5 Distressed Furniture Pieces you Need in your Home

One of the hallmarks of the farmhouse aesthetic is a rustic, vintage look. If you’re at all familiar with my blog, then you know that I absolutely love this aesthetic, and have for quite some time. I love the challenge of turning a modern home into a vintage farmhouse paradise, and in the years that I’ve spent transforming 21st century styles into rustic wonderlands I’ve realized that one of the easiest ways to give your home a quick dose of farmhouse is in distressed furniture. It’s the perfect addition to your budding rustic decor, and they’re either easy to find, or to make (figure out how to do that here). Here’s five that you need in your home!

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

Chest of Drawers

You can find one in every home. They’re the backbone to clothing management, and they’re often one of the biggest pieces of furniture in a room. What’s great about their popularity is that you can find them being sold (or given away) just about anywhere. This is great for those who are looking for a distressed set because you’ll often come across them that way, requiring little effort on your part to make it just the way you want. You’ll find them in thrift stores and craigslist, or if you’d like a professional take on the distressed look, on websites like Hayneedle and Wayfair. The cheapest option will always be finding a set that’s seen some better days, and applying a bit of elbow grease to finish them up to your specifications.

Vintage Chandelier

Switching out your kitchen lights for a vintage chandelier can add a wonderful touch of farmhouse to your home while staying well within even the lowest budget. Thrift and antique stores are some of the best places to look for these, and they usually don’t require much of a hunt to find a great one. They’ll often be distressed metal, which is the perfect style for a farmhouse look. If you’re looking for a specific style, Etsy has a great selection, ranging from sculpted metal to rustic wood chandeliers, with some even utilizing unique styles like mason jars, or funnels! They’re great light fixtures to add some rustic character to your home.

 source: HGTV

source: HGTV

Distressed Dining Table

Families are bonded around the dinner table. It’s one of the most important pieces of furniture in your home, and if you’re just starting to create your farmhouse, it’s a great place to start from. Finding one in a thrift store won’t be as easy, but sites like craigslist often have ones that are already distressed, or are ready for your handiwork. This is a wonderful place to show off your creativity: you can get a matching set of table and chairs, or you can add a pop of color with painted chairs with that same distressed style. It all comes down to how you’d like it, and in the end, that’s always the best way.

 source: lizmarieblog

source: lizmarieblog

Rustic Hutch

What better way is there to display all of your vintage dishes and glasses? The hutch is one of the most popular pieces in homes of all styles, which means you’ll be able to find one that you fall in love with fairly simply. All of the above mentioned places - thrift stores, craigslist, etsy, etc. - will have numerous pieces with lots of character already in them. There are so many styles that really embody the farmhouse aesthetic, with wonderful carved wood and glass panes, which gives you full creative expression to choose one that fits the rest of your unique farmhouse decor.

Milk Paint

Alright, so this isn’t a furniture piece, but it’s key if you’re a DIY-minded creative who wants to make your own distressed and colorful style. This means you can transform any piece you find into a classic farmhouse staple, all from your own hands. If you’re new to milk paint, this is a great blog explaining what it is, how to get it, and some beautiful examples of what you can do with it. Milk paint really gives you the creative freedom to make your home your own.

Those are just a few of the many farmhouse pieces you can add to your home to make it warmer, and bring the whole family together. I hope it helps you make your farmhouse home truly yours!

Working with a Color Palette in Your Home

When creating a color palette for your home, there are many different aspects to consider. I wanted to share some ideas today, that will simplify the process. A color palette can be the starting point for all of your decorating decisions, and can really help hone in some of the big choices like furniture and wall colors. Here are some of my tips for searching for, and utilizing, a color palette:

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-Begin with your foundational pieces: Some items in your home, such as the outer color, cupboards, or carpets are already part of your home color scheme. If it is not ideal or affordable for you to renovate every piece of your home, you have to consider those items when putting together a color palette. Consider which items are not being replaced, and which items may be there for years to come. 

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-Build a tangible memory board: Sure, Pinterest is handy, but a regular poster board can actually be really fun to put together, and put ideas on. You can consider it your inspiration board, and can add clippings and paint swatches to it for ideas. You can also add carpet squares, or wood samples to a physical board, although it might be heavy. It can be a great poster to show your designer, if you go with a pro (like me! :)

-Decide if you want monochromatic or lots of different colors. I love the monochromatic look, and  if you know me, you know that clean whites, and warm creams are the stuff I go to most often. They make a room look larger, crisper, and more modern, while still warm. Harmonious colors are those that are close in the color wheel. These generally look very nice together. Complementary colors add a bit more contrast, and appear across from each other on the color wheel. Find more info about the color wheel HERE.

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De-Clutter and Simplify for Spring

When the blue skies come out...I head inside. Why? Well, I start spring cleaning! Now, for a busy working mom like myself, it's hard to find time to de-clutter, and it seems we have an influx of things always coming IN, rather than going out. But, I love the feeling of breathing a little easier and clearing out things we aren't using. Every spring, the urge to pare down our belongings and clutter comes on strong and I love the way it motivates me! Here are some of my best tips for clearing out the things you don't need, and giving yourself more room to be creative, feel more focused, and bring more peace to your home. After all, less stuff means less time spent stressing over, and cleaning, all the things. 

