Frustration Leads to Austen...

Rupert Penry-Jones plays Captain Frederick Wentworth

So. Yesterday was both good and not so good (a.k.a. frustrating). I really truly have nothing in this world to complain about. Considering all the terrible things going on in so many places. That being said, let me tell you....

I have a custom order to work on this weekend. Yesterday was the perfect day to sort of just take it easy at home and get some things done. Like the custom order. It rained, it hailed, the thunder came, the winds blew. All in all a very blustery day better left for indoors. In no particular order, we watched some Olympics, we played cards, R and the boy went to karate, they worked on some stuff in the garage, I did some chores. You get the idea, a little bit of this and that. The day was going along beautifully.

I worked on the custom order off and on (it's impossible to work straight through something when everyone's home) for more than 3 hours. Just when I was really making a good deal of progress, I noticed....I had somehow dropped a stitch way back in the second row of this detailed knitted piece. NOOO!!! The cry could be heard throughout the land, flocks of birds set to flight, dogs howled, people came running...well, perhaps I'm exaggerating. But let me tell you, I was upset. It meant I had to take the whole thing apart and start over. I'm certain this total-waste-of-time-now-need-to-start-over situation has probably happened in one form or another to every person out there.

Needless to say, I poured myself a glass of wine and decided I was done for the evening. The boys were watching a WWII documentary. While I almost always want to know the toll and details of war and learn more about the history of this world, last night I just wasn't inclined to that heaviness. I remembered I had on the DVR two episodes of Masterpiece on PBS. Both Jane Austen! I could feel my mood lifting. I escaped to the bedroom (glass of wine in hand) and chose Persuasion over Northanger Abbey. I just have to tell you it was so wonderful, like a little slice of heaven, or cake, or heaven and cake. I completely forgot about my earlier knit annoyance and fell completely in love with Captain Wentworth. Le sigh. Nobody can capture the ache and desire of unrequited love quite like Jane.

So at the end of the day, all was well...and they lived happily ever after....
and I'll begin again with the custom piece.

Thanks for spending a bit of your day with me, dear friends. The weather today is so different from yesterday. It's sunny and mild and so full of spring that I can almost see the flowers and grass and leaves actually growing before my very eyes. The beauty of this day is calling to me....xo

Mad Wood Skills...

My boy! My beautiful, silly, smart, le-moustached (well..peach-fuzzed, actually...but still), brown-eyed, 13-year-old boy! Here he is at his lathe in his designated work area in the garage. Just looking at him makes me sad and happy all at once. I can picture him as a fine young man, all grown up...which makes me sad because he was such a magical little boy and happy because I know how exactly-perfectly-himself-in-a-grown-up-version he'll be. But I digress...

I wanted to write this post about his skill at the lathe. Mad wood skills, that is. I mentioned earlier that his paternal grandfather gave him a lathe last year for his 13th birthday. I should mention here that it's in the genes; grandpa, dad and grandson all love working with their hands. What's wonderful is the fact that Grandpa and R are passing down the skills and knowledge to the boy. I get so happy when I think about it. So the boy has worked and worked at the lathe until finally, he was skilled and knowledgeable enough that R didn't have to be standing right next to him, making sure there weren't any injuries.

He has nailed the art of pen making. He's made them out of zebra wood, maple, purple heart, eucalyptus, and is now finishing one out of olive wood. He's given one to each of the men in the family and now he's working on pens for each of the women, except for me...I received mine as a gift for Christmas. Pictured above are my eucalyptus pen and R's zebra wood pen.

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend so far. It's raining here and the birds are tweeting. We're all still in our pjs. R and I have been sitting around with our coffee, making grand plans, as usual. The boy had his breakfast and went off to do some drawing. He's currently obsessed with drawing WWII planes. A lovely, lazy start to the weekend for us....

Thank you for visiting, dear ones...xo

P.S. The zombie t-shirt he's wearing in photo 1 is by tinaseamonster which you can find here.

Mama D's Healthy Oatmeal Bars...

