Category Archives: Uncategorized

Etsy Roundup- Accessorizing the Porch

Happy Friday friends!  I just couldn’t wait until next week to bring you the “Tuesday Etsy Roundup,” but I didn’t think it really mattered to you guys anyway since I haven’t done one in months.  (For you newbies, the Etsy Roundup is where I pick a theme and choose some of my fave home decorating items from the online marketplace “Etsy” and share them with you. It used to be on Tuesdays.)  Now it will be whenever I can fit one in and it’s relevant to whatever we’re working on that week.  Sticking with a Tuesday is way too much pressure for me. Cool with everybody? Great.

This week I’ve been pretty-ing up the porch and working in the yard as I’m sure lots of you are, so I thought we could all benefit from shopping for some outdoor accessories.  Our screened porch is where we spend a lot of our time in the spring and summer, and it was all kinds of dull with random furniture in shades of brown, beige and tan.  I’ve been brightening it up with some throw pillows, lanterns, fresh flowers, and art, and I can’t wait to share it with you in a couple of days.

Outdoor Accessory Collage

1. “Luv Ya” wooden sign by SlippinSouthern – $42

2. Vintage Wicker Patio Chair by Caprice Vintage- $70

3. Yellow Lacquered 14×18 Serving Tray by Gleaming Renditions – $33

4. Tropical Jungle Zipper Pillow Cover by Pillomatic – $18

5. String Lights (edison bulb) set by HangOut Lighting – $79

6. Small Concrete Flower Vases, set of three by AnsonDesign – $28

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Crushing on Dark Interiors

Carravagio painting

Painting by Michaelangelo Carravaggio, “Lute Player,” 1596  

Back when I was in design school, I was required to take art history and we studied the Renaissance and Reformation periods for what seemed like an eternity.  I appreciated the beauty and work that went into those pieces, but we spent such a long time there, and looked at so many paintings of Mary and friends that they were all beginning to look the same.  Thank Baby J one day the professor finally said, “moving on…” and with a click of the projector, (yes, it was a slide carousel. It did have a remote though, so see, I’m not that old.), a Carravaggio painting showed up on the screen.  I wiggled and perked up in my seat, eyes widening: Well hello there late 16th century Baroque and Rococco. Where on Earth have you been hiding?  If you’re not familiar, Carravaggio was an artist associated with this period and is often classified with the more well known Rembrandt, and some other Dutch dudes who are known for their dark, mostly black backgrounds and “spotlight” on the main subject of the scene (tenibrism).

Rachel-Ruysch-Still-life-with-flowers-Sun

Painting by Rachel Ruysch, Still Life with Flowers, Sun

The content was still religious for the most part, but now we were getting more still life and ordinary folk thrown in there too.  The colors were bright and beautiful against the black backdrops, and the subjects sometimes creepy and dramatic, which I admittedly enjoy in art.  You’re not so lame now professor. Way to pick it up.

Re-wind two years before this lecture, when I probably would have seen a lot of examples of this style had I gone to the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam instead of hanging out in coffee shops forgetting where I was and the rules to a simple game of checkers.  That Dutch coffee is so weird Mom.  Anyway, I was kicking myself that day reminiscing on the missed opportunity.

I got the same excited feeling again, (the one from class, not from the coffee shop), when I started seeing these Carravaggio-esque interiors popping up this year. I’m loving this trend of dark painted walls, and dramatic florals against black backgrounds in wallpaper and art prints.  dark-floral-wallpaper

My fav wallpaper right now is this “Dark Floral” by Ellie Cashman Design. You have to check it out in this gorgeous bathroom here.

Dark floral throw pillow

That bathroom is everything. She just added these silk throw pillows in the same pattern too, which I would totally buy if they weren’t $200 a pop. I would sooo French this pillow like a 12 year-old girl pretending to make out with that hottie in Biology class.  Just kidding.  A little. dark floral etsy print

 Etsy print by kariharer, Flower Photograph No. 88242 

 

Anthro wallpaper

“Party Animals” wallpaper by Anthropologie.

