Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY: Christmas Card

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

I decorated our front porch with thrifted items from Goodwill for this homemade Christmas card ordered via Shutterfly.  Angel wings on Louie are from and reindeer antlers are from Santa :)  For the wooden star DIY tutorial click here.

I was so happy to find three brass horns at Goodwill recently
I love my Momma and I will do anything for her, even this...

Merry Christmas!

DIY: Vintage Colander Holiday Centerpiece With Lights

vintage colander with star design, juniper branches and light

 You can find similar colander at many thrift shops (or check your grandma's kitchen).  I particularly love the ones with star designs on them.  My original intent was to use candles and cover them up with the colander, but was afraid that was not safe.  I tried electric tea lights (photo below) but the light was not powerful enough to create the desired effect. 

with electric tea lights

So I used a bare bulb light pendant "lamp" (similar can be purchased on Etsy) and loved how it ended up projecting stars on the wall. 

My other vintage find from last week is this wire basket.  I initially thought it was a fishing basket but Mr. Wonderul thinks it's a frying basket.  I cleaned it up really good and used it to display some old ornaments (also thrifted of course).

vintage frying basket used to display Christmas ornaments

Monday, December 17, 2012

DIY: Last Year's Christmas Cards or Calendar Upcycled into Holiday Decoration

This giant Labrador Retriever themed paper ball was created based on this tutorial from Scoutie Girl.  I only change the scale in order to make much larger ornament/decoration from my last years calendar which had lots of cute puppy photos  :)

Christmas Break Survival Guide for Kids and Moms

I have just created a new board on my Pinterest dedicated to holiday crafts for kids and Moms.  Click HERE to enjoy!  Do you have a special secret to stay sane throughout the holidays?

an ornament made with recycled Christmas cards...  see it on my new Pinterest board

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DIY: Natural Christmas Arrangements

Pinterest made me do it!

What I used:
thrifted burlap stocking (it was 50 cents!!!)
thrifted galvanized decorative bucket
pine, juniper and laurel branches, nandina berries all collected from the backyard

thrifted and natural supplies
 I had several nandine branches left over and of course could not just throw them away :)  I tied them with burlap jute and hung on our front porch chair.  Also, could be used as a quick and easy (and inexpensive) Christmas wreath or window/wall decoration.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY: Gold Leafed Nails

DIY nails, burgundy leather clutch thrifted, leather jacket - Etsy

Do you remember my Gold Bar Clutch DIY?  I had lots of gold leaf pieces left over and saved them for my nails.  You will need craft gold leaf, nail polish in desired color, clear nail coat and tweezers.

First, I applied burgundy polish to my nails.  Then while nails were wet applied golden pieces with tweezers.  Seal with clear coating.

I think dark blue (Essie's Midnight Cami) also looks great with gold.

I was experimenting here by applying gold leaf first and then filling in with dark color, but I recommend the way described in my tutorial above

Or how about just clear and gold?

Also, check out Pearl's gorgeous nails here.  Great minds think alike, as it often is the case. 

DIY: Wooden Star with Lights

DIY wooden star with lights
I have seen several tutorials and many pins on Pinterest showing different versions of DIY wooden star Christmas decoration.  I decided to collect some fallen branches from a nearby park to make my own Earthy version.

DIY star, DIY wreath, DIY Noel blocks, bird cage Hobby Lobby, everything else thrifted

What I used:
branches or sticks in desired length
jute twine to tie the sticks together
cheap Christmas lights form Walmart (for a larger star you might need two packages)
bread ties (optional) to secure strings of light

place the sticks on the ground to form a star; trim the ends off as desired

tie the sticks together with jute twine

wrap Christmas lights around sticks securing with bread ties if desired

plug it in

and decide where to place your new creation

I love the natural look of my star but I have to admit I also love the clean look of this yard stick star from Little Bit Funky
Also, plz check out my other wooden star DIY here.  Seems as if I've been star struck lately :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Earthy Still-life (Simple Christmas Wreath DIY)

I am very much into Earthy, primitive, rustic and Wabi-sabi lately.  I DIYed the wreath above by spray-painting a regular grape-vine wreath in white and attaching a giant rustic bell (from Hobby Lobby) with jute twine.  The jars in the photos are from my little collection of country crock pottery (all thrifted). 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Georgia: Tamara Toumanova (Tumanishvili)

Tamara Toumanova, via
Edit:  I have been meaning to tell you about Tamara Toumanova for almost two years now.  Unfortunately, I kept running into problems like lack of information about Tamara's life, and even contradicting information from different sources.  As fate would have it, a few weeks ago I accidentally stumbled upon the NY Times article mentioning the name of a Georgian teenager, Tamara George Pkhakadze.  Tamara Toumanova's uncle, Zakaria Tumanishvili, is Pkhakadze's great-grandfather.  I decided to contact the little Georgian via Facebook and was given wealth of information about Toumanova.  The post below is based on several  sources.  Still some statements may be unclear or inaccurate.  I am so happy to inform you that there is a thorough research being done by the Pkhakadze family to clarify the "mystery" behind Tamara's origin and to provide more in-depth view into her life.  I'm sure you would agree Tamara Toumanova deserves such treatment. 

