Archive for December, 2008

A New Year’s Meditation

December 31, 2008

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New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing. They seem designed only to make us feel guilty and deprived: spend less, drink less, weigh less. So how about resolutions to have more, to feel more, to do more and see more? Resolutions like: at least once a day, close your eyes and absorb the world’s details through touch. Feel the cool rasp of a rock, the soft tickle of a feather.

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Keep fresh flowers in the house at all times, be it a bountiful bouquet…

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…or a single blossom.

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Bring fewer throwaway items into your home. Invest instead in pieces that you’ll have forever: a chair whose every spring squeaks a story…

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…a blanket that only gets softer with each passing year.

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Get courageous in the kitchen. Try a daring new recipe once a week…

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…and eat it at the table, not in front of the television.

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Treat every journey like a grand adventure, whether you’re going across the street…

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…or across the ocean.

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Eat more vegetables.

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Eat more fruit.

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Listen to your doctor, and get more calcium. But let it be a vehicle for more cookie dunking…

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…a means to more milkshake making, more french fry munching.

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Go to the beach more, even when the weather isn’t perfect…

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…and while you’re there make s’mores.

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Celebrate more. Raise a toast to even your smallest accomplishments. Throw a party and be your own guest of honour.

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Here’s to the tears and triumphs of 2008, and to the challenges and joys that 2009 will surely bring. Happy New Year!

All images courtesy of Con Poulos.

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Shopping Trip: Lighting from Goodwill

December 30, 2008

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A good lamp is hard to find. And a good lamp under $50 is a rare creature indeed! I've had good luck with my local Goodwill before, so I popped in recently to see what the thrift gods had up their sleeves. I scored two 1960’s era lamps that—with a little love and imagination— transformed into the sexy retro number in the photo above. Total cost for one lamp? $36!

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When hunting for thrift lamps, look for one with a great shape; don’t worry about the finish as paint will cover any surface flaws. I chose flat white spray paint to mimic the look of white ceramic, and I buffed with extra fine sandpaper between coats. I was lucky to find lamps with shades that were easy to recover using fabric and spray adhesive. If your shade can’t be salvaged, you can buy a new one or make your own for a reasonable price.

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Here's a play by play on the re-do. Please feel free to let me know in the comments section if you'd like more detailed instructions. Oh, and one last tip when shopping for lighting at thrift stores: bring a lightbulb with you. Plug in the lamp. Make sure it works. Mine does not.

Resources: Lamp, table and chair, all Goodwill. Clock, Kate Spade. Bird Painting, oil on canvas by Mincing Mockingbird. Ceramic Bird Bowl, Jonathan Adler.

Displaying Photos at Home: A Photographer’s Perspective

December 29, 2008

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Finally getting those family photos out of storage and up on the wall? Throw out your ruler. Although a casual arrangement can be trickier to assemble than a formal setting, it creates great warmth and intimacy. Bay Area photographer Anna Kilbridge agrees. “I love how an eclectic arrangement demands your attention, draws you in, invites you to linger,” says Anna. And though she says there are no hard and fast rules to making it work, Anna does offer a few guidelines.

1. Keep it simple. Choose frames of all one color. Anna prefers black, silver, and—increasingly—white frames. “If you look at timeless photography displays, the frames are always very minimal. Anything too flashy starts to look dated very quickly.”

2. Take it slow. Start with the photo that impacts you most and allow the arrangement to evolve. “Plan it less. It might take a while to find a setting you love, but with time it will emerge.”

3. Have fun. The best arrangements are the ones that emerge spontaneously. If it’s your first attempt at an eclectic installation, Anna recommends a picture ledge. “Shelving is brilliant because you can move things as you go along. It gives you permission to play.”

Thanks to Anna Kilbridge for the tips! Recently named one of SFGate’s Top Three Wedding Photographers in The Bay Area, Anna lives and works in San Francisco.

Resources: Frames and picture ledges, Ikea. FYI, I put the above arrangement together in about an hour!

