12.18.2014

HOLIDAY SIZZLE 2014: SETTING THE TABLE TO CELEBRATE

Hi all!  Welcome to my table!  
This may sound crazy, but setting the table is my favorite.  Whether it's for a party or for the holidays, I adore developing a scheme for my table (always decided on by color) and playing around with different elements to see what I create.  It's never the same, but I keep key pieces.

Today's table is part two of my #holidaysizzle2014 series with my gorgeous food blogging friend Liz!  If you're not already following her, you must.  The girl has skills! 
No, I have no idea what I'm doing with my wrist. Fashion blogger I am not, although you can't see my wine colored velvet pants in this shot. But don't you love Liz's dress?!

This week is Hanukkah, and although I'm not Jewish, I have many friends and clients who are.  I thought it would be fun to create a Hanukkah table setting that could easily be swapped out for a Christmas table.  Simply replace the menorah with your own candlesticks and you're golden.  I personally love these color-blocked candles on the menorah. So beautiful!


WHERE TO START?
1) Pick your colors.  For obvious reasons I chose blue and white with hits of gold for this Hanukkah table.  And because I love non-traditional holiday colors, these work for a Christmas table too.

I started with the blue and white china I found at a resale shop.  They were $2.50 a plate and I adore them.  So sad they only had four.  I purposely use white everyday china so that when it comes to special occasions they always look good.  Plus, white dishes make your food look more appetizing.  It's a fact. :-)  Here is a set of white plates for a great price, especially when you're serving plenty of people!


2) Add fresh flowers or greenery sticking with your colors.  I realize many of us aren't keeping fresh flowers on the table daily, but here are tips to make your floral budget look more high end.
-Stick with one color!  For this table I used all white flowers in tight bunches.  They look soft but intentional and were only $5 a bunch.  They also lasted two weeks after this photo shoot!  
-If you can spend a bit more, then still keep your color variation to a minimum but vary your flowers.  For example, use all white flowers but maybe three different types with different textures and styles.  -OR, if you're feeling even more brave, pick three different shades of the same color and use those flowers.  

Keep your arrangements low enough that your guests can still see each other easily over the flowers.  Here are glass vases I love that are simple enough yet pretty. 


3) Add layers.  I knew I wanted a tablecloth that would allow for the blue and white scheme without fighting with my turquoise walls.  Solution?  I went to JoAnn fabrics, found this fabric on major sale and purchased enough yards to cover my table.  Instant tablecloth. Plus, it's cotton so I believe it's washable and would be simple enough to add a hem around the edge.  I keep gold chargers stocked in my buffet and bring them out for the holidays.  That's just another layer to help create 
a more finished table.




Thank you to Tracy Anne Photography for taking all of these gorgeous photos!  

Liz made the most incredible Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Sauce to top your potato pancakes!  I'm here to testify to how delish this was.  Especially with a dab of yogurt!  
Click over to her site for the full recipe here.

Overall, what I hope you remember while setting your holiday table is that anytime the people you love gather, it's worth getting out the good stuff from your wedding or your grandmother's china.  Use those crystal glasses you let get dusty throughout the year.  
Life is short.  Live with beauty! 

Be sure to join us for the final installment of the #holidaysizzle series on December 30th!


What do you think of this blue and white table?  

Whether you're near or far, I would love to work with you to create a home you love.  Email me at abbyminteriors@gmail.com for more information on my local & e-design services.
LET'S CONNECT

12.15.2014

My Favorite Cookbooks and the one on my Wish List


In my other life, I'm a food blogger, testing recipes in my kitchen and serving them to everyone I love who will eat them.  Because of this, I hoard cookbooks instead of fiction.  I love a good story, but I'd much rather sink my teeth into a cookbook I can read from cover to cover.

This week I had a message in my inbox asking for my favorite cookbooks...which led me to believe this would make a great blog post.  Here it is!  
My top cookbooks I love and why.  
Just click on the photo to purchase.  



