Saturday, January 25, 2014

Photo cut-outs ...

We have hundreds of old photographs passed down from family.  Literally, dozens of albums and too many loose photos to count. So, I've been thinking of taking some of the most interesting historical family pictures to make photo cut-outs.

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Why not enjoy the images of family, instead of having them far from view? Grandparents and great grandparents remain a part of that familial thread of time by occupying bookshelves and tabletops.

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This is such an easy project. Simply glue the photo to a stiff backing like cardboard. Then, cut out the image, leaving a small tab at the bottom that can be inserted into a base of wood.

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Wood bases are available at craft stores like Michael's and Hobby Lobby, so there's no need to craft your own. Most likely the base will need a slit cut in order to hold the tab in place. Those curious relatives become charming artwork that holds special meaning.

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I'm game for creating something a little more fun, too. Jewelry holders? Why not?

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Then, again, paying homage to someone special is a lovely artistic expression of love. A cigar box is easily transformed into a 'altar de muertos.' Here in South Texas many people create vibrant memorials for their deceased loved ones by assembling multi-tiered ofrendas, or altars. It's a beautiful tradition that could be interpreted with photo cut-outs of ancestors. I think I may add this project to my photo cut-out 'to-do' list.

Butter and canaries ...

Our kitchen has always been painted some shade of yellow. Well, actually, when we first built our home over three decades ago, it was wallpapered - in yellow. Currently, the yellow is muted by a faux finish that gives it a aged hue. But, I'm beyond tired of faux finishes. Be gone, I say!

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I'm inspired by butter - not only the food stuff, but by the signature shade of cosmetics manufacturer 'butter London.' And, I've found lots of great rooms with buttery walls and architectural elements that are exactly what I have in mind.

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The classic, cheerful demeanor of pastel yellow reminds me of my grandparents home in Northern Kentucky. I had a wonderful experience visiting there as a child. So, this shade brings back warm memories of love and affection.


Images above via Indulgy (left) and Kreyv (right).

From the pastel shade of butter to canary yellow, the sunny disposition is perfect for my morning start in the kitchen and breakfast room.

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That brilliant, invigorating shot of sunshine gets me in a happy mood for the day ahead. Even the bolder hue of sunflowers is a charmer.

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It looks amazing on a ceiling! And, I've really warmed to a yellow and gray color scheme. 

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Sunflower yellow is the traditional color associated with Provence, so my French country kitchen inspiration is right at home.

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Now, I'm living with four painted swatches on my breakfast room walls. This allows me to see how the color changes throughout the day from sunrise to sunset and with artificial light. My paint brushes are at the ready for my decision. Will it be butter or canary?

Knit one, purl two ...

I have never learned the art of knitting. There, I said it. While I've tackled every other imaginable fiber art and all sorts of crafts, I somehow missed this homespun fun. That may change someday with the inspiration that abounds.

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Okay, maybe its just the cold winter, but I'm longing for a sweater-knit blanket.

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Those big, fat cable-knits below are obsession worthy!


Images above via Plaza (left) and Woonstijl Magazine (right).

Could my tribal blanket be a yummy knit throw?

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I do believe a knit wit bag would be a perfect tote for all my goodies.

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I've had a knit-spiration. I tuck this thought away for now and plan to take up this craft in my retirement years! Okay I have another decade or more to wait, but it's always good to plan ahead.  Knit one, purl two ...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

On the menu: Cauliflower trickery ...

My new year resolution to eat healthy is paying big dividends. In 19 days, I've lost 12 pounds. The best part is how easy it has been to cut out processed foods and reduce my carbohydrate intake. One of those little dietary tricks is to substitute cauliflower for potatoes.

It's amazing how cauliflower can transform into everything from pizza crust to tater tots. So, I'll share a delicious, cheesy recipe the whole family will enjoy. Kids will never know they're eating healthy!


3 c (about half of a head) shredded cauliflower
4 oz. (about 1 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
¼ cup cornmeal
1 tsp kosher salt
a few grinds black pepper
½ tsp ground mustard

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Rub a mini muffin tin with olive oil (I'm not a fan of cooking spray, but you can use it if you must. Do you have any idea what's in that stuff?)

Place the shredded cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together thoroughly.
Using a spoon or scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cups.
Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

The shredding blade on a food processor will easily shred the cauliflower. The stems can be used as well, not just the florets, since it is all being shredded and mixed together.

Makes 24 yummy tots that you'll love!

Stacked styling ...

I need to wrangle all of my books and style them in an artful way before a bevy of houseguests arrive for my daughter's wedding. Bookcases would make a great deal of sense, but I'm short on time and space, not to mention I would rather devote the dollars to the big event.

