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Friday, April 17, 2015

Bits of Bliss

Earlier this week I received an unexpected package in the mail. My bff Tracy sent me an entire box of Meyer lemons from her Southern California backyard. I can’t wait to juice them and make some lemonade and lemon blueberry tea bread.

I’m still thinking about some wonderful cookies I had last weekend. These gingerbread beauties were as yummy as they were pretty.

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Our housing subdivision is having a community garage sale tomorrow. Today I am working on pricing our soon to be gone treasures. Mr. Décor can’t wait to reclaim our very full garage and I can’t wait to have a bit of pocket money to buy some more roses for the yard so at the end of the summer I can do this:

Wedding hanging jam jars | Image by Alexander James, Styling by Lavender & Rose Planners

Earlier this week I was beating myself up. There is a popular cleaning blog that is currently in spring cleaning mode. I had printed out the sheet of recommended tasks at the first of the month and as of yesterday had not done one single thing on the list. I mean my house is tidy, the laundry is done and no one is going hungry, but…

Then I read how uber popular designer Tobi Fairley does it all. She has a team of 13 people. Thirteen. Which then reminded me of the team that Oprah and Martha have as well. So I decided to feel pretty amazed about all I do get accomplished each day BY MYSELF and I put the spring cleaning list in the recycle bin. #happyandrelieved

My favorite Tobi Kitchen:

Lastly….over the past few years my Grandma Jingles would send my return suitcase home loaded up with treasures. After running an antique doll repair hospital for many years she had amassed quite a collection of antique/vintage fabric, buttons, lace and all sorts of goodies. When she passed away last fall a few family members took some of these textile treasures but I still ended up bringing three large boxes home to join the ridiculous amount of what I already had. So I kept looking as this lovely and rather large collection without an idea of what to do with it. Then it came to me that it needed to be shared. I have spent days, weeks and months hand cleaning delicate fabrics and trim and sewing them into fanciful creations. I plan on sharing the goodness this Monday with those who love little bits of bliss as much as I do. This Sunday would have been her 93rd birthday. I will be making a cake and excitedly waiting for Monday with what I think would have tickled her very much.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the goodness line drying in the bathroom.

May you find your bliss.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ORC Week 3–The French Hutch is Painted


The French Hutch is painted.

There’s nothing like a six week One Room Challenge to get things done.

Decor To Adore French Hutch 020

So here’s the “BEFORE”  of the hutch in all it’s 70’s faded yellow, with brassy gold highlights, glory.

It’s been sitting around waiting for a paint job for eight months.

Now we all know that I can paint like nobody’s business.

I’ve shared the lantern I created for this space….


I’ve painted sideboards and buffets more than once…


….and even another hutch.

Yep, I can’t paint like nobody’s business.

But I didn’t paint this hutch.


Most designers outsource whatever needs to be done in a room design. Upholstery, flooring, painting, lighting, etc.

I am a rare breed that tries to do everything myself.

But with my work and school schedule there was no way I could do it all in just six weeks.

I had gone to a Antiques mall looking for chairs and came upon a booth of painted furniture.

Really good painted furniture.

We all know I’m a bit of a perfectionist so that is truly saying something.

So I called “A Lady’s Touch Custom Paint” to see if perhaps my hutch could be painted.

Ashley was a joy to work with.

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Ashley was so careful. At one point she texted me “The color is really bright.” So I went over to her work space and boy was she right!  But we talked about how once the original hardware and treillis métallique (wire mesh) was reinstalled and a bit of gilding was added it would probably be perfect in our rather dark living room. I so appreciated how much she strove for customer satisfaction.

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The interior was painted a cottage white to match the walls and keep it from becoming too dark. I’m still working on what will go inside the hutch.

But here she is in all her bright green glory!

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I hung a few favorite paintings right next to my freshly painted hutch. A watercolor I found in Germany reminds me of Sweet Guy and an oil painting of Texas bluebonnets that was a recent $10 estate sale find.

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The colors are working very nicely together.

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For all this goodness there is still so much to do for this space. I need to sew the curtains for the dining area and pillows for the living area, more artwork needs to be created and of course accessorizing. The chair frames are getting painted at “A Lady’s Touch” later this week and then they will be sent to the upholstery shop. Of course there is always a glitch in the works. I don’t think the fireplace cabinets will be finished in time. It’s been one thing after another. While they will EVENTUALLY get done I have accepted that sadly it won’t be in time for the big reveal. Worse things could happen.


How is your week going?


Monday, April 13, 2015

Installing French Drains and Other Things

While April showers do bring May Flowers….

We have also found out why there was so much water damage to the back of the house causing Mr. Décor to replace all of the back siding last January.

Both the Mr. and I have been toiling in the backyard this past week. We have been logging hours upon hours of backbreaking labor to try and create what resembles a landscaped yard/garden. It was only when it rained buckets that we discovered …“Fort Worth, we have a problem.”

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So, there are two issues. The first is we have clay soil where we live. It takes awhile for the ground to soak up excess moisture. This is particularly an issue as there is one air conditioning unit next to the back door that services the upstairs. I don’t think they work very well when a portion is underneath a few inches of water.

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But the real culprit is that our yard is sloped from the fence TOWARDS our house. It’s hard to capture the angle on camera and it’s hard to show you this horrible “Before” but Mr. Décor has come up with a solution that we hope will result in a glorious “After”.

Storybook Cottage Yard Living Room 001-001

Installing a French drain. Which works like this:

So a basin was placed on both sides of the back door. (A sidewalk separates the two areas.) This was before the Mr. dug a deep hole as you want the majority of the basin under the ground.

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Then a long trench is dug for the hose. Which as you can see by the illustration above is then surrounded by gravel to keep it in place and then once again covered with sod.

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When it rains the excess water drains back out to another area of the yard. Which means that my rose trees and French lavender actually now have a chance of growing instead of drowning. While I would have loved to top the area with pea gravel it would probably just sink into the soft clay soil so we used brown mulch.

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Now isn’t that an improvement to what it looked like before? I’m not even sure you could call this landscaping.

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This is a “during” shot after I dug several rocks out of the earth and ripped out the three hedges, one of which was dead. Ever faithful Franz (the dark spot in the right corner) was constantly by my side and somehow has developed a taste for grubs. We believe his keen scent and knack for digging would also make him an excellent truffle hound.

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Although I am not a gardening expert I do know it is wise to select a color and style theme. As I mentioned HERE we are going for the simple French garden look. This correlates to roses, green hedges, lavender, urns and simple statuary. Our color palette with be white, purple, green, lavender and pops of peachy pink.

Once an area is cleared away laying out plants is a good idea. We actually decided against three roses trees in this tiny area and planted only two.

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I am now currently working on the large center “island” in the yard.


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In clearing out this “Before” I discovered two strings of buried Christmas lights, more rocks, dead roots and of course numerous weeds.

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The tools of my trade:

A hard metal rake to clear away years old mulch and debris. A pick ax to take out large roots. A small stool and hand trowel for the four hours it takes to remove all the weeds into a large bin.

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After numerous trips to empty the large bin I ended up completely filling our large garbage tote in the effort to clear the area.

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As you can see once the area was cleared the second member of the grub patrol was sent in for inspection.

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Dachshunds were originally bred in Germany to hunt down and remove badger. Hunters would risk injury to themselves and their horses if the horses leg would fall into a badger hole. The solution was to eliminate the badger which resulted in a dog with short legs, a long skinny body and the strongest jaw of all the breeds. Not to mention an affinity for digging.

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Rudi, ever loyal,  would have gone all the way to China if I hadn’t commanded “Stop, bath time!” But truly no grub or squirrel stands a chance.

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Just as in designing a room I felt like the “island” needed a focal point. I had already blown my gardening budget on annuals and perennials so I decided to shop the yard. In a small corner amongst two trees, a half dead palm and an overgrown vine like weed gone wild I spied an ill placed birdbath.

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It took the strength of both Mr. Décor and I to yank out the birdbath, clean it up and place it in the center of the island.

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We are going to try and use it as a planter as I can’t imagine trying to keep it filled with clean water given its immense weight. I have placed a few plants about and they will go into the ground soon.

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I have a feeling that this is going to be a lengthy ongoing project as most of the yard remains one giant “BEFORE” shot. :)


Linking to:

Between Naps On The Porch, Remodelaholic, Classy Clutter, Stonegable, A Stroll Thru Life, Not Just A HousewifeA Bowl Full of Lemons,Someday Crafts, The 36th Avenue, Ivy and Elephants, Savvy Southern Style, Katherine’s Corner, The Blissful Bee, Posed Perfection, My Fabuless Life,The Style Sisters, Sew A Fine Seam, Craftberry Bush, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest, Imparting Grace,My Romantic Home,The Charm of Home, AKA Design + Life, Shabby Creek Cottage, Tatertots and Jello, Funky Junk Interiors, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia,The Dedicated House

Sunday, April 12, 2015

10 Minutes A Day

Yesterday Mr. Décor and I celebrated 17 years of wedded bliss!

On Friday evening he took me to a lovely B & B. As we were at dinner we talked about that while on one hand it feels like we have been together “forever” there are other times we can’t believe how quickly time has passed.

Now it’s no secret that I was 28 year old divorcée with a 7 year old daughter when I met a certain 33 year old bachelor. I was cautious because I had already traveled down a devastating and heartbroken path. But as he likes to remind me “He wore me down”. To which I will say that indeed he was truly a Mr. who Righted all the Wrongs.

I remember at our rehearsal dinner I went around the room and asked for secrets and tips from all the long time married couples in the room.

Many said “Just love each other”. Which SEEMS simple… but can be truly hard. We now know that there are days when you really just don’t FEEL like loving your mate.

This past year we had read another couples secret where they only allowed themselves 10 minutes a day to have the “I can’t stand you another minute, get out of my sight” fury in their eyes and hearts.

A few days later there was a situation that made Mr. Décor say to me “I think I may have sent you into a 10 minutes mode.” To which I quipped “No, since I was fine the past three days I’ve been saving up my time so technically I can be angry at you for 40 minutes.” To which he started laughing and when he starts laughing….well, I can’t stay mad at him.

And perhaps that is the secret. Laughter and Forgiveness.

Because trust me, it’s been hard.

We’ve dealt with years of infertility, loss of family members, money woes, health scares and completed over 7 major moves plus 5 terms of temporary housing. That’s 12 moves in 17 years. 

I know much less has crippled other couples.

Many times the only way we didn’t give up was to remind ourselves we made promises before God.

Our wedding

Mr. Décor here’s to many more years of love, laughter and forgiveness!


“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bits of Bliss ~ Round Top Texas Edition

Last Thursday the Fashionista and I headed out on a road trip. For over 10 years I have wanted to attend the Round Top Antiques Fair. It is held twice a year in the spring and fall. Round Top itself is a teeny tiny Texas town that just explodes during the fair. This is because Round Top is one of the nations best antique show.

For over 10 miles, on highway 237, vendors set up shop to sell their wares in barns, tents, fields and yes, trees.

The drive took about 4 hours from our home in D/FW. A good portion of the road was a rural 2 lane highway. But the countryside was just beautiful. We saw baby goats, sheep, cows and horses. The trees and fields were a riot of springtime color. I loved the long stretches of bluebonnets the best.

It truly was country goodness at its finest.

We began our first day at the original show which is held at the Big Red Barn. Next, we made our way to Marburger Farm. Oh my was this place a delight!

The next day we went to a few of the fields and to Old Henry Farm. The vendors really know how to create beautiful vignettes designed to entice you to say “I’ll take it all!”

A few tips:

You will want to reserve a room well in advance. Many of the lovely B & B’s in the area are already booked for the next few show dates. But you can always find a room. You might just have to drive a bit. Our hotel was 45 minutes from the fields since I waited until just 2 weeks before. :(

The weather is usually warm to hot. Since it was an all day event for us we made sure to dress in layers of breathable fabric, wore comfortable shoes, packed our hats, sunglasses and liberally applied sunscreen.

It’s also a good idea to pack a few snacks and some water. We supplemented this with a vendor made artisanal pizza with rosemary crust and fresh squeezed lemonade. You can also find plenty of barbeque, sweets, treats and coffee as well.

Be flexible about what treasures might find you verses specific items you are seeking. Stay open to where the day takes you. Remember, “Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Lastly, your best find might end up being someone, not something.

On the drive home the Fashionista and I both agreed that the best part of our trip was meeting the enchanting kindred spirit Jill Garber.

This delightful lady just exudes talent and kindness.

Ms. Garber has been featured in numerous magazines and it is with good reason. Her couture collection, Le Nouveaurose, includes dresses, jewelry and soft home goods. They are one of a kind works of art. Truly ethereal loveliness at its very finest. 

Belle Epoque Couture antique silk cuff bracelets artisan made by Jill Garber - See our exquisite new collection at the spring Chicago Botanical Garden Antique Faire : April 10-13

Trying to build up her stylist arsenal the Fashionista brought home a glorious choker and bracelet from Le Nouveaurose. She also discovered a piano shawl, fabulous blue velvet jacket, and a tiny china coaster for her room.

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I didn’t leave empty handed either. You saw the chairs I brought home on Wednesday. I also found several other great things to include a couple of headboards which I plan on turning into a daybed for my office.

Now the only question that remains is “Are you going?”