Okay, so you like sweets, but you want to be health-conscious. Or perhaps you like oatmeal but wish you could take it with you...? #tryingtobefunny

I want to share with you a recipe that may not be for everyone. The original recipe I found online, but as with all recipes, I had to tweak it to my liking. Think of this recipe as a healthy comfort food...Personally, I really like these oatmeal bars for a number of reasons (Yay! List time!):

~They're sweet but not too sweet.
~They're quite dense so they are satisfying and filling.
~They go beautifully with coffee, tea or milk. I'm eating one right now as I type (along with my coffee)
~They're super for hikes, the beach, picnics or a weekend camping trip/road trip. Basically, they travel well.
~The boys really like them.
~They are extremely easy to make.
~And lastly, they truly are quite healthy.

I hope you'll give them a try. I think you'll find them pretty dang good....

Mama D's Healthy Oatmeal Bars

1 egg
1 egg white
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins or dried fruit or diced apples....whatever you have on hand.

1. Coat a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

2. Mix the egg, egg white, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. (I do all the mixing by hand, it's so simple, you don't even need to take out the electric mixer for this recipe)

3. Add the oil and vanilla; mix 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just blended. Add oats and incorporate.

5. Mix in extra ingredients (raisins, etc) with a fork.

6. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan; press into pan with wet fingers.

7. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

So there you have, a stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal bar...I hope you'll try them....Let me know what you think, if you do. You can find a couple more Mama D recipes here (perhaps not as healthy though).

Thanks for stopping by, lovelies...Happy Friday! xo

Pen and Paper...

Do you ever get hit with inspiration in the middle of doing some unrelated activity? It's so strong that you have to stop what you're doing so that you can write your thought down for fear you may lose it? That happened to me yesterday...I was driving along and four design ideas hit me one right after the other. It was so quick and the ideas were flying so fast that I had to pull over and park so that I could write them down before they flew away. I grabbed the closest piece of paper I had and scribbled the sketches with a few key words....I'm so excited to bring these ideas to fruition....One of them is already almost finished. I love when that kind of thing happens.

The pen featured in my photo (next to the piece of paper I scribbled my designs on) was made by my 13-year-old son. Entirely. By him and only him. Out of eucalyptus wood. Amazing, isn't it? He received a lathe from his grandfather for his birthday last year. Since then, R has shown him how to use it and now the boy is very skilled at making pens. He's given several as gifts and everyone who receives one is blown away. Mine is my lucky pen. My beautiful lucky pen....

I hope your day is filled with inspiration, with pen and paper on hand....xo

Ode to Spring...

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard Le Gallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand--
So what could I do but laugh and go?

I Meant to Do My Work Today is one of my favorite springtime poems. You may be thinking it's too early for my annual Ode to Spring tribute, but here in southern California, things are hopping. Nature-wise, I mean. Birds are tweeting, buds are bursting, the grass is growing greener and greener, the sun is shining, the days are growing longer...It's getting closer and closer to full-fledged Springtime.

I wanted to share some photos I took early this morning around our backyard. Our peach tree started to bloom last week, a few roses are coming up and the succulents are very happy, waiting to be planted....I think I'll put the succulents in little pots and set them out back on the patio tables...what do you think about that idea?

Thank you for dropping in, dear ones...xo


Today I'm wearing some of my favorite things...

1000 Scientists named Steve agree t-shirt
Broken Mirror Belt Buckle bykali
Flutterby Ring by cookoorikoo
Ruffled Arm Warmers by treehouse 28
and last but not least, a one-of-a-kind necklace from Leaves of Glass...
more on the necklace soon.

I hope your day is going beautifully...xo

French Design, American Beach House...

This gorgeous Bridgehampton home featured in House Beautiful is owned by designer Jean-Louise Deniot. When I think of beach house, I think little bungalow sitting on the Pacific Ocean. This is nothing like that. This is elegance and richness. There are wonderful little surprises in these photos that draw me to this amazing space.

In the kitchen. Notice the wicker bull head on the wall. Adding a touch of whimsy.

I love the combination of rich colors and textures in this vignette. The mix of grandness and nature.

Anyone who knows me knows I love turquoise. So as you can imagine, I'm mad about the velvet on this bed frame! I can hardly stand it, it's so fabulous. And I really like the combo of the blue with the spice on the wall. It's different and somehow quite satisfying.

