Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Projects

 Happy first day of spring, and do I ever have some outdoor projects up my sleeve!
I've been patiently waiting until I can start digging in the dirt and make the garden more to my liking.

Unfortunately, the playhouse has to go.
I thought about replacing it with a potting shed, but instead will plant a large olive tree in the corner.
The stepping stones will be replaced with white hydrangeas, while the planting area at the rear will be planted in white roses.

In the right corner of the yard is an elevated stone patio.
Now I wish I had brought our old outdoor sofa and chairs on the roof deck of our City house to put here.
But time for a new look!

So today, I ordered a wicker sofa and two club chairs!

I've had my eye on this style from Pottery Barn for a while, called "Saybrook."  It's a little different than what I've been seeing out there and it goes with the dining chairs that I've had for a few years.
I think it may be phasing out, so I got a deal!

I also ordered an outdoor rug.
It's a flat weave eco-friendly rug made from recycled plastic.
I think it will hold up to the elements.
To top it all off, I found a tent!
Not sure if it's going to work, but we'll see...

In the courtyard, I'll add a matching umbrella over the dining table.
New cushions for the dining chairs in navy and white will spruce things up a bit.
I've got my eye on some at Homegoods!

Speaking of Homegoods, I found a few blue floral and textured outdoor pillows last week that will look great on the sofa and club chairs.  
So happy that florals are making a comeback!

I can't wait to create this backyard retreat.  
I envision having coffee on summer mornings and wine on warm summer evenings while enjoying a yard filled with blooming white roses and hydrangeas!
Let the project begin!

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Faux Real

There was a time when I would never think of putting fake flowers in my home.
To me, no flowers at all were better than fake.
Well, let's just say I've evolved!
But so have faux flowers!

The quality of faux flowers has dramatically improved in the last few years.
During a recent trip to HomeGoods, I was surprised to find a whole aisle dedicated to faux.

Still, there are really good, lifelike flowers and really bad, obviously fake flowers.
You just have to be very discerning when selecting them for your home.

For instance, this leaf doesn't look real at all!
Actually, leaves are hard to pull off.

I ended up buying a faux peony bouquet for our master bath.  
I think that mixing it with all the bath salts and bath accoutrements helps to blend in and pull it off.

 Last year, I bought a pair of white orchids from Pottery Barn for the mantel.
I figured that from a distance they look real. 
It also helps that they share the mantel with real myrtle topiaries. 

 Real Peruvian Lilies share the living room with the faux orchids...

...along with real orchids in this urn. It helps to blend real and faux, I've found.

When it comes to real vs. faux, I think it's an individual choice.  
Maybe someone in your home is allergic to real flowers, or your kitty likes to eat them!
Not everyone wants to deal with the task of cutting and arranging real flowers either.
Although, I still enjoy picking up a bouquet at the grocery store, I've learned to appreciate a faux bouquet thoughtfully placed here and there.

Looking for quality faux flowers?
Check out HomeGoods, Pottery Barn, and One Kings Lane to name a few.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Pendant Lights In The Kitchen

Lighting is so personal, especially with decorative pendants and chandeliers.
They're like jewelry for your home.
In our kitchen, I knew all along that I would want to replace the three glass pendants when we bought the house.
But with what?

I like to think of our home like a tight ship, even somewhat nautical.
I envisioned something in brass, but finding a fixture that isn't too large was a challenge.

If there were only two pendants, I could go large, but with three, they had to be no more than ten inches wide. 

After weeks of searching online, I found this brass fixture called "Massena" from Hudson Valley Lighting.
It was what I had in mind all along!

Here they are newly installed.
I love how they add that nautical feel to the kitchen I was going for.

Up close you can see how there is a white porcelain element in the neck of the fixture, which casts refracted light on the ceiling at night.

These pendants hang with a down rod made of brass.
The fixture comes with many lengths, so you get to put together the length that works for you.

A little higher than the previous lights, but because they have much more presence, I think a little higher is ok. 
At nine and a half inches wide, they are perfect!

I'm loving the new look!
Isn't it funny how such a small change can make a huge difference?
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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Better Late Than Never: Two Christmas Tablescapes in Review

 Last month was the longest December ever.
We were traveling all over the place, celebrating Christmas with our oldest daughter's family in Seattle, then off again to Taos to visit our youngest daughter for a post Christmas celebration.
In between trips, we managed to host Christmas day in our new home with our two sons, grandma and brother and sister-in-law.

 I literally threw this tablescape together on Christmas Eve!

I already had the Spode "Christmas Tree Grove" plates and colored glassware, but what really pulled it all together were these red tartan plaid chargers I found at the local gourmet grocery store.

 We were shopping for Christmas dinner groceries when I spied them buried on a table.  
I could hardly contain my excitement.  Mr. A was at the checkout and I handed them to him at the last minute.  

When we moved, I got rid of three Christmas patterned dishes, but kept these wonderful Spode plates.

Years ago, I created a Christmas tablescape in our old house using these dishes.
Somehow they looked better there!

But that was then and this is now!
Christmas 2017 Tablescape!

While we were in Seattle, I created another tablescape at our daughter's home using these Target Christopher Radko plates that I had passed down to her.
They're more playful and fun for a young family, so I'm glad she will have them for years to come.

It seems weird, yet comforting to set a table in her home.
Especially, since that is my old dining table and those are my old dishes!
But I'm so glad to see them passed down and remain in the family.

My granddaughters even helped me set the table.
We found a garland at the grocery store and used it for a centerpiece.
The silver chargers were another hand-me-down and thankfully, there were fun plaid placemats in the drawer.
I love that we were able to set the table together and continue the tradition of Christmas tablescaping.

Who knows that next year will bring.
With family scattered in several states, we might not have everyone together again for Christmas day.
Clearly, the Christmas traditions are changing!

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Hygge Ideas For Cozy Living

I don't know about you, but January is my month to get cozy, especially after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  
I just feel like curling up by the fire, appreciating the sound of the rain outside, reading a good book--you get the idea!
The Danish have a word for this:  Hygge.

Hygge (pronounced "hue-gah") is about creating a sanctuary in our homes of coziness; enjoying and appreciating the simple things in life. 
Like a warm wool throw to wrap up in while outside on a cold day...

...or to sit by the fire and appreciate the warmth.

I love sitting in my favorite chair while sipping tea on a rainy afternoon.

I also like to turn on music and eat by candlelight.
Preferably comfort food such as stew or soup!

This is the month I plant hyacinths to force and place them by the bed, in the bathroom and on the kitchen windowsill.  

Fresh flowers and a basket of fruit in the kitchen brighten up a dreary January day too.

This is what the Danish have been doing forever!
They actually love winter, which I have always struggled with. 
But since discovering the art of Hygge, I've come to enjoy, or at least not hate winter as much!

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