Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving? Ours was superb.

I always find it hard to get back into the swing of things after a nice vacation, do you? But alas, life must go on.

I thought you might like a peek at our Thanksgiving table:

Not exactly as planned (is it ever?), but many of my new finds were put to good use and it felt SO good to inaugurate the dining room with our first formal dinner. Happy to report that nine of us fit just fine - it was a cozy dinner :)

The mint julep cups were treated to some gorgeous flowers sent by my sister-in-law - I had actually made myself crazy looking for those purple cabbage-y flowers (I still don't know what they are called), and lo and behold, they showed up at my doorstep! And they were perfection for the julep cups with some kumquats I bought at the store. Thanks Liz!

Full reveal of the dining room tomorrow...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Crush

My family around the Thanksgiving table. Hope your feast was fab.

There is a Christmas tree in my future this weekend.

See you Monday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Table by Martha Angus; image via House Beautiful

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Enjoy your feast.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


There has been progress at the AO house in advance of Thanksgiving.

Lots of work on our main level bath thanks to the hard work of my father-in-law (thanks Jerry!) and Carter. Not quite done, but we're almost there. Bathroom post to come...

As I mentioned Friday, I had lots of fabric waiting for my sewing machine this weekend. The fabric for my dining room drapes came in (the one that would accompany Azalea) as well as the order for my various living room fabrics from my designBoard.

I was a happy little clam with all of my fabric rolls:

I spent Sunday working on my dining room drapes and I am very happy with the results. I shared the sneak peek yesterday and for lack of another picture I'm sharing it again. I plan a full dining room post with the reveal so stay tuned...

Last night, I worked on the velvet drapes for the living room and the pillows for the couch. Recall that I chose Lee Jofa's Sassari Ikat for the pillows - and I absolutely love it!

The drapes are a velvet by Greenhouse Designs called Caribbean. We currently just have them hanging from a rod and they are screaming (so loud it hurts) for a pelmet box or some other creation that will hide the rod and jazz up the window a bit. We also have an order in for some nice wood blinds to replace the current mini-blinds that are uglying-up my picture.



The last picture shows off some very good loot that I have collected for this room since we moved. I'm embarrassed to say that many items are from HomeGoods (not embarrassed that they are from HG, but embarrassed that you are starting to see how much time I spend there). HG was responsible for the lamp, green lacquer boxes, navy lacquer mirror and the "nesting" tables (they don't really nest).

The bust I found on Etsy (his date sits on our dining room bar) and here is my first julep cup put to use. The frame is my favorite wedding picture - our exit among some very smoky sparklers; they were huge! - and the magnifying glass I found...hmmm....where did I find that? Maybe HG? Not sure...

The fam starts rolling in tomorrow and we are very excited for some quality time with loved ones.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mary's Trim

The December/January issue of House Beautiful profiles a perfectly amazing home designed by Mary McDonald.

I have not gushed over Ms. McDonald on this blog yet. But I will, don't you worry.

In the meantime, I'll gloss over how much I adore her work, and go right to the Greek-key-trimmed bolster pillows she used in this home. They totally caught my eye...and I can't stop thinking about them.

I snagged this pictures from Mary's online design portfolio, as the images from HB aren't up on their site yet:

image via

If you recall my dining room designBoard, I am using a black/white Greek key trim just like the one on the bolster above...and I love how it's used on this pillow. The contrast with the yellow is just stunning.

A quick tour of her online portfolio offered other ways she has used the same concept:

images via


I have some beautiful lavender moire fabric that would look great with this trim...and these pictures have inspired me to perhaps bring a bolster or two into my dining room (perhaps on my armchairs).

Here's a sneak peek of my current use of the trim on my's only a teaser...the big reveal is yet to come...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Loot

Christmas came early for me. Friday, to be exact.

