Cheers To 50 Years

This past weekend Mom & Dad celebrated 50 + years of marriage…how AMAZING IS THAT?!  Their anniversary was actually in January but they decided they would rather celebrate in the summer…because traveling in Northern Michigan in the middle of winter is less than ideal for most people.  Let me start by saying that my parents are truly incredible…loving, genuine, hard-working, generous, salt of the earth kind of people.  Not to mention that they have been each others’ best friends for over half of a century.  Biased or not, there is no one like them and they deserved a celebration as wonderful as they are.

Basically as soon as the date was set I started collecting and planning for the decorations. Mom & Dad are not fussy people and they did not want a fancy party. I stayed away from decorations covered in shiny gold glitter and the number 50, that’s just not their style. Instead I went with antique gold and ivory for more of a vintage vibe.

I started picking up items here and there…frames, lanterns, and miscellaneous accents from Hobby, Lobby, At Home, Gordmans, etc.  Surprisingly, I also ended up buying a lot of items on Amazon.  One of my favorite pieces was this wood slat wall hanging that I came across in the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby.  I decided to write out a portion of their wedding vows in gold paint pen to display at the party.

I laid things out a few times at home just to make sure everything went together.  When the time came to head to Michigan, I had everything packed up and ready to go.

The hall was a blank canvas, but unfortunately that came with some limitations.  No hooks, tacks, or tape of any kind were allowed which eliminated anything on the walls.

I focused most of my attention on the card & dessert tables and hung paper flowers from the ceiling.  The dining tables were simple…alternating gold & ivory table cloths, wrapped LED tealights, and little wood hearts carved with the word “love” scattered down the middle.

It it was a full house…full of family and friends from near and far

Due to a precarious weather forecast…not many decorations made it outside.  Thankfully the weather did cooperate so we could all enjoy some line dancing and a campfire-style sing-a-long and no one missed the decorations (except maybe me).

The night was full of love and laughter, which was the perfect way to celebrate such a special milestone and couple.  My only regret is that somehow I didn’t get a single photo of my parents together…hopefully someone did, time to ask around.

Cheers to you Mom & Dad

Initials

My Story

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment my interest in interior design & decor sparked; but I do know it started at an early age…

In elementary school I remember walking through a house for sale with my parents and our realtor.  To this day I can vividly remember one of the bathrooms had large, dramatic black & white tile and a clawfoot tub.  I was disappointed when we didn’t buy that house because of that bathroom alone.  I also remember finding a vintage chair at a garage sale that I fell in love with but the fabric was terrible.  What 4th grader falls in love with a chair?  We had it re-upholstered and it was perfect. It was at that point I first learned the importance of looking for the potential.

A few years later, when I was in middle school, we started building our house.  Mom & Dad asked for our input when it came to our bedrooms.  The one thing I wanted was hardwood floors.  They indulged me and it was the only room in the house that wasn’t carpet. Again, what 6th grader cares about their bedroom flooring choice?

Throughout high school I watched Trading Spaces almost obsessively, and liked having a bedroom that was put together. Don’t get me wrong, I still had the messy teenager room at times, but probably mild compared to many of my peers.

I went into the Interior Design program at GRCC after highschool and a few years later went through the C.I.D International coursework to become a Certified Interior Decorator.  There was a lot of valuable information in these programs.  However, I have learned the most from personal experiences over the last decade or so. Experiences like: moving into different rentals where you have to be creative in making a space your own, decorating with virtually no budget, Mark and I going through first renovation together, and a complete remodel of our Cottage which has been our biggest undertaking to date.  Not to mention our current house will always be a work in progress, even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I have never been a decorator or designer by profession.  Most of my projects have been personal or for family and friends.  I enjoy being the “go-to” person for people I know when it comes to consulting on paint colors or picking out fabrics or wall decor.  Over the years we have been together, Mark’s interest has also grown and he has developed very good taste (I’ll take partial credit for that).  It might still be a hobby at this point, but that could change in the future.  Whatever the case may be, I’d say this passion of mine isn’t going anywhere after 25 (ish) years and I enjoy sharing it with you.

Initials

What’s your story? I’d love to hear it.

 

 

 

 

Auction Finds

By now you probably know that Mark and I love going to auctions.  A couple of weekends ago we spent our Saturday morning at a local estate auction run by our favorite auctioneer.  At first, nothing stood out that we planned on bidding on…then we took a second look, a third, and so on.  We ended up hitting the jackpot.  THIS is exactly why we love auctions, you never know what you will end up with.  Case in point…

afterlightimage-27

  • 3 sets of Edgar Allan Poe books
  • antique candy scale
  • fowl feather artwork
  • Williamsburg slipware trencher platter

Bidding on and winning an item is only half the fun (well maybe more like 75% thanks to the adrenaline rush) the rest is figuring out how to incorporate what we buy into our home.  It takes an open mind to think of how items can be used or repurposed.

