Sunday, December 27, 2009

Alan Dunn's Inspirational Perspective

It seems we've turned into quite the blogging family. Actually, my hubby is more of a spectator/commentator/contributor on literally hundreds of music blogs. He recently shared one with me that I enjoyed so much, I just have to share it here I'm Learning 2 Share! It's a marvelous compilation of , well, interesting, cool stuff. His latest post was relevant to the world of design. Check out the link and enjoy!

A few Alan Dunn architectural cartoons from "The Last Lath"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Everyone Has A Story

St. Paul Winter Sports Carnival 1940

Just stumbled across this cool pic on this cool site...
and this

And there's more! After the frenzy of the day, cuddle up with a hot chocolate, slide on those new fuzzy slippers and enjoy a stroll through this History of the Snowman.

Warm and Merry wishes to all!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Some Things Never Change

As we put up our Christmas tree this year, I considered taking the decorating into a whole different direction.

                                                    Or...maybe something like this?

I mean, after all, ever since I was a kid, I've basically had the "same" tree year after year after year. And, I do claim to be pretty good at this design and decorating stuff. Shouldn't I have a tree with some edginess to it?

Most of my ornaments were handed down from my grandmother to my mother, and then to me. They're all the same ornaments that have adorned my family's trees for generations! Naturally, having my own family now, there have been additions. When I married my husband, his little cardboard box of ornaments from his childhood came with him. (He was a huge fan of dinosaurs in the 1st grade. Enough said)

So those are on our tree.

And what's a tree without those grade school masterpieces that come home with our children every year (at least up until about the 6th grade when it's just not cool anymore to be making Christmas decorations anymore)?

 Adore those. So, of course, those are on, too.

The ornaments from my grandmother and mother? - well, actually, many are vintage Shiny Brites of all shapes and sizes and STILL in their original boxes.

Love 'em. Although, not so much 20 years ago. But I am older and I'd like to think wiser now.

And not to mention the strands of glass bead garlands from the Italian side of our family. Love those, too.

Needless to say - as I opened the boxes to reveal all of these artifacts that honor and represent our family, past and present, I immediately became absorbed in the reminiscing that each evoked. Memories can become as fragile as these ornaments. But with traditions like this, hopefully we can do our small part to preserve not only these delicate mementos, but more importantly, our family's legacy.

From my family to yours, wishes for a loving and healthy holiday season!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lights, Camera, ...Blog!

Isn't it fun to drive around at night and look at houses - the way homeowners light up (or not) their entryways and yards? I especially love it when a glimpse can be had (from the road, of course) inside lit windows. It's similar to driving along on the highway and reading an entire billboard in 3.5 seconds. Traveling at an average speed of 35 mph, one can get a pretty good mental snapshot of what's going on, decor-wise, inside people's rooms. Actually, I am digressing. This morning I was inspired by a friend to get busy at an idea I have had of doing a photo essay on this very topic.  Since this project is slated to begin after the holidays, my thoughts were then led to this time of year and how people decorate the outside of their homes. Then, I zeroed in on this even more and my thoughts went to how people decorate their doors for Christmas. Phew. At least I reached some kind of destination! It's been that kind of morning---crazy weather and crazy schedule. Anyway - since I am cloistered indoors today, I went driving around on the information highway instead of on the one outside my own door. There are so many great images out there. It was a challenge, but I edited them to a small selection that I found on a newly discovered blog Neutral Dwelling that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon. In a later post, I will post my own (after I stop thinking about it and roll up my sleeves and do it!).

Okay - now I am inspired and anxious to get busy. I'll keep ya posted!

*All photo credits available by right clicking picture and viewing Properties.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

There's Gonna Be An Evolution......

Ever since I could remember, I have been re-arranging and decorating my spaces. Growing up I shared a bedroom, quite a small bedroom as a matter of fact, with my big sister. My father worked multiple jobs to make ends meet and my mom stayed home with us. We didn't have much but my folks did their best to make what we did have work as best as possible.

In order to give each of us girls our own personal space, they bought 2 standing metal shelf/bookcase units and placed them side by side down the middle of our room. One faced my sister's side of the room and the other faced mine. The back of her shelf/bookcase was a laminate-type particle board. It made for a very cool backdrop to all my "groovy" artwork and images. (I was a budding artist influenced by the psychedelic era of graphics and a teeny-bopper fan of the Jackson 5, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, Bobby Sherman - ya know - that generation of Pop music. Hey, I was only 9 years old...)

Anyway - the remaining space that we each had accommodated a twin bed and a highboy dresser. Period. If we had 18 inches between the bed and the dresser, that was a lot. I just remember my parents having to walk sideways to manuever through our room. But at that age- I didn't know what I didn't have. I only saw what I did have. What I did have got decorated. And arranged. And re-arranged. And re-arranged some more. My sister would kid me that if I got even the littlest knick-knack, I would re-arrange my entire side of the room around it.

The room I would have died for when I was a kid

Old habits die hard. As I got older, I went through phases. Not uncommon.We all do. It's part of growing up and "finding ourselves". Well, in the seventies I went through my hippie period. By this time, my sister married and I had the WHOLE room to myself. Indian tapestries, buddhas in every size and shape and incense were my design staples. Actually - that all carried through most of my college years, too.

