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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Emma's 1st Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance

Where have I been?  Whew - I'm not even sure.  For starters, Disney World.  Yah.  We went with my entire family and had a magical, exhausting, wonderful and crazy time. But that was almost a month a go.  We may still be recovering.  I am still recovering.  Emma still wakes up every morning and tells me about the disney world dreams she had : )

We came back to full swing mode at the house and I've had to spend many of my "work" hours running house errands, collecting (and returning...) tile samples, researching faucets, light fixtures (still) AND putting together a really fresh and fun line of new spring products.  In fact, this post was a complete accident.  I was uploading the photos for the new products that I took this morning and I noticed that I had not yet sorted or edited the photos from Emma's 1st Father Daughter Valentine's Dinner (maybe because I'm so bogged down with a zillion photos from the disney trip that I am trying to get into a book...).  So, in a way I'm procrastinating this evening (but we'll still call it "work") perusing through these fun Emma photos.  I guess it is not too late to share Valentine's photos, right?  I mean... the blog is still sporting the V-day header and banners... oops.  I'll be getting to those tomorrow - sorry!

There are entirely too many photos for this little occasion, but it seems like we've been a little whirlwind lately and it was fun to pour over these and spoil myself with too much sweet girly Emma.  I hope you don't mind.

Since she is now 3, this was the first year she was able to attend the dinner for girls and their dads before Valentine's Day.  We went out and bought her this very sweet pale pink dress (Janie & Jack) - we told her she was going to a ball : )

When she was a baby, I took so many upclose shots and sometimes I forget to take them now that she's a big girl.  Time is flying and I feel like I need to capture those squishy baby cheeks while they last.

She selected her own accessories.  Frozen necklace - she thought it most appropriate, it was a ball, after all.

Of course, every fun smily shot was blurry - but what is new.  Someday I'll get this camera figured out!

This is usually the smile we get when we ask for one.

Followed by something like this.

And it is always a good idea to practice some moves before the big dance.   I'm sure this is Shake It Off or Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You.  Her current faves.

Mike's Mom always has such fun seasonal decor - here she is waiting for her "date" under the heart.

Perfect spinning dress.

Corsage time!


He's convinced it is a treat, I'm sure.

They are starting to become little buddies.  He has bedtime duty with her and helps to keep her "comfany" (as she says) while she goes to bed.

Her date has arrived fresh from the golf course on a rare 60 degree day in February.

I never did get one of them both looking at the camera : )

When we went to the floral shop to order the corasge, she told the very sweet man there that she wanted it to be in her hair.  He thought she had to be the most fabulous 3-year-old he'd ever met.

After a couple of attempts trying to get something to stay in her hair, she settled for a "bracelet" and a single rose behind her ear.

We got it at "The Little Flower Shop" in Westwood - for locals interested.  It is a really cute little shop - Chuck Matney's new adventure.  It is right next to HiHat Coffee and Annedore's Fine Chocolates - officially Emma's new favorite spot to stop after school

They're off!

My roll.  We did get a couple of photos of the three of us (one of the perks of temporarily living with your in-laws) but I looked positively frightening after the day playing outside.

Won't this look sweet next to a similar shot of her in the back of a limo heading to prom... or her wedding, Lord help me!

Of course, I wasn't allowed to go, but this was the first update I got from Mike :

"I asked her if we should eat dinner first and she literally laughed out loud."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Doors, Trim & Paneling | New Addition | Week 20

The fun is beginning at the house - we officially have plumbing, electrical, hvac and... drywall!  Whew, it seems impossible that it has taken us 20 weeks to get here, but that means we only have 10 left.  Right now, 10 seems like nothing - in fact, when I placed my lighting order and they said it is supposed to take 8-9 weeks, I thought, wow... I love that it is "go time" for everything.   The pressure is on - everything I thought I knew, I've change once then back again.

We are meeting with the mill work salesman again tomorrow morning to make final decisions on Doors, Trim and Paneling.  We had an initial meeting last week to get some price ideas, then we are finalizing selections tomorrow.

