Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Since we're not doing anything very exciting or glamorous for this New Year's Eve, I thought I'd compile a group of pretties that scream "New Year's Eve" to me...  Tables I'd love to sit at...  Things I'd love to wear...

The perfect black crystal chandelier for New Year's Eve...

Aren't these black and white chinoiserie plates gorgeous??? 

If I had some place to go other than the living room, I'd love to wear this fun cocktail ring (from here)

And how amazing is this wallpapered closet?!!!   (from Houzz)... 

I could see putting on my "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" dress in there...

Seriously I'm in love with that dress.  (And don't have it btw) but there are so many places online you can find who sell a version of it:

...  But in reality I'll be at home in my pjs...

Enjoying one of these with my husband:

Celebrating this:

Happy New Year!!!  Thank you so much for your support & friendship. You've all been so amazing & your comments & emails mean so much to me.  Have fun & be safe tonight!!!!

ps-  a little heads up on what's to come in our house this next year:  ORGANIZATION!!  We're hitting the closets, laundry room & work spaces, and are on a mission to make them functional and pretty.  Can't wait!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Baby!

Well our "new baby" BOY finally came!   His name is Justin Alexander and he was born on December 22nd.  

We had a huge snowstorm here last weekend so we took Christian (our 2 yr old) to my parents' house just in case I went into labor. 

On Sunday night I started having regular (but not painful) contractions.  I didn't call the doctor until the next night when they were a couple of minutes apart (STILL not painful) and she told me to go on in to the hospital just in case.  SO we went in & yes I was having contractions but still wasn't at a point where I should stay, so we went home.  The next day (the roads had cleared up finally!)and although I was still having contractions, (going on 40+ hours--- seriously???)   we went to get Christian from my mom's to take him home.  (We'd missed him like crazy and I was giving up on ever going into real labor :)  And of course my water broke.  My first thought was "not the sofa!!!" and ran as fast as I could off of my mom's velvet sofa & off the rug & onto the hardwood. 

We said our goodbyes (again) to Christian and off we went back to the hospital.  They gave me a good ol' dose of pitocin and off we went into the real hard labor.  Justin was born at around 11 that night and it was such a smooth delivery.  He weighed 6 lbs 13 oz and is healthy healthy healthy!! :)

I feel GREAT and really couldn't have had an easier delivery and am so thankful.  I'm SO ready to jump & dance around but am being good & am going to wait until I'm supposed to.  (less than 2 weeks! wahooooo)
We came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve and I could NOT believe how big my little Christian seemed!!!!  He got to meet his brother & so far has been really sweet.  He gives him kisses and checks on him when he cries & generally ignores him most of the time.  :)  We had an awesome Christmas Day with just us & it was so crazy to look around and see that there are now 4 of us.  2 boys.  (Well, really 3 and I'm totally outnumbered.)  WOW. 

So for now, we're hibernating.   (It's pretty much what we like to do when we have a baby. ;)  I'll keep you posted & will try to muster up some design-related posts soon!! :)  Hope you all had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and thank you all SO much for your kind emails & well-wishes.  It was really fun (and took my mind off things) at the hospital when my blackberry would ding and I'd get a sweet wish from one of you.  :)  I really appreciate it.

Right now we're in that sleep-deprived but lovey-dovey wonderful stage of life after a new baby.  He really is a little angel and we couldn't be happier.  We're so thankful to have such a healthy little boy and are taking each day (no hour!) one at a time...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ten Things I Can't Live Without At La Dolce Vita

The beautiful Paloma of La Dolce Vita has asked me to join in on her "Ten Things I Can't Live Without" series.  You can check it out here

Right now I'm at the hospital for Baby #2.  And my husband will keep you posted!  Have a very Merry Christmas!!!!! 


Lauren (David typing)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Christmas Cookies in the Kitchen!

This year we had so much fun baking Christmas cookies!  Christian is at an age (2 1/2) where he loves helping & doing projects.  Our kitchen's working really well for us...

...  and as you can see from the pics below, Christian was THRILLED   to help bake cookies for our friends. (when we were rolling the cookies into balls he couldn't stop giggling)


Here he is below with the peanut butter cookies all laid out in nice rows, waiting patiently after being told he STILL can't eat them...

And finally, our work paid off!!!  (We have a HUGE stock of Hershey bars in the pantry from s'more season leftover so we used chocolate bar pieces instead of hershey kisses.)  And mm mm mm!!  We gave out the cookies to family friends and of course had to keep a few for ourselves ;)  It's the little simple things about Christmas that make it so special & fun. 

