Category Archives: house and home

Lest you doubt the level of ‘picky’

Currently, there are 10 different paint colors on my wall, representing 4 trips to Lowe’s, one trip to Home Depot, and one trip to a local DIY store that carried Benjamin Moore Paint. You see, as soon as I spent a couple of days going over your posts, staring at the walls, and thinking of the end product for my bookshelf project, I decided to get busy. Last weekend was a long weekend; I thought I’d pick out a color and paint Sunday and Monday. Ha! I drove to Lowe’s, picked out a color, bought a sample and came home. I put a little on the wall, and oh my gosh, I hated it. It looked like the worst of a wintry day, and I really don’t like the cold, especially at this point in the season. So I went back to Lowe’s and then back again. I then decided to switch it up and went to Home Depot, and y’all, the color that looked gray at HD was flat-out purple. Uh uh. Then last weekend, I had tea with my best friend from high school, and she suggested (and my mom too) that I write Pottery Barn because the tearout I had was from their winter catalog. I got home, checked on the website and found the color: Newburyport Blue, Benjamin Moore. *cue angels singing* Except when I got the sample (which ain’t cheap in old Ben Moore), it was blue – country blue. I picked another color, got another sample and slapped it up on the wall. I think it’s a winner. It’s called Blue Note, which seems appropriate as I love Blue Note records. So, ten colors later (I mixed two together at one point to try to achieve the perfect blue gray), I give you the dining room table, in all its glory:

I. Am. THE. Picky. Girl.


In which I destroy a book…

Yeah, you read that right. It’s not that I can’t stand The Portrait of a Lady. It’s just that I was already getting rid of it, as I don’t like the edition and that I need art on my walls and refuse to make a trip to Kirkland’s to trick out my house (not that I’ll be critical if that’s your taste; it’s just not mine). So I pulled up this tutorial I found on a design blog, Living With Lindsay. I found it months ago and finally broke down and bought a glue gun.

Here’s a hint of what I’m getting at…

WARNING: If you absolutely, positively cannot stand seeing a book abused (or as I call it, repurposed for artistic reasons), please stop reading now. Go pick up one of your books from its plastic sleeve and lovingly turn the pages with white gloves on your sanitized hands.

I started out with this:

Old copy of The Portrait of a Lady? Check. Twelve-inch wreath? Check. High-temp glue gun with glue sticks? Check. Burnt fingers? Double check.

Really, the process is quite simple. You rip the pages out of the book. *gasp!* Then flip the wreath to the back side to begin gluing. (If you don’t do this, the wreath won’t have much dimension. After ripping the pages you curl them in different ways, S shapes, cones, you name it. Just try not to give the pages hard edges. In the tutorial I linked, Lindsay actually paints the edges of her pages. My book is old, so I went with the slight discoloration already on them. Then you glue them. I just layered and layered and layered some more.

It took me about an hour and a half to get the wreath fairly full, and after taking the photos, I noticed some bare spots when the flash hit the wreath. Once you are pleased with how it looks, you can either put a small loop of ribbon (as Lindsay does) or a length of ribbons, so it shows slightly above the wreath. I didn’t think ahead and only had black ribbon (which I like but is too dark for the room). I will switch it out with a dove grey grosgrain ribbon when I get the chance:

After that, just hang it! Of course, I don’t yet know exactly where I want this one, so I put it where I have a bare wall above the bed in my front bedroom/office. Excuse the unfinished look – I am saving up to make a headboard for the bed. Hope you like the finished product. It was a fun project, and I love art with a story or that I’ve made myself. Plus, I can’t stop staring at it. Beautiful, if I do say so myself:

As I am typing, I’m looking at the wall and thinking two more smaller wreaths would be perfect. Hm. Another project. What is it about fall that seems so conducive to projects? Anyone else feel that way? Have you ever created art from books or other household items?

I’d love to see – add a pic to your comment if you have.

Picky Boy: The Kids Are All Right

When I sat down to watch The Kids Are All Right, my mind was on other things. The pizza I’d just eaten (it was alright)…the Cole Haan shoes I want to buy (I can’t afford them)…the A/C unit we desperately need in our living room (wouldn’t it be nice?).

I simply wasn’t prepared.

Here I sit, two days later, and I cannot stop thinking about this movie. Just a quick synopsis for those of you residing in places where this film probably won’t be released: The Kids Are All Right, written by Lisa Cholodenko, centers around two lesbians, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), whose two teenage children have decided to exercise their age-determined right to contact the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) their moms used to conceive them.

That’s what you could say if someone asks what the film is about. But you’d be underselling it by a long shot.

First things first: The acting is phenomenal.

Though she is wonderful in The Hours and Far from Heaven, it’s so nice to see Julianne Moore successfully tackle a current woman again. Her portrayal of Jules is unnervingly honest and I was reminded of the gritty ‘Moore of yore’ in Magnolia and Boogie Nights …and as to why I regard her as a truly great actress.

Once again, I was charmed by Mark Ruffalo who stole my affection years ago as the bumbling, loveable druggie inYou Can Count on Me.

