Love Your Home Challenge: Set A Spring Table

     Although it’s still snowy and cold outside, Melissa has motivated me via her #loveyourhomechallenge to bring some spring cheer into my home and prep for this year’s Easter tablescape. I’ve cleared the normal daily clutter off our dining table and created two centerpieces composed of eggs and crocuses. I’ve currently used natural egg shells, but I’m contemplating dying them in colors to match the place settings. I also placed moss in one glass vase to cover up the crocus pot and old straw in the other. I’m as yet also undecided on which of those I like best, though I’m leaning toward the moss. What do you think?

     I love ceramics and glass, and I enjoy combining them into colorful place settings. Here, I’ve mixed my set of vintage Alfred Meakin “Audubon Birds of America“ dinner plates that each feature a different illustration along with some duck-egg blue salad plates, Portmeirion “Birds of Britain” appetizer/dessert plates and a set of glass bowls from Biot in France. The glass bowls blend very well with a set of wine goblets I found years ago in Murano in Italy and a set of 1950s water glasses my mother-in-law gave me. I complete the look with my favorite spring-time silverware set embossed with daffodils, which I notice need a good polish. Good thing I’ve got a couple of weeks left before Easter to get to that little chore!

     I wish everyone a cheery spring season!

?Adding Texture to your Home

I think most of us can say that we love getting home from having a hectic day…..but do you love your surroundings once you get home?….do you wish your house was more homey or comfortable….just your style?  I’m hoping I can inspire you by my pictures and texture ideas to make your home more cozy and welcoming.  So here are a few ideas to add texture to your surroundings.

?Include wood in your decor and it will warm up the space. This vintage French chair with rush seat was the key to add some texture to a corner of my home.


?Adding greenery to your space will add the natural texture of the outdoors.


?A blanket spread over your favorite chair will welcome you and make you feel at home….this is my favorite texture.


?The addition of some metal like this clock and this rustic bird will invite you in. Mixing textures is key.


?Lastly, by adding baskets to your decor, you will bring texture & organization into your space.


All of these ideas are here to help you to love the home you have, wether your house is a mansion, a farm house, an apartment or a studio. Just remember that with a little love and inspiration, you can accomplish much and make the house you have, the best home you’ve own. I’m hoping this will inspire you in bringing texture to your home.

?I am participating in The Inspired Room tour, celebrating the launch of this new book by Melissa Michaels.  She has helped me love my house and create the best home for our family….go take a look at her book and learn how to fall in love with the home you already have.  Go get your copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



Mission Accomplished:Bookshelves in the Foyer Finally

Summer season is just about to be over; at last 4 new bookshelves stacked against the walls in my foyer room.  I have had a strong desire to have bookshelves in my foyer for a long time. The front red door opens to the foyer; inside the foyer the French/glass door opens to the house.  I like the fact that the foyer room is a buffer between the front door and the rest of the house.  I put in enough books and some decor so I could take some pictures, but the real goal is to put books on the shelves—as is the function of bookshelves.  I don’t really like to overstyle or overdecorate bookshelves because I have many books and need each shelf for each subject heading.  I Like symmetry so I fully decorated the top of each of my 4 shelves; this way the eyes are drawn vertically upward because my foyer has high/tall ceiling. #loveyourhomechallenge.

Love Your Home Summer Challenge #1

     Finally! I finished a major project that I had planned to begin before the hot summer days arrived; however, one of life’s curve balls threw me off course for a bit. I only managed to complete it as autumn’s cooler days approach, but there are still a few sunny days to enjoy some relaxing meals outside! I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted some shade over the pergola so that we can sit at the outdoor dining table without the sun glaring down on our backs or in our eyes. It will take a few years before the wisteria we planted around a couple of the posts grows to provide an attractive cover. I created a flexible shade cover composed of fabric panels strung on a frame of stainless cable wires. I can pull each panel forward or backward as desired using this simple hand-made pole with a hook on the end.

