what I do

what I do

Thursday, November 28, 2013

An early Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early at our house so that we could all be together ... 

A dear friend dropped by with a gift of beautiful ceramic turkey napkin rings. They went perfect with our table. She bought them from a friend of hers who is a ceramic artist. She has an Etsy shop where you can see (and purchase) other treasures she has made if you are interested.

I used a gold pen to write our names on the pumpkins I had painted black. 

Everything else was pretty simple. I picked up some roses at Whole Foods while I was getting some last minute ingredients for our feast. They added just the perfect pop of color. I placed them in a new milk glass vase I found at an antique store in my daughter's small town last weekend. It was $8.00.

I wrote quotes and Bible verses on the black pots in chalk. My favorite quote was this one. So I framed it for our table. 

 I also used it for some gift tags ...

We made a couple of tarts, squash soup and a potato and brussel spout gratin to go with our turkey and the usual trimmings ...

Our menu this year was new - different from our usual foods ... and put together by my daughter who lives on the farm and myself. Everything we made was from organic ingredients and gluten free. It was fantastic! But the best treasure was just being together ... cooking, eating, and even a little dancing.

Instead of a thankful tree this year as we have done in the past, we made a paper chain filled with things we treasure that we are grateful for. We will hang the chain on our Christmas tree.

 I hope you have a wonderful day focusing on the things you treasure the most. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday preparations

The holidays are upon us (or quickly approaching) and while I am still focusing on Thanksgiving, I have started getting my living room ready for Christmas. You know, dress it up a little.

I took my HomeGoods chair down to my upholsterer and had him make her a new outfit out of navy velvet. I found the pillow at a charity boutique last week. They seem happy together.

 I also finished writing on the Thanksgiving pots with chalk...

And wrote our names on the pumpkins in gold. But the best part ...

The menu is done and the shopping list is ready. I have a ton to do and staying organized helps me stay calm.

Thanks for stopping by ... I'm sure you have a ton to do as well!
Happy Monday everyone :D

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breathe out love

I saw this quote on a dining room wall in a home that was on a Christmas Home Tour I went to last week. The artwork that the quote was on was from Sugarboo Designs:

I had not seen this piece before but I was familiar with another art print of theirs ... In fact, I used it in a nursery several years ago:

I fell in love with the print the minute I saw it. But interestingly, I didn't remember the quote or if I ever even paid attention to it at the time we purchased it. When I read the quote on the artwork from the house tour it really touched me. Especially the part where it says, "Above all else, love."

It reminded me of a radio broadcast I had heard recently. I was driving out of town and was listening to Oprah radio. Oprah has a show called Super Soul Sunday where she talks with / interviews different people each week about life and spirituality. And God. It is not always what I believe exactly (not that I think anyone can believe everything exactly anyway...) but it is always lovely and always thought provoking. I love a good conversation about life. During one of those shows, she asked someone what they felt our purpose in life is. Because, she said, (and I am paraphrasing here) "we are all here for a reason." I was really curious what she would say she thought that reason was. I wished at that moment that I could stop the radio and rewind a bit ... push record ... pull over and write down the conversation to remember it more. She went on to say that she believed the reason we are here is to LOVE. To receive love and to give love. Ah, Oprah. I couldn't agree more. 

She talked about how even when it is hard, even when someone does something that challenges that love, we need to look at it as an opportunity to love. I love that word, opportunity. Jesus didn't say to love those that are easy to love, in fact, he said there is no great feat in that. He said we should love those who are not easy to love (Matthew 5:43-48). I think when we look at circumstances as opportunities we can rise to the challenge. 

I hope you know that you are loved like crazy.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
-1 John 4:8

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Black, pumpkins and Thanksgiving preparations

I moved some of the art around in my office the other day (again) ... I could not stay happy with the way it was. Maybe it was just too much color for me. Yes, I realize it is a "sickness". 

 I broke the frame while I was trying to attach a hanger onto the back ... oops. Ironically it works with "perfectly" with the quote.

I am loving the black walls though. In fact, I am loving black everything these days. It kind of started after I helped my sister who lives up north with her house a couple of months ago and we ordered new furniture for her living room. It was all dark and sophisticated and it made me think about changing all my white to black. Yeah, that is probably not going to happen.

But I do think I am on a little black tangent.  

I will be out of town for a couple of days for the new furniture install so I am getting a head start on my Thanksgiving table. We will be celebrating a day early this year so I need as much done as possible before I leave. My daughter (who also lives up north) and I will be driving home with our farm fresh turkey.

I am not exactly sure what I am doing with the pumpkins yet ... this was one idea. I sprayed them with chalk paint and painted the stems gold. I thought I might use chalk to write on them with but I am pretty happy with the gold writing. 

I will save the chalk for the pots. My grocery list is done and the menu planned - I am never this prepared! How about you? Are you getting ready for your day of Thanks?

Monday, November 18, 2013

A comfortable library

I finished styling the library / TV room last week. You can read about the project here but to quickly remind you, this was a pool room (as in pool table) and the husband wanted to turn it into a library and TV watching room.

My inspiration boards for the room

 Before you get all "what is up with the bricks" on me, the clients love their brick and it was not an option to change it. And although they wanted to have bookcases on either side of the hearth, they were not interested in built-ins. Some of the bricks/stones project out from the wall and so that we didn't have to cut them off, we needed to use open shelving. It was tricky (well, it took some precise measuring) to find bookcases that fit the space and where the shelves hit in just the right places. 

The bookshelves before styling

We used these from Crate and Barrel. I like that they have a drawer and the height was exactly what I wanted.

In addition to the bookshelves, we purchased a sectional, a long sofa table, a leather recliner, a storage ottoman coffee table and a large area rug. The TV will be installed next week over the fireplace and the pool table light (stained glass) still needs to be removed but it was time to get some accessories in this bare room. Here is what I started with (the lighting was terrible so the colors are off ... the area rug is actually a perfect navy blue):

We purchased the table from Pottery Barn. We saw it when we went in to look at the rug. I loved the length and the fact that it was wide enough to put a lamp on but not too wide to cramp the limited space behind the sofa. We needed a table without a bottom shelf so we could put two ottomans underneath the table. Here is the furniture installed ... looks pretty boring without any accessories:



I did my usual HomeGoods hunt for the perfect accessories, picked up some pillows and a lamp from West Elm and came out with a carload of stuff. I wanted to put a combination of the client's books and interesting objects to break up the shelves and as always, I wanted the accessories to look collected and also reflect the client's personalities. I also thought it would be fun to make them a little bar area.
Ready to see how it turned out?

I placed two swivel leather ottomans under the sofa table to be used for extra seating. The second lamp will be delivered in a few days.

I think it turned out great and the best part is that it is exactly what the client wanted. It will be a cozy and comfortable room for reading or TV watching and a nice place for the family to gather ... and I am happy the client's books have a new home.