Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Miss Your Chance!

Just a quick reminder -- the winner for my giveaway will be drawn on Friday.  Don't miss your chance to win one of three great prizes!  Info here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Starting to get into the Holiday Spirit ...

I'm not one of those people who do their Christmas decorating in November.  I love Thanksgiving, and like to give that holiday it's own focus. The weekend after Thanksgiving I take down the Thanksgiving decor and start the holiday thought process. 

I've kept the same general look for the last couple of years, but this year I'm thinking of going in a different direction with our holiday decor. First, since I wasn't blogging last year, here's a look at Christmas' past: 

Maroon and silver has generally been my holiday theme. I usually change out the pillows in the living room to maroon silk, and add lots of maroon touches with candles and ornaments.

I fill the silver dish that is usually on the coffee table with some of my vintage ornaments mixed in with silver, purple, blue and green newer ornaments. 

The tree features lots of jewel-colored ornaments in maroon, blues and greens.

I usually have a helper or two as I decorate ...

Louie, aka "The Lump of Love"

Last  year I kept the mantle really simple, just adding in a wreath, some maroon candles and berries with some of my vintage white pottery.

This year I think I want to go with a mainly white and silver theme.  Here are a couple of inspiration photos from that caught my eye:



They are featuring mantle decor from some well-known bloggers, so you may want to check it out if you haven't already.  Lots of great ideas!



I love the blues and greens on our tree, and I'll keep that look.  But I'll add more silver this year to tie it into the mantle and vignettes I'm planning.

So I'm just about ready to get started ... how about you?  Have you started your holiday decorating yet?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my give-away! 

Sharing at:
DebbieDoo's: Newbie Party
Type A: Anything Goes

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thank-you's & Giveaways!!

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and that you got some good bargains today if Black Friday is your thing.  After so many years in retail, one of the things I'm always thankful for on Thanksgiving is I don't have to go anywhere near a mall today! 

I clicked on my blog yesterday and saw that I now have 100 followers!  When I started this blog four months ago, I had to bribe people to follow me--now I  have 100 followers and I didn't even have to pay you!!  Actually I have more than 100 if you count in those of you who have subscribed by email to the blog, but for some stupid reason Blogger won't let me access that to find out how many of you there are. I know 100 may not seem like much to some of you bloggers who have thousands of followers, but it's a big deal for me since I'm still fairly new to blogland.

So to thank-you all for reading my blog, I going to do a giveaway! You can win not 1 ... not 2 ... but 3 prizes! 

Third prize will be $20 to spend on anything in my Etsy store:

Second prize will be a copy of Grace Bonney's book Design Sponge at Home. 

Since you're reading a decorating/diy blog you probably already know about her, but in the slim chance you don't, Grace Bonney is one of the pioneers in the genre, and Design Sponge is now the most popular single-site design blog in the country.  Her book includes home tours and diy projects. You'll love it!

And, drum roll please ... First prize is a $50 gift certificate to Michaels--just in time for your holiday projects!

All you have to do for a chance to win is to be a follower and leave a comment.  That's it!  For a second chance to win, refer a friend to follow the site and leave a comment letting me know.  The winners will be chosen at random from the comments next Friday (December 2nd).  So be sure you either have email info on your profile so I can contact you, or check back here next Friday to see if you've won.

Good luck, and thank-you again for taking the time to read my blog, and the supportive comments you all have been giving me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Combine family, food and traditions, and what's not to love?  I'm off to finish getting ready, but I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a wonderful day tomorrow!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Famous Butts -- Possibly

I was buying a set of dining room chairs from a Craigslist seller when I spotted these two beauties in the corner and asked if they were for sale. 

The owner wasn't sure if his wife wanted to sell them.  He told me they had belonged to her mother, who was married to General Someone-Whose-Name-I-Can't-Remember. The General had worked in President Eisenhower's administration.  "Famous butts have probably sat on these chairs," he said. "Like Eisenhower's butt?" I asked.  "I can't say for sure," he said, "but there's a good chance."

I had fallen in love with the color, the velvet brocade upholstery, and graceful lines of the chairs. So I told him how much I liked them, and asked him to let me know if his wife decided to sell them.  I didn't think I'd hear back -- I mean who would want to part with this bit of family history? But the next day I got a call -- his wife had said I could buy them!  With my fingers crossed I asked him how much they wanted.  I was a little worried they may be asking more than I wanted to pay -- given the Eisenhower butt connection and all.  "How about $30?" he asked. "Thirty dollars each?" I asked back, just wanting to confirm that I had heard him right.  "No, $30 for both of them," he answered.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I love Craigslist!!  Where else can you find bargains and stories and historical tidbits like this! So the chairs with the possible famous butts provenance are now mine. If you ever come to our house I'll let you sit on them ... maybe.

Sharing at:
You're Talking Too Much: Meet Me Monday
Type A: Anything Goes
Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

I spent today doing laundry and cleaning rugs, upholstery, and windows.  Yep, I had one heck of an exciting day!  I realized I was getting tired when I couldn't figure out why my windows kept looking filmy after I cleaned them ... then I realized I was spraying them with Lysol instead of Windex!  At that point I decided I had done enough for the day and deserved to take a break and look at some pretty pictures. 

I was looking for some ideas for our Thanksgiving tablesetting and thought I'd share some of them with you.

I love the orange, yellow and green with the pumpkin centerpiece on this one:


The rich reds and oranges on this one are striking.

Country Living

These little turkeys are adorable -- perfect for the kid's table!