Carter and I were dining at a great Thai place which happens to be around the corner from my favorite HomeGoods location. The arrangement made for some convenient post dinner shopping so after we finished off our Panang curry I headed to HG while Carter perused the tie section of neighboring TJ Maxx (Carter's penchant for ties rivals mine for chairs).

I went my usual route - up the left taking in the vases and dinnerware - past the cookbooks and kitchen towels - quick stroll through the lamp section - round the corner into the furniture section...oh...dear...what is that...OH...oh, dear...must get

A frantic search found my dear one standing in line to check out, one Polo tie in hand, and I started my speech...I had just found the most amazing piece of furniture...I knew exactly where I would put it...We could not leave it at HG for some other individual to purchase...It was meant to be...He had to come see it.

Back to HG we went, and I made my case with the specimen at hand for Carter's consideration. Although he did not think that it fell into the category of necessities for our home (I disagreed), he did offer to make it my Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas to me:

Welcome home Chinese Chippendale pagoda chair. You will be very happy in our dining room. And I will cover your shiny red seat with some crazy good fabric...promise.

Thanks, Santa.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Crush

image via

One more piece of lovely from Anna Spiro. I am not ashamed of my obsession with stripes...they are pretty much in every room of my house. And this pink couch would be perfect in a room made just for me (which currently does not exist in my house...but oh, how I wish it did).

My week was nuts. Today is too. But I'm trying to wrap everything up so I can focus on the house this weekend in advance of hosting family next week...I have lots of pretty fabric waiting for my sewing machine and I need to hammer out last minute details of my table setting and Thanksgiving dishes.

Happy weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Absolutely Beautiful Anna

Anna Spiro and her blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things, send me into a tizzy on a daily basis.

Designer Anna Spiro

I'm sure many of you know her. The woman is an Australian design genius. She is the owner of Black and Spiro, a retail shop and interior design business in Brisbane. (Technically, I believe her brand is Black (ampersand) Spiro, but this darn blogging interface keeps messing up that character)

Anna is a designer that epitomizes my favorite aesthetic - classic and colorful with a good dose of whimsy...traditional with a twist.

My favorite blog posts on ABT are when Anna gives us a glimpse into her shop and her gorgeous, ever-changing storefront window display.

Wednesday's storefront window left me lightheaded.

All images via Absolutely Beautiful Things

Pink cockatoo lamps do that to me.

Anna's storefront displays serve as a constant inspiration for me:






And let's not forget the beautiful images she posts from inside the shop:





Wednesday, November 18, 2009

eBay Fabric Find (for you)

This fabric, "Chinese Blossoms" by Brunschwig and Fils, is currently on my eBay watch list. My eBay watch list is crazy long. This fabric is beautiful and although I can think of a million ways how to use it, I can't find where to use it.

Dear readers, will one of you buy it and do something amazingly fabulous with it? And then share with me so that I may live vicariously through your fabric adventure? This fabric is perfect for drop-dead drapes. I'm planning a post on how to make very easy, no-sew drapes - so don't hold back.




In other fabric news, I have ordered a sample of this fabric below as a contender for my dining room chairs:

Keeping in mind my dining room designBoard, what do we think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Julep, anyone?

Photo by Charles Walton IV via November 2009 Southern Living Magazine

Welcome to the inspiration for my holiday table. I've been wanting some mint julep cups...the perfect nod to the South. They were on my Christmas list. But then I saw this picture on page 12 of November's Southern Living, and it was done and done. Mint julep cups ordered.

Ideally, I would love to collect rare mint juleps cups with history...and some beautiful heirloom monogrammed ones...but, I'm impatient. And this inspiration photo was oh-so perfect for my Thanksgiving table all decked out in purple and green.

So, I went on the hunt. Naturally, I came across many a beautiful mint julep cup, but most did not work with my meager budget - especially since I wanted several.

Well my dears, I hit the jackpot. I found a collection of various sized cups on a site called Save on Crafts. I snapped up two tall-ish one for $15 each, and two smaller ones for $7 and $ I only paid about $10/cup and they are silverplate! I received them in the mail today and they are perfection...a nice weight and will be perfect on the holiday table and around my house once the holiday has passed (kind of like below).

Photo: Rick Szczechowski, Styled by Michelle Zuniga, via Zuniga Interiors blog

Granted, they are not heirloom, but they will do...and I can still slowly grow a collection of more meaningful pieces over time.

Not sure if I'll do the mums as shown in SL, but I will definitely do a monochromatic grouping of flowers in a green/lavender color scheme. And for Christmas, I'm thinking I'll use the two taller ones perhaps with a boxwood ball like this one.

p.s. The Save on Crafts site appears to be amazing for all sorts of supplies for home decorating - like apothecary jars, vases, branches, etc. - at great prices. And if you are planning a wedding (with lots of DIY crafts) this site is heaven-sent.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I spent some time at my desk this weekend and started dreaming up my design scheme for our home office. The scheme is still TBD, but in my search for inspiration I came across many a desirable desk accessory. I love desk accessories - probably because they are often patterned and lovely like fabric or wallpaper.

And design is in the details - you could have a big ol' plain white desk (like mine from IKEA) but if you have chic desk accessories, you've updated the outfit (you that plain white shirt that's been with you since college and you should probably throw away but add a scarf and some dangly earrings and you look hot).

One detail that I always overlook is the trashcan. And I should. It's a trashcan...for my trash. But, I came across so many adorable trashcans online this weekend that I immediately put a DIY trashcan on my list of to-dos for the office (and for my bedroom as the current "wastebasket" next to my vanity is a hideous black mesh situation).

As noted, my trashcan will be DIY as the ones I found online are really pricey. But they are great for inspiration...

Available via Caspari



Available via Marye-Kelley




Lovely accents. My plan is to find a nice shaped trashcan (Target, IKEA, etc) and a lovely fabric and marry them with some spray adhesive. As soon as I do said project, I will of course share.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Crush

Design by Phoebe Howard, image via

Dear, dear Phoebe Howard. This room is from my favorite project in her current online portfolio. I thought it was the perfect end to my week devoted to lavender inspiration. You know I majorly heart the stripes in this room. The two upstairs bedrooms in our house have slanted ceilings just like this, so I may need to recreate these stripes at some point.

Thanks for indulging my week all about the dining room. I'm excited to start putting all the pieces together just in time to host our families for Thanksgiving.

What are you up to this weekend? I have come down with a bit of a cold, and the weather here is quite dreary, so I think I'll be laying low. I have a date with the holiday issue of Elle Decor.

See you Monday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Puppy Love

I did leave out some accessories from my designBoard yesterday. I thought they were worthy of their own post.

Meet the Staffordshires:

This is the kind of accessory that when brought home makes Carter say, "D, what is THAT?" In this case, "D, what are THOSE?" And I stammer "Errmmm...what? The dogs? Oh, nothing. Just a little something I picked up.'ll learn to love them?"

I'm starting to realize that I have an unhealthy attraction to figurines. But I love them for their whimsy. And I'm trying desperately to use them in small doses...and when I came across these little puppies, I was hooked...they were perfect for the antique side table in the dining room.

And do you know who is behind these dogs? Carleton Varney. Yup. That Carleton Varney - protege to one Dorothy Draper.

You might recall that a couple of issues back, House Beautiful did a one-page spread on designers that push loot on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). They profiled Carleton Varney and Nate Berkus (QVC has Kenneth Brown) and showed these dogs as part of Mr. Varney's collection. You can get your own here.

I really like them. And I'm sure Carter will come to appreciate them. For now, the Staffordshires are sitting contently in my dining room, waiting to be styled with the rest of their friends from my designBoard.

p.s. I recently ran across a great post on The Peak of Chic all about Mr. Varney and his collection for it here
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