Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Barbara Westbrook: my hero

People, the post last night of the galley kitchen?  Barbara Westbrook? Ringing any bells?  Well come to find out, she designed the bedroom that I have tried very hard to imitate, on a budget.
Ms. Westbrook's

Ms. Jacquin's
I loved this bedroom from the first time I saw it and in doing some investigating of Ms. Westbrook, turns out the design is hers!  Love it when things come full circle.

So now it's official Phoebe Howard, Sarah Richardson and Barbara Westbrook are my design favs! It's always good to have some direction and inspiration.

(westbrook image via, also seen in House Beautiful)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Making a galley kitchen look GOOD!

image provided by
 I feel like galley kitchens tend to get a bad rap. Not enough room I suspect is the major complaint but I gotta say, as long as you could keep this runway from getting to crowded, I feel confident this galley and I could be very happy together.

This kitchen is from a show house in a Hedgewood Community in Woodstock, Ga. The interior designer is based in Atlanta, Barbara Westbrook. I don't know much about Ms. Westbrook but I have a strong suspicion that this isn't her first rodeo.  You can go to her website at

Monday, December 27, 2010

This request and dedication goes out to......

Nettie!  When your mother-in-law, who always makes the most indulgent and  sometimes complicated dishes seem like a walk in the park, asks for one of your recipes you give it to her!

Delicious sweet potato casserole any sweet potato would be proud to be a part of:

3 cups sweet potatoes (4 medium size, approximately)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Peel, boil and mash potatoes. Blend in sugar, butter, eggs vanilla and milk. Pour into casserole dish.


1/3 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped

Melt butter, add sugar, flour and pecans. Sprinkle on top of potato mixture and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serves 8-10.  The recipe is Mrs. Phillip Creel's from Franklinton, La.

Christmas 2009 at Nettie and Big Daddy's
Of note, these chocolate chip cookies are the best ever.
Mrs. Field's should be Mrs. Jacquin's, not kidding.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Folks, Folks, Merry Christmas!

I really think I'm about to sit down and watch Christmas Vacation. Nothing says Christmas the way that movie does! Clark Griswold doing a family get together like no other.

We have had a BEAUTIFUL, snowy Christmas. Evidently the first one in a century for Atlanta. It's been snowing all day. No kidding. Just awesome. Nettie and Big Daddy are here spending it with us and between the fire going from morning till night, Christmas carols playing continuously, gifts so thoughtful and's really been a day that will be imprinted in my memory forever.

Here's a few shots from the last 24 hours. Hope you're all staying warm and are enjoying being with your family.  We are here.

Cookies for Santa and a little "ham" on the side.....

The initial reaction was surprise that turned into her hiding her face
and saying, "I cannot like Santa."

She warmed up with news of a skateboard under the tree.

New play doh was a hit.

With a new basket from Santa on the front of her bike,
she spent most of the afternoon riding it through the house.
We'll be wrapping this new activity up soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

MIA, I know.

I realize I've been slack on my post this week but I know you understand. It's been a busy week here with my mom and sister visiting early in the week and then my in laws making it in on Thursday to spend Christmas with us.

There's been lots of cooking, which leads to lots of eating, which leads to lots of time for catching up and enjoying each others company. I really do know I'm blessed to have these wonderful people in my life but even more blessed to call them family.

Jane went to bed without too much fuss tonight but I have a feeling tomorrow could be Christmas overload! Cookies have been left by the fireplace and she's already been up once dreaming about Santa claus. Sweet baby.

I'm including a link to north point's web page because they've created a 5 minute Christmas story link,, that we'll be checking out tomorrow. I just want to make sure we don't lose sight of what Christmas is all about.

It's going to be a wonderful Christmas here and maybe even white before the day is done. God is good. Goodnight,all.

Christmas memories

Boring, I know, but just look at this picture.

This was Christmas at Gram's. She would have all 10 of her grandchildren (this was before my sister made 11) over to her house for Christmas and it was awesome .  Yes, that's me in the bottom left sporting the sweet stripes and that's my cousin, Janet, next to me in the sweater vest. Oh, the sweater vest. Joy is another blog follower and she's the cute little one sitting in Gram's lap.

It's funny as I'm reliving these times with my grandmother it's spurring some interesting
questions. Janet or Joy, little help?

I remember specifically sitting in her den singing Christmas carols. Was this a regular occurrence or a fluke?
I remember loading into her Cadillac to see Christmas lights. Did all 10 of us fit in one car?
I remember bottle rockets. Who in the heck brought those?
I remember making divinty candy and the only instructions were not to ruin her cookware. Did we do this alone?
10 kids to 1 grandmother. What were our parents thinking letting her do this?

