Friday, December 31, 2010

Quick fix for the kitchen

The pictures I posted of the kitchen after the granite counters went in have been bothering me. The door into the laundry room was the one door that I hadn't painted. It was still the full, off-white color that was used for the trim when Walker Square was originally built.

Doesn't the door look almost yellowed in the picture below?



I grabbed a can of Benjamin Moore Aura paint this morning, some tape, and went to work in my pajamas.

Between coats, I read the photography advice that Kate of Centsational Girl posted a couple days ago. I'm still not comfortable with all the different functions of my camera, but I'm getting a little better...I hope!

After playing with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, I realized how off the colors in my photos have been. Below, you'll see colors that are a little closer to reality. I still have some learning to do.

But doesn't that door look better?

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I think I'm going to paint something

Something's been bothering me for the last few months and I think I'm going to paint it. Update later. Must dig my Aura out of the front hall closet.



Any projects this weekend?
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

A surprise for Baxter from Melissa Palomo and Madison Avenue Mutts

During my Wedding Wednesday posts, I've mentioned my interest in photography. I don't think I'm all that talented with the camera at this point, but I enjoy looking at photography blogs and portfolios for inspiration. One blogger whose work I enjoy is Temecula, CA based Melissa Palomo. Melissa shoots weddings and family portraits, but she also does some beautiful work photographing animals.

A few weeks ago, Melissa posted photos on her blog about a product shoot she did for Madison Avenue Mutts. She offered readers the chance to win one of the company's beautiful dog beds. I entered, along with 115 others, and won! The fabric options were pretty amazing and I had some trouble picking one for Baxter's new bed, but I eventually settled on a pretty blue-gray floral.



The bed came yesterday and I posted a little picture of the fabric on Twitter to see if anyone could guess where it was going to be used. No one guessed that a dog bed was going to be covered by that beautiful fabric! Baxter hopped right on the bed once I had it put together.





Pardon the lack of a smile...when Baxter sees the usual morning routine happening (coffee maker > toaster > Today Show), he mopes about a bit. Perhaps he's knows that he's left home alone for the day after that sequence of events.

Maybe I'll try for another picture this afternoon when I get home.

Thank you Melissa and Madison Avenue Mutts!
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Preliminary thoughts on paper

It's still a bit too early to be ordering invitations or Save the Date cards (Knot forum members call them STDs, which causes some confusion for new members), but I've started to do a little thinking about them. Most of my married friends picked their wedding paper suite pretty easily. My sister-in-law went to one stationary store, flipped through a book, and placed and order. A colleague went to The Lime Tree Stationary during lunch and had all of her stationary ordered within an hour or so. The efficiency with which both ladies dealt with their invitations is impressive, but there's no way this decision would be so simple for me. Picking stationary is going to be like committing to a single color in all of the Benjamin Moore paint fan decks. This is going to take some time.

I decided to do some online browsing and quickly found great designers on Etsy. The options were vast! I started showing Marc what I was finding and a style started to emerge when I looked at our favorites. I decided to think of a few words to describe what we liked and I came up with non-traditional (vintage okay, engraving on ivory paper not okay), simple (but different), bold (in color), and quirky (not in a silly way).

Marc really liked this modern, simple invitation. I think I'd tweak the font and colors, but I liked the simplicity of it.



While I didn't love the format of this invitation and the colors needed a tweak, I thought the wording on the reply card was hilarious...there's my quirky. It says:
"Guests must love great food and be ready to laugh, eat cake and listen to a few embarrassing toasts. Dancing shoes required."



I liked the bold, but whimsical flowers on this invitations, but neither of us felt it was a front runner while we were saving items to our favorites list. The color was lovely and I thought the font worked well for the style, though. A nice bonus: the designer was from where I grew up (Bergen County, New Jersey).



The last Etsy item we found was this very bold, but pretty Save the Date card. I'm sure the designer would be able to adapt it to an invitation. It hit a lot of marks for us.



