Thursday, July 28, 2016

happy {150th} birthday, Beatrix!

Our much beloved Beatrix Potter was born 150 years ago today!

I thought it was a perfect occasion to wear another outfit inspired by my favorite artist.

My niece Abbey snapped a couple pics for me. ^_^

Abbey, my sister Kelsey, and I thought we'd try our hand at some watercolor in honor of Miss Potter.

{'Arteests' at work.}
It was so much fun!
{A cup of tea was always nearby, naturally.}
The finished "masterpieces". ;P
Try not to laugh too hard at my rendition of Hunca Munca & one of her babies.
{I really need to work on those eyes. Spooooky.}
Kels decided to just do her own non-Beatrix-inspired thing.
I'm in love with Abbey's rendition of Jemima Puddle Duck!
"Thank goodness I was never sent to school;
it would have rubbed off some of the originality."
{Beatrix Potter}

Did you know today was Beatrix's birthday?

Did you do anything special to celebrate?

What is your favorite Beatrix Potter book?

Miss Michelle ^_^

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

the heart of the home...

Would you like to take a step inside my sister's kitchen & look around?
You'll love it here, it's one of the coziest places I know.
I love to sit and chat over a cup of tea or coffee by the big picture window that looks over her patio where the kids are playing, and her flower garden where bees are buzzing & butterflies are fluttering.
When a kitchen sink is as gorgeous as this it makes washing dishes a joy!
 {And how perfectly does this vintage tablecloth that's doing duty as a skirt apron match the cabinet?! I just can't get over it.}
 Some of those flowers usually find their way indoors, bringing their freshness & sunshine with them.
 Kitschy kitchen goodness is in every nook and cranny.

Of my three sisters, Beth & I probably have the most similar decorating style.
We both love anything cheerful, farmy, kitschy, & vintage.
Which can make garage sale-ing together a little tense.
Just kidding. We share pretty well. ^_^
In Beth's country kitchen there's always sure to be some fresh veggies about the place this time of year.
That's bound to be when your husband is a landscaper & expert gardener with about 4 or 5 vegetable patches.
{I've lost count how many actually...there seem to be more every year!}
Even her ceiling fan is cute for cryin' out loud!
We affectionately call it a fandelier.

I helped her paint her cabinets this beautiful shade of Annie Sloan chalk paint, Henrietta, a couple years back. The insides are painted with Antoinette & have Hello Kitty liner on the shelves. I neglected to take a piccy of that, but I'm sure you can picture it.
There's nothing like climbing around on the counter tops with the Beatles playing in the background whilst sipping endless cuppas with your sister.

 Speaking of cuppas...
here is the all important coffee counter.
*angelic choir music plays*
{I'm irritated with myself for accidentally cutting off the head of the cute crocheted chick-i-poo on top of her lil Keurig. Bah. Didn't realize I'd done it till I got these piccies on the 'puter. You can see it un-decapitated in the previous photo though!}

{A refrigerator isn't complete without some artwork!}
Even the fridge got a makeover!
She glued a pretty wood decal thingy on & then painted over it.
That chalk paint really does stick to anything.
I gave her this old metal garbage can & gave it a coat of Antoinette.
{Oscar the Grouch simply couldn't make his mortgage payments anymore & had to move to a smaller can. ^_~ You know, the economy & stuff.}
Everywhere you look there's something cute to make you smile...
this corner cabinet which belonged to our great grandma is a home to all sorts of cute tchotchkes...
vintage hanky bunting adorns the window...
and some adorable vintage wicker umbrellas hang jauntily from a hook.

Possibly one of my favorite things about Beth's kitchen is that she always has something yummy baked. {And she's always willing to cut you a slice} It was yummy zucchini bread this time with zukes from {one of} their garden{s}.  ;)

If you're interested in the recipe she said she uses Better Homes & Gardens' Recipe, but without the nuts cuz eww. ;P

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Bethie's kitchen!

Much love,
Miss Michelle ^_^
{Photos by yours truly}

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

the friendliest flower {Auntie & Niece Style No. 1}...

I've been a fan of the Mother/Daughter fashions that seem to have had their heyday in the 50s for a long while now. I blame my Mother really. (Poor Moms. They get blamed for everything.) ;P Mine got me started with my love for matchy-matchy apparel since she made coordinating Daisy Kingdom dresses for my younger sister & me when we were little girls. Though it may be this point I don't give a hoot.
{Being well and firmly established in my dorkiness.}

The Lord hasn't made me a mother, but He HAS made me an aunt!
I am so blessed with this niece who doesn't mind matching her ol' auntie.

