Monthly Archives: August 2010

Swamped, But Here’s Some Pretty

I had a post all planned about my new mirror, courtesy of a fabulous birthday present – a gift certificate to a beautiful resale shop in South Tampa.

Alas, I hung it using a Command Picture Hook – and bought something a bit too small and light for the heavier mirror. Last night, it fell plumb off my wall and shattered into a million pieces.

Learned a definite lesson there: Spring the extra cash for something you KNOW will hold your precious prizes, rather than saving a buck on something you THINK might hold it.


I’m also super busy – at work, at school, in life. It’s all good! But still busy.

So instead, here’s some pretty for you.

Stina Persson art

The artwork of Stockholm artist Stina Persson, via ColourLovers

Birthday Loot

OK, first off, the best gift was all my friends, in our home, sharing my milestone.


But seriously, folks. I got some awesome stuff πŸ™‚

Benjamin Moore Home Color Bible

From K. She knows me… well. πŸ™‚

Creative Cursing book

From H.

Creative Cursing book, inside


Wooden bowl made in India

Also from H. (Hey, see my dusty dirty table? Yep.) I love him!

St. Patrick religious medallions

From A… religious medallions from Dublin! I went through a big phase where I needed to buy a big lot of medallions from eBay, but couldn’t stomach the price tags. I’m still in that phase, but no longer obsessively scouring eBay. They’ll come to me… and they did!

Vintage AM/FM radio General Electric

Also from A. She ALSO knows me well! This looks so great perched atop our refinished Danish credenza


Impromptu Redo

I’m sometimes seized with the need to redecorate.

Hah. Let’s try that again.

I’m ALWAYS seized with the need to redecorate.

J and I joke that the dog is often concerned by my nonstop moving around. “Wha… what are you doing with that chair? It was… it was nice.”

I think he’s projecting.

Anywho, I was doodling through some new shelter blogs and was totally seized with the need to redo our hutch OMGRIGHTNOWICANNOTWAITANDDOWEHAVEMOREDIETCOKE.

Left, before. Right, after.

Dining room hutch, before the redoDining room hutch, after the redo

I have to say, I like it a lot better! It’s cleaner and more focused. However, I’m not sure I’m totally staring-at-it-all-the-time-craving-to-go-home-and-stare-at-it in love with it.

It might also be my camera I’m not in love with.


The Finished Inspiration Board

After tons of hemming and hawing over what to do with the huge blank spot on our main home-office wall – and the piles and piles of scraps of paper, printouts, artwork, and other ephemera piling up – I finally have filled that wall with my favorite thing ever.

I did tons of research about inspiration boards. I even considered using binder clips to fill the wall. But I was sick of banging nail holes all over our rental house and wanted something less stressful.

Before the inspiration board


After the inspiration board

Yay! (and not just because the daylight of the “after” photo made for much better lighting)

Inspiration board on Styrofoam insulation wrapped in linen

Most said Homasote was the way to go, but only one supplier in all of the Tampa Bay area covered it, and it was way up yonder from where I live. So I took a trip to Big Blue and asked around. They ended up cutting a 5×3 sheet of Styrofoam brand insulation for me, which did the trick just fine.

I wrapped it in a couple of yards of linen from the fabric store, nailed ‘er into the wall, and covered with my memories.

It may not last as long as Homasota – we shall see – but it certainly does the trick for now!

Letterpress Giveaway!

The Ardent Sparrow is hosting a sweet giveaway from Brandi of Sweet Harvey! I love her prints… take a look!

Sweet Harvey letterpress art print

Comment here for a chance to win!

Finally – Jazzing Up Guest Bedroom

Back in July, I picked up 9 vintage music books from a neighborhood estate sale. After picking up some $2 black picture frames from IKEA, I finally framed the covers and planned a spot for them in the guest room.

guest bedroom wall, before

A blank slate… and a helper, if you look closely.

Framed vintage music book covers

The pile of work to be done…

Vintage music book covers in IKEA frames

First, I arranged them until I was happy with the combination.

Vintage music book covers in IKEA frames, after

After some frustration (I still haven’t mastered nailing into a plaster wall without bending half my nails), voila! So happy with how it turned out πŸ™‚

Vintage music book covers in IKEA frames

Contemporary Not My Style… Or, Is It?

For my ID class, our big project is designing the interior of a home given a program about the residents and their needs and wants. This fictitious couple prefers classic contemporary furnishings – man oh man!

For whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get into contemporary design. I love it most when it’s mixed with things that are more my style – midcentury modern, a dash of cottage chic, a generous helping of all-around eclectic, lots and lots of color.

But in doing my research for a concept statement, I have been blown away by more than a few contemporary spaces. Part of the deal is I’m seeing it with fresh eyes – not, for now, looking for myself, I’m looking for somebody else (even if they don’t exist) and seeing form and function in a whole new light!

