Dec 29, 2014

Housekeeping- Kitchen Lights, Buying Art, Etc.

In order to avoid actual housekeeping (dismantling Christmas trees and sweeping pine needles is such a bore), I thought I would answer some questions that have been asked in the comments.

Several of you asked about the light fixtures in my kitchen.  I didn't reply because I had no idea where they are from- the people who installed them were 2 owners ago.  I had been meaning to give her a ring, but didn't want to bother during the busy holiday season.  The answer came in the form of a party guest this weekend who has the same fixture in her bedroom.  Pottery Barn!  Reasonable and easily accessible!

Here is the link- Pottery Barn Hundi Lanterns

Now, for even better news, you can also find knock-offs on Overstock for half the price.

Here's the link!

Next up, ART.

Y'all know what a big proponent I am of having real art in your home.  This can be a daunting task, especially since it is a slow process.  I know it's far easier to slap some inspirational messages up from Hobby Lobby and call it a day.  Be patient.

One of my favorite places to purchase art is from local artists.  I know, I know, "thanks, Captain Obvious."  However, check your paper for local art shows.  I discovered one of my favorite artists, Gary Dagnan, by going to a show at a library branch that my great-aunt had a piece in.  Speaking of Great-Aunt Marg, amateur artists are a wonderful and affordable way to get started with some pieces for your collection.

This is my favorite painting in the house- found at branch library art show.

Etsy can be tough to wade through, but I have found several pieces I love on the site.  A good sifter is actually Pinterest- look at paintings you like on Pinterest from Etsy, and it will take you down a rabbit hole of excellent art to your taste at reasonable prices.  Here's my Painting board.

Junk stores and estate sales involve some luck, but you can find some really fun stuff.  I recently found these pretty botanicals at an estate sale for less than the cost of their mattes.

 Also, junk store paintings alleviate one of the most costly aspects of art- framing.  Framing gets really pricey, especially if you like large pieces (I adore large pieces).  Along with re-upholstery, slip-cover creation, and curtain-making, framing is one of those arts I really, really need to learn how to do myself.  Someday.

Ask for art.  Cast aside your want for new boots, trendy earrings, and a J. Crew top.  They're going to go out of style, anyway.  Ask for something you see multiple times a day instead. Birthdays, Christmas, etc., ask for art!  Or cash to buy art.  Scout out favorite artists and drop copious hints.
Normally, my family does not do big Christmas presents, but I was thrilled to receive this gorgeous painting by Kathie Odom this year from my parents this year.  I keep catching myself standing in my keeping room and staring at the wall where it hangs.

That brings me to another suggestion- visit local galleries.  Especially the smaller ones.  Get on their mailing list and go to shows.  You never know what you will find!

Befriend artists.  HA! I know that sounds weird.  I am blessed with a ton of artists in my family, so I have wheedled work out of them.  Also, I drop a lot of hints that a perfect gift would be a piece of their art.  It never hurts to try!

A mother I nannied for in Atlanta has a fabulous artist mother (Eugenia Foster).  I babysat a multitude of children one weekend while the mother hosted a show for her mother's work.  I was thrilled when I was offered a painting in return for my services.
Isn't it beautiful?

Okay, finally, a confession.  I cheat sometimes, too.  I buy prints.  It's okay.  I have fallen in love with the work of Erin Gregory, but purchasing of some of her work is out of the budget right now.  However, she currently is selling prints on One King's Lane.  I think one might be a Christmas present to myself. . .
This is another print I purchase probably 5 years ago off One King's Lane.  I love it. And that's okay.

Okay, I applaud you if you have made it to the end.  One final question was the brand of the felt nativity set that Buddy has been decimating.  The answer is. . . I don't know.  I threw away the box.  However, I bought it at a local store called the Village Exchange, and they will likely know the answer if you give them a ring.  Also, if you google "children's felt nativity set" tons of similar options pop up.

Happy hunting!

Dec 23, 2014


First, I want to be transparent here.  This is not what this area of my house generally looks like.  These pictures are comprised of lies.  LIES, I tell you.
 Look at my darling son's new favorite activity.  Do you think my house stays clean for more than a hot minute?  Hell to the no.  Especially since I felt bad for him since he was sick for the first time, and took pictures of the complete destruction of the kleenex box, instead of taking it away.  I just need some peace sometimes.

 Anyhoo, this is the playroom.  It's right off the kitchen, and was ideal because they could happily play while I cooked and/or cleaned in the kitchen.  Then Deeds developed an insatiable need to climb/tumble the two steps into the family room.  Now constant vigilance is required until he learns to go down steps.