Styling and Photo Credit: Anne Sage

Displaying Photos at Home: A Photographer’s Perspective

December 29, 2008

hallway working.jpg

Finally getting those family photos out of storage and up on the wall? Throw out your ruler. Although a casual arrangement can be trickier to assemble than a formal setting, it creates great warmth and intimacy. Bay Area photographer Anna Kilbridge agrees. “I love how an eclectic arrangement demands your attention, draws you in, invites you to linger,” says Anna. And though she says there are no hard and fast rules to making it work, Anna does offer a few guidelines.

1. Keep it simple. Choose frames of all one color. Anna prefers black, silver, and—increasingly—white frames. “If you look at timeless photography displays, the frames are always very minimal. Anything too flashy starts to look dated very quickly.”

2. Take it slow. Start with the photo that impacts you most and allow the arrangement to evolve. “Plan it less. It might take a while to find a setting you love, but with time it will emerge.”

3. Have fun. The best arrangements are the ones that emerge spontaneously. If it’s your first attempt at an eclectic installation, Anna recommends a picture ledge. “Shelving is brilliant because you can move things as you go along. It gives you permission to play.”

Thanks to Anna Kilbridge for the tips! Recently named one of SFGate’s Top Three Wedding Photographers in The Bay Area, Anna lives and works in San Francisco.

Resources: Frames and picture ledges, Ikea. FYI, I put the above arrangement together in about an hour!

Styling and Photo Credit: Anne Sage

Photographer Lust: Jason Loucas

December 29, 2008

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I spent all last week gorging myself on Christmas chocolate. After the initial sugar high I’m in a total carb coma, so I’ll just load up your plate with these gorgeous interiors from photographer Jason Loucas. How fabulous is this all-white kitchen? I love the basket storage in the center island. And the china hutch below is kicking my salivary glands into overdrive.

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I’m such a sucker for anything that involves rough, homespun linen. Throw in painted brick walls, ceramic canisters, and a vintage Navy chair and I’m good to go!

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Couldn’t you just lounge in this bed all day long? Those oversized pillows are just right for propping yourself up while you read the fashion section and nibble on toast with jam (made from homemade brioche, of course!).

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I adore this setting for its studies in contrast, a clean white shell of a room provides the perfect backdrop for a glam zebra rug and an opulent chandelier. Plus that aubergine womb chair? Be still my heart!

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Speaking of purple, this living room seriously justifies my obsession with throw pillows. Layer upon layer of warm, welcoming neutrals—ranging from ecru to camel to espresso—and just a punch of cozy mauve? Yes please!

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These last two make me want to reach for a paint brush and a bucket of Benjamin Moore—anyone have tips on the best deep interior shade to get this effect? The drama of the pale weathered chair against the deep coal of the walls is simply stunning.

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It just doesn’t get better than this. A dinner setting that seems out of place and out of time—eternally gorgeous in shades of deepest black and sheerest white, and a table setting too pretty eat from. What a gorgeous New Years Eve party this would make!

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Okay, I’m off to gorge myself on my chocolate…have a lovely day everyone!

All images courtesy of Jason Loucas.

Photographer Lust: Jason Loucas

December 29, 2008

jasonloucas4203.png

I spent all last week gorging myself on Christmas chocolate. After the initial sugar high I’m in a total carb coma, so I’ll just load up your plate with these gorgeous interiors from photographer Jason Loucas. How fabulous is this all-white kitchen? I love the basket storage in the center island. And the china hutch below is kicking my salivary glands into overdrive.

jasonloucas.png

I’m such a sucker for anything that involves rough, homespun linen. Throw in painted brick walls, ceramic canisters, and a vintage Navy chair and I’m good to go!

jasonloucas760.png

Couldn’t you just lounge in this bed all day long? Those oversized pillows are just right for propping yourself up while you read the fashion section and nibble on toast with jam (made from homemade brioche, of course!).

