simple is beautiful

My Black Bathroom - Finally

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

At long last, here is my black bathroom. If you have been following along, providing counseling along the way, thank you. Once you see it, you may wonder why it took me so long. The reason - there is none. It just did.

To back track a bit, our bathroom has black and white tile original to our 1930's house.  I have always wanted to paint the walls black and finally took the leap a couple of months ago.  Also, I found this little soap dish  and absolutely had to use it in this room and somehow tie blue into the decor.

One solution was to add a metal box to the toilet tank to hold all of my girl junk.  I found this box at Garden Ridge and it was an ugly rusty blah color.  I painted it blue and love it.  Originally, I had made this tray to go in this spot, but felt that blue worked better.

A while back, I posted a teaser about the bathroom progress and showed black and white photos for artwork.  I lived with this for a while and felt that the bathroom needed more color and particularly more blue.  So I went to my favorite place for free art and found a few images.

Here you see a bit of the shower curtain.  I decided to go with this curtain from Target and am so glad to have read the comments because it shrinks - big time.  I bought an extra long length, thankfully.

All of the frames that you see were black and I spray painted them in glossy white.  They really pop against the black walls.

A friend of mine here in Greensboro did the monogramming.  I highly recommend Thurl's Threads for all of your monogramming needs.  She can be contacted by email,

To create a seamless look, I painted all of the switch plates and vent glossy black.

Note to self, dust things before taking pictures.

Paint color:  Benjamin Moore, Black (it took less than a quart to cover the walls)  One coat gave complete coverage.  LOVE.

This is So Last Year

Monday, November 29, 2010

This week is off to a very unproductive start and this is not the time of the year to lose momentum.  If you could only see our dining room and the piles of junk sitting everywhere.  We received an early Christmas present that I love -  a Federal sideboard.  Anyway, long story short, moving dishes from one piece of furniture to another in the dining room somehow evolved into cleaning the kitchen cabinets.  It's the old "Give a Mouse a Cookie" routine.  So now we have huge mess and I really want to decorate for Christmas.

Having a Monday

I am so thankful for the wonderful holiday weekend that I shared with my family.  We ate too much and did absolutely nothing and it was perfect.  After several days of doing nothing, I must admit that I am ready to get back to the gym and push my body bit.  And that is exactly what Mr. and I did this morning.

Now, I'm having a Monday.  My Picassa is full and I purchased more space last night, which thankfully was only $5, but it hasn't updated yet.  Supposedly it takes 24 hours.  Seriously?  What would take it so long I wonder - in this world of instant everything.

Anyway, I had a different post planned today.  I was going to finally share my black bathroom with you.  After I uploaded one picture my album was full.  So maybe tomorrow...

In case you are wondering about the shelves, I have been tweaking the shelves again - the ones that are lined with grass cloth - and now after seeing the shelves above, I really like a white background.  Unless you can talk me down from the bridge, I might put the yank on the grass cloth.

Images:  Houzz

By the way, thanks to everyone who has left comments about my table runner.  You all are so sweet!  If you haven't entered the giveaway, it's not too late.  Oh and another thing, I started an Etsy shop over the weekend.  Yes, I got a wild hair and did it.  As of now, there is only one thing in it, but hopefully, I will be adding more.  Any suggestions?

Cottage and Vine Wreaths

Friday, November 26, 2010

How was your Thanksgiving?  We are still having a ball with family, eating too much, and watching all of the cousins play together.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it is time to turn our thoughts towards Christmas.  Each year, Mom and I get together to make wreaths.  I thought that you might enjoy seeing some of the wreaths we made last year.

 Mom's front door

Our mantle

Go here, for the tutorial for both magnolia wreaths.  They are the same only Mom's is bigger - as it should be.

Our front door

Now that I think about it, I didn't post a tutorial for this boxwood wreath.  One will be coming very soon.

Pantry door

Go here for the tutorial.

This is blurry, sorry, but it is faster to make than the first one.  To learn how, go here.

Our garden gate

This wreath so difficult.  Ha!  Purchase a grapevine wreath and paint it red.  There you have it - the cottage and vine wreaths.  If you have questions that aren't answered in the tutorials, please feel free to email me @ 

Have a great weekend!

Fringed Burlap Table Runner Tutorial & Giveaway

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


***Now available in my Etsy Store***

Ever since I saw the reveal of Trina's dining room, I have been thinking about the pretty table runner on her dining table.  After googling, I didn't come up with any tutorials for fringed runners, but did find a table runner for around $60.  Knowing how little burlap costs, I couldn't justify paying that much.  So I decided to try making it myself.

Both of our tables are pretty long, so I purchased 3 yards of fabric.  The care instructions said to wash by hand, but I took the risk and washed the fabric on gentle in the washing machine.  Burlap is m.e.s.s.y so after it washed, I took it outside a gave it a good shake then left it to dry in the sun.

