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.

Paint Antiques - Yes or No?

Friday, January 28, 2011

How do you feel about antiques?  Are you quick to paint them and never think twice or are you like me and picture them painted, but can never go through with it?  I once heard Design Star Emily Henderson say that she doesn't paint anything older than 20 years.  For me, it depends on whether it is a "nice" piece or not.  I actually have a couple of pieces that would be amazing painted, but call me chicken.  One solution that I can live with is painting or wallpapering the interior.  This way you preserve the original piece, but you give it a fresh new look allowing the contents of the shelves to stand out a little more.  Here are some examples.

House Beautiful
 Southern Living via Green Street
Life in the Fun Lane
House Beautiful
 Southern Accents

I suppose if you still can't bring yourself to do this, you could have a piece of plywood or maybe luan cut to fit and paint or wallpaper it leaving your antique untouched.  What do you think?  Would you paint an antique?

Stylish Blogger {A Second Chance}

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A while back I received the Stylish Blogger award only I didn't really fully participate.  Since then I have felt a little guilty.  So when I found out yesterday that Cathy from the blog Room RX gave me the award, I considered it to be a second chance.  Thank you Cathy for letting me redeem myself.

Part of accepting the award is sharing seven things about myself.  Let's see, is there anything I haven't already yammered on and on about?  Honestly, my life is boring, and I'm OK with that.  Here goes nothing...

1. Growing up I took the traditional girl path.  I danced, cheered, took gymnastics, and even twirled fire as a majorette.  I know, yuck.  One thing I stuck with through the years was ballet.  My instructor gave me private lessons in the studio above her garage.  On several occasions, she took me to ballet performances and I once saw Suzanne Farrell and Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Ballet was something that I was still interested in during college.  So I signed up for and elective class in ballet.  Only two other students signed up for the class so it was like having private lessons all over again.

2.  I am an only child and growing up I always wanted a brother.   Being blessed with two wonderful boys, I feel like my wish came true.  After having such a girlie childhood it is nice to get to know the other side a little more.  Besides, I love eating mass quantities of food and watching sports movies :)

3.  I have always had a dog.  Always.  There was Bob, Lady, Boots, Babs, Gretchen, Greta, Whitman, Cosmo, and now Mattie Gray.  I simply cannot imagine life without a dog.  They are truly man's best friend.

 4.  I love fresh sheets.  Every Friday I wash the sheets and give them a spritz of lavender linen spray.  Love.

 5.  I love being near water whether it is the ocean, a river, a lake, or a pool.  The summer between 3rd and 4th grade, my family, along with several college students, boarded a 40 foot yacht and sailed to the Bahamas.  There were no showers on the boat so when we wanted to bathe, we lathered up with dish detergent and jumped into the ocean.  We did our own cooking and slept in bunk beds down below.  Can you imagine being on a boat with 12 other people for 7 days?

6.  By nature, I am an early bird.  Morning is my time and ideally I would naturally wake up by 6:30 without an alarm.  If I could go to bed every night at 9:00, that would make me happy.  During the week, we are still gathered around the dinner table at 9:00.

7.  This probably comes as no surprise, but I am happiest when I am with my family.

Now for the part where I feel like I'm planning a pajama party and can only invite 10 people when I really want to invite 100.  Some have already received the award.

Loft & Cottage
Green Street
Emily Clark
For the Love of a House
Ten June
Trixie's Table
AK-Magnolia House
Between You & Me
Frugal Farmhouse Design

As part of accepting the award and spreading the blog love, they'll...
1. Thank and link back to the person that awarded them.
2. Share seven things about themselves.
3. Pay it forward to 10 (or so) recently discovered bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers about the award!

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.


Welcome to my new sponsor 
1963 Vintage Lane

1963 Vintage Lane is graciously offering
Cottage & Vine followers 10% off.

  Just enter promo code
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Butler's Pantry, Thank You Sherry, & a Free Calendar

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finally, a week of working from home and no snow days.  I don't know about you, but as much as I love snow days and having the kids home, I don't seem to get a thing done,  well other than cooking and cleaning the kitchen constantly.  Last week I had a work assignment that required me to be away from the house most of the week.  Now a new week awaits and I can't wait to get started on some new projects.

 Yesterday Mr. took the boys out to the country to play and I stayed behind to get a few things done.

While I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, one thing I am trying to make more of an effort with it to use some of our nicer things every day.  The truth is that I cook dinner every night and over the years I have inherited several sets of china and various pieces of silver.

My Sunday was spent rearranging the butler's pantry and polishing silver hoping to really use what we have instead of resorting to the same old boring every day china.  We'll see.

On another note, this beautiful pillow arrived in the mail yesterday.  Sherry from Design Indulgence sent it to me.  She wanted me to have it because of the "Z".  Wasn't that sweet?  Thank you Sherry!  I love it!  Now I just need to get a down insert from Crate & Barrel.  Sherry is having a fun little giveaway on her blog so go check it out.

Also, Christin from Simplified Bee posted yesterday about a free calendar download.

I chose this one, but there are many to chose from.  To read more, go here.  This calendar is cute, but I really need a personal assistant to keep up with my busy family.  Does anyone know where the free download is for that?

Have a great week!

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.


Sponsor Spotlight: ChatterBoxArt

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When I first saw the work of  Cheri Wollenberg, artist of ChatterBoxArt, I fell in love.  Read further and I'll bet you will too.

I have shared tiny glimpses of our family time in the North Carolina mountains.  It is a time I treasure when we "unplug" and simply enjoy ourselves.  Most of our days are spent outdoors hiking, fishing, or just rocking on the front porch.  On warm summer days, we float on tubes down the New River past horses and cows who are always curious and come closer to the river's edge so they can get a good look at us. The flowers  thrive in the cooler climate and Mom always makes the most beautiful arrangements with flowers from her cutting garden.  Folks dry their clothes on clothes lines.  Everything is just prettier there and life is good.

When I see Cheri's art, I feel as though she painted it all for me as a reminder of a time and place that I cherish.

When I see talented artists who are able to create such beautiful art, I often want to know more about them.  What are they thinking about when they paint?  What inspired each piece?  Thankfully Cheri has a blog, Dancing Brush, where she shares a bit of insight into her work.  For example, Beethoven, the very first image above, is part of her "Musician Bovine" series.  When explaining how Beethoven came to be Cheri said,
"I thought this is the best bovine to represent Beethoven.  Even with the handicap of deafness, he overcame and produced great music.  My Beethoven has ears that would remind folks that a handicap can be overcome with determination and a lot of encouragement from others." 
Cheri's beautiful creations are available at two locations.  ChatterBoxArt on etsy is made up of oil paintings that Cheri describes as contemporary realism.  Artprints by Cheri offers prints of the originals.

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.