Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays to You

Merry Christmas to you dear friends and blog readers.  I hope you are having a wonderful time with your family and Santa brings you everything on your list! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Favorite Things Pt 2

So today it's all about the special ornaments that I love that aren't necessarily home-made.

First up is a prized Christmas ball from my parents first tree together.  They are small, inexpensive balls with a snowflake pattern.  A few have been crushed over the years.  I was so happy when my mom gave me a couple for my own tree. 

Next, is my little drummer boy.  It's another of my parents old ornaments.  It came in a little box of three.  It was always one of my favorites to unpack and I loved to play with them as a kid.  Now I have one to enjoy every year (though he has already survived a decapitation once!)  You can also see another of my parent's first balls hanging behind him. 

Next is an invitation to a great Christmas party my friend Rachel threw when we were in college.  Her mom lived in the next town over and it was so nice to dress up and have a little Christmas cheer in a real home to break up the stress of the end of the semester push.  It's also a great memento of that night.  Rachel still throws amazing holiday soirees, though I sadly live much further than the next town over to enjoy them.

This Altoids tin always makes it onto the tree.  It is from my Husband's collection.  Really, who couldn't love a little Abominable Snowman?!

I have a collection of colorful snowflakes and balls that I actually picked up on a trip to Ikea several years ago.  I love the little bit of sparkle they add to the tree.  The glowing ball behind the snowflake is also one of my most favorite things for the tree.  It's a set of large, golden and slightly iridescent balls that actually snap onto the lights of the tree so that the whole tree glows.  It makes me think that I've sprinkled the tree with little Glinda the Good Witches descending into Oz.   The balls actually don't fit the lights on my big fake tree very well but I make them work somehow. 

This little bird came from the Husband's collection.  I don't know the story behind him but he makes me happy and I'm glad he's on our tree.

The Husband is a bass player by love and profession.  These two are a small sample of our Christmas basses.  I especially love the reindeer playing bass.  Behind him is another from my husband's collection.  It's a Star Trek shuttle craft (I may have gotten that wrong) and it used to play Spock's voice when you plugged it into a light.  Again, our lights don't cooperate very well.  I love it and it makes the Husband happy too.

Thanks for taking in a small sampling of the things that we love.  What are some of your favorites that you can't wait to pull out every year?

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Things Pt 1

Our tree doesn't have a specific color scheme or theme but I love all the ornaments that we have collected.  Today I want to talk about my favorite home made ornaments.  My mom usually makes a Christmas ornament every year.  I now have quite a collection of beautiful handmade things that I love.  It makes me so happy every year to get them out of their box and put them on the tree.  I actually store them in a special box in my office instead of the attic with all the other decorations because I don't want them to melt or freeze in the attic with everthing else.

This dough wreath is one of my oldest handmade ornaments.  My Mom made a lot of these when we were babies and gave me one when I left the nest.  It's a dough wreath the a gingham bow and pine cones.  It's also a little sticky from years spent in my parents attic.  But it still makes me happy to see it every year. 

This little skater came from either my Mom or my Aunt Elsie.  They made lots of skating and sledding boys and girls.  My sister and I used to love to play with them but would get in trouble when we took them off the tree.

My Mom made this mouse in a stocking with my name on it and made one for my sister too.  It was always so exciting as a little kid to put something on the tree with my name on it.  He was also fun to play with.

Speaking of names I LOVE this one made by my Sweet Husband when he was in kindergarten.  I always laugh and think of it as Brian's (as in he's laying claim to that heart) but it's actually Brian S (there was another Brian in his class so he was always Brian S for Sulser)

I really loved these ornaments as a kid.  It is an egg shell with the yolk blown out and carefully filled with wax and covered with velvet.  It's then staged with a little diorama  of a chosen Christmas scene.  The one that I have has these sweet little dears in them.

