Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Calendar Lineup

Ah, New Year's Eve. Not my favorite holiday. Tonight should be fun, however, as we are attending a low key, southern style dinner party at my friend Meghann's. BBQ pork butt...awesome! I'm bringing the baked beans - I got the recipe from Paula Deen so we'll blame her if they aren't any good.

Besides two things that I am dreading most - the holidays ending (and having to go back to work!) and the gym being overcrowded for at least a month - there is some light at the end of the tunnel: there is the chance to get organized and to become an all around better person in 2010. I say it every year and it hasn't happened yet but at least the opportunity is there.

To help with my attempt for organization (I'll have to work on the becoming a better person later), I've been searching for a new calendar. Here are a few I really like:

Specimen Calendar from Postal Press - I love a butterfly!

Perpetual calendar from Winterthur
The thing I love about this one - besides how pretty it is - is that it'll last year after year.

Animal Calendar from EnglishMuffin's Shop

Modern Design Calendar from Pink Roses 1220

Black and White Photo Art from JavaJaneDesigns

Wishing you a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Uncle Jeff Would Be So Proud

Growing up I was always a little afraid to go into my Uncle Jeff's office because of all of the hunting trophies mounted on the walls. I never particularly agreed with hunting as a recreational sport and I especially never agreed with any of these hunting trophies belonging in any decorating scheme (unless you lived in a log cabin and even then it still seemed creepy).

That said, antlers are everywhere these days. Everywhere. I've watched two David Bromstad episodes on HGTV where he used them. The first time I was horrified. By the time I got to the second episode, I realized I kinda liked it. Especially when used faux ones he picked up at a garage sale, spray painted them bright orange and mounted them over a fireplace.

Maybe subconsciously I've eased into the idea of decorating with antlers after reading all of my design magazines.

Images from Domino (2), Cottage Living, Martha Stewart, & HGTV

Love these two options found on etsy...maybe I'll get in on the craze...

Everything looks pretty - even antlers - with a coat of gold spray paint!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dish-free Dinner

Tiny kitchen sans dishwasher means we have turned into some grilling machines to tone down on the clean up. This dinner is easy and totally clean up free - except for the plates you eat off of!

Asian Grilled Chicken

2 cups soy sauce
grated fresh ginger (use about a golf ball sized piece)
juice of 1 lime (I throw the two halves in with the marinade after I've squeezed the juice)
3 tablespoons of honey
salt and pepper to taste

  • best if you marinate at least several hours before - if you are organized and can do it the night before, even better!
  • I use a large ziplock bag - helps the meat marinate well and again, little clean up!
  • Add more or less to any of the marinate ingredients depending on how many chicken breasts you are fixing and what your tastes are - this is just a concoction I put on the meat. The more lime you use, the more it will break down the meat making it more tender.

Grilled Asparagus

1 bundle of fresh asparagus (the thinner they are, the crispier so plan according to your taste)
generous spash of olive oil
salt and pepper

We have a grill basket that we always use for this but if you don't have one you can also use tin foil - they just won't be as crispy. Cook for about 15+ minutes on low grill heat.

Tinfoil Taters

new potatoes (I use the tiny, baby ones so I don't have to chop)
olive oil
rosemary (dried or fresh - use what you have on hand)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (more of less depending on your level of kick)
salt and pepper

Make a little tinfoil bowl and toss the potatoes in. Drizzle in the olive oil and add the rest of the ingredients. Toss this on the grill first and cook for about 30 - 45 minutes on low heat before you add on the asparagus and the chicken.

New Couch, Old Couch

The day of the new couch us upon us. My very kind neighbor, Whit, came to help us move the red couch to the basement before Pottery Barn delivered the new one. Except the old one didn't fit in the basement. Not even remotely.

Now we have TWO couches in our very tiny living room. It is not aesthetically pleasing but I am consoling myself with the knowledge that

a. We will not live in this rental house forever. (Hopefully the new house wherever we move will have either a larger living room or a den and a living room where we can use two couches.)

b. The new arrangement is more conducive to having guests. The other chairs we had scattered around were beautiful antiques (most thanks to my grandmother) but not super comfy. Now more people can hang out.

c. There is such a thing as a slipcover. I just need to measure things up and can cover the red one and it'll be like new. And so very cottage chic.

d. My search for a new coffee table has escalated since the old one is just way too big. Game on.

