Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I'll Be Doing This Week...

It's about that time to start taking out the bows, ribbons, wreaths and all the trimmings! I am starting a new series later this week, called Deck The Halls! Every week leading up to Christmas, I will feature a spot in my home that is all ready for the holiday season. (This will be a great motivator for me, as I seem to put things off!) These are the things I am thinking about for this week, via pinterest:

Source: bhg.com via Simple on Pinterest

Over the years, I have decorated our home similar to these ideas above. This might be a little ambitious for the week, but I am (hopefully) up for the challenge! Wish me luck!

Have you added any holiday decor yet? I would love to hear about it!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Guest Posting at Dot Coms for Moms

I am super excited to be over at a wonderful site, Dot Comes for Moms, sharing some fun and simple ways to decorate for the holidays. This amazing site brings the best of the web to women, moms and all who appreciate home decor, cooking, health, beauty and more. I was so honored when they asked me to write an article about holiday decorating ideas. I decided to pick a theme that we can all appreciate: simple and easy decorating ideas, but with a twist- I thought it would be fun to try and think outside the box and use holiday decorations in unconventional ways! I know that I love ideas that are fast and stylish! I was able to find so much inspiration and beautiful decor ideas through pinterest. I am now ready to start decorating! Check out the post here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and a Guest Post!

Happy Thanksgiving week! I look forward to eating a lot, relaxing and eating a lot! I cannot believe Christmas is around the corner. Where has the time gone? This time of year really makes me think about all I am thankful for. My wonderful family and friends who are so dear to my heart- I am so thankful for you!

I am also out and about today, guest posting over at Kristy's blog, Hyphen Interiors, while she is getting prepared for her move! I love Kristy's design blog and I am so happy to be over there today, sharing some great holiday decor ideas. Stop over and check it out here!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Accessories - The Final Touch

Since I started my blog last January, I have a newfound appreciation for accessories. There are so many great ideas out there for shelf styling, creating small vignettes and styling in general! I used to focus primarily on the larger pieces in the room, such as all of the furniture. Although that's extremely important as well, the accessories bring the space together, making the room look polished and unique. I thought I would share my favorite accessory groupings from pinterest, and then show some of my own that I have been working on in our home! So here goes:

Source: hgtv.com via Simple on Pinterest

And here are my attempts at accessory styling in our home:

It's fun to mix different styles and patterns when grouping accessories. I also love the look of a large collection grouped together- it makes the accessories look cohesive and pulled together!

How do you group your accessories??

Monday, November 21, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Happy Monday! I'm here to announce the stencil winner! Thank you so much to all who entered and the new followers of this blog! After going to the random generator, the winner is...

Lucky #17- Faith, who said:

Faith said...

Love your blog. Love to win the stencil!

Congratulations! E-Mail me at simpledwellings1@gmail.com for more information!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thank You!!

A big thanks to Beatice, from her blog The Crafty Bee for recently giving me the Versatile Blogger Award! I truly appreciate it! I really love her blog header:
Isn't it pretty?? Definitely stop by her blog- she recently finished a coffee table project that turned out great! So here is the blog award:

The rules for this award are to share some things about yourself, that people may now know:

1. I love to run! There's something therapeutic and fun about it. I love putting on the tunes and looking at the outdoor scenery. I prefer running outdoors instead of a treadmill. That has never appealed to me that much. I ran track in high school and a bit in college.

2. Fall is my all time favorite season. I love the leaves changing and the crisp, cool air. I also love being able to take out the fuzzy, warm sweaters.

Source: google.com via Simple on Pinterest

3. One of my best friends from college is getting married next fall. They are planning a rustic, chic wedding in a beautiful barn. I cannot wait to see it all come together!

4. I love the holidays and can't wait to share wonderful memories with my family! They mean the world to me and make me smile daily!

Source: etsy.com via Rachel on Pinterest

Thanks again, Beatrice, for this award! I pass this ward on to all of you wonderful bloggers out there who always share inspiring work!