Here is the 1st Floor Layout with Trim inspirations in place.   Bear with me as we go through the entire first floor.  This process helps me mentally organize and always proves to help me make decisions as you all (with clear heads!) help point out ideas and great choices!

I realize all of the photos I'm sharing are of very fancy houses - I assure you, our house will not be this fancy.  I am taking small bits and pieces from these to add some elegance and old charm to our "new" old home.  As always, I love hearing your ideas and input - thanks for lending me your ideas : )

The above photo is my inspiration for the kitchen island top, with marble surround... final!  I've been wavering about it for a while and keep coming back to a couple of photos that confirm it for me.  I realized that it is important for me to pick out everything ahead of time, because each decision effects the other.  I also like the photo above because of the paneling on the walls - the entire room is paneled.  We are going to try to achieve the same thing in our new big room.  Because it really is just one big room, we want to do a lot of things to make it feel cozy - paneling is a great way to do that.  We plan to paint the entire room the color of the cabinetry to give the entire room the look of being built-in.

This photo (above, left) is one of the photos I sent to our cabinetry maker to show how I want the shoe kick/base boards of the cabinets, and how I'd like the crown with both pieces to go along the top cabinets and wrap around the entire room.

Another big element that we're working with is the beams in our big giant room.  We have one structural steel I-Beam that we need to make pretty, so we are adding an entire beam plan to the entire ceiling.  We have only 8-foot ceilings, so our beams will only be 4-6" deep, but 10-12" wide.  The beams going left to right will be deeper, then the beams going perpendicular will be a little smaller in scale.

We have a fireplace in the room and I'd like to give it a paneled treatment much like this photo.  We're planning a stone surround, similar to the one shown here.  This photo shows real raised paneling - very expensive.  We will likely do a raised perimeter trim piece, but the big piece in the center will be flat... does that make any sense?   The other option is just adding a picture frame trim in boxes around the room to give the paneled effect.

I've got some examples below.

This is another fireplace idea that I like.  I'm not sure about the box idea - it would coordinate with our windows that are a similar shape.

Here is an example of Picture Frame Moldings.  We don't have that many walls in the room - mostly windows and cabinets, so we are leaning toward actual paneling instead, but this picture frame moldings are a great look, too, for a lot less. because they are just doing the small trim piece.

I think it looks good - what I'm leaning towards to save some money to spend on hardware... which, as it turns out can be pretty pricey.

On to the library - where we are going to spend our biggest chunk on paneling.  Mike and I have been most excited about the wood treatment in this room - what we hope to be a really cozy corner of the house.   When we were planning the design, we decided if we have such an open floor plan, we needed a quiet corner in the house that would have a snuggly feel.

After realizing every photo we pinned was Pine, we decided that would be it.  We like the medium color, the plain and simple feel.  The salesman has tried to steer us away... but I resisted trusting my gut.  Let's hope it doesn't come back to haunt me!

 He warned us that pine can be erratic to stain - blotchy - and inconsistent in color.  He recommended that we do another wood like Maple or Alder.  However, my inspiration photos were consistently pine, so that's what we're doing.

I've found that you have to work with people that are willing to give you their suggestions and educate you, but at the end of the day, they must be willing to do what you want them to do.  There have been so many projects I've worked on that the 'pro' has told me it wouldn't work - and it turns out just as I hoped.  Let's hope this is one of them : )

I love, love, love this photo.  We are going to do a similar chair rail treatment in the front foyer that will go up the stairs.  I think it will really elevate the way our house feels when you enter the front door.  The trim color here is Ben Moore Navajo White, (what we will be using everywhere), with James White (Farrow &  Ball) on the wall.   I had planned on doing Navajo white on our walls, too, but this is tempting me to add some James White on the walls of the foyer and Hall.  What do you think?

