Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feeling Blue

A few posts ago, I mentioned my current crush on the color red. Although it still exists, especially since its still winter and it pops with my neutral color scheme, I also have a place in my heart for blue. Whether Robin's Egg or a historical Blue/Grey, no shabby chic room is complete without these hues.

As many of you know, my kitchen is blue and this is the exception that I place on the color in my house. For whatever reason, it just doesn't work... I do believe lighting, or lack there of, plays a huge role in it. It isn't a stark or bright blue, it's not offensive in any way, nor is it disasterously drab, but it just doesn't fit. The color would work well in a bedroom or our windowless bathroom against a crisp, white beadboard, but our kitchen is definitely left singing the blues... that is, until I bring in Mr. Benjamin Moore in an Antique White - - "Moore" on this color in another post!

Since we're in the midst of winter, I can't help but think of polar-ice blue or even those white blues that seem to pop against a winter landscape or a ground freshly covered with snow. I do believe undertones to this season resonate with many hints of blue. Hey, even Jack Frost sported an icy-blue outfit!

Oh, and by the way, red and blue are best friends so be sure to pair these together. Martha Washington was onto something, but I believe red is best suited with colors outside of the royal and navy blue realm -- unless, of course, your style is 'Americana' all the way. If so, then show off your true colors. For the rest of us, stick with those paler shades and blue-greys.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Upcycled Wine Markers

Upcycled markers are finally here.

Use them as:
  • Wine Markers
  • Note Holders
  • Unique Place Card Holders &/or Place Settings 
  • Napkin "Rings"
  • Gift Tag Clip 
  • Stamp of personalization on the backside  

Check out my Etsy store and browse the array of colors and styles!

Happy Marking!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cottage Stitcherie

For those who might not already know, I have opened my very own Shoppe on Etsy. I finally did it after so much time obsessing contemplating what on earth I would put up there. Seriously, I would sell my husband if I handmade him myself - okay, maybe not, but you get the point.

Since I love to create things, I decided a stitch shop would be very apropos. I have since named it, in conjunction with this blog, Cottage Stitcherie. I love posting DIY projects here and pictures of inspiration, but I also wanted to put products out there so you can have access to them. Keep in mind, 'products' is a very limited term in this sense! We're talking mug cozies, versatile cloths and my newest "invention", wine marks.

So, feel free to stop by the Cottage Stitcherie.. we're open 24/7 and appreciate any comments or feedback you may have. Just click on the Etsy link to the right of this website and "window shop" your way through my store... without actually having to leave your chair! Keep in mind that everything is custom made to order because, hey, don't we all appreciate things unique and personalized?

I'm hoping to extend whimsy and quirky to your neighborhood and right into the comfort of your very own home.

Be sure to stay tuned and updated for the unveiling of my latest and greatest - Wine Marks!

Monday, January 9, 2012

In the Red

I've recently been loving the color red in our cottage. I've tried to integrate it with these fabulous-o red lanterns (from Lowe's!) along our table and against the white "cabinet'ed" kitchen. My husband even took notice, which is a huge deal because he seriously does not notice these things. He knows how obsessed I am with neutrals, so naturally he wondered what had come over me. I cannot exactly explain what it is, but I do know that it instantly adds charm to any room.

Now, I'm not talking painting your walls a stark China Red or dying your hair to match the clown wig you covet at Halloween. I'm referring to little punches of red here and there throughout a room; which seems to stand out more amongst a neutral color scheme.

Perhaps all the white in my life has left me feeling a bit rebellious, or, the fleeting holidays with its candy canes and Santa images has me rather nostalgic. Whatever it is, I am pretty obsessed with red right now. I believe this to be more everlasting than a 'color crush', but I guess only time will tell. However, there is something romantic and warm about the color especially during the winter season. Just think about it. When you look from a window surrounded by falling snow and spot a red sleigh, fire hydrant or maybe even a child in a red snowsuit, there's something highly striking about it.

Since the drama can be achieved with a pillow, blanket, plates - even a lantern, you have the red green light to experiment and find what works for you. So long as you're not going overboard, it can be done beautifully and tastefully. As I type this, I am looking over at my yarn basket and notice red thread weaving its head amidst a sea of neutrals. Why not go ahead and display something such as this? It costs absolutely no money to achieve and you'll be using what you already have... and perhaps you didn't even know it existed until now!

So go ahead... get your red on. Just don't pull out any stop signs in the process.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Empty Space to Display Case

Our kitchen had suffered from a lack of counter space, that is, until the big bad butcher block parked itself on the corner. It was a great investment - especially since it was discounted - and suddenly our "spacially challenged" cooking area wasn't so bad. I have slowly realized and even embraced that a quaint kitchen is as charming as a large one, if not more so. However, as far as functionality goes, it just takes a bit more effort to make it 'work'.

One of the biggest challenges had been trying to make the space 'flow' from the counters to the butcher block. They sort of 'ended' once the block began. Like an abrupt ending to a good movie or Columbus thinking the earth ended at the horizon.... such were our countertops.

Last spring, I toured our village for some good finds at yard sales - other than Christmas, my favorite time of year! I came upon a $5.00 bookcase that I immediately put into our daughter's room and organized her books, from Dr. Seuss to The Bernstain Bears. It wasn't until recently that I thought 'hey, that bookcase would look great on the wall... in the kitchen'. Yes, these are thoughts that keep me tossing and turning at night.

My husband painted the shelf to match our cabinets and I knew I was onto something. Once the bookcase was up, I couldn't wait to put the finishing touches on.... which were the less-than-$2.00 Anthropologie cabinet pulls I stumbled upon, not knowing what I would use them for, but knowing I had to get them (even if it meant screwing them into our front door!)

These cabinet pulls now serve as quaint little 'hooks' for measuring spoons/cups. I don't mind that these serve more as decoration since they add a nice unexpected detail at the bottom... like a hemmed embellishment on a skirt.

To further the functionality, I hung a cutting board on the side and continued the Nigella Lawson lighting around there as well. The newly finished area now serves as casual seating for my husband and I to eat and do our work. All in all, not so shabby for a small charming kitchen!

Lesson learned? Think outside the box, or in this case, book shelf. This goes to show that a space can be done on a seriously tight budget and very little else.

I've dug up some before pics to show the 'unfinished' wall space:
Way before (pre-painted cabinets)

Here's what everything looks like now:

A shutter..

Or cutting board

Nigella Lawson Lighting

More under head lighting

A great place for coffe, tea, eating, working, cooking, etc..