Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hold me closer, tiny credenza...

Actually, the credenza I have in the "foyer" isn't that tiny. You can see it hosting some candlelit bottles here, and it's also home to an infrequently used (but still fun!) guest book, and some photos of Home Monochromatic Dynamic inhabitants. It was also used as a catch-all for mail and other walk-in-the-door-paraphernalia: receipts, keys, glasses, bags, coupons... But that's not the only place that was covered in those incidentals--the kitchen counter had its fair share, too:

Basically, all this clutter had to be corralled. Enter tray from HomeGoods, vintage bowl and bin from World Market. It's great how getting a few things (or just finding a use for something you already have) can give you a routine that helps keep things in order. Now the important mail has a home in the trays, the keys get dropped off in the bowl, and the ads and mailers that aren't used can go directly into the bin underneath, which gets taken out with the rest of the recycling.

Hooray! Someday I'll get around to refinishing the credenza (a craigslist find that fits the space nicely, but received an interesting stain from previous owners--note its "paws" from where the stain wasn't painted)...

Full disclosure, some mail for the upstairs residents does sneak its way on the landing of the stairs, but it's not too obtrusive looking, so I'm ok with it. Also, the front door and windows are at least 4 feet away from this little credenza zone, so no worries about an baddies reaching in a broken window and grabbing a set of keys.

It's easier for me to sort solicitous mail from the genuine stuff now that I know that presorted standard mail isn't forwarded by USPS--if it's not important enough to be forwarded onto me, it's probably not something that's worthwhile anyway--so I can shred or toss those items that look like a requested insurance quote or a check from a mysterious entity without wasting too much time looking at it.

Any mail stations in your place that have some form and function? Any tricks for weeding out those useless mailers?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Washroom Watercolors

I've posted various views and projects from my master bath here, here, and here, but despite some attention it's still pretty stark. So, even though it's functional, I keep working on things to make it less spartan and more room-y. And by "working on" I mean "thinking about". And by "thinking about" I mean "thinking about occasionally".

Anyway, I "bid" on a small watercolor during a family online auction when my great aunt passed away. My big (in number) family has the non-monetary auction down to a fine art! It works really well with giving lots of items lots of new homes. For this one, all direct descendants (e.g. my Mom) got $500 play money and a crack at the first phase of the auction, which had photos of the items and a comment function, so everyone put their bids in the comment section. The next row of descendants got "$200" and we bid away on another lot of things. Well, I triumphed with some bids and am now the proud owner of this:

Cool, right? I like the look of it, but I wasn't sold on its trappings (2 gnarly pieces of glass, some cardboard and a mat that had seen better days), so I headed out to pick up a larger frame and a larger mat to go with it. Well, I secured the larger frame, but locating the mat to go with it was challenging. So challenging that I gave up and got a big piece and matting. Because how hard could it be to cut your own so it's exactly the dimensions you want? Answer: very, very hard.

the haul

I got the matting sized correctly and plotted out the spot I wanted for the print (by cutting a piece of paper to the print's size and experimenting with the placement)

...and then got to cutting. This part was not fun. And not really that pretty, but here's the result:

In its good-from-far, far-from-good way, I think this will do just fine, at least until further down the road if I decide to become an architecture model-builder, or a surgeon, or a person who puts ships in bottles. In any of those cases I'd imagine I'd be able to improve it. In the meantime, I'm ok with the imperfections and I added it above the dresser in the bathroom nook.

Hopefully folks aren't lingering in there long enough to notice the sketchy matting job. Any tips for my next attempt?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vacation Togs

An impending trip to Costa Rica (!) for a wedding (!!) has me thinking of...clothes. Well, some casual resort pieces seem like they would fit into the landscape. I always feel 100 times more relaxed when I know I'm traveling with contingencies covered--rainy weather, lost passport, old map, broken sandal strap...bring it on, I've prepped for any setback! I like feeling like I planned ahead because I can enjoy the vacation instead of trying to hunt down a pharmacy because I forgot to pack a few bandaids. So, even if I don't end up needing that ib profen, I still feel at ease knowing I have it just in case.

A few of the items below are accompanying me, a few are some that I wish were accompanying me, and a few are just for fun. (I left out boring bandaid and sunscreen photos even though that would've have made for a more holistic visual packing list.)

1. Barneys tote
2. Rosa Cha suit
3. J Brand cutoffs
4. JCrew hat
5. ASOS beach shirt
6. JCrew sandals
7. Missoni jumper
8. T by Alexander Wang dress
9. OPI polish
10. Anthropologie necklace
11. Mosley Tribes sunglasses
12. Tom's shoes

I'm excited for some sun (just a little, I'll be sporting a hat religiously), and some relaxation (just a bit, since it'll be a short trip) :)

Any packing preferences? Are you going to get some time in the sand this spring?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Golden Touch

So I know that gray and gold can complement each other--I wear clothes/jewelry with that combo and love it--but it took seeing this AT post to make the realization that it could work well for Home Monochromatic Dynamic.

I did a double take on this because I have a vacant mantel space that's painted gray, very tall, and not as wide (it juts out of the wall and is flanked by this and this). And I was looking for a round mirror for it--because it really hit me a couple weeks ago that everything in my place was square. Or rectangular. Basically, every furniture idea, piece of art, or decor item (except maybe this) was a box. sheesh. Time to get a little more balance. So I was casually perusing craigslist for a huge round mirror and hadn't come across anything until I saw the AT photo and starting thinking that gold would be a great option. And this came up...

Wahoo! I'm psyched about it--obviously so psyched that I'm sharing a photo of it even before it's mounted on the wall (which will undoubtedly be an adventure). And now I can finally stop kicking myself for not buying a huge mirror that I saw at Last Call Neimans (I was waiting for it to go on "more" sale, and evidently someone else wasn't)--it was square anyway. :)
Done any thinking outside the box lately?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The wind beneath my great room fan

I've expressed my overall displeasure of the look of ceiling fans earlier, but in the hot clime in which I live, fans are a necessary for survival. So, I had to pick out another one for the great room. I tried to find something to compliment the loft fan enough (since you can see both when you look back through the house from the back doors), but not be too matchy and keep the sizes proportional to their respective rooms. This is what's spinning in the great room now.

I love when procrastinating pays off--the fan was reduced another $20 from the time I entertained the thought of buying it to the time I actually got around to purchasing it in the store. But it was pretty affordable (considering the size) either way.

I was torn as to whether or not to buy a longer downrod, so it would look more integrated in the room, but after hearing that the fan might shake and realizing I'd have to spend more $$, I went with the downrod that came with the fan.
Now I just need a fan for the master bedroom--the search is on for something flush to the ceiling that doesn't grab too much attention...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breakfasting at Leisure

Oh, weekend breakfasts. I love the extra time to relax and whip up something not-quite-so-healthy.

Like french toast.

I like cutting the bread into strips because it makes for a fork-optional meal and everyone can have fresh and hot french toast at the same time. I sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over them as soon as they're out of the pan, so you can eat them without syrup--even though some gifted homemade prickly pear syrup is too delish to pass up.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Weekend Reminiscing

We're halfway through the week, but I wish I was even closer to some sunny and breezy alfresco meals like last weekend.

Tacos and drinks at Canteen

It's so exciting that the weather is getting gorgeous. Any outdoor plans in the near future?