Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fireplace Re-Do

It was time to say goodbye.  This brick fireplace had seen better days.  An update was needed!  Unfortunately, hubby thought the brick looked great.  Why is it that men don't like to re-do brick or paint wood?  Anyway, I decided I needed to paint the brick a lighter color.  When I told him, he had a fit.  Well, maybe not a fit, but he certainly didn't like the idea, so he said, "how about stone?"  Well, I tried to curb my enthusiasm.  Let it be known that I didn't waste much time picking out the stone and the marble hearth.  Of course, if we are doing all that, a newer mantle was necessary as well.

The brick had seen its better days!
 
Nothing exciting here.
The new fireplace looks so much better, updated, and is now a real focal point in the room.
The colors are more vivid in person, and don't show up well in the pictures because of the light from the windows, but they are a nice combination of grays and creams, which tie everything in the area together, from the wall color in the family room, to the cream color in the kitchen.  The hearth is marble and has the same colors as the stone.
So much better!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Christmas 2015 Part 2

As another Christmas season comes and goes, here are a few photos of the kitchen and family room.  All the decorations will be down by the end of the day, boxed up and stored for another year.  Hope you enjoy!

On the kitchen island, I keep this Tiffany silver trumpet vase and change the flowers depending on the season.  It doesn't take up much room, so that I can serve or prep when needed.  If you look behind the vase, I hung snowflakes from the window valence.  I used a tension rod, and hung the snowflakes with white thread and ornament hangers.  At Christmas I use a butler's tray table in the corner to hold extra Christmas trays and wine glasses.
For Christmas morning breakfast, I again used my Christmas china, with red chargers and Lunt flatware.
For the centerpiece, I used decorated greenery and gilded fruit, silver antler candleholders, and red votive candleholders, which match the sequined red chargers.
 The centerpiece bowl is a unique piece--silver and crystal--with four taper candleholders.  It's one of my favorite estate sale finds.
For beverages, we used champagne flutes for our mimosas and vintage glasses for water or milk.
Above the patio doors, I added these love and joy signs.  They are battery operated, but I had to climb on a step stool to turn them on.
On to the family room.  On the cocktail table, I used a garland with a gold ribbon, my gold reindeer that I love, gold trees, and ...hmm are those artichokes? pineapples? acorns?  Well, whatever they are, they were used on the cocktail table vignette with gold battery operated pillar candles, which were on a timer. The candles provided a nice glow when coming into a dark room.
A shot of the family room in the evening.
The main Christmas tree was again gold and bronze.  I added some new decor this year, musical notes, large bronze snowflakes, deer heads, and lots of grapevine.
I changed up the mantle and placed my garland straight across instead of swagging (is that a word?) it.  I found these stick garland mini lights, which I added, as well as the gold pieces on the end.  Have no idea what to call them, but they were sort of a paper mache and I have ornaments shaped exactly the same way, so I had to have them.  I also used musical ribbon bows, and decorated with the same notes that I used on the tree, and cupids playing different instruments.  
Here's a close up of the decorated mantle.  Behind the garland, I used gold finials that I found years ago at Kirklands, with tall gold candleholders on each end.
 I made this little arrangement for the hearth using a lantern, greenery, and other gold/bronze accents.
 Big items have big impact, but sometimes you just need something small.  I found these petite gold Christmas trees and thought they were cute on a silver tray.
The bookcase was decorated and I again used my silhouette angels for the top.  This year I ordered votive candles on a timer so that they would come on automatically in the evening.  Yay!  No climbing up to cut them on!  Worked like a charm.
 I have used this woodland scene vignette before, but this year I moved it to the end table with my leopard lamp.

We were again blessed to have our son and daughter home.  Our son finished up at Virginia Tech in December, and is beginning the job search.  Our daughter is still in New York and is in a show called "New Dawn" at the end of the month.  If you are in the area, I hope you will go check it out.  

Christmas night we had 30 of my cousins over for a Christmas get-together!  Everyone brought an appetizer, and we had a lot of fun.  2015 was a great year, and I am very thankful for my family and friends!  On to 2016!

 Happy New Year to you and yours!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Christmas 2015

Now that the holiday season is winding down, I have a little time to work on a few posts.  I love decorating for Christmas, and this year I had a deadline.  We were going out of town for a few days on December 1st and I wanted all the decor to be up and ready to go by the time I got back.  Here's a peak into the front rooms of the house.  In my next post, I will put up the pictures of the back rooms, which include the kitchen and family room.  Hope you enjoy!

