Thursday, August 30, 2012

The story of The Magic Shed...

Sometimes decorating a house requires a little magic.
This is my little breakfast nook, located right off the kitchen. Years ago, a previous owner enclosed the back porch to create a laundry/mudroom and I believe added this little space at the same time. It's cozy and warm and bright ~ perfect for a breakfast nook.
The space is long and narrow, though, so a typical table won't work. I thought a door might be the answer after seeing a table created from one in a magazine.
This is where The Magic Shed comes in.

Longtime readers of my blog might remember me mentioning The Magic Shed in passing, with a note that one day I would explain. Since I've moved from California back to the Carolinas and am living once again in my fab old home that goes with the shed, now seems an appropriate time.
The Magic Shed was just a shed for all I knew when I bought this house nearly eight years ago. The shed was built to coordinate with the house and is about the same age (nearly 60 years old). As I was getting settled for the first time in the house, I noticed the shed was full of stuff ~ I'm sure some of it has been in there since the day it was finished. I spent some time rooting around to see what was what and that's when I discovered an old door.
We brought the door inside and it was a perfect fit for the breakfast nook. My friends and I attached four legs to it and made it into a table. We then made benches to go on either side and I had a glass topper cut to create a level surface. It turned out beautifully and the table is one of those things that everyone who comes to the house loves.
But back to The Magic Shed.
I love yellow and red in the kitchen and since the walls in the breakfast nook were yellow, I knew I wanted to paint the table red. When I saw the door in the shed, it was leaning against a wall and the visible side was white. Once it was out of the shed and I saw the other side, I was surprised to see it was already the exact red that I wanted to paint it. I took it as a sign that it was meant to be and sure enough, it was. I noticed the red on the door matched the red of my front steps and I realized this must have been the old front door to the house. It had been out there for years, just waiting for a new lease on life.
The door that became a table was the first of several fabulous finds in my shed. When I needed a bookcase for the hall that was oddly narrow in depth, I found one in the shed ~ old and dusty and in need of paint, but a perfect fit. When I decided I wanted something different than the mirror I had over the mantle in the living room, my shed once again provided. Among a bunch of stuff propped against one wall was an old, large watercolor painting, matted and framed and ready for hanging. I cleaned off years of dust and discovered it was perfect for the room. I couldn't believe it. So over the fireplace it went.
It was then that one of my friends said the shed had to be magical and thus it became known as The Magic Shed. Everyone calls it that, even men who are skeptical of such things. The Magic Shed has provided so many times that people really do believe it is magical ~ it's as though there's some sort of weird and wonderful alchemy that occurs from the blend of items that have been put out there over the years. I'm not sure how it seems to know what we're going to need next, but it does. Friends call and ask if they can root around in The Magic Shed because they think they might find what they're looking for in there ~ usually an old tool or something for an old house ~ and to this day, they always have. Just last weekend I went digging in there and came out with what I needed. Over the years I've made sure to add items to the mix, not just take things out. I think it has to be replenished to keep creating its magic.
Earlier this month, a couple of friends helped me clear it out. Oddly enough, I was tentative to do anything to it but it really did need a little TLC. We were careful to only throw away items that were truly trash while we straightened up. Anything we weren't sure of or that looked like something someone could use one day stayed put. Once it was cleaned up a bit, I had room to put some other things out there. I even swept the floor, something that hasn't been done in years and years. I just hope I didn't sweep out any of the magic.

I am linking to:

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The beauty of birthday flowers...

It's amazing what a few flowers can do.
I celebrated a birthday this week and wasn't particularly looking forward to it. Not because of my age, but because my friends were out of town and my fiancé was still in California, and spending my birthday alone wasn't exactly my idea of a good time. I've also been so busy working my normal job during the day and working on the house in the evenings and on the weekends, I've had time for practically nothing else, including blogging, so I've been feeling a bit flat. Exhausted and flat. I'm trying to get the interior of the house completely redecorated ~ well, at least 95 percent done ~ before my fiancé moves back East at the end of next month, hence the constant work. I want to have the house pretty much together so we can enjoy the autumn and the upcoming holidays.
Anyway, between all that and no one being around, I wasn't really doing much birthday celebrating this year. It was just another day, if you know what I mean. And then my doorbell started ringing with flower deliveries and suddenly the day seemed much brighter. Friends, family and my fiancé had sent me lovely bouquets for my birthday ~ four in all. My house is filled with beautiful flowers and instead of feeling kind of ho-hum, I keep smiling.
Wishing all of you a lovely week, full of happy surprises...

I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New cookbook love...

Despite just moving more boxes of books than I care to count, it hasn't slowed down my cookbook obsession. I picked up Weeknights with Giada this past weekend and have been pouring over it the last few nights, and I have to tell you, it's really fab. I don't own all of Giada's cookbooks, but this is my favorite of those I do own. The recipes are truly meals you can put on the table during the week without a lot of fuss. Everything looks so scrumptious I'm already planning to have some friends over to try out some things with me. I need to break in my fab new red braiser pan, too. If you're looking for inspiration in the kitchen, or even a gift for someone, give it a look.

Photo from Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New furniture anxiety...

I know I've been somewhat MIA lately, but I really have been incredibly busy. After working on the house for more than two months, things are starting to come together. And today, my new living room furniture arrives! I'm so excited and just a bit nervous ~ I hope the fabrics I picked out in June look as good on the pieces as they did in my mind. For now, here's a sneak peak at one of the accent pieces I picked up last month ~ a cute little slipper chair from Pier One, to go next to the fireplace. I found the fab cream velvet pillow there, too.
I have lots and lots to show you and I promise I will. I hope all of you are having a lovely August...

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August beauty...

One of my favorite months has arrived. I was born in August, so I suppose it's natural that I have an affinity for it. But mostly I like what it represents ~ the glory (and end) of summer. August is full of sunshine and beach trips and all the fun everyone wants to cram in before school starts again. It also means that autumn, my favorite season, is just around the corner.
So here's to a wonderful August, with plenty of sunshine and beauty for us all...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully