Sunday, July 8, 2012

Estate Sale Finds . Amazing . Everyday

Estate Sale Purchase $40

Starting to scare myself with the hoard of vintage furniture I have collected. Heading out this morning to rent a storage unit to house the collection. I can only work on one piece at at time and the hoard is crowding my creative energy. 

I frequently remind is a true form of "green living". My hoard would otherwise end up in a land fill. The furniture was made by Americans! How patriotic is that...

Creating mood boards for my pieces on Olioboard helps me to visualize the end result and this chair screams Vintage Beach House.

Now I can see my vision come to life...wood trim will be painted with Benjamin Moore Sea Salt and slightly distressed. Fabric selection is from Robert Allen's Tropical Collection. Skipping the buttons on back cushion. Can you see it now....sitting in the chair watching the surf roll in from the huge window. Of course there is a cup of coffee in your hand.

Being a female I have the right to change my mind a few times. What would it look like in a city finish or suburbia look?

Right? Same chair refinished in Benjamin Moore Black Beauty in a high gloss finish and Marrekesh Ikat Dusk fabric. Sans the buttons.  Fabulous!!!!  Serve me a martini now!

Before I tackle this project...I am off to rent a storage space! Then a few decisions! 

Which look is your favorite? City or Beach? I would love to hear.

One this I am sure of is.....

I will make my upholsterer very happy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Organization . Amazing . Everyday

Being organized is in your DNA! I envy organized people because they know where everything is in their homes. Ask an organized person where something is and they will tell you exactly what shelve or closet it is in and what is right next to it.  NO wasting time looking for their other black shoe, car keys, a missing sock or something even more important.

Organization does not have to be an extreme and most people fall in the middle of the spectrum, like me! I will admit to spending a lot time looking for things…and I am an empty nester. Having a family can thwart the most organized person efforts.

So when I was invited to join OlioHop’s 15 bloggers writing about organization and clutter I immediately agreed…then panic set in for a few minutes. Being a managing partner of a residential cleaning company I see every client’s home before they begin service….first hand knowledge of where most clutter ends up in peoples homes.

Think you can guess which room it is? It is the laundry room. Yep, no matter how neat and organized the rest of the house is…it is the laundry room where items line the floor, odd socks and everything else that does not have a place ends up.  I get the same response from most clients….just clean the laundry room floor.

So I set out to design the perfect laundry room using Olioboard 3D to create my mood board. It was so easy! There are a ton of tools and you can upload your own images. I am so inspired by the results I plan to redecorate my own laundry room.

My mood board for the perfect Laundry Room

Storage space is the key to keeping this room organized because most LR lack storage. The 2 large storage cabinets flanking the appliances allow for plenty of storage and easy access. Each unit has 3 large compartments and the higher ones can be used for detergent and household products. The lower one is great for kids to store bookbags, shoes and sports equipment.

While the flat surface of the dresser is perfect for folding clothes the drawers give added storage. The wooden planter boxes ...a stylish way to hide the items which usually line the floor of your LR.

Being organized is really about storage space and without enough of it is hard to achieve. This look can be achieved without spending a ton of money. Personally, I love to find a good piece of furniture in thrifts stores and re-purpose.  

Being organized and removing clutter from your home is "freeing"! No more closed doors in my house!

I mentioned several other bloggers participated in Oliohop and I peeked at a few!  Happy to say they are awesome so please read all of them for more tips. 

1. Lesley of @chaoticallycrea --               
BLOG: *chaoticallycreative*

2. Kate of @DabbleInChic --                    

3. Selma of @DesignerSelma --              
BLOG: *selmahammerdesigns*

4. Colette of @frugalfinds1 --                    
BLOG: *cconway915*

5. Julie of @gosimplysavvy --                   
BLOG: *julieatsimplysavvy*

6. Joanne of @homestyling101 --            
BLOG: *homestyling101*

7. Jennifer of @iheartorganize --              
BLOG: *iheartorganzing*

8. Marilyn of @Marilyn_Russell --            
BLOG: *marilyngrg*

9. Tamara of @myurbaneclectic --           
BLOG: *tarcher*

10. Lindsey of @pinkletandc:                    
BLOG: *lindseypinks*

11. Antoinette of @PUSHinteriors             
BLOG: *PUSHinteriors*

12. Katrina of @seasideinterior                 
BLOG:  *seasideinteriors*

13. Stacy Naquin of @StacyNaquin         

14. Ana of @whitelinenintrs                      
BLOG: *whitelineninteriors*

Don't forget to try Olioboard!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fathers . Amazing . Everyday

Father's Day in our family has always been a day to honor a man we loved, Clinton J. Stites Sr, our Dad. I invited a guest blogger @KitchenClatter and my real life sister to capture his essence as only she can do.

