Four Friends Market

My enthusiasm has followed the activities of the Four Friends Market after experiencing for the first time the power of a what a group of creative women can do for their community of creators and shoppers alike.

These four friends have caught the pulse of the climate, beginning with an attractive photo booth.


I saw old friends there, Karen Rich sold scented jewelry made with polymer clay and oil based scents.


The crafts at the Four Friends Market have impressed me more than any other market I have seen. When I go to a market, I want to see the things I either could not make myself or have tried and can appreciate what it takes.

Succulent wreaths that live!


A one-of-a-kind quilt.


This painting by Kylee Blackburn, whose art print I purchased last spring. I said no art but this one has me aching. I love the post-impressionist style (I apologize to any art-historians if I am way off).


At the market, I met women who turned grandmother’s recipes into a commercial success and who are helping restore the dignity of women who were victims of human trafficking.

Craft fairs are personal events. You can meet the makers. Hear their story. These are not mass-produced objects. They were made with intention and purpose.

I only started covering these events as a journalist but recently. Already it has deepened my appreciation of these makers and these events by creating an avenue to talk and hear their story.

Next week will be our turn. Kyle Casey of Casey Music Service and I will be out at the Modshop Pop-Up during the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Festival selling his musically-tuned, hand-crafted wind chimes. Hope to see you there.




Review of The Home Design Doodle Book

As an avid reader of the blog, Miss Mustard Seed was excited to explore her latest creation, The Home Design Doodle Book. I was not disappointed. The artist in me delighted in the look and design of it. The friend in me delighted in the gift potential, already thinking of several friends who would enjoy this book. The fan of me happily supported a woman who inspires me.

First, this is a book by a creative, crafty artist…and this book is beautiful. It is filled with heart, joy, and inspiration.

Second, this book contains the most sensible, five steps for discovering your style.

  1. Observe and collect items//swatches/images that speak to you
  2. Filter what you love vs. what you love for your home
  3. Recognize patterns in the images/items you love for your home
  4. Unearth your style based on the patterns observed
  5. Transition your style: after noting what fits and does not fit your style in your home, gradually transition your home to fit the style you identified.

After this, she encourages a room reset, the creation of mood boards, organized and planned shopping with a budget in mind, and offers her tips. Pages are frequently inserted for your expression/reflections like, “I think that is stupid!” or “seriously need a new stove.”

Third, a warning: this is not a reading book. This is a workbook. As Mrs. Parsons says, it is a conversation. But as any great designer, she offers only prompts and expects you to do the talking and discovering. She can give tips, but it is up to you to seek the information.

I can see how this book could be an excellent guide for those who are a) to intimated to make design choices, b) cannot focus their many projects or desires, or c) feel their home is too far from what they would like it to be. The format is open enough to allow you your own mode of operation, style, and pace, but tight enough to maintain concrete steps in your creation. When a home feelings overwhelming, the latter can be invaluable.

I would highly recommend this book. I plan on keeping a copy in my home to give as a gift whenever the opportunity arises.


If you seeking information and guides on how to do in more detail, you will not find it here. It is what it says, a doodle book. This is the tactile version of creating a Pinterest board. It is an advanced form of a bulletin board (well, many bulletin boards). If you want to learn how to do these things, I recommend Mrs. Parson’s video tutorials and her many other digital offerings through

Happy decorating!

Bathroom completion!

Oh my, how long ago was it when we began this bathroom remodel. I painted the bathroom cabinet, and began scouring the internet for mirror and décor ideas. My husband added hardware, changed the faucets, and then we waited for the mirrors to arrive…and waited…and waited…and waited. One arrived broken. They were sold out. The company was very accommodating (and new) and gave a full refund while allowing us to keep the other mirror. I found the same mirror on another website, so no harm done. But we lost momentum during the wait for sure.

Recently, it seems we adjusted to our new schedules and little projects around the house have seen their completion. This morning, my man switched the light fixtures around, per my request.


