The Cradle

Annie Sloan~ Pure White Chalk Paint
Annie Sloan~ Pure White Chalk Paint
Cece Caldwell~ Santa Fe Turquoise Chalk paint
Grandpa’s Barn Red paint peeks through the sanded edges of the cradle.
A coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax slips over the paint.

Grandpa fashioned the wooden cradle by hand and painted it Barn Red. I remember that afternoon; his hands set the cradle onto the linoleum floor. My small hands reached forth, rocked the cradle. His gentle eyes looked into mine,
“For your doll, rock her to sleep,” he said. He turned to my mother, “I found the pattern in the newspaper.”

I recall the cradle was the colour of a shiny fire truck. Grandpa used any old paint, whatever was on hand. Barn Red sat on top of the work-bench, so Barn Red it was. It wasn’t about beauty or matching decor; it was about finishing up a project. It was about frugality. It was about the hand-made gift, lovingly bestowed on a young child.

Over the years, the doll’s cradle was set aside. My sister and I grew older, chose other forms of play. Somehow the cradle survived several moves, furniture purges, life changes, re dos and pure neglect. Yet, I always knew where to find it.

A few days ago, I thought about the man who fashioned the wood into a doll’s cradle. An urge to sit awhile in his space, hold to a memory over took me.

It was clear how to find him. I searched the cobwebbed crawl space until its rocker came to view,hidden behind the box of Christmas decorations. Slowly, I lifted the cradle. The heaviness of the plywood, the slivered edges, and the pea green paint, pricked for attention. I craved evidence from a moment.

Confidently, my hand gripped the block as I sanded the sharp and dented edges of the cradle. Each layer of paint lifted to show moments from a life. The memories that linger. The horrid pea green paint my mother applied in the mid 70’s, a wish to update and repurpose the cradle for magazine storage. Turquoise, her favourite colour from a 60’s craze to match a floral slip coloured couch, came to the surface. Still I sanded. Where was the red I remembered?

Slowly the layers of paint lifted until patches of Barn Red peeked through, evidence, it was real. I had found the moment so long ago.

This week I restored the old wooden cradle with chalk paint. Pure White by Annie Sloan covered the patches of colour that remain deeply ingrained within the wood. One coat of Santa fe Turquoise by Cece Caldwell, slip covered white. Once slipped in wax, the chippy old cradle’s patina shone restored. My hands reached forth, rocked the cradle.

The cradle’s story lives, once again made real, a grandfather’s simple loving action layered by moments that survive time. Love lives on.

Posh Paper Pennants

Posh Paper Pennants


Posh pennants
Posh pennants

Ever wondered what to do with leftover card stock pieces from an unfinished scrapbook project? If you whirl like me, you have the best intentions, gather the supplies, only to start and leave the project for another date. And another. And another.

A talented lady invited me for coffee one morning and showed off some of her recent pennant styles. You may recall this same talented woman is the mind behind the vintage cloth pennants I posted on an earlier post. It is the found and repurposed fabrics, the details, and her design flair that make these pennants so bespoke.

Pennants and templates are trending on Pinterest. Here is a link to several boards,

Paper Pennants are a clever way to reuse and repurpose some of your leftover paper supplies. I purchased the cardstock for both pennants from a local Dollar Store and selected trending shades and colours that I am fond of: pinks, turquoise, and shades of grey. Of course you could make these pennants from fabric scraps, worn jeans, beautiful cards, black and white photocopied photographs… Let your imagination loose.

-chalkboard cardstock pennants
-chalkboard cardstock pennants

If you choose to create pennants from fabric, consider placing Wonder Under between the diamond pennants to stiffen and seal the fabric. Here is a link to Walmart,

The purchased fabric was from, Hobby Lobby and Fabricana.

At home I put the generations to work tracing diamond pennant templates onto cardstock. We chose seven small pennants per string. Sharp scissors keep the diamonds “perfect.” Fold your diamonds in half and make a sharp crease. Using a small hole punch from Michaels’ Crafts, I punched two openings into the top ends of the folded diamond.

Gather your twine. Lay your pennants onto a table. Pattern, number, and space as you wish. Cut a length of twine, five times the length of your pennant. I do this purposely; I would rather have a string too long than too short. Tie off one of the ends of twine. I make a knotted loop to attach to a small nail or push pin.

