Friday, August 31, 2007

Bathtub Gin, Running Backwards and Crows.

My life has been a giant flashing montage of different things here lately. Do you ever feel like that? Like your life is flying by so fast that you only catch a momentary glimpse every now and then? Mine is. I’m not sure why, I’m really not that busy. My job is normal, not too rushed, and I’m a mere eight hours from a three day weekend. But this past week has been a really fast carousel ride. At the end of chaotic periods of time, I like to pinpoint a few things that sum up a past week. For example, one week was summed up as “Kitchen Plumbing, Walt Whitman and Insomnia.” That wasn’t a particularly good week, so I won’t revisit it.

The first important part of my week is the latest book I’ve been reading. It’s entitled Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by Marion Meade (here lately I’ve been really drawn toward nonfiction, especially since finishing Antonia Frasier’s Marie Antoinette: The Journey). This book is fascinating, a look into the lives of Dorothy Parker, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edna Ferber, Zelda Fitzgerald, among others. I really appreciate seeing the ‘other side’ of the literary world at that time, these women don’t get nearly the press that Hemingway and others did. One thing these women are teaching me is that despite what I always believed, I am, in fact, very, very, very normal.

The second event of note in my life this week happened this morning. Every now and then I see something completely and totally odd on my commute to work. It’s a thirty something minute drive, and inevitably somewhere amidst the downtown buildings something bizarre presents itself. This morning it was a little man, hunched back beneath a red backpack. He had grey hair and tattered cargo shorts and was jogging backwards down a city street… his back toward traffic. I have no idea who he was or what his thinking involved (perhaps he found it better to have traffic see him first). I was filled with pity for him, he was obviously homeless, but at the same time it was in a 30 mph zone, so surely no one ran him down. But on the flip side, it tickles me to no end to see out of the ordinary things everyday. Wouldn’t life be boring if it were filled with ordinary people like me, dressed mostly in black, driving fast while spilling Starbucks on their car seats?

The third item that has taken my focus this week is my quest for Halloween crows. I’ve vowed to acquire a few before the Halloween rush takes place and empties the shelves of all the good decorations. I first stopped into Hobby Lobby (the name of that store cracks me up) and was aghast… no crows in sight. Not even a tiny one. I then trucked it over to Michael's, and once again, thwarted. No crows. Finally, after two other non profitable stops, I found a big shelf of crows at Tuesday Morning… for $18 a piece! Ackck! I think I shall be crow-less this Halloween, and I’m very disappointed about it.

That’s my insane week in a nutshell. Oh sure, I did lots of other things. I did dishes, I was nearly rear ended on the bridge during rush hour traffic on Wednesday, I watered the yard, and I folded towels. But as I look back on it, the only things of interest were my book, a crazy man, and unattainable crows.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Too Much To Ask?

I found these photos on Flickr and nearly fell out of my chair! The kitchen utensil chandeliers, the counters, the blackboards! Ahhhh... my brain went into overload. This is somewhere in NY (probably famous and I'm the last person on earth to not know where it is)... but I love it. I would like to have a kitchen just like it, that's not too much to ask, is it?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BHG Halloween

Ok, I'm on the starting line and I'm ready. Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday of the year! Last night I crawled up in the attic and drug all my boxes filled with autumn/Halloween decor to the very front, so now all I have to do is reach in and grab them. I think the general consensus in blog-land is that Sept. 1st is an acceptable date to decorate for fall ( despite this horrendous heat wave).

I found this Halloween decorating idea on This is fabulous and super easy ( coincidentally this is also the color I may paint my kitchen). I'm pretty excited about this, because these are the exact chairs in my breakfast nook, and the chairs in my dining room are also black with rounded backs. I may do this all over the house! Here are the instructions:

4 yards black tulle 45 inches wide (each chair)
3 yards orange satin ribbon (each chair)
Cut two 2-yard lengths of black tulle.
Drape the first two yards over the front and back of the chair so it will cascade to the floor. Next, drape the other two yards from side to side over the back of the chair so it also reaches the floor.
Gather tulle around the seat base of the chair with orange silk ribbon and tie a simple bow at the back of the chair.
Trim the length of the tulle to rest evenly on the floor around the chair.

