Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Candles for the Season

I love them and use them in many ways around our home.
Candles are always part of my dinner table decor, especially during the holidays.
My old standard for years and years was to use only white tapers.
 Back when I had my shop, there was that funny time that I painted candles
 with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in a color I mixed up to get a vibrant pink.
(Note that you shouldn't burn them as they will smoke, so this is just decorative.)
Those pink candles are a far cry from traditional white tapers.
  So you can see that I have loosened up my  rigid thinking of what is supposed to 
be correct.  My recent fondness for striped candles that feel modern and add 
a touch of color to my table are on this year's holiday dining table.
  As far as scented candles for a dinner table, I will say that is a no-no.  
Who wants to be eating dinner while smelling vanilla
or gardenia or cinnamon or evergreen or......you get the idea, right?
Of course in other rooms of the house, I do love to use scented candles and 
often light a candle in the kitchen or the living room if I am hanging out.
My living room is my favorite room to do just that, and it appears to be Colby's as well.
We spend hours in here~I am often reading or on the laptop, and he is either 
on the couch or in front of the fireplace on a little quilt with his chew toys.
Right behind Colby on the window side table is a neat little candle warmer that scents
the room, without me having to light a  real candle.  Wax melts are added to the warmer and
the scent is released into the air.  You can switch it on or off when you want to scent the room. Or you can do it the traditional way by lighting one of their scented candles in glass jars. 
I had never tried a wax melt and was surprised at how effective it is at scenting a room.
The small ceramic dish warms up wax melts
(which are little chunks of solid scented wax)
 that you add to the ceramic dish on the warmer to really add a 
holiday atmosphere to your room!
I love creating a home that is filled with all the things that make a 
Christmas memorable.  Adding old photos, like this one of my hubs and his big 
brother, bring back childhood memories that make us recall how magical a time  Christmas can be.
The smell of a Christmas tree transports me back to when I was a little girl
waiting for Santa Claus.  They say the sense of smell is the strongest to bring back
old memories.  So what could be better than adding that Christmas tree smell to our homes?
It didn't take long before my room was scented with an evergreen aroma.
Air Wick makes these special scents for the holiday and I am 
pleased to give one of my readers a warmer and both candle scents 
in the glass jars, Emerald Woodland and Apple Crumble.
Spiced Apple Crumble is perfect for your kitchen, and the Emerald Woodland
is exactly what I needed in the living room as my tree is a fake one, 
so the woodland scent was ideal.
To win, all you have to do is leave me a comment letting me know
 you enjoy candles too.  Or maybe you will share the special ways you
 incorporate candles or wax melts in your home.
Enter by December 7th, and I will have it shipped out right away
 so you will be able to enjoy these scents for your holidays!
Its only four weeks 'til Christmas!
Oh my gosh, lets enjoy the season, shall we?

To check them out and see all the fragrances they have 
you can click on the links below to see more.
You can also find these at Target, Walmart and area vendors.

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Note: This post was sponsored by Air Wicks and I received product for myself and the giveaway and compensation to do this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Classic Christmas Tree Magic

