Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Decisions Made

You probably know by now that it takes me awhile to make a decision. Not always, but I can take my time. But after struggling with some decor choices, I think I've finally made up my mind.

First in the dining room, I think I've found curtain fabric I like. Well, two fabrics, either of which will work:

Pretty, aren't they? They have the colors I'm looking for (a white background with red, blue and yellow—well, they're more gold, but close enough), and the patterns are fun and not too traditional. Jo-Ann's didn't have enough of either pattern when I was there, but I'm sure I'll be able to find what I need.

I also want to make a matching panel for the sliding glass door in the kitchen. I've been struggling with what to do about that since we moved in. It has vertical blinds (shudder!). I leave them open most of the time since we don't have privacy or light control issues there, but I like to close them when the gardeners are here, because that calms my dogs (OK, only a bit, but I'll take what I can get). The panel can go over the blinds and hide them for the majority of the time they're not in use.

I also think I'm going to use a stencil rather than wallpaper on the back wall of the dining room. My reasoning is that if I decide I don't like the stencil, I can always paper over it. Plus, I want to use the stencil in other rooms, so it won't go to waste. I haven't decided exactly which stencil yet, but probably this one.

As for the living room, I think I'll take Charmaine's advice and paint it the console coral. It's a very bold choice for me, but I need to push myself a bit. Thanks, Charmaine!

I've also decide to stick with the curtains that are there but maybe add some trim to the ends in the same fabric I use in the dining room.The colors will work, and it will all tie in together.

So now that I've made my decisions, it's time to get to work!

Are you stuck on any home projects? How did you finally get past it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

I'm Mad About ...

Nice to have a long weekend—I could use an extra day to relax and take care of some projects. That's if I have time—I've been invited to a party and a barbecue! I also hope to take some time to reflect on the sacrifices Memorial Day is meant to commemorate.
American flag
Vit Lustinec, Wikipedia

Meanwhile, here are some things that caught my eye recently:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Home Office: Paperwork

One of the biggest problems when it comes to organizing is what to do with all the paper that accumulates. Bills, invoices, receipts—it usually all ends up in a pile somewhere, often on top of the desk.

Electronic communication makes it possible to eliminate some paperwork. Bills are paid online, email replaces paper letters. And yet it never quite seems to all go away.

Here's how I control the clutter in my home office. I have a filing cart that also holds my printer/fax/scanner:
The files are labeled (color coding might work better for people who are very visual) and alphabetized. Most of what's in there is personal papers—household info, vet records, receipts, that kind of thing. I try to take something out when I put something new in, but some of the folders don't get cleaned out nearly often enough, so every few months I go through it and purge old receipts and what not.

Work-related papers and tax info are kept on this unit, easily reachable from my desk:
The pink folder holds tax receipts, and the file box on the bottom shelf contains invoices and such from jobs that I've done. I also have dictionaries and style books at arm's length, but these days I mainly use online tools to look up words.

I keep some other, less-often-used reference books on another book shelf:
There's no closet in the office, but we have big closet off the kitchen where I keep printer paper and other office supplies. I want to get a Stockholm box (or two) from the Container Store to keep paper and printer refills close by, but for now it works fine.

Houzz has tips (and lots of eye candy) for creating a paperless home office, but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

How do you organize your workspace?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Eating Well

I haven't done much cooking lately, but since my Cooking Light group met Sunday, I had a good excuse to get in the kitchen. We get together a few times a year, each of us brings a dish, and we just have a great time eating and gabbing.

I made Couscous with Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Edamame, using this recipe. It was super simple and fast, and it came out great. I love one-pot meals!

And, of course, I had a helper (or two):

I'll definitely make this again—but I won't have to anytime soon. It made a big bowlful, and there was so much good food at the get-together, I have plenty left over for lunches.

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Mad About ...

  • Thanks for this, Donna.
  • These folks do good work.
  • If I had a little girl, I would definitely make this for her (and for me!).

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Garden Update

The vegetable garden is coming along. The tomato plant is four or five times the size it was when I planted it last month and it has at least a dozen tomatoes and even more blooms:

I've never grown a bell pepper before, so I really don't know how it's doing, but it seems to have some developing fruit (I'm not sure if you can make them out here):

The zucchini seems to be having the same problem it did last year—the fruit is dying before it matures:
It grows to about 2 inches, then turns yellow and shrivels up. I tried all sorts of things last year, but none of them worked. If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

One Year Ago Today...

This special guy came into our lives:

He wasn't always the happy, loving dog you see here. When we first met Mr. Chow (jokingly named for a chain of fast-food restaurants in the Bay Area and the fact he is likely part chow chow), he had a broken leg. Here's how he looked when I met him at the emergency vet:

So sad and scared. He's come a long way in a year (you can read more about him here). He's now a bona fide member of the family. Smooch tolerates him most of the time, and Giles the cat not only comes in the house, he often walks right by Chow to do it. (Really, that's huge!) Chow is taking obedience lessons (he has sit down!) and he's getting more and more socialized.

He's taught me so much about courage, overcoming obstacles and persistence (he'll get Smooch to play with him one of these days). He's just a big, goofy, clumsy, happy boy. Every dog deserves a second chance.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm Mad About ...

Last Sunday I rode my bike to the farmers market and picked up some early-season peaches and nectarines. It was such a pleasant ride (and a good way to burn off some of those Cinco de Mayo indulgences), I'm looking forward to doing it again this weekend.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Dress to Obsess Over

Someone needs to invite me to a summer wedding or a garden party or an ice cream social so I'll have an excuse to buy this dress:

Summer wedding outfit

I've been obsessing over it since I first saw it last week, and since I don't know anyone who's getting married this year and I've never been to an ice cream social in my life, I probably won't have a reason to buy it. So the next best thing: feature it in a style board.

It's super-lady-like, so I went with very feminine accessories. The shoes are a bit of a stretch for me—I don't wear yellow—but they pull the color from the dress and are ever so slightly edgy. And the hardware on the handbag keeps it from being too sweet. (This is my second choice for shoes, and probably closer to what I'd actually wear.) I have no idea what that perfume smells like, but the bottle is a showstopper. And the gloves. I just had to include gloves, even though I'd never actually wear them. They seem so appropriate.

What do you think? Too over-the-top girly or just right? What would you wear with this dress?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Should I Paint the Console?

I'm thinking about painting the console behind the sofa in the living room. There's nothing wrong with it as it is (well, except scratches on the top from dogs), but there's just so much dark wood furniture in the room, and then the big dark fireplace. It feels a little heavy, and I think paint might lighten things up a bit.

Then of course I have to decide what color. White is an obvious choice, but it's predictable and, besides, the cute owls from West Elm wouldn't stand out—and I love those owls.

I'd like a light gray, but I'm not sure how it would work in the mostly tan room.

I think I'm leaning toward blue. Something light and bright and fresh. And it would work with the side chairs, which are called "sea foam" but are really kind of an icy blue. My only concern is that blue might look a little too country, which is not at all the look I'm going for.

What do you think—should I do it? And if so, what color?

Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm Mad About ...

Good morning. There's so much good stuff this week, let's get right to it:

Have a great weekend and happy Cinco de Mayo!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fashion to Furnishings

I love a classic houndstooth check, and in an oversize print it's modern and fun.

The dress is so cute, I bought it last time I was in LA (although it looks like it's no longer available).
This room is a little crazy for me, but I love the daring mix of pattern and color:
Apartment Therapy
What pattern do you love?