Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Rorschach Walls or If These Walls Were Therapists

I once had a doctor, dead over one hundred years, tell me, through a channel, that I like to be surrounded by color because inside I am full of color. Well, thank you, doctor, I absolutely enjoy being surrounded by color and I will take your word for it about my insides. From that point on, I never made excuses about the brightly colored house I was painting, not even when the Sears deliveryman thought I was racist for "remembering" him until he saw my lime green hallway and replied, "Yes, I have been here before, I remember." Not when my friends think my husband is going to leave me because whatever project I show them is too colorful or too bold or too whatever they were implying. And certainly not when people try to talk me out of the brighter color and to consider something more neutral. No! Lime and chartreuse and shocking pink forever! See: my insides, bitches!

So when I came home after seeing this pin on the pinterest and proceeded to just go for it, the only thing that actually surprised me was that I wasn't like this in all aspects of my life.
I saw the above pin and literally grabbed a paint brush and a small bottle of craft paint that I had lying around and started painting. It took me ninety minutes. And I never paused to rethink or ponder my decision, I just painted until black ran down my hand and my cuticles were stained. I didn't even pause to change clothes, ruining a black t-shirt. (Maybe not ruined, but if you see me wearing it, don't point out the weird drip seen when the light hits it).

Here's a before. I took this pic because my friend was telling me she wished she could finish a project she was working on so I immediately took a pic of my terrible, no good, very bad bedroom. (Also I refinished that frame, move the agave block print and squared off the missing plaster).
Wow. That before pic seriously looks like a flop house. For basset hounds.

So here's the after. No time for during. I was too fast and too sure of the outcome.
Meanwhile, other areas of my head are filled with doubts and negativity. I can't even pick out a stationery for myself. Though, honestly, designers of stationery have divided women into 3 super annoying groups, grandma (swirly Crane's initials with tuscan envelope inserts), uber preppy (pink initial with high heel and/or alligator), and twee (whimsical animals with umbrellas and top hats), and I am not those.

So, yeah, I'm impulsive design-wise and it's because I am confident in that area. That wall's two corners have a flat roof above and after eighty some years has been repaired and plastered so much it's bumpy and wavy and less a wall than a hallucination. But paint black spots on it and you can no longer see the imperfections, the white actually drops back leaving the black in the foreground making the wall seem square and perfect and lovely. (I don't owe $18,000 in student loans for nothin').

At the same time I became obsessed with black dots, I received an email from Joss and Main about a bohemian stuff sale. And I love bohemian stuff! I haven't been able to find the page, but somehow my brain managed to have a cache of the pic on my phone. No idea how that happened.
Those mirrors! I loved them. But, like most things that suck, they were not even for sale. They were a tease to get me to the sale. Sad Face. So like any abnormal overly confident, (in one area), type of lady, I bought some fabric and made some tassels and pom poms and made my very own.
(Also, I took these pics with my phone and I am too lazy to edit them).
1 yard of fabric, 4 yards of pom pom trim and a whole bunch of hand made tassels. Also a mirror that I already owned. (Tassel tutorials abound! Find one you like!)

I cleaned out my random yarn stash and just got busy. I also used embroidery floss that I bought at a yard sale making sure it didn't match. I hate it when things match. Obviously.
Here's the mostly finished peek at my bedroom. The ONE space I never even started. Even my closets are more interesting than my bedroom was. I eventually recovered the basset tuffet with a grey Ikea fabric. It's the means with which Barkley gets on and off the bed and it needed some action. Also, I really need to paint that bedside table, but more likely I will get rid of it and replace it with something less. It looks like an anvil in there.

So, what've we learned here, Bootsi? Maybe in the future we just go for whatever makes us happy? Standing on my bed, covered in black paint and feeling really good about what I was creating not giving one second over to any doubts or negativity or fears, just existing in the moment. Because failure is no biggie. Mistakes are a part of life, they are what make us interesting. So, go for it and do the thing you're afraid of. And if you do make a mistake, there's always black paint.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Obsessed: The random edition

I've been working on something for awhile now. And because it's about facing my fears and all that, I have sought to avoid it. And my mind has become obsessed with many completely different things. Out of avoidance.

Like that gorgeous natural dip-dyed drop cloth above!

