Saturday, January 31, 2009

Halloween

My love for Halloween has been well  spoken about on the pages of this blog. Second only to Christmas, I embrace the fun and childhood appeal of the Halloween, and do not over-analyze the "meaning" of the holiday. For me, it is about kids, candy, costumes and light-hearted decorations. Halloween is a welcome break and a time for fun in the weeks leading up to the inevitable work and festivities that accompany Christmas. Please have a look through my Halloween archives, beginning with the most popular Halloween project to ever come out of this blog, my blue, spray-painted pumpkin. Happy haunting!


Want to make a Blue, glittered pumpkin?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mother Hubbard pulls through...

This is my fridge. Sure, it has the basics - like margarine, ketchup, four eggs, a splash of milk... oops, and some bubbly (it's the weekend, after all)! Everything else is on a list in my purse, waiting to be purchased. Today was supposed to be grocery day. Technically, I had every intention to food shop; honestly, I had zero intention. Instead, I spent much of the day with my handy man, who took the day off to work on a project (while I tidied up after him). He treated me to a lunch date, which was wise considering what is in the cupboards...



Then came that moment in the day when I had to face up to my shortcomings. Too lazy to go to the grocery store, I rooted around in our deep freeze and found some ground beef. A quick rummage in our cupboards yielded some pasta and a jar of pasta sauce. Bonanza!


I could make a meal I like to call Good Enough: Good enough: AKA macaroni, meat sauce, a dash of Tobasco sauce and bottled crushed garlic, all topped with mozarella cheese. Everyone calls it something different, I just call it easy...


Then, just to show off, I made this:

A nice, white packaged mix cake. I used two of the four eggs, and thankfully I had some oil. Presto! I decided I would garner some mothering brownie points by telling my eldest son that it was a cake to celebrate the completion of his first ever exam. In reality, I just wanted something with my tea, but he appreciated my lie!


I know many of you have a fancy pants Kitchen-aid mixer. But honestly, who needs one of those when you can get a pretty red hand mixer for $9.99 at The Superstore? I might even dress it up with some pretty cherry stickers. Then again, I probably won't.


Either way, it was a perfectly acceptable supper...even if Sophie did pretend to gag on my splendid casserole. Apparently Good Enough, in her opinion, just isn't!!

It seems she would prefer to eat snow...

************************************************

What do you fix for dinner when the cupboards are near bare??

A Craft You'll Love

Let's make a sweet little decoration
for Sweetheart's day!

First, gather your supplies. You will need:
Scrapbook Paper
Scissors and Glue
Ribbon
Paint

A Glitter Heart
(Package purchased at WM for $1.50, but you could easily make your own)
Artist Canvas (You can find these in any craft store. These were purchased at WM, 3/$2.50 for 8x10 size. They can be also found in 7x9 sizes at the dollar store 2/$1.)Next, mark and drill two holes on one side of all three canvas panels. Then on one canvas, drill two more holes on the opposite side. If you don't own a drill, you could easily make the holes using a hammer and nail to punch through the canvas.Paint the two canvases with two holes. I used spray paint, but any craft paint will do. Or you could cover them with scrapbook paper.Cover the canvas with the four holes with scrapbook paper.
Glue on a large glitter heart.
Cut two large I's and two large U's out of coordinating paper. Stagger the two pieces for a shadow effect and glue them onto the painted canvases.String ribbon through the holes in the canvases to tie all three together.And there you have a sweet, and fairly easy, Valentine's Day decoration!

I love a craft that
you can personalize to your own taste!
You could connect the canvases horizontally to have a bigger area for words, instead of letters. You might choose: Be Mine, Happy Valentine's Day, Hugs & Kisses, to name a few. If you have a passion for scrapbooking, you might want to get more decorative.

If I've inspired you to make this sweet little craft,
I'd love to see yours!

A Craft You'll Love

Let's make a sweet little decoration
for Sweetheart's day!

