Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Be My Guest--The Tartan Room

 The Tartan Room was originally going to be my mother's room.
A tiny little room, but with its own bathroom and very private, it would have been perfect for her.
Unfortunately, she never even got to see it as she passed while it was just studs and only a vision in my head.

This room is so tiny, only a full size bed fits, so I wanted the bed to be the focal point.
I chose this blue and green tartan bed from Ballard Designs.  The fabric is a Suzanne Kasler print and I love the detail of the white grosgrain studded ribbon.

A blue and white stripe duvet cover and white shams let the plaid take center stage.
This room could also be called the "Nautical Room" with the ship paintings and anchor pillowcases. 

My new love of blue and white porcelain is finding a place in this room too with a pair of Ralph Lauren lamps.  They're too short, so I used books to elevate them.

 The ensuite bathroom is super tiny so I kept it clean and simple.
It also has the only bathtub in the house.  I gussied it up with a marble surround which matches the sink.

I used every bit of that marble slab!

 This area went through the biggest change in the house.  Originally, there was a door to the outside where one of the windows are now and the only entrance to the room was from the family room.
Not an ideal set up. 

The doors to the outside and family room were closed up.
 Now the entrance to the room is at the bottom of the stairs, creating a private suite.
 The architect wanted a closet on the right side of the little hallway, but I opted to put an armoire here instead. 

There's no room for a dresser, so the bedside tables stand in with four drawers of storage available.

Our granddaughters love sleeping here when they visit because they get to watch cartoons in bed when they wake up!
I repurposed a sofa table to anchor the television and provide more storage. 

The botanical prints on either wide of the bed were my grandmother's.
 I kept the walls white, but am so tempted to paint or wallpaper one wall!

I think instead of wallpaper or paint though, I may end up with drapes on either side of the windows in the matching Suzanne Kastler plaid. 

 That same fabric could also replace the toile fabric in the armoire.
There will be no question then about this being the Tartan Room!

Oscar definitely likes the Tartan Room, and sometimes when I can't find the kitty, she is in here curled up on the blanket, asleep.
I have a confession.
I love sleeping in here too!

Upholstered bed:  Ballard Designs 
Bedside tables:  Pottery Barn
Sheets and shams:  Pottery Barn
Duvet cover:  Ikea
Pillow cases:  Ralph Lauren
Blanket:  Ralph Lauren
Lamps:  Ralph Lauren
Window coverings:  Presidio Classics

I'm linking up to Savvy Southern Style

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

My Turquoise Obsession

I found my first piece of turquoise jewelry many years ago in Santa Fe.
Actually, make that my first three pieces!
Mr. A bought a necklace and two cuffs for my birthday, which I wore to death!

 I'm always hunting for turquoise!  I've found treasures in antique stores as well as resell shops, pawn stores, and online.
Believe it or not, I found this cuff on vacation last year, on the east coast.
I love the copper veins running through the stone.

This Zuni cuff was a flea market find.

 In my opinion, the best place to buy turquoise is in New Mexico.
This cuff came from the Taos Pueblo.

Santa Fe is my favorite place to hunt for turquoise.
The further away from the central square, the better the price!
I found this cuff on my last visit.  The stone is Royston turquoise, mined in Nevada.
I love the green and brown color and prefer it to bright blue turquoise.

I'm always looking for an unusual piece, like the cuff above.  That's a real silver dollar, circa 1885, signed by the artist who made it.  I fell in love with it, but realize it's not for everyone.  Mr. A says it looks like I should wear it to Las Vegas!
I don't care, I love it!

My most prized piece though is this vintage Zuni "petit-point" squash blossom necklace.
They don't make them like this anymore.  It is from the 40's and reflects the craftsmanship that is long gone.

 I love to wear it with a black sweater for a simple, elegant look.

Mixing turquoise with stones like white turquoise and even black onyx together keeps things more interesting.  I also like to wear multiple cuffs, instead of just one.

My idea of turquoise heaven!
A store in Utah had a fabulous collection of cuffs.
I'm in love with the Zuni bracelets on the left.  Such a nice collection!
Which one would you choose?

  We love to discover new sources of turquoise when we travel.
This little store is in the Taos Pueblo.
As you can see Mr A is in full New Mexico mode with the hat!
He even bought a turquoise ring and silver cuff for himself!

 Besides wearing turquoise, I love to see my collection all displayed together.
In the bathroom, I've gathered cuffs and rings in a glass display case.

 Necklaces, earrings and a few random pieces sit in the dressing room.

The raw turquoise bead necklace above was one of my first turquoise purchases, from my trip to Round Top, Texas!

And finally, my favorite piece, the Zuni squash blossom necklace takes center stage.
Someday, it will be passed down to a family member who loves it as much as I do.
Clearly for me, diamonds aren't a girl's best friend-- turquoise is!

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Monday, October 3, 2016

Smudging: "Into This Smoke, I Release All Negativity"

When we moved in to our home in January, my friend showed up with a smudge stick so that we may purify our new home and rid it of any negative energy left over from previous owners.
While I was intrigued, I also am skeptical of anything too "hocus pocus!"
Fast forward many months later and many visits to Taos and Santa Fe, I can say I get it now!
I ended up bringing back all these smudge sticks to not only smudge my house, but to give away as housewarming gifts.

