Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 944's pretty

I swiped this photo from a blog I don't usually frequent (and now cannot remember the name of) and I keep coming back to it. I do remember that it is from a book called Decorating With China and Glass, which I might just have to put on my birthday list.

Happy Weekend!

Photo is by Simon Upton

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last Chance to Vote!

I'm sure you've been following the Big Window Challenge on Apartment Therapy, I just wanted to remind you that today is the last day to vote for your favorite (and you can do it twice!). Congratulations to all three designers on great windows, but my hat is firmly in the ring for Team Eddie!

Day 943: horizontal paneling

I know the thought of wood paneling on the walls make some of us cringe a little, thinking of the faux wood that was so popular in the sixties and seventies. Heck, we have some in our breakfast room (though thankfully it was painted by the previous owner).

It doesn't stop me from wanting horizontal paneling and from wondering if I could really just slap some 1 x 4s on the wall to get the look (by the way, check out the rest of this Rosemary Beach house here).

This oldie-but-goodie from Southern Accents is what did it for me. It adds just the right touch of farmhouse style.

I see it a lot in bathrooms, so maybe that's a good place to start if you're going the DIY route.

Here's another one from Southern Accents. So what do you think? Yes please! Or do you think it will be the seventies paneling of the next generation?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 942's guest post

The ole house is looking awfully Springy today, which is kind of dangerous as it is definitely still January. I put some cute purple tulips in the dining room to jazz it up for a few photos for my guest appearance on Pure Style Home. Quite frankly I worked myself into a little tizzy at the thought of my humble abode sitting there for all of Lauren's world to see. But it was fun!

So then I moved the wild daffodils into the living room (I took this photo before I tried any of your tricks). I also spray-painted that bust in the aforementioned tizzy, and is it just me or am I starting to get a handle on this whole silly "tablescaping" (I hate that word!) thing?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 941: a question and a recipe

My mini daffodils have really grown and bloomed nicely. But we came home from a weekend away and they were all over the place. My paperwhites did the same thing in December, but they were easier to contain with a wood skewer and some raffia.

I wanted to try something I saw a florist do with paperwhites, so I stuck some sticks from the yard around the edge of the pot to hold them in. It's better, but still pretty wild. Any bulb-forcing experts out there? What am I doing wrong that's making them droop?

And now to completely switch gears, I want to share a super-easy and delicious recipe that my mom used to make. We had some crescent rolls with dinner last night (they're on sale this week) and I saved a couple for breakfast (they'll be fine refrigerated overnight wrapped in plastic wrap). Just brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans, if you like.

Roll them up, brush the tops with a little more butter and bake at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes. Drizzle with milk-and-powdered-sugar icing and enjoy! Healthy? No. Easy and delicious? Definitely, yes!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 940's week in pictures

I have even fewer pictures to show this week than last! I don't know what I did with myself last week since I obviously didn't use my camera. I did make pancakes on Monday morning. Poor Wes had work, so I went a little crazy doctoring my Bisquick mix with things he won't eat. Like lots of cinnamon and pecans. YUM!

Wes' sister got married over the weekend. I'm still sorting through all of the pictures I took, but this one turned out nicely. We (the bridesmaids) got to ring the church bell (this is the rope) before the ceremony started -- it was so fun!

I did buy that portrait I mentioned on Friday. It was 40% off -- sweet! I don't think it's too creepy, but maybe it is. For now I kind of like it hanging between the silk curtains in the living room. I'm pretty sure it's a reproduction of one of the masters, but I really don't know that much about art (nor have I spent the time to figure it out.) Off the top of my head I'm thinking Rembrandt. Laura, thoughts?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 937's pretty

Country Living

I've been noticing dark, sort-of Dutch-looking portraits everywhere lately (like the one over this fireplace). I can't decide if I think they are cool or creepy. A little of both? I've got my eye on one at a local shop. Maybe I'll bring him home this weekend. Maybe.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 936's favorite images from Cottage Living

Today I am especially missing Cottage Living, for some reason. I thought you might like a random sampling of some (some!) of my favorites ...

By the way, if you miss Cottage Living too, you can find archive images on

Photos are by Tria Giovan, Megan Thompson, Tim Street-Porter and Robbie Caponetto.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indulge me for a second, will you?

