Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not crazy about your couch? Try some pillows!

The couch and chair in my den are nice but they are very dark and very leather. Great for a guy's room, but too much for me. How do I solve this problem? Pillows to neutralize all the "guyness" in the room are a good start.

To begin this project, I decided it was finally time to open the sewing machine that I have had for 3 years and have never touched. I have been really intimidated by it, but decided it was time to suck it up and teach myself how to sew.

So I opened up the manual, actually read everything I needed to know, and then churned out 3 new pillow covers in about 45 minutes! Why didn't I do this sooner?

For help, I found a great blog with step by step instructions on how to cover a pillow. It is basically creating a stylish pillow case for your pillow, so you can wash it/change it out as much as possible! Perfect for me!
The blog is called Cottage Magpie and I pretty much followed the instructions minus the fringe. Here are a few pics!
The side of one of my pillows...This is where the 2 pieces come together and where you insert the pillow.
My finished pillows with the other pillow I covered a couple of weeks ago.
My new (kind of) couch!
The finished product! I incorporated colors from the artwork that is around the room (sorry for the glare).
So for those of you intimidated by the whole sewing thing, if you take a few minutes to read the instructions, it is a breeze! Now I feel like I can make anything I want!!! And if you are not the sewing type but would like me to make you some pillows, let me know! I guarantee they will be less expensive than anything you can find in the stores!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A neutral personalized accessory...a great stager/homeowner compromise!

I found these on, and I think they are absolutely great!

They would make a great wedding or housewarming gift. And although they are personalized, there are no initials, embroidered family portraits (yes, THESE exist...and so do THESE), etc...; so don't fret stagers, these are safe!!!

And $60 for all 3 is not bad...but I'm thinking this might be a pretty easy DIY project!? Just some felt cut-outs on white 12x12 pillows.

Another fun find are these great note cards.

A set of 4 is just $4.25 and I think the colors are beautiful! This would be a easy, inexpensive wall-art solution. Just use simple white mat/black frame combos and turn these cards into a classy art grouping!

And finally, I love this little creative idea from Linen Jewelry Board!

This looks like another idea that wouldn't be too hard to tackle on your own. This is a GREAT way to make that big mess of jewelry that you have all over your bedroom/bathroom/etc... look much more stylish! And the seller is from Jackson, MS!

If you have some free time take a look at It has little hidden treasures everywhere and it can provide you with lots of inspiration for your own decorating projects!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Once a month I go into a Southern Living trance

I don't know about the rest of you, but once a month, when I see my new Southern Living in the mailbox, my heart flutters just a little. I know it is full of recipes, beautifully decorated houses, gardening tips, and party planning ideas...all with a wonderful southern spin! I also know that I can't even skim the cover until I have a solid hour or so to dedicate to this wonderful publication; because once I start reading, there is no stopping until I have read all the way through to the the "Southern Journal" piece at the back of the magazine.

If you are anything like me, you get inspired by tons of new, fun, creative ideas and you say as you get to each page, "I'm going to HAVE to try this!" Of course, I end up overwhelming myself and hardly ever do I actually attempt to tackle any of the recipes or plant any of the plants or visit any of the great cities that are featured.

So, from now on, I am going to select one, fairly simple idea each month, and dedicate myself to trying it out. I am going to start with baby steps, and hope to work my way up to the the seven layer, triple chocolate, turtle cake with chocolate dipped strawberry topping smothered with a walnut caramel sauce (OK, I made that one up, but doesn't it sound like something that would be in a "Whip up these easy desert ideas for the perfect bridal shower" section?)

This month, my project will be planting some Cool Season Herbs. I have been trying to cook real meals for dinner lately and I always buy a big bunch of parsley or cilantro, use a handful, and then let the rest go bad in my fridge. So why not have it on the back patio and only use a handful when I need it? I am hoping my husband can build the rustic-looking box for me to put them in. I will post pictures/an update on this when and if I actually follow through.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Living Room

These are a few before and after pics of my (formal) living room. We don't use it much, but it's in the center of the house, so it has to look nice!

