Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cross your fingers, kids!

I'm trying my hand at raising some succulents.

I found some neglected succulents in the corner of a Home Depot in a nearby town and decided to take them home with me. I thought the heady (second time using that word in a week!) garden shop right near my place would have the potting mix needed for succulents, but I wound up having to go a second place to find it. Succulents and cacti usually get potted in a mixed soil that has perlite and horticultural grade sand in it so it doesn't retain too, too much water.

Cville folks, The Garden Spot on Rio Road is the place to get the mix and they happen to have some beautiful, large succulents as well. This is the same place that had osage oranges a while back. I love this garden store...the people are super nice and they have a friendly yellow lab who serves as a greeter.

I put a little layer of pebbles in the bottom of these trophies I found at thrift and antique stores around the area and then repotted the succulents. I'm hoping they'll be happy in these containers for a little while.

I'm hoping to propagate a few of them in a few months, if they do well. Cross your fingers!

Aren't they cute?

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Friday, May 27, 2011

A very surprising look into the home of John Bell

It's always interesting to see a star's home in a magazine or TV show. Most of the time, I'm in awe of the great home or fantastic decor that's revealed by these little visits with celebrities. Today, however, I'm a little stunned by the images from a Wall Street Journal article about Widespread Panic lead singer John Bell's home.

Most Widespread Panic followers remember talk about JB's wife opening a wellness center in Georgia. I didn't realize they were going to live in it. I also didn't realize that "wellness" didn't just mean yoga classes and organic food. Check this out...

The tour starts with an exterior shot of a little, white house. Ho hum, very nice.

The porch is cute, with painted floors.

Here we have JB and his wife, smiling for the camera. Very traditional...or transitional, really. Nothing really exciting here.

Here's a better shot of the room:

The article mentions that the living spaces don't look lived in at all, but this is a full time home. The couple has another, larger house about an hour away, but it says they only go there now and then. This is their primary residence.

Ah, a cute kitchen. They have a veggie garden in the back (tended to by JB himself) and they have cooking classes here sometimes.

Upstairs, there's a huge, open space for yoga classes. This is what I sort of expected when I heard the home was a wellness center.

Geode fans, do you see those rocks?!?

Another big ol' rock for the crystal fans...

Okay, so here's where things get interesting. First, a quote from Mrs. Bell...

Okay, energy room. What does that look like? Hold onto your hats, my friends.

There are 16 computers on shelves that run the perimeter of the room and zero gravity lawn chairs. JB spends an hour in here every day.

I'm not sure seeing this would "disarm" a fan. "Disillusioned" might be a better word.

Perhaps I'm biased because I spend 8-10 hours each day in front of two computer screens, but this does not seem in any way relaxing.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Moss covered letter tutorial, part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about how I made my moss covered letters to use in our wedding decor. Most of the letters I've seen in pictures have been hung from doors or chairs using thick, satin ribbon. The effect is beautiful.

While Marc's "M" would hang just fine, my "J" would not, because the hook makes it heavy on the left side. I thought about different ways to balance the letter out, but then I started thinking about doing something a bit different.

From the beginning, I've been drawn to two different styles when I've looked at real weddings on blogs. I love the romantic, traditional, and ethereal weddings, but I also love the more modern, non-traditional ones. I decided to figure out a way to merge the two and give a nod to my love of Lucite.

I bought two sheets of acrylic and cut them down to "frame" the letters. First, I had to score the acrylic by running a plastic cutting knife down a straight edge over and over again. I found a youtube video that made this look super easy, but it took me a while to carve a line into the plastic.

After the lines were scored, I had to give the sheet a karate chop to break the surplus off. I was cringing as I did this and it turned out perfectly! I was shocked. I then peeled the protective plastic coating off one side of the acrylic.

Then I tracked the outline of my letters with strips of paper. This would give me guild lines for the hot glue that I was using to affix the letters to the acrylic.

I glued the letters down and let them sit for a while. Then I used the protective plastic sheeting on the other side of the acrylic to "hang" then off my kitchen bar for a picture. I have to admit that I fully expected the letters to come off the acrylic, but they stayed put just fine for well over an hour!

