Around My House, Part II

I really enjoyed re-discovering the awesome finds I have scored over the years, plus some sentimental things I love. Sometimes it's not about obtaining new things but finding joy again in the simple things...

I snapped up this cute bumblebee watering can votive holder at local antiques and oddities shop, The Flying Pig. It was $4. I don't really burn candles in it, but I went through a "bee" phase and thought about doing a photo shoot with it somehow...

I got this glass lampshade years ago at our old Rocky Hill flea market, which has since closed down. I never figured out what kind of hardware I needed for it, nor do I have a lamp that it will fit, but I'm going to get myself down to the home improvement store and figure it out, because this shade deserves a home.

I love old skeleton keys, I have about a hundred of them. This is a larger one, about 4" and real brass, a local antique store find, from the Chepachet, Rhode Island antiques shops. Maybe I'll make some sort of ornament out of it.

I love this soldered glass ornament with beads. It is two-sided; each side has a photograph of the letter "M" taken on the street or in architecture. I have some of these that allow for an insert of your own photo, and I may work on creating some with my own photography for sale on Etsy.

When the woman who lived a few doors down moved out, she left me all of her cool succulent plants, complete with their pots. I swear, until today I had not watered them in three months, and they look great. My  kind of plant!
 The story behind this picture: When I first met Mark I told him no one had ever bought me flowers, and he was horrified. He then proceeded to begin a top-secret project, which he worked on day and night for weeks. He procured garden and flower magazines, cut and pasted together a collage and framed it for me. How sweet!

Finally, here is the loud-snoring, flying-fur, white ball of love that is my longtime buddy, Phoebe (a.k.a. Phoebes, Pheobert, Phoebe-poo, Fatty, Bunny, Lovey, Shmooshy.) She is 11 years old now and we are best buds. Truly, the most lovey-dovey cat I have ever known, her favorite pastimes (besides snoozing in her new bed) are to crawl under the comforter and hide for hours, eat cheese, and watch bugs and birds outside the window.

Simple Summer Joys...

This past weekend was the National Guard Air Show in Quonset, Rhode Island, which we can all watch pretty clearly from my mother's pool. It's a kind of tradition, made a little interesting this year with the addition of my little cousins' new dog, Rocco.

Above: I stopped at a lemonade stand, where the three girls running it were soooo excited, saying I was their first customer! And look at these cookies!! I asked why they were so big and chunky, but they told me it was a "family secret."....

Above: as seen through the kitchen window, my mother's new friend. See him? How cute!

Around my House, Part 1...

I was forced to do some re-organizing of my house recently, after having some electrical work done. And someday, when I'm confident with how it looks, I'll post some pics...until then, I thought I would share some finds around my house with you..

This frame, along with two others just like it, now sits proudly on my "buffet" (a little built in between my kitchen and dining room.) It's supposed to look like white coral but it's actually a super-lightweight resin of some kind....I found these at Home Goods for $4.99 apiece!  Inside each one I have displayed my new postcards from The Nebulous Kingdom, aka AnneJulie Aubry of France. I'm particularly fond of her hauntingly beautiful "Lost Key Series"....

I love the positive messages and beautiful etched artwork of these small, affordable plaques by Wisconsin artist Michael Macone, of Spooner Creek. His work can be found in a lot of the little shops we have here in Wickford, Newport and South County Rhode Island. I really need to find a better hanger for this other than a pushpin...I must have been in a hurry to get it on the wall. Next....

I don't think I'll ever stop worshipping this adorable drawing that my sister gave me years ago. If I had to guess I would say she was somewhere around six years old and I would have been sixteen or so... that's her, gazing lovingly at me, with a big heart between us. Above are the words "Sister Love Forever." I have this hanging in a picture frame in my front entry and it always makes me smile.

I found this on my desk in the back's a small 1-inch metal cube of "Happy Vices"..I guess you're supposed to roll it on the table and see which vice it lands on? I don't know. It's one of the weirdest things I ever bought.

Well, hope you enjoyed! Back to cleaning! :) - Mary

Our gulf coast...every little bit helps!

