Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kitchen Elements

I'm starting to pull together the main pieces of the kitchen remodel.

Granite for the counter tops has been selected:

Beach House Granite

I had the kitchen sink (I'll have to tell you the story of this sink one time...suffice to say I've had it for something approaching 20 years!). It's hard to photograph this guy--sometimes it looks blue, sometimes it looks green, and sometimes it looks really grey--it's looking very blue in this pic:

Beach House Sink

And this is the yummy glass tile for the back splash:

Beach House Glass Tile

What do you think? Is it all going to work together? I sure hope so!

~ Betsy xoxo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You Done Good, Cupid

Well, hellooo gorgeous...

Coral True Turquoise White. Beach House fabric
Machine washable. 100% cotton. Under $8 a yard!
I do believe I'm in love, y'all.
What's your verdict? Do we have your blessing?

Desperately Seeking Slipcovers

So, yeah.

My little rough and tumble slipcover sample I told you about here?

Beach House decor. Waverly Sun-n-Shade fabric slipcover fabric.
She's pretty much out of the running. Again.

(Seriously, are any of my human relationships this rocky? No.)

I did what I should have done in the first place: Gone right to the source.

I called Waverly Fabrics and asked them how "Dry Clean Only" they meant when they said, "Dry Clean Only."

Turns out they really mean it.

In fact, the fabric I picked shouldn't even be used for indoor applications, according to the rep I spoke with. They've had numerous complaints about it fading inside. It's an "occasional outdoor use" fabric.

Which know.....kind of different than "indoor/outdoor."

And truly makes me wonder why such a delicate fabric is in the marketplace trying to hang with the big boys (read: Sunbrella).

I appreciate their honesty. I don't appreciate that I'm back to the drawing board.

I do have a new candidate coming soon.

A clearly marked, "Machine Washable" candidate.

I hope it doesn't smell my desperation.

That's always such a turn-off.

And I really, really, really need it to work out this time!!

What I mean to say is, "It's cool."

"Either way."

"Plenty of fish in the sea."

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm just going to go check the mailbox.

Three hours early.

~Betsy xoxo

Monday, February 11, 2013

Slipcover Sample Update

As I mentioned in my last post, Design Choices, I took a chance on putting a piece of "dry clean only" fabric through the washer to see if it was still in the running for chair slipcover material.

It threw it in with a heavy load of darks and washed it on cold.

It came through perfectly!

Before I washed it, I traced it on a piece of paper so I could measure any shrinkage. It was not one bit smaller.

Then, I decided that I'd put it through the dryer.

On high.

(I mean, if it's gonna get washed, it's probably gonna get dried. And we might as well see what she's made of, right?)

Want to see what happened?

Here's the before and after:

012 - Copy

Waverly fabric after wash 1

What do you know? No wrinkles, no shrinking, no scrunching, no nothing!

You can see a bit of fraying on the unfinished edges, but that's to be expected.

I kind of felt like the color faded a bit. But I couldn't tell if I was just looking at it too hard. The Before pic is a little darker overall, so who can tell.

Even if it did fade, I don't care.

And provided it gets the stamp of approval from my slipcover guy....I think we have a winner!

I'll stay out of those fancy stores, yet!

~Betsy xoxo

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Design Choices

News flash: I am not an interior decorator.

I love design magazines.

I spend hours on Pinterest and Houzz.

I've read about a gajillion "Top 10 Decor Tips" articles over the years.

I can mostly tell when a room doesn't work....and sometimes even come up with ideas that would make it work better.

But when push comes to shove?

When I'm standing in the store and my whole family is shrugging their shoulders as I ask, "Well, what do you think? This shade of aqua or this one?"

I get a little panicky over my design choices.

Maybe if I were in those fancy stores with interior decorators on stand-by to help you choose between $10,000 Sofa A and $10,000 Sofa B, it'd be easier.

But I'm not. (I'm too scared to even go into those places!)

I'm fretting in the aisles of TJ Maxx, Target, and Home Depot.

I'm nervously making offers on Craigslist and hoping the pictures live up to the item.

I'm rooting around in my attic thinking, "Hmm...this could work!"

It's not that I'm cheap, per se. I'll be buying top of the line mattresses (comfort matters!), but throw pillows that cost as much as my first car?


I just can't.

Frugality + A very specific vision for this beach house = Sometimes feeling like it's never going to happen.

But it also forces me to get creative. And pull together a look that is less "polished" and more "collected and eclectic."

Currently I'm hand-wringing over slipcover fabric.

There is some very beautiful fabric out there. Some patterns and colors that I just drool over.

But at $150 a yard?

Or in a delicate linen?

These are not the choices for me. I mean, who wants to come back from a wonderful morning at the beach only to have heart failure when the kids plop their sandy, wet, sunscreened selves on the chairs?

