The Homies 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hey there - Apparently Our Suburban Cottage has been nominated for the 2009 "Homie" award over at Apartment Therapy. If you have a spare second it would be a lovely if you wanted to vote for me. Click here to vote, and then add my web address or search for Our Suburban Cottage under "Home Design Blogs". You can also click on the logo below.

Thanks! I hope you're all having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh...hi there.'s the thing. I'm leaving to fly home for Christmas tomorrow (Wednesday) and planning on milking every moment of family time (and great shopping) that I possibly can until I come back on January 3rd. Soooo, please forgive me if my posts are a little sporadic for the next week or so. I'm guessing y'all are pretty busy too, so you'll be understanding of the whole vacation thing.

I'm sure I'll be posting my great Salt Lake finds during the next week (get it...."Great Salt Lake"?...sorry). So I won't be disappearing entirely.

I hope everyone has a fabulous, wonderful, merry Christmas, and a great New Year!

Happy Birthday OSC!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday was this little blog’s first birthday (yes, it’s true – I really started a blog a few days before Christmas last year – I am that nuts). I’d thought about starting a blog for months, and I finally decided one day to just do it. What did I have to lose?

A year later, I’m so glad I took the leap. Y’all inspire me to tackle difficult projects and to push the envelope of my comfort zone. You also “get it” when I’m insanely excited about spray paint or my latest flea-tique store find.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking time to read my ramblings each week, and thank you for all that you give back to me. I truly appreciate it.

I have a few series planned, a new (more user friendly) blog design in the works, and a few other plans up my sleeve for 2010 so stay close.

XOXO - AnNicole

Winter Fashion

Friday, December 18, 2009

So this is kind of a crazy post to be doing in the middle of the holiday season, but I thought you might be tired of seeing yet another wreath or garland…and I very selfishly wanted to do it.

Soooo, let’s talk winter fashion, okay? I rarely talk fashion on this blog (seeing as it’s a home decor blog), but I’m giving myself permission to do it today. Why? Because I’m going to be packing for my trip home for Christmas soon. And what do you start thinking about when you’re getting ready to pack? What on earth you’re going to wear (I told you this was a very selfish post)!

So here are some things that have caught my eye lately. Keep in mind – I can’t run out and buy most (um..pretty much any) of this stuff, but it’s fun to pretend, right?

Let’s start with a really cute and warm wool coat like this one from Banana Republic:

This swoonworthy peacoat from J. Crew:

J Crew Wool Harbor Peacoat

Or this affordable option from Old Navy:

And then add a comfy sweater like this one from Ann Taylor Loft (it’s on sale right now for $20!):

Ann Taylor Loft Button Turtleneck

Or this one from J. Crew:

J Crew Dolce Shawl Collar Sweater

A great pair of jeans, like these from Banana Republic:

Or these from Old Navy:

And finally grab some comfy, warm, cute boots, like these Aerosole Boots from Piperlime:

Or these Unisa Boots from Piperlime:

And voila! You’re ready for a winter wonderland.

Have a great weekend!

5 Things I Love About the Holidays

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Five Things I Love about the Holidays
  1. Opening new jammies on Christmas Eve and snuggling up while we watch It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol

  2. Hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning

  3. Hanging out with my family who I only get to see twice a year - The distance makes me appreciate them even more.

  4. Sparkly lights that make everything look magical...well...I don't know if they could make my garbage can look magical...but then again I've never tried.

  5. The joy of giving
What are some of your favorite things?

Image: Country Living

Christmas Mantel

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I wanted a festive fireplace mantel this year, but couldn’t fork out a lot of money to get the look I wanted…so what did I do? You guessed it, I shopped the house. I did buy a voluptuous pine wreath from Old Time Pottery, but that was it. Everything else was found in the corners of my home.

I also really, REALLY wanted to sew new Christmas stockings this year because the red is just a little too much for me. Seeing as Christmas is in 10 days, though, I’m kind of doubting that’s going to happen. Oh well…I doubt my son or dog are going to complain about red stockings :). 

Oh…and by the way, my walls were NOT painted with Lemonheads, they just look like they were in the photos. They’re actually a very lovely buttery tan (The Nester’s Tobacco Road).


The little stocking is for our dog, Kingsley. It’s just big enough for a dog treat and a chew toy.


The pitcher above is one of my favorite flea-tique store finds. I tied it with a bow (obviously) and threw some berries in.


