Friday, February 27, 2015

Year of Change Challenge {February Reveal}

It's time for our February Year of Change Reveals! We each be addressing organziational ideas, tackling specific areas of our homes that are stumbling blocks to staying organzied. I know that I personally, spend so much time on the decor in my home, but sometimes struggle to keep things thoughtfully organized. 
I'm sharing how I turned my laundry room from 
PLUS: Some solutions for every day clutter.

Be sure to visit my gang of gals and their organizational projects this month:
and this month's Guest Blogger: Christina Williams
Chris is sharing her SUPER COOL Laundry Room Makeover 
and FREE Organizational Printables!!

I really couldn't wait to tackle my laudry room. I'm not someone who loves chores, but they're a necessary thing, aren't they. I had been putting off addressing this room for quite some time and let's just say it really needed an infusion of fresh and was seriously so dreary, disorganized, and a very un-utilitarian Utility Room. When we moved into the house it  became a sort of catch-all room. 
I always put off organizing it and needed to find space for all of the cleaning supplies, clutter, etc. 
I  set out to accomplish 3 things in my tiny laundry room:
1. Make it brighter, and more functional
2. Use a shot of bold color, but keep in mind re-sale 
3. Frugality. Accomplish this entire make over with the stencil + $20 + things I already had that I could re-furbish to work in this space

Ready to see?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Bees Knees: L I T T L E . R E T R E A T S

A few weeks ago, I had a lovely time at See Jane's L I T T L E  R E T R E A T S! Jane hosts creative get-togethers at her AMAZING home. This retreat was all about learning basic Calligraphy from Melissa Esplin.

Little Retreats by Jane calligraphy via seejaneblog
That's me, 4th new, struggling Calligrapher, from the left.
viaJane Rhodes, See Jane

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5, Episode 8 {London Calling}

Who didn't LOVE last Sunday's Episode?
Who doesn't love a little recap?
If you haven't seen it or want to watch it again, here it is!
I'm going to skip over the plot details and stick mostly to set stand-outs!
Ok, how fabulous was it to really see so much of the Grantham House, the Crawley's London Townhouse?!

I think my favorite details are the:

Mehry Rug Oriental Weavers Revival Teal/Beige Area RugPantone Universe Expressions Red Oriental Area Rug

Wordless Wednesday {SW Sea Salt}

benjamin moore sea salt - would LOVE this color in the kitchen!

Wordless Wednesday Inspiration: "SEA SALT": Don't Confuse Them! Benjamin Moore "Sea Salt" and Sherwin Wiliams "Sea Salt" are pretty different, but so many people get them mixed up- here is the scoop so you can see which color is right for you
For more on Sea Salt, check out my old 2013, popular post "Sea Salt: Don't Confuse Them".

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Malachite Monday {Malachite Obelisks}

Habitually Chic®: More Malachite and Gorgeous Green


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Fashion Meets Decor {Oscar Gown Alter Egos}

There were a handful of gowns that I loved seeing earlier this evening on the red carpet. Not all of us are headed down that red interpret what you love from your favorite gowns into your interiors! 
Here are my favs:
Gwyneth Paltrow

Hannah Bagshaw {& Eddie Redmayne}
Rosamund Pike
Margot Robbie
Cate Blanchett

Which gowns were your favorites?

House Guests in the Movies {Oscar Edition Roundup: Volume 2)

It's Oscar Weekend!!!

I thought it would be fun to celebrate by rounding up some of my favorite movie houses for us to tour! This list could easily be 20, 50, 100 houses long...but we'll keep it to my Top 20 where the house is another character, if you will. I'll be sharing 10 Movie houses today here, in Vol. 2.  Yesterday I shared Ten of my favorites here. 

These movies weren't all nominated for the Academy Awards,  some of them I had forgotten about until I started thinking about the actual homes where the movies were filmed. 

This will become a regular Commona My House feature...I'll be sharing movie and television series home tours, including more historical locations, each month!!!

So...Let's go on a home tour!!!
(Just click on each movie title and you'll link to the home tours).

1. Atonement. Stokesay Court, the vast Victorian House and Estate, was the Primary exterior and interior filming site. It's architectural and design details are considered to be of the loveliest in England, with period interior wall papers being copyied and mass produced. The house has a fascinating past...and has been lovingly restored partly due to the opportunity that Atonement brought with it. It has had extensive upgrades since filming. In the vein of what Downton Abbey is to Highclere Castle, the movie Atonement helped to put Stokesay on the map as a 'must see' gem.
This is a MUST READ, chariming article in the NY Times  about the current owners and the "Other Atonement Love Story".

Saturday, February 21, 2015

House Guests in the Movies {Oscar Addition Roundup: VOLUME 1}

It's Oscar Weekend!!!