I love how the dark walls make these rooms look sophisticated and cozy, not cavernous.  Just like the paintings, the wall colors are the backdrop and the bright, jewel toned furniture and accessories act as the “spotlight.”  The high gloss walls in this room are killing me right now.
dark floral HB photo

Simple dark charcoal:

dark floral elle decor 2

Luscious red, tufted goodness right here.  It looks great against those smoky blue walls.

dark floral elle decor

 

elle decor olive

I’m pretty sure whoever designed this room drew inspiration from this painting, one of my favorites by the artist Van Eyck:

Van_Eyck_-_Arnolfini_Portrait

 

You’re very welcome for the history lesson, and bonus: I took the liberty of gathering up some wall colors for you guys in case you’re thinking about doing a dark room:

dark floral paintsHowever, I can’t guarantee that these colors will look awesome in your space.  Check with your paint store designer for recommendations.

Have you ever been inspired by your favorite artwork when decorating a space? Any of you guys brave enough to do a dark room? I would love to see pics.

Tuesday Etsy Roundup: Halloween for the Home

Autumn is my favorite season.  Cool, crisp air and changing leaves…boots and corduroy…consuming mass quantities of pumpkin-flavored whatever.  Speaking of which, has anyone else noticed the pumpkin flavored/scented/spiced explosion happening this year?  This stuff’s everywhere. I thought I was having a weird nightmare when I walked into Trader Joe’s the other day.  Pumpkin bread?  I get it.  Mochi ice cream and body butter? Now the shit’s out of hand.

What you can’t have too much of though, are Halloween decorations.  That’s not true. You can… and you can keep them out way past their allowed time and annoy everyone on your street. Don’t be that guy.  A few festive items here and there are the way to go.

Here are a handful-plus-one of my fav decorations for Day of the Dead and Halloween:

Etsy Roundup Halloween

1.  Boo! Printable art print, by PrintableWisdom –  $5

2.  Handpainted Mason Jar, by RMSimpleRustics – $14

3. Black Cat coaster set, by Polkadotdog – $13

4. Day of the Dead hand painted ornaments, by Bones Nelson – $24.99

5. Felt Pumpkin Garland by FuzzonMe – $27

6. Ceramic Skull Planter, by Mudpuppy – $42

Do you decorate for Halloween? What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes?  I make a delicious pumpkin cheesecake every year for Thanksgiving using this recipe here.

 

 

 

Tuesday Etsy Roundup: Song Lyric Art

Ok, you asked for it.  Well, that’s partly true.  No one actually asked for it, but I’ve missed doing the Etsy Roundup and past ones have been getting a lot of “clicks” lately, so I’m bringing them back.  I seriously doubt I can make it happen every Tuesday, but I am going to try really hard to shoot for every other week.

This week I’m bringing you song lyric art.  This collection has something for everyone I think, or if you’re like me and your musical tastes are all over the place, you might like to have any or all of these in your home.  Several years ago when we were remodeling our kitchen, I turned on some music for our cabinet installer, and came back a few minutes later to see if he needed anything. “Everything’s fine, except I think there might be something wrong with your iPod.  Seriously, in the last ten minutes, I’ve heard Snoop Dogg, Loretta Lynn, and the White Stripes.”

Yep, that about sums it up. I love music from just about every genre and my love of music carries over into a lot of our home decor.  We have several pieces of wall art that are influenced by our musical tastes.  In fact, this roundup is a precursor to a post and DIY project I’ll be sharing later this week involving music-influenced wall art, so be sure to check back.

Etsy Song lyric collage

1.  “Home is wherever I’m with You” printable– $3

2.  “Gangster” plate – $48

3.  “Wonderful World”  pillow – $38

4.  “Hella Dope” embroidery hoop – $28.36

5.  “Here Comes the Sun” art print – $20

6.  Willie Nelson record art – $25

Do you love to have music-inspired art around as much as I do?  What lyrics would you like to see on your wall?

 

 

“Too-much-fun-in-the-sun-atosis”

This morning I finally came to the realization that summer is over.  Labor Day weekend marks the end for most people, but apparently for me it takes the slight chill in the air, seeing that my tomato plants are done-zo, and driving Rosie to her final year of pre-K, (sniff-sniff), for it to really set in.  As usual, it came and went in a flash, and I spent part of the morning crying reminiscing, looking at our photos, and gathering up some of our memories to share with you guys.  If family vacation slideshows aren’t your thing, hang out anyway because there are still a few design/color inspiration shots in here you may enjoy.

