life, love and all that stuff

Being back here suddenly feels so unfamiliar to me. I have been away from my little blog and I apologize to all of you my dear friends for being gone. I hope your Halloween was wonderful and magical and I owe so many of you a big thank you for creating such amazing Witches Tea Parties. Thank you so very much.

Thank you also for all your concern and well wishes. Your emails meant so much to me and it warmed my heart to know that I was missed. It seems my personal life needed much of my attention and that is what I have been doing.

My husband and I have had our ups and downs, more down than up perhaps the last few years and it was time for us take a long hard look at what we wanted. And what we both wanted was to be better friends and partners to each other. So we committed to working much harder, starting with spending more time together.

The hard work is paying off but unfortunately my muse also decided to take a holiday. My creative juices just went out the window, maybe because I've been on this emotional roller coaster the past few months.

When I can't find inspiration to create with paint and paper I go back to digital doodling. I'm hoping it will jump start my brain so I can get back to creating again. I've had such amazing support from friends that keep encouraging me to start making things...anything! Thank you for being there for me.

I have also taken this opportunity to work on getting healthier. I had problems with my shoulder and arm all year and it took a while for it to start feeling close to okay. Stress has a funny way of putting you on an involuntary diet and when I realized I was dropping a few pounds I thought I might as well keep going, so I started walking and doing workouts again. I feel better and my shoulder and other joints seem to be doing better too.

So that is what's been going on here in my little world. Changes, hopefully for the better. Challenges waiting to be met. And if all goes well maybe I'll find my muse waiting just around the corner.

I hope you're having a beautiful season.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

day 2 of a witches tea!

Are you enjoying our weekend long tea party? And can you believe I'm actually running late for the second day of my own party! Life just has a funny way of not cooperating with our best laid plans sometimes.

a witches tea party!

Come this way dear witches!

are you ready?

Are you ready for the Witches Tea Party Under a Halloween Moon?

I've dusted my teapots, gathered my favorite teacups and sampled a spooky ghost cookie or two! All my lovely witches are waiting to see you this magical All Hallows weekend. There's a sliver of a waxing Halloween moon in the sky, ready to light our way to our witches tea party. Are you ready?

I will be back tomorrow evening with my first post.

I'm so excited to see everyone's tea party!

halloween tin swap

Last month I participated in the Bliss Angels Halloween Tin Swap. The tin I made for my partner Marti will probably look a little familiar to you.

It is very similar to the matchbox I made for the Vintage Dragonfly swap. The theme is again Sybilla and Delphine's Apothecarium.

a very late spooky monday

Hello everyone! Sorry, I didn't get lost in the woods or got swept up by a gigantic pink balloon. I've been away taking a little break and taking care of things here at Casa Petunia. Thinks have been tough to say the least. I've been dealing with big emotional challenges, relationship challenges that tend to come up when you've been with someone for nearly 20 years. So lots of drama and lots of talking, and in the end we learn a lot and hope to grow and become better people.

spooky mondays is back

I'm so glad my friend Wendy from Wendy's Adventures in Wonderland brought back Spooky Mondays. I had lots of fun doing it last year and today she is kicking off the first one for this year.

I decided to share a little bit of haunted history from my hometown, California's capital city of Sacramento. Lots of ghostly stories from the Gold Rush days abound here and this time of the year there are many places to enjoy a little bit of spooky fun.

giveaway winner

Did anyone else need to drop off their broom at the shop after our big PM party? I thought I recognized a broom or two while I was there. Thank you to everyone that's still making the rounds trying to work your way through the guest list. Yes, I am still doing that myself. I haven't been able to spend as much time on the computer as I normally do so I'm working my way down slowly but surely.

But guess what? It's time to announce the winner of my mixed media collage
Maria Owens spell book!

october artful bag challenge

Happy wonderful magical October!

My most favorite month of all. I just hope it doesn't go by too fast.

