Monday, May 31, 2010

I Love A Bargain!

This is my first time participating in Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays with Linda @ Coastal Charm. I just love her and her blog, so I decided to join in the fun. Who doesn't like bragging about the bargains you find? Heck, that's half the fun!

Today I'm going to share a few goodies I found just before my move to Georgia. Up first?


The Chair!



I found this chair at a yard sale in Lakeland, Florida and instantly fell in love. I know it looks pretty pathetic right now, but envision it painted shabby chic style and reupholstered in some fabulous white fabric yet to be discovered. Thanks to my blogging buddy over at Sissie's Shabby Cottage, I now know what kind of paint to buy. Thanks Sissie for all your inspiration and encouragement!

I love the carving at the top…


and the wheels on the front legs.


I have no idea what the purpose of this chair was originally, its a little on the smaller side, but I'm going to use it in my bedroom. How much did I pay, you ask? I walked away after handing the guy $2.00. SCORE!

Next is this little thingamijiggy. The top drawer opens and holds a box of tissues (see the slot on top?) and then there are two smaller drawers below. I'm planning to paint this all white and you can probably guess that I'm going to encrust it in seashells. I think it will look fabulous. For only $1.00, I think I will have a unique piece once I finally get around to all these projects.


Now the rules say we can share bargains that we found at retail stores also, so here's the table I found at Home Depot. Original price $179. My price? $37! Yes I said, thirty-seven dollars! This was the last one they had and they switched to a different manufacturer, so with no questions ask, I grabbed it up quick! I'm planning on putting in a small deck in this area of my yard as soon as I finish unpacking all these darn boxes.


Now the rules didn't say anything about these next goodies, but yesterday I was at my cousins house in Neptune Beach in Florida and she GAVE me these Newport Sandals by Keen. She bought them last year and only wore them once. She's a flip flops kind of gal and since we both wear the same size, I became the happy recipient. They retail for $95 and I got them for FREE!


She also threw in a couple of her foam visors. She has tons of them (flips flops and a foam visor to match each of her outfits) and she knew I was looking for some. They weigh nothing and you don't get that "visor headache" like the other kind causes. I can't tell you how happy I was that she included the pink one. Isn't life grand when your cousin knows your favorite color? Thanks, Jackie, love you so much!

That's it for this week, now be sure to stop by Linda's to see who else is sharing their nifty, thrifty finds! You just may find some fabulous inspiration of your own.



 http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 28, 2010

Magic Muffins (Low-Fat)

Did you ever have one of those days when the sweet cravings were overtaking your diet resolve? I have those days way too often, but most days I can remain in control and do the right thing for my hips.

This was not the case the other day. This is a deadline week for me, which means I can't just pick up and go exploring my new town. Since I don't know anyone here, it also means I'm pretty much cut off from live face-to-face human interaction. So I was feeling a bit lonely and overworked. Something sweet was definitely on the agenda.

Still taking into consideration I was on deadline, I needed something quick, easy and low-fat. I usually keep a couple of mixes on hand in case of last minute company or to satisfy those midnight cravings. Taking a quick assessment of my cupboard, I noticed I had a muffin mix that was quickly approaching its expiration date. Not the chocolate I really wanted, but I do love cinnamon. I also had a few bananas that were past their prime for eating out of hand, but perfect for baking. This was the result:


I also set myself a little snack table. I do try to remain civilized, even though I live by myself. A cold glass of milk completed my mid-day treat.


These plates are so cute and I think my red-striped glasses go great with the polka dots. Does this plate look familiar? Yes, these are the plates I won in a giveaway from our lovely Foodie Friday hostess, Michael. I received these several months ago, but we were preparing to make the move and every room and every surface was covered with boxes, bubblewrap and tape. Let me share their girlie-girl cuteness with you today.





Aren't they just adorable? Thank you again, Michael, I just love them!

