January 27, 2010

When Life Throws You Faux Lemons - Do You Throw Them Back?

My natural gut reaction to fake flowers in home decorating is “no.” I simply don’t like how they collect a lot of dust. But, I realize that I’m not against other faux botanicals, specifically lemons and limes and pussy willows. So what do you think – are faux’s a yeah or a neigh?

My near-obsession started with lemons. I lack the flower gene and didn’t want the fake ones within a certain radius of my house, so I was forced to think outside the vase a bit. I knew I wanted a second splash of yellow in the room to compliment my favorite chair, and somehow, I can’t remember how, I thought of lemons. So, I waited for the half-off cycle at Hobby Lobby to turn to the flower department and I bought myself a bunch of high-quality faux lemons. (Trust me, you don't buy real fruit in downtown Chicago and tote it home for LOOKS. It's all typically just too expensive and far too close to spoiling for that, you can take my word on it!)

But the fake ones on the other hand, those puppies last. Flash forward seven months and those lemons are still living happily in my tall glass vase and have yet to smell, require extensive cleaning (only the occasional dusting) and have tricked more than one houseguest into thinking they’re the real deal. This week I added faux limes into the mix in the neighboring bowl that had once housed glass Christmas ornaments. They’re not fooling me as well and I’m not sure why – but the bowl looks plain stupid empty. And my attempt at real ones, well, that literally stunk.

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Any thoughts? I’m stumped, but I want to use my bowl there for two very important reasons: I love it and well, I love it.

January 26, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside

As a six-year veteran of the Windy City, I've accumulated a lot of scarves.  Thin ones, thick ones, cheap ones, not-so cheap ones, black ones, blue ones and pink ones of course, but the ones that get the least use are the lightweight ones.  It always makes me sad that my favorite blue faux pashmina rarely gets out of my winter accessories box.  (He's very jealous of Mr. Burberry for many reasons, and not just for his cashmere content...)  But, I think I just found the blue guy a new home!  

Eddie Ross, an amazing designer, blogger and seeker of all things fabulously vintage, took such a lowly faux pashmina and included it in the 2010 Bloomingdale's Big Window Challenge!  His window for Elle Decor magazine is AMAZING - and behind the pile of perfectly-placed pillows on the neutral sofa, he placed a magenta pashmina.  I love the stripe it created in contrast to the pillows and the fringe, oh, the fringe!  Isn't fringe fun?   You can vote for Eddie here.  And you can see my attempt to copy him right here!  

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(And yes, this is what I do at 11 p.m. after small group.  I come home after a long day of work, working out and studying the book of Ruth to play with pashminas and take 10 shots of my sofa until I get just the right one!)  

January 14, 2010

Missing in Action: Prince Charming

Last week I lost a plaid slipper:

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It was a cute shoe that I had scouted out during after-Christmas sales and waited in line enduring mind-numbingly loud music at American Eagle to purchase for $14.99. This probably bears the question "How does one lose a shoe??" Well, you put them in your purse and wear your warm boots home because it's around 0 degrees outside with the windchill and there's lots of snow on the ground.

On my way home, I stopped at Trader Joe's to stock up on inexpensive frozen seafood and purchase crackers, wine and cheese for my birthday gathering. My bags weren't packed as nicely as they should have been and I had a bit of trouble returning to the bus, getting on the bus, and schlepping from the bus to my house. (The joys of not owning a car!) When I did manage to get home, I noticed one of my shoes was no longer in my purse! I re-traced my steps in the neighborhood, but did not have hope that going back downtown and following my path back to Trader Joe's would result in finding the shoe. By now, it was on a homeless man's cart or on a bus that would be near the end of its route by now in a not-very friendly part of town.

Instead of waiting for Prince Charming to find my missing slipper and bring it back to me in fairy tale fashion (this is Chicago, not Disney World, after all), I logged online and bought the $14.99 shoes again. This modern-day Cinderella knows how to get stuff done!  Good thing, too, because Prince Charming hasn't shown up yet with my missing plaid slipper.  Maybe it needed to be glass???

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Disclaimer:  I didn't really expect Prince Charming to show up at my doorstop, but I do know that someday, some way, my Prince Charming will arrive in God's time, not mine.  Just thought I should clarify..... 

Birthday Recap!

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I can't believe it's been a week since my birthday!!! Now that the holidays and birthday fesitivies are over, the winter "blahs" are probably just around the corner. To keep them at bay just a bit longer, I want to be reminded of what a GREAT birthday I had last week!!

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I didn't take as many photos as I would like and for some reason a few didn't end up in my Flickr stream, but you get the ideas! Also, a few super-sweet guests brought me flowers! I LOVE flowers.... especially the kind that are already dead so I don't have the pressure to keep them alive!