For this month's Artful Bag Challenge Alter It theme I decided to go with the obvious.

match box swap

I joined the Halloween Matchbox swap at Vintage Dragonfly and was very excited to be paired with the very talented Lynn from Trash to Treasure Art. I have seen Lynn's work published in Stampington magazines many times and love her creations. Here is the wonderful matchbox and the awesome goodies she sent me.

First is this hauntingly spooky matchbox. We used the larger size box for this swap. I love the wicked tag chained to the skelly hand.

simply....thank you

As the dust begins to settle on our 2nd Practical Magic blog party I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you.....everyone that participated and created absolutely amazing posts (and all of you did no matter how small or big) and also to many of you that just stopped by to take a look and left me your lovely words.

practical magic party!

They're here! They're here!

Remember little Kylie Owens excitedly jumping up and down (broomstick in hand) when she saw the headlights on the cars pulling into the driveway? I felt like that this morning when I checked in on the party and saw the early birds already posting their links. I took a peek at some of them. You are all amazing.

Thank you thank you so much  for allowing me to indulge in something that has been a part of my life for the last 13 years. Finding so many of you that feel the same way and are willing to share your fondness for Practical Magic has been such a wonderful thing. I love that I can create this for you and bring us together to kick off my very favorite time of the year.

Well let's get started then shall we? You're here just in time for breakfast!

september atc swap

The theme for September's Blissfull ATC Swap is INDUSTRIAL. I knew that but....somewhere between the time I filed that information in my head and the time I started making my card I kept thinking of INDUSTRY.

So I set out to make my industry atc and came up with the 'Captains of Industry'. And it wasn't until I put it in the mail that I realized I was just a bit off. Sorry Wendy. I hope you both still like it.

wicked fun

Hello my pretties! I'm back from dancing with the gypsies. What a marvelous party that was and so wonderful to see lots of familiar faces, and new ones too, around the gypsy campfire. I think our dancing brought on the wind and clouds because today feels like a real autumn day. And that is exciting for me!

These dark skies and tonight's full Harvest moon are too tempting so I thought I would share a wickedly fun idea I've been playing with. Sometimes one image can inspire an entire project. In my collection of vintage images I found a picture of two ladies that really fascinated me. Soon a story started to spin in my head and I knew I had to use them for some of my Halloween creations.

I can't share all of it yet but I would like to introduce you to two interesting ladies.

a tale of gypsy dreams

Hello gypsy sisters and friends!

I'm so excited to see everyone's wagon around the campfire. Thank you so much to Celia for putting this great party together.

not all witches live in salem

Last year one of my swap partners sent me a little witch tag that had this quote. I've seen it in other places since then and it's always been one of my favorites.

september artful bag challenge

Hello September and hello also to our third and final Artful Bag Challenge Playing With Paper theme! My inspiration this month came to me right away. The new copy of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween (which I posted here) had this amazing Autumn Mad Tea Party.

delicious autumn anticipation

Have you had a chance to see all the amazing Artful Bag ATC's my ladies created this month? They are all so wonderfully talented and just simply lovely lovely people. A few of our ladies from the east coast are dealing with that horrible hurricane so we might not hear from them for a while. Let's hope that they are all safe and sound. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

When I looked at the calender stuck to my fridge this morning I was almost surprised to find it still said August. I have been happily immersed in Autumn anticipation. Hunting for fall magazines, crafting Halloween goodies and prepping for Autumn blog parties.

artful bag challenge atc swap

Thank you to all the lovely ladies who played along for the second Artful Bag Challenge ATC swap. I can't believe we just finished another round of our challenge themes. Just one more round to go.

This month I swapped cards with 2 lovely ladies and what an amazing swap it was.

These are the 2 cards I sent out.

I made a Bag Fairy for Karla and a Carpet Bag for Diane.

For each card I also made a bag to hold the card.

The ATC sits inside and the bag closes with mini magnets.

These are both made from scrapbook paper and I made up my own template.

I received both of my partners' cards today.

This package came from Diane of  Dianie Mac Designs.

