Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Inspiring fabrics

Calico Corners

Love these fabrics- they are a collaboration of Dwell Studio and Robert Allen that came out last summer - first time the two have gotten together to design residential fabric.  I love the bold colors, textures and patterns in these fabrics- there are 72 different designs and colorways in this line which is called, Eclectic Modern. The fabric designs can be used for so many things in the home especially the "gate" pattern which is so popular right now (shown on the gold pillow above). They look great all mixed and matched together.  Some of the fabric has a modern look but blend great together with the more traditional look of the printed bird pattern "vintage plumes" as seen in the chair above.  I saw them the other week at Calico Corners and I've been trying to figure out where I can use them in my own house.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Southern Living

Fun way to decorate a table for your holiday parties

Coastal Living decorates in red white and blue

Love the Red striped chair used in this very patriotic room

Friday, May 27, 2011

Aprons you don't want to get dirty

ice milk aprons
These are the cutest aprons I've ever seen- they are from ice milk aprons I seriously would not want to spill spaghetti sauce on them!  I happened to notice them in one of my Cooking Light magazines and went to the website to check it out- they are all so unique and come packaged in a clever way.  They send them to you inside of a jam jar!  The descriptions of the aprons instantly make you hungry just reading them (trust me - go to their website). You can get them monogrammed and the heirloom kits they offer are described almost like a story.  You feel as if a cute little old lady is going to come knock on your door and hand deliver them herself!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Now that's an outdoor kitchen!

Coastal Living outdoor kitchens
I think it speaks for itself...do you think they would mind if I stopped over for dinner?  Outdoor kitchens can be great, but certainly they don't have to be this elaborate, but wouldn't it be nice!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

fabric anyone?

I had heard about this place but had no idea what I was in for until I walked in.  Now, as a kid, I remember my mother and aunt (she has 6 kids fyi) dragging me and my siblings and some of my cousins to this fabric mill and we used to hate it- we ran around like absolute crazy nuts, hiding in the fabric, under it, in it, whereever. They must have thought we were all so wild. Funny thing is - when I walked into this particular fabric outlet a couple of days ago, my son did the exact same thing, but now I'm in heaven!

The fabric outlet, in Newark, DE is called The Interior Alternative and they have everything you can imagine, it's actually overwhelming. Before going there, you must have at least some kind of idea of what you are looking for so you can focus.  When I went, I knew that I was looking for fabric in my living room for window treatments and I did find something out of all the fabrics that they have there.  I love the fabric I got, the prices were just amazing. They told me my fabric had just been featured in a magazine on a love seat and had just come in, but couldn't remember who makes it, maybe Robert Allen?  I have not been able to find out for sure, so I'm still hoping that I got a good deal on it. But without a doubt I will definitely go back. You just need to make sure you have a lot of time on your hands to be able to really soak it all in.  Here is my fabric.. very colorful, I'll give updates when the room is all finished.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Red light green light

In my more creative moments and when I actually can find some time to do things, I love to take old found items and turn them into useful pieces of art or furniture.  This was a fun project in my son's room.  This is an old cabinet door that I painted white, added round wood finials, and painted them like a stop light - red, yellow and green.  What I didn't show in the picture is the real stop sign that we have hanging over his bed that we happened to find up in our garage when we moved in- so he loves to have them side by side.  Now - the door you can do pretty easily on your own, but I wouldn't recommend going around and taking down any stop signs!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Black velvet

I am in love with these black velvet petunias, they are very dramatic!  I put them in with chartreuse potato vine,  purple verbena and some white bocopa.  They aren't as bright as your pinks, yellows and oranges, but I wanted to do something a little different this year in my window boxes.  I love playing around with flowers and combining all the different colors together, I guess they are like nature's paint palette.

my $6 steal

 I also found this great container the other day at a local antique store, for only $6.50!  I had seen some other cement containers for almost $40 the other week at a local fair. Mine isn't quite as big but hey - it was only 6 bucks, and I wish I had gotten a couple more.  I put some hens and chicks and a couple of small succulents in there to give it the same look as the ones I have been seeing around everywhere for about 6x's as much!  Feels good come across a good find.

