Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Projects

Now that everyone's gotten their Christmas presents, I can share with you what we made. Gifts this year we a mix of homemade, homemade by somebody else and store bought. We made a bunch of soy candles in various vintage containers that I had laying around, some tinsel wreaths I found on Creature Comforts and batch of cranberry orange liqueur that I found on the Kitchn. They all turned out really well. The tinsel wreaths were actually the biggest hit and they were the easiest to make.

I had a little fun with the labels on the liqueur. Not the most innovative of designs, but they're cute. I'd love to learn a bit more about graphic design, maybe take a class at a local college, or something. In the mean time I'll just keep playing around with Photoshop. Maybe I'll try to teach myself Illustrator. Anyone know of a good tutorial book?

Looking for Lamps

I know I've been awol for a while... sorry 'bout that. I'm finally out of Christmas mode and back to thinking about the house. Among many other things that I'm in the market for these days, I've been keeping an eye out for a matching pair of lamps for my desk.

I finally got to the thrift store today after a long hiatus. I've been busy shopping for other people and making gifts for Christmas that I hadn't had time to visit any thrift stores for myself. In the winter, when there aren't any yard sales, thrift stores are my substitute crack. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything I could use. There was a leather "egg" like chair as well as a vinyl lounge chair, but I certainly don't have room for another chair in this house. I was hoping to find either a headboard for our bed or possibly a pair of lamps. I'd love some mid century ceramic lamps, or even wooden ones like the bottom pair. These are all from ebay and way out of my price range. I guess I'm going to have to keep thrifting. If anyone spots something like these anywhere, let me know!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New/Old Door

I am slightly embarrassed to say that we have only recently gotten the storm door finished. It took the better part of the summer. It is up, it is green and it is a pain in the arse to open. I don't know why, but the knob is really hard to turn. I'll have to get my dad over to investigate. In other news I spent this afternoon cutting out little paper bats that I strung on some bakery like string. I like it, it's kind of like a bat bunting! They flutter in the wind which looks pretty cool. Do you like them?

Over the summer we also replaced the light fixture above the door and cleaned and painted the mailbox. One of these days I'd like to paint our house number on the mailbox. I just can't seem to settle on a font. Even without numbers on the mailbox, it certainly looks a lit better than it used to, don't you think?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sharon Springs and the Beekman Boys!

Last weekend we went upstate for a little break from the day to day. It was the weekend of the Second Annual Sharon Springs Harvest Festival started by the Fabulous Beekman Boys last year. As I mentioned the other day, I've become a bit of a fan of the show. I heard about the festival last year but wasn't able to make it because of a conflict. This year I made a point of getting there. It was seriously crowded, I haven't seen that many people in all the times I've been to Sharon Springs --- combined! Like a dork, I waited on line to get a photo with Brent (above) but Josh wasn't there yet. By the time he did get there the line was twice as long and I wasn't ready to wait on it again. (That's Josh in the orange shirt on the porch)

In addition to autographs and photos, there were tons of vendors selling produce, jams, crafts and all sorts of goodies. We bought a jar of spiced pear jam (yum!), some garlic for roasting and some yummy white bean veggie chili in a bread bowl for lunch. There was a line to get into their shop, and I had enough of lines for the day, so I figured I can get something there next time I'm up there.

After we left Sharon Springs, we took a slight detour to try to find the farm. It was just a few miles away and is one of the most beautiful farms I've ever seen. I couldn't get a good shot of the front of the house since there are a number of big old trees, but it is quite a house for it's era. Much fancier than my parents place.

