Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I have crocuses!  And daffodils!  So much fun to see flowers popping up in my garden.  The crocuses first came out on Thursday but didn't open up until Friday.  The daffodil leaves popped up at the same time but didn't start blooming until this week.  How exciting!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

my attic

I finally got everything up into my attic a few weeks ago. Was actually a lot easier than I expected. I did take some items out of their box and hauled them up one at a time, repacking the box once I was up there, but that’s not a big deal. Especially since these are items I’ll use maybe once a year.

I expected it to be a bear because the opening to my attic is ridiculously small. It’s a square in my upstairs hallway. Probably not the smallest square ever, but there’s a pull-down ladder built into it.

Tres handy, but it takes up valuable inches and means that only small boxes will fit up there. And even those small boxes don’t fit along with my head so I balance the boxes precariously on one arm or the other as I go up the ladder. Then when I’m about 3/4 there, if it’s light, I can just shove the item up. If it’s heavier, I’ll balance it on top of my head and keep going until I get to a point where it can just fall off my head onto the floor of the attic. Once everything’s up there, I then crawl up myself and rearrange things away from the opening.
The main reason I hate this? Most GHIs have pull-down STAIRS, not just a ladder. So one can climb up with an item without feeling close to death and the opening is large enough to have such crazy ideas as storing furniture in one’s attic. Seriously – this almost made me not buy this house. But then I realized that I don’t have a lot of attic-worthy stuff and got over myself.
I organized my attic into different sections. Broken-down moving boxes on one side. Clothes in a different corner. Bonnaroo supplies all together waiting for June share the same wall with other random items that I don’t need on even a semi-regular basis. Christmas on the other wall. Yeah. There’s a lot of room leftover.

And those doors? They came with the house. Makes me think that the attic opening used to be larger because otherwise how the heck did they get them up there? And what happened that made them close up that large opening and have this tiny one? I don’t understand.

I do like the blue walls. Not the prettiest shade and crappily done, but it’s pleasant to have that extra color in a space that’s normally just brown and white. I also appreciate the floor and the carpet scraps, both of which were there when I moved in. And the doors are handy to block off the edges of the space where the insulation and whatever else is uncovered.

And there’s a light! And extra outlets!
I don’t know why one would need an outlet in the attic, but I love that it's there for whenever I figure out the reason. I also love that I can stand up in there. How cool is that?

One day I’d like to buy some sturdy rolling wardrobes with garment bags so I can store my out of season clothes up there. Would make swapping out my closet so much easier. Right now I have all of that in my spare room closet, but I’d rather use that closet for something else.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

new thought for the spare room

I was watching America's Next Top Model last night and a closet? bedroom? hallway? had this gorgeous wallpaper - kind of a minty aqua with branches and flowers on it.  Reminded me of Aerin Lauder's closet, which I have coveted ever since first seeing it in Bazaar. 

I love the whole girlie-glam thing she has going on and also love the way her dress contrasts with the paper.  So I want to keep both of those ideas but modify it a bit so it better goes with the rest of my house.  Plus, I really doubt I could afford handpainted wallpaper from Gracie.  Not to mention I believe it's to-the-trade only. 

I really love Walnut Wallpaper's selection.  I think they'd also be out of my price range, but this one would be so fab.  I like the Asian-ness of the ginko and that it's more graphic than Aerin's Gracie.  Home Depot's website had some that might be promising, but nothing that I love as much as this one so I'm sticking with Walnut for this post.

Now, for furniture, I'll have my childhood bed.  It's an antique maple spindle bed, exactly like this one except twin-sized.

Side note: I find it completely crazy that I was able to google my bed just by typing in "antique maple spindle bed."  Then under images, this was in the third row.  I love the interwebs.   

Okay, back to my room.  So when you walk in, the bed will be on the far wall.  I'm contemplating papering just this wall.  I know, I know, I'm incredibly anti accent walls.  But I've never wallpapered before and I can see myself running out of patience trying to match seams and all.  This wall is just one big rectangle - no windows and only one outlet.  Should be pretty easy, right?  The other three walls I'll then paint the same color as the background.  Or maybe I'll just talk myself into papering the whole thing.  Because really, I'll cover the right wall with Expedit bookcases and it would be pretty darn cool to have the wallpaper showing through the grid.

Now, back to the bed.  For sheets, I'm picturing brown zebra print sheets.  These from K-Mart are only $18.  Love that.  And I've wanted zebra sheets for a while, just not on MY bed.