Thread your pennants onto the twine and space them as desired. A voice niggled in my mind, “Posh it up.” A bag of fabric provided the style oomph. I tore some bits of coordinating fabric and knotted the scrapped ties in between the spaced pennants, adding two fabric ties to complete each end of the pattern. Decide on the desired length. Tie off the opposite end of twine and hang your pennant.

These card stock pennants are the perfect addition to a baby gift, celebration, or event. Pure whimsy and shabby vintage enhance and warm any space. Pennants created by loving hands add homemade glamour, a sense of nostalgia to any space, and silently whisper their stories forth.

~ adding pennants to upscale the "look"
~ adding pennants to upscale the “look”

A Pretty Little Thing.

Suitcase Redo

shabby chic samsonite
shabby chic samsonite

“There was no where to go but everywhere,

so just keep on rolling under the stars.”

~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Found at a local flea market~ this lovely “madmen” style Samsonite suitcase. I should have walked away, instead I lingered. It stood on the grass, bumped up beside a stack of empty gilded frames and a chippy press back chair.

“May I open it?”

The vendor smiled and nodded. The lining of the case was in excellent condition; someone had second thoughts, ideas of salvage, and replaced the original satin liner. My gaze drifted to the outer shell of the case, unmarked, just tired and worn. A tea stained shade of off white. I eyed the tag that hung from the handle. It read, stamped in ink, eight dollars. The price was right.

How to fashion it yet preserve the story?

What pulls me in? Do I wish to wander? Whose delicate fingers gripped the handle? I imagine a lady owned the suitcase. A secretary. Now, we’d say, Administrative Assistant. Was it packed with just enough for a racy weekend rendezvous? Or was the handle gripped tightly by the fingers of a daughter estranged from family? There was an urgency or a wish for convenience; the owner flew.

Once home, I place the suitcase on a wooden table. From the cupboard I lift a familiar can half filled with annie sloan chalk paint (Pure White). The rich and creamy chalk paint covers the case in two coats.  Warmth from the summer sun hastens the dry. I dabble grey paint overtop a royal stencil motif, only to discover the motif is upside down when the case stands right side up. It’s one of those days when simple becomes complex. Two more coats of chalk paint cover the “mistake.” Light wax, rubbed and polished into the surface of the case forms a protective cover. The coveted stories, safe.

Where to put this little gem and what to tuck inside? There are two luggage tickets secreted inside the case, left by an unknown hand. The worn tags read, PACIFIC WESTERN,” YKA, KAMLOOPS, BC.

My imagination’s muse senses a “story” coming on…


There Must Be Some Mistake

Sometimes life makes you smile. This morning I sat in the specialist’s office waiting for my annual eye exam. This particular doctor is either very competent or extremely overbooked. Most times the waiting room of patients extends outside the office door and winds through the hallway of the building. Today was a good day; I saw twenty patients ahead of me.

After the “screens” and drops that should really come with a warning label, I rubbed my bleary eyes enough to see the patients seated next to me. An elderly gentleman by the name of Mr. Hobbs struck up a conversation that revolved around Stephen Hawkings and the revolutionary effects of electricity. A Mr. Robataille chimed in and wondered why women keep so many items stuffed inside a purse? He had noticed my fingers rooting for a Kleenex tissue hidden deep within the folds of my tote. My attempt to explain the psychology of the purse as a symbol for a life, failed to convince him.

I had my own questions. As I sat blindly attempting to make out the faces of the other patients, I noticed a similar attribute of each and every one. Not one of the patients in the waiting room wore glasses. Some were actually reading newsprint. I was the youngest patient in the room and the only one wearing glasses.

After what felt like a small eternity,I heard my name called. I sat in the chair to await the arrival of the Eye God. As I waited, I attempted to study the eye chart posters pinned around the closeted walls. Front and centre was the big question: why am I the only one wearing glasses in this man’s office?

The God entered the examining room and smiled.He studied my chart notes, “Very good. Very good,” he chortled. He had me place my chin onto a bar and swung a metal contraption across my face.
“Look into my eye,” he said. The fingers of his right hand held a small disc that looked like a magnifying glass and suddenly lights shone, and screens slid.
“All good. You’re healthy. Perfect vision.”
Had there been an error?
“Perfect vision? I’m the only patient in your waiting room wearing glasses.”
The doctor’s face smiled and he broke into laughter.
“Very good. Very good,” he giggled. “Later. Later. When you’re older, I fix you like the others. Too young, too young.”
Sometimes life is puzzling.

