31 December 2008

A welcomed package!

First of all, I wanted to give a big huge thanks to all the wonderful blogging friends who graced me with their visit and left me such sweet comments, I am in absolute awe and deeply touched and honored!! There is nothing better than connecting with people who love the same things you do, and for that I am so grateful! Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!! It has been great fun, and I really hope we can continue getting to know each other better!!

When we were in Portugal, this summer, visiting with my family, we took off for a few days to visit London. While there, I couldn't help but stop by Liberty's of London, as I absolutely looooove their fabric!! It is quite expensive, so I opted for 1/2 and 1/3 meter cuts of a variety of fabrics. Well, when it was time to come home, I forgot to pack them (along with a few other things)!! My mom was going to ship them to me, but since my sister came to the US on vacation for Christmas (sadly she didn't make it here...), she mailed me the box. I just got it yesterday, and I am so excited!

Aren't these yummy colors?! I also bought a few trims...

Since I was getting a box from Portugal, I asked my mom for a few extra things!! One of them was something I have been wanting for a while and have been looking here in the US with no luck! I completely forgot to get them when I was there, so my mom came to my rescue: they are rotating teacup holders, that you screw to the bottom of your shelves... Have you ever seen them here in the US? I just love the amount of space it saves, and I love that you don't have hooks showing over the shelf!

I also wanted to show you a great book I just got! I bought it here. It is called "Creating the French Look", and it is full of projects with very clear instructions (my kind of book!!). I can't wait to try some!

I leave you with a yummy portuguese recipe for a flourless almond cake I just made. All it takes is almonds, eggs and sugar! I use a shortcut, instead of grinding almonds I buy almond meal, ready to use...


1/2 lb of finely ground almonds (200 grs)
6 eggs (room temperature)
6 Tablespoons sugar

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy white, then add the ground almonds. Beat the egg whites until they peak, then carefully fold them into the batter (I add a little bit of whites, first, because the batter is quite thick, then add the rest). Bake at 350 for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (do not overbake, otherwise it will become dry...). Sprinkle powdered sugar when cool (or pour melted chocolate on top!). Enjoy!

Have a wonderful New Year! I will be back tomorrow to greet you with my first ever giveaway!! Please come back!!

28 December 2008

Maison Douce ~ A Year in Review

Cindy at My Romantic Home is hosting a "Year in Review Blog Party", and has asked us to make a mosaic of some of our favorite pictures that have been posted in our blogs in 2008!! I thought it was a wonderful idea, so I've gathered some of my favorites, and as you can see there's a lot of pink and a lot of roses in there...!!! I started my blog less than a year ago, and I have to say it has been an incredible adventure, as I have been touched by so many people!! Bloggers are truly the best, and I appreciate your visits and comments immensely!! Thank you all, and I truly hope you will stop by and visit again soon!

I had so much fun making these mosaics that I decided to make another one featuring pictures from my all time favorite posts...!!

From left to right, top to bottom:

1 - Farm Chicks!! What Fun!

2 - A post from Lisbon

3 - London Calling!

4 - Bermondsey Fair and Portobello Road


6 - Day trips and a visit to a flea market

7 - A travel back in time

8 - Sixteen years...

9 - Would you be my guest?

10 - A grandmother's legacy

11 - My progress, room by room

12 - My all time favorite (thrifty) vintage finds

27 December 2008

A Monticello outing, finally!!

First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for the wonderful and encouraging words sent my way regarding my quest for a happy new rear (that was cute, Pam)!! It means so much to me to have your support and inspiration, since I have truly bad habits that will be difficult to break (aka chocolate)!! My oldest daughter said that if I can go without ice-cream for an entire month, then she will not drink any soda!!! Isn't that great? I will be posting my progress, as promised!!

Today, I was finally able to go out to Monticello to restock our booth, after having been stranded due to the Arctic Blast here in the NW...!! I have to be honest, I actually enjoy being home and, unlike many others, was not "itching" to go out!! But I always love to go there!! Lots of pretties to look at...

I gave this cute little cabinet the "shabby" treatment, and I love the way it turned out!