Try to imagine these without plastic around the edges. :)

I'm going to drill two holes in each piece of acrylic so they can be hung, but I'm debating where I want them to go and how I want to hang them. I could hang them from shepherd's hooks somewhere outside (maybe where the guests will enter the venue from the parking lot?). Or, perhaps I'll turn traditional and hang them with ribbons from our chairs. What do you think?
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Awesome MLS photo of the day

Today's awesome MLS photo comes from a listing with the very heady price of $420,000. It's quite pricey for a one bedroom condo in this town, but it's a unique space and the location is a positive for most people (if you like to sleep when the bars are closing, it might not be for you). It's also described as a loft with 1200 square feet, so that's a pretty big unit.

The view, though, is a little lacking.

Isn't it strange when agents have the picture of the home photoshopped onto the TV?
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Wedding Wednesday Tutorial: How to make moss covered letters

Get ready! This is a long one. I saw a beautiful photo of moss covered letters a while back and decided that I'd love to make a "J" and an "M" for our wedding.

Originally found on Etsy, but seller is gone...will update if she comes back!

A few weeks ago, I shared my test run of this project, which I did with a small set of pre-made letters. It went pretty well. I decided to work on the real deal last week while Marc was away on a business trip (to Belgium, that lucky duck). Here's my tutorial for making letters yourself...

1. Search obsessively through hundreds of fonts to find the one in which your initials looks best.
After a couple nights of searching, I settled on Bookman Old for our letters. I wanted the "J" to have to horizontal line on the top and the hook to be pretty, but not so ornate that it would be difficult to cut out.

2. Print your initials out a large as possible, then enlarge them on a copy machine. I used 17" x 11" ledger paper in the copy machine. It left part of the edges cut off. I wound up measuring the sides that were complete to finish the parts that were missing. I've read other blog posts about doing this and some have gone to an office supply store to have their letters printed by even larger machines (the kind that churn out posters), but I was going for the simplest route.

3. Transfer the letters to foamcore.
I put the ledger paper over a large piece of foamcore and traced the outline about ten times with a sharpie. After the first few passes, the sharpie ink started to bleed through the ledger paper onto the foam core.

4. Carefully cut the letters out with an Exact-o knife.

It took me a few passes to get the knife all the way through. You don't have to have perfectly straight lines. In the end, the moss is going to smooth everything out.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 so you have two sets of each letter.

You're about the make a sandwich.

6. Use scraps of foamcore layered on top of each other to make 3-D letters.
played with mine a bit and found that five layers of foamcore between the letters looked best. Glue or tape your stacks of scrap together.

7. Glue the foam letters to the stacks of scrap to create your 3-D letter.

8. Create sides for your letters to give them stability.

I cut strips of cardboard to use as the sides of the letters, making sure they were wide enough to attached to each letter. For the angles and corners, I bent and curled the cardboard into the right shape before gluing them in place. I forgot to document this step when I was working on my first letter, so here's the "M" at this stage:

9. Adjust the shape of your letters with extra cardboard.

I realized that the Bookman Old font made the "M" with one line that was skinnier than the others. I decided to plump it up with an extra layer of cardboard on one side.

10. Glue moss cloth to the letters with hot glue.
This was the fun part. I cut strips of moss cloth to start, but wound up using bits and pieces to finish the edges and corners. I covered the entire letter, but some people might leave the back unfinished.

Here's the final product:

What do you think? I was pretty darn proud of myself.

There's more to this, though. I'll post part 2 soon...
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Monday, May 23, 2011

A plea for help

I wasn't going to mention that I entered another contest related to my wedding, but I just realized that other girls who entered a contest that I am in are campaigning for votes through message boards and blogs. I'm joining the fray.

There's a contest to win a gift card towards buying dresses at Weddington Way, an online store that sells many popular lines of bridesmaid dresses. I found them long before they started their contest through the blogsphere, but got more interested when they started the contest.

The contest required a "bridesmaid line up" and I put one together based on the color I originally thought I'd be using for the wedding. I don't have any bridesmaids at this point (it seems a bit too early to be asking), but here's a "dream" line up of dresses for them:

If I can rack up enough votes for my line up on Weddington Way's Facebook page, I'll become one of the three finalists in the contest. It looks like I'm 14th right now. Aside from posting a note on my Facebook wall, I didn't do any promoting...until now.

