I’m back!!
November 21, 2012

Sorry I’ve been a bad, bad blogger….technical issues…plain ole busy…you know the drill. So we have a little catching up to do, do we not?  In no particular order, let’s go. Ever see bookshelves made out of books? SO cute!

Saw these at Women’s Industrial Exchange downtown…

This is how the actual shelf looks…books cover the bracket.

The same artisan made this lampshade out of pages from a book.
An amazing idea…

Seriously, the Exchange has some wonderful gift ideas…

And speaking of gifts, I found these for my son who is a big Ravens fan…and Natty Boh too. I think he’s gonna love these…got them at Charm City Clothing….super cute, and they come in lots of colors(orange for O’s fans)…

Whoops, left out Buddy’s pic!!

This cute little kitty,  my daughter and I have been feeding a block from the station. Buddy(that’s what we call him) is such a sweetie, but needed a home really bad…wasn’t neutered and was living on the street. He and Tom… an old red cat(who is about 16, almost toothless, and so tattered, but sweet as pie) now are in homes, thanks to a young woman named Dani who scooped them up, took them to the vet, and placed them in homes. And who says angels don’t exist. This winter, both of them will be safe…and warm. Makes me happy.

As does this, in the morning….

Hot green tea, morning sunshine, and almond butter and banana on
toast…my fav way to start the day.

A recent Sunday night dinner….I love, love, love roast chicken!

Green beans, and cauliflower with cheese….yummers!

And roasting a chicken is so dead easy. SO. Dead. Easy. I know, I know…it’s no turkey.

Doesn’t that look delish?

And before I leave you to your Thanksgiving weekend…a question for all of you!

And I got my flu shot…did you get yours? It’s not too late!

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Fifty Shades of Gray…..and more.
August 1, 2012

Here it is before…Chinese red…with dove grey fixtures….

OK, I have a small powder room on the first floor of my house(I say small, it’s actually tiny-there is only room for one person at a time in there, but then when are there ever 2 people in a powder room, right?)….and years ago I painted it a Chinese red. And while I’ve loved the red, it really needed  repainting and I decided to shake it up a little and use a shade of gray. I’m kind of obsessed with gray.

Holy Gray cow….that’s a lot of choices(and there were many, many more)

But I quickly realized at Lowe’s how many shades of gray there are….many more than fifty, ok? Stone Harbor, Coastal Fog, Silver Fox, Smoke Embers….all so…evocative…so gray. But I knew I wanted something on the lighter side….and many grays are have quite a bit of blue in them. Coastal Fog was the final choice.

Thrifty, no??

At first I thought….hey, why not take all the sample cans I paid a dear $5.99 for when I was picking a gray for the kitchen, and mix them all togetherand voila, free paint! But after I painstakingly mixed them …and they were pretty…..

Truly a customized shade of gray….that could never be recreated.
Hmmmmm.

I decided to save that gray for a smaller, specialized project…maybe a piece of furniture… or something. And I grabbed a gallon of Coastal Fog.  Enter Mr Lawson, my painter, who I’ve discovered is….wait for it…. 87 years old.  I know. I flt so guilty hiring someone who is 87 years old!!!!!! I said,”Are you sure you want to do this? Please don’t feel like you have to.”  He assured me he did still do small jobs like this one(tiny bathroom, remember?). But I’ve got to get that man’s youth potion. You’d swear he was …maybe 65?

Anyway, he did a lovely job, as always…and here is the finished result…

Tah-dah!!! I love it.

The room is definitely brighter, and I love the monochromatic look of the gray walls and fixtures. Only Baby Girl is unimpressed by all the hubbub…

Baby Girl hates change….loves life just the way it is. All about her.

Weekend Getaway…Relaxing in Rhode Island!
July 10, 2012

This pic personifies Rhode Island…stone walls and hydrangeas…
I’m in heaven!!

OK, a couple of weeks ago…I attended a wedding in Bristol, Rhode Island, a charming small town on the water. But rather than fly up Saturday morning…go the the wedding and back home Sunday(what a schlog)…decided to make a long weekend of it.

Classic gray shingle cottage right on the bay…(no the big
house on the right was not a part of the deal!)

You know I’m a hopeless fool for VRBO….my go-to website for vacation places to stay. And in Bristol…there was one especially charming choice. I fell in love with this precious cottage a mile out of downtown. The owner lives in a (larger, obvie)house to the left, closer to the street. Big shade trees, private dock….it was amazing inside and out. Take a tour…

Honestly, I think it was this little screened porch that
sold me…look at the view!

Living room to the left, staircase leading to loft bedrooms…
adore the light.

Seaglass blue everywhere…

The owner has such a nice eye for details….

My view reading under the tree….sigh. Heaven.

By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea….

Bristol is a town that really does it up for the Fourth of July…they have a huge parade, and the stripe in the road lets you know the parade route.

Classic front porch of a house on High Street, as one neighbor told me,
“the nicest street in town!”….It was pretty sweet…

Blueberry stuffed French toast at a sidewalk cafe….yumsters.

And lobsters galore, naturally….