My Mom was on an angel kick for a few years.  the top one is made of tulle and is really easy to make.  So easy that I made a few for gifts several years ago.  The bottom one is made of a shell that Mom collected on the beach in Edisto SC.  She saw something similar in a gift shop there and thought she'd make a few herself.  She's very crafty and quite handy too.  Too bad I didn't inherit more of that!

These last two santas my Mom painted a few years ago.  The top one is painted on a shell and the bottom one she painted on a tongue depressor!  (she's a nurse and she finds inspiration everywhere!) 

Tomorrow I'll show you some of my not so hand-made favorites.  What are some of your favorite ornaments?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Kind Of Cocktail

My Sweet Husband came home late from a gig the other night with a late night snack.  He shared a little with me too.  I love the cold, sweet, hot, salty goodness of a Frosty and a few fries.

Now that's my kind of cocktail.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cheer

I don't really have anything to say today, but I came across this Southern Living pic over at High Street Market and it made me smile.

When I design our "Someday" house for the Husband and I in my head (and occasionally on paper) this is what I have in mind most of the time.  The Christmas wreaths, red tin roof, and white picket fence don't hurt either.   

Friday, December 10, 2010

Starting Over Before Your Begin

 via Cottage Living

I've been thinking a lot about starting over recently.  A client came to me last week just as we were putting the finishing touches on the design plan and getting ready to move into the construction phase for their new sunroom/screened porch/deck to say that after "living" with the plan for a while they have now decided that they want to start over and go in a different direction with their project.  This is not what we wanted to hear obviously, but it was the best thing the client could say.  Construction hadn't started.  We weren't ripping down walls and building them back again, yet!  It is much easier for me to move walls on paper than it is to re-design a project in the middle of construction or for the client to realize AFTER the project is complete that it isn't what they really wanted. 

via Coastal Living

The client did a brave thing coming forward.  They admitted that their inital requests for the project, after some reflection, weren't what they really wanted.  By choosing to mentally live in the new space over several weeks they came to realize that the existing room we were working with wasn't big enough for how they planned to use it; that they would rather increase the size of the existing room and move the new screened porch to a different location.   Had they not thought about it in those terms they would have had a finished space that wasn't big enough to use they way they want.  All of that time and money would have been spent and they wouldn't have gotten what they wanted. 

 via Cottage Living

The trap to avoid in situations like this is to not just be second-guessing yourself though.  If you want to make a big change to your home at some point you have to say yes and make the change.  It's good to re-evaluate your choices but at some point you need to make a decision and actually do the work. 

In your own life and home do you feel like you are good at making decisions or do you always second guess yourself and hold up progress by your unsure feelings?   

Sorry no great project photos, but obviously we haven't built anything yet!

Monday, December 6, 2010

And The Stockings Were Hung...

The mantel is starting to take shape.  I still need to add votives to the candle holders and maybe some fresh holly.  I'll also be posting about some easy stocking labels I'm working on later in the week.  Did anyone notice that the white feather tree that was on the mantel in the previous post is missing?  I'll show you where that went too.  In the mean time can anyone guess which stocking  belongs to the cat?

check out all kinds of holiday inspiration on the Hooked on Houses Holiday Tour

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Welcome to December!  The tree is up, the mantle is almost finished, and I'm waiting for the Christmas cards to be delivered so that they can be sent out.  Our tree is a pre-lit faker but I like it.  It's easy to set up, I love the twinkly lights and my allergies don't seem to bother me quite as bad.  Though I love themed trees I could never scrap my favorite homemade ornaments.  My mom usually makes a new ornament every year so when I left the nest I had a collection already.  When the Husband and I combined houses we combined Christmas stuff too.  The tree topper this year is from his childhood.

So when do you start decorating for the holidays?