And don't forget that today is the last full day for the stencil giveaway! The winner will be drawn tommorow morning!! Enter here!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why This Works - Hilary Swank's Living Room and Fashion Friday

Welcome to the series Why This Works... where I highlight a designed space and talk about why (I think) it works so well. This week's space is Hilary Swank's living room and was seen in Elle Decor. The space was designed by Mark Zeff.

This space has a modern, casual vibe that I love! The cool colors on the wall, pillows and dining chairs works well paired with the greenery in the room. The dark wood floors are elegant and allow the neutral rug to really pop. The dramatic lamp shades on the floor lamps give a modern, sleek and industral feel, while the drapery and plants warm up the space. There is a great balance of light and dark neutrals in this space, allowing your eye to really move around the room. The tall ceilings and oversized windows allow the natural light in, giving you an amazing view! The side and coffee tables are versatile and can easily be moved in a different spot, to allow more flow when entertaining. Overall, this space works! And lately, I have been featuring more rooms with lighter walls- could this be the direction I am going?

What are your thoughts on this space?
To see more of her gorgeous home, visit here.

And since today is also the Fashion Friday series, I wanted to show you an outfit I put together for a recent blog challenge. Anna, from her blog A Newfound Treasure posed the challenge on her blog to design an outfit around this skirt:

Stop by her blog post here to see what I came up with, as well as many other stylish outfits!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If My Blog Was A Room - Next Up - Cottage and Vine

Welcome to the series If My Blog Was A Room... where I pose the challenge to think of your blog as an actual space. What would that space look like? I am so excited to have Rene here, from her design blog Cottage and Vine. Rene is a very talented interior decorator who beautifully blends traditional with modern. I am inspired by her projects and am super excited to see what her blog room would look like! Here is her pretty blog header:

And here is what she came up with-

Hello to all of Amber's readers!  I am RenĂ© from the Cottage & Vine blog and I am happy to be invited to be a part of this fun series.  Well, I say fun, but honestly, it isn't easy to pick one room that says it all - so I picked two.  Thank you Amber for this therapy session.  I think I needed that ;). 
When I first started my blog the name that came to me was Cottage & Vine.  "Cottage" to me means fresh not shabby.  Think equal parts of rustic and chic, a mix of old and new, in a hi-low approach.  "Vine" comes from my love of gardening and the organic elements that I like to incorporate into our home.  If my blog was a room, it could easily be the entry in the above image.  I think it shows what my blog is all about.  Painted & natural wood, organic elements, and an eclectic mix are all things that I feature on Cottage & Vine.  I would like to throw a colorful rug in there somewhere though.
I want my blog to be a place where people can hang out and feel comfortable.  At the same time, I hope that visitors are intrigued and inspired.
Thanks so much for having me today Amber!

I am definitely inspired, Rene! Thanks so much for being here. I loved hearing the story behind your blog name. And these images definitely remind me of your blog! The ikat ottomans with that mirror over the mantel is amazing! If you're not a follower already, definitely stop by Rene's blog- you'll be so happy you did!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beautiful Watercolors

Have you ever seen the beautiful artwork from Laura Trevey? Her artwork has been featured in countless shelter magazines, she is the writer behind the very popular blog, Bright, Bold and Beautiful and her watercolor paintings and prints are so versatile and beautiful! She is able to capture a flower so vividly, while also painting abstract art, homes, nature and whimsical animals. Here is a sampling of her gorgeous designs (and some of my favorites!):

Her pieces come in a range of colors for all rooms and styles. If you haven't checked out her etsy shop, go here! It will be hard for you to choose just one!

And stop by tomorrow for another installment of the Blog Room Series!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stencil Giveaway!!

Are you ready for this amazing giveaway? I am so excited to announce this today- The wonderful, amazing Royal Design Studio is sponsoring a stencil giveaway for one lucky reader! In my post yesterday, I showed my dining room, where I tried my very first stencil project. It was definitely worth it and completely changed the look and feel of the room. I'm so excited that you get a chance to try out a stencil for free, from this amazing company! Royal Design Studio will allow the lucky winner to select any of their stencils $50 and under and pay the shipping!  Here is a look at their fabulous stencils:

Small Phoebes Tulip 

Small Camel Bone Weave 

 Large Chez Sheik (The stencil I just used)

All of these gorgeous stencils above are from Royal Design Studio and could be yours!

