Friday, August 29, 2008

Old Time Scary

I'm done with the Halloween banner. Aren't you scared just looking at it? It was hard to take a photo of it this morning in the dark, so I adjusted it to look even spookier using one of Pioneer Woman's Photoshop Actions. I downloaded them yesterday and now I'm lovin Actions! I used SoftFaded on this one, but she has some other really good ones in the package too. If you use Photoshop, check it out. And then you'll be goofing around with all your photos, just like I am here Amongst The Oaks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spooky Project

I've been thinking about Halloween lately and actually started a project. First I found a spooky letter style on the Internet. I printed it out and transferred the letters I needed to thick card stock. Then I cut them out with an X-acto knife. That was the hard part because they are so wiggly/random. Then I punched some holes and painted them black.

Then yesterday I got some black glitter and started that messy process. Here is how they look so far. Aren't they cute? I should have them done soon and I'll show you the finished banner eventually.

I thought I was getting a jump on Halloween, but after going to the craft store yesterday, I realize I'm already way behind because Christmas stuff is already on the shelves! Awk! I refuse to think about it yet. I just can't get into Christmas when it's still 100 degrees here Amongst The Oaks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's Bugging Me

Living Amongst The Oaks we naturally have lots of bugs in our garden. I nearly sat on this little guy the other day. He blended with the red chair so well I almost didn't see him. I didn't know they could turn red, has anyone else ever seen this? We see praying mantis here often and sometimes are lucky enough to find an egg case and watch the babies hatch. They are a good bug because of all the flies they eat, so they are always welcome here.

I took a little rest outside last night after dark and I could hear katydids and crickets chirping. We seldom see either of them, but they make a beautiful chorus in the night. We also enjoy bees, butterflies and spiders in our garden because of the good work they do. Some folks actually have a bug service come once a month and spray poison to kill spiders. What are they thinking? Spiders also eat lots of flies, moths, and nasties; why kill them?

Some of the bugs I could do without are mosquitos, flies, and cockroaches, but I try not to use poison, so I swat, smash and stomp them, but they always return. They must have some purpose I can't see, and I know I'll never win, but I keep swatting anyway. Why can't they all be like this little guy?

So what's bugging you lately?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Temporary Solution

Do you remember these chaise lounges I snatched up at a yard sale? Well, the cushions were all grungy, but I can't afford new ones, so I found a temporary solution.

We had an August Birthdays party over the weekend and I wanted to hide the old cushions, so I went to my linen closet looking for something to cover them; maybe quilts, or blankets? And I found some twin sheets with flowers. I'd forgotten I even had them, but what a nice surprise. And the colors even matched the chairs.

So I just popped them onto the cushions, pinned them on the back, and Voila! new cushion covers. And Salsa gave them her bark of approval.

Now, about yesterday's Mystery Photo. HorseWoman wins because she guessed a pear! It was a photo of one of the pears she brought me on Sunday. Isn't it beautiful?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Third Mystery Photo

Here's another Mystery Photo for you to guess. What do you think this is?

Now that the Back-To-School hubbub has died down, I think I'll have more time to blog. Sorry for the gaps lately, and thanks for your patience.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer Beauty

I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in California's Central Valley we have had a marvelous summer. In July we only had 5 days over 100 degrees, and so far in August we've only had 4 days over 100. Consequently, my roses are quite happy.
Last year it seemed like it would get really hot just as a new wave of roses was forming, and then they'd all get burned right as they opened. But not this year! I've got lots of roses, all happily blooming away in the front garden.
Here is my favorite; Double Delight. I hope you're not tired of seeing it, but it's one of my summer pleasures here Amongst The Oaks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School

School starts soon for Teen1 and Teen2. Teen1 decided she wanted a back-to-school hair cut. Here she is before.....

and almost done....
Ta Da! Here she is with her new do! Doesn't she look grown up?

And she's got to feel lighter. Look at all the hair on the floor.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Birthday Wishes

Here is my oldest sister back in the 1950s. It's her birthday today and I know she reads my blog, so let's all wish her a Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday Sister! I love you.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Apple a Day

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

I got these apples at the Farmer's Market. We have one a few blocks away on Thursdays and Sundays. It's great fun to go there with my Cath Kidston bags, and get lots of fresh fruits and vegies. We sometimes see someone we know too. Last time we saw an old neighbor and had a nice chat. Also last weekend we saw the cutest couple who'd ridden their bicycles. They were tucking their produce into the bicycle's basket which was decorated with sunflowers. I just had to stop and tell them how cute that looked. It reminded me of something one would see in Europe.

So go to the Farmer's Market, get some fresh produce, look stylish with your cloth bags whilst saving the earth, chat with some friends, and be healthy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Orange Fox

It is just so nice to have the sewing machine set up in the cottage. I can finally work on a project and not feel bad leaving a mess. When Teen2 saw the sewing machine out there, she got a happy glazed look on her face and instantly set to work making something. And this is what she made:

It's the orange fox Nintendo character. Isn't it cute? And I'm sewing something too. I'll show you tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finished Hutch

I finished the final curtain last night and started moving some stuff into the new hutch. I found these cute storage boxes at the craft store. They fit onto the shelves perfectly. I think I'll go get more today. I made tags for them, but measured some different boxes which had smaller tags, so those are all wrong. But anyway, don't they look cute?
I stacked a few boxes on the shelves, and then the old tin with Grandma's buttons, and my old lunch box from elementary school. Isn't that cute the way I scratched my name onto it? Grrrr. Horrid child.
And I put the silverware caddy that I use to hold ribbon out there too. You may have seen that here.