And later this morning, we tackled the oversized mirror and my husband hung the two mirrors (who were spray painted black some time ago, collecting dust). Then with loving kisses I continued to bring him things to hang. The verdict? Decide for yourself.

IMG_8000I chose these mirrors for their shelves, to lessen the countertop clutter.

IMG_7999The black and white palate is so striking.

IMG_8008IMG_8014Of course, the littlest touch of color goes a long way, I think.

IMG_7998The rose photograph now makes sense.

IMG_8013An antique spice rack to hold bobby pins, hair ties, and some luxury bath goodies.  IMG_8016And towel hooks for convenience.IMG_8017What do you think?

IMG_7996It feels like a decorated space now, whereas before there was little we could do to make it our own. In some fantasy, we’d rip out everything and put in a clawfoot tub and an antique dresser turned vanity, but I believe we’ll be happy with this remodel for a long time.

Another flurry of activity

I told you before about the beastly staples.

IMG_7344I did a little bit each day and finally managed to strip the two chairs chairs.

IMG_6146Once stripped, stapling moves by quickly, within the span of an episode of the Lone Ranger.

Since I knew stapling would go so quickly, I decided to take a stab at this footstool. I recently purchased light blue fabric from Home Fabrics and Rugs for, probably, around $3 a yard, with the intention of overhauling this little collection I upholstered prior to marriage.

IMG_4248Because I used a manual stapler to upholster these (the toil!), I found they were exceptionally easy to rip out.

IMG_4882I probably stripped the footstool and chair in less than ten minutes. The back cushion on the chair disintegrated before me, leaving a pile of yellow dust, so I’ll get new foam today.

After stripping, I took my last dining chair, the footstool and other chair to the garage for stapling. It took a little over an hour. The kids watched the Lone Ranger and Bewitched during that time.

Since removal is the longer part of the process, I’ll go after our “ornate couch” soon. She originally looked like this when a family friend gave her to me (photographed without the seat cushion).

DIGITAL CAMERAI reupholstered her in this.

DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabric is a thin corduroy which is really an excellent fabric for showing dust. The cushion is stuff with the original and loses shape all too easily. With my new sewing machine, a generous gift from my parents to me for my birthday, I’ll use 3 inch foam to make a new seat and turn the original filling into a pouf, which I find oddly expensive in the stores, but like the idea.

So those are the current happenings. The motivation to get these pieces done stem from disliking unfinished projects and that the next two or three months I hope to begin renting my own office space to provide life coach services here in town. I’d like some furniture for that office, and, shopping the home, I have just what I need.

Remaining on the list: hemming the curtains, a new cover for the body pillow, a small painting project for the bathroom, and beginning work on my daughter’s “fairy dress” for her birthday and Halloween costume.

Time to get to know that sewing machine!

I’ll post photos of the finished projects soon.

Work Days and Unbelievable Grandparents

Yesterday was Monday and this summer I have Mondays off so taking advantage of the generosity of my parents I have scheduled four work days with them, days during which they take the three kids and my husband I work around the house, uninterrupted. It’s laborious bliss. I feel very spoiled and grateful.

There has been a flurry of design ideas for me this past week, and when they come I act, especially with dangerous sales lurking about, a mother joining me on shopping trip and these work days.

I’m trying to make our nursery work better for us. Currently there is no room in the room.

IMG_6438IMG_6431You can see I am not standing in the doorway, but outside the doorway for these photographs. I think it is a 10 x 12 foot room with a double size bed, crib, writing desk and footstool. For good measure I’ve stashed our glider in there because one evening baby would not go to bed (with me that is, when right to sleep when my husband came home and took over…daddy’s girl).

The logical solution is to take a piece of furniture out. Why am I desperately clinging to this gorgeous bed in a guest room no one ever uses and couldn’t use because it’s also the nursery? I do lay down in it some times. It’s wonderful to have a bed in there.

