I recently saw these original Christmas greenery arrangements in my parents' neighborhood. I love how this home owner has used greenery native to our area to decorate. She used palm fronds, tied with magnolia leaves, and holly. I also am a big fan of magnolia wreaths. I have been so busy, and not able to post much. I hope to get into a better routine in the new year!!
Sunbrella is an incredible brand of fabric. I have used it for years for all of my outside pillows and cushions. It is incredibly durable, waterproof, and washable. For these reasons some people advocate using it as an interior fabric, especially for rooms where kids are often present. Now it comes in velvet and looks like the real thing. I saw it featured on a morning show the other day. You can spill a cup of water on it and it doesn't soak in and wipes right up.
One of my favorite children's authors is David Shannon and I love his book Too Many Toys. I am sure most parents have frequently felt overtaken by the number of toys in their home. Before Christmas gets here and it is literally just around the corner, I suggest taking a few hours to do a major purging of your kids' toys or else you may be totally overwhelmed by adding new toys to the mix. Consider that your sentimental attachment to some of these toys may be greater than your child's. I have hardly ever gotten rid of something that my child has asked me about later. Remember that a kid's world is transient. If they do not play with the toy anymore, simply get rid of it and think about how you are perhaps giving it to someone who may appreciate it more. I think one of the most common reasons for not letting go of certain toys is this sentimental attachment or also the thought that, so-and-so gave my child that (a dear grandmother for example) so I can't get rid of it. This is understandable but just remember that toys are material objects and should not hold the memory of that person. If you would like to hold onto a few sentimental items, buy one bin in which to store some of your favorite toys and books--good quality ones that may be handed down to grandchildren or nieces and nephews. Limit yourself to this bin and keep it stored in the attic. Happy purging!
In my opinion, no home should be totally devoid of the color green. It is such a bright and life giving color. I love this green sofa used by Anna Spiro of Absolutely Beautiful Things in one of the homes she decorated. To me it is such a splash of happiness. I also love the painted striped green and white floor in the adjoining sunroom!
If I had a little girl, I would be all over this bedding. I just love the crisp white linens and the colorful pillows. This combo would look great with almost any color paint on the wall. This picture was taken at Celadon, a local store which is having a 20% off on everything sale through the weekend.
Lately I have been trying to come up with a better way of storing, organizing, and displaying my jewelry. I once saw an idea about storing necklaces in teacups which I have tried, but am tired of it because it is not working for me anymore. I am starting to think that I may want to have my jewelry (mainly my necklaces) on display on a shelf in my closet/dressing area. One idea is using a jewelry tree. You can create one yourself if you are a good DIYer, or they have some great options at Urban Outfitters or Pottery Barn, both of which have free online shipping right now.
Images from Apartment Therapy, Pottery Barn, and Urban Outfitters.
I just love a bedroom to look romantic and soothing. This picture is from one of my friend's bedrooms. The four poster bed with sheers and vintage linens gives it a really unique look. The wall color is Marsh Grass by Sherwin Williams.
From now until Christmas I will feature a once a week Christmas gift idea. This week's feature is the Gurgle Pot. Basically it is a fish-shaped pitcher the gurgles (a loud "glug glug") when you pour from it. I had seen them for a long time at one of my favorite local stores in Mt. Pleasant called Zinnia and had told people about them when they were trying to think of an original, not too expensive gift. They come in so many fun colors! My mom has bought several as wedding gifts and the recipients have all loved them. I lamented the fact that I never had been given one and it's not the kind of thing you buy for yourself. Then, for my birthday I received two of them--one from my husband who had heard me talking about them and one from my brother and his wife who did not know how much I loved them, but loved the shop Zinnia where they found it and thought it might be something I would like. Now, do I really need two?? Probably not, but I loved both colors so much (I got a mint green one and a coral one), that I couldn't decide which one to give back. So, I'll keep both for now. I recently had a party and had one in two different rooms. If you do go to Zinnia, tell them I sent you! They cost around $40 a piece and also come in a smaller version and in salt and pepper shakers.
How many of you love to tear out recipe pages from magazines? When deciding what I want to cook for dinner, I am very visual and need inspiration from pictures. Instead of keeping the whole magazine full of recipes (such as Cooking Light), tear out the ones that look good to you and that you think you'll actually try making one day. To organize them, buy a three-ring binder and some plastic sleeves and voila, an instant file for cooking inspiration.
Last night we went to a dinner party where I saw this interesting display of teacups on a wall in the host's dining room. It sort of reminded me of the displays I like of plates on walls. Going three dimensional is fun. These teacups have been collected by their owner over a long period of time. Hanging them takes a little bit of being anal, but the result is a fun and creative way to fill a space. Also, chicken tetrazinni we had last night was the best I have ever had as were the chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting. I must get the recipes!!
With the change of season we all should seek to make our closets more functional for the weather at hand. In doing this, we should also go through our summer clothes to see what we really didn't wear or like and consider getting rid of it. I encourage people to get out all of their fall clothes, for example, to see what they have before you are tempted to go and buy new stuff. If there is anything you didn't wear last year, consider ridding yourself of it--just let it go. Erin Doland, who writes for Unclutterer.com, just came out with a new book entitled Unclutter Your Life in One Week. While this seems like a tall order, I am anxious to read her book and I especially like her tips for clearing and organizing your wardrobe:
The item should represent your current style and the image you wish to project to others.
The item should fit you well and complement your body type.
The item should work in coordination with a minimum of two other items in your wardrobe.
