Category Archives: inspiration

Can’t Stop Thinking about Lighting

So my quest for the perfect dining room is close to complete.

 

My Dining Room

My Horrible Fireplace Mantle

All I need to do is:

  1. Finish the drapes. I’m going to add a foot or so of accent fabric to the bottom of the white IKEA drapes I bought.
  2. Paint the fireplace mantle. I can’t stand the wood. I know some people love natural wood and think it is a sacrilege to paint it, but since I dislike the look of this mantle so much as is, I’m going to do it.
  3. Better accessorize the mantle and new shelves. I’m not so good at accessorizing. We have lots of great stuff to display. I just have a hard time put it all together in a pretty and cohesive way.
  4. Put a light above the dining table.

So this leads me to what I’ve decided to write about today. Lighting. Unless we get an electrician to put in an overhead lighting socket, we’re going to have to find a nice, non-hardwired light to hang.

Decorated Paper Shade inside an Anthropologie Store

I saw this very cool lighting idea at the Anthropologie store near me. It’s a huge Chinese paper lantern that is covered with old book pages, photos and other ephemera. I think this would add a nice personal touch to the dining room.

Drum Pendant Light with Lining

A simple drum pendant light that is lined with wallpaper or other decorative paper would be lovely above the table.

Orla Kiely Drum Pendant Shade

Or perhaps a drum pendant that has a pretty exterior?

IKEA Knappa Pendant

I already purchased this IKEA pendant as a temporary solution – though I have yet to hang it. I think my husband thinks it will look cheesy, but perhaps he’ll change his mind after I put it up.

Hmmm. I guess I should just put something up and give it a try!

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The Art of Photography

A few weeks back I had the pleasure and privilege to attend an Art Wolfe seminar at Portland State University. I’ve admired Art Wolfe’s work for quite a while and when I saw he was going to be in town I had to go.

First off, I want to say that Art (I can call him Art now that I’ve met him and he signed one of my books and he’s my new BFF, right?!) is a super nice, funny man who does not convey any sort of pompousness that one might think a person with his talent might have. I was actually a bit surprised at how down to earth he was.

I’ve been a quasi-photographer ever since I took my first photography class during my sophomore year in college. I enjoyed it enough that I minored in it (with a major in journalism) at Purdue. Since I’m not much (or any, really) of a painter, drawer or sculptor, photography is my form of art. I love looking at photography and dreaming of going to exotic places to shoot photos – especially after the Art Wolfe seminar where he talked about the trips he’ll be hosting to places like China, India and Japan.

But since it’s not in my immediate future to travel to such places, I have to make due with local opportunities. Which is fine, for now. Here are a few of my recent shots…

Another one of my take-aways from the Art Wolfe seminar was that he said a photo is more engaging if you capture a scene/person/animal/landscape not as you normally see it. Find a unique perspective, use a lens that offers a wide angle, use filters to change the color or exposure, change the depth of field – it’s all OK. Art admits that though he’s in the business of documenting culture and wildlife, his work is art.

“You should live in a place that uplifts your spirits,” Art said. “If you live for photography but don’t have your photos in your house, there is a disjunct.” When I got home, I got to thinking about this statement and realized that maybe I’m on the right track – I have lots of my own photos hanging in my home plus some photos taken by a friend of mine – and Art Wolfe books on my coffee table!

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Sogno di Toscana (Dream of Tuscany)

My husband and I had the most marvelous vacation back in 2000. We spent 17 glorious days in Italy with 14 of them spent in a farmhouse in Tuscany – with traveling all around the region by day and cooking with local ingredients in our kitchen at night. It was wonderful. For 10 years, I’ve been dreaming about going back.

For some reason, I recently began receiving emails from Tablet, an boutique hotel booking website.

“Tablet Hotels is the cure for boring travel — the one-stop prescription shop for the jaded and harried traveler. We can’t tell you who you should be traveling with, and frankly, it’s none of our business; and airline travel has become commoditized. In the area of choosing a hotel and getting the best price for it, however, we feel we have some expertise to offer.” ~ Tablet website

To say Tablet chooses nice, unique hotels to feature is a HUGE understatment. They feature the most dreamy, heart-racing, make-me-want-to-buy-a-plane-ticket-right-now kind of hotels. And I’m not kidding.

Today I discovered Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany. If Italy is your thing, check out these photos.

So who wants to go with me?

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Corralling the Magazine Obsession

Good Wednesday, friends!

Since I missed last Wednesday’s installment of the Junk Love Club, I thought I might share two pieces of my lovely junk today. Allow me to introduce two of my vessels for containing the dozens of magazines I have on hand at any given time.

This beauty was, once again, a find of my husband’s in the pre-Alyse phase of his life. It’s a lovely art deco shape made out of beech veneer. You can see that it’s not in perfect condition, with the scratch and dings on the front, but it is a very sturdy piece. I love that it has a handle so that you can carry it around from chair to chair easily. It’s just so pretty!

I found this little number at an antique store not too long ago. I had just been looking through Found Style and went on an antiquing excursion. When I saw this, it spoke to me. “Take me home,” it said. How could I resist such a such a cute wire rack?

