Friday, October 30, 2009

Weathered leather chairs

Davie Coote

Wouldn't you like to curl up in one of these on a cool fall evening? I hope I age like a leather chair - the rattier, poochier and more beat up they get, the better they look.

Josie Curren, London TimesLucyina Moodie
Dave Coote
Elle Decor

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Faux porcelain pottery

Make Jonathan Adler-esque faux white pottery using cans, bottles, puffy paint, and white spray paint.

Complete how-to at PS - I made this.

Get some inspiration from Mr. Adler here.

Children of the leaves

A few things I learned after a play date with my cousins Max and Danny:
  • Digital cameras, which are fine for shooting interiors, rocks, trees, mountains and people my age, don't have the speed required to capture a child.
  • When playing with little boys from Ohio, one must be precise about equipment. Not a "bulldozer" but a loader. Not a "truck" but a combine.*
  • Pushing two kids around in a wheelbarrow will wear you out long before it does them.

    *Addendum: While playing, Max said that I could be "boss" and that I should tell them what to do. I suggested picking up all the leaves in the yard.

    Consulting with mom later, I learned that "boss" is supposed to tell them to do any or all of the following:
    • Transport the backhoe loader to the jobsite via flatbed trailer
    • Offload the backhoe loader
    • Spread new asphalt on the road
    • Steamroll the asphalt down
    • Transport the backhoe back to the yard to hose it down
    • Pick up coffee and a donut at the yard to eat on the way to the next jobsite
    • Transport the backhoe loader to the jobsite via flatbed trailer again
    • Choose the front loader bucket or the back backhoe bucket to do the job
    • Dig a foundation with the back bucket and dump debris in a dump truck
    • Forget the backhoe loader then transport a crane to the stone shop to offload stone slabs from the truck
    • Decide if we need to use the mobile crane or the tower crane
    • Finalize the crane decision and offload all slabs in record time
    • Start over.
    "Note: All job assignments are given in a 'boss' voice behind a cupped hand i.e. walkie talkie," explained mom. "The worker is known as 'buddy.'"

    Roger that.

    Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Modern guest apartment

    Here is the rest of the guest apartment we stayed in last weekend. It was modern, soothing and reflective of the nature that surrounded it.

    I could throw out all my stuff and live here right now.

    Isn't that curved window at the top amazing?

    Silver. Sigh.

    Saturday, October 24, 2009

    Upstate in autumn

    We got out of the city for a few days with Tom's parents to enjoy the rain upstate. But even on dreary days, October is eye popping.

    All of the sunny warm weather came after we were back in the city. Tuesday, Chinatown was like a homely girl captured in flattering light. The air was clear, the sun was bright, the vendors were giddy. Even the traffic cop was smiling.

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Rearranging rooms

    Do you do this - come into a perfectly nice room and start moving furniture in your mind?

    So, here's the deal - lovely view off to the right, narrow TV cabinet off to the left . . .

    What would you do in this room? Or am I just way off for not liking it as is?

    Frugal family photos

    This week the Obamas posted their first official family photo. Maybe this is the year you won't be booking time with Annie Leibovitz yourself. Here are a few tips for getting some decent DIY family portraits:
    • Have everyone dress in the same color.
    • Take advantage of natural light and shoot outdoors if possible.

    • Don't choose sunset on the beach
    • If you did and the light is too harsh, consider converting your photos to black and white. They look OK when contrast-y, and they hide sunburn.

    Thursday, October 22, 2009

    You shall find my will on an autumn leaf

    Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Travel, guests, and my dear grandmother passing away at the age of 89. I talk about her here and here. In her will she quoted part of the following poem:

    Last Will and Testament
    by Marion Doyle

    Since I was deaf to "Good Advice" -
    "Toil soon and late and save"
    And Providence did not knock twice,
    I've little left to waive
    Neither gold nor land nor roofs
    To give you at my going,
    But I leave you the echoes of Pegasus' hoofs -
    And a debt - or two - I'm owing.

    You shall find my will on an autumn leaf
    (A poet's will - here's ample warning!)
    Properly done, though crisp and brief,
    Upon some bright blue morning;
    All former testaments
    I here and now rescind
    And I leave you the hawthorn trees in bloom
    And the unrest of the wind.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    DIY Wednesday: Ikat-inspired storage boxes

    After embracing Moroccan anything, suzanis, stripes, chevrons and about every other design trend that comes down the river, I've consoled myself with the fact that I do not care for the following:

    • Mid-century modern

    • Granny chic

    • Ikat
    I am not a fickle mindless drone!