I already fell in love with the Halloween colors and Diane even treated me to the season's first bag of candy corn!

If you're not familiar with Diane's work you are in for a treat. She creates wonderfully whimsical clay art with a holiday theme, especially Halloween and Christmas.

Diane created this witch bag ATC just for me! What a treat! It's truly magical and amazing. I feel so honored to receive a piece of her art. I just love it.

Thank you so much Diane!

My other swap partner is Karla from Sketchbooks ATCs Mail ArtKarla and I were ATC swap partners last December. When I was a person short for my Artful Bag ATC swap and I didn't have a partner, both she and Diane offered to swap with me.

Karla's beautiful ATC came with all these wonderful goodies, including postcards and mini pieces of handmade art.

What's amazing about Karla's ATC  is that it's actually a bag! And it opens up to reveal more treasures tucked inside. Each section is decorated with a unique design and held a little surprise!

Everything about it is feminine and sweet and makes me think of a lovely afternoon tea. Karla in fact tucked in a little bag of  Perfect Peach tea inside which I know has very special meaning for her.

Thank you so much for creating this just for me Karla.

I feel so lucky to receive 2 very special bags from 2 lovely ladies, both amazing artists. Thank you Diane and Karla for a wonderful swap.

Please feel free to link up your ATC bag post here so everyone can see your lovely creations. You're also welcome to add your photos to the Artful Bag Challenge Flickr page anytime.

I hope everyone enjoyed their swap. Thank you again for playing.
We'll be back next month for another Playing With Paper theme.

fall magazines to inspire

Our weather here has been in the news a lot lately. Like the rest of the country we have had unusual weather this Summer but fortunately for us it has been cooler than usual. I really feel bad for those of you getting those mad heat waves, especially when you normally don't. We have had a total of 5 days of 100+ degree weather this season. Our average is 23 days according to the weather guy. So I'm enjoying it and I cautiously look ahead to what the rest of the year's weather brings.

It's nearly the end of August and you know what that means?

It means the first Fall magazines are starting to hit the stands. Yay!!

Romantic Country actually had their issue out a month ago and one of the features is this enchanting white house all dressed up for Fall and Halloween.

Whenever I see an all white kitchen, like the Practical Magic kitchen, I'm so tempted to start painting my cabinets a creamy ivory. Then reality sets in and I realize one, how much work that would be, and two, it really wouldn't be practical given how my husband has an aversion to wiping up spills. But I can dream.

The Better Homes and Gardens Halloween magazine has the same 2 pumpkin theme on the cover every year. It's a nice mix of stylish Martha Stewart inspired decor and more colorful child friendly themes and crafts.

This year they even did this amazing Autumn Mad Tea Party!

I thought I would just tempt you guys with more early Halloween stuff to go out and spend your money on :)

I have also stopped painting my walls for a few days. It seems to keep giving me a yucky headache so I'm taking a break and catching up with my other projects for now. I'll be back soon with my Artful Bag Challenge ATCs and one of these days I really need to get back to painting on canvas again.

Have a beautiful day.

Oh and I couldn't wait anymore...I was waiting until next week to bring back my Fall banner from last year but with all the Fall related posts I've been doing I just couldn't wait much more. Now I'm all set for Celia's Gypsy Dreams party!

And.....there's lots of room around the kitchen table so come and join me again for the Practical Magic blog party next month!

some decorating and a new broom

I love love my new walls (well the ones I finished painting so far). I was afraid it looked too much like the old color at first but once it dried and I got it on an entire wall I really loved it. It's just a little greener and more vibrant than the Butternut and makes all the my dark brown furniture pop. Happy happy! Oh if only the paint didn't give me a headache. But it's worth it.

Have you been to Pier 1 lately? They have some really wonderful Halloween stuff out right now. I had to get this glittery witchy broom to add to my collection. I love the crooked handle. Here it is against the new paint which doesn't look as vibrant here but you can see the greener tone. Very Owensy I think!