New Couch

Old Couch (same tiny living room!)

A side comment: as I sit and write this we are all three (husband, me and dog) sitting on the old couch just looking at the new foreign one. Ridiculous.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Italian Sausage and Lentil Soup

1 lb. of hot Italian sausage
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cups of lentils
1 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 celery rib (finely diced)
2 carrots (finely diced)
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 medium zucchini
1 cup of red wine
12 cups of beef broth
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add sausage and brown in the oil. Once the meat is cooked through, add the diced onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Cook the veggies until they are softened. Add the lentils, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cut the heat back and simmer covered for an hour.

After an hour, add the chopped zucchini and cook covered for another 30 minutes. Afterwards, add the wine and the tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for another half an hour. Salt and pepper generously to taste. Serves 6+.

Perfect for a cold, windy night like tonight! It is also great for leftovers and can easily be frozen.

Bargain Buster

I - as my father would always proudly say - am a Bargain Buster! Check out what I snagged yesterday.

First, I negotiated 40% off this floor mat I've been eyeing for quite some time. My kitchen mat was dirty and no matter how many times I cleaned it, it still looked dingy. This one looks cute and ought to hold up well since it is made of wooden slats. I got it for $20 from one of my favorite stores in Alexandria, Decorium. Huge sale going on right now, fyi!

Second, I got the next two things - a nifty vintage metal basket and the olive oil dispenser - for six bucks. I think I am going to use the basket to organize things in my craft area...whenever I get around to organizing that.

Do make sure to note the adorable salt and pepper shakers that my friend Reeves gave me for Christmas!

I also got this stone mirror for $9. I haven't decided if this is its final resting place but I love it just the same.
Today I found a pair of these cool lamps. They are $59 each. We need new living room lamps but I was sensible and took a picture to mull them over.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

T-2 Days Til the New Couch

Barring any unforeseen weather disasters (although they are predicting flurries tonight and tomorrow), my new couch will arrive Tuesday between 3-5pm.

The timing couldn't be better...I think the red one is officially on its last leg. Just look at a typical evening that it has to put up with. I am going to have to initiate some rules for the new couch...

Here is the pup with his new Christmas frog looking innocent and happy.

Let the destruction begin!

Presentation of the aftermath.

Pottery Barn delivery man, please hurry up!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nighty Night Lights

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

I never realized how much I love nightlights. It must run in my family because every relative we visited over the past three days (which I assure you, the number was considerable) had a nightlight up in some room of their house - even my brother.

When I decorate for Christmas, I always put my vintage Christmas bubble light up in my bathroom and I love the bubbly, happy glow it shines over everything. I also realize that when I get up in the middle of the night, it sure is comforting to see that glow without having to turn on all the overhead lights.

I found some on ebay similar to the one I have (missing the really cool Rudolph ornament I have hanging off of mine):

Soon, (but not until after New Year's!) I'll have to take my Christmas decorations down which means my night light is gonna get put away. So, I've decided I'm in the market for a replacement non-holiday night light.

My grandmother has one like this with the gold plated leaf which is kind of cool but probably a little too grandmother-esque.

I love this sock monkey light but probably would be cuter in a kids room than my bathroom. Somebody I know with a little boy (ahem, Leslie) needs to buy this for their kid's room.

So, the ones I've found that are actual contenders for me are...

1. The Seashell Night Light (although maybe I should save this one for my beach house...)

2. The Tin Star Night Light (Part of me thinks this may be too country and then the other part thinks it would be really pretty lit up at night).3. The Heart Night Light (my current favorite - at least to get me through January and February with Valentine's Day coming). Handmade and the price is right, only $11!

In my quest I also found this one. Why would anyone make a night light that would give you nightmares?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm a Southerner...I can't help it

Monograms can be so overdone. And if you're not from the South you have no idea what the obsession is with putting your name all over everything. After high school when everything I owned had my initials plastered all over it - from my silver jewelery to my jewelery cases to my pillow cases - I took a little hiatus. But the bug is back. It's not as hardcore, I'm just still a fan. I can't help myself.

