Sunday, May 30, 2010

A good book

Sometimes a cold, wet weekend can be the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book.

And I cannot tell you how much we love having a couch in our bedroom! It seemed crazy at first, but was totally the best decision we've made in there.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cottage Library Dresser

Ughh, I am convinced that I have a camera ghost! I went to go retrieve the before shot of this dresser and there was nothing to be seen on my memory card. Or maybe Wren just got ahold of it the camera again...

It was just your standard, tacky, 70's dresser with chunky gold hardware. Nothing new round here.

I used a white that has just a hint of cream to it. But I wanted a really silky finish to contrast with the distressing.

You all know about my affinity for library-esque hardware!! With chunkier pieces like this one I really love that look. And the pewter hardware is just the perfect finish to feel old and well-loved.

It was another brief love affair but it was great while it lasted, lovely dresser!

Hope your weekend isn't as cold and wet as ours has been!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Custom Art

I get quite a few emails and comments asking about various frames and art around the house, so here is a breakdown of what is what and where we got it! I truly and firmly believe in original art. If you just open your eyes and wait patiently for that perfect piece to come along you can find original art at reasonable (if not cheaper than new retail) prices. Besides the oil paintings and sketches around the house, we also love photography.

To keep the house from feeling too busy or cluttered (you know I love a clean, white space!) we stick to only black and white photos, and prefer to use our own family photos. I know some people cringe at filling the house with photos of yourselves, but we love it! The one thing we try to do is use photos from daily life, not just posed photos from big events and holidays. I think it feels much more casual and relaxed.

As soon as you walk in our front door we have a mini gallery on one wall with a photo of each of us. We wanted it to feel like a real gallery and so we wanted a clean, modern frame.

You can use any size, style or color, but we went with the Ribba square frames from Ikea strictly because you cannot beat the $16 price tag for a frame and mat. I slapped some paint on them (what's new?) and instead of mounting the photos behind the mat I cropped them just short of the mat and placed grey paper behind them so that there is a tiny border all the way around the photo.

Besides Ikea, my other staple for frames is none other than Home Sense! You HAVE to check out their clearance isle because the prices cannot get any better.

I loved the contrast of this huge frame (which had a few scratches that I just took a black sharpie to) with a 4 by 6 photo. It also has a slightly "gallery" feel, without the cost of custom framing. And I really like the mix of clean lines and more rustic furniture. This pictures regularly floats around the house~

Because this grouping of frames from Home Sense was so chipped and beaten up they all were priced at $1-$2.

With some new paint and a little distressing to play up the flaws they now fill a wall in our powder room depicting various moments from a sunny day at the park.

It was easy,fast and the total cost was only $18 for the photos and frames!

Custom framing is quite pricey, but with a little creativity you could easily fill a wall or just a tiny corner with special memories that look like a million bucks!

French side table

I am hoping to address a reader request later today, doing a post about the various frames and art around the house. I get a lot of emails about this too so I think it will answer a few questions.

But until then, just thought I would share a little French table that has stolen a few hearts (including mine). It will be taking a journey today to new home a little ways away~

I just love the classic lines of French provincial pieces.

It isn't too often I find one with an adorable drawer like this one has.
Wouldn't it be a cute nightstand?

I totally love this piece, but am happy it is going to a loving new home~

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A couple trinkets

Today Wren and I made a few stops, looking for baskets for a party my mom is planning and other various goodies, when I was really happy to find a few little treasures.

I always see magagine articles telling me how cheap and easy to find vintage toast caddies are and that they make great mail racks. Sounds great in theory but I hadn't ever seen one in person until today so they must not be as abundant here as the magazines tout.

But nonetheless when I found one today for $1.99 I was totally tickled pink!
I happen to think she is a pretty little caddy and can already tell we will be buddies for a long time to come. Heck, anything that tidies up the counter a little qualifies as my best friend!

I also found this old thing. I am assuming it is an old silver napkin holder, but what do I know?
If you happen to know please share! No matter what it is intended for, I plan to use it to hold a few old postcards I picked up at the local historical archives a few years ago.

I hope your week has been filled with little treasures as well~

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lilac explosion and a little table

Our lilac bushes are literally exploding right now! I could easily fill bucket after bucket with them, but then the house wouldn't be as fragrant with all the windows open.

And this little guy will be familiar to those of you already on my mailing list but since it already has a new home I decided to share here a little sooner than I usually do.

