I’ve written before about how a fresh coat of white paint almost always does the trick, but in this case, it was a fresh coat of black paint. When we moved in to our house, we painted all the walls except for one guest bathroom (which I’m making plans for, don’t you worry). Many of the doors and trim still need some work – you never notice how chipped and rough looking those details can become after years of wear and tear.

So on an incredibly hot and 1000% humidity (extra 0 intended, if you were here you know what I mean) Saturday, we decided to work on the front door. It was white, along with all the trim around it, which felt kind of blah and you could really see all the scuff marks and wear from a high traffic area. Terrible relaxers that we are, we put on the music and started painting.

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So here’s the before and the in-the-middle..

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Before we moved, I had painted the handrail of the bannister black, so it was a nice tie-in to that and provided some much needed contrast.

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Photographing black is hard, especially when it seems to be backlit every hour of the day! Oh well, you get the idea :-) I’ll try to blog some more of our house adventures soon. Happy weekend!

I am a huge reader. I have been my whole life – I always had a spot in the house where I would curl up with a book and a big bag of popcorn and everyone knew not to mess with me when that happened. Especially before we had computers and devices in our hands at all times, it was my first choice of entertainment.

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I feel like that’s more important now that we do have all of these other means of entertainment – for me, I so strongly associate them with work, so even when I’m off I start wandering into emails and stressing out all over again. Can’t do that with a book :-)

Between the library book sale and my renewed voracious appetite for good reads, I’ve gotten through quite a few books lately. Here’s a few in my just-read stack in case you’re on the lookout for a beach read or getaway book.

Empty Mansions
A heavier book since it’s a biography but such a good read about the very intriguing life of Huguette Clark. While it is a biography, I didn’t find it dry at all – it was filled with such interesting facts and anecdotes that I read it in only four days.

Bridges of Madison County
Somehow I had never read this book, and what a heart-wrenching story it is! It certainly makes a case for soul mates.

The Time in Between
I’m not done with this one yet, but I love it already. I’m a little over halfway through. It’s a wonderful coming-of-age sort of story about a young girl living through the tumultuous 30′s in war-torn Spain and later war-torn Europe. Love, intrigue, interesting characters. All the good stuff.

The Mayor of Casterbridge
This is an old book, written in the late 19th century by Thomas Hardy. It’s a wonderful read if you enjoy the stories of that era, which are generally my favorite. Of course it is Thomas Hardy, though, so don’t expect happily ever after, at least not entirely.

Have you ready any good books lately?

It’s been three weeks since my last post, and what a busy and fun-filled three weeks it’s been!

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I had the honor of co-hosting a baby shower for a dear friend a few weeks ago, and it was a first in so many ways: her first baby, my first baby shower hostessing experience, our first “large” gathering in our new home. It was also fun for me to engage in some of the other parts of party planning which I don’t see as often – food, entertainment, and decorating. Of course, the paper part was a given for me, and baby Luke already has his very own custom monogram.

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Jeni’s sister, Lizabee, and I teamed up to make fun bunting out of paper and fabric. Lizabee also came up with and set up the adorable onesie decorating station which was a big hit with our very creative guest list. I was also lucky to have my mother in law there to help us with all those last minute details and she also brought along some yummy tea sandwiches.

The inspiration was the idea of “tea for the tot,” so we did a “tea bar” in my mom’s antique baby bath. It was the perfect place to ice down some pretty glass bottles of different teas. I also experimented with making lavender simple syrup, which was a first, and it actually turned out pretty well I think. Little sugar cubes and lemons rounded out the tea bar. We also did a “signature drink” – a delicious and very pretty cucumber sangria.

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Here I am with the mother-to-be and my fellow host…

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It was such a fun day, and so nice to have so many good friends in our new home. Special thanks to the ever-talented Monica of Sablee who made our yummy scones and cupcakes too! Also, thank you to Jordan Tate, one of the new mama’s friends whom I was so happy to meet, and who is a very talented photographer and took these photos while I ran around like a crazy lady ;-)

This summer is flying by in a whirlwind of beautiful events, beach trips, and homeowner adventures.

