Monday, April 30, 2012

Five Minute Fix

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I've been looking for a hall table forever and recently while cleaning out the shed I came across this old table that I purchased secondhand a few years back. I used it briefly as a desk and then it made its way outside to my back porch to serve as a bar table for a fourth of July picnic.
Unfortunately it never made its way back in and after some time in the elements, it started to come apart at the joints. I decided to save it just in case, put it in the shed and forgot about it. 

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Failure to Favorite

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The guest room in my house has been "redone" more times than any other room in my house. It has housed numerous guests, served as my husband's office, slept my infant son, housed two foster daughters, and was most recently turned into a sitting/television/game room when I just couldn't take one more minute of GameCube hockey.  
Spring has arrived in Newport and we have lots of overnight company so as of last week the "round room" as we call it, is back to- and will forever remain- 
The Guest Room. 

The biggest challenge in choosing a purpose for this room has been that it is round. 
The room is actually a turret with only the inside wall being flat. It's good sized, 16' in diameter, but without flat walls, where do you put your furniture?  
Secondly, if you stand in the center of the room and speak, your voice will swirl around your head in the most awkward and uncomfortable echo (the office concept was short lived).

For well over a year now I've had my eye on a stack of smooth walnut planks in the local builder's surplus store. I love the warm grayish brown color, the grain of the wood and the knots that flaw them. 
After seeing several plank and pallet headboards on Pinterest, I finally decided to make one for myself. Worst case, if I hated it, I would turn it into a coffee table. 

First I took down the matchstick shades. 
To make the wood a real focal point I wanted to create a clean, white backdrop behind it.

I adore the "LOVE" monogrammed headboard we've seen all over Pinterest, but I wanted a word that was all my own word so I came up with this. 

The basket that held the kid's video games now holds spare blankets for guests

I found this antique tin ceiling light at the Brimfield
Show a few years back, but had nowhere to show it off. 

I had to have this hemp tie-back when I saw it at an interior designer's yard-sale last summer and I think it looks great in its new home

Goodbye sitting room!
Check us out on

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Dolphin Days

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2012 is the year of the dolphin for my eight year old daughter. 
She has been obsessed with sea life since she got her first copy of "Rainbow Sea"  in preschool.
On our recent vacation to the Outerbanks, she had her ultimate wish granted when a friend took her on a "Dolphin Tour" to search for a real live dolphin!
 A week later she followed up the tour with a request for a dolphin themed slumber party for her eighth birthday.
This was the perfect opportunity to try out the "Push Pop" recipe book a friend just gifted me!

 Tiramisu Push Pops with handmade white chocolate dolphins - YUM!

A huge THANK YOU! to Uncle Scotty for turning my favorite driftwood branch
into a Push Pop holder!

Happy Birthday!!

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Monday, April 23, 2012


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The ingredients for a successful vacation for me are simple.

Good company,  good weather, comfortable accommodations and an opportunity to steal off on my own to do some local shopping. However, mass manufactured souvenir shot glasses are not what I have in mind. I'm on the lookout for something to bring home that will bring a smile to my face when I pick it up and recollect its discovery.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina in April reminds me of the New Hampshire beaches that I grew up on; only without all the traffic, people and noise.  

I found the landscape beautiful, the architecture bright and interesting, the beaches remote and the opportunity to pick up some local finds pretty slim.

So I busied myself taking photos of the OBX architecture...

For a practical New Englander, it might seem a little nuts that someone would consider building a house that in all likelihood may be swept into the ocean. 

But practical or not, who can't appreciate the greatness of someone being so passionate about living by the sea that they are willing to take that chance?

This old meeting house and its silo next door to our rental were just too beautiful not to bring home.

Here's our neighbor down the beach, the famous "Nights in Rodanthe" house. 
These blue storm shutters would have put this house on the map with or without Richard Gere!

 Sampson even got into the mix with me to search for some more driftwood to bring home.

Vintage home goods shopping in OBX, in the off season, is definitely lean.  
But lean is not impossible. 

Between the "Putt Putt" in Nags Head and the sixth or seventh shiny, neon, souvenir shop on the main road, I still managed to sniff out a local thrift store, and just a few miles after that, a hidden little cluster of antique shops.