When I got married, it was very important to lots of people to know what my new initials would be. After years of having cWH all over everything, it now seems strange to see cJw on my beautiful new monogrammed towels, a wedding gift from my friend Susan. And you wouldn't believe how many compliments I've gotten on them! (If you're looking for some, I got these from Pottery Barn and love them - and would love these soft, fluffy towels even without the monogram):

And my friend Amanda gave us these great "J" Tervis Tumblers. They're virtually indestructible and they don't leave sweat rings on the table.

Here are a few more things with letters I wouldn't mind having around the house.

I'd put these in a mudroom (if I had a house) for each member of the fam to hang their coats.

Metal boxes from West Elm - great for catching change or those earrings you need in reach because you wear them every day.

It'd be cheerier to be at work if you had your coffee or tea out of these mugs from Rosanna.

I'll host a grown up cocktail party with these linen napkins.

I like my name. I don't need plastered on everything I own. But I still like an initial thrown in every now and again for good measure.

Monday, December 21, 2009

For the Birds

I am vehemently opposed to birds. They petrify me. (I especially hate a pigeon.) We have two birds who have decided to reside on our front porch and are constantly flapping their wings over my head when I try to unlock the front door. I just know they are going to try to fly into the house next. Nightmare.

Despite my profound feeling combo of hatred and fear for these winged animals, I can't seem to get enough of them when it comes to decorative objects.

Last spring we were down in New Bern, NC for our dear friend's, Betsy and Rob, wedding. Before the numptuals we had time to tour around downtown New Bern (so quaint and great shopping!). I picked up four vintage bird prints from an antique shop (I think I got them for a buck each) and recently had them framed. I anticipate that one day they'll belong in a dining room but they're currently residing in my living room.

Some more bird inspired objects I've got my eyes on...

Bird Topped Glass Cloche from Wisteria

Radiant Forest print from Maine Cottage

Chickadee Vase from Arhaus

Sarah Lamp in buttercream from Maine Cottage

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a Wrap

I love this time of year for many reasons but one that reigns high on the list is that it gives me the opportunity to wrap a plethora of gifts at one time. I like wrapping presents and making them look pretty almost as much as I like giving the present itself. I've even asked for wrapping station organization systems as my Christmas present (I'm not anticipating getting it since everyone looks at me like I'm crazy when I ask for it. The one I really want is from Ballard Designs.)

This cuteness factor of this wrapping paraphernalia is reason enough to give a gift at Christmastime or anytime.

Venice Gaffer Tape from Two Peas in a Bucket

Partying Pears Gift Tags!

Petal Gift Wrap from Amy Butler

Alice in Wonderland Gift Tags

And the list could go on and on...

Not So Pastel Nurseries

This post is inspired by my friend Reeves who is pregnant and planning to decorate her nursery for her daughter-to-be. She is not interested in a pink or pastel colored room; rather she thinks she wants bold, bright colors.

I'm not pregnant but being that a) I can appreciate a good design for any room - even a nursery for my unborn, unconceived child and b) since a good number of people I know are either pregnant or have kids, I thought these not-so-typical nurseries were worth sharing.

This one is from Parent's Magazine. There are lots of things I really like about this space.

1. The striped paint treatment on the wall and the bold, graphic curtains.
2. The dark wood on the curtain rod and the crib to ground the brightness of the colors and to keep it from being too over the top.
3. The four postered crib is reminiscent of a grown up bed and in a great rounded shape as well.
4. How cute is the rug and that mobile?

I'm loving the painted furniture in a bright orange the unframed animal prints in this one from the HGTV site. This one also follows a design belief I subscribe to: a little bit of animal print in any room is a good thing (note the pillow).

Why shouldn't a little girl have a canopy over her crib? And it doesn't have to be a crib decked out pastel pink bed to warrant a canopy.

You'd have to be an ambitious pregnant lady to tackle this paint job (or I guess you could always hire a professional) but the result is really fun. Look how cute that crib skirt is, too.

Lastly, this isn't really a nursery idea but something I was thinking of for a young child's room so it is in same vein...wouldn't it be fun to make a fabric covered headboard for a kid's room and use vintage buttons like these from Martha Stewart for the tufts?

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