Our Dad……..

He was Archie Bunker, before there was an Archie Bunker. No kidding. The first time my family watched an episode of “All In The Family”, we looked at each other and said, “Wow, that’s Dad”. My father, who always watched TV in the kitchen, walked in after the show and said “hey, I like that guy”.  And for those of you too young to remember the famous TV character, Archie was a family loving man who was okay with the world… long as everything was done his way. That was Dad!

Life wasn’t always kind to my Dad. After losing our mom to cancer at the age of 39, he was left with three young children to raise. And with our oldest brother in the Coast Guard, it couldn’t have been an easy time. Shortly after my mom passed, it seemed unfathomable to me that she wasn’t in the house. At night, I would always check to see if my Dad was still there. I have such a vivid memory of sitting on the top landing of the stairway and seeing him iron our clothes, while watching the Phillies. On the end of the ironing board was a bottle of Schmitt’s Beer and a cigarette burning in an ashtray. I am sure he knew I was there, but he allowed me the comfort of seeing him without bringing attention to it.

Times were lean for sure. But our Dad was the epitome of the term “never let them see you sweat”. He didn’t want his children to feel pity or be pitied and took great pride in making the best of what we had. At one point, my mother’s family seemed convinced that they could do a better job with us then my Dad, and petitioned the court for custody. I use to wonder if that option was ever tempting to him. How much easier life would have been for him if he could have said, “live with your aunts, I will visit often.” But not Bud, he marched in front of the judge and proclaimed the three of us his to care for. “I lost my wife. I’m not losing my children.” And that was the end of that.

Still, there were challenges, for sure. When my mother first died, we ate a lot of Spam. A lot of Spam! It was cheap and easy to cook. But as Bud gained confidence behind the stove, he became….well rather adventurous. Tomato soup with sliced hot dogs and macaroni was his go-to favorite. It wasn’t as good as it sounds. He claims to have invented this recipe and I’m sure that even if he didn’t, no one else would claim it. Ironically, in later years, some of his grandchildren actually liked this concoction. Go figure. 

Eventually, he became quite the cook, handling everything from homemade soups on Saturday nights (a tradition I continue to this day) to five-star Sunday dinners. Sunday dinner attendance, by the way, was mandatory. To Bud, it was family day and not the time to eat at a friend’s house. Roast beef was my favorite and to this day, when we have a family gathering, someone will inevitably ask “did you make Dad’s coleslaw?”

Dad loved the holidays and Thanksgiving actually became his favorite. He’d get up early to put the turkey in the oven and off we’d go to my younger brother’s football game. Dad had an open door policy that offered anyone who had no one to spend the holiday with a chair at our table. We never knew from year to year if we would have one, two or even three tables to set up in the dining room. It simply didn’t matter to him. He’d buy the biggest turkey he could find and cook a breast alongside of it. There was always plenty.

In later years, Dad married Rosalie, who brought two young kids into the family that he raised and loved as his own. Rosalie, who like my mother, was Italian, and could hold her own against Bud’s constant joking. “I asked Rose to see if my turn signal was working, and she stood behind the car and said ‘now it is, now it’s not, now it is, now it’s not”. Rose would reply, “Why don’t you go stand behind the car, while I’m behind the wheel”. He loved that joke. He loved Rosalie. There was a constant bantering going on in that house.
Bud loved banter. He loved to argue.

 He was a proud republican who could take you to task on a political debate. I was never quite sure if he had all his facts straight, but he argued with such conviction, that you would always end up on the losing side. 