This time around, I started with the books to makeover our mantel with a few other pieces we already had. It took a few attempts at rearranging to get it “just right”.afterlightimage-26

My favorite piece out of this group is the candy scale, which is now a centerpiece on our kitchen table and also has the perfect spot to hold a small candle.  I think it was made for our house.

 

afterlightimage-15

Mark’s favorite item is the trencher platter, he picked it out.  It is now on display on the kitchen counter and is also currently holding a candle.  Apparently I turn everything into a candle holder.  It is a very unique piece that I’m glad he spotted, he has a good eye!

afterlightimage-20

Last, but not least, the fowl feather artwork.  Small and simple and a perfect accent in our guest room.  For my own peace of mind, I am convincing myself that no birds were harmed in the making of this piece 🙂

afterlightimage-19

Let me finish by saying, not every auction is this much of a success. Sometimes it is hit-or-miss but that is part of why we enjoy going, it is always a gamble.  Here is a little more insight into our love for auctions for anyone who might be interested.

If you are a fellow auction enthusiast, please share! Experiences, favorite buys, etc…

Initials

Front Door Refresh

afterlightimage-1Our front door was boring…a lot of brown & beige blandness.  I’m not exactly sure how or when I let this happen but this week I decided to remedy the situation. I did not want to spend a lot of time or money, and wanted to utilize what we already had…a quick & easy fix.

All the new additions purchased from Target with the exception of the plants from Lowes. We bought the grinder at an estate auction last year and it has been sitting in the same spot ever since…not living up to its full potential.  I found this shallow galvanized planter which fit in it perfectly to add some trailing greenery.

I decided to stick with green as a subtle pop of color.  I added a hanging fern, buffalo plaid indoor/outdoor rug and mini boxwood wreath.  I have been loving the look of layered rugs lately…I wish I would have thought of it sooner.

This little project cost right around $50 and only took a few minutes to put together once I purchased everything.  This is a perfect example of  how not all changes have to be drastic or expensive.

Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately, it has taken me some time to get back in the swing of things after vacation.  I’ll make sure to post soon about our trip to Mexico.

Have a great weekend!

Initials

Where to start?

Recently a friend commented on one of my IG posts that she struggles with knowing where to start when it comes to decorating and design...I get it.   The last few days I’ve been thinking about times I have struggled with inspiration and what my suggestions are for someone in a similar position.  I’ve realized that for me all it takes it takes is ONE THING…one color, pattern, piece of art or furniture or even a small accessory to draw inspiration from and build on.

How do you find your one thing? As I see it, there are two ways you can go about this…

Seek out inspiration.  This is an active approach when you are ready (or beyond ready) to make a change.  It could involve scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram, magazines, etc.. for a specific theme or idea.  Or it could involve collecting a dozen or more different  paint samples to see what you are drawn to.  You could even look around your house for items you already have and LOVE and decide to find more items similar in theme or design.

Let inspiration come to you.  This is a more passive, but perfectly acceptable, option.  Perhaps you have had a few thoughts about making a change but aren’t quite ready yet.  Be patient and keep your eyes and mind open.  You never know when or where inspiration will strike you.  I think of it as waiting for a “lightbulb” or “aha” moment.

The latter approach is what happened in the case of our guest room.  Orange may not be the first color you think of when it comes to decor…but when I came across this  metal accent table (pictured) I decided it could be a perfect nightstand and went from there.  Picking a jumping off point doesn’t have to mean going all-out…I wasn’t interested in orange walls but I did want the color to be pronounced.  I started searching for other accent pieces that would coordinate and it was surprising how easily it came together from there.

Finding inspiration can sometimes be harder than the execution; don’t get discouraged if you have a hard time getting started!

Initials

 

 

Decor Deals

When you love decorating, but you are working within a budget, you hunt for deals…simple as that.  I actually enjoy the hunt, it makes me feel like I won something.  Now, it is worth saying, that when it comes to certain items “quality over quantity” is a good rule of thumb to follow.  For me, it is all about balance.  There are certain items I am willing to splurge on and others that it’s all about the bargain.

