{inspired} a navy girls nursery

You guys! Today, I'm thrilled to be sharing with you a very special room - it's the nursery of a dear friend's infant daughter. And, I'm ridiculously excited to show you photos because I took them. And no, that's not a nod to my skills (or lack there of) with a camera. I'm excited because that means I not only went to Texas to see my friend (!), but I met her sweet, adorable daughter!!

Becky decided on a bit of a non-traditional girls room color palette, which I happen to adore. I LOVE the navy brightened up by hits of orange and yellow. She texted me a photo of all the fabrics after fabric shopping and I may have squealed with delight. I knew immediately this room was going to be beautiful and special.

Becky had all the bedding and drapes custom made on Etsy. One of my favorites parts of the chevron fabric is that the chevron was actually finished vertical instead of the usual horizontal. I also love that the fabric door mirrors the window curtains on the opposite wall and really ties it all together.

And of course, we need to take a minute to talk about this entire wall. As you can tell, it's what you see immediately as you enter the room. It's a little harder to tell what's going on in my photos, but the wall is a glossy/non-glossy grid, and it is BRILLIANT. And, gorgeous and subtle and gives just enough interest in when you're in the room to make it really stand out. Becky posted a few photos on her blog, and it's easier to see the treatment in them, and then she gave step-by-step directions.

The scrabble art is a nod to Becky's love of words - I never saw her without a crossword puzzle when we worked and went to school together in Boston! - and is also a great piece of art. You can find the how-to also on her blog.

The cute little gallery wall ties in the colors and patterns of the room with a few pieces of sentimental art mixed in. Becky listed all the sources in her nursery reveal post. (Psst. If you click over, you'll see which of the art is from me! :)

 Let's wrap this tour up with some details of the room, shall we?

Becky and her husband are both Texas A&M grads, so this sign is especially appropriate. And just another example of how important adding personal touches are to any room.

Now, I'm exited to hear - what's your favorite part of the room? The subtle grid wall? The fabric choices? The hand-made personal art? I truly can't decide, but I do know that I absolutely love that this room is not traditionally "girly," yet is sweet and obviously meant for a little girl.


{inspired} miami

So, I'm not going to give you the full run-down on all my May/June travels, but I did want to share a few photos of my trip to Miami with you all. Mostly because I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed it! :)

See, I have a long list of places I'd like to visit someday and Miami was most decidedly not on that list. In fact, I just don't really enjoy Florida all that much. So hot. So humid.

But of course I'm not going to say no when work offers to send me to conference in sunny Miami for a week! We stayed right on Miami Beach at the Fontainebleau, which was AMAZING. Omg. The pools! The palm trees! The gorgeous interiors! 

For some unknown reason I was upgraded to small suite, which had the most amazing views from my balcony. Above is if I looked to the right. Below is if I looked to the left. Gorgeous!

I also took a little time to explore the beach, since I was there. I took a quick sunrise walk on morning (top photo) and came across so many people who .... were just getting home from the clubs. Hahaha! Sadly, my week wasn't THAT exciting :)

But I also took a nice evening stroll down to South Beach and the Art Deco district. 

Sadly, by the time I got to all the amazing art deco buildings it was too dark to take decent photos. But, in general, I loved all the architecture along the beach. So fancy, gorgeous, classy.

Friends, I hope you have a fantastic 4th of July weekend! Enjoy all the celebrations! :)


{a home in the making} State of the Blog.

Let's just dive right into where I've been for the past month. Wait, has it been two months? Yep. I originally wrote this post at the beginning of June! So, I've edited to update to the rest of June, but the basic message remains unchanged :)

I started in May in Miami (above) for work, as soon as I got home we headed to the Oregon coast, then a long weekend visiting friends in Bend, Central Oregon (below) and I finished the month visiting a dear friend in Dallas Texas. May was awesome! And, my head is in fact still spinning. 

June was a little quieter, but included an amazing trip to wine taste in eastern Washington (below). Quite frankly, I'm not used to traveling that much and lots of other things fell through the cracks. Including, sadly, this lovely space.

There's another issue I've been having, though, with blogging in general. Early in May - pre-travel craziness - I actually thought to myself that I need to hire a landscaper to come weed our terribly overgrown yard and lay barkdust. My reasoning? Besides being lazy (!), getting our yard in shape would take a full weekend day and it's not something I could blog about so I didn't want to spend time doing it. What shocked me the most is that I realized this is only one example in a list of things that I've been avoiding doing because they aren't blog worthy.

It hit me hard that I don't want to live my life according to what's blog worthy. Since I started my new job about 8 months ago, I've had very limited time during the week to blog - thanks to crazy work days that often lead into evening work activities. I've been managing the blog by filling my weekends with starting and completing projects, photographing the projects, uploading and editing photos and then, at a bare minimum, writing Monday's post and starting the other two posts for the week. I'm sure you can guess how much time that leaves me for anything else on the weekends! :)

I was chained to my house last summer trying to make progress on our kitchen remodel, and I don't want to feel the same way this summer. I want to go hiking and pull weeds and go for bike rides and touch up the back entry steps that are chipping. I want to enjoy my weekends!