Okay, let's move on to today's recipe. Since my figure these days is nothing like the gals on the plates, I didn't want to follow the regular directions on the box with all that whole milk, eggs and oil, so I followed the directions of the low-fat, no-cholesterol version. I substituted fat-free milk, egg substitute and applesauce just like it said. BUT, remember I had those bananas I needed to use? Well, I mashed up two of them and stirred them into the mix also. I wasn't sure if this would make the batter too moist to bake properly, but they were delicious! I poured the batter into a six-muffin jumbo pan and baked them for 25 minutes. Note that I have a convection oven, so your oven may take a bit longer.

I resisted, but another excellent addition to this batter would be a cup or so of Hershey's Cinnamon Chips. Sure you could use chocolate ones, but I would go for pure cinnamon bliss in this case.

This is the mix I started with:


And just in case you want to taste it for yourself, go ahead.


Another plus to this recipe was that my tiny house smelled FABULOUS. Frebreeze needs to come up with a formula that mirrors this one. Since my home is so small, I could take in the aroma of them baking even back in my studio and let me tell you, I was drooling waiting for them to come out of the oven.

Oh, do you want to know why I call them Magic Muffins? I baked them and then they just magically disappeared!

Now get on over to Michael's at Designs By Gollum and see what everyone else whipped up this week. Trust me you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pink Lady of Malibu

Some of you will remember that while growing in Southern California, my family owned a mobile home at Paradise Cove in Malibu. This was our beach getaway and we spent every available moment there. The beach was amazing and my most treasured memories are of the time we spent there. First boyfriend, first kiss, best friends, surfing (and cute surfers), pig roasts, luaus, first job and the list goes on and on. One memory stands out as the most unexpected and that is of The Pink Lady of Malibu.

Back in October of 1966, word spread quickly around The Cove and that weekend as we returned to our home in the Valley, this is what we saw:



The Pink Lady of Malibu

The only way to realistically get home was through Malibu Canyon and while the traffic was always heavy, on this day it crawled as everyone came out to see what all the fuss was about. There she "stood" in all her glory while onlookers and photographers captured her in their memories and on film.



I often read the Los Angeles Times online and last November this article appeared, along with memories of of this event that had the whole town talking:

From the Los Angeles Times - November 22, 2009:

Guerrilla Art in the Southland: Remember Pink Lady?

Artists with something to say put their mark on L.A. — welcome or not. Among the creations: a giant stamp, a 'sea monster' and the naked 60-foot woman above Malibu Canyon Road.

Not tickled pink

"In 1966, artist Lynne Seemayer decided she was tired of seeing graffiti on the rocks above a tunnel on Malibu Canyon Road.

So she spent several months removing the writing, then painted a pink, naked woman in its place.

For a few days, the 60-foot-tall Pink Lady "made more headlines in Los Angeles than President Johnson and the Beatles," The Times' Michael Arkush wrote later.

Seemayer, who painted the figure while hanging from nylon ropes attached to nearby bushes and pipes, was praised by some, condemned by others. She reported receiving marriage proposals and invitations to join nudist camps as well as death threats.

In the meantime, county authorities declared the Pink Lady a traffic hazard and said she would have to go.

As onlookers watched, workers sprayed her with high-powered hoses, then pelted her with paint remover. Both methods failed to erase the figure, whom The Times' Jack Smith described as "exuberant and free," holding "a sprig of wildflowers" while "her long dark tresses flowed backward."

Finally, the county dispatched men in harnesses, carrying spray guns and 14 gallons of brown paint.



Half a century later, you can still see a few faded splashes of pink paint above the tunnel. But the lady with the long tresses is gone, as are her wildflowers."

I think my parents knew this was a work of art and didn't tell us to look away. The Pink Lady of Malibu is now a distant memory, but I enjoyed remembering her and the carefree way she danced naked across the canyon with her black hair blowing in the ocean breeze.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Does Your Home Have A Name?

Hi, my name is Shellbelle and I'm a shellaholic.

I've not been shelling for 14 days.

Trust me, I'll never get my 30-day shell chip.

In February, my dear friend Maya of Completely Coastal and Daily Vitamin Sea, wrote on one her posts, "Did you know that attaching shells to objects such as frames, mirrors or pieces of furniture is a practice called Coquillage?"

Maya said she had never known that and I must admit that I had never heard of that either and heck, I'm always gluing shells to stuff! She writes that, "Coquille is the French word for shell and the art of Coquillage goes back to the Rococo period of 18th-century France when the shell motif was popular as a carved decoration."

I really liked this new word Maya had taught me and it kind of stuck in my head. Then I was reading "back" on some posts a new blogger friend had written and I came across this question, "What Exactly is Cottage Style?" Marie of Sally Lee by the Sea wrote, "Technically speaking, Cottage Style isn’t really a style. After all, a cottage is meant to be lived in, to be enjoyed, and is usually the recipient of all the cast-offs from the real home."

Note: Marie found a great article on Cottage-style decorating that she writes about. Very informative, so be sure to stop by and read her entire post.

AND then I was visiting Kathy over @ Native Mom and she wrote, "Now I'm thinking that if your house has an official name, it's not a house it is a home."

Can you guess what's coming? Yep, you got it, I've decided to name my new humble abode and thanks to these three ladies, from this day forward it shall be called
Coquillage Cottage

Now I realize that this is a very pretentious name for my new digs (which in actuality is a duplex not a cottage), but hey, whatever floats your boat, as those of us who live near the shore often say and this name floats mine. Most of you know that when I moved to Georgia recently, I downsized and downgraded my living quarters, but in the words of Maya Angelou,

"I can be changed by what happens to me,

I refuse to be reduced by it."

So, now that the name has been decided upon I thought I would show you a few of my coquillage pieces and other seashells in my new home. Mind you, I've only been here for less than two months, so I have a lot to do. As I paint, repair, find some new furniture, carpet and such…I'll be showing you the transformation and asking for a lot of advice.

First, when you walk in the door and look to the left, you'll see my seashell display case. In here I store my absolute favorites, well most of my favorites anyway. I broke two of the glass shelves shortly before the move, so a trip to the glass store is on my list of many things to do. This collection contains shells I picked up at the beach, shells picked up at a seashell store and those shells sent to me by friends from their favorite beach. I especially love the ones sent my friend Michelle, all the way from Africa when she was serving in the Peace Corps.



Hanging to the left of the display case is this:




This was a project for a Flora and Fauna of Florida class I took in 2005 at Saint Petersburg College. I loved it so much, I've had it hanging in my house ever since.

Each shell has been tagged with its common name, its scientific name and the family it belongs to in the Phylum Mollusca (mollusks). This piece has really come in useful when visitors want to know what kind of shells they found, I just refer them to the wall. By the way, I got an A+++++ for this project!



Then on the coffee table, instead of a book, is this small basket of shells:


Here's a closer view. The little Florida dish belonged to my mother. I love vintage souvenirs from beachy places and have a small collection. I'll save that for another day.



Okay, here's a couple of coquillage pieces. You've seen lots of shells in vases, but I like actually gluing them to the outside of a vase. This first one is filled with vintage-style silk flowers I bought at Michael's a few years ago. I'm trying to incorporate my love of seashells and roses in my new place. Before my bedroom was all rosy (with a few shells, of course) and other areas were "shelly." Now, anything goes, so it's all going together.



This next one is empty, I usually have this on my little dining table in the front window, full of coral and other sealife, but it also looks lovely filled with wildflowers.


A few closeups to show you different angles:







I made these both in 1999, they've been washed numerous times and have held up exceptionally well. Don't let anyone tell you to use a glue gun when working with shells, they snap off and you can forget about being able to give it a good washing. I use Goop — the one made for plumbing, it forms a flexible seal, is waterproof and obviously holds for years and years.

Note: I set both of these vases on top of a seashell mirror that I'm working on to take the photos. I like the effect and will be keeping my eye out for a few smaller round mirrors.

