Winter Is Not My Season.

Fine art, gallery wall, equestrian decor,

It’s been a hard winter and are not even half way.  In our family of seven we seem to have one thing after another medically since October and it still keeps coming, we can’t seem to catch a break.  Between the accidents, illnesses and broken bones, I can honestly say I am thankful for these trials.  Last year at this time my husband had been laid off just before Christmas and we were in the trenches trying to find him a job in a very saturated and competitive industry.  We were just going on hope, faith and a prayer that the right job was going to present itself in our hunt.  And it did but not until March. That’s a whole other blog post but we are so thankful for his job and that its going well.  Since then I started my little business and it’s has never had a lull.  I have wished I had more time to blog and post updates.  Be careful what you wish for!  I have been laid up after being sick for three solid weeks, it takes its toll on you physically and emotionally. With the kids being home from school from the snow, it’s been a welcomed break but also challenging to stay positive without feeling trapped inside sick with cooped up bored kids. Not a good state of mind.

I am on the mend (*I think*). I got myself out of bed, made the bed, took a shower, did my make-up and curled my hair.  The rest of the house is kind of a wreck from just being in survival mode.  Taking a moment to refresh myself and my space makes a big difference. I stopped in the room that we never know what to call it…it’s the front room, the study room, the piano room, whatever. I straightened the pictures and the pillows and stopped to look at the beautiful painting I bought for my husband one Christmas.  That was a happy memory.  This painting has always meant so much to him and he had no idea. He woke up to it hanging on the wall and I will never forget his reaction of pure shock, love and thankfulness all in the same expression.  This painting is always there but I don’t always look at it. Today, because of the winter, because of how I feel, it means so much.

Some of us have a hard time in the winter, I am definitely a California sunshine kind of a gal. Winter is not my season.  But today I can kneel and be thankful for my trials. This season will pass and it will be spring.  New challenges and new opportunities will come our way. But for now, I can be in this moment and let it sink in and fill my heart with gratitude for my bounteous blessings…even in the winter of life.

I hope you all can fill your home with things that center you, that bring you back, that fill your heart with thankfulness and meaning. It doesn’t have to be perfect (yeah, notice the sideways frame with the store photos inside? It’s been like that for probably two years).  It’s what makes home….home.  Winter is a good time to focus on the inside.  Inside of us and inside our homes. The two can reflect each other.  When we are sick and not feeling well, our home shows it.  When I am happy and feeling put together, my home reflects that as well.  Sometimes people think that what I do is all about impressing other people. While that can be a bonus, it’s not why I do what I do.  For me, it’s my therapy and teaching others how their space can make them feel better is so rewarding.

Go find something in your house that helps you feel this way. Take a moment to notice it and let it fill your heart with all the good feels. Showcase it as a reminder.  Let it welcome you home.

Winter Blessings to you all!

Melissa xox

 

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January Favorite Find: Long Sleeve Midi with Pockets! (Gigi Floral Dress)

I love sharing my favorite things with my friends.  This is one is worth breaking my fashion silence! I have spent the last 7 months building my interior styling business and putting the rest on hold, which had been a fruitful and blessed venture of which I am so grateful.  But I love to share great ways to feel and look your best.

Three words (ish): long-sleeve…..midi… & pockets!

Gigi floral dress long sleeve midi pockets modest

If I could customize a dress for myself, I would make this one.  I love dresses with SLEEVES for so many reasons.  One is, I am a very “cold” person, you know, that friend that is always cold and bundled up even in the summer because the air conditioning is too cold? Yeah I am that person. So when I don’t have to wear a cardigan over my dress to otherwise shiver in the corner than I am in love!  Not only does it have long sleeves but it has comfortable form-fitting sleeves. The arm hole isn’t too big (something I always seem to have a problem with) and it’s buttery soft on your skin. Ahhhhh….this dress is for sure what I like to call, “Church Pajamas.”  You can wear it to church but its so comfy you can go home and sleep in it!

