Blue and White for Christmas

Interior Design by Lisa Luby Ryan, Veranda Magazine, Nov - Dec 2010. Photography by Erica George Dines

Here's an alternative to the traditional red and green Christmas decorations.  Lisa Luby Ryan's interior design for this home in Dallas, Texas features holiday decorations in a Tiffany-like blue accented with white and the natural textures of raffia, burlap, and fresh greenery.  Not everyone may appreciate a gift wrapped in burlap (i.e. my mother), no matter how trendy it is, but who wouldn't like to receive a gift that looks like a box from Tiffany's?

The gift-wrapped boxes also give me another idea.  I still haven't found a reasonably priced Christmas tree skirt that I like and don't want to tackle sewing my own.  Throughout the year, I've been saving cardboard boxes and plan to wrap the empty boxes and place them under the tree along with the gifts.  We're not big gift-givers at my house anyway, so the wrapped boxes will hide the tree stand and keep it from looking so bare. 

So, what do you think?  Has anyone else tried this look before?

Happy Thanksgiving

19th Century Carved Wood Turkey. This proves my theory that one can find absolutely anything on 1stdibs.

We are trying something new this year and treating ourselves to Thanksgiving dinner at The Taj Boston, since we've been eating out less often lately. No worrying about my Thanksgiving turkey being as dry as this one (although I've not had this problem in the past). I love to cook, but preparing the feast takes hours and it's over in about fifteen minutes. We thought it best to let someone else to do the cooking so we can savor the meal and the day at a leisurely pace.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday and long weekend. Here's to the official start of the holiday season! I've vowed to be more prepared than ever this year.

Free Ride

 American Weathervane from the Art of Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
I don't have more details about the piece as I was more focused on making sure that the flash on my camera was disabled than I was about recording what I photographed. 

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is offering free admission today from 10:00 am to 4:45 pm to celebrate the grand opening of the new Art of the Americas Wing, which has been under construction for quite some time.  It's sure to be a full house, but it's a great way to spend an afternoon, even if you have to wait in line for an hour or so.  I usually don't have the patience to stand in line, but do make exceptions now and then. 

Bright Ideas


Continuing on from my last post about the bedside tables, it's time to consider some new lamps for the tables. I've chosen three options and any of them could work as they're all about 27" tall.

The first candidates are--do you believe this?--old cast iron bathtub feet made into lamps. I'm surprised I'm considering these and willing to admit so publicly. Usually when I see something like this, I tell myself: Gee, I could make these for a fraction of the price. But do I have time to scour antique and salvage shops for old bathtub feet with just the right amount of patina (okay, rust), have them mounted onto bases and then find the perfect shades to match? I think not. I do love the lampshades. Perhaps more so than the feet.

Next up is a pair of crystal French balustrade lamps. Not only are they beautiful, but also elegant and classic, which means I'd have them forever. They do seem a tad predictable though as these lamps are everywhere lately. I still like the quirkiness of the bathtub feet lamps. 

My last choice is a pair of silver-plated candlestick lamps. They are the least expensive of the three options, however, there are no shades, which means I'd have to shop for just the right ones. They are pretty with an old-world look, but they could be somewhat small in scale for the tables.

So, there you have it.  This is what I think about when riding the bus home from work.  Really.

All opinions welcome if you'd like to leave a comment.

What a Difference a Glaze Makes

I know this is not an exciting post packed with photos of gorgeous interiors, but I'm redoing my bedroom and decided to paint and glaze my bedside tables and wanted to share my triumph.  Mind you, these are made of inexpensive pine and were purchased years ago at an unfinished furniture store.  They have been painted two or three times before, but are handy since the draws hold the flotsam of my bedtime preparations--hand cream, lip balm,  television remote control.  You get the idea.

(Phew, no dust bunnies).  My long history of painting furniture has not been fruitful.  Everything ends up looking like, well, a piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint on it.  Better than it was perhaps and yes, smooth, perfect and even. But too even and too one dimensional.  Behold the power of glaze.

Both tables have been painted a light gray and the one of the right has been treated to a dark brown glaze, achieved by tinting the glaze with artists acrylics.  I applied the glaze and after a few minutes, wiped it off with a rag.  The intended effect was a Swedish-antique look and I think they turned out pretty well.  Glazing is messy, but water soluble so easy to clean up.

So there you have it.  Special thanks to Stephanie at Mrs. Jones Painted Finishes for the tips and encouragement.  If you haven't seen Stephanie's blog be sure to visit for DIY inspiration.  Her skill with a paint brush is remarkable.


Kellie of the blog "Running the Race" is the winner, chosen randomly, of a Ramsign house number or address sign of her choice.

Thanks to all for participating in the giveaway!

Last Day for the Giveaway

Just a reminder that the Ramsign giveaway with your choice of either a house number or a name sign ends tonight at 10:00 pm EST.  To enter, visit Ramsign and then leave a comment about your favorite house number or name sign in the original post below.  The name of the winner will be posted here.

Good luck!

A Giveaway: French Style House Numbers

While many of us reading and writing design blogs are focused on interiors, sometimes the outside of our homes (including mine) could use a special touch too. Changing or updating your exterior house or apartment number is an easy solution. Ramsign, a Danish company manufacturing enameled house numbers and name plates, is sponsoring a give away. Their products remind me of the charming building numbers seen throughout Paris.  Here's an opportunity to enhance the entry of your home or apartment with little time and effort.

Ramsign will give away either a custom house number or a name plate of the winner's choice. Here are some options from Ramsign's website.

The house numbers look great on contemporary-style homes too.

Gorgeous blue and white enamel.

You can even attach house numbers to a fence post.

These would be great for an apartment door.

Or, you can chose a name sign.

To enter the give away, visit Ramsign's website and then leave a comment here with your choice by Tuesday, November 9, 10:00 pm EST and I will randomly choose a winner.

Please be sure to include your email address in your comment so I can contact the winner.

Good luck and happy browsing!

And thank you Ramsign, for the generous give away.