Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Time's Romantic Re-do

Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about a romantic re-do for your home. The world outside is changing color and bursting with new life. Let a new season begin in your décor as well. Giving my home a romantic re-do by changing just a few elements is something I look forward to every spring.The heavy drapes hung for winter are taken down and replaced with filmy sheers in soft spring colors. The windows are opened to let in the fresh air, and the gauzy curtains sway in the spring breeze. Sparkling sunlight shines on newly hung art art – detailed paintings of roses and etchings of spring birds. Just a few simple changes like these, and my heart already feels lighter.
In the bedrooms, winter quilts are packed away. Beds are draped with pretty pale pinks, robin's egg blues, and shades of white. The colors of budding flowers and new life. Chenille bedspreads and lace tablecloths draped across the foot of the bed or over the back of a boudoir chair, adding romantic appeal. One of the final touches is a lightly scented candle by the bedside, ready to light on a quiet spring evening.

In the dining room, the table is spread with a hand-crocheted tablecloth, each lacy flower intricate and full of spring. Treasured and vintage place settings, covered with pretty spring roses and beautifully etched with time, grace the dining table. An elegant candle in a cut glass holder, it’s simplicity breathes romance.A sprinkling of the right accessories complete the transformation. Slipcovered couches in light fabrics and spring colors are layered with needlepoint pillows stitched with roses and spring flowers. Brightly colored fresh flowers and handmade silk roses are tucked into vases and creamware pitchers.

Even the powder room gets a little romantic re-do with towels trimmed in lace and pretty spring-scented cameo soaps A quick romantic re-do is something that I do every spring. It's so easy to do, and makes my heart feel a flutter of romance.

Join us at Forget Me Not Dreams and the other shops at Make Mine Pink for a themed shopping event...Romantic Re-Do on Friday April 2nd. It's time to let Spring in!

Written by: Joyce Lucas,
Founder Make Mine Pink

Monday, March 29, 2010


I left my camera on the kitchen counter when I left quite early for the super Estate sale this past week-end. Instead I will leave you with photos of my "sock" bird feeder and my collection of birds, along with other shots related to birds down here in Tucson. This larger red toned finch just arrived and scattered the eight smaller finches that were enjoying an afternoon binge!

So, I left early Saturday morning quite excited about this estate sale in south Tucson. China, glassware, paintings, figurines and knick knacks galore in a very small home. A magnificent collector. It took 10 workers, 10 days to clear the house, clean, price, tag and organize the sale. So much stuff they had to display outside in the backyard and fenced side yard. Oh, Heaven! I had to use the navigator in the car, bless my husband for getting the extra package!, and drove for 40 minutes. I arrived 25 minutes early and was shocked that I had to walk a bit under a half mile to reach the sale, past all of the parked cars. This was at 7:30 AM!! Oregon sales start at 9:30 0r 10:00 because it's dark!!

Yes! I spot the tell tale flags! There are people everywhere with bags, baskets, buckets. I am not prepared for this adventure. Oh... get a number. I ran up to the front, no easy feat, and grabbed the next number #123! First, it is Eileen and my vendor number at our shows, second, I will never get into that house!! But I could watch human nature at work. My next favorite thing at estate sales. The first wave was split in two, half into the house, half to the back yard. The house could only hold 50 shoppers. Whoo-whee, I would make the second wave. One of the workers came out to announce that there would be no shoppers allowed into the house from the back yard until the house had cleared a bit. Wait your turn. And if you had an item written up on a sales receipt, it was yours, no putting things back as other shoppers may have wanted that item too. Wow, this was serious!

I did find a few things outside, an old spur for my collection in the "cowboy bedroom" here, and a very old hay hook for the same room. Beatrix Potter pieces for my grand daughter. I will start her collection now and then add to it on my trip to England this summer. Some very sweet china figurines that will be added to the website soon, a few linen pieces and very old aprons. The house was incredible, I don't know where the lady was able to sleep. There were many sets of china, silver ware sets, glass collections, expensive paintings, rows of lockers outside, chests piled high, clothes of all kinds, purses, tables and tables of purses and shoes. It was amazing. The line outside was probably 50 shoppers long. Very organized. My items were gently taken in the house, written up, bill given to me, while my items were wrapped and packed into boxes outside. Of course it was a bright sunny day. With rain, as in Oregon, this wouldn't work for many more months. It was a great time, of course I was missing my partner in crime, but we will have much to do when our products reach home!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We had high winds last night and rain this afternoon. The birds are flocking to my feeder sock, eating their fill. A big red tinted finch showed up yesterday, dominating my little yellow babies.

