Foundation Friday: Sharing The Goods

One of the best things about creating things is SHARING things! It is truly one of the Foundations of Creating—- make it share it & enjoy the applause! Not only are accolades nice but truly, in the community of creatives, inspiration fuels others and round and round it goes.

I’m new to the Instagram party and have to say I’m kicking myself for taking so long to arrive! I love the platform and love the ease with which you can share. Additionally, those morning shots from creatives? Fabulous!

I’ve been pinning for quite awhile but haven’t been crazy about it lately. It seems it’s all about the food bloggers. Now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE me a food blogger, don’t get me wrong– and I follow a lot of them! But the home feed needs some tweaking in order to see others. I guess it just feels more commercial to me recently. Having said that food bloggers make my world go ’round to be sure! Because of them I have no doubt I’m a better cook, a more adventurous cook, and a better baker. I also blame them for making me eat more! ;)

I only have my personal page on Facebook. I don’t talk about much— and have to say it makes me crazy to see political crap that makes my teeth itch. What can you say, you learn a lot about your friends!!!

I do Tweet but am not as vigilant as I should be. Again, it seems like it’s gotten really commercial and I don’t give a rip about celebrities and how the give good Tweet! (Well, a few—- but that’s just me!) If you can’t enjoy the occasional Tweet from Pee Wee Herman what’s life for anyway????

I’m always interested to see what social media platforms creatives use. Very few use them all. Not that you can’t have different media post to Facebook but I’m not sure if that wide scatter shot does it for me. I usually post a photo to Instagram, something simpler to Facebook. If I Tweet creatively and not personally I’ll go short and sweet with a URL for the blog.

The blog—– that’s where it’s at for me. I try to keep to my 3x weekly M-W-F blog posting and give photos as appropriate. My Facebook does not link to my blog in any way—– there are just folks who should keep distant if you know what I mean.

What do YOU use to share your creativity?

Do you follow fellow creatives in more than one place?


Posted in Chat, Foundation Friday

Chalk Paint: Little Table: First Foray

Chalk paint has been the ‘thang’ for quite a while now…. and I just worked with it the first time. First time using a new products with a new technique on a really crappy product. Harder much? That’s how I roll.

I’d been stalking for a couple simple little end tables that were cheapies, could be painted, and cost next to nothing. I knew I wanted to put my own touch on them so why pay big bucks? Or even medium bucks as it turned out. I found a couple on Wayfair closeout and paid under $40 for the pair. Quality? Uh, no. But that’s okay. I don’t have littles in the house and these just needed to be beachily cute.

Enter a sample pot of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in “provence” (under 12 bucks) and my sander. You see, these little tables were so cheaperoo I knew that even though one of the joys of chalk paint is that it sticks to anything—- it wasn’t going to do it on those! So I sanded past the ‘roughed up’ stage.

First coat? HORRENDOUS!  I mean it was beyond a nightmare! The paint dries superfast so the second coat went on quickly. Second coat? Much better.

Blurry, sorry!  But you can see how the paint doesn’t want to stick.

The top after one coat— not as ‘pockmarked’ but still a long way to go!

The top of the table got 3 coats…. the legs 2. After letting it settle for 24 hours I gave it a coat of clear wax.

Then a few twists of a small gauge natural twine on the legs….. just because!

I’m especially fond of the Christmas paper used as a drip catcher!

Looks like a beach house indeed!

I don’t feel as if I can really weigh in on like vs. dislike after this one. I’ll do another piece that is nice quality with more to it than this little end table brings to the party.

But, ain’t she cute?






Posted in Chat, Crafty Happy, Home Dec Tagged , , |

7th Blogoversary! Knitting Contessa

Blogging since 2007! Hard to believe—– that seemed to be the seminal year for many bloggers who are hard at it today, 2007 gave birth to a lot of those that line our blog rolls since.

Blog on sisters!

