Monday, February 25, 2013

Fabric Love {Mally Skok}

I tend to be drawn to fabrics that have a bit of an ethnic feel to them, so it's no surprise that I was delighted to recently come across the work of designer Mally Skok.  She designs wallpapers and fabrics, and I love that her designs come across as organic, earthy, and colorful all at the same time.

Source: via Anne on Pinterest</ div>


Of course someone as talented as herself sells her textiles to the trade only, and I would imagine her fabric is easily priced at over $100/yd.  As I looked through her portfolio, I couldn't help but think I had seen similar designs while perusing eBay.

As it turns out Heritage Trading Company (I got the trim I blogged about here from them as well) does sell a number of globally-inspired fabrics that have been produced by the technique known as hand block printing in India.  Now, these designs are printed on a lightweight cotton, whereas I believe Mally Skok's lines incorporate higher end materials such as linen and silk.  Nevertheless, most everything I found on eBay came in at well under $10/yd!

Here are a few that I think come pretty close if you are after the look of the higher end fabric but can't pay the price tag.

This guy...(available for purchase here)
Source: via Anne on Pinterest

Reminds me of this one from Mally Skok:

I feel like this one (buy it here)
Source: via Anne on Pinterest

has a similar feel to this higher priced fabric:

This sweet pink would look cute in a girl's room. For drapes or roman shades maybe? Or a crib skirt?! (purchase it here)
Source: via Anne on Pinterest

and it reminds me of this one from Mally Skok

Lastly, this one is fun (buy it here)
Source: via Anne on Pinterest

and the colors are spot on for this design by Mally Skok!

So what do you think?  I'd love to see some of the Heritage Trading Company fabrics in person...

*All images of Mally Skok fabric taken from her website (where you can also find more beautiful fabric and images from her design portfolio).

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Big Changes, Small Changes

Let's discuss the big changes first, shall we?  Today was a big day.  My husband and I exchanged these text messages:

We had been texting earlier in the day...Then, out of nowhere, I get the "Do you want to know where we're going?" text!

This was of course referring to the fact that he had finally been informed of where we would be moving come August when his residency here in Illinois is over.  Travis Air Force Base in California it is!  Wow!  I am processing and trying to let the reality of this sink in.  I am excited!  Admittedly, a little disappointed that we did not get our top picks in England, Germany or Italy.  But hey, California!  Bring it, I say!    The closest city to the base is Fairfield, California and I believe the base isn't too far from Napa (which sounds real good).  Looks like it's about an hour from San Francisco and Sacramento.  We will likely be there for three to four years, our kids will start school here, we will experience a lot of life here.  I can say I am just very glad to know where we are headed.  Now I can begin to picture what life may look like (though really, what do I know?) and ask God to prepare a place for us there.  We have truly been so blessed here in Illinois.  If we are able to meet and get to know people that are anything like those we now know here, I will be so thankful.

Does it seem rather strange to jump from news like this to silly little changes around our house?  Maybe, but small as they may be, they really do my heart good.  When so much is uncertain when you're moving around a lot, I find that looking for beauty in things like fresh flowers in the bathroom and monogrammed towels brings me a bit of joy.  And so I will share it.

Remember that photo I showed you?  The one with the bathroom that was all sorts of beige and blah?

Yes, well it's still the same bathroom, but I like being in there much more now.

I just adore my new towels.  So impressed with the quality and price.  Well done, Horchow.

I have also been loving the bright pops of emerald green (Pantone, I feel you and your color of the year!) and navy in the rug that I found at TJMaxx for a song.

The mirror I've had (purchased at Ross a couple years ago), and I was quite pleased with how it not only filled that large wall above the tub so well, but its shape echos the curves in the rug's pattern.  Meant to be!

Of course I always have fresh flowers in my bathroom!  You don't? :)

Oh, and I ended up going with this style monogram because I decided that it too worked nicely with the shape of the mirror and the pattern in the rug.  I am so happy with these towels.  Who would have thought towels with letters on them could make a girl so happy?