I thought it would be fun to celebrate by rounding up some of my favorite movie houses for us to tour! This list could easily be 20, 50, 100 houses long...but we'll keep it to my Top 20 where the house is another character, if you will. I'll be sharing 10 Movie houses today here, in Vol. 1, and 10 more tomorrow in Vol. 2!!!
These movies weren't all nominated, some of them I had forgotten about until I started thinking about the actual homes where the movies were filmed. 
This will become a regular Commona My House feature...I'll be sharing movie and television series home tours, including more historical locations, each month!!!

So...Let's go on a home tour!!!
(Just click on each movie title and you'll link to the home tours)

1. Father of the Bride The epitome of the American Colonial, located in Alhambra, CA. This home was for sale in 2011, swans not included.

Father of the Bride House Exterio

Father of the Bride Movie House Backyard Scene
Father of the Bride Movie House
Tour the home through the movie scenes

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fashion Friday {Oscar Night}

This Sunday is going to be so grea! I'll be flipping back and forth between Downton Abbey and
I'm sort of an Oscar Fashion Freak. I love the classic dresses the most, so much so that I have an Oscar Night Pinboard dedicated to Timeless Oscar Style. (Oh, and some of my picks for what I'd wear if I ever had the priveledge to walk down the red carpet).

I think I'd wear a vintage Halston or Chanel or something timeless... like this:

Caroline Herrera     jaglady
Badgely Mishka

or this:


va-va Valentino! | Bridal Accessories Stay #Wellheeld with Solemates!

or this:
in love with this ellie saab dress.

A girl can dream!

Now, I'm off to make Katherine Hepburn's Brownies!!

Katherine Hepburn's brownie recipe. "Never quit. Be yourself. Don't put too much flour in your brownies". Awesome.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday Inspiration {Benjamin Moore "Antique Glass"}

Benjamin Moore Antique Glass

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Downton Abbey Season 5, Episode 7 {Absolutely Crackers}

This isn't my ordinary Downton Decor Post. I've hesitated to go here, but I must. I never hold anything back when it's on my nerves, so here's my take on what I was left with after Episode 7 the other night.
The Boys are back in town...Lord Merton's boys that is. 

So, I'm basically starting with a Rant. K?

Let me start by saying, I'm as big of a Downton fan as Downton fans come. But I'm at a loss for so many plot points that have been going on that I'm starting to feel as though it should be the final season next year. Unless they bring in some fresh writers, this Abbey is going down like the Titanic. (Hey, the Titanic was mentioned in the first Episode...are they trying to bring all things full circle)?
'Downton Abbey' Season 5, episode 7
What you talkin' bout....Marigold in the Downton Nursery? 
So, like, in my opinion they've been building the Edith character arc for quite some time...setting her up as a woman who can  make it on her own if she could just take those first initial steps to follow her publishing career, follow a life where she is a strong, idependent woman in her own right, not being defined by the man she is married to. So, I felt that this was Edith's big chance to get out from under Mary, Downton's trappings and who THEY think Edith is...and for her to become who she wants to Chicago or Detroit... right? Darn it, Fellowes, why didn't you give us a Mary Tyler Moore spin-off of Edith Takes Cinncinnati or something? She is after all, "Half American".
And, seriously? Do all of the Ladies' Maids and Valet's have criminal pasts? How accurate is this for one house to have convicted criminals (or suspected criminals, I'll give you that) in such a trusted position in this sort of house? Come on!? Downton Producers PAIN THEMSELVES, seriously, go to great lengths to make so many of the details in the set, props, costumes, dialogue points..they go to extremes to make sure that things are historically accurate. So it is really bothering me that they aren't more careful with the plot writing. They now have Mr. Bates...who has gone to prison (accused of the First Mrs. Bates murder, and exhonorated), Ms. Baxter, convict (served time for jewelry theft from previous employer Lady La Dee Dah), and now....they are building the arc in this Mr. Green Shizz to have all fingers point to .....Anna. The Lady's Maid. Something tells me that this isn't really an accurate dipiction of the lives of the staff that would serve in these positions. One time use of a criminal probe was acceptable and made for excellent, suspensful viewing. However, the THIRD TIME is not the charm, Mr. Fellowes. Who is writing this? It's like they never sat down and worked out character arcs or something. Are they making this up as they go? Because I learned in Creative Writing 101 my freshman year, that the further you outline a character and their major life points the better consistancy you will have overall. No one's expecting a Tolkien Sub-Dictionary of who Daisy's grandparent's were or what Coras' second cousins did during the crash in NYC or anything (although, it's actually not a bad idea)...but my point is... this is Downton. Not General Hospital. Because of the quality of writing and production from previous seasons, I expect more and am quite disappointed. Don't make me have to come up with an alternate Downtonverse, Masterpiece....please don't. But I will if you keep pushing me. Because I've come to adore most of these "Absolutely Crackers" characters  (loved that Lord Grantham line, btw) and what they bring to my Sunday evenings. And I'd like to think that Downton as a whole, has elevated TV to a higher level. Please let it keep climbing and end on a high note...don't dummy it down for the masses, which is what I felt like they were doing by phoning in some of these pedestrian plot curly-ques, thank you very much. I don't like yelling at the TV during my Downton time. Dear writers, please start with the common sense again, pretty please?

