My Floral Affair – Review of Rachel Ashwell’s Newest Decor Book

My Floral Affair – Review of Rachel Ashwell’s Newest Decor Book

It’s Day 298 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and because I’m in love with My Floral Affair, Shabby Chic founder Rachel Ashwell’s newest decor book, I’m excited to write a review about it. My own romance with Shabby Chic began in the 90s and will soon celebrate its 30th anniversary. Sometime in my youth I became an Anglophile (probably due to devouring all that Jane Austen). In college, where I majored in English Lit of course, I pledged a sorority whose colors are pastel pink and green which only fed my preference for the colors. Then in my early 20s I became a bit obsessed with design and developed a a deep, abiding love of flowers and pink roses in particular. The combination of the above is what initially drew me to English Country decor with its prevalence of large scale cabbage roses on chintz fabrics. When I opened a copy of Victoria magazine and saw a spread of Rachel Ashwell’s Malibu home and her Shabby Chic style – a mix of English cottage, California beach cottage and romantic French influences, with white and pastel painted furnishings set against white walls – all with a profusion of pink flowers – I fell SO hard and have been devoted ever since. I own all the Shabby Chic books, and couldn’t wait for the eleventh, knowing My Floral Affair wouldn’t disappoint.

A quintessentially Shabby Chic corner of my dining room/office. This buffet with a restored Simply Shabby Chic mirror, clock, lamps & crochet edge table runner. Decor -Target. Book – B&N.                                                   The addition of Easter flowers from my sweet hubby & My Floral Affair make it even more lovely. Stoneware water pitcher used as vase – TJ Maxx. 

The timing of the book’s release is ideal. March came in like a lion and it’s gone out like one too! Here in the midwest, we had the threat of twelve inches of snow toward the end of the month (it turned out to be much ado about nothing) and got a blanketing of it the day after a frigid Easter/April Fool’s Day. No joke! (I couldn’t resist). Worst case scenario I probably suffer from a bit of Seasonal Effective Disorder, and don’t enjoy winter all that much at the least. Between the cold, rain and snow, Spring Cleaning didn’t hold much appeal until I got ahold of a much anticipated copy of My Floral Affair. Pages of gorgeous, yummy decorating from Rachel Ashwell’s own homes as well as those of others in England, France, and Norway, all with flowers as the focus, make for tantalizing visual eye candy, and have inspired me to freshen up my Shabby Chic space in many ways, including with flowers.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose ShabbyChicophile, I’ve been a one-decorating style kinda woman for a while and I like it that way. My style is not trendy and it’s definitely not modern as my hubby and stepsons like to point out. I’m fine with their ribbing though because I realize they’re not accustomed to homes that don’t look as if the showroom display was shipped to the house and set up. I’d go mad in a space like that. Instead, I’ll take Shabby Chic, timeworn and timeless for life. Oh, and filled with flowers.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to freshen up your home or office this spring, Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose inspiration is abloom in My Floral Affair, available at or

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Savvy & Chic Christmas Series – Library

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Savvy & Chic Christmas Series – Library

Day 105 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was spent ticking off my list of professional and priority tasks before getting around to making it begin to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas in the library. Regular readers may recall that this underutilized space was merely a landing a few months ago until I maximized it and made it a full-fledged library. What fun I had decking this hall! And I love passing through it on the way to and from our master bedroom or my children’s. With all of it’s sentimental bits, only a few strategically placed holiday decor pieces and $0 were needed to make my new library look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas.

The landing to library transformation began with my hubby’s gift of these shelves for his bookworm wife now topped with my collection of Christmas houses from Cracker Barrel.

My father was my best friend. I lost him in 2001. I inherited my love of design (he was an architectural engineer) and other people’s castaways from him. A chair he rescued for me from one of his rental properties is imperfect, which speaks to the life it’s lived and his love for me. I’ll keep it always. It has a palace of honor in the library, so showing this spot some love is a way to have my daddy with me for Christmas. He adored dogs and tolerated my cats, so he’d probably get a kick out the fact that the kitty litter lives next to the chair! Bookshelves from my childhood are another sentimenatl nod. They conjure up fond memories of my mother. I inherited my love of reading from her.

This sentimental chair is topped with a Simply Shabby Chic round pillow that my cat, Peppa Loveday has claimed for a napping spot. Appropriate since the chair is housed on the catwalk section of the landing that overlooks the living room. The rug is Simply Shabby Chic as well. The vintage look Pink Santa is a Hobby Lobby find from years ago. I got him for half off.
This green bookshelf has been with me for most of my life and lived on the landing in the house I grew up in. Now it’s come full circle. I painted it this sage-y Shabby Chic green about twenty years ago. It houses books and DVD collection. The pink basket and wicker lamp are flea market finds.  This Santas twin is in my daughter’s room. They too, were half off at Hobby Lobby, so I got both for under $20. His yellow package and red presents pick up the colors in the artwork.
This newer shadowbox houses a vintage napkin. Both are quintessentially Shabby Chic. The chest with a damask cushion is one of my few Simply Shabby Chic furniture pieces. Before my children were old enough to pick out their own clothes, I laid theirs out for school here every night. The wear and tear speaks to its usefulness.                                                                                      The soft green vintage look ornament reminds me of Shiny Brights. Nostalgic.