Keep in mind, you can drive to Bristol in about 8 hours….and Southwest Airlines, bless them, fly nonstop to Providence…so Rhode Island in general is a great weekend getaway…just up the road a ways. All the Rhode Islanders said they’d love to have you!!

iPhone Cleanout!! Pics from the past eyar….
January 6, 2012

Twisty Bacon Man...it was in my son's Xmas stocking, and he left it here!

Isn’t it funny how many pictures your iPhone can hold…so many that they just stack up, and every so often I like to go through…relive a few choice moments.. and then move on. SO I thought I’d share some with you… including some from a trip to the mountains of NC last week…we spent most of our time in Cashiers and Highlands. Here goes…in no particular order.

Santa and me at the Monument lighting....he's so cute!

Best chocolate I had all year….came from Zoe’s Chocolate in Frederick…

Roasted almonds in dark chocolate in the shape of a tree...yes!

Also seen in Frederick….

Love, love, love this chandelier made from twigs and greens at En Masse

En Masse always has the most beautiful flowers, and some of the best ideas ever for gifts and decorating…like this simple pine cone…

Big pine...stick in pretty pot...instant style...

These wooden plates I saw at Great Stuff by Paul in Frederick,and yes, I did take one home, but the pic of multiples I think would be pretty framed! Great colors…

These are from China...I think...

When I saw this girl(the blonde one) as our place landed last year…I took the picture straight to my colorist, and said…I want MY hair to look like this…which meant: lowlights. I have no idea who she is…do you? But I love her hair color!

Excuse me while I invade your privacy...oh wait, there isn't any. Snap.

I was very jealous of this gorgeous candy apple red chalkboard my son gave the lovely Jennifer…I love chalkboards…so useful and decorative. He found this one on Etsy, of course from a vendor called Revived Vintage-here. The frame is resin and comes in all colors. Just makes such a statement.

THis will look amazing in their apartment...

 

Almost time for Xmas dinner..my daughter admires the moss centerpiece she gave me!

Another Etsy purchase: pine gift cards...wish I had bought more!

Another Etsy purchase, tiny serpent earrings for the lovely Jennifer

You should check out Michelle Chang jewelry on Etsy…she makes some lovely things…and different. (come on, snakes on your ears are definitely different!) Finally…North Carolina!

What a terrific reinvention of a space...

Loved time in Ashville…the city took an old Woolworth’s store, and created a space calle Woolworth’s Walk  for lots of artists to display and sell their wares…and they kept the luncheon counter…brilliant.

Meatloaf at he soda fountain...and art!

Just one of many artist displays at Woolworth Walk

And this darling window display I saw at a knitting shop…the title of it was “Dr. Stitch and Professor Purl have one of their eclectic gatherings, and ask what people wish for the new year.

A clever and creative store window in Ashville....

The answers you see here are: “Monkeys who love me, and bananas of course“….and another wishes for  “Awesome monkeys who advocate for the rights of all!” Ashville is has such an amazing feel about it….loved my time there.

A REAL bacon, egg and biscuit...how delish does this look?

Tommy’s Coffee Shop was just down the road from where we stayed in Cashiers, NC(pronounced Cash’-ers, not like a grocery store cashier)…great food, and wireless!!

Love me some potbelly stove...and it was toasty in there!!

 

But it is Friday, my friends…and while I doubt I stumble into a place like the one above just outside of Highlands, NC…where people sit close to the potbelly stove and chat and have coffee(more’s the pity)…I hope to FINALLY get all the wrapping paper put away for next year….and remove the last remaining traces of Xmas from the house. Be nice, play  by the rules, and come home safe….’cause we miss you!

 

 

 

 

The Power of Secondhand….never underestimate it….
May 4, 2011

This old kitchen table I got from a second hand shop....

You know today’s world is so easy come, easy go…throw it away, get another… that is not how I roll. I love second hand things, like the old kitchen table(above) that  I found at a consignment shop on Roland Ave. for $40(I cut the legs off to make it a coffee table for the family room) ..whether it was hand-me-downs for my kids when they were growing up(thanks older cousins)….or furniture that someone else no longer needed.

I love the finish....didn't change it a bit...

Some keepers I found on the street on bulk trash day(treasure day I call it). Like this little table that a neighbor didn’t want anymore….

I painted this street table a dark grey....

It was in pretty good shape structurally, I just painted it a dark grey…and it is quite serviceable. And let’s face it, re-use is the ultimate in recycling…it’s another thing that won’t end up in the trash dump.

Former strawberry carrier, now magazine holder...

This old strawberry carrier my husband brought home years ago…with pints of strawberries inside. I loved the way it was constructed and looked, and it fits three stacks of magazines exactly. The rocks I got from a beach on Vancouver Island(I think)….but the idea of using them that way I stole from a Pottery Barn catalogue. (I PB).

I just keep recovering them...

I have a pair of wing chairs that are very old…not like antique old…just old. But every time I think about getting rid of them, I find another fabric I like(the latest reincarnation is an Italian black and white linen, which my brother in law got for me for a steal), and change their look….like Madonna does hers!

My bro-in-law made this plant stand...