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Our trip to Amelia Island, Florida, was so wonderfully relaxing. I disconnected almost completely from my phone and the internet and read the entire book Empty Mansions in four days. That’s what I used to do before I had a smartphone glued to my hand – read instead of bounce back and forth between social media outlets. I’m making a concerted effort to get back to picking up a book instead of my phone after our trip because it reminded me how much I love to be engrossed in a story. And by the way, Empty Mansions is a fascinating read.

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All spring and summer we’ve been diving in to various fun homeowner projects – well, not all fun ;-) Yesterday I finally found the perfect placemats and centerpiece for our new dining room table. I feel so oddly grown up to walk by this beautiful dining room and know that it’s ours. I’m not sure my cooking can live up to it – I think my decorating is probably better than my kitchen skills!

As enter the somewhat slower season for Charleston weddings, we have had quite a few fun events around town for us vendors. Cindy from Engaging Events through a wonderful 10 year anniversary party. Just look at that beautiful chandelier and draping in the tent!

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And the Southern Protocol girls threw an all out bash to celebrate the launch of their new space on Market Street. This is going to be fabulous. I had fun getting dressed up for the party and trying to figure out what “construction chic” meant, hehe.

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(photo by Jen Bearden)

I’m looking forward to the long 4th of July weekend, a baby shower I’m throwing the next weekend, and all the other good and wonderful things about summer. Not the least of which is the delicious produce. I bought 4 pounds of strawberries yesterday and I am quite sure I’ll eat them all. Better than 4 pounds of bread or chocolate, right?

How is summer treating you, friends?

And all of a sudden it’s summer. The heat and humidity have arrived in Charleston for sure, and I for one am ready to hit the beach! Wedding season definitely isn’t over yet, though, and we are loving being busy creating so many pretty, unique things for all the different wedding personalities out there.

Since we’ve been a bit distracted by all the programs and projects, it’s been awhile since we caught up on some of the press, and there are some very exciting ones to share!

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Ashlee and Jonathan’s incredibly romantic, intimate wedding from the winter of 2013 popped up on Style Me Pretty. It was a paper-rific wedding too thanks to the talents of Katherine Miller – personalized “placemats” with the menu spelled out in gorgeous calligraphy style writing, sweet escort cards and fun sparkler tags. Not to mention, completely personalized invitations with the guest’s name written on the invitation itself. All in black and white – doesn’t get more classic than that!

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Last summer, my friends Jeni, Sarah, Carly, and I pulled together a really fun “treehouse” photoshoot meant to be for a small, elopement style affair. It was a super hot day but it was fun to hang out with the girls and create something just for the sake of being creative. The pretty photos showed up on A Lowcountry Wed last week!

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Just out in print this past week, Charleston Weddings magazine has a stationery feature of which we were excited to be a part. Jackie and Chris had so much fun paper in their wedding, and their save the dates are still ones we pull out all the time when we meet with new clients!

Happy #WeddingWednesday!

..here she is in the old apartment, hanging out the in the background…

after

…in the background no more, because she is RED!

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It’s funny how you can have not enough furniture or too much furniture or just the wrong furniture. Because my dad and I built this table together for my first apartment way back during my sophomore year of college, it’s not one I really wanted to get rid of, but it also somehow doesn’t fit anywhere in the house.

R came up with the genius idea that it would be an excellent serving table on the porch we love so much. Since the rocking chairs went blue with cheery red and white pillows, what better than to to have a bright UGA red serving table?

If anything, we are definitely ready for Fourth of July. :-)

We have really settled into homeowner life and I must say, it agrees with me. I’ve always been someone who much prefers a good book and a bowl of popcorn or a movie night at home to being out on the town, so having a little more space all to ourselves is just the thing.

With this wonderful warm weather, it’s also been a lot of fun to dive into “yard work.” I know it seems weird to call that fun, but isn’t it funny how as you grow up, tasks like that become so much less of an issue? I remember how, as a kid, it was the worst thing ever for my mom to tell me I had to vacuum the stairs or help in the yard,. While it may not always be my first choice of activity, I take a lot of pleasure in taking care of my life and home nowadays.