Ok, now that that is out of the way, I'll say that I loved:
 The Daisy, Mr. Mason, Molesly and Baxter scene in this episode.
That Violet is finally letting her guard down, the ice queen has thawed and turns to Mary, actually, to express how she feels about Isobel's big news. That she has loved having a companion, a friend and that this is a blow to her because she will be lonely. She really hands it to Mary, too...who is taking over the resident postion of sharp tongued, ice queen now. Beware the frozen heart, Mary.

Rose and Atticus...lovely. Hopefully they'll get in a few good years before the whole Jewish WWII thing kicks into gear. This would also make for a fabulous Downton Spin-off: I'm calling in right now. Atticus and Rose, pre-WWII, their children during the War years in London or New York.

'Downton Abbey' Season 5, episode 7
One of these facial expressions is doing it's own thing...they're not ALL "Everything's coming up Rose's".
Is Mary going to be a cranky, old spinster? Her attitude has been incredibly harsh to just about everyone. She's on that high horse that Matthew seemed to tame. And what was all of the hullaballoo regarding Mr. Blake if he was to exist stage right along with Tony? Could Mr. Blake have been trying to save his friend from a life of never measuring up with Mary? Could we have mistaken Mr. Blake's affections for Mary all along? Could he have just been trying to set Mabel and Tony up and leave Mary flat since she has shown herself to be incredibly spoiled, selfish and frankly, cruel in regards especially to her only sister? Who knows what all of this was all about? Maybe that Mary still hasn't found a man that brings out her good qualities, that's for sure.

And... was it because the name Isis isn't politically correct these days? They felt like they had to do-away with another member of the Crawley clan? Sad to see Isis go. This is most likely supposed to symbolize the passing of time, the changing of the guard, the level of change that is happening in Robert's world.

'Downton Abbey' Season 5, episode 7

As usual, I've spotted some decor and costume stand outs in this installment.


I'm glad they found someone who looks like an actual Windsor family member to fill the role of Atticus. It makes it all that much better to love the Rose and Atticus storyline, doesn't it?!?
Rose Blush colors are all the rage, now & then!
I've loved this season's costumes. So many of both Rose's and Edith's dresses have been in the Marsala, Copper, Mauve and Blush category. Rose's stunning blush colors are so soft and feminine.
No surprise there.
If you're inspired by this blush rush, go ahead and translate it to your isn't just for 5 year old girls anymore.

Paints...blush and white bedroom with a fancy mirror.  too girly for master though.  i just can't do that to alan.  guest room?
The Parisian home of L'wren Scott and Mick Jagger- such elegant whimsy...I could totally live here!


Man, am I in love with the little ones of Downton. George, Sybbie and little Marigold are such Campbell's Soup kids. Quintessential children of the era.
There is a wonderful little Clip that Masterpiece has made sharing the behind the scenes details of these little thespians. Downton Abbey 5: Children on the Set.
Downton Abbey 5: Children on the Set

Last week I talked about Steiff Bears and a sincere "Thank You" to the thoughtful reader who reached out to me regarding my love of Steiff Vintage Jointed Collections.

And one of my favorite American Painters captured this moment in time with children, as well.
Jessie Wilcox Smith, an artist known for her roll in what is referred to as the Golden Age of American Illustration, contributed to many publications of the day.
She was a serious artist as well, from the Pennsylvania Area and what is called the Brandywine School of artists and The Redwine Girls.  I used to live in Philadelphia and that is where I first saw her work. She has been compared to the likes of Rockwell, Parrish and N.C. Wyeth.  However, her name isn't the household name of the other illustrators of that era, despite her work being equally as charming and on par with the other influential artists in this style.

Jessie Willcox Smith prints, cards and posters

One of her paintings, perhaps one of her loveliest yet, was discovered in a recent Antiques Roadshow! It was seriously one of the most amazing finds I've ever seen on that show. I literally cried at the discovery of this treasure.
It highlights her specific painting technique over charcoal sketch.
If you're into this, you have to see this video. And doesn't it look like a painting of little Marigold
Gregson, I mean Marigold Drewe, er...Marigold Crawley, or whatever they're going to call her? Maybe Mary Gold? 


One more sidenote: 

It looks as though Tom may be going to America (Queue the Neil Diamond "Going to America" clip). I'm thinking that he may go ahead on his own, and leave little Sybbie there at Downton until he "establishes" himself sutiably, where upon he will "send" for her. Because somthing tells me, that after Robert has lost Isis, his Grandaddy "Donk" fragile heart will not be able to bare having little Sybbie (who he seems quite attached to) leave on the boat. What do you think? (also, could this be another Downton Spin-Off? Sybil Branson coming of age in WWII? Just a thought ;)

'Downton Abbey' Season 5, episode 7
*all photos Masterpiece Classic/Downton Abbey/ PBS