Monday, November 29, 2010

After Thanksgiving Walk with the Family....and goats

{This post is really for my Mama because she couldn't be there on Saturday and she's not on facebook to see these pics.}

On Saturday my Sister hosted a little family Thanksgiving get together with fantastic food (and fantastic leftovers, thanks!) Besides the light fixture that I mentioned last week she also refinished a new (old) mantle that I can't wait to share with you later.  But first I wanted to post some pics of our after dinner walk to the river with the whole family (kids, dog and goats included) 

Freddie and Allen are very well behaved goats!

the goats get a treat after the walk - I on the other hand was still stuffed!

{hey Mom, the kids loved their pine cones and they looked SUPERfabulous on the Sister's new mantle}

Special thanks to may fab Cousin for bringing her camera and for letting me steal these pics.  Love!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fast Changes for Thanksgiving

My sweet, talented, hardworking, amazing Sister wanted to update her dining room.  We are having a family meal at her house in Charlottesville on Saturday so she's been inspired to work fast and bust out a few projects before the big day.  (I am NEVER that fast with anything and am always in awe of her!!)  Her family moved into this house three years ago and this was one of the first rooms to get a mini-makeover (paint, new drapes, etc).  But after living in the house for awhile my Sister has a better understanding of how she wants the whole house to feel and is going back to make some changes.

First on the list is to change out the dining room ceiling fan for something more fab.

This is an obvious choice because who wants a ceiling fan over their dining table (except maybe my husband!)  Sister also had a swatch of fabric that she LOVED but couldn't bring herself to pay that much for all the yardage needed for new curtains.  Then she decided to cover a drum shade in the new fabric to make the new light fixture and TA-DA!

Love the new shade.  Can't wait to see it and all my family on Saturday.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Office Inspiration

As I've mentioned before, I need new shelves on the wall over my desk in the office.  We haven't gotten to it on the to do list let.  (to his credit the Husband has been working extremely hard on the yard for the last several weeks) My hope is that we will have them by the end of the year.  Maybe.

While we continue to work on that I will continue to dream about what it could be.  One of my favorite pictures is of this one I've had tacked to my inpiration board for ages.

It is from an old issue of Martha Stewart Living from YEARS ago.  (notice the dinosaur of a laptop on the desk - it's listed as a IBM ThinkPad 755 CD laptop computer)  Though I don't think those awesome cubbies are in my near future I love how each square gives the opportunity for storage as well as creating some artful vignettes.  I love the chair and its fabric, the minimal color, and the rustic table as desk too.  Try to ignore the whack-a-doodle placement of the file cabinet trapped behind the table leg though.  Also from a styling perspective I find it interesting that they didn't edit out the wall plug and outlet in the lower right corner.  It's something you never see in magazines anymore yet it's something we live with everyday and really can't live without.  It always makes me happy we things look a little more real, more human, more lived in.


Saturday, November 13, 2010


So I didn't mean to take a little blog hiatus, but here I am over a week later and ready to get back to business.  First I have to give a big thanks to John & Sherry of Young House Love for hooking me up with tickets to the R Home for the Holidays Event on Thursday night.

I tried to play it cool and not be too geeky blog stalkerish when I ran into them during the festivities.  I didn't even tell them that they were one of my first introductions to the world of design blogs almost 3 years ago (yes, I know I was a little slow to catch onto the phenomenon).  I was googling wedding venues in the Richmond area and their blog popped up in my search.    More importantly the Husband and I are huge fans of Burger (their chihuahua!) because we now know the love that one little dog can bring to a family.  Anyway, I managed to keep it all inside and not harrass them while they enjoyed their own evening out.

 obligatory cute puppy picture

My Sweet Husband I and I had a great time and we both really enjoyed hearing Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, co-founder of Apartment Therapy, speak.  Okay, I have to back up for a minute and say that we had a little wine (a rare treat!) and a little food before the talk began.  One of the things being served was a turkey and cheese sandwich on a KRISPY KREME DONUT!  I can't believe I'm saying this but it was really tasty.  Okay, back to the designery stuff.  Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan gave a great talk about design, his history and that of Apartment Therapy and where it's all going.  It was very inspiring and made me want to focus my efforts back into my work even more after feeling not so inspired for the last week or so. 

