Entries Tagged as 'Living'

DIY Dorm Decor

Friday, August 19, 2016

Every year Madeline and I come up with some pretty cool ideas for the walls of her dorm room, but this year….I have to say, it might be our best work.  On Wednesday we were in the city doing our coffee shop thing* and ended up at one of our favorite spots for lunch.  While we had coffee and avocado toast we started looking around at the cool art at Two Hands on Mott Street.  It was basically photographs of water with text added to the photos.  I snapped a few pics and the rest of the afternoon I searched apps and photos on my phones getting ideas.  Turns out I have over 41,000 photos on my phone.  probably not a good idea, but I scrolled way back to when we were still living in Southern California and found several photos of water and waves.  I cropped out the beach and the horizon so I had just the water.  I also used a photo that I took as we walked over the Seine last fall when I visited her in France during her semester abroad.  So now that I had meaningful photos of water, I used apps to create the “art.”  I used the Phonto app to add the text like California and 2017 which represents her graduation year.  Then I used the A Beautiful Mess app and selected a diamond shape from their Doodles and spaced them out over water.  Why the diamond shape and California?  Diamond is our last name and Madeline was born in California and we lived there during most of her high school years.  For the last one we used the ABM app to create a repeating pattern of x’s and o’s just for fun.

DIY Dorm Decor

DIY Dorm Decor

DIY Dorm Decor

I’m hoping to update this post with a photo of how Madeline uses them in her dorm room.  In the future we may play around with these a bit and actually frame them in something like the Marin frame from Framebridge.  For now she will use 3m poster strips to hang the 16 X 20 photos from Costco.  Total cost for four $28.  We picked ours up at our local Costco store, but you could have them sent directly to your college student.  (Below is a photo of the art at Two Hands that inspired the whole project).

DIY Dorm Decor

*Are you following us on instagram at CoffeeShopsofNewYork ?

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Last winter Charlotte of Ciburbanity got a group of bloggers together to help design the interior spaces of a Habitat for Humanity House in a small Connecticut town.  I worked with my neighbor Kris of Driven by Decor on the kitchen and dining room.  Kris and I were able to meet with the homeowner in the space while it was still under construction.   With the help of Pinterest we were able to share ideas for inspiration.  After our first meeting, it was apparent that she liked farmhouse with a bit of industrial feel.  The fist thing I thought of were the crates that Kris has in her own kitchen.   The homeowner wanted a farmhouse table.   The Ikea table fits in the space beautifully and the color is actually the same as the wooden beam just above the dining area.  It has the ability to open into a larger table to seat 6 or 8.  The counter tops are mostly black and so we went with black chairs donated by Wayfair and accessories from Ikea really pulled the look together.  For a complete list of sources see below and click on the blog names to see the rest of the house.

Habitat for Humanity + Bloggers + Design

Habitat for Humanity + Bloggers + Design

Habitat for Humanity + Bloggers + Design

Bloggers Heart Humanity was the idea of Charlotte’s and we could not have done it without these generous sponsors and the bloggers who put their time and creative energy into turning a house into a home for a very sweet family.

Hometalk – They gave us a cash donation.  In our case, we were able to take that money and spend it at Ikea on a table that’s perfect for the family and space and things like the black dishes, silverware and a few other accessories.

Wayfair – They gave us generous gift cards that we could use for anything on their site…which as we all know, Wayfair has everything you need!  We used the gift cards to purchase the black dining chairs and the three piece deck set which is right off the kitchen.  The black hanging pendant above the dining table is also from Wayfair!

Connecticut Lighting Center

Anchor Hocking – We used glass canisters, coffee mugs, glassware, salt and pepper, sugar and creamer, and a coffee canister all from Anchor Hocking. We used pantry labels from The Creativity Exchange that you can download for free.

I think the crates donated by Farmhouse Wares sets the look for the entire space.

Now head over to these bloggers and see the rest of the house!