 

Next, its that wonderful, hard-to-find perfect length.  It slightly goes up to the knee on the sides while being longer in the back and front with a full swing skirt. No restrictions, no tugging and pulling just cute, comfy and modest.

And to top it all off, POCKETS!!! Let me just tell you, there is pocket discrimination among the sexes with clothing designers.  WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! If you design clothes this is for you: WOMEN WANT POCKETS TOO!

Okay, I will get off my soap box, but what a bonus to have pockets in a dress! This means automatic favorite dress placement in the closet.

On top of all that, you can wear it SO many different ways.  Scarf, jacket layering, cropped vest, booties, heels, belt, tall boots….I could go on and on but here are two basic ways to dress it down or up.  I wore it to church with a belt and heels and I wear it around town to doing mom stuff or to meet clients with boots and a jacket. I have a feeling this might be my most versatile dress!

Gigi Floral dress navy long sleeve midi

 

To buy this dress click the link HERE and check out some of their other cute things at Cleo Madison.

I would love hear of some of your favorite dress finds, comment below!

*I received this dress in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nottingham Master Styling

This client has a gorgeous house with gorgeous views and just needed a few ideas to finish her master bedroom styling.  In her heart of hearts she loves the color red, but wasn’t sure how to work it in without it over taking the space.  I found the cutest red chair for her to enjoy those beautiful views out her wall of windows and it coordinated with the other furnishings she already had in her space.  Other things on her wish list included a fireplace, a covered TV, blackout linen drapes and a couch. With some careful space planning, I think we created a cozy elegant space for her and her husband to relax at the end of the day.

pottery barn, pier one, wayfair

This makes me want to turn on some Michael Buble and starting sipping a peppermint hot chocolate! I am totally into the mood of this board. Want to finally LOVE your space? We can make it happen, call me!

 

Melissa xox

 

Sources:

Red Chair: Pier One

Drapes: Pottery Barn

Couch: Pottery Barn

TV Cabinet: Pottery Barn

Light: Pottery Barn

Bedding: Ballard Designs

Throw Pillows: Etsy

Fireplace: Wayfair

The Lil’ Punkin Patch Centerpiece

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF FALL, YA’LL!!!

It’s beginning to look a lot like fall around here!  Can I just say how much I love my reclaimed wood centerpiece?! I love to fill it with seasonal things for the table.  It’s so much fun to see what else I can display in there with every seasonal change.

This season: Real Baby Pumpkins.

(okay so there are a *few* tiny fake ones…okay…okay…sheesh) But most are real. 🙂

I know I could have been more trendy with the white and green pumpkins, but I am going for more of a classic “Charlie-Brown-pumpkin-patch” feel. Is that a thing??? Well….it is now!

Introducing my Pumpkin Patch inspired centerpiece…oh, I mean Punkin. I have decided that baby pumpkins in my house are affectionately now called, “Punkins.”

mini pumpkins

LIFESTYLED TIP:  It’s worth it to dig through the pumpkin bin to find the ones with the longest stems.  They seem more complete to me and more natural. I love a good long pumpkin stem!

Yes, I can’t get over it, they are too cute. You know it’s true when the three-year-old holds them she talks to them in a baby voice!

Come, sit, sip something warm, relax and stare at little nestled pumpkins….now all your problems are gone. 😉

The pic doesn’t do it justice but when I light the candles at night, it really does have that “Charlie-Brown-Great-Pumpkin” thing going on.

 

Happy Fall Y’ALL!

Now if we can just get rid of this pesky 90 degree weather and add in some fall wardrobe, I will almost be set. Stay tuned more for fall and Halloween ideas coming soon!

Love your LifeStyled,

Melissa

xox

 

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The Hanover Master

I had a great time working with this client to design a master suite she loves, complete with a shopping list so she can install it at her leisure (see below for sources).  Very quickly we discovered that she loved traditional style mixed with bold geometric patterns and a pop of happy color! Want to uncover your style recipe? I can teach you how to style a space you will love without making costly mistakes.  Click HERE to learn more about what I offer including full service from consultation to overseeing complete installation services!

