Entries Tagged as 'Living'

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wall

Friday, February 17, 2017

We have had our chalkboard wall since we’ve owned this house.  I’ve loved the idea even before having one.  However, over the last few years I’ve sort of tired of the whole chalkboard thing.  That was until I saw Amanda’s on Perfectly Imperfect Living.  I had seen the checkerboard calendar idea on Martha Stewart for an office, but I never really thought about making our current wall into a checkerboard chalk wall.  A few Saturdays ago I mentioned it to Brent without much reaction.  Then a few hours later over lunch I showed him Amanda’s.  Well, that was it.  We went to our local paint store and chose four shades of Benjamin Moore black and gray from the paint chips.  You can actually make any color you want in chalkboard paint now, but you probably already knew that!  Of course I stuck with shades of gray and black because basically our entire house is black and white.

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wall

Once we decided on the size of the squares we wanted, Brent used a regular pencil and a yardstick to draw the lines.  We then went back and numbered from one to four assigning each of our paints a number.  Then he started taping.  As soon as he was done with one color he removed the tape and waited until it was completely dry before taping the next set.  The entire project from start to finish took about four hours.  We used Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint, a new Purdy brush and green Frogtape.  All together we spent just under $100.  I think it is visually so much more interesting than just a plain black wall.  Plus it’s fun to add things to the calendar.  Of course we all use digital calendars, but there’s something about a calendar that’s right there in front of you.

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wall

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wall

Paint colors by Benjamin Moore:  Raccoon Fur, Gray, Steel Wool, Black Beauty.

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wall

DIY Checkerboard Chalkboard Wal

DIY Chalkboard Wall + Quince Branches

Sources & Supplies

Kitchen Island from Williams Sonoma – Ours is no longer available, but this one is similar.

Lowell Pendants and hooks at end of island from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

Palmetto Vase from Crate & Barrel

Enzo Mari Apple & Pear Poster available here.

Purdy Paint Brush

Frogtape

Benjamin Moore Chalkboard paint

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Dreaming + Summer Vacation

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dreaming + Summer vacation–It’s mid February and that means one thing—It’s time to start thinking about summer travel.  It might be that’s it’s cold and dreary, but about this time of year I can’t help but thinking about a big family vacation.  Our kids are seniors– 17 and 22 so for the last several years I keep thinking this is the last one.  And if this is the last big one, it has to be great.  It’s never gonna be the last family vacation.  I’ve been told that if we keep paying, they’ll keep coming along.  Sometimes we have so much fun that we keep going back to the same place.

Tuscany, Italy

Borgo Scopeto Relais is one of those places.  We discovered Borgo through a google search after seeing the adorable movie, Letters to Juliet back in 2010. When we realized the hotel near Siena depicted in the movie was actually a real hotel and not just a movie set, we made a reservation.  And as beautiful as it is in the movie—it’s even better in person.

 

The Hills of Tuscany, Italy

Sunset in Tuscany with views of Siena

It’s easy to see why so many artist are in love with Tuscany.  The light is amazing.  We chased the sunset on many nights winding through country roads in search of the perfect opening at the highest point.  We found fields of sunflowers and lavender.

Driving through Tuscany

All roads lead to gelato in Florence, Italy

All roads lead to gelato while sightseeing in Florence.

The hills of Tuscany in August

I’m not sure the time of year the movie was filmed, but I have a feeling it was July/August because every where we went looked like we driving through the movie.

Sunflowers in Tuscany

The cottage at Borgo Scopeto Relais

Borgo Scopto Relais

Borgo Scopeto Relais

Borgo Scopeto Relais

Borgo Scopeto Relais is what led us to this spot in Tuscany in the first place.  This place is so special.  You can read about the history here.

We stayed in a cottage and the kids shared a room in the main building.   It’s quiet and around every corner there are amazing views of Siena.  You can use their mountain bikes to ride through the vineyards, or play tennis and of course in August, the pools are inviting.  Resort time sprinkled in with a little sightseeing makes for a perfect vacation.

Tuscany

Last year we discovered the cemetery that was in the film while driving around at sunset.  A little further down the road we found the perfect spot for dinner.  It’s called Osteria Cacio e Pepe.  As you might guess, their signature dish is a bowl of cacio e pepe.  It might be the best bowl of simple pasta ever.  Under string lights overlooking a vineyard at sunset with my favorite people.  I love family vacations!

Osterio Cacio e Pepe in Tuscany

Sunset over Tuscany

A cappucino in San Gimignano at dusk

Tuscany is one of our favorites destinations and one we keep going back to—creating different memories each time.  What’s your favorite place?  Do you keep going back or are you on to the next adventure?