Posted in Chat Tagged |

Project: End Tables

Long stories & lottsa’ lessons…… details to come. For the moment I leave you with this teaser:

So far?


Being stubborn vigilant… I press on



Posted in Crafty Happy, Home Dec Tagged , |

Foundation Friday: BUTTONHOLES!

I make crummy buttonholes!

It’s been a lament for a long time and recently I tackled them, they had to get better and I can’t keep blaming my Bernina.

Who knew? It was ME and not my machine!


First thing, I YouTubed the subject and watched several videos. I had several to choose from and I watched a few to glean the best advice. No doubt you will find many as well!

The video above was ‘mine’.

Guess what? I had always ignored that foot. Don’t ask me why. Actually USING it took my buttonholes from ick to slick in a nanosecond! (almost)

Other great buttonhole foundations:

  • Always practice first
  • Make sure the button fits the hole you’ve sampled (don’t ask how I know this)
  • INTERFACE properly, without interfacing you’re destined to fail
  • Use great thread, experiment with ‘regular’ thread and buttonhole twist if your machine will handle it
  • Make sure you have measured accurately so that all the buttons are spaced correctly
  • DOUBLE CHECK your buttonholes are on the correct side!
  • When you make your practice button to check for size, etc…. make sure you also practice CUTTING that buttonhole. If you do not have a block and chisel for the task, use a seam ripper and very carefully and slowly start at one end and gently rock the blade to the center. Repeat with the other side. In this way you are less likely to cut through the buttonhole. Some people run a very thin bead of seam sealant along the sides of the buttonhole but I find in most cases if you’ve cut carefully and trimmed any wild threads you’ll be fine. It all depends on your fabric and another reason to sample first.

  • If you sew on buttons with your machine (I do 99% of the time), cut long threads and with a needle bring those to the back of the button and double knot before cutting the threads. Use a drop of seam sealant for a long lasting button.

Little Extra: I always buy at least one extra button of each size used in a garment. When I sew on buttons I stitch one extra (and save another in the button box if I have more) into the hem facing. You almost always need one and it’s great to know where a match is quickly.

EXPERIMENT: Most sewing machines have many types/styles of buttonholes built in. On a 10×10 piece of midweight dark fabric, interfaced and backed (so you have 3 layers) and using white thread, put on your buttonhole foot and try every style available on your machine. Keep the sample for ready reference— PLUS— you’ll have a lot of built in experience!


What are YOUR favorite tips and tricks for beautiful buttonholes?

Posted in Foundation Friday, Sewing Tagged , , , , |

MidWeek MemDay

Every single year it happens!!!  The week after Memorial Day kicks my butt. You’d think I’d be prepared but nope nope nope.

The work week for many is shortened (not for moi) and yet the week is a killer. For me I think because I clear the decks for the long weekend if I can. I ride my bike, ride out for coffee, for the beach, to people watch and a lot of reading, sewing, and a stitch or two of knittery. It was a great weekend in all ways. This week leads to a double wedding to work this coming weekend in two states. I’m tired thinking about it.

The pattern for youknowwho has been drafted and tweaked and approaching what I hope is perfection. Drafting for big ole’ arms is tough, #danghermama. After a run to the local fabric store (ick) for appropriate fabric, and you know for a fact I settle!!!!!– I did find a gauze and a seersucker to make hot weather work tops. That’s on the agenda in the next 24. Once again with a hand drafted custom pattern via the Cal Patch class on Creativebug one of my favorite things is how the sleeves set in. Seriously, they just glide in….. ahhhhhh. Easy peasy.

In other sewing news, big for me…… BUTTONHOLES! Remember, mine were AWFUL—– so with research (and patience) I discovered the operator error of my ways. Hauled out the proper foot, messed around for just a little bit and – voila! LOVELY!