I never talk about fashion here, and certainly don't claim to be a fashionista by any means. Especially today. Do you ever look down at your outfit and think "what in the heck am I wearing?!" I had one of those moments today, which makes J.Crew's "new items added to the final sale!" e-mail especially tempting. Just for kicks here's what I wish I were putting in my shopping bag.

I sent half of my sweater drawer to the Goodwill this year and now it's a little bare. I love a good grandpa-slash-librarian sweater, especially when paired with a frilly top and pearls.

I have this skirt in black and have to agree, it is the perfect pencil skirt. Of course now I think I need it in 'cinnamon stick,' too. The socks with booties? Not so much.

I love simple dresses and try to save them for days when I can't come up with a complete outfit (today should have been a dress day!). Add black tights and black heels and done!

Part of my problem is that I never just wear a shirt. Seriously. I almost always have two items on top (I just realized this recently). Shirt and cardigan, shirt and vest, shirt and light jacket, shirt and vest and jacket -- I just can't help it, I love to layer. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five different ways I could wear this beautiful plum top (and this one, too). Any winter sale items tempting you these days?

Day 935's experiment

My projects of late have involved painting lots of trim and windows. I'm not going to lie, this is not my favorite way to spend a weekend or evening, so I've been looking for ways to make it easier and faster. A good brush with angled bristles was a start, but my hand is not especially steady so I always use painters' tape.

When I heard about a new kind of tape that boasts PaintBlock Technology I had to have some. I tracked some Frog Tape down at Lowe's and got to work. The window above was painted with regular blue painters' tape, and you can see that I need to follow up with a straight-edge razor to remove the paint that bled under the tape.

And this window was taped with Frog Tape. As you can see, no bleed! It essentially eliminated the third step. On the whole, I am very pleased and will be buying it again, but it is worth noting that it is about a dollar more per roll than the blue tape. I think in the future I would only use it when I need a super crisp, clean edge.

Also, I like to get two uses out of my tape so I painted half the window then pulled off the tape and put it on the bottom half. I could tell that the adhesive wasn't as tight on the second half and there was some paint bleed, but it wasn't half as much as on the window taped with blue tape. Just something to think about.

Have you tried Frog Tape? What is your favorite time-saving product?

By the way, this was an unsolicited experiment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 934: week in pictures

My pictures are a little weak this week. It was a busy one, I suppose. My sister had knee surgery, so I bought miniature daffodils to cheer up her hospital room. The five bulbs came potted from the grocery store, of all places. She loves all things miniature, so I knew she'd love them, but I enjoyed them so much for the two days I had them that I had to go get a pot for myself, too!

I love covered cake stands, and recently discovered that this cheese dome fits perfectly on my Jadeite stand. It takes up less space on my counter than my larger white ones, and holds just as many chocolate chip muffins.

I made two pound cakes for a birthday celebration, and was looking forward to having a slice (or two) with my morning coffee since there was a loaf leftover. Apparently Maddie wanted to enjoy some, too. That stinker! She hasn't eaten off the counter since she ate our wedding cake on our one-year anniversary.

Peeps the Cat doesn't get nearly enough time on this blog (probably because he doesn't eat pound cake off the counter). He loves to curl up in the sun on top of the chairs in the living room, and makes one cute little ball of cat.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 930's pretty

I'm feeling motivated to get some things done. Maybe it's the weather. Forty-five degrees felt positively springlike this morning compared to the past few weeks.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 929: making kitchens livable

Since I posted this Montgomery house, I've been thinking about kitchens that are less-kitcheny. Some of you were concerned about that kitchen for utilitarian reasons, and believe me, I'm all for a useful kitchen. But I still want it to be beautiful. So unless you can completely start from scratch like Mark and Richard did, how can you make a normal kitchen feel a little more like the rest of your house?

How about adding some artwork (like above)? These are well out of the way of potential spills and splatters, which is an obvious concern.

Kitchens are full of so many hard surfaces, a little fabric goes a long way to soften them up. Pretty shades or curtains, skirted tables, or even skirted chairs (like these, from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles) can help to break up the expanse of horizontal and vertical lines.

