Monday, November 30, 2009

Drapes project back on track



The ribbon I ordered to edge my drapes arrived during the flood episode and I put it aside until I got through the big clean up. I have to say that I really pleased with the color I ordered, which was the pure yellow.

The company from which I ordered had a purchase minimum, so I also ordered some cool ribbon that has a crocodile-ish pattern embossed or crimped into it. I think I might use it on a throw pillow or neck roll.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The joys of condo living

Every now and then, I wish I lived in a freestanding house and not a condo. When 2D's leak flooded my unit, I was definitely wishing I was out on my own. However, the response of the property management company here had me thanking my lucky stars to live here! The facilities guy, Jacob, was here within an hour and had Wilton & Chico from Specialty Cleaning on the job shortly after.

What really got me, though, is that after I ripped out the floors and padding in my place, the manager of the complex sent some guys over to haul everything away for me. I fully expected him to give me the name of a company to call (like that Got Junk company).

People often have complaints about property management companies and the one that works with my complex has dozens and dozens of clients, but we still seem to get fantastic treatment.



Good-bye piles of flooring!
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Why isn't Baxter more curious about his first Christmas tree? He barely sniffed it when we brought it in. Taking a picture in front of it inspired a look of ennui.



He promptly fell asleep when we started decorating. We didn't put any ornaments on the lower third of the tree for fear he'd try to play with them, but we might be able to move some down in light of his lack of interest.



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Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

The flood at my place left me less than motivated to post since Tuesday. Thank goodness we got away to the beach for a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's family. Leaving the dust, dehumidifiers, and concrete behind was great for my perspective. It was great for Baxter, too.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!



A calm post Thanksgiving dinner walk on the docks


It only takes dogs about 30 seconds to realize that food falls from high chairs


Baxter was exhausted by the end of the day, but there was little chance of him napping.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm lucky. I'm lucky. I'm lucky.

This post brought to you by the resident of 2D in my complex. When 2D slept through a massive leak in his unit and sent streams of water into my home, he did what most people would do: he left town. The three of us who were affected by 2D's leak were a little surprised he never came by in the days since our places were drenched to say hello. A little "I'm so sorry this happened" would have gone a long way.

The owner of the cleaning company told me that he left the afternoon of the flood. Do you know where he went? Wait for it...FRANCE. He's chilling with his brother, an actor, in France.

Meanwhile, I'm pulling apart the moldings I so happily painted a few weeks ago and peeling up laminate flooring.

Obviously, it could be much worse. The insurance adjuster said he has seen condos without ceilings due to leaks. I'm lucky. That's my mantra as I destroy my warped floors.

I'm lucky. I'm lucky. I'm lucky.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Chico was at my house this weekend

The clean up of the flood on Saturday took hours. I called the emergency maintenance number for my complex at 6:45 AM and the clean up crew didn't start working until 11:30 AM. They spent about 3-4 hours in the condo above mine, where the big leak originated.

One bright spot was when Chico showed up.


Okay, it wasn't Candice's Chico, Chico Garcia. It was my Chico...the wet/dry vac carrying Chico. Thank goodness for him...he sucked all the water up, retrieved two toys from under the oven (Baxter must have lost them there as a puppy because I hadn't seen them in two years), vacuumed behind my fridge, and even pulled out my washing machine and dryer, climbed behind them, and cleaned back behind them, too.


There's Chico emptying the wet/dry vacuum tank

The negative: Chico and his boss left these monsters behind with the instructions that they were to run 24 hours per day until they came back.



You can't see them in this picture, but all the seams on the floor boards are peeling up



I'm waiting for Chico to come back and my insurance company to call. For now, I'm packing things up and trying to learn about flooring by reading everything I can online. Anyone have any experience with bamboo? Buying flooring online? Opinions about the big box stores? Some of what I'm reading online has be scared of the flooring from the mega stores. I'm thinking of buying online or using a small, local store.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Flooded

I woke up to about half an inch of water in my kitchen, laundry room, dining room, and front closet. I didn't even know how to start the clean up. I called the condo's emergency number, called my neighbor (who also has water), and got Baxter out of the house. As I started pulling out the bins that were in my front closet (which is a huge, walk in meant for storage) and moving furniture, I got to thinking about all I've done to this place and I'm so sad.

