simple is beautiful

Thanks to Janell and Houzz!!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

 Thanks so much to Janell from one of my favorite blogs, Isabella and Max Rooms, and to Houzz for featuring my "blue front door". 

To read more about adding personality to your entrance go here.

Guest Blogging With Emily Clark

Friday, July 30, 2010

    Today I am guest blogging over at one of my favorite blogs, Emily A. Clark.  Check out my kitchen here.

    Do you have plans this weekend?  I will be waiting in long lines with hot (and I don't mean sexy) people waiting to ride this..."There's my feet dangling"...
    Have a great weekend!

    Kids' Bathroom Inspiration

    Monday, July 26, 2010

     This sweet little image came from the blog Pure Style Home where a darling kids' bathroom was added in the family lake house.  I am in love with these happy colors.  Go here to read more.

    Thanks to everyone who rallied around my new ottoman acquisition.   Hopefully it will be here in the next day or two.  If you are in the market for a new ottoman yourself, you might want to check this out. 

    Coasters Get a New Look

    Friday, July 23, 2010

     Do you like these coasters?  Didn't think so.  Coasters to me are a necessary evil.  Sort of like fans in the summer time.  We use them to protect our furniture and often, they aren't cute.

    In walks wall paper.  I love wall paper for many reasons, but my favorite is for using it in unexpected places like here and here.  If you pop into a wallpaper store, be sure to check the clearance bins.  There is always an interesting pattern that you could use to line shelves or the linen closet.

     To make these coasters look a little more current, I placed them on the wallpaper and traced the outline.  Then I cut out the shapes.  Using modge podge, I painted the surface of the coasters with a small brush and applied the wallpaper cuttings, smoothing out the bubbles with my fingers.  Once this dried thoroughly, I applied three more coats to the top, drying in between coats.  Once they were completely dry, I sprayed them with a protective coat of poly.

     Do you use wallpaper in unexpected places?  I would love to hear from you.

    Oh and have a great weekend!

    I am linking with Completely Coastal, ASPTL, Between Naps on the Porch, Funky Junk.

    Re-Store Lamps

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Thanks to all of you who read my blog and who are willing to leave supportive comments.  I really appreciate you.  Yesterday I asked for help with the Re-store lamps, and your responses confirmed my suspicions.  The harps were too tall...a casualty that comes from using what you have.  Yesterday, I purchased smaller harps and I think they look better.

    Before we get into all of that, I thought you might like to see what the lamps looked like when I purchased them from the Re-Store.

    A little funky aren't they?  When I saw them in the store I knew that I had to have them because it is rare to find a pair of lamps.  They aren't exactly the gourd shaped lamps that I see everywhere, but they were cheap and with spray paint all things are possible.

    I gave each lamp a coat of spray primer.  Then I used glossy white spray paint.  

    The bases were gold, but I wanted them toned down and bit.
    I used the hammered gold Rust-oleum and really liked the results.

    And thankfully, most of us agreed that shorter harps were needed.  Funny how the lampshade on the right sits a little lower.  Oh well, Re-Store.  I also picked up the finials yesterday at my local hardware store and gave them a coat of the hammered gold. 

    I Re-Arranged My Living Room

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

     ...because I had least 25 other things that needed to be done.

     Do you have a room with a challenging floor plan?  I do.  It's called the living room.  This room has been re-arranged more than any room in the house.  Just recently, I moved everything in the above picture.  Looking at it from here, the floor plan seems OK.  Notice the location of the couch under the stairs.  Pictures can't be hung above the couch because of the stairs, which by the way, I recently read that art above a sofa should be 2/3 the length of the sofa.  Is this true?

     The other issue I had was the TV cabinet, which is a big rectangle, is sitting beside the passage to the dining room, another big rectangle.  That is just too many big rectangles in one area.  Note, this is the way into the house from the front door.

    So the other day, when I should have been working on my to do list, I started moving furniture around.  The TV cabinet has a new spot by the stairs which opens up the traffic flow from the front door.

    This is the new seating arrangement which we have had before.  The sofa is too large for the room.  We were not thinking about scale when we got it 15 years ago.  I listed the sofa and ottoman yesterday to sale and if they do, we plan to purchase the Ektorp (white slip-covered sofa) from IKEA

    Also, I would make a colorful ottoman using this tutorial. This would bring in more color. 

    The picture that was over the sofa gets to hang above Dad's lowboy which to me is a better spot.

    And my favorite part is that the lamps that I found at the Re-Store last winter, finally get to come out of hiding.  Tell me, do they need shorter harps?

    For now, I like it, but my family has heard that do you have a challenging room?


    In case you missed it, there is a fabulous giveaway sponsored by Depuis.  To get the details go here.  Winner to be announced Thursday.

