Shabby Creek Cottage Summer Home Tour

Hello there, I hope you are having a nice Wednesday! I'm sure Lucy's home over at Craftberry Bush is amazing. I would like to welcome you to our little abode over here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm so excited to be taking part in Gina's, The Shabby Creek Cottage Summer Home Tour. Summer is such a wonderful time of year, the longer days, the warm nights sitting outdoors on our back patio. It is a time when our days are lazier, and our schedule is somewhat looser. I feel this season inspires a lighter look and, of course, a more tropical feel. This year I added some summer splashes of color, and I have enjoyed making some changes in our living spaces. So, come along and see the town that our family calls home. Enjoy the lovely photos taken by our talented friend and colleague,  Daidri SmytheTake an inside peek at our quintessential ranch style house in Northern California! 

We live in a quaint area, and we love how beautiful it is when cruise around the surrounding towns on the weekend. The weather is nice most of the year, and we get plenty of sunshine!

Bicycling is popular in our neighborhood and on the weekends you'll find the streets filled with tons of bikers! Of course, I have a California Cruiser bike that has a cute basket on the front. 

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Here is our craftsman style front porch, which I love to decorate with the seasons. So, come on in or rest a bit on our comfy outdoor chairs... 

Photo: Daidri Smythe

If you are interested in updating your home for the summer, an easy way to achieve this is to change out your pillows, add some fresh or silk flowers and decorate with a few small decor touches. In our entertainment center, the silk flowers got a new summery green vase that quickly transformed it! Recently, our living room had more of a darker look, and I changed the furniture to all white. You can view that post here: Living Room 

I just love our new summer pillows, and I'm pleased how they brighten up our living room sofa. They add such a nice fresh look. Here is the link if you would like to order your own Pottery Barn Pillows. The rug is a Pier 1 Imports rug. I searched all over the web and in stores and finally found the perfect one for our space. It is so bright and cheerful, and I couldn't be happier with my choice!

Adding flowers to your home is the easiest and happiest way to decorate for the summer season. The Calla Lily flower is from our yard, and the leaves are from our Bird of Paradise plant. The simplicity and beauty of this arrangement has a tropical feel. In the background is our Crate and Barrel sofa, which I am so pleased with. The white slipcover material stays clean and is washable. If you would like to view our post about it, here is the link: Harborside sofa

I love to bring fresh flowers in from our garden. These roses are from our new rose bushes, and I adore their lovely scent. The votives are from the Seattle company, GlassyBaby. Each candle holder is unique and hand-blown! They are so beautiful in the home and make the best gifts for special friends!

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

These fun drinking glasses are from Painted Fox, and I love that they are numbered. It will be so nice to assign a daily glass to each of my kids this summer. Hopefully, our kitchen will not be filled with tons of drinking glasses! Everyone knows that we are trying to conserve water in California, so the less dishwashing, the better!

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

It's been fun playing around with different looks for our table setting. I wanted something fresh, and lemon themed and these Williams-Sonoma Citrus Bowls are just perfect. I found the fun Crate and Barrel Margarita glasses and had to add them to the table decor! And finally, I just adore these World Market green plates they are the best compliment to the citrus bowls. I wanted to change it up a bit, and so I added a cream tablecloth to give our table a lighter look!

Photo: Daidri Smythe

We recently overhauled our family room. Previously it mostly stored furniture and miscellaneous decor. My vision was to create a room that our children could do their homework, games, movies and crafts in. It now is a cheerful and inviting room and is always filled with friends and activities. The Ikea table is topped with a special order glass that protects it from all my kid's shenanigans! Hooray for room transformations that work!

I love our Pottery Barn Kid's bookshelves. I wanted a little more color and fun in the room, so I added some fun paper to the back of the shelves. We'll be featuring this project on our next post, so stay tuned.

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

I just changed up our pillows for the summer. I would love to try another bedspread, but just haven't found the right one for the room!

Photo: Daidri Smythe

Photo: Daidri Smythe

I hope you enjoyed our summer tour, and we sure have enjoyed hosting you! Please feel free to take a peek at the rest of our blog and then hop on over to Ella Claire Inspired for the next tour!


You can find all the homes on the tour below:
Monday, May 25th
Tuesday, May 26th
Wednesday, May 27th
Thursday, May 28th
Friday, May 29th

Soap Making for Mothers Day

Soap Making

Gift giving is a love of mine, especially in the Month of May. First, we have Mother's Day (one of my favorite days), my anniversary, my son's birthday, and graduation for many loved ones. May is full of celebrations at our house.  I really love to make Mother's Day a personal day with my Mom and my daughters. Now that we live further away I've been pondering what to send these beautiful women in my life. While pondering I remembered an amazing episode of Martha Stewart, about fifteen years ago, and Martha was making homemade soap and lip balm. I was glued to my TV set and writing down notes frantically so that I would remember every detail.  At the time, I also received Martha's magazine every month in the mail and the next month there was an article about the soaps and a phone number to order glycerin, dyes, shea butter, dried flowers, coco butter, oils, and beautifully shaped molds for soap making. Needless to say I ordered the entire kit!