The condo management company has a clean up team in the area (they started in another unit, where the leak started) and I'm waiting to see what they'll do. I'm afraid they'll need to take out the baseboards, some of the drywall, and possibly my flooring. It's so early in the game that I don't know if I'm responsible for replacing the floors and walls or if management does because the problem originated outside my unit.

I realize this is a tiny inconvenience compared to what families in flooded areas have gone through, but in my modest, little life, this is a big deal.

Update: Apparently, a guy one floor above had his toilet tank break in the middle of the night and the broken tank tried to fill itself for hours and hours. I woke up at 7 AM and the water was still coming because he didn't wake up until 8 AM. There are at least four units flooded. His ENTIRE unit had water in it. At least the water didn't touch any of my carpet.

Update 2: One of the facilities guys came in and said that he could already see the laminate floors buckling and it would all have to be replaced. Happy holidays.




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Friday, November 20, 2009

Why is it so hard to buy some ribbon?!?

Buying 50 yards of grosgrain ribbon is harder than you'd think. Apparently, Schiff Mills, the people who make the grosgrain I want, sells their product to people who cater to hair bow enthusiasts. If you want to buy Schiff grosgrain, you can find oodles of websites that will sell it to you...in 5 yard pieces.

I finally found a site that sells entire rolls, which is considered wholesale. Then, I realized that the Schiff ribbon comes in 2.25" or 3" wide rolls. I had been banking on 2.5" bands. At this point, I'm so tired of thinking about this that I just want to be done with this, so I'm going to go for a 2.25" wide roll.

Enough!

By the way, I tried to make that awesome ornament wreath that everyone is doing this year. Chalk up a big ol' fail for me. I had 40 ornaments and probably need 20 more to finish the project.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ribbon samples are in and I need your advice!

I ordered four shades of yellow ribbon for the grosgrain trim I'm thinking of adding to my drapes. I have to admit that I'm second guessing the colors I originally thought I'd use. I'd love some advice on these!

I couldn't buy samples of the widths I wanted, so this might be hard. I'll be ordering 2.5" or 3" ribbon.


Let's call them 4, 1, 2, and 3


1, 2, 3, 4


Close up of 1 and 2


Close up of 3 and 4

Here's what I'm thinking. #1 is a bit too beige. #2 is surprisingly cheerful. #3 is a bit too dark. #4 is almost an acid yellow in real life and is waaay too bright. I'm leaning towards #2. Before I got the samples, I was leaning towards 3 or 4.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shop and learn tonight at Sustain

I sometimes read entries about swank events written by the bloggers in larger cities with envy (hello, someone in Richmond better blog about the Eddie Ross event soon!).

In Charlottesville, we don't have many in store events. Our Junior League doesn't have a design house. In fact, no one has a design house. I haven't even heard of a garden tour in the city (there has been one in the more horsey suburbs). Jonathan Adler isn't going to be opening a store anytime soon. Anyway, when I got an email from Sustain, a beautiful, eco-friendly boutique I wrote about a few months ago before and after they opened, about an event tonight, I got excited.

This is Charlottesville's type of in-store event...it's one with an environmental twist. I'll be there!

Do you get these sorts of invitations? Do you see the same people at the events? Will you bring me to the next one? :)


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Art for kids

I just came across some pictures I took during a visit to my brother and sister-in-law's house a few weeks ago. Most of the pictures were of my adorable nephews, but I snapped a few of the art my sister-in-law put in their rooms.

I remember her saying that made these prints by herself by enlarging color images from some favorite children's books, matting them, and framing them. For my older nephew, she used illustrations from Le Petit Prince and for the younger, she used Curious George. Would you ever guess that these were made at home?

Pretty cute, huh? Has anyone else framed pages from books? I remember trying to do this with a few pages from a calendar a while back, but it didn't turn out well. It wound up looking like...framed calendar pages. Any tips for those interested in doing this from those with some experience?








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Monday, November 16, 2009

Why sew when you can iron?

When I converted the bedroom drapes from rod pockets to pinch pleats, I sewed some special tape, by hand, across the top of each panel. It took me an entire evening to do each panel and my fingers were killing me by the time I was done.

In chatting about the living room drapes with my neighbor, she suggested I use some sort of binding fabric to attach the grosgrain trim to the drapes. She said it would be invisible from the front and it would add some stiffness and weight to the drapes. The fabric is thick, but woven, so the drapes are kind of floppy, so this binding fabric sounded great.