{Pinterest Sources: 1*2*3}

{and another lil niece who'll get in on this action soon enough
& 4 nephews...who probably...won't. ha!}
You may have noticed from previous posts that I haven't been wearing much vintage lately. I tend to go through spurts of wearing it a lot and then not so much. I'm in a not so much phase right now. I still L-O-V-E all things vintage, but I just haven't been very dedicated to the wearing of it lately. Part of the reason being that I've lost some pounds and not much of my old wardrobe fits quite right. (Not that I'm complaining about it by any means. Lol!)
I'd have to put some serious work into making a new vintage wardrobe, and I'm just not feeling it right now. I'd say my style is still very much vintage inspired, but there are times when I just wanna wear skinny jeans...or overalls...or modern clothes. That blasted Lauren Conrad keeps coming out with something beautiful to tempt me in her line of clothing at Kohl's.
And I'm ok with that.
My style has always been pretty eclectic anyway.
But anyhoo...
I've entitled Abbey & my matching frocks "the friendliest flower" because of the "You've Got Mail" quote about daisies being the friendliest flower. ^_^
I already have some ideas for other installments of Auntie & Niece Style too, but I had to start somewhere and these super simple pre-smocked lovelies were a good way to kick it off.

Daisies are pretty much my very favorite flower.
Their sweet simplicity & happy lil them-ness just gets me.

I love them as a motif for decorating too. This daisy handkerchief & candle ring brighten up my bedside table. I also started these seeds this year so hopefully I'll have my own friendly blooms for years to come.

It's a given that if I have a bouquet of these cuties about the house
I'm bound to take a picture {or two or 5,037)
and then if I take a picture I'm bound to add a verse or quote to it.
It's just the way it is.

And Yardley of London's Royal English Daisy is my favorite perfume.
Though daisies aren't actually particularly fragrant it captures the cheery feeling that daisies evoke.
 While this isn't the first time Abbs & I were caught "twinning"

It is the first time I specifically made us matching apparel.
So when I found this adorable "Style in an Instant" fabric from Joann Fabrics I just couldn't resist the cheery daisy & gingham print - two of my favorite things! It was a breeze to whip up. Just one seam. I took the fabric to WallyWorld (Wal-Mart) to find matching tank tops & there ya go.

We didn't have a field full of dancing daisies in which to take our pics so we used the next best thing - a row of ginormous sunny sunflowers!
Cuz you know daisies & sunflowers go together like peanut butter & jelly.
{That's a metaphor. Don't eat these flowers.}

 The best shenanigans are gotten up to with this girl.

I better hurry up & make more matching things before she gets embarrassed of me. ^_~
What's your opinion on the matchy-matchy thing?
Super dorky or kitschy cute?
What's your favorite flower?
Much love,
Miss Michelle ^_^
{Photos of Abbs & me by my sister Aims. Others by moi.}

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

the colors of my life...

When I was a little girl I sang in our local civic chorale's youth chorus for a few years. We sang a wide variety of types of songs from show tunes to Psalms to oldies. {and one weird song about an ocelot of all things, "Saucy Little Ocelot", which contained the line "Saucy little ocelot, likes to fuss & boss a lot." Which my friend who sat next to me during practice & I thought perfectly described another girl in the group. We would elbow each other & try to keep from giggling...but I digress...}
 One of the show tunes we sang was called The Colors of My Life from the musical Barnum (which I've never actually seen.)
Some song lyrics tend to take up residence in my brain and never leave.
Such as the lines
"The colors of my life are bountiful & bold." sung by the fella
"The colors of my life are softer than a breeze." sung by the lady.
Every so often I think about these words & I wonder which color schemes would I use to characterize my life?
I really like both bountiful & bold AND softer than a breeze colors.
The only colors I'm not too terribly fond of are neons.
And in moderation even they can be tolerable.
Picking out colors for a new knit or crochet project is one of my favorite parts of the whole creative process. I love trying different color combinations. Nothing pleases my eye so much as just the right balance of colors. In my life there is a time & place for bright & cheery as well as pastel & pretty. I like to incorporate them both into my wardrobe & décor.
Since it was the lady who mentioned the gentle colors we'll take a look at some of those first.
{Ladies first ya know.} ^_~
like a relaxing day at the beach
 that's what I think when I see pastels.
Now as to all things bright and beautiful...
fresh & juicy

*like a cup of coffee for your eyes*
 like childhood summer days
That's what I think of when I see cheery brights.
As you can see I've been keeping busy with granny square blankies.
They are my most recent obsession, and they lend themselves very well to experimenting with different color palettes. I've just started on one I've been calling "pastel rainbow" while also working on a vintage beachy sweater in pale coral, light blue, & white. {Seen in some of the pics at the top.}
So these are the colors of my life.
Both light & lovely AND bright & beautiful.
What colors do you prefer?
Is there a certain scheme of colors that characterizes your life?
Much Love,
Miss Michelle ^_^
{Photos by me apart from the one of Mema & me. That was taken by Aunt Liz.}

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

30 baby pies for the 4th of july...