I'd still like to paint the hutch white, but that will have to wait a while, because there is so much to do right now: Gormand party this Saturday, hair cutting appointments, August birthdays, and the girls start school next Wednesday. If only I didn't have to go to work, I'd have plenty of time here Amongst The Oaks!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Project

My MIL gave me a piece of furniture the other day. She is remodeling her kitchen and got a built in hutch, so I got this:

I put it in the cottage/studio/guest house. The Lord of the Manor hastn't even finished the cottage, and I'm already moving in. Anxious, I am. So the plan is to decorate it in a country cottage style with off white walls, rustic furniture, and green accents.

To make the hutch a little more country-ish, so I took out the leaded glass panels and I'm making little curtains for the doors.

I got two finished last night and I think I can finish the last one tonight after dinner. I was thinking of painting the whole thing white, but that's going to have to wait for a while.

I'll keep you posted on my cottage decorating project....

And now regarding the Mystery Photo; congratulations to Sue who guessed a pine cone. It is an immature seed cone from a cedar tree. Good job, everyone! I'll try to stump you all again next Monday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Second Monday Mystery Photo

Ok folks, another Monday Mystery Photo. Can you guess what this is?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Bargain!

I love garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, estate sales. I love them for two reasons: I can get rid of junk I don't need, and I can find BARGAINS. Just yesterday I had a yard sale and got rid of some stuff I didn't need. I made about $50 in just a few hours with no advert in the paper, I might mention. I live off a busy thoroughfare, so I just put a huge A-board sign on the corner and opened the gate. Voila! Instant customers. Teen1 and Teen2 also sold some stuff and each made about $35.00.

So this morning I was walking around the neighborhood handing out neighborhood watch information, and WooHoo, a yard sale! And thesewere sitting out front. I literally ran home to get the, you won't believe this, $20.00. I was smiling from ear to ear as I rolled them home.

I have been wanting some chaise lounges for my patio for ages. Now the question is; should we leave them blue or paint them red to match the rest of our furniture? The Lord of the Manor is voting for red, and I could recover the cushions in a rose flowered chintz, which would look nice. But I kind of like the blue too....

I'm going to think about it a while before I make a decision. And while I ponder it, I'm going to take a nap, outdoors, Amongst The Oaks, on my new chaise lounge.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Restful Pink Saturday

One thing I love about English style decorating is the use of pink color schemes. It seems here in America, pink is not too popular, but across the pond, it is well loved. Isn't this bedroom just the most relaxing looking room?

I decorated one bedroom here Amongst The Oaks in pink. And now that the girls are teenagers, they don't like it. Sad. They would love to change it, but I'm saying no for now.

Beverly at How Sweet The Sound is so nice to host Pink Saturday. Be sure the visit all the Pink Saturday posts.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vacanza di estate

I wish I could go on a summer holiday instead of going to work. But we are busy, so here I am at work every day. Hmmph! Since I can't go on vacation, I'm posting a photo from a past vacation to remind me why I work.

We spent three nights in Venice in an old villa that's now a B&B. It was wonderful to be there after the tourist boats left; so quiet and magical. I'll never forget the sights, smells, and sounds of Venice. What a beautiful place. Sigh.

Ok, back to work....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bee Report

Remember last month when I showed the bee hive tragedy? I walked by there this morning and took this photo. They seem to be rebuilding. The comb looks a bit longer in some places, and there are definitely bees on the hive. Hooray for the bees!

Now about the mystery photo. Remember back on June 1st when I was gazing out my window and saw the lovely white flower that started the whole "White Flower Challenge"? That's what the mystery photo is; a petal from a magnolia flower.

When they first fall they look like this.

Then after a day in the heat they look like this.

Thanks for playing. I'll try to have another mystery photo for next Monday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Mystery Photo

Here's another mystery photo for you. Isn't it a pretty color? Can you guess what it is?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Flora of Lake Tahoe

One of our days at Lake Tahoe we went on a little walk. I hesitate to call it a hike because it was not too far and mainly level ground. Above is a flower-filled meadow we walked through.

I'm not nearly as good as Mary, but I do try to take photos of flowers when I'm out walking. I don't know what any of these are, maybe someone can tell me?

Aren't they beautiful? This orange lily really caught my eye. I can't grow these in my garden, but here they are growing wild and perfect.

A pretty creek along the way.

This should have been in the "Fauna" post on Friday, but I missed it. Sorry

Happy Sunday from Amongst The Oaks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bookish Pink Saturday

I love to read and I used to read a lot more before my eyes got "old". Now it seems like such a hassle, but recently a friend loaned me an interesting book, so I've actually been reading again. When I read I need a quiet spot, a comfy chair, a good lamp and of course those darn glasses.
I thought I'd share my pink reading chair today. I got it at an estate sale. It was in bad shape, so I had it recovered in the same soft pink velvet, but the upholsterer couldn't find the exact trim (which I loved) so I told him to reuse the old trim. It's a little faded, but I think it's just perfect.

I love the curves and soft shapes of this chair. It really is a feminine thing, isn't it?
And I even found a bookmark with pink roses on it. Now if I could just find the time to finish the book. It's called "Pillars of the Earth" and is about the building of a cathedral in medieval England. I know it sounds boring, but it's actually fascinating.