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27 June, 2010

My Shabby Pastry Dome...and...An Experiment!

IMG_2023 I am excited to show you my thrifting finds this week because I had something special in mind while I was on the hunt! I was inspired by a recent project from my friend Linda at Nina’s Nest. Can you see where this is going?

page1 And I found what I was looking for at Goodwill…a cheese dome for $2.92 and a candlestick for under $1.00! I also wanted to show you the April Cornell dishtowel that I found for $1.01…not part of my project, but pretty and blue and yellow…my favorite colors! Now I’ll bet that you are already constructing my project in your head…

page …a super easy shabby pastry dome! I did give you a hint in the title! lol First, I covered  marble portion and spray painted both parts white. I didn’t get a photo of this since it was 95 degrees and I was in a hurry to get inside! Next, I let it dry overnight and then shabbied it up with some fine sandpaper. Then I drilled a little hole in the base to match with the little point on the candlestick  and hot glued them together and…

IMG_2040taaa daaaa! A shabby pastry dome! Isn’t it so cute and frenchy? And that’s not all…

IMG_2044 I added it to the vignette beside my stove where my chalkboard bunny was waiting. I love it! And now you are wondering…where’s the experiment that I promised?

IMG_2045 It’s under the dome! Those may look like ordinary croissants, but they have been preserved! Following some tips from my friend Marty at A Stroll Thru Life, I cooked them on high in the microwave for one minute to harden them, let them cool and then sprayed them with several light coats of polyurethane.

IMG_2043 They still look delicious, don’t you think? Now we’ll just see how long they last! I have warned my family, though, that they are not edible! lol I’ll keep you posted on how they do. In the meantime, maybe I can convince our resident pâtissier Baby Kitty to make us a batch of real ones! Yummy!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please visit these wonderful ladies and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today’s Thrifty Treasures
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
See you next time! A la prochaine!

20 June, 2010

A Virtual Vacation...Monet's Gardens in Giverny, France

IMG_0565 I don't know about you, but I need a little virtual vacation! The beautiful country home and gardens of the French artist Claude Monet have been on my mind this week. Sooo...I decided to repost my virtual tour since some of you haven't seen it. How does that sound to you? Pack your virtual bags and join me! We are heading for the little village of Giverny, France!

IMG_0595 We will be staying at the only hotel in the village..La Musardière. The accommodations are simple and the owner is friendly and welcoming! Bonjour, Madame! Why are we spending the night? Ohhh...but you will see! First let's drop off our bags and then head across the little street....yes, across the Monet's Garden!

IMG_0508 Monet came to Giverny in 1883 and spent 43 years here. The atmosphere of this beautiful rural village inspired much of his greatest work. He spent many hours painting in these gardens so you will recognize some of the places that we are going to see. The gardens surrounding his home are divided into two sections...the flower garden and the water garden. Let's visit the water garden first. On the way, stop and turn toward the house. Here's the most famous view of the flower garden with the Grande Allée and its arches. In Monet's time, this would have been your view coming through the main gate.

IMG_0517 We go through a tunnel under the road, which was added in recent times as a gift from a group of Americans, and emerge to see a little stream surrounded by daylilies and trees bending slightly toward the water.

IMG_0515 The path meanders alongside the stream where the tall trees and bamboo thickets provide shade from the summer sun. Ahhh...I'm starting to relax already! Are you?

IMG_0520 The trees open up to a little clearing and we can see that the stream feeds into a small pond. Ohhh!!! Are you seeing what I see?? My heart still races with excitement looking at the photos! Do you see them?

IMG_0527 The water lilies!! Monet's water lilies!! Don't they look just like his paintings?

IMG_0532 Here's a close-up. Amazing, aren't they? So beautiful! Oh, but it gets even better.....

IMG_0543 At the end of the little pond is the Japanese bridge...the green Japanese bridge! Doesn't it look just like the paintings? can even see the reflection in the pond. It's still a perfect impressionist painting, isn't it? And do you notice anything??? Not a single tourist in this shot! We are here an hour before closing time. All of the day trippers are gone. We are spending the night, remember? Isn't this wonderful? Aren't you glad you came?

