Sunday, June 29, 2008

Decorating Dilemmas!

Hmmm! Just the other day, I was talking to my good friend Cruella and she was telling me about her sister’s new mega-mansion house. Cruella, who‘s decorating philosophy is “the more stuff the better “said that this house needed less than what her sister had and a few modern pieces due to the architecture of the house, which included lots and lots of windows! Cruella noted, “She could not believe that she herself was saying “less is more” --but this is what she was going to prescribe for her sister.

After Cruella uttered those words, I immediately had had visions of a clean, well-edited Barbara Barry look--which I personally love and I’m currently thinking of doing myself one day! Cruella thought that her sister should do away with some of her antiques and collectibles that would not work in her new house. Trust me, this is hard for us die-hard antiquers to admit to sometimes, but sometimes, certain antiques just don’t fit the bill. While talking to Cruella, we both surmised that her sister had her work cut out for her.

Image from Architectural Digest-Designer Barbara Barry

Afterwards, I thought about my own cottage house. We’ve lived in a few different styles of homes--a few of them we even owned. We currently live in a 1930’s cottage house that we’ve slowly been working on. So let’s see, I have some French pieces, a little bit of English; a few flea-market finds, and a tiny bit of IKEA. So if I had to tell someone my style I would be a little lost for words. If I could start all over like Crullea’s sister, I’d seriously consider it. Would the hubby let me? Definitely not!

This is my English dining room table that I stole from my inventory after I discovered we were heading to Charleston. The table is actually more for a breakfast room or large foyer (I have neither), and that’s how I, ineffectively, had tried to sell it. The table has always met my needs, and now I’m actually using it in my dining room. It’s small and I don’t plan on having a big Thanksgiving soiree any time in the near future!

The chairs need to be reupholstered!

This is my French daybed--after schlepping this around to an antique show after show and having people admiring it but never really wanting to pay for it, I decided to keep it for myself. The toile is vintage but one day I have high hopes to have it reupholstered! The mattress we got for it is quite hard, according to my mother-in-law, who tested it out when it was in our guest room.

Here’s my Federal style bench—this is a piece that I have schlepped around—Atlanta, Charleston, Nashville, et cetera, et cetera. I actually bought this as inventory (I got carried away one day at an auction one day) stole that from myself as well! In Charleston this was in my bedroom. I have high hopes of putting it in a foyer, and reupholstering it too, of course! It came with that fabric!

My French chair—I bought this actually for myself while out shopping with Cruella, and if I would not have bought it then Cruella would have. I couldn’t let that happen! When I bought it, it had a god-awful bird fabric. Nothing against birds, but it was awful! Cruella helped me pick out its current, red-checked, silk fabric which leads me to many more dilemmas. Hmmm: silk, three-year-old neighbors, dogs, and hubbies! Later!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dressing up the Foyer!

A foyer, to me, is something very foreign and luxurious--in our first home (hubby’s & mine) I had one--and the hubby and I ended up moving to the suburbs in order to get it. My buddy Susan has asked me what I think she should do with her huge, long, narrow foyer. She also mentioned that she would love a big huge hall tree--and by the way--she only has a wee bit of funding! No problem, I said. I’ve done miracles with next to nothing for one of my other clients (the hubby). So, in my buddy’s case, she has a long narrow foyer--I don’t have the exact measurement--but it’s big! She has one huge wall that’s asking for a huge piece of art, or a mirror. Art work can be very hard to find, especially when you’re looking for it--so I would say go for a mirror. I also suggested a long table, or she could do a bench – something to sit on while taking your shoes off. Or, she could also do the long table with stools, or small ottomans, underneath!

Following are a few examples of foyers that I had in my files that I’ve always admired.

The first one: if Susan had more of a square foyer, I would tell her to go for a nice skirted round table. I love that skirt, with the books and the Benjamin Franklin bust on top. Also, it appears they have a nice huge mirror, and that, of course, opens up the room. And, I love the chairs. Susan may ask why I even brought this one out of my files, but, if she does a long table, then she can do a symmetrical look with the some antique or vintage chairs--Susan is more of a traditional type girl.

Images from House Beautiful - Designer Tom Scheerer - Photograph by Christopher Baker

The second foyer is by Michael Smith. I’ve always loved this look--light and airy--and I love the silk curtains, but Susan doesn’t have a window in her foyer. I had better keep looking!

