Thursday, October 1, 2015

feeling like fall...

Happy October! Fall is here and it was always one of my favorite seasons. The changing leaves, amazing colors and cooler temperatures were always very alluring to me. Now that I live in the Gulf of Mexico on a beautiful island...fall has a very different feel. I miss the glorious leaves, mounds of pumpkins and cool brisk air. I do love that gardening is a year-round activity and walking the beach in the warm sea air is part of everyday life no matter the season. So I am embracing island life by introducing bits of autumnal color into my home and celebrating the joy of all year gardening. Here are a few extra images from my article in the October issue of Romantic Homes magazine. For this issue I opted to photograph my own kitchen. I hope you enjoy the fall tour...

My kitchen is small in stature,
however it has a large work load everyday.

The palette is very neutral so incorporating color can happen effortlessly every season.

My kitchen is on the third floor and has an amazing view over the garden. It also has a balcony perfect for feeding birds and sitting outside for a cup of tea.

The old farm sink has to multitask between washing dishes, prepping for dinner and cutting fresh flowers from the garden.

My kitchen is the heart of my home and centered in the room is the elevator that makes trips down to the garden a snap. Using a vintage glass paneled door helps to blend the new technology of an elevator into the eclectic feel of the rest of the home.

Bleached burlap insets soften the wooden doors
that hide the laundry closet.

Heavily carved Indonesian doors surrounded by painted porch posts are the entry to the pantry.

A simple pot holder displays retired garden hand tools.

The addition of red Transferware, a vibrant bouquet of flowers and some charming apple linen napkins are the subtle bits of color that hint at the arrival of fall.

To see this article as well as the entire fall issue dedicated to charming kitchens I hope you will look for the October issue of Romantic Homes magazine!
Past issues and terrific subscriptions are available online...
Thanks for visiting my autumnal kitchen. I hope you found inspiration and are ready to embrace fall...


Monday, September 7, 2015

it's not over yet!

Happy Labor Day everyone!!!
I love this time of year but for so many people it means the end of summer is near. Well it's not over yet. The first day of fall doesn't arrive until September 23rd. So take advantage of the beautiful days ahead. One way to pay homage to summer, the picnic season, is to create a lovely tray using vintage materials and images of antique seed packets.
In the summer issue of American Farmhouse Style magazine I featured an article on how to create a charming seed packet tray. Here's a peek at the article and the instructions follow...Enjoy!

Old tray, glass and wood backing
Small nails and hammer
Screws and screwdriver
Paint and paint brushes
Foam core
Photo paper
Copies of vintage seed packets and catalog covers
Craft glue
*Optional: pressed flowers 
Take apart the tray by carefully removing the backing and glass.
Paint frame and allow it to dry completely.
Sand the frame to give an aged appearance and wipe clean.
Cut a piece of foam core to fit inside the frame.
Print and cut out images of vintage seed packets and old seed catalog covers.
Arrange all of the cut-outs on the foam core.
Once the final arrangement is configured, make decoupage medium by mixing ¾-cup white craft glue and ¼-cup cool water in a bowl.
Paint a thin layer of decoupage medium on the back of each cut-out and secure in place. Allow the glue to dry completely.
OPTIONAL: glue dry pressed flowers and petals randomly
onto the ephemera.
Clean the glass and place it into the tray then gently
add the foam core as to not damage the paper or petals.
Secure the foam core into the tray by nailing small brads along the perimeter. Do not nail too closely to the corners
or the glass may break.
Reattach the wood backing to the tray.
Cut a piece a felt the size of the tray and glue onto the back. Allow to dry.
The seed packet tray is ready to serve...
This story was featured in the summer issue of
American Farmhouse Style magazine.
It's a beautiful publication from cover to cover!
 Serving up Style...

Trays aid in table service for outdoor dining and they make a charming addition to any picnic.

Make the most of the remaining days of summer!!!

Here are a few images of vintage seed packets you can download and print for your next project.