I spent a few hours today on a trip to JoAnn's to get my Insul-Brite and Warm and Natural. While browsing in the Green hued section, I struck up a conversation with an older east Indian woman. We both agreed that finding greens that blended well was a difficult project. We continued to talk and browse, discovering that we are both quilters, love to sew and do hand work. Her daughter arrived, we wished each other luck in the hunt and parted ways. When they were several feet away, I heard the daughter ask her mom if she knew me. "No" was her answer, "but through the heart we are friends. We both know quilting." I smiled and thought, she's so right. We do know parts of each other's hearts, we love quilting! The daughter was then telling her mother that she had to teach her grand daughter to sew and quilt before she went home (to India).

Moving to the pink/red section, I found a Hispanic mother and daughter shopping team, speaking in Spanish, so I couldn't catch but a few words. But like the Indian mom and daughter (who also lapsed into Indian at times) they were comparing fabrics and patterns. More projects.
In the batting area, I found a Chinese mom and daughter handling the decorator fabrics and just chirping away in Mandarin. So happy to be together. Mom was dressed in the traditional Chinese silk "pajama" look, beautiful and elegant. The daughter, also beautiful was wearing American garb. I wish I knew what kind of project they were discussing. It appeared to be intricate as they had many rolls of fabric out on the table, pantomiming cutting smaller pieces.

What a wonderful experience! I so enjoyed seeing the connection between women and their crafts, the work of their hands and how generations and even cultures can be brought together, minds and hearts, through the common love of fabric, quilting, sewing and just sharing ideas.
Thank you for being part of my world of handwork, fabric and handcrafting!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Day Of Great Intentions....

This morning I woke up to beautiful Tucson blue skies and walking outside onto the patio, realized that it was warm already. There were 6 little finches on my feeder sock already! A good day.

My plans were made, I took out fabric to make some springtime potholders, aprons and patchwork place mats. OO-ooo this was exciting, starting to unload the bags of fabric, set up the machine, visualize what patterns would go together. OK, I left my handwritten instructions at home, but I have made enough of these to wing it. Nope! The mentalpause brain demands dominion.

All of the supplies that I left down here after our stay last year are under our bed. I am missing the thermal lining and the Warm and Natural to sandwich inside the potholders. Bummer! No quilting of the inner square either. My day will be spent ironing pieces wrinkled during travel and maybe cutting the tops and some hangers. Don't you just hate that, when your plans are all messed up by a few missing pieces?

How could I forget the absolute joy of finishing the taxes? A few hours were spent on that delightful job until it was completed. None too early!

Tomorrow I will take the drive to town to buy my missing ingredients and then get to work!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thrift Junking in Tucson

What a great day I had this week-end, Saturday to be specific, setting out all by myself to do some junking at estate sales and thrift shops. I discovered a favorite little Thrift Shop right down the street in Marana.

The Cotton Blossom is a local treasure, non-profit. benefiting health related community programs of the Marana Health Center. Everything was very clean and so nicely displayed. The manager Rebecca is a real jewel, so friendly, I felt like we had been friends for a long time. Just a wonderful experience. And no, I'm not going to tell you what gems I found.... you will just have to guess when they are listed!

People in Tucson take their Estate sales seriously! I was busy thanking Toyota for their wonderful Navigation system so I was only lost part of the time. Turning the last corner, I couldn't believe what I saw! Cars everywhere and people running to get into the Estate sale house. I am not kidding, 3 blocks down from where I was able to park and then a block up and down around the corner. Being lost cost me dearly I believe. You have to be there early and ready to grab! I needed Eileen, badly!

Now to ship everything home! What was I thinking? Driving down with a full truck and now flying back. Hmmm!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Join Us For Easter Memories

I can still remember the excitement of my childhood Easters. It began Easter morning when we awoke early, anticipating surprises that we knew had magically arrived. We were never disappointed.Then, after church, our annual Easter egg hunt would begin. Each of the children was given an empty basket and sent to fill it with as many more magical treats as we could.
Rainbow-colored eggs filled with candies and toys were hidden in plain sight, just waiting to be discovered. We would hunt alongside our family and friends, squealing with pleasure at each others discoveries. Then we raced to see who could reach the next treasure first. Later on, after the family dinner, there was always a special surprise for the adults, too.

