Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Minute Gift Idea: Framed Holiday Prints

Picture frames are always a nice gift, but they seem a little lame without a photo in them. For Christmas, treat your party host or friend to a picture frame, complete with some affordable holiday artwork that they can easily switch out when the season is over.

Given that Christmas is 5 days away, you'll want something you can pick up and put together quickly. Target's Threshold line has some really great frames right now, and Rifle Paper Co.'s holiday post cards fit perfectly into a 4" x 6" frame. Their beautiful folding cards also work with a little snip here and there. You can find Rifle Paper Co.'s products at many small businesses nationwide (buy local!), and others places like Paper Source. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

Brass + Festive Flora
Via Target
Via Rifle Paper Co.

Mirror + Peaceful Blue
Via Target
Via Rifle Paper Co.

Marble + Snowy Holiday
Via Target
Via Rifle Paper Co.

I may have even made a couple of these for myself. Both are cards I've sent to family and friends this year and last. Sorry about the crummy iPhone pics! 

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season! 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Blue Chevron Child's Chair

If you didn't see it via facebook already, I've added a new item to my shop: this vintage blue and white chevron child's chair.

It's painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Provence and Original White, lightly distressed, and sealed with wax. I actually made a bunch of the fabric garlands you see in the photo and will be putting them in my Etsy shop soon. The framed alphabet print is also for sale.

Have a great weekend!

Linked to: Miss Mustard Seed, Redoux, My Repurposed Life, Primitive and Proper

Marble Coffee Table Obsession

I'm not sure what's gotten into me lately, but I am obsessed with finding a marble coffee table for my living room. I love the crisp, white surface, and the way it reflects light. I also like to mix textures and materials in a space, and something about natural stone gives the room a bit more interest.

From House Beautiful via 
The only problem is that marble isn't the cheapest material in the world. I've scoured craigslist and even purchased an oval table, only to reach the sad realization that it was too small for the space. Actually, it wasn't that sad since I confirmed that I do indeed love marble in that position, and now I know what kind of dimensions I'm looking for. Yay for knowing what I want! And if you're in the market for a oval marble table, let me know...

I now know that I would prefer the table to be rectangular and about the same size of our current table, which is 50" x 30". It would also be nice if it was at least 16" tall, but that's less important.

Ideally I would find a table like this gorgeous mid-century one in Caitlin Wilson's house:

Caitlin Wilson's Home via Sneak Peek on
I also really like the West Elm Y-Base table, but it's discontinued and I can tell it's too small anyway.

West Elm Y-Base Marble Coffee Table via Bryn Alexandra Interiors
I've even thought about DIY-ing a "faux marble" look with the tutorial from Gorgeous Shiny Things. But I'm just not confident or patient enough.

Faux Marble Top via Gorgeous Shiny Things
Any recommendations? I've exhausted all the options I know of!

Linked to: Miss Mustard Seed

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dwell Studio Modern Thanksgiving

Dwell Studio is hosting a Pinterest-based contest through which you can design your own dream modern Thanksgiving by way of a curated pinboard. I thought this would be a fun contest to enter since I spend so much time looking for inspiration images already. Although "modern" generally refers to the mid-century modern style, I decided to interpret it loosely since this is, after all, my "dream" Thanksgiving. When I think of modern and contemporary in a loose sense, I envision fresh perspectives on classic design elements. I also love the juxtaposition between cozy comfort and swanky glamour. For my dream modern Thanksgiving, I pulled a combination of cozy causal elements, and contemporary glitzy glamour. Check out more of my inspiration images on my Modern Thanksgiving pinboard.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

West Elm Kitchen Art

I hope everyone was able to get their vote in yesterday! The lines were crazy, but it was refreshing to see people stick it out for hours to make their vote count. It's also exciting to vote in a state like Virginia, where even the best prognosticators weren't quite sure what would happen. My polling location was selling donuts. Supporting the 6th grade is delicious.

Anyhoo, on to today's real topic of conversation.

When it comes to art, I love framing things that aren't necessarily intended to be framed and hung on a wall. For example, I used calendar images as artwork over our sofa, and framed cardboard diner cutouts currently hang in our kitchen. Keeping that in mind, there are another two types of artwork I love:

1) Diagrams
2) Sketches of ordinary objects

So when I saw these amazing paper placemats by Cake Kitchen Paper at West Elm, I immediately wanted to frame them and hang them on the wall. Only I have no wall to hang them on. And I just bought expensive boots. So I posted a link to them on my mom's Facebook wall so should could buy them instead.

Via West Elm
Aren't they seriously cool? I love the idea of framing one of these and hanging it in your kitchen or breakfast nook. They would even look cool in a dining room. And they double as a teaching tool if you have kids. If blue isn't your thing, they also come in brown craft paper.

I did a little digging and found a few more paper tablecloths and placemats from the same line that would look great framed.

Via West Elm
Via West Elm

The tablecloth would be really cool hanging on the wall of a rustic dining room.

Do you have any alternative art sources that you like to use in your home?

Note: I wasn't paid or perked by West Elm to feature this story. I just think these items are cool and wanted to share them. Happy shopping!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mood Board: Gray + White Kitchen

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently designing an entire fictional two-bedroom condo for one of my interior design classes. Last week we presented our kitchen plans.

I am totally in love with kitchens with contrast, especially those with dark lower cabinets and light upper cabinets/walls. For inspiration, I used some kitchens that I found through various sources, including some of my favorite pinners on Pinterest.

Tommy Smythe via House and Home
Via House and Home
Via the Marion House Book
Using inspiration from these and a bunch more pictures (which you can check out on my Pinterest Kitchens board), I came up with this design:

Background color. My plan for this kitchen was to use a gray like Benjamin Moore's Coachman's Cape (CSP-90) for the lower cabinets.

1. I love the look of carrera marble on kitchen counters, but marble can be tough to maintain. So instead of using marble, I selected Silestone in Lyra - a quartz countertop that looks like marble.

2. While some of my inspiration photos had light wood, I didn't like the idea of having such light wood through a kitchen that transitions into a great room. I went with a medium tone wood that looks aged and classic, like this handscraped oak from Home Depot.

3. This one was a no-brainer. Stainless steal appliances like this pretty Frigidaire gas stove from Lowes.

4. Bringing in pops of red in kitchen accessories is a fun way to add color to a neutral room, and it doesn't get more classic than some Le Creuset cookware on the stove.

5. Speaking of classic, this little cow creamer from Williams-Sonoma or Target makes a cute edition to any kitchen (even if you never put creamer in it!).

6. My kitchen wasn't going to have shelves, but I loved the way the natural wood shelves in the second picture above warmed up the room. To add a bit of warm wood to the space I brought in a natural wood cutting board.

7. Adding to the warm tones in the room, I selected brass hardware for the cabinets. This chunky hardware is actually the same design that Aubrey and Lindsay used in their kitchen reno (am I just totally having a Canadian kitchen moment today?).

8. I love shaker style cabinet doors like this Adel door from Ikea. My plan was to use gray shaker style lower cabinets and white shaker style upper cabinets.

9. Subway tile continues the classic theme throughout the space and emphasizes the lightness of the upper area. The slightly dark grout brings a bit of darkness to the upper wall, linking the dark lower cabinets and light upper cabinets. Image is from here, but I was thinking a product more like this.

10. A brass industrial pendant like this one from Circa Lighting is a great mix of industrial and glam. Don't fear the price--this classic style can be found through other sources.

11. Because a stainless undermount sink was the most practical for my project kitchen, I choose a simple stainless pull-down faucet from Home Depot in a traditional style.

12. Who doesn't love a classic Kitchen Aid standing mixer? Since this will probably be stored on a countertop, use the opportunity to bring another pop of red into the space. And did you know you could buy one with a clear glass bowl too?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Discount on Frye Boots

For the past two years, I've had issues with the sole of one of my Ciao Bella cognac riding boots. Someone accidentally stepped on the back of my heal and took off the rubber portion of the sole of the heal. I got it repaired, and it came off again. I got it repaired again, and it was fine for a while. And then it came off again when I was in Charlottesville. While these boots have served me well, they are looking pretty beat up at this point, and I don't feel like paying to get them fixed again. Rather than dropping another $100 - $150 on poorly crafted boots that I'll replace in a couple years again, I've been lusting over some high quality Frye leather riding boots.

I especially love the Melissa Button Boot. I have, shall we say, "muscular" calves and pull on boots can be challenging, so I'm pumped that they come in an extended calf size.

Via Piperlime
I also like the Paige boots, but I'm not sure they'd look stellar on me.

Via Piperlime
My problem with Frye boots is the price. I know that they are super high quality and will hold up forever, but it's still hard to reach into my pocket and fork over $350 for shoes. Naturally, I've been scouring websites for sales, coupons, etc. trying to get a good deal on some Fryes. My goal was to get them under $300. is a great resource for affordable shoes, and actually has some pretty cute options right now.

I love the color and the buckle detail on the Dorado Riding Boot, but they don't have them in my size.

