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Wall Decor: Chalkboard Birds on a String

This morning I noticed some incoming links that led to a very cute Chalkboard Birds on a String wall decor project from the blog Confessions of a Plate Addict. I was so thrilled to read that she used my bird silhouette stencils (originally from this project) for her pattern! How cool is that!! Seeing how other people use the elements from this blog, especially to make their own creations, gives me the best feeling. I’m glad to know that my effort here is meaningful beyond my own enjoyment. Big smile here!

P.S. Reading the name Confessions of a Plate Addict cracks me up, because back in 2007 (pre-kids!) I wrote a post called My New Favorite Mug and Other Dinnerware Confessions. Re-reading it I am half-amused and half-horrified to find I still have almost all that stuff I mentioned, including the Thanksgiving ceramic butter dish with the little turkey handle on the lid (that has never been used and is still in its original box)! O.M.G.

I still like that mug, though. 🙂


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Special Gifts from Grandma Rita

japanese incense

This past year, David’s grandmother moved from the Kansas farmhouse where she has lived for almost 60 years and into a retirement community. In the process, she had to do quite a bit of downsizing. Each of her grandkids and their spouses then became the lucky recipients of certain items that she specifically decided to give them this Christmas.

For David, Rita chose two smurf drinking glasses which held two small smurf figurines. The figurines look like they’d seen many a fun time in the hands of little boys, with a solid weight unlike the cheap plastic toys found today. The glasses were in surprisingly good condition, the colors still rich, probably never having seen the inside of a dishwasher. They are almost 25 years old. Due to their fragile nature and the already fullness of our suitcases, we decided to leave them safely at David’s parents for safe-keeping.

For me, Rita chose the 3 ceramic asian bowls, which I love. David’s mom says that they were purchased in California, when David’s parents were living there and Rita came out for a visit. This was before David was even born. The two blue and white pieces with the abstract maple leaf pattern look practically modern. I’ve used the smaller bowl like a lid in the photo, to hide a thin brown fracture in the larger bowl, but I don’t mind it at all. They’re beautiful and I am grateful to have them.

asian bowls

My absolute favorite item that Rita included is a small box of Japanese perfumed incense. This is one of the rare times that Google completely failed me, with no matches to the name Kyonohana. The design and construction of the package and the colors and texture of the incense very much appeals to my inner graphic designer. Although the individual scents are long gone, the general fragrance still lingers in a lightly sweet and transportive way. David’s mom said that each of these items were chosen by Rita, but I can’t help but wonder how she chose what to give. Did she guess I would love these things? Did the fact that I am half asian influence her decision? One day I’d like to ask, but for now I’ll just be grateful, enjoy their beauty, and feel good about remembering to send a thank-you card.


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My New Favorite Mug and Other Dinnerware Confessions

cherry blossom cup

David and I were getting groceries at New Seasons where I saw the cutest mug. I was this close to putting it in our shopping basket, but I knew that the last thing we needed was more dinnerware. You see, back when I was in college I worked at Pottery Barn in the “Table Top” section. I barely had two pennies to rub together back then, but for some reason I couldn’t pass up certain sale items, especially since I got a 20% discount on top of the sale price (the regular employee discount was 40%).

So now we have all kinds of dinnerware and accessories for entertaining – multiple full sets of “Suppertime” and “Bianca” dinnerware, specialty dessert and cocktail plates (with different themes like vintage hula girls, french posters, and celebrate the century), 3 different colors of sets-of-three nested serving bowls, fondue and sushi plates (from Williams Sonoma, where employees also got a discount), and multiple patterns of complete pasta bowl sets (5 that I can think of off-hand). It’s insane how much we have, and that we still have items we’ve never even used. I haven’t even begun to describe our specialty glass collection, including old fashioned fountain sundae glasses and a gorgeous amber iridescent decanter for some liquor that I can’t remember and don’t drink because of an allergy. Seriously. It’s that scary.

The thing is, I am not that person anymore. I never shop at Pottery Barn or even like that kind of style anymore. Now I like things that are more modern, or fun and ‘artsy’, or even clever. I like things to have a little more personality, or maybe a handmade element. Living in Portland, there is no lack of small, independent boutiques, although I would just as soon shop at Crate & Barrel, where at least I can find nice things I might be able to afford.

My husband has asked me so many times to get rid of some of that stuff, but I just can’t bring myself to do. I’ve tried. Truly. But I just can’t do it. What if I need that adorable Thanksgiving ceramic butter dish with the little turkey handle on the lid (that has never been used and is still in its original box)? Or maybe that set of green unbreakable plates for the next time we decide to go on a picnic or have kids over (which has never happened, because our young nephew lives in Austin and none of our friends have kids… yet.) See? There is just no reasoning with myself. Until I can make a little space in our pantry cupboard, I will not buy that cute mug. Or that adorable matching bowl with the little flowers on the inside rim. Or any other piece of dinnerware.

(Sigh) Serves myself right, I suppose.

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