That's all for now. I have some photos from a kite festival in Cherry Valley and apple picking at the Sharon Orchards that I'll post a little later.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Congrats to Sammy Ann! Contact me at with your mailing address and I'll send the print over to you!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Forget

to comment on this post to have a chance to win a signed print of my "Apples" watercolor painting- just in time for Fall! Comments must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday. On Monday I'll announce the winner!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today was a particularly successful yard sale day. We started out on this street around the corner from our house and there were at least six sales on the one street. I got all four of those enamelled cast iron pots at the first sale for only $10! The two orange ones are LeCrueset, the yellow one with the lid is a Belgian brand I've never heard of and the grilling pan is a newish one. Not a bad way to start the day. A few doors down I found the blue anodized dish, which is one of the coolest ones I've ever seen. It has some mineral deposits on it, but I've read that some vinegar and boiling water can get them off. Anyone have success with that? I'll try soaking it tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. The deer and turtle will add to the menagerie of critters I have around the house and that odd looking thing in the back is actually a letterpress of a site plan of a 1950s ranch house. There were other images, but they were technical drawings of god knows what. Of course I was drawn to the architectural one! Don't know what I'm going to do with it, but then again I don't know what to do with half of what I bring home. Oh well.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Woohoo! Today is my 100th post and in honor of this most exciting event I will be giving away a print of my apples watercolor. I know most bloggers hit 100 in a couple of months, it takes me almost three years, but slow and steady wins the race, right?...right?... Just comment on this post by next Friday the 17th and I will randomly select a winner!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Some weekend fun

I hope this makes you smile as much as I did!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Updates

Random things going on these days:

I finally started watching Mad Men. I know, I'm about three years late. I didn't want to jump in in the middle of the second or third season, I wanted to start from the beginning. I kept checking the library to see if they had it but it was perpetually checked out- all three copies. Finally, I put in a request and got a call a few months later that it was in. We've watched seven episodes so far and I'm completely hooked. LOVE the costumes and sets though I wonder if they are exaggerating the extent of drinking/smoking while pregnant/at work/in the car etc. for effect. Either way, I'm loving the show.

I've also gotten hooked on the Fabulous Beekman Boys. At first the reality show format turned me off a bit, but the show has really grown on me. Plus, their farm is only a half hour away from my parents place upstate, so I recognize a lot of the places they feature on the show.

My mom found us a 100 year old wood storm door to replace the hideous aluminum one on the front of our house. We've been spending way more time getting it ready to hang than I expected. Of course it was an inch too wide so we had to trim it down to fit and since nothing with an old house is straight forward, plumb or level, once we cut it down we discovered that it was a quarter of an inch too small on the top, but just right on the bottom. We fixed that problem, but then discovered that the panel with the glass panes that fits into the door itself, doesn't actually fit. It has been painted so many times that it no longer fits in its opening. We've done a bunch of scraping (by "we" I mean Chris) but there's still more to do. We're going to be borrowing a plane from my dad this weekend to get this thing finished (hopefully). Once we're done getting it to fit, then comes time to paint it.

This is the color we picked to paint it and the front door itself-whenever we get there. When my mom asked me what sort of color I chose, I told her a "vintage-y green, but bold." Her reply? "Well that's a surprise." I guess I'm fairly predictable in some ways. As soon as I have some pictures worth looking at, I'll show them to you all.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Geez Louise!

It's been two whole months since my last post! I've had a bunch going on around here- not like that's anything new, but I guess it's been more than the usual amount. Anyway, I wanted to share some of my yardsaling loot with you. I made out pretty well today.

I thought my score of the day was this cool watercolor painting presumably from the 20s...
but then I found this beauty.
Isn't she sweet! She's a Triumph bicycle from, I'm guessing, the 50s. There isn't a date on the hub like the website says there should be, so I need to do a bit more research to find out.
She's very Eeeenglish, actually. I think every part says "Made in England" on it. She needs some work, the tires are shot and the rear brakes are a bit sticky, but she's in pretty good shape. The only missing part is one of the rubber handle grips.

I guess I have one more project to add to my list!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seminary of the Immaculate Conception

More photos that have been lingering on the memory card. This is a local seminary that I got to visit over the winter. I love the multi colored glass in the windows.

Coe Hall

It seems that I was on a symmetry kick the last time I was at Coe Hall in Oyster Bay. I like to go visit the greenhouses in late winter when everything is dead outside. Inside the greenhouses it's warm and humid and green. I found these photos while emptying my card this weekend.

Old houses

Don't you love the wallpaper in that last photo? These are just a few photos I've taken in some of the old houses I've had the pleasure of visiting as a member of our local historic preservation commission. Most of the photos I take are for documentation purposes, but every once in a while I get a few pretty ones, too.