You should be able to wear the item with shoes you already own (for shoes, you should be able to wear them with clothing you already own).
The item should be in good condition and should not need to be repaired.
There should be space for the item to be properly stored.
You should like how you feel when you wear the item (for shoes, they should not cause blisters).
You should have an occasion in the next year to wear it.
It seems that life is getting a little bit hectic lately and I hardly ever have any time to kill. But, if I do find myself with an extra half hour on my hands before having to go pick up my three-year-old from preschool, one of my favorite things to do is to wander around the Antiques Market here in Mt. Pleasant. I have found some treasures here, but really am not searching for my house anymore. Sometimes I find something that I can imagine in just the right setting or with just the right paint color in the background, etc. Here is what I found today:
The lockets in the first two pictures can be found in a vintage jewelry case at the store next door to the Antiques Market. I love them!! I have one I bought here and have gotten countless compliments on it. They are so unique and not too pricey!! (I would love to "collect" these).
The litte Christmas tree ($22) is adorable and they had several of them. These would look great on a sideboard or mantel.
The zebra ($12) is made of leather and would look so cute on a shelf in a child's room painted a bright color.
I love vintage oil paintings and this one of a mountain scene ($150) has such awesome colors. It would look great in a study. Don't think I am promoting adding clutter to your home--I just think the most interesting homes are ones that have character that is not necessarily bought from Pottery Barn or Target. I know it depends on your style, but if you shop places like these you can find such unique things at great prices.
I recently helped a client declutter and organize her garage. Using a pegboard for the tools was the biggest no-brainer. Most of you probably already do this, but if you don't I highly recommend it. You can buy a pegboard and hooks of all shapes and sizes at your local Home Depot or Lowe's. I also like the magnetic strip she used for metal tools. When organizing your garage, it is good to have a zone for everything and aim to get as much as possible off the floor--especially if you plan to park in your garage. You can have an amazingly organized garage if you hire professional garage organizers that have the whole "garage system." My brother did this and his garage is awesome, but it comes at a price. The other option is just to get some inexpensive basic hooks and garage organizing tools from home improvement stores and get to work. Above are before and after pictures of the garage I worked on and below is a picture of my neighbor's creative skateboard storage system and my husband's own pegboard and ladder storage system.
A friend of mine sent see me some pictures of how she displays her daughter's artwork on a curtain rod in her hallway. She uses the curtain clips to make a rotating gallery. I think this is a great idea. The last picture is another of her ideas--the decal frames are from photojojo.com. They are easily removable and leave no marks on the wall, so she can change out the pictures and the arrangement as often as she likes. I just love these and all creative ideas about displaying kids art. Thanks, Dorothy, for sharing!! I also found a great pic of this same idea on one of my favorite websites oohdeedoh (the curtain rod art display seen in the first picture).
My next door neighbor is a home organizer. She has absolutely fantastic ideas! I love her use of these recycle bags from Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com) and they cost $30 for a set of four. She uses them in her boys' room to organize their extensive Lego collection and their dress-up clothes. I also love how she used the shelves with the green bins in their room for other toys. . Like me, she does not have a separate play room for her kids, so they have to clean up their toys at the end of the day. Having all of these bins out in the open (she used to have them in their closet) facilitates clean-up time.
Not much time to write today, but just wanted to post some pictures of the moon vine and flowers we have growing on our fence. My husband planted these vines along with the morning glories a few years ago and they come back every year. The moon flowers bloom when the moon comes out, stay out open all night, then fall off in the morning. They are beautiful and very fragrant. Unfortunately they will not last when the weather cools off, but we may have a few more weeks with them.
A few weeks ago I read a post on unclutterer.com about how deadheading flowers is sort of like uncluttering your house. New growth will be prohibited unless you remove dead flowers of certain plants. In the same way, you cannot appreciate what you have in your house unless you remove what is outdated and no longer useful. After removing these things (this is true especially in the case of closets), you will have a better vision of what you have, and there will be room for new things if needed. The above pictures I took in my yard are knock-out roses. These are great because they bloom several times a year and do great, if you deadhead them.
I absolutely love the table scapes that are posted on one of my favorite blogs "Absolutely Beautiful Things" and think that they add so much to a room. Unfortunately I can't do these arrangements on my coffee table since my kids use it as a play surface, but it would be nice to experiment with these when company is coming over or on higher surfaces. It is sort of like making a work of art and it allows you display some of your collections. I love, for example, her collections and displays of paperweights, and she always seems to have fresh flowers. The last picture is of a "tablescape" I attempted on my very high dresser in my bedroom--out of the way of kids' reach. Images courtesy of absolutelybeautifulthings.blogspot.com
As a rule, I don't like rooms with themes that are easily outgrown like Spiderman or Starwars, etc. but I do love the nautical motif in a little boy's room. This is something that will grow with them, and if you just work on the motif through accessories you can change them out when you get tired of them if you keep everything else neutral or interchangeable. For my three-year-old's room I have used the Serena and Lily George duvet shown in the first photo and have found some interesting objects at antiques stores to adorn the walls, etc. I did buy the ship drawing featured in the above pictures (for $50 framed!) and the kids love examining for all the details it has. If you wanted to spend a little more, you could invest in an oil painting (the one of the marina is by my good friend Jennifer Smith Rogers) or for a lot less a gallery poster (the one in the picture is by my friend Shannon Smith and can be purchased at the Smith-Killian Gallery in Charleston). smithkillian.com
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!