A little note from Marci:

My mom, I call her "Mama", loves little details. She loves flowers on pillows, handmade soaps, embroidered dish cloths, handwritten cards, and she loves getting things in the mail. Now that I live 600 miles away from her I'm going to send her a package with some of these items for Mothers Day.

My tween daughter and I dug out my kit and she was even more excited about it than I was 15 years ago! So, we got out the instructions and soap molds and started experimenting with soap. I mentioned it to Janine and she and I have been playing with soap now too. We've made lavender soap (which is my favorite), lemon soap and rose peppermint and WOW does the kitchen smell amazing!

Now, if I can make these from scratch I know you can do it even better. The instructions are pretty simple and nearly fool proof. It's like being a mad scientist in your kitchen and you just add a little of this and a little of that and magic happens, it's all good clean fun. Did you catch that? It was a soap pun. ;)

Making soap is a pretty simple process, you just need some basic ingredients:

soap making glycerin
soap molds or tins, here is a link on Amazon: Soap kit (this kit contains molds and glycerin)
liquid measuring cups - I use a 4 cup pyrex
sauce pot
pairing knife
essential oils, my personal favorite is doTerra,  Here is link on Amazon: essential oils
dried flowers, seeds, oatmeal or loofa
skewers or toothpicks

1) Cut up glycerin and put it in your liquid measuring cup, place the measuring cup in a saucepan with hot water, double boiler style (you can also microwave this step, but I appreciate the stirring and watching of this melting process).

2) When the glycerin is melted add your dye, a little at a time, (I like to use a wooden skewer) you can always add color, but it's harder to take color out, so add a little at a time. mix in your essential oils and dried flowers or seeds, stir.

3) Coat your molds lightly with a non-stick spray or petroleum jelly (i like olive oil spray)

4) Once your glycerin mixture is melted, mixed and stirred pour it into the molds and place in your refrigerator, wait about 1-2 hours and squeeze the molds to release your soaps (if you use tin molds, put the mixture in the freezer)

You can always add shea butter, jojoba, coco butter, and other skin softening ingredients. It's fun to play with colors and scents too. Each soap becomes unique!

I made my Mom a beautiful bunch of soaps from my lavender growing in my yard. They smell lovely and I added a tiny drop of violet dye to compliment the lavender smell. I know she will love them. To all you mothers and daughters, have a lovely and relaxing Mother's Day weekend. We would love to hear from you, so share a special thing you do with your mom or something your kids do for you!


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Plastic Outdoor Chairs

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Paint

Now that the weather is starting to turn nice around here, our attention and time is spent more outdoors. We recently hauled out our table, chairs and pool furniture from our winter storage shed. We have several different types of chairs and among them are some old Adirondack ones. I'm sure many of you are familiar with the plastic Adirondack chairs that are sold at home improvement stores. They seem to last for about one or two seasons and then they fade and disintegrate and quickly look horrible. Last summer, I was contemplating whether to hold onto them another season or throw them out with our neighborhood recycling program. I decided to chalk paint one of them and see if that could restore them. Well, it turns out that after a year of being exposed to our hot California summer, the one chair we painted survived. It appears that the paint stayed on the chair and miraculously it also didn't fade. I was able to touch up some spots without any color changes. So, this spring I painted the other chair and now we have two beautiful seats that are now poolside. Hooray for Annie Sloan chalk paint. I totally love that I was able to refresh our old weathered chairs and bringing them back to life with a beautiful color and amazing paint!

~ A Funny Note About the Nester ~

Last year we chalk painted one of the two chairs.
All summer, the two chairs sat side by side... one green and old 
and the other a beautiful dark linen color. 
My family knows that I tend to take a while to complete my projects!
Oh well, better late than never!

Painting with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

For this project, I used Annie Sloan's French Linen Chalk Paint. This color is like a blend of brown and grey and is just a nice subtle velvety sophisticated color. Annie Sloan lives and works in Oxford, England and is the founder of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint line that includes 33 colors. She is probably the main reason for the painted furniture revolution through her easy, lively and creative approach to painting. Annie has been painting for over 40 years as well as writing a number books on the subject. Her paint is specifically designed for furniture, walls, floors and paintings. It is a unique decorative paint that sticks to just about any surface, wood, concrete, metal, matte plastic, earthenware and much more. Also, it dries quickly and you can paint a second and third coats quickly! 

Painting Plastic Outdoor Chairs

Here is our original plastic Adirondack chair. It had a white powdery residue that I cleaned off the surface with a wet rag. I also took a little sand paper to the chair too! As you can see it was pretty worn and weathered and looking pretty tired.

Annie Sloan French Linen Paint

Here is the final painted chair. I did coat the chair with 2-3 layers of paint. Chalk paint is great since you can start painting another coat once the layer is dry to touch! I didn't use the Annie Sloan sealer wax since, I knew that I would just touch up the chairs every Spring. Despite not sealing it, the paint doesn't scrap easily or come off. 

Outdoor Adirondack Chairs

I hope you are getting your backyard ready for summer and that this project has you inspired to paint some of your old chairs. Now, I'm thinking what more can I paint in our home! Maybe our piano will be a future project. Stay tuned for more painting projects. I would love to hear if you have any fun projects on your list! 


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