Showing posts with label home decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home decor. Show all posts

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fall Decorations and Scented Candles

Hello friends! I hope everyone is well and that my American friends are safe and sound from the bad weather that has hit the South. I have been getting news from my father down in Florida and I know there was a lot of damage but thankfully everyone is OK now and the worst seems to be behind us.  

I have been fully back to the grind since I last posted. I am also trying to recover from a nasty flu bug that is still lingering unfortunately... I was on antibiotics and still have a bad cough that I'm trying to get over...it sucks. But I am getting better and for this I'm thankful. 

All the beautiful blogs I follow are filled with fall decorations, pumpkin spice and everything nice. So obviously I was itching for some fall decorations  in my own home.  In Italy unfortunately fall decorating isn't that popular so there aren't many decorations available in stores as much as there are in the States so I have to make the best of what I have. 


I love scented candles and when fall comes around, I go nuts over pumpkin spice scented candles.  I bought a little pumpkin spice scented candle when I was in Pennsylvania last year when I visited the Amish village. I would light that little candle every day when I got home from work and when the wick was completely consumed my heart wouldn't let me throw it away. I know...dumb right?


So I set it aside in a drawer and today I decided to remove the wax left in the candle and heat it in a ceramic incense burner. I just scooped it out with a fork and let it melt in an incense burner.  

The house smelled amazing! I love scented candles and now I know what to do with the wax that remains when the candle wick ends. 


 I also finally got around to finishing the slipcovers for my dining room chairs...it only took me about four months... but I think they look great and that's all that matters!  


I actually found a really pretty fabric on sale that had more of a fall/winter look.  The fabric I had before was too summery I thought so I decided to switch things up a bit. 
I also added this cute ceramic garden stool that I found online and I love it! 


A little update on my baby girl Gigia... I took her to a veterinary dermatology specialist this past week. She has been diagnosed with Eosinophilic granuloma complex and the only thing that has helped her thus far were cortisone shots.  Obviously she can't go on with cortisone shots for the rest of her life since she's only 4 years old so he has put her on Atopica (cyclosporine) which is an immunosuppresent but with fewer side effects than cortisone therapy. 


Her upper lip is still a bit swollen but she is doing much better.  He also prescribed a prescription anallergenic diet so we will see if she does better with the diet so that maybe we can ween her off the Atopica. 

She eats and plays normally thank goodness so I'm not that worried.


I don't know about you guys but I spoil my pets so much... I'm experimenting on a homemade healthy dog treat made with turmeric and carrots.  The recipe still isn't perfect yet but it's getting there and I'll hopefully be able to share the recipe with you soon. 

These two are my rescue babies and I'll do all that I can to make them feel better and live a better life. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and thanks for reading!

xoxo, 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Ikea Hemnes Buffet Makeover

Hello friends! Hope you all had a great weekend. I will be going on vacation in just one week and I am so ready! I did some major reorganizing and cleaning around the house getting things ready in the guest bedroom for my mom and some relatives that will be staying with us next week.  While I was at it, I decided to give my buffet a little lovin' because it was looking kind of sad...  
This bad boy was jam packed with crap that I absolutely did not need anymore and it was starting to overflow... So I said enough is enough you are getting a makeover! 


This was my inspiration photo and I fell in love with it! Marissa from Lilly and Cedar did such an amazing job transforming this piece. 
Via

I found these pulls from a local hardware store but wasn't really feeling the gold finish.


So I  gave them a coat of oil rubbed metallic spray paint and it was perfect. 



All I did was clean the buffet thoroughly with rubbing alcohol, sanded and directly applied the water based paint taping off the top. 


I initially wanted to spray paint it as I have seen many DIY bloggers use this approach but it just didn't turn out right. It started dripping and it looked uneven...I'm sure I wasn't applying it correctly but I just preferred switching to the good old fashioned paint and paintbrush technique ;-)


That TV is ridiculously heavy so I left it on there and when I went to stain the top I just moved it to the side and waited for it to dry and stained the other side.  It worked fine for me. I used a water based stain that dried very rapidly. 

Ready for the after pic??


I added those two baskets from Ikea in which I stored extra wires, chargers et cetera in the middle basket and magazines in the lower basket. I cleaned out all the drawers and cabinets organizing everything and throwing unnecessary things away. It feels sooo good to get rid of crap you don't need. 


Here is the view from the family room now. I think the space looks so much brighter now. I love it. 


I'll leave you with another before and after 'cause we all love those..I know I do!


I would love to do a post soon sharing a complete tour of the house. I'm doing some redecorating in the bathrooms and changing things up in the kitchen as well so when I get that done I'll share it here. I like to document the changes I make around the house.  It's funny how taste in home decor changes throughout the years don't you think? 

