Here we go…

April 30, 2010

A day for JOY (and an announcement)!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 4:36 pm

My friend, Amanda, a very talented photographer and web guru, helped me walk through the steps of setting up a new website.  This will be an interior design blog that is not just about the renovation.  Ranch Dressings will still be going strong but will be connected to a larger website that is all about interior design!  This is exciting for me because I have struggled about where to put all the fun things I come across and want to share.  I’ll be announcing the website address soon!  We are also getting a new home computer so look forward to better images, easier navigation, and more frequent posts!

On an unrelated note, this would have been my little sister Joy’s 30th birthday!  Her life was nothing but a celebration of love and friendship and fun, so I hope you are able to do some of that today in her honor.  Nothing would make me happier!  Her self-proclaimed life moto was “LIVE! LOVE! LAUGH!” (even with the exclamation points!), so try and do some of each of the three today.  A friend of mine send me a basket of goodies to work today!  She had no idea what the occasion was, but just did it as a random act of love.  She made all of these jellies and relishes herself!  My favorite is the kiwi preserves because believe it or not- kiwi was Joy’s favorite thing in the world!


April 23, 2010

Taking A Breath

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 10:11 pm

I’m not doing anything on the house this weekend. I’m posting this to make it official! It’s going to rain and I’m gonna rest. And by rest I mean I’ll be hosting a party, attending an out of town party, and spending half of Sunday at church with people I love! It will be half recharging with friends and half recharging alone. Perfect!

I stopped by LSU to check out the ceramics department sale and bought these:

April 21, 2010

I love Succulents!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 1:42 pm

I love succulent plants!  I also like their ridiculous name!  They are anything but sucky 🙂  According to Wikipedia, “Succulent plants, also known as succulents or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climate or soil conditions. Succulent plants store water in their leavesstems and/or roots. Geophytes survive unfavourable periods by dying back to underground storage organs (tuberous roots, corms, bulbs, and rhizomes). They can be regarded as succulents. Some plants are succulent geophytes. The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, also known as succulence. In addition to succulence, succulent plants variously have other water-saving features.”  Basically they are the camels of the plant kingdom!  I think they are quirky and fun and just such a great addition to your home either indoors or out.  I saw some succulent terrariums and I think that I may tackle one of those soon.

Yesterday I met my sis and her family at Harb’s Oasis (love that place!) to pick out a fountain for their home.  Being the sucker for plants that I am, of course I had to buy something for our house!  I decided on this red planter (40% off and thank the lord b/c planters are SO expensive!) and these cute little succulent plants.  They are by the back door which is the one we use every time we come  and go from the  house.  I’m excited and hopefully will keep them alive.  I have never had succulent plants so if you have any tips, please comment them!

April 19, 2010

Painting Continues

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 5:36 pm

Friday after work I rushed home because I was bound and determined to finish painting the wood siding under our carport.  The way our house is situated, you see this A LOT- even more than the front of the house for visitors.  It has been half painted for 2 weeks.  Originally this wood siding was mint green (yep) but thankfully Kyle’s mother got so sick of seeing that when she stopped by the house that she got someone to paint it white.  The white was not offensive but it really just stood out a lot for some reason!  Aside from showing every single spider web and every piece of dirt, it just looked really really bright under the carport and drew attention.  The color I am using is Benjamin Moore “Texas Leather” as seen in a previous post.  I am going to replace both the front door and this side door with a dark wood door with a large window to have some transparency, but for now I just painted it to match the wall and frame so that it would look cohesive and clean.  I still have my Saints wreath on the door!  Cant get the Southern Living wreaths out of me- even though I like pretty modern things- i love me a wreath!

Now on to the front of the house.  My friend, Erin made a comment that I should put a picture of our door mat on the blog because she loved that it was more of a rug than a door mat!  I bought this from World Market, and it is an outdoor rug.  I love it more than I would have loved a door mat for the front door.

As you can see in the pic above, the door is pretty ratty and black.  You can also see the old storm door frame that is there without its matching door!  i took that off (thanks for the help kyle b/c all the screws were stripped!) and paint both the door and the frame “Texas Leather.”  It looks WAYYYYYYY better and will hold me over until we get the wood one.  Notice our cute little house numbers!  I smudged out the first and last so that I do not have any internet stalkers showing up on the door step or random blog stalker drive-by’s 🙂  The mailbox is GREAT and I just got a little inexpensive stainless light fixture from Lowes.

