tongue in cheek

I saw this faux wood grain rug in Land of Nod for (gulp) $299 for a 5' x 8'.

Then I found a less cute but equally ironic version at JC Penny's for $149 for a 5' x 8'.

I think the second one looks a little like animal print, though.  (Of which I am not a fan)


myself included

So, I guess I should include my actual chair/ table pairings.  (see post below if you have no idea what I am talking about)  The table I got at Target a few years ago.  I had seen it in domino and loved it, but it was more than I could spend at the time.  So, a few months later, we had a yard sale in which we made enough money to almost cover the cost.  Then, when I went to Target, it was actually marked down $100.   I still love it, it is just difficult to clean under, and not safe to crawl under (thinking of Malcolm, here).  I think I will end up bungee cording the legs together (lovely) so they don't open because if they open enough, the tabletop will come slamming down.

These are two chairs I got at a yard sale and a table from Ikea.  There is a funny story about the chairs.  They also have a settee which matches but is currently in the laundry room because I have not had a chance the spray paint it.  The set was regular wicker-tan when I bought it for $10.  I had actually admired it MANY times, as it sat on the front porch of a house I drive by almost every day.  So, this one Sunday, I am on my way to church, and I see that they are having a yard sale and selling the set.  I turn around, jump out, and ask them how much they want.  I only have $2, so I give them that, a deposit, if you will, and say I'll be back around noon if that's okay.  I emphasized that I really liked the set and had admired it whenever I drove by.  They looked at me like I was nuts, but they seemed cool with it.  So, I come back later, with Patrick in his priest getup, and pay for the set.  We load it up and go, but the whole time they were kinda giving me these odd looks.  Maybe because I referred to this priest guy as "Babe."  So, later, my neighbor comes over.  She lives across the street and is a hardcore yard saler.  She says, "It was you!  You bought the set!"  I smirked and said, "Yeah, did you see it there?"  She said, "He tried to sell it to me!  He said someone was supposed to come back for it, but did I want it, he'd sell it to me. I thought it was kinda a jerk thing to do, so I said no."  Talk about adding insult to injury.  Imagine if I had gone back to get it, it wasn't there, and then I later see in my neighbors courtyard!  She is so nice that she would probably feel bad and try to give it to me, but I would not take it, but she would insist, and we'd end up having joint custody.  Anyway, this is what I love about used furniture.  There is always a story.

have you caught on, yet?

...that I love to pair dining tables and chairs? 
I have been wanting a new dining room table recently, only because the one I have is really hard to clean under.  (lame reason, I know)  It is a gate-leg table, and it should seat six, but really only seats four.  Anyway, I got a cb2 catalog last week with the above table on the cover, only it was the room view, so when you click on it, go to the room view.  I love it.  It is exactly what I want.  However, it is, well... I would never pay that much for a table.

But, while I am daydreaming, I would of course have to get new chairs to go with it, so I picked out these awesome chairs at cb2.com.  They are much more than I would ever really pay for dining chairs.  

And today, I got the MoMAstore catalog, and check out this well-it's-art-so-it's-priced-like-it chair:

I think it would look great with a bright red painted wood trestle table.

Next I'll do sofas and tables (side or coffee?).  I know, you can't wait...


Master bedroom, part I

I just bought this oil painting, by one T. Joker, at Habitat on Friday, for $15.  That thing to the right of the dresser is a valet, which I bought, also at Habitat for Father's Day a few years ago.  
Hanging there in the corner is my North Dakota 100 mile yard sale find for $4.   The furniture we got on craigslist.  I bought curtains the same color as the walls, mainly because the walls are a very prominent green, and the bedspread is an orange and pink paisley, so I didn't want to go overboard.

I found this chair on the curb out front of my neighbor's house.  For those of you that are disgusted by that, I looked it up on a reproduction website and found it was selling for $800.  Of course, I can't find that website now, but....

This is a glimpse at our tiny bathroom.  Much needed cabinet from Ikea.  There is no storage under the sink.

More to come...


for Tina

Well, I'll do my house tour in bits and pieces...

