Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Favorite things--nautical pillowcases

I found these awesome pillowcases on Etsy here--they are very cute, inexpensive, and Royal Kane is offering free shipping.  What a great idea for a Christmas present.  They would look good in my boys' rooms.

Friday, December 10, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things: Annechovie

I have long admired Anne Harwell's prints and designs.  Here are just a few that I love that can be purchased from her Etsy shop found here.  I am a big fan of her colors and whimsical design.  I think that any of these would make great gifts for somebody with similar taste.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Art wall

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that one of my favorite blogs it Meg Duerksin's Whatever blog that can be found here   It is sort of a photo journal of her family's every day life.  and is very honest and real and she makes us feel like we know her because of our common ground of experience as moms.  I love this photo of the art wall in her house and the fact that she admits that she feels no guilt in throwing away pieces after they have been displayed.  I find that I am saving less and less as time goes on.  Each one of my sons has a box in which I put the most treasured pieces.  I make sure that I purge the box every couple of months.  The only way to keep a home clutter-free in my opinion is to edit, edit, edit.  You'll be glad you did.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Melamine plates by Daninotes: A few of my favorite things

A good friend of mine who is a graphic designer sells these personalized melamine plates and platters on her Etsy site.  I think they make fabulous and useful gifts.  I love the platters because if you take an appetizer to the party and happen to leave your plate there, the hosts will know who it belongs to!  You have to order by December 10th to get them in time for Christmas.  Visit her site here.  She designed the pirate monkey for my son as a birthday gift.  He loves it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year.  We have decorated the house and are getting things in order.  My kids adore the Christmas tree and my oldest is especially obsessed.  He decorates mostly himself and wakes up every morning and stares at it as he is eating his breakfast.  I keep my decorations pretty simple: tree, mantel, and manger scene on one of my buffets, and a Christmas cactus (love the red and pink blooms) on the other.  The manger scene was given to us as a wedding present which I thought was such a great and meaningful gift.  As far as clearing clutter, I do go through my decorations as I am putting them out and get rid of anything I don't like anymore or something that is tattered and torn.  And, as a rule, my decorations have to fit neatly into four boxes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Earring tree

Trying to get ready for Christmas and the New Year I feel a strong desire to get everything All Squared Away.  Do you?  OK--I've tried many different ways to organize my earrings (I am a big accessory person), but I think I have finally found one that works for me.  Here they are (almost all of them in one place) on a little earring tree I purchased at TJ Maxx for about seven bucks.  Finding a storage solution that works for you is key--one that fits in with how you work, dress, etc.  More and more I am loving to see my things out, so I can know and remember what I have.  I still haven't figured out the necklace storage, but am working on it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey gobbler fruit centerpiece

Yesterday at my youngest's Thanksgiving party, I saw these turkey centerpieces that a mom had created out of a cantaloupe, a small pear, a few raisins, a red pepper, grapes, and cheddar cheese chunks.  They were precious and totally edible and make a fun craft for you and your kids.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Here are the directions I found on

  1. 1Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base and place on serving dish or platter.
  2. 2Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear (head) upside-down to the upper front of the melon.
  3. 3Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the pear head with sections of toothpick.
  4. 4Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers around the back of the melon. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

These are some of my favorite things series: Nostalgic Graphic Tees

Elizabeth Horton, a friend of mine in Mt. Pleasant who is a graphic designer has created these cute shirts that feature silhouette designs of nostalgic childhood memories.  I think they are adorable and the quality is great.  This week she has a special offer on the Christmas tee.  Her sizes run from baby to size 12.  What a great gift to give or to ask the grandparents for!  Visit her Etsy store here: to see all of her cute designs.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Scarf organizer

I found a great organizing blog called "Penelope Loves Lists" which can be found here:  Because I also am a huge fan of scarfs, I thought this clever solution was great.  The scarf hook which can be bought at the Container Store.  Just hang on a wall hook or on your closet bar, grab and go.  I love having things readily accessible.  I also think scarves are a clever way of adding color and personality to an outfit and if your neck is warm, it makes a huge difference.  Having been in France this month, I can say that you hardly ever see a French woman without a scarf.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly menu