 

Master Suite Design Board

I would love to help you really LOVE your home!

Melissa

 

Sources:

Pillow covers and fireplace art: etsy.com

Lantern on fireplace, fabric desk chair, “Life is Beautiful”: Pier1.com

Leather chair, linen couch: Potterybarn.com

Navy coverlet: Hayneedle.com

Rug: Overstock.com

Floor lamp, table lamps, white table: Wayfair.com

Faux fiddle leaf, clear desk lamp, mirrors: Target.com

Furniture Collection (Bed, nightstands, dresser): Grand Home Furnishings

Black square wall frames: Ikea.com

Ceiling Fan: Home Depot

 

 

 

 

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DIY Furry Bench

Piano room

With the kids off at school, I am busy getting caught up on all my Lifestyled projects that have been waiting in the wings.  Good things are coming! In the meantime, I did this fun and fast little DIY I wanted to share. Parts of my house are stuck in the stuff-we’ve-had-since-we-got-married phase (like that rug, ugh). Slowly but surely we are updating into this century’s decor.

This room, the “piano room” as we call it, is for sure stuck in that phase of our lives.  I am gradually throwing things in there that are on trend that help me feel like I am moving in the right direction.  Also, I am convinced that a lot of my creativity stems from never wanting to sew anything…ever. This project literally took me 10 minutes. I hope this might inspire you to find a tired spot in your space and give it a new life!

Step #1. Go and get you one of these rugs from Target.  I got mine on sale even, BONUS!

fury bench tutorial, target, piano

 

Step #2:  Then getcha (like that word? It’s what happens when you live in TN!) four of these large safety pins.

Step #3: Now don’t over think this…place your rug on the top of your bench and start pinning up the corners like this…

When you put the flap down it will look like its wrapped around the corner of the bench.  The right side is the “before” the pin and the left is the after, just in case you are confused ;).

Step #5: Repeat step 4 all the way around your bench and now you have made a custom fuzzy bench cover in a matter of minutes!!  Fluff the “fur” around to hide your seams and you can’t tell one bit.

This does come with a warning however, be prepared for your family to give you the third degree….”Um…what IS that?”…”Why do we need THAT?”  Your answer is: We need it because it’s pretty and fluffy things make me happy.

Everyone should have some fluff in their lives. The end.

 

Hope you all are having a fabulously fluffy week! More tips coming soon, stay tuned.

Love LifeStyled!

Melissa xox

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The Hallway Art Gallery

IKEA Dignitet Art wall

TIP: Need a place for all those school art projects coming home at the end of the school year?  Hang a curtain wire with clips and easily switch them out!  (Source below)

This is a fun way to add color and life to an otherwise boring transitional space. Our upstairs hall connects our kid rooms to our playroom, so a kid art gallery seemed quite fitting!  I can’t wait to add more wires on the other side since having this inspires the kids to create wall-worthy art pieces.  I love hearing them say, “Look what I made!  Can we hang it on the art wall?!” And the best part (if they are tall enough) is when I say, “Yes, go hang it up!”  I love when I don’t have to do everything.

ANOTHER TIP: Need to solve summer boredom? Put out some art supplies and let them have at it! They know my favorites get frames, each kid will have one frame for my current favorite art piece they make so they really are only competing with their own previous work. Seeing them do their personal best for that frame makes my mama heart happy!

Source:  You can buy the wire system from IKEA (HERE).  Super affordable! I used a middle support for my wire which they also sell so you can extend the wire without it sagging in the middle.

Have fun inspiring your mini Picasso’s!

Love Life….Styled,

Melissa xox

 

You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be Amazing

Spring family photo Styling

They try my patience, they make me crazy, they make things come out of my mouth I never thought I would say (“Why is there poop in this plant?”), they keep me up at night and wake me up early, they throw tantrums and I might even throw one back…but once and awhile you get moments like this where everyone is smiling despite the meltdowns and the heartache and my hope is restored, we can do this!!! We are making good memories and sticking it out living, loving and growing together. The good outshines the tough: the yard wildflower gifts with sticky popsicle kisses, the Sunday morning snuggle time with, “I love you, Mommy”, the teenager that confides in you. I am so blessed to be their mom, to have this awesome trust from the Lord to raise them…my cup runneth over. To all the moms in the trenches 👊🏻🙌🏻 you’ve got this and we are in it together. You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. You are enough and you are amazing. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Photo cred: Jenny Lind Photography 

DIY Custom Curtains on the CHEAP!

