Wednesday, February 25, 2009

{le bain}

When we bought our little rancher nearly 2 years ago, one of the things that attracted us to it was that it was in move-in condition. Brand new cabinets, granite, flooring and fixtures. Mind you, if I had my druthers this is not what I would have picked, but it is very nice so I am grateful. You see, we did not have ca$h to come in and rip out bathrooms or buy new granite just 'cause I didn't like the old/new stuff.

So I have tried hard to infuse my personality and style in through the fabrics and accessories I chose all the while trying to blend it in with the updated almost contemporary {maybe more traditional?} vibe of the previous owner's upgrades. I think it works, but I'll let you be the judge...

{the hall bath}

decorated in shades of white, cream, black and gold to compliment the granite countertop and tumbled marble floor and shower. The rug {not shown} is just a plush muted gold color. So snuggly for little ones stepping out of the bath.

I did not want to have a full shower curtain because the shower doors and tile are quite pretty, but I wanted some softness. I also did not want a big ugly rod stretching the width of the shower and taking attention away from the pretty accent tiles and the nice brushed stainless glass doors. So I copied this idea from a friend. I attached a towel bar {purchased to match the existing ones in the bathroom} to the ceiling and hung an extra long Ikea white curtain panel {I cut off the tab tops} which my Grandma Mimi sewed gold pom-pom trim onto. It softens the space without making it feel smaller which was a big concern. And I can have my gateau and eat it too.

A bit of clearance toile ribbon holds it back:

Here is a vintage mirror I painted black then distressed. The more light bouncing around in this very small space, the better:

I have a thing for all white towels. They scream clean and spa to me, plus they match anything.

The cool light fixture installed by the previous owners:

A shabby antique chair I got {the chippy paint in tones of cream and butterscotch matches the bathroom exactly!} for my girls to stand on to brush their teeth:

My little vignette above the toilette {hey, that rhymes!}

The little girl's slip is vintage and was in my friend's mother's collection. So sweet.

An urn type thing filled with fabulous french and greek soaps, lavender, and seashells.

Some little containers on the countertop. All found on clearance and the little china cup is from the Salvation Army. A darling q-tip holder.

A little french mirror and vintage french postcard.

I even coordinated the soap and room spray. Gotta love Marshalls.

My antique transferware platter scored for a mere $13!

Lastly, a golden starfish to round out the color scheme.

Hope you enjoyed the little tour!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Perfection is what you make of it

I am feeling so inspired to live today. Two posts in particular {really, all your posts inspire me every single day} really helped me feel this way:

Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality blogged about entertaining simply by having friends over for lunch instead of dinner. Her suggestions to keep it simple, skip dessert, serve water and others were so liberating for me. How many times have I stressed and ended up not having anyone over because I wanted to make it perfect and lavish and didn't really want the work and stress that comes with that? It is far better to be with friends simply than not be with them at all. What a life lesson.

And the Nester over at Nesting Place talks about how to love your home no matter what. I commented that another thing that prevents us from loving our home is that constant search for perfection. No matter how pretty a room of mine is or how many compliments i get in real life or on my blog, I am always looking to make it better. That is very defeating and not at all liberating or inspiring. So I vow to quit. I will live with the beauty I have now and be so grateful for it.

Which is why I'm posting this picture of my older daughter, Neva:

She picked her own outfit, threw on a cowboy hat and gave me the toothiest grin ever and you know what? It's perfection. Let's celebrate the perfect imperfectness of our lives and enjoy the beauty surrounding us while we can. How grateful I am for my life today...


Monday, February 23, 2009

Birds of a Feather {installment 3}

I am trying to do this post at least once a month because I find other bloggers so inspiring. There is so much creativity out there! Let me know if you enjoy this kind of post. If you do, you can read my past posts "Birds of a Feather" here and here. Here are some snippets that I have had the pleasure of discovering lately and want to share with you.

First up is Brooke at Velvet and Linen. Would you take a look at her home! I am in love...

Starting at the front door and woven through each room is a graceful character with nods to the sea and old cottage charm...

Aren't the chippy, shabby architectural elements to die for?

This is perfection. I want to steal this landing area. Might not work so well in a one-story 1970's rancher, but a girl can dream.

And her bedroom is the stuff of dreams. How perfectly shabby!

Please stop by and pay her a visit. Her blog is wonderful and very worth your time.

Next is Jill over at Forever*Cottage. She just helped her friend put together a family photo wall using old window frames! I absolutely love this and I would replicate the look in a heartbeat if I could ever be so lucky as to find 3 of something!

She also recently gave a beautiful tour of her friend's amazing home. This image is my absolute favorite and I would like to recreate my family room to look like this when my kids are past the sticky fingers stage. Isn't this just breathtaking? And check out that mirror!

Jill has the best taste, and it seems her friends do, too! Please stop by her blog and tell her I sent you. She is very sweet and has lots to share.

Next is Gina at Willow Decor. She recently remodeled her kitchen and it is so pretty and clean and classic yet contemporary:

She also created a butlers pantry {!} out of a small office off the kitchen. These cabinets are perfect, and what a way to display your collection of dishes! I can't even begin to imagine... my ironstone obsession would grow ten-fold.

The attention to {period} detail is amazing. It really looks like I imagine a butler's pantry would look in the 1920's.

And I can't leave out the guys over at Barn House. If they didn't live like 100 hours away I would so be there at their sales... especially when they combine with the Queen of Tarte! Here is just one snippet from her opening sale:

They also have links to many other fellow bloggers who took pictures of Cindy's barn opening. I hope they go to Alameda soon so I can go shop their booth!
That's it for now. Hope you enjoyed this little foray into blogland through my eyes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chez Moi - a sneak peek into Neva's room

Come on in....