When I found the invitation suite below, I started to think that a DIY invitation might be fun. This designer sells their design and a buyer decides how to print the invitation. I'm sure some send the job out, but others probably opt to do it at home. It seemed like an interesting idea. I also loved the idea of a fully coordinated suite.



After seeing that last listing, I changed my search terms a bit and started finding graphic artists who sold designs, not stationary. There are tons of them out there. When I saw the suites designed by Chelsey from Fourth and Folded (the same Chelsey I mentioned in my Hermes post last week), I got pretty excited.


The suites she designs are lovely...complete with wrap around address labels and personalized envelope liners. The color palette is extensive and the graphic, bold patters seem so different from the traditional, white card stock used in most invitations. Bonus: Chelsey's from Boston. I don't know why I get a kick out of the possibility of using vendors from places where I've lived. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself that I'm "shopping local" in a way.



I'm starting to get really excited about the DIY options out there. Has anyone else DIYed invitations? How did it turn out? Did you wind up spending just as much of your budget on materials?

If you were invited to a wedding, what would you think of a DIYed invitation?


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Shelter magazines of the 1950s

On Christmas Eve, Marc's mother pulled out some issues of Better Homes & Gardens, American Home, and Ladies Home Journal from the 1950s that she had found in her late aunt's attic.


The interiors were great...




What a dreamy kitchen, huh?








Great space planning

The ads were hilarious...




That's a toilet paper ad










Eames chairs...for $25!


There were even some lovely craft projects...






There were some riveting articles, too.




The women in the family supported Eisenhower and the men supported Stevenson.


There were a few fashion pieces...




It's the debutant of the month!


This article was about a woman who went from 130 pounds to 160 pounds after having a baby...at 160 pounds, she was a size 18. Makes you realize how bad vanity sizing has gotten, huh?
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Please hold...

Today's post is coming. Baxter will keep you entertained while I work on it...



Christmas Day on Buckroe Beach in Hampton, VA
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas recap, part 1

I have a slew of photos to share from our Christmas, but thought I'd start with the end of our trip to the beach.

On Christmas night, the news reports were calling for 3-6 inches of snow for the beach areas of Virginia. Marc's mother lives on a point in the northern area of that region and we weren't sure she'd get walloped the way the rest of the area would.

When we woke up on Sunday morning, the weather guy on TV said "if you have to get out, go now" because the forecast had changed and they were expecting almost 10 inches. That sprung us into action. We packed up the car, threw on some clothes, and got in the car. That area doesn't even have the equipment to plow all the streets. The neighborhood streets were white, but passable as we left.



I had checked the traffic cameras on I-64 before we left (there are dozens along the route we'd be taking), so I know the roads had cars on them and that there were lanes for travel. We drove pretty slowly, despite having four wheel drive, but realized that we were still traveling faster than we normally do heading home in beach traffic during the summer.

Most of the cars around us where other four wheel drive vehicles. There was one Mazda Miata and one Mini Cooper. The Mini Cooper's Minnesota license plate made me wonder if the driver thought we were pansies for being worried about this storm.



By the time we hit Williamsburg, roads improved quite a bit and when we got to Richmond, there was only some snow on the grass. The roads were just a little wet.




We stopped for groceries when we got back into town and laughed when we realized that our car looked pretty rough compared to the others in the lot.




I hope you're staying safe and warm if you're getting snow!
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!




Tiny Prints did a beautiful job on our card last year
and we're equally pleased with what they did this year!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Finding the perfect Hermes orange

Chelsey over at Fourth and Folded has a project in the works. I don't know whether I heard about this via Twitter or her blog, Classically Modern Nest, but she's painting a bookcase and wants the inside to be orange. The orange she wanted: the color of an Hermes box.