We started off the summer by taking a road trip to Charleston, South Carolina for a wedding.  A few years back, we had spent an afternoon there on our way to the beach, but had Rosie-the-Rambunctious toddler with us and really didn’t get to see all that much.  She didn’t come along this time, and although we missed her, it was great to spend time, just the two of us, exploring this great city further.  We stayed at an awesome, historic house right off King St., that I found on VRBO totally last minute.  We had a ball just sitting on the porch, with the slight breeze and smell of jasmine in the air, cocktails in hand, watching those crazy kids on King.  People watching is one of my all time favorite things to do, so I was really loving it.

Sitting on porch in charleston

Jeff and I are both design and architecture nerds buffs, so anytime we are childless, we like to walk or rent bikes and check out the local buildings.  We had a couple of hours to kill before the wedding, so we did an outside self-guided tour of the single houses, and the many incredible examples of Federal, Georgian, and Victorian architectural styles.

architecture in charleston 2

architecture charleston

Touring these homes made me want to come back to our house and build a small, natural-looking swimming pool surrounded by hundreds of native plants and flowers, all enclosed with a giant, brick wall with iron gates.  Apparently though, this is really expensive and not exactly “in our budget, or priorities for that matter”, according to my husband.  I said a small pool Jeff.

The wedding took place at a beautiful old plantation/park, right outside of the city.  The weather was perfect and ceremony absolutely beautiful.  Check out these gorgeous flower arrangements.

wedding flowers charleston 2 wedding flowers charleston reception table charleston

Speaking of gorgeous…

jeff and me wedding charleston

Ha! Lucky for you, I cropped the bottom half of the shot.  I’m positive I was blinding everyone within a one mile radius with my pre-pool, white-pantyhose-looking legs.

We went back home for a week and to swoop up Rosie, and then headed to St. Joe’s Beach Florida with some friends of ours.  They have a daughter around the same age as Rosie, which if you have an only child you’ll agree, makes the whole thing a little bit easier. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a bed bug fiasco for the first couple of days, (so annoying), but we were lucky to move to a new place, and we ended up having an excellent time.

port st joe shrimp sign sunset at port st joe Rosie and me on the beachheron on the beach rosie at the beach port st joe

We visited some state parks in the area, cooked some awesome seafood dinners at the house, and pretty much played at the beach most of the time.  Jeff even caught a huge shark.

jeff caught baby shark

Okay, not that huge.  And he threw it back so it could grow up with it’s little shark family and terrorize us next year.

Later in the summer, on Fourth of July weekend, we packed up the Hyundai and headed to the Red River Gorge to stay in a cabin with seven of our closest married couple friends and 15 other kids.  Yes, you read that right.  16 kids.  All in the same cabin.  Apparently we are insane.

jeff and rosie hike gorge

rosie on bridge gorge rosie and me at the gorge

It was actually a blast.  Everyone, (including the kids), got along great, and we spent the weekend hiking, climbing, cooking fabulous meals together, and hanging out by the campfire.

The rest of our summer has been spent doing fun, local activities, like hanging at the pool, going to the zoo and science museum, and enjoying play dates with friends.

Rosie at the zoo summer 14

I know I’ve said it before, but I feel so fortunate and cherish every second of my time together with Rosie.  I can already feel the time speeding by, so I try to spend as much of it as I can with her, before she turns into a teenager and locks herself in her bedroom for hours.

Here’s a shot of Rosie I took while we were taking a break from walking around downtown Louisville one afternoon.  I had just caught her sneaking sips of my coffee while I was checking a text message.

rosie at coffee shop

She definitely needs to work on that poker face.

Did you go anywhere fun this summer? I can’t believe it’s almost over and will be getting cold again soon, can you?

Sweet and Delicious Summer Squash Bread

yellow summer squash zucchini bread

Does anyone else have an overabundance of yellow squash right now?  I mean, we have one yellow squash plant and one butternut growing in the front yard, and they have both taken over like they own the joint.  Rosie and I planted the seeds we got from Nimble Nitecap, (you can read about our spring planting routine here),  and those suckers seemed to come up overnight.   I’ve given some away to friends and neighbors, yet we still manage to have it every night of the week.  We’ve had nothin’ but sauteed squash, grilled squash, squash casserole, and squash kabobs up in here.  So Forrest, as you can see, I’ve been on the lookout for something different to do with this variety.

