Wednesday, March 31, 2010

One of my favorite ceiling fans

With spring here and summer around the corner you may be looking for a new ceiling fan. I love the Matthew Gerbar ceiling fans...they are unique, functional and often, a conversation piece. Take a peak at their website This one hangs in a bedroom in our home.
This fan circulates in a clockwise direction with the ball counter-balancing the weight of the motor. This is best suited for a home that is more modern or contemporary in its appeal.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Personalizing your home

When designing/decorating a house I always strive to personalize it so that it becomes a home. One of the ways of achieving this goal is to add touches that are personal to the homeowners. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but to name a few:  by doing a wall of maps from your travels (currently doing this with one of my client's), framing your child's artwork (I've done in my daughter's bedroom & in our kitchen) or using shadow boxes to display special momentos (I've done several of these for my own home).

Here is an example of one of my shadow boxes. I took an $8.00 shadowbox, lined it with a wallpaper remnant and took my daughter's first bathing suit (from when she was three months old) and created a piece of artwork. I had an ear to ear grin when I hung brought back such sweet memories of her first dip in the pool on a very hot summer day.
I love learning about different ways people make their house a home...willing to share some of your ideas?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy 101 award

What a treat for me to have received a Happy 101 award twice. One from fellow blogger, Erica, at . Her blog has become a daily stop for me...visit her's full of inspiration in a variety of ways! And, from , another blog filled with fabulousness!  
The award "rules" are that I should list ten things that make me happy and list ten blogs I enjoy. I find it a challenge to list either!  Many things make me happy (like getting this award) and picking only ten blogs is hard for me (I'm a gal who did not have bridesmaids because I could not pick just a few of my amazing friends.) However, since those are the rules here it goes:

Hamptontoes top 10 happiness list:
(1) My family; being married to my husband and squeezing in date nights with him, hearing my children laugh that gut-belly laugh and seeing them smile; as well as time spent with my extended family. 
(2) My amazing friends who enrich my life. I'd go to the moon for them.
(3) I'm grateful to enjoy life with good health. 
(4) Being physically active; running, biking, snowboarding, wakeboarding, swimming, yoga.
(5) Interior design/decoration.
(6) Cooking homemade meals. 
(7) Gardening and landscaping, love getting my hands into the earth.
(8) In the summer, showering outdoors and looking up at the sky.
(9) Getting massages.
10) And, finally my newest form of happiness is blogging. I truly enjoying connecting with others who enjoy the fun escape blogging provides. And, I love being inspired by the many talented bloggers who share their knowledge, information, skills, experiences and thoughts with us.

 I will follow Erica's lead and leave out her blog and Casabelladecor's since they nominated me, but of course I love their blogs and have them on my list of blogs I enjoy reading! Ten blogs I love and all for various are your Happy 101 awards fellow bloggers!

Happy Monday to all my blogging friends!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Children's garden

Now that's it's spring and spring break for our pre-schooler, we are going to get our hands dirty working in the yard this week. I've spent the past seven years putting endless hours of effort and lots of sweat equity into our lawn's appearance. It's an on-going process and this year it leads me to creating a special retreat for our children.

Last summer we installed a playset. This year I'm landscaping the area around it to create a children's garden. Here's what I have in mind thus far: a playhouse, a butterfly garden (planting from seeds), ornamental grass hideaway (taking some of what I already have and spreading it around), a sunflower garden (starting from seeds), an herb garden (a variety of seeds), a hammock for snuggle story time (being moved from another part of the yard), a spot for a princess tent (I snagged at a tag sale last year), a homemade tee-pee (I'm making out of bamboo poles and a bed sheet), bench seat near the playset (already have) and potato vine to disguise the fence in the background. Do you have any ideas to add or thoughts to consider?

Here's the area. All the ferns were cultivated from one pot. They are beautiful, add a nice texture to the lawn, grow like crazy and the deer won't eat them (at least they haven't in my neck of the woods.)
All the ornamental grasses were cultivated from one pot.
Here's the playset nestled between the trees. The area behind it, to the right and to the left are what we are working on transforming. We will be digging and preparing the various areas this week and adding seeds/transplanting ornamental grasses as the weather warms.
When we lived in a shoebox in the city and had no yard, I filled my gardening desires by planting flowers in the tree-well in front of our building (while wearing a triple layer of gloves.) I love working in the yard and now I'm excited to have my children work by my side (or climb on the playset while I work.) Do you like to garden? What are some perennials that you love? Any gardening tips to share?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Activity tables in living rooms

Yesterday, I posted about placing a dresser in a foyer and how practical it is to have the utility of storage. Again, I am posting about something that is both practical and functional. I love to see a living room with a "work table" for playing games, doing homework, reading the paper, doing a puzzle, a spot for placing a laptop, writing notes or any other activity of choice....basically a place for "living" in the living room. I'm particularily fond of natural woods when being used for this purpose, they look great with wear.