Life with Dad was at times exasperating, at times challenging, at times frustrating, but always, always loving. He taught us by example to be independent and strong willed. To be able to handle whatever life throws our way. So, Happy Father’s Day to the man who wore a Phillies hat for six months of the year, and an Eagles hat for the other six….. To the man who invented hot dog soup and Spam burgers…. To the man who decorated his kitchen with hanging spiders on Halloween, and his Christmas tree with bubble lights…. To a man who after working all day, stuffed a frozen turkey into a storage locker at the mall so he could Christmas shop for his kids….To a man who made the absolute best chicken soup…. To a man who once bought an artificial tree and then never took it out of the box because we cried when he brought it home.  To a man who loved his grandchildren as fiercely as he loved his own…. To a man who hurdled every obstacle that life put in his way and landed on his feet with his family intact…. To a man who once walked into a court room with empty pockets and a full heart, and told a judge “These are my children, no one is taking them from me” and we were all the better for it. 

Thanks Dad!

Clint, Betty, Joann, Tommy, John and Rosemarie and a slew of grand kids and great grand kids.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Red, White & Blue . Amazing . Everyday

Summer's here and the red, white and blue season begins. It happens every summer mostly impart because of our patriotic holidays. The colors represent American to many of us. 

It makes me feel proud when I see our country's flag on display. You know... freedom, mom's apple pie and simpler times. Aside from that, the color combination fascinates me with rich navy blue (a fav of mine), crisp white and the pop of red.

I am not alone in this since designers, product developers, brand enthusiastic use RW&B all the time. Think of the most memorable logo's and what color are they? FaceBook, Twitter, Dell, Sears are blue and Comcast, Bank of America, ESPN and YouTube are red.

Ralph Lauren built his brand based on it...

Interior designers know how to use the rich color combination without it screaming USA!

I mean look at this chair.  Adore it!

Really, how chic is this outfit? 

Not sure why....but find a group of bikers and you are sure to see RW&B on their leather jackets, head scarfs and pants.

Promise not to laugh but my fascination began in the 70's when I first married. It was shortly before the Bi-Centennial and RW&B was completely the rage in fashion and decor.

You may think I lost my mind! My couch was RW&B along with the floor lamp currently hidden stored the attic along with it's cousin the Betsy Ross lamp. I swear I was so hip!

Thank goodness my taste has matured like fine wine. Now a days, I rather be at the beach relaxing on a lounger with crisp red cushions and blue accent pillows. After, I will head out for a little dinner...

in this sweet boat with the escort included.

Wisteria Cleaning Company would like to thank the brave men and women serving our country. It is such an unselfish thing to do.

Happy Memorial Day!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Brimfield Tweet Up . Amazing . Everyday

Whew...I am exhausted after an exciting trip to Brimfield, Massachusetts to attend the Brimfield Antique Show. It is one of the largest antique and vintage shows in the Northeast and easily hosts thousands of vendors. I have blogged about my love for finding vintage furniture and putting my mark on it. But I had another reason for taking the 4 1/2 hour drive.

YEP! The Brimfield Tweet Up! The brain child of Gretchen Aubuchon, Fashion and Decor, and Cynthia Bogart, The Daily Basics. They bring together interior designers. bloggers, design enthusiasts and vintage hounds  with sponsors such as Benjamin Moore Paint, Aubuchon Hardware, Kathryn Markel Fine Art, Company C and media partner Style at Home. It is a three day networking event with shopping involved. The ultimate! Introduce yourself by your twitter handle and more than likely you end up in an embrace because these are the tweet friends you talk to most days but never met in real life.

Most attendees are women who own and manage their own business. It was refreshing to listen to women exchange ideas on how to attract clients, readers and how they could help each other grow their businesses. What kept running through my mind was...this is the 2012 version of "the good old boy's club" and we are brain storming in our own unique way. One thing I learned is...large retail companies ask bloggers to blog about a product or service but are not always paying the bloggers. As women and business owners we should not give our work away. This is just my casual business observation and not intended to hurt anyone's feelings. I will admit to being a little bit of rebel and my "protesting days from the 70's" surface every now and then...but all companies regardless of their size have budgets for advertising.

Business getting done! Look at the happy faces of these women....I think a lamp just found a shade but you will have to visit @Casualinterior  or @Doovah to find out. 

