Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Before and After

 "Before and After" will be a weekly posting where I post pictures of my treasure hunting finds and how I repaint, restore, or repurpose them!  If you or someone you know is interested in any of the items posted, I can fix them up to your specs - color, fabric, etc. Just email me at or post a comment!
I picked up this vintage metal cabinet at an estate sale last week but it needed some work!  I love the detail along the top and the sliding doors make it perfect to use for bathroom storage - so I sanded it to get all the rust off and prep it for paint - then I sprayed three light layers of "powder blue paint" and . . .
Voila!!  A beautiful "powder blue" Powder room cabinet!  It is for sale and on display now at Melange!!
This bookcase is the perfect size for a child's room and I love the corner detail at the top corners! But with peeling paint and the back falling off it may not hold the books for long - so I sanded it all down,  repositioned the back, and then decided to put a fresh coat of paint on it - but what color?
Sweet Pink!!  Now it is ready for a little princess or home office and it is for sale at Melange!  Leave a comment or email me at if you are interested in any of the pieces I feature in "Before and After" - There is lots more coming - here's a sneak peek!    

Can you guess how I am going to make over any of the above items?  If so, post a comment or suggestion!  Are you or someone you know looking for any of these items?  I can redo any of these to your own specifications so email me - I'd like to make all of these something someone will cherish!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Chicks, Bunnies and Eggs, Oh My!

 Sometimes it is so hard to choose which of these symbols of Easter I want to base my decor on each year so I decided to play with all three this year!
My husband and boys found these fresh blue flower plates years ago at Pottery Barn and gave them to me for Mothers' Day.  The blue flowers match the blue on the tablecloth I found at Marshalls perfectly!  The green juice glasses are from Pier 1 and the green candlesticks were another gift from my guys, found at Anthropologie.  The yellow placemats and green handled silverware were Marshall's finds.  I love to add fresh greenery or flowers to a tablescape, and fresh ferns grabbed my attention at the nursery.  I found the little fern pot and the blue pot at Goodwill.   Take a look at some close-ups from this tablescape!!
Salt and Pepper Shakers come in so many shapes and styles they can add a lot to the theme of your tablescape!  I found these bunny salt and pepper shakers at Pottery Barn two years ago and have used them not only for Easter, but for also for a baby shower with a "Peter Rabbit" theme.  The apothecary jar holds multicolored plastic speckled eggs and adds color.  I love using apothecary jars to decorate with - they are so versatile!  We sell so many different ones at Melange!
Adding more color are these glass eggs!  I found the large blue one and the small pink one at a great little store called Twigs in Yuba City.  I was so disappointed when the sales girl told me that was all they had left!!  You can imagine how excited I was when I was down in San Luis Obispo and found some more in one of my favorite SLO town stores, Old World Charm!  Arranging like objects in groups of threes and fives make an artistic display, and the way these eggs reflect in the vintage mirror caught my eye!  The fuzzy chicks came from Melange and the green vase,  Crate and Barrel.
When Kelly, a good friend and fellow vendor, brought this sweet little Easter chick into Melange, I knew I had to have it!  The fuzzy chick with the blue bow and wire basket reminded me of when my sons were born, and had to have a place in my Easter tablescape!  The vintage pitcher is Stangl - found it at the Sacramento Antique Fair!                               
I also fell in love with the pseudo chocolate rabbits another fellow vendor, Cathy, brought into Melange!  The iconic rabbits sit atop a cherished gift!  The milk glass pedestal dish was a gift from a dear friend, Sandy, years ago and it is the perfect size to display treasured items, or tasty baked treats!  The "Happy Easter" prize ribbon embellishing the grouping was attached to a plastic bunny filled with Jelly Beans I found at 'The Tattered House' in Roseville. I thought it was just the added touch to finish off my tablescape!  Thanks for checking out my Easter vignettes and Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fresh Eggs and Fry Daddy!