Image from Michael Smith's Elements of Style

Now we are getting closer–I love this foyer, and there is the art work that I’m talking about, along with the bench and a nice long runner.

Image from Traditional Home Designer's Mary Ames & Mark Ashby Photograph by John Granen

Here is a foyer just like my buddy’s--so she could do something similar. I’m not too crazy about the red mirror, but I’ll find her a good one! I do like glass lamps and if Susan chooses more traditional pieces, then the glass lamps are a great way to update her setting. So I will keep looking , but I do have a few ideas on what she can do, and a few places she can go, so she won’t have to mortgage her house to dress up her foyer!

Image from Domino Dec/Jan 2007 issue

I think we can squeeze Susan in a coat rack as well! And I'm going to tell Susan to cut some of her beautiful Hydrangeas; they will add a lot!

Yummm Blackberries!

Summer is indeed here--the lightning bugs are out, the mosquitoes are biting ( the Hubby and I have a few bites already) and the heat is starting to swelter! Yesterday, while driving home I saw a big sign that said Fresh Blackberries--Yummm! Good reason for me to turn my car around! I told the hubby earlier that we are going to enjoy summer even if it killed us, and that includes making a fresh baked cobbler. After all, it’s the weekend, and the perfect time to try this recipe. They said you could use any fresh berry that looked good to you, so I’m using blackberries.

2 lb. mixed berries
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
For the cobbler topping:
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely minced crystallized ginger
Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine the berries, lemon juice, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the cornstarch, cinnamon and ground ginger and toss to coat the berries evenly. Pour the berry mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly. To make the topping in a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda and pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Pour the egg mixture into the food processor and pulse just until the topping mixture holds together. Remove the blade from the food processor and stir in the crystallized ginger. To make the topping by hand, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Scatter the butter pieces over the top and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring and tossing with a fork until the topping mixture holds together. Stir in the crystallized ginger. Using a soup spoon, place dollops of the topping evenly over the berries, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered around the edge of the dish. Sprinkle the 3 Tbs. granulated sugar over the top. Place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the cobbler until the top is golden and the berry filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Using a large spoon or spatula, scoop out the cobbler onto individual plates. Accompany with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

Receipe and image from from Williams-Sonoma website- adapted from their book Williams-Sonoma Entertaining.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bathroom Visions Continued!

Last week I wrote about how the hubby and I are quite ready for a new bathroom, and if we don’t get one soon we may have to split! This past Sunday, while trying to garden and clean house at the same time, I noticed that one of my favorite bathrooms tear sheets was in my kitchen file. So here it is—another bathroom I would love to have, right down to the silver and the monogrammed towels.

I’ve also been lobbying for a claw-foot tub. Last year when we were remolding our downstairs bathroom I had wanted to yank out the disgusting tub, but to keep the price down (and knowing it would be hubby’s bathroom in the end), I kept it. I have done a little research on claw-foot tubs and I know that they can be quite expensive.

For me, I will probably go the route of getting one pulled out of an old, torn-down house. I know a guy in Atlanta who buys them from demo houses, and he better have a good one when I get ready for it or heads will roll. I was going to buy one from him last year but feared asking my in-laws to store it for us. That would have been bad, despite their 3 story house! The bad thing is, at one time, there was one in our 1930’ s house where we live in now. I cringe every time I walk into one of our neighbors’ open houses and see an original claw-foot tub still sitting there! Oh, in case you are looking for an old tub, let me know, and I’ll share.

All images from Southern Accents - Designers Nikki Baron & Wendy St. Laurent photograph by Carlos Domenech.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Charlotte York's Bedroom

Three and a half years ago I was on a huge mission to find Charlotte’s wallpaper from her bedroom in Sex and the City. After looking high and low and searching on the internet the only thing I could find were some pictures from HBO’s website. Her apartment happens to be one of my all time favorite set designs. You may say—who would not want a huge Park Avenue apartment. But trust me, it’s not about that. For me, it’s really about simple, clean, traditional elegance.

