Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dreaming of a Pink Christmas

Christmas is almost here! I truly can't believe it. December seems like a whirlwind. I think most people spend their December relaxing, shopping for special gifts for each of their loved ones, having family get togethers, spreading joy and cheer, and reflecting on the current year as the end is so near. I on the other hand have hardly had a chance to catch my breath. Between decorating, throwing tea parties, and working on a back log of projects I have been so busy that I find myself wondering what happened to December. Time is going by so fast. 

This year, after moving into a much larger house, my room is actually big enough for me to have my own Christmas tree. I was so excited and settled on the perfect little pre-lit PINK Christmas tree. Of course it had to be pink...there is no other more important color in my life! So I spent a weekend scouring my favorite shop, Camas Antiques, in November during their annual Christmas Sale and found a lovely collection of ornaments for my tree. I also found some fabulous Marie Antoinette themed ornaments on Etsy and thought they were the perfect french addition. I love how it turned out!

I placed my Christmas tree on my antique set of gold Florentine nesting tables. With them spread out, I had room to place some new favorite additions from Etsy and Goodwill. My favorite newbie is the antique China bisque doll. With her sweet face, tattered lace dress, and bed spring base, she is unique enough to have earned her place on a display shelf year round!

So as I was thinking about how I wanted to write this blog about all the pink Christmas decor, I started thinking. I don't really have that much pink décor outside of my sweet boudoir. In fact, I have hardly had any contact with my favorite color starting with the rest of the house clear through all the projects I have completed this month. I thought I was having a very pink Christmas...but it turns out, my Christmas is almost every color but pink!

This bench is full of some of my favorite items that my Mom has purchased...some new and some old. This space is our entry way and is the only appearance that pink makes out in the living area of our house. In my opinion, it just wouldn't be Christmas without pink, gold, and of course lots of glitzy glitter!

This is our front room that we affectionately call the parlor. It is decorated in a Victorian style. It doesn't get much change for the Christmas season, as the décor is very festive year round. Instead of changing it, we embellish this sweet space with a beautiful Christmas tree with bold, extravagant pink and gold I said, it just wouldn't be Christmas without pink and gold.

That is pretty much the extent of the pink in our house. I can't believe there isn't more! But there is still lots of glitter! My Mom has a very different style than I do. I am all French, all the questions asked! My Mom however, has a wonderful flair for Old World meets Shabby Chic. It really is a unique and bold combination. She loves her golds too, but instead of pink, she embellishes with red, maroon, and black. 

Here is a picture of our great room. Part of the reason we moved is because we need more space. On Christmas Eve, we pack in about 50 people, all family, into this room. It gets pretty cramped...but not this year! My Mom and I share an affinity for all things antique and all of the old furniture was hand picked by her to create the big, bold, and beautiful blend. The key to creating a unique space is to find unique furniture, pieces that fit your tastes, look great, and are functional. I call these lifetime pieces. They are artful creations of style, but are purposeful...items you can have forever and pass down through your family line. They are solid and built to last.

Although many things changed this year, one thing remained the same...our Christmas tree. It is filled with precious moments ornaments, one given to me for each Christmas of my life, and a collection of Victorian inspired ornaments. I think I do spy some pink here as well :)!

This is where my French shabby style influences her Old World boldness. In our last house, we had a very colorful maroon and bead banister adornment. It was so beautiful. This year after we hung it, Mom and I both stepped back and thought it just took away from the space. So I asked my Mom for some creative liberty. I grabbed a huge piece of lace that was in a drawer just dying to be used. It was so large I couldn't find a spot for it...until I put together this banister dressing. I got this lace table cloth at Goodwill. I can find anything at Goodwill! The beads and bows I disassembled from the other banister decor and reused it here. I always try to repurpose pieces from decor items if I can. Repurposing over time can save you money and it can open up possibilities for always creating fresh new looks for every occasion or season.

This table has so many of my favorite items from my Mom's collection...starting with the sweet vintage angels that we have had since before I can remember, and the amazing antique filigree perfume bottle. We paired these items with a faux book and a mercury glass decanter type bottle. This is a great example of how you can pair the old with the new. If you want to decorate in the old world style, a great way to do that is to incorporate bold, stand alone pieces, like the book and the decanter, but also to soften it with some simple vintage items.

