Break time, y’all!

Hi!

I’m sorry I disappeared!  Hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and everything!  Life here at Parkhaven got pretty busy for a while- we traveled to Texas to visit family, I finished a painting for a contest, sang, sang, sang at church all through the Advent and Christmas seasons, and I was sick with a cold for three weeks (and still managed to sing and paint through some of it!).

I wish I could say that I’ll be more active here now that things have quieted down, but alas, that won’t be the case.  I’ve decided that I need to work on other things (my long unfinished horse sculpture, for instance!) and that I will not have the time to make new inventory for my Etsy shop for a while, or blog about house projects.

So… yeah, I’m afraid the crickets are going to start chirping around these parts again!   But when the time is ripe I’ll draw the curtains, open the windows and perhaps there’ll be some bright things blooming around these parts again.

spring shoots

:)

A Farewell to Flowers

Farewell to my flowers, asleep until spring.

bare ground

(They bit the dust at our first frost this week.)

Though February’s primrose is once more opening.

primrose

(It looked near dead all summer; I’m amazed!)

Be grateful that birds still grace your tree,

birds

(Year-round Chickadees… and winter Juncos!)

And learn to be cozy, like the little kitty.

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(Nobody can be *as* cozy as the kitty. She is one with the blanket…!)

Keep warm, y’all!

:)

Sounds Sweet

Buongiorno!

I love my church choir.  My parish is a special place, and being part of the music ministry has really helped me to feel at home in my “new” town and it has helped me to make friends.  But moreover, we get to sing really, really pretty music to worship the Lord!  I’ve never sang so much Latin in my life, and it’s a lovely thing (though we do plenty of English songs as well).

I had the chance to put on my party organizing hat this week as I was recently named the “Grand Party Poobah” of my church choir.  It was our wonderful choir director’s birthday this week (today, actually…  Happy Birthday, Kristin!), so the choir got together to throw her a little surprise party after practice.  She and others from our parish just returned from a pilgrimage to Italy the other week, so for something sweet, I decided tiramisu would be fun, in lieu of cake.

I had never made tiramisu before- kind of crazy of me to tackle an unknown to serve a good-sized group- but it seemed pretty straightforward.  It was, although the steps took a little longer than I thought they would, and I was on my own!  In case you are curious, I followed this video recipe by chef Tony Scarpati, only first I pasteurized the eggs using this method, and I did not add as much Bailey’s as he did- just 1/2 of a tablespoon, for flavor:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL6LW6YWbBY

I was very happy with how my egg whites turned out- the fluffiest I’ve ever made them!

egg whites

The Dahlias, from my yard, were for Kristin. I’m amazed I still have some flowers growing!

These are the yolks (+sugar) before they were fluffy.  The yolks need to be fluffy too!

egg yolks

Just a little more beating left to go. When I stopped and they looked more stiff, I knew they were ready!

Assembling everything (I used Trader Joe’s Lady Fingers… they were French, not Italian, so I had to bake them a little to dry them out.  If you can find Italian Lady Fingers [Savoiardi] go with those!):

tiramisu in progress

Mmm… made with Mascarpone! One of my new, favorite cheeses.  Oh, and I added a little more coca inside….

All done, and marked with a K!  I made a little stencil, shook the coca powder on, then pulled it off.

tiramisu

Dark chocolate curls on top, of course!

Some quick tips, if you are inspired to make this tiramisu yourself:

Two beaters/mixers really do help!

I waited to fold the egg whites & yolks together until I was done beating the yolks (using one mixer) and by that time, the egg whites had broken down a little.  If you can mix them simultaneously, then fold, I think it would work better.

Unless you have a *lot* of volume when your cream is all mixed, skip the bottom layer of cream.  I saw other videos do this, and that leaves you more cream for the top (I almost ran out!).

Lastly, get a friend to help you… it will go much faster!

All in all, it was a fun little party.  I think everyone had a good time.  They all said the tiramisu was tasty… I liked it!  For the next party, maybe I’ll do a simpler cake, but it was great getting a chance to try a recipe I’ve always wanted to make.

:)

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Travels and Treasure

 

CA Postcard

Hola!