After the talk we had to run out of there so the Husband could get to his regular Thursday night gig at Bogart's.  I actually stayed for a little bit of the show.  Here's a little taste of what you missed (the Husband's  the oh-so-handsome bass player!)

Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams from Aimee Richardson Sulser on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nature's Inspiration

I am completely inspired by nature, as I'm sure a lot of you are too.  Over the weekend I snapped this pic on the path and thought it would make a beautiful jumping off point for a living room:

And this is what I  came up with:

What inspires you?  If you'd like an inspired space of your own, contact me for design services. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday, and a tip

Welcome to November.  

The leaves are changing, the air is crisp and I need to wear socks 24-7 to keep my feet warm again.  I took the above reminders of fall on a walk with the dog in one of the Civil War parks near the house.  We love it there because we usually have the park to ourselves.  

And now a tip:
Today I am changing out my summer and winter clothes (do you have enough closet space to NOT have to do this??)  I'm not the most personally organized person in the world but I like my closet to be neat and tidy.  The easiest way I can keep it all organized and to know what to keep and what to get rid of at the end of the season is to turn the hangers around so that once they are worn the hangers face the correct way. 

At a glance I can see what needs to stay and what needs to go (because it wasn't worn) at the end of the next season.  It's easy to hang on to things too long but this is one rule that I keep to insure that I will have enough closet space to have new things every once in a while.  Basically I can buy myself something new and pretty if I make room for it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Inspiration

I came across this 900sq foot addition to a Vermont cottage in Better Homes & Gardens earlier this week and completely fell in love with the architecture of the space.

It's a beautiful addition to the old stone structure.  I also really love the volume of space on the interior.

There's a great little loft space.  I also love all the white, the wood planking on the ceiling and walls, and (of course!) all the natural light in the space.  That's a pretty rockin' light fixture too.  Just beyond those doors on either side of the fireplace is a great office.

I could definitely move in there.  But my favorite design detail throughout the space is the repeat of the arc.  It's in the barrel vault and half round window at one end.  It's used on the balcony of the ledge and repeated on the fireplace hearth below.  Very graceful.

I think I could make this an AMAZING music room and office space as an addtion to my house.  How about you?

Happy Weekend Everyone!  Hope you have a great costume to wear for Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Have I Made Lately

Pardon me as I take a design break, sort of...

As I've mentioned before I've been a little crazy with the knitting lately.  I like small projects for the instant gratification and in general I'm a pretty impatient knitter.  The goal I've set for myself is to make a sweater.  I'm a little intimidated but excited about the prospect.  I'm sure I'll have to do something else while I'm working on it too to keep me from completely burning out.  In the meantime, here's what I've made lately:

the Republic Hat - took me forever to find buttons for this bad boy.  Does anyone have a good button source?

 All Away Around Cowl - This was my first attempt at making something seamless with a provisional cast on and using a kitchner stitch to finish.  It's not perfect but it worked out okay in the end.

French Press Slippers - one of my most favorite things I've ever made.  These are SO cute and really easy!  They ended up a little big so my Mom got to be the proud owner of the first pair.  I can't wait to make more.

The Clutch You'll Never Want To Give Up - this clutch is mostly done.  I still need to sew on some buttons or make a fabric flower to glam it up a bit.  My Sister has promised to help me make a lining for it too.

Rosie's new Chihuahua Sweater - my first dog sweater knitted in the round.  I modified the pattern a bit to give some shaping to Rosie's slim figure.  And I made sleeves for the first time!  She looks super cute wearing it when the weather's chilly (the girl shivers at anything below 80 degrees)

Cabled Cowl - this cowl turned out nice and I really love the color of the merino/cashmere blend yarn (it's called limoncello)

and last but not least
Fetching - fingerless gloves to keep my too cold hands warm in the house this winter (the Husband thinks I have ice blocks attached to my hands and feet)

Okay, thanks for the diversion.  Back to design tomorrow!
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