Monday, November 29, 2010

Patterns and crappy furniture

When you go to law school, one of the first things you learn to do is look for patterns.  These things are alike because of x, these things are different because of y.  For example, if I have a red apple, a green apple, and a red pomegranate, which ones go in the basket of like items? Depends on what the "like items" are.  I can put in two apples.  Or I could put in a red apple and a red pomegranate, if the like items are limited to red items.  I could put in both apples and the pomegranate, if the like items are pieces of fruit.  Can I put a melon in the basket of fruit?  How about a tomato?  What if the basket is fruit with thin skins, what has to come out?  And so on and so forth.

I have yet to figure out the pattern of where to drop Greg off in the morning.  Inside the front entrance or outside on the playground, its a mystery.  The school is (roughly) L-shaped, and the two drop off sites are at opposite ends. If we pick the wrong one we have to walk all the around the entire school. The past few weeks we have had:
* 34 degrees and sunny = inside
* 42 degrees, lightly drizzling = outside
* 35 degrees, ground damp from overnight rain, but not currently raining = inside
* 35 degrees, ground damp from overnight rain, not currently raining = outside
* 33 degrees, overcast = outside
* 45 degrees, drizzling = inside
* this morning was 32 degrees and sunny = inside

Anyone know what the pattern is?  I'm ok with raining = inside, sunny = outside, but as you can see above, that doesn't seem to be the rule.  As far as I can tell, the rule is flip a coin.

Its not a holiday weekend unless I am building a POS from Ikea.  True to form, I built a dresser this weekend.

I have no quibble with the style of Ikea.  I think its stylish, modern, and inexpensive. We have plenty of furniture from Ikea. I am slowly trying to replace our Ikea furniture with better pieces, generally thrifted from Craigslist, but I needed a long low dresser to go in the Mister's closet, so I went with the readily available item from Ikea.

I do NOT think Ikea furniture is sturdy or well made.  I have thrown out a lot of Ikea furniture over the years. Just a few months ago we threw out the boys' Hemnes dresser because it literally fell apart--the side supports cracked and separated from the body of the dresser, and it was unfixable.  When we moved, the moving company had us sign a form saying that if any Ikea furniture broke in the move was not their fault.

I have built so many pieces of furniture from Ikea over the past ten years I've gotten rather good at it. I sit down, read the directions, separate all the pieces into piles that will be used in order, and put all the screws and widgets in the same order that they are in the instruction booklet.  It generally goes pretty quickly.

 Even when it goes well, I spend a fair amount of time cursing the Swedish population and their flatpack engineering.  And then, there are times like this, when words do not adequately convey my rage:

Duct tape to the rescue.

Of course, its in the front, and visible.  Le sigh.

My goal in life is to own furniture I don't have to build myself.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Food coma

omg, food coma.

We had a crudite/cheese/fruit course, and antipasti (olives, sopressata, bread, eggplant, shitake mushrooms, mushroom caps), pasta with lobster sauce, then the turkey with stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a bunch of other stuff I'm blanking on, then a salad course, then pumpkin bread pudding, cheesecake, brownies and coffee for dessert.

It doesn't sound like as much food when I list it.  But I assure you, it was. Actually, it was a fairly small meal, comparatively. (Christmas Eve's Feast of the Seven Fishes is a dinner that last about six hours and you won't eat for two days after.) Greg took a break after the antipasti, came back to the table, and cried "someone took away my first dinner! I'm not ready for second dinner yet!"  When we were eating dessert, he came back for "third dinner. Plus dessert.  Then some more third dinner." As we were cleaning up, he said, "how about some more third dinner?  I want more meat."

Since our families are about two hours apart, we used to have a first Thanksgiving dinner, then drive to the next Thanksgiving dinner.  But then we had kids and decided to split up the holidays on a schedule.  Thanksgiving was my family, Easter was my in-laws.  About two years ago, however, we ended up at my family for Easter, and I had forgotten how much fun it was for kids.  I have a zillion cousins so there is an Easter Egg hunt, and an egg-throwing contest from the second floor.  So, this year we decided to switch it up and spend Thanksgiving with my inlaws, and Easter with my family.

My inlaws are amazing cooks.  I haven't had my mother in law's stuffing in about five years, and OMG SO FREAKING GOOD.  But, food coma.  I've learned my lesson a long time ago--its a rookie mistake to eat too much antipasti.  Pace yourself, there are always at least 3 courses for holiday dinners, and more food than you can shake a stick at--but I stuffed myself today like I haven't in a long time.  I even held back on the lobster pasta, knowing how much more was to come.  But I wished I had worn my eating pants.

I am grateful.

For so many things, but here are just a few.

For these little guys:

For this guy, who works so hard so I can be home with our kids, who turns a blind eye to my decorating obsession, who does everything he can think of to make my life wonderful:

For living in Craptasticville.  Not that I like Craptasticville, but living here means that we are all together as a family again, that the Mister is no longer commuting 5+ hours per day, and that my generous in-laws had the space for us.

For my sister, who has moved much closer and now I can nag her into visiting us ALL THE TIME.