Now, had she actually wanted to use Hermes boxes, you all know I wouldn't have been interested in the project. But who can argue with using such a cheerful color in a bookcase? Chelsey was hoping to find a suitable color from Benjamin Moore and being the paint nerd that I am and having a soft spot for Bostonians (having lived there myself for a while), I jumped at the chance to narrow down the options.

Chelsey had read that Racing Orange was a likely candidate. When I put the strip on which is appears next to an Hermes box, I didn't think it was quite right. I thought the colors above it, Orange Parrot and Oriole, were better matches.


I moved to a different part of the Color Preview deck and found another strip with a few contenders. Electric Orange looked like the winner in this picture.


What do you think? What's your favorite on the strips below?

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Shoe obsessed



I think I've mentioned before that once you are engaged, some people assume you have a wedding planned and ready to go? Or, some people assume that you suddenly devote all time to planning? Perhaps it's just something to say, but I've had so many questions about our wedding date, our venue, my dress, and other details of our totally unplanned wedding. In an attempt to check something off the list, I've been obsessing about shoes.

I've prowled around the web looking for my ideal wedding shoe. I found it...in the picture above. I'm not beyond figuring out who that bride is and emailing her about her shoes. I already did it with another bride and, thankfully, she totally understood the importance of shoes and let me know where she got her shoes (clearance at Lord & Taylor, darn it) and that they were dyed to get that perfect teal-blue color on them.


The color is somewhere in there.
Image from Pantone.com

Deciding that dyed shoes must have progressed since my days as a bridesmaid, when my feet got dyed after wearing dyed shoes, I decided to look at dyeables. I was surprised to find that there are some pretty awesome dyeable shoes out there!

But, you know this if you're a regular reader. Last week, I shared my first wedding related purchase (and return). I bought a gorgeous pair of dyeable, white satin, Badgley Mischka shoes from Rue La La. When they arrived, I realized that their four inch heel was just a bit too high. I wear heels. I have plenty in my closet. But four inchers don't seem to be ideal wedding shoes. Back they went.


My search goes on, but I continue to wonder if I should still consider dyeables. I have a guy up in Boston who is a "master dyer" who will do my shoes for me off of any swatch (so I won't be limited to the colors in a book, which is how the local bridal boutique operates). However, I haven't had dyeables since 2003 or so. Has anyone had them more recently? Do they dye your feet still?


Next time, I'm going to talk about photography. The image at the top of the post is part of that post, too.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Charlottesville Christmas Tour

After one of our first dates back in 2005, Marc took me on a tour of neighborhoods with Christmas lights. It was something only a native or long time resident of the area could do. I was terribly homesick at the time and it helped me feel a little happier that year.

Every year since, we've gone on the same tour, considering it a date night of sorts. I took some pictures to share with you...


The neighborhood with the most Christmas lights in Charlottesville is full of cute ranches and bungalows. Some of the smallest homes have some of the most elaborate displays.



I love the huge arrow pointing to this house's chimney.






This attached home always has every inch of its tiny yard decorated. It always makes me smile.







Nothing says happy holidays like a piglet dressed up like Santa.



This is a total circus house. The owner and his kids stand out front in costume, waving. The street is so narrow that I couldn't get a picture of the front, but this guy owns every inflatable lawn item that has ever been made. He also has a huge light-up sign that says "Hooville." For those who aren't from here, the University of Virginia team nickname is the Wahoos and many just say "Hoos." There was a rumor that Dr. Seus wrote The Grinch Who Stole Christmas about Charlottesville. It's not true.


This last house is on a corner and they decorate each side of their property.

Here's the back:


The side:


And the front:




Needless to say, I think kitsch and cheesiness is totally fine (and at times delightful) if you're going to have a holiday circus like this on your lawn. I thought it was interesting that I didn't see any crossing of lines (i.e. Frosty, Rudolph, and Santa standing in for the three wise men around the baby Jesus), which I did see back when I lived in northern New Jersey.

Stay tuned...later this week, I'll post pictures from Marc's mother's neighborhood. I The neighborhood is full of eye candy!
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