Monday, November 30, 2009

in the library 11.30.09

I don't know about you, but I need a holiday from my holiday! Maybe just a little relaxation before the December craziness begins...

So let's start the week off with some inspiration from beautiful homes in Dwellings: Living with Great Style.

you can find the book at Amazon or your favorite local retailer

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

inspired by...

Julian, California

It's the perfect time of year to visit the sweet little town filled that makes it's living from apples and antiques. Julian is famous for it's apple pies (and cider doughnuts and apple butter), which are amazing, but we were there to take in the view. The weather was cold, making it a perfect walk up and down the small streets of the town. It was exactly what we needed for a little rest and relaxation last weekend.

here is a view of downtown, seen from the cemetery. It really is that small and yet somehow the line was out the door at every pie shop on the block!

driving on the windy roads you get a vista of mountains, hills and the desert in the distance. I was so taken by the burnt trees from the somewhat recent San Diego fires, especially this one. Hollowed out by fire but still standing, I find this absolutely beautiful!

I picked these cool antique cups up at a shop on the main street. I'm told they are over 100 years old...guess I have some research to do.

We wandered into this store off the main drag, filled with wall to wall yarn of every color and combination imagineable.

And it wouldn't be a trip to Julian without stopping at the Pie Company. We brought home lots of goodies to share with our guests on Thanksgiving too.

To plan your own getaway to Julian, visit the Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, November 23, 2009

in the library 11.23.09

Still gearing up for Thanksgiving, but now I'm on to planning the table. This week's book pick is all about that, with some beautiful inspiration and helpful tips on place settings and centerpieces.

You can find this book at Amazon, or your favorite local retailer

Friday, November 20, 2009

weekend project

Get an early(ish) start on holiday gifts this weekend by making some simple and unique items that can't be found in the stores. Here are a few of my favorites from Martha Stewart.

Coasters are a great hostess gift and I love that these are made from maps, especially ones from vacations and important places. Click here for instructions.

Not your everyday gift, but for a man who seems to have everything this is the perfect practical gift. Instructions here.

What girl doesn't like to receive jewelry? These fancy necklaces seem vintage and delicate but are super easy to make and perfect for Mom or your best friend (or both). Instructions.

'Tis the season for candles, and lots of them! I love these candles poured into vintage teacups. Mismatched cups are easy to find at flea markets and second hand stores. Grab yourself a block of soy or natural beeswax to make sure your gifts are non-toxic. Instructions

These soaps are great gifts, but also perfect to have in a guest bathroom this holiday. Instructions.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

found it at a flea market

While scouring the Long Beach Antique Market last weekend, I cam across this cool metal basket that was the perfect size to hold my floor plans and rolls of trace and graph paper. To check out the market for yourself, visit

Etsy Home Inspiration

Here are some fun ways to spruce up your decor before the holidays, courtesy of the artists at Etsy.

Postcard Label 14inX14in(35cmX35cm) Napped Cotton Pillow Case(Cover, Slip)
Mail yourself a pillow with a postcard label from VintageJamie

Modern Animal Clock - Owl
Guess Whoooo's coming to dinner? Adorable owl clock by Decoylab

i heart robot pillow case set - light grey
add these to your guest bedroom to make your guests feel welcome. I heart robot pillowcases by mengeseldesign

Shaggy Bucket 001
store books, remotes or your weekend project in this shaggy bucket from Shaggy Baggy

block print quail towel hand printed
Having guests in the kitchen means having extra towels around...I love these quail towels from artgoodies!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Menu

This week I've been menu planning for our Thanksgiving feast. We will be serving turkey, but we mostly stick to vegetarian fare in our home so I'm on the lookout for interesting twists on traditional veggie dishes, and I've come across some awesome recipes that I just had to share.

For Starters
This sounds delicious, simple and it's pretty cute (the perfect combo). Recipe is from the October issue of Southern Living.

A new spin on the classics:
Carrot Soufle
recipe from House Beautiful

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Spinach
from Sunset Magazine. Click here for the recipe

Browned Butter and Hazelnut Mashed Potatoes, also from Sunset mag

And for the morning after...

French Toast Bread Pudding! This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe from a recent issue of House Beautiful. I'll be serving this with fresh squeezed orange juice mimosas. Yum.