Images above from HBO

One of the reasons why I liked her bedroom so much is the fact that green and white is one of my favorite color combinations. Last fall, when I first started writing my blog I talked about the wallpaper, and what I ended up choosing for my own bedroom from Farrow & Ball. Just this past January I found some big white ginger jar lamps --just like the ones from Charlotte‘s old bedroom at Crate & Barrel (on major sales, I might add). I think I got the last two, and I love them in my own bedroom. For me, finding end tables was basically taking longer than it should and I was a little tired of setting my morning coffee on the floor, so I ended up picking up the lack table from IKEA. The chest I have is 1940’s English mahogany inlaid which is a throwback from my antiquing career—but now needs some repair work done-- something for my handyman Andy to work on. And just this past month, I spotted some slipper chairs in the Restoration Hardware’s summer 2008 “Clear the Decks” section. I did try to order them, but no such luck; however, I keep their Atlanta outlet number on speed dial! Will keep trying, though!

Image from the SanFrancisco Chronicle - 'Sex and the City 'And the Walk in Closet by Anh-Minh Le.

Yesterday, while at work with way too much time on my hands, I stumbled on this picture of Charlotte’s new bedroom, which I’ve been waiting to see for before the movie was even released. I found it while reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. It seems Charlotte has new wallpaper, bed, bedlines, bedside table, built in bookcases, a new chest, mirror and the lamps appear to me to be Foo dogs. I love it, and maybe by the time I finish off the old bedroom I can start this one! Lucky me, I do have a small head start—I have a nice antique piecrust table (that is now in my living room) that I can use as my bedside table.

In case you’re wondering, I’m a huge fan of the show. I loved the movie and I even took the hubby and he liked it as well! Trust me, he did, or I would have heard about it and he would have made me sit through Iron Man a second time. He did watch the series with me as well and liked it ---If I had to speculate -- he gets it! Plus, after all, he should know what his bedroom is going too transformed into. The End!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Hydrangeas!

Yeah, I’m so happy; I have blooms, yes blooms! Hubby and I planted seven hydrangeas last year- we planted a few Annabelle’s (they like a little more sun then other types), a few Endless Summer (they should bloom for me until fall), and a Lime light—he was on special. I had wanted to put in more but I figured I should probably wait to see how this crop did before I blew any more money. In our first house, I was not very successful with hydrangeas. But, this time, I was determined to get some blooms since they are my favorites! In the summer months, while driving home to Charleston on highway 17(one my favorite South Carolina Low-Country routes), I would always notice the beautiful Nikko Blue hydrangeas located near dilapidated houses loaded with big huge blooms just waiting for someone to cut them! A few times I even thought about pulling over and cutting a few, after all, the houses were abandoned—who would mind—but I always figured it was best to keep driving. Note, this is something that still puzzles me—why I had put some much work and effort into caring for my hydrangeas at our first house and never had one bloom, but here were these huge bushes, looking quite beautiful, and no one is around---harumph!.

The good news is, I now have my own and don’t have to think about thievery anymore. I have blooms on four of the seven shrubs. I planted last year–I guess you can’t have everything. However, I think I know why- they others ones are not blooming—our next-door neighbor Sandy’s house is blocking the sun and this puts me in a little bit of a quandary! Hydrangeas, after all, like their morning sun.

And for my lacecap –this was pink when I bought him-I have soil issues!

My neighbor's oak-leaf hydrangeas -which I admire from my porch!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer!

The first day of summer starts today, Saturday June 21, and my twelve-year-old basset hound, Rolle, and one-year-old chow mix, Ellie, are already refusing to go outside in the sweltering heat. The real dog days of summer are still ahead of us, and they are already complaining. Just last week, Ellie, quite the little fireball, refused to go jogging with me! I’m speculating, since she can’t speak, it’s because of the heat. After all, her ancestors came from the Himalayas.

Since we adopted her this past January, I have taken her with me on my morning jogs, so she is very familiar with my routine. Not to sound like a doting parent, but I’m certain the word ‘jog’ and ‘walk’ are in her vocabulary. She knows that a walk is something she does in the evening with her elderly 86 (in dog years) year-old brother, Rolle, and with her Dad—who considers Wii Sports a strenuous workout. Now, when I head out for my mid-morning run with my sunglasses, walkman and keys, she just looks at me and lays very content by the sofa.

After I return home, complaining to them about the scorching heat and how they are very lucky to be inside the nice, cool house, Rolle typically decides he’s ready for me to let him outside so he can catch some mid morning rays—he has always enjoyed sunbathing. This usually lasts for about five minutes, until he’s roasted, and then he demands for me to let him back into the house so he can cool down and repeat the whole process over & over & over again!