Not only did I pick up a vintage juice carafe with a couple of great glasses for just four bucks, but my purchase went to support the local domestic abuse shelter. 

How's that for a Win-Win?

I've been collecting antique glass water pitchers and this pressed blue glass was calling my name.

As was the vintage pickle jar. (I think the South should have a little place in every home)
I may actually start drinking Bloody Marys just to have something to garnish with a spicy pickle!


And lastly, my favorite find of all.
The full length driftwood mirror that, since this photo was taken, has made it's way up onto the wall in my front entrance. 

As a practical New Englander, I was content to look around my home tonight and see that just a little bit of the South, despite the odds, managed to make its way home with me.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

What makes you happy?

Pin It Today is Saturday- I'm never sure if this marks the end of a week or the beginning of a weekend? I guess it depends on how your view the glass. My mother in law likes to say that I squeeze 10lbs of living into a 5lb sack, and she is right. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

To keep it in perspective, I don't have a single friend that isn't in the same boat. We are full time working mothers, some paid, some unpaid, working both in and outside of the home.  We try to squeeze every single minute out of every day.  Experience has taught me well that life is short and I won't miss any of it.

This week I made it a point to stop and really look around me.  I saw that I am surrounded by good people.  Smart, active, healthy, fun, socially responsible, like minded people who take pleasure out of living for every minute. It made me happy and it made me proud. Maybe it's our small beach community that attracts these types of people. People who are focused on taking care of their families, of their friends, of their communities. These are people who are a part of something and I am happy and proud to be included in this extended family.

I've got a lot to look forward to today. Tonight we will a celebrate milestone birthday with one of my sister-friends and tomorrow my family and I head to the Outerbanks for spring break.

My favorite yellow suitcase is sitting in front of me stuffed with nothing but ridiculous pink clothes, flip flops, and bathing suits and I can't wait hop into my super sexy mini van, put on the Zac Brown band and start driving down 95 to kick off an old school, Chevy Chase style- family vacation.

I intend to spend an entire week by the pool, steeping myself in home magazines while I compile my list of treasures to hunt for next month on my annual trip to the Brimfield Antiques Fair.

If you haven't been and you like to treasure hunt you NEED to put this on your to do list.

Brimfield Massachusetts is the site of the largest outdoor antique show in New England, with over 5000 dealers from all over the country. The shows, a week each, happen three times a year, May, July, and September. This year's first show is May 8-13 and this is my Super Bowl!

Here are a few of my finds from last year... Glass buoys...
I'm still not sure what this little metal carousel was intended for, but it's a fantastic makeup caddy!

 One of my favorite booths, the guys who make frames out of reclaimed wood

 Of course black and white canisters to house my cotton balls and q-tips...
An antique pressed glass black owl ring caddy...

I haven't given much thought yet to this year's list, but I can't wait to start!!

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

A little more Sunshine

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Even though Spring officially arrived a few weeks ago,
I never really feel like winter has been wrapped up until Easter comes. 

It's an old fashioned habit, but each spring I like to put away the winter linens and move things around in an effort to introduce a little more sunshine to the interior of my home.

If you ask me what my favorite color is, I will answer with blue or orange, but if you look around my home it appears that yellow is starting to make its way into the lead.

I'm guessing that the blooming forsythias are a trigger for my brain to subconsciously crave more sunshine.

Below is a photo of the new citrus print upholstered headboard I recently made for my father's room.
We're still walking with baby steps, but I'm hoping that by my father's 78th birthday he will relent and let me paint or even replace his dark old furniture (it's still good, I know, I know...)
His bedding is on my short list to be switched out to summer whites next week.
*(please kindly avert your eyes from the messy blue bed skirt)

The Master Bedroom...

I've been working on updating our attic bedroom. My own room is always the last to get my attention but since it doubles as a home office, I needed to make it a space I enjoyed spending time in.
The pysical space is good sized for a former attic, but it still posed a vertical challenge with low knee walls, sloped ceilings and limited natural light.
The original paint finish I had chosen thinking it would be easy to clean, had too high a sheen and was not only serving to highlight every flaw in the plaster, but made the room appear cold.
I had plenty of unwanted shine, but zero contrast or layers for texture.

To fix this, I gave the walls and ceilings a fresh coat of Manor Hall's low sheen, "Oyster Shell" and added some silver grass cloth wallpaper to the two window walls. 
The wallpaper is an exact color match with the paint and adds texture to a space that doesn't lend itself to a lot of detail. 
I love that the silver threads in the paper reflect the daylight giving the room a warm glow.

The geometric prints on the curtain fabric and lampshades, combined with the textures of the throw pillows and bedding fabrics now work together to add much needed interest.

 I couldn't find a head board that was the right height to fit the low side wall and ordering an upholstered one online was cost prohibitive so I chose to make my own. The headboards that I liked  ranged anywhere from $499-$1000 and for someone like me who loves change, I've learned from experience that it would not be a good investment.
Instead, for $115, using my jigsaw, a 4x8 sheet of mdf, a couple of yards of silver velvet fabric, a roll of nickel nail head trim, some quilt batting and two D rings, I now have a custom headboard hanging just like a framed picture on the wall behind the bed. 

It was a super quick, inexpensive project that is working out great and if I get the urge to change the fabric, I can update it without feeling like I wasted a lot of time and money.

I'm currently on the hunt for an old coffee table with some great legs that I can cut in half to make two nightstands. I haven't found what I'm imagining yet, but with yard sale season kicking off now and the upcoming Brimfield Antiques Fair, I'm pretty confident I'll have what I'm looking for soon!

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Did you just size me up?

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 When you first walk into a room you have two options. 
 One - You can choose to see what presents in front of you. 
(In this case that would have been yards of stained wall to wall, some cracked and chipped paper walls- artfully bleached by the sun to outline the locations where photos of the Virgin Mary once hung). 

Or Two - Walk in and look around at a room as if you are sizing it up for a relationship. Given the option to remove the ill fitting clothing, give it a modern haircut and straighten out the smile, would it be datable?    

When I was getting married, my grandmother asked me why I chose this particular man to be my husband. I told her I didn't choose him, but came to him by process of elimination. What I meant was that I had been trying to "reconstruct" other models to suit me, but it never worked because they just weren't the right fit.

 When I met this one I knew I had found the right foundation to build on.


When it comes to decorating I apply the same principles I applied to dating.
How much do you need to invest up front? How hard are you willing to work? Does the reward outweigh the effort?
You can fix a bad hair cut, and brighten up some neglected teeth but think hard before investing in a cracked foundation. True, it may be a fit for someone, but be make sure it fits YOU.

When I walked in the front door into this cozy little cottage I didn't see the stains and the cracks and crumbles.. I saw this...

 Floor to ceiling bead board and freshly sanded birch floors...

A small but tidy little bathroom where everything including the door, 
tucks away neatly into the walls..

 It didn't take much to make this cottage datable. 
Just some vision and the willingness to see past some stubble and a hockey jersey...

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Shabby Kitchen Simplified

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There are times when  a fresh coat of paint is all you need for a quick update and then there are times when lipstick on a pig just makes a pouty pink pig.

I debated salvaging these ratty old cabinets, (or should say my husband would have preferred me to) but over the past few years, experience has taught me that doing things twice doesn't create savings.
To offset the expense of new cabinets, I agreed to sacrifice the wallpaper I had my eye on (for now) and scrubbed up and reused the existing stove. 
You'll notice the stove moved over about six inches which  eliminated the problem of the baseboard heater obstructing the drawer. While the broken drawer did look sharp, it just simply wasn't practical...

The layout in our cottage kitchen is limited by but we made the best of it. Moving the refrigerator across the room afforded us additional counter space and a bit of extra storage. 

A new easy to clean window brings in more natural light and I opted to leave it bare for the moment so I could enjoy the new moldings. 
We installed some easy to clean, basic cabinets from Lowes along with Ikea shelving and recessed lights. (I can put a flat palm on this 7' ceiling while wearing flip flops so lighting options were limited... A huge disappointment for someone who would hoard fixtures if she had the storage space)  
The white cabinets, light colored counter and glossy white trim work together to turn a dim little room into a cozy cottage kitchen that while simple, has everything you need. 
I'm still on the fence over installing a back splash and have plans to sew a roman shade with a great geometric print, but those projects will have to wait until this summer!

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