I'll keep the white cotton curtains on the windows that came with the house.  They seem homemade, but a quality job.  I like them and they'll go with the white shelves.  For blankets/duvet, maybe solid brown?  Maybe something completely different like yellow or magenta.  I'm totally backing myself into a corner here by going with the walls and the sheets first before the duvet - just like I did with my bedroom - but whatevs.  I'll plunge ahead, regret it later and then it'll all be fine in the end.

Plus, add a couple of throw pillows to all of this and I think it will be pretty darn cool in there.  A great spot for my guests as well as a funky, creative space for me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

making my bed

I like to see how other people make their bed so I thought I’d share mine with you.

Here’s my bed fully made up:


I prop my pillows up against the headboard with the shams in the back and pillowcases in front. Before I bought the orange duvet, I had the shams in front as I was trying to downplay the brown. But now I want to highlight the multiple colors so they’re out front.

I also have a tiny throw pillow. In all seriousness, it’s much too small for my bed. But the colors are perfect and I love the peacock feather. I hope to find something larger, but I’m not actively looking.


So on top is my PrimaLoft comforter inside of a duvet. Comforter was bought years ago at Ross. I highly recommend discount stores for bedding basics. It’s so cheap and the selection just keeps growing year after year.


Underneath that I have an afghan. My mom made this for me when I was a kid and it was the perfect size for my twin-sized bed. As I grew up, the afghan came with me. When my bedding was all blue and yellow, I would keep this folded at the end of the bed. It doesn’t go anymore, but it’s warmth is very necessary.

Then under the afghan is the coverlet. I find that having these two items in this order is very important. I first had the afghan underneath the coverlet, but it would get all tangled up. No clue why having it on top keeps it orderly, but I’m not messing with what works.

Finally, under the coverlet is a blanket followed by a flat sheet and finally a fitted sheet over the mattress.

I know many have given up flat sheets and blankets, but I never will. I love the feel of a sheet right next to my body. And I love the process of folding back the top of the flat sheet. It makes the bed feel so done. And considering I only make my bed when I change the sheets or when someone’s coming over, when I do it, I like to do it right.

This all makes for a very heavy covering at night and it’s so perfect. I can burrow underneath all of this with the extra-long coverlet up over my ears and just sleep forever.

In the summer, I will store the afghan in my linen closet and fold the duvet at the end of the bed (or possibly in the spare room’s closet altogether). I may also switch out the sheets to something a bit happier. Maybe my old yellow sheets, maybe a new print. But for winter, this combination of colors and layers is absolutely right.

Monday, March 1, 2010

current state of my bedroom

My bedroom has been an organic process. I started with my bed, a chiffonier, one bedside table and the Venus mirror. Bedding was a light blue tone-on-tone duvet, brown sheets, navy dust ruffle and a brown and blue paisley lumbar pillow. Curtains were the short, sheer white ones that came with the house. The overall look was great in my old apartment, but kinda sad in my new house.

Here is my bed now:

I went for a layered look. I started with the pink coverlet from Crate and Barrel.  It was on sale and a great Barbie pink (no longer available). I bought it king-sized for my queen-sized bed so it would hang long and cover the boxspring. Once the coverlet was in my house, I thought I would go with a gray/pink/magenta/brass look – very luxurious and tailored. I painted my end tables to go with this theme and bought the tiny throw pillow, but then I couldn’t find the right gray duvet.

And I saw this orange one at Ikea and decided to go in a more eclectic, layered direction. Even better that it works with the brown sheets I already had.

Sidebar – go back to the picture above and notice how the stuff on my end tables is visually balanced. Balance is incredibly important to me in decorating and I’m really happy with how this turned out.

I already owned both lamps and was unable to find the right replacements for a reasonable price. The white lamp on the right originally had a pale blue lampshade. It was old and a little dirty and perpetually dusty. So I bought a new one at Target for less than $10. Fab.

On the left, I used a stained glass lamp bought at Ross or Marshall’s during college. It’s fallen a few times so the shade is crooked and cracked, but if I turn it the right way it’s not that noticeable. (Of course, I had it turned the wrong way in all of these pictures.) But it’s a lot shorter than the candlestick lamp on the other side.

I had scavenged the small painting from my mom’s cellar. She had it hanging over the work sink. I realized that the black of the frame would be a nice compliment to the black lampshade. And if I hung it low, it would balance the height. So perfect. I also had suggested to my mom that she hang a painting super low in her bedroom and she really doubted my wisdom with that. So this performed a secondary function – showing that I’m not off my rocker for telling others to do this.

