Monday, January 31, 2011


We've had some great weather lately--this past weekend it even bordered on hot--but today is rainy and overcast and got me thinking of cozier looks. I have an unrequited love affair with boots, since finding boots that look proportional isn't the easiest task when you're taller than average. When I find a pair that is flattering and comfortable (e.g. doesn't have the shaped calf portion protruding from the back of my ankle) I buy them! I may even have 2 of the same pair--one in black, one in brown--of a stack-heeled boot that must have been made for a person who can credit half of her height to her calves, like me (mild exaggeration, but great mental image).

I've been on the lookout for a great flat black boot in a clean crisp riding style. It'd work for those casual and nights out when I want to sport skinny jeans and a sweater without dressing up the look and for those chilly days when I'm feeling that a pair of Tom's isn't warm enough with my leggings and tunic.

1. Frye Dorado Boots $430
2. Diane Von Furstenberg Boots $346
3. Ciao Bella Tori Boots $138
4. Apepazza Flat Boot $239
5. Mea Shadow Noa Boot $277
6. Ciao Bella Toni Boots $138

I always consider price-per-wear when buying clothing, especially to decide it spendy items are worth it. Any staples that you've been looking for? Or successfully found?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ikat, You-kat...

A pair of Ikat shorts highlighted on this delighful blog reminded me of a pillow I have...

I bought a sample of the fabric from Calico Corners as potential drape material and was subsequently called crazy by people I love. If only that were the first time... Anyway, my lovely mother made me some pillows for Christmas (because I asked nicely, naturally), and this fabric is getting some airtime in the living room. Take that, ikat-haters! :)

Update: Check out what I discovered among Neiman's home goods! How crazy is that?! (And the pillow is $60 on sale, so my fabric sample route happens to be far more affordable!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shoe In

My closet is a decent size for my needs, but I still like to maximize space with organizational ideas and by minimizing my stash of clothes/shoes/bags.  Ok, who am I kidding? I am far from a minimalist! Buuuuut I do try to keep things under control. I posted my jewelry storage awhile ago and I tried to use the similar concept of using vertical space to store my shoes in a visible way. I had previously been using those ubiquitous shoe organization cubby/shelf cubes on the floor of my closet, so that concept morphed into vertical show storage when I remodeled the closet space (which is a longer description for another post).

Just for some personal embarrassment reference, here's the before:
 What items do I actually wear?!

 Boots piled in the corner...

...because the cheapy hangers can't sustain their weight!

I went through the shoes and got rid of those that weren't working for me and did the same with the jewelry. I subbed out the boot hangers with metal versions and added another row of hooks under the framed jewelry (the hooks are actually IKEA curtain hangers that went unused after the bathroom and closet curtains were put up) for belts and huge necklaces (and moved the clothes to the hook in my bedroom).
And hooray!
It's much more cheery in here than the lighting/my camera would lead one to believe

Phew. Another portion of the house that's clutter-free. I need to get out of the house after all this...maybe I'll go shopping...?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Candles + Bottles

Had a soiree at Home Monochromatic Dynamic recently and put some of my ever-growing collection of craft beer bottles to decorative use. Thanks mostly to the bf, I have a constant influx of beer that comes in bottles of different sizes and shapes. I thought the curvy bottles were cool and I like the slight variation in the deep brown colors, so I held onto a ton of them...and then bathed them.

Wellll, it seemed the best way to get a ton of the labels off at once. Some just floated to the surface, and others were a little more stubborn. I was able to remove quite a few unscathed and press them in case the bf decides to get crafty and use them for something!
Here's one tableau on in the foyer...

I lit the candles early because I was trying to get some wax dripping down the sides so the white candle/dark bottle contrast was lessened, but I had no success with my first round on the credenza (I guess that means IKEA sells good candles...?). However, some lovely guests helped me out and put out some candle/bottle combos outdoors, and the breeze must have contributed to the wax I'll know how to achieve the effect next time!

