Country Living...Island Dreaming

March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I wish the Easter Bunny had thought ahead
and bought some of those cute bunny ears for Rosie this year! 

But...since we just flew home from the Caribbean last night
and the Easter Bunny barely had enough energy
to put out the baskets and hide the eggs,
Rosie will have to wait until next year for those bunny ears!
But the flowers sure smell nice!

I can't wait to tell you about our wonderful vacation in Grand Cayman!

I apologize for being such an unprepared blogger.
Since I almost always blog in real time,
 I didn't even have any posts lined up while I was away.
You could have easily figured out that last week was our big trip!
At least the burglars didn't figure it out and rob our house though!

Have a Happy Easter and I look forward to getting back to blogging!
I missed you guys!


March 20, 2013

A New Space to Decorate

Yesterday, I cleared out the corner of my living room
to prepare for the piano delivery.
And Rosie was happy to help out!

Honestly, I was happy to move the tree to another room.

I never mentioned it before, and maybe you figured it out on your own...but the tree is a fake!  I do not have a green thumb and there is no way a live one of that size would have survived in my house!  I was hoping the subject would never come up and I hope you don't think I am a fraud for trying to pass it off as a real tree, therefore, appearing as someone who could actually keep one alive!  Anyway, it's just a big dust collector anyway but I never knew what to do with that corner...

Until now...
Meet the new piano.
Well, new to us that is!
It is actually 48 years old.

Like I said the other day, the piano needs a few tune ups and a little work but it is basically in very good condition.  I don't even know why I had cold feet right before I bought it.  I went back and read my previous post when I said I feared that the piano could "wreck my room".  Oh please, what was with all the drama?  If anything, I think the piano enhances the room and brings life to a corner that was previously occupied by an impostor trying to appear as a real tree!

I usually accuse my husband of being the one who can't handle change, but I am actually guilty of that myself sometimes!  Remember last year when I brought home our darling puppy?  I was the one who was all apprehensive and resentful of the change.  Now look at me, I am in love with that dog and can't get anything done because I am kissing her all day.  Now, I am not saying that I will be kissing the piano all day, but I am happy to have it in my house and I already feel like it has brought some life to the room.

Of course, I still need to add a proper lamp
and something in the blank space to brighten up the corner.

This is the view from the front hall.

I found this lovely image on Pinterest.
Isn't this just PERFECT?
I could definitely do something like that in my room.
Maybe not the same colors, but the feel of this vignette.

There are so many ways I could decorate the space.
So it's time to start shopping for some fun accessories!

But actually, I think I already found my best accessory!

Do you have any great ideas to decorate above a piano?

Linking to:


March 15, 2013

Practical Versus Pretty

One purchase could wreck a room.

That's my fear.

Let me explain...

My nine year old took two years of group keyboard class and has now transitioned to private piano lessons.  When he started keyboard class, our investment was small.  We bought him a keyboard which he kept in his room.  It served him well for two years and he has enthusiastically kept up with his practicing.  And on those days when he wasn't so enthusiastic, he still would practice without too much complaining!

When he began taking lessons on a piano instead of the keyboard class, we knew at some point we would have to invest in an actual piano.  He has started complaining that his keyboard doesn't have all the keys and he also needs to practice on piano pedals.  I started investigating different piano dealers.  We (and by we, I mean my husband), thought it would make sense to only look into used pianos at this point.  But I thought most of the used pianos were either too expensive for what they were or too ugly to even think of buying!  

Then the other day, my neighbor informed me she just looked at a piano that en elderly couple in the area was selling.  She heard about the piano through her daughter's piano teacher, who not only played the piano but told her she was crazy if she didn't buy it!

My neighbor decided against the piano because she wanted a black baby grand and this piano was a brown upright.  Actually, I shouldn't say "upright".  It's actually a "spinet".  Needless to say, I know nothing about pianos.  Anyway, not only did the piano teach recommend buying it, but she had her piano tuner/repairman look it over.  He told her a few keys stuck and it needed some minor work plus 2 or 3 tune ups.  The seller is asking just $250.00 for the piano.  With the moving, repairs and tune ups, we are still talking a little over $1,000.00 but that is still much less than I have seen online and in piano stores for used pianos.  I must also remember that this is a learning piano.  My son is only 9 and although this is his 3rd year in piano/keyboard, I cannot justify spending a boatload of money on a piano.  Not that I have a boatload of money to spend, but you know what I mean!

