Sunday, February 26, 2012

We had an amazing evening celebrating my daughter's birthday. We have always wanted to have a party outside in the winter so we did! One of my other daughters has an outdoor fireplace so we held the gala at her home and it was wonderful.  The theme was pink and sparkly, just like Sarah!

We started with a signature cocktail, cosmos, because they're pink of course!

The menu was simple, a lovely salad and fresh bread with a delicious cassoulet, the perfect dish for a chilly winter evening. Each table has several bottles of good reds to choose from.

Dessert was a caramel chocolate cake followed by Port and Cognac and plenty of cigars!

My daughter's favorite game is Jeopardy so we made the game board complete with catagories that were all her favorite things. It was a huge hit and so much fun.

Happy 30th Birthday Sarah!

Lots and lots of candlelight

Cosmos with sparkly swizzelers of course

 Treats for our guests to take home

  The guest of honor in her great grandmother's fur jacket

The delicious menu

"Alexis Trebek"

 Beautiful tables

The aftermath

Monday, February 20, 2012

Worth a Thousand Words, or how to hang pictures!

This post is all about arranging art and photos in your home. Is there anything sadder than see beautiful artwork gone wrong. The lone piece all by itself on a huge wall having no relationship to any piece of furniture or other art. Or consider the pictures that are hung too high, causing one considerable neckstrain to look up at the arrangement. All you need is a few simple rules and things will be a flow to your artwork and pictures in your home.

Layering pictures is one of the finishing touches in a room, generally picking up accent colors and bringing walls to life. The first rule of thumb is the height at which said artwork is hung. The center of the picture should be at eye level, I know, don't say it, "but people are different heights."
 Yes, so we use 57"-60" as a general measurement. This means the center of the picture should be at 57". The centers should line up, NOT the top of the  frames.

If you hang up a series of pictures, (same size), then they should be spaced no more than 2-21/2 inches apart on all sides.

If they don't match, 3-4 inches is good.

Only hang pictures on one side of a hallway.

Now this next suggestion is a great one, I just never do it. I am a charge in and get it done kind of person and I lack patience so.... You should always lay the pictures out on the floor and arrange them until you get a pleasing look. Like I said, I don't do it and so I end up spackeling nail holes and painting. Hardheaded? Maybe. 

Plates and mirrors are great to incorporate into a grouping.

 My wonderfully talented daughter did a hallway display using a variety of objects. I love it and it is featured in this post. Her husband built narrow wall shelves in their dining room and that is here as well. Enjoy!

 When working in a narrow space it is important to get the size right and not to use a ton of little items.

This is my daughter's hallway. 
Note the empty picture frame with the two Sid Dickens tiles in the center of it. 
She also incorporated two round plaques. The combination works beautifully together and the spacing is perfect.

These are the narrow shelves built with material from Home Depot and painted to match the wall color. All the focus is on the photos, the shelves fade into the background, highlighting my gorgeous grandchildren!

These pictures are lined up vertically giving the idea of each strip being one item. 

 Beautiful example of a series of pictures hung with a mirror. Note the spacing n the pictures, very close.

 A good example of using plates and framing an odd shaped window.

The uniting factor here is that everything is black and white, causing all the different sizes to work well together.
 I love how these project from the wall giving it  a multi dimensional feel.

Another general rule: always hang pictures no more than 6" above the relating piece of furniture.

This is lovely. Perfect symmetry.

Another example of using different objects. It just makes the wall so interesting, you are drawn to it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Part 1: I love the morning

I am a morning person. I love to get up early, 5:00 is best, with a steaming mug of coffee ( bold roast only please, no wishy washy blend for me), and look through my favorite magazines and design books. My mind becomes filled with ideas and inspiration, so much so that I am forced to take pen to paper lest I forget in the business of the day. And forget I do, given my 54 years.

You may think the blog description I have in my title is just a a quote I like, but you would be wrong. It is a quote that is very true about my mornings. The great thing is, (some might say scary), I believe I can do all the things I dream of. I am not afraid to try anything, furniture building, painting, framing, floral design, sewing. 

So ladies of the blogging world grab your paint brushes, saws, tape measures and sewing machines and try your hand at whatever inspires you.

In this case it is a paintbrush, as I set about repainting my walls.

 This is my nest, command central, where I sit and peruse my periodicals. The photo is blurry you say? It represents how I see the world before my first cup of coffee.