After college, my phases continued but at a faster clip. Once I found antiques and anything vintage, I was hooked. I even dressed in 1940's clothing that I could find at the Goodwill. Back then, it was easy. No one was really wearing that stuff yet.

Over the years I have been able to fine tune and more successfully blend contemporary elements with vintage and antiques so that my home didn't look like someone's grandmother's.

Presently I  incorporate Mediterranean, Federal, Arts & Crafts, Rustic and Pottery Barn-ish stuff. Amazingly, it all works. The key is finding a common element and keeping that as the common thread throughout. And keeping it simple. But that is another topic for another day.

P.S. - I hardly buy anything new. Even if I had an excess of discretionary income, full retail just isn't in my blood. Plus, I am not a fan of the cookie-cutter look. If it's all the rage, I go the other way. Plus, I love the "hunt" of finding that certain something that I wouldn't really be able to describe until the moment I see it. And you can't beat the quality of the older crafted stuff. I mean, there's a reason why it is still around years and years later.

Did I mention it is also earth-friendly to welcome vintage and antique items into your home? Called re-cycling, up-cycling, re-purposing, just makes sense.

So, check out your area resale, good-will, thrift and antique shops. High-end, low-end and everything inbetween are waiting to be re-discovered and brought into your home. Have fun with decorating your space. Mix it up. Change things out. Add a new piece. Edit out another. But don't rush it.  It takes years and layers of experience to evolve into the person you are today. The same evolution applies to your home. Layer in the pieces over time so that your home is your home. There's no better place to express your personal interiors -your passions, interests, lifestyle and personality - than through your home's interiors.

*images courtesy of flickr

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mix It Up

In my ongoing thinking about the Thanksgiving table, I thought I would share some gorgeous examples of mixing and matching dishes.


Of course - there is much more to a place setting than just the dishes.....

ah-more fodder for another post.......

But first - one more from one of my new fave artists/designers

Jane Hall is simply awesome. I am grateful to Marie Killam's post on her blog when she did an interview with Jane -Colour Me Happy Interview with Jane Hall

Marie is awesome, too - she deserves to have her praises sung in a post dedicated to just her. Yes, she's that good :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gather Round

The upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday brings to mind family, friends, food, wine, laughter and above all, sharing of home and heart(h). It is my personal favorite time of year. Autumn's vibrant canvas of invigorating temps and colors inspire the innate tendency to embrace and comfort. What better way than around "the table" while nourishing the body and soul?



Be it grand or intimate, in the city or the country - an attitude of gratitude can be shared anytime, anywhere.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Creme de la creme

I just added a new favorite to my list. Obviously, I am behind the design times. Until recently, I have been more focused on the roll up your sleeves and DIY kind of stuff. Lately, I have made the conscious decision to step up my knowledge base and design efforts. In that effort, I have discovered so many talented decorators and designers who are writing amazing blogs. Once I start reading one, I get led ot another one and then another. Before I know it, hours have passed and my adrenaline is pumping. It's addictive but oh so inspirational. In today's Things That Inspire blog, she highlights Rose Tarlow and one of her beautiful side tables. LOVE the table, LOVE Rose Tarlow even more. I just had to share Rose's home page off her web-site. Even if I never saw any of her work prior to reading that quote, I would be hooked immediately. Right on, Rose!

Another woman I adore is Bunny Williams. Her philosophy of comfort and livability while creating an elegant and blended decor speaks to my core. I embrace her style in spirit.To date, I have not been able to materialize all that I see in my mind's eye which is inpsired by her approach to design. But there is no deadline to accomplish this. My approach to decorating one's home has always been and continues to be that of building layers over time. Just as the years build the layers of who we are as people, our homes should evolve over time in much the same way.  My favorite book of Bunny's is An Affair With A House and it's all about just that - how she fell in love with an older home and over time made it her own while still honoring the house's architectural and historical integrity.

One of the top items on my design wish list is to someday  inspire just one person as much as these women have inspired me and so many, many others.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Your Color Choices Say About You

Your Personal Color Profile

  • 13-10 Indian Buff25-14 Monsoon13-11 Golden Burma16-9 Spark of Youth
  • 7-16 Red Orange12-15 Deluxe20-22 Fern Lane14-9 Golden Glimmer
  • 8-15 Orange Berry18-11 Herbal Garden14-16 Yellow Strength9-13 Gold Maize

  • These colors have all the elements of energy, friendliness and ease. They create a warm and cozy environment. The person who chooses this palette is generous and wants their home to be welcoming and friendly. Comfortable and casual furnishing reflect their desire to entertain and spend more time at home with their family and friends.

  • One of the blogs I enjoy and follow regularly is Hooked On Houses and today she posted her results of a Color Personality Quiz over at Pratt & Lambert's Paint site. It's actually quite interesting and takes only a minute to take. Check it out. My results (above) actually rang quite true. If nothing else, it's a fun way to spend a couple of moments...

    inspiration is all around even where we least expect it