I love my star wreath. I bought it an after Christmas clearance at Pottery Barn a few years ago. I decided to fancy it up with some ribbon and hang one of my favorite snowflake ornaments in the center.


This vase would probably be lovely polished, but I kind of like it in its tarnished state. Besides, it makes that Flea-tique store pitcher feel better about its own patina. Again, I threw in more berries and hung one of my favorite beaded ornaments.


You know I had to include a bird somewhere in there. This little guy’s happy to be hanging out in the foliage…even though it’s being clotheslined by a stray silver berry.

Have a great day!

Still Looking for Gifts?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Still looking for an inexpensive and unique Christmas gift? How about a gorgeous photographic print from Tim Irving (I truly love his photography)?


Or do you know a new mother or have a cute little niece, nephew or grandchild? Why not supply them with something cute, useful and unique from Little Ones?


Tune in tomorrow for pix of my Christmas mantel…yes, I actually did one this year :).

Have a great week!

Oh Christmas Tree

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I don’t know if you know this about me, but I can be a little obsessed with decorating. Yes, please do not fall off of your desk chair from this admission. For some reason, though, I never put a whole lot of effort into decorating our Christmas tree. And there have even been a few years (brace yourself) where I haven’t even bothered putting a tree up (take a moment to collect yourself…I’ll wait for you).

Maybe it’s because we always go “home” for Christmas; maybe it’s because it’s just my son and me and it feels like a wasted effort (I know…bad parental/Christmas attitude), but in recent years I haven’t been that into it.


I decided to put a stop to that this year - Not by going out and buying armfuls of new ornaments, or by attaching real life sparklers to our tree, but by decorating with intention. Instead of just throwing the same old random smattering of ornaments on the tree, I thought about what I really wanted the tree to look like and decorated accordingly.


I decided I wanted something soothing, calming, and sparkly this year. So I kept my red and green ornaments in the boxes and pulled out anything that was glass, silver, beaded or sparkly.

Since I don’t have a ton of ornaments, I brainstormed and decided to make the super inexpensive super easy vintage paper chain I showed you yesterday. I really like how it fills the space, but still looks subtle.


Finally, I don’t own a tree skirt (you’re really starting to be concerned about me aren’t you?), so I just pulled out some black and white ticking stripe fabric from my stash and wrapped it around the base of the tree. It’s actually one of my favorite things about the tree. But then again, I love all things ticking stripe.


The best part about our tree? Turning the lights on every night and chatting with my son about his day, or watching tv together under the glow of the tree lights (was that last part a little over the top?).

My point is – the tree helps remind us of the Christmas season. It’s an extra little thing that makes our house feel like home. And even though my teenager wasn’t remotely interested in helping me decorate the tree, he appreciated my effort and I know that it helps him feel the Christmas spirit. Oh heavens…that sounded sappy.

Have a great Wednesday!

“Vintage” Paper Chain

Monday, December 7, 2009


Remember those old paper chains you used to make out of construction paper in elementary school? Well, I’ve been admiring all of the cool wreaths made of book pages (like the wreaths below from Pottery Barn), so I thought it could be fun to make a paper chain for my tree with the same look.


  • An inexpensive book that you can destroy (I found mine at the Salvation Army)
  • Scissors or a fancy scrapbooking cutter
  • A stapler (or glue if you really want to go the extra mile)
  • Brown ink and a sponge applicator (OPTIONAL)

First, I have to say that I made my paper chain while visiting my Aunt for Thanksgiving. She is a card making queen, and as such she had all kinds of fancy supplies for me to use for this project. Yep. I was in awe. Here’s how our conversation about the paper chain went:

Me: Do you happen to have a stapler I could use?

Auntie: I have 5 different staplers for every possible stapling need. Which one would you prefer?

Me: Oh thanks. Do you happen to have any brown craft paint or ink I could use?

Auntie: Do I have ink? I have 10 kinds of antiquing ink. I have walnut, and parchment, and vintage paper, and mahogany, and….

Yeah, she’s totally out of my crafty and creative league.

Anyway, the reason for the explanation is that I wouldn’t normally have used all the fancy stuff. I’m more of a 1 type of scissors, 1 type of stapler gal. But that’s just me. Okay, moving on…

How to Make Your Paper Chain

1) If you want to antique your edges see the paragraph below. You’ll want to do this first.

2) Slice pages out of the book with the edge of your scissors.

3) Cut the pages lengthwise into uniform sized strips with scissors or a fancy paper cutter.


