Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Disappointment

Hiya, guys.  Yesterday sucked.  Plain and simple.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that it looked like we were going to be moving soon.  Well, that's not happening. 

Basically, a couple of weeks ago, the boyfriend's mom was laid off.  She came to us, very worried that she would no longer be able to make ends meet and proposing that we find a house we could share.  The sooner the better. 

Before any of this happened, I was Ms. Contented Where She Lives.  I really love our duplex - it's in a great neighborhood, right across the street from my son's school where we absolutely love everyone, I walk to work, it's not looking like such a hot mess anymore as projects are finally getting wrapped up, etc., etc., etc. 

But family is family.  You do what you need to do.  So we started looking.

It was all very surreal, actually.  Because my mother-in-law (I call her that even though the in-law part is not actually legal) pays quite a bit for her current rental, when you combined what we pay with half of what she currently pays, we were looking at McMansions.  The first house we liked was 2700+ sq. ft. - which was kind of laughable really.  I would have felt like such a poser living there.  (Not bashing people with big houses.  I'd take it any day.  It's just such a giant leap from our compact duplex to a place so enormous.)  Then, we found what I thought was a perfect house - smaller (2000+ sq. ft.) and therefore less upkeep, but laid out in wings so that we had our own sections of the house and wouldn't be stepping all over each other.  Completely redone with bells and whistles galore.

I made a house tour video for the blog.  I went crazy on Pinterest.  It was all so exciting - like new things are.

Then, my mother-in-law changed her mind.  Got cold feet.  Whatever. 

I'm not mad at her.  I'd much rather her change her mind now than after we sign leases or started packing up stuff.  She's kind of an emotional wreck right now and shouldn't really be making big life decisions like picking a new home, anyway.  She thought she needed to, but it looks like she won't have to anymore. 

But I'm still sad and disappointed (like when you wake up from an awesome dream to realize it was all fake), but in a weird way.  I'm relieved.  I don't have to pack or move (which are some of my least favorite things ever).  We're staying in the neighborhood we love, in the house that is home.  I can stop coming up with polite ways to say "your microfiber Ashley furniture is the bane of my existence and needs to be put somewhere other people can't see it."

So - all good things.  However, I'm still kind of sad.  Because for a week there, we were going to pay the exact same amount of money we currently do, but be living in a much, much nicer home.  It made me not-so-content with my current place, which is in turn making me feel violated in a very personal way.  Like my life isn't good enough. 

That is definitely how I do not want to feel.  So, instead, I'm going to focus on the positives until I'm back in my contented zone.  One of the nice things about touring new homes is it makes you rethink and re-evaluate your furniture.  What works, what doesn't, what I'm willing to part with, what has to make the cut.  I feel a new rush of inspiration and the desire to finish decorating spaces (and enjoy them) before we have to move out of it (for real this time).  It might not be a McMansion, but it is pretty special to us.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dining Room Wall with Art

The impulsively bought art arrived last weekend and I immediately hung it up.  That's not an exaggeration - it went from a tube on my front porch to hanging on my wall in less than 15 minutes, and that includes deciphering Ikea instructions (yes, they have instructions for a picture frame - and thank goodness or I would have never figured it out) and cutting the print down to fit my square frame.

These are cell pics, so pretend you have glaucoma or something.  Obvs, the colors are not true-to-life.

Wait a sec, I'll give you an even bigger crappy cell phone pic so you can see my Ikea Vittsjo shelving units. 

I didn't even have to style the shelves for these pictures.  When I installed the shelves about two months ago, I spent an entire weekend arranging/changing/driving the boyfriend crazy until I was happy with the results.  Then I (and this is the most important step) forbade anyone in the house to touch anything on these shelves - ever. 

In this next pic, you'll see the problem that I immediately noticed after hanging up the picture.


I thought - maybe it's just me being too anal.  So asked the boyfriend what he thought of the new art.  To which he replied (without missing a beat), "How can I tell with all that glare going on?"

Obviously, I should have taken it into conisderation that I was going to hang this cheapo-glass frame (meaning, it's not one of those fancy non-glare ones) across from three windows and a big sliding glass door.  But I didn't. 

My initial reaction was - "Shucks, I guess I need to find art on canvas to replace it and then move this one to the opposite wall where glare shouldn't be a problem."

Then I thought about getting a round mirror.  What do you think - would a round shape be prettier in contrast with the square shelves?

