Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Carried A Watermelon?

I can't help but think of that scene from Dirty Dancing, when Jennifer Gray walks into the dance hall awkwardly carrying a watermelon, and everyone looks at her like she is a freak.  That is how I felt yesterday when I walked across the parking lot of TJ Maxx balancing this crazy cage on my buggy.

You can only imagine the looks I received as I wheeled this strange little ginormous, green cage to my car.  I had MW in the buggy, my arms looped through three bags, purse and diaper bag on the other arm, and a buggy with the cage really cool birdcage balancing across the top. I could read the looks on people's faces..."What the heck is that thing?", or "Is that a cage for her kid?", or better yet "Out of all the great stuff in TJ Maxx she comes out with that thing?"

I have to admit, it is big, and strange, but isn't it cool? I found the birdcage on the last aisle of the know the aisle I'm talking about...the one with all the random red sticker items that no one wants.  Well, that's where I found this beauty.  I was so excited to find this, especially since I let that vintage birdcage get away at the Goodwill a few weeks back. 

Also on this aisle were these two glass bell cloches.  I am still left wondering why these were on clearance?  Hmmm...oh well! Score! 

The green color of the birdcage also inspired me to add another pop of green with this pretty, down-filled lumbar pillow.   My husband has threatened to divorce me if I bring one more pillow into our house, but this one was such a pretty shade of apple I just couldn't resist! Maybe he won't notice...hahaha...good one, Aarynn.

I ended my shopping trip with one functional item - this adorable wire egg basket lined with a linen fabric.  Perfect for stashing MW's toys that clutter up the dining room.

So, TJ Maxx, you continue to have my heart! I can't wait to check back in a few weeks to see what else you have in store.  In the meantime, here is a little afternoon entertainment for ya...(insert my face in place of Jennifer's)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

I finished the trumeau mirror!  Remember the one I was so excited to find buried in the depths of a junk store? Well, I wasn't so thrilled about the faux oak finish.  What's up with those black speckles anyway? Is that supposed to make the wood look more authentic? Strange!

So, I found the paint color I THOUGHT would be perfect...Gossamer Blue...well, of course, it wasn't.  Paint always appears darker on the swatch than in real life (note to self).  So I didn't panic when the paint dried and appeared VERY, almost cream colored, light! I went back to Benjamin Moore and purchased a little sample pot in a much darker shade of blue/gray, called Hemlock, and dry brushed it over the lighter color.  

The effect was awesome, and actually looked as if I did it on purpose.  Ummmm,  I meant to do that...yeah, okay, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! It gave the mirror the ILLUSION (I write that in all caps because I am keeping it real) of being an antique with original paint.

See how the lighter color is peeping through the darker shade? 
I did this to the entire mirror.

I painted all but the carved detail and two ledges (a top and bottom) Gossamer Blue/Hemlock , and let it dry. I then went back and painted the remainder of the mirror Linen White (my favorite BM paint color).  It was a little tricky to "stay in the lines" but I used an art brush and took my time. can really see that speckly black in this photo.

Once the two coats of cream paint dried, I sanded and distressed the entire mirror.  I heavily distressed the carved details so that they would POP! They are the prettiest feature of this mirror, so I want your eye to go directly to it.

Finally, I used a little liquid gold, i.e. Midwax Dark Walnut stain, and rubbed down the mirror to blend everything together and give the mirror a cool antique look.  It does a great job of toning down the brightness of new paint. I also had to purchase a hanging kit from the hardware store.  This beauty weights a ton, so it will need to be hung very carefully...I'm breaking out the stud finder for this one! For now it sits on the mantle, but the scale is a bit off so it is going to move to the empty wall to the left ("To the left, to the left"... sorry, I can't say "to the left" without thinking of my girl, Beyonce!)

French-like (smile) trumeau mirror ($18)

Now, don't think I would get you all excited about my mirror, and not make one for you! I'm not a mean girl like that! I just finished this gorgeous cream colored/heavily distressed mirror, and guess what? It's for sale! It is such a statement piece and would really open up a room with it's large scale.  I'll put it on the Couture Collection page with more details.  Enjoy! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Frugal Friday...It Only Looks Like Junk

Okay, I know it looks like a big pile of...junk, but hold on.  I have big plans for these castaways.

Let's start with the shelf, complete with faux gold brackets (yuck!)...

