Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No Tricks... Just a Treat!

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!


Are you ready for Trick-or-treating?
Well it seems like we have started cold and flu season off with a bang this year~
my daughter isn't feeling good and she and her good friends aren't feeling trick or treating this year. 
 :( 
Instead, she plans to watch a Ghost Adventures marathon
 and trick or treat for candy from the bowl in the kitchen
It's okay with me but I can't help feeling a little sad that this is the first time since
Ryan was born  (20 years ago)  that we aren't out trick or treating.  :(   

My boys are talking about getting together with a few friends~ 
so it looks like it will be a quiet night for the girls at home.
What better time to put up a little TREAT for French Country Cottage readers!
:) 
 I shared a peek at the new paint and drapes that my daughters room got as part of a mini room makeover with the LCI network. 
You can find it here if you missed it.


I actually worked on more than one makeover... but not ready to share that one just yet.
giveaway closed.

Passionate for Purple

My daughter is like me in so many ways.
She has naturally curly hair
she is a bit sassy :)
 she knows what she likes and what she doesn't
and she loves to decorate her room...
but that is where we go in different directions.


You know my style.
I'm all about creamy pale colors & whites  (and a little red!)
 gilding, french details and lots of chippy goodness and antiques.

Ansley is more of a dark colors girl.  
Rich jewel tones and black.
 Her idea of beautiful artwork is posters and magazine clippings of guys she might have a crush on.
 (okay~ I guess we all can relate to that look... I remember a certain poster of Rob Lowe that graced my walls ;) )

 When we were talking about paint color ideas~ she said she wanted something dark.
Chocolate brown maybe... I suggested. 
Nope.
Dark purple.

"A sense of mystic and royal qualities..."
Color expert Kate  on the color purple


Hmm... dark purple.
It would be a challenge for me for sure.
But as someone who loves to help others find their bliss in their rooms
I needed to step outside of my comfort zone and help her find the perfect mix for her personality.


Off I went to Lowes to find the perfect dark purple. 
I ruled out the ones with too much pink. 
the ones that were neon.
 the ones that were too grape purple and the ones that were more of a dark wine.

When I handed THE perfect purple paint chip to my paint guy at Lowes...
 he almost had to pry it from my hands. 
Yes. I want this color paint... I said.  Valspar paint + primer? Yes, I nodded.
 I proceeded to tell him about how every room in my house was a pale color or shade of white. 
Crisp, bright and airy. That I love soft romantic rooms
and that my daughter loves dark and dramatic.

We kind of had a quick 5 minute therapy session where I did all the talking.
he just nodded, smiled 
&
 asked if I wanted satin or eggshell.
:)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Burlap Bags

Yes... I know.
It's not even Halloween yet... but I have Christmas on my mind already.
Don't hate on me please.
I have some pretty big plans for Christmas this year
so I have been gathering up vintage ornaments, keeping my eye out for vintage trees and
other bits and pieces of Christmas past.
Don't worry...
I will wait until November to start sharing Holiday inspirations ;)


I have also been thinking about making burlap treats with that big old roll of beautiful burlap
 that I got from my sponsor Burlap Fabric .
Yes, I have some left even after making  table runners, pillows and drapes



My latest project is super simple and easy
and it took me just about 10 minutes start to finish to make each one
 so it is super quick too.



 Tiny burlap gift bags. 
I love them. 
They are so charming and sweet and can be filled with a small gift or some dried flowers
 like lavender, scented sachets, etc. They are perfect as a hostess gift or party gift.
Most of the ones I have found recently have either been too large or too small for what I was thinking 
so I decided to go ahead and sew a few of them and set them aside for Christmas gift giving.


I love the burlap bags as little place setting gifts
( just make sure to wash the burlap first to avoid any little hairs coming loose.)
So simple to sew- they are just little rectangles with the tops folded over.


Here's how to make your own.

 Cut out a piece of burlap to a little larger than the size bag you would like.
 I cut a long piece and folded it over to have a 'bottom' with it being open on just 3 sides.

