Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dressed in Blue and White

You would be surprised how often during the work week we realize our staff at Victoria magazine is dressed in blue and white. With entire issues dedicated to this beloved color combination, is it any wonder? Recently online ladies clothing boutique eShakti reached out to offer me a sample garment. I was intrigued with their customization options for style and fit. I'll show you my selection, but first I wanted to show you a few of my favorite late-summer classics. Above, I have my eye on this Piped Trim Pagoda Print Dress.

So which option did I choose?

Why, the Victoria, of course! I was drawn to the feminine styling of this knee-length ruffled dress. I chose mine in pink with cap sleeves, but the blue and cream versions also look like pretty wardrobe staples. Thanks to eShakti for allowing me to shop! I have gotten so many compliments on this dress and appreciate that it was tailor-made for me. Find your favorite style here, and connect with the company on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Through September 28, get 10 percent off your order of non-clearance and non-overstock items with promotional code "alittleloveliness."

"Fashion changes, but style endures." ~ Coco Chanel

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Discover More from Victoria

Fans of Victoria magazine will be pleased to explore our newly designed home on the web, brimming with exquisite images and inspiring feature stories. Find the site here. I am sharing my thoughts about a recent sojourn on the Victoria blog today.

Won't you join me for a stroll through the gardens of Middleton Place? Find the post here.

"Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul." ~ Alice Walker

Monday, August 18, 2014

Make a Boutique-Style Monogrammed Lamp Shade

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own." ~ Ben Sweetland

One of my favorite accents in Emma's room makeover is this sweet little lamp. I have long admired hand-painted, boutique-style, monogrammed shades carried by children's shops, but the custom look can be so expensive. At nearly $100 less, this personalized version gave us the look I wanted at a price that fit my budget.

My first attempt at this craft was a major flop! I wanted a pink shade, so bought a white paper shade and painted it with leftover pale-pink wall paint. {Genius, I thought.} I added white polka dots, a pink monogram and ribbon trim. It looked great! I placed it on the base and called the children in to see my handiwork. They were very impressed -- until we actually turned the lamp on. Lit with the glow of the bulb, the pink paint looked like streaks of mud! It looked so terrible, we all burst out laughing. I kept the shade because I'm certain it will come in handy someday for a devotional. The shade pictured above is the version that worked. Find directions below for this easy, inexpensive craft.

Monogrammed Painted Shade

Lamp shade
Round foam paintbrush
Acrylic paint
Pencil, optional
Hole punch
Hot glue
No-fray solution

Choose a lamp shade in the desired base color. Use a round foam paintbrush to add polka dots, and let the paint dry completely. Next, paint a monogram. I added the letter freehand, but you can lightly draw the design with a pencil first, if desired. Let the paint dry completely.

Use a hole punch to punch holes around the top and bottom of the shade. Space them easily by punching the first hole, then punch the second hole opposite the first. Make the third hole halfway between the first two, and punch the fourth hole opposite the third. Now you have four holes that divide the shade into quarters. Fill in with additional holes as needed, keeping the space between equal. Do this for the bottom of the shade, and repeat for the top. (Keep the positioning of your painted monogram in mind in spacing holes for the top of the shade, so you can center the bow.)

Thread ribbon through the holes along the bottom edge of the shade, starting and ending at the back. Tuck the ends of the ribbon under the shade and secure with a dab of hot glue. Thread ribbon through the holes around the top of the shade, and tie with a bow. Trim the tails of the bow to your desired length, and finish the ends with a no-fray solution.

Photo by Allison Hilyer. Used with permission.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Emma in Black and White

"In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in." ~ Robert Brault

Have a lovely weekend, and join me next week for more project ideas.

"If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older." ~ Tom Stoppard

Photos by Allison Hilyer. Used with permission.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Dresser Makeover

For months I saved pretty pink crystal knobs I found at a home-decor shop, just waiting to use them in daughter Emma's room makeover. They worked perfectly to accent my childhood dresser, which I painted the same green as the chairs matched to our tea table. (See that post here.)

The middle drawer was broken beyond repair, so I had a piece of wood cut to fit and used the existing frame to hold our new shelf. Inexpensive photo storage boxes fit the space perfectly, so I covered them with scraps of fabric leftover from our bedding and drapes. 

Here is the completed vignette -- a great way to incorporate a bit of my childhood in Emma's modern space.