I am a huge fan of every Shauna Niequist book, but this is the book she was born to write.  It's more like a memoir with recipes than a cookbook.  Each chapter will make you wish she was your BFF in real life.  She was my boss for a few years and turned into a friend.  She mentions many hot spots in Grand Rapids, South Haven, and Chicago.  One of my favorite recipes is the Green Well Michigan Salad. It's divine. If you buy one cookbook this year-- this.


I am a follower of Lisa's blog and love her practical approach to feeding her family real food.  This book not only includes plenty of information and ideas, but without the shame that sometimes comes along with healthy cooking.  You'll learn how to shop, what to prioritize, how to budget, and the most amazing lunch ideas for kids.  Caution: this may totally transform how you feed your family.  One of my favorite recipes I've made over and over again is her cinnamon raisin bread.  My boys love it slathered with cream cheese as a snack or in their lunch box.


I may have collected ALL of Pioneer Woman's cookbooks, but if you're going to start with one, then go with her year of holiday recipes.  Her food tends to be rich and she is the queen of holiday menus.  If I had to name one cook whose recipes I use the most, it would be PW.  I have her Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe memorized, swear by her Perfect Pot Roast, give her homemade Ranch Dressing as gifts, and everyone swoons over her Creamy Mashed Potatoes.  The bonus of her cookbooks is that there are step-by-step photographs for every stage of the recipe.  Tip: keep plenty of butter stocked in the fridge.  :-)


We know Ina can be a little unrealistic.  But dang, the woman can entertain.  I've collected all of her cookbooks through the years but if I had to choose, I'd say Foolproof is my favorite.  Not all of her recipes require unicorns and fairy dust-- just select a few recipes you're willing to try and master them.  You'll be glad you did!  She's another cook that will require plenty of butter.  



I am far from a paleo eater, but this book did open my eyes to new ideas and healthy cooking.  I make her Mustard Chicken Thighs regularly and they make the house smell amazing.  I highly recommend making a double batch of this chicken, shredding the leftovers, and eating them with eggs for breakfast and topping your salad at lunch.

I don't own Sunday Suppers, but it's on my wishlist for this year.  In my best version of my life, I throw open the doors to our house on weekly basis and invite friends over for dinner.  Not to be a fancy pants, but just to spend time together around the table.  A notion that I learned from Shauna Niequist, and I think would be furthered by this book.

What's on your cookbook wish list?
What am I missing?



12.11.2014

Holiday Sizzle 2014: 5 TIPS FOR SIMPLE CHRISTMAS DECOR




This is season to celebrate!  I dare say Christmas is my favorite time of year.  A fresh start and the magic of the season are enough to get me every time.  

This year I'm partnering with Liz from The Lemon Bowl, an amazing food blogger in Grand Rapids who is super big-time and if you're not already a fan you should be, and Tracy Anne Photography a local photographer who specializes in family photos, to bring you a three part series during the month of December that we affectionately named #holidaysizzle2014.  Be sure to check Instagram for many photos and updates under this hashtag!

I'm sure many of you have already finished decorating your home for Christmas, but I've talked to a few of you that still need to get that tree up.  Here are my tips to keep your tree looking beautiful without loosing your sanity. ;-)

Before we jump in, here are two questions I get asked often.
1) "Do you buy new all new decorations every year?"  No.  I do try to add new pieces every year, but I always reuse what I had from the year before in a new way.  So last year there were gold feathers on our tree, and this year they are in the dining room.  Last year I also covered our tree in faux white flowers, but this year they are mixed with live greens on top of our piano.  I don't think it's realistic for most budgets to buy all new ornaments every year, but adding to your collection bit by bit gives you flexibility to be creative year to year.

2) "I could never have a pretty tree because of my kids."  I get that.  I really do.  Please be reassured that I have two boys of my own who LOVE to help me put the ornaments on the tree.  We drink eggnog and they get busy hanging ornaments.  Then I have small (cheap) tabletop trees in their rooms for all their darth vader and MSU ornaments.  I'm a big believer in living with beauty while still having kids and only can decide how that works for your family.  

