A perfectly cozy fire! I think I'll nestle in for an afternoon on the sofa!
Now that winter is over, I finally found the perfect fireside set. I have looked high and low. The pottery barn models look too fabricated…too fresh, the big box home improvement store models-way too cheap looking…the antique store sets- too brassy, too shiny….too formal. All winter poor C has had to stoke the fire with a stick. And sometimes I got confused and used the wrong end of the stick so when he would go to stoke the fire, he’d end up with a soot covered hand..explicitive..explicitive.
WOW! Don't you love the round accent on the top?
But yesterday, thanks to my new found hobby of thrifting, I found the PERFECT tool set. Not too “new”, not too “brassy”, not too “cheap” looking. The lines are soft and comfortable with an interesting circular top. I’m not sure I have ever seen a set that has this look. Most have a sharp pointy top. Love.Love.Love. (Cost-$5…love that too)
And it’s a cool, rainy day. Perfect for a fire and a test run of the new-old tools!
PS- Our mantle is a pine mantel from a 1700’s South Carolina farm-house. The paint is original and the distressing is real! I love its chunky lines and stately presence. And the bricks are hand-formed, probably from the 1800s. They came from a building that was torn down in our downtown area.
You know how the saying goes, one man’s trash, is another man’s treasure!
I have always been a bit obsessed with things that are old, things that have served another purpose…things that have a story to tell. And I am a firm believer that everything in my home should be beautiful and should reflect our lifestyle. If I don’t love it and it doesn’t work for us…it’s outta here! If you have journeyed through our home renovation, you know what I mean…from rusted bird-cage lighting in the kitchen to an 1800’s pine mantel in my living room, I love old things.
It seems like a natural progression to move from the antique stores to Goodwill. Yep. That’s right. Goodwill. There I said it. I have become a Goodwill shopper (Inspired by my historical preservationist friend RCR!). I’d like to say that this new hobby came out of necessity. But it didn’t. It’s more about the quest, the history, the thrill of the hunt! I could go to pottery barn to buy a lamp (and I have and probably will again), but how fun to find a lamp or a painting or other accessory at Goodwill. There’s a story for sure!
Yesterday, I didn’t set out to find these amazing pottery bowls, because Lord knows…I don’t need another bowl (I probably have a hundred!) But I just couldn’t resist. They look so fab with my Vietri brown and black pottery. AND they were perfect for the Gumbo I served for last night’s cold rainy get together with friends.
So here they are! I purchased all four for $6.50. They are handmade and include the potter’s stamp. I’ll have to ask my friend E.F. if they are “fine” pottery! Why in the world would someone part with these?
Regardless, their loss is certainly my gain. These little darlings are fabulous. Won’t you join me for a bowl of soup?
And if you think I was clever enough to dream up shopping at Goodwill and Craig’s list for home decor…I am flattered but you are mistaken. I have become a blog junkie for several design inspiring blogs including Apartment Therapy http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ and Mr. Goodwill Hunting http://mrgoodwillhunting.blogspot.com/
Stress: Some people indulge on chocolate and high carb foods. Some people avoid food all together. Some manically exercise. As for me…I become paralyzed. Like a deer in headlights. Stress has a crazy effect on me. I become completely one tracked. I can’t move. Creativity Zapped.
That’s what happened this fall. The imaginitive spirit inside me was temporarily frozen. Between the final details on our house, a speaking engagement in Singapore, a major project at work and the other family demands that the holidays brings, the stress was overwhelming. I had to let something go.
Each day, it became harder and harder to find the creativity to keep up this blog and try something new. And one night, as I sat down to write, C. said,”please spend time with me. Surely I am more important than your blog.” Imagine the pain in my heart. Of course C. is most important. So at that moment I walked away from blogging and told myself I wouldn’t return until I felt the “muse”.
I’M BACK!!!! Holidays OVER. House FINISHED. Work Project LAUNCHED.
I’ve missed you friends. Give me a few days…and I’ll soon have my creative groove back!
Why is it that all of the things that are so fabulous in France are not nearly as fabulous here in the U.S. or are completely unavailable? For instance, boullabaisse: I have NEVER had boullabaisse in the U.S. that tastes like it does in France. I’ve even followed the same recipe that my french “mom” prepared for us…not the same. How about Nutella…surely it is the same. Nope…not the same without the delish french baguette. French wine…not even close….in America it has sulfites.
So when faced with selecting a look for my new hardwood floors, I, of course, should have known better than to try to replicate those beautiful, aged, gray, rich, rugged, weathered french oak floors that I grew to love in France. But I didn’t…I tried to replicate. And it almost worked. We tried to match the old and new and it was a disaster.
Time to let go of dreams…I decided that if I couldn’t have what I wanted…we’d go to the other end of the spectrum and I chose a really really really dark stain. In the end, it will look fantastic- especially with the white cabinets, wool skein walls and ticking striped accents.
I guess I will save my fabulous french floors for my house in Provence (that I’ll purchase when I win the lottery)!
If I have heard that money doesn’t grow on trees one time, I have heard it a thousand times. As a child, every time I said, “I want”, I was reminded that money doesn’t grow on trees.
So isn’t it cute that my dad, on a recent visit, brought me a money tree! Yes a real- live money tree. It’s a cute little tree about a foot tall. I was curious as to why in the world it was called a money tree- clearly it’s leaves had no resemblance to money.
The Pachira aquatica or “money tree” refers to the story of its origin. In the story, a poor man prayed for money, found this “odd” plant, took it home as an omen, and made money selling plants grown from its seeds.
So, I think I may try this tactic and sell some trees to pay for all of the things “I want”!!!!
Thanks for the tree! It’s a great reminder that “money doesn’t grow on trees”!!!
In four years of marriage, C and I have had very few disagreements. I can only remember two raise your voice kind of moments. One such disagreement was a couple of months in to the marriage…and I couldn’t tell you for the life of me the reason why. The other, I will NEVER forget.
I have a real problem with garbage disposals. It’s not a new thing. In my single days, I had a handy man on stand by to come to my rescue. James would come over to unclog the drain…no matter what time I called. I think it happened once a week. Clearly I am slow learner on this front. Old habits die hard and I still have a really hard time remembering that not EVERYTHING goes in the disposal…and you can’t just cram it all in. I get it…but sometimes when my mind is somewhere else or I am in a huge hurry, I start to cram. I can hear the sound of the disposal clogging as I write. It’s like finger nails down a chalk board. It starts as a hard charging grind then all of sudden it goes into a numbing mono sound. BZZZZZZZZ. Oh and what a mess it makes.
C. is fairly handy and in the early days would proudly scoot under the sink to fix the clog- doing his husband duty…super C. to the rescue. Keep in mind, James the handy man, whom I paid, was no longer an option because he lived in a different city. So on about the 6th clog in 6 weeks, C. had had enough. This wasn’t funny anymore. He warned me…next time you are doing it. Oh how I wish I had listened, because on this clog, C. instructed me to put on the yellow gloves and roll my sleeves up. WHAT? Say it isn’t so. You have got to be kidding me. I screamed. I cried. How could my husband expect me to do this nasty job? It’s a mans work.
Well….he stood his ground and instructed me as I disconnected the pipes and got all of the YUCK out. It really is quite nasty. I think this was a combo of ground egg shells and collard greens. Not a pretty site mixed together. And it goes without saying that I learned to be a garbage disposal pro. No egg shells, no asparagus stalks, soup in small batches…all in moderation. I don’t really think I ever clogged it again.
So for our fourth anniversary, C. thought it would be “cute” to give me a high powered garbage disposal for the new addition. Though it is top of the line…serious horsepower and dual chambers, it is NOT an appropriate gift for ANY occasion.
Enough said. Men take note.
Sometimes it is a bit scary to take a risk. Whether that risk is a financial risk, an emotional risk or even a simple design risk. There is something inherently human that gives a little thrust of adrenaline when risk is imminant…whether the risk is significant or not.
Over the weekend, I fell in love with these great rusted birdcage light fixtures. They had a fab old patina and probably date from the late 1800’s. And the beauty was there were two! I have no idea where these came from…or even why someone would have two identical birdcages…nor do I know how some creative spirit thought to turn the cages into light fixtures. All I knew…was love….love at first sight. But where could I put these beauties?
Several months ago I found these really safe…basic…nondescript penant lights in Pottery Barn that I decided to use over the kitchen island. They would provide a nice clean look and not distract from other areas of focus. But then along came the bird cages. Could they work? Would they be too large? Too obtrusive? Not to scale?
Fear set in. What if they look ridiculous? What if they don’t provide enough light? What if they are too over the top? Oh the decision. What to do? I wanted someone else to make the decision…to convince me these were a bad idea…to afirm these were a great idea. But ultimately, the decision was mine…and I was the one who would have to live with these fixtures forever. FOREVER. That is a long time.
My heart raced just thinking about them. After a couple of days of deep consideration, I realized that this fear, this risks, was silly. They were just light fixtures…and if they looked stupid, I could easily change them. It wasn’t forever. I decided to take the leap…buy the cages and see what happened. Afterall, it was love at first sight…and how could that ever be wrong?
Today I found out I needed to select the brick for the inside and outside fireplaces…oh and by the way…I had less than 24 hours to do so. And did I mention that whatever I select, I will have to live with for a lifetime…I doubt/hope we’ll never move again and renovations with C….never happening.
Little did I know that the bricks speced were regular old bricks and the plan was to paint them. That would have been ok with me…except that over the weekend I found this fabulous hand cut bricks from an old down town building. I really wanted to use these bricks. So I called the salvage shop to see if they had 900. I was told they did…but they had several different types in addition to the beautiful irregular ones I saw over the weekend.
I headed out of the office a wee bit early and jetted over to the salvage yard. Easy enough. Not so much. There were millions of bricks out there…all in massive piles in the middle of a field. The sun was bright and the colors on all of them looked terrible. This was not what I anticipated. The clock was ticking. I had to make a decision. ARGHHH. The ones I originally was thinking of using didn’t seem so great. I had this romantic vision of old beautiful brick to make a real statement in my house.
tick tock. tick tock. Pressure was on. I was about to fold and call it a day…resigning to new painted bricks. The vintage bricks were too expensive for the risk. But then to my delight, the owner of the salvage yard came over to help me. He showed me several options…out of the field in better light. Perfect. I chose the handcut bricks for the interior. They are delightfully irregular and full of personality. The exterior bricks are an eclectic mix. I met the salvage guy at the house at 9:00 am. Success. Bricks delivered. Brick masons ready.