As we get ready to head into February (say what?), here are a couple of things I've recently dog-eared in catalogs or eye-balled in storefronts:)

From Ballard Designs:

{Paulette Server...set of 3 shown}

{Alhambra Rug...in grey or brown}

{Julian Apothecary Floor Lamp...in Antique Brass, ORB, or Aged Silver}

What have you guys been loving lately from main stream sources? Anybody else have a birthday coming up in February? (I'm going to be 35!)

Winter Vignettes: Mantel



Hello! Our mantel this time round is really different than I usually do. For starters, I actually took down the mirror I always have up there and started fresh!!! (For all mantel decor over the last 5 years, I have just left the silver mirror in the center and added things to either side. This time I got rid of it completely!!) This set up also seems a bit more modern/bold/eclectic/asymmetrical than normal for me...and I'm diggin' it.

Started off with these huge, thick, rustic grey metal frames from Crate and Barrel (the Berwyn)...love 'em - they make a great focal point in the center. Little old lazy me even went so far as to hang one up, floating just a couple of inches above the mantel (but low enough so that once I put the big mirror back you won't see the new hole). I had two of these Brushed Silver shadow boxy frames with white mats (also from C&B) and thought they added some nice contrast, and lightness, to the sides.

{sidenote..I did not actually buy these frames, there are just certain advantages to having a husband in the frame business!...and no, I'm not being endorsed by Crate and Barrel to write this post either - ha! I've always wanted to say that!!}

Then I ran around the house trying to figure out what I could put in the frames. I really like the colors in this Physical Map of the Pacific Ocean (a page cut out from an old atlas I have). And I still had an antique fish print lying around from when I framed a bunch for our foyer. Ooops, did not mean to start too much of a nautical thing going on here...its a WINTER mantel!

The large brushed silver frame got another page from my 2011 Paper Source Wall Calendar and in the small square frame I mounted an old skeleton key I bought in Providence while on a blog date with Carrie (Hazardous Design) and Casey (loft & cottage) onto some fabric I used at Maura's 1st birthday party!

Next up I wanted to add some layers/different shapes, so I brought out some of my letter "P" collection (for our last name). The big black metal P is from a local home decor shop, the lighter silver zinc P is from Anthropologie and the cute little backwards P is a wood letterpress type block that I scored at Brimfield. (Both the Anthro P and the wood P are stuck on the wall using 3M adhesive mounting squares.)

Last but not least, I thought the space under the big hanging gray frame needed something, so I broke out my cute, little, old clear glass apothecary bottles (also from Brimfield).

So that will about do it for all the new little "winter" bits around here (if you missed them, check out vignettes 1 and 2 here and here)...now I can sit back and not have to touch these spots until spring! (And maybe I can try to actually get one thing done from our 2012 to-do list!) Thanks for following along, guys!

PS. I'm linking up to Suzy's House Party Thursday over at Saved by Suzy:)

Saved by Suzy

Winter Vignettes: Family Room Ledge Shelves



Thanks for your super nice comments on the foyer bookcase for winter! This winter vignette (the ledge shelves in the family room above our coach) is a lot more colorful and seasonally specific. Hope you like:)

I started out this little grouping with something extremely nostalgic. My good friend Jen (she lived 2 houses up from me growing up and is now a super successful architect and furniture designer in NYC) and I did this paint-by-number together when we were probably about 12 (yes, like we were both simultaneously filling in different colors). We were always coming up with some crazy craft project to work on...all while we sported side ponytails and more than one pair of colorful slouch socks at a time. I've held on to the "painting" and have wanted to put it up somewhere for awhile. There's no specific Christmas references anywhere in it, so I think its just a nice late fall/winter scene and seemed perfect for here.

Next I swapped out the holly botanical print that was in this large frame (it used to be black but I painted it white awhile back) from our Christmas decor with the December page from my 2011 Paper Source wall art calendar (I just got the 2012 one for Christmas and there are a ton of great prints to use later). Love the bold, graphic nature of this snowy forest scene, especially that little red bird.

To balance things out on the right, I thought I needed some more warm tones, so I grabbed a couple of old books with red/orange/brown covers. One of my lucky #13 Ball mason jars (from Brimfield, I now own three) and 2 little apothecary jars in that beautiful aqua color (that I got at a flea market in the parking lot of our supermarket!!!) were just the right size and color to finish things off.

Stay tuned next week for our winter mantel. I'm really excited about this one, its definitely different than what I usually do. Have a great weekend!

Winter Vignettes: Foyer Bookcase



Now that all the holiday decor is down, we gotta fill in the gaps. I have fun playing around with the three spots in our house that I usually change up seasonally. For the next few posts, I'll show you how they look now - post Christmas:)

I wanted to display the new additions to my mercury glass collection that I got for Christmas. The top of this bookcase is a great spot for big tall stuff (its a 2 story entryway), so these two beautiful hurricanes my mom got me from Ballard Designs (yay! my first ever things from Ballards! thanks, Mom!) fit perfectly here. I remembered I had this house portrait of the house I was born in (only lived there until I was about five and then we moved to PA) in the basement (my parents had it and for some reason didn't want it anymore so I took it) and liked the feel of it here with the mercury glass. And thus, a very neutral/metallic/black and white/cream bookcase is born:)

Next up was the other new mercury glass gift I got for Christmas, this sweet little candy jar from my brother's girlfriend (she's a keeper!). It found a home right here next to our clock and picture frames (which stay up all year round).