Today, I still feel that flutter of excitement when spring arrives with all its joys. Among them is the yearly challenge of creating the perfect Easter table for my family and friends. No longer do I hunt for chocolates and candy treats. Now my treasures are cherished pieces of antique china and colorful table linens. Whimsical and often unexpected decorative pieces add the finishing touches. Vintage tea cups or antique tins for the women, and perhaps antique shaving mugs for the men, grace the entry table. The perfect little Easter baskets, there is one for each guest to take home with them after the celebration.

Artistic tags, crafted from beautiful papers, let you know which treat is yours. The altered art tags with special embellishments are as charmingly unique as each of the recipients and are a treasure all by themselves.

Inside the baskets, you might find hand poured soaps that smell as beautiful as they look, handmade charms to be worn on a bracelet or necklace, floral stationery too beautiful to write on, vintage silver cuff links for a special man. Your heart feels a familiar flutter of excitement when you discover the delights that were chosen just for you. Join us at Forget Me Not Dreams and Make Mine Pink this Friday for an Easter themed shopping event! Here you'll always find the perfect treasures to remind friends and family of their favorite memories, and to create new ones they will savor.

Written by:
Joyce Lucas,
Founder Make Mine Pink

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Where is your office? I have watched this week as all4 of us in our house have set up our own offices here and there. We are all doing work of some sort.

I have been able to set up my office on the dining room table, working on our new tags. I cut all of the shapes before I left home, so hours have already been put into this project before I started opening the office down here in Tucson, or Marana. Today I stamped many of the pre-cuts, "aged" the edges, cut the hangers and tied them into the holes which I had punched. I really liked the results of many of the new tags. Hope you do too!

Liz has her office set up at the other end of the table. She spends a lot of time emailing friends in Russia and following the websites of Russian poetry. Yesterday was her birthday, but we are celebrating tonight. She has been receiving emails from friends in Russia for 3 days now and this afternoon a note from a long lost friend from high school came through. We joke that Liz's office is outside on the lounge chair in the sun!

Here is my husband's office, at least one of them. He also has a branch office in the hot tub and at the end of the sofa on his computer where he actually does do business. He loves golf!! I'm glad that he has a favorite sport to do with the guys so I can do what I love best. Junking and creating with my hands.

This is the view from my office window. I put this bird feed tube outside yesterday late afternoon, today they are just finding it. Last year I had up to 15 birds, usually finches of every color, hanging from the tube, fighting for a good feeding spot. I love this view!

Monday, March 15, 2010


My apologies to all of you not seeing any sun this week-end. Arizona is heating up! This was our big outing for the week-end. Liz and I went to this big church rummage sale while the guys were golfing. It looked really good pulling up as the parking lot was full and we were early at 9:30. Were those all quilts hanging on the railing?! Run, Liz, run!

We wandered through all of the furniture, leaving things behind that would have been fun to work with. No way to get it home at this point. We rummaged for an hour and only found a few silver pieces to take to Farm Chicks. Maybe they will go on the website. I have to start sending small boxes home to Eileen. We had a good time, no quilts, stopped at the new WalMart for groceries and headed home.

Liz had found Russian websites and Russian television that she is able to watch on her computer. She spends many hours searching the Internet for Russian poets and sending notes to friends in Russia. Her birthday is today so she is getting a ton of Birthday wishes from even high school friends in Russia. The world truly has become very small with the computer and Internet.

This is what the guys do after a hard day of golf. Usually a long soak in the hot tub and then relaxing in the sun for an hour or two really help the aging, aching muscles. My husband is addicted to crossword puzzles. He says it will keep his mind sharp. I hope so! Haven't found anything that will help me!
PS - My tag factory is inside. I just take the photos and run inside. Much safer that way!

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Russian Friend Has Arrived!

This is my sweet friend Liz. She and her husband (who will be delivering my new grandson in May) are staying with us here in Tucson for a week. The guys golf and hike and sit in the hot tub. Liz loves to sit in the sun, so I set up my sewing machine outside and work in the shade close by.

Liz says that I have the heart of a Russian so I can understand what she tells me. She is learning English, but it is a difficult project. Imagine learning a new language, new alphabet, new world while going through menopause. I have enough trouble remembering my own language!! Her son is the same age as my youngest.

We were able to go to the used book store a few miles away and found this Russian novel, written in Russian. Liz spends a lot of time on the Russian Internet, talking to people in Russia who write poetry and share their writings online. Liz is a prolific writer and shares much of what she creates. Poetry seems to be a great part of Russian life.

