Saturday, April 30, 2011

Then....1 year ago from today....

Today....1 years old!!!

Happy 1st Birthday My Sweet Miss Marli Grey!!!!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air, and although the warmer air makes me giddy, the dark, heavy colors and textiles in my house do not! As part of my spring cleaning, I like to re-decorate the house and incorporate lighter neutral colors to my pallet.

One area of my house that needed some serious sprucing and brightening up, is the back part of my living room. During the winter, with all of the incoming traffic from the backdoor (and with the lack of closet space in our 1940's house), it was necessary for us to make this area more like a mud room. As you can see below, we hung coat racks for heavy winter jackets and allotted much space for our winter boots and snow suits.
More coat racks on the wall running perpendicular:

My goal was this: to create a light, airy space that is welcoming and still practical. With this in mind, I got right to work; looking around my house for pieces of furniture that I could use in this space and searching through the latest Pottery Barn catalogs and various decorating blogs for ideas.
During the hunt, I found this old, damaged but sturdy butcher block table in my garage doing nothing but collecting dust.
Here's a closer look:
I wanted to stain this table at first, but after a talk with my husband, I realized that staining a butcher block table was not a very smart idea. Staining it would hinder me from being able to use it for its' main purpose someday. Instead, we decided to sand it, coffee stain it (a more natural process) and grease it up.
 Here are the step-by-step pics:
Table after being sanded:
A closer look:
After wiping the table clean, here it is being stained by black coffee:
 An application of Butcher Block Oil was the last step:
A close shot of the finished product:
With the table all done, it was time to do the fun part. Shopping and decorating!

Once again, here is the before shot:

Perpendicular wall:
Picture frames- Christmas Tree Shop $3.99 each (they look just like the ones from The Organic Bloom)
 Lamp- Homegoods $29.99

 I love to collect white sea glass and stones, now I have a to display it:
 These baskets hide shoes, jackets, and other winter attire- Christmas Tree Shop $14.99-$25

I love how this space is now practical but still pretty. I was always ashamed of this area and now it's one of my favorite places of the house...all thanks to good ol' Spring cleaning!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Blooms

 above (my favorite) fresh cut Peonies

Now that Easter has come and gone, we can focus more on the other pretty aspects of Spring! Some of the simple ways to bring color in the home, is by bringing in nature's beauty in the form of pretty, colorful flowers! Whether you go in your garden and clip some flowers, or buy some pretty flowers at your local florist, a floral arrangement is the perfect accent that compliments any style of decor in your home... and they smell heavenly too!

Above are beautiful Ranunculas set in a pretty pitcher, photographs by Ciaobellaphotography on Etsy.

Fritillarias and Epimediums by Martha Stewart

Pretty Pink Tulips!
One of my Mother-in-law's arrangements for Easter

Beautifully fragrant Hyacinths
My other Mother-in-law's Easter gift to me!

I arranged them in a tin bucket and placed them on this pretty blue chair!

One of my first blooms this year!
Pink Heather!

I clipped a few and placed them in a vintage glass bottle!

The most affordable and fun way to incorporate beautiful flowers in the home on a regular basis, would be to plant your own! Research the types of flowers that bloom for each season, that way there will always be some type available in your garden! Remember, when you make something yourself, or in this case grow something yourself not only is it more affordable, but it is so much more rewarding!!!



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Feeling Blessed

I couldn't resist....just a few pics of our Easter.
Our day was full of...

Delicious food...
 Dainty dishes...
Simple, but beautiful decorations...
 Presents from loved ones...
 3 egghunts (which equals out to a mouth full of cavities, grrrr)...
 Scrumptious desserts...
And most importantly...good friends who just happen to be family!

 Hope you all had a great Easter!
I know we did.


Our Easter Day!!

Our morning started like most Easter mornings....

    Marli, Mia and Easter "stuff" heaven!!!

Our Mid-morning was "dress-up" time, like most Easter mornings....

            My Beautiful Girls!!!

Late afternoon for us looked like this....

Such gorgeous weather, they couldn't resist!!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!!!


Happy Easter

Christopher, Bryce, and Chloe would like to wish everyone a Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Just a Little "Tail"

Vintage, handpainted Easter egg courtesy of VivennesAttic on
Meeting the Easter Bunny
by Rowena Bennett

On Easter morn at early dawn
before the cocks were crowing
I met a bob-tail bunnykin
and asked where he was going.

"Tis in the house and out the house
a-tispy, tipsy-toeing,
Tis round the house
and 'bout the house a-lighlty I am going."

"But what is that of every hue
you carry in your basket?"
"Tis eggs of gold and eggs of blue;
I wonder that you ask it.

"Tis chocolate eggs and bonbon eggs
and eggs of red and gray,
For every child in every house
on bonny Easter day.

He perked his ears
and winked his eye and twitched his little nose;
He shook his tail -- what tail he had --
and stood up on his toes.

"I must be gone before the sun;
the east is growing gray;
Tis almost time for bells to chime."
-- So he hippety-hopped away.

Happy Easter!!!


Ashley's Easter Baskets

So, I'm the last to post pics of Easter baskets. You would think I'd have it the easiest, with two kids (two and under) who don't yet understand the concept of holidays, the Easter bunny and especially searching for eggs. Poor Sarah and Kirsten had to hide their baskets all week and quickly work on them while the kids were looking the other way. I, on the otherhand, was able to shop for and assemble these baskets with the kiddos having front row seats! Even still, it took me about two weeks to complete them...thanks to all the diaper changes, temper tantrums, binkie hunts and just plain keeping them entertained and busy with all of the rain we got last week.

Here they are, I hope you like :)

Ella's First Easter Basket

A closer look...

Yes, I almost died when I saw these...

Christopher's Big Boy Basket
A closer look...

Happy Easter!

What's in your Easter baskets? I'd love to hear!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Italian Easter Bread

Easter bread is yet another tradition in mine and every Italian family. Many many varieties of Easter breads have been created depending on what part of Italy your ancestors have decended from and how the recipes have evolved through the generations.

The most popular of the varieties.....

where raw colored eggs are cooked right into the bread. Makes for a beautiful center piece...with a candle sometimes placed in the center of the larger of the round breads.

Then there's the more religious approach....

where dove or cross shaped spring-form pans or paper molds are used. This process usually has several steps and involves up to 18 hours of waiting for the dough to raise before baking. These breads are usually studded with candied fruits or almonds.

Some have a sweeter touch...

with a sweet glaze or icing and adorned with colored sprinkles or almonds.

Now I should probably get to my family's Easter bread recipe....which is different from all the rest!

You'll first need to cream together* 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter. Add 6 beaten eggs and mix well. Next add 6 cups of flour, 6 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of milk, 2 1/2 tsp lemon extract and 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon rind.
*cream together means to blend together using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy

The mixture will look like this when all combined well. Form 2 egg shaped ovals on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Don't they kind of look like Easter eggs??!! Bake at 350 degrees for approx 30 minutes. Check with a cake tester or butter knife to see if the inside is done.

         I displayed my breads on an Easter Lily platter.

And then I enjoyed a piece with a cup of Tuscan Lemon Black tea and a good blog read.
Best served warm accompanied by your favorite tea or coffee.

               Happy Easter and Enjoy!!!


*some photos courtesy of Taste of Home, bon appetit, and The Italian Dish