July 31, 2011

happy birthday to me!

An amazing family just got me a gift card for West Elm for my 30th.  With it, I bought a set of 8 of these...
 ...as well as a set of these.  I'm all ready for a dinner party now!  Happy birthday to me!

July 28, 2011

Family Tree - Joy

My little sister, Joy, is the most cheerful person I know.
Her favorite color is yellow.
She loves Jesus in a big and bold way.
Joy paints as a hobby.
She makes me smile when I hear her over the phone.  This watercolor makes me smile in the same way, because it reminds me of her.

July 26, 2011

Family Tree - my dad

My newest addition to the family tree wall is of the belated Christopher Alan Ashcraft.  AKA, my dad.  He died when I was in my second year of college at the young age of 46, but he lived an extraordinary life.  He was a professional pianist as well as an event coordinator for the Ritz Carlton hotels.  I chose to honor him by adding a few memorable things to my wall.  First up, his bow tie.  Well, one of them (the black one in the center).  His music career afforded him an entire closet of tuxedos, so I made sure to keep one.  The rest...I sewed myself!  He was also extremely crafty.  That's where I get it from, I guess.

I'm pretty pleased with how this one turned out!  What do you think?

July 25, 2011

all things southern, part 1

When I moved to North Carolina, I had no idea it was considered "The South".  I didn't think people even used that kind of wording.  The only thing I DID know was that I did not want to get my accent back.  I'll explain.  I grew up in West Virginia, which by the way is NOT the south.  I lived about an hour south of Pennsylvania, we had cold winters and I did not live on a farm.  For those of you thinking of a funny joke about West Virginia right about now, no I did not go barefoot and yes I am literate.  Anyway, my mom was from the southern part of West Virginia and I guess her accent rubbed off on me.  When I moved to Ohio for college, people made fun of me for said accent.  What's worse is that after a few months of living "up north" my family made fun of me for my lack of one!  They thought I talked like I was Canadian!  haha I couldn't win.  A few years after we moved to Charlotte, my southern drawl came back with a vengeance and I couldn't be happier.  Why the change of heart?  I've decided...I love all things southern!

Some of my favorite southern things?  Bow ties, bead boarding, and rocking chairs.

Bow ties are rocking my socks right now.  The more colorful and crazy, the better!  You have to be a strong and confident man to pull one of these babies off.  Wouldn't this be a super fun project for some wall art?

If Emma was a dude, she'd be wearing this sweet thing right now.

It is pretty normal here in "The South" to wear a bow tie to a wedding in lieu of a regular tie.  It's even semi-normal to add suspenders to the mix!

While at a recent wedding here in North Carolina, I decided the bow ties were too fabulous to ignore, so I went around asking the men during cocktail hour if I could take a quick picture of their colorful accent piece.  Most of them looked at me like I was a little loco, but being the southern gentlemen that they were, they allowed me to take the shot anyway.  I love it, I love it, I love it!
Next up?  Bead boarding.  My first real experience with this glorious decorative wall mount was on Bald Head Island.  I was helping out with a workshop that my boss was teaching and we stayed in one of the houses there.  Every inch of the place had character, in an upscale but casual sort of way.  Exactly my style.  Since then, I vowed that when we owned a house it would have bead boarding.  Or wainscotting. Or something like that.  Adding some is one of my goals for 2011.  Until then, I'll just drool over these pictures!

Would you not DIE for this laundry room?  Seriously.  OK not seriously, but you know what I mean.  Don't die.  Cause then nobody would be alive to read my blog. ;)

Lastly, I've decided that once we get our back yard graded and landscaped, I'm getting a rocking chair.  Or two.  And I'm going to sip tea out of a mason jar while holding a bow tie.  Then I'll be truly southern.

Rocking chairs can go in the "granny" direction pretty quickly, but I am LOVING the ikat pattern and the mid-century modern vibe of this one.  Amazing.  And southern.

What about you?  Do you have a particular southern tradition or item that you are attached to?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!  I'll be doing at least two more posts on all things southern, so maybe I'll use your thought!

