Thursday, June 30, 2011

Framing Nature

I finally bought a shadow box to make a display of the remaining quail eggs I had.  I searched the local thrift stores for a shadow box, but alas, I could not find one.  I did find a cool framed butterfly at one of the shops.  I've always wanted one but have felt guilty about purchasing a new one, killing butterflies and all, but finding one at a thrift shop is like saving a butterfly, right? :o)  I ended up buying a shadow box at Michael's that fit the bill.  Here's a picture of my purchases:

Also at one of the thrift stores I found a gold frame with nice detailing at the corners:

I decided to paint the frames in my Annie Sloan chalk paint in Duck Egg blue.  I was too lazy to prime then paint so I used my trusty chalk paint and got straight to the painting.  I also wanted to add some interest to the frames and since chalk paint distresses really well I knew it was the perfect choice.  

Here is a picture of the previously gold frame after painting and distressing:

And a closer shot of the distressed detailing.  I think the distressing just makes the corners pop.  I'm not sure what I'll put in the frame, we will see what I can find.

Next we have my framed butterfly.  There was also a separate beveled edge inside the frame that I painted white to act as a matte around the butterfly.

At first I thought a more colorful butterfly would have looked better but with the blue frame I think the neutral color of the butterfly contrasts nicely.  I LOVE it!  Here it is a bit closer:

And last we have the framed quail eggs in the shadow box.  I glued the remaining blown out quail eggs on a piece of paper cut to size that had a woven fabric look.  Since the frame was pretty plain looking I distressed the edges a bit.

My attempt to bring more nature indoors :o)

Sharing with:

The Shabby Nest Transformation Thursday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teeny Tiny Quail Eggs!

This past week on my way home from work I decided to stop by our university meat market and get something to barbecue for Father's Day. It was the end of the week and day so not much was left but I did get some ribs and cute little quail eggs! I was really excited about the eggs, not so much for eating (I didn't know what to expect as far as taste!) but for how I could use them for decorating! The eggs were just so tiny and cute with their little speckles :o)

They came as a flat of 50 eggs so now I had to figure out what to do with all those eggs!

And for comparisons sake I didn't have a regular chicken egg but I did have an egg candle that is the approximate size :o)

I decided to take half along to my parents' house to make some deviled Quail eggs for our Father's Day bbq.  I just boiled the eggs for a few minutes, removed the shell (this took a while with so many tiny eggs!) and popped out the yolks into a small bowl.  I then mixed the yolks with some mayonnaise, mustard, sweet pickle relish and salt to taste.  I transferred the filling to a ziplock bag that I cut a hole in one end and piped the filling  into the egg whites. And a sprinkle of paprika and voila!

And they tasted just like chicken eggs, though they seemed a bit fancier.  For some reason smaller food just seems fancier :o)

So for the rest of the eggs:

I had saved the prettiest ones for decorating purposes.  And I finally bought some chicken eggs so now we have a true size comparison:

I decided to blow the yolk and whites out of the shell, trying to keep the shell intact.  I used a pin to poke a hole in both ends of the egg and then blew the contents into a bowl which I later used to make scrambled eggs.  Be careful at this step as eggs can have Salmonella.  There are different suggestions online about how to go about blowing out the eggs.  I just washed the eggs first with dish soap and hoped for the best, but you can use a tiny straw or other methods (I didn't think to read up on this until after I was all done!)   But then again I love raw cookie dough..........

I used a few eggs to replace the plastic eggs I had on the display stand I made a while back

And here it is with the new eggs, I just love the speckle variation of the quail eggs:

Here you can see a little more of the stand:

For the rest of the eggs I was thinking of putting several on display in a shadow box.  We'll see what I come up with for the other ones!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stenciled Curtains

I really love the look of woodblock print inspired curtains from stores like West Elm, World Market, and Anthropologie.  But the price is usually out of my range or the colors or pattern are just not quite right.  So being up to trying new things I decided to try my hand at painting a stencil on the curtains we had in our bedroom.

I found a medallion-type stencil from Michael's and some acrylic paint in "Citron" to go with our blue and green bedroom color scheme.  (I'm not sure how acrylic paint will do with washing, a fabric paint may have been a better choice.)  I decided to slightly change the medallion pattern for alternating rows by painting or leaving out the little diamond shapes at the edges.

The painting part didn't take too long, but waiting for the paint to dry between the rows seemed to take forever!  But eventually everything was painted and here we have the finished product:

And here's a picture of the before for comparison's sake:

I think the new curtains add a nice pop of color.

And a little closer:

Because the pattern was painted on using a sponge brush the paint application was not even giving it a bit of texture which I think adds to the handmade look.  (Sorry for the wrinkles, I'm not much of an ironer!)

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.  Having only one small window in our bedroom makes the room a bit dark but these new curtains sure do brighten things up!

Sharing at:

Blue Cricket Design

Transformation Thursday
Creations by Kara
Somewhat Simple The Shabby Nest

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The fruits of our labor

Our garden has really taken off.  Most of our berries are producing fruit and we've been able to harvest some. Our strawberries were abundant this year. We did have a bit of a problem as the last couple of weeks when they were just beginning to ripen the weather decided to become cool and rainy. In the central valley of California, rain at this time of year and for this many days is a rarity!  Our strawberries suffered a bit, they are not as sweet as they should have been but still really good, better than grocery store strawberries anyday! This evening I went out to the backyard and picked some strawberries that were ripe along with some boysenberries, apricots, and a single golden raspberry. We only had a handful of golden raspberries this year but they were so sweet and tasty! I actually picked a few today but only one made it into the house without being eaten by me :o)

One surprise we had this year was our artichoke plants.  Both Brian and I were expecting one maybe two artichokes per plant but we ended up with way more than that.

Look at all those artichokes!:

We've been amazed and overwhelmed.  Whenever there has been a family get-together, artichokes have been included on the menu :o)

We also have some red raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, and onions growing.  At the beginning of spring we were worried about our peach tree as it had some sort of bacterial disease visible on the leaves.  It seems that the plant fought it back as I can see no more infected leaves and there are a few peaches growing.

So Brian and I are having fun with our garden this year!

And here's Bailey on the prowl :o)