Beet Soup and Ballet Shoes

I know, I know.  A very unlikely combination.  But trust me, in my case, they have gone hand in hand.

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First, the beet soup.  It is a favorite of mine.  My fathers side of the family is Polish.  And this is a classic Polish dish.  Many know it as beet borscht.  Except I don’t serve mine with sour cream.  It’s mashed potatoes and bacon all the way.  Here’s the recipe:

Beet Soup

1 bunch sweet beets, greens cut and discarded

4 C. beef broth

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon gold or Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

3 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled

red wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Wearing kitchen gloves and an apron, peel the beets and cut into long, thin, julienne style strips.  (Trust me, you want the gloves and apron.  Beet juice will ruin clothing and stain skin for days.)

Put cut beets and beef broth together in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the beets are fork tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Peel and cut potatoes.  Boil them until tender and mash adding salt and pepper to taste.

In a pan, cook bacon until crispy. Crumble the bacon and mix into the mashed potatoes.

Now, serve up the soup.  Add red wine vinegar to each bowl to taste.  Everyone won’t like the same amount of tartness. Then add a scoop of the bacon mashed potatoes and enjoy!

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** Now if you weren’t smart enough to wear an apron or use gloves, you now know that beet juice stains.  So this is where the ballet shoes come in!

I have had 2 pairs of pointe shoes in a closet for months.  I found them on clearance.  I wanted to dye them and decorate my daughter’s room with them.  I just haven’t gotten around to it. 

Until I made beet soup.

And saw the gorgeous color of the soup. 

And ruined a white shirt.

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I knew right then and there that I could use the left over soup to stain the ballet shoes.

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They came out the most gorgeous deep pink color.  And they are totally non-toxic.  Vegetable dye at its best!  It’s not smelly or hazardous.  It’s fantastic!

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I sewed on the ribbon (it really brought back some memories) and hung them over the side of my daughter’s headboard.  Voila!

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Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas

How do you decorate for Thanksgiving?  Sometimes I feel like it is that in between holiday that gets lost.  All of the stores have Christmas decorations out now and Halloween has just passed.  It’s almost easier to jump from one right to the next.  But Thanksgiving is so important.  It’s a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. 

Here are some inspiring ideas to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving.

I like this simple mantle from Urban Romance.

Or these I found on Shelterness.

And some amazing table settings and dining room décor!

found via Google search

found via Google search

found via Google search

found via Google search

This is Beautiful....BUT,where do the platters of turkey, dressing, and MASHED POTATOES go...I guess it's buffet style..haha

There are some very fantastic and easy decorations out there.  Candles always warm up a space.  And I am in love with home made bunting.

found on homedecoratingideas.com

 

from My Fabuless Life.

Thankful Bunting, Thanksgiving Bunting, Bunting Banner, Thanksgiving Garland, Pennant

available on Etsy

I am feeling inspired, how about you!  Follow me on Instagram to see how my fall decorating comes out!

Day 17: Magazines and Catalogs

I don’t know about you, but I get a ton of magazines and catalogs.  And I love them, or the idea of them.  I imagine curling up on the couch with my new Traditional Home or Southern Living magazine and a cup of coffee, lazily thumbing through it.  How often does that happen?  Not very often.  What usually happens is the magazines and catalogs pile up on my coffee table and then I take a huge stack in the car and race through them in carpool line, dog-earing pages that I want to revisit when I have “time”.

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Now I have a system so that there aren’t so many publications lying around and I can hold on to the stuff I’ve dog-eared.  (Although Pinterest helps.)  First, I tear out the pages and sometimes I write on them: “great chair” or “lighting idea” or “artwork”, just to help me remember why I tore it out. 

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I have these large binders that I keep all of my ideas in.  There are 2 of them and I’m pretty sure I’m going to need another.  They are divided into categories such as “Living Rooms” or “Children’s Rooms” or “DIY”.  Each page that I tear out gets put into a clear sheet protector and put into the binder under the category necessary.

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Now I have a quick reference whenever I need some decorating inspiration (other than Pinterest), or I want to re-read how to paint a ceramic lamp from Goodwill.  And I can store these binders neatly in a cabinet.  My magazines and catalogs I just tear and toss.  No more clutter all over my coffee table.  Well, for now.

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An Unanticipated Package

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The other evening the doorbell rang.  I knew it was UPS because the dog was going nuts!  (They always leave a bone with the package.)

I wasn’t expecting anything.  I have been a good girl and haven’t done (much) online shopping. 

When I looked at the package I saw that it was from my mom.  Hmmmm.  What would she be sending.  Then it hit me!  She finally send that antique sifter I found at an antique mall in Maine over the summer.  Yippee!  I could complete my dining room wall décor!

We always had an antique grain sifter hanging on the wall in the kitchen when I was growing up.  Occasionally it was embellished with silk flowers or some other ornament, but when I got a home of my own my parents gave it to me.  They weren’t hanging it up anymore.

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At my old house it made its home among some antique replica wine barrels from Ballard Designs that hung above my TV.  I only had 2 of the barrels.  There was a third one that was very large and very expensive.

