Happy July 4th friends! Though I wish we were at the beach…alas…we are settled in to enjoy our little “retreat” aka-our home. we have a packed weekend with time on the lake, dinner with friends, a fireworks viewing party and a little time at the club pool. What are you doing? Any fun 4th traditions?
Some of my best post-college memories come from some serious porch sitting on 15 Russell Road in ALexandria Virginia. It was the ugliest pink stucko house I have ever seen. BUT it had the BEST fronch porch. Though only three girls “officially lived” in the house, on any given weekend you could find 15 or so people crashing! We had our pre-going out cocktails on the porch, our post-going out cocktails on the porch and of course our OMG I am about to die morning after coffee sitting on the porch. It was that little screened in porch that introduced me to the casual care-free living that a screened porch enables.
So here I am today…stretched out on my screened in porch. It was a REQUIREMENT when we began discussing our renovation. And of course it had to include a fireplace so that we could use it for 9 out of 12 months. I just love this space! It’s my absolute favorite part of house. And I have the most wonderfully compfy sofa that I found at an antique store (more like a junk barn than an antique store…but whatever. It was love at first site.)
If only my Sewanee and DC girls were here to sit with me…this would be PERFECT! Cheers to the memories.
Can you remember your favorite birthday memory? I have the VERY unfortunate birthday of Christmas Eve. Seriously- it was only my birthday for breakfast then we were on to Christmas. And to top that off, I shared my birthday cake with Jesus. Happy Birthday AG and Jesus. Everyone thought it was cute….except me (I hate to share…even with Jesus)
But I must say, my mom always did her part to plan a special party…even if it was actually a week before the day. There was my 7th birthday that was held at an indoor pool…who says you can’t have a pool party in December? By far the best was my 13th birthday in which I had a formal dinner party! Very fun. Very chic. My neighbor wore his military blues and escorted each “couple” in as they arrived and my mom and her friend dressed in maid’s uniforms to serve us. Oh and Dad wore a tux and acted as a butler. Very sophisticated.
Birthdays are special and should be celebrated. A celebration of the past, the present and the future. This weekend I had the special honor of hosting a dinner party in honor of my huband’s grandmother’s 90th birthday.
From the moment I began to plan, I knew that we need to have fun candles. Nothing says birthday like candles! I had a little project brewing in my mind and just had to act on it. Off to Goodwill!
I bought 9 brass candlesticks ($4.50) (and had a couple that I had once painted black…time for a facelift). I then painted them a variety of colors. Oh they look so fun and festive – just like the crayons in a crayola box!
I always keep interesting jars (from pickles, olives, herbes-whatever). You should do this as well…they make great little vases and look so “collected” when paired together. Luckily the azaleas in front of my house look like bright pink fireworks right now so I gathered up some blooms and dispersed them between the candles. What a fun expression of celebration and gratitude to life!
Spring is here and I couldn’t resist adding a few little peeps to my birdcage light fixtures. I love a good holiday and never miss the opportunity for a little decorating! And come on….it seems only fitting to add birds to my bird cages!
Aren’t these the MOST fabulous light fixtures. I fell in love the minute I saw them. I almost passed them up because they were so outrageous. But once they were hung over our island,they MADE my kitchen. I couldn’t get a photo with the lights on- but the shadows make the most interesting design on the ceiling. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Sometimes a little risk reaps a big reward. And I do love to walk on the edge.
Spring is all about new beginnings and here are three things to kick of my Spring…..
2. A new blue lamp
Now that winter is over, I finally found the perfect fireside set. I have looked high and low. The pottery barn models look too fabricated…too fresh, the big box home improvement store models-way too cheap looking…the antique store sets- too brassy, too shiny….too formal. All winter poor C has had to stoke the fire with a stick. And sometimes I got confused and used the wrong end of the stick so when he would go to stoke the fire, he’d end up with a soot covered hand..explicitive..explicitive.
But yesterday, thanks to my new found hobby of thrifting, I found the PERFECT tool set. Not too “new”, not too “brassy”, not too “cheap” looking. The lines are soft and comfortable with an interesting circular top. I’m not sure I have ever seen a set that has this look. Most have a sharp pointy top. Love.Love.Love. (Cost-$5…love that too)
And it’s a cool, rainy day. Perfect for a fire and a test run of the new-old tools!
PS- Our mantle is a pine mantel from a 1700’s South Carolina farm-house. The paint is original and the distressing is real! I love its chunky lines and stately presence. And the bricks are hand-formed, probably from the 1800s. They came from a building that was torn down in our downtown area.
You know how the saying goes, one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure!
On a cold sunday morning about a month ago, I came across a large, 42 x 42, ottoman on Craig’s list…And so the adventure began. Though I had been looking for a large upholstered ottoman for sever al weeks, none, that I found, had the look I wanted within the budget required. At last, something I could work with.
C. wanted to have nothing to do with this little adventure. Afterall, the ottoman was 20 miles away and he was off to play golf. So, I called on T., who is always ready for an adventure. We loaded up and headed out with the GPS leading the way. We arrived at an apartment complex…a not so nice apartment complex….