If you want a recipe for anything that wasn't included or linked let me know and I'll send it to you. Happy cooking!

Monday, November 16, 2009

in the library 11.16.09

I'm still a-buzz with excitement over hosting Thanksgiving this year! This week I will be working on planning my menu, so The New Thanksgiving Table is a perfect book to add to the library. It has some beautiful food images, but the bread and butter (pardon the pun) are the amazing recipes inside.

Check it out.

Find it at Amazon, along with these other holiday books:

Thanksgiving 101: Celebrate America's Favorite Holiday with America's Thanksgiving Expert

Williams-Sonoma Entertaining: Thanksgiving Entertaining

Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook

Friday, November 13, 2009

weekend project

I stumbled across this picture in a magazine recently and was awed by their casual elegance. Unaware of the price tag (not even going to guess), I decided to embark on the project of trying to create my own version of these...or at least one of them. I'll start with the small one.

In other knit pillow news, if you prefer that classic cable knit sweater look ~which I fall in love with every year about this time~ there are plenty of surprisingly simple patterns out there to create the sweater pillow of your dreams. I found this one at the AOK Corral. It comes with fairly descript directions and a beginners guide for those of us who are pretty fresh to the knitting world (I've actually known how to for years, but never graduated beyond the very long scarf project).

I'll let you know how my project goes and feel free to send me feedback on yours as well. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

great finds

I love it when I stumble onto great websites and blogs, and I love sharing them too. Researching for a recent post, I ran across a company called Abitare that sells unique housewares and gifts. I really have a thing for pottery molded from other objects (like Lorena Barrezueta's sweet collection of classic takeout containers) so I was immediately drawn to the ceramic tin can containers here.

Porcelain Canisters

Among many great gifts under $50 was the copper tortoise grater- super cute and functional, just the way I like it.

Copper Grater-Tortoise

and these sea urchin bud vases would be great on a bookshelf or a tabletop.

Glass Sea Urchin

be sure to also check out the blog, with lots of daily inspiration!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

over the weekend

My challenge this weekend was to turn this $15 flea market find

into a nightstand for our master bedroom. The plan was to end up with a white base and walnut top, similar to the Saarinen table I showed in last week's post. Here's how things went:

First, I had my husband resize it a bit to make it better for a nightstand. He sawed about 5 inches off of the legs. Next step was the oh-so-fun process of sanding. When I got to the tabletop I made the discovery that existing wood looked pretty cool, with deep grain and block edges. So I changed the plan a bit and decided to keep what was already there.

After sanding I painted it white using a non-toxic flat furniture paint. This took several coats since I was still going over black in some areas. Tip: using a paint pad instead of a brush gives a more even coat without brushstrokes. It takes a bit of time to get in the groove but it's worth it. I did use a brush to get into the smaller areas though.

And here it is in the almost finished state. I need to clearcoat it to protect everything, which will also bring out the grain in the natural wood a bit more too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

in the library 11.09.09

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on and I'm excited about this holiday particularly because we will be hosting it. I love being a host and since we just moved I can't wait to show off our new place. So the book I'm into this week is all about being a great host.

A Warm Welcome: How to Be a Gracious Host to Friends and Family promises some inspiring tips for impressing guests and enjoying it too. I ordered my copy from Amazon but since I haven't received it yet I thought you might enjoy this post from the Real Simple blog, written by Holly Becker of Decor8.

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 6, 2009

weekend project

This weekend I will be working on refinishing the black table I found at the flea market.

The inspiration for the redo was this classic Saarinen table with a white base and walnut top.

I'll let you know how it goes...happy weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

mirror mirror

My weekend project from 10/16 was focused on a large mirror that I wanted to give a little update to. Here's how it went:

Here is the (unassuming) mirror in its originial state.

All taped off and ready to go

Not sure if she likes it yet... (sorry, I had to throw that in!)

The process included two coats of flat grey wall paint

Followed by a coat of white paint brushed on then wiped off. D and I did this twice, okay he did this part.

And here is the final result. The mirror is on the wall in the master bedroom. While we were at it I painted a small side table for a nightstand. I'll post pictures when the room is more together.