Getting Ready...

The renovations are done for now (no more crawling in the attic!!!), and so now it's on to cleaning. My husband's family has a tradition of wearing new clothes on New Year's Eve (to represent a fresh start to the new year) and cleaning the house before the clock strikes 12. Supposedly, the state of your house when you enter the new year is how your house will be the rest of the year.

In my family, we eat cabbage and black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to give us luck and money in the new year.

Do you have any New Year's traditions?

Happy New Year!

image from Old Crow Farm

Happy New Year to all! May the 2010 be a year of happiness and prosperity.

DI-Wednesday: Awesome Pendant Lamp Makeover

I'm planning my 2010, and more DIY decor is definitely on the list. I love Apartment Therapy's recent list of their best DIYs from the past year--especially this modified pendant lamp. A gentle, light glow emanates from this ($12!) creation.

Tasty Tuesday: Wonderful Citrus (and Cake!)

I'm a lucky gal--after several hours of crawling around in the attic trying to feed electrical wire through a tiny hole in the ceiling, I sat down with my itchy, fiberglass-covered self to peruse my favorite blogs. I came across a recipe just for me from Design*Sponge--I've got a crate of grapefruit and a basket of oranges sitting in my kitchen, along with fresh rosemary in my garden! This is going to be mighty refreshing tomorrow, after we finally finish with the dreaded bathroom fan. Enjoy!

Monday Inspiration: Bathroom Hopes

Well, after almost six days, we have finally managed to complete our rock odyssey, and have successfully spread out 15 tons of rock lawn, extended our irrigation system, and added landscape lighting. No small feat, but we are gluttons for punishment, so today we grabbed the supplies we needed to put up our bathroom fan/light combo. This will involve a lot of crawling in the attic and running some flexible duct, as the current bathroom has no fan. So, I'm thinking happy bathroom thoughts, and that one day my bathroom will look as calming and organized as this one.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Rock(s) and Roll!

Things are slow at the shop lately despite the fact that I'm on vacation--the reason: rocks. Big rocks, small rocks. The hubby and I decided that over our mutual holidays we would finally put rocks in the expanse of side-yard next to our house (living in Tucson, rock is what we typically use in lieu of grass--impossible to kill, and requires no water--it's the perfect lawn for me). This landscaping project seemed like a good idea at the time, but when that dump truck drove up and dumped 15 tons of gravel in our alley, I could practically sense the backaches that approached. Now, four days later, we're almost done with the entire thing--and I must admit that it looks pretty darn good. But, as predicted, my back sure does hurt.

In the spirit of sharing, if you should ever decide to xeriscape your yard, here are some tips:

1) Get rocks with jagged edges--yes, you probably won't want to walk on these barefoot, but when you do walk on them the squared edges will lock into each other--much easier to get around the yard. Smooth rocks can slide around and cause slippage.

2) Get the proper tools--a flat-edged shovel with a deep scoop will help you dig into the pile that lays before you. You will also need a wheelbarrow or cart. I suggest a four-wheeled cart like this one--it's much easier to maneuver. And lastly, a good rake is necessary--get one with a flat edge so you can flip the rake over and spread out the pile of rock with the flat end.

3) Get help--this is a big job--promise pizza and beer and get the gang over there--just remember to get extra shovels!

Monday Inspiration: Mid-Century Warmth

I'm loving this Mid-Century Modern fireplace/bookcase from VintageGoodness--the wood paneling, not so much, but cozying around this off-center fireplace lined with asymmetrical bricks seems like a good evening to me!

Friday Finds: Winter White

We're now deep into winter, and the storms are blowing everywhere (except the southwest!)--having lived my life in places that get snow only once in a blue moon, I've set myself to finding the feeling of snow on Etsy, with some winter white inspiration:

Pair of ceramic deer figurines

White atomic tripod lamps from Mary had a Little Lamp

Blanc De Chine pierced vase from Vintage Zen

Vintage white ceramic quail from The Sunday Times Market

Audubon Bookplate of White Gyrfalcons from LoveElizabeth

DI-Wednesday: Clay Conifers

This project from design*sponge is perfect for those winter evenings when you're feeling creative--you could use them as ornaments, decor, or as a parting gift for your holiday guests! I will enjoy having some pine cones in the house once again (you never know what you'll miss about living in the desert, but it turns out groves and groves of pine trees are on the list). Enjoy!