After much searching, I finally found a really cute, very hardy, and great-priced fabric. Here's the sample on some of the aqua things I've already purchased:

I really like it the way it looks. Do you?
Not only do I need to make sure the color works, but I need to see if the pattern works with my other patterns and textures.
I just bought the big tan colored rug (at a great price, but I can always use it at my house if it doesn't work for the beach house). I absolutely adore the smaller rug with the blues and greens (and need it to pull all the colors together). And I could not pass up the coral lamp! I think it all works together: 
Beach House decor. Coral lamp. Aqua and blues. Nautical knot.
Here's the downside: While the fabric is an indoor/outdoor, and is very durable (while still feeling nice), and another website says it can be spot-cleaned with soap and also says, "dry clean only."
Ummm.....dry clean and beach house just do not go together!
For that matter, dry clean and slipcover just do not go together.
So, I'm going to wash my little sample and see how it fares. If it shrinks a little, or wrinkles a little...I can live with that.
If it twists into an unrecognizable blob?
Sigh...I might end up in one of those fancy stores, yet.
Godspeed, little sample.
I'll let y'all know how it goes...
~Betsy xoxo

Friday, February 8, 2013

Treasures From the Sea {Part 2}

As I showed you in Treasures From the Sea {Part 1}, there is no lack of shells, driftwood, and goodies on Ocracoke Island's beach.

My favorite shell to find is the whelk:

Ocracoke Island shelling. Whelk.

Something about that swirly tip just gets me! I even have it tattooed on my elbow. Or my "shellbow" as the kids call it. Shell + elbow....shellbow...get it?  Any. hoo.

There are always loads of the whelk inner swirls around. Seriously, how could you not love that?

Ocracoke Island shelling. Whelk.

Both my boys have started sand dollar collections. And while we have yet to find a whole one, there are always tons of pieces. These were my youngest son's finds the other day. Is that a piece of coral? I think so.

Ocracoke Island shelling. Sand dollars. Coral?

My older son relishes finding the whole scallop shells:

Ocracoke Island shelling. Intact.
I'm pretty partial to the driftwood. I especially like pieces covered with holes or barnacles....basically, anything that looks like it's had its own exciting journey through the ocean. Look at this beauty:
Ocracoke Island driftwood find.

My fantastic husband drug that monster to the car, hoisted it on top, and brought it to the house as a surprise to me. Major points! (The way to this girl's heart is definitely not diamonds!)

Can you see it peeking out from behind the stairs in my "shell garden?"

Ocracoke's Stranded on Purpose

"What's a shell garden?" you ask. When you have kind of an ugly bald spot in your yard....

And when you can leave the beach with several grocery bags full of treasures in an hour.....

Ocracoke Island shelling

And you've pretty much exhausted the amount of bowls, jars, and other containers of sea treasures inside the house....

Well, you might have to move your collection to outside the house:

Ocracoke's Stranded on Purpose
And viola! A shell garden. 
Or free mulch.
Or when-beachcombing-consumes-you-and-you-simply-can-not-pass-up-just-ONE-more-treasure-as-your-family-is-already-back-at-the-car-waiting-with-the-one-bag-quota-you-gave-them-but-you-need-an-excuse-to-come-back-again-tomorrow-and-the-next-day-maybe-even-twice....
(Yes......I am aware that I have a slight problem.)
Goodbye, ugly bald spot! Hello, gorgeous shell garden!
And as always, thank you, Mother Ocean, for your wonderful treasures.
~ Betsy xoxo
P.S. When you visit Stranded on Purpose, feel free to add some treasures to the shell garden. And if your little one spies something that she just can't live without?  Please let her take it home.
Us beachcombers have to stick together, don't you know.  : )

Monday, February 4, 2013

Treasures From the Sea {Part 1}

I have always loved the ocean.

Even as a little kid I wanted us to take family trips to the beach.

I always liked the less commercial beaches. Boardwalks, rides, and towel-to-towel sunbathers just ain't my thing.

I'll take remote, unspoiled, and unpopulated any day.

The first time I stepped out onto the beach on Ocracoke I burst into tears. The beauty simply overwhelmed me. I had never in my life seen that kind of unspoiled beach and ocean.

The beach on Ocracoke is amazing.

So amazing, it's a national park!

Meaning there are no houses, no hotels, no condos on the beach or on the dunes. Just miles and miles (10+ miles) of sand, dunes, and ocean.

It's routinely rated as one of the world's top beaches.

But the absolute best thing about it?

The shells and treasures.

Oh. My. Word.

I have spent my life going to beaches where I set the alarm clock for 6:00 a.m. so I can walk the beach (with a dozen or so other hard-core folks) and gather a handful of shells....maybe even a small bag, if I was lucky.

Ocracoke Island shelling

Beachcombing on Ocracoke's beach is like shooting fish in a barrel. Seriously, look at all the shells:

Ocracoke Island shelling

You can find starfish:

Ocracoke Island shelling. Starfish.
And jellyfish:
Ocracoke Island shelling. Jellyfish.
And even fishy fish:
Ocracoke Island shelling. Fishy.
In fact, there's plenty of cool dead things in various stages of....dead. Here's a horseshoe crab that washed up on the beach (it might not be dead, it might just be an old molted shell...I didn't really pursue it):
Ocracoke Island shelling. Horseshoe crab
This guy, on the other hand, was definitely deceased. Some sort of ray or skate, maybe:
 Ocracoke Island shelling. Dead thing. Horseshoe crab.

 And probably one of the coolest things I've ever found.....a sea turtle rib:
Sea Turtle rib Ocracoke Island
Pretty cool, huh?
I love the anticipation of heading to the beach....wondering what gifts the sea will have left. It's pretty much better than Christmas for me.

And fortunately, there's a great section of beach with a lifeguard, a bath house, and a whole lot less dead things when swimming and sunbathing are on my beach to-do list.
In Part 2 I'll show you some more treasures.......and what I plan to do with loads like this:
Ocracoke Island shelling. driftwood & shells
Happy Beachcombing!
~Betsy xo

Click here to go to Treasures From the Sear {Part 2}.