Month: July 2014

Deep Space Becomes a Wearable Work of Art

Today is an exception on the blog, but for good reasons!  I’m taking a bit of a detour from discussing home decor so that I can share with you some exciting news from my hubby.  While I try my best to stick to the subject of home decorating, I sometimes feel it’s necessary to share a bit about what is going on in my personal life because it’s my life that inspires my blog, so one is obviously related to the other.  And I am a person that gets very excited for others when they have good news and always want to help them celebrate their successes, so today is that day because I am so happy for my hubby!


If you’re read some of my previous interviews, you might already know that my husband’s hobby is astrophotography {and tagging along with me to antique faires jokingly wearing my purchases, of course!}.



By day, he works for Twitter, so he tweets…a lot!  Truly, I have to be careful what I say because sometimes I catch him tweeting random things I’ve said!  I even now sometimes finish sentences with the phrase, “Don’t tweet that!” just to be sure that my secrets stay secret.  :)

{A page from my daughter's Father's Day Book that she made in Kindergarten}
{A page from my daughter’s Father’s Day book that she made for him  in Kindergarten}


But I digress…By night, he captures amazing astrophotography images – or rather images of deep space.  One of hubby’s astrophotography image tweets recently caught the attention of a jewelry designer who creates jewelry out of space images and a fun new friendship and merging of passions was born!  Melissa from Lost in Space Jewelry reached out to my hubby to see about using some of his images in her jewelry designs.  Melissa is a jewelry designer, who one night during a bout with insomnia, envisioned a necklace design in her head using the Earth and the Moon.  The next day, she turned her vision into a reality and her obsession with all things cosmic was born!  To her, space is the universal language of awe…

As it turns out, not only are my hubby and Melissa both passionate about what they do, they are also neighbors living in the same county.  Melissa used two of hubby’s images – The Horsehead Nebula and the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula –  to create a beautiful, reversible sterling silver bracelet.

Micheal's Space Bracelet
{via Lost in Space Jewelry on Etsy}
Micheal's Space Bracelet 2
{via Lost in Space Jewelry on Etsy}


Now I’ll be honest.  Even though hubby talks to me every day about deep space, I am still not up-to-speed about the techniques for capturing images and don’t always understand what the images represent, so here’s what hed had to say:
“Nebulae are regions of active star formation in deep space. Each image is shot over multiple nights and layered together to create one composite image. These Nebula are imaged through telescope using a specialized Astrophotography camera called a CCD. The array of colors found in the images represent the combination of gases found in deep space. So why can’t you see these colors when you look up into the night sky? The light emitted from deep space activates the colorblind rods in our eyes so these objects appear in black and white if you simply view them through a telescope.”

{Hubby and his telescope with CCD camera attached}
{Hubby and his telescope with CCD camera attached}


We live in a tract home in the California Bay Area, so we are surrounded by two-story homes on all sides, and yet, he still manages to capture some amazing images over the course of many hours, sometimes, over the duration of many days.


Horsehead Nebula

“Ever since I was a kid, I have been captivated by the Orion constellation, a group of stars that resembles a Hunter that makes an appearance in the Winter night sky. Easily recognizable by its iconic belt, Orion contained a gem for astrophotographers. Located on Orion’s belt, the Horsehead Nebula is approximately 1500 light years from Earth and the swirling cloud of dark dust and gases is one of the most identifiable nebula. Capturing this Nebula was very special for me as this was my first object that I had shot in color, which made me fall deeper in love with the hobby.”

{Hubby's Horsehead Nebula}
{Hubby’s Horsehead Nebula}


Elephants Trunk Nebula

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula was my first venture into Narrowband astrphotography, which is a technique to illuminate the beautiful gases that lie in deep space. Since seeing the mezmorizing colors of this nebula on the internet, I was eager to capture this object myself. Shooting this nebula taught me a great lesson in that in order to shoot quality images, I would have to shoot objects over multiple nights, resulting in many hours of imaging time. I logged just over 8 hours of time under the stars on this one and have since adopted the ‘quality over quantity’ principle in my astrophotography. Located 2,400 light years from Earth, the Elephant’s Trunk nebula is now thought to be a site of star formation, containing several very young stars.


{Hubby's image of The Elephant Trunk Nebula}
{Hubby’s image of The Elephant Trunk Nebula}


Having a hobby that you enjoy and are passionate about is a reward in and of itself, but it’s a bonus when someone else appreciates and enjoys your work.  So today I’m extra thrilled for hubby that a talented jewelry designer used his images to create this bracelet.

{Horsehead and Elephant Trunk Nebulae bracelet from Lost in Space Jewelry}
{Horsehead and Elephant Trunk Nebulae bracelet from Lost in Space Jewelry}



Here’s to hoping your week is out of this world!  {Sorry, I just couldn’t resist…}  :)
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8 Ways to Dress Up the Kitchen Window {without using a curtain}

Sometimes, the kitchen window gets lost among the other showstoppers in a kitchen and becomes and afterthought.  But for many homes, the window is paired with the sink, which means that we spend a lot of time standing there, not only looking at the view outside, but the one inside as well! Taking some time to dress up the kitchen window is a small touch that can change the entire look and feel of the kitchen.  Decorative curtain windows – whether valances, cafe curtains, shades, etc. – are a quick way to add instant color, texture and pattern to a room, but there are other fun ways to add interest, too!



1. Shelf

When a window doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling, the first thought might be to add a curtain that extends above the window to make the window appear larger,  But if you don’t wan to add a curtain, then what?!  The addition of a shelf provides extra storage and display area.   Also, for those who don’t have a view outside that they want to highlight – or perhaps have one they want to hide – a shelf helps to keep the focus inside.

