Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fancy Friday, more Manhattan EATs

The debate over school lunch vs. homemade lunches has begun in our household. Sophia has seen the chocolate milk and pizza being offered to her classmates. Really, I am not a nut about food, but I just can't imagine boat shaped pizza is great for you. So, I have re-instituted Fancy Friday lunch. Last year, every friday Sophia would have something special in her lunch, like sushi rolls. What I love about Fancy Friday is one, S has something to look forward to, and two, the meal literally takes 5 minutes to assemble.  What more could you want? A child feels loved and cared for, and all it took wast just a few minutes to put together.

This past summer something wonderful happened, when Bedford Cheese Shop moved into our neighborhood. Happily I stop in and buy baguettes, honey, and parmagiano cheese.  Since Sophia loves fancy salty cheeses and salami, we have found our Fancy Friday lunch for this school year. Not to mention this is MY favorite snack. 

I love the size of the honey, which makes it such an easy addition to Sophia's lunch box. The honey serves as a perfect dipping sauce for her salty parmagiano cheese and surprisingly, S LOVES salami. What are your favorite home-made lunches?



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pull Up a Stool

We have friends coming over for dinner this weekend, so I'm busy this week working hard to finish a few more last minute projects in the house.  Entertaining is always my best motivation for cleaning and organizing things I would usually let slide, since it's a FUN reason for cleaning, not just maintenance.  We are still a bit in construction mode-- for instance the kitchen only has about half of the cabinet doors painted and rehung at this point-- but they'll just get to use their imaginations a bit:)

I feel like I've been posting a lot about buying things lately, but I promise I'm still actually DOING things, too, and can't wait to post lots of photos of the projects we've been working on.  I just have to finish some of them first...  In the meantime, we've been debating what kind of counter stools to buy for our new kitchen island, and there are lots of fun choices out there.  

We love the seagrass look, and these stools from Z Gallerie were our first choice for ages.  We eventually decided to go with something different, since we already have a sisal rug in the room, and the two together would be too much.  And how would you ever get stray food out of the spaces of that knobby material??  Still, they look amazing, and they're really comfortable.

This one has clean lines and an easy to blend in chocolate color, $79.99.  Wouldn't they look great perked up with some nailhead trim?

For a more industrial look, I love these chrome metal stools, the perfect counterpoint to a warm, traditional kitchen. On sale for $111.00

How fun are these?  An instant pop of color, without having to repaint a thing:) For $143.00.

In the end we decided to go with something a little more on the sleek, industrial side, since we have plenty of warm elements in the room.  The other factor is that the seating part of our island won't exactly be roomy, so we needed small stools that aren't too wide for the space.  In the end we picked up these from Target for just 49.99 each!  They are adjustable, they swivel, and they're comfortable, so we're sold.

Photos coming soon!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Purple Flowers

I have not been one to use purple that often in my arrangements, but when I was in the farmer's market on Saturday, all I saw was purple. I usually go with the colors I am drawn toward, so I went with my instinct and picked up purples and reds. I know that purple and reds don't sound like a match, but I think these arrangements turned out perfect for our roof top cocktail party. 


BTW my younger sister was visiting and helped tape down all our blue table cloths. What a champ!



Monday, September 24, 2012

Fabric Deals

Since I have been spending so much of my time painting lately, and I'm usually only leaving the house for a quick trip to the Home Depot, I haven't spent any time yet figuring out where the best places in town are for finding inexpensive home fabrics.  Pretty soon I'll be ready to go hunting for some deals for projects like headboards, a stool, and maybe even our dining room curtains.

In the meantime, JoAnn's Fabrics is having an amazing 50% off sale on lots of their great brands, which is such a good deal that I might never have to change out of my painting clothes and leave home:)

For a look like this one, from Design Sponge, check out this first fabric from JoAnn's.  

Happy Monday!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Manhattan Eats

One of my favorite things to do in Manhattan is EAT.  The restaurants here are pretty amazing when it comes to most cuisine, however in the Mexican department I have not been impressed as of yet-- that is until I encountered the taco stand on the High Line. If you are in Manhattan, the High Line is not to be missed. Chelsea Market hosts fabulous restaurants, and the High Line has wonderful views.  So, if you are in the area and in the mood for tacos, I recommend the High Line Taco cart. 

These tacos are amazing, so get to the High Line if you find yourself in the neighborhood.  They are worth a visit. 



Thursday, September 20, 2012

Italian Campaign Beds

Now that we have our bedroom carpet installed, the walls are painted and the master bathroom is (nearly) finished, we keep talking about what kind of bed we want for the room.  One option is a padded, upholstered headboard that I can make using plywood and cover with whatever fabric we'd like to use.  Definitely a wonderful option.  But one idea that keeps popping up is somehow to get our hands on an Italian Campaign bed.  Now, I know I'm not the first to write about these beds, and you can find fans all over the blogging world, but these beds have such lovely, elegant lines and an airy feel that I don't mind in the least jumping on this bandwagon.

Elle Decor

Ok, so this shot of our room isn't great, but hopefully you can visualize the bedroom, better styled, with the thin, soaring lines of a campaign canopy bed as the focal point.


Miles Redd

Mimi Oconnell 

Decor Pad

I just adore this one from Anthropologie, which runs $1,698 for a queen.