When we moved into our home the window seat was already here. I knew that my family would prefer to sit on one of the sofas or chairs in the living room vs the window seat, but I wanted to utilize the bench seat in some way. With that in mind, I decided to make this area of the living room our family's gathering space for activities. I have the table pushed against the window seat. My children always climb back there and sit or look out the window onto the back deck. It's safer to have the table pushed against the window seat (neither child will slide between the seat and the table). The end chairs and the bench provide two additional types of seating. The various types of seating surfaces I used can accommodate a cozy family of four or a gathering of many.

This is the activity table in our living room. My husband and I like to play games with our children here. My daughter will do a puzzle while I'm making dinner. At night I'll sit here and work on my computer. My son bangs on it with his hands. When my mother is visiting she perches herself on the window seat like a cat and reads the paper or a magazine. We've held game nights here with friends. Depending on the size and shape of your living room would depend on the size and shape of table needed to fit your space.
I'm currently working with a client who loved this concept. We had a custom round table made for her living room and it turned out beautiful. They are a busy family with many needs and the table fulfills their demands when it comes to activities in the living room. Do you have such a space in your living room? If so, what kind of activities do you do there? If not, thinking about getting one?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A dresser in the foyer

I love how functional and practical it is to have a dresser in a foyer....I'm a huge fan! For example, the bottom drawer of our dresser houses all my kiddies hats, gloves and mittens. In the summer, I keep all of their summer hats in the dresser, along with a small tote that contains sunscreen, bug spray, wipes, etc. It is very easy for my daughter to pull open the bottom drawer and get her stuff out or put it back in.  This is one piece of furniture that is used daily throughout the year in our home.  This is our foyer.
Dresser: ABC Carpet & Home, Wire basket: Fortunoff, Artwork: original artwork by, Coat rack:,  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tiaras and Tutus party - additional photos

What a lovely surprise this evening when my friend dropped off a disc of photos from the party. I am so grateful for the memories she captured. Her photos really show the true colors of the party, as some of mine do and some don't...I'm not as good with the camera. 


Monday, March 22, 2010

Tiaras & Tutus party

This past weekend was our daughter's "tiaras and tutus" 4th birthday celebration! While doing bedtime routine with my daughter last night she said to me "that was the best party ever Mom"...I melted...and thought, may every little child think their party was the best ever! Enjoy.
Her headband for the party.

Each little ballerina was given one of these tutus. I bought the tutus on-line and enhanced by sewing on the ribbon and flower.
Each ballerina arrived to the "red carpet" treatment.

Tiaras were placed on each little girls "lunch box."
The table setting for 13 little ballerinas. I made the tissue paper flowers hanging on the window. I ordered plain white "gable" lunch boxes on-line and wrote each ballerina's name on the box, stuck a party hat sticker on the front and put their lunch inside.   
Inside each "lunch box."
I rolled the plasticware in the napkin and sealed with an "E" sticker for her first initial. 
A small bottle of water and a strawberry jelly sandwich cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter. Fresh fruit was given to each little ballerina too. 
On the table...tiara lollipops and lollipop rings!

I bought plain white, thick stock paper dolls; whole punched their "hands", painted the them turquoise, painted the letters a deep rich pink, used a hot glue gun to apply a roll of $1.00 ribbon to all the dolls to create tutus and then hung with a ribbon to create this...

A princess tiara pull-string pinata filled with chocolates and pink necklaces!

     Streamers and flowers were hung to the park benches used for seating.
There were lots of pink and turquoise mylar balloons. (Tip...I go the day before all parties to a dollar store and buy mylar balloons for a $1.00 each...they last a while and then it's not a task I need to worry about the day of the party.) 
 And finally, princess cakes for each ballerina! A team effort by my mother, mother-in-law and me the night before.   
Seeing my daughter laugh, dance and smile ear-to-ear with her little friends made all the work that went into this party worth the effort. Happy Monday!   