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Friday Link Love + Painted Stone Fireplace

My most popular post on this blog and on my Pinterest has to do with painting our stone fireplace.  I have loved getting all your emails and photos of your stone fireplaces.  And know that any advice given is with a lot of consideration.   Painting brick or stone is fairly permanent and of course I don’t want to steer any one in the wrong direction.  I have seen some pretty terrible before photos and and have loved seeing your photos after you tackled the project.  Keep them coming—one day I would love to share everyone’s before and after fireplaces.  Send me your photos and permission if you want to share!  See our before at the bottom of this post.  (it’s from the real estate brochure).

Here’s a few things I’ve seen this week that I thought you might like:

This article about Math has you thinking about it in maybe a whole new way.

Now that I’m working part-time I don’t always have the time to do yoga or bar method classes.  Even though a class is only 60-75 minutes, it’s the planning your schedule around it, driving to the class and then home again. I still do classes at least twice a week, but the other days I mix in strength training with resistance bands.  I bought these.  Perfect for travel too.

And while we are talking about health and fitness, is stretching the new fitness fad?  Read this article.  They talk about it in years.  As in–how old are you in flexibility years?

Clutter can really weigh us down.  I know last year the craze was all about the Tidying up Book.  But what if you’re just not ready for that?  Here’s another way looking at de-cluttering that makes a lot of sense.  And at the end the year if you follow this plan you’ll have rid yourself 1,825 items.  isn’t that crazy to think about?

So I think this weekend I’ll get rid of 10 items.  That doesn’t seem so hard.  Hope you have a lovely weekend!  xo annie

Before (from real esate brochure)

This photo shows the fireplace before it was painted.  Photo is from the real estate brochure.

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Friday Link Love starts with hot tea

Friday, February 3, 2017

 

Friday Link Love Starts with hot tea + SMEG

Friday Link Love starts with how much I love our  new tea kettle from SMEG.  We drink a lot of tea around here.  We have used a kettle on the stove forever.  Years ago my friend Gemma from the UK couldn’t believe we still made it that way.  I think it’s because I could never find an electric kettle that I liked.  But that was before I found this one by SMEG.

Working Out —in a Museum – This is brilliant.  And all before the Met even opens its doors in the morning.   It’s a 45 minute workout with music and moves through an otherwise quiet time of day at the museum.  You’ll end up in The American Wing where you’ll nosh on crusty bread and butter, coffee and clementines.

Make this simple pasta on a busy weeknight or anytime you’re craving pasta.

It may be early February, but it’s not too early to start thinking about outdoor patio weather once you’ve seen these chairs on Emily Henderson’s former deck.

Emily Henderson's Former LA Deck

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 I’ll mix in my favorite outdoor pillows from Serena & Lily.

I’ll be making this baked camembert on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ever since I started making almond butter I’ve been searching for more recipes using nut butters.  I’ll be trying this one for Flourless Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies today.

The View From Great Island

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Searching for the perfect Valentine gift?  Original art is always a good idea.  Like this one titled “Somewhere Sweet” by Lizzy Ragsdale and available in her online shop.  Or commission a painting of a favorite place like this one.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing up here and reading MLT. I love getting your emails about everything from the perfect white paint to coffee shop recommendations.  xo annie

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7 mirrors to mix up your style

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I love to mix styles in home design.  Modern with traditional, bohemian with modern and a little modern with cottage.  Mixing styles gives it a more layered and collected feel.  I never want my home to look like a catalog, but I also don’t want it to look like a flea market.  One way to add in a different style is with a mirror.  We have a traditional style home built in 1900.  I can’t go completely modern, but we have a pair of Knoll Barcelona chairs that we need to work around.  We added the Lanai mirror from Serena & Lily.  It softens the look and stark lines of the black Barcelona chairs while adding almost a Bohemian feel to it.  The pillows I chose for this area are also from Serena & Lily and have that same Boho look without going over board.

I like to have one thrifted or flea market piece in each area or room.  One big item like this trunk, then that’s it for this area. Otherwise it starts feeling and looking like a thrift shop.  Initially we had an ornate vintage mirror (from a flea market) and ornate sconces that came with the house.  It was just too much.  The Lanai mirror and the new sconces make the whole room look more pulled together.  I used off-white planters/pots from Terrain from the same collection to down play the flea market trunk.  The Natural Tree Stump side table is from west elm.  It started out in Madeline’s room years ago and has since made its way to the living room.  I like the look of nature that along with a few houseplants brings to a room.

  1.  Serena & Lily Lanai Mirror  2. Serena & Lily  Montara Mirror  3.  Serena & Lily Mosaic Mirror  4.  Anthropologie Barton Mirror  5.  Anthropologie Ruvima Mirror  6.  Wayfair Kenitra Arch Mirror  7.  Serena & Lily Ojai Mirror

These are some of my favorite mirrors that I keep pinning over and over.  How did we live without Pinterest to keep our inspiration and ideas all in one place?  I still have my binders of ripped out magazine pages, but by now most of those pages have ended up on my Pinterest boards–which according to my Pinterest analytics reaches way over a million people each month.  You can look at my Pinterest right here.

