Tuesday, January 31, 2012

English Cottage Attitude...

Hi everyone! 

I have been in love with English cottage style for ever, but I really embraced it around Christmas as I had found some tartan fabric for window treatments. Since our house is really small, it works very well for us. 

I have wanted to give my kitchen some vintage English flavor so I have added some fabric, painted a bit and brought out some more blue and white and painted ceramic accessories...

I have wanted a curtain under the sink for a while but could not decide on fabric. Then it dawned on me to make a tiered ruffle curtain and use a mix of fabrics. I am LOVING this! Too cute, and I can always put the doors back on. It took about two hours to make.

I used ticking, toile and a floral print. I love that with the striped rug.

I also painted the cabinet above the stove. You can see the burned up microwave is gone. We exchanged it for a $39 hood, then extended it with wood trim because it was too high. I'll show more of that later.

I also added this trim from my great grandfather's house to the bar so I can hang my cutting boards in easy reach.

On the other side I added a rod so I can hang towels, etc. The striped towel is one my mom made from a vintage flour sack.

This is the bar that I want to change into a rectangle shape when we can get to it. We really need more space, and it won't be that difficult a project since we pretty much have all the materials on hand. Remember, my dad collects wood leftover from building sights:-) The marble board came from my grandfather's store.

So the microwave that caught on fire was removed, and I liked the space there so I decided to add ceramic tile. I also painted the rest of the backsplash then glazed over top of that with mocha glaze. I just wanted it to look like a mixture of stone and tile that was added to over time. 

I also took the doors with the glass panels off the pantry, and exchanged them for the ones next to the stove. They were the same size so they fit perfectly. I need to get another shelf for the inside, though. 

How about a croissant with homemade strawberry jam? Sorry, but I did not have any scones made, although I do have a great recipe for them:-)

The "Romantic England" cups are hanging on the cup hooks, (I noticed hanging cups in several of the English cottage kitchens I saw) and the tray is American from 1956.

One thing I really love about English cottage kitchens is the mix of accessories that look as if they were collected from different places in Europe. I am still using some of my painted plates from Turkey and Spain as well as other things collected from different places.

I hope you enjoyed the kitchen makeover! I will go into detail about some of the little projects so you can see how I did everything in different posts. I used mostly things I already had, or were really inexpensive.  I would still love to paint the bottom cabinets black, but it will have to be later. Also, I would love to change out the faucet to black, but that's not in the budget right now. 

Sometimes the little changes can make a big difference and don't cost a thing. I'm all about that these days.

Here is a wonderful book with cozy, quirky English cottages to inspire you...

You can find it at Amazon and probably ebay.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! I love your comments, and I am so  inspired by all of you.

I'll be joining:

Wow Us Wednesdays
Seasonal Sundays
Inspiration Friday
Feathered Nest Friday
Vintage Inspiration Friday
Home Sweet Home
Show Us Your Kitchen


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bottles in a box...

Hi everyone!

I wanted to share one of the many projects I have wanted to do but never seem to finish. I have been seeing old bottles everywhere, and I wanted to do something with the ones that I found in my grandfather's old garage. I really wanted to put them in the box, but was not sure that would work. After seeing an inspiration photo, I decided to do it.

They were really dirty, so I got out a galvanized tub and put the bottles in with oxy clean, which is *wonderful* for cleaning out the inside of things.

Here is the inspiration photo from Shanty 2 Chic:

Although this is a smaller box with smaller bottles, I worked with what I had. I am, however, planning on making having my husband make a smaller version.

Here is mine again...

I put one leyland cypress branch in every other bottle and a chunky candlestick in the others. I actually had cypress in each one, but I like to have candles on the table, so I took every other one out. 

This wire was on each of the bottles and was holding them to a rod in the garage where they were hanging. I decided to leave some of them knowing my grandfather put them there. I like the added interest also. 

So yet another idea for the box. This is also one I can change out with different stems/flowers as they come into season. I also have plenty of green bottles I'm going to try.