Squash bread garden

squash bread squash in basket

I found this great recipe on Pinterest from Field Notes from Fatherhood, and modified by adding some ingredients, including cranberries for a little tartness, and carrot, just because I thought adding another vegetable would justify consuming all that sugar.  Yes, I know it doesn’t work that way, but every little bit helps.  At least the addition makes it colorful, and everyone wants pretty bread, right?

squash bread ingredients

 

The recipe calls for three cups of grated squash, which came out to be about two medium/large fruit.  Speaking of the size of the squash, you don’t want to let these, or zucchini get ginormous before you harvest them. When they get huge, they tend to get all dried out and seedy inside, and you don’t want that, trust me.  Aaand speaking of huge, I bought the dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s, and they’re the plumpest guys I’ve ever seen.  When I poured them out of the bag, Rosie said, “Mmmm…little fatties.”  That’s what she calls big blueberries.  I don’t know where she got the saying from, but let me tell you, it was hilarious when she said it the first time and I still crack up every time.

squash bread muffins

The recipe makes enough for two loaves, but I only own one loaf pan, so I made six muffins with the rest of the batter.  For muffins, follow the same recipe, but only cook for 20-22 minutes, (toothpick in the middle check), instead of 50 minutes.  This bread was super easy to make, and turned out delicious.  Jeff and I have been enjoying it for breakfast this week, warmed with a little pat of butter.

Do you have any unique squash or zucchini recipes?  How’s your garden doing this year?  We have tons of tomatoes on the plants right now, but they’re all still green.  I can’t wait until they’re ready to go!

Summer Squash Bread Recipe (Makes 2 loaves)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil or whatever you like to use)
  • 3 cups grated summer squash
  • 1/2 – 1 cup dried cranberries (I only used a 1/2 cup because Jeff isn’t crazy about cranberries)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions (adapted from “Quick Bread Recipe for Summer Squash”, Field Notes from Fatherhood)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder.

3. Beat eggs on medium with mixer.  Add the vanilla, sugars, and coconut oil, mixing well.  Add the grated zucchini and carrot to wet mixture.  Add dry ingredients, mixing on low just until blended.  Do not over mix.  Stir in nuts and cranberries by hand.  Your batter will be pretty thick.  Pour into 2 ungreased loaf pans, or muffin pans (greased or cups).

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  20-22 minutes for muffins.

Enjoy!

Blog Challenge: Making More Time and Clearing My Head

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been absent from the blog again.  I think about it all the time, several times a day even, but can never seem to set aside the time to work on it.  I love doing it, and get great enjoyment out of writing, creating, and sharing my ideas with you guys.  I’m also hopeful that blogging will lead to some other opportunities, and let’s be honest, it would be nice to actually make some money.  It’s totally not going to happen on one post a month though, and I know this.  I know other bloggers with more kids and less time than me, who somehow manage to pull out several posts a week.  Why am I always crying that there “aren’t enough hours” in the day?  How do I make time for this thang?

Another local blogger, (dahlhouseinteriors), posted a few weeks ago that she was challenging herself to one post a day for 30 days.  I commented on her blog that I would take on a similar, yet not so ambitious challenge, and post 2-3 times a week.  Well, that was like 3 weeks ago and I have not published so much as a photo.  I needed help, and it found me by way of the public library.  I was signing Rosie up for the summer reading program, when I passed by the reference section and found some books about writing.  I checked out a book with a funky, 80s style cover called, “Writing from Personal Experience” by Nancy Davidoff Kelton.

IMG_0714

So far, I’ve only made it through the first few chapters, but reading it has been the boost I’ve needed to make the time and get motivated.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned and tried out for the last week.  I’ve gotta:

1.  WAKE UP EARLIER.  Getting up an hour earlier and writing before what Kelton calls the “superego getting in the way.”  Forcing myself out of bed before Rosie, and prior to the demands that hijack my brain.  I’ve been setting my alarm for one hour before I usually get up, (which has been whenever Rosie shows up in my face and begs me to “go downstairs and turn on a show”), and after a few hits of the snooze, ends up being about 40 minutes before my usual time.  So far, it’s been great.  I sit and enjoy a cup of coffee by myself, open the computer, go straight to my blog bypassing Facebook (see #2), and start writing.  My head is clear and I’m typing like a maniac.  I wrote this entire post in about 30 minutes, when normally I would be dragging it on for days, writing a little at a time and never finishing.  I must admit, this step has been really difficult for me.  Momma loves to sleep.