Before I started my shop and my blog, I was of the opinion that my little corner of the universe was kind of...small. Well, it still is, but now I can be part of something bigger. Something called Help the Gulf Coast, an Etsy shop created by fellow Etsian Kate. All items in this awesome shop are donated by other artists, craftspeople, and vintage sellers...and all the shipping is free, as the cost is paid by the seller!

Here is the listing I donated...a reminder of my time on the Gulf coast of Florida. 

If you're interested, check out the Help the Gulf Coast etsy shop blog, for real paypal statements that have been donated to various non-profit agencies that support wildlife and the environment in the United States' Gulf Coast region...and for the amazing statistics on this shop's sales just in the last few weeks!

Get started shopping this great site!

The Delights of Auntie's Garden...

My cousins and I played endlessly in my Aunt's yard as children- they lived only a few doors down from me. Now her backyard has been transformed into an oasis of sorts. On even the hottest days- yesterday was in the high 80's in Rhode Island and extremely humid- Auntie was out gardening most of the day. Here are some of her treasures.

this was not a light summer rain
or drizzle
but the gentle drip of the hose

and the squeals of children
careful not to
trample on outlying petals
as they raced
toward the

none of them aware of the secret hiding places of
newborn robins
sparrows learning to fly
bees teaching ancient arts
buds hiding from the late afternoon

why this world has been
hidden from me
all these years ago I was
with fun
and the way
summer would not

now it is
blooms that might not last
sunshine that
doesn't always shine
or dapple itself on the
edge of my lens
just the
right way

now instead of
come in
for dinner

the discovery never ends
the bounty is
around me


Bo Bunny's Mamarazzi - camera themed craft goodies!

I looove any images of old cameras, vintage photography, and the like. Months ago I was shopping at the craft store looking for stickers and chipboard with any images of old cameras, and came up empty. Well, yesterday at A.C. Moore I was thrilled to see they had adopted a new line from Bo Bunny called "Mamarazzi". It's marketed toward mothers who are obsessed with taking pictures, but it totally appealed to me as well. Here are some of my favorite things from the line:

Vintage cameras and film reels made of chipboard- These are dimensional and wonderful for scrapbooking of course, but I can also see them glued to inexpensive picture frames, or a row of them across the bottom of a frame. I would even use Diamond Glaze or some sort of sealing agent to waterproof one and turn into a funky pin or pendant.

Vintage photography scrapbook pages. These awesomely textured, great quality pages can be used for so many things, in addition to scrapbooking- backgrounds for my web product shots, inexpensive frame backgrounds, decoupage...I just love them!

They also have stickers, brads, and various other items in the line plus a crafty blog with some ideas for using them...visit BoBunny's Blog to check it out. Here are some of their embellishments such as brads, stickers, and chipboard pieces;  scrapbook papers; and die-cut papers.

