Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Few Autumn Projects - @ForRent.com!

Thank you so much to those of you who left kind comments about my porch update on Monday!  I always love coming back after a little blogging break, as I find I really do miss writing up posts and hearing from you guys! I've had a few things come together over the last few days, so I am finally ready to snap some photos and get some of my latest projects up here on the blog (about time, huh?)! In the meantime, I wanted to let you know about two posts I have up live over at ForRent.com right now!

First up, I took a different approach to my Fall decor this year, and I have to say I am just LOVING it! Usually, I tend to put up a bunch of colored and kitschy things in a mantel-type display (which I still love), but for some reason, that didn't feel right this year. Instead, I was craving more rustic and natural touches that blended a little more seamlessly with our decor. If colored pumpkins and scarecrows aren't your thing either - be sure to check out my modern and simple ideas HERE!

Modern Fall_Gourds_ForRent.com
Modern Fall_Couch_ForRent.com

Second, I had always planned on getting this recipe up here on the blog, but when ForRent.com asked me to come up with a Fall-time soup or stew - I knew this was the project to share! This Hearty Beef, Barley and Sausage Soup is a favorite around here - both in our family and on our street! It's the soup I make for anyone and anytime a good meal is needed! New neighbors? Mom with a new baby? Neighborhood potluck? Easy weeknight dinner? Check, check, check, check. I never knew how good this one was until I made it for a street gathering, and everyone raved about it! I also like to make it in batches and keep single-serving portions in the freezer! Get the recipe and full how-to HERE!

Barley Soup_Up Close_ForRent.com

I know I say this every time, but thank for supporting me and my work on other websites. I know taking an extra second to click over can sometimes be a hassle, but I really do appreciate it! And just a reminder, these posts will never appear in full here on THIHM, so be sure to follow the links for more pictures and details!

I'm in the throws of Halloween costume creation and I have to say, I am just loving it this year. I am not really a costume person, so I'm surprised at how much fun I'm having. Details soon, promise!


Monday, October 20, 2014

(Yet Another) Front Porch Update!!

Yikes - sorry for the lack of posting last week, friends! I wish I had some great excuse (which honestly, I feel like I am making a lot of lately!), but the truth is, I'm working on a few different things that are all in various stages of completion, none of which is "done." I also did some sewing/painting/decorating for a few friends...and that had me pulling some long crafting hours but with nothing to show for it here on the blog. However, with a mini break comes an eagerness to get back to it...so...let's get back to it, shall we!

One thing I have been doing a lot of lately, while waiting for paint to dry or hardware to arrive or inspiration to strike, has been tweaking. I've been doing a lot of futzing and tweaking of this little house of ours' because, as I've mentioned a few times, it's mostly done. I say mostly because all of the big projects and room makeovers are complete...there are just a few little areas that I can't seem to get quite right...quite right enough to proclaim a space "done" (and get it photographed and up here for you to see!) But because we are facing another move within the next 6-9 months (how is it time to be moving again already?!?), I'm feeling the need to get these spaces done...like, for real done. And while I am the type that could and will futz forever, I'm in a (mental) place where I'd like to relax and enjoy all my hard work for these last few months we are here! After all, I'll be setting up the next house before I know it!!

Once space that I just finally proclaimed "done" is outside. Some of you long-time readers might be chuckling to yourself because I feel like I have proclaimed our front porch "done" at least 3 or 4 times now. However, each time I've said it's "done," it has been very "seasonal" - as in, decorated for Fall or Summer or Christmas etc. I haven't been able to land on a porch setup that feels complete, comfortable, usable, and most importantly: suitable year round. During our big house purge this summer, I got rid of a lot of excess furniture and accessories that we just don't need...and after moving some things around, tweaking and futzing some more...I feel like we finally (2+ years later) have our year-round porch setup! Come on down our front walk, let me show you!

Evolution of Front Porch-001

When we first moved here, we bought these oh-so-durable and wonderful poly-wood chairs from a local store. We love everything about them (their durability and fade-resistance), but instead of putting them on our porch, we put them out in the yard by our fire pit. Well...they never got used out there, so after I sold off a bunch of our other porch furniture, I hauled them up by the front window. I love the splash of color on our porch, and now they get a lot more use! 

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The lanterns have been out here for a while, but I brought the tiled planter back outside (where it should have gone in the first place because it's so fantastic with those chairs, especially in the sunlight!) I have been searching and searching for a suitable table for between the chairs for a while now. I wanted something durable, modern, inexpensive and compatible with the lounge chairs. As soon as I stumbled upon THIS table from Target, I knew it was the one! 

