Sunday, July 31, 2011

i'M so 2011

Today was a big day. I traded in my ancient, 1999-ish flip-phone for an iPhone! And I LOVE it. I was always one of those people who said "I don't need that, I won't use that, blah, blah, blah..." Well, there's just no looking back now!

I'm still trying to figure some things out with it, and I know I need a case and a screen protector (at the recommendation of my husband who has already had one for some time now). I already browsed Plum Street Prints on Etsy and found this:

Not sure if I'll go this route or not, but I thought this was so cool.

So my question to any iPhone users...what sort of apps do you use the most on your iPhone? What sort of design apps might I really enjoy? I'm assuming I'll be able to get Pinterest on this, and be able to pin?

Man, this is such a wild wild technology world we are in's pretty amazing isn't it?

Hope you had a wonderful weekend - can't believe tomorrow is August already!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Have you seen the photography of Barry Dukoff featured in the most recent Better Homes & Gardens? It's AMAZING. So amazing I had to check out more of his work.

All photos are from Barry Dukoff's website. The first two images are the ones featured in the first home spread in BHG this month.

Beautiful! Here are some more of my favorites...

Any of these would be beautiful in a living room, dining room, or entry way. Talk about a conversation piece!

There are many more beautiful photographs on Barry Dukoff's website.

Which is your favorite?

In other news...I'm officially signed up for my first interior design class and I couldn't be more ecstatic! The first class is a layout and design class and the second is a color theory class. I've enrolled in the first two and will determine from there whether to continue, but for now I'm really excited about learning more about design and getting started with class. I know I'll have lots to recap and to share with you.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Basement Bathroom

I've written about the half bath in our basement here and there, but I do have some progress to report. There are some positives and some negatives to the bathroom. To show you some of the negatives, let's take a look at some before pictures.

May I introduce...ugly dark laminate and green sinked vanity.

The positives to this? I'm really digging the brick and the mirror is really cool (and has storage behind it). What do you think of the lighting? I was all about switching it out, but I think I might live with it for a little and see how it goes.

Here is that same area today...bringing in the white pedestal sink makes such a difference (and bonus points because we held onto this sink in the hopes of reusing it again when the full bath was renovated)

Whoa, bright lights. Need to do something about that.

I'm thinking I may need to do a skirt around the sink just so it doesn't look so bare. Those pea green tile floors are something, aren't they?

I wasn't going to show this picture, but you need to see the ugliness that we put up with for way too long. I'm SOOOOO glad that it's gone....ew...

The former owners really did a lovely job of matching the toilet to the tile.

Hello pretty white toilet...did I really just use pretty and toilet together?

Another feature to this space, this awesome striped wallpaper/contact paper, which is getting primed and will be painted a yet to be determined color.

Was this cool back in the day?

What route am I going with the changes? My inspiration for this bathroom is this towel that I got at Home Goods. I thought the blue/green was pretty and would compliment the brick well.

What do you think? See any potential in this bathroom?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Curtains in the House

My daughter's room was curtain-less for way too long. I finally made the decision that we needed to have some curtains installed ASAP.

Her room is painted a bright green, so I knew I wanted something to soften the bold color we chose for the room. I also knew I wanted something very pretty to girly up the room (we didn't know what we were having before I delivered so the nursery was neutral).

I started browsing around and came across this Braemore fabric. It's Braemore Conservatory in Fuschia.

I had found a few other fabrics that I liked, but I kept coming back to this one. I loved that it would add some pink to the room, but it also has a bit of the green too. I also loved the geometric pattern.

Then I made the decision to have Erin from Plush Studio make the curtains for me (since I can't sew but will be learning how hopefully by the end of the year).

Well, can I tell you how excited I was when I saw a box waiting for me on the front porch last week? Can I tell you how BEAUTIFUL these curtains are in person? They are my new favorite thing in our house (besides the toilet in the basement bath but that's for another post). Take a look at the installation...

And if I wanted to be really dramatic I would have had a before photo for you, but I don't and I'm sorry because I you would love going back and forth between the two photos to see what these curtains add to the room. I'll say it again...they are amazing. And I love that these curtains could also grow with my daughter as well.

Another big shout out to Erin for the amazing job that she did on these. If you are interested in checking out Erin's work you can browse her Etsy shop here.

Isn't it amazing what curtains can do for a room? If there is a room that you have contemplated adding curtains to, do it! You won't regret it.

Do you have any rooms that are begging for some curtain love?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quick Project

Remember the little spoof I posted the other day about what I was going to do with this?

