beautiful books for mother's day

Mother's Day is less than two weeks away and for the first time in what seriously feels like forever, I've already bought, wrapped and shipped my own momma's gifts out way ahead of time! For any birthday or holiday, beautiful coffee table books are always at the top of my list of gifts to give (and get, for that matter!) and right now, there is a bevy of beautiful books out that would make for a gorgeous gift to celebrate your mother (or to add to your own personal collection!)  Here are a few lovely tomes, from gardening, monogramming and cooking to interior design, entertaining and flower arranging, that any momma would love:

At Home in the Garden / Bunny Williams On Garden Style / A Boat, A Whale and a Walrus / Monograms for the Home / Linens: For Every Room and Occasion / The Book of PalmsPret-a-Party:Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining / The Southerner's CookbookCharlotte Moss: Garden Inspirations / The Romance of Flowers / Mrs. Howard Room By Room /

What are some of your favorite books to give or to get??


3 tips for showstopping planters + pots this spring and summer!

I may be guilty of leading most of my indoor plants to an untimely death, but when it comes to gardening and landscaping, my thumbs are emerald green! With the pollen finally gone and the temps holding steady in the 80's, it's finally time to get my flower pots ready for spring and summer!  I've always had luck with my flower pots, so I thought I'd share a few easy tips that have worked for me time and time again:

Good drainage is key.  If your pots don't have holes, make some yourself!  When I bought my whiskey barrel planters, I ended up having to drill a bunch along the bottom.  It's super easy and will ensure that your plants won't rot.

Put your pinecones to good use.  Filling your pots halfway with pinecones before you add potting soil is a trick I learned years ago and it provides a ton of benefits!  It keeps your pots lighter in case you need to move them, helps with drainage, gives you a break on the number of bags of potting soil you need to schlep home (especially helpful with bigger pots!) and helps get rid of all those pinecones all over your yard!  You can also use empty plastic water bottles or packing peanuts, although, I will warn you that the packing peanuts make a MESS. 

Fertilizer, lime and soil conditioner are a MUST. Our soil is super sandy so a conditioner is absolutely  vital in order for plants to thrive, whether they're in pots or in the ground!  It doesn't matter whether I'm planting six foot evergreen trees along my fence or pansies in pots for the winter, I always mix in some soil conditioner to give them a little more oomph.  I also throw a handful of fertilizer and pelletized lime in for super healthy and strong plants.  You can all of this at your local nursery, but these are the three I use and have always had luck with here in North Carolina - obviously, the zone you live in may dictate what to feed your plants, but this is what I've found amazing for me:

What are some of your tips for healthy looking planters and pots?


spring pillow picks

When it comes to color combinations for spring, I don't think There isn't another more perfect than blue and green.  It's fresh and crisp and reminiscent of all the new growth right outside our door and it's a great way to bring the outdoors inside for the change in season.  Spark Modern is one of my favorite sources for affordable throw pillows in the most gorgeous designer fabrics - I just sourced a pair of these beauties for the living room in a client's beach house and can't wait to see how they look installed!  They also have a pretty good variety of pillows in blue and green so I thought I'd round up some that I'm loving lately.  Any and all of these would look amazing on neutral furniture and would add just the right pop of color and texture!  Be sure to check out the rest of their selection here:

Happy Shopping!


friday five

Hooray for the weekend!  The mild temps this week have officially given me Spring fever and we've been outside as much as possible, soaking it all up.  I plan to do nothing but  more of the same all weekend, too!  Right now, we are off to watch Daddy jump out of airplanes, so I thought I'd cap off my posts this week with a little Friday Five, as I get back on the blogging bandwagon again!

Warmer weather means it's time to break out all my nautical accessories - coral, rope, nautical charts - basically anything that reminds me of the sea.  See my step-by-step tutorial for how to make your own Monkey's Fist here:

My camellias usually bloom in the fall, which is exactly what they did just a few months ago...and then a few weeks ago, I got an extra special surprise when I stepped out my front door to a profusion of pink blooms again!  Does it get any better than pale pink blooms of any kind? I don't think so...

My little miss, rocking the Princess Leia buns so well.  Girl's got a head of hair that would make Kate Middleton jealous:

When my aunt came up empty handed in her search for a vintage sign for her beach house in Newport, RI, I thought, how hard could it be to make one?  Turns out, it was super easy, thanks to a little paint, tracing paper, a steady hand A LOT of sanding.  I love it so much, I was sad to send it off to her and so I'm thinking I may just have to make another...if a tutorial is something any of you might like to see on the blog, be sure to say so in the comment section below!

When my dad comes to town, we spoil him rotten; my hubby doesn't have the sweet tooth that I do so I get excited when Popouli visits because I love to bake AND I have someone to indulge with!  This is not only the BEST key lime pie, it's also the easiest!  I double the amount of lime juice and zest for extra flavor:

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


make the most of your space: corner built-ins

There are so many advantages of having an open floor plan - it's great for entertaining, it makes your home feel even larger and is a great way to bounce natural light around (not to mention, it's a great way to keep an eye on littles when you're trying to make dinner or cleanup!).  I love, love, LOVE that our kitchen, breakfast area and living room are all open to each other; the only drawback is the lack of opportunity for surface space.  We have a bunch of windows and a set of French doors in our living room and kitchen, which I would never trade, but it doesn't leave much room for a lot of decorative furniture, unless I was going to float it all in the middle of the room, which my house is no way near big enough to do.  We have vaulted ceilings in the entire back side of my house which also proves tricky, so when we built our home, I knew I would have to find a creative way to add some surface space, interest and height to a particularly large and empty corner of my living room. 

Custom-made corner built-ins were the answer! 

I've gotten a ton of questions about the dimensions and the plans of my built-ins lately; I posted a before and after a few years back (you can read all about it and see before pictures here and here), but since we winged it when we built them and didn't really have plans, I thought I'd answer as many of your questions here in a blog post! 

The two walls making up this corner are actually disproportionate; one is 60 inches wide and the other is 72, which made it a real pain in the ass when it came time to figuring out the dimensions and making the whole thing look even.  It all came down to getting the base cabinets right (and this took a few tries!)  Here are the dimensions of the shelves, doors and middle space:

On the base cabinetry:

Two middle cabinet doors: 26 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep

Each side cabinet door: 14 inches wide by 1.5 inches deep

We added two inch white pine to the edges to mimic Shaker style cabinetry like in our kitchen.

The top shelving:

Left side: 19 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep

Right side: 19 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep

Middle: left wall is 39 inches; right wall is 52 inches.  The open space the TV sits on is 52 inches across.

Overall height: 8.5 feet from the top of the crown molding to the floor.

We ran beadboard on the backs of the unit (I hung it horizontally instead of vertically because that's how all the beadboard is in the rest of my house) and then topped the whole thing off with the thickest crown molding I could find. The built-ins are painted Sherwin Williams Extra White, to match my kitchen cabinets and the trim and molding throughout. 

These built-ins really are one of my favorite things in my house.  Aside from having shelves to display our favorite books, family photos and art, I love the fact that the majority of Lydia's toys are hidden away in baskets underneath!  I never would have been able to find a piece of furniture big enough to have the same impact and it really used up every inch of that awkward corner!

Sometimes, custom-built is just the way to go...there would have been no way I would have found a piece of furniture that not only would have fit the space, but would have had the same impact!