I read up on fusible tape online and realized that I could also use it to attach the pinch pleat tape to the drapes.


I bought a roll of fusible tape called Stitch Witchery.


I rolled the tape out twice to cover the width of the pinch pleat tape.


I used a damp pillow case as a pressing cloth and left the iron on each spot for about 10-20 seconds.


Testing the bond after my first pass...it works!

I also threaded the tape through the rod pocket of the drape so the front of the drapes wouldn't fall forward now that the back of the drapes were stiff.

Now the floppy fabric will hold the pleats!
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spotted at Target

Dear Target fairies,

Please let everyone in the area where I'll be spending Christmas think these wrapping papers are ugly so I can snap them up for 50% off on December 26th.

Thank you.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baxter's last dog bed



I wrote about trying to select a dog bed for Baxter a few months ago. Up until now, I've bought an inexpensive dog bed every other month at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. Those dog beds were cute and cheap, but they never stood up to more than a few washings. I've probably spent about $300 on them over the last 2 1/2 years. Adding that up made it easy to justify buying a Crypton dog bed.

Crypton fabrics are "impenetrable" and the company's ads in Bark magazine show someone pouring a bucket of water on a bed as a dog looks on curiously. Charmed, by the ads, I looked them up online and was delighted by the variety of fabrics the company offered.



After much debate, I settled on a fabric, placed an order (and got 20% off with the code "messfree"), and waited. I think they make each bed to order because the wait was over a month for Baxter's bed. When it came, it was fluffy and substantial. It took Bax a while to tame the bed so that he could sleep on it, but he's now on the thing all the time. He's sleeping on the bed under my desk as I type this.

I think the $140 purchase was worth it. Do you splurge on your dog bed? I'm curious about how Orivs, LL Bean, and other expensive beds hold up over time.


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Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you close your drapes?


Image courtesy of DecorPad, a fun place to chat about design ideas!


I have window treatments on the brain these days. I'm embarrassed to say that just last night, I finished converting my rod pocket bedroom drapes into pinch pleat drapes. Pretty lame that I had one panel unfinished for the last few weeks, huh?

Tonight, I'll attempt to add the same drapery tape to my living room drapes. It's a tall order for one night!

All of this has me wondering if anyone, like me, draws their drapes. We never did this when I was young, but in my little condo, I like to close the drapes at night. I like that it blocks light a little more and it also insulates the windows a little bit. Since I hung the living room panels, I've noticed that there isn't such a stark contrast in temperature between the bedroom and living room.

By the way, I still haven't turned on the heat! I think this is the longest I've ever gone without it!
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Drapery mock up

Wait until you seem my awesome mock up skills. You will be blown away by my use of MS Paint.

Yeah, I said MS Paint. I mostly post from a Mac, but there are times, especially when I'm on the road, that I'm on the PC only for a week at a time. So I haven't invested in Photoshop and still use MS Paint. If you have some free or nearly free Photoshop alternative that you recommend, please let me know. I've heard of a few for Mac, but haven't heard enough to actually download and start fiddling. I'm feeling old because the 25 year old me wouldn't have said that.

Anyway, here are mock ups of the cheapo drapes I bought on ebay with the different grosgrain bands on them. I should probably stop calling them cheap and call them inexpensive, right? Obviously, the bands are way more vibrant than they would be if they were actually in the photo. Hm. Maybe I should take a photo of the images and paste them in there.

Yellow vs. Lemonade...WWDD? (What Would Domino Do?)

I like the lemonade band in the mock up, but am worried that I like it because it isn't as bright. Is it going to look dingy in real life? Oh, why am I so indecisive when it comes to decisions in my own home? I can weigh in on other people's homes without any problem!
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A quick word about awards

Blue Hydrangea did a beautiful job of doing something I've thought about. She acknowledged a blog award without letting the requirements of the blog award take over her post. I've been struggling with how to do this myself. It's very nice to be recognized by other bloggers, but it's hard to fit a big mountain of text into the day's posts.
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It's official

Olivia is going to be mine! She's being made in London and will be shipped here in the coming weeks.

Are you all sick of seeing this picture? Too bad...I'm not! :)


Photo courtesy of Washington Spaces

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kreative Blogger awards go to...

I'm focusing on newer bloggers with this one...