We had a huge snowstorm here in Northern Virginia this weekend & school's been cancelled, so my husband is totally OFF for Christmas now!!  Still no baby but I'll keep you posted!!  Wishing you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & Happy Holidays!!!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wreaths To Love

The entry above is perfection to me. A moss Christmas wreath?!! All that white!!!The urns!! Ok & the lantern & the garland. I just love it all. (Martha) If I had this type of house I would SO go there!! This year, I've been pretty slack wreath-wise (our entry, below)... There's a plain Home Depot wreath on our front door and at one point I had intentions of doing something special to it... and not that I've ever really not been slack actually... because the most I've ever done is added a ribbon to a wreath, but I always have better intentions for my wreaths.

It's not happening this year, but maybe for NEXT year! I was just browsing around online & looking at wreaths and found so many pretty ones & wanted to share. They all seem rather doable if you actually set aside the time to make them & one day when there are less renovation projects, I will. This perfectly simple & natural wreath featured in Country Living is by Minna Mercke Schmidt who has a BEAUTIFUL blog here. (She got everythign for the wreath from her own yard... ok honestly, I MIGHT add some things to my wreath now... this is just too pretty.)

And now here are a bunch of wreaths from Martha Stewart. Below is a perfectly traditional silver fir and holly wreath with a big red bow. It's just so classic & I could see it with white or burlap too.

Below, using 3 wreaths on a ribbon makes such a statement! So easy to do and it really is a show-stopper! (All I'd need to add is more ribbon & pick up 2 more HD wreaths!! EXCEPT I don't have the extra wide ribbon or the wreaths at home... which means it's probably not happening this year... )
Ok and I love this sweet gum one below. (I didn't know that's what the "prickly things" were called until today.) They're everywhere & I'd even love it unpainted. But you could spray them any color & this would be awesome... It would be fun to collect the prickly things with the kids too.

And below is a simple & ruggedly elegant pinecone wreath. The snow sprinkled on it is so pretty too. This would be easy to make, again if you only set aside the time to do it. (I think we will have to start Christmas prep in the summer next year??!!)

Oh and I just LOVE this mistletoe wreath below!! It's misshapen & looks so homey to me...

This is a beauty with golden cedar laced in the center... Again it would be really easy to grab a cheapie wreath from a place like Home Depot & embellish it with things from your own yard...

Below is a gorgeous eucalyptus & fir wreath. (Imagine the smell!! :) It looks like it might be over my head but who knows? It really is just stunning.
I could SO handle this one below. The cranberry string would be so easy to wrap around a standard wreath... THIS i can do.
Ok, and this wreath chandy below is just amazing. I love it over the drink station. This would be AWESOME for a party.
This one seems pretty out of my league too but just had to show it. A carnation wreath! And picture a poinsettia one! Definitely for an occasion & you'd have to be okay with them not lasting long... (I don't know if it would be worth it to me.)
And finally the wreath that launched a thousand blog posts! Eddie Ross's vintage Christmas Ball wreath!!Did you see his ornament wreath challenge? So beautiful & so much fun & MAYBE next year will be my year...
...At this point, if NEXT year really is "the year" I will be swimming in wreaths!! haha But aim high, and even if I only do one that would be an improvement on this year, right??
Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas at Our House

I took this pic last weekend (above) during the beautiful little snowstorm we had. (It was the perfect time to remove the pumpkins!- ha how terrible am I?!) I made poor Ashby sit in front of the doors for pictures. (She's a wimp & really isn't that into the snow unless she's wearing her winter jacket- no joke.) Anyway, I'm so glad you all convinced me to keep the door orange! I even like it at Christmastime. There are intentions of adding a white bow to the wreath, but it most likely won't happen. We can't find any electrical outlets outside & might not have Christmas lights this year either. :( Christian really wants them.

But let's go inside! Below is the entryway & I just hung a few simple unadorned garlands around...

I kept it easy in the kitchen too & figured that plates full of cookies & a garland would do the job for us this year with the baby coming...

