Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!



I'm not sure if it's the egg nog, the hot apple cider or the warm fire but I've been on vacation mode and it feels quite good.

Here's what we've been up to...first, this is Hubby reading, "The Joy of Cooking" in hopes to discover a fabulous new Christmas Eve recipe. See those 'crumbs' on his pocket? Well, they're not from Christmas cookies, those are tree crumbs from splitting and hauling in so much wood for our fires.



We also went cross country skiing up around Mt. Hood. It was a beautiful blue bird day. Note: Lucy is still smiling!



And there's been lots and lots of cozy time in the house....with lots of accompanying warm beverages...like hot cocoa.



Green tea.



And hot apple cider - something I've consumed a lot of this past week.



There's also been a lot of Backgammon (shhhh, I'm on a winning streak).



And a lot of sitting in front of the fire enjoying the Christmas tree lights.


And the warm glow of the fire.



The new furniture is proving to be very comfortable and conducive to lazy day snuggling.



I love how the cabinet glass reflects all the light in the room.

Nate over at Laurel Street nominated me for the Homies 2009 Award! Wow, huh? I'm absolutely honored but also, feel a little shy!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trimming the Tree



It's beginning to look more like Christmas around here. We hung our stockings...



...and Hubby built us a warm toasty fire.



We also put our Christmas tree up. I was in the kitchen when he called to me, "is this straight?"



We straightened it out and found all of our favorite ornaments to hang. Hubby's parents made it a tradition to give each of their six children (Hubby is the baby of six in his family) an ornament every year so there are lots of ornaments on our tree with a strong Hubby theme. By far, my favorite, and the one ornament I'm sure to hang most prominently on our tree, is the ornament I call, "Hunk of Love."



Here it is being showcased with careful consideration that plenty of light is cast its way. This ornament was given to him when he was in high school. He was on the basketball team, hence the basketball themed ornament. How cute is that!

You want a closer look you say?



Well I'm glad you asked because the very first Christmas we spent together, I made a larger copy in order to better appreciate all the fine details. The mullet (business in the front, party in the back), the 1980's tank top and the best part, the teenager stare... are what makes this ornament so special. I can't help but smile each time I look at it! Hubby finds this very amusing and always asks, "what mullet?"

Do you have any favorite childhood ornaments?



It was so nice to sit by the tree last night. Hubby read some David Sedaris holiday tales and we played several rounds of Backgammon in front of the fire. Hubby loves Backgammon, and I'm more of a Scrabble girl. So I'm sure we'll be playing lots of both over the holidays.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Living Room: Before and After



Just to review...this is how we found it.



The single-paned window, and perhaps even the deck, were most likely added sometime in the 80's. When the contractors put in the new Marvin window, they had to tear down the deck in order to put in both the headers and footers. We'll rebuild something more period looking to the house - a balcony with a wide center staircase going down the middle and into the back yard.



This is the opposite wall. See all that brown trim? That's all covered in faux wood tack paper to assimilate wood trim. It was horrible to remove.



This room has evolved over the three years we've owned our house (we once had our bed in here). It was the very first room we tackled when we bought the place (the picture of Hubby was within hours of taking ownership) and so it was the first room we finished in terms of the bare bones part. The actual decorating would come much later, as in now...and it's quite serendipitous as again, we're 'moving' into this room just before Christmas.



Here's sort of another 'before' picture that shows our previous color scheme, dictated primarily by the furniture and rug we had on hand at the time.

And here are the 'afters.' I took these pictures on the darkest days of the year as we're having lots of fog and rain - hope they turned out alright!



As you can see, I painted the room white. It's Simply White by Benjamin Moore (Eco-Spec line), which is the same color we've used on all of our house trim and many of our walls. The old color just felt too ruddy looking and I realized (no agonized over) that I'm most drawn to that classic white wall farmhouse look where the color of the walls isn't what the room is about.

I wanted the room to be more about the fireplace, the windows, the view, the light coming in, the furniture, and the artwork. And I just thought that white allowed these things to shine more than any other color. Also, Janet (hi Janet!) over at The Gardener's Cottage just painted her living room Simply White and it completely inspired me!



The mirror over the mantle is such a better fit than our other one. I found this several weeks ago at an antique store for $120.