I am very excited to share with you one of my go-to decorating sources for tricky window dressings!  I must say if you live near an Ikea and have already discovered these magical curtains then feel free to skip this life-changing news.

If not, have you ever needed extended length curtains? By this I mean longer than the standard 98″?  If so, you will know or come to know soon, what a giant pain this is to keep from spending a small mint on a ton of decorator fabric and/or ordering extended length curtains from high-end retailers.  This has been SO annoying to me, so much so in fact, I hemmed a pole pocket and hung heavy weight canvas drop cloths from the home improvement store for years. This worked well until they were just too heavy (they look and feel like heavy linen curtains!) and they started to pull the hardware out of the drywall.  I needed something else, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune.

Meet the Ritva Curtain: You can find it HERE. These are the 98″ curtains embellished with Greek Key trim hung with the tab in the back of the curtain, which is my favorite way since it adds the most height and I like a nice header at the top with soft pleats.

Ikea Ritva Curtains

STYLE TIP:  Have arched or bay windows and don’t know how to treat them?  You can treat the whole shape as one big window, hanging the curtains well above and out from the moulding to still show off their unique shape.  No need for those out-dated fan blinds in the arch!

Back to the lovefest:  Notice the price of these at $24.99 a PAIR!  That’s $12.50 a panel folks, $12.50!!!! Not to mention they are actually long enough to graze the floor. Good-bye capri length curtains (not cute!). Buy the iron hemming tape and you have perfectly customized curtains without sewing (unless you decide to put a lovely trim on them, of course). But wait it gets better….they also come in 118″ as well for $34.99 a PAIR!  That, my friends, is cheaper than drop cloths. They come in different colors and they have the perfect amount of weight, structure, texture and light filtering. I know, I sound like a commercial, but I promise this is not a paid post and I truly do love these.  Here is a photo showing the light filtering and the linen-like texture:

Ritva curtain Texture light filtering

Now, let’s get down to business.

STYLE WAY #1: TALL HEADER

This is pretty simple and, like I said, it’s my favorite because it draws your eye up and lengthens the look of your windows, not to mention it gives you a very nice, soft pleat.  There are these stringy tabs (why they are stringy, I have NO idea), but slip your curtain rod through the tabs and your are done!

I will say this about this style, if you need your curtains to function everyday like opening and closing, I would suggest Style Way #’s 3, 4, and 5.  These first two are great for framing a window but not so great for sliding back and forth particularly over the seam in a telescoping rod.  Using the rings or track system is much better for this capability.

Ikea Curtains
Pleating

 

STYLE WAY #2: POLE POCKET

This is basic but it’s nice that this option is still built into these curtains if this way is your jam.  This gives you the most “gathered” look and I think it’s a bonus that its not just a fold-over hemmed pocket, it still gives you a cute header at the top for a more tailored look.

Ikea Curtains

 

 

 STYLE WAY #3:  SINGLE PLEAT WITH RINGS 

This is really fabulous.  There is this pleating tape on the back of a lot of Ikea curtains which allows for all these options OR you can just buy the KRONILL pleating tape sold separately and sew it onto any fabric! It is THIS.  I discovered this by accident when I saw it sitting there in the fabrics dept at Ikea, it was a serious lightbulb moment.

Basically to make the pleats, you put the first part of the hook in, count over eight notches, pinch and insert the other side of the hook on the eighth tab.  Fold both ends in half, find the middle of the panel and do the same thing, counting four over to the left from the middle and four over to the right.  Fold it again from the middle to the end and do the same thing until they are all in.  If this doesn’t make sense I will link a tutorial for the triple French pleat under Way #4 and once you read her tutorial, it will make a lot more sense.  Which brings me to the hooks and the rings.  You will need the SYRLIG rings and the RIKTIG hooks. I wasn’t sure how many rings I would do, but I ended up needing nine per panel for the single pleat.

