Monday, June 29, 2009

Starbuck's lattice ceiling inspiration

I stopped into the Sunnyside, Queens Starbucks Sunday and while gazing off into the ether waiting for my Mocha, I noticed this lattice ceiling. After I drank the Mocha, it occurred to me that this presents a great way to hide an ugly tile ceiling and/or industrial lighting and create some patterned light.

It also could be a worthwhile reuse of an unwanted room divider, headboard or cabinet door. Or you could buy a new carved wood panel like this one from Pier 1, which is on sale for $130 or the next one, which is on sale for $50 (half price!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How to host a fabulous cheap easy party

So, here are some frugerati party tips (which is really just an excuse to post a bunch of pics from my party) for hosting a fabulous cheap easy party.

Here it is in a nutshell:
  • Find a fabulous place.
  • Hold your party in the summer.
  • Have people bring food.

Speaking of fabulous places, this was the view from the spot where we had our party. The place I work for has a community room at the top of one of its buildings. People can sign up to get the room once a year for - get this - free.

But you may say, "Bromeliad, that's nice, but not everybody can get a free party room with a Manhattan view, especially since I live in Wisconsin."

I have found that nearly every town I've lived in has some fabulous place for a party, possibly one you don't even know about.

For example, here is where we held my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It's a Tudor-style mansion that has been converted into a community room for an apartment complex. A friend was a member. We got the place for $25.

Here is a historic home that was once owned by the local history museum in another town I lived in. The entire house, which was decorated with period antiques, and yard could be rented for weddings or parties for $100.

Or you could do like these folks and hold your party in a public place - like the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge.

If the place is fabulous, you don't need much else. Skip the decorations, the fancy table settings, the crepe paper and the punch bowl. You don't need it.

Point 2, hold it in the summer. Why? Because you can add fabulous outdoor places to your list of possibilities. And, also, it makes point 3 easier. Summer food is easier to prepare and keep around. No re-heating required.

And it's so easy to keep kids happy when they can go outside.

Total cost to us for the party of the year: About $20.

Have you found a fabulous party place? Tell us about it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I really have so many other things I should be doing

Besides turning my baby cousin into Henry VIII.

The 16th Century suits him, though, don't you think?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

How to make the easiest vanilla ice cream ever

Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that one thing it is not is a food blog. (It's more of a frugal home design/budget travel/Brooklyn neighborhood/squirrel stalking/oh look at the pretty (a. flower b. weed c. miscellaneous weird thing) I just noticed blog.)

However, this recipe is so easy even I can do it. In fact I make a batch of ice cream two or three times a week. It takes five minutes to mix and about 15 minutes to freeze.


1 egg
1/2 to 2/3 cups sugar
3 cups milk
Dash of vanilla extract

Whiz the egg in a blender until fluffy. Add the sugar and whiz again. Add the milk and vanilla and whiz for about a minute.

Pour the mix into an ice cream maker. We have a basic one with a cannister that stays in the freezer and an easy hand crank. (Found it at thrift store for $8 last year. Have made approximately $2,000 worth of ice cream in it already.) You turn the crank once every few minutes, and the ice cream is done in about 15 minutes.

For variety, you can add fresh mint during the blending phase and chocolate chips after the ice cream is almost frozen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sitting kitty

On Columbia Heights.

Tom's squirrelfriend

She stops by twice a day now and has expanded her menu to pepitas.

Such a lady-like pose.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's still so damp

. . . the lichen are scary big.

From a friend's fence in Glen Head, New York

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Root ball stools

Color Theory

My latest variation of my tree parts obsession is root ball stools - the more squatty and gnarled the better.

Design Sponge

Elle Decor

Viva Terra used to have a very cool one (on sale no less), which has been replaced with the following one for $150. Pearl River Mart in SoHo carries the fat root ball stools for about $120. But don't try carrying it home on the train.

Viva Terra's cool stool, which is out of stock

Viva Terra, $150

Viva Terra, $75

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's so damp

. . . the Brooklyn Bridge is rusting.

Just kidding. Well, the bridge is rusting and this is rust from the bridge, but it's been rusting awhile.

Pretty, isn't it? (I also think weeds are pretty.)

CB2 Hacker: How to knock off a Platner side table with a trash can and piece of glass

I don't usually post how-tos that I haven't personally tried myself. But, hey, I don't need a side table. However, in the interests of journalistic accuracy, I have gone to the CB2 store and actually touched the goods.

First I present to you the Platner side table. Nice, right? At $600 it should be. My knockoff will not be this nice, but if you can afford the real deal, what are you doing slumming on my blog anyway?

Here I present to you the knock-off, CB2's Spike wastecan for $25. The thing about the Spike is that it makes a terrible waste can. I have an IKEA mesh trash can, and unless your trash is consistently lovely, I can tell you that see-through for garbage is a flawed design concept.

The Spike is, however, almost the same dimensions as the Platner table with a similar shape. It can be topped with a 16-inch glass top, which will run about $35 to $40.

The only drawback is that the Spike has a trash-canny bottom and the Platner does not. You could cut the bottom out or cover it with:
  • a piece of mirrored glass
  • a carpet remnant that matches your carpet
  • a piece of hip fabric
  • something small and interesting like aluminum balls (which CB2 also sells.)
  • trash (it might read as ironic.)

Or you could just buy Target's knock off for $30 before it sells out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's so damp that

. . . the Brooklyn Bridge is growing moss.

Days and days of clouds and rain here. How is it where you are?

Bench gets a shrub hug

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soft on lettuce

I bought three mini-packs of lettuce and mustard at the farmer's market and after only two weeks, everything got huge. Now I can't bring myself to cut it because it's so pretty.

I grew up where people shoot their ailing animals, and now I'm so urbanized I can't snip veggies.

Had no problem putting down the dill, though.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Moth light

On a winged creatures kick of late. Ran across this moth light on Design*Sponge from the studio Mischer'Traxler. Is it not too clever for words? Each copper moth is individually numbered.

Also thought the mushroom shelf was pretty amazing, too.

New old dishes - Arrowstone

My mom sent me a set of dishes she picked up at Goodwill. They are white with band of black and charcoal, the same colors as my entire apartment and wardrobe, and they are solid. You could probably knock a person out just with a dessert plate.

One of the things I love about this stoneware is that it was made by Arrowstone, a Japanese company that gave each set decidedly American names like Navajo Blue, Apache Gold, and my set, Black Foot. EBay sellers call the line "vintage " which could mean anything. (I probably qualify as 'vintage' myself.)

At any rate, the arrival of my retro set means retiring my current set of dishes, which are froufy with blue and pink flowers - completely not my style. However, I've had these dishes as long as I've been on my own, longer than I've had Mr. Bromeliad. It's hard to break up with a set of dishes, even when the coffee cups are so dainty that nobody will touch them, let alone drink from them. Fancy dishes lend a certain elan to the dumpiest of meals.

But I don't have space for two sets, so one must go.

How about you? Are your dishes minimalist or fancy? Do you have more than one set? Are you emotionally attached to your plates?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Inspiration from Room and Board

I went into the SoHo Room and Board a few weekends ago to browse sofas but got inspired by the cool photo frame displays. Here is one that could work with our many Hawaii photos.

This bedding caught my eye. Too many pillows for me, but I like the mix of white and charcoal grey. Below is my weak imitation using a free twin blanket I picked up recently. (The headboard, bedskirt and zebra rug were also free.) I got the coverlet for $25 last year.

Oh, yes, and the sofas. Room & Board has a big selection of modern-y sofas in the $800 to $1,200 price range. Here are a few I liked. Below are the Eugene, Loring and Westwood sofas.