February 25, 2009

Which Way to the Weight Room?

Tommy Boy reference anyone? Anyone? A bit off topic today, but it's Ash Wednesday. I've never been big at giving up something for Lent. In the Methodist and Prebyterian traditions it's rarely the focus of Lenten sermons and I've always found it hard to compare giving up chocolate for 40 days to the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross. But the social pressures to do so seem to mount this time of year and I hate being left out.

My best friend gives up soda every year, another is even giving up Facebook for 40 days. I've proven my addiction to caffeine can be calmed in 48 hours and there's no way I can live without social media, so this leaves me thinking that the best thing for me to promise this Lenten season is to treat my body right and work out for at least a half-hour EVERY day. Working out reduces my stress level, improves my mood and toning up can't hurt my self esteeem either. So, we'll see how this goes. The boss man is already on me like spandex to work out each and every day!

February 24, 2009

A Reason to Clean

As if I needed another reason to get excited about cleaning, I realized the other night I no longer own my own bucket. I'm going to need one when I move, and look at this new one from Casabella (along with interchangeable microfiber and sponge mop). It's made of recycled plastic and other earth-loving goodness. Not too expensive either, considering it's at the Container Store. I'm looking in my crystal ball and see a trip to North Avenue in my future!!!

February 20, 2009

Pick Me! Pick Me!

I should be typing up focus group notes and observations and writing a very insightful report. Instead, I was reading my blogs - and stumbled across the most awesome thing ever!! A designer I hadn't heard of before, but now think is awesome, is giving away a new blog template next week!

I've entered, and am now spreading the word. I was looking into affordable ways to jazz up this site and break away from the freebie template, and this would be such an amazing gift!! It's my dream to use this blog to express all the creativity I have bursting inside of me and inspire others, too. I really believe in my heart that something big is going to happen in my life soon, and I'm really feeling a draw towards my creative side. Wouldn't a free design rehab just be amazing?!?!?

If you want to enter too (or put in a good word for me), Check out Penny Lane Designs. Marina sounds like a really awesome designer/wife/Christian/just plain cool girl, so even if you don't want to enter, check out her site!!

I Just Can't!

It's still in the plastic. It arrived two weeks ago, but I know as soon as I read it there will never be another. I just feel like it needs to be a special occasion to open. Much like the super-nice Molton Brown hand soap a friend gave me for my housewarming, I have a feeling no day will ever be special enough to "use" the last Domino!!

Poor Domino, how I'll miss you! And how there's NO WAY I want to receive Architectural Digest as its replacement. Hello, Gourmet magazine. How are you today? :-) At least I might get some ideas for dinner club, but no more attainable home style ideas....

The Best $12....

I promised myself almost a month ago I wasn't going to spend money on a manicure until I did two things:

1. Replace my Williams-Sonoma gloves for dishwashing that I ruined with deadly paint stripping gel

2. Finish my table refinishing project

Well.... I finally got the new gloves. The table is on hold until I have a block of free time alone in our apartment. The stain didn't take to the table, I think it decided it wanted to be white after all. He's allowed to change his mind, I guess. He's getting stripped again this weekend and then on goes the table cloth!

February 16, 2009

Bursting at the Seams with Excitement!!

Updated photos and how-to on the DIY dining chairs and table project still coming…. just maybe not too soon. Let’s just say I ran into a few complications and it’s not done yet.

But, that didn’t stop me from lusting over my new set of Anna Marie Horner fat quarters that came in the mail on Saturday!! I’m using an Amy Butler quilt pattern I found online for free, altering it just slightly to make it a bit longer for extreme napping. Who naps with a 4’ x 4’ blanket? Not me. I power nap and my feet get cold.

I’m just so excited to put these little guys to good use!!!

How cool are they? This is quite possibly the neatest quilting fabric I’ve ever seen. I picked my favorite last night (such a hard decision!!) and ordered more of it for the back – and picked one of the few smaller-scale non-graphic prints to use as the binding so I don’t make myself totally crazy.

February 13, 2009

My Valentine's Day Date

Table and chairs, will you be my valentine?

Yes, this weekend is your date with destiny. When you were constructed with clean, classic lines out of sturdy hardwood, you had to know you wouldn't be an Ugly Betty forever.

Tonight, table, you'll be stripped and sanded, and tomorrow - stained a beautiful dark walnut courtesy of Ace Sensations. And on Sunday, you'll get two coats of polyurethane coating. Chairs, you'll get put back together in all your pristine white and graphic trellis print glory while your friend waits for various steps to dry, don't you worry!

Before and afters, with a link to a complete step-by-step photo guide coming next week!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Save-the-Date Photography Fun!