So sorry about missing last week- I was away from the Studio & ran out of time to prepare a post beforehand!  But hopefully the pretty pictures I’m sharing this week will make up for that.  Mr. H and I made a trip down to my native land of California last weekend.  It was warm, sunny (75-85 degrees!) and beautiful of course- right as it was getting dark and rainy here in WA (though we had more October sun than I had expected!).  It was fun playing tourist in my old area- we spent some time in Pasadena and San Marino, visiting the lovely craftsman Gamble House (closed for floor cleaning- but they let us wander outside) and the amazing Huntington Library and Gardens (you can’t do the whole thing in the 4.5 hours they are open, it’s so big!).  I snapped some pretty pictures, which I’ll let speak for themselves.  Oh, we came across Frank Lloyd Wright’s Millard House too- I didn’t know it was in Pasadena!

Gamble House

Gamble House

Huntingdon Gardens

Huntingdon Gardens

Huntingdon Gardens

Millard House

Beyond sight-seeing with my immediate family, I was happy to spend some time with extended family members and friends that I don’t get to see very often- time I’ll always treasure!  One of my cousins was having a baby shower that weekend; I’m so glad I got to go and see her and other cousins & aunts.  I made a little baby seal plushie for her little baby girl on the way:

Seal Plushie

It turned out to be a trip full of baby bumps and babies!  I was happy to see another pregnant cousin at the party, and later that weekend, we had the chance to see yet another cousin with her shiny new one-month old (so beautiful!) and a dear friend of mine from middle school with her three-month old (just darling!).  It was fun!

But getting back to treasure, we had the pleasure of meeting another close friend at a swap meet  (Mr. H’s first) where we found an old Fiesta ware vase, some vintage Christmas stockings (I may blog about those later!) and this fantastic find…  a spiffy 50′s shirt for only $3!  Couldn’t pass it up:

50's shirt

(Now to find a way to expand the waistband of my quilted black circle skirt… haven’t worn it in years as it has a 24″ waist!).

Okay!  That’s all for today.  Back to work & Happy November!

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Projects!

Hiya!

T’is the season for a parcel of projects!  (Isn’t it always, though?)  Sculpting, drawing, sewing, present-making…  always a lot to do!  I was going to share Mr. H’s and my headboard project that we finished a couple of months ago, but as it is cloudy today, our already dark bedroom needs some sunshine to photograph well, so perhaps another week!

Right now I thought I’d share a project that’s in the very beginning stage- the collecting materials stage.  But I’ve been finding fun items with which to construct it, so I thought I’d share.  It is the Wearing History print-at-home Victorian Dinner Bodice pattern:

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So pretty!

At JoAnn’s a couple of weeks ago, I spotted some fun fabrics in the clearance section- a pretty gray-green with brown flecks, and a bronzy pleated piece.  Last week at the amazing Fabric Depot in Portland, I found the perfect matching trim in their clearance section- $0.69 a yard, and then half-off!  I couldn’t pass it by (even though we wee there to look for fabric for reupholstering some chairs.  Poor Mr. H- he thinks fabric stores must form some level of Purgatory.  Though I could have spent much more time browsing!).

fabric

Also, the mother of a friend of mine was kind enough to recently give me a skirt that I think will go perfectly with the blouse when it is done- it has a really cool gathering at the back!   Love the buttons. :)   I do think the blouse will look cool with jeans too, when I’m done.

skirtNow for my most recently finished project- a present!  I won’t say for who, or the occasion (there is a good one!) just in case she’s reading, but I was having fun with bits of burlap and felt:
crosscrossOkay!  Back to work on more presents; I’ll be visiting home soon and have more goodies to make for peeps, for various occasions… I’d better get to it!

:)

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A Tale of a Table

 

Hi!

Whew!  It’s been a busy month so far!  Hope everyone is having a fabulous fall.  I’m loving the turning of the fall colors- the sunshine we’ve been enjoying this week really makes them pop!  T’is a nice little break from the rain we’re had, and the rain we will very soon have again.  Speaking of sun, it helped me to photograph the living room coffee table that Mr. H and I refinished a few months ago.  You may remember it this way:

coffee table beforeIt was sad.  It needed something.  Chalk paint to the rescue!

It amazes me how far chalk paint can go, if you apply carefully.  We actually have some left over, believe it or not!
chalk paintNow our little table looks like this:

table afterSo much nicer!  It actually started out as our TV stand at our last place, but when the TV died shortly after moving, and we had need of a coffee table of this height and size for the living room, a lightbulb went off.

table after, tooI see you may be asking about the design.  I wanted to put some sort of crate label design on to the table, and saw a vintage label similar to this.  In deciding on the text, I asked Mr. H. his opinion, and he said the ” Feisty Kitty Bakery”.  I misheard him and thought he said “Fussy Kitty.”  He liked that better, so we went for it (can you tell we are fond of our cat?  She’s such a brat, but we can’t help but love her).