First, gather your supplies. You will need:
Scrapbook Paper
Scissors and Glue
Ribbon
Paint

A Glitter Heart
(Package purchased at WM for $1.50, but you could easily make your own)
Artist Canvas (You can find these in any craft store. These were purchased at WM, 3/$2.50 for 8x10 size. They can be also found in 7x9 sizes at the dollar store 2/$1.)Next, mark and drill two holes on one side of all three canvas panels. Then on one canvas, drill two more holes on the opposite side. If you don't own a drill, you could easily make the holes using a hammer and nail to punch through the canvas.Paint the two canvases with two holes. I used spray paint, but any craft paint will do. Or you could cover them with scrapbook paper.Cover the canvas with the four holes with scrapbook paper.
Glue on a large glitter heart.
Cut two large I's and two large U's out of coordinating paper. Stagger the two pieces for a shadow effect and glue them onto the painted canvases.String ribbon through the holes in the canvases to tie all three together.And there you have a sweet, and fairly easy, Valentine's Day decoration!

I love a craft that
you can personalize to your own taste!
You could connect the canvases horizontally to have a bigger area for words, instead of letters. You might choose: Be Mine, Happy Valentine's Day, Hugs & Kisses, to name a few. If you have a passion for scrapbooking, you might want to get more decorative.

If I've inspired you to make this sweet little craft,
I'd love to see yours!

"Real" vs. "Kitsch"

As you know, I'm constantly trying to define my style, hone my skills & figure out what works & what doesn't work in spaces. Well, a concept I often think about is real or authentic design, art & accessories. vs. what make something kitsch or scripted or forced or "decorated."


I used to be THE culprit of kitsch when I started out. I wanted my college apartment bedroom to feel like a conservatory, so up went a huge painting of a conservatory & palms & a whole dollar store's worth of fake flowers along with it. eesh (I've mentioned this room before & still haven't found a picture of it- my albums are in storage!)


Anyway, since kitsch is often one of the easiest & cheapest things to do and one of the most readily available, we see it a lot in real life. Picture the person who wants their house to feel like a farmhouse so they buy farmhouse dinnerware:



When instead they could do something more authentic, like this home from Country Living, below:



Using materials & details that would possibly be used in a true farmhouse make this space authentic. The cow print is a fun playful addition to the room & it's not trying to be anything more than it is. The white ironstone is appropriate & beautiful.



Or picture the person who wants a Tuscan-feeling kitchen & fills it with an unusable amount of bottles of oil in the kitchen,




or dishcloths with winebottles on them, wine bottle artwork and throw in a mass-produced Tuscan scene or two. Now I do not mean to judge here, merely to get us thinking. I have been the culprit of this many a time. I think it's a really easy way of designing to get into for the inexperienced & I've SO been there. (how do you think I can describe this room so perectly?! ;)




But the interesting thing is how to figure out how we can evolve out of it, to figure out ways to create the spaces we desire without being inauthentic. To really evolve & become better. I like this styled buffet from Pottery Barn, below. It gives the Tuscan feeling without being as obvious:




Why show a picture of a bottle of wine with no intrinsic artistic value when you can simply have a wine rack? (This isn't to say that I think art with wine in it can't be beautiful, because I've actually very recently seen some amazing art with wine bottles in it) And, why have a picture of a potted palm when you can just head to Home Depot & grab a real one? (yeah, I know, you have to keep it alive ;) And I'm not talking about botanical prints of palms (which I love & I do think of as authentic), I'm talking about the early 90s looking artwork:



If you have stuff like this home, don't feel bad. Just maybe take a minute to reevaluate it. Ask yourself if you actually love the piece or if you just picked it up because it was inexpensive & came in 4' by 3' & fit the "theme" and in the blank space above the sofa. If those are your reasons, I'd say ditch it. If you actually look at it & do love it, then work with it. Thomas Kinkade (below) is one of America's top-selling painters & his name is also one of the first that pops up when you google "kitsch art." A lot of people love his work & the happy feeling it gives them. I say that if you really love something even if it is considered inauthentic, then keep it. If you love it, it's authentic to you.


