Monday, December 23, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas Decorating. Three Vintage Placemats

I found these cute retro diy vintage placemats at the thrift store. Somebody took a bunch of their holiday cards and laminated them all together. Since we don't really use placemats here at our home, I had Mike punch holes in them, then I strung them together and hung them on the front door.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas Decorating! Two Vintage Tree Toppers

I have a few vintage tree toppers and only one Christmas tree! So with the magic of a little bit of scotch tape wrapped around the bottoms of the toppers - they fit perfectly into my candle holders.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Twelve Days of Christmas Decorating! One Vintage Felt Tree Skirt

Easy Revamp
Sometimes I find something at the thrift store that I really don't need -  but absolutely love. I throw it in my cart and then I think think think of how I can re-purpose it to justify the purchase. I found this lovely hand-crafted vintage felt and sequined tree skirt and am using it as a tablecloth decoration as it fits perfectly on the top of our dining room table.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Baliday!

About once ever 4-6 weeks three of us gal friends try a new restaurant for breakfast for a recurring event we call "International Breakfast." It all started when my friend Carol wanted me and our friend Ginny to join her at a restaurant that served a traditional Thai breakfast. We had so much fun trying new and different food items that we decided to search out other Los Angeles restaurants that served international cuisine. This past week we headed out to Little India in Artesia to try Northern
Indian food.

Since we had a little xtra time before the kids got out of school - we decided to do a bit of shopping.
You can't help but be dazzled by all the amazing colors and patterns in each of the shops!

The colorfully saturated textiles are just amazing. I loved the idea below where you patchwork together, via staple gun, different Indian Sari fabrics & trims to a doorway (or wall).

In one of the chotchki shops, hanging above the boxes of incense, kohl eyeliner packages and hookas were a bunch of brightly colored tinsel necklaces. I was told these were called phool malas and were necklaces worn at Hindu ceremonies and events. The colors were so vibrant and they were so inexpensive that I couldn't resist buying a few. I was pretty sure they would go great with my other holiday decorations!

When I got home I found the perfect spot for them! I draped them around the mirror in our 
dining room.

Now I might have to hit up Little Toyko and Chinatown to see what else I can use for Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy Baliday!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


No bah humbug at the Tacoma household! We've been drinking hot toddies, hanging Christmas lights, decorating the tree, watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and holiday crafting up a winter storm. Just finished a batch of these fun kitsch holiday wreaths.

I was at the 99 cent store perusing the Christmas aisle and spied these awesome tinsel wreaths.

 When I got home I grabbed by glue gun and my box of retro Christmas decorations and went to town!

Settle in, sip a hot toddy and view more of these colorful kitsch holiday wreaths on my Etsy store:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Revamping - China Plates

I love anything patchwork - as long as there is a dominant color theme! For 2 years now I have been collecting vintage china plates from the thrift store to re-purpose them into cake stands / pastry
stands / jewelry display stands. But alas haven't had the time to drill them -  until 2 weeks ago! My dad came out to visit us for an extended visit and he volunteered to drill them all for me! Then my aunt came out to visit and together we matched them up and assembled them.

 To view more / purchase please visit:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Victorian Mad Laboratory

This year I came up with a new Halloween display for our dining room! A few months ago at an estate sale I found the centerpiece to this display - an old expandable pharmacy file and bwahhahhaha the Victorian Mad Laboratory display was born.

Once I had decided on the theme - I hit the 99 cent store and got a few ghouly body parts - a heart, a brain and a bunch of fingers! I also grabbed a few bags of spiders and other creepy crawlies. I was lucky enough to already own the Victorian condiment cruet set on the far left. It is a family heirloom from Mike's side of the family. He had this fashionable great grandmother who lived in Chicago during the Victorian heyday and boy oh boy did she have fabulous taste (we also have her late 1900s tufted chaise lounge and pretty threadbare oriental rug (that I can't bear to part with). I filled the bottles up with salt or water that I tinted with food coloring.

I found vintage pharmacy labels on and added descriptions to them in Photoshop.

Then I hit the thrift stores for vintage books with gothic designs, worn covers or bindings and potion bottles with stoppers.

I even found an 1899 reproduction of Merck's Manual - a list of pharmaceutical ingredients for physicians.

 Last but not least I found an old mid century beverage server that I thought looked like an old Victorian style Bunsen burner with flask! I filled it with water and green food coloring for that perfect witchy potion color and on Halloween we'll put dry ice in it to spook it up!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall in Love

Twenty-two years ago I moved out to Los Angeles with my sweetheart and I discovered that even though I grew up in Michigan, my heart and home belong to sunny California. However when September rolls around I deeply miss living in the midwest. There's something magical about autumn - especially in Michigan. In September the temperature drops just a little signalling the beauty to come and then in late September, early October it happens. The trees explode into scarlet, crimson, orange, gold and yellow. And you can feel it in your bones the onset of fall  - all in it's apple picking, spiced cider, leaf raking, pumpkin hunting, costume making glory.

So the below treasury list was inspired by my sweetheart, autumn and "falling" in love.

