Lucky 12!

Once in a Lifetime Happy Birthday

     My niece is one special girl.  eDe turns 12 today, 12-12-12.  This darling and delightful girl is a spiritual gift to our whole family, so I had to find the perfect gift to mark this profound occasion.

     With 12 on my mind, I turned to EleganceLetters, the etsy shop that created the wooden monogram for my daughter’s dorm room decor.

The shop owner behind this site eagerly accommodated my special request with three different design choices, and within a couple of weeks, I was working on this.

     Since my Paintbrush and Pearls workshop, I am much more aware of how a painted piece can be improved so much with a bit of fine sanding in between coats.  After a bit of wood putty, light sanding, primer, fine sanding and a couple of coats of high gloss white paint, I am so excited for eDe to receive her 20″ Lucky 12.

Happy 12th Birthday, eDe!!!

Sure hope that this will always remind her of this unique day and how remarkable she is.

All photos by Avad Fan.


Making Monogrammed Wall Art

     Before she headed back to school last month, my daughter and I had a little fun creating the piece of personalized art for her dorm room that you first saw here.  The wall above her bed is the perfect place for a large monogram that ties her room together.  A statement monogram like this one stakes your claim to the dorm room and makes it truly your own for the year.

     Last year we used a large monogrammed decal in a fancy font like this one.

I must be all thumbs because we had a very difficult time applying it, and as I was trying to smooth it onto the wall (easier said than done), I could tell that it was going to pull up some of the new paint that the school had slapped on shortly before students began arriving on campus for the fall semester.  Turns out that we had to pay a bit of a fine to the Housing Department for the paint that peeled off when we removed the decal while she was moving out in the spring.  Though the large decal definitely made an impact, we decided that it wasn’t worth another fine and that we should use something that would be easily removable.

     Pinterest is filled with pictures of these large wooden monograms.


How could we resist?  The price was right for the 20+” x 20+” inch size and arrived in less than two weeks.  To make more of a statement on the dorm room wall, we decided to try to enhance it.  An old 24″ x 30″ unfinished canvas stashed in the closet proved to be a perfect backdrop with a couple of coats of purple paint.

     When the ½” thick wooden monogram arrived from the etsy store,


it needed some sanding.  Then after a couple of light coats of spray primer, we applied a few coats of turquoise paint.  Attaching the monogram to the frame was the main concern.  After considering velcroing it to the canvas, I pulled out the drill and made screw holes from the back through the center stretcher and used wood screws sized to go only about halfway through the monogram.

     Now secure, this unique wall art is making a personal statement in my daughter’s dorm room.  Unlike last year’s decal, she can remove it, maybe repaint it and reuse it in any number of places throughout her life.  This wooden monogram will always be the perfect way to make any place where she lives her own.

P.S.  After having to pay the fine for the peeled wall paint, over the summer I went looking for a better way to secure items to her dorm walls.  I am now a convert to the 3M™ Command™ Adhesive Products.  They take a bit of time to prepare and cure onto the wall before affixing the item that you are hanging, but removing them is so simple and clean.  While not cheap, they will save your walls.

Monograms: the Ultimate Dorm Room Design

     My friends and I have reached the age and stage where our (no longer) little girls are heading off to college.  Along with getting sorority recs lined up and finding the perfect collegiate wardrobe, the summer before a coed’s freshmen year is spent coordinating decor with her soon-to-be roommate and shopping for her first dorm room.  By the time she is settled in to her new space, mom is exhausted but excited to share the results with her posse.

     Dorm rooms sure have come a long way since I went to college.  This beautifully decorated room features custom designs from Blue Moon Bedding, a favorite of Ole Miss coeds.  Everything is just right, and the monogrammed shams add the perfect finishing touch.

     While pictures are a must, the best way to personalize a dorm room and truly make it your own (or at least your side of it) is with monograms. Easy yet distinctive, a monogram reflects its owner’s taste and style and lets her hall-mates know who lives there.  A monogrammed pillow or blanket is classic, but a monogram can also become unifying wall decor.

Monograms seem to be popping up everywhere.  Have you seen the vast collection on Pinterest?  So much monogram inspiration to be had there.

     Got any pictures of your coed’s monogrammed space to share?  Let’s get them pinned!

Enter Blogoversary Giveaway Now for Nest “Blue Garden” Candle: a Fabulous Find from Thistles

     You have only 2 days left to enter Avad Fan’s 1st Blogoversary giveaway.  The Nest “Blue Garden” candle not only provides a fabulous scent for your home, it also supports an important cause.  Net profits from its sales go to Autism Speaks,the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism.

     To enter the contest, all that you have to do is

  1. Leave a comment below;
  2. Subscribe to Avad Fan using the box in the upper right hand corner; or
  3. If you are already a subscriber, tell me that when you leave your comment.

