Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living Easter Eggs

The girls and I have been itching to garden, and although Spring has showed up once or twice in the past few weeks, it hasn't stayed nice enough to go all out. So we did a little Easter egg experiment. I remember doing this when I was growing up, and the girls loved it just as much as I remember liking it.
We collected egg shells for awhile...ok not that long, we eat a lot of eggs

then we filled them with soil. We just used old potting soil from our basil plant from last spring

and most of the soil eventually made it into most of the eggs

and then we sprinkled in some seeds. We did an experiment, some with a rye grass seed blend, and some with cat grass to see which grew faster.
and then we watered them and put them on the window ledge and waited one week for this to happen
The cat grass  is blowing the rye grass out of the water...but we still have a few days until Easter. Madds says that they might catch up.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dream Bath

This month we bloggers at Apartment Therapy were asked to put together our "dream bathrooms," and I have to confess that I probably took this assignment a little too seriously. I spent a LOT of time thinking about how I wanted my perfect bathroom to look, what it should contain, and what it should feel like.  I love earthy, old, and industrial things, and even though these aren't usually elements found in the bathroom (and certainly not found in mine now) I had fun (all day long) dreaming. You can check out my post for a list of all the sources I used. I called it my "Greenhouse Garden Bath," and possibly the best part about it is the living MOSS bath mat :)

It was really fun to see what the other writers chose for theirs too. My two favorites have been Ronee from AT Boston's,  "Paris Flea Market Bath":
 and Laure from AT LA's "French Farmhouse Modern"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Catrin's amazing house tour

The house tour that I did for Apartment Therapy today is one very close to my heart. I fell in love with Catrin's living room when I saw it in the Domino decorating contest a few years ago, and I've referred back to it about a million times since.  It has the perfect balance of modern and traditional, and is swoon-worthy and comfortable both at once. Well, a few weeks ago Catrin wrote into AT seeking some advice for a furniture arrangement and I almost fell off my chair--my DREAM HOME was sitting in my inbox! I wrote Catrin to ask if she'd be up for opening her home to a house tour, and she said yes! 

Being invited into a perfect stranger's home is always an exciting experience, and so far all my house tour hosts have been incredible and gracious---the kind of people that I'd love to be friends with. I love meeting new people and seeing how they've weaved their personalities and the personalities of their families into their home. 

Catrin, was a total delight--welcoming, great sense of humor, and way too humble about being a very talented decorator. She's definitely someone "with an eye," and could easily turn that talent into a very successful business if she chose to go that route.

The thing I loved best about this tour was the awesome blending of fine and comfortable, and I learned so much from Catrin just by studying the smart decisions she made in her home. Our girls are the same age, and they go to a very similar school, and we're both super involved in their schools, so it was fun comparing notes. I honestly think I could have stayed there all day talking and taking in her beautiful home. Check the whole thing out here.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

little slices of perfect

 Well, perfect for one little room in our house. 

I've been kind of at a loss when it comes to our den (or the "man room" as we've been jokingly calling it :). It's really the last frontier in our home. Not that everything else is complete (or even close to complete) but it's the only room that has no cohesiveness whatsoever. Despite its "man room" title,  it's not very manly...or cool...or really anything much at all

A few months ago we got our first real TV, a definite highlight in my husband's life, ok let's be honest,  in all of our lives--nothing beats Lost on a big screen. With the new purchase and a sofa scored on craigslist, what used to be an extra bedroom became our new den. Ta-da! Well, not really. It's actually a sad mash-up of styles because we've been filling it with whatever doesn't really go in the rest of the house....eclectic in the not so good sense. And of course the millions of paint swatches on the walls don't help either....well actually they do in that they help me deal with its unfinishedness: "yep, this room is sure going to look good once it's all painted." The fact that the room has been covered in swatches for several months is beside the point :)

Making matters worse, the den is part of our awkward addition that was added in the 80s. It's a long narrow room with a challenging layout and only one redeeming quality: an awesome exposed brick wall...that the previous owners not so awesomely covered up with a horrible shade of purple paint. 

The rest of the house was built in the 40s, and in my opinion everything looks better with wood floors, plaster walls,  and wide baseboards. They may even be capable of making a big flat screen and big sectional look not so mcmansion. But wall-to wall carpet, drywall, and lack of architectural details...well there's not much hope, or so I thought.

BUT yesterday I got an idea as I was preparing my post on two-tone walls for Apartment Therapy, and it goes a little something like this....

Black (or deep gray) and white two one walls. Black on bottom that will extend about 8 inches above the back of the sofa that extends 3/4 around the room (every wall except the brick one). Like this:

 (from skona hem)
A salon style grouping of photographs, art, and other beloved things like old mirrors, maps, and Rich's long board :)

(top: light locations, middle:  zeal art via decorpad, bottom: domino of Nathan Turner's bedroom)

A collection of objects that we've collected from our travels and antique shops.
 (top: Mustard & Sage via space for inspiration, bottom: Domino of Nathan Turner's beverly hills abode)
A silhouette styled cityscape mural painted on the brick wall. I'm still trying to decide on the color scheme on this one, but I'm awfully smitten with the one painted in Kensington's delicious sub*urban trading co. ...which incidentally has become a frequent stop for me and the girls. It just has such a wonderful feel to it,  not to mention the fact that everything is delicious.

