Saturday, April 28, 2012

the week in review: renovations, fabrics, birthday pampering, and - of course - dogs.

A pictorial review of the week.

/ 1 /
The gold yellow painted wallpaper with popcorn-like texture is now gone. Gone!!

I almost wish we could keep the walls in this stripped down, textured look - but it has a fuzzy surface now and doesn't look so good in person. It will be stripped further, sanded, and painted.

Sully always finds the sun, even if it is in a corner littered with scraped wallpaper remnants and paint chips. Behind him, the one last gold surface in the sun room.

/ 2 /
Sully's perch during dinner time. I've been trying to snap a photo of this for a long time but he always looks away. 
Surely from the shame - so naughty.

/ 3 /
Picking fabrics for a "follow the lines" quilt for the little guy coming in September. Scenes from my favorite (a fabric from Japan) below:

A loss in translation, but it sounds so profound.

 Makes perfect sense to me (and to Sully & Otto).

This one, not so much.

This one made me laugh out loud. 

"Good travel."

"Let's enjoy every day with us." Words to live by.
Bonus - this fabric can serve as a teachable moment in grammar in later years. 

Another contender - Alexander Henry's "Animal Kingdom." Even though the quirky Japanese fabric charmed the pants off me, I think this one might be better for the follow the lines quilt. 

/ 4 /
Mantel top in progress. Scraped and slathered with wood filler, waiting to be sanded.

With the walls no longer deep red, its easier to appreciate the reflective sunlight coming through the beveled glass windows. 

/ 5 /
Sunset on the Niagara River.

/ 6 /
The bump looks like a mountain here. I wonder if Sully has any idea what's in there?

/ 7 /
Birthday toes, preceded by an hour long facial with scalp, head, neck, shoulders, upper back, arms and hands massage - all by the lovely Annette at Fix Salon. Heaven - thank you Evan.

/ 8 /
After the deluxe facial and pedicure, a shopping trip to Chic and Sweet clothing and accessories boutique. A Happy Friday indeed. 

I bought a Living Social voucher back in December, before I knew I was pregnant. It expires on Monday, so I used the whole voucher on accessories: a few pairs of earrings, a vibrant scarf and three long beaded necklaces. Sometimes being forced to have a limited focus is a good thing. 

{Bad blogger alert} A highlight not pictured: wrapping up a fun filled Friday with a fantastic dinner with girlfriends at Jewel of India, newly opened in my neighborhood this week. So, so, SO good.

Have a happy weekend everyone. xoxo

Friday, April 20, 2012

making my week

I am shamelessly borrowing this idea from one of my favorite blogs, Reading My Tea Leaves - a weekly feature summing up the little highlights of my week (or, at least those that were captured on my iPhone). I like that it is a way to pull together all of the random things that inspired me to snap a photo during the week, no matter how profound or mundane. 

If you have not checked out Erin's blog, you should do so now.

/ 1 / 
Azalea branches budding in the yard brought in to brighten up the bathroom.

/ 2 /
Sully is no dummy - if I were his size this is exactly the place I would want to curl up for a nap - buried in down pillows.

/ 3 /
Otto's own moment of bliss. If I panned out you would see that he is napping on top of the back cushion of an oversized chaise, all by himself. Yes, he fancies himself a king, and admittedly we don't do much to dispel the notion. 

/ 4 /
Progress in the sunroom - goodbye gold! Its a very slow work in progress, but little by little the living room and sunroom are transforming, shedding their old, unfortunate, "what were they thinking?" McDonald's red and gold identity.

/ 5 /
This page from Bringing Nature Home on the three foundational elements of a natural, wild arrangement. Game changer!

/ 6 /
The long lasting dubium - I think I bought the stems almost two weeks ago, but I just got around to making this arrangement today. 

And last, but certainly not least, finally feeling ready to make this announcement to the world at large: 

/ 7 /
At almost 20 weeks along, we are due to have our first child in September. And I have definitely popped. :)

Happy weekend everyone. xoxo

birthday gift

Thank you, dubium, for holding on long enough for me to work with you on a birthday arrangement for my friend Liz. Keeping it company: a few early blooming stems from my purple leaf plum bush and a couple of boxwood-like foliage stems (not positive what they are, but they smell great - anyone?).

I had never seen dubium before picking up a few stems at the grocery store last week. I can't get enough of that vibrant orange. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

achieving the good & beautiful

I cannot think you can make rules about these things. One can only have an idea of what seems good and beautiful, and then use any means to achieve it.  -  Constance Spry in Flower Decoration, 1934.

One step I recently took toward achieving what seems good and beautiful to me was ordering four books that I can hardly wait to devour from cover to cover.

First up, Bringing Nature Home - a recently released piece of eye candy for anyone prone to fits of obsession over flowers and home design. All flower arrangements were styled by Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn's Little Flower School. One of these days I will have a pretty little jar devoted to saving spare change and dollars to attend a class there. (I am bright green with envy over anyone able to attend the flower arranging workshop this Sunday, April 15, hosted by West Elm in NYC in honor of the book release, where participants will get hands on tutelage from Nicolette.)

A couple of pages from Bringing Nature Home, courtesy of Design Sponge:

Next up are two books featuring the afore-quoted Constance Spry - the highly influential British floral designer from the 1920s. 

Constance's arrangements were decidedly wild, natural, loose and fluid at a time when extremely formal, stiff arrangements held together with wire were preferred among designers. Today, it's easy to see her influence on many of my favorite floral designers.

 Constance Spry, working her nonconformist magic.

In the post "Past & Present: Constance Spry & Floral DIY", Design Sponge's Amy Azzarito notes that Constance "used materials that were usually discarded, like grasses and berries. She embraced vegetables in arrangements and preferred non-traditional containers. She would frequently raid her clients’ cupboards, pulling out serving pieces to use as unorthodox (for the time) vases." 

In the same post, the wildly talented floral designer Amy Merrick calls Constance the "first lady of floral design," and notes: "Constance was ... a voracious frequenter of antique and junk shops. Her hunts for interesting vases — from rusted cans to upside-down hats — are the stuff of legend." 

Based on that description, it should be clear to anyone who knows me well (or at all, really) why I was so excited to order these two books:


A small compilation of Constance Spry's arrangements (click image for source):

 Flowers of Fennel and Orange Lilies, 1951

 June morning, 1951

And last, but certainly not least, I'll be anxiously awaiting my copy of Design*Sponge at Home to arrive. It is chock full of home tours, DIY projects, step-by-step tutorials on everything from stripping and painting furniture to hanging wallpaper and reupholstery, before and after makeovers of rooms, spaces and furniture, and flower arranging tips (including twenty arrangements !!!). 


So if you don't see or hear from me in a while...