Thursday, July 28, 2011

Antique Japanese Fishing Floats

I have begun a small collection of Japanese fishing floats.  Aren't they beautiful? 

I have discovered that reproductions are being made, but I wanted the real I have been careful to gather these from antique shops (and some on ebay!).

Here they are on my piano mantel (in a silver basket that I paid $2 for)...

I think they are really fun and interesting and hope to collect more.  I also have a purple shaded one that is unique and different. 

I also found a very cool sign at an antiques shop recently but did not like the price tag.  You know when something speaks to you but it really is impractical, impulsive, etc? but then you can't seem to forget it?   Well, today I decided to call and I offered a lowish price for the sign that was accepted.  :)  I'll post pics soon.

Happy weekend to all!  Many blessings, Steph.

Kale Salad-Raw Vegan

I really do not know what has gotten into me this summer, but I am IN LOVE with kale.    This is a pretty "earthy" tasting salad, so if you are not of the health food persuasion, it may not be for you.  :)

This salad is adapted from  To make the salad, wash and tear the kale leaves, placing the thick stems in your mulch pile or green waste.  Add 1 T Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, 1T EVOO, 2T nutritional yeast , 2T hemp seeds, sea salt and pepper.  Mix well (hint:  use your clean hands so that everything adheres to the kale).  Place homegrown tomatoes on top.  YUM!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Painted furniture

My friend Cindy at My Romantic Home is hosting a painted furniture party today.  I first "met" Cindy when I googled "how to paint furniture" in preparation for redecorating my older son's room.  It really is six degrees of separation, because it turns out that we have a mutual friend in common-one of her high school pals was one of my best pals in college-SUE!  How cool is that?  :D

Cindy has painted a tremendous amount of furniture.  If you are not familiar with her, check out her beautiful blog!

Here is a small contribution from moi.....

In the first photo, the little side tables were throw-aways from a relative.  I painted them white and don't they look nice in my guest bedroom?  They were an avocado green previously.  :)

Below, the black table was an inherited antique.  I almost tossed it because it was in horrible shape, but then I got the idea to simply fix it up a bit and to paint it black.  I used Cindy's technique of waxing this piece after painting with paste wax.

Below is a glimpse of my son's bookcase.  It had previously been a royal blue, but as he grew older he needed something more sophisticated.  I will likely use this piece in an office someday if he does not want to take it with him to college! is our farmhouse bed, which is a dark green.  No, I have not painted it.  However, I would like to.  I am very much wanting to change this room within the next year to a more subdued color palette.  I am thinking either a black, dark brown or a white.  Accessories would be primarily creams and taupes with white and silver accents.  Any IDEAS?????  Please share if so...

Happy painting and Thanks Cindy!!!  XXOO, Steph.

Monday, July 25, 2011

25th Anniversary and Beautiful Ojai, CA!

My husband and I have been married 25 years!  Yes, we did marry youngish by today's standards, but yes, we are definitely getting up there as well!  It is hard to believe how 25 years have flown by.  Our sons are now 15 and 18!

We wanted to go somewhere restful to celebrate and chose Ojai, California, about a 2-3 hour drive from home.  It was tranquil to say the least.  We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast retreat that had no television (YAY) and was extremely peaceful.

Here is the view from our room (sorry the picture is a bit overexposed):

and this is the view from our private patio area....look at the lovely mountains!  They are part of the Los Padres National Forest.  The stars at night were unbelievable!

A lovely waterfall fountain...

I loved this beautiful gate and quickly snapped a shot of it just as a surveillance camera started to point at me ominously...

Pictures from a hike we took....

We sat down to rest for a minute and to drink some water, and when I glanced over my husband's shoulder I saw this HUGE cow just laying there all docile like about 5 feet from us!  :)

Signs of an ancient vineyard...

This is Lake Casitas.  The water was the most amazing turquoise I think I have ever seen in the US!

Beautiful shadows on the mountain range...

There were huge live oaks all around.  I don't think I have even seen one live oak in Orange County!