I'm not completely sure what all this means. I know I'm not going away. The first couple weeks of May I felt really free in my non-blogging life, but the few weeks I've really missed it - and all of you! I think this summer I'll just be winging it more than usual. There are still small home updates I'm working on - living room furniture, fabrics for the kitchen, the sage of our kitchen chairs - and I'll definitely be updating you as I get to them. But there might be weeks when I just don't have time to contribute here. And I think right now that's fine too.

Thanks for hanging in there with me friends! I appreciate you reading and checking in here and not giving up on me when life kinda gets in the way :)


The end of an era ...

That's right. Google reader is dying tomorrow! I know you've probably all taken care of transferring your readers already (and it's easy!), but just in case, I made it super easy for you to continue following me with bloglovin'. Click on the link, or, there's a new button on the right.

Oh, and I realize I've been quite absent the past couple months, but I promise you don't want to go away. I'll be making a state-of-the-blog address tomorrow, followed by updated and new (!) kitchen chairs, an amazing nursery (not mine - that's definitely not why I've been absent ;), living room chairs and more. 

Now, I'm going to go cry over having to change my blog reading ways.


{inspired} wine tasting and friends

Friends! How good of a combo is that - wine tasting and friends. I think it might be my favorite! :) I actually have a couple posts all ready to publish, but my camera card reader died. Dead. So that's on my list of things to purchase this week, but in the meantime my wonderful and gorgeous friend Angie did a post on her blog about our wine tasting in eastern Washington last weekend. I highly recommend you check it out. Because not only will there be cute photos of us:

And, while not home related AT ALL, it has me wondering - what type of wine is your favorite? I'm a big red girl - cabs FTW! - but I live in Pinot Noir country. So, tasting in eastern Washington was especially delightful. Are you all about Pinots? Chards? What about Merlots? White vs. reds? I'd love to hear! :)


{renovate} the depths of indecision

Sometimes I'm quick to make decisions and know precisely what I want. Other times, it takes me months and I second guess everything. The latter usually revolves around fabric and/or other textiles. It just so happens that I'm trying to choose a couple different fabrics right now. And a couple rugs. I need to choose fabric for over the kitchen sink. I also need to choose fabric for the living room ottoman and I need a rug for in front of the kitchen sink. Oh and possibly a rug under the table in the nook. Seriously, it's a lot! It makes my head spin. I know I want to have some fun with the fabric over the sink, so I'm trying to choose that fabric first and then base my other choices off it.

I know you're all curious, so here, my friends, is what indecision looks like:

I. CAN'T. CHOOSE. First world problems, right? I just want to pick one so I can move on with my life, but none are right. At the beginning of the kitchen remodel, I posted that I wanted to updated the color scheme be blue and green - instead of just blue. This still holds true. More recently, I posted a variety of fabrics, trying to narrow things down. The one thing I have decided is that I want a floral, because there are so many straight lines in the room - the cabinets, the tile, the painted lines on the floor. (My awesome husband pointed that one out ;) I need to both mix it up and soften it up. The problem here, though, is that a lot of florals read too stuffy.

The fabric below (left) is actually the closest to what I'm looking for. Chris loves this one. But I think it's maybe too turquoise? Although, the pattern is pretty awesome.

During High Point Market, I was drooling over browsing the #hpmkt hashtag in instagram and came across this fabric:

PERFECT. Do any of you know what this is? I asked the person who posted, but haven't heard back. I LOVE it. It's bright and fun, yet not too busy or precious or stuffy. If any of you know, or have a guess, let me know! :)

Friends, what do you second guess yourself about? Are you in the middle of a decorating dilemma right now?


{create} low maintenace succulent containers

Friends, it appears that I'm on a succulent kick. It started after Christmas. I always plant paperwhites around Christmas in a large serving bowl and after they die, I save the bowl (dirt and all) for next year. But this year I'm trying to keep more plants in the house, so that bowl was replanted with succulents. 

It moves around the house as needed :). One of the - pretty obvious - things that I LOVE about succulents is how low maintenance they are. I planted these guys in March and have watered them once since. Easy! I am terribly neglectful of potted plants, but I absolutely adore having them in the house, so I've been trying to incorporate more plants that don't need a lot of t.l.c from me. 

For this little succulent garden, I added some river rocks and mossy rocks (both from Target), to add a little texture and make the dirt look not so ... dirty ;).

And speaking of low-maintenance. Each summer, I plant flowers in cute little white pots on our front steps (you can see past containers here and here). Last summer was no different, except that I was even more neglectful than usual (KITCHEN!). I let the flowers die and the weeds grow and a few weeks ago, our steps looked like this.

Yikes. Those are some huge weeds. But do you notice something about these containers? 

Look closely - the couple succulents that I'd added to the containers not only survived ...