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My green thumb is still developing. Batting 50% on these little vincas. Hopefully the beautiful blue hydrangeas and lorepedalum (I’m learning the names of all sorts of flowers and shrubs all of a sudden) will do better in the front yard.

vinca

The other fantastical thing about having a house is the grill. We got one a few weeks ago and we’ve had all kinds of fun with it already. Over Memorial Day weekend, we even tried out grilling pizza which, in my view, was a smashing success. There was something so nice and smoky it added to the crust, and it was so quick to make which was fantastic too. But my all time favorite grilling item: zucchini. It’s delicious. Try it.

Things are quiet around the blog, I know, but that’s because they are so busy in the studio. My previous estimate of program fans was grossly wrong – we will make closer to 2,000 during May and June. Coupled with all the awesome Fall weddings we are gearing up to make invitations for, it’s one giant paper party around here. Stay tuned for many sneak peeks and follow on Instagram for the on-the-go updates.

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

I really love how these vintage travel invitations turned out. With a train ticket as our inspiration, we really created something with a vintage vibe by printing on awesome 140# French Paper that has a nice fleck and old-timey feel to it. A drawing of the venue, Magnolia Gardens, is faded into the background and nice traditional style block fonts remind me of metro signs and date stamps.

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We did a fun map along with the suite. For the design, we tried to mimic nautical maps and vintage style maps with some of the faded blue and shading. It’s a lot different than the maps we do more often, so I really fell in love with this one.

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With all this fun going on, it can’t just be a plain old response card! We did the response card like a luggage tag, complete with Air Mail twine. The bride and groom also included really fun wording – no simple yes / no options here!

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Happy Wedding Wednesday! We’re already halfway through the week :-)

This month, Paper Junkies is very on trend, with coral envelopes, a gold houndstooth liner, and pretty shimmer paper. For the card itself, I got back to my roots a bit and drew out a magnolia that graces the corner of the card.

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It was a lot of fun to create something rather classic feeling, especially after last month’s modern design. I hope it was as much fun to receive as it was to make!

Happy Thursday – Friday is nearly here! :-)

When we moved into the new house, we inherited some old porch furniture from the previous owners which we were more than happy to accept, not really having any of our own. Our move coincided beautifully with the arrival of spring, so the porch has quickly become one of my very favorite parts of the house. It’s no wonder then, that I sit out there and dream up ways to make it better.

before

While the rocking chairs were fine like they were, the cushions were so faded and tired and I just thought a fresh coat of paint would really make them feel a little less like a free old pair of rocking chairs. In my head, I saw a vivid, smooth, lacquer-like bright yellow to really punch it up in our sea of wooden porch + furniture. I bought a couple cans of spray paint and got to work.

Unfortunately, my best laid plans quickly shattered. After two coats of yellow spray paint, I was left with this monstrosity.

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Holey moley that does not look like I imagined it. My best guess is that the wood was so dry and completely unsealed that it just sucked the paint right up, and I was left with the grain showing through in a very pronounced way that made the yellow look dirty and blotchy.

That’s about when Robert started wondering allowed if anyone’s ever sued Pinterest for giving them bad ideas. Determinedly, I decided I would not end on a Pinterest fail, and instead I’d embark on the rescue mission.

The guy at the Lowe’s paint counter gave me the insightful advice that I might just need to do a new color. Yellow is apparently a notoriously hard color when it comes to paint. Lesson learned. So the weekend before last, I got out the plethora of flat white paint we still have from our renovation, a paintbrush, and set to work “resetting” the rocking chairs. Let me tell you, it takes awhile to paint something with so many rungs and nooks and crannies by hand.

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Bye bye yellow.

Once I did that and let it dry overnight, I moved onto the new color: dark blue. I landed on it because it’s a color I like and also I knew that it would hide the grain if it still insisted on rising up and creating dark spots. The contrast would be a lot lower. So here we go…

timeforblue

Tip: painting rocking chairs is an obnoxious task if you don’t prevent them from rocking. Some old 2×2′s made a good “platform” of sorts and also made it easier to paint the bottom edges / keep it off the plastic.

Thankfully, this plan seemed to work better than the first go round.

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So we are now the proud owners of the most thoroughly painted yellow-white-blue old rocking chairs ever. I am glad I did it because they are so cheerful now, but I sure didn’t set out thinking it was going to be a two week project. Has that ever happened to you?