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Fabulous Office

August 16, 2011

Hello all!

I have abandoned this blog for quite some time now!  About a month and a half ago, I accepted a teaching job and have thus spent the rest of my summer in a panic of preparations for the school year.  I’ll be teaching the freshman Introduction to Art , Sculpture/Ceramics, and Crafts classes, which has led me to spend most of my free time this summer pouring over books about new techniques and brushing up on my skills on the pottery wheel and loom.  I’m very excited to start this new chapter in my life, but hope to begin this blog anew and keep up with it with at least four updates each week as a stress reliever.

In my preparation quest for the new school year (which begins September 6), I have chosen to indulge in some adorable office supplies.  I’m a sucker for anything that can make my work life a little more stylish.  Here are some of my new obsessions:

1. Rifle Paper Company

Literally everything they make is completely adorable.  I’m already planning to save up my little teacher’s salary for some custom stationery.  Until then, however, I’m going to be quite happy with my little zebra notepad (see below!).  With prepping three different classes, there’s a lot to do.  When a zebra tells me to do stuff, I have a feeling I’ll stay on task!

2. russel+hazel

russel+hazel is just one of the best places to go for tasteful, stylish, contemporary office supplies.  I’m keeping my day planner and project lists in this beauty (isn’t it the perfect binder for an art teacher?!):

3. smock paper

I found out about smock paper while in the midst of my search for the perfect wedding invitation, but was surprised to find out that they offer a lot of everyday stationery items.  This sticky note pad is perfect for jotting down reminders about faculty meetings, professional development, and deadlines for grading.

I think that if you spend the majority of your day at work, then you need to surround yourself with things that you love to make everything a little bit nicer in the same way that you surround yourself with things you love in your home.  Do any of you have some favorite items at work?

A Little Crazy?

June 22, 2011

Hello all!

I am about to inherit an old washstand from my friend, Cate.  You see, Jon and I right now have a very small tv- about the size of a computer monitor.  Honestly.  He bought it shortly after moving to Florida for aviation school and at the time, it made sense, as he knew he’d be moving to another base (Norfolk) in a few months and there was no reason to get something that would make packing up more cumbersome.  However, now that we have a permanent place, it is time for a bigger tv.  I’m not much a tv person, to be honest, but he definitely is and I know he wants to have buddies over to play Call of Duty or watch the game on something that he’s actually proud of.  So while this isn’t the most important upgrade ever to me, this is something that is important to him.

Here is where the washstand comes in.  Right now, our cute little tv is perched on an antique end table, which works well now, but just won’t be very visually balanced or physically stable once we upgrade.  I mentioned to Cate that I was looking for a vintage dresser to use as a tv console and she mentioned that she had a large washstand that needed out of her house.  Perfect!

It does need some major TLC.  I haven’t seen it in person yet, just through a photo text, but already I can tell that it will be a project.  She mentioned that she had always wanted to paint it with a Union Jack, which is a cool idea, but:

A) It’s a lot of impact and I have a SMALL space

B) I’m not English, Jon’s not English.  I love the idea, but I think it’s inauthentic.

So we started brainstorming other flag possibilities and the one I am stuck on right now is the Chicago flag.  For those of you who don’t know (which I would assume is anyone not currently living in Chicago, or, my mother, who has lived there for over twenty years and just found out last year that that flag existed), this is what the flag looks like:

Credit, Wikipedia

I love the simple white and pale blue striping with the bright red six-pointed stars.  I’ve never seen it on furniture before, but I think it could translate to this boxy piece well.  It is going a little crazier than I anticipated in the front room- I thought I would want a lot of classic and neutral, which I have, but now as we add in stuff together, I’m adding in lots of quirky bits- which right now, I kind of like.  What do you think, though?  Does this push it too much?

Swooooon Find and Project Therapy.

June 22, 2011
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Hello all!

I had to do a little therapy project time yesterday- have you ever done that?  This past week, I had been prepping for an interview for pretty much my dream teaching job (teaching high school history of design and graphic design classes) and unfortunately found out that I wasn’t selected for it.  While I think the normal response is to look for someone to console you by buying you ice cream or liquor, I asked Jon to go to the hardware store and buy me bright metallic gold spray paint.  And he did, because he is wonderful and loves how strange creative I am.  I find that the best way to get over something upsetting is to put all of your efforts into something else that you know that you can do.

I had unearthed this fabulous vintage bird cage from Thrift Store USA for $19.99.  Unfortunately, I did not take any before pictures, but you should know that it was initially very dusty, dark green, and FILLED with 5 or 6 faux birds.  That last detail I find a little creepy.  However, I loved the structure of it and had been looking for a sweet birdcage for a while.  One of my favorite restaurants in Norfolk, Luna Maya (DELICIOUS), has some seriously amazing interior design going on that includes birdcages filled with Our Lady of Guadalupe candles, a detail that has been really inspiring to me.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to copy that bit of fabulousity.

I chose not to use Our Lady of Guadalupe candles because, while I think they are particularly beautiful, I couldn’t find a design that worked for my space.  However, I did pick out a selection of honey-scented pillars and tea lights.  A little gold spray paint and frustration-fueled cleaning later, this is the end result:

I’m not sure about the placement of it yet, although I do really want it in the bedroom because I find it so soft, whimsical, and romatic.  Any thoughts on the placement?  I could use ideas.  Regardless, I’m so happy about how it turned out and it was exactly the instant gratification that I needed at the time.

Bar Tray Lust

June 20, 2011

Hello all!

I’m sorry for my absence this past week!  My parents and youngest brother came to visit Jon and I for a few days and we spent a great deal of time with them at the beach.  It was wonderful to see my family for a few days, as they live far off in Chicago and I hadn’t seen them since I moved in January.  It’s also a joy to see Jon become more and more a part of my family as they get to spend more time with him.  He and my brother spent hours bodysurfing, which was adorable to watch.

On to new design and decor topics, though!  I spent some time blog surfing on Sunday and came across this adorable bar tray vignette in the home of  Alaina Kaczmarski, who designs and writes the blog, Live Creating Yourself.

 *Credit, Alaina Kaczmarski

How adorable is that?!  I love a vintage bar cart as much as the next “longing for to be Audrey Hepburn” girl, but a lovely tray set up is so much more achievable, as it may take me forever to find the perfect wheeled glass and brass bar cart.  My ideal tray would contain a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin, Absolut Citron, home distilled grapefruit and cardamom vodka, Patron Silver, and American Honey Whiskey for my guy.  I think it would also need a small bud vase with a glammy flower, two beautiful vintage glasses, a shaker, and finally, two covered dishes for olives and fresh limes.  I think that would be just perfect!

What would your ideal bar tray feature?

Draped Furniture

June 13, 2011
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Hello all!

It’s funny how things can stay with you.  I’ve been reading desire to inspire ever since I stumbled upon it during my freshman year of college, back when I lived in a dorm room and had very little space to make my own.  With that in mind, it probably goes without saying that I’ve created a giant inspiration folder on my computer of images from that site.  On Friday, I was looking at my old red chair- a very comfortable, if unnattractive, hand-me-down from my parents’ basement- when I suddenly remembered a post that desire to inspire did in 2009 (eek!) about draped furniture.  It’s one of those styles that I either love or hate.  Here are some inspiration photos below:

*Credit, Atlanta Bartlett

*Credit, Domino

*Credit, Penny Wincer

*Credit, Hus & Hem

I love how the interiors in these photos all look very soft, casual, and elegant.  I had lots of muslin fabric lying around the house and decided to try it with my chair.  Here is the end result:


I really love the end result, although I think it could use some sewing screws to pin bits and pieces into place and prevent constant slippage.  But it’s definitely a HUGE improvement over the dark burgundy color of the chair and makes the room feel so much lighter.  What do you think?

- Elizabeth

Vintage Wall Decor

June 10, 2011
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I don’t think that it’s any secret that I am a big fan of anything vintage.  I think mixing different items from different times, both past and present, is the best way to bring personality into your home.  I especially like to do this on my walls with vintage poster, prints, and objects.  In general, I think that this can be the most “user friendly” way to add in some vintage, as it doesn’t present the concerns that other types of vintage objects might (i.e., “Is that lead based paint?”, “Does that wiring need replacing?”).

Today, my fiance and I received an early wedding gift from his parents.  In high school, Jon had asked for a vintage movie poster as a graduation gift and received one.  As a wedding present, his parents had it matted, framed, and preserved for us.  I absolutely love my future in-laws and their willingness to think outside the box with a gift like that.  It is so much better than china/a four slice toaster/a Crock Pot.  I thought that this would be the perfect occasion to celebrate that new piece, which will soon be on my wall, as well as some other vintage pieces I keep on my walls that I haven’t shared yet.

It’s so 1950s and fabulous.  I’m planning for it to be on gallery wall we’ve begun in the front room, once I pick up a hanger that can handle its substantial weight.

My friend, Cate, found a set of four bird plate/figurines, spray painted them a bright pumpkin orange, and was kind enough to give me two of them!  They now brighten up my kitchen.

I found this “soldier with accessories” print last week at my all-time favorite spot, Country Boy Antiques, in Norfolk for a great $7.  I’m beginning a gallery vignette by the reading chair in my bedroom and have it hanging next to two pieces of my own artwork, which I hope to post more about in the future.

Finally, these are the illustrations I mentioned yesterday.  I found a Boy Scout manual from 1972 (!!!) while out thrifting last week and now have cut out lots and lots of the illustrations to use throughout the apartment.  Right now, the illustrations with large splashes of this sunny yellow create a motif throughout my hallway.

How do you feel about incorporating vintage bits and pieces into your home?

Wallpapered Doors

June 9, 2011

One of the interesting things about living in such an old apartment is that the architectural details are so unlike what you would find in a modern place.  This can be good (I can go on and on and on about my crystal doorknobs), bad (being on the third floor, sometimes the heat doesn’t make it all the way up to our radiator), or just odd.  The odd thing that I have been focused on lately is that there are SO.  MANY.  DOORS.

Honestly.

Every single room can be shut into it’s own little box, even the hallway that connects our front room, bathroom, and bedroom.  As it is also where the closet space is, there are, I kid you not, five doors for this one tiny little space (see below).

Since this portion of my apartment is so different, I’d really like to highlight it and make it a little bit more interesting so that the doors are a cool architectural piece rather than a totally odd part of my home.  I’ve been looking at different examples of wallpaper covered doors and am considering filling in the center rectangle on each door with some kind of pattern.  Right now, I’m thinking of using something striped, not too crazy, and yellow, to match the vintage Boy Scout manual illustrations I have on the walls (I’ll be posting more about these, along with some other great vintage wall pieces, tomorrow!).  It is a bigger monetary investment, though, and labor intensive, so I want to make sure that this is something that I really want to do before I fully commit.  Here’s some inspiration found from Google searching:

*via Room Envy

*Via Martha Stewart

Right now, I’m trying to decide if it’s bold and will look fabulous or if it would be just too kookookachoo for such a small space.  What are your thoughts?

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