Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Timelessness and Modernity of Grass Cloth

I'm helping a friend decide on a colored grass cloth to back her shelving in her living room.  It's currently helping the deep need I feel to wallpaper something in my own home.  And this way it is free!  Grass cloth is a timeless choice when picking wallpaper.  It also offers great texture while remaining neutral which means your decor styles and colors can change but you don't have to worry about your wallpaper clashing or becoming outdated.

My friend's living room built in shelving is white and just needs a little oomph.  I've been trying to convince her to go darker to get out of her comfort zone a this look:

Studio McGee via Pinterest

But in the end, it is her space and she has to be happy in it and we have found what I think we have decided to go with.  It is a lighter blue that picks up shades of gray in her fireplace and new rug and I think it will be stunning.  I'll definitely show pictures once it is installed.  It is a similar feel to this:

via Pinterest (I can't find original source but happy to credit it if someone knows.)

And since we are on the subject, I'll just provide a little more grass cloth eye candy for your afternoon.

Dark navy grasscloth with the trim painted to match.  I'm HUGE into colored trim these days.  It completely transforms an otherwise boring, traditional space into something chic and modern.  A topic for discussion another day...

This bedroom by Greg Natale Designs is killer.  I"m obsessed with the art over the navy grasscloth.  How beaufitful are those crests?!

Greg Natale Design

Here's another space where the colored grass cloth, in this instance a minty green color, completely elevates the room from bland and traditional to a show stopper.  

via DecorPad

I'm not a huge purple or lavender fan in the instance of decor but I liked the lavenders of the grass cloth in these next two photos.  I think this is a great example of just how varied the colors can range.  The spaces feel feminine and sophisticated.  Lavender is also interesting to me in that it can work with cooler silver metals as in the first photo and works equally well with warmer golds and brasses in the second photo.

via Pinterest (original source unknown)

Because of the amazing texture grass cloth gives to everything it is adhered to, it is not limited to walls.  The grass cloth on the ceiling in this room gives so much visual interest and really accentuates the height of the room.

via Architectural Digest

Furniture wrapped in grass cloth is super sophisticated as well.  It has a unique ability to feel super chic and sophisticated or more laid back and beachy depending on the type of furniture it covers or the color of the grass cloth.  Society Social has a large amount of grass cloth covered furniture in all kinds of styles and colors that I just love.

Have you used grass cloth creatively in your homes?  What about your favorite sources for affordable, yet high quality grass cloth?  


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day from the Abode

My husband is traveling {again} this week so we will celebrate a make up Valentine's Day this weekend.  The kiddos and I have had a nice holiday though.  Forrest has been really into wishing everyone a "Happy Valentine's Day!" and has been especially jazzed about all the sweet treats.

We had fun decorating Valentine's cookies with some friends.

I wrapped up some festive little gifts for everyone.

My mom always had a special spot for our gifts for whatever holiday.  For Valentine's Day, my brother and I always rushed to the kitchen table to find our treats at our seat at the table.  My kids are still in a little people table and chairs but they definitely have their own "seats".  Chaos ensues if someone tries to take the other one's spot.

Forrest's class had a Valentine's party at school and he brought home lots of goodies...and is now on a sugar high!

And I decorated the house with a few Valentine's touches although I feel like I need to amp up my Valentine's decorating game.  It feels a little weak next to the other holidays.

A glittery garland of hugs and kisses hangs on the mantle.

I made these felt hearts years ago but I like hanging them in unexpected places around the house.  Not only are they festive for Valentine's Day but I actually made them shortly after I lost our first baby.  They are a reminder to me of the little miracle we never got to know.  But, it also reminds me of how far we have come and how lucky we are to have the two incredible munchkins that we do have.  They are by far the best Valentine's I could have ever dreamed of! 

A little pom pom garland decorates the door frame in the playroom.

Our wonderful former nanny, Lourdes, made this for us on Forrest's first Valentine's Day.  I will treasure it always and get a kick out of seeing it hanging in the playroom.

Hope everyone got to spend a happy day celebrating those that you love! 


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Inspiration for Our Blue Porch Ceiling

I'd say one of the things we love most about our house is our great front porch.  It is huge, it is low to the ground so the kids can't easy fall off, it has great air flow (especially thanks to outdoor fans) and it even has a porch swing.  Now that we are in North Carolina in a  place with a relatively mild temperature for many months of the year, we really get to take advantage of using this outdoor space.  You can get an idea of our porch from a past post about our front yard makeover.