A simple coat of creamy paint really went a long way for this table.

But I really think the reason so many of my clients were smitten is the simple circular shape and classic legs.

It will be going to a lovely client of mine tomorrow, which sadly only gave me a few days to enjoy it.

And for those of you who guessed what I was up to, you hit the nail on the head. I have my new door and trim all painted and almost ready to share!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Guess what I'm doing right now???

1 coat down, and one, maybe two to go!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sea-Side Dresser

I admittedly forgot the before shot again... but thankfully this dresser has a partner in it's crime of ugliness that betrays it's cute new look. Here is the yet-to-be painted vanity. It's clear that these antiques had seen some good days, but as of today they were in rough shape.

Like I mentioned with my last dresser, since we've been back home I've been feeling a little bit creative and felt like pulling out some other colors (besides white and grey) and adding a few personalized touches by hand painting.

Maybe it was my time spent re-connecting with the ocean, or the arrival of cottage season, but I really wanted to go beachy with this dresser.

Even though they aren't "necessary" on a waterfall dresser, I wanted to add really chunky glass knobs. No beach is complete without sea-glass!

The numbers are all hand painted and distressed for a fun touch. I love seeing dressers with numbers, particularly in kids rooms. It is such a good tool for learning and counting, or for us adults it is kind of a whimsical touch or a nod back to our days spent at the city pool.

I think the numbers would be great in a busy cottage where a single bedroom has 2 or 3 guest bunks in a room (like ours should have, it's like grand central station out there!).

But I would be happy to just let it sit in the living room forever more, bringing a smile whenever I walk by, reminding me of sunny days and cool water.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When one door opens...

Today was a great day! Yes it was nearly freezing when I woke up to yet another wet grey day, but it was destined to be great.

Wren, my mom and I all went out of town to visit my grandparents so that was amazing (as it always is). But I always know it is going to be a great day when I start it out by proposing a project to Sean and he is on board with little to no discussion needed to convince him.

It all started when he patiently took me to Home Depot last Wednesday night where I was free to draw up plans for my new dream front door with a designer. The only catch was that he wanted to bring home the plans, look them over and do a little price comparison before handing over the cash. Fine by me! Then our story takes a bizarre twist involving me heading down to the basement (a rare event) looking for some accessories to jazz up a dresser I was photographing. Some people could tell you where to find things in their basement, I couldn't tell you how to even get into some of the rooms in our basement until recently (Don't ask), let alone what is down there or where it is! So imagine my shock and surprise to find a lone front door hanging out, waiting to be found (I also found a pond, lot's of cool books I forgot about after we moved and what appears to be an ancient Chinese scroll, but that's a another story for another day).

I am SOOO happy I didn't pull the trigger on that new front door so quickly! We plan to sell our current, unique door on craigslist and whatever we get for it will be put towards replacing the 70's frosted glass with updated windows, some exterior paint for the new door and some decorative moulding to jazz up the blank spaces beneath the windows. So instead of spending thousands we are now getting a full frontal makeover for make a couple hundred bucks! Hello new staircase railings!!

Can't wait to get it started!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

If you aren't already a regular reader of our Sponsor City Cottage's blog, then consider heading over ASAP! Jenny is giving away a drift wood mobile to one lucky commenter. The best part is that the winner can choose from a sea-shell/wood version

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So head over and say hi!

And also don't forget to

Friday, May 21, 2010

New White Berry

I love a comment I got today from a reader telling me she was behind me in line at Duchess (no shock there, right?) but she didn't say hello in fear of appearing like a stalker. PLEASE say hello!! I promise that I won't think you are crazy, in fact, I am probably the crazy one but I promise not to bite. So don't be shy people!
Hopefully we bump into each other again soon M~

Besides resuming my Duchess habit, this week has been very busy getting back into the swing of things with White Berry. It felt great to get back into the studio and I felt so inspired after our trip that I thought I would try some free-hand stuff with my latest pieces.

And I promise that I took a before shot, but I was deleting some old stuff on my camera and *BAM* got carried away and lost it. It was a VERY old antique dresser that had been a DIY project gone wrong.

I added a light grey contrasting surface, embellished with some free-hand scroll work in a darker grey.

Then aged it to feel authentic.

It is about 99.9% complete, just awaiting a back-ordered escutcheon (aka key hole cover).