When that same bro-in-law was into woodworking( a long time ago), he made some plant stands and we each got one for Christmas. I just keep repainting it….right now it is dark grey(shocker).

Old, old, old paper mache vase...

 And sometime you can find odd, old things that just add a little something to a room for not much money…the Chinese paper mache(it weighs nothing) vase I found at Great Stuff by Paul in Frederick. They have all kinds of odd things from other countries…I think it was around $25…not much for a great touch of character!

Overpacking..and other wasteful sins….
March 4, 2010

I've just begun...see how tight those suckers are wrapped?

When my late Father said he was sending package my way years ago, I knew I was in for a wrestling session. We had a saying at my house, ……when Bobby wraps a package, it stays wrapped. He used so much tape, the wrapping was barely visible, and one didn’t dare approach it without multiple, razor-sharp implements of destruction. He didn’t make it easy, but there was NO WAY something he sent, fell apart in transit.   No sir-ee.

Such as innocent looking box......

I was reminded of my Father’s endless devotion to over-packing, when I tried to recycle a box, in which a table for daughter’s apartment had arrived. Sounds simple enough, oui? But here’s the rub, gentle reader…or the wrap, I should say. Inside the box were at least 50 strips of cardboard, rolled and then individually wrapped in plastic strips….around and around and around and up and down, in something like Saran Wrap(or cling film as they call it in the U.K.). So to recycle all the cardboard strips under the plastic,(and people who know me, know I’m gonna recycle those suckers…I’ve almost had battles in the newsroom over this)….you had to individually UNWRAP all those little rolls. And they didn’t unwrap easy….there’s another Bobby out there. Sigh.

We love the table, truly…it came from ETSY…the website for people who are selling handmade things they individually make. But I would say this to the owner of Applewood  products……”Dear Mr. Applewood and Decor in Utah: I really love your little table, even though you sent a white one when we wanted a black on…(no problem, we’ll paint it)….but it must be said tha your packing is lamentable. Not that it was shoddily packed, oh no.  Perhaps a greater sin….over-packing. Only a maniac recycler like myself would have unwrapped each and every one of those little  #*&^#*# tubes….I had devote a full two weeks at it …off and on of course…but I did it. However,  in the feeling that we perhaps both desire the same thing….getting something safely to its destination without driving the person who receives said package insane….and in the interest of saving someone on your end much time(how long did it take to wrap those little suckers anyway?), and money(that giant wad of plastic has to be expensive…shall I mail it back to you?)….let’s just agree that there must be a better way. A way that is kinder to your wallet, kinder to me, kinder to the earth(Oh, Momma can you hear me?)…and just, well…better. Biodegradable peanuts? Cardboard rolled but not wrapped? Air bubbles? Yours for a better world, Donna Hamilton.

I'm closing in on the finish...Baby Girl doesn't like the looks of it....

Anyway to make a long story short(I know, too late for that)…I did get them all undone and drug the bunch out to recycling this week. I felt much better not looking at it in my living room, and even better still that MOST of it was recycled…I still have your giant wad of plastic wrap to put in the trash tomorrow. That makes me feel bad, and I don’t like people who make me feel bad. Can’t we find another way? Pretty please?

Ebay Bounty…you really can sell anything…
October 30, 2009

Carefully hot-glued wine corks....

A shoebox came in the mail the other day, wrapped in brown paper…my daughter eyes lit up when she saw it and said, excitedly, “New shoes?”, naturally  thinking they MIGHT  be for her.  Ah, disappointment…. we meet again.

Inside the shoebox was about 50 used wine corks. She looked at me with the most peculiar look that implied Mommy has gone around the bend, and said, “Old wine corks? Wow…you really can sell any kind of crap on Ebay.”  I suppose that’s true. Sure, you can put anything on the market, but it takes a special buyer like myself to actually make it a sale.

But I needed more corks…(and still need more if you have any to send my way…especially fancy wine corks-amazingly I have very few of those) I’ve been saving them up for some time to cover part of  a wall over the door in the kitchen. And clearly, I needed to be drinking faster and more often to complete such a cork-thirsty project. After hot-glueing every cork I had, I was only about two-thirds of the way. Sooooooo,  I went on Ebay.

Wine Store in NYC with a total wine cork wall....

I was soon the proud owner of not one but two lots of various, wine corks( the first batch has way too much Woodbridge in it)…corks worthless to someone else of course, but not to me.  And this is also very green…these corks did not end up in the trash…reuse is the ultimate recycling…and if you don’t send your corks to me, save them up and send them to this Planet Green website….Corks for Kids is a non-profit organized through Recycle Cork U.S.A.

A wider view….

 I kinda like the look of the wall….and it’s fun to arrange the patterns. And if I get tired of it, I can pull them all down and sell them…on Ebay. Oh, and I also bought some pine cones on Ebay. yes, I know I can walk under any pine tree and find pine cones…but these are special! Huge pine cones that only grow out west!  Wonder no more about who is the grease that makes the Ebay wheel turn….it is I.

Happy Halloween everyone..have a great weekend, be nice and come home safe.