And turmeric dye! (That extra "r" seems new to me).
Also, Vintage Hmong fabric!
These curtains!
(Magical Thinking by UO sold out)
Which led to these tassels!
And then my cousin pinned Wide Washi tape! The link is for 4" wide, but the shoppe also sells 8"!
And then, because my mind makes no sense, tiny swimming pools!
In my mind they all make sense together, I swear.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Outdoor Kitchens and Reality TV

I finally got home early one day. It was five o'clock and that meant I would get to watch my favorite show, The People's Court. Since I started working again, I've missed getting my half-assed TV law degree, unaccredited, of course, and wanted to see if there were any new precedents I was missing. So I watched the show, keep your dog on a leash, verbal agreements count, and don't sell a car to a minor, and then after did what most lazy people do, I stayed in bed and channel surfed. I haven't watched live TV in awhile so I was just looking to see if I was missing out. I found something called "Unusually Thicke" starring Alan Thicke and the rest of his guh-ross clan. It was so off-putting, it gave me PTSD's. Why is he so mean to his wife? You can tell even she is like, "Wait-what?!" I watched, like, five minutes and then flipped over to anything else. Which happened to be HGTV. HGTV and The Food Network both have a tendency to lull me into complacency. Their programming is so benign, I can sit and stare and not move for hours. And that is how I ended up watching House Hunters International: Nicaragua.

Thanks to Rick Bayless's brilliant show, Mexico: One Plate at a Time, I have decided to retire in Baja California, Mexico. Because gorgeous. But if you have a show with ANY Latin American country, I stop and watch like I'm gettin' paid. And here's the thing I love about Nicaragua, and more specifically Granada, they have outdoor kitchens and it's the norm! Like no one said, in a whiney American accent, "Ugh, why is the kitchen outside?!" She was all, yep, gorgeous, love the space. And I was all, Nicaragua, ehhh?

The pic above and the one below are from homes in Nicaragua. I think I found them on home rental sites. It was hard to find photos of real outdoor kitchens, mostly I found new builds, which are way boring.

Also, that episode inspired me to work on designing my outdoor kitchen. We have no air conditioning in our kitchen and in the summer it's silly to turn on the oven to heat up a pizza for 12 minutes.
Finding smaller, interesting kitchens was hard. Most of them were giant stone monstrosities with the same square footage as my house. I like this one because of the warm wood that was used.
Another tiny one with brick and a fireplace. I will always be attracted to the ones with the string lights.
Traditional Patio by Englewood Architects & Designers Godden Sudik Architects Inc

A small cement grill area with pergola. Simple and small enough for my yard.
More wood! And a tiny deck. And string lights!
This one was very much my style. Lots of color and found furniture and materials.
This outdoor kitchen is stunning! I almost didn't post it because it's quite large and requires an architects eye. But the kitchen is actually small and the mirror above the prep area is genius!
Contemporary Patio by San Francisco Architects & Designers SB Architects

So here's where we veer off course. This kitchen is so lovely, but waaaaay out of my budget. The sliding window and door would probably not be cheap. But its so incredibly creative and bright!
Contemporary Porch by Sydney Architects & Designers Danny Broe Architect

Aaaaand we're back! Purple wabi-sabi house with a tiny kitchen. This would make me so happy!
This outdoor kitchen is actually pretty close to what I want. Grill, sink, pizza oven and all in a small amount of space. And who wouldn't want that bright yellow oven?!
This one is so simple and chic, I am in love!
Another space with the sliding doors. But how amazing would that be?! To wake up on a Sunday morning and open the doors and make pancakes?!
I think this outdoor kitchen is in Spain. But I also think it's from a rental. So it's inspiring both design and travel-wise! Also, I love white appliances.
Here's another little guy, no cooking surface, but still, lovely and small and adds a lot of fancy to a backyard.
Now, one more, before I go. More sliding doors, but is that a hot tub? I love the color scheme in this one, wood and black and white, and the tiny pool. I would love something like that, small and kind of shallow for my boys to play in.
I think searching for all these pretty spaces has nearly wiped my memory of any type of gross reality show that may have tried to infiltrate my brain. And, hopefully, moving to Nicaragua will keep them away from me forever!

Pics are either from Houzz and clickable or on my Outdoor pinboard on Pinterest.

Monday, April 28, 2014

And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar and I say, "Sorry, I'm not eating carbs."

Sometimes life gives you a free piano. And I am not one to turn down something that makes music. So in our tiny living room, we have a piano. And it's small-ish, for a piano. So it's not like a giant hulking piece of furniture, it actually looks quite nice. Except that it's the same color as the floor. Which makes it both blend in and loom over the rest of the living room.

People have been painting pianos lately, the chalk paint craze making everything significantly easier. I looked at color options, but since I didn't want to drive to Malibu or Glendora for a can of paint, I talked myself into the French Linen I already owned.

Here's the thing about painting anything. I am always very excited to paint. Most of my clothes have bits of paint on them because if I have to change clothes to do something, it's a sport. And I don't sport. So I started painting. I had a smallish, new brush and I just went for it. No sanding or anything, just paint. And as I finished the one tiny side and then set about taping off the keys, I realized I was about to eat an elephant. The project grew ten sizes that moment but I was too deep in to stop. So I kept going. But that moment, where I see the mountain I am about to climb, I have it every time. But it always happens too late for me to turn back.