Master Bedroom – Charlotte Ciburbanity, Bee Windgate Lane, Jillian I am a Homemaker

Entry, mudroom and bathrooms – Sarah and Nick The Nesters

Living Room – Laura Finding Home Farms, Jaime That’s My Letter

Kitchen and dining room – Kris Driven by Decor

Teen Room – Michelle Weekend Craft  Stephanie Sandpaper and Glue

Guest Room – Evey Evey’s Creations  Lynn On Fern Avenue

Kids Room – Kristin A Thrifter in Disguise

Thanks Charlotte for being the organizer, cheerleader and person that gets it done!  I am beyond thrilled that I had the opportunity to participate and also the chance to work with Kris!  Thanks everyone!

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DIY Terrariums

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Making DIY terrariums is one of those things that kids and people of all ages enjoy making.  I often pop in to Terrain in Westport, Connecticut and see the terrarium making workshops.  They are quite popular!  Earlier this week I had the chance to make terrariums with Brooke of  Nesting With Grace and her little girls.  The girls are reading the Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff.  The terrarium project was a culminating activity.

DIY Terrariums

DIY Terrariums

DIY Terraiums

DIY Terrariums

DIY Terrariums

Here’s what you need to make terrariums:

A glass jar with a lid (I think the Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Jars are perfect and they come in several sizes).  The lids are all glass and not air tight so your plants will be very happy.

soil

rocks and small stones

moss (I collected moss from our stone walls)

tiny plants

Woodland animals and mushrooms

A plant mister to mist your terrarium

Tiny  (battery operated) strand of lights for a touch of magic

DIY Terrariums

We had perfect weather for making terrariums in the backyard.  There was a little cloud cover.   As the terrarium making progressed it got darker and darker.   Once we brought the terrariums indoors and cleaned up, it began to pour rain.  Ella carefully turned out the lights in the terrariums and we moved inside for lemonade and Madeleines.

Thank you Brooke, Ella, Lola and Finn!  Come back soon!

DIY Terrariums

 

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Choosing Houseplants

Friday, July 8, 2016

I’ve always had house plants, but ever since Pinterest came on the scene, I have more plants than ever before.  Seeing a room without plants now seems like there’s something missing.  Not only does it add something living (obviously) to a room, but it also adds something not too perfect.  Which brings me to fake plants.  I just can’t do it.  I know, I know they are practical and they make them so good they even have less than perfect leaves to make them look real, but still, I like real ones.  Here’s a look at my favorite houseplants at the moment.

Choosing Houseplants

Am I missing any good ones?  Do you talk to your plants? I don’t talk to them, but there may be some name calling.  See if you agree with the names I give my plants:  The Work Horse, The Popular One, The Don’t Bother Me, I’m Fine, The Prim & Proper Topiary, The Messy, but Reliable Fern and The High Maintenance Maidenhair Fern.

Choosing Houseplants

The Work Horse – More commonly known as the Pothos.  It is impossible to kill these plants.  You can forget to water them, never replant to a larger container and still they thrive.

Choosing Houseplants

The Messy, but Reliable Fern, more commonly known as the Boston Fern.  I have ferns outside in my planters on the porch and one inside doing a pretty swell job of hiding my gas logs for the summer.  They tend to drop leaves, but pretty easy to clean up and they are inexpensive for such a large plant.

Choosing Houseplants

The High Maintenance, but thinks she’s low Maintenance Maidenhair Fern.  My most favorite plant, but not the easiest to keep looking fresh and beautiful like this one.  I can justify buying them because they last way longer than fresh flowers.  To keep them looking lovely for as long as possible, they prefer indirect light and a light mist almost every day.  Keep the soil moist, but not drenched.

Choosing Houseplants

The Don’t Bother me, I’m Fine –  Other names for this plant:  Snake plant and mother-in-laws tongue.  This plant can be in direct or indirect light, water it when you remember and it will be fine.  Basically, the opposite of the finicky Maidenhair Fern.

Choosing Houseplants

The Prim & Proper Topiary – I love my Myrtle Topiaries. They are precise, a little bit formal and always ready for a party.  I use them in place of flowers when setting the table and they look beautiful every time.  They are pretty low maintenance, but they do need to be watered almost daily when they are in small pots like these.