Again with the blue! Swoon. A more delightful chair, you will never find. I also love the mix of white on the chair legs with the deep dark color of the cabinet. Of course, don't forget the matador painting (it connects the theme from the kitchen...remember the wicker bull head?)

Can't you just envision the most casual as well as the most romantic and charming meals in this setting? Night or day. Magnificent. To sit among those amazing trees with the mild breezes, good food, perhaps a bit of champagne, and delightful company....a little slice of heaven.

Thanks for coming by, lovely friends...xo

Restless Natives Made Me Do It...

Yep. That's what I said. Restless natives. I made another one (not a restless native, a cake). The restless natives made me make another cake. Let me back track a bit....

Remember last Sunday when I made that yellow cake with fluffy white frosting for Valentine's Day? You know, the one that haunted me the next morning (and the morning after that, and so on...). Well, that cake is no longer with us. We ate it up. It lasted until Thursday. I thought that was pretty good, actually. My husband, on the other hand, didn't think so. You see, he left on a business trip to Mexico City on Tuesday morning. In my defense, I think this is a good time to mention that at that point, The Cake was more than halfway gone.

Now, the boy and I did finish the cake on Thursday night. We actually savored it. Chose our timing of cake eating wisely. By the time Friday night rolled around and R more cake. He managed to give the boy and I a hug and kiss hello before looking in the fridge. I thought perhaps he was hungry, hadn't had dinner, or wanted a beer to unwind after his busy, meeting-packed trip, but no...

R: "Hey, where's the cake?" (asked in a slightly raised voice)

The boy and I exchange glances.

Me: "Well, we finished it last night." (sweet, innocent voice used here). Then in self-defense of his silly thought that a cake would last 6 full days..."What did you think this was, a time warp? Cake doesn't last THAT long."

Nervous laughter exchanged between the boy and I.

Crickets chirp.

R: "What? You couldn't save me a piece?"

So now I started to feel a little guilty. Just a little, but it subsided very quickly. The awkward moment passed and the rest of the evening went smoothly.

Fast forward to this morning.

R: "When do you think you'll make another one of those cakes? You know the one that you guys ate without saving me a piece?"

Sheesh. Talk about holding a grudge. After all, he had several slices of that cake.

Me: Oh, I don't know. I have a lot to do today.

R: "Well, the natives are getting restless."

The boy: "Yeah Mom, the natives are getting restless." (the little Benedict Arnold)

So there you have it, friends. How I was talked into making another of these evil cakes. I couldn't have my natives feeling restless, could I...? Now I'm woefully behind on everything else, but at least there will be no more mind games/guilt trips around here...for now anyway.

Thank you for visiting, darlings. Wish you could stop in for a slice of cake....xo

Spring Cleaning Fever...Almost...

Have you started to catch Spring Cleaning Fever yet? Personally, I'm just starting to feel a twinge of it. I haven't worked myself up into actually acting on it yet, but I feel the urge coming on.

I recently bought a most delightful book that is pushing me in the direction of spring's a lovely, sort of old-fashioned meets fresh and new type of book for anyone who loves their home. It's filled with inspiring photos. This sweet little book is called "Simple Country Wisdom" by Susan Waggoner. Barnes and Noble had 45% off some of their books last week. I snagged this little gem of a book and I'm sort of in love with it.

This book gives good advice about many matters of the home. For instance, the closet. Here's a great divide and conquer step-by-step plan for cleaning out your closet...It's called the "four piles" method. This isn't a new idea, but perhaps it's new to you. The basic idea behind this method is as follows:

~Start with four piles: Keep, Repair, Give Away and Discard.

~The idea is to empty your closet entirely, putting everything in one of those four piles. I know what you’re thinking, but you are not allowed to add a fifth Not Sure pile.

~After you’ve emptied the closet, it’s time to examine the Keep, Repair and the Give Away piles.

~First the Keep pile. If it’s still too big, trim it up, a little at a time if that’s easier for you, until it’s the size you want. Then move the Keep pile back into your closet.

~Now the Repair pile. Be honest with yourself about how likely it is you will repair the items. On second examination of this pile, you probably will reduce it by at least 50%. Once you’ve narrowed it down, box the items and date the box. Whatever is left unrepaired by the deadline date, get rid of.