Here is something sweet someone did for me.... I have a memory board in my booth, to which I added a little sign...

... someone (very sweet!) wrote the same message on the other side but with a much prettier handwriting!! That was very touching! Thank you, unknown friend!

I was very good and didn't buy anything, but I would have loved to walk away with this adorable pink medicine cabinet from Sue's booth!

Christmas day was a lot of fun! We took the kids to see "Bedtime Stories", and the movie was actually better than I thought!! The kids played most of the day with their new Guitar Hero and I got what I wanted from Santa:

I adore Ina Garten and refer to her Barefoot Contessa books all the time! And Mamma Mia is such a feel good movie, a must have! I also treated myself early this month to an early Christmas gift, an adorable vintage wicker stroller I found in Randy's booth at Monticello! It now graces my huge mantle!

On Christmas eve I stopped by Lisa's house to drop off a little Christmas gift, and was absolutely in awe of what she had for me!!!

...some vintage barkcloth...

... a cute tissue holder she made herself, a piece of vintage ticking, a darling perfume bottle...

... a sweet vintage cup (for my collection)...

... a lovely framed print (isn't that frame incredible?)... Wait, there's more...

... a cute little child's dress (to use as a lampshade cover) and a Farm Chicks shirt (we wanted one when we were there in June but they were all sold out when we went looking for them!)...

... and this amazing vintage bed light!!! Oh, and two rolls of vintage wallpaper I forgot to take a picture of... Isn't she an incredible friend??!! Of course I felt absolutely inadequate with my little puny gift... I'll have to make it up to her!! Thank you so much, Lisa, I love it all!!!

I will be posting my first ever giveaway soon!! I am actually making something special for my sweet blog friends, so be sure to come back!

24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!!! Feliz Natal!!

This year, we will be spending Christmas just like we have the past couple of years, just the six of us. The kids spend all morning playing with Santa's gifts, then we all go to a matinee at the movie theater and finally we prepare a yummy dinner!!! A few years ago, when my parents were still together (they have separated after 45 years of marriage!!), they used to take all six children and their families (that would be 24 people total!) on exotic vacations all over the world!! I do miss that tremendously, and I know the kids miss being with all their cousins, so we do what we can to make them have a fun day!!!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!!! I am so thankful to have met such wonderful, inspiring and encouraging people through this blog, you are truly a gift to me and I am so proud to call you my friends!! With lots of bloglove,

Note: here is something fun we always do on Christmas eve: we track Santa through NORAD!! This military organization shows the kids where Santa is dropping presents, and you can even call them before the kids go to bed and the operator will let you know where Santa is and what time he will be in your area!!

21 December 2008

Shoo, Haagen Dazs, shoo!!

Today, as I was cleaning some drawers in my bedroom, I came across my old portfolio... About 25 years ago, when I was in college, I worked as a model for a few years. It never amounted to much, but I had a lot of fun and the pay was decent. For someone who grew up with serious self esteem issues (mostly because my five siblings figured out early enough that my vulnerability and sensitivity made me an easy target for being made fun of!!), this was quite a feat!!!

Eventually, I grew a back bone and I can honestly say that I have conquered a lot of my insecurities and have become a strong woman! But, looking at these pictures, I found myself in the middle of an unexpected feeling... Not so much longing for that hot bod (it would be nice, though....), but a certain sadness, as I realized that it has been years since I have looked in the mirror and TRULY felt pretty and attractive!! Mostly because of my weight... I really don't think I have been kind to myself!! Mind you, yes I am a busy mom of four, with very little time to pamper myself, and a wonderful husband who thinks I am beautiful no matter what, but even though I have been talking about losing weight for the past couple of years, the truth is I have had a hard time finding the willpower to follow through!! I can't remember the last time I went to a store, tried out clothes and actually liked what I saw!!! This really saddens me...