If you have a minute to spare, I'd really appreciate your vote for my bridesmaid line up. You can only vote once every 24 hours. Voting ends Sunday.

Thanks for reading!
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Quick project for a Monday morning

I wrapped up a huge project this weekend and I'll share that on Wednesday. Today, I thought I'd share a very quick change that I made to a little table in my living room.

Whenever I look at this side of the living room, I can't help but think that it doesn't really tie in with the rest of the room. When one of the Matters of Style girls painted her version of the table, I realized that I might like this area a little bit more if the glass on the little table matched the glass on my cocktail table (black).

So I picked up some black spray paint and gave one side of the table's glass insert a few coats over the course of the day yesterday. I love the result. The difference isn't groundbreaking, but I think the black coated glass definitely ties this little wall in with the rest of the room.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun with fabric

Why did it take me so long to get into U-Fab, the fabric store that expanded to Charlottesville a while ago? Cville designers Ami Smith and Heather Picinich both had such positive things to say about the place that I had to peek in for a quick visit during lunch the other day. It rocks.

I was actually doing some early looking for fabric that will be part of a wedding related project. When presented with all of these wonderful options, my vision for the project changed dramatically.

That light aqua trellis fabric in the picture in the bottom right corner above? $25 per yard.

I realized that I needed to start taking pictures of the price tags because the deals were so good.

The pattern on the $19.99 fabric in the middle isn't printed on...that's velvet on linen.

Sarah Richardson would have fun at U-Fab

I'd say that the vast majority of fabrics were under $20 per yard.

They have trim, too!

I didn't buy a thing, but the staff was super nice and helpful. I'll be back. :)
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 Charlottesville Design House: four days left!

Four more days. The Design House closes on Sunday. Get out there. Bring a friend.
You can go get tipsy at Starr Hill or Pollack afterwards (polo hasn't started at King Family yet).

It'll be fun.

Three season porch by Heather Picinich
Heather custom designed the sofa in the room and U-fab made it for her. It's pretty.

Design House Tours

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
10 AM - 4 PM

Mondays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays
10 AM - 3 PM

Special Evening Hours
Wednesday, May 18 & Thursday, May 19
4 PM - 7 PM

Tickets sold online, at the house, and at select local businesses

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Charlottesville Design House evening hours start tonight!

Image by Robert Radifera

Today and tomorrow, you can visit the Charlottesville Design House at night! For those of us who keep regular office hours, this is a great way to see the house without sneaking away from work. The house will close for one hour at 3 PM today, when open up again at 4 PM and remain open for visitors until 7 PM (full schedule here).

Have you been already? What did you think?

Design House Tours

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
10 AM - 4 PM

Mondays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays
10 AM - 3 PM

Special Evening Hours
Wednesday, May 18 & Thursday, May 19
4 PM - 7 PM

Tickets sold online, at the house, and at select local businesses

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Wedding Wednesday: Space for the stock pile

Up until Monday, there was one space that still sported the original, beige paint that the builders of my condo used in 2005. It was horribly depressing...remember?

Ugh. What were they thinking with brown on every surface? It was terrible. Is it any wonder they never hit full capacity here despite the amazing location?

The front hall closet was the last place that felt like a little, brown cave.

By now, you're wondering what a closet has to do with Wedding Wednesday. Between DIY projects and winning some things for the wedding, I already have a little pile of things that need to be tucked away for the next year. Being in a small place, I decided that I had to look up for more storage space.

First, I decided to paint the closet. I primed on Monday night (with primer leftover from other projects), then painted with my lovely Benjamin Moore Aura paint on Tuesday night (two coats...though I probably could have gotten away with one). Last night, I thought I'd spend about ten minute tossing up another shelf and be done with the project. I didn't remember how infuriatingly cheap Rubbermaid's closet systems are (the ones sold at Lowe's).

If you have a place with these dumb wire racks in the closets, you WILL destroy your walls if you remove them. If you live in a condo that was built fairly quickly, you WILL find that the installation of the shelves by the builder was less than perfect. After a few hours, I had the new shelf up. Oh, how I wish I lived near The Container Store and could install an Elfa system like Jane at The Borrowed Abode just did. Alas, it wasn't in the cards. This $30 job will have to work.

Now that I have a place to put things, I think the DIY projects are going to happen a little more quickly.
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