Gold and red tones are main staples in any old world decor selection. By pairing these colors with the blacks, it allows the bolds to shine, but provides a gothic undertone. Another way to punch up your old world style is to add beads. Beads embellish the bold items with some different textural, eye catching charm. It also softens the hard lines and colors that large stylized pieces tend to possess.

My favorite thing about our new house is that even though we have lots of Christmas décor, it doesn't seem over powering or cluttered as it has in the past. That is due in large part to the fact that we have double the amount of space this year. The big item these days are lanterns. Lanterns are a perfect way to keep a certain style or feel, yet embellish or accent your seasonal decor by filling them with colorful items. These lanterns have been filled with extra Christmas ornaments we had lying around and debated getting rid of and some craft store glittery pine cones. It really is amazing that the simple action of adding cohesive, yet extraneous items to a lantern, you can change the vibe of decorative space or surface.

This pictures really capture how we have woven shabby chic and old world together into a harmonious blend. This room was so full of neutral and black that it needed some brightness. Funny story is, we originally bought this beautiful music cabinet with the intension of using her in our laundry room. It needed some paint and some serious TLC. Once I painted it in Annie Sloan Old White, my Mom could not cope with the idea of hiding her away. So she was given a very prominent place in the house. 

Mom really hit the jack pot with this nativity set. It is hard to tell in the picture, but it is actually covered in glitter. As soon as we saw it in all its sparkling glory, we knew we had to have it. We didn't know where we would put it, but I think we found the perfect spot. It's glittery exterior, bright white tone, and extra height really add a touch of softness and shabby to the bold antique cabinet.

The hardest part about decorating a space is adding your own flair into a style. My Mom has done that beautifully. She has embraced a style that she was drawn to, but has made it her own by weaving other elements that appealed to her taste into that style, creating a unique amalgamation.

Now you're probably wondering why I say December has been a whirlwind...decorating a new space is no big deal and doesn't make an entire month fly by. Well I have been trying to save face. Ever since I started painting 3 years ago, I had made numerous promises to my Mom about how we could do this project or that project. Little did I know at the time, that this business is all consuming and that once you can repurpose things yourself, your list of to do items quickly goes from 5 to 50 it seems. Well after 3 years of making promises, running out of time or always behind, and placing Mom's projects at the bottom of my list, of which I am ashamed to was finally time to deliver this year! Plus when your Mom threatens to hire the jobs out to my competition, I knew she was serious and it was time to carve out some space for Mom's projects.

The project I am most ashamed of because it took me so long to get to, is a collection of 4 antique Thomasville dinning chairs. Every year for the last 3 I have promised to get them done by Thankgsiving. Every year Thanksgiving and Christmas would come and go and there the chairs would sit in the garage dawning their original finish. So this year I made a promise again, only this time I followed through. For these chairs I veared away from my go to paint brand of Annie Sloan and used General Finishes. Bad decision number one. I have never had so many issues with the paint flaking off in my life! I should have stuck with what I know and love and that is the adhering, no prepping power of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I also reupholstered the seats of the chairs in a simple, vintage inspired script fabric. They look beautiful. I first had to remove 3 layers of nasty fabric, covered the original cushion with a layer of batting, and then applied the new fabric. I love reupholstering chairs, but I don't want to see another chair for a long long long time! Bad desicion number two is that I did 4 chairs in 5 days. After hammering in probably over 200 nails between the 4 of them, I am consequently left with a stiff neck and thrown out back, of which I am still struggling with almost 2 weeks later. I guess you could call this my penance for being a bad daughter. :)

My next project that I am sharing was another little nightmare all on her own. Now I have to admit that when I started painting her in Annie Sloan Old White, for the first time I had the briefest moment of regret to be painting a piece that was so beautiful in its original condition. But when Mom wants her dresser do what you are told! That strange feeling that I had never experienced quickly left and I thought it was going pretty fast and painless after the first two coats had been applied. Well, silly me for thinking that! My regret quickly came surging back when I went to check on her thinking that she would be ready for distressing and waxing, but instead I was met with the worst case of bleed through I have EVER SEEN! Oh my goodness! It still makes me cringe. I always say that a piece will tell you what they want to be. Well she was definitely speaking to me...she wasn't having this paint thing. So, being determined to not be beaten by an inanimate object, I whipped out my can of Shallac and applied a healthy coat to all of the areas affected...which was pretty much the whole darn thing. After letting her sit over night I came back to apply my first of two post Shallac coats. IT WORKED! I like to say I whipped her into submission, but I think she got her revenge in the end. So here she is in all her glory, my most stubborn piece to date!

