Two Story Cottage

Summer Touches

Dear Friends,

Independence Day has come and gone and we are barreling toward mid-July.  I’m kind of shocked yet I know that summer is just another swift moving season.  I feel like I’ve been hanging my head out the window of a moving car.  Wind-blown, content, and disheveled at the same time. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our lack of crazy but the days are long and exhausting.

Like days with a newborn where the tired is physical.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of little projects around the house but documenting them is a whole different ballgame.  I’ve got pictures so the posts will eventually come.   If I get up early in the morning, I’ve been running and I need it to face the hours with the crazy people.  They are fun but they will suck the life out of you.

I might be a shell of a person by August.

I’m not ready to think about August – we still have our beach week with the girls and a week of day camp to look forward to.  Just don’t say the “s” word because I refuse to let stinky sharks and their carnivorous ways ruin my vacation.  I’m hoping they will set up camp elsewhere by the end of the month.


Hydrangeas might be my favorite summer decorating piece.  My mom has an abundance of them in beautiful blue.  Summer decor is really somewhat of a year round thing here. My family room has the touches of coral, yellow, and blue so the mood is always a little bit summery. I hesitate to go all out with themed knick knacks but I do have a few summer touches to speak of.





Not an abundance of summer styling but those little details can make all the difference. Wooden coral and painted driftwood are beachy and bright. My summer style right now is a wrecked house, a pile of laundry, and an abundance of beach towels.  Throw in a pile of flip flops and a gaggle of goggles and the scene is complete.


Hot and Humble



Spring Fluffing

Dear Friends,

Spring is here.  Blooming azaleas and bright yellow pollen are covering the land.  Despite a drippy nose, I’m a big fan of all things spring.   Most of my decor has a spring vibe anyway so I’m more than happy to put away the pinecones and start nesting.

This year I went for the barely there approach.  I want my happy spring things to sing but I’m craving simplicity during this busy time. Spring sports are notoriously crazy and now both kids are involved so the days are one big blur.  I’m in a streamlined state of mind.









Those dyed Easter eggs are long gone by the way.  They were fun while they lasted.  I may have a slight obsession with eggs and nests and I have a hard time resisting anything so sweet.  My version of “less than” decor may be more than the average girl – more proof that I could never truly be a minimalist.

Spring has been busy with activities but I’ve also got various projects in the works with a heavy dose of cleaning up and cleaning out.  Mr. C’s study wall is complete but the study is not.  I’m working on wreaths for the front door as well as another wood project.

I don’t mind the hustle and bustle as long as the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.

Happy Spring!



Wreaths From Garland

Dear Friends,

I struggled with wreaths for my new double front doors this year.  I was tempted by a few at HomeGoods, drooled over many in catalogs, and almost bought fresh boxwoods at Fresh Market.  The cost factor was a killer though.  The HomeGoods wreaths were a great bargain but weren’t exactly what I wanted and by the time you buy two you have still spent $50 on something that may not be forever.  I simply couldn’t do the catalog wreaths at $75 -100 a pop.  Maybe some day.  The boxwoods were gorgeous but $40-50 total for a throw-away.

I ended up with a lot of extra garland since we don’t have the giant staircase to decorate anymore.  I decided that maybe I could affix it to my grapevine wreaths from the fall.   I cut one long garland in half and I highly recommend wire cutters because scissors killed my hands and took forever.  It wasn’t easy and took some finagling but I used brown floral twine to wrap it around and keep it in place.




magnolia_wreath wreath_lantern

Simple, though, right?  Not perfect but you can’t tell from the street.

Garland is often less expensive than wreaths so I consider it a win.  In my case, these were free because I already had all of the supplies.  Instead of ribbon, I used socks for hanging.  I just tied them up like a bow.

It works.  I might even keep them for next year…

Merry, Merry,




Fall Front Porch

Dear Friends,

Our new little slice of paradise is in a Norman Rockwell type of neighborhood.  So of course, everyone goes all out for Halloween.  People are definitely getting their decorating on and I was excited to jump on the bandwagon. Call it keeping up with the Joneses or consider me inspired but I want to have a fun, fall front porch.  Without spending much dough.


Giant mums have taken over our street but I’m a total cheap-0 when it comes to seasonal flowers. I would have had to spend about $50 to have a mumfest so instead I bought two little ones from Walmart for $3.98 a piece.  Honestly, that size isn’t that different from the $10 size so consider it a bogo.