Tamara Toumanova was a prominent American ballerina and actress.  While scholars do not agree about the indentity of her biological father* (either Konstantin Zakharov or Vladimir Khassidovitch), we know Tamara's mother was Georgian Princess Euginia Tumanishvili (she gave Tamara her last name) who had to flee Georgia after the Russian Revolution.  Tamara was born on a train March 2, 1919 while her mother was trying to get to China through Siberia.  From China the mother and the baby moved to Cairo, Egypt and later to Paris, France.  They moved to the U.S. in 1937. 
George Balanchine saw young Tamara in ballet class and engaged her for de Basil’s Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as one of the three “baby ballerinas”.  Balanchine created the role of the “Young Girl” for Toumanova in his ballet Cotillon and had her star in his Concurrence and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.  She came to be called “The Black Pearl of the Russian Ballet”, because, as A. V. Coton wrote, “she was the loveliest creature in the history of the ballet”, with black silky hair, deep brown eyes and pale almond skin.

In the U.S. Tamara appeared in the following movies:

Spanish Fiesta (as Gypsy Fortune Teller), 1942
Days of Glory (as Nina), 1944 (Starring with Gregory Peck, this is his debut film)
Tonight We Sing (as Anna Pavlova), 1953
Deep in My Heart (as Gaby Deslys), 1954
Invitation to the Dance (as The Girl on the Stairs in "Ring Around the Rosy"), 1956
Torn Curtain (as Ballerina), 1966 (Alfred Hitchcock movie starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews)
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (as Madame Petrova), 1970
Billy Wilder TV documentary (as herself), 1970
That's Dancing! documentary as herself (film clip), 1985

Tamara Toumanova died in 1996 in Santa Monica, California and was buried next to her mother at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Tamara Toumanova, via

Toumanova in her dressing room, via

Tamara Toumanova. La Esmeralda. via

Tamara Toumanova and Gregory Peck starring in Days of Glory, via

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Marine Fantasy with Tamara Toumanova), early 1940s, via

Make sure you watch Toumanova and Gene Kelly's mesmerizing performance in this YouTube clip from Invitation to the Dance.  I can watch this over and over without getting bored.  And who said wearing pink and red together is a modern invention?!

Other sources for the related info: Tamara Toumanova (Tumanishvili) Facebook page
NYTimes article by Toni Bentley
NYTimes article by Jack Anderson
Toumanova on Mubi

*There is a research being done in Georgia to prove that Tamara's biological father was Konstanit Zakharov who died while fleeing Georgia.  Vladimir Khassidovitch was Tamara's step-father and for legal purposes he claimed Tamara to be his daughter upon their arrival to the U.S. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Updated Wooden Star

I had updated my wooden star from the previous post with some berry vines I found in the park .  To make the star you'll need five fairly straight sticks and jute twine to tie the sticks.  I tried hanging my new Earthy decoration in different spots outside and even inside.  I think first photo is my favorite.

front porch

front porch wall

as a window "wreath"

inside, against the kitchen wall (the jute twine ball in the photo is also DIY)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DIY: Wooden Stick Star Window "Wreath"

DIY wooden stick star as a holiday window "wreath" (can you see my son mischievously peeking through the shutters?)

I was so inspired by the photo below that I had to make my own.  DIY instructions and better pictures coming soon.  The image  below is from Wabi Sabi blog.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Cordell went as a Baseball Player (LA Dodgers), Nina was a Flapper Girl wearing a dress her great-grandmother made for her aunt years ago.  Louie (out puppy) was Dracula.  I made his cape and the golden pendant. 

Every Fall around this time I make The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake.  The photo below is not mine.  Somehow pictures of my cheesecake never come out right, but it sure tastes delicious!

photo source
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus
1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
whipped cream


1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2 Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl.
3 Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste.
4 Keep it crumbly.
5 Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan.
6 Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan.
7 You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake.
8 Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.
9 In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 C sugar, and vanilla.
10 Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
11 Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy.
12 Pour the filling into the pan.
13 Bake for 60-70 minutes.
14 The top will turn a bit darker at this point.
15 Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
16 When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator.
17 When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces.
18 Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream on top.

Recipe from food dot com.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Real Simple

I like the simplicity and versatility of the outfit I wore the other day.  The temperatures here are finally down to the bearable degrees.  Summers are very hot and humid in Tennessee and I'm always glad when Fall comes around.

striped tee - Target
jacket - Target
wool maxi skirt - thrifted at Goodwill
hardware necklace - DIY

new watch - Casio; deer ring - Target

leather nude flats - thrifted at Goodwill

nails - Sally Hansen's Commander in Chic
Have you noticed my new Casio watch?  I've been coveting it after seeing one on Natuka Karkashadze (one of my favorite Georgian fashion bloggers) and some others too.  Strangely, after I ordered this new watch online, my old one quit on me :)

Speaking of real simple, let me show you my impromptu arrangement for our back porch table.  I picked dried Queen Anne's Lace flowers on my walk the other day.  I tried to spray-paint them in gold first, then in white.  But after all that trouble, natural is my favorite look.  How about you?

natural look with dried up Queen Anne's Lace

spray-painted in gold

spray-painted in white
Queen Anne's Lace in a watering can, some vintage pottery and silk flowers from the Dollar Tree


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