Moving quickly away from that question, I plan to move the bed to the wall. That will make the window look even more awkward. I want to fill the wall with curtains. Light beams through those the shutter slats, so curtains would be helpful, wall to wall curtains could trick the eye a bit.

At Joann’s, waiting for my mom as she had patriotic pillow fabric cut (see where I get this from?) I spotted a lovely midcentury-esque floral calico in a basket behind the counter. The price $4.50/yard. Two yards please. Remnant for 50% off? Well, shucks, okay.

After some mulling, I decided to make regular old pillow cases. They were a lot of work! I made every effort to get them precise because I really wanted them to look special, but I hate the idea of fancy shams filled with unusable pillows I’d have to purchase. Here is the outcome.

IMG_7314I have heard more than once that you should iron the fabric when you are sewing. For the first time I followed the advice. I hemmed, ironed, then sewed. It made worlds of difference!

IMG_7320The excitement over this fabric has led to inspiration on where to take the rest of the room, which doesn’t have a style, per se, just a color scheme.

IMG_7317I also painted an antique mirror for a baby shower gift. Two coats Annie Sloan’s Pure White Chalk Paint, the last coat in Paris Grey.

I completed the chair cushion for the latest upholstery project. I ordered 6 feet of 3 inch foam from Home Depot for $25 (this is an amazing price, by the way) and used polyester batting to fill it out.

IMG_7325 Some laundry of course, all the sheets, the regulars, but I avoided dishes altogether.

The wild card of today’s adventures? Inspired by a magazine feature in Better Homes and Gardens’ July issue, I decided to paint the interior of my kid’s room closet and the back of their door in yellow. The walls are grey, the accents teal or pool. So this rounds off the beach colors I gather from my beloved print which hath traveled the country with me, twice.

IMG_5190The closet interior is Honey Glaze by Valspar. I purchased the pint-sized sample size so I was only about to paint the back wall of the closet.







The door is painted in Sundance by Sherwin Williams. This is a golden yellow. The hallway side of the door is still white so it adds zest only to the kids’ room.

IMG_7333 I used a foam roller and paintbrush for the door and a regular roller for the closet interior. Using a roller creates a smoother finish and saves you oodles of time. The foam of the roller made it easier to get a first coat in all the grooves but a paintbrush had to be used to get complete coverage in those.

IMG_7125So you can see how they complement without being at all matchy-matchy.

For my husband, he hung a peg board in the garage, organized his tools, moved a hose faucet, installed a hose reel and hung a hammock which turns out to be too low to hold anyone heavier than 90 lbs above the ground.

It feels amazing to start and complete projects, a luxury of not having the children around. Still, I was awfully glad to get them back at the of the day!

Re-upholstery: Chair Time

Along with the project of refreshing/remodeling the bathroom, I began to reupholster this antique chair.

IMG_6930I thought it was an antique. It is not. It is in an antique style, Louis XVI, I believe. Which is fine, except it is really difficult to take the staples out of furniture which so obviously used a power tool to shoot the staples into the wood.

I thought the wood was beautiful, sturdy and in good shape. But oy vay, that aged gold fabric!


IMG_6931I know piping is fancy, so double piping must be double fancy, but I didn’t love the way it looked on this particular piece.

IMG_6936But tufting, now that’s fancy.

IMG_6937The long process involved removing the staples. When you upholster, you go through the fabric and remove what you can, piece by piece. You then use the old fabric as a pattern for the new. Next, reattach in the reverse order. All you really need are needle nose pliers, a hammer and a stapler (and patience and hands of steel for this project).

The glue with which the piping was attached was beastly, as were those staples (can I say that enough times?).

It took me weeks to remove the fabric, probably because I completed four projects before finishing that first step. The staples, again…so terrible. Procrastination…worse.

But it paid off! When all was removed I began the super quick process of cutting and attaching the new fabric. Compared to the days and days it took to remove, this took me just a few hours.