    Blueberry Smoothies

    Friday, July 16, 2010

    Even though this isn't a food blog, I like to share recipes from the garden...using ingredients that can be grown or picked.  A couple of weeks ago, my family picked blueberries at a sweet little blueberry farm in the NC mountains.  Since then, the boys and I have come up with our own individual favorite smoothie recipes...because of course it would be too easy for us all to agree on one.

    the tween
    1/2 cup plain yogurt
    1/2 crushed ice
    1 cup blueberries
    2 T. local honey
    1/8 t. vanilla
    Blend and enjoy.

    the teen
    1/8 cup blueberries
    3/8 raspberries
    2T. local honey
    1 cup plain yogurt
    Blend and enjoy.

    the mom
    1 cup almond milk
    2 T. plain yogurt
    1 T. maple syrup
    3/8 blueberries
    1/4 raspberries
    Blend and enjoy. 

    So, what are your plans for the weekend?

    We are going to yet another swim meet.  This one is the 14 & under championship meet, the grand finale, in Charlotte.  The good news is..............there is an Ikea there.  Do you think I could persuade my guys with Swedish meatballs and churros?

    Have a great weekend...

    My Favorite Staycation Spot

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

     Welcome to my staycation spot.  This is where we pretend like we are somewhere else.  There is a place that my family goes in La Quinta, CA most every year that has a fabulous little courtyard.  The desert mornings are cool so we turn on the fire-pit while we drink coffee and read.  In the evenings, we sit and count stars, because I swear there are more stars in the desert.  Mr. and I both agreed that we wanted a little haven like that at home, so we created this deck/courtyard garden area that can be accessed from the sun room or dining room.

     During the humid southern summer days when no one is out except the mosquitoes, the ceiling fan comes in handy.  The partial shade from the pergola is welcome on days when the sun is really intense.

     So are you going somewhere this summer or are you on a staycation too?

    I am sharing this with ASPTL.

    Two Books

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    A few months ago, I reserved House Beautiful, Colors For Your Home from our local library. 
    I shared this book with my mother-in-law during her most recent visit. 

    Several days after her departure, a little box arrived containing the two books pictured above. 
    I'm sure you design experts already have these treasures in your stash, but for us common folk, these are a must have.  

    There is so much useful information that even with passing trends, I'm sure they both will provide inspiration for years to come.

    Thanks Kathy!

    If you are interested, you can find the books here and here.

    Blind Hem Stitch

      A couple of weeks ago I shared a tutorial for this boudoir pillow with you that I made for a friend.  This pillow is going into the master bedroom along with new panels for the windows.  My friend wanted to keep the panels simple so that when the money tree in her backyard grows and they are able to add a downstairs master bedroom, this room will become a bonus room and the curtains will still be suitable for the space.

      My friend found a lovely creamy linen fabric here.

      Just between us, when I make curtains for our home, I cut a lots of corners.  These curtains need to look professional complete with lining.  Yikes.  The trick is in the blind hem stitch.

      How to sew a blind hem stitch:

       1.  Fold main fabric edge over 3/4", so that main fabric is even with the edge of the lining.

         2.  Fold main fabric over another 3/4", so that the cut edge of the fabric is enclosed.  Press and pin in place.

         3.  When you sit down to in front of the sewing machine, your fabric should be in this position.

        4.  Fold back the hem so that 1/4" of the main fabric is showing.

        5. Sew along the main fabric using the blind hem stitch setting on your machine.

        6.  When you are finished, the stitching will look like this on the back side of the curtain.

         7.  The front of the curtain looks like this with only a trace of stitching.

        There you have it,  professionally lined curtains.  As I have always told my boys, if you can read, you can cook.  The same goes for sewing I suppose.

        Blueberries Only Better

        Wednesday, July 7, 2010

         Now that Mom and D have spent much of their retirement in the NC mountains, they have gotten to know the locals and all of the best kept secrets.  The other day, we all went to the blueberry farm.

         As we drove up the mountain on a long dirt road, we passed grape vines and red barns.

         Fences and walls were covered with flower pots.

        We even saw this old house on the way still decorated for the 4th of July.

        Once we arrived and were greeted by two Vizlas and a mutt, we entered this old barn where we met ladies working on needlepoint and folks visiting.

        Wine tastings are held here in the evenings and it reminded me of the anniversary trip that Mr. and I took to Napa to celebrate our tenth anniversary.

        I can just imagine being there in the evening with the lanterns, the view of the beautiful mountain in one direction, and the view of the blueberry bushes on the hillside in the other.

        And just so you know, the bathroom was even charming.  It was also open to the elements I might add.  It occurred to me to look under the sink skirt just to be sure there were no snakes hiding.  Yes, I said sink skirt and it was darling.  Oh and no snakes BTW.

        The blueberry bushes were positioned at the foot of the mountain and as we picked the berries, we climbed a little higher.

        Because it was early in the morning, the blueberries were still covered in dew.

        Oh my goodness at the blueberries.

        Oh and by the way, they also have an apple orchard.  Something tells me that we will be going back there in the fall.

        Do you pick blueberries?  Better yet, what do you do with them?  I was given great advice many years ago on how to freeze them.   Spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze so that none are touching.  Then place in a mason jar.  When you need a few for pancakes, smoothies, etc. take them out of the freezer and wash before adding to your recipe.    You can also use freezer bags.

        Update:  The name of the farm is Old Orchard Creek Farm.

        Link to the farm
        See them on flickr
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