Martha Stewart

The pink china and candles, gold rimmed plates and gilded apples on this table are beautiful.

Southern Living

The natural elements incorporated in this one are so pretty -- but where would you put the food?  That's actually an issue with quite a few of the ones I saw.  Great styling for a photo, but not all that practical!

Southern Living

Case in point -- but beautiful to look at!


 I love the varied textures and rich jewel tones in this setting.


This one may be my favorite -- simple, pretty and practical!  Note the kraft paper runner across the middle of the table.  After dinner you could give everyone a marker and have them doodle or write what they are thankful for while you're getting dessert ready! I love the white candles in the little white pumpkins. And look at how they used the little tin molds for placecard holders.  Plus, there is room for food!

Martha Stewart

These gave me some ideas -- how about you?  I'll try to remember to take a photo of what I come up with for our table and show it to you!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Turkey Anxiety

Am I the only one who is getting a bit anxious because Thanksgiving is less than a week away?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching!

Maybe it's because I have a dining room with no furniture in it.  It could be because a deadline will require me to work late all next week. Or maybe it's because I have no idea how many people we'll have since I told my son the Marine to invite anyone he knew who may not have family close by for the holiday.  I may have no extra people ... I may have 10.  I asked him to let me know this week, but odds are he won't think about it until he's in the car with them on his way up here from North Carolina (perhaps not even then, knowing him!).

In any case, I'm freaking out!

So this weekend will be all about getting everything back into the dining room, deep cleaning the house (you know -- the type of cleaning you only do when you have company coming), menu planning, and grocery shopping.  Not to mention getting caught up on laundry and all the regular stuff I have to do on the weekend.

If you're in the same boat, take a deep breath and just take it one step at a time. 

Because ....

At least I hope I can!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Table Talk

Hope you had a great weekend!  Before we get started I want to apologize for my not-so-exciting photos -- but I have a good excuse:  It was 77 degrees out today!  77!! In the middle of November!!!  In Virginia!!!!  Because I didn't have to go into work (at my "real" job) today, I worked outside on projects  all afternoon.  It was so nice out I just couldn't make myself go inside and style an "after" photo! 

Today I'm talking tables.  Troubled tables, actually. I've told you about my trials and tribulations with the table I've been working on for my dining room redo. I tried one more time (this was my third attempt!).  I stripped.  I sanded.  I conditioned.  I stained.

I failed. 

The more I sanded, the more weird squiggles and lines showed up in the wood.  Certain areas absorbed more stain and ended up darker than others.  I really wanted the wood top and painted legs look, but it just wasn't happening.  I even called to get an estimate for a professional to refinish it.  The quote was $250 - $300.  Uh ... no.  I mean, I only paid $40 for the table to begin with. I didn't love it enough to want to spend that type of money.

So I decided to give in and just paint the top.  I'm going to keep an eye out for another table down the road, but for now I need a dining room table for Thanksgiving!  I painted the top with French Linen chalk paint, finished it with wax, and then did used a wipe-on poly on the top to protect the finish. Here's a quick look while it was still in the garage. I'll show you the whole thing when I (finally!) post my dining room reveal, which will be soon!

My other table project is this little demilune.  I found it at a yard sale for $15.

Someone had started to strip it, and had the paint off of the top and most of the front leg. 

The back legs were still a chippy red.  I actually would have liked to keep the chippy look, but since the paint had been removed on part of it, it was too late.  My original thought was to refinish the top.  But as I sanded, the spots on the top just weren't coming out. 

Having gone through the dining room table experience, I just didn't want to go through that again.  So I painted it with Aubusson Blue chalk paint.  But it seemed kind of boring.

So then I did a dry brush overcoat with Paris Grey chalk paint.  I was going for a kind of washed-out, beachy look. 

But the jury's out as far as I'm concerned.  Maybe I'm just burned out on troubled tables.

I have another side table I want to stain before it gets too cold to work in the garage.  So please think positive thoughts -- about the weather, and that my table karma gets better!

Linking to:
Debbiedoo's Blogging & Blabbing: Newbie Party
Primitive & Proper: Piece of Work Wednesday
Type A: Anything Goes
French Country Cottage: Feathered Nest Friday

Friday, November 11, 2011

Color my World

It's been a difficult week, so today to raise my spirits I decided to look at colors.  We all know the restorative powers of color -- a color can calm you down or rev you up; help with healing; increase your appetite; improve your mood, and many other attributes.

Back in the day when I was a member of Fashion Group, Leatrice Eisman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, would speak to us about color trends in fashion and design, and color theory.  There is a whole industry focusing on how colors can be used in marketing. I find the science fascinating.  But basically, when it comes down to it -- I just love looking at pretty colors!

I do however tend to get into a color rut. There are colors that I always wear, and colors that I tend to always use in my decorating.  Since I'm about to paint a couple of furniture pieces that I'll be selling, I thought now would be a good time to see what the trends are, and do something different from my old stand-bys.

Here's what the Pantone says are the color trends for Spring, 2012:

They showed up in on the runways in September for the Spring 2012 fashion collection ...

Calvin Klein

Carolina Herrera

Michael Kors


And are starting to appear in the decorating magazines ...

via Pinterest

House Beautiful

Better Homes & Gardens

Well, my mood is getting lifted -- how about you?

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

House Beautiful

Elle Decor

Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens

House Beautiful

So I'm thinking maybe a chair painted in tangerine with a spring green pillow.  Or how about lilac and yellow?  What do you think? I'm definitely going to do something out of my comfort zone of white, cream, beige and blue.

Stay tuned for what I come up with!