It's a Greek Thing or Probably It's a Me Thing

As the World Spins Madly on…

I cook.  And make neat little piles of ingredients.  When things start to get a little wobbly or I am feeling like my world is careening a bit off the rails, I find comfort in the rituals of preparing a meal.  I turn on music and begin making my piles.  The process of breaking down a bird and cubing potatoes and dicing leeks into orderly little bunches is cathartic.  It is an act, albeit a transient one, that helps me reign in the chaos.  I am an anxious control freak whose brain never shuts off and I find solace in rituals.  Cooking is one of them.  Painting, or making art of any kind, is another.


I blame the Greek in me.  This is what my Yia yia did her whole life – cook for others.  She got immense joy from doing so, especially when someone was in need.  And so do I.  When bad things happen, like an illness or even a death, we Greeks post up on your doorstep with food.  It is our way of showing support and love.  When great things happen, like a birth or a new pair of shoes, we Greeks post up with food.

Yesterday was one such day.  I turned to this playlist and began my ritual.  With each chop, the world began to slow down a little.  Joy began to sneak back into my world.  A lop-sided smile and another little pile was being created right alongside me.

sauting the veggies in the browned bits and rendered fat of the chicken - smells divine

don't let this brown town fool you - such goodness happening here - especially when crusty bread is dipped into those juices

I can’t always put Life into orderly little piles and follow a step by step process that results in a perfect little cooked up reality.  But for those times when I wish I could, when I really, really need things to be in order and make sense, at least I can make some mean piles of food and cook up a really, really great meal.

You know what I will be doing when the zombie apocalypse strikes.
kisses, mrs. V


Halloween Costumes

Trick or Treat!

That little punk rocker in the middle, the one who is very seriously wearing a safety pin in her ear, that is me.

This happened last year…

And this happened the year before…

although sadly I don’t have any pictures of me in the actual costume.  Amazing what a trip down the aisle at Michael’s and a glue gun will yield.  Working on scoring some video footage, though.

Clearly, we take Halloween seriously ‘round these parts.  My cousin throws an annual bash each year and I am scheming this year’s get up as we speak. 

Are you as bonkers about Halloween as I am?
kisses, mrs. V


Getting to Know Me

Kindness and Gratitude and an Introduction

A couple points of parliamentary procedure this morning.  The first being a HUGE thank you to Linda over at My Crafty Home Life.  What a crazy surprise to see an influx of folks visiting from her blog -  hello to you and thanks for coming by! I was completely gobsmacked when I discovered last week that she included Chez V on her list of new blogs that she enjoys.  That act of kindness is quite a big harry deal for this lil’ country mouse of a blog.

me, the Monster, and mr. V

So for those of you just joining the broadcast, welcome to Chez V.  Which brings me to my second point, an introduction.  Hi there.  Hello, I am mrs. V.  What is this blog all about, you might ask?  Remember this and this when I was feeling the need to categorize myself? Well, for those that have been with me from the beginning, I have great news.  I can finally answer that in 5 words or less.  ME.  I have Jenny to thank for the realizationThis blog is not about interior design or entertaining or lifestyle or fashion or pop culture.  It is about all those things because it is about me just doing my thing.  And all those things, plus many more, interest me.  What you see here is very close to what you get from me in real life.  Me doing my thing looks a lot like spastic cooking, crazy dancing, pile making, detail obsessing, belly laughing, kid wrangling, flower getting, entertaining, and furniture moving/painting/upholstering.  Throw in any number of half finished projects, cover it all with a dusting of bright and shiny and that’s the regular around here.

I do hope you will continue to tune in to the craziness.  It’s not always pretty and it’s not always perfect but I promise that it is pretty much perfectly entertaining, most of the time.  Especially when I trip over my teetering pile of shoes and rip my pants or when I singe off my eyebrows trying to pull off bananas foster or when the top layer of my Christmas cake slides off because my frosting deflated, right as I am bringing it to the table.

You can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram at @chezviviv if you desire.

In other news, I am so excited about the open house next month.  I have exciting news to share that feeds right into my monogram madness and I have just curated a collection of amazing one-of-a-kind vintage costume, sterling silver and estate jewelry for the event.  I want to keep every single piece.  I will be busy snapping pictures of all the goodness to share here.

kisses, mrs. V


Tales From the Projects - Hand Etched Ornaments

Monograms are Like Bacon, They Make Everything Better…

And so the season is upon us. Or I should say, upon me.  I am in armpit deep, guns a blazin’ Holiday mode.  Spastically cramming and creating new product for my trunk show in October as well as working on some new and exciting things.  Here is a quick peak at just a few of the newest things rolling off the Chez V production line – aka my kitchen table.  Please note that these are quick shots and full of lint as I was too excited to dig out my lint-free cloths b/f mugging them for the camera.