~Finally, the Give Away pile. Make sure that any truly shabby, stained or broken items are shifted to the Discard Pile. Bag the Give Away pile and drop it off within a week.

~Bag your Discard pile and take it out immediately.

Feeling inspired yet? I almost am...perhaps in a week or two, I'll be ready for the "four piles"...Let me know if you try it. Better yet, post some Before and After photos of your achievement.

Thank you for sharing your time with me, dear friends...Have a beautiful day...xo

Fresh Fringe....

Three new items in my shop. Three brand new designs. The necklaces are for any girl who appreciates urban prairie style. The shrug is part of a new design series I'm creating as a tribute to Alice Liddell, the real Alice in Wonderland.

It's a very early Saturday morning here in my little part of the world. It rained through the night which makes for a very fresh morning. One little bird is tweeting his head off. The coffee just finished brewing. The house is still asleep (except for me). I love this time of the day...I'm off to have my first cup of steaming hot, strong coffee....Then I’ll take an early morning walk…Happy Saturday to you!

Thank you so much for dropping by, darling dear friends...It always makes me so happy to read your lovely comments....xo

An Old Friend Found...

I have always had a passion for art and creating. When I was thirteen, I was taught the technique of oil painting. It opened up a whole new world for me. I loved it. In high school, I spent as much time as possible in the art room with dear, beloved Mrs. Warren. As college rolled around and I chose science as my field of studies, painting fell further down on my list of priorities. As an adult, I've spent less and less time painting. The last painting I completed was years ago.

Today, while going through the coat closet (a closet that stretches back under the stairs, sort of like a black hole...), I discovered a forgotten canvas I had been working on probably 5 or 6 years ago. It's in the beginning stages. Just a charcoal outline of the 24 x 30 painting it was meant to become. An old friend found. I dusted my friend off and have him propped up on the easel. I am determined to finish this painting, and writing this post is a way of pushing myself to do so. I have a feeling I'll have to replace most of my paints as I'm sure they're a little worse for wear after years of neglect...

Here's to rediscovering old passions....

And thank you for dropping by, lovely friends...xo

Two if by Sea...

On Saturday, R and the boy went out on the sea fishing. They do this quite often, but this time they actually took the camera and brought back some lovely photos for me to post. The day was magnificent here in southern California. They did catch four smallish fish, but put them back into the sea. They had a grand time and came back exhausted...

This stretch of beach seems to go on forever. It's before 7 a.m. and all is quiet...

One little sandpiper...

Sunbathing sea lions...could they be any cuter?

The pelicans were out in force, apparently...looking for tasty morsels, no doubt....

I love this last shot. So peaceful and the water looks glorious...

Thank you for visiting, dear friends...xo

Cake for Breakfast...?

You may not know this about me, but I love to bake. Love. Yesterday, while the boys were fishing on the sea (photos to come shortly), I slow cooked a roast with potatoes and veggies and made this cake. From scratch, of course. Yellow cake with fluffy white frosting. Not butter frosting, fluffy light frosting from egg whites, sugar and vanilla. As you can see, we made a pretty good dent in it last night.

Right now, at 9 am, it's calling my name in the worst way. What do you think...cake for breakfast?

Hope your Monday is off to a wonderful start, dear ones...xo


Today being Valentine's Day, I thought I'd like to share with you a little something that's close to my heart. This song. It was the song R and I danced our first dance to as man and wife on our wedding day...

I hope this day has been unforgettable for you, in the best possible way. This wish I wish for you every single day, not just on Valentine's Day...

Thank you for spending a bit of your day with me...xo

Another Wild and Crazy Saturday...

Ah, yes...another wild and crazy Saturday at La Casa de Fringe.

The boy, as you can very well see, is finishing off the last of the Squirt. This pop was from when he was terribly sick a couple weeks back, the only things he could hold down were saltines and Squirt. Now, I don't want you to think I normally allow him to 1) drink pop and/or 2) chug it from the liter bottle. I really don't. There was about three swallows left in the bottom, and he begged me to let him finish it off (straight from the bottle). I said yes. Just to put an end to the daily onslaught of "Can I finish the Squirt, Mom...pllleeeaaase.."