I got this old desk years ago from a friend and my three boys used it growing up.  Now it was time for the desk to go so I moved it outside with plans on painting it shabby white and selling it at Melange.  Unfortunately, the rain got to it before I did so I decided to tear it apart and repurpose the parts! 
The inside panel of one part of the desk was in perfect shape and I was in a painting mood!  I started decorating for spring and wanted something new for my mantel hood display area in my kitchen.  Spring always brings lots of birds to my yard and I love collecting their nests - but not until the eggs have hatched and the birds have moved on! I love those old painted market signs and the signs you see advertising farm stands you see along the road.  I decided I needed a fresh egg sign so I whitewashed the panel, sketched out "Fresh Eggs by the dozen" lightly in pencil for spacing, grabbed my paintbrush and went to work!  I added the cluster of eggs to symbolize my three sons who have left the nest!!
I placed the sign atop the mantel on a cast iron plate stand but it looked lonely.  I had just found this shabby wire basket at the Goodwill for a dollar, thinking it was an old egg basket - when I got home I realized it was really the basket for a FryDaddy!  It had old oil cooked onto the metal which came off easily after one trip in the dishwasher.  I added some plastic speckled eggs in light pastel colors and placed it next to the sign - That's better!!  I still think it looks like an old egg basket!
 I love the way the sign goes with the colors in my kitchen.  I just had my kitchen remodeled by DreamBuilders of El Dorado Hills.  This cooktop / backsplash area with the potfiller is one of my favorite parts of my remodeled kitchen!  The rope and accent tiles are a bronze metallic so I added some bronze metallic paint swishes into the nest on the sign - just enough 'shine' to add a little extra dimension to the nest on the sign!  Now my mantel area is ready for spring - and part of my theme for my Bunko night next week is birds!  Have you ever used something like my "Fry Daddy egg basket" in a different way?                 P.S. If you like my "Fresh Egg" sign I have smaller versions for sale at Melange!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wisteria Snow!

There is no surer sign of spring at my home then the wisteria in full bloom!  
As the gray winter skies slowly grow brighter each day, the buds grow fuller and lengthen.  First it is just one cluster, then two, growing exponentially each day.  
The skies threaten again and they clench tight.  
But then the sun comes out, and the buds swell in the warmth.  
 Like a balloon filling with air, fuller, fuller, fuller . . . 
until finally they pop!  It is if they explode like fireworks all in one day and the vine covering our pergola if front of the house becomes a wisteria canopy - 
perfect for relaxing under and dreaming of the sun filled days that lie ahead.
  And when the canopy is full, it beckons other living things like a candy jar beckons a child.  The bees swarm to it attracted by its perfume, a scent that envelops you as you gravitate under the canopy.  The birds sing in its branches, each picking a spot in its twisting, jumbled vines to build their nests.  
  But wait!  There is an intruder!  
Curiousity called the cat, Cade, to the canopy! 
He is a lion in the jungle, enjoying all a flutter!  
So much to see up there from the jays that squawk at their disapproval that he is there, to the bumbles to bat oh so carefully!  
As Cade moves across the canopy, the blossoms fall to the ground.  
The blooms don't last forever.  
 So predictable is the weather 
that coincides with the complete explosion of blooms, 
I know the winds will come with the final spring rain of the season, 
but this too, is something I cherish! 
As the winds blow, the snowstorm of petals fall, 
blanketing the patio furniture, cement, and grass with wisteria snow.  
And this - I know - is spring!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Break Cupcakes!

It's that time of year again - Spring Break!  A time all college kids cherish!  After the long winter months holed up in the campus library studying, college students make plans to unwind and relax - and most head for sunshine somewhere!  My youngest son, Alex,  is studying Architectural Engineering and spent many long hours in labs this past quarter.  His spring break destination - Hawaii!  Alex was all set to visit his brother, Sam, my second son, who is living in Kaneohe, Oahu.  While Sam was at work, Alex made arrangements to take classes to become a certified scuba diver. Needless to say, Alex sounded elated when he called to say he was on his way home.   I wanted to surprise him with a Bon Voyage treat and decided on cupcakes! After watching back to back episodes of "Cupcakes Wars" on the Food Network I was inspired!    The packaging on this mix caught my eye as it just shouted 'tropical' and the flavor - pineapple with pina-colada frosting - was perfect for a send-off to Hawaii.    But how was I going to decorate these to really create the "Aloha spirit"?!  I had some finely shredded coconut so I decided to toast it to a golden brown.  I had some blue rock candy I had picked up at "Urban Outfitters" on clearance - it reminded me of the crystal blue waters.  I remembered I had found some miniature palm tree picks on clearance somewhere. I think they were supposed to be used like those little umbrellas that you put in exotic drinks, but why not use them for cupcakes?  