I know it's the hot thing to do these tiny little vignette shots, but I always want to see the room as a whole, as well as in relation to its surrounding rooms.  So here you go- not as pretty or glam.

 I just am enamored with this felt nativity that I got the kiddos.  Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, the only other person who likes it is Buddy.  Pouring out a cup of nog for you, Angel.  And two lambs.  May you rest in peace.  At least your demise came in the soft jaws of a golden retriever.

It's now packed away.

We've been crafting during Deeds' morning nap.  The little foam ornaments are $1 kits from AC Moore- there are 4 in each pack and a lot of fun.  I love that DH made all the decor for her area- she was so proud to have it all up on the wall.  Then promptly forgot about it.

These are the steps of doom.  It's a lovely area under the skylight, but other than that, I really don't see the attraction.  Crawl up, attempt to throw himself down, then repeat.  I have no idea how to even attempt to gate this off.  Suggestions encouraged.

On a less whiney note, I love what's become of this awkward little space.  Especially with very young children, a centrally located play-space is crucial for me.   We plan on transforming this area into a bar for big parties- it's the perfect set-up flow-wise for that.

So that's it- house tour will slowly continue as I manage to keep a space neat for long enough to snap quick pictures.  Slowly but surely.

Dec 22, 2014

Party, Party, Party

 Miss Priss had her last day of school for the next two weeks Friday.  I was trying to save the vest for a Christmas present, but when I saw the rest of her ensemble I had to pull it out early.  It's from Garnet Hill, reversible, and so soft and furry!

I love Deeds' photo-bombing here.

After school, we made the best gingerbread cake.  And, even better, it was from a mix!  Go down to Trader Joe's and get the gingerbread mix.  It's super tasty- spicy and not too sweet.  Dell Harper added spindles, which were a tasty addition.  Both kids (and myself) devoured it to the point where it was embarrassing when Morgan got home.  There lay a third of a pan of gingerbread, a toddler, a baby, and me.  I blamed the children.

 Then we left those rascals, and headed off to dinner and a tacky Christmas party.  I had been feeling rather anti-social, but rallied and had a lovely time.  We behaved ourselves due to the fact that we were leaving for Asheville for Morgan's family Christmas the next morning.  Note- I did not want to behave myself.  I wanted to stay until the wee hours of the morning, find myself over-served, and want to hide from my darling children the next day.  Adulthood. Hmmph.

I managed to not take any pictures at said party, or barely any of North Carolina.  Too busy chatting (and child-chasing), I suppose.

 Accessorizing with her new high heels, tiara, bracelets, and Lord only knows what else.

 It's exhausting.

We had a grand old time with family (teenage cousins are the just the COOLEST to an almost 1 year old and almost 3 year old), then headed back Sunday just in time to head to an annual mother-daughter tea.

So darling.

After all that, I got Deeds in bed, and us girls enjoyed a dinner of a can of Campbells chicken noodle, and a little Rudolph viewing.  Sometimes you just gotta keep it simple.

Of course, you gotta keep your bow in, too.   After all. . .

Dec 19, 2014

Five on Friday- Christmas Dream Wish-list

Now, this is not a real wish list.  If a loved one is reading this, and thinks, "Hmm.  Maybe this is a hint, and I should purchase one of these items for Samma", rest assured it is not.  I want for nothing.  We have spent money on the kids, the trip to Nashville ended up being quite a bit more than what I had budgeted (ain't that always the way?), and (more importantly) we are throwing a big Boxing Day bash here.  Stuff adds up, and I would much, much rather do the above than get gifts.

Okay, disclaimer done.  If I was angling for some big ticket items, this is what I would ask for:

1)  This Dash and Albert Cottage Stripe Rug from Garnet Hill.

I am dying for a cotton rug to layer over our seagrass one in the playroom.  I love the sea grass, but it's murder on all the black yoga pants and leggings that comprise my uber-glam wardrobe.  Add in the golden retriever hair, and I look like a Yeti.  All the colors are so yummy, but I think I favor the autumn stripe.

Classic, and a wonderful way to look somewhat cute in my aforementioned glamorous duds.

3.  An Affair with a House and One Man's Folly

Design books never ever fail to delight me.

 4)  Metal Cachepot from Ballard

I have been really into flowers/greenery lately.  I love these cachepots.  My table requires two. ;)

Now we're getting into the realm of completely unnecessary.  I have a black tie event in February, but I have oodles of old dresses I can wear.  But this one?  Floral!  Pink bow!  Pockets!  It looks like you can eat in it- my prime requirement for an evening dress.  It's totally reasonable, but completely unneeded.  Maybe it will go on sale in January.