Rolle catching some rays on the Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Visions of a new Bathroom!

The hubby and I have one very small bathroom and now, since I have gone back into the work force, the hubby and I are in a bit of a predicament. Believe it or not, he has never liked to share a bathroom with me. In fact, we have only shared a bathroom once before in our married life and that was in Charleston, and just being able to live there for 20 months made it worth the sacrifice.

When we bought our current house, after seeing the attic, we had full intentions of adding a master suite with a master bathroom in its place. In fact, I wanted to blast out the attic before we even moved into the house. However, things didn’t necessarily go according to our plan—we had to pretty much gut the first floor (and only) bathroom, and that process itself took plenty of time, money, and sweat. Now, a year and five months later we still need a master suite and bathroom!

The truth is, the hubby and I are not big renovators. Yes we both like old houses and attempt to play the part of a renovator, and truthfully, I’m probably more of a renovator then he is! In fact, for Christmas this past year, my in-laws loaded us up with power tools—a circular saw, a jigsaw, and a Black and Decker Workmate. While hubby was opening his gifts (he was happy as a five-year-old getting his choo-choo), I was thinking to myself that he’s going to cut his hand off and blame me for making him do trim in the kitchen, and then there will be blood all over the place. So I told the hubby that we should return all the stuff back to the home improvement store and give the funds to my beloved carpenter—basically, someone who is skilled and crafted, and also would not cut his hand off. Hubby was quite proud of his tools and wanted no part of this scheme. This past January, after pleading with hubby to put the old swinging door up, he, amazingly, enough did not hurt himself.

Hubby is all for adding on a master suite and thinks it will be no sweat, as long as I play the part of the contractor—that way, he doesn’t have to do any of the work. He tries to persuade me with the old, ‘I’ll have more to decorate’ ploy. Whatever happens, I’ll be ready for our next bathroom and here’s what I have in mind!

All pictures from Design Inc.

I love this bathroom! Very fresh with a few traditional antiques.
I've aways loved Farrow & Ball St.Antoine wallpaper-one of my favorites!

For resources go to Design inc. "Danny's Bathroom"

Me and my Aesthetician!

Having lived in Nashville for almost three years, you would expect that I have certainly spotted a few celebrities here and there. One such sighting was none other than Nicole Kidman. I spotted her while I was ordering my low fat misto. After leaving Starbucks that particular morning, I was thinking about Nichole’s beautiful skin and how I wanted it! I was on my way to Atlanta for a little business, but, most importantly, I was scheduled to see my aesthetician. So I had a little time to ponder my observations and I was most certainly going to ask the aesthetician some questions at our appointment. I kept my aesthetician in Atlanta for many reasons, primarily cost! Personally speaking, I think Faith, Dolly, and Gretchen drive up the prices around here. Secondly, I want someone whom I can trust to not burn my face off after a chemical peel. And third, my aesthetician in Atlanta liked to barter services- they know I decorate!

After my meeting, I called my other beauty adviser, my best friend Susan. Susan is always up to date on the latest skincare products, cosmetics, perfume, lotion , eye cream, suntan screen, etc…..When we were children, she was always whipping up special concoctions. As a teenager she never had one pimple to speak of . By trade she is a nurse, but personally, I think she should have been a chemist or a dermatologist or Este—as in Lauder! One day she sent me on an errand to Atlanta to hit Niemen Marcus to fetch some perfume samples of some very expensive perfume that I had never heard of before so she could try it before she ordered it. Anyway, as children in the seventies, in the summer months after playing Charlie’s Angles we would often sunbathe! I currently have a birthday coming up and Susan just last week sent me an e-mail saying I should treat myself to a nice facial, and reminded me of all the sunbathing we did as children. If she only knew that I went out of the house just last week for my morning jog without sunscreen --she would die!