Simply sew around the edges ~ I did stitch across the bottom as well just to keep it a little more flat~
 and then trim all those wild hairs off the edges. Yes- there will be A LOT of them and be careful when pulling them off- if you pull too much-
you might have to sew back over your seams again- burlap unravels very easily.


Flip your bag inside out and fold over the top edge.
You can add a drawstring and then sew the bottom edges if you would like
 I kept mine open.

I want to point out that on some of these bags,
 I used the natural hemmed edge as the edge of the burlap as in the photos below 
& some of the others I just pulled a few strands of burlap off to have a fringed edge.


Next just add your numbers, names, or greeting and fill with goodies. 


That's it. 
If you would rather not make your own burlap bags Burlap Fabric does sell them
pre-made in several sizes at very reasonable prices and pre-made will also help avoid those strange stares from others when you go into the grocery store all covered in little burlap hairs...
I know nothing about that at all of course.
;-)

Happy Monday!


sharing at Wow

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Fun

'When witches go riding & black cats are seen...
the moon laughs and whispers... 'tis near Halloween!'


My daughter has been planning a mini soiree with a couple of her friends
 but with so many bugs going around- and my girl herself not feeling so hot~ 
 it didn't look like it would happen. 
But at the last minute
 (literally yesterday in the morning)
she decided to just have a couple of her girlfriends over last night for a little fun.



So we carved the pumpkins
lit the candles,
and put Halloween party radio on Pandora
 while we got the house decorated for a couple hours of
creepiness, scary movies and fun.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday!
French Country Cottage
Well Fall officially moved into Northern California this week
and brought lots of rain, wind, fog and chilly temperatures with it!
A huge change from the 80 degree weather last week for sure~
so I have been warming next to the fire and breaking out my wool coats!

Here's what I shared this week~

A getaway to Santa Cruz and an old forgotten house in the middle of the woods


My Autumn table set under old growth cedar trees


and my romantic Fall bedroom mantel with faded pinks, brown transferware & white pumpkins


Let's get on to the features from last week
and then get the party started!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Romantic Autumn Mantel


 A wee gathering of white pumpkins started appearing 
on our bedroom mantel


Along with those little pumpkins I adore so much
I wanted to add something sweet and romantic


 like faded dried rose blooms



Monday, October 22, 2012

Woodland Table

In an area at the back of our property
there are towering old cedar trees with low twiggy branches
 that all line up in a row


Just beyond that row of trees
 sits an open meadow with an old apple orchard and big old oak trees.
It's a spot that has always had somewhat of a magical feel to me
It's peaceful and calm and like something out a fairytale.
 I would love to set a gazebo or sitting area somewhere up here
and enjoy this enchanted spot in the forest.


But for now
 I decided to work on something that I have been thinking about doing
 in this area for awhile.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Getaway & Forgotten Treasure



I love love love old houses and can spend hours imagining their history.
All they have seen, what they were once like, who lived there, etc.
I think they are forgotten treasures.
You find them everywhere it seems-
beautiful old homes that are falling further and further into disrepair.
and a favorite of mine is one that that sits quietly on the property of one of the hotels we
love to stay at in Santa Cruz.


I absolutely love the beach.
It just centers me. 
Sitting on the beach listening to the waves crash in and quietly pull back
with the warm sun on me
and my toes sunken into the sand...
I think it's about as quiet as I get.




 I can hear myself think and feel so inspired.
Well... more like inspired inside
 because I really enjoy just sitting and relaxing! ;)

This week, we went to Santa Cruz for a couple of days with the kids during their Fall break
It was in the upper 70's with warm sunshine with hardly any wind~ perfect Fall beach weather.


When we are with the kids in Santa Cruz,
one of the places we love to stay is the Chaminade Resort
Love love love.

It is rich in history, amazingly beautiful and quiet and sits up on the top of a mountain 
It's a perfect place to recharge and rejuvenate.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday!
It's been a busy week over here with warm days and chilly nights~ the perfect Fall weather.
We even fired up the outdoor rock fireplace for the first time this week
 and it was wonderful to sit next to it!



Here's what I shared:


A little bit of orange that started to appear on the outside mantel
My latest crush... vintage Florentine tables- Love them.

and a little bit more about how we built the new bookshelves in the guest cottage.

