Friday, May 22, 2015

Grow Your Own

Early summer is the best time for Houston gardens. Just right temps and lots of new growth make for sweet little arrangements.  If it's blooming, I'm clipping.

Belinda's Dream Roses, Phlox, Morning Glory Vine, Clematis, Butterfly Bush and Hosta leaves
Happy Memorial Weekend. Sleep late, eat a lot and pick some flowers!

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Kitchen Mini Makeover

Over the last couple of months my kitchen has s l o w l y been getting a little updating.
Things seem to always take longer than expected and we had a couple of setbacks but progress is a good thing.

We live in a typical builder home in the suburbs of Houston. It's lovely, but there are corners that builders cut that I will never understand. A lot of the work had nothing to do with pretty, it was just necessary. But those little things make a big difference in a room like one's kitchen where a lot of time is spent every single day. And it's still a work in progress.



Our eat in kitchen nook got the most love and is the most completed. We added crown moulding to this room, fresh paint top to bottom, centered the light over the table (why was it not centered when they built it?). Added pretty trim moulding around the previously bare windows and custom blinds from Select Blinds.


In person, the windows are gorgeous and get noticed right away.  I replaced the faux wood blinds with the Tropical Isle Basic Bamboo Shade in Mesh Camel with a cordless lift. 
I can't say enough about Select Blinds excellent customer service. If you've never ordered blinds online, give them a try next time. Samples are sent out right away and their people know their stuff.  This kind of customer service is very rare these days and was so appreciated. (not paid to say that...they are just awesome and I will use them again) Thanks to Holly Mathis for referring me. She's been using their products for years.

It's so tempting to want to replace everything once a room starts feeling new. But the domino effect gets expensive pretty fast. For example, our little kitchen table. A new table was on my list of things to replace but when I considered that it is solid wood and a good size for the room, I came to my senses and had it painted instead.  I'm in love!



I've fed my family for years off this little table and would have been sad to see it go. It's a good solid yellow pine table that I had painted white years ago. I was ready for a change so I called my friend Allison of H.A.S. Bins who is a wiz with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. 

The awesome Allison of H.A.S. Bins. She offers custom painting work and also sells painted furniture along with her partners at H.A.S. Bins.

She created a custom color mix using Graphite and Old White which resulted in this dark moody gray.  I do love the contrast with my chairs. Thank you Allison, so so much, xo.




Here you can see where the next work will be happening.  The little shelf will be removed and natural open shelves will be installed.  There was a recipe desk here that was removed as well. I'll have shelves to the floor for ironstone and serve ware.  I considered closing it off, but would miss the styling opportunity.  I like to see my stuff.

When all is done, then a new floor will go in (when I can make up my decorators ever changing mind). Bring in the existing wood? A hex tile in a fun pattern? Big tiles or little ones? A painted cement tile? Another white floor?
I got so sick of myself I had to just stop for a bit and catch my breath. Better that than to make an expensive mistake. 

There's more to share as we go. We replaced the tile backsplash with beadboard, converted a wall oven to a small pantry, converted a cook top to a slide in range and had one of those God awful fluorescent box lights ripped out and sprinkled around some small led lights on dimmers. New cabinet hardware is coming as soon as I get it ordered. 

Oh, and the wall color is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.



Monday, May 4, 2015

The Other Side of The Camera

What an exciting week around here.

I never thought I would say this, but our house was photographed last week for Better Homes & Gardens.  
I know!!! It felt like a dream.

I'll be sure to keep you posted when the issue is out and share many more details closer to that time.

It was a huge thrill and a very humbling experience to see our home through the eyes of the BH&G team. 

A great take away from this that I would love to pass on to you is to always Always ALWAYS be true to your own unique style. That's what makes your home, and the world, a much more interesting place. 


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Apple Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Scones

On my last post I shared with yall how delicious the food was on the Country Living shoot at Christi Wilson's home. One of my favorite meals was the morning Christi brought out these delicious Apple Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Scones. They were savory without being heavy and paired perfectly with a pretty bowl of fruit. Christi shared the recipe with me and I think it's too good to keep all to myself.



Apple-Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Scones
Yield 8-10 Scones

(Recipe from The Pastry Queen Cookbook by Rebecca Rather along with Alison Oresman. Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe)

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1-1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 to 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper in a large bowl on low speed.
With the mixer running, gradually add the cubes of butter until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour-butter bits about the size of small peas.  Add the grated cheese and mix just until blended. (This can also be done by hand. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Gradually cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles small peas. Stir in the cheese.)

Add the green onions, bacon and the 3/4 cup of buttermilk to the flour and cheese mixture. Mix by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated. If the dough is too dry to hold together, use the remaining buttermilk, adding 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball.
Stir as lightly and as little as possible to ensure a light-textured scone. 
Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured flat surface. Pat the dough into a ball. Using a well-floured rolling pin, flatten the dough into a circle about 8 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal wedges, depending on the size scone you prefer.