Aesthetically, the piano is in great shape.  The wood is not scratched and looks well taken care of.  It has simple lines and the wood color will work with my living room.  It is actually a beautiful instrument.

But, like I said above, this purchase could wreck this room.   I am happy with the layout and the overall feel of my living room.  The piano will most likely sit on the far wall where the tree and globe are now.  You won't be able to miss it.  Do I want it to be such a focal point?  I don't know.  I could imagine a beautiful baby grand in that back corner.  It could enhance the room and become a beautiful focal point...but let me tell you, that is not going to happen.   In this case, I have to choose being practical over being pretty.  I do want my son to have a piano, so I have to be a little more realistic.

If I don't want this new focal point, my only other option would be to squish the piano along the wall where I just updated my Target lamp vignette.

It can fit on this wall with only two inches to spare.
But do I want it there?
I just don't know.

But what I do know is that I have a very happy 9 year old
who is finally getting the piano he has been asking for.

So I guess the inconvenience the piano will cause me
will all be worth it when I look at his precious smiling face!

Do you have a piano in your house?
Is it pretty or just practical?

Linking to:
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Cedar Hill Ranch - The-Scoop

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March 11, 2013

Simple Spring Mantel

I am always rearranging my mantel
to reflect the seasons.
Spring Mantel

For this spring, I kept things simple with black and white.
Spring Mantel with Round Mirror
That way I could coordinate with the black frame
on my round mirror.

Ivy in white pot
I have used the black Pier One candlesticks many times in the past.
The white flower pots once held my long-gone evergreens from Christmas.
Let's see how long the ivy lasts!

Easter bunnies on mantel
For a touch of Easter,
I added the little bunnies I just bought at Pier One.

And I wanted to use tulips,
but for some reason
I couldn't find them anywhere!
White pitcher with flowers
The reddish spring flowers worked as a good substitute.
Since I have some reds in the room,
the flowers tie in to the room better than if I had added pink like I envisioned.

Simple Spring Mantel
White I was trying out different looks,
I took the ivy away for an even simpler feel.

Easter Mantel
I guess we are getting ready for Easter!

Have you decorated your mantel for spring?
I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

Linking to:


March 7, 2013

Beach Reading

I know, why is this lunatic talking about beach reading at this time of year?  Well, I am sure many of you have a spring vacation planned (like me!) and are looking for a good book to read!  Plus, summer is not that far away so you can start planning!

Please note this post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links.

When I read a book on the beach, I like to keep things light and fun - kind of like the beach environment.  I have a whole other list of my 'beach reading requirements' that you might want to check out on one of my previous posts, Beach Reading Tips.

The book I just read definitely qualifies for a beach read - in fact, I should have saved it for my trip!  Oh well!  I just finished reading Seriously... I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres.  The book was laugh out loud funny and if you are a fan of her, (like I am), you will enjoy the typical Ellen humor.

This book does not tell a story but is more of a collection of Ellen's experiences along with observations of all the wacky things people do.  I loved all her crazy little tangents, witty remarks and general silliness.  She bounces all over the place but manages to keep your attention with her humor and charming personality.  I could hear her voice coming through the pages and adored all her hilarious comments.

Ellen is a person who is not afraid to be herself.  That's something we all need to be reminded to do!
Not only do I love Ellen's humor and the fact that she is a Bachelor AND Keith Urban fan, but I also admire her as a person.  She genuinely cares about the world we live in - and she is an animal lover too!

And not only does Ellen love animals,
but animals seem to love her too!

Apparently, Rosie is also a fan!

Now that I finished Seriously...I'm Kidding, I am going to go back and read the rest of Ellen's books.  I think I will also add Bossypants by Tina-Fey to my beach bag.  I have been wanting to read that for awhile.

Have you read any of Ellen's books?
Can you recommend any good books
for my beach bag?


March 4, 2013

Spring Vignettes with a Target Lamp

I was browsing the Target website last night
and came across this lampshade and base.

Suddenly I needed a new lamp!
According to their website,
the closest store had the lamp in stock
so off to Target I went this morning.

Here is where you can see the details online:

The lampshade was described as medium brown so I wanted to check it out in person.  When I saw the shade, I discovered that the color is definitely more tan than brown.  I was thrilled because the tan was perfect!  I bought both the lamp base and lamp shade and headed home.

