Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Online sale at Ballard Designs

Hurry, hurry! Ballard Designs is offering an additional 20% off all items in their Estate Sale when you order online. Today is the final day so if there is anything you've been eyeing, take advantage of this discount!

What a Steal: A five-paneled mirror for $60!

Just after Christmas I ventured out to Home Goods to check out their mirror selection. I loooove using mirrors in this house because it's a interior townhome and mirrors really open up our space. Home Goods is a great place to check out because their mirrors, when you find one you like, are a steal.

Have you noticed the five-paneled mirrors that are beginning to show up in catalogues and online?

Williams-Sonoma Home, for one (retail price: $295):

And on Design Sponge in a designer's portfolio:

Well, I found this little beauty at Home Goods for the bargain basement price of $60!

I think it will work really well in our revived powder room...once we get the bath fixture moved up by an electrician on Friday. Will keep you posted on progress!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Wish Granted

Remember back in November when I casually mentioned a wonderful Victorian Globe Vase that would make me a very happy girl? Well, someone was listening (surprise, surprise!) and on Christmas day I opened up an adorable pink box to find the vase I had wished for! Of course I had to find a fun bouquet to pretty it up right away and here it is in it's new home on my bedside table!

Steal of the Century!

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit here, but I just brought home a new set of red nesting tables for next to nothing! I decided to visit the outlet mall in Leesburg, Va and happened to stop in Pottery Barn during a crazy 50% off everything sale day (yes, everything in the entire store). So naturally I sprinted through the store to find any rugs or furniture that might work in our home.

That's when I saw a sign for the Natalie Nesting Tables for $45.99! I could hardly believe my eyes. They were on sale at the retail store for $99.99 and the full price was $179 a few weeks ago. Mine all mine, for under fifty buckeroos!

Moodboard: Bedroom

Bedroom Moodboard: An American in Paris (or Virginia)

When we moved into our house a couple of years ago, I focused most of my efforts on reviving and furnishing the main level because I figured it was the level everyone who came into our home would see, so I wanted to get it just right. We're still working on it, but are beginning the wrap up the efforts (thankfully). So I've started to think a lot more about our bedroom.

We live in a townhome and have just about the tiniest master bedroom you will ever see. And I've had a lot of trouble finding furniture that could not only fit our small space but also have whatever style I was looking for.

Piece by piece my ideal bedroom was coming together in my brain. Last year I fell hard for dark brown toile bedding. In early 2008 I discovered a tufted upholstered headboard. And a couple of months ago I found the most amazing dresser... So today I put together a moodboard to help sort out my ideas for the room.

I think I'm going to call it Parisian Art Deco Boudoir with an American Tradition twist :-)

Paint: Benjamin Moore Cedar Key (#982) is s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g in person. We painted our master bath this color last spring and I have been itching to paint the bedroom ever since. It's gorgeous with white, porcelain blue, and espresso.

Headboard: I found this Camden Tufted Headboard at Ballard Designs and just ordered fabric swatches yesterday. Because it will be a custom piece, I'm hoping they'll have a sale on all custom furniture in the next few months. I really try hard not to pay full price for anything. I can wait, it will be worth it!

Bedding: The ONE time I've broken my full-price rule. But as any Pottery Barn followers will know, their staple bedding collections (like the classic toile colors) never go on sale. So, I bit the bullet and bought the Matine Toile in Espresso quilt and matching euro shams full price last year (2007).

Then last week I noticed Restoration Hardware had some great bedding on sale. I've always loved the Hotel duvet look (solid white with a satin stitch border) and noticed they had their Italian Contrast Stitch Bedding seriously discounted (half price!!) in chocolate and silver sage, which works perfectly in my bedroom. Half price sale minus another 20% off (thanks to a 10% off coupon code and another 10% off error courtesy of customer service), and I managed to buy over $400 worth of bedding for $170!

Tall chest: Grayson 10 Drawer Tall Chest by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. They have a store downtown (DC) that I hope to visit soon but I love the lines and mild Deco look of this dresser. And, the dimensions are perfect and actually fit the small space I need to fill in the bedroom! They're having a sale now until 2/1 on upholstery and floor samples. Because this piece is a bit pricey and new (unfortunately) I'm willing to wait (even a year) and see if I can get it on sale or as a floor sample.

Side table: Misha Tables also by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Love the pewter iron and glass and also love how it strongly contrasts with the super feminine headboard. I thought I'd cut the hubby a break and give him something more masculine. Wondering if I can find a knock-off of this elsewhere...or maybe get the original on sale...

Curtains and rod: We have a double window in the bedroom, and in lieu of a shade, I like the more feminine look of Ivory Silk Curtains in this room; and the panels are currently on sale at Pottery Barn. Country Curtains will be a great option for the curtain rod, too -- the rods pictured are from Restoration, but Country Curtains Bold Pole in pewter will work just fine...and is only $38.

Accessories: I found the Audrey Mirror while browsing my new Ballard Designs catalogue last night. I love the feminine curves of this mirror, and love how it compliments Crate and Barrel's Lorna vase, a bargain at under $50. Knowing Ballard, the Audrey mirror will either be on sale by summer, or they will offer 15-20% off all $200+ purchases (plus free shipping) in the next couple of months, so I can pick up the mirror then.

And the Paris Print -- gorgeous! I originally found it at Crate and Barrel but it was over $200. Once I saw the photographer's name, I looked for the print at, and will probably buy the print solo and have it framed at Michael's when they offer 50% off framing (which is just about every week). This print may work above the headboard...we'll see...

Finally, this classic clock came from Pottery Barn's Sale pages at half price! This will definitely look better than my 1990s college alarm clock radio... :-)

So there you have it! I'll be sure to post pictures as progress is made.