Also, my summer flowers are looking pretty fab right about now.  I bought those on clearance at a nursery in July and they have far and above exceeded my expectations.  I believe it is a combination of coleus and sweet potato vine with one more random cabbage-looking plant.   How is that for landscape lingo?


We haven’t been to the pumpkin patch yet so there will be more pumpkins in the near future. Usually by Halloween, we have become collectors with all of the free festival and school pumpkins.



That lantern was a fall clearance item from Target. The candle is solar which is kind of fun.  No melting wax to deal with.  Sometimes fake is a good thing.


Because my house is built up on a little hill, I had to take pictures on a stepladder.   When I came back in, I realized that I didn’t change my lens for the wide angle shots so forgive the blurred effect.  I just could not do the crazy woman balancing on a ladder, taking photos of her decorations act again.  For some reason there were all kinds of dog walkers, landscapers, and baby jogging folks parading through the usual morning quiet.    I’m sure they think I am weird but I guess it is better that they know now.

Weird chicks rule anyhow.




Fall Home Decor

Dear Friends,

Well, I did get that plastic bin down after all.  I had just a little fall decorating in mind but got caught up in the fun and let’s just say autumn has definitely arrived here in the city.  I didn’t spend much time on it and I didn’t buy a single new thing.  Honestly, I need to toss some old fall stuff but I tried not to wade too deep in faux pumpkin madness.  Little touches here and there and the next thing you know, it’s a cozy autumn home.


the foyer


the dining room


yes, there is a pumpkin hidden in there


family room shelf


family room shelf


family room shelf


hall table


breakfast space


with a leaf branch from a family walk over the weekend


sideboard vignette

Decorating for holidays in a new house is always an adventure.  This go around I kept the bin of stuff out for about a week and just haphazardly put things where I thought they might belong.I moved a couple of things around but didn’t overthink anything.  I find it easier to go slowly rather than try to do it all at once.

I used to dislike autumn in my home because it didn’t “match” but I’ve come around.  I actually like the bright colors but think the fall neutrals are pretty too.

Happy Fall!


P.S.  Stay tuned for a fall front door post later this week.

The Lone Pumpkin

Dear Friends,

With blogging I always try to plan a few days ahead so that I’m not fumbling around at the last minute for a post.  Of course, that has happened on many an occasion but a little pre-planning does help with photography and the order of things.  Sunday, I looked at my calendar for the week and it said “fall decor.”


This is real life and my fall decor is in a storage box in the garage.  I had all intentions of getting it down this weekend but between two soccer games, a birthday party, and church duties I failed the mission.


Well, maybe it isn’t a total fail.  I do have one tiny pumpkin that is bringing fall cheer.  Oh, and fall napkins for the win.  Holiday decorating is one of those fun things that can turn into a total pitfall if you aren’t careful.  Maybe putting a couple of mums on the porch and hanging a fall wreath are a big deal for you.  Yet your neighbor has a display that would make Martha Stewart green.  The point is that I’m a believer in the attitude “you do what you can” depending on your season in life.

Maybe this year you have a lone pumpkin and some discount napkins.  Celebrate it.  And cheers to your creative neighbor.


As long as fall coffee is on the agenda I don’t really care what decor is involved.

That being said, the tiny pumpkin came from a painting pottery date I had with Lacey a few weeks ago.  I miss her since she is in school practically all day everyday now.  It was nice to have special mother-daughter time.   The store had a large collection of fall items so we went thinking we would do pumpkins or something for Halloween.


Yeah, she did a skateboard.  I did the pumpkin.  Oh well, everyone was happy.

And I do plan on getting that box down.  I’m not sure if it will be this week or next.  Regardless, I’m excited to add a little fall to the house.  I haven’t done anything seasonal yet in our new abode.  I don’t expect to do much this year but I’m considering any effort better than none.

Have you decorated for fall yet?  No judgement from me either way.


Spring Mantel

Dear Friends,

I’ve held off on spring decorating so far this year.  I’m a predictable admirer of all things bird, nest, and bunny but the instinct just hadn’t come calling.  I can blame the weather but we did have a beautiful few days last week believe it or not.  This week might be another story and with the pogo stick forecast it is hard to make that flowery, breezy, warm feeling stick long enough to spring into action.