I also do think it's possible to be ok with certain aspects of kitsch. For example, check out this space in decorator Kirsten Hollister's kitchen (below image from turquoisechic.com) where she uses a bunch of kitschy little paintings of flowers & groups them together casually, irreverently & has fun with them. She's using them for the pops of color & fun they add to the room and it's not displayed as precious art:

And I totally have a thing for really cheap old paintings of landscapes, boats, people & the water. I get them for around $5- $30 & I absolutely love them. I know they're not great art and are considered kitsch, but something about them makes me happy. I think the key is to just display them casually or en masse. The way you display art says a lot about it. (Is it lit up & in a $400 frame? Then that baby better be art in your eyes!) Image below from interiordec.about.com:


Here's a $5 cheapie I love (below) that I have on my mom's mantle right now. It's just causually leaning there & it's not a permanent fixture. It doesn't speak to me in any profound way, it simply added the color & feeling I was on the mood for in the room. It's more to create atmosphere than to be gazed upon as a work of art.


On this road also comes the fabric question. There are those who say that flowers belong in vases & not on fabrics. I really do see the logic & realness to this idea, but I'm still not there yet. I still love a pretty floral on a pillow or blanket. (I'll write more on this later)




One thing I am learning through all of this is that I don't believe in absolutes when it comes to design. Make your rules, but if something comes along & doesn't jive with your rules & you're okay with that, break 'em! I just think it's important to be aware of why you're making certain decisions & to be aware of why you're breaking the rules.



("They're more like guidelines anyway." ;)

Design Crushes...

(photo source: Coastal Living.com)


We all have them...

Considering I am a married woman, I figure a design crush is the safest, most appropriate kind of crush to have. After all, don't we all put some of our favourite design celebrities on a (beautifully designed) pedestal? And really, I have to somehow justify the ridiculous number of design magazines I have purchased over the years...

Enjoy the (growing) list of my favourites, and perhaps you'll develop your own crush on one or more of these talented individuals.

In essence, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and the following industry leaders deserve the accolades I have given them:

Matthew Mead ...
(well, you knew he'd be at the top of the list, didn't you?)

Matthew Mead is a stylist, editor, and writer whose work I admire very much. I have had the good fortune to interview and do collaborative posts with him, and I can attest that he is as nice a person as he is talented. If you want great inspiration and style tips, read the following posts and be sure to check out his website: Matthew Mead Style.com . But first, check him out here:









Peter Fallico...Canada's favourite male HGTV designer. Sure, he may not go around flexing his biceps like Mike Holmes, but he doesn't have to do demo; he does design...cool, smart design. Plus he can make you just about anything you want made; or even better, he'll teach you how to do it!!
Sarah Richardson...if Peter is Canada's favourite male designer, then Sarah is Canada's interior design sweetheart. Though once more girl next door (when Room Service was her media outlet), Sarah Richardson is decidedly more sophisticated city girl now, at the helm of the slick, stylish Design Inc. Either persona, Sarah can do it all - from country cottages and get-aways (like this yurt), to industrial spaces, posh homes and her own decked out (though charming, coastal style) cottage...on its own island!

*****************************************
Keep checking back as I add more of my favourites to this list!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

You've Been Framed!

I love my foyer table and mirror. I'm so proud of the way I was able to transform them. I'm happy that they look so good together. But, there has always been one little thing that has bothered me. The mirror is just not the right dimension for the table. The balance between the two is off, large table, small mirror.I've managed to create balance by placing large objects like plants and candles on each side of the mirror. Yet, it still seemed like it needed a bit more.
The other day as I sat contemplating my design dilemma, it occurred to me that the solution was right in front of my face.A little tweaking and I had my solution. I love the layers and balance, as well as the repetition of design from across the room. I even like the look of the hanging wire. It helps to tie the two frames together.
Could there be a solution to your design dilemma
right in front of you?