How to make time blogging

 

2. CUT DOWN ON TV & FACEBOOK.

Kelton recommends cutting out the late night shows to fit in some writing.  I don’t watch a lot of TV (just Downton Abbey and a few Netflix shows), so I don’t think this is a huge issue for me. The major problem is Facebook.  This book was published in 1997, Mark Z.  was probably in diapers, and we weren’t wasting hours on the Internet yet, so there’s obviously no mention of it.  But I know it has, at least for me, taken the place of camping out in front of the television.

Every night before bed, I scroll through, burning 30 minutes or more.  The other night, I clicked on and read a poorly written article about a serial killer on the loose in Kentucky.  I did some further research, (wasting another 10 minutes), that led me to the origin of the article, a satirical website.  So there you go, I wasted 20+ minutes on this ridiculous, made up garbage.  Time I’ll never get back.

I haven’t totally quit Facebook, (I did that once for 9 months, and it was really hard), but I’ve limited myself to 10 minutes a day, bypassing photo albums of people I haven’t seen in 20 years and skipping most of the “news articles.”

3.  BE HONEST AND WRITE WHAT I WANT TO WRITE.

I’ve read two blog books and both stressed how important it is to be yourself, write from your heart, and not try to please everyone.  And for the most part, I feel like I’ve been doing that so far.  It’s only occasionally when I’m trying to come up with topics that I think, “no, that’s too personal, or nobody cares about that.”  I think sometimes worrying about what I should write gives me a case of the good ‘ole writer’s block, and I move on to something else, like the laundry.  Now I say, fuck it.  Yes, that’s right, in real life I say “fuck.”  A lot.  I’m not going to hold back and make this thing I enjoy so much, become less enjoyable because I’m not being myself.   I will write what I want to (tastefully, of course. I’m not going to start dropping “f” bombs all over the place now), and not conform to attract more “traffic.”

4.  CLEAN MY MIND AND BODY OF TOXINS.

Kelton talks about exercising everyday, and how she believes it is important to be “mentally, spiritually and aerobically fit.”  Our bodies need to be well, in order for our minds to work well.  I was already exercising a couple of days a week, but lately I’ve picked it up to 5-6 days a week and I’ve never felt better.  I definitely feel like I’m getting more accomplished in one day.  Also, for the last year I’ve been battling some pretty intense PMS symptoms and I’m certain that working out has caused them to almost completely diminish.  Jeff might tell you differently, however, I think I’m doing much better.

I’ve also cut way back on the alcohol consumption.  Not that I was boozing it up every night, but the older I get, the longer the hangover seems to last after only a couple of drinks.  I’m tired of having “fuzzy head” on Tuesday, after having cocktails on the previous Saturday night.

And finally, I’m not letting negative people or their lives consume my thoughts. I’m not going to waste any more energy on “THEIR LIVES.”  I took Kelton’s advice and wrote a letter to someone who was stressing me out and then tore it into a hundred pieces.  This exercise reeeally works.  Go ahead, try it.

5.  MAKE TIME FOR ME AND MY DREAMS.

I’m going to stop putting so much time and energy into household chores.  I don’t need to have very single load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away in one day.   It’s not necessary for us to have a gourmet meal every night, and so what if the grass hasn’t been cut in two weeks?  I spend a lot of time with Rosie, which I immensely enjoy, but it’s fine for Jeff take her to do something fun every once in awhile without me.  I need to set aside some time for myself, and work on accomplishing these goals of building my blog and having a successful design career.

So, there it is.  Expect some serious blogging in the coming weeks.  What do you wish you had more time to do?   Are you happy with your job, or do you want to be doing something else?  I love, love, love and consider myself very lucky to be able to have this stay-at-home mom gig, but I think I can make room for the creative, design stuff in my life too.  Wish me luck!