4) Staple (or glue if you’re an overachiever) the ends of the first strip together to form a ring. (yes, that’s what stapling paper looks like…earth shattering, I know)



5) Insert the next strip of paper into the ring and then staple the ends of that together to form another ring. (I know this is totally self-explanatory, I just thought I should explain in case you’ve never made a paper chain before).


If you want to antique the edges of the paper (and you have a spare 4 gajillion hours …more or less), use some brown ink and a sponge applicator to lightly add brown color to the edges of the strips. My aunt said she bought the ink in the photo from Michaels.


Add the ink to the strips of paper before putting the chain together. If you wait and do it after it’s been put together then then this project will take approximately 8 gajillion hours instead of 4. I learned this the hard way.

See my cute cousin helping me put ink on my edges? She was very patient during this process. Thanks Kelsey and Aunt Shelley!


Tune in tomorrow for more about my Christmas tree.

Master Bath Redo: Post 2 – Framing a Mirror

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First, let me take you back to February 11, 2009 when I was doing my happy dance because my large bathroom mirror was not glued to the wall. That meant I could easily remove it and replace it with two smaller oval mirrors.

Fast forward to 10 months later. The big mirror’s back up. What? Have I gone completely crazy…ha…well, I suppose that’s all relative. My defense is that A) I’m a woman and I have the right to change my mind, and B) I’m a Gemini…’nuff said. Furthermore, members of the jury, the oval mirrors were just too small for the space, and the larger mirror lets a lot more light into the space. I hereby rest my case :-).

So I’ve been admiring the cabinet displays at Restoration Hardware for a while (see the sneaky picture I took with my Blackberry…yes, I could totally be a spy). 

Restoration Hardware Molding

I’ve also loved the mirror in this BHG bathroom that I’ve had in my favorites file forevah. BHG Bathroom

Soooo, it was pretty easy to figure out what I wanted to do. I even made a super technical, ultra fancy drawing…


Uh huh…I know you’re impressed.

So here’s what I did to make my own version of this mirror. I had the friendly guy at Lowes cut 4 pieces of 1x4 for me…two short for the vertical pieces and two long for the horizontal pieces. I put a coat of paint on the backsides of the strips of wood because I knew they would be reflected in the mirror. I then adhered the 1x4’s to the mirror with my new best friend, liquid nails…


I then cut some rounded trim and adhered that onto the horizontal 1x4’s.



Finally, I used my new new best friend, miter saw, to cut some crown molding to adhere onto the upper edge of the top 1x4.

Since my mirror is secured to the wall with brackets, I made sure I didn’t glue wood over the brackets so the mirror can be easily removed in the future. 

And that’s it. I’ll do a tutorial in the future about cutting crown molding (once I got the hang of it, it really wasn’t that bad…I’m serious).

And here’s a top secret photo of the finished project (I’ve grayed out the image in the mirror because A) I’m mean, and B) I can’t reveal ALL of my plans for the bathroom yet, and the reflection would give away waaay too much). Sorry…

Bathroom Mirror1

Bathroom Mirror2-1

Have a great week!

Etsy Love: Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Friday, December 4, 2009

Here are some inexpensive gift ideas for you, courtesy of some amazingly creative Etsy sellers. If you click on the photos they’ll take you directly to the item in Etsy.

Key FOB’s from Baffin Bags: I don’t know what a FOB is…but apparently it’s one of the adorable keychains below. I recently bought one and I love it. It’s cute, light weight, and it only cost $4!!! I think these are a great stocking stuffer, or gifts for teachers, babysitters, etc.

Is it wrong to give a pillow for Christmas? Well…not wrong if you have a friend or loved one like me…who goes batty for pillows. Here are a couple faves:

Sa Sea Boutique (she’s having a buy 2 get 1 free sale!)

The Shabby Nest (Okay, this one isn’t in the under $20 category, but I want it. I really, really want it).

And here’s a smattering of other categories/gift ideas.

Love, love, love this calendar from Urban Design . You could use it all year and then frame the prints.

I’ve shown you this mug from Brookish before, but because I love it so much I’m showing it again. It’s the perfect gift for you closet romantic, Jane Austen loving girlfriends. “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I love and admire you.” Swoon…

I love to write (obviously), so I love getting journals as gifts. Especially journals as cute as this one from Disconsolator.

Finally, I don’t normally buy food online, but these look sooo good. You have to check them out. Besides, Little Brown Pen has a cute shop.

Have a great weekend everyone!