Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Sunny Getaway and Guest Posting

I adore this cape cod summer home recently featured in the most current issue of Traditional Home.  Keeping the 1817 house's charm, the family of six renovated it to accomodate their family with children and extended family.

The fabric choices keep the home youthful and playful, but the furnishings are traditional with wordly accessories scattered throughout. 

I'm normally not a fan of windor chairs, but I love how they modernized by painting them purple.  I believe it is Benjamin Moore's Mulberry Wine.  And, then to add another element of interest, they painted their accent wall a 'green apple' green. 

Here, you see a better picture of the green wall off to the left.  How amazing is this kitchen which completely opens up onto their porch.  I also really like the ribbed glass light fixture that is centered over the island.  I love the porch furniture with accents of orange and green. 

You can see accents of green and orange carried through out the house.  The room above is one of the original 1817 rooms.  I love the Brunschwig & Fils 'Shaw' fabric on the chimney wing chairs.  And, how about the green striped desk paired with the painted floor!!  Brilliant!

So sweet.

They hired a decorative painter come to dress up this powder room.  It reminds me a lot of de Gournay's cherry blossom wallpaper.  Since I'll never be able to afford de Gournay's wallpaper, this might be the next best option!!

Ahh, serenitiy.  The master bedroom.  The chestnut floors were stenciled with a fortuny-inspired design.  And, I like the contrast of the black iron bed with the white walls.

Okay, now I am ready for the summer!!  Also, I'm over at Jen and Jana's blog, Opal Never Shouts, guest blogging on ways to freshen your home for spring. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Happy long weekend, my friends!!!  The sun has been shining here in New England and it is such a treat.  I finished planting all my planters.  I spray painted the below terracotta planters glossy black to match our front door; I like how they turned out.

And, before I sign off for the long weekend, I wanted to thank you all for participating in the Olive Leaf Stencils giveaway.  The winner of this awesome giveaway is Elizabeth from The Mustard Ceiling! Congrats, Elizabeth....hope this makes your weekend!!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Olive Leaf Stencils Giveaway

Don't forget to enter Olive Leaf Stencils giveaway - go here.  It ends tonight!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Painted & Stenciled Rug AND a Stencil Giveaway

If you've been following my blog, you know I have been slowly updating my office.  It is an office that also serves as a toy storage room and a guest room (futon is dragged up from the basement when guests come into town).  There were 2 inspirations for my office makeover: 1) Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon fabric in aquamarine (which I adore) and 2) incorporating a loose interpretation of a bold patterned rug (like Madeline Weinrib's Mandala) but in subdued colors.

So, not willing to spend money on a Weinrib rug and having a difficult time finding a rug in the perfect color, I set off to create my 'own' version.

First, I started with an inexpensive, flat weave rug in a neutral color.  This is where Ikea's Erslev rug comes into play for $29.99.
I wanted to the base of the rug to be a pastel orange/pink color - similar to a peachy color.  I thought this would complement the coral color found in the chiang mai fabric.  I chose BM's 064 Nautilus Shell no VOC latex paint- the perfect peach color to create a calming effect.  Here, I started my first coat.

I used a 4 inch roller and rolled away.  The rug ended up taking 3 coats of paint!  After the rug dried, I was ready for my stencil!  Here is the stencil taped onto my painted rug.

You can hardly tell a color difference because the peach color is very subdued, but in person it looks great.  Like I mentioned before, I wanted a very loose interpretation of the Mandala rug.

I contacted Olive from Olive Leaf Stencils and they agreed to let me try one of their stencils!!  It was a difficult to choose just one because they are all SO fabulous, but I finally decided on the chrysanthemum stencil no. 2.  I liked it for it's boldness and whimsy.

Since the rug was textured, the stencil didn't lay entirely flat.  So after taping it down,  I used heavy objects like these books to add some weight to ensure the stencil lay flat.  You can see here, I used a foam brush to paint the stencil.  

I just dabbed the paint onto the stencil.  I never brushed it - just dabbed the paint on.  Seriously, it was super easy and worked great.  After, doing a total of five stencils I was so happy with the end result.  

What do you think??  Another view:

A complete view of my office:

Don't worry, I plan on changing the fabric on my valences and do you see my dyed lampshade?  And, I couldn't end this post without inserting a picture of my Schumacher Chiang Mai pillows that gave me the color inspiration:

{my inspiration board will be coming down and a FABULOUS mirror will be coming soon!}

So, now here's the part you've been waiting for....the Olive Leaf Stencils Giveaway!!  

To enter:  Go to their site, come back, make sure you're a follower and comment on your favorite stencil.  Easy peasy.  The winner will receive the stencil of their choice worth up to $60!!!!!