 Source: The Spruce

Source: The Spruce

Make three piles: I like to use laundry baskets for this, but you can also use something like large paper bags or wicker baskets. Label them TOSS, DONATE, and SELL. I tackle one room at a time, such as the kitchen, or a bedroom, and divide any clutter items into these three piles. Selling items on craigslist or Facebook takes quite a lot of time, so remember to be realistic, and don't save something to sell it, if you know you never will. Donation items should be in working order, and anything broken or yucky should go right into the trash pile.

Transport donations or sale items immediately: I've learned that the secret to really getting those piles out of my house, is to do it right away. Otherwise, they sit and I either change my mind, or end up moving the piles around the house. I use the same philosophy for yard sales: when things don't sell, we load them up right away to a donation spot, so we don't have to bring them back into the house. If you're looking for places to donate that aren't the typical Goodwill or salvation army, consider donating to a women's shelter or somewhere similar.

 Source: Man of Many

Source: Man of Many

Schedule time to de-clutter: Actually writing a day or time down on a calendar helps really ensure the job gets done. Find childcare if you need to, and block out a few hours to get uninterrupted progress made. Ideally, you could sort or toss things once a month, to make it more manageable, but every three months is also a good plan. I read in an article once that when you schedule an hour of cleaning, also schedule an hour of self care, because that is how you keep your house and your mind clear! I thought that was very wise advice!

 Source: Lopes Blog

Source: Lopes Blog

Do small tasks daily to stay ahead: Set aside 10 minute a day to deal with the day-to-day clutter. Sort through your kids' backpacks or school bags, toss junk mail, clean out your purse or work bag, and weed out things from the fridge. Just these simple things will keep your days running smoothly, and you'll feel more productive and less bogged down. 

 

Blissful Events

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Have you heard about the fires that raged through Napa Valley? It was one of the tragedies of 2017, alongside with all the other fire-ravaged areas in California. They left a trail of burnt landscape and scorched homes in its path, but the one of the biggest blows to the Napa Valley was to its reputation. This is so unfortunate, since I adore the wine country there. It’s one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, and it’s the perfect spot to have your dream wedding. And that’s the thing, these beautiful destinations were untouched by the fire, but all the news coverage painted a picture of a valley reduced to a wasteland. While it’s unfortunately true of some of the area, only 10 of the 1,200 wineries were destroyed or very damaged. Which means, Blissful Events is still open for business!

Samar of Blissful Events wedding planning is one of the sweetest and most industrious ladies I know. Her passion has been planning and putting on the most wonderful weddings in the Napa Valley, and it shows! After the fires, the wineries in the area have had to remind the rest of the world that they still exist, and that they still own some of the most wondrous landscapes known to man. Samar has been working on a campaign to raise awareness, and to bring back the popularity of winery weddings. She’s trying to restore that well-deserved attention of the wineries for their beautiful vineyards, country estates and stunning backdrops that all work hand in hand to perfectly mix a couple’s love for wine, food, and the prettiest locations.

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This is truly the dream wedding location. The lush and gorgeous vineyards remain untouched by the flames, and the estates are still so strong that it seems they’ll stand for centuries to come. A wine country wedding with Blissful Events is the foodie’s paradise: with the best produce in the country, your menu options are as vast as they are choice, and you’ll be able to choose each menu item and dessert. And of course, the wines will always hold up to their incredibly renowned quality. If you’re someone that loves to relax and enjoy what’s important, then letting Samar handle all the nitty gritty details is the perfect solution for you. She will let you really experience your wedding day, while she takes care of guest lists, budget management, timelines, and design planning for your big day. When you’re on cloud nine, she’ll remain down-to-earth handling it all.

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If you’re ready to start planning your dream wine country wedding, but are worried about their availability, worry no more. Blissful Events is your one-stop-shop for making those dreams come true, and they’ll never look better than in the Napa Valley area. I can’t recommend Samar higher. She’s truly a legend in her field, and she’ll treat your wedding as if it’s the most important event ever to happen - because it is! There are plenty of spots open for reservation for 2018 and 2019, but they’re being snatched up quickly. Contact Samar here to reserve your spot, and make your dream wedding a reality!

5 Easy Ways to Add Farmhouse Style to Your Home

The farmhouse aesthetic is my favorite thing. I’ve had some of the most fun in my life just thinking of ways I can make my home more and more rustic and homey, and so far, I’ve haven’t run out of ways to add more farmhouse into my home. Transforming my home into a more rustic and warm place to live has taken a long time, though, and it could end up being quite a commitment. Thankfully, there are many easy ways to bring a farmhouse style into your home, if you want to explore it a bit at a time. Here’s five to get you started:

Farmhouse artwork

 source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of ushering in that farmhouse feel is picking up some artwork that really encapsulates the rustic aesthetic - which is easier than it sounds. It’s as easy as perusing some art websites for prints, or going down to your local art store and picking out a couple farm-inspired paintings to bring home. Anything that will accent your decor, and give it more of a rustic feel. It’s up to your personal taste, so pick out something that you really love!

Display your decorative plates

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

Chances are, you already have what you need for this one. Maybe you inherited some nice dinnerware from your grandmother, and they’ve been lying around collecting dust ever since. The farmhouse style is all about vintage decorations, and your antique plates might be just perfect to bring that rustic feel into your home. Spend some time thinking about where best to showcase them, and plan out a nice pattern before you hang them up. Often, it’s the kitchen or the dining area where they fit best, and it’s sure to add that rustic and sentimental atmosphere you’re looking for.

