I’ll show you my brass pineapples if you show me yours…

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Come on people, get your mind out of the gutter.  I’m actually talking about my brass pineapples. 

It’s no surprise that I hopped on this trend given that 1. It includes brass, and 2. Pineapples have long been known as a universal symbol of welcoming and hospitality.  Its been said that after captains had traveled to the Caribbean to bring back goods, they would spear the fence post outside their home with a pineapple letting everyone know they were home safe from sea.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my love of the sea runs deep, and even though I learned of this fact after my obsession with obtaining brass pineapples began, I still feel as if this bit of history that I unearthed sort of seals me to this whole pineapple trend-so basically me and pineapples, we are forever.

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Now I know I’ve pretty much set up this post to be all about my brass pineapples,and trust me I’m going to be flashing them around so much that you may experience temporary blindness,  BUT, I majorly scored on vacation this year, and mostly I have to show you errythang because it is awesome and plus also its all shoved onto the mantle in a conglomerate mess of awesome things.

First up, the ginger jar.  It’s.pink.  PINK! As if this fact alone wasn’t enough, it just so happens to be covered in flora and fauna and it’s just absolutely delicious, and whats more is that I bought it from my favorite family who’s shops I visit year after year when we go the Outer Banks.  I support their sea faring antiques business and they support my need to acquire more things.  Symbiosis at it’s finest. 

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A flock of Kokeshi Dolls

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These lambs are probably my favorite vacation purchase.  There aren’t any markings or labels that I can discern, though I do think they have a Lefton quality to them.  I  love their mischievous little eyes.

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And this cat.  She was love at first sight.  We didn’t exactly make eye contact, but when I saw her huge ceramic rump in the window I knew I was taking her home.  Her green eyes totally sealed the deal.  

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Do you hunt and scour the dingy depths of thrift/antique stores to find special things to take back home with you on vacation?  I love the Outer Banks and spend many of my days planning how I can make it our forever home, but in the meantime I have these special treasures that remind me of my days by the sea.  I hope you all can be so lucky to find as many special things that remind you of your favorite places.

XO-Tara

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A Dining Room Revamp…

 After years of living in white-walled apartments I was both excited and overwhelmed at the decorating possibilities that lay before me after we purchased our 1929 bungalow.  No more horrendous brown carpet, eggshell paint, and New York City sized kitchens.  But as a self diagnosed “serial decorator” I was a little too eager to get this house looking spiffy.  I made A LOT of mistakes.  I was impatient, and on top of that we were completely broke for the first few months because I wasn’t working.  Broke AND impatient are not a good basis for any worthy design plan.  In the first week of being moved in to our new home I painted our living room a yummy shade of Pepto Bismal pink.  Then without so much as a blink, stenciled a purple Ikat pattern on the dining room walls.  It looked like I hired a 12 yr old girl to do my decorating for me.  I had some sort of ill decorating syndrome from years of living in bland apartments, which prevented me from painting or doing anything that wasn’t completely over the top-and WRONG.  Because I had never been able to choose paint colors before, I thought I was relegated to super saturated intense colors.  Why after years of being held back from decorating the way I wanted, would I choose barely there paint colors that you could hardly notice??? I wanted to make a statement-and boy did I.  

Case & point:

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Hodge Podge is the word that comes to mind when looking at this photo.  This was right before we painted the living room Lily Lavender by Benjamin Moore.  (never mind the ghost lights or the folded laundry) Once we lightened up, everything started making more sense.  I still had lots of work to do, but that was definitely my turning point.  I realized that sometimes less is MORE.   And as much as I still hate things being “undone”, I understand now that it takes time, and I think the bottom photo proves that I learned my lesson.  

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 Now you might think I’m just getting ready to share a dining room overhaul with you-and I am, but I’m also sharing a lot more…Growth.  I like to think of this as a sort of decorating coming of age tale if you will.  I’ll be thirty-one this year.  I’ve spent four years growing into myself-in this house that I adore, and this dining room signifies not only personal growth, but the growth I’ve experienced as a decorator.  The design was well thought out, yet also instinctual.  It’s bohemian, and glamorous, and super comfy.  It’s truly a space to “hang out” in, and that’s exactly what we do each night as we put on Frank Sinatra, light the candles, and enjoy a meal together.  

I’m sharing this revamp (more like complete overhaul) in three stages.  It would be far too much to cram all into one post, and I want to compare each area with the before photos.  So suck it

I’m not going to lie, I nearly had a panic attack when we started painting over the Ikat, but I instantly knew I would love having a dark and cozy dining room.  The paint color is Mark Twain grey by Valspar.

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I removed the bar cart from the living room, and opted instead for this tabletop version.  I am still on the hunt for the perfect tray to sit underneath.  books DR close up

I nabbed the mid-century dresser on Craigslist for $70.  The brand is Lenoir House, which was a division of Broyhill.  Lenoir House sold the companies more modest priced pieces. I’m also still (after all these years) thinking of a way to disguise that plywood covered hole in the floor which use to be where the coal burning furnace was.

