Monday, July 29, 2013

A little kitchen makeover...

After being back in our house for a little over a year, I finally decided it was time to paint the kitchen. Originally I left the kitchen alone because it had been repainted only a couple of years before by the friend who had rented the house while we were in California. The colors she chose were lovely and I managed to make it all work together with my stuff.
Here’s what the kitchen looked like before:

The main kitchen, which is what my friend painted, had sage green walls and dark oatmeal cabinets. I used red to tie the kitchen and breakfast nook together originally since the breakfast nook still had the old yellow paint on the walls. It looked fine, but there was something not quite right about it that bothered me more as time went on and the other rooms in the house were completed.
Also, the breakfast nook really did need painting ~ the walls looked fine from a distance but up close they were a bit dingy, as was all the white wood trim in the nook and the kitchen. Then I accidentally broke the clock in the kitchen and had to buy a new one. The one we liked turned out to be more French country than the old one and I took that as a sign it was time to go ahead and move the rest of the kitchen in that direction.
While our ultimate plan is to gut and completely redo the kitchen, that’s a few years down the road. In the meantime, I figured it was worth a couple of gallons of paint to have a room that suited us and our style better.
So here’s what the kitchen looks like now:

I love yellow and red in an old kitchen. Since I have plenty of red accessories and I wanted to use the same curtains if possible, the walls needed to be yellow. I decided to use the same yellow in the kitchen and breakfast nook that I chose for the front door because it has a lovely warmth to it (it’s called Cork Top). I wanted the cabinets to be lighter, too, so I painted them my favorite neutral color, Sandstone Cove, which is a lovely warm beige/gray. The wood trim got a coat of bright white for the first time in years and it was surprising how much of a difference that made.
Since I had a black rug up in the attic that I thought would be perfect for under the old door table in the breakfast nook (that area has hideous old linoleum that must be covered), I decided to use black as a subtle accent color. I painted the little shelf over the stove black and put a little black rug in front of the door to the mudroom. 
The rug in front of the sink is actually a chocolate brown, but it’s so dark most people can’t tell the difference and the pattern plays well with the rest of the kitchen. I found a lovely red runner for the old door table and rearranged and put away some things to make cooking easier (more on that later, when I show you what I’m up to in the mudroom).

I love how it all turned out. The kitchen and breakfast nook feel brighter and warmer, and the look is much more cohesive and more in keeping with the rest of the house. It’s amazing what you can do for an old kitchen with a little bit of paint and a few new accessories. What do you think?

I am linking to:
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life
Homemaking at Hope in Every Season
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life 
Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, July 26, 2013

Creating pretty new patterns...

As some of you know, I design fabric and wallpaper patterns for fun. I typically share my new creations on my other blog, The Pink Home, but I thought since so many of you don’t follow that blog, you might enjoy seeing my work.
Above are Lavender Branches, Golden Birds, Love Knot in Blue and Love Knot in Pink. Below are Pink Starburst Mod, Spiral Bright, Lime Stripes, Daisy Daisy in Pink and It’s in the Mail. Once I have seen the proofs of these designs and made any final modifications, they will be available through Spoonflower in fabric and wallpaper. Be sure to pop by and see some of my other designs, too ~ you may find something that will add a bit of beauty to your home.
I would also like to invite you all to my new linky party at The Pink Home, called Creative Weekends. You are welcome to link up any type of creative posts ~ home decorating, craft projects, a new design, knitting pattern, your latest creation from your shop, a fabulous photograph of something beautiful, a creative triumph in the kitchen, tutorials, your latest garden masterpiece, etc. Anything that celebrates creativity is welcome. (It doesn’t have to be a new post, either.) Creative Weekends starts on Friday afternoons and you can link up all weekend long. I hope you’ll add the party to your list.
Wishing all of you a lovely and creative weekend...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Creative Weekends at The Pink Home

All designs by The Pink Home

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer sofa...

I have been playing around with the throw pillows in my living room the last couple of days and I finally decided to go with all creamy off-white for the sofa for the rest of the summer. I thought a lack of color might be nice on the sofa for the rest of the season ~ there’s something about that off-white color palette that looks cooling to me. I also cleaned off the coffee table and pared down the piles of books to just two. A couple of simple changes, but the room feels a little fresher for them.
The one thing that I just know I’m going to have to move is my ancient stereo along the back wall. It isn’t pretty, but I refuse to get rid of it because the sound quality is so nice. It also happens to be perfect for this room because we prefer to relax in here with friends while listening to some soft music ~ and Sinatra simply sounds better coming out of that stereo than my iPod stereo. I have tried and tried to find another spot for it in this room, but so far I have failed. I must try again. Sigh...

I am linking to:
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life
Homemaking at Hope in Every Season
Home at Rose Chintz Cottage
Thursday Favorite Things at Katherines Corner
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Creative Weekends at The Pink Home

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The beauty of a woman's dressing table...

Ah, the simple pleasure of a pretty vanity or dressing table, with lovely perfume bottles and creams waiting to be applied. I suppose a dressing table is considered a luxury or indulgence by some, perhaps because it means taking at least a few minutes a day to pamper yourself. I would argue a few minutes spent in peace and relaxation, indulging your skin and sense of smell as you decide which scent suits your mood, is one of those little things in life that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Wishing all of you a lovely day...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The beauty of a lazy Sunday...

After a busy couple of weeks redoing my kitchen (photos to come) and visiting friends, I am having a lazy day today full of nothing but lounging. I may do a bit of reading or catch up on some old movies, or I may take a page out of Emily’s book and take a nap on the sofa. After all, the occasional lazy day is one of those little things that makes life more fun.
Wishing all of you a lovely, lazy day...

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lovely lilies and a milestone...

I love the blooms of summer. These beautiful pink and white lilies look wonderful in my living room, especially in that pink vase. Just a little bit of beauty to brighten your day.
I also have to make a quick note that this is my 501st post. When I started this blog back in 2009, I never imagined it would last this long. To all of those who keep reading, a very big thank you.
Wishing all of you a lovely weekend...

I am linking to:
Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound
Creative Weekends at The Pink Home
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
A Return to Loveliness at A Delightsome Life

Photos by The Art of Living Beautifully

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stop and smell the roses...

Happy July, everyone. June seems to have come and gone in a flash, doesn’t it? Summer is really settling in now and we’re starting to see hot and humid days. My yard and plants seem to be enjoying it, especially since we’ve been having plenty of rain, too. I don’t think I have ever seen my grass so green.
This month is all about the little things here ~ taking the time to notice and enjoy them, to stop and smell the roses as it were. The rose above is a lovely full bloom that seems to unfurl almost like an ocean wave. You can almost smell it, can’t you? At our last home, we were blessed with a lot of old, fragrant roses, so unlike many of the bushes you find now. We’re planning on planting a rose garden here some time in the next year ~ I can hardly wait to be able to enjoy roses in my own yard again.
If you’re fortunate enough to have rose bushes in your yard, take a moment to stop and appreciate their beauty and scent. Clip a few blooms and make a pretty arrangement for your home. Indulging in a little bit of beauty is a wonderful way to start the month, after all.
Wishing all of you a lovely July...

I am linking to Creative Weekends at The Pink Home.

Photo by The Art of Living Beautifully