Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Gallery Wall: Onward & Upward

Not so long ago, I began working on my husband's office.  He wanted a wall full of family photos somewhere in the room.  This is what it looked like until last week.  I knew this wall would change over time - it was just a matter of finding the time to work on it.



I took all the photos down and started the process.  We had lots of other photos from other places in the house to add to the collection so I knew that the wall would easily be filled in.

I've mentioned the toothpaste trick before (don't know where I first saw this), but it saved me a ton of holes in the wall.  I swear by it!


A few of the photos are old colored ones that I cannot part with, but I might re-think that in time.  While I love the look of all black & white, I also like color.  So I'll give that some thought. 




By the way, thank you so much for the great feedback about the dining room yesterday!  I can't wait to finish working on those details and will be sure to keep you posted.  I know how we all love to see work in progress ;).


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Lantern is Up!


You've gotta love surprises like putting something in your cart, pressing the check out button, then finding it on sale.  It turns out that my favorite lantern at Ballard was 15% off.  Even better, it arrived within days of placing the order.  We hung it that night and are thrilled with the way it looks!  If you recall, the reviews weren't consistently great, but I disagree.  Hanging it was a different story.  In fact, you might have heard my husband the night we hung it?  Picture us all standing on the table + our 13 year old trying to offer his help (the light weighs 30 lbs. by the way, so whoever said it was not heavy enough, what?).  Anyway, without boring you with the details, here she is!


Keep in mind, this is a work in progress room.  Now I need to change out the curtain rods for black (or I might just spray paint them) and what do you think about bamboo shades in here to warm it up?  The floors are bare and I go back and forth on whether or not to add a rug.  If I do it will most likely be this one.

I will try to show some other "work in progress" rooms with you this week.  Maybe it is the pending change in seasons, but I have the itch to change things up.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School


And just like that, another sweet summer has come to an end.  This morning my husband and I sent our boys off to 8th and 11th grade.  I cannot believe I just said that.  Sure the house will be cleaner and the kitchen less busy.  But this momma misses her boys when they leave.  I am so proud of the young men they are becoming and I am so excited about their future.  Here's to a great school year!

P.S.  In case you are curious, I will be making 720 sandwiches before school is out next spring.  Yikes!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yes, Weekend and a Few Other Thoughts

 via

I'm pretty sure that I live for weekends.  Some weeks feel like uphill climbs.  And then Thursday night rolls around and you can almost feel the weekend approaching.  I used to get sad on Sundays when I knew that I had to go back to work on Monday.  I don't get sad any more because I work from home.  Believe me, it makes all the difference in the world.  So how are you?  Did you have a good week?

We are buckling up for another school year and have managed to put off purchasing school supplies until today.  Yes, today you can probably find me in Walmart throwing elbows with the other crazies.  Wait, what happened to my weekend?


Each new school year is like a clean slate.  The kids are recommitted to doing their best.  I make promises to myself to be more organized and supportive.  I want everything to run smoothly starting day one.  So with that in mind, I have a few things that need attention.

The Backpack Saga Continues
I'm sorry to be Miss Buzzkill, but let me say that when your kids are teenagers, they still need to be reminded about the little things.  "Please hang you backpack", is something you will hear around here a lot.  It occurred to me the other day that our boys don't really have an accessible, super easy way to hang their backpacks.  So my mission, cue the music please, is to create a fool proof area for them to store their instruments, shoes, jackets, and backpacks. 

Domino

Honestly, I don't know if there is a hook in this world strong enough to hold one of our boys' backpacks.  They are heavy enough to turn off the airbag while sitting in the passenger seat!  I really like the idea of this sturdy bar and "s" hooks for hanging stuff if I cannot find industrial strength hooks.  Can you recommend a sturdy hook?

The area that I have in mind is on our sunroom/office and the paneling in this image reminds me of it.  One wall is paneling and the other is brick.  What, a room with only two walls, how could it be?  The other walls are windows and doors silly.  Aren't the photos above the hooks darling?