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The pillows are made from a yard of Sunbrella fabric that I bought with my Mom last summer (sniff). It was expensive fabric, but I loved it so much I couldn't resist. I originally made these pillows for our couch, but they proved too busy with everything else I had going on in our living room...so they got tucked away. Again, through a process of futzing and tweaking, I dug these out to try them on the turquoise chairs, and I instantly loved them. They haven't moved since!

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Evolution of Front Porch-006

One thing I am most excited about is the addition of a sleek, chic wooden monogram for our front door. Here's the deal - I have a hard time with wreaths. I've said it probably a dozen times here on the blog. I struggle making them, and I have a hard time remembering to switch them out (case in point: before I put this up a few weeks ago, my July 4th wreath was still up). I don't know why - it's my decorating Achilles' heel apparently! Recognizing that I am just not a wreath person, I really wanted something I could keep up year round that felt simple and modern.

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Around here, a lot of people have the scrolly/script wooden letters on their front door. They are lovely, but just not me. And more so...a script "D" never looks like a "D"...so I went on a hunt to find something similar but more in my style. I first came upon this modern monogram from PB Teen - but oh the prices! So...I scoured Etsy, and lo and behold, I found a wonderful solution! I ordered THIS monogram from HERE. Although the wait was a bit long, I am thrilled with the final result and highly recommend this shop. The monogram came un-finished and I could paint it any color I wanted. I have a feeling it will see many coats of paint as the years march on! (By the way, not a sponsored product/post....just sharing my two cents :)

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Evolution of Front Porch-009

For the past two years, I've used the transition to Fall as an excuse to clean up our garden and plant some new plants - and I usually show you those updates here on the blog. This year, I am calling "mercy" to our deer, who eat everything and anything planted in the ground. I just don't have the patience and money to put more plants in the ground that will become dinner to our nightly visitors. So...our garden looks a little unkept this year....and I'm actually okay with that!

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However, there are three new additions to our garden that I do want to show you! Twelve years ago, my abundantly (and seemingly limitlessly) talented mother made a whole slew of mosaic garden stones, most of which lived her in her garden until this past summer when my family and I dug them all out and divvied them up among us. I got to bring home the ladybug, the butterfly and the frog. These stones are such a vivid memory of the house I grew up in and my Mom, and I am so excited to have these in our garden now! Aren't they awesome!!!

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Evolution of Front Porch-012

So, that's one more space that I can check off the list, stop futzing and tweaking, and call "done!" And I really mean it this time. I had to laugh when I went back through all my pictures and saw all the various looks and setups this porch has seen over the past two years. Next week, I will do my final porch recap post so you can see its full evolution in one spot - my neighbors must really think I am nuts!

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I hope you all have a great start to your week. I'm in full-on Halloween costume-making mode (among other things!) and getting our house and our family ready for something really exciting that's about to happen! I'll be back later this week with an unexpected update to one of my favorite furniture makeovers in the house (that is if I can get it done!)



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ombre Baby Quilts

Every now and then, this crazy and unexpected military lifestyle that we live hands us something oh-so-wonderful. In my case and in this instance, it was in the form of two chance neighbors who became special and life-long friends. On this random little street on this random military base, I was blessed to move in right next door to two gals who supported me a ton these last few years (and whom I've been able to support right back during equally tough times.) When I learned they were both expecting precious baby boys just a few weeks apart, I couldn't wait to make them both something that would connect all three of us together forever, no matter where our military paths take us from here.

Ombre Baby Quilts-001

As I've been doing all year long, I've been quilting with my Mother's fabrics (that I unearthed out of her immense fabric stash after her death). When life gets busy and it feels like I've moved on too quickly, cutting and sewing and pressing her fabrics over and over helps me stop and reflect and miss her. When I came across this cool set of ombre fabrics she hand-dyed herself, I knew I wanted to use these imperfectly perfect swatches to make small quilts for my two dear friends!

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Ombre Baby Quilts-004

My original plan was to use all the shades of blues and greys together to make two identical quilts like THESE. But...it wasn't quite coming together right. So after quite a bit of brainstorming, I had the brilliant idea to add WHITE...and boy, that did the trick!

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Ombre Baby Quilts-006

When I was working with the fabrics up close, the blues felt really different...but in pictures they look pretty similiar. One has more Dutch blue tones with this really neat mini ikat backing!

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Ombre Baby Quilts-008

The other one has what I would call more "stormy" blues - and I backed this one with this adorable mini scallop print!

