2.29.2012

The Longest Chair Redo in History

I’ve had this ghastly chair lurking in the corner of my bedroom(s) for ten years.

circa 2004 (there are so many tragic elements to this picture)

circa 2008

And finally, at long last, I have had the darned thing recovered.  It’s asinine that I spent just under 30% of my life fretting over picking a fabric.  For a chair. And ended up with WHITE.  Without further ado, let me present to you the chair in all of her newfound beauty.  She’s a looker…
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Here are the details:
- The body fabric is Tonga Snow Matelasse by Waverly.  Once I finally picked the fabric it was like the world was working against me to lay my hands on seven yards of it.  After a crazy hunt all over the city of Atlanta and the world wide web, I lucked out on ebay – with free shipping and no tax to boot.
- I traded nail heads for double welting, done in extra yardage ordered from Horchow to match my Essex bedspread.  The bolster pillow is from the same collection in Flax.
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- Trading the channeled back for a smooth back made a world of difference.  The piece de resistance would be my custom monogram from Savannah’s Number Four Eleven (store / blog).  One word – swoon.
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- And, while I adore a good DIY project, I brought in the professionals for this makeover.

Now, I've finally picked a color for the bedroom and once painted it will be well on it's way to completion!
xoxo

Excited for the features at  Liz Marie,  DIY by DesignMiss Mustard SeedFreckled LaundryChatty Chics2805House of HepworthsNo. Four Eleven and Savvy Southern Style!

Find me at The CSI Project!

2.28.2012

House of Turquoise

Y'all, I am positively smitten with House of Turquoise and could hardly believe my good fortune when Erin invited little ol' me to feature my den on her blog.  I mean, House of Turquoise is only chocked full of handsome eye candy day in and day out...I'm not sure she's ever posted a picture that didn't give me heart palpitations.  Oh, and not only does she have a keen eye for gorgeousness, but she's a complete doll to boot!




Grab your coffee or Co-cola, settle into your most comfortable chair and hop on over there.  Lickety split, y'all :-)

xoxo

2.27.2012

Academy Awards Viewing

While sipping on champagne and skinny margaritas and noshing on all sorts of delish apps, I spent the evening dishing on the best and the worst of everything from frocks to facial hair on Hollywood’s most glamorous night.  (Speaking of the worst, what was that strange thing Angelina was doing with her toothpick leg???)
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The gals came bearing a bevvy of delectable eats – gourmet pretzels with a raspberry mustard sauce, OK Café cheese coins (to.die.for.), mushroom flatbread, my big fat Greek appetizer plate (LOL), cheesecake stuffed strawberries, caprese salad – and I made two of my go-to hors d’oeuvres for the affair.  Add these to your coffers, ladies, because they never disappoint and both can be prepared well in advance!

Salted Caramel Pecan Dark Chocolate Bars
1 c. chopped pecans
box of graham crackers
1c. brown sugar
3/4c. butter
2 T. whipping cream
1 t. vanilla
dark chocolate chips
coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease foil. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, slightly overlapping edges.
3. Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium-size heavy saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to coat.
4. Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.
5. Top warm bars with dark chocolate chips.  Let stand 3 minutes and spread chocolate over bars.
6. Immediately sprinkle with salt, and slide foil from pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely (about 30 minutes). Chill and break into bars.
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Ham & Swissers
Bestie C’s sweet mother gave me this recipe from the Cherokee Entertains cookbook and I’ve made it more times than I can count.

Two packages mini Hawaiian Rolls (12 count each), sliced
1 lb. honey ham, coarsely chopped
8 oz. swiss cheese, shredded
1 small onion, very finely chopped
1 T. worchestershire sauce
1 cup butter, softened
2 T.  poppy seeds
4 T. prepared mustard
- On bottom halves of rolls, evenly top with ham and cheese.
- Soften butter and mix well with onion, worchestershire sauce, poppy seeds and mustard.  Spread mixture on top halves of split rolls.
- Place sandwiches on baking pan and cover tightly with foil.  Refrigerate. These are great to make a day in advance! 
- Before serving, preheat oven to 250.  Bake sandwiches until heated through – you have a lot of liberty here – I allow at least 30 minutes but have left them in the oven for an hour before a party!
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And, while I had hoped to see The Help, Harry Potter, Bridesmaids and Moneyball bring home a few of those coveted statues, it was a much more suitable affair than the way I spent my evening last year (no offense Honey, but you just don’t get it.) 

