decorating with dodi

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Autumn Complete

Before we really even begin to "feel" autumn, I am finishing up my home decor tour for this season. Lots of wishful thinking on my part has begun to bring the "slightest" hint of a temperature drop in the early morning hours but I suspect we have a bit more of our Florida heat to go before we really feel a change. On the upside, our leaves that change color have begun their transformations and the birds and squirrels are busily running throughout our yard. It won't be long...

...I hope!!! Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Did You Guess Correctly???

Me either -haha! I was pretty sure when I last left you that I would be painting the Grandin Road knock-off sign today. I was even sure of that as I woke up and visited with my family who came down last night and was visiting with us a bit more this morning before heading off for a holiday at the beach.

But then, as my grand daughter and I were sitting and talking in the living room, the urge struck and before I knew what I was doing, I was taking things off of the walls, tables, etc. And as soon as I waved my last good bye, I was up on the ladder.

I guess I truly am a glutton for punishment because this color - that looked at least two shades darker than the current walls in the store - goes on looking EXACTLY like the old paint. It makes it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to see where you have already applied paint until it begins to dry a bit. My eyes are bad enough without this added bit of fun. I finally had to stop as the sun was starting to fade because the added shadows made it impossible to continue painting. And so, I have stopped with all of the cutting in done on the largest wall, woodwork washed and taped and some of the cutting in by the crown on the second largest wall done. I am hoping to get the same done on the other two walls tomorrow and then whip out all of the rolling on Monday. We shall see.

It is really hard to see in these pictures but until that darker edge starts to form as the new paint dries, this job is a bear! I will say that once it has dried, it is definitely a shade or two darker and I am hoping it makes all of the mirrors, sconces, etc. just "pop" a bit more.

I am glad I am done for the day because kick-off for the first Gator game of the season is fast approaching. Now that Hannah is an "official" member of the Gator Nation, I sent her a text today giving her some "words of wisdom" about the joys of being a Gator and living on campus during the weeks of home games - the energy is awesome. She sent me this picture that she took right outside of her dorm this morning:

Looks like they really mean it when they ask for all Gators to come out for the opening game!! Have a wonderful Labor Day  wherever you are and whatever you're doing - you know where I'll be. Stay tuned. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just Having "Too Much Fun"!

We finally got to have our "Back to School" dinner last night. I had the best time cooking most of the day but I must admit I am out of practice when it comes to getting a large meal for seven all done and on the table at the same time. I served chicken tetrazzini, fresh corn salad, steamed broccoli, panzanella salad, Tuscan roasted garlic bread and sour cream apple cobbler with fresh whipped cream. I knew all of those things would be kid friendly and I was right!

I pulled out the camera to snap a picture or two when the table was almost ready and then buzzers started going off, drinks had to get poured, and kids had to be rounded up. I had fully intended to get some pictures of the food - to prove to those doubters in my family that I can get a meal together when I want to - and the family, but these kids were ravenous having just come from sports practices at the YMCA and it was all I could do to get them to hold off diving in until we were done with grace. After that, it was every man for him/her self and we started around the table hearing the kids' thoughts on their class, teacher and school year so far. We were thrilled to hear how much they are enjoying it all....and before I knew it, we were clearing the table and I hadn't taken another picture. I guess that is a sign of " a good time was had by all".

I kept the table pretty simple. I guess the color scheme was pretty much black, red and school bus yellow. I was having a hard time coming up with what I wanted to use on the table to make the red plates "pop". I thought about my glittery, black Halloween place mats but that still kind of said "Halloween" so I tried sticking a red mat down first and then the sheer black mat on top...and we had a winner. It actually kind of mimicked the "mottled" look on the red and black composition books I found on sale at Target.

I stacked the composition books with children's classics and then added a pretty red apple and a jar of pencils and a ruler to each stack. I threw in a new box of crayons, yellow candles in red holders, sun flowers in a red vase, a "loose leaf notebook paper" wipe-off board with "welcome back" sentiments and wipe off math flash cards scattered about. The pens were nearby if any of the kids wanted to practice some math facts while they were waiting.

I was going to send most of the "centerpieces" home with the kids so I finished off their favors with a box of Cracker Jack for today's school snack and some extra pencils...somehow they go from having many, many pencils at the start of school to not being able to find any for homework in about a month - hopefully these will come in handy then!

