A Touch of Velvet

There is just something about velvet that is so luxurious, the soft sheen, the dept of color, but sometimes the price can be luxurious too. A bit too luxurious for a girl on a budget, but when I win the lottery I might just have to buy this guy!DSC_5050_

Until then I will just have to settle for something a tad more affordable. I have hunted and have found some pretty great “velvet” pieces (or at least velvet look) that just might work for the time being. Okay so none of these are fine silk velvet but no one needs to know that, right!  Mix these budget guys in with vintage pieces and great pillows and I think I’d have a winner, at least until I become a lottery winner that is!

velvet

 

 

  1. Fuchsia Nina Chair | World Market $299.99
  2. Martha Stewart Saybridge Sofa | Macy’s  $999
  3. Brompton Tufted Wingback Velvet Bed | Target $600-$749
  4. Modern Purple Velvet Chair | Overstock $601
  5.  Mushroom Velvet Kendall Sofa | World Market $699
  6. Pacific Blue Elliott Wingback Chair | World Market $319

Spring Break 2014 – Freiburg, Germany

Freiburg This week I haven’t shared much, I am sure you guys are wondering where I have been. I hope you were not worried I had run away for good, I actually only ran away for a week. This week was Spring Break for my kids and my husband was running a marathon in south-west Germany, so we decided to make a trip out of it.  Our first stop was Frieburg, Germany or Freiburg im Breisgau on the western edge of the Black Forest. This is where my husband would be running his marathon so we didn’t plan our travel here specifically for the location.

This is a fairly large city and while not as picturesque as some of the cities I have been too it does have a great shopping district and some interesting landmarks. One of the most notable features in Freiburg are the flowing waterways running down the edge of the street.

“The city has an unusual system of gutters (called Freiburg Bächle) that run throughout its centre. These Bächle, once used to provide water to fight fires and feed livestock, are constantly flowing with water diverted from the Dreisam. They were never intended to be used for sewage, and even in the Middle Ages such use could lead to harsh penalties. During the summer, the running water provides natural cooling of the air, and offers a pleasant gurgling sound. It is said that if one accidentally falls or steps into a Bächle, they will marry a Freiburger, or ‘Bobbele’” Wikipedia.org

I guess my son will be marring a Freiburger since he spent most of his time engrossed in these little gutters building dams and floating leaves and sticks along the current. Quite the attraction…One store even had theirs filled with a tether of rubber duckies.

FreiburgAnother main attraction was the Freiburg Münster a beautiful medieval cathedral started around 1200 in Romanesque style and continued in 1230 in Gothic style. The cathedral is topped with an amazingly intricate Gothic tower completed in 1330 which has miraculously lasted until the present, surviving the bombing raids of 1944.

We made several attempt to visit the cathedral and kept missing the opening time, so we decided on Monday, our last morning in Freiburg, we would make one final attempt.

Success! You can see we were not disappointed. Well my husband and I were not disappointed. My 13 year daughter however has given us a “one old church a day” quota so once we toured this one she did not want to see any more for at least 24 hours. Hard to do in Germany. She also limits viewing of statues but that is another story.

And while the Cathedral viewing was a success the farmers market that was set up outside was just as lovely. All over Germany you can find the most amazing farmers markets set up in the beautiful Altstadt (old town) squares. Spring time means they are at their best! While you will always find fruits and vegetables, breads and meats, and other homemade offerings Spring means flowers and plants galore… and tulips, lots and lots of tulips in every variety you can think of!

So what about the kids what did they vote best in Freiburg? Well my 13-year-old daughter of course loved the shopping but over all the vote would have to go to the Schlossbergbahn. This is a funicular rail system that takes you up to the hills overlooking Freiburg. The view is lovely this time of year and the kids really enjoyed the ride.

photo-5photo-4All in all we loved Freiburg, marathon or not, we all had a great time. It was definitely a complete success!

Passion for Pastel on Etsy!

Everywhere I look these days I am seeing a passion for pastels and I have found that Etsy is no exception. While pastels have been trending for a few seasons, Spring has brought them out in full force. Creamy yellows, powdery pinks, and minty blues are the “It” shades so if you haven’t already taken the plunge into pastels here is your chance.

