simple is beautiful

Chrystal Chandelier for Sale!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


As I mentioned yesterday, I have a few changes up my sleeve for our little cottage.  Fall is not far away and I want to warm this place up over time with more textures, accessories, and rugs.  One of the changes is the chandelier in the dining room.  I placed an ad in our local paper and it is listed on craigslist.

We ordered the chandelier from Elite Bohemia and it normally retails for around $1000.  It has 12 lights and all crystals are in excellent condition.  No chips or scratches.  We are letting it go for $325.  This is a GREAT DEAL.

If you are interested, email me.

Wild Caught Salmon With Avocado Salsa

Friday, July 27, 2012

All I can say is YUM!  Pinterest has been the best place to find new recipes.  I may as well cancel my Cooking Light subscription because honestly, when I want to try a new recipe, I look on Pinterest.  Rick and I really enjoy cooking together and find ourselves alone many evenings in the summer now that the boys are older and more social.  Last night we tried the grilled salmon with avocado salsa recipe that I pinned a while back.  We were in luck because our local Harris Teeter had wild caught salmon on special.  If you have never tried the wild caught salmon - the difference is amazeballs (Julia, I stole your saying).

We prepared the salmon according to this recipe and made a few modifications of our own.  One change was that we added fresh, raw corn cut off the cob.   The other difference is that I completely forgot to add cilantro which would have sent this dish over the edge.  I was bummed too because we have it growing in the garden.  Next time.  We had polenta as a side which we both agreed went perfectly with the salmon.

And, just in case you are into food and wine pairings, we highly recommend Ménage á Trois, Rose to go with this dish. 

That's all for now party people.  Have a great weekend!

Drop Cloth - Still Lovin' It

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We all know how wonderfully economical and versatile drop cloth can be when it comes to sprucing up a room, right?  Well, in case you have been under a rock and have not heard of The Little Green Notebook blog, you might have missed Jenny's BHG feature on using drop cloth to make curtains.  Did you see it?  Jenny is one of my all-time favorite bloggers, so needless to say I was elated when I saw that she mentioned my striped curtains in her article.  My inner DIY goddess just did a cartwheel.  Thank you Jenny!  Now I wish I hadn't sold them in the yard sale, darn-it.

In case you are new to my blog or just want to walk down memory lane, here are a few links to projects I have featured using drop cloth:

What have you made using drop cloth?  Email me with your projects and I will pick a few to feature.

My Paint Colors - the Exterior

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Every week or so, I receive an email or a question on Houzz about the colors on the exterior of our little cottage.  I'm pretty sure that I've covered the door color a couple hundred times - I apologize in advance to my regular readers :).

The exterior wall color isn't that easy which might explain why I have never mentioned it.  Our house was this color when we moved in 16 years ago.  When we need paint, we take a chip of paint  from the house to the paint store and have it color matched.  Unfortunately I do not currently have a can of paint with the color formula or I would share that.  However, I did find the closest Benjamin Moore match(es).  Please keep in mind the actual paint chips may look completely different depending on your computer settings.

China White only my house is a tiny bit darker.

OR somewhere between Going to the Chapel...

and Early Morning Mist

The door color is Wythe Blue.

  The trim color is regular white exterior trim paint.  The shutters are black.  The shingles are black architectural.

I hope this helps for anyone wondering.

We have plans to update the shutters one of these days.  The ones on the house now are not the correct scale.  Did you know that shutters, when closed should meet in the middle of the window?  Well, ours don't.  We also want to add back the original hardware to hold the shutters open like this...

Have you ever priced out "real" shutters?  Yowzers.  One day.

Accessorizing Upper Cabinets - What to do?

Monday, July 23, 2012

While working with clients on kitchen updates, I often hear the question, "What should I put on top of my kitchen cabinets?"  My first thought is - nothing.  And whatever you do, don't stick a fake fern up there.  This is a time when the old "less is more" rule applies.

If I had my preference, I would choose a cabinet that reaches the ceiling like the one below.

This image came from the tumblr hole.  If anyone knows the original source, please let me know.

My second option would be to leave the space free and clear of tchotchkes as seen in the image above.

Or like this image...


Here is a great example of  upper cabinets that are positioned a foot or more below the ceiling.  The placement of the Roman shade draws the eye upward leaving no reason for additional items to distract you.

The large majority of us are working with what we have until we can do what we really want.  In this case, for those who have cabinets that do not reach the ceiling and feel the need to accessorize the upper cabinets, I recommend going with groups of like things.  Collections.

Micheal Penney scored bigtime upper cabinet points with this collection of baskets.  They work well in contrast with the white cabinets and help move the organic textures around the kitchen.

Here is another example using baskets.  This time all the same size.  Kinda fun seeing them marching in a row.  I like the numbered chalk labels too.  Could be a great way to store extra items that aren't used every day.

Collections of ironstone, milkglass, pottery, and cake stands are all examples of things that would work above the upper cabinets.


Colored glass works especially well on white or maple cabinets where contrast is needed and it's also a great way to bounce an accent color around the room.

If you happen to be a do-it-yourselfer with mad carpenter skills - you might consider adding height to your cabinets.  This kitchen went from this...

to this with a little elbow grease and a trip to Lowes.  

Read more about this project here.

So now it is your turn.  How do you feel about accessorizing the upper cabinets?  Yes, no, maybe so or somewhere in the middle?

Design Archives & Lamp Shade Inspiration

Friday, July 20, 2012

I wanted to share a couple of pictures with you before running out the door this morning.  We have another busy weekend ahead so I'll try to keep it short.