My current favorite, Alessandra Branca's new book. 
She is fearless with color but still sophisticated and beautiful.

Part 2: Yellow walls again and again....

I know, we have talked of this already. But I promised I would show you when I had completed my painting. Well, it is not complete, but I could not resist showing you anyway. As I said, I loved the Northhampton Putty that I chose for my new house, until I lived with it for a year. Then I realized the light just was not right for that color in my home. 

So I came home again, yes, you can go home again, to the very lovely Spada Yellow as it is known at our local paint store. When my old house was on the home and parlor Christmas tours so many people went to the paint store to request my color the store named it Spada Yellow. 

Let me digress for just a second. The McDaniel's Do It center in Snohomish has the most amazing paint department. The people there are incredible at their job and can mix anything, and of course they carry all the lines of my favorite brand, Benjamin Moore. My personal favorite is Cathy, she is an institution at McDaniel's, I almost afraid to guess how long she has been there! She will work for days to get the color I want. Thanks Cathy!

My entryway just feels like sunshine

The artwork looks great against is as well.

Part 3: When in doubt...wear red. Or at least decorate with it.

This post is about the process of bringing color into a room. In this case, it is red. The yellow of the walls and red just work together beautifully. In the long winter months of our rainy season it truly lifts my spirits. 

But what you don't know is once spring and summer arrive I switch out the red for shades of pink and it is absolutely gorgeous. Another reason I love my yellow, it can work with so many colors.

Let's start with a freshly painted room with just the basics. A piece of furniture and lighting. 

 I posted both these photos because they really show how wall color can change depending on the light.

 Every room needs a piece of black furniture. It is grounding and adds style and substance.

Now we will add in some decorating details. BTW, the pictures and mirror are all garage sale finds.

I love cement statues. this little guy has been in the family for years. He may deserve his own post some day.
I like the jar of lemons because the glass sparkles and the deeper yellow of the lemons compliments the wall color.

You knew it was coming, let's bring in the beautiful red accent. I added in some branches with lichen on them for a touch of nature.

Add another of the little quirky framed prints I found in town at one of our awesome shops.

But we are not done yet. I picked up a couple of chairs off Craig's List. They were brownish colored with old dirty upholstery. I painted them with Annie Sloan's chalk paint, ordered some red and white fabric off eBay, and recovered them. It's not hard, all you need is a staple gun and a glue gun. 

Originally,I was feeling lazy and took them to the local upholsterer and they wanted $375.00 EACH to redo them. Thank you, NO. Granted it took me three hours for each chair, but it was worth it!

Chairs before:

Chairs after: 

Chairs in entryway!I love it.

 The opposite wall has a black buffet as well, but the wall display is different. I find that I like it better if everything does not match completely. 

 Two mirrors instead of one, green and red apples rather than matching lemons.

Almost finished, I just need to find two more chairs.... 

A room filled with sunshine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saint Valentin

Happy Valentine's Day! 

I am enjoying an armload of daffodils and tulips bought for me by wonderful husband. They are my favorite flowers, just them, no fillers or other nonsense. This time of year they shout spring and lend a little hope to the possibility of warmer weather on it's way. Thank you love!

This post is about wonderful couture ball gowns. For some reason Valentine's Day puts me in mind of these fantasy creations. I am desperate for an excuse to wear one of these jewels. I cannot ever imagine the event so I may someday have to invent it. In any case I love to look at the designers and their creations. Chanel, Dior, Jason Wu, Jean Paul Gaultier are among some of my favorites. 

Come and dream with me!

My all time favorite gown. This gray Versace took my breath away. Beyond gorgeous!

 Like wearing rose petals

A giant wedding cake, it is exquisite.


 Stunning and maybe even comfortable to wear

 So pretty, I like the ombre

Enjoy your day!
Don't forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Elegant Entertaining

We, and by we I mean myself and my girls, will use any excuse to have a party and plan and decorate. Of course this demands planning that includes at least two nights out for drinks and dinner prior to the event in question. My second daughter's thirtieth birthday is coming up and we are in full party mode. Table style and decoration is always a great way to be creative. Sarah loves pink so that will dictate the color scheme and the food as always will be fabulous with third daughter Aimee being a caterer. Our favorite floral designer and friend, Alexa, from Fiore Blossoms, will provide an arrangement, we will throw in candle light and have a wonderful night!

Here are some photos of wonderful tables, hopefully ours will be as pretty.