Actually, I was so pleased with my order that I placed a second one for some hand towels for our downstairs hall bath.  I knew I wanted to do a more angular style font in this case, but I spent forever trying to decide on a color (I know I made mention of pink!).  In the end, I went with black, and I am quite happy that I did.  I think it ties in nicely with the little rug (from Target) and provides some nice contrast to all the blues and greens in the art work and the beige on the floor.

I have never been quite sure why the designer of this house saw fit to include two long towel bars in a half bath.  Nevertheless, at least now I have two pretty towels hanging that make me happy.

Lastly, I spent yesterday's preschool hours whipping up a quick window treatment for Holland's room.  I know it's sort of ridiculous to work on something like this given that we just talked about how we'll be moving not too long from now.  But again, the process of creating beauty (or at least trying to!) is what I'm drawn to.

And so you could find me on the floor with some foam board, an exacto knife, and a staple gun following Jenny's oldie-but-a-goodie tutorial for quick DIY pelmet boxes.  It's really hard to photograph the windows in Holland's room with the light streaming in, so this little sneak peek will have to do.

As you can see, I used the yellow buffalo check I blogged about before...just not on her bolster pillows.  More details to come...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Liebster Award!

My friend, Chaney recently did me the honor of giving this new little blog of mine an award!  I am so touched!  It's called a Liebster Award, and apparently it's given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I'm told that  "Liebster" is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. 

How very fitting for the month of love, right?

In order to receive the award, recipients are supposed to:
-share 11 things about themselves
-answer the 11 questions asked of them by their tagger
-create 11 new questions to ask of the blogs they choose to tag
-choose and link to 11 bloggers
-go to their page and tell them
-no tagbacks!

So, if you are interested in learning all of these random bits of information as they apply to me, then read on.  If not, you may want to bow out now :)

1.  In my former life (aka. pre-children) I was a pharmaceutical sales representative.  It was really fun.

2. I love cities.  I love their energy, their architecture, their people, their sense of history.

3. Being a stay-at-home mom is more challenging to me than I expected it to be.  While I'm grateful for the opportunity to be home with my children, I've found that I like the structure and rhythm of having other types of things built into my life each week.  Still figuring this out.

Apparently, I really liked this shirt back in the fall of 2011. {photo by Amy Robinson}
4. I love all four seasons.  And I prefer that the weather be appropriate for each season.  I think a really warm day in the winter is fun once in a while, but I'd rather have a cold winter, so that I truly appreciate the warm spring (and the hot summer, and the cool fall of course.)

5.  I'm passionate about natural birth.  My daughter was born at home, and I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

6. My husband and I like to watch tv shows together.  I have a tendency to become obsessed with whatever our current show is.  Right now, it's Downton Abbey.  This is what I have learned to repeat to myself (in my head, of course), "Anne, this is a tv show.  There are cameras all around.  These people are actors and they have real lives.  It's not 1920.  Get a grip."  

7.  My youngest brother has a rare chromosome disorder called Ring 10, which basically means he's developmentally delayed and has autistic tendencies.  He is sweet (and stubborn!) and no doubt shaped my childhood in a very unique way.

My brothers, Taylor, Graham, and Andrew (June 2011).  Aren't they a handsome bunch?
8.  I love reading interior design blogs.  I gave it up for Lent several years ago and swore I'd never do something so crazy again :)

9.  I have exercise-induced urticaria.  What this means is that if I don't take a zyrtec every couple days, I will begin to itch to the point that I have to stop exercising.  It's really annoying, and I know it sounds completely bizarre.

10.  Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer until I left for college.  I still really love to push myself physically, and I've realized I actually require this, if for no other reason than to preserve my mental health!

11. I love sweets and I find it nearly impossible to turn down a free sample.

These were consumed very quickly.  And alarmingly, my husband and I were the only ones to blame.  

My answers to Chaney's questions:

1.  Why did you start blogging?

After my kids were born, I blogged off and on, mostly about my life as a mom.  It took me a while to realize that this didn't totally do it for me.  What I mean is, blogging about motherhood didn't fully represent where my heart is.  I wanted a creative outlet that might help me understand other (new?) parts of myself I hadn't really considered before.  Is that answer too deep?  Here's a shorter version--I really love decorating and thinking about interior design, so I thought, why not try writing about it :)  

2. What's your favorite song to blast on the radio right now?

I'm loving the new releases from the band 'Fun' as well as the new stuff from Mumford & Sons.