jasonloucas7601.png

I adore this setting for its studies in contrast, a clean white shell of a room provides the perfect backdrop for a glam zebra rug and an opulent chandelier. Plus that aubergine womb chair? Be still my heart!

loucas3.png

Speaking of purple, this living room seriously justifies my obsession with throw pillows. Layer upon layer of warm, welcoming neutrals—ranging from ecru to camel to espresso—and just a punch of cozy mauve? Yes please!

loucas5.png

These last two make me want to reach for a paint brush and a bucket of Benjamin Moore—anyone have tips on the best deep interior shade to get this effect? The drama of the pale weathered chair against the deep coal of the walls is simply stunning.

loucas938.png

It just doesn’t get better than this. A dinner setting that seems out of place and out of time—eternally gorgeous in shades of deepest black and sheerest white, and a table setting too pretty eat from. What a gorgeous New Years Eve party this would make!

loucas9381.png

Okay, I’m off to gorge myself on my chocolate…have a lovely day everyone!

All images courtesy of Jason Loucas.

Happy Christmas!

December 23, 2008

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Well I’m signing off for a few days. Have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate, and a wonderful rest of the week if you don’t! Thank you to all my readers, commenters and blog friends for a wonderful holiday season full of love and inspiration. I can’t wait to continue sharing with you in the new year!

I’ll be posting lightly next week so I can take some much appreciated time to visit with loved ones, but will be back in full swing the week after that. See you soon!

Row One: Anna Wolf, Ideal Home, Colin Cooke, John Paul Urizar
Row Two: Country Home Magazine December 2008, Ideal Home Magazine December 2008, Anna Wolf, Peter Carlsson
Row Three: Anna Williams, Martha Stewart via This Is Glamourous, Chris Everard, Chris Craymer
Row Four: Sarah Kaye Represents, Anna Williams, Annika Vannerus, Martha Stewart

A Christmas Carol, Starck Style

December 23, 2008

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Forget the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future…
I want Louis and Victoria Ghost to visit me in the night!

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Image Credits: 1. Inside Out Magazine Christmas 2008 2. John Paul Urizar

Mine! All Mine!

December 23, 2008

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Come to me, my pretties! As much as I like a good surprise for Christmas, I love it even more when Santa Mama lets me pick out what I want. And if the sweater’s on sale and I find a 25% discount code for the boots? Even better!

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Word on the street is that the sweater has GLOVE SHAPED POCKETS! I’ll let you know how soft it is when it arrives in the mail.

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Thanks Santa Mama! And don’t worry—I got her something pretty good too 🙂

Fantasizing About: A Romantic Prairie Christmas

December 22, 2008

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I get so caught up in the cheer and festivity of Christmas, I often forget that it’s quite a romantic holiday too. But imagine, if you will, a long ago Christmas Eve on the range. The town schoolteacher –a recent transplant from the big city–becomes trapped in her tiny cabin during a blizzard. The gruff yet gorgeous sheriff–spurned by love in the past—arrives to rescue her and ends up getting snowed in himself.

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Unable to leave the cabin until the snow stops, the schoolteacher and the sheriff circle each other warily. She thinks he is an uncouth, uncivilized cowboy. He is suspicious and awkward around her refined East Coast ways. Ruffled feathers ensue.

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But as the storm rages outside, tensions in the tiny cabin begin to thaw. She discovers in his saddlebags the love note he had written her but was too shy to deliver. He finds in her cupboard the mittens she knitted but couldn’t work up the courage to give him. They gaze at each other longingly from opposite sides of the rustic plank floor…

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Christmas morning dawns to find the skies a clear, cold blue. The warmth of a crackling fire fills the prairie cabin as our couple snuggles close. They nibble cinnamon biscuits and laugh about how they secretly loved each other the whole time. What a story they will have to tell their grandchildren!

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Can you tell I’ve read one too many romance novels? For some practical Christmas advice check out my guest post today at A Day That Is Dessert!

All images courtesy of Krakvik & D’Orazio