Ballet Flats

I'm fussy about my shoes.  Some gals will suffer for fashion, but not this one.  As a former dancer, I figure my poor feet have been through enough abuse!  That said, I love two kinds of shoes - clogs (which, let's face it, while comfortable, aren't exactly delicate) and ballet flats.  Flats are so versatile; whether you're dressing them up or down, they always make an outfit look polished.  And, the best thing is, you can find some pretty ones at very reasonable prices.  Check out the cuties below from Forever21...and at less than $20 per pair, buy several!  Click here for the link.


A Bit of Velvet & A Dash Of Lace

I'm a Magnolia Pearl Girl all the way.  The brainchild of the very talented artisan Robin Brown, Magnolia Pearl offers clothing and home decor the likes of which you've probably never seen anywhere.  To quote Robin herself, "Magnolia Pearl Couture is is what Victorian style would have been if Queen Victoria partied with Janis Joplin and Alice in Wonderland."  I've followed her business online and in magazines, but hadn't bought her book...until now.  It arrived two days ago, and I just devoured it.

A Bit of Velvet & A Dash of Lace is the definitive book about her "style" and takes us on a tour of her Texas homestead.  In it, she shares bits of her childhood - she grew up with hippie, artistic parents whom she credits for nurturing her own creativity - and talks about the humble beginnings of her business (she created a purse...a woman in a grocery store literally bought it off her back...she made more bags which sold immediately...and the rest is history).  But, the real purpose of the book is to show us how she lives at home; and, if the style resonates with you, how to recreate it in your own abode.  If Shabby Chic and Victoriana were thrown in a blender...well, you get the idea.  I adore it. 

Find the book here and her website here.

Robin Brown and her husband, John Gray

Hatboxes & Such...Storing My Stuff

When you live in a small house with very little storage space - I have no attic or basement - you have to get creative about how to stash things.  Since we all have that stuff that we can't (or don't want to!) part with, I've been putting my things in pretty boxes.  I like them all - hatboxes, perfume boxes, fake "books"..whatever catches my eye.  They're also useful for hiding eyesores (the Paris Dress Boutique hatbox houses the remote controls, lotions, etc., on my nightstand), and easy to move around when need be.  What are some of your unique storage solutions?  I always need new ideas!
This is where my tea light candles and perfume bottles live...

...and when I tire of one side, I turn it around for a different look!

the bedroom TV remote and lotions are in here!

Some of my jewelry has found a home in this pretty box...
This one lives in my dining area and holds napkins and such...

These perfume boxes have yet to find their purpose in life, but they will - soon!


Dreamy Victorian Cottage

Sandra Foster transformed this former hunting cabin in the Catskills into a romantic, beautiful retreat.  With no kitchen or bathroom, this is truly a "rustic" cottage, but so incredibly dreamy (she and her husband live in their primary residence just across the brook in the photo).  Most of the items in the home she found at flea markets and consignment shops.  All you need are a few books and your daydreams...

All photos courtesy of the New York Times
Could it be any more charming?

Sandra's primary residence is over this brook...with no access road, everything belonging in the cabin had to be carried.

With vision and sweat equity, look what can be accomplished!

My Cottage - need advice!

Below are pictures of "The Gypsy House" beloved cottage.  I need some advice - here's where you come in!  I'd like to complete a proper pathway on my side yard, but I've never done it before and have no idea how to start or what material to use (flagstones?).  The previous owners put down the bluestone pavers on pic #3, but they just put them straight onto the grass, so now they're all cracked and look awful...I need to get rid of them and start over.   I'd like to locate a small patio further up the yard (closer to the front door - pic #1).  Suggestions?  I've looked at lots of garden books, etc., but was wondering if anyone out there has actual experience...thank you!!  Hope you're all having a blissful weekend! 
Front side of the house - street facing

Side yard...obviously, long and narrow...fence to the left (not pictured).
The arched area is my kitchen...view to the street and front garden
Yellow swallowtail enjoying the clover in the front garden!

The images below are similar to what I had in mind, but I'm open to suggestions!

Don't forget to stop and smell the roses this weekend!