*Stick to a simple color scheme.  
This year I had all kinds of plans to make my tree very colorful.  And then I noticed white glossy bulbs at Micheal's for $2.50 a box and was romanced into an all white tree.  I bought every box of white bulbs they had!  It still wasn't really enough.  But my point is that if you keep your colors simple (last year I had a black and white tree) then it saves you money and you can use the same pieces year after year.  


*Mix different textures.
If possible, it's best to mix the feel of your ornaments, especially if you're sticking to a tight color scheme.  For example, I have shiny bulbs, spiky stick ornaments, paper snowflakes, and huge sequins bulbs.  Mostly the tree is covered in the cheap glossy bulbs, but just adding a few of the more textured pieces makes a big visual impact without spending a fortune.  


*Get out of the Christmas aisle.
We've all walked the aisles of Target or Micheal's that are dedicated to the holidays, and sometimes our eyes gloss over.  It's just overwhelming.  How are you supposed to decide?  (This is another reason to keep your colors limited.  Simplifies decision making.) My biggest tip is to not let the stores boss you around!  Get out of the Christmas aisle, or your Christmas bins, and just see what else is out there that fits your colors.  Do you love to sew or craft?  What types of ribbon do you have left over from another project that you could wrap the gifts with or use as garland on the tree?  I found this white and gold greek key ribbon in the tree isle of JoAnn's on clearance.  I bought the whole spool and wrapped it around my tree.  Don't let the stores decide what is best for you!  Take an adventure to another aisle.


*Use what you have in a new location.  It's OK to move things around!  
My fireplace area never looks like this.  I brought the sheepskin rug over from a different area, the basket is usually flanking our TV stand, the mirror and chair was in our basement, candlesticks in our dining room. Once you know how you want your space to feel {for me that was cozy, layered, pretty, welcoming} then you can start pulling pieces in that you wouldn't normally use.


*Wrap empty boxes as decor.  No, really. 
 I use the boxes from our Christmas ornaments, or from last year's gifts.  Then grab any extra accessories you have floating around in your basement, Christmas bins, or guest room, and tuck them in to the top of the presents.  This could be anything from a Christmas ornament, greenery from outside, to small toys.  I had two fake succulents from Hobby Lobby in my basement and wanted to bring more greenery onto the scene.  Done.



Want to know what goes perfectly with decorating your home for the holidays? Hot chocolate!
This morning Liz is sharing a silky and rich Mexican Hot Chocolate recipe. 

 I tried it.  You want it.
My son loved it.


Here is the full schedule of the #holidaysizzle2014.  I hope you join us for the next installment!
ALL PHOTOS BY TRACY ANNE PHOTOGRAPHY


Whether you're near or far, I would love to work with you to create a home you love.  Email me at abbyminteriors@gmail.com for more information on my local & e-design services.
LET'S CONNECT

11.16.2014

Design with Kids in Mind: MY FIRST PODCAST


Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Meloday from GRKids.com, a local website focused on all things kids.  We spoke about living with good design while your kids are still young, and how to transition rooms as they get older.  Confession: I wasn't feeling well and was terribly nervous, but sometimes you have to jump in and hope for the best!  Melody was very welcoming and did her best to walk me through the podcast process.  
She is an inspiring woman and I'm proud to call her friend.    

photo by Ashley Avila Photography

11.05.2014

One Room Challenge -- Week #6, master bedroom reveal


Reveal day! 

 I'm so glad you're here!  If this is your first time visiting Abby M. Interiors, welcome.  I've been working with my clients for the past six weeks transforming their master bedroom and today I'm sharing the final look.   If you missed any of the previous five weeks, feel free to click through!