We have some more company coming in tonight but then the next few days are pretty empty so I have decided there will definitely be a paint brush involved in my plans...just don't know what size it will be. One of these projects will win out - we'll see.

The top photo is of course my Grandin Road knock off and the bottom is the paint I have purchased for my living room. I know. It looks just like the dining room AND the kitchen. But, I promise, it is not. It is called "Bayou Sand" and really is supposed to be a shade or two darker than the other rooms. I figured that room can take the darker color because of the large expanse of windows but light seems to cast really weird shadows in this house and no matter what the color looks like in the paint can, it all looks alike when it is on my walls. We shall see which project wins out and how the color looks on the walls if that is the way I go. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Kids on the Block...

...otherwise known as "still tweaking"!

I like to tell myself that I am not one of those people swayed by advertising...and I think that is still probably true. But, if I see something I love in an ad and it is something exactly like what I would buy if I stumbled upon it all by myself, I will run find my way to that store as soon as possible!. Yesterday was just such a day. Hubby and I had an early meeting and then I had a hair appointment at 12:15. We got done with the meeting with too much time for me to head to my hair dresser but really not enough to accomplish anything else on the list of to-dos. And then I remembered the Pier 1 email I had received that morning. There was a round leaf place mat that I thought I could use for the sun room table - I didn't like the way it was looking. So, off I went. Let me preface this by saying that I don't really shop much at Pier 1 ever since they kind of changed their focus. To me it is too crowded with LITTLE stuff everywhere and I find it too hard to zone in on everything else. But, that being said, I guess I am always willing to make an exception - especially if autumn and Halloween are involved!

My Pier 1 store is decked out top to bottom in autumn and Halloween. Yes, it is still a bit overwhelming...but in my a good way if you know what I mean.

In any case, the place mat I was looking for had not even been unpacked yet so if I had not seen that ad - even if I DID happen into Pier 1 - I would not have found it. I was hoping it would be a bit more like the runner I have on my dining room table but, it will serve the purpose.

And then, as my eyes were trying to focus on one thing at a time, it happened! I saw it! I could not take my eyes off of it! Yes, you guessed it, another of my beloved olive jars! I don't know why, but they call out to me wherever they are! And, since this one was already on sale AND they would let me use my extra coupon as well, it was a no-brainer!

Isn't she a beauty!?!

I love that it has the olive oil stamp. I know it is just a reproduction - and an inexpensive one in the scheme of things - but it speaks to my heart...and, it really didn't cost me anything. There is an incredibly long back story that I won't begin to bother you with, but we were charged $60 for a service call that went all kinds of wrong and when it was all said and done, it turned out being "their" equipment at fault and needing replacement - which I told them that was the problem when I set up the appointment because this is the same exact thing that has happened 5 other times since "they" introduced this new equipment...but, I digress - so the service call was supposed to be "no charge". The second guy that was here til all hours of the night told me "no charge. This is on us". But, apparently the first guy who came hours earlier and didn't even have a clue what the new box was and literally left my house after doing NOT ONE THING, yelling at me for several different reasons and just driving away leaving me no indication IF I would ever see another technician or not...but again, I digress! - put in a service call fee of $60.

Now, I am a nice person and probably the least confrontational person you will ever meet and I have been known to do all kinds of things I shouldn't have when things were in no way my fault, but after having to spend 4 hours on the phone after this guy left before I could get to a person who could actually right the wrong, NO WAY was I paying.

Suffice it to say that I stayed very calm when I went to my local office but I stood my ground and got the fee waved! So, you see, the olive jar was meant to be and FREE! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! But don't even get me started on cable companies, 4 hour phone calls, getting disconnected several times and never being able to get back to the same person - as well as having no clue from where they are even talking to you - so you are telling your story over and over again and....well, that will be for another post - and, if you're lucky, I will forget about it before that happens!

Here is the autumn leaf place mat. I am using it as a "doily". It doesn't bear quite the presence that my dining room runner has, but I think it serves the purpose.