I also couldn't resist this witchy boot ornament and a few other cute things that decided to follow me home... this adorable couple that's actually about to take a trip to their new home.

All this painting and moving stuff around put me in the mood to bring out my favorite design and decorating books again. I love so many different styles that I finally gave up on picking one particular one.

My biggest inspiration usually comes from these 3 design styles. I love the eclectic mix here in my home state of California, from Bohemian San Francisco to the Spanish flavor of Southern California. Old world and modern Paris...I love both. And New Orleans as you might know is an obsession of mine. The mix of  colonial Spanish and tattered French decadence in the Vieux Carre speaks to my inner gypsy. So I'm revisiting my old books and magazines again, looking for a little inspiration to spruce up my little place.

Hope you're having a beautiful weekend!

atc swap reminder and new paint color

Just a quick reminder for my Artful Bag Challenge atc swappers. If you haven't  already mailed your card out to your partner you should be getting ready to mail in the next few days. We will be posting on our blogs on the 25th.

I finally decided on a color for my walls and actually bought paint today. After months of dreaming about something completely different from what's on there now, I went with one that's not too different after all.

I've had this color on my walls for about 9 years. It's called Butternut by Martha Stewart and maybe you can tell from that shade and from my dark wood furniture that my inspiration came from, where else? The Owen's living room in Practical Magic.

Image from Victoria Magazine October 1998

My living room still has the same espresso and sage color scheme as the PM house, down to the brown sofa, leather arm chair and honey colored drapes. And no matter how much I change things around I always end up going back to these favorite colors, especially when Autumn comes around and I start decorating for Halloween.

I watched the movie again the other day (probably the 387th time) and realized how much I still love everything about that house. So I ended up with another Martha Stewart color called Malted which is a little bit deeper and greener than the Butternut. I thought about going almost white, like a pale blue gray but I think I just love warm golden shades too much.

I also learned something new when I went to Home Depot to buy my paint. Now I always knew you can have any color mixed from any brand of paint. If you like a shade from a particular line you can have it mixed in any of  the brands of paint available. I love Martha's colors but I went with Glidden paint which is a little cheaper. What I didn't know is that Martha's line of paint IS Glidden, relabeled with her brand. The nice man mixing my paint told me this when I asked what the difference was between the two. So I was able to save a little and still got not just Martha's color but basically the same paint.

We'll see how it all turns out tomorrow.

Hope you're having a great week so far!

the witches are in

For me Fall can never come soon enough and lately it has felt almost like Fall here in Tomatoland. It's been an unusually cool summer for us despite the fact that yesterday was close to 100. But I'll just ignore that.

 All I can think about are pumpkins and crows and witchy hats. By the way did you see that beautiful full moon last night? Definitely a sign that Autumn is just around the corner.

Just in case you missed my last post I'd like to officially invite you to the 2nd Annual Practical Magic blog party on September 24. I have a separate page just for it and I would love to have you come and join me again. You can click on the button up there at the top and it will take you to the party page.

I'm also really excited about a couple of great Fall events being put on by my blog friends this year. Celia is having a Gypsy Dreams party next month, Wendy is hosting a Halloween Tin Swap and JoAnne is hosting a Halloween Matchbox Swap. So many wonderful ways to start off the season!

One of my favorite yearly rituals is to start checking the shops for Halloween merchandise. Michaels usually puts theirs out right after the 4th of July. I was there last week and it looked like they had most of it out. I have so much Halloween stuff that I rarely find anything I need to add to my collection but it's just so much fun to be surrounded by all that glittery orange and black!

Another shop I love to visit is HomeGoods. The other night I was treated to a whole section filled with Autumn and Halloween goodies. I love seeing the displays before everyone gets their hands on them because by the end of September it's all pretty much picked over.

Here are a couple of pictures I took with my phone before I had to dash out and do grocery shopping. Enjoy!

What sort of delicious Autumn goodies have you found? I'd love to know!

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend.