Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Subject: Spring is in the Aisle!

Hi friend!

So, I was alone in Michael's the other day exchanging a picture frame and since there was no baby to distract me, I really took my time and looked at everything in the store. It was so relaxing and all their new inventory got me excited about spring. I think we all knew birds were big, but apparently they are here to stay...and stay and stay. There was a lot of bird-related things. Anyway, to start things off:

I really love the idea of a pair of topiaries in the window above my kitchen sink. Of course, I could do without the huge bow and fake bird glued to the branches, so I'll keep looking. (The bow could easily be removed, I think, but the bird was attached pretty strongly - believe me, I pulled on it!)

Incidentally, Down East Basics - one of my favorite clothing sites - now has home accessories! They have two types of topiaries, I think I like the double one on the right:

So, I'll keep that source in my back pocket. I was hoping I would find some really cheap when I went to the big neighborhood-wide garage sale a few weekends ago, but no. I scored some awesome 12-month clothes for Suz and a few books for her...but the light fixtures and mirrors I was imagining where not there. Boo!

And now for Michael's Bird Parade:

The cage thing would be cute on a bookshelf or stacked on some books on a table in an entryway. I like the little white bird, but I don't really understand why they have those crazy crowns? Literally, the tag said "bird with crown." What??? The bird bath is cute too. I think little tchotchkes like those are what gives a house some depth, so I am always on the lookout for cute little things like that.
Down East Basics is also bird-crazy:

White Bird Cages

Ceramic Blackbird
I also think these Boxwood Balls are cute:

Michael's also had this print I wanted to share, even though it's not necessarily spring-ish:

They also had a spoon version, which would be cute to have the two in a kitchen. Maybe in my kitchen??? We'll see.

Then this box was interesting to me:

I don't know if this picture does it justice, but basically it's a faux crocodile leather miniature suitcase. It would be great on a bookshelf to hide whatever you don't want to be seen - computer cords, family photos. I'm always looking for clever storage solutions so I don't feel so bad about keeping some of the crap I insist on keeping!
I kind of enjoyed taking pictures of things to show you in a store. I will have to do it again soon!

Talk to you soon -

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Subject: Catching Up

Melissa! My long-lost friend!

I am so, SO sorry for my silence. Last week I literally needed a few days to recover from the big party (which was perfect, BTW, and I cannot wait to share pictures when I get them!) and then on Wednesday I got hit with a head cold/sinus funk thing thanks to every tree and flower in town bearing pollen! So that carried me into the weekend, and now this week Suz has decided she no longer needs her morning nap. I don't know how I am going to deal with this! Good thing I painted my kitchen and stained my grout when I had the chance! So now I am figuring out life with a once-a-day napper. It's a new experience and season for us, but I'm kind of excited about it too. I'm also banking on a really long afternoon nap now, which hopefully will afford me enough to time get everything done that I can't do when she's up and crawling around in the morning. So, yeah. Here I am - finally!

First, I love your new bedside tables! They are exactly what you were looking for! Ours also have a drawer with a little shelf underneath. It's nice because you can hide stuff you don't want people to see in the drawers, and then do a nice display of books or boxes or whatever below. Excellent choice! I'm not looking to get anything new for our room anytime soon, but if I was, I would consider these night stands from Pottery Barn:

I think they look really light (vs. the black wood we have now) and would reflect so much light. Of course, from a purely practical standpoint, they would be impossible to keep clean. Suz is way into seeing herself in the mirror right now, so I am picturing all the baby handprints on them!

Your curtains are perfect too! I am thinking about doing curtain panels in my room as well and have been trying to locate some fabric with gray in it - or bed sheets, per Jenny's suggestion. I will show you pictures soon of everything I am talking about one day, but I am still concentrating on my downstairs until June, so nothing until then!

Also, your laundry room turned out amazing! I just saw the episode of Sarah's House where she created her laundry room. She used a tray to corral all the detergent and soap bottles. It's hard to see from this picture, but here is the 'after':

Maybe you could find a low basket or something for your detergent and other bottles? Maybe a wicker tray? Or something clear? Just a thought. I also loved your art selection. I love pictures that elevate everyday homemaking chores into something beautiful and artistic. It makes me feel like the mundane task I am doing is actually really beautiful...which I guess in a way it is? Have you ever seen the prints on Smitten Kitchen? They do the same thing with cooking and everyday ingredients.

And lastly, I love your new bedding inspiration. Describing it as something you found at a market in another country is the perfect way to describe that fabric! Let me ask you: is this your house, or a picture of the bedding from the Internet?

Whatever it is, I love the composition of pictures above the bed! I am trying to figure out something to so above our bed (not 'til June!) and pictures like that would be an interesting idea. I have also thought about doing different sizes of plates and platters in varying shades of white and cream, but I haven't really looked at all, so that is a discussion for the summer!

Okay, I think I am all caught up. Look forward to a post from me tomorrow with all the treasures I found at one of our favorite craft stores!

'Til then,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Subject: No Need to Dwell in the Past

WHERE ARE YOU?!?  You better write back with the world's longest post on Suz's birthday!!  :)

Anyway, while you are away, I have a number of things to write/post about.  Today, Master Bedroom Linens.  This weekend I had an epiphany.  We are in the process of looking for a mattress for the guest room.  I always assumed that I would decorate the room with my Pottery Barn Diamond Matelasse Duvet.  The style has been discontinued for a while now, but it looks like this.  I barely had used the set because pretty much right after I bought it Hubby and I decided to move in together and we got a king bed.  Anyway, I only have the duvet and two standard shams, so I've been debating what the heck to do for euro shams and a bed skirt.  Then the epiphany occurred.  

Why not move our Dwell bedding into the guest room and get something new for our room?  Unfortunately after the washing and the drying of our beloved Chinoiserie bedding from Anthropologie, the duvet actually shrunk a bit on the sides.  The positive is it will be perfect for the guest room queen bed!!  And the even bigger positive is new fun stuff for our room.  

I'm thinking white - because I just love having white bedding - and throwing in fun throw pillows.  I picked up this one at the Pottery Barn outlet this weekend and am using it for inspiration.

Pottery Barn - Kilim Pillow
I love love love the look of Kilim.  The hand woven wool makes the pillow look like I picked it up at a market in another country.  I think it plays nicely off of the curtains I bought from West Elm and looks great with all the furniture.  Can't wait to show you what it all turns out like.  

Hope to hear from you soon!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Subject: Laundry Room Love

It's finally complete!!  I can officially say one room in the house is DONE!!

Here was the one before picture I remembered to take.  While it's not showing all the details, (UGLY GOLD fixture and wire shelving), you get the gist.

The After Shots:

So, after settling on Martha Stewart paint in Faded Ink, the rest of the vision was easy to accomplish.  I wanted to bring out the black and white tile so, all the extras had to of couse be black and white.  Here's what we did:
  • Per your suggestion, I found the basket in Target.  For $9.99, it was quite the steal in my mind, and now holds dryer sheets, a Tide to Go Pen and lint rollers. 
  • We also switched the wire shelves with a solid wood one.  Best part was it was free because the previous homeowner left it hanging in another room!  Score!! 
  • The UGLY UGLY gold fixture is gone and has been replaced with a round black fixture.  Although my MIL said the laundry room looks so gorgeous it should have a chandelier hanging in it!  :)
  • The picture frames were purchased from Pottery Barn.  I really love how they are 5x5 and the quality of the mats is amazing!
  • After the debate of what to hang, I settled on some prints found on Etsy.  The first one that caught my eye was this one:
  • Laundry Day by Irene Suchocki
  • The photograph was taken in Italy and since I'm 1/4 Italian I liked it even more.  I decided to choose two more prints from her Italy collection, so I didn't have an overload of laundry-related images in the laundry room, and settled on a shot of a Venice canal and lemons in basket.  She was so awesome to order from and was coincidentally having a promotion at the time I ordered so I got an additional percentage off the purchase.
So, that pretty much sums up the laundry room make over.  One last funny story before I go.  Two weeks ago I was going laundry in my pretty laundry room and the washer decided not to drain.  I was sure the washer, which looks about half my age, was on the outs.  Hubby figured out that the lid switch was broken though.  So, for $40 we ordered a new one.  When it arrived, I marched upstairs with my computer, played the video below and fixed the darn thing!!  If you have 3 minutes to spare, watch the video.  Can you imagine I did what this guy did?!?  I'm contemplating opening my own handy man business.  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Subject: Master Bedroom Shopping Spree

It was like a domino effect.  First, I found the perfect nightstands...

Pottery Barn Sofia Bedside Table
My mom and I agree they have a European flair.  I love the details and how they look like a flea market find.  I think they fit the look I am going for perfectly.  Plus, with my 10% off Pottery Barn coupon plus a gift card I had, the price was MUCH better than the other nightstands I have been in love with for the past few months.

Next came the window panels... 

West Elm - Tribal Zig Zag Window Panel
 I was always looking for something really colorful, but these in person are so cool.  The material is muslin-esq and the color of the zig zags matches one of the colors in my bedding perfectly.  Plus, I love how they are a little more masculine compared to the nightstands.

The finishing touch...

Target - Clear Accent Lamp Base
I have always wanted matching nightstands with matching lamps.  Now I just need to find the perfect shade.

The nightstands were Catalog/Internet only so as soon as they arrive, I will snap a few pictures of the final look!!  Woo entire room is almost done!!

Can't wait to hear about Suz's party!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Subject: Party Peek


Hi-eee! I am coming you from the front lines of Party Central! We are approximately 50 or so hours away from Suz's birthday party! Aren't you excited? Me too. You'll remember that I told you about the theme of the party and shared with you the invitation, so I have been making decorations to carry that theme through. For the food table, I made ten of these little pennants to divide and put into two vases flanking the food:

I love them! I bought three sheets of felt from Joann Fabrics (they were $.29/each) and wooden dowels that I cut in half. Then I used my rotary cutter and a straight edge and went to town making these little guys. No measuring, just a lot of angled cutting, because I like the look of homemade-ness and a little imperfection to make it seem more whimsical and fun. (You'll also notice that I'm giving you a sneak peek of the new fabric on my dining chairs!)
For the tea station, I whipped up these drink stirrers using wooden skewers that I trimmed down, ribbon from my stash and some hot glue:

I also created this party hat using Jordan's template and a sheet of scrapbook paper from Michael's:

I am IN LOVE with this hat (if it's possible to be in love with a party hat). I think it is so, so adorable and, while Suz will probably not allow me to actually put it on her (based on her reaction when I was measuring out the ribbon ties), it will still be really cute to look at. The only thing I didn't do was use heavy cardstock paper, but it seemed to work out okay, so no worries.

Finally, for the yard, I made Jordan's flag sculptures. Instead of hanging them to dry in the garage as recommended, I hung them along our fence in the backyard. We are planning to replace this fence sometime this spring, so I wasn't overly concerned with a little glue dripping on them. Here you go:

And a closer look:

Being outside and in the sun, they took about five hours to dry versus the recommended 12 hours in a garage, so I was grateful for that quick turnaround (being into instant gratification and all). My only other change was that when I got home I realized I did not have enough glue - I had purchased a 4-ounce bottle because I didn't want a ton left over, but when I mixed it with water it just seemed really watery and I was doubting whether it would give me the desired effect. So I mentally ran through my list of craft supplies that I could add to the mixture and realized Modge Podge might have the same properties as the Elmer's glue, so I mixed some of that in and it worked like a charm. Here is my finished result:

I know some of the flags look white...they're actually a creamy background with orange circle, but I realize it's hard to see. I used fabric quarters from Joann Fabrics for the pink and also the orange fabric I just mentioned, and then the yellow was part of my fabric stash. I am planning on putting these in the front yard to line the driveway and sidewalk as an alternative to balloons on the mailbox. Fingers crossed it's not a windy day!

My mom is coming bright and early tomorrow morning so we can get to work baking and cleaning in anticipation for the big day. I can't wait to report back to you on how it goes!

Have an awesome weekend!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Re: Talbots

Oh my gosh! It's so funny to me that you mentioned Talbots...we are seriously on the same brain wave. A few weeks ago I was leaving the mall and passed Talbots on my way out and saw display photos in the windows and wanted to go in and have a peek. It was like Betty Draper but with a modern twist: polished and elegant, but still youthful and...edgy? Maybe not edgy, but definitely not what I associated with Talbots before: stuffy, boxy, boring. I went in there once when I was looking for something to wear to some event - maybe a wedding? - and left the store running. The stuff wasn't terrible, but it wasn't youthful and it wasn't me. So are we totally dating ourselves with liking Talbots? Have they changed or have we? I like to think they have changed!

So then, fast forward to last week when I was reading Jordan Ferney's blog and she mentioned Talbots too. And now you bring it up. So apparently lots of people are noticing the new direction they're going in. I looked around their website some after Jordan talked about it and could not believe how stunning Julianne Moore looked. She is gorgeous! This picture, though, caused me to do a double-take:

Um, is that Julianne Moore...or Lindsay Lohan??? And I don't know who this is better for: Julianne, because she looks so young, or Lindsay because she will look like Julianne one day (which, actually, is kind of an improvement). I think Lindsay is the real winner here.

So anyway, thanks for reminding me about this place! Speaking of fashion and clothes, we are going to my sister-in-law's 30th birthday party on Friday night and we're supposed to dress in black and white. Ahh! I can't decide if I love or hate the limitations. It's kind of nice because it really narrows down my wardrobe, but then the rebel in me wants to do a splash of pink somewhere. I haven't decided what to wear yet, but I just got these shoes in black:

From where? Um, Payless. Yes, I know. Crazy. So now I'm loving the idea of wearing them with some cropped white jeans and my black swing jacket and maybe even a black-and-white striped top. I actually only own the jacket, but I'm sure I can find what I'm looking for somewhere. Plus, it just seems like a great summer ensemble. Of course JCrew has the jeans and the top:

With a pair of chandelier earrings and maybe a chunky silver bracelet. Yum. So, we'll see what I actually end up wearing, but who isn't ready for spring???

Happy shopping,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Subject: Talbots


Wondering if this post is happening because I am closer to 30 than 20, or because the company I'm about to brag about has a new creative designer??  Have you seen the new collection at Talbots??  I actually looked up the store when someone was put in the dress below on the Today Show's makeover segment.

via Petite Mom
Come to find out the new face of the company is Julianne Moore, and she looks FAB in their Spring campaign.  It's kind of JCrew but grown up.  Or was JCrew already grown up??  Can't wait to hear what you think.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Re: An Oy Vey Project

Hi friend!

I cannot believe it's already Friday! I need to apologize for being so MIA this week. Here is my excuse: Mr. Lass was home sick from work on Monday and Tuesday, so it felt like a four-day weekend to me. For whatever reason, whenever he is home I never get anything done. Whether I'm watching a movie with him in the middle of a Monday because he's sick on the couch or not being able to clean the bathroom because he's napping in our is totally unproductive. So when he finally went back to work on Wednesday, it really felt like my Monday, which would make today my Wednesday? But tomorrow is Saturday because he'll be home again...ugh! So anyway, I feel like I've been cramming in the last three days what I normally have a week to get done, and of course on Wednesday I didn't feel like doing anything because I'd had four days "off." So,'s weird how days lose their "feeling" when you don't go into an office, you know? Every day kind of feels the same in a weird way, but the weekends are definitely a highlight still, even if I'm not working full time away from home (because at home I feel like I'm working at least two jobs!).

Okay, let me first say that I love your chairs. They turned out a-mazing. I don't know that I saw the 'before' on them, but the 'after' is stunning. White lacquer was the way to go. And the fabric...I just love it. It was the perfect choice. They look so elegant and sophisticated, but totally warm and inviting too. I know they were a pain, but you must feel so accomplished now that they're done! And whenever I finish a really awful project like that I just remind myself that I never have to do it again (hopefully!). And if the time ever comes where you do decide you want them a different color, you'll have forgotten how much of a pain it was to paint them originally. (That's also what people say about childbirth, by the way!) I also worked on a chair project this week. The before:

We inherited the big chairs from some friends that were moving out of state and didn't want to haul these along. The small chair is from my parents for little Suz. It kind of bothered me they didn't all match, so of course I decided to paint them! (My question: what can't paint fix???)

Here was my inspiration:

And a close-up:

This is my father-in-law's neighbors' front yard in Dallas, where we visited in the fall of 2009. Hubby and I went on a walk through the neighborhood and I took my was in the middle of the day and no one was home, so I didn't feel as weird taking pictures of strangers' homes, but still...I got a few looks from passing cars. Anyway, I loved the red chairs against the gray house. Incidentally, while we were in Dallas we went by this garden shop that was going out of business and they had a red wooden double Adirondack chair on clearance for less than $100. I died. But there was no way we could get it home on an airplane. I kept asking my FIL if he had plans to drive to Florida at any point in the future and he kept saying no. So, fast forward to this Christmas, when he DROVE from TEXAS to FLORIDA. Ugh! When I heard he was driving one of the first things I said was, "He could have brought me that chair!" It took Hubby a second to realize what I was referring to and then I think he was either impressed or disturbed that I was still thinking about that chair. Seriously, it pained me to leave it in the store. Lesson: always buy it, even if you don't have a way to get it home but you have a free place to store it, which is a lesson I applied when purchasing a dining table off the Atlanta Craigslist (thanks again!).

