Friday, August 29, 2008

What we do during the week...

Today Lisa and I did a very fun salvage pick-up. Ellen is the PERFECT customer. She buys stuff, and gives us stuff! How can we lose with that combo?

Here she is with two of her children and some of her fine donations.

Her son, Gunner, is a fine salvager himself. He's showing us this gorgeous brass ship's porthole he rescued. Lisa wondered how soon until he can drive? We dream about the day we can afford a young helper to do the heavy lifting for us. And Gunner already has an eye for the good stuff.

Daughter Anneka was keeping track of their dog, Duke.

Here's another son, Thor, with a lovely metal garden bench minus its' wood seat. Someone in their family apparently borrowed the wood for another project!

Back at the studio, my grandpuppy Burly is helping Aunt Lisa with some pricing. He thought he was going to have a week of vacation with grandpa and grandma while his folks look for a new house in Texas. So far this week, he's helped us do an interview for the Seattle Times, studio chores and his first salvage pick-up! -- Beth

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Most Charming Day!

Last Saturday was charm swap day at the studio. It is one of our favorite days of the year! We had two groups of swappers, with 25 women in each group. One group met in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Everyone had made 25 charms ahead of time, and then swapped them with everyone in the group.

Here’s a picture of the morning group. Don’t they look happy? And they haven’t even started receiving their loot yet!

Now the biggest fun ever begins. Each person has their charms on a plate, tray or basket, and it is passed from person to person. It is my idea of the best sit down dinner. Exuberance, glee and jewelry happiness fills the studio.

After everyone has chosen their 24 new charms, we go around the circle with each person explaining their creation – where they found their components, what tools they used, what glue worked or didn’t. So many hot tips and useful suggestions are shared and learned.

Here is Pam explaining her felted pumpkin charm, Christie admiring hers and Yvonne looking happy.

Now Deb is explaining her charms. She made two different ones for each of us. We love overachievers. Check out Melinda’s necklace. She was in both swaps last time, so her necklace displays those 50 charms. And in front of them are their treasure troves of new charms.

And there were cookies! Yvonne has spoiled us during the last two swaps. Her charms were attached to homemade cookies! Sue brought plates of cookies for the group and is sharing her delicious recipe:

These cookies are easy, fast, and versatile…

Yields about 4 dozen cookies
1 box cake mix (any variety)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (substitute caramel or peanut butter or combination)
½ - 1 cup oatmeal
½ cup oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ cup raisins (optional)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, blending well. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little water. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute before removing from the cookie sheets.

I frosted mine with store bought German Chocolate Icing. The possibilities are as creative as our charms (I’m thinking lemon cake mix and a lemon glaze). Enjoy!

Courtesy of

My apologies to the afternoon swap group for running out of steam and not taking any pictures of that fun session. Thanks to Jenifer, I had plenty of pictures of our morning party. I’ll be taking pictures of all the charms and their presentations in the next week and sharing them on a blog post.

And here are two cuties for you – my husband, Raoul and Lisa’s husband, Doug – literally manning the check-out counter while Lisa and I played! A big thank you to them for all their help! -- Beth

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Farm Fresh

you pick flowers at the farm...I love cosmos!

Once a week I drive to Woodinville and pick up organic produce for a group of people in my neighborhood. Doug and I have been members of The Root Connection for over 10 years. They are the oldest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share farm in the state of Washington. We love the tangible connection to where and how our food is grown. Both of us grew up with families that had a large garden so we appreciate home-grown veggies!

lovely rainbow chard

3 hoop houses of U-pick basil!

Eat your veggies! -- Lisa

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Lisa and Madonna...making a roof out of a tin can!

Last Saturday, Doug and I hosted the ever-popular Rustic Birdhouse Workshop at the studio. We love our little chickadees in the garden. Their call is delightful and sounds so cheerful and bright. Here are some of the creative chickadee houses our attendees constructed.

Next spring these houses will be full of chickadee babies singing their song...chickadee-dee-dee-dee! -- Lisa

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Second Helping of the Big Apple

Day three in NYC started with a win/win morning. Raoul and Morgan went to the movies weekly when Morgan lived in Seattle. So it was absolutely necessary for them to see the latest Batman movie together, while I ventured to the garment district. First stop was M & J Trimming, a candy land of ribbons, trims, rhinestones and more.

Next up - Hyman Hendler & Sons - a mecca of ribbons. Rows and rows of the most fantastic ribbons I had ever seen. (And I am a veteran of the local Midori warehouse ribbon sales, where you are surrounded by truly gorgeous ribbon.) Here's a display of plaids and stripes. And look at how wide those ribbons are!

Another lovely style.

I popped into bead stores, walked by Bryant Park (which was fun to see as I love Project Runway) and then discovered the wonderful world of Metalliferous - 34 West 46th St.
It's on the second floor of this small building. Nothing glamorous. But if you enjoy anything connected to creating metal jewelry, this place is heaven - metals, tools, beads and findings. The place was packed with jewelry makers - not a tourist in sight. The owner gave me an overview of the place, as he could tell I was absolutely stunned by my good fortune to be there.