The Lanai mirror can be hung vertical or horizontal.  The hardware on the back of the mirror provides both options.  We tried it above our fireplace first and needed to move the hardware on the back.  Using a power drill we were able to easily move the hardware and add picture frame wire to hang on the existing screw already in the stone on the fireplace.  Ultimately we decided to hang the mirror in the front room of the house.

                                                                                       via

I love this quote by Charlotte Moss.  We are just all creating stories–one mirror, chair, trunk, sconce at a time.  What’s your story?

This post is a product review for the Lanai Mirror.  All words and opinions are my own.  I thank you for supporting the brands that keep fresh content on MLT.

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DIY Valentine Art + Lucite Frames

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

DIY Valentine Art + Lucite Frames

Here is a simple project for diy Valentine art using lucite frames. I love these Lucite frames from Crate & Barrel.  For the large piece I cut the watercolor paper to the right size (6 x 8) and then painted stripes.  I usually paint and then cut the paper, but I wanted it to look like it was for this specific piece.  For the small frame, I used a heart punch and cut out hearts creating tiny abstract hearts as you move around the paper.  I’ve saved “love notes” from my kids over the years.  These of course were from when they were tiny—and they make me so happy.  So why not preserve them and frame them?  Together they create a little Valentine art.

DIY Valentine Art

Paint stripes or an abstract on paper cut to fit the frame.

DIY Valentine Art

With the leftover scraps, cut out hearts using the punch.  As you cut one row, cut the paper and start again moving and rotating the punch in different directions to create unique painted hearts like these.

DIY Valentine Art + Lucite Frames

These Lucite Frames come in several sizes and it takes about 2 seconds to frame a piece of art, notes, cards or photos.  It’s easy to change them out and mix things up.

DIY Valentine Art + Lucite Frames

DIY Valentine Art + Painted Stone Fireplace

Having a black and white house makes it especially easy to decorate for any holiday.  I always use Cloud White Paint by Benjamin Moore and you can read more about our painted stone fireplace here and here.

 

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7 ingredient healthy cookies

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

7 ingredient healthy cookies

When Madeline was home over the holidays she was baking and cooking up a storm–and using things I typically don’t have on hand.  Nothing fancy, but not stuff I generally use–almond butter was one of those items.  I’m always reading labels and trying to use less processed foods.  So when we first started using Almond butter we bought it.  It’s expensive and processed, so I thought, why not make it?  Have you tried making it? It’s super easy, but takes a lot of waiting time.  I looked at quite a few recipes and then decided to trust this recipe from  The Pioneer Woman.   She soaks hers overnight and then gives them a quick rinse.  She then instructs you to bake them overnight at a really low temperature.  Once you have your dried out almonds, you’re all set to make almond butter.  Everyone says you don’t have to use a food processor–yes, you do.  I’ve never had a blender that could do this job.  When you first pulse the almonds, it will give you a fright, it’s so loud!   It takes several minutes and a few times scraping down the sides with a spatula, but then it starts to come together and before you know it, you have a ball of almond butter.  See below.

7 ingredient healthy cookies

To make 12 Healthy Cookies:

1 cup of almond butter

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

2 ripe bananas mashed with a fork

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh blueberries

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the blueberries.  Once everything is mixed, fold in the blueberries.  Use a large ice cream scoop with a release to make 12 same size cookies.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  They do not spread out so they can be fairly close together.  You may want to press down with the bottom of a glass to flatten slightly.  Bake at 275º for at least 15-18 minutes.  It seems long, but they need extra time at a lower temperature so they do not burn.  They are pretty dense.  Take out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.  When completely cool, wrap individually and store in refrigerator.  They are so good with a little scoop of vanilla yogurt.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

7 ingredient healthy cookies and greek yogurt

Almond Butter:  We used a large bag of Almonds from Costco.  We soaked them overnight and then in the morning we rinsed them and baked them at 150º for at least 8 hours.  Once you have soaked, rinsed and baked, you’re all set to make almond butter.

How to make almond butter

How to make almond butter

How to make almond butter

How to make almond butter

How to make almond butter

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DIY Valentine’s Day Cards

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I grew up where every holiday meant a Hallmark greeting card.  There is nothing wrong with a store bought card, but why not make them?  This year I saw that Dunkin Donuts has new premium teas and one called Hibiscus Kiss.   I purchased a box and then got out my watercolor paints.

