Monday, April 30, 2012

my life looks like this right now…


No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still here, and yes, I’m dying to start writing posts again, but right now, I’m buried under an avalanche of final details for the Loyola Guild Installation Lunch. It’s crunch time and tomorrow I turn in the final head count to the Del Paso Country Club. The big day is Wednesday!

In the meantime, I’ve been busy adding my French Country details to the event.


Here’s one of my projects that I’ve finished: I made little party favors for all the guests out of (guess what?) peat moss containers! I’ll post the DIY directions and the finished party favor shortly.

I’ve also finished making my chalkboard “Reserved” sign out of poster board and paint sprayed frames…



After your chalkboard paint dries, don’t forget to rub chalk on it before you use it.

Here’s a photo of my unfinished clothespins in the process of being decorated. I’ll use these to hold the paper and small gift that will be given to each Board member. To decorate the clothespins, I used vintage music sheets and pretty paper.


Wait to you see how cute they turned out with a few added embellishments!


And I love the fabric that I found for the overlays. It’s a beautiful blue toile.

Tuesday I pick up the flowers for the centerpieces. I can’t wait. I’ve had fun trying to decide on the flowers for the vintage flower box that I made. Remember this DIY tutorial?


Although I was slightly bummed when I realized that Hydrangeas don’t do well in floral foam, because it meant a change in plans; now I’ll use Mums instead.


But I love the Bells of Ireland in this photo, and I’m definitely putting these in the arrangement…I’ll show you how I make the centerpieces, don’t forget to check back.

In the meantime, if all this wasn’t enough, tomorrow night I host the final Box Club meeting of the school year. Do you know what a Box Club is? It’s a group of mothers who get together once a month to put a goody box together for our college kids. Each month a mother will host it at her home, and serve a salad and a glass of wine while we catch up on all the latest news. Everyone brings an item to contribute to the boxes. It’s been such wonderful experience, although I have to admit, the timing is a bit crazy for me this month.

But I’ll take some photos and let you know how it goes.

Right now, I’m falling asleep as I write this. Forgive any typos you might see…

More Later,



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the perfect Mother’s Day table runner…


I saw this photo on the Ruffled Blog and I immediately thought of Mother’s Day. Are you planning a special family gathering for your Mom? Or maybe it’s YOU, who’ll be the special mother who gets lavished with attention and a great meal on Mother’s Day? I certainly hope so.

In any case, I thought I’d share this DIY idea with you because it’s so sentimental. In fact, I wish I had come up with this idea. The instructions are pretty easy. You simply determine how long you want your table runner to be, and then you cut a strip of muslin fabric to lay down the center of your table. Muslin is inexpensive fabric that you can get at your craft store.

The table runner in this photo used about 160 photos; there were sixty photos which were re-copied.


According to the instructions, you begin at the end of the fabric with a hot glue gun and your photos. You dabble a little glue on the corners of the photos, overlapping them as you move to the center. Because you’re repeating these photos, it’s okay if some of the image gets covered.

Once you complete one side of the fabric, you go to the opposite end and begin gluing. Eventually you end up in the middle of your table runner, where you can choose your photos wisely.

Here’s the link if you would like to read more about these instructions. Even though this idea was originally for a wedding, I think it would be a lovely idea for a Mother’s Day luncheon, an anniversary dinner party or a special milestone birthday party.

What do you think? Would you ever try this idea?





Monday, April 23, 2012

Savor: my Monday muse word


This past weekend Mr. Moss and I did something we never do: on a whim, we threw our bags into the car and headed for an impromptu overnight stay in San Francisco for some quality couple time. We checked into our hotel and like giddy teenagers, we headed out into the sunny, ocean-air with absolutely nothing planned.

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We walked and shopped and held hands and simply hung out. And the best part, was that I didn’t worry (well, maybe a little) about the boys. Although, it does help that our ‘boys’ happen to be six-foot guys now, with busy lives of their own, but this is still new to us, this sudden realization of being a couple again.

And the glimpse of a new horizon that lies ahead where these kinds of romantic trips are possible.