Here are just a few images I’ve gathered in the past day or so that I’ve especially loved:

Contemporary kitchenWit + Delight

While the living room isn’t exactly what this hypothetical client would be looking for, I loved this kitchen! The cabinetry forms an art piece of its own on the walls, and it’s delicious.

Artist barnApartment Therapy

This is along the lines of the color scheme I’m headed toward for this beach house – light woods, natural materials, sea glass greens and blues, but in totally contemporary, clean, chic lines.

Venice Beach HouseVenice Beach HouseVenice Beach HouseContemporist

Holy holy, look at this. The view, the light, the furnishings… drool. I’m going for a design theme that echos the natural surroundings of the client’s beach house in each room – sea and sky for the living area, sand and sun for the master suite. I love designs that bring in amazing views like this – the design isn’t limited by what’s inside. There’s a whole world out there practically framed on every wall!

The (re)Finished Product

Remember this?

Vintage walnut veneer Danish credenza before refinishing

Well, here it is now:

Vintage walnut veneer Danish credenza after refinishing

I basically followed this eHow tutorial, “How to finish wood with Danish oil,” with a few modifications. For one, I didn’t do the wet sanding method. I don’t know why – I read some things about how it gave a more dull finish, and I was looking for something with a more hand-rubbed look.Β  I used natural Danish oil the whole way, not colored, because again, I didn’t want to mess with the natural color of the walnut veneer.

After stripping with a low-VOC gel stripper I bought at Lowe’s, scrubbed off with extra fine steel wool, I topped off three coats of Watco Danish oil with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax (I ran out of oil after one coat on the drawers but ended up liking the look of the slightly lighter wood there, so I decided to go with it) (and I also bought dark walnut for my second can rather than natural, and honestly got so impatient I wanted it in my living room and couldn’t tolerate the extra day of returning dark walnut to Lowe’s and then another three days to allow the second and third coats on the drawer to dry, so it’s kind of accidentally on purpose).

(So shoot me.)

I love her. Help me name her? πŸ™‚

The Credenza

OK, the long story: I found this great green vintage typewriter table on Craigslist the other day for $35 (well, actually, Amy found it for me). But it was in a neighborhood far enough away that it just wasn’t practical for me to make it over there until the weekend. I emailed the seller anyway, and she said she’d had some other interest, but would find me another if it ended up selling by Saturday.

Today, she emailed me: It sold. She’d found another that a friend was selling, but then that one sold. But she had a farmhouse table. Did I want that ? No, I did not. I needed a typewriter table because they’re compact, portable, and just plain cute. I like to use my laptop in the living room, but leaving it on the coffee table all the time was a recipe for disaster. Never was that more evident than when Rosie tripped over the wire of my external hard drive, and it fell to the ground.

Having missed out on the typewriter table, I headed over to my favorite resale shop a few blocks from work. It’s so chock full of things, it’s like a menagerie of all that is good and clean and beautiful in this world. So I asked the owner if she had a typewriter table.

A-ha! She did! And she knocked $5 off. It was even more perfect than the CL find.

Wait. That’s not a typewriter table up there. You are so smart! It’s true, it’s not. That’s why this is the “long story.”

I got up to the counter and thought, what the heck. We had been looking for a credenza, buffet, or long, low dresser with midcentury modern lines to act as a TV stand/entertainment unit to pull the living room together. The only thing I’d seen that would work was a stereo cabinet she wasn’t selling. So I asked. And she said, “I have something just like it out back. I’ll sell it to you cheap, because I need to get rid of it.”

And that’s how I came to own the piece you see up top. I offered $20; she countered with $25. I said, “Let me see how far my seats fold down.”

Thank goodness I’d just bought a used CR-V a few weeks back.

It’s walnut veneer and just such a piece of work. I ran some stripper over it, then another coat and rubbed the rest of the finish away with some fine steel wool. I’m planning a nice rubdown in Danish oil (natural? walnut? I have to do some more research on this), followed by a nice sealing with some finishing wax.

Moral of story: Every dark tunnel has a light of hope.

Projects out, projects in

So busy! Classes started up againΒ  a couple of weeks ago, work has continued at its fever pitch, the puppy is losing hair in odd patches, and we’re gearing up for a few days at the beach next week. Oh! And projects.

So first, a little before and after that took me far too long but which I’m pretty pleased with!

Look at this sad dresser. Layers of blue and yellow paint, worn edges, outdated, uneven handles. Sad, sad dresser. But – $5! This couple a few neighborhoods over was moving to Portland and unloading all their belongings. The husband helped me rig it inside my Civic trunk with an extension cord acting as a bungee cord (since I didn’t live far away), and off I went.


Oh but now look! Happy dresser!

First I stripped off all the chipping paint and toyed with green or yellow. After a couple of visits to the hardware store, I settled on Behr’s Emerald Lake in satin and picked out the Zinnia knobs and handles from Anthropologie. I primed the piece, drilled new holes for the new handles, and gave it three coats (!) of the green paint. It’s topped with a couple of applications of satin poly and voila!

And since I love surprises… here’s one πŸ™‚