The other day I popped into Design Archives to see what was new.  This sunny little vignette made me smile.  How fun are those lamp shades?  If you are in the area, be sure to check in often as things change quickly. 

The shades remind me of many of the great diy projects around the blogs involving pretty papers like this one from Isabella & Max...

find out how Janell did it here.

I also saw this this pendant light at Design Archives and thought it would be great in a child's room.  It could easily be a diy project using an inexpensive Ikea light, an old map, and some spray adhesive.  You would probably need to give it a final coat of sealer - maybe modge podge or clear spray enamel.

I'm also loving the idea of using paper from Paper Mojo for a more sophisticated custom shade on the Ikea pendant - especially reptile!  Do you think the paper would stand up to the heat of the shade?  I suppose if you use a cool light bulb it would be ok.

 This ombre pendant from Martha Stewart is brilliant!  Get the deets here.

Another oldie, but goodie is this trellis ribbon shade from Caitlin Wilson.

OK...I said I was going to keep this short.  I lied.  Have a great weekend everybody!  I'm off to the races...

Laters Babe ;)

A New Sunburst Mirror

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sometimes it pays to wait for what you want...

For so long, I have wanted a sunburst mirror to go over the sofa in our living room, but I didn't want to pay the heavy price for one.  Our sofa is tucked in under the staircase and I felt like the space needed something round to break up all the angles going on here.  Until I found what I wanted, I slapped rub & buff on an existing mirror, printed out some birds from Vintage Printable and called it a day.  Not the greatest look, but it worked for a while.

Back to my sunburst mirror....Thank you for the inspiration a la Albert Hadley.

I did find this one last winter at Garden Ridge for around $50, but couldn't quite pull the trigger and buy it.  It was super heavy and seemed like a nightmare to hang on plaster walls.

 Cottage and Vine

I am so glad that I waited because the perfect mirror presented itself the other week on Joss & Main.  Just to make this all even more meant to be - I had enough credit to put this thing in my cart without shelling out a dime.  I'm one happy girl!  Now to patch those holes, ugh!

Barbeque Sauce - A Very Special Recipe

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Southerners are funny about their bbq sauce.  Some prefer it sweet.  Some like a tomato base.  And the rest of us like it with a strong vinegar base.  This is a recipe that has been in our family for many years.  For the longest time, my step-father had it memorized, but finally put it on paper to share with others.  It is super simple to make, and because you make it in big batches; it lasts a long time in the fridge.  We use the barbecue sauce as a marinade for kabobs, chicken, or pork.  We also pour it over our traditional New Year's Day dinner.  If you like a vinegar based bbq sauce with a bit of a kick, this recipe is for you.

I will caution you though, simmering vinegar can be mistaken for bowling alley shoes.  So be sure to do this on a day when you can open the door.  Or at the very least, use your exhaust hood ;) and maybe burn a candle.  The funky odor doesn't last long and is well worth it.

Tapa's Special Sauce

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 8 oz.  mustard
  • 1/4 jar crushed red pepper
  • 1 small jar Texas Pete
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
 Combine all ingredients in pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer 15 minutes.

Once the sauce has cooled we pour it into a recycled beer growler.

We usually give it good shake before using because the ingredients tend to settle a bit.  Let me know if you try it.  Enjoy!

Globe String Lights - on the Deck

Monday, July 16, 2012

We have wanted to add string lights to our deck for some time now. A few weekends ago, my husband and I finally tackled this project.  Or should I say, he tackled it - I supervised ;).  We originally planned to get our lights from Lowes, but they were out.  Next stop was Target.  Sometimes things are just meant to be because Target's price was much better than Lowes and I believe they are on sale now - so run! 

We played around with several different ways to hang the lights.  I really like to see them strung loosely, but with our ceiling fan on the deck, this wouldn't work. 

Once we had a plan, the lights were quickly hung with a staple gun. 

Because these lights are paper thin glass, we removed them before hanging.  Once the strings were in place we added the lights.  I'm pretty sure this averted what could have turned out to be a disaster.  Once cold weather arrives, we might just take the lights down for the season.

Now we can enjoy evenings on the deck with the perfect amount of indirect lighting.  By the way, I am not a fan of ceiling fans - or should I say, I'm not a ceiling fan fan, ha - but we would not be able to enjoy our deck nearly as much without it.  Not only does the cool breeze combat hot & humid Southern summers, but it also keeps mosquitoes and other pests away.  Is it pretty?  No, but it works.

Outdoor Spaces Inspiration

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We have an old metal storage building that holds many of our garden essentials such as the lawn mower, rakes, etc.  It either needs to go away or receive a fresh coat of paint and landscaping.  I have been collecting images for inspiration.  Even though our little shed is nowhere close to being as charming as the images I have collected, I figure putting even the tiniest bit of effort will make a world of difference.  The other day I picked up the July issue of House & Home and fell head over heels in love with this sweet little shed.  The new paint colors, lanterns, window box, and vine completely transformed this little building!  The details are in the magazine and trust me when I say this is an amazing before & after project! 

I also found inspiration for a deck project in this issue.  Our deck is narrow and does not have any railing to stop chairs from going too far.  As seen below.

The size makes me a little uneasy when we eat outside for fear that someone will scoot their chair back too far and end up on the patio below.  This actually happened once - YIKES!  So when I saw this idea...

I thought the built-in benches were perfect!  A permanent seat is the solution!  The white contrasts nicely to the natural deck.  I have been hot/cold about staining the columns on our deck white, but bringing in white furniture and built-ins could be even better.  So now we are also on the hunt for a new table and chairs.  

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