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We discovered a wine bar next to Market street, where we sat and talked about the Buddha’s meaning of impermanence, and pondered the history of the city, the idea of moving, and ate truffle French fries. And when we walked back out into the sun, my cell phone rang and it was Patrick excitedly telling us that he and his college room-mates had found a new place to live for the next school year. So I handed the phone to his Dad, for a brief discussion of finances. And a few minutes later, Michael called to tell us he was going to see a movie with friends, and yes, Mom, Stella, (our mischievous puppy), was fine.

And I felt my old-motherly-worry-wart self being soothed. And this feeling felt luxurious.

So that all of a sudden, I could hear every word that Mr. Moss spoke, in the same the way that you hear somebody in the middle of a hushed chapel. Only instead of somber words, I heard my own laughter, because Mr. Moss happens to be the funniest man that I know.

And I savored this happy moment.

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Not because we are any perfect couple, God knows that doesn’t exist. But after twenty-five years together, our imperfections seem like a leathery, well constructed shoe. And those worn scuff marks that have come about from difficult times and immaturity, and arguments have only added to the value of our years together as a couple.

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And what’s truly astonishing—if you think about it-- is that when there’s no one else around, and no kid worries, or loud TV, or work stresses, or household bills to discuss, I realize that my husband is still THE person that I want to hang out with, on a day of glorious freedom in San Francisco. And his perspective is still the one I want to explore after a whirl-wind day of living, because his opinions still intrigue me and comfort me.

Yes, during this weekend I had many small moments to savor.

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We had wonderful food.

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And I had time to read my book in the car. And catch up on small, chit-chat with Jim.

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I felt lucky that the kids were safe and happily busy.

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And that I had quiet moments to reflect and be grateful for everything I have.

But the interesting thing about this overnight trip was that I didn’t actually want to go. No, I was thinking of all the things that I needed to get done, and I knew that the weekend presented a productive chunk of time to finish some work that we both had, but I listened to Mr. Moss.

And I heard his need for some relaxation. So I went along with my classic resigned look and my pouty, protruding lower lip, and I’m so glad I did. Because all we really have are moments, precious moments.



So tell me, which small moments did you savor this weekend?











Friday, April 20, 2012

simple compassion

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This little story has a happy ending.

Last Saturday evening, Patrick headed out our front door for a quick trip to the grocery store. He was returning to San Luis Obispo the next day, and wanted to pick up a few staples while at home. Typical college-guy favorites that disappear fast, peanut butter, ketchup, power bars, a few of those things. And because Michael was out with friends, our plan was to grab some sushi and meet Patrick back at home for a casual dinner. We headed to the restaurant to pick up the food, while he went shopping.

Only, when we returned, he still wasn’t home. We set the food in the kitchen and expected him to walk in the door at any moment. But he didn’t arrive. Instead, the phone rang sometime later and Mr. Moss answered.

It was Patrick. I heard his Dad quietly ask into the phone, “Ok. Is there anything I can do to help?” And seconds later, he hung up. Evidently, before Patrick could make it to the grocery store, he had spotted an injured fawn on the side of the street. It was young, maybe seven months old and it had been hit by a car. The driver never stopped.

Amazingly, the fawn appeared to be in stable condition, although it was clearly in shock.

Patrick had called to let us know that he was still waiting--along with several other kind folks--for the owner of Kindred Spirits, a Fawn Rescue organization to show up and tend to this newly orphaned deer. The woman was on her way, however it would be a 30 minute drive from her home.


Yes, it turns out that there are angels among us, volunteers and trained veterinarians who nurture, feed, and medically care for these fragile, orphaned fawns who are left alone in the world due to human interference. Only, I learned that fawns are delicate creatures, and they require a special diet for survival, so that the average animal lover cannot care for them despite their best intentions.


I never knew about Kindred Spirits, but it’s a non-profit, volunteer based organization dedicated to answering over 800 calls each season by people who stop to help, and don’t know what to do next. It’s an organization led by someone who would travel 30 minutes at the drop of a hat, on a weekend night to pick up an injured, scared fawn.

I’m in awe of the sheer kindness of somebody like that.

Don’t you need to hear a story like this? Because every day we hear the other ones; ugly stories about people hurting other people, and it’s easy to forget those quiet acts of compassion that are happening all around us, by normal people, like you and me.

