Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Monday's post--on Wednesday

Wow.  Busy, wonderful weekend and now it's Wednesday already.  I extended the holiday for one extra day and spent most of it on the screened porch, reading the Sunday New York Times.  One of my all-time favorite activities!  Two articles in the NYT Magazine that I wanted to share with you.  The Young Mother Abroad  by Janny Scott is a fascinating look into the story of why Barack Obama's mother took him to Indonesia as a little boy and then sent him back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents several years later.  I think every mother would find this story to be very interesting.  It's not a quick read, but worth taking the time.  Not a political story whatsoever. 

Another story in a very different vein is The Return of Ellen Barkin by Alex Witchel.  I love reading about people; their lives, their decisions, how they face challenges.  

SO much going on.  Not enough hours in the day right now.  Grandboy is on Spring Break, he had a FABulous birthday last weekend with family but his kid-party is still coming up.  Things are hopping at DeCocco Design and I'm trying to get to that bedside table project. Did I tell you that I finished reading "The Help?" Bravo to the author, Kathyrn Stockett, on a job well done.  What a story.  What a time in our history.  Tough stuff. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A project for Earth Week-Reuse, Restore, Recycle!

Oh dear, I'm such a bad blogger.  Something else catches my attention and I'm gone.  There are so many things out there that have my attention!  This week I'm getting ready for out of town guests (fun!), Easter (yay!) and Grandboy's birthday (whoo hoo!).  This trifecta of events is keeping me hopping.   It's perfect that Earth Week is also now because it all goes together--rebirth, renewal--and today I'm adding my latest renovation project to the mix.  I'll do it next week when Grandboy is off from school.  When he's on vacation, I'm on vacation!

So here's what I found yesterday at the Habitat ReStore:

Nice little bedside table.  Solid, clean, great potential.  I paid $20.  Some dovetail joinery on the drawer.
I had to get an azalea bush in the picture.  They're blooming all over the place and are SO pretty!  Hub puts on his Jim Nance voice and pretends we're at Augusta with the velvety grass, azaleas and dogwoods in bloom.

The plan for the table so far is to sand it down and paint it glossy white to place in the guest room.  New drawer pull, of course.  The top may get a different color or finish, not sure yet.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel here, but need to give it a little more thought.  Could put a piece of mirror on the drawer or top. It's an overdone idea these days, but so far I haven't succumbed to it and the guest room is a dark room, so some reflection would be great.  A little piece of mirror carefully cut from the talented folks at CG&D Studios would make it easy peasy.  Hmmmm. 

Enjoy the day!


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wall decor that you can make yourself!

Here's a very easy little art project for you to try.  I've used dog photos, pulled off the web, but you can use your own photo to make it more personal.

Here's another view so you can really see what's going on:

I've got it sitting on a window.  Can  you see what the trick is?  You print your photo out on  transparency paper, and carefully attach it to the glass of any frame--I used glue dots on the edges.  Then you set the glass into the frame, securing it with the little tabs that are already in the frame or with glue or another way that you think up.  You're creative, you can do whatever you want!  Be sure it's secure, you don't want glass falling out.

Then you hang the finished product on the wall.  I printed a picture of Grandboy when he was a baby on transparency paper and didn't even frame it, just taped it on the wall near my desk. It looks like he's coming out of the wall--I love it!

If the transparency isn't showing up on your wall, you could paint a color box for more emphasis, then hang the photos inside the box.  I've shown you color boxes before, but here's an example of one that I used to frame out a small accessory at the end of a hallway, giving it more of a presence:

Don't we all love easy projects?


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

6 Ways to Bring Spring into Your Home

Tra la la la.  We made it through another winter!  While I'm not quite in the mood for a summery, hot weather decor, I definitely want all signs of winter banished from my delicate eyes.  Here's what I'm doing right now:

1.  Clean and edit.  I know, it's a bummer.  There's no getting around the fact that a good spring cleaning does wonders for your home.  Put stuff away, polish everything up. There, we got through that together and now can move on.

Here I am, in my lace apron (as if).

2. Walk through every room and remove the nubby red throw, the jewel toned accent pillows, the big bowl of pine cones, the puffy comforter, etc.  Send them off to the cleaner or store them away in a closet.  Replace them with a lighter throw (in weight and color) and accent pillows in some fresh, lively shades.  Fill the bowl with river rocks or sea shells and put a thinner coverlet on the bed.

F. Schumacher fabrics
A fresh color scheme to consider.

 F. Schumacher fabrics and a Room and Board pillow

Here's a quieter palette, but still light and lively.