My husband and I took a trip to Beaufort, NC for a weekend last summer.  It was one of the only times we have been away without the kids so in addition to it being a pretty great town, it was made even better by the fact that we got to spend some much needed quality ALONE time together.  Ever since that trip, my husband has been obsessing over painting our porch ceiling a "haint" blue like so many of the porches in Beaufort.

It's a long standing Southern tradition steeped in folklore that the blue ceiling would ward off evil spirits.  I also recently read that some people believe that the blue color will trick wasps and other insects into thinking that it is the sky so they will build their nests elsewhere.  That seems a little far-fetched to me but there's no harm.

With all the things I feel like we need to do to the house on our limited budget, this was not something I was super gung ho about but I definitely wasn't opposed to the idea.  I did feel that finding the right blue to go with the gray of our house and the dark, almost Beaufort green/navy shutters and door would be important.  After months of my husband bringing home paint samples from Home Depot, we have finally agreed on what we both feel is the right color for this.

Here are some of our inspiration pictures while we wait for the work to be completed and then I'll be able to show you before and after pictures.

 via Annie Selke

via Apartment Therapy 

via Blue and White Home 

via Houzz 

via Little Bleu Studio 

via My Old Country House 

via Painters Place 

via Southern Living

Monday, February 5, 2018

Mirth Studio's Fabulous Hardwood Tiles

I dream of one day getting to tile a floor.  And when I do, I hope I receive permission from the hubs to go big.  These Mirth Studio tiles are absolutely gorgeous and would totally do the trick!  They are like an art installation for your floor.  I also feel like {says the TOTAL novice} they would be an achievable DIY to do for a small laundry room or other space because you can just apply them over existing flooring.  And they have a wood floor option or a peel and stick option.   Their pre-made designs are beautiful but the best part is that you can also completely customize them! 

Here are a few samples of their individual pre-made tiles:

So pretty, right?  But, just look at how much cooler they get once you group them like they would be on a floor:

And here are a few images of finished floors.  So cheerful and loaded with personality!  These wood tile floors would totally make a space!

All images via the Mirth Studio website

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry

I am a huge fan of both Indian food and curry in general after living in Scotland for a couple of years.  We typically have some sort of curry at least once a week.  What I think is surprising though is that my husband and I both agree that we enjoy our homemade dishes almost more than ordering take out or going out to eat.  This dish is definitely feels more Thai than Indian, but if you enjoy curry and coconut, it is super easy to make and delish.  If you aren't a big shrimp fan, you can easily substitute chicken (which we have done many times). Another plus, this is a one pan dish (with the exception of the rice) so clean up is a cinch.  This was another one of our favorite dishes from the dearly departed Scratch DC meals we loved so much.  

What You'll Need:

Salt and Pepper 
pinch of Cayenne
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup Basmati rice
1 tbsp butter
Canola oil
1 cup of canned, diced tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk (canned - found in International aisle)
1 cup frozen peas (you can cook from frozen)
1 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder

What You'll Do:

First you need to marinade your protein for about 20 minutes prior to cooking.  Put your shrimp or chicken in a ziplock bag, season with salt and pepper and pinch of cayenne, and lemon juice.  Set aside.

Cook the rice in a medium pot according to package directions.

In a large pan, add canola oil.  Add onion and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add ginger, garlic, coriander, tumeric, and curry powder to onion mix and season with salt and pepper.  Add more canola oil if needed to avoid spices sticking to the pan.  Add tomatoes and coconut milk and bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Add shrimp or chicken and heat until cooked through (this will obviously be a much shorter cooking period for the shrimp and I strongly encourage you NOT to overcook the shrimp).  Serve over Basmati rice.

Note: if I were making this, I'd have added chopped fresh cilantro at the end as the recipe originally called for but my husband hates cilantro so I didn't buy a whole bunch of it just for me to put on my plate.  But, garnishing with some chopped fresh cilantro would be delish if you are so inclined!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Darker Dining Room with one of Behr's 2018 Color Trends

As a follow up to my post earlier this week, I'm charging right ahead with my 2018 organizational goals.  This is the first step towards completion of goal # 3.  Behr recently released its 2018 color trends.  I picked up some color samples recently and ended up deciding to paint our tiny dining room in one of their newest colors - Unplugged.   It is this VERY DARK, really complex shade of brown that in some light looks brown, other lights looks nearly black and then other times almost feels an incredibly dark shade of army green.