Have you come across any other bathtub uses? Any other ways to turn trash into something illuminating?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Laser Leveler Envy

I mentioned that I'm slowly (but surely, I promise!) finishing some paintings for the great room. They're been leaning up against the wall for a bit too long, so I thought hanging them might help motivate me and let me use a new impulse buy, this laser leveler. The process when well, but the leveler does have some quirks that I needed to work around--the laser will still light for angles that aren't a straight horizontal line (when it's set for a straight horizontal line), but it was easy enough to tell when that was happening and I double checked the line with a classic level and a measurement from the floor. The light was really helpful when hanging, though--it definitely beat little pencil marks all over the wall and having to recruit multiple people to get all the spacing correct and hold measuring tapes.  Here's some laser-ing in action (the leveler has a pin in the back and you just stab it into the wall and it hangs there):

Any fun toys you've purchased recently that you may not have needed, but make some tasks a little easier or are just cool?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nightstand and deliver

Well, the nightstands were delivered. I was stalking some bedside tables on (I love overstalking, remember?) for what seems like forever. When I finally got an email discount, I ordered two of them.

I love the circular shape, multiple shelves and the open structure. I'm still on the lookout for some lamps (I have one I like, but I don't know what to do for the other side of the bed...) and still need to get cracking on sharing my DIY headboard, but I'm one step closer to having this sector of the house polished up.

I decided to go with matching nightstands, but after much deliberation. Does anyone love their mis-matched set? Or prefers bedside symmetry?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Clean Sweep

As I'm coming up on a birthday, I'm antsy to clean out more clutter--I have furniture, clothes, knick-knacks, kitchen items (list never ends...) that I could easily part with. And that I should part with, because some items just aren't earning their keep.

Because of a new sibling roomie, my home was a disaster zone in transition this summer, since all the items that were in the loft (desk, bed, books and tchochkes on the wall-to-wall built in bookshelves, files and closet miscellany) had to be distributed throughout the house--or distributed out of the house! And other storage spaces had to be carved out, too.

I was able to schedule 2 garage sales between weekend trips and commitments and they went really well. As in, paid-for-a-couple-plane-flights well (the 1st one was 10 times more successful than the 2nd, though). I might be addicted to that great cleansing feeling of decluttering (and making some money on the side makes it all the sweeter)!

Glimpse of some garage sale action

Does your birthday ever lead you to make some changes? I'm more likely to create birthday resolutions than New Year's ones.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Light of My Backyard!

My backyard/patio is in a pretty absymal state. Well, it's clean (thanks to my lovely bf), but it's also a graveyard of failed plants, patio furniture that needs refinishing, and general indecision. I am resolving to fix that in the coming months, but I want to tackle some fun stuff now--like patio light strands! One step at a time, right? But seriously, with an outdoor shindig planned in the near future the lights will come in handy and I don't have to wait for warmer weather for the results.

Some light strand inspirations--even though mine would be looped under a patio awning...

Info from Remodelista

Golden Globe lights - info from Apartment Therapy
Any favorites? Have you come across anything you love for outdoor lighting that is easy on the installer? Any suggestions for some budget friendly options?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Paintings in progress

The walls in my great room are blank (except for that perfect gray paint, of course) but I received some Christmas presents that will add some more dimension to the room. Yay, my bf got me canvasses as a Christmas present! Oh, wait, that was in 2009. Yeeeaaaaah, so I've made some progress on those babies, but at a Vermeer-like speed. I'll post some photos later.

I'm keeping the tones muted and using Eyvind Earle's landscapes as inspiration--but don't compare the quality of my work to his, that would just depress me.
Image link here, although I wish this was a photo of mine...
Sometimes I think I'm better with paper and an exacto knife than acrylic paints, so we'll see what I do with more canvasses I got for Christmas 2010...I might wrap those up in 2013 or so...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Am I on the Placemat Rebound?

Curse the color variations on computer screens! I received the items I detailed in my last post and nothing was quite as it seemed--color-wise, anyway. The CB2 napkins were decidedly green (which is great, it just didn't fit my vision, so they're headed back) and the runner and placemats were very tan, not a grayish/taupe-y/mushroom color like I had anticipated. I have to get better at my color perception!

Anyway, I was cruising through the OneKingsLane sales (I love the site, posted about it here) and came across these:
Magenta Inc. Tuxedo Placemat

I like the tailored contrast, they look far from austere, they're machine washable and they're priced at $35 for 12. Not too shabby, but I always search elsewhere before clicking that purchase button. And they're on sale on the magenta site for ..... $80 for 12, down from the original $188 for 12.