Thanks so very much for stopping by! I am still desperately trying to get back to comments from Christmas, so do not give up on me:-)

Also I decided a facebook page was much more manageable than the Far Above Rubies facebook account I have already, so I would love to have you go by HERE and join.


I'll be joining:

Inspiration Friday

Vintage Inspiration Friday

Feathered Nest Friday

Friday, January 20, 2012

A glass half full...

I wanted to share a wonderful blog by an incredibly inspiring person, Heather Von St. James.

Heather emailed me a little bit about her amazing story, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it when her beautiful daughter Lily was just 31/2 months old. Very risky surgery involved removing one of her lungs, but not only did she survive, she is stronger than ever.

"...So many people assume that having one lung would make life difficult, or would mean I was not as capable of doing so called “normal” things that other people do. But instead of seeing myself with “just one lung” or the glass half empty, I prefer to look at the other side, or as they say, glass half full. I only had cancer in one lung and nowhere else, so in taking the one lung, I’m going to live a lot longer. I think that is pretty awesome!"

Six years later she is still here and cancer free! "I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other parents can look to for guidance," she wrote.

Please go by Heather's blog and visit her HERE. You will be so inspired to make a difference in someone's life, but also to not take anything in your own life for granted.

We tend to get caught up in paint colors, and moving things around, or what color granite someone has when in actuality, none of that really matters at all in life. Making the most of what we do have then sharing that with others is so much more important. Heather is a survivor, and she has taken what she was dealt and has turned it into something positive for anyone who comes into contact with her.

I am so thankful she shared her story with me, and I know you will be blessed by reading it. 

I'm going to link Heather's story up to Spiritual Sundays so please go by there.


Monday, January 9, 2012

"Your Glory" is out...

Hi everyone!

In lieu of a tablescape or decor project, I am starting this Monday with some great news! Our contemporary Christian CD, "Your Glory" is now available on itunes here:

Anita Diaz - Your Glory

You can also listen to another song, "Be Near Me" on the tunecore player on the sidebar.

As many of you know this has been a long, difficult process for us, but we kept our faith and finally got it done. We are thankful that God saw us through it all. It is a testimony to our faith and our goal is only to glorify God and encourage others to Him. For more info, etc., you are invited to check out our website HERE and go to our facebook fan page.

Thank you to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging.  I have to say that this group of people here in "blogland" is the most encouraging and inspiring I have ever been around. I see everyday how you all encourage each other, and me, and that is just not the norm in this world. Every time I read a news website and see the negative and mean comments people leave on news articles, I am seriously discouraged for the future. But...one visit around here reading your positive and uplifting comments, and I know there is hope. Luis and I just want to offer hope and encouragement through this music.  If one person's day is brighter because of it, then we have achieved what we set out to do.

Thanks for stopping by, and we hope you are blessed!!


Friday, January 6, 2012

At least it was a small fire...

Hi everyone!  We got an unexpected surprise this morning when my husband put a cup of coffee in the microwave, and smoke started pouring out of it. Luckily, it was just smoke and the smell of chemicals/plastic burning. And thankfully it is a little warmer this morning than it has been because I had to open the windows. I cannot tell you how awful it smells. 

Now what to do. This microwave is only about 3 1/2 years old. I had no idea how expensive the built -in kind is. 

In any case, it has to come out. So I'm thinking this is a great opportunity to look at other (less expensive) options. Maybe just put a vent hood over the range and the microwave somewhere else?? Since I want to reconfigure the island eventually, we could put the microwave in there as I have seen people do that. It will be a while before we can do that, though. Funny thing is, just last night I was looking at that cabinet thinking I would love for it to go all the way to the ceiling, but thought it would be too much work to take it out. I guess we will find out now.

I'm just thankful that is all it was and not a bigger fire. I have always been petrified of house fires. Thankfully, we can fix it ourselves. 

