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February 27, 2013

the heartbeat of our family

Today is my beautiful mom's birthday.  She truly is the heartbeat of our family.  She is the glue, the love and the tie that binds.

It is so easy for me to say wonderful things about her and difficult for her to hear...and accept.

I will get an earful for this post from her, trust me.

She is my cheerleader and my counselor...

my conscience and my defender.

She taught me how to love my children unconditionally by loving me that way even when I was less than lovable.

She is not perfect, She cannot keep a secret and her political beliefs are questionable.

But here on earth, she is my rock , my compass and my security.  Other than my heavenly Father, she sees past my faults like no other.  She thinks I am Martha Stewart and Mr. Green Jeans rolled into one. 

I cannot even begin to imagine my life without her.  My mind cannot even begin to go there.

I love you mom.  These kind words about you are true and worth the scolding I will get from you later.

xo, Patty

I made this canvas for her birthday.  Each heart represents one of her five children and their children and their children...  I will share more on it later.

February 26, 2013

Photography 101

I love my camera!  I have always loved taking pictures but now I love my camera.  Taking Cynthia Shaffer's Photography 101 class was such an eye opening experience.

Getting to know what my camera is capable of doing and what all those buttons are for, has changed my picture taking life forever.  When I say getting to know, I mean just starting to get to know, just touching the tip of the iceberg getting to know, there is so much to learn getting to know.

I have switched my little baby off that green dial forever.  We are full on manual and I am loving it. 

The number of bad shots is still outweighing the good shots but the fact that I have control of the the look of the photo makes it totally worth it.

Being in class...for me having the great fortune to be in Cynthia Shaffer's class...made all the difference in the world.  I have tried to read my user manual and even checked out DSLR photography for dummies and only came away more confused. 

But sitting in a room with a professional explaining what aperture (which is actually F Stop, I know, who knew) shutter speed and ISO are and how to adjust them for the circumstances and then taking shots inside and outside in varying conditions was so exciting.

I look at my surroundings totally different now.  I see photo opportunities in places I would have just walked right by before.  Old grates, rusty hinges, stacks of bricks, old buildings even street signs are all fair game for picture taking.

I guess you can tell that I loved my class on Saturday and I highly recommend it to anyone who is still shooting in automatic or even semi automatic mode.  Even if you are already shooting in the manual mode I am sure you would take away a lot of nuances that I missed just trying to absorb the basics.

I questioned why I needed to take the leap and switch off that green auto button, my photos were just fine for what I was doing.  If you are at all wondering the same thing, I say...GO.FOR.IT.

Find a class, fork out the money.  It will totally be worth every penny.

xo, Patty

February 22, 2013

thrift store score

I had a good day at the thrift store last week.  I was just popping in to see what bags of crafty goodness they might have and I hit the mother lode!

I've told you before that one of my local thrift stores has a section of bagged up threads, beads, zippers and lace.  It is a hit or miss kind of thing and you really need to bend down and move some things around.  I am such a wimpy thrifter and digging through piles of dusty junk is not my favorite thing to do but this section has produced such gems that it is totally worth it.

Most of the bags are marked $3.95 no matter what is in them.  Remember my amazing bag of embroidery threads?...$3.95 and my bag of 108 zippers?...$3.95.

Now add to that list my ginormous bag of lace.

Believe it or not I almost set this bag back down.  It didn't look that promising when I first spied it.  It had a few zippers and some old elastic tucked in it.  In fact, if it wasn't for this luscious vintage sheet I found for $2.00 and was going to wait in line to pay for anyway, I might very well have walked out without all this loveliness.

Thirty different cuts of lace and most of the lengths are pretty substantial.  A few over 10 yards long!  Okay, am I the only one excited about this score?

Now my A.D.D. crafters mind is reeling with the possibilities!

On another note, I used my Christmas money to sign up for this photography class.  You will find me this Saturday at the Crescendoh Studios in Santa Ana trying to figure out how to really use my big girl camera.  It sounded like such a good idea at the time but now I am wondering how much this old girls brain can really absorb.  I will let you know on Monday...by then the smoke should be done coming out of my ears!

Have a wonderful weekend.

xo, Patty

February 20, 2013

the rest of the room

Thank you for all the kind comments on my cozy little corner.  It seems there is a color revolution going on out there.  It's nice to finally be in a place that following the latest fads doesn't have to over power what we love.

Being inspired by talented designers is great but but don't you think that sometimes trends change just for the sake of getting us to buy new stuff.  For me the balance comes in incorporating one or two new accents without replacing everything that is dear to me.

Right now it seems everywhere I turn there are so many adorable owls. It would be easy to snatch them up and place them all around the cottage but I am ever conscious not to let trends and cuteness make my main living spaces become themed out by what's in.  (Of course, if owls are your thing and they always have been then surround yourself with them.  It should always be first and foremost about what brings you joy in your space.)

I have allowed myself two owls (and trust me it was with great restraint that I allowed only two) one here in the living room and a gorgeous owl vase in the dining room.  They were in the colors I love and they just seemed to fit where I placed them.