I retrofitted a tote bag for a camera bag because it’s lightweight, beautifully constructed (made a couple years ago as a laptop messenger bag) and sturdy. Cute doesn’t hurt! I added snaps on a couple interior pockets, a button to replace tired velcro on the outer pocket and super reinforced the strap/bag intersection. I’m very happy with the result!

Posted in Chat, Sewing Tagged , , , , |

Welcome Summer: Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Can you remember a time you welcomed summer more?

Probably not!

Judging by the island traffic, there were many who were anxious to get away and seek some sun and fun! Thank heavens for a bicycle as means of transportation because parking was pretty much non- existant!

I’ve been in the studio over this long weekend—— the new wreath on the door welcomes me for watercolors, sewing and yes—– time to organize that bin of purple and green yarn that has been languishing in there for a project that will never be finished. I do pride myself on being able to say, “thanks for coming but we won’t be needing you after all!”

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Foundation Friday: The Little Details

It’s very true—- the little details can make a huge difference! Why is it we overlook the simple changes that can make something go from meh to meow in a nano?

I recently created this sweet watercolor from the springboard at the Danielle Donaldson class I took recently on Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Network. Loved that class so much as I’ve mentioned quite a few times! This watercolor made me happy and I immediately framed her and hung her to enjoy.

Cute, right?

Well changing up the frame from a dark brown to a pop of yellow not only accented the watercolor, but it popped in the room with pale green walls AND the best part was that it took 5 minutes and $0.00 since I already had yellow paint!

Easy, effective and smile making! I have a couple other frames I’ll give a dry brush technique over the weekend.

It’s almost Memorial Day and I’ve stashed some great white wine to ice along with a nice beer selection. To go with a menu that’s fun and easy to woo guests without spending too much time away from the action, I’ve been working out a flatbread recipe. The first go was made with simple herbs and a nice salty top, yum! Now that I know that my yeast / flour ratio is good, I’ll roll it thinner with some nice tomatoes and veggies cut super thinly for opening apps—– and can’t wait to try it figgy and goat cheesy to enjoy solo on the front porch!

Lastly, the foundation for healthy dogs around Casita Contessa has been cooking for Prince. Mr. Prince has really been struggling for the last year and a half with one twist morphing into another. What has gotten weight back on my boy dog and kept food down is continuing to cook for him and to keep it simple. Not fancy schmancy recipes for pups (which I’ve tried) but good old fashioned boiled ground beef,  & cooked white rice at about 50/50 and no salt green beans, I use a can of whatever is on sale. It’s then all buzzed together with a cup or two of the cooking stock. I make enough to put a container in the fridge and 4 or so in the freezer. For a big ole ‘ treat I add a little baked sweet potato.

Check out that kitchen counter!


The potholder on the left of the Cuisinart? Horrendous.

And I only have TWO in the whole house.

What’s up with that?

The Cuisinart is VIN.TAGE.

Still works like a champ.

I’d replace it but I have a full set of all the blades and disks

& juicer and pasta attachment.

I’ve replaced the plastic disk stem. Big Whoop.

The  Kitchen Aid?

Similarly vintage! I’d love to have one in a fun color but why replace when this one works?

I did have to replace the everyday paddle….ten bucks. Boom.

And cookbooks.

Notice one of my new favorites?

Flour Too.


Hope you’ll have a fab Memorial Day weekend! Play, Dance, Laugh & Enjoy.

Count your blessings and pass one on!



Posted in Chat, Crafty Happy, Foundation Friday Tagged , , , , , , |

Let it be: Yellow Furniture!

The guest room is like the rest of the house, beachy in feel. It’s furniture was inexpensive and black, the nightstand black with a boring brown rattan basket on the shelf. In other words a rather ick brownish blackish boring bland yawny. Good enough to make the move and not bust apart but certainly not fine furniture by any stretch of the imagination!

Now, it is bright and happy yellow! It doesn’t make the furniture ‘better’ but it makes things clean and bright and OH SO HAPPY! :)

A little sanding, and no priming whatsoever! (I kept telling myself cuts could be taken, they could- they could!) The hardest part was hauling the dresser outside and down the stairs solo! (We shall not mention the trip back up!)