1. Slipcover Your Life is another relatively new blogger who is off to a great start.
2. I think I've given an award to If the Lampshade Fits before, but I don't care about the repeat. I like her blog a lot! She's friggin hilarious!
3. The Fourth Door is another new blogger who is updating a new home.
4. The Urban Nest ladies started in April of this year. They are Richmond based and you know how I love local blogs!
5. I have to admit that I was first attracted to Sutton Grace because an aunt lives on Sutton Place South and the name caught my eye. But, I have grown to love the creativeness of this blog!
6. Strictly Simple Style started blogging in August...a relative newbie who has a lot of eye candy to share!
7. Nichole from Sparrow's Nest just started blogging in June.

So, these ladies, if they choose, can post seven things about themselves on their blogs and pass the award on to seven more bloggers.
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Another blog award!


I feel like the day I wore a Naf-Naf outfit my aunt bought me in France to school back in 5th grade!
Oh, the attention! Southern Aspirations (aka Aspirations of a Southern Housewife) gave me another blog award. This one is called the Kreative Blogger Award. To claim it, I need to list out seven facts about myself and then pass it along to seven others.

Here we go...

1. I'm a baker, not a cook. I can cook, I just don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy baking.
2. I love Bravo TV, but the Million Dollar Listing show is akin to nails on a blackboard to me.
3. I've never had a pedicure.
4. I don't like movie theaters. I always want to be doing something while I watch a movie. I also think theater etiquette is so horrible that the movie experience has gone down hill a bit.
5. I can't stand the Yankee Candle store. I like candles well enough, but I hate going into that store. Working there would give me migraines. I don't know how anyone stands it.
6. I have over 200 blogs in my blog reader. I really need to cut back. That's not including my work-related blog reader account.
7. I stopped being a vegetarian when I started dating my boyfriend. I refuse to work with red meat, but I've brought turkey and chicken back into my diet. I could easily drop them, though.

Check back at 10 AM for my blog awards!
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Advice needed!

Last time I talked about having living room drapes made, I was in love with this Richloom fabric:



Unfortunately, the fabric is railroaded, so the pattern runs sideways, not vertically. It can't be used for drapes longer than the 54" bolt without some delicate piecing together, which I can't do.

After weeks of combing fabric stores, a few things happened. I fell in love with more expensive fabrics. I questioned my entire vision for the drapes. I changed my mind and looked for colorful fabrics. I even considered going without drapes entirely and just using the top-down-bottom-up fabric blinds that are on the windows. In the end, I really wanted drapes to add texture to the room, give the room some height, and to provide insulation from the cold and light when needed.

I decided to find something inexpensive to use in the living room for the time being. I stumbled upon an amazing deal for some 96" damask drapes on ebay and while they aren't made of a luxurious fabric, they have the weight and length I wanted. With a last minute, $41 bid, they were mine.



I've been thinking about adding a 3 inch, grosgrain band to the edges and then converting them into pinch pleat drapes like the panels in the bedroom. I thought buying the ribbon would be simple, but I'm debating between two, very similar colors.


Yellow (left) or Lemonade (right)

Part of me is saying "just pick one" while another wants me to poll you for opinions. What do you think? Yellow or lemonade?
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Monday, November 9, 2009

The year of good-byes continues

Metropolitan Home is being shut down.


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My "Over the Top" blog awards

Blog award posts are fun, but I think the people we award sometimes get lost beneath the questions we answer to accept the award. So, I decided to make a whole, new post just to spotlight the blogs to which I'm passing this along.

1. Imperfect is a blog about a newlywed couple's adventures in decorating and making a home.
2. Apartment 412 is back and she's blogging like mad again! Do you notice a trend? I like reading blogs written by people exploring their new homes and adapting grand ideas to fit their lives.
3. Blue Hydrangea already got a blog award from me, but I don't care about repeating. I love her blog!
4. Casa Sugar might be five people and it might be one. I doubt he/she/they will respond to this, but I'm going to give it a shot.
5. Spark! is my new, favorite local blog. Ada-Marie lives in Richmond and has so much great eye candy on her blog.

There you go, kids! Take it and run!
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Who knew I was "Over the Top"?


Well, I'm really feeling popular these days! Jessica at Lavender & Lillies gave me a blog award!

