Thank you, thank you, thank you! For all of your ideas, tips and advice on adding some life to my living room. I have some plans in the works and I'm going to share them a little further on in this post. While I pondered the decorating decisions we make, whether they be something based on a detailed vision and plan, or something straight from our heart, there is always that element of having to live with some things we already have. Very few of us start with a completely clean slate or a bare bones room. But I think we're living in a fantastic time where mixing and matching is not only recommended, it's applauded. It allows us all have something beautiful, original and that will work within our means.
I know I'm one of many who has the vestiges of furniture past. As in the monster traditional cherry bedroom set. Every new bride in the 1980's had to have it. How we ever thought we were going to fit a queen bed, nightstand, dresser, armoire and vanity into our teeny little home...well, we did. I've had moments where I've longed for old painted furniture and an iron headboard, a well worn quilt and sheer curtains blowing in the breeze. But then I think fondly of this furniture. I cuddled my babies in this bed, in fact, I was lying in this very same bed pregnant with Abigail when my water broke! Ha! TMI? So there are memories here as well as an investment. This bedroom set will never go away quietly.
So what to do when you want to bring a new and fresh feeling to something you feel is old and maybe outdated? I asked myself these questions over and over again when we decided to paint our master bedroom this past fall. For years it had been a bland beige color (sounds familiar?). I had tried to keep it interesting and current with various duvets, throws, pillows, curtains and rugs. And then I fell in love with gray, ever shade of it. And I know that it is said that paint is just paint, but it's NOT cheap, nor is Charlie The Painter. So...when I looked at samples of gray, the same thought and question kept coming to mind. How will such a cool color (in tone) go with the warmth of cherry wood? I stress over ridiculous things like this. Finally I just said, "Jane, get over it!!"
I showed you bits and pieces of the room as it came together before the holidays. But I finally found the quilt I wanted and that's it above. Believe it or not, it's from The Land of Nod. You would be amazed at what you can find there that's not just for children. It's a nice medium weight and I have it layered over two more blankets.
You might remember I spray painted the plate racks in gray, blue and white and filled them with mismatched pieces of china I had.
And I did a small gallery wall over my vanity with prints of my own photography except for the one in the forefront of the Asheville mountains, I borrowed that from my dear friend, Mary, of A Breath Of Fresh Air.
So I think you can see that you can breathe new life into a room without changing around some of the major players. Gray and cherry? Why not?
Back to the changes in the living room. We placed the order for the country French cabinet, side table and coffee table (you can see them by scrolling down to my last post). It will take about 30 days to get here. In the meantime, I searched for curtains. I think that is going to make the most impact when it comes to adding color. As you can see by my sample picture above, I'm really loving gray all around. These panels are from Home Decorators Collection, and I think they're going to go very well with the creamy furniture pieces. I'm going to replace the bamboo blinds I now have with white wood blinds and I'm going to keep my eyes open for an area rug with some soft colors. All of this sounds very elegant and pretty but I'm planning to throw in a lot of texture and interest with some rustic and natural pieces here and there. I really want to "stir the pot" in that regard. I am so excited!! Thanks so much for your help and support. I hope I haven't bored you silly!
Like so many of you, I just can't seem to get my groove back since the holidays ended. I feel like a slug, going to bed early, getting up late, putting off projects and organizing...really just letting things fall to the wayside with, "I'll get to it tomorrow." I was going to go for a nice long walk today now that the weather has warmed up to the 30's and 40's and then about noon today, the wind started gusting and the temps dropped to the 20's. I sat on the back steps for awhile when I let the dogs out just to get a little air, but I really need some quality outdoor time.
One thing I have been doing is cooking a lot. I know most of you have been with me for many of the years that I've been blogging and usually right around January I come up with some new and improved eating/exercise plan. Well, I haven't this year, so there!! I have been cooking and eating very healthy for the past 8 months after reading a book and some articles about the dangers of chemicals and preservatives in our packaged foods. I can honestly say that I've adhered to the principles of eating fresh whole foods since then, with the exception of the tempting, tasty treats that The Husband brings home from the bakery. A girl has to live!
Soups and stews are our mainstay in the winter months, as much as grilling gets us through he summer. I just love playing with ingredients to my heart's content. The other night I pulled this puppy out to give it a test drive. I bought it last January during the white sales and forgot I had it!
So, I threw together this soup. I always have a ton of veggies in the fridge and I love letting them play together in a nice flavorful broth. Who needs meat when it tastes this good? In a nutshell (or a Dutch oven):
Saute 2 cloves of minced garlic in 2 T olive oil until golden. Add 1 medium chopped onion and toss and stir until translucent and soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots and about 2 cups of peeled, cubed potatoes (I used Idaho). Let that cook up and sweat about 5 minutes. Add 1 32 oz. box of chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, then lower heat to medium and let simmer until potatoes are just becoming tender, about 8 minutes. Add 1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into pieces and one can of Great Northern beans. Season with 1 T of marjoram, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 10 more minutes.
I then blended all but 1 cup of the soup with the hand held blender (and you can use a regular blender or food processor) until it was rich and thick...the beans really help make it that way. Adjust the seasonings and serve in bowls with a dollop of the whole vegetables in the middle. Enjoy!
Who said those blenders are just for smoothies?!
We're off to the lakehouse this weekend. It's been a really, really long time. We are meeting with a carpenter who is going to put a bid in on finishing up so many jobs that were started by Resident Carpenter a few years ago. The staircase, hardwood floors in the guest rooms, some of my kitchen cabinets and a lot of painting. It will be so nice to have that completed. I'm looking forward to decorating those guest rooms on a budget, and I have some really exciting ideas for some new garden beds. Getting a head start on all of it now will free us up in the spring to concentrate on getting everything ready for what I know is going to be a wonderful summer! Wow! I just love even typing that!
See all of you soon! :)