Here's how to enter:

- Follow my blog, Simple Dwellings.
- Live in the U.S.
- Visit the stencil site here and come back to my blog, leaving a comment for which is your favorite and how you plan to use the stencil!

Additional Entries:

- Tweet about this giveaway and leave an additional comment saying you have done so. (+1)
- Mention this giveaway on facebook and leave an additional comment saying you have done so. (+1)
- Mention this giveaway on your blog and leave an additional comment saying you have done so. (+1)

You have until 6:00am EST on Monday, November 21st to enter!!
The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Monday, November 21st around 8:00am, EST.

Good Luck!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Look What I Did - Stencil Alert!!

Happy Monday! I am so excited to share this project with you today. I just wrapped up my first stencil project on a wall in our dining room. I have wallpapered before, as you can see here, but never stenciled. I was very excited when I was contacted by Royal Design Studios to do a stencil review, where I could choose my own pattern and create the project however I choose! I was definitely ready to try it, as I have always wanted to see what a large, graphic stencil would look like on my wall! I chose a main wall in our dining room for the stencil treatment. The bones of this space are traditional, and I wanted to infuse some modern elements. So when searching for the right stencil, I know I wanted a large, bold print that read more modern in style. I chose a moroccan print called Large Chez Sheik. This print looked beautiful on the computer and even more amazing in person! Here is what the space looked like before:


  Another before with newer accessories:

And now for the afters: (Get ready- there's a lot!!)

I am so appreciative to this amazing company for giving me the courage to try my hand at stenciling! Now, let's get to the details of this project and my honest opinion on stenciling! Truthfully, I am soooo glad I tried it! It was time consuming, but so worth it in the end! For me, stenciling is definitely doable for a partial wall. It gave the space a focal point that it didn't have before. For those that might not want to tackle a wall, stenciling is great for details, like dressers, tables, behind bookcases and drapery. Here are some during shots of this project:


What I used for this project:

- Creamy white semi-gloss paint that I already had for the room's trim work.
- A stencil brush for the smaller patterns and a small paint brush for the larger patterns.
- Blue painter's tape. (You could also used spray adhesive, but I already had the tape and it worked great!)
- Drop cloth (just in case!)
- Small bowl for paint.
- Lots of paper towels for rubbing off extra paint on brushes.

I started at the top of the wall, so I could get my initial stencil patterns straight and lined up with the crown molding. I added the painter's tape to the edges of the stencil and began with only the small stencil brush. I wanted to make sure I wasn't using too much paint in the beginning. You can always add more paint later, but it's much harder to remove it! Once I was confident in the amount of paint I needed on the brush, I began to add the small paint brush for the larger patterned areas. This made the project move along much quicker. Just make sure you take off as much of the paint as you can, from the brush! If it bleeds through the stencil, you have a bigger problem on your hands!

When stenciling, I would try to paint from the outside of the stencil in, helping to keep the pattern in place. If I was going to move my stencil to the right for the next set, I always made sure to stencil that side first. That way, the paint would be dry when I had to overlap. The stencil comes with pre-cut dotted lines, so you are always on track for matching up your stencil. It leaves no margin for error! I left the corners and trickier areas for the end of the project, to make sure the back of the stencil was completely dry when I had to move and bend the stencil. I just took a break at that time! I only used one coat for this stencil. The shading does look darker in some areas, but that just adds to the character of the treatment. (Hopefully) it gives the wall some depth and character. With a bit of the darker wall color showing through, it almost gives the white paint a silvery effect, which shimmers when the lights are on! In time, I will do some touch ups, but they are very minimal and can be done at some point! Overall, it was pretty easy to use!

Thanks so much to Royal Design Studios for their generous idea! Their site also has very helpful tips for your stencil projects! And stay tuned... there will be a chance for you to win your very own stencil soon!

I'm linking this up to the wonderful blog, Savvy Southern Style, for her Wow Us Wednesdays!


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