Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween! Hopefully ghosts, goblins and ghouls will be in full form tonight.

For me this is a new thing. Until my husband and I married 5 years ago, I'd never celebrated Halloween.

When my husband learned I'd never dressed up, trick-or-treated or carved a pumpkin he set about to remedy that. My first pumpkin carving was in 2005. I had so much fun. This (pumpkin on left) was my first attempt.

That year we also dressed up Sgt. Major as ... a Handome Devil! Obviouly that first year he wasn't happy, but he got used to it when he realized he got more treats ... no tricks!

This was last year, Halloween 2007. Much better participation!

This year will will hand out candy, but we are spending the day at the hosptial with my FIL (story on other blog), but we did attend the Texas Ren. Festival last weekend and I found a drunk pumpkin and thought my cottage visitors would love to see him! Click on the picture to see his droopy eyes! I loved it!

Until our next visit ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photographic Florals

I love everything rose ... some of my first projects as a photography student were of roses. No matter how many times I've photographed these beutiful flowers, I never seem to get tired of it. In fact, some have been featured in gallery showings and the installation newspaper. Many of my teacups have roses too, but that is a story for another post.

Today I want to share some of my floral photography. There are a variety of gardens and such near the installation that I visit. I haven't been but plan to visit the American Rose Society Rose Garden in Shreveport, LA. But until then, here is one of my favorites ...

This is a photograph of roses that my husband got me for my 29th birthday (or as I like to say the 7th anniversary of my 22nd birthday!)

I changed them a little using Photoshop, as you can see here, there are actually red. Ah, but I do love pink ...

More of my natural photography can be seen here and here.

Remember to take time to smell the roses!

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Join me for a cup of tea ... part 2

Welcome to another Saturday tea. Please pull up a seat, help yourself to a treat, and lets chat.

This week I will tell you the story of when I started my tea cup collection. Though I previously had two cups and saucers, it was not a collection yet.

We left off the summer of 2002. Actually, let me back up a few months.

At the beginning of 2002 my mother asked me to accompany her for a quilt show/convention where she spends about 48 weeks a year for her company, Bear Thread Designs. So I packed my stack of internship application and a weekend bag and headed to Cleveland.

I was anxious about getting a journalism or PR internship for the summer, so I would still be able to work a paying job during the school year. As fate would have it, sitting next to me on the flight was a VP of Marketing for a Home Improvement Loan Company. She noticed me filling out the applications and after talking for nearly the entire trip she offered me a position as a PR intern, which led me to spending a summer in North Carolina.

So five months later, I moved into a house Cary, NC, with 3 others who were students at the local North Carolina University. We got along well. One day, a few weeks before I returned home to Houston, I went shopping with one of my roommates, Holly, at a Tuesday Morning. I found this tea set with raised pink roses and it took little prodding from her for me to purchase it. It includes teapot with lid, sugar and creamer with lid, four tea cups, four saucers and four dessert plates.

I was so excited to get it back home and display it in my next apartment. Even now, it is one of the first things I unpack when we get to a new home.

Until our next visit ...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stitching my way to sanity ...

There is always so much going on in my world that it is often hard to keep it straight ... hence my saving grace ... my planner. I'm still working old school with a paperplanner, but I've tried digital and could never remember to charge it. On top of that there was always so much paperwork and little notes that changing my "color coordinated sticky note system" for a more techinical one just made me more stressed.

But as much as I rely on my planner, it is really my stitching and craft projects that keep me from screaming to the top of my lungs after a hectic day. I work on a variety of projects (wat until I post the list of projects to be finished!) This keeps me from getting bored and I can find a project to cater to my mood.

My favorite project of late has been a spring table topper with daisies.

I loved it when I saw it in the catolog three years ago ... I had to have it. It took me a few months to get started since I wanted to get some projects finished and I was starting my master's at the time. But once I did, I loved it even more than I first did.

The daisies wrap around the entire topper. I was so in love with it, I decided I wanted to do napkins, pothold and breadcloth. I got the breadcloth finished, but have decided to finish the topper before I get to the napkins and potholder. I can't wait though. I did a few more flowers when in Houston, but am only about half done. I promise to post pictures as I go along, but in the meantime, here is the finished breadcloth.

Until our next visit ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Join me for a cup of tea ... part 1

Thank you for visiting my little cottage. I think it is time to introduce you to my collection, each with its own precious memory. Each week I will introduce a new piece, in the order I acquired them. I am so proud of them and can't wait to show them off. Have a seat and let me start from the beginning ...

Growing up I loved to look at my maternal grandmother's tea cup collection, from afar of course. I only got to see them when I'd visit my mom after my parent's divorce, so it was special for me.