The view from the entry as it appeared when we bought the house...we had to have a very big imagination to see its potential :)

This is the room now with my new rug! After looking EVERYWHERE, I found it on and I am VERY happy with it! Great quality and shipping was FREE! You can't beat that.

Living room from a different angle.

Same angle now. Notice the piano that was left by the previous homeowners. I'm still not sure what to do with it but I just couldn't get rid of it! I'm trying to work around it...anyone know how to paint a piano?? Seriously...

Living Room looking out the front window (pre-rug).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Need an Amazing Website?

If any of you haven't checked out my website, it is quite amazing, if I do say so myself! When I started my company, I wanted to have the best-looking website around, and was a little nervous about mine looking like the one I made for my computer class in college if I tried to tackle it without help. If you took that class, you know how scary that would have been :) So, I was referred to Ted at HUTHEAD. He is GREAT!!! I told him what I wanted, gave him pictures and color schemes, and he came up with this:
I was very impressed with how quickly and easily he worked with me, considering we did everything over email. I think you will also find that you can't beat his price!
Check out his website to see some of the other websites that he has created and give him a call or send him an email! He will be happy to help!
Here is his site:

Thanks Ted for all of your work! You're awesome!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My New-and-Improved Display Cabinet!

A few years ago, I purchased a China/Display cabinet for all of my new china and stemware that I received as wedding gifts. I bought it at Target, so you can imagine that the quality is not exactly up to par. But I absolutely LOVE it, and refused to part with it. So, when the thin shelves started bowing, I had horrible visions of waking up to all of my beautiful China in pieces on the floor. This is where my husband comes in. He built new, sturdy shelves for my cabinet, and while he was at it, installed lights under them!!! Now my things are actually "on display", and my hours of "staging" them have not gone to waste! I would recommend accent lights to anyone that has a China cabinet! The only downside is that now I actually have to start checking for dust:)

If you have questions about how these were installed, just let me know. I will have to ask him, as I don't really have any idea :)

The finished product!

Now you can SEE all of my pieces :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chanel on Staging: Stage Your Home the Same Way you "Stage" Yourself!

Most of you know that I used to work as a buyer for a department store. This experience made me very aware and appreciative of all things fashion. I was constantly surrounded by new trends, designers, and styles. This may be the reason why I consider home staging very similar to putting together the right ensemble when presenting yourself to the world! You always want your home to have a classic, timeless appeal, and what clothing designer did this better in her fabulous lines than Chanel! I have written about this in a piece I call: How Coco Chanel’s words of fashion wisdom will help you sell your house: 3 absolute musts to get it sold in record time!

Today is the first of the 3 "musts". Enjoy!

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” These words spoken by the late fashion icon Coco Chanel easily translate into what sells a house in today’s uncertain economic climate. In recent times, selling a home has become the last thing that most people want to do. It more than likely creates a sense of dread in most homeowners who have visions of months on the market, hundreds of showings with no feedback, and offers tens of thousands of dollars below their asking price. While these things are a reality, there are easy, cost effective ways to avoid these scenarios from ever happening to you!
Today’s home buyers are looking for very specific things when buying a house. They want a place that is appealing to their tastes, that is move-in ready, and that fits their family’s needs. In other words, your home must be irreplaceable in their minds. It must stand out (in a good way)from the hundreds of mediocre listings on the market today. It must be different. There are 3 things to remember that will make your home that irreplaceable home for buyers.

1. “Before you leave the house each day, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” In other words, de-personalize and de-clutter!
This doesn’t mean remove all traces of your existence from your house as some people might advise. Buyers still have to see that your home is easily livable. This means keep your house streamlined and accessorized to accentuate your home, not to display your accessory collections. You definitely want to remove the wall-o-memories from your hallway/stairway/dining room. If you have an overwhelming collection of personal pictures and family mementos covering your home, buyers will be distracted from the great selling points that your home has to offer!
De-personalizing also includes keeping the more day-to-day items hidden from your buyers’ sight. Have a specific drawer to contain all of your kitchen counter clutter. Hang your everyday bathroom towels out of view. Hide overtly obvious pet signs such as your litter pans, large dog bowls, and bird cages. Many buyers have allergies or just aren’t pet people, and these things are often automatic turn offs.
Just as you want your accessories to bring out the best parts of you and not hide who you are, the same applies to your house. Don’t hide your house in overwhelming accessories and clutter, use them to highlight its best features! The point is to de-personalize without losing your home’s personality!
Chanel suit circa 1955. Chanel suit from the 2009 Runway collection.