In that vein I also designed this victorian inspired Save the Date.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Weekly Thrift Score - Monkeying Around / Banana Bread Madness

This week at the thrift store it was all about vintage plush monkeys. Who knew? I have a vintage sock monkey that my great grandmother Maggie made. I have saved it all these years and now it's in Gideon's room relaxing in a vintage children's rocking chair, arm in arm with a modern-day plush sock doll that I got as a gift when Quinn was born.

So I found 3 vintage plush monkeys this week at various thrift stores.
This little guy is all handmade from the cute little felt eyes to the red yarn pom poms that adorn his hat, tail, neck - well just about everywhere the crafter could put a pom pom she did.

This little guy in his dapper track suit reminds me of Curious George! Gideon loves watching Curious George on PBS and has quite humorously adopted some of George's noises - like his sigh when he's sad.

Since everything comes in threes - even at the thrift store - this is the monkey I found today. Super cute retro monkey! I think he will look great in Gideon's circus room.

And now I will perfectly segue way from monkeys into banana bread - because ironically Quinn had been begging me to make banana bread all week and last night we did!

I grew up baking. My mom was an extremely thoughtful and giving person (and unexpectedly losing her in April has been so hard). If she knew of a family going through some special circumstance - birth of a child, an illness, death in the family, surgery, etc she would bake them bread (or have me do it once I was old enough). She had a repertoire of banana, pumpkin, zucchini and poppyseed bread. At her funeral my sister asked the attendees to raise their hand if they had ever been the recipient of a loaf of bread from her - everybody! everybody raised their hand. What a testament to my mom's thoughtfulness. So I bake bread just like she did and Quinn's favorite is banana bread. I have altered her recipe through the years to make it a little more healthy (and a lot more sinful).... and maybe when Quinn is an adult - he will add on to that recipe as well.

I say hands down this is the moistest, yummiest banana bread I've ever had. But you be the judge.

2 3/4 cups sugar
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
½ cup applesauce
6 eggs
9 ripe mashed bananas
1 ½ tsp salt
3 tsp baking soda
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbs Flax meal
1/2 - 1 bag dk chocolate chips (depending on how much chocolate you like) (you can also use semi-sweet)

Cream butter, applesauce, eggs and sugar. Add salt, baking soda, white flour,
whole wheat flour, flax meal, mix. Add bananas and mix. And chocolate
chips if desired.
Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes in 4 lg loaf pans.

Red Tricycle Finalist! Halloween Invitations are around the corner!

I am so excited! I am a Red Tricycle Finalist for their 2013 Totally Awesome Awards in the WEB - Announcement, Birthday & Holiday Card Suppliers - Category. Which means I get an advertising link on their site!

I have been working on a few new invitations for Halloween and will be getting those up in a few days. But here's a sneak peak of some of the invitations available:

For more invitation examples please visit my etsy store!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Who wants s'more!? (Q's candy experiment)

So we are still enjoying our newly finished backyard patio - it's been so lovely at night we have been eating out there almost every evening.

Q especially loves it because he's been able to talk his dad into toasting marshmallows a few nights in a row. Last night Quinn was rummaging through his Halloween candy stash for Hershey Bars to use for s'mores and wanted to know if we could do an experiment with his other candy bars.

Well - why indeed not. Don't know why we hadn't thought if it before. Bring on the sugar he grabbed a Twix, Milky Way, Three Musketeers and a Snickers.
 (this was the Twix one)

Consensus was we liked the Twix the best, then the Snickers (although I am keen to try my favorite candy bar - Heath). Meanwhile since I was snapping photos - G took EVERY opportunity to ham it up and pose for the camera.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Great Outdoors (and our secret ingredient for the best Guacamole ever!)

Mike and I have been working hard to get our outdoor patio in order and we are done! YEAH!

So here's a view of the whole patio...we found our furniture set on Craigslist about a year ago (new), the rug from the thrift store and the fire-pit table from amazon. The Thai umbrella with the fringe is from a friend and a few of the pillows are from Target.

However after sitting out for a year the cushions became trashed! Sun and smog did a number on them.

I searched the internet and the fabric district high and low for affordable, outdoor, washable and colorful fabric to re-cover them with. Nothing! Until this spring when I happened to be buying coffee at World Market. They had all their awesome summer items out on the floor and I spied these amazing ethnic patterned oil-cloth tablecloths. Just so happened that 2 tablecloths and $85 later I had enough to re-cover my cushions in the exact colors I was hoping for. (a good friend did the sewing for me!).

We also found the outdoor umbrella at World Market - and Mike embellished it with a thrift store chandelier I had bought for the patio (but hadn't figured out what to do with it yet). He figured out it fit perfectly on the center pole of the umbrella. Isn't it pretty?

A few more photos of our backyard...a neighbor gave us the awesome Thai wood chair. I found an old Victorian wrought iron lamp stand at the thrift store and we hung a Moroccan style lantern from it.

Home Depot had the best Limey green spray paint that complimented our orange house - so I couldn't resist spray painting this old wrought iron patio chair...

And last but not least - the recipe for the yummy guacamole we enjoyed last night while sitting outside on our new and improved patio!!

2 avocados smashed
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tomato finely chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
Splash lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste
and the secret ingredient is 1 tsp of green olive juice (I swear it's amazing!)