As you can see in the picture above, I cut the fabric in half length wise a began to turn under the edges and pin in place.

Turn under 1/2" once, then again and pinRepeat to the end on each side.

Once you are finished it should look something like this.

Now take your fabric and press the folded edges.

Stitch both sides leaving room at each end to unravel.  I wanted 8" fringe, so I stopped stitching 8 1/2" from the bottom.  Learn from my mistakes - the first time I stitched all the way to the end.  Not good. :(

 The next step is to unravel each end.  How long do you want your fringe to be?  Take that and add about 1/2" for the knot.
(someone needs a manicure)

For the fringe, I grabbed about 6 strands and knotted it.

Here is the result.  What do you think?

I simply had to see what it would look like all prettied up, so in about 5 minutes, and when I should have been doing something much more important, I grabbed some props and put together a little place setting.  The rush job might explain why the utensils are on the wrong sides of the plate.  Sorry Mom.  Don't laugh.

If like you my table runner, then you are in luck because I am giving one away.  Just consider it my way of thanking you.

To enter the giveaway:

1.  You must be a follower through google friend connect (over on the right).  Leave a comment.
2.  For an extra entry, post on your blog, facebook, or twitter about the giveaway.  Be sure to leave a comment for each extra thing you do.

Winner will be announced Friday, December 3rd.

Good luck!

Stay connected:

I Have Said it Before...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

...and I will say it again.  Nothing gives a room a little warmth more that a cutting from the garden.  No matter the season, I love to clean the house, then go outside and take a few cuttings to display.

We have had such a beautiful fall here in NC, and I wanted to enjoy it inside.  So I cut a few branches from the dogwood tree in our backyard.

This is what I call the last hoorah.  Our Susanquas have bloomed for the last month.  Each week, I take a fresh cutting to have a few flowers inside.  Most people refer to these as Camellias, but they are their fall blooming cousins.  I love them because of the evergreen foliage and the fact that not much else is blooming this time of year.

Every southern garden needs a magnolia tree.  And it doesn't have to be Christmas to enjoy them indoors.  I take cuttings when they are in bloom in the spring and throughout the year because the waxy leaves are so pretty.

Kind of off topic, but I finally put some thought into a fall mantle.  (Now that it is time to decorate for Christmas).  I'm not much of a mantle person, so really the only difference is that I added a glass urn from Restoration Hardware filled with pine cones and branches.  Very impressive right ;) ?

So are you ready for Thanksgiving?  I have been working on a little project and just finished last night when it was too dark to take pictures.  So come back tomorrow for a table runner tutorial AND a little surprise.


Mood Board Monday

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today I am trying something new.  I am joining Sarah from the blog Pewter and Sage, along with several others for a mood board challenge.  Making mood boards is something I love to do and could spend hours and hours doing, because I enjoy it so much.  Just ask my husband ;)  This one, however, came to me quickly.  You might have to use your imagination - a lot.

The challenge:

Your job is to design a room based on one of these photographs. Maybe its the color palette of the photo that inspires you, or one of its patterns. Maybe you create a room that embodies the feeling you get when you look at that picture. Or maybe you step back and put together a room that this photo could have been taken in. Whatever it is, I'm hoping one of these moments captured on camera captures your imagination:)

We were given a choice of three photos and this is the one that I chose.  It spoke to me the most probably because I am drawn to vintage things, architecture, and brass.  I can't tell if these are postcards or what, but it also had a bit of a romantic feel for some reason.

So here is what I came up with.  Call me crazy, but this is pretty much how I saw it.  Even though the photo has a very strong vintage feel, I wanted the room to have a good balance of old and new.

Here are the details:

1. Architectural influence.  I am always a fan of art groupings and this collection of architectural prints to set the tone for the room.  Also, these prints just seemed to call for a black four poster bed.

2. Brass. Because of the brass handle on the magnifying glass in the image, I wanted to bring yellow into the room and happened to find these panels from Anthro.  The yellow was repeated by adding both modern and vintage looking pillows.

3.  Gray.  The wall color is Benjamin Moore - Gray Owl, one of the best grays in my opinion, to recapture that sort of moody background from the image and as we have seen in the blogs lately, yellow and gray are gorgeous together. 

OK so if you are like my husband, you are probably wondering about the hatbox.  When I showed him my mood board, he asked, "What's up with the Louis Vuitton hat box?"

When we first began dating, Mr. and I lived in different cities during the school year and different states during the summer.  Brace yourselves young people, but this was before we had email and texting.  We sent each other cards every chance we got and I still have them all in a box on the shelf.  It's just not an LV hat box.  I'm just supposing that in the photo, the person is reading postcards from her honey and that she needs a pretty box to keep them in.  And what better box than this one.  So there.