Choosing Houseplants

The Popular One –  I read people had trouble keeping fiddle leaf fig trees alive or how they brought theirs back from a single leaf.  My house is on the small side, so my plants need to be on their best behavior at all times.  I feed all of my plants about every other month with Miracle Gro and I use a Moisture Meter to make sure I’m not over watering.  My house gets about the average amount of light and everything thrives.  I think it’s a combination of feeding your plants and not over watering them. A common mistake, I suspect.  So….what are your tips on caring for houseplants and what’s your favorite?  Mine is the high maintenance, but thinks she’s low maintenance (the worst kind) Maidenhair Fern.  (Yes, that is a reference to When Harry Met Sally).

 

 

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Sorbet

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Have you ever made sorbet?  Well I hadn’t and it’s about the simplest thing to make. Ever.  I had a large bottle of POM juice that had been opened in the refrigerator for about a week and I wanted to use it before it went bad.  Then I remembered seeing a recipe for Pomegranate Sorbet on The View From Great Island.  Sue has the most amazing recipes, like this Colorful  Crostini.  But I digress, Sorbet is the simplest thing to make and it’s so refreshing.  Perfect for summer!

Sorbet

Sorbet

It’s so simple that it’s hardly even a recipe.  I used about two cups of POM juice and sweetened it with a little sugar, maybe 1/4 of a cup.  Mix it together and pour into a ziplock bag and then put it in something so that it will lay flat and freeze it for about three hours.  Then take the bag and cut it open and place the chunks into the bowl of a Cuisinart fitted with the steel blade.  Puree until it is perfectly smooth.  Take the puree and scoop it into a loaf pan and freeze overnight.

Sorbet

Sorbet in Glass Bowls with Monogram J

When you are ready to serve, freeze the bowls and if it’s really hot out, place the bowls on ice to keep them cold right until you are ready to serve.  Scoop the sorbet and add a sprig of mint and that’s it.  It’s sooooo good and refreshing.  I found these little glass bowls with a “J” while Madeline and I were out thrifting a while back.  They are the perfect size for a scoop of sorbet.  And since Janet from The Gardeners Cottage taught us all about thrifting, these are for you dear Janet! By the way…did you see Janet’s House featured in the March issue of Country Living? Her cottage is painted black–need I say more?

Summer Entertaining

Monday, June 20, 2016

One of the things I love most about summer is the ease and simplicity of entertaining.  We spent our summers in California and almost every night we would pack up an assortment of cheese, meat, crackers, dip, fruit, nuts…whatever we had in the pantry and the refrigerator and arrange it on a great big platter or cheeseboard.  We would throw on a tablecloth, light a few candles in lanterns and watch the sun dip into the Pacific.  Now that our kids are older we no longer leave for the summer, but we still enjoy a beautiful feast out on the patio around sunset.

I buy a few cheeses, almost always one that goes with a fig jam, peppers, Castelvetrano Olives, salami, cashews, tomatoes, crackers and bread and when I have time, I make Ina’s marinated artichoke hearts.

Antipast with Roasted Artichokes

Antipasto with Roasted Artichokes

ingredients for Roasted Artichoke Dressing

Antipasto with Roasted Artichoke Dressing

Ina Garten’s Roasted Artichokes, you can find the recipe right here.

Dana Point Sunset

Mary Ann in San Francisco just wrote a great post on the Best Party Platter complete with a shopping list and I can’t help but miss California a little lot when seeing Elizabeth’s recent post from Big Sur. I guess I’ll always be California dreaming…  Happy first day of summer.  It’s gonna be a good one!  xo annie

 

DIY Father’s Day Gift Wrap

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Everyone knows how much I love Staples Engineering Prints…especially for DIY gift wrap.  And one of my favorite ways to use them is for Father’s Day.  Staples makes it easy to create one of a kind gift wrap from a photo or even quotes or phrases like we did a few years ago.  When we made the one with quotes my kids used to say when they were little we had the best time remembering them that I almost felt badly that my husband wasn’t in on the moment.  Here’s a look back at what we’ve done in the past using Engineering Prints.