Thanks, girls, for a lively Sunday eve!!
xoxo

2.26.2012

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Although I never actually pinned one myself, I’ve been seeing mason jar soap dispensers popping up all over Pinterest for ages now.  So, when Sister and I came across two vintage blue mason jars in the Habersham Antique Market, we hastily snapped them up. (It’s a good thing there were TWO or a cat fight quite likely would have ensued.) 

Our Target soap finally ran out and I had Honey construct my new dispenser using the pump from the bottle we were about to throw away.  He simply drilled a hole in the top of the mason jar lid and used super glue to attach the pump.
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It took nearly three bottles of my favorite Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Basil hand soap to fill her up but I must admit, she’s a beaut!
xoxo

Flattered for the features at Liz MarieThe Space BetweenHappy Go Lucky and It's Overflowing!

Find me at Our Fifth House Thrift It Link Party!

2.25.2012

(Another) To Mom and Dad

First things first, I'm beyond flattered to have our basement featured over at Eclectically Vintage today!  Go check it out here.  And thank you Kelly for the kind words - you sure know how to make a girl's day!

A few weeks back the PCP’s class took a field trip to the UPS Store and each child was invited to send a letter to anyone of their choosing.  John sweetly sent his letter to “Mom and Dad” and it positively blew my skirt up when it showed up in our box.  I never could have imagined a day when something so small could seem so big...my baby is writing and reading and just growing up in the blink of an eye.

In the event you don’t read at a Kindergarten level, let me translate for you…”I miss you at school.  I love you.  I will see you on the weekend.  I wish you can see me.  You miss me too?  You are nice!  Love, John”
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Be still my heart.
xoxo

2.23.2012

Academy Awards 2012 Ballot {Free Printable}

It’s with bated breath that I anxiously await the gorgeous gowns, dapper men and coveted Oscars that will be doled out on Sunday eve.  Keep track of your picks and the big winners with this printable ballot.
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Here’s how:
- Click on link below to download file
- Print on two sides of regular 8.5” x 11” white cardstock

Then, if you wish to dress it up a bit:
- Trim the left and right edges, leaving only a very slim margin
- Use a paper punch to round the edges
- Punch holes (I had to punch two holes side by side) at the top of the paper to hold your pencil

Academy Awards 2012 Ballot


Other than parking myself in front of the tele Sunday night, we have very few engagements this weekend.  Yee-haw!!
xoxo

2.22.2012

Ash Wednesday

Today begins the season of Lent, forty-six days of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.  Like last year, I will  do my very best at spending the seven weeks pouring the true spirit of Easter into the little's sweet hearts and young minds. 

Prayer
We will conduct readings using this guide with a passage and a symbol for each day.  Since I’ve yet to gather up real ornaments, we will draw the symbol for each day on an index card.  We’ll be traveling for a couple of weeks during Lent so I also downloaded the free Bible for my Kindle today (with a great, hyperlinked Table of Contents to boot!)  I’m super excited about how easy that will make it to keep up without lugging around our gigantic family Bible.

Almsgiving
To aid in teaching the littles to do works of mercy and good deeds, we make construction paper crosses that say "John/Whit helps Jesus carry his cross."  Whenever an act of kindness is completed, a sticker gets added to the cross, in hopes of filling it by Easter.  Last year it became a suppertime ritual do discuss what types of good deeds and acts of kindness we performed or experienced during the day.  John earned his first sticker for “Telling M in my class what a good reader she is.  Because she is really the best at reading.” February 2012 631
Fasting
While we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain on all Fridays during Lent, fasting also includes sacrifice and self denial.  We make a Crown of Thorns to use as a visual reminder of Christ's suffering.  Each time a family member makes a sacrifice during Lent, he will get to pull a toothpick out of the crown.  The goal is to remove all of the "thorns" from the crown by Easter.   It's an easy salt dough recipe that the littles will love helping make.
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Here’s how:
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
Water (I used about 1 3/4 cup warm water)
Toothpicks