Rustic cupboards/hutches

 source: pinterest

source: pinterest

This one might end up requiring a bit more effort from you, but the result is worth every minute. It’s so easy to find a nice, older cupboard or hutch on websites like craigslist or etsy, but it might need a bit of restoration to bring them back to life. Thankfully, the distressed look is what you’re wanting to get out of them, and you’ll get as much love out of them as you put into them. They can be the perfect piece to pull a room together, and set the mood for the whole floor. It might be the perfect project for you, and it’s one of the most useful ways to add farmhouse to your home.

 

Hang your pots and pans

Could it be as simple as this? It sure is! The farmhouse aesthetic is about your home looking lived in, and hanging up your cookware will not only accomplish this, but also serve to make your kitchen more efficient. Your cast-iron skillets will have never looked better, and it’ll help keep the that rustic flow consistent throughout your whole home, kitchen included.

Get a farm table

 source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of furniture in my home. Not only is it the epitome of what a farmhouse aesthetic is all about, but it’s a place where my family comes to share our lives over a meal. That’s what the rustic way of living is really trying to recapture, that lifestyle focused on slowing down to appreciate the things that really matter, like family and good food. Fortunately, it’s easy to track down a farm table, and as far as tables go, they’re durable and look fantastic. If you’re going to do one of the things on this list, do this.

The farmhouse style isn’t just about going back in time, it’s about bringing that olden time into today, and recapturing that lifestyle that we’ve seemed to have lost. It’s about slowing down and really appreciating what matters most, and for me, that’s family. I think you’ll see that once you start adding some of these rustic options in your home, you’ll start to appreciate what you love more and more.

Making Your Home a Haven of Self-Care

We know, life is stressful. Your home shouldn't be. But how do you curate a home that makes you walk in and immediately drop all your stress and burdens? That's what today's blog is all about. Here are five ways to help your home become the place you always want to be:

Diffuse essential oils: Even if you don't believe in the medicinal properties of essential oils, they smell delightful and can really lift your mood. We recommend lemon or lavender oils for a very relaxing feel. They are also less toxic than some candles, which may be great for those with asthma or who are sensitive to strong candle scents. 

 Source: Budget Decorator 

Source: Budget Decorator 

Mix up textures: We like the idea of mixing up textures in your living spaces, especially with pillows and throws. It's no secret that we love a good throw blanket, because they add instant coziness to a space. Plus, little ones love making forts or beds with them, and they're great for curling up with a good book or a movie! If you need a new throw, try this affordable, machine washable twin blanket from Target. It's bigger than a traditional blanket and extra warm. It comes in plenty of pretty neutral colors.

Get some fresh magazines and books to read: In the digital age, it can be hard to step away from your phone and laptop, but a good book can be just the ticket. Check out Oprah's book club for some great reads that will keep you inspired and expand your mind. A magazine like Real Simple or Southern Living is a relaxing read for a long bath, and you don't have to be too worried if the pages slip into the bathwater!

 Source: Craftatholics 

Source: Craftatholics 

Try a bath bomb: The bath bombs from LUSH are our absolute favorites. They are cruelty free and made with organic ingredients that are good for your skin. They are definitely a pricey luxury, but you will love the way they instantly relax your muscles and make you feel capable of handling anything that comes your way!

Change out your photos: Studies show looking at photos can improve our mood and make us feel more energized! Swap out old photos in the frames and shelves in your home for newer memories, and make your home a place where your family can always look around and feel loved! Order fresh canvases or framed prints for photos that have been languishing in drawers or on your computer or smartphone...they will definitely make your home feel more personal and relaxing!

Simple and Easy Valentine's Day Decor Tips

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast, and love is already in the air… but is it in your home? Sometimes, decorating for holidays can be stressful, since we feel like we need to change up our whole house to meet the standard. But there’s no need to be extravagant unless you’re in an extravagant mood, and you can create a wonderful atmosphere in your home with simple accents and additions in your decor. All of this applies very well to Valentine’s Day, as it just takes a pop of pastel pink here and a bouquet over there to make the whole house more romantic! Here’s a few easy ways to celebrate this holiday in your decor:

 source: freshome

source: freshome

•Splurge on a fresh bouquet

Faux flowers are timeless - at least, when it comes to their shelf life. But for such a holiday as this, it’s not just about the look, it’s about the atmosphere itself, and a bouquet’s wonderful fragrance is a big part of that. Visit your local florist and spend a little extra just for the smell of it. The pops of color in your kitchen or on the coffee table will lighten up the whole room and get everyone more excited for the special day!

 

•Pillows are the perfect festive accent

Speaking of pops of color, pillows are great for shifting the mood of a room from everyday to holiday. They’re small, light, easily throwable, and they fit just about anywhere, which leaves a lot of creativity available to you. Mix and match shapes and colors by picking out some heart pillows to go with the regular squares, and create a palette in your living room by playing around with the Valentine’s color spectrum.

 

 source: stylemepretty

source: stylemepretty

•Light up the room with colored candles

There’s something so romantic about a candlelight dinner. The dim light, the intimate conversation, and the gourmet food that’s become the holistic Valentine’s dining experience is one of the most wonderful ways to spend the holiday, no doubt. But you can bring that whole experience home with you if you want to skip the crowds, and you can start with the candles. Even in the bright light of day, rose petal pink candles can give off a festive shine to any room in your home. Take it easy this year and recreate that intimate atmosphere, from the candles up.

