Choosing Paint Colors!!!

I am changing the paint colors in my house this week.  I can't wait!  I have had tobacco road for a whole 18 months on my walls.  It is beautiful and I get a lot of compliments from the people that come over but I am ready for a change.  I have been into the monochromatic color scheme for a little while and I really like it.  Now I am just going to have it with a cream color instead of a golden color.  I went by Benjamin Moore today and bought a sample of Cream Fleece.  It is so soft and soothing and well...creamy.  I am also going to paint my dining room a bluish gray.  I have always wanted to find a good blue/gray color and now that everybody is into that I can just copy someone else who has already figured out the perfect shade!  Yay!  I love it when I don't have to think that hard.  Just let google do all the thinking for you.  Here are some pics of cream fleece.

Photos: Mali Azima  Interior Designer: Phoebe Howard

Photos: Mali Azima   Interior Designer:Phoebe Howard
Photos:  Mali Azima   Interior Designer:  Phoebe Howard
All of these rooms are done by interior designer Phoebe Howard.  She is amazing!  She has said in interviews that her go to colors are Cream Fleece and Winter Wheat from Bejamin Moore.  So most of the pics I found of cream fleece are hers. 

And now for the blue rooms.......

Cote De Texas

Coborne Architecture and Interiors   Coventry Gray:  Benjamin Moore

Sherwin Williams: Comfort Gray

Benjamin Moore: Gray Owl

Difficult choices with the blues!  I don't know!  Which one is your favorite or do you know of a fabulous blue that you'd like to share?

I Finally Went to a Goodwill

I have a confession.  I went to a Goodwill for the first time this past weekend.  I have been to plenty of other thrift stores just not this one because I've never had one close by.  The closest to me is 45 minutes but I decided to give it a try.  That kind of rhymed.  I was going to go to two of them but I could only find one.  I am absolutely terrible with directions.  So I am at Goodwill thinking there's probably not a single thing here for me.  WRONG!  I found several things from Target that still had tags!  I had read from the Nester that she has found great Target stuff at Goodwill.  My fabulous Target finds were a rosewood wreath, a lamp, and two candle holders.  I was just in Target this past week looking at the rosewood wreaths thinking how much I wanted one but didn't want to pay the price.  The wreath at Goodwill was brand new in the box for 10 bucks.  I also got a couple of sconces, pillows, and a bowl.

This next pic has some of my Goodwill finds plus some cabinet doors from Habitat for Humanity.  I have several ideas for those!

This next pic are the new Target candle holders from Goodwill.

On my way to find the next Goodwill I got lost which my husband said couldn't happen because it's so easy to find.  Well maybe for a normal driver that can follow directions.  I'm looking for Goodwill and stumble on a Habitat for Humanity Store.  YAY!!  It was meant to be.  It was so big and had tons of stuff...doors, windows, shutters, bathtubs, sinks, tile, furniture, and much more.  Nothing had a price so I asked this guy 'How are we suppose to know what anything costs?'.  Which is response was 'Take it the old man at the checkout.  The old man prices everything himself.'  I am gathering up stuff not having a clue how much any of it was going to cost.  I piled it all at the counter was given my total and gave him my best 'Sir, can you do better than that on price?'  He came down a whole 3 bucks.  I got it all for about 40 bucks.  God bless him, he's just doing his job and raising money for a great cause so I agreed and tried not to pout.  Now this pic looks scary but it's an old medicine cabinet made of solid wood with little shutter doors.  I almost knocked over a toilet crawling to it.   I have a few ideas for it.  Definitely Paint!

 I decided I probably didn't need to drive around looking for the other Goodwill.  Maybe next time I'll take my husband's GPS.  Which on several occasions has not been very helpful.  Picture the AllState commercial when the GPS tells the guy 'TURN NOW', well that's me.  I basically use it to keep me from getting so lost I can't get home.  I know to press the home button and I'll somehow end up there.

This last pic are shutters from Habitat and they are brand new.  I've been wanting to get shutters and paint them and maybe hang them above my mantel.  I'll just play around with all this stuff and find a place for it.  I always try to figure out exactly where I am going to put something in my house when I'm out shopping which is a no no.  From now on if I like it and it's cheap I'll find a place for it.  I am going to get started on some of these projects this week!

How to Slipcover an Ottoman

I have been wanting to make a slipcover for my ottoman in my family room for so long.  Now that I am writing this blog I am actually getting projects accomplished so I can get them posted on here.  The fabric that I used is from Walmart.  It is a cream color 100% cotton twill.  It is so soft and costs around $7 a yard.  I didn't buy white because I have warm colors in my house so the cream goes better.

This is the before pic of the ottoman and my dog being the princess that she is

I laid the fabric on the ottoman and decided how long I wanted the pleats to be.  You can do small ones instead.  Whatever kind of pleats you roll with.

Next, I cut the fabric the length I wanted and turned the fabric over on the ottoman to where you are looking at the wrong side.  Then, I pinned all four corners.  Took it to the machine and sewed the corners and then trimmed the fabric.

This is a pic of what it looks like after you sew the four corners and cut off excess fabric.  Now it's just waiting for a cute row of pleats to be added to the bottom.

Now you need to measure to determine how long your pleats are going to be and add whatever you want your seam allowance to be.  I hate to hem anything so I actually used the finished edge of the fabric so it would be perfect and even with no hemming!  HINT:  Beware do not do this next step if you don't know if your fabric will rip straight...Instead of trying to measure and cut the fabric for the pleats I ripped it.  I just cut the fabric to get it started and ripped the fabric apart.  Another sooo easy step!  After doing this I did have to iron the fabric out because ripping it does distort it a little.  Now we need to make the pleats and this is easy too I promise!  Please ignore the old stained ironing board.  You can do wide pleats or narrow, it's whatever you want.  I folded my fabric over to the right about 4 or 5 inches and then folded the fabric over to the left so they would meet in the middle.

In this pic you can see the fabric folded over to the right and the fabric folded back over to the left and see in the center it makes a little pleat.  Save fabric by not making the inside of the pleats big.  It only has to be large enough to where it looks like a pleat.

Pin your pleats together very well as you go along.  Then iron them down flat like there is no tomorrow.  And this is what it will look like when you are done.

Sew your pleats together along the top edge.  I assume you actually don't absolutely have to do this but it will make it so much easier when you sew the pleats to the top fabric piece.

Now pay attention to me like I'm an old seamstress schoolmarm  with a yard stick in her hand...Put the top piece of fabric on the ottoman inside out.  Then turn your pleated fabric to where you are looking at the wrong side of the fabric. Turn up edge of fabric that's on the ottoman and pin your pleats to it.  In this way you are actually going to be sewing right sides together so when you turn it it looks like a perfect slipcover!

This is what it will look like, Barbie stuff and all, when you have it all pinned and ready to go to the machine.  Take it off and sew all the way around and you're done...well almost.  After you finish sewing it zig zag the edges so they won't unravel when you wash it.  Turn it right side out and you're done!

And there's your new slipcovered ottoman.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place is an old rice plantation located a few miles from Charleston, SC.  It was established in the late 17th century by Henry Middleton , who was the first president of the Continental Congress.  He passed it on to his son Arthur Middleton, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.  It is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.  They have the oldest landscaped gardens in the country, established in 1741.  It has been in the same family for over 320 years and is now a National Historic Landmark.  I don't know the words to describe it.  The first time my husband and I went we were visiting Charleston.  Kevin (who was the concierge at the time) at Holiday Inn suggested we eat dinner there and afterwards we could walk the grounds for free.  I thought sounds good to me!

We arrived at Middleton Place to see huge old oak trees dripping with spanish moss.  At one time there were three building comprising the residence of the Middletons.  Two of the buildings were burned during the civil war and what is left is referred to as the 'gentlemen's quarters'.  It was built for men who traveled to visit the Middletons to have a place to stay the night.  The first building that was in the center was considered to be too small for the family and visitors to stay.  Back then the ride from Charleston on horse and carriage was 4 hours.  Because of this people often spent several days.

There is a beautiful pond behind the house on the east side.  The large oak tree branches dangle over the water.  Beyond the pond there is a hill called azaela hill.  We were told there are over 26,000 azaela shrubs planted there.  Without a doubt the best time to visit is the spring.  I've only been during the summer and it's absolute gorgeous and that's when very few flowers were blooming!

Rice Mill Pond

Behind the house are two lakes called the 'butterfly lakes'.  There is no way you can take a picture and capture them entirely.  The pictures on their website are taken from a helicopter.  It took slaves 10 years to dig these by hand.  To the right is the old rice mill.  There's an actual rice field behind the butterfly lakes.  And behind the rice field is the Ashley River.

The butterfly lakes with the Rice Mill in the far right corner.

Directly behind the house are two long rows of gardens.  They hold many camellia shrubs, one they claim is over 200 years old.  There is written evidence that the first camellias were  introduced to the New World at the Middleton Place.  They were brought over by Andre Michaux and planted at the four corners of the Main Parterre (long rows of gardens).  In the southwest corner there still lives a large old camellia thought to be the original planted by Michaux in the late 18th century.

To the west of the house are the 65 acres of formal landscaped gardens.  The gardens represent the symmetry of 17th century European gardens.  There are terraced gardens, hidden gardens, and reflection pools home to swans.

Swans at the long reflection pool.