(By Wendy Kalen, recipe developer Lisa Bell, food stylist Dianna Nolin, photographer Scott Little)

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Tiniest Room In The House

Sophie Honeysuckle recently asked me to post a picture of my tiny half bath, so here it is. I don't think I've ever seen a tinier room, it is literally a water closet. I love it though.

There are certain downsides to living in a small house, and not having two full baths is definitely one of them. But I've come to really love and appreciate my little half bath. I do all my getting ready in there, and it really helps buffer everyone's privacy when we have guests. The ironic thing about our bathrooms is the amount of storage, I love the tall built in cabinet above the toilet. It also has a tiny window as well, so I can get plenty of natural light in there during the day (very important in such a tiny space). And of course, I had to paint it pink to match the main bathroom. This is the room that I've been considering stenciling like wallpaper.

Weekend at the Lake

In the words of Bob, "I'm sailing! I sail!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm Ready

Fall is the one time of year that everyone who loyally loves wood tones and traditional style can look at the rest of us (who have white painted furniture and kitchy style) and blow a big raspberry. To pull off the real look of fall, you need gorgeous oak tones, wood trim, and an older home. I unfortunately am cursed with the urge to paint every piece of furniture in my house(with the exception of two antique radios, I do draw the line there).

In defiance of this hot weather, I'm posting a picture of the perfect fall dining room (ME Home Companion, photographer Davies and Lawrey). It is perfect.

It's Hot and I Have Too Much Stuff

It is hot here. Not just regular hot, really really really hot. 101 with high humidity. It's times like these that I wonder why in the world we live in the south (I'll remember in March when we get to open our windows and enjoy three months of blissful spring weather). I left the house at 7:15 this morning and the temp was already at a sweaty 82. Due to the heat, my brain isn't working that well, which will probably explain this foggy and incoherent post.

Remember when I said I bought the ironing board to put some of my extra 'items' on? Upon inspection last night I came to the realization that I need about 10 ironing boards. I have little stuff lying everywhere. I cannot throw any of it away either, b/c it's all sentimental. Gifts, vacation trinkets, a gourd my grandfather painted for me when I was little. So I'll keep planting them in little corners, and maybe one day have a huge built in shelving system just for my little knick knacks.

I also wanted to post this picture because, well, it's just fun. My sisters and me (well, really our toes) at my cousin's wedding this past June. Hope everyone out there is having better weather than we are!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's an.... Ironing Board?

I have been searching high and low for a table to put more stuff on. Somehow, in every house I've ever lived in, I lack good display/counter space for all my junk... I mean decor items :) This weekend I made my rounds in the local antique mall and purchased an old wooden ironing board for $5. I can only assume that this decision stemmed from the massive paint fumes I inhaled over a 6 hour period, but whatever. I dragged the thing home (proudly putting my backseat down and sliding it through the trunk... such is the luxury of a used Civic). It is very hard to know when you've struck a balance of 'quirky' vs. 'weird.'

Here is a picture before, with a blanket draped over a card table... drove me nuts and looked horrible. Even Mabel looks droopy about it.

And here is the after photo. I know I must be on the right track, because Mabel seems much happier.

I like that I can pile things on the floor under it (I'm a big fan of piling, until I find a spider and then I go crazy trying to change my ways). I found the blue glass water container and we stuff our pennies in it. It's hard to rob, which makes it the ultimate coin saver. I'm also going to change out the black mats on the photos on the wall to white ones. I think this ironing board thing may work out after all because this is the corner I put my Christmas tree in. How easy will it be to just fold it up and put it in the closet?

On a side note, does anyone know where I could find some fun curtain panels? My plain white ones are fine, especially for summertime, but I've been looking for something with some pattern for fall. I would prefer a white background. I have been looking at Target, JC Penney, the usual places. They either have plain colors or dowdy, fussy patterns. Any tips would be much appreciated!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Painting the Bedroom

OK, this was the bedroom before...

