A Feminine Fix

I have one little and one big of these wicker Ikea baskets. They came with leather belt straps, which I adore. You can see the little one in our son's room below with the leather straps intact.

But the straps on the bigger basket had broken off and disappeared. I was going to find some old belts at a thrift store to replace them, but I thought up something a little more feminine instead.

I cut up some old linen and didn't bother finishing the edge. I added a few staples to hold the fabric straps in place and a couple of droopy bows to secure the lid.

I think it says french farmhouse.

By the way, that distressed wooden piece to the right of the basket? It's a little glimpse of our next big project.

New Desk Space

My desk is one of the things I moved around in the last week. You'll recognize the sill-sitting birds from this post. The art/craft table used to be in this same spot.

But our girl's room had a huge blank area needing to be filled with something (which I didn't show in the pictures). We decided to move the art table to their room, and utilize the school room more efficiently. The kids take turns doing a few different things on the computer (mine) during school time, so my desk works in here rather practically.

I love the bird calendar I found at Barnes and Nobles. It has the most amazing paintings. I think I need to move it up higher though, as the computer screen is competing for attention (it's interesting how perspective can change when I see a room in photos as opposed to real life).

My desk was a hand-me-down from my parents. It's an antique drafting table and I grew up BEGGING them to pass it down to me. They finally did, and I'm so grateful... it's one of my favorite things.

There are just some plain old ugly things about today's technology... ugly computer, ugly printer, ugly cords (why oh why do they make them black???). And then to top it all off, paperwork, cd's and other miscellaneous office junk just adds to the ugly. In an effort to mask it, I made some white fabric liners for our printer cart. Still ugly. But not as much. One day I'll replace our cart with a nifty piece of furniture and actually hide the printer. I love how Brooke from Velvet and Linen hid her uglies in baskets.

The industrial stool I picked up years ago at a junk shop. Lucky me that day!

So, this is where I will sit and continue to blog. ;) Thanks for all the kind comments and encouragement to keep it going. I think I will.

(oh, and that Friday Feature idea I had? Two weeks of no Feature=bad idea)

Pure and Good

My husband knows that one of the best ever presents for me is an Anthropologie gift certificate. Last time he blessed me with one, I was delighted to find this bottled soap dispenser.

I happened to have found it right after we installed our giant farmhouse sink. The big size of the bottle mixed with it's vintage look went perfectly with the sink. I think.

After the liquid soap it came with ran out, I refilled it with a lavender and mint dish soap. Super handy for both dishes and hands. And it smells delightful.

The bottle has the words "pure & good" embossed on the front. I just LOVE the phrase and couldn't think up anything better than that. I love the script font they chose for it too. Again... just perfect.

The soap dispenser came with a lovely fabric tag attached, and I was tempted to keep it on.

But then I thought it would take away from the whole vintage feel. Without the tag, it looks like it might have been picked up at a flea market. And that's the look I was going for.

It also comes in a smaller size, and as a set with lotion. The metal holder is adorable, don't you think? But for our kitchen, I was drawn to just the one. Bare. Pure. And good.

It's still for sale here at Anthropologie.

Black in the Boy's Room

There's no white frilly anything in this room.
(click on the pictures to see a larger version)

I even surprised myself with all the black. And red.

Just about everything in this room came from Ikea or Target.

The beds.
The quilts.
The pillows.
The desk.
The lamps.
The nightables.
The dresser.
The basket.
The plant.
The desk containers.
The clock.
But not the cat.

And with the exception of a few antique store finds sprinkled in.

Like this vintage desk chair. Only $35. It makes the room, in my opinion.

Not only is it handsome, but useful too. My son, Gavin, does his schoolwork here every day.

I made a slipcover for the seat using an old J. Jill linen skirt I hardly ever wore.

Some fake greenery sits on the desk. For boys who would likely forget to water.

On the walls, we spaced two strips of small trim far apart, then painted in between the same color. Giant chair molding!

The other side of the room:

Another antique chair. It's not comfortable, but it sure looks pretty.

The vintage airplane paintings I found for a few dollars .

"Silly", the cat, poses in her favorite spot on Caleb's bed.

Little does she know she coordinates perfectly.

By the way, this is the space that used to be vaulted air in the living room (see previous post). The bedroom is a much better use of square footage, yes? At least boys definitely think so.

Trust Your Instincts

When we moved into our current house, the living room was vaulted about 25 feet up.


Not only was it an absolute waste of space, it made the room feel cold and unwelcoming. In addition, the acoustics of the room with so many people sharing the space were almost unbearable . We decided to floor it in, and as an added benefit, we now have another big bedroom above our living room.


Since we took down the pillars and half wall in our kitchen, we wanted to separate the living room in a subtle way. Instead of sheetrocking under the floor joists, we kept them exposed. My husband then insulated between them, and installed beadboard between each board.

Our contractor thought we were crazy and could NOT envision what we were after. He tried talking us out of it multiple times, and we almost caved. We're SO GLAD we listened to our instincts.
We think it adds so much to our living area and adds another cozy dimension to the space.

A New Birthday Tradition

We've added a little something extra special at birthday time this year... an advent calendar to count down to birthday day. The idea is to fill each pocket with a little note from someone in the family. Each message will be something we appreciate about the birthday child. After reading their blessing for the day, the little birthday bear can move closer to the #1 spot on the calendar.

I was thinking of making my own calendar *until* I found the most wonderfully simple and beautiful advent wall hanging from a woman named Heather Shaw. She has an and Etsy shop called Pi'lo. Everything there is beautiful.

image courtesy Pi'lo

The hanging is linen with felt pockets, and is hung by a twig (included). Could it be any sweeter?
I was so thrilled to have found this calendar as it has all the elements I love. I couldn't wait to get it in the mail, and I was overjoyed when I received it!

I love the details she put into the packaging. Like the corrugated cardboard she used for wrapping.

The straw tie and stamped clothespin are other sweet touches.

And look who was peering up at me when I finally decided to open it up:

This sweet itty bitty bear.

He'll have many happy years of hopping from one pocket to another in anticipation of the big day.

Aside from being as cute as a button, this wall hanging is also beautifully made. The quality is outstanding and I couldn't be happier with my special purchase.

Friday's Feature

Welcome to New Jersey.

Yes. New Jersey. You never knew New Jersey looked like this.

Did you?

This house is in Bernardsville, one town over from where I grew up. My perception of New Jersey was a combination of rolling hills, trees, beautiful estates, horse farms with wooden farm fencing with elegant barns. So when I grew up and moved on to other states, I was befuddled at the disgusted looks I got after I told people where I was from.

Sure, there are parts of New Jersey that are pretty horrible, but isn't that true of anywhere? A LOT of the state is absolutely gorgeous. Trust me, it's true! The only reason we aren't still there is because of the incredibly high property taxes... and okay... my husband is a southern boy through and through, and he just couldn't get past the "direct way" of communicating there. New Jerseyans and New Yorkers aren't much for small talk, have your heard?

So... let's get right to the point of this post shall we?

This house is quite enchanted. It is set in the beautiful Bernardsville Mountains. It is likely the weekend home of some wealthy Manhattan high powered executive. There are a lot of those types in Bernardsville. Hansel and Gretel live here the rest of the week, I'm sure of it.

Coziness abounds. This house does coziness like no other.

I love the triple set of french doors. I'm imagining what they lead out to.

How about something like this:

Looks like a far-away place in another world.


It's New Jersey.

I told you.

Can't you just hear the bull frogs serenading you at night?

If you are in the market for a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the big city, here is the listing.

Happy Friday to you!
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