Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Club -The Things We Wish Were True

Note:  The theme for the book "The Things We Wish Were True" by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is in no way reflected in the food, decor, and wine I chose for the evening as host for this month's gathering.  One of our members had planned to be moving to Australia shortly after this meeting, so that's why you see boomerangs, Yellow Tail wine, etc.  Funny thing is, by the time the meeting was held, she had made the decision to move to Colorado instead, haha :)  But it was fun putting everything together, anyway.  Our son had actually traveled to Australia with People to People Student Ambassadors when he was in middle school, so it was easy for me to come up with items to decorate with!  Several boomerangs, a hand-painted leather canvas, and a didgeridoo (the painted, wooden black and red tube "thingy", which is a wind instrument used by indigenous Australian people) are just a few of the souvenirs that Sam brought back with him from that special trip.

The food I served was pretty typical for our very casual book club group.  We just love to get together to chat (often not about the book) and enjoy a little wine and some easy appetizers.  Of course, the wine had to be Australian!  Even though Yellow Tail isn't a high-end selection by any stretch of the imagination, most of our members thought it was at least drinkable ;)  

Veggies & hummus and crackers & cheese are always no-fail options for every taste. And have you ever tried Trader Joe's salted pecans?  Oh my word, if you like pecans, these are decadent and absolutely addictive!  I thought the napkins had a hint of Australian style to them.  

I love to serve these Spicy Pretzels from The Cookin' Chicks, which are simple to make and always a crowd-pleaser.  I also served ginger cookies with Pumpkin Dip from Carolina Charm but, unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a good picture of that.  It was delicious and super easy to make!  If you want to see more recipes for non-cooks like myself ;) head on over to my Pinterest boards, "Tasty," "Tasty Holiday," and "Clean Eating."   

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering about the book, it's a story that is set in North Carolina about several families who are intertwined by secrets.  There are old and dear friends, nosy neighbors, new lovers, children, and even a couple of deeply disturbed cast members.  This book is both easy to read and thought-provoking. The characters and setting are relatable and may remind you of long-ago parts of your life.  And a couple of twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.

Book Club is always the highlight of my month!  Here we are trying to capture years worth of friendship and love in a couple of quick iPhone photos before one of us moves on to her new adventure.  These ladies are so special to me.  Aren't girlfriends the best?  Do you belong to a book club?


Monday, October 24, 2016

Still Tweaking This Living Room!

Do you notice anything different about this room?  The profusion of beige has given way to another accent wall...

There were reasons why our living/dining rooms had been completely cloaked in a monochromatic shade of camel.  (Not all of those reasons were necessarily well-founded, mind you.)  Of course, using a neutral color throughout a space and punching it up with texture is a valid design technique.  So let's go with that for my reason, haha.  Actually, that was what I told myself when I covered a gorgeous mossy green paint with beige.  I thought I was reacting to years of vibrant color by changing it to a sophisticated and restful neutral.  At the time, there were many lovely variations of white rooms "out there" in print and on social media, influencing my choices.

But, in hindsight, I think I had regressed to safe thinking and planning for the eventual resale of our house, which was silly because we have no immediate plans to move.  We'll be here in Nebraska for more winters - YEA!  (...sarcasm intended.)  Also, when I bought this beige sectional, the other option that I strongly considered was a luscious leafy green velvet.  But, you guessed it, fear set in and I just couldn't commit to years of saturated color on a major upholstery piece.

You know, it didn't even occur to me until writing this post that those decisions to remove all of the cheerful and lively color from the main living spaces absolutely coincided with some of the darkest, most frightening and sad years of our life.  It makes sense now that I was psychologically replacing happy hues with safe, bland ones, because much of the joy had been stripped from our life, and I was subconsciously responding to that, even in my decorating. 

Whew, that got deep for a bit, didn't it?  I'll switch from my therapist voice back to my designer voice now, haha.  But, really, color psychology is a compelling science.  Do you ever try to figure out why you are drawn to certain colors at any given time?  It can be fascinating and can bring up all kinds of emotions!

Anyway, we recently refinanced our home (cha-ching!) and it looks like we'll be here for a few more years.  Also, life has stabilized at least for now, and I seem to have gotten tired of living in a desert of sand-colored paint, carpet, and furnishings. 

The designer in me really, REALLY wanted to do wallpaper on this long wall that connects these rooms.  But practicality prevailed, and I settled for an easy and budget-friendly gallon of paint to jazz up this space.  It can be seen from the kitchen and also from the front entry, so that was also a consideration.

As you may know, I've had a recent love affair with teal, as seen here and here.  This summer, when my girlfriends and I were at IKEA, I went gaga over this velvet pillow cover (on the left) and decided to use it as my paint inspiration.  I didn't take it to the paint store for matching, but I got pretty close by playing with swatches and using a trial-and-error approach.  The color I ended up with is Behr Hunters Hollow, and I love it!

