Thursday, October 21, 2010

the most important things in life aren't...chandeliers

So yesterday I was blessed with a few hours to myself in the morning. What a gift! I spent the whole time browsing along each and every booth at Monticello Antique Mall in Portland. I love that place! Many of the vendors are very gifted at display, and I like how each of their individual personalities shine through their choices of stock and collectibles.

this is one of my all-time favorite dining rooms from a magazine EVER.

I was on a bit of a fact-finding mission, scoping out vintage chandeliers and pricing them. For those that have followed my blog for a while now, you will be very disappointed in me when I confess that I STILL have no chandelier for my dining room. Yes, the room that received a makeover two and a half years ago. Uh-huh. That's the one. No chandelier. What I do have (don't be jealous) is a gaping hole in my ceiling where I have also neglected to even install a three dollar plastic cap to cover the electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. I'm trying to figure out some way that I can pass this off as some kind of new design trend, but you all are too smart. I'm pretty sure you'd see right through that one. Anyway...

Back to chandelier shopping. It was supposed to just be a pricing and fact-finding mission, so I could be properly researched and prepared when the big moment FINALLY arrived to actually make a chandelier purchase. (Oh my goodness, I just realized that I should have taken my camera with me and showed you pics of some of the chandeliers I found! Bad blogger! BAD!) But, lo and behold, apparently my guard was down or something, because I found one that I got sorta attached to. The price was really reasonable and it was a good combination of old, rustic, and glamorous (what with the silk shades and all!). To further sweeten the deal, the booth vendor happened to actually be there in her booth that day and she offered me an additional 15% off! Yowsa!

So as you might imagine, I took a pic of the chandy with my phone and promptly texted both my husband and one of my girlfriends. (I have no idea how to get a photo from my phone to my computer, so don't even ask to see it.) Then, when I got impatient for a reply, I actually called my husband, who had apparently only just received the text and hadn't formulated a response yet. I love and adore my husband and one of the things that he is really good at is finances. Me, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the old finances. I mean, I am a bargain shopper, I do my best with the money the budget allows me each month as far as providing for the family's needs, etc. but I am not the one that pays the bills.

So, we had to have a difficult conversation. He didn't like it, but he had to tell me to "wait" on the chandelier, because there just wasn't the money available for it right now. He didn't like feeling like the bad guy, but there you have it. As you might imagine, I didn't care for it either. At the moment he did seem a little like a bad guy; not because he actually was, but just because in his quest to be a responsible money manager, he had to tell me to wait. And I wanted it. Now. Like, for some reason I've been able to wait for two and a half years, but suddenly I felt I could not wait another thirty minutes.

Well, here's the point to this whole long sob story. I'm ashamed to admit that I allowed it to ruin the better part of my day. But when I left the antique mall and got back into the car, there was a song playing on KLOVE that goes "I don't want to gain the whole world, but lose my soul". That line was convicting for me. It was a gentle reminder that life is not about acquiring things. Not even cute, on-sale things. Not even things we "need". I had allowed my disappointment in not getting to purchase that chandelier to suddenly cast a shadow over an otherwise lovely day.

When I was growing up, my mom had framed print in the living room that said, "The most important things in life are not things." I've always loved that quote, but apparently every once in a while, I still need to be reminded of the truth in that saying.

I was inspired to write this post because of a post I read over at Remodeling This Life called "There will always be something else". She's doing a series of 31 Days of Living Simply. And she's been able to make a similar point to mine in a much simpler way (haha) and with fewer words. You should check it out.

I read a lot of blogs about decor and design, and let me tell you, it's very easy to start feeling discontent with your own home when you see what others have. But once again I remind myself - "the most important things in life aren't things". I've been teaching my kids recently that when they are feeling discontent, they should make a list of five things they are thankful for. By the end of that list, their attitude has changed and they have a new perspective on things. Why don't I follow my own advice more often?

P.S. Oh, and I'm glad I have a husband who can stand up for what's best for the family, even when I don't like it. I sure do love that guy.