 

•Say ‘I love you’ with a lovely banner

There’s something truly wonderful about being able to hold the proof of your special one’s love in your hands, or to see it on display. Stringing up a banner that does just that not only lifts the mood, but is a wonderful accent piece to your Valentine’s decor. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like the phrase itself hung across your mantle! Keep the conversation going by hanging up a few banners across the house, and the romantic atmosphere will follow.

Keep things simple this Valentine’s Day by focusing on the accents instead of a whole room makeover. Trust me, you don’t need the stress! Keep the focus on your loved ones, and really make them feel truly loved on this special day.

Hearth and Hand with Magnolia: Home Decor

Happy new year! Even though it’s only been a little over a week into 2018, it’s been a great year so far. So many people are making new resolutions to live a better life in this new year, and I’m no stranger to it. Whether it’s resolving to exercise more, or to completely change up the decor in your home, a change can be nice. One of the changes that I love to make is putting up some of Target’s Hearth and Hand collection decor, made in collaboration with Magnolia. The whole line is full of some of the most wonderful pieces you’ll find, and they’re very affordable.

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Case in point, this lovely eucalyptus wreath! I love to fit my decor advice into the farmhouse aesthetic, and this wreath would be great for it. Now that we’re nearing the tail end of winter, it’s about time to start thinking about spring decorations, and this wreath is a wonderful transition between the two seasons. Hang it on the front door if your color scheme allows, or hang it indoors to bring a little green in to help liven things up. 

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While it’s winter, it can be tough to get fresh flowers that last. Thankfully, Hearth and Hand has quite the catalog of flower bundles, fillers, and stems that will last well past the first crocuses of spring start to bloom. And these decorations look so nice, you may just want to skip the fresh flowers entirely this year, if you wouldn’t miss the scent so much. There are astilbe flower bundles in pink and white, eucalyptus stems, or even succulent stems, and vases are easily accessible and easy to order along with any bundles you may choose.

One of the things I love most about the farmhouse style is all of the little accessories and trinkets that add to the whole rustic atmosphere. Like this wood and wire tray, any sort of wood accents you can sprinkle in will add a lot to the whole feel of your home. Metal accents like this galvanized storage bin will add more of a country feel to your decor, or a woven poplar basket will help tie the whole room together. Building a themed decor requires that you think about all the little things just as much as the big, and Hearth and Hand makes this easy!

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Resolutions can be difficult to keep. Anything that helps us along the way is a valuable asset, and if you’re redecorating for spring, then this is one of the best ways to do so. The whole line is huge, and everything I mentioned doesn’t even scratch its surface. There’s no shame in taking the easy route - if you’re wanting a change, this is the best one to make! 

Warming up your Decor

 photo: timelesswroughtiron.com

photo: timelesswroughtiron.com

Like clockwork, December’s rolled around again, and with it came the bitter cold. I don’t know about you, but I love the snow, and the whole season! One of my favorite things is a landscape covered in a perfect blanket of snow. But I can only handle the cold for so long, until I have to retreat back indoors to warm up by the fire. During the winter months, our homes become our heated safe havens, but heating them can be incredibly expensive. Instead of turning up the thermostat, I like to use some of these inexpensive but warming decor styles to help me deal with the cold.

Farmhouse decor has this style integrated very well. Every time I walk into a house boasting the style, I feel so warmed, surrounded by the woodsy interiors and the rustic color schemes. The style has been making a comeback for a while, but its roots are in the rustic cabins and lodges out in the woods, and those that built them knew just what they needed to shield themselves from the cold. Today, we’re not in a fight against the cold as much as a century or so ago, but we can take some cues from their decor and translate that into modern style. The most obvious one is wood itself! It has an insulating effect, keeping in the heat, and the woodsy look has an ambient effect that just warms you up from the inside out.

 photo: havenly.com

photo: havenly.com

One of my go-to’s when the snow starts to fall is an age old solution: a warm blanket. Turns out, just the sight of an afghan or a knit has a warming effect in the home, cozying up the whole room. Spread around a bunch of cozy blankets to warm up your decor instantly, and having a knit close by means you never have to be chilly again. Pair it with a nice reading lamp and a comfy chair in your favorite corner, and you have the coziest place to snuggle up with a good book. Work on the whole room by layering fuzzy or warming rugs, if you have a hardwood floor, and use pillows to lighten up the room and give it a very inviting, snuggly feel.

 photo: havenly.com

photo: havenly.com

Leather is another one of those farmhouse staples. Back in the day, it was entirely practical to furnish your home with natural leathers, as farms were often self-sufficient and used every part of an animal. Today, there’s many options for those who have qualms with leather, and you can still get that heart-warming look no matter what you go with. A leather furnishing inherently has a sense of character to it, and that brightens up any spot it’s put in. Pair the rich color of the leather with a cooler gray or neutral palette, and you get a great mix that’ll warm you to the core. It’s easy to use some pops of green to really pull it all together, if you like having plants around the house. If you like a more southern rustic theme, use some cactus or desert flora to really sell the mood.