I met some wonderful vendors like Rebecca Brawn  who strips antique chairs down to the frames...

and works her magic. After chatting with her I learned she started her business after raising 5 children. She wanted to do something for herself and never expected she would grow large enough to employee a staff.  Most of her clients are designers and she now buys the chairs in bulk to keep up with the demand. I am a sucker for this type of success story. She is working on getting a website and did not know anything about social media. So I made an introduction to a social media expert and finger's crossed maybe business will get done.

Gotta love Randy! One of the few vendors I met at Brimfield who uses social media. If you look at the bottom of the sign you will see his blog address  Brilliant tactic!

The message on this sign says it all....because if you read my bio I said I might slip in a blog about sales. 

At the end of my two days at Brimfield, I was tired from walking miles but left with a huge smile on my face. I made new friends, built new relationships and had an amazing experience. Sign Me Up for September!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Steam . Amazing . Everyday

Courtesy of Tumbler

Find it hard to believe it is the end of April and the Wisteria is in bloom. Most people asked if we named the company after Desperate Housewives of Wisteria Lane and the answer is "NO". Wisteria, the flower, starts out as a small vine and needs support to grow but once it takes root it is evasive and can grow for hundreds of you can see why we named our company Wisteria Cleaning. A metaphor for success! Today's blog is not about flowering wisteria... so onto the real topic of the day.

Recently, a few twitter friends tweeted me questions on how to resolve simple household problems. I am flattered when this happens, so thank you! But what really struck me was my answer to each question was the same...use a steamer.  I will tell you I am not being paid to endorse any steamers only relaying our experiences.

The virtues of using steam to clean your home are endless but I will give you a few facts.
  • Kills 99.98% of surface germs and bacteria
  • Environmentally friendly - you use only water
  • No cleaning products necessary
  • Cost for steamers are around $130 and will pay for themselves quickly
  • The list of what you can clean with a steam is only limited to your imagination 
Don't stop reading yet... let me make a believer out of you.

The tile entryway is in my sister Rosemarie's house and is about 5 years old. During this time she used traditional cleaning methods and products and the grout is discolored.


Now do have your attention? This is the same entryway after she used a handheld steamer. The grout is white again and the silver trim is even shinning. If you think she scrub awhile the answer is no.  Steam quickly loosens the dirt and grim and then wipe with a rag.

I swear this is my favorite use...because trying to get price stickers off of vases, mirrors, glasses or china has ruined many of good manicures. Steam will take the sticker right off and the adhesive too. 

Hand held steamers come with a variety of attachments. So I felt compelled to try each and every one.  I was a steaming machine! Window screens, gas grill, stove top, micro waive, glass window on oven door, glass shower door, bathroom tile, toilet seat and base, sliding glass door track, door knobs, tile floor and freshen drapery and pillows. Carpet - Steam will get rid of impression marks in carpet left from furniture or the Christmas tree stand. Hit with steam and fibers will pop back into place.

Steam cleaning is addictive and I rank it right up there with my IPhone and IPad. Can't live without them.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter . Amazing . Everyday

Photo by Eddie Ross

The table setting is absolutely beautiful! I have a collection of blue and white dinnerware, a ton of blue and white vases and even have a tablecloth very similar to the one on the table. Makes me wish  I was hosting Easter Dinner for a quick minute. 

It also made me think...what I would do if I had the time. Women are faced with this dilemma everyday and time is our enemy. Recall a boss admitting she forgot to buy Easter candy for her daughter and remembered at 8:00 the night before. So planning a beautiful Easter table is not on most of our radar.

Should it be? I'll admit I am a sucker for the creative elegance of it all. When I host a dinner it is all about the details and drive myself crazy. May be the reason I do not do it more often. 

So if I had the time...

I would dig out my ceramic bunnies and spray paint them white...

This adorable trio would be sitting on my kitchen counter...

I would decoupage beautiful eggs for place settings...

Or  maybe these...

I would make this center piece to make my grandchildren smile...

I would buy make Italian Easter Bread...

I would tap into my creative energy and create an original center piece and share the how to's with all...If I had the time.

This year I will celebrate Easter with my family, wish my children and their families did not live hundreds of miles away and say a little prayer that all women find the middle ground between serving Easter dinner on paper plates and Royal Dalton China.

Happy Easter! 

Images and Inspiration Eddie Ross, Pottery Barn, Tumblr , Pinterest and the Italian Dish