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose decorating enthusiast, decorating is even more special for me this year because I’m documenting it. It’s yet another way blogging has enhanced my life. Climbing into my attic to retrieve much of my decor is no picnic (I couldn’t wait til this weekend for my hubby to do it) but is so worth the effort because it gives me blogging material. And it was like Christmas morning finding all of my stuff this afternoon! Sharing my finds and styling them to share with you is the icing on the cake. Having to clean in order to style and take pictures is another benefit…

I hope this series  inspires you to Savvy Chic some of your spaces at home and the office – with whatever it is you love and that speaks to you. After all, if you look around, it appears the days of Christmas being strictly red and green are behind us. So infuse your dwelling and workspace with your sentimental stuff and your style. When you do, like it did with my library, I believe they’ll begin to look a lot like a Savvy & Chic Christmas too.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach

The Laundry Room – Sorting Out The House One Space At A Time – Part 2

The Laundry Room – Sorting Out The House One Space At A Time – Part 2

Day 188 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was spent much like yesterday – working on professional business all day then finishing the laundry room  in my effort to sort out the house one space at a time. Despite the fact that I’m still not feeling 100%, as is always the case when I decorate, I experience a sense of timelessness and didn’t stop until the space was completely done. The day was one of creativity but it also came with a challenge that almost derailed me from putting the final Shabby Chic touches on the room. But where there’s a decorating will, I will find a way.
 When I removed some foam batting from between the water heater and the stud wall, the battle between a huge arachnid and me began. And I was determined it was going to be one to the death! Grabbing the first can of spray within reach, I tried to afixiate the spider but he jumped from the wall to the batting. I screamed bloody murder and sprayed again. This time he leapt into the washing machine. Though I hate killing things, I was terrified and had to off the intruder if I wanted to continue working because we could not be in the room together. I closed the lid, pressed power and washed, rinsed and spun the spider to a watery death. This seems extreme but I’m allergic and didn’t want to repeat the day Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both died. I’d been bitten by a spider and my arm swelled to nearly the size of a child’s football by the time I got to the ER. All that to say, gruesome grave or not, all spiders must die!
With my challenge resolved, I returned to my project. Last fall, I bought a single Simply Shabby Chic curtain panel on clearance for my youngest stepson’s room. Since it was white and plain, I thought he’d have no objections to it. I was wrong. Today I used it to “drywall” the laundry room. Then, I rehung all of the items I posted yesterday.
Next, I added a few Shabby Chic bits and bobs like ribbon to the hanger holding the macrame piece and another to hang the second botanical print from the same hook as the first (the Command hooks and my concrete wall played nicely for one picture but not the second). I tied the ribbon off with a sweet little bow (not visible here but I’m too tired to go take another picture) and love the effect. And I finally got to put my Treasures by Rachel Ashwell clothes pins to use. Unsuccessful in my search for a laundry room sign, I turned my attention to a DIY project and fashioned one from a Simply Shabby Chic DIY banner kit I’ve had for a while. I couldn’t be more pleased with the final product and appreciate that it won’t fade since the laundry room is an above ground walk out but doesn’t have windows in this room.
My last task was to heed my hubby’s admonition that we can’t have a fabric rug covering the drain. Good thing I spied a rubber one yesterday that is similar to the original I’d picked.  It’s a little more Shabby Chic bohemian, so I like it even more. My sweet hubby got me two so they extend the length of the room. Happy accident! Speaking of happy accidents, there was one corner of the room that still bothered me – the far right side of the wall where the curtain didn’t extend. I remembered a small Goodwill shelf I got for pennies. Until tonight I couldn’t find a spot for it but it wedged between the stud and the wall wonderfully. I tried to set my little blue floral Goodwill mannequin there but she fell between the wall and the stud and I couldn’t get her out tonight…Unlike the spider, I won’t let her meet her demise there! I plopped a pretty Shabby Chic style velvet green pumpkin there instead. The room had zero shelves so now I have a place to display seasonal decor – making the awkward corner a great feature that provides the perfect finshing touch.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose nest-featherer, I hope you are inspired by my space and can use some ideas to sort yours.
Be savvy & chic,
~Pink Collar Coach
Officially Back to Work in An Optimal Office & Optimistic

Officially Back to Work in An Optimal Office & Optimistic

Day 181 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project was my first officially back in the office and I’m so optimistic! It was wonderful waking up ready to work. But as much as I enjoyed the work, I love the space I did it in. Having spent so much of the last few weeks in bed, I could truly appreciate the office I’ve created for myself in the dining room. Formerly underutilized because we have a large eat-in kitchen with sturdy oversized chairs large enough to hold all of the large men in my big fat blended family, this summer I maximized the space. Now, not only is it functional and comfortable, it’s truly beautiful. The first thing I do each day is read from my devotional book and pray. When I turned to get it this morning, I was struck by the beauty and had to capture it. What a joy to officially be back to work in such an optimal office.