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hanging curtains: For Men Only

I'm hanging a drapery rod today and am trying to decide whether I want the rod level with respect to the ceiling or just level. I did some googling to help me with my decision and found this gem from Popular Science, circa 1970. It's says:

"Sure, she knows fabric. But hardware? The only way you can be sure of getting the right hardware -- hardware that will fit, install easily, and need no attention once it's on wall -- is to handle that end of the job yourself."


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Busy, busy, busy

The past few days have been a bit busy at work and I've neglected the blog. I'm getting back in the swing of things, I promise!
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Really small and chic in Alexandria

Though the blog was mostly on autopilot while I was in Northern Virginia, I was reading comments on my phone. Jane from The Borrowed Abode left a comment on a quick post I made about a cute, small house in Old Town Alexandria and she prompted me to track down this adorable, tiny house.



Perhaps it's the little, dollhouse loving girl in me that is delighted by The Spite House. It's seven feet wide and the interior has about 325 square feet in which to move around. That same mini-loving little girl was sad to read that the owner has multiple homes and resides most of the time in McClean.



If you want to know more, check out this 2005 article from the Metro section of The Washington Post and this 2006 follow up from the Home & Style section.

Spite houses aren't all that uncommon! A comment on the Hooked on Houses post pointed me to a wikipedia entry that describes a number of others.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I love ewe

A while back, I wrote about a painting I saw at the DC Design Show House. It was a strikingly beautiful image of a sheep. It was huge. It was delightful. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I'm not the best at talking about art the way collectors do. I do know what I like and John Matthew Moore's work makes me happy and excited.

Photo courtesy of Washington Spaces Magazine

Emboldened by an article in DC Spaces about collecting art, which encouraged newbies not to be intimidated by it, I emailed John Matthew Moore. His reply confirmed what I knew: the painting was gone. However, a carrot was dangled. Prints could be made!

This past weekend, I decided to go into Moore's gallery in person. I had been in the area for work and tacked on a day to do this. Kind of silly in light of the fact that he sells plenty of work by email, but I felt it was important. The windows had some of the work many people recognize from magazines - his flowers and shells. As I walked into the gallery, I was struck once again by a sheep.


iPhone picture from the gallery

The man in the gallery greeted me and I started by explaining that I was interested in a print of the painting from the show house. I was surprised to find out that the man was John Matthew Moore. A little star struck, I tried to take mental notes as we talked.

I was particularly charmed by Moore's understanding of and willingness to work with people who might not have the budget of an art collector. He shared the thought that frames were like furniture, which I hadn't heard before. He also told me that it was possible to frame things nicely without spending a fortune (this is when my boyfriend make a comment about Michael's and horrified me, but Moore was pretty funny about it).

We were so happy to learn that he has dogs. He completely understands that dogs are like children for many of us and he has even done a few commissioned dog portraits. I'm always at ease when I realize someone loves animals as much as I do. He grew up on a farm, which makes sense when looking at his work. Maybe this will sound silly, but enthusiasm for his subjects really comes through. He's also moving his store from Chevy Chase to a great location in McClean.

Oh, and there was a moment when my boyfriend and I both grinned at each other as if to say "this is definitely happening". Moore said that his subjects were ewes, female sheep. Marc and I write "ewe" instead of "you" in notes to each other. I'm not sure how we started doing this, but it might have something to do with a song we like that has a line about buying a loved one a ewe.

The ewe from the show house is named Olivia, by the way. I'm emailing Matthew to see what the next step in this purchase is. With some luck, she might be home by the holidays!

Some more pictures of Moore's work:




And here's a blog post about an event Moore hosted at his gallery. Peek behind the people and look at all the beautiful art on those walls! Another DC design blog, My Notting Hill, featured a room from the CharityWorks Greenhouse show house that included a piece by Moore. The designer of that room is Victoria Neale. Looking through her portfolio, you'll see quite a few John Matthew Moore pieces!

I have to say that I'm so, so happy that I went into the gallery in person instead of leaving everything to email. In person, these pieces are quite striking! The person who took the photos of the design house and the shot from Eddie Ross' portfolio captured something that I think is lost in the picture of Neale's room (possibly because the paintings are off center and a little far away from the camera?). Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and while I was still a little intimidated, Moore put me at ease.

I hate to say it, but looking at Moore's tulips has me thinking that my bedroom art really isn't quite right. :)


*As usual, I am not a sponsored blogger. I write about topics, businesses, and products that interest me.*
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