The store got better and better. In the back were thousands of bins of findings - some vintage and all in my price range. Now I consider myself a professional shopper when it comes to focusing on finding the gems among the not-so-gems. But I was in over my head in this place! I concentrated on scanning and digging and amassing. Wowie. I found good stuff.

Later that day we had tasty hotdogs at Gray's Papaya. Yummers. And the perfect finale to the day was seeing Gypsy with Patti Lupone. Divine.

Our final day included a wonderful dim sum lunch in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, and a nice visit with my son's girlfriend's family.

We're looking forward to our next NYC visit already! -- Beth

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Couple of Bites out of the Big Apple

I am just back from four fun and fab days in New York City. My husband and I went to visit our son Morgan, who moved to Manhattan the middle of May.

While bonding with him, we saw a long list of shops I NEEDED to visit. We stayed in a hotel I would highly recommend, the Hotel Belleclaire on the upper west side. Every morning I walked just three blocks to get our coffee and breakfast treats at Zabar's, a longtime gourmet, but down to earth institution. Our first day was low key - walking around our neighborhood and Central Park and spotting this splendid chair set out with the trash.

Day two was the heavy lifting day, as Morgan so accurately described it. We jumped on the subway and hightailed it to ABC Carpet & Home. It exceeded my expectations by a mile.

A dreamy window display.

A chandelier (one among hundreds and hundreds) that made my heart beat faster.

Wood stumps with polished tops surrounding
a chair that looked like the cat had had its' way with it.

And what was directly across the street but Fishs Eddy - a shop I had read about time and again, that carries vintage and reproduction sturdyware, as they describe themselves - restaurant dishes, railroad ware, practical with clean aesthetics stuff. When I asked them if I could take pictures, they said no. So the picture of this window display conveys an inkling of what waits inside.

We walked (and walked) west on Broadway visiting Dean & Deluca, Kate's Paperie, and had our lunch on a bench outside of Balthazar Restaurant. The people watching was as entertaining as the shops.

Here's a picture of my guys - hubby Raoul and son Morgan. Fed and rested and darn cute!

Our afternoon stops included Paula Rubinstein on Prince Street, where I coveted a large and extra wide vintage cloth tape measure, but with a price of $110, it went back on the shelf.

But I found quick shopping solace at this quirky antiques shop on Houston Street - Billy's. Six very nice rhinestone brooches jumped into my hands for a total price of $20. They'll be coming to the studio one day in some assymetrical necklaces.

Our final destination was John Derian's store. It was a real treat to see tables filled with his hand signed decoupaged plates, pedestals and paperweights. By then, I was as tired as my guys look in this picture.

We splurged on a taxi and headed to the West Village to meet up with Morgan's girlfriend, Eileen, and share a very memorable meal at The Little Owl restaurant.

More NYC adventures tomorrow - the garment district and my favorite find of the entire visit! -- Beth

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shhhh...Don't tell anyone, but we have an advance copy of the book!

Monday morning I received a call from our editor, Kate, at the Mountaineers with the terrific news that she had three advance copies of the book for us. I high-tailed it down to Seattle, then back up to Beth's house and then up north to Amy's. I felt kinda like Santa making his deliveries.

the real life book on my real life coffee table

The advance copies arrive by mail in order to get here quicker so that they are available for marketing to send to the magazines, newspapers and other influential folks. The rest of the books are now on a slow boat making their way across the Pacific Ocean. It may take them as long as 4 weeks to get to the Mountaineer warehouse and then they have to be shipped to bookstores and other venues. And then finally, to you!

Here are sample pages from the book...

We will have a copy on display at the studio. And remember you can click on our link on the blog or the website and pre-order on Amazon and save a boat-load of money. Mark your calendars for our Book Launch Party on Saturday, October 4, at 2 p.m. at the studio. -- Lisa

Monday, August 4, 2008

Once a month, Lisa and I hang out with a small group of women we refer to as the artgirls. We take turns hosting and doing a different art project each time. This month, Lisa hosted art day, and we did mosaics on small table tops using broken china, glass tiles and half marbles. I focused more on doing my project, than taking lots of photos of everyone's masterpieces. By the end of the day, we had our patterns created and adhered to our wood pieces. We'll each do our grouting and sealing one day soon. It will be a hoot to see each table in the future, as we visit that friend's house for our monthly day of art, fun and friendship. -- Beth

Friday, August 1, 2008

The RE Store Rocks!

The only thing better than visiting the RE Store is having them come to your garage and pick up materials you no longer want! One simple phone call (206-297-9119) lead to a visit from Joel #1, to preview my offerings, and let me know what things the RE Store could use. Then this wonderful, big truck showed up in my driveway this morning.

Two really nice guys, Joel #2 and Mike, loaded doors, cabinets and even an extension ladder we no longer needed into it. They offered me a receipt for tax purposes or store credit. I went with the receipt. Store credit was extremely tempting, but since I have this "little problem" with seeing the potential in too many things already, I passed on more potential in my life (and back in our garage).

So here is my garage update. This is the picture I took May 5.

Here is the same view today. Progress!

This is my husband's former parking space. Better.

Here is the middle space. A little better.

The last frontier. Still a mess.

But I have to tell you - these before and after pictures are helping my morale. Obviously, I still have a long way to go. I notice lots of things I have accomplished when I look at the May picture compared to today's. And that feels good. -- Beth