Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas

I wish you all the best of holiday seasons.  I hope that you find the time to slow down and enjoy the little things.....which are really the big things.  

 I have been fortunate enough this season to be the recipient of some incredibly kind gestures and wishes.

And I am very grateful for that.  Isn't that what this time of year is about?  The important things are not these gifts underneath the tree.  

A few days ago my daughter decided to make bath bombs from scratch.  (The apple doesn't fall far...does it?)  I watched her dance and sing to christmas music as she made her little gifts.  She was genuinely happy.  I thought to myself...this is what is important.  Times like that are invaluable.  

I made my cards again this year.  They were easy and fun.  I created a washi tape banner hung on red and white bakers twine.  

Then I added a photo of the girls taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.  

Enjoy your time


Monday, December 2, 2013

Maison de Michele and the Farmyard Darlings!

Hi all.  I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  

On Thursday Dec 5th I have been invited to showcase my wares at the lovely Farmyard Darlings' event in Lafayette.  Carole and Kim are so kind to include me in their 3 year anniversary party.  It will be a grand all of their parties are.  

Here are a few of the items I will be contributing.  I made 12 of these boxwood wreaths this past weekend.  Unfortunately I found out through this exercise that I am terribly allergic to boxwood. :(  I like, though how dainty they are.  

Grain sack star ornaments

White linen napkins with frayed ruffle

and a few grain sack stockings

I have been working on my Christmas cards which will have a bunting across the top of the photo made of various patterns of red and gold washi tape, strung on red and white bakers twine!  I'll show them to you as soon as I get the photo.  That part makes hand making the cards seem like a cake walk :).

If you live in the area please join us.   

Thursday December 5th
10am - 8pm

3295 Mount Diablo Boulevard
Lafayette, CA 94549

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How About a Handmade Gift...and a Sale at Maison de Michele

I often think about how much of what I do in the course of a day is electronic.  It is more than I care to admit.  There is definitely a use for it and in many ways, the keys on my laptop, make my life easier.  That is why I think that a handwritten card sent via the postal service is very special these days.  And, with all of the mass produced goods from overseas, a handmade item has a way of standing out. 

I handmake my Christmas cards each year. They are certainly not as beautiful as those which come from the printers.  And believe me, the burns on my hand from the glue gun, the sore back from bending over them, aching hand from signing each one, make me reconsider every year around this time.  But I end up doing it because it is not that often that you receive something that people take the time to make?  I do it because I love the impact that it can have.  

Here are a few items from my shop which I have created and I think would make nice gifts, for the right person.  Let's be honest.  Not everyone feels the sentiment I am expressing in this post.  But I know a few who do.  

(I believe that the same person who would appreciate this also shops at farmer's markets)

Vintage grain sack apron finished with French linen ribbon

Shams which are clearly well loved

Maybe for the hostess, hand monogrammed tea towels

And my newest item, white linen napkins 

Please use code GIVETHANKS13 for a 10% discount on any item in my shop, 

Thanks for visiting


Promotion good through November 30th 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What are you sowing today?

I had a little time this weekend to reflect.  And as I considered what I was going to create I thought about the homophones sew and sow.  I am a big believer in karma.  I believe that you reap what you sow. What am I investing in today that will pay off tomorrow?  I bet if I thought that way every day, I would be more productive, compassionate, fill in the blank.  It may be that I do something kind for another, that I change some small thing about how I parent in order to be a better mother, learn something new.  Our tomorrow is, in my opinion, the direct outcome of the choices we make today.  

This weekend I bought an embroidery hoop and spent some time on youtube in hopes that I could make a few monogrammed tea towels for a friend of mine.  I have never done this before, so don't judge too harshly :).  I found the fabric at a local shop.  They had many patterns.  They actually called it tea towel material.  (as a side note, the blog popsugar features Martha Stewart's girls' dresses made from vintage versions of this fabric.)

I figure that if nothing else, I have begun to learn something new and hopefully brought a smile to someone's face.  I hope to continue to be mindful about the idea that every choice I make today will manifest itself sometime in the future.....for better or for worse. 

Happy Tuesday


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cupcakes with Washi Tape Flags

As some of you know I like to make and decorate cakes as a creative outlet.  The ones I have been making are very time consuming though.  So, for occasions when I don't have the better part of a day to spend in the kitchen I turn to cupcakes.  The problem has been, though, that I don't think they are as pretty.  

I had a few of my college friends over last night and decided to make vanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting. 

I picked up some washi tape at Michaels and made these tiny flags.  They are super easy and I think that they dress the cupcakes up nicely.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kitchen Remodel....the outcome!

Happy Hump Day

I write this post with a gigantic smile on my face.  The kids and I went to Balboa Island for a week long vacation.  My landlords chose to use the time we were away to renovate the kitchen for me.  I have never lived through a real remodel but I know enough to realize that I am very fortunate to leave for ten days and return to a new kitchen!  