You've Been Framed!

I love my foyer table and mirror. I'm so proud of the way I was able to transform them. I'm happy that they look so good together. But, there has always been one little thing that has bothered me. The mirror is just not the right dimension for the table. The balance between the two is off, large table, small mirror.I've managed to create balance by placing large objects like plants and candles on each side of the mirror. Yet, it still seemed like it needed a bit more.
The other day as I sat contemplating my design dilemma, it occurred to me that the solution was right in front of my face.A little tweaking and I had my solution. I love the layers and balance, as well as the repetition of design from across the room. I even like the look of the hanging wire. It helps to tie the two frames together.
Could there be a solution to your design dilemma
right in front of you?

The Washington Post Santa!!

I wanted to thank Terri Sapienza so much for putting Pure Style Home on Blogwatch today in the Washington Post!! (For the recent post on my client's dressing room, 2 posts down.)

I was just sitting down for breakfast & opened up the Home Section to Blogwatch & was so shocked to see it on there!!! I started yelling because I was so excited & totally freaked my husband out because he thought something had happened with the baby. oops!

Anyway, it's like Christmas morning for design bloggers & Terri, thank you so much for being Santa! (Do you know how exciting this is for us?!!) I really appreciate it & can't tell you how great it was to call my grandparents & have them open up the paper to H2. ;)
ps- my dad read this post & was like, "I think you should tone down your excitement." Come on dad, do you know me?!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

House Love: Rice Cottage

I know I say this a lot, but I LOVE this house:


[Please forgive my limited use of vocabulary in this post which consists mainly of: "love," "perfect," and "beautiful."] The living room has almost all of the elements that I love: natural elements, (the linen!!) the color scheme, the something pretty, the sculptural table, it's light & airy & relaxing, comfortable, it's got an amazing mix of fursnighings & styles, the texture = I LOVE IT. :)


It belongs to Diane & Jay Speakman & is located ont he coast of Maine. They recently turned it into a seasonal rental cottage.

The wallpaper is beautiful & timeless. (And how great does the painted white mirror look against it? = So easy to do with a cheap flea market find... I'm considering this for my bathroom.) Below, I'm loving the rough natural stones against the ornate lines of the mirror & candlesticks:

This image below is perfection to me: White, wood, nature, light & airy. And I think drop-leaf tables just add so much interest & age to a space. (And I'm going to pretend they just found those moose horns, ok?)
Here's the lucky lady, Diane, enjoying her kitchen:
Oh wow. (below) You know I can't get over the fern on that table in the gorgeous glass vases. Again, I love everything about this space. All the white stoneware against the wood of the hutch... Then mixed with all the white & against the pale blue of the kitchen!!! = perfection
Here's the eat-in kitchen (below) & while I think it's really pretty, I'm not AS obsessed with it as I am with the main living & dining areas of the house. It's missing some of the rawness & layers that's in the other rooms. It feels more "cute" to me than the other spaces but I'd still take it! (Maybe pull off the table cloth to reveal rough wood & switch out the white shades of the chandelier with burlap ones?? Get some contrasting hardware on the cabinets?? I'm only picking this room apart because of the sheer perfection of the other rooms in my opinion. Normally I'd never do this to such a pretty room! ;)
The bedroom below is the perfect coastal getaway bedroom. The roman shades & striped pillow add just the right amount of color into the space to keep it relaxing & totally vacation-feeling. (a word?? ;) I also love how the silver accents to kick it up a notch:
And here's the kids' bedroom. It has more of that sweetpea feeling that the kitchen table did. It feels so clean & pretty & I'd love to tuck little ones in here at night on my vacation!
On another note, we have a snow day today!!! (My husband's a teacher so it's a big treat!!) We took Christian (our year & a half year old out in the snow for the first time yesterday & it was so great- especially when we showed him he could eat it too!!!)
photos by Keller + Keller

Enjoy your day!!
xoxo,
lauren