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Then, while on my design inspiration trip to Atlanta, I found the largest barrel on sale at the Ballard Designs outlet and just had to complete the trio!

So, when I moved, I decided that the dining room would be the perfect place to decorate with these circular objects.  But something was missing.  I just couldn’t get them to look right.  It was just off.  So these circles of decoration sat on my dining room floor – for 4 months!!!

Off we went on our yearly trip to Maine.  When we are up there one of my favorite things to do I to go antiquing with my mom.  We take the coastal route and hit some beautiful shops along the ocean.  My favorite is the Searsport Antique Mall.  I always find more than one good thing there!  And just as we got to the last booth, I saw it.  A smaller sifter that would complete my dining room wall!!!

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Oh, it was perfect!  But it wouldn’t fit in my luggage and it was too fragile to shove in the overhead compartment on the plane.  So I had to wait for it to arrive.  And now it’s here!

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I hung it up immediately!

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A Neighbor’s New Breakfast Area

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A couple of weeks ago, one of my fantastic neighbors asked if I would go fabric shopping with her.  Um, YES! 

She had inherited a dining set from some neighbors that were moving and she wanted to refinish it and put some cloth on the seats.  She read my blog and knew I loved decorating.  She wanted my advice on what direction to go in.  Her family all felt that it was time to brighten up their house with lighter finishes.  The new dining set was off white with a wood top.  My neighbor had been working very hard on stripping the top and repainting the legs and chairs.  She did a great job!!!

So, before we went shopping I asked her some questions about colors.  She said her favorite colors were magenta and indigo.  My first thought was that we were headed down a purple path.  Now, my neighbor has a husband and a son so I was guessing a “girly” purple wouldn’t work for them.  As we headed to the fabric store (her awesome daughter was with us too) I just figured we would be looking for a muted purple with some earthy brown or gold and cream just to keep it masculine AND feminine.  I was WRONG!

When I am assisting someone with their décor choices, I don’t like to run the show.  It is their house, not mine.  They have to live there and be happy.  I’m just there to tell them if it is ugly and what would go well with their choices.  I’m more of a color consultant, if you will. 

As we strolled aisle after aisle of fabric I noticed that my neighbor and her daughter were leaning in the blue direction.  And their pattern choices were very organic – natural pallette, free form pattern, etc.  Nothing we came across was really knocking their socks off, until we found this:

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Beautiful!  That was the one!  There was no hesitation and no question about it.  This was the direction to go in.

The chairs started off like this:

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Now they look like this:

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( I will do a tutorial in another post so you can see how we did it!)

I also suggested this rug:

Bar Harbor Gelato Rug (8' x 10')

from Overstock.com

And these curtains:

Pair of Rod Pocket Curtains in Village Blue and Natural Chipper Ikat print

from Etsy

I thought they would really complete the space.  It is still a work in progress because all good things take time, but the hard part is done.  A color scheme has been chosen and a beautiful refinish has been done.  Don’t you love a happy ending?

(Thank you, Marisa, for being a wonderful neighbor and seeking my advice.  It made me feel wonderful!)

Validation

Have you ever wondered “Am I any good at this?”

I wonder that exact thing every day. 

Lately, I feel like the universe is telling me “Hey!  Have some confidence!  You ARE good at this!”

For example, Tuesday I FINALLY stenciled my daughters room.  Just a focal wall to offset all that purple.  I had the idea in my head to try to mimic the pattern of her bedding.  It seemed like a good idea.  Then I added more to it – it had sparkle like glitter, and maybe have jewels….

Perhaps I went too far…..  But then I did it and it came out better than I imagined!

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(full “how-to” in the future)

Or dinner the other night…. I was following a recipe but decided to cut a little of this, add a little of that…… And I ended up with this….

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It was soooo good!

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Or just hoping that someone out there likes your decorating…. and your blog…

Then you get featured on Wow Us Wednesdays with Savvy Southern Style and you feel validated.

And it feels amazing!!!!

Girl Power Art

As I have been decorating my daughters room, I have found that I am very picky when it comes to art.  I like signs, things with words, meaningful words.  And for a little girl you can’t always put up Barbie (although I did), princesses and ballerinas.  I want my daughter to grow up feeling confident and being classy.  She isn’t in to sports, so the usual “girl power” stuff won’t work.  (Sorry, Nike!)  She is a dancer and an artist, a true performer in all ways.  And, of course, a girly girl.  Only dresses and skirts – every day!  She even wears faux pearls with her school uniform! 

 

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I started off with spray paint in the colors of her room.  Just the accent colors though, because her room is PURPLE!  I got some pre-cut mats and white frames from Hobby Lobby.

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I found some quotes that I liked and some cute girly silhouettes and made my own art using Microsoft Word.  All the clip art was free. 

Here are the quotes –

“Keep your head, heels and standards high!”

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous!” – Coco Chanel

“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh

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Then I sprayed the frames and mats in varying colors.  Once they were dry, I set up shop at the kitchen table and just using scotch tape, I stuck my MS Word art to the back of the mats.

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I placed them in the frame and hung them up.  Viola!  I think the total project cost me $50 and took about 90 minutes (not including drying time). 