Navy rattail cord bought at Joann Fabric for $1.58

It's pretty easy and may not be that exciting to some people, but I love that I went from this (boring!):

To this...(lighting is horrible but I swear it really does look good)

It's such a simple and easy update, but doesn't it add a bit of sophistocation and not to mention color to an otherwise plain white lamp shade?  I had seen ribbon used on a lamp shade before, but I liked the rattail cord for a sleeker look.

This shade is on one of a pair of lamps that are currently in our living room, but will be moving to the master once I find new lamps for the living room.  I've pretty much been stalking Home Goods for some lamps but haven't had much luck recently.  Do you have any other hot spots for good lamps at affordable prices?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Retro Summer Chic

I finished creating my very first inspiration board and it feels good to have one under my belt.  I'm really excited to show you a few elements from the board.

I had the retro summer concept in my head and then it evolved into retro summer chic.  

I had the idea of a sunroom type of space that gets loads of natural light including some double french doors leading to a patio.  I envisioned a young family in this space or a young city woman.

The chair below is part of the inspiration behind the room.  It's actually a slip-covered IKEA Tullsta chair.  It looks red in this picture but it's really orange.  The stripes are what got me on this - love them.

Then I found this print on Etsy and thought it had a vintage feel and would be perfect for the room.  

Etsy Seller vintagebytheshore

And fabrics...oh fabrics...I couldn't resist having some Schumacher Hot House Flowers in the room.  My thinking was that these would be curtains.

And this pendent has that retro feel that would be perfect...

What do you think so far?  Is this a room that would appeal to you?

Have a great weekend!  It's been hitting three digits here in PA so I plan on staying in the air conditioning!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Guessing Game

I'm working on a few different projects right now, so in an effort to save a little time I have a quick post for today...

Any guesses what I'm going to do with this...????  It's not super exciting but it will give me the look I'm going for and I'm pretty excited about the result.

**If you're wondering, "mmm...what the heck is it?"  It's rattail cord that I got at Joann Fabric for $1.58.

And I was really hoping to be done with painting the dining room chairs I picked up a few weeks ago, but I wasn't really happy with the paint I was using on the chairs so I went to pick-up some better new paint today for them.  Hope to have an update soon.

Speaking of chairs, Suzy from Saved By Suzy is hosting a link party today for any of your painted furniture projects (or any house projects for that matter).  If you have anything you want to share check out Suzy's blog.  She does some great furniture makeovers as well as other fun projects around her home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They've Got Skills

It's that time to applaud some seriously awesome projects and give the project owner props for a job well done.

First up, Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling and her awesome laundry room update.  If you haven't seen or had a chance to check out Elizabeth's recent laundry room renovation, you need to check it out (and her blog too because she is one creative gal).  I've learned so much just from reading Elizabeth's blog - take a minute, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy her talent.

Photo courtesy of The Mustard Ceiling
 That detail on the wall in green is all hand-stenciled.  That's right, Elizabeth stenciled that one square at a time.  God bless you Elizabeth.  She even gives some great tips if you decide to stencil one day.  I would love to try it but I just don't know that I have the patience.  Doesn't this make you want to have a pretty looking laundry room to whistle while you work?!

And the second Mad Skills/Creative Cat big-time props goes to Carmel from Our Fifth House.  She got super creative and made this potting station/outdoor awesomeness multi-functional table.

Photo courtesy of Our Fifth House
How cool is this?  You have to check out Carmel's full post on what items she re-purposed for this table.  It is quite the creative effort.  If you like Carmel's potting station table of awesomeness, then you won't be disappointed by the rest of her projects she's got on her blog and her beautiful home to boot.

Thanks to Elizabeth and Carmel for allowing me to feature their creative efforts.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Curb Appeal Update

Our to-do list is sooooooo long, but I always feel like I keep the curb appeal aspect at the top of the list.  It's the first thing that you see as you approach our home and I just like to have it look nice, but it takes some hard work.  Here's the running list:

     - Paint front door (happening soon - next week hopefully)
     - Polish hardware on front door (when I have the energy to scrub and scrub and scrub until there's no tomorrow)
     - Install new shutters  (also hopefully happening next week)
     - Paint the railing on the front porch (when we get around to it - but our neighbors is freshly painted and looks like lipgloss and ours looks like a chalkboard - not curb appeal friendly)

First off, our door still isn't painted.  Uh.  It'll get done eventually but it's one of those things you just want done.  We did decide, after painting a large sample on poster board, to go with June Day which is a Sherwin Williams color.  I think it's really going to look great with the brick.

Have you ever polished brass?  There's a reason it's called brASS.  It takes some major elbow grease.  Here is what our door knocker looks like now...