Lastly, take a look at how your home is lit. If you have access to a lot of natural light, either through your windows or through a skylight, utilize it! Light, of course, is naturally warming, so keep those curtains open during the day to heat up your house for free. Also, take a close look at your windows to make sure no air is escaping through them. You want to be able to retain as much heat as possible, and it’s no good if all of it is being sucked out from cracks in your window frame or a door draft. You wouldn’t expect it, but you can really feel the difference when you make sure your home is leak-proof. If you don’t have a lot of natural light, use some warming, brighter light fixtures, and make use of candles. Not only will your home smell great if you use them, but you’ll feel cozier just gazing at the flicker from across the room.

The winter season is one of my favorites. Snuggling up with my family around the fire is one of my favorite pastimes, it makes my heart so warm. Coming in from the snow when your whole home is full of cozying decor makes life so much easier, and adventuring out in a frozen wonderland much more enjoyable. Here’s to snow outside and warmth inside!

Holiday Baking with Peggy Porschen

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You may remember me writing about my favorite bakery, right in the heart of London. I wrote about it in THIS POST about Europe, and her amazing confections always make me festive around the holidays! I dream of being as incredible as her in the decorating/baking department, and each year, I love making these delicious cookies with my children. Baking holds special memories for me, and I hope it also creates new ones for my girls! (All images via Peggy Porschen website, 2017)

Sugar cookie recipe
via Peggy Proschen's cookbook, "Cookies"

Makes about 25 medium-sized or 12 large cookies

  • 200g unsalted soft butter 
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 400g plain flour, plus more for dusting

Optional flavours

  • For vanilla cookies, add seeds from 1 vanilla pod 
  • For lemon cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • For orange cookies, add finely grated zest of 1 orange 
  • For chocolate cookies, replace 50g of the plain flour with 50g cocoa powder
  1. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and chosen flavouring until well mixed and just becoming creamy in texture. Don’t overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.
  2. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Gather it into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill it for at least 1 hour.
  3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it briefly. Using marzipan spacers, roll it out to an even thickness.
  4. Use cookie cutters to cut out the desired shapes and, using a palette knife, lay these on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan/350F/gas 4.
  5. Bake for 6–10 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Wrapped in foil or cling film, they will keep well in a cool dry place for up to a month.

Tip Always bake equally sized cookies together to make sure they cook in the same time. If you mix different sizes, the smaller ones are already cooked when the larger ones are still raw in the middle.

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Royal Icing Recipe via Peggy Porschen's
"Pretty Party Cakes" cookbook

  • 25g merriwhite (dried egg white powder)
  • 1kg icing sugar, sifted

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Equipment
  • Sieve

Kitchen Aid / electric mixer
spoon
sealable plastic container
j-cloth
Method

Mix the merriwhite with 150ml water and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
Place the icing sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer, add about three-quarters of the merriwhite mixture and the lemon juice, and start mixing on low speed.
Once the sugar and the merriwhite are well combined, check the consistency. If the sides of the bowl still look dry and crumbly, add some more merriwhite until the icing looks almost smooth but not wet.
Keep mixing for about 4-5 minutes, until it has reached stiff-peak consistency.
Spoon into a plastic container, cover with a clean damp j-cloth and the lid. Store at room temperature.
Royal Icing Consistencies

Simply thin down your basic royal icing with water, a little bit at a time, mixing with a palette knife, until you have the right consistency. Keep your icing covered with cling film or a damp cloth when not using it, to stop it from drying out.

Stiff-peak consistency: for piping sugar flowers and leaves
Soft-peak consistency: for piping lines, dots and borders
Runny consistency: for filling in the centres of spaces

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Decorating for Thanksgiving

Decorating for Thanksgiving

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I can smell it now: the pumpkin pie cooling on the windowsill, the marshmallow topping melting over the tender yams, and the glorious turkey (or ham) sizzling in the oven, filling up your kitchen with the best of scents. It’s one of my favorite times of year, and I can’t wait until get to put up my decorations every year! There’s so many great ideas for sprucing up your home with autumn’s charm, but I’ll start you off with a couple of my favorite picks.

The first place you think of when thanksgiving runs across your mind is the dinner table. The whole holiday takes place around it! It’s always a challenge preparing the feast you eat off it, let alone sorting through the difficulties that come in deciding how to decorate it! But once you decide on a general theme, everything falls into place. For example, pumpkins never fail to bring the fruits of fall into your dining room, and to break from the mold you can use white pumpkins to foster a softer atmosphere, and paired with some candles, white flowers, and other accent pieces that fit your theme, you get an all around cleaner look. 

Or, focus on rounds of wood for your place settings and surround them with greenery for a rustic, earthy style. If you’re not as much into wood slices, you can get the same farmhouse look with rope coil charges, and they’re not hard to make yourself! For the plates themselves, follow your color palette and either fold your napkins into a festive shape, or use them as an accent to the rest of the table. Use bits of greenery, like a sprig of sage on your plate setting as a garnish of sorts. While it’s not much on its own, it’s the small things that really pull a style together.

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One thing you want to avoid is a busy table, though. The only thing you want overwhelming your guests is the sense of awe they get from staring at your beautiful table full of wonderful food, right before they dig in. Holidays are my favorite times of the year, and they’re one of those few moments in life where you can really make something your own. You can spend forever thinking about all the different trends and styles going around these days, but it’s important to remember to do what you like to do, since it’s your own home, after all. So take some of these ideas, put in some of your own, and make this thanksgiving one for the photo album!