So, this is the time I WILL do something about it!! I actually walked by the ice-cream isle yesterday at the store and resisted the urge to buy a pint of Haagen Dazs! One little victory! I'll even go further... I will post my weight loss progress on my side bar!! I don't want to be overly ambitious but I will be happy with a 30 lb loss!! All eyes on me will make it harder for me to cheat! I really don't have a plan, but I think that if I stop eating sweets (my ultimate comfort food!) and start exercizing regularly (remember, my doctor called me a lard ass...), I can see some progress, slow as it may be! So, wish me luck!!! I will stop being like the woman who posted a note on her mirror which read "My diet starts tomorrow!", and would squeal with delight every morning and say "Thank goodness it's not today!!!"

Note: I love my doctor, I've had her for years, she is super funny and it was all in good fun that she made that comment!! No hard feelings, we had a great laugh!!!

17 December 2008

A tutorial : layered lace lampshades

A couple of posts ago, one of the projects I showed you was a layered lace lampshade. It is a simple no sew project and I will show you how easy it is to make it!!! Use any kind of lace, gathered or flat, and simply glue it onto a ready made shade!!

My first step was to pin the layers to the lampshade to ensure that they will be evenly spaced (or you can use a measuring tape to make equal repeats, if you prefer). The top edge of each lace layer should be concealed under the subsequent top layer.

Once I am happy with how the layers look, I make pencil markings at one of the lampshade ribs (the vertical metal bars inside the fabric). I then use the measuring tape to mark out equal markings on the other ribs. These will be the guidelines for placement of the lace.

Then, using a craft glue (I use Aleene's Fast Grab glue), and using the marked lines, glue the lace, layer by layer (note: start from the bottom up, it seems to be easier). Finish off all the layers in the same place, so you can turn that side to the back. I usually overlap the ends by about an inch, and if I think they may unravel I will use some Fray Check.

If your lace layers are a bit out of shape (like mine - I should have pressed them before!), simply spritzer some water and use your fingers to straighten them!! You're done!!

I made another lampshade, this time using a variety of crochet trims. Just pin them in a pleasing arrangement and follow the same steps. It was a bit challenging for me to turn the corners with the trim on this 4-sided lampshade, so I would suggest you starting with a round one! I love the effect you get when you turn the light on!! I apologize for the quality of the pictures, lighting today was pretty poor! If you ever try your hand at making a layered lace lampshade, please take pictures, I would love to see it!

I also finished working on a little dress form I found at GW a while back... I removed the ugly fabric and used my Bella Nonna silk petals to cover it! These are the same petals I used to cover the chandelier shades in my daughters bedroom. I simply used my glue gun and covered the entire dress form (after painting the base and arms white) , petal by petal!!!

Here in the NW things have come to a hault because of a snow storm and icy cold weather. Kids have had no school all week (and we just learned school has been cancelled again for tomorrow...), which is not good news for a late Christmas shopper like me!!!!! I was really counting on getting all my shopping done this week, but I don't think it's going to happen!! So, there has been a lot of snowmen built, a lot of Wii played and a lot of goofing around!! Including dressing up as disco Divas!!

I also let the kids finish putting the decorations on the Christmas tree (we had it all set up, then the tree fell in the middle of the night!!). I used to have full control of this task, but when I realized the kids really enjoyed putting up the decorations, I let them go to town with it!! Surprisingly, it really doesn't bother me if it doesn't look perfect!!

Hum... Maybe I should keep a closer eye on my 5-year old son....!!

We have also been doing a lot of cooking!! And receiving lots of yummy cookies from our neighbors. This was by far our favorite!! It didn't last enough time for me to snap a picture!!!

6-Layer Bars

1 package Graham Crackers (crushed into crumbs)
1 stick butter
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1 can condensed milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Pour melted butter in bottom of 9" x 13" pan. Layer Graham Cracker crumbs and press down firmly. Place in oven for 10 min to set. Then layer the rest of the ingredients in order. Bake for 20-30 min until golden brown. Remove from oven.

Tip: while still hot run a knife around the edge to help loosen bars. Let cool for just 5-10 min, then cut into bars. Enjoy!!

14 December 2008

My all time favorite (thrifty) vintage finds!!

