Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Easiest DIY - Faceted Lantern

I'm in love with all the faceted / geometric terrariums and light fixtures which are so popular. I'm a little late to the bandwagon.  I've been wanting a gold candle lantern for my coffee table. It has to be brass and big and faceted and inexpensive. These from Restoration Hardware are beautiful. But at $179 for the medium size way out of my budget. I'm also pretty sure I can't use a candle in them with the top closed. Time to get my diy on!

I found this light fixture on eBay for $30 with shipping. I see them for sale all the time on Craigs List, except of course when I want one. I didn't want to drive too far and nothing was coming up locally so I went with eBay. It would probably be cheaper on Craigs List or at a thrift store if you are willing to wait a little while to find it.

I snipped the wires, unscrewed the light fixture part from the top canopy, flipped it upside down, plunked in a $3.99 candle and voila! I have a 17" tall, brass, faceted, candle lantern for $30. I'm pretty pleased with myself. It really makes an impact.

I'm one step closer to having enough do-dads to style up my square coffee table. As you know I'm kinda a minimalist so I don't really have any extra accessories around (except for several vintage items no longer my style that I think I'll sell on Etsy/eBay "some day"). I've got a round planter and a round-ish lantern and I think I need one other item to fill out the display. Styling accessories is not my forte so I'm kind of winging it. The last item will consist of some magazines or books or a tray with something decorative on it. I'm not sure what. I was thinking of a foo dog or a pair of foo dogs. But I have the elephant stool and a new, large zebra (I'm so excited. It was delivered Saturday so pictures soon!) in the room, plus all the bird prints on the wall. Maybe its enough wild life without the foo dogs? This is were I'm at now. It's pretty basic. My laptop lives on the coffee table when it's not on my lap. I couldn't get a picture where my dog Sebastian wasn't photo bombing. Smile!

What's your favorite coffee table styling tip? I could use all the help I can get!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Michael Kors Purse Look-a-Like

I'm in love with this Michael Kors purse for $298 (currently on sale for $178 at Nordstrom). But even at 40% off its way too expensive for me.

I found this great substitute at Old Navy for $20 when it was on sale with 30% off last week.

It doesn't have the additional long shoulder strap that the Michael Kors bag has but its fine without it. It looks much better in person. The vinyl could really pass for leather (unless you are holding and feeling it) and its more slouchy when you are carrying it. (I was surprised that the purse was $7 cheaper in the store than online. I found that about several items. I think in the future I'll shop in person at Old Navy.)

Anyway I'm very happy with my new purse. It won't last as long as a leather handbag, but I like to switch up my bags every season so a $20 purse is just perfect for me.

Find any good look-a-likes lately?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ohio University Marching Band - Ylvis The Fox

OMG have you seen this? I was such a band geek in Jr & Senior High School. I was in  marching band in Jr. High but in Senior High I was in the flag corp. Seriously this has me laughing. I would have loved to see it in person. The choreography is great. What a work out to perform it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dining Room Chairs

I'm so excited. I purchased a new car on Saturday. I've been driving my 2001 Saturn since the summer of 2000. It only had 105,000 miles but was starting to have maintenance and reliability issues. It was time.

I'm thrilled with the car (not so thrilled with having a car payment again). It's a 2014 Ford Focus Hatchback. Yippie! A Hatchback!! I can now more easily buy/sell furniture. I put it to the test on Sunday when I purchased six large dining chairs.

5 fit into the car. I was very pleased with all the cargo room.

These have tall backs and wide seats. Very comfortable. They need some work. They are filthy and the finish requires some scratch cover. Obviously the upholstery needs to be replaced. I love the scale and the design on the back. I brought one chair upstairs from the basement so I could see how it looked in the dining room and they really make a statement - which is what I wanted. I can't wait to have the time to bring these beauties back to life. I've already got the fabric for the upholstery, Tommy Bahama Home Ebb & Flow Peninsula from

I love how it has all the blues and greens in my house in one fabric. I am a little concerned that its too busy with the detailed back of the chairs. Of course I bought the fabric prior to purchasing the chairs (why do I do that?) so it is what it is.  So even though I hadn't really planned on working on my dining room this year, in the last few months I purchased a new china cabinet, new rug, new decor for the bar cart, new drapes and have picked out a new light fixture. The only "old" thing left is the table (which I love and will be keeping), the wall color (which I want to repaint - maybe white) and the art work (which needs help). Maybe in the next couple weeks I can show off the completed chairs in their new room.