Their $40 one

Monday, May 16, 2011

Black and white with a little red all over

Renovations are never fun. They take longer than anticipated, cost a lot more than you originally thought and then there are always those surprises that happen along the way - and they are never the good surprises you want.
The one thing that we have learned is to always, no matter what, get several quotes and prices for whatever you are doing, even down to the faucet.  It doesn't matter if you feel like you are bothering anyone and it might seem like a full time job at the time, but it is worth it.  For example, in our kitchen, we needed to move the gas line for our stove from our island to the wall - maybe 7 feet or so.  When we got the first quote, the guy told us it would cost $1,400. We looked at him and asked him why it was so much- he honestly said, "I have no idea" - shocking right?  We eventually got it done by another contractor for only $400 - a huge difference! For the whole kitchen, I think I had gotten 3-4 different quotes to do the renovation from plumbers, electricians, and contractors, for the cabinets (can't forget granite and tiles as well) until we decided which ones we liked the best for the style, quality and money.  It all can get very taxing but you will save so much.  In the end, we decided to do a lot of the work ourselves. 
This is our kitchen, I had designed and layed out how I wanted it to go and then worked with a cabinet supplier to order the correct sizes, he came out and verified that they would all fit so there was no mistakes.  Our kitchen is not huge by any means so we had to get as much space out of the layout as possible.  We decided to bump out a space into our garage to put our frig and storage space beside. It made a big difference.  We then moved the stove out of the over-sized island and put it along the wall, and put a new, slightly smaller island in, giving us a nice surface area - we end up eating there more then we ever thought.  I wanted to keep it nice and light by using the lighter granite and again with the marble backsplash and off white cabinets.  I did want to use black so we used a black cabinet on the island and on a hutch piece along the one wall to balance it out.  I love red (as you can see in additional photos in "my projects") with the accents of red around, my mixer, teapot, shelve and chalkboard. 
  The biggest downfall with renovations, when doing some of it yourself is that it without a doubt it takes longer to complete, then you get to this certain point where it is functional and it's easy to let the finishing touches go.  But all that said, I love it so much better. There are a couple things that I would have done differently but overall we are really happy with the results.  
Our kitchen before....
and after
This is the other end of the kitchen where we had the bump out built. We had fun with the 2 cabinet doors by the frig. Instead of spending the $750 for the 2 door fronts, my husband made them and then I painted them with chalk paint- I love them, every time I run out of something in the frig I can quickly write it down. The kids love to color on them as well. Check out "my projects" to see more pictures of the renovation.

To see more kitchen renovations, go to the linky party at jennifer rizzo 

Saturday, May 14, 2011


One of my"pins" of a kitchen I love.

I have just discovered this very creative website called Pinterest. It is a social catalog of images and pictures. It's new to me but I'm not sure if it's new to all of you.  I am still playing around with it and learning how it all works.  You have to sign up and register and it took about 3 days for them to accept me.  It might be faster if you are invited to join by someone (which I am happy to do). 

Once you get accepted, you add what they call a "pin it" button to your tool bar.  That button allows you to add any image you want to a virtual bulletin board.  You can have multiple boards - for example I started one of my favorite pictures of kitchens, but you could do it for just about anything.  The concept is so simple too - when you see an image you just click on your "pin it" tool button and it will let you select the image and add it to your board, giving you an option of which board to add it to and write a caption.  The image will then be posted on the public homepage that is constantly streaming in the lastest pictures -while still keeping your boards separate for you to view your collection of images. 

It even lets you select someone else's"pinned" image from the homepage and then you can   "repin" it to your own selection of images.   It's a great way to collect pictures and be totally organized at the same time.  It could also be great for projects that you have in mind - start an organized board of pictures to compile and use for inspiration. For example, if you were redoing your kitchen, you could pin all sorts of pictures you like to use as a guide as you go along.  On top of all of that it is so visually stimulating when you see all of these amazing images on the homepage of everyones pins, some of them are so unique.  Overall, it's really cool and it looks like it could be slightly addicting!  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Breakfast in bed, homemade cards from my kids and some of my most favorite fragrant flowers from my husband... why can't this happen every Sunday!! Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Unexpected idea for a wine rack

As seen in This Old House as a diy

As seen in Cottage Living Sept. 2007 issue

My kitchen with clay pipes

Several years ago I was given about 12 old clay drainage pipes and I really wanted to use them as a wine rack, but had no space at the time.  So instead of holding onto them, I sold them to a client. Of course, I regretted it after the fact.  I kept seeing picture after picture of them used for what I also had intended to use them for.  Even when I watched Giada de Laurentiis' show I would have great envy, they appear in the background in the cabinets and looked so cool(love her show).

When we moved to our present home, I made sure that I had a spot for them when we got around to redoing our kitchen.  I did come across some at a store but they wanted $12 for just one of them, which was ridiculous. When we started working on our kitchen and designing the space,  I planned a spot above my fridge and carefully measured the space.  When we were all done with the kitchen, I only had one lone clay pipe that I "borrowed" from my Mom.  Just FYI, the one thing with the pipes is they only hold smaller bottles of wine, which is certainly fine.

Well sometimes you just get lucky.   Later we were having our basement waterproofed and and while they were digging the hole for the sump pump they found the old clay drainage system.  As a result - I got my wine rack, small as it is.  I didn't have the nerve to ask them to keep digging so they could pull me out a few more.  In a lot of older homes you will find the pipes under the ground around the perimeter and our house is about 60 years old.  But I was happy with the ones they got and best of all, they were free (well if you don't count all the money we spent on the work they did). 
I am happy now with the 5 that I have, with the one space I leave open for the random larger bottle, although it kind of throws me off a bit. I may have to rent a jack hammer next time my husband goes out of town and dig up the rest of them. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A little help with a project

I have been putting off painting this chair forever, and today, I decided I would get it started...finally!  Sadly it's just one chair (well there's a bench too) and it shouldn't take too much time but it's just getting around to doing it.  Of course, when I originally painted it, I did it in a hurry and used latex paint instead of oil - how could I have done that!  But I did, and that is why, of course, I am painting it again.

 I have somehow already mananged to strip, sand and repaint the remaining pieces (2 dressers, bed and desk) with oil paint.  The whole set belonged to my grandmother, who, at 97  years old is still amazing.  The furniture is a french country style and probably about 60 plus years old. I love the romantic look of it.

I have covered all of the finished pieces with what I think are the best paints for furniture - Old Village paint. Their colors are as true and authentic as they get. 

When I was told that Old Village oil paint wasn't going to be carried anymore by a few local paint stores , I got very upset.  After a few phone calls I found one hardware store, thank goodness, that is still going to have it on their shelves!  The oil paints are so durable and are such great quality.   My mother and I have literally been using these paints for a combined 55 years (the company is almost 200 years old!).  In fact, my mother recently opened a can of "Wythe House Gold" that was 40 years old and the paint was almost as good as new! It's true.  Their buttermilk paints are great too.

Old Villages' acrylic latex in their satin finish is an excellent alternative - I can't say I have any complaints, but nothing holds up better then good old oil paint.  I am painting the chair and bench in Rittenhouse green (the desk is that as well). The rest of the pieces I painted in the Colonial white, almost like a light french gray.  

Then there is the fabric for the seats which will have to be redone. The fabric I most likely will get from Amy Butler,  I love her fabrics, the colors and patterns in her fabrics are so fun.

All of this is for my daughter Abbies' room, which I have been redoing for the past few months (or has it be a year already?)  I will post pictures as I go along. I did get a little extra help from Finn today, he was very intense and loved the way the paint peeled right off the chair as he scraped.  He even helped clean up!