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Each one was quilted in a pretty basic straight-line criss-cross pattern and bound in the same fabric as the backs.

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Even though this quit design was somewhat of a happy accident, I'm loving how these two quilts work together, and am already scheming how I could use a similar pattern/technique to make a bigger quilt! 

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Ombre Baby Quilts-012

These quilts are far from perfect - the fabric is a tad wrinkly from the dying, and my quilted lines are far from straight. But just like life lately, through all the wrinkles and crooked lines, I still ended up with something pretty darn beautiful!

Ombre Baby Quilts-013

I hope these quilts are loved and used by these sweet new babes and their mamas. And when we've all moved far away from each other, these gals can look at these quilts and I can look at these pictures...and we can all remember what a special thing we had! Love you girls!!!

The whole "just add white" to this quilt gave me an idea! Remember the "quilt I couldn't finish"?? Well, adding white might just do the trick with that one too, so I'm back on track to get that one finished next! Here's a peek!


See you back here real soon!




Monday, October 6, 2014

Making a Color Happy Home - @ForRent.com!

Those of you who have been coming around here for a while may recall that our family room has proved to be THE most challenging room to pull together and proclaim "finished." I've made some bold design decisions in here with striped walls and a big blue sectional, but have seriously struggled to add in elements that feel true to our home and my design aesthetic while still being functional and family friendly! I've majorly waffled back and forth between various color schemes and accent pieces, driving myself batty! After stepping away from this space for quite some time, I'm happy to say, in recent months I have finally made some progress in this room and it's feeling oh-so-close! While I'm not quite ready to give you the full room reveal yet, I have given a few sneak peeks HERE and HERE...and today I am over at ForRent.com sharing how to add in some simple pops of color to bring an entirely new feel to a space!

Here's what I mean. I originally through bold neutrals were the way to go, but the room was feeling oh.so.flat and monochromatic. By adding in some pillows, artwork, and accent pieces in a fresh new color scheme, the room had an entirely different vibe!

Pops of Color-Before After Family Room-ForRent.com

What's really fun about decorating with this approach is that changing up the mood and feel of the room is possible with a simple swap of the accent pieces (which is really good for this gal who likes to change her mind pretty frequently!). If you've been a bit too color-shy in your current home, pop on over HERE to get some of my tips and tricks for infusing more color into your home! I promise, it's not as scary as it might seem ;) and it can bring a whole new life to an otherwise bland space!

Pops of Color-Before After Entry-ForRent.com

As usual, this post will never appear in full here on THIHM, so I appreciate you taking an extra second to click over and support my work on other sites!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, October 3, 2014

DIY Acrylic Tray (from a frame) - @My Daily Bubble!

One of the things I love the most about doing contributor posts for other websites is that it really forces me to get creative, as well as practice my staging and photography skills! My creative juices were running a bit dry this month, and after brainstorming a few not-so-exciting project ideas, I decided to just follow my gut on a project I had been stewing over for a while. Lo and behold...it was a winner of a project AND we now have a great new accessory for our family room. And even better? The warm tones in this tray are perfect for Fall decorating!

DIY Acrylic Tray-001

I fashioned this really fun decorative tray out of an old frame, a sheet of plexiglass and some brass pulls. It was a really easy project that came out soooo great. You can get the full tutorial HERE!

What I love most about this tray is the clear acrylic bottom, under which I can layer all sorts of fun papers to match any season or my mood!

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I had so much fun playing with all the different looks I could get with this super versatile little accessory.  I'm pretty sure it's going to be sticking around on our ottoman for a good while!

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Get the full how-to, as well as all my styling ideas HERE! And just a reminder, this post will never appear here on THIHM, so be sure to hop on over to My Daily Bubble to get all the info. Thanks so much for supporting my work on other sites!

I'm wrapping up a very productive week and am ready for the weekend to be here! Our temps are getting ready to drop...and I literally can't wait to pull on my jeans and boots! Bring on the Fall! See you Monday!




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Beverage Stand to Plant Stand

Lately, I've been focused on getting big, styled, photographed rooms and projects up here on the blog. And as I shared on Monday, it's often the final step of getting those spaces actually styled and photographed that slows my blog posting schedule down! I have been wanting to share fun little tips, products or new things around our house, but feel like these small updates are not quite "worthy" of a big post. However, I love reading similar little tid-bit posts on other blogs, so I figured, why not! I'm not going to start posting random filler stuff just to put a post up, but sometimes there are just little fun things I do to and around our house that I get excited about. And I want to share...so here we go :)

You all know that I am a major sucker for red clearance stickers at Target. And even though I am REALLY trying to curb the amount of "stuff" that comes into our house, sometimes there are just things I can't pass up! A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon these beverage stands on an end cap marked down to $10 each (for both the small and tall sizes). 