This mirror was purchased at Camas Antiques and was just the right size for filling the awkward blank space above my Mom's bed. It too is painted in Annie Sloan Old White. In this case, the original mirror had a gold finish. We wanted to have the gold peaking through the paint on detailed areas. Thank goodness that Annie Sloan paint is water soluble paint. To achieve this technique you can use a damp cloth or a baby wipe to lightly remove paint in the desired areas. I paint a lot of gold mirrors and this is my go to technique. If you use a sanding sponge you will be removing the gold finish. I know because on my first mirror I made that rookie mistake. Always use baby wipes when you want to preserve the finish beneath the paint and you will have a piece with dimension and character.

My next project was a couple of shabby windows for Christmas gifts. If there is one thing I hate doing it is applying decals to glass...I literally sweat bullets! But this window turned out lovely. The frame is painted in Annie Sloan Old White as well. It is my go to color! This saying is one of my favorites and so true when life becomes wrought with trials.

As I look at all these projects I have done I am just really missing my pink. Take a look at this photo. I must be sick because I picked Aqua blue over a chance to use pink. Although I am smitten with this custom mixed aqua blue color. I used Annie Sloan Florence and Pure White. I just keep adding white until I find the sweet spot. This was about a 1/3 cup of paint and it was enough to cover 1 wood frame, 5 jars, and a coat rack. That is two coats per item. This paint seriously goes a long way. If you haven't tried should! The small pallet sign is my gift for our family Christmas Eve cutthroat exchange. I always make my gift and pick my gift at the exchange because I know I can sell it if I end up with it. It's a good gift if I do say so myself!

My last project, of which most people don't know, is that I also have an affinity for baking and decorating cupcakes. Back when I was so stressed out with my job, I taught myself how to bake. It helped relieve the stress for awhile, but it was no comparison to painting. But these cupcakes I just fell in love with and had to share. This was for a Winter Wonderland birthday party. I call them my Frozen cupcakes and as you can see, I once again went for a beautiful blue. They are topped with little snowflake sprinkles and then a fondant snowflake that is lightly embellished with edible pearl dust. I love these...they are probably my new favorite.

So although I may be dreaming of a pink Christmas, it looks like my Christmas is everything but, except for my sweet pink tree in my own little space. But in the grand scheme of things, Christmas isn't about your favorite colors or how you decorate your home. It is about the greatest gift...God's gift to the world. I hope that whatever your traditions may be for Christmas that you will embrace them and not take for granted the memories that you are making. Hug your loved ones, give generously, love fully, and share the true spirit of Christmas cheer with everyone you meet. So from me and mine to you and yours, may you have a very Merry Christmas! God Bless!

I Believe in Pink

Sharing with:

Feathered Nest Friday at French County Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Porch To Yours
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet The Sound
Simple & Sweet Fridays at Rooted in Thyme

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Sweet Boudoir

Well I know it has been awhile since I blogged. I have been a busy bee trying to get my boudoir all finished before we started having our annual parties. I still have a few small projects to finish and a few items that I am still working to incorporate, but I am very close to being done. Well, at least done for a period of time. That is the story of a decorator/designers life it seems. I know myself I am always looking for the next item that will make my collection complete...I don't know what or where it is, but it is out there and I will find it...some day. At least that is the excuse I always give for my incessant need to shop at thrift and antique stores. I just can't seem to help myself. 

So since my room is as close to the state of being as finished as it will ever be, I have decided I can't wait any longer to share pictures. 

Up first is a picture of my very large window. I couldn't lose a whole wall to a window so I placed a beautiful antique buffet that I painted in Annie Sloan Old White in front of it. I am very proud to say that all of my curtains I have gotten from Goodwill for great prices. I love thrifting and often you can find amazing items that may not be vintage, but you can make it work for your style. If you ever see me at Goodwill, I will be the girl in the curtain aisle sniffing the window adornments. All vintage curtains have a musty, old lady me crazy, but I love it! And yes I seriously do sniff them. I always take a look around and make sure no one is looking, but I really don't care if someone sees me and thinks I am weird.