There you have it!  One project down, many to go.  I’ll have more to share later on!

:)

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The Blue Dresser

Happy Fall, folks!

So sorry to have missed posting last week- I was a bit too caught up in my sculpting!  Yes, I’m trying to finish another horse sculpture.  He’s in the process of being critiqued right now, so that gives me a moment to catch up on my blogging and other projects, but very soon he will need finishing up- so if I end up all quiet-like again, you’ll know why!

Anywho…  I’ve another belated “Before & After” to show you!  Yes, it is our “new” bedroom dresser.  We picked it up for a song at a thrift store (barely fit it into hubby’s car!).  It was your standard 60′s laminate dresser- not particularly well made, but it was sturdy enough and the drawers slid fairly smoothly.  It came to us pre-distressed and a nice orangey shade of faux wood grain!

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Please ignore the messy garage, and Mr. H at work….

bhhdresserbefore2

A couple of handles were broken beyond repair. You’ll see below how we fixed this, if you look closely at the after pictures.

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Ooh… look at that liner paper! Nice and stained, too.

Well, orangey laminate really wasn’t our style, so we headed to our local antique store that carried Anne Sloan chalk paint (perfect for laminate as it doesn’t need a primer coat).  Despite having no blue in our room (browns, greens and grays, mostly), we decided on “Duck Egg Blue.”  (I’ve since bought a duck egg blue pillow and shams with all 4 of those colors!  Mr. H doesn’t understand why things need to match, but if things don’t go well together my inner artist gets disturbed).

Thus we have- blue dresser!

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Much better!

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New, prettier lining!  And the finish has a *very* light distressing.  I didn’t want to over do it!

I’m not sure when we finished this project… Late March, maybe?  It got more decorated after our trip to Ireland with framed pictures of our trip, and two pretty Belleek vases (quite a deal at their outlet store in Northern Ireland.  Though we were confused when they rang up in Pounds, not Euros.  We hadn’t realized we had crossed the border!).

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Yay!  Another project finished and shared.  What’s next?  Maybe the headboard?  Or the coffee table?  Stay tuned!

:)

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A Little Bit Country

Hiya!

Let me first say congratulations to Bobbi, the winner of the Wearing History Mermaid Mobile Give-Away!  Many thanks to all who entered, and to Lauren for holding the giveaway.  And don’t forget, the Brightly Hude Home September Sale is still running until the end of the month:

etsy9-13sale

Now then, I mentioned before that I’ve been working on many projects around the home over the past months- let’s get to sharing!  First up, a quick project that started out a little bit (too) country, and ended up a little bit…  cottage-style?  It was super easy, but the changes made a world of difference.

Here’s our sturdy, $10, thrifted shelf.  It even had two heavy-duty hanging hooks on the back, which was great!  But the orangey color and country cut-out heart was not quite what I had in mind for my studio (a place in desperate need of more shelving, at the time!).

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Voilà, Anne Sloan Chalk paint!  I used white, and it only took a sample size to complete the project (luckily I already had a big tub of finishing wax).  Here it is with one coat:

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And a second coat!  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about the heart.  I was thinking of covering it with some laser-cut wood design, but I couldn’t find one that was the right size.  Then I happened upon a lace doily I had that fit great!  I painted it to match the shelf and glued it on.

IMG_1367Here it is in action- helping me to be more organized!  I decided to display one of my horse sculptures on top because it was sturdy enough, and because its fun.  The little jars I found at World Market, and the big ones came from a rummage sale.

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That’s it for this week!  Stay tuned for more “before & afters!”

:)

September Sale & Wearing History Giveaway!

Hi there!

It’s happening!  My wonderful friend Lauren of Wearing History is giving away a special, one-of-a-kind Mermaid Mobile over on the Wearing History Blog!  Head on over there for instructions on how to enter*, plus there you will find the code for 10% off everything in the shop, for the month of September!

wearing history mermaidAlso, the Brightly Hude Home Etsy Shop is now stocked with the new items I’ve been mentioning over the past couple of weeks.  Go ahead & check them out too:

bhhshop-bannerMany thanks! :)

*The Giveaway ends next Tuesday, 9/10.  The sale lasts through September.