IMG_6956For the first time I used an upholstery stapler. It hooks up to an air compressor. Following the recommendation of another blogger, I purchased the Porter Cable 5/8″ Upholstery Stapler. All this time I had been using a manual stapler. Madness! Thrill of life finishing this so fast.

IMG_7202I have only done tufting once before and it did not go well. On this piece, the upholstery buttons were a prong-back button that can be pushed through the fabric and foam, then butterflied to stay in place. The foam was also cut specifically for tufting, with grooves for all the holes. This was much easier. But the buttons…

I did not want to simply throw out these new buttons. I did not want to add to the cost of this project ($7 chair). I tried a few things, then my husband said, jokingly, “why don’t you just paint them?” A joke, he thinks, but it was brilliant!

I used a black paint pen which can be used on fabric. After the buttons were in place, they needed some touch up. I didn’t let it set long enough, I think.

IMG_7201I felt justified with the trim I chose to use instead of piping. I feel it went better with the ornate details of the chair, which I wanted to bring out subtly. See, ornate details…

IMG_7207Beautiful trim…

IMG_7209Project complete.

IMG_7205Well, nearly, I still have the seat cushion but I’m waiting on the foam. Did you know you can buy 6 feet of 3″ foam from Home Depot for $25! I have a hard time imagining my upholstery lasting 100 years (I mean it could, I just can’t imagine it), so I’m okay with purchasing lower end foam.

It felt so good to do some real upholstery again. Next time I plan to buy a staple remover (no more itsy bitsy needle nose pliers). If I didn’t have children and could use their rooms for projects I’d be purchasing all over the place, and hopefully selling as well.

Bathroom Refresh – Phase 1

For a year, I’ve been laying in my bed, looking through the door to the master bathroom, hating it. I hated the orange-brown wood stain so common to houses built around the turn of the century, turn of the millennium.


IMG_7169I hated the over-sized mirror, frameless mirror. Why do I need a mirror that big? I need wall space, a towel rack, a shelf, not a mirror that big. I can’t see my feet with it anyway, so for dressing, I have a separate mirror. I hated the row of, count them, eight light bulbs on an ugly, faux brass Hollywood strip. It was a revelation when I explained to my husband that these ugly light fixtures have a purpose, but they are supposed to be vertical and there is supposed to be two of them along side the mirror, to eliminate shadows, for applying professional make up. My feelings, as I tell them, sounds extreme. I didn’t lie awake at nights thinking about it. I just disliked it every time I looked at it. And I looked at it a lot.

We tuck our towel in one of the drawers to hang it. The counter is covered with my stuff because I can’t hang a shelf or a basket because the mirror is so large. We hang the bath towel over the shower because the only towel rack in the room is behind the closet door. The space is large and has amazing potential. If I had a limitless budget, I would remove the shower stall, replace the garden tub with a clawfoot tub centered between the two windows, replace the two sinks with a large one sink vanity (preferably a re-purposed antique dresser), and hang a chandelier over the tub. Oh my, it would be romantic.

Miss Mustard Seed gets it:

Master Bathroom Details & Reveal - Miss Mustard Seed

Vessel sinks, faucet mounted in the wall:

I'll just keep dreaming of having this one day.

Or something very modern, but still warm and inviting:

Design Details: Bathroom Mirrors Done Right | Apartment Therapy

If you stare at something enough, and have the diy spirit, eventually, one day, you just go at it. So one day I took my itty bitty jar of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Graphite and started painting the bathroom vanity.


IMG_7170That day I had to go buy more paint. The result: Amazing!

IMG_7172I finished my three coats of chalk paint (didn’t sand enough) with one coat of polyurethane. I learned after the fact I would have been better off using Annie Sloan’s Laquer or Miss Mustard Seed’s Tough Coat. Still it went on fine.

As I searched for mirror options, I couldn’t get past those metal frame mirrors in the inspiration picture above. I found a metal wall mirror with a shelf on Target’s website, out of stock. After some searching I found another better option which I’ll show when we have it all put together. The inspiration evolved into Apothecary references, I don’t know why.