Of course, my inherited chairs aren't wood but plastic, but no matter. Here was my weapon of choice for this project:

And actually, multiply that picture by two. Yes, four cans of spray paint at $5.99 each. Maybe not the most economical project, but as I pointed out to Mr. Lass: the chairs were free, so if I have to spend $25-ish to get them to match, I think that's reasonable. He grudgingly agreed. But we both love them now:

I need to do a few more touch-ups, but all in all, I'm very happy with the result. The little chair came out the best, probably because it was a lighter color to begin with. I love the three together - it reminds me of The Three Bears and a chair for Mama, Papa and Baby Bear. Of course, they're starting to take on an orange tinge because of the pollen that is quickly coating everything outdoors. But it's done and I think they will look great in the yard we are envisioning creating this spring.

Final plans for the birthday party are coming together. I asked a friend of mine to come and take pictures, so I feel extra pressure/incentive to really go for it in terms of decorations. I was starting to feel a little lazy about making everything I originally talked about, but now I feel a new burst of energy. I told her I want pictures of all the food and decorations, in addition to candid shots of family members. I'll let you know for sure once it's over, but I think designating someone to take pictures at a party could be one of the smartest decisions I ever made: it will free me to enjoy myself and not feel pressure to capture everything on film on my own. Plus, I might even be in some of the pictures! And for you it means lots of great pictures to look at once the party is over.

Here is Suz's 'party dress' that I ordered from Etsy:

I think it will double as her Easter dress too. So hopefully it gets here on time and hopefully it's warm in the afternoon next Saturday! Thanks for your suggestion with displaying the monthly pictures. I think I am going to take your advice and use bunting to show off the pictures in some way. I also had another idea: we have lots of what I'm calling "baby artifacts" that I would also like to show off. For instance, the little hospital cap she practically lived in her first few weeks at home now looks like a baby Yamulke when I put it on her. We have a picture of her in our going-home-from-the-hospital outfit, so I was going to put the outfit out somewhere. Plus I was going to take a picture of her in her car seat now and have another picture on display of her as a newborn in it. And a picture of Hubby cradling her as a newborn when her feet barely reached his hand, and then now where her legs spill over the side of his arm. Maybe I will use the mantle for all that kind of stuff. So those are all things I'm working on deciding now too, as I make a list of all the things I need to pick up at Michael's and Joann's over the weekend.

Whew - who knew I had so much to say? I guess it has been a week! Tomorrow I am going to a big neighborhood-wide garage sale that apparently is the creme de la creme of all garage sales. I'm not much of a garage sale-r, usually sticking to antique shops and estate sales, but I'm going to give this one a shot since I've heard so many good things about it. I'll let you know if I pick up any treasures! Anything you want me to look for for you???

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Subject: An Oy Vey Project

You know when you are really mad about something and you don't want to talk about?  That's how I feel about these chairs.  I am mad at them because I basically hated working on them.  I decided painting intricate furniture is not what I enjoy doing.  Probably painting any furniture is not what I enjoying doing.  I like finding the pieces and picking the paint and the fabric, but painting is ick!

However, I must admit all lacquered up, they are looking pretty good.  Hubby even helped me recover them with this fabric which is called Pen Pal. 

I believe the writing is French, although I haven't tried that hard to read it.  They are now around the kitchen table and pretty much that's all I have to say about them.  Oh, the grand total of the project was probably about $60.  That includes the paint, fabric and new foam inserts.  Then if I charged an hourly rate for the amount of time that went into painting them (all four coats) the chairs are probably at $1000.  HA HA!

We leave for a wedding tomorrow in South Florida, so I will talk to you next week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Re: It's Time to Plan a Party

I cannot believe it's March!  Last week flew by and this week seems to be doing the same. 

Suz's party is going to be adorable.  I cannot believe you were smart enough to think so far ahead and make those little banners.  Her newborn picture cracked me up.  I don't know if you've already made a decision about how to display the pictures, but I had an idea.  What if you blew the pictures up, maybe 8 x 10 or 11 x 14, and then cut those in triangles?  Basically making an entire banner just like the banners you photographed?  That's immediately what came to mind, but if it's lame I can keep thinking.

Also, I once threw a tea party bridal shower for someone.  Not sure if you thought about this, but we cut out the bread for the sandwiches using cookie cutters.  Also, another dessert option that we had were petit fors.  I think you can basically make them by pouring cake batter in a baking sheet.  However, Publix sells them and they are quite delicious.  :)

I can't wait to hear more about the party!!

PS - The bathroom looks amazing!!!!!!!!!  I love that color!!