Hope you are having a wonderful, fun Friday!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Door scores

So now that I have told you all about my crazy chandelier/plant frenzy of yesterday afternoon I am happy to report that I actually got the front porch all spiffy today and won't leave you hanging indefinitely.

Well, kinda. Here is what our door looked like this morning. Please don't laugh, and no, I haven't the faintest idea what is etched into our door. It could be some type of native american curse, but I am leaning towards just plain weird.

In fact I am very excited because tonight we spent a whole hour drawing up custom door designs to switch out the door and 70's side windows to a set of black french doors. Won't that look great?? The outside has been on our back burner but I really want to add a little curb appeal this year before the frost sets in again...

Now back to our make-over (part 1, part 2 being the new door...).

I saw this chandelier on clearance at HomeSense yesterday for $60 and thought it was mighty cool. But what do I need another chandelier (without electricity mind you) for around the house?
Then I saw another in a different aisle and it hit me that I should hang them over my urns!

Just before that we had picked up some boxwood for the urns. I didn't want to go too girly and fussy with flowers, specially because it is a covered porch and doesn't get a lot of direct light. And I like to think these feel a little old-world France or Italy.

So now I just need to:
1. get new french doors.
2. have stucco painted grey.
3. get a new light fixture.
4. actually put candles on the chandeliers...

hopefully not in that order, and hopefully sooner than later.

Keep in mind that our front porch is WELL protected with huge trees as well as a portico so the chandeliers are really protected from wind and the elements. Definitely don't attempt this in front an antique stained glass window on a windy hill or anything, k?
Now tell me the honest truth, is it pure genius or just crazy?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Get out your oven mitts!

This post is the rarest of Fun Lane posts: a baking post.

Those who know me best know that there are two things I cannot do
1. golf
2. bake/cook

Ok, I am pretty sure there might be a few more than 2 things on that list, but for the sake of my pride let's just leave it at that.

But one thing has been driving me to near insanity lately and that is driving half way across town at least twice a week to pick up my favorite cookies at my favorite bakery.

I discovered the chocolate meringues at Duchess a few months back and I am fully addicted. Like really addicted. And those of you who have graced the doorway of Duchess understand why my pocket book is feeling a little put off by this love affair. So I had to take matters into my own hands, which meant breaking out the bake ware and actually trying to come up with my own recipe!

So if you are wondering why these little mounds of delight are creating such a stir, just follow this easy recipe (even I can do it, so imagine what yours will taste like!).

The ingredients you will need are:
4 eggs
chocolate chips

To start take your eggs and seperate the whites from the yolks. Let the whites sit out until they are room temperature (you won't need the yolks). While they are warming up I take some sugar (1/4 cup for every egg white so in this case 1 cup) and put it in the food processor. I like the meringue to be like silk so this really makes the fine grains even finer.

Once the whites are room temp I blend them with the whipping attachment on medium until the whites look foamy. Then you slowly start adding the sugar.

Some recipes add other stuff to get the texture really thick, but with the Kitchenaide mixer I have no problems getting them fluffy and stiff. Once the mixture can hold a peak add just a touch of vanilla extract.

This is where the recipe goes from average to amazing! I take a half cup of chocolate chips and put them in the food processor as well so that they are little crumbs.

I mix it all together for just a second then spoon (or use a baggie with the tip cut off) to swirl them onto a Silpat sheet. You can use aluminum foil as well, but parchment paper really doesn't keep them from sticking.
Place the sheet into a preheated 250 degree oven for about an hour and 40 minutes. I like to let them sit in the oven once I shut it off to let them get a smidge crunchier, but at the same time have a bit of a gooey centre (I don't like solid, rock hard meringues).
And voila you are about to taste pure magic!

Also a bit magical were these branches I spied outside today. I hadn't seen them in the yard last year so it was a pleasant surprise.

And speaking of the yard my mom and I went to our all time most inspiration place ever today, Wellington Garden Centre, and left with tons of great ideas, plants and accessories. Which has now spurred an intense desire to replace our old front door with a spify new double door. But Sean says he might have to do a little thinking on that before we make any major purchases (or holes in the wall). But regardless I bought some lovely box woods for the huge urns and two chandeliers to hang above each one.

Yeah, it takes some imagination to get at what I've envisioned, so new doors or not I will still share the urns and lights~
But until then, enjoy a little crunchy, goo-ey treat.
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