And the day has just gotten crazier as we've thrown caution to the wind. Currently, my two fellas are upstairs playing Pacific Fleet. I can hear the battle cries as I type. I am sipping a cocktail, contemplating dinner (it's a little before 7, so I really should figure something out), knitting a really cool little something for my darling dear brother to go along with the two El Grande Cowls in the package I'm sending him on Tuesday (I can't say what I'm making as he visits this blog regularly...), and watching "Out of Africa".

Of course, I'm only doing one of the above activities (sipping a cocktail) while I'm typing this post. After dinner, it's Family Game Night. I guess this means I better get crackin' with dinner. Time's not going to slow down just for me, now is it? The boy picked Monopoly for the game. It's only the same game he's picked every Friday since Family Game Night's inception (the first Friday of 2010). I should mention here that I do realize today is not Friday, we're running a day behind this week. R and I have learned that we need a time limit on Monopoly, so it's one hour. Whoever is ahead after an hour, is the winner. This, my friends, is a wise plan.

Speaking of "Out of Africa"...I've watched it so many times. I love this movie. The fashion is, to me, mesmerizing. I will have to do a future post about the costumes. I'm in love with them. They're so inspiring!

I hope you are all having the best of weekends…Thank you for being you…xo

Gone Too Soon...

Alexander "Lee" McQueen

The Lost Jewel
By Emily Dickinson

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and the winds were prosy;
I said: “ T’ will keep.”

I woke and chid my honest fingers, -
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

Last Weekend....

I meant to post this last Monday, but the week has sort of gotten away from me. Saturday my two fellas were gone for a big chunk of time and I had the house to myself. This isn't something that happens very often so I wasted the first hour being a bit fluttery and scatteredly trying to decide how to best use this block of time. Cleaning? Uh, no. Paperwork? Yeah, right. Grocery shopping? Nevah! Organize my closet? I wish, but no. List making? Hmmm, maybe.

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I would do exactly what I felt like doing. That happened to be making stuff and watching old movies and drinking lots of coffee. Yay! It was so lovely....a rainy, cold day outside...I did lots of different things; crochet, knit, paper crafts, I even made a small bowl out of twine....Would you like to see...?

edging for a luxury clothing item I'm working on...

two El Grande Cowls for my darling dear dove grey, one dark charcoal...

a component for a secret little something....

a little bowl crocheted from jute, aka twine...I ran out of twine so it's smaller than planned...

and I made two huge pom poms out of white tissue paper...not sure what I'll do with them, they're sitting on the hall table at the moment. I do know this...I absolutely love these gigantic pom poms. You should try making them, they're addicting. Find out how to right here. I'll be making many more of them, out of different papers....

I even made a couple of other things, but I'll save them for another post. This weekend is a four day school holiday...What do you think the chances are that I'll be able to craft my head off like last Saturday...?

Thank you for being such lovely friends and stopping in...xo

Blog it Forward...

Today is the first day of Blog it incredibly wonderful idea from sfgirlbybay. If you haven't heard about it, please check out the details here. Basically, it's a joining of 300+ bloggers...connecting with one idea..."what inspires you?"

I'm so thrilled to be a part of this enchanting series. My post on what inspires me doesn't roll around until March 22, but you can bet I'll be reading all of the inspiring posts that are written before and after mine.

I hope you will read along too. The schedule of posts can be found here.


Thank you for checking in, dear friends...xo

Wood + Mail = Happiness...

There are so many things about this carve your own wooden postcard that I love...

It's wood (I love wood!), it's romantic, you can be you're own creative self and write or draw what you want, the price is reasonable, you can send it anytime - not just for Valentine's Day, and whoever receives one of these will be so smitten with it.

On a darker note...if you don't like the message or the still would be perfect as kindling for the fire. Let's not go down that road though......

Back to happier thoughts. Did I mention it's wood...?

Thanks for stopping by, darlings....xo

{ P.S. There’s a new little thingy on the left side of my blog. The “Ask me anything” box. You can ask me anything. Really. I’ll try to answer to your satisfaction…Yes, yes I will…}


Abandoned. What images come to mind?



Photograph by Jenna Designs


“A true diamond never over shadows…
it’s brilliance of the subtle shine that’s the most attractive.”
~ Dena Tyson

To me, all of the above photographs are diamonds.

Thank you for visiting, friends...xo