IMG_0505 Now let's go back through the tunnel and head for the flower garden. Once again, we'll follow the paths that lead us toward his house. The flowers that are in bloom vary greatly by month. We are here in early June so there is an abundance of daylilies and roses.

IMG_0504 There is such a profusion of flowers that you can't see the next path, so every turn leads you to a wonderful surprise.

IMG_0507 Some of the paths are not accessible, like this one where the flowers are spilling into the walkway. Can't you just imagine Monet wandering through his garden, studying the effect of the light on his flowers?

IMG_0566 In the beginning, Monet did all of the planting himself, but by 1890, he was wealthy enough to hire six gardeners and to build two greenhouses. Imagine how much care it must take to maintain these beautiful gardens!

IMG_0502 Ohhh!...Do you see there? Peeking above the flowers? It's Monet's house. Let's get a closer look!

IMG_0565 Here it is...his wonderful pink house with the masses of geraniums planted in front. The French seem to love geraniums. They are everywhere! I love the vines growing on the house and the green shutters! Once again...not one single tourist spoiling our perfect view! I have to admit that I sat on a bench entranced by the house for about half an hour. If you know me from Rate My Space, you will recognize this as my avatar...the little picture that represents me. If it were at all possible, I would duplicate this house for myself...inside and out. However, we are saving the house for another visit. Sooo...I'm getting hungry! What about you? I know a great place to eat. Let's go!

IMG_0582 There is one main street in Giverny...Rue Claude Monet, of course! Just a short walk down from the gardens is the Ancien Hôtel Baudy. Ancien in this case means former. This used to be a hotel where many young American artists came to worship at the feet of Monet, who did not think very highly of them at all. However, he finally relented and permitted his step-daughter to marry one of them !

IMG_0580 Today, it is a very charming restaurant that serves wonderful food. It even looks like a painting, doesn't it? Let's try the eggplant caviar for starters...a yummy spread for the crusty French bread...with a bottle of rosé. Then how about guinea hen with tarragon sauce and crème brulée for dessert? All of my favorites...yum!!

IMG_0568 The restaurant keeps a fabulous secret. In the back are the most beautiful rose gardens that I have ever seen! The customers are allowed to wander freely and explore them at their leisure, so let's take a quick tour! Aren't the roses amazing?...massive bushes full of blooms!

IMG_0571 These steps lead up to a little studio that was used by the Americans who came to stay in Giverny. I think even I could manage to be inspired in this wonderfully charming little village!
We need to hurry now, though. I don't want to miss our last stop!

IMG_0590 Isn't this a quaint little church? Virtually every little village in France has one. This one has something that none of the others have, though. Not many tourists seem to know, so we are here alone. Can you guess what we have come to see?

IMG_0589 Yes, it's Monet's grave. Amazing, isn't it? He loved this little village so much that he spent half of his life here and was buried here alongside the members of his family. No special fuss is made over his grave site. You have to look for it...just a simple headstone in a country church graveyard. Here is the resting place of one of the greatest artists who has ever lived!

IMG_0543 Well...I guess it's time to head back. One good thing about a virtual trip is that there's no jet lag! I don't know about you, but I want to swing by the Japanese bridge one more time before I head home. I'm just going to stay here and gaze at the water lilies for a few moments. Don't wait for me. I'll catch up...

January 1, 2011...A postscript to this post... The year that my ten-year-old grandson and I have been waiting for has arrived at last! This summer we will take the trip to Giverny that we have been planning since he was five when a wonderful art teacher sparked his interest in Monet! I cannot wait to share this experience with him in person! Plane tickets are bought and hotel reservations are made...all we have to do now is show up! Monsieur Monet is waiting for us!
Thanks so much for dropping by! See you next time! A la prochaine!

