Pop of Green

What I’ve been up to…interior design studies!

Hey there Nesters! How have you been? I hope you’ve all been keeping busy and distracted from the fact that I’ve had another hiatus from this blog!

I thought a life update was in order because so many things are a-changing! And I mean exciting things!

First – if you didn’t already know, I’ve stepped away from a few side businesses. I am no longer painting furniture or selling Simply Said. They were both something I really enjoyed and I truly believe they came into my life to lead me where I am going. Both gave me the joy of decorating, but not really – you know? They were just small parts of a grander picture.

Thus , I finally made the decision to go back to school and study interior design. And I am loving it! I wish I had discovered this joy when I was in college all those years ago. But I firmly believe my path was to study creative writing, work in marketing and PR and and end up doing something I love, with a lifetime of experience in things that will make an interior design business better.

I’m still working my book publicity job, and fitting in school when I can. Fortunately, the program I am enrolled in is all go-at-your-own-pace and online. So far, I’ve studio a lot on color. It was a good refresher from my days working in graphic design and advertising. The program also includes a lot on furniture history. I now know the differences between all the french Louis styles!

It also includes a ton on furniture placement and making sure a room and it’s contents convey the right mood, are of the correct scale, are functional and that together all of these elements are harmonious. There was a great section on textiles (you know I am a fabric lover). And now we’ve just covered lighting and window treatments. And much much more. I expect to complete the program by summertime.

What comes next, you ask?

Well, I will start doing small projects. A room here and there. And to prepare, right now I’m getting the business established. I’ve come up with a name (to be revealed soon!), and hired a firm to do my branding. I had hoped to do this myself, but found that I’ve been away from the Adobe Illustrator game far too long. So, they will design my logo, marketing materials and website. I cannot wait to see how it all turns out!

In the meantime, I am going to my first-ever High Point Market in a couple of weeks. It’s the largest bi-annual trade-only event to feature what’s new in home furnishings. There’s seasoned designers providing educational talks, as well as over 280 showrooms of eye-candy! So stay tuned, because I have a feeling you’ll get to see a lot of photos from this adventure!

I hope you will stick with me, as I make this transition. The business, blog and social media names will all change, and interiors will become the main focus. I know you guys love a pretty room!

Have a lovely day, friends!

, , , , , ,

Great room makeover

This post is long overdue!  Our great room makeover was complete several months ago, but I’ve been super swamped with both my book publicity job and Simply Said, so the blogging has fallen to the wayside. But, I love how the room turned out! So here’s a few pics to share…

Here’s the BEFORE:

Great room makeover (1)

Why the need for a makeover you might ask…well for a couple of reasons really. The walls were painted a tan and dark chocolate brown color. When we moved here, we had furniture that was dark brown, along with that black entertainment center furniture. We quickly sold the brown couch and chair, as I felt all the brown stuff really made the room seem dark. So, in haste, we purchased the white sectional seen in the photo above, and added in some orange accents. At first, I loved the new seating area. However, I hated it with the black TV stands. But, it wasn’t in the budget to replace it.

Slowly, we added in a new TV console and 2 open shelving units. And in just about the same time, the white sectional was showing major signs of wear. This was less than a year later, yet the knubby-style fabric looked so dingy. I learned its hard to keep white bright with a child in the house. Not to mention, it really only sat 3 people, and when we had guests over, our options for entertaining in that room were limited.  And finally, if you had to sleep on it, as I was forced to when our upstairs AC went out, you would awake with a backache. Not comfy at all.

So hubby and I talked about replacing it. And finding a piece that would last forever and sit plenty of people. My friend had a sectional I loved – for it was massive and so comfy. We decided to make an investment in this furniture and bought The Cloud from a local store called Belfort. We ordered it in a charcoal Sunbrella fabric, that we could easily clean. And surprisingly, the fabric is soft – unlike what you might imagine when you think of outdoor fabric.