There are several book styling options that have caught my eye. I'm considering: building them into a tower from the floor, stacking them on a table, exhibiting them as art or simply allowing them to serve as a foundation for decorator items and floral displays.

Book towers ...

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Images above via Architectural Digest (left) and Lifestyle Mirror (right).

Stacked on tables ...

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Images above via Armas Design (left) and Le Petit Chouchou (right).

Exhibit as art ...

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Images above via Michelle Pimm (left) and Mermaid in Madras (right).

Base for decorative accessories and flowers ...

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Now, I just need to gather and sort my favorites and target a space or two (or three) for my dust jacket jungle.

Hallway haven ...

Finally! The painting of our hallway is complete. I love the new color, 'Coconut Milk' by Valspar Paint. Now comes the tricky part of deciding what to put back up on the walls. The hall has always served as our family photo gallery, so I'm inclined to exhibit our cherished memories there again.

For inspiration, I've been looking back at some photos I've saved ...

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 The art gallery feel also appeals to me.

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Then, again, it's not too late to add character with wallpaper or architectural details.

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Gallery it shall be. Time to punctuate the newly painted walls with dozens of nail holes, much to the dismay of my very tolerant husband.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Faux fabulous ...

Wow, faux fur has come a long way, baby! It's has a luxe vibe and a casual demeanor - classic and contemporary, yet fun and sexy.

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I wouldn't mind going a little glam with a fake mink or chinchilla. Hey, if its good enough for Ralph Lauren, it's good enough for me. And, that annoying winter draft in my living room would seem far more tolerable snuggled under something so soft!

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There are so many choices from faux rabbit and bear hides, to one of my favorites - sherpa, a man made material designed to look like sheepskin. I picked up a sherpa rug from IKEA a couple of years ago and absolutely love it. 


Images above of sherpa rugs living the high life as chair covers via A Beautiful Mess (left) and Cheetah is the New Black (right).


Images above via All Through the Looking Glass (left) and Imgur (right). 

From backyards to baby nurseries, faux goodness is a dynamic addition to any decor. Sublime!

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Toes shouldn't have all the fun. Give your tushie some happy time on hip, fur imitations while dining. Chairs with hard surface seating become comfy places with serious design cred!

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Indulge in the sumptuous feel of fur with man-made materials that are ethical and cruelty-free, yet just as beautiful underfoot. I love that they re-create the natural weight, depth of color and softness of genuine fur, all the while being a guilt-free indulgence.

Cozy winter rooms ...

I love winter snuggles! Don't smack me if you live in a cold climate. But, here in Texas winter is a welcome relief from our mostly warm (okay, hot) weather. Although the seasonal drop in temperature is short, it's delightful to hibernate in a cozy winter room.

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I have a penchant for dark colors and love the warmth rich hues bring to a room. It doesn't hurt when the space is spectacularly decorated and aglow from a roaring fire. Bellissimo!

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Add toe-carressing furry rugs, luxe blankets and cushy pillows, and I can take a long winter's nap in winter white bliss, too.


Images above via Cabinet de Curiosit├ęs  (left) and Those Who Danced (right).

Every relaxing space in our house is decked out with blankets during the cool months. There is a throw blanket on every chair, and even on our piano bench. We love sitting in the evening wrapped in cozy covers.

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Those special reading nooks become havens for relaxation in the winter.

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When the outside color diminishes in the winter, it's fun to warm up a room with lively, deep tones to bring a little cheer inside. Rugs, pillows and artwork can turn up the heat during those chilly days indoors. Even dining spaces can capture the season with heavier textiles and warming candles.

Cheers to those who make their gathering rooms blissfully cozy when the weather outside is frightful.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Kiss my brass ...

I'm helping my daughter plan her vintage garden wedding, and it's such great fun interpreting the theme throughout the ceremony and outdoor reception. With all the items on our 'to do' list, I must say that thinking of the flower arrangements brings such delight. The garden theme comes to life here, and every kind of vessel has come to mind.  Glass, wood boxes, weathered metals are all lovely options, but somehow I keep coming back to vintage brass.

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They make not look like a cheery lot for a wedding, but just wait to see what they can become with a little polish and glorious blooms.


Images above via In Good Taste (left) and Style Me Pretty (right).

Thankfully, my little brass collection has grown over the years, so we would only need to add a few more vessels to fill the tabletops. 

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Some recent retail therapy added three vintage brass bowls and goblets to my little stockpile. Even if we don't use them for the table centerpieces, I'll have them at the ready for other occasions.


Images above via Bippity Boppity Boo (left) and Style Me Pretty (right).

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Worn (or I should say well-loved) brass imparts an instant vintage feel. A little Hollywood, a little hipster, a lot of charm to showcase spring flowers at their best. So, kiss kiss to my cherished brass.

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