It’s the type of kindness that emerges suddenly on a suburban street and is transformed into action when onlookers stop just “looking,” and pull their cars off the road when they see a vulnerable animal all alone and bleeding.

It’s the type of kindness exemplified by people who refuse to leave the scene until a rescue plan is arranged.

And it is the kind of compassion that we see in the trained volunteers who will respond to a sick, or injured animal with tender treatments.


Personally, I was touched, that on Saturday night during spring break, my busy nineteen year old would suddenly skip his favorite dinner and wait patiently on the side of a dark street with an assortment of strangers, in order to take care of an injured animal.

Somehow it feels reassuring to know that compassion is such a quiet, steady force in the world, and that there are people who will halt their own lives for a brief time. Because they care.

I think we’ve all experienced that one moment, when we think about pulling over to help. I know I have. Sometimes we might hesitate and the opportunity quickly passes. And thankfully other times, we take action, step up, and extend ourselves—and we’re immediately rewarded by our own glowing satisfaction.

A happy ending

Oh, by the way, the fawn had no broken bones. She was treated by antibiotics and according to Diane, the wildlife handler, by late Sunday she was acting playful.


Here is a photo of the actual fawn being released back into the wild. One quick look back at the owner of Kindred Spirits, who cared for it, before it hopped merrily away.

A ‘thank you’ glance, maybe?

What do you think?

Thank YOU for reading this today,

Have a wonderful weekend,


( A Special thanks to Diane Nicholas, director of Kindred Spirits for the photos and the follow-up call.)

Monday, April 16, 2012

It’s all in the details: garden parties

Hello friends. This past weekend the sun finally came out and blessed us with glorious weather. And not only did it lift my spirits, but it reminded me of all those exciting possibilities ahead for the approaching summer. I’m talking about outdoor entertaining, of course.


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And I’m not the only one with garden parties on my mind because this past weekend, I had lots of visitors coming to my site for garden party ideas. So today I thought I’d  share some pretty details for your next soiree under the trees. Here’s one creative idea. In this photo above, moss is used on the table to add texture and rich color tucked beneath this classic looking centerpiece. I love the urns, don’t you?

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Here’s a photo with more bright green moss on the table…


And here moss is used in a more dramatic way, wrapped around the entire centerpiece. I think this works well with the muted colors of this floral arrangement. Do you like it?


But you can also use fabric to accentuate brighter flowers. Here a piece of fabric is simply tied around a pot of lavender hydrangeas.


Or, if you prefer to use inexpensive mason jars for your centerpieces, one way to dress up your flowers is by adding ribbon. Here, ribbon is added to the bouquet before it goes into the jar to take advantage of the contrasting jar color. What a wonderful detail.


Here’s a large clear jar with a more rustic touch: it’s wrapped with a natural twine .


When you’re entertaining outdoors, it gives you a chance to add touches of nature to your table. Adding sprigs of greenery to your candles is one way.


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But candles en mass are dramatic enough when you’re dining under the stars. Look how simple and pretty these white candles look on a plain runner.


And I love this idea. Stringing lights from a large tree helps to create a cozy outdoor room...

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or, hanging lanterns over your head achieves the same effect. Which one do you prefer?


Do you need a quick, impromptu centerpiece for a casual dinner party on your patio? What about using a collection of bottles to showcase your favorite flower?

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This is a novel idea. Flowers in the air.

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There’s visual drama created whenever you make one flower dominant in your centerpiece. Find out which flowers are in abundance in your area (they will also be cheaper) and achieve this look. And don’t you love the single flower at each place setting?

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Garden dinner parties are a wonderful chance to use natural elements for your place cards. I like these succulents  used here, as a placecard and a party favor for your guests to take home.

Simple rocks are easy place cards, you just need to select rocks and a paint pen.


Here’s a photo of a place card from my own garden-themed dinner party using small clay pots. You can see how I made it HERE.

Still undecided about your table?

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Grab an old watering can.

Or gather a few baskets and candles…and cluster them on an old tray.


Or for an easy DIY centerpiece, how about fruit and greenery simply laid down the center of your table?

