Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas decorating

I loved the tea towel with the crocheted candy canes and had to buy it 2 years ago, but just couldn't figure what to do with it. I think it works to "top" the chair and reminds me of my great-grandparents' house with the doilies on the chair backs and arms. I don't remember where I picked up the poinsettia needlepoint pillow, but I know it would have been on sale after Christmas one year.
The new entertainment wall unit has made for some great decorating options. I'm not so happy about the singing Elvis Hound Dog, but making the hubby happy. (Also, see leg lamp in coming pictures...)

I made the paper poinsettia wreath from Paper Source after painting the mdf form green since it would be reflected in the mirror. The vinyl applique says "may peace be your gift at Christmas". The tree is refected in the mirror. It's in the breakfast nook because there's no room in the den. It works though.

Here's the new dining room decked out for Christmas. I didn't have the ability to put up all of my crystal and porcelain ornaments because one of my topiary trees has no lights and without the mirror and garland to hang some off, well, no space. I did find the ornament stand at Ikea for $1.95, the votive holders were $1 each at Target, and I had the candle rings. You can see the leg lamp on the bookcase in the background and the sliver of the office on the left shows the white tree that holds all of the USC Gamecock ornaments. Looks great with the blue walls!

This is my favorite grouping. I added the silver and gold "fluff" in the ironstone pitcher and the footed votive holder was half-off at Michael's this year. Really, really like all the ivory, silver and gold in the dining room. It looks so lovely.
A roundup: Silver, gold, and ivory in the dining room. Garnet, red, black and silver in the adjoining office. Red, green, and white in the kitchen/den/breakfast room.
Decorations I've made this year: I added bright green to the painting I did over the mantel, the poinsettia wreath, another wreath with red, green, and white ornaments..it hangs on the curtain rod in the breakfast room. I added 12 poinsettia stems to the pickling crock that hangs by the fireplace, and bought 3 pillows on sale at Target.
So far, that's it.
Thought I should post before Christmas. Now off to do more baking, shopping, cleaning, and wrapping!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Asher's Quilt

The finished quilt. A few months overdue, but he came a few weeks early, which made the time I was going to work on the quilt turn into time to spend holding my new nephew.

The process started with the valances Asher's mom, Kristen, found at PB outlet. They had giraffe and sheep appliqued on them. She bought 2 for the windows, and I bought one to cut up for a quilt. She also bought coordinating valances in a stripe that we cut up and made into a dust ruffle for the crib. I drew out some similar animals, then used carbon paper to trace individual shapes and cut them out of fabric scraps that I'd fused to two sided fusible. then fused to the backing material and then zig-zaged around to applique.

The right side pile of fabrics were the animals and the left made up the quilt.The top dot material came from the valance with the animals and the stripe material was left over from making the dust ruffle. The rest I bought for this project.

The giraffe was much larger than the sheep, so figuring out cutting and placement was tricky, but I finally came up with this.

The animals in the corners got a surround of strips of the 4 materials. I used ribbon that I had on hand that matched one of the original fabrics from the valance to make a 3-d lion's mane. This was so fun to work on. I hope Asher enjoys it! It looks great in his room.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ack! I missed November.

Really, where did it go? One day it was Halloween, the next it's already December. In my defense, I was really busy. Lots going on at church, girl scouts met here 2x, a fun hike on Veteran's Day, finishing up a quilt for my new nephew, prepping for Thanksgiving, and getting the Christmas wrapping started. A few pictures from the month:

The view from Crowder's Mountain looking west toward the Smokies.

The family after our hike to King's Pinnacle. Megan whined and complained the.whole.way. Not that she shows it here.
The new lamps on the dining room buffet. They are a bit shorter than I'd like, but they are beautiful and just the right shades.
I'll share the quilt soon, and Christmas decor.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Ta da.... The new office(which was the dining room). The color I ended up going with is Clothesline Fresh from Lowe's. While I was painting, my hubby said it looked like toothpaste. Not true. Next to the olive green dining room, it's certainly blue. I lucked out with tonal silk curtains from PB outlet. I think the red chair looks great in the blue room. It just needs a blue pillow.

My desk area. Haven't replaced it yet, but will when I find the right one...cheap. I love using the new office. So nice to be out of the breakfast/kitchen/den room.
The view into the 'new' dining room. For now, I'm leaving the walls painted the Olive color they are. I will paint the space between the crown and picture moulding white and repaint it all to be a more solid moulding like the office is now and the foyer is.

The view from the dining room into the office. The furniture all stayed in those 2 rooms, just switched rooms, and my desk moved in.

The view from the dining room into the foyer. So far no one has noticed there's no light above the table. Once I get a couple of buffet lamps on the credenza to the left, I'm not sure we'll even need one. To get one, electrician, drywall person, painters are all going to be required. There are 6 windows in that room, so daytime lighting is not required.