But some even thrived! Our front steps get huge amounts of afternoon sun, which is pretty hard on certain flowers, but apparently succulents love it. I can take a hint. 

Now, our front step containers are all neat and tidy. And, planted full of lovely succulents.

I'm not sure how much each of these succulent varieties will fill in, so I might need to plant more, but I'm excited to see how these look by the end of summer. And, I'm even more excited that they'll (hopefully) flourish without much babysitting from me! 

Friends, do you plant succulents? Do you love to take care of plants, or do you take the more hands-off approach to gardening and house plants?


{create} an envelope pillow cover

Friends, thank you all for your incredibly helpful suggestions about my living room furniture situation. The majority of your opinions really confirmed my thinking - the slipcovered couch doesn't work! I was kind of prepared for that, but I always like to try and work with what I have first. My current plan is to begin looking for a couple chairs to replace that couch. I also like the idea of putting the chesterfield in front of the bigger window and having the chairs with their back to the kitchen (reorienting the room). We had the living arranged similar to this a LONG time ago, but the wall was always in the way. Now that there isn't a wall (!) I think it's time to revisit that idea. A few of you also suggested putting the slip covered couch against the window perpendicular to the leather couch. This idea had never crossed my mind, and I was looking at the space this morning and I think there might be room. I'll give it a shot.  So anyway, now I have options and I thank you! :)

In other breaking news, I made a pillow.

Okay, so maybe not such breaking news, but you might have noticed that I've been making a LOT of pillows lately (hello, church basement), so I thought I'd share my method. Because it's really easy.

On a side note, isn't this fabric fantastic? I 'found' it in my fabric stash a couple weeks ago. I don't even remember buying it (you know you have a fabric problem when ....), but I LOVE it. And, I had just enough to make a pillow. 

When was making the pillows for the church, we raided good will and thrift stores for the pillow forms. I was busy removing all the covers one night when I realized that a lot of them were pillows stuffed with fluff and then sewn shut. Do people still do this, really? I remember that's how I was taught in 7th grade home ec. But, I always had a problem getting the finishing stitching to look right!  Oh, and the fluffy stuff gets lumpy quick!

If you're going to pull out your sewing machine anyway, the envelope method is fantastic! I'm irrationally terrified of zippers, so I use this method for all pillows. It's quick and easy, clean-looking and really easy to then switch out new pillow covers. I actually don't ever buy new pillow forms - I have a certain number that works our house and I just switch out the covers - which take up WAY less room when storing. 

I actually posted a complete tutorial for making envelope pillows way back when I first started blogging and no one read here. Instead of rewriting, I'll point you in that direction - it's a good tutorial. And, as a bonus, you can catch a glimpse of our horrible old blue carpet. Oh, the good ole days! :) Click here for an envelope pillow cover tutorial.

I hope you all have a great weekend! :)


{renovate} new living room furniture

I would be remiss to not mention what happened in Boston this week. Having lived there - and worked just a couple blocks from the explosions - I know that Bostonians strong and amazing people. But that doesn't stop my heart from hurting for them and wondering how anyone could do this on such a fun and happy day/event. My thoughts and prayers are in Boston this week. 

With that said --
Our living room got a bit of a new look last weekend. If you remember, Chris bought me a beautiful leather chesterfield sofa for Christmas. We've been storing it in the garage for the last few months while we finished the kitchen and the church basement. Right around the same time, my parents were getting rid of a HUGE ottoman, so I snagged it. It's been living in our basement. But, we finally moved both into the living room this weekend!

Last week our living room looked like this.
Today, it looks like this.

The good news is that I LOVE the couch. So gorgeous. And, so comfortable.

The bad news is that ... I have no idea how to layout the living room now! I think I may need to rethink furniture.

In case there is any doubt, if we keep the ottoman, it'll get recovered. :)

I love it too, but I'm worried that the problem with the whole set up is the size of the ottoman - it's pretty huge! We moved both in on Saturday and had friends over that night. We all agreed the space it tight, but as we were sitting there after dinner, we all agreed that the ottoman is awesome because it's nice to have some place to kick back and put your feet up.

Let's look from a different angle.

I added the bookcase because looking at the back of the couch was just awkward.

And this angle is taken from the door. So when you walk in, this is what you see. Is it bad luck/bad feng shui to walk into the back of the couch? I feel like it might not be very welcoming! Of course the bookcase would be styled (and it's already dusted - ew! It's been in the basement for over a year!) and it sort of creates a little entryway.

I feel like there are a few options:
1. My original thought - keep it as is and get a new slipcover for the old couch (too much brown!) and recover the ottoman with a fun graphic pattern.

2. Keep the ottoman and find a couple of chairs to go where the old couch is currently. Maybe the ottoman wouldn't seem as big if there were chairs, which allow for more walking space?

3. Get rid of the couch and the ottoman and find something smaller.

What do you guys think? I wish you could all come over and try out the space for yourself! :)