Friday, October 28, 2011

More Tea Inspired Pretties

Remember how I was saying that it's getting cold here in the DC area? Well - we've surpassed "chilly" and moved on to "freezing rain with a 100% chance of afternoon snow." Not the most auspicious start to our Halloween weekend (which includes a neighborhood party for the kids tomorrow - OUTSIDE).

So I'm trying to make the cold outside translate into cozy INSIDE. And tea help. So it's no wonder that I've been dreaming of pretty tea tins.

I've always loved this kind of packaging. And using them for floral arrangements provides a great opportunity to display them in your home.

Hope you are staying warm wherever you are! Unless you're in Key West - where I'll offer you an iced tea and cross my fingers against hurricanes.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Hot Cuppa

As much as I'm enjoying the fall foliage, I do wish I was in Key West on chilly mornings when no additional layer of clothing seems to help me feel warm!

So this morning, a hot cup of tea is in order. Wish it was in one of these colorful Kate Spade mugs!

Happy Monday to you!

P.S. That's a lot of exclamation points for me... And sadly, the excitement over these mugs has not warmed me up. Think I'll stick with tea.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Autumn Color

The leaves are changing (remember - I don't actually live in Key West!) and the view out my window is looking decidedly orange.

I've never been a fan of this autumn version of orange for interiors...but no matter shade of orange you prefer, it certainly warms up a room.

Speaking of autumn themed interiors - have you seen the cover of House Beautiful?

I really hate this. Well - hate is a strong word. But I vehemently dislike this wall color. I do appreciate that it's an interesting wall treatment and it certainly does "glow." But at the end of the day, I just can't get behind poo-brown walls.

I think it might be time to do some more "looking for what I DO like" in current interior design. I get way more out of that than I do talking about what I don't like. This is something I did last year with Elle Decor's top 25 designers of 2010 and I loved the process of broadening my perspective and considering new ideas. It's so easy for people to become set in their ways - and design style offers no exception. I've been meaning to do the same thing with Elle Decor's top 25 for 2011. I'm a few months behind that issue of course...but better late than never. I'll start next week.

Until then - have a wonderful weekend (possibly with some falling leaves).


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Who Says Tile is Cold?

One thing I remember most about my first childhood house (okay - second house, since I don't remember much before I moved there at age two) is the kitchen. I guess my mother felt that the white tile walls needed a little something. So she painted them. Sounds artsy craftsy - but it really was lovely. A simple Delft-like design in greens - more of an accent than an overpowering burst of color.

I've always loved pretty tile.

It makes me really hate the generic ivy motif tile in my own kitchen. Just another project for the list...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Bold Lines

As much as I am drawn to colorful spaces - there is something very compelling about black and white decor. I particularly love a black stripe or two...

Color addicts can always add bright accents in the way of throw pillows, accessories, statement furniture...or possibly a ruffled gown for effect.

Happy Monday!


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Fab Funny for the Weekend

I've been going through piles of magazines and found a gem of an "I Love My Bed" feature from House Beautiful.

This particular month featured Carson Kressley, one of the Fab Five from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I LOVED Queer Eye. Those guys helped me through the first two weeks of post partum depression after Oliver was born. I'm not kidding - something about their makeovers made me feel like all was right with the world. And Carson always cracked me up.

I still remember one of my favorite conversations between him, the gorgeous Kyan and the equally gorgeous straight guy.

Gorgeous Straight Guy: People always tell me that I look like Keanu Reeves.

Gorgeous Kyan: Really? People always tell ME that that I look like Keanu Reeves.

Carson: Really? People always tell me that I look like Ellen DeGeneres.

I love Carson.

Okay - back to the House Beautiful interview. Here is my favorite part of the Q&A:

Nancy Collins: Are you a bedroom kind of guy?

Carson: My bedroom is my cocoon-y little world. That's why I painted these walls a rich gray, to make the room cocoon-y. They're textured to look like the raw silk headboard. It's a texture lollapalooza in here. Not that you asked, but I consider zebra a neutral.

Oh - me too Carson. Me too.

Love him.

Have a FAB weekend!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pink and Green - Only for the Preppy?

Are you old enough to remember the Preppy Handbook?

If you were born after 1980 then the answer is no. But that's okay - I think we all know that pink and green is a color combination typically associated with headband wearing girls named Muffy.

No matter how chic and sophisticated this palette can be in decor, we hear "pink and green" and think about turtlenecks with little whale motifs and twill skirts paired with penny loafers. Okay - maybe you have to have been born before 1980 for that specific imagery...but "pink + green = preppy" is a color bias firmly now rooted in American culture.

Here are some rooms that are decidedly pretty in pink & green...

Preppy or not, I think Muffy would approve!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Little "Pretty" for Your Weekend: Artist, Kate Lewis

Since my last post was almost all text and the necessary visuals were yucky... I wanted to end the week with something more cheerful.

You may remember the post I wrote about discovering artist, Kate Lewis. Well, I'm currently obsessed with a new painting of hers:

Isn't that gorgeous? I want to live in it. If only I knew Anna Spiro and had the money for a plane ticket to Australia...I could actually sit on that chair. It was inspired by Anna's home as featured in her own blog, Absolutely Beautiful Things.