And here is a hint of what is coming tomorrow:

So excited! We have had a busy week with still more fun to come. Hubby and I have actually gotten to two movies this week. Tomorrow, daughter #3 and her family will be here for our back to school dinner. The kids have been in school a week now so we will get to hear all of their thoughts on the new school year and teachers and friends - can't wait. And then, on Friday, daughter #2 and her family are coming down. They are on their way out of town on Saturday but want to spend the night with us before leaving. This was a totally, unexpected surprise and we always love to have them here. And next week, my sister-in-law is coming to spend the day with me. She is starting a family scrapbook just when I am ready to get rid of so much of my stuff, so we will be clearing out things from my house to hers and hopefully get to enjoy a nice lunch along the way. And still I have more autumn decorating to share with you. Always busy in autumn! Have I told you how much I LOVE this season?!? Stay tuned.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Only a Matter of Time....

...until there is a fire in that fireplace. Until then, I will continue to pretend! Autumn IS coming...just not quickly enough for me! On to the family room.

I am still LOVING the sign I made last year (?) and that beautiful pumpkin that I bought in Dade City at Williams Lunch on Limoges. Sure wish I could find a source for them locally. It truly looks like one of the new varieties of pumpkin that has recently become so popular. I did find a similar shaped pumpkin at Michaels the other day but it is a garish shade of orange. I went ahead and bought it and am going to try to dry brush it with a white wash and we shall see what result I get.

Every time I take a picture for this blog from this angle, I notice that tangle of wires in the back of the TV unit and I chastise myself for not bundling them so they don't look as bad. This time I realized why I haven't addressed this issue any sooner - usually something like this would drive me crazy and I could not rest until it was taken care of. The fact of the matter is, when there is no flash shining on this area, it is essentially a big, black hole and those wires don't show. Pheww, one problem off of my plate!

While I was out and about, I began looking for the supplies to make this GR knock-off which I so smugly posted about recently. Well, maybe I know why it is so expensive. I can not find any of these least locally that is. I suppose I could go online, but that just seems like too much trouble for me. So, it looks like I will be going the REAL knock off route and starting with a wreath form that I will wrap in black feather boas. I knew that was always an option, but I really thought I would be able to find a feather wreath to begin my efforts.

And then I realized that to get the large skull and two arms, I would have to buy at least a bag of large skeleton parts...and they are not inexpensive even on sale. I know I bought a 3' skeleton last year, so I am thinking I will prop the full skeleton in the wreath and then anchor the sign in his hands while his legs and feet hang off the bottom. Thinking it may not give me the same impact....but I will save the now $259 impact to my wallet! Still thinking and looking...stay tuned. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Movin Right Along"...

On to the dining room!

Still love the wooden box that I made out of old wood I found in the yard. It looks nice filled with all sorts of things but I think I like it best in the fall when it is full of pumpkins and leaves...of course, I like about everything better in the fall!

I am still having trouble decorating these shelves. After so many years of this being a niche area and having to be filled with tall items, it is hard to make the change to short things. It always seems too busy or too symmetrical or too empty or too staged - you get the idea. I guess this area will be a work in progress for awhile. The leaves are an after thought because I really was not happy with the way it looked and I think I kind of like it better least for the moment!

The pumpkin on the middle shelf is usually sitting in a moss basket. I put it away for the 4th of July and late
summer decor and now I can't seem to find it anywhere! I know I put it somewhere safe but that is as far as I can get! Again, I need to write myself more notes!!! That poor pumpkin looks so pitiful sitting there all by itself.

Here is another set of my PB mercury glass pumpkin lights. I think I have posted about several of the pumpkin bulb covers breaking when they barely tapped each other and my attempt at purchasing replacement covers. The customer service rep was very nice but the best she could do was to promise to pass my call along to a supervisor but she did say they would get back to me in 3-5 days. Imagine my surprise when, not only did they get back to me in the time promised, but that they are actually sending me a replacement set of lights - even though they know that the lights did not arrive at my house broken and that I said they broke as I was putting them into my storage container. In this day and age, I am used to speaking - after many minutes of waiting and listening to just horrible music...I think they play what they do because they hope you will dislike it so much you will hang up - but, I digress - to someone who is either rude or doesn't really even have a clue what you are talking about. I really dislike it when I know more about a company's products than the person supposedly representing that company does. Two of my daughters own an online boutique and they pride themselves on good customer service and I see why - a happy customer is a repeat customer! That is just one of the reasons that I love dealing with a good company - I love their customer service. This may be a small gesture for them, but it is huge for me. I have always loved and shopped at PB but this small gesture will just reinforce my desire to continue to do so. Pottery Barn is a class act! Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Ahhh - Continued"!