I picked up the brass sconces at an antique store for $20 each. I had been looking for some sconces online but found them to be very expensive. So these were in our price range and I've always loved the look of a pair of sconces over a mantle.



The seagrass rug is a 9x12 (it hasn't quite flattened out yet after being rolled) and will be relocated to the dining room once I decide what size seagrass rug I want for this room. I know it will be several feet bigger but still trying to figure out exact dimensions before I order it (the first one I ordered had a mid-January delivery date so I cancelled it).



The furniture is by a company called Rowe Furniture. We knew we'd choose something from their line because they are committed to natural fiber fabrics, eco cushion cores and wood from replenished forests. They are also members of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC).

This was all very important to us as we have made great efforts to make our home as green and healthy as possible. We also liked the price - due to a special sale that they were having at the time, the couch was just $1,099 and the chairs were $599 each (and we chose the highest grade fabrics).



The velvet couch is extremely luxurious. We love the high curved arms (much like a sleigh bed) as it provides the perfect support for reading a book, sipping a cup of tea or snuggling up next to the warm fire - especially on days like today.

I picked up the brass easel a few years ago for $40 - a price I just couldn't pass up. The antique frame was my Great Great Grandfather's and I'm in the process of ordering a beautiful print for it. I can't wait as I've always loved the artist and will be absolutely delighted to have a piece of hers in our home.

The cabinet used to be in the dining room. It got bumped from there because there will be two new windows going in this spring/summer leaving no room for it. It's sad but I absolutely love it in the living room. It's gone from dining cabinet to secretary, a look I have always loved.

I also like the height it provides and think it really adds a nice finishing touch to the room. We found this piece at a local antique store that used to get antique furniture shipments in from England. During my semester abroad in college, I lived in England and would spend hours going through all of the gorgeous antique stores looking at beautiful cabinets very similar to ours. So it's sort of serendipitous that this piece found me after all of these years.



The cabinet came with black oriental pulls on the drawers, which I don't believe were original due to the lovely brass button knobs on all of the cabinet doors. So I switched them out for Eastlake pulls which offer it more of a country look (and of course, I absolutely love all things Eastlake).



So there it is! I'm sure it will continue to evolve as all rooms do! I hope you like it! We just got our Christmas tree today so we'll be putting that up tomorrow night...so more photos to follow!

Photo updates:




Friday, December 18, 2009

My Favorite Bread Board


 I received so many lovely comments on my collection of bread boards! The first thing I thought was that I hope the one with the pomegranate stain wasn't front and center! Also, that these are just our everyday bread boards - not even my old antique ones!

So I thought I'd just share with you my most favorite bread board of all. And it is literally, a bread board. Just for bread.



I found this in an antique store for just $20 - hand carved knife included. I was hysterically excited and remember coming home and putting it on the table in front of Hubby and asking him to just take a moment to absorb our good fortune.

I have to say that one thing that drives me crazy about Hubby is that when I find a bargain and ask him to guess (why do I do it?) how much he thinks I got it for...he always guesses too low. So then suddenly my bargain price comes off (not to me, to him) as not such a bargain! Can anyone relate to this?

I am in the full throes of working on the living room. I thought perhaps I could take some pictures today but it's looking very gray outside so there may not be enough light for picture taking.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

French Toast & Pomegranate


We bought some pomegranates last night at the grocery store. We each set off with our designated list (pomegranates weren't on either) yet when we reconvened, we both had pomegranates in our carts.

We agreed, "great minds think alike."

We made French Toast this morning. Our favorite recipe is from, "The Joy of Cooking."

The Recipe:
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (we use original flavor oat milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cardamon (something we add for an extra hint of flavor)

Usually we use Challah bread but this morning we just used our everyday whole grain bread we had on hand.

It was delicious.

I've been transitioning things from fall to winter around here...which of course always includes taking down the brown transfer ware and putting up the red. There's a sneak peek in the first picture - but I'll post more soon.

I love the red accents in the kitchen this time of year! It gives the kitchen a nice cheery lift as the cold weather settles in and the sunshine becomes more scarce.

P.S. We also set up the furniture this weekend but still so much to do! New sea grass rug (12x15)isn't scheduled to arrive until December 22nd! For now, I've put down another new sea grass rug (9x12) that is set to go in the dining room. I'll post on things before the 22nd though!
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