Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Bringing the Ferns Inside

 I have a lot of ferns and they have gotten big over the last few years. Really big.

I have had some pretty good success wintering them over and the result is that they have gotten larger each year. This is exciting and concerning. It gets harder and harder to find the perfect winter home for each one.

(Ferns hanging out with an elephant in the Family Room) 

When I decided to change things up and redo the room below I wanted it to have a bit of a sunroom feel. It doesn't have but 2 windows but they do get great winter light. It's the closest thing I'm going to have to a true sunroom so I wanted to include room for some of my plants to overwinter. It is the Living Room in our traditional plan but it's never served that purpose and I think this particular transformation is going to be the most beneficial for how we live.

These 3 ferns are so large they are monopolizing the "plant area" in this room right now. 

I'm lucky in that I also have a great little "greenhouse/cold frame" situation in my backyard that has helped me successfully winter over a lot of plants in one space. 

We purchased this frame and cover at Tractor Supply for a little over $100.00 a year ago. 

I would love a charming, English Conservatory looking greenhouse but this utilitarian, less charming set up served its purpose. I filled it up, put a small heater in there last Winter and crossed my fingers!

Almost everything made it through the Winter and some things blossomed and thrived!
I did learn a lot about regulating the temperature and about the amount of watering required - more than I expected!
It did not cost much to use the heater to keep the plants from freezing and the savings from not buying new ferns each Spring was significant. And a bonus is that the ferns not only survived they grew and have long, lush fronds. 

I'm hoping that I will be able to rotate my ferns between the house (where they dry out more and drop leaves) with ones from the greenhouse (where there is more humidity and they happily grew and stayed very green last Winter.)

This system worked well last Winter, my ferns grew crazily this Summer on the screened porch so I'm feeling confident that we can repeat our success this Winter BUT I'm always open to any good plant tips!! Please share if you have a any plant "survival" tips!!

Here's one of my best tips:
It's how I get rid of possible  pests before I bring my plants inside!

I use Dr. Bronner's Castile Soaps for everything!! They are clean and safe for our use and the environment. I dilute 1 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's unscented soap in a spray bottle and generously spray my ferns especially. I turn them every direction and spray underneath. Then I spray with a bottle of clear water. The ferns love all of this moisture! I also dilute a tablespoon or two of the same Dr. Bronner's in a gallon of water and pour through the soil followed by a watering of clear water. Then I wipe the post clean and let the plant rest a bit before bringing it inside. 

It seems to make the ferns happy and I rarely find any pests inside!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Looking Forward...

Fall is flying by.

 I started a post last week (which I never found a moment to even get back to) about Fall things and the beginning of November and here we are in the 2nd week of the month. It's hard to keep up - for me anyway!

I love fall flowers and plants plus the gourds and pumpkins were so interesting this year. I just stuffed all my fall favorites in a galvanized tub and it looks great. 

I'm still using my little marbleized pumpkins and my real ones too - right up until Thanksgiving. Then we will pull out the stops and go crazy decorating for Christmas.

I have a couple of spray paint marbleizing projects I want to try for the holidays but we can't buy spray paint anywhere in our area!! This supply chain crisis has resulted in the most random shortages. 
I'm hoping I'll be able to share my ideas soon - I check the spray paint aisle for the right colors every time I'm out. 

So do you still have fall decorations around or have you moved on to Christmas?
To be honest, I'm not ready to put up MY holiday decorations quite yet but I like to look at everyone else's and think about my soon-to-come Christmas decor. We keep some things the same and switch other things up. What about you? 

Whether you are still enjoying pumpkins or happily decking the halls, hang on to your hats because November is flying by!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Progress Is All About Perspective.

 Progress is all about perspective. In so many things. Not just decorating!!

The room below has been a slooowww work in progress. I began in May thinking I would complete the bulk of it that month. It's October and I'm still slogging away. 

(One day I will steam the wrinkles from the daybed cover. Promise)

It is better, in my opinion, to take time and find the right things. That wasn't necessarily the hold up here but between interruptions and the amount of work involved in some of the steps I am still pulling it together. 

The gold mirror is a bit smaller than I want but for $1.99 at Goodwill it was an excellent "filler" for the time being!