     I cut the panels to size and sewed the hems (I’m a novice sewer, but straight lines were not too difficult). I then inserted grommets at intervals along each side and attached them to swiveled lobster clasps so they can hang loosely from the cables. I attached the cables to the pergola using turnbuckles on one end and S-hooks on the other. The turnbuckles will allow me to tighten the cables if they sag a little from the weight of the panels or force of the wind, which is VERY strong here in Belgium.

     The lobster clasps give me the option of easily removing the panels during bad weather or if they need to be cleaned. Since I used strong outdoor fabric, I can also leave the panels in place and retracted overnight without worry.

     Here’s one last photo, with the sun glaring down, just to give a sense for why I really wanted some shade over the dining area. There’s a noticeable difference now when sitting at the table. I am happy with the result of this #loveyourhomechallenge!

Love Your Home Summer Challenge #2

     Yay! I’ve successfully completed at least one home project I set out to do this summer! A cushion for this outdoor bench was actually #2 on my list. I haven’t posted anything about #1 yet because my initial attempt went awry during execution, and I’m now back in the design phase…more about that one later.

     I’m no seamstress, so this cushion proved quite the challenge for me. I’m still learning how to use all the functions and accessories on my sewing machine—mostly by trial and error. I’m not one to read instruction manuals and usually like to jump right in and figure out how to use an appliance all by myself, but I had to keep the manual close at hand throughout this project. Unfortunately, I don’t recall reading any details about proper needle placement when using the zipper foot. Perhaps those of you more experienced with sewing will chuckle a bit at my failure to re-position the needle from the center point to either the left or the right of the zipper foot so that it would stitch through the fabric and not smash into the metal foot. Duh! I lost that needle but learned how to remove and replace it in the process. :-)

     My goal this summer has been to make our backyard space more comfortable. The bench I placed in this corner definitely needed a cushion to soften the seat. Since it’s not a standard rectangular size, I couldn’t simply buy a ready-made cushion. And, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a custom-made order when I knew I had the resources necessary to do it myself. So, I did it! I chose a floral fabric to go with the blue paint I’d already applied last year. I attached piping to the top and bottom as well as a zipper on the back so that I can remove the cover when it needs to be cleaned. Ok, it’s not perfect…don’t look too closely at the seams around the piping nor the extra stitching around the zipper! But, it was my first big sewing project, and it works. Mission accomplished with enough sunny days still left to enjoy it this summer. :-)

     Now, back to Challenge #1. I want some shade over the pergola so that we can sit at the outdoor dining table without the sun glaring down on our backs or in our eyes. The yard faces south, thus it gets sun throughout the day. We’ve planted wisteria around a few of the supporting posts, but it will take a few more years before it grows to provide an attractive cover. I found some great ideas on Pinterest, but again I didn’t want to spend the money for someone else to customize and install something. I came up with a plan to drape fabric panels across the top, but I wanted it to be easily retractable so just hanging them on the wood beams was not the best option. I successfully sewed eight 4-meter long fabric panels. (Yay! I’m getting somewhat adept at sewing in straight lines.) I purchased black curtain rails and rods and successfully installed them. I hung four of the panels on one side of the frame and was very proud of myself…for a few hours. I took this photo before the rails failed the fierce Belgian wind stress test and the whole thing came falling to the ground. I should have paid more attention in my university mechanical engineering course!

     Back to the drawing board, and I’ve come up with a new design using stainless wire cables attached to the pergola frame with eye screws. I’ll also use turnbuckles, cable clamps and grommets to string the fabric panels onto the cables. This SHOULD work! It will be manually retractable, and I’ll be able to remove the panels during the winter or when they need to be cleaned. Hopefully I’ll gather all the materials and install before the official end of summer—I’ve still got a few weeks. :-)

     Fortunately, I’ve also come up with a plan to salvage the curtain rails and rods so that they’re not a complete waste of money. I’ll use them indoors—for which they were designed—by rigging retractable shade panels for the sunroom/conservatory ceiling. That project might get done in time for next summer’s #loveyourhomechallenge! We’ll see…

Wish Me Luck #LoveYourHomeChallenge  (Update)

HELP! How did a room in my house get so out of control?!  That is a question I ask myself every day and so begins Day 2: decluttering.  I could make decluttering my home a never ending #LoveYourHomeChallenge, but when I think of one place that is OUT OF CONTROL it is my desk area, which is also part of the kid’s playroom.  So today I will focus on getting order in this space, and through order in the space I will hopefully clear space in my mind to think, work, and create. 