Per usual, my hubby had to tease about how much paint has been applied to our walls in the 12 years we've lived here.  He says that soon our noses will touch the tv screen when we're sitting on the sectional.  He's such a card...ugh.

I'm still trying to add some color to my coffee table styling but, as you can see, old habits die hard, haha.  I really thought I was going out on a limb last spring when I bought a pottery bowl with its teal insides; but it has become the perfect repository for coasters, so now you can barely see the teal...oh well.  This pretty glass pumpkin came from Pottery Barn.  Of course, the hands are permanent fixtures in here - I never get tired of them, and it's fun to add seasonal d├ęcor to the black one.  This mirrored tray is new from HomeGoods, along with the fur pillow that is peeking out from behind the others.

Abbie is enjoying a fluffy new deep teal throw and one of the green velvet pillows.  I got the pair of pillows at a tag sale a few years ago for a song.  She does make a pretty prop there, doesn't she?

Now that some more color has successfully been added and livened up this area of the house, the wheels are turning in my head about upcoming projects.  Shhhhh...don't mention it to my other half.  :)


Sharing with:  Between Naps on the Porch , The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesdays, Inspire Me Mondays, Vintage Charm, French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Color Crush - Burgundy and Orange

With Fall comes a migration toward warmth and coziness. We crave thick, woven textures and layers of rich color. Our tastes often follow Mother Nature as she transforms our surroundings from chartreuse, watermelon, and sunflower to moss, oxblood, and cinnamon. Textiles in velvet, wool, cashmere, and faux fur give us tactile comfort.

I'm currently crushing on the combination of burgundies with shades of orange. These hues together are artfully bold and fearless. When muted down with less contrast, they evoke a feeling of luxury and sophistication. I am swooning over the velvet sofa and ottoman, below, paired with the deep wall color and hits of grey and white.  The richness of these tones envelope the room in a warm glow.

Source (broken link)

To enhance this already-luscious pumpkin and cabernet color scheme, in the photo below, lavender adds just a hint of femininity.  Textural wall coverings and antique gold accents suggest luxury; while white, lavender, and a playfully-shaped headboard keep this bedroom from feeling too weighty or serious.  

Shades of bordeaux and spice also make fabulous fashion statements.  Classic silhouettes and simple, elegant styling create gorgeous looks in the next photo.  Who wouldn't love to wrap themselves in this lush fur jacket or arrive in style in the beautiful ensemble and coat?

Inspired by these colors and photos, I designed a faux floral arrangement with thistle, succulents, and branches in a burgundy cachepot.  A vintage book and some fruits of the season complete my vignette.  

What color combinations are you loving right now?  I hope this post gives you some inspiration for looking at color in a fresh, new way.  Have a great week, Friends!


Sharing with: Vintage Charm
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Is Two Pieces of Art a Collection?

There are a couple of different approaches to the way in which we furnish and decorate our homes.  One way is to take a room and select pieces based on a design style or color, or some inspiration from a magazine, Pinterest, etc.  We gather our furnishings, paint colors, and accessories, and we put the room together...voila! 

The other way is to let the room evolve organically over time.  For our personal home, this is my modus operandi.  It drives my hubby crazy; and, I'll confess, it even drives me a little crazy sometimes, haha...partly because it allows time for changing my mind mid-project.  But this organic evolution also nurtures my desire to create spaces that don't follow a predicted style or trend.  I like rooms that tell stories about the people who live in them.

Take, for example, our living room/dining room.  Now, I'll admit that the color scheme has been influenced by what I've noticed online and in magazines.  So, in that regard, it is not really original.  But the eclectic juxtaposition of architectural salvage with contemporary, linear pieces clearly displays my personal design aesthetic.

I rarely commit to conventional "art" for our home.  But once in awhile, something will speak to my heart and I fall head over heels.  That's what happened when I found this top piece at an art festival in Chicago.  (Read more about it here.)

After some time, I came across another piece on Etsy that compliments it beautifully.  I knew that the framing needed to be simple in comparison to the ornate, chippy antique frame that I placed the first piece in.  This simple mirrored frame suits the art but doesn't compete.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but these drawings are hung pretty low on the wall.  The bottom edge is only about 2 1/2 feet off the floor.  This small area has a drop ceiling due to duct work.  I hung the first piece at eye level when standing (which is my default position.)  Rather than raising it to accommodate a second piece, I decided I liked the idea of going lower.  When seated, the second piece is at eye level.  It's more interesting than the expected height for art.

These pieces really sing against the dark paint, don't they?  I find ballet to be so breathtaking in its grace, discipline, artistry, and athleticism.  We now have beautiful, original, personal pieces that remind us of a part of our daughter's history.  To me, these are so much more special than anything I could have purchased "off the shelf."

Is two pieces of art a collection?  ;)

Until next time,

Sharing with: French Country Cottage, Shabby Art Boutique, Between Naps on the Porch, Amaze Me Monday, Inspire Me Monday, A Stroll Thru Life, StoneGable