"If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older." ~ Tom Stoppard

Photos by Allison Hilyer. Used with permission.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Spot for Tea in Emma's Room

One of my favorite little nooks of Emma's room was this corner. I found the table at HomeGoods and had paint custom-matched to the legs. Painting unfinished wooden chairs this mossy green made the mismatched grouping look like a set. This gave Emma a wonderful spot for coloring and playing school.

And, of course, it was the perfect space for tea. Emma and Mary Ashley love hosting each other for little parties in their rooms. I think love of hospitality was born in my childhood, as my sister, Jennifer, and I enjoyed hosting each other, as well. We gave each other so many baby showers, complete with petite cakes baked in our Easy Bake Oven.

For Emma's room reveal, we did a little better than this with cookies from Lisa Stone at Flourish Bake Shop. Her confections have added sweetness and beauty to so many of our celebrations. Based on our fabric selections, she designed an adorable array of coordinating cookies.

Fresh flowers, cloth napkins, and glass bottles wrapped in scrapbook paper completed our setting. Tea is served!

I think incorporating a little spot for entertaining is a great addition to a child's decor. Whether they welcome Mommy and Daddy, siblings or other children from the neighborhood, children can practice extending a sense of welcome in their little world. Through their play, they learn the joys of service and the blessings of friendship. And through making up menu items (pimento-chocolate-lemon sandwiches anyone?) and decorating the table, they develop appreciation for the grace notes that add beauty to our time together. Those life lessons are worth a celebration!

"I am thankful for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends." ~ Nancie J. Carmody

Photos by Allison Hilyer. Used with permission.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Few More Photos of Emma's Room

It has been so much fun to look back through the images my friend Allison Hilyer captured of Emma's bedroom in Wetumpka, featured this week on the web site of FreshStyle magazine. Emma was 6 when we did the makeover two years ago. She hadn't yet started first grade when these photos were taken, and now my sweet girl is a third-grader! How did that happen? I still have a few more bedroom projects to share, but wanted to end the week with some of my favorite shots of Emma from our fun session.

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again." ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Photos by Allison Hilyer Photography. Used with permission.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Preview of Emma's Bedroom Makeover

"Doing cartwheels in the green grass of happiness and skipping high towards the blue heavenly skies of joy!" ~ Terri Guillemets

Longtime readers of A Little Loveliness might remember that two summers ago I did a makeover of daughter Emma's bedroom. She had inherited Mary Ashley's nursery -- feminine and sweet with pale pink walls, a lush floral window treatment, and toile bedding. This worked fine during Emma's infancy, but as her personality began to emerge, the space didn't seem to match her vivacity. I really enjoyed stepping into Emma's whimsical world to give her a bedroom that reflects her precious spirit.

My friend Allison, the extraordinary photographer behind Allison Hilyer Photography, captured the room soon after completion, but we have kept the images under wraps until now. I'm so excited to share that FreshStyle magazine (a younger, hipper sister publication of Victoria) is featuring the makeover today. Check out the post, and look for more photos and projects from the room on my blog in days to come.

Find Emma's bright, happy bedroom here!

Photo by Allison Hilyer Photography. Used with permission.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Explore Middleton Place

"How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence." ~ Benjamin Disraeli

During our recent trip to Charleston, Joe and I spent a delightful afternoon exploring the grounds of Middleton Place, a seventeenth-century plantation that has remained under the stewardship of the same family for more than 300 years. The Middletons were prominent in early-American history.

Originally gentlemen's guest quarters and now the estate's House Museum, this mansion is the only one of a trio of residential buildings to survive the Civil War. The other two structures were burned by Union soldiers.

Middleton boasts the oldest established formal gardens in the United States.

I enjoyed strolling these paths in search of beautiful vignettes.

Henry Middleton hired an English gardener to plan these exceptional gardens, once considered the finest of all the colonies.

Joe and I took a carriage tour of the property. Our driver taught us so much about the history of the estate.

One memorable fact I learned is that descendants of the plantation -- from both the Middleton family and the enslaved people who labored there -- attend reunions together. Our guide said they have made peace with their shared history and accept one another as family.

Visitors glimpse 18th- and 19th-century plantation life through working stableyards. I found the bucolic setting so charming!

There was something so tranquil and beautiful to me about this simple scene. Here are a few more photos of Middleton Place.

The English-manor feel of Middleton Place completely charmed me, and I hope to stroll these lovely garden paths again soon.

"In every man's heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty." ~ Christopher Morley

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