Here it is.  I could be no happier!!  They did a fantastic job.  When we sat down to discuss it I said that I wanted a particular sink.  Unfortunately, due to the way the kitchen was configured, sink on the corner of the counter, they said that an apron sink would not work.  

They then came back to me saying that they were willing to reconfigure the layout of the entire kitchen in order to accommodate my sink.  They moved the stove as well as the sink and wrapped the countertop all the way around the room.  Here is a quick look at the old configuration.  

And, now.  It feels like a completely different room.  

I had my heart set on a few things.  Both came from Ikea, the sink, called the domsjo, and butcher block countertops, called numerar.  I preferred the oak.  It has been discontinued though so I chose the beech.  I want a slightly deeper shade so am considering staining them.  

I also knew that I wanted subway tiles.  These are daltile in the standard 3" x 6" size.  I originally thought that I wanted white grout.  But after doing a little research I learned that many people who thought similarly ended up regretting not using grey grout.  I wanted the tile to stand out as subway tile and I felt, after spending hours and hours on Pinterest and Houzz, that the white grout just did not accomplish that.  I am thrilled with my decision.  

The cabinets are the only element I did not have a say in.  And they choose ones exactly like I would have.  My favorite part is that they are the kind that close on their own....and silently.  Ok..... maybe my other favorite part are the lazy susans.  Such a great use of space!

The other element that was updated was the hood.  My intention, in order to finish this room, is to put in a stainless steel range.  So, they put a hood in that will match it.  

I will also have to add the hardware, pulls and knobs, to the cabinets.  

 Now comes the time to consider how to treat the countertops.  I have done some research on this topic as well ;)  There are many options and exponentially more opinions out there.  I want to protect them but also want to be careful about the chemicals I use to do so.  A woman named Vanessa talks about installing the same countertops I have in her blog this and that.  It is a great and very detailed post.   I love the way she stained hers.  They turned out beautifully.  I am considering using the same stain.  She sealed them with a product called Waterlox.  And though I love the look and am sure that it protects her countertops very well, I am a bit concerned about something which requires me to wear a respirator fitted with an organic cartridge to apply it.  I guarantee that most people would say that I am being overly cautious.....and I likely am. :)  If anyone has input on this subject, I would greatly welcome it.  

  One last thing that I did was to add stick on led lights underneath the cabinets. 

Thanks for bearing with me through this long post.  I am very excited though, to share it with you!  And super grateful to my kind landlords, Lily and Ben.

Have a good one!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kitchen remodel

Good morning  

This is a post I have been waiting to write for a long time.  As you may know I live in a rental unit in San Francisco.  It is a lovely old building.  And I have been making small, slow improvements since I moved in.  Not huge renovations....just lighting, painting, panelling.  These things make a big difference, as you will see below. 

 What I am currently focused on is the kitchen.  After a small facelift I still am bothered by the countertops.  I understand that these were quite popular back in the 70's :) I decided to speak with my landlord to see if I could replace them.  I found beautiful oak butcher block at Ikea. (These have since been discontinued.....such a disappointment)  They said that they would have to think about it.  

Here is what I started with and the improvements I have made thus far.  (sorry for the poor quality of the below photo.  It was the only one I could find).

The cabinets and underneath the countertops were another thing that drove me nuts.  I realized that painting wood like this was not going to yield a kitchen worthy of Country Living.  But anything, I figured, was better than this.  

I also played around with color on the walls.    

For the purposes of this post I will show you the before, and the in progress photos.  

I wish I had a pic of the old lighting.  

Below is what it looks like today.  I added mercury pendants and baskets above the cabinets for storage.  I painted the cabinets, walls, and changed the hinges.  

The addition of the wainscoting, in my opinion, made a huge difference.  

Now back to the countertops.  A few months ago I went on a short business trip.  I returned to an apt resembling a hot sauna.  The tap, faucet, (not sure what the correct name is) which brings the hot water into the washing machine had broken.  I drove up to find all of the windows steamed up.  As I entered I heard the distinct hissing sound of spewing water.  It was so hot that I could barely touch it as I tried to turn it off. I don't know how long this had been going on.  Somehow, though, the water stayed in the kitchen and drained to the garage below me.  I am grateful every day that it did not ruin the hardwood floors, and everything in the apt.  

I call these photos the in process ones because there is a favorable outcome.  It turns out that the water created mold at the base of the cabinets.  Therefore the insurance company will pay to have new ones installed.  And fortunately for me, that means new countertops as well!!!  

I am grateful to have such considerate landlords.  Though I obviously need to stay within the budget, they have consulted me on what I want, and are making genuine efforts to create a kitchen that I will be happy with.  

The remodel begins on Friday.  I will update you as soon as it is complete. 

Thanks for visiting