Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Silhouette plates

Today's do-it-yourself project comes by way of green living expert Danny Seo. The silhouette plates in his craft room have been featured all over the place, but I only found out this week that he has had a tutorial on how to make them that's been hiding on the interwebs.

This is a great reuse for mismatched or ugly plates easily picked up at Goodwill or garage sales. Download the tutorial here.

For some free printable silhouettes, visit Do It Yourself magazine's web page or grab some animal silhouettes or the wren silhouette from

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Three men in a tub

It's a credit to my photojournalism skills that I captured all three in a shared microsecond of modesty.

Once some three and a half decades ago, I splashed in the same tub with my cousins. Thank goodness there was no such thing as a blog back then.

Glam gram

While home we looked at some old pictures with my grandmother. This one's not the clearest but it did capture good times with grandma. This is on her vintage ski boat Old Woody. I'm barely 4, and she's in her 50s but could still slalom water ski. She tanned dark every summer. (Still does.) Suntan lotion, the low roar of the motor as the boat dipped and strained to yank another skier out of the lake, a dripping wet ski laid on its side to dry, little passengers wrapped in big beach towels with their hair whipping in the wind.

I never really picked up skiing, but I definitely inherited her love of water. Also a fondness for animal prints.

Bottle guy and the power of limitation

Here's some trash-picking inspiration - the pendant lights of South African artist Heath Nash. They are all made from die-cut pieces of plastic bottles. He used to use the flat parts of the bottles and throw out the necks and handles. Then he found beauty in the necks and handles. His newest pendant light is made entirely from the trash he used to throw out from the trash he collected. See the last photo via Craft via Moco Loco. (Although I must confess to preferring his plain white pendants.)

On his web site, Nash explains that he developed all of his sculpting tricks during a year of playing around with nothing but card stock, tape and staples and learned the importance of limitation.

"I imposed very strict and simple 'rules' on myself - to ONLY use card, staples and tape. Within this tight framework I was totally free to explore the very bounds of space and structure. Awesome."

This gives me hope since three-fourths of my projects seem to involve those very materials. It's not trash-grubbing laziness - it's a design philosophy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mom and Dad's yard

Dear Loyal Blog Readers:

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week. I took an unexpected trip home and I'm still catching up. In the meantime, here are some pics of my parents' back yard, lush green with spots of intense pinks and purples, wild in its late summer glory. Their deck makes mine look like a parking lot.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sidewalk marketing

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stripes, zig zags and chevron and on and on

Rubie Green

Six months ago chevron meant "gas station." Today, it means a classic yet trendy V-shaped pattern and/or an utter waste of time thanks to the extraordinary distraction of home design blogs.

I need a curtain for this doorway as a deterent to overnight guests shuffling out of the bedroom for a cup of coffee and literally catching you with your pants around your knees.

I was thinking that white would be nice. Then a few weeks ago, I posted about beach-inspired decor, which included black stripes and zig zags, which made me want a chevron runner for the foyer. Except throw rugs cost money and collect schmutz. Meanwhile lots of stripes and zig zags continued popping up all over the home design bloggie world.

Diane Bergeron via M.A. Bell

Vogue Living

Little Green Notebook

Why not a striped or chevron curtain instead?

Stripes are easy enough to come by for $10 a yard or so. ($7.99)

Chevron ranges from $90 a yard for Rubie Green's East Village to $60 a yard for Schumacher's High Voltage. Interior Mall offers chevron in three colors for only $9.99 a yard. (Five-yard minimum.)

Interior Mall

Interior Mall

Then I got it into my head that what I really want is a grey chevron, since black and white is too bold for me, let alone hot pink. (Although I did consider a nice neutral on one side and a touch of bold zig zag on the other as done in this room from the Hampton Designer Showhouse.)

Elizabeth Bailey via M.A. Belle

Fortunately, Curbly has a how-to for taking striped fabric and turning it into chevron by ModHomeEcTeacher.

But, guess what, nobody makes gray and white striped fabric. So, I can't make a gray chevron by sewing. But what about paint? High Heeled Foot in the Door painted her own curtains with a bright yellow stripe.

High Heeled Foot in the Door

Sunset Magazine provides a step-by-step project for painting a chevron pattern on furniture including a downloadable pattern. I could do the same on a set of IKEA curtains.