3.  Most embarrassing moment.

I don't know if this is my most embarrasing moment ever, but it's pretty classic.  Once, while at the beach, I was waiting with my family outside of a restaurant for a table to come open for us.  Windows lined the area where we were waiting and because there was a glare, it didn't occur to me that the people sitting right inside eating dinner would get a clear view of me checking to see if I had food in my teeth in the reflection!  Awesome.

4. Chocolate or fruity desserts?

Chocolate, hands down.  Though Ina's Raspberry Crumble Bars are off the chain.  (maybe we should classify them as breakfast since they have fruit, oatmeal, and nuts in them?!)

5.  What's your go to weeknight recipe?

Lately, I have been tearing through Ina's latest cookbook, Foolproof.  I've been pleasantly surprised at how many of the recipes are relatively simple and don't take hours to make.  With that said, during winter I am digging soups.  I love that they are one dish meals.  My son is allergic to about 18 foods, but I've found that a chicken broth base + beans + veggies + (chicken) sausage works for all of us.  Easy, filling, and flavorful!

6.  What's your dream vacation?

Six years ago, my husband and I took a ten day trip to Italy and France.  We saw lots of beautiful places, and I'd really like to go back.  I'd love to pick one place this time and just do day trips nearby.  Also, this vacation would not involve my children :)

Ah, youth.  
7.  What do you wish you had more time to do right now?

I've started helping a couple friends with decorating their homes, and I'd love to have more time to develop this.  I'm a perfectionist, so if I'm going to do something I want to do it right, and this of course takes time.

Fabrics for my neighbor's living room.  
8.  What's your favorite place you've lived?

I have to say Charlottesville during college.  Would I love it as much as an adult far removed from college life?  One can hope.  We really loved the four years we spent in Richmond, Va too.

9.  Dogs or cats?

I'm torn on this.  I grew up loving cats (I once took in an orphaned cat and named her "Ness" because of her "Friendliness".  Don't you love that creativity?  It was actually my grandmother's idea.  My husband thinks this is ridiculous), but then we got a dog when I was in high school, and I love her.

10.  Describe yourself in five words.

Yikes. This seems daunting.  Hmm. Let's see.  Passionate.  Honest.  Driven.  Extroverted.  Resourceful.  (Full disclosure:  I asked my husband and two close friends what they thought.  My five words are a combination of their responses :)

11.  What's your biggest pet peeve?

Can I give two? (because that's charming, right?)

1.  When people park their cars with no regard for how much unnecessary space they are taking.  Specifically, with parallel parking, I'm like, "come on, pull all the way up to the car in front of you!"
2.  Blinds that are closed during the day.  Unless there is a legitimate reason why you need your privacy, I think it feels depressing to be in the house with the blinds closed, and you look like a shut-in from the outside.

Finally, I'm tagging these blogs.

The Fife Family
The Reppard Crew
Tidbits of My Life
To Be Loved by You
Boots & Totty
Not My Own
Made In Richmond
Far East Street

Here are their questions:

1. If you had $250 to spend on whatever you like (paying off bills does not count) how would you spend it?

2.  What is one thing about your life that you hope is the same in five years as it is now?

3.  What is one thing about your life that you hope will be different five years from now?

4.  Books or magazines?

5.  Favorite way to spend an evening?

6.  Who (or what) inspires you and why.

7.  The last movie you saw?

8.  Tell us the thing about which you're most sentimental.

9.  What's your favorite season?

10.  Share a hidden talent you have.

11.  What's one of the scariest things you've ever done?

I can't wait to read your answers :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Highlights

It's been a whirlwind of a week.  Lots of baking and crafting and general Valentine's prep.  I did end up  adding a bit of v-day cheer around the house.

I made the wreath I talked about here.  With the exception of the fact that it is way too small for our front door, I think it turned out pretty cute!