Creative Displays for Photos and Artwork

Digital photography has pros and cons, but the ease of use and availability of storage means most of us are overwhelmed with photos. As a result it becomes hard to decide which are displayed in your home and how. In addition to some of my personal favorite shots, I’ve become a fan of every single one of my fellow team members of the FPOE, a wonderfully friendly and super-talented group of ladies, many of whose styles match my own home almost TOO well…..(and all of their works are incredibly affordable.) I’ve done a lot of homework on this because I hate to start making holes in my wall without a game plan. So here are some tips for displaying artwork in your home.
1. Unification. Unify disparate types of art with similar frames. You can find inexpensive frames anywhere- consignment and antique shops, off-price retailers, yard sales, IKEA, etc. Paint them or stain them, or just buy them in similar shapes and colors- such as black, square.   
2. Family Photo. Check out this funky wallpaper by designer Lisa Bergstein called “The Family.” (above.) Its frames create the perfect display for your existing photos, in standard sizes. How fun! (    
3. Think outside the frame. Not all photos or art need to be in a frame to be chic. How about displaying ATC cards or small photos in square glass vases or glasses? Or a sturdy double matted piece of art casually displayed on a wooden easel? Easels can be sizes anywhere from 3” to floor length displays- and you can switch out art at a moment’s notice. 4. Make your stairway or another narrow wall into a small gallery. (right.) Gather group frames with 3x5 or 4x6 openings and group them in no particular method along the wall. 
 5. Clothesline fun. Stretch a clothesline or metal cable from one end of your mantel to another, and use chic metal clips to attach your favorite pieces. To protect them, use copies of the actual art- or use this technique for your child’s artwork or inexpensive pieces that don’t need to be covered with glass.   
6. Go big! You can turn any photo- your own or someone else’s (including mine!) into an awesome gallery wrapped canvas for a stunning focal piece. For the crispest finish, the photo should measure 300 dpi (dots per inch). You can search online for services such as Canvas Art (  that provide this service- or check with your local photo lab.   
     7. O.K., Corral. Corral small “tchotchke” frames into a worthwhile collection. (below.) You know all those small toy frames with random photos you have lying around? They look cluttered. Bring them together in one area, streamline the sizes from smallest (front) to largest (back), and display on a nice mirrored or metal tray for modern elegance, or a rustic wooden tray or woven basket for seaside cottage charm. On the small mantel below, various sizes of small paintings and artwork are displayed together, and it looks charming- the colors are complementary but each piece gets more "oomph" being displayed with a group versus by itself. 
I love this idea because I've collected many small pieces over the years that I don't necessarily want all over the place, and I don't want to hide them either. (Just try to make sure the collection you end up displaying is cohesive and doesn't look like a motley mix of stuff that didn't fit anywhere else.)
8. Bring other items into the mix. Flat baskets, trays with sawtooth hangers, architectural salvage pieces- anything that fits your style- will look great when mixed on the wall with photographs or artwork.  (left) A section of old fencing from a flea market or antique shop works beautifully on this small alcoved section of wall.
 9. Play the numbers game. Here’s what I’ve always found to be true: more formal walls and rooms benefit from symmetry, and even numbers of items. (below)     
  Casual or informal rooms call for a more “haphazard” charm. (below.)
However, if you have an obvious central point in your room- like a fireplace or large window-  even numbers, like two framed photographs on either side of the focal point- will create one large odd-numbered display, visually. That’s because the focal point itself becomes part of your display- and thus adds another variable.   
10. Mat and Frame choice is important. The smallest photo can be made to look large with a larger mat and thin frame; a thin frame with no matting can give a photo a more comtemporary, clean-lined feel; and a vintage frame with lots of detail can give any piece of art an aged character. Also consider that a rectangular photograph or art piece doesn't have to go into a rectangular frame! Try framing a square picture inside a larger rectangular frame, using a standard size mat. You can switch up frame or mat colors if you wish to have a more casual look, or if you want a matching color to some other element in your room- like a sofa, a window pane, or another piece of art.
If you're not sure where to start, browsing the aisles in any home or craft store will give you an idea of what sizes are pre-made the most, and may help guide your art buying decisions. Custom framing is much less expensive than it used to be, too- don't hesitate to get a quote on a nice piece of art that you weren't able to find a ready-made frame for! 
Check out this article entitled "How to get the most from your mats" for some great information on matting and framing, Photographer Jennifer Squires also has compiled some wonderful and useful information on her blog about matting, choosing artwork sizes, and displaying artwork on her blog. 
(photos from top: Bodie and Fou, Better Homes and Gardens.)

Road Trip to Wellfleet

Just a few pics from my Memorial Day weekend road trip up the Cape to Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

Below is the requisite Lobster Roll sandwich. After spending a few hours at the flea market, I stopped at a random roadside place with a faded sign and very few cars. Oh well, more for me!

The beach at Newcomb Hollow was road-blocked, due to the lots being full, so I drove a half mile up the road to discover this beach. The parking lot was above the highest bluffs I had ever seen. The sand dunes slid precariously down to the water... I had to remove my shoes, as did everyone else, to get enough footing to slide down the bluffs to the beach below.

Below, Wellfleet Harbor. Wellfleet is bordered on its East side by the Atlantic Ocean (above) and on its West side by the Cape Cod Bay (below.) Wellfleet is known for its delicious osyters and many of them could be seen in the mudflats around the marshlands.

Below: Uncle Tim's Bridge, an earth-friendly way to take in views of the marsh and its wildlife residents.