These rules give each entrant up to two chances to win this candle.  This prize can only be shipped to addresses in the United States and Canada.  Entries will only be accepted until Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 12 noon EDT.

     If you don’t win this luscious candle, you can pick it up at one of my new favorite stores here in the West End:  Thistles.  While the store is not new (it has been in its location on Libbie Avenue since before I moved to Richmond over 25 years ago), I had not visited for many years.  When I stopped by last week in search of this candle, I feel in love with pretty much everything the store carries in its little 3-room shop:  lots of unique and high-quality leather, housewares and even sun hats.  I had to hold myself back, but I now have a trove of new gift ideas in the back of my mind and look forward to returning soon.

     If you don’t live in Richmond, you still have access to Thistles’ high-quality inventory through its


You can even get gifts monogrammed through this site (you know this Avad Fan loves a good monogram.)  If you haven’t already, you’ve got to discover Thistles.

     In the meantime, please enter the giveaway, and good luck!

Five Gifts of Christmas for Family & Friends: Part 5

Perfectly Easy and Adaptable Scones

     For my 5th gift of Christmas suggestion, I had a hard time making a decision.  A couple of books, including a great audio version, came to mind, but in the end the choice was easy.  I had to include a homemade gift of food.  My new favorite baked goodie, which is also pretty quick and easy, is Christmas Morning Scones.

     I have always been reluctant to try to make scones.  Most of the recipes seem to require cutting in butter, a tedious chore that often leaves my wrists sore.  Then I spotted this scone recipe a couple of weeks ago in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  I was intrigued, especially with the idea of using heavy cream and sour cream as the liquid.  There aren’t even any eggs in it.

     The beauty of this recipe is that it can be modified to your heart’s delight.  Since I tested the original version, I have been experimenting all week.  I have tried it with blueberries, partial whole wheat flour, dried cranberries, and I even made up some almond flour.  The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

     Another great thing about this recipe is that you freeze the scones before baking them.  You can make them up a month in advance if you are one to plan ahead that far.  Then they go straight from your freezer into the oven.  I haven’t figured out why this works, but it just does.

     Whether you deliver your scones baked or frozen, they will be a welcome Christmas gift.  Maybe you could put a bag of them in something like this.

More to come on this source next year.

     In the meantime, Happy Baking and Merry Gifting!

“atlantic embroidery Works” for Me, plus an Amy Butler Trunk Show

I am crazy for monograms.  Maybe it’s my font fetish, or maybe it’s just a Southern thing.  Either way all of my bath towels have monograms, and I love to give gifts that are personalized with a unique monogram design.  Monograms never go out of style, and the creative possibilities with monogramming are endless.

Dorm curtains in Lilly Pulitzer's "Jungle Orchid"

towel proof

Monograms can be very practical, especially when someone is heading to communal living at college.  Before my daughter headed off this fall, she was supplied with a small arsenal of freshly monogrammed towels color-coordinated with her dorm room bedding.  Once we picked the towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond, I headed straight to atlantic embroidery Works (yes, the spelling is right) for the personalization.

If my memory serves me correctly (and now that it is close to the half-century mark, it may be a little off), I first encountered aeW several years ago after I purchased a custom-designed monogram that the new business had contributed to a silent auction.  Little did I know that this purchase would be the the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

When I first walked into aeW and began looking at its impressive array of fonts (check the selection out here), I felt just like a kid in a candy shop.  The choices really were overwhelming, but aeW’s delightful designer, Niky Davis, walked me through the custom process step-by-step.  We analyzed each letter to be used in the monogram, and I told her what I liked and didn’t like about each of the letters in many different font styles.  Then Niky hit the books.  After much digging and designing, she devised the perfect monogram to fit our tudor-style home.  Now every time I need to personalize household towels or bedding, I just bring the items to Niky, and all we have to do is choose the color thread and the size.

      I still get to play with all of the fonts that aeW showcases when I am choosing personalization for gifts.  Niky and owner, Craig Mayhew, also make it easy when I am not sure what to give.  Their store is full of great home and personal items that can easily be monogrammed, and the price on their items includes the monogramming.

     This week, aeW is hosting a special trunk show of Amy Butler gifts for yourself or others.  Starting with a Girls’ Night Out from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12th, you can see over 80 pieces of the Amy Butler travel and fashion line just waiting for aeW personalization.  These bright, colorful pieces have been brightening the aeW’s showroom located upstairs at the Village Shopping Center (7027 Three Chopt Road, Suite 201, Richmond, VA 23226) for over a year, and I’ve been looking for the right occasion to buy one.  With the new styles colors in the Amy Butler catalog, I think that I have identified the perfect recipient (or two).  Bonus:  as part of the trunk show, all Amy Butler items purchased at aeW Wednesday night will be 15% off, and Thursday through Saturday they will be 10% off.

I can’t think of a better reason to stop by aeW, visit Niky and knock out some of my birthday and holiday gift-buyingHope I’ll see you there.