A little background on this - I have been looking for a shelf with hooks for MW's nursery.  I want something to display her gorgeous collection of vintage bonnets (thanks to Vickie Libbey at Libbey's Little Legacies- whoo, whoo!).  Would you believe that every shelf/hook combination that I like is over $50?!! Crazy! I can't figure out why they are so expensive! Anyway, I saw this one at a local thrift shop and got really excited! I know it doesn't look like much now, but just think-  add a coat of cream colored paint, a little distressing, and a swap of the cheap ugly (cheap-good, ugly-always bad) hooks for little glass knobs.  Voila! A shelf prettier AND cheaper than those I have been seeing in the shops around town.  This one cost me $2, but I will probably have to spend around $15 on knobs...still under twenty bucks...not bad!

I started this project today...just couldn't wait! Here is a sneak peek:

Okay, about that wooden 'M' with the darling little sponge star (I say 'darling' very drawn out and dripping with sarcasm)...well, sadly, the star had to go.  It was only attached with a small spot of glue, so it was not difficult to remove (thank goodness).  When I get a minute (really that's all it will take) I plan on painting it chocolate brown and adding it to my home somewhere as a decorative accent.

Finally, the vintage tin tray with hand painted flowers.  It is actually quite pretty just the way it is! Shocking, I know! I love trays, and this one is a nice shade of green and was only $5.  Trays are a great way to make a group or collection look pulled together.  

A mimosa anyone?  It IS Friday! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On The Road- The Tides Inn

Sorry I have been MIA for a few days! I just returned from a little getaway to the Northern Neck of Virginia.  Our family takes a vacation together every year...we lovingly call it F-Cubed (Forced Family Fun)! This year my mother-in-law planned the most amazing FFF vacation to the Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia (many thanks to Mimi!). I am embarrassed to say that I had NEVER heard of this adorable resort! It is only about an hour and a half from home and there is an abundance of activities for the entire family - golf, tennis, pool, spa services, sailing, paddleboats, excellent dining, and...SHOPPING!

Check out this gorgeous view...

A fragrant lavender garden grew near our room. Growing a little patch of lavender is on my ever growing list of things to do.  

Mommy liked the shopping best of all, but the little butterbean liked the pool the best....sorry I just can't resist! She looks like a Jackie O in the making.

The next town over is called White Stone and has some really great shopping.  One shop in particular, The Farm, was absolute heaven for me...check out their blog and webpage and prepare to start a wish list!

The gardens alone were stunning!

Inside, tons of farmhouse chic furnishings...sigh! 

I saw a vintage birdcage like this one at the Goodwill a few weeks ago...darn!
Shouldn't have let that one get away!
I covet this mirror! Stunning!
I have a thing for old barn ladders.  I think I am going to return for this one.
How pretty would it look with quilts folded over the rungs in a guest bedroom?

I usually like art or a mirror over the mantle, but what a great alternative!

Only because room in the car was limited did I escape without blowing the family savings.  I did, however, pick up a couple of dresser pulls for future projects.  They were just too pretty and reasonable to resist.

The hubby and I are already planning our return to this fabulous town.  Right down the street from the Tides Inn  is a bed and breakfast called the Hope and Glory Inn.  While on bike ride we stopped in for a peek and oh - my - goodness...don't even get me ranting about the decor, unique folk art, and painted floors! 

We have our anniversary coming up very soon! This would be the perfect spot to celebrate four years of marriage.  I just hope the quiet little town of Irvington is ready for a second round of McMahon madness! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Frugal Friday...Two Treasures

TGIF! And, and big congratulations to all my former colleagues who are out of school for the summer! Yahoo! Let the fun begin! 

Well, I am super excited about two great digs I collected this week. 

The first is this old chest of drawers with great legs and curves! I found her on Craigslist for $50, but negotiated the owner down to $40...I know, I know, I am practically stealing it at this price, but I'm a frugal gal!

Here is a sneak peek...


This backing will need to be replaced.  Now you can see why I negotiated!
I am thinking about painting this beauty a Benjamin Moore paint color called Gossamer Blue then antiquing with the Minwax dark walnut stain I have been loving lately...
The other find that I am still giddy about is my 50 cent fabric remnant in a gorgeous equestrian print! I have two chairs that  I found on the trash last week...don't joke...that I am going to reupholster in  this fabric.  More to come on those!
Whew! I have been busy, busy! I am almost done with the Trumeau mirror that I found last week, and it is looking really pretty...and really French! Lots of great stuff to share with you next week!  Check back in soon! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speaking of babies...

I have exactly SIX summer birthday parties for some of MW's best baby buds! Crazy! So I have been racking my brain over the whole gift thing.  Birthdays are a BIG deal in our family, so I hate to get a cheesy gift that, lets face it, is going to get tossed into the playroom with the rest of the plastic, or worse, into the "regift" closet!  So, I've been a little stressed about it.