Here is my before picture…

Stay tuned and later I will post the (hopefully) amazing after :)

Okay, so days later and I am still not completely finished…but I wanted to post the “after” since it is almost done.  What I did – got rid of the hutch, decluttered and tossed a lot, and made a chore chart station that now holds the kid’s school stuff/art stuff/and other office items.

So here is what I have left to do:

Get my papers filed

Get art on the wall (which requires painting a frame I have laying around)

And go through one last small basket of stuff to keep/toss/etc.

I feel my head already a bit clearer now that I have made so much progress on this project!!

Welcome To My Home and the start of my #LoveYourHomeChallenge

As I finish up “Love The Home You Have” I see that I may have a long process ahead of me to cultivate contentment and love for my home, but that is not going to stop me!  I am excited to begin the #LoveYourHomeChallenge today!

Yesterday as I was standing outside watching my kids play, (which I am extremely grateful and blessed that I can be home with my kids every day, and that we have a home where we can go outside and play and ride bikes!), I dug through unused items in our garage, items that were being saved for a future garage sale no less, and I made a lovely welcoming display for our front door.

Since these are items that I was getting rid of, what difference did it make if they were going to get weathered?  And so began this journey of seeing my home in a new light, learning to use what I have in new ways, and ultimately loving the home I have.

My Beach House Remodel

Home Entry
This is a full shot of our entryway, living room & gallery wall.  

Front Doors 
Solid Pine Knotty Adler Custom Doors with wrought iron grills.  Mexican Tile Border from Latin Accent Tiles.  #frontdoors


For our entryway, we add large pine front doors ~ My favorite part of the remodel! Rug from Anthropologie. Foyer tile from Tabarka Tile. 

Sunburst Mirrors ~ Ballard Designs & World Market.  Lamp Homegoods.  Cabinet Pier 1.

Gallery Wall

A collection of old and new photos. #gallerywall

Dining Room 

Chandelier Aiden Gray Home. #chandelier


Family Room

Our den is a large open space and connects with our new kitchen. Features slipcovered white furniture (the ONLY way to go with kids!) #slipcovered #den #familyroom

Living Room
Slipcovered linen sofa.  Rustic accents.  Area Rug ~ West Elm

New Kitchen 
Backsplash is Tabarka Tile, white custom cabinets, butcher block island top, marble countertops.  Stools from Home Decorators.  #kitchen #remodel

Built In Subzero frigerator, Lighting over island from Park Hill Collection.

Farmouse kitchen sink from Kohler. Pendant light Currey & Co.

Eat In Breakfast Area


Filled with cottage armoire photos & beach knick knacks.  Diamond jute rug from Homegoods.

Master Bedroom


Master Bathroom
Sign from You & Me Signs (etsy store).  Mirrors Ballard Designs.  Sconces Cyan Design.

Linen Pom Pom Curtains ~ New Arrivals, Inc.  Wooden Curtain Rod ~ Anthropologie.  Chandelier ~ Cyan Design.
My Daughter’s Room

Jack & Jill Bathroom

Guest Bathroom

New Laundry Room

I did shiplap walls in my Laundry Room ~ Love them! Tabarka floor tile & laundry sink from Kohler.  Custom cabinets ~ handles from Anthropologie.

Sign from House of Belonging (etsy store).

Land of Sunshine Sign from New Arrivals, Inc.



My Maltese, Harley :)

Our home is located in Atlantic Beach, Florida a couple of blocks from the beach, in the “Oceanwalk” subdivision.  Oceanwalk is a beach side community with over 250 homes and is only a bike ride away from the Beaches Town Center ~ a collection of shops and restaurants.  
See more on my website: