Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas!

The theft of my wreath, the sudden drop in temperatures, and the post-apocalyptic state of my apartment had all contributed to my blah feeling about this holiday season.

I got home from work yesterday to discover my sister had come over and transformed my apartment into a clean, liveable space. She also put up my Christmas tree and left me a note on my door wishing me a peaceful Christmas with Brad. Between that marvelous surprise and Brad's arrival last night, suddenly I am awash in the Christmas spirit.

We're getting off work at 1pm (yay) so I'll be home early to decorate the tree before getting dressed for Mass and dinner. My presents are mostly wrapped, and now that I have space available, I'm looking forward to finishing the rest.

Thank you sister dear for your wonderful pre-Christmas surprise; you've helped me rediscover my love for the season.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and good wishes to all regardless!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bah humbug...

In the four hours I was out this evening, someone stole the Christmas wreath off my apartment door. It shouldn't matter, but I got the wreath last year, and loved it, and it was the only piece of Christmas decoration I had put up this year. I put it on my door yesterday to help motivate me to get into the Christmas spirit- guess that effort was a miserable failure...

Friday, November 14, 2008

I want!

I have no space for it, but I so very desperately want to own it. Especially as it only costs $295. hmmm...oh Santa!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I should get some kind of WT prize...

As you know, I went to FL this weekend to see Brad and to attend the USMC Birthday Ball with him. On the way home, we stopped in the outlet mall in Destin, and boy oh boy did I have fun. At Ann Taylor I bought one suit, one jacket, two tee-shirts, and three sweaters for $150. As good as that sounds though, I can beat it.

In Ellen Tracy I picked up a brown silk and sequin just-below-the-knee formal dress. It was originally a Neiman Marcus dress priced at $748. The outlet store price was $559. It was on a special mark-down rack for $89. And in the end I got another 25% off for Veteran's Day. So I got a $748 dress for $72 and change. I may start wearing it around the house every day...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I love you Clinton Kelly!

I received a copy of Clinton Kelly's new book to review and it is Freakin' Fabulous! How can you not love a book where lifestyle advice includes "How to Speak" as well as "How to Dress"?

For my WT buddies, I share a favorite quotation:

"You will never be fabulous without fabulous footwear. How does one recognize a fabulous pair of shoes? It's difficult to explain exactly. For me, it's instinctual and very visceral. When I see a fabulous pair of shoes, a little shiver of happiness runs through me, kind of like that first second after you snort a crushed-up baby aspirin."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trying to decide where to go and what to do.

So I'm bidding on my next assignment and I'm not sure where I want to go or what I want to do. I'm looking at Jeddah, Santo Domingo, Bogota, Calcutta, Damascus...

I don't know. Usually I'm more excited about this part of the process, but this time around I'm just not feeling it. I don't know whether to choose a more dangerous one-year post or a more stable three-year post. I don't know if I want to go back to the Middle East or branch out into Latin America. I don't know. My boss thinks I'm remarkably sanguine about the usually frenetic bidding process. My family wishes I were going someplace they want to visit. My husband will support whatever choice I make, but I find myself more interested in picking a dress for the upcoming USMC Birthday Ball than in picking an onward assignment.

Maybe it's time for a vacation!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Read more about it on my book blog, Foreign Circus Library.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Sunday, August 31, 2008

so many yellows, none of them right...

So my entire day (post brunch with mom of childhood friend) was spent looking at yellow paint. Yellow paints my mom doesn't know if she likes. One is too light. The other is too dark. We combined the two- not right. We painted light over the dark- she liked it. We get color strips, find the color that matches that bit of the wall, then buy paint in that color. Now we have a couple of swatches up- she isn't sure. I have a gallon of that paint, plus two quarts of the other yellows, and I'm going crazy. Tomorrow I'm painting the kitchen the color we bought today and letting it dry and we're going to live with it for a week and see. That, or I'm running away from home. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Re-doing Mom's Kitchen

I try not to cross-pollenate too much, but I want your input on this project as well, so here's link to my ATDC post about Mom's kitchen. I'll be planning this reno while in FL this week visiting the husband; I hope to get started on actual changes next week.

Here is the link

Friday, June 13, 2008

my joy knows no bounds!