DIY Father's Day Gift Wrap + Staples Engineer Prints

My kids and I came up with phrases and funny things they used to say when they were little.  We took notes while brainstorming and remembering phrases and then they put them into a word document.  We uploaded it like a photo to the Staples website and chose the largest size so that we could use it to wrap several gifts.

DIY Father's DAy Gift Wrap + Staples Engineer Prints

DIY Father's Day Gift Wrap + Staples Engineer Prints

I am always taking photos of my family from the back.  For some reason, photos in this way take me back to the moment in a flash.  And I love that!  These are from family vacations and just seeing this reminds me of that day so clearly.

DIY Father's Day Gift Wrap + Staples Engineer Prints

This time I used the same photo on the right that I used a couple of years ago and a new photo where we recreated it in the exact location which happens to be a favorite vacation spot.  All you do to create this is upload a favorite photo to the Staples website right here.  In the Staples search bar, type in Engineering Prints and then select the gray Get Started bar. You’ll need to set up an account if you don’t already have one, then select Engineering and Oversized Prints on the far right of the screen.  Then you’ll see a screen with a landscape design.  Below that select Engineering Prints in B & W. Right below this it will say:  Not suitable for photo images.  The quality is not sharp, but it’s great for this purpose.  On this page you will Add Files (upload photos right from your computer) and give your project a “Job Title” and select number of copies and pages.  Below that you need to select Media Blueprints where you will choose your size.  Once you’ve added your photo and selected the size, you will add it to your cart and have the option of picking it up in-store or having it sent right to your mailbox.  So easy, inexpensive and a fun way to make one-of-a-kind gift wrap.  I’ve also used them for graduation and birthday parties!

Staples Engineer Prints for Birthday decorations

Graduation decor using Staples Engineering prints

 

 

Lizzy Ragsdale Art

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nashville artist Lizzy Ragsdale painted this new addition to our dining nook from a photo of one of our favorite places, Tuscany. I moved the painting from room to room for a few weeks when I realized the kitchen is where I love it most. The colors of Tuscany are warm and inviting–like a kitchen. The painting is the first thing you see when you walk into our home and it draws you into the kitchen. It’s my favorite room in the house. A happy space with timeless design, but warm and cozy at the same time.

Art + Kitchen

Meet Lizzy Ragsdale – The artist of the painting “Tuscan Sunset”

Art + Kitchen + Lizzy Ragsdale

Photo credit:  John Love 

After a few emails and deciding on a photo of Tuscany for Lizzy to create something for us, I felt like I wanted to “meet” her more than just through email. We arranged a time to talk.  I completely forgot about the time difference between New York and Tennessee, so it was quite early one morning. But of course she was a gracious as could be! Here’s a bit of our discussion.

Q: When did you first become interested in art?

A: I always interested in art. Always wanting to make something. My teachers came to my mom and suggested art lessons. At about nine I took private art lessons after school learning to draw. I was introduced to water color, acrylic, charcoal, pastel. I loved making things, but drawing first.

Q: Did you study art in college?

A: Yes, I went to Ole Miss and majored in art.

Q: How long do you work on a painting?

A: The process is different every time. I have 10-15 paintings in progress in my studio at a time. I think it’s important to step away and not overwork it.

Q: How do you choose what to paint?

A: I’ll do sketches if I’m inspired. Sometimes a color scheme will inspire me. In college, I became more comfortable with the figure and with working more fluidly. I started experimenting with abstracts. Abstract Landscapes not a specific place.

You can see more of Lizzy’s work on her website where you can purchase an original piece from her online shop or commission a painting by emailing her at lizzyragsdaleart@gmail.com.  Follow her on instagram too!

Here’s a few more photos of how Lizzy’s painting transformed our black and white kitchen with her warm painting of Tuscany.  We were so moved by the piece when we first unwrapped it, that we decided to spend two weeks in Tuscany this summer.  This particular spot depicted in the painting is a short walk behind the ancient estate which is now the resort called Borgo Scopeto Relais.