Liz is beautiful inside and out! I have enjoyed learning about her life growing up in Russia, and her dreams of someday coming to America. She often tells me that she has to "peench" herself to make sure that she isn't sleeping in a dream. "America is like a dream. You will never understand the freedom that you have, the things that are available to you, the opportunities that you can give your children." Her stories remind me over and over how much I take for granted, how blessed I am to be born here in America and how we all must fight to keep our freedoms. Tomorrow we will wrap in blankets and sit in the sun together, sew a bit and maybe go to a sale or 2 together. Two women from completely different cultures, speaking broken English, just having a good time together.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Our last day on the road. Yesterday's 12 hour drive was a killer! Today may be about the same. My allotted Thrift store happened early this morning with little to no luck. Now my hopes are pinned on the treasure hunt in Tucson. Still windy today and lots of trucks and RVs on the road.

We followed this great Bimbo truck for miles through a construction zone. We couldn't see around, over, under or through the truck, so why not? .... take a picture! My grand daughter would love the little bear!

We drove through the incredible farm land of central California. It was incredibly green with the rains from an El Nino winter and spring. We marveled at the number of different crops that covered hundreds of acres and just as many miles. Fruit trees, cattle, wheat, vineyards and crops being harvested and some just planted. Soil that is black with nutrients and fertility. We come from beautiful farm country in Oregon, but this is so far beyond what we are used to. Amazing!

Another view of fruit trees in the midst of grazing fields for cattle. In the distance are new plantings of trees and grapes. Stockyards were also evident, visible to the eye and identifiable by the nose too!

The drought of the past years seems to have ended this year. Irrigation canals are full, fanning out in serpentine patterns, winding through the fields bringing the quenching and life giving water to fields throughout the valley. The rich greens of new growth is beautiful.
Tonight, after a calming rest just watching TV, another storm is rolling into our little mountainside community. The wind is howling and rain is slamming into the back windows, pounding onto the roof. It's a tranquil sound to me, sounds of home. In Arizona, sounds of life and gratitude for water that has been in short supply. Tomorrow will bring the sun again and the temperatures will slowly climb. Our guests from home will love it. I am thankful for a safe trip and a wonderful time spent with my son. We promised to do it again, just to be together. When babies are a bit older, my daughter-in-law and I can take some time to have a girls' getaway and have some fun together too. How blessed I am for such a wonderful family!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Category On Our Website

Once in a while we get one of those ideas that makes us wonder "why we didn't think about doing this a long time ago"! We have added a "New This Week" category to the top of our sidebar! Now it will be easy to pop in a take a quick peek each week at all our new goodies. Awesome! Have a great week everyone!

Watch For Us In Victoria Magazine!

This past few years have been a whirlwind of fun and excitement as our business has grown and grown. We've had so many wonderful opportunities come to us, and have been blessed to get to know so many nice people both customers and fellow business owners. I'm feeling a little emotional today because we've just sent in an ad for Victoria's May/June issue! I've loved Victoria for years so to be part of this magazine is so exciting. Truly a dream come true!


This is how we looked after our first day of travel. Whipped!! It was a long day of driving and James crashed on his bed after dinner to look for thrift store stops for tomorrow I'm sure! Are you kidding??? Actually he manages the tech problems for his company, 19 offices, and two of the branches had crashed computer systems. He was trouble shooting.

Here it is! Actual proof of his first visit to one of my small Heavens. This small Thrift store was in Willows, CA. The owner's daughter's friend, Joyce, who I met at Burger King, sent me to this delightful shop. They have hit tough times and had to close half of the store, but not to worry, we both found treasures. James was surprised to find some ration coupons in booklets from WWII and also a set of Star Wars trading cards. He was most happy to help the little troubled business the only way he knew how. A very nice man who carefully wrapped my breakables.

We drove through town a bit and really enjoyed this banner for the all town bean feed that had just been held. Sponsored by the Fire Dept. We hope it was a fun and successful event for all.

We thoroughly enjoyed talking to some of the local citizens. Did not like to hear of the depth of the economic hurt in this wonderful town. Our tank was full, so we headed out to the freeway, marveling at the poor condition of the road... holes, big cracks and wavy washboard surfaces. Tough to battle the road, wind and many big trucks. We ended up driving for 12 hours today, stopping in Palm Springs for the night.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Road Trip Without Much Junkin'

Yet another road trip! Sometimes I feel like I live in the revolving door. This is a very special trip. I am driving a new car down to our little Tucson golf house, the old car gave up the automobile ghost. Dead is the word. Huge surprise for me, my eldest son called and asked if he could drive down with me and then fly back to Portland. This is our first road trip since he was living at home, many years ago. He is my quiet son, waiting on his third child to arrive in mid May, his second son. Here's my boy when he was 4.