For interior doors, we are planning these 4-paneled Jeld-Wen doors.  I like the proportion they give, and look leaner and taller than a standard 6-panel door.  It sealed the deal for me when I spotted them in the photo above, too.

See that peek-a-boo of the dark painted dutch door going into this mudroom?  I'm planning the same from our kitchen into the mudroom.  The rest of the mudroom will be the home to our pantry, my studio/office and Mr. Darcy... not piles of equestrian gear : )

 I want to do rows of peg boards like this to hold everything from coats and backpacks to dog leashes.
 And the occasional gardening tool.
Ok, my brain is overloaded... that's what happens when there are so many decisions to be made.  I'm off to research affordable bass door knobs... any suggestions?!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Creamware Platter Collection is Back! 20% off All Orders + $5 Shipping

 Creamware Platter Collection is Back!
After several email requests, I've restocked the Creamware Platter Set of 6!  The restock is especially timely because I'm still in clean-out mode before my new Spring Collection is debuted in 2 weeks, so I'm offering 20% entire order + $5 shipping.  It is a great time to stock up pre-spring on essentials and these platters.

Use the code at checkout : FebSale
 I've seen them everywhere online, displayed as a collection together.  I plan to do the same in our new house... in 10 weeks!
 I really like how this is displayed - a mix and match of old and new with a collection of candles.

Of course, they work great for entertaining and can go with any decor scheme.  

I'm a utilitarian decorator to the core - I am more pleased with useful and beautiful objects on display than a print any day.
 I like the mixing of old and new, blue and white, here... another color scheme I plan to incorporate into our new house.  While this photo was probably set in Fall with the mums and bittersweet, something about this makes me crave spring.  Blue & White mixed with yellow daffodils... counting the weeks!

Find the platter set, here, Creamware Platter Set of 6, $165, and don't forget to use the code : FebSale at checkout for 20% + $5 shipping.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Easy Chocolate Molten Cakes in Souffle Papers

Almost two years ago I shared a recipe for one of the most popular desserts from my catering days - Chocolate Molten Cakes.  One of the great things about that recipe is that you make them in a cupcake pan, then turn them out and serve them as an individual cake.  I love that idea.

However, I had enough instances where the turn didn't go so great and I ended up with chocolate molten running out of the pan as I flipped it.  I was always able to recover it - scoop it back in and bake some more, but I was always a little anxious about it.  In fact, when I catered a dinner at Mike's parents' home before we were dating, the molten ran all over her kitchen floor, while they were in the dinning room, none-the-wiser... whoops.  When I saw these souffle papers I thought they would be the perfect thing to use for my molten cakes... and there would be no flipping involved.

Paper Souffle Cups, 20 for $8

They are disposable and come in sets of 20, so they are still easy to make for a crowd (much like the cupcake pan version), but the papers give more flexibility because they can be made ahead of time and reheated... even frozen and popped in the microwave one at a time.  If you're into that sort of thing.  I am.

You can serve vanilla bean whipped cream on top, but I really like the very cold ice cream with the really warm molten chocolate inside.  Such a treat!  This is what we'll be making at our house for Valentine's Day dessert - I always like to do more restaurant style recipes at home on special occasions and this is the perfect one.

Chocolate Molten Cakes
makes 6 souffle cups

1/3 cup of butter 
6 ounce of chocolate chips
1/3cup of heavy cream 
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup of flour

To make the batter, place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, then top it with butter and cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth.  When chocolate has cooled slightly, stir in eggs, sugar and flour.  Pour into prepared souffle papers.  Refrigerate up to a couple of days.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes, just until the outsides and most of the top have set, and the centers just puffed slightly.   You can insert the tip of a knife to test.   You just want a bit of the very center to be a thick pudding like texture.   

After taking out of the oven, the centers should fall just a little bit.  If they have fallen too much, they might still be too runny.  Serve hot with ice cream. 

You can find the paper souffle cups in my store along with any other goodies you need for Valentine's Day.  Right now I am featuring Free Shipping : )

Paper Souffle Cups $8 for 20

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