This one from Pottery Barn Teen is a steal (relatively speaking, I know) at $799 for a queen.

Sweet dreams!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chalk Paint Tutorial

Welcome, Stacy Roseberry, our dear friend in Dallas Texas (also spouse of a clergyman), who recently attempted and succeeded painting furniture using chalk paint. She has an excellent eye for design and is a wonderful mother of two. Thank you for sharing your tutorial with us today!  Here's Stacy's guest post:

Over the years I have inherited many pieces of antique furniture from my family. Some are beautiful the way they are and others don’t quite seem to fit in with the more modern pieces in our home. I really love to find old pieces that blend with the style we already have instead of purchasing something new. 
So, when my husband insisted that he needed more storage for his clothes (if you knew him you would understand why he needs more than half of our master closet including the entire shelf system at the top to store all his shoes) I bought  a beautiful, second-hand French dresser. The dresser had a white and gold speckled finish which just didn’t fit with the other brown furniture in our bedroom. So, I decided to paint it.

Although I have painted many furniture pieces in our house, I didn’t feel like sanding, stripping and priming this piece…not to mention it had a laminate top which wouldn’t hold the paint color. After a tip from my sister-in-law and some researching on the internet, I came across Annie Sloan’s chalk paint.

This isn’t chalk board paint. It is essentially a latex paint with plaster of paris or chalk mixed into the paint creating a thick, super-matte , easy to use furniture paint. The paint has a gritty feel when you brush it on and has an amazing way of lying flat as it dries (in about 20 minutes).  
I started by wiping down the furniture piece with a wet rag and then letting it air dry before applying any paint. I took out all the drawers and removed all the hardware. There is no sanding, priming or anything else to do. Unbelievable! 
I chose duck egg blue chalk paint from the 28 premixed Annie Sloan paint colors. The paint is a little pricey, about $38 per quart but you don’t need much at all to complete a furniture piece. You can mix the colors or even add water to create a light coverage. I did not add anything to my paint because the color and finish was exactly what I wanted. Then, I just started painting with a natural bristle paintbrush. The paint would dry really quickly, so I worked in small sections. I tried to work with the grain of the wood because you can see the brush strokes a little when it dries. Even though this paint is amazing, it is still a hand painted piece.

After one coat, really that is all it takes, you are ready to apply Annie Sloan’s soft wax. I would recommend getting her clear finishing wax because I tried to save money and purchase another wax and it actually stripped the paint finish off my furniture. The wax looks and feels like Crisco. I just used an old t-shirt to apply the wax, but Annie Sloan recommends a round brush. It was a little tough to get into some of the detailed areas but it saved me another $20. Here you can see the slightly darker finish after applying the wax. It seals the paint and makes it much more durable. When the wax dries you can take another clean t-shirt and buff it to wipe off any excess wax.

   Another thing that makes this paint awesome for furniture is its workability. After you paint and clear wax you can sand the edges as well as take the Annie Sloan dark wax and detail the decorative accents on the piece. You brush it into the edges and around any ornamental details then wipe it off to create depth and an aged look. We like things to be more simple with clean lines so we did not age our dresser. The finished piece is gorgeous and I couldn’t be any more pleased with the results. My neighbor liked it so much I took her to get some chalk paint in red and she completed her antique chest by the end of the next day. 


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We Love Them, We Love Them Not

A couple of weeks ago, after deciding that refinishing the previously painted upstairs old pine floors isn't really an option, we began the transformation by scraping, priming and painting some of it.  We started with our room, finished painting, and moved in at last... but something about it kept bothering Jady.  The white paint made the whole room really bright, which I didn't mind, and it gave the space a beachy, relaxed look, which could've been good, except it also made everything feel unfinished.  It didn't exactly drive me crazy, but I also didn't love it so much that I stuck up for those white floors that long, either.  Sometimes when you're decorating a room these things happen-- it turns out that something you thought would be great just doesn't work-- so don't be afraid to regroup and try again rather than force yourself to live with it.

Thankfully my sweet, thoughtful sister had just given us a big roll of carpet that she no longer needed, so I called an installer and had him do our room and closet right away.  I think we are both happier with the look, and it sure is nice to be able to pad around barefoot on that soft carpet.

We have plenty of area rugs for the other rooms, so we don't want to carpet everything upstairs-- but we also scratched the white floor idea off the list, too.  Now we are thinking of maybe painting them dark brown, like an espresso color, which would add some warmth and richness to the upstairs.  Of course painted floors don't give you the variation of browns like stained wood does, but I still think painting can capture the look.  And maybe someday we'll install hardwood floors!

By the way, wouldn't you love to have Niki Hilton's closet??  I think you would automatically become more glamorous getting dressed in a space like this. 

Decor Pad

Young House Love

Hei Astrid



Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Monday, Happy Bloom

Hi All! Yesterday our church in Manhattan held a roof top party in celebration of a new school year. You know me, I love a party, and was happy to throw some seasonal arrangements together.  Since we are in the month of September that means you can easily find dahlias and sunflowers everywhere. I am not a huge fan of sunflowers normally, but for this occasion I knew they would be just the right flower. They are so bright and happy. 

Happy Arranging!!!

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