Great Tool: Adobe Kular

Pictures in decor magazines tend to have a certain je nai ce quoi--something I can't quite put my finger on that seems to pull the entire room together. Usually, that something happens to be color--unifying the space, while at the same time drawing the eye to lovely accents. Decoding this color alchemy is now a far cry simpler with Adobe Kular. You can create an account and then upload pics of your favorite rooms (or flowers, paintings, clothes, etc.) and the tool will create color palettes for you! I tried this out on the pink wonder from yesterday's post, and the results are above--it's amazing what you miss that just seems to "fit" like the hint of light green. It really helps to complete the room.

Monday Inspiration: Color, Color, Color!

An oldie but a goodie--we tend to see the decor of the 50s and 60s as more muted and streamlined, but then how do you explain aquamarine appliances? I've yet to see any of these decor ads in an actual home, but I'd love to see if anything like this came to fruition! Anyone have a secret stash of room photos with pink ceilings?

Friday Finds: Wooden Wonderland

There's something about wood that just makes me happy--the way each type of wood has a subtly different shade, how hints of wood can warm up any space, and how the grain of each piece is as unique as a fingerprint. Every wood carving is itself one of a kind. Here are some wonderful wooden animals from Etsy sellers (including--cheap plug--a couple from my shop, August Vintage!).

In the spirit of the season, here is a set of Mid Century Modern Reindeer from Avant Garage.

This family of wooden animals from The Sunday Times Market makes me smile!

This vintage wood swan candelabra combines elegant form and function, from piratesbooty

A wise 'ole owl coin bank combines two tones of wood! From Recycle Buy Vintage

Vintage Color Inspiration

If you're looking for inspiration, there's no need to look further than the past. For instance, thedesigncubicle demonstrates how classic posters can inspire current design--he's referring to graphic design, but there's no reason this can't extend into the look of our home.

Check out his long list of vintage (and vintage style) posters, and see where you land--the one above blends muted colors and shapes that remind me of an old textbook I had in elementary school. The yellow could be my wall color, the maroon a major accent, and the dark aqua could show up in pops around the room--this would make a great den!

DI-Wendnesday: Perma-Origami

Growing up, my mother's best friend was my style idol--I loved her clothes, her home decor, and gifts. Here style was always effortless (as most wonderful style appears) and one Christmas she made herself a tree out of stray branches, decorated only with origami cranes--so I was delighted to discover this wonderful way to make the origami more permanent!

These instructions are super-simple, and I can imagine all of the origami shapes this could apply to!

"Faux" pas?

I've been wanting to do something with the glass block windows on the front of my house for some time--my husband insists that they're energy efficient, but these long, narrow windows leave much to be desired. I had a brainwave when I saw this tile mosaic on Apartment Therapy--wouldn't it be fantastic to create a "faux" window pane with glass tiles and put the faux window over the other one? Then I'm happy on the outside, and we still keep the efficiency.

I'm thinking I might use some clear caulk or glue to attach the tiles to a piece of glass or plexiglass, then grout and mount it over the window. What do you think? Anyone ever tried something like this?

Monday Inspiration: Cozy Reading Nook

I'm loving the vintage eclectic mix I found in this reading nook on design*sponge. Nothing particularly glamourous, just accessible, comfortable, and calming for your magazine and cup of coffee.

Friday Finds: Happy Holidays on Etsy

I was not out Black Friday shopping, as I think sales that present even the teeniest chance of being trampled to death aren't worth it. Instead, I've been on Etsy, finding some holiday inspiration:

Bronze Star Urchin Ornament from Kissa Design -- made entirely of paper! Wouldn't this be gorgeous on top of the tree?

DIY Ruby Red Double Paper Luminary (set of six) from Prudence Octavia. The warm glow is so inviting...

Vintage Shiny Brite Ornaments (set of 12) from Hope and Joy Home. These take me back...