A rug. Probably a nearly thread bare oriental one, but I also like the idea of more black and white...
(Top: DIY network's  Man Cave of Rainn Wilson's home, Bottom: Nate Berkus)

A dart board and chalkboard
(flickr find via here)

Now that I have my vision I can hardly wait to start...but I'll just have to. This week is jam-packed and I'm dead meat a tad bit behind! 

****update! Almost a year later, we did actually make a little progress in this room! You can check out its current state in this post.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Les Indiennes

One of the lovely homes I'm working on has me so excited to incorporate the relaxed global elegance that Les Indiennes  has mastered with their beautiful block-prints. Although it seems to be wildy popular at the moment, it possesses a certain subtlety that I think makes it much more of a classic than a fad.
Single color block prints are some of my favorite types of patterns to layer because they can be interesting and serene at the same time.

I also love how their patterns fit seamlessly into both modern and traditional spaces. I especially like the looks below, injected with a int of rustic.
I love how this print (below) ties in the rich colors of the ethnic headboard but adds a light relaxed air to the room--the kind that's often missing in global-leaning rooms.

(above images from Les Indiennes)

 Tom Schreerer (two photos below) has mastered the look, managing to make the rooms feel feminine and grounded at the same time.
In addition to using a few of these prints throughout the home, we're also thinking about doing a tone on tone block print-esque design in the hallway that connects all five of the condo's rooms. There are so many awesome stencils out there, but these are my favorites...

This one from etsy seller cutting edge stencils:
in a much smaller scale of course, and used in a repeating pattern similar to this (by the talented Deirdre Newman who Jenny featured on the Little Green Notebook, check out more of Deirdre's  amazing work here) :
And I also love this one from Sunny's goodtime paints:

 I've actually dreamed about how the home is going to look for the past 3 nights! I'm so excited to see everything come into place!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Homemade Sisal Pendant Light

My favorite reading spot before:
I really disliked that lamp!
I've been trying to figure out what should go in as a replacement, but everything that I found was either way out of my price range or not quite right. I wanted to make that corner feel natural and a little organic, and not too "finished." I also wanted something that would tie into my wall mounted "baskets" (aka ikea placemats and bowl :) which had started to look a little random. And if they looked random to me, I can only imagine that they would look more so to someone who didn't know how I was really holding out for some antique winnowing baskets but hadn't happened to find any yet.....

This is what I came up with in my rough sketch mock-up (forgive the 1/2 a cow hide rug and sub-par photoshop skills :) I am planningn drapes to replace the roman shades down the line, but rest assured that they won't look like these :)

I liked the look of West Elm's discontinued Abaca pendant, but couldn't find any good replacement. However, I did find this tutorial explaining how to make something similar. I liked the concept but not all the materials that they used.

So, I took this :
Covered it inch by inch in this:
wrapped it around this:
and wound the mod-podge covered string around it until it looked like this:
Let it dry, then deflated and removed the ball like this:

and hung it up like this:
I like how it doesn't make that corner too cluttered, and how it looks like one of the baskets just jumped off the wall. It casts awesome shadows too!

You can check out my complete instructions here, which I posted on this lovely blog started by my very talented friend Molly who I wish didn't live halfway across the country.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ruth's whimsical wedding (one year late)

While looking for inspiration for tonight's Apartment Therapy post on decorating with old book pages (check it out here) I re-discovered some photos that I took at my dear friend and former roommate, Ruth's, beautiful wedding in Dallas just about this time last year. I thought I had lost them when my computer crashed last spring, but I had forgotten that I had uploaded them to my trusty but little used flickr file.

Ruth comes from one of the most talented families I know. It's full of artists, writers, literary geniuses, and comedians, and every time I'm around them I think about asking them to adopt me. Not surprisingly, Ruth's wedding was full of lovely artistic touches, mostly fueled and masterminded by her lovely sister, Lucia.

Lucia took an old branch and cut leaves from old books to create this whimsical branch decoration gracing the entrance to the reception.
And I love these getting ready shots. Ruth's family's house is so beautiful.

Here's one of Lucia's pieces. Literally everything she creates makes me beam, so creative!
Lucia's wedding (probably around 6 years ago) was at her parent's house, and one of her preparations was this cabinet redo. Apparently the cabinets were in rough shape, and so she collaged them with book and magazine clippings.

A few hours before the wedding a bunch of our college friends got to decorate the reception site, the lovely old Turner House in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas.
Artsy Alissa crafted away, and I mostly just snapped away on my camera :)except when I got to help the talented cakemaker, Ellen, decorate Ruth's very sweet and simple cake...
That weekend I stayed at lovely Desarae's house which happened to have quite a lovely staircase that I was absolutely obsessed with....taking more pictures of it than people!
Better late than never, right?
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