simple is beautiful

The Blue Front Door

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is it just me or have you  been noticing blue doors lately too?

home design

What color is your door? 

Images from Style at Home, Coastal Living, Farm 4 Flickr,  Apartment Therapy, Slatter's Cottage, Blissfully Domestic, Domino, Kate Elliot, APStyle, London Doors, Houzz

Repurposed Shutters

Monday, March 29, 2010

Over the weekend I decided to put to use some of the old shutters that we have taken down from the exterior of our house.  After years of being patched and painted, they were ready to retire.  Hubs even tried to throw them away once.  As luck would have it, I snatched them up and stored them in the garage until I could figure out what to do with them.  

 I decided that these shutters would be a nice addition in the kitchen.  I had plenty of my new favorite color left from painting the insides of the cabinets so I went to town scraping and gluing until they were paint ready.

I painted the shutters with BM Wythe Blue HC-143.  I didn't apply a thorough coat because I thought that having the black show through would break things up a bit and tie back to the black granite counter-tops.

Once the paint dried, I lightly sanded the shutters adding a little extra pressure on the edges.

I love the results!

This morning I slipped on my rain shoes to go into the garden to cut a sprig from my pearl bush for the photo.  Isn't is pretty?  I bought it from my favorite nursery several years ago.  The blooms look like little pearls before they open.

Snowflakes and Robin's Egg Blue

Thursday, March 25, 2010

     There is something about having fresh flowers from the garden that motivates me to set a pretty table.

     Most weekdays we are in a rush to feed hungry swimmers after a  long day of school and a strenuous swim practice.  Knives on the right, forks on the left, skip the spoon unless we are having soup, paper napkins.

    Today I found a nice surprise in the linen chest.  Linen place-mats and napkins in Robin's egg blue that go perfectly with the new kitchen colors.  Some things are just meant to be.

    When I set the table, I was reminded of how the summer sun dances on our kitchen table in the evening hours around supper time.  Love that.

    Thank you snowflakes.

    I am linking with In Between Naps on the Porch.

    A Little Vine With My Cottage

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

     It never fails.  Whenever we are in the front yard working, someone will stop in front of our house.  First they slow down.  Then they come to a complete stop.  Next they roll the window down.  Mr. and I just look at each other because we know what comes next.  "Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you what kind of vine that is growing over your front door?"  Some have even gone so far as to jump out of their car and run up to have a closer look.  We don't mind.  We actually like that it has caught the attention of many passers-by.

     The vine is a Clematis Armandii.  It is an evergreen, which is unusual for a clematis, and it flowers white.  Blooms appear in March.  They are so fragrant and are a nice welcome.

    Hubs and I planted this vine 10 or so years ago and never once regretted it.  To encourage it to grow up the wall, we attached it to the house with poultry nails.  Poultry nails are u-shaped nails that are pointed on each end.  The nails have long since grown into the plant and have completely disappeared now.  We also secured the vine onto the fascia board just under the gutters with the same nails.  This quick grower covered our entrance in no time.

    The only downside is that the aphids love it.  The flowers secrete a sweet sap that attracts aphids.  Every year I blast those disgusting little critters with the hose.  I have even sprayed them with bug spray which I really don't like to do.  I once read that a soapy solution would work.  Tried that too, but the little creeps continued to hang around feasting on our sweet vine. 

    The upside is that lady bugs love to eat aphids.  For that reason, we always see lots of lady bugs on our front porch.  Lady bugs make me smile for two reasons.  They are just about the cutest bug there ever was AND they eat aphids.  This year, I am going to go to my local garden center and buy a bag of lady bugs.

    That's right.  Together with my army of lady bugs, we are going to wage war on the pesky little uninvited, leaf eating, mess making, varmints.  Don't worry.  I will take lots of pictures when this happens.  Should prove to be a very satisfying day.

    Aphids, when I unleash my girls, you'd better watch out, ha!

    By the way, if you see one of these, please don't hurt it.  It's only lady bug larvae.  No, they aren't as cute as the lady bugs they eventually become, but we still like them.

    Lady Bug Larvae, harmless

    I live in zone 7 and this clematis is recommended for zones 7-9.  To read more about the vine go here.

    Thrifting With Mom

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010

      If given a choice between shopping in a mall and shopping in a thrift store, I would chose thrift store shopping any day.  Why?  Because it is a great adventure.  One.of.a.kind. things that you almost never see.  Cheap.  Also if I had my choice, Mom would be by my side.  We go from store to store picking up items and carrying them around, sometimes only to put them back where we found them.  One thing that we have noticed is that our tastes are a little more select than they were back in the day when we first started thrifting together.  We now have an eye for things that don't present themselves as often making them more special and we also are beginning to understand and appreciate a good buy when we see one.

      I love this little silver plated casserole server.  It was black when we bought it.  After using silver polish with slow results, I moved on to baking soda.  Worked like a charm.

