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 café 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!

Friday, July 17, 2015

feeling blessed...

I am truly grateful to live a creative life.
I haven't known a 9 to 5 career since my college internship
many moons ago.
With a long career as a interior designer,
I have owned Surroundings for more than 20 years now, worked on many fascinating design projects, been a contributing lifestyle expert on 5 different television network shows...
but I have to say that I have found tremendous joy
and fulfillment styling, photographing and writing.
I am so very honored to be a contributor
to so many wonderfully creative magazines!
Here's a peek at just a few of my articles that have appeared on newsstands over the past few months...

Romantic Homes

"Designed around a Red Rose..."
American Farmhouse Style

"Reflections of the Past..."

Victorian Homes

"Celebrating Mother's Day..."
Cottage Gardener

"Cultivating Romance..."

Flea Market Décor
 "Built to Last..."
Cottages and Bungalows

"Coastal Cottage Makeover..."
American Farmhouse Style
"Serving Up Style..."

Vintage Gardens
"Gardens for little Folks..."

"Time Worn Treasures..."

"A Cut Above the Rest..."

"A Little Bit Country..."

You can always find me in Romantic Homes with my monthly  feature "Simply"

"Be My Guest..."

Between running my retail business and online shop, making dresses and time spent contributing to magazines...
my schedule stays pretty full.
I feel so blessed to have opportunities
to share creativity every day.
The lines between my everyday life and work are almost invisible.
I wouldn't have it any other way!
Thank you to all the other creative souls out there for being tremendous sources of inspiration...
 as well as offering your friendship, support and encouragement!

Friday, July 10, 2015

summertime yum

We are officially in full swing of the summertime picnic season.
One of my all-time favorite summer treats is my Mom's recipe
for Napa cabbage salad.
I thought I would share it with you in case you are looking for a refreshing summer-inspired dinner.

Napa Cabbage Salad

Medium Napa cabbage
2 to 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 to 3 drops sesame oil
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup slivered almonds
1 package Ramen noodles broken
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup vinegar
¼ cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon soy sauce


1. Up to 6 hours ahead of time mix ingredients for the dressing over low heat to dissolve. Stir to incorporate. Place in a closed container in the refrigerator to cool.
2. Clean and chop the Napa cabbage and place in a large bowl. (Optional: refrigerate the bottom 2 inches of the cabbage for a  garnish later.)
3. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, toss, cover and refrigerate.
4. Cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into strips.
5. Heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a skillet. Brown chicken then drain and set aside.
6. Heat 2 to 3 drops of sesame oil in a small skillet.
7. Brown the sesame seeds, almonds and noodles then drain on a paper towel. You can make toppings in quantity and freeze in a sealed container.
8. Add the chicken and the toppings to the salad, toss and serve.
Options: add peapods, pineapple, oranges or strawberries.

Keep the bottom portion of the cabbage as a garnish.
Rub a lemon over the cut surface to keep from turning brown.
Then slice a strawberry vertically being careful not to pierce
the top. Spread the segments of the strawberry
for a lovely finishing touch...

Tip: The salad is best when it has time to marinate in the dressing.
Up to 30 minutes is optimal. Plan ahead when preparing this dish!

I hope you are inspired to make a beautifully yummy summer salad.
I am the last person to say I follow a healthy diet...but with recipes like these I am willing to give it a chance!!!
A very special "thank-you" to my mom for teaching me how to cook.
We have shared a lot of laughs and love
in the kitchen over the years!

Happy Summer to you and yours...