While I waited the 12 weeks for it to come, I purchased an ottoman from Home Goods. I found an Etsy seller who made curtains and pillow covers in the same fabric to match the ottoman. We also hired a painter and he gave us a deep charcoal accent wall, with 3 lighter grey walls.

And here are AFTER shots:

Great room makeover (2)
We also ordered this rug from Belfort – all in the same grey tones of the room. This sectional sits a lot of people!!


Great room makeover (3)
I know its hard to see the true paint colors, as the accent wall has 6 windows that let in a lot of light.


Great room makeover (4)


Great room makeover (5)


Great room makeover (6)


Great room makeover (7)


Great room makeover (8)
Since we painted, I had to remove my old Simply Said design from inside the frame. I replaced it with this new one!
So there you have it! The room is staying this way until the end of time – I swear! Besides hubby will not let me change it again!

Weddings with a personalized touch!

Wedding season is around the corner, and ideas for crafting a truly unique day are blooming across the internet and Pinterest. I love the many homemade touches that brides to be are bringing to the ceremony and celebration – like DIY mason jar centerpieces, hand-sewn chair covers, even paper flowers to look like the real thing!

I’m also loving the personalization trend. People are painting chalk boards and using them to indicate seating, table numbers, even which side of the church is for families of the bride and groom. Messages of love abound as decor for inside and outside the church. And nothing is as special as a beautiful piece that can serve as a wonderful photo prop and treasured keepsake.

Here’s some creative ways to use Simply Said vinyl designs on the big day!

Weddings with a personalized touch (1)
This photo is so cute! I love that the couple chose a BLUE banged up suitcase for this shot. It looks like they took to the train tracks and are running away – and in love!


Weddings with a personalized touch (2)
“I Do” on the bottom of the bride’s shoes! Ingenious!
Now make the vinyl blue and you’ve got your “something blue” all squared away!


Weddings with a personalized touch (3)
Iron on vinyl designs are perfect for denoting the head table’s most important seats!
There’s a design for “Mr,” too! Choose to make this in the color that matches your wedding colors.


Weddings with a personalized touch (4)
Weddings with a personalized touch (5)
Simply Said has inexpensive designs that you can adhere to walls, glass, mirrors, even cars!
They are easily removable and won’t damage the surface. So they’re safe for antiques like this beauty!


Weddings with a personalized touch (6)
There’s so many designs that can be personalized with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date. Apply them to our accessories or the item of your choice!


Weddings with a personalized touch (7)
Etched glass vinyl can be applied to windows or mirrors and look like a million bucks!
Here’s a little video with even more ideas for crafting a unique wedding day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJXLuI8bXaM&feature=youtu.be
And if you would like to order any of the designs you see here, or want to create something unique, please contact me! I’m happy to design something as special as your upcoming day!
, , , , , , , , ,

What does a new year mean? New products, of course!

What does a new year mean to you? For some it means more exercise, or less eating, maybe even more drinking (in celebration)! For others it means getting organized, starting over or changing bad habits. For many businesses its new-product launch season. And that’s exactly what I have for you today – photos of some of our newest Simply Said products and designs!

A new catalog was released on Monday evening. It’s awesome because for the first time ever, it includes designs suitable for EVERY SEASON of the year. So now you don’t have to wait for spring or winter releases to plan for holiday decorating. AND the new release includes several new Printed Treasures – those are our items that come preprinted and can be personalized to celebrate special occasions – perfect for your gift-giving!
Check it out!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (1)
This is my favorite new Printed Treasure! I love the chalk board designs, and this with its patriotic pennant banner and message that salutes our troops – it really speaks to me.
What does a new year mean New products, of course (2)
Another favorite in the middle!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (3)
Simply Said has many new designs for the bride and those celebrating an anniversary!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (4)
The overwhelming response by far tells me this will be one of the most popular of all our new items. This distressed board, made of real wood, is personalized with your names and wedding date!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (5)
Perfect for Thanksgiving and any time of the year when you want to be reminded of all that we are grateful for!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (6)
Those with a lake home can attest to this! We’ve got designs for the beach home owner, too!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (7)
A tribute to dad!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (8)
And we couldn’t forget mom!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (9)
I’m loving the Printed Treasure on the left: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
What does a new year mean New products, of course (10)
I LOVE the creativity of the design on the right above – this is absolutely a wonderful keepsake for the graduate! A Sharpie and you have a signed memento!
What does a new year mean New products, of course (11)
What does a new year mean New products, of course (12)
The distressed slotted boards are beautiful hung flush on the wall, or sitting on a cabinet top.
They mimic the look of a DIY pallet, without all the work!
Here’s a link to the new catalog if you would like to see more! http://simplysaidinc.com/catalogs/simplyseasonal/
For shopping and business inquiries, please visit my website: http://www.mysimplysaiddesigns.com/TRACINIESE/
And if you would like to earn free Simply Said products, consider having an in-home party, online party or catalog party. Give me a shout and I’ll show you how easy it is!