I was cleaning up the My Documents folder on my computer when I found a real gem. Back in Bosnia, my friend Amy and I were goofing around one day and decided to write a trashy romance novel in our spare time at work (waiting for cable clearances late on a Friday night can make you a bit punchy). We bounced it back a forth a few times writing alternate paragraphs and having a blast- we defined it as "gothic vampire porn" and knew it would be an instant bestseller is we ever actually managed to get it finished. We left post in summer 2005, and I thought we had lost our only copy of this masterpiece, until I found it buried under a strange name on my hard drive this evening. I read it (all four pages) and laughed my ass off. She's in Kosovo now, and I'm sending it to her tomorrow because I can see that it is her turn to write a paragraph or two.

If we ever get a whole chapter together, I'll certainly share. We're calling it Tender Mercies and it features a guy, a girl, a murder mystery, and an alternative Davenport, Iowa that is the heart of the study of the Dark Arts in the U.S. 'Nuff said!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my love for Craig continues

The dresser that needs to go? The one that is cluttering up my already cluttered living room? I posted it on Craigslist and have about 13 people interested. Fingers crossed the woman coming to look at it tomorrow night takes it- I'll keep you posted!

As I said in a comment, I can't participate in Garden Therapy because I have no outside space, but I did draft a post for AT that ties into the theme so you know I am with you in spirit!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Itsy Bitsy Masterpiece

So I got home today, tired and a little cranky, and look what I found in my mailbox. Isn't it wonderful? Don't you just love it? Aren't you eaten alive with envy? You should be...

I have this lovely little addition because I was the luck winner of a giveaway over at Babycakes Boutique. I can't tell you how perfectly wonderful this little gem is in person- thank you so much Debbie! Interested in an Itsy Bitsy Pouch of your own? Check out Debbie's store and order one today!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I got them!

The two dressers I posted about a few days ago are MINE! I love the lines and don't know how I'll part with the tall one so I have to start thinking seriously about the layout etc in my room. Don't worry- I'll keep you posted if I start making any big changes! I'm currently working on fixing up the dressers a bit- new drawer liners, a bit of wax, and some wood glue on two drawer fronts will make these new additions perfect. Pictures to follow once the work is done...

Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All those Cupcakes paid off!

I feel a little like David Cook must feel this morning. My first post as an ATDC editor is up: Thos. Moser Special Savings Event. That's right friends- I've been selected as one of three contributors at Apartment Therapy from DC!

Thanks to everyone who voted for helping to make it happen. I've been busily trying to assemble posts and think of things to write about (not that easy it turns out) which is part of the reason I've been absent here on this blog. Now that I've got the rhythym down a bit, I hope to do a better job balancing these two writing gigs.

I'm picking up my dressers tonight (my lovely sister has agreed to help out) so I hope to be able to post a new living room picture this weekend after I clean and vacuum. Now I'm off to post my other dresser on Craigslist!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

my friend (and hero) Craig

I swear, Craigslist is the best invention of the latter half of the 20th century. I came late to CL, but in the last couple of years have become a devotee. Despite my disappointment from yesterday, I'm having an extraordinary week of fabulous finds. Of course, I'm not actually buying all the lovely stuff I find because I have NO ROOM, but it sure is fun looking.

One listing I am following through on is for these two wonderful dressers.

VintageWanut1 WalnutDresser2

I've been looking for something like the long one to replace this pressed wood one I have serving as a credenza in my living room.

My beloved Kashan (carpet)

I got that one free on CL and will now hopefully be passing it along to another happy owner. I have no idea where I'm putting the second taller dresser, but I couldn't split up this pair (and they are a real steal as well). Fingers crossed for me- I'm picking up tomorrow evening and don't want anything to come between me and my new loves...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

ATDC mentioned in Washington Post online discussion

hee hee- we made the Home Front discussion here. A friend of mine sent me the link because it cited my post on Finials- what a nice Friday afternoon surprise!

relevant excerpt from discussion linked above:
DC: Can I put in a plug for a website to which I have become addicted, but have no affiliation (darn!). I am HOOKED on, which recently added a DC blogger to its NY, SF, Chicago team. The site is updated all the time, and also has a sister site, which focuses on green living. One of the new DC bloggers put up a post about a consignment store literally a mile from my house (where I've lived for nine years), which I had never heard of!!
Jura Koncius: Could you share the name of that consignment store with us please...

DC consignment store: It's Finial's Antiques, on Livingston St, near Chevy Chase Circle.
Jura Koncius: Oh yes. That isn't really a consignment store, although they may take a few things on consignment. They sell old things they take a fancy too and sometimes refinish or paint. It's a wonderful source. 3813 Livingston St. NW. And if you go there, also go to Periwinkle a few doors down which has adorable hostess gifts, candy and stationery.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

AT:DC - Finials Antiques

I'm up, I'm up!