Yard Sale-ing

"The owls are not what they seem" four glasses for $3, not bad

Some bakelite handled cheese knives (and one fork) for $1

Volumes 2,3, and 4 of Audels Carpenter's and Builders Guide. 1923 edition. Need to find volume 1.

I got a few other things too. A galvanized wash tub, a large enameled tray for boots, a green and yellow wool throw blanket from the 40s, and a jar of homemade current jam. Not bad for one weekend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Foyer sneak peeks!

Our foyer is almost done! Last week we scraped and stained the edges of the trim that had been painted over and painted the whole room. The medallion still needs a fresh coat of white paint and we will paint the heating pipe that runs up the corner of the room once the heat gets turned off for the season. Plus there's that whole "hole in the wall" thing that needs to be dealt with. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's because I've been very skillful at avoiding it in photos. It's a rather embarrassing hole between the foyer and my office that we opened up almost a year ago after the previous owner had walled it up, but we haven't had a chance to put trim around it yet so it exists just as a large crappy hole between two rooms.

I apologize for the flash photo above. There just isn't enough light in that room for a proper photo. I'll have to bust out my tripod one of these days and play with the manual settings on my camera to get a better shot. I figure I'll wait till the room is actually done to take those shots.

If anyone is wondering why I decided to go so dark (even on the ceiling), I noticed that even when the room was painted white it was still a gloomy room. It is on the north side of the house, the only glass is in the front door that looks out onto the porch which is constantly shaded. Since I wasn't going to paint the trim white, I decided that the room is always going to be a bit dark so why not go all out and paint it a bold dark color that I would be chicken to use anywhere else in the house. This way, the foyer is dark, but every room off of it seems bright by comparison. I'm super happy to finally have my sheet music out of boxes and back up on the wall. I missed them.

So, what do you think? Am I nuts to paint the ceiling charcoal gray? Probably.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garden Inspiration

Well I guess first picture is really more patio inspiration, but there are greener ones below. I want the garden to have the feel that it's always been there. There can be some modern items in it to make it a little more interesting, but the "bones" should feel as old as the house (about 95 years old). I guess that's my feeling on decor too. I usually want all the fixed items (bathroom fixtures, tile, built in cabinetry, etc.) to look original to the house, but the furniture and other decorative stuff to be more modern.
I want a patio that feels kind of "old world" like the scene in Chocolat where they have the birthday party in Armande's backyard. Simple, natural materials. More stone, brick and wrought iron than modern pavers or wood deck. Doesn't need to have the wisteria like the photo above- I don't need the house being torn down by a plant- but a pergola overhead would be nice.

I'm not actually looking for two gate houses, but I love formal gardens. I think the style I'm looking for is a formal, cottage garden which sounds like an oxymoron. Formal gardens always feel more old fashioned to me, but since our house is just a little bungalow, I don't want the garden to outdress the house, so a little cottage informality around the edges should help soften and tone it down a bit. I'm thinking some geometry, axes and formality nearest the house and have it breakdown and become more natural as you get further away.

I love gateways. Maybe not as formal as this, but I'd like the feel that you are entering different rooms in different parts of the yard. The problem is, I don't know how much dividing up the yard will make it seem bigger (can't see it all at once, keep discovering new spaces) before it seems smaller (too many chopped up spaces). hmmm

And finally, here's my ultimate veggie garden. I'll never have one even close to this size (unless I find myself in a financial situation that allows me to quit my job and play in the dirt all day) but I love the fence, the gravel paths between raised beds and the chairs for sitting down and just smelling the tomatoes. yum!

sorry I don't have credits for the photos, it seems I picked some of the only photos I don't know where I found, oops.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Fever

Since the weather has been so nice for the past few days (I'm choosing not to think about the possibility of it getting cold again in the next few days) I've been thinking a lot about planting a veggie garden. Last year we had a small veggie garden in a strange circular planting bed left over from the previous owners. It was okay, we did get a bunch of bush beans and some snap peas, but growing things in a circle is a little difficult. You can't plant in rows, really and the circles diameter was such that you couldn't reach the middle without stepping into the garden itself and potentially on something you are trying to grow. Last years was really just a temporary solution until we could figure out where the "real" garden was going to go. Unfortunately, our yard doesn't get tons of sun, so our options are limited.Above is a picture of our yard taken last August at around noon, when there are the least shadows covering the yard. By one o'clock, that shadow to the right is covering half the lawn between the driveway and the flower bed on the left. Right now I think we've narrowed it down to two options, either in the yard halfway between the circle bed and the picnic table, or in the back of the yard, behind the large evergreen (see the sunny patch back there?) They both seem to get a similar amount of sun, which should be enough for me to grow leafy greens, peas, beans, beets and broccoli, but no tomatoes, eggplant, or squash. The question is which is more practical. Planting in the back makes sense because it's not in the way and it leaves more room near the house for entertaining, however, I'm sorry to admit that I am definitely an "out of sight, out of mind" sort of person. I'm afraid if I don't walk right past it everyday, I'm going to wind up neglecting it. Plus the idea of eating right next to where the food is growing sort of appeals to me.

It would be easier to decide if I had a strong idea of how I want the rest of the yard to be and I could see what will work best with that. I've been playing around with a layout in Cad (yeah, pretty dorky, but I'm an architect and that's how I'm used to working) but I'm not sure that it's the plan I want to go with.
Here's the plan as it currently stands. It's a quick and dirty rendering so I apologize for not having colored every part (please ignore the space behind the garage, that's what I do). The dotted lines are the boundries of the existing planting beds that will be relocated and the edge of the driveway that goes right up to the back of the house. I'd like to build a patio a little bit further out from the house so that there can be some planting between it and the house. I want it to feel like you are in the garden rather than right up against the side of the house or up against the driveway. The brown and green rectangles are the possible veggie garden locations. I have them shown as "starter gardens" that can be expanded if and when I feel that I can handle more responsibility.
So what do you think? Grow the food close to where it will be eaten, or further out of the way so that there's more room for entertaining near the house and patio?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Thank you to Victoria over at sfgirlbybay for featuring me in her friends & neighbors and welcome to anyone visiting me for the first time! If anyone is wondering, I haven't had a chance to do anything with this chair other than clean it. Someday I will repair or replace the hinge at the base and reupholster the vinyl. I love the color, but it has a lot of tears in it. Anyone know a way to glue or otherwise repair vinyl? For now it lives with a throw draped over it to hide the holes (which you can see in my messy office here).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Formspring Me!

I've decided to jump on the Formspring bandwagon. You can ask me anything here.


How wacky is this truck I saw while walking home yesterday? Brocade patterns and pick up trucks don't often go together. For some reason this made my day. I apologize for the funky coloring of this photo, I guess I had the light settings wrong, I just had to quickly get the shot before I got hit by a car.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Too Many Grays!

How am I supposed to decide, they all look good!

Salon Walls

I love me a good salon wall. I haven't put one up yet in our new place (we had one in our old apartment) because plaster walls make them considerably more difficult to install, and because I wasn't sure where the best place for one would be. I've been thinking about what to do with my office/ library/ art & craft space, and I think it might be the best place for it. Because this room is almost completely open to the dining room I've been having a tough time deciding what to do with it. I think what will be best for this room (though suggestions are always welcome) is to paint the ceiling the same pale blue as the dining room to have some continuity. I think the walls should just be white (probably decorators white by BM) to be a clean neutral backdrop for all of the many "things" in the room. The wall behind my desk I think would make a good spot for a salon wall. That way it will provide some interest when viewed from the dining room and should distract a bit from the inevitable clutter that will be on my desk. Here's how it looks now (see, clutter)

I found this picture in an Apartment Therapy house tour and loved that they had created a sort of salon wall using picture hooks and some sort of cord. Apparently there is hope for my plaster walls! I'm going to try to find a white cord so that it isn't too distracting from the art itself.

When any of this will actually get done is quite another story. With two jobs, bellydance lessons, wedding planning and this intensive leadership program that I am enrolled in. I'm not sure when any of this is going to happen.
Related Posts with Thumbnails