Friday, November 8, 2013


Do you have one of those songs on your playlist that,
from the first time your ears beheld it and every time in the 20 years since,
whenever you hear it,
makes you feel completely content and fulfilled yet completely heartbroken at the same time?

For me, it's this one.

It's hauntingly beautiful and proof that there is a God.
And his name is Eddie Vedder.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

25 Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

While many people will spend several weeks before Thanksgiving planning their feast, 
I will spend that time collecting ideas of beautiful table settings and scouring my house in search of fabric and interesting items I can incorporate into my own Thanksgiving tablescape.

Sometimes I keep things super simple and other times I like to step it up a bit.

Whether I choose casual or formal, simple or embellished, I have only 2 easy rules that I follow:

1) Keep your centerpieces small and low to allow for easy conversation.  
Unless you have a particularly gross family member who chews with their mouth open or something like that. Then it's perfectly acceptable to put a big, floral arrangement right in front of their face.
Or stick them at the kid table and let them smack away.

Why spend all that time planning, preparing and cooking a fabulous meal full of all your grandmother's amazing homemade recipes just to plop it onto ugly disposable dishes?
Save the disposables for when you're heating up the leftovers and watching TV later.

Need a little inspiration to help get you started?
Of course you do!

Eddie Ross
Emily Henderson
Jamie Meares
more Jamie Meares
Jamie Meares (yet again because she's just THAT good!)
some Jenny Komenda loveliness
Eddie Ross, man genius
Visual Vamp, Valorie Hart
Me again
I'm feeling all inspired now, aren't you?

I haven't quite settled on what direction I'm going this year with my table but I'm leaning towards this fabric and these (well loved) dishes:

Don't worry - I'll share photos so you can all sleep at night.

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dark & Welcoming Black Entryway

It just dawned on me that I never did post about the entryway I painted black over the summer.
Which is so weird because it's one of my most favorite spaces in my home EV-ER!

Before I painted this small area, I mentioned my idea about black paint to a few people and you would have thought I had just insulted their first born child.
But, I really love how the black complements the gray paint on the walls of the adjoining rooms and it looks amazing in every kind of light.

Funny how black is so classic and awesome like that.

And, if someone tries to tell you that dark walls make a space feel closed in, you have permission to smack 'em in the head because they are just plain wrong.

The rug is not staying forever but it has to do for now because I haven't found exactly what I want
And also because this one was free and a new one is not.

And now I also get to see how important it is to paint your light switch plates or replace them with brass so you don't look at your photos and think,
"What is that ugly white rectangle thing on my beautiful black wall?"

The brass lamp was a $4 thrift store find!

The ponytail Bonsai was a gift over a year ago and is STILL ALIVE!
I should certainly get an award for that alone because this is the first time in my life I've managed to keep something alive other than my children and 1 dog who has actually almost died twice.
We think he might actually be a cat.

Also, Mahogany Teakwood candles from Bath & Body Works smell like a man.
Specifically, a man who is freshly showered and wearing cologne because you wouldn't necessarily buy a candle that smells like a man otherwise.

My collection of blue and white vessels are also mostly thrift store finds.

This framed print is my favorite photo of my grandparents early in their marriage that I had enlarged at Staples for only $12.

They've been married for close to 70 years!
Can you even believe that?

The original photo is only about 3 inches by 2 inches so having it enlarged this much made it a bit grainy, but I think the graininess adds to the vintage charm of it.
(You can see the original photo tucked into the bottom right corner of the frame.)

 Baskets for holding dog paraphenalia.

The vintage buffet matches my dining room and was part of a set my husband's grandmother owned that we inherited the first year we were married.

I didn't love it so much then but have grown rather fond of it over the years.
Funny how that works.

I'm thinking about painting the coat rack that hangs just to the left but am having trouble committing to a color.
Any thoughts on that???

Okay, so there's that bit of specialness.

À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thrifty Thursday (on Friday): $2 Ottoman Slipcover

Once upon a long time ago my mom bought this ottoman.

She decided she didn't have a place for it so she brought it to me.

Although I like the vintage floral fabric and mid century style, it didn't quite fit with the style of the rest of my home so it sat in my bedroom for almost a year while I tried to decide what the heck I wanted to do with it.

Then, last weekend, I was at a local thrift store and happened upon a folded piece of dark denim fabric.
I unfolded it and there must have been at least 3 yards and it was only $2.00!

I knew immediately that it would be perfect for making a simple slipcover for the ottoman.

There's not really a tutorial because all I did was measure the sides and the top, sewed it together and gave it a nice hem then slipped it over the top.

It's pretty plain and simple and I might end up adding some embellishments across the bottom such as rick rack or ball fringe in a bright color.

Since it sits against these non-functioning doors in my bedroom, I also like the idea of topping it with a throw pillow and making it like a tiny sofa.

Gidget likes this idea, too.

You know what else?

I still have plenty of denim fabric leftover to cover a couple of small lumbar pillows I bought a while back.
Hmmm...maybe another Thrifty Thursday post about those soon.

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Happy Halloweenie, everyone!

Hope you all have a fun, safe, candy-filled night!

À la vie et à l'amour

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Closet Improvements for FREE!

There is nothing quite like the feeling I get from making an improvement to my home for nothing more than the cost of a little elbow grease.

When I walked into my husband and mine's shared walk in closet one morning a few weeks ago and was met with this I knew it was time to make some serious improvements.

Or possibly just torch this area of our home.

Somehow this small area that I use every day had become a drop pile for anything we didn't have a specific place for or were too tired/lazy/hoard-y to put away or get rid of.

In additional to being a catchall space,my husband's side was filled with clothing that was too big because he has lost over 50 pounds this past year.
So I helped him clean out a few of those clothing items to donate:

I put all of the non-clothing items in the attic, vacuumed the baseboards and carpet, and then re-used all of the same organizational baskets, boxes, shoe storage, etc that I already had on hand.

I organized my husband's side by clothing type - athletic shirts, short sleeves, long sleeves, dress shirts, pants, jackets and coats.

My side is organized by color.
Because I like rainbows.
And also unicorns.
Which is a complete side note because I don't actually own a unicorn and if I did I certainly wouldn't have it in my closet.
Because it's too small.
The closet, not unicorns because those are actually pretty big, I think.

Obviously the hard part is keeping it clean and organized so I wanted to show you what it looks like several weeks after the initial cleaning and organization.

Of course now I'm thinking of all the ways I could improve this space even more.
Such as painting the dresser and putting some cool hardware on it, adding some pretty decorative baskets and boxes, etc.

It's so stylish and organized and I will probably be dreaming about this for weeks!
I am sure she will be posting soon about the DIY details and I can't wait to read all about them because usually her projects are pretty simple to do and are usually very affordable.

But, for now, I'm happy and content with my FREE closet makeover!

À la vie et à l'amour