3.  Replace some of the artwork on the walls and shelves.  This really makes a nice change for me.  Rotating your artwork, or family photos, means that you're really going to notice them, not just walk by them day after day.  The beautiful still life painting that's been sitting on our mantel gets changed out for 3 big, matted frames featuring photos I took at the nearby lake.  Super cheap and easy.

(from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, not mine)
Replace this...

With something like this.

4. Add some fresh sparkle--have you got an old mirror stowed away somewhere?  Find a new place for it.  How about someplace offbeat, like over a doorway, as if it were a transom?  How about at the end of a hallway? Just remember to look at what it's reflecting.  A mirror reflecting a window is fab, but it can reflect artwork hanging on the opposite wall or a pretty tablescape on a console or anything else that you like to look at.  Don't let it reflect the kitchen!  If you don't want to use a mirror, think about any metallic object.  Sparkly candlesticks or a shiny picture frame can do the trick.

Sparkle Plenty  (at Pottery Barn)

5.  Flowers!  I'm seeing lots of very inexpensive pots of flowers, even at the grocery store.  I think some of them are meant to plop right into your outdoor planters, but we still have a chance of frost.  I'm putting a pot of posies into a container on the kitchen island for a week or two, before sending them outside.  The same could be done with those yummy herbs they've got at the big home improvment stores.  A little group of them in a basket right now, next to the bathroom sink.  So nice.

My little flowers from the Teeter (grocery store).

6.  Fresh dish towels.  I said it before, I love beautiful dish towels.  Spring is a great occasion to buy a couple. 

French Connections in Pittsboro.  
1 or 2 will do! 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Interior design vs. "stuff"

You may not remember this post I did on my secret desire for a clothesline.  I still don't have one, but it's on my agenda.  Here's another somewhat embarrassing secret of mine--I don't like Stuff. It can be difficult to be in the field of interior design and not like Stuff.  There's so darn much of it!  So many cute, interesting, special, antique, modernist, fluffy, meaningful, artistic, useful things in the world.  Stuff!

New York Times Style Magazine, 4/3/11

Above is the photo that might have started this little rant of mine. Everyone gets to have their own Stuff and opinions, but this is my blog and, when my beloved New York Times proclaimed that this is Style, my head just popped right off and rolled to the door.

Again, NY Times Stye Magazine

While admitting that, as a human being in the U.S.A., I enjoy the occasonal foray into Home Goods to pick up and  admire the shiny new objects, even taking some of them home with me.  It's good to have a new lamp, an updated rug, some fresh, soft sheets and pillows.  I'm not saying don't furnish your home with lovely things.  It's what I do for a living!  A beautifully made table makes my heart beat faster, a comfy leather club chair is a BFF at the end of the day.   But I think we go overboard.  Look in your closets, crawl spaces, basements and garages. We're drowning in Stuff and it's making it hard to breathe (or is that the yellow slime outside?).

As an interior designer, my goal is to help you furnish and decorate your home in a way that makes you smile when you walk through your own door.  I want you to have things that are easy to maintain, a place to put down your keys and the mail, lighting that's used thoughtfully, colors chosen to calm and inspire you, furnishings selected to serve you well--that's the kind of "stuff" that I think really is important.  But not a lot of it.  As Margaret Roach says in her new book, bask "in the quality of just enough."


Friday, April 1, 2011

Learning about Star Wars

Have I told you that Hub and I are raising our grandson?  I'm sure I have.  We all have a lot of fun together, but there are things that we have to work a little harder on than the average household.  Like keeping up with popular culture--especially what's popular in the world of little boys. 

One day Grandboy came home from school and said that a couple of the boys on the playground didn't want him to join in their Star Wars games because he doesn't know who the characters are.  It made him sad.  Which of course, made me spring into action.  I talked with some moms and they told me about these little Star Wars/Clone Wars figures that we could buy to learn their names.  Oh, sorry, Clone Wars has something to do with Star Wars.  Maybe the next generation of money making crap  items from a movie or TV show.

So I bought these guys (above).  The guy on the left is Obi Wan Kenobi, a good guy, and the guy in the middle is Anakin Skywalker, who will eventually turn to the dark side and become Darth Vader.  The other ones are unknowns to me, but I believe they're good guys (the package said they're heroes, hence my assumption).  There's a lot of weaponry going on, but I'm sure that's some of the allure.

BUT then I went back to store to buy some more for a birthday present and discovered that the ones above are kinda the baby edition.  Oky doky.  So today I bought these:

Oh yeah, now I see the difference.  That's Han Solo and a Storm Trooper.  I remember Han/Harrison Ford.  But whether a Storm Trooper is good or bad, I do not know.  But I've got the feeling I'm going to find out!

I put them in those poses, just to make you laugh.  Han is saying "I think we should redecorate the entire room!"  The Storm Trooper is saying "Say what?"