La Roche-Posay

Now, no longer able to high-tail it to Atlanta, I have since discovered a trustworthy and affordable aesthetician here in Nashville--no financial statements needed! This past January , she recommended La Roche-Posay (a French company) eye cream and I have been very happy with it thus far. Also, today while I was meeting with her to pick-up some more eye cream she told me that the La Roche SPF 40 sunscreen that will be hitting the U.S. market soon. The best part about LA Roche products is that they are budget friendly and they work. The reason, the aesthetician said, it was so budget friendly was because the French refuse to pay a lot for their products, and when they do spend their Euros that the product must work-- and that I can believe!!! Also, she shared with me that L’Oreal has bought the company so my speculation is you won’t have trouble finding it. Just remember to wear your sunscreen!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Orleans & A Few Georgia Peaches

Receipe & image Courtesy of Williams -Sonoma

While having New Orleans on my mind here lately and with it being Peach season,-- I thought that this receipe for Peaches Foster looked worth trying! The receipe is an adaption of Bananas Foster, which is a staple at Commander's Palace & Brennan's in the Crescent City.

1/3 cup dark rum
1/2 cup golden raisins
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
4 fresh mint sprigs

In a small bowl, pour the rum over the raisins and let stand until plump, about 30 minutes. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the peaches. Cook, stirring gently so as not to break up the slices, until tender, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and stir in the raisins and rum. Heat until the rum is very fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, carefully tilt the pan, and ignite the rum with a long match. The flames will subside in about 15 seconds. Scoop the vanilla ice cream into 4 individual bowls. Ladle the peaches and rum sauce over the ice cream. Garnish each serving with some of the almonds and a mint sprig. Serve immediately. Serves 4. Receipe from Williams-Sonoma 's website.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Little Summer Reading!

Yesterday, I finally had some time to myself and was able to do one of my favorite things—hang out in the bookstore for several hours on end and catch up on my reading. I had in my hands all the latest decorating magazines (just the ones that I don’t subscribe to), a few of the latest decorating books (the ones that I refuse to order from Amazon until I’ve previewed them first), and finally a few chick-magazines thrown in for good measure. The barista could barely see my face so that I could order my coffee of the day with skin milk and my chocolate chip cookie.

One story that really caught my eye is in this month’s current issues of Vogue , “A City, a Man, a House”, by Julia Reed's whose stories I always enjoy. I myself am married to a New Orleanean, and I have a very good friend who is too, and she even moved there after her wedding so she and her husband could start their lives together. They opened an antiques store on Magazine Street, and I absolutely loved the house they bought together on Louisiana Avenue! My brother-in-law still lives there, and probably always will! He has his own band, and he plays in a few others. Strangely enough, the hubby and I seem to live vicariously through him, and he doesn’t even have a checking account!

My good friend's first house on Louisiana Avenue

Most importantly though, while reading Reed’s story, it made me think of my good friend, and everything she and her husband and two small children went through with their own dream home. At one time, in our early years when the hubby was trying to decide on which graduate school he wanted to attend-- we ourselves had high hopes of moving to New Orleans. I had vision of living in the garden district; after all, hubby would need to be close to Tulane. I had visions of living in one of those incredible old mansions on St.Charles Avenue—just like the ones my brother-in-law with no checking account always seems to have. He rents but that’s OK—I would too, just to be able to live in one. I had visions of us cooking red beans and rice every Monday, and basically eating our way through the city while enjoying the mysterious oak tree-lined boulevard. Unfortunately, he chose a different graduate school, but I still have those visions!!!

The House on First Street

I am adding The House on First Street to my summer reading list. I did purchase the Vogue so I could share the article with my New Orleanean hubby and my girlfriend, who like many, left New Orleans due to Katrina and its aftermath. The End!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bassett Hounds & Coffee Tables!

I desperately need a coffee table—actually, what I’m looking for are pair of tables like the ones I’ve posted below; they are small and can easily be moved around. I‘ve put my good friend Cruella on the little task of helping me locate the tables, and if anyone can find them she can. For my current living room, I think these will work best! I do have a glass coffee table; however, it’s huge and is now up in my attic since my current living room is the size of a shoebox.

Picture from Martha Stewart Living

This huge, thick, heavy coffee table has also proven to be a safety hazard. A few years back, my beloved basset hound, on one particular evening, bumped his head underneath it while trying to get to his mommy and daddy’s gouda cheese. We got the table shortly after we got the dog, so he grew up with this table. He would often hang out underneath it—because he knew his mommy & daddy often used it as their dinner table. He had bumped his head several times before. However, this particular summer evening when he bumped his little head it was not good. He immediately ran to me and I knew something was terribly wrong after looking at him.