These magnolia trees line the reflection pool and are over one hundred years old.

This is a pic of my husband holding up the Middleton Oak.  Robert Van Pelk, a research ecologist who has studied this tree perhaps more than anyone states the oak's volume of wood is 5,000 cubic feet making it the largest oak in eastern North America.

There is also a two family home on the property that was for freed slaves.  The man that told us the history of the home and the slaves was very informative.  It is definitely worth your time to take the African American Focus Tour.

Eliza's house

There are also stable yards full of chickens, horses, sheep, goats, and even water buffalo.  They also have  weaver, cooper, carpenter, potter, and blacksmith demonstrations.

One of the buildings in the stable yard

The beautiful horse stable

I can't wait to go back!  I want to visit during all of the different blooming times of the year. I think I'll like Spring the best.  When we were there taking these pictures the temperature was well over 100 degrees and the heat index was 117 degrees.  I love being there so much not even the sweltering heat could keep me away! I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Middleton.  I say little tour because there is so much more to this wonderful place than I have shared on here.  You just have to go see the rest for yourself! 

Fresh and Easy Guacamole

Something that I have been playing around with the past few months is a yummy guacamole recipe.  The first few times I made it something was missing but I tweaked it and now I think it's perfectly delish!

4 Avocados (I like to buy overly ripe so they will be soft)
2 Roma tomatoes
Garlic clove
1/2 Lime

Try NOT leave any of those out.  It just isn't as good.  Believe me, all of the fresh ingredients complement each other so well.

I actually ended up using 4 avocados and 2 tomatoes even though I have a different number in the pic. 
First thing you need to do is cut this freaky green thing.  I tried to show in the pic how to do this but I'm not very good at holding a camera and a knife at the same time.  While holding the avocado in your hand  lengthwise (VERY CAREFULLY) slide the knife into the avocado as if you are going to slice through it but instead of going through it you are going to hit a giant seed.  Slide the knife along the side of the seed going all the way around the avocado and then gently pry it open.  Then remove that big brown round thing and throw it away.  

Next, scoop out the inside with a big spoon and put the mush into a bowl.

Then cut your roma tomatoes into very small pieces, as well as your garlic clove and throw that in.  Take the cilantro and pick the leaves off and shred those with your fingers and add that to the pile.  Take half of a lime and squeeze in the lime juice.  Stir it, mash it like potatoes, whatever you need to do to get it to the consistency that you like.  (Note:  If your avocados are not soft this will make this step more difficult.) I like mine kind of chunky.  And there you have a green delicious pile of fresh mush called guacamole.  This makes two cups and between my husband and I it was gone in a half a day.  Now go make your own!  Yummmm!

How to Make a Burlap Wreath

Alrighty!  Finally, I am going to post some projects I have done recently.  First up is a Burlap Wreath.  Fun stuff!
I saw on Pinterest a pic of someone using a noodle as a base for a wreath.  A NOODLE?  Yeah, the one you buy at the dollar store for a buck that your kid hit other kids with at the pool.  It's easy peasy!

This is a pic of the burlap wreath finished. I also added an H and some dried limelight hydrangeas.  When limelight hydrangeas dry they are the color of parchment paper.  I may take them off because my best Yankee friend said they just look dead.  So you can easily just have burlap all around instead of adding something to it.

hot glue gun
noodle or any kind of wreath form  $1
burlap (2 yds) $4
your monogram (optional, Hobby Lobby) $2
dried hydrangeas (optional) free!

First, if you have a noodle, bend into a wreath.

Cut strips of burlap and cover your form

Now you have this as your base to add the burlap fru fru to.

Cut burlap into strips.  I cut mine 4 in. wide by 15 in. long.  Just play around with it until you get the fullness that you want.  I wanted mine very full.  Take the strip and fold like a fan.  Pinch together on one side.

Hot glue the (burlap fan) you just made together.  I glued in between the folds.  You could clip it together with a clothes pin while it dries to keep from getting burned.  I was too impatient to do this smart step.  Once dry, hot glue to your form. Repeat, lather, rinse for all of the other pieces.  Make sure you lay them all in the same direction.

I left one side with no "fans" and attached my H.  I then filled in with more fans around the H and stuck the hydrangeas in there.  You can add the fans all the way around.  It's whatever you like!  Next time, I am going to completely cover it.  Here it is!  Take these instructions and run with it!

Southern Living House Plan Whitfield II

This is a picture of the Southern Living house plan Whitfield II.  I don't have any interior photos.  I think what I like best about this house is the variation of roof lines and all of the different dormers.

Here is a rendering of Whitfield II.  Photo is from Southern Living

Photo from Southern Living

Photo from Southern Living

Southern Living House Plan Whitfield II 

So beautiful!
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