Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

March 29, 2011

Laundry Room Pondering

I put so few things in the dryer that I have a clothesline installed in our basement.  Makes the basement look so messy.  (Technically, it is retractable but the darn retractability broke.  Grrr).  The basement and laundry are long over due for an overhaul (and some drywall).  So, I've been ogling laundry rooms (and basements, in general) with more intensity, for inspiration.  I will work up the courage to show you our laundry room soon.

This lovely laundry room belongs to Elsa, from Casa Greer.  Just look at the clever rod installed so items can be hung up to dry!  I also appreciate that the laundry room doesn't even have a fancy new machine/dryer combo in it.

Photo via Made by Girl

Vic, the fabulous mind behind the lovely blog Ish & Chi, had a studio space similar to my laundry room but she transformed it into something amazing. 

Ish & Chi

Ish & Chi

Ish & Chi

Practical, feasible and pretty?  Sign me up.
Have you found a drool-worthy laundry room or basement?  I'd love to see!

P.S. I'll be internet-less for a few days.  But I'll be back online Friday.  Have an amazing week!

March 28, 2011

The Dog Ate My Homework

As I hinted at this weekend, I was a Captain Distracto.  In lieu of marking on Friday, I went to an antique show.  In lieu of marking Saturday afternoon, I went for a long walk with a friend, then took her grocery shopping for heavy stuff (she is car-less).  But, Saturday night and Sunday morning I put pen to paper & got my marking done!  (Not that there won't be more headed my way . . . )

So, I did work on a painting.  But I ran out of white paint and, all grubby & covered in paint, I just threw in the towel.  I'll buy some paint soon, and I'll work on it again next weekend.  But, here's a sneak peak:

I promise more pics & "how-to" when I'm done
this painting

Below are some photos of the two goodies I bought at the antique show.  (And, a tip: if you're headed to an antique show with an entrance fee, check out the website.  I signed up for the newsletter via email and received a discounted admission).  Another McCoy planter:

Here are the photos I promised of the whole collection, stored in our much loved Ikea Besta wall unit (modular units are swell for small spaces - if it fits perfectly, it makes every inch count!):

Super hard to take a photo of it - our living room is NOT really wide . . .

My second antique show find was a pair of Majorica (a manufactured replica of cultured) "pearl" earrings.  The size and setting is so gorgeous, I don't even care if they are manufactured.   

This is an end of day photo - ignore the messy hair

Check out the substantial backing . . .

How was your weekend?
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March 27, 2011

Art Attack: Newspaper Art?

I think this is so genius.  This piece is called "Overheard on the Titanic" and the artist blacked out words in a newspaper article (with a sharpie!), leaving only these choice words revealed.  I want.  Actually, I want to make - it would have been neat to make one with a newspaper article from each city I've lived in - or travelled too!  Oh, for a time machine.

In any case, because I was Captain Distracto Friday & Saturday, I'm still marking this morning.  But I'm hoping that by this afternoon, I can start working my canvas.

P.S. I originally read about this piece on A Cup of Jo.
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March 25, 2011

Art Attack: Paintings I love

I've made a bit of a bargain with myself: if I finish all of my marking by Saturday, Sunday I'm going to put paint to canvas.  So I'm ramping up the Art Attack posts and instead of featuring one artist, I'm posting a smattering of paintings I love to get me in the groove.

Do you have any creativity planned for this weekend?  (Can you plan it?)

Via Eye See Pretty

West Elm

Via Automatism

Via Made by Girl

Style at Home

If you want to ogle a few more abstract pieces, check out this Centsational Girl post.  Do you have any great sources or ideas to get the creativity flowing?
Happy Weekend!
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March 24, 2011

Small Space Suggestions: Furniture Scale

Someone (let's call her Susie O) wants to cancel her subscription to the interior design magazine she receives monthly.  Susie O is tired of design magazines featuring huge homes, sometimes even in "small space" specials. 

"A 20 foot long kitchen island?!?" she exclaimed one day. 
[Expletives omitted]
"So?" said I.
"My house isn't even 20 feet wide!!" Said she.
[More expletives, followed by some muttering, omitted]

Thinking this was hyperbole (twenty feet seems awfully motor home small), I asked Hubby to measure the width of the townhouse during commercial breaks of Hawaii Five-O.  And wouldn't you know?  Our house is 20 feet wide - exactly.  Seems Susie O is right: a 20 foot island is ridiculous for her & I.  Why bore you with the details of how wide the townhouse is?  I think the townhouse is officially a "small space".  You won't find a post about my 20 foot island or giant sectional sofa.  Instead, this post marks the first in my "Small Space Suggestions" section.  I'll tell you about some "Small Space Rules," how I follow them & when to break them.

First issue: furniture scale.  Style at Home Magazine advises small space owners not to buy shrimpy furniture.  Instead, buy full scale furniture and simply scale back on the number of pieces:

Style at Home: Tania Sarracini's Home

That's a good suggestion, that I tend to follow. 

In the dining room, we have just a normal sized table and chairs (and currently a canvas - who knows when I'll get around to moving it - three days and counting). 

In the bedroom we have just nightstands, a headboard and small chest.  No dresser or armoire - we try to keep all of our clothes in the closet (shoes, purses & coats do live elsewhere).  But the bed is a King Size and the headboard, in person, is quite large and even more dramatic than in photos.  We went full size with the furniture - we just have fewer pieces.

Have you ever even seen this angle?

So, we do tend to pick full sized items, but sometimes we can't just go without.  Sometimes dropping a piece of furniture from the floor plan isn't an option.  Take for example the two chairs facing the fireplace (I move them seasonally).  I really needed a table to put a cup of tea on, but a full sized table pushed the chairs too far into the room.  So, I found this adorable little handmade, vintage stool the other day (at a flea market) and I re-purposed it as a table:

Yes, I am searching for a gorgeous pair of vintage teak chairs to replace this pair.
These chairs may of may not have been purchased at a grocery store.

So, although we follow the common advice: don't buy teeny furniture, sometimes we just HAVE to mix in a few smaller scale pieces so the furniture works for us.  
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March 23, 2011

Why I Need a Helicopter

I frequently post about photos I'm considering promoting from photo album to wall (see here & here for examples).  But no photo I've taken can hold a candle to these aerial shots:

Via My Modern Met

Via My Modern Met

Via My Modern Met

Via My Modern Met

Via My Modern Met

The photos were taken by Alex MacLean, a photographer, pilot and author.  I love how these photos really reveal the impressive impact humans have on landscapes.  The photos of parking lots and streets packed with cars (many of them not included in my post) are especially unsettling, but also beautiful and captivating.

See more photos at My Modern Met or check our MacLean's website here.  As a pilot, MacLean has a bit more access to such amazing aerial shots than you or I.  But we can ogle and possibly use these photos as inspiration for a fabulous painting . . . ?

Someone bought a new canvas on Monday . . .

For this empty wall, perhaps?
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March 22, 2011

The Real McCoy

Hubby & I took a friend grocery shopping this weekend but we were early to pick her up, so we sauntered over to a vintage shop and look what I found:

I added it to the other turquoise McCoy planters I have:

You likely already know of my collection love (esp. McCoy Pottery):
Click here for an older post about my McCoy pottery collection
Click here for the adorable story of the planter my grandma gifted me
Click here for a post about some completely drool-worthy collections some other lucky ducks have amassed
Click here for a post about silhouette collections

I enjoy collecting for the thrill of the hunt.  The largest McCoy planter, on the top shelf, was a yard sale score!  (My newest acquisition was a splurge).  But I also love collections for the design statement they make:

Via I'm So Vintage

I'm working on my collection, slowly but surely.  I'll post a new photo of the whole lot, soon.  You know I never grow tired of asking: what do you collect?

P.S. Click here for a great article about recognizing the "Real McCoy" pottery markings.
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March 21, 2011

DIY Window Covering for Awkward Windows

I LOVE hand sewn goods.  I just hate to be the person whose hands are sewing them.  You know I thoroughly enjoy DIY projects: painting a car, making a desk, tearing up carpet . . . anything but sewing.  Happily, my mom offered to do some sewing for me while she was here, so I made an addition to the guest room:


Temporary "After"

Too obvious?  Does this scream, "please drop your bags and start sewing"?  Before you think I'm a huge jerk, you should know I did take her to some vintage shops and buy her crème brûlée. 


But she was a busy little bee.  While she was here she sewed the super cheery throw pillows for the newly decorated bedroom and fixed the West Elm bedding.  She also whipped up some guest bedroom curtains, in addition to some other fun projects I plan to share.  Because our plan for the curtains was so successful, I wanted to share . . .

Remember the guest bedroom windows?  They are a bit awkward (and were bare):

The awkward placement precluded the kind of wall to wall curtains I have in the master bedroom:


And just doing blinds would have looked a little bare.  So we hatched a plan for some fitted sheers to still let light in, but also provide some privacy. 

How to:
Basically, these curtains consist of two pockets for flat, tension [Hubby says its technically a "compression"] curtain rods.  The rods fit just inside the window frame and hold the curtain at the top and bottom, for a ruched look.  (As a bonus, we used leftover from the master bedroom curtains, so the cost was low: four tension fit rods & that's it!)

Just sewing a pocket for a top rod created a more "country kitchen" look than I was after:

Too floofy

To me, when the curtain is cinched at the bottom also, it looks more polished:

Once my mom sewed the rod pockets, top and bottom, and also hemmed the sides, we fit the curtains into place.  The width of the curtain is up to you and dependent on how much ruching you want.  You could make these completely tight, with no ruching.  Play around with the fabric, but doubling the width of the window is a good start.

We did some fiddling and fussing to make sure the fabric was ruched evenly:

Much better!  Didn't my mom do a splendid job?  (Notice the dressed up night stand hard at work?)    

NO staging took place for this pic . . .

Now, we still have this awkward window to attend to. . .

P.S. pleasantly surprised our guest bedroom can fit a queen bed, armoire, night stand, chair, occasional table and a 51" dining table.
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