No wonder she looks so tired in this picture. She's probably telling herself that within 48 hours it will all be over and she doesn't have to do it again for another year. That's what I'd be doing!

Good times.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hermes, anyone?

So this throw has been catching my eye whether I've seen it on television or on blogs.  Because I love it?  Not necessarily.  Just based on the homes it pops up in I felt like I should do a little investigation.

Well, this little throw is Hermes and retails for about $1100.  $1100, people.  My investigation is officially done and from now on, when I see this throw I will then look at the person that has it folded over the edge of their sofa and wonder what were they thinking?

No offense to any of my followers that are currently wrapped up in their Hermes throw. I'd be happy to take it off your hands when you're done with it.  I would never pay retail but for a deal, I'd consider it.

image provided by

Monday, December 20, 2010

Luminaries in Lakemont 2010

Just wanted to share with you some sub par pictures of the luminaries lining the streets of our neighborhood last night. Although the pictures are lame, at least you get the idea. We had a great time at the Dana's making smores around the fire pit and having hot chocolate and spiced apple cider.  Although it was quite cold, there was easy conversation with neighbors and watching the kids chase each other in the front yard reminded me how blessed we are to have moved here.

Thanks Danas for being such great hosts and thanks Lakemont for proving simple family fun still exists.

Take a few hundred of these,

line the street in front of your home,

create a Christmas card affect,

and acknowledge the beauty of the best luminary possible
and you have the makings of a great night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I laughed, I cried, it was better than CATS.

If you can see this service today at 6pm eastern, you really should. The opening was so fun, the middle was so beautiful and the end was so powerful. Really, I spent most of the last 30 minutes with a lump in my throat willing myself not to cry and then when I finally went into ugly, quiet crying the Bread Winner stepped in with a shoulder to cry on and a strong hug letting me know that even though crying in public isn't his bag, it's okay that it's occasionally mine. I'm moved by music, what can I tell you?

Tonight we have luminaries displayed down the streets of our neighborhood which means everyone's out walking around, taking in the soft glow of hundreds of candles and then warming up with cookies and cider at our neighbors, Liesl and Scott.  Really nice night. If I can get decent pics, I'll be sure to post.

Have a good Sunday, all.

image  provided by

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's for supper, take two.

So it's cold here and I'm loving it, especially this time of year. I remember all too well what it felt like to have 70 and 80 degree weather at Christmas and it's a real bummer. Not to mention that wearing my new Esprit sweater from Santa felt a little silly in those temps.

Well in honor of the appropriately cold temps, let's have some more soup!  This is a recipe for potato soup that is as close to a loaded baked potato in a bowl as you'll ever get! (without actually putting a loaded bp in a bowl)  Here we go:

1 jar real bacon pieces
2/3 c margarine
2/3 c all purpose flour
7 c milk
4 lg baking potatoes
4 green onions, chopped
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c sour cream
1 can cream of celery soup
salt and pepper to taste

peel and cube potatoes and boil until tender. in a stockpot melt margarine over medium heat, whisk in flour until smooth.  gradually stir in milk (this is the only real work required of the entire recipe), whisking constantly until thickened. stir in potatoes and onions and bring to boil, stirring frequently. reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  add remaining ingredients stirring frequently until desired consistency is achieved. yum.

I end up freezing some of this or giving it away. Who doesn't love seeing some creamy potato soup coming their way? Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A few things....

I've been thinking a lot about the sermon Andy gave a few weeks back called, I Owe Who.  The idea was to encourage people to express their gratitude and not just think it, feel it, put it on your list of things to do, etc. 
I'm going to try to find someone to thank, sincerely, every day.  We'll see how this goes. Today's thank you went to the UPS man who nearly injured himself trying to deliver a package up our icy drive way. Not one expletive. That's professionalism.

Next, did I mention I saw Patsy at church Sunday.  Patsy was the nanny for Tori Spelling on their reality show, Home Sweet Hollywood. Is it weird that I recognized her?  Is it weirder that I confronted her?  Well, I did and she was delightful. Yes, I watch this show.

Jane rocked herself, via rocking chair, INTO the Christmas tree tonight. Seems she became enamored with her reflection in one of the ornaments and turned her chair over and face planted into the tree. She was motionless at first which is always a little scary but when I pulled her out of the limbs, literally, and brushed the pine needles off her face I couldn't help but laugh. She eventually thought it was funny, too.

a pic from last year but all the same players in last night's incident

Also, I was involved in the toy drive at Jane's school this year and Wednesday we had the chance to drop off two carloads of toys to the "Santa Shop" affiliated with North Fulton Community Charities. Jane went with me and let me tell you, we'll do this again next year. It's a pretty cool moment when you see your 3 year old take toys into a facility with the understanding that we're giving toys to "kids" who don't have any. She thought she was a big girl and I thought she was too.
Last but not least, the Bread Winner has been down with the flu the last couple of days but he's back and I'm grateful. I would be a terrible nurse.  Here's to hoping you're a better nurse than me, Liesl. Hope those cute boys are feeling better fast.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'd like a reservation....