April 14, 2010

The Joy of Exfoliating Your Possessions AND Getting Credit on Your Taxes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 2:58 pm

I stumbled across a blog several months ago that has greatly inspired me to “exfoliate” my possessions!  Makeunder My Life is one of those reminders that half of the things we own and hold on to for years and years just end up clogging up the space that we live in.  Each week she features a “End of the week Exfoliation” that encourages readers to get rid of a few things each week.  I would not consider myself a pack rat but I am very unorganized so sometimes I hold on to things because I am waiting to find a place to put them!  Check out this site and I’m sure you will be encouraged to let go of things such as the shoes that have a broken heel that you have been meaning to take to the repair shop for 2 years, the 25 Danielle Steel novels that you’ve read over the past 10 years of beach trips, and the stack of t-shirts that you have been meaning to take to Goodwill since last summer.

I know that it is hard getting rid of things.  Doing so, however, is the ONLY way to end up with a neat, peaceful, perfectly edited space.  Your breaths will be easier and your evenings much less stressful and chaotic.  That wonderful feeling of stepping into a hotel room and only having the things you need for a good night’s rest is not as far away as you think.  Just LET IT GO!!!  You will never need half of the things you think you need.  RESIST the urge to box it up and put it in the attic!!  I promise- just say no!  Check out these pictures for examples of de-cluttered, beautifully edited rooms.  They are all taken from the latest issue of Lonny Magazine.

Speaking of Goodwill- I have a cool iPhone app that will help you in keeping track of the things that you donate.  With taxes as high as they are, and every little bit more you make and every bit you save, unfortunately you will be paying more and more of them.  I am a big fan of itemizing deductions, so rather than having to estimate your donations, etc. this handly little app helps you keep track of them all year!  Believe it or not, you will come out WAY further ahead than having a garage sale if you needs are not immediate cash.  If you need the cash, then garage sales make sense, but this really can drop your adjusted gross income by thousands if used consistently.  Last night I went through the spare bedroom/storage room and collected over $500 worth of things to donate!   Now they are stored safely within my phone with approximate values provided by the IRS.  idonatedit

April 8, 2010

Beautiful Eye Candy for Home Landscaping

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 8:24 pm

I have never seen such beautiful, contemporary, clean landscaping in all my life!  How beautiful are these images???  It is very hard to find landscaping images and ideas that go well with the ranch style.  In the south we are much more accustomed to the cottage style landscaping that really is sort of a hodge podge of everything all in the same beds.  I actually love cottage landscaping, but for our new home, it is not exactly the best way to accent the cool things about a ranch.  Anyway, I was drooling over these pics and had to share.  For our house, we want to really utilize the outdoors.  We are both very outdoorsy people, and as of now, it is just pretty bad.  Thankfully, Kyle’s grandfather planted some beautiful camelia trees that will definitely be remaining for multiple reasons- 2 being their beauty and the fact that his grandfather planted them!  This will be a process- even more so than the inside just becuase of how long it takes and how long plants take to be established and settled in.

These images sum up what I love about the outdoors- such a great mix of landscaping and hardscaping, such a great blend of being outside yet still being in a “room” and just a nice place for Belle and Harley to live and not be able to destroy because so much of it is rock.  Ha!  Both Kyle and I really like pavers that have grass or some kind of ground cover growing between them.  Many ground covers do not grow tall enough to ever need mowing, but still soften the edges of the concrete squares.  I’m sure some of those will find their way into our landscaping plans!  I also love gravel and the “zen” feel that it gives to a landscape.  It is also great for pets as well as for cutting down on dust and mowing.  I am still on the fringes of knowing and planning the landscaping, but these are images I’m sure I will come back to regularly!

All of the images and designs are by Spirit Level Designs in Australia.  Of course its Australia- Australians have the BEST style!!

April 7, 2010

Sleepless in the Ranch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 9:00 am

So I have poison ivy. I never remember having this before but my gosh it’s been horendous! Maybe I got it in our yard? A better guess is that I got it in the park at our church Easter egg hunt helping Vianne find the GOLDEN egg!!! (as a very loving aunt I can say it was not worth it!!). That being said, I’m wide awake at 4am and have been since 2am. Thanks steroids!!! You little pills have almost completely gotten rid of this junk and being wide awake is totally worth it!!!