This is the first time I have ever decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving.  Two reasons being, one is that Justin and Madison are hosting Thanksgiving this year (that and our dining room is still not finished), and the second reason is I got a Tree Classics Christmas tree to review!  For the last several years I have been wanting to get a fake tree, simply because they are a lot easier to maintain and these days look just as realistic as any tree off of a farm lot.  It arrived in a sturdy cardboard box with the red and green Tree Classics logo.  It was a two piece tree that all you had to do was "snap" together and plug it in.  Ready for decorating!!  Since I started so early I may do a few different looks for the tree as there are so many ways I love to decorate Christmas trees.  For this post I decided to do the tree in an "heirloom shabby chic" style, pulling out all my antique and vintage glass balls and using beautiful french blue satin ribbons.
 The handsome 7.5' Hyde Park Pine Snap Classic tree  with clear lights is decked out in glass balls that we have collected over the years. This tree is so realistic, even my husband said the only way he could tell it was a faux tree was to look at the base, as it is on wheels so you can roll it around to where you think it looks best with ease.  I had this tree set up in ten minutes flat!  Lights included, so it was truly a joy and all that was waiting was to do the fun part, decorate it!
 A few simple touches around the room include scented cinnamon pine cones
 on an old transfer ware platter and a thin satin blue ribbon for my
 potted boxwood topiary that I got at my son's shop.
 A collection of vintage pink ornaments and lambs ears along with a few faux roses
 and tiny bottle brush trees are decorated with more satin ribbon to tie
 it together with the theme of the tree.
Tree Classics also has beautiful hand painted ornaments, like the gold trellis design, 
which I was thrilled to add to our lifetime collection.  Tree skirts and ornaments and 
other delights for the holiday season can be found at www.treeclassics.com
My living room went from everyday to holiday magic in a flash
 because of the simplicity of this tree design.  Let me show you how easy it was to assemble.
 My "everyday look" in the living room these days revolve around puppy care for Colby,
 our three month old pitbull pup.  Normally he hangs out in front of the fireplace with his collection of toys and old plastic garden pots, his current favorite.  I brought the tree into the living room and as I said it is in two pieces.  The top is sitting on the couch and the base of the tree has been snapped into the rolling stand.  You need to separate the branches and do some fluffing so that the tree is full and balanced.  
 My little wide eyed friend was a good boy and seemed to have little interest
 in the tree which was a major surprise to me, and one I am truly grateful for. 
 Needless to say, I did not decorate the bottom branches as I didn't want to tempt fate.
 The tree is pre-lit and after I snapped it upright in the stand,
 I plugged it in to make sure it was working.  
The color of the bulbs are nice and warm,
 not that harsh white bright light that some pre-lit trees have. 
You can see where I need to fluff out the branches so that the tree 
can get it's perfect shape.
Next came the top section, I just plopped it into the bottom section 
and it instantly lit up too!  After some fluffing out of the branches, 
it looked nice and full and beautiful just standing there without any ornaments.
I was impressed and excited, this was the easiest Christmas tree set up I had
ever been involved with. Its usually a huge procedure to just get the lights on,
after you struggle trying to get the tree to stand up securely in it's stand.
I am in love with our new tree! 
 It's made my life so much easier, and the holidays ahead will be much less of a hassle.
 I know I won't miss sweeping up falling needles and watering my tree everyday.  
 Take a look for yourself and compare prices if you are considering 
a good quality faux Christmas tree this season at Tree Classics. 
 So many styles of trees to choose from, it will be hard to pick a fave! 
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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Silvery French Chairs

 Metallics are super hot in home decor right now.  Luckily I have a 
connection with a guy who has launched his own line of metallic paints.
Matthew Mead Studio Metallics are acrylic metallic finishes that need no other
sealant...just paint and you are done! 
The dining room is currently a construction site as we just put
some French doors in a spot where there once was a window.
So while I wait for the trim and the wall to be finished I set out to 
paint my french dining chairs.  Using a simple chip brush I put 
one coat of the Silver Studio Metallic over the Old White Chalk Paint
that used to be on them.  They were never finished with wax so I could
go right ahead and paint.  If you plan to do this over waxed furniture, remove
the wax with  a cloth and some mineral spirits, then paint. I liked the effect I got
using the chip brush because the paint has some substance, and so it looked a bit
like a strie finish.  I loved how they came out!  
 I recovered all the chairs with drop cloths and used an upholstering nail gun
 to do so which made it a breeze.  All of this was only accomplished because Colby
 went with his dad on a trip one day recently giving me time to whip out this project.
Seat cushions are usually on hard compressed boards that make
 regular staple guns ineffective.  Air compressors are the way to go!
The french doors are in, the trim will be done, and then I can get to doing a few decorating changes that I am excited about.  Mr. Maison Decor worked on the interior framing this week so there is progress (this pic is from two weeks ago).  When its finished I will be more than on it to show it off to you.
So goodbye to the fun purple and green fabric and the distressed white woodwork.
Matthew Mead's Studio Metallics are sold at Fusion Paint dealers
 if you are looking for some terrific metallic paints. 
This is the same paint that I used to paint the interior of my work room studio cabinet in Pale Gold.
Aren't they yummy?  
Speaking of Matthew Mead, all the people in his two latest mags got together for a reunion party on 
Cape Cod at Sandra's house.  She was in the same issue with me.  Matthew took these pics and I 
think his collages are so amazing, they really give the vibe of the gathering.
It was a beautiful party, and some of us even slept over (including me and hubs).
A night to remember....thanks Sandra and Phil for hosting.
And finally, Happy Hallows Eve to my readers! 
 Signing off with a shot of Colby, who is growing like a weed.  
He is going to be modeling for a dog catalogue, haah! 
 Since its halloween his costume is the devil in disguise.  

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A New York state of mind: Fame or Fortune?