Isn't she half pretty and shiny?  Does it scream "Holly you have ADD!"?  This screams to me "Holly get your butt in gear and polish the heck out of that thing - get 'er done!"  Okay, that is the pep talk I needed.  But seriously, if anyone has brass polish recommendations, I'm all ears.  I've been using Brasso and have also tried Maas.  They're okay, but I want some instant gratification here.  I want it to look brand spanking new - like this:

Good work Mom or should I say Super Woman?
And just a side note, this letters slot will not actually be functional but will just look pretty on the door.

I don't have any pictures of the shutters or the railing.  They're not horrible, but it will look really nice when the updates are complete.  I'll try to take some before and afters so I can show the complete update.

Lastly, if it weren't for these beauties that are doing so well in the front, we'd be next on John Gidding's list (do you watch Curb Appeal:  The Block on HGTV? They do some amazing amazing updates.)  These are the planters that I had shown you here.  

Okay, so that's the word on our curb appeal updates.  Hoping to have some more updates next week (think: painted door, painted door).

And, in other news, the curtains for my daughter's room arrived today and I am in love with them!  They are beautiful and the construction is perfect.  Erin from Plush Studio does amazing work.  I can't wait to show you.  Once they are installed I'll show you her entire nursery (is it still a nursery if a child is approaching a year old?  when is it not a nursery anymore?).

What sort of curb appeal/outdoor projects do you have going on?  Any big outdoor projects on the to-do list for the fall?  I LOVE fall.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Etsy Art Find

I stumbled upon this piece of artwork on Etsy and immediately hit the button to add it to my favorites.   I couldn't get enough of the colors and the detail...and the color!  I would love to see what it looks like in person.  I can't keep myself from obsessing over staring at it each time I'm on Etsy.  Take a look and see if you agree...I think it would be the perfect piece for a sunroom or a sitting area.

Etsy seller calamaristudio

Let's imagine...

I would use the piece of artwork above as inspiration.  And I would add a pillow or two in this fun pattern...

Perhaps in a spot like this... via Holly G on Pinterest

Or like this...

Please tell me that your Etsy favorites are overflowing like mine are?  I've bought a few pieces of art from Etsy and have been really pleased every time.  I'd love to hear about your favorite artists that you've found on Etsy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick Art Project

I wanted to show you a quick art project I just completed.

As our living room is starting to come together, I've been browsing more and more pieces of unique artwork to add to the room.  Of course I've turned to Etsy for a lot of inspiration, but I figured I could probably whip something up that would be a personal touch, meaningful, and easy on the wallet.

Not only is the piece meaningful to our family, but it also cost me under $2.00 to make.  You can't beat that now, can you?  So look what I whipped up...

(Sweet reflection of me in the photo, huh? Darn reflection)  The scrapbook paper I picked up at Michael's (and it was all 40% off - cha-ching!) and I already had the frame on hand.  I'm not sure if I'm loving it in the gold frame, so I might change it out into a white frame.

I did a similar piece for my daughter's room that I'll show in another post.  The one in her room is different but same sort of concept.

Got any quick and easy art projects brewing?

To-do list for the weekend...hopefully sanding, priming, and painting my chairs and bench.  That is really an aggressive list but here's hoping I can get it done.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I wish this post was really about me getting my act in know, getting to the gym, running a few miles in the morning...but it's not.

Did you watch the first episode of the new season of Design Star Monday night?  It is jam packed with HGTV faves as judges...Candice, Genevieve, Vern, and co-host/mentor David Bromstad.

What did you think??  Who are your initial favorites??  And I guess I should throw in - do you even like the show?  I DO!!  I'm pulling for two of the ladies so far...Leslie and Meg (love her designs that you can see here that got her to the show - that first photo of the dining room...LOVE those chairs).  But I do like Karl too who they deemed the "winner" of the first challenge.

The main challenge this episode was to pair up with another designer, and together they had to marry their styles and design a room within their living quarters.  Not an easy task...

Leslie helped design this great room which I think turned out so well.  That coffee table is made of tires - how cool is that?


And Meg helped to design this bedroom.  I was hesitant about the purple but it turned out well.


Karl worked with Kellie to create this bedroom.   Karl got kudos from the judges for his tree-like painting details on the wall at the right in the photo below.  This room turned out really well.  And they even had a little nook that they had to work with that ended up looking so cozy.



So now you're probably wondering, I still don't get what this recap or these photos have to do with exercise.  Well, before the designers paired up, their initial challenge was to define their personal style in 30 seconds (basically a little practice if they were to win and get their own show).  Some handled the challenge really well, and some completely froze (I would have completely frozen!).  But this got me would I define my personal style?  This is quite the exercise people - let me tell you.  I thought about this A LOT.  And I think this is something that sort of evolves and gets tweaked over time, but here's what I came up with...