DIY Valentine Cards + Dunkin Donuts Premium Teas

DIY Valentine's Day Card

Using inexpensive watercolors and watercolor paper, I quickly painted messy stripes in shades of pink on both sides of the paper.

DIY Valentine's Day Card

Once the paper was dry I went back and in some blank spaces added the Happy Valentine’s Day message.  I used this pen in a very narrow tip kind of like I did here.

DIY Valentines's Day Cards

I use a fiskar’s paper cutter to trim the card and a heart punch to make watercolor hearts.  Each one is unique.  You can move the heart punch around the paper to create your little abstract painted heart.

DIY Valentine's Day Cards

Put a packet of Dunkin Donuts Hibiscus Kiss Tea, a watercolor note and some hearts in an envelope and send to your Valentine.  I used envelopes that I already had and so each “card” was less than a dollar.  Way less than a store bought card and you really put your heart into making them!  Add an address label from tinyprints and a love stamp and pop them in the mail.

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Friday Link Love

Friday, January 27, 2017

It’s time for Friday Link Love.  I cannot believe how fast the weeks are going by.  It’s almost February and we’ve barely had Winter.  This weeks cover of The New Yorker makes me want snow!

The New Yorker and Coffee

1. I was intrigued (as I often am) with the cover art of The New Yorker.  It has this wonderful timeless feel to it.  And here’s an animated version which is utterly charming.  When I researched the artist, Gayle Kabaker, I discovered her collaborative Women’s March poster which is so cool.

Most Lovely Things Kitchen Banquette

2. Brooke from Nesting with Grace wrote about Banquettes and was kind of enough to include ours in her roundup of favorites. What I love about having a banquette is that there’s always room for a couple more.  Especially when kids are little, you can really pack them in!  Our kitchen in California was open under it and I liked that feel to it.  In our current kitchen it’s more like a box.  Brooke is designing hers with storage which makes a lot of sense.  Read more here.

3. I adore this sweet original art from Holly Addi.  It’s perfect for a nursery or really anywhere.  Like maybe my kitchen.

4. My sister told me about a recipe from Food52 that uses leftovers.  Everyone needs a recipe like that once in awhile.  You can find it right here.

Gallery Wall by Small Acorns Amanda

via

5. You know those instagram accounts that as soon as you land on their feed, you know it has to be them?  For me that account is Small Acorns Amanda.  Amanda has a shop in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shows snippets of her home, shop, foraged finds and the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand.  She’s warm, funny and has the most incredible eye for lovely things.  If you don’t already follow her, may I suggest that you do? For your daily dose of lovely?  You can find Amanda here, here and here!

Ludlow Coffee Supply NYC

6. A favorite coffee shop this week is Ludlow Coffee Supply, Lower East Side, New York, NY

A few Sprigs from an olive tree in Tuscany

7. On Trend–Olive Trees.  Jen from City Farmhouse has an interesting post on Design Trends.  Apparently the fig tree is out and olive trees are in.  I love olive trees.  The silvery green slender leaf is always recognizable.  I tried to find one at Terrain this week, but my memory from last August in Tuscany will have to do until I can track one down.  Have a great weekend and stay cozy!  xo annie

 

 

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Favorite Dining Room Chandeliers

Thursday, January 26, 2017

When it comes to dining room chandeliers, less is more is my approach.  I’ve learned my lesson with glass chandeliers.  We have a very simple one in our entry and it takes a lot of work to keep it sparkling.  I love the look of lanterns for the kitchen and dining room, but keeping them clean would drive me crazy.  For the dining room I wanted something big, but super simple.  Serena & Lily has a few of my favorites.  The best part is that they range in price from about $250 to $500.

Serena & Lily Chandeliers

  1. Hermosa Pendant 2.  Capiz Scalloped Chandelier  3.  Capiz Honeycomb Chandelier  4.  Santa Barbara Pendant  5.  Yountville Woven Abaca Pendant

I like natural rattan, but the black Santa Barbara pendant was what we chose. Our house is old and the dining room is fairly small.  This pendant fills the space and makes it a little modern.  Having a small pendant in a small room makes the room look—well, small.  A big pendant calls for a big light bulb like this one from west elm.  And of course on a dimmer.  The Santa Barbara Pendant gives a laid back look which is perfect for our house and family.  The Yountville is quite large and would fill a two story entry or stairway in beach house in the best possible way.  I have my eye on the small Capiz Chandelier for above our white Saarinen table.  The light from a globe like the Capiz fills the room with nice soft lighting.  So what do you think of woven pendants for the dining room?  Too casual?  Or just right?

Most Lovely Things Dining Room

Yesterday I went to Terrain to look for a small olive tree or something for the dining room table.  I ended up with one tiny Maidenhair fern and then stopped at Trader Joe’s to fill a bowl with winter citrus.

Winter Citrus on the dining room table

 

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