I hope you all had a lovely Independence Day!
 I sure did.
The day was spent in my favorite way - with family & friends.
I found some adorable mini pie tins at Dollar General (of all places!) a couple months back & I just knew what I would be making for our celebration.
In the Summer we try to use the oven as little as possible to keep the house as cool as possible.
So, I decided cold pies were in order & graham cracker crust since they don't require such a hot oven as regular pie crust. Although we just recently bought a nice toaster oven that could actually accommodate 2 regular sized pies or 12 mini pies. So, I could have actually made baked pies, but I already had my heart set on cream pies.
I thought I'd cheat & use boxed pudding mixes & canned filling too just to make things easy.
But then we got this beautiful box of juicy Georgia peaches.
Strawberries are my all-time favorite fruit, but peaches run a close second.
I couldn't do it.
I couldn't cheat.
I had to use these fresh beauties.
I know, I'm a weirdo. ;)
And then I remembered how wonderful homemade pudding is too.
 Plus we recently had a break in the hot weather & had a few days of gorgeous Fall-like weather.
So, that clinched the deal.
There's nothing easier than a graham cracker crust!
 I made a few gluten free ones as well for my sister Beth.
 I used a cream cheese mixture under the fresh peaches.
It was pretty good, but if I were to do it again I would use homemade vanilla pudding instead.
Mmm...there's nothing quite like a fresh peach glacé pie
I did make coconut cream & banana cream using the vanilla pudding.

Abbey is always my little helper. ^_^
She put the little flags on.
I finally found a use for this cute scrapbook paper a friend gave me a couple years ago.

About halfway through the baby pie assembling I thought
"Wait just a cotton pickin' minute, how am I gonna fit all of these in our fridge?!"
You should've seen the rigged up system of egg cups & spools of thread I concocted to stack the trays.

How cute is this widdle pie?


My sister Beth has the cutest décor, doesn't she?
Her whole kitchen is just thing cutest thing.
I've said it before but it seriously deserves its own post at some point.

  Gluten free for Beth ^_^

My favorite part of the day, though, was spending time with my lil poopsies.
{See them playing on the swing set out the window? That's where we spent the better part of the day.}


Twas a grand ol' celebration.
Here are the recipes if y'all are interested.
Graham Cracker Crust:
1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
Melt butter; stir in sugar. Add crushed crackers; toss to mix well.
Spread evenly onto bottom & sides pie plate.
I used a small measuring cup to press them.
Bake in a 375* oven for 4-5 minutes or until edge is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 1 9-inch pie crust or 8 mini pie crusts.
Peach Glacé Pie:
6 c. sliced, peeled peaches
2/3 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
In a medium bowl mash 1 c. of the peaches well with a potato masher. Add water & set aside.
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar & cornstarch; stir in blended peach mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Cool for 10 minutes without stirring.
For a whole pie:
Spread 1/4 c. of the glaze over bottom & sides of a baked shell.
Arrange half of the fruit in crust.
Carefully spoon half of the remaining glaze over fruit.
Repeat the last two steps being sure that glaze completely covers all of the fruit.
Chill 1 to 2 hours.
For minis:
Arrange 1/3 to 1/2 c. of peaches in each tins, depending on whether you're making peaches & cream pies or plain peach.
Top with a large spoonful of glaze, dividing evenly.
Chill 1 to 2 hours.
Top with whipped cream.
Vanilla Cream Pie:
4 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. whole milk
(or half & half if you're awesome)
1 T. butter
1 1/2 t. vanilla
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.
Gradually stir in milk {or 1/2 &1/2 ^_~}.
Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened & bubbly; reduce heat.
Cook & stir for 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat.
Slightly beat egg yolks with a fork.
Gradually stir 1 c. of the hot filling into yolks.
Add yolk mixture to filling in the pan.
Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
Remove from heat,
Stir in butter and vanilla.
For Coconut Cream Pie:
Stir in 1 c. flaked coconut.
Garnish with whipped cream & toasted coconut.
For Banana Cream Pie:
Arrange sliced bananas on the bottom of baked pie crust.
Top with pudding.
Top with whipped cream.
{Of course}
If you accidently eat all of the pudding on its own before it makes it into a pie:
I won't judge.
It's delish.
Much Love,
Miss Michelle ^_^
{All photos taken by me apart from the ones I'm in. Those are by my sisters Beth & Kelsey.}