Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easily distracted with crafts

Every year at this time I try a new crafty project.  Some have worked out very well, like my accent pillows (sold them all in a gallery, lah dee dah),

 or my little beaded elves that adorned tags on gifts.  I made mine out of glass beads, so they were a tad prettier than this picture from Parents Magazine (oh yeah, I get my ideas everywhere!).

Some not so well, like the damn garlands made by cutting very heavy foil into leaves and acorns--ouch!  Very pretty Martha, but the maker ends up in bandages.  This year I'm experimenting with memory wire to continue the jewelry making journey that every woman eventually, it seems, must tackle.  But then today the pom pom maker arrived. 

Etsy.com  This is not mine, I just got the tool today!

 OH. MY. GOSH I love pom poms and this thing is really easy.  But what does one do, exactly, with fancy pom poms?    Oh dear.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stress-free holiday decorating

There will be NO stress this Christmas. We will not do that to ourselves this year.  A tough year is an opportunity to be low key, quiet and mindful in our preparations for this most joyful of holidays.  Now let's get started!

Here's all you need to decorate your interior spaces:

       Candles.  I prefer white or cream.  Find them at discount stores.
       Garland.  I prefer real pine garland.  Garden centers.
       Bowls.  Any and all sizes.  Use what you have.
       Music.  All kinds.  Whatever you like.

Start with a clean house.  Yes, that's the catch.  But a clean base makes it easier to keep up.


Spread the candles around the house.  All sizes and shapes are welcome. Place them in votives, in candlesticks, on squat little bases, floating in wine glasses, in hurricane lanterns,  sitting on saucers, etc. Put them in anything and place them everywhere. Be sure that most are in locations and holders that are safe, because you're really going to light them.

You don't have to be this ornate, but it's easy to wire on some pine cones.

Drape the garland wherever you can.  Over the mantel is where I start, but winding up the banister on the stairs is also a classic. You're not reinventing the wheel here.  I pull some of the garland apart and stick it in a bowl because it smells good.


Fill the bowls with whatever you like.  Candy, ornaments, strands of beads or your collection of fake pearl necklaces (how did I get so many of those?).  Baby blocks, pine cones, sea shells, favorite photos, beach glass, little stones, marbles, nuts, fake fruit..  Anything that you find when you walk around your house or look into cabinets and can amass to fill a small or large bowl (no, not laundry).

Music.  Just make a commitment to play music often throughout the season.  Put it on whenever you're home.  You may find that you don't need the droning, depressing, stressful TV to be on so much.

That's it.  You're done.  If you have time, throw a pan of brownies or cookies in the oven every now and then.  They make the house smell so good and you can eat them or send them to the teachers or put them in the employee lunch room.  Brownies take minutes to make (I'm talking from the box of course).

So now the house looks good, smells good and sounds good.  Do whatever you want with the tree.  We've had a few years when all we put on the tree where lights and fake snow.  They looked so pretty.  You don't have to be this simple every year, but if you give it a try I bet you'll like it.

A simple year, with candles, garland, bowls of favorite objects and music can be a wonderful thing.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for so much: family, friends and home being my top 3.  Also trees, crafts, joy, fun, laughter, books and sleep, among many other things.  I hope you all enjoy Thanksgiving, are kind to each other and find some downtime this weekend.

A friend sent me this picture.  It made me laugh, so I'm sharing it with you (thanks Shelley!).


Saturday, November 20, 2010

The flavors of Fall

No "Find of the week" this week.  I was busy busy every day and wasn't in the stores and shops much.

BUT I did zip over to the Ornamentea parking lot this afternoon to visit the Designer's Downtown Market and pick up some soap from the fabulous TJ Pappas of Soft Wind Soap.  He makes a Tea Tree Complexion bar that is such a wonderful product.  I have super sensitive skin and have never been able to use soap on my face until I stumbled upon TJ's soaps.  I also buy his oatmeal bars for Grandboys bath.  These are real soaps, not detergents, which is what the soap you buy in the grocery store is.  Very, very nice.  And not an indulgence at all as they're reasonably priced, last a LONG time and have eliminated the need for me to use prescription products from my dermatologist. 

While at the Market, I also stopped by the booth of  Tom Kumpf of Double T Farm.  I was drawn in by the sight of his beautiful little bunches of beets.  Red and white striped, white and golden beets, all with their delicious greens attached.  They were the star of my dinner tonight!

Two little bunches netted this bowl of sliced beets and the bigger bowl of greens.  I sauteed them all in butter and they were so good.

Tom also has the prettiest heads of butter lettuce I've ever seen, so I bought one of those as well.  Gently washed and dried, then torn up and tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  I'm drooling as I type (I know, TMI).  Tom's farm does a CSA program, so go to his website and read about it.  Fresh, local produce is super delicious!

Also on the menu this evening was a pork tenderloin with applesauce and rice pilaf.  A Fall feast!  I'm a happy girl.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Jewelry Store

Everyone needs a great, local jewelry store to call their own, so let me introduce you to Vigari Jewelers.  They're located on Strickland and Leesville Rd in Raleigh (in the shopping center with the Teeter).  919-870-6611.

You need your own jewelry store for many reasons.  First and foremost for repairs, maintenance and sizing of jewelry that you already own.  Then you need a place where you can find unique pieces, gifts, trends and, of course, those very occasional but absolutely fabulous BIG purchases marking special events.  Oh!  I think I hear holiday bells as I'm typing this!  Who has the time to search out these things?  AND you don't have to set foot in a mall.  AND it's a store owned by local people. 

At Vigari's, you'll find amazing customer service and vast knowledge from Michael and Travis.  They are both such gems!  I'm sorry--I had to say it!  You can describe what you're looking for and they can pull out catalogs and find it for you.  From the moment you walk into their store, you become a special customer, no matter what you buy.

Right now they have a case of these super fab ICE Watches.  They come in a medium or large size, so they work for both men and women.  The colors are phenomenal. 

 This is the one I would pick for me:

Oh, it would be highly versatile in my wardrobe.  Is Hub reading this?  Is he? 


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Find of the week

I almost didn't find a "find" this week!  It doesn't always have to be a piece of furniture.  There are no rules here.  It just has to be interesting,  useful, a real bargain or whatever I'm in the mood for.  So this week it's something very useful in home decor.  But first, let me introduce to you When Pigz Fly, a lovely shop on Six Forks Rd. in North Raleigh.  I've gone by it many times and have wondered about it, but finally stopped in yesterday.  Loved it!  Here are some pictures:

Does this look familiar?  It sits, all by itself,  in a residential part of Six Forks Rd.  The owner, Diane, is there Wednesday through Sunday, from 11:00-7:00.  Pay attention to those hours so you don't frustrate yourself.

It's a small shop, but between the areas outside and inside, there are lots of things to see and buy.  This picture only shows you one corner.

Fair trade items, local artists, NC products abound. The lovely artwork above the shelf is by Susan Dahlin Bashford, a Raleigh artist.  Ornaments, soap, handbags, scarfs, clothing, jewelry, food, metal art, antiquey pieces, garden sculptures, cards, oh, I've got to stop because I know I'm leaving out a ton.  This is a great place for interesting pieces for the home as well as gifts for teachers, hostesses, friends, etc. 

Ok, here's the Find of the Week;

See these hooks hanging from a metal basket?  I believe the tag says $3 each.  You know when you see those beautiful handblown glass balls in stores and galleries, or some lovely thing that you know would be perfect  in your home dangling in a window, casting off light, color and interesting shadows, but you have no idea how you're going to hang it so you just pass on by?  Wow, that was a long sentence.  Well here's the answer.

I'm going to buy some of these to hang off the curtain rod in the living room in the big window.  Then I'm going to hang vintage Christmas ornaments that I've had forever on the ends.  I'll do this after Thanksgiving.  That's my plan anyway.  But I could think of 100 things to hang from these hooks that will look great, and not just for the holidays.

I hope Diane has lots of these in stock.  While you're there, be sure to really look around and scoop up some of  the other items in the store.  They won't be there if you think you can come back later.  She has a great eye, lots of customers, lovely, unique items for sale AND she's far from the mall, so you will totally enjoy your shopping experience.

Really, this whole store was a find.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Accenting a room with meaning

I was looking through some boxes I have in a storage dormer at home and found these beauties.  My granite eggs. I'm originally from Maine--a state of amazing natural beauty.   There is a small beach in Wells, Maine, that has lots of these granite "eggs" washed up on the shore.  When the waves go in and the waves go out, they gently shake the rocks and it makes the most magical clackity clackity sound, over and over.  I dream of that sound often. 

One summer I took home some of the rocks and every couple of years put them into a basket on the counter or a bowl on a table.  Visitors gravitate to them and love to pick them up, marveling at their smoothness, colors and shape.  Once in a very blue moon I'll give one or two to a friend as a gift.  While I  never want to run out of these special rocks, I know that their magic is meant to be shared. 

Aren't they beautiful?


Monday, November 8, 2010

A bathroom sink to dream about

I love reading my Sunday New York Times. Each and every page is caressed by my hands and read until my eyeballs are burning.  Sometimes it takes me all week to get through it--not because of its' size (getting thinner like all my favorite newspapers), but because I really want to give each section my full attention.  I don't have a lot of "full attention" time.

This week there was a special New York Times Style Magazine.  Inside, there's an article, written by Pilar Viladas, about a home built on an island in the Pacific Northwest.  Photographs by Dwight Eschliman.  First I'll show you the bathroom sink:

Do you see it?  The sink?  Under the extended faucet?  Carved into the rock? Wow!  Now that's something to see!  And look out the window!  How does one not stand there all day, transfixed by the view?

Here's a few more pix of the house.  Enjoy your day.

I feel chilly in this room, but with a fire going in the fireplace, the chandelier turned on to sparkle and a couple of thick, warm, colorful throws, I could settle right in and just look out the window.

Here's how to make a gray day seem just fine.  Fire and water.  So good.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Find of the week

There's a nice antique mall once again in Cameron Village!  Cheshire Cat Gallery is downstairs, right next door to Accipiter.  The address is 2050 Clark Ave, Raleigh.  Store phone is 919-835-9595.  They have a nice mix of vendors, with new ones coming in all the time.  Remember when Raleigh Antique Mall was there--it was such a good place and I've missed it terribly.  AND, if that's not enough good news, it's also the latest location for hipsteria, which is a wonderful source for mid century modern finds!

Here's a photo of the hipsteria area.  Ohhhh, ahhhh.

And that leads me to this week's "Find of the Week"  It's in the hipsteria booth.

This is a Wieman coffee table with Italian marble top.  Long and thin.  My guess is that it's about 60" long by 16" wide.   Lovely legs.  Perfect height.  Very clean lines, very beautiful top.  We're always looking for a fab coffee table, are we not?  Well here is a fab coffee table.  $289.00   It's still in the shop as I type this, I just checked.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2010 Kips Bay Show House

Every year, top name designers descend on a home in New York and turn it into the Kips Bay Show House, a major fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.  It's a fantastical event with amazing rooms.  I found the following pix on the New York Times slideshow page.  While the rooms can sometimes be over the top in terms of finishes for an active family, they are chock full of great ideas and design lessons.  Enjoy!

Entrance by Kate Ridder
Look at the saturated color in this tiny space!

Dining Room by Cullman and Kravis
Photo from Habitually Chic
I think the drapes are what make this room. They warm it up and keep it elegant.

Eve Robinson kitchen

Large scale wallpaper pattern in purple!

Mural by Nina Helms

Mural made of rubber and plaster--wow!

Noel Jeffrey bedroom

That little bench at the foot of the bed is unexpected.  Not something I would do, but I applaud the effort.

Verdi and D'Elia landing

I'll bet that ceiling is painted in a high gloss finish.  Look how it reflects the light!

J. and J. Michaels room

Whisper as you read this--so quiet, so calm.

J. and J. Michaels room

This is another wall in the previous room.  Keep whispering.  The blood pressure is lowering...


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Antiques & Interiors Sale

Today I went to the Preview of Southern City Markets Antiques and Interiors Sale Event (quite a mouthful).  They had advertised heavily in the design community; postcards, FaceBook alerts, emails, so I thought they deserved a visit because of all that effort!  There's an interesting mix of items from several local vendors.  While I was there,  I took a picture of the bench below because it illustrates how nicely a pretty cushion finishes off a bench and wasn't I just showing you a bench last week in my Find of the Week post?  Yes, I was!

Here's the bench (ok, more like a settee) from today's sale.  Very pretty.

And here's the bench from last week's Find at Hunt and Gather.  A cushion would polish it right up.  Since there are no sides to this bench, I'd be sure to have little ties in the back to attach it safely.

The Southern City Markets sale is being held from November 4-7, at 312 W. Johnson Street in Raleigh.  Have fun!


Monday, November 1, 2010

How much candy have you eaten today?

Did you have fun?  Did you get candy?  Did you see a flash go by you, looking like a cross between candy corn and a witch?  That was my neice--the speediest little girl in the land.  My grandboy did his best to keep up with her, but she just floats through the air with the greatest of ease! 

Don't take the pumpkins down quite yet.  They look so pretty on doorsteps.