The hubby and I immediately rushed him to the emergency room, and we met with an ophthalmologist the following day and she told me he had glaucoma in his left eye, and that it was probably the blunt trauma that caused it. She said it’s was like a huge migraine headache and she gave us some options on what we could do to help him. Giving him eye drops proved to be futile, and in the end, and several thousand dollars later, we decided it was best to remove his eye. Looking back, I think I was more distraught than the dog, and I am pleased to report that Rolle the basset hound is still the same talkative, inquisitive, up-to-mischief hound dog as before. In fact just the other night while attending an outdoors summer Jazz concert (yes, dogs were welcomed) he was going after the fried chicken, just like old times.

Rolle still the cutest kid in the neighborhood !

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So Long Kate!

Cira 2001 Kate Spade

Last fall, when I first started writing this blog, I talked a little about my circa-2001 Kate Spade wicker purse, and how I was still carrying it around—way, way, way beyond the hot summer months—not too fashionable, I know! However, there are many reasons why I‘m too lazy to change my purse for each season and I will not even attempt to bore you with them now. This summer, I finally decided it was time for a much-needed change! I wanted a purse that met my many needs. It had to look cool and summer-y, and go with everything that I wear in this heat. I had to be able to carry it every day and get my entire life into it —big hair brush, cell phone, makeup, bills, calculator, and a day-timer that I have had much longer then I care to admit. Yes, I still have a day timer, and I’m not ‘upgrading’, I really don’t need the Blackberry that the hubby has been trying to push on me lately- I much prefer to look at my pretty lizard-skin organizer.

Preparing for my upcoming purse splurge, I popped into the Coach store. I do pop into the Coach Store from time to time –however, it has been a very long time since I bought a coach purse. I just recently sold a couple at a yard sale, and the lady who bought them was ecstatic. I have one left, it’s one that the hubby bought me way back when for an anniversary present after he interrogated me for a month on why I needed a five hundred dollar purse. Note, strangely enough, price never seems to be the issue when it happens to be something he thinks I need, like a Blackberry or iPod. I personally think this is so he can conveniently use these gifts at his leisure. One birthday, he gave me a fancy hi-tech coffee machine.

When I was in the Coach Store, about a month or so ago, the Madeline purse really caught my eye. I love all the colors and it’s big enough to get my entire life into. It’s nice, leather, carryall tote. In the end, I chose the buckskin color!! Now when fall arrives, perhaps I won’t look to too unfashionable until I have to start this whole process over.

"Madeline" leather tote by Coach

Friday, June 6, 2008

Birds Of A Feather Continued!

Image from Midwest Home

The other day I was looking around Dash & Albert's website for a rug and I came across this room. In April, I wrote a post "Birds Of A Feather" and I wish I would have seen this room prior to the post --it would have been perfect! I know this is one for my files--you wait and see--one day I will doing a bird-inspired room.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Sweet Potato Vine

The Sweet Potato Vine

This morning, I was out chasing our extremely hyperactive dog Ellie around our yard, while in a dress much too short, heels that were already hurting my feet, with wet hair, no makeup on what so ever, dripping with sweat, while screaming and begging her to get in the house before the yard guys came and frightened her with their gigantic riding lawnmower. The yard guys did finally arrive, whom I might also add were very late—way past the time I told them to be there. I had spent last Sunday trying to cut the entire yard with a weed whacker. Anyway, this caused ‘Rosie’, who is me, to be extremely behind schedule. Note—Rosie is the robot maid from the cartoon The Jetson’s, and consequently is also my nickname!

Anyway, during all the commotion I did happen to notice that my sweet potato vine looked fabulous! I had seen the sweet potato vine a few years ago while out jogging and admiring everyone else’s plants in our neighborhood. My mother-in-law, like me, is a dabbler in the garden department too. Last summer, we were out for a casual drive, and we noticed some beautiful flower boxes. She pointed to the cascading chartreuse vine and said that she had just read that the vines were sweet potato vines. I asked her about them, but she said that she had just read about them recently, and didn’t know much more about them. I took note, and tried them this spring in my own urns and flower boxes. Thus far, the vine looks great!

Images from Martha Stewart Living

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer Entertaining!

My good buddy Susan sent me a picture of some outdoor drinking glasses that she liked, and was wondering where she could find them. Having my mind on rugs, closets, ceilings, lighting, floors, and gardening, I did not have too much time to think about outdoor entertaining! This was two months ago. Susan is always prepared and organized, unlike myself, who procrastinates, and she has a four year old. The weather here in Nashville is very unpredictable--as I said earlier you can have all four seasons in one day. The two-plus years we’ve been here I’ve learned not to even think about outdoor entertaining until mid June. At any rate, I hope this helps a little with your outdoor summer entertaining.