Look similar? This is my point. The SUIT is the focus, the subtle accessories work to accentuate its best features! Accessories that can be easily changed to fit the model (home) and the time period!

I hope you enjoyed tip number 1! Stay tuned for future posts including numbers 2 and 3!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Easy Fix for Decorators Block

For those of you who know me, you know how much of a DIY-er I am. If I can't find something that I need, I will ususally try to make if myself. This was the case when recently I was trying to find new, inexpensive throw pillows for my couch. I looked at all of my normal stops, but couldn't find anything worth buying. So, while in Pier 1 looking at the bargain shelf (you can find some great things there!), I came across a curtain panel on SUPER sale for $8.50. I loved the pattern, and the colors were great for my den! So I decided to turn it into pillow covers! I simply used my old, worn pillows and covered them with the new fabric! You can't beat 3 pillows for $8.50!! :) And when I'm tired of these in a few months (an exaggeration, but not far from the truth), I won't feel bad for changing them out with something else!

I love my new pillows!

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Latest Challenge

Last week, my brother moved into a new apartment! He asked me to help him "spruce it up" a little and after a few days of living in what closely resembled a mental institution, he started sounding kind of desperate. So I went home for a day to help. The challenging part, trying to make an old, off-white from top to bottom apartment feel like home...oh, and keep it masculine. Decorating a masculine room is much harder than you would think. After an intense day of shopping, nailing, hanging, and re-arranging, I think we accomplished this. And he was a great sport with the whole shopping thing!! Here are a few pics of his new and improved living room (I apologize for the quality of them, apartment lighting is not ideal)!

Living room view from front door wonder he was getting desperate for help!!

Living room now! We had to bring in color in other places like the rug, pillows, and accessories since apartment walls can't be painted.

Cozy recliner corner. We hung some floating shelves to provide an additional place to add color on the walls.

Another Living room view before.

Now! Notice we also used 84 " curtains for a punch of color. And over the TV is a great cost-effective tip...he had a long, bare wall and was not sure how to fill it, so I used an inexpensive floor-length mirror and turned in on its side. After flanking it with simple sconces it fills the wall without creating a cluttered look! Large mirrors are also great at making a small room feel larger!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Home...a work in progress.

This summer, we bought a 50-something year old home in East Memphis. It could have best been described as 50's design with some 80's updates. Scary, I know. Since we moved in, we have been updating away, starting with new/refinished floors, new paint, and new decor. We are also slowly adding some new (very minor) structural updates which eventually will include a new kitchen and bathrooms! For now, we are working on new, custom built-ins for the "Great Room". My husband is building them all HIMSELF! I will try to show the progress as those get closer to completion. Here are a few pics of the house as well as our latest "project". If you have questions about paint colors/flooring, please feel free to ask!

Our "Great Room" in its original state.

The Closet that we (my husband) knocked down.

The soon-to-be buit-in's that are going in place of the closet!

The tile that we layed ourselves at the back door!

Our Great Room now! Built-in's will be to the left.

Our guest bedroom pre-updates.

This is our guest bedroom now! Note the great hardwoods that were being covered up!

Our lovely den pre-updates

The Den with re-finished floors, fresh paint, and our furniture!


Hi Everyone!!
Welcome to my new blog!! I am hoping that this will enable me to be more interactive with you about my staging projects and will serve as a supplement to the MidSouth Stagers website! This blog will include lots of pictures, whether it be of homes that I have staged, my own home that I am slowly updating, or decorating ideas and deals that I would like to pass on to you! It will also include some fun facts, articles, and bits of insight from yours truly! Thanks so much for visiting and enjoy!!!
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