July 22, 2011

I *heart* this: morocco meets boho

If you know me, you know that I love anything bohemian, eclectic or Moroccan in influence.  It's definitely a love it or hate it look and MAN do I love it!  West Elm's Global Bazaar Line is making me so happy right now.  I see hints of Anthropologie and World Market but the designers have done a great job retaining the West Elm look.  I'll take one of each, please!  Do you have a favorite?

July 20, 2011

chair re-do

Andrew and I recently had a Saturday morning off together.  Shocker, I know!  Junk shopping is one of our favorite time wasters, so we decided to drive around the neighborhood to visit a few yard sales.  There's always something amusing, something useful and something with potential hidden amongst the not-so-amusing, useful and potential filled.  Case in point, this amazing chair that we snagged for a mere $5.  Are the lines not fabulous?!

The original seat cushion was tired and torn (sorry for the lack of BEFORE picture) so I decided to try my first reupholstery job.  I used this tutorial on Design Sponge as a guide and went for it!  I'm super pleased for my first go around.  The entire chair, including purchase price, cost me a whopping $23.  Not bad!

I've thought about painting it, but I kind of like the distressed feel of the piece.  What do you think?  Should I paint it or leave it?

July 18, 2011

Addicted to Pinterest

There are so many amazing things about Pinterest.  I'm not sure where to begin!!  If you haven't heard of Pinterest.com, it's pretty much the best site ever.  It's great for storing links and photos as well as gathering inspiration for whatever makes you happy.  Everything is super organized and easy to navigate.  I'm smitten!
One of my boards is called "quotable quotes" but it's really anything with words that catches my attention.  Here's a few pins that made it to the board.
 I also created a board that will help me plan my 10 year anniversary party.  I'm going BIG with this thing and Pinterest has been invaluable in picking everything from color to gathering ideas for food and attire.

 My favorite board might be the DIY one.  Pinterest is so awesome for this use because it not only gives you a visual to go by for DIY projects, it also gives you a link to the original DIY post.  I may get to these projects in 2 weeks or I might hold off for a year, but I know that however long I wait I'll be able to find the directions so easily now!

So, how about you?  Are you addicted to Pinterest yet as well?  Follow me and I'll follow you back!

July 7, 2011

Our front yard in bloom

Summer is my favorite time of year!!!  I am having a fantastic time out in the heat this year.  Seeing all my efforts toward our front yard bloom and flourish has been so rewarding!  Check it out.
I'm sure the tree has a bit further to go in the blooms department, but I squealed the first time I saw the lavender buds on the tree!

This is my first year ever doing anything with plants outside and I am officially hooked.  Grab an Arnold Palmer and some sunscreen and get your pale self outside!

July 6, 2011

no more ugly lighting

Oh happy day!  We have finally updated our ugly pendant lighting in the kitchen and I couldn't be happier! This is the mess we started with.
Not pretty, I know.  At first, we wanted to go with something like this.  They're made of mercury glass and are very cool.  If we never wanted to move, I'd be going with these babies for sure.

But after talking with our real estate agent and a few people in our neighborhood, we've started to realize that our taste doesn't exactly line up with the locals.  If we ever want to sell our house for top dollar (and that's the goal) we need to make our bigger purchases buyer friendly.  Our HOAs do lawn service, which attracts retired/elderly couples with dogs and mercury glass just wasn't going to cut it.  While flipping through the Pottery Barn catalog, we came upon these...
...but realized we weren't comfortable with clear glass shades or bare cords.  A little too casual.  Sooo, after much deliberation, we ended up with these (except in oil rubbed bronze)...

Restoration Hardware wins again!

The pendant is oil-rubbed bronze (not polished silver like in the picture), so we've decided to go in that direction with the rest of the kitchen, including the knobs and a new faucet.  We already bought the knobs and are LOVING them. 
What do you think?

PS If you ever need to update your kitchen cabinets with new knobs and pulls, this little contraption is genius!!  It's $4 at Lowe's/Home Depot and it is simply a template for where to drill the holes.  Love love loved it.

July 1, 2011

Happy 4th!

We're off to visit family for the weekend.

Here's to hoping your independence day celebration is surrounded with friends and family.  And lots of yummy food. :)