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The floor lamp is from Target, and the shade is covered in a cheapie Ikea stripe, which I also used for some euro pillows on the window seat.  I like the unconventional pairing of the table lamp on one side, with the floor lamp on the other.  The large oval mirror (also Ikea) reflects so much light and prettiness from the rest of the room.  

As with most things, it’s not 100% finished-I will undoubtedly change things, but the bones of this room are so right that I imagine it will stay this way for quite a while.  

Xo-Tara

Use What You’ve Got…

As discussed in my previous post, you know, the one I posted weeks ago?! I had high hopes for the mantle going into 2014.  I’m sure the fact that so much time and attention goes into planning my mantle decor seems ludicrous to most people.  But, it honestly was about more than that.  Sure, I’m an obsessive decorator who’s dreams consist of wallpaper samples and paint swatches, but the obsession over the mantle wasn’t merely about decor, it was more about being a showcase of inspiration.  I am an avid resolution maker, and not just each new year.  ALL.THE.TIME.  I crave change like a Big Mac.  It’ s a blessing, and curse.  Now, obviously the mantle didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned, and that is OK too.  I did buy a few prints that I had envisioned for it, but I ended up liking them better in our new and improved dining room, which I will share soon.  That’s the thing about planning, you can’t be too rigid because then you don’t allow room for things to happen organically, and no one wants their decor to feel forced and stuffy.  I ended up using things I already had to decorate the mantle after the holidays, with the exception of the white vase which I scored at Target on clearance.  I bought two, and I am kind of in love with them! While it’s not filled with the things I had originally intended, it is inspirational, and it doesn’t cost anything to decorate with things you already have!  I have a framed card that Ava made me for Mother’s Day, lots of family photos that I clipped on using the glitter pins that held the advent calender, and I even kept a few paper fans up there, because they are fun, and add a touch of whimsy that makes me smile.  
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Vintage Light Reflectors & Holiday Sadness

*Update* I wrote this post weeks ago, but got caught up in a dining room revamp, and then the holiday hubbub swirled in around me like a cyclone, and plus during that whole time my washer was broken.  It.Was.Hell.  I persevered, and decided on sharing this anyway, because as you will see later, it’s completely different than how I had planned it to be-and that’s OK.  It was a happy-organic process, and I succeeded in what I set out to do, which is avoid the depressive state that happens after the Holidays when all the sparkly, pretty things get put away.

Please tell me that I am not alone in the fact that I experience a profound depressed state after the holidays are over.  After its no longer customary to throw glitter on everything, and eat sugar cookies for breakfast.   Putting away the lights, the wreaths, the tiny reindeer, the Christmas villages, all the shiny baubles-it’s all just too much.  It’s not just the putting away of these “things” that is difficult, it’s the spirit and wonder of the season that seems to go into hibernating with all of it…that’s the problem.  This year I am obsessing about the mantle, I know-I know, first world problems.  I have a game plan and it involves a string of vintage reflector lights.  Martha mother effin Stewart has done went and sent me into an E-bay bidding frenzy.  She is to blame for the countless hours I have spent on E-bay-furiously searching for the perfect set of vintage light reflectors.  The one page feature, titled “Powered Flowers,” had me swooning, and I knew I absolutely had to hunt these down.  Why, you ask?  To add to my already outrageous amount of Christmas decorations?  NO!  Guess again…These lights are part 1 of my Happiness After The Holidays plan.  2014 is going to start off with shiny lights, apothecary jars full of confetti and glitter, inspiring typography prints, and lots of pretty blooms!  It’s a good plan, right?

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After days of searching, and many bidding wars.  Yes, WARS, (Some of these are very sought after, and can go for quite a bit of moolah) I found the perfect set (pictured above).  I got a 92 piece set of vintage light reflectors for $15, which is amazing considering a 49 piece set had just went for $50!!  I got lucky!  Originally when I saw them in the magazine, I was thinking of a DIY version, but Tiffanie Turner from the Corner Blog beat me to it.  She came up with this amazing DIY tutorial for reflector lights, and they are absolutely beautiful.  I recently stumbled on her blog, and I fell in love.  Her crepe paper flowers are spectacular!

So here is my blueprint for trying to dodge the post holiday slump:

This print from Rifle Paper Co. has been calling my name, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy it for le mantle.

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These prints from Etsy seller Alphonnsine also need to be mine:

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I think these prints layered with a few photos, stacks of books with bright spines, confetti filled apothecary jars, colorful vintage reflector lights around the mirror, and fresh flowers are going to be better than Prozac! Obvs, when I’m done I’ll totes share the finished product.

XO-Tara