      Mom found these cordial glasses while making her rounds one day.  Aren't they pretty?  The etching is even better in person.  Thanks Mom!

      I admit that I have weakness for lamps.  Genetics.  Funky old lamps are always on my list of things to look for when we are out and about.  It is always best to make sure that the wiring is in good shape.  If the color isn't just right, you can always use spray paint and wipe on poly to make the transformation.  Add a new shade and there you have it.  This lamp was already white, love white porcelain and ceramic lamps.

      Next week is spring break and Mom and I are looking forward to exploring our favorite stores in the mountains.  I'll be sure to take some good pictures to share.

      Silhouette Dish Towels

      Monday, March 22, 2010

      I loved this project and am so excited to share it with you!!  As you know, sometimes we have an idea, uncertain how it will turn out, and go in with great expectations.  I'll be the first to admit that some of my ideas end up in the garbage can and I don't even share them with you. This was not one of them.

      I wasn't sure how this would go, but am happy to say that the results are better than I had hoped.

      I love kitchen towels and wanted to add a towel or two with a little more personality.   Many ideas have been going through my mind now that I have started this project, so you may be seeing more on this in the future.  Here is what I did.


      • plain dish towel
      • fabric paint
      • freezer paper *
      • exacto
      • self healing mat OR magazine
      • sponge applicator
      • small paint brush (for touch-ups)
      • iron

      1.  The images that I used are from various sources.  The dog silhouette was taken from a photo of the co-editor, the bird silhouette I found online, and the letter t, well I typed it.  Find your image and play with it on the computer until you have the actual size that you will need.  I played with the towels to determine exactly where I wanted my image and the size it needed to be.

      2.  Next, take a piece of freezer paper* and place it over you computer screen to trace the image.

      3.  Take an exacto and cut out the image leaving behind a stencil of your image.  I envy you crafters who have a self-healing mat.  I use a magazine instead.  Simply place the freezer paper on top of the magazine to protect your surface.  When you do this step, make sure that you keep any little pieces that are important.  For example the bird towel has the extra pieces in between the bird's legs the branch.

      4.  OK, this is why I love freezer paper.  Once you have your stencil, place it shiny side down on the towel and iron it.  The heat from the iron will help the stencil to adhere to the fabric and prevent bleeding.

      5. Before you begin this step, be sure to place the item that you are painting on top of something absorbent.  I used a newspaper.  Dampen the sponge applicator with water (be sure to remove the excess moisture or the paint will bleed).  Dip applicator into paint and blot off on a paper towel to remove excess paint.  With the applicator, apply paint to the towel.

      6.  Once paint is dry, remove stencil from towel.  I am impatient, so I didn't wait.  Everything turned out OK.

      7.  Allow towel to dry for one hour.

      * Freezer paper can be found in the food storage aisle of grocery stores along with aluminum foil, wax paper, etc.

      Kitchen Reveal

      Monday, March 15, 2010

        If you follow my blog, you know that I have been working on updating our kitchen.   The last bit of painting was finished over the weekend and I am so excited to share the pictures with you.  Everything turned out as planned and I just love it!  The power of paint never ceases to amaze me.  Let's go see...

         In order to keep this post from being too lengthy, I am not posting the before pictures.  To see those you can go here.

        When you first enter our kitchen, you enter through the butler's pantry.   In the butler's pantry, we added the bead-board which I absolutely love!  We had enough left over from a previous project.  It freshened this area up and it looks so much cleaner and brighter.  The prints to the right are from Vintage Printable which is totally free art that you can download.  They have all sorts of botanicals, seashells, you name it.  I framed them in the bamboo frames that I found at the Re-Store for $1 each.  They were originally gold and I gave them a thin whitewashing allowing the gold to barely show through.  The nice man at Lowes cut glass to go inside the frames for $6.  Because the inside of the cabinets are painted BM Wythe Blue, HC-143 (robin's egg blue), I decided to go with bird eggs.  It is difficult to see from here, but several of the eggs are very close to Wythe Blue.

        I asked for advice on painting the soffit.  After much debate, we decided to paint the it white to match the cabinets.  Now that we painted this soffit, we will eventually paint the one above the stove.  It is truly never done is it? 

        Here is a peek at the blue inside the cabinets.  I love the way it makes all of our white dishes stand out.

        As you round the corner from the butler's pantry, to the right is the desk and overhead cabinet and the kitchen table and banquette.  The overhead cabinet, chairs, and banquette all received a coat of primer and multiple coats of white paint.  The overhead cabinet was painted inside with Wythe Blue.  I am so happy with how it all turned out!

        Cords, ugh.  I was planning to paint the desk, but we are going to live with it this way for a while.  Can you have too much white?

        I originally thought about window treatments over the sink.  To be continued...

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