I also whipped up a little love garland (banner?  what do you call these things?).  I was inspired by an instagram picture from Tessa.

I simply tied ribbon through holes in pre-cut felt hearts and strung them all together  with some twine.

I love that when it comes to Valentine's decorating, it's actually ok if your decor looks like a five-year old could have made it :)

My favorite little kitchen assistant and I made cookies that were allergy free!

He loved them, which made this mama so very happy.

This little girl is serious about her coloring.

These little nuggets of heaven arrived in the mail courtesy of Philip's parents.  What a treat!

Of course yesterday morning was spent with me scurrying around like a crazy person to finish up the valentines we made for our friends.
I am not a really crafty person by nature.  I like to decorate yes, and I appreciate a bargain, so this can lead to attempts at craftiness.  That being said, these were really easy to make, and my kids both enjoyed helping, which is supposed to be the point, right? :)  Idea here

While my little people were at school, my husband was kind enough to arrange this for me.

My dad sent me tulips! (and a sweet little orchid for Miss Holland)

We capped off the day with a date on the town.

I hope you also had a great Valentine's Day and felt loved and cherished!  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thrifted China Cabinet {Before & After}

One day, nearly a good two years ago, I happened upon a china cabinet in my favorite Richmond thrift store, Fantastic Thrift.  I was immediately drawn to its Hollywood Regency style with its pretty little faux bamboo details.  So we're clear, it's actually not a high end piece of furniture--it's more of a pressed wood and not really solid wood, but nevertheless I thought it had potential, and it was only 50 bucks.

Now, I do not always think it fitting to paint over wood.  However, in this case, there was really no other way.  There was literally a chunk taken out of one of the corners (seriously I think it may have been from a dog or something?  so gross)  and the back of the piece had a little hole in it too.

I used some wood filler to try and rebuild the gnawed off corner.  I didn't really do an awesome job. 
After a good priming.  Normally, when I use a 'paint and primer in one' product, I don't do an initial priming coat.  Given that this piece wasn't solid wood, I thought it could use all the help it could get.
I debated about what route to go with painting it.  I thought about doing a bright glossy color.  I considered covering the back with some pretty paper (this store has lots of beautiful options!).  In the end, though I stayed pretty classic, and I really like how it turned out.

I apologize for the glare in the photos, but I didn't know how to avoid it!

The transformation of the hardware is maybe my favorite part of this project.  It looked as though they were brass, so I did a quick test to see if they were solid brass or brass-plate.  All you need to do to determine this is touch the piece to a magnet.  If the hardware sticks, it's brass-plate; if not, it's solid brass.  In this case, the knobs and ring pulls were solid brass and the hinges were brass plate.

This is what the hardware looked like originally.

To clean up these diamonds in the rough I soaked the hardware in Brasso for a couple hours.  I was a bit alarmed when I returned to see what had transpired...

After (too much?) soaking, you can see how the hinge's brass plating had worn off.

But after a little extra elbow grease, the solid brass pulls looked fantastic!  I love the patina.

Since I needed to fake the brass look with my hinges, I sprayed them with this, and it is quite hard to tell that they're not real brass!  Centsational Girl has a great post about testing for brass, cleaning it, and faking it with spray paint.  Read that here.

After their paint job.  

I ended up choosing to cover the back of the cabinet with some black and white houndstooth fabric that I already had.  I really like how it reads neutral, yet still adds a bit of interest.  The combination of the houndstooth, the black paint and the brass hardware just seems fitting too, given my obsession love of Downton Abbey and all things English :)

Adding fabric to the back was very simple.  After measuring and cutting my pieces, I just sprayed the back of the fabric with a spray adhesive (available at fabric stores) that could be repositioned if needed.

Humor me with one last before and after picture, because it really is so satisfying :)

Since I already had some of the supplies on hand, the total cost of this project came in at well under $70.  Now, if we end up moving to Europe this summer like we're hoping (I hope to have more details to share soon!), I can't promise I won't trade this guy in for a legit antique, but for now, I'm quite happy with it :)

*post edit:  I forgot to mention that I painted the inside of the lower half a happy color, just for a little fun surprise!