August 28, 2013

Travel to Burgundy Wine Country

Today I want to take you on a trip to France, where my love of all things French began.  We are going to Burgundy wine country to a little village called Pommard.  

Mr. H and I went to France last summer and of the seven places we stayed, Pommard was my favorite.  Yes, I loved Paris' cosmopolitan vibe, its architecture, its culture, its fashion, its food!  But Pommard showed me the romantic countryside, the quiet slow-paced lifestyle of vineyards and wineries.  It's a very small village with a little over 500 inhabitants.  The closest town is Beaune which is about a 10 minute drive.  Pommard's main production is wine.

We stayed at Le Clos du Colombier, a bed and breakfast ran by a husband and wife team who were very hospitable and spoke excellent English.  Their property is surrounded by their vineyard.  One of the first things I noticed about Pommard was how fragrant the air was.  Lavender, herbs, and flowers mingled to create a soft scent that perfumed the entire village.

We enjoyed each evening sitting out amongst the grapes enjoying wine, cheese, and bread.

We took a tour of the Olivier LeFlaive winery and vineyards which is located in nearby Puligny-Montrachet.  Olivier LeFlaive is very highly regarded for its white wines.  I am more of a red wine drinker so I learned a lot about white wines on the tour.  We were fortunate enough to be guided by one of the LeFlaive brothers, Patrick.

The village was so quaint, peaceful and beautiful. I left a piece of my heart there.

August 25, 2013

The White Vase, a story of love that was almost lost

I saw this vase three weeks ago at TJ Maxx and loved it but told myself that I didn't need it.  Where would I put it?  Plus Mr. H would probably sigh and roll his eyes at me for bringing home yet another thing to clutter our table tops.  I went back to TJ Maxx a week later and saw it again.  My heart wanted it, but my head said I didn't need it and my head won again.

This past Friday I visited TJ Maxx once again and it was still there looking elegant but this time it was on the clearance table and I still told myself I didn't need it.  Well, since Friday afternoon all I've been able to see on other blogs were beautiful Chinoiserie vases.  I couldn't stop thinking about it so Saturday night I made up my mind that I was going back Sunday morning to bring it home.

Sunday morning I took a deep breath and told Mr. H "There's this vase that I found at TJ Maxx that I really liked but I talked myself out of buying it...." before I could even finish he said, "Good job!" but I continued, "I've been talking myself out of it for the last three weeks but I've decided to be honest with myself and follow my heart and go bring it home."   Maybe I didn't say the follow my heart part because then I really would have gotten an eye roll but he did take me to go get it! Once at TJ, I raced to the clearance table and as I rounded the corner, I was thinking, "I hope it's still there, I hope it's still there."  And it was!

Here it is in our foyer.

We decided to style our foyer in a black and white theme.  The photo of the Eiffel Tower (bottom left) was taken by my very good friend Julie.  We loved it so much that we printed and framed it. Just look at the lighting!  Believe it or not, it was taken on her iPhone!  
Copyright by Julie Cavender
The other two were taken by Mr. H himself.  One is of a soldier in Tiananmen Square taken on a trip to Beijing a few years ago and the other is of a snowy night here in Denver.  If you'd like to see more photography by Mr. H you can visit his blog at The FilmYears.Blogspot.Com.  Now I'll go back to admiring my beautiful new vase.

August 21, 2013

The hunt for the perfect living room chair

When we moved into this house we got a room that we didn't have in our previous house, a family room.  That's where we lounge around, watch t.v.,  and just hang out.  That left the living room to be used as a more formal space, for having conversations with guests without the distraction of a television.  We put the sofa we already had in the living room but found that without chairs we always had to bring the chairs in from the dining room when we had guests over.  That's what started my chair hunt.  I knew I wanted a blue, gray, and white living room.  I thought a chair in some sort of blue shade would work well and I wanted to keep the budget to under $200/chair since I had to buy two.  I found these possibilities online.
Anna Accent Chair from Overstock
Peacock Quincy Chair from World Market
Enzo Accent Chair from Overstock
Mallory Spa Velvet Tub Chair at afw
I really wanted to see them in person if possible so we went to American Furniture Warehouse to look at the Mallory Spa Velvet Tub chair.  That's where my hunt started and ended.  I thought the Mallory chair looked okay but it didn't take long before we found the Angie Accent Chair instead and knew it was the one. It wasn't even blue! It goes to show that sometimes no matter what your plans are, something unplanned and better can happen.
Angie Gray Accent Chair at afw

We bought two of them and here they are in their new home.

We still need to frame the painting that's sitting on the fireplace mantel and fill the bookshelf some more, but other than that, I really like how the living room turned out.