Anyway, I did ask for much-needed new stationery, and I'd love some new painting supplies, as I have been feeling the itch to get out some canvases.

I'm off to find some tacky Christmas gear for a party tonight! I'm hoping to raid my Dad's old stash of holiday-ish sweaters.  Mom's are long gone unfortunately, but he is a bit more of a pack rat.  Thanks to the Five on Friday ladies for hosting!

Dec 17, 2014

Christmas Kitchen

 I made these wreathes in a couple minutes- just a grapevine wreath form from AC Moore, onto which I wired some cedar garland.  I just hot-glued the ribbon together at the top.

It's just downright cozy in here! This is the third year in a row I've put up our Christmas cards on our cabinets.  Simple, yet fun- going to the mailbox during the month of December is so exciting!  Now, I can see all those happy faces all day long.  I'm so cheesy, I know.

This year, I will be cooking up Christmas Eve dinner.  We will be going to the 5 o'clock service at church, so I need something do-ahead with no last minute prep.  Enter. . .GUMBO!  Um, look at the pictures from that post- almost four years ago.  I have no wrinkles.  I blame the children.

Anyway, seafood gumbo, rice, and maybe a citrus salad to start?  It's not beef tenderloin, but will still be mighty good.  Good thing I documented this clean kitchen- doubtful it will stay this way for long.

Dec 16, 2014

Monday, Monday, Monday *

My latest time sucks?

Circa Old Homes-

This website basically list historic homes for sale across the country.  The real estate lover/old home voyeur in me digs this completely.    I stayed up far too late last night scrolling through house upon house.


I just finished up two audio books, and had nothing teed up, so I gave in to the hype surrounding these podcasts.  I was leery, (I don't think I have ever listened to a podcast before).  Two episodes in, and I am addicted.  So addicted that I might be encouraging my little rascals to get out all of their toys tonight.  Then once they go to bed, I will have to listen to Episode 3 while I clean said toys up.

 In other assorted news- SANTA!

Oh, my yuppie mothering skills were in full throttle Sunday evening.  Matching monogrammed outfits?  Oh yes.  I even starched the hell out of those collars.  DH asked for a "dinosaur with that moving feet". Hopefully Santa shops at Tuesday Morning because we happened to see one just as described there the other day.  Thank goodness.

She received a Cabbage Patch baby doll form Santa, then very sweetly inquired if she could maybe have one of those sword/ninja sets that all her buddies there received.  We switched it out and were treated to lots of cool move demonstrations.  Hi-yah!

As you may discern from the above pictures, Deeds was not feeling quite up to snuff.  We just returned from an hour and half long sick visit to the doctor (with DH in tow AND a dead phone, sigh, sigh, sigh).  He is fine, just has his first ear infection.  Poor buddy.  We went to Nashville Friday night for my brother's surprise 30th birthday party and came back to a sad little dude.  He showed me- apparently not a fan of me leaving him and/or drinking cocktails.

Whelp.  That's it from these parts.  Hope everyone has a lovely evening.

*Just realized that today is Tuesday.  It feels like Monday.  Again.

Dec 12, 2014

Five on Friday- Holiday Haps

1.  Family Pictures- I love, love, love our long overdue family pictures.  If you are local, call Thelen Wright- she is awesome!

2. Dell Harper's Christmas Program

I can't stop laughing.

There's not many things sweeter or funnier than a preschool performance.  DH loved being in the show and was very, um, exuberant.  Even while digging in her nose and doing her "cool moves" (aka ninja kicks).  

3.  Cheese dreams
We had church supper club last night.  I was charged with bringing an appetizer and tried out Cheese Dreams from Southern Living.  They are a Julia Reed recipe, and did not disappoint.  They tasted like tiny grilled cheeses.  And butter.  They tasted like a lot of butter.  Ha!
 You can tell I am exhausted and have a head cold in this picture, but at least I have on my party pants.

4.  Christmas Cards
Ours are in the mail.  I am quite proud of myself.  Plus I have FINALLY gotten all my little scraps of lists and address books together and put together a spreadsheet this year.  I am feeling rather smug about that.  This year we ordered from Paper Culture.  I stared at cards for way too long, and they all started to look the same, so we went with something very simple.  Paper Culture was over $200(!!) cheaper than the ones I liked a Minted.  My only kibble is that the cards seem slightly undersized, but I can deal with that, especially at the price.

5.  Smells of the Season
I've had this bubbling on my stove for the past week.  Divine!  Find the directions here.

 Christmas baby cuteness!  This wish list describes his wants to a T!

Merry Christmas!  And thanks to the Five on Friday ladies for hosting the link up!