I bought this secretary on ebay
that is 2 of the 3 kids
the third picture is in process

garage sale chair
tray tables from Marian's basement!

the catch all is never really this clean
that is the front door to the left and sliders to the right
the doors open into a courtyard


peeping in windows

I have been checking out the house tours on apartment therapy a lot recently.  So many good ideas!  I actually want to post a house tour of my own house here, but I have to clean my house first.  And keep it clean long enough to take pictures of it.  Maybe I'll work in vignettes.  (Kinda like I clean...)  Then I need to figure out how to make a slideshow.

Speaking of windows, are you wondering what to do with yours?  Well, I am always a fan of the ubiquitous bamboo shade and fabric panels combo, but they don't offer much in the way of privacy as the shades are, well, completely see-through.  So, I started making these other kind of shades.  I basically get a piece of fabric the size of the window plus 2 inches all the way around, I fold and iron the "hem" and then  iron on an (iron-on) interfacing sheet which will not only keep the edges down, but line it for privacy.  Then I hand sew a little plastic ring on each side about 3/4 of the way down or so.  I screw in cup hooks at the top of the window, and to keep the shade open, I just stick the rings on the cup hooks.   Easy, streamlined, and you get to pick whatever crazy kind of fabric you want.  I even got out the hot glue gun and glued the ball fringe to the bottom.  Somebody stop me.


sit on it

Looking for new dining chairs?  Here are three flexible options from Ikea...

Domino even listed this as one of the new "design icons."  This is the PS Ellan, a wood-plastic composite rocker for $39.99.  Imagine you and your guests sitting around the table after an absolutely delicious meal prepared by you, just relaxing, rocking, marveling at your cooking AND decorating prowess.
A sweet little bistro chair with clean, contemporary lines, the Olga chair retails for $29.99.  I would love to see a line of 4 of these on each side of a long oak farm table.  Something organic and sturdy looking, like this.
This one I have admired for quite some time.  It is the Olle, and it also comes in a birch finish.  This could have a little bit of a country look to it, so it would look great with a more industrial or modern table. Oh, how about this one.

I chose black chairs because they can go with virtually and color and style table, and they look good with all wood finishes.  These chairs are classic enough use for years without looking dated, versatile enough to be worked into any style home, and inexpensive enough that you won't have to eat beans and rice for a year just to buy a set.  (Maybe just for a month or two.)


summer reading

I checked out these two great decorating books from the library:

My kind of decorating.

For those of us in the mid-century ranch family that have no idea how to keep the look authentic.  Some are a little too modern, but the author gives great advice on decorating and landscaping in a way that is current, but also fits the era of the house itself.  Call me a snob, but if a house is very obviously specific to a certain era (like mine, for instance), I prefer any remodeling keep with the style of that era.  One could make it more current without losing authenticity.  This book has some great ideas along those lines. 


stool samples

This is a low stool (as opposed to a bar stool) that I have been admiring...

It is called the alchemy stool from cb2 for $129.  A hefty price tag for yours truly, but it would have gone perfectly in the schoolhouse modern kitchen I had originally planned for our house.  I had wanted to score an old science lab table, you know, the kind with the wood legs and the black epoxy resin top, and use that as an island.  Alas, time and money were too much of a factor, and I had to scrap my dream.  All that remains is a door I painted with chalkboard paint.  
Now that you have seen the Cadillac, let me show you the Yugo. Really it is a Volvo with a Yugo pricetag.  This is the Frosta stool from Ikea for $12.99, another low stool that works well as a table, too.  Simple, mixable, and if the kids decide it needs to be Sharpie-black, you can spray paint some cool color over it guilt free.  After all, it is cheaper than dinner for 4 at Moe's.
Now for the Toyota.  This authentic schoolhouse stool comes from School Outfitters and costs $32.99.  It can adjust in height, which is nice.  It is nothing fancy, but quite a workhorse.  I suppose if you were feeling like Trading Spaces, you could spray paint this as well.  But I wouldn't.


