Checking In

I hope you're all having a great summer. Isn't this tent dreamy? It would be fun to read in there and hide away for a bit, but life is pretty full with young kids at home for the summer. It's hard to hide away. Here are a few photos of our summer so far....

 I played a bit on my camera to get these sparklers to make lines in the air for fourth of July.
I made a flag banner this year by using fabric glue, flags (from Target) and white ribbon.
 A baby shower needs a good cake. I threw a baby shower recently, for a dear friend and made this sweet cake.
 I love cutting fresh greenery and sticking it in some vases to add nature to our home. I planted hydrangeas and lime lights so I can't wait for some blooms (so far I have just a few).
We're still working on the staircase and entry. I'll be showing  you the completed look soon. 


A Day At Monticello

Last weekend our family took a day trip to visit Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. I've wanted to see this Neo-classical house and estate for some time now. Our whole family had a fun day. There is a great children's museum, on the estate, where kids can play and learn about life in the early 1800's. 
They loved writing with quills. 
                                                                         So did I!

                                        The kitchen was in the basement, where it is cooler.
                             Some things don't go out of style, like copper pots and open shelving.
                           The white brick and farm house table in the middle too are classic and pretty.
Jefferson was quite the scientist, inventor and architect. He designed his home after studying the architecture in Europe, especially that of Italian structures. He was the first to design a clock on the outside of his home.
He was thought of as crazy for having so many tall windows (because of the draft in the winter) but he double panned them and closed off rooms if they were too cold. 
Monticello's Parlor
During the tour we were not permitted to take pictures inside, but these are a few rooms that I thought were beautiful and interesting (found on Monticello's site). The formal parlor room has two pianos, plenty of inspirational people on the walls and gorgeous mirrors. I would love to hang pictures like this someday. 
Monticello's South Square Room
His daughter used this blue room with accents of red as a place to run the home and take care of her twelve children (and all their schooling).
Monticello's Library (Book Room)
Of course, he had a tremendous library full of beautiful books.
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello-  Dining Room
The dining room has blue and white wedge wood on the mantle. The yellow in the room is so rich and bright. I'm always amazed at how the colonists and revolutionists used bold colors in their interiors. 

There are so many gardens on the estate. Our twins loved finding butterflies in the flowers. 
And doing somersaults on the lawn. 
The plantation is set on a hill with a remarkable view. The vegetable gardens are full of old world charm.  
I'm crazy about the petite brick room overlooking the land. The top fence structure with it's fretwork and pattern are quite the inspiration. 
There are also some hiking trails all around the area. We had a wonderful time learning more about Thomas Jefferson and life back then. If you haven't gone- it's definitely a place I recommend.


Design Inspiration: Stripes

love the striped walls
Happy Friday! Today I'm over at Marty's blog, A Stroll Thru Life showing some of the rooms in our home. Stop on over to see some updated pictures and say hi. Marty has one creative and inspirational blog!

 Also, today I'm sharing my love of stripes. For me stripes are timeless, classic and even patriotic. 
Red White and Blue living room
Sweet boys room!
Why stripes work in any room: Stripes can be neutral and play well with other patterns such as florals, checks, and geometric. They can be also be bold and bright. Stripes on the floor, upholstery, walls or rugs look great.  
mix it up.
What a wow effect: bold stripes on the ceiling!
{d├ęcor inspiration | interior designer : nick olsen} by {this is glamorous}, via Flickr
I love this racer stripe down the chair!
diagonal stripes
Laundry Room
A small bold striped rug looks great in this coastal laundry room.
                         rainbow stripe painted floor
                      Would you be bold to paint your floor in stripes? I would like to give it a try.

 There are so many ways to add stripes to your home. What about you? Do you have stripes in your home?


Lighten Up (The Staircase, Part I)

Captain's House stairwell-- great contrast.  linen white + dark wood
Basically, I've been a blogging slacker. I'm still here, but have been a bit busy with our girls who are now out of school for summer. I've been staring at a lot of stair images recently (no pun intended). I knew it was time to lighten things up in our entry. I'm drawn to white stair risers and white trim wood work. To me it looks so classic.
tropical staircase by Mackle Construction
 Our front entry has a great staircase going up and connects to a back stair case that leads to the kitchen. We love it, but are ready for some lightening up and contrast.(Beach towels drying up top give you a clue that we've been at the pool a bit this summer.) 
First, the hubs frog taped the risers for me so that I could get to work. Next up, I sanded the risers.
Once it was sanded and wiped down I put on one coat of Zinzer oil based primer. I let it dry overnight. The oil base primer adheres the best to the wood.
 Off the entry is our dining room where we installed board and batten when we first moved in.  I love how the white looks so clean in here with some architectural detail. This is some good inspiration for the staircase hallway.
 After three coats of white trim paint (semi-gloss) it's looking much brighter.
Next up-  the railings will go black and dramatic. The walls will get some white trim work too. I can't wait to finish the transformation this week. 


Summer Planning

My girls are now out of school for summer break.  Yea!! The last weeks have been filled with field trips, softball games, field days, and school projects. I love having my girls home for summer and look forward to spending time with them. Every summer, we love to go up to Massachusetts to spend time with cousins and family (these are some pictures from last year). I'll be showing you some of the rooms in our home there that my family and I have worked on over the years- like this one with nautical charts.

The last couple of years I've made a summer schedule for our girls. Daily routines can help things go smoothly in our house. For our reading program we do "Penny a Page." For every page they read they get a penny. My older girls keep track of their book pages and do book reports on the books they read and then they get some cash at the end of the summer- major motivation. They love it! And so do I, since it helps them with their reading and writing skills. 
For the past few summers my friend Elinn and I hold an Art Camp. Last summer we taught drawing, sewing, crafts, and baking. We'll be gearing up for Art Camp again this summer. I held art camp in my house last year and many of the neighbor kids and friends from school came and enjoyed learning new skills.

I'll be showing  you some of the projects we'll be doing for Art Camp this year. We'll be teaching two groups: a younger and older age group. I can't wait! It's good to have some summer plans. What about you? Got any fun plans for the summer?