Everything else is pretty classically me.  The pops of colors in the pillows...the large orange pillow is actually a removable pillow case that I made out of a vintage sheet.  I used buttons to close it up so that I can easily toss it into the washing machine every couple of weeks as it becomes soiled. This is our only sofa and it get used every single day.  People are going to need a place to lay their head, so having one removable pillow case made perfect sense.

The small red crate on the coffee table was from Home Goods and it holds all our remotes.  It originally came with three dividers but I removed one so that it would better suit my purpose.

The TV stand is actually a repurposed bench from out back.  My husband added the shelf underneath to hold the cable box and VCR and I painted it Martha Stewart Cornbread yellow.

You've seen my favorite corner before but directly across from it is my other favorite spot.  This old leather chair is where I sit to have my morning quiet time.  It is also one of Bear's favorite napping places as you can see.

 Since this is a working living room there is also a spot for toys.  I promise I edit it down to the one large wicker basket regularly, but another tote always makes it's way into this corner somehow.

One of the comments I get quite often is that our home looks like a real family lives here.  I love that.  Marrying pretty with function is very important to me.  My goal is for you to walk into our cottage and know it is mine, to ask for a cup of coffee and to curl up and stay a while.

Thanks for stopping by.  I always enjoy our visits.  Come back again real soon!

xo, Patty

February 18, 2013

my little corner

This little corner in our living room makes me happy.  There is no other way to put it.  It flat out makes me happy.  I think it represents me better than any area of our home.

I made up my mind when I started this living room spruce up that I wouldn't let anyone influence my color choices and only decorate with things I love.

If I want to put aqua blue ball jars in a chippy old box and place them next to a vibrant cobalt blue and bright orange potted plant then I will...because it makes me happy.

If painting an old upright lamp sunshine yellow and placing a new turquoise geometric shade on it floats my boat then so be it.

If I want to turn the challenge of a gifted (read hand me down) plaid chair into the most comfortable reading corner around by throwing a colorful quilt over it, then I did it.

If I feel inspired to throw in some mismatched handmade pillows just to infuse even more color and comfort that's fine, too.

You see this is my little reading corner in my little house.  It isn't my moms or my sisters or my friends or that stylish bloggers...it's mine.  It's where I go to retreat from the world, it's where I go to relax and unwind, it's where I go to read to my grandchildren, it's where I go to ponder things great and small.

I'm calling it Bohemian Cottage and I find it creeping into the rest of the living room as well.  It's happy and cozy and hard to mess up.  It offers grace when there are toys and blankets strewn about and the books are stacked high.  It allows room for an impulse buy at the flea market knowing I can make it work in here somewhere.

What about you?  What decorating style makes you happy?  I know we need to take our families into consideration when we decorate but do you have a spot in your home that is decorated just for you?

xo, Patty

I'm joining Brenda over at Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday and Dawn at Creative Cain Cabin...

February 17, 2013

flea market finds

It feels a little anti climatic after showing you all that flea market loveliness to make a "ta...dah" moment of my flea market finds but I went knowing what I was looking for and gorgeous painted furniture and pretty Pyrex was not part of the plan or budget.

What I was looking for where a few old worn chippy storage pieces preferably in blue.  

These pieces couldn't be more perfect for what I had in mind.  They have all been given their new home and purpose around the cottage, marrying function with the style I was after.

I find going to thrift stores and flea markets with an idea of what function, color or style you want helps to avoid most impulse buys when you're presented with sensory overload and that feeling of I want it all.

You notice I said most impulse buys...not all.

After all, not knowing what treasure is just around the corner is part of the thrill, isn't it?

I'll be back tomorrow to begin showing you just how I used this chippy goodness.  Have a wonderful Sunday (the sun is shining brightly here)!

xo, Patty

February 15, 2013

the flea market

I ventured out to the Rose Bowl flea market last Sunday and all I can say is Holy Moley!  What a sensory overload of good stuff.

My sister in law is an old pro at it so she was my tour guide.  She showed me all her favorite vendors and kind of let me wander and gape to my hearts content.

There was just so much to take in.  I went with a limited amount of cash and I knew when it was gone, it was gone.

I think I spent 90 % of my money on the first four rows and clutched the other 10% for dear life just in case I saw some thing I just had to have a little further along.

I actually spent the last two dollars in my pocket as we were heading toward the exit!  Next time, (and there will most certainly be a next time very soon)

I. need. to. pace. myself.

That being said, I just love what I bought.  Not even a bit of buyers remorse...

I left plenty of great stuff behind for the next time, too. (wink, wink)

You'll have to wait till tomorrow to see what I brought home.

Do you have any great flea markets in your neck of the woods?  Are they worth a road trip from Southern California?

xo, Patty

btw...I will have a few of the bunting banner kits for sale, I'm just not sure how many.  If you would like one, send me and email and I will add you to the list.  lemonlanecottage@yahoo.com