The photos in this post are a few dining rooms (and their chandeliers) that make my heart go pitter-patter. All photo sources: decor pad 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

master bedroom makeover...for free!

master bedroom before

Last weekend I had an opportunity to do a fun three-hour redesign for a client. Her husband was out of town for the week, but is preparing to deploy for Iraq after the holidays. Understandably, she wanted a serene and romantic space for their master bedroom before then. The bed is missing a headboard, and the room had the unique challenge of being in a basement and therefore having a ledge surrounding most of the room. I think I turned these features into an asset by using the ledge as a headboard and having it be a staging area for candles and flowers. Here it is...

Master Bedroom after

We did absolutely no shopping for this space. We only used what my client already had in her home. We found a table from another room, lamps from other rooms, extra bedding that wasn't being used, and used flowers from her own front yard to complete the look. Wouldn't you love to see this room at night with all the candles lit? Stunning, I think.

other half of the room, before

The other end of the room was even more challenging, because my client really didn't have any bigger pieces of furniture available to create the sitting area of her dreams. Therefore, we went ahead and staged this space using what she has, but she has a shopping list for Craigslist and will be looking for a few larger pieces.


We took an old chair from the garage (a "project" chair that is waiting to be revamped) and temporarily dressed it up with a throw and a pillow. Even though you can tell that more furniture is needed, the space is still warmer and you can see that it is the beginning of a lovely sitting area. This is a good-sized master bedroom (what a blessing!) and my client has the following items on her shopping list for this space:

1. wood blinds - the 2" plantation ones in a warm wood finish (white will work if she can't find wood)
2. either two comfy upholstered chairs or a small love seat.. A chaise lounge, possibly with a second chair, would work as well. 
3. a small end table
4. table lamp or floor lamp (for reading)

When I first saw the space, the ledge seemed like it could be a bit of a problem child. But as I got farther into the transformation, I realized the ledge could really be a unique asset. We raided the client's kitchen for a bunch of milk bottles, since that was something she had in multiples. I feel that repetition of a simple design element is a great way to fill a long shelf or ledge like this, without the overall look becoming cluttered. The great thing is, she can put just about anything in these vases. Cherry branches in spring, flowers in summer and fall, bare branches in the winter. SO fun.

To make the bed seem more luxurious, we mixed and matched and layered linens like crazy. Thankfully, the last few times the client has bought bedding, it's all been in a similar color scheme. As a result, she has several sets of sheets and duvets that all compliment each other. I used striped sheets, a toile quilt, and a mono-chromatic patterned duvet cover layered on this bed with a variety of throw pillows. I think the overall effect is soft, inviting, and elegant.

This just goes to show that it doesn't have to take a lot of money to get a new look in your home. Sometimes just a friend with a different perspective can be the catalyst to your next makeover. Or, of course, you can always call someone like me. :-)  I just love doing this kind of thing, and I've decided that master bedrooms are one of my very favorite rooms to makeover. Usually, for most of us, it's the last room to get any attention. It should be a safe and calming place...a bit of a sanctuary...but usually, it's not! I'm on a one-woman mission to change that for America. Well, okay, at least for Oregon. Oh, all right, for the Portland area. But yes, definitely on a mission to makeover the master bedrooms of Portland, one room at a time! ;-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

and the winner is...

We assigned each comment a number, and my lovely assistants wrote down the numbers on scraps of paper. Here's my girls showing off the winning number! The winner of two sets of my custom NestInk note cards giveaway is:

Suburban Prep!

Comment #10
Suburban prep said:
"These are wonderful. I like the Contemporary Cluster for my self and the Iris for my mother. My mother loves Irises and well she has been a great help for me this summer during some stressful times."

Congrats, Suburban Prep! Please email me to claim your prize!! Thanks to everyone else who entered the giveaway. More to come!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GIVEAWAY and more lovely finds

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! Giveaway closes Monday, October 11 at midnight PST. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments.

blue mid-century chair painting by CottageHillStore

I spent time on Saturday working on a really fun redesign. A wife was re-decorating the master bedroom as a surprise for her husband who was out of town. I'm still working on getting the pics off the camera...I'll do a post about the redesign once the photos are ready. For now, feast your eyes on this loveliness, and check out these etsy shops:

"welcome" - archival art print from lovelysweetwilliam

artichoke print on vintage book page by CrowBiz

teal hummingbird with eucalyptus pillow (on sale!) by joom

Beautiful, no? Have a great week, my friend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fabulous Fall Finds

dripping cyan signed print by slight clutter

Usually I am not a fan of paintings or photographs of trees or forests in fall. I sort of hate to even admit this, because I feel that it's almost inhuman or something not to appreciate the colors and beauty of autumn. I do appreciate the colors, but along with them comes a deep mourning for the loss of summer. See, I'm a sun person all the way, and invariable I wish for summer to never end. I think my attitude is usually something like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, summer's got to end, but I don't have to be happy about it!"