I posted a sneak peak of a small nearly finished area on my IG recently declaring myself the Queen of Slow Decorating. 

Shortly after that I saw an IG story from Rachel at Serene and Co. about comparison on social media when it comes to big, spendy, sponsored accounts and the rest (and probably majority) of us who have to plan, save, thrift, etc. to create homes that serve and comfort our families. 

I love the inspiration on Instagram. I started on IG in the very early days because it was visual and inspiring and a lot less "opinion" oriented than other social media outlets. It has changed a lot in the years I've been here but I remind myself that I actually control what I see and if an account is just about selling product or has unrealistic projects and materials that don't really relate I can unfollow (and I do that sometimes.)
 I like to look at high end, good design because it is beautiful and can be educational. We, as IG consumers, have to control our responses to it or limit exposure. It's really that simple. 

I want what I share to be realistic and attainable. My house is probably 90% thrifted, slow decorated and well used. We live hard in our house and nothing is precious - dogs on the furniture, white slipcovers can be bleached after spills, we eat in front of the TV if we want to and we put our feet up on the coffee table. That doesn't mean we don't care for our things, we just really use them to suit how we live. Our screened porch always gets a big response on IG and it is truly one big thrift find!! Even some of the wood used to build it. You can read about it here. 

(A quick screenshot from the other day. It doesn't have to be instant or expensive!)

And if I save for something special I still don't want the price or the wait to cause me to be less comfortable about how we use it in our daily lives. 

I think my definition of a really beautiful home on IG would be that it has spaces that serve its family well. What about you? 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Chatting "Vintage" with Stacy from @capitolvintagecharm

 I had the great privilege (and a ton of fun, too) of being the guest of a fantastic, informational and upbeat "program" on Instagram. 

I love Stacy's collected, layered look.

Stacy Harvie who can be found @capitolvintagecharm on IG hosts IGTV segments she calls "Charm" Schools. She's so clever! They are full of lots of interesting information about our favorite topic - vintage items. 

She interviews fellow vintage collectors, dealers and enthusiasts and we chatted about bamboo and rattan furniture. You can find our segment here. 

Stacy's feed and her "Charm" Schools are an unending source of great information , beautiful vintage finds, and more. She has a great logo too.
 (I think I need to up my "brand" game and create something really "me" to use!)

Stacy lives in Washington DC so we have that in common. I spent my school years in the District and vicinity. She's a Southerner - She's from Louisiana and I'm from Charleston, SC. We both love family heirlooms, thrifting and really any venue for vintage shopping, and, of course, bamboo and rattan furniture! It is amazing that this IG app has helped so many of us find friends! 

Stacy's lovely bedroom full of pattern color and vintage goodies.

I just wanted to share a little about Stacy because we all need fun distractions these days and Stacy's IGTV's are worth the watch! (I think better than a lot of what's on "real" TV. I actually have watched a ton of great IGTV "shows" over the last year and have learned and/or been inspired by so many great feeds!) ) Do you have any favorites?? 

PS. Stacy has a Chairish Shop and an Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Pumpkins + Blue and White = Perfect Fall Decor

I took this image, among others, of the Fall touches I was adding around my home to share with @auctionninja

I was so honored that they invited me to write an article about my love of blue and white and how I like to add touches of seasonal decor to my existing collections. 
The link to the article is here.
They also created a fun Instagram Reel that you can watch here.

They have a great blog full of informational posts about all types of vintage, how to source it and the how to be sure you are getting great vintage for your home. Be sure to follow along on their IG and website.


Monday, September 20, 2021

This Is How It Starts...

The first day of Fall is Wednesday. 

For many years (I've mentioned this before) we did not add any Fall touches until October 1 because Mollie's birthday is 9/29 and I wanted all of our decorations to be about her birthday and not Fall/Halloween. She's grown now so that is less of an issue. 

It is, however, still very warm in the Deep South and mums and pumpkins need it to be a little cooler. But I can't help myself this year. The minute I saw a mum I bought it. I just water almost every day :)

            And then the mini pumpkins arrived. And I have zero willpower when those show up.                                        So this is how it begins....  the mini pumpkins start to creep in!                                                                                                                                 

Little touches on the screened in porch. 