Here are just a few of the vessels holding shells that you'll find around my house. They are useful for lighting during a power outage, a romantic evening, taking outside for the patio tables and they're just darn cute.



This one is filled with "sand" from Sanibel Island. Actually this is what you get when you scoop up a few handfuls of crushed shells there and if you look closely you'll find absolutely perfect teeny, tiny shells. I have four just like this. The jars are from a chicken chili I bought last winter to have on hand. They were on sale — Buy One Get One. I wanted the chili anyway, so I consider these containers were FREE, plus I love recycling with a purpose. Cost me nothing to pick up the shells and I found those little glass tealights at Goodwill — 6 for $1.39. Total cost of each one? Less than a quarter! Four beachy candles for less than $1.00, doesn't get any better than that!



This container is for forcing Amaryllis bulbs, but I love the shape and the top holds a tealight perfectly. The "sand" in this one is actually crushed abalone shells, I love how it sparkles in the light, it's like nature's glitter.



Then sometimes simplicity is nice. The sand in this one is actually sand, yes really it is. The sand is from the beach by my old house in Florida and the shells were all picked up there.



There you have it, a small peek at just a few of my shells, believe me there are thousands more! I've been beachcombing all my life and my mother was just a addicted as me, so you'd think I really don't need any more, right?
Well, trust me, if you stop by and I'm not at home, I've probably…



Have a beachy day, if only in your heart.

Hugs, Shellbelle

Friday, May 21, 2010

Evening Sun Dishes and Dinner


I moved to Georgia less than two months ago. Since I arrived I've been busy unpacking boxes and trying to get everything to fit in my new SMALLER space. Needless to say, I'm sick of unpacking and I'm sick of boxes, bubble wrap and those annoying Styrofoam peanuts that have a life of their own. I'm sick of breaking down the boxes and dragging them out for the recycling guy each week. With that said you'd think that when this arrived at my door yesterday, I would have run screaming into the woods.

Well, you may think this, but you'd be wrong. I was waiting for this box; I was eagerly anticipating its arrival. See, I even had a spot ready for its contents.


What could it be, you ask? After fighting with the best-wrapped box I've ever seen, this is what was revealed:


Yes, these are the hand-painted Pfaltzgraff dishes I won from Cindy @ Applestone Cottage's Giveaway! When I saw the photo of them on her blog I thought they were gorgeous, but as I unpacked them, one word came to mind — LUSCIOUS. The name of this collection is Evening Sun and the colors are just that — the reds, oranges, yellows and golds of a setting sun and all ya'll know how much I love sunsets. The other thing I love is Earthenware. As a young bride, while all my friends were signing up for china patterns, I was registering for Franciscan Earthenware in the Sundance pattern.

Don't they look luscious? And they're mine I tell you, they're all mine!

Thank you Cindy, so much!

Your taste is impeccable and I am thrilled with my dishes! I love dishes and having a new set for my new place is just a wonderful feeling. This place is slowly starting to feel like home and this gift has made it even more special.

Just look at these bowls…


…and the mugs! Can I tell you how much I adore these mugs? They have a real girth to them and I could already picture myself sittin' out on the front porch with a mug full of my Chicken Chili My Soul and a big, ol' slice of cornbread. Or I could be on the back porch with a latte and a chocolate chip scone, watching the sunrise.



I quickly washed these lovelies, so that I could use them that very evening. One of the things I decided about my new place is that I want it to be very casual with a cottage feel. Since the eating area of my kitchen doesn't have a window, I put my kitchen table in the front window. Sounds a little weird I know, but hey, it works for me. In the evening I can sit on the right and watch the Cardinals in my birdfeeder. If I sit on the right, I can see the sunset when I have dinner on the late side.



The bowls made perfect serving dishes for my pineapple coleslaw and mashed Yukon Gold potatoes; don't you just love their buttery taste?


I know I was bad, but I was really in the mood for hush puppies, so I whipped up a few.