I realized as I took pictures around the house this year that I am definitely simplifying a bit. The kitchen is a good example - not much to show you....just the hint of autumn colors. Oh how I wish I could just walk out into my back yard and cut branches like this! Guess I will have to settle for these beauties I found at Tuesday Morning several years back - they are the same ones that I have in my living room right now also. I have checked them every year since in the hopes of finding more but, no luck so far. They are the quality of branch that they sell at PB but at a fraction of the price. I will keep looking and, believe me, if I ever see them again, I will snatch up all that they have!

I am actually really enjoying having the baker's rack in the kitchen even though it happened with much "kicking and screaming" on my part. I liked it where it used to be next to the love seat at the end of the dining room. But, when my decorator daughter started helping me move things around, this had to be moved. I have always used it as a display area for seasonal goodies and photos so I knew I was going to miss that decorating space - and I do. But, I am really enjoying having it at the end of the kitchen where it is being used in much more the way I think it was intended - sort of. It is not full of baking supplies but I am now keeping it full of my seasonal dinner ware and serving pieces and I am finding I am using all of these things so much more because they are so much easier to access. Guess maybe sometimes change IS good.

I still have room for my "Eric Carle" autumn leaf collage and my fingerprint autumn tree - both gifts from grandchildren and much loved.

I also now have room for most of my Fitz and Floyd pieces for this season. Back in the day I was obsessed with this stuff - probably because they have so many beautiful holiday pieces. Of course, back then, I used to have a lot of Brownie moms, Sunday School teachers and friends over for meetings and tea parties so this "fancy" stuff got used much more often. These days, I will make an occasional pot of tea in the fancy pots when I find the time to actually go through that whole process. I usually wait for a chilly afternoon when I can also nestle up with a good book so between the lack of chilly days around here right now and the lack of spare time, these are probably here pretty much just to add some "pretty" right now!

Can you believe that I actually have one more set of autumn dinner ware still put away? I just love setting a pretty table - now if  would just enjoy cooking the food to fill all of the dinner ware as much, it would be a good day!

We are in the middle of making plans for granddaughter #4's 13th family birthday party and fingers crossed we will end up doing a Gator weekend here in town so some of this stuff will actually be put to use. Otherwise, hubby and I are going to be having some fancy dinners real soon cause I like my stuff to be used and enjoyed.

Had a wonderful day yesterday. My youngest daughter treated me to a lovely, relaxing pedicure and then we had a nice lunch before heading off to pick up the kids from school. The boys started on Monday but because Presley had a staggered start to her first day of kindergarten, she didn't head off until yesterday. It was the best feeling ever to hear the AP call out for "the entire Holland family" in car line and then see those THREE smiling faces waiting to be walked over to the car. The kids were all so happy and bursting with tales of the day. I have a "Welcome Back to School" dinner in the works for next week so we can hear ALL about it!

Caitlin is a junior at St. Pete H.S.

Morgan is a sophomore at Eastside H.S.

Olivia is in 7th grade at Thurgood Marshall.

Harrison and Hudson off to their first day at Eighth Street Elementary. Har is in 4th grade and Hud is in 1st.

Presley joins the group on Wednesday for her first day of kindergarten at 8th Street.

They are off to the car like little ducks in a row!

I love this picture of Harrison leading his sister along the sidewalk near the school. We have almost the exact same one from last year as he lead in his brother on the first day!

That makes 6 back at school with one to go....and a BIG first day this one is. Hannah moved into the dorm yesterday and starts classes next week. I remember what a bittersweet day this was when my mom left me at UF, I remember how much I cried as we left each of our three daughters as they entered UF and believe me, yesterday was no different with a grandchild. She is ready but are we? Thank goodness she has chosen UF and not one of the other schools she was considering. We would have supported her decision but let's just say the "Go Gators" were heard around the state on the day she announced her decision.

The dorm she is living in is the same one our oldest lived in her first year in G'vlle. and both her mom and aunt lived there every summer as they attended cheerleading camps. Only difference is that it has been completely redone....such a difference from my dorm "hmmm" years ago!

Doesn't her bed look cozy? It is a mix of old and to remind her that she is starting on a fabulous new adventure called life but old to always remind her of home and how much her entire family loves and supports her! Sniff!!

Heading off and don't have my day planned just yet. Might head out or maybe I will get a start on the GR knock off sign. Tomorrow we are heading out of town for the day - hope the weather co-operates. I will be back soon. Stay tuned.