Friday, July 29, 2011

Lucky Number 3

You should try to learn something new every day. 

Today I learned how to spell "triptych."  I knew what it meant (three pictures side-by-side that form one piece of art), but my spelling was nowhere close.  I'm sure it will be one of those words I have to remind myself to spell correctly.  I also have to remind myself to say "e-cat" for ikat instead of "i-kat".  Like, every damn time.  (What's the saying about old dog and new tricks?)

When I think of triptych, my mind instantly goes to two places.  First, my apartment in New Orleans where I lived after college.  It was the first bedroom I had all to myself (thanks to being the second of three girls, followed by lots of dorm living).  Trading Spaces was all the rage and I totally whipped up my own abstract "art" using three canvases.  I still have them, even though I haven't hung them up in a single home I've had since then.  So maybe I don't think they're that awful, or maybe its just sentiment.  Hard to judge.

Anyway, the other place my mind goes is to the famous Octopus triptych that has made its way around blogland.

Via Sublime Home
Oh, yeah, and the horse one - I think it was in one of the HGTV Dream Houses where I first saw it. 

Via House to Your Home
The octopus one I like, but the horse one reminds me of the severed horse head in The Godfather.

Yesterday, Erin at Design Crisis (a much cooler Austin-based blog than the one you're currently reading, BTW) posted this gorgeous picture.

Since the boyfriend hasn't come around to the idea of a giant trapeze lady hanging above the sofa, I'm still on the lookout for big art inspiration.  I adore how the frames extend below the back of the sofa.  I adore how the frames fade into the wall color (something that won't be happening in our beige renter's box).  I also love how the art takes up that section of the wall almost to the inch - which would not be the case if I put a similar piece above our sofa since it is currently situation on the biggest, blankest stretch of wall imaginable.

The image was still in my mind when I stumbled across The Library of Congress's Photostream on Flickr.  How f-ing cool is it that the Library of Congress is on Flickr?  Some days I just love technology.

They have a collection titled Photochrom Travel Views which instantly appealed to me as a great budget-friendly way to create a similar triptych.  According to the site, photochroms are "ink-based photolithographs."  They basically look like photos which have been colorized (similar to how they used to do old movies - although the processes are probably two completely different things).  Their collection features 6,500 prints from around the world around 1890-1910.  Originally, they were sold as souvenirs.

Here's a few landscape ones I like:

Pass of Brander, Scotland

The Seven Sisters, Nordland, Norway

Troldfjord, Raftsund, Lofoten, Norway

Grand Canal by moonlight, Venice, Italy
Although they have plenty of cities and even people.  I just love this picture of Dutch children (check out the wooden shoes!):

Native children, Marken Island, Holland

The great thing about them is that they are not copyright protected.  So, if you fancied one, you could easily split it into three pictures and have enlarged prints made fairly cheaply.  Finding the huge frames - well, that's another matter I haven't quite figured out yet.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

5th Birthday (Tear, Tear)

My baby turned 5 yesterday.

From last summer - but it's my fave picture.
 We had a very low key day since we've been celebrating his birthday the entire month (quite literally).  He got a few presents at the beginning of the month because of my mom and sister's visit.  Then we gave him his big present (a new set of golf clubs) early so he could go golfing with his dad.  Last week, we had cake while his big brother was in town and also went out to eat with his grandmother and got a new big boy car seat. 

So yesterday he opened the few remaining gifts, which included a Bozo Bop Bag.

It borderlines on creepy, but my son likes to fight with his dad - a lot.  And we're not talking cute baby punches.  My son would have no problem taking out a full-grown man (if he wasn't still small enough to pick up and move out of the way).  So I thought this might give the boyfriend a break.  It was only 50 cents at a garage sale, brand new in the box. 

Poor Bozo - he never saw it coming.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend Shopping

My stepson visited last week and, probably without knowing it, was a HUGE help.  He's a really good kid all of the time, but this week he patiently played with his little brother so I could continue to recuperate (between marathon cooking sessions - man, teenage boys can eat some food).  So by this weekend I was starting to feel much more normal and was able to get some shopping in.

On Friday, we went to a local Goodwill that I hadn't stopped by yet.  All of our local Goodwills have taken up doing auctions on their best pieces, which I kind of hate.  However, this Goodwill had "Buy It Now" prices like Ebay - so that's a nice change.

Anyway, I ended up picking up this small industrial cart for $10.

