Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gilt-y Pleasures

French and Italian furniture reminds me of my grandmother's house growing up. Much like her chairs I blogged about here, my grandfather brought most of their furniture back from Europe when he was in the service.

Even better than the ornate furniture styles are when they are gilded or gilt which means covered in gold. Every body could use a little of this bling in a room - it looks so regal.

ambrose interiors
lovers lounge
J Covington Designs
J Covington Designs
J Covington Designs
Elizabeth James Antiques

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I know I've been talking non-stop about wishing the winter would end and that spring would get here but after finishing my latest needlepoint projects, I kind of wish fall would arrive!

I LOVE how my pumpkin patch pillow turned out and can't wait to get to use it.

I also finished a little Halloween ornament - boo!  I'm thinking of making a bunch of them (over the years obviously) to make a Halloween tree.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Coming Out of the Closet

I was talking to my co-worker, a mother a four, this afternoon and she was saying that this summer three of her four kids will be living back at home again (after being in college).  She had turned one of the bedrooms into a craft-type room for herself with a sewing machine, wrapping paper, etc. but now one of the boys needed to stay there.  So, her project this weekend is to clear out that room.

She has lots of storage in her basement so I suggested that she revamp one of her closets into an office/craft room for herself.  It's not an original idea - it's been all over magazines and the blog world, but, maybe these ideas will inspire some of you to rethink an otherwise underutilized space.  Instead of cramming junk in and closing the door, make it pretty so that you want to look in there!  In the DC area where space is at a premium, I can see this idea working for lots of people.

as seen on news channel


more HGTV goodness

Container Store.  Oh I love you.

from Charlottes Fancy

from Real Simple

montage taken from Pepper Design Blog

And if a home office or craft area isn't at the top of your priority list, you can always utilize this idea from Real Simple and turn your unused closet into a fully stocked bar!

Drum Roll Please

Attention anyone in the market for a new light fixture!  Ballard Designs has the ticket.  They've got this pendant light adapter that works on any recessed lighting fixture.  No additional wiring necessary. 

You can pick your choice of drum shade.  This burlap one is my fave.  $89 bucks for both the adapter and the shade.  WAY cheaper than other ceiling fixtures. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's a Love/Hate Relationship

with that Candice Olson.  (It's a tie between her and Rachel Ray.)  I luh-huve her designs (despite the fact that they are definitely more modern than my typical taste) but the dorkiness of the show nearly sends me over the edge.  But, like any train wreck, I can't stop watching. 

I wish I had her talent.  Just not her quirky personality. 

I think the thing that she inspires me most about is what she can do to miraculously design basements.  They go from these dingy, dated, eye sores to stunning rooms that I'm sure are better looking than the other rooms on the regular floors of the houses.  Check out a few of her basement designs (yes, these really are basements):

And every once in a while she'll do an attic for good measure:

Here are some living rooms:

This dining room was actually designed by Farnworth Design Studios in the UK but the wallpaper is Candice Olsen.  Because she didn't have enough talent designing rooms, she has her own wall paper, fabric and furniture lines as well. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Worm

I've always been obsessed with having a library with a sliding ladder. Maybe one day. In the meantime, these libraries, bookshelves, and other storage for books, etc. inspire me.

New use for an old, unworking fire place.  YES!  I love how even though it is messy, it still looks very contrived.

More wooden beams.  This time incorporated both on the ceiling (love) and as bookshelves.

Built-ins in a bedroom and a ladder.  Double fun.

More of the industrial look.  I'd mix it in with more traditional, softer pieces but love the feel of this.

Two story library.  Just cool.

A little too grandiose for a house but I like the style of this library.

Images via Beach Studios (originally seen on Haven and Home), Elle Decor, Cottage Living, Flickr and NY Public Library Org. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken Caprese

When I was a sophmore in college I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and I had a problem. I was craving salads and the Italians just didn't do a garden salad like they have in the US. My Italian was minimal and so every time I went to a restaurant I read about lechuga, tomate and mozarella and figured that sounded like a pretty good little house salad. Um, no. But I never learned my lesson. Every time I forgot about the time before and inevitably they brought me a plate of tomatoes with fresh basil and fresh mozarella. I hated tomatoes.