Every design starts somewhere, a piece of art, a fabric, or an object that you are drawn to - I want to use your inspiration to create a space that you love.  I will help to find balance between old, new, and existing pieces that together will bring a space together.  I want to help you enjoy your space and be happy with what surrounds you.

So there you have it folks...I'm a little bit old, a little bit new, and a little bit right here right now.  Will this change for me?  Probably, but it's a work in progress.

What is your personal style?  How has it evolved?  
And what do you think of Design Star so far??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thrifting Day = FUN

I <3 Thrifting Day was a success in Philly ('burbs that is)!  We had an absolute blast and I'm so glad I was able to make it.  Thanks so much to Diane from In My Own Style for organizing our group and doing a mighty fine job at that (you rock Diane!).  Other bloggers joining us were The Magic That is...Thrift, Madigan Made, and Sporks and Stuff.  And because I'm the worst at taking pictures, please keep an eye out at Diane's blog for lots of photos from the day.

Here are my big finds from the day...chairs for our dining area!!

Grand total for all three chairs...drumroll please...$39.00!  The two matching chairs were $24.00 at 2nd Avenue Value Store.  And the arm chair was $15.00 at Impact Thrift Store.

Now for the paint...decisions decisions.  I have decided that I'm going to paint all three chairs and the bench the same color.  It will just take me forever to decide on a color.  I'm thinking a dark, rich blue - suggestions on a color welcomed!  I'm also going to recover the seat of the arm chair.  You probably can't tell from the picture but there is a pretty sweet vinyl protective covering over the seat right now.

What a day...we all had such a different perspective on our thrift finds, which is what made the day so much fun.  I think at one point I stopped asking people "what do you think you'll do with that?" because I knew they would make it into something spectacular that I'll just have to wait to see.   And we even have some potential spots lined up for our next thrifting event - I can't wait!   The day wouldn't be complete without a little lunch and chit-chat, goodie bags, storytelling, technology tips, and one last thrifting stop at Salvation Army.

Make sure to check out In My Own Style, Madigan Made, Sporks and Stuff, and The Magic That is...Thrift for all of the day's finds.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Painting Furniture

I've been debating and debating and debating whether to paint the bench I picked up on Craig's List this past winter.  Remember the bench?  Classic Windsor but I thought the lines on it were different and that's what originally drew me to the bench.

I love it and we've been using it every night for meals.   I sit on the bench and my daughter sits in her high chair, and if my hubby is home from work yet he sits next to me on the bench.   I still haven't gotten any chairs yet (but hope to scoop something up this weekend at the I <3 Thrifting event) or pillows for that matter.

So long story short, to paint or not to paint?  I'm really leaning toward painting it - I think it would make me really happy and would be a fun project.  Of course, I went to Pinterest for some more inspiration photos...

I could relax in this room.

I love this more contemporary but relaxed look for the dining area.   And I love the plates displayed above the upholstered bench.

So what do you think?  Would you paint the bench or leave it be?  Are you working on painting any furniture these days?

I'm so excited too - I've signed up for my first blog workshop which will take place in a few weeks.  Thanks to Diane from InMyOwnStyle for letting me know about this event.  If you are in the Philadelphia area and interested in attending, let me know and I can send you the info.  

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

With the Staple Gun; In the Living Room (DIY Cornice, Part 2)

Remember the board game Clue?  Yes, there was a massacre in my living room tonight and it involved the cornice.  It's all complete and I'm pretty happy with it, but it's not pretty (but who will ever know?).   Check out the back of the cornice first...

Hence, the massacre...after I happily started stapling away, the staples started coming out a little bit from the foam board.  No need to panic, right?  Bring in the duct tape!  I placed duct tape along the staples to keep them in place (hopefully - I'll let you know in a week if we're still ok).

So now for the reveal (not yet installed - I need to get hooks)...

It's not perfect, but it works (I hope) and it's the look that I wanted.  I tried to keep the fabric symmetrical when pulling and stapling but it's a smidge off (hopefully no one will ever notice).

Hopefully I'll get those hooks and do the install later this week - stay tuned!

Thanks to everyone for your sweet comments and feedback on this project.  A few of you have done this project too so I was excited to get some tips.  There are so many various ways you can do this project.  This was a first for me, so I'm glad it turned out fairly well.  Here's to another cornice in my future.

Anyone working on any fun DIY projects that you have never done before?  It's fun to try new things out - you definitely learn a thing or two.  

Have a great day!