For extra entries: 1) tweet about the giveaway and/or 2) blog about the giveaway!!! 

Giveaway ends Thursday night!!!  Good Luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Rug (DIY) Inspiration

I hope you all had a nice weekend.  I was able to finish a DIY project that I've been working on since last weekend.  Tomorrow I'll share the details along with a fabulous giveaway!!  You won't want to miss it.  The inspiration for my DIY was Madeline Weinrib's Mandala rug.

I can't wait to share the details with you!!  Stop by tomorrow - you won't be disappointed.  Now if only the sun would come out for a minute, maybe I could take a decent picture!!  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dyed Lamp Shade!

Today, I will be over at JPM Design as Mary has invited me to participate in her Friday series.  I've decided to share one of my recent DIYs - my dyed lamp shade.  Stop on over to get the full scoop!

Here's a sneak peek:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Miracle

I am 21 weeks pregnant!!!  A new baby will be joining our family in September.  This means a new sibling for Luke (whether he likes it or not)!  Our dream has come true.

Like any story, this one has thousands of details I could tell.  And I debated sharing these on my blog.  But it was this story that actually led me to blogging as an outlet – so it only seems right that I share it here.  I have been intentionally holding off to announce the “news” for fear of jinxing myself.  But at the end of the day when faced with trials, one needs to trust in Him.  Fear is unproductive; trust and faith are what you need.  

I share our story in the hope that it may help others in a similar situation to not feel so alone or lost.  Bear with me; this will be a long post.  Kevin and I got married in June 2006 and within months found out we were pregnant.  It was a textbook pregnancy and birth.  We were so excited to have our little Lukie.  But, we were also naive.  And our unbridled happiness was challenged when, two weeks later, my mother passed away from cancer and lung complications.  I knew her day was coming, but a daughter is never ready for her mother to leave.  In fact, we scheduled Luke's baptism just before he was born - and, with this turn of events - his baptism ended up being the same weekend as my mother's funeral.  I was dealing with motherhood, the loss of my own mother, while not really having a support network (I had only lived in CT for 10 months and our families lived in remote states).  Looking back, I was in survival mode.   

Kevin and I had always planned to have several children so it was no surprise that nearly 9 months later, we were pregnant again.  Having had no complications during Luke's pregnancy, I was unprepared for the road that lay ahead.  I was 12 weeks pregnant and we were full of anticipation as we went to our first trimester screening.  I remember laying there, holding Kevin's hand as the technician started the ultrasound.  After an awkward moment of silence, the technician looked over at us and said, "I'm sorry."  I was bewildered and confused.  Could this really be happening?  The doctor came in and confirmed there was no heartbeat.  We cried.  Our doctor assured us that miscarriages were 'common' and that we shouldn't worry.  

But I didn't feel common.  But, I thought, we'll try again.  And we did.  The results were 3 more miscarriages.  There were no genetic abnormalities and we had no trouble getting pregnant; I just couldn't sustain it.  And our doctors provided no answers.  I'll spare you all of the details.  But after our fourth miscarriage, I was done.  I felt horrible and had nothing more to give.  I hit rock bottom and was completely empty.  I felt like a failure.  

I looked for support; other women who silently suffer the pains of loss, but they were hard to find.

We've all had burdens.  But, for me, this one seemed impossible to bear.  It was so heavy and filled with so much sadness.  I knew, that with any ordeal, God has a plan for us.  I didn't understand it.  And, in fact, at times, I resented it.  But this is what He gave us.  I prayed and told Him I didn't think I could handle another loss.  

We took time off.  We did a lot of reflecting and praying.  I slowly started to research other women's success stories.  How did they overcome their recurrent miscarriages?  I slowly made some changes in my life.  I started with nutrition and made changes.  I started to see an acupuncturist.  We looked into the adoption process.  I started to see a counselor to discuss my mother's passing.  Taking some control over my situation (when I felt so out of control) felt re-assuring.  I started to wake up with a new sense of peace, reminding myself daily that God does love me and that He is giving me the strength to deal with this.  

Remember how I said that our doctors (my OB/GYN and fertility specialists) were not providing the answers.  Well, through a priest friend of ours, I found about about NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology).  This is a scientific approach to monitoring and solving women's health issues - especially infertility and recurrent miscarriages.  I contacted them and they told me they wanted to find out the underlying causes of my recurrent miscarriages.  This was music to my ears.  