Here's my posting on Finials Antiques in DC. Please pop on by and vote me many cupcakes if you don't mind!

I'm giddy...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Entryway in Florida

My landing strip in DC needs a bunch of work, but since I'm in Florida, that simply hasn't happened this week. Instead, I give you pictures of our entryway in Pensacola, a much more relaxing space I assure you!


Entryway (right wall)

Entryway (left wall)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Apartment Therapy DC

So it seems I am a finalist for AT:DC! I'm thrilled, I'm excited, I'm potentially screwed because I flew down to Pensacola today to spend a week with my husband!

Anyway, if any of you DC folks have an idea for a post you'd like to read, drop me a line. I already did a review of a local store for my test post (it should appear on the AT page sometime soon) and I have an idea for a house tour, so my third submission is a freebie on anything I want. I have some ideas, but thought I'd ask for suggestions in case any of you see a glaring need that should be met...

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Jewelry Thing-gummy

I post this quasi-useful tutorial in response to a request on Flickr. I apologize in advance for the lack of step-by-step pictures- I barely remembered to take a picture of the final product!

As mentioned, my sister has been displaying her jewelry on a corkboard for some years, but the corkboard finally decided to give up the battle and its wooden frame started to separate from the board. We had been thinking of ways to improve upon the basic design of stock brown corkboard with bit of white material stapled on top, and so traveled to our friendly Ikea for ideas. My sister knew she wanted something bigger than her existing board, and I suggested it might be nice to rig a mirror in the center to make it easy to try different pieces when getting dressed.

We bought two silver Ribba frames: 27.5x39.5 for $39.99 and 9x9 for $7.99. I already had some Sorli mirrors in the house (almost 8x8 and only $4.99 for four). We picked up white self-adhesive foamboard at Michaels (under $10 for two pieces) and bought 1.5 yards of remnant fabric at G Street Fabrics for $4.50.

I took the old board apart because I was planning to reuse the cork. Turns out the board is actually a thin layer of cork glued onto what looks like the cardboard equivalent of MDF- ugly and surprisingly heavy. I had purchased the foamboard with adhesive thinking I would stick it on the back of the existing board to make a thicker bed for the pushpins. I decided to ditch the old board entirely and just to use the white foamboard. I then thought I would use the adhesive side to stick on the fabric, but decided against it because of the fear of making any wrinkles permanent. Finally I thought I would use the adhesive side to stick the white board to the back of the Ribba frame, but that didn't happen because I want to be able to disassemble this piece if necessary. Bottom line: save money and buy the regular foamboard without the adhesive layer!

I assembled the mirrored piece first. I took apart the square Ribba frame and ditched the passepartout. I covered the back of the frame with the fabric and popped it back in place behind the glass. I then used the adhesive squares that come with the mirrors to stick one onto the glass on the front of the frame. I used the glass because I was afraid that the stickies wouldn't hold on fabric, and because I knew cleaning a round mirror on white fabric was a recipe for disaster if the fabric wasn't protected. I used ball chain instead of picture wire because I found it more attractive.

Once the mirrored center was done, I turned my attention to the actual jewelry board. I used the hard back of the large Ribba frame as a template to cut the foamboard down to size. I laid the fabric out and wrapped it around the board, attaching it to the back of the foamboard using duct tape and stretching to pull taut as I went around the perimeter. I attached a screw-eye to the underside of the top of the frame (the Ribbas are deeply recessed in the back) and ran the ball chain through the eye, leaving it hanging out in front of the frame. (I'll try to post a picture of this tonight as I realize it sounds confusing) I carefully worked the fabric covered foamboard into place, making sure the chain was still hanging out on the front of the piece, then installed the back of the frame. The last step was to run the ball chain through the hangers on the back of the mirrored frame so it could hang. I stuck a white pushpin at the top of the chain to make it look like the mirror was just one more piece of jewelry hanging on the board (but that is less obvious absent other pushpins!

new jewelry display board

I am not certain if the foamboard will work out long term; if not, I'm going to replace it with thick cork tiles. I'll take another picture once my sister has it mounted on the wall with jewelry in place.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

a productive project-filled weekend...for other people...