- Mix flour and salt with enough water to make it clay-like.  Knead until smooth to remove air bubbles.  Divide into three balls and roll each ball into a long rope.  Loosely braid ropes (which is not easy) and form braid into a circle.  Stick toothpicks loosely throughout the crown.  Bake at 350 for one hour, or until dry and light brown.
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It’s become a curious practice for me to brave Ash Wednesday mass alone with the littles in tow.  It was just as harrowing of an experience tonight as it’s been the last three years.  We added not one, not two, but THREE trips to the potty to the usual antics.  And with that, I’m removing the first thorn from our crown.  I darn well earned it.

xoxo


A Dixie Delights Easter:

2.21.2012

Fat Tuesday

What’s not to love about Fat Tuesday, the last hurrah before the commencement of Lent!?!?  We celebrated over jambalaya, crusty french bread, our signature Throw Me Something, Mister cocktail and a King Krispie cake.
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I picked up the beads, coins and festive glasses at the Dollar Tree (you’d think I was earning some sort of kick back based on how often I reference that place.)  For napkins, I repurposed the set of four fleur de lis dish towels hand made by Mother. 
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Jambalaya
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon browning sauce (Kitchen Bouquet brand is in a small bottle near condiments)
2 cups long grain white rice
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 pound andouille sausage, cut into slices
- Warm the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and sauté until they are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Stir in the tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, cumin, thyme, cayenne, hot sauce, and browning sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the rice, chicken, and sausage, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cook the jambalaya until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Stir it occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the jambalaya stand until all the liquid is completely absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.


*My littles eat pretty much anything, yet it was just a tiny too spicy for Whit.  I recommend cutting back or excluding hot sauce and perhaps substituting a regular smoked sausage for the andouille if your kids don’t like spicy foods.

King Krispie recipe here.
Throw Me Something, Mister Cocktail recipe here.

As all revelers should do on Fat Tuesday, we lived it up...donning our silly glasses, dining on delish food, chatting about our days and regarding the coins and beads as if they were made of solid gold.
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Laissez les bon temps rouler!
xoxo

Throw Me Something, Mister Cocktail

I'm pretty certain that a Fat Tuesday fete without a cocktail is, in fact, NO Fat Tuesday fete.  Which is precisely the reason Mother, Sister and I created our very own signature Mardi Gras cocktail last weekend.  (Those of you that know Sister will not find it surprising that what truly happened was that she busied herself tasting and naming the cocktail while Mother and I measured, mixed, squeezed, stirred and then cleaned up from said mixology session.  Semantics, right?)

Anyhoo, Mother received rave reviews on it at her Mardi Gras affairs this weekend and, I must admit, it is some of our best work.

Throw Me Something, Mister Cocktail
4 oz. vanilla vodka
2 oz. amaretto
4 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
Juice of 1 – 1 1/2 limes
Ginger ale to taste
- Rim glasses with tinted sugar (more on that here) and fill half way with crushed ice.
- Mix vodka, amaretto, juices and extract.  Divide between two to three prepared glasses, depending on how strong you like them and how big your glasses are.
- Add ginger ale to taste.

* I estimate we had 4 oz. of the mixture in each glass and then another 2 oz. of ginger ale and they were perfect!!
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Cheers, y'all!
xoxo

PS. THANK YOU for your support of our Chili & Beer Tasting party in the Party Party Contest.  We took THIRD PLACE!!  And our April Fools Day Dinner received the "Most Fun" Award.

2.20.2012

King Krispie

Bestie B hails from New Orleans and ever since our first year in college when her momma mailed us a King Cake straight from the Crescent City I’ve been smitten with the convivial confection.  Over the years, I’ve tried my hand and baking King Cakes the traditional way…and, I tell you what, it never ended well. Once the real deal has crossed these lips, there’s just no turning back.  So, rather than spending hours in the kitchen this morning to be left with a disappointing imposter, I turned out a new creation for our Fat Tuesday supper.  Let me introduce you to the KING KRISPIE!
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I am SUPER DUPER ExCiTeD to present this festive fare to the littles.  And I’m thrilled with just how easy it is to throw together!