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I will share my daughters room in its totality when I’m done.  I have some other tricks up my sleeve!  Smile

Home Office Progress

I am still working on Prince Charming’s office for his birthday, but we are making progress!  Who can ask for more than that?!  I bought a great chair off of Craigslist and I am hoping not to have to reupholster it.  Keep your fingers crossed.  The cabinetry has been installed.

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And today was painting day for the cabinetry.

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Won’t it look fabulous with this desk?…..

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The walls are getting painted next week.  Then the beauty begins – furniture, window treatments, pillows… I can’t wait!

Keeping Room–Before & After

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I feel as though I just moved in to my house yesterday!  I’ve been working so hard on just trying to get unpacked, purging unwanted items and organizing this house for the way we live that I’ve forgotten to share with you all of the work that has been done.

This house has a keeping room (or hearth room or family room) which is a smaller family room right off the kitchen.  I love it!!!  It is the main gathering area for the family.  I can be in the kitchen cooking and still see everything and everyone.

Here are the before pictures.  As you can see, the built-ins were the same color as the kitchen cabinets and there was carpet.  Oh, and the walls were green.

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We were going to keep the carpet and just let the kids and dog destroy it, but upon further inspection we found that it was already destroyed.  You can kind of see that it was much lighter under where the previous owners couch used to be.  And it smelled of their dogs.  Prince Charming and I agreed that no amount of carpet cleaning could undo that.  So, we decided to put in hardwood floors to match the rest of the house.

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I had the bookcases painted in Creamy and Urbane Bronze on the inside, both by Sherwin Williams.  I love the way they turned out.  And check out the floors, pre-stain.  They added such a great flow to the kitchen and keeping room.  I didn’t realize what an impact they would have until they were in.  Awesome!!

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These little wing chairs got a make-over for the keeping room as well.  I grew up with these chairs in my home and my parents gave them to me last year.  They sat in my garage last year while I figured out what to do with them.  When we moved, it was time for their big Ta-Da!  I had them reupholstered in a wonderful greige fabric I found at the Metrolina Expo.

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Didn’t they turn out great!?

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The medallion pillows I had custom made out of remnant fabric I found and yellow, iridescent burlap.  Who could pass that up?  The coffee table was a find on Rue La La and the rug came from Overstock.com.

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Trim and bookcases: Creamy        Walls: Kilim Beige             Back of bookcases:Urbane Bronze

All paint by Sherwin-Williams.

Also sharing at Thrifty Decor Chick.

A Birthday Wish–Home Office Scheme

Today is Prince Charming’s birthday.  He’s 29 – AGAIN!  At our age, there’s not all that much we want unless it’s big.  So when I asked my husband what he would like for his birthday it was BIG!  HUGE, actually, but oh so exciting for me.  He asked for a home office.  This is not an outrageous request.  He’s been working in this since the move.

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Can you blame the guy?!

The office in our previous home had lots of built in shelving and storage.  Here at Chateau Charmant, not so much.  So that’s first on the list.  We are having our fabulous carpenter, Yerif with YGM Xtrim Carpentry, come in and build him some built-ins.  They will look similar to this:

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(photo from houzz.com)

Prince Charming has chosen this desk from Pottery Barn:

(potterybarn.com)

Now that all the function has been chosen, there is that tricky little bit about color.  Prince Charming’s favorite color is blue.  He loves dimly lit spaces.  He loves the ocean and sharks.  His most prized possession is this:

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Back in his younger days, the prince went Great White Shark diving with Rodney Fox.  If you don’t know who Rodney Fox is, read about him here.  This is a framed picture signed by Mr. Fox himself.  It will display prominently in the office.  Soooo, it kind of dictates the color scheme of the office.  I know what you are thinking – “Turquoise.  Your best option is turquoise.”  Nope!  Not a chance!  I have chosen a darker, more moody blue found in the shadowy parts of the picture.  I think it is the color of cold ocean water.  And a lovely sandy white for the trim and built-ins. (white sand by Benjamin Moore)

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(Refuge by Sherwin Williams)

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This photo is my inspiration.  It is a beachy scheme without being literal.  And the colors from the shark picture would work perfectly.  I went on the hunt for fabric.  I needed something masculine but pretty.  And it had to have that blue in it.  My BFF and I headed out to the best fabric store around and found nothing.  Her comment was “I think you better find another blue”.  I refused to give up!!!!  Sooo, I went online.  Nothing.  I went to the local fabric store.  Nothing.  Then I went to the expensive custom order fabric store.  Ding! Ding!  We have a winner!  They had the fabric in stock so the price isn’t too bad.  If I had to custom order it, I’d be changing the blue. 

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I want to do a chair in the plaid, an accent pillow and small ottoman in the medallion and the terracotta graphic is the bold pop to break up the blue and it will be curtains. Now I will be scouring yard sales, thrift stores and the side of the road for a chair and ottoman to reupholster. 

I can’t wait to get started.  When I showed Prince Charming the plan he looked at me and said “It’s so me!”  Isn’t that the best compliment any designer can get?!

So, Happy Birthday, Honey!  Your office is about 1 month away!

(stay tuned for before and after photos!)