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Remember in the end…it’s all about spending quality time with your friends and family. Laughing. Sharing stories. Enjoying a glass of wine. If you can add a little beauty to your table with a few flowers and candles, great. But don’t stress.

Well friends, I hope I’ve given you a few DIY tablescape ideas for your next outdoor gathering.

Let me know if you try something from this post, I’d love to hear how it turned out. The next time I’ll be sharing some ideas on the subject of table linens for your garden dinner parties. Until then, you can check out how nice burlap looks when it’s used as a table covering in this POST. 

Thank you so much for stopping by,

Bye for now,



Friday, April 13, 2012

DIY: A French vintage flower box

RusticEleganceShoot7via style me pretty

Hello friends. If you’ve been following my posts you probably know that I’m chairing a luncheon for the Loyola Guild in a few weeks. I’ve chosen a French Country theme and I’ll give you more details soon, but I finally decided on my centerpiece and I thought I would share it with all of you. If you’re a DIY-er …you’ll love this project.

The photo above was my inspiration. After I saw this picture, I decided that I wanted to have vintage-looking flower boxes for my centerpieces, but when I went to my wholesale floral connection, the only wooden boxes they sold were $4.99 each (and that’s the small version) and I needed twelve. Here’s what they looked like:


Unfortunately, this was too expensive for my budget, plus, they were a nice stained brown, but I wanted to add color to my tables. So I purchased one, took it over to my Dad, who is my master builder-of-all-things, and he took one look and said, “I could do this, no problem.”

I know. I sure wish I could tell you how to make one, but that’s for another post. I am happy to say that for a grand total of twenty-one dollars, he made twelve boxes which looked like this:


Today I’ll show you how to transform this plain box into a vintage looking flower box that would be perfect for the rustic elegance of a garden wedding, or a French Country event.

First, I took some soft taupe-colored paint that I had in my garage from a leftover project. And I grabbed some black craft paint. I blended these colors until I got a faded gray and I applied it on the box.


I like to use whatever paint is on hand and I don’t mind mixing paints to find that “perfect” color. Because I was trying to achieve a weathered paint effect, I would dip my brush into the paint while it was wet and add more or less color. This helps the box appear to have layers of paint. For that authentic rustic paint effect, adding layers is key.


This is what the boxes looked like after the taupe and black base. Some of you might stop here if you like that faded, gray look. This color looks fantastic with black lettering. You could stencil a word or phase on the box and then sand it, for a custom event. Don’t you think that would look wonderful? And very similar to my inspiration photo.

But I decided to add more color.


So I grabbed a bright green and added some black to tone it down. Only I found the green to be too bright, even after I added black.


So I added one more layer. I used a dry brush. Dipped it in my ‘gray’ mix. Patted the excess on newspaper and lightly brushed it over the green-toned box once it had dried completely.  And these are the finished boxes. Don’t they look old? And they actually look tinged with more grayish-blue in real life, which I love.

But I still wasn’t finished.

I found this vintage French label at The Graphics Fairy which I thought would go perfectly with the color of my table linens. (More on this later)


So I printed out the labels in color and dipped them in coffee to age them. And here’s what they looked like afterwards. Some folks like to use the sepia ink pad to age paper, but I think using coffee look more authentic.


Next, I grabbed my blow dryer and once they were all dry, I simply used Mod Podge to apply them on the surface of my boxes.


I’m not an expert on decoupage, but here’s what I learned after doing this twelve times. Completely cover the entire surface with a nice layer of Mod Podge. Position your label and press down, taking time to smooth out the air bubbles. Move your dry fingers from the center.

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Next, I completely covered the label again with the white, sticky Mod Podge. But beware, air bubbles happen again at this stage. With your now wet fingers, carefully press the big air bubbles out so that your surface looks smoother. Do not touch the tacky surface once it begins to dry or you will risk tearing your paper. When it looks almost dried, (test it first) you will be able to press out the remaining bubbles.

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How do you like my flower boxes?

I wish you could see these with flowers inside, but I just couldn’t wait to show you this project. You’ll have to stay tuned to see my finished tables at the event.  I think you’ll really like them, and I’ll take lots of photos, I promise.

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And if you have any questions…just drop me a line!

Bye for now,