Ok, it has been a while, I know.  What can I say, I got lots to do around here.  That's why I use "easy bed."  Easy bed is exactly what you'd think, a hassle-free way to make your kids' beds.  My kids have bunk beds, and anyone who has ever tried to make a bunk bed can tell you, it is a pain in the back.  All that stretching and tucking.  And it never looks neat.  The room is never quite neat, so if the beds are, it will make the whole room look cleaner.  In comes easy bed.  Instead of a twin size quilt, I use a throw.  Kids are small, what do they need a twin size quilt for? And besides, throws are a whole lot cheaper.  I got that polka dot one for $7 at Ross.  The blue is a down alternative one from Wal Mart for $12.   Then, to make the bed, all I do is fold the throw, or throws, and place them neatly at the foot of the bed.  It takes me, oh, 10 seconds.  Now, it fits with my style.  You may be more the pouffy comforter/ fluffy pillows type.  I can't help you there.


what do you think I'm full of?

We recently bought a new sofa, and thanks to the new Ikea down in Orlando, it was affordable.  Like any middle class American family, we put our old sofa on the front porch.  Actually, it was the carport, and it is a futon, not a sofa, but you get the point.  It started out that we put it out there because we were having a big party and needed some outdoor seating.  I made for a lovely outdoor living room (they are very in right now) and was very comfy.  So comfy that we left it there so we can sit on it, drink beer, and yell at the kids when they get too close to the street.  We had to move it to the shed due to an impending power washing of the house and concrete, but it got me thinking...can we defy nature and Florida's propensity to mildew absolutely everything left in unairconditioned space, and turn the futon into outdoor furniture?  I found a woman on craigslist.org who makes futon covers, and am looking for a good price on some outdoor fabric.  I asked our handyman what to use to keep the wood from rotting.  I remembered reading in Real Simple about painting the bottoms of your shaving cream cans with clear nail polish to keep them from rusting in the shower, and wondered if that would work on the futon's screws.  I have a small concrete pad behind the laundry room that would be the perfect spot for an outdoor living room.  We could build a roof, maybe use some roll up bamboo fencing as walls when needed, throw in a bunch of plants and two chairs.  If we wanted to get fancy, we could even install a ceiling fan!  Ah, as I always tell my husband, I am full of good ideas.  If only I had the funds to support them.


master bedroom basics for the treehugger with little cash

So these are just a few basics, in case you are ready to succumb to the green trend, but just don't know where to start...

Let's start with furniture.  The cheapest way to go green is to use what is already there, and by that I mean hunt down stuff at thrift stores and garage sales.  This could take a long time, and I know some of you are not very patient.  Ebay is another option.  I especially like the ebay store TS & Co.  The above dresser is from one of their auctions, and is currently listed at $51.00.  They are local to Gainesville, so if you find something and win, you don't have to pay for shipping, you just go pick it up.  (If you are here, that is.)  We are buying a bedroom set on craigslist, which is another great option.  I got the kids bunk beds there, as well as my bed frame, microwave, and maybe other things.   If you are really into new stuff, Ikea is a socially and environmentally responsible company, so you can sleep easy in this Hemnes bed for $299.  A pretty good price for solid wood.  I LOVE this bed.  If only I had higher ceilings.

This organic cotton sheet set from Target come in a variety of colors like baby blue and a light pink.  I chose this creamy brown because I thought it would look nice with the yellow bed.  At $29.99 for twin or $49.99 for queen, they aren't all that much more expensive than the regular cotton sheet sets loaded with pesticides.  I do believe the cotton industry is the biggest consumer of pesticides, therefore the biggest producer of pesticide-contaminated runoff, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong about that.  

Here is an organic cotton duvet cover from the Wal Marts.  For a whopping $25, you get a queen size duvet cover and shams!  What a steal.  By the way, I know that Wal Mart is frowned upon by many for its poor labor practices and cheap products, and I myself only go there on occasion, but I did recently read that Wal Mart is not only the biggest purchaser of organic cotton items ( I think of all the big stores), but it intends to reduce its solid waste output by 25%.  