I've been going all weekend on housey projects, but none of them have been for my house! My mom's new blinds arrived (a full weekend before they were expected- wowsa 3 Day Blinds) so I spent Friday night taking down the old decrepit shades that have been up for at least 15 years, and putting up the fabulous new ones. They have a faint scroll work white-on-white pattern that really makes them look wonderful on the windows. My mom is thrilled, and so I am since I basically twisted her arm to make a final decision and to buy them!

Old Shades:
old decrepit blinds

New Shades (sheer curtains are normally pulled across in front of blinds):
the windows as a whole

Close-up of Pattern (with light coming in from outside through the blind):
pattern 1

I spent Saturday working on a project for my sister. For years she has been displaying her jewelry on a large corkboard hung on the wall. Unfortunately, the corkboard recently gave up the fight and so we've been talking through ways to improve upon the same basic idea. We bought a large silver Ribba frame at Ikea, took out the plastic, cut down white foamboard inside, covered the foam with a lovely white on white flowered cotton, and rigged a mirror in another Ribba frame to hang in the center. Looks easy, sounds easy, took most of the day!

new jewelry display board

hmmm...I wonder if I'm just putting off cleaning my room and doing my laundry? ;-)

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?

Monday, January 28, 2008

who knew I even LIKED table lamps?!?!

I think I'm in love. I saw this fabulous lamp at Target this weekend during my fruitless attempt to buy a shredder for my mom. It was in the new Global Bazaar section and it just made me swoon. I admit it looks better in person than in the picture so if you aren't swooning, I forgive you! I've been looking for two lamps to put on the dresser behind the couch because I think the lines of the Not lamp from Ikea are just all wrong in my room. I am a bit concerned about the light though; the Nots provide excellent uplighting that I'm just not certain these black-shaded lamps can match.

The funny thing is that the lamps I've been redoing are also now white porcelain (long story to be covered another time with photos) and I love them. They are too short to use in the living room, but will be excellent additions to my bedroom once I solve the lampshade fitter/socket problem. These Target lamps are 33" high which will bring them almost to the height of the Nots in the living room, but with much more dramatic lines.

Thoughts on these lamps? They were marked $69.99 in the store which is why they fell into the "think about" category; I just found out online that they are on sale this week for $49 which may move them into the "buy and try" category...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

lampshade dilemma

One of my January Jumpstart projects was reworking some lamps that my aunt bought back in the 1970s. I have no pictures right now, but I am very happy with my paint stripping efforts for the bases. The lamps needed new shades, and I found the perfect color and size at Ikea- the fun flocked Kivsta. The problem is, the Ikea shades have "slip uno" style fittings (there is a ring about 2/3 of the way down the shade that slips over the socket of an Ikea lamp base and is then secured with a plastic screw-on ring before the bulb is inserted) and my lamps have old-school harp fittings. Does anyone know how I can adapt the lamp to work with the shade? I'm replacing the sockets and wiring anyway, but I can't seem to find anything that explains if I need a different style of socket. The old sockets definitely wouldn't work because they are too narrow and just slip up into the ring on the shade fitting. Advice? Experience to share? Commiseration? I love these bases and I love these shades so I have to figure out how to make them work!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

shameless plug for votes

My January Jumpstart made it onto Apartment Therapy- take a look and cast a vote!

Our little group is doing well- Lorijo's January Jumpstart was posted yesterday and also deserves a vote. Anyone else in the mix? I keep watching...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

reasons why I need more space (part 1)

I really want to own more chairs even though I don't really have the space for them. I am always looking at chairs, thinking of how they could be repurposed or brought back to life. I love Lorijo's collection and am jealous she has space for so many lovely chairs. Here a few of my more recent favorite finds:

White handcarved curve back chair in champagne/parisian blue- $249 from Brocade Home.

Turned Leg Zebra Print Arm Chair- $180 from Overstock.

Vintage gold tufted-back chair with carved rosettes on arms- $375 from Washington Consignments.

Plantation chair- $100 on Craigslist.

None of these chairs look anything alike, and yet I love them all. I am really tempted by the plantation chair which reminds me of my time in Barbados. If only I had a spare corner in my living room for it...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

January Jumpstart #1- The Nightstands

Well I've had a very productive weekend and am working on three January Jumpstart inspired projects. Only one is finished right now, so while I'm waiting for the paint stripper to work on project #2, I thought I'd share the details...

I found two of these bureaus on Craigslist for $40 each, and knew they would make the perfect nightstands for my very tall antique bed. As you can see, they are quite battered- they were in the seller's bedroom from early childhood until his wife decided they had to go! They are solid wood and I love the shape and size, but obviously the finish (especially on top) was shot. I've been meaning to work on them for a few months; thanks AT and Blueprint for finally pushing me into it.