Art + Kitchen

Art + kitchen

Art + Kitchen

Timeless Kitchen in black and white

Art + Kitchen

Lizzy’s painting inspired me to bring a little color into our black and white kitchen and I love how it added so much warmth.  Our first stop for a few things was Anthropologie in Greenwich, Connecticut.  A beautiful store to shop and be inspired.  We used their latte bowls in red and yellow and displayed a few of our favorite cookbooks including a recent purchase of the Tuscany cookbook and A Kitchen in France:  A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse.  We could not be happier with having Lizzy’s art in our kitchen.  What would you have Lizzy paint and how would it inspire you?

Sel Rrose

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Yesterday we came upon the prettiest little coffee shop on Delancey Street.  We were not expecting it.  It was just one of those serendipitous moments to walk one way, rather than another and on the side of Sel Rrose.  Had French music been playing we would have thought we were in Paris.  They have a beautiful instagram account where their customers have provided them with photos.

The Cafe Sel Rrose

The Cafe Sel Rrose

The Cafe Sel Rrose

The Cafe Sel Rrose

The Cafe Sel Rrose

Every detail in this little shop has been carefully planned from the white La Marzocco espresso machine to the industrial corrugated walls that divide the space. The walls are illuminated with a line of lights to give it a perfect glow even in the afternoon.  Then there’s the gray leather bench with mid century lines paired with more traditional bistro tables.  Each table holds a glass of dried lavender.  I ordered a cappuccino and asked for a proper cup. Not because I wanted to be high maintenance, but how beautiful are these gray cups and saucers in this space?  If you are anywhere near One Delancey Street, you must stop and see this lovely shop.  Madeline and I have started a new instagram account called Coffee Shops of New York.  We hope you’ll check it out and follow our New York City coffee shop adventures. You can find it right here!

Backyard Party Drink Station

Monday, May 16, 2016

*This is a sponsored post in partnership with World Market.  

Backyard Party Drink Station

I was asked to join a group of bloggers to get the word out that there’s a new World Market store that just opened in Paramus, New Jersey.  I am very familiar with World Market from California and Arizona, so I was happy to be asked to shop at the beautiful new store and share my purchases.  I went to the store with an open mind and hoped that once I got there I would be inspired.  Since it’s May, they have a lot of great outdoor items all over the store.  I decided to create a Backyard Party Drink Station.  It did not take long to fill my cart with great items that I’ll use all through the summer for entertaining.  I’ve always loved the idea of having a “drink station” where guests can help themselves.  For larger parties, you could create two or three and make one for adults and the other for kids.

Backyard Party Drink Station

Decorating with fresh lemons and limes

Backyard Party Drink Station

Backyard Party Drink Station

Tea lights in clear glass add a little magic

Backyard Party Drink Station

Backyard Party Drink Station

Here’s what I bought and how I used it.  I converted my potting area into a drink station by storing the pots and gardening tools and replacing it with drinks and glassware.  I simply lined the shelves with kitchen towels and put a table runner on the picnic table that I use as a potting bench.

Here’s what you can expect at the new World Market in Paramus, New Jersey starting this week!  And the best news…you have a chance to win a $500 Word Market gift card celebrating the new Paramus store, but anyone can enter!  Here’s the link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 19th

  • 9am – special ribbon cutting ceremony-store opening immediately following
  • $10 Cost Plus World Market gift card for the first 100 customers in the door!

Thursday, May 19th – Saturday, May 21st

  • Free tasting and live entertainment
  • 4-7pm Thursday & Friday
  • 1-4pm Saturday
  • Free tote bags for the first 100 customers in the door each day.
  • Daily raffle drawings! Prizes include three (3) $250 World Market gift cards each day.
  • Spend $40 and get 2 FREE Movie Admissions
  • Plus, save an extra 20% on your next purchase. Offer valid 5/19/16-5/21/16.  Valid at the Paramus, NJ Cost Plus World Market store only. For coupon: www.worldmarket.com/paramus

 

Here are the items I used for this post.  Please note:  I use affiliate links.



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