Vintage Tablecloth Redo

~ create a pennant banner using barkcloth, vintage tablecloths, lace and linen
~ create a pennant banner using barkcloth, vintage tablecloths, lace and linen

Ever wondered what to do with all of those beautiful, tea stained  tablecloths, pieces of lace and vintage barkcloth?

A truly talented friend created two gorgeous pennant banners from collected vintage tablecloths, pieces of lace, linen and barkcloth. This clever mama has an eye for detail and design and embarked on a quest: to source vintage.

My friend scoured flea markets, thrift shops, estate sales (“It’s all about the hunt,” she said.) and a local fabric store to slowly collect the perfect bouquet of cabbage rose, robin’s egg blue, and embroidery threaded rosebuds.

Once home, my friend arranged the cloths; she mixed and matched until the perfect pennant- many times over, was completed.

The snapshot captures her vintage crafted beauty.

Collect vintage tablecloths and pieces of lace. Visit your fabric shop for a swatch of linen. The dimensions of the triangles are nine inches in length by seven inches across. From there, she created a triangle template onto cardboard. Cut out each fabric pennant. The pennants featured above are double sided.

Overlay pieces of lace or embroidered cotton, if desired. My talented friend used seam binding as the “string”to sew the pennants onto. 

I’m begging for the banner featured above.

If you don’t own a sewing machine, recreate the “ratty tatty” number that I managed to fashion. It’s a completely different “look~” hold the laughter, please.

Simply select bespoke fabrics, rip strips of cloth and tie each ribbon of fabric onto the desired length of twine. 

Gather and swag your gorgeous banners from an outdoor tent, ceiling, or hutch. Weave in fairy lights. Too chic.

the ratty tatty version
the ratty tatty version

Tattered Beauty

repurpose vintage teacups~ for this redo I used soy wax flakes, melted to form a candle, love and light
repurpose vintage teacups~ for this redo I used soy wax flakes, melted to form a candle, love and light

It’s in my blood, an old soul courses through my veins: a deep yearning to keep the past. The mission- to salvage and redo all that is shabby and worn. Repurpose and restore the tattered, the scrapped, and elevate the flawed. This pull to find imperfect beauty is an inescapable ache to preserve and cherish.

It is a process that begins with a discerning eye, a glance once cast, smitten. A wish to envision the possibilities of recovery, the wish to polish and show prettiness, grips hold of me. With love, the chosen object of desire gains stature and presence, beholden to my unwavering vision and gentle touch.

It is part curiosity that draws me back in time, allowing my imagination to grab hold of another reality, the past. Closing my eyes, I envision the row house on Adelaide Terrace. The blackened front door holds an iron knocker fashioned in the likeness of a lion. I stand on the brick stairs mustering up the courage to knock. From an adjoining window, a broken heart plays the sad notes of a piano. His fingers linger on keys, softness builds to crescendo. Will she answer?

The woman hears the soft knock upon the wooden door. She wonders who comes to call? Carefully, she sets the gilded china tea cup onto the table. The roses give her reason to pause and remember.

I recall the woman who lives in the Adelaide Terrace home. Prim comes to mind as I envision her presence. Pin curled hair, bobbed and chin length, fashioned off-center by the snag of a single bobbie pin. Her tucked in blouse is the creamiest of silk. Always she centers a pearl studded pin under the collar, an heirloom treasure from her deceased mother. A blue wool skirt graces her petite frame, hemmed below the knees. Her cheeks are lightly rouged and her lips rarely smile; she is never amused.

Yet, once upon a time the woman ran carefree through the blooming gardens, hid among the greenest hedgerows; her long auburn hair flying with the wind, green eyes twinkling from the laughter that spilled from a precious place deep within her Irish soul. The woman learned at an early age, objects of beauty never last long. The bloom fades, the fragile china surface gathers cracks that graze and shatter.

This woman was my grandmother; she learned that real fades, becomes tarnished over time. She forgot, we endure because we remember. The stories told come back to mind, moments coveted to memory, snugged tight within our hearts. They won’t let go, never want to leave. We knew love in all its glory and all of its tattered pieces.

I open the box that houses her mismatched china. Carefully I set the cups and saucers upon the floor. One piece enchants. It is the cup with the faded tea roses, the gilded edges faded from time’s kiss. This is the one I keep.