My vision started to come together - but I needed cupcake liners.  I searched my stash and nothing I had on hand even came close to looking tropical.  What to do?  I decided to make my own cupcake liners out of brown lunch sacks to resemble raffia hula skirts.  I started by tracing around one of the cupcake liners I had for size, adding about a half inch to the diameter to be sure I had enough extra to make the fringe. I cut out my pattern and then traced and cut out twelve circles. (The mix made twelve cupcakes)  Next, I folded circles in half three times to make a wedge, just like when you make paper snowflakes at Christmas.  Little cuts in the arched side of the wedge created the fringe and then I folded the tip of the wedge inward about 3/4 of an inch.  I unfolded the whole thing and voila!  I had my grass skirt cupcakes liners.  I placed the brown fringed liners in each of the tin cups of the cupcake pan and then put a plain liner inside. I wasn't sure if the cupcake batter would stick to the brown lunch sack paper so I thought it would be best to add a regular liner inside the homemade one! 
  I filled the liners with batter and put them in the oven.  The batter cooked up beautifully and filled out the liners.  Next, I whipped up the frosting mix, included in the bag, with the suggested cream cheese, and frosted the cooled cupcakes. I sprinkled some toasted coconut on one half of each cupcake and some of the blue rock candy on the other half.
  One palm tree pick placed in each cupcake was the finishing touch!  I grouped the dozen cupcakes on a green pedestal plate and left it on the counter in the kitchen.  Alex has a five hour drive from San Luis Obispo to Sacramento so he was ready for a treat when he got home!
   While enjoying the delicious cupcakes, we chatted about the past quarter and the adventure Alex was about to embark on. No matter how old your kids are, they always love a special treat.Each time one of my three sons walks in my door is a moment I cherish.  Alex arrived in Oahu the next day and was a certified scuba diver two days later! 
I'm pretty sure it was a Spring Break he will always cherish!

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Mildred and the Beach House

The beach house pictured above, under my blog title, is a cherished home.  My Grandma and Grandpa Rindge lived there and raised their three sons, Fred, John and Ronald.  And as luck would have it, Ronald brought his family back to the beach house to experience a little of what he did while growing up.  And, as luck would have it, I was Ronald's second born of six, so I was fortunate enough to experience growing up on the beach.

The beach house was one of the five first homes built in Malibu, a small town in Southern California, in 1923.   It was built on a small little road called Latigo Shore Drive.  Over the years, many more homes were built along Malibu's 26 mile coastline including the famous "Movie Colony".  The movie colony was a small cluster of homes built on the beach leased or bought by the movie stars in Hollywood, thus the moniker.  Movies and Malibu seemed to go together and still do to this day. 

Joan Crawford as Mildred
When my father was about ten years old, Hollywood came to Latigo and my father couldn't have been more excited.  The huge movie trucks rolled into the beach house driveway and giant movie lights rolled out.  It was 1945 and a movie called "Mildred Pierce" was being made, starring Joan Crawford, and a beach house was featured prominently in the story plot.
Mildred arrives at beach house
Our house was chosen as the perfect setting, but it still needed one more thing - a big deck.  So the movie crew set about quickly building the "big deck" you can see on the first photo above!  From that point on, our family called it "The Big Deck" and it was the setting for many a birthday party - but that will be another story!
Mildred's Restaurant in 1945 Movie
Joan Crawford won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as "Mildred" in the movie.  The movie is iconic Hollywood at it's finest.  Watching it now, you will love to see vintage fashions, cars, architecture as well as historic footage of Los Angeles, Malibu and surrounding areas.  
HBO is currently running a mini-series entitled "Mildred Pierce" starring Kate Winslet as Mildred - the third installment is playing this Sunday, April 3rd.  If you like period films, this one is for you!  I am a fan of classic black and white Hollywood movies so I love the original version of Mildred Pierce, but I am truly enjoying this version as well!
        As for the beach house - so many people knew and loved that beach house- from the surfers who would stroll by in search of the perfect break off Latigo Point, to the charter fisherman who viewed the "light mint castle" from the deep sea waters, to all of us, the cousins, the PV Rindges, the Malibu Rindges, and extended families.
Our cherished home is lost to the sea!
Sadly, our cherished home was lost to the sea, in a wild storm in 1983, when her feet were knocked out from under her.  But our cherished beach house, once a movie star, will remain forever ours, in our memories which are just too good to forget.