WEEK ONE // WEEK TWO // WEEK THREE // WEEK FOUR // WEEK FIVE

What an exciting time for us design lovers.  There is so much talent in this round that I don't know how I could ever pick a favorite!  We owe a huge thank you to Miss Linda from Calling it Home.  She works tirelessly behind the scenes putting the One Room Challenge together.  
Thank you, Linda!  Without you these rooms might never get finished. ;-)

(All after photos by Ashley Avila Photography)

What to know before you read further:

*No one wins an award in this challenge.* 
 I participate because Linda asked and I love it.  Crazy, right? You should have seen my client's face when I broke the news to him that there are no judges and no prizes.  We simply share the room and that's it.  Ha!  But this is a common question so let's just get that out of the way.

*Sponsors make a huge difference.
I will be writing a post sharing ALL of the sources for this room, but there were a handful of sponsors that made this bedroom possible.  Please give them some love for their help!
Minted // Lamps Plus // Wayfair // Drawn // 6 Wilson // 
Lost & Found // Keaton and Co // Jana Bek // Simple Redesign

*Does the One Room Challenge give you a budget?* 
 No, you could spend a million dollars on your room if you have it.  In my case, my clients gave me a specific budget (not a million dollars) to work with, the sponsors help tremendously, and then I pitched in a little for finishing touches I thought were important for photos but optional for my clients to keep.

It's not often that I have the opportunity to design a room down to styling every surface.  This has been a treat.  My clients were fantastic.  Like a dream!  I will write more about the behind the scenes of this ORC soon, but for today, let's be honest...I know you're just here for the photos!

Here are the before pictures my clients were generous to share with us!  We had already worked together on the downstairs of their home and now it was time to bring their master bedroom up to speed.  They are a super stylish and fun couple with school age children and full-time jobs.  This bedroom didn't reflect their style.  When asked how they wanted the room to feel they said,
"We'd like a room that feels relaxing, calm, comfortable and sophisticated."  
I knew they were big fans of neutrals and she asked me to include pale pink in the room.  It all started when I fell hard for this Winter Crane fabric by Dwell Studio for Robert Allen...
The rest of the room was built from there.
You may read my interviews with my clients in past ORC weeks.

I'm thankful Carrie was willing to share the photographs she took of this room before she ever knew she'd be part of the One Room Challenge!  It's not easy letting the world see your home. Thanks Carrie!

Let's get started!


























  

His tall dresser was where I was able to include their wedding invitation and a photo they love from their honeymoon.


  
You may not notice the personal moments in this room, but butterflies remind Carrie of her mother, and it was important for me to include some type of butterfly art in the room.

*Lee Woodard rocker available at Lost & Found*


Carrie found this pineapple and pink vase at her parents home the day before our photo shoot.  I wanted it to be in a place where she would see it often, and therefore, opposite the bed.




The beautiful photos were all taken by the talented  Ashley Avila.  She was wonderful to work with and is always very patient with me while we make adjustments.  Thank you Ashley!  

Friday I'll be sharing the truth behind the One Room Challenge, along with all of the sources for this room.  I'll be responding to every comment below, so feel free to ask questions if you have them.  I would love to hear what you think!

Carrie gave me the biggest compliment Monday and I don't think she even realized how much it meant to me.  She mentioned that she actually retreated to their master bedroom with a beverage & a book, because she loved her room.  In the past, she had always steered clear from their master bedroom. But for the first time she actually wanted to spend time in the space.  Music to my ears.  

GOOD DESIGN CAN CHANGE HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE.  
That might sound dramatic, but it's true.

Thank you to my wonderful, generous, and trusting clients for allowing me in your home. I appreciate the freedom you gave me to create a room that I hope reflects
 the best version of your style. xx 

Whether you're near or far, I would love to work with you to create a home you love.  Email me at abbyminteriors@gmail.com for more information on my local & e-design services.
LET'S CONNECT


Now hold onto your hats, because my fellow participants are sharing gorgeous transformations. Oh, and if you'd like to see my last One Room Challenge, click here.  I will be overdosing on coffee and good design today! Enjoy!


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