All of this brings me to the stunning work of Etsy shop slightclutter (pictured above and below). The photographs are gorgeous to begin with, but they have just the right amount of artistic tweaking that makes them absolutely breathtaking! These are photos of fall that I would be proud to display all year round in my home...and that's really saying something (since in general I sort of try to ignore the fact that it's fall!).

Man, I'm really swooning over this tree and its brilliant leaves. It's just so magical and surreal. I really dig it.

I also kind of fell in love with these handmade batik napkins. Don't you just love that color? I've included it in this collection of fall-themed things, but it could say "spring" just as easily, I think. I'm picturing these set on a rustic table, outdoors, perhaps at a little dinner party set in an apple orchard. I actually had a lady buy a huge and gorgeous candelabra from me at my yard sale this summer, and she said she was buying it for her friend who often hosts dinners outdoors in her apple orchard. Gasp! Can you imagine anything more perfect or magical in the fall? (Or anytime for that matter?)

This artwork really takes my breath away, particularly because it is A) original and B) 5 x 7 size (easy to frame) and C) under $10. Yep, you read it right...$10 for original artwork that's inexpensive to frame on your own! Oh. My. Goodness. I'm really smitten with the fall leaves above. The one below is gorgeous as well. 

fall is coming original art by artofjane

And moving on to the adorably cute and clever portion of today's post. Do you see those cupcake wrappers?  Is there really anything I can say about them that can add to their cuteness? I think the only thing that could make these better is having an actual cupcake inside them! Other than that, they are so sweet, I could almost eat them on their own. Having a child's birthday this fall? Why not make it a forest theme? Complete with deer, toadstools, butterflies, get the idea.

And speaking of clever, look what sweetsomethingdesigns did with cinnamon-scented pine cones! Attached them to rough twine for a really simple, woodsy-looking garland that also makes your home smell fabulous. Sometimes I get tired of the over-abundance of fake leaves you see in homes during fall (the finger's pointed at me own fake leaves included!) so it's refreshing to see something like this that is so organic and beautiful at the same time.   

Okay, I think I might be a little more ready for fall now! 'Cause like it or not, it's here! So I'm doing my best to revel in its beauty after all. :-)

And speaking of celebrating, don't forget to enter my giveaway!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

no more chemo - let's celebrate with a giveaway!!!

beautiful Audrey, age six

***This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks so much for entering!!****

Our sweet little friend Audrey is now six years old and is in the first grade. Sounds pretty normal, until I add the fact that she has just finished TWO YEARS of treatment for leukemia! She has a clean bill of health now. I can hardly believe that it's finally over. I'll never forget when my mom called me on the phone back in July 2008 with the news that Audrey had been diagnosed with leukemia. Our hearts broke. Audrey is one of my daughter's good friends, and Audrey's mom is one of my very good friends. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. At the time, it seemed that October 1, 2010, would NEVER get here. The end of her treatment felt so far away. But now, thanks to the thousands of prayers to a faithful God, and the capable, loving hands at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, she has completed her treatment. WOW!!

my card design called "happy"...NestInk

So, I feel like a celebration is in order! To celebrate, I'm going to give away some of custom embellished set for you, one for a friend! There are three ways you can win:
- Please check out my shop and then come back and leave a comment telling me which style you'd choose for yourself, and which style you'd want to give to your friend.
- share about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter and be entered to win again (leave another comment to let me know)
- write a post about this giveaway on your blog for yet another entry (leave another comment with the link to your post)

You'll have until midnight PST on Monday, Oct. 11 to enter this giveaway. So start commenting!! :-)

"iris cluster" (close-up)

And YAY for being cancer-free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Love you, Audrey!!!! <3