How was your weekend? Buy anything new?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

It was my birthday Saturday. 46 years old. I don't feel that old. Seems like yesterday I was 32. Life was pretty good at 32. Life isn't bad now. Just not maybe 32 good. Does that make sense?

Anyway I bought myself some birthday presents. First off this beautiful 5"x7" painting by Kerry Steele. Isn't it pretty? My friendly UPS man delivered it today. It was packaged very nicely. It has wonderful texture to it. And I love the pink and orange. I am still trying to find the right place for it so this is the picture from Kerry's website and not in my home. I'll update you when it lands somewhere. I'm trying it out in several rooms and it looks great everywhere I put it!

I also bought myself a new watch. There are so many pretty reasonable priced watches out there it was hard to choose. I got this one from but in a navy blue color. It was a cheap $12.00 (but looks more expensive) watch but I liked its big face and the bling on the bezel. It's rubber band is kinda fun. So much better than the boring men's Timex I've been wearing.

My Brother and Sister-in-Law took me out for dinner on Sunday. It was so Yummy! We spent 3.5 hours in the restaurant just chatting and enjoying the delicious food. Such a nice present.  

All in all it was a very good birthday indeed.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Craigslist Wallpaper

I don't think its any secret that I absolutely love Craigslist. Look at what I found! OK, its a great little table and chair set for $300. But LOOK at that wallpaper in the background!! Foil Tigers! The ad references an estate sale on Sunday. I might go check it out. Because if they have this great table/chair set and fablous wallpaper I wonder what other goodies they have.

Sorry for the blurry picture. This is how it was on Craigslist but I think you can still see the awesome wallpaper.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Master Bedroom Bedding

Have you seen this Emily + Meritt Metallic Dottie Duvet from Pottery Barn Teen? I'm in love and would happily have it for my bedroom (even though its not meant for a middle aged women). However it's pretty expensive just to have something that my cat will throw up on. The queen duvet is $109 and the bed skirt is $109 plus pillows, shams, sheets, oh my!

My sheets were so old that the elastic was dead and they would no longer stay on the bed. So I purchased new ones. I found a new duvet and sheet set on Amazon the other day and ordered them.  They fit my super deep mattress and my existing duvet insert. They are dark and will show cat hair but not vomit stains. Ugh what a glamorous life I lead. Why does my cat ALWAYS throw up on my bed? I ordered the Clara Clark Premier 1800 Collection sheet set and duvet cover in eggplant. The sheets were $22 and the duvet cover was $32. They arrived the other day and are so soft and silky feeling.

And you'll notice I purchased purple, now the official color (along with black with gold accents) for the master bedroom. I've tried a sample of a purple paint on the walls but it is too dark and too Barney-ish. I was going for something more grayed purple and this didn't show that way on the walls. I have about a million sample chips to pick from. Back to the drawing board.

Do you have to decorate around your pets?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ylvis - The Fox

Have you seen/heard this? I can't get it out of my head. It makes me smile and I want to dance in the  woods too.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Asian Fruit

I've been going to a new produce market for my weekly grocery shopping. Since I'm doing Weight Watchers (I've lost 25 lbs!) I'm eating tons of fresh fruit to fulfill my sweet cravings. I've been also eating fresh veggies. Although frozen veggies with cheese sauce is much more palatable. Anyway I've been trying new fruit. This week it was lychee fruit. It has a sturdy peel with a sweet, juicy fruit with a pit in the center. It's pretty good!

I had to Google how to eat it. While doing so I found a fun Asian fruit identification quiz for you. Give it a try. I missed one, but only because I watch Chopped on TV like the crazed fan that I am. They've had most of the fruit on various episodes. Have you tried anything new to eat lately?