Friday, March 19, 2010

Trim enhancement

If you've been reading my blog lately you've seen sneak peaks of my daughter's room. I will eventually show her entire room once I finish a few remaining tasks. I am currently waiting on trim to arrive so that I can enhance this chaise in her bedroom. This is a slipcovered chaise. I'm going to customize it with a thick trim sewn around the bottom. It will provide a very tailored look on a very simple Ikea chaise.
In our living room I'm using the same concept, however since this sofa is upholstered I'm going to either use a no-sew tape or a fabric glue to adhere the trim to the textile. 
Buying custom is not always an option or even necessary. Think about enhancing some of the furniture you already have to give it a custom look or to freshen it up. We have our daughter's fourth birthday celebration this weekend and we are all excited to share her happiness for her "tiaras and tutus" party! Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shared recipe

I love to cook and bake. Luckily, my husband and children are a receptive audience so it makes cooking  more enjoyable. Tonight was no exception for pleasing my family with a delicious meal...thanks to my new Australian blogger friend, Frances, from . Frances posted about a meal she made last week for her family. It looked so delicious that I asked (in the comments section) if she would be willing to share her recipe...she happily obliged. I made it tonight and it was a hit! If you are looking for a new recipe to cook this would be a winner! I did make a small modification because I do not eat meat, only fish/shellfish (but I do cook meat all the time for my family.) Instead of the chicken broth, I used vegetable bouillons to make my stock and replaced the chicken with shrimp...what a delicious recipe. Thanks so much to Frances!
Argula salad drizzled with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Yummy shrimp and pea risotto!
    Bon appetit! 

Wallpapering a bookcase

Want to add a special touch to a bookcase? Try wallpapering the back of the unit. I took a simple dollhouse bookcase in our daughter's bedroom and wallpapered the back of each section using the same wallpaper that is in her room. It's a little touch that goes a long way...
And, here is the before...not so snazzy.
Have you wallpapered an unexpected space? If so, share your idea!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wallpaper World Map

Having an interest in geography, my husband and I loved the idea of a world map in our home. I just needed to figure out how we would intergrate it into our decor. After researching our options, I liked the idea of doing a wallpaper mural of the world in our family/play room (finished basement level). I ordered this map from,24&pid=11068 .  Instead of ordering the standard blue "school" map (which is nice), I ordered the executive edition with the various browns/creams to compliment the warm tones (carpeting, stone fireplace) in the room.

Now that I think about it, this was technically my first wallpapering installation. This mural is applied to the wall in the same fashion as standard wallcoverings. This map has become such a conversation piece! Our daughter loves to see where she lives in relation to her grandparents and where she's traveled. We also came up with a system for marking where we have traveled. It reminds us of where we'd like to travel someday.  Visitors love to point to all the places they have been and it leads to some pretty good conversations.
I bought tiny little red dots from Staples and applied them to all the places we have traveled as a couple/family. It is really fun for us to look at the map and talk about our experiences in a certain location.  
 I also think this mural would look amazing in a child's room or in a study/library. Do you have a globe or a world map?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Without Electricity

Hello friends.  I've been without power since Saturday.  Once the power is on I will be blogging again.  Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The making of a "tiaras & tutus" birthday party!

Since September when our daughter started the three's program at preschool (and received her first birthday invitation for the school year) she has been counting down the months, days, hours and minutes until she turns four!  I, on the other hand, have been pretending like it's so far away...sniff, sniff...I'm not ready for her to turn four. She takes "fairytale ballet" classes and has talked non-stop about turning four and wanting to have a princess ballerina birthday party. So, next weekend she will have a "tiaras and tutus" birthday celebration at the studio where she takes ballet!

 I look forward to creating a day that is as magical for her as she is magical to me and my husband. With that said, I have been squeezeing an extra twenty minutes out of my nights for the past month to make tissue paper flowers, to embellish tutus, to roll up flatware in a napkin and seal with an initial sticker, to place on-line orders, to paint paper dolls (you'll see) and mostly, to prepare for a bunch of little ballerinas to have fun.

Instead of birthday hats...
The ribbons and flowers I've been sewing on to tutus... 
The packages of tissue paper...
...continue to be transformed into flowers to be hung from the ceiling!
Preparing for this birthday party has given me pause, as I asked myself why is it that I give so much effort and energy to everything I do? Why do I happily bring on adding special touches that are time consuming? The reason came to me. I grew up in a single parent family and I witnessed my mother always give her best....always. My brother and I were given memorable birthday parties with every single detail done by her, when would have easier for her to use any number of reasons as an excuse to not make us a special cake, to not decorate in a special way for whatever our interests were at that stage, but instead she always made sure our birthdays were special. Being a parent was never a hassle to my mother. I hope my daughter grows up feeling the same about me.
I'll do a post on the party after next weekend.
Enjoy your day!