The pieces were minimally scratched or with dings, the worst offender was a patch on the top of the dresser of unknown origin. It had been in full camo with something set on top of it to mask.

In retrospect, a little more sanding in between coats would have been a good idea  but other than that I’m happy with the resulting furniture and how it makes the guest room sing!

Whenever I haul out the dropcloth that RED shocks me! Every single time I think, man…. what have I painted that color???  And of course that red belongs to the wicker piece on the front porch, also rescued from ick brown.

And no, the drawer pull on the nightstand was painted over. It was cheap and ugly. The measurements reside in my bag so I can replace it with something that looks vintage and fun.

              I opted to paint the basket on the shelf a crisp white, that little stinker took an entire can of spray paint!

After it’s ‘set’ for a couple more days I’m going to add a few high and low lights with paint I’ll mix myself and then top that off with a coat of poly on the tops of the dresser and the nightstand. You never know how they’ll be treated by guests God love ‘em!

Sweet as can be, the framed Queen Bee was a Mothers Day card this year and I love how it sits in the room!

The color of the walls is “Ibis” from Sherwin Williams. Crazy, it looked very white with the brown furniture but pop in that yellow and you can really see the pinkish tones of the Ibis now!

Guest room finished and ready for guest season to begin.

When you live at the beach it happens often!

Posted in Chat, Home Dec

Ten Days Creative

It’s been ten days around Casita Contessa of solo time, me time, pretty much selfish time. Have I had a ball—– and been super creative.

On the first day I cleaned and reordered the display shelves, moved around some art and generally puttered. The rest is a blur of happiness! :)

One of my favorite projects was drafting a pattern from scratch for a dress! Yes, from scratch! If you have not enrolled in Creativebug’s classes you’re out of your mind——- truly—– but taking Cal Patch’s Pattern Drafting Class was AMAZING! It ran over four weeks and to be honest while I watched all installments and gathered supplies I didn’t start until the class time was over. (But lucky you, still available at Creativebug!)

Cal Patch Pattern Drafting

I had a blast!

To be honest the worst part was taking true measurements. I kept telling myself that no one would ever ever EVER see them and that once the pattern was drafted, there isn’t even a size number on it! So honest measurements I took, and I drafted a pattern for a dress. In this longest length I will be able to do my own riffs for tunics or shirts or anything in between and I can’t wait!!!

One of the most hilarious parts was digging through the toolbox and finding a pattern marking kit from who knows how long ago! Check the price, $1.55! AND… the little marking wheel is etched with my name! I used one of those little devices meant to carve your name into anything to prove ownership and deter theft on a pair of scissors (that are still amazing and in use today) when I was in college! Holy cow. It cracked me up which of course means I am way too easily amused.

Once drafted it was time to cut out the pattern for the first go. I found fabric that wasn’t TOO horrible (in case it fit and I love it) at the fabric store for $2.00 a yard- perfect. Once washed and laid out the pattern cut out quickly and easily. When it was pinned together the first thing I noticed was how perfectly everything lined up….. I mean Bang On.

It sewed up really fast as well and my favorite thing? THE SLEEVES! I was worried about drafting a sleeve— I mean how can something with basic measurements and a lot of eyeballed curves come together in anything remotely resembling a sleeve, much less one that fit into the armhole well? I shouldn’t have worried and praise and bless you Cal Patch—- this was the most beautiful sleeve I have ever set in my life! No kidding, and that’s saying A LOT!!!!

Most beautiful sleeves ever.

No rimples or dimples

not eased in, no gathering thread!

The dress? Fits like a dream! My only changes will be to narrow the dart in the front and add about a half inch to the bust. THAT’S IT! I may well wear the dress too! It’ll need short sleeves but that is a piece of cake!


Posted in Chat, Crafty Happy, Sewing