Have a look at a few of my Etsy pastel favorites.

I am dying for those pink Oxfords!

  1. Pastel Pink Oxford Brogue Shoes by GoodByeFolk $225.00
  2. Blue Mid Century Suitcase by CharliesNest $68.00 
  3. Radio Stations Still life photography by LolasRoom $11.25
  4. Vintage Aqua GE Oscillating Metal Desk Fan by LuccaBalesVintage $44.00
  5. Vivid Turquoise Nightstand by SiennaBellaRose $165.00
  6. Melmac Plates Pastel by LaurasLastDitch $8.99
  7. Vintage Pastel Tissue Tassel Garland by GenWoo $34.00
  8. Mint Stripe Botanical Sachets by Gardenmis $22.00
  9. The Belinda Clutch by GraceDesign $78.00
  10. Paris: Blush pink and nude tulle a-line bridesmaid dress by DahlNYC $248.00
  11. Pastel Napkins, Set of 4 by SenayStudio $51.74

Found It at the Market – At the Market

Flea market Germany Spring has sprung here in Bavaria, the weather is warming, the sun is shining, and  the Trödel Markts (flea markets) are at their prime. Every Sunday afternoon that we can find a market near by my husband and I spend it shopping for goodies. Don’t get me wrong, in the winter we bundle up and shop anyway but Spring means more vendors and better shopping.

Chuck and I on our shopping trip this weekend.


I have people ask me all the time what these markets are like so I thought I would share some details. This weekend we went to a market in Spalt which happens only once a year. This market took up several fields and continued down the streets of the Altstadt (old town.) Now I will admit this is quite a large market with a mix of antiques, junk and vendors selling new items. Many of the markets happen regularly once a month at the same location and will generally have many of the same vendors of goods. Others happen sporadically and are more like a group garage sale. They range in size from entire town like the one this weekend to a small grocery store parking lot with 20-30 vendors. After a year of regular Trödel-ing we have definitely found our favorites.

My personal favorites are the ones that bring in more antiques and less garage sale “junk” type vendors. These will sometimes be advertised as antique markets. I admit these markets tend to be a little more expensive but the quality of the goods is much higher. You can find some great stuff at smaller “junk” markets too, but you have to do a bit more digging but you may also get a much better price.

They often have vendors selling plants and farmers market type items at the larger markets and they always have at least one food booth selling coffee, baked goods, crepes or grilled sausage.

Have a look at some of the vendors ware.

When we first started shopping the Trodel Markts  we would buy all kinds of stuff mostly because we found so many amazing things that we would never have found or would have been crazy expensive in the U.S. We were also still getting our house in order and still had some spaces to fill. This week we didn’t buy much just a little lithograph to add to my collection and a beautiful antique mirror for my entry hall, but we still had a great time.

Have a look at what the “must have” items. I actually bought this tiara a few months ago, I couldn’t help myself, you never know when a girl is gonna need a tiara. For Chuck the “must haves” go in the opposite direction. I am constantly having to steer him away from German taxidermy. This is a marder I saw a few weeks back but what he really has his eye on is a stuffed fox that we have seen circulating the markets. Lord help us!

If you live in Germany you can go to Marktcom to find a market near you!

Something Different- Heirloom Baptismal Gown


I normally write about home decor but today I wanted to share a project I have been working on that is a little different. You may remember the budget nursery design I shared recently for baby Elizabeth. Well when it came time for her baptism and her mom asked for my help making her baptismal gown I was happy to help. It has been a while since I have done any heirloom sewing since my own daughter is about to turn fourteen but I have always loved making baby things so I had a few ideas.

My first thought was to do soft Batiste cotton gown with inlaid lace on the bodice and hem. I began shopping and pretty quickly found beautiful white Batiste that would be perfect for the gown, the lace proved a little more difficult. I found lots of heavy crocheted lace but nothing as soft and delicate as I was going to need for a baptismal gown. Then I had a breakthrough!


