Monday, April 18, 2011

Rachel Ashwell in Round Top. . .4/19/11

For those of you who weren't aware of this, Rachel Ashwell has purchased a beautiful ranch just outside of Round Top, Texas - the place she visits to purchase beautiful antiques and inspirations for her stores and design.

The ranch, formerly known as The Outpost at Cedar Creek, was built in the 1800's and has several houses/cottages on it, which Ms. Ashwell is redecorating in her signature shabby chic style. Once it is completed, she will open up the ranch as a bed and breakfast (later this year - or so I am told). . .

I can't wait to stay there! But from the looks of these gorgeous and romantic rooms I bet there will be a long waiting list for guests hoping to soak in the comforts and beauty!!

Here are the newest images she shared on her blog of some of the ranch's completed rooms.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rachel Ashwell in NYC. . .4/17/11

Unless you've been living under a rock, or have never visited my blog, you should know about Rachel Ashwell. I love her designs, her style. . .well, let's just call a spade, a spade: I love all things shabby chic! So, when my husband and I were in New York in early February of this year (sorry I'm JUST NOW posting this) I popped into her SoHo store as I always do when I visit. And as always, it was a fabulous feast for the eyes. Here are a few images I shot while chatting up the employees about their boss' latest designs. . .

If you're ever in NYC, take a peek for yourself. . .she's at 117 Mercer Street.
I've said this before, but despite not being Catholic, I am OBSESSED with Catholic paraphernalia. . .I collect antique rosaries and I love all these statues. . .I have a beautiful stone Madonna in our study at home too. These are particularly beautiful. I love the colors.
A larger snapshot. . .the eclectic chairs and the table and the adorable white slipcover and skirt on the chair to the left are all so cozy and sweet!! Even the rug. . .I'm loving the floral.
If this bedside table had fit in my luggage I PROMISE I would have taken it home with me!! Gorgeous!!! If you click on the photograph and enlarge it you will be able to see the incredible patina.
I thought this chair had nice clean lines and just looked super comfy. I think too that the pillow and throw make it less "office decor".
There is NOTHING in this picture I am not in love with. For starters, the tablecloth (retails for $595) was spectacular. The Belgian linen was so fine and the powder blue color: perfect. Love the slipcovered chairs, the chippy green bench, the candlesticks, the china, serve ware, sideboard, chandelier, candelabras, art, etc.
This picture is a little dark but it's a long view from the front of the store to the back. The store is small, consists of mostly bedding in the back, a few tables, individual chairs, a sofa or two and some small accessories scattered about. . .three of which I did pack up to take home with me.
This is a 180 degree view from where I was standing in the previous image to the front door. This table is so great though I'm not a huge fan of her sofas. . . or at least not the one pictured here. It feels too modern beneath the slipcover. . .too "severe" for the shabby chic style.
These silver woven baskets are so pretty. They are a store staple of Ms. Ashwell's (she always has them every time I go). I didn't need them when I was there but now I do so next time I am DEFINITELY bringing a pair home for my daughter's room.
I was so into this velvet sofa. It's very deep and so comfortable - great for a room where people watch television.
Her inspiration board was fantastic! There were several tributes to the Queen (of England - Rachel is British), florals, fabric swatches, and a couple of vintage party dresses. It inspired me even!! If you weren't aware that Rachel Ashwell is a frequent Round Top shopper, it would only take visiting her store and/or website to learn it - she has several pieces that you would find in the tents at Marburger. . .one piece she mass produces now is even named "The Warrenton"!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthday Celebrations!!. . .4/13/11

My daughter's first birthday came and went it seems. I did my very best and worked very hard the days before her birthday party (which fell on her actual birthday) to do as much as possible in terms of preparation so that I could dedicate more time during the party to her. And despite the fact that, apart from cooking, everything was accomplished according to said plan, two things got in the way of that: 1) My sweet princess was the guest of honor and there was literally a line of people waiting to hold our happy girl (got to the point I felt I needed to make an appointment) and 2) No matter how much or how little you do before or during a party, hosting in your home means there's always someone or something that needs your attention. So, I did get to spend time with my cookie, as I like to call her, but she was busy arm-hopping and being loved on all night by friends and family. . .how can I complain about that?! :) Here are a few home/decor/tabletop photographs before party pics. . .
The back yard pre-balloons and banner - which you will see in upcoming photos.
I started making these little birds months ago - there wasn't really a "theme" to her party but birds just sort of ended up being the focal decor. I snagged this gigantic tree branch from the side of the road one day (on my way to get carpool I might add), cemented it inside the galvanized zinc pot, attached vintage pink ribbon, hung the birds and some sweet gray hearts my friend bought me as a gift in Amsterdam and voila!! My drink table centerpiece was born!! That big glass jar is filled with Arnold Palmer iced tea, lemons, limes and mint leaves :)
In keeping with the bird non-theme, I found this rusted bird cage in the H.E.B FLORAL DEPARTMENT!!!! For only $20!!! I placed a flower arrangement with hydrangeas and other Spring blooms inside as the centerpiece for the food table :)
A closer look at the birds in their tree :)
The deck pre-eating. . .I also made that tablecloth as my first sewing project in my class. I was VERY proud of that. In case you hadn't noticed I went a little overboard on the "homemade" items for the party. . .I had NO time and I was ALWAYS rushed on these projects but late nights and nap times helped me get it all done.
A delicious cheese plate with fresh rosemary garnish.
A lovely and delicious tabletop view.
Some scrumptious desserts from where else. . .an Argentinean bakery!!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Prepping for the Party. . .4/11/11

