonal and, of course with this being my favorite season, I love everything about it. The local businesses create scarecrows using the year's theme and somehow tying into their business. We always take pictures with a few of our favorites but we ALWAYS must check them all out!

Next, we were on to High Springs and dinner at "the Great Outdoors". Sorry, I was barred from taking pictures (not by the restaurant, by my family lol), but we had a fabulous meal and then headed home to watch the Gator game...perhaps we should have stayed at the patch a bit longer. Tough game - really hard to watch, but as I said earlier in this post, it IS only a game.

We headed home this afternoon and are now enjoying more of this simply perfect autumn weather before starting a new week.Lots more to go to be ready for the extravaganza. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Loose Ends

I just realized that I didn't entirely finish our house tour so I thought I would tie up the loose ends before I pull out the machine and start sewing on this years costumes. I think I only have three to make. Don't know if this is because everyone is taking pity on me because of the eye surgery - which might actually be a good move because at this juncture, I'm not even sure I will be able to see the hole in the needle to thread it - heck, I'm not even sure I will be able to see the needle, but, I digress - or if they just want to do their own thing as they get older and don't need princess gowns or complicated costumes any more. Since I have made as many as 9 costumes a year in the past, this year should seem like a walk in the park...we shall see.

Let's start with the bathroom - just a few changes from last year.


I love this little dish I found at Michaels. I guess it is that letter and number graphic that always seems to attract me.

Then I found this pretty pumpkin soap at T.J. Maxx. I almost didn't want to cover the dish but I settled on putting it in on an angle.

Sunroom is simple once again because this is the room where we pretty much do everything when the kids are here and I want easy access to what we use. They love to eat and craft in this room as they always have lots of visits from birds and squirrels...and even the occasional raccoon!

Once again I was happy to go with just the black candle holders and candles - with a glittered skull balanced on one of them.

My favorite coffee drinking-magazine perusing spot!

Say hello to my new little friend. Somewhere I got the brilliant idea to make these bottles as another gift this if my last idea wasn't failure enough! I ran right out and bought the bottles and a few more supplies and thought I had it all figured out - until I started making my first one. Thank goodness I always start with one to tweak my ideas before I "ruin" all of the supplies. My plan had been to use the mirror paint like I did back in July on the Mason jars...and, quite honestly, which had been so simple and fast and easy!. I am guessing that because this bottle has such a small opening, not enough air can get inside to dry the paint quickly enough. In any case, this was a major fail and that started me on a quest to do something before I just had to throw this bottle in the trash. It took many, many different techniques but I finally got something I wouldn't be embarrassed to display. I truly have NO idea what all I did or how I would do it again, so this guy will remain a one-of-a-kind and I will have to come up with another idea for the sack of bottles waiting in the office!

Since we will have so many overnight guests on Halloween weekend, I like to do a bit of decorating in each guest room as well. I was in Michaels and happened upon a package of Halloween graphics. There were 6 in the package on sale at 50% off for $3.00 (I think). Each one is also embellished with some orange glitter. I could not even download, print and glitter them myself this inexpensively so I threw them in my cart with no plans. As I was adding a few things to each room, I realized I could just slip them into 8 X 10" frames that were already in these spaces and I would have a quick and easy answer.

Note to self - this picture actually NEEDS to be put into the frame! I also have some things in our bathroom and bedroom but the sun is shining so brightly that even with the shades still drawn, I couldn't get a picture - maybe later.

And, just a bit more tweaking to my Poe vignette. Last year I bought a "real" book of poems by Edgar Allan Poe and I loved it. Then, the other day I was in Barnes and Nobles and spied an entire Poe section in their Halloween decor. I couldn't help myself. I had to grab a few new things!

Can you spot them?

They had this flameless candle...

...and this slightly more "dramatic" book of poems. It is glittered for heaven's sake! I had to have it!! And just that fast, the "real" book got slipped under the candelabra as on more "riser" and this one took center stage. I love it.

I think that takes you to where we are right now. Off to sew. Stay tuned.