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!

Mar 24, 2015

Buffalo Checks Feel Fresh

I used to think of buffalo checks as being awfully "country" - for me, the term conjured up images of ruffled valances in the Country Curtains catalog and overstuffed chairs in a log cabin.   But I've recently had to completely re-think this classic pattern after seeing it featured in some of these spaces, where it turns up looking quite sophisticated.

Looks so good in these contemporary / transitional rooms ~

Design by Bryan Patrick Flynn as seen in Country Living

the hotel L'Apogee Courchevel - as seen on tempodadelicadeza.com.br

as seen in Southern Living

fashion designer Jenni Kayne's home as seen in domainehome.com

And is equally stylish in these more traditional spaces, where it lends a fresh, casual feel ~

found on indulgy.com

design by Nell Hill

found on pinterest

I'm a total convert.

Of course, once I started noticing it in interiors, it dawned on me that I've been pinning buffalo check outfits like crazy since last fall.  And while I thought of those checked shirts that were all the rage as being a cozy, layer-with-a-down-vest look for fall, these pics have me realizing just how well it works for this winter-into-spring season too.  

paired with soft gray, black, and white jeans - pinterest

more crisp white jeans & gold accessories - a house in the hills

love the bright jeans for sunny spring days - from hello fashion

in dress form for full-on summertime - gal meets glam

And my version of this trend ~

buffalo checks

Mar 20, 2015

Affordable Easter Wreath - that works all Spring

One of the things I love about living in a house now, as opposed to an apartment building, is that I get to "redecorate" my front door every couple of months with pretty wreaths.  When I moved here, I was shocked at how expensive some of the fresh wreaths from nurseries and shops like Williams Sonoma were, so I have made it my mission to find inexpensive wreaths I can dress up on my own.

Enter, the Cream & Green Pussy Willow Vine Wreath from Joann Fabric & Crafts.

It's regularly priced at $39.99, but all spring floral is currently 40% off, so it's now only $24.  (Btw, I feel like things are almost always on sale at Joann's - they typically post coupon codes on the top of their homepage.)

Though some of their floral wreaths would look really pretty and colorful when viewed from the road, I was worried they would look too fake when you actually got up to the door.  Plus, I think the pussy willow is spare enough to not look totally out of place if we get any more snow this spring - a very real possibility here in Ohio!

To dress it up for Easter, I simply added these glittery Eggs Picks - I got mine in the store, but they don't seem to have them on the Joann website.  You can order similar ones from the Dollar Tree  or Etsy.

I purchased the egg picks, rather than just pretty eggs, so I could easily tie the sticks to the wreath's branches and remove them after Easter.  I plan to re-accessorize this wreath after the holiday and stretch it through the rest of spring.  

To attach them, I simply cut down the stick a bit, then used the attached ribbon to tie each pick to a branch.  The whole project took about 10 minutes - and that included getting Lulu a cup of milk in the middle of it.

Ready for Easter!  

After Easter, I'll simply take off the eggs and replace them with a few of these pretties...

and my wreath will carry through the Spring.

I also picked up the faux flower branches at JoAnn's.  I think I spent about $8 on all of them, thanks to the sale.  So for around $35, I got an Easter wreath and a Spring wreath.  So my savings can go towards more important things, like chocolate malted easter eggs : )

I can hardly believe Easter is just 2 weeks away!  

Mar 19, 2015

Fun Shop: Annechovie's Notecards, Matchbooks, and More

You know when you're hunting around the internet and click a link, and then just keep clicking, and suddenly find yourself in some amazing online shop or sight and have no real idea of how you got there in the first place?  Happens to me all the time : )  If I had to retrace my steps, I think this find started in a One Kings Lane sale....  but I ultimately ended up in the Etsy shop Annechovie  - a treasure trove of charming, pretty little things.

Anne Harwell McElhaney, the artist behind the shop, must be a decorator at heart, because her whimsical illustrations feature some of the all-time BEST rooms to grace the old issues of Domino. I swear I have tear sheets of all these pictures in my big ol' idea binder.  These pretty notecards are the perfect correspondence for anyone who loves design, and they would be so pretty framed and grouped together.

Also love her take on the blue and white ginger jar trend ~ 

Such a great way to bring this trend home if you're low on tabletop space.  Or, if you're like me and have a 2 year old who likes to knock over breakables!  

I'm always on the hunt for pretty matchboxes to set out next to my scented candles.  I love that these can be personalized ~ perfect for putting together a little candle vignette on the bedside table, vanity, or in the powder room.

These old fashioned calling cards are pretty much the perfect card for a decorator or upholsterer.  I'm in the market for some new business cards, and these chic, simple ones are currently topping the list.

Love this tote for lugging my supplies* to auctions, the antiques fair, and all the upcoming flea markets and garage sales.  (*I always, always carry my tape measure, granola bars, and shopping list with ideal dimensions during "garage sale season," as I like to call it.)  But it would equally great for a Farmer's Market run or trip to the library.

She has lots of other goodies in her space on Etsy - happy shopping!

Mar 16, 2015

White & Gold Accents

I love white and gold for spring.  (I know it's still winter, but I'm so DONE with it!)  Lately I've traded my favorite black Alexis Bittar cuff for this stack of white and gold bracelets in an attempt to channel spring weather.  We haven't had snow since I started wearing these, so it must be working : )

I also like this color combo in the home.  It's fresh and airy and glamorous, all of which I'm in dire need of with all this slush, mush, and melting snow outside.  Because though I'm sure Olivia Palermo could manage it, I just don't feel very glam in muck boots.

White & Gold Accents

Notebook / Small Bone Box / Knob / Pillow / Tray / Bud Vase / Jar

Here's hoping those bracelets keep working!