She kept them on top of the china cabinet, but there was a silver tea set that sat out on the coffee table, probably because it was unbreakable (trust me I dropped it a few times.) My grandmother wasn't a "high class socialite" but she is a firm believer in perfect manners, being polite and getting the most from your education.

I always wanted to start my own collection one day. Something to pass along to my children, along with the stories and memories.

Growing up in my father's house with 11 siblings offered little chance of getting new toys, much less working on a collection such as tea cups or tea sets. I understood, but still maintained that one day I would have one.

My first tea cups (above) I bought as a senior in high school in 1995. I bought them out of a Christmas catalog, you know the one with the chocolate covered fruits and nuts. When they arrived, I was so excited. I unwrapped them an put them on the top shelf above my desk, which was pretty safe at the time as I finally had my own room.

When I left for college I carefully packaged them up and transported them with care to my new home with my mom. At the time she and my stepfather were building their new home so we lived in a makeshift house in "the barn" which is actually a well insulated metal building that is now the warehouse for her supply quilting company. At the time it was like living in a huge loft with makeshift walls from heavy bookcases and furniture. There they sat on my tiny bookshelf reminding me of what I hoped to one day create, as I finished my first degree.

I pursued a second degree and when I left my mother's home for college, I again packed them with care carried them to their new home. Each summer carefully packing them away until the next school year where they'd be one of the first things unpacked and placed in a place of honor. It wasn't until the summer of 2002 when I'd be able to add to these pieces.

Until our next visit ...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Childhood Treasures Found

I was cleaning the laundry room today and found a stack of old picture frames at the top of the cabinet and I found two very exciting treasures.

The first (left) is a framed cross stitch piece that my great greatgrandmother stitched, I wish I knew the year.

My mom had it stuff in some box for a while and when I was just beginning college (and defining my stitching and decorating style) I found it and convinced her to give it to me. I framed it in some cheap Wal-Mart frame to prevent it from getting any further damage.

I loved the colors. It reads, When St. Peter announces "It's time to go," I say "Please let me finish, just one more row."

I was very lucky in the fact that my great grandmother was alive until I was 26 years old. So got to spend a lot of years with her. She was a large part of my love of crafts and stitching. She made us all sorts of things when we were young, from stuffed animals to children's purse to doll clothes. Her main projects were crocheting and sewing, though she did some stitching. She only made one quilt that we know of, it was a child sized one made for me from my baby clothes and favorite clothing pieces of my mother and grandmother's. I brought it to her funeral 5 years ago and my mom took it home. I'm still trying to get it back, but I digress.

The second was a framed collage of pictures of my brother Mark and I (he's the only one who shares both of the same parents in my group of 12 siblings, the rest are half-siblings or step.) I absolutely loved it! We were so young.

My plan is to take both the the Arts and Crafts Center on post and have then re-framed in archival matts and frames to protect them more. I'm thinking I may look for some more pics and do one for my brother and sister-in-law as a Christmas present. I'll be sure to post pictures when I get them completed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Enjoying a Cup of Tea ...

This is the renewal of my second blog, sadly deleted when I was unable to keep up with it. The first, A Cup of Tea with Friends, is a journal of my life as a military wife ... the good, the bad and the ugly. But no matter how bad it gets I can always escape life in my haven ... my home.

I am first and foremost a teacup collector. My interest started as a child when I would play with my grandmother's silver teaset and pretend I was a Spanish Princess in a faraway land. It is a title that I have continue to hang on to even as an adult to remind myself of those treasured memories. There will be more in my collection later, but let me tell you a little more about me.

I love decorating and re-decorating my home, much to my husband's dismay. To avoid conflict, most of the re-decorating is done when he is deployed, so when he gets home it's done and for the most part he likes it. He's just not a fan of the transitional period.

Before we met, 8 years ago, I was in college and I had dreams of creating a home with richly-colored fabrics, dark wood and elegant furniture and original artwork. Even as a college student I had saved my pennies and slowly began aquiring the furniture and fabrics that I had envisioned. It could also be seen in my photography ... I studied photography as a second major in college and I leaned towards photographing Southern antebellum (pre-war south.) I grew up in the shadow of old Southern plantations and dreamed of recreating that in my own home one day.

However, George liked a more comfy, well-worn furniture, southwestern style feel of things ... hmm ... how do you combine those two ways of life?

After much thought, I settled on my second favorite style, Romantic Cottage. It combines my love of colorful fabrics and textures, with his need for comfort. So as my new goal of creating a home for "us" versus "me" unfolds, I look forward to find inspiration and sharing ideas with others.