And Annette Bening is perfection as the uptight, breadwinning and wine-loving matriarch, Nic. Bening, prone to roles in which she gets to stretch her overdramatic muscles (a la American Beauty and Being Julia), unwaveringly steamboats her way through this film, unafraid to knock anyone from her path in quick, concise judo chops of wit & severe candor.




The Kids Are All Right

It would be sophomoric to claim that this movie is a statement about gay couples with children. There are so many currents pulsing through The Kids Are All Right, it is difficult to classify the film. It’s hysterical without pause to beg for laughter and it’s heart-wrenching without device-motivated melodramatic outbursts.

I guess it suffices to say the movie is true. It’s a glimpse into a home, not just a family unit. They have fun together, smother each other, support each other, say hurtful things and do even more hurtful things to each other. They laugh, cry, yell and curse. The parents have sex (gasp, it’s two women!).  The kids holler and stomp up the stairs, screaming (You just don’t understand!). The film boldly and unapologetically explores the complexity of relationships and illuminates what can happen if we become complacent and stop seeing the ones we love when they’re right in front of us.

In one pivotal scene, Jules interrupts her family watching a television program to apologize. Through tears, she explains that “marriage is hard. It’s fucking hard.” And all of a sudden, as a viewer, I was struck with the clamor of the film’s voice. The sexuality and gender of this couple…it’s irrelevant. No one is exempt from making mistakes or above hurting the ones we love (especially the ones we love). Even those who have fought for the right to be with the person they love or to be able to adopt/have children. No matter the partnership, be it a straight or gay couple, committing your life to another person is a process. And it’s hard. Year after year, the game changes. You grow, you learn—about yourself and your partner. Life is in constant flux and the world changes around you. For you to somehow change as a unit…how can one not make mistakes along the way? It’s how we approach the resolution, that’s the key. Is it worth fighting for? Has too much time passed? Were we looking for an out anyway? Can we mend this? There are so many questions when trust is broken. It’s refreshing to see a film approach these issues in a mature, realistic manner.

I strongly recommend seeing The Kids Are All Right, alright? It’s a beautiful film with a lot to say, so listen up. Picky boy out!

I have a confession…. I’ve been cheating.

Yes, it’s true. As much as I love to read, and as much as I love reading blogs about books, I really really love good DIY design. You see, design used to be relegated to stiff, wealthy women with bouffant hairdos and lots of jewelry, but in this day and age, anyone can design. I love it. Since I was in high school, perusing through Martha Stewart’s Living (my wonderful mom bought me a subscription for my birthday), I would pull pages out of magazines and stash them away for the day I had my own space. I have a binder full of these pages, separated by decor, gardening, recipes, things-I-must-have-someday-when-I-have-money, and gift ideas.

Living in apartments, I would hunt for pieces for that place I knew would be mine someday. Lo and behold, here I am, one year and four months into homeownership, and I am a design blog junkie. In the mornings – that is, before summer school began – I would wake up and bleary-eyed, sit at the computer for my daily dose of design. Design blogs, for me, don’t even require words (unless to share where and how much an item is). I click and drool. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been too busy even to look at design blogs, but last night I sat here for quite some time, clicking through and catching up on what I missed.

What? you may say. This is supposed to be a book blog. Well, yes, and the book part is coming, but I appreciate beauty in many forms, and making a lovely space for me to enjoy reading or just sitting and petting my dog is pretty darn important to me. Enter domino: The Book of Decorating. For those in the know, domino was a fabulous design magazine published from 2005 until last year. Their style was laidback, mostly affordable, and just darn great. I like eclectic, and that’s what domino offered me. Bye bye, hunter green and lots of brass. So long sailboats and themed rooms. When interior design became something for the masses, something truly amazing happened. Vintage came back. Boho chic arrived on scene. Dumpster diving and flea market finds are now all the rage. Etsy is a huge phenomenon. So when domino came out with the book and I saw it at anthropologie, it was the perfect marriage. The cover is absolutely lovely:

More importantly, the inside is full of incredible photos and tips. Each section is broken up by room type and features large spaces, small spaces, trouble spots, etc. There is a decorators’ handbook, which discusses window treatments and upholstery, answering all sorts of questions, such as “Should I hang my curtains above my beautifully-trimmed windows or below?” Yes, this is actually something I never considered but needed to know when hanging curtains. They also discuss rugs – sizes, types, locations. In the very back is what they term “the big black book,” a source for finding the best decorating resources all over the states.

I love this book oh so much. It sits on my coffee table in the living room, but I regularly pick it up for inspiration. I am now to the point in my home that mostly everything is decorated but needs finishing touches. Hopefully, the money I earn from teaching these killer summer sessions will pay off, and I can go back to finding some great pieces and finishing projects I have wanted to start for months. In the meantime, I will “flip through the pages” for you and show you some of my favorite domino rooms. And, to the creators of domino, thank you; maybe when the recession is over you’ll make a comeback? Pretty please?

As for my favorite design sites, here are a few of my favorites based on style, economics (i.e. can I ever afford it?), quantity of projects/photos, and tone of writing. You’d be surprised how many design bloggers come across as snooty or whose designs are just not really that great. Here are the best I’ve found so far:

Young House Love

Centsational Girl

The Lettered Cottage

Green Your Decor

La Dolce Vita

Isabella & Max Rooms