The problem is that they disappeared WAY too quickly!! --- into my already stuffed-to-the--max belly!! (Note to self- cookies on cakestand on kitchen island WILL NOT LAST.)
We put a fun letter to Santa on our fridge (which is now gone) but will be back for Christmas Eve:

I don't have the energy I usually do right now so I didn't change the bookshelves much, but I did switch the books around so the reds were more prominent, and putting the turquoise ones in more inconspicuous spots. (I just realized that if you're not into switching your house around all of the time that probably sounds insane... but i know most of you get me &/or are like me ;)
In the dining room we did a little tablesetting: My best friend came into town so we actually used it! ha
I wanted to keep it simple & green & natural like the rest of the house... No frills really, except the tiniest bit of sparkle from the crystal & the floral plates... I love a bare table...
I scored this urn at Lucketts a couple of weeks ago & they were on sale for only $35!!! (They might still be and there are tons of them outside.)
It's the same urn (except in white) that I have on the sideboard in the background. They are SO heavy but I just love how sculptural they are & what a huge impact they make in a room. It's too big to actually keep as the center for a tablesetting so it gets replaced by food when we eat.
I paired my vintage Camellia plates with some of our platinum-banded Bernardaud wedding china. The silver chargers I found at Walmart! (i would LOVE pewter ones & will never stop thinking about the set I found for a steal & passed up at an antique mall!! argg) I used little wine corks for the name cards (from a good friend's wedding - they weren't keeping them & I knew they'd come in handy one day!)
My friend Amazing-Amy helped me set up for the pics & she also did this beautiful winter greens arrangement in the dark urn (below). She is a landscape designer & her company decorates homes for Christmas & she had so many great ideas & an awesome eye!!! The huge white bottle in the background was a recent Lucketts find & I'm slightly obsessed with it. I need to find the perfect spout for it! How awesome would a drink for party be in it?!
I'm still so happy about the $165 sideboard & it so awesome to have tons of extra storage!! (below)
And, like I've said before, we always have nuts around during the colder months:
We used sticks from the yard throughout the house (Amy is full of ideas!!!... the sticks can be seen on right of pic below) and they have that same kind of wild feeling that the chandelier has...
Here's a view (below) of the living room from the dining room. (Rearranged again!)
The bright green of the sofa is perfect for Christmas! (I'm putting that slipcover way further down on my list!) I am SO loving the feel of the velvet this time of year!
I wanted something kind of crazy natural for my tree & told Amy we wished there was some way to incorporate branches in the tree. No problem she said!! And out went our husbands into the yard (this is the same night we did the 30 entryway prints) to find some suitable branches for the tree. I watched as Amy just started shoving the branches into the tree!!
And I LOVED it!! (I think this will have to be a yearly tradition... I know it might not appeal to everyone... when I sent pics to my dad in Illinois he goes, "Where the hell'd you find a scraggly tree like that?!" he thought the branches were dead pine branches hee hee. I guess to each his own! :) But I do like it when things are a bit "off" and this is perfect to me!! Thank you AMY!!!!!!
And we finally got the mirror for the mantle fireplace box (below)
For the mantle, I created the worst fire hazard you've ever seen: A magnolia wreath hung only inches above an insane amount of pillar candles!! WOW.
But don't worry, most of the time it's like this(below) or we just light the outer candles. It's still pretty to me unlit... I love my house too much to be this crazy ;)

And here's a pretty little shot of Dave's stenciling peeking through the magnolia wreath:
Here's a gorgeous arrangement Amy did in a moss pot! (oh my, they have those?!!)

I am CRAZY about the magnolia wreath but must warn you that they don't last long -or stay fully green for long- inside. Ours stayed pretty green for about a week to a week and a half & now more & more brown leaves are appearing. (It's still beautiful but is developing more of an "Autumn" look & actually will be perfect for next Fall once it's fully dried.)
And here's a little close-up of my tree with our sentimental ornaments:
We love sitting by the tree at night... (These pics were taken before the branches arrived) Christian had so much fun helping to decorate the tree & it's awesome now that he's an an age where he "gets it."
We're finally relaxing in our new house & I just can't believe it! (I don't know if it's harder to believe it's ours or harder to believe we're relaxing! haha) The Carpenter's Christmas is playing practically nonstop (I can't find the rest of our Christmas music... although I still usually play nonstop Carpenter's Christmas anayway) and Christian has been trained to put it on himself. First thing in the morning, he runs in & turns it on. (ps- there's nothing wrong with "training" your kids for your own enjoyment ;)
With a new baby on the way any day, now this kind of "relaxing" might not last for very long, but we're going ot enjoy it while we have it! Wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas & happy holidays & lots of snow!!