Looks like I could have a new shipment of placemats coming my way, which will help ease the pain (ok, I wasn't that devastated, but still) of the other not-quite-optimal-for-me purchases. I'm envisioning a big white plate on the placemat and thinking that it'll look good with the placemat piping. Thoughts? Am I just into the placemats because I'm on the rebound? I'm still debating... (But I'll have to debate quickly since it's a limited quantity and limited time sale!)

PS, If you want an invite to OneKingsLane, you can email me at and I'll send you one. (I get a kickback if you purchase something--can't complain about that).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Might as well get Fancy AND Dance-y

A couple years ago I was celebrating the 4th of July at a backyard barbeque in Atlanta (post-Peachtree Road Race) and a southern belle-type (maybe I'm generalizing, but in a lovable way) met us out in the shared backyard sporting some drinks in crystal glasses (recently purchased off her bridal registry, if I recall correctly). She had a fun message that the fancy stuff should get used even if the setting was less than fancy--she owns the stuff, so why not?!

Even though I don't have any Wedgwood to use, I agree with the concept that things should earn their keep--I'm a proponent of using cloth napkins for everyday meals and having a lit centerpiece for dinners (the latter makes my cooking look more palatable, anyway). Even if the meal is casual, the dinner can always look thoughtful.

That said, my daily tablecloth is looking a little tired and I don't have enough cloth napkins, so after debating some easy-to-care-for and affordable table linens and shopping some sales, this is what I ended up with...

1. Crate&Barrel Runner
I got 2 runners, thinking they might work instead of placemats for the rectangular breakfast nook table (another cool Craigslist find and I'll post sometime).
2. Crate&Barrel Placemat
These might go back if they end up being super shimmery in person, but I like the gradations of color and the mixed metals look.
3. CB2 Napkins
Although I'm not smitten with these napkins, I was thinking they might complement black/grayish heathered ones I got at Ross and some I was gifted from ZGallerie--which don't seem to be available on their site, but they're the fourth photo.

I like the idea of being able to throw together different napkins that still make for a cohesive table setting. And if the usual dining suspects in the house each have their own pattern, maybe we can reuse the same napkin for a few meals and reduce the need to launder them...

So, all of my purchases are allegedly machine washable and I was able to use a sweet Crate and Barrel giftcard. We'll see which items make the cut when they arrive on my doorstep...

I'm still on the hunt for some awesome and versatile napkin rings (not versatile in the sense that they would have uses other than napkin rings, ha, but that they would work in various table settings) or some inspriation so I can DIM (do-it-MYself)!

Any napkin ring leads? Tips for laundering table linens? Do you keep cloth napkins around for a couple meals or wash everytime?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't you love pomegranate?

Don't you? I do, even though it's messy to peel.

mmm. The seeds are like little jewels...that are tasty.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A shout out to my (ceiling) fans!

Ugh, ceiling fans. So unattractive, yet so necessary. I finally caved and got a couple ceiling fans--one for the upstairs bedroom and one for the loft.  All the rooms (well, the loft, both bedrooms and the great room) are wired for fans and connected to wall switches to operate the light and a wheel to operate the fan speed. Now, I know that the only thing more unattractive than a ceiling fan is a ceiling fan with a light, but I needed that option in both rooms. So even the 1% of attractive fans out there (.000001% of which are within my budget) look unfortunate with a light attached. The lights seem to look like an afterthought on the sleeker fans...

Well, I'm done complaining--it's hard to continue when you're typing in a perfectly moderated breeze-filled room. And the look is really growing on me, especially since the ceiling is high.

I wanted something with balanced-looking blades, a proportional light, no palm fronds or excessive faux distressing, and no pull-string in the middle of the light. The latter partly because I'll use the wall switch to operate the light and fan levels and partly because the look always makes me think of a burlesque dancer. I also made sure that the light actually illuminated--I looked at quite a few fans that had a dim halogen bulb, which works if you're planning on having supplementary lighting, but wasn't ideal in this situation.

I still need to find a large one for the great room and a flushmount one for the master bedroom. The great room fan could be a challenge since both it and the loft fan will be visible as one looks toward the front of the house through the great room. But at least the great room doesn't need a fan with a light!