King Krispie Cake
You’ll need:
A full recipe of Rice Krispie Treats according to your preferred directions
Powdered sugar and water for glaze
Purple, gold and green tinted sugar
Cooking spray
A plastic baby (optional)

- Lightly grease a large cake plate.  Form a ring out of aluminum foil (this will help get the shape right) and grease with cooking spray
- Spoon your fresh/warm batch of Rice Krispie Treats onto prepared plate.
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- Remove the foil ring.  Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and form the Rice Krispie Treats into the King Cake shape.
- Prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar and water.  I probably used a cup of powdered sugar and just a little bit of water.  Stir until you get a consistency that is easy to drizzle.  Pour on top of the Rice Krispie Treats.
- Decorate with tinted sugars.

Tinted Sugar
- In a sandwich size zip top bag, add a cup of granulated sugar.
- Add 4-5 drops (or more or less as desired) of food coloring to the bag.  I tried both paste and liquid food coloring and the liquid mixed much better for me.
- Thoroughly mix by shaking, grinding and rubbing the sugar against the counter.  This is a great job for the littles!
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Before I let you go, I have to mention how thrilled I am to have our Den Before & After featured over at Remodelaholic today!!! I first met Cassity when we were working on our basement reno last year and am super honored to have her feature another one of our projects.  Pop over and take a peek!!

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!
xoxo

2.19.2012

Fully Charged

For Christmas this year the littles each received four gifts: do, read, want, need.  For the baby’s "do" gift, he got tickets to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Baily circus! 

With a Fully Charged theme, the show was resplendent with all sorts of electrifying scenes and stunts.  The littles literally sat perched on the edge of their seats, awe struck and mesmerized from the moment the ring master commenced the show with those infamous words "Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages..."
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Being the peculiar little thing that the PCP is, his favorite part of the three ring show was singing our National Anthem.  (And I must admit that it brought a tear to my eye to see him stand so proudly, hand over heart and earnestly belt out most of the words.) 
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I always adore the tight rope artists.  Let’s be honest, I harbored thoughts of becoming one back in the day.  (Way, way back in the day.) 
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At intermission, the littles got to each choose their long awaited treat.  And, as expected, they went for the sno cones.  Again.  (How many strangely shaped cups does one family need?)
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And when the show resumed, Honey’s favorite act was cued up...the “human fuze” was completely lit on fire and went catapulting across the arena in about two seconds flat.  I must admit that it was pretty impressive.
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As for our little guest of honor, he was positively smitten with the talented pack of pachyderms.  I’m not sure that he blinked during their entire performance.
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After the show, we treated the littles (read: ourselves) to Felini’s – our favorite college pizza joint.  As expected, the place was teeming with students, the vibe was edgy, the pizza was delish and we juuuuust didn’t quite fit in.
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There’s nothing I love more than an outing with my three favorite boys! 
xoxo

2.18.2012

Hoops!

The PCP finished out his first season of hoops in our parish league this morning.  I tell you what, that team of ten kindergartners has come a LONG way since they first hit the courts back in November.  John turned out to be quite the defensive player, a great dribbler and a pretty good shot!
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At the team party, John was just as pleased as punch to add another trophy to his growing collection. And, to illustrate the validity of the “it’s a small world” statement, get this…we show up on the first night of practice and John’s coach is none other than a boy I grew up with, affectionately referred to as “Pat Rat” back in the day. I mean, how crazy is it that a kid I started kindergarten with in Savannah now lives a hop skip and a jump away from me in Atlanta and is the coach of MY son’s kindergarten basketball game?!?! “Pat Rat’s” daughter was the sole girl on our team and she was positively AH-dorable. So fun to reconnect with an old friend.
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With that, I’m about to hit the hay.  (Yes, I’m aware that it’s not even eight…and I’m giddy!)  We had a late dinner with friends at Table & Main last night, and then packed in the basketball game, baseball practice, and the circus today.  Fun and exhausting.  Extraordinarily exhausting.
xoxo