How to Choose the Perfect Farmhouse Paint

If you know me, you know that I keep moving all day long. From planning our meals, to taking my girls to and from activities, work, or date-night with my husband, I so often seem to come home exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I love to stay active! But some days I need to just come home and relax. That’s why I love the farmhouse aesthetic. When I walk into my living room, it’s like walking through a time machine to a simpler time. It’s a calming nostalgia that instantly relaxes me.

It takes a beautiful pairing of muted, natural colors and rustic furniture style to achieve this restful, cozy feel, but with some planning it’s becomes an easy process! The pros use paint that costs upwards of sixty dollars a gallon, but you don’t need an expensive hue to look professional!

Here are a few colors that will transform your home without breaking your bank.

Off-white: I love the dining room above! The modern furniture perfectly compliments the rustic architecture, and the off-white tone pulls the room together beautifully. Just look out for the undertones, otherwise you can end up with a white that has a darker hue than you’d like. There are many variants of whites - like Cottage White or Simply White - that won’t run up the bill, and each have that unmistakable farmhouse charm. I can just imagine the delicious smell of a homemade apple pie fresh from the oven on that table!

Comfort Grey: Above is a beautiful example of a farmhouse grey. This grey goes perfectly with the brilliant white furniture, a staple of the modern rustic style. While more expensive than a gallon of off-white, it immediately creates a soft, cozy atmosphere where you can snuggle up on the couch to enjoy some herbal tea and a good book.

Svelte Sage: If you need a pop of color, this fantastic green will look wonderful paired with a white trim, as in this photo, and black or brown accents against the wall tie it together neatly - and professionally - and makes you feel as if you’ve just come in from tending your peach orchard. This cool, calming green instantly soothes me when I see it.

 Source: Magnolia Home

Source: Magnolia Home

If you need a bit more of a relaxing atmosphere in your home, natural farmhouse colors are your best bet! Not only does it have that fixer-upper feel to it, it has that down-to-earth quality that always seems to slow down life, even if it is just relaxed at home. But that’s where we need that most, isn’t it?

Creating More Space in Your Home

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If you walk into your house after work and find yourself experiencing a strong sense of claustrophobia, it may be time to de-clutter. Your house is your respite away from all the stresses and pressures of life, a place to unwind yourself after your day’s wound you all up. Here’s a few tips to reclaim the calm in your home:

Get Rid of All of Your Stuff

Okay, so maybe you don’t have to get rid of everything, but another honest look at all the things you own, and whether they're really necessary or beneficial in your life would be a good place to start. As we’ve all heard time and time again, there’s a big difference between want and need. Often, it’s the things that we actually use day after day that are necessities, and most of the stuff we have we hold onto because we spent money on it once, and just can’t part with it. Maybe we bought something we don’t need, and that’s fine. Everyone does that, trust me. Or maybe you purchased something you needed for a while, but now it just sits around and collects dust. If you’re like me, you don’t like to see things go to waste. So rejoice with me that there’s so many options for giving things away to people who actually need them, or in repurposing stuff that can’t really do any good by itself. If you want to avoid the hassle of a yard sale, or if you’re living rural, then look around a bit on the internet or ask some friends where you can donate your clothes, your furniture, or anything else that you don’t use anymore that you think someone else could use.

Stock up on Baskets

There’s an awesome trend going on that involves wicker baskets. Lots of wicker baskets. What’s awesome about it is wicker baskets look great, and come in tons of shapes and sizes to suit your style and storage needs. Of course, if you’re not much of a basket person, there’s other options. For example, you could get (or make!) a couple of fabric covered boxes to use. There’s as many styles as there is of fabric, and they usually go for a good price. You can always mix and match, depending on your decor. If you get your hands on some cubby shelves, the decorative boxes can be just the pop of color you need in your home. Wicker could be just the accent to your room to give it a more rustic, or a more personable feel. You never realize the power a box or a basket could have over you until you change the mood of an entire room with it. HERE’s a great guide to wicker baskets; and HERE’s a great guide to your own DIY decorative boxes.

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Get Multi-Purpose Furniture

It’s not just the cabinets, or the closets, or the dressers that should have all the fun of storing things. The whole idea of multi-purpose furniture is taking something that’s known for one use - say, a couch - and redefining it into something that can accomplish many things at once, while still retaining its original purpose. Minimalism is trendy lately, and I think it’s one of the best trends to come around. Or, really, come back around. It’s an age old practice, and one that brings a lot of calm and restfulness into your home, due to all the open spaces and organization. There’s so many different styles and types of multi-purpose furniture to choose from, and a lot of them are very well made and look fantastic. They’re valuable, so the price tag may go up, but remember that what you’re getting is essentially two or three pieces of furniture in one. It may just come out to be quite the deal. And you’ll feel better about conserving the space, too.

Hopefully this small list has helped you in some way. I know for me, de-cluttering has helped me unwind much easier, and it’s been so nice to be able to come home and start to relax the moment I walk in the door. Even on days spent indoors I feel more peaceful seeing everything organized and spacious. It makes me happy, and what’s better than that?

Cottage Remodel for Life at the FARM

We recently freshened up this cute little cottage, and I wanted to share it to inspire you, especially if you have a space you don’t absolutely love! We started by installing elegant, clean lines with batten boards to give character to the walls. It now is reminiscent of an old caretaker’s cottage. Then, we moved onto new flooring that felt like washed, aged oak, and began the journey to change the layout of the kitchen. 