Asian Fruit Identification Quiz

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Last Days of Summer

My son left for college at SCAD in Savannah Georgia Monday morning. He's a Senior this year (!!!!) and working again as a Resident Assistant in the dorms. He was out of town with friends for a few days and only got home in time to wake me up, kiss me goodbye and head to the airport at 2:00 am. Luckily the friends he was traveling with dropped him off at the airport on their way home so I didn't have to get up and drive. I'm NOT a morning person, no matter how hard I try.  He'll had a wait at the airport until his flight at 7:00 am, but it worked out well. He'll be home in 10 weeks for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I miss him when he's gone. But I'll enjoy having only my messes to clean and my food budget is much smaller when I'm not feeding a 21 year old.

I'm happy summer is over. I glad to get back into a routine. I'm also looking forward to long sleeved shirts, boots and leaves crunching when I take my walk.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stalking Craigslist

There have been some great items for sale on Craigslist lately. Check these out.

Great oriental soapstone panels $59 for all 4. If this was closer I'd purchase it and put them in my bathroom.

This light fixture was listed as art deco but is a wonderful late 1960s early 1970s pop art style for only $75.

Beautiful painted chest for $400.

Love this pair of asian nightstands for $350.

 Great pair of faux bamboo barrell chairs for $75 for the pair.

Pretty faux bamboo mirror for $25.

Love this pair of chiavary chairs for $150.

A pair of brass ginger jar lamps for $40.

This is a great chest. I'd use it for my jewelry $100.

This person had light fixturs for sale $35 for the five light one and $25 for the matching 3 light fixture.

 More lights $35 for the five light and $25 for the matching 3 light.

Another great oriental cabinet. This one was $250. There are always great oriental/asian/chinese pieces for sale in the Chicago area.

Lovely chinoiserie down couch. $350 each two available.

This mahogany secretary chest is only $250. I wish I had a place for one in my condo.

 This emerald green desk is $375. Not a great price but a very pretty desk! I even like the way it is styled for the picture.

 7 chippendale chairs for $420.

 I love the elephant stand for $100. If I didn't already own one I'd purchase this.

Blue and white lamps for $40 for the pair. 

 Glass table for $50. I'd love to get one and use it as a desk in my office/Son's bedroom. Anna from Daily Dose of Kevin has one in her office. I love the way it looks. But unless the sellers are willing to deliver I have no way of getting this home. Darn.

What an interesting curio cabinet kind of shaped like a pagoda! $300

Pair of blue and white large vases $50.

This is a fun shaped mirror only $75. It would look great in my bathroom (although I'm kinda afraid to mix metals and everything in the bathroom is chrome).

This is one of the most disgusting things I've seen on Craigslist. Its a taxidermy elephant foot stool for $1000. Horrible!

As you can see my love affair with all things Chinoiserie and brass continues. Have you found anything good on Craigslist lately?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

OMG - I so want this!!!

Craigslist you do not disappoint. I missed out on the Sarreid chest a little bit ago. So I am getting a gift,  a second chance. It's like the cheap furniture Gods shine down upon my head. Ladies this is a 1960's Sarreid coffee table designed by Charrak. It's 40" x 40" and 14" tall. It is currently for sale for only $125!!! And they might even deliver it for me (because there is no way that will fit in either my car or the little station wagon I can sometimes borrow). The kicker is I already really like my coffee table with the glass top. And this is kinda too big to switch out with it even if I decide to do so. Also I really don't even have the space to store it until I can flip it on eBay. But I WWWWAAAAAANNNNTTTTTT THIS so bad! I'm trying to be strong... be practical. I'm having all these conversations with myself. But seriously. This is just a bad ass coffee table. Imagine it all shined up and full of brassy goodness. I think I'm going to go for it and purchase it if they will deliver it. Its a little crazy to want something just because its pretty - with no place to put it. And its not like I'm going to magically be getting a family room added onto my condo any time soon where I could use this. What would you do? Pull out your wallet so fast its smoking or just keep walking?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Updates to the Living Room

Finally!! I've got a bunch of things to show you so the post is long. I think I've mentioned that I wanted to move away from my totally mid century modern style to more of a Hollywood regency/Chinoiserie style. The mid century stuff was pretty and mostly good designer pieces but it never felt like me.  I've been making changes for the last several months but just haven't gotten around to taking pictures. And unfortunately my picture taking ability hasn't improved any from the last time I took pictures of the living room. It must be my camera. Every picture is fuzzy and grainy. Because really can I be this bad? I think these are all new to you. If not, just play along.