Last year I did a number of etched ornaments as teacher gifts with the teacher name and an apple.  Big hit.  This year I am super excited about the monogrammed silhouettes.  I have more options in the works and will share as soon as I can crank them out - the ornaments are very time consuming.  If you are interested, send me a note here with subject line 'ornament.'

In other news, I dabbled with gold leaf last night thinking I could create some pretty glammed up motif ornaments.  I had big visions of shiny leafy awesomeness.  Let’s just say the reality was a lot like one of Lohan’s mug shots – one hot mess.  But I am not giving up on that dream.


I told you people last week that I was likely to be messing with gold leaf.  I am a woman of my word.
kisses, mrs. V


A Magpie Longs for Milquetoast

Neutral Nelly or to be a Milquetoast
‘Never.’  I should just banish that word from my lexicon.  Say it all the time.  Not only do I come from a long line of women who eat their young, we are a judgy bunch too.  I say ‘Never’ a lot.  Whenever I see neutral spaces, my first instinct is to judge the space away as being too boring, too restrained, as not having any frisson.  ‘Never!’  I say.  ‘Not for me!’ I say.  I am a frustrated artist, so my heart naturally sings with color.  But I have to admit that lately I am drawn to tonal spaces that are devoid of riotous pattern and color.  This is noteworthy coming from the magpie who’s favorite color is pink-glitter-shiny-bright-with-a-side-of-spots.

Sally Wheat via Joni Webb/Cote de Texas

If done right, with textures, layers, metallics, and a limited palette, tone on tone is anything but bland.  That milquetoast can be magnificent.  Which is my ineloquent way of saying milquetoast can be alluring.  I am seriously contemplating going in an entirely different direction with Chez V aka the Postage Stamp – one that involves a layered Out-of-Africa tonal canvas.  Think natural fiber rugs layered with hides, slip covered upholstery, metallic accents, lots of linen, creams, and canvas, unpainted wood, and some blue and white for that waspy shot of colonial color but grounded with smart doses of black.  And probably a smidge of animal print – which I consider a neutral, Kassey!

Timothy Whelan via Arch Digest

Ashley Goforth Design

Joni Webb via Cote de Texas

Megan Megas via Antique Shops & Designers

Lindsey Reid via House Beautiful

Mark D. Sikes via House Beautiful

via Simply Seleta

Stephen Shubel via House Beautiful

Bettina Nuschei via Nuevo Estilo

Kathleen Clements Design/Briggs Edward Solomon Design

Lynn Morgan via House Beautiful
via pinterest via Scot Meacham Wood

Heather Bullard

via pinterest via Erika Powell

the McGrath ladies via Good Bones Great Pieces

The irony here is that I did the whole natural fiber rug/layered hide thing 6 years ago.  I started out with a huge jute rug that I thought would be ideal for a huge dog.  WRONG!  Mega wrong!  Sure it was durable, but it showed every muddy paw print, slobber stain, and wine spill.  Then I layered a hide rug over the stained jute.  Brilliant!  Hid the stains on the jute not to mention miraculously repelling any new stains.  Super easy to clean off – let a spill dry and brush it right off.  The problem was that it was major beige-y browntown in a north facing dark room.  Boo.  Similarly, I tried sisal, and then seagrass in various different spots all to the same results.  Stain City Sweatheart.  Plus the sisal and seagrass showed wear pretty quickly.  Boo too. So I swore off natural rugs in favor of patterned spot hiders.  Plus, I had just had a little and needed something soft and plush for her to roll about on.  So the hide has been in hibernation for 4 years.  But now I am OVER the patterned rugs – excepting of course if they are of the antique persian variety - so I am ready to pull the hide back out.  And a natural rug.  So here I am again, saying NEVER SAY NEVER to natural rugs again.  And neutral nelly milquetoast spaces.  When our over large beast leaves for greener pastures, I am so doing the tonal Out-of-Africa thing.  With a side of bling.

Oh who am I kidding?  I will likely have 3 new patterns and a gold-leafed ceiling in this house by next week.

ps - Listen, animal lovers, I love my dog, but he is sick and old and his quality of life isn’t good.  No judging.  There is only room for one Judgy McJudger around here and that role is taken.  I am simply making light of a sad thing.

and pps - I'm tired - I will attach links later

kisses, mrs. V