This is how it looks when you pull them across, check out the pretty pleat and I didn’t even get out a machine!

 

Sorry for the bad lighting, but I wanted to show what it looks like with the tall header next to the single pleat with rings. Which way do you like it best? I am still going back and forth between these two for this room!

STYLE WAY #4: TRIPLE FRENCH PLEAT

This way is extra fancy and is such a cool option without sewing!  For this you will only need five clips and rings per panel.  The one caveat with this way is that this photo you see is the entire panel pulled out, so unless you buy more panels to extend across the width of your window, these will only be used to frame a window for added softness.  I think this way is super cute and designer looking…very tailored.  I found THIS awesome tutorial with amazing pics from Visual Vocabularie. Her tutorial will also make any of these pleating options make a lot more sense.  Also, check out those yummy velvet drapes, I am using these in my bedroom next! Velvet triple pleat drapes

Ikea velvet drapes

STYLE WAY #5: TRACK CURTAINS

I am currently remodeling a room in our basement to be my new office!  Exciting, yes, but unfortunately this room doesn’t have a built in closet and I REALLY need one.  With five kids’ clothes rotating seasons and sizes I am constantly making piles for a consignment sale twice a year.  I really needed a place to just hang and store all my consignment stuff to get ready for tagging for the next sale…but I didn’t want to have to look at it all year round either.  Introducing VIDGA.  Take what you have learned here about different pleating options and hook it onto a track as a solution to many design problems like this one I had for the closet.  I opted for a single pleat, not using the metal hooks but I just gathered the material and used the plastic rollers used in the rail HERE, called glides. (Note:  This comes standard as a wall mount but can be mounted to a ceiling by using their ceiling brackets sold separately for $2.49).

Notice how you don’t really see the rail when the curtain is closed?!

This is not hemmed yet…I mean, iron taped, since I am allergic to sewing 😉

Plunk around on Ikea’s website with the track systems and you will see all the options with this system.  I would have much preferred to use their panel curtains but I have to go around a corner, so fabric it is!  I will post a few pics below of the panel curtains. But first, this can also solve another design dilemma I am currently having…how to dress a corner window!  I have this going on in my bedroom:

Imagine this instead: But I am planning on doing single-pleated velvet blackout drapes wall mounted and I will be able to glide my curtains seamlessly! I can’t wait and of course when I get around to it, I will be posting all about it. In the meantime, check out these ideas below using the track systems with panel curtains and/or combined with fabric curtains backed with pleating tape, the tracks come in single, double or triple for all kinds of layering options:

And there you have it folks! Really if you think about it, there are SO many ways you can use these curtains but I hope with outlining these five it can help you solve some of the window, closet and divider problems you might face without spending a fortune and without sewing a stitch!  Still too overwhelmed?  I am here to help! Just contact me and we will figure out the best solution for your space!

Love Life…STYLED!

Melissa xox

Easter Family Photos

I am not going to lie, family picture day is never fun but having the outfits all picked out is a big relief. I get asked a lot about photo styling and this is how the sausage is made folks! I have to gather things all season long as I see them, hiding them to make sure no one wears them or loses them and then lay it all out to see what I need to change, who should/shouldn’t stand together for color and texture reasons and make a list of any final purchases. This time I only need one pair of shoes, yay! Then hope and pray for perfect weather and no one is sick…let alone no meltdowns. It’s seriously like a miracle if everyone looks and smiles at the same time. Realizing we only have a little over 4 short years together until my oldest leaves, I have made it a goal to get two good family photos a year. So here’s to praying for a miracle on Saturday!

We tried out some vintage looks today, she actually posed for me! I hope that’s a good sign for the real deal!

How the sausage is made:

Stay tuned for the final result!

Make Life Beautiful,

Melissa xox