Plant Stands-002

I really loved their shiny white metal and wood surfaces and was trying to come up with some clever Target-hack. I figured that even if I left them completely alone, they'd come in handy for holiday-scapes, table displays, and entertaining...so they came home with me! My original plan was to use them out on the front porch to display pumpkins, but then I noticed their sizes were just right for some of my flower pots. I hate having my pots down on the ground for some reason, and I loved the industrial-yet-chic vibe these had. Within minutes...I had new plant stands! No Target-hack needed! 

I showed you a peek of the small one on Monday in our dining room:

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Plant Stands-004

(By the way, did anyone notice that the succulents have been re-potted and re-located? These are the only little suckers that survived my ride on the succulent band waggon. I hope these guys will be happier in their sunnier home :)

The taller one landed next to our TV. I feel like I have tried a million different things in this little spot, but this one is a winner. The bowl, actually another Target clearance score for $4, fits oh-so-perfectly and brings some much-needed subtle color to this side of the room!

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Whenever I sit on the couch, instead of saying to myself "there really needs to be something there," I smile at this new little addition. Something green is always a good idea, and I love these simple little beverage stands as a way to add height and interest to a simple potted plant.

Plant Stands-006

I love a good hack any day, but this was a good lesson for myself that not everything needs to be given a coat of paint and decoupaged and made into a big crazy project. Even using everyday items in different ways can bring some interest to your house and a smile to your face!
Plant Stands-007

That's all for today folks! Hope you're having a great week!


P.S. This isn't a sponsored post at all! Just sharing a recent fun find :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dining Room Final Reveal

I have a blogger confession to make this Monday morning! Of late, my slow-down in post schedule has not been due to lack of material to post; but instead, difficulty capturing projects and rooms in photos. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous; however, I reeeaally want you guys to see what I see in real life. When I walk into a finished space or stage a project that feels all crisp and magical and special, I get really frustrated when I can't capture that same magical essence in photos. (I am far from a professional photographer, but that doesn't keep me from wanting top-notch photos here on the blog.) Lately, our weather has been drab and my styling skills have seemingly been in hiding, so I haven't been able to take some "final" photo shoots of some rooms in our house and some other projects I have waiting in the wings. Well...I proclaimed THIS the weekend to tackle one of the rooms on my list...my favorite space in the entire house: our dining room. It only took me about 800 photos across 6 different shooting sessions (told you, I'm no professional!) to get these 30 or so "magical" ones, but I'm pretty gosh darn excited for this room reveal today! Here we go!

The base housing that we live in is really nothing special, and our before photos are evidence of that! Here's our dining room the day we received the keys: a white box with laminate flooring and a tacky chandelier, no architectural details or charming features. Still, it's a really great size and has good natural light!

Dining Room Reveal-001
Dining Room Reveal-002

I had big plans to make this a fresh and dramatic space, so I started with a two-color paint treatment on the walls with a chair rail to add some visual interest and create a clean border. The top blue color is Martha Stewart Azurite (my favorite paint color ever!) and the bottom white is Martha Stewart Tailor's Chalk.

Dining Room Reveal-003
Dining Room Reveal-004

Two+ years and a bunch of DIY projects later, here's the completed room! Much of this space fell into place rather quickly and early on. It's only been in recent months that I added a few final finishing touches and then waited around for the sun and my photography skills to align in order to capture these shots! (Note - links to all projects and a source list are at the end of this post!)

Dining Room Reveal-005

In the center of the room is our table and chairs. About 6 years ago, we purchased this set (the Angled-Leg Table, (4) Porter chairs, and (2) overlapping square back chairs which are no longer available) from West Elm. While they are still holding on, work fine, and look decent, these are next on our list to be replaced (not for a while, but they will probably be our next big furniture purchase). I'm actually amazed at all the buzz West Elm receives in the design- and blog-world. Greg and I furnished our entire San Diego apartment with West Elm furniture, and this table set is all we have left besides our bed and a set of shelves. We've gotten rid of everything else. We have found that their items are high on style and high in price, but they majorly lack in quality. Nothing was solid wood, and the veneer has come off of almost everything we've purchased. I will buy decor accents from West Elm, but won't buy furniture from them again. Bummer - because their stuff really does look great in a space!