Next we went shopping for hardware and new faucets.

Glacier BayTeapot 4 in. Centerset 2-Handle Low-Arc Bathroom Faucet in Chrome
Glacier BayTeapot Bathroom Faucet in Chrome

Only $32 a faucet. We’re too young to spend more on a remodel at this time. 🙂 Save the big bucks for the house we plan on dying in.

For hardware I really liked these from allen + roth. Thought tempted to use clear glass knobs or white ceramic vintage style knobs, I kept it simple based on pictures I looked up of actual apothecary cabinets.

allen + roth 3-In Center-To-Center Polished Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull
allen + roth Polished Nickel Bar Cabinet Pull
allen + roth Polished Nickel Round Cabinet Knob
allen + roth Polished Nickel Round Cabinet Knob

With a work day made possible by my parents’ willingness to babysit all three kids, finishing the vanity and installing the faucets went from dream to reality!





The mirrors I ordered will arrive in July. The light fixture, Wednesday! So far the transformation is a bit unbelievable. Before the creamy ivory of the sink clashed with the pure white bathtub which clashed with the grreenish-gray influenced on the off white vinyl tiles. The orange-ish cabinets jarred all that subtle clashing all the more. Putting a bold color on the cabinets now balances the other elements in the room. I really enjoy having a lot of white in the bathroom. As things are now, we can’t change the floor, but it will be less noticeable for now.

So, stay posted (hehe) for the July post once those mirrors and the light fixture go in! We’re going to need to learn to cut glass in order to re-purpose these enormous mirrors I’ve removed!

The Triple Bunk Bed cont…with plans!

This post has been edited with revised plans reflecting my husband’s growing know-how since he built with corrected measurements from the plans that first inspired the project.

The Triple Bunk Bed is finished!

To see some of the process, click here.

Well, it was finished a while ago but I wanted to be able to share with you the plans my husband put together.

Photo of Triple Bunk Bed

I dress it with Alphabet sheets, from IKEA but discontinued, for the boy, along with an small jungle of stuff animals. We used a standard bed guard you can find at Target or Amazon. The plan includes rails for the upper bunks.

Photo closeup of Triple Bunk Bed

A printed petal duvet from West Elm adorns the girl’s bed.

Photo close up of Triple Bunk Bed

See two happy children:

Photo of kids enjoying Triple Bunk Bed

I tell them to go to sleep.

Photo of children sleeping in Triple Bunk Bed

She is trying so hard?

Photo close up of child sleeping in Triple Bunk Bed

The arrangement leaves space for creative wall art at varying levels.

Photo of Triple Bunk Bed with decor

And if you were wondering from my previous post, our pallet bookshelves are standing up against out eager littlest reader.

Photo of toddler reaching for book through pallet bookshelves

The Plans

You can see the plans for the Triple Bunk Bed in picture form for you to download for free! My husband created these based on the written (none-too-detailed) plans we downloaded.

My man loves IKEA instructions, so he converted not too detailed plans into pictures. Then he added text for additional help. Hope you enjoy!

Text Instructions for Triple Bunk Bed Plans (not yet revised…)

We’ve been so happy with these beds, I’m sure you will too!

Update – 4 years later:

The bed was amazing; we loved it. It was incredibly sturdy and when it seems loose in the first year, we tightened the bolts and never had an issue again. Making the lowest bed on laundry day was a struggle, but relief came as the oldest learned to make her bed and helped me. It was relatively easy to dismantle when we moved. This was the perfect bed for our house and kids.

Patriotic pillow without a plan

Some projects work out but aren’t diy tutorial worthy. I’ll share the steps with you though because its ever so important to remember how human we all are.

