Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Decorating Tips from Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage

Hey Guys!

I hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend!

Last year, I had the joy of working with Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage on a segment where Layla offered tips on DIY Christmas decor on the cheap.

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, I'm sure many of you could use Layla's tips (I broke out the Christmas decorations this weekend!)  Layla's Christmas segment first aired last year, and I just re-aired it the week before Thanksgiving.  I put some of Layla's tips into action in our house.  I'll be sharing my three trees with you as the week progresses, but for now (drumroll please), here's Layla:

I hope Layla's tips inspired you as much as they did me.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cookbook Crate Storage

Over the years as a TV producer, I've built up my share of cookbooks because we do many cooking demos on the show.  I only keep the ones I like, but after 10 1/2 years of working on the show my cookbook collection became too much just to store them on a bookshelf.  I got the bright idea to use produce crates to house those babies, but unfortunately after a little research I found out the farmers no longer ship produce in crates because the crates themselves cost too much to make and ship... so when I asked a local farmer at the farmer's market about selling me some of his crates he wasn't willing to part with his crates for anything less than $25 a pop.  NO THANK YOU!

So I hopped on the internet to find out what would give me a similar look when I came across wine crates. I don't drink wine; however, that didn't stop me from visiting the local wine store to ask if they'd be willing to part with their crates.  The gladly gave me a great deal at $5 per crate.  Apparently, even the wine industry limiting what they ship in crates because of the cost-- so get them while you can.

Here they are before I whitewashed them with blue paint.  Or would that be called blue-washing??

And here they are after a coat of blue paint:

I plan to get some more crates to use as shelves in Brandon's office, much like this Pottery Barn pic:

Well, we're off to buy our Christmas tree.  I'm super excited!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meet Moll Anderson, Designer Extrodinare

Hey Guys!

Have you ever heard of Moll Anderson?  If not, you need to know who she is!  She's an amazing decorator who has designed rooms for many celebs.  She's been described as a cross between Dr. Phil and Martha Stewart.  She earned that nickname because she truly believes that your surroundings can affect you negatively or positively, depending on how your space makes you feel.  In her book, "Change Your Home, Change Your Life,"  she gives practical advice on how changing your home really can change your life!  She says there are five must haves when decorating and entertaining:  Paint, light, music, Flowers and fabric.

Oprah gave Moll her big break.
Moll did two tv segments while she was at our studio.  I had the privilege of producing one of Moll's Christmas segments which will air onDecember 7th.  I'll be sure to post that segment once it airs.

Here's the segment that already aired.  It's all about holiday table decor on a budget.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Snapshot In Time

Yesterday, the hubs and I had our pictures taken by Amanda, a high school friend of ours (have I ever mentioned that Brandon and I went to the same middle school and high school?  Yep that's right! I even cheered for his recreation football team.)

 Not only did Amanda go to school with us, but I was her wedding coordinator for her fabulous May 2010 wedding.  I loved being a part of their special day! It is obvious that they are so in love!

Here's a few snapshots of Amanda and Dominic's wedding:

(picture courtesy of the awesome photographer, Andi Grant Photography)

 (courtesy of Andi Grant Photography)

Well, Amanda had her time in front of the camera but now she's taking her turn behind the camera.  She is starting up her photography business.  She's very talented!  She's in the process of building her portfolio, so for the time being she's offering her services for a very low rate, as long as she can use the photos for her portfolio.

We'll get to see all of the edited shots in a week or so but for now, she gave us a little preview.  Here are are seven of the many pics she snapped yesterday.

(All above pictures courtesy of A.M Photography)

Here's a link to Amanda's photography Facebook page, just in case any of you happen to live in Hampton Roads. We had a blast!

Yesterday's photo shoot wasn't the first time we've had our pictures snapped in less than a month.  A few weeks ago (before Amanda offered to take our pictures), we had one of my best girlfriends snap some shots of us for Christmas cards.  Here are a few of those:

Not to shabby for a friend grabbing a camera,  pointing and shooting.

Once we get Amanda's pictures, we'll be picking a few to include in our Christmas card mailing.  Between the two shoots, it's going to be hard to narrow it down.  It's a good thing there are cards available that can include multiple pictures!

Have any of you ordered your Christmas cards yet?  When do you normally mail your cards out?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Scatter Joy and Rockport, MA

Hey Friends!