Dining Room Reveal-006

To add some color and pattern around the table, Henry's high chair was spray painted a bright leaf green (still as good as the day I painted it!), and I covered our chairs with removable/washable slipcovers in this amazing cobalt outdoor fabric. The olive jar on top of the table was a "treasure from my parents' basement" - they lived in Spain and collected a variety of these in all shapes and sizes. This one lived in my childhood bedroom for a long time, so I was excited to bring it home this past summer. It gets moved around the house pretty frequently, but its favorite spot is right here!

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Dining Room Reveal-008

Directly to the left of the table are two tall bookcases that we use as a dining hutch. 

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We painted these solid wood bookcases long before I started this blog (they actually could use a fresh coat of paint!) and for the longest time I couldn't figure out how to style them that made sense. Using the pieces as a dining hutch has worked brilliantly, and the pops of kelly green throughout really bring the whole display to life!

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Dining Room Reveal-011
Dining Room Reveal-012

This view is really one of my favorites in the entire house. Thankfully, this is what I see whenever I enter the house or come out from the bedrooms!

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The green accents on the shelves really conrast with the black, blue and white and were the exact "pops of color" this room really needed!

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Dining Room Reveal-015

In the back left corner of the room is a storage piece we bought overseas while living in Okinawa. While it's not my typical style, I absolutely LOVE it. I love the unit itself, but more so, I love how I acquired it (long story, but essentially I got it from a dear dear friend and it just reminds me a of a great chapter in my life!) Not only does it serve as a great focal point/conversation piece, but it also holds our fine china, crystal and party-serving supplies! 

Dining Room Reveal-016

The light here in the corner by the sliding glass door is the best for keeping plants happy, so unfortunately, all the plants around the house typically end up here! I don't have the best green thumb, so I just consolidated all my living plants into these two planters! The hanging lantern was a thrift store score already in the exact right shade!

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Dining Room Reveal-018

In the back right corner of the dining room, you can see the entrances to the kitchen and the laundry room...

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...and on the last little wall to the right, we proudly display all the places we've lived so far!

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Underneath is a petit but oh-so-handy butterfly console table, also bought overseas.

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All together, this room has a very modern but very preppy vibe. Two+ years in, I am still smitten with this color scheme (which is rare for me!) and I am super proud of how this space came together. I'm not quite ready to show you the adjoining family room yet, but below, you can see how to the rooms "talk" to each other through coordinating window treatments and color palette :)

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Dining Room Reveal-023

Bonus points if you can spot the snuggly 3-year-old in the picture above!

This room had a good bit of DIY projects, so here are the links to everything made for this space!


Cornice Boxes and Chair Covers

Where We've Lived State Prints

A Lantern Planter

Styling Bookcases as a Dining Hutch

How to Hang a Wreath with Fabric

Tiled Herb Planter

Two-Tone Planters

Stenciled Monogram Art

Tiled Planter Box

The Big Boy Chair

Cloth Napkins from a Shower Curtain

Dining Room Rug

Turquoise and Red Holiday Dining Room

Green and Silver Holiday Dining Room

And a few more sources for non-DIY things:
  • Wall colors: Azurite and Tailor's Chalk, both by Martha Stewart
  • Rug: Safavieh Loretta Rug purchased from Joss & Main
  • Angled-leg table: West Elm
  • Porter chairs: West Elm
  • Overlapping square chairs: West Elm
  • Olive jars: vintage
  • Butterfly cabinet and console: purchased in Okinawa, Japan
  • Black bookcases: yard sale
  • Green pail: Marshalls
  • Dark green vase and mini stool: purchased in Okinawa, Japan
  • Boxwood wreath: Target
  • Brass candlesticks: vintage
  • Sea urchins: collected from the beaches of Okinawa, Japan
  • Blue, white, and green pitchers: Fiestware collected from various sources
  • Small white planters: Marshalls
  • Garden stools, blue and green: purchased in Okinawa, Japan
  • White metal plant stand: Target
  • Wooden candlesticks: Marshalls
  • Glass cake plate: Pier One
  • Tori stools, purchased in Okinawa, Japan
  • Blue hanging lantern: thrift store
  • Green high chair: thrift store
If there's anything I forgot or you're curious about, email me or leave a comment!

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I can't even tell you how excited I am to have this room documented here on the blog. I feel like it took me forever to get photos I was truly satisfied with, so I hope it was worth the wait! Hope you all have a great start to your week!


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