Luckily, I've outgrown that phase and now cannot get enough of the Insalta Caprese. I'm craving spring, warm weather, and our garden full of fresh tomatoes. In the meantime, I came up with this dish, Chicken Caprese, to help with the winter blues. And boy did it!

You Need:

Chicken Breasts (I had three)
1 tomato sliced medium thickness
1 ball of fresh mozarella
fresh basil
salt and pepper
olive oil

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub with a little olive oil (this will prevent it from sticking to the grill). Let the chicken set to warm to room temp before cooking.

Prep the topping: slice tomatoes and mozarella and ribbon the basil. Since the tomatoes weren't in season, I added a little balsamic vinegar.

Once you grill the meat (make sure to cook all the way), then you can top each chicken breast with two slices of tomatoes and two slices of mozarella. Let the grill heat the tomato and melt the cheese.

I sauteed sugar snap peas and baby carrots to go with the chicken.

Spring on a plate!

Tuesday Tip: The Furminator

Greatest pet brush ever. I'm not gonna lie and say that mine worked as well as the videos that can be found on their webiste here BUT, this is worth the purchase price and then some. My dog may be little but he sheds mightily. Should I opt to use it more than once a month, I might not have tumbleweeds of dog hair floating across my living room... If you have pets, trust me and try it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Que Syrah Syrah

Okay, so this wine I'm getting ready to write about isn't Syrah but I read that pun recently in this Wine Humor book my brother gave me for Christmas and have been waiting to use it.

Anywho, after a lovely weekend in Raleigh for Reeves' baby shower, we headed to Mt. Airy, NC (also fondly referred to as Mayberry from the Andy Griffith show) to visit my grandmother, MawMaw. She turned 90 this year and is an amazing woman.

There's not a whole lot going on in Mt. Airy but one of our favorite stomping grounds is the Old North State Winery on Main Street. They make this wine called Restless Soul that is great - and the price is right, too. 10 bucks.

In addition to it just being good wine, the story is pretty good too. The Old North State Winery is now situated in what used to be a hardware store. According to legend when they were renovating the old, condemned hardware store to turn it into what is now the winery and bistro, they found the bones of a human arm in the plaster of one of the arms. That poor restless soul supposedly still haunts that building...

They sell it more readily in North Carolina than they do VA and DC so if you see it at the Teeter or somewhere, I recommend you pick up a bottle. You can also order it online. And if you're ever in the greater Mt. Airy area (ha!) check this place out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hey Diddle Diddle

I've been excited about my latest needlepoint project which I turned into a pillow for my friend Reeves' new baby girl, Emery, who is due in April. But, I had to wait until after the baby shower to post it...

Hey diddle diddle the cat and the fiddle and the cow jumped over the moon...

I love the needlepoint finishing place I use in Alexandria. They are the cutest old couple and they have been so excited about my needlepoint projects lately because they bring youth and fun to a hobby that a lot of little old ladies have been doing. They even suggested that I enter my projects into a needlepoint contest that apparently happens at one of the old historic houses in town. Maybe something to shoot for...

The canvas is Jennifer Pudney and the fabric is Amy Butler.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wisteria Wish List

Raleigh-bound this weekend. Looking forward to seeing friends, family and time on the road to catch up on my magazine reading! It's been a busy week. It's funny how much time that job of mine takes up when I'm not snowed in at home...

Anyway, I know I talk about Wisteria all the time but I really love it. New catalog came recently. Here's my latest wish list.

This is my favorite headboard of late. Might start saving...

This could organize all those magazines of mine.

I want to find a smaller one of these bottle drying racks to hang ribbon from in a craft area. They ain't cheap.

Just a cute pillow.

I've been wanting this art for an eat in kitchen for ages. Have to wait for a house. Hope they still sell 'em by the time we ever move...

A ladder and a shelf. How useful!

They've had this for a while. These industrial tables are everywhere now. I still want one.

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