2.17.2012

Teacher Appreciation Class Gift

It's Teacher Appreciation Week around these parts and we've celebrated the PCP's two amazing teachers in a different and fabulous way each and every day.  Yesterday I set up a command post just outside of the classroom door and collected an impressive assortment of classroom supplies for Mrs. B.  The students proudly handed over everything from stickers and card stock to post it notes and markers.
And just after the last bell, the PCP and his little friend Z carried the big storage tub in to present it to Mrs. B on behalf of the class.  Everyone gathered around and excitedly took note of every last item in the tub.  (And I do mean every.last.item.)  Mrs. B appropriately fussed over all of her new supplies and was absolutely delighted with the gift.
Thanks to Mrs. B and all of the teachers out there that selflessly and sometimes thanklessly spend their days nurturing, shaping, guiding and instructing our children!
xoxo

2.16.2012

Den Before & After

(Updated 7/8/12)
As y'all well know, we've been working on a few updates in the den (painted mirror, repaired fire place, hung oyster plates, un-hung oyster plates when my decorating demons took over, updated corbels on bar) and it's finally all wrapped up!

Just for kicks, here's the before before.  Loads of room for improvement, no?

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...and, after a WHOLE lot of paint, too many sewing projects, furniture and accessories, here's where we are today!

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Sources:
Paint - Benjamin Moore Stone Hearth (walls) and Benjamin Moore Alabaster (trim)
Curtains - Basha Dot (sadly, it's been discontinued), made by me
Bamboo shades – JC Penney in pecan
Floor - unstained white oak
Rug - Indoor/Outdoor French Leopard by Ballard Designs
 
And for the close ups...

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Custom mantle designed by me and built by contractors we hired to renovate house.  Plates Butler's Pantry by Lenox.  Antique girandoles from my grandmother, arrangements by bestie R.  Fire place screen from Love Street.  Gas logs by Real Fyre.  Kid table from Michael's, chairs from Pottery Barn Kids and no-sew cloth cut by yours truly.

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Chairs by Rowe.  Pillows made by Mother and myself from the little's silhouettes.  White throws from Ikea.  On the table in front of windows - lamp from G. Scott Interiors, alphabet tray by John Derian, oyster plate by Alison Evans, antique books and pie crust table from Mother.

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July 2012 064 copySmall table next to door holds reproduction vintage phone from Pottery Barn, collection of books by Savannah authors, cloche with picture of littles and one bronzed baby shoe from each. Oyster painting by Bellamy Murphy of Savannah.

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Bar with updated corbels.  I painted the bar height stools in the trim color and recovered them with a pleated skirt.  Toile fabric is Chatelet Breeze.

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DIY chalk paint mirror in Annie Sloan's duck egg blue.  Alison Evans oyster plates.

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Antique curio holds collection of pictures and overflow from dining room china cabinet.  Lamp from Stein Mart.  Staffordshire dogs from Scott Antique Market, collection of vintage Nancy Drew books, silhouettes of myself and Sister as children and my littles and cousin Bird.

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Atelier antlers from Ballard Designs.  Antique buffet retrofitted to hold t.v. components.  Aiden Gray candle holders.
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Antiqued mirrored coffee table from Horchow.  Lantern from DC2 in Savannah, arrangement from Scott Antique Market, oyster plate by Alison Evans, antique rice bowl from Paris Market, large clam shell from Pottery Barn, antique books from Mother, New Orleans Toile coasters from Hazelnut.

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Banquette designed by me and built by contractors that renovated our home before moving in.  Anne Hathaway able custom made for us with salvaged wood from Georgia plantation home.  Lamp shades from Restoration Hardware, oyster plates by Alison Evans, pillows made by myself and Mother and purchased from Ballard Designs and Love Street, baskets from Pottery Barn, signed print by Ray Ellis, other items collected.

So that's a tour of every inch of our den.  I couldn't be happier with where we are...and for a type-A kinda gal, it sure feels good to cross that room off the list!
xoxo

Flattered for the features at  Stardust, Corner House, Belclaire House, DIY by Design, House of Turquoise, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Southern Lovely, The Artsy Girl, Bacon Time, Stuff and Nonsense, French Country Cottage, Remodelaholic, Twigg Studios and The 36th Avenue!
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