But, in the last couple of days, reality has set in.  Which means, there is talk of us moving soon and since it took me 2 years to put up this picture, I doubt I'll put replacing it high on my list. 

I like the piece though, so it's a keeper.  And it looks awfully pretty at night.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Liebster Award, Part 2

Since I was in total TMI mode yesterday, I had to split up my response to Julia's Liebster Award.  On to Part 2!

The Rules

Each blogger needs to:

1.  Post 11 random facts about themselves;
2. Answer the 11 questions set out by the person who gave you the award;
3. Choose 11 new bloggers to give the award to and link to them in your post;
4. Create 11 new questions for the newly awarded bloggers to answer;
5. Comment on each newly awarded bloggers blog to let them know about the award; and
6. You cannot tag back the person who awarded you the Liebster Award!

My Answers to Julia's Questions

1. Do you live in the same state that you were born in? If yes, do you live in the same town?
No, I am originally from Louisiana and now live in Texas.

2. When you were a kid, what did you want to "be when you grew up?"
At various times:  a ballerina, an author, a lawyer

3. Is your answer to question 2, your occupation now or ever?
No - especially the ballerina part.  However, I still write sometimes and maybe one day...

4. What is your dream vacation?
My ultimate dream would be a true Grand Tour of Europe - how they used to do it centuries ago.  Spend two or three years going from place to place, spending a couple of months in one place at a time.  Soaking it all in.

5. What is your favorite charity?

St. Jude's in honor of my cousin, Savannah.

6. What kind of camera do you have?
A crappy one.
7. What is your hidden talent?

I'm stronger than I look.

8. What do you value most in your life?
My family.

9. Do you think painting over wood furniture is okay?

Obviously, but I think it should only be done when it will improve the piece of furniture - not just to fit into a certain style.

10. Who is your favorite author?
Vladimir Nabokov

11. What is the significance of the name of your blog?

I go into more detail here (my very first post), but basically I think our homes are the visual manifestation of a family's love - so love in idleness.  It's from Shakespeare and when we buy our forever home it will be the home's name (because I grew up reading Anne of Green Gables and think all homes should have poetic names).  Meanwhile, it's just a blog.

Bloggers (with less than 200 followers) I'm Giving the Award To:

1.  Heather @ Love Your Space
2.  Meghan @ I'm Glad I Exist
3.  Elyse @ Peonies and Brass
4.  Jennifer @ Belladwella
5.  Cindy @ The Victorian Journey
6.  Donna @ Restore and Renew
7.  Kim @ Design Thoughts
8.  Erin @ Clementine and Olive
9.  Meaghan @ Lovelee Honeybee
10.  Rachel and Katie @ Pinteresting
11.  Kristi @ Simple Pretty Things

My Questions for the Winners:

1.  What is your favorite black and white movie?
2.  Do you sing (loudly) while driving?  Windows up or down?  People in the car or not?
3.  What was the most useless class you took in school?
4.  What was your best thrift shop score?
5.  Are there more animals in your house than people?
6.  What is your least favorite chore?
7.  When you go on vacation, would you rather drive or fly?
8.  What is your TV guilty pleasure?  (Mine is the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures - love that show!)
9.  What is your favorite thrifty savings tip?
10.  Do you follow recipes when you cook, or just wing it?
11.  Why do you like blogging?

Have fun!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Liebster Award, Part 1

Julia at It's Always Ruetten was sweet enough to give me a Liebster Award! 

You're supposed to post 11 random facts about yourself, answer 11 questions from the person who gave you the award, and nominate 11 bloggers and give them questions.  However, I was obviously feeling pretty verbose and wrote way too much for the first part (the 11 random facts) - so I'll be splitting this into two posts.

Part 1

11 Random Facts About Me:

1.  I was born with 12 fingers and 12 toes - one extra digit on each hand/foot.  They were removed when I was just a baby, so I don't have any good pictures.  I guess it wasn't something my parents wanted to properly document.  I still have the scars, and it's always my go-to random fact about myself when you have to play this game at work/school/etc.  Now for 10 more...

2.  I'm a list freak, especially about movies and books.  It started my senior year in high school when the Modern Library released its list of "100 Best English-language Novels of the 20th Century."  I considered myself well-read at that point, so the fact that I had only read two books on the list was like a gauntlet thrown in my face.  I still have the newspaper clipping and when I read one of the books, I cross it off. 