Our house has a very small room in the back that I am sure was meant to be a breakfast nook.  It is right off the kitchen and has two walls of nothing but windows so it gets great natural light.  It also has two really cool built in corner hutches.  Originally I decided to make this little nook the playroom for our kids however after about 4 months in our house, we totally outgrew the space.  So, we made a swap and put the playroom in the room that should be the formal dining room.  Definitely not a move I ever thought I'd make (you can read about my decision to do that here) however for this time in our lives, it has dramatically improved how we live in this house.  So, the breakfast nook is now our dining room.  It's small but it can easily seat six for a dinner party so with the limited amount we are entertaining these days, it works for us.  Unfortunately, it has just been sort of neglected as I focused my efforts in getting the playroom and more "living" spaces in our house set up first.

To say this color transformed our space is an understatement.  I've got a few things to do to get it picture ready (namely a new light fixture) but in the meantime, you can get a gist of the color from these spaces:

Here's a swatch of it on our wall so you can see a sneak peak of the drastic change that is going to take place!

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Salt Dough Fingerprint Magnets for Valentine's Day

Yesterday's Valentine's round up really got me in the mood for Valentine's Day.  The kids and I made these super easy salt dough magnets to give to our family.  I love that they can be used year-round on people's fridges and that their little fingerprints make it so special.  I got the inspiration from Pinterest (which led to this Messy Little Monsters post) however, as usual for me, it turned out to be a major #pinterestfail.  The recipe I found for colored salt dough called to mix in paint instead of half of the water and instead of a bright, red color that I was looking for, the dough came out like a rusty, dusty light pink.  Not the look I was going for at all.  So, I doctored it up with a little red craft paint, added the gold paint to enhance the finger prints and voila! 

Getting both kids aged 3.5 and 1.5 to cooperate with their fingerprints was the hard part.  The idea was that two thumb prints form an interior heart on the magnets but I actually love how they all turned out different.  Some have just one thumb print, others have one from each kid and some have two from the same kid.   I put a little tutorial at the end of this post.

I already had some supplies on hand to put together Forrest's Valentine's for school so I used the clear baggies, filler and ribbon I had on hand to wrap these up to deliver to family in the next week or so. 

And on that note, I have to show how cute Forrest's little Valentine's for school turned out  That kid always does give me a "raisin" to smile!

I got the tags as a printable from LoveLucyDesign.  I adore all of her precious invitations and cards. 

We put together a little care package for our friends in DC that we used to have our nanny share with.  Forrest loved packing everything up to send to his buddy Archer and his baby brother.  The little glow sand Valentine's are from Target

Salt Dough Fingerprint Magnets


**I used this salt dough recipe.  It was super easy and fail-proof, even for me.  I recommend doing this and skipping the coloring of your dough in the dough-making process.  Just paint the things afterwards. 

**I used these cookie cutters.  I love that you had three different sized hearts to play around with. 

**Pick any color paint you like but I went with this red and this gold

**You will need a rolling pin.  I add this in because I had to make a special trip to go out and buy this one from Target because

**Modge Podge I recommend getting the gloss finish.

**Parchment paper.  Ever since this happened, I use the stuff for everything.

**Magnet backers.  I got mine from Michael's but something like this would work fine if you, like me, are an Amazon junkie.


**Make salt dough and roll out until it is about an inch thick.  I found it easier to split the dough into fourths and then roll out one section at a time.  I cut the dough using all three sizes of the heart cookie cutters. 

**Place the heart shapes on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Have your child place their fingerprints in the hearts in the desired location.  (Good luck with this.)

**Bake the magnets low and slow at about 200 degrees until the dough is hardened.  Check the underside to make sure they are hardened all the way through even if they look done on top.

**Paint the entire heart red.  It took me about three to four coats until the color was as saturated as I wanted it.  Fill in the finger prints with the gold.  I just used a small paint brush and made circular strokes.

**Once all the red and gold paint has dried, paint a coat of Modge Podge over all the magnets. 

**Adhere the magnetic backing.

Enjoy for years to come! 
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