Have you used a moodboard to rein in your design inspirations?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Before & After: A revived mantel (and homeowner!)

I couldn't take its ugliness any longer. Why would anyone give a mantel a faux-concrete finish?? Our home's previous owners really did a number on our house in the five years that they had it, and we've spent countless days fixing their mistakes.

I thought about throwing in the towel and replacing it all together, but then noticed it has some nice lines and really all that it needed was a good sanding and paint job -- a MUCH less expensive prospect.

With a couple of new sanding blocks, a new paint brush, and primer and flat paint that we already had, the whole project wound up costing about $15!

The cringe-worthy before:

The much-improved after:

Next project: Eliminate the gas fireplace and replace it with large pillar candles.

What have you chosen to refurbish vs. replace?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cookie Swap!

Ah, the holidays... family, friends, gifts, and cookies! Making cookies this time of year is always a labor of love. I've always made the classic chocolate chip and sugar cookies, but I love eating cookies of all shapes and sizes. Today I had a few delicious creations that were anything but your ordinary cookie cutters!
My friend Alysa made a yummy fried cookie called Krusczyki, which is a traditional Polish cookie. (Alysa, if you're reading this, did I get that right?)

Buckeyes might be a holiday favorite for many, but we never made them in my house. So these were a real treat... good thing I took a full serving home with me!

I adore these Chocolate Snowcaps... and not just because I made them. They are a chocolate lover's dream. I've seen recipes from all the greats (Betty and Martha) for these but this is the first time I've made them and I'm hooked.

Can you tell what tops this cookie? You'd never guess so I'll tell ya... BACON! These were by far the most interesting cookies of the day. I asked what to call them and all I got was, "Chocolate chip Bacon cookies." So I'll just coin them "the bacon-aters." Chocolate chips and white chocolate got a new twist with small bits of bacon mixed into the batter. And if I heard correctly, a maple glaze to top off these savory cookies. (You'd be surprised how yummy these are!)

A few other highlights were peanut brittle and mint iced brownies, classic peanut cookies with kissed pressed in the middle, and a chocolate chip cookie with cherry and pistachio. The best part about a cookie swap is leaving a with a box full of cookies... that you didn't have to spend all day making!

Friday, December 12, 2008

That's a wrap!

While I've chosen to keep with the silver/gold/cream/white theme during the holidays this year, I can't help but fall completely in love with all the black and white wrapping paper I've found.

Black and white is just classic and would work well wrapping gifts for any occasion, from feminine/masculine birthdays and weddings, to showers and anniversaries.

Here are some of my favorites:

Houndstooth anyone?

White with black polka dots:

Black with white polka dots


And Black Scroll:

Pair black and white wrapping paper with just about any color ribbon, and you have a gorgeous gift your recipient is bound to appreciate!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maybe next year?...

I saw this Christmas tree skit pattern from Amy Butler Design and immediately feel head over heels in love. Not only is it adorable and fun, it's also customizable. Just find your favorite fabric and download this free pattern, courtesy of (find other free holiday patterns there too!)
The only problem... I couldn't decide on a color scheme or fabric in time to get the construction started. So rather than have a skirtless tree for this year, I came up with a very inexpensive and quick alternative. Buffalo snow! It was only $5 for a large bag of the fluffy stuff, and it was easy to form around the base of the tree to mimic a snow fall (since we aren't lucky enough for a white Christmas around here!). Not bad eh? Have a look...

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!

Decorating the tree has always been one of my absolute favorite things to do during Christmas time. It all starts with the excitement of picking out the perfect tree on the lot and then continues as you ride home singing along to holiday tunes and glancing out the car window to make sure the cargo is still fixed to the roof. It really is quite a process to get the tree trimmed and ready for decorating.

Tonight we were finally ready to pull it all together. (That is after Jared strung it with some 900 bright white lights!) With Amy Grant's Christmas album playing on high we literally did rock around the Christmas tree while hanging some new, old and very old ornaments. Oddly enough, we ended up with a great start to a glimmering silver and gold collection. Introducing... our first Christmas tree!!!

Since this is our first Christmas as newlyweds, we've started some new tree decorating traditions including a small piece of our wedding invitation framed and made to be an ornament (given as a fun gift by Jared's mom last year).

And since we met at Virginia Tech we just had to show some love for our ACC Championship Hokies, with this little guy!

And lastly, a trio of home-made gold bells from a few generations. The oldest of which was made by my grandmother, and then my mother, and finally one crafted by yours truly. I strung them all on the same ornament hook so they can be seen together.
So there it is... the start of our very own Christmas tree traditions. Hopefully I'll have a few more decorating posts in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Setting the "tablescape"

While shopping for the normal Target stuff -- floss, milk, lens solution -- I decided to check out their table linen selection for the first time this season.

You see, I'm on my way to becoming a tablescape junkie. I can't stop obsessing over table linens, napkin rings, centerpiece ideas, and more. I've recently been on the lookout for some new placemats for the holiday season -- something neutral/metallic, and above all else, pretty -- that will contribute to our holiday tablescape and flow well with our new Christmas color theme: Silver, Gold, Cream, and White. Unfortunately, I haven't had much linen luck at my normal go-to stores.

Anyway, I'm so glad I checked out Target's selection because I found exactly what I was looking for and all for just under $30!

Exhibit A: The $3.99 placemat. Unfortunately they only had five I bought the remaining lot and am hoping they'll restock soon so I can get another 3.

Exhibit B: Napkin rings: 2/$4.99! It's the holidays -- every table needs a little sparkle :-) And at $2.50 a pop, you can't go wrong.

Now we're one step closer to a pretty, neutral/metallic, tablescape this holiday season!

P.S. Target: If you could please sell runners without the pointed, tasseled ends, I would be eternally grateful.