Two of my favorite creatives met for lunch in New York this week. 
 Matthew Mead and Annie Sloan.  Wow. 
 I was invited to go to the city with Matthew but I am sadly chained to the house rearing the new puppy.  I would have really enjoyed this meeting, as I think very highly of them both.  Annie inspired me so much that I opened shops to sell her paint and dedicated three years of my life doing so.  Most people know me in relation to her incredible Chalk Paint.  Shortly before I closed my store, I met and became friendly with superstar designer, author, publisher, editor, lifestyle guru Matthew Mead. 
 He has become a very close friend and we have engaged in many collaborative projects, with some new ideas in the works.
To learn more about this guy,  Matthew Mead, here is a terrific short video about him.
A talented man influenced by his mom.  Watch this video.  Compelling.
I feel I influenced my own son, exposing him to a lifetime of mixing business with art and design.
He has traveled further along down his own road now, and its been satisfying to watch. 
There were other interesting and amazing meetings that happened this week before Annie and Matthew met for the first time over lunch.  My son, Justin Power, was selected by a NYC producer to come shoot some segments for a potential design television show!  So he headed to the big city and it turns out they asked Annie Sloan to shoot segments as well as another Annie Sloan stockist from Kentucky, the talented Liz Brantley, of Liz Douglas Designs. 
 Here is a behind the scenes photo of Justin (before hair and makeup) flanked by Annie Sloan and Liz Brantley (after hair and makeup) and then on the left was a New York stockist, Amanda Preppard of Suite Pieces, who shot a segment, and Annie's sweet daughter in law, Lizzy Brown (R).  
Justin getting his makeup done...
(He is going to kill me for putting these photos on the blog.) 
 I would ask him, whats going on now??  (and then I would get a pic, haha)
I was stuck at home doing doggy care while he was being Mr. Hollywood! 
I mean I just turned down a six day HomeGoods photo shoot as their stylist. UGH.
 I was thrilled for Justin.  
Would he get discovered on a bigger platform and then everyone could see how talented he is? 
That is what I am hoping for of course.  And what I think will happen....
That night after the shooting, Annie Sloan had a book signing at a very hip shop, Verdigreen, located in New York's East Village.  Its so rare when Annie comes to the US and even more rare when she gets a chance to step inside one of her own stockist's shops.  
Word got out that Annie would be there and 
there was a large gathering there to welcome and toast her.
 Annie looked radiant coming from her tv shoot. Excited and adorable owner, stockist, Azie Shelhorse, beaming that Annie was in her very own shop.
 I've said it a million times, little business are so hard to pull off, and nobody works harder than independent retailers, like Azie and my son Justin, at his shop in Boston, Pioneer Goods.  These celebrations are lovely recognition, and it helps to drive more business to their shops, hopefully.
The same night that Justin was shooting his tv thing, and Annie was having her book signing,  there was also a book launch party for designer Tricia Foley, that Matthew was invited to.
Tricia is known for her white on white color palette and restful country home, which is the subject
of her new book, Life|Style.  I had preordered it so I got it when it was hot off the presses two weeks ago.  It is truly inspiring and got me thinking of emulating this simpler life style.
Matthew Mead has some of his stellar photography in her book.  As a matter of fact he thinks she 
is really amazing and tracked her down years ago. 
This video above was produced by Matthew when he visited Tricia in her Long Island, NY home.
Seeing people on video really gets to the heart of them, so if you are interested have a look. 
This week more than ever, I am struck by the fact that some people in my circles, the ones that follow a life path based upon their creative abilities, find validation in many forms like being published, or having their shops receive "Best of" awards....yet it hasn't translated into financial success or security for them.  It has been so interesting to see how some in this field can get leverage and find super success while others, equally talented,  are still working on gaining traction as far as the financial pay off where their creativity translates into the almighty dollar.  Tough to do, but certainly very possible, especially when their talent is through the roof.  Its a frustrating fact in this industry, and why I am happy to see good things happening right now.  I am encouraged when I see those who have success helping others find the same.  
Since I shared some videos, here is one of three that Wagner produced highlighting
me and Matthew doing our thing with their new sprayer.  
We look so profesh!! 
These videos are a work of art!!  You have to check them out!
Here is another one of our videos showing us painting chairs. I HATED painting chairs.
 I think I like this one best.  
Now know that we are  filming in 100 degrees inside his warehouse. 
 I think we did amazing, and look cool calm and collected!
My only regret is that I didn't start my Whole30 diet plan before I filmed
as I would have lost ten pounds and looked a little more Hollywood. Hahah!!
So while all these peeps were doing glamorous things this week, like book signings,
 and shooting tv pilots, and rubbing elbows with the NY jet set and drinking champagne,
I stayed home to rear Colby, my intrepid little pup.  
And cook dinner.  And do laundry.
But do not fear, I can't help but dream my creative dreams too.  
I have been working on some neat projects with the amazing Matthew Mead.
Now all I have to do is get this dog trained. 