And now, with his two ruffians. Such gifts they are to me! And their mom, finally a daughter to love! Thanks Pam for letting him go with me, especially now with baby JJ coming.

This morning I loaded up the car with fabric to make into pillows, pot holders and patchwork place mats; paper, stamps and ink, photos and envelopes for tags and stationery; embroidery patterns and camera equipment. Of course high hopes of finding lots of good junk, vintage treasures. Those hopes were quickly dashed when I realized that I was on a Grothe male road trip. Yikes! Get into the car, point the hood south and step on the gas! It's a good thing I drove part of the time and he got hungry or I would have had bad potty issues. Tomorrow I may drive all day so we can stop and actually get out of the car more than 5 minutes at a time!! Still wouldn't trade any of the precious time we had together today talking about the joys and tribulations of raising kids, running households and keeping businesses going in tough times. Precious moments together. I wish those times for all of you if you are able.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Touch Of Whimsy

Every now and then, it's fun to take a detour from the everyday by adding playful touches to our routines. It doesn't even need to be something outrageous. Sometimes, adding just a "touch o' whimsy" is all it takes to spice things up. It can be fun to add whimsical touches to our homes too. Having a beautiful home doesn't mean you can't let your playful side shine through. In fact, I think it's just the opposite. If you find something that makes you smile or gives you a feeling of pleasure, you should joyfully include that piece in your décor. It's those special little touches that bring your unique personality into your home and make it truly special. Fanciful touches that make you feel just a twinge of joy are never out of place, even in the most elegant surroundings.

Tucked into my favorite painted and chic china cabinet, sits a beautiful pedestal bowl filled with hand-shaded velvet strawberries. They're bright and pink, and completely unexpected. But they add a touch of whimsy that makes me smile whenever I pass by that corner. My white-painted kitchen shelf displays fine canvas prints of the most beautiful roses, vintage china tea cups and mini creamers. But beside one of the canvases, filled with the most exquisite roses, I've placed a whimsical pink polka dot tea pot. Think it doesn't belong? On the contrary, its presence brings the entire shelf to life.Where could you add a whimsical touch or two to your home? In your most elegant display, or a forgotten nook? Let your imagination play. Faux pastries trimmed with lace on a table set with your grandmother's vintage china. A whimsical wreath made from ribbons and treasures, hung on the wall of a Victorian room. A cupcake cushion placed on a refinished antique French chair. If it brings you the tiniest feeling of delight, it belongs. Celebrate your whimsical side and surround yourself with things that make you smile.
Visit Forget Me Not Dreams for A Touch Of Whimsy and the other participating shops at Make Mine Pink.

Written by:Joyce Lucas,
FounderMake Mine Pink

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


First, we want to apologize to everyone who is still living with snow and lots of unusually bad weather. We are getting our spring flowers about 3 weeks to a month early this year due to unusually good weather. Our hearts go out to you who are having the endless snow and/or rain. Rain and gray skies are our specialties here in Oregon, you know the jokes... slugs, rust, mold and depression. That's us. Normally. Not this year. We wish you the best... spring flowers, birds singing and blue skies... soon!

Eileen and I had a great afternoon together. Creating in the kitchen we call it. We hauled all of our paper, inks, stamps, muslin, glue, scissors, measuring devices, carrots and protein bars out of totes and cupboards. And wow! Did we have fun!

Lots of new, fun things to come. We're saving them as surprises for you to discover as we list them. Big hint.... Friday might be a good time to check.

Even Eileen's wonderful dog Annie just had to watch! She was looking for her favorite animal crackers too I think.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Spring is here... in Portland, Oregon thanks to El Nino. Our apologies to the rest of you who are experiencing the worst weather ever. We hope that will end soon.

Over the past 2 weeks the birds have all come back, along with this new little guy who is working hard to kill our sweet gum tree in the front yard. He is pretty though isn't he? The noise in the yard is incredible between the birds and the frogs! We decided to try a new product this spring, a cute tea cup bird feeder that will fit into your large patio pots or into a flower bed.

My one year old golden puppy, Snicker, had to check out everything. She decided that bird seed really was for the birds!

Each tea cup is attached to a length of copper pipe which will eventually oxidize, turn a bit green, and look really cool! The bird seed will fill the tea cup and can be scattered on the saucer as well.

I don't have any flower beds growing yet, but a few patio pots are starting to show some color. The tea cup looks great "nested" into this young pot, imagine what the effect will be when the plants are more mature and the birds are comfortable. Gorgeous!