Whisk the egg and water in a small mixing bowl to combine. Brush each wedge with the egg wash. Place the scones on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle. Serve warm.



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Recent Styling Work for Country Living Magazine May 2015 Issue

The May issue of Country Living is out and I'm so excited about the story that features the  lovely home of Christi Wilson of The Brown Shed


Photograph by : Annie Schlechter 
This family room is absolutely hands down one of my favorite rooms. Ever. It's light, bright, colorful, cozy, feminine without being fussy and I love how it connects to the kitchen. It's the perfect space to simply "be" with your family. 

And the Wilson's are all about family; and hospitality and gardening and chickens and sweet dogs and eating really good food in their authentic farmhouse kitchen. 


When we're working on shoots we usually only have time to grab a quick bite and then it's back to work. On this shoot, Christi spoiled us rotten for three days with delicious homemade meals. And she made it look so easy!  She's a natural at putting together delicious casual meals.  I was so impressed with how easy she made it look with a team from a magazine invading her home. We tend to make a big mess during these shoots. It was quite a treat to be so tended to. Southern hospitality at its best. 


Homemade pies, scones, muffins, soup, grilled sandwiches. Quiche!! I just remembered the quiche she made with a pecan crust from her tree!  

I have a scone recipe to share with you coming up in the next blog post. Maybe Christi will share some of her favorite recipes on her blog for us...pretty please?

As you'll see from the story, Christi has a great eye for finding that just right antique. Her home is full of one of a kind finds. It was a dream to style her home because all I had to do was ask and she had exactly what we needed. I loved walking out back to The Brown Shed to gather up a basket of vintage goodies to style with. 










Vintage bottles and ranunculus waiting for their close up.


My partner in crime, Paige Hull of The Vintage Round Top, assisted on this shoot.  She's a steamin' demon.  Since we were working close by we got to stay in Paige's cottage in Round Top, Texas. If you haven't seen it, take a look and fall in love. It's dreamy. 

If you love Christi's style, I've got good news. She's updated her Etsy store and stocked it with vintage items just like you see in her Country Living feature. She'll also have plans for her adorable chicken coop coming soon.


To see more of this feature click here to view the Country Living slideshow and pick up the May 2015 Issue to read all the details. 

Thank you Christi, for the hospitality. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Moth Wing Diaries by Lori Vrba

Let me begin by saying that Lori Vrba has been my best good friend for 35 years. We've grown up together. Lived together. Had babies together.  I think some of our best growing has been over the last decade and we're not exactly spring chickens. And we're proud of that. 


It's an amazing thing to watch someone you're close to find their passion and then watch their star rise. 


Lori is a fine art photographer and mixed media artist living in Chapel Hill, NC.  She shoots with an old Hasselblad camera and makes pictures in her darkroom down in the basement of her home. It's as cool as it sounds. 

I'm beyond proud to share that her first book, The Moth Wing Diaries, has been published by Daylight Books and is now available

Winged Victory by Lori Vrba
Rebecca's Palm by Lori Vrba


You can read one of the best interviews Lori's given on Lenscratch to get a deeper understanding of where the work springs from and her process. I know you'll be inspired.


If you live in or near Chapel Hill, NC., you have two opportunities to see Lori's work. Daylight Project Space in Hillsborough will exhibit her work through May 22nd.
And the historic Horace Willliams House in Chapel Hill will open with an exhibition on April 12-26. Artists reception will be April 12, 2-4 pm. 

If you're in the Houston area, plan ahead as Lori will be exhibiting work beginning June 6 at Catherine Courturier Gallery.

Also, follow Lori on Facebook for all the up to the minute details about shows and signings.




Congratulations dear friend! Can you believe I just blogged about your book?!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recent Styling Work for Country Living Magazine

I get the strong feeling that everyone has had quite enough of winter and is ready for spring. Myself included!
While you're enjoying the last days of winter snuggled by the fireplace be sure to visit the new Country Living magazine website. They've redesigned it and it has a fresh new feel.
And speaking of fresh, I was honored to style the April 2015 feature of the charming Bellville, Texas cottage of Houston's own Bailey McCarthy, owner of Biscuit Home

Click here to see the full slideshow on the Country Living website. How sweet and inviting is that pink front door?


Photography by Roger Davies
Bailey's style is daring (a black kitchen!) and whimsical while giving a nod to traditional in a way that's youthful and refreshing. 
She's made it easy to shop the look she's created in her farmhouse on her website by creating  a Country Edit of pieces found in her home. Would you dare to mix it up like Bailey has?
What a beautiful country place they've created for themselves.  It was lovely to share it with them for a few days during the shoot which happened to fall on my birthday. I thought that was reason enough to smooch that darling pony :)