I added a piece of grilled chicken that I had rubbed with fresh garlic and a little sea salt, let set in the fridge for a few hours and then marinated it in Lawry's Caribbean Jerk Sauce with papaya juice. Mmmm…moist and bursting with flavor.



As I was unpacking these dishes I noticed that the colors in the pattern perfectly matched this picture that hangs above the table in my kitchen (you can see the corner of it in the upper left area of the photo with the box).


I love this piece of art; I call it skinny girls. They look so graceful as they walk the beach at sunset with their umbrellas. (Note: Please excuse the reflection of my camera and my hand in the glass.)

After doing up the dishes and getting everything in its new home, I went outside to watch the sunset. Now a couple of nights ago, the setting sun looked like this:


Last night it looked like this:


It was as if the sky was reflecting the colors in my dishes!

So, here are the dishes, filling up the space I made for them on my pine shelves.


Pineapple Coleslaw

Dressing:
  • 1 1/2 cups non-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons celery seed
Whisk together well.

Slaw:
  • 1 package tri-color coleslaw from produce department (or 1 small head cabbage)
  • 12 baby carrots, shredded (I love carrots) 
  • 2-8 ounce can pineapple tidbits
Mix slaw and carrots together. I then put it all on the cutting board and chop it fine (think KFC). Add pineapple tidbits and dressing, mix well. Chill for at least two hours, but longer is even better.

Now you think that would be the end of this post wouldn't you? Sorry, you're wrong. As I retired for the evening, I was in the mood for a little snack. Since I didn't get to go to Crooked River last weekend, I still wanted to get back to Michael's book, Mermaids In The Basement. Strawberries and Mint-Chocolate Cookies served on my new plate and a wonderful novel were a perfect ending for such a fabulous day.


Want to make your day fabulous? Then get on over to Michael's @ Designs By Gollum and see who else is participating in Foodie Friday this week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Slip Slop Slap

My friend Jane @ Artfully Graced did a GREAT, informative post on skin cancer awareness recently and because this is such an important health issue I want you to be sure to read it here. Jane gives us the straight facts and explains how SPF works.

"We all love the sun, but the sun doesn't always love us back in nice ways." Follow Jane's advice and get the facts before you pack up for that next trip to the beach (and all those "other" places where the sun is shining). Don't just be safe when you're planning a day in the sun, play it safe when you're outside planting petunias, or you're out walking the dog, even driving in the car with your arm hanging out the window.

Another of my favorite bloggers left a comment on Jane's post. Julie @ Being Ruby is Australian and wrote that they've "had a sun protection campaign since 1981 that has a little song with it.. Slip Slop Slap.. meaning to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat."

Great advice ladies, thanks for bringing this up now that the cold weather has disappeared and the days are getting hotter and HOTTER!

Note: If you haven't signed up for Julie's latest giveaway, be sure to click on the link in my sidebar. 


I have a stack of hats right by my front door; under the straw hats are various visors and a couple of baseball caps. You'll find sunscreen in my purse, the side pocket of my beach chair, and in my car. 

While I love the beach, I am not a fan of sunburns or getting a tan. Other people on the beach probably think I'm a tourist, I don't have a deep, dark tan and never have. I love shade, umbrellas and big-brimmed hats!

I wanted to hear the song from the Australian campaign, so of course, I went to youtube and wasn't disappointed. Each of these videos are only about a minute long and since I couldn't decide which one to post, I chose three of my favorites. G' job Australia, woo hoo!



The iconic Slip Slop Slap commercial — this one is from 1983.


Here's another from 1987!


Let's jump to 2009, when Sid Seagull adds two more "S" tips to his message.


Before you head out the door, remember

Slip on a Shirt

Slop on Sunscreen

Slap on a Hat

Seek Shade

Slide on Sunglasses

I'm adding this to Outdoor Wednesday over at A Southern Daydreamer, I know all those bloggers are outdoorsy types, are you?
I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!

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