I did a little research when we got home and discovered it was originally a typewriter table.  I envisioned it as a bar.

I love the idea of a bar cart - it just seems kind of grown up to have one.  Even though the boyfriend and I so rarely drink all I had for the staged picture was an old bottle of Root Beer Schnapps.  And since we so rarely drink, I decided to list the cart on Craigslist to see if anyone else wanted it.  If I sell it for a small profit, I'll be happy.  Otherwise, I'll still be happy because I like my $10 bar cart.

That night I saw a posting for a pair of night stands tables on Craigslist for $35.  The boyfriend kindly drove me up to Georgetown to pick them up and you should have seen my face when we pulled into the seller's driveway.  They had lots of cute stuff for super cheap.  All of it was beat up and needed work, but was appropriately (even under) priced.

Unfortunately, we drive a car and nothing else besides the night stands (pictures coming soon) would fit.  It made me a little sick to my stomach.  Mostly because we had to leave this behind.

What do you mean you can't tell how cool they are from this incredibly crappy Craigslist photos?  (Sorry, but I didn't bring a camera.)  It's a solid wood faux bamboo and cane dining set.  It's in rough shape, but could look GORGEOUS once redone.  The caning needs to be reattached on a few of the chairs, but there wasn't any holes in it that I saw.  And what's more - they only want $25 for the set.  So, if you're in the Austin area and would like a great set to refinish - here's the Craigslist ad.  I feel really bad that I have to pass on it - but hopefully someone (with a truck) will be able to snatch it up.

Later that day we bought a kitchen island from a friend who is moving.  I'll try to get some pictures of it and the night stands tomorrow.  I'm still not able to lift over 20 pounds, so that unfortunately slows the furniture flipping business down a bit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ikea Billy Bookcase Hack

I have a big blank wall in the dining room that just screams for a china cabinet.

(Here is where I would post a picture, but unfortunately the boyfriend borrowed my camera and now it isn't working.  He's up there with my mom, who breaks something every time she visits - this time the vaccuum cleaner.  They're both lucky I love them so much.)

I've been halfheartedly searching Craigslist for one, but not finding anything I'm in love with.  The problem is I'm very torn between doing something big and ornate, like turning an old armoire like this one into a china cabinet by adding some glass.

Or getting an ugly square oak entertainment center (which are constantly listed for super cheap) and painting it to look similar to this:

But I stumbled across Maillardville Manor's gorgeous bookcases in her library and now I'm sold on an Ikea hack.  (What's with me and Ikea these days?  Can't I go a post without mentioning them?  Obviously not.)

She took five Billy bookcases and some trim and made them look like built-ins.  Here's the full tutorial

I would love to do this same set-up, but with the 80-inch tall bookcases instead.  Then I'm thinking of mirroring the backs and maybe even doing a few glass shelves and/or doors on the two bigger bookcases.

Billys aren't the best for a china cabinet because they're only 11 inches deep, I think.  But since most of my "china" is barware anyway, I think I can make it work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Etsy Pillow

If I have ever loved a pillow, it is this one.  I love how it's both really simple and powerfully graphic at the same time.

Available here on Etsy.  Someone please buy it because I can't afford to spend $45 on a pillow right now.  Then send me pictures of you and the perfect pillow cuddling.  I'll be insanely jealous, but I'll know it went to a good home.

Seriously, this wouldn't be that hard to recreate on your own with whatever color stripes you'd like. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


We have a small breakfast bar area between the kitchen and dining room.  Unfortunately, because we don't have barstools, it has become "the ledge to put stuff on and leave it there forever."  So, I'm on the lookout for barstools that will hopefully increase the bar's functionality.  Although (let's be honest), I'm pretty sure it'll always be a little bit of a catch-all spot.

The boyfriend is very excited about the barstool shopping experience.  Why?  No idea.  But he's very opinionated.  I initially wanted to go with these stools from Overstock.

Overstock's Tabouret 30-inch Stools
 They're very similar to the Tolix stools, but only $102 for 2.  I like their industrial vibe and I definitely want stools without a back.  The boyfriend quickly vetoed them.  I think his reaction was something like, "Those are the ugliest stools I've ever seen in my life."  No go.

The boyfriend keeps bringing up his mother's barstools, which look very similar to these (also from Overstock).