Below, we have the flor Redora rug tile in Cayenne.  Flor carpet tiles are made of 80% post-consumer recycled fibers and are recyclable themselves.  They come in a variety of colors and can be arranged in many ways, patterns and shapes.  (Kinda like those stick on vinyl tiles, but way cooler.)  You just stick them to the floor, and if the kids spill/puke on them, you pull up the dirty one and wash it in the sink.  You can go to the flor website for more info.  You can buy this particular tile, and others, at CB2.  They range is price there from $6.95 each (which is what this one costs) to $13.95 each.  I have seen them other places for more, too, if you need to get fancy.

Now if only I could find an organic cotton throw pillow to tie it all together...


my green issues

So, I love domino magazine and all, but seriously, if you want people to go green, you have to show the affordable options!  Their newest issue is their annual green issue, and they boast "150 easy ways to go green at home."  They have some really good ideas and very nice products, so check it out.  The thing is, no one I know is going to/ can afford to pay $700 for a blanket for their bed.  So, you know what this means.  I'm on the hunt...stay tuned for a list.


10 under $10

We start with some quirky art.  I love shopping on etsy because I love the idea that I am helping out an actual person.  Also, some day, when I have time, I am going to open my own little etsy store to sell my handiwork.  This is an 8.5x11 print from the store MATTY8080 and retails for $6 plus $2.50 s&h.  There were a ton of others, including one with a squid that I liked.  But I want to buy thissaone.  He even does requests...

This is a nice basic white wood frame from Target.  I like a white frame with a white mat for color snapshots of the kiddos.  This one is a good price, $6.99 for an 8x10.  Get yerself a mat for $1.50 or so and you are set!

New from West Elm, this branch entertaining ware comes in a variety of prices with a dipping bowl for $5 and a small bowl for $9.

These orange amac boxes from The Container Store appeal to that part of me that likes to organize everything in little compartments and stack them neatly in ascending order.  They range in price from $.39 to $3.19.  The come in a range of wild colors, too.  I am ordering a few of the purple for Ceci's hair things.

These Fran hooks, at right, are a steal, as with many things at ikea.  $3.99 for a 2 pack.  (They also come in black.)  The drawback is that they are only available in the store.

Magnetic, flat-bottomed measuring spoons (above) in my favorite shade of green.  These are on my "to get" list.  They have a narrow end for spice jars and a wider end for, I guess everything else.  Ingenious!  You'll find them at Macy's for a whopping $7.98.

MoMAstore has a bunch of matted prints for $8.50.  This is my favorite, a reproduction of "The Jungle," by Wifredo Lam.

With this genealogy chart, you can display up to 9 generations, allowing for hours of fun for you and your guests.  (So now you'll believe me when I say I really did have a Great Aunt Alfia)  Art meets history for only $8.99.

Sweet little rosettes perfect for a powder room window or baby girl nursery.  $10 for 7 and sold in black or silver at Urban Outfitters.

This one is kinda cheating because it is on sale. Bricks rug, $9.95 at cb2


make it!

Here is a great gift that I think would be easy to make (even for those with large, unwieldy hands).  All you need is a pants hanger, a piece of board you could probably get in the scrap section at home depot, or maybe at a craft store, some chalkboard paint (you could probably borrow this from one of your friends, say me, for instance).  I think I would bypass the elastic around the bottom, but if you wanted to, I am sure you could use one of those elastic headbands or something.  Or, if you don't want to do all this, you could just buy it at MoMAstore.  It is called the Cap'n Hook Chalkboard for (yikes) $55.00.  (I am pretty sure you could make it for cheaper.)


tweet tweet

I saw these scissors at Target today for $14.99. They had a whole line of animal kitchen utensils, including a shark bottle opener.


Lucky for me, my husband has studied the ancient Japanese art of paper folding.

Or he remembers it from middle school, anyway.  Here is the idea I ripped off from Oh Happy Day.  Only she used hangers.  I used a quilt loop I picked up at a garage sale a few months back.  I had made a different mobile with card stock polka dots, but it didn't turn out so well.  So I scrapped it until I came up with something better.  I had Hubs make the birds with pages I tore out of the newest Land of Nod catalog that came in the mail yesterday.