    Then The Estate of Things introduced me to Fabricadabra and the company's brightly hued ikat pillows.

    Embraced! Being a fickle mindless drone, though, I hesitated to actually spend money on ikat anything lest it end up as a closet floor pillow in six months like my Imperial Trellis. Thus this project came about. Ikat fabric is a commitment. Ikat paper is not.

    I started with four boxes that office paper comes in. I love these boxes from the Double A paper company - they are small and sturdy and just the right size for storing . . . paper. I considered covering them in fabric or wrapping paper but didn't have anything I liked, and buying something goes against the grain. If I'm going to spend money, I might as well just buy a decorative storage box to begin with. Also, no one seems to make ikat paper.

    I found some images online of ikat, which I printed full page on 11 by 17 paper. I taped the sheets to a window and colored in the pattern with highlighters. The markers sort of mimic the woven texture of ikat. (I also tried crayons and colored pencils but preferred the brightness of the markers.)

    For the first box, I tried spray adhesive. If you use this, spray and then allow the adhesive to dry about 30 seconds before placing the paper on the box. For the remaining boxes, I used double-sided tape.

    Packing tape can be used to protect the top edge of your box from wear and tear.

    Below is a finished box.

    I used the boxes to corral a lot of the small unattractive stuff that gathers in our pantry. Then I topped them off with some of the myriad pieces of craft fabric I've accumulated. Total cost: less than 50 cents a box.

    Friday, October 9, 2009

    $40 to Bombay India? Or, the places you may or may not go

    Achim Franz via National Geographic

    Haven't done a travel post lately, but we are all in a feverish pitch here about maybe or maybe not going to Mumbai, India (aka Bombay) for $40 plus taxes and fees on British Airways. We have four tickets.

    Today is your day.
    You're off to Great Places!
    You're off and away!

    Or not. British Airways says it was a pricing error and won't honor the tickets. That's the sort of talk that gets frequent flyers all crazy, engenders 57-page threads on Flyertalk and even spawned its own blog. If British Airways backs down, this will be our biggest boo-boo deal since the $33 trip to Cyprus we scored in 2006 in business class.

    You'll be on your way up!
    You'll be seeing great sights!
    You'll join the high fliers
    who soar to high heights.

    Of course that would then mean going to Mumbai twice for no reason whatsoever.

    And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
    you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

    Chew on this - Brooklyn gum in Italy

    This is a rather random post, but what else are blogs for?

    A friend brought this gum back as a souvenir from Italy. It looks like something a graphics designer in Williamsburg would have cooked up, but no. Brooklyn gum is not just retro looking; it is truly retro - Italians have been chomping on it since World War II. Brooklyn gum is as common in Bologna as Bazooka is in Brooklyn. But Brooklyn gum in Brooklyn? Fugetaboutit.

    I wish my friend had brought back a suitcase of the stuff. Wouldn't these make great party favors?

    In unrelated candy news, a workmate gave me two of these. They are peach-flavored gummy eggs he picked up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Peached eggs. Gotta love that Amish wit.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    DIY Wednesday: Ruffle roundup


    Well, it's 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and my totally unique never-been-seen-on-the-interwebs DIY project for this week is not finished. So I feel like a kid the day before a science project is due, which is the point at which you get your parents to do it for you. In my case, I will feature someone else's DIY project again this week. That cute ruffled pillow above? Not mine.

    Ruffles are a big trend right now, both for clothes and for home decor. Fortunately, they are also easy to make - run a long stitch through a strip of fabric and pull the thread. Here's the gamut of what you can do yourself.

    Merrilee from Mermag created a ruffled pillow tutorial for Kelly+Olive.

    Photographer Ashley Ann via UCreate used a similar technique with contrasting fabric.

    Add ruffles to a t-shirt with a tutorial from Tea Rose Home.

    Turn a ruffled shirt into a pillow at Homemade by Jill.

    Turn a large t-shirt into a ruffled pillow at Floral Showers (great potential for reusing old clothes here.)