It's sad that 15 years later, I still haven't finished the list (especially since I vowed to be finished before I turned 30) - but it's hardly the only list I'm working on.  I frequent a site called Lists of Bests (which looks like it's down right now, but should be up again soon) where you can adopt lists of movies/books/place/things to work on.   It's a great way to find book and movie recommendations, or just feel all warm and fuzzy when you finish a list.

3.  I've only left the U.S. once - I spent a month in Ireland when I was in college.  I love travel and want to go everywhere. 

4.  The boyfriend and I currently have no plans to get married - ever.  We've waffled a bit over the years, and sometimes I feel pressure because our daughters and his mom really want us to get married.  But it's not something I really want or need.

5.    My favorite actor is Ewan McGregor.  I simply love everything about him and fear that I will one day meet him and turn into a slobbering fool. 

6.  My favorite bands are The Beatles and Travis.  I bought Florence and the Machine's latest album in December and I haven't taken it out of the car stereo since.  It is kind of driving my family crazy, so I have been making an effort to find new music to listen to.

7.  My middle name is Luella.  I was named after two of my great grandmothers - Lou and Ella.  However, when I got in trouble when I was little, my mom always called me Kai Luella.  And I guess it happened a lot because at one point I believed my name was "Kai Luella" and my older sister's name was "Kai." So, when I was in high school, one of my friends told me the Spanish pronunciation is "Lu-eya" and that's how I've pronounced it ever since.  Even my mom uses it, so I think that makes it official.

8.  While we're on names - Kai is pronounced "Ki" - rhymes with Sky, My, Pie, etc.  It was mispronounced both times I graduated (high school and college), and about a million times besides.  It has been getting better lately - I think the name is becoming more popular.

9.  I've seen every movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

10.  My son is named Atticus after the character from To Kill a Mockingbird.

and finally...

11.  My favorite food is crawfish.  You haven't lived until you've been to a crawfish boil with hot piles of them heaped on a table, with potatoes and corn....  Yum.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a great place to get them in Austin.

That's all for today.  I'll be back tomorrow with answers for Julia's questions and my nominees.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cheap Art Options

I needed some impulsively bought art to go in my impulsively bought frame, right?  This picture will go on the back wall of my dining room, which has turned into the focal wall of the whole house.  For the last couple of months, I've been dead set on ordering a 20x20" print of this antelope picture from EyePoetryPhotography on etsy.

Only now I'm leaning towards getting this frame with a huge mat (from Target, yo!) and getting the original 5"x5" size of the art. 

Although I love a huge quirky picture for a focal point, the colors are a little sedate and we needed more color.

I stumbled across a site called Imagekind the other night when I was looking for some fun, colorful abstract art on the cheap.  Independent artists upload and sell their works in prints, posters, and printed canvases.

Love Spill

I loved this print by Nancy Ramirez, but it didn't come in a large enough size.

Tangy Revival
And the colors in this one by Erin Ashley are crazy good - but not for the dining room.  But I still want it.  Where can it go?

watercolor 3110501
I finally picked this one by Belgian artist pol ledent.  The colors look amazing - especially that pop of purple since I've been wanting to incorporate some neon purple.  Unfortunately, it's not a square print, but since it's just a cheap print I don't trim it down.  I bought the large size - 32" x 24" - and after a 30% off discount they were offering, it cost under $30 including shipping.

Just waiting for it to arrive!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Square Matless Art

Last Friday, I made an impromptu stop at Ikea and picked up a square Stromby frame.

For some reason, they're not on the website, but it is the 19 3/4" x 19 3/4" and cost $12.99.

I thought the thin frame looked more modern than the Ribba frames, and I knew I wanted a matless print.  This is the aluminum color, but there's a strong possibility I'll spray paint it.

Lonny via Peonies and Brass

I think there is something very modern about big square matless art.  I drew inspiration from this picture of a Lonny office (although judging from the size of the desk - also Ikea - those frames are probably 35" square).

Some other square art I had pinned:

Restoration Hardware - one day I'm going to hack this

via Design Crisis

Tomorrow, I'll share what art I bought to go in it.

P.S. And, of course, the next day I went to Goodwill and there was an even bigger, high-end square silver frame for $6.  I ended up not buying it, but since the artwork was super ugly it might still be there when I go back, which is the Goodwill gods telling me it was meant to be.