DIY Swinging Ornaments Holiday Christmas Card Kit from Heal.Create.Share. I love this idea--so much better than the cards I could create by myself, but still personal.

Design for you

With all of the home value concerns lately, it's easy to focus on resale value when you decorate or make improvements--but this find is just a bit of a reminder that sometimes, you have to do what makes you happy (or in this case, what makes your furry friends happy). The great thing about this playhouse is it's not intensely bright or covered in carpet and string--it's an excellent blend of beauty and function. See more pictures here.

DI-Wednesday: Log Dome Display Jars

Over a year ago, a summer storm knocked over three gigantic eucalyptus trees, right onto the neighborhood's power supply. 24 hours later, we had electricity again, and a big pile of wood was left behind by the electric company--I gladly helped myself to a few lovely big branches, but I have yet to find the perfect project to use them for, until now! I love these charming wooden and glass display domes from DesignSponge. They grant such presence to their keepsakes, I can't wait to get started!

Last Chance DI-Wednesday: Ornament Wreath

If you're looking for a last-minute wreath to great your family as they cross the threshold, check out this easy to make wreath from CB2: all you need is some wire and leftover ornaments! Enjoy!

Christmastime is Here!

There's always something about Christmas--even when we're grown and know that Santa won't be coming down the chimney, there's always a spark of happiness in the air, that gives us an excuse to hang sparkly lights to our heart's content.

With that in mind, here are a few inspirational pics to get us in the mood:

Monday Inspiration: Curb Appeal!

I've got gardening on the brain--in December, we're planning to use our holidays to spruce up our curb appeal, adding some rocks and borders, and hopefully building a small retaining wall and sprucing up the porch with new slate tiles and some paint. It won't look exactly like my inspiration photo, but I love the calming colors of the slate, the gray on the house, and the red door.

Big Weekend Sale at August Vintage!

Just a reminder that I'm having my first Etsy shop sale this Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. Buy any item and get the second item of equal or lesser value for 25% off!

I've got some great finds and excellent gifts, so drop on by!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! May your table be as lovely as the one above, and may it be surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Setting the Table in Style

Today we finally bit the bullet and decided to purchase our first adult plates. As the hosts of Thanksgiving this year, we looked at the sad mish-mash of dishware in our cupboard, some found, some bought, some inherited, and most chipped, and decided to head out to the restaurant supply store. Now, we are the proud owners of some plain off-white plates, bowls and mugs, and a set of versatile bar glasses, all for around $70.

Restaurant supply stores are usually worth checking out, especially around the holidays. Most of them are open to the public, and, by nature, their serving items are designed to be used and abused (mostly the latter in my house). They certainly aren't the fanciest place settings possible, but who needs fancy? It's all the same when it's covered in gravy!

For good measure, check out how to decorate your table simply, with items from your own back yard!

Reminiscing on the Ranch House

I'm a lover of mid century modern design, and an admirer of good ol' American kitsch. It's amazing what America can produce in times of prosperity (a.k.a. post-WWII through the 1960s), and it's an equal shame how we tear it down for the next big thing (a.k.a orange shag carpeting and faux wood paneling--both staples in the house I grew up in).

That's why I'm loving No Pattern Required--the author has embraced the mid century modern glory that is the ranch home, down to its pink tile bathroom. There are also a lot of fantastic old ads and MCM recipes put into action. Check out the pirozhki experiment--it's all about the presentation!

Monday Inspiration: Vintage-Cozy Living Room

I just had to post this picture--it's the epitome of the vintage-cozy style that I strive for-- a wonderful blend of warm colors and classical styling, dotted with unique pieces--fantastic Monday inspiration!

Friday Finds: Tablecloths!

This year's all about the linens--I'm looking into revamping curtains, pillows, bedspreads and of course, napkins and tablecloths. I'm the messy one in our family (odd, considering there's an 80 pound dog involved) and I use more paper towels than I should. So, I've finally bought some lovely cotton napkins from Etsy seller Evelyn Fields. She calls them "unpaper towels"--which is exactly what I need. I've ordered enough for everyday use and for special occasions. I never understood only using linens when company came over--what's the point of having it if you don't use it?

Along those lines, here are a few tablecloths I'm loving on Etsy:

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