Of course, you know my love for lighting fixtures, and we changed the one out above the table and throughout the little house for a brand-new look. It made a world of difference!

The dated bathroom had three mirrors, so we streamlined with two beautiful oval ones instead. we added vessel sinks, beautiful faucets, and new hardware. We also painted the cabinets a creamy white, and added dark hardware for a cottage look. And of course, you’ll see a touch of shiplap!

Above, you can see the dark, dated, and closed off space that was here before! What a big difference!

We added fresh dark lighting fixtures to get some nice contrast, more shiplap, some elegant marble counters, hardware, and newly painted cabinets! We framed into the mirrors and also re-did the floors in here. It’s hard to believe it’s the same space, but these changes made a big difference and now, it’s ready and filled with light!

Wallpaper! It’s back, in a big way! | Trends and Style Inspiration

“Ewwww.....wallpaper!” I hear that every now and again, from clients or friends who instantly envision grandma’s beige and red floral print, or a neon yellow and green seventies concoction. I’m here to tell you, wallpaper is back, and it’s certainly not the wallpaper from yesteryears! Wallpaper has historically been known to make spaces feel smaller, or clutter-y, and the heavy patterns and dull tones of old wallpaper (along with the horrible process of hanging it) has made most homeowners cringe at the mention of putting some back up! Let me introduce you to the new, beautiful, and modern wallpaper styles:

 Photos:  Left Pam Cards Hallway | Middle Nicety Live Journal | Right Pam Cards Guest Room

Photos:  Left Pam Cards Hallway | Middle Nicety Live Journal | Right Pam Cards Guest Room

Rifle Paper: This artisan paper company has everything from gorgeous prints to their stunning, statement wallpaper. Whether you’re doing a small space, or a whole room (we love the idea of a small single wall for a big impact), their unexpected prints (like pineapples and bold florals) keep things polished but a little bit quirky. Find their whole wallpaper shop HERE.

Anthropologie: Ever our go-to for all things pretty and fun, Anthro always can be counted on for gorgeous wallpaper prints. We love their interesting takes on colors and textures, like this “Greenest Garden” style, which you can find HERE. Their “pergola” wallpaper, with it’s elegant blue and white color scheme would be so unique in an office, and offer a very classic feel. Be sure to measure carefully or have the installer measure for you before ordering so you know how much you need...the prices are pretty steep for paper, and you don’t want to buy and cut extra rolls!

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Wondering how to hang your newly acquired purchase? We like this tutorial from This Old House, which although tedious, offers careful and precise directions. Not ready to make the jump to spendy, semi-permanent wallpaper? There are tons of adhesive wallpapers that peel right off...these would be ideal for apartments or rented homes, where you are not allowed to hang more permanent coverings. Would you believe the brick beauty above is temporary?? We found that piece at Amazon.com . It’s the perfect way to test out a print or theme.

Considering wallpaper? We would love to offer consultations on your personal space and how to incorporate this trend today! Contact us here

Dreaming of Europe | Inspiration

The dreamy feel of European style has me conquering the winter doldrums these days! I dream of returning there someday to gather even more inspiration. The cool thing about the style across many European countries is the way it incorporates so many elements; decor, art, gardens, and architecture. I once talked my husband and kids into flying across the country just so I could indulge my senses at the Peggy Porschen Parlour in London! I don’t know if you’ve heard of this delightful little shop, but it’s a boutique bakery (yes, that’s a thing!) rich in lavish tones and feminine pinks. I was actually caught running my hands over the vintage wooden floors (whoops!), and smelling the caramel tea! It truly was a feast for the senses. 

These places also inspire my wedding planning! When I plan feminine weddings with rustic touches, I find myself incorporating touches of my travel into the ideas. Another great place to find european style inspiration is Pinterest, of course! You can find tons of home decor ideas by searching “european style homes” and looking through the unique tile details, paint colors, and lighting fixtures that are the hallmark of the chic style. You don’t have to go all-out with a european style, but you’ll likely find that most modern trends carry just a little bit of european flair already within them. I love the european farmhouse style!

Want to schedule a personal consultation for your wedding or home? I’d love to share my travel inspiration with you and help you design the day/event or room of your dreams! 

Shiplap Love | Trend Watch and Inspiration

Since the rise of Fixer Upper, the TV show that America has fallen in love with, shiplap has become a household name! The pretty technique of overlapping boards to form rustic looking walls has become the go-to for the perfect farmhouse look. The boards and the style are traditionally used as siding on exteriors of sheds and barns, but it looks amazing inside as well. Whether you whitewash it, or leave it natural, it can add a subtle cohesion to any room (yes, even a bathroom).  Joanna Gaines adds quite a bit of white shiplap to her project homes, but there’s a lot of other ways to use it to freshen up a space. Here are a few of our favorite inspiration photos:

Image via: Left- The Inspired Room | Right- Jenna Sue Designs

We love the calming blue tones and gray shiplap in the bathroom above; it makes us feel like we are at the beach! Not every room has to have a farmhouse look, though. Shiplap can even be incorporated into a much more modern look.

This was my favorite home on the Portland Street of dreams tour.  It is a mix of Farmhouse meets the Hamptons.  I love the mix of textures in the shiplap, marble countertops and flooring.  The added glow from the barn pendant light fixture keep it fresh and industrial. Here, the shiplap extends across the walls and is mimicked in the gray built-in-hutch. This is such a gorgeous take on the style!