$281.37 via
I also like the Jackie Button Boot, with a manageable heal and a style very similar to the Melissa Button Boot. I just don't really need gray boots right now.

$208.80 via
I checked, Nordstrom Rack's website and Tyson's stores, and LastCall, but couldn't find any deals. Piperlime had a few coupons recently, but they didn't apply to Frye...boooo :(

Today I did a little Googling and saw that Macy's was having a sale. They just happen to sell the Melissa Button Boots that I want, and the sale applies! 15% off of $300 is nothing small. After a little hesitation, I decided it was a good time to bite. Fingers crossed they look cute. It's still a lot of money to spend, but I have a few furniture projects in the works and I was careful not to spend much money on a Halloween costume and fall decor, so I can manage.

Check out Macy's stock of Frye Boots if you're interested in investing in some quality boots too!

Disclosure: I wasn't paid or perked by any of the companies listed in this post, I just love a good deal and like to let you guys know when I find one! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Charlottesville Weekend

A couple weeks ago the boy and I went to Charlottesville for UVA's Homecomings weekend. It was a pretty spontaneous decision to go. I had been telling him how I missed Charlottesville and wished I was going down for Homecoming. We had a busy month coming up that would make it tough for us to take another trip this fall, so he called around and miraculously found a room at the Red Roof Inn on the Corner. It totally caught me off guard and left me grinning at my desk at work. He's a keeper.

Saturday morning we packed up the car and made the drive down tree-lined route 29. Immediately after we checked in, we headed over to a friend's room on the Range, where we had a great time tailgating.  UVA students traditionally tailgate on the Lawn (although it seems they put the kibosh on that on the undergrad side a bit), which is the central fixture of the University and is headed by Jefferson's iconic Rotunda. The Range is a row of historical rooms of either side of the lawn reserved for grad students.

We picked up some tickets on the way over to the game, where we hung out long enough for UVA to score twice and sing the Good Old Song. And then Maryland scored again and our group left. A lot of other schools like to knock UVA on the football front. To this I say: meh. The football team is by no means the numero uno reason anyone (except perhaps the football team) goes to UVA, it's a bonus. If the team wins, we have a great time. If the team loses, we still have a pretty good time, as was the case that day. And yes, my outfit was cute. I wore this orange shirt from Banana Republic, an orange and blue scarf, jeans, and riding boots. Wish I had a picture. 

After the game, the we picked up some Bodos bagels, coffee, and put on some warmer coats in preparation for the Young Alumni Reunion. For $7 each we got to enjoy all you can drink beer and all you can eat food, and dancing in the middle of Grounds (campus). The event has gotten really popular, although this was my last year as a young alumnus (tear). Again, wish I had a picture. 

Sunday morning we got up and went to Take it Away, one of my favorite sandwich places in Charlottesville. It's a lot like the Cheese Shop in Williamsburg, VA.  I've heard that they have the same owner, but I can't find any sources to confirm it. 

After enjoying our sandwiches across the street by the Rotunda, we snapped a few photos.

Isn't the Lawn beautiful? The Rotunda was under construction, but I just love the pavilions. Each one is different and its own study in architecture. The gardens behind them are especially cool. The gardens on the east side of the Lawn cascade down a hill and are wild and whimsical. And the serpentine walls aren't just for aesthetics--they actually provide a strong structure so that the walls can be built one brick thick. There are a lot of interesting facts about the Lawn that I'd love to nerd out and tell you, but I'll stop. You can learn more about it here.

After my photo stop on the Lawn, we headed up (literally) to another one of my favorite Charlottesville spots, Carter Mountain Orchard. I actually don't care at all about apple picking, I just love the views from the top of this mountain. And they have amazing apple cider donuts.

The mountain was PACKED. It seriously took us about 30 minutes to drive up the hill, and we parked what seemed liked forever away from the Apple Barn. They were even discouraging people to go to other orchards via their facebook page:

As you can see, it was totally worth the wait.

After Carter Mountain we headed to another Bodo's Bagels location and got one last meal before we left town. 

I wanted to go to U-Fab, a discount fabric store in Richmond and Charlottesville, but it is unfortunately closed on Sundays, so we didn't make any more stops. On our way home, we stopped at my parents house to celebrate my little brother's birthday. 

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but totally worth it. Charlottesville in the fall makes me so happy. Virginia can be But one thing is for sure: it is gorgeous. I seriously love this place. I highly recommend all you DC transplants take some time to explore all the Commonwealth has to offer, and that Charlottesville be the first stop on your list!

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