I've posted about this before, but I still love the idea of borrowing a rug from another room. The oriental rugs in this Barbara Westbrook-designed kitchen are an unexpected touch.

Lighting is another element of the Montgomery kitchen that set it apart. Instead of the usual pendant, why not try a chandelier? Or even two if you've got the space (like this kitchen, photographed by Chris Little for Southern Accents).

Have you done anything to your kitchen to make it less kitchen-y?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Day 928: favorite HomeGoods goodies

Last night I stumbled onto the HomeGoods Openhouse blog that invites HG enthusiasts to share their favorite finds. My love for HomeGoods is well-documented, so it was fun to see what others considered the "find of a lifetime." I have to admit, some of the items were the type of things that make me wonder "who buys this stuff?" when I see it in my local store. But to each his own, right? I'm glad that even the most obscure accessory can find a happy home even if I personally wouldn't want it in mine.

Anyway, I thought I'd share some of my favorite HomeGoods finds (and TJ Maxx, too). My most prized find is the 8x10 braided seagrass rug in our dining room. It paid under $200 for it (Pottery Barn's version is $249) and was elated! It used to be in the living room until I found a 10x12 version for $20 at a thrift store (by the way, my sister found PB's 9x12 version at a different thrift store for $20 last week!).

The only other HomeGoodies (yes, I just made that up) in this picture are the the platters on the wall. I loved the look of vintage ironstone, but have yet to find any in my price range. For now I fake it with whiteware, and I don't think that these four together cost more than $25.

When we outfitted our guest bedroom from scratch, HG was the first (and really only) place I looked. I bought everything for the bed -- mattress pad, 4 pillows, white sheets, and white quilt -- for just a bit more than $100. The starburst mirror is an old TJ Maxx find (I have three of them, actually) that I paid $7 for on clearance.

For me, the most dangerous aisles are the tableware. Almost all of my "accent" dishes came from HG or TJ, including these blue and white plates, which are my favorites. In the summer three of them hang in the guest bedroom, but I swapped them for these when I changed the room for fall. They are also from Marshall's and I bought them in college. Just this fall I found eight of the same plates in black -- we actually eat off those.

And speaking of faking ironstone, all of my white pitchers hail from HG, too. I have five or six in different sizes and use them all the time for everything from flowers to warm syrup. All were less than $15.

These are the highlights, but I have also bought lamps, a couple of small rugs, books, vases and probably more than Wes would like to know about. I usually steer pretty clear of the decorative accessories area as I prefer to to buy that sort of thing antique or vintage (if you'd like, most of my antiquing adventures are here). I have learned the hard way to snatch things up when I see them -- I'm still sick over losing this rug.

So tell me: Do you love HG as much as I do? What are your favorite HomeGoodies?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 927: Alabama house to love

As usual, I have kitchens on my mind. As of late, kitchens with gray cabinets are really doing it for me. And this one -- which doesn't really even look like a kitchen at all -- has my mind positively spinning, it's just so pretty.

The Montgomery home (featured in the February issue of House Beautiful and photographed by William Abranowicz) was looking a little like a time capsule with owners Richard Norris and Mark Leslie bought it. To bring the kitchen up to date, they converted the dining room. The marble-topped oval center island stands in for the previous owner's dining table, and the range is topped with a silver-leaf Napoleon III mirror. That wonderful chandelier is made from a pair of antique sconces.

Edited to add: Decorno also posted this kitchen to mixed reviews, and Mark the lovely owner (who by they way is writing a cookbook and tested all the recipes in this kitchen) replied. You can read it here if you like.

The room still opens to the garden, and (top photo) the sink stands in for a sideboard.

The rest of the house is so wonderful and interesting. And the best part is that neither of the owners are designers or architects. Though Richard is the business manager for the architecture firm McAlpine Tankersley, and admits that there was "a steady supply of advice."

I love a little humor in a house: The wonderful screen was a gift from a former Auburn University (yeah! my alma mater!) architecture professor. Along the bottom are lyrics from the musical Oklahoma! in Latin, 'The corn is as high as an elephant's eye and it looks like it's climbing clear up to the sky.'

There is something worth noting in every caption. You can read the rest of the story here.