This vignette in my office inspires all things Pink Collar Savvy & Chic work related. Susan Lordi’s Willow Tree Madonna and Child, the cross, and the pink devotional speak to my faith, which informs everything I do professionally and personally, including life coaching. My passion for fashion and image coaching is visible in two of my favorite dress form pieces of artwork. And my heart for home and interior decorating is evident in the Welcome sign, dream, Keep Calm, and floral pieces, which are all quintessentially Shabby Chic. Other than the lamps, which are inspired by Rachel Ashwell and her love of blign and flowers, most of the other items are vintage Simply Shabby Chic from Target circa early 2000. The others, such as a baby shower gift Mikasa vase and carved wooden turkey hold sentimental value. The Sicura Enchante Collection bookends round out the tableu and represent my agency’s logo.

Not having been in the space everyday for a while also gave me fresh perspective. A few weekends ago I had our handyman, Mark, help my husband move the sideboard down a few feet and it freed up valuable space. I’ve owed a Simply Shabby Chic luggage rack for ages but has stood idly folded between the sliver of space between the sideboard and the wall. Now it serves as my laptop stand. Placing it there at the end of my work day is now part of my transition from professional to personal life. Again, everything in this corner of the room serves a purpose and pleases the eye as well. The floral painting, velvet pumpkins, dining chair and Morrocan pouf are Shabby Chic inspired and the rest is vintage Simply Shabby Chic as well. The pouf was relocated from the adjacent living room today and now serves as a low table or foot rest. I love how it mirrors the round shape of the clock, shadow boxes and even the pillow visible through the can back of the chair. This gorgeous ottomoman now makes the office more optimal. IMG_0540

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Cygnet who planned to write about what I accomplished today in my office but instead wrote about the office itself, I’m OK with that. I am a hard worker, but I’m also creative at heart. Art and beautiful things make my heart go pitter patter. Today my office did. Don’t get me wrong, I was super productive. I’m just even more optimistic about being back to work, especially when I get to do it in an optimally functional, comfortable, and beautiful office.

How about you? Are you optimistic about your work? Does your work space inspire you to work optimally? I’d love to help you maximinize your home or work office space.

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach





Landing to Library – Savvy Chic-ing Some Underutilized Space

Landing to Library – Savvy Chic-ing Some Underutilized Space

It’s Day 160 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m excited to report it’s also Best Views Ever Day for the blog! I was pleasantly surprised to learn this just now when I sat down to post. I hadn’t looked at statistics all day, so it seems the old “a watched pot never boils” saying applies to blog stats as well! This morning Joel Osteen’s message was about when the storm is at its worst, that’s when we experience a power surge. Learning that my all time views almost doubled in a day was just the power surge I needed. I appreciate all of you for taking the time to spend a little of your day with me here. Now, on to the reason I wasn’t plugged in all day: I was busy Savvy Chic-ing an underutilized space on third floor and transformed the landing into a library.

As an avid reader, I’d love to have an entire room dedicated to books, but with a big fat blended family, though our home is relatively large, it doesn’t have any vacant rooms waiting for books to take up residence! That being the case, soon after moving into the house my hubby already owned, one of the first things I did was put my childhood bookcase on the center of the long landing wall which served no purpose other than being a walkway to bedrooms, the children’s bathroom, the linen closet and the catwalk overlooking the living room. For the last seven years the bookcase has done its duty alone (once one of a set, I wish I wish I knew what happened to its twin!). But as I’ve broadened my horizons and added new authors to my favorites, my book collection has outgrown the solitary bookcase.

For a while now, I’ve had a Shabby Chic style shelving unit in mind and have half-heartedly looked for it. Then, lo and behold, yesterday, when I was at the Christian bookstore redeeming a coupon, I wandered down to Old Time Pottery and found two shelves that I thought would foot the bill stacked on top of one another to make a tall bookcase. Knowing how much it would mean to me, my sweet hubby met me, we got the van, and he went and picked them up for me without batting an eye. Yes, he wanted me to be happy but I think he also wanted avoid the towering stacks of books on the landing from tumbling down! To top it off, he took me to Endless Shrimp Fest at Red Lobster for date night. He’s a keeper. ; )

Today, while I was home alone, I spent many happy hours rearranging ALL of my books (they’re alphabetized) – the secular authors on the bookcase I painted Shabby Chic sage green back when I was married to my wasband – and my Christian authors on the new shelves, which look distressed with age. Then, I shopped the shed and rooted through all of the boxes from my old office as well as the house to decorate the shelves. With a little time and love, the landing is now a functional, beautiful library.