Thanks so much for visiting.
I hope you've had a wonderful Labor Day!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

a loo re-do

I want to first begin by sending a huge "thank-you" to all of the amazing people that faithfully follow my articles in various magazines. Especially the feedback for my monthly feature in Romantic Homes! From the last issue (August/Sept 2015), I had a large number of people asking loads of questions about the vanity project as seen on pages 48-53.


I thought it might be helpful to post more photos along with the instructions for any of you thinking of tackling this project...
  This little cottage style room was just asking for something old. Adding a brand new ready-made cabinet would seem horribly out of place. It can be a challenge at times to keep the charm of an old home when adding or remodeling modern amenities. In this case, an old vanity was repurposed into a charming sink.
At first glance the vanity had clearly seen better days. Yet upon closer inspection it was apparent that the structure was completely sound. The tattered appearance helped because it obviously affected the price tag of $25.00 “to a good home”. The sink and faucet were found for a steal at Restore. The plumber cut out a hole in the top for the sink and removed a bottom section of the center drawer to make the necessary room for the pipes and as quick as 1,2,3 the vanity was installed and water was flowing! 
A couple of coats of latex paint softened the appearance and a bit of sanding added a lovely aged distressed appearance. The top of the vanity was given a final coat of matte water-based polyurethane for an extra layer of protection.

The fact that this was a replacement of an existing sink with all of the pipes and drainage in place it made for a simple transformation by a qualified licensed plumber.

The final touch to the vanity was the addition of the skirt. Even though the vanity has a few small drawers, this bathroom like so many is lacking in storage space. The space under the vanity can house cleaning products but that certainly takes away from the beauty. Hide the mess with a beautiful custom curtain with little money and less effort. Surprisingly it couldn’t be easier.

The bottom of a thrift shop shower curtain ($3.00) was cut off to the length of the opening of the space below the vanity. Then a one inch rod pocket was stitched straight across the top. (*There is no need to sew a hem when using the finished bottom of a shower curtain.) Two small metal screw hooks ($1.50) were placed on the face of the vanity leaving the top drawers exposed. A cafĂ© curtain rod (less than $10) is used to hang the curtain from the metal hooks. All-in-all the material cost was less than $60.00 but the overall impact is priceless. 

Once the sink was in place, finished and dressed, the entire feel of the room changed (for the better). Coupled with the aged finish on the walls and the natural hardwood floors, this was now a “room” in need of decorating.  
The walls were clad with floral prints and decorative plates, small wooden shelves were added for display and vintage collectables were peppered throughout to tie the space together.
A bathroom re-do can be an overwhelming project to face. However the task is achievable and can be kept within a relatively tight budget. An old wooden vanity can be transformed into an incredible and one-of-a-kind sink with a little help from a plumber and lots of TLC. 
This entire issue was dedicated to flea market treasures. To order this back issue or to subscribe please click the link... 
I really appreciate all of the wonderful feedback. Without readers magazines would not exist. Thank you so much for supporting me and this beautiful publication!!! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

something sweet

A few posts ago I had shared my mom's recipe
for a scrumptious summer salad.
Well, I had a lot of questions about the pound cake in the photos.

It too is one of my mom's recipes!
So for those who were's you go!

Almond Pound Cake
5 eggs
2 ½ cups sugar
1 stick margarine softened
1 cup Crisco
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup milk
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together the first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl on medium speed.
Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.
In the mixing bowl, alternate ¼ cup milk to ¼ cup dry mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated and thoroughly mixed.
Pour batter into a well-greased and floured cake pan.
Place the pan on the middle oven rack and bake for one hour.
Melt 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in a saucepan or microwave.
Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl.
Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar.
Add 2 tablespoons of milk.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
Beat until smooth and creamy, adding a little more milk if necessary.
Drizzle over a cooled cake.
Add sugared almonds and garnish with fruit of choice.

The best part about this pound cake recipe...
the longer it sits the better it gets!
So this is the perfect desert to make ahead of time.
It always tastes best after a day or two.
I am so fortunate that my momma has so generously shared her scrumptious recipes with me. Thanks Mom!!!
I hope you will give this yummy cake a try...Enjoy!