Before dinner....we ate at a fabulous restaurant, Suzanne's Cuisine.  The setting was gorgeous and the heirloom tomato salad was one of the best salads I have ever eaten.

An outside fireplace at the hotel...

Beautiful flowers everywhere...

Below is one of the bouquets on the breakfast table...the roses were so unique!

On our last day we drove out to a lavender farm (with hubby kicking and screaming all the way and he ended up LOVING the experience).  It looked like a postcard from France with all the lavender and beautiful farms and mountains surrounding.  The couple that own this farm were some of the most interesting people we had talked to all weekend and we must have spent an hour with them learning about their lives...

For a measly $5 I cut a huge batch of lavender!

This was one of the most gorgeous horses I have ever seen, a Palomino named PAL.  Love the side swept blond bangs!  :D

Thanks for coming on this little adventure!  We had a fabulous time and I highly recommend a trip to this little town!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today's Organic Snack

In all honesty, I will say that I am eating even better than ever thanks to Community Supported Agriculture.  I have noticed that when I eat a plant-based diet, I just feel much better.  My skin looks better and I feel less puffy.  I might even go so far as to say that I feel happier.  Yes, I would.  The less processed my diet, the better.  Since I am currently injured, the only exercise I can really do in abundance at the moment is swimming.  While I have a background in swimming, I get very bored in the pool and do not do as long a workout as I should as a result.  Further, swimming just does not burn calories for me the way running or cycling would!  So eating this way is important so that I do not gain *even more weight* than I have.  Plus, did I mention I just FEEL BETTER?????  :)   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting Find and Renovation Thoughts

Yesterday while out and about with my oldest son, I found this funky hanging candle holder.  It's really unique and looks a lot like a vintage piece of sorts. 

Little prisms of light come bouncing off of it...

Currently it is hanging in our master bathroom, where I had hung a light fixture that was not suited to the space well.  This one is better.  :)

Oh and the price tag????  $13!

Our master bath is in need of some love.  You can read about it here and see my design inspiration here (there are some beautiful photos!).

I have already made preliminary decisions on the tile for both the flooring and shower/tub plus I hope to change the lighting and fixtures.  I will leave my existing counter tops and cabinets.

I cannot seem to move forward on the master bath, however.  We are finishing up a landscape renovation for the front yard but it probably should have come first.  However, I really am a private sort of gal.  A homebody at heart.  I dislike my home being invaded by contractors and subs and filled with dust!  But I know it needs to happen as I am not sure how much longer I can live with harvest gold and it certainly won't help if we decide to sell in the near future. 

While I am on this subject, my short list for further home improvement is as follows:
1.  Finish front landscape (nearly there!)
2.  Remodel master bath-it's really a partial remodel and fairly budget friendly considering all
3.  Refloor children's bathroom
4.  Refloor half bath and laundry room area, repaint half bath and change mirror and lighting
5.  Fully repaint living, dining and family rooms
6.  Repaint master bedroom, repaint 4-poster bed and change decor entirely (get rid of all the red)
7.  Redecorate family room, requiring new sofa and other furniture
8.  Replace kitchen appliances, switching to stainless.  I need to do a post about my kitchen, which I am mostly happy with.  :)
9.  Rip up carpet from stairs and do hardwood (dark treads and white risers!!!!)

These are not in any particular order either!

Surely I am leaving something out.  Personally I would love for a carpenter to move in for a while.

Ahh well.  For now I have my $13 candle holder, adding some charm to the bathroom...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Polishing the Silver

I only have a small collection of silver pieces, but they were looking a bit dingy so I took some time today to polish them....most of them find their home in our master bathroom.  I use the trays to store cosmetics, perfume bottles and the like... :) 

Below is a beautiful jar from Lady Primrose of Dallas.

This one holds the random cotton balls or Q-tips...

I found this silver pitcher at an antiques shop in Old Town Orange one day and knew it would make an awesome vase!

It's smiling!   :)

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