Friday, January 27, 2012

Latest Finds

In my latest room re-dos at home and beyond, I've stumbled across some lovely resources I wanted to share with my design-conscious friends and followers!

1. CushionsXpress custom feather pillow inserts
I am someone who loves feather pillows. Well, correction. I am someone who insists on having all throw pillows (and most bed pillows!) with down/feather inserts. Why? They just feel more luxurious and have a much nicer... buoyancy... if that makes any sense at all and fluffiness than cheap polyfill ones. When looking to create my custom pillows for the new downstairs guest room, I stumbled across this fab company who produces custom pillow inserts. Any size, any feather type, and at a nice price (in my opinion at least!).
I was uber happy with what I got and will certainly order from them again in the future. If you aren't sure what feather type to get, I always get the 10/90 down/feather.  That's the typical weight in feather pillows you'd get from Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and such and fluffs up perfectly!

2. Simpatico candles
OMG. Do these smell divine. I am quite partial to the hand poured Capri Blue candles from Anthropologie, but I recently stumbled across this delightful brand of candles at a boutique in Florida.
They sell a variety of scents in a variety of containers, but I totally adore the hobnail glass jar. So lovely... and so going in the guest room!

3. Dwell Studio fabric samples
I have always loved Dwell Studio's furniture and textiles, but have never been able to afford (or justify) buying them.
Recently though, I stumbled across the fabulous world of Dwell Studio fabric samples. Their pillows retail at $75 and their fabrics retail at roughly $50- $60/yd, but their fabric samples are only $5.00. What they don't tell you online is that the samples are not tiny swatches, but 17" x 17" pieces of their fabulous fabric. This is very, very good news if you are wanting to make a pillow 16" x 16" square or smaller. If you buy two samples, you can have high quality, high end throw pillows at a tiny fraction of the price! I am looking to add three pillows to our master bedroom so this would cost me $30 instead of $200 - $300 for pillows or the yardage to make them. High end and low price. I love when I can have my cake and eat it too! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Downton Abbey

Recently I have become borderline obsessed with the British television show Downton Abbey.
I randomly stumbled across this GEM of a tv show flipping through Netflix and now that I've caught up with what's aired, I'm starving for more episodes!

Downton Abbey begins in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. This event throws the estate of Earl Grantham, Downton Abbey, into turmoil since his future heir died aboard ship. The show follows the stories of Earl Grantham's family and the many servants who run the house.

Everything about the show is completely lovely - the music, cinematography, landscapes, gorgeous costumes, and surprising plot lines keep me completely captivated.

My favs, Mary and Matthew.
Season 2, which is defined by the distress of World War I, is currently airing on PBS (or is available through itunes), but Season 1 is on Netflix so watch it now!
I love Downton Abbey!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Love of a Child

This blog is the place we share our stories, but specifically the story of how God brought Zach and I together in such a unique and profound way. Prior to meeting Zach and getting married, I prayed for many things, but one request in particular was for a good story. I wanted not just any ordinary husband or marriage, but a love story so special and out of the ordinary. I promised God that if he blessed me with one, I'd always share it to encourage others on their journey through life and relationships.

Now, years later, I find myself doing exactly that. I am humbled to see how many people - friends and strangers, have come to be encouraged and have their own personal faith strengthened through God's faithfulness in our life. It recently occurred to me though that this incredible story of God's provision doesn't stop with me and Z. It includes Allie. I've always known this, but only recently have I stepped back to examine all step-motherhood has taught me and how much God has shown his passionate and personal love for us through our Allie.

For those of you who don't know, I have the most incredible 11 year old stepdaughter named Allie. I never dreamed of having a stepchild, but I could not be more blessed through having her in my life. I am so grateful that we have such a strong relationship and have so much in common. For those of you who have met Al, you know she is special. Thoughtful, mature, honest, spunky, spiritual, and so much more. She has always embraced me as a mother, always wanting to spend time with me and even encouraging me to discipline her. She has literally uttered the words, "Shelly... you're my mom... you can tell me what to do." HA! I've always been thankful for the love she extends to me, but only recently did I realize the magnitude of this.