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

French Door Awning and Bad Puppy Tales

What a pretty courtyard!  I found this image when I was googling exterior fabric awnings.
I have an opportunity to work with Matthew Mead and Sunbrella and this could be the perfect 
project for my new French doors and courtyard.  I plan to make the awning and am considering 
either a wide grey and white stripe fabric or a classic black and white stripe.   The french doors are 
officially installed, and now we have to do the interior and exterior trim work, as well as 
put in the steps to access the outdoor courtyard.  After that a fence will be coming so I can
contain the new puppy and hopefully that will make a world of difference in my quality of life!
Just to see how far we have come, it wasn't long ago that this uninteresting back side of the house
looked like this.  A good place to throw a random tire or whatever, you know?
Since it is the north side of the house there are few windows, and that makes the facade look
strange.  But since no one sees this side of the house, it isn't the biggest deal.
But it is a private area and I came up with the courtyard idea...but the problem with that
was that to access it you had to leave via the front door.  With the outdoor grill set up 
out back for summer dinners and entertaining the front door was not ideal.  At that
point the french doors came into play (meaning in my minds eye) and finally I got hubs to 
go along with the concept.  I think it will become our most often used door, as hubs drives up
to the back of the house in his truck.  I may just start doing the same as I can bring in the
groceries without climbing two flights of stairs as our house is built into the side of a ledge,
and the front is at a higher elevation than the back.
Some granite blocks were set so we could start using the door.  When completed
the granite blocks will run the length of the door.  I have a pair of lanterns to flank the
door, and they are solar so that this space will be illuminated all night long.  They still need to be
wired, and I have no idea why that is, but we will get it done.  Now imagine the awning over the door.  I have to make it just right, as the doors swing open to the outside, and I really don't
want to look at an awning from inside the dining room, but I don't want it mounted too high on
the outside of the house either.  So that is where I am at with the planning.  Of course all the trim will
be put in place and it will look wonderful.  It already is awesome just going in and out the back.
 I have to mention Colby....he is running us ragged.  He is one bundle of energy
and Mr. Mischief is his tag name.  I think we are making progress on the house
training, but on the eating and chewing and biting front, we are not as successful.
So its a constant eye, and I am finding it hard to get anything done.  Its really been 
a huge adjustment,  imagine having given birth to a newborn who can instantly run 
and has sharp teeth.  Its not cool. 
 Colby does like to lay on the lap of whoever is 
lucky enough to be in hub's recliner, which is where I am finding myself these days
because that is the room he is quarantined in for the time being. I had no idea there were 
so many shows on day time tv.  I admit I am enjoying Who wants to be a Millionaire.
Last time I saw it the show was hosted by Regis Philbin. Now it is Chris Harrison from the Bachelor!
Who knew?
I will not get sucked into the soaps (I used to watch in highschool)  
and I will try my best to avoid the Kardashians.  I have NEVER watched TV
during the day, and now I am all about the questions on the Millionaire show. 
Anyway, back to Colby.  Its all his fault.  I have to stay in the TV room now with him.
 Sometimes he can be let out into the kitchen.  Look at him looking like 
he is the perfect puppy. He is NOT!!! He just wants another treat.  As long as I 
am in the kitchen he hovers and hangs out hoping I am going to whip him up a meal
or a snack.  Now I have to make a confession...I found out that I have been underfeeding
him by about half the calories he needs!!! OMG!!! I was talking to hubs and I said he always
seems so hungry, he acts like he is starving all the time.  And he did look skinny....
so I just grabbed the computer to google the caloric intake for a pup his age and size, and I 
was in shock!! OMG! No wonder he is being a pain chewing every rock and piece of mulch in sight. Not to mention our arms, legs....the vet told me how much to feed him when he was tiny, but I 
guess I didn't increase it enough.  How would anyone know exactly how much to feed a puppy?
Compound that matter by the fact that he has been having digestive issues (diarrhea) and we 
finally have that resolved.  So to introduce his new dry puppy food has been scary business
as I don't want to slide back into the bad tummy scene.  Oh man, this puppy thing is not for 
anyone who has a life to live.  I am in over my head, but now have to go with it.
The little gate we set up to contain him in the man cave TV room is not going
to work for long.  He busted through it this morning.
So wish me luck, and if I get anything accomplished on the home front it is
truly a TRIUMPH!!
PS. Just as I hit publish, I hear a loud snap right next to me....
what was Colby doing?
He ate the trim piece off the new door sill!!! 
OMG wait til I tell his father when he gets home.
See what I mean?  This dog is relentless.
Good thing I enrolled in puppy classes last night. 

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