Here is the before. It's the only pic I have. Hartwell Concerto in Aaaaaahahhahh!
When I told John I was painting the piano he said to me, "Don't get paint on the keys." He said it jokingly and I thought, "What kind of moron does he take me for?!" So I said, "Oh, I'm painting the keys green and yellow..."
To which he replied, rather incredulously, "YOU CAN'T PAINT PIANO KEYS!"

And then I laughed and said, "You think I am soooo dumb..."

That conversation doesn't quite play out in print as it did in real life. I thought it was hilarious and it's become my favorite thing.

Here's the after, with unpainted keys. Keys that are begging for photoshop.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Noon in the Garden of Good and Chervil*

It's been awhile! I get busy. And sometimes I even worry that what I type is dumb so I type nothing...And that's, like, the worst!
Here are some pics of my tiny garden. John and I spent the last two weekends working on it together. Planting a salad garden and filling in the succulent garden. And finding containers...
I had to make a little mini raised bed out of bricks to house some herbs. And rearrange a lot of stuff so it didn't look crazy.

And here is a collection of random containers I've used in my garden. If they have no holes in the bottom, I fill it half full of rocks, then dirt. That seems to help...
And because the back of our yard is a chain link fence, I have very few photos of the vegetable garden. I have one. And I wasn't even aiming at the garden.
In the pic you can see the marigolds around the tomatoes and maybe even some kale and lettuce? But mostly MeowMeow, who does not enjoy gardening. She does help keep the garden pest free, so there's that...

*Also, to be entirely honest, there is no chervil in this garden...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Also available in white...

My kids were home sick yesterday. I was also somewhat under the weather, but somehow my Nespresso kicked in and I wanted to paint this wall in my kitchen.

I keep seeing Pins of glorious white loft kitchens that are filled with light and that one modern chair and I wish I could have that. But a tiny bungalow in Altadena is the exact opposite. So I just pine and watch old episodes of The Office. And then suddenly hop off my bed and start painting.

Here's the before:
I originally painted the panelling a coral that I thought contrasted nicely with the blue in the rest of the kitchen. And while I love that coral color, it really limits the colors you can put in front of it. Everything has to be white or it kind of disappears.

I think, what this decision boils down to is that now I can buy more stuff from Anthropologie without worrying it's gonna clash. If I'm being honest.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Adventure Time

After Christmas is over, like the very next day, I no longer want to be in my house. The clutter of new toys and boxes and torn paper starts to get to me and I want to go somewhere; do something. This year we decided to drive up the coast, the Pacific one, and spend the night in Cayucos. It's one of my favorite surf towns in California. It's got tiny motels and sea shanty themed restaurants and a very pretty beach and pier.  

We drove into town about 4 o'clock and rushed from our motel room to the beach to take advantage of the sunset. The boys told me the water was too cold for them, but after about 20 minutes they were both so soaked we had to find a restaurant with outdoor seating.

Also in Cayucos, is the Brown Butter Cookie Company. It is impossible to walk by without turning on your heel and walking inside for a sample. They taste exactly as good as you'd think, like light, crumbly brown sugar happiness. And they make the whole town smell delicious. Salty, sugary, buttery air, it's like what Jesus smells like.

The next day we drove to Sacramento, we passed a couple of missions and day dreamed about our Central Coast farmstead. I love these kind of vacations, where the journey is part of the trip. We drive slowly and stop when we want, we take pictures and find new places to buy sandwiches.

All the while California is unfurling before our very eyes, shouts of, "Are we there yet?!" and "Why is it so far?!" and the strains of Adventure Time's Tree Trunks episode for the 14th time are creeping into my daydreams. Gone is my alpaca farm and my organic garden, now I'm just looking for a place for Hartwell to pee or an empty bottle for him to use when farms stretch out between towns.
These photos will help me forget all the crazy, though, and by next year I'll be ready to do it again. This time I'm bringing Depends and picking the dvds.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reverse Stencilling or Showing Wood

I did it! I finally bought the Ikea dressers I wanted! But, alas, they are but raw pine and this morning my nutella fingered son tried to use it for balance as I assisted him with his socks...Argh!

So I need to paint or at least finish them soon...but there are too many options!

How about reverse stencilling? Where the wood is the "stencilled" part and the negative space is painted.

Now I just need to find the time to do this. I spent 6 hours building the dressers and they are still empty. And I need to paint the hallway and the living room ceiling...and my floors...

Images available on my Pinterest Board Projects.

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