And this is the new paint color. As you can see, I have a LONG way to go still; duvet, shams, something to hang above the bed. I think I'm going to keep the bedding all white, although I did toy with the idea of getting a light khaki duvet to fold at the bottom of the bed and shams. Any ideas? I also plan on hanging three b&w prints above the bed, since I really like the way the other ones look in the room. All in all I'm really pleased, although the paint wasn't the color of the chip I looked at. But is it ever? It feels much more peaceful and less teenage girlish. I saved my pink bedding and chandelier print though... just cant part with it.

This is my long skinny window. You've got to love the 50's ranch style... but it was a pain in the royal butt getting blinds for these windows (the other two windows are corner windows and next to impossible to fit). I finally broke down and hired a window treatment company to do it. It cost an arm and a leg, but it saved me a lot of tears and gray hair.

This is my little pink half bath. The color is much more pale and subdued than the picture shows. I figured since one bathroom was already pink, they may as well both be pink.

I moved this old kitchen cart out of the living room and into the bedroom. I have finally succeeded in getting the tv off my dresser!

I moved these guys out of the kitchen. The little one holds my jewelry (which I have have an entire drawer for, but somehow manage to messily sling it all over the top of the dresser). I bought the white Haeger swan a long time ago for $5 (he has a few chips) and the littlest swan (unmarked) for $3.

So that's all I've done for now. Hopefully when my wallet recovers from all this decorating, I'll finish the rest. And by the way, whoever said painting was the easiest makeover was really, really stretching the truth. Not easy. At all.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rate My Space

I haunt HGTV's Rate my Space pages for good inspiration, and today I found a real treasure. This girl has some serious style!

Getting Off Track

I spent my Friday night doing what I do best; hanging around Home Depot. Hubby was working this weekend, so I had the world at my feet and some take out sushi to spur me along. My original intention was to find some things for my bathroom. However, I got derailed. I spotted this picture on Becoming Home (a house featured in this month's Better Homes and Gardens) and fell in love with it. I found a paint color quite by accident that reminded me of this room, and promptly bought two gallons and paint supplies. I went home and painted my bedroom on a whim. Oddly enough, this whim took me part of Friday night and until noon on Saturday.
With all whims comes the inevitable realization that other things must be purchased. I have all white painted furniture, so now I need some white shams and something extra for the wall. But it was worth it, I'm always amazed at what paint can do. Of course, when I went to take a picture, the camera went dead. Pictures coming soon, and then you can tell me if I even remotely came close to my inspiration picture.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I love love love my pink bathroom. In fact, it is one of the reasons I wanted to buy our house. When I was growing up, my grandmother and grandfather had a house built about the same era as this one. The guest bath had pink tile, just like this one, with fabulous cabbage rose wallpaper. It was the essential shabby chic before there even was such a thing. I loved that bathroom, with the white wooden folding blinds over the window and a jar of shells that Grandad had brought back from the Pacific in WWII.

So, now I want to embellish on my pink bathroom (I've had friends suggest that I paint OVER my pink tiles. Insane people). Now, I'm not up for wallpaper, but I feel this bathroom seriously needs something else. Anybody have any suggestions? I don't really want to paint the walls a solid color, b/c with the pink tiles it just ends up being too much. And a patterned shower curtain makes the whole place seem tiny and claustrophobic. I want the bathroom to feel like this photo of Leslie Caron. I just cant think of anyone else who was more graceful and, well, French. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Real Estate Photos

Aren't these gorgeous?

Voyeurism At Its Best

I know I'm not the only one that does this! One of my favorite things to do is look at online real estate listings. It is a veritable treasure trove of decorating/remodeling ideas. Granted, I end up weeding through tons of photos filled with messy houses and bad wallpaper (AMAZING what people think will sell). But every now and then, I stumble on some gems. Here are a few of my favorites I've found lately, although I confess, I didn't save the sites where I found them. But, since they are posted out there for all the world to see, I doubt the owners would mind too much. :)