Ordinal Dresser; Anthro
Hat Box; Louis Vuitton
Safari Rug; West Elm
Aidan Gray Arm Chair; Layla Grace
Stamp Pillow; Home Decorators
Architecture Art; Interior Mall
Dwell Studio Gate Pillow; Design Public
Dwell Rosette Pillow; Target
Curtains; Anthro
1920's Post Master Lamp; Factory 20
Four Poster Bed; Martha Stewart with Bernhardt

If you would like to see more mood boards, visit  Pewter and Sage.

Dining Room Chairs, Check

Sunday, November 14, 2010

For so long, I looked for the right chairs for our dining room.  I have been so inspired by all of the pretty white dining room chairs.  Last week I showed you the chairs that "we" found and the fabric.


Yesterday morning, I recovered the last seat and Mr. tightened everything that was loose.  We also added chairs pads to the feet and now they are like new.


Even though the side chairs and end chairs are slightly different styles, a coat of white paint and a new fabric tie them all together.  To paint the chairs, I first sanded them and wiped them clean with a damp cloth.  I used 2 coats of Valspar spray primer.  Finally, I used 2 coats of Valspar glossy white. I highly recommend purchasing a large piece of plastic for projects like these.  A 10x 20 sheet was under $3 and worth every penny.

Now the dining room looks like a sunny garden room.  The nice thing is that now matter the season, there is a laurel hedge just outside the double windows.  I love looking out and seeing green.  Also, I was considering painting the wall below the chair rail white, but I'm holding off for now.  The white chairs made such a difference in the room that it may not be necessary - and anything to save me some work. 

Chair Update

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The other day I set out to find fabric for the dining room chairs.  I searched and searched.  Every stripe was either too wide, too narrow, too referee, or just not right.  When I asked my favorite lady at 1502 for help, she cut a few swatches for me - not my first choices, but ones to consider.  We then headed to the back to check the sales room, which by the way, I had already spent a good bit of time in this area.  Suddenly, my dream stripe presented itself.  My new best friend, Favorite, had never seen it before and even after many trips up and down the aisle, I had never seen this one before either.  I was thrilled.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day working on the chairs.  The end chairs are finished.  Now I pray that the furniture Gods forgive me because, I'm pretty sure they were nice antiques.  Oh well, hopefully one time won't lead to harsh punishment.  By the way, what do you see when you look at the chair?  A vase or two birds.  Weird, huh?

The boys are out of school today.  We are going to do something fun.  Fun for them usually involves food - ha ha, growing boys...


Vintage Inspired by Sofia

DIY Monogram Dish Towels

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Last spring, I posted a diy project with dish towels which you can read about here.  These towels have been the ones I reach for day after day.  The design has held up through countless washings and bleach.  The towels came 5 in a pack and I still had 2 left to play around with.

Monograms come in so many styles and I really like the variety found here.   Yesterday, I played around on the computer and came up with a couple of new monograms on

I really like the way this one turned out.  I used navy fabric paint and the font is Times New Roman.  To make the dots, I used the letter o in a smaller font.

I have tried to remember which font I used to make this one.  It is most similar to Edwardian.  Use a spray adhesive to secure a doily to the fabric before painting.  I like the affect the doily pattern gives.

I'm not going to post the steps for using freezer paper again.  If you want to see the how to, go here.

Have you done any projects using freezer paper?

Dining Room Chairs

Monday, November 8, 2010

We recently sold our dining room table and chairs and are in the process of redesigning our dining room.  We had a table in storage from our old showroom that we are using.  The style is Mission, not my first choice, but I think we can make it work.  We made the decision to keep this table verses our old one because this table was custom made and it is solid white oak.  We recently purchased dining chairs from the Red Collection and are trying to decide where to go from here.  The end chairs are different from the side chairs, but similar enough.  I've seen several photos lately where the head chairs are styled differently and I kind of like the look.

By the way, when I say "we" sometimes it means me, and sometimes it means Mr.  This time, we means me ;)


Love this look, but I would never get up from the table if the chairs were this comfortable.

My Home Ideas

This is probably my favorite photo for several reasons.  I want to go darker on the walls and possibly go white below the chair rail.  By the way, have you ever added panel molding to the bottom of your walls?  Let's talk.  Also, I really dig the broad stripe on the end chairs and could see painting all of the chairs glossy white and covering the seats with a bold stripe.


I have had this image in my inspiration folder for a while now.  I don't know if it is the striped rug or the green candle sticks that draw me in, but gosh I love it.

So here is what we have.  Please overlook the circa 1980 Laura Ashley fabric and funky green paint.  That will be the first thing to go. A coat of glossy white and a broad stripe will bring these chairs back to life, no?  I can't wait to get started.


After all is said and done, there is still room in the budget for a rug.  Do any of you have this one from Ballard?

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