As you can see, I have very few tools for this project. I did not want the mess and hassle of sanding and stripping the nightstands, especially on this the coldest day yet of the DC winter. I decided to do what I could with Howard Restor-a-Finish ($8.99) and Howard Feed-n-Wax ($8.99). I bought the mahogany refinisher because the bed is mahogany so I wanted to add a bit more red to the nightstands to help them match. The screwdriver, old t-shirt, and pewter knobs were already in my toolbox so total project cost was about $20 with tax.

OK, I have to admit that I had my doubts about the Restor-a-Finish right up until I started using it- look at the difference on the battered top of this nightstand! The process is so easy- saturate clean rag with Restor-a-Finish, wipe onto wood, let dry. That's it- no buffing, sanding, scrubbing etc; just wipe on and let dry. I did just half of the top to capture the difference- unbelievable isn't it?

Here is the nightstand after I did two coats of the Restor-a-Finish and then two coats of the Feed-N-Wax. The wax is a bit more complicated, but still pretty easy in the grand scheme of furniture refinishing. I wiped on the wax, left it for 20 minutes, then wiped off the unabsorbed excess. There wasn't much to wipe off the first time around- I suspect this nightstand was crying out for hydration- so I wiped on another coat. The second time around I was able to wipe off excess which I figured was a good sign. The last step was to buff the wax coat with a clean rag. Actually, I guess screwing in the new hardware was the last step, but the impact of that change pales in comparison to the waxing...

Look at that shine! I am actually astonished at how much better the nightstands look. Obviously, stripping and restaining would yield even better results, but that was more time and energy than I ever wanted to invest in these pieces at this point. For $20 and a solid day of work, I'm delighted with the final results.

Monday, January 14, 2008

loving the lack of chaos

I hosted book club last week, and therefore was forced to totally spruce up my house. Now I'm realizing just how much I love my space when it isn't cluttered up with random books, mail, magazines, etc. I've been fighting off a lingering cold, so I confess my Christmas tree is still up, but once it comes down (hopefully tonight) I'll have a nice bit of real estate cleared out under the windows that will add to the uncluttered happiness of my current living room. I like my house this way, and I want it to stay this way, so I'm making myself a promise that I'll take a few minutes every evening to clear up clutter to prevent it from building up again. Pinkie swear!

Relatedly, the cleared out living room will actually give me space to work on my January Jumpstart project this week, so I might in fact be able to get something turned in before the Jan 21 deadline. If I get the tree down tonight, I should be able to start on the nightstand project tomorrow. Since I'm hoping to spruce up the existing finish rather than to strip it off, I should be able to make good progress every evening so that I'm finished before the weekend. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

purses, and shoes, and boxes- OH MY!

These lovely teal open-toed shoes and matching purse were a Christmas gift from my mom, the enabler! She also gave me a case of 20 of the Container Store's plastic shoe boxes. I of course need many more than 20 boxes to store all my shoes, but these will be a lovely start and will be used for those shoes not currently housed in their original boxes. Thanks Mom!

I'm finally back from FL where I spent a lovely week with my husband vegetating and doing some light decorating. We didn't tackle painting after all as it was unseasonably cold in Pensacola, but we did tinker with some furniture. Many many thanks to the Waterfront Rescue Mission Bargain Center which accepted donation of an old couch, loveseat, coffee table and end table that I've been lobbying to dump for years! We picked up a lovely armoire on CL that fits on the now empty bedroom wall and will handily hide the TV in that room. We also got this storage ottoman to hold throw blankets in the living room (though my husband may move it to the foot of the bed instead).

Today my mom, sis and I went to see Spamalot at the National Theater courtesy of Christmas present tickets from my husband. I highly recommend the show which had me in stitches for two straight hours; even my mom (who is no fan of Monty Python) was rolling in her seat.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

begin as we mean to continue

Happy 2008 to everyone!

I'm focused on my couch redo project, and so have been looking around for inspiration and ideas. How is it possible I love both of these equally?

Loring sofa Yellow Settee from AT

Here's my couch:

and these are some color options I'm looking at for my couch (all are velvet):
Burgundy Velvet Crimson Velvet Paprika Velvet

I love the paprika, but fear that perhaps a giant orangey-terracotta couch might be a bit much for any room. I've scoured Fickr for some inspiration; the results can be found in my faves which I've also added to my Flickr links on the right.