Originally, I planned on putting the lamp in my conservatory where I have my pool table.  Unfortunately, against the Providence Olive walls, the lamp looked washed out.  I was so disappointed until I had the idea to try the lamp in my living room.

This is a closeup of my living room rug.
As you can see,
the colors work perfectly in here.

And here is how the space looked before.
Of course I forgot to take a picture
of the new lamp in front of the existing artwork.
But the colors looked weird together
so I decided to go with something different.

I played around with some artwork I had around the house
and mixed in some accessories to bring in a lighter spring look.

I felt like the first print was a little small.
When I took a step back,
it just looked lost on the wall.

The second print filled the space nicely
and allowed me to use the same white accessories
but the frame seemed a little dark.

The third print had the right colors in both the print and the frame
but I wanted something a little bigger.
I would have to at least lower the hook on the wall
so it wouldn't look so high.
No, too much work...haha.

The last print (which hung over my fireplace last year)
filled the space well and worked with the greens.
I did though, replace some of the white accessories.

I am happy with this overall look and
the frame on the print coordinates well with the lamp base.

Can you believe that plant is still alive?
I bought it about a year ago and it's still hanging in there!

Isn't it funny how a little purchase
can snowball into a day of changing accessories all over the place?!!

So what do you think?
Do you like the version that I chose or do you have a favorite?

Linking to:


March 1, 2013

My Favorite Chair(s)

I always love Alison's "Favorites on the First" parties
over at her fabulous blog, The Polohouse.

While I don't always have something to contribute,
I do enjoy viewing what other bloggers have posted.
This month, I can join the party!
The theme is:
"My Favorite Chair".

I actually chose two...
I chose one for being pretty
and the other one for sentimental value.

Starting with the pretty one:

My Pottery Barn Seagrass Wingchairs!
I don't sit in them all the time
but I love the way they look in a room!

I used to keep the Seagrass Chairs in the conservatory
where the pool table is located.

The room is flooded with gorgeous light most of the day and the chairs definitely played into the tropical feel I wanted.  Seagrass always makes me think of the islands.  Check out my post, Island Seating to see some of my tropical seating inspirations.

But I couldn't leave well enough alone.
One day, I decided to move the chairs into the living room.

My living room also has a bit of an island feel
and I loved the way the chairs looked in there too!
See Restyling the Living Room for the big switcheroo.

I added the trellis pillows from the couch in there.

And bought the chenille tan pillows from Pottery Barn.

I have been happy with the placement of the chairs ever since.
I find that I sit on them more often now
because of the better conversation layout in this room.
In the conservatory, the two chairs just faced the pool table...
and we barely ever play pool!

Now for the sentimental chair...

The light blue rocker.
I could cry just looking at it.

This is my six year old's room where the chair sat for the past several years.  The chair is no longer in this spot.  (sniff, sniff).  When we bought him a desk, we moved the bookcase further down the wall and the chair was relocated to the basement playroom.  

This blue chair played such an important role in both of my boys' baby years.  The chair started out in my older son's room.  I used to rock him to sleep in it, nurse him there everyday and rock him in the chair when he was crying.  I remember our time in the blue chair being so peaceful and quiet.  (Except of course, when he was crying!).  But you have to realize, he was my only son at that time so the time spent in the chair was just distractions...pure baby bliss.

When my second son came along, we moved the chair into his room where it stayed until last year.  I used the chair in the same way for him...although with a toddler running around, it was hard to give baby #2 the same quality of peaceful time!  Still we enjoyed it together and even as he grew older, we cherished the chair.  On nights he had trouble falling asleep, I would snuggle him and gently rock him in it.  When he was sick, the chair became a place of comfort for him.  Sometimes for fun, he would want me to rock him while he sang to me!  It was adorable because we used to sing a song from the Noggin show, Jack's Big Music Show.  (Noggin is now Nick Jr. for all you younger moms!).  Anyway, there was an episode with a "Baby Bongo Bird" and we would sing the go-to-sleep-lullaby using those lyrics.  Such a special time.

As I finish writing this,
I realize this little blue chair is truly my favorite!

Do you have a favorite chair in your home?

Head on over to The Polohouse to see more Favorites on the 1st!
Thanks for hosting, Alison!

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