Okay~ let's get on to the review and take a peek at some of what was shared last week at the party.
So many fantastic link ups last week~ here are just a few highlights.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Building Bookshelves

I shared the bookshelves that hold my collection of whites out in the guest cottage
recently and promised to share a bit more about how they were built.



I was a bad blogger who was under a major time crunch to get this room done
 and so I didn't take as many photos of the process of building them
I was too busy running around building- 
but I did grab a few photos with my phone of the process.

We were basically starting from scratch having removed a lot of what was already there.
We put bead board up on the walls- and the bottom half of the wall bumped out just a couple of inches.
because the guest cottage is built somewhat sunken into the ground and has half concrete walls.
It also has a concrete floor- which is far from being perfect or level.

Oh yes, building level bookshelves that measure level and that appear to be level-
 with uneven all around is loads of fun.
Let's just say it made me question
 just why I thought built in bookshelves were a grand idea.


We started by measuring the size of the width that we wanted.
I am a symmetry girl- and wanted a bookshelf on each side of a fireplace- so given the measurements of the space- and the measurement of the fireplace we were planning to use-
the bookshelves each measured 4' wide. 

(There was an older fireplace mantel/surround shell originally in the middle of the wall-
 and so that stayed to give us a bit of an idea while working.
Plus, it was a great spot to put all the tools and caulk, etc.
;)


The bookshelves are constructed of pine~ simple, easy and inexpensive
and it tied in well with the exposed pine beams that are original to the building.
After the framing was up~ we added the shelves by securing them
 with small screws and nails and we had the beginnings of shells of the bookcases.

I wasn't sure just how we were going to dress the top of the bookshelves.
I knew I wanted them to look like pieces of furniture with a crown or something to finish them.
The crown moulding we were originally thinking of using looked a bit too flat with the lines of the ceiling
but I had an old vintage bed headboard that had a nice curve and detailing to it
and thought... why not.



So  I traced the frame onto pine boards and Ryan cut them out. 
Yes, that is my grandfathers old jigsaw.
 It actually works better than the jigsaws of today and we love that when we were using Gramps' tools-
 it was kind of like he was helping us to build.
After sanding them with a handheld sander- the curves and edges were smooth
and we put them up to see how they would look.


The bottom part was perfect - I love the little details at each corner and the center arch
but they needed something along the top.
Ryan had an idea to take the piece that had been cut out and use it on top of the board.
( did I ever tell you my boys were stars in wood shop designing and creating unique projects?)

The other piece of the board worked perfectly and it really made the bookshelves look very unique.
After that it was a lot of sanding, caulking, painting and finishing up the bookshelves 
with fluted trim and mouldings and detailed trim along the front of the shelves.


For the bottom shelf area
I sewed a couple of drop cloth panels and put them up with tension rods.
Then it was time for the fun part~ 
 to fill them with treasures.


I love how these bookshelves turned out 
and they really do make such a statement in this room and I love that old charm they have.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Romantic Vintage Florentine Tables

You know how sometimes you find something
that just speaks your language?


Something that has the right color


the right curves


the perfectly aged patina


that just says...
'you' 


That was how I felt about these little thrift store finds when I saw them.


I found them just sitting there looking so lonely at the thrift store.
I was looking for dishes ;) and nearly missed them as I walked by.
But, I saw that pretty patina out of the corner of my eye and turned around


I walked over and ran my fingers across their shabby, worn but oh so beautiful
 gold and white paint


 Hello Beautiful!


They were tagged $80 but marked half price~ plus a little extra discount because of the wear
(which I don't mind at all)
they came out to $35.

I have no idea if that is a good price or not- but I just love them either way.


I am not quite sure just where they will end up staying in the house...
I am thinking of several rooms and several spots they will be perfect in.



For right now and for the photos
they are in the living room... looking oh so sweet.


 *sigh*
It's love.

sharing at
Tuesdays Treasures
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Romantic Home











Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Few Pumpkins...

It's pumpkin season.


There are big ones, small ones & mottled ones everywhere you look.

I am a white pumpkin girl
and love to use the creamy white pumpkins in my decorating 
But for the outdoors and for Halloween I included 
a little bit of traditional color.