We woke up today to our first snow day... The kids went out as soon as they could get their winter clothes on!! (note to self: make a bag for Goodwill with outgrown winter clothes...). It was very cold and they had to come in periodically to warm up. I love snow! The first time I saw snow I was in my late teens... I don't know who gets more excited, me or the kids!! Of course the best part of the day for them was when they found out that school has been cancelled for tomorrow!!

A great day to stay home and catch up on some things I've been wanting to do... I was planning to go to Monticello but quickly changed my mind when I saw TV reports on how messy the roads were!! So, instead, I am posting about some of my all time favorite thrift finds!! I am sure I am missing some, but it is a start!

I found this adorable vintage chair at a rummage sale a year ago... I paid a whopping $5.00 for it!! I was going to sell it, until I decided it would look great in the master bathroom

I love this little aqua dish with tole painted roses, very reminiscent of french toleware... I found it at a thrift store for 99 cents!

The large mirror hanging in my foyer was a put-together project. I found the large frame (with an old faded Paris print in it, which I later sold) for $5.00! The mirror was found at a garage sale for a couple of dollars, it was larger but I had a glass shop cut it to size for me (they charged only $6 to do so).
Considering that I sold the print that came with the frame, you can say I got the whole thing for free, and still made a few bucks!!

This is one of my favorite lamps... I paid only $2.95 at a thrift store! It does have a small piece of the base missing on the side, and one of the cherubs had his head glued back on, but I don't mind!! A great way to expand a collection without spending too much money is to buy less than perfect things, with cracks or chips!! I get them for the look, and not for the collectable value... My home is full of less-than-perfects (starting with me)!!!

On the way out from an antiques show, I spotted this old album... Not much from the outside, but when I opened it, I was so excited to find a scrapbook full of old postcards, clippings and calling cards from the turn of the century... The best part was the price: $7.00!!

I found this vintage framed painting at our local American Cancer Society a while ago. I was on my way out when I spotted this painting on the floor leaning against a wall... It was marked $5.00! It has been added to my growing collection of rose paintings!

Some of my favorite vintage finds cost me a little more than a single digit number, but I still am so excited about them!!

This is one of the first rose paintings I ever bought. It is a yard long watercolor and it cost me $36 at an antiques show, still a great deal, I believe!!!

I absolutely looooove this victorian fireplace screen, with gorgeous hand painted roses!! I paid $30 for it at our local flea market, from a lady who was liquidating her mom's estate (I have a fireplace which sits up high and is flush against the wall - not MY kind of fireplace, too modern for my taste!).

And, of course, this is probably my all time favorite find, and the one I have used for my blog banner!! I have always loved vintage baby and doll buggies, and when I saw this one, my heart skipped a beat!! And pink, on top of everything!! When the lady asked me $15 for it, I paid quickly and walked away happy, happy, happy!!

Last Thursday and Friday I had, as you know, jury duty!! I served my country but I have to admit it wasn't much fun... The good thing is that the Courthouse was around the corner from a few antique malls (Le Stuff and Snyders Antique Mall in Hillsboro), so during our lunch break I did some shopping!! I am very excited with what I found! Many booths had big sales (everyone is trying to survive in this difficult economy...), so I found some things to keep and some to resell...

I love this old tin and I have a collection which I have displayed on top of the guest bedroom canopy shown here.

This vintage pink radio is adorable and was a steal!!

One can never have too many hatboxes!!

At a lovely shop called Auntie Addie's Attic, which specializes in vintage clothing and linens, I found 5 great vintage dresses, including an old wedding dress, all for an obscenely low price!!

... from their pile of "Seen Better Days" linens, some great gently flawed pieces at incredibly low prices!!

This amazing floor lamp with vintage glass lampshade was maked down so low that I had to bring it home!! There is a part of the glass in one pane missing, but I don't care!! Less-than-perfect right at home!

But my latest favorite find is this great old wooden loveseat I found on Craigslist for a song!! The lady I got it from told me that it actually came with her ancestors in covered wagons!! It even has casters (one is missing)!! Now I just have to figure out how to upholster it...

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