Recently I decided to update Neva's room {Neva Marie is my almost-5-year old and part of the name of my blog...} with accents of chocolate brown. I know it's a little trendy, but it's so cute with pink! And everything in her room is pink. It's her favorite color. The walls are Carnation Pink and the daybed {bless my mother's heart} was mine from the 1980's. Not exactly what I wanted, but nostalgic nonetheless.

Sorry the lighting is so bad {not sure why they look so gray?}... her room is actually pretty pink.

When I updated her room, I used existing pillows and recovered them with brown and white polka dot fabric, and pink and white paisley fabric on the faux fur one. Cheap and easy. Her quilt is actually flipped over today to lighten things up a bit. Normally it's on the hot-pink with white polka dot side. I prefer the lighter pinstripes. There is a plush chocolate brown blanket on one end of the bed perfect for naps {which she very rarely takes. darnit.}

Her vintage dresser which used to be mine.

Her little collection of teacups and eiffel towers, and the cute frenchy figurines {on the bottom shelf. so cute}

Her dress up station in the corner is a vintage coat rack. It's filled with princess dresses.

p.s. I know the drapes are too short. I have yet to buy fabric to extend them. Just keepin' it real girls.

A vintage restaurantware platter and 2 new transferware plates around a picture of my 2 girls together when Ava was only 3 months old...

A little vignette with an old picture frame, a cute little bird's nest and homemade Paris artwork {made out of scrapbook paper and a photocopy of a Paris gift bag}

One more shot of the bed and mirrors above. The ribbon on the antique ceiling tin miror hangs from a vintage glass knob. I used brown ribbon a lot throughout the room to add little shots of brown here and there.

Her darling lamp which I updated with brown pom-pom fringe hot glued on.

Another shot of the too-short drapes. The only things I didn't photograph were the Rose Petal Cottage and the play kitchen. Thought I'd spare you.

That's it! Thanks so much for stopping by...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 minute makeover

In honor of The Nester's party, here is my 10 minute makeover.... hope you like it.

I am hosting my sister's baby shower at my home in about 3 weeks, so I wanted to freshen up the decor a bit. One of the things that's been bugging me are a couple of my faux arrangements. Now, I love them, but they felt a bit heavy for spring and I wanted to lighten at least the one by the front door up a bit. Here it is in it's before state. Very green and brown:

So I removed all the stems and put back in just the longest ones, the most architectural ones.

Once I got those arranged, I added in some more architectural pieces like fern:

Lastly, I added in some dried hydrangeas from my garden so the look isn't completely faux. It has a softer, springy palette and I thought it looked great.

But a couple more tweaks made it even more springy. I switched out the tray for a white shabby one and added a light colored finial.

Then I tucked some french postcards in the mirror above it to repeat the colors in the hydrangeas and now I love it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sweet Nostalgia

Every Tuesday my Mom, Grandmother and me and the girls get together. We rotate houses every week and most of the time we just visit and eat lunch and play with the girls. But frequently Mom and Grandma bring little presents for the girls {new outfits or toys} and sometimes I get something too.
Well, Grandma or Mimi as we affectionately refer to her, busted out today. She said that at a visit to my sister's house last week while looking at several little things from my Great-Grandmother she realized I have almost nothing from her. Because of weird family dynamics, Mimi got very few items from her Mother when she died. Between 11 brothers and sisters and all the generations after them, she got aced out pretty good. But I guess she managed to grab a couple of items others didn't deem valuable or nostalgic. I beg to differ.

Mimi came today with a bag of the sweetest items for me. I was so touched to receive these little treasures from my Portuguese Great Grandmother, the one married to a dairy farmer, the one who left the Azores at 18 never again making it back to see her own parents or family, the one who raised 11 children on a farmer's meager income during the depression. The one that I have memories of as a child, all of which I hold dear.
My Great Grandparents were such simple farm people. They had almost nothing and raised all 11 kids in a tiny little farmhouse. These things would have been very precious to her because they didn't have money for a lot of extras. Not only does this make these things extra special, it reminds me about how fortunate I am and how good I have it. I like to remind myself that generations of women before me did without many of the things I take for granted, and oh how these little farmers wife's treasures remind me of that. I am so grateful and how I wish times were simple like they were back then.... you know, bakin' pies and feedin' the chickens and raisin' the kids. So pure.
The vintage tablecloth under all the items was used by my Great Grandma, and the little butter knife was hers as well. She hand embroidered the little tea towel, and hand crocheted the doily and little pink potholder so tight it almost looks like tatting.
And of course, how darling is this little turquoise bird bath? My Mom gave me the little nest with 2, not 3, little eggs in it. Neva, my almost 5 year old said "Mom, you are the bird, and me and Ava are the little eggs!" My thoughts exactly.
Here is how I have displayed some of the items in my home. I put the doily under this darling teapot I got at a recent trip here in Roseville... if you remember, I blogged about meeting these people at the Alameda Flea Market. You can read about it here. How darling their shop is! I only wish I had my camera with me that day. You would have loved it. So paris-shabby-gardenish. Lovely.

Next us is the little birdbath. I put it in my favorite little shabby cabinet with the chicken wire back. This was a great anniversary present for my 5th anniversary from my parents. It houses my gorgeous crystal champagne flutes as well as some other lovelies.
Recognize the champagne bucket posted about here?
That's it for now... I knew you would appreciate this sweet nostalgic gesture!