Sunset Magazine via Kelly+Olive

In the end I did nothing. I'll wait, and six months after I don't care anymore, some extremely cheap curtains will fall into my lap. They will probably be white.

Another long zig zag down the information superhighway.

Friday, September 18, 2009


We took a quick trip upstate for our 15th anniversary. Stayed at a friend's 'guest house' that turned out to be a wonky trailer. But it was 1) Free and 2) Spotlessly clean. My fav feature was the Brady Bunch oven, pictured below.

Five years is about how long you need to live in the city in order for the country to freak you out. I lived in the suburbs/sticks the majority of my life, but 15 years in Brooklyn makes me:
  • afraid of the dark
  • weirded out by silence
  • avoidant of dirt
  • worried about murderers (who will hear me scream?)
  • frightened by bugs and
  • disturbed that every person in sight qualifies for What Not to Wear. (How long until I look that bad?)
By day two, Mr. Bromeliad had dispensed with shirt, shoes and shaving, and I had handled snakes. We ate frozen pizza and sat on lawn chairs. (Answer to point 6: about 24 hours.)

See the clock on the oven? That's not digital. That's those numbers that flip like a Rolodex.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fresh figs

Growing up in Ohio, I associated figs with Fig Newtons. Never had a fresh one until I was almost 30. Sometimes I wonder how many other times I'm being ripped off in life and just don't know any better.

These figs came from Italian friends on Long Island, wrapped in their own leaves. We ate them without washing or debugging. Sweet as strawberries. Pure heaven.

I highly recommend friendship with Italians.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Felt faux zebra skin rug

Evan Sklar from Dorm Decor

A few months ago I searched high and low for a do-it-yourself version of a zebra hide rug and ended up making my own with some spare vinyl and a Sharpie. Although I can't beat my project for price, I can say that vinyl does feel a little weird on the feet. So I was happy to come across a felt version of the same thing via the etsy blog.

This project is taken from the book Dorm Decor and is terrific Jonathan Adler-esque take on zebra hide. I would not let my friends eat popcorn on it.

Stop here for a complete how-to, including a zebra template (for those of you who do not have the digital projector that my project required.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fountain in Harry Chapin Park

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crepe myrtle once more

I want to hold a party right here. Decorations: covered.

Boho minimalism

Gypsy Modern? Global neutral? Intel lab meets the Casbah? Whatever it is, I think it's the reason I've been snapping an inordinate number of photos of grey concrete with sprinkles of hot pink crepe myrtle blossoms.

My ideal color palette is Iceland in February. But if I were to do color, it would be a white box with just a tad of bright ethnic textiles.

I think I could live in these rooms - with maybe half the accessories. And no pooches.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crepe myrtle confetti

Addendum: Same spot the next day. In the rain. No umbrella. Shooting straight down at the ground. Weird girl.

We have three extravagent crepe myrtle trees outside of our apartment building. (Thank you interwebs for the tree identification.) I've tried for weeks to get a decent photo, but they move, close their eyes at the wrong time, etc. etc.

Lately I've developed a fascination with the blossoms that are now littering the ground. At least once a day I take a picture of the same spots. Maybe I'm sublimating my dream of some sort of kilim shot through with this exact shade of hot pink for the Bromeliad mansion.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

DIY Wednesday: Pouf baby - the Moroccan pouf revisited

A few weeks back I posted about how to make a Moroccan pouf out of the world's ugliest party dress. In the interests of full disclosure, I pointed out that my end result was bigger and heavier than expected.

So, I followed my own instructions for a smaller pouf and took the big one apart, cut it down and resewed with my new dimensions.

Also, to battle pouf cellulite, I got two scrap pieces of 1/2 inch foam for $2.50 to line the sides of the pouf. This can be helpful even for a store-bought pouf, since they usually arrive unstuffed.

You may also recall that I've been in the market for a Moroccan tray to top off my pouf. I couldn't bring myself to spend $50 to $100 to accessorize something I made almost for free. A week later, I found a cheapo aluminum tray that was about to be tossed. So it's not a classy Le Souk item, but it'll work until I make a pilgrimage to Morocco and buy straight from the source.

It's actually sort of eerie how very specific free stuff shows up right about the time you need it

Last is an inspiration pouf by way of Viva Terra, the eco-friendly retailer. It's made from embroidered silk, but can't you just see a couple of party dresses here?