Upon entering the front door, the first decorated tree stands in a fishbowl nestled in a corner by the stairs. The white ornaments were made by my mother, and this year I added different sized snowflakes and a white topper.  White mini lights were added to the banister, and I had them on a chaser setting, which made the room feel magical.
Santa and two white glittery reindeer sit under the tree.
My silver neo-classical vase holds a new silver and white Christmas arrangement.  The silver and gold deer are also new additions to this table vignette.
The stairs are always fun to decorate, and new white, wispy pine garland was added this year.
I added a swag over the inside front door.
Now on to the living room, which we refer to as the paaarlor, darling!
I found this great nativity which I placed on the console with my white angels and some greenery.
Here's a close-up...
On the bombay chest, I used my sleigh decorated with white ornaments, crystal grapes, and greenery.
It was fun decorating the dining room this year.  I used mostly silver, with a hint of red under the white tablecloth.  I again used my deer from Tuesday morning, my candelabras with silver glitzy candles, and various decor on the table.
I also put a full-sized tree in the corner.  I have been using a smaller tree, but decided to use this one.  It had a more formal look, with some burgundy-colored balls added in with the silver and crystal.
Our Christmas Eve dinner table was set for nine, but one cancelled, so I removed one place setting.  Before dinner, I removed the deer and the candelabras, as they were blocking our view, and I added a fresh arrangement using mostly greenery and berries from my yard with white carnations.
The fresh arrangement sat on my new tea cart before dinner.
I used white napkins trimmed in silver with a shimmery napkin ring, my Lunt sterling, and mirrored chargers. I used Opal Innocence china.
Wine glasses used were Navarre, and iced beverage glasses were crystal with a silver rim, not sure what they are.
A different angle...
And just a few items placed here and there.  Although it's hard to see, I added those mini lights around the decanters, which looked pretty reflecting in the silver tray at night.  When I purchase these, I now look for ones with timers, that will come on at the same time every evening and cut off after 4 or 6 hours.
I also used a vintage-style light around the base of my reindeer.  I used battery-operated votives this year on his antlers, because the dripping wax is not fun to clean.  You can purchase votives now that have timers as well.  Yay!!

I think that's enough for now!  Please come back and take a look at the kitchen and dining room decor. Have a safe, healthy, and happy New Year!!
--Betsy


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Labor Day by the Lake

Labor Day weekend kicks off the beginning of dove hunting season.  My hubby and his friends excitedly await the arrival, not so much for the hunting part, but the camaraderie and the communing with nature. Someone recently said that my hubby can't sit still long enough to hunt, and this is probably true, but he loves the whole idea of it.  We invited the wives to come down to the lake Sunday evening to meet up with the hunters and share a meal out in the wild.

 We recently added string lights, and an outdoor kitchen to our outdoor setting by the lake.
 Setting a square table has its challenges.  Since I didn't know exactly how many were coming too far in advance, I had to come up with something fairly quick.  So to keep it simple, I just used white plates, gray napkins, and inexpensive crystal and wines.
 The table and chairs have a contemporary flair, so I didn't want to add too many embellishments.
I did bring silver flatware, tied with a ribbon, and embellished with my mom's old costume jewelry.
 Some were earrings, and some were brooches.  
 They were all different.
The men remarked that the table looked quite different than the one from the night before!
 The crystal glasses are Cristal D'arques Longchamp and nice quality as well as reasonably priced.
 Another issue is decorating around an umbrella pole.  Again, not much time to get too creative, so I just used three cylinder vases, with grocery store flowers and solomon's seal from my garden.
 Wine glasses were from the dollar store!!
 Two contemporary-style votive holders, and done.
 It turned out quite nice, considering I had to transport everything from home.
 Mother Nature provides most of the eye candy here!
 Our meal consisted of steak and salmon, caprese salad, sauteed squash and zucchini, fried okra, corn cooked on the grill, and homemade cookies and brownies.
 Of course, cocktails and appetizers were shared at the beginning of the evening.

We had a fun time being together and cooking together outside.  It was a mutual effort!  We left the men, and drove an hour to get back home.  Time seemed to slip away from us, and we had no idea it was so late when we got home at 1:30 am!  I spent the next morning, cleaning up dishes and utensils, and putting everything away.  So the rest of the Labor Day was spent in a chaise lounge by the pool!

Hope your Labor Day was relaxing.  A Labor Day celebration was held in my hometown and the guest speaker paid homage to my father and uncles who served in World War II, as well as other local hometown heroes.  Wish I had known about it in advance.  It was a wonderful tribute to my family and I was honored.

Thank you for visiting!  Come back soon!

--Betsy