Have you started decorating for Fall?

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Lamp Magic

 Lamp Magic - not Magic Lamps (like the kind with a Genie inside!) Lamps can add such an important touch to a room but they can be pricey. There are so many choices and styles plus add in decorative or colored lamp shades and the possibilities (and decisions) can be endless.  

But just like every other item in my home, I like to see if I can find an affordable and, hopefully, thrifted choice*. But sometimes those lamps just need help. 

Never underestimate the power of glossy white paint when it comes to lamp dilemmas. These are just a couple of examples of "lamp rescues" that I've done. 

This rather regal looking camel lamp is one of my favorite white paint "transformations."
Here is his before. Brown lamps with gold brushed accents just don't work for my style so I paint my lamps - if the before is more your style, please don't be offended!! 

He happily lives on my screened porch bar cart - I just taped off the parts that shouldn't get paint on or in them and spray painted using my favorite spray paint. I know there are environmental issues with spray paints as well but a little spray painting keeps this lamp and all of it's electrical parts out of a landfill so I still consider it a plus. 

Last Summer I refreshed our main level powder room as part of the One Room Challenge and used a fun monkey lamp I'd been saving for just the right spot.

And the before:

I have a very difficult time leaving behind an elephant lamp when I go thrifting.
 I have a couple tucked here and there.
Just before my #thethriftedporch reveal I looked over and noticed this elephant lamp was still brown (it also still had the GW price sticker on it - welcome to my world!)

Freshened up with a coat of white spray paint and a thrifted white wicker lampshade. So much fresher and perfect on the porch. I think the white lamp shows up better and the details are more noticeable in the lighter color.

Not a great picture but he didn't look too 'great' when I found him.
Glossy white paint and a thrifted wicker shade made all the difference. 
Sorry for the holiday picture but that's probably when my kitchen was clean and photo ready! :)

I often use thrifted wicker and rattan lampshades on my lamps that I spray glossy white because I think the warmth and texture is a nice counterpoint to the lamps but refreshed, thrifted lamps are the PERFECT place to use one of my Faux DIY Pleated Lampshades. 

*Always check your thrifted lamp wiring for any safety issues. It is very easy to rewire most older lamps using rewiring kits. If you don't think you want to attempt rewiring yourself then it is not too expensive to have a lamp rewired at a local lamp shop. Even with the expense of rewiring, most thrifted lamps will still be far more affordable than a new purchase. Plus they often have a lot of character and it is environmentally sound as well to reuse a lamp that would be thrown out.
You just have to read the specs and choose the size that best fits your needs. And there are a ton of help videos on the internet if seeing helps you more than reading directions!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Because One Project at a Time is Not Enough

 One project at a time is actually plenty but that doesn't seem to be how it goes around here!

I had my #thethriftedporch refresh challenge going on in May along with my 11th One Room Challenge. But a very special opportunity also presented itself in May and I jumped in to a big, messy project alongside the others. 

I was home alone for the entire month of May. Well, Cooper was here but Mollie and her dad went to Florida for the whole month for his sabbatical. That meant I could tackle the worst, junkiest room in the house. It had gotten out of control and was causing me a good bit of anxiety. Really. I didn't even take a true "before" picture. I knew this project would create a big mess in the rest of the house so having 30 days to accomplish the big clean out was going to be perfect! Spoiler: I didn't finish it. I worked on it continually but it was a lot of moving stuff, sorting, purging, etc. before I could even start to paint and deal with the old carpet in there. It dragged well in to June (and still going strong OY!!) but I'm so relieved I didn't give up!