After my original epiphany, I just filled in the rest of the shelves with stuff (that I have to put somewhere anyways so it might as well do double duty here looking pretty) to make the whole thing feel balanced. Some white pitchers...

...a black book here under Paul's baby shoes in place of the green ones I had there for Christmas...

..and on the second from the bottom shelf (which is within Maura's reach and therefore needs to contain baby-proof items) - just some more large, neutral books (but I think the hardback covers/spines of books are beautiful). I brought down the vintage silver-plate pig I bought at Brimfield from Maura's room (let's face it, the top of her dresser/changing table is a mess and not really all that "styled" any more, and here she can enjoy and play with him) which helps tie in to the mercury glass. And added one of my dad's professional engineering stamps (that proves he's certified in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) cause I thought I needed some black here too:)

What are you guys putting up for post-holiday decor? I promise the next space (the ledge shelves in our family room) will be way more colorful!!

Ps. Here's how this bookcase looked last winter and for the winter of 2010 (both with mercury glass and books too, but still different).

16 Months!!!



Maura turned 16 months this week! Hard to believe. Having a toddler is so fun! Looking back, not sure why I was so sad as her birthday approached!

Here's her bunny chair pics from this month and last:

{Really?! This was like the best photo out of the bunch that day.}

We've had a busy and big couple of months. We now have a talker:) She started saying real words at the beginning of December, like right as she turned 15 months. Not putting more than one or two together or anything, but its amazing how fast she picks up words now. Some words she says correctly (like "chair" and "baby" and "bear"), some words she can only get out the beginning part of - like "no" for "nose" and "Maur" for her name (although I see progress all the time - a week and a half ago she couldn't say any bit of "Gram" when we asked her who my mom was, and just a couple of days ago we went to visit and she kept calling her "Grer" or something!), and for some words she just makes up her own version ("cookies" are "coo coos", blueberries are "boo boos" and pineapple is "papple"). Some animals she calls by their real names, like "doggy" and "pig" and "birdie" and then others she always refers to them by the sounds they make (sheep are always "baah", chickens are "bock bock", cows are "moo" and owls are "hoo hoo")!

On the food front, she is finally starting to eat some real veggies. She loves cannelloni and kidney beans. And corn. And she likes home-made eggplant parmigiana. And sometimes she'll eat carrots. We started practicing with a fork and spoon a little while ago and she is really good with the fork. The spoon still needs some work.

{Thanksgiving Day...will not look at the camera}

We waited until after the craziness of the holidays to try getting rid of the bottle. So, we just started the other day with nap time - keeping the same routine except swapping out a sippy cup of milk for the bottle. So far its going so so, some days are good, some days not so much. After a few weeks and once we feel like she's comfortable doing it this way, we'll attempt to take away the bottle at bedtime (I am really dreading this).

In other developmental news, she's getting 2 of her bottom molars in - one on each side, completely symmetrical and at exactly the same time.

{Maura the movie star!}

In November we spent a great day walking around Boston Common and the Public Gardens with my sister and brother. Seeing the ducks started out innocently enough and ended up with my brother having to defend Maura with her stroller from some aggressive geese! (That's what godfathers are for!)

In early December we visited a tree farm to find our perfect Christmas tree. Let's just say we left empty handed but the hay ride out to the field was fun!

{I guess she's not seeing any trees she likes?! Hopefully she doesn't take after her dad in this regard - he only likes the trees that are perfectly triangular and symmetrically cut!}

None of my pictures from Christmas came out very well, but here she is that morning playing with her new Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Fruit Basket puzzle (with her great-aunt Peg).

And here's the outfit she wore Christmas Day - my kilt from when I was little (that my sister even wore too)...isn't she so cute?!

It didn't even seem to hinder her later on in the day at my sister-in-laws when she test drove the little Radio Flyer tricycle my in-laws gave her (of course she totally doesn't know how to pedal yet, she just sits on it and presses the buttons).

The weather here has been so mild (outside pics in November with no coats on?!) and we just had our first snow the other day (and it was just a dusting! Unheard of for up here.) So this was the first time Maura really got to play in the snow (if you can even call it that since there was so little of it)...this time last year she was too little to understand it or to really go out in it.

{getting used to her snow boots}

{I love this one - an hour later...she looks like a snowboarding pro, like she's about to strap on her board...I told you, she will not look at the camera!}

Some of the things she is loving right now:

  • her Little Tykes Push and Ride Car that she has nicknamed "Mater" (apparently her fave character from Cars, although when she says it, it sounds like "Mayor")...we push her in this inside/outside/wherever, she pushes it, she loves it!

We still try and get outside every day to play. These are some of my favorite times together with her. We go for walks (her in her wagon or car, or she just walks herself), play on the swing set, go to the playground, explore the yard, kick our soccer ball around, get the mail and still collect pine cones.

{she's like me and loves the beach anytime of year...she still tries to actually go in the water every time we go though!}

{'hiking" in the woods on our property...I love this shot!}

We are really blessed to have such a wonderful, happy, smart, inquisitive little girl! She's seriously like my best friend:) We even have matching coats - which I did not do on purpose!

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