For blogging, because it has made me start taking 1000+ pictures a month of my kids and our life.  I don't think I have a 1000 pictures of the previous five years.  Sorry, Greg, for not documenting the first five years of your life.  (I'm not saying they are all in focus or good pictures, but hey, better a blurry picture than none at all.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

pretty curtains

I love pretty curtains. Love them.  Lately I have been loving giant florals and ikats.  Sadly I only have one giant floral in my house, everything else is plain Jane.

Here are some pretties in my inspiration folder:

From 6th Street Design School.  Aren't these gorgeous with the pillows?

I like these so much I have saved them twice. Here they are from Odi et Amo's family room, and again, I love them with the pillows (Chiang Mai dragon!).  Actually, I love everything about this room:

Also from 6th Street Design School, and I know I've posted these before, but clearly I really like them. I love the floral with the ribbon-trimmed roman shade:

From Chinoiserie Chic:

Another one I've included before (from Emily A. Clark) but I came very close to getting this Wilmington Covington fabric for my own curtains:

And these from Rambling Renovators:

Here's a great website with awesome curtains I stumbled across today when reading Fresh Nest Design:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hallway gallery

Around the corner from the door into the apartment is a little hallway, with a cube bookshelf and a shoe cubby, where we keep our shoes and hats and gloves.  Because it is the wall behind the stair well it has a slanted gable-type wall that sticks out.  I've had a hard time figuring out what sort of art to put there. For a long time it was blank.

I put a long, skinny mirror there, but since it reflected adult waists, and none of the kids could see their heads there, it didn't seem like the right piece.  When I moved the long skinny mirror to beside the bathroom, I switched out the two bird pieces that were there, but eh, didn't like them there either.

It seemed like a good place for a gallery wall.  (Since the four I already have just aren't enough. See them here, here, here, and here.)  I don't know, something about putting a whole bunch of small things together just makes me happy, I guess.

And here it is! Sorry for the meh pictures, but its a narrow hallway and kind of hard to get a good angle.

The white square with flower and the red flower were on clearance from Target.  The upper left is a rendering of my son's name in Chinese that my father picked up in China a few years ago.  The lower right is Greg's handprints over a painting that he and Nana put together.

In the yellow frame is a cross-stitch my sister made.  The blue frame and the silver frame have some vintage prints from Vintage Printable.  I love that site.  The picture in the silver frame of the two boys fighting made me giggle. I included it because that's pretty much what my boys look like 90% of the time.

What's that you say?  Why, Lisa, you have a gallery wall full of some arty stuff and a bunch of blank frames?  Not even chunky, interesting frames arranged in a funky manner--just blank frames?

Yes, I know.  I plan on putting pictures of all the places the Mister and I have lived together in the blank frames.  Except I don't seem to have taken a single picture of any place we've lived in the last ten years.  Its on my list of things to do.  I should be able to get them all fairly soon, with the exception of Rumson, that's a hike and we don't know anyone down there to visit anymore.  Anyone live near Rumson and want to go take a picture for me?

I also had planned on doing something with the letter C.  I was originally thinking of putting some fabric on it, like this one from Aisle to Aloha, except I haven't found the right fabric...most of my fabrics have very large repeats and don't show the full pattern on a skinny piece, so I need a smaller pattern fabric.

No problem--I came across a great post with some yarn wrapped letters on Name Five Things, so I thought, yes! I will wrap it with yarn! Well.  In true "I am so not crafty" fashion, I couldn't figure out how to wrap it neatly around the curve.  You'll also note that the only yarn in the house was kind of rainbow colored. (Leftovers from Crazy Hat Day.) How do you get the yarn to stay down on that curvy part? It wrapped up all humpy like and looked stupid.

Lastly, I'd like a round frame instead of the black one all the way at the top, but I've been looking for weeks and can't find a round frame that has a wall hanger.

When I get all of the pictures of our former houses I will update. But that could be forever and a day away, so I'll just enjoy the empty frames for now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

gallery walls

I love gallery walls.  When I was a kid, my grandmother had a gallery wall of family photos in her tv room. It was pretty large, full of pictures of my father and his 10 siblings growing up, and other relatives too.  I always thought it would be cool to have something like that when I grew up. (Actually, I want that whole house at 7 Montclair.  My grandma has good taste and interesting style.)

Here are some gallery walls I've been collecting as inspiration:

from Nuestra Vida Dulce:

From Aisle to Aloha:

Young House Love:

Emily A. Clark:

Remodelaholic (I am so doing this with the kids art in the playroom eventually!)

Little Green Notebook:

So of course you know there will be an upcoming post soon on my new gallery wall, right?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

hokey pokey

put your right foot in

take your right foot out

turn around

then you shake it all about

Dinosaurs invade the Island of Sodor:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

things I want for Christmas

I doubt Santa is bringing any of this, especially the last one, but hey, you never know!

An air compressor with paint attachment. I haven't done enough research to know which is a good one to get.  Am open to suggestions.  Everything I've looked at under $100 gets terrible reviews.

A belt sander.

A variable speed jigsaw.

A hole saw kit.

A miter saw.

A kreg jig:

The Petrie sofa from Crate and Barrel:

Nonstick insulated cookie sheets. At least 3 of them.

Celerie Kemble's To Your Taste.

Any book by Jonathon Adler:

These Christmas stockings from Plum Cushion.

A new house to put all this stuff in.
image via Hooked On Houses