You know what else I love? Pictures of art in the studio:

Isn't that great? While the usual clear and cropped images are the best way for us to see all of the detail - it's casual shots like this that really bring the art to life. Somewhere in between, you can sense the experience of seeing the painting in person.

And I would love to see this painting in person. On my wall.

Since that's not going to happen, here is another example of two different views of her work:

Love it.

And here is a bonus painting - just because it's pretty.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Call Me Ms. Fix It!

Disclaimer: There are no pretty pictures in this post. Scroll down for that kind of thing.

Do you live with broken things for weeks-months-years and wonder what life must be like to just be able to fix it yourself?

I do.

In a perfect world, I'd just hire someone to do it for me, but the truth is, there are TOO MANY broken or unsightly things in my house to pay others to fix all of them. In a one-income home with a special needs child (which for the uninitiated, translates into thousands of dollars in therapy bills), we have a rather lean home fix it budget.

And no - I don't have a handy husband.

But is what it is. And lately, I've been thinking it's time I try my own hand at being handy.

My inaugural project was actually handed to me in the guise of my four year old daughter handing me a piece of a bathroom faucet.

This particular faucet belongs to "the kids' bathroom" - a room in which I spend as little time as possible. The floor tile is cracked, the lighting fixture is hideous and the cabinetry is just plain enough to escape looking obviously cheap. I'm usually too busy averting my eyes from the maroon accent tiles to care about the tacky little sink faucet. But now that it's broken...

...I've taken notice.

And while my initial reaction was to add it to the list of things that we'll finally fix a few weeks before we put our house back on the market (which should will probably happen sometime in 2017) - something made me stop and reconsider. It was probably the "I'm almost 40 and in serious need of some life direction - hear me roar" voice that keeps popping into my head lately, demanding that I get off my ass and DO SOMETHING already. But either way - It occurred to me that I could just replace the faucet myself.

After looking under the sink and seeing how simple of a job it would be - turn off the water, remove the old faucet, install the new one - I thought, "this is it." It would be my first foray into the world of simple home projects.

Okay - my first foray was actually installing some sliding closet doors that we desperately needed, but they're not all that attractive and I'd prefer that my "first foray" say "new and shiny," not "functional and not terrible looking."

So. First stop - the closest home improvement resource, which would be Home Depot. I used to feel like I needed a nap after five minutes in these giant warehouses...but excitement over this new adventure (and the three children climbing in and out of the cart) kept my previous apathy at bay.

We picked up some pumpkins on our way into the store, because who DOESN'T make seasonal impulse purchases when kids are involved? And we then made a beeline for the bathroom stuff. Which means we looked at paint chips, exclaimed over hoses and searched for the restrooms on our way to the bathroom stuff (again - kids).

After finding the best size/cost option for my needs, I put two faucet boxes in the cart. My own bathroom faucet is also pretty bad, and I was feeling ambitious.

Savvy home improvement shopper that I am, I noticed a list of tools I would need printed on the box. And I knew that we didn't own "channel pliers." So we forged on to the tool aisles.

At this point, I knew my time was running short with the kids. But before they made a break for the chainsaw display, I was able to snag one small item for my own bathroom cabinet: a knob. The original one fell off a year ago and I've been meaning to replace it...well, you know - see above for an explanation on what happened there.

Finally, we made it to the cash registers with our pumpkins, faucets, pliers, knob and three candy bars (what - you don't buy entrance AND exit bribes?). And then we were off!

Once home, I was able to restrain myself from destroying the kids' bathroom just a couple of hours before teeth brushing time...but it was a near thing. I was PUMPED!

I waited until the next morning after putting Oliver on the bus and the twins in from of a DVD. And THEN I was finally able to get to work.

I pulled out my tool bag...

Doesn't everyone keep their tools in an Arizona Trader Joe's bag? organized...

...and opened my shiny new faucet.

Doesn't that look SO much better?

Of course, I first had to turn turn off the water. But guess what? Those knobs are really tight! It was obvious that I was going to have to use a wrench or something. But before I took care of that, I couldn't help myself. I just had to see how hard it would be to loosen that held the other faucet in place under the sink.

NO! I didn't create a geyser of water in my bathroom.

Honestly? I couldn't if I tried. No matter what angle I used, I could not fit that damn wrench in the tiny space around the...things.

Talk about a buzz kill. This job was no longer looking so simple.

And I wondered if a real handyman would actually remove pieces of the cabinet to be able to use a wrench. Or maybe they have special wrenches for tight spaces. The latter seemed more likely...

Not to be denied my new found status of "handy," I checked out the faucet in my bathroom. Maybe I could just replace that one.

I was denied. Same problem.

So after a few minutes of pissed off incredulity, I closed my mouth (which was hanging open in full teenager "affronted face"). And I admitted defeat.

But I still had one other project that I could do! I had my knob. And in just a few minutes, I took my bathroom cabinet from this... this.

I don't like to toot my own horn...but ain't she a beaut?

I think I might name her. Yes, she is a her - like a boat, right?

So as you can imagine, I'm feeling very accomplished. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a job well done.

And the lesson to be learned here? Don't sell yourself short!

Think you need other people to fix your house for you? Look at me! If I can replace a knob on a cabinet, then you totally can too. I believe in you. And more importantly, I now believe in myself.

Sigh. Have any good references for a handyman?

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