For my first CHILD'S first birthday, I made the fondant cake (which took me 10 hours) as well as a few small things but everything, in terms of decor, party favors, etc. was purchased from an actual store. You would think that with two kids now I have less time. . .and you'd be right, but one thing remains in tact, whether there's time or not, I love, love, love to do things for my family, even if it takes copious amounts of time, and this is especially true for my children. Plus, let's face it, it's a big part of who I am and of how I demonstrate love. So, for my daughter, Tess Ryan's, first birthday I made: the fondant cake, the sugar cookie favors, the back yard banner, the bird display, and the birds by hand, the centerpiece flower arrangement, and as my first big sewing project: THE TABLECLOTH!! Those will all be shown in the next few birthday posts but here are the sweet treats momma made for her beautiful baby girl :) I love her so very much!!
Rolled out sugar cookies with pink and white icing. From start to finish takes about 2-3 hours, not including the 6-8 hours it takes to wait for the icing to dry hard so you can place it in the favor baggies.
Here are a couple of pictures of the end result. I used regular cellophane baggies from Michael's Craft Store and tied them with generous amounts of pink raffia. The tags were actually cut up leftovers from the birthday invitations - I had to order at least 50 online but only used less than half. . .each invitation had three photos so with about 8 or 9 I was able to add a personal touch to each party favor :)

This is her birthday invitation :) You can see now how I made the tags right??
Here is the start of the big birthday cake. I cut 60 small, 20 medium and 12 large white fondant hearts for the cake. I didn't end up using them all. . .Wilton White Fondant is relatively easy to use as compared to other brands. I used an economy sized bucket of pink fondant from a professional cake supply store I frequent. Those are much harder to roll out. I'm telling you my arms and shoulders were DONE!!
The cakes, precutting and layering (I took a lesson from my mom and made a 21 and up cake). The bottom cake was so perfect!!
Here's my mom helping me smooth out the bottom layer of the cake as I photograph it :)
The end result :) I found these cake toppers at Hobby Lobby but they only come in black so I painted them. This is Tess Ryan's first birthday cake. Here's Rusty's first birthday cake.
After being cut into. . .the specs at the top are from the sparklers. Because she obviously can't blow out her birthday candles, I opted for sparklers!! Turned out so beautiful!!! See below :)
Happy Birthday bebe!! Te amo mi sol :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A God of Commas. . .4/10/11

Today in church we were privileged to hear the Word from a guest preacher. He spoke God's truth but there was one thing said in particular that resounded heavily in my ears and in my heart; words of awakening; reminders for a spiritual journey sometimes marred by Satan's attempts to derail us from our path. He said that we should not give Satan the last word; Satan cannot be allowed to put a period at the end of a circumstance or of our lives; that we believe in "a God of commas"; a God that allows for continued blessings, chances. God is a God of commas.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Round Top Round Up. . .4/3/11

Here are some more photos of Warrenton and Round Top. . .things that caught my eye. I saw much much more but sadly my camera passed on during this trip. . .I got a good few years out of this last point and shoot though. . .
The Japanese newspaper pots were fabulous!! I loooooved the prints and was very close to bringing them home but literally did not have a space for them. . .much like most of what I saw there this past week.
Where else but Round Top would one find an array of colorful and unique vintage cowboy boots?? There were literally hundreds of them in rows!! Beautiful.
This was just darling I thought. This little one was enjoying her wagon ride along side her puppy but I definitely felt sorry for mom and grandma having to pull them all day. It was quite warm by noon.
These window valances/cornices were gorgeous!! My girlfriend and I debated taking them for when our daughters have big girl rooms. . .wouldn't they be spectacular above two twin beds???!!
So simple and so lovely. . .
I didn't even notice the orange milk bucket until I got home and uploaded the photos (that's my favorite color) but the galvanized one's were just perfect for nearly anything. . .and insanely cheap at $5 a pop! Well, if you bought 4.
Milk buckets.
I thought these were incredible wall decor for my son's room and they were in mint condition but for the time being I wasn't in the mood to change up his room. . .which I love.
My pregnant girl friend, shopping with me from Houston, was in love with this antique crib. After a second we calmed ourselves out of taking it home - simply not suitable for use as an "actual" crib ;)
Here's another thing I loved - specifically the coral color of the painting and the clown was pretty amazing too.
This was the painting owner's little booth. She was also serving homemade complimentary peach iced tea - which really hit the spot on a warm day!
Sweetest little apron! It was made from pieces of vintage lace and trim. I have a true love for aprons but I, amazingly, didn't take this one home?!