Two shelving units stacked on top of one another gave me the height I wanted. It’s filled with books and has tons of room for more.  Florentine picture frames with family photos, $1 candle holders from Goodwill and some sentimental pieces, the provide Savvy Chic function and beauty.
The new shelves and the old go well together. They are united by the books, Florentine frames and Shabby Chic sage green that is woven through both.                                                                      Brown is not my usual go-to, but I like how it plays off the brown stair railing.                                                                                                        It also makes this space, located just outside the master bedroom more palatable for my hubby. 

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic Chick who loves maximizing her space by transforming underutilized or quirky spaces into functional, beautiful ones, I hope my project inspires you to take a look at your spaces and image them serving more of a purpose. When you do, you may be surprised to learn that instead of being the spaces you just want to rush through, they become the spaces you want to relax in. That’s what happened to me today – I spent a lot of time reading on the landing. Oh, I mean, The Library!

What landings, hallways, nooks, closets, or cubbies could you Savvy Chic to fit your home or office needs?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach



Putting Some Shabby Chic into Dark Stemmed Velvet Pumpkins with Spray Paint

Putting Some Shabby Chic into Dark Stemmed Velvet Pumpkins with Spray Paint

It’s Day 132 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and as is the case on many Saturdays, I took on a small DIY project giving dark stemmed purple velvet pumpkins a spray of Shabby Chic color paint. As my friend Kibby recently brought out, though I have a degree in Interior Design and have worked as a designer, my passion is really decorating. Besides, in a world where flipping fixer uppers and renovating our homes is so popular, I’m old-school and still believe you don’t necessarily have to bust out walls or the budget to have a home that is beautiful, comfortable and functional.

In that spirit, I decided to show my home some approaching fall love by tackling this project and taking the Halloween out of the pumpkins and infusing them with Shabby Chic softness. I love being outside, so with a perfect day, I got busy spraying away. As seen below, the pumpkins have been transformed into fall decor that reflects my sense of style.

If you’re anything like me and just want to add some fall style to your home or office without expensive, time-consuming changes, then I hope you’ll take on this simple Shabby Chic-ing (or should I say Savvy Chic-ing?) project.

Shabby Chic-ed velvet pumpkins with pretty ivory stems.                                                             Florentine tray, another steal for $14 at Tuesday Morning.

Simple Steps to Shabby Chic Dark Stemmed Velvet Pumpkins

  1. Check the Halloween decor section at these stores for velvet pumpkins in purple, teal, brown, and even black with dark stems you can spray paint: TJMaxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods, Stein Mart, Tuesday Morning.
Trio of purple velvet pumpkins in their original goth/Halloween decor state. Placed on a     Simply Shabby Chic quilt. $6 for the small ones and $7 for the large at Tuesday Morning.

2. Determine what color you’d like for the stem. Ivory, cream, sage green, and taupe are great options that pair well with the velvet. Cover area where spraying, preferably outdoors or indoors with good ventilation. Use a mask if necessary.

Ivory Satin spray paint. I always keep a can on hand for my DIY projects.

3.  Wrap pumpkin securely in a plastic grocery bag and tie the neck at base of stem. Insert straight pins around the stem to secure and to ensure no paint seepage.

Pumpkin wrapped in a grocery bag prior to painting.

4.  Spray underside of stems first by turning the pumpkins on their sides. Then turn pumpkins upright to spray the tops and sides. Be sure to follow all directions on can for best coverage, including drying time.

5. Untie the bag once the stems are dry, then pull the bag away from the stem and allow the straight pins to remain in the bag to be discarded.

6. Decorate your home or office space for fall by creating beautiful vignettes using your Shabby-chiced velvet pumpkins and enjoy for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Velvet pumpkin vignette in my foyer. So Shabby Chic and welcoming!

As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Chick who loves doing small things around my home, for my home, I know that I was created in the image of my heavenly Father who was an artist. He created color, and the animals and plants for cloth and fabric. His creativity and desire to make things beautiful runs through me and all creative souls. I feel a particular affinity for a Savvy & Chic Chick from the Old Testament of the Bible who is described as “a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple” (Acts 16:14). I can just imagine the other village women lining up at her stall to buy some of that purple cloth! I would have been there, asking for it in velvet of course! And if I only had black thread to work with, though I wouldn’t have had ivory spray paint, I’d have still found a way to make it Savvy Chic to suit my sense of style!

You were created with that same creativity running through you. How can you tap into it to make your home or office reflect that?

Be savvy & chic,

~Pink Collar Coach