Sunday, July 31, 2011

whip-up charm in a jiffy

When waiting for guests to arrive, do you ever do last minute puttering and fluffing? Well, that's what I was doing recently while watching for my sisters (think: puppy at window). I grabbed a pretty piece of blue gingham from Victoria that I had trimmed.

I began to snip and tie and within minutes had infused a little country charm into my dining room.

A little here ...

and a little there.

Which leads me to a summer breakfast favorite:
Corn blueberry muffins filled with strawberry preserves

{And these are as easy to whip-up as tying bows}

Good ol' Jiffy corn muffin mix {about fifty cents a box!}
1 egg*
1/3 cup milk**
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup strawberry preserves (tinkered or store-bought)
* I use Egg Beaters
**I use skim milk

Follow box directions
- Add blueberries; fold-in gently
- Fill muffins cups half-way (about 2 full tablespoons); add a nice dollop of preserves; add more batter to cover until muffin cups are 1/2 full
- Follow box for bake time
- Makes about 6 muffins

Jiffy offers a free recipe booklet. I just ordered one -- and look -- blue gingham!

{July really flew by in a jiffy, didn't it? Slow-down summer! Slow-down!}


Saturday, July 23, 2011

scenic + pastoral + coastal + historic

Hello! Planned visits from family combined with a few deadlines sort of sneaked up on me and I have been on an unintentional blogging break. Last week was a sister-visit and next week will be more sister-time followed by seeing my in-laws. We've been having a nice time daytripping around the Ocean State.

Tiverton Four Corners

In efforts to be succint, I have to say that most of the towns we visited could be described using the same words: scenic, pastoral, coastal, historic. Grab a cup of your favorite drink while I give you a little tour. As for me, it's iced coffee in a mason jar. Let's begin!

Our first destination was Tiverton, a beautiful town that is part of a region called FarmCoast, where views of stone walls, farms and beaches are typical but never taken-for-granted. We had a casual dinner by the water at Evelyn's, a place featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We even ordered lobster chow mein sandwiches just like the show's host Guy Fieri had. (Next time: the lobster BLT!)

By the time we arrived at Tiverton Four Corners, all of the galleries and shops were closed but local fave Gray's Ice Cream was open for a scoop of homemade ice cream enjoyed alongside a small cow pasture.

Imagine Gift Store

The next day, we were off to Warren for some shopping and a festival along the East Bay.

Quahog Festival

The Wooden Midshipman Shopping on Water Street

Warren Town Beach

Another day we headed to the southern part of "Little Rhody" to Wickford.

Turn left for shopping!

Big GASP over this minty fresh piece!

The Porch: Dash & Albert rugs, painted lanterns and bells! Prior location & visit.


Bowen's Wharf, Newport

The final day of one sister's visit concluded with a trip to Newport for more scenic, coastal and historic shopping and dining. [Supposedly we witnessed designer Carolina Herrera boarding a yacht.]


Well, that about wraps things up for now. With more family visits to come this week and a writing deadline or two, I may again be a bit absent from blogging but I'll be sure to bring my camera along to share even more of my beloved state.

Official State Drink

[Please note that no boys were made to go into too many gift shops. Beach scenes not included.]

Hope you're having fun too!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

hanky panky

Hi everybody! Summer is somehow simultaneously fast and slow, busy and lazy. Does that make any sense? Before I head out for the day with my boys, I have been spending the morning wrapping up some projects (with a mason jar full of iced coffee) including sending my text and photos to Romantic Homes for October's Make It feature.

As many of you know, I am very excited to be contributing to my favorite publications, including the current (August) issue of Romantic Homes where I have a Make It and am listed for the first time in that magazine as a Contributing Writer! {Thanks for the little push on that, Poppy}

Blogging is such a great medium for flexing your writing and photography muscles! {Gee, if only it burned significant calories, too}


I am happy to report that we are making progress on the list o' exterior projects. The wonky/Seussical/Bad-Shrub-Day shrubs have been dug up and removed thanks to my supernice husband. Just need to locate some blue hydrangeas now!


Thank you for the helpful comments on my curb appeal project post which may get put on pause with summer plans underway but it is set to resume! Stay tuned!


Thursday, July 7, 2011


I like to use my blog as a design diary to post images and ideas and get feedback: Perfection!

For years now, I have been wanting to add curb appeal to my beloved little home. I even asked for advice in a post titled Ideas Wanted over two years ago! I received many wonderful ideas but I just didn't have THE VISION. Or the time. Or the money.

Bad Shrub Day

Recently my next door neighbor had her home painted and we began chatting about all our ideas to infuse more Cape Cod into our Cape Cod style houses.

When I think of Cape Cod, I think quaint, beachy, relaxed and simple.

Shutters and window boxes with cascading flowers ...

Picket fences with roses ...

Once again, I began to "obsess" about the door and shutters. Do you paint them to match? Do you paint them differently? A Google search lead me to Your Home & Color Coach where I read that for a traditional look it's best to match shutters to the roof. A-ha!

Fabulous! Problem number 1 solved. But what to do about the door? So, bold-me contacted the blog's author with my question of what to do about the door, along with a photo.

"I think you'll have enough green in the yard with shrubs and other plantings. I would go for that rich hydrangea blue -- the one with the purple undertone. I think that will look spectacular!"

That's it!

Off to Home Depot with petals from my single hydrangea.

My favorite is Periwinkle by Glidden.

I found an example of a periwinkle door at Very pretty and very Capey!

First I will paint the front door.


And slowly as time and money allows I will tackle each project until THE VISION is complete.

~ Spray paint hardware to appear nickle instead of brass (?)
~ Paint shutters gray
~ Remove existing shrubs and replace with hydrangeas
~ Paint or stain (must research) the steps white; landings gray; paint a periwinkle "door mat"?
~ Install wooden white picket fence to top of front yard; plant roses or tall perennials
~ Install curved path from front door to driveway
~ Window boxes?

As always, this will be design-on-a-shoestring style and I'll be sure to keep you posted.

{We now return to summer, already in progress}

I hope everyone's summer is off to a happy, healthy and fun start!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

"fall" has arrived!

I know, I know ... it's early July but the fall issue of Romantic Country is here and that's fine with me because I have an article titled Dressed to Impress!

It was serendipity to be assigned the article about Annette Tatum's home in March because at the very same time I was working with Annette on dual guest posts which included a review and giveaway of her beautiful book, The Well-Dressed Home along with an interview with her for the Rhode Island online parents' site, Kidoinfo. Annette was always wonderful, sweet and so accommodating!

Turquoise velvet adds lovely contrast to barely-there rosette printed fabric which pays it forward by softening the appearance of the weathered table and sturdy wares.

{The caption above was cut but I thought it would be fun to include here}

It is such a thrill to see my words in print ...

along with my name listed as a contributing writer!

It's also a hoot to see my little word play at work! {Tee hee}

For the sidebar project I decided to write how to "back a bookcase beautifully."

Because this is something I have done myself in my own home.

Same effect -- even though my bookcase is from Staples. {Design on a dime, baby!}

Magazines continue to be a constant source of inspiration for me and I feel so fortunate to be contributing. The best part might just be that my boys are witnessing that if you dream it and work at it, you can do what you love.


My blog time in summer is not always easy to come by but always valued. Hope to visit soon!