Image from Martha Stewart Living

If you would like to use something other than acrylic for your outdoor glasses, and you are afraid your good stemware will break--a little tip --pop into your neighborhood thrift stores, and when you see miscellaneous crystal wine glasses for a dollar or two, pick them up for your outdoor collection. If one breaks--no big deal. For your tea and lemonade, try serving in small individual canning jars.

I know I’m in need of some outdoor games, and these old fashion horse shoes are something that caught my eye. We live on a corner lot and we seem to have a lot of neighbors stop by just to say hi when they see us outside. So I was thinking this could be fun way to mingle and enjoy being outdoors.

If you want to do a BBQ theme, I personally think these gingham plates from Pottery Barn are perfect. They scream BBQ! Plus they are steel so you don’t have to worry about breakage and they come in different colors--I like the green too. I am waiting until they go on sale and then I will grab some.

For your corn you can try individual corn plates. I just picked some up in white at the William-Sonoma outlet store in Dawsonville, Ga, and they ship! The nice thing about the white plates are that they go with everything. I have not seen the white corn plates anywhere else other than the outlet store. If you are looking for something vintage-inspired try these earthenware ones from Williams-Sonoma.

What’s a BBQ without cobbler?! I was just in Atlanta at Crate & Barrel and I picked up a few of these ceramic bakeware pieces. One is for my neighbor, Sandy, a small gift for watching our house while we were away. I think these are perfect for your 4th of July blueberry, apple, or peach, cobbler. A great color blue, and at that price you can make a cobbler for your neighbor and leave the dish.

And last but not least, something for the kids, how about these cute ice cream bowls for all the ice cream Sundays you will be making!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dogs & Rugs


If you have read at least one of my blogs you would know the hubby and I have two lovely dogs—Rolle the twelve-year-old one-eyed basset hound, and Ellie the one-year-old chow mix whom we just adopted this past year. Ellie is named after the street we live on --Elkins Ave. which is where I found her just before the holidays. Anyway, this spring I have been very busy looking for rugs, and this is never an easy task for me due to the two of family members that. I just mentioned. By having all wood floors in our cottage house, rugs are needed to ground the rooms and to cover all floors. Consequently, it has been my experience in the last twelve years that rugs and dogs don’t exactly mix well, especially sisal rugs! So there is a limit to how much I willing to spend on a rug.

The hubby and I have had Rolle since he was six weeks old, and I am very familiar with his relationship with rugs and his sleeping ritual in our house. Rolle starts his early morning nap on his old Ralph Lauren blanket, which now his sister Ellie is pulling all the stuffing out of. His mid-morning nap is taken on our new living room rug. For his mid-late-morning nap he is still content in the living room on our new rug. By late morning he’s ready for the mudroom to try our new chocolate rug (I bought it for twenty bucks at Target) and hopefully his sister Ellie has not dragged it through the doggy door and out into our muddy yard (Ellie spends most of her day outside). Twenty minutes later Rolle is annoyed with his sister and he is ready to come back in the house for his early afternoon nap. It’s back to the living room to snooze on our new rug. On rare occasion, Rolle will join me in the office but very rarely because it still needs a rug! Before Rolle takes any nap, he has to prep his space and this involves scratching the area several times. My mother-in-law gladly brought this to my attention one day last year (as if all these years I did not know) after she had the pleasure of babysitting him that he scraped her 2x3 garage door floor mat and she was not very happy about it. Maybe now she knows why I’ve always seem to be light in the rug department as she has often pointed out to me! By ten o’clock it’s nighty-night time, and Rolle’s heads back to his Ralph Lauren comforter but not for very long! Beginning early morning, he instinctively knows it’s time to make his rounds, and the whole process starts again.

Two rugs that I have had my eyes on -The first one is from Dash & Albert

Brown/taupe Tattersall Rug - It's Reversible!

The other rug is from Williams -Sonoma Home

Nautical Stripe Rug

Ellie and Rolle will be most appreciative!

They usually take about 3 weeks to destroy a new rug. The End!

P.S. I wonder if Dash & Albert need two more spokesmodels.