Fun times to come in the man cave!

This week my husband’s new girlfriend is set to move in. Admittedly, she’s beautiful.

But, I’m not jealous.

Fun times to come in the man cave! (1)


On the contrary – I’m super excited. The new pool table is lovely to look at AND it comes with a ping-pong top. (I’m much more skilled at ping pong then billiards.)

So I foresee a lot of family fun in the man cave!

Our barely-used table of 9 years will hopefully be finding a new home at a local Boys and Girls Club. I’m awaiting a return call from them this week, hoping they will take our donation. Fingers crossed!

Fun times to come in the man cave! (1)
UPDATE 1/20/15
The new table arrived and hubby, Saxon and I have played some fun games on it already. The pool table is fast and plays great. But the real fun has been the ping pong!
Fun times to come in the man cave! (2)
Now that my husband is home for a visit, we’ve been able to get the basement all squared away again since the flood renovation is complete. We’ve hung things back up on the wall and moved furniture into place, etc.  I made this bar mirror as a Christmas present for Damon, and I love how it looks on the wall!
Fun times to come in the man cave! (3)
And this week we think the Boys and Girls Club is coming to pick up our previous table! I like the idea that kids will be able to enjoy playing on it, and that it isn’t going to sit in a landfill.
Now, I must go practice my serve! (Damon is really good at ping pong, and I have to step up my game.)


, , , , ,

Christmas decorations!

This is starting to sound like a broken record – it’s been a while since my last blog post. I was doing good there for a while with writing and keeping the content coming. But, life gets busy, and I get lazy. And my back went kerplunk in October (that’s a whole other story)! So let’s just move on and try to get back into the swing of things!

I can’t let January end without a few shots of my home at the holidays. I LOVE Christmas decorations – LOVE them. And even though I was struggling big time between November and December, I still managed to get the house done – with a lot of help from my mother in law and son. Thank you to both of them – as well as my father in law and neighbor, Hudson, who helped set up my big tree and huff all the storage bins up from the basement! His wife, Tara, also strung the lights on my outside tree! You guys rock!

So here’s some of my favorites and new items this year…

Christmas decorations! (1)
A countdown design from Simply Said. Saxon loved moving the magnet each day!


Christmas decorations! (2)
Another Simply Said item – the “No Place Like Home for the Holidays” distressed board, next to a lantern from Pottery Barn.


Christmas decorations! (3)
I purchased this photo of Arlington National Cemetery locally, from photographer Gail Vitikacs.



Christmas decorations! (4)
The lights on these garlands worked last season, but this season not a one would light. Go figure. I was too incapacitated to really care, let alone go buy new ones. So, up they went. And honestly, I still love how they look.


Christmas decorations! (5)
My bestie, Sharon, came to visit after the holiday and brought me this sweet pillow.  I love it!


Christmas decorations! (6)
I found the doe at Anthropologie this summer and added a red bow.


Christmas decorations! (7)
Scored two of these adorable polar bears at Pottery Barn after Christmas last year. Half price baby!