In the meantime, Luis is taking out the microwave, and I'm taking down Christmas decorations. We celebrated "Los Tres Reyes Magos" last night with pork roast, rice and beans, Puerto Rican-style. The children left boxes with grass for the kings' camels, and in return, each child got a small gift. 

Happy Friday everyone! 


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mother's Franciscan "Apple" for Christmas...

As the Christmas holidays start to wind down this week with the celebration of "Three King's Day" or "Los Tres Reyes Magos," I wanted to share one more Christmas table from my mom's dinner with her brothers and sister. I was flattered when she requested that I make a centerpiece and do the table for her.

She wanted a centerpiece based on one I did for a Christpher Radko "Holiday Celebrations" HERE. We also decided that instead of one of several of her Christmas patterns, her Franciscan "Apple" would be perfect. 

These arrangements already had apples and berries. I pruned some of her shrubbery and added lots of white pine, cedar, boxwood and something I'm not sure of the name but it has a waxy leaf. No, it was not poison oak! I love, love, love how it came out! 

Only a dinner plate for the buffet dinner, and I should have gotten a photo of the beautiful ruby glass compotes they used for dessert, but didn't. No charger, just the woven round placemat, which takes up so little space. Honestly, I do not like to see an empty charger on the table while people are filling their plates so we opted not to use them.

I really need to borrow some of this from her because she has an extensive collection and it is so beautiful on a table. 

So there you have the last of the Christmas tables! We will be celebrating "Los Tres Reyes Magos" Puerto Rican style with pork roast, rice and beans to end the holiday. The kids will leave boxes with grass under their beds tomorrow night to feed the three king's camels. In return, the three kings will leave gifts. I LOVE this tradition because it focuses on the birth of the Christ-child and not Santa. Plus, it extends the Christmas holidays just a little longer. 

Thanks so much for stopping by:-)


I'll be joining:

Tablescape Thursday

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Feed sack lamp shade...

Hi everyone! I hope you are warm inside in this chilly weather! 

I wanted to share a lamp shade I made from feed sacks...

This lamp is one of two that came from Family Dollar and cost $10. The original shade was more ornate. I thought it looked way too formal with the old wood box. 

So I took it all apart and used the old shade as a pattern.

I made a ruffle for the bottom by cutting a length of fabric and doubling it. I then ran two parallel gathering stitches with the sewing machine.

To make really nice and even gathers, run two stitches with a very loose tension, then pull the two bottom threads to gather. You can even the stitches out as you pull the bottom threads. There is no shortcut for this that will come out as nice, so it's definitely worth it to take the time and do two stitches.

I then pinned the ruffle onto the shade and sewed from the inside between the two parallel stitches.

After attaching the ruffle, pull out the gathering threads so they do not show. To make it look nicer, I ran the serger along the edge.

I used the serger on all the seams so it would be neater. Remember, lamp shades will show any mistakes when the lights are turned on. I attached it to the original frame exactly like the old shade was attached with hot glue...

I first had it turned this way so the print shows...

Then I decided to turn it around. It can go either way.

 I also exchanged the Moroccan mirror for two vintage bird prints my mother let me have.  I am loving these, and I know they will be great as Spring approaches.

I took away the crock with greenery and brought out a silver tray with candy... my dad loves these spice drops and they are always here when he drops by for a visit. The storage jars came from my parents' basement, and the pretty cut crystal one was passed down from a family member.

I'm really enjoying my little feed sack shade! I have made several things from these feed sacks my grandfather saved, so I'll be sharing some more projects soon. 

We still have Three Kings Day to celebrate Friday, then I can start taking Christmas stuff down this weekend. I always hate to see it go, but I'm anxious to play with my toile and tartan look for winter. 

Thanks SO much for stopping by!!


I'll be joining:

Twice Owned Tuesdays

Wow Us Wednesdays

Chatty Chics Wild Wednesdays

Vintage Inspiration Friday 

Home Sweet Home

Inspiration Friday