Honestly, I think I fell in love with smudge sticks when my friend made these from not only white sage, but also the wild flowers in Taos, New Mexico.
They are truly too pretty to burn!

Native Americans believe sage cleanses negative energy from people, places or things.
Scientifically, they are right because burning sage releases negative ions that remove positive ions from the air.  Negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain which improves mood and stress levels.
Whether this is true or not, I just like the smell of sage and sage smoke.  
It's like burning incense.  

Want to try smudging for yourself?  
You can buy smudge sticks through Etsy or Whole Foods or here. You'll need an abalone shell or bowl and a feather for wafting the smoke around through the air.

It is recommended that you smudge yourself first before you cleanse and purify your home.
Simply light the end of the smudge stick and let the smoke waft around you.
You may repeat the prayer below as an example:

"May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.
May your heart by cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.
And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens."

I really want to learn how to make my own smudge sticks, especially like the ones above and that my friend made.  Yes, they just might be too pretty to burn, but they would make great gifts or a lovely natural decor element.
  I found a great tutorial from Sustainable Homesteading, here.

"Into this smoke, I release
all energies that do not serve me,
all negativity that surrounds me,
and all fears that limit me,
so it is."

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Design Crush: Mark Sikes

All American Decorating and Timeless Style, Mark Sikes' new design book arrived last week on my doorstep.
I've been waiting awhile for this book, and it did not disappoint.
Unlike a lot of design books, every single page is wonderful eye candy!

 Mark Sikes is the king of blue and white!  The first part of the book is all blue and white decor.
The inside of the jacket features a collection blue and white porcelain, which just so happens to be my latest obsession and potential new collection!

I can't help notice that almost every room in this book has at least one piece or two of blue and white porcelain.  I love how he used it in this kitchen with terracotta and a very veined statuary marble.

 Looking through this book, I realize how much of an influence Mark Sikes has had on my design choices, like the paisley above.

I chose a similar paisley drape for my kitchen, although a John Robshaw print, you can see the similarities!

 His love of rattan...

 ...and wicker is also a love of mine!

 Just look at this photo!
That wicker lamp!
The table top vignette!
The fabric of the tableskirt!

And can we talk about this lamp?
This seriously makes my heart flutter!

My favorite lamp just so happens to be my treasured sea shell lamp.
It lives front and center on the entryway chest. 
Seeing the lampshade though in the book makes me want to replace the rafia one that came with my own lamp.  Those little seashells dangling are just too cute! 

But I digress.
I think Mark Sikes is an incredibly talented designer.
He almost reminds me of Ralph Lauren, back in the day.

 This bathroom is a study in two colors that I love.
Black and caramel.

 I think this bedroom was my inspiration for my own bedroom.
I chose white linen drapes for the windows, but it's the overall aesthetic that snuck in to my design conscience.

This book is a treasure!
So much to take in, so much to learn.
So many ideas!
The photo above will be emblazoned on my brain for a home in the future.
Imagine, a little nook carved out in your home surrounded by books!
I guess you can say that Mark Sikes is my newest design crush!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Inspired By Blue And White Porcelain

For years, I've veered away from blue in my home.  For some reason I had a problem with it.
Sure, there were exceptions.  Like when I went through my denim phase and had denim duvet covers for the boy's beds.  Or when I painted my son's room cobalt blue because it matched the rug I inherited from my mother-in-law.
But lately, I've come to appreciate blue, especially blue and white in a new way.
It seems everywhere I look, I see blue and white porcelain grouped together and it looks awesome, like this example from Veranda.

This grouping, featured in Traditional Home is fabulous!
It seems to me that pulling this off, means not one, but many vases together.

At a time, when I should be downsizing, starting a new collection is the last thing I should be doing!
Also, to pull this look off, you need some fairly large pieces to group together.
Williams-Sonoma has a lovely collection to choose from, like the vases above.

So does Ballard Designs.  They are also more affordable.
I love the large ginger jar on the left, towards the back.
Maybe the thing to do is cherry pick my favorites from various retail sources.

Frontgate has a collection of blue and white, but I'm not a fan of dragons or fu dogs.
I'm leaning more towards blue delft or a paisley design.

Blue and white porcelain looks wonderful paired with a beach vibe.
Believe it or not, the vases above are from Pier 1 Imports!

I love blue and white together on a mantel with branches...

...or flowers from the garden.

While in Santa Barbara last month, I visited Rooms and Garden and couldn't help notice how much blue and white porcelain they had displayed.
I fell in love with the lamps on this console, not just because they are blue and white...

...but the shades were fantastic too, with their little sea shells!

I liked this little vignette at Rooms and Gardens because of the rafia lamp shade and how just two blue and white pieces, plus the little plant works with the painting on a bedside table.

The beauty of blue and white pottery is that it works well with just about everything.
I'm loving the California flag in contrast to the porcelain, yet again from Rooms and Gardens.

I love Toby Fairley's vignette above.

Mark Sikes' collection is beautifully paired with sea shells, fronds and seagrass.

So before I start another collection, I'll be studying how to perfectly pull it off, and more importantly, where to display it.
It would look fabulous behind the sofa on the console like the photo above.
The dining room table or the chest in the foyer would be nice too.
I don't know, do I really need to start another collection?

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