On Instragram I shared a peak at my upstairs gallery wall.  I have been adding beach themed wall art for a while now.  It's very different than my downstairs living/dining room area. This space is right above the stairs and it connects the three bedrooms and bathroom. I guess you could call it a little reading nook. I'm on the hunt for a cozy arm chair to put in that corner where the lamp is.  I still am quite unsure of what to do here. It's kind of a strange area and I feel like I never know what to do with that that little window for a window treatment.  Any suggestions are more than welcome! 


I know I haven't been sharing any good recipes lately and that's mostly because I haven't been cooking anything particularly share worthy. Hopefully I'll be more inspired soon... 

Until then, I wish you all a fantastic week ahead!

xoxo, 


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Gardening and Spring Cleaning

I have been quite the busy bee these past few days, as my Grandmother used to call me. I did  a lot of general house work, cleaning, decluttering, etc. Basically all (or most) of the tasks that have been put on the back burner.  I just haven't really been home that much because of work and trips away etc so I'm happy to say that many of the things that have been bugging me for some time got done and I feel quite accomplished as I type this albeit full of muscle aches because of the yard work, but they're good aches if you know what I mean. 


For me personally gardening is more therapeutic than running because I tend to think a lot about my problems and what I have to do later in the day when I run whereas with gardening all I'm focused on at the moment is what I'm doing with my hands so my mind just turns down the volume, if you will, and relaxes. I know I got a good workout because boy was I sore the next day..


I'm quite embarrassed to be showing you these before pictures because my yard, although small, really needed some work...I mean REALLY ... 


So I put on my gardening gloves and started weeding...and weeding some more.  I initially wanted to call a gardener to do the dirty work for me but it was a beautiful day out and I thought to myself, why do I have to pay someone when I am perfectly capable myself? Plus, it'll be good for me! So I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. 

Why did I let it get this bad you ask? It's just not an area of our house that I'm particularly happy with I guess.  I don't do anything to the yard in the winter months and I wasn't home enough to deal with it since Spring arrived.  I just finally got around to it now.  I am definitely more of a flower person and when we moved in there were already all these fruit trees and its not like I want to uproot them but unfortunately there's not that much room for flowers so this is it for the time being. I guess this little area is still a work in progress. So for now... I just pulled out all the weeds. 


And it looks a whole lot better :-)


 While I was weeding, I did however find either a really thorny weed or a wild rose bush. So I just left it there. Who knows, I may get some flowers after all in my garden!

On another note, my kumquat tree is full of fruits! Don't really know what to do with them so I might just make a pie or some jam. We shall see. 


That pretty much covers the yard area. Now let's move onto the patio which I am quite happy with. 

We brought out the patio furniture and I stained the bench just to freshen it up a bit since it was looking rather weathered down. Here it is before.


And after two coats of stain voila'!


It looks much better now as the stain matches the other outdoor furniture. I also planted some beautiful red roses that I bought. I love adding flowers to the outdoor space but I'm not the best at watering so I just hope they don't die... Mental note: I need to be better at keeping my plants watered.  


Then I added some white geraniums by my front door and I love the look. Now that's a flower that doesn't need much TLC! Geraniums  smell beautifully and if you forget to water them once or twice they won't mind too much. So you know I stocked up on those LOL.


Here's my little helper holding down the fort  :-) 


We put up the gazebo but still have to get around to covering it. I can't wait to eat outside more now that the weather is nicer. 


Aren't those flowers pretty? Not too sure what they're called but they are gorgeous. I know they need a lot of water because by the end of the day they were already starting to wilt a little but as soon as I gave them some water they perked right back up. So I need to make sure to water them every day. 

Another project I've been putting off for way too long was deep cleaning my oven. I took care of that as well this past weekend and am super proud! The glass on the front door was BAD.  I would scrub and scrub but the grease and grime would just not budge! 

I found some tutorials online for removing the oven door and it really wasn't that hard. There are two little clamps at the bottom that you unlock and the door just comes right off. 


I was always so embarrassed about my dirty oven door and didn't even know where to begin on how to clean it thoroughly. I happened to have a can of this stuff lying around that I think my aunt bought me and it was fantastic. 


Here's a close up of the dirty oven glass. I am telling you that stuff was NOT budging no matter how hard I tried. 


So I followed the directions on the can and let the stuff sit for about an hour.


 I tried it without turning on the oven the first time but it didn't really work too well.  So I redid it again with the oven preheated and that's when the grime really started coming off. 


When I finished wiping everything down with a damp cloth, some water got in between the double glass door so I just took a yard stick wrapped with a clean towel and got in between the glass through the bottom and that took care of any streaks that were left in between the glass.  


I love how it turned out and it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Now I know exactly what to do so I'm not going to let my oven get so grimy. 


It feels great to get so much done and while sometimes all you want to do is sit on your bum and veg out other times it's good to roll your sleeves up and do the dirty work! I also find that it's much more rewarding if you do it yourself. 

Hope all is well with you all! Be back soon.

xoxo,