This room is labeled "Living Room" on the original floor plan. When we moved in my husband needed an office with easy access to the front door. I insisted on French Doors immediately so that his stuff would be behind closed doors. I love those French doors in our entry.  My mom made curtains to cover the glass and then years later I did a faux antique mirror finish on the panes. Then my husband went to work for a company and traveled extensively. He didn't need the big space and I took it as my craft/scrapbooking/studio space. I enjoyed it for years and then it just started to be where we stashed stuff we didn't know what to do with and things for our little vintage business Elizabeth and Payne. I kept saying I was going to clean it out and use it more as a studio "when I had time." Guess what?? I had lots of time last year and I didn't clean it out, use it or get back to painting! Obviously having "enough" time wasn't the issue. I had also been thinking that we needed a bed on the first floor because we have a lot of steps but I didn't want the room to look like a bedroom. I wanted it to look nice, have more than occasionally being a bedroom as the function. I've also always loved a sunroom but this house doesn't have one, we aren't going to build one at this point (plus we have a fabulous screened porch we use non-stop across the back of our house.) This room does get great afternoon light and would be a good place to overwinter the plants that don't fit in the greenhouse and moving the daybed in our seldom used guest room would be a great way to have a non-bedroom looking place for someone to sleep. 

Whew- that's a lot of info but that's where this is coming from. And I wanted to use furniture, decor, fabric, paint that I had on hand. The budget was basically zero. Game on. 

This is what was floating around in my head...

The room is fairly large and the floor still had the original builder beige carpet. (We kept the French Doors closed and never let anyone in the space -it was that bad!!) Our house is not charmingly old, just middle aged and all that implies, and the carpet had to go. Remember: zero budget plus the fact that lumber has almost tripled in cost this Spring. There is a post-pan demic shortage. So what is the most economical decorating tool out there (and my favorite!)?? Paint. 

The plywood subfloor was in excellent condition except for a couple of spots and also confirmed my belief that wood quality has gone down over the last few decades. This subfloor had as good a finish as the "finished" plywood we purchased for our ORC flooring project

The "shove stuff around and work in sections" method is not one I recommend but it is the only way I could make this project happen. Also, every time I pull up wall to wall carpet I realize that I just need to have wood floors and rugs because I obviously don't vacuum often enough!!!

I love a black and white check floor, it fit the "sunroom" aesthetic I was aiming for and I had the paint on hand. Let the taping off begin!!

There was also a gallon of light blue paint sitting inside the doorway of the room
 so I took it as a sign to paint the ceiling blue!

Already in the room as well - 2 bamboo shelves on each side of the French Doors.  My plan is to gather up and/or thrift enough vintage wicker and rattan storage items to store the reduced amount of paint, ribbon and crafty supplies I do want to keep. And now that the doors will show from the inside the faux mirror overspray will have to be painted over. I'm thinking I might use an accent color instead of going with white. TBD.

This green shelf was also in this room before - on the opposite wall. I moved it over here because the daybed is going on the opposite wall. We had the opportunity about 40 years ago to take trim and a few other items from a 100 year old home in the Noonday area of our county that was slated to be demolished. This shelf is one of the items I saved. I love the hand cut scallops and I'm often amused when I read articles saying "scallops are the newest/latest design trend" or that they are "in" because this cute, scalloped shelf is over 100 years old. 

I had to purchase the bamboo blinds. We have bamboo blinds on all of the rest of our windows so it was past time to get them in here. I order them from Amazon and recently it has been difficult to find certain sizes in stock. I like to order these because I like the valance that covers the hooks at the top. I do have both kinds in the house and the difference isn't really that noticeable once the curtains are hung.

The daybed was an amazing GW find several years ago and was in a guest bedroom that I zhushed during a One Room Challenge. I wanted to give it a fresh coat of white paint. It had the original finish which was either off white or had yellowed slightly.

Unexpected, unforcasted rain caused us to move the bed inside while still not completely dry so it had to be set up in the room beforethe floors were finished so that it could dry without ruining the paint. 

    I found the mirror at GW several weeks ago for $1.99. I would like something a bit bigger with the same ornate look but for the price I grabbed it as a placeholder until the right one comes along.
I have a fun DIY planned for that big white cabinet on the back wall. It is just a storage cabinet from a big box store but it needs to stay. It holds a ton of stuff.  I have this idea in my head and I'm excited to try it. Stay tuned.

I honestly thought I'd have a finished room and a "big" reveal by now but I'm excited about where this room is headed and the really slow, hard work like pulling up carpet and painting every surface is behind me. The prettier, more fun part is just ahead! 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Love for Tennis

Wimbeldon begins today and I'm excited that it is going to happen this year! 