If you are curious, here is what the living room looked like before.  This is how the previous owners had the living room set up. The photos were taken by their realty team and were on the MLS when the house was listed for sale.  Not bad at all, but just a different style.

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August 18, 2013

Blue and white toile seat cushions

We've had these outdoor chairs since 2007 and they were getting quite wobbly and faded. Mr. H wanted to throw them out and get new ones but of course I said "No way! We can paint them!" So we tightened up all the screws and painted them a light blue color and they were as good as new! The problem was that the maroon seat cushions that came with them didn't match the new color.
Before paint
With clashing maroon cushion

I went to several stores looking for outdoor seat cushions but since it's so far into summer all of the stores were sold out.  That's when I decided I could try to make my own! Now let me tell you, I am not a seamstress. I am far from it but my mom did show me how to use a sewing machine when I was about 12 and I took a quarter (not even a semester!) of Home Economics in junior high so I can sew a line. I didn't say a straight line, just a line.  Off I went to Hobby Lobby and found this blue and white toile that I just loved.  It was so French!

I felt okay about my abilities to make the main part for the cushions; the part I was most intimated by was how to make the ties.
Scary intimidating ties!
I took apart the ties on the maroon cushions and looked at how it was sewn. It looked doable.  All of my blog friends who are experienced seamstresses are probably saying "duh!" to themselves!  Here is what I did. (You can click on the picture to enlarge it). It ended up being pretty easy and fun!

After the ties were folded, I just sewed them along the edges.

For the main part, all I did was face the "good" sides of the fabric together and pretty much sewed a box with an opening on the top to allow enough room to stuff the cushion in. I turned the fabric right side out and sewed the ties on each end, stuffed the cushion back in and did a simple top stitching to close the opening. I didn't even consider trying to put a zipper in (way beyond my level).  I did consider Velcro but the maroon cushions were top stitched so I decided that would work for my new cushions as well.
Et voilà!

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Fluster Buster

August 15, 2013

"Antique" blue books

I needed a bookshelf for a corner of my living room but the black one we had didn't match the blues, grays, and whites of our living room.  So we painted it white! But just look at it. It looks so empty, so bland sitting by the beige couch and the gray wall.

It needed more color but I didn't know what else to add so I turned to Pinterest and found my inspiration! Books! Blue books! It was a bookshelf after all!  I especially loved the vintage French books.

FrenchBlue & Co
I went to antique shops looking for blue books and discovered that they were a bit expensive! One of them that I liked was $50! Eek! I couldn't justify spending that much on books that I wasn't even going to read! (Side note: Mr. H was not too impressed with my plan to put books I hadn't read on ANY bookshelf in our house. He thought it was too hokey.)

Solution: used bookstore!  I found these books and paid $3.50 for all four. I simply removed the jackets on the ones that had them. (Second side note: to counter my hokiness, Mr. H picked a book he actually wanted to read. And who says I am not going to read "Change of Heart"?)

Here is my bookshelf now. It looks much better, don't you think? I am still on the lookout for blue books to fill it up some more and I might actually read one or two!

August 11, 2013

Local artist, Jesse Woodworth, creates ceramic mason jars

I am really excited to share a new find with you! Mr. H and I spent Saturday afternoon visiting art galleries in the Santa Fe Art District here in Denver. We stopped in a gallery called Artists on Santa Fe which is a gallery as well as a studio for artists. In the basement we  found Jesse Woodworth's ceramics studio which is where I found these small light blue mason jars.  I love mason jars and the color caught my attention right away. I've been wanting to add flowers to my fireplace mantel. They were the perfect color for my living room. 

I was intrigued by these.  How were they made? Were they glass painted blue on the inside, or glass covered in ceramic, or ceramic made to look like mason jars?  Lucky for me, Jesse was there so I got to ask him myself.

Here are some pieces waiting to be glazed and fired.  They are all ceramic! Jesse created a mold from the objects he wanted to create and used a method called slipcasting to create each piece.  Being an inexperienced interviewer, I didn't ask him what slipcasting entailed so here's a link to Wikipedia that I researched when I got home

Now let me introduce the artist behind the ceramic jars to you.  Jesse Woodworth is an artist who resides in Denver. His interest in ceramics started when he took a class in college and he's been perfecting his art steadily for the last four years.  Right now, his interest is in making functional pieces that can be used daily.  Jesse allowed us to spend some time with him as he worked on making plates for another local potter.  

Before we said good-bye to him, I asked Jesse if he could make a larger mason jar in the light blue and he said he could. Can't wait to see it!  If you'd like to see more of Jesse's work or order from him, visit his website at
Photo by Chris Hinkel of
Photo by Chris Hinkel of
Photo by Chris Hinkel of
Photo by Chris Hinkel of
In these photos Jesse is cutting and pressing the clay that will later become ceramic plates.

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Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home


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