Christmas decorations! (8)
A neighbor was selling this Willow House chandelier. I grabbed it and added the candles and greenery.
Here’s my tree. I love this tree. She’s so pretty!
Christmas decorations! (9)
There’s still presents under the tree because my hubby comes home next week from Afghanistan. He’ll be home for a few weeks and we’ll be celebrating Christmas!


Christmas decorations! (10)
The last two years I have gone to Great Gatherings for ornaments. The day after Christmas they mark them down half price! Here’s some of my fav’s!


Christmas decorations! (11)


Christmas decorations! (12)




Christmas decorations! (13)


Christmas decorations! (14)


Christmas decorations! (15)


Christmas decorations! (16)
This one came from The Empty Nest in Warrenton last year. Still one of my absolute favorites!


Christmas decorations! (17)


Christmas decorations! (18)


Christmas decorations! (19)
The paper flowers and butterfly were from Cracker Barrel this year.


Christmas decorations! (20)


Christmas decorations! (21)


Christmas decorations! (22)
This Summer hubby gave me this Eiffel Tower ornament!



Christmas decorations! (23)


Christmas decorations! (24)
The bedding was purchased from Stein Mart this season- wow, it was super cheap! I think the King quilt was only $39!!
It’s all staying up until after Damon comes home and we celebrate. Plus, I really need his help to take it all down and put it away. Since he was away when we put it all up, I think it will be nice to play holiday music while we take it down. I know that’s backwards, but I want him to feel some of the “special,” too.
Stay tuned for what’s next in our great room – it’s got me a little “grey!” And not in a sad way, either.
, , , ,

Our Man Cave Renovation – time to redecorate!

As many of you already know, we recently had a plumbing fail in our basement, and my hubby’s newly finished man cave suffered a big loss. All the flooring had to be ripped out, the drywall had to be cut out, and a lot of the electronics and decor got wet and damaged.

Thus, we’re now in the process of getting ready for a major renovation. With that in mind, its fun to take your mind off the sucky part of this experience, by imagining how we might redecorate the space.

Coincidentally, I was just invited to participate in Man Crates Gifts for Men’s “Man Cave Makeover” campaign. Man Crates is an online source for sending your guy a gift he’ll laugh at, brag about, and probably grunt over while breaking it open with its included crow bar. Yup, they come with a crow bar! Highly covetable, these wooden crates come filled with things guys want – beer, beef jerky, grilling gadgets, barware, sweat-inducing spicy snacks, survival gear (in case of an zombie apololypse of course), golf goodies, and products for the poker player or old-school video gamer.

Man Crates asked me how I would decorate a Man Cave, and I have to say I would do exactly what the hubster and I did the first go-around – with an industrial aesthetic. You can check out this previous post that shows a lot of the items we used in our basement, like Edison light fixtures, stainless steel, etc.

For the purposes of this post, I’m thinking pie-in-the-sky, money is no object…and making a list of what I would do, if I could, without a budget or a hubby to stop the madness!

First, I love exposed brick…so I’d give one wall that treatment.

Next, there’d be a lot of exposed ductwork, beams and track lighting with grey walls. Black beams though (which is exactly what’s in our man-cave now)

I’d choose a comfy grey upholstered couch, and pair it with some reclaimed wood pieces, like a coffee table, console or media center.
There is no lack of cool industrial light fixtures available on the market today. I love cage lights, vintage barn lights, and even big mercury glass globes. Oh how to choose!?!
And of course, any self-respecting man-cave needs a game table – especially a pool table. Check out this baby (from Great Gatherings)…oak hardwood, mortise and tenon construction, decorative metal bolts…I think I can hear my husband moaning with pleasure already!
A bar is another given for a man-cave, and these bar stools make my heart go pitter-patter.
As for artwork, I’d do vintage maps…especially city maps, like this…
So there ya have it, my vision for an ideal man-cave – a place where he can enjoy solitude with his Xbox, or a Sunday in front of the big screen with his buddies!
Thank you Man Crates for the invitation to participate in your campaign.
Now back to dealing with the insurance company!