Image source?

I like how this space is organized, yet realistic.  My goal is to have a place for everything, but it doesn't have to look perfect. But, it really needs to be useable.

Fail to Prepare and Prepare to Fail

One thing I really want to be good about this school year is meal planning.  Our weeks always run more smoothly when meals are planned and groceries are purchased ahead of time.  With this in mind, have any of you tried freezer cooking?



Having a few or a month's worth of meals in the freezer to pull from would definitely save me on busy nights.  What are your secrets for preparing for the new school year?  Are you ready?

See ya at Walmart.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Client Work: Dining Room & Living Room

Hi there.  My apologies for the lack of posts this week.  Our boys start school next week and I have been enjoying my time with them and finishing a few projects that I cannot wait to share with you.  For now, I thought you might enjoy some e-client work that I recently finished.  I am really looking forward to seeing the after pictures on this!

Let's start with the dining room.  My client had already ordered a new rug for the room.  She wanted to go with a neutral color palette using browns and blues.  The room needed pictures, lamps, fabric, and window treatments.

Here is the picture she sent me of the room with the new rug.


And here are my recommendations for the room.

  1. Simple pinch pleat curtains
  2. Blue trellis fabric for captain chairs
  3. Audubon prints to hang on either side of sideboard to fill in the wall space
  4. New pair of lamps for the sideboard
And now for the living room...

This room needed accessories, art for a sloping ceiling, and lighter and brighter pieces to make up for the lack of natural light in the room.

Here is the room.


And here are my recommendations...


  1. Ottoman in spa blue and white paisley in place of coffee table with fresh tray and accessories
  2. Mirror and new accessories for mantel
  3. Large scale art to bring in color and add drama behind sofa
My client also needed help styling her tv cabinet and sent me this picture.


If you have ever wondered how e-design works, here is a great example of a picture that I would send with exactly what you need to do to.  I took her photo and made a mock-up using new books and accessories to create a fresh, updated look.


 We discussed the possibility of painting this piece, but for now I think adding in lots of white accessories, silver frames, and colorful books will have to do.


Once she received the mood boards, she went to work pulling the rooms together.  Hopefully I will have pictures to share soon.

Looking for design help?  Explore my services here.


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Fun Finds at IKEA

Last week when I picked up my shelf brackets at IKEA, I snapped a few pictures to share with you. Is it me or is IKEA getting better at bathroom sink bases?  They still have the ones that look like airplane sinks, but have definitely branched out from there.


I'm loving these dark walls and generous sink.  New hardware could completely change the look of this bad boy.


And here is the baby bear version which would work in our baby bear bathrooms.  Very tempting.


And now for the white option.  Don't think you could go wrong with any of the above.


Another thing that caught my eye was the layered bedding.  Love the stripes with paisleys AND the dark walls.  Well, and the gallery behind the bed isn't bad either.


More layered bedding.  I'll bet sales for the buffalo plaid have gone through the roof since the Southern Living Ideas House used it here.  Maybe it's just the Southern girl in me, but toile never gets old when used in small doses mixed with other patterns.



Looking for inexpensive art?  How about a butterfly poster?


Not a bad price for botanical prints.  So tell me, what have you found at IKEA lately?

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Friday, August 17, 2012

A Summer Sale With Radiance From Ruins!!!


I know you love a good sale - which is why you will not want to miss this opportunity.


 My sponsor, Radiance From Ruins, is having a sale with items 30-50% off making some of them $10 or less. 




And with any good sale comes fresh new pillow covers that you had no idea you needed.  Pillow lovers, know what I mean?  I see a couple that have me re-thinking everything.  Oh dear...

Be sure to check out the full offering from Radiance From Ruins on etsy.  Happy weekend!

I've Been Everywhere Man

Well, technically not everywhere, but we sure covered some ground this week.  How does 1400 miles sound?