The large blank space above the sofa has been filled with the large mirror from the old dining room. I think it works great in the den. Now to replace the sofas....It will look sooooooo much better with white slipcovered ones. Not to mention being much more comfortable.
So that's the big switcheroo completed. Of course, I still have artwork and photos to put up in the office, and a desk to find and replace mine with, which is why I haven't moved my calendar and bulletin board in yet. The room is, however, functional. We all love it and truly can't believe how much larger our home feels now.
For only around $300 for new light fixture, paint, curtains and new rod we have a house that feels larger and works so much better for us. I'm sure I could have shopped around longer to find things on sale/clearance a bit cheaper, but the savings would not have made up for the weeks/months of hearing my husband ask how much longer until it was done. I did actually find cheaper curtains, but they were cheaper curtains. Not as nice, ie, not lined, did not have drapery hooks included/sewn in. And they weren't this color.
I've learned that sometimes it's just not worth it to buy something because it's cheap if I don't LOVE it. Because I will replace it sooner and end up spending more money. BIG plus of these is that they will work well in the den, and the ones in the den I think will work well in the office if we find the white slipcovered sofas with the french ivory curtains don't jell too well.
That's the tour for now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


These are the current colors of our den/kitchen/breakfast area, office, dining room/half bath, clockwise.

This is what I think I want to go to. The blue would be the office though and the Maine Shore green, the dining room. Just a bit brighter. I'm going to do the blue first, and see how it looks contrasted with the current olive green.

This is how I "play". I have my rooms drawn out on graph paper and cut out paper for my furniture. And I move furniture. It's much better for my back this way. It has helped me to figure out I can do a big switcheroo with the office and dining room. It's my plan to make it happen within the next week. The drawing to the right is of our den area. It's not huge, so picking appropriatly sized furniture is key. It helps my husband visualize what I see in my head. This helps to get the $ for new things approved. The list? new sofas, new accent chairs, new coffee table, new rug, new fireplace surround. The tv cabinet is new as of this spring. The sofas we have are about worn out. Not comfy anymore and the leather is cracking. The rug is 7 years old and not a quality piece. Cheap, but attractive, and easily cleanable are requirements in a home with kids and a dog. Plus visiting dogs. The other things are wants, things to make the room more attractive. I really, really want a limestone fireplace mantel. Not sure that will ever be in the budget though. Especially with expenses on the horizon like new windows, new ac, new roof. Home ownership is so fun.

I'm playing with this rug in the entry/foyer. Not sure how I feel about the asymetrical placement...the stairs and all. It fills the rest of the space well though. The wall color in here is called New England yellow. I want to go to the Pale Sunshine of the rest of the house eventually, but that requires a lot of uncomfortable ladder work, or paying someone $$ to do the stairwell. I'm voting for $$. We shall see which wins.


My dining room from the formal living room we use as the office. In reality, we don't use the dining room but 4 times a year. Birthday party for each kid, thanksgiving, christmas dinner(not even every year). Other uses include: school project landing pads, dust collecting.
The office. It's pretty. But the only 2 living beings that use it regularly are the dog(see chair above) and my husband. On Fridays. When he works from home. It's the first room you see when you enter our house. I don't want it all messy like my desk/office is. (You'll see the evidence below)

Another picture of the dining room, this time from the kitchen. The reality of the russet colored walls is that I'm tired of them. I love red. Always will. But the walls just look tired. And I don't like the curtains, especially the valance part. I made them all, but just have gotten tired of them. Another reality is that the table is just too big for the room with the extentions in. I wanted a table that could comfortably seat 10, and I have it. I just need a room that can comfortably hold that table. And I think it's next to the dining room. (A hint of things to come!)

This is my reality. My desk is a complete mess. And I have spread out to the breakfast room table. The desk closes up, but who can ever do that? School papers come home every day. Not to mention all my stuff. When the desk is down, there's not but 6 inches between tops of table and desk. Not ideal. Not practical. I need a desk that is just a desk top. That stacks of papers can sit on.

You can see that I've spread out to the den tables too. That large blank wall is begging for help.
The reality of our lives is saying to make some changes for our home to be more. More useful, more organized, more comfortable, more beautiful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September is almost over?

How? I think I've just been drugged for most of it. Allergies. Have. Kicked. My. Butt. Really.

The temperatures have finally fallen below 90 degrees and we've finally, finally been getting some rain. It's actually looking like we might get a fall after all.

I have been working on some things. A new painting, a quilt, laundry, cleaning the house, checking off items on the list of things to fix/do to the house. But mostly, trying to get life in order with a seventh grader. Hopefully all is on track now.

I did get to spend time with this wonderful woman in September.

My mom. She had a big birthday this year, as did one of her oldest and dearest friends. So we all met up in Texas for a long girls weekend. We stayed at a B&B in Llano on the river. Nothing surrounding us but longhorns, bugs, and high temperatures. Some shopping in Fredericksburg, and picture taking with painted deer sculpture complemented our tubing experience on the river. (Let's just say that 6 inches of water + deflating innertubes does not =best experience ever) We also went to the Rockbox Theater in Fredericksburg for a show that was covers of oldies by Texans. Mom loved it. I loved tubing better. I think the oldies from the tour bus loved it too. It was really too bad that I was flying, or too good, depending on who you asked. I found some awesome iron gates and a great mail sorting cabinet, fairly priced at an antiques shop. Just not fairly priced to ship as well. Or fit on an overhead compartment of a plane. Husband happy. Me, well, I'm still thinking about them.

Maybe I can get into decorating for fall now.