Monday, February 25, 2008

the Oscars

I don't have much to say except Helen Mirren had the best dress of the night!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

February blues

Sunset, Mount Stansted Plantation

That was the view from my balcony in Barbados. That house on Mount Standfast Plantation will probably be the nicest I'll ever inhabit, and (other than meeting my husband) was the best thing about my two years in Bridgetown. As I sit here still sickish on yet another cold and gloomy February day, I can't help but wish I were somewhere else. I'm getting itchy feet again, and may throw my hat into the ring for a short-term consular TDY somewhere in the world this summer. Usually I love February because my birthday is the 28th so I have lots to look forward to, but this year I'm just not feeling it. Maybe sleeping late tomorrow and Sunday will brighten my outlook- if not, I'll probably start shifting furniture around (potentially with disastrous results!) Is anyone else finding time heavy on their hands this month?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Library Style Tray

Here's what my ideal library will look like some day:

The tabriz carpet I already own. The chair is the Manhattan recliner by Pottery Barn (I like it in whiskey or expresso). The lamp is the New York Public Libary Reading Lamp by Hammacher Schlemmer. The bookshelves are from the Biblioteca de la Real Academia de la Lengua in Madrid. white Billy bookcases are looking sadder than ever!

Friday, February 8, 2008

neverending chairs

I bought the orange chair. It is comfortable and high in the back, perfect for a chair for my mom's room. Nevertheless, I have some buyer's remorse. Why you ask? Because I thought the orange velvet would be dirty etc and that I'd be able to envision the chair recovered. The problem is, the orange velvet is fabulous, and I kind of feel like it might not be right to remove it when someone else might love it in all its orange glory. Orange will definitely not work in my mom's room, so I don't know whether to relist the chair on Craigslist or to hang onto it for a bit to see if I can wrap my head around the necessary transformation.

As for the fruit chair, my sister pointed out numerous times that I have no experience with reupholstery, and no idea if I will be good at it and enjoy it, or think of it as a painful chore. She suggested starting smaller and simpler, and I think I may heed her wise advice.

I found this chair on CL for only $20.
It seems like an easier redo (according to the upholstery book I bought) and would have a place to live as a dining room chair if it turns out well. I will of course keep you posted on any progress once I begin this project...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

chair possibilities

So I have to confess that I was quite inspired by some of the chair projects accomplished during AT's January Jumpstart competition, so inspired that I've been trolling Craigslist looking for possibilities. Of course, the last thing in the world I need is another project, yet I find myself irresistibly drawn to chairs. I'm blaming Lorijo- she's obviously a bad influence!

Here are two I'm looking at right now on Craigslist.
Photobucket Photobucket

I like the lines of the hideous fruit chair but obviously the fabric must go immediately making this a potentially more problematic project. I'm going to see the orange chair tomorrow after work- I would eventually want to change the pillows, but that could obviously be more of a long term project. Both chairs are under $40 which is a decent price point for a project chair.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

January Jumpstart #2- The Infamous Lamps

There's me, circa 1978 visiting my aunt. Note the excellent period details of paneling and cool Scan furniture. I love these lamps (without of course their weird pleated shades).

Here's a closeup of the stripe detail:

Around 1986, my aunt moved into a new house and redecorated in a peach and grey scheme. She painted the lamps peach and painted the brown cords white. Fast foward to 1997- my aunt moved back to Ireland and left the lamps with my mom who promptly moved them into her bedroom. When we redid that room last fall, we bought new smaller bronze lamps and these were tucked in a corner to await possible reworking.

I decided to tackle the lamps as a part of my January Jumpstart process because I really thought the blue stripes would work in my bedroom. Alas, when I started stripping the peach paint, it became clear that the blue stripes were also painted on, not some kind of fired-on glaze like I had hoped.

The end result however was still wonderful. The shiny white glaze of the china was undamaged by the paint stripper, and lamps don't look anything like their 30+ years. I found the perfect taupe flocked lamp shades at Ikea, and was able to get the necessary sockets and silver wires to correctly rewire them at a local hardware store. All shiny and bright, they look lovely on my newly refurbished nightstands.

The final product:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

still with the lamps...

So today was lamp day. I found a local hardware store that stocks basically random bit of everything, and they had the elusive threaded sockets I needed to make my new lamp shades work with my old lamps. I got lots of new connectors etc, but I feel like the whole assembly could be just a bit tighter. I don't know- I might look for wing nuts that fit on the threaded pipe so that I could tighten just a bit more easily on the inside of the lamp where the space is tight and my fingers have a hard time holding the existing nut tightly. Still, right now I'm going to consider this second January Jumpstart completed.

I also bit the bullet and bought the swoopy lamps at Target. I have them up in the room and I'm torn. I love the look of the lamps, but they certainly don't put out the same light as the torchieres. The down light is excellent for reading or computing on the couch, but the other side of the room is shadowy. Of course, in a room this size, I should have more than two lamps, so perhaps the solution is to move one of the Ikea standing lamps to the other side of the room (though I'm not really sure where given the furniture arrangement). I also thought about getting a third lamp from Target to put on the other side of the room so that all the lamps match, but that might be a bit much.

I don't know. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow to solicit opinions. Who knew lighting could be so hard?