Before the trip, I asked my wonderful readers for advice on where to go and what to do in Pittsburgh.  Thank you for the great responses!  I wish we had more time to explore all of your recommendations.


Riding the Duquesne Incline was one of my favorite things we did.


  The views were absolutely gorgeous at the top!



I'm not sure how you feel about breweries taking over churches, but we loved The Church Brew Works ;).







We lucked up and found fun little local restaurants along the way.  The last three are all images of Palazzo 1837. 

And, while the mister was working, I got to do a little exploring of my own...



Be sure to check back later today for a sale announcement from one of my lovely sponsors.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Five Posts

While I'm on the road this week, I thought maybe some of my new followers might like to see what I've been up to on the blog with a look at the top five all-time posts.  Thank you to everyone who reads, comments on, and pins my projects!  I couldn't do this without you!


This was such an easy project and the shades stayed up about a year.  Now the windows are bare and I am contemplating cafe curtains, but believe the windows are too narrow.  I was thinking about painting the sashes black, but thankfully changed my mind before I actually did it.  Sometimes deciding not to do something is a relief.  Anybody?


Had I known this post would receive so much traffic, I might have splurged for a manicure.  That shot of my ugly thumb nail on pinterest makes me cringe every time.  A properly set table would have also been in order.  That is what I get for setting the table upside down and not looking at the picture before I posted it.  Oh well, never said I was perfect ;).


This was a surprisingly popular post!  If you are sitting on the fence about painting your stair rail, I say go for it.  I painted mine from white to black and it adds great contrast to our entry.  I have also recommended it to several clients such as this one and they are very happy with the results.  


It is kind of funny to me that of all the kitchen posts I have done, this one receives the most views.  For more updated photos, go here and here.  If you are curious about the beadboard backsplash, go here.  You can read about the cabinet doors coming off here.  And, rest assured that more changes are on the way, ha!


I think readers like it when I admit that I have no idea what I'm doing - which is about 99% of the time.  If you have a project you are afraid of, try using inexpensive fabrics to cut your losses.  If you mess up, no big deal.

Now, I must run to IKEA for shelving.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Entertaining En Provence


When I think about entertaining, especially in the summer, I love the idea of creating a casual and comfortable dining experience.  The produce, fresh herbs, and flowers available this time of year are perfect for setting the tone.  I also love the idea of using natural textures, sage greens, and spa blues to create beautiful tablescapes. 


Often, the items we need to enhance the entertaining experience are within reach - think fresh branches of just about anything from the garden, burlap or linen table runners (no need to hem them, just let them fall where they will), and bowls of fresh produce are all simple ways to add color and texture to your table.



When it comes to decorating our home, I like to always keep texture in mind.  Also, I never want a room to look like it all came from one place.  Hand me downs, thrift store pieces, and even new finds from places like One Kings Lane work together to help me create a relaxed style - perfect for entertaining.


Get ready to soak up the easy elegance of the South of France without leaving your home. I partnered with the editors at Martha Stewart Living to turn their September issue's Provençal-inspired entertaining story into an exclusive get-the-look sale.  

For recipes and more visit Martha Stewart Living's website and pick up a copy of their September issue, on newsstands August 14.

One Kings Lane is an online marketplace for the home that brings members exceptional value on a spectacular collection of top-brand, vintage and designer items. One Kings Lane was the first in the home industry to introduce Flash Sales (in 2009), Tastemaker Tag Sales (in 2010) and Movie Set Sales and Estate Sales (in 2011) – all of which bring unique, exceptional items that are hand-selected and deliver tremendous value for their customers.  Speaking from experience, shop early because the good stuff goes quickly.  To sign up all you have to do is enter your email address, easy!

Here are just a few offerings from this inspiring event that will create the look in your home.








Now skip on over to check out this sale as well as all of the other great things on One Kings Lane.  Happy shopping!
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