This has always been my favorite sporting event to watch on TV. I'll watch the Opens but Wimbeldon is quintessentially the epitome of traditions and classic style merged together in a sporting event played by world class athletes. It's a piece of cultural heritage and has almost a cult like following in it's avid watchers (many who do not even play tennis!)

I played tennis in high school and proudly wore my Varsity letters from both High Schools I attended. That was a long time ago but the love for the game has not diminished. 



I still love classic tennis whites and really like my tennis shoes to be solid white #oldschool


It's hard to beat tennis whites with a lightweight v-neck sweater. In my day we were all about the Izod pullover! (the Wimbeldon dress code states white tennis wear and goes on to say "White does not include off white or cream."

One of the Wimbeldon traditions to stand the test of time is that spectators enjoy strawberries and cream as the number one refreshment. How lovely (in comparison to nacho chips with fake cheese on top that is offered at every event in the US!!)

I'm kicking off the first day of matches with some strawberries and cream om my porch with Round One playing on the TV! It's been two years so I'm here for every round!

The courts at Wimbeldon are free of advertisements and it is the only Grand Slam patronized (without fail) by the Royal family. Apparently, they are ardent fans. 

We love tennis on this side of The Pond and quite a few US Presidents have been tennis players. JFK and Jackie reportedly loved to play tennis as did most of the Kennedy family.

U.S. Presidents Who Played Tennis


I'm excited to see the "classiest international sporting event" kick off this week and I plan to enjoy some strawberries and cream while I watch. What about you? Are you a fan of Wimbeldon? Will you watch and eat strawberries and cream or maybe the Pimm's Cup cocktail that is also synonymous with Wimbeldon is more your speed! Whichever way you go the world definitely has a LOVE affair with Wimbeldon!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

My Garden "Friends"

 My collection of bust or statue planters get a lot of attention when I post them on Instagram. And my collection is "growing!" I started out with just a couple but I keep finding more "friends" along the way.

They are a LOT of fun year round. 

Right now they are filled with all kinds of beautiful plants for Summer. 

Some of these guys are going to need haircuts soon!

Back in the early Spring I found forced bulbs at Wal Mart for $1.00 per so I filled the planters with lots of blooms. It was so much fun to have all of those blooms in the early, early Spring and since they were up on a table I didn't have to worry about Cooper eating something harmful! Always something I have to consider when choosing what I plant.

At Christmastime I used my extra clippings of magnolia, holly and a few "faux" evergreen trees and topiaries to decorate my garden friends. (And the weather had been mild so far which meant my native, perennial ferns were still green and full!)

I never got a great evening shot with the lights on (and there were some things on the porch draped for the Winter so it's not an awesome image) but it was fun to have all the greenery during the Winter months.

This angel is actually something that used to hang on a brick wall but I added her to the mix.

I didn't do anything in the fall with pumpkins or mums for my collection of garden friends because I was all about my chinoiserie pumpkins and my collection of terra cotta jack-o-lanterns! I think that might change this Fall! 

This guy (Socrates, maybe??) isn't a planter but he hangs out on the porch surrounded by plants!

This little gal lives inside.

This large bust planter hangs out in our downstairs powder room.

She got a little seasonal change for the holidays as well.
Real magnolia but faux poinsettia because it was low enough for Cooper to reach it (Poinsettias are poisonous to dogs!)

These bust planters are great "Garden Friends" but they are a lot of fun inside the house as well. I have gotten feedback that they seem 'creepy' to some people but I like the 'classic' vibe I think they give off - think Roman and Greek statues in the garden. I am enjoying them each season and it's fun to add to the collection. What do you think? Like them or pass?

I've found mine in a lot of different places but here are a few I've found online if you want to find some "Garden Friends" of your own!

This one is just like one I have and if you have Prime that helps with the shipping on something this heavy!

Another bust planter for a good price from Amazon.

I love this one from Breck's. I'm very tempted!!

And this one is from Kroger!! Who knew!

Those are all great options if you don't find any locally but be sure to check out thrift stores and local garden centers and concrete "yard art" places!