{via Better Homes & Gardens}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}
{via Homedit}



2. Sconces

Sometimes, dressing up the window doesn’t directly involve the window, but rather the window area.  Side sconces add additional light while also adding character and an element of customization to the space.

Kitchen Sconces
{via Suzanne Kasler}


3. Overhead Lighting

A decorative pendant or unique light fixture can be a beautiful addition to the kitchen.  And for those that have an existing recessed light fixture, you can switch it to a pendant light with a light adapter {like the one below from Ballard Designs} that requires no hard wiring or electrical know-how.

Adjustable Overhead Lights
{via Pinterest}
Ballard Designs Light Adapter
{via Ballard Designs}


4. Ribbon

The addition of a beautiful ribbon to an existing shade or blinds is a simple touch that is easy and inexpensive to do and can be changed out according to your mood, decorating style, or season.

{via Better Homes & Gardens}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}


5. Wreath

A boxwood wreath adds a pop of color and a touch of nature and is a simple addition to the window!

{via Indulgy}
{via Indulgy}


8. Awning

This one makes the list since an awning isn’t a traditional curtain window treatment for a kitchen.  This idea is both clever and dramatic!

{via Recaptured Charm}
{via Lisa at Recaptured Charm}


7. Reclaimed Wood

An alternative to a traditional valance or curtain is to use a piece of reclaimed wood stenciled with a message like the one shown below.

{via Mary at At Home on the Bay}
{via Mary at At Home on the Bay}


8. Corbels

Decorative corbels add visual interest and character to the space, making a unique statement!  Just like the sconces, the corbels aren’t affixed directly to the window itself, but rather the area surrounding the window.

{via Jennifer Rizzo}
{via Jennifer Rizzo}



So what do you think?  Are you more of a traditional kitchen valance person or would you consider one of these alternatives?  Let me know!
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Touring Through Blogland

Today is an  exciting day for me because Kathy from Creative Home Expressions invited me to participate in a blog tour. Kathy has been so kind to me on my blog and so I was honored when she asked me to join the tour.  In addition to checking out Kathy’s wonderful blog, be sure to take a peek at her beautiful Etsy shop.  She’s got some beautiful items – I’ve got my eye on the toile Christmas stockings and gorgeous ruffled tea towels!

Okay, so let’s take a little tour!

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 4 REV 2


1. What am I working on?

Right now, I’m working on two long-term projects, one in my living room and one in my master bedroom.  In my living room,  I’m slowly pulling together a new design, which until now, still had mismatched furniture from when I was first married and even my husband’s college coffee table!  I have an overall design plan that I’m working toward, but I’m buying the pieces slowly over time as I find them at a price I can afford.

TIDBITS & TWINE Living Room Olioboard
TIDBITS&TWINE Living Room Design Board


So far, I’ve updated the mantel decor and purchased chairs for a seating area, but haven’t yet bought the sofa, coffee table, or accessories.  I also purchased a large mirror from Hobby Lobby last week to hang next to the fireplace, but I’m still deciding whether it’s a “keep” or a “return.”



I’m also working to refinish some antique chairs for my bedroom before I take them to be reupholstered.  I’ve never refinished wood before so it’s a slow process of trial-and-error, but I’m really enjoying the work and finally found a way to achieve the antique look I’m after so now I’m full steam ahead on this project!

Antique Chair 1 Tidbits&Twine
The BEFORE.  I have a pair of these antique chairs handed down to us from my husband’s great-grandparents.


2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well this is a tricky question to answer!  Assuming that my “work” refers to my blog, I think it’s different from others because rather than share my personal projects with my readers, I mostly share decorating ideas and tips so that readers can hopefully take something away from my blog that they can apply to their own homes.  Does that make sense?!?  I write mostly about things like how to mix patterns, ways to style a coffee table, how to pick the perfect paint color, how to use accessories, etc.  I do share my own projects when possible and you’ll notice that my style is a mix of old and new, masculine and feminine; but I’m very slow when it comes to my own projects because I spend the majority of my time writing about general decorating techniques…and playing with my kids.  It is summer, after all!

TIDBITS & TWINE Master Bedroom 2014


3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I started this blog because I wanted to meet others who, like me, love decorating!  And when I say “love” I mean “LOVE” as in constantly moving things around the house to create a fresh, new look; browsing through home decor catalogs and books just for fun; and inevitably missing the plot of Downton Abbey because I’m too busy looking at the furniture or admiring the serving dishes!   I’ve met so many wonderful people through blogging and have been inspired by so many others.  I’ve also found that blogging constantly challenges me to learn and create, so it keeps my mind and my hands busy!



4. How does your writing/creating process work?

You might be surprised to learn this, but I usually write my posts the night before – sometimes the morning of – the day I publish them.  I can only write when I am truly inspired by a subject, so even though I keep a list of possible post topics handy, I rarely even refer to it.  I most often sit at my kitchen table and wait for inspiration to strike!  Sometimes I’m inspired by a photo on Pinterest, or a project that I’m working on, or maybe an item I came across in a catalog.  Either way, I have to be inspired by the topic in order to write about it so for me, everything is done last-minute!

TIDBITS & TWINE Kitchen 3 2014 REV


Now I want to introduce you next week’s participant, Jen of Three Dog Farmhouse!  Here’s a bit about Jen:

I’m a country girl who loves DIY projects (even better if I can get away with doing it cheap), my 3 dogs (2 chihuahuas & 1 whippet/pit bull mix) & my amazing husband.  I love to decorate, garden, & tell dog stories.

Jen is super sweet and talented so be sure to visit her next week to continue the Tour Through Blogland!


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