Monday, May 31, 2010

Before and After Series: Master Bedroom

We moved into our house in June 2003.  It is interesting to see how we have decorated the various rooms compared to the previous owners.
Here is the Master Bedroom during our home inspection:
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There was either builder’s paint on the wall, or something very light.  The ceiling fan/light fixture was brass with black blades and not my style.  Window treatments were lace shades and mauve drapes.
My first concern was to “camouflage” the pink mauve carpeting.  I thought that by bringing in bedding and window scarves in various colors including a hint of pink, I might accomplish this.  Most people say they didn’t even notice the carpet was pink until I pointed it out.  I’m still not thrilled with it!  But we may get our upstairs bedroom carpets replaced soon.
Here are some photos of the evolution of the room:
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We painted the walls a light mossy color.  It was called “Brocade Cream”, not sure the manufacturer.  We also replaced the fan pretty early on with something more mission style.  We had our own furniture but did purchase the sleigh bed a couple of years ago.
Early this year…
Recently I was inspired by HGTV’s 2010 dream home to bring in some teal/aqua and to lighten things up a little.  Not sure if I have too many colors going on here, but it’s ok for now.
I brought in the blues by making some pillow shams for the bed and a toss pillow for my grandfather’s rocking chair from some fabric from an inexpensive drapery panel I found at Target.
I found this sort of Pottery Barn-ish cream coverlet and Euro-sham covers at Homegoods.  And the chair pad below on clearance at Pier One.
The blue plate off in the distance here was found at Homegoods also.
As most things, it is a work in progress.  But for now, it is great for us the way it is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cutest Couple

Jason and Ella went on an Adventure Princesses campout recently where they won the title "Cutest Couple". When they came home with this photo, I could see why they won!

I have another post ready to go in LiveWriter, but it is not letting me upload it. I'll see if I can get it to work soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Key West (4th and final Part) and Actually NOT Key West, but the Everglades

On our way back to Ft. Lauderdale, we enjoyed another lovely drive back up the Keys (with occasional mild rain) in the convertible.  We stopped at an AMAZING seafood buffet called Whale Harbor in Islamorado.  A must go if you are ever in the Keys!

Once on the mainland we took a slight detour to take in as much of the Florida Everglades National Park as possible (which was about 1 and 1/2 trails).  We were able to stop for a decent amount of time at one area where we observed some pretty amazing wildlife.  And no, this is not a zoo, it is a national park.


We were a little surprised to see this “large cat” crossing sign.  We did not see any large cats however.


We did see beautiful birds, like this snowy egret.


Interesting birds like this “snake bird”.


Air plants.


One turtle.


And lots of alligators.


This guy looked so relaxed.


It’s alligator naptime!


I was so excited to see all of this wildlife in its natural environment and it was a nice cap to the end of our trip.  It is the last thing I hope I remember happening on that trip because after that we drove in torrential rain and dealt with all kinds of traffic detours.  The good news is that we did make it in time for our flight and made it home safely.  Until next time!

Key West (Part 3 1/2)

This is the Key West home architecture part of the series.  So, if you are not real interested in seeing photos of a bunch of houses, you may want to skip this one.

My knowledge of architecture is pretty small, but I do admire pretty houses and buildings.  Pardon my lack of interesting things to say here.

I think this was by far the cutest feature I saw on a house.  The tour guide was pointing out the various types of “gingerbread” on houses (yay, I DO know what that means).  This designer took gingerbread quite literally.


Here is a big beautiful house. Sorry, I don’t know how to differentiate or identify the styles.  I love the soft color and the tilted window covers.  I also am a huge fan of big porches.  Not to mention second floor porches AND wrap around porches.  I think I’m going to faint!  Of course the landscaping really adds to the character of each house as well.


Here is a purple house used now as an inn.  Apparently someone had to make a nice donation to the historical committee to be able to paint their house purple.  And yes, for many of these homes, owners do have to comply with historically accurate designing for any changes or restoration to these older homes.


Elaborate gingerbread here.


Love the second floor porch fans and light fixture as well as the things (don’t know what you call them) above all the doors and windows.