I hope you are having a fabulous week!  This week I've been working on a small project for the top of my sideboard that I refinished last weekend.  If you missed missed the 4-1-1 on my $30 dollar sideboard, I dished the makeover details here.

As soon as I finished the sideboard, I knew that I would need something to fill up the space atop the sideboard, so I got to work making this:

I first saw this over at The Lettered Cottage.  I think Layla used to make and sell them. I knew that something like this would be perfect for my sideboard.  I already had the blue and white paint on hand, so all I had to pick up were the letters from Michael's and the two 1x4's for $1.96 per board.  I just had Lowe's cut down the boards to measure 24 inches (Tip: Lowe's and Home Depot offer free cutting services.)
 Once I was home, I grabbed my wood glue, nails and hammer.  First, I used the hammer to beat up the wood a bit.  I wanted to make the edges look a little worn and tattered.

After I was done taking out a little bit of aggression on the boards, I glued and nailed the boards together.

As you can see here, I just put one support beam across the back. I put the nails in from the back so you wouldn't see any of the nails.

Once the glue was dry, I did one coat of a white wash treatment on the front (I dipped my paint brush in the blue paint and then into a bowl of water before I applied it to the wood. Sometimes the paint would still go on a bit too dark so I had an old rag on hand to wipe off the excess paint.  I wanted to make sure the grain of the wood was still visible through the paint.

As the blue paint dried, I got to work painting the letters with one coat of white paint and then I attached them with a hot glue gun.

Here's the sideboard all decked out in its new decor.

Do you want to to know something really cool?  Take a close look at that picture that is to the right of my "Scattered Joy" plaque?  I spotted that when I was in a store by the name of "Cheap, Chic Resale."  I could spot that little red fishing shack anywhere!  That little shack is in Rockport, MA, only 10 minutes from where I grew up.  When I was younger, My Mom and Dad would take all the time and I just love it there!  Ahhh, the memories!

And it gets even better.  When Brandon and I were visiting Boston/Gloucester/Rockport a year ago, we snapped some great pics of that very same red shack.  We loved the pictures so much that we had the pictures transferred to Canvas six months ago... and it is hanging right over the sideboard.

Compare the two pictures for yourself:

That is definitely the same place!
  You have no idea how excited I am to have found that!  What are the odds of finding the very same picture of Massachusetts all the way down in Virginia Beach?  
Things like this make me think that it's God's way of reminding us that he even cares about the teeny tiny things in our lives.  I smile every time I walk by this picture in my living room now.

(If you want to see more pics of where I grew up, check it out here.)

P.S.  I plan to make more lumber quote boards for my dining room. I hope to get those done this month.  

Linking to these parties:

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vintage Coke Crate Wagon

This past weekend I spent a lot of time going to yard sales; combing through Craig's List for great deals; and fixing up my great finds.

As I was looking through Craig's List I spotted a vintage Coke crate that had been made into a wagon.  The ad was posted by a thrift/antique store so I decided on Monday that I would make a quick trip to the antique shop during my lunch break.

When I got there, the Coke crate wagon was even better in person, so I snagged if for half off for about $20 bucks.

Isn't it great?  Look, you can even see the indentations where the coke bottles once sat.  

I wonder who's thirst this crate helped quench?

I originally thought that I would house towels and extra blankets in it for guests but we rarely have guests so I quickly decided that would be a waste (no offense if you are one of the few people we know that come to visit because you don't live in Hampton Roads).  I loved it so much that I just knew it had to be out in the main space where we could enjoy it daily.

Here it is in our kitchen eating area (I never know what to call this area.  It's not a nook.  It's not our dining room.  It's not exactly in the kitchen because our counter L's out to divide the two areas.  Oh well, I digress.)

Oh, and if you are noticing the black cabinet and its contents, I'll be back later this week with the cabinet 4-1-1.  I recently moved the cabinet from the living room to the eating area and I filled it up with things I found in my attic and at Goodwill.

P.S.  It is November 2nd and my husband and I have Christmas music blaring.  Can you hear it?  Here's the proof:

As if you needed proof!

Yes, I know, it's a little early but we just couldn't wait.  And guess what?  It was the hubby's  suggestion to turn it on.  I knew I loved him!