I was introduced to a registered nurse, who taught me their Creighton Model Fertility Care system, which would monitor my biomarkers during my cycles.  This experience was eye-opening.  The nurse met with me monthly and was so incredibly supportive and helpful. I was blessed to have been introduced to this woman; she supported me and helped me immensely through our entire ordeal.  After 6 months of charting my system and obtaining 'data' for what was going on with my reproductive system, we were ready to move forward.  I met with my NaProTechnology doctors in NYC and I went through a series of tests to rule out any medical issues.  I had a laparoscopy conducted to rule out endometriosis.  I had tons of blood tests done to monitor my hormonal levels.  They found out I was hypothyroid and lacked adequate B6 and B12.  We found out some critical information concerning my hormone levels, which gave us more information.  With all of the pieces of the puzzle in place, we were prepared to try again.  

Last September (2010) we started trying again.  In January 2011, we found out I was pregnant.  I am now 21 weeks.  We are insanely blessed and hopeful.  We are so thankful to our family/friends - and to the NaProTechnology doctors/nurses.  And I want to suggest that people who are having trouble getting pregnant and staying pregnant should explore this option.  And, thank you to you for letting me share my personal experience!  I am not doing it for pity, but in the hope that this can benefit others who face similar obstacles. 

PS - Over the last few months I've had a number of posts related to baby items (yes, Rene, you guessed it months ago).  I guess this was subliminal.  You may also remember how sick I was back in January/February - it was all due to mind blowing morning sickness!!  

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Versatile Spool Chair

This weekend my friend and I went furniture shopping.  We came across the spool chair.  When we sat in it and I couldn't get over how comfortable it was!!  She has been looking for a comfortable chair for her bedroom where she can sit and read and we both agreed that this chair could be a contender.  The great thing is it's versatile, it could easily fit in a living room, family room or study setting.  Here are some of my favorite images.

Hickory Chair probably has the best spool chair out there.  Timeless and great quality.  A piece you'll have forever.  On their website, you can picture the chair in any finish or fabric of your choice!!  Simply click on the 'Personalize this item' button on the top right hand of the product page, like this one.  

Layla Grace carries both the chair and the ottoman with many fabric options.

The Wisteria chair is currently out of stock which is not surprising for $600, however I think not having padding on the arm rests would bother me and the fine print 'assembly required' worries me.  

I found this one on clearance for $800.

Are you a fan?  Do you own one?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lonny's New Office

I love how Lonny featured their new office in the May/June 2011 issue.  My favorite part is that many of the furnishings and accessories they used are so accessible!  Oh, how I would love to work here!

Fabulous!  Check out the issue here.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Patio Mood Boards

I spent yesterday morning creating three mood boards for our teensy tiny patio.  I have a small budget for this project so my objective is to shop my house and use things I already have.

Mood Board A:

The background color of the mood board is the exterior color of our house so I had to make sure that my selections coordinated with this color.  Things I already have but that will get a slight makeover are:

- wicker chairs (currently gray);  will spray paint them black
- ceramic garden stool (currently white); will spray paint apple green
- 4 x6 outdoor rug (you see in the mood board) is what I currently own

Everything else I will need to purchase: sand sunbrella outdoor cushions, navy outdoor pillows and planters.  Here is my second option:
Mood Board B:

Here, I would purchase the sunbrella rust colored outdoor cushions, outdoor celeste taupe pillows, planters and would probably create a DIY chevron outdoor rug (in orange).  Here is my last option:

Mood Board C:

Here, I would keep the same sand sunbrella outdoor cushions (as in mood board A), get these delray azure pillows, and planters.  

I have a preference of the three, but I'm curious to know which is your favorite??  

I wish all mothers and mothers to be a blessed Mother's Day!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the Hunt...

for some spring planters.  But, not just any planter....I am on the hunt for Smith & Hawken's round, cream "mercer" planters.

Aren't they beautiful?  Oh, how I wish Smith & Hawken's stores were still around.  Luckily, I checked Target and while they don't have these exact planters, they do have Smith & Hawken's round planters, but in copper.  I'm contemplating painting them a cream color?

Alternatively, Ikea has some cream planters that are somewhat similar in shape, but I don't know how I feel about the ridges.

Have any of you spotted any cream round planters out there worth sharing??  Is this like asking have you found a needle in a haystack??  :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Michael Penney's House

Have you seen the Michael Penney's new home in Maine?  I think it will be in the next publication of CHH, but in the meantime, check-out the inside of his living and dining room.  Click here to view the videos!

I think he is so talented!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Need Artwork for Your Kid's Room?

I found Sebastian's nursery via Sissy+Marley in TradHome magazine.  If you haven't seen Sebastian's nursery designed by the chic baby planner and concierge service called Sissy+Marley, you're in for a real treat.

I especially love the animal artwork in his nursery (above).  It reminds me of Sharon Montrose's animal prints I posted about here.

Nevertheless, the animal prints in Sebastian's nursery are actually framed pages from a book by Andrew Zuckerman called Creature.  I am seriously considering purchasing this book so I can add some fantastic artwork to my son's room.