So far my interactions with the seller had been all texts. The ottoman was a zebra print so in my mind it surely belonged to a girl. Imagine my surprise to find it belonged to a big, burly man with lots of piercings…everywhere…all over his face. Yikes. Really I just wanted to get the heck out of dodge. The ottoman was broken, falling down, and the guy scared me. I figured it was worth $40 to get it and go. Even if it went on the trash pile the next day. We weren’t in the best area of town.
What an idiot I am. That ottoman could have had fleas or worse, bed bugs. Luckily it didn’t. I called the upholstery guy, who is my new best friend, to come get it ASAP. I wanted it OUT of the house. YUCK.
First thing Monday morning, I called Joey, the upholstery dude (who has transformed my house) and requested that he come right away. I mean if it had bed bugs…it needed to get out of my new house. Joey quickly told me with a little work, the ottoman could be salvaged. Now the pressure to find the perfect fabri with just the right pop of color.
I found this fantastic Ikat in the remanent section of the fabric store…$6. I had the chocolate-brown piping fabric from another project and the linen on the sides was given to me by my MIL (leftovers from her living room sofa).
$40 ottoman rebuild
I’m in love! We had friends over for dinner last night and it was so fun to lounge and talk around the ottoman. The perfect pop of color for our cozy family room. And when I am tired of it…I can easily change it – Guilt free!
I have always been a bit obsessed with things that are old, things that have served another purpose…things that have a story to tell. And I am a firm believer that everything in my home should be beautiful and should reflect our lifestyle. If I don’t love it and it doesn’t work for us…it’s outta here! If you have journeyed through our home renovation, you know what I mean…from rusted bird-cage lighting in the kitchen to an 1800’s pine mantel in my living room, I love old things.
It seems like a natural progression to move from the antique stores to Goodwill. Yep. That’s right. Goodwill. There I said it. I have become a Goodwill shopper (Inspired by my historical preservationist friend RCR!). I’d like to say that this new hobby came out of necessity. But it didn’t. It’s more about the quest, the history, the thrill of the hunt! I could go to pottery barn to buy a lamp (and I have and probably will again), but how fun to find a lamp or a painting or other accessory at Goodwill. There’s a story for sure!
Yesterday, I didn’t set out to find these amazing pottery bowls, because Lord knows…I don’t need another bowl (I probably have a hundred!) But I just couldn’t resist. They look so fab with my Vietri brown and black pottery. AND they were perfect for the Gumbo I served for last night’s cold rainy get together with friends.
So here they are! I purchased all four for $6.50. They are handmade and include the potter’s stamp. I’ll have to ask my friend E.F. if they are “fine” pottery! Why in the world would someone part with these?
Regardless, their loss is certainly my gain. These little darlings are fabulous. Won’t you join me for a bowl of soup?
And if you think I was clever enough to dream up shopping at Goodwill and Craig’s list for home decor…I am flattered but you are mistaken. I have become a blog junkie for several design inspiring blogs including Apartment Therapy http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ and Mr. Goodwill Hunting http://mrgoodwillhunting.blogspot.com/
Have you seen the new Kleenex towel product? I just saw an advertisement for these disposable towels the claim- “a clean fresh towel every time”. So whatever happened to reduce, reuse, recycle? How can we save the world when we keep developing products that add to its waste?
Are we Americans so lazy we can’t wash our hand towels? I get disposable towels in public areas. But at home? REALLY? And how do you get that fab splash of color that a posh hand towel offers if you are using a stack of kleenex towels?
Come on America…don’t be so lazy and ordinary.
I came across this photo in Elle Decor and felt inspired. I love the neautral background of the sofa and the punches of color the ikats offer. It’s like a canvas splattered with rich, lively color. One of things I love about this look is that it looks as though it has evolved over time from travels around the world….eclectic, sophisticated and stylized, yet comfortable enough to crawl up and take a nap.
I knew that in order to achieve this look, I needed to find the real thing-not ikats purchased at the fabric store. A trip to the east is out of the question, so I turned to my friend, Ebay! For weeks, I carefully searched, adding sellers and items to my favorites. The selection was exquisite. Alas, on New Years day, I pulled the trigger on a variety of pillows from Uzbekistan (I must admit, I was a little worried that my purchase was funding some terrorist group or something…so I did some research to figure out where Uzbekistan is located and what its all about. I’m clear! Just a really poor country close to the crazy part of the world). I know I could have had them made here, but the fabric would not have been authentic. Most of the fabric here is printed not really dyed. And plus…I bought 6 pillows for $72! Even with the down pillow forms, I spent less than $25 each.
How exotic is this little package! Sealed with a real wax seal and held together with rope! Now if I had ordered these from Pottery Barn, the packaging would not have been nearly as interesting. I”m still waiting on a few, but just couldn’t wait to share with you my new ikat finds from Ebay.
And here they are!