Yes. 
I know...
 I am getting a little wild and crazy over here
 ;)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

White Dishes Dressed for Fall


Recently,
I shared my collected white dishes displayed in one of the built in bookcases
and I mentioned that those whites got a little bit of Fall.


Not much mind you... 
just a bit. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday!


How has your week been going? 
I have finished getting my Fall on over here 
and will be sharing over the next week or so... and then it's on to Halloween decor!!

Here's what I shared this week~

I guest posted over on the Sears Outdoor Style blog about romantic tables
 


I shared my latest obsession~ my thrift store Spode teacups and saucers... love them!!

I shared a peek at my living room Autumn Mantel

and more about those darling little flowers called Wax Flowers


Let's get onto the review and then get the party started!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wax Flowers


 So many of you have emailed or asked about what these little delicate flowers are 
that were in my posts last week.




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn on the Mantel


 Thought I should probably share the Fall that has appeared at our house this week
since it will probably be changing pretty quickly.


We are planning a little Halloween party this year 
and my daughter is already dragging out the Halloween stuff
 and we will be starting to put up some of the spooky decor next week.

So for just a little bit before the creepies and crawlies, spiders, rats, owls
and all things ghoulish arrive...

My living room mantel is enjoying being
simple, quiet and understated covered in neutrals and soft colors
:)


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dainty Teacups & Saucers

The thrift store was calling to me yesterday. 
Sometimes I find nothing & then sometimes I find so many things
 I think I shouldn't have stopped

But I stopped.
Mainly because I am looking for more white pieces for the second bookshelf.

Yes, 
more white dishes... I am insane.



Friday, October 5, 2012

Sears Outdoor Style Blog

Thrilled to be over at the Sears Outdoor Style blog guest posting today
(and yes, I have to admit- I am kind of excited to be posting right next to Ty Pennington!)
 ;)


I did an inspiration post today and
picked out a few bistro sets I was loving for a romantic dinner for two
& for creating that charming little spot to enjoy quiet moments in your garden.
Head on over to Sears if you want to take a peek!

Feathered Nest Friday is going all weekend~ 
just head on down to the next post to link up!

Happy Friday!


Feathered Nest Friday

Welcome to Feathered Nest Friday!


It has been so warm over here and I must admit...
 though it is harder to get into the Autumn decorating 
 I love the warm weather!!
I am not a cold weather girl- but the evenings have been nice and cool
and tonight~we are planning to sit outdoors and enjoy a little fire while relaxing.
On another note~
I have been considering taking the 31 days of blogging challenge and I have to be honest
I don't know if I could even come up with 31 posts about a specific subject that would be interesting or if I will decide to do it but I am considering it- so thought I would ask-
 If I decide to do the 31 days of blogging~  what would you like to see over here?
Vignettes? Photography ? Flowers? How to's? Maybe more personal thoughts? Blogging tips?
 I dunno... suggestions???
Let me know in your comment if you have any ideas or thoughts!

This week I shared a few bits of getting my Fall on around the house.
I am not feeling the usual colors and decor this year... more natural and simple
and I am loving including the pale pinks.

I shared these charming little flowers

Just a touch of Fall in my office

and a new built in bookcase with my quickly gathered collection of whites displayed in it.


Let's get on to last weeks party review and get this weeks party started!



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just a Touch of Fall


It doesn't feel much like Fall here yet.
The days have been wonderfully warm and even up into the 90's recently.


I am loving it... but it does make it a little harder to get into the Fall decorating mood.
I wanted to put up a quick and easy mantel display in my office
with just a few touches for now.



A few pale pink roses
and a delicate birds nest



With tiny bouquets of wildflowers
I love adding blooms to my Fall decor.

This handsome pheasant was a recent thrift store find 
I tucked him in among a couple of tiny white pumpkins 
and several mossy branches 


Just a collection of simple elements mostly gathered from the yard 
for a super quick vignette in the office.


Hope your week is going great!
Busy -busy over here~ and I am working on geting all the Fall touches up this week.
Well... we'll see how that goes!
;)

Happy Wednesday!