So this wall of the living room had an old mid century modern oak chair with crappy upholstery (actually the colors and flame-stitch pattern are pretty just not in my blue/turquoise living room) that I always meant to change but never got around to it. It has had a pretty green and turquoise micro stripe fabric draped and tucked for a couple years. Next to it is a Jon Van Koert mid century modern walnut table with a white ginger jar lamp with a pleated shade and some pheasant statues from the 1960s. I changed the lamp on this table several times. It used to be a blue lamp, prior to that a wood mid-century modern one. On the floor is my plant in an Ikea white pot. On the wall are 9 framed Audubon prints from 1960's. I've had the chevron rug for a while. There used to be a brown and turquoise rug. And back a couple years this wall was painted brown with random artwork.

The new look is a pretty Italian regency side chair with a blue floral stripe. The chair was $90 from an estate/consignment shop. Typically more than I would pay but I fell in love with it. Its much smaller than the old chair and frankly not as comfortable. If it was a chair that was used in the living room all the time I don't think it would work. But realistically I'm the only one in the living room 90% of the time. My son is away at college.  Its fine for guests for a couple of hours. Next to it is a fruit wood octagon table with creamy marble top. I love all the hidden storage this table gives me and the carved pattern on the table. I do worry that the octagon shape dates the table. Even though the table is probably from the 1970's I don't really want it to scream I'm old.  I'm going for a timeless look rather than retro or old. I also like how the leggy chair looks next to the solid to the ground table. In my old living room everything had exposed legs and it drove me nuts.

On top is a mirrored/mercury glass ribbed lamp with a rectangle shade from Target, but I found it for 1/3 the price at the Salvation Army in perfect condition with the Target tags still on it. I'd like to add some trim the the bottom of the shade. I've thought about a pretty greek key but am using that in a large scale in another room so would like something different here. I've got a pretty royal blue vase, from TJ Maxx for only $2 on clearance, with paper flowers I made. I like how the royal blue ties into the royal blue in the drapes across the room.

A Nate Burkus spiky gold urchin and an african violet plant rounds out the top. I want to remove the violet and add another item to the table but I'm not sure what. I'm thinking a small 4"x6" abstract. I have a pretty lucite easel I'd love to use. I worry that will be too busy with the Audubon prints behind it. Maybe use just a photograph in a geometric frame. I'm not very good at the small decorating touches because I typically like clean surfaces. Its hard to make a clear surface look intentional and finished and not just bare.

On the floor is a large asian pot with pretty colorful flowers and a hand painted scene. It makes my plant look so much bigger but its the same plant! I got the pot from Craigslist for $25.

On the opposite side of the room I had my pretty vintage drapes in blues and greens on a creamy background (They are a little short but whatever. I sometimes think about adding a bottom panel and a leading edge in a solid fabric to make them fit better. But that sounds like a lot of work). In front is my 1960's Hans Wegner AP 27 chair and ottoman in a pretty avocado green color with an Ikea pillow. Next to it is another Jon Von Koert side table accessorized with live plants.

Now I have a pretty peacock blue slipper chair with ottoman pipped in a cream color. There are casters and little brass caps on the chairs legs and some button tufting. The ottoman has fluted detail on its legs. Again this chair is more petite and not quite as comfortable as the loungy former chairs. The scale is better for the room. It's also primarily for guests and isn't used on a daily basis so its fine. I bought it at the same time from the same estate as the striped blue chair and it was $120. The fabrics coordinate beautifully. I seriously die for that cream pipping. It really makes the chair.

Next to it is my elephant table I purchased from Craigslist for $45. I'm still debating painting him a creamy white and getting rid of the brown highlighting but can't decide. On top I put a glass round, some of my decorating books and a Christmas cactus plant. The top of the elephant isn't perfectly flat so the glass wobbles. That's why I added the books as their weight stabilizes everything. I don't like that there is no place for guests to put a glass so the top will probably be tweaked sometime in the future. I found the pretty emerald green pot at an estate sale for $2.50. 