Although it seems like a no brainer, I have not always been super good about planning the week's menu in advance.  A few weeks ago, however, I made a conscious effort to be more diligent about it.  For the last two weeks it has worked superbly.  I don't do anything fancy, but at the beginning of the week I sit down and write out what we are going to eat each night.  On the back of the menu I write out my grocery list.  It is important that I choose something that everybody will eat.  Also, I have found that for Monday-Friday, I can get away with cooking only three times because I try to double up on the recipe.  Here is a sample of what we had last week:

Monday: Beef Bourguignon and salad
Tuesday: Turkey tacos with toppings and black beans for the side
Wednesday: Roast Chicken
Thursday: Leftover Beef Bourguignon with broccoli
Friday: Leftover chicken (you could make a pot pie, chicken quesadillas or anything)

The following picture is of the roast chicken we made and it was SO easy.  Just buy a whole chicken, coat w/ olive oil salt and pepper and lemon juice.  Put in foiled covered roasting pan with potatoes and carrots on the bottom (also brushed with olive oil) and cook @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes per pound.  Ours took about an hour and a half.  Although it is very easy to buy a roasted chicken at the supermarket, this tastes so much better in flavor and nothing beats a home-cooked meal.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Paris is always a good idea...

I have been out of pocket this November with a fabulous 40th birthday trip to Paris and then getting back and playing catch up, etc, etc.  Hopefully I will have more time to post throughout the Holidays with decorating, organizing, and gift ideas.  Being in Paris reawakened my love for the French way of life, or  "art de vivre."  I have always felt at home in France because the way of life there speaks deeply to something inside of me--finding joy in the small things, slowing down, taking pride in the beautiful and well-crafted, and quite simply enjoying the everyday.  Here are some of my pictures...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Decorations

Are you ready for Halloween?  I spotted these in one of my favorite yards today.  I love the spooky raven! Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cute girl's room

I found these pictures of a cute yet sophisticated ten year old girl's room on one of the blogs I follow.  I love the rug and bedding from Anthropologie, the blue Farrow and Ball paint color, and most of all the white Pottery Barn frames filled with illustrations done by the little girl herself.  To find out more about this room transformation go to:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A few great organizing ideas

I took these pictures last night over at a friend's house.  I love her calendar which she got for free at a local teachers' supply store.  Using different colored markers is a great idea.  Each person can have their own color or you can just work out a system that suits you.  Posting the kids's artwork to cover the door to the laundry room was another great idea.  On the doors leading to her back porch, the kids are allowed to draw with a type of chalk/crayon that wipes off easily with a bit of glass cleaner.  She says it can keep her three little ones occupied for a very long time.  I love going into people's homes and discovering new ideas!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love these pillows

I think these hooked wool pillows are so awesome.  Love the bright colors and designs.  I especially love the seahorse with the reds and blues and think that it would be fun to design a whole room around these fun colors.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Botanical prints

I love botanical prints and found a few the other day at a local antique store and thought they were just gorgeous.  They would look fabulous in a powder room or a guest bedroom.  This goes along with my theory that every room needs just a bit of green in it somewhere.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Duvet cover from West Elm

I have seen this West Elm duvet cover in person and am seeing it in decorating magazines lately.  I think it is so nice and simple and it looks like you could just dive into it.  Also, it is amazingly well-priced (only $139 for the full/queen size)  You can find it here:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hanging and storing necklaces

I am big on necklaces--big, chunky, colorful, unique pieces of art that you can wear.  The reason I like them so much is because you can just have on an average, unexciting tee shirt and throw a necklace on and you look somewhat dressed up.  My favorite necklace designer is friend Nikki Fitzgerald of ItFitz jewelry.  Check out her page here:  On almost any given day you can see me wearing one of her pieces.   Here are some examples:

 I have gone through multiple ways of storing my necklaces, but I am thinking now about just simply hanging them on nails in my closet like this:

 Hmmm, the other idea is to make a corkboard with pins, but I am not into crafty (glue guns, etc.)  When I get it figured out, I'll let you know.  That is going to be on my immediate to do list, because I have been putting it off for quite some time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More ideas for displaying kids' artwork

A photo gallery wall is one of my favorite things to see in a house.  If done well, it speaks loads about the homeowners and their likes and interests.  Lately I've seen a few pictures of great gallery walls done in nurseries or kids' rooms and just love them.  I like the idea of buying the frames that you can switch the art in and out of easily.  Here are some more ideas about what to do with all of those little pieces of artwork that you don't know what to do with.

Family activities expert Dr. Bra Vada Garrett-Akinsanya looks at various ways to create, store and display children's artwork.
  • A great way to store children's artwork is to make a three-ring binder as a personal art book for the child. After you take the artwork off the refrigerator, put it in the binder. Be sure to label and date the artwork.
  • To show your child how much you appreciate their artwork, have some of the favorite pieces framed and hang them in the office or at home.
  • To clean up that cluttered refrigerator look, cut mats (the cardstock used for borders in frames) with openings slightly smaller than the standard sheet of paper. Attach magnetic strips to the back of each mat. Put on the refrigerator for an organized look, whereby the focus is on the artwork, not the clutter.
  • Place artwork and photos under glass on a chest of drawers in your child's room.
  • Mount a piece of flat trim molding on the wall at eye level. Every eight to 10 inches, attach one leg of a spring-loaded clothespin to the trim with small nails or screws. Then you can just clip the top edges of the artwork into the clothespin. It's easy, and the display can be changed often.
  • Making a collage is another way to hold onto your child's artwork. Glue the favorite parts of random artwork onto a piece of poster board. Laminating it will be sure to protect to work forever.
  • Make magnets to give to grandparents and family members. Cut out various items (flowers, dun, kites, clouds etc.), and have pieces laminated with hard plastic. Trim off excess plastic, then glue pieces to small magnets. Give the magnets away to family members as gifts that remind everyone that they are all connected.
  • Create an in-home art gallery by purchasing several inexpensive frames from discount stores. Find a wall or table that can be dedicated as the "gallery." Help older children come up with titles for their artwork, and label their drawings. Otherwise, younger children can simply identify what they’ve drawn with a word or two (a bird, a dog etc.). When guests visit, your child can treat them to an in-home exhibition of his/her artwork.
  • You can also make laminated place mats from your child's artwork for a wipe-able surface that family member can enjoy for years to come. Try to collect six to eight pictures, and glue the pictures onto an 8-1/2 x 14-inch sheet of heavy cardstock paper. You may also glue pieces of cloth to the back of the paper for a reversible effect. Have the mats laminated in medium or heavy plastic. 
    * Note: If cloth is added, be sure that the plastic is cut at least 1/4 inch beyond the matting to prevent the edges from fraying.
  • Have your children's artwork turned into a calendar.
  • Gifts for family members and friends can be made by your artistic children. Have your children paint on flowerpots or rocks (these make great paperweights) or have them make personal stationery.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First day of fall

It doesn't feel like it at all but today is the first day of fall, my favorite season for sure.  Although it still feels like the dead heat of the summer around here, I am anxious for the mercury to start descending.  I stopped by my favorite local garden store to see what they had in terms of fall flowers even if I dare not plant any until it hits at least 85 degrees!  I feel sorry for the people who are already buying their mums  because they will be dead here in about two weeks or less.  The colorful pepper plants and million bells are great for autumnal color.  I also like the houseplants that are good for this time of year--especially the tropical colored bromeliads.  Lush ferns are also among my favorites.  How cool are the air plants?  Instead of planting these in soil, you lay them upon shells or driftwood.  These would be a fabulous addition to coastal decor.

How awesome is this crocodile fern?  Look at the scale on its leaves.

These are the air plants--fantastic for coastal decor.