One of Zach's friends who is also a stepparent shared that it's a unique bond between a stepparent and stepchild because they don't have to embrace you or love you back. It's different than a "real parent." They don't have to welcome you into their life and want to share things with you, do things with you, etc. When they do - when they want you to tuck them in at night, when they want to run errands with you, or cook with you by their own choosing because they genuinely love you and except you as a mom or dad is... humbling and incredibly moving.

I can't help but think, "That must be how God feels when we choose him...when we choose to be apart of his family and want to love him back, want to obey him, etc." This point-of-view has given me such a fuller perspective of what it means to be adopted into God's family and how he must feel when we want to spend time with him and share the news of his son Jesus with others.

I wish I had the time to tell you all the ways God has used Allie to bless me, strengthen my faith, test my faith, and show me how fiercely God loves us and that His plan is sovereign and good. When Zach and I were considering moving to Charlotte I was initially very resistant. We had spent the last 10 months 11 hours away from Allie and 1.5 hours from the nearest airport. It was excruciating and moving to Charlotte (in my mind) didn't do us any favors. We needed to be close to Allie to be an active part of her life and lessen the stress in ours. I prayed and prayed and prayed... and then prayed some more for God to make a way... make a way for Allie. I can remember just reciting those words over and over as the stress of our circumstances loomed over me.

Before we moved to Florida (in February of 2010) and before we moved to Charlotte (in January of 2011), we had opportunities near Allie in Alabama. Both times, as we prayed for God to open the right doors, those opportunities dissolved before our very eyes. It was frustrating and we didn't understand, but we knew God had a plan and that we should trust it.

Now a year later, I see how deliberately and perfectly God answered my prayers in ways I never expected. He brought us to Charlotte, but in doing so, created a life for Allie beyond my wildest prayers and dreams for her. By providing me a job in children's ministry and opportunity to use my gifts, he provided Allie with great friends (the kids of my co-workers), great families (all the staff families who love her dearly and want to spend time with her), and a way to be an active part of our days when she is with us.

If I had taken any other job (like doing commercial design again or visual display at Anthro) I wouldn't be able to take her with me to work (which is seriously her favorite place in the world!), a place she can create and play and dream. I wouldn't have a flexible schedule that allows me to sometimes work from home. If God didn't provide us a house within walking distance to the church, I wouldn't be able to easily bring her home for lunch or to play and watch a movie.

It is so unbelievable how God has not only "made a way" for Allie, but made an incredibly full, happy, and thriving life for her here in Charlotte. And oh yeah... we now live 15 minutes from an airport with a direct flight to Huntsville. :) In looking back at those two dissolved opportunities, they were such a huge blessing in our life. I feel like God allowed those doors to be opened and then closed merely to tell us "You don't have to live in her backyard for this to work. I have a plan for Allie and it's not based on you living in Alabama or Tennessee. I got this."

We are so beyond thankful and humbled by God's faithfulness to us and to her. Seeing all the pieces come together - for Zach, Allie, and me is such a huge testimony of God's love. God loves his kids!!! Never doubt it for a second. He knows us so intimately and how to really fulfill the desires of our heart.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans for a hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, January 23, 2012

31 and Thriving

Happy 31st birthday to my sweet, loving, selfless, hilarious, talented, rockstar husband! I am so beyond humbled and overjoyed to do life with you- my best friend, the man beyond my dreams, one of God's most prized. (I know God doesn't play favorites, but if he did I know Zach would be towards the top of the heap! Ha!) Seriously though, I am so painfully proud of you and how God is using your life for His glory. You are an incredible husband and father and one day with you is better than a million with anyone else!