This is a table I would LOVE to reserve for every family gathering.  This room just makes my heart sing!

image via

The double doors, fireplace, nail head trimmed chairs, exposed brick, rustic lighting fixture, arched doorways, gorgeous table....should I go on?

Have a good Wednesday, all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wreath Party! Don't judge, we had a blast.

Magnolia wreaths: so southern, so pretty, so expensive. Thanks to my neighbor, Patti, these little jewels are no longer so unobtainable. Not only did she show me how to make one but last week we had a little gathering of friends/neighbors and she helped all of us create a wreath that managed to be a really nice representative of our tastes and style.

Here's the basic wreath construction:

Leaves, florist pins and ribbon for the bow,

an oasis wreath form,

bundle 3 leaves and attach to the form,

keep going,

attach bow with florist wire and DONE!
Below are pics from the BYOF (bring your own foliage) party:

 And now for the parade of doors:

Naturally Beautiful Maura

Zest for Life Liesl

Always Classy Amanda

Gorgeous and Indulgent Patti
Next year, when ordering your wreath you can simply ask for the Beautiful, the Zesty, the Classy or the Gorgeous!  Ladies, we may have found our creative calling!  Wreaths....who knew?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

See what happens when you don't go....

So this is what I missed last Sunday at church.  Did you go to the link?  Not yet?  I'm going to wait until you do. It's an iBand, people!  Who comes up with this stuff? Oh, to have just a drop of that creativity.
Have a good day of rest, everyone. And if you want to catch today's service live tune in at 11am or at 6pm for the replay.

image provided by photobucket

Friday, December 10, 2010

Come on in, just watch the cedar.

Oh, the front door!  It's my favorite part of decorating the house. Yes, even more than the tree.  And I love being able to add the "fresh" element to the door including magnolia leaves and cedar branches.  You put enough of this in an artificial garland and people will swear it's real.

This is a true story, when we lived in Atlanta, I would stalk people's homes on my ride to work and then imagine the home owner's reaction if I ever got the nerve to go up to the door and ask if they would spare a spray of magnolia leaves. Is that weird?  It's true, weird or not.

So, now I have my own magnolia tree and it's been more than generous this Christmas season. Here we go:

Wreath, (I'll show you how I made this on Monday)

artificial garland,

fill in with cedar, magnolia branches and white lights,

find something bright from the yard  to complete the total package and

tah dah!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Etsy Score

I just had to share these with you. These little messages are from Jessica Swift at I bought these two (frames not included) and spent less than $20. I love these because they really say it all. I was planning to give one to Jane for Christmas but I realized this means nothing more to her than a rectangle with letters in it at this point so I've opted to just put it in her room and discuss at a later date.  The red one is for a friend of mine who Jane and I see about once a month is one of those special people in your life that deserves a daily reminder that they're loved. I guess that's really all of us, isn't it?

Frames from Target

I hope you're all doing well. I've got A LOT to fill you in on  like a wreath making party I had here last night and more Christmas decor at the Jacquins'!  Did I just go into dorky blog mode? Sorry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Christmas Tree: part one

This Christmas I decided to put up two trees, one pretty and one fun. We haven't had a fresh trees in years and since this is our first Christmas at home I thought this would be a great time to go big.

So, let's start with the pretty tree. This one is in our dining room and is visible from the street. Charming, right?  Who doesn't enjoy  little tree teaser?  So this one is pretty straight forward:

One pencil slim artificial tree

A few strands of white lights,
an assortment of gold ornaments in different finishes and shapes,

some pint size assistance,

a few ornamental additions from mom and

I would love for you to see it at night when it's at its best but until I get one of those REALLY fancy cameras like my cousin, Janet, you'll just have to use your imagination. There's always the drive by option, too. Just a little reminder.

Hope you're all having a good week.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grandin Road, Anthropolgy, it's all good.......

When was the last time you browsed through Grandin Road?  I know, me too! Like, never. Well, people, pay attention. I'm loving this:

Fairmont Bench
Fairmont Bench from Grandin Road $499

This bench would look great at the foot of my bed:

This was a find that Amanda (friend/neighbor/client) and I found at Anthroplogie this weekend.  LOVE this.  Bread winner, are you out there??  This pillow might be just the thing the black hole (aka: the green sofa) needs to get back into my good graces.

Fireworks Pillow from Anthropolgie $78

Insert Fireworks here!

Images provided by and