Don’t forget to check out the other Junk Love Club members’ wonderful finds. If you would like to join us, hop on over to EmmaRoseArt and leave a comment, then we’ll add you to all our lists.

Have a wonderful day!

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High Cool Factor for Tel Aviv

I used to browse Etsy on a daily basis when I had my own little shop there selling handbags. I slipped away from it for a while, but I’ve found the light again recently. What’s odd though is that I’ve discovered several Etsy sellers in Tel Aviv that I love. Tel Aviv? Is Tel Aviv cool now, and I missed the memo? Yes, I think I did.

12 tiny portraits by behappynow

I bought these tiny portraits from behappynow and LOVE them. I’m going to get them framed in some unique way (still deciding how that will be) and put them in the new dining room.

Then there’s the clothes…

Crocheted crop top by duende74

It’s been so chilly here in Portland this spring that this sweater by duende74 caught my eye. I’m hoping that if I buy it I won’t actually get a chance to wear it for several months!

My must have top by Galalabel

But I know summer is on it’s way – it’s got to be, right? So this hot little number from Galalabel jumped out at me (Sorry for the tiny photo). I love the ruching at the sides – good way to hide my little tummy that I thank my kids for.

Handmade Lampwork Beads Red in Clear Glass Discs by NadinGlassico

I went through a jewelry-making phase several years ago, but I think these gorgeous handmade glass beads by NadinGlassico might just push me back into it.

Business card holder by ArtisEverything

I don’t have an office to display my business cards, but I’m thinking that this would look cool in my home office (a.k.a. my kitchen)!

All I can say is…Tel Aviv is cool!

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A Whole Lotta Junk Love

Happy Wednesday!

Sorry I missed last week’s installment of the Junk Love Club. Seems like life is pretty these days with school winding down and so many kids’ activities on the calendar. But enough of that. I’m here today to share my junk!

Since I missed last week, I thought that today I would share a whole vignette of junk that is in my home’s entryway.

I got this chair when I worked at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. At one point they were getting rid of a bunch of old office furniture for next to nothing. I saw this chair with a $5 price tag and knew I needed it. The cushion easily detaches so I’ve recovered it a couple times. This fabric was purchased in the bargain bin of a local upholstery fabric store for about $2. I figure for prices like that, I can afford to change the look on a whim!

The table is another pre-marriage find of my husband’s. It’s a cute little wrought iron table with glass top. There is a nick in the corner of the glass but I think it adds character – or that’s just what I tell myself because I’m too lazy to go get a new piece of glass.

The “vase” on the table is an olive oil bottle. It’s not vintage – we bought the olive oil at a little Middle Eastern market in town – but it has a vintage-y look that I like. It’s fun to fill it with fresh flowers!

Enjoy your week, my friends!

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The Fish Tank is Coming, The Fish Tank is Coming

We got word yesterday that the BIG fish tank and stand has arrived at the fish store. Oh boy, here comes the fun part! The only bummer is that the doors on the custom stand are wrong, but, alas, the hubby says they’ll deliver it with the wrong doors and just replace them when the new doors are ready.

So my quest for a new dining table is on – along with new dining chairs, rug, and lots of accessories!

Saw Horse Zinc Dining Table

I found this awesome table at a cool, little shop in Northwest Portland called Manor. The difference between the table we saw and the one pictured above was the legs. The one at Manor had legs that looked like criss-crossed puzzle piece – even cooler than the table above. I thought this would make a unique and modern statement. But upon further consideration, we came to the realization that a steel top with a zinc finish may not be the best for, say, red wine spills. I don’t mind a few water rings, but big red blotchy stains might not be the statement I’m looking for.

Eastvold Custom Woodworks

So then I found this style table. I love the idea of a giant, chunky, wooden table. The trestle-style base would be good as no one would be stuck sitting right next to or in front of a table leg when you squeeze bunches of people around the table. This one is made by a Eastvold Custom Woodworks, a small, independent company in Minnesota. I don’t think we want anything quite this rustic, but I love the style. I’m not sure how much it would cost to have a custom table built and shipped to Oregon, but I think I’m going to look into it.

"Life and style on a modern houseboat" from Sunset

I ran across this idea on Sunset. How fun would it be to find previously loved chairs and reupholstering them with fun fabric? Fun!! I do have a bit of an obsession with fabric so this would be right up my alley. I’ll probably start scouring Craigslist and maybe do some garage sale-ing – ’tis the season, right?!

The Nines Armless Chair by Crate & Barrel

My last thought of the day is about finding a couple chairs with a little table in between to place by the front windows. I have an armless chair from Crate & Barrel (similar to the one above) that I thought I could have reupholstered – to complement my fun fabric dining chairs, of course. Maybe I find a similar style chair and just use the fabric on each to turn them into a pair. Or if I could find a deal on a pair of chairs, I go for that. Hmmm.

HGTV's Green Home's Sitting Room

HGTV's Green Home's Master Bedroom

I do like the bold prints of these chairs. I think the style of these chairs might be a bit too big for my dining room space, but I like the idea of making a statement with fabric like this.

So between going to Cub Scouts, baseball games, ballet class, school carpooling, and a little work, I’ll get going on my furniture shopping this week. Good luck to me!

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