To make some vintage style patriotic pillows I gleaned the internet to see what the local stores have in stock…nothing, such is life in Stanislaus county. Nevertheless, I decided to go in person to Hobby Lobby. I found these tea towels first. As I debated in the fabric aisle my kids became very restless (I was out with all three because I do crazy things as s a desperate extrovert on Saturdays). I purchased the overpriced tea towels and left, exacerbated.

Two sets of tea towels with three different patterns in each set: stars, stripes, and solid red. I cut into the stripes and red. I immediately regretted it.



I’ll save you each step since my steps changed by the pillow. I sewed the stripe towels back together, which will indicate to you how I regretted it.

Using whole towels (repaired or never injured) I measured the desired square size, 18 inches, and folded over the rest. I used a section of the solid red towel to fill in the rest, making an envelope closure. I essentially did this with the repaired stripe towels, creating a 15-16 inch pillow.

I used an 18 inch ruler and pencil to mark where to sew, trying to be more meticulous than is in my nature for these projects.


Excepting the errors with the stripe towels, this was a very quick project as the tea towels were already sewn around the edges.

Here they are!


IMG_7164  IMG_7166 If you don’t enjoy sewing or don’t have a lot of time, I would highly recommend purchasing tea towels or table runners for projects like these. The width is a standard pillow size and doing an envelope closure means it requires minimal work.

I’ll be using these in July to change things up from my early summer decorations with green accents.




IMG_6981Now I just wish I had some patriotic art for my seasonal art spot. I might try hanging a platter or three from my Royal China Currier and Ives collection.

IMG_3733The blue and white looks great against the gray walls. Plus it has the vintage Americana look that would be just right for the 4th of July. I want to be festive without going over the top.

DIY fabric wall art from pillow cases

I am incredibly picky when it comes to bedding. I search the internet long and hard before I find something I like. Usually what I like is absurdly expensive. This is not something I learned from my family, who appreciate things that look good but find expensive prices as ridiculous as they are. Being as visual as I am, I have a hard time letting go. When we married I set my heart on a comforter called Dahlia by Calvin Klein.

Switching to a king size bed when our second child was born meant new bedding. I found the Sakura collection from Crate and Barrel.

I do not buy all the bedding in the collection. Upon marrying, I paired the Calvin Klein bedding with light green, damask stripe sheets. The extra pillows were chocolate brown damask stripe sheets, Hotel Collection I believe. They were purchased, reasonably priced from Bed Bath and Beyond.

IMG_1582After one sheet tore, I did more research on what makes for a good sheet. Real Simple to the rescue with its resources on what look for when buying sheets.

I purchased white pima cotton sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond and we love them. Some prefer the non-wrinkly look, but knowing the materials are natural and now being able to feel the difference between cotton and polyester, I’m lovin’ it.

I’m drawn to bedding fabric that resembles a painting, particularly water color. Since my husband suffers from always being too warm at night, our duvet cover ends up, folded at the foot of the bed, just for looks, more often than not. I wanted more of it around the room. The collection was being discontinued. Time to act. I purchased a set of pillow covers on clearance from Crate and Barrel.

I made covers for two lamps shades (with one still waiting) so our lamps are coordinated around the room with the bedding.

IMG_6643And for a long time, since the fabric is so painterly, I have planned on doing a piece of wall art.

In the mood of re-purposing, I used more pieces from the fallen IKEA bookshelf, one shelf and a narrow piece from the bottom. I asked my husband to cut them to 24 inches long and duplicate the three inch wide piece. Using left over batting from the last project (leftover from dining bench cushions) I cut and covered the boards with it, then stapled the fabric over in one fell swoop.



IMG_7147We had purchased a hanging kit from Target, and used brackets in the narrow pieces, and a wire on the larger piece. My husband hung our Sakura triptych over a spot I neglected to paint when I painted the room.   IMG_7150

Don’t we all have something neglected and put off like this in our home? Keeps us human.

IMG_7152My husband does the hanging for these projects because he is much more patient and precise than I.

IMG_7153And violá!


IMG_7157Fabric wall art for only the cost of a pair of pillow cases.