Live and Learn

Monday, January 31, 2011

A while back I tried to brighten up the master bedroom.  Then I decided to experiment with a bold pattern.  Let's just say, you live and you learn.  For me, neutral is the way to go in this room.  I loved the bright green, but I would love it so much more somewhere else.  Recently, I ordered custom pillows and was thrilled when they arrived last week.

 The same afternoon the pillow covers arrived, I made curtains for the window behind the bed and a fixed shade for the window seat.  It was the easiest thing I have done.  Tutorials to follow.

 I'm not ready for the full reveal, but at least you get the picture.
Also, I painted the nightstands Sherwin Williams - Urban Bronze.  I am loving this color.  It is dark, but not quite black and it goes perfectly with the darker color in the neck roll pillows.  This room is becoming the peaceful retreat that I want it to be...slowly.

Pretty Kitchen - Kentucky Mama

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'll bet most of you saw this kitchen back in October when it was revealed.  Elizabeth, from the blog Kentucky Mama, with the help of Erika (my absolute favorite designer), remodeled her kitchen.  I bookmark a lot of inspiration photos, some of which I look at over and over, and this is one of them.  So if you have seen this before, I'm pretty sure you won't mind seeing it again.  Some before and afters are like that.

Perhaps one of my favorite features of this kitchen is the window shade.  Elizabeth wanted to avoid trendy fabrics and Erika found this damask that perfectly matches the wall color.  Good call.  I'm pretty sure she will be happy with that choice for a long time.
I love these industrial bar stools.
Aaah, the details.
If you would like to know more about the kitchen, Elizabeth did a Q & A post.  Thanks Elizabeth for letting me share your beautiful kitchen!

Orchids & Moss

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter months can be so long and flowers can really brighten a room.  Orchids are available at most grocery stores and home improvement centers.  Sometimes I find orchids in full bloom at Costco.  When I buy them from the store they usually look like this.  Not bad.

These clips remind me of a hair bow used on a little show dog.  Orchids do need support, but what I normally do is remove the clip and wrap the stem in moss. 

I usually use sheet moss, but this time reindeer moss was what I had on hand.  Finally I hold the moss and orchid in place with raffia.  Much better.

The Best Hot Chocolate...Ever

Friday, January 21, 2011

Occasionally I share recipes, but try to limit the ingredients to things that can be grown like pesto, apple crisp, blueberry smoothies, and strawberry preserves.  This recipe, however, was too good to keep to myself.

If you like s'mores and
hot chocolate,
you are going to love this!

It is called s'mores hot chocolate and chances are, once you try it, you will want s'more, tee-hee. 

This recipe is from Southern Lady Magazine.

S'mores Hot Chocolate 

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1-4oz. bar semi-sweet chocolate chopped (I recommend Ghiradelli because it's the best)
4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1-8oz. container frozen non-dairy whipped topping thawed
1-7oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 cup graham cracker crumbs

Garnish: crushed graham crackers, chocolate shavings

1.  In a large saucepan, combine cream and chocolate over medium heat, whisking constantly until chocolate is melted.  Add milk, sugar, and vanilla, whisking until smooth.  Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, do not boil.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine whipped topping and marshmallow creme.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add graham cracker crumbs, beating until well combined.  Spoon or pipe cream mixture on top of hot chocolate.  Top with additional crushed graham crackers and chocolate shavings, if desired.


Burlap Drum Shade {How To}

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My dilemma started with this lamp shade.  I needed a fairly tall shade for my lamp and didn't want to spend a fortune so I settled for one from Lowes.  I really like the burlap covered shades from Ballard and I thought that pairing rustic burlap with a sleek porcelain lamp base could be a nice combination.  (By the way, even though I have made several items with burlap lately, this will be the first burlap piece in our house.)

I started by removing the trim and fabric from the shade.  My plan was to use this tutorial but it never occurred to me that my shade had a smaller circumference at the top than at the bottom.  Grrr.  This made it a little trickier to apply the fabric so what I did was apply it in two pieces creating two seams which I wasn't thrilled about, but it worked.

I used fabric glue to apply the burlap and held in it in place using tape.  

For the burlap trim, I cut two pieces.  One that measured the circumference for the top plus one inch and one for the circumference of the bottom plus, both about 1 1/4" wide.  I have found that sometimes heat & bond causes fabric to draw in or shrink slightly.  So I wanted to have pieces that were long enough knowing that I would cut off the excess.  I folded the pieces inward and pressed.

Next I applied heat & bond according to the instructions on the package.

Next, using my glue gun, I applied the trim to the top and bottom of the shade.

Vintage Printable {How-To}

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A few of you have asked about Vintage Printable so I thought that I would share what I know, which probably isn't much compared to most of you.  For starters, sometimes we want fancy, nice art that a human who is talented actually poured their heart and soul into and then there are times when we just want a little something to fill in a space, and we don't want to spend a lot on it.  I use Vintage Printable for the latter.  Nothing fancy, just filler.

When navigating the website, I disable flash gallery.  I'm goofy when it comes to the details, but the flash makes everything run around the screen.  By the way, sometimes the website is tough to navigate.  They are working through some issues, so patience is necessary.  Once I make my selection, I click on the image so that it at its largest setting.  Then right click to copy the image.  Next I paste the image into a word document.  Again right click and you can re-size it here to fit your mat or frame.