(some of my favorite pics from this year)

It's incredible to see all God has done since your 30th birthday -how he has molded you, matured you, impassioned you, and equipped you to do His work in new and exciting ways. I can't wait to see what this next year holds! I hope you enjoy your special day and know that you are loved something fierce! :) Muah! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rosie's Room

This past weekend I headed to Florida for a bedroom re-do project for Rosie Marshall's 13th birthday. While in college, I got to know the Marshall family through the college ministry at my church. Rosie's mom Lea hired me to design and help implement Rosie's new room. For the past few weeks we have been "Pinteresting" some ideas as well as my sketched concepts. Lea started ordering some products I recommended and had the ceiling and existing bed painted before my arrival Thursday to make the transformation happen.

While in town, I was hosted by my dear college roommate and friend of 10 years (wow! :)), Erin. When I wasn't working on the room, I was enjoying catching up with my faithful friend.

Of course we watched Gilmore Girls, one of our favorite shows
and ate at Kool Beanz Cafe
Delicious grilled pork chops served with a bacon-horseradish sauce, served over baked beans with spinach and fingerling potatoes. Yum.
Oh yeah, Erin has the cutest dog named Georgia who I have known since her infancy. Naturally, she is much larger now.
Love you Er! Thanks for having me and helping in the new room! (room preview!)
And lastly, before I get to the room (I know you are dying to see it now!) I HAVE to post this incredibly awesome pic of Rosie's big sis Millie playing the accordion. Yes, yes she does. And it's awesome. I sorta wish we had one of those! Millie, you and your serenading skills are welcome in Charlotte anytime!
Alright, painting pants on... time to get to work!
Few deets about the project...

  • Rosie loves nature and animals.
  • Because of this and her love of quilts, the room design was earthy and textural based around the new PB quilt color scheme.
  • All the furniture was existing to remain
  • Lea and Rosie had mentioned they wanted a cork wall so Rosie has an area to pin up photos, drawings, etc.
Here's the only "before photo"I have of the room.
After photo
The room was painted twist of lime and the frame around the cork area was painted coral reef
Rosie helped out by making these adorable butterfly pins for the cork wall.
View from doorway. Cork wall on right, bed and bookshelves to the left, chaise lounge and new cable spool side table in front of the window.
Only thing not done is the new upholstery for the chaise lounge that actually belonged to Lea when she was a girl. This is the only pic I have where you can see it beyond the bed.
This will be recovered in a natural linen that has a soft, burlapy look without the roughness of actual burlap.
The window drapery was an incredible find at a local fabric store in Tallahassee. It's a soft white linen with an embroidered floral pattern.

The poster bed was painted white and new linens and throw pillows were added in a variety of textures.
Pottery Barn quilt
Also found this really nice bird upholstery fabric at the local shop. I was seriously stunned with what we found!
On each side of the bed is a white bookshelf filled with natural baskets and books.
Above the bed are two ceramic sconces we painted yellow.
They have the cutest little roses on them.

The cork wall turned out great and the coral frame makes it really special.
Graphics designed for Rosie by her mom

The butterfly pins

More roses for Rosie
And now for my favorite addition - the cable spool side table. Lea found one on the side of the road and with a little paint, some casters, books, and accessories it's just about the cutest table on the block. 

Terrariums made by Lea's aunt. ADORABLE. I want some for Allie.
Bird's nest
Awesome candle. Want this for my new guest room. :)
A wooden bird down in the books
The table cloth is made from some velvet and crocheted trim.
Above the table is a rose chandelier (also something Lea already had) that we repainted yellow. 

Rosie was super surprised when she saw her finished room (we tried to keep it a mystery!) and loved the space.
And Rosie's dog Kodie seemed to like it too. :)
Me and the birthday girl
Thanks Lea for hiring me to do Rosie's room. I hope you are really pleased. It was so fun and I loved catching up with all of you! 
A big big thanks to Adam (the dad), our trusty carpenter and handman. We could not have done it without you! And Lea - our resident seamstress who can whip out a throw pillow in 5 minutes flat. "The team" is unstoppable! :)

So I guess this experience means I am officially available for hire anywhere in the continental US... or beyond. :) Contact me for more details on services if you have a residential design project!