While at my fourth fabric store I found some delicate crocheted lace that I fell in love with but I also found some lovely embroidered handkerchiefs with a hemstitched edge. They were perfect! I could use the embroidered design on the bodice and the hemstitched edge for the sleeves, better yet the hemstitched edge matched the lace I had already fallen in love with.
With my handkerchief and lace for embellishment all I needed was to add a series of pin tuck pleats to the lower third of the skirt and one on each sleeve which created a great place to inset my lace. On the back I added vintage buttons to the closure.
The final results, perfect for a sweet baby girl!
Heirloom Baptismal Gown

Found it at the Market- Flea Market Art

Flea Market Art
As most of my readers know my husband is in the military and we move a lot, like 9 times in the last 14 years a lot. Every move means a new house. Some of our houses have had more space than others so furniture is always coming and going depending on the space. The one thing I find I always have space for is art. In the hallway, bathrooms, floor to ceiling if needed, there is always a spot the hang something on the wall.

I know there are collectors out there that collect fine art masterpieces but I love to collect flea market art. It is beautiful,and cheap and very often comes already framed. Bonus points for a good frame. I have spent fair sums of money for flea market art but my max was probably around $100 on a single piece but most of my purchases being under $20. I love this frugal art!

Years ago I started a paint-by-number collection it has grown quite a bit over the years. I am always on the hunt for a new piece but here and Germany I haven’t found too many. So I have found some new things to collect!

One of those is German Lithographs. These are prints that have the look of a pen and ink drawing. The drawing style is quite delicate but the prints themselves can range in size from large poster sizes down to a 1″ square.  The subject matter is most often a German cityscape but I have found a few that vary and I have to say these are my favorites.  The lithograph below of the tree over a pond is just beautiful.

These lithographs you can find just about everywhere. On our first trip to Germany I bought a tiny one from a shop in Heidelberg for $18. Last week I bought one very similar from the thrift store here in Heilsbronn for $.75

Art does not have to be expensive…

My second collection is of paper cut silhouettes. I have a few I purchased in the States but I really started to collect them once I moved to Germany. These are most often black paper hand cut into silhouettes or scenes adhered to a white paper backing.  These paper cuts were quite popular in France during the 18th century and although many I have purchased appear quite old I have been unable to find an actual date on any.

These silhouettes can be quite intricate which means they are also bit more pricey, but even then the prices range from $10 to $50. A pretty good deal in my book for an original piece of framed art.

Flea Market Art

So don’t be intimidated by buying art. It doesn’t have to be a museum masterpiece just beautiful to YOU.  Garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, street venders, art is everywhere and often very inexpensive.

And remember everything makes a statement when displayed in a collection, so you can keep shopping until you run out of wall!

I have a LOT of wall left…

Ferris Bueller House Back on the Market!

08413066_4I know this makes me old but I was recently reading a post by M{pression on luxury garage designs and could not help but think of the garage of Cameron’s dad in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  I was looking up images of the house and found that it is actually on the market.  370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL could be mine!

This is the third time the house has been on the market since 2009 and the price has dropped significantly. When it came on the market in May 2009 the asking price of was $2.3 million now you can get it for the bargain price of only $1.25 million. What a steal! Well, that is if I had $1.25 million but let’s not get bogged down in the details.08413066_14_1So why so hard to sell? It is a pretty amazing house with a great Architectural pedigree.  It was designed by A. James Speyer, a student of Mies van der Roh and built in 1953, but that could be part of the problem.  A 60-year-old house needs a bit of work, kitchens and bathroom needs to be replaced and since this house was built to be modular with a flexible interior the interior walls could also use some work. But I am an avid DIYer I don’t see any problem with that, I’m always game for a fixer upper!08413066_2_3 It could be the arrangement of the structures, with the house and garage separated by almost a 100 yards. The 4 car garage also houses a small kitchen and a bedroom which may make the living arrangements a little difficult in the cold Illinois winter.  But I think my 2007 Toyota Highlander and my husbands Mini Clubman are going to look lovely in the space, and the bedroom I can use for my projects. If there is two foot of snow outside, no one will bother me. again not seeing the problem here. 08413066_4_3Maybe the Ferris Bueller fans dropping by, taking picture, and trying to check the place out are scaring the buyers away. I myself am so used to my fans hanging around trying to get a photo I figure the Bueller fans will just blend in. Actually maybe I could start charging admission to pay off that $1.25 million mortgage. Problem solved!