On the wall opposite of the front door is my Ikea couch with a black slipcover. It was a quick Craigslist purchase for $35 when my Room and Board sofa wouldn't fit up the stairs to my condo when I moved in. The style was fine for the room and it was comfortable. The fuchsia pillows are from my colorful phase awhile back. The tables are designed by Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard – Nielsen for France & Son along with the coffee table that you can't really see well. The lamps are a white raised design with shades with silver linings.

The new look keeps the Ikea couch.  I have my eye on a pretty sofa from Room and Board in custom upholstery in an Ink color. My couch savings have been diverted to other necessary projects like saving for a new car. I think I'm going to have to live with it for another year or so. The chevron rug is still here. It's held up well and the cream still looks pretty good. You might notice that I turned the orientation of the rug so it runs the width of the condo. I wish it were a little bigger but think this direction change makes the room feel more cohesive.

The Chicago skyline at sunset triptych in chunky black frames, taken by my Son, is still up. I'm not crazy about the orange color. I'd love some black and white photography or prints from The Pink Pagoda or maybe move in the large abstract from the dining room here. The pillows are a pretty blue and green pattern from TJ Maxx. The white throw is still here. I want to replace it but will wait for a new couch first so I know what to get.

The lamps have been replaced by mercury glass lamps from Target for $55 each. I've used a black Nate Burkus shade for $25. Unfortunately the shade do-hicky that sits on the light socket is a little too big for the lamp so the shades rock. I could have taken the shades back but I really love the opaque look of the shades. I'm going to wrap the light socket with a little electrical tape so the shade doesn't wobble.

The end tables have a pretty carved design and creamy marble tops that match the octagon on the other side of the room. I love their deep drawers. Storage is always an issue. I purchased all 3 of  them from Craigslist for $125 (I think) and getting them all into my car was a challenge. I added a small lucite tray on the one table. It works great as a catch all for pens, papers, jewelry I take off in the evening, etc. There is a basked under the one table for excess dog toys. I added back the kennel to the side of the table. It's ugly but Sebastian my dog loves it. On the other end table I have a large Van Briggle Console bowl with 3 orchids in it. The orchids are growing new leaves but not blooming. I've got to figure out why. The plant stand to the left has been in my family for years. I want a new pot for my plant. Something with a little flair.

The coffee table is a large glass top oriental table with Ming style legs. The finish is a green malachite but looks black in most lights. As Emily Henderson would say it engages the space better than the rectangle that was here before. I purchased the table from Craigslist for $125 plus free delivery. I moved my african violets from the white dish to the gold bowl from Target. I think the table needs some other decorative object but can't figure out how to make it work with the plants, which have to stay.

The wall with the front door hasn't changed. It still has the Murano lamp I purchased from Craigslist for $25 with the thrift store pagoda shade. The Dorothy Draper chests have great storage and were a steal for $35 for the pair with $25 delivery. I really love how they look. They need to be repainted. I'd love to send them out to be lacquered but have no idea how expensive that would be. I might be painting them myself. The TV is big but I enjoy it. I spray painted the retro clock a champagne gold (kinda a silver/gold look). Even though its has a bit of that retro/mid century vibe to it I think it stays. I love its feminine shape and it fills the wall nicely.  I want to add some pink handmade paper flowers to the vase on the left side of the dressers. The door in the middle is my front door with the closet to the right. I want to paint both doors black. Maybe sometime this summer.

Whew! I think that is about all the updates to the living room I've made over the last few months. As you can tell many things have changed. I really love the way the room feels now. After 6 years in the condo it finally feels like home.  The funny thing is that this is very much the style of my old house. When I moved I changed everything up and went with mid-century modern and all new (vintage) furniture which never felt right. I need to stick with what I'm comfortable with and quite trying to do something different.

Things left to do: paint the ceiling. It has streaks from when the last owners painted it and it drives me nuts. They are very faint and only visible in certain lights but I know they are there. I am also thinking about painting the living room and dining room so the space is more cohesive. They are open to each other. Currently the dining room is green and the living room turquoise. I am not afraid of color! I'm a messy painter and don't enjoy the process so I'm avoiding the painting issue for now. Oh I also need to hide the cable for the TV that runs around the perimeter of the room. I'm astounded there wasn't a better solution than this when the cable was installed and hate how it looks.