On the buffet I have placed some of my favorite items. It is the home of some of my most beautiful Limoges pieces including a stunning chocolate pot and matching tea cup, as well as a sweet small version of a chocolate pot, which I was told is a hot water pot. Amongst these items is also a set of antique opera glasses with a mother of pearl and brass exterior. Yes, I have used them! Under the opera glasses is a pair of sweet vintage pink gloves that I recently wore for my family's annual Christmas Tea. These gloves and the hand held mirror I got from a very dear friend. I could go on and on about all of these items and where I got them. They are all so precious to me.

Next is my bed. I spent over a year looking for an iron bed. It didn't have to be vintage, but it had to be white and have an ornate, yet simple design. Finally, I found one that I fell in love with. I love the scroll accents and the understated simplicity of the shape of the headboard and footboard. The pink settee is a beauty that I drove a total of 4 hours to pick up. I want to eventually paint the frame, but right now I am loving the contrast of the dark wood from all the white pieces in my room. On my sweet settee is my very first glass doll that I got when I was about 7 years old. I just recently found her in storage and thought she deserved a comfy place to sit. I can't believe I have had her for over 20 years...does that mean she is vintage?!

I think the hardest part of decorating my room was what to place above my bed. I had lots of wall décor items that I had collected, but nothing that was large enough for that blank space. I was up late one night, playing with some ideas and laying combinations of pieces on the floor of my bedroom when it hit me like a brick! I had a few special/favorite items that I knew I wanted to show case, but wasn't sure how. I purchased the frame on the left, which has an antique lace collar piece behind antique bubble glass and the beautiful pink and gold frame in the middle from a special and very talented friend of mine. The picture I found on Etsy. I had the picture all pulled apart and almost touched my brush to the gold frame when I got the idea to keep it as is, which is a rare occurrence for me, and decided that the light pink in the frame would accent the blushing pastel colors in the picture and the gold frame would create a bold contrast. On the right I put together a frame that I painted and a lacy shabby wreath. I wanted the pinks in the middle to pop as the focal point, but also be softened by the simple whites on either side. 

This gold gilded cabinet is the newest addition to my antique collection family. I saw this on Craigslist and I fell in love with it. I had no idea how large my room was before I started decorating and realized how much extra space I had. So I had to fill it! Another excuse I used to go shopping :)!

I bought this cabinet because I needed a place to display some of my vintage/antique jewelry collection. Here are some of my favorite pieces, ranging in age from the 1890s to the 1960s. I have very eclectic taste. Oh how I wish antiques could what stories they would have to tell! This is one of the only pieces in my life that will NOT get caressed by my paint brush!

This is also a new addition to my bedroom. I love this antique dresser. It needed some paint to help bring out its what better color than Annie Sloan Old favorite. It had good bones and lots of flaws. I love highlighting the flaws in a piece. Because I tend to obsess about imperfections, painting and accenting dings and damaged spots helps me keep things balanced and in perspective. It allows me to find perfection in the imperfections. I always say that a piece will tell you what it wants to be...believe me this is more true than you can imagine...but I will talk more about that in future posts.

Last, but certainly not least is my beautiful French dresser that I painted a couple of year ago as an early Christmas gift to myself. My cat of 18 years had just passed away and I was so distraught at the emptiness I felt in the house. I decided to channel that energy into this extremely heavy dresser. I custom mixed my own pink using Annie Sloan Scandinavian Pink and Old White. I just pour until I like the really isn't rocket science, but almost impossible to re-create, which makes it more unique. On this dresser I have placed a mixture of finds from a mint green, antique Austrian teacup and saucer, a leaded glass window, some beautiful rhinestone jewelry, a hanky box that I helped design, and of course my favorite lace table cloth. You can never have too much lace. I also painted the dresser to the right in Annie Sloan Old White. 

My last room was all pink...EVERYTHING! Now I love pink as much as the next person, but I have fallen head over heels for the simply sweet whites. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to shift to whites and let the pinks truly shine by being the accent color. This dresser I got from another friend...did I mention that I have some wonderful friends?! Anyway, we made a trade and I got this beauty. The stunning accent to my large French dresser, and the perfect place to display my vintage hats...and yes I collect those too. I guess it would be a shorter list to say what I don't collect. 

Well, those are the highlights of my bedroom. I hope you enjoyed the tour. I have way more projects to do and another room to finish, so I will leave you with this and I hope you will visit my blog again soon. Stay tuned for more projects to come.    

I Believe in Pink

Sharing with:
Feathered Nest Friday at French County Cottage
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home
Treasure Hunt Thursday at From My Porch To Yours
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Pink Saturday at How Sweet The Sound