I am joining Layla at The Lettered Cottage for My Favorite Post of 2010

13 June, 2010

My Shabby Picnic Basket Planter!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter I am excited about my latest project…a planter made from an old picnic basket that has been “antiqued.” It was fun and so easy! I think this may just be my favorite project ever! But if you know me, you know I’m a copy cat…and this time is no exception.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket PlanterAnd here is my inspiration! It is a ceramic planter from FCLstyle…a sister company to Pierre Deux...both of which, sadly, are now defunct. And this basket caught my attention right away! But…being the thrifting addict that I am, I immediately began trying to figure out how to make an inexpensive version. So here it is…

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter First…of course…start with a wicker picnic basket! My Goodwill hunting buddy, Linda at Nina’s Nest, knew I was on the lookout and found this one for me…for only $3.93! Isn’t she a good friend?  Hmmm…I need to do some tweaking. (Notice those three brads holding the strap on the lid. I’ll mention them in a moment.)

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter Sooo… I removed the top and got to work. I cut the straps that were inside (for holding plates, etc.), drilled little holes and folded them over the edge, attaching them through all thicknesses with those brads. Once I was satisfied that this would work, I removed the straps for easier painting.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket PlanterI spray painted with a coat of white primer, a coat of white paint and  then reattached the straps.  Next, I  “antiqued” it by brushing on medium gray craft paint diluted one part paint to two parts water. I wanted it to look old, but not as dark as theirs. A final coat of clear indoor/outdoor sealer will help protect it from the weather. The inside was already lined with plastic…all ready for planting! I simply cut a few little holes for drainage.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter Finally, I added potting soil and begonias! I used moisture control soil because I am hoping that I will need to water less often and extend the life of my planter. And here is the result! What do you think?

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter I love the contrast of the textures and the shades of pink and gray!  And my version only cost about $10 including flowers since I already had most of the things that I needed on hand!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter Now I am going to have a cup of coffee and biscotti on the patio and admire my work! lol I need a little quiet time. I just finished dog-sitting for a week for my daughter’s six (yes…six) dogs! It will be nice not to have twelve eyes watching every bite I take!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter And the staff is too busy chasing bugs and lizards to notice.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT Shabby Picnic Basket Planter Ahhhh! This is the life! I think that breakfast on the patio is my favorite thing about summer! Won’t you join me? it is at the end of the summer...fabulous!  I would say those are some happy begonias! This guy will be part of my summer patio regulars!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please visit these wonderful ladies and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for Today’s Thrifty Treasures
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Laurie at Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for A Few of My Favorite Things Saturday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special...Fav Projects
See you next time! A la prochaine!

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11 June, 2010

A Wonderful Package...or...Thanks, Cathy!

IMG_1986 A wonderful package arrived at my door this morning!  I was so excited because I knew it was from Cathy at Mille Fleur! I was the lucky person who won her 100th post give-away! If you haven’t visited her yet, you are in for a treat! She is a sweet and generous lady with a beautiful blog!

page2 Of course, as soon as it came in the door, the staff had to inspect it! I do appreciate their helpfulness, but finally managed to distract them with the shipping peanuts! Now I can show you what I found inside…

IMG_2001 …all of these beautiful items…all from Anthropologie! Can’t you tell?  It’s as if they were chosen especially for me!

page3 There was a creamy Provençal spice jar for thyme, a tall bottle with an amazing prism stopper and a gorgeous embroidered dishtowel…

page1 …depicting a sweet bird tea party! I love it! The colors are perfect for my kitchen! The towel is already hanging from my stove! (And I dare anyone to use it! lol)

IMG_1995 The pretty French thyme jar has found a place with my blue and white Spode plates!

IMG_2005 And my little wheels are already turning for the beautiful bottle! I am now on the hunt for white buttons to fill it! It will join the vintage silver on my buffet! Have you ever seen a more beautiful collection of goodies? I am so excited! And that is not all…I also won a $40 gift certificate from CSN. I’m still working on how to spend it! Thank you so much, Cathy! You are one special lady…with fabulous taste, I might add! Be sure to visit her beautiful blog Mille Fleur to see more!
 I continue to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of my fellow bloggers! I count all of you among my blessings. Who knew that blogging could open up such a wonderful world filled with such amazing people? Thanks for the smiles that you bring daily!