But then on the left side of the bed, I have my alarm clock and always-present box of Kleenex. Again, it threw the balance off.

This all happened in mid/late December and my friend Anne gave me a gorgeous perfume bottle for Christmas. And that inspired me to create a little vignette with some old vases and the bottle on the other bedside table. The height of the green bottle balances the height of the alarm clock and Kleenex, the blue vase and perfume bottle balance the bulk. It’s not an exact match – and I didn’t want it to be – but it is comforting to the eye to have these straight lines.

And really, I didn’t measure when hanging the painting. I wish I were anal enough to do so, but I’m not. I eyeballed it and had to lower it once. I really should lower it another ½”, but then the first hole would show so I’m living with it. And it’s fine. It makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

Moving on.

To tie in all of the warm colors, I went with bamboo blinds from Target. Even shut they still let in a lot of light, which is great. I have no problem sleeping with moderate amounts of light coming in and during the day I usually forget to open my blinds but still like the sun.

Storage space is still at a premium in my house and I didn’t want to spent a lot of money on furniture that’s only so-so. I’m still using the chiffonier that was my dad’s from his first marriage. Growing up it served as extra storage in the cellar and was always referred to as the Ugly Chiffonier. When I moved out on my own, this was the first piece I scavenged from my mom’s house. And I really like it! The edging at the top is missing some chunks, but it’s just the veneer so it could be easily repaired. And it needs a good polish. But these things really don’t bother me.


I have a jewelry box on top that now holds only my earrings. I love necklaces that are big, chunky and/or long and they were just getting all tangled up in the jewelry box. So I bought some small white hooks from Home Depot and jammed them in the wall behind my door, spacing them out to fit specific necklaces.


My collection grows all the time and I didn’t want to be confined to a peg or bulletin board. If I ever paint this room, I’ll probably do something a little neater and more secure, but this totally works.

Underneath my jewelry wall is my solution for layering tank tops and camisoles. I have dozens. I love wrap dresses and low-cut shirts, but they aren’t appropriate for work or just running around on the weekend. So I have black camis and white camis and pink camis and yellow camis and blue camis. When I had a larger closet I was able to hang them all up (drawer space was always at a premium) and easily grab what worked for each outfit. But now my closet is teeny tiny and I can’t do that anymore. In a perfect world, I’d have money for an antique or antique-looking lingerie chest, but my world isn’t perfect. What I did have was an extra two-shelf bookcase that fit perfectly behind my bedroom door. Done.

I also have an undersized chair tucked between the chiffonier and bookcase. Perfect for throwing clothes on when I’m running late or just too lazy to hang things back up. It’s old and battered and in desperate need of a new coat of paint, but it’s usually hidden by the door so it will probably stay battered for a while yet.

Here’s my bed from the other side of the room. It’s all very lovely. The Venus mirror is angled such that I can see myself when standing at the back of the room, but one doesn’t automatically look into it when getting into that side of the bed.


 But then you look down and can see my storage boxes. They don’t fit through the tiny attic opening and it’s three or four fewer items to clog up my spare room. Not feng shui-friendly, but it’s a necessity in my house.


 Finally, here’s my closet. Small opening but it does extend to the right another two or three feet. If I’m honest with myself, it’s not a bad sized closet for one person. I can’t imagine sharing it with someone, but then my sister did it with her husband for ten years before their remodel so I know it can be done.

One bonus is that there are two shelves. The bottom one holds all of my in-season shoes along with a crate filled with purses and shawls. The upper shelf is out-of-season shoes and my old teddy bear. I can’t stick him up in my attic, but don’t want him in my bed every night so he hangs out here.

The walls are still the same white as when I moved in, but as you can see, in the right light they look pink. I would like to paint them this same pink – pale, delicate, inside-of-a-shell pink, but as I add more and more color to the room through textiles and art, the white walls don’t bother me as much.

If I do paint, I plan on making the walls, trim and ceiling all the same shade. Then once I replace the candlestick lamp and low bookcase I won’t have any white in this room at all. It’s kind of an experiment for me. I ADORE white trim and generally do feel best when there’s a good amount of white in a room. But this room just calls out for something warmer and cozier and a continuous color would give me the right feel. One day.

new stove!

Just a quick post that I got a new stove on Friday!  It's shiny and black and oil stays in the center of my pans and it bakes beautifully.  More pictures and details later but I had to share this picture now!