I have had alot of house thought lately (as usual) and wanted to share a few.

1. Backsplash. I realized I love the actual marble way more than the pattern of the tiles. So… Probably going to do large marble tiles (12×12) and install with a very tight joint and matching grout to make it more of a slab look. The tiles are 1/4 the cost of the slab so I’m feeling good about that.

2. We have set up a little office area with a great little metal desk and file cabinet from and this has been so great! Kyle works and reads alot from home, as do I, and now we don’t have to do that at the dining table! Computer has a home 🙂

3. The outside paint makes me happy daily. The thought of only being 1/4 finished does not, however I will be finished eventually!

4. Other outside thoughts are that I love the yellow adairondak chairs! We sat out there tonight until dark and plotted how we are going to stop Belle and Harley from digging huge holes all around the back patio- the advice from my father in law vet is to burry their poo there! Uh! Seriously. So, let the fun begin! That may be a gas mask job. If it works, I’ll do it! Haha. Yes, this is ridiculous and true.

5. I have selected new exterior lights- a wall sconce at each of the three entries. I also chose some cute little brushed nickel motion sensor lights that will also add a nice little security feature! All exterior accessories are in the brushed nickel/ stainless family.

6. I’m on the hunt for the perfect front door. It’s one of the hardest things to find! I want one with glass in it and something contemporary and simple- leaning toward a dark wood stain rather than paint as of now… don’t know why! I found one I love that can only be ordered and shipped from the UK and one from California that costs $6500. Haha. Nope! Maybe I’ll see about having someone here build one for me.

7. I love Kyle so much and could never undertake something like this without him constantly bringing me back to earth and making me rest and laugh. He just is simple and content and that’s contagious (more than poison ivy). I have that as a perfect balance to my “I gotta get it all finished now” ness! The whole experience has been fun & so much of that is bc he is just fun and easy going about it all. Just a little shout out to my husband!!!

More pics soon…

April 5, 2010

Let their be “greige”!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 4:08 pm

I have good news and bad news.  We started painting the outside of our house.  The good news is that it looks SO MUCH BETTER!  I love the colors so very much.  The bad news is that we made a rookie mistake that cost us about 8 hours of our precious lives.  I started out rolling the brick with a masonry primer.  Yes, I said “rolling” the brick.  You see- the sprayer we had did not spray primer because it is too thick.  I swear to you, when i say my arm was about to fall out, I am telling the truth!  It was ridiculous.  Then, we started painting.  It was really hard.  you see- with brick you really need 2 coats minimum.  After hours of this, Kyle went and rented a commercial sprayer and honestly it saved us so much time!  So tip of the day- use a COMMERCIAL sprayer!  It was totally worth renting and we will do it again when we move to the back of the house.  I’m pretty sure you can prime with a commercial sprayer too.  We used Acrylic paint rather than latex for durability.  Oil is just too complicated.

I selected a Benjamin Moore color called “Clarksville Gray” for the outside.  It is perfectly “greige.”  (gray + beige).  For the trim and the wood wall under the carport, door frame, side doors, shutters, etc. we will be using “Texas Leather” also Benjamin Moore (you can see this color in the 2nd pic on the wood adjacent to the brick).  I’m still leaning toward a blue door.  Here are some pics!

Curtain Drama

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 3:21 pm

I had a change of heart about my blue-gray curtains that were in the front room that has become my orange and green and white room!  The blue were fine when that room was going to be more “serious” but after I hung Lori’s paintings, added the white planters and bamboo, etc.  they just were not cutting it.  So, I went back to the FIRST curtains i loved for that room and ordered them.  I am not sure what I am going to do with the blue ones but I have a feeling they will show up on the windows in kyle’s “man room”.  haha.  I’m sure he’s thrilled 🙂

Here are the ones I ordered from Anthropologie.  I appologize for the dark picture!

April 1, 2010

My New Dream Home (for spring at least!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ashley Hawthorne @ 7:34 pm

This little gem is located in Sydney.  Who’s surprised??  The Aussie’s always get it right!

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