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January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Having your birthday the first week of the New Year creates a double-whammy of sorts. Both are occasions when you look back on the past year and inevitably beat yourself up for what didn't get done and what hasn't happened according to plan. I'd like to blog more, complain less, have more patience, snack less, work out more...... and have a great-looking apartment. Oh wait, I think I've got that one covered! I've been a busy girl the past few days. Check it out!

Dining and Living Rooms
Can you spot all my hard work? First off, all the holiday decor is tucked away!

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The new dresser still looks great minus the Christmas decor - and I love the pussywillows next to it and my mix of faux and real fruit!

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This pillow was calling for a little fun, so I broke out the heat and bond and made a bird with Anna Marie Horner scraps. What do you think?

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My new chair! A little birthday/Christmas money here and there, and my reward for a $0 NYE resulted in this online purchase. She went together in a snap and is super comfortable!! (The pillow was a gift from the greatest sis-in-law ever!)

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I wanted to put a not-so permanent stamp on my family heirloom secretary – and I got this wrapping paper at Hallmark on clearance. I rode all the way from Indy to Chicago with this roll between my knees to make it happen. I think it turned out great – and will not leave even a mark on the wood when I change my mind. In front of the paper are a few Christmas presents – the new “pure and simple” butter dish and “dream” plate, as well as my Pooh, all gifts from my parents. (More on this project at a later date...)

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I’m having some people over this weekend, so I put the leaves down in my table and really like how open it makes this space. I probably should have thought of this sooner considering my dining room is more regularly used as my entryway! Also, in rearranging the living room, I also moved a few lamps around. This one ended up in the dining room and I LOVE the soft light it creates. I’ve never been a fan of overhead lighting because lamp light is so much cozier and welcoming. In fact of all the changes, this might be my favorite!

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I used a free online Amy Butler lotus paper flower pattern to create fabric flowers with black and white fabrics I’ve been collecting for the past year or so. Even with the fusible interfacing on the fabric, the still lack the 3-D shape I was going for, but I think I can get something at JoAnn’s that would stiffen up the fabric on my next trip. (More on this project later, I hope!)

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I put them on the walls in the bedroom, too, and touched up the pillows on my bed and the artwork on the walls to tie more closely to the bathroom. I thought doing an all black-and-white theme in both rooms would give more of a master bedroom feel, even if there's a hallway in between!

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I updated the curtain with the same log cabin quilt design I used on the bed's throw pillow. And note the coral on top of the stack of books - I scored that for under $10 at Anthropolgie while scouting for a birthday shirt!!!! (LOVE their home clearance table!) Note, birthday shirt was NOT a steal....
That's all from me. Have a great day - I hope to!!

Christmas 2009 - Part 2

I somehow left home without many photos from our Christmas visits with the extended family, but before I move on to everything I've done to prepare for the New Year, I wanted to share a few more pictures from Christmas morning:

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Indiana squirrels are corn-fed, Dad makes sure of it!

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Zoe and A.J. opening the first gift of the morning!

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Ben and A.J. opening the Yoda tree topper!

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Dad opening his Garmin.

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Mom getting dressed up like a princess!

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Sophie, all tuckered out!

January 4, 2010

Christmas Surprise!

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There was an omission to my post about making Christmas presents, a big one, in fact!  My sis-in-law mentioned she'd "someday like to have something I had made."  I knew she liked the wall hanging I had done for my guest room and well, I couldn't let a comment like that go unnoticed.  But, she's one of my most loyal readers and I didn't want to spoil the surprise!  

I used Heather Bailey's latest collection, Nicey Jane, in hopes that it would at least match her new laundry room.  I brought the quilt home, picked up a frame at Hobby Lobby, asked Dad for his staple gun and set to work.  I was pretty pleased with the result, but had no idea Nikki would love it so much - she hung it later that day in the dining room!!!  I'm so honored it's out for all her friends and guests to see!!!  

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Christmas with the Family - Part 1

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite holiday.  My brother and I had quite a few traditions and it was a day we always got to spend at home, the same way, with just Mom and Dad.  In a word, it was special.  

Now that we've both grown up and Ben has a family of his own, things have changed, but new traditions are fun, too!  One of the highlights of my time at home this year was our second attempt to make cookies for Santa.  This year even the little man got to participate.  

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After cookies were ready for Santa (to be set out with two percent milk later in the evening), Ben and I passed on our tradition of exchanging gifts to the kids.  They each got to open ONE present.  

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Zoe got special dresses - one for her and one for her Bitty Baby!  

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A.J. gets to be spider man after each bath now!  

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I love this picture.  It cracks me up.  Maybe you had to be there.  In addition to the nephew post temper-tantrum, please give special attention to the perfectly steamed dresses, both Zoe's and her doll baby's..... courtesy of yours truly.  
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