You may notice a lot of these porches have their ceilings painted light blue.  I wish I could tell you why they do that, but our tour guide told us that the reasoning for it has been disputed.  One theory is that it comes from a custom in drearier climates that do it to keep people from getting so depressed during all of the cloudy days.  Doesn’t sound quite feasible to me.  It isn’t cloudy that often in Key West.  Unfortunately that is the only theory I remember him saying.  I think it might make you feel cooler in the warm weather??

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Now you are noticing all the blue porch ceilings aren’t you?  This one looked very patriotic to me.  Loved the hanging plants in every alcove.


Look, more purple.  Just thought this was a stunning entrance.


Smaller but still cute.  I believe they call this roofline “eyelash” or “eyelid” style.  Of course with the function of keeping out heat from the sun.


Even the lower “rent” districts had some real beauties.


Even purple ones.


Now I am just itching to see the insides of some of these homes.  Many are guest inns, so I don’t think it would be a big deal to get a look at the interior of some of them one day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Intermission (Mother’s Day Continued)

We interrupt this super excitingly long, multi post recap of our Key West vacation from a month ago to present some photos from our pocket camera that I just uploaded to our computer.  Forgive me for two posts in one day…

These photos from our Mother’s Day trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden mean a lot to me.  Thank-you kids and husband for taking me!


My favorite flower of the day (top view):


The only photo of the bunch where they weren’t making faces.


Taken by Ella (it was crooked but I sort of fixed that in Photoshop Lightroom).


Taken by Miles (notice finger in frame).


Key West (Part 3)

Just for grins, here is the pool that we never used at our hotel.  We didn’t not use it for any other reason other than we are exploring types and we were out and about for the majority of each day.


On our last full day, we took the Conch Train Tour.  Maybe it sounds cheesy to some, but I really wanted to learn more about this history of the island and make sure we saw most of the important stuff.  Boy did we get an earful.  It was like being in a lecture hall in college with a really knowledgeable professor who doesn’t know how to speak at a pace for normal people.  I took lots of pics during the tour, but most of them are of houses and I will give them a post of their own.  And if you aren’t interested in architecture, you can just skip that one altogether.

During the tour we saw the obligatory stray chicken – crossing the road.


This one is just beautiful.  And we found out why all the chickens are around.  Long ago, the local establishments would hold cock fights until eventually the authorities came in and enforced a ban in order for Key West to be a legitimate town in the US.  So the chickens… they were just let loose.  And they are now ALL OVER THE PLACE down there!


Among some of the cool thing we saw on the tour was this area dedicated to sand sculptures:


A bustling beach market area.


More beach views.


Beautiful foliage.


After the tour, we went back for the obligatory tourist photos:

Highway 1 starts at Miami and goes to the southern most point at Key West.


The famous “buoy” which I was expecting to find IN the ocean.  Rather, it is a concrete structure with a line of people next to it to get their picture taken with it.


We also went back for a tour of Hemmingway’s home:


Where we saw many descendants of his first polydactyl cat snowball.  Snowball was given to him by a ship captain as payment for Ernest delivering a message.  Polydactyl cats on ships were seen as good luck.

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I believe there are 60-some cats on the property and are the biggest expense for the owner.  No one actually lives there now (besides the cats), it is open to the public daily for tours.  And many of the cats, but not all, are polydactyl.

Every morning (while he lived there – before he was divorced from this, his second of four wives), he’d get up at 6 am, go over to this studio and write until noon, then have lunch and go fishing and later out to a bar down the street.  This house was across the street from a lighthouse, which made it easy for him to find his way home at night.


View of the lighthouse off of one of the many ample second store porches.


The tour guide expressed his displeasure of the fact that Mrs. Hemmingway changed out all of the ceiling fans for chandeliers.


And as for our tour guide, we thought he looked a lot like Hemmingway himself (red shirt)…


We also learned about the sponge market.  On the beach I collected a few small sponges that had washed up onto shore.  About 2 inches long at the most.  Sponge “hunting” is discouraged, but some is done, and those collected can only be sold in Key West.

We got to meet “Sponge Man” who took a liking to Jason.


And another rooster and hen.


Dinner at Turtle Kraals out by the Seaport.  This delicious Key West Conch Ceviche was as delicious as it looks.  Everything was so fresh.


Then back to Mallory Square for another Sunset Celebration.  Here is another street performer jumping through a hoop held over a girl’s back.


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