Chicago was totally blessed last weekend with above-average temperatures and sun - beautiful, warm, glowing sunlight! It was the perfect opportunity to finally take the engagement photos I had promised to shoot for a friend and soak up as much natural vitamin D as possible. There are too many to share them all, but these are my favorites - I hope they make the cut!

February 12, 2009

Never Say Never

My parents bought me this sofa (my FIRST sofa ever) from IKEA in 2003. (My dad still talks about that shopping trip. He is NOT an IKEA customer – trust me on this, but that is a long story for another post.) Every year following I went to the High Point Furniture Market twice a year and lusted and planned and dreamed of replacing the Ektorp with something better – something sleek, maybe something armless, maybe something with a tufted back, it was always something different. But what never changed? I never bought another sofa. I’m in PR – I can’t afford thousands of dollars worth of furniture, even with a discount. Oh so sad. I did eventually purchase a white slipcover to spice it up, but that was it. And you know, that was enough to keep me happy.

Ektorp and I parted ways last spring when I moved in with my roommate. I sold him to a good home, and he now lives just blocks from his favorite home in the Gold Coast. (And I hear he’s wearing his beige coat again and is still in near-perfect condition.)

A year later, I’m thinking about how I’m going to decorate my still up-in-the-air apartment. What am I totally going to do? The unthinkable! I’m going back to the Ektorp family. This time I’m upgrading to the sleep sofa. Something tells me the extra money now will give me a lot more flexibility down the road. And, this time I hope I have room for it to have a friend. I have wanted a chaise lounge for years!!

I guess it just goes to show – never say never!! I never thought, despite the quality and classic lines of this sofa group, I’d be willing to buy it yet again. But, here I am, in a recession and leaning towards something tried-and-true. Ikea, I heart you!

February 11, 2009

Still Inspired!

This shot from the last issue of now defunct Cottage Home still has me inspired. I didn't realize how much until I saw it in my "My Pictures" folder today!

The brown graphic print, the green on the white chairs, the white against the dark wood, the flowing curtains - all are being incorporated into current and future projects. Has me wondering what I'll do with so few good shelter magazines left and where my inspiration will come from. I'm following a whole host of talented bloggers, but there's something about setting up for an uninterupted night with a silented Blackberry, a glass of milk (or wine), the remote control, a snack and a stack of great magazines. I call it my "design porn." My friends call me silly. Regardless, here's hoping something comes up to fill the void being left behind, and that all my media friends in New York from my former PR life are weathering the storm. You're in my thoughts and prayers!!
If only tagging something in Delicious felt as good as bunny-earing a glossy magazine page. (Sigh) I digress.

February 9, 2009

Oooooo…. Emilys!

When my almost four-year-old niece sees something she really likes, and therefore thinks should be hers, she exclaims with big gorgeous eyes “Oooooo…. Zoe’s!” I did the same thing last night when I saw this fabulous rug on Anthropologie’s web site. Not exactly a closet full of Cabbage Patch dolls – WAY, WAY better!! (And yes, Zoe, those are still AUNT EMI'S Cabbage Patch dolls. Not Zoe's. Hands off little one.)

It’s geometric and fresh and the hint of texture from the photos has me pretty jazzed. And I thought I hated yellow!!

Their site is flash, so I can't borrow a bigger image, click here to see it in all its glory!

The Cow in the Room

Might as well be an elephant. Animal prints in the home (or my closet) are not something I’ve considered since the Express leopard tube-top dress circa 2001. (And even that was on clearance!) Alas, I had a hunkering for heifer print, and it literally fell in front of me at the fabric store. I couldn’t resist. Somehow there's really nothing slutty to me about cow print (always my fear of leopard and zebra), however I am concerned about it being somewhat tacky.

So, now what do I do with a yard of heifer cow print? I could make a cuddly pillow, upholster something with it, make a quilt? Hide it away and forget I purchased it for $12.99? Thoughts??

Note: The cow isn’t totally random. My mom grew up on a farm that primarily raises cows, Holsteins and Heifers, I think. So, it’s a little bit o’ spunky heritage. An ode to the family farm and it makes me smile.

February 7, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Recently I hosted my small group, an eclectic mix of young adults from my church that are getting to know each other and studying Habakkuk, too. We took a break from our study last week due to work travel schedules and such to just hang out and chat.

To celebrate the occasion, I made rice krispie treats, a snack I must say is not made and enjoyed by adult circles often enough. Easy, breezy and not that bad for you – I love the things. And, just to be cute (and not be TOO matchy-matchy as I have a tendency to pull out all my white ware when I entertain and be far too formal), I used my Rice Krispies bowl! I scored this awesome find at Dillard’s last spring. We use it for keys and bills most days. (Even if roomie doesn’t like it, she pretends!)

How cool is it that there are actually rice krispie treats in the rice krispies bowl?!?! It’s the little things that make me truly happy.
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