Metropolitan Red Barstool
I have to admit, that they're incredibly comfortable.  She moved a couple of years ago to a place without a bar, but has been hanging on the bar stools.  So I think the boyfriend thinks he can talk her into giving them to us - and free is nice.  But they're just too contemporary for me.

Last weekend, I spotted these cool stools at Ikea.  And (big surprise!) the boyfriend doesn't hate them.

Ikea Dalfred Bar Stool
They're not insanely comfortable, but they adjust up and down which is a must with kids of varying heights.  And they're only $40 a pop, which isn't too shabby.  I think we've found a winner, but (as always) until we buy them it's still up in the air.

Friday, July 15, 2011

House Beautiful's Instant Room by Harry Heissmann

I loved this "Instant Room" featured in this month's House Beautiful.  Mostly because it deals with the colors that I'm doing in my own living/dining room - red, peacock and mustard-y gold.

First off, red patent leather seat cushions.  I love the idea (and the wipeability).  I still haven't found a fabric for my dining set (almost a year later).  However, now that I spent so many hours working on it, I'm leaning towards selling it and doing something else.  Or I might just paint the chairs either brassy gold or red.  Because the table works and functions great, I just want more juxtaposition.  Indecision, my old friend...

I would love to recreate the polka-dot and fringe table on a side table in the living room.  I've been loving fringe lately and I have absolutely zero of it in my life.  Mostly because I used to associate it with ugly pillows and terrible DIY lampshades. 

I also especially love the Monaco fabric from Katherine Rally.

Gorgeous, right?  I want something very similar for the daybed in the living room.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ikea Trip(s)

I'm out of the hospital and feeling much better.  So good, that I went to Ikea twice this weekend.  Which is generally how many Ikea trips I make in a year.  However, our new house is MUCH closer to Ikea - as in, it doesn't feel like I should devote an entire day if I want to go shop there.  Just another reason why I love our new house.

I went the first time because my mom and sister were in town and wanted to go.  Luckily, Ikea has wheelchairs that you can borrow, so I got to relax and ride through the store like a queen.  I mostly picked up kitchen stuff, but I also grabbed a couple of green fitted sheets and pillowcases for my son's room.
They're "Last Chance" - so if you like them, hurry and go get them.  They didn't have any flat sheets at my store, so I'm going to have to work something out.

The next day, the boyfriend arranged to meet a seller from Craigslist at Ikea to buy some golf clubs.  And since we were already there, I talked him into going in and getting a couple of more sheets (can't be too careful when they're on clearance).

The sheets are "Dvala" and the best part is that they are only $4.50 each twin fitted sheet and $5.99 for two pillowcases.  I'm sure they're like 50 thread count or something, but we've had bedding from Ikea before and never had any problems.  I'm super happy about the color - a really saturated grass green that just pops. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I'm writing this blog post from the comfort of my hospital room.

I've been here nine days and today they finally gave me the good news that my discharge will hopefully be tomorrow or the day after.  If you can believe it, I came in for back pains, thinking they would give me a shot and send me home. It turned out that I needed my gallbladder removed, which I was assured was usually an outpatient procedure.  Well, I obviously had a lot of complications.  The nurses and doctors at my hospital have been absolutely nothing short of outstanding, and I am eternally thankful for everything they have done for me during my (drawn-out) stay.

I'd like you moms who read my blog to stop and take a moment to think about your own health.  I am totally at fault for what has happened.  Around seven years ago I started getting what I thought were "back spasms".  They ranged from uncomfortable to knock-me-down for a couple of days.  Instead of seeking out a cure or even a good diagnosis, I settled on learning how to manage my pain.  Eight months ago, I had an attack almost as bad as this last one and, knowing what I now know about what was really going on in my body, I'm surprised (and lucky) that I lived.

I don't think I am the only mom out there who puts everyone else before herself.  Moms don't usually get sick days.  Even as the ambulance took me away in the pre-dawn hours last week, I remember trying to put on a "brave face" for my pajama-clad son. We often are and need to be the one person in the house who keeps it all running smoothly - and that's hard to do from a sickbed.

But it's also really hard to be a mom from a sickbed.  I have been very fortunate that my mom and older sister came in to help with my son so that the boyfriend didn't miss a ton of work.  We have to take care of ourselves, ladies.  Sometimes first.  It might mean something simply like demanding a "morning off" to sleep in, or something much more important, like not putting off your next mammogram.  It's not selfish.  In fact, it's probably one of the least selfish things you can do.

Lots of love.