I have found that printing on card stock makes the image look much better once it is framed.  The paper will lay nicely and the subtle texture makes it look like you paid for it.  **By the way, I use a regular old HP ink jet printer.

Other sites for free art:

NYPL Digital Library
The Graphics Fairy

If you have any helpful hints to add, feel free to leave a comment.

Been Busy

Monday, January 17, 2011

I wanted to share a few things with you that I made over the weekend.  I loved them so much that I made a couple of sets to put in the etsy shop.

I also added these colorful books last weekend.  When I was in the apparel business and we were in the early stages of creating a new collection for a season, we found color inspiration everywhere.  When I look at these old Reader's Digest books, the color combinations inspire me.  I especially love the navy, white, and orange together.  My blogging friend Jaime shared this NY Times article with me.  Apparently books are big now.  Who knew?

Have a great week!

Dining Room Continued

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You made my day yesterday will all of your comments about our anniversary.  Thank you!

I knew that when I started changing things in the dining room, it would lead to more changes.  It always does.  The new chairs called for different window treatments which will most likely call for a new wall color and eventually I will get to that, but for now, I just wanted to create a stronger focus around the dining table. 

If there is one thing that I have learned about myself in the last year or so, it is that I will never again purchase a "set" of furniture.  Never.  My tastes have changed and are more forgiving, you could say.   A room that is collected over time with a loose mixture of warm wood tones, painted pieces, bamboo, and metal are so much more interesting than a "set" from Rooms To Go.  And that is why I started tweaking in here.

We received this Federal sideboard for Christmas.  I love the way it mixes with our bold chairs and adds another wood tone to the room.  (let's pretend the cord isn't there)

We were also the lucky recipients of these funky old bamboo lamps that I fell in love with at an antique mall.  They were a Christmas surprise gift and I love their quirkiness.  They also gave me a starting point for the colors in this room because up until now, the only thing that was definite was black and white.  For contrast and because the shades are old and have a few stains, I am thinking of recovering them in a black linen.  What do you think?

A month or so ago, I purchased some black frames that I found on sale, I think 4 for $20, to use in the dining room.  I wanted to add botanical prints, something I can't get enough of.  So I resorted to my favorite place for free botanicals.

Here is the wall after adding the prints.

For now, I added a silver tray of pine-cones, topiaries, and an urn filled with paper-whites to the sideboard.  I'm still playing around with it.  I just don't want the room to feel too fancy, but rather more relaxed and organic.  This room is where I sew, we work puzzles, and do homework, so I want it to be comfortable.  The bamboo mirror is one that Mom couldn't find a place for.  We found it one day in thrift store and knew that one of us had to have it.  The mirror is actually oak and I painted it glossy black.

So now we have black, lime green, and a touch of orange.  Next is window treatments and wall color.  To be continued...

20 Years

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Our son asked why my hair looked like this.  I told him that back then "chi" was not a household name.)

It is hard to believe we have been married twenty years today.  Our wedding caused a bit of a stir in my little home town.  Even though I tend to be fairly traditional, I have always marched to my own beat.  Small towns notice things like unusual wedding cakes (we ordered carrot cake), wedding bouquets that aren't the norm (I carried Dad's favorite flower, the calla lily).  We wanted to have a small wedding in the chapel of my church by candle light.  At the time, this was unheard of, but we pulled it off and it was the beautiful, intimate wedding we had hoped for.  All things considered, we had a wonderful day...until the reception.

At the reception, we discovered that despite what our travel agent told us, we needed either a birth certificate or a passport to get into Jamaica.  So we left the party in the "the skate", headed back to my apartment in Charlotte and proceeded to tear the place apart looking for my birth certificate.

After many phone calls and finally locating our documents, we left for Jamaica a day later.  When we arrived, it was pouring down rain and we felt like our honeymoon was doomed.  The next day though, we awoke in our ocean front suite and looked out to a beautiful rainbow over the ocean.  The rest of the week was amazing.

I hesitated to share this with you, but decided to anyway, hoping it is not too offensive...
Mr. forgot to pack his underpants, so each day before we headed to the pool, he would wash his only pair in the sink and leave them hanging on the ceiling fan to dry.  I would love to know what the maids were thinking when they came in to clean the room each day :)

A Beautiful {Low Cost} Apartment

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My blogging friend Kristin recently shared an absolutely gorgeous blog, Dear Lillie.  Like Kristin, I too have fallen in love.  If you haven't seen it, settle yourself down one day when you have nothing to do (because you will get stuck there).  In addition to the stunning photography, and gorgeous decor, I love that most of the decorating is done with budget in mind.

The blog is written by Jennifer and this apartment that I am about to show you belongs to her sister, Dana.  Can I just say that a little fabric and paint goes a long way?  Working with pieces from family members and incorporating a simple color palette, Dana has created quite a lovely space for herself.  (I'm jealous).

Most everything in the apartment either came from someone's garage or
basement, or was purchased for a song.
  The ottoman was covered with an old shower curtain
that could no longer be used.

Apparently talent runs deep in the family because Dana made many
of the accessories herself.
  Many of the pillows are made from sheets.
The rosette balls are made from foam balls and Duponi silk.

This dresser was in Jennifer and Dana's parent's barn and
was given a fresh coat of black.  It is stunning now.

The mantle was a gift and in my opinion the perfect piece for this space.  Love.

To read more about Dana's lovely apartment go here.  Thank you Jennifer for letting me share your beautiful blog today!