Here are some of my favorite recent decor deals from my go-to resources including Amazon, Etsy and Target (of course).

tempimageforsave-7

1. Preserved boxwood wreaths from Amazon

I paid just over $30 for both: 6″ $11.55 / 9″ $19.98…and they were PRIME eligible so no extra shipping charge and arrived in 2 days (YAY!).  Compared to some of the prices I was comparing on Etsy for similar wreaths, or faux versions, I felt like these were a good deal.  Also, I am impressed with the color and quality.

tempimageforsave-8

2. Custom throw pillow covers from ShamShack 

If you have purchased custom shams (or any shams for that matter) you know they can be expensive.  I have purchased from this shop before and find their prices to be reasonable, plus they have wonderful customer service.  I paid $33, including shipping, for these two covers (10×10 & 17×17).  I was able to select the colors and materials so they turned out exactly how I wanted.

tempimageforsave-6

3. Floral watercolor painting from CoastToCoastArtist

This sweet little print was only $5 on sale. Having a one of a kind piece can be affordable.   It’s new home is now in our cottage bedroom and it is perfect. This shop has all kinds of beautiful botanical, animal, and farmhouse themed paintings.  Not only that, she does custom artwork as well, which I think will be my next purchase.

tempimageforsave-9

4. Sweater knit throw blankets from Target

If there is anything I might love as much as throw pillows, it would be throw blankets.  I had my eye on these for a while.  They are usually $24.99 each, but I was lucky enough to catch them on sale for $17.99.  My REDCard added an extra 5% off and free shipping.  I’m glad I was patient.  They are so soft and comfy, definitely worth the wait!

 Maybe my favorite decor deals could turn into yours, have a great weekend!

Initials

No affiliations or paid promos in this post

Just some good deals worth sharing 

 

Mom’s Green Thumb: Indoor Edition

Courtesy of my Mom, Jeanette (because I did not inherit her green thumb)…

Last Spring Becky asked me to write a  post about outdoor plants and flowers, so I did. Now, she asked me to write about indoor plants, so I will do that as well.  Needless to say I like all kinds of plants, but indoor plants add something special to a home, the are great decorating accents, and they help clean the air inside just like they do outside.

At the moment I have ten plants throughout the house plus three more wintering in our basement until it is warm enough to bring them onto our enclosed porch for the summer.  I will probably bring one that is almost ready to blossom up from the basement soon as I don’t want to miss the flowers.  I also have a pea plant Annabelle, our great-granddaughter, started at Children’s Church a few weeks ago and a tiny pot she and I are watching for a watermelon to break through.  We may have to plant a new watermelon seed.


Among my house plants is a ficus tree that is older than Becky (33 years for reference). It was given to me by the woman from whom we bought one of our first houses.  She was downsizing and didn’t have room for it in her new home and it has been a part of our lives ever since, moving with us to six different houses. Our son, Seth, has a cactus he brought home in the back of a truck in January 17 years ago.  I nursed it along and although it still has the scars from the plant version of frost bite it has grown from about two feet tall to over six feet.  The peace lily by our french door was given to me by the former superintendent and his wife when I started as a Superintendent.  Every time I look at it, it reminds me of their kindness and support as I started a new position.  I can tell you similar stories about when I acquired most of my plants.

I also add a few plants now and then as I see an area that needs a fresh look or when a current plant has grown too big for the windowsill. And every now and then I lose one. The ivy I had in the window near my piano died this Winter and I’m not sure why.  Maybe it just got too cold during some of the coldest days even though it had lived in that window a couple of years. Oh, well.  I also have a Christmas cactus that has never blossomed for me. I may try planting it in the ground outside for the Summer.  What do I have to lose?


My approach to plants is pretty simple.  If I get a new plant I read the tag and try to match its need for water and direct or indirect sunlight and if someone gives me one I check on-line.  I water my plants thoroughly once a week, but do the “finger test” (push your finger into the soil slightly and if dirt sticks to it, no water is needed, and if not, water it) first.  I like to put fertilizer sticks in each pot in February or March. The directions tell you how many to use for a particular diameter pot, but I have also used dissolvable fertilizer, the fertilizer sticks are just easier because they are once and done for the year. The plants don’t seem to care either way.

Once or twice a summer I try to put my plants outside when there is a gentle rain to wash the leaves, but putting them in the shower also works, it’s just a little messier. Every few years as plants grow I either re-pot them or divide them and sometimes I change the soil.  If a plant gets too leggy or spindly, I pinch it back or take a cutting and put a piece of it in a vase or jar until roots develop.  I put a plant I started from a cutting on the window in Becky’s cottage and she and I both think it looks right at home there. I visit to water it once a week when she’s not around (thanks Mom!).


I can’t grow everything—African violets, like the Christmas cactus, don’t bloom for me. But that’s OK.  In the meantime I’m enjoying the plants I grow successfully.  I enjoy them throughout the year, but it’s especially nice to have something green and growing around in the winter. When the days get longer they come out of their winter doldrums by putting out new leaves and shoots, their own way of welcoming Spring, I suppose.

One caution before I close.  Some plants can be harmful to children or pets. Check on-line to be sure what you have is safe for those in your home or put them on a high shelf then enjoy the freshness and beauty plants add to your home.

 

In a lot of ways I take after my Mom, but this just doesn’t seem to be one of them.  I’m thankful for her knowledge…and so are the few plants I’ve managed to keep alive for any length of time.  

Have a great weekend!

Initials

 

 

 

 

Be Our Guests

Last weekend we had the pleasure of hosting our dear friends from Michigan which has me thinking about what it means to me to be a good hostess or at least how I try to be.  First and foremost, I truly enjoy having company and want any guests in our home to feel welcome and comfortable…whether it is for a week, a weekend, or just an evening.

Hosting doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, all you need is a little forethought…

Plan Ahead

My to-do list the week before having guests usually includes the routine cleaning and grocery shopping..making every effort not to wait until the last minute.  I like to think of a few of our favorite restaurants in advance that our guests might enjoy so we aren’t stuck spending too much time deciding where to eat (Mark and I are TERRIBLE when it comes to this)  It also doesn’t hurt to have some ideas of things to-do or places to go.

Be Considerate

This goes hand-in-hand with planning ahead, try to be aware of any dietary restrictions, allergies or preferences guests might have and you can accommodate accordingly.  This will avoid any awkwardness when you unknowingly make  bacon & eggs for breakfast.

A Special Touch

A little extra effort can go a long way…consider adding fresh flowers to your guest room, spare toiletries in the bathroom and have extra pillows & blankets accessible. As someone who has a hard time falling asleep without white noise (usually a fan) I recently added a sound machine by the guest bed for anyone who might share my quirk.

These simple things not only benefit your guests, but can help you ENJOY your time with your company instead of stressing, what’s more important than that?

Initials

 

 

 

 

Auction Anyone?

What are you doing this weekend? Looking for something different?  If you’ve never been to an auction there is no time like the present.

Mark and I started to going auctions a few years ago and became enamoured with the whole experience.  We have found unique and special items, we have flipped a few things to make a profit, and had a lot of fun doing so.  Some of our most favorite pieces in our house (like these copper kettles) are from auctions.

We have learned a few things along the way… 

First, come prepared.  Auctions are often several hours long and the one thing you might have your eye on may take a while to get to which means you need to be comfortable.  You will need to know what payment methods are accepted and have the means to transport your purchases.  Next, know your limit.  It is easy to get carried away with the excitement and get carried away during bidding.  We have made the mistake of paying more than we wanted (or should have) because we got wrapped up in the moment…its an adrenaline rush!  Last, don’t get discouraged.  You will get outbid.  I have found myself immediately attached to an item I felt like I “had to have” and the bidding ended up going far beyond our limit…it wasn’t meant to be.

The most important thing is that we truly enjoy going to auctions, regardless of what we may or may not come home with.

Ready to check one out? A great resource (that we use regularly) to find local auctions  is Auction Zip. You can type in your zip code/range/date/etc and it will show a list of area auctions with location, time, and even photo previews of what will be offered.  We typically stick to estate or antique auctions.

If you are an auction frequenter, or end up going for your first time, I would LOVE for you to share your favorite buys!

Initials

 

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Part 2: Out

Well today is officially the first day of Spring!…now we just need Mother Nature to play along so it actually feels like it.

In Part 1 I shared my Spring cleaning to-do list.  In the spirit of full transparency, I will admit is nowhere near done yet.  Mark and I still need to pick a day to really knock it out; but I’m telling myself I have plenty of time.

Now that the weather SHOULD be nicer soon, it is almost time to move things outside…

  1. Treat lawn 

    We keep it simple with a combo of fertilizer & weed preventer applied once in the Spring & again in the fall.  Our neighbor has an immaculate lawn and there is no use trying to compete with him.   As long as I don’t have a yard covered in dandelions I’m happy.

  2. Spruce up flower beds

    Pull weeds, prune bushes, apply Preen (weed preventer) add fresh mulch and possibly a few new flowers. It amazes me each year how much of a difference this makes.

  3. Prep patio

    Clean off furniture, pull out cushions from storage, clean grill, refill propane tanks, new potted plants, and see what cute new decorations I may come across.

  4. Clean exterior  

    Spray with house wash & clean out dryer vent…not the most glamorous tasks but necessary.  I’ll also keep an eye out for a hanging basket & potted plant for the front porch.

  5. Clean Garage 

    Nothing fancy…Sweep, organize, sort out items to donate, store seasonal items.

 

Anything on your Spring Cleaning to-do list  that I missed?

Did you already get a head start?

Initials