All that to say, that on Sunday I put together a spring-ish mantel at the last minute due to the pretty palm fronds that we received at church on Palm Sunday.   It is a minimalist look for me but I’m enjoying the quiet right now.

Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration.








Easter is practically upon us so we do plan to color eggs and pull out the baskets.  Eventually, I’ll probably delve more into the spring decorating.  And perhaps by June the weather will follow suit.

Maybe, I’ll be inspired on Sunday when I get my sweet tea back.  I had more of an attachment than I realized but I have enjoyed the Lenten challenge.   I say that with gritted teeth.

Happy Spring whether it is raining, snowing, or filled with sunshine.





Simple but Merry Study

Dear Friends,

The holiday decorating has finally begun.  I’m totally behind the eight ball but I’ve never been one to keep up anyway.  Most of you might be finished- my goal is to be done by the weekend. That being said, I have stuck to the simple mantra thus far.  The living room (study, piano space?) is complete.  The other rooms are close although I haven’t hung any stair garland yet.

Okay, remember the simple part?  Yeah, I wasn’t kidding.


A “Happy Holidays” felt garland combined with the vintage stockings create an old school feel. It is enough to bring a dose of cheer but does not dominate the space.


The gold tree is from the Southern Christmas show in a previous year.  I think I got it before the gold craze so I guess I was ahead of the times.  Who knew?  Once again, it is a small touch that acknowledges the holiday but in a subtle fashion.


I like that I can use red in this room.  Most of my spaces are so neutral that the red looks harsh. I still want to paint the study a lighter color but at this point it might be after the New Year.

Last year, I had dinner for my small group at church and everyone hung their coats on the rack in the study.  It made me glad that I make the effort to at least do a little bit in the room that we use so rarely.  I do love singing Christmas carols around the piano though.  I’m glad we have a place to put it in this house!

Are you finished already?  I know you are.  Feel free to gloat.



Rustic Holiday

Dear Friends,

One of my favorite parts of the Southern Christmas Show is touring the rooms decorated by designers.  Not full rooms, but prop rooms that give the decorator full creative control.  You see fireplaces built, light fixtures added, and sometimes even windows or doors.  It reminds me of a movie set.

I have a post planned detailing all of the designer rooms but I thought I’d devote a whole one to my very favorite this year.  A french country retreat with a wonderful combination of materials stole my heart and has me wishing for a cabin to decorate.

Keep in mind, these photos are taken with an iPhone in the semi-dark with crowds to negotiate.


by Samantha Campbell Mason from







I love the combination of rustic materials with the fur.  It keeps the room stylish and adds a cozy factor.   The table setting is perfectly vintage and the light is just right.  The tree would be easy to decorate but it definitely makes a statement.

I doubt our house will look anything like this but maybe one day I’ll have a cabin by the lake.  A girl can dream, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!


Christmas Show Goodies

Dear Friends,

It is the week of Thanksgiving and I have a little bit of Christmas spirit bubbling under the surface.  Truth be told, I always get bitten by the “bug” right after going to the Southern Christmas show with my Mom & sister.   After spending 6+ hours touring holiday decor, shopping, and eating I’d be a scrooge not to submit.

I’m getting excited about all of the trimmings and food.  Oh, the food.  I’m over the food poisoning to the point where I can daydream about my meals again.  All is right with the world.

I did go in to the day with my “simple Christmas” mantra but I had to bite my lip , squeeze my purse and hold fast.  All those decorations will snuff the less is more theory right out if you aren’t careful.

I was careful.  Sort of.


This is what I bought.  Well, except for the edible items.

I’d hate to make you jealous on a Monday morning.


The ornament makes me sigh- in a good way.


I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with those but I could not pass up the vintage feel.


Those plates were a steal at just a couple bucks.  I got two.

I did okay, right?  I love what I got and I didn’t get spendy.  Each item was less than $5 and I have cash leftover to spend as I please.  Best of all, I bonded with the girls.


We also finished up (started?) our shoebox this weekend for Operation Christmas Child.  I love sharing this tradition with the kids.  Collection week is still going if you have the itch to make one.  We like to track ours and find out where it goes.  We mostly bought new stuff but each child donated a little toy at the last minute.  It is nice to focus on something besides the Christmas List!

Christmas talk aside, I’m greatly looking forward to Thanksgiving this week.  Hooray for Turkey Day!





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