Lastly, a beautiful take on shiplap in the kitchen, placed as the backsplash instead of the classic subway tile. The mix of white and brass keep the visual interest, and the stainless steel appliances add highlights as well as function. Did you know you can also fake the look of shiplap? If you’re on a tight budget, you can try faux shiplap like THIS blog did, with beautiful results (not as long-lasting as true shiplap, so beware if you’re trying to invest in a long term look). 

Recently, we are having shiplap run horizontal above a fireplace in a room with 20' ceilings.  In the same house, running down a long hallway, we have had a very tall wainscoting made out of vertical shiplap boards installed.  This is going to be the prettiest hallway ever!  The wainscoting will be topped with a beautiful patterned wallpaper in a neutral hue.  I will share photos from this house once it is all complete!

Love shiplap like we do? Where would you hang some in your home?

Love your Home this fall | Trend Watch and Inspiration

Pillow from Etsy

We love our summer whites around here, and the breezy, bohemian feel of the warmer months. But, Autumn is calling, and it’s time to get our homes ready! We are swapping out lightweight linens, crisp whites and citrus scents for the rich textures of fall, spicy candles, and rustic tones like oatmeal, pewter and burnt orange. Here’s our ideas to get your home ready for the crisper, cooler weather... just add a pumpkin latte and a good book!

Photos: Left & Right-Betsy Blue Photography | Middle: Pottery Barn

These richly toned pumpkin pillows will add a quick burst of fall colors to a neutral room without a ton of expense. The intricate panel on each pillow is velvet, and you know I am all about the mix of textures! You can find them right here at Pottery Barn. We also like this pumpkin pillow and it’s watercolor look (it would look great on a grey or taupe couch, or a big cozy chair. 

Nothing says “fall” like a big, woven basket. While Pottery Barn shows it filled with pinecones, we think this basket would be adorable filled with cozy throws! We love this cable-knit throw from Target (and it’s under $50) in the marigold color. Try pairing it up with a faux fur throw for a welcoming look.  Don’t forget your table decor...after all, that’s where you’ll be serving up fabulous treats for Thanksgiving and all your holiday parties this fall. We really love the terra cotta pumpkins from Ballard Designs...they’re unexpected and elegant in their own way, and they look stunning with mercury pumpkin accents for a nice contrast. Add in taupe linens and rustic pieces for the perfect centerpiece that will leave your guests raving! 

Photos:  Left-Restoration Hardware | Right-Pottery Barn

Fall Goodness for your Home | Recipes and Inspiration

My adorable family 5 years ago.  Photo by Tonya Poitevint Photography

As someone who loves community, family, and togetherness, I love when the seasons make their way into my kitchen. There is something so beautiful and rich about family gathered in the kitchen. It’s part of what I love about my home...the people in it, and the memories we are making. Today, I want to share just some of my favorite items for the kitchen, and one simply fabulous recipe for pumpkin scones! 

Photos: Left Olivia Leigh Photography | Middle Williams-Sonoma | Right Nikita Lee Photography

Williams-Sonoma Home is always one of my favorite places to find beautiful, lasting pieces for my kitchen. This season, you’ll find plenty of ivory and white pieces, anchored with plenty of fall colors like orange and sage green. I love this antique white platter for something like Thanksgiving, piled high with stuffing or rolls! I also found this gorgeous hemstitch tablecloth in the ‘pumpkin’ color, just right for putting all those lovely dishes on!

Photos:  Williams Sonoma

Of course, you’ll need some baked goodness to pile into your new dishes, so here’s our favorite recipe for pumpkin scones. Their slightly spicy, warm and crumbly texture will be just right for any fall gathering, and guess what? They taste pretty darn close to their Starbucks counterparts (shhhh...we won’t tell!). Here’s the easy recipe, courtesy of Food.com

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1⁄2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Powdered Sugar Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  4. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  6. TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE:.
  7. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
  8. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.

Enjoy!

Using Vinyl and Quotes to Enhance Your Space! | Ideas and Inspiration

Photo by Betsy Blue Photography

I’ve discovered that I have an affinity for using words to personalize your space. Words, scripture, and quotes can make your space your own, and help capture the personality of your family or your business! It can make a large statement without a ton of expense, as well, and you can now custom order things on places like Etsy. Whether you choose things like wooden quotes, vinyl die-cut words or names, or large initials, you can make a big impact! Here are a few tips for using these in your home or office:

Photo Left:  Betsy Blue Photography | Right:  Olivia Leigh Photography

Size Matters: Before you choose your letters or quotes, be sure to measure and considering your wall space. As you can see below, the oversized letters from Pottery Barn are quite oversized, and meant to be a focal point for an entire wall! They could easily look too “busy” or overwhelm a tiny space, so measuring would be key, whether you choose a small grouping or large initial. 

Practical is best for small spaces: If you are working with a confined or small space, opt for smaller letters that include little hooks, or place them on shelves. If they can serve double-duty, you’ll have a statement piece that also holds things like coats and hats. 

Vinyl Letters: These are a great way to add some pizazz to children’s rooms, rentals, or other space where they might need to be changed out rather soon. I have beautiful vinyl quote with song lyrics wrapped around a chandelier in my girls’ room. It’s so sweet and adds a personal touch. 

Photos Left & Middle:  Betsy Blue Photography | Right:  Pottery Barn Website