Jun 25, 2015

An Ode to Purple

Matt took down Lulu's crib last weekend, and I cried.  She's been sleeping in her full size bed since January, but we let the crib linger.  I just couldn't part with that last vestige of her babyhood.   I swear, it was just a minute ago that I was posting about her nursery and propping her up on a boppy pillow for my column's photo.

It was so hard to see the crib go, but now that it's down, at least I have a little redecorating to look forward to.   I'm not totally redoing her room or anything, but I promised to make it a little more "big girl" for her.  Right now, her favorite color is purple; her favorite outfit involves a purple tutu, purple tank with hearts on it, and her purple "Frozen" necklace.  And she likes to wear this stellar combo with her purple sneakers.  So naturally, when it comes to her room, she would like to go with - what else? - purple.

I, however, am aiming for something she won't outgrow anytime soon.  Something that blends with the rest of our home.  Something a little less.....  purple.

But a good designer always takes her client's tastes seriously (even the one who loved dream catchers and his wagon wheel coffee table), so I haven't ruled purple out.  Turns out, there are plenty of ways to use it beautifully, as these sophisticated spaces all show ~

Pat Healing, as seen in "House Beautiful"

more Angie Hranowsky - she actually uses some purple in almost all of her projects and it looks divine

original source unknown ~ photo pulled from thedecorista.com

design by Tara Fingold, as seen in StyleatHome.com - pulled from Tiffany Leigh 

John Robshaw, as seen on Apartment Therapy

design by Lilly Bun, as seen in "House Beautiful"

design by Zim Loy, as seen in "House Beautiful"

original source unknown ~ pulled from stylecarrot

I just LOVE that sweet little girl's room with the cherry blossom wallpaper.
So Lulu may get her purple room after all : ) 

May 6, 2015

Easy Brunch Eggs for Mother's Day

This is my super-simple recipe for rich, creamy, ham-y brunch eggs.  The whole idea of brunch is that it should be a luxurious affair, so I’m all about the easiest preparation possible with a minimal of dirty dishes.  These eggs really fit the bill.  Just layer the ingredients in a baking dish (and they're all ingredients your probably already have in the fridge) and pop it in the oven.  Toast up a few english muffins while it's baking, and brunch is ready before you've had time to finish your first mimosa : ) 

From a really old issue of “Southern Living” – my family has been making this for ages
12 slices Canadian Bacon or pre-cooked ham
12 large eggs
12. oz shredded swiss or gruyere cheese
1 cup heavy cream or half n half (I didn’t say it was healthy, I said it was easy)
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika
12 English Muffins (so you can serve each egg over a toasted muffin)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Lightly grease a 9” x 13” glass pan, and place bacon in single layer over bottom of pan (I’ve used leftover ham as a substitute, and it’s delish!)  Sprinkle with swiss cheese, then break eggs over the cheese.  Don’t intentionally break the yolks, but if they happen to run, don’t worry about it.  At this point, it should basically look like this, though obviously, I was making a mini-dish.

Pour cream over the eggs, and bake for 10-12 mins.  Pull out of oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and paprika.  Bake another 8-10 minutes until eggs are cooked to desired done-ness.  I like mine really cooked through, so you may want to pull your’s out a bit sooner if you like the yolks runny.

Serve over toasted English muffins.  Sip a mimosa.  And relaaaaaaxxxxxxx.

Last year on Mother's Day, Matt surprised me with belgian waffles and thick cut bacon.  But if it doesn't happen this year, this is what I'll be making come Sunday morning.  Because as every mom knows, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.

Happy Mother's Day!

P.S.  This dish also makes a really nice supper on a night you don’t feel like cooking.   Just toss some greens with a light vinaigrette while the eggs are in the oven, and you’ll have a complete meal in no time, with very little clean up  - something I think is every bit as important as how quickly the meal comes together.

Apr 2, 2015

Our Front Door Challenge

This summer, I SWEAR I'm going to get around to sprucing up our front doors!  I posted tons of inspiration photos 2 summers ago and did a whole feature for the River Journal about how to make over your front door, but I'm ashamed to admit that our doors look exactly the same as they did the day we moved in.  Plain.  White.  Invisible.  But this summer, I WILL paint and accessorize our doors so they become a welcoming focal point.  I WILL!  I WILL!

I say "doors" in the plural sense, because our house has two front doors. Or rather, it has a prominent front door that we never use (Lulu's playhouse is pushed up against it in our Living Room, so we can't open it even if we want to), and it has a less noticeable second door off to the side.

And of course, it's this less noticeable door (the recessed door over to the left) where we greet our guests.  And by greet, I mean we lean out and holler "over here!" while they stand in confusion at the other door.  So, not only do I need to pretty up our doors, I need to find a way to signal to guests to use that side door - - without leaving the front door looking all lonely and neglected.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing for both doors....

Lantern / Benjamin Moore Essex Green Paint / Wreath

I'll need to use a slightly larger lamp next to the main door, and a slightly smaller one at the side door, and this style from Sea Gull Lighting comes in two sizes that will work well.  (I'll do a post about how to find the right size exterior lighting soon.  The standard builder's lighting is usually all wrong!) And while I love my Spring wreath, I think this classic boxwood would be nice for summer and not compete with all the live flowers and plants that bloom around the house come June.    These changes will definitely help our doors stand out, but it doesn't solve the "which door should I use?" problem.

So I'm thinking I need some extra accessories for the side door that say "Here!  This is the door we use!"

I love this cheerful doormat and think its bright colors will attract attention.  And I like the idea of having the old fashioned dinner bell as a doorbell (And I would totally use it to call Matt in for dinner.)

What do you think?  Should this do the trick?  Do you have multiple entrances and have a way of steering guests to one of them?  I'd love to hear your tips!