I was online browsing and happened upon the most amazing website - Sarah and Abraham.  I am flipping out over this company!  I think my gift debacle is solved.  Check out some of my favorites...

Framed Letter and Name Silhouette...OMG!!! 
Tons of options are available for the background color, letter, and silhouette.  The perfect addition to a nursery or bedroom.
personalized art prints

Customized Pillow...equal OMG!!!
Okay, this is my fav...customized pillow.  Wait until you see the custom options! I'm talking hair color, eye color, eye SHAPE, expression, and skin tone! Also, there are tons of different pillow colors in adorable names like bubblegum, blossom, and bluebell! Cute, cute, CUTE! 
olliegraphic pillow :: girl

Personalized Bowl
olliegraphic bowl :: superhero (boy)

Won't sweet potatoes and rice cereal look posh in this adorable little bowl?! Like the pillow, this item can also be personalized right down to skin! There is also a matching plate to complete the set. 

Have fun browsing this fabulous website! Oh, and "Like" the company on Facebook.  I noticed that Sara, the owner, runs promotions pretty often. 

Happy shopping and good night!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sugar, Spice, and a Nursery That's Nice

A few months ago, one of my favorite neighbors asked me to help prepare a nursery for her sweet little girl, Campbell Marie (great name...I know!). I was so honored! I love helping people decorate their home...and a nursery is probably my favorite room to design. 

 My neighbor, being so sweet and laid back, pretty much gave me free rein.  The only stipulation...wall color and furniture stayed.  So I stopped by to assess the room and get an idea of what I was working with and how I was going to tackle this project. The room was so big and with THREE windows, the lighting was great. The color on the walls was very pretty...sort of a citron green...fresh and bright! Also, there was an abundance of furniture to pick and choose from.  So, basically the "bones" of this project were in place, it just needed finishing touches.  

I took a few pictures, then went home to think about how I was going to tackle this project.  I broke it down into three areas that needed my attention.  

1.  Organization
As I said, the nursery had plenty of furniture...too much for one room, actually.  So we started by clearing out an extra dresser, side table, and various knick knacks.  We streamlined the room to a crib, changing table, bed, and trunk for the foot of the bed.  This immediately opened the space.  We also got rid of the comforter with dark, heavy colors.  

Heavy colors in bed linens weighed down this space.  They were
traded in for a simple white coverlet and shams.
Too much furniture!  Small side table and lamp were removed.

2.  Color choices

Now that I had a blank slate, I was able to start thinking about color options.  We already had a bumper with a patchwork of soft colors and patterns.  I "pulled out" the pink and white gingham pattern from the bumper and decided to repeat it in the crib skirt and euro shams on the bed.  I found an almost exact replica of the fabric on a website called Fashion Fabrics Club for a mere $4 a yard, so I ordered 9 yards of the 1/4" gingham, enough to make two euro shams and a cribskirt.  

Product Image Room Essentials® Sailcloth Tie-Up Shade - White (45x63")I also ordered plain white window treatments and a white coverlet for the bed from Target.Product Image 
Let me tell you, these two items were a STEAL, and look so clean and fresh in the nursery.  Because this nursery had a bright color choice on the wall and some pattern in the crib bedding, I wanted to keep the rest of the room simple.  Target's Simply Chic line has some beautiful, inexpensive bedding that can really help a room come together. 

3. Decorative accents
The icing on the cake for any room is the decorative accents.  For this room I chose a few colorful pillows and three darling daisy hooks, all from Pottery Barn Kids.  The hooks not only added a small pop of color, but also functionality.  You always need a place for hanging towels and clothing.
Lily Elephant Decorative PillowFlower Hooks

We also added a large wall decal in hot pink.  Did you notice that the bed did not have a headboard? The two large euro shams and wall decal serve the purpose by drawing your eye up and creating a  background in lieu of a headboard.  A large piece of artwork could have done the same thing.  On the blank wall to the right of the bed we added a small collection of artwork....all created by Campbell's sisters! To unify the space I used white frames.  It doesn't get much sweeter than this!

The reason I wrote this post is two-fold.  I wanted to share this adorable little space which is now home to one of the cutest, sweetest babies ever. However, I also wanted to show you the three areas of a room that are often neglected - organization, color, and accents - and how you can remedy this problem.  Later this summer I am going to launch a design workshop that will give more information on problem solving in these three areas.