Hold on stop, the presses! I was  taking another look at the listing and it say “Contingent.” Could it be that someone has made and offer on this house.

Has someone put in a contract on this beauty?

My Beauty?

Say it ain’t so!

08413066_7_3Where ever will I live now? (back of hand dramatically goes to forehead)
3252630_8.JpgI will just have to wait and see if the contract fall through. Either way this is a pretty great house, just hope whoever buys it loves it as much as I do… (single tear.)
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Photos via Caldwell Banker Online

Good Cheer Wallpaper

Jones_GC_Intsall1Have a look at this vibrant wallpaper by mixed media artist Cassandra Jones. A series of  colorful, symmetrical, kaleidoscope style designs creates a fun eclectic pattern that really catches the eye. The design is called Good Cheer and is created using images from stock photography, eBay, and public domain archives. Isn’t it cheery? Well actually it is quite literally very cheery. Once you get up close it might become a little clearer what I mean.

Do you see it yet?

Maybe a closer look might help…

Ponder away, put your nose right up there. I think that is the idea behind this wallpaper art.

 

Jones_GC_Layout
Still not seeing it?

Well here are some up close, and somewhat personal, views of what the design is actually created from.

That’s right, Go! Fight! Win!  Did you guess these patterns were made entirely from photos of perky little cheerleaders?
Jones_GC_Detail_8 Jones_GC_Deatil_5 Jones_GC_Deatil_7 Jones_GC_Closeup_3 Jones_GC_Detail_6 Jones_GC_Closeup_2 Jones_GC_Closeup_1 Jones_GC_Closeup4Photos via Cassandra C. Jones

Finding Fabric- Chair Update

I think I might be going a little cross-eyed. I have been looking at fabric online for days now and I am still a bit unsure which direction to go.  I recently got these amazing little slipper chairs from a thrift store for only 70€. I love the shape but the fabric is definitely ho-hum, so I want to make some simple slip covers for them. They are small so it won’t require too much fabric just the decision on what fabric to use. Here is my problem…

I plan to use the chairs in my entry hall which is a cream color. This is the one room I cannot paint since the wall goes up the staircase which has a two-story vault. I would loveto add some color to this space through this new upholstery. I plan to keep the existing rug which has a bit of grey and yellow and I also have a colorful piece of artwork to work with in the room.  I also need to consider the connecting living room.DSC02985I plan on making a few changes in here, the biggest being to slipcover the sofa in a light blue. The pillows can change as well but the rest of the furniture will remain the same. My main thought is that I would use a colorful fabric on the entry chairs that I could also bring into this room, maybe replace the colorful pillows already in this room with the new fabric.

So here are some options I am considering…

I am currently leaning the direction of the multicolored floral fabric, Richloom Teak Slub Bouquet Blue. I love the way it looks with the existing artwork, it pulls out the yellow of the rug, and I think it could work well in the living room as well.Chair update
The changes I would make in the living room would look something like this. (The sofa color is a little off but you get the idea.)
DSC02986 copy

What do you think? Do you have a fabric you love that might work in this arrangement?

I have not made my final decision but I think I am definitely getting closer. I will keep you posted…

Spring in Bavaria 2014

DSC02976
Well it looks like winter is over here in Bavaria. I know the U.S. has been hit hard by some pretty intense winter weather but here in Germany we have had an extremely mild winter, and being a southern girl I can’t complain. Only a few days of snow and temperatures already hitting the 60′s in March are fine with me. What is also fine with me are all the bulbs and spring flowers already up and ready to bloom.

Spring 2014 means we have been in our house for almost a year but since we didn’t move in until May I had no idea what amazing things our yard had in store for spring. I planted lots of daffodil and tulip bulbs last fall but the yard had a few surprises of its own. From Crocus to Japanese Magnolias spring has sprung.

All these beautiful colors popping up all around the yard inspired me to plant some colorof my own. My first stop at the garden center for 2014 has gotten me excited about getting the garden back in shape. Bring on the warm weather, bring on the flowers!